Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jainism and Environment

Jainism is not only a religion but way of life. It is the art of living. A human being lives with his society and the environment. Jain Agamas (Holy Books) are very conscious about preserving the environment. Their thoughts surpassed that of modern environmentalists.

Jain Agamas say that a Jeeva (Soul) harms or intend to harm anyone out of Raga (Craving) and Dwesha (Aversion). They have gone into the root cause of all violence. The Acharanga Sutra, first Jain Anga Sutra advocates strongly for protecting and preserving the environment. It says that Pudhavi (Soil), Jala (Water), Vaau (Air), Vanassai (Vegetations) and even Teu (Fire) are living creatures and should not be destroyed or killed. The Acharanga says that these are violence.

Consumerism promotes craving. It motivates people to consume more and more whether required or not. They have even made it a parameter of development. This western doctrine is the root cause of all environmental hazards in modern days. In fact, we are now at the threshold of total collapse due to consumerism culture.

Jain texts emphasize on utility (Upayoga) in place of consuming (Upabhoga) rather they tend to worship the nature (Upasana). Consumerism leads to depletion of natural resources that in turn contaminate air, water, soil and other valuable natural resources. Jain texts motivate people for minimal consumption. They emphasize on Tyaga (Sacrifice).

Jain Shravaka / Shravikas (Laymen) are preached to minimize their Bhoga (Consumables). Jain Sadhu / Sadhwi (Monks and Nuns) are living with almost no consumables. They do not use vehicles rather travel bear foot. They do not use electricity and any modern amenities. They do not even cook or tell anyone to cook for them. They do not pluck flowers and any other green vegetables for any purpose. They do not possess any earthly things. No money, no bank account, no credit cards.

All Jains including Sadhu / Sadhwi and Shravaka / Shravikas observe Paryushan as their main Parva. They do not even eat green vegetables in those days. Traditionally they do not eat in the night (after sunset).

Environment in Dadabadi
Water pond at Dadabadi, Kolkata
Jain Dadabadis are true protectors of Environment. In fact, they are botanical gardens along with a temple of Dada Gurudev.
Badi means a garden that is derived from Sanskrit word Vatika. Since medieval age Dadabadis are built far from cities and towns. There are hundreds of trees in most of the Dadabadis. There are flower plants, fruit trees and decorative trees and plants in Dadabadis. Dadabadis also grow medicinal trees.

People use to come in Dadabadis for Darshan and Puja. Dadabadis are traditionally social and religious meeting places. Many social and religious events are organized and celebrated in Dharamshala's inDadabadis all over India. People come and spend a lot of time there. They enjoy fresh oxygen exhaled by trees and plants as an additional benefit. Dadabadis are natural safeguards against pollution. 

Article Jainism and Environment

Ecology park in Malpura Dadabadi

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