Indian theory of nature and ecology is influenced by the theory of creation. Every element, object and living being in the universe is created by the same supreme being; and the man has no special dominion over nature. Hindu religion ensured respect for nature in 3 basic elements
- Faith in God
- Non-dualistic view of Purush
- A set of rules for duties and worship
Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas have detailed description of trees, plants and wildlife along with their importance to the community. Significance of trees is described in Varah Puran, which says planting trees will lead to heaven. In Matsyapurana and Padmapurana, there is a description of plantation ceremony, Vriksha Mahotsava. In Matsyapurana plantation of tree is equal to ten sons.
Trees and plants are used in worship and rituals. It was assumed that particular Gods abode in them. In Narasimha Puran, tree has been considered as Brahma itself. Atharvaveda considers Peepal tree as abode of various Gods. There has been prohibition and punishments for cutting trees.
Indian society was aware that indiscriminate destruction of plants and forests would result in diseases and pollution of atmosphere. Indians' relationship with nature and animals were of mutual respect and kindness. Eg: Worship of Cow. Yajurveda offers prayers to all animals. Co-existence of several animals in Rishis' Ashrams is another example.
Ancient Indian societies provided moral guidelines towards environmental preservation and conservation. These were not only practiced by common man, but also by rulers and kings. Every environmental issue was given proper solution.