Nature in Indian Philosophy and Cultural Traditions

  • Meera Baindur

Table of contents

About this book


Working within a framework of environmental philosophy and environmental ethics, this book describes and postulates alternative understandings of nature in Indian traditions of thought, particularly philosophy. The interest in alternative conceptualizations of nature has gained significance after many thinkers pointed out that attitudes to the environment are determined to a large extent by our presuppositions of nature. This book is particularly timely from that perspective.

It begins with a brief description of the concept of nature and a history of the idea of nature in Western thought. This provides readers with a context to the issues around the concept of nature in environmental philosophy, setting a foundation for further discussion about alternate conceptualizations of nature and their significance. In particular, the work covers a wide array of textual and non-textual sources to link and understand nature from classical Indian philosophical perspectives as well as popular understandings in Indian literary texts and cultural practices. Popular issues in environmental philosophy are discussed in detail, such as: What is ‘nature’ in Indian philosophy? How do people perceive nature through landscape and mythological and cultural narratives? In what ways is nature sacred in India?

To make the discussion relevant to contemporary readers, the book includes a section on the ecological and ethical implications of some philosophical concepts and critical perspectives on alternate conceptualizations of nature.


Anthropocentric view of nature Conceptualizations of nature as gendered Ecological understandings of nature in Samkhya Equivalents of the term ‘nature’ in Indian thought History of the idea of nature in western traditions Human body typology and geography Human-nature interrelationships in Sanskrit literature Ideas of wilderness and settlements in the Indian context Indian thought on moral action and conservation Moral relationship between landscape and people Nature as constituted by five elements Nature gods in the Vedic tradition Nature in Buddhist and Jain philosophy Nature in Indian literature Nature in performance traditions New paradigms of understanding nature Oneness of nature and human beings in Buddhism Representation of nature and man in the Vedic period Sacred landscapes in Indian thought Topocentric views of nature Worldviews on nature Worship, care and ecological ethics

Authors and affiliations

  • Meera Baindur
    • 1
  1. 1.Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities, Manipal UniversityManipalIndia

Bibliographic information