Sunday, January 23, 2011
Does Sanathana dharma prohibit me from commenting on politics?
The aim of this blog is spelt on top of this page. I have been thinking that I am adhering to this aim even though at times (frequently nowadays) I post articles on the ways of politicians and political analyses by others. Is this going against my set goal?
When this question was raised by a reader recently, I was a little taken aback as I was thinking that dharma requires me to voice my concerns when some thing atrocious goes around me. (Dharma is defined as that which has to be sustained or that which has to be done in a given moment) It was around that time I received an article from a friend on how the Hindu religious leaders look away from the subversion happening to Hindu society and continue to preach spirituality for the self.
Are they (religious leaders) right in telling us to do meditation when Hinduism is getting severe beating from the powers that be?
What they preach is absolutely right when we think about the self.
Nothing is going to change by what we say or do.
There is an element of karmic angle in everything and what we do and experience is the result of what we did earlier.
Ultimately it is we who are going to experience.
So why not we make ourselves immune to all that which disturbs us?
A similar situation can be cited from the Ithihasas. In Mahabharata Bheeshma narrates to Yudhishtira the incident involving King Janaka.
The king remained calm when there was a fire in Mithila.
Krishna also quotes Janaka in that situation, in Bhagavad Gita.
But that incident did not convey that Janaka remained passive or took no steps to prevent the fire and rescue the people. He did everything in his capacity as a king to restore the situation.
There was no dereliction of duty.
What actually happened was that he did not grieve.
He did not grieve that his possessions were lost, because there is nothing that can be called as one's possession.
Even if he were to be licked by fire, he would have told that his atman can not be licked by fire.
That is the ultimate Realization preached by Sanathana dharma.
That applies to one-self.
And that does not mean that he allowed his subjects to be devoured by the fire saying that their atman can not be devoured by the fire.
He did his duty as the King and restored order.
Janaka's episode shows that we have a duty in our capacity as what we are in the society on the one hand and also we have an inner side that shapes us to evolve with enlightenment.
These two do not clash with each other.
Infact these two coexist together so that the duty does not hinder the mental evolution but helps in training the self unattached from what duty brings out.
Sanatana dharma defines duties on two levels, one as varna and the other as asrama dharma.
These two may not be exist now as it existed in olden days.
But we continue to be somewhere in these two structures even now.
In the present day varna system, those who are teachers and educate and counsel others are Brahmins.
Those who are in the job of safeguarding others' life and materials are Kshathriyas. Those who are engaged in supplying the goods needed by others are Vaisyas.
And those who are in service sector are Shudras.
All the people come under in any one of these categories.
What we see here is that no one is independent of some one else.
Each one depends on others or is influenced by someone from other category.
What happens to one category will have an impact on other categories.
Similarly the asrama dharma puts one under different stages of life.
Most people come under grahastha stage and stay there for very long.
The entire society is dependant on the people of grahastha stage.
Dharma, artha and kama are all taken care of in this stage only.
When we talk of these 3 issues, collectively known as purusharthas, we are very much part of the society or country and whatever happens in the society or country will certainly have an impact on the way we live with our purusharthas.
These 3 are not just jargons but are real issues that stick to people of all ages. The way we earn or conduct ourselves must be in dharmic way (dharma).
What we earn must be safeguarded or used in the dharmic way (artha).
Our personal life must be of dharmic nature (kama).
If anyone deviates from dharmic way in any one of them, it means someone else's dharmic sense has been violated or some violation of dharma which is not justifiable has happened.
This kind of a situation is discussed in Shanthi parva by Bheeshma when he described Raj-dharma. In Chapter 67 Bheeshma describes the story of Manu who was installed as the Ruler to safeguard the people from violations and effects caused by violation by others. The ruler is rated superior among all the others because if he does not use the right sense of Danda neeti, dharma will break down.
The ruler is equated to 5 Godly entities namely, Agni, Adhithya, Mruthyu, Kubera and Yama.
( from chapter 68 of Shanti parva)
"When the ruler burns with his fierce energy the sinful offenders, he is then said to assume the form of Agni.
When he observes through his spies the acts of all persons and does what is for the general good, he is then said to assume the form of Aditya.
When he destroys in wrath hundreds of wicked men with their sons, grandsons, and relatives, he is then said to assume the form of the Mruthyu.
When he gratifies with profuse gifts of wealth those that have rendered him valuable services, and snatches away the wealth and precious stones of those that have offended him, indeed, when he bestows prosperity upon some and takes it away from others, he is then, O king, said to assume the form of Kubera on earth.
When he restrains the wicked by inflicting upon them severe punishments and favours the righteous by bestowing rewards upon them, he is then said to assume the form of Yama. "
When the Ruler does not discharge this duty in the right spirit and in all earnestness, dharma gets a beating.
Usually people think that Brahmins have been given the high status among the varnas. There is a discussion disputing this in Mahabharata. The King / ruler enjoys the high status in a society. It is because he only protects everyone including the Brahmins. If the king fails to be just, the entire society suffers.
It is on this basis, Bheeshma says that yugas are created by the rulers. He tells Yudhishtira "Whether it is the king that makes the age (yuga), or, it is the age (yuga) that makes the king, is a question about which thou shouldst not entertain any doubt. The truth is that the king makes the age". (chapter 69, Shanti parva).
The 4 yugas are made by the ruler depending on the way he delivers the Justice system. The Justice system is based on danda neeti from times of yore.
It is wrong to say that Manu neeti was the Justice system followed in this country. Danda neeti has been followed in Bharat for all times in the past.
When the British came to India it was in place.
Manu neeti was not the dharma book of Bharat.
Manu smruthi fulfilled the purpose of human resource development and optimum use of human resources.
It was not a book of dharma neeti.
But William Jones mistook it for dharma-book and propagated the idea that it was in vogue in this country.
According to the danda neeti, there was no discrimination among the varnas.
For example, this system specifies the combination of varnas in the council of ministers that the ruler must have. It says that the ministry must comprise of 4 Brahmins, 18 kshathriyas, 21 vaisyas, 3 shudras and one Sutha (charioteer).
The qualification stipulated for the charioteer far exceeds the collective capability of the 4 varnas.
It is also deduced that by including a separate entity as charioteer, the system was not varna based as we think today but based on the capability that persons of specific varnas exhibited.
Mahabharata clearly states that a system of Justice called as Danda neeti was in vogue at all times in the past and in future in this country.
From chapter 58 onwards, we can read about this Danda neeti and Rajadharma.
It covers everything under the sun.
It was originally given by Brahma deva to Lord Shiva.
He gave it in 16,000 chapters.
Indra received it from Shiva and rendered it in 5,000 chapters.
Brahaspati received it from Indra and rendered it in 3,000 chapters.
Shukracharya received it from Brihaspati and rendered it in 1,000 chapters.
This neeti sastra was prevalent throughout Bharat.
It covers varnas, asramas and every kind of act that people do.
The Danda neeti is in the hands of the ruler. This is similar to what our government and the justice system stand for.
Any deviation in the execution of Danda neeti will affect the people and the Sanathana dharma!
Only when the Ruler is just and carries out the Danda neeti in all earnestness, Sanathana dharma can survive.
Bheeshma takes the discussion on danda neeti further and says that Yugas are caused by the Ruler!
When the king carries out the Justice system (danda neeti) to the fullest, that is the period of Kritha yuga.
When he carries only ¾ of it, that is the period of Tretha yuga.
When he adheres to just half of the Justice system, that is the period of Dwapara yuga.
In the period of Kali yuga, the Justice system completely breaks down.
We in India, particularly in Tamilnadu are experiencing such a period of Kali in full swing.
The Rulers at the State and at the Centre are first rate robbers of the wealth of the country and protectors of wrong doers.
They do everything to subvert the Hinduism.
They are doing everything to undermine Hindu ways.
They are doing everything against danda neeti.
They are supposed to be the representatives of the people.
But they behave like despotic kings.
In these times of democracy of the kind followed in Bharat, Justice System does not remain with the rulers. We have to depend on Judiciary for getting remedy from the rulers. When rulers become thieves, the people have to do the policing. That is what we are doing. At times, even the Judiciary is not rendering Justice. So our fight has to continue relentlessly.
Just a couple of days ago, the Kerala High court wanted to investigate the makara jyothi miracle of Hindu belief. Would the court pass an order on the miracle of resurrection of Jesus or the miracles claimed by other religions? If the issue is around Hinduism, everyone has an interest in it. Perennially we have Asuras in various names to destroy Hindu systems.
Just a day ago the Union minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh spoke in his inaugural address of Saint Thygaraja aradhana that we Indians create myth around people whereas the westerners document the life of people properly. The minister wanted to highlight that a westerner has written a biography of Thyagaraja swamy, whereas we Indians are keen on spinning myths around Thyagaraja swamy.
We are not biography writers. But we take the message of the saints like him and see to it that it is carried on forever. Unless we or our ancestors had done that, no one would have known Thyagaraja swamy by now and this westerner would not have been anywhere near India to dig out the information about Thyagaraja swamy. We connect with Thyagaraja swamy through his music and the devotion his music has generated in us. His life history has stayed in our minds and that is why we remember him even now. But why does a minister say like that on the solemn occasion of Thyagaraja aaradhana? Why did he say that we spin myths around him?
On the same day I heard him speak like this, I received a mail that said that NASA'a spacecrafts suffer a black out when they cross Thiru nallaar, the abode of Lord Saneeswara. Some causes have been discussed about the phenomenon. What would Jairam call that - myth or science?
The current crop of politicians has no sense and sensitivity to what Hinduism does to the people.
They see everything through western eye or vote bank.
The sad part is that the people are not aware that Hinduism is getting a beating due to their ways.
That is why we have to keep telling what is happening and how the rulers keep harming Hindu dharma.
Gone were the days when the rulers protected the temples and maintained the temples by huge grants.
Today the temples are looted, the Hindu faith is ridiculed and the Hindu space is allowed to be exploited by evangelists.
The Justice system of the present day rulers work against Hinduism.
Hinduism is the life, breath and soul of this country.
If we remain quite in the face of increasing assault on Hinduism, it is like watching our own house burned to ashes.
In the immediate context, I find Karunanidhi and Sonia as the first rate enemies of Hinduism.
The danda neeti also says what kind of fate awaits persons like them.
But I must not sit quiet saying that they will be punished someday.
If there is something that I can do, I must do.
If I don't, I will not be spared by danda neeti which will see me as aiding and abetting the crime happening in front of me.
The bottom line is that I must do my best to protect this Dharma or else I won't be protected by it. .
So I will keep writing / posting issues or on persons whose acts are detrimental to Hinduism.
In the process of doing this as a duty, my inner self would learn to remain unperturbed – a feat that King Janaka achieved.