© 2015

Nature in Indian Philosophy and Cultural Traditions


Table of contents

About this book


Working within a framework of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics, this book describes and postulates alternative understandings of nature in Indian traditions of thought, particularly philosophy. The interest in alternative conceptualizations of nature has gained significance after many thinkers pointed out that attitudes to the environment are determined to a large extent by our presuppositions of nature. This book is particularly timely from that perspective.

It begins with a brief description of the concept of nature and a history of the idea of nature in Western thought. This provides readers with a context to the issues around the concept of nature in environmental philosophy, setting a foundation for further discussion about alternate conceptualizations of nature and their significance. In particular, the work covers a wide array of textual and non-textual sources to link and understand nature from classical Indian philosophical perspectives as well as popular understandings in Indian literary texts and cultural practices. Popular issues in environmental philosophy are discussed in detail, such as: What is ‘nature’ in Indian philosophy? How do people perceive nature through landscape and mythological and cultural narratives? In what ways is nature sacred in India?

To make the discussion relevant to contemporary readers, the book includes a section on the ecological and ethical implications of some philosophical concepts and critical perspectives on alternate conceptualizations of nature.


Anthropocentric view of nature Conceptualizations of nature as gendered Ecological understandings of nature in Samkhya Equivalents of the term ‘nature’ in Indian thought History of the idea of nature in western traditions Human body typology and geography Human-nature interrelationships in Sanskrit literature Ideas of wilderness and settlements in the Indian context Indian thought on moral action and conservation Moral relationship between landscape and people Nature as constituted by five elements Nature gods in the Vedic tradition Nature in Buddhist and Jain philosophy Nature in Indian literature Nature in performance traditions New paradigms of understanding nature Oneness of nature and human beings in Buddhism Representation of nature and man in the Vedic period Sacred landscapes in Indian thought Topocentric views of nature Worldviews on nature Worship, care and ecological ethics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal UniversityManipalIndia

About the authors

Dr Meera Baindur currently is Faculty at Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal University. She has a doctoral degree from Manipal University in the interdisciplinary area of environmental philosophy which she completed through the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. Earlier, she stayed with village communities in the Himalayas for a few years, working directly on environment and sustainability issues. During this time she also pursued traditional studies in Indian philosophy and yoga. Her research interests include environmental philosophy and environmental humanities: conceptualisation of nature in Indian thought, ecological and environmental ethics. Her recent publications include papers related to the idea of place. She has taught and lectured on traditional Indian philosophy, philosophy of religion, Hinduism, mythology and narratives. Her recent work centres on religions and ecological practice, rituals and cultural geography.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Nature in Indian Philosophy and Cultural Traditions
  • Authors Meera Baindur
  • Series Title Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures
  • Series Abbreviated Title Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer India 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, New Delhi
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-81-322-2357-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-81-322-2999-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-81-322-2358-0
  • Series ISSN 2211-1107
  • Series E-ISSN 2211-1115
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 219
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Nature
    Cultural Studies
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