Hindu Traditions

Lisa Kemmerer

in Animals and World Religions

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199790678
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919178 | DOI:
Hindu Traditions

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The second chapter explores animal-friendly teachings and practices in Vedic, Hindu, and Jain religious traditions through sacred texts and teachings and through the lives of religious exemplars, including key topics such as the sacred power of the natural environment, ahimsa, reincarnation and karma, oneness, interspecies kinship, Vishnu's incarnations, and the historic Hindu tendency toward a diet devoid of flesh and eggs. This chapter also probes rich affiliations between Vedic/Hindu deities and nonhuman animals, including vehicles associated with gods and goddesses, Krishna's connection with cows, and the importance and power of serpents/snakes/nagas, the elephant-headed Ganesha, and the much-revered monkey Hanuman. Chapter 2 closes by demonstrating animal activism in Hindu religious traditions through the life and teachings of Gandhi, as well as the lives and work of two contemporary Hindu animal liberationists, Dharmesh Solanki and PETA's Anuradha Sawhney.

Keywords: Vedas; Hinduism; Jainism; ahimsa; reincarnation; karma; oneness; interspecies kinship; Vishnu; PETA

Chapter.  15934 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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