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1599px-Kailash_north

 

By Sharon St Joan

 

Inextricably intertwined with the animals of the forest, with the rivers, the mountains, and the rocks, since time immemorial, has been the spiritual life of India, as Dr. Nanditha Krishna writes in her very beautiful book, Hinduism and Nature. The spiritual traditions of the East tend to have a kind, gentle, and reverent approach to the natural world.

 

The gods of the Vedas, the earliest books ever written, were all linked to nature. Indra is the god of rains and storms, thunder and lightning. Shiva lives at Mount Kailas, a great mountain in the land of snow and ice. We are all the children of Mother Earth.

 

God himself comes to earth in the forms of the animals. Lord Vishnu incarnates first as a fish; then as a turtle; then a wild boar; then a half-man, half lion; and only then as a human. Everything in nature is sacred. All animals and all of nature belong to god, all are in fact manifestations of god, and all, ultimately, are a sacred part of god.

 

Human beings are not given dominion over nature, but rather are expected to protect and care for the natural world, living in harmony with it.

 

As we struggle today with the reality of climate change, this is a book with many lessons for the times in which we live. Despite the grave concern that so many of us have about our destructive approach to nature – progress in changing human behavior just limps along, and so far, the destruction of the natural world seems to be not just continuing, but by some accounts is winning and gaining momentum.

 

Unfortunately, we tend to put climate change at the bottom of our collective list of priorities, and when we think of it at all – we think mainly in terms of benefit to humans. How many carbon footprints can we count – how much energy can we get from wind and solar?  Really, this is a far cry from seeing ourselves as a part of nature – we are a long way from worshipping the trees, the mountains and the rivers, as our ancestors once did, even in Europe.

 

Some of us are appalled at the thought of worshipping anything at all (and this also is a western mindset). Heaven forbid that we should honor the sacredness of animals and plants. Instead, we objectify nature. We remain alienated from the earth and the beauty of all the living beings of the earth. Yet, if the earth is to survive, we will need to make an about-face. We need to acknowledge the intrinsic beauty and value of all life.

 

The most ancient books of Hinduism were composed in the forests, where sages and wise people lived.

 

Every village in India once had a sacred forest – maybe two acres, or maybe two hundred. Within the boundaries of this sacred grove, all life was sacred. Within these forests lived the gods that people worshipped. The trees and the animals were not to be harmed for any reason, though, in recent decades, many of these forests have fallen into disrepair. One of Dr. Nanditha Krishna’s foundations, the CPR Environmental Education Centre, has restored 53 of these sacred groves; and their upkeep is now being managed by local villages.

 

Most of one of the two great epics of India, the Ramayana, takes place inside forests, as the hero Rama travels throughout India traversing all the many different kinds of forest; there are spectacular descriptions of flowering trees and plants, and the graceful beauty of the wild animals.

 

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Every river in India is a goddess – except for two who are male gods. Beautiful stories are told about these river goddesses. Because the river Ganges did not want to fall straight down to the earth out of fear that her great power might destroy the plants and animals below, she sought the help of Shiva. When she fell down from heaven to earth, the water power was caught in Shiva’s hair, in order to break the fall, then it fell gently down, from Shiva’s head, to the earth below. It still does today.

 

The land of India, north and south, is filled with sacred lakes, and sacred ponds known as “tanks”, which are artificial bodies of water, some created many centuries ago. These sacred bodies of water hold large amounts of rainfall to protect against droughts. Seeping from these ponds and tanks into the surrounding soil, the stored water is available to the plants and trees during times of water scarcity. Many of these tanks were built in times past by kings whose engineers understood the value of conserving water.

 

Even today, despite the deleterious effects of western influence, which is all too pervasive in India, particularly in the fields of science and education, there is a strong, vibrant love and respect for nature. There remains today, as always in the past, a profound reverence for all life – human, animal, plant, and the features of the landscape – the mighty rivers, mountains, and forests.

 

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There is much that we in the west can learn from this great land, whose wisdom stretches back at least 5,000 years, and probably much, much farther. Dr. Nanditha Krishna’s beautifully written book, Hinduism and Nature, is a very good place to start on this journey to broaden our understanding of the earth and our place in nature.

 

Photo Credits

 

Top Photo: Ondrej Zvacek / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Wikipedia. / Northern side of Mount Kailash

 

Second photo: Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons / The Ganges falling through Shiva’s hair.

 

Third photo: Rbsrajput / Wikipedia: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / The Narmada River.

 

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

❅ ❆

Koch snowflake

❄ Snowflakes ❆❅❅❆

Tell me why you are so white
Made of clear ice yet fairer than
Pearl . . . . . .

Tell me why you are all unique
Such that no two are the same
Crystal . . . . . .

Tell me why you are so delightful
As to be courted in Julie Andrews’ favourite things
Convivial . . . . . .

Tell me why you are six-sided
Rivaling the radial symmetry of radiant stars
Hexagonal . . . . . .

Tell me why you are so beautiful
Blazing with the sparkling perfection of gemstones
Inspirational . . . . . .

Tell me why you are modelled
By the self-similitude of recursive patterns
Infinitely fractal . . . . . .

Tell…

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Owl females and youngsters

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video from Sweden is about long-eared owl, Ural owl and great grey owl females and her youngsters.

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 13 February 2018 video from India is called Ramapithecus: Phylogenetic and Taxonomic status.

From PLOS:

Late Miocene ape maxilla (upper jaw) discovered in western India

Discovery extends the range of ancient apes in the subcontinent

November 14, 2018

An ape maxilla (upper jaw) from the Late Miocene found in the Kutch basin, in western India, significantly extends the southern range of ancient apes in the Indian Peninsula, according to a study published in November 14, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ansuya Bhandari from the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow, India, and colleagues.

Apes, or hominoids, are a group of primates from Africa and Southeast Asia that includes the gibbons and the great apes: chimps, orangutans, gorillas, and humans. Ancient ape remains from Miocene deposits in the Siwaliks of India and Pakistan have been key for understanding the evolution of great…

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Spinning

leaf and twig


the geranium’s
color wheel
spun by cold

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

A reconstruction of Mirarce eatoni perched on the horns of the ceratopsian dinosaur Utahceratops gettyi. Image credit: Brian Engh, dontmesswithdinosaurs.comFrom the University of California – Berkeley in the USA:

Rare fossil bird deepens mystery of avian extinctions

Most complete North American enantiornithine fossil was aerodynamic equal of modern birds

November 13, 2018

Summary: Today’s birds descend from a small number of bird species living before the dinosaur extinction. Some of the birds that went extinct, the enantiornithines, were actually more common than and out-competed modern bird ancestors. Analysis of a newly described fossil, the most complete known from the Americas, demonstrates, too, that the enantiornithines were as agile and strong in flight as the ancestors of modern birds. Why, then, did enantiornithines die out and modern birds flourish?

During the late Cretaceous period, more than 65 million years ago, birds belonging to hundreds of different species flitted around the dinosaurs and through the forests as abundantly as they flit about our woods and fields today.

But after

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Exposing the Big Game

Octopuses are known to be intelligent, advanced creatures, able to create their own shelter, change color in an instant and even adapt well to climate change.

In a new study, a group of 33 international scientists suggest these unique traits may have an unearthly origin. They investigated the theory that octopuses may have evolved from life forms that came to earth on ancient comets.

This isn’t a new concept. Scientists have been grappling with the origins of life on our planet for centuries. And this study adds an intriguing look into the theory of panspermia, that suggests the evolution of life on Earth has, and continues to be, influenced by the arrival of organisms from space.

The study has faced some criticism, but the scientists have also supported their claims with well-established research. Let’s take a closer…

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Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 9 October 2014 video says about itself:

World’s oldest cave paintings from 40,000 years ago discovered in Indonesia

Scientists have calculated that ancient cave drawings in Indonesia are at least as old as prehistoric art in Europe, laying to rest the idea that a human creativity was first born on the western continent.

Using uranium decay levels, scientists concluded that the drawings were made 35,000-40,000 years ago, roughly the same period as drawings found in Spain and France.

One Asian handprint is the oldest on record at 39,000-years-old. Archaeologists estimated the age of a dozen stencils of hands in mulberry red and two detailed drawings of an animal described as a “pig-deer“.

The Indonesian cave drawings are part of more 100 pieces of art in Sulawesi, southeast of Borneo.

From Nature today:

Palaeolithic cave art in Borneo

Abstract

Figurative cave paintings from the Indonesian island…

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Bharata Bharati

Destruction of Babri Masjid in January 1992

After a comprehensive analysis of the evidences that had surfaced during the excavation and the discovery of historical artifacts, the Archeological Survey Of India came to the conclusion that there existed a temple beneath the Babri Masjid. – K.K. Muhammed

It was in 1990 that the issue of Ayodhya became hot. Before that, in 1978 itself, as a student of archaeology, I had the opportunity to survey Ayodhya. As a student of School of Archaeology, Delhi, I was a member of the team headed by Prof B.B. Lal, which was carrying out an extensive survey at Ayodhya.

We found that there existed brick foundations, which supported the pillars of a pre-existed temple. No one had viewed such findings as controversial those days. We examined the facts with due sense of history as archaeological experts.

There were temple-pillars embedded on the walls of Babri Masjid. These pillars were made of a…

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Birds, how high do they fly?

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 6 November 2018 video says about itself:

Bird flight height comparison:

Migratory birds and birds of prey can reach substantial heights while flying. This list gives the highest recorded flights for various species (limited to observations of 4,500 metres/15,000 feet and above).

Here is the list of some of the highest flying birds in the world:

Northern pintail
White stork
Wallcreeper
Hummingbird
Sparrow
Bar-tailed godwit
Siberian crane
Mallard
Andean condor
Bearded vulture
Steppe eagle
Demoiselle crane
Alpine chough
Whooper swan
Bar-headed goose
Common crane
Rüppell’s vulture

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