About Aranyani

Aranyani is the goddess of the forest honoured by song in the Indian Rig Veda (Hymn number 146, Book 10). She is a goddess who animates and protects the forest and at the same time provides food for humankind. This beautiful image symbolizes the age-old connection between man and nature that has been expressed in a multitude of cultural and religious forms.

At some places in this world – particularly but not only in the West – this connection has weakened and is disappearing out of sight. More and more people, however, are seeking a way back to spirituality and sense-making, and that includes nature as well. Many are worried about the loss of biodiversity in the world and they see mankind's alienation from nature as its deepest cause. As a response, they are resuming their search for connection with nature, in their own country or far away in 'prestine wilderness' or among indigenous peoples who they think are more connected with nature than those in the West. Or they explore the world's religions in search for supranatural inspiration for 'green' behaviour. Others make efforts te re-connect youth and urban populations with nature. Policy makers search for a new narrative on nature. The movement to re-connect with nature is worldwide. However, it is'nt simple. What do academic scholars say? Where can we find a platform for serious discussion?

To answer these questions, Cathrien de Pater has established Aranyani Consultancies. She has experience in forestry, biodiversity, animal welfare and religious studies. Aranyani offers:

  • knowledge about forests, nature and religion;
  • moderation of discussions and dialogue;
  • networks on forests, nature and religion;
  • process facilitation.

1. GODDESS of wild and forest who seemest to vanish from the sight.
How is it that thou seekest not the village? Art thou not afraid?
2. What time the grasshopper replies and swells the shrill cicala's voice,
Seeming to sound with tinkling bells, the Lady of the Wood exults.
3. And, yonder, cattle seem to graze, what seems a dwelling-place appears:
Or else at eve the Lady of the Forest seems to free the wains.
4. Here one is calling to his cow, another there hath felled a tree:
At eve the dweller in the wood fancies that somebody hath screamed.
5. The Goddess never slays, unless some murderous enemy approach.
Man eats of savoury fruit and then takes, even as he wills, his rest.
6. Now have I praised the Forest Queen, sweet-scented, redolent of balm,
The Mother of all sylvan things, who tills not but hath stores of food
(Rig Veda Hymn CXLVI (146), tr. by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1896], at sacred-texts.com)