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The Global Crisis of Character

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Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.

—Heraclitus Ephesus

Like many words in our post-modern dystopia, character is one that has increasingly become of receding importance. It too, like virtue, has been mentioned here and there by the ever more reticent and the socially brave. It is the great tragedy of our times that to mention the words character or virtue (or lady or gentleman) has become a curiosity at best or an offence on the “rights” of others at worst.

We have created a society that thrives on Politically Correct protection of Characterless-ness. We have created a society that valorises IQ-obsessed hoop-jumpers who are nothing but glorified poodles performing tricks to the applause of fellow canines. This is touted as the purpose of our education: “Get job, earn salary, have money for children’s marriage, retire”. But

the End goal of Education is Character.

Why do we learn? What is the value of learning?

A quick google-search demonstrates that “crisis of character” remains more of an eye-catching book title, and  “Global crisis of character” an even more circumscribed, circumvallation of religious, new-age’y bent.

Ironically, the much ballyhooed Ivy Leagues for all their aptitude tests are now increasingly questioning whether their methodology is creating a meritocracy at all. What is merit? Is it going to a coaching centre to rote-memorise and regurgitate [if you have the money or caste connections]? Is it the increasingly dubious measure of IQ [which ignores different types of Intelligence]? Or is it the benefiting from privileged socio-economic backgrounds?

Shouldn’t the test for merit be capability in your circumstances, character to apply your education to useful things, and competence to do the job properly & honourably?

That is the problem today. Generally, the Elite School Grads in the US have wanted to be “Bankers, Consultants, & Lawyers”, and in India, primarily engineers (or unemployable Humanities graduates) desiring to go abroad to make money…generally doing the same. The Reservation system is admittedly broken—after all, government positions exist to ensure competent officers to do the work of the public…not as a socio-economic experiment. Past injustices should be remedied, but not to the extent that the purpose of a job or a position is forgotten. And this applies for our so-called “merit” candidates as well. Merely demonstrating ability to take a test is not demonstrative of competence for the position.  The present poor reputation of IAS babus is emblematic of that. For all their read and regurgitate, the only real capacity most have demonstrated is capacity to secure sinecures. Even the much vaunted scientist ultimately works for someone, generally more strategically intelligent than they are. What then is the purpose of education?

Is it merely to create individuals substituting one form of power (analytical) for another (wealth or lineage?). What happens when alleged “high iq types” sellout the national interest, because they have calculated that to be the most “efficient” course of action? What kind of society does this create?

Once upon-a-time, societies the world over would have families that sacrificed themselves for the nation, or individuals who would sacrifice themselves for families. That was the meaning of nobility, true nobility. Today we have families that sacrifice the nation for themselves, and individuals who sacrifice their own families for their own egos.That is the meaning of bastardy, true Bastardy.

This is the crisis of character we face today. And make no mistake, for all our cutting criticism of India and Indians, this is a global crisis. In India it is in fact least obvious due to Bharat remaining one of the last refuges of traditional, family-oriented culture—but this too is flailing fast.

The characterless have inherited the Earth, And they hide in many forms to justify their bastardy: Beauty, Wealth, Caste, Ritual, IQ, and now, of course, Genetics. But Might, in whatever form it is found, doesn’t make Right. If knowledge is power, so is beauty. If money is power, so is (caste) privilege. When elites (of whatever type) are formed for their own enjoyment, when power for its own sake becomes self-justifying, when no higher ideal beyond “cause we are” or “cause I can” is appealed to, then not only is the Kali Yuga deep, but the characterless have inherited the earth.

For our desi alt-right wrathofgnon promoters conveniently skipping over this

That is why the means of their power becomes sanctified as the most important quality, rather than merely another cog in the wheel. “Because she’s hot”, “Because he’s rich”, “Because they’re my caste”, “Because Holy Ritual”, “Because High IQ”, and now “Because Good Genes”. Character, what makes the world livable, what makes burdens bearable, what makes romance meaningful, what makes an individual trustable…character itself is near nowhere to be found, let alone, emphasised. The removal of racial quotas in American universities is well and good, but the removal of character as a qualifier has wreaked havoc.

It is because teleology has gone by the way-side our society has become inert and ineffectual. Addled not-only by sensual pleasure but by over-indulged ego, we have lost sight of why we do things at all, and do them for their own sake, or because others are doing it to.

app.hedgeye.com

  • Why do we eat?
  • Why do we sleep?
  • Why do we have sex?
  • Why do we live?

But perhaps, most important of all, why do we learn?

Many may ask, why learning has become more important than living, and that is because we live in an era where quantity of life has become more important than quality of life. Similarly, quantity of learning has become more important than quality of learning (wisdom). Lack of learning, true learning, is emblematic of this. The pedant of myriad memory tricks has become more important than the practicing pandit. The philognostic more important than the philosopher. Mere quantity of learning, mere quantity of knowledge, and competitions to showcase it in unseemly ego displays to the applause of the clueless and the tasteless, has resulted in wisdom being sidelined.

What is Character

character

Before one can construct character, or even understand how crucial it is, one must first learn what it means in its full sense. Moral character is only one aspect of personal character. Purity of conduct is important, but only one element. In our era, one of the all too tragic tragedies is that women (and men) who may have stumbled once on the moral purity aspect, wonder what at all the point is in preserving the rest of their character. But that is unfair (to them) and all too dangerous for society. Everyday you have a choice as to whether you decide to be a good person or a bad person. It’s upto you whether you want one fall to multiply into many.

Admittedly, it is very difficult to negotiate the treacherous waters of college popularity, and pressure to preserve relationships often leads one to do things one may not wish to do. But rather than a binary of 1 and 0, think of character as a spectrum. Even if you cannot be that absolute sterling character in katha or purana, keep the essence of who you are, and try to be some modern version of the ancient standard.

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. [1]

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 (especially Noble Character) is about having integrity to do the right thing when obvious, even when difficult.It’s about who you are when no one else is watching.

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

Character is about “dancing with the one that brung you”, not running off with the one who shows up later in the fancy car.

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

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.

Character does not consist of putting up dp’s and gravatars showcasing severity to hide behind. Real character is not tough talk or braggadocio. It is about setting aside one’s ego to come together for the common good.

And yet, what do we have today. The self-same self-anointed saviours of society don’t even have the character to introspect, and ask whether they are doing the right thing or supporting the wrong voices, stubbornly hold on to illogical colonial theories. In their culture of “bros before hoes” they have forgotten what it means to be gentlemen of noble character (Aryabhava). They talk of “red pill” manliness, while failing to have the thumos to defend women.

Worst of all, they don’t even have the character to intelligently and intellectually confront those fundamentally harming the common interest, leading the innocent internet hindu off a cliff. Content to merely troll each other, the intellectual descendants of Tilak don’t even have the manhood to intellectually counter neo-Revolutionary views that would destroy their society. And forget introspection, that is the least of their worries. Follower counts are far more important. So much for thumos. So much for the self-anointed “The Best and the Brightest”.

Best and the Brightest

In our IQ and genetics obsessed era of error, the examples of history, even recent history, are often forgotten. Credentialed hoop-jumpers are quick to point out that they must axiomatically be “the best and the brightest”. But what they forget is that, this term has actually acquired a duly negative connotation.  But it is not just politicians who are worthy of censure and condemnation.

The laundry list of professional doctors, lawyers, MBA’s, and yes, even scientists, have set aside their responsibility & duty, in their money or sinecure-snorting state of hubris.

And yet, how quickly we forget the lessons of ethics. How quickly we forget the responsibility of knowledge. When you only ask whether you can or could without asking whether or not you should, this is what happens.  “The Best and the Brightest” indeed…

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that simplicity is better than complexity, but if we must have a sophisticated culture, let it celebrate virtue:

It is by following this example that the truly great monarch…drew from the very bosom of the arts and sciences…the dangerous trust of human knowledge…yet the sacred guardians of morals…

Those Academies also, which, in proposing prizes for literary merit, make choice of such subjects as are calculated to arouse the love of virtue in the heart of citizens…not only by agreeable exercises of the intellect, but also by useful instructions. [1,92]

We have physicists, geometricians, chemists, astronomers, poets, musicians, and painters in plenty; but we have no longer a citizen among us

But compare his example to what we have today. Perennially mocked, our self-proclaimed “high iq types” crave power…if only their sheer genius could be appreciated.

Even beyond the obsession with mathematicisation, model-based thinking has produced “erudite” but common sense lacking solutions such as this:

The council of “Alphas” vs “Sub-Omegaloids”. Food for thought for our “High IQ Types”. Why mere “analytical horsepower” isn’t enough for developing and implementing practical, strategic solutions to societal problems.

The intelligent, IQ, EQ, or multiple-intelligent, all can be corrupted by power. It is not a dearth of genius that destroys societies, but a dearth of character.

Dearth of Character leads to Death of Societies. And perhaps that is the greatest tragedy of our times. Sarasvati is sought by those craving learning—yet they forget that she is venerated above all as the apotheosis of the Truth. Vagdevi is Speech personified, and that speech is that which is true.  Sarasvati is the Truth, and rather than mere learning, it is preservation of the Truth that is most sacred, and automatically brings prosperity and power, but most importantly, gives us purpose. But today the pleasant lie is preferred to the unpleasant truth. Individuals hold on to what they have been taught so they can see themselves as “learned”, failing to ask whether what they have learned is in fact erroneous. Ego has become more important than reality.

It is not “high IQ types” who guide society. IQ is a limited and increasingly questionable measure of intelligence–even among those with the highest of IQ’s. In fact, the multiple intelligence model is increasingly taught in the Western Academy.  What good is IQ if the position requires management of individuals? What good is IQ if reading of emotion is required? What good is IQ if strategic thinking is required to pull disparate bits of information across disciplines? Suitability for position is determine beyond test-taking ability.

Make no mistake, subject-matter understanding is required But mastery of theory is one thing, competence in practice is another.

Do you take the candidate who gets 100% marks but is characterless and will engage in corruption?–or do you take the candidate with 90% marks, but who has a reputation for honesty and competent job performance? What good is your (self-proclaimed) IQ if you are a coward, and cannot withstand pain or pressure (or even momentary discomfort), to safeguard the common good? That is the problem today. India (and other parts of the world) are training “high iq” hoop jumpers who excel as slaves, rather than as citizens of character. But a high iq slave is still a slave.

In our era of Jan Lokpal and entitled hypocrites of all sorts attempting to anoint themselves guardians of society, the eternal question is not just rhetorical, it has an answer:

quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

constructingcharacter

The Cost of Characterless-ness

Characterless-ness may seem to be cost-free to those without character, but that is because they tend to be the primary beneficiaries. In fact, they freely engage in it only until the costs are visited upon them–at which point, they become the loudest (and most hypocritical) of bemoaners. We all know that person.

Then of course, there are those voices who will proclaim, “Well, that’s to be expected, we have to maximise utility, and all I am doing is utility maximisation”, or “Ayn Rand tells me its ok to be selfish”.  This is what happens when consumer culture (yes, even experiences and love can be consumed–just ask expedia.com, yatra, or hallmark) becomes the driving guide rather than relationships. We have become so driven by fear of “missing out” and “YOLO [which any thinking Hindu should axiomatically reject]”, that having that experience or doing what you want becomes more important than who you are doing with.

Social media and mobile phones have made it even easier to bail on our friends and family (when something better comes along). This too is characterlessness. True, there is a difference between skipping out on your friend’s 30th so you could see Coldplay, and missing a family event because you have a rare chance to meet the President. But proportionality has long ago gone out the window, especially for Indians. Sentiment and consumption based-living devolves into precisely that animal instinct of doing something because it feels good (or not doing something because it hurts bad). That is calculation not consideration. Consideration for others is at the heart of character, because we ask what is the best for all or most, rather than what is just pleasant for ourselves. When man (or woman) cares more about how much, rather than, with whom, this is the end result.

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.png
Intellectual heiress to SATC?

Others may demur, saying “Well, it’s what’s fashionable”. True, media-messaging across the spectrum has been promoting the fast-based consumer life-style. False dichotomies are presented across the board (i.e. old fashion vs hyper-modern). But one can live in the modern world while maintaining some semblance of ethics and morality. The problem is, that there is no support for voices that use the medium of modernity to support traditional values. For all the stereotypes of the African-American community and their music, it was never just “gangsta rap” or “bitches and hoes”.  This is a song from the late 90s when all that was at its height.

What was the message for young men & women alike?

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”.  She asks men, how can they think they win if they don’t treat women right?  But no, that’s ok, gangsta rap, red pill, and racist IQ theories are more important to hide behind  to slander a race or community.

But wait, in India, we now have “Char bottle Vodka”

The reality is, such songs as Lauryn Hill’s are ignored by those who only want to be told what they want to hear. If you don’t value the right thing, if you don’t have the right moral aesthetic, you embrace a soulless one [particularly if you understand subtext]. Before people complain about “moralising”, bear in mind, even yester-year songstress Lauryn Hill sang that she’s not perfect, and was once young and in the same shoes, the “same predicament” as today’s young ladies. But character is not about falling for the trend if you ever fall, but in bucking the trend if it lacks aesthetic, especially moral aesthetic.

The reality is, it’s not a false dichotomy, a false choice between fun vs tradition(-al boredom), between barefeet vs high heels, or dhotis vs blue jeans.

The choice is between no respect and know respect.

Character is about not only respecting others and their genuine interests/well-being but also about respecting yourself. Self-respect.

Everyone wants fun, but the question is, what are they prepared to do to get it? Everyone prefers to avoid pain, but what are they prepared to do to avoid it? Any idiot can knock up a girl, but it’s taking responsibility for your actions that separates the men from the boys.

Any fool can have a child, that doesn’t make you a father“. Being a man is about taking responsibility for your actions. A real man isn’t the one who “gets with as many chicks as he can“. A real man, is one who shows character in looking after those from whom he is responsible, and not just following fashion, but bucking the trend when necessary. And for those who argue, Vell, vee are all animals, so we should not be ashamed of instinct”, well, there’s this to think about too:

Ladies, of course, are no less innocent. They too have made poor choices. If men have become obsessed about sex, women have become obsessed about material possessions–each gender tormenting the other over having “more”. Character isn’t about not wanting to have fun. Character is about not wanting to hurt others in order to have fun. Do you value the experience, do you value “that thing”, more than the human being?

And when others are hurting those for whom you are responsible, standing up and doing the right thing to defend them, is also character. In fact, it is national character.

National Character

The Global Crisis of Character is also reflected in the Comity of Nations. A nation is nothing but a community, a family, writ on larger scale. It is national character that determines national priorities, and even the willingness to prioritise properly.  The problem invariably comes when individuals want to have all the exceptions, all the tax deductions,  all the national service exemptions, while others must do their duty with due diligence. Do as I say, not as I do.

Declining national character is increasing even in the most powerful of nations.  How to secure the national character? The strategically clueless continually look for any excuse to drum up ritual. Their latest theory is that “holy ritual” is the origin of the martial–joke. Perhaps that may be the case for the characterless, but the origin of the martial is in Rajo guna. Those who fail to value rajas are usually mired in tamas (whatever their claims to the sattvic). It is Rajo guna that drives the martial and Rajo guna that is required to secure the national character. It is what drives individuals to endure, to not cave in when facing terrible odds, and to hearken to their allies when common interests are threatened. No wonder the ritualistic are confounded…they practice none of these things. This is a Jaichand complex in the making.

Loyalty to obvious Jaichands whose treachery is exposed is as good as being a Jaichand yourself. Arjuna was very loyal to Drona, who was his “AchArya”. But as Krishna conveyed to him, Drona was on the side of Adharma, and he had his own hidden agenda. Whatever past goodwill or Rna, the needs of Dharma are higher. That is how character is demonstrated. Not by sacrificing the vulnerable like Yudhisthira did to Draupadi, so that he could keep his word on the wager, but by making the difficult decision to set aside your own Rna, your own personal obligation, for the common good.

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.

More than the Jaichands, it is the selfish crab who, despite repeated calls to unite by Shivaji, preferred to slink in his own lair, feigning ignorance or arrogance. The British too did not even require every Indian king to betray his fellow Bharatiya; John Company only needed them to not give support to their countrymen at crucial times.

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.

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 old men.

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.

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.

Talent is good. But talent, plus hard work, plus character is even better. Great talent will be defeated by medium talent with better character.

More than that, the desire to coast on talent, the desire to rely merely on clever talk, rather than concerted and consistent efforts is what threatens the national cause.  Parables and Panchatantra fables abound over the value of consistent and concerted action rather than coasting on talent. From the tortoise and the hare to the grasshopper and the ants, many a children’s story emphasises this importance. Even the career of Vijay Amritraj is emblematic of this. That is because…

hardworktalent

The Power of Character

The Sanskrit drama Mrcchakatika is famous in Classical Indic Literature for many reasons. The author Sudraka was himself a king, but the story is notable for the character of Charudatta, who was noted for his…character.

charudatta
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The archetypal dhiroshanta, Charudatta was a Brahmana of famed noble characteristics. So great was his character and virtue, that the courtesan Vasantasena fell in love with his qualities and gave up her life of luxury, pleasure, and comfortable wealth, for the mere chance at marrying such a good man. Charudatta underwent many difficulties and injustices in his life, and even came very close to death. But his character was his guide throughout it all, and he endured terrible risks in order to preserve it. That was why he was respected by all and venerated for his wisdom and advice…tested by circumstance and demonstrated by example.

characterpaine

To conclude, there is a famous legend about King Vikramaditya of Ujjain. The ever vigilant Maharaja was also a famed adherent of the truth. One night, when he was silently guarding his capital incognito, he saw a beautiful woman, verily a Devi, clad in red, leave the city. He stopped her, asking, “Oh Devi, who are you and why are you leaving?“. She responded, “I am the Goddess of Power. I am leaving this city as the citizens have become criminal, and it is no longer a fit abode for me”. “I understand“, replied Vikramaditya .

Then, another beautiful lady, clad in gold, began leaving. Vikramaditya asked her too “Oh Devi, who are you and why are you leaving?“. She replied, “Oh Maharaja, I am the Goddess of Wealth. I am leaving your capital as the citizens have become corrupt, and it is no longer a fit abode for me”.  “I understand“, he relented again.

Finally, a third beautiful lady, clad in white, began leaving. Vikramaditya asked her too, “Oh Devi, who are you and why are you leaving?” She replied, “Oh Rajan, I am the Goddess of Truth. I am leaving your people as they have become immoral“. This time Vikramaditya said “Oh Devi, please do not leave. I can live a life without Power and Wealth, but I cannot live a life without Truth. I beg you, please stay in my kingdom“. The Goddess smiled, and said “So, be it”.

Soon, the Goddess of Wealth returned. Surprised, Vikramaditya asked “Oh Devi, why have you returned?“. She replied “I am the Goddess of Wealth, I reside where Truth resides”.  Then finally the Goddess of Power returned. Amazed, Vikramaditya asked “Oh Devi, why have you returned?”. She replied “I am the Goddess of Power, I reside where Wealth resides”.

The moral of the story, of course, is that power, wealth, pleasure, all can be given up in the name of Truth (of which Dharma is the expression), because they are dependent upon it. This is because men and women of character can lose every material possession in the world, every opportunity for pleasure, every right of power, but their character is in their own hands.

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

Dharmachakra

References:

  1. http://www.wikihow.com/Strengthen-Character
  2. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. The Social Contract and Discourses. BN. 2007

Why are Indians so Gullible?

The Peanuts - Football Miss

This is a question that has dogged many a patriotic Bharatiya, and has been gleefully theorised by many a con-artist Videshi—the British most of all.

Assorted sordid theories of all sorts have been proffered psycho-analysing Indians using various fraudulent Freudian and now neo-Marxist theories (ostensibly aimed at digesting the Hindu cause into a new “hindu Left”…as if Marx & Mao haven’t done enough damage). Nevertheless, this is an aspect of the modern Indian that is very troubling as we live in very democratic times, and cannot afford such gullibly selfish, sanctimonious, stubborn, stupidity. Much of the gullibility is due to the sanctimony of some sections. But ancient Brahmanas understood the difference between Vidya and Jnana. Obedience to a guru after completion of one’s studies was not absolute—and primarily due to respect and gratitude for the one who educated an individual. But there is a long history of sishya reluctantly but eventually and out of necessity revolting against his guru, when he believed his guru was wrong. Arjuna vs Drona is the most famous example, but Bhishma vs Parashurama was another . Bhishma was respectful throughout the engagement, but defeated Parashurama, and was prevented by the Devas from humiliating him with final use of an astra. Parashurama, after all, is a future Saptarishi.

But Guru-moha is still moha. One must use Viveka (distinguishment between right and wrong)  to determine when genuine rna and prema degenerate into Moha (delusion/attachment). As we wrote in our preceding article, this Guru-sishya complex has expanded far beyond the original purvey of the spiritual. If you decide to take a spiritual guru, then be give reverence to him/her. But remember, in the Kali Age, there are many a Kalnemi, many a fraudulent guru, and many a fraudulent Brahmin. Mere ritual, yajnopavitha, or even a smattering of sanskrit is not the way to separate the wheat from the chaff. Even the venerable Acharya Chanakya, an orthodox Brahmin who is often critiqued via modern lenses due to his views on women and lower castes, wrote as follows about different types of Brahmins:

Akrishta Phalamoolaani vanavaasarathah sadhaa

Kuruthe aharahah shraddhamrushirviprah sa uchyathe |73

“The Brahman who eats only roots and bulbs produced from the land untilled, who ever dwells in jungles and performs the Shraddha [of his departed ancestors] everyday is called a Rishi (sage).”[1,31]

Laukike Karaani rathah Pashoonaam Paripalakah

Vaanijjyakrishnikarmaa Yah Sa Vippro Vaishya uchchyate.|74

“The Brahman who ever remains busy in the mundane work, who owns and tends to cattle, who tills the land and does farming is known as Vaishya (Merchant class) Brahman. [Chanakya is trying to assert that one’s social category is not defined by birth but by one’s profession.]” p.31

Laakshaadhi Tailaneelaanaam Kausumbhamadhusavishaan

Vikretha Madhyaamaamsaanaam sa vipra soodra uchyathe|75

“The Brahman who sells lac and its products oil indigo plant, flowers, honey, ghee, wine, meat and its product is called a shudra Brahman”p.31

Vedadravyam gurudravyam paradaaraabhimarshanam

Nivraah sarvabhootheshu vipraschaandaala ucchyate |76

“The Brahmin who steals the things belonging to the Gurus and gods, copulates with other’s wife and is able to [dwell] amongst the beings of any species is called a Pariah-Brahman”. P.32

Vaapeekoopat daagaanaa maaraama sukhe lashvanaam

Ucchedane niraashanka se vipre mleccha ucchyate |77

“The Brahman who recklessly destroys the temples, wells, ponds, orchards without any fear of social repercussion

Is verily a Mleccha [barbarian] Brahman”p.32

Parakaaryavihanthaa cha daambhikah svaarthasaadakah

Chhaleedveshee sadhukrooro maarjaar ucchyate|78

“The Brahman who puts hurdles in other’s ways, who is deceitful, scheming, cruel bearing ill-will for others, sweet by tongue but foul by heart is called a Tom-Cat Brahman”p. 32

Thus, it is character and conduct that is the mark of the true Brahmana, and it is by character and conduct we must judge people, not mere birth, and character and conduct that we are missing today. This obviously applies to other castes beyond Brahmin as well, but Chanakya’s remarks are particularly important in determining whom to seek let alone anoint as an AchArya.

But while it’s important to have healthy criticism, it must not devolve into self-loathing or blaming only one community. It is imperative that people of all varnas and jatis introspect, to correct not only their own respective misbehaviours, but also their own gullibility. Along with “Surpanakhas Daughters” there are many Sons of Ravana today who are failing in their Dharma. Rather than latching on to clownish foreign cliches about “neo-patriarchy“, understand your own civilization and what makes it strong. The Real Man is not the one who shouts the loudest or is the most aggressive or who RT’s knock off memes to feel good. The real man is one who is neither passive nor aggressive but assertive and knows when to use force, when not to use force, when to speak up, and when to shut the heck up. A number of Dharmic Women have spoken up on behalf of Men, but it is important that those men who claim to uphold the mantle of Dharma, first understand what Nara Dharma is in the first place.

Rather than obsess about whether the Bharatiya Nari is doing her Dharma, first evaluate whether you are doing yours. More than anyone else, men cannot afford to be careless and gullible.

How many times have Indians of all stripes fallen for the sweet talk of foreigners, only to be surprised and assassinated (rather than defeated in battle). Kings, ministers, and even today, with Prime Ministers vis-a-vis the Arabs, Turks, British, and today with Pakistanis. 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 Rajneeti is Shut up and Be aware of your surroundings.

Awareness is Life“. How many make it a point to be aware? It is understandable to be fooled every now and then—after all, even the very wisest do not see or know all things. Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me. Indians are fooled time and time again. But Indians can’t even shut the heck up, let alone make an effort to avoid being fooled. 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.

Before teenage and twenty something alt-right half-wit half-men start making a nuisance of themselves lecturing on Dharma which they don’t even understand, it is imperative for them to comprehend that the stepping stones to Dharma begin with Sabhyata (civility), Saujanya (etiquette), and Maryada (propriety/courtesy).

“Red pill”/rohypnol Alpha-Beta BS won’t make real men out of you (the heads of those “movements” for morons  aren’t even real men). Following them and their puerile politics and regurgitating their jargon even after they repeatedly insult your culture and women is emblematic of a lack of self-respect. This is all the more so, when these eminently unmasculine masculinity ‘theorists’ have middle eastern and western backgrounds that can be easily mocked. Have some shame. Reject “Red pill” and read about Rama instead. Not ctrl-v “Rama” in place of whatever wrathofgnon meme you are ripping off of, but the real Rama, as he was in the Ramayana. Sri Rama was a peerless King, mighty warrior, and the uttama Purusha, but he also practiced all of these principles, which is why he was called Maryada Purushottam.

If you practice none of these, shut the “[c]uck” up, listen, and learn.

DharmaMandir

This is Dharma. This is Achara. This is Rta. This is Satya. Understand these first before lecturing people decades older than you and who outrank you on the basis of sheer anubhava (experience). Rather than bray about the “The Return of Kings” learn from a real One. Improper behaviour around women or seniors is not the mark of a mensch or an “Alpha”, but that of a dumbass. A true gentleman, as Rama showed, behaves civilly even around Surpanakha, not because of what it says about her, but what it says about him. Defending yourself and love ones is one thing, perennial and perpetual indecorum is another. Confidence is not shown through abrasiveness, but exuded through accomplishment, behaviour, character, and regal bearing. “60% of all human communication is non-verbal”…for a reason.

Grow up, behave properly, and treat people with respect to get respect. Disagree without being disagreeable, and weigh proportionality in response to offence & issue importance.

Make yourselves useful rather than alienating your own people. And if you don’t know what to do…ASK! Find an established elder or senior and ask how you can be of use rather than pretend like you have it all figured out.  If they tell you they don’t have any solutions or they’re “not here to educate people”, they probably aren’t the right guide, are they?

As we wrote previously, find a mentor—life is not a Quiz Show or a Trivial Pursuit (pun intended). At your age, you don’t know jack. Most of you even failed at finding the right Acharya (hint: real acharyas aren’t online giving gyaan…). As Acharya Chanakya wrote, not every person born a brahmin is a true Brahmana by Guna and Dharma. Especially when this is the case in the Kali Yuga, each sishya also has a responsibility to Dharma that is greater than whatever Rna is owed to his Guru. This does not mean impudence or ingratitude to our instructors (or initiatiors into history), but rather, it means understanding the difference between a spiritual guru, an Acharya (a real Acharya), a professor, and a mere teacher or mentor.

A guru, a true spiritual guru convicted of no crime, is owed obedience for those wish to walk the path of moksha and receive Brahma-jnana. An Acharya is one who embodies the laws that are gathered (achinoti)and given to us as Achara. While he is given reverence, obedience to him is not absolute, as Sri Krishna asserted to Arjuna to urge him to fight and defeat Drona. A professor (praadhyaapaka or praadhyapikaa (woman)) is owed discipline in the classroom, propriety (Maryada) and respect as superior both inside and outside the classroom—but he (or she) is not owed subservience. A teacher (sikshaka or adhyapikaa(woman)) can be an instructor on any topic, and formal deeksha is not even often given. This is because only a fool thinks he knows everything, and thus, should give basic respect and saujanya (etiquette) to an instructor, be it in a formal course, or informally as a favour or for fee.

A mentor is not even a teacher, but is one’s own senior from whom we seek advice over the long term. He or she gives guidance to a mentee/protégé who, in all likelihood, is very naïve (and gullible about the ways of the world). A mentor is not owed obedience, but he too is owed basic respect and saujanya (etiquette). Seniors invariably outrank juniors purely on the basis of age. When someone goes out of their way to give you guidance, show humility and behave properly. Whatever knowledge you may have gained, they are wiser than you out of sheer anubhava (experience), whatever you think you may have absorbed via osmosis or inhaling the fumes from some fraudacharya’s throne.

Finally there are peers and juniors. They may not be owed maryada or even saujanya, but basic sabhyata (civility) is a mark of your own good breeding. Behaving disagreeably, being obnoxious, and making a general nuisance of yourself is the mark of the very barbarism many claim to themselves be fighting. When we stare into the abyss, we must remember that it stares back into us.

Nevertheless, the binary complex of guru-sishya, know-it-all/know-nothing, complete submission/total non-compliance must end. This giving of Gyaan is the result of this complex. But what happens when the majority are merely peers?—Infighting.

This infighting wastes an ungodly amount of time, and is driven by the unjustified egos of emotional children, whatever their social rank. This must end henceforth.

No wonder Indians are gullible, the know-it-all believe he knows not only everything, but everyone, and so gets taken for a ride. But this know-it-all-ism is a product of something else as well. This has been diagnosed elsewhere as a result of “laziness” and “feel-good” inclination (attributed to tamas). While all these are indeed true, there is in fact something greater at work.

The Indian disinclination to deal with uncertainty is the great problem that faces us today. That is why so many of our self-proclaimed “polymaths” and “learned acharyas” are so pathetic when it comes to strategic thinking. How do we face the problems confronting our society…as a society? For this they not only have no inclination to properly answer, they have no answers, only lust for influence and lust. Reliance on them based on “sabda” pramana alone is absolute foolishness. They are neither spiritual gurus nor true acharyas, and only arrogant casteist cretins and well-meaning but naïve people anoint them so.

The childish desire to initiate and to “feel included” in one of these dimwit digital paramparas is misguiding more and more people by the minute, and is symptomatic of the asymptotically asinine binary behaviours of the modern Hindu (internet or otherwise). Inability to strategically, or even at a basic level, critically think is the result of this. A slogan is created, ideas are crudely and uncritically copied and pasted, and voila, a new movement of the month is born (usually inspired by one of these foreign philistines). Rather than taking time to strategically study one’s own tradition, information matching one’s own confirmation bias (“Only we can be smart, Saheb is smart, we must be genetically descended from Saheb“) and book clippings are used to substitute for critical thinking. Book clippings and quotations are good supplements, but not without independent analysis and verification and useful application.  Develop Strategic thinking, or at the very least, basic critical thinking, which even lawyers “defending the man” and scientists “working for the man” have.

Imagination is not the same as myth-making or fiction-writing. Imagination is greater than this and includes improvisation and strategic thinking. Indians may be good at the first (jugaad) but are terrible at the latter. And this is the main problem today. Rather than systematically and methodically studying whatever uncertainty faces us, individuals prefer to live within the security of their own biases.

It is why a Pollock (or his equivalents on the “Ritual Right”) merely have to grow a beard, don a dhoti, quote a few scriptures, and voila, gullible Indiots promote them left and right and alt-right. It is so predictably profitable, it has practically become a recipe even among Internet Hindus. Have you people no shame? No sense of self-respect? The British beat you in basically the same way. They pretended to be one thing, and did another, and you indiots went along thinking “they are my business partners…why will they betray me?“.

Similarly, we see the creation of new “saviours” even within the Indian-by-blood ranks. Does it no occur to you naifs that you are being given exactly what you want? Does it not sound too perfect for that? Do you honestly think someone employed by a phoreign sarkar in their national laboratory could do anything on the internet without his employer knowing? How gullible are you?

Just because someone looks the part, doesn’t mean they are playing it. They may be commissioned to play another part altogether.

Worst of all, is that over-specialisation has bred a new breed of social species who in fact likely believes himself to be a separate genetic species. He enjoys lording over others, and thus, must find a new theology now that Varnashrama Dharma’s emphasis on guna has been asserted. No wonder he is wowed by a little ritual here, a lot of genetics there, and citation of gotra everywhere—it is precisely what he wishes to believe, and he laps it up like the lapdog he is.Are hindus prepared to find out the truth?” he asks—the question for these dolts is, are they?

AITAVAIDIKA

When the genetics is contested, when the history is documented, and when the Veda itself contradicts the fraudulent interpretations of foreign employed frauds, how stupid do you have to be to believe this? It takes a special kind of stupidity to advocate AIT… a kind that masquerades as over-secure omniscience but is steeped in the worst kind of (insecure) nescience—one that believes more in the separateness and division of Hindus and that all good things can only come from outside. Only losers lacking self-respect forever sift  for foreign origins–no wonder they adopt foreign fads. It is one thing to argue genetics (though even that is contested, and genetics != language), it is quite another to garb one’s self in the sacred Veda, when the Vedic tradition clearly contradicts this. This is why ritualists are rubes—not because ritual isn’t important—it’s very important. Rather it’s because ritualism is embrace of ritual uber alles and ignores essential, practical aspects of our Dharma such as Truth and even survival. The ritualist is not a pragmatist—he is a buffoon with only partial knowledge who believes that if only he does some ritual, he need not change, he need not worry about saving his tradition and civilization.

Follow the fraudacharya and his ritual, and we will be saved.” Assert AIT based on questionable genetics and fraudulent Vedic interpretation and we have neo-hindutva eugenics. Regurgitate the Red Pill and develop “neo-patriarchy”. Have some shame and get some sense. No, you are not smarter than everyone else, you are dumber. This is because even with the acquisition of (some) knowledge you have become even more ignorant and more gullible. Grow a pair, ask tough questions and deal with the uncertainty. No one, and that means no one, on social media is what they seem. Digital facades are just that, digital. And rather than just argue for the sake of it, or because you’ve invested years of reputation in it, and staked credibility on it, be a real man, and own up to your mistakes. But don’t take it from me, take it from a real Acharya.

When real acharyas have written copiously about how the Vedas only support OIT (whatever the genetics says on a given day), how can you trust a fraud who garbs himself in Veda and Vedic ritual, giving “Vedic” support  to AIT and origin in central asia?

For argument’s sake, assume for a second the genetics might favour AIT: has not the wool been pulled over your eyes on the Veda? Ask yourself why? Who benefits? Scientists aren’t qualified Vedic authorities, only Brahmanas from agraharas living the traditional way are. One has already answered this.

Different varnas do not mean your are a different species or different race. Historically, varna and jati provided for the passing down of tradition from father to son & mother to daughter, ensuring not only specialisation, but also a legacy to live up to and to take pride in. But because a small set of a small section of people crave power and influence they don’t deserve, they are prepared to give up their self-respect vis-à-vis foreigners, so that they may oppress their own native countrymen. Such people pervert and corrupt varnashrama dharma for their own ends, and whether they are “mercantiles”, “feudals”, or “clericals”—sellouts are sellouts.

This is the cost of gullibility vis-à-vis adharmic foreigners. After all, what ultimately happened to Purniah, who supported the Persian-language imposing Tipu? It is why those incapable of strategic thought have no place in politics. It is why those who crave power and wealth are forbidden from interpreting the sacred Veda. It is why only traditional Brahmanas in mathas, agraharas, and devalayas are the ones qualified to give definitive interpretations of the Vedic tradition, and not “by-birth” poets and scientists who are susceptible to material inducement courtesy their “patriarchal” patrons. If writers today get paid by the word, don’t you think they can also get paid by the interpretation? When all this has been documented about how academics and even laukika “traditional scholars” are given employment and patronage if they toe a certain line, why do you gullibly accept whatever it is you read? The only reason you do so, is because you are not comfortable asking uncomfortable questions.

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This fear of uncertainty is the bane of modern Indians, but this is not our traditional way. Perhaps that is why some sections are forever searching for foreign inspiration, they prefer the fake certainty, the fake certitude, and fake superiority foreign ideology in turn confers. As Shivoham has written, comfort with uncertainty is very much a part of the native Indic tradition—indeed, it is a built in protection against absolutism.

Doubt is not bad. Doubt is good. Doubt means you are a thinking and logical being. Certitude means you are a moron.Doubt is the essence of real Faith—otherwise, it’s only blind faith that you have. Here are the dangers of blind faith in anything, even science.

That is why tradition exists to balance science and why science & pragmatism exist to balance tradition. That is the key to survival and meaningful existence. Not andh bhakti, not hero worship or personality cults, not [alt movement of the day], and sure as hell not eugenics.

If something is too perfect, it probably is. For all you japanophiles out there, learn to ask the right questions rather than give all the wrong gyaan.

Excess of certitude is based on several possible though not necessarily mutually exclusive: 1.Deceit (due to agendas or desire to appear smart) 2.Fear of uncertainty, since admission of doubt destroys existing model, and model-based thinking 3. Middle Manager Mindset (academics included as routine tasks obviate need for strategic thinking) 4. Inability to strategically think since one’s life is based around only sabda pramana.

This is exceedingly problematic as even among the successful and well-to-do and “learned”, it makes for excellent slaves but poor rulers. Poor rulers make poor choices…slaves don’t have that burden. Indians have been…

conditioned to refer to books as the source of their knowledge. They have thus internalised the idea of treating the printed word and assertions they hear from “authoritative sources” as the ultimate truth. [2]

Books are good. But not weighing the validity of a Book or the applicability of the knowledge in it, is not at all good. It is in fact, disastrous. And Path dependency frequently leads to political dependency.

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.

“The greatest minds” don’t obsess about IQ , don’t waste time in perennial navel-gazing, and certainly don’t provide intellectual cover for colonial origin theories on Veda contradicted by the Veda itself. Look for those focused on tackling societal problems rather than fall for frauds who just tell you what you want to hear and look and sound the part.

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

That’s the problem with internet hindus, tweeting about Vijayanagara days nostalgically while failing to counter efforts of new bahmanis and preparing the ground for new Talikotas. Still can’t unite for common cause—either distracted by trivial pursuit and the trivial or busy finding new ways to advance their own respective casteism/regionalism under nominally nationalist brand.

Such people may make you feel good through pseudo-archaeological pictures or pride in the ritual of your forefathers, but like Nobili, are activated at the specified time of their videshi master’s need usually to take down a real Pro-Dharma challenger to Breaking India forces, like Rajiv Malhotra. One should not be gullible and even a Malhotra is not perfect, beyond reproach, or above question—but at least he has a proven record of useful action to safeguard society…what do his jealous, casteist haters have?—poetry recitation?

This is the” intellectual yet  idiot”. Focused more on shows of knowledge than actually being useful by wisely tackling issues facing society and providing actionable solutions. Focused more on pulling down rivals than facing common adversaries or defeating outright common enemies, Ahankari-Shikandis don’t care for such things. Ironically, these eugenics advocates would be first to be culled by their videshi masters due to their barely  & questionably genetically male status.

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, but even outright political division, do we have time for games of Trivial Pursuit and “Kaun banega bada ritualist?”. Do we have time for your selfish spoiled brattiness? If you want to brag about proficiency in ritual, join the matha where real traditional brahmanas  do useful things for society and actually understand the Veda. But if you are getting in the way of people doing useful things, like Malhotra, then cry “Parashurama!” all you want, you will end up like Ravana. Society and posterity will not forgive the dunces who cared more about their own (undeserved) egos than doing practical things for society and prioritising common interest over individual interest. If you can’t even put aside the trivial for the common good and common safety and well-being of your nation’s womenfolk, there is no point in braying “neo-patriarchy”. Wisdom is seen in the application of knowledge, not in public shows of it.

The now famous piece “Intellectual yet Idiot” doesn’t just apply to Lutyens or their Rajaji Reciprocals on the econ RW, but also in key parts to the new breed of modern “ritualists”, aka the ritual right. They demand people like the Prime Minister “Pay attention” to their juvenile rantings, yet they can’t detect obvious sophistry in their own opinion leaders claiming outright falsehoods about the Vedic view on AIT.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry. The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited.[3]

They cant tell science from scientism — in fact in their eyes scientism looks more scientific than real science.[3]

If you still don’t have the moral courage to do that, perhaps you should find a different game to play, and even a different line of work. After all, “History is the School of Princes” , not navel-gazing academics and phoreign employed poets and scientists.

Is this an outgrowth of generations of ICS & IAS lineages, Rao Bahadurs, and Princes under Subsidiary Alliance, forced to take a Resident’s “guidance” in critical matters, bereft of all critical powers?—possibly. But it has also been 7 decades since Independence. Even with the albatross of a Macaulayite education, the internet has made possible education beyond the official curriculum at a rapid pace. The problem is again, the refusal of people to move beyond their little comfort zones and their carefully constructed “fan-fiction”, and seek to understand the world for what it really is. Understanding the truth doesn’t mean knowing everything. Understanding the truth means willingness to examine new information, and make policy, or even strategic changes after evaluating validity. It’s not that instinctually people don’t know that something’s wrong–even the very dumbest (sic) have a gut feeling on some level. Rather it’s because they’re afraid of what it means they’ll have to do. Rather than take responsibility, they prefer to be spoon-fed, like middle-managers: A nice cushy job, “money for children’s marriage”, membership in a twitter brotherhood/sisterhood, magical change in society via tweeting with ALL CAPS, pleasure without responsibility.

Even the much vaunted Indian entrepreneur and CEO is fundamentally a middle manager at heart, after all, “We are only here to figure out how to get profit. These other things are out of our scope…Saheb will take care of them. Saheb always takes care of us.” In contrast, this is the true meaning of Arya:

This desire, this pathological need to be liked by everybody in a desired group might be alright in secondary school, but it is absolutely execrable in adulthood, let alone, at the babu & businessman-level. Politicians may have to win votes in this day and age, but Netas, Nayaks, and Amatyas are not there to be popular, nor are they there to be self-interested/self-promoting brats. They are there to do the business of the people and society. Until civic duty, the practical Raja and Praja Dharma returns to the fore, you will continued to be led by the worst—a term familiar to you alt-righters: “kakistocracy”.

Idling your hours merely re-circulating staid tweets on the basis of sentiment or trivial pursuit or to play pretend archaeologist rather than useful sharing of information put towards institution-building and comprehensive action, is emblematic of the small minds and small values that continue to plague our society. What Mahaperiyava said was profoundly true: we need people of nobility, not iq obsessed but brainless baboos or middle managers only concerned about their next promotion and misery loving company.

It was the nobility of the brahmana Charudatta that earned him the respect and goodwill of all and saved his life. It was the nobility of Yuvaraja Rama to accept his exile for collective good and the nobility of Bharata to return Rama’s throne to him. Where are such men today? Instead we have slogans and small minds and gasbags substituting for this greatness. If you are where you are at this moment, you have only yourself to blame. Collectively selfish stupidity and gullibility in whatever small amounts adds up to foreboding civilizational disaster. When the criteria becomes “My right!” or “Biggest gasbag bloviator” rather than “My Duty” and “Most competent”, then we have lineage obsessed idiots lusting for power.

To return your civilization to greatness, you must again be worthy of the legacy of the great Rishis and Rajas who built it—not just idle the days discussing your descent from them, while indecently patterning yourself after videshis.

These deficiencies in character are even more problematic than mental colonialism that jnu types undergo. This is because the Marxist deconstructionist at least knows how to be effective in countering the other side. Our guys know only how to chest thump, make a brave emotional show of knowledge, then slink away when facing organised opposition. What is required is a sustained intellectual opposition than can’t be done by a single person. It takes teams to counter teams. But how is this possible with selfish spoiled brats who don’t even like team sports? You’d rather live in your samurai anime fantasies than demonstrate true Kshatriyata via intelligent action. No wonder you are all referred to as paper tigers.

To bring things full circle, all this is a mark of Tamas. But it is also a mark of something else: Lack of Character. National character.

At this stage, of course, our alt-right supporting mummy’s boys will spray out their bournvita or ovaltine (they are growing boys after all…), and say “how can you say this, we have greatest moral character and chastest women“. All this may have been true, once upon a time. But look around today, is that really the case? How easily you are all fooled by a little show of knowledge, a little dropping of gotra, a little Vedic chanting, a  little flattering small talk.

Moral of the Story: Don’t be Gullible. Don’t believe Everything you read on the Internet.

That’s why it’s important to stop believing everything you read on the internet, and above all, stop being so gullible. Even the greediest and slimiest of characters in India was ultimately fooled because he thought a videshi would stay loyal to him.

Learn to live with doubt. Be comfortable with doubt. Doubt is your friend, because by doubting everyone and everything (even yourself and your “AchArya”), you’ll always be on guard against absolutism. Power Corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We live in an era where Knowledge is Power.

If you’re already a lawyer or a scientist or a whatever with critical thinking skills, prove it. Not by get mired in the intricacies and details, but by taking a step back and evaluating your source, even your peer, even your mentor or professor or “AchArya”. Even fellow lawyers pull a fast one and fellow scientists doctor the data.

Use your critical thinking skills to evaluate not only what is being said, but whom it would benefit, whether other experts (i.e. traditional authorities) validate this, and whether in fact it is true at all.

Trust but Verify!

Surely that’s something even you alt-right termites can comprehend.

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References:

  1. Chaturvedi, B.K.Chanakya Neeti.Diamond: New Delhi.2015
  2. http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/7140-clinton-presidency-will-be-disaster-india
  3. “The Intellectual Yet Idiot.” https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.82t92ujoe

Literature: Panchatantra

panchatantracover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author

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

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

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

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

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

Composition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

History

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Recensions

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

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

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

Global Impact

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

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

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

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

I. Mitrabheda (Dissension of Friends)

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

II. Mitrasampraaptih (Acquisition of Friends)

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

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

III. Kaakollukeeyam (On the Crows and Owls)

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

IV. Labdhapranaasam (Loss of what was Procured)

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

V. Apareekshitakaarakam (The Ill-considered Action)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selections*

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Suguptam rakshyamaano’pi| T.4, sl. 49

“Silence is Golden”

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

And also:

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

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

§

Anya prathaapamaasaadhya yo drdatvam na gacchathi|

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

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

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

§

Na yasya cheshtitham vidhyaanna kulam, na paraakramam|

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

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

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

§

Svabhavo nopadeshena sakthye kathurmanyathaa|

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

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

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

§

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

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

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

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

§

Sa suhrdh vyasane yah syadanya jatyubdhavo’pi san|

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

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

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

§

Yo mitraani karotyatra, na kautilyena vartthathe|

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

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

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

§

Conclusion

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

Api saastroshu kusalaa, lokaachaaravivarjithaah |

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

Niti: Practical Principles of India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dharma→Rajadharma→Rajaniti→Kutaniti→Dhanurveda→Kanikaniti

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

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

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

VN_Silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

InspiredShivaji

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

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

bono

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

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

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

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

References:

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