Table of Contents

  Index
  About the Author
  Books by Bansi Pandit
  What is Hindu Dharma?
  Hindu View of God
  Why Hindus Worship Deities
  Hindu Scriptures
  Principal Hindu Doctrines
  Law of Karma
  Popular Systems 
  Moral & Ethical Ideals of Hindus
  Hindu View ...
  Hindu Reverence for Elders
  Daily Routine of a Devout Hindu
  Hindu Dharma
  Hindu View of Ecology
  Some Philosophical Aspects
  Hindu Response 
  Contribution of Hindus
  Practicing Hindu Dharma
  Timeless Wisdom 
  Swămi Vivekănanda's Address
  Works Cited
  Color Plates
  Download Book

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Matrimonial

 
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Chapter 13: Hindu View of Ecology

Hindu religion's reverence for the sea, soil, forests, rivers, mountains, plants, birds, and animals stems from its broader view of divinity. Unlike many other religions, Hindus believe that all things and beings in the world are various manifestations of the Ultimate Reality (Brahman), and nothing exists apart from It. The whole emphasis of Hindu scriptures is that human beings cannot separate themselves from nature.

Thousands of years ago, Hindu sages realized that preservation of the environment and ecological balance were necessary for the survival of mankind. To create an awareness among the common people for preservation of the environment, the rishis taught that earth has the same relationship with man as a mother with her child. In the Vedic literature, the earth is addressed as Mother Earth and personified as the goddess Bhumi, or Prithvi. Five thousand years later the world experts addressed earth as Mother Earth for the first time at the Global Conference in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.

There are numerous direct and indirect messages contained in Hindu scriptures for the protection of our environment and the maintenance of ecological balance. The following are a few examples of some of these timeless teachings: 19

  • "One who plants one peepal, one neem, ten flowering plants or creepers, two pomegranates, two oranges, and five mangoes does not go to hell." (Varaha Purăna, a Hindu scripture)
  • "Oh wicked person! If you roast a bird, then your bathing in the sacred rivers, pilgrimage, worship and yagńas are useless."
  • "The rivers are the veins of God, the ocean is His blood, and the trees the hairs of His body. The air is His breath, the earth His flesh, the sky His abdomen, the hills and mountains the stacks of His bones, and the passing ages are His movements."

(Srimad Bhăgavatam 2.1.32-33)

  • "One should not throw urine, stool or mucus into the water, nor anything mixed with these unholy substances, nor blood or poison, nor any other [impurity]." (Manu Smriti 4.56)
  • "Five sorts of kindness are the daily sacrifice of the trees. To families they give fuel; to passers by they give shade and a resting place; to birds they give shelter; with their leaves, roots, and bark they give medicines." (Varaha Purăna 162.41-42)

Conclusions

  • Feeling one with nature is the fundamental environmental message of Hindu culture. Unlike many other religions, Hindus perceive life not only in human beings, but also in plants, birds, and animals. This vision of oneness of life has helped Hindus develop a worshipful attitude towards everything in nature.
  • Nature is not a commodity to be dominated and conquered. Man must change the attitude of dominating nature to one of cooperating with it. A fundamental reorientation of human consciousness is required to recognize that earth has the same relationship with man as a mother with her child.
  • Life is an organic entity and the sea, soil, mountains, plants, and animals are inseparable parts of the cosmic web. Man must learn to live in harmony with nature and recognize that plants and animals have a meaningful life too in the cosmic play (lîlă).
  • Environmental issues require a spiritual response. An awareness of the ecological balance must be created at all levels of human thought and activity.
 

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