Ancient Indian Wisdom and Sustainable Development

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The world is now facing a multi-dimensional crisis, i.e., an environmental crisis since it is affecting all aspects of a human life such as social, political, economical, technological, cultural and spiritual. It is the result of the Western philosophical perspective (Cartesian) of mind–body dualism and the Newtonian perspective of developmental strategy, which ultimately leads to a materialistic world order, which we have seen in the form of the Industrial Revolution. Now, the search for a new paradigm that can ensure economic development without jeopardising environmental quality is being intensified. We need such a world view with a philosophical foundation where people think about nature before thinking about themselves, which can make us realise the deeper underlying reality of basic oneness. Heisenberg, about the relation between man and nature says that. “‘Natural Science’” does not simply describe and explain nature, it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves. We can never speak about nature without, at the same time, speaking about ourselves”. This ecological harmony is possible when the entire universe is seen as a single largest family including all the living beings of the world. Vedic civilization realised this world view when they say, vasudhaiva kutumbakam. This world view further developed in the Upani·adic age with a firm philosophical foundation through its cosmological unity and sustainability. Such a holistic world view offers a new paradigm for development, a new socioeconomic system free from exploitation, defining in a novel way the relationship between man and nature thus realising the ecological balance we need today. An attempt has been made to explore the potentiality of Upani·adic world view as an alternative in resolving the sustainability crisis.

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