The Indian mind is imbued with clear—cut ideas on practically all subjects. These ideas are age old. They date back from the Veda.
What is mindscape? It is a word coined on the lines of landscape. A landscape,
We know, is the arrangement of various natural objects like rivers, hills,
Trees , animals, clouds, insects etc., at a particular place at a given time.
Similarly a mindscape is the arrangement of a mind (either individual or collective) with various values, ideas , ideals , prejudices , fears , aspirations, opinions etc., Just as a landscape is the result of complex interactions of natural forces over a period of time, a mindscape is also the result of complex interactions of civilizational forces over a period of time. Depending on the particular combination of rain, wind, soil and natural vegetation occurring at that particular spot, a landscape may be barren or lush, pleasant or grim, hospitable or otherwise. Similarly the mindscape may shape into a wasteland or a fertile tract, imaginative or stunted, aesthetic or grotesque, virile or weak depending on the internal and external factors that shape it.
Anyone who is interested in a people and wishes to understand, use, improve, or even destroy them should know their collective mindscape first- The collective mindscape of a people or society or simply the mindscape of a society is shaped on the lines laid but by its culture and civilization subject to the influence of other cultures to some extent. Historical changes do influence the mindscape but subject to the overall control of the inherent nature of the society. It is anybody’ s knowledge that different societies with different cultural backgrounds react to the same historic event or influence in different ways Indian society has passed through many vicissitudes in the past. As a result many imbalances, inequities and misunderstandings crept into its body politic. Some sections of people got alienated from the native ethos. Especially the modern educated people constitute the main group of alienated Indians. Added to this the constant bombardment of Western mass media and political, economic pressures further confuse and alienate this section of Indians. And yet, it is this section of people being educated, have to revise their ways of thinking and inculcate a truly Indian outlook. This involves a thorough understanding of the Bharatiya or Indian native concepts mind and time.
To understand the ways in which the majority of Indians prefer to organize the physical world around them, to comprehend the mind that provides the anchorage for these typically Indian ways, preferences and seeking; to learn about this anchorage, to understand the Indian Chitta, Manas and is must for any national reconstruction programme.
Time and again various external forces like Islam, Christianity and Marxism tried their hand in destroying Indian way of life and thought in short— Indian culture. But they could only succeed in proselytizing small sections of populations if not totally alienate them from native ways. The attempts have not succeeded in stamping out Indian culture except alienating its educated class. So if the Islamization (Arabicization) or Christianization (Westernization) or Marxization of India is not possible, then we shall have to revert to our own civilizational moorings. We shall have to start understanding ourselves and the world from our own civilizational perspective. We shall have to form a view of the world and the present time, from our own perspective before we can proceed on the path of national reconstruction and development
If we wish to affirm the validity of Indian consciousness, Indian Chitta and Kala, we can do so only by establishing the Indian way of life in the present day world. And this re—assertion of India in the present context is the major task today which Indian scholarship, Indian politics, Indian sciences and technologies, Indian arts, crafts and other diverse skills must accomplish.
But in the unbounded flow of modernity almost every Indian seems to have lost the ability to express his innate consciousness even in small ways. Many a time, the call to make India great rises from here and there.
Before beginning to talk about the future of India, we must know what the people
of this country want to make of her. How do they understand the present times? What are their priorities? Who are these people? How do they perceive themselves?
What is their perception of the modern world? What is their perception of the universe? What is their conception of God? Thus we have to undertake an elaborate intellectual exercise to gain some comprehension of the Indian Chitta and Kala.
The need for such exercise is that the self—awakening of India is bound to remain elusive and transient till we find a secure basis for a confident expression of Indian civilization. We must establish a conceptual framework that makes Indian ways seem viable in the present. This secure basis for the Indian civilization has to be sought mainly within the Chitta and Kala of India.
BARRENNESS OF OUR PRESENT MINDSCAPE-ITS CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES:
We, the educated elite of India are wary of any attempt to understand the Indian mind. We are somehow afraid of those inner thoughts of the people of India. We want to proceed with the myth that there is nothing at all in the Indian mind, (A nation in the making—myth) that it is a clean slate on which we have to write a new story that we learnt from the west. We are afraid because the thought pattern of the common people, if revealed and acknowledged, will show how alienated we are from that pattern; we do not want to be isolated. We continue with our intellectual opium calling it modernity and progress. Our mindscape in fact is barren. We do not want to expose that barrenness to the public gaze lest we lose our prestige as the thinking elite. Secondly, the extraordinarily luxuriant and supple mindscape of the ordinary, rustic Indian unnerves us. We are at loss as to how to grapple with it. We are so far removed from it and retained no Linkages to that native mindscape. We burnt our bridges long back for the sake of an exotic western mindscape. And that exotic mindscape proved to be barren. We find no way to comeback. So we settle down and rationalize the barrenness of our imported mindscape and parade it as the ideal one. Now that our mass media also boost the image of the barren mindscape in the name of modernity, we feel comfortable in our pseudo—modernity.
In fact the Indian mind is imbued with clear—cut ideas on practically all
Subjects. These ideas are age old. They date back from the Veda. Even our present day vocabulary and social practices, food habits, rituals, sayings, stories, and thought patterns reflect these age old ideas. The elite, western educated sections of Indians very well know of the richness of Indian mind. Because of their alien mindset, they wish to deny the history of Indian consciousness.
Some amongst the western educated believe that they have freed themselves completely from the shackles of their Indian consciousness and the Indian sense of time. But such transcendence is not possible for ordinary human beings. A
person like Jawaharlal Nehru found it difficult to perform this feat successfully. But he tried his best to do so is evident from his speeches, writings and actions. He denounced the native ways as backward and unscientific. Yet he could not help succumbing to the typical Hindu beliefs. Did he not wish his funeral ashes be scattered in Ganga, the sacred river of Hindus? Where Nehru failed with all his foreign education, money and political clout, other Indians have lesser chances of doing so.
Therefore the problems of India is not of those who have transcended their Indianness or have left the shores of India. The problem is of the overwhelming majority who are living in India within the constraints of Indian Chitta, Manas and Kala. If India is to be built with their effort and cooperation, then we must try to have an insight into their mind and their sense of time, and understand and modern times from their perspective. But the questions regarding the interactions with others can be addressed only after having achieved some level of clarity about ourselves—as succinctly put by Shri Dharampal in his seminal work on Bharatiya Chitta, Manas.
The way to Indian mindscape:
There are many ways to understand the Chitta and Kala of a civilization. The relatively easier way is to comprehend it through the literature created by that civilization. Therefore the process of understanding the Indian Chitta and Kã1a should begin with some understanding about what the vast ancient literature of India beginning with the Veda, Upavedas, vedangas, Darsanas, Itihasa, Kavya and a host of other works say about the Indian ways and preferences, Indian texts non-literary, scientific nature have also strong bearing on our understanding .
Nature of earlier attempts: It is not that nobody ever tried to form an overview of Indian Chitta and Kala so far. In the recent past during 18th, 19th centuries a major, in fact Herculean attempt was made by the western indologists, anthropologists and literateurs to chart out Indian mindscape. But that was, barring very few exceptions, a motivated attempt aimed at subjugating India by manipulating its mass mind. It was never meant to rejuvenate Indian mind to pave the way for national reconstruction based on freedom and sovereignty of Indian people. Therefore it offers little help in our proposed task of understanding Indian Chitta and Kala. The 18th, 19th century western Indology shows us how not to go about our task. Its usefulness lies in revealing what motivated scholarship can do to distort the conduct of a nation, which swallows the evil fruits of that -scholarship. The foremost of such fruits is in the shape of an alienated rootless intelligentsia whose motivation, perception and aspirations are anything but Indian. This was no accident, as some would argue. It is the outcome of a planned scheme of alienation implemented by the colonial rulers with long—term perspective. It yielded the results they planned for, though belatedly. This is what one of the prime planners says about the colonial attempts at perverting Indian intelligentsia— Before quoting him at length, a few words about the person himself are very useful in assessing the full impact of his words .
Charles Edward Trevelyan was the Governor of Madras presidency and later Finance Minister of British India. He was one of the most influential British officials of his time. He was one of the Chief architects of English education system in India. His tract on the education of the people of India was one of the most influential documents at that time. He wrote it in 1838 about the time when Macaulay, the father of English Education in India was arguing his case to force alien education system down the throats of Indians. Chapter VII of the said tract under the title “ The political tendency of different systems of education in use in India gives important and revealing insights into the psychological impact of English Education on Indian intelligentsia and its continuing debilitating effects on our society right upto 20th century’s end. Here is what Charles Trevelyan said along with our suitable comments:” As the rulers of India, whatever our duty maybe, it is not our policy to enlighten the natives of India”.
Note: Any schoolboy will tell you that the purpose of education is to enlighten a person, broaden his -outlook, and make him independent. But the British rulers had no such intention. Why? Because,
” . . . The sooner they grow to man’s estate, the sooner they will be able to do without us; and that by giving them knowledge we are giving them power, of which they will make the first use against ourselves .
Thus we are not on this occasion called upon to make any effort of disinterested magnanimity. Interest and duty are never really separated in the affairs of nations . .and in this case they are indissolubly united.”
So the British rulers had doubts in their minds about protecting their political interests. Therefore they wanted to promote their interest through all available means. Education is one such means, albeit important.
The spirit of English literature cannot but be favourable to the English connection. Familiarly acquainted with us by means of our literature, the Indian youth almost cease to regard us as foreigners. They speak of our great men with the same enthusiasm as we do. Educated in the same way, interested in the same objects, engaged in the same pursuits with ourselves, they become more English than Hindu. . . They daily converse with the best and wisest Englishmen through the medium of their works; and form, perhaps, a higher idea of our nation than if their intercourse with it were of a .more personal kind. ”
Note: This is how the British propose to brainwash Indians to forget about their own literature and take liking to English literature. This prediction came true to the letter is evident. Our educated people know more about English literature than Indian literature. What all Indian literature that circulates now is Indian only in name and not in spirit.
The British policy makers used the strongest of human impulses for their cause. There lies the efficacy of their plans which are bearing fruits even today.
They (the rulers of independent India) behaved as if nothing had changed, as if the people of India had not won a great war to free themselves of the alien rulers, and as if freedom struggle meant nothing except the transfer of the levers of the established state apparatus from the British to the newly emerging Indian elite.
Winning of freedom and enthroning of Indian elite has serious implications for Indians. Hitherto the enemy was visible. The fight was direct. People understood the nature of the struggle and hence directing their attention was not that difficult. Now all that changed. Our enemy is, amongst our own ranks. He is one among us. Nay, he is within us. To fight such an enemy is very difficult. First of all to convince people about the need to fight itself is an uphill task. Then to direct their energies is another uphill task. The methods to identify, isolate and fight the interior enemy are quite different from fighting an enemy without.
Even the task of drafting the constitution for India was entrusted to the experts of western constitutional jurisprudence, most of who had nothing but contempt for the people of India and their ways and many of who had explicitly expressed- their contempt during the struggle for independence. To draft the constitution for free India they searched through the constitutions of the whole world, but they did not care to have even a cursory look at the Indian way of organising the public affairs.
This shows the extent to which alienation crept into our people. Outwardly they are our people. But inwardly they are worse than our sworn enemies. These people did more harm to us and continue to do harm.
Public life and public spaces of India, therefore, remain essentially alien constructs for the people of India. For them every interaction with the public institutions and their functionaries continue to be a matter of insult and compromise of human dignity. Look at the way common people are treated in courts, treasuries, banks, post—offices etc., Because the constitution itself is an alien construct, all that flows from it is bound to be alien. The ill— treatment meted out to people is not because the functionaries dislike people as such, but the framework of public life designed by the constitution and administrative arrangements force them to pay scant attention to people and their needs. In other words at lower levels it is the system that is bad. At higher levels it is the people, who are bad because they constitute the system. They design and control the system to suit their selfish ends. And the few good men at the top have no voice.
Every visit to the public places of India a violation of their aesthetic and historical sensibilities. Buildings shaped after European, Persian style but never in Indian style is an aesthetic affront. Alien procedures and administrative structure are political affront. Our history books eulogizing invaders and playing down native heroes is a historical affront. Our TVs, radios, and cinemas poring scorn on Indian customs and religion and purveying pseudo—secularism is social affront. Naming the slow economic growth as Hindu growth rate while actually it is due to the imported economic policies is an economic affront.
The district hospitals, district courts, and the all pervasive circuit houses, rest houses, and police stations etc., none of which conform to their ideas of appropriate public structures. Places like Delhi remain littered with innumerable symbols of Indian defeat and of the imposing wastefulness of imperial victors, those remind an ordinary Indian of the insignificance of his person and his dignity in the public affairs of India.
In this alien milieu, people retain a sullen docility. With such a negative mood, they can never be dynamic and creative. Their potentialities never bloom. Their energies are spent on putting up with the constant assault on their sensibilities.
They participate in the occasional elections and try to somehow extract at least the bare essential services from the public institutions and functionaries. But they do not feel themselves to be forming any part of the public arrangements …when their feelings are particularly disturbed, they do give expression as they have done at Ayodhya. But even such precipitate actions of theirs seldom lead to any serious reflection.
The vote bank arithmetic prevents the ruling elite from recognising and admitting the real message of Ayodhya. And the left—oriented as well as liberal intelligentsia blindly refuses to take note of people’s feelings because of their alienation. It is highly instructive to study the reaction of these intellectuals to Ayodhya.
There are two possible denouncements of the events of Ayodhya— one the elite of
India after having expressed their initial disgust or euphoria, according to their predilections would soon revert to what they consider to be the state of normalcy. To achieve this normalcy attempts shall probably be made to put a Hindu veneer on the state apparatus. Two, there may be efforts to harden the Indian state apparatus to make it impossible for the people of India to give vent to their sensitivities and sensibilities. But such hardening requires great commitment. It is unlikely that Indian elite would be able to find such commitment. What actually happens lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. It is a compromise of the two. For instance PVNI tries to harden the state by bringing in draconian legislation to banish Dharma from politics. But different parties oppose it on different grounds. So he waters down the provisions. Then he makes many cosmetic changes in Government policies not to put Hindu veneer, but to divert people’s attention—encouraging big sports or canvassing about a future millennium through massive foreign investment if only people forget Ayodhya. Then he encourages some people to arrange some Yagnas or conduct inter religious conference condemning religion to beat the VHP show. So efforts will be made on all fronts—to confuse people to impose false priorities, to threaten or cajole or even bribe the people. More and more cinemas on
TV is a small bribe of course.
It would not be possible to retain the facade of normalcy without changing the present arrangements of public functioning. We may then also begin thinking about ways of re—organising the Indian polity to bring it in conformity with the seekings and sensibilities of the Indian people.
This re—orientation shall lead to some temporary disturbance of the normalcy that we have got used to and to a great deal of re—structuring of the public spaces . Wherever such precursory disturbance occurred, the alienated elites dubbed it as a change for the worse, a havoc wrought by communalisation of public life, militarisation of Hindus etc. People are made to retreat into their sullen docility in the name of restoring peace, albeit a grave—yard peace. So it is the task of those who undertake to reorganise Indian Reality to acquaint people of the actual workings of the step by step reorganisation process, tell them not to get confused by the swearology of the rootless elites. Such awakening shall release immense energies for the regeneration of India as a self— confident, strong, prosperous and dignified nation.
The events of Ayodhya would have served a great historical purpose if they lead us to an intense study of the civilisational consciousness of India and her preferred modes of expression in the physical and social world. But the then ruling elite has succeeded in suppressing the jubilant upsurge of people by branding the event as a “blot” on our history, by naming the day as “black Sunday” and by announcing all sorts of curbs on the free expression of popular feelings. This suppression is the very antithesis of freedom, which alone releases the creative energies of the people. The modes of suppression reveal the real Gobblesian streak. People are prevented from celebrating a great moment in their history after a long long time. This is the greatest harm done by the pseudo—secular state apparatus and the alienated elites to the people of India with respect to the Ayodhya movement. They suppressed one of the rare upsurges of popular unity and enthusiasm for the sake of a few votes and other petty gains.
To understand the ways in which the Indians prefer to organise the physical world around them, to comprehend the Mind that provides the anchorage for these typical Indian ways, preferences and seekings; to learn about this anchorage, to understand the Indian Chitta and Kala, a study of the Indian classical literature is a must.
INDIANS HAVE A LONG STANDING BELIEF THAT THE DIVINE INCARNATES IN VARIOUS FORMS TO LESSEN THE BURDENS OF THE EARTH. THIS HAPPENS OFT AND AGAIN. THERE ARE TIMES
WHEN COMPLEXITY OF THE WORLD BECOMES TOO MUCH TO BEAR, WHEN THE SENSE OF RIGHT
AND WRONG GETS CLOUDED, AND WHEN THE NATURAL BALANCE OF LIFE, THE DHARMA IS
LOST. AT SUCH TIMES, ACCORDING TO INDIAN BELIEFS, THE DIVINE INCARNATES ON THE EARTH, TO HELP RESTORE THE BALANCE AND THE DHARMA, AND TO MAKE LIFE FLOW SMOOTHLY ONCE AGAIN.
BUDDHIST EPICS SIMILARLY PRESENT THE STORY OF BIRTH OF BUDDHA. EPICS TELL SIMILAR STORIES.
This shows that the basic principles like Chitta and Kaala are of the same character for Vedic Hindus, Buddhists and Jainas. On the other hand, the westernised Indians only see the differences among the three. This further shows howmuch alienated they are from the mainstream or native ethos.
TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF LIFE ON THIS EARTH, AND TO RESTORE THE BALANCE, THE DIVINE INCARNATES, AGAIN AND AGAIN, AT DIFFERENT TIMES TN DIFFERENT FORMS. THIS IS THE PROMISE THAT SRIKRISHNÄ EXPLICITLY MAKES IN THE GITÄ.THE PEOPLE OF INDIA SEEM TO HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IN THIS PROMISE OF DIVINE COMPASSION.
WHEN MAHATMA GANDHI ARRIVED ON THE SCENE, THE TIME ACCORDING TO INDIAN BELIEFS, WAS THUS RIPE FOR ANOTHER DIVINE INTERVENTION.
THOUGH THE AWAKENED THE INDIAN MIND, HE WAS NOT ABLE TO PUT THIS AWAKENING ON PERMANENT FOOTING.A SECURE BASE FOR THE REUSRGENCE or INDIAN CIVILISATION REQUIRED A FRESH STRUGGLE.
The kind of awakening Gandhiji brought was geared to meet a certain agenda. No doubt his approach took into account the long term goals like Swaraj. But by and large his effort was directed to achieve certain socio—political ends in a definite time frame. Laying a secure base for the resurgence of a whole civilisation, that too a hoary one like the vedic civilisation requires a quite different combination of capabilities. It needed an Aurobindoen type. Sri Aurobindo, like Gandhiji saw India’s political struggle from the standpoint of Indian civilisational ethos. But he went much further in visualising the ideological and ideational needs of a free India. He worked hard to understand and reinterpret the Bharatiya chitta and kaala at thier source i.e., Vedas. By studying Sri Autobindos works on the Veda, Upanishads and Itihasa we can form a comprehensive view of the Bharatiya chitta and Kaala. Moreover, Aurobindo’s works are readily available in English, thereby obviating the oft faced language difficulty. Thirdly, Aurobindo inspired a number of able men who carried forward the work. For instance, T V Kapali Sastry wrote a commentary on Rigveda under the title “Siddhanjana” which is perhaps the only Bhashya on veda in modern times with a futuristic outlook. In that commentary sri Sastry freed the veda from the ritualistic trappings and presented it in a form which is highly relevant to our times. In doing so he laid bare the fundamental notions of Bharatiya chitta and not kaa1a. At the same time he ill—treat the ritualistic interpretation of Sayana and gave him full credit where it is due.
Sathanvaya—a strong feature of Bharatiya mind: In short Sri Kapali Sastry”s approach as taught by Sri Aurobindo stands out as one of the prime samples of the workings of Indian mind, namely samanvaya—the conciliatory, inclusive and synthetic spirit. Sastry constructed a broad, inclusive framework of vedic interpretation as to do justice both to ritualism and mysticism by putting them in proper perspective. He viewed the veda with a bird’s eye (vihanga drishti) rather than an ant’s eye (pipilika drishti). This way of looking at things from the higher, inclusive, comprehensive standpoint imparts a sort of resonance to words—the language used by the viewer.
Resonance of language—suited to vedic study; vedas are the records of spitirual truths seen by men of top—class perceptional abilities. To go anywhere near the true menaning of veda the modes of our understanding as well as expression should be refined enough to capture the many—sided significances of vedic mantras. The words we use should be able to convey something more than their verbal, dictionary, (mechanical) meanings. Each word should be made to yield a series of meanings. In short words should be made into rubrics. Then the language composed of such rubricised words assumes a multi—faced character. This kind of language is called resonant laguage. Vedic tradition credits each mantra as capable of yielding at least three interpretations (meanings). They are the Adhyatmika, Adhidaivika and Adhibhautika versions. To capture this multi—valent significance of veda, a resonant language is required. In this respect the modern, western interpretations are singularly lacking in resonance. Hence their total failure to capture the true meaning of veda.
Another feature of Bharatiya Chitta and Kaala is the habit of looking at the world through an outlook marked by unity of opposites. This is what we can call the Hindu dialectics. This is another property of the bird’s (vihanga) view mentioned above.
SELF AWAKENING OF INDIA IS BOUND TO REMAIN ELUSIVE AND TRANSIENT TILL WE FIND A SECURE BASIS FOR CONFIDENT EXPRESSION OF INDIAN CIVILISATION. WE MUST ESTABLISH A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK THAT MAKES INDIAN WAYS SEEM VIABLE IN THE PRESENT. THIS SECURE BASIS FOR THE INDIAN CIVILIZATION HAS TO BE SOUGHT MAINLY WITHIN THE CHITTA AND OF INDIA. GÄNDHIJI HAD A NATURAL INSIGHT INTO THE MIND OF THE INDIAN PEOPLE AND THEIR SENSE OF TIME AND DESTINY.
Gandhiji had an inkling of the Indian mind while Sri Aurobindo had an insight into it. Gandhiji was more of a doer than a seer. To plumb the depth of the Indian mind and its workings past, present and future, it needs a seer—like Sri Aurobindo.
[THEREFORE OUR IMMEDIATE TASK IS TO UNDERTAKE A SUFFICIENTLY ELABORATE INTELLECTUAL EXERCISE TO GAIN SOME COMPREHENSION OF THE INDIAN CHITTA AND KAALA].
BEFORE BEGINNING TO TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF INDIA WE MUST FIRST KNOW WHAT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY WANT TO MAKE OF HER. HOW DO THEY UNDERSTAND THE PRESENT TIMES? WHAT ARE THEIR PRIORITIES? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? HOW DO THEY PERCEIVE THEMSELVES? WHAT IS THEIR PERCEPTION OF THE MODERN WORLD? WHAT IS THEIR PERCEPTION OF THE UNIVERSE? WHAT IS THEIR CONCEPTION OF GOD?
As we explained above, answers to these questions can be known only after we know something about the mindscape of Indians.
Nature of our discourse: In this context we must remember that we are talking about a “people”, an aggregate. Hence the answer we obtain to our questions will be of statistical or probabilistic in nature. The answers can never be simple yes or no; this or that. The answers only indicate the probable solution applicable within a range of applicability. It is important to keep in mind because many a time lot of research and resources are wasted due to mis—formulation of questions and seeking ridiculously exact answers where no such answers are possible.
Barrenness of our present mindscape: its causes and consequences: MOST OF THE EDUCATED PEOPLE OF INDIA ARE WARY OF ANY ATTEMPT To UNDERSTAND THE INDIAN MIND. THEY ARE SOMEHOW AFRAID OF THE INNER THOUGHTS OF THE POPULACE OF INDIA. THEY
WANT TO PROCEED WITH THE MYTH THAT THERE TS NOTHING AT ALL IN THE INDIAN MIND,THAT IT IS CLEAN SLATE ON WHICH THEY (THE WESTERN EDUCATED) HAVE TO WRITE A NEW STORY LEARNT FROM THE WEST.
The educated people are afraid because the mindscape of the ordinary Indian, if revealed and acknowledged, will show how distant it is from that of the former. The mindscape of the moderns is, in fact, barren. They do not want to expose it to the public gaze lest they lose the prestige as the thinking elite. Secondly the extraordinarily luxuriant and supple mindscape of the average Indian unnerves this elite. The educated man is at a loss to how to understand it. Because he is so removed from it and have no bridges to the native mindscape. He burnt the bridges long back for the sake of an exotic, western mindscape. And that exotic mindscape proved to be barren. At any rate unsuitable to his existence as an Indian. No way appears to the educated man to come back to the native mindscape. So he settles down to rationalise the barren mindscape and parade it as the ideal. Now that our rulers and mass media are also builtup the credibility of the exotic barren mindset (mindscape is somewhat a dynamic combination of thoughts etc., like a running motion picture. whereas mindset is the static or still photo of the mindscape at a particular moment) in the name of modernism and progressivism.
WE ARE ALSO AWARE THAT THE INDIAN MIND IS NOT SUCH CLEAN SLATE. TN REALITY IT IS IMBUED WITH IDEAS ON PRACTICALLY ALL SUBJECTS. THOSE IDEAS ARE NOT NEW. THEY BELONG TO LONG-STANDING TRADITIONS SOME WHICH MAY BE AS OLD AS THE RIG-VEDA. THOSE TDEÄS INDEED ARE ETCHED VERY DEEP. DEEP WITHIN, WE, THE ELITE OF INDIA, ARE ALSO ACUTELY CONSCIOUS OF THE HIGHLY ELABORATE STRUCTURE OF THE INDIAN MIND. WE WANT TO DENY THIS HISTORY OF INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS.
The very fact that the ideas emnate right from the Rig veda onwards underlines the need to study the Vedic lore to grasp the roots of these ideas. Moreover, what he finds in Rig Veda etc., is not primitive raving and ranting barbarians for ideational moorings, but a mature, well developed structure of ideas. Therefore, we cannot afford to miss a perusal of the Vedic Lore if we are to understand the Indian Chitta and Kala and its history.
THE STUDY OF EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURY INDIA WHICH I UNDERTOOK IN NINETEEN SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES, WAS TN A WAY AN EXPLORATION INTO THE INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA. THAT STUDY, OFCOURSE, WAS NOT THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF LEARNING ABOUT THE INDIAN MIND. THE MIND OF A CIVILIZATION CAN POBABLY NEVER BE GRASPED THROUGH A STUDY OF ITS PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES ALONE. [Precisely this is the reason why he should start with the Veda, because the Veda contains all the fundamental categories of the Indian mind.]
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE TWENTYFIRST CENTURY, FOR TT TO BE ANY USE TO US OR TO THE WEST, SHALL HAVE TO BE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF OUR OWN KALA. WE SHOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT THE PRESENT OF THE WEST THROUGH THE CATEGORIES OF KALI YUGA. ONE UNDERSTANDS OTHERS ONLY FROM ONEY on PERSPECTIVES. [As already said first we have to revive and update our categories of thought. For that we have to go to the source—Veda]
SOME AMONGST US BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE RID THEMSELVES COMPLETELY OF THE CONSTATNTS OF’ THEIR INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE INDIAN SENSE OF TIME. BUT SUCH TRANSCENDENCE IS NOT GRANTED TO ORDINARY HUMÄNBETNGS TO ENTER INTO THE KALA OF ANOTHER PEOPLE-EVEN A MAN LIKE PANDIT J.NEHRU FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO PERFORM THIS FEAT SUCCESSFULLY. EVEN HE WAS NOT ABLE TO RID HIMSELF COMPLETELY OF HIS INNATE INDIANNESS. OTHER INDIANS HAVE EVEN LESS CHANCE OF ACCOMPLISHING. [Nehru tried to enter into the Kala of the west because he was totally ignorant and blindly hateful of his own tradition. And his understanding of the Kala of the west was itself half—baked. So he was neither here nor there. In fact many westerners like Sir John woodroffe aKd Sister Nivedita understood Indian Kala and Chitta better than Nehru could ever hope to. So there is no bar as such to enter into the Kala of another people provided one has the adhikara (qualification) to do so]
GIVEN THE LONG HISTORY OF OUR CONTACTS WITH THE WESTERN CIVILIZATION, IT IS PROBABLE THAT SOME FIFTY THOUSAND INDIANS MIGHT HAVE IN FACT FULLY DE-INDIANISED THEMSELVES .BUT THESE FIFTY THOUSAND OR EVEN A SOMEWHAT LARGER NUMBER MATTER LITTLE IN A COUNTRY OF EIGHTY-FIVE CRORES. THE FEW INDIANS WHO HAVE TRANSCENDED THE BOUNDARIES OF INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA, MAY ALSO WISH TO QUIT THE PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES OF INDIA. BUT WHEN INDIA BEGINS TO LIVE ACCORDING TO HER OWN WAYS, IN CONSONANCE WITH THE CHITTA AND KAALA OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF HER PEOPLE, THEN MANY OF SUCH LOST SONS AND DAUGHTERS WILL TN ALL PROBABILITY RETURN TO THEIR INNATE INDIANNESS. THOSE WHO CANNOT SHALL FIND LIVING ELSEWHERE.
THEIR DESERTION OF INDIA IS NO MAJOR TRAGEDY. THE PROBLEM OF INDIA IS NOT OF THOSE WHO HAVE TRANSCENDED THEIR INDIANNESS AND HAVE LEFT THE SHORES OF INDIA. THE PROBLEM IS OF THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY WHO ARE LIVING IN INDIA WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA. IF INDIA IS TO BE BUILT WITH THEIR EFFORTS AND COOPERATION, THEN WE MUST TRY TO HAVE AN INSIGHT INTO THEIR MIND AND THEIR SENSE OF TIME, AND UNDERSTAND THE MODERN TIMES FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE. BUT THE QUESTIONS REGARDING THE INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS CAN BE ADDRESSED ONLY AFTER HAVING ACHIEVED SOME LEVEL OF CLARITY ABOUT OURSELVES.
THERE ARE MANY PATHS TO AN UNDERSTANDING OF CHITTA AND KALA OF A CIVILIZATION…IT MAY BE RELATIVELY EASIER TO COMPREHEND THE INDIAN MIND THROUGH THE ANCIENT LITERATURE OF INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA CANNOT POSSIBLY BEGIN WITHOUT SOME UNDERSTANDING OF THE VAST CORPUS OF LITERATURE THAT HAS FORMED THE BASIS OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION AND REGULATED THE ACTIONS AND THOUGHTS OF THE PEOPLE OF INDIA FOR MILLENNIA. WE HAVE TO COME TO SOME UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THIS LITERATURE-BEGINNING WITH THE RIG-VEDA, AND RUNNING THROUGH THE UPANISADS, THE PURÄNÄS, THE MAHABHARATA, THE RNAYANA AND BAUDDHÄ AND THE JAINA CANONS-SAYS ABOUT THE INDIAN WAYS AND PREFERENECES. INDIAN TEXTS DEÄLLING WITH THE PROBLEMS OF MUNDANE LIVING, LIKE THOSE OF THE AYURVEDÄ, THE SILPASASTRÄ, AND THE JYOTISHÄSÄSTRA ETC., ALSO HAVE TO BE SIMILARLY UNDERSTOOD.
[The Indian mind appears in a condensed way in the six systems of philosophy-Darsanas. Then there are the Vedangas and the Upavedas].
HE SHOULD PROBABLY BEGIN BY FORMING A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE TOTALITY OF THIS LITERATURE. [In doing so he should adopt a bird’s view, not a pedestrian view. The peak view instead of plane view.]
THIS INITIAL PICTURE OF TNDTÄNNESS SHALL GET MORE AND MORE REFINED, AS WE CONTINUE OUR EXPLORATIONS INTO THE CORPUS OF INDIAN LLITERATURE. – . IN THE PROCESS OF THIS REFINEMENT, WE MAY FIND THAT THE PRDIMTNÄRY PICTURE THAT WE HAVE FORMED
WAS INADEQUATE AND PERHAPS EVEN ERRONEOUS (DEFECTIVE) IN MANY RESPECTS. BUT BY THEN THAT PRELIMINARY PICTURE WOULD HAVE SERVED ITS PURPOSE OF SETTING US ON OUR COURSE. [The test of correctness: normal redundance where the preliminary picture grows into more comprehensive picture by discarding a few things here and there— just as the seed sprouts some parts wither away but substantial portion of it grows into the plant. abnormal redundance where the preliminary picture is wrong from the beginning and leads to wrong conclusions viz., the modern Indology.]
IT TS NOT THAT NO WORK IS BEING DONE IN INDIA ON INDIAN LITERATURE. BUT THESE INSTITUTES AND SCHOLARS, IT SEEMS, HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT TNDIAN LITERATURE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF MODERNITY. INDOLOGY, BUT ITS VERY DEFINITION, IS THE SCIENCE OF COMPREHENDING INDIA FROM A NON-INDIAN PERSPECTIVE, AND PRACTICALLY ALL INDIAN SCHOLARS ENGAGED IN THE STUDY OF INDIAN LITERATURE FALL WITHIN THE DISCIPLINE OF INDOLOGY… BUT WHAT WE NEED TO FROM INDIAN LITERATURE IS HOW TO MAKE MODERNITY COMPREHENSIBLE TO US, IN TERMS or OUR CHITTA AND KALA, AND TO PLACE MODERN CONSCIOUSNESS AND MODERN TIMES WITHIN THAT PICTURE. [Thus Indology is exactly opposite of what we want. Modern day attempts by some people to see our ancient literature from modern categories and concepts is of no use. In Indology, the reference point is modernity. In our approach the reference point is Indian Chitta and Kala. Many a time in the course of our work, many details appear to be the same as in Indology. But this should not mislead us to think that both are same. The similarities in details are secondary. But the origin and goal of the two are quite different.]
THE EXERCISE OF EXPLORING INDIA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF WESTERN MODERNITY HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR LONG TIME. [To the extent Westerners study India from Western perspective, it is understandable, if not altogether correct. But Indians doing so is totally useless. That is why we find some westerners better than Indian writers on Indian tradition.]
ALL THESE INSTITUTIONS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES OF TNDTAN LEARNING WERE CONCEIVED ALONG THE LIVES LAID DOWN BY WESTERN SCHOLARSHIP. THEIR ORGÄNISATION HAD NO RELATION TO THE TRADITIONAL ORGANISATION OF LEARNING TN INDIA. THESE INSTITUTIONS CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF THEIR WESTERN COUNTERPARTS, ARE BURDENED FROM THEIR VERY INCEPTION WITH ALL THE PREJUDICES OF THE WEST AND THE COMPLETE THEORETICAL APPARATUS OF WESTERN SCHOLARSHIP ON INDIA.
CRITIQUE 0F WESTERN SOCIAL SCIENCES: THE WORK OF THE INDOLOGISTS IS IN FACT AKIN TO ÄNTHROPOLOGY. ANTHROPOLOGY IS A PECULIAR SCIENCE OF THE WEST. THE DEFEATED, SUBJUGATED AND FRAGMENTED SOCIETIES OF THE NON-WESTERN WORLD FORM THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THIS SCIENCE. ANTHROPOLOGY TS THUS THE STUDY OF THE CONQUERED BY THE CONQUEROR. [Anthropology, Indology, and even sociology are the vehicles of western imperialist ideology in the academic field. For example, Margaret Mead, the famous American anthropologist was in charge of united States war propaganda against Japan. Her thoeries are paraded as epitomes of dispassionate, scientific scholorship. Actually they are propaganda material against Japan. These so— called social sciences have well planned linkages. For instance Indology misinterprets the Veda Anthropology misinterprets the ethnic composition of India. Socoiology cooks—up divisionist theories based on imaginary class conflicts. Finally, missionary propaganda steps in to supplant the native culture with the help of colonial political power.
Claude Levi Strauss defines Anthropology on these lines: “ANTHROPOLOGICAL TOOLS CANNOT BE USED FOR STUDYING ONE’S OWN SOCIETY AND CIVILIZATION. But this study has been going on in the case of India for quite some time. It is nothing but cultural subversion.
THESE SCHOLARLY REDACTIONS, TRANSLATIONS AND COMMENTARIES ALL BEEN CARRIED OUT FROM MODERN PERSPECTIVE AND ACCORDING TO THE RULES OF THE GAME OF INDOLOGY LAID DOWN BY WESTERN SCHOLARS. WHEN THE INDIAN SCHOLARS HAVE MANAGED TO AVOID WESTERN BIASES AND WESTERN METHODOLOGIES, AS THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH SOME POPULAR PUBLISHING HOUSES OF INDIA DID. THE GREAT EFFORT BY THESE SCHOLARS HAS THEREFORE CONTRIBUTED LITTLE TOWARDS COMPREHENSION OF INDIAN CHITTA AND KAALA. SOME OF THESE SCHOLARS [LIKE SATAWALËKAR] SEEM TO SUGGEST THAT THE PECULIAR ATTRIBUTES AND SPECIFIC COMPREHENSIONS OF THE WORLD THAT THE WEST DISPLAYS TODAY HAD BEEN ARRIVED AT LONG AGO TN THE INDIAN LITERATURE.
BUT WHAT USE ALL THIS SCHOLARSHIP IF WE ARE CONCERNED ONLY ABOUT OTHER’S UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD, AND CARRYOUT OUR DISCOURSE ON THEIR TERMS AND THEIR CATEGORIES.
This is the most important aspects of our task now. We have to set aside the categories of thought and tools of study we inherited from the west and using for the past century and a half or so. Then we have to identify the native categories of thought and modes of study, then refresh those categories and modes to suit the present times and put them to use.
IT TS TN WAY ASTONISHING THAT WE ARE OCCUPIED WITH EXPLORING AND ESTABLISHING THE POSSIBLE EXISTENCE OF LAKHS AND CRORES OF MANUSCRIPTS THAT WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY REMAIN UNAVAILABLE AND UNREADABLE WHILE WE ARE MAKING NO EFFORTS TO UNDERSTAND AND COMPREHEND THE LITERATURE THAT HAPPENS TO BE EASILY AVAILABLE TO US.
THIS DIRECTIONLESS SCHOLARSHIP CAN BE OF LITTLE HELP. WE NEED TO FORM A PICTURE OF THE INDIAN VIEW OF THE WORLD BASED ON A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE TOTALITY OF LITERATURE AVAILABLE TO US, SO THAT WE HAVE A FRAMEWORK WITHIN WHICH THE MAAINSTREAM OF INDIAN SCHOLARSHIP MAY OPERATE. THE NEED TO ARRIVE AT SOME SUCH ROUGH AND READY OUTLINE OF THE INDIAN VIEW OF THE WORLD NEEDS A STUDY OF THE ANCIENT LITERATURE… APPROACHING THESE TEXTS THROUGH HINDI OR ENGLISH, TT TS SAID, CAN ONLY LEAD TO ERROR AND CONFUSION. THEREFORE, IF ONE WERE BENT UPON READING THIS LITERATURE, THEN ONE MUST IMMERSE ONESELF IN A STUDY OF THE SANSKRIT LANGUAGE.
BUT HOW MANY TN INDIA TODAY HAVE ANY FLUENCY IN SANSKRIT? VERY FEW. IF THIS IS THE STATE OF SANSKRIT LEARNING IN OUR COUNTRY, THEN THERE IS NO POINT IN INSISTING THAT INDIAN LITERATURE MUST BE APPROACHED THROUGH SANSKRIT. WE HAVE TO ACCEPT THE CONDITION TO WHICH WE HAVE BEEN REDUCED AND WE MUST START BUILDING UP FROM THERE. FOR THE TIME BEING SANSKRIT HAS BECOME INACCESSIBLE TO US, THEN WE MUST DO WITHOUT SANSKRIT- AND WORK WITH THE LANGUAGE THAT ARE FAMILIAR WITH.
Practical sense demands that we have to study classical literature to understand Bharatiya Chitta and Kaala in languages other than Sanskrit. But in doing so we must take certain precautions. We have to follow only such translations which are rendered by persons who knew the soul of Sanskrit language and the Indian tradition. This fact needs emphasis because there are many translations done with ulterior motives. Such texts only mislead us. Almost all 19th century western translations are of this type. Secondly, classical sanskrit was a resonant language. It could express many shades of meaning and hierarchies of reality at once. Therefore it was the ideal vehicle to convey mystic [experiential] truths. Whereas the modern languages are mostly non—resonant and are linear constructs. They are least suited to express non—linear, mystic information. So the translation that captures at least part of its original spirit should be preferred.
Studying Indian classics through non—Sanskrit medium is not so bad as it appears. Afterall, the Christian Bible which was written in Yiddish at a much later time after many Sanskrit classics is studied mostly in translations. On that count the christians do not underrate its value.
But then we must make a serious effort to revive the study of sanskrit language on wide scale. Even though we carry out our studies of classics in translations for the time being, our ideal should be to study them in sanskrit at the earliest opportunity.
IT IS OFCOURSE TRUE THAT NO HIGH SCHOLARLY WORK ON INDIAN LITERATURE CAN BE DONE WITHOUT KNOWING THE LANGUAGE. BUT WHAT IS URGENTLY NEEDED TS NOT HIGH SCHOLARSHIP, BUT n ROUGH AND READY COMPREHENSION OF OURSELVES THE WORLD.WE NEED DIRECTION,Ä VISION, CONCEPTUAL BASIS THAT IS IN CONSONANCE WITH THE INDIAN CHITTA AND KAALA, AND THROUGH WHICH WE CAN PROCEED TO UNDERSTAND THE MODERN WORLD AND THE MODERN TIMES. THE DETAILED SCHOLARSHIP CAN WAIT. WHAT CANNOT WATT IS THE TASK OF FINDING OUR DIRECTION ÄND OUR WAY,OF FORMING A QUICK VISION OF THE INDIAN CHITTA AND KAALA.THIS TASK HAS TO BE PERFOP&IED QUICKLY, WITH WHATEVER COMPETENCE HAVE ON HAND, AND WITH WHATEVER LANGUAGES WE KNOW AT THE PRESENT TIME.
Therefore, our priorities are FIRSTLY to form a rough, ready to use, but reliable comprehension of ourselves and the world through an understanding of our own chitta and Kaala. We need not wait to master Sanskrit. We have to do it through whatever Language we know. Then, master sanskrit and perfect our world view. In both the steps savants like Sri Aurobindo, Kapali sastry, Master E. K.T Ganapati Muni etc., are of great help.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL, THE SOCIETY AND THE STATE? WHICH OF THEM HAS PRIMACY IN WHICH FIELDS? WHAT ARE BASES OF HEALTHY INTERACTION BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS? WHAT IS CIVILISED BEHAVIOUR IN VARIOUS SITUATIONS? WHAT ARE GOOD MANNERS? WHAT TS BEAUTIFUL AND WHAT IS UGLY? WHAT IS EDUCATION AND WHAT IS LEARNING? IN SOCIETIES THAT RETAIN THEIR CONNECTION WITH THEIR TRADITIONS, ALL SUCH QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE NORMAL COURSE. OF COURSE, THE ANSWERS CHANGE FROM TIME TO TIME, AND CONTEXT TO CONTEXT, BUT THAT TOO HAPPENS NATURALLY, WITHOUT CONSCIOUS EFFORT.
The questions are covered in our traditional knowledge system by Raja Dharma, Jati—Dharma , saamanya—Dharma Visesha—Dharma , Aapad—dharma etc., In short, knowledge of various facets of Dharma provides answers to these and many more questions. Dharma—vichara is an important topic invariably found in Vedas, smritis,puranas etc. , To cite one example, the Mahabharata contains Lot of information on Dharma and its various facets in the form of parables and discourses by various venerable persons like Bhishma, Vidura, Dhaumya etc. ,
SINCE WE HAVE LOST PRACTICALLY ALL CONTACT WITH OUR TRADITION, AND ALL COMPREHENSION OF OUR CHITTA AND KAALA. THERE ARE NO STANDARDS AND NORMS ON THE BASIS OF WHICH WE MAY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS, AND CONSEQUENTLY WE DO NOT EVEN DARE TO RAISE THESE QUESTIONS OPENLY ANYMORE. ORDINARY INDIANS PERHAPS STILL RETAIN AN INNATE UNDERSTANDING OF THE NORMS OF RIGHT ACTION, RIGHT THOUGHT, THOUGH SIGNS OF CONFUSION ON SUCH ISSUES ARE OFTEN SEEN EVEN AMONG THEM. BUT OUR ELITE SOCIETY SEEMS TO HAVE LOST ALL TOUCH WITH ANY STABLE NORMS OF BEHAVIOUR AND THINKING. .. WE ARE LEFT WITH NO STANDARDS OF DISCRIMINATION AT ALL.
During centuries of Muslim domination, our Dharma was under constant attack. We were fighting for survival. Under such conditions, all our energies were harnessed just to survive as a nation, the Hindu nation. No higher fuctions of life like spreading knowledge of Dharma among our people, protecting our arts and sciences, technology and skills was possible. Then came the European domination with its consummate crookedness and expansionist outlook. We were not only compelled through conscious state policy and missionary endeavours to neglect our Dharma but also to look down upon it as barbarous and outdated mass of teachings and role—models. The latest assault on our Dharma is that of our post— independence pseudo—secularist, pseudo—modernist, rootless, alienated, west— oriented, Hindu—baiting brown—sahibs whose identity can be summed up in the typical congress politician, the English—language press person, the beurocrat, the big—businessman, the leftist—intellectual, and the reductionist ic scientist. Hitherto the assault on the dharma was from the outsiders. Now the assault is undertaken by the insider. As such protection of dharma, its re—interpretation and its propagation among people has to proceed on entirely different and novel grounds.
IN FUNCTIONING SOCIETY SUCH AN INCIDENT WOULD SEEM RATHER ODD. THE ODDITY ISNOT RELATED TO THE VALIDITY OTHERWISE OF THE VARNÄ ARRANGEMENT. THERE CAN OF COURSE BE MANY DIFFERENT OPENIONS ABOUT THAT. BUT A GOVERNOR ASKING A SANKARACHÄRYÄ TO STOP REFERRING TO THE VARNA VYAVASTHA IS DIFFERENT MATTER… SAINTS ARE NOT ASKED TO KEEP QUIET BY GOVERNORS, EXCEPT IN SOCIETIES THAT HAVE COMPLETELY LOST THEIR ANCHORAGE.
The example demonstrates an evil trend in our contemporary society. It is the strong tendency on the part of vested interests to suppress healthy social discourse itself. Note how our congress government suppresses public debate on the background of Rama Janmabhoomi issue, on the character of Sarkari secularism, minorityism etc. In our state assemblies the role of Christian missionaries and their conversion activities is not allowed to be discussed at all. All this points to a pathological social condition where healthy ex ression and discussion of even extremely important social issues is purposely be-fuddled by interested parties . At the same time vicious propaganda against the society is encouraged in the name of freedom of expression and open— mindedness – For instance the knowledgeable among the Hindus like the Sringeri Swamy are not allowed (as in the above example) to voice their views about varna vyavastha but the abuses of the varna vyavastha by half—baked intellectuals and motivated parties, even the enemies of Hindu society are allowed to propagate their views . This has been going on • since independence. On the other hand, there is a persistent attempt to pervert the very socio—political terminology to sidetrack public discourse. In this context, the small book— ‘perversion of political parlance’ by Sita Ram Goe1 and articles by Arun Shourie in the Illustrated weekly on ‘Abuse of public discourse’ are very instructive.
RELIGIOUS LEADERS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ANSWERABLE TO HEADS OF THE STATE. THEIR ANSWERABILITY IS ONLY TO THEIR TRADITION AND TO THE COMMTNITY OF THEIR DISCIPLES . IT IS PART OF THEIR CALLING TO INTERPRET THE TRADITION, AND TO GIVE VOICE TO THE CHITTA AND KALA OF THEIR SOCIETY, ACCORDING TO THEIR UNDERSTANDING. NO FUNCTIONING SOCIETY CAN AFFORD TO CURB THEM IN THEIR INTERPRETATIONS AND ARTICULATIONS. This is symptomatic of a deeper malady. The political tyrant has always been trying to usurp the total alliegence of public mind in order to grab unbridled power. To such a power monger, the religious head who is, seeking to strengthen the bonds of sanity and discrimination is the first big obstacle. So he wants to somehow remove that obstacle. For this the political tyrant adopts a two pronged approach. On one hand he will unabashedly uses religious places, godmen and religious consciousness to enhance his popularity to bask in the glory reflected off the godmen, by rubbing shoulders with them day in and day out. On the other hand, he will do everything possible to banish religion from public mind by vehemently criticizing religion in the name of pseudo—secularism, by inventing ways and means to curtail the influence of religion and religious men on the general public. In doing so, he will choose gullible godmen and naive religious movements as his allies to beat the really potent and genuine religiousmen and movements. Narsimha Rao’s attempt to woo Satya sai baba to beat VHP is a case in point. Suppressing proper discourse, spreading misinformation to undermine the force of tradition are the other tricks in the bag of the politician. He has been using them over the centuries. There is convincing evidence to show that in the past the power hungry heads of state and other political functionaries tried hard to pit Buddhism and Jainism to beat Hinduism with an avowed purpose of ultimately destroying all religious/ Dharmic control over political greed.
In short, the biggest threat to people’s moorings in their Chitta and kala is the alienated politician. Then there are certain parties or movements which are basically opposed to Bharatiya Chitta & Kala. For instance, the Communist movement has been trying to utterly destroy everything connected with Indian tradition. The history of Communist Movement in India reads like the Rakshasa (Asuric) tradition which all along opposed the Daivic forces represented by Vishnu and his Avataras. This sort of continued struggle against our Chitta & Kala is captivatingly presented by a famous Telugu writer. He gave the name ‘ Purana Vairam’ to his imagery. He wrote twelve novels depicting the conflict between forces that stand for and against Bharatiya Tradition.
LACK OF DISCRIMINATION IN SOCIAL AND PERSONAL CONDUCT-CONSIDER THE EXAMPLE OF P.D.TANDON TAKING TO THE HABIT OF WEARING RUBBER CHAPPALS BECAUSE HE WANTED TO AVOID VIOLENCE INVOLVED IN LEATHER-WORKING… AHIMSA DOES NOT MERELY IMPLY NON-KILLING. AHIMSA IS A COMPLETE WAY OF LIFE. A MAJOR PART OF THE AHIMSAK WAY OF LIFE IS TO MINIMISE ONE’S NEEDS AND TO FULFIL THESE, FROM WITHIN ONES IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURHOOD. . .THAT IS WHY FOR MAHATMA GANDHI AHIMSA AND SWADESHI WERE NOT TWO DIFFERENT PRINCIPLES . LOOKED AT IN THIS PERSPECTIVE, SRI TANDOR’S PRACTICE OF IGNORING THE LOCAL COBBLER AND TAKING TO THE RUBBER FOOTWEAR FROM BATA WOULD HAVE VIOLATED THE AHIMSAK WAY OF LIFE.
Now it is clear that Dharma—Adharma Vivechana is the essence of Indian Chitta. This discrimination can be amply gained through Mahabharata and Nitisastra. For instance Shanti Parva of Mahabharata says—
It means there are instances where Dharma looks like Adharma and vice versa. One should always remember this fact.
TO USE SPECIAL ETHNIC GOODS BROUGHT FROM THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY, WITH THE NOBLE
INTENTION OF ENCOURAGING KHÄDI AND VILLAGE INDUSTRIES, OR INDIAN HANDICRAFTS IS ANOTHER INSTANCE OF OUR FAILURE TO DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN THE ESSENCE OF A PRINCIPLE, AND ITS CONTEXTUALLY ÈND TEMPORALLY LIMITED APPLICATIONS.
It is not merely a failure to discriminate between the principle and its contextual application but also a lack of understanding about the working of Dharmic principle itself. Every principle has number of contextual applications. In other words every general principle has a number of particular cases. Each application has to be examined on the basis of Desa, Kala, Patra existing at that moment. These are the three bench—marks (coordinates?) within which the general principle is applied to the concrete life situation. Naturally, the principle undergoes some outward modification in its non—essential aspects as required by the context.
Here, one point needs mention. The modification in non—essential aspects should not be taken as an opportunistic twisting of the principle. Many people wrongly think that by speaking of contextual application of a moral principle, one is resorting to moral relativism viz., opportunism or double—standard. There is a lot of difference between ‘double—standard’ and multi—valent application of Dharma.
For example Shanti Parva of Mahabharata says: —
Meaning: The discrimination between Satya and Anruta is difficult. In some instances Satya becomes Anruta and vice versa. Therefore one should know what is Satya and Anruta (in each context) and act accordingly.
Then it is said:
Meaning: In the event of threat to one’s Life, to save a marriage, one may lie. Between Satya and Asatya whichever serves Ahimsa at the moment (that) should be preferred to the other.
Here the controlling factor is ahimsa. One can lie in the cause of Ahimsa, not for one’s own selfish ends. There are many instances in Mahabharata to illustrate this point. For example Yudhishtira tells a lie that Aswathama was dead in order to disarm Dronacharya. He did it at the instance of Sri Krishna, with a view to defeat the powers that are ranged against Dharma. Yudhishira is not considered guilty by knowers of Dharma. Here Yudhistira applied the principle of truth contextually, not relatively. How to distinguish contextuality from opportunism is an intricate subject which cannot be dealt here. Suffice it to say that there are clearcut principles to know one from the other.
Thus, any moral/Dharmic principle can be applied to real life situation only contextually. On that count it cannot be called opportunism. Motives of the persons involved, their consistency of behaviour and other factors put together determine whether the action is opportunistic or not.
Additional information: In this connection one question may arise—if one is free to lie in the name of Dharma, then where is the dividing line between truth and falsehood? Life is an interplay of the physical and metaphysical. Nowhere it is clearer than in the case of morality and moral behaviour.
From a higher (metaphysical) standpoint there is no difference Truth and falsehood, right and wrong are like an object and its shadow. They can be determined only in relation to a person or a context. There can be no shadow without an object. This idea is reflected in the above sloka of Mahabharata where it is said that truth looks like falsehood etc. The reason for this can be seen in the Hindu dialectics. Sri Krishna talks of unity of opposites. He says Sukha transforms into Dukha and so on. It means that there is no Sukha or Dukkha,Dharma or Adharma, Truth or falsehood in itself. They can exist only in relation to a concrete life situation. But then there is a Truth at the cosmic level, the Ritam. All other (worldly) truths are derived from it. During the course of the derivation, the cosmic Truth undergoes certain transformations. Each transformation is a context of the worldly truth. One who wants to overcome the limitations or contraditions of worldly truths, has to transcend both truth and falsehood, Sukha and Dukha etc., such a state of mind is called euqanimity—Sthitaprajnata. It is also called Dwandwateeta Sthiti. Sankaracharya echoes the idea of transcendance of ‘twosomes (Dwandwas) in his Nirvana Shatka (six aphorisms on Nirvana).
The perception of opposites as unity is a very deep rooted trait of Bharatiya Chitta since vedic days. It colours the socio—religious thought and practice of Indians all through the ages. It is the basis of deeper morality of Indians— forgiving the foe in the face of grave danger to one’s self, not telling lies even while one stands to gain by doing so, combining austerity with power and learning etc., other related behaviour of this basic trait is the Indian’s love and care for nature; the morality that flows from this sort of unitary consciousness is far different from a conventional morality. The conventional morality can be seen in semitic religions. It is a pendulum moving between two opposites while Hindu morality is like the movement of a wheel.
The idea of unity of opposites can be demonstrated in daily life. The shadow of a moving wheel placed in a perpendicular axis to a screen appears as a straight line. Any small object tied at a particular point on the rim of the wheel, when the wheel is rotated appears on the screen to be moving between two opposite points. In fact the object comes to the same point where it started again and again. But in the shadow it appears to move between two distant points. Hindu principle of morality is like the actual wheel and western morality is like the shadow.
Another important feature of Dharma as visualized by the Indian mind is that the Dharmic solution to every real Ii situation is not a static, instant, right— wrong answer, but it is a dynamic equilibrium of various factors. In any given situation what is Dharmic or Adharmic is determined by the net result of various forces (human tendencies) exercising their influence on the persons involved. Secondly, judgement is passed on a given outcome as Dharmic or Adharmic based on its effect on the total situation. That is why it is said that there are Dharmic acts which look like Adharmic and vice versa. Thus Bhishma was killed for his siding with- Adharma. But that does not take away his worth as a knower of Dharma. That is why Yudhistira was asked by Sri Krishna to approach Bhishma for advise on statecraft and ethical conduct. Bhishma’s long discourse on these topics forms an important theme of shanti parva of Mahabharata. Thus , killing of Bhishma as well as seeking his advise are apparently opposite actions which are in fact contributory to the same goal—promotion of Dharma. Although they look incompatible to the casual (static) observer, they are perfectly compatible from a dynamic viewpoint.
This kind of dynamic morality is a strong feature of Indian mind. It is found scattered all over the Indian literature right from the esoteric shastras to the popular compositions called Satakams. A Satakam is a composition of a hundred verses in a lucid style understandable to the common man. There are Satakams on different themes but what interest us are the ones that deal with morals. Some such Neeti (moral) Satakams in Telugu are the Vernana Satakam, Sumati Satakam, Dãsarathi Satakam etc.
To the static, puritanic minded westernised observer, this kind of dynamic morality appeared confusing and downright opportunisitic. The more the Indians got westernised, the more confusing and ridiculous their own traditional morality appeared to them. Finally it stands condemned today by many leftist intellectuals.
Thus Indian moral science has wider range of application and validity and favourably responds to the immensely complex life situations. As such its relevance to the modern world with its complexity is obvious.
KHADI AND VILLAGE INDUSTRIES ARE TWO SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SWADESHI. IN THE CONTEXT AND THE TIME OF THE FREEDOM STRUGGLE, THESE TWO WERE PERHAPS THE MOST EFFECTIVE APPLICATIONS THAT HE [GANDHI] COULD CHOOSE, THOUGH AS HE SAID IN 1944, GIVEN DIFFERENT CONTEXT HE COULD HAVE PROBABLY CHOSEN AGRICULTURE AS THE ACTIVITY THAT MOST SYMBOLISED SWADESHI. IN ANY NONE OF THESE SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES AND APPLICATIONS COULD TN THEMSELVES FON THE ESSENCE OF SWÄDESHI. THE ESSENCE IS IN THE FRAME OF MIND THAT SEEKS TO FULFILL ALL SOCIETAL NEEDS FROM THE RESOURCES AND THE CAPABILITIES OF THE IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURHOOD. USING ETHNIC GOODS IMPORTED FROM FAR – PLACES VIOLATES THE ESSENCE, WHILE CONFORMING TO THE FORM, OF SWADESHI.
The forms vary according to the context but the principle remains the same. To separate the principle from its forms is needed to understand both.
IT CAN BE SAID THAT TOO MUCH SHOULD NOT BE READ INTO THESE PERSONAL IDIOSYNCRACIES. WE, HOWEVER, SEEM TO BE BEFUDDLED ON QUESTIONS OF MUCH LARGER SOCIAL RELEVANCE. FOR EXAMPLE, WE SEEM TO HAVE SO FAR FAILED TO DECIDE ON THE MEANING OF EDUCATION FOR OURSELVES. . . TN SARNÄTH THERE IS A MAJOR INSTITUTION OF BUDDHIST LEARNING, THE TIBETAN INSTITUTE. THE DIRECTOR OF THE TIBETAN INSTITUTE SRI SÄMDHONG RINPOCHE. A CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION WAS HELD AT SÄRNATH. SRI SÄMDHONG SAID THAT HE HAD FÄTLED TO GRASP MUCH OF WHAT HAD BEEN SAID DURING THE FOUR DAYS OF THE CONFERENCE BECAUSE HE DID NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF THE ENGLISH WORD EDUCATION. BUT HE KNEW WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERM SIKSHÄ. AND SIKSHA MEANT THE ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGË OF PRAJNÄ, SEELA, SAMÄADHI- RIGHT INTELLECT, RIGHT CONDUCT AND RIGHT MEDITATION. ACCORDING TO SRI SAMDHONG KNOWLEDGE OF THESE THREE WAS EDUCATION. THE LEARNING OF VARIOUS ARTS, CRAFTS AND VARIOUS PHYSICAL TECHNIQUES AND SCIENCES DID NOT COME UNDER THE TERM SIKSHA.. . WE ALSO NEED TO FIND OUT HOW MANY ÈNONGST US ARE EDUCATED TN THIS SENSE OF EDUCATION. . .ÄCCORDING TO OUR OWN DEFINITION OF EDUCATION, THEREFORE, WE BE THE MOST EDUCATED PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.
Vivekananda used the omnibus term ‘concentration’ as the essence of education. He said that the first and foremost thing to acquire is concentration. The rest will follow on its own. Perhaps he meant by concentration all the three qualities included in Siksha. In any case, these definitions of education have nothing corm-ton with the western definition which equates information with education. Our definition aims at the acquisition of the mechanism or technique to acquire information while western definition aims at the product of that mechanism viz., information. We can easily see that once we have the mechanism or technique with us, we can acquire or process any amount of information. But by training ourselves in mere gathering of information, we can never master the technique. Ultimately the information gathering itself becomes cumbersome and useless. That is what we are facing now in these days of information explosion.
This aiming at the technique rather than the product is another important trait of the Indian mind. Nachiketa of Kathopanisad, Prahläda of Bhagavatam are the two typical examples who aimed at acquiring- ‘That by knowing which everything is known’.
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT KNOWLEDGE OF PRAJNA, SEELA AND SAMADHI IS ONLY ONE OF THE VARIOUS KINDS OF EDUCATION KNOWN IN OUR TRADITION. PERHAPS WHAT IS MORE COMMONLY RECOGNISED AS EDUCATION IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF CORRECT PERSONAL AND SOCIAL CONDUCT, AND THE ABILITY TO EARN A LIVING FOR ONESELF AND ONES’ DEPENDENTS.. . VIEWED FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE SOME 5-7% OF HIGHLY MODERNISED INDIANS LIKE US MAY SEEM RATHER UNEDUCATED. BECAUSE, MOST OF US WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH THE MODERN SYSTEMS or EDUCATION AND LEARNING HAVE LOST THE KNOWLEDGE OF CORRECT PERSONAL AND SOCIAL CONDUCT WITHIN THE INDIAN CONTEXT. THE ATTEMPT AT IMITATING THE WORLD AND FOLLOWING EVERY PASSING FAD CAN HARDLY LEAD US ANYWHERE. WE SHALL HAVE NO OPTIONS IN THE WORLD TILL WE EVOLVE A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF OUR OWN, BASED ON AN UNDERSTANDING OF OUR OWN CHITTA AND KALA… WE SHALL THUS HAVE SOME SENSE OF DIRECTION ALONG WHICH WE MUST PROCEED TN ORDER TO BRING INDIA BACK INTO HER OWN. THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK WE DEVISE NOW MAY NOT LAST LONG.WITHIN FEW YEARS SUCH A FRAMEWORK MAY START LOOKING INADEQUATE OR INAPPROPRIATE, OR EVEN ERRONEOUS.
Cap failure to recognise this fact led to our retaining many outdated ideas even today. One example is our attitude to Vedas. Many of the vedic scholars and traditional pundits see them as ritualistic manuals while in fact ritualism is only one of the many imports of the Veda. What we need today is a non—ritualistic approach which is suited to modern conditions.
.. .AND IF THERE IS SOMETHING OF THE ULTIMATE REALITY, OF THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH, IN THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK WE DEVISE, THEN THAT ABSOLUTE IN ANY CASE REMAINS UNAFFECTED BY THE CHANGES WE IN OUR TEMPORAL DEVICES.
It is not always easy to recognise what is temporary and what is permanent in a given situation. Yet, our tradition has given certain markers to discriminate the essential from the less (non) essential. Satya—Asatya, Drk—Drsya, Nitya-Anitya, Para—Äpara vivechana leads to a clearer understanding of the absolute and the relative and hence to separate the grain from the chaff. Again, the stress on vivechana as a precondition to action is a strong feature of Indian mind. Such a vivechana over a sufficiently longer period gives us a scale of Satya—Asatya, Nitya-Anitya etc., we appraise events and individuals by placing them on these footrules when it is said that good and bad are not two separate entities (poles) but the ends of the same scale (of reality), each penetrating the other, one can understand why Sri Krishna said that he was also one among the gambling (a vice) — ‘Dyutam chalayatam asmi’. This presents the basic truth of unity of opposites from another angle. This can be termed as the ‘scale model of truth as against the ‘wheel model’ mentioned already. These models represent two approaches to Hindu moral science.
THE EFFORT TO CONSTRUCT FRAMEWORK FOR INDIAN THOUGHT AND ACTION IN THE MODERN WORLD AND IN THE PRESENT TIMES IS NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE SEARCH FOR THE ULTIMATE THE SANÄTANA, TRUTH OF INDIA. THAT OF COURSE IS A LONG AND PERHAPS UNENDING SEARCH. BUT IT IS NOT THE ULTIMATE TRUTH THAT WE NEED IMMEDIATELY. WE ONLY NEED SOME BASIS FROM WHICH TO START ASKING THE APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS. WHEN SÄTRT AKSING THOSE QUESTIONS, THE ANSWERS “WILL ALSO BEGIN TO EMERGE. OR, PERHAPS, THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY FINAL ANSWERS. BUT THE FACT OF HAVING RAISED THE RIGHT QUESTIONS WOULD HAVE PROVIDED US WITH SOME DIRECTION TO THE RIGHT PATH… AT LEAST THE CONFUSION THAT PREVAILS REGARDING RIGHT CONDUCT AND THOUGHT, EVEN IN THE ORDINARY DAY TO DAY SITUATIONS, WILL GET CLEARED.
Here is the essence of Indian mind—that there is an ultimate truth. That a person has to strive to reach it. One’s daily activity is itself a part of the search for the ultimate. There is no separate ‘search’ as such. It is a fact that one can only travel towards the ultimate but may never reach it in one’s lifetime. That one’s belief in or constant awareness about the ultimate is all that one can be sure of. That the belief or awareness is more important in that it determines the quality of one’s life, one’s understanding of himself and the world around him. That a life lived without a conscious effort to search for the ultimate, a life’s activity not dovetailed to the search for the ultimate is a futile life, a dangerous life. In fact the divergence between, and the mistaken notion, that the search for ultimate is something different from one’s daily life, is the sole cause of our problems. Moreover the ultimate or absolute exercises tremendous influence on all Hindu arts and sciences. For more information, see the article “Philosophy of science in the East and West”.
“ÀS CONTACT WITH FIRE WORKS CHANGES IN A PIECE OF WOOD, SO THE CARRYING OF ÁRMS WORKS ALTERATION IN THE MIND OF HIM WHO CARRIES THEM. (SITA IN ARNYAKANDA.CH.9 & 10). IT TS THE QUESTIONING THAT TS IMPORTANT. NOT SO MUCH THE ANSWERS. WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS TO KEEP RAISING THE QUESTIONS ABOUT HUMAN CONDUCT IN VARIOUS SITUATIONS NOT NECESSARILY TO ARRIVE AT FINAL PRESCRIPTION.
This in other words is the journey towards ultimate. It involves: —
- A firm belief that there is an ultimate truth as described by Upanisads.
- That every human being should strive to reach it.
- The striving involves choosing between growth and non—growth actions and thoughts at every moment of one’s life. This is called the search.
- The realisation that there is no finality to the search in absolute terms. But there may be any number of relative, provisional stops or goals like the scientific theory making. Each theory is right and usable until it is transcended (not falsified) by a higher, better, inclusive, larger theory (or truth). As can be easily seen, this is a continuous process embracing the whole life through every moment of it.
- It matters not what one is doing or who he is. Anyone and everyone can, and has to search for the ultimate in the manner described above.
Thus to the ordinary man in day to day life, it is the right conduct, not the ultimately true conduct (if such thing ever exists at all) or the ultimate truth of conduct that is required. But on that count one cannot say that there is no ultimate. There is an ultimate. To a very few, it is a matter of experience. To most people it is only a posited truth, an assumption to be accepted on authority. This ultimate, to most people, is approachable but not actually reachable. Therefore all solutions to our day to day problems can only be provisional solutions or approximations of the ultimate truth- Thus each approximation contains a shred or spark of the ultimate but is less than complete. This attitude to life is a typical feature of Indian mind, which is also scientific.
The Upanishad says— ‘thou art that’, and also says— ‘ the mind cannot grasp the ultimate Truth’. So our life exists and continues between these two extremes. You are Truth but you cannot know it through your conventional methods. Being aware of this fact all through the life is the hallmark of scientific outlook.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN BHRIGU AND BHÄRADWAJA IN SHANTI PÄRVA OF MAHABHARATA. IT IS ALSO REPRODUCED TN THE SAME FORM IN THE NAARADÄ PURANA [MBH.SHANTI.CH 188; NAARADA P. 11.43.53-60]. BHRIGU ANSWERS THAT ORIGINALLY THERE WAS NO DISTINCTION ANONG THE PEOPLE. AT THE BEGINNING ALL WERE OF THE SAME VARNÄ. BUT WITH THE PASSING OF TIME THEY BEGAN TO DIFFERENTIATE INTO VARNÄS, ACCORDING TO THEIR KARMAS.
This gives us a clue to the origin of castes. Originally when the vedic society was small and the peoples’ needs were few and these needs could be supplied by nature without much human effort, all could pursue the same task, say, vedic learning. But as times passed, people multiplied their needs and aspirations grew in number and complexity, there arose a need for some kind of division of labour. Increase in numbers created problems of organising the group and contend with the problem of difference of opinion, taste and approach. This, together with increased numbers led to groupism which in turn led to inter—group dynamics. Thus the need for some people who could protect each group and also keep the group organised was felt. Here we can see the emergence of the second, warrior/caste. Simultaneously, the above described conditions like increased needs Led to improved methods of food—production [krishi] and exchange of commodities to satisfy varied wants through other means [vaarta]. So another group of people from the original monolithic bloc were entrusted with these two tasks—krishi and vaarta. They came to be known as vaishyas. Upto this point the size of the society and the means to undertake the vital tasks were within such bounds that even those entrusted with ruling and protective functions on one hand and krishi and vaarta on the other hand were Left with enough time and energy to undertake the original task of vedic learning and teaching. That is why in the Vedic days we come across kings who taught Brahma—vidya to hermits. Janaka is a well known example from the Brihadaaranyaka Upanishad. At that stage the dividing line between a rishi and a king was very thin. Rishis were adept in military science [Dhanurveda] and kings were adept in Brahma—vidya. As times went by, society grew in size and complexity, differentiation in taste, ability, aptitude multiplied unmanageably. Some people went out of control—either intentionally or due to circumstances. They demanded carefree life, or at least a life less onerous and more indulgent. They wanted relief from the rigours of vedic learning or other heavy tasks requiring strict way of life. For instances some people among the vedic society wanted to eat food that was prohibited in general or wanted to indulge in habits which come in the discharge of higher functions of the society. Such men were ready to opt out of their traditional functions which [to their taste] became too heavy and insipid. These men were entrusted [more correctly opted) for repetitive, low [not low utility] tasks which were considered menial by the society by common consent. In keeping with the freewheeling nature of their life—style, this group was not entrusted with higher tasks of vedic study and kingship. In the initial stages this group never minded being excluded the higher functions. Moreover, they welcomed it as a great relief. As times passed by more and more people joined this group by neglecting their higher functions. In other words they fell’ from the normal vedic manhood/ womanhood. We find these people described in Manu—smriti as the fallen people or vratyas. Manu clearly says that they became vraryas by not observing their vedic duties. He also says that they were allowed to eat or drink forbidden articles in keeping with their desires. But since they were not ready to maintain the necessary level of conduct, they were not treated on par with those who maintained the standard. This was necessary to ensure the maintenance of vedic society with its stated ideals intact. Upto this point the myriad changes that occurred were internal to the vedic society.
As times passed by an external dimension was added in the shape of many invasions and many peaceful assimilations in our society. Many foreign tribes like sakas, Huns and others got assimilated. This assimilation was desired by those tribes. Yet, they brought many customs which were not in keeping with vedic spirit. But vedic society had to respect -at least a few of those customs in order not to hurt the incoming people. In this fashion some customs which offended our sensibilities also found place in our tradition. This is one side of the foreign element. The other side which is pretty grim and damaging to the vedic society is the repeated foreign invasions with their destabilising effects. Such invasions caused innumerable chanaes in the vedic way of life. Some changes were made to ward of attempts of extermination. Some changes were brought out in order to ensure the mere existence of vedic culture and tradition from total annihilation. For centuries together we never got breathing respite to take stock of our tradition and make necessary adjustments -Even then there were constant attempts at reform, though the attempts never matched the requirement. Thus the institution of caste is the outcome of the natural law of human society. It is a way to implement division of labour, to allow for human weakness without endangering the higher aims of the society as a whole. It is an attempt to accommodate those aliens who are attracted to our culture and wanted to become members of our society by resolving various complexities and conflicts that beset such assimilation. That our caste system performed all these tasks over all these centuries is a tribute to its inherent justness and strength. It is totally wrong to see only evils in caste system and attribute those evils to the Brahmin caste or the upper castes. As Dr.Ämbedkar explained in his ‘The Shudras—who are they?’ it is totally meaningless to say that the Brahmin or any other single caste has the strengh or authority or social power to create a system like the caste system or all its evils. As already said the caste system, like any other aspect of our culture is the result of all the sections of people. Due to historic reasons today we may find some groups suffering more than others. That does not mean that the people suffering less are responsible for the suffering of those others. One has to delve deep into history and make a comprehensive study of all aspects of our past to understand the origin, historic growth, evils and positive contributions of the caste system.
THERE ARE NO FINAL ANSWERS-THIS WAY OF CONTINUOUS QUESTIONING TS THE INDIAN WAY. TO KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT PERSONAL AND SOCIAL CONDUCT, AND ABOUT THE APPROPRIATE MODES OF SOCIAL ORGANISATION, TO KEEP MEDITATING ABOUT THESE ISSUES, AND TO KEEP FINDING PROVISIONAL ANSWERS IN VARIOUS CONTEXTS; THIS WAY OF CONTINUOUS AWARENESS AND CONTINUOUS REFLECTION IS PERHAPS THE ESSENCE OF THE INDIAN WAY OF LIFE. WE HAVE SOMEHOW LOST THIS HABIT. .
What matters most is the constant questioning, evolving provisional answers and constant re—evaluation of those answers by testing them against ground realities. This is the nature of a living society. Tt is an ongoing process. This approach to life is called the going concern approach. On the other hand looking for permanent (static) answers to everchanging life situations is a wrong approach which assumes the society to be an unchanging, dead organism. It is called gone concern approach. Thus a living society like ours needs a going concern (questioning) approach. It needs a stout heart and a stronger mind. Due to our contact with alien culture in the most inappropriate fashion resulted in great confusion in our value system and evaluation capability. We have started asking the wrong questions. The need of the hour is to remove our cultural confusion and start asking the right questions. For that, an understanding of our civilizational mind is essential.
TO FORM A COMPREHENSION OF THE CHITTA AND KALA OF INDIA, WE SHOULD PROBABLY
BEGIN WITH THOSE ASPECTS OF THE ANCIENT INDIAN LITERATURE WHICH SEEM TO FORM THE BASIS FOR ALL THE REST. FOR EXAMPLE THE STORY OF CREATION AND UNFOLDING OF THE UNIVERSE… SEEMS TO HAVE A DIRECT BEARING ON INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS.
THE STORY OF CREATION THAT THE PURANÄS RECOUNT IS EXTREMELY POWERFUL IN ITSELF. THE CREATION BEGINS WITH THE INTENSE EFFORT, THE TAPAS AND THE DETERMINATION, THE SÄNKÄLPA, OF BRAHMAN. . . PASSES THROUGH A NUMBER OF CYCLES OF GROWTH AND DECAY, AND AT THE END TS DRAWN BACK INTO BRAHMAN… WITHIN THIS LARGE CYCLE,
|THERE, ARE A NUMBER OF SHORTER CYCLES AT THE END 0F EACH OF WHICH GETS DESTROYED, AND CREATED AGAIN AT THE BEGINNING OF’ THE NEXT.
THE TERMS ‘CREATION’ AND ‘DESTRUCTION’ARE PROBABLY NOT WHOLLY APPROPRIATE IN THIS CONTEXT. BECAUSE, ÄT CREATION, IT IS NOT SOMETHING EXTERNAL TO HIM THAT BRAHMAN CREATES. HE ONLY MANIFESTS HIMSELF IN THE VARIED FORMS AND AT THE END HE
|MERELY CONTRACTS THOSE MANIFESTATIONS INTO HIMSELF,. AND IN REALITY NOTHING THAT GETS CREATED OR DESTROYED. THE UNIVERSE, A COSMIC GAME OF REPEATED|
EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION OF THE ULTIMATE ESSENCE OF THE UNIVERSE. BUT IT IS A GAME THAT IS PLAYED ACCORDING TO WELL DEFINED CYCLES OF TIME. . . -EVEN BRAHMAN IS GOVERNED BY KALA. HE MANIFESTS AND CONTRACTS ACCORDING TO A DEFINIT FLOW OF TIME THAT EVEN HE CANNOT TRANSCEND.
Our shastras describe the creation as the weaving of a web by the spider. The Spider is called Urnanàhi—one which has thread in its belly. Just as the spider produces the thread from its belly and weaves a web, so also Brahman (produces) projects the whole creation from his insides. The very derivation of the word Sristhi (from Sruj—to manifest, project) points to this idea.
Then again, the concept of Panchikaranam tells us that the body after death is split into the five elements which make up the body and each joins its corresponding primordial source. Thus death is described as the return to the source. The process of projection and dissolution of the universe together form one cycle of creation.
Christianity described the ‘ fall of man’. Marxism described the ascent (progress) of man. In fact these two are parts of one process which was correctly visualized by Hindu seers as a single cycle or a wave (from crest to crest) in the ocean called Brahman. Thus, Hindu concept 08 creation is more comprehensive and explains more number of facts more authentically and more satisfactorily (than Christianity and Marxism). Its psychological impact is more healthier than that of Marxism or Christianity. For instance Christianity breeds ‘sense of guilt’ or ‘sense of sin while Marxism breeds arrogance and self— importance leading to self—righteousness and authoritarianism. Both inculcate unholy haste to achieve everything in this life through hook or crook. A whole train of consequences follow this tendency.
A Hindu looks at life as journey from home to home. There is no place for pessimissm or arrogance. This is how Indian concept of creation not only imparts balance to thinking but also helps in understanding religions and ideologies functioning the world over.
Again, depending on how exactly Brahman projects himself in the form of creation, various philosophical outlooks developed. For instance, the school which believes (posits) that Brahman only appears to become creation without ever becoming anything (i.e., himself remaining unchanged) is called the Vivarta Väda of Sankaracharya. The school that posits that Brahman actually becomes (devolves) into creation is called parinamavada. Many other schools of Indian philosophy adopt this view. (evolve—implies a gradual upgradation. Devolve—implies gradual climbdown).
Then again, the concept of Lila (play) is evolved from the theory of creation. Brahman projects himself in the form of creation and contracts it back into himself as a matter of play (Lila). This Lila is the source of Avataras. An Avatara is not altogether different from the other entities of nature, but only reflects a higher degree of divineness. By defining avatara in this fashion, Hindu theory of creation makes divinity actionable i.e- , it enables every individual to acquire divinity through his actions or degrade himself. Divinity in Indian tradition is not something to be revered at a distance. It is a quality to be emulated, lived practiced to become onewith. For instance Rama and Krishna were men like us. But the divine in them was much more concentrated than in other mortals. Hence an avatara is also called Leelamanushavigraha. These ideas colour the thought and actions of Indians in daily life a lesser or greater degree. For instance the proliferation of Godmen,of Rishis in a _degree for greater than any other society is due to this philosophy of avatara. It gave birth to more great men than any other society, — Kanchi Paramacharya.
A Hindu warrior knows no fear of death because he knows that death is but going back to home only to come back again. Hence the valour of a Rajput warrior, poet or social worker does not feel for half finished work because he is going to be born again and finish the work. Kavitraya Bharatam is a good example. One can see the seeds of reincarnation çoncept here. Such a race knows no despair, it is not in a hurry either. Thus the Indian idea of creation makes a man hopeful patient, optimistic. It brings his time scale on par with geological \ cosmic time scale—Sagan. Such an attitude brings with it a long range view of life and nature wherein a person does not hasten by hook or crook to get results overnight in matters concerning large aggregates of individuals whose existence is stretched over millennia. His time scale is attuned to the social and cosmic scales properly. He becomes more realistic in that he does not condemn a society for not changing according to his expectations within his (puny)lifetime. He knows that it takes Longer for a society to react. That is why Gandhi says— it is not society, it is the reformer who is in a hurry. He also knows that the reaction of a living society may be too complex to his grasp and may be too varied to his liking. So he does his part of the work and silently goes away. After all, this is what Sri Krishna told Arjuna in the Gita. As already said, a race with such an outlook knows no despair (even though its alienated elite condemn it to be stagnant, unchanging race\society) – It is not in hurry. (Gandhiji —said— it is the reformer who is in a hurry, not the society. Hence one should not expect overnight results). It thinks and reacts over centuries and millennia. This explains the longevity of Indian society and civilization whereas many other civilizations simply vanished.
EVERY INDIAN IS PROBABLY AWARE OF THIS INDIAN VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE AS THE PLAY OF BRAHMAN. EVERY INDIAN IS ALSO AWARE OF THE SUPREMACY OF KALA IN THIS PLAY. .. THAT THIS PLAY OF BRAHMAN PROCEEDS ACCORDING TO THE INEXORABLE FLOW OF KALA, IS DEEPLY ETCHED ON THE CHITTA or THE PEOPLE OF INDIA. Ka1a is worshipped by Indians as a diety. Mahäkala, represents the temporal aspect of Shiva. Then there is Kala, the Yama. Yama is also called Dharma Devata. He is also the God of Death. Thus the inexorable nature of life and death. Dharma and time are inextricably linked in the Indian mind. THE BASIC UNIT TS CHATURYUGA. IN KRITÄ YUGA, THE FIRST YUGA CREATION IS THE PERIOD OF BLISS. IN THE KRITÄ YUGA, THE JEEVA, THE BEING, IS NOT YET MUCH DIFFERENTIATED FROM BRAHMAN. NO DIFFERENTIATION FROM ONE BEING AND ANOTHER. THERE IS ONLY ONE VARNÄ. IN FACT THE CONCEPT OF VÄRNA HAS NOT YET RISEN. IN LIFE IS SIMPLE AND EASY. THERE IS NO COMPLEXITY. PHENOMENA LIKE MOHÄ, LOBHA AND AHÄNKÄRÄ-HAVE NOT YET MANIFESTED. THERE IS NO KAMA. PROCREATION TAKES PLACE MERELY THROUGH THE WISH, THE SÄMKALPA. NEEDS OF LIFE ARE FEW. NO SPECIAL EFFORT NEEDS FOR SUSTAINING LIFE… IN THIS SIMPLE BLILSSFUL STATE OF LLTFE EVEN KNOWLEDGE IS NOT REQUIRED. THERE IS NO VEDA YET TN THE YUGA. THAT VEDA WAS IN THE FORM OF EXPERIENCE. IT DID NOT GET SEPERATED FROM BEING. IT DID NOT GET EXTERNALIZED\OBJECTIFIED. IN OTHER WORDS IT DID NOT BECOME KNOWLEDGE (CEREBRAL) YET.
BUT WITH THE PASSAGE OF THE UNIVERSE STARTS GETTING MORE AND MORE COMPLEX. THE INNATE ORDER STARTS GETTING DISTURBED. DHARMA STARTS GETTING WEAKENED. This may be called as social entropy—a state of progressive disorder due to increasing complexity.
UNIVERSE AFTER CREATION CONSTANTLY MOVES TOWARDS LOWER AND LOWER LEVELS OF EXISTENCE AND BEING. THE VARIOUS ARTS AND CRAFTS, VARIOUS SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES AND VARIOUS KINDS OF KNOWLEDGE ARISE AT RELATIVELY LATER STAGES OF THE UNFOLDING OF THE, UNIVERSE. ALL THESE HELP TO MAKE LIVABLE IN A UNIVERSE THAT HAS DEGRADED TO A HIGHER LEVEL OF COMPLEXITY. BUT NONE OF THESE ARTS, CRAFTS, SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES CAN CHANGE THE DOWNWARD DIRECTION OF UNIVERSE Higher complexity is the sign of degradation according to Indian view, not a sign of progress. But higher complexity is a sign of progress for the Marxist. It is also the same for liberal capitalist. In this, both Marxism and liberalism seemed to be inspired by Darwinian theory of evolution. Here lies the basic difference between Indian and Western views of life. In our view simplicity is divine while complexity is Asuric.
IT IS NO MERE COINCIDENCE THAT WE CALL OUR EARLIEST ARTISANS SUCH AS MAYA AS ASURAS AND CONTRARY TO OUR PRESENTVIEW ASURAS ARE NOT DEVILS AS SUCH. THEY ARE MERELY PEOPLE SUBSCRIBING O A DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE WHICH SOMETIMES COMES INTO CONFLICT WITH VEDIC LIFE. OUR TRDITION CREDITS THE ASURIC TRADITION PROPER WITH MANY WORLDLY ACHEVEMENTS. IN UNDERSTANDING VEDIC AND ASURIC (NON-VEDIC) LIFE STYLES ARE TWO LIFE STYLES GRADUALLY INTERPRETING INTO ONE ANOTHER.
THE NATURAL TENDENCY OF THE UNIVERSE TO KEEP MOVING TOWARDS MORE AND MORE COMPLEXITY, MORE AND MORE DIFFERENTIATION AND DIVISION AND THUS FARTHER AND FARTHER ÄWAY FROM THE STÄTE OF NATURAL SIMPLICITY AND BLISS, CANNOT BE HALTED BY EVEN THE AVÄTARAS OF THE CREATOR HIMSELF. SUCH AVATAR-AS ARE ABLE TO RESTORE ONLY A DEGREE OF BALANCE IN THE NATURALLY DISTURBED STATE OF THE UNIVERSE. THEY TOO, CÄNNOT REVERSE THE MARCH. THAT IS WHY, INSPITE OF ALL THE EFFORTS OF SRI KRISHNA, THE ONSET OF KALI YUGA CAN NEITHER BE STOPPED, NOR DELAYED. BUT WITHOUT THE CLEANING UP OF THE BURDEN OF DVAPARA, THAT THE GREAT MAHABHÄRÄTÄ WAR ACHIEVED, THE COMING OF THE KALI MIGHT HAVE BEEN TOO MUCH TO BEAR FOR MERE MAN. THE MAJOR LESSON OF THE INDIAN STORY OF CREATION IS OF THE SMALLNESS OF MAN AND HIS EFFORTS IN THE VAST OF THE UNIVERSE THAT HAS NO BEGINNING AND NO END. THE COSMIC PLAY OF CREATION UNFOLDS ON A VERY LARGE SCALE, IN TIME CYCLES OF HUGE DIMENSIONS. TN THAT LARGE EXPANSE OF TIME AND UNIVERSE, MAN HAS NOT MUCH SIGNIFICPNCE. SIMPLICITY AND COMPLEXITY, BLISS AND ANXIETY KEEP FOLLOWING EACH OTHER. BUT THE PLAY GOES ON. [Story of creation has its psychological impact on the Indian mind. It inculcates humility borne out of the awareness of one’s own insignificance in the cosmic drama. Yet it retains a healthy self—importance of man by reminding him that he is made of the same basic stuff as that of the cosmos. So he is a tiny but important player in the -cosmic play as far as his surroundings are concerned. Between the sense of humility and self—importance, man is taught to be friendly and worshipful to all the animate and inanimate things in nature. This attitude is the basis of eco—friendly philosophy of the Indian. These are the benchmarks that determine the socio—political, religio— cultural ideas and practices of the Vedic Indian.]
THE PECULLIARLY INDIAN AWARENESS OF THE INSIGNIFICANCE OF MAN AND HIS EFFORTS IN THE UNENDING FLOW OF KÄLÄ IS HOWEVER NOT IN CONSONANCE WITH MODERNITY. THE BELIEF THAT IN EVERY NEW CYCLE THE UNIVERSE, FROM THE MOMENT OF ITS CREATION, STARTS DECLINING TOWARDS A LOWER AND LOWER STATE IS ALSO INCOMPATIBLE WITH MODERN CONSCIOUSNESS. TO LOOK UP VARIOUS ARTS AND CRAFTS AND SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES ETC MERELY AS TEMPORARY HUMAN ARTIFACTS REQUIRED TO SUSTAIN LIFE IN A CONSTANTLY DECAYING STATE OF THE UNIVERSE FOES COMPLETELY COUNTER TO THE MODERN VIEW OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGIES. ACCORDING To MODERNITY, MAN KEEPS ON REFINING THE WORLD, LIFTING IT HIGHER AND HIGHER, MAKING IT BETTER. [These are the three variants of modern progress theory. All the three variants failed in practice. Marxism supported all the three variants of progress. Failure of Marxism is a proof of the failure of modern theories of progress].
THE STRUCTURE THAT WE WISH TO IMPLANT IN INDIA AND THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPMENT THAT WE WANT TO INITIATE CAN TAKE ROOT HERE, ONLY IF THEY SEEM COMPATIBLE WITH THE INDTÄN VIEW 09 CHITTA AND KALA. STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES CONTRARY TO THE PICTURE OF THE UNIVERSE AND ITS UNFOLDING ETCHED ON THE INDIAN MIND ARE UNLIKELY TO FIND MUCH RESPONSE IN INDIA. THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, THOSE WHO ARE STILL ANCHORED IN THEIR OWN CHITTA AND KALA, ÄRE UNLIKELY TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY EFFORTS ALIEN TO THE INDIAN COMPREHENSION OF THE UNIVERSE.
WE MUST THEREFORE WORK OUT WHAT THE THOUGHTS AND IDEAS INGRAINED IN THE INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IMPLY IN PRACTICE. WHAT STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES SEEM RIGHT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA? WHAT SORT OF LIFE SEEMS WORTH LIVING AND WHAT SORT OF EFFORTS WORTH MAKING FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE. WE SHALL HAVE TO COMPREHEND AND COME TO TERMS WITH SOME OF THE MAJOR ASPECTS OF THE INDIAN WAYS OF ORGANISING THE SOCIAL AND PHYSICAL REALITY.
Hitherto, under the Nehruvian dispensation the Indian mind is sought to be bent as per western conception of time and mind. 50 years of efforts proved not only the futility• of such effort; but the world with changes in these 50 years the decline of the very model of modernity which Nehruvian dispensation sought to implant in India. Now the only course left is to carefully and respectfully study how the mass of Indian population perceive the world through then of sense of time and mind and act accordingly. The massive response to movements like Äyodhya, centred round a personality belonging to Treta Yuga, itself shows that most Indians are still rooted in their traditional mould of Chitta, manas and Kala. Present day spurt in Bhakti cult and Godmen and popularity of classic TV serials like Mahabharata and Chanakya also point to the same fact.
Some implications of Indian Chitta are— First of all the arrogant attitude that Indian life and thought has to be tailored to a western fashion should be abandoned. Instead the Indian way of looking at the world has to be accorded due respect and recognition. Indian view of life is the best antidote to self— righteousness and authoritarianism. It encourages — friendly attitude to nature and fellow man. What is more conducive to the spirit of democracy? It also encourages plurality of religious expression, politics and economics. It admits perfect decentralisation and sharing of power. It makes possible equitable distribution of both means and fruits of production. It is normative rather than value—neutral. The value—neutrality in modern western oriented economics Led to immorality and exploitation and value—neutrality in science led to inhuman inventions and practice of science. Indian view corrects this imbalance. It recognises the supreme need to separate power, money and knowledge in different hands. In fact the much maligned caste system does precisely the same. The Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya control knowledge, power and money respectively. It is a scheme of decentralised, multi centred democratic design of society. It stresses the fact that it is necessary and possible to derive infinite happiness from limited material means (resources).
Thus Indian view of life lays foundation for a new order of politics, economics, sociology and science with an entirely power and responsibility (accountability) equation.
DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN PARA VIDYÄ AND THE APARA VIDYA IS ONE SUCH ASPECT OF THE INDIAN WAYS OF ORGANISING PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL REALITY WHICH SEEMS TO BE DIRECTLY RELATED To THE FUNDAMENTAL INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS. . . KNOWLEDGE THAT DEALS WITH THE UNCHANGEABLE BRAHMAN BEYOND- THE CONTINUOUSLY CHANGING TEMPORAL WORLD IS PARA VIDYA. AND THAT WHICH DEÄLS WITH THE DAY TO DAY PROBLEMS OF TEMPORAL LIFE AND MAKES ORDINARY LIFE IN THIS COMPLEX WORLD POSSIBLE IS APARA VIDYA.IN THE INDIAN TRADITION PARA VIDYA IS HIGHER THAN APPARA VIDYA.
Para Vidya includes and transcends Apara Vidya. All first principles of Apara Vidya its controlling idea, and basic structure are contained in Para Vidya. Apara Vidya is to be understood and used only in the light of Para Vidya. Hindu economics, sociology and science—all derive their foundations from the para vidya. It can be said that Vedas constitute para while Upavedas constitute Apara vidya. In fact there is no watertight compartmental division between para and Apara. Man’s activities can be arranged in a para—Apara graduated scale. As the activity contains more of secular element, its Apara content increases and vice versa.
*Veda— Essentially para
*Vedangas — para and Äpara mixture in equal measure;
*upavedas and puranas — Essentially Apara.
THE DIFFERENTIATION HAVE ARISEN SOMETIME TOWARDS THE END OF TRETA AND THE BEGINNING OF DVAPARA. TT TS COMMONLY BELIEVED THAT THE FOUR VEDAS FORM THE REPOSITORY OF PARA VIDYA. PURANAS AND ITIHASAS AND CRAFTS LIKE ÄYURVEDA, JYOTISHÄ DEAL WITH THE ÄPARÄ VIDYA.
IN A LARGE NUMBER OF CONTEXTS THE VEDAS SEEM TO BE DEALING WITH SUCH MUNDANE SUBJECTS AS WOULD FALL ONLY UNDER THE CATEGORY OF APARB VIDYÄ. ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE ARE EXTENSIVE DISCUSSIONS IN THE PURANAS ABOUT THE ATTRIBUTES OF BRAHMAN.. . THEN DISCIPLINES LIKE VYÄKÄRANÄ WHICH BELONG TO BOTH PARA AND APARÄ. IT SEEMS THAT THE INDIAN MIND HAS SOMEHOW COME TO BELIEVE THAT ALL THAT IS CONNECTED WITH VIDYÄ IS RATHER LOW, AND THAT KNOWLEDGE OF THE PARA ALONE IS TRUE KNOWLEDGE. THIS CONTEMPT FOR APÄRA VIDYÄ IS PROBABLY NOT FUNDAMENTAL TO INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS.. . WHAT WAS PERHAPS UNDERSTOOD AND EMPHASIZED THAT WHILE DEALING WITH APARA WHILE LIVING WTTHTN THE COMPLEXITY OF THE WORLD ONE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT THERE IS SIMPLE UNDIFFERENTIATED REALITY BEHIND THIS SEEMING COMPLEXITY, THAT THERE IS THE UNCHANGEABLE BRAHMAN BEYOND THIS EVER CHANGING MUNDANE WORLD. WHAT THE INDIANS REALIZED WAS THE IMPERATIVE NEED TO KEEP THE AWARENESS OF THE PARA INTACT WHILE GOING THROUGH THE COMPLEX ROUTINE OF DAILY LIFE; WHAT THEY EMPHASIZED WAS THE NEED TO REGULATE THE MUNPÄNE IN THE LIGHT OF THE INDIAN UNDERSTANDING OF THE ULTIMATE UNITY OF THE UNIVERSE, TO KEEP THE APARA VIDYÄ INFONED OF THE PARA.
Para, as already said, has a direct bearing on Indian secular (Apara) activity. It gives a distinctive appearance, content and direction to Indian thought and action which differentiate Indian civilization from all others. It also accounts for the extremely tough and resilient nature of our civilization. While we can derive Apara from Para the vice versa is always less than complete. Therefore Indians considered Para as more important— knowing Para all else is known.
WE HAVE TO FIND SOME ACCEPTABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE APPROPRIATE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARA VTDYÄ AND APARA VIDYÄ WITHIN THE LARGER INDIAN UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROCESSES OF THE CREATION AND UNFOLDING OF UNIVERSE. THERE IS EVIDENTLY AN IMBALANCE IN OUR ATTITUDES TOWARDS PARA VIDYA AND APARA VIDYÄ, WHICH HAS TO BE SOMEHOW REMEDIED. IS POSSIBLE THAT THIS IMBALANCE IS NOT OF RECENT CREATION. IN THE WORLD OF SCHOLARSHIP THIS IMBALANCE HAVE ARISEN RATHER EARLY. IT IS THE USUAL TENDENCY OF’ SHOLARSHIP TO EMPHASIZE THE ABSTRACT AND THE FORMAL OVER THE CONCRETE AND THE CONTEXTUAL REALITY OF DAY-TODAY LIVING.
Our first big confusion, it seems was set in under the Buddhist influence. Buddhism was meant to correct some of the imbalances of mainstream Hinduism. It was never meant to be a complete theory and practice of life by itself. Yet some overenthusiastic people (for different reasons of their own) presented Buddhism as an alternative to Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma. It was like asking a person ailing to use medicine as an alternative to his regular food! No wonder the medicine turns into poison for the poor fellow. Similarly Buddhism, which was meant to be a corrective measure to some defects of Hinduism, was forced on the people as an alternative way of life itself. But Buddhism has nothing to offer as a complete way of life. It emphasized monkhood over other stations of life. So it could not replace Hinduism. Buddhism failed to replace Hinduism but could inject some more imbalance into the latter. Kumarila Bhatta and his school of karma Mimamsakas tried to correct that imbalance. But their work was tinged with overdose of ritualism which again was sought to be corrected by Shankara. Most probably the over emphasis we put on para is the reaction of such induced imbalance. Further imbalance was injected into Indian mind by Islamic and later Christian domination. But then the imbalance induced by Buddhism is totally different in nature and results from that induced by Islam and Christianity. Buddhism was like a medicine misused whereas Islam and Christianity were deliberate poisonings to kill the patient.
IT MAY BE THAT IN OUR MENTALLY AND SPIRITUALLY DEPRESSED STATE WE HAVE BEEN TOO OBSESSED WITH THE PARA KNOWLEDGE OF INDIA, AND CONSEQUENTLY HAVE FAILED TO SERIOUSLY SEARCH FOR THE TEXTS OF APARA LEARNING, AND THEREFORE THIS SEEMING IMBALANCE OF INDIAN LITERATURE AND INDIÄN THOUGHT MAY MERELY BE CONSEQUENCE OF OUR LOPSIDED VIEWING.
In our depressed condition we did not pursue para knowledge more, but merely withdrew ourselves into the shell of self—preservative stagnation. This desperate struggle for existence was characterised by preoccupation with otherworld as a diversion from the torments of this world. But a healthy pursuit of para knowledge as our vedic Rishis did was far different from the above condition.
The reasons for our failure to care for Äpara Texts are many— Most Apara (secular) texts were localised. They were not universally used texts like the Vedic texts. Secondly, as Shri Dharampal himself shown in his book on Science and Technology in 18th century India, the S&T skills and information in our country were organised on hereditary basis. Much information was transmitted orally. Instruction was through personal example and demonstration. So, not much was left in the form of books and manuals. Thirdly, the gap created in Sanskrit learning during 19th, 20th centuries led to serious consequences. Many people who inherited copper plates and palm—leaf manuscripts destroyed them due to sheer ignorance of their value. It is said that many families melted away copper plates to make utensils for domestic use! They made bonfire of old palm—leaf texts considering them as mere junk. This sort of ignorance was the result of deliberate discouragement of Sanskrit learning by men like Raja Ram Mohan Roy. He considered Sanskrit learning as the biggest hurdle to modernisation. What was started by men like Roy was finished by the British Government by adopting deliberate policy to destroy sanskrit learning in our country. The problem was compounded by the post—independence administration dominated by Nehruvian ideology deciding to continue the anti— Sanskrit policy of the British with more vigour and enthusiasm.
Above all this the deliberate destruction of Sanskrit manuscripts by the Muslim and Christian imperialists did untold harm to our knowledge sources. For example Muslims practiced burning of libraries as a pastime and religious duty right from the days of Nalanda. Christians pursued a policy of censorship and destruction of non—christian writings as in Goa by the Portugese Inquisition. All these factors combined to make the situation what it is. It is very essential to keep these factors in mind in tracing our intellectual history. THIS IMBALANCE HAS AFFECTED OUR THINKING ON NUMEROUS OTHER SUBJECTS AND ISSUES. FOR INSTANCE VARNÄ VYAVÄSTHA. INTERPRETING THIS VYÄVÄSTHA WE HAVE SOMEHOW ASSUMED THAT THE VARNAS CONNECTED WITH EXTERNAL PRACTICES AND RITUALS OF THE PARA VIDYÄ ARE HIGHER, AND THOSE INVOLVED IN THE APARA ARE LOWER.. . BUT THE ISSUE OF HIERARCHY OF THE VARNAS TS NOT CLOSED QUESTION TN THE INDIAN TRADITION… NOWHERE IN THE PURUSHA SUKTÄ IT IS SAID THAT SOME OF THESE TASKS, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE PERFORMERS OF THOSE TASKS, ARE BETTER THAN OTHER.. . THE VARNAS DIVIDED FIRST INTO TWO AND THEN INTO THREE AND FOUR-LIKE THE HIERARCHY OF VÄRNÄS, THERE IS ALSO THE HIERARCHY OF THE KARMAS, OF ACTIONS, IN OUR PRESENT DAY INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS.
Hierarchizing is a fundamental trait of human consciousness. It is not confined to Indians alone. One hierarchy may be broader or narrower, simple or complex than the other. Duality is the order of phenomenal world. Duality gives rise to dichotomy as the moving force of creation. Dichotomy gives rise to dialectics in the intellectual domain. Dichotomise is the basic trait of human mind. I think that the tendency to view external world and its events as waves (wave phenomena) of successive changes, as recurring or repetitive (cyclical phenomena), as stepwise happenings (hierarchy) all owe their origin to the dichotomising tendency of human mind. Thus the dichotomising tendency is responsible for the so called dialectics i.e. , some used the inevitable dichotomising trait to evolve a positive, broader view of—life (like Hindus) while some others like Marxists used it to formulate a narrow, conflict ridden view of life, viewing the world as the interplay of two opposing forces.
THAT EVERY ACTION HAS AN UNALTERABLE CONSEQUENCE IS A FUNDAMENTAL ASPECT OF INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS. – . FROM THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE, LIFE AND INDEED THE WHOLE CREATION SEEM LIKE LONG SEQUENCE OF ACTIONS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES LEADING TO FURTHER CONSEQUENCES AND SO ON. NOTHING IN THAT THEORY IMPLIES THAT SOME KINDS OF KARMAS ARE SUPERIOR AND OTHERS AND INFERIOR; THE IDEA THAT, FOR EXAMPLE, RECITATION OF THE VEDA IS A HIGH KARMA AND WEAVING OF CLOTH IS LOW DOES NOT FOLLOW FROM THE KARMA THEORY. Yes, both the activities are equal provided the consciousness remains equally pure in both the cases. Any activity that leads to lowering of the quality of consciousness is said to be lower than the one associated with better quality of consciousness. Only in rare occasions does a job connected with say, violence or killing, is associated with a higher consciousness and an activity like penance is coupled with lower consciousness. The story of Dharma Vyadha in Mahabharata points to this rare truth. It also proves another point that it is the quality or level of consciousness that determines the higher or lower status of an activity but not the activity itself. But it must also be admitted for the sake of truth that in normal life certain activities lead to lowering of consciousness and certain other activities lead to heightening of consciousness. So whether a person and his activity are lower or higher depend on the particular case.
THE MEANING OF KARMA THEORY IS PERHAPS SOMETHING ELSE. ALL KARMAS, ALL ACTIONS, ARE AFTER ALL THE SAME IN THEMSELVES. WHAT PROBABLY DIFFERENTIATES ONE KARMA FROM ANOTHER IS THE MENTAL ATTITUDE AND THE SENSE OF CONCERN WITH WHICH IT IS PERFORMED.
Here a rider has to be added. Not only correct attitude in performing the Karma but also correct choosing of the karma suited to his station in life is also required. The correct performance and correct choice put together account for the quality of consciousness. Many a time we fail to detect the defect in the choice of karma which is crucial. One has to make a growth choice (spiritual growth) rather than a non—growth choice. Failure to do so makes his Karma inferior. For instance if a person takes up a job which promises additional income through bribes is a wrong choice and no amount of good work by way of donations and charities can it heighten the consciousness of the concerned person. This is so far as Karma in individual case is concerned. But Karma in collective cases obeys quite different laws. Such detailed discussion is out of place here.
THE SAME MUST HOLD FOR ALL OTHER KINDS OF KARMAS. THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY EVIL OR LOW TN THE KARMA OF SWEEPING ETC., THEY COULD NOT BE HIGH OR LOW IN THEMSELVES.
The answer is yes and no. So long as the samskaras generated by the Karma are positive, the Karma is not low. But once it starts degrading the mind, it becomes low. The vice versa is also true. Thus every Karma has a dual aspect— the instrument and the result. After a particular point it is very difficult to separate a Karma from its results.
THE TASK AHEAD: THE MAHABHARATA STORY (OF DHARMAVYADHA) PRESENTS ONE INTERPRETATION OF THE THEORY OF KARMA. THERE MAYBE SEVERAL OTHER INTERPRETATIONS IN INDIAN LITERATURE. SIMILARLY THERE WOULD BE NUMEROUS INTERPRETATIONS OF PARA VIDYA AND VIDYÄ AND ALSO OF THE VARNA VYAVASTHA. COMPREHENDING AND APPRECIATING THESE VARIOUS INTERPRETATIONS, AND WORKING OUT NEW INTERPRETATION THAT FALLS WITHIN THE ANCIENT TRADITION AND IS YET CAPABLE OF BEING RELATED TO THE MODERN CONTEXTS, IS PERHAPS THE PARAMOUNT TASK OF INDIAN SCHOLARSHIP .THIS CONTINUOUS RE-INTERPRETATION AND RENEWAL OF THE TRADITION, CONTINUED MEDITATION ON THE WAYS OF MANIFESTING THE INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA IN PRACTICAL DAY TO DAY LIFE AND CONTINUOUS EXPLORATION OF THE INDIAN WAY OF LIFE IN DIFF NT TIMES AND DIFFERENT CONTEXTS, IS WHAT THE RISHIS,MUNIS AND OTHER GREAT S OLÄRS OF INDIA HAVE BEEN CONCERNED WITH THROUGH THE AGES.
The need to do continuous meditation exploration and re—interpretation is not appreciated fully. We very much appreciate the need to run a business on continuous basis, to conduct scientific research on a continuous basis to reap money profits or research benefits, but we do not apply the same sense of continuity in matters of greater importance.
THERE IS AN EPISODE IN THE VISHNU PURANA CONCERNING MAHARSHI VYASÄ, WHICH SEEMS TO OFFER AN INTERESTING INTERPRETATION OF OUR PRESENT KALA, THE KALI YUGA.. .THE GREAT VYÄSA STANDING IN THE RIVER, WAS CLAPPING HIS HANDS AND SHOUTING, ‘GREAT IS THE KALI YUGA, GREAT ARE THE WONDER’OF THE EARTH, GREAT ARE THE SUDRÄS.. .VYASA EXPLAINED THAT WHAT HAD POSSIBLE FOR MEN TN THE OTHER THREE YUGAS WITH GREAT EFFORT AND PENANCE IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE TO THEM IN THE KALI YUGA. . -THE WOMEN AND SUDRAS COULD OBTAIN THAT REALTSATION BY MERELY PERFORMING THEIR MUNDANE DAY-TO-DAY TASKS WELL, CARE AND CONCERN.
Manu smriti takes the same stand in the case of sudras.
IT IS SAID THAT IN DVAPARA HE DIVIDED THE ONE VEDA INTO FOUR, AND LATER HE DIVIDED THEM INTO NUMEROUS BRANCHES. LATER STILL, HE COMPOSED THE MAHABHARATA EPIC ESPECIALLY FOR THE EDIFICATION OF THE WOMEN SUDRAS… (BUT) THE EPIC THAT HE HAD COMPOSED FOR THEM WAS FULL OF PAIN ANQ SORROW..-THEN, TO MAKE UP FOR THESE DEFICIENCIES AND COMPASSION FOR MANKIND, COMPOSED THE PURANAS. THROUGH THE PURANAS HE TRIED TO MAKE THE PATH OF DEVOTION AND FAITH IN THE CRÊATOR EASILY AVAILABLE TO ALL. Æ40NGST THE PURANAS, SRIMADBHAGAVATÄ PURANA SEEMS THE MOST STEEPED IN FAITH AND DEVOTION THAT VYASA WISHED TO PROPAGATE. . .THIS PUR_ANA IS TODAY PROBABLY THE MAIN SOURCE OF THE NON-SCHOLARLY INDIAN GRIHASTA’S ACQUÄINTENCE WITH THE ANCIENT INDIAN LITERATURE.
It is clear that epics and puranas are the popular versions of vedic knowledge. But of late only the devotional portions of puranas are read widely. To know the Indian mind the non—devotional portions should also be searched thoroughly. There is a strong current belief that vedas are denied to lower castes and women. It is not so. What puranas contain is veda, but in a different idiom and style to cater to a different type of mind. It will be very instructive to trace the contents of puranas to the Vedic source. That itself will be a great contribution to the exploration of Indian Chitta and Kala. For instance vedic Agni with his immense importance in Yagna, can be found in puranas in the story of Kumara (swamy) and Krittikas. These Krittikas who were represented as the foster mothers of Skanda were also represented as a constellation of stars. Thus while in Veda, Ägni represented the mystic aspect, in the purana his astronomical and mythological aspect were brought out. This sort of triple (the physical fire and stars constitute the 3rd) representation of the same idea is in conformity with the vedic dictum that veda has three interpretations or significances—Adhibhautika and Adhidaivika. Thus purana is nothing but veda in a different form, tailored to suit the non—mystic user”. Therefore to think that veda is denied to some people is not correct.
BUT WHAT TS OF SIGNIFICANCE IS ALWAYS THE PRESENT. IF WE WISH TO AFFIRM THE VALIDITY OF INDIAN CONSCIOUSNESS, OF INDIAN CHITTA AND KALA, WE CAN DO SO ONLY BY ESTABLISHING THE INDIAN WAY OF LIFE IN THE PRESENT DAY WORLD. AND, THIS RE-ASSERTION OF INDIA IN THE PRESENT CONTEXT IS THE MAJOR TASK TODAY WHICH INDIAN SCHOLARSHIP, INDIAN POLITICS, INDIAN SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGIES,’ INDIAN ARTS, CRAFTS AND OTHER DIVERSE SKILLS MUST ACCOMPLISH.
ALL INDIANS, EVEN THE ORDINARY CHRISTIANS OF INDIA, THAT THEIR CHITTA AND KALA HAVE LITTLE IN COMMON WITH MODERN EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION. THEY ARE ALL EQUALLY ALIEN IN THE WORLD OF EUROPEAN MODERNITY. TN FACT, EXCEPT FOR ATMOST HALF A PERCENT OF INDIANS, THE REST OF INDIA HAS PRECIOUS LITTLE TO DO WITH EUROPEAN MODERNTTY. This was true as of recently. But slowly with the spread of Star TV, Video boom and so called market—liberalisation, there has been a perceptible Europeanisation\Americanisation\Christianisation of our countryside. This trend needs urgent attention.
BUT IN THE UNBOUNDED FLOW OF MODERNITY ALMOST EVERY INDIAN SEEMS TO HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO EXPRESS HIS INNATE CONSCIOUSNESS EVEN IN SMALL WAYS. EVEN HIS FESTIVALS TN WAY REMINDED. HIM OF HTS KALA AND GAVE HTM SOME LITTLE PLEASURE. . -THE MOST VITAL OF RITUALS, THOSE OF BIRTH, MARRIAGE AND DEÄTH THAT GAVE HIM SENSE OF BELONGING TO THE UNIVERSE OF HIS CHITTA AND KALA, HAVE FALLEN BY THE WAYSIDE. MOST INDIANS STILL PERFORM THESE FESTIVALS AND RITUALS, BUT THERE IS LITTLE GRACE LEFT IN THEIR MECHANICAL AND OFTEN UNBELIEVING PERFORMANCE.
This is totally the failure of educated Indians. They made no attempt to interpret and convey the true significance of Indian rituals to the masses. On the other hand they resort to evil propaganda against our traditional mode of life in the name of secularist progressivism or Marxist nihilism or liberalist debunking.
WE HAVE LOST OUR IDENTITY, OUR ANCHORAGE IN OUR CIVILIZATION. THIS LOSS OF IDENTITY AFFLICTS US ALL. THIS IS PAIN THAT PRACTICALLY ALL INDIANS, INCLUDING THE CHRISTIANS, THE MUSLIMS AND THE OTHERS, HAVE TO BEAR IN COMMON. But the pain is not perceived or felt in the same manner by all Indians alike. Some Indians feel it for what it is. Some feel it but cannot say what it is. So it is important to acquaint them with the nature of the pain. The nature of complaints or grumbles of each group like Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Sikhs etc., reveal the difference in their perception of the pain. WE HAVE TO FIND SOME WAY OUT OF SUCH STATE OF ROOTLESSNESS, TO SOMEHOW FIND AN ANCHOR ÄGÄIN IN OUR CIVILIZATIONÄL CONSCIOUSNESS, IN OUR INNATE CHITTÄ AND KALA.
FIVE YEARS AGO (AROUND 1988) INDIRA GANDHI MOMORIÄL TRUST ORGGAISED AN INTERNATIONAL GATHERING OF SCHOLARS TO DELIBERATE ON THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS OF INDIAN IDENTITY. IN THAT GATHERING /EUROPEAN SCHOLÄR SUGGESTED THAT THE ONLY WAY OUT FOR INDIA WAS IN HER TAKING TO CHRISTIANITY IN A BIG WAY. . . THERE HAS ALSO BEEN LARGE SCALE GOVERNMENTAL EFFORTS TO HELP IN THIS DIRECTION. THE SO CALLED WESTERNISATION OF INDIA, WHICH EVEN THE GOVERNMENTS OF INDEPENDENT INDIA HAVE PURSUING WITH SUCH SEEMING VIGOUR, IS NOT VERY DIFFERENT FROM INDIA’S CHRISTIANISATION.
Very few realize the intricate relation between westernisation and Christianisation. As far as Indians are concerned both are synonymous, stranage it may sound but the so called secularisation as it is pursued by the congress Government is nothing but Christianisation- Because the type of secularism we are practicing now is an imported item like imperialism from the Christian west.
EVEN THE MOST ORDINARY OF THE ORDINARY INDIANS HARBOURS IN HIS HEART, THAT HE IS A PART OF THE ULTIMATE BRAHMAN, AND BY VIRTURE OF THIS RELATIONSHIP WITH BRAHMAN, HE TOO IS COMPLETELY FREE AND SOVEREIGN IN HIMSELF.
This very belief among the masses confirms that vedic knowledge has percolated down to the lowest strata of Indian society. This disproves the propaganda by some interested parties that Veda was monopolised by some people.
Basis of our democracy: Moreover, the belief highlights the practical implications of the metaphysical concept of Brahman. The sense of freedom engendered by belief in the Brahman reflects as a free, open society. It is this kind of higher principle that is required to foster true equality and peace, not the theoretically enforced discipline which engenders tyranny and self—righteousness as in Christianity and Islam.
THIS FEELING OF FREEDOM AND SOVERIGNITY, THAT SO EXASPERATES THOSE WHO SEEK TO ADMINISTER OR REFORM INDIA. .. THE WESTERN MAN’S INNATE SENSE OF TOTAL SUBORDINATION TO THE PREVAILING SYSTEM, SUBORDINATION OF THE MIND THAT MAN TN THE WEST HAS ALWAYS DISPLAYED TRRESPËCTIVE OF WHATEVER THE SYSTEM IN ANY PARTICULAR WESTERN PHASE WHETHER IT WAS A DESPOTIC FEUDAL OLIGARCH, A SLAVE SOCIETY LLKE THAT OF ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME, SOCIETY OR LAISSEZ FAIRE, OR OF MARXIST COMMUNISM, OR THE CURRENTLY ASCENDANT SOCIETY OF MARKET FORCES.
Here is the key to the understanding of western system. Viewed from this deeper standpoint one can see the futility of seeming or analysing Indian society in terms of Feudalism, socialism etc., Because these concepts are culture specific. They apply to western societies but not to non—western societies.
NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROSPERITY AND AFFLUENCE THAT THE WEST HAS GAINED, THE INNATE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE WESTERN MAN SEEMS TO HAVE REMAINED ONE OF TOTAL SUBORDINATION TO THE GIVEN SYSTEM. AT THE LEVEL OF THE MIND HE IS STILL VERY MUXH THE SLAVE OF THE IMAGINARY REPUBLIC OF PLATO AND THE VERY REAL EMPIRE OF ROME. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE INDIAN PEOPLE WOULD HAVE ALSO BEEN MOULDED INTO THE SAME STATE OF SUBORDINATION THAT OF THE WESTERN MAN IF THE ATTEMPTS OF THE LAST TWO HUNDERED YEARS TO WESTERNIZE OR CHRISTIANIZE INDIA HAD REACHED ANYWHERE…NOT EVEN CONQUERORS WERE ABLE TO METAMORPHOSE THE MIND OF THE CONQUERED. THE ONLY WAY SUCH METPMORPHOSIS CAN BE ACHIEVED TS PERHAPS BY COMPLETELY DESTROYING THE CONQUERED CTVTLTZATTON, ELIMINATING EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL, AND STARTING AFRESH WITH AN IMPORTED POPULATION. THIS TS WHAT OCCURRED, MORE OR LESS, IN THE AMERICAS AND AUSTRALIA. INDIA HAS SO FAR BEEN SAVED THIS DENOFEMENT AT THE HANDS OF EUROPE, THOUGH NOT FOR ANY LACK OF TRYING. It is highly instructive to know about these trials and the queer combination of deep rooted violence and slavish disposition of western mind. There seems to be a close relation between the two. On the other hand such a study of western attempts to destroy our civilization reveals the inherent strength and longevity of our civilization.
IF THE WESTERNIZATION OF INDIA IS NOT POSSIBLE, THEN WE SHALL HAVE TO REVERT OUR OWN CIVILIZATIONAL MOORINGS. RIDDING OURSELVES OF THE WESTERN WAYS OF THOUGHT AND ACTION, WE SHALL HAVE TO START UNDERSTNDING OURSELVES AND THE WORLD FROM OUR OWN CIVILISATIONAL PERSPECTIVE. THIS EFFORT MAYBE SIMILAR TO THE WAY VYÄSÄ, IN HIS MAHABHARTA SURVEYS THE COMPLETE STORY OF INDIAN CIVILIZATION, EXPLORES TTS DIVERSE SEEKING, ITS WAYS OF THOUGHT AND ACTION, AND THEN SHOWS A PATH THAT IS APPROPRIATE TO KALI YUGA. OR LIKE THE WAY SRI KRISHNA OFFERS ARJUNA A GLIMPSE OF THE UNIVERSE, THE VISHVARUPA DARSANA, SHOWS HTM THE WAY OUT OF HIS DILEMMA. WE SHALL HAVE TO FORM A VIEW OF THE WORLD AND PRESENT TIME, FROM OUR OWN PERSPECTIVE, BEFORE WE CAN FIND A PATH OF OUR OWN.
THIS TASK OF HAVING A NEW VISVARUPA DÄRSANÄ AND SEARCHING FOR PATH OF ACTION IN THE LIGHT OF THAT DARSANA,HAS TO BE PERFORMED BY ALL THOSE WHO ARE CLOSELY CONNECTED WITH INDIAN TRADITION HAVE DEEP SENSE OF RESPECT FOR IF. TO BE TIED MINDLESSLY TO THE WORDS OF THE TEXTS HAS NEVER BEEN THE INDIAN WAY. .. IT IS TRUE THAT THE RISHIS OF INDIA DO NOT OFTEN NEGATE OR DENIGRATE THE TEXT, THEIR PREFERRED STYLE IS THAT OF STARTING OITH THE TEXT AND THEN INTERPRETING TT TN NEWER AND NEWER WAYS.
THE DIRECTION OF A CIVILIZATION IS DETERMINED BY MEDITATING ON ITS INNATE CONSCIOUSNESS AND ITS SENSE OF THE CREATION AND UNFOLDING OF THE UNIVERSE. AND THAT PROBABLY IS THE TASK OF THE RISHTS- BUT IT IS THE ORDINARY GRIHASTAS WHO CARRY IT FORWARD IN THE DETERMINED DIRECTION.
EVEN WHEN THE DIRECTION IS LOST AND THE SEEKINGS AND ASPIRATIONS BECOME UNCLEAR, THE ROUTINE OF LIFE KEEPS GOING ON, AND GRIHASTHAS HAVE TO KEEP PERFORMING THEIR TASKS EVEN DURING SUCH TIMES OF DRIFT. THEY CANNOT SHUT OFF THE ROUTINE TO START MEDITATING ON THE OVERALL DIRECTION THAT THE CIVILIZATION MAY TAKE.
BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THE DIRECTION THAT CIVILIZATION IS TO TAKE IS SO THOROUGHLY LOST AND THE DRIFT IS SO ÀCUTE THAT THE DAILY ROUTINE OF LIFE ITSELF BECOMES MEANINGLESS. IT SEEMS THAT TODAY INDIA HAS REACHED THAT SITUATION. . . AT SUCH TIMES THE GRIHASTHA ALSO MUST HELP WITH HIS SKILLS AND ENERGIES FINDING A NEW EQUILIBRIUM FOR HIS CIVILIZATION. THE PRESENT IS A TIME OF CRISIS FOR THE INDIAN CIVILIZATION. HAVE TO SHEPHERD ALL OUR ENERGIES AND ALL OUR SKILLS AND CAPABILITIES, TOWARDS MAKING SINGLE-MINDED EFFORT FOR GETTING OUT OF THE CRISIS.
ONCE WE SERIOUSLY GET DOWN TO THE TASK, IT MAY NOT TURN OUT TO BE TOO DIFFICULT TO FIND NEW DIRECTION FOR THE INDIAN CIVILIZATION. TO REDEFINE OUR SEEKINGS AND ASPIRATIONS, IN A FORM THAT IS APPROPRIATE AND EFFECTIVE IN TODAYS WORLD. SUCH RE-ASSERTION AND RE-DEFINITION OF CIVILIZATIONAL THRUST ARE NOT UNCOMMON IN WORLD HISTORY. FOR EVERY CIVILIZATION THERE COMES A TIME WHEN THE PEOPLE OF THAT CIVILIZATION HAVE TO REMIND THEMSELVES OF THEIR FUNDAMENTAL CIVILTZÄTIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE TIME. .. MANY CIVILIZATIONS OF THE WORLD HAVE UNDERGONE SUCH SELF-APPRAISAL AND SELF-RENEWAL AT DIFFERENT TIMES. WE OURSELVES. – -MANY TIMES (IN THE PAST) ENGAGED IN THIS RECOLLECTION RE-ASSERTION OF THE CHITTA AND KALA OF INDIA. WE NEED TO UNDERTAKE SUCH AN EXPLORATION INTO OURSELVES ONCE AGAIN.