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Gaia, Nature and Cosmic Integrity: Perspective and Indian Root

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Lovelock's theory of Gaia referring Earth as the living organism has its roots in the Vedic literature. The Atharva Veda (12.1-69), c. 10th century BCE, narrates the Earth as ‘Go’ (‘cow’) that provides milk to her calves in the form of life substance. This shows Gaia as spiritual dimension that helps to understand the nature or the earth-spirit as living organism. The ancient Hindu thought proclaims the need for the sustenance and uplift of human society as integral part of environmental healing. Hinduism with its multiple doctrines, varieties of deities, and different types of people from various levels, all leading to sensibility of deep ecology where the Earth is symbolised as mother. Absence of religious studies and environmental ethics in South Asia has been a major reason for underdevelopment of ecological awakening. However, cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary dialogues would seek out the message of global understanding and awakening to serve humanity in a better manner. Also environmental education for sustainable development together with realising the message of the ‘Sacred Earth’ would lead us to a better worldof harmony, peace and interrelatedness.

Keywords: Gaia; Lovelock; ecology; ethical quest; geographic context; living earth; vision

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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