Thursday December 14, 2017

Bhoomi Suktam: Understanding the tender maternal nature of planet Earth

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By Nithin Sridhar

The purpose of celebrating World Environment Day is to highlight the importance of preserving Earth. On this occasion, let us look into what one of the oldest Hindu scriptures, the Atharva-Veda has to say about environment and planet earth.

BhoomiSuktam or Hymn to Mother Earth is one of the most beautiful hymns that describes the beauty of Mother Earth and imparts lessons regarding the attitude a person must cultivate towards the environment.

It has 63 verses and occurs in Atharva Veda (12.1). The very first verse opens with a bold statement that defines the proper manner in which the Earth and the environment must be understood.

It (Verse 12.1.1) says that the Earth is upheld, is sustained by Truth (Satya), Eternal law/Order/Righteousness (Ritam), Consecration/Initiation (Deeksha), Devotion (Brahma) and Sacrifice (Yajna). That is, the earth that includes both the living beings as well as the surrounding environment are not just held together by gravitational and other physical laws of the Universe.

Earth is not a “jada/non-living” entity. Instead she is the “Queen of what was and what will be”. She is a living mother, a force that is sustained by Truth, Order, Austerity, Devotion and Sacrifice. Hence, it is these attitudes that a human is expected to implement in his life.

This does not mean that the Suktam is denying the physical aspect of the Earth. In fact, the verse (12.1.26), clearly says that rocks, stones and dust constitute the Earth. Hence, the aim of the Suktam is to highlight the fact that physical aspect is only the outermost layer of the ‘Reality’. And in order to understand Earth in a deeper, spiritual and in a meaningful way one must practice the qualities of Truth etc.

The Suktam (in verse 12.1.12) calls “Earth as the mother and humans as her sons”. Hence, as offsprings of Mother Earth, it becomes a duty of humans to not only help her sustain herself, but also to protect and enrich her. Therefore, it becomes an obligation on part of humans to practice truth, righteousness, and austerity in their day to day life.

They should develop the attitude of devotion and sacrifice regarding every object, every entity present in the surrounding environment. It is only such a practice which can sustain and enrich mother Earth. A practice of truth results in a strict adherence to righteousness. A righteous person will always be upright without caving into the selfish desires. Such a person will never commit those actions that can harm other entities that are present in the environment because he realizes that Himsa or injury is adharma or against the cosmic law.

The lifestyle of Ahimsa(non-violence) itself becomes an austerity that is driven by devotion and a sense of sacrifice. If, every person cultivates these attitudes towards the surroundings, it would automatically result in the protection, preservation and enrichment of environment.

The Suktam (Verse 12.1.4-6) further describes Mother Earth as the “Mistress of four quarters in whom food and cornfields have come to be, who bears in many forms the breathing and moving life; in which men of old have performed many tasks, where the gods have defeated demons, which is the home of cattle, horses and birds; which is all sustaining, treasure bearing, firm staying place, gold breasted home of all creatures, who supports the Universal Fire (Virat/Vaishwanara)”.

These verses further bring out the understanding of Earth as a nourishing, all sustaining Mother. All objects both living and non-living, the humans, animals, and the plants, depend upon the earth for their life. They derive their very existence from Earth and at death they merge back into it. It is Earth again which makes it possible for various plants and animals to be exposed to Sun-rays and hence be able to sustain and grow.

This is clearly spoken in the verse (12.1.15), wherein Mother Earth is described as one who supports both bipeds and quadrupeds, because of whom, the rising Sun spreads its undying rays on mortals. The nourishing aspect of the Earth is further highlighted in verses (12.1.29-30), wherein the Earth is referred to as “Purifier” using whose pure water a person purifies himself.

Mother Earth is further described as a place where all human actions are carried out. She is the basis, the foundation that holds together all actions. It is on her foot, that the altars are built and sacrifices are carried out (Verse 12.1.13). It is on her the riks and samans are chanted (Verse 12.1.38). The men sing and dance and the people beat their drums, rise the war cries and battle with each other (Verse 12.1.41). It is on her, the people grow various food grains (Verse 12.1.42), where people speaking different languages, practising different customs, all exist together (Verse 12.1.45).

But, the Bhoomi Suktam is concerned about those human actions that may turn to be harmful to nature. Verse 12.1.35 says, “What, O earth, I dig out of thee, quickly shall that grow again: may I not, O pure one, injure thy vitals or thy heart”.  The verse is clearly speaking about the misuse of natural resources and its harmful effect on the environment. It is advising humans to renounce greed and utilize the resources given by the Mother Earth in a useful way without hurting the nature in the process. The current activities such as unregulated and harmful mining and other such activities are clearly against these tenets expressed in the Suktam.

Towards the end, in Verse 12.1.48, Mother Earth is described as supporting both the fools and the wise, the good and the bad. The verse goes to highlight the motherly love and compassion of Mother Earth. She, in her magnanimity and compassion has given abode to all people, all objects. She does not discriminate between the fool and the wise or between the good or the bad. She supports everyone, including those who harm her and the environment in a dangerous way.

Such, is the compassion and love of Mother Earth for her children.

Hence, people should realize her supreme love and sacrifice, and begin to live their lives in such a way that the environment is not harmed in any manner.

The BhoomiSuktam (Verse 12.1.63) ends with a prayer asking the Mother Earth to stabilize life and fill it with grace and splendor.

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Peace and Non-Violence: Inculcation of Jain Philosophies in the Youth for a Better Tomorrow

Jainism and its philosophies teach us the significance of non-violence and sacrifice

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Jainism , peace , non- violence
Jain Teerthankar (Representational Image), Wikimedia
  • Jain philosophies teach us the importance of non-violence
  •  Governor Vajubhai R. Vala in his speech has conveyed the importance of propagating Jain philosophies in the younger generation
  • He also joined Garba dancers who were dancing to the rhythm of the folk music

New Delhi, July 8, 2017: Vajubhai R. Vala, the governor, said that Jainism taught us what the significance of non-violence and sacrifice non-violence is and how it helped to improve India’s rich heritage while talking on Friday at the installation ceremony of Chaturmasa Mangala Kalash at Jain Mutt at Shravanabelagola in Channarayapatra taluk.

The governor gave an instance of Mahatma Gandhi and said that he inculcated non-violence in all his struggle movements as he was highly influenced and impressed by the philosophies of Jainism. He said that there is a great need to incorporate such values belonging to Jainism in today’s younger generation as it will help us continue the culture of non-violence (ahimsa) and truth in India. Ahimsa indicates the absence of physical violence along with the absence of desire to get into any kind of violence. It will help maintain peace in the world.

ALSO READ: The Concept of Divinity in Jainism: Where was God before the creation of the Universe?

He added that one of the best art works, the Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola symbolizes the values portrayed by Jainism. The big event of Mahamastakabhisheka which will be organised next year has been gathering support from the rulers since past 1,000 years and the government at present.

According to The Hindu report, the governor also joined the Garba dancers performing to folk tunes as he comes from Gujrat where this dance form was originated. This gesture of the governor earned appreciations from Jain Mutt seer Charukeerti Bhattaraka Swami among others.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter: HKaur1025

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Hottest in History: India faced the Warmest Winter this year due to Global Warming, says Study

Annual mean temperature in India has rapidly increased since 1995. At this rate of increase, it will breach the 1.5 degrees mark within the next two decades

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Global Warming has led to rapid rise in temperature in India. VOA
  • This year’s winter was warmest in India with 2.95 degrees above the average temperature
  • The report was published by CSE on World Environment Day
  • It is only during the monsoon months that the temperature increase is about one degree

India, June 6, 2017: The winter in January-February this year in India was the hottest in history, with 2.95 degrees Celsius more than the baseline, said a CSE study on Monday.

Revealing its findings on World Environment Day, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) underlined the crisis of global warming in the context of India.

The analysis, based on temperature trends from 1901 till recent years, finds that India has been getting warmer continuously, consistently and rapidly.

“The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is increasing with rising temperature. For example, in winter of 2017, when the average temperature was 2.95 degree Celsius higher than the 1901-30 baseline, the worst drought in a century happened in southern India, in which Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala were worst-hit, with 330 million coming in the grip of drought,” the CSE study said.

It pointed out that 13 of the 15 warmest years were in the past 15 years (2002-16) and the last decade (2001-10 and 2007-16) were the warmest on record. It said the annual mean temperature in India had risen by about 1.2 degrees since the beginning of the 20th century.

“Annual mean temperature in India has rapidly increased since 1995. At this rate of increase, it will breach the 1.5 degrees mark within the next two decades.”

Efforts to restrict the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius was the aspirational target set under the Paris Agreement.

“With the US exiting the Paris Agreement, controlling emissions and temperature is now a tougher task for the world. We appeal to the global community to come together and take strong actions,” said Sunita Narain, the CSE Director General.

The study asserted that in three out of four seasons (or nine months in a year), temperature in India had already increased by more than 1.5 degree Celsius since the beginning of the 20th century.

It is only during the monsoon months that the temperature increase is about one degree.

The CSE said that while 2016 was the second warmest year in India, the summers of 2010, when the average temperature was 2.05 degrees higher than the baseline, was the highest in recorded history.

“These conditions claimed more than 300 lives. In addition, four cyclonic storms hit India that year (2010).

“India is warming and warming rapidly. The implications of this fundamental fact are serious for economic, social and ecological well-being of the country. We are experiencing frequent extreme weather events, and our weather is becoming unpredictable,” said Chandra Bhushan, the CSE Deputy Director General. (IANS)

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World Environment Day on June 5: Here is what you can do to honor this ‘Global Festival’

Did you know 5th June is the World Environment Day? Read more to find out about this day.

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Group of people planting trees. VOA
  • Every year on the 5th June the world celebrates environment day 
  • People spread awareness on how to improve the environment and its importance

June 04, 2017: June 05 will be observed as World Environment day with the basic idea is to stress the importance of conserving the environment, a thought that we sometimes tend to forget. Its origins can be traced back to environmentalists who voiced that the effort to protect the environment is collective and global in nature.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

The world environment day is an initiative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which demands environmental protection action worldwide. The day is celebrated not just for awareness but also for the celebration of the years of hard work and efforts.

The first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973. Since then, it has been celebrated in the different parts of the world every year with different themes. Today, over 100 countries celebrate the festival.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Canada will be hosting the 2017 World Environment Day. [bctt tweet=”The theme set for this year is ‘Connecting People to Nature'” username=” NewsGramdotcom”]The theme demands from us stepping out and interacting with the open environment around us. It is to cherish the relationship between man and environment.

This year’s theme ‘getting in touch with nature’. VOA

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Let us look at 10 of the SIMPLEST ways you can contribute to this global effort:

  • We consume over 80 trillion aluminium cans every year. Recycling just one can save you enough energy to run the television for three hours. Next time you’re drinking a can of coke, make sure you put in the recycle bin.
  • Save Water! Out of the world’s total water supply, just 1% is usable. Rest 97% are oceans and frozen water.
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage are thrown into the ocean, which kills more than 1,000,000 sea creatures every year. Ban plastic bags completely.

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  • Drop the idea of using your car and cycle the short distances. It makes more difference than you think.
  • Reduce your carbon footprint. Turn off unnecessary lights and switches.
  • The famous old suggestion – ‘Plant a Tree’. If that is too much, just water some plants in the park near you. Add to the growth of life.
  • Promote renewable sources of energy.

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  • Do not waste food. World Environment Day is closely associated with Sustainable Development. Resources must be optimally used.
  • Make sure that you voice your interest publicly in protecting the environment. It could influence others including the local politicians to act.
  • Wear Green and go for a walk outside.

[bctt tweet=”The environment is an asset we must strive to protect it. ” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]- By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394