In contrast to some attitudes toward nature as an “It” that is separate from humans, Hindus see the surrounding world as a “Thou” of which they are an interdependent part. Humans and their society are imbedded in nature and dependent upon cosmic forces. Individual human life is experienced as a microcosm of the universe. Human life is in continuity with the cosmos. Hindu religion has a strong ethical direction aimed at keeping this relational continuity in balance. This approach has much in common with traditional Chinese and Aboriginal Australian views and practices. For the Hindu the universe is God’s body, of which we humans, along with everything else in nature, are but a part. The essence of earth, air, water, the tree, cow, you and me is the same divine spirit manifesting in different forms. Therefore it is natural that the ethic of radical non-violence (ahimsā) to all forms of human, animal and plant life should have originated in India. To harm another (person, animal or plant) is to harm God’s cosmic body of which one is a part. It is tantamount to harming oneself which one would not want to do on the grounds of logic, self-interest or, at the highest level, respect for the divine.
- World Wildlife Fund
- Previous Life
- Ecology Movement
- Deep Ecology
- Hindu Religion
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Coward, H. (2003). Hindu Views of Nature and the Environment. In: Selin, H. (eds) Nature Across Cultures. Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science, vol 4. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-0149-5_21
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