Human beings are never alone as a species in the Universe. They are also inter-connected with the Earth, Sun, Moon and other planets orbiting in their appointed domains. In the ultimate reality, nothing remains unconnected in the cosmos. Aligning one’s consciousness in line with the principles of natural law, he can march towards perfection and maximise his efficiency as well as effectiveness. Maintenance of natural order and pristine ecological balance is the sine qua non for ensuring human well-being.
The Vedas specify four types of living beings, namely, andaja (born of eggs), jivaja (born of womb), svedaja (born of moisture) and udbhija (born of earth) and declare that these are impelled by Prajnanam (consciousness) .
The Vedas deal exhaustively with the splendors of the cosmos in a wholesome manner. They unravel the mysteries of the vast and unexplored forests.
The Vedas present picturesque, spectacular and diversified range of fauna and flora. They urge the human beings to protect, preserve, nurture and nourish the environment and natural habitation in its pristine glorious form.
1.1 Environment management
The Vedas attach great importance to environmental protection and purity. They insist on safeguarding the habitation, proper afforestation and non-pollution.
For the welfare of all the humans and other beings, the Vedas seek a sweet and pleasant environment consisting of sweet breeze, sweet flowing rivers, sweet and beneficial herbs, sweet day and night, sweetness of earth particles, sweet fruit bearing trees, sweet and beneficial Sun and sweet bearing cows.
The Vedas insist that one shall protect the habitation.
One should protect the habitation.
There should be a fair and spacious habitation.
Waters as friends of man give full protection to man's progenies.
The Vedas stress the need for protection and development of forests. Human beings have to safeguard the trees. The Vedas assert that the plants and trees are verily the treasures for generations.
1.1.2a Vedic quotes on afforestation
1. One shall not destroy the trees.
2. One shall delight in plants and waters.
3. Plants are mothers and deities.
4. Trees are homes and mansions.
5. Gods delight themselves in plants and waters.
6. Let plants be friendly to us.
7. Speech is the voice of the trees, the voice that is heard in the drum, the lute and the flute.
8. Trees are connected with Visnu.
9. Plants and waters are treasures for generations.
The Vedas give the clarion call for non-pollution of the environment. They condemn in unequivocal terms those who pollute and defile the environment. Waters are invoked to be friendly to humanity.
1.1.3a Vedic quotes on Water
1. This Universe was only water in the beginning.
2. Waters and herbs should have no poison.
3. Waters are to be freed from defilement.
4. Waters cleanse humanity from the evil of pollution committed by it.
5. Waters have satisfying savour of the honey-mixed with splendor.
6. Waters bear off all defilements and cleanse people.
7. Waters and plants shall be friendly to people.
Vedas contain reference to a wide variety of animals and urge humanity to safeguard their well-being. Protection of animal welfare is considered important for proper human welfare. Three-fold divisions of animals are seen in the Vedas in terms of those of the air (vayavya), those of the jungle (aranya) and those of village (gramya).
1.2a Vedic quotes on animals
1. Let the animals of the earth and heaven, wild beasts of the forest and winged birds protect humanity from calamity.
2. So many are animals, bipeds and quadrupeds.
3. Prayers are offered for the welfare of animals and men.
4. As haya (steed) it carries the gods, as arvan (courser) the asuras, as vajin (racer) the gandharvas and as asva (horse) the men.
5. Homage is paid to the serpents on the earth, in the atmosphere in the sky, among the trees and in the wells and waters.
6. Happiness is sought for quadrupeds.
7. All bipeds and quadrupeds shall be free from disease.
8. One shall not find fault with the animals.
9. One shall increase the cattle wealth.
1.3 Plant life
The Vedas call upon the human beings to safeguard and nourish plants and trees. The Vedas mention about plants and trees.
1.3a Vedic quotes on Plant life
The Vedas hail the trees, the roots, the panicles, the corona, the branches, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits.
Let plant and creepers grow upwards.
One shall not damage the roots of the plant.
Herbs have remedial powers.
May fruit-bearing plants ripen.
1.4 Panca bhuta
The Vedas specify the cosmic Panca bhutas ( five elements). These are akasah (space), vayuh (air), Agnih (fire), apah ( water) and Prithivi (earth).
Earth, air, space, water and fire are the five great elements.
The link between the Panca bhutas and men is clearly established by the following Vedic expression.
From space, air.
From air, fire.
From fire, water.
From water, earth .
From earth, the herbs.
From herbs, food.
From food, man.
That which accommodates is space.
Vedic quotes on Space
1. Akasa is the body of the Brahman.
2. This space is honey to all beings and all beings are honey to this space.
The Vedas declare that air is sweet and pleasant . It has healing powers.
Vedic quotes on Air
1. This air is honey to all beings and all beings are honey to this air.
2. May wind blow pleasantly for us .
3. Wind blows healing balm, blows all disease away.
The Vedas eulogise Agni (fire) in the form of an important cosmic force. Fire is considered to be the bestower of wealth. It is only through fire that all the oblations to the deities and forefathers are offered.
Vedic quotes on Fire
1. This fire is honey to all beings and all beings are honey to this fire.
2. Agni is worshipped for increase in wealth and riches.
3. Riches, heroes, food, progeny and longevity are sought from Agni.
4. Agni is worshipped for bliss.
5. Agni slays the foes.
6. Agni purifies one and drives ill-fortune far away.
7. One shall be victorious through the victory of Agni.
8. Agni is the Brahman.
The Vedas declare that all that is seen is water and that they are the nectar conferring happiness to all. With a social objective, they emphasise that the waters are common resources to be used by all. Water is the essence of food.
Vedic quotes on water
1. This water is honey to all beings and all beings are honey to this water.
2. Water is mother.
3. The divine water full of sweetness averts the diseases of men.
4. Waters are the nectar.
5. Waters are propitiated for being friendly.
6. Waters are healing.
7. Waters are verily bliss-conferring.
8. Verily all this is water; All the created beings are waters; The vital breaths are waters; The quadrupeds are waters; Edible crops are waters; Ambrosia is water; The creator is water ; Man is water; Metres are waters; Vedic formulas are waters; Truth is water; All the desires are waters; Three worlds earth, sky and heaven are waters; Plants are waters.
9. Water when drunk gets divided into three parts; The grossest ingredient is urine; The middling is blood; the subtlest is Prana.
The Vedas glorify the earth as one’s mother and advise one not to cause injury to the earth. They proclaim that earth is the bestower of happiness, sustainer and supporter of all forms of life.
Vedic quotes on Earth
1. The Earth is the mother.
2. The Earth makes one sharpened and brilliant
3. The Earth is adorned with variegated things.
4. The Earth is the giver of happiness, the sustainer of life and the supporter of all living beings
5. This earth is honey to all beings and all beings are honey to this earth.
6. One has to sustain the earth and injure not it.