Are we practicing our religion right?

  • Does any religion encourage pollution?

Lata Jain

Indians are a festival happy nation. And rightly so. Our culture, an amalgamation of several cultures, has been influenced by an ancient heritage, several millennium in the making. Historically, festivals in India were the drivers of community cohesion. An opportunity for a community to come together to worship their deities, celebrate, share a meal, make memories.

Festival celebrations, at least the major ones, are no longer restricted to the community they originated with – a factor of economically driven migration. Religion today has a much smaller role in these celebrations; they are increasingly an opportunity for social interaction – especially in our metros where just about every major festival is celebrated, with equal fervor, by everyone.

Unfortunately a lot of our festivals have, over time, lost a fair bit of their original cultural significance. They are loud and ostentatious, very bad for the environment, and in some instances completely out of tune with the times.

We have preparing for Ganesh immersion after which we prepare  for Bathukamma and Durga idols to be immersed in Tankbund.It adds to the pollution of the lake and their looks little respite from pollution. All this sentiments and pujas are religious but does religion ever deter any indivual from protecting the nature. We are talking on the lines of all religions and the belief to save the environment.

There is a close relationship between religion and environment. Religion has had major positive influences on the natural environment.

Religion is sometimes defined as the relationship between people and that which they regard as holy, often in supernatural terms. Nine of the world’s major faiths represent billions of people worldwide. They include 750 million Hindus, 10 million Jains, 700 million Buddhists, 12.5 million Jews, 2 billion Christians, 1.4 billion Muslims, 16 million Sikhs and 5 million Baha’is. All faiths around the world share a common ethic based on harmony with nature, although a wide gap is often perceived between the religious texts and the current practices of the adherents of those religions.

Christianity teaches that all creation is a loving act of God and that humanity may not destroy biological diversity or destroy God’s creations without the risk of destroying itself. In the Christian Bible, the book Ecclesiastes states in chapter 3, verse 19: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts … as the one dieth, so dieth the other … so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast.

Islam teaches that the role of people on earth is that of khalifa, or trustee of God, whereby humans are entrusted with the safe keeping of Earth and its variety of life. The Koran states: “There is not an animal (that lives) on the Earth, or a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you (Sura 13 Aya 15). The prophet Mohammed is quoted as saying: “There is a reward in doing well to every living thing”

Jainism, one of the oldest living religions, teaches ahimsa (non-violence) towards human beings and all of nature. It believes in the mutual dependence of all aspects of nature belonging together and bound in an intricate relationship.

In Judaism, the Torah outlines a series of ethical obligations including several relevant to the conservation of nature. The Torah says: “When God created Adam, he showed him all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: ‘See my works, how lovely they are, how fine they are. All I have created, I created for you.

All Buddhist teaching revolves around the notion of dharma, which means truth and the path of truth. It teaches that people are responsible for their actions and go through a cycle of rebirths before finally reaching Nirvana. Right actions lead to progress towards Nirvana, and bad actions, such as killing animals, cause regression.

Followers of Hinduism believe in the forces of nature and its inter contentedness with life itself. Certain rivers and mountains are sacred, as they give and sustain life. All plants and animals have souls, and people must serve penance for killing plants and animals for food.

It is in the name of the same religion that we are dumping our lakes. There is a need to understand if we are practicing our religion right?

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