Even in these modern times of gadgets and gizmos, the lure of lush green fields, smoky mountain peaks, vast deep blue oceans, pearly white sandy beaches, and of the like; still attract the interests of masses. There is something indescribably attractive about the beauty and majesty of nature, which appears static, yet, is actually dynamic. The foliage of trees is green, rivers and oceans blue, the monsoon sky is blackish, and the sun, bright and luminous. Snow is always white, and rain is wet and moist. Winds are refreshing as a breeze and as terrifying as a storm. Nevertheless, no one ceases to be amazed or grow tired of the beauty of nature.
Everything in this world has an origin and source – the same is with ‘beauty’ as well. Just as every painting has its painter, every sculpture its sculptor and every decoration its decorator, similarly we too can question who is the painter of the sunset? Who is the sculptor of the mountains? Who is the decorator of the forests? All these point to existence of a superior painter, a master of all beauty. Scriptures call this master as sarva-saundarya-saìgraham [SB 4.24.45] the compendium of all beauty.
Canvass of Material Manifestation
As every master painter has his select canvass and easel, so the Supreme Painter has the creation of the material universe as His canvass [SB 3.5.26] and His expanded self, the Virat Rupa or Universal Form as the easel which supports the manifested material universe [SB 3.6.8]. His painting colours are the modes of material nature; which taint the consciousness of conditioned souls with different influences of complacence, agitation and inertness. His strokes are the various energies that He employs in creation [SB 3.5.29].
Therefore, we can see that Nature is actually the Lord’s masterpiece and thus, He, her master [SB 3.5.25]. For one to wholly appreciate the magnificence of Nature, one has to include glorification of its master as well. For without such a master, how could such a creation exist? In fact, the beauty of the Lord is eternal whilst the beauty of Nature is temporary and subjected to change. Intelligent persons would then see via the beauty of Nature to relish the beauty of the Lord.
For example, the sturdiness and size of a mountain reminds us of the expansive body of the Lord. And just as a mountain contains various valuable jewels, the Lord is similarly decorated with all kinds of jewels. The evening sunset dresses the mountain panorama with a glow of yellow. Similarly, the Lord’s yellow dress covers his mountain like body.
Nature of Lord’s Beauty
The descriptions of Lord’s beauty are all attractive. Just imagine that if the beauty of Nature can be so captivating, how much more captivating can the beauty of its source be? It is said that for one who is attracted by param, the Supreme, is no longer attracted by anything inferior [BG 2.59]. As such, by understanding the source of nature’s beauty, one’s interest in the beauty of nature grows “organically” to appreciate the beauty of Lord. And the ultimate zenith of this appreciation is attraction. One who is therefore attracted by the beauty of the Lord is no longer attracted by the beauty of material nature, although he does not minimize its beauty.
Another feature of the Lord’s beauty is its freshness. The Lord is always youthful and fresh and thus is adorned by fresh flowers which are always encircled by humming bees. This freshness is eternal and never deteriorates, adyam purana purusham nava yauvanam ca, although he is the oldest of personalities, He is ever fresh. Therefore we see His beauty compared to the freshness in nature. But as said before, even the freshness of nature is limited to time. After certain time and seasons, the beauty changes, fades and ceases to attract as before. Nevertheless, the beauty of Lord is positively dynamic. He’s beauty ever increases and is never is static or retrograde.
Love Nature, Love Her Master
In conclusion, one has to grow in one’s love for nature by loving the source of nature. Because this process is natural, it doesn’t result in a person becoming critical or indifferent to nature, but one becomes even more cautious and caring about Mother Nature – seeing how dear she is to the Lord. HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj says “We should honour Mother Earth with gratitude; otherwise our spirituality may become hypocritical.”
The above article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 3.1-14), by Hemarupa Caitanya Das, to the question: “Nature’s beauty is a perverted reflection of Lord’s beauty.” [Ref 3.8.24] How do we convey this in an amiable way to the nature lovers?”