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Purpose of life

Is it to see bhArata desH being recognized THE best of the world ?
Is it to see bharatiya samskriti being accepted by everybody in the world ?
Is it to see vasudaiva kutumbakam actualised ?

Two points still remain-

1. Is that a worthwhile aim ? Does that make a life worthwhile ? What is the worth of a life ?

2. What is the underpinning of bharatiya samskriti that makes it refined ? What is underpinning the thought of vasudaiva kutumbakam ? Is it superficial understanding of ‘universal brotherhood’ ?

These two points are most pertinent.

Different Purposes

Some parents want to see their children well settled in life. Some want to marry off their daughters. Some want to see their grandchildren before they die.
Some others want to earn a billion dollars. Some want to see their country gain name and fame, even if in the sports arena.

Some want their name to endure after them.
Some want to do enough to ensure proximity to a ‘God almighty’ in after-life.

Some want to engage in their favorite activity which could be mountain climbing or river rafting or acting in movies or playing a musical instrument or a game of sports.
Some want to finish their current project or research engagement.

Some want to see what they identify with- their community, their culture, their family, their organisation, their country, their philosophy, attain universal acclaim. This is motivated by one of the two reasons- an expectation to attain universality themselves on piggyback or the belief that subsuming of their individuality to larger group interest is a worthwhile aim for life.

Such motivations derive from identification with limited sense of self.

Some others engage in activity of service, material enrichment, societal administration or knowledge dissemination, sublimating limited sense of self.
bharatiya darshanas call such activity manifestation of varna- sudra, vyshya, kshatriya, brahmana, respectively. It is such activity, sublimating self-identity, that underpins vasudaiva kutumbakam. Its primary motivator is the understanding aham brahmasmi (yajur veda), prajñānam brahma (rig veda), ayamātmā brahma (atharva veda), tat tvam asi (sama veda).

Different people. Different inclinations. Different karma.

Which is the best ?

Which is the best of all the purposes that a person can choose ?

That which helps actualise his/her karma. That which is congruent with his/her sva-dharma.
This answers the questions raised by the first point- What is the worth of a life ? Worth of a life is in actualisation of karma.

What is karma – inner motivation, that is exteriorised in varna.

The question posed by the second point- What underpins bharatiya samskriti ?
dharma.

It is dharma that defines bharatiya samskriti. It is from dharma that bharatiya samskriti derives. It is dharma that forms vasudaiva kutumbakam. dharma sustains bharatiya samskriti. As consciousness of dharma rises in society, bharatiya samskriti rejuvenates.

How does consciousness of dharma arise in mind ?
From the understanding of self.

This, understanding of self, derives dharmic life and rejuvenates bharatiya samskriti.

Understanding, comes from selfless enquiry.

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There is a demon abroad roaming human consciousness.

The first known victim of this demon was the Adam of Eden. He became a victim when he identified with his personal self and sought to acquire fruits for personal indulgence.

Cut to Indian context, in bhagavad gita Sri Krishna advised Arjuna to actualise karma without seeking fruits of his actions.

In western mythology, their version of Sri Krishna bhagavan, God, is supposed to have similarly advised Adam not to seek to enjoy fruits. While Arjuna of bhArata proceeded to actualise karma without seeking fruits of actions, Adam proceeded to grab the fruit seeking to indulge his personal self, with the result that Adam and all his descendants have been descending ever since, literally as well as metaphorically.

Many indians, taking cue from Sri Krishna’s advise, identified themselves as integral part of the brahmAnDh and actualised karma without seeking to indulge in fruits thereof and realised brahma.

Sri Buddha, deprived of spiritual exposure in his childhood by an insistent father, in adulthood began seeking the root of existence and found it by sublimating his personal self. So did Mahavira and millions of others.

The air of India is permeated with dharma consciousness, the effect of dharmic thoughts of millions of brahma-jnAnis who travelled on this land. This pervading dharmic consciousness prompts people with diverse levels of knoweldge and awareness to seek and attain brahma-jnAna. The momentum built up by such dharma-oriented acts and identification with the brahmAnDh , rather than individual self, inspires people to realise brahma in diverse ways- through intuitive wisdom, through bhakti, through karma, through art, sculpture, dance, music, yoga, even in sex.

Indians traditionally subsumed their personal identity with the rta of the brahmAnDh and ascended spiritually. Their motto, so to speak, was – lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu and concept of vasudaiva kutumbakam.
According to their inclination, some realised brahma through spiritual enquiry and imparted their knowledge to society. Some others attained brahma-jnAna by upholding dharma and administering society conscientiously without indulging themselves. Those talented in handling objects produced food and other materials for the society and realised brahma in their acts of creation. Those inclined towards emulating personalities identified those who served society selflessly and emulated them, helping the brahmanas, kshatriyas and vyshyas in benefiting society, actualised karma and realised brahma in selfless service to society.

The awareness about each being being an integral part of the brahmAnDh pervaded the mindscape of indians and rta was sustained by the people through karmic actualisation.

However, over the years, change started to occur with increasing influence of people from outside, such as the yavanas and others of mleccha lands.

Society is sustained by dharma and the khsatriyas are the upholders of dharma by talent and inclination. So, when the kshatriyas start to slip in upholding dharma, the effects have wide ramifications and society begins to suffer.

One of the early indian kings to have fallen victim to the demon of self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement is Ashoka. His surrender to insatiable appetite for power and glory drove him to kill his siblings, grab power and attack neighbouring kingdoms, killing millions of people. After he had brought under his control most parts of india and neighbouring areas he claimed to have adopted the teachings of Sri Buddha. However, instead of following the footsteps of Sri Buddha, who relinquished his kingdom in search of spiritual quest, Ashoka continued to hold on to his throne until death by old age parted him from it. During his reign he erected self-glorifying edicts in stone all across the land, subordinated the spiritual aspect of Buddha’s teachings and instead fostered pacifist sociological aspects among the people which was beneficial for administration. The tendency to kill did not leave him till the end and he killed one of his younger wifes during his last years.

These self-aggrandizing acts by a raja was detrimental to society. It paved way for waning of dharma in society and increase in interactions with adharmic elements from outside.

Those areas bordering bhArata, such as Afghanistan, Baluchistan on which Ashoka’s diluted version of buddhism was proselytized, later fell easy victims to the rapacity of islamic invaders and helped form a base point for the launch of regular attacks on India throughout over thousand years.

In the western sphere, the descend started by Adam’s succumbing to the demon exerted influence over people through the ages and gathered speed with the rise of imperialistic Rome. The successive aggrandizing drives by roman emperors lead up to a critical stage where the drive to self-aggrandizement took on a transformation. This was ironically catalysed by the spiritual teachings of a person called Jesus.

Jesus spread spirituality among the poor folks who were at the receiving end of roman aggrandization. His ideas continued to flourish even after his death at the hands of romans.

Roman emperor Constantine, seeing the spread of spiritual thoughts among the masses, and the increasing respect for a person killed by the romans, recognized the shift in society taking it towards simple living and spiritual thoughts of Jesus and towards self-sufficiency, thus slipping away from roman control. Taking cue from Ashoka, and going one step ahead, Constantine with help of likewise shrewd brains, cunningly appropriated jesus’ teachings, twisted the spiritual, simple-living values of it, in its stead established a hierarchical church as a middle man between the Jesus’s teachings and the people. Then, colluding with the church continued his imperialistic ambitions. This set the trend for many subsequent years when the church and the king supported each other, mutually bestowing divine powers to rule over people on religious and material matters respectively, as a cover for their self-gratification drives.

This justification of self-aggrandizing behaviour citing divine sanction was taken further by one arab native of Mecca. William Muir, who specialised in the history of that time, describes the life of this person thus- “in the Meccan period of (his) life there certainly can be traced no personal ends or unworthy motives,“. However, in Medina “temporal power, aggrandisement, and self-gratification mingled rapidly with the grand object of the Prophet’s life, and they were sought and attained by just the same instrumentality“. Sigismund Koelle finds “the key to the first period of his life in Khadija, his first wife,” after whose death he became prey to his “evil passions”.

The power structure established by this person exported arab imperialism over distant lands through bloody campaigns running for centuries. It exerted its influence over millions of people over millennia, subduing their innate intelligence and wisdom, turning some of them into helpless victims- mainly the women, while some others actively indulged in the self-gratifying avenues provided by this system.

The demon had found more opportunities to establish its power over humanity.

The demon thus gathering strength, generated multiple heads, that of protestant, catholic, orthodox christianity and sunni and shia islam. The demons’ reach also extended all over the world through colonization of all continents.

Colonization, the deliberate destruction of indigenous civilizations and massacre of native population was later ironically called civilization!

The victims of the demon’s influence are uniformly characterized by their ignorance of their own incongruencies and inherent contradictary stands. Under the demons’ s influence, they are blinded to righteousness and reason and engage in self-perpetuating self-gratification drive.

After hijacking religion and politico-administrative space, the demon enlarged its reach by grabbing commercial mindscape through dogmas of capitalism and communism. It later reared new heads in socio-political sphere, the more prominent ones being Nazism and Fascism, to continue to expand its influence while maintaining its characteristic drive towards self-aggrandizement. The conflict intrinsic to the inherently aggressive heads caused them to fight each other, some of them severing some others in the process.

What this demon feeds on becomes a part of it. When it fed on indian culture and traditions, those being spiritually oriented pursuits, the demon could not digest much. However, whatever little it digested became a part of it, although, very different from its other heads due to the spiritual nature of indian culture from which it had taken form. This difference makes the new head called Hinduism stand out from the others. This new head is not self-aggrandizing to the extent the others are, it does not seek to enlarge its influence, it is not inherently aggressive. It retains much of its spiritual core that characterised indian culture from which it emerged. As to be expected, anyone who displays different characteristics from what is accepted as common, is looked upon with suspicion and sometimes attacked. Amidst the other rapacious heads of the demon, the new head is naturally singled out for attack. Being easy prey, due to inherent non-aggressive tendencies, it becomes the pastime for other heads to attack it.

This is the story so far. Whether the new head of the demon will be able to withstand the various attacks from different directions, whether it will be able to prevail over the other aggressive heads or whether the new head, in its intent to survive, loses its spiritual roots and emulates the other heads, are open to question.

The demon, acting through afflicted individuals or communities or nations, appropriates and assimilates everything it lays its hands on on its unbridled drive to enlarge itself. When it encounters good nurturing concepts in its victims, that are at contradiction with its inherent nature, it takes that from its vanquished victims and later transforms that concept and uses it as a shield, as a cover for its rapacious heads. Thus peace, love, science, rationality, logic, equality; everything loses their essence and becomes a tool in the demon’s hands. They are then apportioned between the diferent heads to give them a sense of respectability. The demon then uses these covers to fool its victims with sense of respectability. Its further acts of selfishness are later justified using these covers. These tools add to the demon’s repertoire which includes the claims to divine sanction that was used to justify its gratification drives earlier.

Despite the aura of respectability and sense of justice that the demon strives to create, it still remains a demon, driven by its insatiable drive to self-aggrandizement, towards self-gratification at the cost of everything.

What is of essence is that a human being realises itself when it goes beyond the clutches of the demon. It is then that it realises itself to be brahma.

The demon is a creation of man, created when he identifies himself as a limited individual self, and with that identification, seeks to enlarge himself. This contradictory state that that human being finds himself in, creates strain and instability within him, which he seeks to circumvent by identifying himself with a group of like people having a socio-political goal and/or claiming connection to divine power, thus seeking to enlarge his reach.

Vanquishing of the demon is necessary for the sustaining of rta, for the prosperity of living beings, for sustenance of nature, for life of bhumi devi, for dharma.

In the puranas, whenever the weight of demons increased on earth, daeivika quality was generated to destroy the demon and to sustain rta.

It maybe time for Sri Rama to take birth again, in the minds of people. For ramayana to play in their minds, for destruction of the multiheaded demon Ravana who has appropriated their sense of identity, to re-join their sense of identity with righteousness.

Their sense of identity got separated from righteousness when, enamoured with the illusionary nature of perception, they sought to capture the illusion, with the aim of indulging in it. In that state of befuddlement they rejected their protecting sense of loyalty towards righteousness and further succumbing to illusionary perception, lost themselves to aggrandizement and gratification. Once they fell to aggrandizement and gratification, even the effect of age old bhAratiya parampara could not rescue them.

Right now many are like the Sita of ashoka vana, surrounded by materialistic wealth, yet separated from their sense of righteousness, pining for it; while the multiple headed demon cajoles and tempts them with more materialistic wealth for abandoning the seeking of sense of righteousness altogether. Many people have succumbed and lost their identity to this materialistic self-aggrandizing demon.

For those who haven’t done so yet, ramayana provides glimpses to –
– arrange for their sense of righteousness to meet with bhakti and sthirata, allegiance and perseverence of action
– get their sense of righteousness to vanquish impetousness that otherwise would displace sthirata
– get their bhakti to realise its strength and to seek and meet their sense of identity, to assure themselves that righteousness with perseverence will rescue them from the demon’s control.
– build a bridge over vacilitating thoughts that protects the abode of the demon, through actions under the direction of sthirata
– have their sense of righteousness fight the aggrandizing multi-headed demon
– first kill the demon’s brother- the tendency towards indulgence
– next, let loyalty to righteousness kill the demon’s progeny- loud voice, eagerness to show off
– then let righteousness kill the demon himself, targetting its source of life- the insatiable greed for power and control.

Thus ramayana plays out in the minds of people.

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