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Keywords:

  • bioenergy;
  • Indian philosophy;
  • rural communities;
  • solar energy;
  • sustainable energy

Abstract This paper begins with an introduction to the ancient spiritual tradition of India. The focus is upon aspects of ancient Indian philosophy relevant to modern society. In the Indian context, science and spirituality are complementary. The application of ethical and religious motivations derived from these ideas is delineated with respect to the practical implementation of energy projects. The efforts of religious and social groups in promoting renewable energy in India are included. A few bioenergy technologies relevant to rural communities in developing nations are then described. The paper argues that though scientific research, technology development, community-based efforts, environmental activism, and renewable energy policy making are important elements in dealing with the energy crisis, they are not sufficient to solve the crisis. The paper closes with the premise that the main wisdom to be drawn from the religious, spiritual, and philosophical traditions concerns the inner transformation that is key to meeting today's energy and environmental crisis.