Religions of the World and Ecology home


T. S. Rukmani holds Ph.D. (1958) and D.Litt. (1991) degrees from the University of Delhi. He now holds the Chair in Hindu Studies at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. He also held the Chair in Hindu Studies and Indian Philosophy at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa, from 1993 to 1995. He is the author of ten books and numerous research papers. His main work is in Indian philosophy, especially Advaita Vedanta and Yoga philosophy.

Abstract of paper given at Hinduism and Ecology conference:
Literary Foundations for an Ecological Aesthetic

Literature defined as writings having permanent value are the works which appeal to a critical readership over a long period of time. While there can be and there are literary works that have universal appeal, it will not be untrue to state that all the nuances of a fine piece of literature can only touch one who is 'an implied reader'--a reader who according to Gayatri Spivak is 'constructed within a consolidated system of cultural representation.' Such literature is culture specific and reflects the cultural values of the community it depicts. This paper is written with the belief that there are differing world views and the world view of the Hindu is an ecologically friendly one. While on the one hand literature reflects the world view, it, in turn, has an epistmic and ontic function which it performs in making the reader sensitive to his/her existential nature and also by helping to construct knowledge about what it is to be a human being. Using mainly Sanskrit sources, this paper will explore some of these questions and try to see how literature helps in forming an ecologically sensitive person.

Back to:

Hinduism and Ecology conference participants