Sunday, May 10, 2009

Indian Civilization - Part 1 - Importance of Dharma

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The concept of Dharma is the core concept of Indian civilization. The attribution of religious connotations to the term "Dharma" has generated enormous confusion and hence conflict not only amongst Hindus, but also Indians.

1. I ask to stop using the word "Hindu" as it is more geographical than religious. Ever since religious connotations have been given to this original geographical word, the fractures in Indic society have widened. Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs have problems with word "hindu" because it has been artificially constructed and imbibed upon minds of people as the one in same league as Islam or christianity.

2. The fact that Conglomerate of Indic paths is not as crystalline as Abrahamic ones, gives us an added advantage in Bhaarat, if the correct understanding of Dharma is shown.

3. A revolution happened in India about 2200-2300 years ago. Around the times prior to Mauryas, the influence of Indra and his Vedic deities started declining and there was an emergence of Puranic trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh in Indic society. This, IMHO, was one of the biggest revolution in India which enabled the unification of all the animist religions of India into one civilizational and cultural glue.

For more information on how this assimilation occurred, please follow this link where I have shared my views on this issue.

5. The shift from Indra-based Vedic deities which were essentially warriors, to family oriented Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva-Devi ensured the universal acceptance of the core values of Vedas all across the subcontinent without much clashes with local religions. This created the civilizational glue in first place. If Indra-Agni-Varuna still reigned and worshipped supreme, there would never have been a pan-Indian civilization.

6. The point to be noted is, Indra et al are much more exclusivists than Vishnu et al. The worshippers of Indra in Rigveda are violently intolerant towards Panis, Dasyus and other non-Arya (Anaarya) tribes. With society becoming agrarian, a set of more benign and inclusive deities was required. This requirement was fulfilled by promotion of Vishnu-Shiva to higher pedastle and demotion of Indra-Agni-Varuna to subordinate pedastle.

7. In all this process, the core Vedic values, ideals, philosophies like Saamkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Vedas, Smritis, the Jain literature, the Bauddha literature was preserved and propagated throughout the subcontinent and beyond. Although the deeper values remained confined to classes. This is but natural.. Very few people in society have propensity to think about higher truth in life or in other words Moksha/Nirvana. Most of us are more pre-occupied with daily routine, in other words, our Dharma, Artha and Kaama.

8. This shows us that identity is a continuous process.. It is always in making and never completely made. 

9. Today, Bhaarat and Bhaaratiya civilization needs to make one more leap like this, to accommodate the exclusivist Abrahamic civilization.

10. We cannot deal with this by being more exclusive than them and yet maintain the cultural glue. This is proven by the fact that the problems in Indian subcontinent have arisen and increased ever since this illusive and exclusive identity of "Hinduism" was created by the british. This not only divided Indic society even more, but also forced Indic society to play the game on the strengths of Abrahamic memes.

11. Abrahamic memes and ideals thrive on mutually exclusive identity. This is the strength of Abrahamic memes, and this exactly is the weakness of Abrahamic memes. Playing on the strength of rival is usually detrimental to one's existence unless one is more efficient in those utilization of those strength than the rival.

12. Now, Indic civilization has two options. 

a) to play on the strengths of Abrahamic memes and defeat them. This can be ensured by Indic civilization becoming more violently exclusivists and proselytizers than Abrahamic memes. Which in turn is possible by reverting back to Indra-based Vedic system of warlord deities who destroy the non-aryans and consume Soma and compose esoteric literature. This is very powerful option and if utilized efficiently, can be helpful in tackling the Islam and Christianity in India. This system is primarily fueled by similar faith towards Indra et al and similar attitude of supremacy and disgust towards non-aryans as Abrahamics have towards non-believers. The idea that Indra is with the person in his quest of destroying non-aryans is a very strong idea and extremely potent one just like the ones in Abrahamic texts where God/Allah is with the believer in his quest of vanquishing Non-believer.

Disadvantages of this system is that it will disrupt the already glued Indian civilization to its very core. Unless the status of being a pure "Aarya" is extended to all non-abrahamic Indics, it is impossible to maintain the glued civilization together. Even if the neo-Vedics end up destroying the forces and citadels of neo-Vritra asura with the help of mighty Indra, they will end up alienating most of the Non-Vedic and Non-Arya Indian population and undo whatever efforts were taken by philosophers and sages throughout the history to glue entire subcontinent in one thread of civilizational commonality. 

b) The second option in front of Indic civilization is to play on its on strength which is apparently the dire weakness of the opposing Abrahamic meme. The point to be noted is, after our shift to more inclusive deities, our sphere of influence extended from Central Asia to South-east Asia. The maximum extent of Indo-sphere was achieved owing to accommodative inclusiveness. The strength of this glued Bhaaratiya civilization is Unity in diversity. Inherent Advaita in apparent Dvaita. The thing about this approach is that it is ever dynamic. Yet, it is at equilibrium with core values. Shift from Religion and Nation centric socio-politics of Europe to Dharma and Raashtra centric socio-politics of Bhaarat is what is required to bring in. The strength of our system is allegiance towards one's Dharma irrespective of personal faith or conviction. Personal faiths are subject to evolution and change. Dharma is not.

Thus, first task is to imbibe the true meaning of the term "Dharma" in the minds of people along with the supreme emphasis on following it. 

Dharma is not equal to Religion. 

This has to be thoroughly and deeply imbibed on the mind of every single person in Bhaarat. Once personal faith is delineated and detached from core concept of Dharma, then it will sound death-knell to the exclusive character of Abrahamic religions. This will begin the process of assimilation.

This approach will change the "Hinduism" as it is today. But it should be noted that "Hinduism" is anyways an artificial construct. It was not the same 200 years ago and won't be the same 200 years hence. 

In Bhaaratiya civilization, change is the only constant. Things which do not change, go extinct. Abrahamic memes in India have to follow this.

1 comment:

rk said...

Hi.. Thanks for this informative article. I really liked it. I also came across this similar site with nice articles and videos on vedic prinicples -