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Friday, July 3, 2009

I Think So ...

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Trees, animals, and even non-living components of nature have been some important elements of the framework of the Indian culture and traditions since the emergence of the human civilization. When man started occupying areas on this planet and settled on certain place, he felt that a number of forces were applied on him and on his minor belongings, from outside that often challenged his survival and development. This feeling was a form of awareness in him that he was only a minor part of the nature that has created him and his fellow beings.

Many times the man saw the roof of his house being blown away by the strong wind, and earthen walls of his house being dissolved and washed away in heavy rains. He realized that forces of nature were stronger enough and that he could not check or suppress them. Floods of rivers washed away his fields and he saw his crops being decomposed gradually in the standing water that did not go down to the river for many days. Gradually, the man was forced to realize the powers of or the energies in natural actions though he developed some defenses for his protection up to some extent.

The fear that was generated in man got combined with the survival instinct in him and started shaping his nature and behavior. Now he gradually became humble towards stronger forces but cruel towards many types of plants and animals. Humbleness and cruelty developed side by side in man and these two pushed him to worship greater forces and to kill the weaker ones. He started worshiping wind, rivers, rains, storms, some animals and trees on one hand, and killing weaker animals including birds, Pisces, insects, and some reptiles, and also – cutting and burning vegetation for self interests, on the other.

Forces of nature acting against man were so numerous that at times it seemed difficult to worship each one of them separately. Since, it was experienced that a number of forces worked collectively, or the same God controlled a number of natural phenomena, the number of Gods could be kept within some limit. Since rivers, storms and rains all were related to water and wind. Thus, Varun Dev for water and Pawan Dev for the wind were started to be worshipped. Many other mythologies except the Hindu mythology also accepted it and prayed or worshiped these forces in their own ways and in their own languages without copying the other. So many animals and plants too, occupied their places in religious processes thus developed by man due to some or the other reasons but all through this process of fear and defense. Regards to some animals started to be given due to their usefulness also. Cow comes first in this category. Some animals started to be regarded as vahanas of Gods and Godesses and hence deserved respect. Thus traditions, faiths, cultures and religions that took shape during different phases of development of human beings became important and powerful tools of conservation. And this is sufficient reason to have respect for traditions, faiths, religions, cultures etc. and to adopt and honour the values in these.

Since a number of animals and plants have been declared sacred in Hindu mythology, Hindus are surely expected to protect those animals and plants. On the other hand, it is a human value to respect all human beings and to respect their ways of prayers or worship. We have examples of a number of plants and animals being regarded sacred by many different religions. A number of persons don’t care for others, their religions, traditions, and beliefs. And this is the reason why natural resources are threatened here and there, and why humans are standing divided in different corners of the world.

As we must not damage the place of worship of one section, we must also not try to damage traditions, faiths or beliefs of that section. Going against this human religion is simply criminal. It we imagine such a world in which all the religions, traditions, faiths etc are respected equally, then the whole environment will be conserved automatically. In the modern scientific world we don’t have fear of most of the forces as we have developed technologies. We have planned for management of disasters, and have developed the early warning systems that need to be strengthened further. But, we must have the fear of the consequences of damaging values, disregarding religions, and breaking our different traditions. All of these together go to protect our environment, to save the world, and to save the human race on this planet.

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