Monday, April 6, 2015

Origin of Environmental Science from Vedas




 The Vedas are the first texts in the library of mankind. They are universally acknowledged to be the most precious Indian Heritage. The antiquity to the Vedic civilization is debated to a great extent but indeed there is no civilization known to humanity with such antiquity as Vedic Aryan Civilization. The so-called Aryans would have originated in the Aryavarta. N. J. Lockyer has declared: ┼íThe Vedas, in fact, is the oldest book in which we can study the first beginnings of our language and of everything which is embodied in all the languages under the sun.›1 The Vedas deal with knowledge, the knowledge of all sorts. They cover knowledge both physical and spiritual. They are source of all knowledge according to Manusmriti.2 Especially the Vedic views revolve around the concept of nature and life. The visions of the beauty of life and nature in the Vedas are extremely rich in poetic value. Perhaps nowhere else in the world has the glory of dawn and sun-rise and the silence and sweetness of nature, received such rich and at the same time such pure expression. The symbolical pictures projected there remain close to life and nature. The most authoritative among the four Vedas is called the Rigveda. Each Vedic verse has one or more sages (Rishis) and deities (Devatas) associated with it. Generally, Rishis are supposed to be the recipient of knowledge revealed in the verses and Devatas are supposed to be the gods in whose praise verses are revealed.
In modern Sanskrit, the word Paryavarana is used for environment, meaning which encircles us, which is all around in our surroundings. But in the Atharvaveda words equivalent to this sense are used; such as Vritavrita,6 Abhivarah,7 Avritah,8 Parivrita9 etc. Vedic view on environment is well-defined in one verse of the Atharvaveda where three coverings of our surroundings are referred as Chandamsi : ‘Wise utilize three elements variously which are varied, visible and full of qualities. These are water, air and plants or herbs. They exist in the world from the very beginning. They are called as Chandansi meaning ‘coverings available everywhere.’10 It proves the knowledge of Vedic seers about the basic elements of environment. According to one indigenous theory established in the Upanishads, the universe consists of five basic elements³viz.,1. earth or land, 2. water, 3. light or lustre, 4. air, and 5. ether.11 The nature has maintained a status of balance between and among these constituents or elements and living creatures. A disturbance in percentage of any constituent of the environment beyond certain limits disturbs the natural balance and any change in the natural balance causes lots of problems to the living creatures in the universe. Different constituents of the environment exist with set relationships with one another. The relation of human being with environment is very natural as he cannot live without it. From the very beginning of creation he wants to know about it for self protection and benefit