Faith in Conservation: New Approaches to Religions and the Environment

By Martin Palmer; Victoria Finlay | Go to book overview

11
Hinduism

This statement is based on papers and comments by Dr. Sheshagiri Rao, chief editor of The Encyclopaedia of Hinduism; Swami Chidananda Sarasvati, founder of the India Heritage Research Foundation, spiritual head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram; Shrivatsa Goswami, Vaishnava Acharya of Shri Radharaman Temple, Vrindavan chairman of the Vrindavan Conservation Project; and Swami Vibudhesha Teertha, Acharya of Madhvacarya Vaishnavas, Udupi, central advisory committee member of the Visva Hindu Parishad.

This statement consists of three sections reflecting the major strands within Vedic—known in the West as Hindu—thought.


Sustaining the balance—Swami Vibudhesha Teertha

These days it looks as if human beings have forgotten that a particular natural condition on Earth enabled life to come into existence and evolve to the human level. Humanity is disturbing this natural condition on which our existence, along with the existence of all other forms of life, depends. This is like the action of a woodcutter cutting a tree at the trunk, on the branch on which he is sitting. According to Hindu religion, “dharanath dharma ucyate”—that which sustains all species of life and helps to maintain harmonious relationship among them is dharma. That which disturbs such ecology is adharma.

Hindu religion wants its followers to live a simple life. It does not allow people to go on increasing their material wants. People are meant to learn to enjoy spiritual happiness, so that to derive a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment, they need not run after material pleasures and disturb nature’s checks and balances. They have to milk a cow and enjoy, not cut at the udder of the cow with greed to enjoy what is not available in the natural course. Do not use anything belonging to nature, such as

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