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| Last Updated:: 16/10/2015

UN Bristol Meeting on Faiths and the Sustainable Development Goals September 7th – 10th, 2015



The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) organised the UN Bristol Meeting on Faiths and the Sustainable Development Goals, in Bristol, UK, from September 7th to the 10th. This meeting was initiated by UNDP as a key part of the United Nations’ post 2015 process


Faith leaders from around the world and senior United Nations officials gathered to discuss on working together to implement the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at lifting people out of poverty and creating a sustainable planet.

The aim was to discuss how faith groups can support the SDGs, which will set the direction of development work worldwide for the next 15 years.


Dr. Nanditha Krishna, Director, CPR Environmental Education Centre read the following Hindu reflection taken from Vedic tradition on the inaugural day.  






Environmental Protection for Climate Change


The principle of the sanctity of the earth and all life forms – the pancha bhuta (earth, air, fire water and space), plants and animals - is clearly ingrained in Indian traditions. Only God has absolute sovereignty over all crea­tures including man; thus, man had no dominion over his own life or non-human life. Consequently, man cannot act as a viceroy of God over the planet, nor assign degrees of relative worth to other species. There is no sense of absolute superiority of man over nature. The Divine Being is the one under­lying power of unity, beautifully expressed in Yajur Veda 32.8. The sacredness of God's creation means that no damage may be inflicted on other species. Therefore, all lives, human and non-human, are of equal value and all have the same right to existence. According to the Atharva Veda (XII.1.15), the earth is not for human beings alone, but for other creatures as well:


“Born of Thee, on Thee move mortal creatures;

Thou bearest them—the biped and the quadruped;

Thine, O Earth, are the five races of men, for whom,

Surya (Sun), as he rises spreads with his rays”.


The omnipresent Purusha is described as: “Thousand-headed, thousand-eyed, thousand-footed, He having pervaded the earth on all sides, still extends his fingers beyond it. Purusa alone is all this - whatever has been and whatever is going to be. Further he is the lord of immortality and also of what grows for food.”

Rig Veda, 10.90.1


In the beginning there was the self alone in the form of Purusha. He transformed himself into man and woman...Later, he transformed himself into other creatures. In this way he created everything that exists on earth, in the water and the sky. He realized: "I indeed am creation, for I produced all this." Thence arose creation (Brihadāranyaka Upanishad, 1-5).


The subject of creation is discussed in detail in the Mahabharata. In the Shantiparva and Moksadharmaparva, Yudhisthira and Bhishma converse about the universe, its creation and creator:


Yudhishthira asks Bhishma – “How was the world created? What was the position of creatures at the time of Praylaya? Who is the maker of the sea, sky, mountain, clouds, fire (Agni) air and other things of the world? How are all creatures made, how did cleanliness and impurity emerge, and how did Dharma (re