The environmental issue of global warming is proving to be a great moral crisis of our time, argues Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Long Distance. Overindustrialization, increasing vehicular traffic and other human influences on the environment are wreaking havoc on our planet and the air we breathe. Writing in the news magazine In These Times, Mckibben paints a gloomy picture of things to come:
In temperate latitudes, climate change will creep up on us. Severe storms already have grown more frequent and more damaging. The progression of seasons is less steady. Some agriculture is less reliable. Most of us live lives so divorced from the natural world that we hardly notice the changes. By the time the magnitude of the change is truly in our faces, it will be too late to do much about it: There's such a lag time to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we need to be making the switch to solar and wind and hydrogen power right now to prevent disaster decades away.
Trying to launch a moral campaign is no easy task. It is the sum total of individual actions that can bring about a shift of habits and change of lifestyle in the collective whole—enough to pressure governments to pass laws that would reduce the levels of carbon dioxide and other lethal gases pouring into our atmosphere.
It is rare to find men of science, or those belonging to the medical fraternity, who view science, spirituality and service as the three sides of a triangle. The three merge with one another at the deeper level, says Dr. K. P. Mishra, senior cardiologist at Apollo Hospital, Chennai. He writes in Tattvaloka (December 2001):
Science is an inquiry in the world outside. Spiritualism is an inquiry into the world within. Both are complementary to each other....If we wish to know man in all his dimensions and facets and also if we wish to study the entire world in which we live, science and spirituality have to grow together so that the total knowledge becomes comprehensive and integrated....
While books and writings and other works of men often fade away and are no more for subsequent ages, the great symbols do not disappear. Hence "the religious and esoteric history of every nation was embedded in symbols" (The Secret Doctrine, I, 307), and thus preserved for posterity. The science of true symbols and the art of interpreting them is little understood today. Dr. S. A. Sarma is among the few who recognizes the value of ancient symbols. In his book Kena Upanishad he writes:
The science of symbols constitutes a fascinating study in itself. It is by means of this science of symbols that the Unknown becomes the Known, the occult the obvious. Symbols enter into almost every phase of human endeavour and pursuits: in mathematics, mysticism and music, in art and architecture, in the diverse rituals and ceremonials of the esoteric religious systems and their practices, in alchemy and in astrology, in the traditions of esoteric teachings, from the most "primitive" mind's early perceptions to the most modern artistic apperceptions, and in the intricate dialectics, in every field it is this science of symbols that so ensures the satisfactory transmission and appreciation of the essential "intent" of what is thus taught....