Numerous ancient cultures and faiths worship nature. All five elements of nature have been profoundly revered since humans’ evolution. However, only one faith has survived and thrived since the start of society that worshipped and adored nature – Hinduism. Hindu scriptures are replete with poetic and spiritual references to Mother Earth, where the environment is alive and teeming with life; where mountains, trees, and rocks become shrines, and the river is revered as a source and support of spiritual and physical life.
In Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism), Prithvi ‘the Vast One’ is the Sanskrit name for the Earth and the name of a Devi (goddess) in Hinduism. Prithvi (Earth) is revered in Hinduism as Bhumi (“Soil”), Dharitri (“Nurturer”), Dhatri (“Nursing Mother”), Janitra (“Birthplace”), Prshni (“Mother of Plants”), Medini (“Nurturer”), Vishvadhaya (“All-Nourishing”), Vanaspatinam Grbhir Osadhinam (“Womb of Forest Trees and Herbs”), Ksama (“Patient One”), Vishdava (“All-Preserving”), Ratnagarbha (“Repository of Gems””) and Vasundhara (“Bearer of Treasure”).
Dyaus (Heaven) and Prithivi (Earth) are amongst the most ancient of the Hindu Sanatani deities. Hence they are spoken of in the hymns of the Rig-Veda as the parents of the other Bhagwans (gods).
In Hinduism, Yoni sometimes referred to as pindika, is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu goddess Shakti. It is usually shown with linga – its masculine counterpart. In Hindu culture, the yoni is the creative power of nature and the real origin of life. The yoni is celebrated and worshiped during the Ambubachi Mela, an annual Hindu mela held at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam, celebrating the Earth’s menstruation.
Varuna – Devata – Water
Varuna Devata, being the Hindu Bhagwan of water, is worshiped every year before the rainfall begins. Many villages in India consider the rainfall season very auspicious, thereby pleasing the rains gods annually. It is believed that when there is low rainfall, it means that the Rain-God is angry or upset. Jhulelal, an avatar of Varun Devata, is known to control the seas and help Sindhi Hindus fight off forced conversion by flooding the invaders.
Rain – Indra
Indra is an ancient Vedic deity in Hinduism. He is the king of Svarga (Heaven) and the Devas (gods). He is associated with lightning, thunder, storms, rains, river flows, and war. The etymological roots of Indra- root ind-u, or “raindrop, is based on the Vedic History that he conquered rain and brought it down to Earth.
Agni – Fire
Agni is the personification of ‘fire’ in Hinduism. Agni as fire is one of the five inert impermanent elements (pañcabhūtá) along with space (ākāśa), water (ap), air (vāyu) and earth (pṛthvī), the five combining to form the empirically perceived material existence (Prakriti). Agni is a major and oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma. Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses and the medium that conveys offerings to them in a homa ( ritual). He is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on Earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, and in the sky as the sun. This triple presence connects him as the messenger between gods and human beings.
Eco-Friendly Lessons in Hinduism
Hinduism is the most environmentally conscious religion. Fishes clean water, and Hindus being historically vegetarians, have avoided fishing.
Books explaining Hinduism have considered ‘environment’ as the mean the natural world – everything around us that is part of the Earth and nature. According to Dharma, nature cannot be destroyed without humans being destroyed. We need the natural world to survive because every atman (soul) is a part of Brahman (universe).
Hindus revere sacred mountains, rivers, forests, and animals and love to be nearer to nature. For instance, many Hindu rural neighborhoods have a sacred lake, and around it is a grove of trees to grab rainfall and protect the banks from erosion.
In Hinduism, as mentioned, every living thing has an “atman,” a soul, and at its core, the Hindu faith obliges us to defend our environment
Protecting the environment is part of Hindu Dharma, and everything that moves or grows is respected in Sanatan Culture.