The Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, is the perpetual 'living' embodiment of the 'jyot' (the light) of the ten 'Gurus' (masters) and thus treated with great veneration. The Gurus looked upon the planet Earth as a nurturer, a teacher and a servant – to be used, to be respected, and to be loved.
Pavan Guru, pani pita, mata dharat mahat (page 8, line 10, JapJi of Guru Nanak)
The eco system, the environment, the atmosphere is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all.
Asamaan dhharathee chalasee mukaam ouhee eaek (page 64, line 11, Raag Sriraag: Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji)
The sky and the earth shall pass away; He alone is permanent.
Dhharathee saevak paaeik charanaa (page 130, line 14, Raag Maajh: Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji)
The earth is Your servant, a slave at Your Feet.
Maran jeevan ko dhharathee dheenee eaethae gun visarae (page 877, line 11, Raag Raamkalee: Sir Guru Nanak Dev Ji)
To die and to live, He gave us the earth, but we have forgotten these blessings.
Though in essence, the Earth is a gift from God, it is also a gift which could be taken away by Him whenever He wishes. Humankind is requested to make use of it but also not to abuse it because it does not belong to us, just as nothing belongs to us. Sikh thought also looks upon selfless service towards humankind, which also means selfless service in looking after the eco-system of this planet, as the rent we pay for being gifted this wonderful life.
By Dya Singh
This is an excerpt of an article entitled "The Good Green Word" that appeared in the Autumn 2010 edition of the Green Pages.