As we are aware, air, water and food are essential for the survival of every living being. It is ironical to observe that the man, who is considered to be the most intelligent amongst all the creations by God, has built up the grand edifice of progressive civilization and scientific evolution with a near total neglect of the foundational support system of nature. The ever growing race of so called technological and industrial advancement has affected the environment to such extent that the life on the earth appears to be heading towards the edge of extinction. You can easily observe the gravity of the threat no less on the social and cultural values. Every thoughtful mind is naturally concerned to find some way out.
During last few decades, we have witnessed several attempts for environmental protection like forestation, protection protocols, policies etc. at the national and international levels to combat the threats posed by Global Warming, Green House Gases, Depletion of Ozone Layer, Industrial waste, Pesticides and Toxicity of Soil and Crops, scarcity of drinking water, ecological degradation, tsunami waves and other environmental disasters. However no solution came forward to control the root cause. The on-going developments on alternate energy systems, non-conventional resources generation, reprocessing of natural resources are too expensive and sometime impractical for implementation in this geographically and economically heterogeneous world. Imbalanced concentration of population adds to the complexities and the situation remains largely grim.
Amongst environmental problems, air pollution occupies the most important place. If you do not have oxygen, you can not live. We know that our economic growth depends upon our industrial growth. Greater industrial growth means emission of greater quantity of toxic particles which move through the air across the surrounding regions and also far away. Our economic progress is linked also to our mobility through automobile traffic which is also responsible for polluting the air by the release of poisonous gases and harmful particles in the air we breathe in.
A blanket of chemicals, dust, industrial emissions, aerosols and motor vehicles exhausts has built up in the most of the developed and developing countries. When wind drop, this accumulation of toxins grows bigger waiting to be blown on to other continents. The ecologically damaging emissions have most dangerously also caused depletion in the protective ozone layer above the earth’s atmosphere and thus invited hazardous radiations from the space. The alarming rise in varieties of cancers and respiratory problems on one hand and the rising temperatures of the globe as a whole on the other are most obvious and prominent nuisances of this pollution.
Be it Rio-de-Janeiro Conference, Kyoto protocol, Doha Summit or any other treaty on pollution control, none has been able to abate this threat to the desired level for the reason that no country wishes to put the economic growth on stake due to huge expenses, political and geographical constraints associated with effective action against the source of pollution. These are the exercises of the modern age.
If we go through our old history, we find that Vedic Scriptures provide solution to the environmental problems very effectively. They consider Earth – soil, water and earth’s atmosphere, Space and the Sun (plus the solar system) collectively. All components of Nature are said to be interrelated and interdependent and all powers of nature, origins of natural resources and life forms including plants and trees are given due respect in the vedic hymns as manifestations and reflections of the divine creation – thus emphasizing the importance of each. Several of the Vedic texts preach that the earth water fire air plants and animals are together supporting human life system on this planet and provide guidelines towards ecological balance and healthy co-existence of all.
As per the Vedic literature, whenever there is an imbalance in the natural harmony of the various components, nature begins destruction process to correct. The word ‘Kravyād’ is used to describe the cause of the pollution, the substances which harm the ecosystem and hence the human life. Interestingly, the Vedic scriptures also mention the occurrence of environmental pollution including air, water and soil pollution because of artificial equipments, machineries and toxic unnatural substances like synthesized chemicals etc.
On the other hand, green mountains, monsoon clouds, natural rains, rivers and springs, plants and trees, sunlight, morning atmosphere are referred as purifiers of the atmosphere. Hymn no.3|21|10 of the Atharva Veda and hymns no.10|35|2, 10|66|9, 10|66|10 and 10|64|8 of the Rig Veda mention:
Ye parvatāh som pristha āpah, vātah parjanya ādaniśte kravyadmaśişamaņa
“Air” is often referred in the Vedic literature as “vāta” or “vāyŭ” and oxygen in particular as “prāna-vāyu” viśuddha (pure) vāyŭ”.
At one place, the Atharva Veda instructs that air and water are sacred and like natural medicines and so it is very important to keep them clean and pure. Rig Veda grades oxygen as elixir and so it should always be available in its natural pure form. This implies that one should not carry out any activity because of which the oxygen is diminished or air is adulterated. Rig Veda also says that if the forests/plants are destroyed, it will adversely affect the oxygen level as well as the mineral wealth, as trees and plants are also the saviors of the precious wealth contained inside the earth.
These scriptures provide guidelines for purification of the atmosphere. Amongst many systems, they emphasize over conducting yagya (Fire Ritual) for ecological balance. Yagya is a scientific process of sublimation and transformation of health constituents of plants/herbal medicines into vapour phase and their expansion and dissipation in the surrounding air. It also helps in maintaining balance of oxygen, carbon-di-oxide and reducing the harmful growth of poisonous and ozone layer-depleting gases and radiations etc. It is considered as nucleus of all the natural cycles. Yajur Veda mentions:
Ayum yagyo bhuvanasya nābhih
Yagya is the source of prana-parjanaya (shower of water and air purifying and vital elements) from the upper layer of earth’s atmosphere and space beyond. It is the best way to eliminate pollution and most effective eco-friendly method of removing harmful germs, bacteria and other carriers of infections and diseases. It is the source of energy and vigorous vegetation. Hence, as and when we find convenient, we must conduct yagya for purification of the air, an essential need of our life.
Be Happy – Purify the Air for Healthy Breath.