Krishna tells us how the essence of Hindu culture is full of hidden treasures of sanskara (practices) that are good and green. There are loaded messages of equality, love and respect for all creatures. These help save and protect all life forms in nature. Today, we are facing the crisis of climate change and global warming. Effective biodiversity management is a solution to it. Iswara (God) is abiding in all creatures equally be he a human being, animal or any other creature. Basing on this philosophy of equality, the Hindu system of Manava Dharma espouses that service to the mankind is equal to service to any creature. Here’s the seventh and final part of the discourse, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Srimad Bhagavat Gita the touchstone of the Hindu Dharma says:
Vidya vinayasampanne brahmani gabi hastini
Shuni chaiba Swapake cha panditah samadarshinah (5.18)
“A wise man sees the same Supreme Being abiding in an educated and gentle Brahmana, in a cow, an elephant, a dog and in a Chandala.”
This direct message emphatically states that Iswara (God) is abiding in all creatures equally be he a human being, animal or any other creature. Basing on this philosophy of equality, the Hindu system of Manava Dharma espouses that service to the mankind is equal to service to any creature. There is no discrimination. Protecting a mother is a good work and not cutting a tree that is full of flower and fruits is ‘like a pregnant mother’ according to Manusmriti, and it is equally a good work. Digging a pond is pious; it provides water to man also preserves ground water sources. Planting trees is a good work, providing food to animals is a good practice also. All these good works are praised in the Hindu tradition (sanskara) as sanctimonious – an avowed duty of human being.
Thus, Hindu culture is full of hidden treasures of sanskara (practices) that are good and green. There are loaded messages of equality, love and respect for all creatures. These help save and protect all life forms in nature. Today, we are facing the crisis of climate change and global warming. Effective biodiversity management is a solution to it. Obviously, now we need to collect and analyse traditional green practices to give boost to the practices and bring these back to society with scientific interpretations, which would appeal to the scientific temperament of the modern generation also. It will encourage the younger generation, even the ‘western-educated’ ones to recognize, adopt and to use these to ensure the biodiversity of natural life to make the country and the planet a better place.
Countless cultural practices, festivals, rituals and proverbs believed and followed by Hindu’s establish the fact that, in Hindu culture Manava Dharma (righteous duty of human being) is not limited to showing humanity to human being only, it includes same treatment and feelings of love, peace and compassion towards animals, birds, aquatic animals and other immobile creatures like trees, rocks, water, soil, etc.
It is evident that, long before the concept of environment protection has been in vogue, Hindu culture respectfully dealt with nature as Prakriti Mata (Mother Nature) since times immemorial. Love and respect to animals, birds and habitat is praised as a pious act, because Hindu believe that it pleases God, the creator, as reverence to nature and animals show love and admiration indiscriminately to all His children. No doubt these good practices were created and observed by Hindu people in accordance with words of Lord Krishna “Iswara sarbabhutaanam hriddeshe tisthati” (Gita, 18.61) “God is gracefully existing in inner soul of all creatures” to celebrate the universal brotherhood of all beings in this world and the cosmos.
Also the Hindu way of good practices to conserve nature and natural beings is great. These instill a good habit in man to empathize with the spirit of animals, be kind and compassionate to them and practice these in daily life as a disciplined routine. As it is done with love and faith in heart, those who observe it enjoy doing it. Certainly it provides a pleasure to man to love animals, birds, and nature thus it enlightens man’s internal spirit.
This is a good news that amidst ceaseless conflicts-competitions and changes down the centuries in Hindu society, most of the good practices of Hindu culture remains intact. It’s practiced by millions of Hindus to this day. These offer a sagacious suggestion to the crucial paradox of nature conservation and biodiversity management to the modern day man across all cultural boundaries.