Friday February 28, 2020

Understanding Nature through Vedas: How seers could realize the principle behind shifting weather phenomenon

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By Gaurav Sharma

The word Veda means knowledge. Knowledge not just of the self, but also of the surroundings and the relation of the self (atma) with the surrounding environment (paryavarana).

Nature forms an important connecting link with life. In fact, nature is life. The glory of sun-rise and sunset, the mellow of virgin nature, the beauty of landscapes, silent meditation in the forest, worship of mountains and rivers find pure poetic expression in the Vedic literature.

Still, the environment has been viewed differently by different civilizations.  While the modern age defines the environment as the relationship of and among the living creatures, earth, air and water (The Environment Protection Act, 1986), the Vedic worldview is far more comprehensive and insightful as it recognizes the Universe as consisting of five basic elements namely earth, fire, air, water and ether.

The scorching brightness of the sun, the inundation by the rain, the thunderous roar of lightning, the bulging red flame of fire, the immense whirling of the wind and the tremulous shaking of the earth are viewed as forces beyond man’s power and thus ascribed as Dhevi or divine.

Each fundamental element of nature assumes the character of a Devata or divinity. The Sun or Surya is regarded as the soul of everything moving and non-moving. The hymns in Atharva Veda assert water or Apah as it possesses healing powers which dissipate diseases. The reverence for water and other elements act as a deterrent against pollution.

The earth is also offered great prayers in the Vedas. It is called as Vishwambara–as the representative of the universe. Another name for earth is Prithvi, the power of which is invoked in various hymns of the Vedas for realizing the underlying truth of the Cosmos: ‘O Prithvi! thy centre, thy navel, all forces that have issued from thy body- Set us amid those forces; breathe upon us.’

The Vedic seers also understood the importance of Vayu or air for life.  Rig Veda mentions, ‘O Air! You are our father, the protector. Let wind blow in the form of medicine and bring me welfare and happiness.’ Therefore, pure and unpolluted air is considered to be essential for the well being of the individual and the society by the Vedas.

Warnings and admonition against pollution of Akasha or ether also find substantial mention in the Vedic scriptures. The Yajur Veda states, ‘Do not destroy anything of the sky and do not pollute the sky. Do not destroy anything of Antariksha.’

The Mantra: Om Shanti, Om Shanti, Om Shanti is not just about bringing peace within ourselves, because peace is understood to exist only in concordance with the well being of the Universe around the individual.

The so called ‘ideal’ aim of living up to a hundred years could be visualized not as a mere thought, but a lived experience only because the ancient Indians could recognize the importance of the environment, and, act on those lines.

In the Rig Veda, it is said that the universe is pervaded by a sense of Cosmic order or Rita.  Therefore, the ancient Rishis or seers could realize the principle behind the shifting and changing phenomenon of nature.

On the other hand, our current perception of environment is something of an ‘other individual’–distinct and separate from our existence. And hence, it is not a great surprise that the indiscriminate usage of nature goes in accordance with such a distorted and disfigured visualization.

It is time we take-off the mask of separateness and realize our oneness with nature.

Next Story

Children Who Feel Connected To Nature Are More Likely To Be Happier, Reveals Study

For the findings, the research team recruited 296 children between the ages of 9 and 12 from a northwestern Mexican city

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The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, showed that connectedness to nature makes children happier due to their tendency to perform sustainable and pro-ecological behaviours. Pixabay

Dear parents, please take note. Researchers have found that children who feel connected to nature are also more likely to be happier.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, showed that connectedness to nature makes children happier due to their tendency to perform sustainable and pro-ecological behaviours.

“Parents and teachers should promote children to have more significant contact or exposure to nature, because our results indicate that exposure to nature is related to the connection with it, and in turn, with sustainable behaviours and happiness,” said study researcher Laura Berrera-Hernandez from Sonora Institute of Technology in Mexico.

The researchers stated that a disconnection to nature, termed ‘nature deficit disorder’, may contribute to the destruction of the planet, as the lack of a bond with the natural world is unlikely to result in desire to protect it.

For the findings, the research team recruited 296 children between the ages of 9 and 12 from a northwestern Mexican city.

All the participants were given a self-administered scale completed in school to measure their connectedness to nature, sustainable behaviours (pro-ecological behaviour, frugality, altruism, and equity) and happiness.

This included measuring their agreement with statements about their connectedness to nature, such as ‘Humans are part of the natural world’ and statements about their sustainable behaviours, such as ‘I separate empty bottles to recycle’.

The researchers found that in children, feeling connected to nature had positive associations for sustainability practices and behaviours, and also led to children reporting higher levels of perceived happiness.

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Researchers have found that children who feel connected to nature are also more likely to be happier. Pixabay

This suggests that children who perceive themselves to be more connected to nature tend to perform more sustainable behaviours and therefore also have greater levels of happiness.

Previous research on adults had suggested a relationship between connectedness to nature and the development of pro-environmental behaviours, and the happiness derived from these.

ALSO READ: “I Feel Blessed To Be an Actor At a Time Where I can Root For Social Causes on Screen”, Says Actor Ayushmann Khurrana

Despite the study’s limitations of only testing children from the same city, the results provided insight into the power of positive psychology of sustainability in children. (IANS)