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Protection of Environment and Eco-System Based on Hinduism in Ancient India – Valuable Lessons from Hindu Ancestors


Ecological balance is deeply embedded in Hinduism and this was followed in Ancient India. Hindu sages and seers showed deep awareness of the need to maintain ecological balance in the interest of humanity. They saw the earth as a complete organism. Over exploitation of natural resources was completely forbidden in ancient Hindu world.

Daily life in Hinduism in the ancient times was governed by nature’s cycle.

Houses and buildings were built after taking into account of the direction of the wind and the sun in accordance with Vastu Shastra. Each region had a particular kind of architecture that suited to the region’s climate.

Groves, gardens and forests were developed to preserve the flora and fauna and almost every village had a big pond, groove and forest.

Rituals, fasting, festivals, regulations, duties and responsibilities of people were intended to prevent degradation of the environment.  

All Hindu scriptures starting from Vedas to Puranas teaches that all forms of life are closely interlinked, interrelated and interdependent, and that any disturbance in one will create and imbalance in the others.

In Vedas (Upanishads), galaxies, planets, stars, atmosphere, oceans, rivers, forests, clouds, mountains, trees, grass, creepers, animals, birds, reptiles, insects and human beings, all constitute a vital eco-system in which a wise man sees the sanctity of all creation.
Peace for heaven, peace for sky, peace for earth, peace for the vegetable kingdom, peace of herbs, peace for water, peace for all (Yajur Veda, 36.17).
..unity of spirit in all living organisms and taught mankind to have compassion towards all living creatures as one family and see the earth as the mother (Atharva Veda 12.1.12)
Whatever we dig and take from Mother Earth should be replenished soon. (Atharva Veda 12.1.35)
The saints of Yajur Veda declared that clouds are formed by vegetation. This profound statement shows their understanding of the dynamic process of the formation of vapors by transpiration in the plants.

Veneration of rivers, trees, mountains and animals by Hindus is respecting the oneness of all life forms.

The nature’s power to heal was clearly understood by Hindus and this knowledge is imparted in the Ayurveda.

Hindus from an ancient time had intimate knowledge of herbs, plants and trees in relation to human life and they realized the need to protect ecosystems. This is the reason why some plants are never cut. Even today, a large section of Hindus does not do any kind of cutting of trees or carpentry on Amavasya day.


Ayurveda believes that life is in a constant state of flux. When an organism fails to be in harmony with the overwhelming forces of the environment, the result is diseased body or mind.

Charaka (4th century BC) and Shusruta (6th Century BC) show intimate knowledge of the purity of water and airt and its importance to human life.

Kautaliya (4th century BC), the author of Arthashastra, regarded the protection of environment as an essential part of state administration.

It is evident that the ancient sages of Hinduism had a clear insight into almost all aspects of the environment that are conducive to health and happiness of all life forms.

They considered places where people are corrupt and immoral as unwholesome to human health and prosperity.

They speak about the pollution resulting from living in a place that is overcrowded, where there is too much noise or too much unrighteousness, etc.

BibliographyEncyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IV – page 5 – 9