Environmental Consciousness in Vedic Literature

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Human beings find expression, fulfilment and meaning of life, in relation to the environment in which they live. Natural environment being existential to life on earth forms an integral part of human life. Paganism, nature-worship and such age old customs retained by mankind are self-evident of Man’s close connection and relation with nature and the natural phenomena. With the advent of modern civilization, development and industrial growth, Man has developed a rivalry with nature. The personal and emotional cord between man and nature has already been lost during the process of growth and progress of mankind. But, the human body made of five elements can not survive without Nature. This crude realisation raises many questions including question of ethics, human as well as environmental ethics to be taken up seriously. Eighteenth century onwards people, scientists, thinkers, philosophers and activists have set stage for the environmental consciousness in response to the rapid industrialisation causing dramatic environmental degradation. The modern environmentalism springs up to an ideology of “scientific conservation,” earlier visualized by Wordsworth and Keats as emotional relationship with nature. India, since time immemorial, has been propagating the environmental awareness through its ancient texts like Vedas, Brahmanas and Puranas, in simple terms of man’s relation with nature. Man in Vedic period worshiped and prayed the natural phenomena with due regard, surprise, fear and love. The Vedic seers were not only conscious of the purity of natural environment i.e. earth, water, air, light, space etc. but also of human mind and spirit. They prescribed silence to avoid noise pollution as well as the disturbances at the level of mind and spirit. The myth of creation and attribution of divinity to nature, division of universe, the concepts of...
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