Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

The Strategic Issues & International Relations Forum is a venue to discuss issues pertaining to India's security environment, her strategic outlook on global affairs and as well as the effect of international relations in the Indian Subcontinent. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 20 Apr 2016 21:01

JE Menon wrote:>>It remains true that the guild system is what prevailed/became widespread in Europe as it emerged from its dark ages.

Very true. For instance the Dutch East India Company (VoC) was a guild-driven enterprise. I was at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam earlier this year when they had an exhibition of their engagement with Asia (including India by the way) and came away nearly in tears at the amount of Indian artefacts and sculptures (some of them heartbreakingly beautiful) on display. One or two were even described as being the result of plunder.

Also worth mentioning that the Dutch EIC grew at a time of seminal financial innovation in that area specifically geared to fighting for freedom from Spanish occupation and influence. That was a nation already on the fight-back, and was willing to innovate and bring everyone together. Banking and bond-markets evolved at that time there, with each household, rich or poor, doing their patriotic duty by investing and becoming a stakeholder. Thus, from the PoV of sociological dynamics,such trans-social institutions evolved at a time of struggle to regenerate inward and expand outwards.

RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 20 Apr 2016 21:44

So far my thoughts are Indian society had an outlet for expression that went beyond what the West is currently offering.

The whole idea of legislation in the Western framework amounts to "giving" rights to people as if they had soul (self) which acts as a rights bearer.

Roover rightly points out that Indians and most other Asian cultures deny the existence of the self.

Therefore, how is the idea of "rights" even applicable?

The reason I use outlet for expression and not freedom is because the latter maintains that the perceiver (ego) has the "right" to indulge and therefore cannot be subject to negation.

Outlet for expression on the other hand is seen as a necessary path to self-realization/moksha. To experience/realize ones impediments to true happiness one has to be aware of them to begin with. The perceiver creates the perceived (expression). There wouldn't be a distinction otherwise.


Ancient Indian law has to be seen within this context. It was intended to enforce rules within Jatis whose purpose was to guide the individual to liberation while creating an ecosystem for society dedicated to this idea to exist.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35017
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 21 Apr 2016 05:05

^^ RoyG - beautiful although it is abstruse

krisna
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5818
Joined: 22 Dec 2008 06:36

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby krisna » 21 Apr 2016 05:26

The rights in western sense implies a sense of violence if not given their "rights". One man's rights can be detrimental to another mans rights.

In Indian context, it is more of 'responsibilties' "moral obligations' to benefit the larger good- could be family state or nation as the context and situation.
This causes less of violence and less trouble to others as in western sense.

Most probabaly got the above ideas from likley Gururmurthy lectures on youtube. Maybe also from RM.

RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 21 Apr 2016 08:15

shiv wrote:^^ RoyG - beautiful although it is abstruse


What India faces today is the latest incarnation of Semitic thought in the form of Protestant ethic built upon sovereignty of self (soul/rights bearer/ego) and freedom ("right" to indulge self to attain happiness).

Once you say you have a "right" to something, you cannot negate the self because it becomes permanently tied to the perceived. This is incompatible with dharma which views the cosmic display of life as the churning of the universe due to action of devas (action leading to impermanence of ego) and asuras (action strengthening ego). The self IS the struggle as it continually manifests into different forms along the path toward its eventual liberation.

Once you walk down this path you come to the realization that this line of thinking requires very little legislation. The aim of the external apparatus ceases to be a (govern)-ment and instead becomes an enabler for the individual to discover his passion/jati and add to the churning.

Rights as we know them today are for inherently sinful creatures.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Apr 2016 08:29

Nice thoughts, RoyG ji. Philosophy of jurisprudence is intrinsically related to worldview of the here and transcendent.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35017
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 21 Apr 2016 08:35

RoyG your earlier post is making me poetic because it has either caused a flower to bloom in my mind or it feels like dawn has broken.

Yes.

When you take a fellow - let's call him "Tom" and say Tom has an individual soul "Tom-soul" with all the characteristics that Tom has in this life and this world -: male, with name Tom, likes, dislikes, needs etc - and then you give this worldly Tom all sorts of rights like the right to grab resources to fulfil the needs of the soul Tom, or to own property or rule over people to fulfil the needs of the soul of this individual "Tom" - he gets the "right" to damage society and the environment to make both unlivable or unhealthy for others.

If you say that the avatar "Tom" is a transient entity within a higher soul that encompasses all being, then you see that the fulfilment of only "Tom-soul"'s needs could impinge on the rights of all other souls of the collective especially if he is a greedy mofo using the guidelines of some insecure religions

Hence Tom can get some rights, but those rights must be restricted by the demands of Dharma which say that nature, environment and society should only be helped and preserved and not harmed by the "Tom-soul"

JE Menon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 7021
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby JE Menon » 21 Apr 2016 08:40

Thank you RoyG.

Those two brief and powerful posts brought out goose-pimples. Worth the whole thread!!!

AbhiJ
BRFite
Posts: 494
Joined: 29 Sep 2010 17:33
Contact:

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby AbhiJ » 21 Apr 2016 10:33

Read it in conjunction with RoyGs posts:

The contemporary atheist movement has a scorched earth strategy - chop down Christianity, root and branch. I don't believe in God either, but this strategy is entirely counterproductive.

Not satisfied to point out that elements of Christian belief are historically implausible, or that religion is scientifically unsubstantiated, the New Atheist movement wants to prove something more. That Christianity has been a force for bad, that there is something fundamental about religious belief that holds back progress, approves of oppression, and stokes hatred.

Yet virtually all the secular ideas that non-believers value have Christian origins. To pretend otherwise is to toss the substance of those ideas away. It was theologians and religiously minded philosophers who developed the concepts of individual and human rights. Same with progress, reason, and equality before the law: it is fantasy to suggest these values emerged out of thin air once people started questioning God.

Take the separation of church and state - a foundation of the modern secular world, and a core of the political philosophy that atheists should favour above all else. It was, simply, a Christian idea.

Early Christian philosophers thought seriously about what Jesus's words, ''Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's,'' meant for the formation of political society.

St Augustine, writing as Rome fell, saw the City of Man and the City of God as clearly separate. For Augustine, the religious and secular worlds were distinct. The long conflict between the papacy and medieval European kings over the ensuing centuries reinforced this division.

When the father of liberalism, John Locke, argued for religious liberty, he noted there was no such thing in the gospels as a ''Christian Commonwealth''. The Bible insisted on states ''with which the law of Christ hath not at all meddled''.

So, by the time Thomas Jefferson devised the formula of a ''wall of separation between church and state'', he was drawing on 1500 years of Christian thought. The basic philosophy of modern secular democracy - that religious belief is a matter of individual conscience, not government - is a Christian idea. Even more central to our modern identity is the idea that all individuals have human rights, that simply by virtue of being human we have basic liberties that must be protected by law.

This idea too has a deep theological origin. Such mediaeval philosophers as Thomas Aquinas and his follower Francisco de Vitoria married biblical study with classical philosophy.

By doing so, they developed the concept of rights as we understand it today. For these Christian thinkers, ''natural'' rights originated from God. Humans formed societies in order to defend those rights.

Yet many modern human rights activists seem to believe that human rights sprang forth, full-bodied and with a virgin birth, in United Nations treaties in the mid-20th century.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The idea of human rights was founded centuries ago on Christian assumptions, advanced by Biblical argument, and advocated by theologians. Modern supporters of human rights have merely picked up a set of well-refined ethical and moral arguments.

Of course, it could not be otherwise. The modern world is shaped by 3000 years of philosophical evolution. And for half that time the dominant moral philosophy in the Western world has been a Christian one. For most of our history, all the great thinkers have been religious. So our secular liberalism will inevitably owe a huge amount to its Christian origins.

Ideas do not exist in a vacuum. If we imagine they were invented yesterday, they will be easy to discard tomorrow. So why are modern atheist agitators so eager to shed Western civilisation's Christian legacy? Their reasoning - that atheism is attractive not only because it's accurate but because religion is morally bad - ironically resembles the simplistic good-versus-evil propaganda of history's most dangerous religious fanatics. Yet many Christians defend their faith by simply citing the good works of their co-religionists.

Not only does this prove little (of course, some people are good, and some people are bad) it almost always ends in the tit-for-tat, your-team-killed-more-than-my-team debate. Was Adolf Hitler a Christian? Would an answer be at all meaningful? Both sides do this. Richard Dawkins claimed on ABC's Q&A last Monday that Christians were missing in action in the fight against slavery. This is clearly wrong. Has he not heard of the Christian abolitionist movement or William Wilberforce? But it's a revealing error.

Surely, to argue for atheism, there is no logical need to denigrate past Christian accomplishment.

The anti-slavery argument that all humans were of equal moral worth won the day, and this was, to all concerned, a Christian argument. To acknowledge the religious heritage of the modern world is to say nothing about religious ''truth''. But while our age may be secular, it is, at the same time, still a deeply Christian one. If atheists feel they must rip up everything that came before them, they will destroy the very foundations of that secularism.


http://m.smh.com.au/it-pro/secular-worl ... 1wzyg.html

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 11094
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 21 Apr 2016 16:10

Take the separation of church and state - a foundation of the modern secular world, and a core of the political philosophy that atheists should favour above all else. It was, simply, a Christian idea.

Early Christian philosophers thought seriously about what Jesus's words, ''Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's,'' meant for the formation of political society.


This is a bit of a myth. Europe became Christian only after the Caesar made Christianity the state religion. The first 1800 years of Christianity are full of Christian fighting Christian; the Church upholding the divine rights of kings, etc, etc. It is the Deists, who sought signs of God in Nature and not in the Holy Book, that gave Christiandom its secularism. It is hard to believe that it is the last couple of centuries that defines the nature of Christianity and not the preceding 1800 years; and the 1400 years it ruled Europe without rival.

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 11094
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 21 Apr 2016 16:17

To the above, to quote Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
http://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/singlehtml.htm

IT has been my intention, for several years past, to publish my thoughts upon religion. I am well aware of the difficulties that attend the subject, and from that consideration, had reserved it to a more advanced period of life. I intended it to be the last offering I should make to my fellow-citizens of all nations, and that at a time when the purity of the motive that induced me to it, could not admit of a question, even by those who might disapprove the work.

The circumstance that has now taken place in France of the total abolition of the whole national order of priesthood, and of everything appertaining to compulsive systems of religion, and compulsive articles of faith, has not only precipitated my intention, but rendered a work of this kind exceedingly necessary, lest in the general wreck of superstition, of false systems of government, and false theology, we lose sight of morality, of humanity, and of the theology that is true.

As several of my colleagues and others of my fellow-citizens of France have given me the example of making their voluntary and individual profession of faith, I also will make mine; and I do this with all that sincerity and frankness with which the mind of man communicates with itself.

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.

I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.

But, lest it should be supposed that I believe in many other things in addition to these, I shall, in the progress of this work, declare the things I do not believe, and my reasons for not believing them.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the trade of a priest for the sake of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade, he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive any thing more destructive to morality than this?


If the above is Christianity, then I am a frog. The French Revolution in the name of liberty and equality began by abolishing the Church.

Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike.

Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.

As it is necessary to affix right ideas to words, I will, before I proceed further into the subject, offer some other observations on the word revelation. Revelation, when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man.

No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication, if he pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all those persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and consequently they are not obliged to believe it.

It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us at second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication — after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it cannot be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him.

When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of the commandments from the hands of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no other authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no other authority for it than some historian telling me so. The commandments carry no internal evidence of divinity with them; they contain some good moral precepts, such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver, or a legislator, could produce himself, without having recourse to supernatural intervention.

JE Menon
Forum Moderator
Posts: 7021
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby JE Menon » 21 Apr 2016 17:04

From the Sydney Morning Herald article by Chris Berg linked above is the following gem:

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The idea of human rights was founded centuries ago on Christian assumptions, advanced by Biblical argument, and advocated by theologians. Modern supporters of human rights have merely picked up a set of well-refined ethical and moral arguments."

Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. The idea that human rights, questions of ethics and morality "was founded centuries ago on Christian assumptions" is as transparently partisan and false as a literally talking snake. These issues were discussed and pondered upon way before Christianity was even a notion by philosophers in India and China.

johneeG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3473
Joined: 01 Jun 2009 12:47

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby johneeG » 21 Apr 2016 18:42

Arjun wrote:
johneeG wrote:but organized monotheistic creeds can minimize the effects of this weakness to some extent. On the other hand, caste system is a fatal flaw for a polytheistic, unorganized, and multi-linguistic society.

I don't think India's historical experience supports this assertion...Isn't it generally accepted today that it is the Buddhist majority regions of Bengal, Kashmir and North West India that proved more receptive to Islam than the Hindu majority ones? If that is correct - anti-jativaad Buddhists seem to have succumbed to monotheistic Abrahamism far more easily than jati-conscious Hindus. How do you explain this phenomenon?


Buddhism and Jainism were too pacifist. Too much of anything is not good, even pacifism. Buddhism and Jainism went into an almost unilateral non-violence mode and were defeated by others. Just look Tibet occupation as recent example. China is not Abrahamic. But result was same.


RoyG wrote:
shiv wrote:^^ RoyG - beautiful although it is abstruse


What India faces today is the latest incarnation of Semitic thought in the form of Protestant ethic built upon sovereignty of self (soul/rights bearer/ego) and freedom ("right" to indulge self to attain happiness).

Once you say you have a "right" to something, you cannot negate the self because it becomes permanently tied to the perceived. This is incompatible with dharma which views the cosmic display of life as the churning of the universe due to action of devas (action leading to impermanence of ego) and asuras (action strengthening ego). The self IS the struggle as it continually manifests into different forms along the path toward its eventual liberation.

Once you walk down this path you come to the realization that this line of thinking requires very little legislation. The aim of the external apparatus ceases to be a (govern)-ment and instead becomes an enabler for the individual to discover his passion/jati and add to the churning.

Rights as we know them today are for inherently sinful creatures.


So, are duties also tied to Soul or only rights? Just to clarify, I disagree with your view that rights and ideas on soul are related. Rights or duties have nothing to do with whether soul exists or whether goddess/god exists. Rights and duties are a contract between the Govt and its citizens. Citizens promise duties to Govt and Govt promises rights to citizens. Only duties without rights is harmful to citizens. Only rights without duties leads to weak govts.

-----

Its sad to see that some people justify caste system and even untouchability. Really sad! All I can say is that please check out the news related to caste, caste discrimination and caste violence for just 2 years and then perhaps you will see that caste system is not only unethical and oppressive but fragments the society(especially a multi-linguistic and polytheistic society).

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 11094
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 21 Apr 2016 18:55

An Indian had a business visit to Germany, and thought that while there, he would buy a German-made voltage stabilizer, surely of a better quality than those available at home. Of course, voltage stabilizers are not necessary in Germany and are not generally available.

Secularism is to Christianity as voltage stabilizers are to India.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Apr 2016 19:00

A_Gupta wrote:Secularism is to Christianity as voltage stabilizers are to India.

Haha, good one! The tense balance between secular and religious in the West, or classical (science + 'pagan' philosophy) and sacred, is completely unnecessary in India where there is a completely different historical experience and amalgam of the two. It is comical to see Anglophile Indian crusaders for "secularism" try to create the same tension in India and feel like American founding fathers for it!

RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 21 Apr 2016 22:15

So, are duties also tied to Soul or only rights? Just to clarify, I disagree with your view that rights and ideas on soul are related. Rights or duties have nothing to do with whether soul exists or whether goddess/god exists. Rights and duties are a contract between the Govt and its citizens. Citizens promise duties to Govt and Govt promises rights to citizens. Only duties without rights is harmful to citizens. Only rights without duties leads to weak govts.

-----

Its sad to see that some people justify caste system and even untouchability. Really sad! All I can say is that please check out the news related to caste, caste discrimination and caste violence for just 2 years and then perhaps you will see that caste system is not only unethical and oppressive but fragments the society(especially a multi-linguistic and polytheistic society).


It is evident you haven't done the required study of your own tradition before touching on topics like rights, duties, caste, soul, etc.

No matter, I will do my best to explain:

1) You assert that we are a polytheistic society. This is the worst. (Poly)theists state the following: There is the self, and there are divine being(s) external to it. Dharma on the other hand posits the following: The self is an illusory manifestation of the ultimate reality (consciousness). Therefore, the self becomes analogous w/ perception and there is no distinction between internal and external.

2) Both "duties" and "rights" are both tied to soul. Dharma doesn't translate directly to "duty". Dharma means path to liberation (happiness) and the only "duty" that one has is to walk it. Along this path you will be either an asura (egoist) or deva (ego destroyer) and the interplay between them creates the rich perception of cosmic life. Arjun didn't have a "duty" to do anything but accept that Krishna was the manifestation of the supreme conciousness and therefore he was too. The path for him happened to be that of a Kshatriya. Dharma is a non-translatable in that way.

3) If you make the claim that rights and duties have nothing to do with whether soul/god exist than you are ignoring over 2000 years of semitic history that provided the philosophical underpinnings for modern day rights. If a RIGHT exists than the SELF must EXIST too. The PURPOSE of a RIGHT is to INDULGE the SELF. The SELF ceases to be an EXPRESSION of CONCIOUSNESS and instead becomes a CUSTODIAN for DOMINUS (God => GOVERN-MENT).

4) You make the claim that Citizens promise duties to government and government promises rights to citizens. Comical considering this is identical to the 10 commandments in which man (custodian) of the Earth promises GOD to behave and in return will be blessed with his eternal love in the form of Earthly reward and entry into Heaven. Ancient Indian political frameworks merely enforced social contract within Jati's and created the conditions for Jatis to exist through minimal legislation. You didn't have a "duty" to "government" at all!

5) Rights and duties are mental masturbation without the pay off. On your death bed none of it matters b/c you'll be going to heaven/hell or turning to dust. Consciousness on the other hand is a very powerful psychological tool in that it gives you purpose till the very end. It encourages you to REFLECT on your actions in the pursuit of everlasting happiness.

6) As far as you parroting caste and untouchability, I have no desire to engage w/ you on this b/c you continuously ignore the historicity of these colonial constructions which were a recurring theme in the development of Christendom within the geographical boundaries of Europe.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Apr 2016 22:41

RoyG wrote:1) You assert that we are a polytheistic society. This is the worst. (Poly)theists state the following: There is the self, and there are divine being(s) external to it. Dharma on the other hand posits the following: The self is an illusory manifestation of the ultimate reality (consciousness). Therefore, the self becomes analogous w/ perception and there is no distinction between internal and external.

Nope. That is just one view of reality in the Dharmic traditions.

The other view states that Difference and plurality are an inherent property of Reality and illusion is to mistake Difference as incidental to the separateness of entities such as the 'self'. Enlightenment is to see Dharma as upholding ever-blossoming Relationship(s) based on the reality of difference as a property of the manifold of Self and God rather than false duality of the Self and God - OR to negate Relationship and crawl back into an inchoate womb.

Thus, the reality of Relationship is the bedrock of rights, responsibilities and Dharma. Rights and responsibility are not a wishy washy timeserving jugaad in a ramshackle Rashtra with blurry boundaries between inconsistent castes. Nor are "asura" and "deva" two morally relativistic "paths" to "liberation" as your words might lead some to believe.

Rather, establishment and nourishment of a daivi Rashtra on Earth and continuous struggle against the equivalent asuri conception of Rashtra (with understanding of and responsibility for the other, including the adversary) are an intrinsic part of Yajna.

The Rashtra is part of Yajna with its strict and precise Method, and rights and responsibilities are more than soft "social contracts" relative to caste. While Indic philosophy does not take the extreme paternalistic view of "order from chaos" and does talk of negotiated boundaries based on time, place and maturity of caste-culture, it is not relativistic, but categorically hierarchical and geared to edification in terms of cultures of shreyas vs preyas.
Last edited by Agnimitra on 21 Apr 2016 23:02, edited 4 times in total.


RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 21 Apr 2016 23:12

Nope. That is just one view of reality in the Dharmic traditions.

The other view states that Difference and plurality are an inherent property of Reality and illusion is to mistake Difference as incidental to the separateness of entities such as the 'self'. Enlightenment is to see Dharma as upholding Relationship(s) based on the reality of difference as a property of the manifold of Self and God rather than false duality of the Self and God - OR to negate Relationship and crawl back into an inchoate womb.

Thus, the reality of Relationship is the bedrock of rights, responsibilities and Dharma. Rights and responsibility are not a wishy washy timeserving jugaad in a ramshackle conception of multi-caste Rashtra with blurry boundaries. Nor are "asura" and "deva" two morally relativistic "paths" to "liberation" as your words might lead some to believe.

Rather, establishment and nourishment of a daivi Rashtra on Earth and continuous struggle against the equivalent asuri conception of Rashtra (with understanding and responsibility for the other) are an intrinsic part of Yajna.

The Rashtra is part of Yajna with its strict and precise Method, and rights and responsibilities are more than soft "social contracts" relative to caste. While Indic philosophy does not take the extreme paternalistic view of "order from chaos" and does talk of negotiated boundaries based on time, place and maturity of caste-culture, it is not relativistic, but categorically hierarchical and geared to edification in terms of cultures of shreyas vs preyas.


What does a "right" have to do with dharma? Ethics I can understand.

Everything else is what I'm essentially saying.

As far as two "morally" relativistic paths to dharma - that wasn't my intention.

Deva and Asura are on the same path BUT this path runs up to the peak of the mountain and then down.

The top of the mountain symbolizes maximum attachment so in a way the path to liberation is one but distinct in
characteristic of the path traveled. It is this characteristic that defines both.

Responsibility is another word that assumes agency. Responsible for what? We are merely negotiating with one another for middle ground on the quest for enlightenment b/c ultimately my quest will in some way serve as an impediment to yours. This is compromise. Compromise on a large scale requires a broker.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 21 Apr 2016 23:31

RoyG, thank you for your clarifications.

RoyG wrote:What does a "right" have to do with dharma? Ethics I can understand.

Obviously, rights and responsibilities are the subject of ethics, and ethics is a subject under Dharma.

RoyG wrote:Everything else is what I'm essentially saying.

Ok, some might have got the impression that constitutional and generic rights and responsibilities, or directive principles for a graduated roadmap, are not consistent with Indic thinking.

RoyG wrote:As far as two "morally" relativistic paths to dharma - that wasn't my intention.

Deva and Asura are on the same path BUT this path runs up to the peak of the mountain and then down.

The top of the mountain symbolizes maximum attachment so in a way the path to liberation is one but distinct in
characteristic of the path traveled. It is this characteristic that defines both.

Important distinction.

RoyG wrote:Responsibility is another word that assumes agency. Responsible for what?

Responsible for that thing we call 'the good'. It means to have intentions for the maximum good of all, whether one is engaged in cooperation or conflict. For example, in conflict with what we might consider the 'adversary', we must do so in the spirit of first trying to understand him/her w.r.t. our own Self, and take responsibility to reach out at every level - rather than combat only out of spite with an indifferent mind and heart. Of course, that is the beginning of philosophy, to define what is 'good' on a pan-dynamic scale, not just sensory or physical or mental or societal.

RoyG wrote:We are merely negotiating with one another for middle ground on the quest for enlightenment b/c ultimately my quest will in some way serve as an impediment to yours. This is compromise. Compromise on a large scale requires a broker.

'Impediments' and 'conflict' are closely connected to 'happiness' and 'service'. After all, happiness is produced by overcoming impediments in the course of achieving a known goal. That much is easy to understand. But the relationship of 'conflict' and 'service' is harder to understand. Matters of the soul are often ultimately decided by the sword. Some related thoughts:

The Dasyu-Dāsa dynamic vs. "class struggle" theory

RajeshA
BRF Oldie
Posts: 15996
Joined: 28 Dec 2007 19:30

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RajeshA » 21 Apr 2016 23:39

I once wrote: "Dharma is the Ārya system of Meta-Ethics."

RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 22 Apr 2016 01:51

Agnimitra wrote:Obviously, rights and responsibilities are the subject of ethics, and ethics is a subject under Dharma.


Not quite. Ethics is a difficult concept to pin down. The way I interpret ethics is a collective standard for behavior. I'm unaware of a more apt term to describe it. This is different from moralism which enables righteous behavior (rights) as justified by Jesus Christ.

Scenario 1: Shiv in Bangalore delivers euthanasia to Rahul Gandhi to relieve his suffering from mental disease. It was an ethical act.

Scenario 2: Shiv in Italy refuses to euthanize Rahul Gandhi despite his suffering due to mental disease. It was a moral act.

See the difference?

Moralism as most people think of it today is still influenced heavily from the Christian Bible. A collective standard for behavior as an instrument in the context of Indian society allows for greater avenues for action in that society is made a stakeholder.

Simply preaching this is moral/immoral leaves little leeway for interpretation within any given context.

This brings me to how you decide what an ethical standard is. The way ancient Indians thought nullified this problem to some extent. If most people KNOW that happiness can only come from inward exploration, you simply don't require much legislation and it becomes easier to pinpoint impediments to others. It's really a non issue to start with. Why do you for example need right to free speech? This would mean you have agency to bear the right to speech and that it must be clearly stated as an act of justification by an external apparatus. Even if you were to call it ethically derived laws, what exactly would be the point?

If most Indians don't attend Sunday mass how would they even begin to accurately define what morality or rights are? Why is it that most Indians were debating the self, nature of reality, and happiness more than anything else? I haven't come across one ancient debate involving rights discourse. There simply wasn't anything to debate.

Now has society gotten so massive and complicated today that we now need to consider it? That's another debate.

SBajwa
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5065
Joined: 10 Jan 2006 21:35
Location: Attari

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby SBajwa » 22 Apr 2016 02:14

by RoyG

The reason I use outlet for expression and not freedom is because the latter maintains that the perceiver (ego) has the "right" to indulge and therefore cannot be subject to negation.


Exactly!!! Poet Iqbal (whose father was a Kashmiri Brahmin and converted to Islam to save himself after running away with lots of money from Kashmir kingdom) asks all Muslims to raise their "Khudi" i.e "Their view of themselves" as way above the rest as they are "Muslims". Which is exactly how the British use to think of themselves!

SBajwa
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5065
Joined: 10 Jan 2006 21:35
Location: Attari

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby SBajwa » 22 Apr 2016 02:16

quote by RoyG
Once you say you have a "right" to something, you cannot negate the self because it becomes permanently tied to the perceived. This is incompatible with dharma which views the cosmic display of life as the churning of the universe due to action of devas (action leading to impermanence of ego) and asuras (action strengthening ego). The self IS the struggle as it continually manifests into different forms along the path toward its eventual liberation.


Absolutely!! That's it!!

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 22 Apr 2016 03:04

RoyG wrote:
Agnimitra wrote:Obviously, rights and responsibilities are the subject of ethics, and ethics is a subject under Dharma.


Not quite. Ethics is a difficult concept to pin down. The way I interpret ethics is a collective standard for behavior. I'm unaware of a more apt term to describe it. This is different from moralism which enables righteous behavior (rights) as justified by Jesus Christ.

Scenario 1: Shiv in Bangalore delivers euthanasia to Rahul Gandhi to relieve his suffering from mental disease. It was an ethical act.

Scenario 2: Shiv in Italy refuses to euthanize Rahul Gandhi despite his suffering due to mental disease. It was a moral act.

See the difference?

We've been over the problems of such absolute moralism on this forum before. I agree with your take on it here.

Philosophically though, morals and ethics have been better differentiated as the former being what one does to others, and the latter being what one does to the Self (as taken in its transpersonal totality). That does fit your example also.

Rights and responsibilities are not mere "moralism" disconnected from ethics, but are an intrinsic part of ethics, because the Self is transpersonal and not insular at an individual level. When you use terms like "inward" and "others", it is a false dichotomy from the point of view of this transpersonal Self. "Inward exploration" is not disconnected from one's transactional, sentimental and agape-level interactions with "others" - impediments and all. :) Therefore, defining and continuously re-calibrating social rights and responsibilities according to the relative circumstances and general maturity of society is certainly an ethics subject.

I am surprised you say that debate and prescription for rights and responsibilities is not to be found in ancient literature. Works abound in niti-shastras, different dharmashastras and so forth.

RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 22 Apr 2016 03:48

Agnimitra wrote:Rights and responsibilities are not mere "moralism" disconnected from ethics, but are an intrinsic part of ethics, because the Self is transpersonal and not insular at an individual level. When you use terms like "inward" and "others", it is a false dichotomy from the point of view of this transpersonal Self. "Inward exploration" is not disconnected from one's transactional, sentimental and agape-level interactions with "others" - impediments and all. Therefore, defining and continuously re-calibrating social rights and responsibilities according to the relative circumstances and general maturity of society is certainly an ethics subject.


If what you say is true then why not leave it to simply ethics. Why tack on the subset of morals when describing the Indian experience?

Morality is a form of ethics which is intrinsic to the Semitic experience of the world.

Most Europeans KNEW there was a God and the justification for their existence can be found in Bible. Now since they all knew it, they could establish ethics. However, deviating from the ethical standard meant they would cook in hell, so ethics became morals.

The fact that you can even re-calibrate a "social right" destroys the very idea of it.

Now as far as terms like inward, outward, trans personal, etc. I would say the following:

If you're liberated you aren't part of the debate. The fact that you're "alive" means that you have to negotiate your way to liberation.

If (I) am here, I've already established a convention which delineates the perceiver and perceived.

Agnimitra wrote:I am surprised you say that debate and prescription for rights and responsibilities is not to be found in ancient
literature. Works abound in niti-shastras, different dharmashastras and so forth.


Give me a word in the indian vernacular that translates to "right".

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 22 Apr 2016 04:06

RoyG wrote:Morality is a form of ethics which is intrinsic to the Semitic experience of the world.

True. And I did not use the word "morality", but "ethics".

RoyG wrote:The fact that you can even re-calibrate a "social right" destroys the very idea of it.

...Give me a word in the indian vernacular that translates to "right".

The word used is "qualification", अधिकारः - Which should explain the fallacy of the assertion that re-calibration on a grade-scale destroys the very idea of it. No, Dharma is what "supports" the virtuous spiral and scaffolds against a vicious spiral at any and all levels. It is not an ideal placed on a pedestal called "liberated".

Therefore, at different levels in a maturity model, one can calibrate the "qualifications" (or "rights") or any individual based on his guna and karma in that context, and by allowing him to express that nature Dharmically he can graduate to the next level, and so on. Therefore, I see no philosophical problem with the word "freedom of expression" either, in that very context of the journey to "liberation" and the different types of grade-appropriate expression. But I would word it as "freedom to choose one's grade-appropriate context of expression": The most sophisticated and wise socio-political Rashtra can create various circumscribed "islands" or windows in its area of control or influence, within which different grades of peoples can express themselves appropriately without subverting or choking the overarching direction and power of the system. An individual should have the freedom to move to his most preferred social context, but he cannot insist on a particular vitiating expression within a different, inappropriate context. The Rashtra must allow (or alternatively coerce) him to move to his appropriate geographical or social context. Thus, delineation of desha-kaala-paatra is intrinsic to the Dharmic discussion of "rights"/"qualification" - most of which are not manifestly "omnipresent".

[This is also not to say that this Dharmic model is purely elevationist, as opposed to some salvationist model. But it is one component of it.]

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 11094
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 22 Apr 2016 08:09

This from BR Ambedkar stings:
‘I would like to assure the Mahatma that it is not the mere failure of Hindus and Hinduism which has produced in me the feelings of disgust and contempt. I am disgusted with Hindus and Hinduism because I am convinced that they cherish wrong ideals and lead a wrong social life. My quarrel with Hindus and Hinduism is not over the imperfections of their social conduct. It is much more fundamental. It is over their ideals.’


(via: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/ ... l-gods#all )
(It is this above that inspires Sheldon Pollock, too, to try to destroy Sanskriti.)

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35017
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 22 Apr 2016 09:04

This thread has moved fast and I won't trip it up yet with a diversion.

In my mind "morality" is a set of rules or guidelines. Ethics is about morality, and how morality needs to be used.

As a crude(ish) example, morality demands fidelity to one's partner and not lusting after the wife/partner of someone else. Ethics is one's personal conduct when faced with a situation where morality can either be upheld or discarded - eg an accidental situation of being in close and private physical proximity with someone else's partner

Morality is rules. Ethics is application of those rules.

On the question of "rights" - I think rights should not be discussed without bringing up the idea of duties.

I don't have any specific Hindu literary source for this other than what I have been taught - and that is technically one is born thinking that one has the right to do all sorts of things. A young child typically does everything that it can do within its power because there is no intrinsic law that stops the child from behaving in that manner. Such a child's freedom to do anything (birthright) is restricted by society.

The particular way that societies exert those restrictions on the child on his way to adulthood have an effect on what controlling adults claim are "rights"

From a Hindu/traditional Indian viewpoint there are no restrictions of any human action except duties he must perform to uphold Dharma. That means all rights exist from birth, subject to the restrictions imposed by duties of Dharma alone. What children are taught under this system would be Dharma is a duty and performance of duty entails the subsuming of one's own birthright to the former.

Chrstianity apparently does not accept the idea that a man is "freeborn". All creation, including man, are made by God, and belong to God and automatically fall under the definition of being under God's domain and therefore humans have no intrinsic rights save what God gives him. Therefore man technically could not own land because the land belongs to God. This restriction was highly inconvenient because it meant that a person who owned a plot of land could be dispossessed of that land by someone else who claimed to represent God and this latter guy in turn could then be ass-whupped by a third guy using the same reasoning.

This actually led to a rethink in the Christian church and they arrived at the conclusion that man could own property and that the man who owned property was "lord of his domain" exactly like God was Lord of the domain of creation. That meant that the man who owned property owned and got rights to everything on that land, including resources and people. This was in fact the beginning of feudalism - the ownership and rights over land and everything on it, over it and under it.

In fact the logic reads a little bit like the preamble to he Pakistani constitution
Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah God alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan man within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust


In other words God has handed man his role over land he owns. This was great for Royals, the Church and landowners. but it was no good for the sheeple living on the land. They had no rights because anything they said could be overruled by landowner/king/Church. It is from this kind of choked society that modern western concepts of human rights arose.

If you talk about "rights" - there is no question of any restriction of any rights in Hindu society bar duties and a reduction of rights that is required to preserve a harmonious society and life on Earth. That is Dharma. People are free to do anything as long as Dharma is upheld.

Pulikeshi
BRFite
Posts: 1477
Joined: 31 Oct 2002 12:31
Location: Badami

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 22 Apr 2016 10:41

A_Gupta wrote:This from BR Ambedkar stings:


Arun - it may sting, but I have not heard an intellectual response to BR.
Have you come across or thought about this?

Pulikeshi
BRFite
Posts: 1477
Joined: 31 Oct 2002 12:31
Location: Badami

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 22 Apr 2016 11:28

For Ambedkar, the Purusa Sukta was a late interpolation in the Vedas. But the lesson he drew from it is that metaphysical categories always come braided with social hierarchy: no amount of allegorical reading of the Vedas or the Gita could get away from the fact that the transcendental was always aligned in the service of social hierarchy. Any attempt to detach the two was an exercise in bad faith. So what’s at stake in Ambedkar’s engagement with Hinduism was not just a social critique; it’s the claim that this social critique would require felling an entire intellectual structure.


Like most things, I just wish people learn the Sukta in Sanskrit and understand its meaning themselves and not rely on idiotic translations. I'm happy to post my translation and understanding if anyone cares... lets just say this to save time - The Dalit were outside the Varna/Jati system. There is a simpler explanation than Hinduism as the root cause for the injustice - as the population grew and stretched the scale of the Varna/Jati system had its own internal complications to deal with - the once marginalized handful of outcasts outside the Varna/Jati grew into millions. The system either in ignorance, introversion or malice failed to notice and address these 'outsiders' or address their condition.

Does not excuse the gross injustice and negligence of the mainstream (not just the so called 'Brahminist'). To make this just a Religious failure is worse than the self-loathing economist that coined the "Hindu Rate of Growth." The blame as always in hindsight and an orphan.
IMVHO BR Ambedkar (BR) only serious criticism is that he fits the tragic role of Captain Ahab.
His whale (no pun) is with all claims extraphysical
(not Metaphysical as per the claims in the article).

The irony is all such attempts produce the counter intuitive outcome. The rights of individuals requires an authority, ironically making this very authority more powerful than any and all individuals. That is, it will produce the very singular sovereign that he was against.

But this is not an accident: if Buddha slayed ritual, Ambedkar wanted to slay any residue of metaphysics, where man simply becomes an effect of some larger force, or gets lost in an abstraction.


The very idea of what makes an individual is being challenged at a biological level today.
To slay the ritual is one thing, to slay the residue of extraphysical deserves only one response -
Godspeed Captain Ahab!

Pulikeshi
BRFite
Posts: 1477
Joined: 31 Oct 2002 12:31
Location: Badami

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 22 Apr 2016 11:54

The intensity of the recent Hindutva charge against Sheldon Pollock, for example, does not come from his being Western, it comes from the allegation that he reads a tradition through the way it structures relations of power. To make the question of power the defining hallmark of a tradition, the yardstick by which it is judged is Ambedkar’s singular achievement. There is no question that the contest over Ambedkar is over the very possibility of rescuing Hinduism from this moral taint of power through and through; in that sense, his critique is the most radical that anyone in Indian civilisation has ever professed.


This is a half strawman - there are many arguments against Pollock, but the read of power in tradition is not the only one. The article is intentionally dense and abstruse, worse it sets up these rabbit holes. The Hindutva or RSS ideologues are not the only defenders of Dharma, indeed they may be more fascist than Dharmic. That said, the author in his prejudice, has already predetermined the taint of Hinduism, now all he has to do is find facts that add to his fiction. Pollock and other such intellectuals similarly suffer from this fundamental misunderstanding of causality.
Adding fact to fiction is even worse than atrocity literature.

Pulikeshi
BRFite
Posts: 1477
Joined: 31 Oct 2002 12:31
Location: Badami

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Pulikeshi » 22 Apr 2016 12:53

Agnimitra wrote:
RoyG wrote:The fact that you can even re-calibrate a "social right" destroys the very idea of it.

...Give me a word in the indian vernacular that translates to "right".

The word used is "qualification", अधिकारः - Which should explain the fallacy of the assertion that re-calibration on a grade-scale destroys the very idea of it. No, Dharma is what "supports" the virtuous spiral and scaffolds against a vicious spiral at any and all levels. It is not an ideal placed on a pedestal called "liberated".

...
[This is also not to say that this Dharmic model is purely elevationist, as opposed to some salvationist model. But it is one component of it.]


The traditional idea on the origin of law has been variously explained. One claim is made in the Narada Smriti - Dharmakosa: With the Yugas progressively seeing the degradation of Dharma the code givers had to help those (Rajan) that needed to manage Vyavahara (law-suits literally) between humans and/or groups. In Manu (XII 3 to 7) for example the causes of degradation are clearly mentioned - All Karma (action not its later corruption) occurs through the instigations of the Mind. There is 10 fold corruption which can be classified in 3 ways:

  1. . Three Mind instigated Karma (root of all three)
    1. Coverting the properties of others
    2. Undesirable thinking
    3. Adherence to contrary doctrines
  2. . Four Verbal instigated Karma (these are driven by 1)
    1. Speaking falsehood
    2. Attacking another in abusive or strong language
    3. Tattletales - especially libel
    4. Talking ill behind othes
  3. . Three Body instigated Karma (these are driven by 1)
    1. Taking what is not given
    2. Injuring any living being
    3. Intercourse with unqualified another (adultery)

Thus the Smriti vary in variety, but agree that man is 'tridandin' - a stable person has control over three instigations to Karma:

  1. Manodanda
  2. Vakdanda
  3. Kayadanda

These then lead to the eighteen topics of Vyavahara in the Manu and other Smriti

  1. Runadanda - Payment of Debts
  2. Nikshepa - Deposits
  3. Aswamy Vikraya - Sale without Ownership (Principal - Agent issue)
  4. Sambhuya Samuthana - Partnership (Joint Ventures)
  5. Dattasyanapakarma - Resumption of gifts
  6. Vetanadana - Payment of wages
  7. Samvidvyatikrama - Violations of conventions of guilds and corporations
  8. Krayavikrayanusaya - Sale and purchase
  9. Swamipala Vivada - Principal - Agent disputes
  10. Simavivada - Boundary disputes
  11. Vakparushya - Defamation and Libel
  12. Dandaparushya - Assault
  13. Streya - Theft
  14. Sahasa - Offense by violence
  15. Strisangrahana - Adultery, etc.
  16. Stripumdharma - Duties of husband and wife
  17. Vibhaga - Partition
  18. Dyutasamahvaya - Gambling and Betting

It would be a shame to continue the Western Universalist framework of reference and see the traditional codes of Dharma from purely one or another aspect - as in rights, duties, spiritual elevation, salvation, etc. These system of codes developed did not limit themselves to just 'moral' or 'ethical' - over the longevity of the civilization, various aspects of society were observed and addressed for the needs of Vyavahara. I'd made some post a long time ago on conventions and declarations - loosely the idea is that most of the societal coordination occurs via conventions, but when there is longevity they get codified into declarations. Even then, these declarations exist in a market of such declarations and the Rajan is free to adopt these declarations purely on the merits of acceptance of such a scheme by the ruled.

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 11094
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby A_Gupta » 22 Apr 2016 16:08

Pulikeshi wrote:
A_Gupta wrote:This from BR Ambedkar stings:


Arun - it may sting, but I have not heard an intellectual response to BR.
Have you come across or thought about this?


I have not heard an intellectual response either.
BR Ambedkar was arguing with Gandhi; Gandhi had a practical response - he largely changed his mind.
This article shows Gandhi's evolution via his own writings:
https://www.academia.edu/326347/Changes ... ermarriage

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35017
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 22 Apr 2016 17:08

Let me introduce at this stage, for comments and edification if possible a translation of Al Beruni's observation on "caste". Al Beruni notably does not appear to use the word Caste as the translation does. He says "varna" and "jataka" as per the translation
http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415485432/14.asp
The Hindus call their castes varṇa, i.e. colours, and from a genealogical point of view they call them jâtaka, i.e. births. These castes are from the very beginning only four.

I. The highest caste are the Brâhmaṇa, of whom the books of the Hindus tell that they were created from the head of Brahman. And as Brahman is only another name for the force called nature, and the head is the highest part of the animal body, the Brâhmaṇa are the choice part of the whole genus. Therefore the Hindus consider them as the very best of mankind.
II. The next caste are the Kshatriya, who were created, as they say, from the shoulders and hands of Brahman. Their degree is not much below that of the Brâhmaṇa.
III. After them follow the Vaiśya, who were created from the thigh of Brahman.
IV. The Śûdra, who were created from his feet.

Between the latter two classes there is no very great distance. Much, however, as these classes differ from each other, they live together in the same towns and villages, mixed together in the same houses and lodgings.

After the Śûdra follow the people called Antyaja, who render various kinds of services, who are not reckoned amongst any caste, but only as members of a certain craft or profession. There are eight classes of them, who freely intermarry with each other, except the fuller, shoemaker, and weaver, for no others would condescend to have anything to do with them. These eight guilds are the fuller, shoemaker, juggler, the basket and shield maker, the sailor, fisherman, the hunter of wild animals and of birds, and the weaver. The four castes do not live together with them in one and the same place. These guilds live near the villages and towns of the four castes, but outside them.

The people called Hâḍî, Ḍoma (Ḍomba), Caṇḍâla, and Badhatau (sic) are not reckoned amongst any caste or guild. They are occupied with dirty work, like the cleansing of the villages and other services. They are considered as one sole class, and distinguished only by their occupations. In fact, they are considered like illegitimate children; for according to general opinion they descend from a Śûdra father and a Brâhmaṇî mother as the children of fornication; therefore they are degraded outcasts.
The Hindus give to every single man of the four castes characteristic names, according to their occupations and modes of life. E.g. the Brâhmaṇa is in general called by this name as long as he does his work staying at home. When he is busy with the service of one fire, he is called ishṭin; if he serves three fires, he is called agnihôtrin; if he besides offers an offering to the fire, he is called dîkshita. And as it is with the Brâhmaṇa, so is it also with the other castes. Of the classes beneath the castes, the Hâḍî are the best spoken of, because they keep themselves free from everything unclean. Next follow the Ḍôma, who play on the lute and sing. The still lower classes practise as a trade killing and the inflicting of judicial punishments. The worst of all are the Badhatau, who not only devour the flesh of dead animals, but even of dogs and other beasts.

Each of the four castes, when eating together, must form a group for themselves, one group not being allowed to comprise two men of different castes. If, further, in the group of the Brâhmaṇa there are two men who live at enmity with each other, and the seat of the one is by the side of the other, they make a barrier between the two seats by placing a board between them, or by spreading a piece of dress, or in some other way; and if there is only a line drawn between them, they are considered as separated. Since it is forbidden to eat the remains of a meal, every single man must have his own food for himself; for if any one of the party who are eating should take of the food from one and the same plate, that which remains in the plate becomes, after the first eater has taken part, to him who wants to take as the second, the remains of the meal, and such is forbidden.
Such is the condition of the four castes.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 35017
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby shiv » 22 Apr 2016 17:18

From the same source as here is what Megasthenes wrote about classes of Indian society - over 1000 years before Al beruni
http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415485432/3.asp
(P.A. Brunt, Arrian, with an English Translation, Vol. II, (Indica, 11,1-12,7), Cambridge, Mass. 1983, pp. 337-41)

11. All the Indians are divided into generally seven classes.

One consists of the sophists; they are less numerous than the rest, but grandest in reputation and honour, for they are under no necessity to do any bodily labour, nor to contribute from the results of their work to the common store; in fact, no sort of constraint whatever rests on the sophists, save to offer the sacrifices to the gods on behalf of the common weal of the Indians. Whenever anyone sacrifices privately, one of the sophists directs him in the sacrifice, on the ground that otherwise it would not prove acceptable to the gods. Alone of the Indians they are expert in prophecy, and none save a sophist is allowed to prophesy. They prophesy only about the seasons of the year and any public calamity; it is not their concern to prophesy on private matters to individuals, either because the art of prophecy does not condescend to petty affairs, or because it is undignified for the sophists to trouble about them. Anyone who has made three errors in prophecy does not suffer any harm but must keep silence in future, and no one will ever force the man to speak on whom sentence of silence has been passed. These sophists spend their time naked, during the winter in the open air and sunshine, but in summer, when the sun is strong, in the meadows and marsh lands under great trees, whose shade, according to Nearchus, reaches five plethra all round, and which are so large that as many as ten thousand men could take shade under one tree. The sophists eat produce in season and the bark of trees, a bark that is no less sweet and nutritious than palm dates.

Second to them come the farmers, who are the most numerous of Indians; they have no weapons and no concern in warfare, but they till the land and pay the taxes to the kings and the self-governing cities; and if there is internal war among the Indians, it is not lawful for them to touch these land workers, nor even to devastate the land itself; but while some are making war and killing each other as opportunity may serve, others close by are peacefully ploughing or picking fruits or pruning or harvesting.

The third class of Indians are the herdsmen, who pasture sheep and cattle, and do not dwell in cities or in villages: they are nomads and get their living on the hillsides. They too pay taxes from their animals, and they hunt birds and wild beasts in the country.
12.

The fourth class is of artisans and shopkeepers; they too perform public duties, and pay tax on the receipts from their work, except for those who make weapons of war and actually receive a wage from the community. In this class are the shipwrights and sailors, who ply on the rivers.

The fifth class of Indians consists of the soldiers, next to the farmers in number; they enjoy the greatest freedom and most agreeable life. They are devoted solely to military activities. Others make their arms and provide their horses; others too serve in the camps, grooming their horses and polishing their arms, driving the elephants, and keeping the chariots in order and driving them. They fight so long as they have to fight, but in time of peace they make merry; and they receive so much pay from the community that they can easily support others from their pay.

The sixth class of Indians are those called over-seers. They supervise everything that goes on in the country and cities, and report it to the king, where the Indians are governed by kings, or to the authorities, where they are self-governing. It is not lawful to make any false report to them; and no Indian was ever accused of such falsification.

The seventh class are those who deliberate about public affairs with the king, or in self-governing cities with the authorities. In number this class is small, but in wisdom and justice it is the most distinguished of all; it is from this class that they select their rulers, monarchs, hyparchs, treasurers, generals, admirals, comptrollers, and supervisors of agricultural works.


The difference in Megasthenes (300 BC??) account versus Al Beruni's (1000 CE) account are interesting.

To my mind neither of them shows any derision or racism. Obviously those came later

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby Agnimitra » 22 Apr 2016 18:30

Pulikeshi wrote:The traditional idea on the origin of law has been variously explained. One claim is made in the Narada Smriti - Dharmakosa: With the Yugas progressively seeing the degradation of Dharma the code givers had to help those (Rajan) that needed to manage Vyavahara (law-suits literally) between humans and/or groups. In Manu (XII 3 to 7) for example the causes of degradation are clearly mentioned - All Karma (action not its later corruption) occurs through the instigations of the Mind.

Yes, and the use of, both, shastra and shaastra to instruct society is also discussed.

Pulikeshi wrote:It would be a shame to continue the Western Universalist framework of reference and see the traditional codes of Dharma from purely one or another aspect - as in rights, duties, spiritual elevation, salvation, etc. These system of codes developed did not limit themselves to just 'moral' or 'ethical' - over the longevity of the civilization, various aspects of society were observed and addressed for the needs of Vyavahara. I'd made some post a long time ago on conventions and declarations - loosely the idea is that most of the societal coordination occurs via conventions, but when there is longevity they get codified into declarations. Even then, these declarations exist in a market of such declarations and the Rajan is free to adopt these declarations purely on the merits of acceptance of such a scheme by the ruled.

Yes, this is how jurisprudence evolves in various societies. But when a society evolves or devolves at a general level to become either more or less mature, then there is philosophical speculation about laws, and that constitutes their philosophy of jurisprudence. Still, the basis of jurisprudence remains different for different civilizations. I had posted earlier about how Islamic Law is based, not on ethics or morality, but on danger to the honour of the sovereign Caliph. So, for the exact same crime, such as stealing or rape, the punishments are vastly different depending on whether the act is done slyly and individually in seclusion with no intention of anyone knowing, or whether it is done in league with others forming a group, or whether it is done blatantly in broad daylight - the latter signifying open defiance of and direct insult to the sovereign's authority, etc. So the philosophical basis of Islamic Law is based on sovereign Caliphate rule and public deference (though not exactly obedience) to it. That is not the basis of Indic notions of Law, which you have expanded on above as being based on achieving self-determinism or integrity in mind, body and speech. In the West, they have based law on transactional "fairness" or justice and social order, focused on the harm that can be done socially, on crime and punishment. This external reference point of "morality" is definitely different from the Indic reference point of promoting individual integrity that you have outlined above. However, what I have been saying is that while the basis and purpose of jurisprudence is different in different civilizations, it does not mean that one or the other has no notion of the very same terms. The semantics of those terms certainly differs...but those terms do have a significance within each context.

ShauryaT
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5222
Joined: 31 Oct 2005 06:06

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby ShauryaT » 22 Apr 2016 18:38

A_Gupta wrote:
Pulikeshi wrote:Arun - it may sting, but I have not heard an intellectual response to BR.
Have you come across or thought about this?


I have not heard an intellectual response either.
BR Ambedkar was arguing with Gandhi; Gandhi had a practical response - he largely changed his mind.
This article shows Gandhi's evolution via his own writings:
https://www.academia.edu/326347/Changes ... ermarriage
It is important to meet the Ambedkar challenge - which is indirectly a challenge of the west, but viewed from the prism of a person in a society which was raped and pillaged and a social environment, which reacted to the political environment. It is a complex evolution to understand, what happened. Regardless, the Ambedkar challenge cannot be met via disbanding or being apologetic the key tenets and experiences of our heritage. They have to be met head on by keeping the principles, objectives, goals and key processes (including values systems) intact but reinventing the social, political and cultural frameworks to suit our times.

No one has done this yet and I will posit one cannot do such a reinvention by junking the two anchors of SD based on Varna and Ashrama. One cannot do this by junking the high principles of SD. One cannot do this by being "shameful" of our extremely rich repository of dharma shastras.

What we have done is junked the baby out completely by forsaking the principle, values, goals, objectives of SD and at best are in the reaction business of pointing out flaws of the western system. In this muddled thinking, while we have formally junked our entire heritage as it applies in our social elite and political frameworks - the vast masses including most of the middle class largely live and evolve in a muddled manner straddling between the high principles of SD, the evolutions and ravages of time of SD and the formal systems that we have adopted that continues to shape us.

It is time to restore VarnAsharma to its glory, without which SD cannot be restored and without which we might well as junk the high principles of SD for without a "living system" SD is no longer SD - as we have known it and lived it for 1000's years.

Ambedka's charge has to be met, through a robust defense of the ideals and ideas but without being apologetic of some of the practices and evolutions and forms that our society took, regardless of the external pressures.

johneeG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 3473
Joined: 01 Jun 2009 12:47

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby johneeG » 22 Apr 2016 19:56

RoyG wrote:
So, are duties also tied to Soul or only rights? Just to clarify, I disagree with your view that rights and ideas on soul are related. Rights or duties have nothing to do with whether soul exists or whether goddess/god exists. Rights and duties are a contract between the Govt and its citizens. Citizens promise duties to Govt and Govt promises rights to citizens. Only duties without rights is harmful to citizens. Only rights without duties leads to weak govts.

-----

Its sad to see that some people justify caste system and even untouchability. Really sad! All I can say is that please check out the news related to caste, caste discrimination and caste violence for just 2 years and then perhaps you will see that caste system is not only unethical and oppressive but fragments the society(especially a multi-linguistic and polytheistic society).


It is evident you haven't done the required study of your own tradition before touching on topics like rights, duties, caste, soul, etc.

No matter, I will do my best to explain:

1) You assert that we are a polytheistic society. This is the worst. (Poly)theists state the following: There is the self, and there are divine being(s) external to it. Dharma on the other hand posits the following: The self is an illusory manifestation of the ultimate reality (consciousness). Therefore, the self becomes analogous w/ perception and there is no distinction between internal and external.

2) Both "duties" and "rights" are both tied to soul. Dharma doesn't translate directly to "duty". Dharma means path to liberation (happiness) and the only "duty" that one has is to walk it. Along this path you will be either an asura (egoist) or deva (ego destroyer) and the interplay between them creates the rich perception of cosmic life. Arjun didn't have a "duty" to do anything but accept that Krishna was the manifestation of the supreme conciousness and therefore he was too. The path for him happened to be that of a Kshatriya. Dharma is a non-translatable in that way.

3) If you make the claim that rights and duties have nothing to do with whether soul/god exist than you are ignoring over 2000 years of semitic history that provided the philosophical underpinnings for modern day rights. If a RIGHT exists than the SELF must EXIST too. The PURPOSE of a RIGHT is to INDULGE the SELF. The SELF ceases to be an EXPRESSION of CONCIOUSNESS and instead becomes a CUSTODIAN for DOMINUS (God => GOVERN-MENT).

4) You make the claim that Citizens promise duties to government and government promises rights to citizens. Comical considering this is identical to the 10 commandments in which man (custodian) of the Earth promises GOD to behave and in return will be blessed with his eternal love in the form of Earthly reward and entry into Heaven. Ancient Indian political frameworks merely enforced social contract within Jati's and created the conditions for Jatis to exist through minimal legislation. You didn't have a "duty" to "government" at all!

5) Rights and duties are mental masturbation without the pay off. On your death bed none of it matters b/c you'll be going to heaven/hell or turning to dust. Consciousness on the other hand is a very powerful psychological tool in that it gives you purpose till the very end. It encourages you to REFLECT on your actions in the pursuit of everlasting happiness.

6) As far as you parroting caste and untouchability, I have no desire to engage w/ you on this b/c you continuously ignore the historicity of these colonial constructions which were a recurring theme in the development of Christendom within the geographical boundaries of Europe.


RoyG,
I think you are confusing between Vedhik Dharma(Pravrutthi) and Vedhanthik Moksha(Nivrutthi). And self is not an illusion even in any Vedhantha versions. Self is the reality and world is an illusion in Adhvaitha Vedhantha. So, you got that in reverse.

Now, coming to the difference between Dharma and Moksha: I think ancient Indian schools developed in the following manner.

The literal meaning of 'Karma' is 'action'. No one doubts that 'actions' exist. 'Karma' not only mean 'actions', it also denotes the results of those actions. So, Karma means both actions and their results. People know that actions and their results exist in the world. Worldly actions and their worldly results are known to everyone and understood. The point people want to know is whether there is some divine results for the worldly actions. The idea behind all this is that people want to know if there is a divine justice system which will punish the evil deeds and reward the righteous deeds. For that, firstly, evil deeds and righteous deeds have to be defined and categorized. This is where 'Dharma' comes in.

So, basically, 'Dharma' is nothing but law or rule. In this context, it is a divine law or divine rule. The word 'Dharma' is related to 'Dharathi' which mean 'hold' or 'Dhaarayathi' which means 'wear'. BTW, the earth is called 'Dharani' because she holds/carries the people. Even in Thelugu(southern Bhaarathiya language), the word 'Dhorakindhi' means 'catching' or 'finding'. I am giving an example of southern language to counter the Aryan-Dhravidian linguistic division theory. Even the southern Thelugu uses the root word 'dhru' to mean 'hold' or 'catch' or wear' just as Sanskruth does.

Kartha Karma Kriya is part of Grammar.
'Kartha' is the performer of Action. Noun subject.
'Kriya' is the actual action or verb.
'Karma' is the Object in the grammar. Philosophically, 'Karma' is the result of the action.

In the philosophical sense, 'Karma' represents the full Kartha-Karma-Kriya matrix.

Similarly,
The one who holds is called 'Dhartha'.
That which is held is called 'Dharma'. Generally, it means rules or laws. It also signifies the results of those rules.

Philosophically, 'Dharma' means the divine law or divine rule.

Karma is closely associated with Dharma. Dharma defines various actions into good or bad. The righteous actions must have auspicious results and unrighteous actions must have negative results. Dharma is (earthly or divine) law or rules and Karma is the result of those rules.

But, it can be seen all around us that regardless of the definition of the righteous or unrighteous, there are lot of 'unrighteous' people who are living a very happy life while lot of 'righteous' people are living a miserable life.

To reconcile this problem, the Dharma-Karma philosophy comes up with the concept of 'Heaven-Hell'. The point is simple: an unrighteous person may enjoy for now, but eventually he will suffer. If not in this world, then in the after-life. Similarly, a righteous person may suffer now, but eventually he will enjoy a lot. If not in this world, then in the after-life. So, Dharma-Karma has now added the Heaven-Hell to its system.

Now, the definition of Dharma has to be worked out to determine good Karma and bad karma. Priestly class felt that Vedhik rites are the Dharma which bestow positive Karma. But, it seems that there were others who disagreed with this view. At the time, Kapila divided the world into Purusha(living thing) & Prakruthi(Nature or non-living things). The nature was further divided into its constituents. Kapila defined the human or animal body as non-living because one can see dead bodies without life. His logic was that if the body itself was alive, then it would never be dead. So, he concluded that body must have some constituent which kept the body alive and body dies once this mysterious constituent leaves the body. So, Kapila was trying to find the root of life. He also categorized ego as non-living. So, basically, his idea was that there is a thing called Purusha(living element) which keeps the beings alive. Kapila seems to have theorized that the suffering is result of hurting others. If I hurt you, it comes back to hurt me. So, he proposed Ahimsa as the highest Dharma and helping others as best Karma. This definition of Dharma & Karma is against Vedhik rites because the Vedhik rituals involved animal sacrifices. So, there was disagreement about what was Dharma itself. The Vedhiks believed in Vedhik ritual as the Dharma while other intellectuals believed in 'humanism' as the Dharma.

Till here, its common for all religions. One can see the same concept in Abrahamic religions to various degrees. They too believe in heaven-hell and divine law. There is no difference in Abrahamic religious views and concept of Dharma. But, the Bhaarathiyas would not be Bhaarathiyas if they stopped here.

It seems that Kapila's ideas became popular with time. This led to Aranyaka movement in society. That means, people lived ascetic life in the forest in hope of reducing their 'negative Kaarmic imprint' with as less hurting other beings as possible to increase their 'positive Kaarmic imprint' . This is called Thapas. The idea was that when the 'positive Kaarmic imprint' increased sufficiently, it would lead to heaven(Swarga).

The next big intellectuals were Gauthama & Mahidasa Aitareya. Mahidasa came up with the theory that the world was interconnected just as human body is interconnected.(BTW, Mahidasa was born from a so-called low-caste woman.) Mahidasa seems to be a follower of Kapila's humanist school. Mahidasa's theories became popular and he was highly respected. Mahidasa stressed on Truth or Satyam. Actually, the correct word for Truth is 'Rutham'. 'Sath' means 'existing'. The word 'Sath' is used to denote the 'living' part of the nature. The root of life...soul...self. By using the word 'Sathyam' to denote 'Truth', Mahidasa was hitting many targets with one arrow. Mahidasa seems to be saying that 'Truth' is the soul of the universe. So, Kapila stressed on Ahimsa and Mahidasa stressed on Truth.

Gauthama came up with a system of Nyaya(logic & legal system). He also tried to reconcile the Kapila's humanism with Vedhik rites to develop a hybrid definition of Dharma where Humanism gets priority but Vedhik rites also have some importance. Eventually, Gauthama's definition of Dharma seems to have become popular. Nyaya also theorized that God/Goddess must exist because the world must have maker(s). Something cannot come out of nothing.

The more important issue which was raised in Bhaarath was: If every action was the result of some previous action and every action results in another circumstance, then how to explain that some people suffer even before birth(in mother's womb itself) while some people start enjoying from the time of birth itself.

To answer this question: the concept of re-incarnation or Punar-Janma was invented. So, the answer was: the sufferings or happiness in this life must be the result of righteous or unrighteous deeds in the past life. This is an Aranyaka concept.

This concept seems to oppose the concept of Heaven-Hell. So, reconciliation is needed. Heaven-Hell concept was re-conciled with the concept of re-birth. So far, it was assumed that once the soul(jeeva) goes to heaven or hell, the story ends. Now, this was also taken up to its logical conclusion. The question was raised: how can the soul go to heaven or hell eternal for limited actions on the earth. Because the results of limited actions have to be limited, they cannot be eternal. So, it was concluded that the stay in hell or heaven cannot be eternal. So, what happens when the soul has completed its tenure of heaven or hell? Of course, it is re-born on the earth. Very nicely done.

This seems to have answered all doubts and the concept became a hit. But, actually, a pandora's box had been opened with the concept of 'rebirth' and Karma. If the sufferings and happiness in this life are the results of actions of previous life and if the actions of this life result in sufferings and happiness in the next life and after-life, then it means there is an endless cycle of life-death-afterlife-rebirth. This cycle is endless. But, thats not the real problem. The real problem is that Its beginning-less. This cycle cannot have a beginning because each iteration is the result of previous iteration and so on. This cycle cannot end because each iteration will result in another iteration and so on. Either this was true or god/goddess acts in arbitrary manner. So, this conclusion was accepted that a cycle of life and death exists.

The intellectuals had problem with this cycle not having any clear beginning. How can something without beginning exist? There must be some start point! Common people wanted freedom from this cycle or life and death if it was seemingly endless. Aranyaka movement which started off as an ascetic way to get to heaven transformed into an ascetic way to find freedom from the cycle of birth-and-death. This came to be called 'Moksha Marga'. Moksha means 'Freedom'.

So, now, there are 2 basic divisions in Dharmas:
Pravrutthi & Nivrutthi.

Pravrutthi (social life): Dharma, Artha & Kaama.
Nivrutthi: Moksha

The chathruvidha Purushartha is a combination of the above two. The idea is that one follows the Pravrutthi Dharma till the age of retirement and Nivrutthi Dharma after retirement. But, these two are not from the same school and further they run counter to each other.

Meanwhile, intellectuals were trying to find the answers to some perplexing questions. They started off where Kapila, Mahidasa and Gauthama left off. The most perplexing questions for those times were:
a) How did the world come to be? To find the beginning of the cycle of birth and death. This became the quest for finding the Brahman(universal soul).
b) What is the root of life(Individual soul)? This became a quest for finding the self or Aathma.

a) How did the world come to be? To find the beginning of the cycle of birth and death. This became the quest for finding the Brahman(universal soul).
The Nasadhiya Suktha is a lamentation that the beginning of the world is unknown and unknowable.

b) What is the root of life(Individual soul)? This became a quest for finding the self or Aathma.
The root of life was first theorized to be food(Annam). Later, the root of life was theorized to be breath(Prana)

These two questions became highly difficult and simply unaswerable. For a long time, the intellectuals under royal patronage earned their living by simply coming up with some temporary answers.

Mahidasa had theorized that the world was interconnected. That also means that the individual soul(Aathma or Jeeva) must have some connection to the universal soul of larger world(Brahman). It also means that each individual soul is connected in some way to other individual souls.

Now, this raised two questions:
c) what is the connection between individual souls?
d) what is the connection between individual soul and the universal soul?

c) what is the connection between individual souls?
This question assumes that there many different individual souls exist. Kapila's theory divides the world into Purusha(living soul) and Prakruthi(nature or non-living inert entities). Kapila does not clarify whether there are many different Purushas(living souls) or only one Purusha.

The Jains came up with the theory that there are different Purushas(or individual souls). But, this theory was rejected by others. Other schools believed that all individual souls are same same. All individual souls must have same qualities and functions. In that case, how can they be different. What is the quality which differentiates one individual soul from the other. (This is actually the original question: root of life which they have been unable to answer). Infact, what is the quality of the individual soul? So far, they have not been able to define any quality for the soul leave alone being able to come up with a quality which differentiates one soul from another. So, they concluded that all individual souls are same same. All the individual souls were grouped under a tag: self(Aathma).

d) what is the connection between individual soul and the universal soul?
Now, the next question was taken up. This is actually the variation of the same old question:
How did the world come to be? To find the beginning of the cycle of birth and death. This became the quest for finding the Brahman.

It was concluded that the individual soul must have come from the universal soul. Either the individual soul is part of the universal soul or the individual soul is the same as the universal soul. Either way the qualities of individual soul would be largely similar to the universal soul.

This is the Vedhantha. Aham Brahmasmi and Thathvam Asi. This also was the time when outright ascetism was replaced by chintana(thinking).

If the individual soul came from the universal soul and is very similar to universal soul, how did this happen? How was universal soul born and why? There really was no answer to the question of 'why?' The only answer could be: the world was created by the universal soul because it wanted to. Why would the universal soul want to create many individual souls? Hmm...perhaps, because it wanted company. Perhaps, it wanted to enjoy the world. So, many individual souls and the entire world was created by the universal soul out of nothing but itself. Is there any such example on the earth where something can be created out of nothing but self? Actually, there is one and only one example: Dreams.

So, is the creation of world similar to dream creation? But the dreams are merely illusions. They are not real. This was the start of Maya Vada or Theory of Illusion. It was concluded that the world was merely an illusion just like a dream. How can the world illusion? This study was further taken up by the Buddhist schools like Vijnanavadha. But, their theory didn't accept the concept of soul(individual or universal). The Hindhu Adhvaitha Vedhantha made a few changes to this by reconciling it with the concept of soul(individual and universal).

If the world is an illusion, then surely we are already free. Then why don't people act freely. Two possible answers for that are:
a) People don't know that they are free.
b) People don't want to be free.

But, if the world is an illusion, then Karma-Dharma matrix would also be an illusion. Just a farce. So, either Karma-Dharma matrix is real or illusion. If Karma-Dharma matrix is illusion, then Moksha(Freedom) is possible. If Karma-Dharma matrix is real, then Moksha(Freedom) is not possible.

So, both can't be right at the same time. Either Moksha is possible or Karma-Dharma exists. Adhi Shankara tried to reconcile these two by bringing the concept of two-levels of reality: Paramartha(Ultimate) & Vyavaharika(Practical). This was actually a Buddhist Madhyamika idea borrowed by Adhi Shankara. But, its just a patch-work sort of concept and is actually does not reconcile the inherent contradiction in the two systems.

The contradiction exists because both of them come from two different schools of thought.
a) Karma-Dharma matrix is primarily from Vedhik school of thought
b) Moksha concept is primarily from Vedhantha(and its predecessors) school of thought.

So, there is a primary contradiction in these two schools. Either the Vedhik school is right or Vedhantha is right. Both can't be right simultaneously. Adhi Shankara's concept of two-levels of reality is like having your cake and eating it too. Karma(judged based on Dharma) is a Bandhanam(Bondage). If it truly exists, then the self(Aathma) or soul(Jeeva) is forever under bondage and there can be no Freedom(Moksha). If freedom(Moksha) truly exists, then Karma(& Dharma) Bandhanam doesn't truly exist.

Either the bondage exists or the freedom exists. Both can't exist simultaneously. Karma is iterative(forward and backward). So, if Karma truly exists, then there can never be and there never was any freedom(Moksha). The theory of Karma comes from Vedhik school. And theory of Moksha comes of Vedhantha school and both are contradictory to each other. Karma is iterative(forward & backward). So, if Karma exists today, then it means Karma existed yesterday and will exist tomorrow. Because, Karma is triggered by a previous action which was the result of another previous action. It is an infinite loop or recursive function(to speak in programming language). There is no way of exiting this loop. Moksha(freedom) from Adhvaitha Vedhantha perspective comes to the conclusion that the world is an illusion and one is already free. Clearly, these two theories are contradictory to each other. And there is no way of reconciling them. Adhi Shankara tried to reconcile these two, but I think He failed in doing satisfactorily.

Many people seem to think that Adhi Shankara started Adhvaitha Vedhantha. But, it seems that Adhvaitha Vedhantha existed before Him. But, He tried to reconcile it to the traditional Vedhik religion. I have heard this traditional view that Vedhantha is a continuation of Vedhas. But, that doesn't seem to be the case because Vedhantha books criticize the Vedhik rites. Who said that that Vedhas are a preparation for Vedhantha? It is only Shankaracharya(and later) schools which insist on this. Did Vedhas or Vedhantha itself say that they are linked in this manner? I think it was in Aadhi Shankaracharya's time when all these notions were sort of reconciled. But the gaps are too wide to be reconciled in this manner and therefore they are quite easy to spot. Vedha and Vedhantha are different schools(Dharshana). Insisting that they belong to the same school seems indefensible. Shankaracharya school tries to do that in a very complicated manner. But, it is not very satisfactory. Shankaracharya tried to reconcile Vedhas and Vedhantha by saying that Vedhik rites are useful for preparing a person for Vedhantha. But, if Vedhik rites are useful for preparing people for Vedhantha, then why would Vedhantha criticize those Vedhik rites? If Vedhantha is part of Vedhas or even logical progression of Vedhas, then why would Vedhantha criticize the Vedhik rites? Why is it that when the word 'Vedha' is used in Geetha, it refers only to Karma Kaanda and not to Vedhantha?

Vedhantha and Geetha seem to be clear that Vedhas are all about rites(Karma) for worldly pleasures and lust for heaven. While, Vedhantha is about philosophy for freedom(Moksha). Various Vedhik streams which have become extinct while the corresponding Vedhantha has survived. We have some Upanisads belonging to recensions of which neither the Samhitas nor the Brahmanas are studied. Even their texts are not available. The Samhita of the Sankhayana Sakha of the Rigveda is no longer chanted now; the fact is we have lost it. But the Kausitaki Upanisad which is a part of this recension is still extant. The Baskala Mantropanisad, also from the Rigveda, is still available as a palm-leaf manuscipt in the Adyar Library, Madras. But neither the Samhita nor the Brahmana of the Baskala Sakha is known to us. The Katha Upanisad belongs to the Katha Sakha of the Krsna-Yajurveda. The Kathopanisad is very famous and is one of the major Upanisads; but its Aranyaka is not available. The Atharvaveda is totally forgotten in the South and is studied but in one or two parts of the country. But still extant are Prasna, Mundaka and Mandukya which belong to this Veda and which form part of the Dasopanisad. All this points to the fact that, while parts of many Vedic recensions that pertain to karma or rituals have become extinct or have been forgotten, many of the Upanisads which are the means of jnana/philosophy have been preserved. Great care has been taken to protect that part of our heritage while Vedhas have been lost. Why? Because Vedhas became irrelevant. Vedhik Yagnyas were sidelined. It was replaced by philosophy(Dharashanas including Vedhantha) and Agamas(Tantra). Agamas(Tantra) is related to temples. Vedhas is related to Yagnyas.

Modern Hindhuism is Agama + Vedhantha(along with Yoga and Saankhya) + Puraanas.

Vedhas and Vedhik rituals are largely irrelevant to modern Hindhuism. Even the priests have moved on to Agama rituals.

RoyG
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5181
Joined: 10 Aug 2009 05:10

Re: Tradition, Culture, Religion & Law in Indian Society

Postby RoyG » 22 Apr 2016 21:25

johneeG wrote:RoyG,
I think you are confusing between Vedhik Dharma(Pravrutthi) and Vedhanthik Moksha(Nivrutthi). And self is not an illusion even in any Vedhantha versions. Self is the reality and world is an illusion in Adhvaitha Vedhantha. So, you got that in reverse.


No. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY who has seriously read advaita is going to buy this argument. The self (I) is the creator of perception. Therefore, Advaita asserts that self (I) is in itself THE impediment to moksha (experiential) because perceiver and perceived are the same.

As for the rest, not sure what you're getting at.

Freedom posits individuals are 'free to' while liberation asserts 'free from'. Semitic theology asserts the former for the following reason:

Man has a soul (self)

Soul has a will (freedom of choice)

Man armed with will can either choose or reject God's word.

Sufficient conditions must be created so he/she can properly exercise his/her will and make this choice (Rights).

So you see man is a 'free' creature (Christian liberty).

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Dharma on the other hand makes the following claim:

The self (I) IS the desire to exist.

The desire to exist creates existence.

Desire is an impermanent cloak concealing consciousness.


Return to “Strategic Issues & International Relations Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dhyana, Shwetank, vinod and 50 guests