A Hindu worships nature not out of fear but by realizing each living being is a representation of the Supreme Soul or God. Hindus worship and feed cows, ants, rats, bull, snakes…we find divinity in rivers, mountains, trees…Each and every aspect of Nature is Holy for a Hindu.
In the tenth chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says
Now I will declare to you My Divine glories, immanent, in their prominence; O best of the Kurus, there is no end to the details of My extent.
I am the Self, O Gudakesha, seated in the hearts of all beings; I am the Beginning, the Middle and also the End of all beings.
Among the trees, I am the holy banyan tree (the Ashwattha tree – Pipal ),
Among the cows, I am the wish giving Kama Dhenu
And among the water bodies, I am the sea
And among the immovable, I am the Himalayas
Among the peaks, I am the divine Meru
Among the shining objects, I am the Sun God
And among the stars, I am the moon
Among those who move fast, I am the wind
And among the rivers, I am the Ganga
And among the seasons, I am the flowering spring
Among the animals, I am the lion,
And among the birds, I am the eagle.
Among the fishes I am the Shark.
Among the great elephants, I am Airavatha
And I am Vasuki among serpents,
And whatsoever is the seed of all beings, that also am I, O Arjuna; there is no being, whether moving, or unmoving, that can exist without Me.
But is an average Hindu protecting Nature or at least not destroying it. Sadly, majority of the Hindus only remembers trees, animals, mountains and other aspects of nature only during festivals and auspicious days.
Even some of the Hindu festivals which were deeply rooted in Nature have been converted into pollution festivals by crass commercialization.
River Ganga is slowly dying; Ganesh Chaturthi is in news for polluting water bodies; important Hindu temple towns are highly polluted, not a single river associated with Hinduism is pollution free, tigers and numerous other animals that are constantly depicted with Hindu Gods and Goddesses are facing extinction….it is a long list.
We often find blame excuses to escape from responsibility or play the blame game. There are a lot of things an individual can do.
When reading Hindu scriptures we realize that there was period when Nature was without human beings and there are indications in many scriptures that in future too there can be a period without Human Beings – the Supreme Soul appears to annihilate that which is straying from the path of Dharma. By destroying Nature and behaving as if we are above Nature we are straying from the path of Dharma and behaving like the demons in the holy books and inviting the wrath of the Supreme Being.
Nature will survive even after human beings are gone. Man needs to change, if he needs to survive in Nature or Nature will find ways to eliminate Human Beings.