Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pakistan and Devdas

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This is one of the witty anecdote narrated by one of my friends and a reader of this blog. For the purpose of mango-man's enlightenment, I present this anecdote here.

Have you seen film "Devdas" by Bimal Roy later copied by Sanjay Leela Bhansali? 
Analogously, Pakistan is Devdas (aka Debtdas), and is dear friends Paro (USA) and Chandramukhi (China). As you know, Debtdas can't get off Paro and can get on with Chandramukhi, at the same time and vice-e-versa even though it is supported by few other friends (Saudi Arabia, UK and others) of Debtdas. Hence the show must go on. Here ends the normal story. 
But, neither Paro nor Chandramukhi nor his other friends are worried about being infected by Debtdas who keeps throwing empty bottles across his neighbour Manubhai Chunnilal's compound wall (India). Now, reports say that Manubhai Chunnilal wants Debtdas to die of intoxication (Islam and drugs) and hence is gleefully letting Paro and Chandramukhi a free ride over Debtdas. 


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Ishwari Avatar - Is this a necessary concept?

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Carrying forward the chain of thoughts initiated in previous post regarding disturbances in ratio of societal segments leading to destabilizing of Dharma, we have two examples in Itihaasa which refer to disruption of this societal harmony by an Ishwariya Avataara. Did this lead to the destabilization of Dharma which is hinted in Indian narrative in form of "Kali-Yuga"?

The double culling of Kshtariyas during Parasuram avatar and the Mahabaharata war led to the change in the distribution according to Indian Narrative (Itihaasa). Especially the latter, for subsequent to that we find the rise of janapadas (democratically run states not requiring Kings) and the rise of reform religions Jainism and Buddhism emphasising non-violence. That is why  we need to do our duty to not force another avatar to manifest.

This is one of the drawbacks and deracinations introduced by Bhakti saints since 4th century AD. 

Ishwara is only good as long as he is in abstraction, minds and temples and yagna-kundas. Moment his complete human manifestation happens, more often than not he tends to screw things up in long run.. For nirishwarvaadi people who do not need Ishwara, Ishwariya avatar refers to human heroes whom public and intellectuals of all economic, social, spiritual dimensions attest as Swayam Bhagwaan walking on earth. His acts (however selfless) are not questioned. Thus too much of power concentrates in one pair of hands. 

Although avataras are called so because they know when to give up and leave the world, still why give such heroes a chance? I am talking about purna avataras like Parashuram, Sri Raam, Sri Krishna, Kalki etc.. Buddha is comparatively benign form (yet he indirectly did cause long term debacle of Dharma)...

Interestingly, this is what happened in middle east and west. Judaism was one of the many views of ancient times and like others, it was not proselytizing. Yes, they believed in "one true god" and said that roman, greek, egyptian, germanic, arab, persian and other gods are false gods. But after genocide of hittites, this remained more or less an ideological stance only. Yes, the God in Old testament is one of the most barbaric character ever created, but still he was less harmful to other cultures. Emergence of Christ started an avalanche which destroyed everything that west had gained and achieved. 

I can only imagine what pain the scientists and thinkers of greece, egypt, rome and other parts of west must be feeling when all of them were either converted and forced to obey christ OR were burnt at stake for blasphemy. for example, philosophers were talking about heliocentric model and laws of planetary motion in egypt and greece. If that trajectory was continued, it would not have delayed industrial revolution. Emergence of these avataras of abrahmic god plunged the world into dark age of 1200 years. India already had technology to coat iron with zinc nano-layer to avoid rusting. this requires parallel progress in many other fields of engineering and science. 

I would recommend the movie "Agora" based on burning of library of alexandria and persecution of philosopher-astronomer Hypatia by Christians. It is for people to judge how different they were from Taliban?

Thus, the Avatar of Ishwara is something not worth anticipating. In fact, as far as possible, it is worth avoiding. And it can be avoided by following one's Dharma and doing one's duty. Because, once it happens, things usually go unpredictable. The fatalistic tendency of Indians which compel them to adjust and wait for divine intervention, instead of making things right themselves is one of the principle deracinations that has occurred in past 1500 years. 

Few thoughts on Varnashrama system

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There requires a certain pool of young people in particular ratio for effective functioning of varnashrama. If that ratio is disrupted, the varnashrama system breaks down to suffer various inglorious fates like its despicable conversion to birth based caste system (as happened with "Hindus") OR en masse abandoning of the dharma (as happened with buddhists and other dharmiks in Sindh and Bengal after Islamic conquests) OR migration (as happened in many places and times, including partition and Kashmiri Pandit problem). 

What that ratio should be, what were thoughts of various sages on ratios of different times and places need to be seen. 

Before I proceed, here is the disclaimer. The terms Brahmin-Kshatriya-Vaishya-Shudra are used strictly in professional sense. I am aware of certain castigating remarks on Shudras and women in books like Manu smriti and hence the book is worth condemning and abandoning. However, the classification of a complex society in intellectuals, politicians & military, Merchants and workers is seen in all the societies. While it remains based on "Guna-Karma (interest and profession)" of individuals, in India, it became rigidly birth-based in past 1000 years which led to all the social evils. I am simply using the Sanskrit terms (Brahmin-Kshatriya-Vaishya-Shudra) instead of English ones to make following argument. Thank you.

In my humble opinion, at least 8% of society should be Brahmin class (scientists, policy makers, professors, philosophers, poets, writers, thinkers, researchers). 16% kshatriyas (military, paramilitary, police force, spies, sportsmen, politicians, ministers), 24% Vaishyas (self employed people) and 50% of society should be workers (People who take salary, from public OR private sector). Men and Women included. 

2% should be roaming saints, sanyasis, sadhu baba, bhikkhu, tantriks, fakirs and similar people.

It is extremely essential to have a large pool of self employed people (small, medium, big businesses, farmers etc) to maintain multipolar society inherent in concept of dharma. I am not claiming my figures in above paragraph are from standard texts, they are simply my thoughts. The problem arose, as said earlier, when this ratio is disturbed by one reason or another. 

Here is a mental exercise - 

If India today had 8% intellectuals, then that figure would be approximately 10 crore. 1 intellectual per 10-15 people is a healthy teacher-student ratio. There would be about 20 crore kshatriyas. 1 crore of armed men are essential for protecting subcontinent (afghanistan to myanmar, tibet included) internally and externally. Rest can be politicians, police, ministers (2-3 crore more). If there are 15 crore sportsmen in country, it will tremendously boost the fitness level and health of entire dharmik community. This is seen by presence of gymnasiums in all villages since ancient times. These sportsmen are also part time warriors and teachers with some occupation thus form second line of defence in case first one falls. 

40 crore independent businessmen in various fields and occupations. All dharmashastras categorically state that upper limit of taxation should be 16% in peacetime and 25% in wartime. Each of them taxed only 16% by government, thus providing incentive to find new ways of getting rich. These people pay remaining 60-70 crore people their salary. Vaishya class patronize various sportsmen, events and intellectuals. They are coaxed to donate money again and again, plus they are the ones who usually built lakes, dharma-shalas, roads which facilitated their trade in country and abroad. 

Now, what happens if this ratio is disturbed?

If brahmins decrease, knowledge level of society goes down, if kshatriyas decrease then fitness and sovereignty goes down, if vaishyas decrease economy goes down and if Shudras decrease then first technical expertise prevalent in society goes down and then entire system goes down. Shudras form the basis, the foundation of this bottoms up system. Vice-versa if any of them increase too much, then too we have similar destabilizing problems. The epics and medieval period from guptas to ghori shows efficacy of this fully functioning system at its optimum. 

History shows this is what happened. Islamic narratives are filled with mountains of "Shikha" and "Yajnopavitams" after massacres of inhabitants of many cities. Kshatriya women folk going in purdah and committing johar. This resulted in blatant compromise on principles by surviving brahmins and Kshatriyas thus gradually converting gunakarma based varnashrama system into birth based caste system. This led to gradual increases in atrocities on lower castes by upper castes which rendered lower castes soft targets for ideologies seeking forcible converts. 

There requires an education system which trains every pupil with best of all four Varnas. Thus, everyone will have all characteristics and will be able to switch either of the characteristics on as time demands. Perhaps, this is what is hinted in Purusha-Sukta which says all four segments of society are present in one single body of Samaaj-Purusha.

"कृण्वन्तो विश्वं आर्यं " - Civilize the world - In what context?

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While reading valmiki Ramayana along with Sinhasan Battisi and Vetaal Pachchisi I noticed the emphasis of the latter two stories on "Daan". King Bhoja is coaxed time and again to distribute his wealth. In Ramayana, kings do not require coaxing to indulge in daan-satra. It refers to an ideal which society should strive for. 

What made society so secure that kings could afford giving up power (read money) so easily. while money is power today, it does not appear to be so in Ramayana or stories of Vikramaditya. The kings in this narrative frequently venture out for ashwamedha conquests. Apart from Vikramaditya, other kings are not described venturing in Central Asian Region realistically (descriptions matching facts and geography). But it appears that somehow, kings maintained a "sanitized" region around Dharmik India. The geography around India (the ring of mountains) might have made this easier. 

Furthermore, there was a fearless indic society which did not bind itself by taboos and 7 social prohibitions. To civilize the world, one has to be fearless and receptive to new ideas and adaptations. One has to inculcate completely in his mind-body-intellect his superiority over others (nothing racial in this connotation). Vivekananda too emphasized on this "Fearlessness". One who has sorted out his own issues, is fearless and liberal towards other opinions.

to understand this, one has to again check the actual verse from Rigveda..

इन्द्रं वर्धन्तो अप्तुरः कृण्वन्तो विश्वं आर्यं अपघ्नन्तो अराव्णः  - Rigveda 9.63.5

Indram vardhanto apturah krinvanto vishwam aaryam apaghnanto araavNah - RV 9:63:5

Here the key word is "AraavNah (अराव्णः) which categorically means "one who isn't liberal, hence of jealous and hostile ideology"..

Augmented by Indra's strength, civilize the world by destroying the non-liberal and jealous ones.

This automatically says that arya are those who are broad minded and hence dharmik. I think, in current times, (past 1000 years), it has never been more easier to identify the jealous and non-liberal ideologies. But time had led to instilling fear in minds of Indic people who once prided themselves as "Amritasya Putra (offsprings of immortal)" and hence developed a siege mentality. In other words, total anarchy and hence adharma. But these sons of amrita cannot beat the jealous God who is master of fearmongering in his own game. 

The terms of the game need to change. The game needs to be played on strengths of Indian meme-complex which is unity in diversity and ability to absorb and assimilate populations and ideas. This requires a fearless and liberal nature in order to embrace, indianize and assimilate all the foreign influences. Indics have to rediscover their ideological fearlessness.