Almost all sacred texts are obsessed with the occasion of the ‘final judgment’ when individuals have to answer for their deeds. The Judgement Day, the law of Karma, Yawm ad-Din (or Yawm al-Din) – every religion upholds the belief that our actions will have consequences, and they will be irreversible. Better clean up your act now – so that when the Judgement Day does arrive, the balance tips in your favor.
The interpretation of karmic law has always been at the individual level. You lead a good life – you ascend to heaven. Thy neighbour chose an opposite path – thy neighbour descends to hell. But what about your failure to turn their life around, or what about their influence in your good deeds?
One need not go too deep into mythological texts to understand this. Even our documented history shows that an individual can never escape their responsibility towards society. Nor can they escape society’s fate. When it comes to powers beyond human control, the consequences befall everyone equally. The tsunami shall sweep everything off, the monsoon will water everyone’s fields and the meteors wiped out all the dinosaurs. Perhaps, nature is too lazy to maintain individual scoreboards and it may well be unfair. But that is how it works.
What if the Judgement Day is not an individual ‘report-card distribution day’ – but rather, an irreversible consequence of our actions? And every day we move towards it, quite rapidly. No higher power needs to maintain a record. All that’s required is a simple ’cause-and-effect’ scheme churning around us continuously. Never stopping, as we run our car’s exhaust or turn off an unused light… As we dump tons of plastics or water a plant.
Each action, with its consequences, contributes to a ‘global sum’ and a ‘global consequence’. And then, some day (it currently seems inevitable), the earth will become inhabitable for us and human kind will be wiped out. And that will be our judgement!
Our demise will be hastened by our twin derogatory attributes: our greed to consume resources and degrade environment, and our apathy towards it. On the one hand, in our blind pursuit of ‘development’, we are degrading earth irreversibly at unprecedented pace. And our apathy ensures we do not pay heed to the alarming conditions, while there is still time. So, while our phones and refrigerators and homes turn ‘smarter’, the society more grows retarded.
Everyone is aware of the increasing pollution levels, disappearing wildlife and forest covers. And everyone also knows how this will irrevocably degrade the quality of our lives. The signs are already visible. Just look at our health condition and the extreme climatic conditions. The tropical hurricanes are getting worse, affecting millions of life and destroying property worth billions.
Yet, we are so engrossed in the routine of our life that we hardly pay serious attention to these issues and take action. We continue with our lives unperturbed – as if all of this was some minor inconvenience that will disappear over time. While the truth is, our lifestyle and apathy worsens the situation every minute. If only the particulate matter could accumulate at the end of day and fall as boulders from the sky, crashing our beloved cars! I wish the melting polar water would burst over our habitats, instead of gradually raising the sea levels! Then our urgency towards resolving these issues might increase. Sadly nature does not work that way. It works slowly, giving us chances but also testing our urgency – and then, the change is here to stay.
The people who are worst-affected by it and can make change to the situation need to be awakened. Recently, the people of Tamil Nadu stopped the reinstatement of a copper plant which would have otherwise degraded the environmental conditions severely. This sets up a good example for the rest of us.
More such steps are required from people everywhere to protect their local environment. The migration to eco-friendly practices is associated with additional financial burden. But considering the cost we pay otherwise, in form of tsunamis and cloud-bursts, crop failures and flooding, we need to make educated decisions. The media should get over Meghan Markle and Taimur, and instead have dedicated columns for bringing facts and explaining the worsening situation in simple terms, so that the masses can understand them. Only then do we stand a chance to survive. And for our deeds, we will be rewarded on our Judgement Day, by not having to face one.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.