Indeed, Mother Nature has her way in the hearts of ancient Indians. The following excerpt would describe and explain the bond of humans with nature. It would explore to what extent they are dependent and interdependent on Mother Nature.
The Art Of Dependence
Human life on earth drastically depends on plants and trees, isn’t it? They are the ones that provide us with everything that makes our life feasible. It is because of them that we can live peacefully on earth. Oxygen, food, rainfall, shelter, clothing, medicines, and are just a few examples to state. Hence, the ancient Vedic culture has had deep love, admiration and respect for Mother Nature. They also had a sense of great ecological responsibility within themselves.
Hence, no would doubt the fact that why did the man consider Prithvi or earth as a Devi or goddess. The hymn to the earth, in Bhumi Sukta, is nothing but a beautiful ode to Mother Earth. The hymn contains sixty-three verses. Yes, you heard that right! It reveals the Vedic man’s rapport with, reverence for, and propitiation of the powers latent in the Mother Nature. Now, in the modern-day, you can look back and see how important the ancient Man’s perspective was. We see every day what kind of havoc climatic changes bring about and how important it is to preserve nature.
A Benevolent Mother Nature
Nature or Vanaspati is often regarded as a benevolent mother. And therefore, she has been revered and venerated by followers of Sanatana Dharma. Most of the Vedic hymns are about gods of nature whom the Vedic culture worshipped. The Rishis and Munis knew everything about nature and they are the ones who curated ways to stay in harmony with the elements of nature.
Yagnas Acting As Sanitizers
The concept of conducting Yagnas was primarily with the motive of purifying the surrounding atmosphere. The firewood, herbs, plants, dry fruits and ghee, were a part of yagnas. They were such that they had a therapeutic and non-polluting effect when burnt. And they worked as great sanitisers for the environment. Please note that these are scientific facts and not myths. They are based on evidence and nothing but the truth.
Connect With Ancient Times
In the past, every village had a well-planned ecosystem, banyan, neem and other trees that clean the atmosphere. Temple compounds had sthala vriksha. A sthala vriksha is a special tree within the precincts of the temple compound, for performing puja. Similarly, tulsi was an essential part of every household in India in ancient times.
Even today, many families still nurse the tulsi plant in their homes. People believe that divine beings manifest as trees and plants. Also, people worship the peepal tree throughout the year. Whereas the banyan tree or Vata has its day on Savitri Vrata Purnima, in the month of jyaishtha or May–June.
In ancient times, the preservation of vanaspati was part of the Hindu way of thinking. The Hindu thought was always eco-friendly. And it aims at maintaining a seamless balance between man and nature. Earlier, the Vedic man looked upon the natural environment as a world of spiritual reality. The earth and its creatures, including trees, forests, rivers and oceans, rocks and mountains, and the world beyond the stars and the skies all appear to him as powerful and resonating with the Supreme Spirit. Well, he saw in them the same life that was in him.
The Present Day Imbalance in Nature
The ancient people believed that every tree, every plant, big or small, had a spirit. And therefore, felling a tree was a mere act of demerit and shame. The Indian scriptures tell us to plant ten trees on felling just one tree. Yes, you heard that right! Had we followed this age-old practice, the present-day alarming eco-imbalance situation would not have arisen.
Amongst the Gonds of India, before felling a tree, a man had to beg its pardon for the injury he would inflict on it. When a tree had to cut down in the olden days, people would pour ghee on the stump, saying:
‘Grow thou out of this.’
Vaidyas or physicians would seek permission from medicinal plants/ or shrubs or trees before plucking their leaves or removing their bark. Since plants have life, their pardon for the injury on them would lead to such an act. This shows the depth of concern and cares that Vedic society had towards vanaspati. It clearly shows the sustaining force of life on earth and the golden reasons behind it.