Chapter 2 – Concern for Environment in Bharat Varsha in Pre-Vedic times – 8000 BCE

(1) Ancient ideals of Sanatan Dharma:

Gidwani’s “Return of the Aryans” speaks of the ideals that took shape in those early times of 8,000 BCE, to become the foundation of Sanatan Dharma – and among those ideals were: recognition of spiritual nature of man, wherever he is from; acceptance of every culture as an expression of eternal values; and man’s obligation to respect and protect environment, and all creatures, tame and wild.

 

(2) Views of Sage Bhardwaj – 5500 BCE :

From the dawn of civilization, in the prehistory period, our ancients were concerned with protecting environment. Here is a quotation from a Sage of 5500 BCE:

 

“. . . .The Earth is eternal, and so is Man if he lives in harmony with nature. But Man cannot destroy the Earth; and if he tries that by folly or design, then only Mankind shall die but not the eternal ground on which Man walks . . . .” (From poetess Shaila,” Much to learn, More to unlearn” quoting Sage Bhardwaj – 5005 BCE, quoted on page 709 of Gidwani’s “Return of the Aryans”)

 

The clear message of Sage Bhardwaj was: Man must live in harmony with Nature, or else Man shall become extinct like many other species, but the Earth itself shall live on without Man, who shall have paid for his vile acts to pollute the Earth and its atmosphere.

 

(3) Life on other Planets – Views of Sage Yadodhra, 5000 BCE:

Sage Yadodhra had observed as follows:

“ The possibility of Life on other planets remains. How can we have the arrogance to believe that that life exists nowhere except on the land and waters we inhabit. But if there is no life now , the chances are that there was life there in the past, which is now extinct because of the misuse of the planet and violation of God’s laws – and God waits with His immeasurable patience to renew and refresh life there perhaps in a form and shape altogether different. Here too on this Earth – were we to abuse God’s laws – it is not as if the earth would vanish; no only we would disappear……”

 

(See page 337 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’)

 

4) Views of Karkarta Bharat, 5,000 BCE:

Note also the words of Karkarta Bharat as he speaks to the tribals at the ceremony to commemorate their union with the land of Sindhu in 5000 BCE. When the Purohit (Priest) had sprinkled water and grain in the ceremonial fire, and uncovered fruits and flowers. Bharat said:

 

“The holy water of Mother Sindhu is sprinkled in worship of One Supreme. Sacrifice of grain is made to Goddess Agni (Fire), that it may carry it to all deities, on earth, in air, water, space, outer space and beyond. These flowers and fruits are also our homage to gods, and we hope they shall accept the subtle part of fruits, leaving gross material as food for their worshipers.

 

“For know this: Such are the only sacrifices that gods seek. For gods do not desire sacrifice of blood and flesh neither of humans, nor, of animals nor of birds; and those that permit or participate in such sacrifice shall be chastised by the spirit of gods”….

 

(See page 71 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’)

 

Later, a tribal chief, who earlier had believed in the ritual of sacrifices of flesh and blood to gods, is said to have seen a vision and cried out, “The Creator bleeds when any of His creatures bleed. . . Do not carry the sin of His blood. . .”, Karkarta Bharat instructed that the story of this tribal chief be incorporated in a Memory Song.

 

 

(See page 73 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’)

 

(5) Views of Muni, Mentor of Sindhu Putra, 5,000 BCE

Note also the views of the Muni, who was the mentor of Karkarta Bharat’s adopted son (later known as Sindhu Putra), explaining that the principle of Ahimsa included a duty to avoid hurting not only humanity but all God’s creatures, and he said,

 

“No son, no. Ahimsa is not restricted to humanity alone. There may be forgiveness for transgressions against humanity, for humans can provoke and retaliate. But what forgiveness is there for a man who will wantonly offend against a cow, an elephant, a lamb or a deer! Or, for a man who aims an arrow at a parrot or an owl, or destroys trees, and offends against nature!

 

“What use can the soul of God have for the soul of man who permits himself to do dark, evil, ugly things to other creatures of God!

 

“Do you believe that Man was created, simply, to destroy beauty and treasures of earth, in which god Himself breathed life with infinite love and endless patience! Do you believe, it is Man’s destiny to become a destroyer of things that live with nature, and be surrounded by creatures hostile to him, fearful of him, fleeing in terror at the scent of his flesh and sound of his footsteps! . . .”

 

( See pages 193-194 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’)

 

(6) The Curse of the Sadhu:

Also known is the curse of the Sadhu (a holy man) in 5000 BCE against those who wished to clear the land in a forest to build a magnificent temple. The Sadhu complained that a million ancient temples of God – that is how he regarded the trees growing tall in the forest – will vanish just to make place for a false temple of man. He complained bitterly about the habitat of countless birds and animals that too will be lost. The Muni was aghast when he was told that the forest would be cleared to make way for land to build a temple. He asked:

 

” A new temple of man to destroy a million ancient temples of God!”

 

Quite clearly, he regarded ancient trees as ancient temples of God. When told that some of the trees had already been destroyed by Fire, he had suspicions about the origin of the fire and of persons who caused it – and he added,

 

“Forests grow! They re-grow! God’s temples renew themselves. But Man must not rob them of the part of the earth that is theirs. Millions of trees have perished; homes of birds have been destroyed animals of the woods are scattered, slaughtered. But that beautiful landscape is not gone for ever. It will re-grow unless man is too stupid, too greedy and too thoughtless.”

 

The Sadhu continued:

 

“Your Karkarta is endowed with reason. He cannot create a beautiful, plentiful forest, but he has the power to preserve what he is powerless to create. They say , your Karkarta encourages Memory Songs that people will hear thousands of years from now. Should he not help the earth to remain richer, more abundant, and beautiful, ten thousand years from now? But if you prevent forests from reappearing , what will you leave? – an earth that is scarred, poor, ugly and desolate. Is that the future he wants?. To create such sores and wounds on the face of the earth? But remember, many will then curse him for it …..”

 

( See page 201 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’ and continue to page 202 – but see earlier references to the fire in the forest)

 

(7) Dance-Drama – to save an injured bird:

A dance-drama of those ancient times shows that an angel interceded successfully on behalf of a sinner to plead that his saving an injured bird and bringing it back to life must be counted in his favor as a good Karma to determine his position in his next rebirth.

 

 

(8) Tree-planting from 6,000 BCE:

One may recall the unbroken immemorial custom from 6,000 BCE, or possibly even earlier, mentioned in Gidwani’s “Return of the Aryans” of planting trees, each year of a man’s life, right from the year of his birth until the age of his retirement at sixty, with the obligation to plant new trees in place of trees that fell or withered away. Responsibility for planting yearly trees initially fell on parents and the task was then passed on to the son and his wife, a year after marriage.

 

( See page 7 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’ )

 

(9) Respect for the Cow from 7,000 BCE:

Respect for the cow started in Sindh and India from period prior to 7,000 BCE, when 108 tribes reached the river-village of Sindhu, after a long, grueling journey during which many lost their lives on the way. The river-people saw their frightened faces – of men bruised and wounded, women who could hardly stand and children emaciated. Clearly, they realized, there was suffering here – and hunger, thirst and dread. They rushed to bring buckets of water, fruit and food. Cows were ushered in, to milk them on the spot, to serve, first the children, and then adults. And when a tribal woman said to a child, pointing to the cow, ‘She is the mother of us all and gives milk to our children, the leader of the tribes heard her and pledged, “She will always be the Mother to our tribes”. Over the long centuries thereafter, respect for the cow was reinforced not only in India but throughout the subcontinent.

 

( See page 98 of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’ )

 

(10) Views of Sharat on human waste

S Sharat was a man of outstanding ability who later rose to be Karkarta. In Karkarta Bharat’s time he was given charge of improving drainage system and environmental aspects; later he was promoted as Town Planner and became President of the Architects Guild. Later, Sharat became Karkarta of the Clan. In his early career, he is credited to have said:

“An animal, an insect a fish creates no waste and no hazard, but each human being creates a waste of 1,100 times his body weight and hence twice the hazard”

 

( See page 333 and thereafter, of Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’ . )

 

(11) Other Instances:

There are many other instances in Gidwani’s ‘Return of the Aryans’ of the concern of our ancients to protect environment, to leave the habitat of birds and animals undisturbed except to provide feeding troughs and watering holes for animals and birds or tending to sick or injured animals and birds.