Hinduism contains perhaps the most ancient religious scripture, known to the world as the sruti (that which is heard – the Vedic literature which was originally passed down orally) and the smriti (that which is remembered –includes the poems of Ramayana and Mahabharata and the Puranas). This rich source of literature on human relationships with the environment has helped guide its followers to live in perfect harmony with nature for thousands of years. Hindus worship the sun, the stars, the rivers, the trees and the animals- nature in all its manifestations and glories. The majority of Hindus are vegetarians, due to their belief in the sanctity of all life and commitment to Ahimsa (Patanjali Yoga Sutras), that is non-violence.
The following is the message of living in harmony with Mother Nature from the Holy Scriptures of Hinduism:
Live in complete harmony with Nature,
Experience the grace of God in the splendour of the universe.
Be blessed by God’s reassuring love,
The sweet dawn will sweeten your soul,
The dazzling mid-day will set your hearts aflutter,
And the serene music of your soul will guide you towards peace and prosperity.
And when the day’s task is over, you will sleep in the lap of Mother Nature,
All the deities will be favourable to you.
Mother Nature, Yajur Veda (34.37)
By Vijai Singhal
In India, a story of Lord Krishna and the evil serpent has helped develop river environment schemes (and give local people a renewed sense of responsibility for that environment) in ways that statistics could not begin to do. The ancient legend tells that once upon a time, an evil serpent lived in the sacred Yamuna River that flows across the centre of India and into the Ganges. The serpent's foul breath blasted the crops growing along the river and its polluting body fouled the water, injuring all life. The people started to weep and the creatures of the river started to cry out, and eventually their distress reached the ears of the Lord Krishna. He sped to the river and-after a dramatic three-day battle-killed the serpent and freed the waters and the people from its evil influence. In the 1990s it became evident that the Yamuna was reaching dangerous levels of pollution. Hindu communities were able to draw upon this legend and use it to awaken local awareness of the problem. They stated that the pollution was the return of the evil serpent in a new and uglier form. Today, they said, Krishna needs human beings to be his hands in the battle against the serpent-and it is humans who must work together to eliminate pollution in the sacred river. Once again, it is the specific Krishna nature of the story and the insight into tackling this very real environmental issue that has made this