Early Ecological Knowledge of Ancient Indian People

This article deals with early ecological knowledge that can be gleaned from the ancient Indian scriptures. The early Indian religious texts such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Arayanyakas, Epics, Puranas and the entire classical Sanskrit literature are the basis of our understanding of the conservation, preservation and management of forests of ancient India. Ancient Indian texts like the Arthasastra, Sathapatha Bhramana, Manusmrti, Brhat-Samhita, Ramayana, Mahabharatam and Rajtarangini mirrored the ideas of forest ecology and conservation. Sacred gardens are associated with ancient traditions in several major cultures, as well as Hinduism. Sacred groves are patches of natural vegetation demarcated by ancient societies and guarded on the premise of non-secular practices and cultural traditions. Ancient Indian people knew the importance of resource conservation, protection of sacred groves, sacred trees, medicinal plant species, etc. At the time of Sanskrit literature, thick forests abounded in India.

Key words: Forest conservation; ecological knowledge; sacred groves, environment.

by M. Amirthalingam

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