Nature as Non-terrestrial

Environmental Philosophy 6 (2):43-58 (2009)
Abstract
A complex process of place-making by Vedic and Purāṇic primary narratives and localized oral secondary narratives shows how nature in India is perceived from a deeply humanized worldview. Some form of cosmic descent from other place-worlds or lokas are used to account for the sacredness of a landscape in the primary narrative called stala purāṇa, while secondary narratives, called stala māhāṭmya, recount the human experience of the sacred. I suggest that sacred geography is not geography of “terrestrial” but of implaced otherworldly materials––rivers, mountains or forests. An ecological ethics based on sacred geography must therefore take into account the sacred aspects of such narratives and encourage normative values that could apply to both the sacred and the ecological for such places
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