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Dharmic Ecology: Perspectives from the Swadhyaya Practitioners

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

This is an article about the lives of the Swadhyayis, Swadhyaya practitioners, in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Swadhyaya movement arose in the mid-twentieth century in Gujarat as a new religious movement led by its founder, the late Pandurang Shastri Athavale. In my research, I discovered that there is no category of "environmentalism" in the "way of life" of Swadhyayis living in the villages. Following Weightman and Pandey (1978), I argue that the concept of dharma can be successfully applied as an overarching term for the sustainability of the ecology, environmental ethics, and the religious lives of Swadhyayis. Dharma synthesizes their way of life with environmental ethics based on its multidimensional interpretations.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina


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