The Bhumi Project

(Colin Bell)

The Bhumi Project is a worldwide Hindu initiative aimed at bringing together Hindus “interested in service to Mother Earth”. The name comes from Bhuma Devi, a Sanskrit name for the personality of the Earth, and the project draws together Hindu teaching and practices, both for the Hindu religious community, but seeing them also as having benefit wider, bringing new perspectives alongside those of other religious groups. Does this goal sound familiar?

Reading through the ideas and proposals, there is much which is familiar, and a few potential surprises, but not unwelcome ones. Just a couple of examples:

  • Quite a few (and most Christians) would not want to go as far as saying that “Mother Earth speaks to us with a personal voice”, or giving the Earth reverence, but in non-spiritual terms we would agree that we need to give it or her appropriate respect as the source of our lives, and would have substantial commonality on what that meant in practice. (The differences within a single religion would probably be greater than the differences between religions, and would often include factors such as what we thought would pragmatically work.)
  • Hinduism includes cruelty to animals, and in particular cows, as a higher priority than many other sustainability proponents would. Or perhaps they wouldn’t even consider it part of sustainability but a different, but related, issue to face. How to weight things like this is part of the debate we need to have – and probably compromises on all sides are necessary to get to a position we can all support which would promise action on things we consider necessary, even if not quite in the mix we would prefer.
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