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Term paper topics: Environmental science in Hinduism
Hinduism is a holistic religion that focuses not merely on worship, but also seeks to explain the most optimal political, social and economic life as well as the most appropriate human attitude towards natural world or the environment. Due to the fact that this religion is among the oldest doctrines, it contains the components of paganism that asserted strong connection between human-being and the environment and included humanity into the natural world. The Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas and Smriti comprise the information about the importance of maintaining and preserving ecological balance. This ancient wisdom is particularly important nowadays, in the period of ecological crisis, and this paper is designed to explore and explain the basic ideas of human relationship with environment in Hinduism.
1) Ancient Indians viewed the harmony with the natural world as the basic prerequisite for successful psychological and social functioning.
2) The Hindus distinguished a number of sacred places, whose spiritual power was reinforced by rituals, such spots included river banks, confluence of rivers, forests and hills.
3) The foundation of Hindu environmental science is the idea of R'ta, or fundamental order, which is to be observed and preserved, as ecological systems are interrelated, so the destruction of certain constituent of the global balance results in the disasters for entire humanity.
4) Hindus observed the non-intervention into the order of nature, since humans are a part of the environment rather than its lords and therefore are not entitled to conduct any destructive actions.
5) Hinduism respects biodiversity and prohibits individuals from killing animals or using them as food and clothing.
Primary issues to discuss.
1) Examine the Vedas, Mahabharata and Ramayana and discuss the views on environment protection, presented in the ancient writings.
2) Explain the principles of yajna (sacrifice), dhana (ability to give) and tapas (self-control or self-punishment) in the context of environment protection.
3) Which views on violence does Mohandas Gandhi express in his writings?
4) Which logical arguments do Hindus use when speaking about the necessity to protect the environment?
5) Discuss the concept of Sanatan Dharma.
6) Is the model of environment-friendly society, suggested by Hinduism, applicable in the present day?
1) Childs, J. Rooted Cosmopolitanism: TheTransnational Character of Indigenous Particularity. Stevenson programme of Global Security Colloquium, University of Santa Cruz, 1992.
2) Feldhaus, A. Connected Places: Region, Pilgrimage and Geographical Imagination in India. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
3) Ghosh, A. "Ecology and Environment". In Nature, Man and the Indian Economy, ed. T.Majumdar. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993, pp. 64-80.
4) Majumdar, R. C. The History and Culture of the Indian People: The Classical Age. Delhi: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1988.
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Environmental science in Hinduism
Eighteenth Century British Literature
Private property in the Enlightenment
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