Biodiversity and Beliefs in Hinduism
Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms including ecosystems, plants, animals, their habitats and genes. Biodiversity is fundamental to life on this planet. God has created millions of species of plants, animals and microorganisms, the enormous diversity of genes in these species, the different ecosystems on this planet such as deserts, mountains, forests, water bodies etc which are all part of a biologically diverse earth. But biodiversity – God’s magical creation is declining gradually. It is a threat to the mankind. Most of the cultures do not feel the threat. But Sanatan Hinduism included the idea of biodiversity in its scriptures thousands of years ago.
Biodiversity in Hinduism
All the elements of biodiversity mentioned above have been given importance in Hinduism. This ancient religion always cares for trees, rocks, rivers, animals and all other natural elements. Hindu devotees believe that God is everyone and everything and everyone and everything is God. This philosophy of Sanatan Hinduism (Pantheism) is badly needed to save our planet. To worship any god or goddess of Hindu religion many plants like banana, tulsi, paddy, arum, Ashok, Jayanti,etc, leaves like banyan leaves, plantain leaves, wood apple leaves etc and flowers like jaba, lotus, sheuli, aparajita etc are very important. Nine forms of Devi (goddess) Durga are appeared through nine kinds of plants which are known as Navapatrika. Fruits are also important in different puja occasions. So, trees bearing fruits are always given importance in Hindu community. The mountain like the Himalayas, Govardhan are very sacred in Hinduism. Different rivers like the Ganges, the Yamuna, the Saraswati etc are worshipped as gods or goddesses. A large number of animals and birds (cow, bull, lion, elephant, horse, cat, mouse, peacock, swan, crow etc) are seen as mounts of different gods and goddesses in Hindu religion. So, they are worshipped along with the gods and goddesses. Animals like monkey, snake etc are considered as gods or incarnations of gods and goddesses. Besides earth, water, fire, air and ether are very important natural elements needed for the existence of lives on our planet. These are called Pancha Mahabhuta (Five Great Elements) in Hindu philosophy. Since the ancient period Sanatan Hinduism has given importance on these non-living things. So, these elements are personified and worshiped as gods.
Living Planet Report 2016
The “Living Planet Report 2016’ made by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) shows “Populations of vertebrate animals such as mammals, birds and fish have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. And we’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species: on average, there’s been a whopping 81% decline in that time period.” The report also shows, “The loss of wildlife is startling and people are at risk, too. Without action, the Earth will become much less hospitable for all of us. We must consider our impact on nature as we make development, economic, business and lifestyle choices. A shared understanding of the link between humanity and nature is essential to making profound changes that will allow all life to thrive for generations to come.”
Effects and Benefits of Biodiversity
We cannot deny the effects and benefits of biodiversity. We know that soil and water nurture plants, plants are eaten and used by animals and humans, and animals are raised and used by humans for different purposes. In absence of bio diversity this food chain can be broken. The major threat of bio diversity is extinction of the elements of it. To save our planet we cannot but save all elements of bio diversity. The world people understand this truth now. But mysteriously most of the people of this planet are not practical regarding this matter. They harm all these elements knowingly or unknowingly. In fact, they do not know that they are leading themselves to the hell. The science and divinity of Sanatan Hinduism always try to preserve all elements of biodiversity directly or indirectly so that the earth can be habitable for all of her inhabitants.
We should try our best to protect our biodiversity. The world works quite well the way it was designed. So, all humans need to do is let it function. In fact, beliefs and views of Hinduism is the best way to protect bio diversity.