Category: Who am I ?


Nature and Hinduism

Nature and Hinduism are so entwined that it is quite impossible to think about one without the other. The need for an ecological balance is stressed in the Vedas and Upanishads and this message is repeated in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Gita, Puranas and in the messages of Hindu saints. Mother Nature is worshipped in Hindu religion. But for majority of Hindus, worship is confined to temples and homes and thus they are equal contributors in global warming, pollution and emissions.

Here are a few thoughts which ancient seers of Sanatana Dharma had shared more than 5000 years ago regarding the importance of nature and majority of them are highly relevant today.

  • One should not destroy the trees. (Rig Veda Samhita vi-48-17)
  • Plants are mothers and Goddesses. (Rig Veda Samhita x-97-4)
  • Trees are homes and mansions. (Rig Veda Samhita x-97-5)
  • Sacred grass has to be protected from man’s exploitation (Rig Veda Samhita vii-75-8)
  • Plants and waters are treasures for generations. (Rig Veda Samhita vii-70-4)

Earth, in which lie the sea, the river and other waters, in which food and cornfields have come to be, in which lives all that breathes and that moves, may she confer on us the finest of her yield. Earth, in which the waters, common to all, moving on all sides, flow unfailingly, day and night, may she pour on us milk in many streams, and endow us with lustre. (From the Atharva Veda – Hymn to the Earth – Bhumi-Sukta)

May those born of thee, O Earth, be for our welfare, free from sickness and waste, wakeful through a long life, we shall become bearers of tribute to thee. Earth my mother, set me securely with bliss in full accord with heaven, O wise one, uphold me in grace and splendor. (From the Atharva Veda – Hymn to the Earth – Bhumi-Sukta)

  • Earth, atmosphere, sky, sun, moon, stars, waters, plants, trees, moving creatures, swimming creatures, creeping creatures all are hailed and offered oblations. (Taittiriya Samhita i-8-13)
  • One should protect the habitation. (Rig Veda Samhita vi-71-3)
  • Waters as friends of man give full protection to his progenies. (Rig Veda Samhita vi-50-7)
  • One shall take care of quadrupeds. (Taittiriya Samhita iv-4-10)
  • One shall be auspicious to animals. (Taittiriya Samhita ii-3-14)
  • One shall not find fault with animals. (Chandogya Upanishad ii-18-2)
  • Waters represent splendor. (Atharva Veda Samhita iii-13-5)
  • Waters bear off all defilements and cleanse people. (Vajasaneya Samhita iv-2)
  • Whoever injures the essence of food, kine or steeds is a robber who sinks both himself and his offspring into destruction. (Rig Veda Samhita vii-104-10)
  • Offerings are dedicated to waters of wells, pools, clefts, holes, lakes, morasses, ponds, tanks, marshes, rains, rime, streams, rivers and ocean. (Taittiriya Samhita vii-4-13)
  • There was only water in the beginning. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad v-5-1)
  • Waters and herbs should have no poison. (Rig Veda Samhita vi-39-5)
  • Waters are to be freed from defilement. (Atharva Veda Samhita x-5-24)
  • Waters cleanse humanity from the evil of pollution committed by it. (Atharva Veda Samhita xii-2-40)
  • Waters are healing and they strengthen one to see great joy. (Taittiriya Samhita vii-4-19)

The Mahabharata says that ‘even if there is only one tree full of flowers and fruits in a village, that place becomes worthy of worship and respect.’

‘No religion, perhaps, lays as much emphasis on environmental ethics as does Hinduism. It believes in ecological responsibility and says like Native Americans that the Earth is our mother. It champions protection of animals, which it considers also have souls, and promotes vegetarianism. It has a strong tradition of non-violence or ahimsa. It believes that God is present in all nature, in all creatures, and in every human being regardless of their faith or lack of it.’ Dr. David Frawley

We Hindus are always proud to hear others praise our culture. We publish them, discuss them in social circles but rarely follow the unparalleled teachings in our scriptures.

Lord Ganesha, Holy Cow, Worship of Mountains, Worship of Nagas (Snakes), Tulsi and the numerous other plants and animals that form part of Hindu worship are nothing but messages incorporated by wise Hindu Saints to teach us that we humans are part of nature and not outside it and above it.

The Hindu concept of Brahman, the Supreme Soul, suggests that all animate and inanimate and all born and yet to be born are part of Brahman. Therefore an imbalance in a particular part will affect all other parts. The Supreme Being then finds out a method to transform that defective part. Since Brahman is present in all, it is easy to transform. And we humans might term such a transformation as the End or Death or total annihilation. For the Supreme Soul, it is a small repair work carried out by a minute virus.

Mother Nature is not dependent on Human Beings but Human Beings are. Ancient Seers knew it and therefore they worshiped Nature. Modern Humans termed it as animism and replaced it with more refined worships. And the result of such a refined worship …

‘In our arrogance and ignorance we have destroyed the environment of this planet. We have polluted the oceans, we have made the air unbreathable, we have desecrated nature and decimated wildlife. But the Vedantic seers knew that man was not something apart from nature, and, therefore, they constantly exhort us that, while we work for own salvation, we must also work for the welfare of all beings.’ Karan Singh

Only a people’s movement can save the earth from destruction. We are armed with wise teachings of our saints. Now what we need is its implementation.

Courtesy: Quotes from Vedas as found in the articles of Dr. S Kannan and Dr. Karan Singh

Understanding Hinduism

"A Journey of Thousand Miles begins with a Single Step"

I came across this interesting post which gives a best overview on Hinduism. Many people find it difficult to understand Hinduism because of the numerous deities, scriptures and schools of thought. The difficulty is primarily due to the popular concept of God – that there is a God sitting somewhere up in the heavens and controlling the happenings on earth. In fact majority of Hindus too believe in a ‘God sitting above’ but the sole difference that a Hindu can choose a personal God or Gods from the numerous deities in the Hindu pantheon who are all the representative of the Supreme Being – Brahman.

Hinduism, the real name Sanatana Dharma, should be understood step by step. The confusion arises when people directly jumps into the various schools of thought and scriptures or by forming an opinion by standing in the outskirts.

  • First step, every Hindu begins by praying to a personal god or gods or goddess or goddesses. There is a goddess for learning, there is a god of wealth etc etc. Each individual’s personal god is a symbol of his/her highest ideals.

The whole confusion exists in this level. The numerous gods and goddesses exist in this step. The various schools of thoughts, numerous rituals, scriptures, the caste system, mythology, incarnations, festivals, prayers, debates, astrology, shlokas exist in this level. Most people in this level are fortune seekers – who want to lead a good life on the earth with the help of God. So they propitiate a personal god, they bribe the god and so on. The three important sects in Hindu religion – the Vaishnava (Vishnu), Shaivism (Shiva) and Shakti (Mother Goddess) is also found in this level.

Even majority of Hindus do not realize the concept of Brahman in this level. The personal god becomes the sole refuge for many. But the scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads constantly remind people to think beyond and to find answers to questions like Who am I? or Why do I suffer? Very few find time to find answers or even dare to enter the next domain.

  • The next level begins with contemplation. Some people reach at this level by questioning the very existence of God. Others by trying to find answers to questions like Who am I?

In this level the person realizes that I and God are one and therefore he studies more and more about Brahman. In this level he reads the scriptures, looks out for a Guru, and follows the teachings of ancient seers and modern day gurus. Most seekers in this level are students – they read and try to find answers. A person in this level will frequently go back to the previous level. Because it is difficult to understand Brahman or that there is only one reality and God is not going to help him in finding wealth.

  • There are few souls who will get into the next level. They realize that there is only Brahman – I and Body will drop.

They will become silent or sing praises of the numerous gods or concentrate on a single personal God. Reaching this level is very difficult. But very few return back from this level. They like solitude life or become wandering monks. They find the true meaning of ‘Thou Art That’ or everything is Brahman. There is no death or birth but mere transformation. But even in this level to a small degree the Brahman remains outside.

  • The next level is the highest level.

Nothing to write, nothing to talk because there is only ONE.

Please note that graphs and thoughts are my personal opinion and a reflection of what I have learned so far. The graphs contains more information if you can contemplate.

 

Courtesy : http://www.hindu-blog.com/2008/05/understanding-hinduism-hindu-religion.html