7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Vedic Ecology is divided into three parts, "Learning From the Tradition," "India in the Balance," and "Campaigning for the Future." Ranchor's discussion of tradition starts with two chapters on forests. He explains, "At the outset of the nineteenth century India was well endowed with thick forest land. To meet the British Empire's needs during the nineteenth century, the forests were gradually nationalized and the Indian Forestry Department set up to exploit them." He says that huge areas of virgin forest were felled for shipbuilding, railways, industrial fuel, etc. However, he quotes Sevak Sharan, noted Indian environmentalist, who describes how, by redeveloping India's spiritual culture and environment side by side, human society and the environment can be saved. Sharan says, "human beings are part of the forest splendor and should therefore, in their natural state, love and respect it. [...] If we are not kind to the tree, the ant or some other animal or plant, we are not environmentalists. We have to see Krishna in every being. This is one of the requirements for the environmentalist."
Ranchor continues his tradition section of Vedic Ecology with a chapters on the Sleeping Creator, Cosmic Person, Ten Avatars, and Krishna, the Forest Cowherd, Who honors the hill, sun, trees, and cows. In his second section, "India In the Balance," Ranchor presents Gandhi's vision in a chapter entitled, Village Economics. His next chapter, Life of Sacrifice, is an interview with Satish Kumar, founder of the first international college devoted to teaching a spiritual approach to the environment. Satish says, "Whenever you take, eat, or consume, you must consider whether you have left something for others--for God, for nature, for the poor and for future generations. This is sacrifice, or yajna."
In the last five chapters Ranchor encourages his readers to join him by "Campaigning for the Future." He first discusses Balbir Mathur, a successful businessman who became disillusioned with Western culture and founded Trees for Life. Mathur quotes the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.22.33-35), "The whole life of a tree is service. With its leaves, flowers, fruits, branches, roots, shade, fragrance, sap, bark, wood, and finally even its ashes and coal, it exists for the sake of others." Ranchor interviews Sunderlal Bahugana, follower of Gandhi who fights to save the Himalayan environment, and Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental philosopher and activist. Ranchor crafts his interviews into concise summaries that reveal his affection for his environmentalist collaborators. His summaries communicate high philosophy, folklore, practical wisdom, and most of all, appreciation for nature from a spiritual perspective. In 160 pages, he entertains, teaches, fascinates, and nudges us to action. He concludes with a short chapter of Prabhupada's vision for An Alternative Society, and a chapter on Restoring Krishna's Forest.