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Today Is Earth Day - April 22 - Hindu Religion And Mother Earth

Annually, April 22 is observed as Earth Day. For Hindus all day is earth day. Take any Hindu scripture and one will find that Nature plays an important role in it. Earth is worshipped as Mother in Hindu religion - she is Bhu Devi.

The earliest teachers of Sanatana Dharma saw Earth as a large family and knew the importance of each animate and inanimate in Nature. The Vedic teachers realized that the Supreme Soul (Brahman) resides in all living and non living being and he coined the great thought – Tatvamasi – Thou Art That and Vasudeva Kutumbakam - the world is a village.

A Hindu worships nature not out of fear but by realizing each living being is a representation of the Supreme Soul or God. Hindus worship and feed cows, ants, rats, bull, snakes…we find divinity in rivers, mountains, trees…Each and every aspect of Nature is Holy for a Hindu.
Waters which come from heaven, or those that wander dug from the earth, or flowing free by nature, bright, purifying, speeding to the ocean, here let those waters, goddesses protect me. Rig Veda 7.49.2
All Vedic yajnas and rituals are aimed at propitiating various elements in nature – a deep understanding that the existence of human race depends on the elements in nature. The very same energy that is in Sun is found in all living and nonliving beings – realizing this Supreme Truth is Moksha or Liberation.

In the tenth chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says
  • Now I will declare to you My Divine glories, immanent, in their prominence; O best of the Kurus, there is no end to the details of My extent.
  • I am the Self, O Gudakesha, seated in the hearts of all beings; I am the Beginning, the Middle and also the End of all beings.
  • Among the trees, I am the holy banyan tree (the Ashwattha tree – Pipal ),
  • Among the cows, I am the wish giving Kama Dhenu
  • And among the water bodies, I am the sea
  • And among the immovable, I am the Himalayas
  • Among the peaks, I am the divine Meru
  • Among the shining objects, I am the Sun God
  • And among the stars, I am the moon
  • Among those who move fast, I am the wind
  • And among the rivers, I am the Ganga
  • And among the seasons, I am the flowering spring
  • Among the animals, I am the lion,
  • And among the birds, I am the eagle.
  • Among the fishes I am the Shark.
  • Among the great elephants, I am Airavata,
  • And I am Vasuki among serpents,
  • And whatsoever is the seed of all beings, that also am I, O Arjuna; there is no being, whether moving, or unmoving, that can exist without Me.
But is an average Hindu protecting Nature or at least not destroying it. Sadly, majority of the Hindus only remembers trees, animals, mountains and other aspects of nature only during festivals and auspicious days. 

Even some of the Hindu festivals which were deeply rooted in Nature have been converted into pollution festivals by crass commercialization.

River Ganga is slowly dying; Ganesh Chaturthi is in news for polluting water bodies; important Hindu temple towns are highly polluted, not a single river associated with Hinduism is pollution free, tigers and numerous other animals that are constantly depicted with Hindu Gods and Goddesses are facing extinction….it is a long list.
Wisdom comes to a man, who meditates, acts and lives according to the true eternal laws of Nature. (Rig Veda)
There is no use in being part of a great culture, if one is not able to follow its basic universal teachings. The basic concept of Hinduism is to see the earth as a whole family – Vasudeva Kutumbakam.

We often find lame excuses to escape from responsibility or play the blame game. There are a lot of things an individual can do.
  • Stop cutting trees.
  • Plant more trees.
  • Stop throwing puja waste materials in rivers.
  • Stop buying unnatural puja materials.
  • Perform pujas and prayers only with natural materials.
  • Do not buy murtis (idols) made of unnatural materials.
  • Do not buy plastic puja decorations.
  • Do not waste water in the name of worship.
  • Do not waste food materials in the name of puja.
  • Say no to plastic puja items
  • Buy less - sharing and recycle your stuff.
  • Make walking, cycling or public transport your top priorities for commute.
Consumerism is the idea that it is good to keep purchasing things. Given that the purchasing power of many people has increased over time, many find themselves buying – everything from processed food and fancy cars to an infinite number of clothes and expensive gadget simply because they can afford it (or because of competitive behavior / peer pressure) rather than because they need it. Because of this, we’re constantly taking more resources than our planet can afford to give us, and in return, we’re offering Earth pollution.

When reading Hindu scriptures we realize that there was period when Nature was without human beings and there are indications in many scriptures that in future too there can be a period without Human Beings – the Supreme Soul appears to annihilate that which is straying from the path of Dharma. By destroying Nature and behaving as if we are above Nature we are straying from the path of Dharma and behaving like the demons in the holy books and inviting the wrath of the Supreme Being.
O man! May there be conformity in your lifestyle and may there be equal share of food and drink for all in the bounty of Mother Nature. (Atharva Veda)
Nature will survive even after human beings are gone. Man needs to change, if he needs to survive in Nature or Nature will find ways to eliminate Human Beings.

Stop Throwing Plastic Puja Waste in Rivers

All natural puja offerings and remains of funeral are to be thrown in running water not in polluted stagnant water.

Dropping of puja items in a river is a very old tradition when all the puja items used in a Hindu puja were made of natural materials.

It must be noted that several rituals and practices in Hinduism were started more than 5000 years ago. In ancient days, only natural materials were offered to Hindu gods and goddesses. Even fifty years ago our elders used to make sure that only natural products were used in pujas. But things have changed now and people only use readymade products and majority of them are unnatural.

Most of the Hindu puja items today contain plastic and numerous other non-degradable materials. They pollute, clog and kill the living beings in the river.

Time For Hindus To Go Back to Tradition

Hindus found the perfect man not in a human being but in Hanuman (monkey god). Ganesha is invoked before any auspicious event (elephant head with vehicle as monkey). All symbols in Hinduism are taken from nature. All gods in Hinduism are associated with nature.

It is clearly mentioned in Puranas and other Hindu scriptures that a cycle of creation comes to an end and all that is here is destroyed when Mother Earth complains to Vishnu about the Adharma (evil) on earth.

We have done more damage to earth than all the demons in scriptures have done.

It is time we change otherwise Mother Earth will take the form of all consuming Maha Kali - she will devour everything.

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