WATER, WOOD AND WISDOM: ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES FROM HINDU TRADITIONS
From the cradle to the crematorium to the first bed, which in many Hindu traditions is the last resting place for the body, wood is an integral part of Hindu life. From household stoves to religious rites, wood and fire are clearly present. Hindu marriages take place in front of the sacred fire which is considered as an eternal witness; After death, the bodies are taken to the fire.
The ashes of the cremated body are immersed in holy water – the same rivers that water and irrigate paddy fields; The same water that cooks the rice and bathes the dead before cremation. From cradle to cremation, Hindus have a clear, organic connection with nature. But today they also have to face the reality of environmental catastrophe. With over one billion people in India (including 800 million Hindus), the use, misuse and misuse of resources are pushing India to the brink of disaster. What can Hindu tradition say about this growing environmental crisis? Are there any resources in Hinduism and cultural traditions that can motivate and motivate Hindus to take action?
In the Western world, the importance and relevance of religion in daily life have to be argued, while in India, the love and participation of religion is tangible; Religious symbols are ubiquitous. The traditional mantra heard among Hindus is, “Hinduism is more than religion; It’s a way of life, “is a trivial saying. There is a deep connection between religion and the underlying social structure and behaviour patterns. The characters featured in various Puranas or ancient texts on Hindu deities are known and loved by the people. People never get bored with these stories. Only local cinema seems to clash with epics and myths under the popular influence.
But do many Hindu philosophers and communities value nature and privilege the existence of plants, trees and water? Although the short answer is “yes”, Hindus have answered this question in many different ways which have been documented in excellent texts. 2 In Hindu scriptures, plants and trees have been given such high value that their destruction is related to the condition of doomsday. Puranas and epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata give detailed descriptions of the periodic and cyclical destruction of the world. There are four ages in each chakra and at the beginning of the third age, things are clearly disrupted. As stated in the KurmaPurana, “then greed and lust were re-created everywhere, inevitably due to the premeditated purpose of the Treta [III] age. And the people seized the rivers, the fields, the mountains, the trees, and the herbs, and overcame them. ” 3 The epic Mahabharata (c. 500-200 BC) graphically depicts the events that took place at the end of the fourth and worst. And what happens after thousands of such ages:
At the conclusion of Ion, the population expands. . . It also smells and tastes awful. . . . When thousands of years have passed and life has come to an end, many years of hunger have occurred, depleting the stores of most creatures and starving them. . . . Then comes the onslaught of devastation. . . It consumes whatever is found on the surface of the planet. . . . The sky is filled with massive clouds. . . . There is no doubt that all males will become omnivores in the future. . . . By their by nature, all people are vicious. . . . They will demolish gardens and trees without fear, and the world’s life will be ruined. Greed slaves will prowl the world. . . . Drought will afflict all countries. . . .There will be no rain in the season as Eon draws to a close, and no crops will grow.
We notice almost immediately that these destructions are portrayed as cyclical and periodic. The first quote about the third age reveals the inevitable, pre-planned nature of such events. One wonders whether a man is powerless against such cosmic structures. But even if you seriously consider these epics, you will have to wait. According to very conservative Hindu almanacks and calculations, the end of this age – IV – 428,898 C.E. Not previously expected.
We also notice that in Hindu scriptures there is a close connection between religion (morality, duty, justice; dhr, or whatever remains) and the destruction of the earth. When religion decays, man destroys nature. However, there is no Hindu scripture that focuses on Dharma and advises us to remain inactive and accept the end of the world with a life-negative philosophy. Many Hindu scriptures insist that human beings should improve their quality of life. A popular blessing uttered in many Hindu temples and homes focuses on human happiness in this life on earth: “Let everyone be happy, let everyone be free from disease! / Everyone should see what is sublime / No one should be saddened!
Despite this unequivocal belief in the pursuit of happiness, Hindus in every belt have been involved in polluting the environment.
There are many Hindu traditions and there is not a single book that all Hindus would agree on as official. In this essay, I will quote several texts from the spectrum of sources. Another point to note is that many texts in the Hindu tradition have played a limited role in the history of religion. Although works like Ramayana, Mahabharata and many Puranas are generally influential, people do not know much about philosophical works like Upanishads. The scriptures (Dharmashastras) on proper behaviour have been followed only selectively and the popular practice or practice has as much weight as religious law. All these scriptures, including Puranas and epic stories, are the carriers and propagators of Dharma and Bhakti (devotion).
Dharma is of paramount importance in Hindu communities, but only a handful of Brahmin men knew the scriptures that defined and discussed religion. Instead, ideas of religion were communicated through stories in epics and myths, and such moral stories were regularly told by family or village elders. Like Aesop’s fables — or MTV Today कथा these stories shape the notions of morality and acceptable behaviour. The exaggerated reliance on law texts is a later development and can be traced back to the British colonial period. 5 With the advent of intellectual colonialism and the media from the West, Hindus today, especially in the diaspora, consider texts. As a sole authority rather than oral tradition or community customs. Many Hindu temples in India now hold classes and study groups on the Bhagavad Gita (“Song of the Lord;” The Ramakrishna and Chinmay Mission publish tapes with theological books and translations and commentaries to explain their scriptures to the educated middle class.
Which are to some extent related to Hindu tradition. Gerald Larson warns us about the pitfalls of using philosophical literature as a generic resource for environmental philosophy without qualification, and we should take his advice. 6 Nevertheless, given the growing popularity of sacred texts in many areas of Hindu society in the latter part of the twentieth century, I find it convenient to use this text as a source of many Hindu texts. We will soon see that some Hindu organizations are quoting mysterious scriptures to raise awareness about contemporary social issues. Regulating religion with a double emphasis on text and study has given it the flexibility that we can use today to our advantage.