Onslaught after onslaught after onslaught: but here is something that survives in spite of all odds that is the ‘Vedantic Wisdom traditions’. It is estimated that it has about one billion ardent followers and equal amount of informed enthusiasts Worldwide.
What are the key factors behind this sustained endurance over few thousand years together, let us find out.
History is witness to the fact that Prithiviraj Chauhan was the last independent Hindu Rajput king of Delhi till 1192 AD, ever since it has been more than eight centuries that India is being ruled by invaders, for appreciable protracted period prior to independence, predominantly by Moghuls & British. So it is precisely 824 Years from now that was the last instance when Vedantic principles used to garner rulers patronage, but ever since it is in this land of wonders of the Indian sub-continent where Vedas originated, there are more forces that opposed the philosophy rather receiving any encouragement for any of its enthusiasts.
Vedantic wisdom traditions evoked great share of interest in the west. One amongst the many noted scholars of the west, who made endeavors to study and analyze the Vedantic traditions, was none other than German Born Max Müller, a philologist who devoted his thought process for the same while living in Britain. Müller did enormous work both scholarly and popular on the subject of Indology or the Indian traditions of thought. He, in fact after doing a thorough research and study appreciated in colossal terms the beauty of the Vedic wisdom.
When Thomas Alva Edison invented gramophone, he recorded the first sloka (Verse) of Rikveda & demonstrated to Max Muller again. ‘Agni mile purohitam’ was the first such verse of Rikveda meaning ‘I Laud Agni, the chosen Priest, God, minister of sacrifice, the hotar, lavishest of wealth’; this was recorded in the morning and played in the evening to the surprise of many in a gathering. The question is why did Mr Edison choose the RigVeda sloka, where he had apparently so many options available besides the Vedic verse!
Unlike popular beliefs the Vedic scriptures like ‘Vedas’, ‘Upanishads’, ‘Purana’, ‘Panini’, ‘Kautilya Artha Sashtra’, ‘Bhagavat Gita’, ‘Mahabharata’, ‘Ramayana’ etc., are not only restricted to religion but these encompasses Law, Economics, Political Science, Astrology, Medicine, Science, and most importantly duty and obligations of an individual towards the society that is ‘Sadachar’ a part of ‘Dharma’ which means how to lead life and behave for a harmonious society for sustenance and progress.
1.0 Vedic language: Sanskrit – the mode of communication
Sanskrit is the language of the Vedas.
American space research agency NASA was having trouble to use a suitable language for programming and operating systems. They tried with English but faced simple issues like “the two same kind spelled words like ‘but’ and ‘put’ has different pronunciations.” NASA personnel were developing a new language so that it can work well with the software and be able to receive both verbal and written commands alike but not required completing the task. Reason being, in the meanwhile, Sanskrit was tried, thereafter amazing results found due to its scientific integrity & consistency and now acknowledged as the most computer friendly language for artificial intelligence.(#9)
Federal government of USA is investing huge amount of money in developing proper software compatible to Sanskrit. So now the students, who aspire to go to the states from IITs of India etc., to work in NASA might have to study Sanskrit first! This may be the reason for Government of India issuing circulars to IITs to start Sanskrit curriculum in 2016.
2.0 Dharma: principle of harmonious co-existence and not religion
Principles by which we need to align ourselves to elements and forces of the universe to yield a harmonious relationship with it,(#2) is called ‘Dharma’, for example things which we have to necessarily observe in our daily life and in social relations, etc., is also constituted by what is called as ‘Dharma’. Actually this term ‘Dharma’ is much wider and not religion per se and encompasses righteousness, rule of law, duty, obligations, religious practices, Sadachar (meaning how to lead a life by behaving with others, e.g. how to behave with aged parents, how to treat your son when he is a child, adolescent, & then at pinnacle of youth & thereafter) etc.
British missionary system of education lacked this, as particularly in Science stream they only deal with pure Science subjects and not touch other subjects of principal importance such as ‘Sadachar’ and ‘Psychology’ as a part of the curriculum. So actually it does not help to guide a person to lead a life, which believe cannot be solely addressed through scientific means as always.
Now, how do these Vedantic principles very aptly applies to students of today? Vedic teachings have an important philosophy that do not profess shortcuts but has components of Adhayan, Chintan & Manan unlike book mugging for exams, vomiting and then forgetting them all.
In the context of contemporary education system in India, like present day examinations, where one usually memorizes the texts with shortcut study materials, writes on paper next day and forgets about it. Ultimately obtains good marks but no knowledge. The Good marks so obtained don’t help in conducting day to day lives as Judges, Adjudicators, Lawyers, Doctors, and Engineers etc., as decision makers don’t bother about your marks when you present or argue your cases before them. This process of modern day ejection without digestion kind of taking examinations (although not practiced by all) is a shortcut and is not at all prescribed by Vedantic principles and on the contrary Vedantic traditions rather emphasizes to follow three steps as below for a fruitful accumulation of knowledge and wisdom.
First, Adhayan: that is study by reading, listening, watching and using all sense organs to form a perception, i.e. by observation preferably a sharp one and then,
Second, Chintan: that is to do analysis of whatever being studied and thinking about it and churning ideas about the philosophy studied and thereafter,
Third, Manan: that is imbibing the entire idea into one’s belief system, so that it works along, while conducting the life.
So if the study cycle follows above process then it could be a complete study for sustenance and progress and not otherwise, hope all of you agree.
In the culture of the country ‘Bharat’ as described in the Vedas for India, it’s the Dharma that its practitioners needs to perform and is closely related to Karma or the action one undertakes during life time and thereafter liberation. (#4) Karma is not only the effect of actions taken during one life time but it has got genetic credentials attached to it. According to Swami Vivekananda thus thought determines your destiny and actions are derived from thoughts. Thereafter, ‘Liberation’ means one’s consciousness has to be free from all Karmic effects and reactions. God or the ultimate consciousness is not the goal of Vedic follower (#5).
All these end in pursuit of truth and truth is the basis of formation of thought process in Vedas. Value of truth is immense & it cannot be even temporarily denied and confused with materialistic perception but to be related to ultimate reality.
Thus Satyameva Jayate that is ‘truth alone triumphs’ is derived from Mundaka Upanishad adopted as our country’s national motto.
3.0 Yoga: a Vedic tradition
Yoga on the other hand is not just a simple physical exercise regime as ordinarily perceived but as conceptualised in the Vedas it is the physical, mental and spiritual discipline and practice that originated in India during ancient Civilisation. One of the constituent of Yoga means mind control, control of the five senses of the body and directing them for positive and productive uses. There are many types of Yoga which is a practice like Karma Yoga (Yoga for action), Gyan Yoga ( Yoga for Knowledge), Bhakti Yoga ( Devotion), Dhyan Yoga ( Self Control) etc., Gyan Karma Sanyas Yoga (Yoga for knowledge), Gyan Vigyan Yoga (Self-knowledge with enlightenment), Raja Yoga (Supreme Knowledge), Vibhuti Yoga (God’s Manifestation), Mokhya Yoga (Yoga of Liberation) etc., etc.,
Yoga is thus a multidisciplinary activity for overall development of sustainable personality. I for instance actually used to believe Yoga as an alternative to PT (Physical training) class in our missionary convent schools in childhood.
Yoga got international recognition by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 2014, and International Yoga Day is now to be celebrated on June 21st of every year. The suggested date of June 21st is of great astronomical significance in Vedic traditions as it’s the beginning of the ‘Uttarayan’ or the longest day of the year or summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and shares unique significance in many parts of the world!
4.0 Manusmriti: Vedic Law
Ancient Manusmriti, the first codified law timed around 500 BC is the first ‘Rule of Law’ in the history of the Mankind! – said, Journalist Tavleen Singh via Twitter.
Vedic wisdom traditions had acknowledged during the period around 500 BC when the Latin & English laws were not developed, the ‘Rule of law’, having components of supremacy of Law, predominance of legal spirit and equality before the law, were advocated in Manusmriti but this very legal principle’s modern proponent is Prof. AV Dicey who came out with details only towards the end of nineteenth century. Prof. Austin’s the father of modern jurisprudence had said “Law is the command of the sovereign” it holds good in Manusmriti (Chapter VIII Verse 1 to 8).
Justification of caste system may not be admissible to any one anymore in the current Indian context but there were class of people since time immemorial and shall remain so, it is just like any other natural course and cannot be negated.
According to Vedas there is ‘Prakriti’ i.e. nature and ‘Purusha’ i.e. Men. Nature has certain definitive courses which happen on its own but Men can modify the course to a certain extent. This capacity of human intervention in the natural discourse is the principal reason for Global warming and the huge concern about the sustainability of the World order.
GOD in the formless ultimate consciousness, in its own natural course, has fortunately or unfortunately not given equal intelligence to mankind, all across the board to justify communism line of thought! Herbert Spencer coined the phrase ‘Survival of the fittest’ in line with Darwin’s theory of evolution is by far acknowledged to be the natural law. There is certain disparity there and we have no recourse or remedy to that injustice done by the GOD.
Pyramids of Egypt depict the geometry of intelligence distribution in men. More you go towards bottom the number increases of persons of equal intelligence and more you go towards top the number decreases. Therefore, when degree of intelligence takes upward trend the numbers decrease and vice versa. Simple example is, there can be only one leader who can lead one family, one village, one state, one country one idea and the World at the same time, so it is represented in the apex of the Egyptian pyramid. Thus from survival of the fittest it will soon be the ‘survival of the wisest’, that may be expected anytime soon.
Now, if we assume that United States of America as the most advanced country in the world and use the case as sample study then can we disown the following?
There are people who are practicing as Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors, Professors, Scientists, Jurists, Bureaucrats etc., for the time being let us name them as Class A.
There are people who are mass entertainers like sportsmen, various artists irrespective of their background they are applauded by the humanity for their art and skill; they are called celebrities for a moment lets name them as Class AA.
There are people who are serving in the United States in the Army, Air force, Navy and local Police administration and are in charge of their country’s defense and security, for the time being let us name them as Class B.
Then there are people who are serving as leaders of the big business houses, many of them are famous because of their school dropout tag! But attained great height of success in spite of that relative deficiency. Many are leading multi-billion dollar business houses successfully with their commercial acumen. For the moment let us describe them as Class C.
Then there are people who give service of any kind; service needed to the humanity for the example sake let us name them as Class D.
All the above class is dependent on the level of intelligence and vocation and interest traits in Men. If we closely follow the example of doctors, we find that it is extremely difficult to become a reputed one as it requires great amount of intelligence, wisdom and traits that can make one a good doctor and all doctors are not the same. Doctors differ in their scale or notch of excellence depending upon the level of their qualitative superiority.
Indian consumer protection act of 1986 has got something called ‘class action’ wherein a class of people with common concern can lodge consumer complaints and win awards against the errant manufacturers or service providers.
Hence, the class of people remains inevitable and there can be classification within a class itself irrespective of the development, advancement, modernization and evolution of humanity due to the very discrimination in their intelligence, passion, interest and vocation for certain discipline etc., etc. At times the common meeting grounds for a class or group can be culture, tradition, behavioral pattern or a school alumnus for example. The cause is largely natural and not necessarily imposed by humanity.
Kshratriya’s are known as upholders of justice as depicted in Manusmriti in Chapter 2 Verse 32. Irrespective of whatever you do to bring communism and bring equality in all but I reiterate that you cannot get rid of the one person called the leader who needs to lead your family, community, country and an idea. Without a proper leader any thought leads to chaos.
Elevation from one caste to another is duly acknowledged by Bhaagavata, Kshatriya clan named and elevated Dhashtru to Bramhinhood. Nirukta tells us tales of that of two brothers Santanu and Devaapi one became Kshtriya King & the other a Bramhin Priest. So it is a misnomer that Vedas specify rigidly that caste is by birth, rather it proposes that level of persons can go up, due to ‘Karma’ and ‘individual Interest’ or the consequences of actions they undertake during their lifetime.
Thus, if we are able to accept the above classification as normal and natural then one can find no wrong if Manusmriti had specified four classes of Bramhin, Kshatriya, Vaishya & Sudra castes in consonant of the times of post vedic period. Of course the caste system of the vedas are also described in Srimad Bhagavat Gita as well in Chapter IV Verse 13, it was based more on social needs & individual actions. Varna or caste system is created by temperament and vocation and not by birth or heredity is amply clear in the subsequent Vedic texts.
So, we can see here that unlike popular beliefs and myths, like many other wisdom traditions, Vedanta also was subject to distortion and false propaganda and it shall fell a victim unless students endeavor to get into the depth of the matter. For example Sati and Child Marriage are the localized distortions of the culture and not included anywhere in the scripture. These two vices arose out of the security concern for women as invaders used sexual aggression as the mode of attack.
Thus the crux of the matter thus is that classification of persons based on various parameters of human conduct thus is not avoidable under the influence of changes of the societal evolution in law and political governance, the same was scripted in Manusmriti; should that not be viewed with rational mind?
It is a golden rule in jurisprudence that punishment need not be the same for the same crime, but the background and location of the criminal needs to be examined closely and according to age, educational background, circumstances, the quantum and extent of punishment needs juridical determination. The same is denoted in Chapter VII Verse 16 Manusmriti.
Italian psychiatrist Dr. Lombroso coined the theory of born criminals, where criminals were thought to have only genetic traits. Friedrich Carl von Savigny, the German proponent of Historical school of Jurisprudence defined Organic evolution of law with gradual societal changes. The 18th century famous English philosopher, Jurist and social reformer Jeremy Bentham advocated that nature has placed men under the empire of pleasure and pain.
Furthermore, ecology of crime meaning the location and local environment also needs to be given due consideration. Thus punishment becomes country specific, one of the live example being for the same offence and crime of ‘adultery’ there is death penalty in Saudi Arabia, three years rigorous imprisonment with fine in India and for the same offence or activity there is no punishment in the UK.
Thus Vedic laws are more suitable for Indian culture, but the British rules are signs of acceptance of oppression and slavery. All laws were made keeping the interest of British dominion, but the same fell out of place for evolving Indian society. Like for example IPC124A Sedition is conflicting with freedom of speech & expression under certain circumstances but to our utter surprise this law does not address the issue of protecting sovereignty and integrity of the country as the essence of such anti-sedition Act.
5.0 Vedas and Srimad Bhagavat Gita:
Magical Bhagavat Gita: generally considered as a mandate for action.
Instead of focusing on results of action if one does duty with full devotion and focuses solely on the quality of action only, it is likely to lead to better results. There should not be any restraint or attachment for not doing prescribed duties. But focus should be on the action itself and not diverted elsewhere (Chapter2 Verse47).
It explains recurrently the laws of attachment and says that if one attempts to slightly diminish to start with, the deep attachment for family, friends, material objects, then doorway to peace and happiness opens up (Chapter 6 Verse 4). If one can forgo it (like Sages) then the result is an ultimate one.
There are some inevitable incidents like death, like one who has taken birth shall die one day, if we accept such simple facts then our unnecessary worries and fear of death come down and quality of life improves (Chapter 2 Verse27).
Bhagavat Gita talks of sixth sense (Chapter 15 Verse7), which is not physical but metaphysical in nature. Metaphysical is something abstract beyond comprehension by the just the five physical senses of embodied beings.
Vedas are the first thought which focused inward i.e. on the self. There is a concept of individual consciousness or the soul(#1), our physical body consisting of constituents like Earth, Fire, Air, Water and Ether – interactions amongst all ingredients can be sensed with five senses of eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin but the subtle constituent of mind, intellect, ego can be sensed with sixth sense.
What Vedas teach is to look within and control and take a proper survey of our internal environment. But then the modern science focuses outside and tries to control external elements, like controlling ambient temperature by heating or air-conditioning. But amazing to know how the seers at the Himalayas survive in biting cold. Because, if we incrementally try to develop tolerance in ourselves instead of seeking luxurious environment, then we can probably sleep without a fan even, which we are so used to today, please try at your home someday.
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan the 2nd President of the Republic of India wrote in his book, The Bhagavat Gita – Chapter ‘Introductory essay’, “By developing our inner spiritual nature we gain a new kind of relatedness to the World and grow into the freedom, where the integrity of SELF is not compromised, we then become aware of ourselves as active creative individual living not by the discipline of external authority but by the inward rule of free devotion to the TRUTH”. This is the essence of Vedic wisdom traditions, where self-control and self-introspection is paramount to success and not unnecessary efforts in controlling the external environment.
The text is estimated to be around 5000 years old and still contemporary! These are some of the timeless pieces which cannot be repudiated of logic irrespective of the changing times.
Bhagavat Gita is therefore the concise book either describing or mentioning most of the wisdom principles of Karma, Moksha, Individual and Ultimate consciousness, laws of attachment etc., elaborated in the Vedas.
- Atma or nearly soul and God or Bramhan
Atma or soul: Bhagavat Gita portray about eternal soul or individual consciousness which is indestructible, cannot be made wet or dried cannot kill or get killed (Chapter 2 Verse 20 to 26).
There are certain elements which are beyond the comprehension of human senses. One of that may be soul! Let us consider the following.
Now let us undergo the experiment of “Who I am” and think and introspect deeply then you would probably find that there is something guiding you to action, what is that? The concept of individual consciousness comes into play here; if you lose your consciousness then you also lose yourself. How do you place yourselves in relation to the environment that you are in? One is always acting and reacting with respect to certain environment and circumstances one is in, where the subtle body constituting of mind, intellect, ego etc. interacts with the process of thoughts and then thoughts transforming into action. What are the source of abstract thinking, introspection & creativity? Source of thoughts, perspectives and perception of the things around us those undergo change by looking at the same things from various angles. There exists some kind of mystery, isn’t it?
Vedic wisdom has clear explanation of individual consciousness or soul. Let us go to a well-known sea shore for a moment. India’s famous beaches are in the state of Goa, we could proceed little further down south. There is a place called Karwar in Karnataka, in the same western shore there is a famous beach called as OM beach in south Karnataka. Special feature of that beach is you can find sea and mountain in the same location. Suppose you are at that beach where you are trying to perceive sky, mountain and sea together in winter, you will find the magnificent view of blue sky, mountain, forests and sea appears, what is that experience, is that the reality?
Actually no! That’s the human perception(#1), or now the same when looked at by the Dolphin, Bee or the insect with hundred eyes will look altogether different to them, i.e. it is species specific perception. Now let us consider the human experience case, we have two eyes 7.5 cms apart with two different lenses, by the time light enters to our eyes and hits retina, we are actually supposed to see two of each and both inverted. But what we get to see it’s the something else on the sea shore, not commensurate to our sensual experience. That experience is coming from the consciousness. That’s Atma which is individual consciousness which has memory, which supplements the visionary experiences and together perceives the universe in a certain manner.
God: Does god exist? Now how to settle this difficult question of GOD or ‘Ishwara’ or the Brahman or may be called by whatever term one likes. According to Vedas, this creation of Earth, Universe and Cosmos are interactive and manifests in relation to us as human beings.
God is a self organising principle, ever improving deeper intelligence, which is non-local and all-pervading beyond time-space, has no shape and made out of nothing but a principle of consciousness, awareness as described in the Vedas as ultimate consciousness or ‘Paramatma’ (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Ch IV Verse 4.2, Bhagavat Gita Ch10 Verse, 22 to 39)
Now ever improving intelligence has proof in self-evolution, as it has taken 13,800 millions of years for us to evolve as human being as what we are today. Technology is improving day by day in an extremely hasty pace and we can’t possibly see any end to it.
God is self organising phenomenon because take for example human body it can kill germs, digest food, listen to piano & reproduce all at the same time. There are numerous process that taking place within our body without we being aware of it in an involuntary manner.
Consciousness is the ground for all experiences according to Dr. Deepak Chopra a leading neuroscientist, best-selling author & advocate of alternative medicine in the US, who explained consciousness in his videos, please see links in the end.
Creation that we observe implies giving rise to something that was non-existent first. Manifestation of the interaction of the cosmos is a change in appearance of one thing to another as simple as that or in other words, a change in form. Forms can change as a continual process but as the form changes, if we refer to it by a different name as per our experience in consciousness but the sum and substance (Brahman or God) behind the name or the new form remains the same and not subject to change in reality.
Now, we need to delve into a bit more detail, everything that human being can perceive consists of atoms and if we go further into the quantum mechanics and try to experience the sub-atomic states of things, we can find that the things which we consider as matter are not matter at all and in sub-atomic states they are energies1. There are major portion of the universe which are non-atomic and we cannot interact with them like black energy, interstellar dust etc.
By all of the above we summarise the principle as GOD (#11)
Human beings are part of this universe and not a separate entity but a synchronized, meaningful co-incidence, impermanent manifestation. Any kind of the wrong perception of this phenomenon is one of the five reasons(#12) for sufferings in human life.
7.0 Reason for human sufferings – Vedantic Perspective(#12)
Both Buddhism and Vedas duly explain the reasons for human sufferings on this earth and what is the way out of it. This is known as five Kleshas or reasons for that matter which contribute to the human painful experiences during their life time.
First is Ignorance: which means not knowing the true nature of reality of who we are. Ignorance leads to sufferings if we act on matters without having proper knowledge of it.
Second is Ego: I, me and myself, actually there is nothing called mine in this world and we have to leave all our bank balances when we die, thereafter leaving things beyond control.
Third is Attachment: attachment to enjoy and extreme desire for sense gratification.
Fourth is Aversion: Repulsion for various things that we don’t like on Earth, say for example we don’t like this teacher, that student, that colleague, that weather etc., etc., or fear of the things we don’t like.
Fifth is fear of Death: Fear of death in Men is an amazing phenomenon, actually we may die or leave our body but not our consciousness or atman which is beyond this mortal body. LIC of India exploits this very phenomenon in splendid proportion and has assets of over 350 Billion US$ as of 2016. That’s the fear of death that generates so much of revenue and profits.
Vedanta says that all the five reasons are contained in the first one, which is ignorance and not knowing true nature of reality. So that’s the only reason for sufferings. (Refer Patanjali Yoga sutra Chapter 2 Sutra 3)(#14)
8.0 Hindu: Is it a religion or more
Hindu has been declared as ‘way of life’ by the Honourable Supreme Court of India(#6) and not recognized as religion in their collective wisdom. Hindu is the Persian word(#7) devised by the invaders to the Indian land and may be close to a nationality or Mat (meaning opinion) or a view of life. It is generally identifies the people who live in the land east of river Indus till the Indian Ocean. If somebody wishes to jump into the ocean then he is called to have arrived in Lanka! So the term Hindu is close to nationality and obviously not a religion.
However, our politicians exploit every possible opportunity in terming it as religion and use it for dividing our country. Anti-conversion laws are opposed by the certain section of lawmakers in India. That’s a kind of nervousness Vedic traditions are capable of generating.
Equality: The recognition of the spirit in men is the essential feature of the Hindu (Sanatan Dharma) religion and in this respect all men are equal. For the purpose of Indian Law Hindu is a ‘way of life’ (#6) as determined by Supreme Court of India; Jain, Sikh & Buddhists thus are also governed by Hindu laws.
Flexibility and no compulsion to carry out religious rites, like you may or may not do Ganpati or Durga Puja or Holi or Dewali no questions asked, you still remain Hindu and can carry out the wedding of your daughter following Vedic rites.
Worship of female Goddess is practiced in Vedic traditions, without gender discrimination! According to Vedic texts Men and Women are equal (Atharva-Veda 14.1.43-44) but due to security concerns out of the threat of the invaders, this tradition was a bit modified. However, position as of today (2016) is, numerous Hindu women are leading lights in their respective fields and heads many American corporations.
People can act and celebrate as go as you like fashion, the same is mentioned in Bhagavat Gita Ch18, Verse 63 – Yatechasi Tatha Kuru – meaning act as you like, this is one of the grandeur characteristics, which makes Vedantic followers most natural, independent and perpetually liberated.
You may fast, may not as well, no compulsion, no forceful imposition by any authority. Mankind needs independence that’s very important, the value of democracy and voting rights can be assessed only when one visit China whose citizens are not so privileged like Indians tweeted Bangladeshi physician and author Taslima Nasreen one day.
The Vedic culture is to look at the things as they are without any prejudice and perform Karma (prescribed action) to achieve Moksha (liberation).
Bhagavat Gita in Chapter 7 Verse 21 allows Idol worship and is a recognised method to reach to the ultimate consciousness or God, the reason being all men are not equal in their intelligence and everyone not able to control their desires in the best possible manner and therefore Idol worship becomes a tool for communicating with the God resulting in increased focus and concentration for the less privileged. Idol worships makes it easier for devotees to connect as medium to real life relevant to self, as a communication medium. Idol worship is a huge source of joy and marks splendorous festivities in the culture.
Gotra system in Vedas has immense value as it prevents disabilities in offspring born out of prohibited degree of relationships; it has added great value to the modern genetic engineering research. (#10) Gotra system do not allow marriage amongst the same Gotras or amongst the persons having the same ancestral lineage. Today’s science has acknowledged the importance of not marrying in the same clan while researching about the abnormalities or the disabilities of the unborn child.
Love, compassion and consequential sex, if any, are the matters of celebration and not taboo is what the philosophy in Vedanta. The same is depicted in the sculptures of the 10th century temples of Khajuraho, India!(#13)
Actually, Men is a flexible teachable animal, who can be molded, who are capable of acquiring qualities and traits from the circumstances and environment they are surrounded and socially controlled by means of superior political authority with or without governance through rule of law. For example, promiscuity is the natural behavior of Men, but when then birth control techniques were not known, it lead to identity crisis and chaos, therefore marriage and monogamy was invented. Hindu laws now enacted with monogamy as the cardinal principle of marriage and cohabitation since 1956 and Hindu Men adopted it with extraordinary satisfaction, isn’t it?
Vedic wisdom teaches resilience and imbibes the same in the belief system, it enable one to fight in difficult circumstances and not lose focus, the example being when Hindus of Bengal and Kashmiri Pundits were made refugees in their own country, there is no report of any one committing suicide due to the horrendous situation like Indian farmer does, nobody gave up life unless killed. But both the communities relocated and started life afresh & rose up once again. Many are serving the top positions in the country today. However, on the contrary whenever Pakistani cricket team plays under pressure they lost the match due to anger and frustration, that’s the reason for all their loss in high voltage World Cup matches so far, according to Sourav Ganguly. (#3)
9.0 Vedas: a tradition of tolerance & accommodation
Revolutionary lecture on Indian history of accommodation and Tolerance was delivered by Swami Vivekananda 1893 Chicago speech and he had said, “We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.” Which means God or the ultimate consciousness.
His excellency Narendra Modi the 14th Prime Minister of the Republic of India delivered an outstanding, impromptu, extempore speech at the joint session of the US Congress in June 2016, wherein he said that ‘India has given Yoga to the World and not claimed patent on it’. There are around 30 million practitioners of Yoga in the US. His address was received with multiple standing ovations and clapping interventions by the apex institution of democracy i.e. US Congress. Closest analogy can be drawn with only the reactions of the address that received similar amount of applause and reception by Swami Vivekananda way back in 1893 at Chicago religion congressional deliverance.
This justifies the slow but gradual recognition of the Vedic Wisdom traditions by the rest of the World for its ageless and contemporary disposition.
Describing and concluding such a vast topic is not possible within this limited text.
The proof why the Vedic tradition survives in spite of all hostile situations are the few of the many principles enumerated as above. One great example of survival is when adversity was encountered people fled from Bangladesh (erstwhile part of British India and then East Pakistan) and Kashmir but not sacrificed their culture and tradition. Many tried hard and are reestablishing themselves by spreading all over the globe. Today Durga puja, Ganapati, Diwali, Holi etc., has assumed the position of festivals celebrated all across the world.
No single or central command centre or any religious dictates, people can exercise their free will and be at peace with themselves. Customs & traditions are diverse and vary according to location and climate.
Diversity and expression of multiple thought is accepted and encouraged. Getting out of the nest of its own preconceived notion and prejudice and accepting ideas of others is one of the first sign of Civilisation.
Brahmins for most of India survive on vegetarian diet, but in Bengal & Kashmir people don’t mind their meat eating habits, nothing called as forbidden and left entirely to individuals to make their own choice. Only thing is that the food you consume should be fit for human consumption and not otherwise. One would find emphasis on education and moral values, no religion on earth preaches the dignity of humanity in such a lofty strain as Sanatan Dharma and thus in a way it has touched the heart and consciousness of many lives.
This reminds me of the famous song sung by legendary Manna Dey on an extraordinary composition by Nachiketa Ghosh based on lyrics by Gouriprasanna Mazumdar of Bengal who wrote thus “যদি কাগজে লেখো নাম… কাগজ ছিঁড়ে যাবে পাথরে লেখো নাম… পাথর ক্ষয়ে যাবে হৃদয়ে লেখো নাম… সে নাম রয়ে যাবে।“ – “Jadi Kagaje Lekho naam, Kagaj Chire jabe, pathore lekho naam pathar khoye jabe, Hridaye lekho naam se naam roye jabe”(#8) – simple meaning if you write on paper, it will tear away, if you write on stone it will decay, write on heart if you want it to stay. So the Vedic wisdom traditions had in fact touched the heart of billions.
But just touching the heart is not enough. If you want to change the law of the country you need to work on consciousness of the nation, hence Vedic Wisdom traditions with great intrinsic values of truth are embedded in the consciousness of billions and that how it survives, and no onslaught of the material World is powerful enough to eradicate it. And therefore it is here to stay.
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#1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUKwezJYExM Deepak Chopra on consciousness
#2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uALCcsvy6VE watch Deepak Chopra – on how to manage stress
#6. http://www.pucl.org/from-archives/Religion-communalism/sc-judgement.htm Hindu a way of life
#7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/ataglance/glance.shtml Hinduism History