Food

Finding food to eat is the responsibility of a person. Nature is abundant in edible, nutritiuos food items. Sometimes it may require efforts to cultivate and process it. A person who reasonably exerts himself can satisfy his/her needs sufficiently.

bharatiya samaj sustained on the activities of people belonging to four varna based on their natural inclination. Inherent talent towards handling, producing and processing materials was termed vyshsya varna, and people who showed inclination towards it were considered vyshya. They produced and provided food and other materials for the entire society. In turn, people inclined to act to uphold righteousness administered society justly, people inclined towards spiritual pursuit spread wisdom they realized during the course of their pursuits and people inclined towards emulating others helped the other three.

The society thus catered to the taste and ability of each individual, providing avenues for individual growth, while simultaneously also provided the supportive environment required for sustenance of the person. Like in a living body where head identifies the source of food, legs takes it to the location, hand brings the food to mouth that delivers it to stomach that digests it and gives energy to the whole body. Each constituent performed the task it was most suited to perform and contributed to balanced sustenance of society.

When this balance is disturbed, for example, if mouth starts eating solely to indulge its sense of taste, if food is taken by hand excessively and ingested, the stomach would be thrown out of gear. If that happens and stomach shuts down, the body parts will be starved of energy. Then each body part will start seeking source of energy individually. Since they do not have the capacity to process food items to produce energy, instant energy sources will be sought out.

In the case of society, when the constituent part that should discern the truth and guide society indulges in selfish aggrandizing acts, misleads society, and ventures to consume voraciously, directing the administering part to indiscriminately appropriate resources, more than necessary and more than what can be processed, the processing power of society is left in disarray. This then leads to search for instant source of energy.

This was what happened in western societies. The aggrandizing behaviour of western empires developed the taste for selfish indulgence among those people who should have been providing correct guidance to society. The society that was disturbed as a result sought sources of instant energy. Instead of taking the trouble to grow food painstakingly over a long period and then processing it, they started eating ready source of energy- meat. They started eating other living beings and justified it, stating that they have a ‘god-given-mandate’ to indulge in such behaviour. Later they extended that ‘mandate’ to justify robbing, enslaving and killing other peoples, labelling them ‘heathen’, ‘pagan’, ‘indian’, ‘kaffir’, ‘negro’, ‘barbarian’, etc.

varnashrama

The case in Bharat was different. Here the people followed varnashrama dharma correctly. The role of head, to give guidance to the body, including identifying of appropriate food sources and tasting food to ensure it is fit to eat, without overindulging in sensual pleasure, was correctly followed.
The brahmana subsisted by begging alms, living frugally, pursuing the purpose of his life for which he was naturally endowed- realization of atman. The kshatriya, under the guidance of brahmana administered society justly, preventing excessive exploitation of resources. The vyshya produced and processed food items and other materials as necessary for society and sudra helped all three in achieveing the goal of sustaining society.

varna of each individual was based on his/her inherent qualities rather than the varna of parent, as evident from the fact that veda, mahabharata and bhagavad gita were compiled by Vyasa, the son of a fisherwoman, Satyavati, and Parashara, whose mother was also sudra. Ratnakara, a jungle robber, abandoned that occupation, sought realization, became Maharshi Valmiki, and compiled Ramayana. varna is also not static, a person who primarily seeks brahma jnana, a brahmana, may occasionally show kama, the primary moivator of sudra varna, like Parashara did in company of Satyavati.

gau

Bharat attained material prosperity based on vyshya activity, producing food and other materials of use. gau, Cow, was the source of milk, which was used to make curd, butter, ghee, etc., which formed integral part of diet. Milk was also used for medicinal purpose. Cow dung came in use for various purposes, including as cooking fuel and building material. Bullocks were used for agriculture. Artifacts found in Saraswati river valley sites, dating back to 5000 years and beyond, indicate prominence of cow in society. Cows were thus integral part of vyshya household, and by extension, that of the society as well, for society sustained on what vyshya produced.

Congruent with the dharmik inspirations that underlie bharatiya samskriti, cows were not treated as ‘animals to exploit’, but were cherished, and as milk givers, were given due respect, as a mother.

Killing such a being and eating was out of question. For three reasons- one, society produced enough food stuff, through occupations suited to the natural inclination of individuals, to meet all its needs. Two, killing cow would cut off source of milk and other necessary items. Three, and most important, killing a being required sufficient cause. Satisfying palate is not sufficient cause in a society that value dharma.

Cows are also peaceful, harmless beings, lovable. purana narrate many instances where cows play important part in society. Episodes of Kamadhenu and Nandini are well known. Sri Krishna is also known as Gopala- one who takes care of cow, which was his occupation during his growing up years.

In the veda, the word gau also means illuminating rays of wisdom, and is revered and sought by brahmana.

In both its meaning therefore gau is respect worthy. Those who consume, instead of nurture, gau, eitherway, are imbeciles wreaking destruction on themselves and society.

Disruption

Bharat thus maintained the necessary balance in society and prospered, repelling attacks from foreign aggrandizers such as Alexander. However, Ashoka, who grabbed power killing siblings, had insatiable appetite for territory and self-aggrandizement. Having usurped large land area killing millions of people, he imposed upon society a socio-political version Buddhism making rock edicts that were self-promoting than spiritually uplifting, glorifying himself as “devanam piya“- “beloved of devas”. He never relinquished the throne like Sri Buddha did, had many wives, and the youngest of them, Tishyaraksha, whom he married in his old age, he later killed.

Buddhism identifies incorrect craving, kama, as cause of suffering and abandoning it as way to enlightenment. kama is the main feature of sudra varna. Buddhism that prescribes eightfold path to develop good kama and reduce bad ones had applicability in the case of sudra, but offered little to the other three, for which main factors were dharma, artha and moksha. This lack, particularly, regarding upholding of dharma, fighting for it if necessary,- the main feature of kshatriya dharma, made application of Buddhism across the board, on all society, inappropriate; in fact, as it turned out, quite harmful, since it disrupted societal balance.

The society, that had a few years back successfully repelled the rampaging Alexander’s army, in the following years saw ingress of Shaka, Huna, Kushana, Turks, Mongols and Pashtuns into those areas where ‘Buddhism’ flourished, such as present day Pakistan and northern parts of India. These people came with their own way of life, different from bharatiya samskriti, and the resultant dilution of dharmik values imbalanced the society further and paved way for islamic invaders and later european colonizers, to establish primacy over the land.

Present

A society where varnashrama dharma is violated, where people who have no inclination to realize atman engage in guiding and influencing society for selfish benefit, people who have no inclination to uphold righteousness engage in administering society for selfish gain, people who have no inclination to handle materials engage in producing materials for selfish profit, and where the rest emulate unworthy people, it becomes like a dysfunctional body, where the mouth seeks to indulge in taste alone, where hands grab more than it requires, where stomach seeks fast digesting food that instantly provide energy without need for much efforts to digest it, and leg seeks to rest indolently.

In such a situation, the head, grown insensitive to other body parts, may start biting at them. The greedy, grabbing hands may injure other body parts. The stomach may start consuming itself and prolonged indolence would incapacitate legs.

Such a being, out of its mind, with limbs out of control, stomach cancerous, and fast approaching self-destruction, is dangerous to other beings.
When that being is powerful- grown powerful on ravenous consumption of others, like western society is at present, the danger to rest of the beings and Nature is so much more.

Regaining Balance

In the purana, whenever asura quality went out of control, necessary correction was made by checking it and balance was restored, taking guidance from the dharmik wisdom transmitted by bharatiya parampara.

Sometimes it may seem that dementia and cancer afflicting a body have reached advanced stage, is pervasive, and that it is near impossible to retrieve the situation. In those times Sri Krishna’s advice is relevant- actualise karma in dharmik way, without attaching to results, unaffected by success or failure.

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि संगं त्यक्त्वा धनंजय ।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ॥
भगवद् गीता 2.47-48

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Person

People are living, growing, beings. Their motivations, the driving force behind, change; that is how they grow and learn. A robber Ratnakara could turn into Maharshi Valmiki. Dharmaraj Yudhishthir may wager and lose his wife, brothers, himself, their property, freedom, dignity and kingdom. 
Therefore it is not a person per se that is right or wrong, it depends upon the motivation of that person in that instant; it is the motivation that determines the person, not the other way; further elaborated here.

 Object 

 A knife by itself is an inanimate object, neither useful nor dangerous; in the hands of a skilled chef it becomes a useful tool; in the hands of a skilled surgeon, it becomes a specialised equipment; in the hands of a robber, it becomes a dangerous weapon. Therefore, it is not the knife per se that determines its potency,  it is the motivation of the wielder that does. 

 Action

 The driving force, in the case of a chef or a surgeon, is the ‘purpose of service’ that prevails their actions, and leads them to successful result- a well prepared dish or a successful operation. While they may expect to gain financially or professionally from the cooking or the operation, it is primarily the gastronomic satisfaction of the consumer and the physical well being of the patient that is targeted by the chef or the surgeon. This motivation of service makes their action righteous. In the case of a robber, it is the ‘purpose of selfish gain’ that prevails his action and leads to disaster, both for his victim and him/herself and makes it unrighteous. It is the motivation behind that determines the character of the action. 

 Concept 

 A picture or an object by itself is not powerful, but, in the hands of a bhakta, it may become a murti that has the potential to lead him to realization; in the hands of a mleccha the same is an inanimate object to ridicule. A formula assumes different meaning depending on how the variables are valued. The meaning of a concept or idea depends on the motivation of the person that decides how he values it. 

 Righteousness 

 Concepts, Ideas, Ideologies, Philosophies, Actions, Occupations, Objects, Persons, by themself are neutral in character. It is the motivation behind that colors them right or wrong. The motivation of service, of contribution, makes anything righteous, dharmik, sustaining life. That of ego aggrandizement, expropriation, selfish gain, makes everything unrighteous, adharmik, diminishing life.  

 Applying concepts, ideas, ideologies and philosophies universally, classifying actions and occupations superficially, categorizing objects attributively and characterizing people perennially- without considering the motive behind, is incorrect.  

 The motive that lies behind determines righteousness, dharmikata.

 

The Past

A look into the past reveals that Roman Church and Islam had rapid success in converting the populations of Europe, Arabia, parts of Africa, Iran, and parts of Afghanistan, devouring the indigenous cultures and misappropriating many of their traditions. They could take absolute political control of these areas within a few years time. But the story in Bharat was different. The early forays by muslim invaders into Bharat were met with by stiff resistance and they could not establish roots here despite displaying unparalleled brutality. It took them many centuries of constant attacks to gain semi-permanent politcal dominance in this land.

Although they gained political power through deception, and shrewd policies- such as by Akbar, they still were not successful in converting the people to any large extent. Even though they were making progress, the indigenous culture of dharma was strong,  and it motivated the people to resist the adharmis consisitently. When the bigotry of islamists such as Aurangazeb became excessive, they were defeated by the people of this land.

When the britishers came, the close to one millennium of slow wearing down of indian culture was begining to show some discernable results. The britishers correctly identified the prevalent traditional education system as the mainstay of cultural strength and continuity that resisted foreign influence. They went about dismantling and replacing it with western education system with appreciable results, producing brown sahibs. Yet, they were met with resistance regularly from the people inspired by bharatiya samskriti, such as Tilak, Aurobindo, Savarkar. There were also people such as Swami Dyananda Saraswati, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, who revived the spiritual values that strengthened this culture. The cunning british then made a clever move positioning the british-influenced Gandhi, who appropriated the icons of cultural strength such as bhagavad gita and Sri Rama naam, that were vital sources of inspiration for dharmic thought, and misinterpreted them, twisting their meaning around. For half a century the british fostered Gandhi, who went on to emaciate the people of this land of their dharmik strength and vitality. Then weakened by WW II, they handed over power to the brown sahibs that they had bred. These brown sahibs then continued with all the systems created by the british for exploitation and emaciation of this land and its people; their education system continued to churn out coconuts (as defined by Richard Crasta in ‘Impressing the Whites‘).

The trend to be noted is that, the conversion of people away from dharmic thought was extremely slow in the begining, the pace has been slowly picking up over the past millennium.

The Present

The majority of people born in india today automatically grow up to be ‘coconuts’. That is not surprising, considering that the earlier generations grew up listening to stories of Ramayana, Mahabharata and puranas from their grandparents that inculcated a strong sense of dharma in them. The current generations probably hear only stories of Cindrella and red riding hood and grow up to consider Sri Krishna and Sri Hanuman as indian versions of superman and batman. The effect of this is reflected in the way even some supposed torch bearers of indian culture are now seen following the way of the westerners.

The current situation is such that the system of deracination now runs on its own steam. Earlier considerable effort needed to be put in by muslim marauders through acts of monstrous brutality to convert the people, which were met with by strong backlash from the indians. Thereafter, the british had comparatively easier time making use of the already converted people as sepoys and further creating brown sahibs, although they still had to face considerable resistance from the rest. But now, the brown sahibs and sepoys find little resistance; they only get adulation and are even considered role models. Currently, the pace of conversion is very fast, with influence of TV, Internet, prevalent ‘education’ system which has been made compulsory now, and the emerging culture of seeking employment as white collared labourers for MNCs or in companies abroad. The trend is similar to the exponential curve or the trend of compound interest.

The characteristic of an exponential curve is that at advanced stages, the growth is unfathomably phenomenal. When that stage is reached, the transformation of society would be spectacular, yet almost imperceptible to the transforming people themselves in their adharmik stupor. In structural engineering, when an object is subjected to continuously increasing external pressure, at first there may not be any discernable effect, later it starts to deform in elastic fashion, i.e., it changes shape but would return to original shape when the external force is removed. Later it reaches its limit of elasticity called yield point and starts to yield, i.e., deforms in plastic fashion, which means, some amount of deformation is permanent even if external force is removed. By and by it reaches a point, caled Ultimate Strength, beyond which even if the applied external pressure decrease, the deformation will continue to occur, ultimately leading to a point where the material ruptures completely.

bharatiya samskriti has been resisiting applied external forces for millenniums, at some stage it began to yield little by little. At present it seems that the ultimate strength point, beyond which deformation occurs with reduced external pressure, has been crossed. A pessimistic view though it may be, if the trend seen is correct, it seems like things are moving towards rupture point.

However

Unlike material structures, that undergo permanent plastic deformation and yield to rupture inevitably, living beings have the potential to reverse the trend, not only to gain back the previous position of strength, but also to go further beyond the earlier strength. They have the ability to regenerate and rejuvenate themselves- physically, mentally and spiritually. However depraved a being may seem, s/he is always integral with brahma and have the potential to realize themselves as such. 

The question is, will indians utilise their potential, regain their dharmik consciousness and bring back rama rajya ?

The Future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… is yours ours to fill.

 

 

 

 

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