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A progam of ‘eternal values’ in India

 

On basis of experiences and deep thinking of many learned sages and intellectuals, belonging to different communities, Indian philosophy has formulated a program of eternal values – a compact life package known as ‘Sanatan Dharma’. The scheme is in conformity with time and forces of nature. It has been developed after centuries of a deep study of natural instincts, behavioral pattern, inherent attributes and felt needs (physical, mental and spiritual) of people at different stages of life.

Messages of Sanatan Dharma are general norms of conduct, universal, eternal, applicable to all human beings and much above race, caste or creed. Even today these are as relevant as it was earlier. It nurtures over natural basic instincts of human beings. It defines clearly rights and duties of human beings at different stages of life and achieve Sachchidanand (Bliss, consciousness and knowledge) by doing one’s duties and jobs properly on right time and at right age in life. According to it, there is one pre-stage followed by four stages in human life. These stages are:-

Pre-Ashram/stage of infancy stage/Childhood – In Childhood, a person is supposed to develop one’s personality and capacity for entering into life. Society through family contributes and infant/child remains neutral. A child learns his/her first lessons in human values and relationships within a family. This is the time, when toddlers need full-time attention, love and care of parents. Constant interaction of parents during their growing years is the key to make them learn. Good values are built at home in the family. They are learned by living. Parents are supposed to create a suitable atmosphere for it and to motivate child to develop his/her faculties in full.

In modern families, there is a lack of stimulation at home. In a world of nuclear families, with both the parents working 24×7 workdays, parents hardly find time when their children need them the most. They are compelled to leave their growing child under the supervision/care of either old grandparents with their failing energies or nanny/cretch/day-care/child minder /hobby class teacher. Giving prime time to children is not enough. Usually, while meeting their child’s physical needs, parents tend to gloss over their psychological ones. Parents get disconnected with children’s world, habits and mannerism.

Stage I/Stage of learning – At this stage society is the giver and individual recipient. It is a neutral phase for an individual having no obligation towards anybody. Individual’s task is learning and acquisition of knowledge. It is a period of strict discipline. Teachers are responsible for imparting knowledge, shaping attitudes, cultivating skills and building work habits of learners, so that they are better adjusted to their life’s environment. Teachers are supposed to develop mental and moral faculties of learners and guide them to get control over their senses, mind and intellect. Society rears, protects and gives its best as heritage to individual.i Individual is supposed to lead a simple life, not bothering much for worldly pleasures/comforts. Obedience is expected from learners.

Stage II, Family-life/Grihasthashram – Of all the stages, family-life is given a high place of honour. Giving maximum importance to it shows that Indian philosophers and Epic writers attached great importance to social values. This stage of life offers a person opportunities for practice and cultivation of social values. A householder is in direct contact with the whole society. It is the most energetic period of ones life. It is the time in an individual’s life to enjoy it in full. An individual is supposed to lead an active married life. This stage is a real ground to utilize one’s intellectual and physical capabilities. An individual is advised to work for financial and material success, get involved in economic activities in order to fulfill one’s dreams and ambitions.

But at the same time, this is the stage, when an individual is supposed to fulfil certain duties as well. A householder is a contributor, a trustee and a manager of social estate and society is the recipient. Proper management of other three stages depends on Grihasthashram as their needs (like provision of food and financial help) are directly or indirectly supported by householders. A householder is expected to give protection to dependents with love and care. Dependents include elders, children, members of extended family and strangers in need of help. An individual is supposed to make direct contribution to the society consistent with the dictates of his own knowledge and conscience.

Stage III/Vanaprastha Ashram/Adulthood withdrawal – A person is supposed to prepare oneself for loosening earthly bonds and to achieve salvation through good deeds. One is supposed to detatch oneself from familial bonds by getting involved in social service and spritual discourses. Material success is not the aim. Elders task is to provide extended care, to help in taking decisions, maintaining discipline within their respective groups and taking care of and helping weak and helpless members like poor, widows or destitutes.

Stage IV/Sanyas/old age – It is a time to prepare oneself to leave this world and go to an unknown world. It is time of complete detatchment, resignation and renunciation in ones life. Realization of sprituality and wisdom is the aim. A person is completely free from any obligation.

Earlier, when human life was not so complicated and men were closer to nature, people could follow the principles of Sanatan Dharma without much difficulty. With the erosion of moral values and life becoming more and more complex, it became difficult for people to practice it. At present, when old people are supposed to quit worldly pleasures and make space for younger generations, they click to seats of power till end by hook or crook in their greed for power, position or wealth.

i Manusmriti VI 4,5,6,14,16,26 and Yajur III 45,46,51,54. 

 

 

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September 26, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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