Pankaj Jain is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion Studies and of Anthropology at the University of North Texas. His latest book is : Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability. His research and teaching interests include Hinduism, Jainism, environmental ethics, Indian films, and Sanskrit. Interested in connecting ancient practices with contemporary issues, he explores the connections between religious traditions and sustainability in Hindu and Jain communities in the North Texas area. Topics in this engaging hour include: Hindu belief in the divinity of all things, and acceptance of divinity in non-Human forms; how everybody and everything is potentially divine according to its philosophy; how early Christians, Jews and Muslims were accepted in India and their saints assimilated into the Hindu faith; the role and place of humans in the world, and our relationship to the natural world; the worship of nature; holy waters; trees; temples; festivals and rituals; the story of the Bishnoi, the original 'tree huggers' of the 1720's; their martyrdom and continuing legacy today; Jain's latest book; gardens and sacred groves; the contemporary conflicts between Hindu spiritual values and the modern-day materially based value system; the affect of economy and culture on this natural relationship; sustainability; the Hindu and Jain communities in North Texas; and more.

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