Many Hindu authors have written essays on the subject of Dharma and Ecology. Have one to add? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reverence [for nature], as expressed in the Gita and other works, is an essential part of Hindu culture. When, as a child, I kicked the ground, my mother would say, “Hey, don’t kick the ground. That is mother earth.” “What mother earth? It’s dirt”, I said. “No! It’s mother earth, Prithvi Mata.” Then I would think, “Oh, this is mother, Mata.”
I come from an agricultural family. During a particular month, the water would flow in the river and the agricultural operation would begin. The first thing was to sow the seeds, the paddy seeds. Then, after a few days or a month, they would remove the seedlings and transplant them in the fields. This operation was done by all the villages. Before sowing, although each villager would sow on his own piece of land, all the villagers would come and do puja to a piece of land that belonged to the temple. They would do puja to the earth. Seeing this as children, we naturally developed a reverence for the earth. That shows a concern not for my life alone—but for the one that bears the life. Mother earth is not just something inert.
From “Ecology and the Bhagavad Gita,” Swami Dayananda Saraswati, 2001.
An intimate relationship with the environment is built into the human psyche. Historically, nature — mountains, rivers, trees, the sun, the moon — have always been honored in ancient cultures. It’s only when we start moving away from our connection to Nature and our selves, that we begin polluting and destroying the environment.
From “Nature nourishes us,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Those of us who work in the greater yogic field would be wise to ask: How does Yoga view the current state of affairs in the world and is there a yogic way of action for dealing with it? Clearly our current society is not yogic, nor are most of the political, economic or even religious forces that dominate the world today. Their concern is not with protecting the natural balance or developing any higher awareness. They are mainly concerned with promoting their own vested interests that depend upon the exploitation of both human populations and the world of nature to maintain their own power and hegemony.
A yogic way of action to restore the natural balance is something that is seldom looked into, though yoga is all about balance. As the Bhagavad Gita states, Yoga samatva uchyate, Yoga is the state of balance. We cannot truly think or live yogically without doing so in an ecological way as well.
From “Yoga and Ecology,” David Frawley, 2012.