From our friends at Govardhan Eco-Village
‘Environmentalism’ is the new religion today. Seeing through the mirage of the so-called development, many are realizing the detrimental effects of industrialization. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat nourish us a little, if not sap away our wellness. Our co-inhabitants on this planet are becoming extinct day by day, reducing their presence to mere museums and encyclopedias. Seeing this rapid degradation of planet earth, Environmentalism is gaining fast acceptance, especially among the intellectual sections of the society. But what does Environmentalism profess?
Environmentalism is an ideology and a social movement aimed at environmental conservation and improvement by establishing a balance in our actions. It advocates changes in national policies, industrial practices, public behaviors and individual lifestyles to bring about this harmony between the humans and the earth. In short environmentalism expounds a way of living, an eco-culture based on certain higher values. Such an ideology is not something new, for it was integral to the Indian spiritual culture.
Often times we attribute religion or spirituality to have its basis only in the metaphysical. Something dealing with in the physical realm may not seem to be connected to the domain of spirituality. One might hence wonder about the link between environmentalism and spirituality. But in actuality the traditional Indian ideology holds environmentalism to be as sacred a concept as ‘yoga.’ The very meaning of the word yoga is ‘to connect’ and the metaphysical connotation is to connect the individual self with the supreme divine.
The sacred Indian texts, the Vedas, interpret the entire cosmos to be the personal energy of the Supreme Being and hence is as sacred as the Supreme Being. While simultaneously decrying the pantheistic viewpoint of labeling everything in nature to be God, the Vedas present a culture of respecting nature to be divine and godly. The Vedas explain that the planet earth is a divine property of God and whatever resources we get from this planet have to be gratefully accepted and utilized back in the service of God. Thus by establishing this mood of servitude and respect the Vedic lifestyle indirectly propounded environmentalism.
The culture of caring for the planet is an integral aspect of the Vedic culture. Seeing the divine connection between the Nature and God will naturally make our every action eco-friendly. The Vedic lifestyle does not condemn development, but encourages sustainable development brought about by acting in a responsible way. Thus our every interaction with nature is one of knowledge of the divine connection among humans, nature and God. This is the essence of the yoga of environmentalism.