Amaresh Rajaratnam

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How to care for the Environment - Born a Hindu

Posted by Kirubashini.K on August 29, 2013 at 12:30 AM

HOW TO CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

Misuse and abuse of the environment by the man has made it fragile and pushed it to a breaking point. Global warming, green house effect, desertification Salinization of water, changing weather, dwindling fresh water resources – these are few words which gives you a glimpse of the current status of the relationship between man and the environment.

First. let us try to understand the cause of the problem. There has been a general view all over the world that the resources of this world are meant for exploitation by the man. Some sections of people even go to the extent of quoting their scriptures (belonging to non-Hindu faiths) Justifying this view. This wrong notion along with the man's greed has been a deadly cocktail leading to senseless exploitation, pushing and poisoning the environment beyond its ability to heal itself. The greed for money has made the man shift from sustainable utilization to indiscriminate and reckless exploitation with callous disregard for the interest of the other stakeholders of the environment.

Common sense tells us that if you consume something It needs to be replenished. The environment has an amazing ability to replenish and heal Itself. But this cannot be taken for granted. If the rate of exploitation is greater than the rate of replenishment and healing, then such exploitation will lead to breakdown of the environment, which is what Is happening now. The present state of the environment is not because of human need but due to the greed and aggrandization of human beings.

The progress of science in the Western world during the last few hundred years has given man a false sense of control over the nature. He believes that he has conquered nature. When man climbed the Mount Everest, in his arrogance, he claimed that he has conquered the Everest. When he dams a river he claims that he has conquered the nature. This misplaced attitude of a conqueror has further contributed to the environmental related issues. Yet at times the nature has shown her might in the form of floods, cyclones, earth quakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions just brushing aside everything manmade. One who truly understands the power and the might of the nature will never have the attitude of a conqueror. Instead he will treat the nature with due respect.

Now let us try to understand the Hindu perspective of the environment, the current problem and its causes, and the solution to the problem. Bhagavad Gila says that this universe was created through selfless action and it is meant for the benefit of all the stakeholders. Furthermore, it says that man can utilize these in the same selfless spirit enjoying his fair share. It also refers to those who do not act in selfless spirit or who take more than their fair share as thieves. Therefore it is obvious that the resources of this universe were not meant for selfish exploitation by individuals, or by the humanity at large. We have to respect all the stakeholders, including humanity in utilizing the resources of this universe.

In order to remind us this all the time, the nature and everything to do with nature was divinized in Hinduism. Hindus worship the nature and everything in the nature. This is to remind us of our responsibility. This is to remind us of the fact that everything has been created by God and it has sprung from the God. As such we should see God In everything around us. It is therefore, no wonder a Hindu sees and worships the God in the river, trees and plants, sky, fire, earth, air, animals and so on.

When Lord himself, came down as Dattatreya avatar, he eulogized the glory of the nature by claiming that nature has been his teacher in the form of earth, air, sky, water, fire, moon, sun, pigeon, python; the ocean, moth, honeybee, elephant, the deer, the fish, hawk, serpent, spider and the wasp. When a Hindu sees the God in the nature, how can he even think of abusing and exploiting the nature? Where is the question of polluting the over? Or killing the animals? or cutting down the trees?

Hindu is expected to share this planet (and the universe) with everyone and everything else in this planet (and universe).

The prayer. "Salutations to you consort of Lord Vishnu, Who is clothed by oceans, And is adorned prettily by the mountains, Pardon me mother, for setting my foot on you", which is chanted daily by a Hindu in the mornings when he wakes up before Setting his foot on the earth, asking for forgiveness from the mother earth, Is one example of the attitude a Hindu is expected to cultivate in his mind towards the nature.

Further, When he takes bath he prays, "I pray you to enter. This water meant for my bath. Oh, holy river Ganga, Oh, Holy river Yamuna, Oh, Holy river Godavari, Oh, Holy river Saraswathi, Oh, Holy river Narmada, Oh, Holy river Sindhu, And Holy river Kaveri" is another example of a Hindu's attitude towards nature. Thus a Hindu is taught to respect the nature from his childhood.

Industrialization required for economic progress is another common excuse which is used to justify the abuse of the environment. Though industrialization may be a necessary evil for the economic progress, a blind approach which disregards the environmental concerns is suicidal. Further, if one analyses the so called economic Progress, one will realize that the substantial portion of this progress goes to service the greed of the mankind than the needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Though the humanity has enjoyed this luxury till now, the scale of destruction of the environment has reached such a proportion, that now, the humanity is compelled to reconsider its priorities and respect the environment, if its present and future generations are to survive in this earth.

As Hindu scriptures say, understanding that humanity is only a part of the nature and respecting the nature in its totality is the only lasting solution to the environment Issues.

Categories: Hinduism Topics

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