Thursday, November 21, 2013



Dr. Chilakamarthi Durga Prasada Rao,
Reader of Sanskrit (Retired)
3/106, Premnagar,Dayalbagh.
Dr. D. Vasanta Kumari
Dept: - of Education. Dayalbagh Educational Institute,
Dayalbagh, AGRA - 282005. U.P

This is a Conversation between a poet and a stranger. The stranger asked the poet.
कस्त्वं भो !? = = Who are you?
कविरस्मि = I am a poet.
तत्किमु सखे क्षीणोSसि = Why are you so weak?
अनाहारत: = No food to eat.
धिग्देशं गुणिनोSपि दुर्गतिरियम् = I blame this country in which this is a plight of a great man.
देशं मामेव धिक् = Don’t blame the country blame me alone.
पाकार्थी क्षुधितो यदैव विदधे पाकाय बुद्धिं तदा = whenever out of hunger I make up my mind to cook my food,
विन्ध्ये नेन्धनमम्बुधौ सलिलं नान्नं धरित्री तले = I find no fuel in the Vindhya forests, no water in well tanks and lakes and no food on the surface of the earth.

कस्त्वं भो कविरस्मि तत्किमु सखे क्षीणोSस्यनाहारत:
धिग्देशं गुणिनोSपि दुर्गतिरियम् देशं मामेव धिक्|
पाकार्थी क्षुधितो यदैव विदधे पाकाय बुद्धिं तदा
विन्ध्ये नेन्धनमम्बुधौ सलिलं ना Sन्नं धरित्रीतले ||
Environmental pollution is one of the serious problems that confront the world. The contribution of Sanskrit towards the protection of environment is tremendous.

The world constitutes five elements, Earth, Water, Air, Fire and sky. Of these, the three elements, Earth, Water and Air are prone to pollution, while the rest remain unaffected. The pollution which disturbs ecological balance is called Environmental Pollution.

In olden days, man, as part and parcel of nature, used to live harmoniously with it. He even treated the forces of nature as divine beings—Agni Deva, Varuna Deva, Vayu Deva and glorified their existence and prayed for their intervention in nature’s fury.
But in the modern age man partly out of necessity but mostly selfishly started industrial and other such activities, but soon his greed de -generated into avarice and drove him to excesses. He indulged in the over exploitation of nature’s bounties and began polluting natural elements in the name of development and modernization.
The evils, Viz., exploitation of natural resources, industrial pollution, deforestation and excessive use of chemicals have contributed to the environmental pollution. As the present generation is a nexus between the past and future generation, it has a bounden duty to leave a good legacy to Posterity.
If the attitude of the modern man continues to be the same, the survival of humanity itself will become a big question. In fact, no country wishes to remain undeveloped. But the development should be healthy and at an affordable cost. It should not create obstacles in the healthy and prosperous development of future generations. So, in order to achieve sustainable development, one should give up one’s greed and learn to live in peace with nature. This is how our ancestors, even in the Vedic times, learned to live.
‘Veda’, the very first book of mankind, which is also considered to be the greatest treatise on environment, ensured a healthy relation ship between man and nature. This relation ship should be as sacrosanct as between mother and child. The Earth was looked upon as universal mother and all living beings, her children.
माता पृथिवी पुत्रोऽहं पृथिव्या: (अथर्ववेद: /12/1-12)
In Vedic times rituals were encouraged and performed with a view to keeping the environment pure and prefect. The flora and fauna were considered to be the two important facets of Mother Nature.

The Vedas have glorified the greenery and identified it with divinity. वृक्षेभ्यो हरिकेशेभ्यश्च नमो नम:
According to the Sastras, plantation of saplings is a sacred dharma, and destruction of trees, a great sin.

All the poets of Sanskrit literature, with no exception, are great lovers of nature. They not only loved nature but also identified themselves with it. There are many instances to highlight the love of Sanskrit poets for flora and fauna.
In the II canto of Raghuvamsa a lion speaks to Dilipa explaining the significance of
अमुं पुर: पश्यसि देवदारुं पुत्रीकृतोSसौ वृषभध्वजेन
यो हेमकुम्भस्तन निसृतानां स्कन्दस्य मातु: पयसां रसज्ञ:
Oh, King! The tree which you see yonder is a Devadaru Tree brought up by Siva like his own son. His wife, Parvathi nourished it by providing pots of water as she nourished her own son Kumaraswamy with her breast milk.
Here the motherly affection towards a tree is established. Moreover it is also said that once upon a time a wild elephant rubbed her cheek against this same tree rupturing the bark of the tree. On seeing this, Parvathi felt sad as if her own son Kumaraswamy was wounded by the arrows pointed at him by Asuras

कण्डूयमानेन कटम् कदाचि
द्वनद्विपेनोन्मथिता त्वगस्य
अथैनमद्रेस्तनया शुशोच
सेनान्यमालीढ मिवासुरास्त्रै:
Harshavardhana, while describing the hermitage of a saint in his magnum opus, Nagananda, declares that the trees in the hermitage are barked only superficially lest deep-skinning should cause great pain to the trees.

वासोSर्थं दयया नाति पृथव: कृत्तास्तरूणाम् त्वच: (नागानन्दम्)

From these anecdotes it is evident that in the Vedic times even the smallest injury done to trees was seriously viewed and resented.

In the Kumarasambhavam, Kalidasa went a step further by saying that even a poisonous tree should not be cut down even by the person who raised it. विषवृक्षोSपि संवर्ध्य स्वयं छेत्तुमसांप्रतम्
In Abhijnanasakuntalam, Anasuya while conversing with Sakuntala speaks to her jovially. She said: “I think that our father sage Kanva must be having more love and affection for the trees of our hermitage than for you who, though extremely delicate, has been entrusted the task of watering them.

Then Sakuntala replied that she had been watering the plants not merely because of her father’s behest but because she was also having brotherly affection towards them.
It is very interesting to observe that every tree in the hermitage of Kanva offers ornaments to Sakuntala at the time of departure to join her husband.
Similarly the sage Kanva, while sending Sakuntala to her husband’s house, reminds the trees about the service rendered by her to them and seeks permission from each for her departure.

पातुं प्रथमं व्यवस्यति जलं युष्मास्वपीतेषु या
नादत्ते प्रियमंडनापि भवतां स्नेहेन या पल्लवम् |
आद्ये : कुसुमप्रसूतिसमये यस्या: भवत्युत्सव:
सेयं याति शकुन्तला पतिगृहं सर्वैरनुज्ञायताम् ||
Our culture went to the extent of saying that no loss of trees under any circumstances should be permitted. Even in extraordinary circumstances the destruction of trees or plants should be compensated for. As an example the loss of plants occurring for a cremation should be replenished by cultivating the same number of saplings by the person who performs the funeral rites.

The plantation of trees is highly encouraged in our culture. “One should raise big trees which bear fruits. Even if it does not offer fruits, it at least gives shade”.

सेवितव्यो महावृक्ष: फलच्छायासमन्वित:
यदि दैवात्फलं स्याच्छाया केन निवार्यते

The trees are compared with great people who sacrificed their every thing for the happiness of others
. छायामन्यस्य कुर्वन्ति तिष्ठन्ति स्वयमातपे
फलान्यापि परार्थाय वृक्षा: सत्पुरुषा: इव

They give shadow to others while standing themselves in the heat. Their fruits are also helpful for others. The trees are like good people.
Now let us come to the other aspect of environment, Fauna. It may evoke great interest to point out that all animals forgetting their identity used to live together in and around the hermitages of saints without mutual animosity. The sages also used to treat them as their children. The description of Vasistha’s hermitage in the Raghuvamsa establishes a sort of mother-child intimacy between man and animal. The hermitage of Vasista was littered with deers which were so eager for their fodder that they almost blocked the wives of the hermits carrying grains inside. आकीर्णमृषिपत्नीनामुटजद्वाररोधिभि:
अपत्यैरिवनीवारभागधेयोचितैर्मृगै: - 1/50
Please find the mental agony of a poor animal which is caught and taken by a hunter.
आदाय मांसमखिलं स्तनवर्जमङ्गान्
मां मुञ्च वागुरिक यामि कुरु प्रसादम् |
सीदन्ति शष्प कबल ग्रहणानभिज्ञा:
मन्मार्गवीक्षणरता : शिशवो मदीया:
(वल्लभदेवस्य सुभाषितावळि : ९८१)
Oh! My dear hunter! You cut and take away every part of my body. But spare my udder. Because my newly born babies being unable to eat even tender grass waiting anxiously for me staring at the direction of which I have come. If I don’t feed them they will die. Please be kind enough to leave me.
The indiscriminate killing of animals for food and export, scientific experiments, preparing medicinal potions, and cosmetic purposes, may disturb the ecological balance.
Once in china farmers killed all the sparrows opining that they would consume five percent of food grains. But to their surprise they witnessed twelve percent loss of food grains. Because, sparrows, though consume some amount of grains, protect the crop by eating away the harmful pests which cause more amount of loss.
The messages such as अहिंसा परमो धर्म:” “Non-violence is the supreme Dharma”, मा हिंस्यात् सर्वा भूतानि Let not all animals be killed” are found in the Vedas, which advocate non-violence. {11}
In our culture, every creature in nature has been treated and worshipped as a divine being and even venomous serpents are treated as gods and worshipped.
Earth: From Vedic times till date, we regard the Earth not as mere natural object but as loving mother who sustains all beings. Similarly Earth has many treasures in her womb, yielding not only agricultural products but also mines of gold and other material. But over exploitation of natural resources is a serious offence. Earth can satisfy our need but not our greed. Earth will never tolerate when it is being exploited beyond certain limits. A story in the Mahabharata indicates this. Once, Karna was roaming in his kingdom on a chariot. At that time a girl, who was walking with a bowl full of oil in her hand saw him passing near by. Fascinated by his charm she stared at him. The bowl, in her hand fell on the ground and the oil sank in to it. The girl while weeping insisted Karna to get back the oil. Karna squeezed the sand and he could get fifty percent of oil. The girl again insisted her to squeeze more. Karna squeezed the soil and could get eighty percent of oil. Again the girl insisted him to get more. Karma tried. It gave vent to her anger and Bhudevi cursed Karna. She said: When you are fighting with your enemy, the wheel of your chariot will sink in to the ground and you will also be killed by your enemy. This story reveals that even the nature can tolerate exploitation up to some extent but not beyond.
Water: Water plays a vital role in human life. There are hundreds of Vedic mantras which reveal the importance of water. Water is called Jivanam in Sanskrit. Jivanam means life. It is a drink for immortality.
We depend upon food for our living and for production of food agriculture is necessary and agriculture depends upon water. Our culture went to the extent of saying that polluting water is a great sin. In the Ramayana Bharata says to Kausalya, the mother of Rama “ Oh mother if I have any bad intention of sending Rama to exile I will definitely go to hell where a man goes by polluting drinking water. Lord Krishna punished Kaliya as the later had polluted the waters of Yamuna. Krishna said : Kaliya, a river is meant for the use of human beings and their lives depend on the river and her water. It is not right that you should poison it.( The Bhagavatapurana). Because of the water pollution, we are in a miserable state of purchasing drinking water.
There are hundreds of Vedic hymns which describe the glory of Air. They recognized the importance of pure and unpolluted air for as source of health, happiness and long life. We should never forget that every oxygen molecule we breathe is definitely a product of a particular tree of a particular period. The air is praised as the Supreme Deity.
[Namaste vayo tvameva pratksham brahma. Tvameva pratyaksham brahnma vadishyami. Ritam vadishyami. Satyam vadishyanmi. Tanmamavatu. Tadvaktaramavatu . Avatu mama vatu vaktaram.
Om Santih Santih Santih ].

In many areas in our country air is also polluted due to industries and excessive use of chemicals and a stage may come shortly that everyone should purchase fresh air for sustenance.
Similarly there are many types of pollutions such as sound pollution, mind pollution, thought pollution etc. Thought pollution is the root cause of other pollutions and it can be rectified through the practice of ethical code available in the moral branches of sciences and Yoga.
From times immemorial the bond between man and nature has been extremely strong. Now it is our bounden duty and sublime obligation to maintain the equilibrium and see that nature is not disturbed or interfered with, lest it should lead to chaos and confusion as aptly pointed out by Earnest Hemingway, the famous American novelist, who said “Mending nature is ending nature”.
It would be a great service to nature if littérateurs, besides environmentalists, contribute their share in preventing further environmental pollution.
In this connection I advise all to encourage plantation of trees and discourage, using polyethylene covers. You make this a point and continue it as a movement. Let the following American Saying bring some change in the minds of the people.

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten’’
--- Native American Saying----

Let all the lokas be happy
Save environment--- Save the world

1. Abhijnanasakuntalam of Kalidasa

2. Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa.
3. Naganandam os SriHarsha.
4. Raghuvamsa of Kalidasa.
5. Rigveda.
6. Subhashita ratnabhandagaram.
7. Yajurveda.
8. Journals & News Papers.

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