Truth is not spanned with science, logic, arts, democracy, material development or law and order in society, though every one these are historically part of the human pursuit to create an environment that would universally unshackle the individual and empower him or her.
It is peace alone that alternates with truth : the two arise and beget each other in the human heart. Families and communities enable and nurture a stream of aspirants after the quest for truth, though few attain it in any era, by cultivating beauty and goodness in their midst.
Whilst the fundamentals of such an environment crystallise out universal love for life and liberty, such as they resonate with needs and drives embedded deep in human nature, they each require a long qualification encompassing “go” and “no go” behavioural codes suggesting equally universal restraints and polity-wide moderation for the community to evolve onto a trajectory of a glorious past paving constantly the ways in the present, shaping the polity towards a nebulous future and assuring the individual of a household atmosphere in which people still remember to love.
That is what Dharma aims to ensure in a nation, communities and families, for the benefit of individuals, life and environment. It is inscrutable to personal vision, not only on account of second or third order causes that are far too subtle to fathom but also because Dharmic codes must build into itself suggestions that do not auto-recommend themselves to common men. Only the wisened would decipher the reasons to appreciate Dharma tenets; for the rest, it must be borne on ubiquitous traditions at first, to which people are conditioned into following in their mundane lives.
Dharma is a compile of social and personal solutions that prempt irreconciliable problems in the collective and wasteful conflicts in individual lives. Both Hinduism and Buddhism are Dharma-Karma-based ways of life and have together shaped the values systems and life perspectives peculiar to the Orient.
In contrast, the Occident including Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, and the Americas, shed its “barbaric” ways with Abrahamic fervour. The Christian part evolved through centuries of bitter strife : first through secularisation of the State and then to democratic ideals and universal suffrage. These were changes induced by thought, secular theories and socio-political ideas. The Islamic part has in the main refused to embrace secular ideals except superficially and has more or less retained the religious social structures and sharia laws as prevailed in the Caliphate.
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I speak of the Indian way with some intimacy because I have lived it. Its uncorrupt form is an integral package that seems to have solved most of man’s civilisational problems — its material and vital needs, mental aspirations, and spiritual yearning. It incorporates a lot of slack to allow choose or leave preferences and is easily adoptable by every growing individual, in manners that suit.
Filial piety and respect for elders and all being are its important tenets. Indian marriages are not give and take contracts, with an annullment clause; they are lifetime committments. And everybody is encouraged to look upon the world, the universe and natural manifestations, as the body of God or the One reality that fosters us all. Its vegetarian cuisines are exhaustive; no one needs to kill anytime in order to eat, if one so chooses.
It is a culture of restrained, moderated, festive living, not of merely fine speech and suave table manners.
Consider for instance the very serious and widespread issue of gender objectification, which causes much of behavioural warps and twists that make places unsafe to women and children, and men collaterally. The process perpetuating it is this filling of attention with gender form, organs, and the experience they yield upon owning contact… It is the juvenile, libertinous way of miscultured people extolled in the name of Freedom of Expression by advertisers, filmmakers, the porn world, politicians and businessmen looking for quid pro quo with women willing or not, and by powerful religious clerics, pastors and bishops.
That is the liberal secular promise to its subscribers and of wolf-in-sheepskin conservatives to their followers. Always masked, rationalising, legally contesting, and on the sly. Because the sensory associations with the object runs an overpowering script, against which the ill-schooled mind is powerless, when the person finds it easier to release that build up within, those drives coiled up of dissatisfactions and failed overreaches, than to succeed at virtuous restraint, to respect oneself and have it reflect upon others.
The world is filled with talk by people who do not walk it.
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Delhi honors a great Muslim and dumps a killer of Shias and Sikhs : Aurangzeb Road is gone. It is now named after Darah Shikoh, who deeply studied and translated several Indian texts including Upanishads and BhagwadGita.
Darah Shikoh was the willed heir of Emperor Shah Jahan.
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छोटा करके देखिये जीवन का विस्तार
आँखों भर आकाश है बाहों भर संसार
~ निदा फ़ाज़ली
Reduce life’s expanse and look :
The eyes fill with sky
And world embraced in arms.