Monthly Archives: June 2016

The “Modern” Hindu is a Spoiled Brat

spoiledbrat

There. I said it. We were all thinking it. Our parents were saying it. Even our enemies know it. But the average modern Hindu has yet to accept the fact that he (or she…yes, even you ladies)  is a spoiled brat. Mummy has pampered him. Daddy has financed him. And Ayn Rand has corrupted him. This is the triple threat that has created the world’s biggest cry baby.

Self-loathing in public. Arrogant in private. And stubbornly selfish beyond all belief, to the point of stupidity. The recent closing of Niticentral is emblematic of just that.

Make no mistake, the Modern Hindu is not a fool. He knows right from wrong and is not deluded into thinking he can escape any crime by a simple, mea culpa. He merely rationalises whether they were in fact crimes in the first place. “How can neglect be a crime” he may ask? “Ayn Rand told me selfishness was a virtue”, “others are doing it too”. “Arey, let me watch my cricket match“. But the fact is there is such a legal offense as criminal neglect, and Selfishness is never a virtue. Only morons, and the degenerates who bestowed a pseudo-philosophy on them, think selfishness could ever be a virtue or that greed is good.

But Ayn Rand was a naturalised American and Gordon Gekko was a fictional character in an American movie, why are Americans not spoiled brats? There are many American atheists too. Why are they not subject to this?

This is because most Americans may laugh at the idea of “virtue” or raise an eyebrow at a discussion involving duties rather than rights, but they have not forgotten the meaning of the word “civility”. They may be over-pampered, and there may be outliers here and there, but as a general populace, they are not spoiled brats. And there is good reason for it.

The modern Hindu, however, grows up with maryada (propriety) and kulachara/kalpa (ritual). To him that is the be all and end all of religion and culture. This is because parents (and traditional teachers themselves) failed to teach the essence of true religion in an era of consumer choice. When everything, even one’s religion or even passport is a matter of the marketplace, then people choose what is most pleasing (preyas) to them rather than what is good (shreyas) for them.

DharmaMandir

But leave aside Dharma, Rta, and Satya, whither sabhyata (civility), whither saujanya (etiquette)? In only obsessing over propriety and ritual, the Hindu has become a drone. Ritual is important, but only an idiot thinks that is all there is to religion or even the most important aspect of it. Ritual and Achara is the building block, but Dharma and Rta and Satya are all higher principles.

The same parents who cheated at business, were contemptuous to their help, and tyrannical to their staff, puff out their chest in religious sanctimony after going to the temple and doing ritual. Do they think their children do not see this hypocrisy? If Niti (lessons/principles) only comes into play when you want to sit on your high horse and lecture, no wonder your own children will become unprincipled. No wonder Niticentral went belly up, the Modern Hindu actually says “Nitulu koodu guda pettavu”. Rough translation from Telugu: “Niti doesn’t put food on the table”. If you stupidly think principles don’t matter in earning one’s livelihood or social relations, don’t whine when someone does the same to you.

dealing-with-childrens-tantrums

Overcome by emotion like a child, he may often give away the whole store. It is his emotion and his need that determines his (re)action, not the common need. He would rather anoint and promote videshi saviours than work with competent desis. He constructs a superiority complex to mask a Macaulay nurtured inferiority complex, ensuring either he or his anointed saviour alone can lead the way. Every step is taken to ignore,stifle, and stymie those he sees as rivals, because only his asinine Ambition matters, despite lip service to the common good.

In fact, there are many such conscience-wallahs today who purposefully promote mediocrities to secure patronage to increase follower bases, no matter how obviously detrimental their thinly thought out “theories” are. In truth, the “modern” Hindu deserves a good, sound thrashing (with a bamboo cane), as he wails to the heavens whilst ignoring opportunities for team collaboration, out of Selfishness. It is no wonder he is thought of as a knave. Perhaps there really is something to the Pauranic prophecies that Hindus would suffer a difficult thousand years so they would learn the true meaning of Dharma…Had enough?

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But of course, rather than start with himself or herself, the spoiled brat would rather revel in commentary about decline. It is as though the play-by-play and minute-by-minute statistic of downfall is itself a glorious achievement, rather than merely the starting point to collective synergy. At some point, one would think even brats would see to begin with a change in behaviour, rather than expecting fan worship for doing basic and required research.

A friend summarised the juxtaposition between the two nationalities the best. In his anecdote he mentioned that in his experience, Americans supported his website efforts and encouraged him…so long as it didn’t eat into their own market share—a logical response. Indians, on the other hand, were quick to condescend and diminish his achievements to make themselves feel better—even if he wasn’t their competition. That is the very definition of a spoiled brat.

There may be American atheists in large numbers today, but other than a micro-set of micro-brained mba’s, few intelligent people take Ayn Rand seriously. And these idiot bankers are on the verge of losing their shirts on Wall Street or Fleet Street anyway. This is because the fundamental decency and civility woven into society puts even the most immoral and promiscuous of youth to pause. Propriety may be out the door along with Virtue in America. Culture may be out the door in favour of Multi-culturalism (like “Composite Culture” in India). But an underlying sense and need to be civil and decent is still there, outside the professional environment. Team sports have taught Americans to be good winners, team players, and honourable losers. They understand the value of Collaboration. The Modern Hindu is a sore loser, a tyrannical winner, and a pusillanimous player. He rejects domestic collaboration but specialises in external cooperation.

American society may be falling apart due to moral folly, but India is not far behind, and its populace is far less competent. American society has prospered as long as it has because there was and is a fundamental need to be competent and civil in the workplace. India has survived despite lack of competence, due to various forms of nepotism,  but endured due to its culture. But now even that culture is being replaced by bollywood garbage and trashy languages of the camp that have the cheek to anoint themselves as having “evolved from Sanskrit”. They haven’t “evolved” from Sanskrit, they have devolved from Sanskrit. They mock our Traditional Acharyas and anoint “eminent” Public Intellectuals in their stead who are for sale to the highest bidder or enemy nation.

But the incompetent Indian does not have the sense to take his cues from leading commanders or lieutenants. Each moron has to reinvent the wheel—a journey of discovery mapped out over his twitter TL. When this is the case, how can a cohesive strategy ever be put into play when each moron “must be allowed to fight his own way”. No, if you are getting in the way, if your “narrative” is actually countering our “counter-narrative” due to your sloppy, amateurish wiki research,that is a problem. If you are actually timing your critiques of others to help our common shatrus, that is a problem. If you are helping launch sickular troll sites at the regional level, that is a problem…and you are unqualified to be on the Kuruskshetra due to your greed and stupidity.

Leave aside Kurukshetra, the Third Battle of Panipat is a classic example of the dangers of this attitude. The military leadership of the Marathas may be to blame for allowing them to come, but the lakhs of civilians who insisted on being campfollowers so they could go on a “yatra” of the North only demonstrates the dangers of this unserious attitude to life. One can only imagine the childish and unreasonable behaviour of these civilians insisting on joining this military camp so they could do their “Dharma”. Rajas have a Dharma to protect civilians, but Prajas also have a Dharma to not hinder the duties of a Raja. But spoiled brats do not care for such things, and cause harm to themselves and those responsible for protecting them. Unless a population is duly disciplined, it will destroy first its leaders, then itself. The fate of Sadashiv Bhau, Vishwas Rao, and the Maratha civilian women enslaved by Afghans itself was testament to this. Of course, if the spoiled population is disciplined or punished, they go over to the enemy to avenge their unjustifiable egos on their leader, then what other recourse is there but Vyasana.

The guy who thinks he’s God’s gift to the Earth can only be corrected if he loses his Mandate of Heaven.

Even more amusing are the intellectually lazy but overly ambitious mediocrities who only do surface level study and end up shooting us in the foot. They continue canards so obviously spread by our enemies in order to humiliate us via “histories”—because these chaps have no responsibility to preserve the dignity of the tradition. Even worse is when they play public editor, attempting to give their worthless opinion on internal disputes, simply because their own dufferhood emotionally assigns them to the offending side. When there is a sophisticated game being played, and you don’t have the mental discipline let alone strategic understanding to make heads or tails of it, stop pontificating to the PM or RM or anybody else.

When you yourself have facilitated the rise of digital doras due to your own ambitious jealousy, kindly shut up. Knavery, at its core, is the incapacity to self-reflect. If we are in dire straits today, it is the fault of idiots like you. You whine about bollywood and aamir khan yet watch his idiot movies and support his moronic causes. You are the problem. Too dumb to do anything useful, and too ambitious to work with others as part of a team. It is the ambitious mediocrity who cannot self-reflect and cannot feel a sense of responsibility to anything beyond his own ambition that destroys societies. Such knaves are worthy only of destruction. A squirrel too can contribute to Ram setu, but he cannot throw stones or drop stones in the other direction…When someone has dedicated decades to understanding how our shatrus think and work, and has competently and successful waged war against them, two bit tweeps have no business giving their two bit commentary, or worse, setting up competing narratives that actually hinder ours and aid the enemy’s.

But that’s precisely the point. By being such puerile, spoiled brats, they promote their own enemies while tearing down would be allies. And this is just the much ballyhooed “internet hindu”, what of the average clownish buffoon who still sings amar,akbar, anthony with his topi on tight, and stupidly laughs at aamir khan movies that mock his own culture? He parrots asinine shibboleths about saffronisation all while being an unwitting and witless accomplice to obvious blanchification of the south and olivification of the north. And the less said about the naxal rouge, the better. As for the simpering neanderthals heehawing and guffawing at the lame and obviously jamaati-run parody sites that pretend to be neutral but push a clear agenda with giveaway, non-politician targets, well, stupid is as stupid does.

unpleasanttruths

Of course, you can’t even tell him this because he is a spoiled brat. And spoiled brats cannot listen because spoiled brats don’t believe anyone should be allowed to teach him (or her) anything unless it is his degree providing institution, his anointed saviour, or his mummy. Otherwise, spoiled brat knows all, and how dare you teach him something? Because if you tell him something for his own good, that means you knew something he didn’t…and if that’s the case, how can he ever win the gyaani sweepstakes?! The ahankari sikhandi cannot permit this!

After all, in his mind, victory goes to the greatest gyaani. And if our self-appointed “acharya” is the greatest gyaani, then we too can one day become his successor through slavish sycophancy and attain supreme gyaanihood through diffusion…

Why does the spoiled brat behave this way? Because, “More”. Like all human beings he wants to enjoy, but his mummy approved ego makes him think he deserves more than others. When someone wants more and thinks he deserves more, but lacks the competence to get it, what else will he become but a spoiled brat?

That is the danger of the over-inflated ego we have today. We have too many people who undeservingly believe they deserve more, but unlike the East India Company or the Jamaatis (both of which are still here in different forms), they are too incompetent to get it. That is the problem. That enemy of mankind. The destroyer of all good things. The perverter of minds.The poisoner of souls…Ahankar. After it is done destroying others, the ego falls upon and destroys itself through infighting or addiction.

That is the core problem: Over inflated sense of self. It doesn’t matter if our little prince or princess went to IIT or ITT Tech, Princeton or a polytechnic school, Harvard or Harvard driving school. Years of pampering from mummy have resulted in 1 or 2 generations of utterly spoiled brats. Just as an example, Telugu mothers literally refer to their sons as “Raja nanna” [little King]. What else can be expected if even a duffer who is spoilt with excessive love, acts like one.

The point isn’t for Indian mothers to stop loving their boys—in fact, it is one of their great qualities, which none can match. Rather, it means understanding when to love and when to scold or even punish. After all, the greatest desserts are not those which have a surplus of sugar and are dumped with chakkar. Instead, there is a sense of proportion. The right amount of sugar, and the right amount of staple.

Some may argue that our over-proud duffers may be completely respectful in the workplace, but that is only out of instinctive self-interest or fear of losing a job.

After all, his first instinct is self-preservation. It is only when he can be totally free that his inner “vedhava” comes out.

pedda vedhava

This should be the watchword of especially the recent college graduates. Sarvagyaanis are not made merely by studying Sanskrit grammar while ignoring strategy. It is logic and lesson (niti) that must be digested.  No other system of philosophy has emphasised time and place more than Dharma. Just as the Chhatrapati adopted Ganimi Kava (enemy tactics) as needed, so too must we be open to external ideas and approaches. This doesn’t mean ejecting Dharma, it means separating the ancillary (or non-essential) from the essential. That is the Dharma of Sri Krishna and the Dharma he expounded for the Kali Age. If you cannot do this, please keep your opinions to yourself and get off the kshetra. You need to know how to shut up, and that comes from discipline. Not the discipline of studying 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, not the discipline of performing puja as a substitute for dharmic action, but the social discipline that teaches you how to manage your emotions and put aside personal differences for common, community objectives.

People may further ask why I, who have traditionally tried to address as wide an Indian audience, of all religions, as much as possible, suddenly zeroed in and picked on Hindus. It’s cause they deserve it. The Hindu has become a sanctimonious selfish brat—a.k.a knave. To him even a weekly RT is too much to ask, leave aside crowd funding a site like Niticentral. He is so individualistic beyond all belief, that the very idea of community is quaint, even obsolete. “I want something for myself, my own!”. When asked of community, “Arey, I am a global citizen, yaar”, says the dumbass. How many Indian Sikhs, Muslims, or Christians say that? It is because they are not morons, the “modern” Hindu is. They still retain a sense of larger community no matter what their internal problems and issues. Some castes in india are in fact notorious for cheating their own caste!

Even now, there are a gaggle of Hindu idiots who quietly read this site & mine it for ideas. That is because these selfish knaves would rather compete with their own, or failing that, would rather raise a competitor (even a civilizational enemy) in order to take vicarious pleasure in competing with a rival. There was a word for that in undivided Andhra: “Dora”. In fact, there are some digital dora blogs that have arisen and praise the very cowardly nizam and his razakar descendents who oppressed them. Some shameless, self-proclaimed “RW’ers” write for such blogs all while shedding tears over Vijayanagara….clearly self-awareness isn’t a strong suit here.

For those of you who don’t know the history of the Devarakonda Doras, these traitors of Telugus represent exactly the cancer that is eating the fabric of Hindu society today. It has been eating away for centuries, but atheism and Ayn Rand have served as the carcinogens that have metastasised it. As America has demonstrated, the issue isn’t atheism itself per se—that merely provides fertile ground. But atheism divorced from any sense of obligation or duty—that is the real problem. That is where Ayn Rand, and her pseudo-philosophy come in.

“Modern” Hindu girls aren’t innocent either. Finding happily ever after, or trying to punish certain men, doesn’t mean throwing sense out the window and marrying someone a decade younger than you.

Nor is making a career out of demonising your own menfolk in order to gain sympathy points from foreigners looking to make trophy wives out of you.

And, of course, who could forget this delectable little number from the mid-2000s. If ever there were a warning sign on where “modern” Hindus society is headed, it is this.

In his pathological need to be called the smartest or “most knowledgeable” the Hindu has become the stupidest and least wise. Even when errors are pointed out, “Who are you to tell me?!”, “I am the Smart?!”, “Mummy loves me the best!”. Mummy’s boys to the core, Daddy’s girls where relevant, does the modern Hindu even understand what faces him or her? Does the modern Hindu even understand the sacrifices men and women in uniform make? What could middle class India know of this? He and She only pray for a visa. Lower class Hindus knows it full well; they are the primary bearers of this burden. That is why there is still some semblance of community in the gaon—there has to be.

The Modern Hindu is an army of one who may see the value of numbers but not cohesive community. A black hole of selfishness, he is also a universe of one, a veritable cosmos in corpus—impermeable to all extra-individual concerns. He takes the phrase “every man is an island” to its most preposterous and incredulous extreme. He is not only selfish to the extreme, but self-centered to the point of oblivion. Even knowing about or tweeting about the world is only important either in so far as it is immediately affecting him, or so that he can show off his GK and knowledge of Current events. He would rather die and destroy his own civilization than unite with an erstwhile rival in the face of a common enemy. In fact, he thinks it is “good politics” to unite with the enemy to defeat his rival…vinasha kale vipareetha buddhi. In Telugu we say “Donga ki Donga buddhi, Dora ki Dora buddhi”. This explains the topsy turvy politics of a certain state that its denizens are only just beginning to fully recognise.

Even when it comes to greed, the economist is familiar with the concept of diminishing returns. But the “modern” Hindu is such a greedy donkey, he wishes to extract even the last drop out of something. Even if it negatively affects his health “no, I paid for it!”.Mine!”. There is a difference between frugality and self-defeating stupidity.

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Then there are the contrarian idiots who axiomatically have to counterargue against something that, forget is not even against them, but even neutral to them. They may say, “well Nripathi, haven’t you violated your own line about not washing dirty laundry in public?” Well, the reality, dear moron, is that the hour is so late, and the Modern Hindu has become so stupidly, stubbornly, superciliously selfish, that everybody knows this fact but him.

He whines about Kashmiri Pandits or Pakistani Dalits one minute, and then the next minute Mine!”. “MY CASTE MY CASTE”. “You had reservations for thousands of years, now its our turn!” or “No yaar, I can’t allow it, I hate these reservation wallahs”, “only high iq types can rule the world”. The idiot doesn’t even recognise cognitive dissonance when it hits him. It’s one thing to have a justifiable issue with reservation, another thing to insult and push away the very people whose support you need in Kashmir, in Pakistan, in Bengal. Whatever his caste, that is the degree of stupidity among Hindus. In fact, the more he rants and raves about IQ, the stupider he likely is. That is because deficiency in judgment is properly that which is called Stupidity.

In the obsession over knowledge, the Hindu has forgotten the need for judgment and the importance of wisdom. Ancient Brahmanas were once called the wisest men in the world by visitors (and rightly so). Can the same be said of their descendants? It is because ancient Brahmanas knew the importance of Buddhi over Vidya.  Most of their descendants instead obsess about IQ, genetics, and how Bill Gates has anointed them the second smartest (but best poodles). Meanwhile, Rajputs and Jats puff their chests up over “mardangi” (as if that is what wins wars…) and still others tout the merits of “dominant agricultural caste” or reservation status.  This is what the land of Maharishis and Maharajadirajas has reduced itself to—poodles and roosters. All this because the descendants of Vishwamitra and Vikramaditya would rather be pets or on the plates of videshis than work with each other.

The CEO or owner is not where he is because he necessarily has more memory, mardangi, computing capability or Intelligence Quotient . He is where his is because he has more strategic intelligence and Emotional Quotient. Many may snootily laugh at EQ, not realising that in the game of (global) poker, you don’t play the hand, you play the person.  In obsessing over IQ, the idiot Hindu of all castes has forgotten EQ. In only thinking about knowledge, he has forgotten wisdom. In obsessing over smarts, he has ignored judgment. That is how the British beat him…and the Hindu still doesn’t realise this. It is not a question of cowardice, but a question of collective cohesion. Individually brave, collectively disunited, because “not my problem“. But wars are fought not as individual spoiled brats, but as united teams.

The problem ultimately boils down to this: Once upon a time, mummy told the modern Hindu he was special, and 30-40 years later, the idiot still believes it—due to lack of proper Cultural education and Dharmic education. That is why he is perpetually dissatisfied, because he has to have his cake and eat it too. Because to be special, it is not enough that he succeeds, but others must fail.

Only he can marry that girl (after stringing her along for years), or no one can

Only he can score the winning goal, or no one can

Only his caste can be the best, or no one’s can.

Only his state can be the best, or no one’s can

Only his guru can be right, or no one’s can

And only he (or by proxy, his appointed saviour) can save his society, or no one can. That is why Andhra and India are all in the doldrums today. All due to obsession with Ahankar.

All of you must by now be despondent. But we Hindus engage in enough self-flagellation. So I will give you some hope instead.

If there is hope today, it is not because of the middle classes, and it certainly is not because of the upper classes. If there is hope today, it is because of the lower classes. It is the lower economic class hindu that holds hope for the future of his panth as well as his nation. This is because the upper class hindu is too compromised, and the middle class hindu is too much in need of a good thrashing to knock out at least a degree of his ego and selfishness. The lower class Hindu has not been spoiled rotten to the core by modernity. He may not score the highest on exams, but he does not suffer from selfish, stubborn stupidity.

Whatever his faults, whatever the caste riots, whatever the hideboudness of khaps, the lower class hindu still has a sense of community. The upper class hindu may be obsessed with [page 3]“society” and the middle class “with being a global citizen”. But the lower class hindu understands the meaning of community and what it means to be a part of one.

He is more concerned with doing right by a girl than being a khiladi

He is more concerned with his neighbour’s safety than bank balance

He is more concerned about his mother tongue than “ingliss”

He is more concerned about achieving results, than being an academic hoop-jumper

Above all, he is not concerned with having the entitlement of a spoiled brat, because he cannot afford to have it. He knows the meaning of deprivation. He understands the concept of accommodation. He realises the need for adjustment. He knows the world is not happily ever after. He sees the need for responsibility and collective compromise.

True, he may also be the first to join in if there is a good riot, but that is the result of being forced to give back as good as you get.

“Finding yourself”, “Journey of Self-discovery”, “My time!”, “Me, mine, my own”, these are all the dreams of upper classes and their middle class wannabes. The Lower class Hindu knows how to simply be content and share what you have. Learn to be like him or her.

Despite coming from a lower economic class, he has far more class than higher economic class Indians could ever have. He may not have taste, but he has far more basic decency than high class snobs ever could. He may have bouts of violence, but he could never match high class cruelty.

How do my actions affect others?”. If selfishness is the real root of all evil, then this is the root of goodness. When we acknowledge the existence of others, when we acknowledge the needs of others, that is the root of conscience, consistent conscience.

And finally, those foreigners who may stumble upon this article and may say “see, this is why we’re trying to save you”, I say “stuff it”. You have your problems too (far worse and far more pathological), so I suggest you take your own medicine and look closer to home. We may have our problems, but they are ours to solve. And solve them we will. All it takes is one person to join…and then another…then another…

Some have wondered here and there why I bother to write at all, knowing these things about “Modern” Hindus. But the truth is, I don’t write for the benefit of spoiled brats, selfish knaves and opportunistic gyaanis. I write for them

…and them, and them, and the thousands upon thousands of others stretching across caste, regional, linguistic, economic, and even officer/enlisted lines.

They are not spoiled brats, but people who have sacrificed. These people know the real meaning of Tyaag (self-sacrifice). These people know the stakes, and why we must come together. These people know the real meaning of community, and whatever their background or lineage, they are all “my community”.

And that is why I write, to honour them…whether they are named Adhvaryu, Ahuja, Agarwal, Ahir, or Ambavadekar.

Discretion Part Deux

durvasa

In our previous essay, we discussed how Discretion is the Better Part of Valour. Without having the discretion to know when to fight and when not to fight, what to say and what not to say, when to speak it and when not to speak it, defeat is guaranteed. Those whining about why there isn’t a Civilizational Renaissance yet would do well to implement corrective action first. That is why, the merits of a rote-memorisation education extend only to communicating knowledge, not communicating wisdom. Wisdom means having the judgment to know when to apply and when not to apply. It means having the discretion to know how to apply and how much to apply. All this comes from Niti. In fact, Discretion is often translated as Suniti, meaning “Good policy”.

Discretion means attempting to understand not only your needs and your svadharma, but society’s needs and the situation around you. That was why we used the example from the Puranas about Durvasa. Filled with caste pride, Maharishi Durvasa berated the Kshatriya King Ambarisha who was doing a fast (upavaas) for society to end a famine. When Durvasa attempted to curse Ambarisha, Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra appeared and chased Durvasa. It was only after Durvasa begged for pardon from Ambarisha that Lord Vishnu called back the Chakra. The Puranas do not exist to contradict the Vedas, but rather, contextualise them so we understand how the rules and the Dharma that emanates from the Breath of Brahman are to be applied. The Moral of the Story is, none are above Dharma, not even Maharishis, and Discretion helps us understand this.

ambarisha

Discretion even extends to not only what to speak but how to speak it—a perennial ailment for Indians.When everything is communicated in hyperbole (exaggeration/over the top language) who will take you seriously? “ohhh, they deshtroyyed us. Oh they are the beautiest. Oh vee always losted”. Have a freaking sense of proportion! Moderate your language and explain your position; otherwise, no one will ever take you seriously let alone respect you. Above all, this is required to ensure self-respect.

When there is failure to prioritise, there is failure to be proportionate. Paleo-puritan, ultra-conservatives staunchly against inter-caste marriage continue to fail to differentiate between inter-caste and inter-religious. If both are viewed as “equally immoral” then clearly there is something wrong with your priorities. Ask yourself if some aspect of your understanding of Dharma might be better preserved under one versus the other. It is one thing to say you are against varna samkara, another to say inter-caste is the same as inter-religious or inter-national. Determine which contravenes your society more.

Similarly, idiots on the Left who claim that right to equality extends to “non-Indians as much as Indians”, clearly have a problem understanding the difference between those with millennia of connection to Indic Civilization, and those who just happen to hold Indian passports (when it was required by law on account of their spouse’s prime ministership).

When discourse becomes mere competing hyperbolics, argumentative atisayokti takes us to the bottom of the barrel.

This tendency to hyperbole has even resulted in needless self-flagellation where none is required—in part due to ignorance, but in part due to stupidity. While all other cultures tend to interpret ambiguity in history in their own favour, we’re the only people who consistently convert/interpret victories as defeats. An odd, masochistic pleasure is taken to reduce our own accomplishments. Victorious kings are themselves made to look the opposite, precisely to satisfy some inner sanctimonious need for “Fairness.”, “Give them a chance.”, “They should win sometimes too.” “A mother gives extra love to her youngest”.

Such nonsensical nostrums over logic are what pave the way to self-destruction. Bharatiyas are the only people who consistently mediate between their enemies and their own people—setting themselves as holier than thou arbiters, rather than advocates for their own just causes. Perhaps that is precisely why no other people on the planet stupidly advocate for causes of foreigners who treat their own people like trash: “Gaza! Syria! Italian marines!”. Such sanctimonious charlatans claim to follow their conscience, but they are merely following fashionability. If charity begins at home, so does justice.

How many times have perfectly rational tweets been ruined by the Indian inability to avoid hyperbole by missing out on le mot juste? Education and information distribution is not merely vomiting of knowledge in the most exaggerative manner. It is also about phrasing it correctly so that people will not only comprehend it, but apprehend it in the right frame of mind. This proclivity is of course complemented by the corresponding fixation on the smallest, most irrelevant detail. Rather than focus on the big picture, they have an obsession with the small picture. Being spoiled brats, even the information has to be communicated exactly how and when they want it—otherwise they reject it, whatever the importance. “My mummy made it for me like this only” is the driving consideration for our Mummy-approved egos.

Someone once said,”most people think with their brains, Indians think with their hearts”. Now we know why Bharatiyas lack discretion. If you think with your heart/sentiment/emotion, how can you ever make a sound judgment or good decision? If you don’t have the sense to keep team unity, how will you ever defeat your united enemy? What is the point of reading the Panchatantra if you don’t apply its Niti?

This is directly from Acharya Vishnusarman’s Mitra-Sampraapti (The Gaining of Friends [and value of collaboration]).

panchatantracover

Furthermore, those obsessed with tradition forget teleology. Tradition for its own sake leads to hidebound and recalcitrant thinking. Tradition wedded to the Truth, however, is focused on the practical—that is why our real Acharyas in Agraharas and Mathas practice their traditions and rituals. No tradition can survive that does not first ask what the truth is—even if it contravenes tradition. The next question should be how do we protect our society and restore Dharma? What are the specific teams, strategies, tactics, etc. that are required to achieve these objectives? Who is competent to achieve these? It is only at the very end does the question of caste even come up, if at all. For the casteist, however, every line of inquiry begins with “What is your caste?

Many, both young and old have taken to thinking that being an “Argumentative Indian” is a badge of pride. Stubbornness and debate as entertainment have become ideals and pastimes.

Traditional Brahmanas are forbidden from power, but may serve as advisors or bureaucrats. Kshatriyas are prevented from appropriating priestly power to prevent tyrannies. Merchants are barred from ruling in order to prevent what we have now. Dharma prohibits centralisation of power—so why do we have upper castes today aspiring towards Plutocracy or Papacy?

Austerity is not the price for political power. Austerity is the test for MORAL power. It is not “philognosis” that forged our society (even in Vedic times) but philosophy— the love of wisdom. It is why visiting Ancient Greeks would remark that Indians were the wisest of all races, due to the wisdom of their philosophers (read: Brahmanas). Where is such wisdom today? Our “founding fathers” weren’t poodles performing mental tricks in maths and memory while pretending to be chankian experts in “strategery”.  It is love of wisdom and love of Truth, not love of mere knowledge or mere learning or mere science that defined our society. Discretion ultimately comes from judgment. And both of these ultimately lead to wisdom.

In our article on the Origins of Stupidity we provided the famous quote “Deficiency in Judgment is properly that which is called Stupidity”. If that is indeed the case, then we offer the corollary: Proficiency in Judgment is properly that which is called Buddhi. One who is proficient in judgment has wisdom. Those who have not yet mastered the Panchatantra, have no business citing the Arthasastra and Hitopadesa.

Panchatantra, T.1, s.136: “An act is not so well-accomplished by means of weapons, elephants, horses or infantry…as when done by means of wisdom” [3, 53]

Make no mistake, Bharatiyas and Hindus in particular, are not cowards. They will fight to the bitter end when obvious, immediate, and declared threats to life, limb, livelihood, and family are involved. But they have become moral cowards, and are rightly criticised for being unable to see beyond their own noses. Rather than resolving to correct or even punish the instigator, they blame the person defending himself. “Why do you fight? He is like this only. You must have done something too. Well he says the same about you. Truth is somewhere in the middle”, and a laundry list of other clownish cliches are emitted from the self-same supercilious and blubbering baboos.

This takes another dimension when family or even caste is involved. Rather than justice for my friends and full extent of the law for my enemies it is: “No, he is one of ours, he can do no wrong”. Why, you ask? Because the protections of a racketeering outfit will then be extended when he’s in the bind. Perhaps, therefore, it is unsurprising that we live in an age where godfathers, mobsters, and dalals of all shades are celebrated, after all, do they not operate the same way?

That is why Yuyutsu and Vibhishana are honoured. They were not “traitors” as our post-modern pill poppers assert, but in fact, recognised that their own brother was in the wrong, and were trying to save their people from harm. Each did everything he could to convince his brother to do the right thing, and when he recognised that their “enemy” was no foreign invader but the very epitome of Dharma, that was when he switched sides. That is why Satya and Rta matter infinitely more than Rna ever could.

Our previous Post also discussed the dangers of casteism from ALL castes. Whether it is non-brahmin against Brahmin or Brahmin on non-brahmin—casteism is casteism. While the specific example of Sri Annamacharya’s struggle was used, another example from a different caste was provided to demonstrate that the correct way to fight casteism is not to cowardly sit on the sidelines and watch for the winner…or worse, chastise the fellow who is merely defending himself. Rather, it is for true patriots and true dharmikas and true rashtra-rakshakas to publicly criticise and shut down own side casteists.

That is how casteism is defeated. Not through a one time, one-line, emotional outburst, but through consistent education on what real Dharma is, what real Varnashrama Dharma is, or at the very least what real desa-bhakti and rashtra-bhakti is. Naturally the example I used came from Andhra, where an entire caste was demonised by the atrocity literature of, per Rajiv Malhotra’s studies, Breaking India forces. But instead of all the castes coming together to swear blood vengeance against those who demonised a fellow Telugu, or a fellow Indian, they all only continue to play into the hands of those foreigners who seek to destroy them all, one by one.

If you can’t correct your prejudices, at least have the sense to shut up and stop poisoning the discourse. If you don’t have the sense to shut up and stop poisoning the discourse, then stop participating where you only damage your state, your community, and your own individual interests. People like you are rashtra and desa-drohis, no matter what vaunted lineage of Rishis or Rajas or Nayakas you may come from.

Let me reiterate that no community that has ever wielded any power can boast of its nose being squeaky clean. Frankly, credible allegations can be made against all parties if one goes far enough back in history. But the point isn’t to use history to tear each other down, but rather, to bring ourselves up and inspire us to come together to tackle common enemies. Here is an entire foreign produced piece of Orwellian drivel that ironically demonises both the same Brahmins and the same descendants of the Nayak communities.

Therefore, get this into your allegedly high iq, yet so obviously thick, head: It is not “foreign saab will help me tackle my local enemy” it is “foreign saab wishes to tackle both me and my fellow vidyarthi“. So who then is the real enemy? The local rival or the foreign imperialist who will not only enslave you both but also destroy your common culture?

The response to the outsider shouldn’t be “thank you for showing us the mentality, and taking our side”. Rather, it should be “who the bloody hell are you to meddle?”. But what can be expected from a nation that stupidly accepted an uneducated european bar-maid as de facto ruler for 10 years, less than 60 years after formal Independence from Europe? I’m not here to weigh whether the allegations against a certain now-regional party are true. I’m only here to say that if you think they are true, what should be the answer? Seek foreign intervention to break your state into tiny pieces so each caste can have a piddly fiefdom to exploit under common European or Middle Eastern slavery? Or is the answer to take power like real men and win the election. For all the morons who like to quote the puranas in public while laughing at their inapplicability in private, here’s what Bhishma himself said on the field of the Kurus, thousands of years ago:

In a democracy, wars are won by election. So fight and win the election if you have the manhood, rather than whine and demonise a caste and destroy a state. Remember, not so long ago, another caste was demonised in south India, with tragic results in Andhra’s neighbouring state to the direct South. So if the target is whatever the leading community of a state or country is at the moment, why do you stupidly play into the hands of the slanderer? Andhra Pradesh was saddled with disproportionate debt after bifurcation. Who was it that said “at all costs?”, was it a member of this currently leading community or a foreigner? Isn’t it even more idiotic when an alleged nationalist supra-party institutions continue to play boastfully “chankian” but blatantly obvious and underhanded politics in fanning movements to further split a state?

This leads to the next point. When individual communities are idiotically raised to believe their well-being comes from kicking communities below them, isn’t it only natural that motivated foreigners (like the British East India Company) will use this to play one against the other? Aren’t good relations more important than public superiority complexes? Are you so stupid that you hate your brother more than you love your own freedom? Our Kali Yuga ancestors were…are you any different?

There is an old saying: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. How many times will stupidly and stubbornly selfish Indians play into the hands of those who wish to destroy them? That is the value of “shut up”. Shut up and avoid making a celebrity out of the first foreigner who says something pleasant to you. This doesn’t mean xenophobia, as there are some genuine well-wishers of India in foreign lands, but prudence and discretion dictates that charity begins at home and patriotism protects the home. Clownish Adarsh Liberals may mouth the mealy-mouthed cliché “Patriotism is the last resort of the scoundrel”. But if that if that is the case, “globalism is the last resort of the stupid”. Be a good global citizen by being a good local citizen. Be a good national citizen by being a good state citizen. And be a good family person, by being a good individual person. This is done not only by rejecting selfishness and stupidity, and casteism and casuistry, but by using the practical dharma, the common dharma, the saamaanaya dharma to fix your common problems and maintain good and just relations between castes and communities.

The viciousness casteists demonstrate to their intra-dharma rivals puts to shame their cowardly opposition of the genuine shatrus of Satya. Hypocrites to the core, they wring their hands at the heavens asking for Divine succour, while doing everything they can to intimidate, sideline, and oppose those are doing what they can to revive Culture and Dharma. They pick fights with teammates and befriend subversionist enemies, taking their dubious counsel, even anointing them “Acharya”. Instead of working as teams, they form cliques designed to self-congratulatorily tom-tom their alleged knowledge, all while assisting the cause of adharmikas, like useful idiots. This is the cost of Ego.

They will even attack good, conscientious members of their own caste who propound correct dharma and expose their hypocrisy. When faced with evidence of misbehaviour, rather than accepting that all societies have done good and bad, the casteist himself decries opposition to him as “casteism”, all while absolving his own caste of any past misbehavior due to “no true Scotsman” fallacies. Allegiance to the supra-party institution or political ideology of his choice becomes more important than Dharma (whatever he may say or publish in public).

Despite these (and prior) entreaties, I know there is a dedicated group of gyaanis who will go to any length to contest what I have said in my previous article, and will continue to twist not only Varnashrama Dharma, but Vaidika Dharma and Itihaasa itself in order to gain influence, fame, and power. So, rather than respond directly, here is my response:

Let me begin by first distinguishing between traditional astika Brahmanas (many of whom dutifully live in mathas and agraharas and who should be respected) from a band of casteists who happened to be born as “Brahmins”. Traditionalists are not casteists; they simply follow ancient varnashrama dharma. But those living material lives in the modern world have some Brahmanas who genuinely have the interests of all sections of society at heart, and some “Brahmins” by accident who abuse the privilege of birth to further their prejudiced caste agenda and defend their private misbehaviour. They advance asinine and avaidika theories like Aryan Invasion Theory in direct contradiction of actual Vedic Acharyas who live the traditional way and actually have valid traditional knowledge.

However, many Dharmic Brahmanas have been keeping quiet. We too have avoided this minefield. But as some Dharmic Kshatriyas have been rightfully criticising the adharmic nature of these views emanating from scientism and casteism, the line of the casteists (& their useful idiots) is “Parashurama”. But as usual,half-knowledge leads to full harm.Such knaves further Adharma, knowing only partially the tale of Kartaveerya Arjuna.

kartavirya

Per the Puranas, it was the behaviour of the Bhargavas themselves that brought about this calamity. Yes, the Kshatriyas shattered the limits of justice through their later behaviour and committed unjustifiable atrocities. But then why hide the full story unless you have an agenda?

Brahmanas have no right to wealth and lavish living, yet the Bhargavas amassed it due to the generosity of the Haihaya kings (who were allied with the Atreya Brahmanas). These descendants of Bhrigu refused to return the grants for the common need of a society undergoing a devastating famine.[1] When Brahmanas fail to think of the rest of society and allow non-Brahmins to starve to death, this is Adharma. And such individuals will be punished. Common brahmins are not Maharishis and are punishable even by Smriti. Brahmins are not above Dharma.

Dharma does not exist to serve Brahmins.Brahmanas exist to serve Dharma.

When the Haihayas attempted to justifiably reclaim the wealth necessary to feed the rest of society, the Bhargavas took up arms, and were slaughtered by superior Kshatriya valour and strategy.  The Haihayas were right to fight, defeat, and punish the Bhargavas. Those who take up arms, cannot claim traditional protections and privileges, as the Ramayana itself validates. However, having lost control of their senses, the Haihayas began slaughtering innocents and in a sanguinary state, crossed limits. Therefore, they too had to be punished.

That was why the jeevatman Parashurama was merely born with Vishnu’s shaktyavesa (power and grace), though he himself was not Vishnu. This was what permitted him to defeat the otherwise invincible Haihaya Kartaveerya Arjuna, also known as Sahasrabahu (1000-armed), who was an amsa (partial) incarnation of Vishnu, meaning a smaller portion of Vishnu’s actual soul incarnating for a time. [4] Kartaveerya was a Dharmic King who took power after the Bhargava-Haihaya War, who did not misbehave like Parikshit, who put a snake on a Rishi. His desire for the wishgiving cow to feed his kingdom was well-intentioned but wrong, and his ego led to the unfortunate clash with the proud Maharishi Jamadagni. The sameJamadagni who had the head of his wife Renuka cut off had his head cut off when he resisted giving the cow. Some claim it was Kartaveerya’s sons who did this to take back the cow; others, say Sahasrabahu himself.

Irrespective, the point is that when Brahmanas misbehaved, Kshatriyas were permitted to punish them. But when Kshatriyas misbehaved and exceeded their limits, a Parashurama was born as a Brahmana to punish Kshatriyas and restore the balance. And when the jeevatman Parashurama became blinded by pride in his religious merit, Bhagavan Rama, the Poorna avatara (the epitome of the full soul of Vishnu, along with his brothers) took back the shaktyavesa and punished Parashurama for ahankar.

Kshatriya Rama ultimately punished the Brahmana Ravana for his tyranny, also due to the latter’s pride in learning and merit, which was the origin of this.

And finally in the late Dvapara, Krishna was born to punish the Kamsas, Jarasandhas, and Duryodhanas who came to characterise the majority of Kshatriyas in the end of that era. He did this by having them punish themselves in the Kurukshetra War as the cost of oppressing Brahmanas, Women, and other vulnerable sections of society.

So none of this is a matter of covering up to further discrete caste agendas, but discussion of everything to understand real Dharma. That is true Discretion.

The moral of the story is: Adharma breeds greater Adharma and no one, no matter what their caste, is above Dharma. The interesting thing is that in both the Durvasa and Bhargava episodes, Maharishi Vasishta was on the side of Ambarisha and the Atreyas were allies of the Haihayas. And when Parashurama crossed his limits, Maharishi Vishwamitra was on the side of Rama.

It is Ego that is the enemy of all, that undid Kartaveerya, that punished Parashurama, and that humbled Durvasa, and that destroyed the Kauravas.  Thus,  it is not caste vs caste, but Dharma vs Adharma. Until Dharmic Brahmanas begin challenging and defeating Adharmic Brahmanas, until Dharmic Kshatriyas begin challenging and defeating Adharmic Kshatriyas (and so on), expect more of the same. Oh, and if you just sit on the sidelines waiting and watching to side with the winner…you have no right to expect anything at all.

So remember, there is Dharma, there is Adharma. There is no third category for neutral spectators or self-appointed judges or opportunistic casteists. Despite demonisation by those who hate all Brahmins, not all Brahmins are false or bad—use Discretion to separate them from the chaff. Even in this late Kali Yuga, there are still some true and good Brahmanas left. [And some true Kshatriyas, Nayakas, and so on, left.] But they must work together, act in teams, and do their part for society.

I have done my part. Will you?

vishnu-sudarshan-chakra-durvasa-ambarishReferences:

  1. Mittal, J.P. History Of Ancient India. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers. 2006.p.296
  2. Patil, Devendrakumar Rajaram.Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna. Varanasi: MLBD. 1946.
  3. Jha, Naveen Kumar & Anjana. Srivisnusarmans’ Pancatantram. Delhi: J.P.Publishing House. 2016
  4. Swami Tapasyananda. Bhakti Ratnavali – An Anthology from Srimad Bhagavata. Chennai: Ramakrishna Math. 2009.

Literature: Panchatantra

panchatantracover

Many of you may wonder, with the galaxy of Classical Indic Literature at our tips, why the Panchatantra, a story of animal fables, may be the first work of Literature we cover in-depth at ICP.

Given the constant drumbeat about Indian culture being “life-negating” and Hindu literature being “other-worldly”, many forget that our civilization was once highly shrewd and rooted in material wisdom.

The most striking feature of ancient Indian civilization has been the element of humanity combined with a sense of duty and practicality. [1, xvi]

Fair enough, you may say, but still why study the Panchatantra? Why should a work composed for kids be studied by children and adults alike? How is this ancient book of “fables” relevant to “modern” Indians today?

The truth of the matter is, child or adult, Bharatiyas today are very much like the dullard students of Acharya Vishnusarman. “Over-opinionated, under-informed”, stupid beyond belief, and arrogant without justification.  Good for nothing—unless forced to by immediate circumstance. Supercilious, selfish, stubborn, stupid. It is precisely this royal recipe for disaster that faced King Amarasakti and his sons. For this reason, his kingdom was (and now Bharatavarsha is) at the precipice.

As we discussed in our preceding article, more than anything else, more than even Dharma, it is Niti which is the aspect of our culture which is unmitigatingly absent among Indians today. The only Niti they know or need is a mutant form of “Rajniti!” practiced by dushtamatyas, but other than that, it’s gullibility to the extreme. This gullibility of Bharatiyas has been exploited time and again, not only by foreigners, but by Indians in foreign employ. Truth is expected to be spoken among those who practice Dharma; but there is no such obligation to those who practice deceit. It is because there are such persons in the world, that Niti was given to protect the innocent.

Not all individuals are inclined to study, let alone study deeply. Whatever lessons they learn in primary school or secondary school, we must therefore supplement with the blessing of Niti. A good soul is not spoiled if he is taught 1. Dharma, 2. Niti, 3. Studies, in that progression. Evil persons do not care for Dharma, and Niti is frequently in their nature, due to natural deceitful ways. Since not everyone becomes a vidvan or Ph.D., let the innocent or illiterate learn Niti.

Niti can be grasped most readily by works by aphorisms and maxims such as Saamethas or similar traditions in other languages. In fact, a famous one involving a son named Somalingam clearly took its inspiration from a Panchatantra tale. “Dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka na ghat ka” is one such celebrated example in Hindi. This is because a single saying offers many layers of wisdom that can be peeled off as a child grows older. The individual is exhorted to not be a Dhobi ka kutta, and so in the process, learns to pick and stick with a side, instead of having no place of his own. Works of pure Niti, such as the Niti Satakam, are indeed useful, but tend to be for older students. Hence, the Panchatantra becomes most useful to the younger student.

Tales of Animals capture their attention, and stories within a story allow individual lessons to be teased out and separated. So too can basic Niti be separated from more sophisticated Statecraft. That is the Brilliance of the Panchatantra, for while it affords basic behavioural lessons to children, useful for later in life for citizens, it also incorporates the lessons of Politics and Statecraft, to be studied in sum, a second time by the civic-minded.

Author

panchatantra1

The author of this work, Vishnusarman, was 80 years old when he gave his lecture on the Panchatantra. The manuscript itself tells us that this set of five books emanated from the distress of King Amarasakti “from the southern city of Mahilaropya“. It is not known exactly where this city was, other than it was presumably south of the Vindhyas. The ruler of this fair city had 3 stupid, selfish, stubborn, supercilious sons named Bahusakti, Ugrasakti and Anantasakti.  They too, like modern Bharatiyas were “devoid of reasoning” and “destitute of discretion” and “impertinent“. [1, 2] He was so upset and feared for the future of the kingdom to such an extent, that he convened his ministers and promised a reward for the one who could reform them.

His Mantri, Sumati, suggested the brahmana Vishnusarman as one who had extracted the great elixir from the various branches of knowledge . Vishnusarman himself saluted Manu, Brhaspati, Sukracharya, Paraasara, Vyaasa, and Chanakya in his treatise. The influence of the latter shows in later discussions of mandala theory. Nevertheless, more than politics, this is a work of practical principles for all persons, and the wise conduct of life.

A person’s character is not something that one is born with. Ancient sages were of the view that the character could be built, and by moulding the characters of the citizens, a just and fair society would come into being where each individual may take note of the interests and concerns of others without being influenced by vested interest, personal priorities, egocentricities or prejudices [1, xli]

Visnusharman was so confident of the value of his teachings that he stated”If I am not able to render your sons well-versed in the science of politics within six months, you are all-empowered to hang me til death”. [1, lxx] What’s more, he famously claimed in the Prologue that one using the Panchatantra could not be defeated even by Sakra (Indra) [1, lxx]:

Above all, however, was the uniqueness of Vishnusarman’s approach that truly stands out. Tradition ascribes this fabulous work to one Visnu Sarma. But we know nothing about this gifted author who, judging from the artistry displayed in the text he is credited with having composed, brought storytelling to such heights of sophistication; who in fact created a literary genre of storytelling; who had many imitators over the centuries, none of them his equal. [2, xi]

Composition

panchatantracover2

The Panchatantra is a Sanskrit work written in the form known as Champu (a mixture of verse and prose). “Verse is employed for articulating maxims, proverbs and precepts, sententiaea, generally, and for conveying heightened emotion; prose for the narrative and dialogue” [2,liii]. This makes the composition useful as a work of “instruction and correction“. [2, xlii] The Panchatantra is often connected with the Jataka Tales. Indeed, there are many commonalities. But it is not yet clear which drew from which. After all, didactic stories were not unique to the Jataka Tales, and are also found in the Brihat Katha, and there are similarities even with some stories from the collectively more ancient Mahabharata. [1, xxi] There are even verses descending directly from the Niti Satakam of the famous King of Ujjain, Bhartrhari.

Not only Bauddhas (Buddhists) but even Jainas are also mentioned. Jain literature also passed on the Panchatantra through traditions and names like Panchakhyaana. The Buddhist narratives from the Jataka focused more on the past, while the Jaina tradition was focused on the present, “instructing in an ironic and suggestive manner“. [1, xxx]

In many ways, this makes the magnum opus of Acharya Vishnusarman a snapshot of our literary and cultural heritage, thereby making it an ideal starting point. We see elements of the past woven into the culture’s future. Above all, we see a tradition of combining entertainment with education, and moral with practical living. This is the Panchatantra’s greatest greatest  achievement of all. It is not for nothing it is termed ‘The crest-jewel of Fables’. [1,xxxv]

That branch of didactic literature is called ‘fable’ which comprises of little, cheerful and sententious stories and whose characters are often animals. The word fable comes from the latin word fabula which once was employed to mean any kind of story. But, gradually, it came to mean a very special kind of story…which is ruled by an intellectual and moral impulse and it tends towards brevity. It is a narration intended to enforce a useful truth, especially one in which animals speak and act like human beings.” [1,xvi-xvii]

The characters teach lessons which can be used in every one’s daily life, since their actions are so much like those of human beings, the reader of the fable usually does not have to figure out for himself what the lesson is. It is often given at the end of the fable under the title of ‘Moral’. So, unlike a folk-tale, it has a moral that is woven into the story and often explicitly formulated at the end“. [1, xvii}

But in an era which rejects ‘morality’, what value can the Panchatantra have? That why the term Niti here is best translated not as moral or policy, but ‘lesson’. The Panchatantra in fact is amoral, and is focused on giving lessons in practical principles for the wise conduct of life. True, it does discuss Dharmasastra and the importance of living a righteous life, but it is nevertheless, highly practical and even cynical on the intentions of everyone…even saints!

The great genius of this work is that, while it is a great expository on the importance of Niti (Practical Principles and Wisdom) over Vidya (knowledge), it also inculcates and creates curiosity in various branches of knowledge. Beyond Dharmasastra and Dhanurveda, there are even brief discussions of Saastriya Sangeeta, Classical Music. [1, 666]

It is no wonder this work has stood the test of time. The man armed with Niti is superior to the man armed with Vidya. But who can face the man armed with both? That is the value of Sanskriti. The Panchatantra is an excellent work not only emanating and expounding our culture, but giving a glance at its history.

Panchatantra has transcended cultures and literary as well as linguistic barriers. It is among the greatest classics of all time. [1, xvii]

History

1280px-Pancatantra_pedigree

Recensions

There are four main rescensions of the Panchatantra. The Southern Version is basis for the Nepalese Panchatantra and the Hitopadesa. This is the largest version and is said to contain 96 stories.  [1, xlvi]  A second is found in the manuscripts of the Brhatkathamanjari of Kshemendra, which descends from the lost Brhat Katha of Gunadhya. A third is the Pehlavi (Persian version). The Tantraakhayaayika represents fourth manuscript lineage, and is considered the oldest form of the Panchatantra. It was found in Kashmir. It has two sub-recensions and is said to demonstrate the original form.

It is the only version which contains the unabbreviated and not intentionally alterated language of the author, which no other Indian Pancatantra version has presented, while the Pehlavi translation distorts it by numerous misunderstandings’ [1, xliii]

The the Persian version was the source material of the subsequent Arabic Translation of this original Sanskrit work, which was called the Kalia wa Dimnah.

Global Impact

Kelileh_va_Demneh

Perhaps nothing underscores the global impact of the Panchatantra than Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent official visit to Iran. Per historical accounts, Barzawayh the physician, of the Persian King Khusrau Anushirvan’s court (6th century CE) was said to have been tasked with finding the Indian elixir that raises the dead back to life. On failing to do so, Barzawayh in dire straits asked an Indian for help. He was introduced to the Panchatantra, which was translated into Persian. Per the Shahnameh of Firdausi, the elixir was the wisdom extracted from the trees and herbs (writings) of Indian sages who raised the corpse (ignorant men) back to the living (wise conduct of life). [1] Khusrau was said to have been wonderstruck by the wisdom, and rewarded his minister. The text was used to groom Persian princes. How easily modern Indians discard or deride wisdom valued by others.

Such was the impact of this work of Bharatiya Nitisastra, that this lost Pehlavi version was subsequently translated into Arabic  as Kalilah wa Dimneh (Karataka and Damanaka), and later spread to Europe. “Dr. Benfey has proved the specific debt of the medieval European literature to the Panchatantra”. [1, x, li]  Aesop’s Fables is said to have been a product of its influence, and even the Arabian Nights are thought to be rooted in these Indic origin stories. [1, liii] Many also know these as the Fables of Bidpai (Stories of Vidyapati). In the last thousand years, the stories of the Panchatantra have made their way into the Greek, Latin, German, Spanish, French, English, Armenian and Slavonic languages, along with even Hebrew and Malay. [2, xvi]

Few books have enjoyed such popularity as the Panchatrantra of Sri Visnusarman. This masterpiece is remarkable for the beauty and simplicity of its language, the vividness and reality of its objective and the author’s sense of humour. The extra-ordinary appeal which it makes to the human mind is evident from the fact that it has been translated into no fewer than fifty languages, and 200 versions around the world.” [1, i]

Whether you are 6 or 66, the Panchatantra is a work that must be studied by all. It is composed in such a way so as to educate young and old alike. More innocent stories can be separated for individual children’s lessons, while the collective work and more mature stories can be studied again as an adolescent or adult. The composition itself is divided into five books, hence the name Pancha Tantra. These are as follows:

I. Mitrabheda (Dissension of Friends)

This deals with the story of the Lion King Pingala, the Bull Sanjeevaka, and how their friendship was divided by the knave Jackal Minister Damanaka. It is a cautionary tale of how friends and family can be divided by selfish people who put their interests above the common good. That a jackal was selected for a minister is in itself telling, as it is a caveat against dushtamatyas who prioritise private political gain over national interest. It also has a lesson valuable for royal and common Indians alike: “The first lesson, to be learnt, by the kings and especially the emerging and nascent princes, is how to differentiate between a selfless friend and a latent enemy.” [1, lxxvii] In short, it is an didactic tale on the value of Discretion.

II. Mitrasampraaptih (Acquisition of Friends)

This tale deals with the benefits of true friends. The unlikely friendship of a mouse, a deer, a crow, and a tortoise ends up being collectively and individually beneficial. Not only do they enjoy each other’s company and find purpose in helping each other, but they are able to save each other’s life by working together and collaborating. That is the value of gaining and keeping friends.

Thus, an analysis of the second book evinces that much stress is laid upon winning of intelligent friends. Contrary to the Mitrabheda, Mitrasampraapti proceeds to explain the nature of true friendship and the undoubted worth of companions in getting out of tricky situations in life”. [1, 277]

III. Kaakollukeeyam (On the Crows and Owls)

This is the famous story of the war between the Crows and the Owls. It is an exegesis not only on statecraft, but also on strategy. It helps understand that the noble exhortations of Dharma are in fact in concordance with the exegencies of strategy. When the enemy is wicked and breaks the rules of war, use of Kutaniti is justified in ensuring the survival of one’s clan, kingdom, or civilization. If it’s us or them that has to go, better it’s them. That is the overarching lesson of this tale.

IV. Labdhapranaasam (Loss of what was Procured)

This story is also a riposte and a rebuke to those who misuse “atithi devo bhava” as a means to destroy the host. Guest should be respected, yes, but not when they put one’s own survival at stake. Even the monkey new that, and told that to his guest, whose wife literally shed “crocodile tears”. Do no be gullible, and when in distress, keep your wits about you. That is the true purpose of intellect–not poodle tricks. When a monkey was able to do that, why can’t you?

V. Apareekshitakaarakam (The Ill-considered Action)

This more than any other book, is applicable to Indians today. “Under heightened sentimental impulses or emotional states, human beings tend to or are more inclined to engage in ill-considered or rash actions. Consequences of taking action in a hurry, without knowing the details or the truth, are mostly dangerous.” This book stands out as it has no framing story, but is simply critique after critique of rash and ill-considered action. This has serious lessons for Hyperactive Hindus of today.Nevertheless, each story sets the stage for the subsequent one. Independent Niti is united by the “inter-connectedness” of the stories.[1,617]

But perhaps no lesson is more crucial for today than the stories of the magic wicks, and more famously, the four brahmanas. The moral there is clear when the one brahmana berates another saying “despite the scholarship, he lacks practical intellect and also that good sense is superior to learning“. [1, 622] That is the essence of this fifth Tantra, perhaps the most valuable of all.

Apariksitakaraka is prescribed in the curriculum just to instil the core universal human values in the minds of the young generation and make youths good human beings with all-round success and joy in their lives. [1, 625]

At first sight, one might befuddled at why Mitra-Bheda might come before Mitra-Sampraapti. Seemingly out of order to fresh eyes, we realise later the true genius of Acharya Vishnusarman: preservation of true friends and loyal family members is of highest priority. This is because wealth and weapons and warp and weft can all be lost, but nothing is more precious than a true friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. And a wise person sees to it that real friends are treated with respect and kept in good humour rather than neglected or alienated.

There is nothing more dangerous than a former friend or antagonistic relative—they know our back story, strengths, and weaknesses. It is why even the wise Vidura sought to conciliate the Pandavas and Kauravas…he knew the price of internal/internecine war. That is why one of the wider lessons of the Mahabharata War was on the dangers of fratricide.

Modern Bharatiyas today have the opposite tendency. Many, especially those with the dog mentality, kick those who lick them and lick those who kick them—all in contravention of the Sastras. Conciliation doesn’t mean groveling. There is a difference between bowing when forced to and crawling cause you want to…it is self-respect. As such, the wise and prudent person returns good for good and bad for bad. It is not only courageous, but ensures that the opposing party, even if he doesn’t like you, is forced to respect you.

It is true that common interests often divide friends and family. But that is why we have Dharma to guide us on the use of Niti. Vidura was skilled at Niti, but used Dharma to stanch any ambitions to the throne he may ever have had. So should Dharma dictate succession: Seniority, Competence, and Character being the three deciding factors in that order.

The Panchatantra  is not meant to be memorised for show, but understood & applied. While it does exhort committing wise verses to memory, it is again for later meditation, rather than braggadocio. That a single Sanskrit verse can have many meanings is best embodied by the story of “Praapthavyamartham labhate manusya“. When we understand this story, when we understand the Panchatantra, we understand that Acharyas—real Acharyas—try to equip their students with Niti, so that they may become self-reliant, shrewd, and societally responsible citizens.

Selections*

panchatantram

§

Suguptam rakshyamaano’pi| T.4, sl. 49

“Silence is Golden”

48. Parrots and starlings (minas) are encaged due to the fault of their mouth (speech), herons there, are not confined (due to not speaking; silence leads to the accomplishment of all objects.

And also:

49. That donkey, even though properly concealed and being guarded, manifestly showing his dreadful body and covered with the skin of tiger was killed due to his speaking” [1, 591]

That silence is golden is the most important lesson for modern Bharatiyas is a concept we have stressed time and again. What story better exemplifies it than this. Not only the donkey that couldn’t shut up, but the crocodile who told his intentions to the monkey in advance. The net result is much like the name of the very Tantra that covers this: Labdhapranaasam (Loss of what was Procured).

§

Anya prathaapamaasaadhya yo drdatvam na gacchathi|

Jathujaa’bharanasyeva rupenaapi hi tasya kim|| T.1, sl 117

Of what advantage is the physique and appearance of him who does not stand firm against the prowess of others, like an ornament, made of lac, which does not maintain its stiffness when pitched against fire. [1, 44]

Essence: Every Dog has its Day, so have both patience and courage. This is the lead in sloka for the famous Tale of the Jackal and the war-drum. The key takeaway of the story is the nature of life having ups and downs. The fearful jackal took courage after hearing the sound of the war-drum and upon investigation was happy at his good luck at finding a pot of food making the sound. But upon eating it, he hurt his mouth and realised it was just a strip of leather. So who knows what turns the life of others may take, if they are fortunate, be patient for you may find out they may not be so fortunate after all. Better to wait your turn for good fortune than to be jealous of others.

§

Na yasya cheshtitham vidhyaanna kulam, na paraakramam|

Na tasya visvaset praajno yadeechhechreya maathmanah|| T.1, sl. 285

A wise man, desirous of his well-being, should never trust a stranger whose demeanour, family-tradition or strength be not known. “[1, 156]

Self explanatory: Don’t be gullible. If you must trust, verify. Be wary of strangers.

§

Svabhavo nopadeshena sakthye kathurmanyathaa|

Suthaptamapi paaneeyam punargacchathi sheetataam || T1, sl., 281

The nature (of beings) can not be altered through preaching, because, water, even heated properly, regains its coolness again [1, 153]

When we understand the fundamental natures (prakrutti) of people, animals, and even nations, then we are forewarned of whether or not to place trust in them. This encourages caution in dealing with others.

§

Anaagatham yah kuruthe sa shobhathe, sa shochyethe, yo na karothya naagatham|

Vanethra samsthasya samaagatha jaraa, bilasya vaanee na kadaa’pi me shruthah || T.3., sl.212

One, who takes action after pre-meditation, shines; he, who does the opposite (i.e. acts without pre-meditation), comes to grief. Old age came over me while living here, but I never heard the words of a cave. [1, 506]

Forewarned is forearmed: This is the celebrated story of the jackal, the lion, and the cave. Suspicious of the tracks leading into a cave, the quick-minded jackal concocted a ruse to test whether anyone was there. The lion foolishly fell for it, by calling back to the jackal, who realised the cave was indeed occupied by a dangerous lion. Forewarned is forearmed.

§

Sa suhrdh vyasane yah syadanya jatyubdhavo’pi san|

Vrddho sarvo’pi mithram syat sarvashaameva dehinaam|| T.1, sl.368

A true friend is he, who, although born in another caste, comes to rescue in distressfull…times, as, in prosperity all behave as friends with all men [1, 203]

A friend in need is a friend indeed. False friends only linger during good times; they show their true face afterwards. A true friend is known by the consistent assistance he renders.

§

Yo mitraani karotyatra, na kautilyena vartthathe|

Thauh samam na paraabhoothim sampraapnothi kathanchana|| T.2, sl.199

A man, who makes many friends and never behaves with them in a manner filled with duplicacy, always gains victory with their assistance and never gets defeated. [1, 390]

This sloka, and indeed, the entire Mitra-sampraapthi section, discusses the importance of gaining friends. Through collective action and collaboration among friends, even the greatest enemies can be defeated. Therefore, it is important to work together as a team, whether among friends or family. Then, irrespective of individual fortunes being up or down, the good of all is preserved.

§

Conclusion

izquote-the-panchatantra-317055

It is now long past time for Bharatiyas to wake up and smell the coffee. While they boast about IQ and perform poodle tricks, their enemies—who value wisdom over knowledge—are running circles around them. The truth is, our people have become laughingstocks, and everyone is in on the joke but them. In fact, that is why they ask for your opinion, to laugh at you behind your backs cause they know you can’t shut up.

Api saastroshu kusalaa, lokaachaaravivarjithaah |

Sarva tho haasyathaam yaanthi, yatha the moorkhapandithah || T.5, sl.39

Even though skilled in sastras, if, men are short of knowledge of worldy dealings, they become the laughing-stocks (subject of derision) like those foolish panditas. [1, 652]

What other people could be so stupid as to not support their own and turn to foreigners to educate them…on their own culture? What other people could be so stupid as to promote the same people working to destroy them…out of “friendship!” or rivalry with their own? What other people could be so stupid as to think that they can give gyaan on strategy and statecraft without having the leadership competence and experience to run even a popsicle stand?  If our people are stupid today, it is not because of native culture, but despite it! When bollywood garbage and corrupted campy languages are considered “high culture”, what else will you produce besides debauched mimbos and bimbos?

The Panchatantra is no mere story of animal fables. The Panchatantra is a work of  concentrated Tapasya by Acharya Vishnusarman to educate even the most stupid, stubborn, selfish, and supercilious of souls on the value of Niti. “Practical worldly wisdom is expressed for human beings, desirous of their well-being”. [1, ] It is to explain how sentiment and hedonism and gullibility cannot guide us and be a way of life. We must be serious people who understand natures and intentions of others, then we know the right course of action. That is how we find the balance between svadharma and Civilizational Survival, because Dharma and Niti themselves are joined at the hip. Dharma itself mandates Civilizational Survival, and Niti is the means to achieve it.

 That is the value of the Panchatantra. And that is why it must be studied, first as a child, then as an adult. Start today.

 tales_from_the_panchatantra__78606.1407097467.1280.1280panchatantrabookpanchatantra hindi

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*Translations of these Selections are generally not literal and are meant to convey the equivalent thought or lesson in English.

References:

  1. Jha, Naveen Kumar & Anjana. Srivisnusarmans’ Pancatantram. Delhi: J.P.Publishing House. 2016
  2. Rajan, Chandra. The Pancatantra. London: Penguin. 1993

Niti: Practical Principles of India

NitiDharma most assuredly is the soul of our Civilization, and Satya is its source, but for Dharma to survive, it too must be practical, especially this late in the Kali Yuga. Just as Yudhisthira required not only a Bhima and Arjuna to protect him, but even the astute and pragmatic Sri Krishna, so too does Dharma require Niti.

The word itself is very much part of our vocabulary today even in this “Modern” India. Rajniti, Dandaniti, Chanakya Niti, Vidura Niti, Sukra Niti are all commonly known, if not properly understood. They are typically grouped under Niti Sastra (“Science of Policy”). But to limit it to the aggrandised term “policy” would be a disfavour to the common man. That is why Niti is also found in earthy aphorisms and rural sayings like Saamethas. Niti is also often translated (and mistranslated) as “ethics”. Therefore, the time has come to reiterate and reassert its full meaning and wide application. It was not meant merely for political actors and power players. It is not solely the realm of Kings and Queens. Niti is useful for the every day average person as well. In the present time, there are those who seem to believe that you can either be good or bad, righteous or practical, practice Rajdharma or Rajniti. But once again, binary thinking and false dichotomies are clouding judgments. Let us clarify.

Niti (“Neethi”) in a word is: Lesson. Its root word “Ni” means to guide or enable.

lesson

Niti is not improper or immoral, but amoral principles for practical living. Hence we have the Lessons or Principles of Chanakya, Vidura, Sukra, and of course Politics. The precepts are meant to be pragmatic to ensure survival and success. The outcome and application, as with a sword, is determined by the wielder of Niti. Niti is not meant to promote immorality or reward evil, in fact, in the hands of the good, it is highly useful and beneficial for society as it encourages common sense and sensible living. It is just focused purely on pragmatism and effectiveness, morality being a consideration of the wielder of Niti. Niti, therefore, protects the innocent and naïve from the diabolical. After all, the Chanakya of the well-known Chanakya Niti, himself raised a good and Dharmic Emperor to the throne in the name of Chandragupta Maurya. Evil pursues the execrable. Fools care only for the sensual, but the Wise care for the sensible.  It is not for nothing that Niti has been described elsewhere as “wise conduct of life“. That Niti Central went belly up could be no greater commentary on the “Modern” Hindu, and where his priorities lie, as he is more interested in generating hits, retweets, and trps either for adversarial media, or only himself.

Niti, therefore, is meant to be a stiff dose of realism giving lessons for woolly-headed idealists, narrow-minded ritualists, hidebound traditionalists, and childish hedonists (leave aside our uncultured “global”ists). Ideals are great, but not to the the point of lemmings off a cliff. Ritual is important, but not to the extent that it becomes the only consideration. Tradition is critical, but not to the brink of societal survival. And pleasure is good, but not to the point of hedonism. Rather than emphasising a single one of these aspects, Niti harmonises all of them pragmatically, and preferably, for the cause of Dharma. After all, Evil cares not for Dharma, and has no qualms about breaking it, let alone Achara, to pursue its selfish Aims. As Duryodhana said:

Fighting such an evil while following every single traditional rule of Rajadharma down to the micro-level is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back. To defeat a Shakuni you need a Sri Krishna.

gandharnareshKrishnaNitish

As Yudhisthira showed at the game of dice and as Rajputs showed in the non-game of total war, when the enemy is cheating, you can’t expect to follow all the rules to be Satya Harishchandra. Even if you don’t pay, your subjects and womenfolk and descendants do (as does your reputation and place in history). That is the value of Niti: to prevent or reduce the probability of death and dishonour…particularly for the good and especially the grihastha. That is why it is so tragic to see Rajputs of the medieval era, time and again, reject Niti to defeat common enemies, but then misuse it to rationalise cooperation with foreigners to survive. Niti is not for use only after defeat or even before, but to prevent defeat.

In fact, due to opportunism and ignorance, the gulf between Rajadharma and Rajaniti has grown so great, that people view Rajdharma as pie-in-the-sky and Rajniti as a fact of life. But the reality is, they are in fact meant to be joined at the hip. Rajniti makes Rajdharma possible; Rajdharma makes Rajniti purposeful. Rajaniti when deployed purely for selfish or familial gain, will always lead to backstabbing or infighting. This is because Rajadharma gives an order to be preserved and a harmonious living to be promoted.

Rajaniti knows no order (except big fish eats little fish), but only provides principles and methods to win. So if each idiot (no matter how young or old, stupid or cowardly, qualified or unqualified) thinks he deserves to be king, he will employ Rajaniti to individually benefit but collectively destroy his society in the process. This is why so many medieval Turkic kingdoms in India were plunged into brutal, Game of Thrones style succession battles, replete with brief rulers. There was no Rajadharma to guide them as any could be king. Studies are good. Study of Niti is better. Study of Dharma is best of all.

Rajadharma emphasises both seniority and competence. Prince Bharata of Ayodhya would have been an excellent king (and indeed governed Kosala well as Rama’s representative), but Rama was the true king as the eldest and rightful heir (his greater strengths aside).

Correspondingly, King Bharata of Hastinapura disinherited all of his sons, because they were all prodigal wastrels given to hedonism, and therefore, unfit for the throne due to their incompetence. Both qualities matter. In earlier eras, nobility of birth also made the third prime qualifier, but with so many broken noble houses today, it is nobility of character that has become more important.

Some of course, in recent years, have skipped the requisite progression. They forget Rajadharma, but pursue Rajaniti. Or more dangerously, they forget Kutaniti but pursue Kanikaniti. This is what happens when you have impractical or blindly ambitious people enter the realm of politics and statecraft, where they do not belong.

Strategem without Strategy is like arming without aiming. Strategy helps us understand when to employ Strategem. Politics gives us a function for Strategy. And Governance is made possible through Politics. Rajadharma is about Governance and Statecraft, not just petty politics. Politics without strategy is the simplistic thinking of raising up A to tackle B, or backstabbing “when my chance comes”. Such short-sightedness may get you power, but it won’t help you pass it on, or in most cases, even keep it. Therefore, aspiring members of the future elite or proverbial mantriparishad must first master the proper progression of precepts:

Dharma→Rajadharma→Rajaniti→Kutaniti→Dhanurveda→Kanikaniti

Just as there are sources of Dharma (Shruti, Smriti, Purana), there are sources of Niti. These include the Puranas again, but also the Panchatantra and Chanakya Sutras among others (such as the Niti Satakam of Bhartrhari). Sources for Kutaniti include the Hitopadesa and the Arthasastra. Correspondingly, students should pursue studies in that order: 1. Panchatantra, 2. Chanakya Niti 3. Hitopadesa 4. Arthasastra. These provide the foundation for Niti and Kutaniti respectively. While manuals on Pure strategy may be prioritised in the future, and manuals such as Manasollasa, pursued following after, in the present time, the bedrock of Civic study should be rooted in these four. When the Arthasastra is quoted by those without proper understanding of the Panchatantra or Chanakya Niti, we have amateurs leading us to catastrophe.

Basic Niti not only helps us understand Kutaniti, but also helps us implement Rajadharma, as ruler or citizen. Whether it is the Treatise of Brihaspati or the Treatise of Kautilya, the Arthasastra is the foremost text on Rajadharma for our time because it encompasses not just Governance or Politics, but also Political Economy, and the elements of Strategy. Not only its uses for those who study it, but even the qualifications for those who have access to it, must be properly understood.

Niti teaches us even the first rules of politics, even as a child. The story may involve animals or simple villagers, but we learn such lessons as “Every dog has its day” or “Silence is Golden”. This is also why time and again we have advised Hyperactive Hindus to “Shut up, Listen, and Learn”. This is not a new lesson, but comes directly from Nitisastra, only packaged for the modern moron.

VN_Silence

Furthermore, there have been arthabhramas (errors of understanding) that have crept into modern parlance. Dharmayuddha is a prime example. The time has come to standardise. Dharmayuddha is often referred to in the Sastras as merely war conducted according to honourable custom. But this, as we know from the Mahabharata, is incorrect. Dharmayuddha is war to restore Dharma. When Evil has put the very survival of Dharma at stake, it mandates the participation of all Indic (and especially Dharmic) Rajas to join together for the common cause of restoring Dharma (as was done on the Kurukshetra) or ridding Bharatavarsha of foreign invaders (as was, in effect, done at the Battle of Rajasthan). It also necessitates the relaxing of the traditional rules of warfare, meant mainly for wars between Dharmic kings.

What is referred to as Dharma-yuddha is better classified as Achara-yuddha (referred to elsewhere as Manava-yuddha). That is, war conducted according to proper custom and ritual, for the traditional aims of Kings. This refers to wars conducted among Indic kings in the normal course of life, where non-combatants are respected, and rules of and for warfare are observed. Kautilya then refers to Kuta-yuddha (“Crooked War”) as war that uses the crooked methods of Kutaniti (Strategic thinking). The aims may be just, but the methods may be unchivalrous. But this has now become the Total War conducted by the adharmic rulers outside India, and who occasionally cropped up within India. It has become the de facto Asura-Yuddha mentioned in the Sastras as being used by barbarians. We live in a time when barbarians-in-spirit have gained access to sophisticated weaponry used without thought for civilian life. We experienced this with this British. Total War knows no rules, uses any strategy, and its only Morality is Victory.  Dharmayuddha rejects Asurayuddha but requires Kutayuddha, which is the application of Kutaniti.

When the proper customs and practices among Kshatriyas were loosening even in the Dvapara Age (i.e.unjust killing of Abhimanyu), how can Bharatiyas foolishly expect everything to be practiced to the letter today?  It is one thing for Rajputs to follow customs when facing other Rajputs, but downright stupidity to do so when facing off against non-Indian kings, even if Rajputs were in their employ. This is the value and importance of critical and strategic thinking over subject-matter expertise,and Niti is the foundation for this. Indeed, it is the difference between a Raja and a Raja-putra.

No one doubts the proficiency at arms or even valour of Rajputs, but war and kingship also necessitates adapting to circumstance and putting aside personal pride to protect ones praja and desa. That is why Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharaja Ranjit Singh are rightfully celebrated. They recognised that circumstances had changed, and the prime directive, indeed sacred duty, of kings was to protect their subjects (especially womenfolk).

Apad Dharma not only permits but requires the breaking of Achara, so as to protect the blamelessly innocent from the diabolically evil. At a time when knowledge is power, it is not Sastra or Suhstra, or Sastra and Suhstra, but even Sastra as Suhstra. The question of where to define acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is the intersection of Niti and Dharma. Shivaji defined it as all’s fair game except a woman’s honour, and that was how he ensured his soldiers did not become the very Asuras they were fighting.

When non-combatants and even women and children are enslaved and executed, when truthful philosophers who promote virtue are murdered and mocked, when the sacred animal that secures civilised life is slaughtered for sport and savouries, what greater sacred duty can there be for a King, his Ministers, and his Lieutenants than to unburden the Sacred Earth?

InspiredShivaji

That is the difference between a mere Raja or Samrat and a Chakravartin. The Raja is only concerned with his own Bhoga (enjoyment) or entry into Svarga (material heaven); the Chakravartin realises Moksha lies in protecting his subjects, and rejects not only Bhoga, but even Svarga itself.

But before one can become a Chakravartin…Before one can become a Raja or Mantri, or even respected Praja…One must first master Niti: The practical, everyday principles of life. Niti helps us not only read situations, but read characters, and understand motivations. Just as crimes are determined by intent, virtue determined by selflessness, so too are people determined by nature and character. Niti helps us understand motivations and psyche so we can understand if Dharma or Apad Dharma, is required. Whom to trust, whom to avoid. When to follow, when not to follow. When to stop, when to go. All of these are determined by Niti. And this, more than anything else, is what is missing among Bharatiyas today. Ironically, some of the same personalities who talk of the Panchatantra fail to recognise subversives in their own ranks. This is because they recite Niti, but don’t apply it. Niti begins with the simple question: Kah Labhate? Cui Bono?

bono

But who has time for such questions when there is gyaan to give. The fruit has been removed and only the husk of “Rajneeti” is given for rogues and wretches to utilise for stupidity or increased follower counts. In place of critical thinking, we have coaching centres. In place of philosophy, we have “philognosis”.

At present, we have unprincipled gyaanis who cite the letter of the Dharma so they can give sanctimonious lectures to feel important and gain influence, then break Dharma completely when their own survival or ambition depend upon it. This is selfishness. What we need are Dharmic Men and Women of Principle, who use Niti to know when to follow the Dharma to the Letter, but for the greater good, know when to bend it in rare circumstances. This is selflessness. It is the difference between a Drona and a Sri Krishna. That is the value of Niti.

It is time for good and responsible citizens to regain their senses and understand that Achara is not the prathamo Dharma, but preservation of Dharma is. When Dharma is preserved, you can pursue Achara and Kulachara without fear for your fruitive rewards.

Restore Dharma first, and restore Sense by studying and teaching Niti.

References:

  1. Prasad, Rajendra. A Conceptual-Analytic Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals. New Delhi: Concept. 2008. p.6
  2.  Roy, Kaushik. Hinduism and the Ethics of Warfare in South Asia: From Antiquity to the Present
  3. Rangarajan, L.N. Edit, Kautilya. The Arthashastra. New Delhi. Penguin.1992
  4. Vidura Niti.