Environmental Concerns in Atharvana Veda (Post No.10,409)


Post No. 10,409

Date uploaded in London – –   4 DECEMBER  2021         

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The Hymn to Earth (AV XII-1) with 63 stanzas/Mantras is the most famous ‘Verse on Earth and it beauty’. Most of the nature lovers knew about it. But there are more smaller poems on cleanliness and environment in Atharvana Veda.

Here are a few which needs the attention of environmentalists: –

HYMN CXX; Book Six; AV

A prayer for pardon of sins and felicity hereafter

1.If we have injured Air, or Earth, or Heaven, if we have wronged
   our Mother or our Father,

  May Agni Gārhapatya here absolve us, and bear us up into the
   world of virtue.

2.Earth is our Mother, Aditi our birth-place: our brother Air save
   us from imprecation!
  Dyaus, Father, save us, from the world of Fathers! My world
   not lost, may I approach my kindred.

3.There where our virtuous friends, who left behind them their
   bodily infirmities, are happy,
  Free from distortion of the limbs and lameness, may we behold,
   in heaven, our sons and parents.



This was sung by our forefathers thousands of years ago. In other parts of the world people were not that civilized or matured. Their thoughts have not been elevated to this level. If anyone looks at this along with the Bhumi Sukta/ Hymn to Earth, one will be amazed to see the high level of thinking. Now the newspapers high light these concerns. World leaders meet to discuss the environmental problems and each country accuses the other countries saying ‘You are the Culprits’.  Expecting this our seers sung this before other cultures got civilized.

One may think that if they have sung about it, the problem should have existed even then. There are two answers

Yes the problem did exist, but in very minor scale. How do we know that?  Hindus say a mantra even before they place their feet on the ground from the bed in the morning. Hindus worship the land even before they start the cultivation. This is repeated every day or every year. That means they knew they do some damage to Mother Earth for their own selfish interests. But one can’t avoid it they know.

Even today whenever a new proposal for constructing a dam is announced by the respective government, whenever an oil drilling is announced by the government, immediately an environmental group opposes it in the name of saving environment. Then the government reasons out saying there are more benefits to humanity than the damage it causes or it may cause. So, this is an eternal conflict and never ending argument.

Even when Arjuna and Krishna proposed to burn the forest Khandava Vana, there was opposition from Naga tribals. But both of them went ahead and there was a big fight between the Pandavas and the tribal Nagas. But that did something good. Mayan Danavan led one section to South America to establish Mayan Civilization.

Now let us see the merits in the above verse.

Mantra 1

If we have done anything against heavenly Mother and Father (Earth and Sky/atmosphere), if we have done anything wrong to earthly Mother and Father (parents) we seek your pardon.

Garhapatya Fire is the eternal fire in a family. That fire is never extinguished for generations. One father passes it to his son when he gets married. That lighted pot will be there till his death. In the meantime, his sons would have already got them from him, when they got married. They did daily fire ritual at family level.

An earthen pot with paddy husk and cow dung will have this fire burning for ever in a corner of the house. There were three types of fire in every Brahmins house. Even 2000 year old Tamil Sangam verses praised Brahmins as 1, 2 3, 4 men (1.Always running after One Brahman, 2. One who has Two births/Dvija; one before sacred thread, one after wearing sacred thread; 3. One who keeps Three types of fire at home- Gaarhapatya, Aahvaneeya and Daakshinaagniya; 4 one who practises Four Vedas; it goes on like this)

Mantra 2

Earth and sky are described as close relatives. And with their support, I would survive. I would have all good things in life.

Mantra 3

Praying for healthy life without damage to any limbs or organs.

Hindu scriptures say that people residing in Swarga/heaven are always happy. That is wished here on earth and up above.

Hindu belief is the reason for this hymn. They believed that if you do any harm to anything that will affect you. That is why they did worship animate and inanimate things



19. For ceremonial purification. AV BOOK SIX; HYMN 19 (SUKTA192)

1. Let the god-folk purify me; let men (mánu) purify me with prayer (dhī́); let all beings purify me; let the purifying one purify me.

2. Let the purifying one purify me, in order to activity, dexterity, life, likewise unharmedness.

3. With both, O divine impeller (savitár), with purifier and with impulse, do thou purify us in order to seeing.

This verse is found in all the texts that have vs. i. RV. (ix. 67. 25) VS. (xix. 43)

Purity exists in two levels- physical and mental. We know that one contributes to another. Since Hindus originated in India, their life depends fully on water. Vedic rituals and the hundreds of references to rivers show this. The took a bath before sun rise and started their prayers very early in the morning. All mythological stories also confirm this. This personal mental and physical purity should have led them to national cleanliness. Though it is not in this verse it is understood.

In Tamil there is a proverb: ‘One tree doesn’t make a grove’ equivalent to ‘A single swallow cannot make a summer’. So clean individuals make a cleaner country/ cleaner society.


Tags — Purity, environment, concern, cleanliness, in Vedas.

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