In today's time, the "wastage" is among the grave issues. For example wasting food/water etc.. e.g. nations like USA alone consume 25% of world resources, despite having 5% population.

Do the scriptures have any mention of such "wasteful behaviour"?
(Mention in form of guidelines or punishment or anything else)

  • This would fall under the general category of greed. But other than that, there would be no reference. – Swami Vishwananda Jul 19 '17 at 9:13
  • @SwamiVishwananda, "wasting" is related more with "negligence", rather than "greed". – iammilind Jul 19 '17 at 9:24
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    Resource, food, water etc are god given. Probably some scriptures may have cited the subject mentioned. Hence the question may leave opened. – Parthasarathy Raghavan Jul 19 '17 at 12:19

resource-wastage in scriptures

Food Wastage -: Here The Taittiriya Upanishad treats Food being the first gateway to the knowledge of Brahman, the śruti enjoins the contemplation of Brahman through the symbol of food. And advices us not to neglect /waste / abandon food.

Anuvaka VII

अन्नंन निन्द्यात् | तद्व्रतं | प्राणो वा अन्नम् । शरीरमन्नादम् । प्राणे शरीरं
प्रतिष्ठितम् । शरीरे प्राणः प्रतिष्ठितः । तदेतदन्नमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम् ॥ २ ॥

Annnm na Nindyaat | prāṇo vā annam | śarīramannādam | prāṇe śarīraṃ
pratiṣṭhitam | śarīre prāṇaḥ pratiṣṭhitaḥ | tadetadannamanne pratiṣṭhitam || 2 ||

Do not disrespect the food

Anuvaka VIII

अन्नं न परिचक्षीत । तद् व्रतम् ॥ १ ॥

  1. He shall not abandon food; that his vow. This vow is enjoined on him who contemplates life and the body as taught above.

That his vow: This, as before, is intended to extol food: when thus one does not abandon food, without making any such distinction as good food and bad food, food becomes exalted. The same interpretation should be put on the succeeding passages also, beginning with “Water verily is food.”

Further more Manu smiriti tells us to use our wealth with care and wisely and one should conserve it . Indirectly advising us not to overspend it.

अलब्धं चैव लिप्सेत लब्धं रक्षेत् प्रयत्नतः ।
रक्षितं वर्धयेच्चैव वृद्धं पात्रेषु निक्षिपेत् ॥ ९९ ॥

alabdhaṃ caiva lipseta labdhaṃ rakṣet prayatnataḥ |
rakṣitaṃ vardhayeccaiva vṛddhaṃ pātreṣu nikṣipet || 99 ||

He shall strive to obtain what has not been obtained; what he has gained he shall preserve with care; he shall augment what has been preserved and what has been augmented he shall bestow upon suitable recipients—(99) See the Artha Shashtra commentary

Arthaśāstra (p. 32)—‘The science of Government tends to the acquiring of what has not been acquired, to the saving of what has been acquired, to the augmentation of what has been saved and to the spending of the augmented in proper places.

There is a interesting story in Shreemad Bhagvat Purana where mother earth hides the resources inside her just because some people were over utilizing / misusing them.

पुरा सृष्ट्य: ह्योषधयो ब्रह्मणा या विशाम्पते |
भुज्यमाना मया दृष्टा असद्भिधृतव्रतै ||6||

purā sṛṣṭā hy oṣadhayo brahmaṇā yā viśāmpate 
bhujyamānā mayā dṛṣṭā asadbhir adhṛta-vrataiḥ

My dear King, the seeds, roots, herbs and grains, which were created by Lord Brahmā in the past, are now being used by nondevotees, who are devoid of all spiritual understanding.SB 4.18.6

अपालितानाद्रुता च भवद्भिर्लोकपालकै: |
चोरीभूतेsथ लोकेsहं यज्ञार्थेsग्रसमोषधी: ||7||

apālitānādṛtā ca bhavadbhir loka-pālakaiḥ corī-bhūte ’tha loke ’haṁ yajñārthe ’grasam oṣadhīḥ

My dear King, not only are grains and herbs being used by nondevotees, but, as far as I am concerned, I am not being properly maintained. Indeed, I am being neglected by kings who are not punishing these rascals who have turned into thieves by using grains for sense gratification. Consequently I have hidden all these seeds, which were meant for the performance of sacrifice.SB 4.18.7


Although there are immense potencies within the earth for the production of grains, fruits and flowers, this production is checked by the earth itself when it is misused by nondevotees, who have no spiritual goals.

Moral of the above Story: Food is not just something that we eat to satisfy hunger or satisfy our tastes. It is a gift from Bhagavān. Food is precious and holy. We should see food as a means of doing worship and for doing good karma. We should take care of mother earth while growing food on her. We should not abuse or over-use our natural resources. Rather, we should conserve them as much as we can.

You can read the whole story SB 4.17 & 18

  • Nice answer. Would suggest to remove the Gita part as that's a translation mistake & not related to wasting. Use gita-supersite instead. – iammilind Jul 19 '17 at 9:28
  • Ok , Thanks - BTW I tried to find about wastage of water in scriptures but i think the scriptures are not much talking about this issue , there is only a story in puranas where bathing directly in pond is prohibited.Will add more references as i will find them. – SwiftPushkar Jul 19 '17 at 9:35
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    The verse says, that Deva-s, i.e. the elements of nature and animals including humans were created at the beginning of creation. The creatures were supposed to work (yajna) and serve the nature. In its response, the nature (in form of various demigods) fulfills various necessities. Those who don't participate in this cycle, are like thieves. Now, this verse may not easily be relate-able to "wastage". :-) – iammilind Jul 19 '17 at 10:22
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    Annam na Nindyaat means one should not abandon food or one should not criticize food? Whose translation are u using? NindA means criticism. – Rickross Jul 19 '17 at 16:38
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    @SwiftPushkar Ok then u highlighted the wrong sanskrit verse.. BTW does not Parichaksha mean to reject? – Rickross Jul 19 '17 at 16:56

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