Question: In the face of natural disasters, such as the tsunami that recently occurred, there are two ways in which we can respond. The first is to feel that human beings must respect nature much more. The second is to feel that human beings should come first and so we need even more advanced technology to protect humans from disasters. Which is your view?

Sri Chinmoy: I most sincerely subscribe to both views. Firstly, we have to respect nature. President Gorbachev and others are trying desperately to save Mother Nature. Here, there, everywhere, nature is being destroyed, so their Green Cross organisation is trying to preserve nature, preserve the environment. Nature is the expression of our inner life, our higher life. It is from nature that we get all good things—beauty, tranquillity, humility, simplicity and many other divine qualities. Above all, nature is spontaneous. When we develop the mind, we become so complex; we cannot do anything spontaneously. Nature helps us to regain our spontaneity. Like this, nature helps us in millions of ways to become good citizens of the world. That is why we must respect and adore nature.

Your second point is that we need even more advanced technology to protect humans from disaster. I also fully agree with this statement. Science and technology must make progress. But, forgive me to say, no matter how far we advance with our science and technology, if nature becomes furious, nature is not going to surrender to our scientific and technological achievements. The universal nature is infinitely more powerful than the scientific achievements of man. These achievements, I tell you, will be no match for Mother Nature if she becomes furious.

So these are two approaches: advanced technology and our respect for Mother Nature so that she does not get angry with us and torture us by creating natural disasters. Your two approaches are absolutely right, but if I am allowed, I would like to add one more approach which will not interfere at all with the first two. This third approach is prayer — prayer to the highest, to the strongest, to the most powerful One to protect us from harm, from nature's disasters, or from anything and anybody.

If we can apply all three approaches at the same time, then there is a great possibility for us to avert nature's disasters.