Tag Archives: Mahabharata

The Descent of Man — Stages of Charvaka-ism

http://www.bhagavad-gita.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/gita-126.jpg

There is an old story about a Brahmana who had traveled to Greece and was conversing with a Sophist. The Sophist said that the Greeks had separated God from studying Science so that their rational temper would not be clouded by their Spirituality. The Brahmin laughed, saying in order to understand Science correctly, you must first understand God.

While it is true that many quantum physicists are known to be religious, this story is less a riposte to agnostics than it is to atheists. After all, according to western logic, the agnostic position is indeed the most “rational” as based strictly on scientific evidence (i.e. primarily pratyaksha) God can’t be “proven”. Nevertheless, Indic logic recognises Sabda pramana as well—sabda in this case referring to the Veda, as well as the word of Enlightened Spiritual beings living the Dharmic tradition. As such, Indic logic is more robust as it doesn’t suffer from the solipsistic arrogance of modern man (who believes unless a phenomenon (divine or otherwise) makes itself observable—it must not exist). Interestingly, modern man echoes many of the views of Ancient Charvakas.

Despite having many agnostic and even a few atheist friends, we will, in the spirit of civilized discourse (and indeed, due to the impending technology-driven doom of mankind), give a structured rebuttal to the popular notion that God does not exist—or even that God-worship has caused mankind’s “social evils” (aka “religion is the opiate of the masses”). Those who know the difference between Dharma and religion may indeed believe the latter to be an opiate, but the former is not. This is because it doesn’t emphasise burdens of “dogma”: 1 way, 1 book, 1 person, 1 jealous god.

This is less a remark towards the religious of other religions—for at this stage, it may be (and that’s a big “may be”) better for a man to be religious than irreligious. It is simply a necessary tangent regarding the difference between Dharma and religion. The problem is, under the pretext of criticising religion, or superstition, one often finds the subtext of criticising God-worship or worship of the Divine. This is the moola-mantra of the Marxist. It is why both the Charvaka & the Marxian drive the descent of man into societal destruction.

But before Bernie bros get their boxers in a twist, we will focus not on Socialism (which has already been deconstructed here), but on how the Charvaka view of God-denial drives the demoniac.

The thought process of man’s descent into societal destruction:

God-harmony -> Ahamkar -> “Mujhe kya mila” -> Physical Fixation-> Sensuality -> Lust -> Hedonism -> Everyone is doing it -> Cruelty -> Inhumanity

After all, an egotistical person inherently is not in complete God-harmony as he believes “Aham-kaar!“. If I am the one who is deterministically doing this and that, then don’t I have the right to demand mujhe kya mila (what’s in it for me?). Does this not then lead to fixation on the physical (excessive focus on the erotic) or material (general greed for ‘things’)? Isn’t the result then sensuality then lust then hedonism (i.e. anything goes/sukham jivet rnam krtva) ignoring karmic debt, then finally mindless mob-thinking, then cruelty (the mark of the asura), then finally inhumanity (rakshasa-tattva)?

Thus, from Deva-bhakti man descends into Asura-bhaava. A slow but sure progression, duly aided by Yavat jivet.

If God-harmony is the goal, then what are the various motivations that influence whether or not society avoids or ambles toward destruction?

Bhakti -> Love of Truth -> Sadhachara -> Cultural Norms / Moral Living -> Ethical Living -> Legalist Living -> Groupthink -> Charvaka-ism -> Nihitha Svaartha -> Asura-bhaava

That is how mankind descends from manava-tattva to rakshasa-tattva. And it is not just men; many women are guilty of this too—Exhibit A: Golddiggers.

In fact, the seed of man’s problem is in the denial of woman. When “we” is reduced to “me”, the natural Rta between microcosmal-shiva & microcosmal shakti becomes discordant (much to the chagrin of Macrocosmal Shiva and Macrocosmal Shakti). It is this spanda (vibration) that emanates from bindu to become naadha, that determines our mentality. Is it a discordant one (with a wild amplitude and irregular frequency) or is a harmonious vibration (operating at a more sonorous frequency)? If Kaali is wild and untameable and yet a promoter of harmony it is because she only mates with Shiva. Thus, it is her mono-andry that ironically makes her stable and free. Her creation and her desires are subject to her will, rather than her will being subject to desire. It is the slavery to senses and sense gratification that prevent women from attaining the state of Kaali (or more specifically Shakti) & that certainly prevent men from attaining the state of Kaala or Shiva.

Abhicharakas and practicioners of all sorts of “black magic”—may or may not be superstitious, but their Egos and rootedness in the “I” over the “We” is what destroyed the sanctity of the Tantric tradition. It is the espousal of the material over the spiritual and the denial of each microcosmal Pinda-Shiva needing a specific sviya Shakti (and vice versa) that opens up a panoply of never-ending sensual possibilities rather than seeking merger with Parama-Shiva (macrocosmal) and Paraa-Shakti (macrocosmal). It is this “me” that separates sex from “we”. It is also this first separation of “we” that makes splitting a potato more difficult (for men).

Through this egoism (which eventually becomes egotism), any and all possibilities become plausible, because yavat jivet sukham jivet rnam krtva ghrtam pibet  (Be happy as long as you are alive, if need be go into debt to enjoy ghee). Forget the sukham of others’ happiness, even the rnam of karmic debt is forgotten, because not only the most personal “we” with respect to jeevatman, but the overarching “We” of paramatman is denied—so who or what’s to stop us from the deliciously endless buffet of buffoonery?

Much like nitwit Nazis who see national socialism as the solution to Communist Hedonism, many Charvakas are like rakshasas manipulated by greater asuras—picking only choice A or choice B, rather than thinking outside the box. These scientism-advocates believe science to be the key to perfecting man rather than spirituality. But Nazi Nationalists are as dangerous to any society as are individualistic Liberal hedonists. Both destroy the decentralisation of society that defends against tyranny, and exhort the reduction of worship to mere ritual, and religion or Dharma to mere tribalism.

But piety is not virtue. Indeed, with “piety” again one finds ego. True spirituality & true Dharma is rooted in humilityVinayasya moolam vruddhopa seva. When one is more interested in petty ambition than seva, humility which would come through serving elders, does not flower. Thus vinayam is absent in such social misfits.

But leave aside humility, where is humanity? Where is mankind today? Whether humans (of all nationalities) wish to admit it or not, they are flirting with (if not wholesale embracing) inhumanity. Whatever the sloganeering of “insaniyat” in the quest for “kashmiriyat”, mankind has forgotten its maana-tattva. It is why Aurobindo referred to modern civilization as not civilization, but “a carefully ordered barbarism”. And that is why, what humanity is in the midst of is not a clash of civilizations, but a clash for civilization.

After all, it is human cruelty that distinguishes the barbarian from the Aryan, or any civilised person for that matter. If civilization is a mega-culture, then what many people call “culture” is in fact merely so in an anthropological sense. Even if arts exist in such a society, its aesthetic is driven by the predatory, and thus, unworthy of being called ‘sanskriti‘. Sanskriti literally refers to refinement—if predator societies insist on calling what they have ‘culture’—perhaps it may indeed be best to restrict it to its anthropological sense, and assert Sanskriti as another ‘non-translatable’.

Real culture is not simple pack mentality, emblematic of the behaviour of predators. What is a predator in a suit and tie but merely a predator in more pompous clothing?

vivekanandagentlemen

Real culture recognises the Dignity of every Man and every Woman.

Abandoning of elderly mothers, bahu slapping saas, women using men, men exploiting women, brother usurping from brother, even the foundational relationships of mother & son or father & daughter are being destroyed in the name of “rnam krtva ghrtam pibet”. Society is literally eating itself out.

Though ethics and genetics can explain why many of these are wrong (especially the latter two), it was the concept of God/Paraa-Shakti/ParaBrahman that gave sanctity to all these relationships in the first place. By “Invading the Sacred”, the sanctity of life and living right has been lost, in favour of living pleasant. Preyas has finally and completely obliterated Shreyas. But all the plastic surgery in the world cannot hide the ugliness that humans have on the inside.

Without+photoshop+_305e904f954ae7c6b82bd7893278408d

Does Nastika simply mean heterodox/denying Veda or actual atheism?

In fact, the Sanskrit word for orthodox is nisthavaan. So the question of orthodoxy vs heterodoxy is not necessarily rooted in astika and nastika.

As a person who embraces the Veda as apaurusheya, one might venture to ask this question: Is all that’s happening today why great saints condemn denial of God?

It is true that there can be good, ethical individuals who happen to be atheist. It is also true that if one is to live by strictly “rational” or “scientific” standards, agnosticism (as opposed to atheism) is the more empirical position (as it admits we don’t know—not enough evidence). But the question isn’t what happens when very good or even the best people take atheist/agnostic positions—it’s whether Pandora’s box has been opened for the middling or the very worst to behave as they please.

Despite being a person who revers the Veda as sacred, one might ask  whether the greater sinner is in fact not the Veda Virodhaka , but the Deva Na-asti-ka..

Is this what the Puranas meant when they said that “popular preachers” in the Kali Age would be…”Naastikas” and Pashandas—those skilled at feeding both their bellies and their genitals?—because whatever Vedic ritual they do…they don’t believe God exists.

After all, if life is in the material (rather than the conscious spirit), then there is nothing after death (it’s lights out). So technically speaking, setting aside the very good and very bad people, how will very “average” people behave? There is nothing wrong in being “average” or wanting to appreciate all aspects of life. But when one is just “average” in virtue or Dharma, that means he or she is only as good or as bad as society allows him or her to be. Such a person simply wants to “get along, and live comfortable life without hurting othersif possible…”.

So with no aspiration to live an exemplary life, life essentially becomes a matter of triangulation: “Eh I don’t really care to be a Sati-Savitri, but I don’t want to be a Surpanakha either—what’s everyone else doing?”. But as society slowly but surely dilutes the definition of bad (“there is no good/bad, just perspective), men and women slip more and more towards the bad (because, “neethulu koodu guda pettavu” until finally…“rnam krtva ghrtam pibet”).

It is of course also important to note that by Deva na-asti-ka, we refer not to just those who reject the possibility of any deity, but rather, those denying the existence and agency of Paramatman or ParaBrahman or Paraa-Shakti.

Many charvakas in fact masquerade as (small d) deva-worshippers while overcompensatingly boasting about virility (again, small d…or in this case, no d). This in turn drives the sadism of their views and espousal of nazi theories, and the distinctly un-dharmic concept of “patriarchy”. It is a denial of Veda by denying Vedanta (which is more than just a school of philosophy (Uttara Mimamsa, or higher investigation)—but the literal “end” purpose of the Veda). Real rishis know this, and thus tell the followers of Purva Mimamsa (earlier/beginning investigation) to “proceed further”. But this attachment to ritual, privilege, and ritual privilege has led to an espousal of materiality, ironically on religious grounds. It is also why a real rishi like Ramana maharshi is often insulted by them—it is no different than the charvaka of old misguiding the masses and falsely portraying others. This segues to our conclusion.

We conclude as we began. An important point need be stressed about deity-worship, as all deities are not benevolent. And Dharma is not paganism It is true that Vedanta (‘literally the End of the Vedas’) emphasises that there is a Supreme Brahman which is the pervading and active spirit in all beings. Modern Charvakas often attempt to conflate this either with 1 true God-ism, or non-theism (giving some inert non-autonomous quality to it). This is typically done as it then gives justification to the Asuric—that is non-benevolent, or even malevolent deities that egotistically manipulate human beings for their own ultimate Supremacy—in defiance of the Supreme.

After all, many of the devas (i.e. Varuna) were originally Asuras. Regardless of paying lip-service to the Devaraja, such worship is usually characterised by imbalance, and even if the masculine is balanced by the feminine—it is done cynically, debasing both in the process. Whatever “we” that is there is contractual, terminating with its conditions, and reverting back to the original egotistical “me”. In fact, while much may not be known today about the historical Charvakas, the Mahabharata provides a parable for the modern reader that is particularly prescient. And we will end with that:

After the great Kuruksetra war, when the Pandava brothers were returning
triumphantly, thousands of brahmins gathered at the city gate to bestow their blessing on Yudhisthira. Among them was Charvaka. He moved forward and
without the consent of the rest of the brahmins, he addressed the king thus:

A little while after when the Brahmanas had become silent, a Rakshasa of the name of Charvaka, who had disguised himself as a Brahmana, addressed the king. He was a friend of Duryodhana and stood therein the garb of a religious mendicant. With a rosary, with a tuft of hair on his head, and with the triple staff in his hand, he stood proudly and fearlessly in the midst of all those Brahmanas that had come there for pronouncing benedictions (upon the king), numbering by thousands, O king, and all of whom were devoted to penances and vows. That wicked wight, desirous of evil unto the high-souled Pandavas and without having consulted those Brahmanas, said these words unto the king.’

Charvaka said, ‘All these Brahmanas, making me their spokesman, are saying, ‘Fie on thee! Thou art a wicked king. Thou art a slayer of kinsmen. What shalt thou gain, O son of Kunti, by having thus exterminated thy race? Having slain also thy superiors and preceptor, it is proper for thee to cast away thy life.’ Hearing these words of that wicked Rakshasa the Brahmanas there became deeply agitated. Stung by that speech, they made a loud uproar. And all of them, with king Yudhishthira. O monarch, became speechless from anxiety and shame.’

“Yudhishthira said, ‘I bow down to you and beseech you humbly, be gratified with me. It doth not behove you to cry fie on me. I shall soon lay down my life.’ 1

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then all those Brahmanas, O king, loudly said, ‘These are not our words. Prosperity to thee, O monarch!’ Those high-souled persons, conversant with the Vedas, with understanding rendered clear by penances, then penetrated the disguise of the speaker by means of their spiritual sight.’ And they said, ‘This is the Rakshasa Charvaka, the friend of Duryodhana. Having put on the garb of a religious mendicant, he seeks the good of his friend Duryodhana.

We have not, O thou of righteous soul, said anything of the kind. Let this anxiety of thine be dispelled. Let prosperity attend upon thee with thy brothers.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘These Brahmanas then, insensate with rage, uttered the sound Hun. Cleansed of all sins, they censured the sinful Rakshasa and slew him there (with that very sound). Consumed by the energy of those utterers of Brahma, Charvaka fell down dead, like a tree with all its sprouts blasted by the thunder of Indra. [1]

Unfortunately, many such Rakshasas disguising themselves as Brahmanas have been subtly disseminating Charvaka beliefs by misinterpreting texts and misguiding the naïve, trusting, and the devoutly orthodox. The time has come to expose them and their misguiding malevolence, before all of Hindu Society not only descends into Charvaka-ism, but is destroyed by it.

References:

  1. The Mahabharata. Shanti Parva. Section 36. Page 82.http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m12/m12a038.htm

Envisioning the Modern Kurukshetra

Introduction

The imagery of the Kurukshetra continues to be a powerful one in the mind of Bharatvasis. The gathering of great armies preparing to clash in the name of Dharma and Desha is one that is both captivating and cautionary. For many it was about fighting for liege-lord, for others it was about family blood ties, and for still more it was about securing personal advantage through proximity to throne. But to draw armies from the length-and-breadth of Bharatavarsha—that is the entire Indian Subcontinent—to do battle in the Madhyadesa makes this titanic conflict far more resonating than the mere rights to the throne or even Dharma-samsthaapana. The Restoration of Dharma was verily Krishna’s purpose, but the Kurukshetra itself was more than just about the Field of the Kurus. It was about the Kurukshetra we fight every day.

Do we press our thinly reasoned rights for personal profit or do we bow out of the contest in the name of the common good? Do we foresee the catastrophes of impending fratricide or do we up-the-ante, refusing to part with even 5 villages?  Above all, do we see position as responsibility, or merely entitlement to privilege?

The Kurukshetra was about the purification of not only the Land of Adharmic rulers, but also the Mind of its Adharmic inclinations.  It is why it is the greatest of ironies that those of us schooled in the Blut und Eisen tradition of no-nonsense statecraft would find ourselves understanding the central importance of restoring the character of the individual, before we can Restore the National Character. Poorna Vijay is not possible for Bharatvarsh unless the individual Bharatvasi first makes effort for the Antar Vijay.

Individual ambition continues to the prioritised over National aspiration. Greed for sensual pleasures and quick fame perpetuated as perennial plague. Casteist delusions continue to predominate rather than common societal feeling.

But above all, the widespread pervasiveness of Sanctimoniously, Selfish, Stupid, and Spoiled Brats, has made winning the narrative not only easy for the other side, but a near foregone conclusion. If the scale has tipped in recent years it’s in fact less because we’re winning it and more because the other side is losing it.

In the wake of articles such as Niti, Exigencies of the Politico-Strategic, and Dhanurveda, it becomes important to understand the precise nature of the clash and why Self-Improvement is pivotal before Societal change is even possible.

What Faces Us

Although reams have been written on “Ram Raj” and “Rishi raj” and “Renaissance” and regurgitation of knowledge, little time has been spent on the exact nature of the challenge facing Bharat today. While there is plenty of rhetoric about the “Clash of Civilizations”, this too is a distraction. What in fact faces Bharat faces all of Mankind. This statement is being made not without having done a survey of world history or a detailed study of Bharat’s millennium horriblis, but rather, it is specifically because of it.

Yes, people are interacting without barriers more than ever before. Yes, the injunction to let go of ancient hatreds and bigotries is upon us more than ever before. Yes, conveniences of technological consumerism are accessible more than ever before.  But look around, the soul is dying.

In the quest for convenience, mankind has forgotten its priorities. In its drive for ambition, it has destroyed its relationships. In its celebration of selfishness, it is has lost its soul. All this not only makes for consumption-driven, college-credentialed zombies, but also disunited and atomised sheeple. No wonder there is an epidemic of loneliness. Consumption of all things, satisfaction of all impulses, and even hedonism may feel good for a while, even a long while—but ultimately end up the same way: self-loathing misery.

It’s why despite apps such as tinder, people are dating and “hooking up” more than ever before, but are also lonelier more than ever before. This is because if your relationships mean nothing and are replaceable, then you truly are alone. This may be bearable when all is well, but what happens during times of vyasana? After all, if you “love everyone” and are “accountable for everyone” you are in fact responsible for no one. While we all have a duty to help our fellow man, there are circles of trust. Spouse and immediate family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, and then only the rest of society. But as in the Brave New World, an atomised, hedonistic society is one that is easily controlled. Statism or Scientism then reign supreme, and even “Mother” becomes a bad word rather than the root of all that is good.

“everyone belongs to everyone else” emphasising the system of forced promiscuity, brainwashed into the people from the moment of birth. At the core of this book is the horrific idea of eugenics and despite being written several decades ago, its message remains valid for our generation.

Brave New World explores the negatives of an ostensibly successful world in which everyone appears to be content and satisfied, with excessive carnal pleasures yet really, this stability is only achieved by sacrificing freedom in its true sense and the idea of personal responsibility.

Many from the Chetan Bhagat school of foreign policy believe there’s nothing wrong with sacrificing “a little bit of sovereignty for a little bit of security“. But how much freedom are you willing to sacrifice before you sacrifice your own freedom of will? In the name of technology and technocracy, will you submit to singularity? In the name of security will you sacrifice privacy? The technology for many of these things is in fact not only real but here. It is not for nothing that truth is said to be stranger than fiction. Rather than being distracted by obvious distractions and digital virtual passtimes, perhaps its time you open your eyes and understand what is in fact so fully invested in destroying your culture is in fact invested in destroying all culture.

The contributions of Rajiv Malhotra have been courageous and intellectually rigorous, and Malhotra himself coined the phrased Intellectual Kurukshetra. The time has come to take it forward and expand it to the full battlespace, with the Intellectual sphere being only one dimension. If the Battle for Sanskrit has now officially expanded to the Battle for Sanskriti, what is at stake is not only the loss of our traditional culture, but traditional culture and humanity the world over. Therefore, the Intellectual Kurukshetra is but one Dimension of the overall Field of the Modern Kurus. As convenient as binaries such as “abrahamic vs pagan”, and “aryan vs dravidian” may be for some simple-minded sections, the only binary that matters in the coming days is Dharma vs Adharma. As Sun Tsu teaches us, know yourself, and know your enemy and you will be victorious in a hundred battles.

Above all, it becomes critical to know what the dimensions are, why the answers aren’t so simple as “revolutionary netaji-ism” or a ballot box or even “traditional patriarchy”. What is required is understanding what is being faced, what must be done, and what individual parts might be in the days ahead. In short, understand the Purva Paksha, understand the Dharma Paksha, and then understand one’s own Svadharma.

Dimensions of the Kurukshetra

battlefield-of-kurukshetra

Surveying the terrain is obligatory before any battle. Surveying the geography is even more important before any war. The geography of the Modern Kurukshetra may involve the jargon of the economic, the financial, the technological, the martial, and even the cultural, but these are all factors at play in each dimension. While discussions of hard power are important, and even Chanakya touched on soft power’s culture factor, the faceoff between Dharma and Adharma is fundamentally spiritual. It is about Satya vs Asatya (Truth vs Untruth) and Rtam vs Anrtam (Moral Order vs Immoral Order).

Therefore, preparation for the days ahead necessitate understanding how simple solutions and quick conflicts can’t simply take us back to business as usual. A fundamental desire and willingness to change (parinamavasya) will be needed across all sections of society. If the muck of the the Kali Yuga must first be cleansed off before one is battle-worthy, then no section is free of muck. If a Dharmic Society is what is desired, then it must be one that works for all sections of the Dharma Samaaj, not just one or two. Above all, nationalism and civilizational revival cannot be mere rhetoric for advancing caste agendas. If the difficult problems of unwieldy reservation and rural caste atrocity are both to be tackled, a sense of harmony and common good must reemerge. Jaathi is by birth, but those who assert the privileges of varna must prove themselves worthy of it. No one is beyond question, and all will be held accountable.

Is this how you build Dharmic unity? What authority do such people have to  lecture?

If care only about your own caste & rationalise its wrongs, how can you claim leadership?

Rabid casteist rants (however subtle…) achieve nothing and alienate everything and everyone. Therefore, rather than twiddling our thumbs on twitter like tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, or like AIT proponents (tweedle-dum and tweedle-dummer), let us understand what will be required of us, all of us. It is easy to excoriate Shri Modi and decry his “do-nothingness on core”, but it is much harder to understand exactly what Modi, or Yogi, or any neta actually faces. Those who lead lives of full-time spectator sport and contribute nothing have no right to demand anything. First demonstrate that you understand what is actually taking place, then you can give your gyaan. And if you don’t, then take steps to visualise it and begin to envision actual and workable solutions.

In the mean time, one must begin by understanding each dimension of the Kurukshetra, starting with the Intellectual one.

Intellectual Kurukshetra

chakravyuha

Decoding the Intellectual Kurukshetra is no easy task. As was written in that previous ICP article, “propheteering” is a lucrative industry, from Karl Marx to Karl Popper. Rajiv Malhotra has naturally been the pioneering (and remains the leading) voice here, and the issues related to tackling this dimension are naturally best covered directly by him in his works. Nevertheless, there is a particularly aspect that is jarring at this stage that in the interests of unity, has not been discussed much. We, after all, do not have the same burdens to be diplomatic that he does.

And the issue is this: Shalyas masquerading as Rishis and Acharyas.

Beef-in-Vedas, Eugenics,  and Alternative Lifestyles are all looking for legitimation from louts looking for lucre as Rna. This is the danger of fake Acharyas, foreign and domestic: they mislead and make way for the immoral agenda. Many “modern Rishis”—many of whom are foreign origin—are being pushed online and off to replace not only our traditional Pandits and their orthodox interpretations, but also to replace dharmic political leadership as well.

The Rishi, understandably has had a storied place in Dharma, with the most important of them recorded as mind-born sons of Brahma. But one must be wary of conflating the role of the Brahmana or even Rishi with that of the Raja.Like the words Acharya and Guru, even the word Rishi is now increasingly bandied about today, as though there could be a Peter Drucker based management course to train such leadership.It is not enough to call for the Leadership of Rishis if Daivic Spiritual Power is in fact lacking.

As such, spiritual leadership cannot be conflated with political leadership. The two are distinct, though they must work hand-in-hand and must be native in nature.

This dimension also necessitates challenging intellectual “white elephants” being foisted as “dharmic”, whether it is “dharmic liberalism” or “dharmic paganism”. “Dharmic capitalism” is another such oxymoron, and Swaminathan Gurumurthy correctly termed this “Baahuka Economics”.

Here is the Indian equivalent of Greenspan’s economics — the economics of Bahuka. Bahuka figures in the Bhagawata Purana, and was the advisor of Jarasandha, who was Kamsa’s father-in-law. Kamsa, who regarded Sri Krishna as his enemy, asked Bahuka’s advice on how to make his subjects state-dependent. Bahuka told him: “Open your treasury to the people. Make the people eat, drink and enjoy themselves. Bring up children to look upon parents as old and useless. That will make them laugh at those who talk of duty, love and compassion. Like well-fed cattle at the mercy of the cowherd, the people will be completely dependent on you. [2]

Therefore, the Intellectual Kurukshetra necessitates a sense of discretion and a healthy skepticism of ‘saviours‘ presenting themselves as rishis and acharyas. Critical thinking is indeed critical.

Individual

While the Intellectual Kurukshetra has been much discussed, the Individual Kurukshetra has not. This might strike new readers as surprising, but as we will show in subsequent dimensions, the individual is the building block to the overarching Kurukshetra we have today. And stupid individuals cannot a strong society or sena make.

In a preceding Post, we identified the following as the elements of Indian Stupidity: Attention Deficit Disorder, Missing the Woods for the Trees, Rote Memorisation, Status Obsession, Sentimentality, Sore-loserness, Inability to Shut up, Action vs Reaction, & Lack of Focus resulting from Loss of Culture. Ultimately, these all radiate from the need for Character.

quote-in-other-words-character-is-far-more-important-than-intellect-to-the-race-as-to-the-theodore-roosevelt-121-25-36

Strength in character consists of having the qualities that allow you to exercise control over your instincts and passions, to master yourself, and to resist the myriad temptations that constantly confront you.

  • Strength of character allows you to carry out your will freely, while enabling you to cope with setbacks. It assists you to accomplish your goals in the end.
  • It allows you to inquire into the causes of ill-fortune, instead of just complaining about it, as many are inclined to do.
  • It gives you the courage to admit your own faults, frivolousness, and weaknesses.
  • It gives you the strength to keep a foothold when the tide turns against you, and to continue to climb upward in the face of obstacles.

If there is a single aspect critical in creating effective participants on the Kurukshetra it is character. And in order to build character, one must rely on the basics of Dharma. The Dharmasastra of Vaidika Dharma obviously provides an exegesis in tomes. Sikh Dharma emphasises Naam Japo (chanting the name of God), Kirat Karo (work diligently), and Vand Chakko (doing good for society). Satya (Truth) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) are part of the Five Vows of Jain Dharma, and Bauddha Dharma provides the 8 Fold Path.

More than Trivial Pursuit, GK games, IQ obsession & Eugenics theories to preserve your favourite perspective, wisdom and intellectual humility are needed to do the intelligent thing. That can only come from character. Udhaarabhaava (good character) or Aryabhava (Noble character), that is what is lacking today. Instead we have people full of Kusheela or Paapasheela (Bad and Ignoble Character). The Rishi has been replaced by the Marjaar.

Character is about building a community, not using people and throwing them away after.

Character is about building institutions for the common good, not just promoting your own brand or clique or popsicle stand.

Character is about having the courage to do the right thing, even if it is the difficult thing. It is in putting societal duties above personal obligations. It is in looking after the common welfare rather than merely private social-climbing.

Much has been written about degeneracy and depravity, but the root to this is Selfishness.

Character is the opposite of Selfishness, because it looks to do what is necessary and hard rather than what is easy. Enjoying the bonhomie of the decade-old digital salon is easy. Recognising a Jaichand in your midst and disavowing when apparent is the sign of true character…not dp’s of grave looking European men in statue form.

The Romans had many intelligent slaves to serve as tutors in intellectual matters—yet, they remained the rulers. After all, “High IQ” slaves are still slaves. Among the Greeks, Alcibiades too was “high iq”, but ultimately betrayed his nation. Carthage had the more brilliant general in Hannibal, but Rome’s character & citizenry ensured Scipio had the support to defeat him. That is the importance and criticality of Character.

Oordhva

We are all human beings who naturally have needs. But character teaches us how and when to fulfill those needs, or even transcend them. Dharma is the path to Character.

DharmaMandir

Familial

Family is an important dimension of the Modern Kurukshetra precisely because of what is being pushed in the name of the “Modern Family”. If traditional family values are under threat it is because for too long individuals have been winking at or turning a blind eye at abuses of family power. This is of course seen best in the lead up to the original Kurukshetra itself.

The infuriating and sinful disrobing of Draupadi fueled not only the Pandavas’, but Krishna’s desire for the destruction of the Kauravas. However, even Krishna achieved justice for Draupadi after weighing all the factors: When, Where, How, Who, What, Why. He did not merely advocate war immediately. He took into account the factors against and even tapasya required on the part of the Pandavas, before, in the name of all women, Duryodhana and Dushasana could be brought to justice. And brought to justice they were, in the most terrible of fashions.

But this was achieved and societal attitudes corrected because even an humiliated and vengeful Draupadi patiently listened to the wisdom of Sri Krishna. Rather than putting her cause above Dharma, she focused on Dharma, which in due time, gave her the justice she so richly deserved. That is because, no matter how just the cause, weighing and prioritising of all interests (not just one) and correction of all crimes (not just one) is required. A family is governed, protected, and ultimately restored in the same way. It is not about the dictatorial interests of a patriarchy or matriarchy, but about the head-of-household governing the family in the interest of all its members.

Indeed, it is the failure not of pursuing one’s interests, or frequently even societal interests, but the failure and stubborn refusal to prioritise interest properly that frequently leads to problems not only for societies but even for relationships.

If you only prioritise your interest, if you only care about yourself, if you only look after yourself, how can your relationship, any relationship, survive? Romance isn’t dead today because modernity makes it impossible or obsolete. Rather, the Death of Romance took place because individuals (the constituent parts of a relationship) are too selfish to make the relationship work. What self-absorbed, selfish woman (no matter how physically beautiful) will inspire continued romantic sentiment in her husband? What selfish brute of a man can continue to retain the romantic affections of his wife? Indeed, it is not compatibility, but selfishness and brutishness, that makes a relationship impossible. Even the classic English drama Pygmalion demonstrates this.

If divorce rates are increasing, if violence against women is increasing, if isolation in society is increasing, it is because of selfishness and self-centeredness.  A nation of narcissists and selfish brats will not long last. And a nation of people that know not how to prioritise, will not become strong. If the externalities of the “bastard society” are to be avoided, these aspects must be kept in mind.

Prioritisation also means preparing for the unexpected and working as team when the unexpected happens.

Plan & prepare for contingencies. Develop Survival skills.

§ Learn to stock up and keep provisions for a rainy day or week or month

§ Learn to work in teams (castes don’t count)  like professionals in institutions

§ Learn to plan & train. Waiting until stuff happens isn’t a strategy. Emergencies happen

If such situations occur, what will you do?

If you haven’t done any of these things in your spoiled little existence, start today. This is why we wrote of the importance of critical thinking. Gyaani-ism results in living in your own made up world of assumptions. Critical thinking necessitates understanding the world as it actually is. Dharma is not assumption-based. Dharma is reality-based, and reality changes based on circumstances . Modern/Post-modern living may make it seem like you are just a mall or a single-brand retail store away from food, fashion, and water, but what happens when the power goes out? 1 hour or 1 day power cuts are the norm in less densely populated towns and villages, and even many cities, but what do you do if you live in a crime-ridden metro? Gated community or not, foreign or domestic, these are things to consider.

This is also why it is important to value Wisdom over Knowledge. Knowledge is important. But remember as Kant wrote: Science is organised Knowledge, Wisdom is organised life.

classvclass
Bhodrolok?

Value wisdom over knowledge. Knowledge is important, but not what is pivotal in the end. Learn the differences. Debasing yourself like a gunga din, following orders, taking instructions, or just taking advice (or saying you’ll think about it) are not the same thing.

This leads into the next point. While it’s good to differentiate between those who openly attack our culture and those foreigners who openly support it, understand that you don’t always know who’s doing what covertly. A traitor is still a traitor, but understand that there still is a difference between native and foreign. Foreigners can be allies and friends, but regardless of the behaviour of casteists, only natives are your real family. There are some things only natives can do. Have the self-respect to understand this.

Gandhi remains controversial, and this movie ever less appreciable by the day. Nevertheless, every now and then, there are some relevant scenes, and this is one of them.

It is good to appreciate friends, but your friends cannot run your own household. It is good to acknowledge well-wishers, but they cannot lead your way. It is good to be a good global citizen,but start by being a good national citizen first. Then, not only will you find that you will be more successful in attaining your objectives, but that your circle of friends (foreign and domestic) will increase, not because you are likeable, but because you are respectable.

All this is also why, rather than chasing after the approval of others, silence is golden.

VN_SilenceSocietal

Some of the most sanctimonious societal moralists are those least in line with the spirit of morality. After all, what happened to all those eminence grises, those ancient worthies who watched the vastrahaaran of Draupadi in criminal inaction?

But societal solutions are not as simple as simplistic sloganeering. Civilizational Revival is only possible if all sections are uplifted and given dignity and a stake in society.

Gender

From human trafficking to acid attacks to forced intercourse to everyday run of the mill lechery, women are overwhelming the victims of indecency and violence. But no amount of legislation can completely prevent such behavior in all settings. Thus, the mistake of these ladies is not in speaking out, but knowing where to speak out, realising how to correct, and having the willingness to listen.  Sadly, even in the ranks of those who presume to speak out in favour of or in support of dharma do so only so far as it advances their self-interest. Statements like this show that soul-searching must be done by both genders.

smartgirl

Modern Girls need to start understanding that it takes two hands to clap. It is easy enough to criticise men (we do it here all the time), but both genders must assume responsibility.  Modern and post-modern life has made people soft and selfish and sybaritic. If you value preyas (the pleasant) over shreyas (the good) then society finds itself unwound. But don’t take it from another “chauvinistic pig”, take it from a lady who was once young herself.

Girls: Who you gon’ tell when the repercussions spin?
Showing off your ass ’cause you’re thinking it’s a trend

Guys: How you gonna win if you ain’t right with them?

This Lauryn Hill ‘feat is in many ways a lament of Post-Modernity and the tragic downfall of her community (mentioned here). The obvious contrasts between 1967 and 1998 are clearly seen in split-screen. She soulfully sings of how easily women are prepared to “give it away” for material things and how men are prepared to take advantage of women for “that thing”, leaving behind 3-4 kids on child support they don’t pay.  She asks men, how can they think they win if they don’t treat women right?

And before you think this is just another lecture from old-fashioned people, understand how the above leads to the below.

Coming_Apart

In America, IQ champion Charles Murphy is now bemoaning the coming apart of his theories in The Coming Apart of White America, and in India, we now have “Char bottle Vodka”. Women are not chattel or baby factories. The due place of women is not only as mothers and wives but also as co-equals and partners in society.  But the way to dignity, justice, and respect for women is not through outside intervention, but internal reform.

From Basava to Annamacharya to Vivekananda, voices rooted in the native and indigenous were the ones that most successfully appealed to our conscience and reformed society in the process.  Achara is the building block for this, because it restrains our behavior to encourage the common interest instead. It is not more laws but better conduct that will improve society and women’s safety.

This leads to the next point. At a time when foreign elements are doing there utmost to split Hindu society along caste lines, only an idiot plays into it by making it worse.

Class

classvclassEven our self-proclaimed patriots and social media saviors are guilty of this sin of selfishness, and have even less reason for it. Dharma is merely a flag or (temporary) party—ambition is their cause.

Rather than think of the common good, they prioritise advancing their own personal, career, and caste interests. These pseudo-trads would do well to remember that Sukra Niti prescribes strict punishment for those inciting caste hatreds.

good-character

Start with yourself, and show you have self-respect by treating others with respect. This is the first step to rebuilding personal character, which in turn will rebuild society.

Regional Kurukshetra

Flag_of_the_Maratha_Empire.svg

To rebuild the character of the state necessitates leaders. Real leaders, not just entitled buffoons who like to boss people around or boast of credentials or give flattering lectures, but real people of action. Real action is not in producing hackneyed memes that mimic analogues from the West, but in actually taking tangible steps in collaboration with like-minded people.

Samarth_ramdas_swami_&_kalyan_swami
Samarth Ramdas Swamy

Reach out to the local traditional Pandits. You can find ways to give qualified ones patronage or support the events they and others like them hold to teach all children. There is a lot of junk colonial history out there and junk colonial scriptural interpretation as well. It is only the traditional pandit who can give the correct interpretation and advise your effort to properly restore your regional history and culture. Only orthodox Pandits are the authorities on our scriptures anyway—not some beef-eating baboo, foreign or domestic, from the ivory tower.

Promote native/regional language & language bookstores. But it’s cheaper on amazon” isn’t an excuse. That should be a last resort not a first one. Give patronage as much as you can and suggest book titles to your friends and family and followers. There’s no point whining about how your kids or the younger generation doesn’t speak  your mother tongue when you didn’t make it a point to show them what to read, and why.

Kashyapa_muni_statue_in_Andhra_Pradesh
Kashyapa Muni Statue in Andhra

KP’s should teach their children Sharda (and of course, Koshur). This will ensure not only the ability to read the treasure of Sanskrit literature that came from the Land of Maharishi Kashyap, but that there will be motivation to re-collect the many lost manuscripts of our civilizational heritage that are in that lipi.Our Sikh brothers in Dharma have provided an excellent example in preserving not only the Punjabi language, but the Gurmukhi script.  Those speaking various Hindi dialects should begin emphasising them as well. We touched on that issue here. There is no reason why the purveyors of a persianised pidgin patois should look down upon the venerable bhashas of Braj and Avadh and Mithila.

Also remember, culture isn’t static. Nor is it 1 dimensional or only religious in character. You can’t just regurgitate whatever traditional learning you learnt. The next step is to revive cultural equities not just by documenting them,but by supporting artists, dancers, weavers, craftspeople, fashion designers, poets, etc etc.

If you are fed up with bollywood insulting our culture, give the parallel vision, the real vision of real India. Enough talk. Put your money where your mouth is. There are plenty of short film directors and film students looking for funding online. Crowdsource. Pool your resources and give the ones with the right vision and right attitude the funding they need. One small film can lead to bigger ones. They are all one google-search away. This also means investing in your regional language industry.

That is how state culture is revived—not through twitter threads—but through giving patronage to pandits, support to arts & crafts, ticket sales to traditional & folk theatre & dance, and funding to up and coming filmmakers who are culturally & nationally rooted.

National Kurukshetra

If the regional front has its share of issues, they are manifold at the national level. Everything from national history and historicity to central administrative language is contested. This necessitates not only nationalists at the regional level but regional thinkers to think nationally. But only a cultured elite (whether municipal or regional) can function that way.

A New Elite

RamayanReturn
Ram Raj requires Bharatas & Lakshmanas as Lieutenants

Ram Raj was not built in a day. Nevertheless, it remains a perennial and even millennial aspiration throughout India. But such a selfless elite, such duty-bound/self-sacrificing leaders who verily gave us the definition of Tyaagi, require more than 1 giant personality. Whether Maharaja or Mukhya Mantri, such a leader requires secondary leadership to back him up (as Bharata did for Rama) and loyal lieutenants who rejected ambition for service to the leader (like Lakshmana), and more importantly, his cause (Dharma). But where are such lieutenants today? Every nitwit with some basis for ahankar (birth, gotra, education, money) sees himself as the saviour and will tear down any putative rival with a viciousness he doesn’t even show to national enemies. That is why Dharma is needed, as it rejects ambition in favor of duty and aspiration. Duty must come before self-interest—then and then only is the national/civilizational cause served. Ask yourself “is there someone better qualified?”—if so, politely step aside, and if you have it in you, help (that is, after all, what a true leader would do).

India’s record is actually slightly better than that, as there was resistance and even rollback throughout the 1000 years (which is closer to 5-600 years if one thinks of all of India, rather than just Northwest India). But the point of the honourable Minister is spot on. In our obsession for IQ, we are forgetting the need to evaluate character. Do you hang tough and stand by your countrymen when the going gets tough—or do you cut a side deal to keep your ill-deserved kingdom or because you feel he wronged you.

quote-character-in-the-long-run-is-the-decisive-factor-in-the-life-of-an-individual-and-of-nations-theodore-roosevelt-158026

Our modernism zombies may laugh instinctively that any elite in any time could be politically (let alone morally) superior to their own. But in an era when selfishness and greed itself have become virtues, perhaps the time has indeed come to review aspects of Aristocracy that indeed made them aristos (the best) as opposed to the current crop of kakistos. Perhaps there is indeed a way to imbibe the self-sacrificing and rootedness of the old elite in our democratic framework without restoring monarchy’s dictatorial worst. To do that, we must first understand what the purpose of an elite really is.

Also understand how the game is played. Overcompensating bravado, caste prejudice, and even overt religious bigotry are merely going to ensure you play directly into our shatrus’ hands with quotable soundbites—many of you are experts at this already…And misogyny is downright suicidal. We at this site reject it prima facie, but if you don’t reject it on principle, at least have some sense. Political sense. When your shatru is trying to pit women against men, you don’t play into his hands.

Civilizational Kurukshetra

For Romans it was Virtus, for the Chinese it is Tianxia, for Indians it is Dharma. The character of a nation or civilization is determined by the driving principle. It is an ideal that gives courage in dark days, high minded thinking in peaceful ones, and moral thinking in prosperous ones. Above all, it not only gives a nation its character, but builds character among its nationalists. When character is corrected, then attitude is corrected, and not only fellow countrymen but neighbouring countries will hearken to your call.

Our previous articles on the Global Crisis of Character and Why Character is so Important, were composed so that people, especially self-declared civilizational saviours, understand that their personal character is ultimately what deprecates or elevates National Character.

Character also teaches you to plan for succession. Team, Family, Community, Business, Army, Government, all need depth not just in the ranks of enlisted man or common member, but depth in leadership as well.  From Dahir to Anandapala to Hemu, too many battles have been lost because a cause was personality-focused. To get loyalty from your subordinates show loyalty and respect (not the same as subservience) to seniors. Personalities do matter, but institutions matter more. That is how civilizations are saved.

Global Kurukshetra

While video games, dm groups, and wrathofgnon ripoffs may make the Clash of Civilizations fashionable, the truth is there is a Global Clash for Civilization. This is seen not only at the individual level as we discussed previously, but at the structural and military industrial level as well. It is said that Ashoka Maurya once patronised a society of nine men to ensure that destructive technologies from esoteric sciences did not enter the wrong hands. Well, the box is open, Pandora, and humanity is reaping this mutated crop.

Furthermore, as a number of individuals have remarked, colonialism never truly ended, but merely took on a new form. It has in fact expanded to now colonise yester-year colonisers in a more overt fashion, destroying culture in a covert fashion.

While the culture-less are driven by hyper-activity or a desire to embrace the fashionable, the cultured take a moment to reflect on the proper course of action and have the ability to follow through. This is why culture eats strategy for breakfast. An individual, a family, an organisation, a society at harmony will have the ability to not only devise the right strategy and implement the right tactics, but have the cultural wherewithal to execute properly.

This is why mere shows of knowledge are ultimately useless, and due to disinformation and misinformation, can even be dangerous. Institution building, team building, critical and strategic thinking, solution providing…these are what ultimately prepare individuals, citizens, societies, and civilizations for problems that face them. If you are wasting your time in dimwit digital salons that stroke unjustified egos, don’t make pretense to being civilizational saviours with IQ’s of 8 billion.

No one is ever what they seem, especially on social media. This is the value of critical thinking, and more importantly, strategic thinking. Rather than getting caught up in self-serving models and self-selecting data, you pay attention to motives and ask…

bono

For God’s sake, when all this is going on, when there are open attempts to recreate medieval colonial kingdoms not only through culture or historical apologia, or language, but even outright political division, do we have time for games of Trivial Pursuit ?

It takes teams to counter teams. But how is this possible with selfish spoiled brats who don’t even like team sports?

To restore the native way of life, native knowledge and literature must be supported.

Give patronage to Civilizational bookstores. They may not be perfect. They may have vsnl-era websites, but these publishers ensure that our common national and civilizational heritage is passed on to anglicised metro youth.

§  Chowkhambha

§  Motilal Banarsidass

§  Sri Yogi Books

§  Vedambooks.net

§  Vedicbooks.net

§ Carnatic Books

§  Exotic India Art

§  Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

§ Nag Prakashak

Spiritual Kurukshetra

This may be the most difficult aspect for most us schooled in the politico-strategic tradition. After all, Bismarck famously wrote on Blut und Eisen, not Geist. But the spiritual aspect will be crucial in the days ahead. The degeneracy we see all around us is not just a result of man’s coincidental fall into hedonism from a natural interest in pleasure. It is in fact intended as strategy to entrench a very real asuric panth that is the embodiment of the demonic. This is the danger of fixation with pagan vs abrahamic. There were ancient paganisms that worshipped the asuric, and it is foolish for Dharmikas to equate Daiva worship with Asura worship. Rejecting abrahamism is one thing, being gradually boiled into asura worship is another. Make no mistake, that is in fact what faces not only Bharatavarsha but the world itself.

Cultivating yourself also means developing other sides of yourself with hobbies. Merely watching serials or cricket or idiot bollywood movies is no way to spend all your free time. Some tv time is ok, but the rest of it, spend on developing your artistic or musical side. Pick up gardening, or a sport—a real sport—like wrestling, archery, or field hockey. It also means, not devolving to the emotional equivalent of a child. From godforsaken gameshows to stupid serials and soap operas to infantile cartoons, the modern middle class adult (young and old, male and female) has literally become infantalised through a life of idle pleasure-addling. This results in spiritual demise.

A life of pleasure-addled delusion and pain-avoiding pill-popping leads to the requiem for a dream. Don’t be dependent on drugs. Take what pharmaceuticals you absolutely need, but when possible rely on a healthy lifestyle, traditional medicine, and non-fast-food diet.

In addition, failing to join together to preserve the common interest is not only a recipe for common slavery, but indicative of a loss of character. The ability to endure pain is the sign of the statesman. It is the sign of the kshatriya (intellectual or otherwise), and that incidentally gave away Karna’s true birth. But in our era, whatever your birth caste,  if you play a role in civic affairs, if you wish to have a hand in the destiny of the nation, you must have the character to make the painful decision when it is clear that it is the right decision.

Making false equivalence with asuric paganisms will not stem the tide of abrahamism nor lead to spiritual revival.  Bharat is not supremacist—but it is certainly special. Therefore, rather than paganism uber alles, spiritual regimens will be pivotal for the spiritual warfare that will gradually make itself more apparent in the days ahead.One need not believe in the supernatural to see the very real spiritual crisis that is plaguing mankind. The human love for pleasure first begins as delusion and then concludes as misery. Purushartha is one thing, polyamory and bollyamory is another. It is again why critical thinking is so important so as to prevent careless mistakes, whether spiritual or familial.

This is the cost of being gullible, of not taking precautions, of not doing your homework,  of not focusing on action rather than sweet talk, in not thinking of both intentions and capabilities, in not asking about alternatives.  This is why we have emphasised the importance of Niti. Rule number 1 of Rajniti is Shut up and Be aware of your surroundings.

Awareness is Life“. How many make it a point to be aware? Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me. Indians are fooled time and time again. To fail like this is not only a failure of Niti, but a failure of Dharma. After all, preservation of Dharma is the most important Dharma—everything else comes after it.

Bharat has shown the light of holistic living. It is not through pagan confederacy, but through Daiva balam that the Asuric will be defeated. It is also why as much as there may be interest in the Clash of Civilizations (which may be the case at the mohalla level) this is ultimately a Clash for Civilization. This is because in the past, foreign rule meant loss of territory, sovereignty, and dignity, but the present conflict is one that involves the loss of our very humanity itself.

If wealth is lost, nothing is lost. If health is lost, something is lost. But if character is lost, then all is lost.

Dharmachakra

Conclusion

There is much disenchantment today not only in India but across the world. Political systems are increasingly showing their problems. Nationalists are not necessarily responsive to concerns. And societies themselves are at the brink. But if you only focus on your own problems, if you only care for your community, if you only concern yourself with regional politics, if you only pay attention to national politics, how could you possibly understand what is transpiring trans-nationally?

Caught up in one’s own individual financial problems, the self-absorbed ‘citizen of the world’ can’t be bothered to actually consider the consequences for the common humanity. Easily conditioned to fall for simplistic notions such as “Clash of Civilizations”, our class clowns fail to recognise that the Dharmic War of the Kurukshetra was fundamentally about a Clash for Civilization. The preservation of Dharma necessitates not only preserving our own Civilization but seeing to it that Bharatiya Sabhyata takes up the cause of all mankind. The Lok Kalyan of Lord Krishna  is about recognising this for what it is and restoring Dharma, Rta, and Satya in its stead. For civilization is more than just the mere sum of mega-cultures in the anthropological sense.

Civilization is about ensuring mankind’s freedom by ensuring the first and noblest conquest.  For it is when man (and woman) reaches the stithapragna state of transcending all desire that he (or she) is free to experience without attachment all the joys of life. It is attachment that enslaves, and today, moha has come in the guise of prema. It is why whether it is one’s relatives, one’s caste, one’s region, or one’s digital cult of the demented, bandhutva is the bond that has prevented sinner and sinless alike from doing his Dharma.

Perhaps most disconcerting is the continuing do-nothing sanctimony of the internet hindu. Comfortably ensconsed in AC soothed flats or newly constructed upwardly mobile colonies, they believe they have the luxury of ranting and raving for another year or 6 years. There is never any plan b, because they never care to strategically plan—only scheme like myriad backbiters there since the days of the minister who betrayed Prithviraj.

The reality the current nationalist upsurge is only temporary and is not even India-specific. Open your eyes and look around .The world itself is churning all while you carp and cavil in self-loathing and self-degrading public flagellation. No the problem is not Hindus or Dharmikas in general, the problem is a selfish collection of the well-heeled and comfortably leisured who believe in coasting on yesterday’s “merit-based” examinations rather than today’s necessity-driven societal tests. Pareeksha anya yogyata anya.Exams are one thing competence is another. Do you honestly believe you have the luxury of ranting and raving in your ill-gotten luxury?

One look at the Gujarat elections alone should indicate to you just how much damage Cultural Marxism has done to a generation of youth who were inclined to vote for the perennial (and near pentagenarian) “youth candidate”—leave aside the AAP win Delhi. What happens once nationalism itself loses its appeal (after petering out from its 15-20 year course)? What will you do then? Do you think a generation of good for nothings will pick up the mantle once you prepare for the semi-retirement of advanced middle age or senile dotage? No, you dotard. You must act now.

1.Understand macro-politics before you open your trap

2.Recognise that any leader can only do so much and focus on setting the culture right to set the politics right

3.Make yourself useful. If the other side itself is talking about the coming Kurukshetra, do you think you can just sit around giving gyaan? This is the case not only in India but around the world.

This is the reality dharmikas must face. They must recognise that the government—any government—may not educate their kids correctly on culture & history. So who will? A government is but an administrative structure that takes in political talent and churns out bureaucrats. If government cannot create the societal change you are looking for, then it is up to civil society. As one yester-year political talent once said “In a democracy, yatha praja tatha raja”. What happened to him after he got into government?

quote-character-in-the-long-run-is-the-decisive-factor-in-the-life-of-an-individual-and-of-nations-theodore-roosevelt-158026

Yet another thread, yet another impuissant digital salon, will do diddly squat. Social media itself will only continue to and suddenly get even more adverse to your cause. Rather than bring on board, train, and mentor directionless youth, most are content to shriek like banshees over 2G this and demonitisation that. If you don’t understand the macro-politics you don’t know what you are talking about.

So rather than waste what precious time is still left join together in teams to begin training the next generation. Self-celebratory conclaves that look for “civilisational” ways to further the cultural marxist agenda only end up shooting us in the foot. After all, the goal is global monoculture, international diplomats as internal & national leaders are all but waiting in the wings—freshly powdered, conditionered, and shampoo’d.

But the bulk of the Internet Hindu crowd continues in its storied tradition of proving its general jealous and self-defeating uselessness. If your strategy to save civilization is do yoo liffft bwro?, perhaps a smaller box of crayons (and undies) is more your speed (steroids and all after all…).

teddy&character

Physical fitness and self-defence is important—make no mistake. But this must be done in conjunction with mental exercise. Valour, “virility”, and vim & vigour may be all well and good, but they will not alone a leader make, let alone guarantee victory.

Know yourself. Know your enemy and you will be victorious in a hundred battles.

This is the importance of the Politico-strategic.It cannot be conducted by court eunuchs and debauched pseudo-dharmics or militating mimic (half) men. It can only be done by those who understand that statecraft, politics, and strategy are all under the purview of those who understand kshatriyata. Whatever your jati, it is this varna dharma that serves as lead function in the polity of any society. Religio-spiritual leadership provides spiritual advice, but the heavy lifting must be done by those who not only read—but implement. Vision, implementation, accountability, these are the indices of leadership. These require not only upadesh, but protection of the desh, from the myriad threats that are emerging both within and without.

That is also the danger of  binary-ism, which includes not only Capitalism vs Communism, but also Monotheism vs Polytheism or Abrahamism vs Paganism. If you get caught up in the black vs white rather than the grey, you miss the gradations on the Kurukshetra.

It also means not falling for foreign fraudacharyas who are preparing to implement the ultimate pizza effect with adharmic institutions and immoral consequences. It means prioritising the native over the foreign, and when possible, small business over big business. Development too must be Dharmic.

Prioritise business to small business. So what if you might pay a few paise more. So what if the other guys have an app. Like it or not, trust is a key part of the commercial relationship. Giant mega-corporations and malls may look slick and shiny, but it’s small and medium enterprise that employs the most people. Yes, there are crooks who do things like adulterate milk, but how does that compare with the plastic and cadmium rice of corporations in India’s neighbour to the east?

Above all, Dharmic Development rejects plunder. Plunder of natural resources, plunder of human life and dignity, and plunder of our heritage.

Ironically enough, the reader might be flummoxed to realize that Bastiat’s  critique above was actually centered on socialists, but he too acknowledged the rich man’s plunder [5]. As one can see today, capitalists and socialists are two sides of the same coin, only a different “moral” code: one for the bureaucrat and the other for the banker.

Whether private sector or public sector, it is greed which is destroying the world.

AADHAR, demonitisation, Artificial Intelligence, singularity, all are not taking place inside a vacuum but with broader purpose moving forward. Many have spoken about it. Some are discredited, some are diversionary, but some have also…

The economic and political naturally lead into the military. Have you stopped to consider what is in fact ahead? China is at the forefront of manipulating DNA to create a new class of superhumans. How does society respond to such unethical scientific quests nominally to prevent dysgenics, but in actuality to apply towards strategic purpose?

Therefore, rather than perennially obsess about leaderless instrumentalities it becomes important to understand who is running the show and to not just go by their brand name, but to understand what agenda they are actually pushing forward.

Put aside personal ambition & focus on the National Need.

The days ahead will be tall and terrible. So much so that even the heretofore spoiled and brattish will wake up and be shaken from shirking obligation. While they will separate the boys from the men, but they will also make men, real men.

HindiDiChadar
Hindi di Chadar

For once in your lives, recognise we’re all in this together. Emotional discipline, cultured behaviour, professional competence, personal character, all these qualities, all this background literature was composed so that the one thing you truly lacked was the one thing you’d finally recognise you sorely needed: the right Attitude.

The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next.

Gobind Singhji, Shivaji, aur Pratap

It is to prepare you for the Modern Kurukshetra that we have written all these articles:

  1. [Ram Raj] was not Built in a Day
  2. Selfishness: The Real Root of All Evil
  3. Are We a Serious People?
  4. Indians are Talkers not Doers
  5. Problem of Indians: Unrepentant Stupidity
  6. Origins of Indian Stupidity
  7. Culture: The Cure for Stupidity
  8. What is Needed for a Civilizational Revival
  9. Niti: The Practical Principles of Life
  10. The Dharma of Collaboration
  11. Why are Indians so Gullible?
  12. Post-Modern Society is a Bastard Society
  13. The Global Crisis of Character
  14. Why Character is so Important
  15. Rebuilding the National Character
  16. The ‘Modern’ Hindu is a Spoiled Brat
  17. Exigencies of the Politico-Strategic
  18. Grow Up, Bharatiyas

Since the hour is now late and time now sparse, we have drawn from many of them to compile this compendium article for those who lead hectic lives.

quote-in-war-three-quarters-turns-on-personal-character-and-relations-the-balance-of-manpower-napoleon-bonaparte-105-56-97

Culture breeds Character. And that is why Culture is banned in the Brave New World.

And ultimately, it is why Culture is at the Core of the Modern Kurukshetra. If cultural degeneracy and depravity are being spread the world over it is because they make possible the pleasureful slavery that is in store for those who choose the easy way out.

Medieval India faced tremendous civilizational danger from barbaric invaders, but it was always able to recover because its culture essence could live to fight another day. But now this is being destroyed root and branch courtesy court restrictions on Diwali and cultural marxism in the media leading to smut in mainstream celluloid.

It is in fact here that the great danger lies. Pop Culture cannot educate our youth, yet it is Pop Culture that is corroding the standards of morality the world over. “The root of National Honour is in National Morality”.

That is why an interdisciplinary response is required to take on a multimedia, and indeed, multi-dimensional assault. It is culture first and foremost that we must defend. And the root of our Culture is Dharma. For it is only when the Cultural Dharma, the Common Dharma, the Saamaanya Dharma is correctly calibrated and revived that Virtue can be restored around the world.

References:
  1. Vidura Niti
  2. Sukra Niti
  3. Malhotra, Rajiv. Sulekha. 2002. http://creative.sulekha.com/the-axis-of-neocolonialism_103313_blog
  4. Swaminathan, Gurumurthy. Economics of Bahuka and Greenspan. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/economics-of-bahuka-and-greenspan/article2598383.ece
  5. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media.
  6. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.

The Mind of Margayya

(source: tribuneindia.com)

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami (1906-2001), the creator of Malgudi was one of India’s greatest storytellers and thinkers. Writing under the shortened name R. K. Narayan, a small sample of his works include Swami and Friends, Bachelor of Arts, Guide, and Gods, Demons, and Others. His equally illustrious brother Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Laxman (RK Laxman) brought Malgudi to life with his magical illustrations. The siblings were recipients of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honor. The popular 1980s TV series Malgudi Days, directed by the great Kannada artist Shankar Nag was based on the works of RK Narayan, and the 1965 Hindi movie Guide, a favorite of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was based on his book. 

The Financial Expert

RK Narayan’s 1951 work ‘The Financial Expert‘ [1] is universally regarded as a classic, and has been the subject of several excellent reviews from a western literary perspective, by both Indian and western writers. The book was made into a successful Kannada movie ‘Banker Margayya’ starring actor Lokesh in 1983, which went on to win multiple awards.

(source: shareyouressays.com)

Here, we explore some of the themes in this WW2-era Malgudi story using an Indic perspective, and in doing so, are rewarded with insights that would not be obtainable using a purely western lens. In particular, we discover that the timeless lessons in Neeti and Dharma that used to be orally transmitted from generation to generation in India are embedded within the ‘Financial Expert’.

Margayya

In ‘Financial Expert’, RK Narayan brilliantly encodes in simple English the sophisticated nuance and wisdom of Indian Itihasa and Purana, even as he unravels the multiple threads of thought running through Margayya’s mind. Margayya, like many a character in itihasa, undergoes intense penance in order to acquire some special power. His aim is to please Goddess Lakshmi, so that she will bless him with wealth and financial success. The story of Margayya’s journey from 14D Vinayak Street to 10 Market Street and back is rich in the symbolism and subtle suggestion that characterizes Indian art.

Margayya was named Krishna at birth, and his professional name (pronounced ‘Marg-Ayya’) reminds us of Arjuna’s charioteer who showed the way (Marg) of Dharma in the Mahabharata. Margayya employed his financial Ganita prowess to game the system. He presented the peasants within a 100-mile radius of Malgudi a financial roadmap that enabled them to secure a endless sequence of cash loans from the Central Cooperative Land Mortgage Bank (est. 1914). The ‘Cooperative Bank’ part was an oxymoron as it neither co-operated with its poor shareholders, nor performed its banking duties with a sense of seva. Margayya, aged 42, made a living by aggressively filling this gap from his service location under a banyan tree right opposite the co-op, much to their irritation. Imagine a smarter Alan Greenspan in a topi, torn shirt, and brown dhoti.

Margayya wanted to progress beyond this tension-ridden low-end job. A tipping point is reached when the stained-dhoti clad financial jugaad master is humiliated by the rich, boorish bank secretary dressed in European attire, top to bottom. We can see in Margayya’s subsequent reactions, the self-loathing, and frustration, sense of inferiority, and confusion that infested many Indians in the 20th century. A transition of people who were progressively less grounded in the forest civilization [2] traditions of Dharma and harmony that India embraced during its prosperous history; a mindset increasingly attracted to a desert civilization’s zero-sum modes of survival and self-preservation that appeared more pragmatic in a once-flourishing land, but now looted and scorched by the British Raj, abounding only in scarcity.

Margayya’s Rise

Margayya’s natural entrepreneurial drive was in sync with the Vidura Neeti that promoted the virtue of self-employment. His mind constantly tinkered with ideas for startups. He wanted to secure the financial future of his wife Meenakshi, and son, Balu. When Margayya witnessed impoverished townspeople using an unclaimed corpse to extract small-change from passersby for a funeral (and booze), and when he observes people risking life and limb to earn a few paise, he is struck by the power of money. “People did anything for money. Money was men’s greatest need, like air or food…Money alone is important in this world. Everything else will come to us naturally if we have money in our purse.“.  Here, he appears to gain some intuition about Chanakya’s words (dharmasya moolam artha). Indeed, a prosperous and developed nation is best equipped to preserve and propagate Dharma and harmony, else the rule of the desert will reign.  His goal from the day he quarrels with the co-op secretary is to reach the top of the wealth pyramid and through this wealth, acquire everything else. And right there, Margayya parted ways with Vidura and Chanakya and followed his own path and rules.

Like a Yogi, but for all the wrong reasons, Margayya constantly meditated on money and through this manthana emerged all kinds of discoveries. His analysis enabled him to delineate the subtle differences between money, riches, wealth, and fortune. Wealth, in particular, contained elements of transcendence as well as Jugaad.  “Riches any hard-working fool could attain by some watchfulness, while acquiring wealth was an extraordinary specialized job. It came to persons who had on them the grace of the Goddess fully and who could use their wits“.  If Ramanujan‘s amazing ganita results were achieved through the blessings of Lakshmi as Namagiri Amman in his dreams, Margayya’s self-serving schemes too (in his mind) were due to the blessings of Lakshmi. Through the mind of this ‘financial mystic’, we get to see the infinite recursive patterns hidden within ‘interest’.

There was probably no other person in the whole country who had meditated so much on the question of interest. Margayya’s mind was full of it. Night and day he sat and brooded over it. The more he thought of it the more it seemed to him the greatest wonder of creation. It combined in it the mystery of birth and multiplication…Every rupee, Margayya felt, contained in it seed of another rupee and that seed in it another seed and so on and on to infinity. It was something like the firmament, endless stars and within each star an endless firmament and within each one further endless … It bordered on mystic perception. It gave him the feeling of being part of  an infinite existence.

Such was Margayya’s devotion to the process of managing interest rates and accumulating wealth, that he was even able to give up his old addiction to snuff so that he could pursue his ‘yoga’ on all four cylinders which would free him from all worldly wants. A side-effect of this one-track meditation is Margayya’s general cluelessness and disdain for topics unrelated to his money, and therein lie the seeds of his downfall.

Margayya’s Fall

Margayya failed in his Nara dharma [3] and did not understand that dharma is the most important of the Purusharthas [4]. As explained here, Chanakya wrote:

Margayya is never really happy throughout the story. He obtains wealth and power, but is never able to conquer his senses, and always yields to moha, lobha, and krodha, which ultimately combine to ruin him.

Margayya has no use for the Dharma that accords to the elder brother the respected position of a second father [3], being far more interested in grabbing his share of the family property. He is quite sad that the Hindu Samaj prevented a complete takeover of the house and had to make do with a half-share (“he would willingly have seen his brother’s family perish without water by closing it to them, but public opinion prevented the exercise of his right.”).

He has no use for Saraswati and learning, which is dismissed as a derivative product that can be purchased on-demand (“‘A man with whom the Goddess of Wealth favours need not worry much. He can buy all the knowledge he requires.“. The dharmic concept of profitability, Shubh Labh, is rejected in favor of amassing wealth regardless of all consequences to others, to his family, and even to himself.

He has no qualms about misusing kama and rejecting dharma in order to hoard wealth and acquire power.  Moha blinds his eye like a Dhritharashtra to his son’s faults, and in any case, he convinces himself that a single-minded pursuit of Artha is the key that unlocked all the doors in this world for himself and his family. Every minute of his life is invested in this material quest, and it begins to acquire almost a spiritual quality. In short, Margayya’s misunderstanding of the priorities and implications of the Purusharthas leads him astray. Grihasthashrama Dharma takes a back seat. Moral relativism and a materialist clamor for rights overrides duties, replacing Hinduism’s contextual Dharma ethics [2] at every decision making fork in Margayya’s life journey.

Ultimately, Margayya begins to make money by the sackful. The more he made, the more it consumed him, until this activity completely drained him of his capacity to think straight. In a momentary lapse of reason, the coldly calculative Margayya is replaced by an angry, panic-stricken father. He loses control of his senses and strikes out against Dr. Pal, the very instrument that brought him all the wealth, and in one stroke, Dr. Pal ensures that all those earnings are taken away. Without the firm guidance of Dharma, Margayya the path finder himself loses his bearings, and returns to square one, financially bankrupt. There is some recognition in the end by Margayya of what he lost in his obsessive pursuit and why. The readers get a story filled with lessons from Dharma traditions.

The book has several memorable characters, but for brevity, we’ll focus here on Margayya’s friend, Dr. Pal.

Dr. Pal, Social Scientist

First, a brief introduction to Dr. Havelock Ellis (1859-1939). He was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Unlike India, where Kama was always recognized as one of the Purusharthas and celebrated in poetry, song, dance, painting, and sculpture, the Europeans in Dr. Ellis’ time were repressed by the strictures of Victorian morality. Ellis boldly shattered several taboos although he was indifferent to the dharmic/adharmic impact of his work. He appears to have been a proponent of Eugenics and oddly okay with the Nazi sterilization program. Freud appears to have borrowed some ideas from Ellis for his psychoanalytical theories [5].

Dr. Pal is the instrument that befriends, makes, and finally breaks Margayya (It’s unclear how he became “Dr”). He is a journalist and an author and a sociologist who is influenced by Ellis’ work. Like India’s eminent journalists, authors, and social scientists today, Pal too is a scientific expert.

He mashed together Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra and Dr. Ellis’ liberating ideas to create a scientific cocktail and distilled this wisdom into an illustrated book titled ‘Bed Life’. Margayya here represents the mentally colonized and under informed native who is overawed by ‘modern science’ label that claims to enhances and elevates an ancient Indian treatise. Margayya’s Lobha overcomes his instinctive disgust for Dr. Pal’s work and he benefits immensely from the proceeds obtained by publishing this bestseller (renamed ‘Domestic Harmony’ to avoid legal scrutiny and obscenity lawsuits).  Margayya’s growth is seeded by the ill-gotten gain obtained from this salacious ‘digestion’ of Kamasutra.

Long before Wendy Doniger invaded the sacred traditions of dharma [8], propagating Freudian pseudoscience and Hinduphobia, we have the duo of Dr. Havelock Ellis and Dr. Pal. It is remarkable how RK Narayan’s 1951 novel anticipates contemporary India where educated people flock to devour Wendy Doniger’s latest sleazy pulp fiction that tramples upon their own heritage and indigenous knowledge systems [9].

Dr. Pal is the western-influenced free-thinking rebel for whom ‘anything goes’. Later, he brings to Margayya the steady supply of clientele required to sustain the latter’s Ponzi scheme. Dr. Pal is a double-edged weapon that Margayya tries to control. Despite Margayya’s best attempts to keep Dr. Pal away from his family, his corrosive influence begins to consume Margayya’s married son, and drives him to debauchery. At this point, Margayya loses his composure and beats up Dr. Pal who hits back by completely ruining Margayya, thereby completing the karmic cycle.

Lighter Side: Margayya versus Modi

Margayya loved cash, and only cash. “‘What am I to do with property?’ he said. ‘I want only money, not brick and lime or mud,’ he reflected when he reconverted his attached property into cash. Margayya seems happy only when he is counting cash. “…. the moment he reached home, he counted the notes again, bundled them up in tidy little batches, the lovely five-rupee and ten-rupee and the most handsome piece of paper – the green hundred-rupee note” . 

British India One Hundred Rupee Note (source: rbi.org)

Per RBI records, the thousand rupee note was introduced in 1938, withdrawn prior to independence, and reintroduced in 1954 [6]. It is possible there wasn’t a significant percentage of high denomination notes (500/1000) in circulation during a time when these amounts were princely sums. Margayya’s Ponzi scheme attracted so many greedy and shady investors that nearby banks began to lose their deposits. However, no one in his office had any clue about his net worth. Margayya would’ve preferred higher denominations to hundred-rupee notes since he was running out of space for his cash stash at home (“there were currency bundles stacked up a foot high all over the floor.“).  We’ve read in the newspapers how certain Indian co-op banks operate in present times, and why they’ve become a target for tax evasion investigators.  Modi with his demonetization and push for a less-cash society could’ve badly dented both Margayya and the Malgudi co-op.

RK Narayan’s Writing

It is interesting to compare RK Narayan with Shashi Tharoor, another Indian writer whose English novels are popular. RK Narayan’s works are popular all over India for their relatively straightforward rendering and simple English, while Tharoor’s target audience appears to be the westernized elite in and outside India.

It is not surprising that Tharoor chose to focus on, and expressed contempt  for Narayan’s simple English, and was frustrated by RK Narayan’s indifference to a language that colonized Indian minds. Mocking his English as a ‘translation’ is actually a compliment, because when I read RK Narayan, it is like reading a timeless story in my mother tongue about our civilization, people, and way of life. On the other hand, the well-written prose in Tharoor’s ‘Great Indian Novel’ based on the Mahabharata gives it kerb appeal, but cannot mask its alienating lack of authenticity.

A purely intellectual view of itihasa is reductionist and guaranteed to fall short. While Tharoor has spoken eloquently about India’s heritage and its wisdom, he remains confused about the differences between religion and Dharma, and intellectual versus the adhyatmic [2]. An entire generation of mentally colonized Indian writers in the last few decades, armed with excellent English, and indoctrinated in the Euro-centric humanities remains proudly clueless about the sacred art traditions of Bharatvarsha. Even if they wrote in an Indian language, it would still sound foreign. In contrast, RK Narayan as a child imbibed India’s Itihasa and Sanskriti from his grandmother. Perhaps it is this learning that is reflected in his stories.

There is no independent existence for, and artificial demarcation between, the secular/outer world and the sacred/inner realm in the ‘Financial Expert’. This reflects India’s unified view of reality. Preserving this integral approach [10] gives RK Narayan’s simple prose its powerful universal appeal.  Injecting sophisticated western structures would actually interfere with, and diminish this impact. Just as Ananda Coomaraswamy noted in The Dance of Siva [7] that inserting western harmony in order to ‘enhance’ a sangeetam recital would be unnecessary and detrimental. Indeed, this integral perspective indicates that RK Narayan’s writings are part of a long, unbroken artistic tradition that follows the Natya Sastra (itself rooted in the four Vedas).

Bharata’s Natya Sastra [12] is the most influential ancient exposition on dramaturgy, performing arts, and aesthetics in the world [2], which was accessible to all sections of the society without geographical or linguistic restrictions. Rajiv Malhotra notes (emphasis mine) that the Natya Sastra “treats ‘natya’ as the total art form, including representation, poetry, dance, music, make-up and indeed the whole world. It is an organic and integral view encompassing the Vedic rituals, Shaivite dance and music, and the epic tales. The eight traditional rasas (love, humour, heroism, wonder, anger, sorrow, disgust, and fear) mirror the real world and come together in pursuit of the ‘purusharthas’ (human goal).” One can find all traditional rasas within the pages of the ‘Financial Expert’. We will end with RK Narayan’s own words in his 1964 book Gods, Demons and Others [11], where he shares his views regarding literature. He emphatically affirms the integrally unified perspective of Natya Sastra over a synthesizing approach (emphasis mine):

Everything is interrelated. Stories, scriptures, ethics, philosophy, grammar, astrology, astronomy, semantics, mysticism, and moral codes – each forms part and parcel for a total life and is indispensable for the attainment of a four-square understanding of existence

Literature is not a branch of study to be placed in a separate compartment, for the edification only of scholars, but a comprehensive and artistic medium of expression to benefit the literate and the illiterate alike. A true literary composition should appeal in an infinite variety of ways; any set of stanzas of the Ramayana could be set to music and sung, narrated with dialogue and action, and treated as the finest drama, studied analytically for an understanding of the subtleties of language and grammar, or distilled finely to yield esoteric truths“.

References
  1. ‘The Financial Expert’,  R. K. Narayan. (Vintage International), Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, 2012.
  2. ‘Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism’, Rajiv Malhotra. Harper Collins, 2011.
  3. Nara Dharma‘, N.R.I.Pathi, Indic Civilizational Portal. 2016.
  4. The Purusharthas‘, N.R.I.Pathi, Indic Civilizational Portal. 2016.
  5. Havelock Ellis Wikipedia page
  6. RBI Monetary Museum, rbi.org.in.
  7. ‘Dance of Shiva: Essays by Ananda Coomaraswamy’,  Dover Publications. 1985.
  8. Invading The Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America’, Editors: Krishnan Ramaswamy, Antonio de Nicolas and Aditi Banerjee, Rupa & Co., Delhi. 2007.
  9. Hitchhiker’s Guide to ‘Invading the Sacred’, 2014.
  10. How Sumitranandan Pant Rediscovered Dharma‘, 2013.
  11. ‘Gods, Demons, and Others’,  R. K. Narayan. University Of Chicago Press. 1993.
  12. Classical Indic Literature III: Dramatics‘, N.R.I.Pathi, Indic Civilizational Portal. 2016.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to n.r.i.pathi for the valuable feedback.

Satya then Rta then Dharma

varuna
Varuna, guardian of Rta

One must be very careful when reading directly, without the guidance of an Acharya, the commentaries of Sayana, Vidyaranya, and even the Holy Vedas. This is because Brahmin priests themselves undergo many years of training merely to become competent in one Veda. Mastering all four in one lifetime is another matter altogether.

This caution and humility when reading primary sources is also required because, as we have seen with our historical sources, colonialists and neo-colonialists have been and are still tampering with our texts. Because Acharyas in the Agraharas and Mathas, by and large, are less susceptible to material inducement,  their whole lives are dedicated to the traditional (and correct) meaning of words and schema of Dharma. Just as false parentage has been alleged about the best of Brahmins, Maharishi Vasishta, who per the orthodox tradition is a manasaputra of Brahma, so too have many wrong interpretations been attributed to our great Acharyas of the past, by this gang. The words of Adi Sankara are often taken out of context giving incorrect meaning and interpretation. This is highly detrimental as egotists will then assume they have perfect knowledge and misguide the innocent and illiterate.

We have seen such wrong definitions extend from Dharma, into Rta, and Satya. The time has come to correct, not based on our own readings, but actual Adhyatmika Gurus.

Swami Sanmatrananda wrote on that here [emphasis ours]:

“The word rta has been used in various contexts throughout the corpus of Vedic literature. Two famous examples are: ‘rtam pibantau sukrtasya loke; the two drinkers of rta who have entered into this body’ and ‘rtam vadisyāmi satyam vadisyāmi; I shall call you rta, I shall call you truth’.  In his commentary, Acharya Sankara has interpreted this word thus: ‘rtam satyam-avasyambhāvitvāt karmaphalam; rta is the fruit of actions, it is true because of its inevitability’, and ‘rtam yathāśāstram yathākartavyam buddhau supariniścitam-artham; rta is an idea fully ascertained by the intellect in accordance with the scriptures and in conformity with practice.’

Often we incorrectly use the two words rta and satya synonymously. But satya or Truth is eternal, whereas rta, being the fruit of action, deals with matters that are transient in the ultimate analysis.” [1]

This analysis is correct because it is in consonance with the words of Sri Krishna. The  Gita does not contradict the Veda, but in actuality, gives us the correct interpretation of the Veda.

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

But alas, for some frogs in the well, the words of science, scientists, and scientism (peppered with some slokas of course) apparently is more “credible” than the words above of  the 8th Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, let us explain.

These remarks do not deprecate the Holy Veda, and those who practice the karmakanda, but merely ensure humility of those engaged in ritual. Vedic practice and yagna is done to ensure Rta, in which man is permitted to participate in the Cosmic Order. It is for this reason Rta is emphasised in the Chaturveda. Common Brahmins may perform yagna for fruitive action, for themselves and yajamanas, but the great Rishis of old performed yagna for the benefit of all mankind, and indeed, all creation. That is the difference and why the latter are so venerated, and rightly so.

This is evident in the confusion of priority between Rta and Satya. It has become commonplace for some to write that Rta is truth in Thought and Satya is Truth in Speech and Dharma is Truth in Deed. This pithy bromide may seem cute and comfortable, but it is incorrect.

Circles of SatThe core of our tradition was, is, and always will be about Satya.

Krishna instructing Yudhisthira to say “Ashwattama attaha” was not Truth in either action, speech, or thought, but it was meant to defend the Truth, since victory for the Kauravas would mean their cheating and untruth as a lifestyle would be commonplace.Duryodhana and Shakuni were habitual liars who thrived on deception. Therefore, in order to preserve the Absolute Truth, that compulsive Truth-Teller Yudhisthira represented, Krishna had him tell the transactional lie.

“To lay man, both Rta and Satya mean Truth and Law. But according to the Nirukta, they also mean water. Let us look at their distinction.

What happens or befalls us, even if bitter, is Rta (right), because that is the Rta, Cosmic Order (i.e. Truth in Action), as part of karma and belief consequence. It is the truth or cosmic principle/order of karma justice and rain cylce.”

“On the other hand, Satya is principle-based, or what should happen. The Vedas are Satya. They are Rta too, because in accordance with their word alone, the world eventuates and evolves”

“Devas (gods) collectively carry out Rta. Accept whatever bitter and untoward has befallen, as right and actual (Rta), but follow the Vedas (Satya) to set it right. You cannot change the past, but future you can.

Satya (the Vedas) is law or canon; Rta, order or execution of law. Together they form Cosmic Law and Order. “ [3]

That is why Rta is emphasised in the Vedas. Vedas are themselves Satya, the very Breath of Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth. Karma-kanda is focused on the fruit of the action.

If Satya is the law and Rta is the execution of the law, what then is Dharma?—upholding of the Law. Rta preserves Satya, but  Satya is superior to it. Dharma upholds Rta, but Rta is superior to it. To switch the order and place Rta above Satya is wrong, in theory, action and intention. Where Dharma is the letter, Rta is the spirit. Where Rta is the letter, Satya is the Spirit. It is the spirit of the law (Justice) that gives law its legitimacy. Law without Justice is Tyranny…as is Rta without Satya.

The Devas carry out Rta, that is why we as manavas (humans) perform yagnas in honour of the devas, so that that Agni, Indra, Surya, Varuna, etc, may carry out the natural order for the benefit of mortal life. In fact, Varuna is considered the guardian of Rta. The Devas in turn worship Mahadeva or Harihara. Indra and the Suras (Devas) represent positions that carry out aspects of the cosmic order. That is why Bali Chakravarti was defeated by Vishnu as Vamana, because despite being a just and honourable king, Bali was attempting to overturn Rta to take over the universe. In reward for his justness and generosity, Bali was blessed to be the next Indra (the current one is Purandara).

Satya is the Law, Rta is the Order which implements the law, Dharma is the Upholding of the law..

It is Satya that is the origin of Rta. And it is Rta which provides an order or a common blueprint for understanding what Dharma requires at a given moment of time.

Lokayatas were materialists, of which there was a prominent atheist strain called Charvakas.  Charvakas, 1.0 or “2.0“, are not qualified to give upanyasas, as spiritual discourses can only be delivered by real Pandits and Adhyatmika Acharyas, not atheists.

They may assert that they are adhikarins by “birth” or “scholarship”, but they are not as they are disqualified by lack of saadhana and sraddha, and are susceptible to incentive and emolument (foreign or domestic). After all, a materialist has no time for tapas. These modern Charvakas emphasise Rta for precisely the same reason—they have no time for Satya, which is the embodiment of Para-Brahman. A “non-traditional” scholar has noticed this and spoken out against the dangers of such navel-gazers.

Shraddhaavaan labhate jnanam

Anyayam is also commonly used for injustice. But the core meaning of nyaya is logic and of tarka, reasoning. Hence, anrttam does not replace asatya  in the schema. That which violates the Cosmic order is naturally untrue. The wise see this connection and do not inject their own meaning. Journalists-Philosopher and Public Poetry Performers are not  Adhyatmika Acharyas for precisely this reason.

“Guessing” about why Rta appears in the Veda is disqualification from teaching such material at all. Only a materialist thinks Rta is more ancient than Satya, for he naturally thinks the Chaturveda are separate from the Upanishads. The Upanishads (jnana-kanda) state the philosophy of the Chaturveda. The Bhagavata Purana emphasises upasana kanda. The absolute Truth is only truly understood in the absolute End. These spiritual children clearly still have a long way to progress.

The transactional truth is naturally beneath Rta. But the Absolute truth is naturally above it, and that is Satyam-param.

Rta itself is divided into the Cosmic order, the Natural order, and the Societal Order.

It is because a clique of casteists desires to impose their convoluted and bigoted conception of Societal order (which ignores gunas), that they attempt to impose Rta as supreme over Satya. After all, if Order is supreme over Truth, if hierarchy is supreme over love, then no matter how sinful they are, they may accrue power. Those who prescribe Rta above Satya do so because they conceive of a rigid and wrong order.  The ancient brahmanas and true acharyas knew better, and also discussed the importance of guna along with birth. Pride can undo the very great, and it was the pride of Parashurama which resulted in his being punished by Rama. It was the pride of Ravana which resulted in his being destroyed by Rama. The same lays in store for this clique.

Image result for rishi rna

That is the importance of Satya (and guna) over Rta. It is not that hierarchy does not matter. In fact, that is the natural order, which extends to societal order. Younger respects older, student respects teacher, praja respects raja, son reveres mother. When a topsy turvy order such as “genetic attraction” is created and advocated, it is anrta.

Cosmic Order, Natural Order, Societal Order

Rta-Satyam

[5, 15]

Rta is  the Cosmic Order, the Natural Order, and the Societal Order. But it is also Spiritual and Moral as it is concerned with notions of justice and harmony.

Rta contributes to the maintenance of balance between the micro and macro levels of existence.” [5]

If the essence of Dharma is righteousness, the essence of Rta is harmony. If the essence of Rta is harmony, the essence of Satya, the essence of Truth is love (prema). But Prema is not Moha.

This universal love in the hands of hippies is the object of (justifiable) derision. After all, love is not naïve, but rather true love is  knowing (in all its forms, whether familial or otherwise). Without knowledge of a person’s true nature, one is mere showing love at someone, rather than actually loving someone. This is no earthy bromide or cloying cliché, but a reality. After all, just as a mother who loves her child scolds it for eating too much candy, so too does love between two individuals require seeking the other person’s good rather than what is merely pleasant. Shreyas over Preyas.

This is the Absolute Truth as understood by all the enlightened Saints. It is why upasana/bhaktikanda is the last portion of the Veda. It is because after discipline through ritual, and after understanding through knowledge, we feel a universal love engendered by a sense of connectivity and communion with the world. The hippy, or the dogmatic, will force a superficial “Christian love”. But real love is not top-down, but bottom up. It’s not something you recite like a parrot or use as a weapon, but something you actually feel.

The intellectually inclined preferring abstraction, naturally scoff at such notions. In their minds, how can Absolute Truth be something so simple, so elementary, and primitive as love. But then, explain why all the Enlightened figures, from whether Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, or Nanak take human birth?

Why did Rama suffer separation from his only wife only to lose her again, but continue to rule Ayodhya? Why did Krishna accept the curses of Gandhari and preside over the end of his lineage and clan? Why did the Buddha continue to minister to men and women despite attaining Nirvana?—or Mahavira, Kaivalya? Or the Sikh Gurus in such a terrible time for Bharatavarsha?

Absolute Brahman is pure thought, and that thought is Love. Desire to not only receive but to Give love.

But it is not for nothing that individuals searching for love reject “perfect matches” based on biodata, asking the universe why they have yet to gain their “one true love”. They too have to be worthy of what they wish to receive. Only after an individual becomes worthy of the love they seek, do they eventually receive it. It is only after mastering Dharma do we understand Rta and realise its origin in Satya.

It is only out of compassion rooted in love for mankind, and the suffering it endures on account of its own sins, that great Souls walk upon this earth suffering undeserved misery and humiliation, so as to show men and women how to live virtuously. The best teachers are not hypocrites who live dissolute  lives in youth or old age (or both). Rather the best teachers, like the best leaders, do so by example. How to accept what is accorded to us, not because it may be what we want at a given time, not even cause its what we deserve, but because it is what is best for all humanity, for all of creation. This is the bittersweet truth of not only Satya, but also Rta. The pain of one individual pales in comparison to the misery of the entire cosmos. This harmony, this Cosmic order, is Rta.

But order cannot exist on its own. Order cannot exist for its own sake. And order itself is not the Absolute Truth, how could it be? Only fools who mutilate already mutilated translations of Sri Adi Sankara or Vidyaranya, think it so. This is why journalists, avadhanis, and glorified translators cannot assert agency and authority to creatively interpret Dharma. Instead, what must be done is to respect the teaching of those qualified to interpret and explain Dharma, and teach in consonance, teach in harmony with what they say. These are our real Adhyatmika Acharyas.

The value of Dharmic instruction is not determined by precision of quotation or diligence and plethora of citation, but on Truth and Clarity. An instructor must teach not for his own amusement or as a matter of jaded occupation, but as a matter of duty. The student has a duty to diligently listen, the teacher has a duty to patiently, correctly, and clearly explain. It is not the realm for “the delicate genius” or self-declared “polymath”.

It is argued that Rta is immutable. True. Rta gives the Laws of Satya. Laws may not change but the applications can and must to preserve harmony. That is the relationship between Rta and Dharma.

Rta is emphasised in the Chatur Veda because the focus of Karma-kanda is Rta. As explained by a practicing Brahmin Pandit , “It gives man a chance to participate in keeping order”. The ritual offerings in yagna  are given to the the presiding deities who maintain the Cosmic order assigned to them by Brahma.

The absolute Truth is referred to as “Satyam Param”. And Satyasya Satyam, the original truth. [6, 10.2.26]

Rta is not just cosmic, societal,and spiritual order, it is also moral order. Rta is the rejection of chao, the rejection of might makes right, the rejection of matsya nyaya.

Rta fundamentally is about transcending calculations of situational individual interest in the name of long term societal & cosmic interest. Rta is about determination to stand up for what’s right, because it is right. It is the moral order not merely because it is divine commandment, but because the spirit of Rta emanates from a desire to do justice and seek the good of all beings and all creation, rather than just a few.

satya-rta-brahma-kshatra
[5,18]
When the moral order is overturned, when wrong itself is not only seen to be right, but audaciously and shamelessly said to be right, then such a society is not only set for destruction, but deserves it. When younger dictates to elder, when child demands obedience from parents, when sishya lords over guru, such a world is in the throes of anrtam.

War is peace

Anrtam is not mere untruth, but rather the rejection of truth. It is the rejection of the sentiment and spirit of doing right so that wrong can be couched in the form of a topsy-turvy upside down immoral order. Such a new and such a world order is eminently disgusting, deceitful, and above all, exploitative. Fools, with relative might, stupidly think their power will last (or seek to maintain it). Shameless dogs and wretches merely respond to the changing fortunes like leaves in the fall wind. Forget the dangers of such a world, what right-thinking, right-minded soul would want to live in it? What deity could preside over it? How could any who would deign to associate himself with it consider himself good? He may point to the letter (of their false codes and laws), but they know they have violated it in spirit.

When men behave like women and women behave like men, and humans behave like beasts, and all three copulate interchangeably, it is anrtam. The state of chaotic and topsy-turvy order. It is not only Dharma which is dying in such a world, Rta itself has now been pierced. Dharma exists to uphold Rta. That is what gives it its meaning. The essence of this moral order is not about caste, it is about right and wrong. Protection vs exploitation.

The same brahmana whose very word was once synonymous with Truth, now barters learning for wealth, power, and women. The same kshatriya who once protected his subjects now seeks to feed on their wealth, their daughters, and their very lives . The same vaisya whose duty was to provide economic service to society now carves up society into commodities for his economic benefit. When younger brother plots to overthrow a just or non-wrong doing elder brother, this is adharma as it violates rta. But when sinful parents assist him in this and say it is “dharma”, that it anrtam, as order itself has been pierced and flipped upside down. When such a younger child then demands the obedience of parents and the thralldom of gurus and declares whatever he does is right, because it is he who is doing it, that is anrtam.

Duryodhana violated Dharma, because he said knew Dharma but did not wish to practice it. Rta  had not yet become topsy-turvy. It was not anrtam, but adharmam. But we live in such a degraded era where modern Duryodhanas enshrine their evil ways as  ‘dharma’. A society can limp along with the destruction of Dharma and stand perilously close to the cliff. But it does not fall over the cliff until Rta itself is pierced. It was when all the elders from Bhishma and Dhritarashtra to Drona and Kripa themselves asserted Duryodhana had a right, that Rta was threatened. They forgot to ask if what Duryodhana did was right. That is anrtam. A topsy-turvy order where the right of a Duryodhana came before the duty of Dignity of a Woman was created by these so-called wise men and “Acharyas”. Fake and Fool-Acharyas were there in the Dvapara and are here in the Kali. And when Satya is extracted and subordinated to Rta, then the Kali Yuga is truly deep. Rta that exists for its own sake is not Rta. Rta exists as an expression of Satya, because of that single thought. That single cit, that is Prema.

The desire not to harm simply because another being  is deserving of dignity. That is Satya. It is because of Satya that Drona, Karna, and Duryodhana could all be killed in a manner that violated a specific (visesha) Dharma of battle, in order to preserve the Great Saamaanya Dharma. But what is Saamaanya Dharma? It is a desire not just for self-interest, or simple a desire for non-chaos, but a harmony imbued with the spirit of love for all creatures and the dignity each is entitled to. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. This harmony is Rta. The problem is, some poets styling themselves as Pandits don’t know their place, and should be put back in it.

“A spoon does not know the taste of soup, nor a learned fool the taste of wisdom.”

It is because of the Satya-Prema not just for Draupadi, but for all women, royal or common, Brahmin or Chandala, that Dushasana had to be so severely punished. How dare a man violate the dignity of all women by disrobing one in public?! It was not merely adharma, or mere anrta, but asatya. It was asatya to say that a married woman staked in a foolish wager could be disrobed in public because she had been made a dasi. No man still has the right to do that to a woman, whatever a her status, whatever his status.

And that is the problem today. What is wrong is itself being called ‘Dharma” and passed off as such. Anrtam is not merely chaos as mere order is not Rta but Krama. Anrtam is the presiding of a chaotically topsy turvy order. One that asserts that what is true is false and what is false is true: “Draupadi could be wagered”. That is anrta, and above all, that is asatya, and why Satya is the most ancient of all the concepts and realities, and the origin of Rta and Dharma.  Satya is not merely the transactional Truth. It is the absolute Truth as well: Satyam-Param and  Satyasya Satyam.

tasya haitasya puruṣasya rūpam yathā māhārajanaṁ vāsaḥ, yathā pāṇḍv-āvikam, yathendragopaḥ, yathāgnyarciḥ, yathā puṇḍarīkam, yathā sakṛd-vidyuttam; sakṛd-vidyutteva ha vā asya śrīr bhavati, ya evaṁ veda. athāta ādeśaḥ na iti na iti, na hy etasmād iti, na ity anyat param asti; atha nāma-dheyaṁ satyasya satyam iti. prāṇā vai satyam, teṣām eṣa satyam.[2]

Tasya haitasya puruṣasya rūpam: This Puruṣha within us manifests himself in the subtle body…

…What is its name? It is the Truth of truth, Reality of reality, Being of being. It is the Soul of soul; it is the Self transcendent to the self. Prāṇā vai satyam, teṣām eṣa satyam: The individual self, of course, is real; anything connected with the individual self also is real. But, this is more real than the individual selves, more real than the mind and the understanding and the Prāṇas and the senses. It is the ultimate Reality; it is the Supreme Being

vishwarupam

References:

  1. http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Valmiki_Rama
  2. http://www.swami-krishnananda.org,mundaka 3-1, brihadaranyaka 2-3
  3. http://www.holyvedas.info/rta-and-satya.html
  4. Bhagavad Gita. http://asitis.com/2/42-43.html
  5. http://www.exoticindiaart.com/book/details/rta-cosmic-order-IDD686/
  6. Srimad Bhagavatam. http://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/10/2/26

On Dharma II: Rta vs Rna 2

Karna-choice

Readers may recall our Post last year on Rta vs Rna. In it, we explained why Rna is necessarily subordinate to Dharma, and that the proper schema was in fact Satya then Rta then Dharma.

However, because we live in an era where knowledge itself is no longer seen as sacred but as a means of emolument, there are some fraudacharyas who are imputing wrong meaning into traditional definitions…partially out of their ignorance, but partially out of malevolence. Because their attempts to force Rna as somehow central to the Dharmic schema have been exposed, and realising they have left something out, they have tried to circumvent by saying everything is Sat. Everything is Sat, and Satya does express Rta. But Rta itself is the motivation for Dharma, not Rna. Rna is not the core of Sanatana Dharma: Satya, Rta, and Dharma are. Rna uber alles is the foundation for slavery—precisely what videshi slaves want.

This is because they have sold themselves out, they are privately paying off their own personal Rna by selling off Satya. Rna is below Dharma. Here is the correct schema:

Satya→Rta→Dharma→Rna

It is important to not only understand the distinctions between the four, but also their order of derivation. rnas

These Rnas come in many forms: Daiva-Rna, Rishi-Rna, Pitr-rna.  Those are the traditional tri-rnas, the Vedic rnas that all must pay to the Devas, to the Rishis & Gurus, and to our Ancestors. After paying them, moksha is then possible. These are traditionally paid by yagna, by vedic study, and by progeny. [2, 416] But there are also other rnas. Matr-rna, Mitr-rna, and the most dominating one, Desa-rna. One is a rni (debtor) to his Mathru-bhoomi too. So how to determine which comes first? After all, is not Daiva above Desa? Is not Mathru above Mitra? Is not spiritual debt above monetary debt?

It is precisely because material rna can be easily conflated with spirtual rna, that we must repay Rna through the guidance of Dharma. It is precisely that Dharma is the guide for Rna and not the other way around that definitions matter. And it is precisely because some murkhapanditas prize material heaven above moksha that they continually ignore Desa-rna and Desa-Dharma, to the detriment of their countrymen, whom they betray. This is what happens to those who prize knowledge above wisdom…they end up neither breathing nor living & drag everyone else down with them.

hayagriva
Bhagavan Hayagreeva

Saying that Rna creates Dharma is like saying Vedas came from Man. Real Brahmanas know this to be otherwise. Just as the Vedas are Apaurusheya and were given to man from by God, so to does Dharma determine Rna, and specifically, which Rna should be paid when, or even be paid at all. Those in thrall to foreign funders naturally celebrate Rna—for they have assumed a lifetime and multi-life debt.

It is for this reason our Civilization is one of Truth not Debt (like some debt-driven societies). It is for this reason India’s national motto is Satyameva Jayate not Rnameva Jayate. It is Satya-Harischandra who is lauded not Mitr-rni Karna. It is love of Satya that constructs the order Rta and recognising the need for its preservation that creates Dharma. A society motivated by Rna is one first collapsed into chaos then caught in slavery.

The people who advocate Rna being the driver of Dharma are those who sold their souls and wish for you to the do the same.

Rna is used to buy the souls of Men, as Duryodhana bought Karna’s with Anga

He may be called “Daanveer Karan”, but his Daana, his Generosity, his liberality were all misplaced. Generosity to sinners is not generosity, it is signing one’s own death warrant, which is what Karna did when he gave everything, even his life, to pay off his debt to Duryodhana. His noble sentiment in sacrificing everything for the one person who stood by him is a noble one, but also a selfish one. Noble sentiments too can be selfish and misguided. Bhishma’s noble sentiment in taking his pratignya (oath) is the classic case.

We may all praise Bhishma for accepting the terrible oath of celibacy, despite being a royal prince, but he nevertheless violated Dharma and Rta by denying Hastinapura of a great king like himself. See how it suffered instability and uncertainty from the days of Chitrangada and Vichitraveerya on. This is the price of Rna and Moha. Desire to chase fame through sacrifice or to surrender to sentiment is also selfishNoble, but misguided and harmful to society. To pay his personal debt, Karna was prepared to preside over Draupadi’s Vastraharan (attempted disrobing) and the unjust killing of Abhimanyu. What right does he (and those like him) have to lecture on Dharma?

Yudhisthira, on the other hand, was the opposite. He followed Truth to an extreme in the desire to be Satya-harishchandra, that he failed to prioritise his Dharma to his wife. It was a selfless mistake (he gained only shame and reprobation from this episode, not fame like Karna on the Kurukshetra), but a stupid mistake. He forgot that Harishchandra was in the beginning of the Treta Yuga (almost the Satya Yuga), while Yudhisthira was in the Dvapara (and that too, the very end). As the Yugas pass, people become more corrupt and sinful, and Dharma can no longer be so pristine, let alone naive. Yudhisthira was a king, and could not afford the luxury of being naive. When kings and politicians are naive, their prajas suffer.

When Satya-harishchandra honoured his promise to pay off his rna, his wife’s honour was not violated, but see what happened when Yudhisthira did the same thing. This is why the Panchatantra and Niti becomes important. In the present time, one must use viveka (distinguishment) to distinguish between right and wrong, wise and foolish, real and fake. Remember, a true Guru will never seek to confuse or confound, exploit or enslave, but will only seek to set you free, first from the torment of the senses, then from all Rnas.

The price of Rna

Science has no authority over our Vedic Tradition. Only our trained Bharatiya Acharyas do. Those who are rooted in the land for millennia, understand its traditions the best.

Above all, remember, it was Sri Krishna himself who tried to educate Karna that Rna is used to buy the souls of men. It is fine to fulfill Rna for fruitive rewards, but only if it is not in conflict with Dharma, Rta, and Satya. This is the eternal way.

Bhagavad Gita 2:42-43

yam imam puspitam vacam
pravadanty avipascitah
veda-vada-ratah partha
nanyad astiti vadinah
kamatmanah svarga-para
janma-karma-phala-pradam
kriya-visesa-bahulam
bhogaisvarya-gatim prati ||

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

There are of course some fashionable modernistas with superficial knowledge who use this to then say there is no point to ritual. But this is also false. Between Hippies without Obligations and material Ritualists without Compassion, is the happy middle of responsible and Dharmic living. Ritual gives us structure to life, but philosophical knowledge (jnana) and worship (bhakti) give us meaning in life.  Ritual does have its place, as does the karma-kanda to those eligible for it. As the saying goes, “the same key that takes you to heaven can take you to hell“. Ravana used it to go to hell. Our Rishis like Vishvamitra used it to, forget going to heaven, but actually created an alternate material heaven for Trisanku. Such is the power of the Veda. But the wisest use the Veda to attain liberation (moksha) from the bondage of rebirth. They recognise it is possible through the structure of the Purushartha to neither lead a depressing and dour life without the rang (colour) of kama (pleasure) nor the life of the irresponsible hedonist, concerned only for his or her own pleasure. The Puranas give us many stories of those who live a happy, content, but responsible life and attain moksha in the process. The Satyanarayana Vratha also facilitates this process for those not eligible to do Vedic yagna.

Those who study the Veda have to take utmost precaution, not only when chanting mantras, but also in understanding the purpose for which they perform ritual. That is why the traditional Brahmana was traditionally respected…it is a very difficult, disciplined life to lead.

The ancient Rishis of yore would perform yagna for the benefit of all mankind. Further, the stringent life of traditional brahmanas as prescribed in the Dharmasastra, ensures a level of discipline that helps individuals transcend the cravings of the senses so that they may become fit for philosophical knowledge. Thus, Lord Krishna is not diminishing the importance of the Vedas, he is only putting them into the correct context. The Vedas are ever in consonance with Dharma. For those who pursue a certain way of life, Vedic ritual is eminently good—Krishna is only advising them to use their knowledge responsibly.

In any event, having contextualised the Rnas stipulated in the Vedic tradition, it is important to understand the need to live a life of balance. Because the Kali Yuga is such a terrible time, full of pleasurable but sinful distractions and many fraudacharyas (there are still some real Acharyas though, so find one), mere japa (chanting of God’s name) is sufficient for the average person. Rather than fighting the impulses causing sense-craving, the Saints say channel those impulses into good and productive efforts. Don’t fight the energy with a dam, but like an irrigation work, channel it to Artha, Moksha, and Kama in the right proportions through Dharma. Do your work during the day, complete your rituals/prayers in the evening, enjoy pleasure in the night. This is the traditional division for the parts of the day. In this way it is possible to do your Dharma to society, fulfill your rna to your obligators, and enjoy the pleasure of life. The happiest life is the balanced life.

The Purusharthas stipulate a life of balance. Artha, Kama, and Moksha are all important, but it is Dharma that guides all three. One cannot point to pitr-rna or daiva-rna or rishi-rna or mitr-rna to explain why their treachery is justified, as they wish to attain svarga (material heaven of pleasures) or moksha (ultimate liberation). Betrayal of one’s country is not justified. Vibhishana made every effort to bring Ravana to the right path, despite being Ravana’s rni. It was only to save Lanka from annihilation, and only because Sri Rama was the incarnation of Dharma, that Vibhishana went over to the other side. Thus, he is the exception and not the rule.

Therefore, rather than mocking the Veda (which one can only understand through proper Adhyapana, meaning “instruction”), respect those who have chosen the arduous path, and do your own duty. If you are upset at mean-spirited or hypocritical priests, find some sincere priests—there are actually many suffering from dire poverty and absence of benefactors. You may not feel Rna to those leading a traditional life, but give support out of a sense of Dharma to society, and its vulnerable sections. Even if you are agnostic, and don’t believe in ritual knowledge, at least give support to those who preserve our tradition and protect it from materialist foreigners misrepresenting our culture & history.

Here was one such traditional Pandit who deserves our respect for preserving our historical memory. We are all rnis to him.

DharmaMandir

Despite this Rna, preservation of Dharma knows only Rta, which must be preserved as it is the expression of Satya. By upholding Rta, all are benefited. By obsessing over Rna, only 1 or a few are benefited. Pandit Chelam may have had rnas to his foreign instructors of English and other subjects, but it was through his prioritisation of Dharma, Rta, and ultimately Satya, that he published 24 books documenting our true history. That is why Satya is the highest, most absolute concept. Dharma may bend the transactional everyday truth (“Ashwattama attaha“) to preserve this absolute Truth. But it is Satya which is absolute.

The order of hierarchy is Satya, Rta, Dharma, then Rna. Because if people don’t know which Rna to pay when, they end up like Karna…who chose his Rna to Duryodhana. Pitr-rna, Deva-rna are all to be paid when the common Dharma isn’t violated. A world of competing Rnas leads to chaos, in which each individual focuses on his (perceived rna) rather than than Saamaanya Dharma. That is why Rna is a secondary priority. Dharma is the first.

Opponents may argue that by prioritising Rna as the roots, the tree of Dharma will flourish. But the rebuttal is “yes, one tree will flourish, to the detriment of others“. The tree of Dharma in this case is the tree of Sva-Dharma (the personal Dharma). If you greedily prioritise your own Rnas, your own roots, other will not have water to be able to pay off theirs, and the other trees and plants die. A Dharma-driven society ensures the whole community flourishes. A Rna-driven society, is a selfish society, and is not “sustainable”.

Dharma is the righteous upholding of the Cosmic Order Rta which is expressed by the Absolute Truth Satya. Rna only ever comes after.

References:

  1. Bhagavad Gita. http://asitis.com/2/42-43.html
  2. Kane, P.V. History of Dharmasastra. Vol.3.P.2. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. 1973.
  3. Suresvaracarya, Shoun Hino & K.P. Jog. Sureśvara’s Vārtika on Saptānna Brāhmaṇa.Delhi: MLBD.1995.p.94

Shubha Krishna Janmashtami (2016)

krishnashtami2016From all of us at ICP, Happy Sri Krishna Janmashtami! Shubha Janmashtami! Janmashtami shubhkamnaye!

For those of us who know he was no mere myth, but left this Earth in 3102 BCE, this day is especially sacred, as a reminder of the validity of the Mahabharata’s message.

sri_krishna_janmashtami146-309x250

Struggles against Adharma are there now more than ever. Even our traditions stemming from Krishna’s life are not being spared. What do the people do?

Dahi_Handi

It is why the time has come for people to not just sing “Hare Krishna”, but to take a page out of the Karma yogi’s book and do their karma. Between aggressive and passive is assertive. Learn from Sri Krishna and understand how to work together to effectively and legally preserve your interests, traditions, culture, and above all, preserve Dharma.

And remember, whatever the odds against you, Yatho Krishna tatho Dharma. Yatho Dharma, tatho Jayaha! Jai Shri Krishna!

 

tkrishna2

The Real Sheet Anchor of Indian History

File:Mahabharata BharatVarsh.jpg

From the mists of legend to the waters of memory called history, it is a long process, and to some, may indeed appear to be a long leap. But let it be stated upfront that history is indeed history. Just as Science requires reproducibility and verifiability, so too does history require evidence and documented proof, and above all adherence to the truth.

ChelamHistoricalDeterminePandit Kota Venkatachalam [2, 11]

As we have demonstrated through this Series of Posts…

  1. An appeal to Young Indologists
  2. Aryan Invasion Theory Violates Vedic Tradition
  3. Who were the Yavanas?
  4. Personalities: Sagara
  5. Vedic Cosmology—The Dharmic View of Time

…Indian history has been subjected to much intellectual violence, and the case of evidence such as the Kumbhalgarh inscription, outright physical violence. Selective interpretation, foreign racial glorification, colonial expedience, document fabrication, and evidence forgery have been the tools of the trade of history’s most dishonest cabal of “historians”.

The most skilled propagandists are not those who claim obvious falsehoods, but rather, state selective and half truths. What is credible and plausible is often the most incorrigible…of falsehoods. Unlike the True Brahmanas of yore who preserved and passed on our Tradition and History, these Racist-Imperialists have no religious injunction to speak the truth (or to feel shame…). Indeed, contrary to their self-apotheosis and perennial self-lionising, the British were able to take control of India not through some Gandhian described physical or martial superiority, or even technological marvelry, but rather, through deception.

As the Oxford Military History of the World would credit, it was British mastery of subcontinental politics (a.k.a. deception and back-stabbing) that ensured their control of 200 hundred million souls. It is also an abject lesson of what happens when you only consider “Rajniti” rather than Niti and Dharma. This parampara of foreign ‘intellectuals’ committed intellectual violence against our texts, tradition, and history. Their tradition continues today in its “post-modern” incarnation, wherein even the Ramayana date from the Colonial era has been brought down from BCE to CE, all by the supposedly secular poco-pomo gang. Even Chanakya-Kautilya has not been spared, and is now being denied, not on the basis of new evidence, but on the basis of new “interpretations” of evidence and ostensible tampering of evidence. Enough benefits of the doubt.

This is why Indian history, Indian culture, and Indian civilization must be logically and truthfully re-constructed from Indians, by Indians, and for Indians…real Indians rooted in the land and its tradition and culture. Others tamper with it in the name of expedience (previously British Empire, now Breaking India), real Indians tell it in the name of the truth. Therefore, if the colonial history we have been taught is not simply in need of correction, but root-and-branch re-construction, it becomes imperative to start at the beginning.

Students of history would already be familiar with that much bally-hooed “Sheet-anchor of History” (as so named by Max Muller and concocted by William Jones, et al) based Alexander’s Invasion of India in 326 B.C., and Chandra-gupta Maurya’s coronation at Pataliputra in 321 B.C.E. However, as seen, and as soon will be seen, Pandit Kota Venkatachalam, through painstaking and disciplined historical research—rather than the navel-gazing our gyaanis are notorious for—demonstrated why the former was an unimportant event and the latter, an utter falsehood.  If the wrong Chandra-Gupta were purposefully identified as the ruler of Magadha in 321 B.C.E (It was actually Chandra Gupta I), then what in fact is our true benchmark for asserting verifiable and recorded “history” from mere legend?

TrueAnchorSheetpng
[1, 183]
The Real Sheet Anchor of Indian History is the Mahabharata War of 3138 B.C.E. This is based not just upon astronomical calculation, but also hard historical evidence, via archaeologically-relevant inscriptions, documented chronologies, recorded Royal Lineages, and a Tradition of referencing dates beginning with the Kali Yuga (3102 B.C.E ) present even in the Rajatarangini, which is accepted by all parties (colonial, sepoy, or otherwise) as real history. This is no mere “hindutva history” hypothesis, but a legitimate and logical assertion conducted by Sri Kota Venkatachalam, who was uniquely qualified in having both a traditional and a Western Education. Unlike the fake “acharyas” in our midst today, he was an actual Acharya, as well, with the competence to understand our Vedic tradition and Puranic History, while providing responses to Western standards for documented proof, evidence, and “rationality”.

Furthermore, acceptance and assertion of this position as genuine History, is supported by our own independent study of history over decades. Many of the charges and allegations originally made by Pandit Chelam, were independently observed by us in a number of different topics under Indian history, routinely and repeatedly. Only, we do not claim the authority of an Acharya, which Pandit Chelam is most deserving of and eminently qualified as. The sole purpose of this point is to note that 3138 B.C.E was not cavalierly arrived at, nor do we treat Pandit Chelam’s word as the “gospel” (pardon the expression). The Itihaas of the Mahabharata is not merely the legend from an epic, but the Chronologically concrete Historical Past of the Indian Subcontinent & the true Sheet anchor of its History.

PKVCthePIIC

It was Sri Venkatachalam’s own exemplification of historical methodology, logical investigation, scholarly subject-matter-expertise, but above all, scrupulous adherence to the Truth throughout his publications on History, that established the credibility of this dating. It was only after properly surveying his original reference sources that we have put our weight behind this, and recognise not only the possibility or plausibility, but also the near-certainty that this is in fact the correct Sheet Anchor for Indian History.  Those who wish to contest this claim on whatever grounds, are advised to refer to not only our previous articles listed above, which establish the credibility of this historical foundation, but Pandit Chelam’s own large selection of works in English.

The next natural objection, of course, is whether Mahabharata Epic, which features not only weaponry beyond scientific verification (Divine missiles called astras), but also the supernatural or paranormal (Divine Beings, Incarnations of God, and even Demons) could be treated as History? The answer, of course, is that if both Homer and Herodotus (“Father of History” for Europeans), who both feature the Sun God and other divine beings (even a Cyclops), as part of their works can be considered “Sources of Authentic History”, then there is no reason the Mahabharata cannot be. Vyasa’s Epic may feature “mythological” aspects that are not believable in our own time, but if Homer and Herodotus’ Divine involvement in historical events can be explained away as “allegory/metaphor ” or “poetic license”, then there is no reason this same standard cannot be applied to the Mahabharata. Let these non-scientifically verifiable aspects be treated as allegory or atisayokti by our atheist friends, but let the basic sequence of events be treated as History: Dynasty, Succession Crisis, Subcontinetal War, Coronation.

And as for the age of many of the characters (between 120-200 years), well if Methusaleh (Grandsire of Noah) at ( 969 years) could have been accepted by William Jones’ and his Christian Chronology, which serves as the basis for the present “Post-Modern” Chronology, can be glossed over, then so can this.

WillyJChronos

When a real history by a real historian such as Kalhana can accept the historicity of the Kurukshetra War, than there is no reason we lesser mortals cannot.

ChronosConclusionThe Time has come to reclaim our True History of Bharatavarsha. Let there be no more confusion!

Here is what Bharata Charitra Bhaskara, Pandit Sri Kota Venkatachalam wrote on the matter [Emphasis and Proofing ours].

KRVChronosPandit Kota Venkatachalam [3, 39]

The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on June 26, 2009


The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on June 27, 2009


The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on June 28, 2009



battlefield-of-kurukshetra

The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on August 16, 2009


Gift Deed of Janamejaya — An Early Inscription of Kali Era

According to the Mahabharata (2nd Aswasa of Adiparva) Parikshit ruled for 60 years from the first year of the Kali (3101 B. C.) Era and died stricken by the curse of a Rishi(3041 B. C), when the coronation of Janamejaya his son, took place in Kali 61,(3041 B. C.).
An inscription (plate) of a gift deed by Emperor Janemejaya. (Indian Antiquary P. P. 333-334) runs thus:-This is the first inscription known which used the Jayabhyudaya Yudhistira Saka, which had its origin in Kali first year; (Both the Eras started in the same cycle year Pramadhi. This gift deed refers to a gift of land for the worship of Sri Sita and Rama on the bank of the Thungabhadra River, by Janamejaya (son of Parikshit) in the 89th year of Jayabhyudaya Yudhistira Saka i. e. Kali 89 i. e. B. C. 3012. The year Plavanga mentioned in the inscription tallies with the 89th year of Kali. Kali Era starts in the year 3102 B. C., the 20th Feb. at 2-27’-30″ hours. i.e. in the cycle year of Pramadhi the 1st day of the bright half of the month of Chaitram at 2-27-30 hours. Similar gift by the same Emperor Janamejaya was made on the same day to Sri Goswamy Anandalinga Jangama of Ushamutt through his disciple Jnanalinga Jangama for the worship of God Kedaranath in Kedara Kshetra situated in north Himalaya. The Inscription (plate) of the above gift which is preserved in the mutt even to this day runs thus:
……and so on.

In those times sacrifices were much in vogue and the Aswamedha and Sarpayaga performed by Janamejaya have become famous. Satanika, the eldest of the five sons of Janamejaya succeeded him to the throne. In his time in Naimisaranya the Satrayaga was performed by Saunaka and other Rishis, which is supposed to take one thousand years. The kings of this dynasty ruled till Kali 1468 (or 1634 B.C.), and in their time the Vedic religion was patronised and protected. In the several Yagnas performed in those days many animals were sacrificed and the common men were disgusted with the sacrifices of animals. Then in Kali 1215 or 1887 B.C. Buddha was born, to Suddhodana, the 23rd king of the Ikshvaku Royal dynasty of Kosala and preached a new religion in opposition to and in disregard of the Vedas.


There is no prominent event in the history of the Ikshvaku Royal dynasty except for the birth of Buddha in 1887 B.C. In Kali 1468(B.C. 1634) Kshemaka, the last Emperor of the royal dynasty of Hastinapura and Sumitra, the last king of the royal Ikshvaku dynasty of Kosala Kingdom both died childless. So the king of Magadha became Emperor and founder of the Imperial dynasty of Magadha.(Capital of Magadha was ‘Girivraja’)

The following Post was originally published at True Indian History on July 1, 2009


Pandit Kota Venkata Chelam wrote:

As researches progress this date (1887-1807 B. C.) of Buddha is bound to be accepted by scholars, if the scholars have not so far arrived at this date, it was because there was a common notion among them that the last word on the subject had been already said. If they had realised that the question was open for further investigation atleast some of them would certainly pursue enquiry in this direction and arrived at the date fixed by me.

It is highly refreshing to note that there is at least one scholar who could not superstitiously believe the existing theory about Buddha’s date, but thought it worthwhile to investigate into the question with an open mind. I refer to Sri V. Thiruvenkatachariyar M.A., L.T., (Formerly Head of Department of Mathematics, Govt. Arts College., Rajahmundry.) who arrived at the same date as myself (1807 B. C.) as the year of Buddha’s death and has fixed the actual day of the week and the month also. (Tuesday, Vaishakha Purnima).

His way of approach to the subject was astronomical. The fact that the same date 1807 B. C. was arrived at by two different ways of approach may induce the scholars to pause and try to revise the existing fictitious date of Buddha Nirvana. (483 B. C.). Having arrived at the same date independently we had occasion to compare notes at a stage when the present volume(1) was completely printed and was awaiting binding. I thought it worthwhile to incorporate the learned professor’s thesis in this volume. He has kindly permitted this and has sent a typed copy of his thesis, (on 18-1-55) which is herein incorporated. I am thankful to the professor for thus helping the cause of the true historical research which both of us have at heart.

(1) Age of Buddha,Milinda & Amtiyoka and Yuga-Purana by Pandit Kota Venkata Chelam (1956)


WillJsMisrepPandit Kota Venkatachalam [3, 29]

All this makes Rajiv Malhotra’s Battle for Sanskrit so relevant for our times. For if foreigners claim a monopoly not only on interpretation of our traditional texts (we have seen how self-serving and expedient they have been with shifting dates to serve changing needs), but on even training future scholars of Sanskrit in foreign universities, who will be left who understands the real value of our text and tradition?

Apropos for the times, a Sanskritist almost a century ago made the same complaint about foreign malfeasance with our texts for the purpose of their political expedience.

SanskritistonChelamJatavallabula Purushottam. Sanskrit Lecturer S.R.R., and C.V.R College Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [3, xvii]

Many of you may ask “Have they no shame?”, but the question is, don’t we? The same social media whiners who carp and cavil about kings of yore failing to do the right thing, are now doing the same. Some have sold out, others are too scared, but some are simply spoiled, rotten brats who have no integrity to do the right thing and come together for a common cause. Unjustifiably arrogant, they, as Pandit Chelam complained of Rai Bahadurs past, simply hold on to the history they have been taught because it is comfortable and convenient for them. They are no different than the petty princelings who complained to Yashwant Holkar about what could have been…He replied contemptuously noting there was no point day-dreaming now. If only they had done their duty, their little part, when they had the chance…

It is not enough to merely claim the mantle of “Science and Reason”, but to actually test these “scientific” claims against empirical analysis and logic. The history we have been taught is wrong. Time to set it right. Not in the name of ego. Not in the name of self-glorification. But in the name of the truth…the real Truth.

Satyameva Jayate

Emblem_of_India.svg


References:

  1. True Indian History. [Various Blog Bosts]
  2. Kota, Venkatachalam Paakayaji (Pandit). The Mahabharata War. Vijayawada: Tirumala.1988 (posthumously)
  3. Kota, Venkatachalam Paakayaji (Pandit). The Plot in Indian Chronology.Vijayawada: Arya Vijnana. 1953
  4. Kota, Venkatachalam Paakayaji (Pandit). Chronology of Ancient Hindu History Part I. Vijayawada:AVG
  5. Kota, Venkatachalam Paakayaji (Pandit). The Age of Buddha, Milinda, and Amtiyoko. Guntur: Sri Ajanta Printers.1956
Acknowledgment: Our sincere thanks to Sri G.D. Prasad garu, grandson of Pandit Kota Venkatachalam for his kind permission to reprint these articles and excerpts.

Personalities: Savitri

savitri

After the great King Sagara, the time has come to study the life of yet another exquisite Royal Personality in Bharat’s great tradition. Not just men, but inspirational women too, have set an example on how to balance personal dreams and aspirations with familial and national duties.

Our next Personality in our Continuing Series is none other than the legendary Savitri.

Background

More than just a timeless, girl-saves-guy love story, Savitri & Satyavan is nidarsana katha in its highest form.

Savitri is among the five Satis of Sanatana Dharma and is held up as being a role model for pativrata. The story of Savitri and her husband Satyavan, first occurs in the Mahabharata in the Vana Parva. Her story is recited by sage Markandeya when Yudhisthira asks him if there is any woman who is as devout a wife as  Draupadi.

Princess Savitri was the daughter of the King of Madra, Asvapati, and his wife, Queen Malavi. Asvapati was a childless ruler, and as he grew older he began to feel anxious that he did not have an heir to succeed him. He thus undertook all sorts of penances and prayed to the goddess Savitri, residing in the sun, to bless him with a son to carry on his line. 18 years of hard penance earned him the goodwill of the goddess who appeared to him and told him he will be blessed with a spirited daughter. Soon, a daughter was born to him and he named her Savitri in honour of the goddess who blessed him.

Aryavarta

Savitri grew into a beautiful young woman and her beauty was so bedazzling that suitors got intimidated by her. Hence no one came forth to ask for her hand in marriage. Finally, her father told her that since no one was coming forth to marry her, she must go out and find a husband for herself. She set off on the search for a husband, and soon fell in love with Satyavan, the son of the  blind and impoverished king Dyumatsena. This ruler had been exiled from his kingdom (Salva desa) and was living as a hermit in the forest.

Savitri’s father was very displeased with her choice and wanted her to make another choice, but she refused to change her mind. Her father wished to hand over the kingdom to the groom so that his daughter would have a comfortable life. However, she refused this too and was adamant that she would stay in the forest with her husband and his parents.

But there was something even more dire than all the previous issues with the choice that she had made. Satyavan was destined to die one year from the day they got married. This was unbearable for Savitri’s father, who tried to dissuade her from going ahead with her plan. But Savitri, being the ever independent minded person said to him, “Once only one gets one’s inheritance, once only a daughter is given away and once only a father says, ‘I give her”’ These are three ‘once only’ acts. I have once chosen my husband, long-lived or short-lived, virtuous or wanting in virtue, I have chosen my husband once, and I shall not choose for the second time”. Faced with such strong resolve, Savitri’s father could only give in to his daughter’s wishes. Thus were Satyavan and Savitri married.

Savitri had not the slightest hesitation in giving up her royal robes and riches for the simple and humble attire of a hermit’s wife. She settled into her new life as wife and daughter-in-law and won the hearts and minds of all in that hermit’s abode, with her conduct. However, she never lost sight of the fact that in a year from the date of her marriage she was destined to lose her husband. She kept close watch on the count of days passing by and when there were but four days left to the date of Satyavan’s death, she undertook a fast for three days and three nights in order that her husband might be spared.

AchievementsPhoto: kidsgen

  • Saved her husband’s life
  • Restored her father-in-law’s health and wealth
  • Safeguarded her father’s future and her native kingdom’s security

On the appointed day of his death, when the day was halfway through, Savitri’s in-laws told her that she should break her fast. But Savitri refused, saying that she would eat only after sunset. Satyavan, in the meanwhile, had picked up his axe and was going out of the hermitage when Savitri came to him and told him that she would accompany him into the woods. Satyavan tried to dissuade her from accompanying him, telling her that her fast of the past three days would have tired her out. This, however, did not deter Savitri, and she followed him into the forest.

As Satyavan was working, he suddenly felt his head beginning to ache and began to sweat profusely. He felt so weak that he felt unable to stand. Savitri immediately took him in her arms and sat down, letting his head rest in her lap as he began to collapse. Yama, the god of death (and Dharma) appeared before her said that Satyavan’s life on this earth had reached an end and he was going to take his lifebreath away. So saying, he took a thumb length of Satyavan’s sookshma sareera even as his material body lay lifeless on the ground, and started proceeding southwards.

Savitri began to follow Yama and seeing her follow him, Yama asked her why she was following him. This was Savitri’s answer. She said, “I must go wherever my husband goes. It is established by the eternal ancient law that the wife should always follow her husband wherever he goes or wherever he is taken. By virtue of the austerities I have practised, and by the power of my love for my husband, as also the potency of my vow, and by your grace too, unimpeded I would go.” This was the Pativrata Dharma (one echelon of Stree Dharma) that she had been taught and what she lived by. Savitri then began to converse with Yama in her most elegant and refined manner, which gladdened the heart of Yama though he disapproved of her accompanying him. At last, her cultured and refined behaviour wore down his defences and he told her she could demand a boon of him as long as it was not the life of her husband. She demanded that her father-in-law’s eyesight be restored and that he be allowed to become “strong and shining in spirit like the sun and the fire.” That boon was granted and yet Savitri continued to walk with Yama.

After a while, seeing she had no intention of turning back, Yama inquired of her why she was still trailing him and whether she wasn’t tired. To that, the ever virtuous Savitri replied, “Why should I be tired when I am with my husband? I go wherever he goes. Besides, even a solitary meeting with the great is desirable; it never goes in vain. It is always beneficial to be in good company.” Now, Yama is not a welcome entity, normally, because he is the harbinger of death and hence grief. But Savitri living by her Dharma of seeing the goodness and greatness in everyone and stating that, made the normally bad tempered Yama feel honoured.

He asked her to name a second boon that did not involve bringing her husband back to life and she promptly asked that her father-in-law’s kingdom be restored to him. That wish was also granted and they continued on their way. In her pleasing manner, Savitri thus received additional boons; the third was that her own father should be blessed with a hundred sons, the fourth that she herself would be blessed with a hundred sons. Yama smiled, and said so be it.

As Yama began walking away, Savitri again followed him. Finally enraged, Yama asked how Savitri could continue to follow him after he had blessed her with so much. The clever Savitri then said “Oh Yama deva, you have graciously blessed me with a hundred sons, but how can I conceive them without my husband?“. Realising he had been out-witted, the Deva of Death praised this wise and devoted wife as an example for all time, and happily told her to ask for final boon (but this time he omitted his previous injunction against asking for Satyavan). She naturally asked for Yama to return her husband to life, which he did. Yamadeva  blessed Savitri and Satyavan, and disappeared.

In all the above chronology of the wishes expressed by Savitri, we see her selflessness shining through. Though her burning desire was to see her husband brought back to life, she was always aware of her duties a as a daughter-in-law and daughter to the elders that made up her family. Her concern for her in-laws and her own parents was placed before her own concerns and this alone was enough for Yama to understand the depth of her love for her  husband and her deep understanding of the values that a woman has to uphold and live by. Both women and men are expected to be unselfish under Dharma.

What is the lesson to be drawn from this story?

Satyavan_Savitri

The lesson of Savitri is that even the Gods bow before a woman who is forever protecting her husband and safeguarding his well-being. What she achieved through wisdom and prayer, other women may also do through the sword and strategem. But more than that, Savitri is a model for how husbands and wives are expected to be devoted to each other—that is the true driver of love.

We all are governed by the karmas we have accumulated over our many lifetimes and hence our destiny is pre-ordained. But, while that is the broad grand plan, how we respond to them and the dignity and unselfishness with which we conduct our lives, determines who we really are.

However, there are no short cuts or quick fixes to achieve it. Only by upholding dharma in the highest possible way and living life according to the Dharmic principles prescribed for each one of us, as daughters, women, wives, daughters-in-law, mothers and so on (in the case of women, with a similar list being there in the case of men), can we hope to overturn destiny. The greatness of Dharma lies in the fact that there is a possibility to make changes in our destiny but that it requires great will and tapasya to actually be able to accomplish it. The most meaningful lives, for both women and men (yes, I mean you too, boys..), are those that are lived for others. The selfish existence is the empty existence. Savitri stands as a shining example for all time. She was an empowered woman who charted her own course in life, but while she asserted her rights, she never forgot that rights go together with duties.

Such selfless women are rarely ever matched by men, and fewer still are the stories where the girl saves the guy. Savitri is one such heroine who commands our respect and admiration.

Legacy

SavitriVsYama

Contrary to modern debutantes, Savitri is a strong character and embodiment of Bharatiya Stree Shakti. Neither passive nor aggressive, she is assertive. She is intelligent, knows both her duties and her rights, and is not afraid to live up to the former while asserting the latter. But she does so with maryada (courtesy & propriety)—this is the true mark of culture and refinement.

Like the Great King Sagara, whether she too is Legendary or not, Savitri is an example and exemplar of Dharma. She exemplifies the very concept of ardhangini, which demonstrates that women cannot and should not be trod and trampled upon, but have 1 half of the share of responsibilities and rights in society. They are not worth only half of men like other cultures, but in fact the other half of men, and entitled to their share of respect and influence in society. Savitri personifies precisely how real strong women command respect.

vat_savitri_vrat_sms_wishes_3735098624

Savitri is an extremely wise woman from our epics who outwitted Yama himself and brought her husband Satyavan back to life through her intelligence. This was truly the ultimate girl-saves-guy love story. She is revered as a pativrata, as one of the pancha-satis and “Women worship Savitri by tying colored sacred threads to the Vata (banyan) tree as part of observance during the rainy season in many parts of India, the occasion being called Vatasavitri”. [2] This festival is to this day honoured, so that women too can hope to gain the wisdom and character of such a complete woman.

mahaSavitri

Beyond movies in languages such as Hindi and Malayalam, the English composer Gustav Holst was even inspired by the story to write an opera on it in 1916. What inspires even foreigners, Bharatiyas take for granted.  From the ancient Puranas to modern Popular culture, Savitri of Madra is one of the dazzling lights of our sanskriti, who attained eternal fame, and even gave the very name “Sati-Savitri”.

It may be a common joke in today’s jaded, pub-hub, dance club age for “liberated” girls to say “don’t be such a Sati-Savitri!“. But if Savitri means being an empowered woman who chose her own husband, saved his life, and secured the happiness of her family, in-laws, and nation, maybe we in fact should be.

References:

  1. Sarma, Bharadvaja. Vyasa’s Mahabharatam. Academic Publishers. 2008. pp. 329–336. Vana Parva
  2. SarDesai, D.R. India: The Definitive History. Westview: Boulder, Colorado. 2008

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

A version of this Post was published at Andhra Cultural Portal on Sep 23, 2014


The stain of irony mars yet another well-intentioned effort at civic hygiene

“Yessir, it is dirty. We are like this only…”, “It has always been this way”, “It is our kulchar, we don’t care, madam”…

Go to most of India’s cities and towns (and even villages) today, and filth, refuse, and even poverty strike the eye. Even in modernising and so-called high tech cities, such sights are not uncommon in parts of the city center, let alone outskirts. Why is it this way? Was it always the case?

rubiish.jpg
An unflattering blog about filthy conditions in India made the news

The answer is a resounding “No”. But our ignorant native informants seem to take an almost masochist pleasure in berating India’s traditional culture. Worse, some of the people from “phoreign” have also begun picking up this knack and even attributed it to assorted Hindu scriptures. Fortunately, this was vehemently opposed with counter-articles. Nevertheless, both the image, and the continuing public hygiene problem in India remain.

A few of you, particularly those who’ve had rather awkward run-ins with ABCD’s may also ask why I’ve limited this to public hygiene. But the reality is, the oft-mentioned “deodorant” critique is rather unfair. Assembly line deodorants and anti-perspirants are very modern, and fast moving consumer goods have only truly started breaking into India in the past decade. The reality is, the average Hindu is very fastidious about Personal cleanliness, bathing once, or even frequently twice a day.

There is a popular story, not sure whether it’s apocryphal or not, that the Duke of Wellington (the famous British General) in fact picked up daily bathing while in India. So if the average Indian has historically been rather clean, what explains the mess he makes of the country today, let alone himself in public? 1. Loss of civic sense and 2. Lack of consideration for others

Loss of Civic Sense

While many still debate whether or not India had a rough thousand years, it certainly had a rough 250. With the advent of the internet, the long suppressed miseries of Colonial rule are finally floating out.

  As a result of laissez-faire economic policies ruthlessly enforced by Britain, between 12 and 29 million Indians died of starvation needlessly. Millions of tons of wheat were exported to Britain even as famine raged. When relief camps were set up, the inhabitants were barely fed and nearly all died.

In contrast, cities such as Mysore and Baroda administered by indigenous Princely Rulers such as the Maharajah and Gaekwad were known for their cleanliness and organization (still seen today).

sayajiraobarodau

But the predatory taxation of company and later crown rule ravaged the countryside, driving many off their land and into the cities. Flooded urban areas, unable to cope, could not be expected to manage the basic civic amenities. And as misery loves company, the poverty and slum life became generational. Thus, the once famously hygienic Hindu (it is the religion of ritual baths after all) became associated with uncleanliness. Cities degenerated, and the rivers became a mockery. But the greatest punishment of poverty is the breaking of the spirit, and with it, goes the dignity of living. Necessity begat squalor. This was further compounded by the blind ritualism that crept into religious practice. Ritual cannot be blind to its effect on society–it too, like Dharma, must adapt to its circumstances as needed.

This is not to say every Indian city had previously been a spotless Singapore. Rather, that standards of public hygiene and municipal ordinances were certainly in existence.

“the president, in his address to the nation on the eve of Independence Day, reminded Indians that they bore the legacy of a rich cultural tradition where ancient travellers like Megasthenes (4th century BC), Fa Hien (5th century AD) and Hiuen Tsang (7th century AD), when they came to India, have written about the efficient administrative systems, with planned settlements and good urban infrastructure.”

We certainly know the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization had the highest standard of civic hygiene (almost 2 millennia) before the Roman Empire, replete with a well planned drainage system.

Certainly, the ancient Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro is emblematic of the high level of public cleanliness.

Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro (Indus-Sarasvati Valley)

Kautilya himself stipulated strict laws regarding public hygiene. He mandated fines for

In fact, there are entire sections explicitly on “civic responsibility”, prevention of “nuisance”, and “public hygiene”. How ironic that that the country and civilization most criticised for its lack of civic responsibility and public hygiene had its most famous work on government specifically mandate them…

For the entire state and society to be clean, however, individuals too must also be clean. So let us also emphasize the importance of cleanliness. Indeed, cleanliness (saucha) is one of the pivotal aspects on the path to True Knowledge, as stipulated in the Gita.  The Ramayana too described Sita’s “usual scrupulous cleanliness” as emblematic of one of her many virtues. It is for these reasons we posited Saucha as a critical aspect of Achara and emphasised how it furthers the development of Pavitrata (Purity), an important aspect of Dharma. This is because personal uncleanliness not only results in public uncleanliness, but also increases acceptance/proclivity for unclean thoughts and acts. That is why we say Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.

premmandir

I understand that India is not China to develop a system of internal passports that keep out poor people and bulldoze slums on a whim—I am not advocating that either. At the same time, each person should do his part to make his little patch of land clean—and occasionally chip in around the more public portions. Here is a wonderful program out of Bangalore run by mostly IT people.

ugly-indians-1

If they can do it, why can’t you?

Lack of Consideration for Others

Consideration for others is an important concept. Lack of it is not always the result of selfishness, in fact, frequently, it’s the end product of self-centeredness. When we are over-involved with ourselves, and unable to step outside and reflect on our own behaviors and practices, we do not think of how we affect others.

What about me?

self-centered

There is an embarrassing story from some PIOs who discussed what happened at a small, residentially run temple in the States. While the established NRIs/PIOs avoided behaving like a nuisance, the new arrivals not only engaged in noise pollution through their inconsiderate behavior, but were actually throwing trash (even used diapers!) onto the property of the non-Indian locals. But where in the Dharmashastras is such stupidity permitted?–nowhere. Kautilya himself expressly punished such nuisance behavior towards neighbours as seen above. Thus, it is self-centeredness and lack of consideration for others that is the culprit. These people simply could not be bothered to do their part for society, and wanted to get back to their cozy little routines as soon as possible.

True, many of the new batch of economic guest workers/migrants come straight from the villages, but still, there must be an awareness of changed circumstances & surroundings that necessitates some hesitance and reticence. It cannot simply be business-as-usual the moment you step outside your home (or country). So while we have previously written of the importance of atma-vichara (self-reflection) and viveka (discrimination between right and wrong), the third and possibly most important pillar, is willingness to change  or at least willingness to hear someone out (suśravasyā ) which ultimately comes from the placement of society above ourselves. That’s right, you’re part of a society…

We at ACP constantly talk about how you can dedicate 15 minutes a day for doing something for your culture/civilization. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said every Indian should dedicate 100 hours a year to cleanliness. You’re a multi-tasking person, so why not do both?

So there it is, dear reader, the importance of clean living, its evidence in our history, its centrality in our culture, and how it can better your life and country today.

References

  1. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-08-14/news/52807674_1_clean-india-national-mission-mahatma-gandhi
  2. http://www.niticentral.com/2014/01/12/memsahibs-diary-gokarnas-cleanliness-is-gokarnas-godliness-178156.html
  3. http://www.niticentral.com/2014/05/20/why-modis-focus-on-cleanliness-makes-sense-225330.html
  4. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Dedicate-100-hours-a-year-for-cleanliness-PM-Narendra-Modi-says/articleshow/42301078.cms
  5. Rangarajan, L.N. The Arthashastra. 148, 374, 375
  6. The Ramayana Of Valmiki (Vol. 5) Sundarakanda An Epic Of Ancient India

 

Why “Men of Conscience” are Dangerous

A version of this Post was published at Andhra Cultural Portal on April 20, 2014


http://izquotes.com/quotes-pictures/quote-men-never-do-evil-so-fully-and-cheerfully-as-when-we-do-it-out-of-conscience-blaise-pascal-349104.jpg

“I am yay man of conshunce” (sic), “I have to follow my haaart” (sic), “I have a conscience, don’t you?? ”three of the many tired bromides offered by our senti intellectual elite—yes, even on the conservative right. But the reality, my friends, is that such men of conscience will be the death of us.

While such preferred actions are couched in the verbiage of conscience, they are really substituting conscience for sentiment, because, let’s face it, we Indians are a ridiculously sentimental people. While the opponents of all that is good and sacred in this world may feign various sentiments, often as a ruse, when push comes to shove, they show no such ambivalence.

History itself has shown time and again how such men of conscience conveniently hear that little voice at the worst possible time. The Mahabharata and the Gita, in particular, are in fact a specific repudiation of such senti based decision-making. This is of course not to say that we shouldn’t have a conscience—we absolutely must!

Pleasure without conscience is one of the greatest sins against humanity, because it leads to exploitation, especially of the innocent and unwilling. But what I have a problem with, and as the Gita itself explicitly rejects, are these self-proclaimed “men of conscience” who conveniently discover it at all the wrong times.

Where was Yudhisthira’s conscience when he agreed to the unjust wager of Draupadi?

Where was Arjuna’s conscience when Bhishma’s conscience permitted Draupadi’s disrobing? 

Where was Shalya’s conscience when Drona and Karna participated in the unjust killing of mighty Abhimanyu?

Fortunately for Arjuna, and the Pandavas, Krishna was there to talk some serious sense into him. Thus the issue with these so-called men of conscience is not so much that conscience itself is wrong—in fact, it is a critical first step towards the path of Dharma—but rather that conscience must be entwined with principle.

Conscience must not become an excuse for sentiment. Indians are notorious not only for their prickliness but the ridiculous extents to which their sentiments can extend, in all things. But this sentiment or moha cannot blind us to balancing all interests, least of all, the right course of action. For when this happens, all of society suffers.

That is why Dharma is not Rna, but about Rta. These “men of conscience” remember their obligation at all the wrong times. They dance to the direction of Duryodhana’s, no matter how damned, all in the name of “Dharma”. That is why true Dharma is not about obligation, sentiment, or Rna, but Rta. It teaches us what obligation, or what Rna, matters at what time, due to Satya.  It is Dharma that creates Rna, not the other way around, otherwise, these are the consequences.

A political commentator I greatly respect—a man who has been able, in the darkest of days, to get us all to put aside differences of caste, creed, and sampradaya to see the greater good— recently engaged in similar such rumination, because of his personal attachment to a friendship with a particular MP. But said MP had no compunction in choosing to join the most anti-national party in India and adding legitimacy to the most corrupt administration in India’s history—and this is only the confirmed of the MP’s crimes, among many alleged ones. While I believe the noble commentator will make the right choice in the end (and not support this MP)—this episode is nevertheless testament to how we are all—even the very tall among us— subject to this, the greatest temptation of all—Moha (attachment). Fortunately, Yuktata (or justice) is the cure for it.

Our conscience (or sentiment) or even pride is often stoked to blind us to the regimented and orderly application of justice. Feelings are used to deceive us of the danger that lurks should we fall for the ruse. When Sun Tzu famously wrote that “All warfare is deception”, should we not be unsurprised when this is applied in politics and even Sanskrit? Simply because someone presents himself/herself in a pleasing, charming, learned, and intellectual manner, does not mean we should judge the book merely by its cover. Actions are what speak volumes, and it is through action and intent that we administer justice. Actions and intent must be judged against the common good.

While this well-known blogger certainly does not deserve association with the likes of the Prashant Bhushans and Arundhati Roys of the world (in fact, he is among their greatest opponents), the reality is they, unlike him, specifically tout themselves as men and women of conscience …and we all know how selective their conscience is. While I must reiterate that said blogger remains in the ranks of the very tall among us, this particular development goes to show just how susceptible we all are to moha, whether brave Pandava or brilliant columnista. Arjuna ultimately made the right choice, and despite his admiration for Karna, I believe that in the end, this blogger will as well.

So the next time you come across another such man (or woman) of conscience (however temporarily they may be affected by moha), ask him if his conscience isn’t merely a way to avoid having to do the difficult thing—i.e. making the right choice. Good friends may be hard to come by, but an ignorant friend leads to destruction and destroys Dharma.  And supporting such a friend in their adharmic escapades is also wrong.  Dharma destroys those who destroy it. Attachment to a famous friend or a “learned” leader is still attachment. Greater than learning is wisdom. That is why Rishis are rightfully venerated…not for Knowledge, but Wisdom.

We are often in our lives misled by the charm and charisma of the fair among us. The smooth talkers, the sophisticated davos men, and ye ever present “liberal intellectual” who take pleasing forms to deceive us all, as they forge their rings of power.

But one of the newest tactics is actually an oldie. An array of self-appointed modern “Acharyas” has arisen in our midst, claiming the mantle of “traditionalist”. But true Traditionalists and true Acharyas are in the Agrahara and Matha…who is this bunch trying to fool? We have seen this trick before. In appropriating the Adhikar of the Agrahara, they are commandeering our karma,Dharma & Sanskriti for their own pusillanimous purposes.

But the reality is, our judgments and even loyalty to such people should be premised on principle and gauged not by how they make you feel or how much you enjoy their company, but by whether their actions and policies are in line with the common good. Whatever good they may once have done, whatever knowledge they may have shared, their true merit is determined by character and noble action. Thus, such blue-eyed boys (and girls), whether “liberal” or “traditional”, may often seem fair, but mask a foul agenda.

I will end with a line from one of the most beloved stories of our time, the Lord of the Rings. In it, one of the characters said the following:

“I think a servant of the enemy would look fairer, but feel fouler”

…the next time ye men of conscience waffle in the name of moha, remember this wisdom, for therein lies, yours and all of our salvation.

And so my friends, rather than being a man of conscience, be a man (or woman) of principle. Because while our conscience may sometimes betray us, virtuous principles never will.