Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Reading the BhagavadgUli from an Ecological Perspective LANCE E. NELSON

Much has been made, and rightly so, of the damaging ecological consequences of modem economiesand~ the cul~es they spawn, with their consumerist orientation and near religious faith in continuous, open-ended development and growth. There is no doubt that a deeply held belief in the superordinate value· of a nonmaterial, spiritual reality has the potential-if rendered sufficiently compelling"""':'to do much to undercut the ecologically damaging ethos of the dominant consumerist, growth-oriented "religion of the market."l7 It is equally clear, as I will be neither the first nor the last to point out, that the Gila provides such a spiritual vision}8 It teaches of the existence of a transcendent Supreme Being upon whom the universe is dependent for its existence. It teaches in addition of a spiritual self (atman) that dwells within each person. It reminds its devotees that full awareness of the spiritual, dimension is indispensable for authentic happiness, and that such· awareness cannot be· attained . without setting strict limitations on the human tendency to live for gratification of desires, "sense pleasures," and ego-indulgence.

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