Ecology in Vrikshayurveda

The main feature of Indian climate had been environmental temperature close to human body temperature. Hence, here, in Indian sub-continent, requirement of life was less and survival was easier and emphasis was given on making life happier for longer and longer period. To achieve this goal, as mentioned earlier also, nature was studied from different point of views because structure of any branch of knowledge is built upon small number of basic principles and one basic principle of nature is related to another basic principle due to inner harmony of the nature. Hence, two sciences can be united on the basis of fundamental principles. Ayurveda is based on principles of nature and Vrikshayurveda is based on principles of Ayurveda and nature. Hence, they go hand in hand with same basic principles. As the aim of Ayurveda is to achieve happy, healthy and peaceful life and that of Vrikshayurveda is to provide the same to plants.

These developments are at the cost of the nature this was well judged by ancient Indians and has its refection in their literature. For example, Atharva Veda has mention about conservation and utilization and regeneration of nature.

Conservation Principles as in Atharva Veda (12.1.11) hymn, “Let thy hills, snowy mountains, let thy forest-land , O earth, be pleasant ; upon the brown, black, red, all-formed, fixed earth {bhumi), the earth guarded by Indra — I, unharassed, unsmitten, unwounded, have stood upon the earth."

And the Utilization and Regeneration Principles hymn from Atharva Veda (12.1.35) reads: “What of thee, O earth (bhumi), I dig out, let that quickly grow over ; let me not hit thy vitals nor thy heart, O cleansing one.”

These principles might have come in existence because agriculture has always caused environmental damage. It has damaged nature initially by clearing forests for more agricultural land along with later; strategy of selection of crops and appropriate cropping and farming system was governed by means available with individual and his immediate and long term requirements.

Towards the end of Later Vedic period (1000 BC - 600 BC) by clearing the forests of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar land was made available to develop colonies to live civilized life. The beginning of civilized life reflected in increase in population, resulting in increase in immediate and long term needs of an individual, which was predominantly at the cost of nature. Rishis and intelligent persons envisaged the man’s intervention in to nature for his own survival and in their prestigious literature gave prominence to nature or eco friendly life support system.

Survey of literature available on Vrikshayurveda reveals that it is entirely based on analytical methods with minimum disturbance to nature and harmonious living as guiding principle. Topics related to soil, water, irrigation, farm implements, land preparation, propagation, plant nutrients, and plant protection from diseases, harvesting and storage etc. employees practices which has been completely eco friendly.

The beauty of this entirely eco friendly literature is that no where it advocates cutting trees or killing of animals but it suggests that use whatever is available and for that it provides options of inputs. In case of agriculture especially in plant nutrient and disease management various combinations of plant material and animal parts and products have been suggested, for instance at least 18 remedies of nutrients for pomegranate and 9 for mango have been suggested. Vrikshayurveda has always tried to adopt preventive measures rather the curative. It believes that like healthy man healthy plant can face any problem or calamity. Crop diversity, crop rotation, seasonal cultivation of crops etc. has been suggested which demonstrates further eco friendliness in agriculture.

To maintain biodiversity lots of measures have been suggested. For instance, Surapala explains importance of trees and by taking advantage of common man’s religious attitude, superstitions, and beliefs urged them to plant trees. While Kashyapa says King should encourage forestry. Further to enhance biodiversity and to maintain ecological balance gardens had been given importance. Vatsayana and Kashyapa had given details of gardening. Moreover, to give ecological message and for additional protection gods were associated to plants, trees and flowers. For example dedication of plants to navagrahas (nine Planets), 27 nakshatras (Constellations), and 12 rashis (zodiac signs). Such type of allotment of trees to 24 Jain Tirthankars is also noticeable. Lot of such types of associations can be cited in literature. Hence, it may be out of respect or fear, that plants were protected and conservation of biodiversity became easy to maintain nature’s balance. Even then if biodiversity is threatened then, as mentioned earlier, according to Vishnu Samhita, anybody causing any harm to a plant or animal is a sin. The sinner/criminal is liable for punishment in this life and also after death. All such type of measures helped to maintain biodiversity and ecological balance

Thus, Vrikshayurvedic literature has mentioned every possible measure to maintain ecological balance to preserve nature’s harmony. In the 21st century world is facing serious ecological problems adversely affecting biodiversity in this situation it is essential to use principles of Vrikshayurveda to find out solution to restore ecological balance for the benefit of mankind.

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