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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

Identifying the Enemy

Who is the enemy ? Is it a person ?

Take the case of Shri Anwar Sheikh, he was brought up under the influence of islamic ideology. Inculcated with jihadi ideas, he was dangerous to other human beings who did not follow that ideology. In his youth he killed three persons in the name of islam.

Later his ideas changed, he came to question the ideology of islam, renounced it and became its critic.

It was not Anwar Sheikh the person per se that was dangerous in his early youth. It was the ideas that influenced him that made him dangerous. Anwar Sheikh of later years was a safer human being because he was not under the influence of harmful islamic ideas.

Similar case in point is that of Maharshi Valmiki who wrote Ramayana. In his youth, Ratnakara was dangerous to other humans because he believed that he is justified in robbing other people to support his family. Later he changed his views and as Maharshi Valmiki was immensely beneficial to humanity.

It is therefore the ideas that motivates and influences a person that are important, in terms of his/her effect on society, more important than the person himself.

Ideologies

Islam talks about peace and brotherhood, in Dar-Ul-Islam. Christianity claims to propagate ‘love of God’. Communism talks about ‘equality and upliftment of masses’, Capitalism talks about ‘free market, development and prosperity’.

Yet these very ideologies have been used as excuses to cause deaths of millions of people during the past two millenniums. Killing kaffirs because Allah ordained so. Killing pagans because God willed so. Killing class enemies to bring about revolution for an egalitarian state. Killing the native americans, indians and africans to free the markets and natural resources from control of primitive barbarian tribes; of late, killing vietnamese, iraqis and afghanis to bring them democracy, to civilize them.

Is it that these purported ideologies are dangerous ?

Yet, it is also fact that every muslim is not bloodthirsty towards kaffir. Every christian does not seek to kill pagans. Every communist does not call for killing class enemy. Every capitalist does not seek to usurp money and resources of others.

Therefore it is not ideology per se that is dangerous, it is the motivation that is behind which determines harmfulness or otherwise.

Motivation

What is the motivation that is behind the deaths of millions of people during past two millenniums ?

The common feature of all these killings is the motivation to expand what is considered self-interest, where self is considered in a very narrow sense identified with physical body.

A person who is indoctrinated to consider that Allah will reward him both in terrestrial life and thereafter if he kills kaffirs, is motivated to do so, in the process extending the influence of a select group of people who may be considered high priests of that ideology. Similarly, person misled to consider that he should make pagans owe allegience to an almighty entity called God, else kill them in order to gain the pleasure of that entity, is motivated to do so, again empowering and extending the influence of the group of people considered high priests of that ideology. Equally, a person brainwashed to identify himself as part of a ‘class’ and to consider others who are not part of his class as class enemies, who are to be killed off for betterment of his condition, is motivated to do the killing, in the process expanding the power and influence of a narrow group of people who are considered high priests or politburo. Likewise, person indoctrinated in a consuming culture considers the rest of creation as objects for his consumption and goes about ravaging the earth and killing people who are in the way, again, in the process expanding the power and influence of a group who are considered capital owners, who funds the endeavour.

The motivating factor that causes the killings is the selfish intent of the foot soldiers and the self-aggrandizing intent of the high priests. The ideology is mere excuse.

That is why the killings never stop even if catholic christianity is replaced by protestent christianity, even if christianity is replaced by islam, even if sunni islam is replaced by shia islam, even if christianity and islam are displaced by capitalism or atheism, even if capitalism and atheism are displaced by nazism or fascism, even if capitalism and nazism are displaced by communism, even if marxism is displaced by maoism.

The different ideologies are different branches of the same tree of self-aggrandizement that draw sustenance through roots of selfish-interest.

This tree, due to its inherent nature, seek to draw the entire nourishment from the soil, leaving it barren, seek to stifle and destroy other trees around it. Each of its branches and sub branches exhibit its inherent characteristic of strife, seeking to dominate and destroy one another.

This tree grew from the seed of narrow self-interest that identify physical body as primary and everything else in relation to the body. This narrow self-identification causes the urge to seek to expand and displace others as means to compensate the resulting feeling of constriction and inadequacy.

It is therefore not the person, nor his purported ideology that is the cause of harm, it is the mindset that limit a person’s identity to physical body and consequently seek the crutch of an idea called God/ Allah/ Yahweh/ class-struggle/ socialism/ free-market/ democracy/ freedom/ secularism/ atheism/ nationalism/ racism/ development/ modernism/ globalization/ civlizing or any other such idea to alleviate the pain caused due to their own constriction of sense of self, and seek collaboration with the like-minded to bring other people under their control.

The attachment with the physical- kama, and the consequent inadequacy/insecurity generated agitation- krodha, drives the person to cause harm, like cancer cells, to the body of earth- vasudha; displacing, destroying, devouring other human beings, animals, plants, birds and Nature itself, extending their urge for voracious consumption, turning other beings coming under their influence into rapacious replicas of themselves.

According of primacy to the physical makes science of western origin come up with theories of ‘struggle for survival’ and ‘survival of the fittest’ as defining of life, thereby deprive western science and the societies influenced by it, of spiritual, intellectual and moral direction.

bharatiya samskriti

bharatiya samskriti, on the other hand, consider the entire world as family- vasudhaiva kutumbakam and consequently inspire people to grow together amicably, co-operatively, respecting each other, giving primacy to dharma– that which sustains. It guide people to consider themselves as atman and the physical body like a cloth that is discarded when it becomes old. bharatiya samskriti also inspire people to seek and realize themselves as the supreme, brahma.

Solely identifying with physical body, attaching to it and launching self-aggrandizement drive at the cost of others, is recognized as adharma, that which diminishes, and therefore, discouraged by bharatiya samskriti. People who indulge in such behavior are considered mleccha and shunned.

India Today

bhAratam came under mleccha rule intermittently during the past millennium. The effect of this on society is palpable. The mleccha coined word ‘hindu’ has been accepted as suitable identifier for themselves by many people, despite it being only an indicator of geographical identity. The mleccha attitude of considering physical body as primary identifier has been extended to mis-identify bharatiya samskriti as limited in physical-geographical terms defined by the word ‘hindu’. By identifying with the spiritually, intellectually and morally empty word ‘hindu’, people have been cut off from spiritual and moral intelligence. The effect of this is seen in the way society reacted to the burning to death of 58 ‘hindus’ in a train by a muslim mob in 2001 at Godhra, to the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda and his disciples by christians and maoists at Kandhmal in 2008 and to the bomb blasts carried out by muslims in Mumbai in 1993. The society that is supine to everyday adharma, in the form of corruption in bureacracy, in political and business field, in academe, in fact in virtually every sphere of life, reacted to these incidents, because the victims were identified as fellow ‘hindus’. This shows that the society has come to raise its voice, not to uphold dharma, but only to ensure physical safety of people considered their own. This rajasic reaction, though an improvement over tamasic passivity towards everyday adharma, is nevertheless irrational, largely mis-directed and does not provide long term solution. The mis-identification with the physical, imbibed from mleccha rulers of past, makes society blind and deaf to spiritual, intellectual, moral corruption that is fast degenerating it. This is evident from the way some ‘hindus’ attempted to justify/defend Rajasekara a.k.a Swami Nithyananda who had sexual relations with disciples; like Dhritarashtra of Hastinapuri, blind to adharma committed by kin.

Solution

Spreading the bharatiya samskriti, that considers every being of the world as family, that considers the self not merely limited to physical body nor in time, but as imperishable atman and capable of realizing brahma, the samskriti that considers both the male and the female as equally respect-worthy and essential, integral part of creation, that inspires people to see beyond the physical, beyond words- beyond nama-rupa, and discern the essence ; spreading this samskriti is essential to bring harmony and balance to world. Real peace-love-equality-freedom will result only when that happens.

Meanwhile see beyond appearances, beyond the facade, beyond the name, beyond words, beyond ‘religion’, beyond the purported ideology, beyond the apparent actions and see the atman behind the body, the motivation that drives the person. Does the person seek to discern dharma and uphold it like Sri Rama did, or does s/he identify with physical body and seek to self-aggrandize, like Ravana (who was very accomplished and staunch devotee of Shiva), more concerned with kith and kin, ‘achievements’, ‘ideology’, legacy, good name, than dharma ?


There is a perceptible rise in public awareness regarding spiritual matters. The rise in communication mediums, primarily internet, have contributed to that.
Concurrently, communication mediums, notably Television, Magazines, even Newspapers have also contributed to spread of manipulated information to serve commercial interests.

Nevertheless, the urge to seek and realize truths of life is on the rise among the people all over the world. While this causes many people to examine their belief systems and seek deeper truths and meaning in their life, many others are also prompted to go beyond their conditioned belief systems and seek truths in other sources. Such endeavours are resulting in increase in adherents towards diverse belief systems and practices such as yoga, Nature reverence, gnosticism, pre-christian native indigenous belief systems of Americas, Europe, etc.

Such rise in consciousness influences the wider public in like manner. Sustained rise in such explorations may provide a counter to the consumerist consciousness that prevails human society today.

Such rise and fall of higher consciousness among public may also be cyclic in nature. Somewhat similar to the change of seasons.

Like the rains providing nourishment to growth in Nature, rise of spiritual consciousness nourishes spiritual growth.

Similar to the rain water that runs off, and is lost if not harvested and stored, the spiritual realizations that occur during the times of rise in spiritual consciousness need to be stored in clean protected manner for subsequent use in times of lesser abundance.

As in the case of natural springs that provide water throughout the year, some places, kshetra, are perennial sources of spiritual inspiration and often become centres of pilgrimage.
Just as the capacity of a spring to supprt large populations is limited, depending on its size, and may need to be augmented by rainwater harvesting, the spiritual inspiration provided by such kshetra need to be supplanted by preservng spiritual realizations experienced during times of abundance for later use.

Just as in water harvesting it is important to ensure that the containers used are clean, and protected from pollutants, similarly, it is important to ensure that the mediums used for preservation and dissemination of spiritual truths are clean themselves and protected from ingress of pollutants.

The vedas have been such containers of adhyatmika jnana filled by numerous unknown rishis millenniums ago, that has stood the test of time providing pure spiritual wisdom to thirsty seekers and inspiring them towards realization. The precise manner in which the vedas were formed and transmitted ensured that their spiritual wisdom were preserved and remained unpolluted. puranas, shastras and other texts of bharatiya samskriti also served similar purpose. One common feature to all these texts is that it is the message of the texts that is of paramount importance over the period of occurence, location or even the author himself. So much so that, in the case of the most important of all texts- vedas, the rishis who originally realized the vedas remain unknown.

The puranas stress on the underlying dharmika, adhyatmika jnana transcending limitations of time, locality and authorship. Even the personalities portrayed in the puranas are superceded by the principles and values that they uphold. Thus it is righteousness- dharma, that governs actions of Sri Rama in Ramayana. Mahabharata, through gita, encourage transcending of personal identities and advocate action for actualisation of karma without concerning about results.

This independence from limitations of personalities, authorship, location and period helps preserve adhyatmika jnana in bharatiya samskriti perennial and pure, like water stored in sterile containers protected from contaminants even though handed over through generations.

This aspect is absent in many other cultures, that have suffered as a result, where either the water-
(a) was not stored well in times of plentitude- spiritual wisdom was not handed down to subsequent generations in intact manner that could sustain for long,
or
(b) was contaminated by personal touch- personality/ies dominated/superceded the message,
or
(c) fixated in locality and thus became inaccessible- limited to geographical area,
or
(d) was exposed to the elements at one time that made it stale- got associated with a period of time, enmeshed in the customs of that time, and thus became dated.
or
(e) was wasted by the careless- destroyed/distorted by materialistic aggrandizers.

In times of spiritual plentitude the received wisdom need to be retained and preserved well to tide over the inevitable times of scarcity as well as to give direction to future generations.

The unknown rishis of yore have shown the way, creating the vedas and developing a samskriti that acts as a container to protect and preserve the spiritual wisdom received through generations, quenching the spiritual thirst of millions through millenniums.

Preserving of this samskriti, its adhyatmika content, and augmenting its harvested wisdom during times of availability without contaminating, are the responsibility of contemporary inheritors of bharatiya samskriti.


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