Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 05 Sep 2014 09:37

Here is a 1920s view of the future. It is uncanny how many of the 1920s dreams have turned into reality. But I am interested in the price that is being paid for this future, if any, in the areas where it occurred as predicted. I can see several things that simply did not pan out as predicted and those things are setting up a new dynamic. Has anyone seen any year 2000 videos of life in 2050? Have people stopped looking positively at the future? If so, why?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr-98yo6RU

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 05 Sep 2014 09:56

KrisP wrote:Dharm is a name given to that essence, which contains everything, just like Gravitation is a name given to that force which holds everything on earth.



Thanks for sharing this link... I for one love to see new interpretations of these ideas for sure...

One thing to think about is - if Dharma is a fundamental force like Gravity, then it needs no defense.
Why do Gods or Humans need to structure their Karma in any particular way? Dharma can never be destroyed and needs no protection.
All of us live everyday without a care of Gravity on Earth, it needs no action on our part...

PS: SD has lost its influence across the entire swath of Eurasia due to this audacious notion that Dharma needs no defense!

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 05 Sep 2014 09:59

About the future?

Watch this video from here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... l2o#t=2680

In fact watch the whole 1 hour if you like

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 05 Sep 2014 10:02

shiv wrote:Has anyone seen any year 2000 videos of life in 2050? Have people stopped looking positively at the future? If so, why?


There is indeed fatigue if not fear... so very good probing from your side on this front!
ironically, the pursuit of individual rights, has resulted in the system becoming more powerful than the individual
Technological Singularity

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 05 Sep 2014 10:04

Pulikeshi wrote:PS: SD has lost its influence across the entire swath of Eurasia due to this audacious notion that Dharma needs no defense!


Pulikeshi this discussion has made me search for various things that people say about dharma and I find that even "sources" on the internet, vary between practical advice about what human actions are needed to conform to dharma and more inactive "dharma is indestructible" viewpoints.

Unfortuately both seem to exist as memes.

One definition of dharma is that it is (using my words) the entity that binds the whole universe/cosmos together. That may be so and it is in this connection I have heard of the "dharma" of a tiger being to attack and be a predator. Fair enough.

But there is the other side of dharma - for humans. Humans need specific actions that are dharma and not adharma. I think those are the ones that are relevant rather than the indestructible dharma of a rock to be hard and sit in one place.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby member_28705 » 05 Sep 2014 10:42

Pulikeshi wrote:
Thanks for sharing this link... I for one love to see new interpretations of these ideas for sure...

One thing to think about is - if Dharma is a fundamental force like Gravity, then it needs no defense.
Why do Gods or Humans need to structure their Karma in any particular way? Dharma can never be destroyed and needs no protection.
All of us live everyday without a care of Gravity on Earth, it needs no action on our part...

PS: SD has lost its influence across the entire swath of Eurasia due to this audacious notion that Dharma needs no defense!


Short answer: Why do you worship God, when god needs no worship? For your own betterment and spiritual progress, correct? Or for the good of family/society, correct? Similarly, it is only we who progress when we work WITH dharma, rather than AGAINST dharma. It is we who stand to gain when we work with dharma.

Secondly, rather than the simile of 'gravity' used by the author; let me the example of Sun. Sun has at least two balancing forces operating on it. On one hand, you have the thermonuclear explosion happening due to nuclear fusion. And on the other you have a gravitational collapse happening. What happens when rate of fusion reduces? Let us compare it with rise in adharma. There is a gravitational collapse consequently. Collapse is bad right? But this collapse itself increases the rate of fusion and the thus the explosive force increase again.

Dharma cannot be destroyed by our actions. But our own character can be destroyed in our cases. More importantly, remember the verse again - All that is protected, is protected by dharma. All that is killed, is killed by dharma. If our society is not good enough as a whole, then expect some serious culling. That is dharma as a system operating. Let's put this to test again, shall we? Let's say we as a society take a collective decision to enhance our individual pleasure as much as possible. What do you think will happen? People will kill, loot, rape. There will be widespread war. As a result, humans might get entirely extinct. Is dharma getting extinct? Na. It's merely getting rid of us. And suppose we don't all get extinct but there is a severe ice age or something. What do you think will happen, as per modern science? Natural process of selection will favour those of us who have an inclination to work with society/family etc. And eventually, when the nightmare is over, we will have a new population - who are genetically more inclined to co-operate with each other. If not, again mass extinction. Dharma is unaffected. Dharma exists with or withour our mortal bodies.

Even incarnations/avatars are, imho, dharma's reaction to adharma prevalent.

Shiv - indeed dharma can mean two things - from a personal level and from a universal level. But this shouldn't appear so contradictory. Consider, for instance, knowledge. At one level, we have our own personal knowledge. At a universal level, we have universal knowledge. Indeed, saraswati is an embodiment of this universal knowledge as per our shastras. Similarly, there is eternal existence - defined as sat - an attribute of our atman. And there is existence as seen by human-eyes which is temporal. Likewise with consciousness, there is the universal super-consciousness and then there is consciousness that we see. When we see a body as conscious for the first time, we celebrate it as birth. When we know that it is no longer a subject of consciousness, we mourn it as death.
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 05 Sep 2014 10:49

Shiv, I think in the broad strokes I agree with you... there are of course details...

There is considerable variation and debate in the various SD schools, Jaina, Baudha and other schools as well.
imvho the Jaina thoughts are more closely tied to Karma, but they take on reincarnation in a more strong way for my taste.
the Baudha while recognizing the cosmic nature, more fall in line on the Buddha's teachings themselves being Dharma and focus too much on the human condition.
Even in SD, Vatsayayana for example says Dharma is tied to more than mere Karma, it includes thoughts, words, etc. I am not sure about this... again while I find Patanjali's yama and niyama very useful personally, I cannot intellectually come to agree with the foundational basis of Dharma to be just those principles.

The confusion arise in the fact that Dharma is a very overused word. It is trivially (I hate this comparison, but doing it only as an example) like saying Strategy or Love. It is very hard to explain what that means to someone, but most of us are able to enact it and live its consequences without extraordinary efforts.

The cosmic Dharma is very much real and related to the mundane Human one, but it is the bridge between the infinite vast non-living and the finite few living, and further in the living social animals work differently then those that are not social, etc. that recycle of energy works irrespective of ones adherence to reincarnation and that some of these meanings are missing in our understanding today... Intuitively, the very transference of energy is regulated by Dharma and making human actions harmonious to it, is the angle I am heading towards. It is perhaps not relevant to this thread, so I will leave it for another day.

My take is therefore different, I have borrowed from the Jaina on the Karma ideas, from the Baudha on the ideas of Dharma as a phenomena, and heavily from SD schools that look at Dharma as an intrinsic value of the everything that is and then added my own interpretation.

All this said, I do not think there should be only one stream, but several tributaries on every idea - that is how the SD river will remain well fed. Therefore, I have no desire to make it that my idea on Dharma is the way to go... but it is a mere addition of a stream that may benefit a few.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 05 Sep 2014 17:07

^^^^ I think there is an important idea here - that humans are always in the process of better understanding dharma, there is no prophet or revelation or even avataar that gave the final answers.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 05 Sep 2014 17:58

Extending a previously mentioned diet metaphor to dharma:
http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/0 ... k-thereof/

There is an ongoing clinical + public debate on fats versus carbohydrates.

“Our cultural proclivity for focusing on one food, nutrient, or ingredient as scapegoat or salvation has us exploring every alternative means of eating badly. We have a massive, growing global burden of obesity and chronic disease to show for it. Were we to approach work as we do diet, we would presumably bog down in competing theories about the best ways to succeed while impugning the motives and intelligence of those with opposing views. All the while, few of us would actually acquire an education or get a job.”


^^^^ the above is the search for the atomic principles ("what are the core beliefs?").

Dharma:
“Our fixation on a particular nutrient at a time has been backfiring for decades,” Dr. Katz told Op-Talk in an email.

“The better way,” he argued, “is to say what diets should consist of. If, for instance, we agree that all of the best diets are made up substantially of vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, with or without fish, seafood, poultry, lean meats, dairy, eggs, and with little or no highly processed foods, processed deli meats, etc., it gets pretty hard pretty fast to go too far wrong. We can add details: drink water, not soda; if it glows in the dark, step away from the box and no one will get hurt … and so on.”

He said eating “wholesome foods (as many as possible direct from nature), in sensible combinations” was a better path to health than concentrating on a single nutrient. In this approach, “the nutrients all take care of themselves” and “you can’t lose the forest for the trees, because you are looking at the whole forest from the start,” he said. “It’s a lot simpler than we make it out to be.”


The wholistic view, the forest, not just the trees!

Dharma:

In an examination of Dr. Bazzano’s study and of diet studies in general, Julia Belluz of Vox quotes Christopher Gardner, a professor of medicine at Stanford: He argues that trying to find “the best diet” is misguided. “The better question now should be ‘what is the best diet for different individuals, and how can we match them to those diets?’”


In line with general principles, but individualized as well.

Dharma is more action-heuristics and less axiomatized ethical logic.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 05 Sep 2014 19:44

The gravity analogy mentioned by KrisP is interesting. There is a highly recommendable book called "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn in which a Gorilla, as teacher talks to the main character of the book about all the mistakes made by humanity.

The Gorilla uses a gravity analogy. He points out that gravity is a "law". A law is something that always happens when certain conditions are met. The law is a law. It stays as a law and cannot be negated. You can fight the law, and imagine that you are winning, but you are not going to win over the law. You will lose eventually.

The specific analogy used by the gorilla is of a man who builds an unworkable, wing flapping pedal powered aeroplane and jumps off a high cliff. As he falls he thinks he is flying. He thinks he has conquered gravity. It is only much later - as he seems the earh approaching at great speed that he begins to think that he may not be flying after all, but falling.

Humanity has tried to "conquer" nature rather than live with nature. Natural processes are the law and you cannot "conquer" nature. You may think you are winning, but you are going to lose - is the message. I think dharma in the general cosmic sense is an indicator of the laws of nature - which cannot be negated. The only point is whether humans can recognize and accept those laws or whether they think they are above the law.

Try the book - it's good
http://www.amazon.in/Ishmael-An-Adventu ... ds=ishmael

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 05 Sep 2014 20:01

In two separate posts above I had posted videos of visions of the future from the 1920s and 1960s. Here they are again
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czr-98yo6RU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RRxqg4G-G4

In every case the vision is about things. Tools, machines, conveniences to reduce human burdens and work. Fater travel. Better climate control. More time to do nothing. Less time spent on cooking etc.

But both videos assume that societies - human societies will remain the same, and neither video seems to worry about environmental consequences.

In both videos the human family is the idealized husband-wife with a child or two children. The husband works and pays the bills. The wife does the cooking and work at home.

One video says "garbage will be incinerated". I have another ref from a 1950s book that says that incineration of garbage is good.

Both videos show huge concrete jungles with no trees.

Human life, human comfort and the removal of human drudgery at any expense has been foremost in the western models and continues in the form of western universalism. This is the wrong way to go on so many counts

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Agnimitra » 06 Sep 2014 08:47

shiv wrote:
johneeG wrote:So, broadly, there are two approaches:
a) absolute greed - artha & kama
b) absolute sacrifice - dharma
Dharmo rakshathi rakshithah means that best way to serve your greed is by sacrifice. Infact, this is also declared in upanishads: "thena thyekthena bunjithah" (enjoy by sacrificing).


JohneeG - that was a great post.

Small nitpick here:
viewtopic.php?p=1712570#p1712570

Basically, this is what "tena tyaktena" could mean:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBpu4DAvwI8


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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 06 Sep 2014 19:00

It might be interesting to list out the successes and failures of kshatriya dharma as realized in India. It would seem we've had a troubled relationship, with, in a sense, the first genocide being that of the kshatriyas by Parasuram. The Maratha & Sikh repudiation of a hereditary warrior class, and the modern Indian Army have a much better record, I think. What is kshatriya dharma for this age?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 07 Sep 2014 01:36

A_Gupta wrote:What is kshatriya dharma for this age?
One can redefine Kshatriya Dharma only by adhering to the value system of Dharma. Yagnya or sacrifice is a key value, which IMO is a principal one, along with Ritam and Satyam. If we as a society can put the value of Yagna at a higher pedestal than wealth and power or Artha, then we can resurrect these varnas for todays age.

For today, a Kshatriya ought to forsake the pursuit of wealth and offer his services for the benefit of society. A Kshatriya is free to pursue power. A Kshatriyas living expense ought to be the responsibility of society. The separation of wealth from power is an issue that is faced by every society and our heritage provides answers to such vexed questions. A restoration of these values both in its hard and soft forms will allow for codifications of Varna dharma in society today.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 07 Sep 2014 08:34

Freedom of expression
Sexual freedom
Liberal media
Children's rights
Rule of law


Let me state my view on how the above "universal values" contributed to the Rotherham child sex grooming scandal in which Pakistani men groomed 1400 mostly white girls, some as young as 12, as sex slaves over a 16 year period.

Apart from broken and single parent families, social services, hospitals and schools in the UK are on the lookout for signs of domestic child abuse - and that is not just beating (bruises etc) but of what is called "emotional abuse" that leaves no visible scars. Any signs of these on a child ad the parent could be in for a jail sentence. In other words the state monitors the parents. I am certain that parents who err on the side of caution are unable to warn or discipline rebellious young adolescents about the kind of trouble they might get into. For example a parent in India whose 12 year old daughter wants to hang out with friends past midnight and smoke will be told in no uncertain terms that these are not freedoms that she is allowed. But after a point, a parent (perhaps a single mother herself) who physically or emotionally restricts her child too much in the UK may get slapped with an abuse clause - so she can only go so far.

Once the girl is out doing what she wants, new things kick in. The age of consent in the UK is 16, but if sex occurs between two underage people with mutual consent the law looks the other way. Basically this is how girls were pulled in - with young good looking relatively wealthy Paki men who became "boyfriends" initially. Nothing suspicious (for the UK) - and the girl gets gifts - cigarettes, drugs, a cellphone etc.

Yesterday I attended a talk by Subramanyam Swamy and he remarked that laws tend to deal with problem after they occur. Dharma is to try and prevent the problem before it occurs.

In the Rotherham case almost everything is within the law - or marginally illegal. By the time the really illegal stuff starts it's too late. This is an example of how laws cannot maintain order or morality. Morality and values have to be the first line of defence.

In India we are blessed with a whole lot of cultural values. Some of them are, or may seem out of place today - but they cannot all be discarded. The promotion of family and moral values within the family cannot be replaced by a set of laws that say "Individual freedom", "Freedom of expression", "sexual freedom", "Child rights" etc. These "universal values" only create laws that kick in after the law is broken. Ultimately civilizations exist as societies. You have to build societies from ground up, and they cannot be built by legislation.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Vayutuvan » 07 Sep 2014 10:35

ShauryaT wrote:A Kshatriya is free to pursue power. A Kshatriyas living expense ought to be the responsibility of society...

An army is nothing but the above whose needs are taken care of by the society through tax money. Except what is meant by "free to pursue power"? Like in a coup which happens like clock work in you know where or is it more like samurai or warlords? All of these alternatives to a professional army whose apex entity is answerable to leaders of the society they are serving will lead to chaos onlee. Finally we would end up with a constitution etc etc etc. might as well keep what we have which worked for 67 years and 200+ years (we is interpreted for largest and oldest democracies).
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 07 Sep 2014 17:37

The Church's strictures on Galileo I knew about, but on infinitesimals?
(my blog)
http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com/2014/0 ... simal.html

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 07 Sep 2014 18:10

A_Gupta wrote:The Church's strictures on Galileo I knew about, but on infinitesimals?
(my blog)
http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com/2014/0 ... simal.html

The Greeks struggled with this but did not deny it. I need to get back to that Greek philosophy book to see if I can get some more info on what might have bugged the Jesuits

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby member_20317 » 07 Sep 2014 20:54

A_Gupta wrote:The Church's strictures on Galileo I knew about, but on infinitesimals?
(my blog)
http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com/2014/0 ... simal.html


A_Gupta ji, a mathematician (almost a maverick - C. K. Raju) also says similar things about the adoption of zero by the west (a struggle I think he mentioned went on till the 17th century AD). Cannot find the required links to his blogposts but still you could investigate/cooperate if you wish.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 07 Sep 2014 21:06

A_Gupta wrote:It might be interesting to list out the successes and failures of kshatriya dharma as realized in India. It would seem we've had a troubled relationship, with, in a sense, the first genocide being that of the kshatriyas by Parasuram. The Maratha & Sikh repudiation of a hereditary warrior class, and the modern Indian Army have a much better record, I think. What is kshatriya dharma for this age?


You ask a loaded question, so the answer is going to be controversial :-)

Civilization-states have always had an uneasy relationship between the civilization and the state. The traditional Varna-Jati system allows for a market, and this market enabled warring states. Very few times has the entire Indian sub-continent been under one Samrat. This is viewed as a failure only if you are tainted in WU, whereas from the traditionalist view point this could be a 'democracy' of sorts, violent and costly perhaps in current understanding, but useful for the very survival of the civilization. This conflict means, either you can choose the state(s) that make the claim on the civilization or choose the civilization that enables these states - but never both.

One key confusion that exists today in picking the worst of both worlds - civilization and state causing the Indian muddle. The current nationalist intellectual spectrum either benignly or otherwise mimics WU in allegiance to a declarative constitution, secular apolitical armed forces, destruction of Varna-Jati, etc. To them, the oft chance they look at preserving civilization, we enter into the land of mumbo-jumbo, sruti-smriti, Varna-Jati, etc. In the balance between civilization and state, it is very clear that there is a stronger bias towards the state. This again is a result of Islamic and Christian colonization, the system is loaded to become 'them' even as the supposed struggle is against 'them.'
If the goal is to not to support Varna-Jati system, abolish them, have a UCC, then why even bother to ask what is Kshatriya Dharma for this age?

All that said, Kshatriya of this age are powerless before the value judgement of the declared principles of the state. They have to adhere to the constitution and cannot decide what is Dharma and what is Adharma. They are no longer the arbiters and executors of Dharma in society. They are merely paid protectors who follow orders - soldiers, policemen, politicians, etc. Those that are liberal lawmakers either struggle with appeasement and hence cannot modify even simple law, leave alone Dharma Smriti, those that are supposedly right-wing lawmakers are enamored by the WU Uniform Civil Code and cannot see their slide down the slippery slope. Worse still, the discourse in India has merely moved from deracinated 'Brahmin's' (Varna as in intelligentsia) who handled the resurrection of the state of India, to the deracinated 'Vaishya's' (Varna as in business class) who are now trying to make India an economic power. The transition of India into the hands of the deracinated 'Kshatriya's' is yet to come, I strongly suspect the deracinated 'Shudra's' will have their turn before the Kshatriya.

Given that most of us are professionally in the Shudra Varna today, we are better off asking what is Shudra Dharma for this age?
Then again are with the civilization or with the state?

PS: I would reconsider using the word genocide with Parasurama. AFAIK he merely killed the male members of the Kshatriya Varna in retaliation for the genocide of the Brighu. However, it could be a point of disagreement.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby panduranghari » 07 Sep 2014 21:59

shiv wrote:Has anyone seen any year 2000 videos of life in 2050? Have people stopped looking positively at the future? If so, why?


Western people have been exposed to a neat trick in the 60's and 70's. The trick is that - there was an expectation and the confidence that the future will deliver greater returns and a higher payoff tomorrow than what it can today- this without realising that the reality does not allow it and world cannot do this without destroying the financial architecture.

Its common like rinse and repeat - 1982-87, 88-90, 94-2000, 2002-2006, 2008-today.

However it seems the west is also waking up to this and hence they devise the TEOTWAWKI scenarios.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby A_Gupta » 07 Sep 2014 23:15

^^^ I will reply only tangentially for now.

Yes, Parsuram having committed genocide is very debatable -- however, he did set out to exterminate all of a particular group, what we would call an "ethnic group" today, and that is "genocide".

Until I heard Pandurang Shastri Athavale ("Dadaji") speak, I had not thought of it, but it is from him I first heard that in terms of varna, we are increasingly in the services industry, and hence shudras. What is the modern take on shudra dharma? Does it start with an ever-cheerful "How may I help you?" :). Good thing to address here.

In line with some modern thinkers, I think of "varna" as a reflection of the temperament and capabilities of a person -- that are not hereditary, in the sense that parents and children can be very different; and even siblings can be very different. It would be good to understand one's bent early in life, and then strive with a goal in mind, instead of the modern western "finding oneself", in which often the most energetic and productive years of life can be squandered away.

In this context, a military that is paid for by society, and that recruits from the population at large, to me, is perhaps a superior form of organization to that which has preceded it. But the question still remains, that for one who wants a career as a warrior, what kshatriya dharma applies?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Vayutuvan » 07 Sep 2014 23:23

Every human being has a head (brahmana), shoulders (kshatriya), torso (vysya), and legs and feet (shudra). The meaning of purusha sukta.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 07 Sep 2014 23:35

A_Gupta wrote:About definitions, I wouldn't worry too much about the seeming difficulty in giving a definition for dharma. The philosopher Wittgenstein pointed out that we all seem to know what games are, but it is difficult to define game.

Wittgenstein's explanation is tied up with an important analogy. How do we recognize that two people we know are related to one another? We may see similar height, weight, eye color, hair, nose, mouth, patterns of speech, social or political views, mannerisms, body structure, last names, etc. If we see enough matches we say we've noticed a family resemblance. It is perhaps important to note that this is not always a conscious process — generally we don't catalog various similarities until we reach a certain threshold, we just intuitively see the resemblances. Wittgenstein suggests that the same is true of language. We are all familiar (i.e. socially) with enough things which are games and enough things which are not games that we can categorize new activities as either games or not. (from Wiki)


or

Consider for example the proceedings that we call "games". I mean board-games, card-games, ball-games, Olympic games, and so on. What is common to them all? -- Don't say: "There must be something common, or they would not be called 'games' "-but look and see whether there is anything common to all. -- For if you look at them you will not see something that is common to all, but similarities, relationships, and a whole series of them at that. To repeat: don't think, but look! --

Look for example at board-games, with their multifarious relationships. Board games, what are some? Consider chess, of course, but think also of monopoly. Now pass to card-games; here you find many correspondences with the first group, but many common features drop out, and others appear.

When we pass next to ball-games, much that is common is retained, but much is lost.-- Are they all 'amusing'? Compare chess with noughts and crosses. Or is there always winning and losing, or competition between players? Think of patience. In ball games there is winning and losing; but when a child throws his ball at the wall and catches it again, this feature has disappeared. Look at the parts played by skill and luck; and at the difference between skill in chess and skill in tennis.

Think now of games like ring-a-ring-a-roses; here is the element of amusement, but how many other characteristic features have disappeared! sometimes similarities of detail.

And we can go through the many, many other groups of games in the same way; can see how similarities crop up and disappear.

And the result of this examination is: we see a complicated network of similarities overlapping and cries-crossing: sometimes overall similarities.

67. I can think of no better expression to characterize these similarities than "family resemblances"; for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament, etc. etc. overlap and cries-cross in the same way.-And I shall say: 'games' form a family.


And we extend our concept ... as in spinning a thread we twist fibre on fibre. And the strength of the thread does not reside in the fact that some one fibre runs through its whole length, but in the overlapping of many fibres.


----
So it is with Dharma. If each person has their sva-dharma, then that may be an indication of how rich a concept it might be. Yes, there are some common principles (satya, ahimsa, ....) but they are not to be viewed as axioms of a deductive system. Rather, they are constitutive principles, like atoms, that can be put together in myriads of ways to create all different kinds of molecules.


Difference between games and work:
Leela and karma.
Leela is games. It is voluntory. And the motive is to have fun by playing.
Karma is work. It is involuntory.

The same task could become work (karma) or play (leela). It depends on the attitude of the doer. If the doer is doing task voluntorily and enjoying it, then it becomes play. If the doer is doing the task under compulsion and not enjoying it, it becomes work.

Thats why it is said that truth shall set you free or gyanath eva thu kaivalyam. The idea is not what one is doing, but the mental framework that the doer has. Karma yoga tries to instill this attitude.

The Gods, Goddesses, gurus , ...etc may do the same tasks as normal beings but the difference is they are performing leela (voluntory), while normal beings are performing karma (compulsion).

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 08 Sep 2014 01:53

A_Gupta wrote:Yes, Parsuram having committed genocide is very debatable -- however, he did set out to exterminate all of a particular group, what we would call an "ethnic group" today, and that is "genocide".


Kshatriyas are not one "ethnic group" there are many Jatis within that Varna. Worse yet, genetic evidence certainly agrees that there has been serious intermixing across the subcontinent. Like I have said before, I will not translate these Sanskrit words to anything in English for causing more confusion. It is accurate to say Parashurama killed all the Kshatriya males 21 times across the Indian Subcontinent. Anything else is a deviation from our Ithihaasa.

A_Gupta wrote:In this context, a military that is paid for by society, and that recruits from the population at large, to me, is perhaps a superior form of organization to that which has preceded it. But the question still remains, that for one who wants a career as a warrior, what kshatriya dharma applies?


Military existed even during the Varna-Jati order and it does now as well. The difference is now it has to adhere to the constitution, perviously it only adhered to conventions and declared Dharma. So I guess now it has to follow only the constitution period! :mrgreen:
Also, Kshatriya does not mean just military, it has a much broader scope - ones Varna is not a rejection of other Varnas, they are based on ones intrinsic Guna, therefore there is a chaotic centering around a theme, but it is not fixed... it includes military, governance, geo-politics, politico-economics, etc.

Kshatriyas -soldiers, police, politicos, who follow the constitution make the state stronger...
Why fix something that is not broke?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 08 Sep 2014 02:25

matrimc wrote:Every human being has a head (brahmana), shoulders (kshatriya), torso (vysya), and legs and feet (shudra). The meaning of purusha sukta.


The Purusha here is cosmic in scope, one could very well boil it down to a individual human, however, the original traditionalist approach has been to suggest that society is hence structured as a reflection of this cosmic Purusha.

English edumacated moderns can make claims that all these four exist within the individual, but what is happening on the ground is very different - Each of the Jati today have started sub-dividing to provide the role of the four within their group. You are welcome to throw out this reality and pursue the intellectual WU, that it is all individual based collapse of the four onlee... I am merely observing... not passing normative value statement.

Someone on this thread had subtly asked if humans are Ants or Bees or something to that effect.
The question in my mind is not 'if we are' for me the question is 'have we evolved' beyond into something else?

somehow the song from Rush 'Subdivisions" keeps playing in the back of my mind...

Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 08 Sep 2014 03:48

In the movie (I posted previously) called Divergent

In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.


The following are the factions:

  • Abnegation (The Selfless): - I choose to turn away from my reflection, to rely not on myself but on my brothers and sisters, to project always outward until I disappear.
  • Erudite (The Intelligent): - Ignorance is defined not as stupidity but as lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge inevitably leads to lack of understanding. Lack of understanding leads to a disconnect among people with differences. Disconnection among people with differences leads to conflict. Knowledge is the only logical solution to the problem of conflict. Therefore, we propose that in order to eliminate conflict, we must eliminate the disconnect among those with differences by correcting the lack of understanding that arises from ignorance with knowledge.
  • Dauntless (The Brave): - We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another... We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.
  • Amity (The Peaceful): - Give freely, trusting that you will be given what you need... Do not be angry. The opinions of others cannot damage you... The wrong is past. You must let it rest where it lies... You must no longer think cruel thoughts. Cruel thoughts lead to cruel words, and hurt you as much as they hurt their target.
  • Candor (The Honest): - Truth makes us transparent. Truth makes us strong. Truth makes us inextricable.
  • Factionless: - No definition, by definition fallen and hence factionless.

Not that I can take these factions as those that exist in the real WU world today. Do we just brush these or similar factions under the rug and carry on with declarations that are aspirational and detached with reality?
What are the factions in the WU world today - even with equality under law and equal rights and all?

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 08 Sep 2014 05:52

Logically, a "kshatriya" is a leader. If we have an army of kshatriyas we have an army of leaders - which is a contradiction. It won't work. Leadership must be an apex to work. All effective armies are hierarchies. However individual initiative, courage and skill are developed by nurture. That means that an entire army cannot consist of kshatriyas. A leadership class within the army, perhaps the officer cadre would represent kshatriya-hood. The rest would be other varnas doing their duty as per dharma. For example a tank gunner would be required to do his job as would a driver or a mechanic, cook or communications expert

I am uncomfortable with arguments about "courage" and lack thereof. I would disagree that courage is a feature of the kshatriya class just as much as I disagree with the martial races characterization that turned out to be contrived, politically motivated and fake
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 08 Sep 2014 06:14

Pulikeshi wrote:The question in my mind is not 'if we are' for me the question is 'have we evolved' beyond into something else?

Pulikeshi the words "evolved beyond" are loaded and are easy to misinterpret and misuse unless qualified further.

"Have humans evolved beyond bees or ants?" is a question subject to the definition of what "evolved beyond" means, and the word "beyond" itself has two implications. One is "way out ahead" and the other is "He is beyond pain now. RIP"

The word "evolved" is a descriptor of a static state. The reality is "evolving" - i.e. a continuing process. No one who evolves into some state can remain in that state because evolution continues relentlessly. If I say "I have evolved into this state of xyz" I am declaring that my current state is the culmination of my evolution. A process has ended as in "I am now edumacated, and no further edumacation is possible"

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 08 Sep 2014 07:55

shiv wrote:Logically, a "kshatriya" is a leader. If we have an army of kshatriyas we have an army of leaders - which is a contradiction. It won't work. Leadership must be an apex to work.


I sympathize with your view, but will agree to disagree on your idea of leadership -
For one to be a good leader, first principle, one need to be a good follower! This has been my experience.
You cannot lead a group to achieve concrete goals, if you have not followed good and bad leaders yourself.

shiv wrote:A leadership class within the army, perhaps the officer cadre would represent kshatriya-hood. The rest would be other varnas doing their duty as per dharma.

Kshatriya is not just office cadre. They are politicians (Rajan), ministers, administrators, intelligence agents, police, soldiers, etc. Then there is always the lowly pandu who runs towards danger when the rest of us run for our lives. I will not use any English words, but they all have and exhibit Rajasa Guna - hence leader or follower they are Kshatriya!
There is always a Tukaram Omble.
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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Pulikeshi » 08 Sep 2014 07:57

shiv wrote:Pulikeshi the words "evolved beyond" are loaded and are easy to misinterpret and misuse unless qualified further.


I carefully avoided saying "evolved beyond into something better" but even that was not enough in hindsight.
All I suggesting is - what has it evolved into? has the situation changed from the "ants & bees" - thats all.
To be explicit and clear so there is no perception of sophistry - I am arguing that we have not evolved beyond. period.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 08 Sep 2014 08:36

Pulikeshi wrote:
shiv wrote:Logically, a "kshatriya" is a leader. If we have an army of kshatriyas we have an army of leaders - which is a contradiction. It won't work. Leadership must be an apex to work.


I sympathize with your view, but will agree to disagree on your idea of leadership -
For one to be a good leader, first principle, one need to be a good follower! This has been my experience.
You cannot lead a group to achieve concrete goals, if you have not followed good and bad leaders yourself.

Good point. I think I missed out the fact that one must be able to lead oneself first and foremost when one is alone in battle. Astoundingly, the very dilemmas that Arjuna expresses have been expressed to me (personally) or written in reference books that I possess.

My late cousin Wg Cdr Suresh had told me after the Longewala battle that he used to get recurring images of Pakistani soldiers with their clothes on fire jumping out of trucks and tanks. He recalled that they would fly out on a 40 minute sortie and be back for an omelet and toast breakfast after creating such mayhem. But the pilots had a duty to perform, a role to play which they did. For these people morale and motivation to do one's duty had to come from "within" - because they were alone in that battle. But there are other studies of cases where soldiers did not play their intended role at all.

I refer to SLA Marshall's study in his book "Men Against Fire" of American soldiers in WW2 when he discovered that some huge percentage (maybe 20%) did not fire their rifle at all when they were supposed to have done so. Again these men were alone, confused, and afraid - and Marshall's observations led to a revolution in training to ensure that US soldiers did not repeat that in later wars. Ultimately whether it is the US army or the Indian army it is a sense of duty that must kick in. At the moment of battle - there is no one to guide you. You lead yourself as an individual to do your duty.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby shiv » 08 Sep 2014 08:53

Pulikeshi wrote:
shiv wrote:Pulikeshi the words "evolved beyond" are loaded and are easy to misinterpret and misuse unless qualified further.


I carefully avoided saying "evolved beyond into something better" but even that was not enough in hindsight.
All I suggesting is - what has it evolved into? has the situation changed from the "ants & bees" - thats all.
To be explicit and clear so there is no perception of sophistry - I am arguing that we have not evolved beyond. period.

Quite right. We cannot evolve beyond when we are all part of the same whole and the same process

This is a topic that interests me greatly because it has a huge bearing on the assumptions of western universalism. Western Universalism is a set of laws or recommendations that have arisen from a society that started as Christian society. The biblical scheme of things placed man at the top of the heap, and put man's requirements over and above that of anything else. Darwinian "evolution" provoked anger until people could console themselves that the theory of evolution could still be used to show that man was at the top of the heap.

A book that I mentioned earlier, "Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn expresses these fallacies beautifully. If a biologist had started studying the world a few billion years ago when jellyfish seemed to be at the top of the evolutionary ladder - he might have interviewed a jellyfish who tells him how jellyfish rule the world and that they are the final end product of God's need to create a supreme being in his own jellyfish like image.

The idea that humans might be some form of evolutionary peak is wrong - a severe case of cognitive bias. "Human rights" - like right to food etc demand that other animals are deprived of environment and food because human needs are more important. Antelopes and leopards are allowed to exist in the Bandipur forest, but they must not come on the highway through the forest because that belongs to man and road transport traffic takes precedence over the needs of animals to cross from one side of the road to the other

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Vayutuvan » 08 Sep 2014 12:11

shiv wrote:Logically, a "kshatriya" is a leader. If we have an army of kshatriyas we have an army of leaders - which is a contradiction.

Hence the adage - too many chiefs no Indians :).

But seriously, you are absolutely right in that if somebody claims that her yagnya is greater than yours you might very well feel exactly the opposite. Who is to decide whose yagnya is bigger? They might engage in a dwandwa yuddha to break out of status but there is always the possibility of a status quo antebellum or a seesaw. Parashurama kills Kshatriyas and Rama sends parashurama (and presumably all his akshauhinis) into oblivion. Sometimes the Kshatriyas is on top and other times it us the Brahmina. Kshatriyas follows Brahmina, yadav a follis Kshatriyas, shura is succeeded by a Brahmina (Shivaji succeeded by Peshwas), Kashmiri pan fits succeeded by a shudra and so on.

If all are shudras (varna is always by profession not by birth) then there is nothing to discuss.
From homogeneity arises speciation mixing of the species leading to homogeneity followed by speciation , mixing, ... ad infinitum. Presumably this is upward spiral like a DNA strand standing on its end and arrow of time is on the surface of the spiral.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 08 Sep 2014 19:52

matrimc wrote:If all are shudras (varna is always by profession not by birth) then there is nothing to discuss.
Varna's theory is firmly rooted in guna-karma - not profession or birth, practices notwithstanding. Both profession and birth/upbringing can be loose markers but at the end of the day, to be validated by guna-karma. It is those Karmas, that go towards the forsaking or yagnya of Artha, Kama that would count. Who decides these counts and their standards for a society? Society does, represented through its governing and organizing organs. As an example: A lawyer in private practice is a shudra, one fighting to enforce law on behalf of the state is a kshatriya and one in the form of a judge may be a brahmin, if properly classified. My point is guna-karma and yagnya of Artha prevails for these classifications.

Similarly, a kshatriya is not merely any warrior. One is a kshatriya, only and only if the value system that governs these divisions is recognized by society and the state. If the state fails and an alien value system takes hold, I do not see how these divisions can work under a foreign framework, who's objectives and values are not aligned with those of Dharma.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 08 Sep 2014 20:36

shiv wrote:Logically, a "kshatriya" is a leader. If we have an army of kshatriyas we have an army of leaders - which is a contradiction. It won't work. Leadership must be an apex to work. All effective armies are hierarchies. However individual initiative, courage and skill are developed by nurture. That means that an entire army cannot consist of kshatriyas. A leadership class within the army, perhaps the officer cadre would represent kshatriya-hood. The rest would be other varnas doing their duty as per dharma. For example a tank gunner would be required to do his job as would a driver or a mechanic, cook or communications expert

I am uncomfortable with arguments about "courage" and lack thereof. I would disagree that courage is a feature of the kshatriya class just as much as I disagree with the martial races characterization that turned out to be contrived, politically motivated and fake
I think in the current spectrum of equations the above "concept" can apply, although would use slightly different words to describe the above concept, instead of "leadership".

A kshatriya is one who forsakes wealth but is free to pursue power. In current context - in India, it is the officer class that has this choice and makes such a deliberate decision. As long as the Karmas of this individual (and being an officer in the military would ensure that) is devoted to an outcome that ensures the forsaking of "wealth" from the results of the officers Karma, this officer would be a Kshatriya.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 08 Sep 2014 21:02

Pulikeshi wrote:Kshatriya is not just office cadre. They are politicians (Rajan), ministers, administrators, intelligence agents, police, soldiers, etc. Then there is always the lowly pandu who runs towards danger when the rest of us run for our lives. I will not use any English words, but they all have and exhibit Rajasa Guna - hence leader or follower they are Kshatriya!
There is always a Tukaram Omble.
The above examples, IMO, have the potential for all of the above to be classified as Khatriyas, however in the current socio-economic context not all would qualify - as not all would have made a deliberate Yog daan, of their pursuit of wealth portions of Artha in these professions.

Most soldiers in India look upon becoming a soldier as an honorable profession, one in which they can make a suitable living, instead of the miseries of peasant rural life. This is the reason why we and most other nations have a challenge filling in the officer classes. In nations where even the soldier class is not attractive compared to alternatives, they use conscription. At that time, the soldiers who volunteer should qualify as Kshatriyas.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby ShauryaT » 08 Sep 2014 22:56

shiv wrote:In India we are blessed with a whole lot of cultural values. Some of them are, or may seem out of place today - but they cannot all be discarded. The promotion of family and moral values within the family cannot be replaced by a set of laws that say "Individual freedom", "Freedom of expression", "sexual freedom", "Child rights" etc. These "universal values" only create laws that kick in after the law is broken. Ultimately civilizations exist as societies. You have to build societies from ground up, and they cannot be built by legislation.
Another thing that piques me about western based laws are they excel in the job of divisions of families and other units and do a poor job of teaching how to live in harmonious societies. Example, Want a divorce, western law will do a fabulous job there but will do squat to protect the institution of marriage. If one wants "freedom" from their families and associated obligations, western law will help you get your "rights" in the form of assets but will do nothing to obligate you from performing family duties. The entire value system, objectives, high principles, design intent is different from what a Dharma oriented system would seek to achieve.

One can boil down the quintessential difference to the view of man by the west, as an animal who's greed has to be controlled through law or the one of Dharma that man is in essence a spiritual being and promoting the realization of this being is its true goal. Our desires and wants are just like any other animal, however only a human has the capacity to make higher level conscious choices, choices that differentiate humans from animals.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby johneeG » 09 Sep 2014 01:29

Kshathath thrayathe ithi kshathriyah. One who saves from injury is kshathriya.
Raakhasa means one who protects.

Raakshasas are supposed to be the protectors of the universe. However, when some of them start using their powers to harm good people, they are punished.

Assume that you live in a far-flung village. This village is cut-off from rest of the country due to forests. Now, the village has to live on its own i.e self-sufficient. The village faces security threats from wild animals, pirates and internal policing situations. The village needs day-to-day administration. The village has priests and people interested spirituality (and prone to renunciation). The village would also have intellectuals. The village would have enterpreneuners and traders. The village would also have farmers and cowherds. The village would have labourers.

So broadly, we seem to have 7 types of vocations:
- Soldiers & police I.e protectors.
- Administrators I.e. decision makers.
- spiritual people and renunciates(not total renunciates, but people who are almost on the verge of renunciation)
- Intellectuals: people who write books, teach in schools, invent or discover things,...etc.
- traders and entrepreners. These people travel to other places from the village for import and export of goods.
- farmers and cowherds. They provide food to village.
- labourers. They are servants who do manual labour.

There is one more vocation which is possible:
- slaves. They are also servants who do manual labour.

In Hindhuism, certain vocations seem to have been placed under one group:
- protectors (soldiers and police) and administrators are placed in the same group. This group is called kshathriya I.e. protector group. That means these vocations have to save people from injury. That means the primary duty of these vocations is to provide protection. Administration is also part of protection. As previously discussed on this thread, laws provide security by curtailing the freedoms. The main goal of laws is to provide security. That shows that Administration is part of providing protection.
Generally, adminstration and protection have been delinked in modern societies. But, in ancient societies, administration and protection seem to have gone hand in hand. The idea seems to be that you have the right to administer only if you have the will and ability to protect. If you can't protect, then you can't administer. If you administer, then you have to provide protection personally.
So, when and how did administration and protection get delinked?
I think the delinking of administration and protection happened in cheen. The Emperor would be protected from direct fight and a babucracy system was developed. This system seems to have spread to other countries. Japanese history shows how protectors and administrators were delinked and again linked and again delinked.
- spirituality and intellectuals are put in one group by hindhuism. This group is called braahmana. The group which is trying for brahma is called braahmana.
Again, this is the norm throughout ancient world. So, the correct question is: when and how did spirituality and intellectuals get delinked?
During x-ist dark ages in europe, church insisted on faith and tried to suppress intellect. This delinked the intellectuals from spirituality in europe. So , the intellectuals had to hold onto some other thing. They found science: athiestic version of science was developed to counter church.
So, modern day intellectuals still believe in ideologies but they are athiestic ideologies like science, communism, capitalism, feminism, western universalism, ... etc.
- traders & farmers were put into one group and were called vaishya. They had to pay their taxes. In return, they would be provided protection by kshathriyas.
- labourers and slaves were put under one group and called shoodhras. This is a controversial aspect. I think what it means is that even slaves have the same rights that labourers have. So, slaves have been elevated but labourers have been degraded.

Now, the full time occupation of kshathriyas is to provide administration and protection. So, they have to be taken care by the village. So, they are paid using tax-payer money.
The brahmanas depend on society and state also. They are taken care by both state and people. Think of it as grants for research: public grants and private grants.

Now, the hierarchy issue:
First consider a family:
Father is the administrator and protector. Kshathriya.
Grandfather is the spiritual and intellectual. Brahmana
Mother and granny provide food. Vaishya
Children do small chores in the home. Shoodhra.

The father makes most of the administrative decisions. However, grandfather is placed higher than father even though grandfather is retired and on the verge of renunciation. Infact, grandfather has been placed above father precisely because grandfather is retired and on the verge of renunciation. It is to provide checks and balances to the power of father.

What happens when a bad kshathriya abuses his power and exploits people?
People revolt against him and remove from power.

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Re: Western Universalism - what's the big deal?

Postby Vayutuvan » 09 Sep 2014 06:40

johneeG: whatever you have written above is expanded and put into a document with all cases taken care of for 1.2 billion people with different religions and internal structure, historical and cultural baggage, political beliefs, language issues what are you going to end up with?

Same question to ShauryaT as well.

If you two take up this task and spell out everything to the last detail I would bet that you would do almost as well as dr. Ambedkar and Roybahadur Alladi Krishna Swamy Iyer. Instead of reinventing the wheel why not stand on the shoulders of giants (pygmies in some people's eyes) and improve on their work? Of course, if one wants to work within the system, one needs the support of the document priduced by these giants/pygmies.

We cannot start solving every societal problem not only ab initio but in piecemeal basis. We are where we are. If we want to tread a different path, one cannot go back to the very beginning - one has to gently deviate from the current path. As time goes by more and more will join and voila we would have a (few) new messiah(s) - May be.
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