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Development Administration

DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATION:

In the post war period in general, development consciousness and development efforts, emerged in the new nations of Asia, Africa, Latin America and parts of Europe, required a civil service of integrity, equipped with administrative ability and practical sagacity for development. Ferrel Heady1 says, “The importance of administration is almost universally recognised among commentators on development. Usually an effective bureaucracy is coupled with a rigorous modernizing elite as a pre-requisite for progress”. 

Development and Development Administration

The term `Development’ is explained in dictionaries as `end oriented’.   It is defined as a growth into a better, fuller, higher and mature condition. In the context of post war efforts at development, the term development also means a state directed and planned effort at change. Mr. Bata K. Dey1 says, “Development is a total plan of action, to bring about a directed or guided change in all aspects of social activity geared to national progress, with a heavy import of achievement of pragmatic goals”. If such is the meaning of development, naturally, the government and administration are jointly and deeply involved.

The administration concerned with developmental activities is called “development administration”. Development Administration is actually an action and goal-oriented administrative system geared to realize definite pragmatic values. These values are usually referred to as `nation-building’ and socio-economic progress’. Weldner2 defines Development Administration as “the process of guiding an organization towards the achievement of progressive political, economic and social objectives that are authoritatively determined in one manner or another”.

Fainsod3 , considers development administration as “a carrier of innovating values”, which also “ordinarily involves the establishment of machinery for planning economic growth and mobilization and allocating resources to expand national income”. Panandikar4 defined it as an “administration of planned change”. William J. Siffin5 says, “the essence of development administration is holistic change undertaken through integrated, organized and properly directed governmental action”.

Institution-building 

J.N. Khosla4 points out “Development Administration not only envisages achievements of goals in a particular area of development by making a system more efficient, it must also reinforce the system imparting an element of stability as well as resilience to meet the requirements of future developmental challenges. Apart from putting emphasis on `pragmatic goals’, `innovating values’ or `holistic change’, also required is the `development design strategy’.

William Siffin and Milton Esman says there should be a focus on ‘Institution Building’. Siffin emphasizes that the essence of development is not to maintain, but to create effective institutions as and when required. For it, Development Administration needs efficient institutions having “ability to design, problem solving and making arrangements (involving technology)”.

Maximum utilization of all the resources

In the words of Donald Stone3 Development Administration is the blending of all the elements and resources (men, money and material) into a concerted effort to achieve agreed upon goals. It is the continuous cycle of formulating, evaluating and implementing inter-related plans, policies, programs, projects, activities and other measures to reach established development objectives in a scheduled time sequence. 

Role of Bureaucracy in development Administration 

According to Charles T.Goodsell2, Bureaucracy/civil services are essentially a mechanism for processor to provide planning and an institutional infrastructure to convert inputs of objectives, capital and know-how into developmental outputs. Valson1 says that owing to the other pre-occupation of political leadership and its lack of technical know-how, the role of civil service in policy making, which in theory is advisory, has become actually a determining one.

Main responsibilities of Bureaucracy for making Development successful

Converting policies into directive plans, programs and projects is an inevitable function of action oriented development bureaucracy. At higher levels, the development administration has to see policy formulation, goals and strategy; appropriations and allocations of funds; fixing priorities; execution of policy; direction and training. The middle level is usually responsible for learning and interpreting; energizing and supervising; coordination and collection of information. The lower level undertakes the role of mass contacts, demonstration of innovations, introduction of new institutions and collection of taxes.

Requirements of Development Bureaucracy

The following are the requirements needed for the personnel/civil servants engaged in development administration should have –

  • Mental framework – A scientific outlook. They should be progressive, innovative, reformist and even revolutionary in mental attitudes and approaches. They should never be rigid.
  • Knowledge – They should have enough knowledge in their respective areas of the work – be it in the field science, technology or general administration.
  • Skills – They require conceptual skills – ability for innovative thinking, problem – analysis, planning skills, technical skills, managerial skills and human skills.
  • Vision – A bureaucrat working for development administration requires the vision of a statesman and not that of either narrow-minded politicians or a rule-minded bureaucrat. Along with vision is required dynamism, integrity, drive and passion to convert dreams into reality.
  • Structures – Development Administration requires less hierarchical and more team-like structures such as Commissions, Boards, Corporations etc.

Behavior – The behavioral pattern should consist of (a) action and achievement orientation (b) responsiveness (c) responsibility (d) all round smooth relations inside with juniors and seniors and outside with clientele and the public (e) commitment to development ideologies and goals.

Besides, there should be –

  • A working partnership between the civil servants and the people.
  • Transparency in their working
  • A sense of service, a spirit of dedication, a feeling of involvement and a will to sacrifice for the public welfare.
  • A pragmatic application of the basic democratic principles. Higher civil servants should provide the required leadership to the lower levels of administration.
  • Constant field inspection by senior officials.
  • to provide the government with the ability to be in constant contact with the people; and
  • to make the people conscious that the government is alive to their problem;
  • Smooth relation between generalist administrators and experts specialists.
  • Training from time to time to understand the success already achieved in the field of development administration and the efforts to be initiated in future.

Weaknesses of Development Administration

According to Valson1, the higher-level development bureaucracy suffers from four constraints:

  • disagreements with political bosses;
  • the relatively better economic and social status of civil servants;
  • Supremacy of seniority and patronage than qualifications in promotions; and
  • Unwillingness of bureaucrats to accept new ideas and technology for fear of loss of power and positions.

Middle level is constrained by: –

  • conflict between young and old minds in civil service;
  • a high level of corruption;
  • low commitment to development; and conflict with higher level development bureaucracy and local politicians.

The lower level is facing:

  • insufficient qualifications;
  • poor salary;
  • loss of morale and loss of faith in development ideology due to frustrating field experience; and
  • loss of initiative, crippling subservience to seniors and sacrifice to developmental objectives.   

According to Ferrel Heady1, the main hindrances on the way of effective development are:

  • The growing gap between the rich and the poor nations or between different social strata within a nation. By seventies, the decaying trends had become noticeable in all the nations of developing world.   Events like fast developments in the developed countries and a crisis with liberal democracy in the developing or under-developed nations in seventies and the early eighties have dampened most traces of early optimism.
  • By the late sixties, a spirit of frustration and despair with `development administration’ and with `development’ in general had set in. For one thing, it became evident that externally induced modernization had failed to eradicate the basic problems of under-developed sections of society, it purported to solve. Whilst some significant increase in GNP had indeed taken place, poverty, disease and hunger had either worsened or remained unaltered.

Decaying trends

All developing nations have inherited many things from their past. Their colonial heritage has meant

  • a carry-over of the colonial bureaucratic traditions like elitism, authoritarianism, aloofness, red-tapism and paternalistic tendencies;
  • There is a lack of incentive for talented and skilled for manpower necessary for development program. It is caused by inadequacies and deficiencies in the educational system, recruitments, training schemes and brain drain.
  • There is lack of achievement orientation. The emphasis of civil servants is usually not on program goals, but on personal expediency, status-consciousness, and pleasing the political bosses. Reason for this is the persistence of traditional value system. Results of this tendency are `institutionalized’ and `socially sanctioned’ large-scale corruption and `over-staffing’ in lower bureaucracy.
  • Discrepancy between form and reality. There is wide gulf between the administrative form and reality due to a superficial change to modernizing values and substantial continuation of the traditional ideas. As a result, we find superfluous and excessive legislation or rules (which are normally violated), false delegations and decentralizations, eye-washing/superficial reports and continuing backwardness.

Due to all these factors like colonial tradition; monopoly of some elite civil services over technical and professional services; excessive control of general administrators services involved in the sustainable development of infra-structure sector of the nation; coercive power gained by some self-serving politicians; the tiredness, near absence of strong political leadership; committed bureaucracy etc. have all made it more self-serving rather than working for development oriented administration.

Remedy   

 

An appropriate designing and sincere shaping of the civil service for making the administrative system an effective instrument for achieving developmental goals can be done –

  • Development Administration mainly requires increasing the effectiveness of the human resource of administration termed as personnel or civil service.
  • For increasing effectiveness in administration, the entire personnel system should be efficient.
  • The role of the higher civil servants or the managerial cadre of service is always more important. As in development administration, they have to gear up their capacity to deal with continuous changes with vision, values, ideas, and monitor effective implementation of plans and programs of the government and its evaluation.

Conclusion

Making bureaucracy/civil service capable for development administration and achieve its goals within expected time is not an impossible thing. It requires a development of administration itself. Development of Administration means “a pattern of increasing effectiveness in the utilization of available means to achieve prescribed goals”. It can be done –

  • through patterning the Administrative structure; and
  • through patterning the behavior of civil servants.

Behavioural changes in bureaucratic patterns are obviously more important. These dimensions can be achieved either through reforms (structural) or through proper education and training of higher civil servants.

March 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Happiness in life

“Life is there to live and live happily”

“It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you have not lost the things that money can’t   buy”                                  George Lorimer                                                

Introduction – Life is there to live and live happily Almost everyday people, people wish to their near and dear one, ‘be happy’, ‘enjoy the day’, ‘enjoy life’, ‘enjoy the trip’ ‘enjoy your holidays’ etc. etc. But the irony is that hardly most of them know or understand what is true happiness, how can they be happy. Most of  the unhappiness of people are self-created.

Issue – The problem is how can people realize what real happiness is, how can they be happy and what they should do or what are the ways and means to achieve it.

What is happiness? – Many people desire to have ‘name’, ‘fame’ or ‘wealth’. They feel happy and empowered when they get control over muscle, money or occupy an influential place in the corridors of power/authority – be it social, political or economic. For them, controlling the destiny of others  is enjoyment and desire to have a say in all important matters of society/nation.

Youth of the day find happiness in visiting and holidaying in world’s most exotic locales, purchasing expensive goods and clothes, providing best education to their children, buying expensive cars and  residences in exclusive areas and ultimately retire rich. For fulfilling all these desires, they would require a handsome amount of money. Without enough money at hand and good bank-balance, they feel insecure and restless.

Does material success give happiness – Material success does matter in life and is necessary to be comfortable and to enjoy in life. There is nothing wrong to pursue ambitions and self-interests and make efforts to be successful in life. All are supposed to lead an active and happy life especially when they are young, because youth is the most energetic and most enjoyable period in anybody’s life. As far as possible, it should be free from  worries and tensions. Nature offers maximum opportunities to young people to utilize their intellectual and physical capabilities and enjoy the life the most.

In Hinduism, ‘Grihasthashram’, (young couples leading a family life) are advised to work for financial and material gains, get involved in economic activities of the nation and fulfill their dreams and ambitions. But at the same time, they have certain duties/obligations towards society. They are the trustees and managers of social estate. They are supposed to fulfil their duties towards family members – parents, wife/husband, children  and elders; towards the rest of the society, helping other people in need of protection/help; and towards nation by observing the law of the nation and pay taxes honestly on their income.

Young couples are the main contributors and ‘Society’ is the recipient. They are supposed to make direct/indirect contribution to the society consistent to their capacity, knowledge and conscience. Taking proper care of toddlers and elderly/old people, proper maintenance of institutions of learning,  NGOs involved in social service and support the poor etc. are included in their duty. They are also supposed to be sensitive and compassionate to the problems of weaker sections of society.

Can only money make one happy? –   George Lorimer suggests “It is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you have not lost the things that money can’t   buy”   (George Lorimer, TOI, Sacredspace, P.16)  

A million dollars question arises – Can  only money or material success buy happiness? Such questions are being asked from time to time. People thought over it, tried to get an answer but have never been satisfied with the answer. The answer depends on just what one means by ‘happy’. Present generation born and brought up during the era of materialism and consumerism regards money the most important thing in life. Many people are running after money blindly. It needs to be understood that money is  the means, not an end in itself. Money is not the master or sole aim in life. It is supposed to be the servant. Money is important and useful for meeting day to day requirements and basic needs of the life, but ‘greed’ or aspiring for more and more money does not make a person happy. More one has, for much more he desires. Once craving for money starts, there is no end to it.  ‘Satisfaction’ with what one achieves in life or possesses and living within its limits gives more happiness than always craving for ‘more’.

What money can’t give – Some successful persons feel that happy and satisfied with what they have earned or achieved in their lives. But most of the times, such happiness is superficial and short-lived. Money and material successes can make one happy for a short period, or provide comforts in life or satisfy their ego up-to certain point, but can not buy sustainable happiness in life. People keeping themselves busy in earning money, hardly get time to enjoy life’s little pleasures.

There is a large number of persons, who are poor, unemployed or underemployed. It is difficult for them even to fulfill their basic requirements. Unemployment is continuously increasing and prices of commodities are soaring after the great economic depression of 2008. Because of the lack of opportunities, money and numerous temptations,  many of them are tempted to adopt wrong means including extortion, violence etc. to become rich overnight. These are one of the main reasons why corruption, crimes, violence or thefts are increasing amongst all the sections of society every day. It is becoming very difficult for the government to maintain law and order situation properly. There seems not much hope for the improvement of the law and order situation in near future.

What is happiness according to Hindu Philosophy

According to Hindu philosophy, real enjoyment/happiness (आनन्द) means ‘Satchitanand’ which includes in itself three things –

  • Sat (सत्)

  • Cit (चित्), and

  • Ānanda (आनन्द).

Sat (सत्) or path of righteousness – Sat refers to what is true and real. It inspires one to be true/honest to oneself and to others. It enables a person not to live in an illusionary world, but to accept the facts or realities of life and then decide his/her course of action.

Tremendous will power and a strong character is required to follow the path of ‘Sat’. It is difficult to follow the path of ‘sat’ for persons with weak faculties of mind. One needs to control or abandon passions like lust, anger, greed, vanity, conceit or over-joy, as it leads only to sorrow and distress.

Cit (चित्) or mindset/consciousness, knowledge, awareness or wisdom, Wisdom controls passions. It leads to balanced mind-set and controls irrational desires or passions. A balanced mind directs a person towards path of righteousness and achieve in proper manner desirable objectives.i

Ānanda (आनन्द) or happiness – Usually a common man devotes his/her time, effort and energy in satisfying the physical basic human needs. Real happiness lies in the development of ones inner self. One needs to have a balanced mind for being happy. Whatever comes on the way in life, one must accept that. Indian value system teaches an individual to accepts his surrounding, as it is and try to extract from it, whatever happiness he can. An Indian does not find life a vale of tears, from which to escape at all costs. It is said that Indians do “not count wealth in money alone, there is richness in their poverty.”

A person, whether rich or poor can be happy if he is able to keep a balance between his material (physical body) needs (be it money, attachment, material pursuits or ego) and spiritual needs (of soul).

How to achieve ‘Satchitanand’?

For reaching to the stage of ‘Satchitanand’, it is necessary –

  • Knowledge, and

  • Contentment

  • Positive attitude                                                                                                                        

Role of knowledge – It is not the money but acquisition of Knowledge, which is necessary to become happy. For real happiness people focus on pursuit of right kind of knowledge, maintenance of harmonious relationships with fellow-beings and health are more required rather than anything else.

Knowledge is essential the purpose of giving activities, their due meaning and value and make a person happy. Even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge, as to what he should do or should not do. Therefore acquisition of knowledge is the most important thing in life. It is only after gaining knowledge, a person could understand well the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action, and in-action.

Positive attitude – A person is, what he thinks. Negative thought generates negative energy that is transformed into illness/bad feelings.  Negative thinking pushes a person backwards. It pushes away the solutions and enlarge problems. It leads to pessimism. It is better to light a match that to regret the darkness. A bee is small, but produces one of the sweetest things -honey – that exist.

Positive thinking brings happiness, serenity, blissfulness and sensitivity. It helps one to achieve success and to reach up-to great heights. Positive attitude towards life inspires in human beings qualities like sincerity hard-work, honesty and uprightness. For leading life in a positive way, one’s actions(Karmas) need to be performed with balanced mind. A person should adopt the path of righteousness without any bias.

True education is self-acquired and leads to self-awakening and to live with wisdom. Self awareness brings in love, peace harmony, joys and ‘Bliss’ Formal education in schools usually teaches to maintain external things or what exists – to preserve the systems, culture, religion and philosophies and prepares people for employments. All the time people worry about losing in the maintenance process. Human life is to live, not just to maintain.

Contentment – Contentment has an important role in life to make one happy. There is enough for everybody’s need in this world, but not enough even for a person’s greed. Contentment can generate happiness or feeling of real enjoyment in life amongst those who have enough money for fulfilling their basic needs. Hindi poet Kabir has said –

Godhan gaj dhan baji dhan aor ratan dhan khan,

Jo ave santosh dhan sab dhan dhhuri saman.”

(meaning all kind of wealth in this world can not bring that kind of satisfaction to human beings as contentment brings)

In India, it is a proverb that Lakshmi, ‘the goddess of wealth’ is quite unpredictable. With great effort a person learns to earn the wealth righteously, spend it properly and keep it safely. (Lakshmi bahut chanchala hai, isko sambhal kar paana, rakhana aur kharchana, teeno bahut tapasya ke baad aata hai. Quoted from the booklet Anmol Moti, written in !940’s by Shri Bhagwati Dayal Khare , an Advocate, Barabanki, U.P.)

Indians believe that achievements only at physical plane do not always make a person happy, successful and strong. Such a mindset gives rise to greed, anger and passion and most of the times (s)he is not able to maintain good relations with others. Materialism, consumerism, ruthless competition for positions of power, money and VVIP status in society or desire to have all the pleasures of life at others cost have brought some unpleasant changes in the mind-set of people in recent past and is increasing every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of the following main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, businessmen,  media, organized workers, surplus farmers and bureaucrats etc.

Winding up – With positive thinking and contented mindset, child-like innocence is also required for happiness, which guides one to forgive and forget easily, carry no grudges against anyone, focus attention on the present, and keep always alive curiosity to understand new things and spirit of adventure.

True education and learning removes ignorance and trains the faculties of a person towards positive thinking and channelize his/her energies towards right direction. Positive thinking inculcates in human mind discipline and productivity. A knowledgeable person does not believe in discrimination. All persons rich or poor, high or low, forward or backward appear equal. Detached mindset helps them to live together peacefully in this world.

Positive-thinking leads towards clear objectives. Clear objective decide the right course of action. Choosing right path or course of action makes a person happy and contented. For happiness  knowledge, wisdom and intellectual intelligence is necessary. Intelligence itself  brings in financial independence. Limit one’s desires/over-ambitions. Even best ones are short-lived. Whatever comes in the way, one must accept it gracefully with positive mind-set and try to make efforts to extract the best out of the worst circumstances.

i Manusmriti, II, 94.

ii Bhagwat Gita, IV 14,15,16,and 17

iii Manusmriti, II, 3 and 5.

November 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senior Citizens and their Problems

  “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘universe; a part of limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.) Albert Einstein

“The death of an elderly man is like burning a library.”   A proverb

Introduction – “Age is nothing but a number.” Not very long ago, retirement meant end of active life and wait for death, whenever it comes. So during the interim period, one should lead a sedentary life, most of the time be spent on reflection and meditation.

Not anymore – The mindset of old people is tuned to what Abraham Lincoln had said, … In the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.” Or what Mark twain commented, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you do not mind, it does not matter.” Now there are no restrictions how a senior citizen should behave, act or think. The gap between generations has almost disappeared. Internet and social media have played a big role in making the free flow of ideas between people of all ages.

At present, as far as possible, Many old people refuse to retire in earlier traditional way, as it led to boredom, total dependence on sons, depleting funds, loneliness. Today with increased awareness, longevity and better health-care, most of the senior citizens after spending their prime time in job requirements and familial responsibilities, now look forward to pursue their hobbies holidaying, travelling or work which really interests them. They are careful to keep themselves emotionally, financially and health-wise fit enough to enjoy their retired life. There are so many opportunities for them to keep themselves occupied meaningfully, only they have to keep pace with the changing times.

Psychologist Gitanjali Sharma says very correctly, “The mind does not age like the body. In mind everybody is as old as one feels.” Failing energies with aging compels one to dependence – whether one likes it or not. That day comes in every body’s life, when he/she is compelled to depend on younger ones, even for fulfilling their daily needs. There is a saying – Old age is very bitter -“Tulsi wa fal kaun hai, pakat hi karuwaen”. Living with no hope of better health or better future itself, is very sad and painful. Indian scriptures have permitted voluntary death in old age, especially when one’s body is incapable of carrying out basic human activities for survival.

Issue – In modern societies such elderly people are usually neglected or treated well because of lack of time, patience and resources. Instances of parental abuse are increasing. Together with child abuse and spousal violence, neglect of elderly has been a hidden social problem an unholy trinity of domestic violence since long. The issue of neglecting elders encompasses physical as well as financial exploitation of the 60+ people. Dr. Buston wrote an article, “Granny-battering in the August Medical Journal 1975, “It is about time that all of us realized that elderly people too are at times deliberately battered”.

Gaps in present understanding of elder issues – There are many gaps in the present understanding of elder issues all-over the world. It is a complex problem. Youth are also too busy in their present world and have little apprehension of old people’s problems. Lack of sensitivity aggravates the problems more.

Old age becomes a source of many physical and mental worries for themselves as well as their near and dear ones. People do not know how extensive it is, what are the endangering factors, or what are the policies and interventions that would be effective to prevent or reduce these problems. Until and unless we understand the issue of elders abuse better. Any one of us could end up being a victim or a perpetrator.

Proper elderly care requires various measures ranging from better support of caregivers; more training and incentives to for those paid or unpaid – who take up the responsibility of helping elderly people; to legislation and provide the legal instruments for better protection to them. There should be better public awareness and education about Geriatric Psychiatry to know the common causes and signs of elder abuse or to be aware of the existence of Elder Protection Team and how to make a report.

Difficulties in old age – The reasons behind the difficulties old persons have to face are indifferent family response, slow interventions and intra-familial pressures. Even in many well-off families, youth misbehave with elderly. There are many cases reported in newspapers when the old parents are often considered a burden by married children. They are abandoned, compelled into destitution and isolation or even eliminated. In order to preserve or save family honour and reputation, many senior citizens bear it silently, deny or cover-up the ill-treatment they get from their own children. There is a large number of elderly persons, whose sons/daughters are settled abroad. It is not always possible for young sons/daughters to reach to their parents immediately. So much and so disgusted are some senior citizens, that they pre-book for their funeral services.

Usually, the main trouble of elderly arises because of dementia which means a loss of memory. With them it is “a progressive loss of comprehension, judgment, insight, speech and physical function. Psychological and behavioural changes in elders make them dependent and vulnerable. Increasing burden and stress of modern life makes the service giver (family members, paid caregivers, friends and professional health-care workers) agitated and aggressive, which starts from verbal abuse and neglect. The vulnerability and weakness with growing age tends to shake old persons’ self-confidence forever.

Euthanasia, both active and passive (Ichcha mrityu or freedom to die) – Many older people think that it seems to be cruel to keep a person alive even in vegetative stage, when medical opinion is as certain as can be, that there is no chance of recovery, for both – the patient and his family. Such people, who choose to die peacefully should be allowed to do so. In the past Supreme Court has acknowledged that the right to dignity in life extends to the right to a dignified death. Active euthanasia means assist in patients immediate death through painless injection. Passive means withdrawing life-support. There must be strict safeguards to ensure that the provision is not misused by people who may benefit from the death of the patient.

Senior citizens in India – Elderly population is in increase in India. India will soon become one of the countries in the world having largest number of older people. Medical science has improved public health and quality of life, reduced old-age suffering and improved average life span. Still there are many physical and mental problems. A Sample Registration System Report says (TOI, p.13, 2.4.2012). Nearly 7.5% of India’s population is currently above 60 years. A majority of them are in rural areas. In urban areas too, better education, health facilities and awareness has increased the life expectancy. (A Sample Registration System Report quoted from TOI, p.13, 2.4.2012).

Importance of Family for well-being of elders – One of the salient feature of Indian culture is to revere and take care of the elders in their old age. Family has been the mainstay of social support. Traditional and conservative society view is that it is the duty of parents to take care of their children till they mature enough to meet the challenges and get settled in life. Similarly sons/daughters are obliged to take care of their old parents when their energies fail. Offering Prayers or performing rituals for dead have no meaning, if one does not look after well one’s own parents/grand-parents while they are alive. The National Policy on Older Persons also recognizes the importance of family for the well-being of older persons.

Elder’s Abuse – Elder abuse is a complex, poorly understood problem. It, along with child abuse, sexual abuse forms a trinity of domestic violence. The issue of elder abuse encompasses physical, psychological, sexual abuse, neglect as well as financial exploitation of senior citizens. They are discriminated and marginalized by the mainstream of society. In 1975, G.R. Busrston attracted the attention of people towards the problems of elders in his article ‘Granny battering, published in the British Medical Journal (August issue) –“It is about time that all of us realized that elderly people too are, at times, deliberately battered.”

 A study on abuse of India’s elderly, conducted across 20 cities and over 5,500 people has found that ill-treatment of elders is on rise.

  1. “Even in this age and time, 58% of older persons in India are living with the family. The findings of this report also confirm confidence in the ability of the family to care for its elder members.” (Quoted from TOI, p11, 29 Sept, 2012)
  2. Almost 1 in 3 (32%) have faced abuse. (TOI, 29 Sept. 2012, p.1) The study revealed that Indian sons (56%) and their wives (23%) were found to be the primary abuser. They are not treating their aged parents well. Then comes the neighbors, living in nearby places, especially in multi-storied flats, shrewd friends and members of extended families. There are more than 50% cases which remain unreported in order to uphold family honor.
  3. Out of total older men who faced difficulty 47% cases were reported and 53% did not report.

States with high abuse rates are Madhya Pradesh (77.12%), Assam 60%, UP 52%, Gujrat 43% and AP 42.86%., West Bengal 40.93%. People in Rajasthan are most well-behaved with the elderly in their family. States with low abuse rates are Rajasthan 2%, HP 3%, Kerala 11%, Maharashtra 39%, and Delhi 30% and TN 27.56%. In Delhi, out of 84% cases of those who felt abused by their sons or their wives, 69% felt disrespected. 76%of those abused did not report it.

What can be done to give relief to elderly people – Measures needed to be taken to control elder abuse –

  • To promote family values,
  • Sensitize the young on the necessities of older people and promote in them desirability of meeting familial obligations.
  • The most effective measure is through sensitizing children and strengthening inter-generation bonding.
  • Increased economic independence.
  • Initiate state policies to encourage young generation to co-reside with their parents by providing tax relief, allowing rebates for medical expenditures and giving preference in allotment of houses.
  • Short term staying facilities for older persons, so that family can get some relief when oldies go out.
  • There should be nation-wide programs in schools and colleges for sensitizing children and young adults towards the aging and the aged,
  • Sensitization of healthcare workers to recognize and develop a protocol for treating,
  • Develop a robust social security system that not only ensures income security to the older persons, but also gives them opportunities for income generation.
  • It is one of the primary ethical duty of any welfare government and its institutions to provide comfortable environment for elderly and terminally ill persons or to ease their anxiety, stress, or pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual by opening healthcare centers in each and every local area, to take care, genuinely and compassionately, of their day today physical, medical and mental necessities.
  • Government should build flats for senior citizens specially designed keeping in view the special needs of old-age – from grab rails in bathrooms and corridors to anti-skid flooring, arthritis friendly taps, wheelchair friendly lifts and flooring etc. It will give them secure atmosphere and live independently with dignity.

As a welfare state, UK is one of the foremost nation in the world for providing best possible care to its elderly people as well. It has developed many effective and efficient support systems for elderly and terminally ill patients – thanks to Mac Millon’s institution, being the major force behind it. palliative care is not an essential part of the treatment regimen. In India, most patients cannot afford institutionalized care (such as in hospice).

Geriatric and palliative care in India – At least 1.2 million disabled people in India are living in households consisting only of persons with disability. Life is a challenge for them. There are 24.9 cr total households in 2011 out of which households with one or more disabled person is 2.1 crore and disabled persons living on their own are 11.8 lakh. (TOI Report, Aug 29, 2014, P. 9)

Cases of old parents being abandoned or abused is on increase across the country, a survey (across 12 cities, 1200 senior citizens surveyed across 12 cities) was conducted. It pointed out that 60% of senior citizen’s experienced (mostly verbal, rather than physical) abuse. Generally women are more vulnerable than men, report suggests. Most of them do not know how to deal with the abuse.

Common forms of abuse, which are on rise, are verbal abuse, disrespect, and neglect. Common reasons are emotional dependence on children, economic dependence of elders and changing ethos. Now elders lack confidence in any person be it their own off-springs, close relatives, friends/neighbors or any governmental (be it police, helpline etc.) or non-governmental organizations. Fear of retaliation and their vulnerability are the reasons behind this kind of distrust. Also elderly persons believe in maintaining family honour and confidentiality of a family matter and become silent sufferers as many of them live with their abusers i.e. their own children.

Unfortunately palliative care is not in the priority list of health schemes of the government. Doctors are too busy battling disease rather than caring about offering pain relief or emotional balm. Of the 9 million estimated deaths every year, almost 6 million are said to need palliative care. This includes almost all cases of cancer (80% of the 1 million new cases in India come for treatment at advanced stage.) Then there are conditions – AIDS, muscular dystrophy, dementia, multi-organ failure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases, end-stage renal disease, heart diseases, those who are permanently bedridden and people with neurological problems.

The demand for palliative care is expected to explode with increasing life span and shift from acute to chronic illness. With it increases the need to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening-illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychological and spiritual.

How to deal – There is a strong need to give elderly persons proper protection It requires –

  • Economic independence for elderly people,
  • Sensitizing youth,
  • Strengthening intergenerational bonding
  • Developing groups of elderly for assistance, intervention

Sensitize the Youth of the day – Instead of running after blindly for name, fame or money, they should feel that it is the time for them to pay-back for whatever they love and care they got from their parents till now. Youth of the day have more education facility, more exposure and more talented and capable to do wonderful work in technological field than previous generations. But most of them neither have time nor tolerance for older people. There is a need to sensitize people about elders.

The focus should be on propagating and inculcating family values so that the needs of the elderly are met by family members to the maximum extent possible. Future of humanity lies in resurrection of family values like sharing vision, caring, loyalty and discipline.

Developing an effective legal reporting and redressal-system – Realizing the need Government of India has enacted Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior citizens Act 2007 has been. It aims “to provide for more effective provisions for maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens guaranteed and recognized under the Constitution and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.”

The Act outlines the legal options available to elders.

  • Parents and grandparents who cannot maintain themselves can demand maintenance under the Act.
  • Maintenance include food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment.
  • Maximum maintenance cannot exceed Rs. 10,000/- per month.
  • The state government can designate a social welfare officer to ensure the senior citizen gets maintenance.
  • If children/relatives fail to pay maintenance within three months, the tribunal can impose a fine and even imprison them, the tribunal can impose a fine and even imprison them till the fine and even imprison them till the fine is paid.
  • If senior citizen is abandoned, children/relatives can be imprisoned for up-to three months or fined up-to Rs.5,000, or both.

Proper training to care-takers – The vice chairman, medical board, research, at the institute of Mental Health has advised that there should be better support of care-givers, more training and incentives for those who take care of their elderly, legislate to provide legal instruments to better protect the elderly. There should be better public awareness and education. (stopnion@sph.com.sg,)

  • Need of trained care-taker/institutional help – It has been observed that within a family presence of domestic help lessens the burden of family members and reduces the burden and stress of care-giver and minimizes the chances of elder abuse as the presence of “non-family member” within household places a restraining hand.

 Winding up – As is evident, in India elderly population is in increase. It will soon become one of the countries in the world having largest number of older people. Medical science has improved public health and quality of life, reduced old-age suffering and improved average life span. Age longevity Old age still becomes a source of many physical and mental worries.

Growing awareness about the agonies of old people – Recently, welfare of senior citizens has assumed significance. Age longevity has given rise to new set of problems. Failing energies as one gets older every year, needs support of youth at every step, no matter what is ones bank-balance. The responsibility of looking after old parents falls on already aged and weakened shoulders. As age of the sons and daughters advances, even their own shoulders are not strong enough to bear the burden and solve all the problems of elders.

Collapse of family as a social institution, while aping the west is causing severe problems. Innovations in medical science have solved many problems, but simultaneously it has forced a person to live unnaturally, just for the fact that they are still alive. It is very difficult for them to lead a quality of life. Sometimes family has to sell homes, beg and borrow to look-after terminally ill patient.

New support systems – Many new kind of support systems have come up like – Night shelters, old-age homes or other senior living projects etc. but they are only transitory measures. Living away from a loving family is really harsh. However while coping demands of a fast-paced life, when it becomes difficult the youth to shoulder the burden of oldies, old age homes are an alternative for elderly people. The continuously growing number of old persons has given rise to the number of old age homes as well. Some offers short stay facilities where the elderly can be kept while family members are out of town. Some provide pay and stay facilities to live securely. The concept of retirement homes in particular areas have been gaining ground. There are some specialized apartments which give elders a sense of community as they live away from their families in a multistoried flats.

Senior citizens not only require protection from the younger generation, but also love and care. They hardly have anybody to talk freely or share their emotions with. The younger generation does not have time or patience to listen the same story again and again.

Distances, a problem for younger generation – Some educated and aware old people realize the difficulties their children face in coming immediately every time, they face  an emergency. There young sons/daughters also have their own liabilities – familial as well at their workplace.  But many old ones take it to their heart. They keep on brooding and many of them become the victim of depression. It is more practical for senior citizens to be in close touch with the relatives, friends and colleagues of their own age living in their local area, so that they get required assistance immediately when-ever needed.

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October 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Modernity of 21st century

 

Lata Sinha

“Life is to be lived, not controlled” (Barrack Obama)

“Every art and every inquiry and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.’  (Aristotle)

And to lead a happy life, –

“Keep your thought positive because your thought becomes your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

Paradox of modernity

George Carlin (‘O Tempora, O Mores’) has described beautifully the modernity of twenty first century and the life style of modern times –

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

Introduction

Issac Newton has said, “Truth is ever to be found in simplicity and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” Modern world is full of confusions as per the saying of George Carlin (‘O Tempora, O Mores’) mentioned above. And the adverse effect of Modernity is visible all-over the world. Erosion of traditional values and decay of morality in ‘community life’ has been a matter of concern everyone. Leaders and intelligentsia now desire to restore the moral values back.

Mostly the children of twenty-first century are brought up and educated in such a way that they there learn to stand on their feet firmly, quite early in life. The youth living in western countries or brought up in western life-style become politically and economically independent better much earlier than their previous generation and counterparts living in eastern societies. However, quite often they end up “Bowling Alone” (in sociologist Robert Putnam’s memorable phrase) and unhappy.

Complexity of modern life

In-spite of having so much exposure to knowledge and technological developments, complexities in modern life-style are increasing every day. Cut-throat competition for being one-up kills the human values of ‘caring, sharing and accepting others heartily’. Instead it teaches an individual to care only for oneself. For achieving success in life, self-interest sometimes incites people to ‘Go and kill’ others in self-interest or.

Aversion to traditional values and systems

Amongst twenty-first century youth, there is gradual disappearance of the sense of morality. There is a trend of aversion to traditional values and systems. There is ruthless competition amongst them for material gains. Most of the time, their life-style is based on in-discipline. Chase for materialism in present consumerist world has lead them towards favoritism, violence, corruption has weakened the social fabric of a modern society beyond repair.

Scientific knowledge a source to preserve and destroy of power

Over and above all this, scientific and technological developments have endowed man with tremendous power both to ‘preserve and destroy’ anything. At slightest provocation, people do not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to him. It has, once again, made the human life of modern society “nasty, brutish and short”.

Creation of civil society

Today there is an urgent need to make each and every society a civilized one. It requires a society/nation to reach to an advanced stage of mannerism and inculcate in its people eternal humanitarian values in all the spheres – intellectual, technological, cultural values. A civilized society/nation needs to create well-meaning systems for the benefit of the whole society.

Social norms/values/code of conduct

Based on experiences, traditions and customs, every society sets a code of conduct for all the members of a society, defines rights and duties of all all the sections society. It not only regulates behavior of individuals within the community, but also provides practical and useful vision/guidelines to be followed by its members everywhere, be it their personal, family, community, social, professional, national or universal life.

Basis for setting code of conduct

Social values are formed on the basis of specific needs, time-frame, mind-set of the people of that society and total atmosphere/circumstances of that place. Experiences of many generations form the basis to set code of conduct. In due course of time, it takes the shape of customs, traditions and rituals, which are observed by the common men living in that respective society. Efforts put by different social groups of a society at different point of time develop the attitude, aptitude and innate psycho-biological traits of its people. Over a period of time, all together set up the social norms/values of a society. Value system of a society does not remain static. It keeps on changing from place to place and time to time.

Difference between Morality vs. Moral-policing

There is difference between social values/code of conduct and moral policing. Morality preaches individuals to exercise self- restraint in all respect, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or social relationship.

  • While social values/morality is concerned with self-discipline, moral policing is to discipline others.
  • Unadulterated social values, morality, mannerism and norms based on reason and experiences help people to improve one’s own behavior by making conscious efforts for self-control, self-direction and self-discipline rather than forcing others to behave.
  • Morality leads to peaceful co-existence, while moral policing generates agitation in people’s mind.
  • Morality/social values cannot be taught like texts, nor tested in written examinations. They are learnt by living and practicing it in day to day life.
  • Morality is not something which could be decided or opined at one point of time or propagated by self-styled Messiahs of a society or can be forced upon people.
  • Morality believes in decentralized self-regulated system – be it in social, political religious or economic life of an individual.

Self-styled Messiahs

Politicians, religious gurus or powerful lobby of elders or self-styled reformists cannot become the guardians of social values/culture. Their role in a civilized society is that of facilitators. They are supposed to inculcate positive attitude, good values and thinking by creating friendly atmosphere and arranging a sound system of education.

‘Born free but everywhere in Chains’

A human being is born free and desires to lead a free life. Now-a-days, in modern societies, there is too much emphasis on freedom and liberty of individuals. It is quite often said that an individual is born free and therefore, is entitled to lead an absolutely free life, – ‘I will do, what I want’ and ‘I do not care for anybody’ etc. etc. Everyone desires to have full liberty and freedom from all the liabilities/bondages.

Absolute freedom not possible

Total freedom or establishment of an absolutely free society is not possible, if one wants to live with other human beings. Where everybody lives/acts according to one’s own wishes without caring for other members of the society, a situation of lawlessness is created. In turn, lawlessness creates an atmosphere of a jungle, where ‘Survival of the fittest’ is the norm. ‘Survival of the fittest’ and ‘law of jungle’ instinct can be accepted in a civilized society.

For survival, ‘law of jungle’ develops killer-instinct within a person’s mind It makes him very selfish and forget about others’ conveniences. Such a mindset makes the whole atmosphere tense/uncertain and makes human life, ‘nasty brutish and short’ (Hobbes).

How to create a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere?

In order to have a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere, creation of a civil society becomes necessary. In a civil society, no one is totally free to think or act according to his wishes. There people find themselves all the time in chains. Everybody has to live within frames, follow the ‘rule of law’ and observe in general the values, norms and systems created by the society. Nature has given enough wisdom to all the individuals. Only one has to listen to his/her conscience. It gives a human being enough power to escape from unruly/unwanted behavior.

Individual as a social being

As famous Greek philosopher Aristotle says, “A human being is a social animal. If he does not live with men or amongst men, then surely either he is god or a beast.” Living together peacefully is not an easy task. Dealing with some people is easy and natural, while with others complicated and difficult. People’s desire/need to live together peacefully in a harmonious atmosphere, a code of conduct is set for the people and is enforced by the authorities of that society or nation. Set norms and rules keep a control on laws of jungle and make the living of the people of society peaceful and harmonious and ultimately lead towards civilization.

Right balance between rights and duties

A civilized society needs to have a balanced outlook towards rights and duties. Keeping the right balance between the two is very difficult. To ensure that all people could enjoy their rights, liberty and freedom properly and equally, society sets some norms. It ensures that while enjoying one’s own rights, one should give due regards to others’ liberty and freedom as well, which in turn becomes his duties. One’s own rights binds others and becomes others duties, and other’s freedom binds him in return.

Due regards to others liberty, while exercising one’s own

Code of conduct teaches people to give due regards to others liberty and freedom while exercising one’s own liberty and freedom. An individual’s freedom binds others and other’s freedom binds him in return. Observance of norms and rules puts everybody ‘everywhere in chains’. It draws a line on human freedom and his behavior and keeps a control on the unruly behavior. It makes a person more humane. The whole atmosphere becomes peaceful and pleasant and ultimately leads a society to become more and more matured, cultured or civilized.

Foundation of human relationships, rights or duties?

In general, ‘Rights’ forms the natural foundation of human relationships in the societies of Western countries. Eastern societies have been evolved around the concept of ‘duties’. Too much importance to rights, though gives more opportunities to enjoy life, but it tends to make individuals selfish, arrogant and unmindful of others conveniences. More stress on duties tends to make people too humble, tolerant and submissive even to raise their voice against excesses and trains people in obedience without questioning.

Both the systems leaves something more to be desired. Advanced nations have succeeded in creating systems to keep an effective check on arbitrary behavior of people and developing respect for ‘rule of law’. Developing and underdeveloped nations, especially in eastern part of the word are still struggling to improve law and order position in their countries.

Culture of India

In principle – According to the tradition and culture of India, doctrines of Dharma and Karma define rights and duties of different sections of society. It gives to people an abiding sense of purpose to life, an aim to be actively striven for, cutting across class distinctions and regional boundaries, bridging the distance between rural and urban folk and between the illiterate and educated. Common men in India still regard doctrines of Dharma and Karma as norms and values of good conduct. These principles are applicable to everyone, show people follow the path of righteousness and develop harmonious relationship between different sections of society.

Observance of these principles in the past

In ancient India, sacrifice was regarded far more important than success and renunciation as the crowning achievement. On most of the occasions, stress on duties combined with the principle of inter-dependence ensured social harmony and prevented rivalries and jealousies between different sections of society. In the past, it helped the people to adjust themselves and adapt themselves slowly but steadily to changing times without much difficulty.

On the whole, the system worked so well that when the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. It had prevented people to exercise coercion against its working class, whereas in ancient Greece, Rome or other European countries, people were made to work under the threat of a whip, ancient India remained peaceful and ensured social harmony. Also, while other nations passed through many bloody revolutions in the past, India kept on adapting itself to changing times.

Undesirable developments in Indian society

At the dawn of twenty first century, India has become a land of paradoxes. Some unpleasant changes have taken place in the recent past, which are multiplying every day in the character, role and inter-relationship of these main constituent of the national elites – political executive, legislators, bureaucrats businessmen, media-persons, organized workers and surplus farmers. As the result, on one hand, common-men feel very insecure and confused. They have lost faith not only in governing authorities, but also in their fellow-beings and in them-selves as well. On the other hand, scientific progress has endowed man with tremendous power both to preserve and destroy. At slightest provocation, one does not hesitate to unleash destructive powers accessible to him.

Alarming disparities of power, wealth and culture

There exist alarming disparities of power, wealth and culture amongst different parts and sections of the nation. In the recent past, the black money has subverted the whole socio political structure of the nation. Glaring disparities between different sections have been a cause of great social, political and economic tension. Whereas, the cumulative wealth of India’s 10 richest people is 6% ($ 114.50 billion) of India’s GDP, the cumulative wealth of America’s 10 richest people is mere 2% (311.30 billion). On the other hand 60% of the Indian population lives below poverty line.

Sectional and regional imbalances

Sectional conflicts are increasing day by day. There are sectional and regional imbalances, which have led to ever-increasing conflicts in the society and generated different kinds of social and psychological tensions. Attempts for social changes superficially have made a virtue of narrow loyalties of class, caste, creed or religion, generating sub-cultures like favoritism, lure for easy money, nepotism and, in-discipline in the society.

Lure for easy money

Lure for easy money has degenerated work culture. Rule of law has got adversely affected due to under-currents of sectarian politics, which makes the task of governance difficult and ineffective.

Centralization of control systems

These developments have led to complete centralization of control systems in the hands of a few individuals/groups or nations having political, money or muscle power behind them, who rule and control destiny of millions of people. They try to reform people, the way they want.

Conclusion

A nation or money can be created overnight, but it takes several generations for a society or a nation to become cultured or civilized in its true sense. The downfall in the observance of human values/norms/mannerism has led India to its present position. It has become a land of paradoxes. Once again, India has to get rid of the undesirable elements of modernity like narrower viewpoints, decay of traditional values, prejudiced mindset, trouble in accepting others. shallow relationships, broken homes etc. The nation needs to reach up to advanced stage of mannerism in true sense and make developments all the spheres – intellectual, technological, cultural values and to create well-meaning systems, so that  the whole society could taste the fruits of all-round development.

It can be concluded quoting Katha Upnishad 1.3.3-6,”Know that Self is the rider and body the chariot; intellect is the charioteer, and mind the reins. The senses are the horses; the roads they travel are the mazes of desire…” Keep the horses under control.
  

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Kayasthas

Kayasthas

The Kayasthas trace their genealogy from Adi Purush Shri Chitragupta Maharaj, the son of Lord Brahama, the son of Lord Brahamawho had 12 sons with two wives, Irawati/Shobhwati and Sudakhina/Nandani. These 12 sons were married to Nagakanyas of Nagraj Vasuki and were the origin of the 12 castes of the Kayasthas. The same legend, with slight variation, is found in most of the Puranas. There are

Like Brahmins, who are being natural learners and pursuers of knowledge, Kayasthas were also quick to  go for modern education and move ahead of other communities. Their long tradition and undisputed role in the field of knowledge and learning, their intelligence, sincerity and hard work helped them to take a lead in all newer areas of advancement and secure an important place in the society.

Kayasthas are one of the most secular community. Of all the castes and communities in India, they are the easiest to mingle with others. Their cosmopolitan and secular outlook and focus on education and revenue work  distinguished them from others. These two factors have been the main factors, which to a large extent are responsible for their success in changing times.

After Hinduism re-emerged around 2nd century, many liberal-minded people from the four Varnas, who had joined Budhism earlier, wished to come back to their original ‘Varna’ were not allowed to do so. It is said that at that time Brahmins refused to take them back into Hinduism saying that Hinduism does not believe in conversion or re-conversion. Time had given opportunity to such people to get a new identity. The people, who were learned who were proficient in revenue work and whose traditional occupation was reading,  writing came to be known as ‘Kayasthas’.

Kayasthas mingled with other communities without any fuss again and again. Such as during medieval period with Muslim and or during under British rule in modern times. In recent past Kayasthas in global world have mingled with other nationals more than they mingle among themselves in India. This cosmopolitan outlook distinguished members of this caste. Along with the great emphasis on education, is to a large extent responsible for their success in changing times.

  • Kayasthas are the only sect who are referred to as direct “blood” descendants of a Vedic god (Chitragupta) in the religious texts and the only ancestor-worshiping sect of Hinduism.
  • Kāyastha are said in the Vedas and Puranas to have a dual-caste status, i.e. Brahmin and Kshatriya.
  • Kayasthas are more secular in attitude than other sections of society. People from all the four Varnas have formed different sub-castes.
  • The Anthropological Survey of India conducted a survey during the British Raj which concluded that the Kayastha community were also influential during the Mauryan period as administrators. Also, many proof have been found that the Hindu Kings used to grant lands to the Kayasthas, a practise enjoyed only by a particular caste.
  • The Kayastha were one of the most influential Caste in Kashmiri politics around 7th century (ref. Rajatarangini) .
  • During Mughal rule, Kayastha developed expertise in Persian (the state language in Islamic India), learnt Turkish, Arabic and later Urdu, economics, administration and taxation.
  • In the colonial era, learnt English, whilst the more affluent ones sent their children to England. Many Kayastha became civil servants, tax officers, junior administrators, teachers, legal helpers and barristers. They rose to the highest positions accessible to natives in British India .
  • Kayasthas are mainly spread across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, North India.
  • Kayasthas worship Shree Chitraguptaji and on Bhai-Dooj, they celebrate Kalam-Dawaat Pooja (pen, ink-pot and sword worship), a ritual in which pens, papers and books are worshipped
  • Kayasthas eat onions, garlic, meats like mutton and chicken, fish and eggs, though a large number are also vegetarians. Meat eating kayasthas do avoid beef as the cow is considered sacred for Hindus.
  • It is believed, though not yet proved, that Kayasthas of holy towns like Prayag, Mathura, Varanasi, etc. are purely vegetarians, while in other areas they may be mixed. It is said that Kayasthas started eating meat during the Muslim period when they socially mixed with the Muslims. It is also said that Kayasthas have the best eating sense, because amongst Hindus, Kayasthas add the largest varieties of food to their diet.
  • They are experts in revenue and legal professions.
  • They have given a tough competition to the Brahmins in the sphere of education (Grammer=School) and modern callings.

Post independence Kayasthas rose to the highest positions in administration in judiciary, There are many top civil servants and high ranking officers in the Indian armed forces. Some prominent kayasthas are the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, third Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri are Swami Vivekananda, Sri Arbindo, Subhash Chandra Bose, Amitabh Bachchan, Raju Srivastava, Sri Arbindo, Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan,   Munsh iPremchand, Mahadevi Varma, Dr. Vrindavan Lal Verma, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Bhagwati Charan Verma, Ramkumar Verma, Dharmavir Bharati, Sri Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, Firaq Gorakhpuri etc.

Many Kayasthas have emigrated to the West since 1970s and especially after 1990’s. Their numbers are increasing every year.

October 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri on the occasion of his birth anniversary

Introduction

Today is 2nd October – the birth anniversary of India’s great leaders – Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri the Second Prime Minister, (1964-1966) of India. On the occasion of the birth-anniversary, we pay homage to Lal Bahadur Shastri, who not only understood the value of the invaluable services of our farmers and armed forces, but also appreciated it – farmers who work hard to feed about one and a half crore people of India, and our soldiers who without caring for their sleep and comforts defend our country from external aggression. Today every Indian feels proud for the surgical operation done by Indian army on 29th September in POK to destroy terrorists’ training centres. No doubt, the health, wealth and prosperity of the nation depends on their efficient performance. Along with paying homage to him, we should give full regards to our farmers and armed forces.

It was Shastriji, who gave the Mantra of “Jai Jawaan (soldiers), Jai Kisan (farmers)”. The ideals has set an example for today’s political leaders, as to how through simplicity, modesty, firmness and commitment to the cause of the poor and downtrodden, they can identify themselves with the common-men of India.

Feeling of being not treated fairly in Armed Forces – In recent past, a feeling in armed forces is growing that they are being treated unfairly by the authorities. The nation does not pay due regards to the sacrifices, they make for the safety and security of the nation and peaceful living of the people of India– they give up their today, so that others could sleep peacefully throughout the nation. Armed forces, while living in remote areas continuously take care of the safety and security of the nation from external aggression, and help the people at the times of natural disasters or internal aggression.

The Armed Forces feel hurt, not so much about the monetary benefits, but because of status of Armed forces in the hierarchy of service and command, vis-a-vis other civilian government services. Over the last 15-20 years, it has slowly declined in stature and relative importance and positioning vis-à-vis other government services. Civil services due to their proximity to political powers have put armed forces under total subservience of political and civil authorities and left them in cold.

Position of Farmers – Also, drought and debt continue to claim lives of a number of farmers in India. The administration has not been able to reach to farmers and find solutions for their genuine problems. Consequent to untimely and sudden demise of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, Shastriji with his quality leadership and the nation confronted with many critical issues like food shortage, rising prices, language riots and the mounting threats of aggression from China and Pakistan. At that time, Lal Bahadur Shastri, then the Prime Minister of India had taken many challenging decisions and dealt effectively during that crucial hour of Indian history. It would have unnerved even a seasoned leader.  His good governance and efficient leadership enabled India to undergo a smooth transition, consolidating on the gains of freedom even further.

An Exemplary National Leader, Lal Bahadur Shastri

After the sad demise of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister of India on June 9, 1964. At that time nobody thought that Shastriji would prove to be a tower of strength, an astute politician and a man gifted with rare qualities of head and heart. People were skeptical about his being a worthy successor of Pt. Nehru as the Prime Minister of India. Some had the feeling that he was simple and too modest a person and, as such, he would be eclipsed by the Congress Party’s Syndicate. But soon they were disillusioned when K. Kamraj, the then Congress President, went all out to get him elected as the leader of the Congress Party and the Prime Minister of India.

It was not long before when the people realized that his modesty was due to the traditional Indian refinement and not a symptom of lack of firmness or courage. He believed that Prime Minister’s own functions and responsibilities could not be shared by others and in no case by persons outside the government, however high and mighty they be in the party hierarchy. It was not in his blood to be any Tom Dick and Harry’s satellite or henchman. He proved to the world that he was not a prisoner of indecisiveness and could act on his own, however, formidable the task might be.

Even as Prime Minister, he kept himself away from the bed of roses. From the very inception, he was confronted with ticklish problems. He inherited the legacy of thorny issues like food shortage, rising prices, language riots and last but not the least the mounting threats of aggression from China and Pakistan. He took many challenging decisions, which otherwise would have unnerved even seasoned leaders. He won the hearts of his countrymen by virtue of his humble yet firm handling of national problems. His transparent honesty, unimpeachable integrity, love with the masses and unassuming identification with progressive ideas and forces endeared him to all and sundry.

Shastriji was sure that the finances of the country could be improved only its economy was planned in a more rational and scientific manner. He accorded high priority to agriculture. But he attached equal importance to industry. In his view, the improved agriculture and industry alone could take the country on the road to prosperity.

He believed that the shattered confidence of the people could be restored through the welfare schemes and the Five-Year Plans yielding concrete and immediate results for the well-being of common-men. In this context Shastriji said, “The strain that have shown up in the recent months cannot be ignored. I believe that first task is to provide food, clothing, shelter and medical to the millions. I have, therefore, suggest that planning should be geared up to face these primary needs, at the same time as we pursue other goals.”

Shastriji established Food-grains Trading Corporation to purchase grains within the country at remunerative prices and to distribute it equitably. An Agricultural Price Commission was set up to fix a reasonable margin of price to be enforced at wholesalers and retailers’ level with due consideration to the cost involved in processing, storage and transport etc. Implementation of Minor Irrigation Programs received special attention and the Chief Ministers of States were directed to improve the output of crops. Various steps were taken to bring about coordination of administrative activities at different levels e.g. Central, State, District, Block and Village. Coordination Committees were set up both at Cabinet and Secretariat levels in the States for discussion to expedite the development programs relating to the departments of Agriculture, Irrigation, Revenue, Animal Husbandry, Cooperation, Community Development, Panchayats etc.

Shastriji gave a number of slogans, namely “Self-Reliance”, “Grow More Food”, “Miss a meal”, “Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan” etc., to boost the morale of the peasants and jawaans in particular and the people of the country in general. He appealed to the nation to lend a hand in solving the problem of food shortage. All-out efforts were made to hasten self-sufficiency in food. Steps were also taken to control prices of essential commodities. He made available to the common man, the essential goods at fair price shops. Successful programs were instituted to control the sky-rocking prices and unearth the vast quantities of black money.

Shastriji laid great emphasis on administrative reforms. A campaign was launched to curb the evil of corruption and mal-practices. He took deterrent action against black-marketers, hoarders, and foreign exchange racketeers. He accepted most of the recommendations of the ‘Santhanam Committee’ to make an end of the corrupt practices on war footing. He drew a code of conduct for the Ministers, according to which they had to disclose to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers in the state, their assets and liabilities every year. It also laid down ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ for raising funds by the political parties.

Within twenty four hours of the Das Commission’s adverse report against Pratap Singh Kairon, the then the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shastriji took drastic action and asked him to resign his post. It was a remarkable feat of smooth-sailing with which the succession question in the Punjab was handled by him and Comrade Ram Kishan was made Chief Minister of Punjab.

The firm action he took in the case of Sri T.T. Krishmachari proved to be the hit that whenever necessity arose. Shastriji was capable of taking very harsh decisions without fear or favour. He accepted Mr. Krishmachary’s resignation after Mundra episode and without loss of time, he appointed his successor.

The fierce language riots in the South were a threat to the unity and integrity of the country. The handling of the grave situation called for statesmanship, imagination and determination. The Government has to make sure that any measure taken to pacify South did not have repercussions elsewhere in the country. As a sequel to the disturbances in the South, the Prime Minister convened a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the States; and with the emerging consensus, it was decided to introduce Hindi for official purposes without displacing English until people in non-Hindi speaking areas were willing for a change-over. The language crisis thus blew over without much ado.

Shastriji’s participation in the Non-Aligned Summit held in Cairo was his first big international event. It was a resounding success. His 5-Point Peace Plan presented at this Conference was not only received with enthusiasm from all concerned at his historic conference, but also formed in a large measure the basis of the final resolution passed on the ‘International Peace’. It brought him laurals and recognition as a protagonist of world peace and peaceful co-existence.

His displayed wisdom, grit and determination against the Pakistan infiltration in the Rann of Kutch and Jammu and Kashmir. He repelled the attacks by force of arms and led India to victory in the battle-field. A ceasefire was brought about with the good offices of the British Government.

Pakistan, after sometime, again intruded into the Indian Territory in a more planned manner than ever before. Shastriji once again picked up the gauntlet. Throughout the three week war with Pakistan, he continued fighting and did not look back. His cool composure and unambiguous strong language of his statements and broadcasts to the nation from time to time boosted up the morale of the brave Indian soldiers against Pakistan’s wanton aggression. In this context, Shastriji said, “India’s faith in peace is unshakeable. With us, it is a matter principle and not of expediency. But adherence to peace does not mean that we should not take up arms to defend ourselves when attacked. Let us not slacken our efforts and activities. We must remain alert and vigilant. All the people of India should be ready and determined to defend the Motherland in any emergency with all their hearts and all their might. … when freedom is threatened and territorial integrity is endangered, there is only one duty, the duty to meet the challenge with all our might.”

Shastriji’s rejection of the “Three-day” Chinese ultimatum was equally irrevocable. It called the Peking’s bluff and their ultimatum and their ultimatum fizzled out. After the crisis was over, Shastriji’s addressing the nation inter alia observed, If the experience of the recent past hold any lesson for us all, it is that we must endeavor to be as self-reliant as possible. In the ultimate analysis, it is the strength of the nation itself which matters more and which is our best safeguard.”

In January, 1966, when Shastriji, as Prime Minister of India, went to Tashkent to hold talks with President Ayub of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of USSR, there he played his cards well as an astute negotiator. And after in-depth discussion and exchange of views with the other two stalwarts, he signed the historic, ‘Tashkent Declaration’. It was sheer irony of fate that he did not live to enjoy the fruits of his pyrrhic victory over Pakistan.

There is no doubt that Shastriji as Prime Minister of India in his brief tenure of 18 months, not only brought about unity in the country but also put it on  the road of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. He left to his heirs a richer legacy than he himself had inherited. His sagacious and Herculean efforts earned respect for him and for his country.

(This post was published in Saga of Lal Bahadur Shastri, pp. 222 to 224 in 1987 under the title ‘Dharti Ka Lal, released by then the Prime Minister Sri Rajiv Gandhi)

October 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

गरीबी क्यों—गरीबी उन्मूलन कैसे ?

BY

                                                      न्यायमूर्ति अशोक कुमार श्रीवास्तव

                                              पूर्व न्यायाधीश इलाहबाद और (Delhi High Court)

गरीबी क्यों ? – सीधा उत्तर है कि देश तथा प्रदेशों के सारे कर्णधार चाहे वे विधायिका या कार्यपालिका या न्यायपालिका में हों, गरीब नहीं हैं और गरीबी क्या होती है उसे जानते ही नहीं |

विडम्बना? – मगर विडम्बना यह है जब से भारतवर्ष को स्वंत्रतता मिली है सभी राजनैतिक दल वोट बटोरने के लिए भारतवर्ष के गरीबों और किसानो की हिमायत करते नज़र आते हैं | गरीबी हटाओ का नारा लगाते हैं मगर गरीबी वहीं की वहीँ रहती है | हाँ जो भी चुन कर आये वे अवश्य ही बहुत अमीर हो जाते हैं और बड़े मकान, फार्म हाउस, महंगी कारें, कम्पनियों, शिक्षण संस्थाओं, नर्सिंग होम, सिनेमा हाउस, कोल्ड स्टोरेज, होटल, हीरे जवाहरात इत्यादि के वे मालिक हो गएँ हैं | बहुतों के तो आधे पैर भारत में रहतें है और आधे विदेश में | वातानुकूलित पांच सितारा सुख जीवन उनकी जीवन शैली है | गरीबी क्या होती है उसका उन्हें किंचित भी बोध नहीं है | गरीबों के संग थोड़ी देर रहने में ही वे परेशान हो जाते हैं और किसी तरह मजबूरी में समय काट कर पांच सितारा व्यवस्था की ओर कूच कर जाते हैं | उनका ऐसा करना कदाचित गलत नहीं है क्योंकि उन्हें अगली बार टिकट मिलने की कोई गारंटी नहीं होती और अब तो यह भी पक्का नहीं रहता कि उनकी पार्टी दोबारा चुनाव जीतेगी | गरीबों से तो वे सिर्फ चुनाव के समय ही मिलते है और उनकी गरीबी को मिटाने का फिर से पूरा घडियाली आश्वासन देते हैं |एक विधायक जब पहली बार चुना गया तब उसके पास कुछ नहीं था परन्तु तीन टर्म करने के बाद उसने अपनी चल अचल संपत्ति २०० करोड़ घोषित की | ८० फीसदी वोटर उनके जाल में फिर फँस जाते है |

चुनाव-आधार जाति और वर्ग  –  चुनाव जाति और वर्ग के आधार पर लड़ा जाता है | वर्ग तथा जाति के कितने वोट है उस पर टिकट दिए जाते हैं और हार जीत होती है | इसलिए हर राजनैतिक दल तथा प्रत्याशी की कोशिश यही रहती है कि उनकी जाति एवं वर्ग की संख्या में बढ़त हो जिससे उतने ही उसके वोट बढ़ें | मूर्ख लोग बगैर सोचे समझे कि इससे उन्हें क्या लाभ है, बच्चे पर बच्चे पैदा करते रहतें हैं, वोटर संख्या बढ़ाते रहते हैं और साथ ही साथ उसी अनुपात में अपनी गरीबी भी | अगर कोई उन्हें समझाता है तो वे समझना नहीं चाहते है क्योंकि उनकी जाति के नेताओं ने तो उन्हें यह सपने दिखाए हुए हैं कि उनका उद्धार केवल उनकी जाति के नेता ही कर सकते हैं | इसलिए वे वोट अपने नेताओं को ही देते हैं और उस विशेष जाति के वोटरों की गिनती बढ़ाते रहते हैं |

चूंकि राजनैतिक दल अपनी आय का ब्यौरा देने में कतरा रहें है और सूचना अधिकार अधिनियम के दायरे में होते हुए भी उस अधिनियम के तहत सूचना नहीं दे रहे हैं, इसलिए अनुमान यही किया जाना चाहिए कि राजनीतिक दलों के पास भी बहुत धन है | कहाँ से है, कोई नहीं पूछता |

कार्यपालिका तो विधायिका द्वारा लिए गए निर्णयों को लागू करती है | वह गरीबी उन्मूलन की स्वयं कोई रूप रेखा नहीं बना सकती | न्यायपालिका को गरीबों की ओर सहानुभूति अवश्य होती है मगर गरीबी उन्मूलन उनके कार्यक्षेत्र में नहीं आता है |

भारतवर्ष में अमीर लगभग २ प्रतिशत – भारतवर्ष में लगभग २ प्रतिशत लोग ऐसे हैं जो इतने अमीर हैं कि उनका मुकाबला विश्व के बड़े से बड़े धनाडय ही कर सकते हैं | लगभग १८ प्रतिशत ऐसे अमीर हैं कि दुनिया की हर वस्तु और हर सुख के साधन उन्हें उपलब्ध है | इन २० प्रतिशत के लिए पांच सितारा होटल, पांच सितारा अस्पताल, पांच सितारा स्कूल इत्यादि सब उपलब्ध हैं | सिवाय इश्वर के उन्हें कोई छू नहीं सकता | सरकारी तंत्र भी उनके ही इशारे पर चलता है | वे राजनीतिज्ञों से मिल कर देश में ऐसी योजनायें बनवाते हैं जिससे उन्ही का कल्याण हो | उन्हें गरीबों से कोई वास्ता नहीं होता | अगर वे अपराध करते हैं तो अपने धन के प्रभाव से सबको हिला देते हैं | बहुत मुश्किल से वे जेल जाते हैं परन्तु जुगाड़ से वहां भी शाही जीवन व्यतीत करते हैं | भारत की बढ़ी जी डी पी का पूर्ण लाभ इन्ही २० प्रतिशत लोगों को मिलता है |

लगभग ४० प्रतिशत ऐसे हैं जो मिडिल क्लास के उच्च, मध्यम और तृतीय श्रेणी में आते हैं | वे गरीब नहीं हैं और साधारण सुख की ज़िन्दगी व्यतीत करते हैं | इनमें से कुछ भ्रष्टाचार के माध्यम से उपरोक्त १८ प्रतिशत लोगों की आय का मुकाबला करने में लगे हैं और सारी मौज मस्ती का आनंद लेते हैं | इनमें से जो तृतीय श्रेणी वाले हैं वे अपना जीवन बस व्यतीत कर रहे हैं | बड़ी बीमारी हो गयी तो गरीब हो जाते हैं |

बचे लगभग ४० प्रतिशत | इनमें बहुत गरीब हैं जो गाँवों में रहते हैं या मजदूरी के लिए शहर में आ जाते हैं | इनमे अधिकांश के पास खेती नहीं है और जिनके पास है वह नाममात्र की है | विश्व बैंक के आंकड़े बताते है कि दक्षिण एशिया और अफ्रीका के कुछ भाग में विश्व के अधिकतम गरीब रहते हैं और पश्चिमी देशों में यदि औसतन जीवन स्तर १० पॉइंट है तो भारत में वह २.५. पॉइंट है | भारत में शहर के गरीबों का हाल गाँव के गरीबों से भी बुरा है | नेशनल सैंपल सर्वे आर्गेनाइजेशन की ताजा रिपोर्ट के अनुसार ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में प्रत्येक परिवार के पास औसतन १० लाख रुपये तथा शहरों में २३ लाख रुपये की संपत्ति है | मगर गरीब परिवारों के पास इससे बहुत कम संपत्ति है | शहरों में १० % परिवार ऐसे हैं जिनके पास औसतन २९१ रुपये की संपत्ति है | ऐसे परिवारों के पास न घर है न जमीन | इसके विपरीत गाँव में १० % गरीबों के पास औसतन २५० रुपये की संपत्ति है | गाँव में अमीर और गरीब के बीच खायी उतनी नहीं है जितनी शहरों में है | शहरों में जहाँ यह खाई ५०००० गुना अधिक है वहीँ गाँव में यह खाई केवल २२६ गुना ज्यादा है |

४०% लोग भारतवर्ष के गरीब की निर्धनता के कारण – मेरी नज़र में यही ४०% लोग भारतवर्ष के वे गरीब हैं जिनके बारे में विचार करना आवश्यक बनता है | उनकी निर्धनता के कई कारण हैं |

  1. पहला कारण, जो सबसे बड़ा है, वह है इश्वर की लीला जो पूर्व जन्म में किये कर्मों का परिणाम है | उसे प्रारब्ध कहते हैं | ऐसा न हो तो क्यों कोई टाटा बिडला अम्बानी अदानी के यहाँ जन्म लेता और कोई कलुआ भुर्जी के घर | कुत्ते की योनि निकृष्ट मानी जाती है परन्तु पिछले जन्म के कर्म के अनुसार एक कुत्ता अमीर के घर में शान से और सारी सुख सुविधा के साथ रहता है और दूसरा गर्मी में खाज की बीमारी से सडकों पर तड़पता रहता है | यह तो हुआ प्रारब्ध परन्तु जन्म से गरीब को अपने इस जन्म में कर्म से गरीबी हटाने का अवसर सदैव प्राप्त है | कर्म और विवेक से वह अपनी गरीबी हटा सकता है और अमीर भी बन सकता है | हजारों क्या लाखों ऐसे उदाहरण मौजूद हैं | मगर बहुत से गरीब तो इतने निराशावादी होते हैं कि वे अपने उत्थान के बारे में सोचते तक नहीं हैं | वे जिस हाल में हैं उसी में पड़े रहना पसंद करते हैं
  2. दूसरा कारण अशिक्षा है | गाँव में शिक्षा के साधन नगण्य हैं | यदि स्कूल हैं तो उनका स्तर निम्न कोटि का है और जो शिक्षा वहां मिल रही है वह सही मार्गदर्शन नहीं देती है |
  3. तीसरा कारण बार बार की बीमारी है | कुपोषण के कारण वे जल्दी जल्दी बीमार पड़ते हैं | गाँव में तो झोला छाप डॉक्टर ही होते हैं जो बिना जानकारी अगड़म बगड़म इलाज और उलटी सीधी दवाएं देते रहते हैं | अगर मर्ज़ बढ़ गया तो आनन फानन शहर भागना पड़ता है और प्राइवेट नर्सिंग होम में लूटे जाते हैं | कर्जा चढ़ जाता है जिसको चुकाने में और भी गरीब हो जाते हैं |
  4. चौथा है मुकदमेबाजी | आपसी रंजिश हुयी तो कुछ ऐसे नासमझ है कि वे गाली गलौज और मार पीट करते हैं जिसमे क़त्ल भी हो जाते हैं | यह प्रायः देखा गया है कि वे गुस्सा या भावावेश में क़त्ल कर देते है और तब जेल का भी डर नहीं रहता है | यदि जेल गए, फिर तो अगर जमीन है तो वह बिक जाती है और अगर जमीन नहीं है तो उधारी हो जाती है जिसे चुकाने में पूरी जिंदगी बर्बाद हो जाती है | सेशन और मजिस्ट्रेट की अदालतों में फौजदारी मुक़दमे अधिकतर गाँव के ही होते हैं | जिले के फौजदारी वकीलों की आमदनी अधिकतर गाँव के ऐसे गरीबों से ही है |
  5. पांचवीं वजह देशी शराब है जो अब गाँव में बहुत पी जाती है | आये दिन छपता है कि ज़हरीली शराब पीकर कई मर गए | गाँव का जवान वर्ग बर्बाद हो गया है | अक्सर सुर्खियाँ रहती है कि चार पांच लड़कों ने शराब पीकर किसी लड़की को उठा लिया और उसका बलात्कार करके उसे मार डाला और लाश खेत में फ़ेंक दी | पकडे जाते हैं तो फिर कोर्ट कचहरी का चक्कर और पैसे की बर्बादी | वैसे भी शराब की इतनी लत पड़ जाती है कि खाना मिले न मिले शराब तो पीनी ही है | कुपोषण यदि है तो शराब ज़हर हो जाती है जो गंभीर बीमारियों को जन्म देती है | इस प्रकार आमदनी का बड़ा हिस्सा शराब की लत और उससे हुई शारीरिक बीमारी के इलाज में ही निकल जाता है |
  6. छठा कारण गाँव में रोज़गार के साधन का न होना है | खेतों में मजदूरी ही एक साधन होता है जिसमे बहुत सीमित आमदनी होती है | खेती भी बट जाती है जिसमें पूरे परिवार का पोषण नहीं हो पाता है | कुछ फैक्ट्री में चले जातें हैं, कुछ शहर में आकर मजदूरी करते है, कुछ रिक्शा चलाते हैं आदि | शहर में न उनके पास रहने की जगह होती है न ही उन्हें शुद्ध वातावरण मिलता है जिससे वह बीमार पड़ते हैं और कमाई अस्पताल और दवा में ही घुस जाती है | शाम को चूँकि कोई मनोरंजन का साधन नहीं होता है तो शराब पीकर मन हल्का करतें हैं | बगैर पुष्ट भोजन के शराब स्वास्थ्य के लिए अति घातक हो जाती है और खर्चा कराती है | कभी कभी वेश्याओं पर कमाई न्योछावर करते रहते हैं |
  7. अब एक नया ट्रेंड दिखने में आ रहां है कि गाँव के अधिकतर युवा श्रम करना ही नहीं चाहते | वे तो लूट पाट और डकैती इत्यादि में पड़ गएँ है जोकि समाज, क़स्बा, तहसील, शहर, प्रदेश और देश के लिए बहुत घातक है | पंचायती राज की राजनीति ऐसे युवाओं के लिए उर्वराशक्ति का काम करती है |

गरीबी उन्मूलन कैसे हो?

मेरे मत में गरीबी का पूर्ण उन्मूलन तो असंभव है, केवल गरीबी में कमी संभव है | चूँकि सब तो अमीर नहीं हो सकते इसलिए विचार यह होना चाहिए कि गरीबी कैसे कम की जा सके जिससे सभी का जीवन स्तर गरीबी रेखा के ऊपर आ जाय और वे एक सामान्य जीवन व्यतीत कर सकें | मेरे सुझाव निम्नवत है |

  • भारतवर्ष में लोकतंत्र है | केंद्रीय और प्रदेशीय सरकारें चुन कर आती हैं | चूँकि हमारी संवैधानिक व्यवस्था के तहत सरकार जनता के हित के लिए होती है, इसलिए सरकार का कर्त्तव्य है कि वह सामाजिक न्याय दे, देश के धन का न्यायिक वितरण करे, अमीरी और गरीबी के अंतर को कम करे, सबको शिक्षा का अवसर दे और सबके लिए उपयुक्त रोज़गार मुहैया करे | परन्तु देखा जा रहा है सब कुछ इसके विपरीत ही हो रहा है | जिस अनुपात में अमीरी बढ़ रही है उसी अनुपात में गरीबी भी बढ़ रही है | बेरोज़गारी दिन प्रतिदिन बढ़ रही है| सामाजिक न्याय तो कहीं दिखता नहीं है | केवल वोट बटोरने के लिए सरकारी खजाने से धन लुटाया जा रहा है जिसका अधिकांश हिस्सा राजनीतिज्ञों और सरकारी सेवकों की जेब में जाता है | कुछ हिस्सा निकम्मों के हाथ भी लग जाता है जो उनको और निकम्मा बना देता है | मुफ्त में मछली बांटी जा रही है बजाय इसके कि लोगों को मछली मारना सिखाया जाय जिससे वे जीविकोपार्जन स्वयं कर सकें | हमारे यहाँ चींटी और ग्रास हापर का किस्सा बिलकुल सटीक बैठ रहा है | चींटी दिन रात काम कर के बुरे वख्त के लिए घर बनाती है और उसमें खाने की सामग्री रखती है | ग्रास हापर महोदय कुछ नहीं करते केवल मस्त घूमते रहते है | जब बरसात आती है तो भीगने लगते है, खाने को कुछ नहीं मिलता और भूखे सोना पड़ता है | आज के सामाजिक न्याय देने वालों को बहुत गुस्सा आता है कि यह क्या कि एक तो पेट भर खाना खाकर घर में आराम से सोये और दूसरा भूखा रहे और भीगे | वे सामाजिक न्याय के आधार पर चींटी को आदेश देते हैं कि बाहर आओ, ग्रास हापर को पेट भर भोजन दो और घर में सोने दो | ग्रास हापर से नहीं पूछते कि उसने श्रम करके भोजन क्यों नहीं इकठ्ठा किया और छप्पर क्यों नहीं बनाया | अगले साल फिर वही होता है | चींटी देश छोड़कर अमरीका के सिलिकॉन सिटी में जा बसी और वहां आराम से रह रही है | ग्रास हापर महोदय हर साल बरसात में भीगते हैं और भूखे सोते हैं |
  • मेरे मत में यदि गरीबी कम करनी है तो चुनी गयी सरकारें राजनैतिक, सामाजिक और आर्थिक नीतियाँ बनाते समय ऊपर के चींटी और हापर के किस्से से सीख लें, सामाजिक न्याय सही दिशा में दें और निकम्मों को और निकम्मा न बनायें | यह सबको विदित है कि वर्तमान की सामाजिक न्याय देने वाली योजनाओं ने भला तो कुछ नहीं किया बल्कि युवा वर्ग को निकम्मा ही बनाया है और भ्रष्टाचार को बढ़ावा दिया है | इसलिए ऐसी स्कीमों के बजाय सबसे पहले तो समय समय पर गाँव में कैंप लगाये जाएँ जिनके माध्यम से उन्हें स्वावलम्बी बनने की नसीहत दी जाय | उनमे आत्म गौरव जगाएं और खुद्दारी की भावना जाग्रत करें | उनको कोई धन इत्यादि बगैर मेहनत के न दें और उनके परिश्रम में अवश्य मदद करें | उनकी शिक्षा प्रणाली ऐसी होनी चाहिए कि वे किसी पर निर्भर न रहे और अपने पौरुष से ही अपना जीविकोपार्जन करने की प्रवृत्ति उनमे बढ़े | किसी के आसरे रहने की प्रवृत्ति को कम किया जाय | उनके स्वास्थय के लिए व्यवस्था गाँव में ही हो और उन्हें छोटी बीमारी के लिए शहर न आना पड़े |
  • गाँवों को इतना समृद्ध बनाया जाये कि गाँव वाले जब तक कोई मजबूरी न हो शहर की ओर न देखें | शहर वालों को यदि उनकी आवश्यकता हो तो वे गाँव जाएँ जैसे सॉफ्टवेर के लिए पश्चिमी देश भारत आ रहें हैं | गाँव में आज के दिन उपयुक्त स्कूल नहीं हैं, उचित अस्पताल नहीं हैं, उद्योग नहीं हैं, टेकनोलोजी नहीं है, बिजली नहीं है, उपयुक्त पानी के साधन नहीं हैं, उपयुक्त सड़कें नहीं हैं इत्यादि | यह सब मोहैया किये जाएँ | वर्ष २०१४ में केन्द्र में नयी सरकार आई, सारे सांसदों से अपेक्षा की गयी कि गाँव के उत्थान के लिए वे अपने अपने क्षेत्र में एक एक गाँव को गोद लें और उनका उत्थान करें परन्तु देखने में कुछ नहीं आ रहा है | यह तो सही है कि सब गाँव वाले टाटा बिडला अम्बानी अदानी नहीं बन सकते परन्तु लोअर मिडिल क्लास के अनुरूप जीवन तो व्यतीत कर ही सकते हैं यदि उनके लिए उपरोक्त साधन उपलब्ध किये जाएँ | मगर यह तभी हो सकेगा जब राजनैतिक इच्छा शक्ति हो | यदि राजनीतिज्ञ गाँव वालों को बंधक वोटर ही बनाकर रखना चाहते हैं तो कुछ नहीं हो सकता |
  • आज की परिस्थितियों में जब तक उपरोक्त व्यवस्थाएं नहीं हो सकें तब तक इतना तो किया जा सकता है कि गाँव गाँव में मोबाइल स्कूल भेजे जाएँ जिसमें उत्कृष्ट अध्यापक हों जो गाँव के बच्चों को सही शिक्षा दें, उनका चरित्र निर्माण करें, उन्हें सही और गलत में भेद करना सिखाएं और पाप एवं पुण्य का संज्ञान कराएँ | साथ ही साथ देश में क्या हो रहा है उसका भी उन्हें बोध कराएँ, टेकनोलोजी सिखाएं और व्यवसाय की सूझ बूझ दें | उनके कौशल का उत्थान करें और उन्हें एक अछा नागरिक बनने की प्रेरणा दें | उनमें राष्ट्रभावना उत्पन्न की जाय | चिकित्सा के लिए गाँव गाँव में निश्चित दिन मोबाइल मेडिकल वेन भेजे जाएँ जो पूर्ण रूप से सुसज्जित हों और जिसमें कुशल डॉक्टर हों | जब हमारी कार की पूरी सर्विसिंग हमारे घर में हो जाती है तो मोबाइल मेडिकल वेन गाँव क्यों नहीं भेजे जा सकते? केवल सोच और लगन की आवश्यकता है | हम नहीं कहते कि गाँव में यूनिवर्सिटी, डिग्री कॉलेज, मेडिकल कॉलेज, एन्जिनियरिंग कालेज इत्यादि खोले जाएँ | मेरा केवल यह मानना है कि गाँव में ही टेक्निकल इंस्टिट्यूट खोले जाएँ जिनमे वोकेशनल ट्रेनिंग दी जाय जिससे गाँव के बच्चों को ऐसी शिक्षा के लिए शहर न जाना पड़े | एक तो गाँव वाले शहरी खर्चा उठा नहीं पाते हैं और दूसरी ओर शहर में जाकर बच्चों के बिगड़ने की संभावना बढ़ जाती है | इसके आलावा शहरीकरण भी कम होगा और शहरों की पर्यावरण इत्यादि की समस्याएं भी कम होंगी | गाँव में छोटे छोटे उद्योग खोले जाएँ जिससे गाँव वालों को गाँव में ही जीविकोपार्जन का साधन मिले |
  • शहर में जो गरीब हैं उनके लिए आवास योजना बने जिससे वे स्वच्छ वातावरण में रह सकें और बीमार कम पड़ें | उनकी न्यूनतम मजदूरी इतनी निर्धारित की जाय जिससे वे गरीबी रेखा से ऊपर रह सकें | ये न्यूनतम मजदूरी समय समय पर उसी अनुपात में बढे जिस अनुपात में मंहगाई बढती है और सरकारी कर्चारिओं का मंहगाई भत्ता बढ़ता है | इनके कल्याण के लिए एक कल्याण निधि बनायीं जाय जिससे इन्हें बीमारी में इलाज और इनकी बीमारी के दौरान इनके परिवार को भत्ता मिले | यदि अधिवक्ता कल्याण निधि बन सकती है जिसमे सरकार करोड़ों रुपये का अनुदान देती है तो गरीबों के लिए शहरों के उन मजदूरों के लिए जो किसी अधिनियम में मजदूर की संज्ञा में नहीं आते, कोई कल्याण निधि क्यों न बनायीं जाय | हांलाकि हर कंस्ट्रक्शन कॉन्ट्रैक्ट से मजदूर सेस वसूला जाता है जो मजदूर के कल्याण पर खर्चा जाता है, मगर सारे मजदूर कंस्ट्रक्शन कॉन्ट्रैक्ट में ही काम नहीं करते हैं | वे अन्य जगह भी काम करते हैं |

 

September 3, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Teachings of Srimad Bhagwat Gita

Introduction

Mahabharata and Ramayana are the two great epics of India. ‘Srimad Bhagwat Geeta’ is a part of Mahabharata – the 25th to 42nd chapters of Bhishma Parva of Mahabharata. In the entire Bhagwat Geeta, there are seven hundred stanzas and 18 chapters. The aim of Lord Krishna’s preaching was to pull out Arjuna from his dejection and despondency. In short, Krishna explains to Arjuna the principles of Reincarnation followed by Immorality. Immorality can be obtained by Karma. Stress is on Detachment and Equanimity. For achieving detachment or renunciation, Knowledge and intellect play an important role.

‘s

A Summary Of Bhagvat Gita

     By

           Justice Shanker Dayal Khare (Retd), Allahabad, 28.10.1975

INTRODUCTION

We seek happiness. We desire that happiness we sometimes feel may last for ever. Do we succeed? Do we get peace of mind?

Gita throws light on these subjects. We may find its philosophy interesting and useful. There is no harm in giving exercise to our minds in the same manner as we give yogic exercises to our bodies.

Philosophy is simple: – ‘Rely on (your own) Laws and Traditions. Keep on doing deeds as you have been doing them. Do your deeds without hesitation and with complete devotion towards God, and achieve what is generally achieved by such deeds.

Detachment is the doorway to self-realization and to have control over restless mind. If you want peace of mind try not to feel elated with the feeling that you are the doer of the deeds. Dedicate the results of all your deeds to God. Then you should not have any attachment towards the results of your deeds.

In that manner you should reach beyond the scope of the three qualities – (saintly, worldly lethargic).

Have complete faith in the Creator and He will help you in establishing such faith in Himself.

I shall feel happy if some people, like me, find this summary useful.

Allahabad                                                                                         S.D.Khare

28-10-75

                                                           CHAPTER ONE

                                                          DESPONDENCY

         After both the parties had drawn themselves up in battle array, Arjun, accompanied by Lord Krishna, went to the battle field to see those who have come to oppose the Pandavas (party with just cause) and to support Kaurvas (party with an unjust cause). For Arjun it was most disheartening to see that even his own kith and kin, and very near relations were supporting the unjust cause and opposing the just cause. Was it proper for him to fight all those people, who had come to oppose him? Arjun, in retrospect, said, “NO”. He observed that in such circumstances it was better to be killed than be the killer. The situation being very confusing Arjun asked for the advice of Lord Krishna.

                                                   CHAPTER TWO

                                         PROCESS OF REASONING

      Arjun was advised to put up a fight, because –

  1. Being a member of the fighting community it was his duty to fight for the right cause. In such a fight death secured Heaven and survival the pleasures of this world.
  2.  It was foolish to think of destroying others in the process. Soul is indestructible. None of the five elements (fire, air, water, earth or sky) is capable of destroying it. Body is, no doubt, destructible. This body, however, does not retain its original form or shape even during one life time. It keeps on changing from childhood to young age and from young age to old age. Death merely changes the form of the body.
  3. People regard you invincible. You shall fall in their estimates in case you refuse to fight. They shall call you a coward. That shall be worse than death.
  4. Why worry about the result of the fight? How can the result of any deed be controlled? It is always the best to do a deed and leave the result of the deed to God. That is a well recognized method (of doing deeds without feeling attached to them). It is par excellent. The practice of this method shall lead one to detachment and to the attainment of Salvation. Such deeds bear no fruits, piety or sin

       Arjun asked: – “Can a person firmly established in this method of doing deeds be spotted out?”

         Lord Krishna replied: – “Yes! Such a person is always fully satisfied with his own soul. Pleasure nor pain, good luck nor bad luck, can ever perturb him. He withdraws his senses from all objects of pleasure and is without any feeling of attachment, fear and anger. Control over mind and practice lead to such a state. Such person devotes himself fully towards God.”

 CHAPTER THREE

                                                      PROCESS OF DEEDS

       Arjun asked again: – “When acquisition of wisdom is supreme why should one do deeds, the results of some of which might be dreadful?”

        Lord Krishna replied: – The universe and the deeds were created at one and the same time. Everything has to be achieved through deeds. One’s quality determines the nature of one’s deeds. One’s existence even for a moment, is not possible without doing deeds.

      One should do only the natural and the prescribed deeds, that should keep him free from the feeling of attachment and envy.

       Arjun thereupon asked: – When people do deeds perforce (according their quality) why should those deeds saddle them with sins?”

       Lord Krishna replied: – Attachment and envy, born of worldly quality, lead people to partake in sin. Attachment has its abode in senses, mind and intellect. Attachment, with the help of all these three, eclipses wisdom. Senses are strong, mind is stronger and the intellect is strongest of the three. Soul is even more powerful than intellect.

          Concentrating on soul, taking the help of one’s intellect and controlling one’s mind and senses, one can destroy ATTACHMENT, which is the supreme enemy.

 CHAPTER FOUR

                                                           TRUE WISDOM

         “I had told about this method (of doing deeds without any feeling of attachment towards them) to Sun when the Universe started. Sun passed on that knowledge to some of his descendants. However for a very long time that method had been forgotten. The same method is repeats to you, my devotee.”

         Arjun asked how Lord Krishna could be there at the time the universe started. The reply of Lord Krishna was: –

         “God and soul have always existed. God, however, revealed himself only in each era to give relief to the pious minded and destroy the evil-minded. The apparent birth and deeds of God Almighty are most unusual.

           Four classifications have been made for the doers of all sorts of deeds. The scriptures (Vedas) contain a description of different kinds of deeds. The attainment of True Knowledge is the ultimate aim of all such deeds. True knowledge can be attained only by devotion service and honest questioning. Those who have already acquired true knowledge must guide others. True knowledge is like a huge ball of fire. It destroys the feeling of attachment and burns out all sins, which are merely the results of attachment. The soul which has acquired True Knowledge gets absolute peace and qualifies for God realization.

               After being free from the feeling of attachment and envy, one should remain content with whatever comes in stride. Happiness or unhappiness, or attainment or nonattainmentof his objects should not stir him in the least.Ultimately he is bound to get absolute peace.

CHAPTER FIVE

                            OF DOING DEEDS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT

              Asked Arjun: – Which of the two is better – the Process of Reasoning or the Process of Deeds?”

             The reply was: – Both are equally good and lead to the same result. However the Process of Deeds may be said to be the better of the two. True Knowledge can also be acquired by means of Deeds done without any feeling of attachment. When a person has full control over his mind and body, when his soul has become pure and when he is totally bereft of ego and remains unattached while doing deeds, he can not be bound down to the fruits of his deeds and can never commit any sin. He attains peace.

             The doer of deeds without any feeling of attachment keeps on doing deeds for the purification of his soul, but all the time his senses, mind, body and intellect remain free from attachment.

           One must consider everybody alike and remain moderate inhabit and behavior. He must remain firm in his belief and strive hard to attain True Knowledge.

         The attainment of salvation leads to unending peace and happiness. The quest for worldly pleasures is futile. Worldly pleasures are innumerable, perishable and in themselves sourses of unhappiness. Only those persons can attain peace who are free from the feeling of attachment and envy and who have control over their senses, mind, body and intellect.

CHAPTER SIX

                                                  UPLIFTING OF SOUL

               Lord Krishna said: – A person who does deeds without any feeling of attachment is both a Renouncer and a Doer of Deeds. A person, who has control over his senses, mind, body and intellect has no real interest in preserving or amassing wealth. His continuous effort is only to uplift the Soul.

               For purification of Soul practice has to be done in a proper manner. Everything (eating, sleeping. Rest) should be done in moderation. One’s state of mind should be that of a lamp kept at a place where there is no breeze. One must always have faith in his belief and should never feel bored. He is bound to discern the existence of the Supreme Being in all the objects.”

             Arjun observed: – “It is not easy to control one’s mind. To attain mastery in such practice must, therefore, be very very difficult”.

           The reply was: – “Yes! That is so. But by constant practice one may master it.”

             Asked Arjuna: – “That being a long and drawn out process, will not a person engaged in such practice get lost and annihilated in the same manner as a cloud, which disintegrates into nothing?”

            Lord Krishna replied: – “No. Each stage reached by constant practice, remains secure. One starts from that stage in the next birth.”

                                                         CHAPTER SEVEN

KNOWLEDGE DIVINE

             “The acquisition of no other knowledge can be compared to the attainment of Divine Knowledge. It is something grand. One should know what God is.

             Every person has two components – the body and the soul. The body is made up of eight elements (earth, water, air, sky, fire, mind, intellect and ego). The other component, which gives life to the system is different.

             God is the Creator and the Destroyer of the entire universe. God is present in all the objects. Even the feelings, which beget the three qualities (Saintly, worldly and lethargic) are created by God. A grand illusion is the result of the interplay of these qualities. No one can escape that illusion unless he worships God continuously. One, whose wisdom is eclipsed by illusion, does not worship God.

             Four kinds of people worship God. These are of: –

  1. People in quest of worldly objects,
  2. People anxious to avert unhappy events,
  3. People desirous of knowing God, and
  4. People whose every deed is dedicated to God.

Out of them the fourth class is the best.

                People desirous of getting rid of the pangs of rebirth and death must depend only on God.Their faith in Him must be firm.Such a person is not likely to forget God even at the time of his death.

CHAPTER EIGHT

                                                COMMUNION WITH GOD

             “A person, who can manage to remember God even at the time of his death, attain salvation. What one thinks during the last moments of his life, determines his status after death. A person, who can restrain his senses from drifting towards the objects of pleasure, who stations his mind firmly in his heart, and his life force in his forehead, who remains firmly established in such practice, thinks of God only and, at the time of his death pronounce His name (OM) is bound to attain Salvation.

           The doer of deeds with feeling of attachment towards them can go upto heaven only. He returns to earth after the effect of his pious deeds is over. But one who attains Salvation is not born again. The stage of salvation can be reached only by continuous practice and devotion.

             What is time? One day of Supreme Being is equivalent to one thousand eras. Similarly one night of the Supreme Being is also equal to one thousand eras. The Universe was created when the day of the Supreme Being started. It shall get annihilated when the night of Supreme Being starts. The process shall keep on repeating. The Supreme Being alone is undestructable.

               There are two clear-cut paths – one leading to God and other leading to ancestors. A doer of deeds, without any feeling of attachment, takes the first path and does not come back to earth. A doer of deeds with a feeling of attachment takes to the second path and comes back to the earth.

               A person, who fully knows all this, does not get attached to the results of his deeds. He continuously exercises his mind for the attainment of God. The attainment of this True Knowledge is far Superior to the knowledge of the Sacred Scripts and the doing of penance and charity.”

CHAPTER NINE

                                   SUPREME FAITH… MOST SACRED

               “The Supreme faith is the king of all other faiths. It is most sacred, very pure, very nice, consistent with everybody’s code of conduct, easy to follow, good for all times and capable of yielding quick results.

                 The entire universe is full of the Supreme Being in the same manner as ice is full of water. However, neither the Supreme Being is stationed in worldly objects nor are the worldly objects stationed in the Supreme Being.

                 The Supreme Being is the creator of all worldly objects. It holds them and feeds them. But the Supreme Being is not Stationed in them. To affirm that all the objects are stationed in the Supreme Being is tantamount to affirming that air is stationed in the sky.

                 The grand illusion, which is the creation of the inter-ply of the three qualities (saintly, worldly and lethargic), coupled with the Grace of God create all worldly objects.

                   Foolish people, relying on vain hopes, indulging in vain deeds, and attaining vain knowledge, acquire the quality of the demons. They feel attracted by those qualities and adopt them. But saintly people, being of saintly quality, do not do so. On the other hand they worship God with full faith and devotion – either with the feeling of oneness with God, or with a variety of other feelins, such as of master and servant or of the lover and the beloved.

                   The doer of deeds with a feeling of attachment towards the deeds worships god of his choice and attains his object soon. He can even reach heaven. Ultimately he must return to earth. One worshipping god with full faith attains Salvation. God helps him in establishing his faith in Him.

                   Faith and continuous devotion turn one into perfect saint. Even a worst sinner may hope to become a saint.”

CHAPTER TEN

                                                         GOD’S GLORY

                     “God is the creator of all and, therefore, no one can know about the origin of God. It was as a result of a resolve of God that the seven Rishis, the four Sankads and the fourteen Manus, all who control this world, were created. Even the feelings such as wisdom, forgiveness, happiness, power of control over senses and contentment have been created by God.

                       It is only with the help of one’s own soul stationed in his own heart that he may realize God. God is the beginning, the middle and the end of all. One may realize God by looking at things that are remarkable, full of glory and full of power. All such objects have been created by a fragment of God’s glory. The grand illusion created by him holds the entire universe.

                               Thus one may reaize the glory of God by thinking of Varun amongst the sons of Aditya, of Sun amongst astrologers, of Shanker amongst the eleven Rudras, of fire amongst the eight Vasus, of sea amongst water, of king amongst men and so on.

                       The act of continuously repeating the name of God is the king of all the deeds.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

                                                     GOD REALIZATION

Asked Arjun: – Is it possible that I may see you in your true form with all your power, grace and Glory?”

The reply was: – “Yes. But not with the mortal eyes. You can see Me with the divine eyes bestowed by Me.”

The Form then revealed to Arjun had many faces and many eyes. It consisted of a variety of strange forms, all dressed in divine apparels, fully decorated and armed with all sorts of weapons. The entire form looked strange and Limitless. All over it was divine perfume. The brilliance of one thousand suns put together could hardly equal its brilliance. All parts of the universe could be seen in that Form. The Supreme Being, the Rishis and the divine serpants were also in that Form. One could neither see nor perceive its beginning, its middle and its end. Arjun described it thus: –

“I cannot see its beginning, its middle or its end. Eyes are like Sun and Moon. Mouths are like burning fires. It contains the Earth, the Heaven, the intervening sky and all the directions. Everybody is getting afraid after seeing this Limitless Form. It has many facets, is very bright and touches the sky. All that can be seen around is annihilation. All the known warriors are seen entering its fierce mouths and getting perished therein. Who are you?” asked Arjun.

The reply was: – “I am Time (the destroyer) and am here to annihilate this world. All these warriors are bound to be killed. Be the means, attain victory and rule your kingdom.”

Arjun told Lord Krishna that like others he too had lost his bearings and was not finding peace and solace. He requested him to show his Chaturbhuj (Human with four hands) Form.

Lord Krishna revealed to him his Chaturbhuj Form also and told him that none had seen it before and none of two forms could be seen by Penance, Charity, practice or knowledge of scriptures.

CHAPTER TWELVE

                                                     PERFECT DEVOTION

Arjun asked: – “What is better … worship of the abstract or the worship of God after ascribing him a Form?”

The reply was: – “The first is more advanced form of meditation andtherefore, more difficult. People, who themselves have forms, find it easier to worship God after ascribing to Him a Form. Otherwise both the methods are correct.

There is yet another method which is simpler and easier. Have perfect faith in God, devote yourself to God and dedicate all your deeds to God. Very soon you will be relieved from this turmoil of the sea of death.

Try to have perfect devotion with the aid of Mind and intellect. Mind should be applied towards devotion by continuous practice. If that process is difficult try to do all your deeds for the sake of God only. If you find that process also difficult try to feel no attachment towards the results of the deeds. That, by itself, will result in the attainment of peace.

Do not think ill of others. Have love for others without regard of personal gain. There should be no ego. Happiness and unhappiness should be considered alike. Try to forgive even your enemy. Be content. Have control over senses, mind and body.Have absolute faith in God and fully devote your mind and intellect to Him.

Do not stir commotion in others. Do not permit others to stir any commotion in you. Be free from ambition and grief. Do not take sides. Complete the work for which you are destined.

Avoid feeling exceedingly happy about anything. Avoid feeling envious. Have no desire. Never repent. Leave the fruits… good or bad … of all your deeds to God.

Remain steady whether you be among friends or amongst enemies. Regard honour or dishonor alike. Have no craving for heat or cold, happiness or unhappiness. Be free from attachment. Regard praise and abuse alike. Remain content. Have a steady mind. That should be your code of conduct.”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

                                   BODY AND SOUL…. DIFFERENCE

                             “So many questions crop up. What are you? Are you the body or are you the soul? Is your body part of something bigger, brighter and better? Why has it been separated from bigger body? Where in lies the salvation of soul?

                             What is body? What is soul? How body and soul get together? What is the cause of rebirth?

                               True knowledge is to know the answers of these questions.                                 The body consists of five elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky), ego plus intellect plus the illusion created by the interplay of the three qualities (Saintly. Worldly and Lethargic), plus ten organs (skin, smell, taste, speech, ears, eyes, hands, feet, genital organs and anus), plus the feelings (desire, jealousy, happiness, unhappiness, awareness and aim), plus rest of the body. The forms may be different, but these component parts in each body are the same.

                                It is the Supreme Being, who puts life into the body. The Supreme Being has no beginning and no end and is beyond the scope of three qualities and the ten senses enumerated above. But He knows their working. The Supreme Being is all pervading but without any (feeling of) attachment. It is all pervading like the sky or the rays of the sun.

                               Life is created when the Supreme Being comes into contact with body. The part of the Supreme Being that enters body, gets attached to the body by means of the three qualities (saintly, worldly, Lethargic) to which it has become firmly attached.

                             The Supreme Being is beyond the scope and the influence of the aforesaid three qualities. The separate flame of life (soul) in order to be one with the Supreme Being, has to attain similar status – it has also to reach beyond the scope of three qualities. Then only the Salvation is possible.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

                                  DIVISION INTO THREE QUALITIES

                            “What is your aim?” True wisdom or right course of action? If that be so follow the course of saintly quality and all that it implies. It will lead you to contentment and wisdom. After death you shall attain Heaven and coming back to this earth you shall be born in good family.

                               In case your aim is to attain worldly objects follow the course of ‘Worldly’ quality and attain all it implies. It will create greed in you, make you work hard for the attainment of your objects. Take you through the illusion of success and ultimately leave you unhappy. After death you eill be born amongst the people of the same quality.

                               In case you cannot raise yourself beyond useless efforts and seek lethargic or idle pleasure, follow the course of ‘Lethargic’ quality and all that it implies. If you die in that stage, you may be born low, even as an insect or a cattle.

                               By making effort you can change over from one quality to another. Suppress ‘worldly’ quality and ‘Lethargic quality in yourself and you will attain ‘Saintly’ quality in abundance. Similarly if you suppress the ‘saintly” quality and the ‘Lethargic’ quality in yourself, you will get the ‘worldly quality in abundance. Suppress both the ‘saintly’ quality and the ‘worldly’ quality in yourself and much of what would be left in you would be the ‘Lethargic’ quality.

                               If your aim is to achieve Supreme Nectar, Supreme righteousness and the everlasting Bliss, try to be one with God. For that you have got to leave the feeling of attachment behind and go beyond the ambit of the three qualities. One need not hate or despise any of these three qualities. However, to be one with God and attain everlasting Bliss, one has just to leave them behind.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

                              TO BE ONE WITH THE SUPREME BEING

                     “If you have a look at the tree of life, you will find everything tipsy tarvy. The roots are above and the branches are below. Down below, the growth is luxurious and it spreads in all directions. But there is no firmness in the branches.

                     The root is the Supreme Being. The branches, spreading downwards, are watered by the three qualities and their growth reaches all directions.

                     The main branches are of saintly people, of worldly people and of Lethargic people, Desire, attachment and ego keep the people of each branch fastened to their own branch, and its subsidiary growths. The directions of these growths is determined by the deeds of the people. Mind and senses are the feeders of these branches.

                   One should never forget his main root and keep on thinking what is best for him. He should prune all the unnecessary growths. For that the only weapon available is the feeling of non attachment. After having finished the pruning you shall be able to concentrate on the main root.

                 Soul is eternal. Body is perishable. God alone is worth knowing. Take the help of scriptures, purify yourself and make further effort. It is only then that you can attain True Knowledge. Without purifying oneself it is not possible to attain True Knowledge. Effort otherwise is useless.

                       After one has got away from the unrealities of life and become one with the Supreme Being, there can be no rebirth.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

                               NATURE …DIVINE AND DEMONLIKE

“One should always act according to Laws and Traditions, and take their guidance, otherwise nothing shall be achieved. The feelings of attachment, greed and anger are tree doors that lead to Hell. Avoid them.

                         The saintly nature consists of :- (1) Fearlessness, (2) Cleanliness of mind and body, (3) Devotion towards God, (4) Acquisition of true knowledge, (5) Suppression of the senses, (6) Study of scriptures, (7) Recitation of God’s name, (8) Taking pain in following one’s own code of conduct, (9) Simplicity of mind, inner self and senses, (10)Non-violence in all its forms, (11) Speaking Truth in a pleasant manner, (12) Absense of anger, (13) Non attachment, (14) Peace of mind, (15) Not speaking ill of others, (16) Kindness towards all, (17) Forgiveness, (18) Patience, (19) Lack of ego and (20) Feeling ashamed while doing something against Laws or Traditions.

                     The demon-like nature manifests itself in (1) the show off, (2) pride, (3) ego, (4) anger, (5) harsh words, (6) lack of knowledge and (7) falsehood.

                     People having the nature of demons think that there is no one on whom they can rely, that the world is without any Truth and without any Supreme Being, that the main object of life is to enjoy, and it is because men and women get together that children are born. The acquisition of wealth is their main aim and they are unmindful of the means, which may be fair or foul. They remain very attached towards the results of their deeds. They remain tied down to the ropes of vain hopes. They seek happiness but in its place they get worry and restlessness. They feel that they are strong and shall be able to subjugate their enemies. They consider themselves superior to others. They act even against Laws and traditions. They are sinful and cruel towards others. They are the cause of their own degradation and go down towards dirty Hell.

                   Saintly Nature leads to Salvation and demon like nature to bondage.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

                                                 THREE KINDS OF FAITH

                   Arjun asked, “Why is it that one should act according to Laws and Traditions? Is perfect faith and devotion not quite enough? What is the quality of a person having perfect faith and devotion?

                   Lord Krishna replied: – Perfect faith (confidence) or devotion (sincerity) is a must for the achievement of any object…be it for this world or for the next. It is better if it is of saintly quality. The quality of a person determines also the nature of his faith and devotion. A saintly person, while doing deeds according to his own code of conduct, follows Laws and Traditions.

                Food habits and deeds of persons of three different qualities are of three different kinds. A saintly person will eat person will eat saintly food, do saintly deeds, penance and charity and have saintly faith and devotion. A worldly quality will eat worldly food, do worldly deeds, penance and charity, and have worldly faith and devotion. A person of Lethargic quality will prefer food creating lethargy, do lethargic deeds, penance and charity and lethargic faith and devotion. Thus the faith and devotion of persons of each class will differ materially from the faith and devotion of other two classes. In each sphere a member of any particular class will follow the pattern of his own quality.

                 The Supreme Being is called by three names. When a good deed is started in His name, He is called “Om”. When one dedicates his deeds to God, he calls Him by the name “Tat”. In ultimate analysis, the name of the Supreme Being is “Sat” (Truth).

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

                                        SALVATION BY RENUNCIATION

                  “There need not be renunciation of deeds. It is enough if renunciation is of the feeling (1) that one himself is the door of the deeds and (2) of attachment towards the results of the deeds. This latter kind of renunciation is excellent and most desirable.

                   Penance and Charity, being good acts, need not be given up. Such acts, if done in a saintly manner, purify the inner self. Other deeds may have defects. But they too need not be given up. It is enough if the feeling of attachment towards the results of those deeds is given up. And renounced. There after those deeds become non-deeds and yield no result – nether piety nor sin.

                   Even the renunciation of the feeling of attachment towards the results of the deeds is of three kinds. Similarly the deeds, the doer, the intellect, the aim and the happiness are of three kinds each.

                   If doing a saintly deed, there is no pride in the doer, and there is no wish for the results of the deeds. It is done without any feeling of attachment and without any anger.

                     The effect of these three qualities on the Society has been to divide it into four classes – the intelligentsia, the warrior class, the traders and the doers of rough work. The work of each class is different, but in itself, it is neither good nor bad. Any person, to whatever classification, he belongs, may attain salvation while doing deeds according to his own code of conduct. The method, which shall have to be adopted, is to convert deeds into non-deeds by giving up the feeling of attachment towards the results of his deeds. When that stage is reached, the deed of that person will turn into a big zero resulting for him neither in piety nor in sin.

                         As long as one confines himself to deeds strictly in accordance with his own code of conduct, he cannot commit any sin. However, if he tries to deeds according to the code of conduct meant for others, all that he will experience is fear. One should follow well his own code of conduct. That is the easiest method of achieving salvation.

                       Remain unattached and thereby convert all your deeds into non deeds, acquire pure wisdom, lead quiet and healthy life, eat light food, be the master of your mind, body and speech, give up anger, control the inner-self and devote yourself to God. Give up pride, reliance on body force, ego, desire and anger. Thus, even while doing all sorts of deeds according to your own code of conduct, you shall attain inner peace and ultimately salvation.”

                       Closing the sermon, Lord Krishna asked: – “Have you got rid of your false notions? You will not be able to rise above your inherent quality because of these false notions. You are of warrior class and that quality of yours will assert itself and lead you to war.

                         Listen to my teachings once again. Think of me alone. Have faith only in Me. Have respect for Me always. I love you, I promise that ultimately you shall attain salvation.”

                         Arjun replied: – “All my false notions are gone. I have become wise. I shall act as directed by you.”

…………….

Note 1 – Karma Yog leads to Yoga Budhhi (True intellect) and Yoga Budhhi to Sankhya Budhhi (Salvation). Karma Yog includes in itself – (1) Balanced mind (Samatva Budhhi), (2) Path of righteousness (Sva-dharma Buddhi), (3) Devotion (Samarpan Budhhi), work not to satisfy ones own ego or anybody else’s, (4) Detatchment (Asang Budhhi) and (5) Whatever comes, accept it (Prasaad Buddhi).

Note 2 –  Gita prescribes for ‘action’/’deed’ combined with intellect. There are choices before human beings – take action with developed mind/intellect or action with weak mind, bridled with desire, based on emotion, impulse, hatred, greed and selfishness. It quite often leads to agitation/aggression and discontent. Intellect needs to be developed to make mind rational. A mind governed by intellect makes a person calm and content.

Note 3 – Dr. K. V. Swaminathan, an eminent Scientist, Engineer, Technocrat engaged in Technology transfer and above all a man well-versed in the knowledge of the Holy book of Hindus, ‘Bhagwat Gita’ has analyzed and synthesized Gita in just 37 verses. These are grouped in three parts.

A set of nine principles can be chosen, each explaining a principle to be learnt from Gita, are put in the pack of 27 stanzas selected from the 573 stanzas from Gita. These nine principles are inherent in Hindu philosophy. The foundation is laid for doing one’s duty. In each segment, the three stanzas selected come from different chapters of Gita. The principle in the first stanza of each segment is reinforced by the following two stanzas –

  • Devotion
  • Recognition of the greatness
  • Reincarnation
  • Immortality
  • Action/Karma
  • Detachment
  • Equanimity
  • Knowledge
  • Intellect

It tells that senses are superior to the body, mind is superior to the senses and knowledge or intellect is superior to the mind. It tells : Knowledge is better than ‘abhyas’ (practice) meditation is  better than knowledge and renunciation of the fruits of action is still better than meditation because peace immediately follows.

The first part consists of 7 stanzas, which he called ‘Sapta Sloka Bhagwad Gita’. These are the first stanzas of Dhritrashtra (pronounces only one stanza in the entire Gita of 700 stanzas), Sanjaya, Arjun and Lord Krishna together with the last stanzas of Lord Krishna, Arjuna and Sanjaya.

These seven stanzas briefly states : Dritrashtra asks Sanjay to report what is happening at the battle field; Sanjay immediately starts reporting; Arjuna asks to place his chariot in the middle of the battlefield and on seeing those arrayed Arjuna is choked with emotion and refuses to fight; Lord Krishna admonishes him for his feebleness and advises him in great length about his duties; Lord then asks him whether he has understood what he had advised him. Arjuna responds that he has recovered from his delusion and is now ready to fight; ans Sanjay concludes predicting victory where Lord Krishna will be there.

The principal lessons to be learnt from Bhagwad Gita and come out of delusion are a set of nine principles as following –

  1. Principle of non-duality – The ‘Creator’ (God) and the ‘Creation (every living thing in this world) is an integral part of the same ‘Parmatma’/God/Creator, therefore inter-linked.
  2. Reincarnation – (described in stanzas – 22nd of II Chapter, 43rd of VI Chapter 19th of VII Chapter) After several births and deaths of body, one can reach a state of immortality. A person is reborn depending on his deeds of previous birth.
  3. Immortality/Salvation – (Stanza 9 of Chapter IV, Stanza 13 of Chapter VIII and Stanza 12 of Chapter XIII) The final objective of all humans is to reach to the state of ‘Moksha’ or immortality – getting free from the cycle of multiple rebirths and deaths. In order to reach that status, one should do one’s duties.
  4. Karma –  (Stanza 47 of II Chapter, 11 of V chapter and 47 of XVII Chapter) This is perhaps the centre piece of Bhagwat Gita. Everyone has a role to play in ones life as per one’s karmas and destiny. One must know truth about action,  inaction and wrong action. Actions should be free from desire.While performing one’s duty/action, one should develop detachment – indicating, one should not bother for fruits of Action.
  5. Detachment – (Stanza 62 of Chapter II, Stanza 19 of Chapter III, and Stanza 22 of Chapter V) – Association with sense object breeds attachment, attachment begets desire and desire covers knowledge by passion and generates anger. Men are mislead or indulge themselves in wrong actions when their knowledge is covered by ignorance. By conquering mind, one can do his duties. Therefore he should constantly use his mind and intellect and keep himself free from desires or expect fruits of action.
  6. Equanimity – (Stanza 14 of Chapter II, Stanza 22 of Chapter IV and Stanza 7 of chapter IV) Contact of senses with objects create feelings like cold and heat, pain or pleasures. These feelings are temporary in  nature. By conquering the Mind One should try to be equanimous by overcoming the influence of the “pair of opposites” like heat or cold; pleasure or pain and honor or dishonor. A person who is satisfied with what naturally comes by, can remain cool to success and failure of his action. A self-controlled person can overcome and remain unaffected by all pairs of opposites – pain and pleasure; or praise ridicule.
  7. Knowledge – (Stanza 42 of Chapter III, Stanza 35 of of Chapter IV and Stanza 16 of Chapter V) Desire is the enemy. It covers mind with passion. Passion is seated in sense organs, mind and even intellect. Therefore, one should first contrl the senses and all sinful passions. As per Gita, senses are superior to the body, mind is superior to the senses and knowledge or intellect is superior to the mind. (Stanza 42 of Chapter III)
  8. Renunciation – (Stanza 21 of Chapter IV, Stanza 13 of Chapter V and Stanza 12 of Chapter XII) Normally people worship God wishing for rewards. One should not seek fruits for actions. Wise persons know truth about action, inaction and wrong action. They conquer their minds and do not care for material objects, pleasures and desires. They do their duties and do not seek fruits for their actions. Gita tells: knowledge is better than abhyas (practice), meditation is better than knowledge and renunciation of the fruits of action is still better than meditation as peace immediately follows such renunciation. (Stanza 12 of Chapter XII)
  9. Four stages in life  – For living life fully and fruitfully and aging gracefully, everyone one has to pass through four stages of life and perform different duties in different stages of life – before marriage learning; married life raising a family as householder; delegation of authority to next generation and spending time in contemplation; and after fulfilling familial liabilities, complete detachment and renunciation of worldly pleasures. Detachment frees an individual from the fear of birth and death.
  10. Tolerance and acceptance/interdependence – Hindu philosophy values interdependence, acceptance and tolerance as – (a) It accepts that there are different paths leading to God and be humane; (b)It gives complete liberty to worship any god or goddess of their choice, as well as use their own methods of worship; (c)It does not impose its own codes of conduct on other faiths; (d) It is liberal enough to see atheism as a legitimate pursuit.
  11. Avatars – The Supreme power visits earth from time to time in some form to make human-beings free from evil and tend them follow virtue. So far, according to Hindu mythology human evolution began with Matsyavatar (fish), then to Kurma (tortoise));Varaha (wild boar); Narsimha (half animal half mam); Vamana (dwarf); Parushrama with axe (tool); Rama the Maryadapurusha; Krishna the playful and serious avatar; and ninth, Budha the enlightened one. It is now expecting 10th avatar in the form of Kalki, a genetically supreme bionic man. (Quoted from ‘Know your religion through its philosophy by Prakash Shesh, the Speaking tree, TOI, p. 20)

July 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summary of ‘Bhagwat-Gita’

A Summary Of Bhagvat Gita

     By

           Justice Shanker Dayal Khare (Retd), Allahabad, 28.10.1975

INTRODUCTION

We seek happiness. We desire that happiness we sometimes feel may last for ever. Do we succeed? Do we get peace of mind?

Gita throws light on these subjects. We may find its philosophy interesting and useful. There is no harm in giving exercise to our minds in the same manner as we give yogic exercises to our bodies.

Philosophy is simple: – ‘Rely on (your own) Laws and Traditions. Keep on doing deeds as you have been doing them. Do your deeds without hesitation and with complete devotion towards God, and achieve what is generally achieved by such deeds.

Detachment is the doorway to self-realization and to have control over restless mind. If you want peace of mind try not to feel elated with the feeling that you are the doer of the deeds. Dedicate the results of all your deeds to God. Then you should not have any attachment towards the results of your deeds.

In that manner you should reach beyond the scope of the three qualities – (saintly, worldly lethargic).

Have complete faith in the Creator and He will help you in establishing such faith in Himself.

I shall feel happy if some people, like me, find this summary useful.

Allahabad                                                                                         S.D.Khare

28-10-75

                                                           CHAPTER ONE

                                                          DESPONDENCY

         After both the parties had drawn themselves up in battle array, Arjun, accompanied by Lord Krishna, went to the battle field to see those who have come to oppose the Pandavas (party with just cause) and to support Kaurvas (party with an unjust cause). For Arjun it was most disheartening to see that even his own kith and kin, and very near relations were supporting the unjust cause and opposing the just cause. Was it proper for him to fight all those people, who had come to oppose him? Arjun, in retrospect, said, “NO”. He observed that in such circumstances it was better to be killed than be the killer. The situation being very confusing Arjun asked for the advice of Lord Krishna.

                                                   CHAPTER TWO

                                         PROCESS OF REASONING

      Arjun was advised to put up a fight, because –

  1. Being a member of the fighting community it was his duty to fight for the right cause. In such a fight death secured Heaven and survival the pleasures of this world.
  2.  It was foolish to think of destroying others in the process. Soul is indestructible. None of the five elements (fire, air, water, earth or sky) is capable of destroying it. Body is, no doubt, destructible. This body, however, does not retain its original form or shape even during one life time. It keeps on changing from childhood to young age and from young age to old age. Death merely changes the form of the body.
  3. People regard you invincible. You shall fall in their estimates in case you refuse to fight. They shall call you a coward. That shall be worse than death.
  4. Why worry about the result of the fight? How can the result of any deed be controlled? It is always the best to do a deed and leave the result of the deed to God. That is a well recognized method (of doing deeds without feeling attached to them). It is par excellent. The practice of this method shall lead one to detachment and to the attainment of Salvation. Such deeds bear no fruits, piety or sin

       Arjun asked: – “Can a person firmly established in this method of doing deeds be spotted out?”

         Lord Krishna replied: – “Yes! Such a person is always fully satisfied with his own soul. Pleasure nor pain, good luck nor bad luck, can ever perturb him. He withdraws his senses from all objects of pleasure and is without any feeling of attachment, fear and anger. Control over mind and practice lead to such a state. Such person devotes himself fully towards God.”

 CHAPTER THREE

                                                      PROCESS OF DEEDS

       Arjun asked again: – “When acquisition of wisdom is supreme why should one do deeds, the results of some of which might be dreadful?”

        Lord Krishna replied: – The universe and the deeds were created at one and the same time. Everything has to be achieved through deeds. One’s quality determines the nature of one’s deeds. One’s existence even for a moment, is not possible without doing deeds.

      One should do only the natural and the prescribed deeds, that should keep him free from the feeling of attachment and envy.

       Arjun thereupon asked: – When people do deeds perforce (according their quality) why should those deeds saddle them with sins?”

       Lord Krishna replied: – Attachment and envy, born of worldly quality, lead people to partake in sin. Attachment has its abode in senses, mind and intellect. Attachment, with the help of all these three, eclipses wisdom. Senses are strong, mind is stronger and the intellect is strongest of the three. Soul is even more powerful than intellect.

          Concentrating on soul, taking the help of one’s intellect and controlling one’s mind and senses, one can destroy ATTACHMENT, which is the supreme enemy.

 CHAPTER FOUR

                                                           TRUE WISDOM

         “I had told about this method (of doing deeds without any feeling of attachment towards them) to Sun when the Universe started. Sun passed on that knowledge to some of his descendants. However for a very long time that method had been forgotten. The same method is repeats to you, my devotee.”

         Arjun asked how Lord Krishna could be there at the time the universe started. The reply of Lord Krishna was: –

         “God and soul have always existed. God, however, revealed himself only in each era to give relief to the pious minded and destroy the evil-minded. The apparent birth and deeds of God Almighty are most unusual.

           Four classifications have been made for the doers of all sorts of deeds. The scriptures (Vedas) contain a description of different kinds of deeds. The attainment of True Knowledge is the ultimate aim of all such deeds. True knowledge can be attained only by devotion service and honest questioning. Those who have already acquired true knowledge must guide others. True knowledge is like a huge ball of fire. It destroys the feeling of attachment and burns out all sins, which are merely the results of attachment. The soul which has acquired True Knowledge gets absolute peace and qualifies for God realization.

               After being free from the feeling of attachment and envy, one should remain content with whatever comes in stride. Happiness or unhappiness, or attainment or non-attainment of his objects should not stir him in the least. Ultimately he is bound to get absolute peace.

CHAPTER FIVE

                            OF DOING DEEDS WITHOUT ATTACHMENT

              Asked Arjun: – Which of the two is better – the Process of Reasoning or the Process of Deeds?”

             The reply was: – Both are equally good and lead to the same result. However the Process of Deeds may be said to be the better of the two. True Knowledge can also be acquired by means of Deeds done without any feeling of attachment. When a person has full control over his mind and body, when his soul has become pure and when he is totally bereft of ego and remains unattached while doing deeds, he can not be bound down to the fruits of his deeds and can never commit any sin. He attains peace.

             The doer of deeds without any feeling of attachment keeps on doing deeds for the purification of his soul, but all the time his senses, mind, body and intellect remain free from attachment.

           One must consider everybody alike and remain moderate inhabit and behavior. He must remain firm in his belief and strive hard to attain True Knowledge.

         The attainment of salvation leads to unending peace and happiness. The quest for worldly pleasures is futile. Worldly pleasures are innumerable, perishable and in themselves sourses of unhappiness. Only those persons can attain peace who are free from the feeling of attachment and envy and who have control over their senses, mind, body and intellect.

CHAPTER SIX

                                                  UPLIFTING OF SOUL

               Lord Krishna said: – A person who does deeds without any feeling of attachment is both a Renouncer and a Doer of Deeds. A person, who has control over his senses, mind, body and intellect has no real interest in preserving or amassing wealth. His continuous effort is only to uplift the Soul.

               For purification of Soul practice has to be done in a proper manner. Everything (eating, sleeping. Rest) should be done in moderation. One’s state of mind should be that of a lamp kept at a place where there is no breeze. One must always have faith in his belief and should never feel bored. He is bound to discern the existence of the Supreme Being in all the objects.”

             Arjun observed: – “It is not easy to control one’s mind. To attain mastery in such practice must, therefore, be very very difficult”.

           The reply was: – “Yes! That is so. But by constant practice one may master it.”

             Asked Arjuna: – “That being a long and drawn out process, will not a person engaged in such practice get lost and annihilated in the same manner as a cloud, which disintegrates into nothing?”

            Lord Krishna replied: – “No. Each stage reached by constant practice, remains secure. One starts from that stage in the next birth.”

                                                         CHAPTER SEVEN

KNOWLEDGE DIVINE

             “The acquisition of no other knowledge can be compared to the attainment of Divine Knowledge. It is something grand. One should know what God is.

             Every person has two components – the body and the soul. The body is made up of eight elements (earth, water, air, sky, fire, mind, intellect and ego). The other component, which gives life to the system is different.

             God is the Creator and the Destroyer of the entire universe. God is present in all the objects. Even the feelings, which beget the three qualities (Saintly, worldly and lethargic) are created by God. A grand illusion is the result of the interplay of these qualities. No one can escape that illusion unless he worships God continuously. One, whose wisdom is eclipsed by illusion, does not worship God.

             Four kinds of people worship God. These are of: –

  1. People in quest of worldly objects,
  2. People anxious to avert unhappy events,
  3. People desirous of knowing God, and
  4. People whose every deed is dedicated to God.

Out of them the fourth class is the best.

                People desirous of getting rid of the pangs of rebirth and death must depend only on God. Their faith in Him must be firm. Such a person is not likely to forget God even at the time of his death.

CHAPTER EIGHT

                                                COMMUNION WITH GOD

             “A person, who can manage to remember God even at the time of his death, attain salvation. What one thinks during the last moments of his life, determines his status after death. A person, who can restrain his senses from drifting towards the objects of pleasure, who stations his mind firmly in his heart, and his life force in his forehead, who remains firmly established in such practice, thinks of God only and, at the time of his death pronounce His name (OM) is bound to attain Salvation.

           The doer of deeds with feeling of attachment towards them can go upto heaven only. He returns to earth after the effect of his pious deeds is over. But one who attains Salvation is not born again. The stage of salvation can be reached only by continuous practice and devotion.

             What is time? One day of Supreme Being is equivalent to one thousand eras. Similarly one night of the Supreme Being is also equal to one thousand eras. The Universe was created when the day of the Supreme Being started. It shall get annihilated when the night of Supreme Being starts. The process shall keep on repeating. The Supreme Being alone is un-destructable.

               There are two clear-cut paths – one leading to God and other leading to ancestors. A doer of deeds, without any feeling of attachment, takes the first path and does not come back to earth. A doer of deeds with a feeling of attachment takes to the second path and comes back to the earth.

               A person, who fully knows all this, does not get attached to the results of his deeds. He continuously exercises his mind for the attainment of God. The attainment of this True Knowledge is far Superior to the knowledge of the Sacred Scripts and the doing of penance and charity.”

CHAPTER NINE

                                   SUPREME FAITH… MOST SACRED

               “The Supreme faith is the king of all other faiths. It is most sacred, very pure, very nice, consistent with everybody’s code of conduct, easy to follow, good for all times and capable of yielding quick results.

                 The entire universe is full of the Supreme Being in the same manner as ice is full of water. However, neither the Supreme Being is stationed in worldly objects nor are the worldly objects stationed in the Supreme Being.

                 The Supreme Being is the creator of all worldly objects. It holds them and feeds them. But the Supreme Being is not Stationed in them. To affirm that all the objects are stationed in the Supreme Being is tantamount to affirming that air is stationed in the sky.

                 The grand illusion, which is the creation of the inter-ply of the three qualities (saintly, worldly and lethargic), coupled with the Grace of God create all worldly objects.

                   Foolish people, relying on vain hopes, indulging in vain deeds, and attaining vain knowledge, acquire the quality of the demons. They feel attracted by those qualities and adopt them. But saintly people, being of saintly quality, do not do so. On the other hand they worship God with full faith and devotion – either with the feeling of oneness with God, or with a variety of other feelins, such as of master and servant or of the lover and the beloved.

                   The doer of deeds with a feeling of attachment towards the deeds worships god of his choice and attains his object soon. He can even reach heaven. Ultimately he must return to earth. One worshipping god with full faith attains Salvation. God helps him in establishing his faith in Him.

                   Faith and continuous devotion turn one into perfect saint. Even a worst sinner may hope to become a saint.”

CHAPTER TEN

                                                         GOD’S GLORY

                     “God is the creator of all and, therefore, no one can know about the origin of God. It was as a result of a resolve of God that the seven Rishis, the four Sankads and the fourteen Manus, all who control this world, were created. Even the feelings such as wisdom, forgiveness, happiness, power of control over senses and contentment have been created by God.

                       It is only with the help of one’s own soul stationed in his own heart that he may realize God. God is the beginning, the middle and the end of all. One may realize God by looking at things that are remarkable, full of glory and full of power. All such objects have been created by a fragment of God’s glory. The grand illusion created by him holds the entire universe.

                               Thus one may realize the glory of God by thinking of Varun amongst the sons of Aditya, of Sun amongst astrologers, of Shanker amongst the eleven Rudras, of fire amongst the eight Vasus, of sea amongst water, of king amongst men and so on.

                       The act of continuously repeating the name of God is the king of all the deeds.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

                                                     GOD REALIZATION

Asked Arjun: – Is it possible that I may see you in your true form with all your power, grace and Glory?”

The reply was: – “Yes. But not with the mortal eyes. You can see Me with the divine eyes bestowed by Me.”

The Form then revealed to Arjun had many faces and many eyes. It consisted of a variety of strange forms, all dressed in divine apparels, fully decorated and armed with all sorts of weapons. The entire form looked strange and Limitless. All over it was divine perfume. The brilliance of one thousand suns put together could hardly equal its brilliance. All parts of the universe could be seen in that Form. The Supreme Being, the Rishis and the divine serpents were also in that Form. One could neither see nor perceive its beginning, its middle and its end. Arjun described it thus: –

“I cannot see its beginning, its middle or its end. Eyes are like Sun and Moon. Mouths are like burning fires. It contains the Earth, the Heaven, the intervening sky and all the directions. Everybody is getting afraid after seeing this Limitless Form. It has many facets, is very bright and touches the sky. All that can be seen around is annihilation. All the known warriors are seen entering its fierce mouths and getting perished therein. Who are you?” asked Arjun.

The reply was: – “I am Time (the destroyer) and am here to annihilate this world. All these warriors are bound to be killed. Be the means, attain victory and rule your kingdom.”

Arjun told Lord Krishna that like others he too had lost his bearings and was not finding peace and solace. He requested him to show his Chaturbhuj (Human with four hands) Form.

Lord Krishna revealed to him his Chaturbhuj Form also and told him that none had seen it before and none of two forms could be seen by Penance, Charity, practice or knowledge of scriptures.

CHAPTER TWELVE

                                                     PERFECT DEVOTION

Arjun asked: – “What is better … worship of the abstract or the worship of God after ascribing him a Form?”

The reply was: – “The first is more advanced form of meditation and therefore, more difficult. People, who themselves have forms, find it easier to worship God after ascribing to Him a Form. Otherwise both the methods are correct.

There is yet another method which is simpler and easier. Have perfect faith in God, devote yourself to God and dedicate all your deeds to God. Very soon you will be relieved from this turmoil of the sea of death.

Try to have perfect devotion with the aid of Mind and intellect. Mind should be applied towards devotion by continuous practice. If that process is difficult try to do all your deeds for the sake of God only. If you find that process also difficult try to feel no attachment towards the results of the deeds. That, by itself, will result in the attainment of peace.

Do not think ill of others. Have love for others without regard of personal gain. There should be no ego. Happiness and unhappiness should be considered alike. Try to forgive even your enemy. Be content. Have control over senses, mind and body. Have absolute faith in God and fully devote your mind and intellect to Him.

Do not stir commotion in others. Do not permit others to stir any commotion in you. Be free from ambition and grief. Do not take sides. Complete the work for which you are destined.

Avoid feeling exceedingly happy about anything. Avoid feeling envious. Have no desire. Never repent. Leave the fruits… good or bad … of all your deeds to God.

Remain steady whether you be among friends or amongst enemies. Regard honour or dishonor alike. Have no craving for heat or cold, happiness or unhappiness. Be free from attachment. Regard praise and abuse alike. Remain content. Have a steady mind. That should be your code of conduct.”

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

                                   BODY AND SOUL…. DIFFERENCE

“So many questions crop up. What are you? Are you the body or are you the soul? Is your body part of something bigger, brighter and better? Why has it been separated from bigger body? Where in lies the salvation of soul?

                     What is body? What is soul? How body and soul get together? What is the cause of rebirth? True knowledge is to know the answers of these questions.

                         The body consists of five elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky), ego plus intellect plus the illusion created by the interplay of the three qualities (Saintly. Worldly and Lethargic), plus ten organs (skin, smell, taste, speech, ears, eyes, hands, feet, genital organs and anus), plus the feelings (desire, jealousy, happiness, unhappiness, awareness and aim), plus rest of the body. The forms may be different, but these component parts in each body are the same.

                         It is the Supreme Being, who puts life into the body. The Supreme Being has no beginning and no end and is beyond the scope of three qualities and the ten senses enumerated above. But He knows their working. The Supreme Being is all pervading but without any (feeling of) attachment. It is all pervading like the sky or the rays of the sun.

                        Life is created when the Supreme Being comes into contact with body. The part of the Supreme Being that enters body, gets attached to the body by means of the three qualities (saintly, worldly, Lethargic) to which it has become firmly attached.

                        The Supreme Being is beyond the scope and the influence of the aforesaid three qualities. The separate flame of life (soul) in order to be one with the Supreme Being, has to attain similar status – it has also to reach beyond the scope of three qualities. Then only the Salvation is possible.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

                                  DIVISION INTO THREE QUALITIES

                            “What is your aim?” True wisdom or right course of action? If that be so follow the course of saintly quality and all that it implies. It will lead you to contentment and wisdom. After death you shall attain Heaven and coming back to this earth you shall be born in good family.

                               In case your aim is to attain worldly objects follow the course of ‘Worldly’ quality and attain all it implies. It will create greed in you, make you work hard for the attainment of your objects. Take you through the illusion of success and ultimately leave you unhappy. After death you eill be born amongst the people of the same quality.

                               In case you cannot raise yourself beyond useless efforts and seek lethargic or idle pleasure, follow the course of ‘Lethargic’ quality and all that it implies. If you die in that stage, you may be born low, even as an insect or a cattle.

                               By making effort you can change over from one quality to another. Suppress ‘worldly’ quality and ‘Lethargic quality in yourself and you will attain ‘Saintly’ quality in abundance. Similarly if you suppress the ‘saintly” quality and the ‘Lethargic’ quality in yourself, you will get the ‘worldly quality in abundance. Suppress both the ‘saintly’ quality and the ‘worldly’ quality in yourself and much of what would be left in you would be the ‘Lethargic’ quality.

                               If your aim is to achieve Supreme Nectar, Supreme righteousness and the everlasting Bliss, try to be one with God. For that you have got to leave the feeling of attachment behind and go beyond the ambit of the three qualities. One need not hate or despise any of these three qualities. However, to be one with God and attain everlasting Bliss, one has just to leave them behind.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

                              TO BE ONE WITH THE SUPREME BEING

                     “If you have a look at the tree of life, you will find everything tipsy-tarvy. The roots are above and the branches are below. Down below, the growth is luxurious and it spreads in all directions. But there is no firmness in the branches.

                     The root is the Supreme Being. The branches, spreading downwards, are watered by the three qualities and their growth reaches all directions.

                     The main branches are of saintly people, of worldly people and of Lethargic people, Desire, attachment and ego keep the people of each branch fastened to their own branch, and its subsidiary growths. The directions of these growths is determined by the deeds of the people. Mind and senses are the feeders of these branches.

                   One should never forget his main root and keep on thinking what is best for him. He should prune all the unnecessary growths. For that the only weapon available is the feeling of non attachment. After having finished the pruning you shall be able to concentrate on the main root.

                 Soul is eternal. Body is perishable. God alone is worth knowing. Take the help of scriptures, purify yourself and make further effort. It is only then that you can attain True Knowledge. Without purifying oneself it is not possible to attain True Knowledge. Effort otherwise is useless.

                       After one has got away from the unrealities of life and become one with the Supreme Being, there can be no rebirth.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

                               NATURE …DIVINE AND DEMONLIKE

“One should always act according to Laws and Traditions, and take their guidance, otherwise nothing shall be achieved. The feelings of attachment, greed and anger are tree doors that lead to Hell. Avoid them.

The saintly nature consists of :- (1) Fearlessness, (2) Cleanliness of mind and body, (3) Devotion towards God, (4) Acquisition of true knowledge, (5) Suppression of the senses, (6) Study of scriptures, (7) Recitation of God’s name, (8) Taking pain in following one’s own code of conduct, (9) Simplicity of mind, inner self and senses, (10)Non-violence in all its forms, (11) Speaking Truth in a pleasant manner, (12) Absence of anger, (13) Non attachment, (14) Peace of mind, (15) Not speaking ill of others, (16) Kindness towards all, (17) Forgiveness, (18) Patience, (19) Lack of ego and (20) Feeling ashamed while doing something against Laws or Traditions.

The demon-like nature manifests itself in (1) the show off, (2) pride, (3) ego, (4) anger, (5) harsh words, (6) lack of knowledge and (7) falsehood.

People having the nature of demons think that there is no one on whom they can rely, that the world is without any Truth and without any Supreme Being, that the main object of life is to enjoy, and it is because men and women get together that children are born. The acquisition of wealth is their main aim and they are unmindful of the means, which may be fair or foul. They remain very attached towards the results of their deeds. They remain tied down to the ropes of vain hopes. They seek happiness but in its place they get worry and restlessness. They feel that they are strong and shall be able to subjugate their enemies. They consider themselves superior to others. They act even against Laws and traditions. They are sinful and cruel towards others. They are the cause of their own degradation and go down towards dirty Hell.

 Saintly Nature leads to Salvation and demon like nature to bondage.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

                                                 THREE KINDS OF FAITH

                   Arjun asked, “Why is it that one should act according to Laws and Traditions? Is perfect faith and devotion not quite enough? What is the quality of a person having perfect faith and devotion?

                   Lord Krishna replied: – Perfect faith (confidence) or devotion (sincerity) is a must for the achievement of any object…be it for this world or for the next. It is better if it is of saintly quality. The quality of a person determines also the nature of his faith and devotion. A saintly person, while doing deeds according to his own code of conduct, follows Laws and Traditions.

                Food habits and deeds of persons of three different qualities are of three different kinds. A saintly person will eat person will eat saintly food, do saintly deeds, penance and charity and have saintly faith and devotion. A worldly quality will eat worldly food, do worldly deeds, penance and charity, and have worldly faith and devotion. A person of Lethargic quality will prefer food creating lethargy, do lethargic deeds, penance and charity and lethargic faith and devotion. Thus the faith and devotion of persons of each class will differ materially from the faith and devotion of other two classes. In each sphere a member of any particular class will follow the pattern of his own quality.

                 The Supreme Being is called by three names. When a good deed is started in His name, He is called “Om”. When one dedicates his deeds to God, he calls Him by the name “Tat”. In ultimate analysis, the name of the Supreme Being is “Sat” (Truth).

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

                                        SALVATION BY RENUNCIATION

                  “There need not be renunciation of deeds. It is enough if renunciation is of the feeling (1) that one himself is the door of the deeds and (2) of attachment towards the results of the deeds. This latter kind of renunciation is excellent and most desirable.

                   Penance and Charity, being good acts, need not be given up. Such acts, if done in a saintly manner, purify the inner self. Other deeds may have defects. But they too need not be given up. It is enough if the feeling of attachment towards the results of those deeds is given up. And renounced. There after those deeds become non-deeds and yield no result – nether piety nor sin.

                   Even the renunciation of the feeling of attachment towards the results of the deeds is of three kinds. Similarly the deeds, the doer, the intellect, the aim and the happiness are of three kinds each.

                   If doing a saintly deed, there is no pride in the doer, and there is no wish for the results of the deeds. It is done without any feeling of attachment and without any anger.

                     The effect of these three qualities on the Society has been to divide it into four classes – the intelligentsia, the warrior class, the traders and the doers of rough work. The work of each class is different, but in itself, it is neither good nor bad. Any person, to whatever classification, he belongs, may attain salvation while doing deeds according to his own code of conduct. The method, which shall have to be adopted, is to convert deeds into non-deeds by giving up the feeling of attachment towards the results of his deeds. When that stage is reached, the deed of that person will turn into a big zero resulting for him neither in piety nor in sin.

                         As long as one confines himself to deeds strictly in accordance with his own code of conduct, he cannot commit any sin. However, if he tries to deeds according to the code of conduct meant for others, all that he will experience is fear. One should follow well his own code of conduct. That is the easiest method of achieving salvation.

                       Remain unattached and thereby convert all your deeds into non deeds, acquire pure wisdom, lead quiet and healthy life, eat light food, be the master of your mind, body and speech, give up anger, control the inner-self and devote yourself to God. Give up pride, reliance on body force, ego, desire and anger. Thus, even while doing all sorts of deeds according to your own code of conduct, you shall attain inner peace and ultimately salvation.”

                       Closing the sermon, Lord Krishna asked: – “Have you got rid of your false notions? You will not be able to rise above your inherent quality because of these false notions. You are of warrior class and that quality of yours will assert itself and lead you to war.

                         Listen to my teachings once again. Think of me alone. Have faith only in Me. Have respect for Me always. I love you, I promise that ultimately you shall attain salvation.”

                         Arjun replied: – “All my false notions are gone. I have become wise. I shall act as directed by you.”

…………….

Note 1 – Karma Yog leads to Yoga Budhhi (True intellect) and Yoga Budhhi to Sankhya Budhhi (Salvation). Karma Yog includes in itself – (1) Balanced mind (Samatva Budhhi), (2) Path of righteousness (Sva-dharma Buddhi), (3) Devotion (Samarpan Budhhi), work not to satisfy ones own ego or anybody else’s, (4) Detatchment (Asang Budhhi) and (5) Whatever comes, accept it (Prasaad Buddhi).

Note 2 –  Gita prescribes for ‘action’/’deed’ combined with intellect. There are choices before human beings – take action with developed mind/intellect or action with weak mind, bridled with desire, based on emotion, impulse, hatred, greed and selfishness. It quite often leads to agitation/aggression and discontent. Intellect needs to be developed to make mind rational. A mind governed by intellect makes a person calm and content.

Note 3 – Dr. K. V. Swaminathan, an eminent Scientist, Engineer, Technocrat engaged in Technology transfer and above all a man well-versed in the knowledge of the Holy book of Hindus, ‘Bhagwat Gita’ has analyzed and synthesized Gita in just 37 verses. These are grouped in three parts.

A set of nine principles can be chosen, each explaining a principle to be learnt from Gita, are put in the pack of 27 stanzas selected from the 573 stanzas from Gita. These nine principles are inherent in Hindu philosophy. The foundation is laid for doing one’s duty. In each segment, the three stanzas selected come from different chapters of Gita. The principle in the first stanza of each segment is reinforced by the following two stanzas –

  • Devotion
  • Recognition of the greatness
  • Reincarnation
  • Immortality
  • Action/Karma
  • Detachment
  • Equanimity
  • Knowledge
  • Intellect

It tells that senses are superior to the body, mind is superior to the senses and knowledge or intellect is superior to the mind. It tells : Knowledge is better than ‘abhyas’ (practice) meditation is  better than knowledge and renunciation of the fruits of action is still better than meditation because peace immediately follows.

The first part consists of 7 stanzas, which he called ‘Sapta Sloka Bhagwad Gita’. These are the first stanzas of Dhritrashtra (pronounces only one stanza in the entire Gita of 700 stanzas), Sanjaya, Arjun and Lord Krishna together with the last stanzas of Lord Krishna, Arjuna and Sanjaya.

These seven stanzas briefly states : Dritrashtra asks Sanjay to report what is happening at the battle field; Sanjay immediately starts reporting; Arjuna asks to place his chariot in the middle of the battlefield and on seeing those arrayed Arjuna is choked with emotion and refuses to fight; Lord Krishna admonishes him for his feebleness and advises him in great length about his duties; Lord then asks him whether he has understood what he had advised him. Arjuna responds that he has recovered from his delusion and is now ready to fight; ans Sanjay concludes predicting victory where Lord Krishna will be there.

The principal lessons to be learnt from Bhagwad Gita and come out of delusion are a set of nine principles as following –

  1. Principle of non-duality – The ‘Creator’ (God) and the ‘Creation (every living thing in this world) is an integral part of the same ‘Parmatma’/God/Creator, therefore inter-linked.
  2. Reincarnation – After several births and deaths of body, one can reach a state of immortality. A person is reborn depending on his deeds of previous birth.
  3. Immortality/Salvation – The final objective of all humans is to reach to the state of ‘Moksha’ or immortality – getting free from the cycle of multiple rebirths and deaths. In order to reach that status, one should do one’s duties.
  4. Karma with Detachment – This is perhaps the centre piece of Bhagwat Gita. Everyone has a role to play in ones life as per one’s karmas and destiny. While performing one’s duty/action, one should develop detachment – indicating, one should not bother for fruits of Action.
  5. Equanimity – One should try to be equanimous by overcoming the influence of the “pair of opposites” like heat or cold; pleasure or pain and honor or dishonor.
  6. Knowledge – As per Gita, senses are superior to the body, mind is superior to the senses and knowledge or intellect is superior to the mind. Gita tells: knowledge is better than abhyas (practice), meditation is better then knowledge and renunciation of the fruits of action is still better than meditation as peace immediately follows such renunciation.
  7. Four stages in life – For living life fully and fruitfully and aging gracefully, everyone one has to pass through four stages of life and perform different duties in different stages of life – before marriage learning; married life raising a family as householder; delegation of authority to next generation and spending time in contemplation; and after fulfilling familial liabilities, complete detachment and renunciation of worldly pleasures. Detachment frees an individual from the fear of birth and death.
  8. Tolerance and acceptance/interdependence – Hindu philosophy values interdependence, acceptance and tolerance as – (a) It accepts that there are different paths leading to God and be humane; (b)It gives complete liberty to worship any god or goddess of their choice, as well as use their own methods of worship; (c)It does not impose its own codes of conduct on other faiths; (d) It is liberal enough to see atheism as a legitimate pursuit.
  9. Avatars – The Supreme power visits earth from time to time in some form to make human-beings free from evil and tend them follow virtue. So far, according to Hindu mythology human evolution began with Matsyavatar (fish), then to Kurma (tortoise));Varaha (wild boar); Narsimha (half animal half mam); Vamana (dwarf); Parushrama with axe (tool); Rama the Maryadapurusha; Krishna the playful and serious avatar; and ninth, Budha the enlightened one. It is now expecting 10th avatar in the form of Kalki, a genetically supreme bionic man. (Quoted from ‘Know your religion through its philosophy by Prakash Shesh, the Speaking tree, TOI, p. 20)

June 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

What caste-system means?

“Caste was the system of social life, in which Hinduism was expressed. …… Hinduism was the ideological and emotional buttress of caste”

“Caste and Hinduism succeeded in doing in India, what no state, no conqueror and no economy was able to do – the establishment of a single unified system of society throughout the whole of India (accommodating numerous semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places), a system of society, which was able to comprise a greater range of local differences in a single system than any society has previously accomplished.” “

“Through caste system, India has simultaneously accommodated “it to an almost endlessly varied system of semi-autonomous community and at the same time, it brings considerable unity, harmony and condition of peace.”

It “succeeded in wielding an enormously varied plurality of semi-autonomous communities arising at many times and in many places and adopting themselves to many different conditions into a single system of society…” (Don Martindale, India since 1947, p 39)

 “Positive aspects of Indian culture are so deep that the merits of ancient systems would be rejuvenated…. The caste system was working well in ancient times and we do not find any complaint from any quarters against it. It is often misinterpreted as an exploitative social system for retaining economic and social status of certain vested interests of ruling class. … Indian caste system, which has evolved an answer the requirements of civilization at a later phase of development of culture, was integrated with Varna system as enunciated in the ancient scriptures and Dharmasastras.” (Quoted from Ancient caste system worked well: ICHR head, p.1, TOI July15,2014)

 “In modern understanding of ‘caste-system’, element of ‘caste’ has been highlighted and mis-stated; and element of ‘system’ has been supressed.”

Introduction

Caste-system in India giving distinct identity to Indian society – All the above quotations say something about caste system prevalent in India. Some new studies abroad have found (TOI, 23.5.16, P 15) that a strong sense of belonging to social groups make people happier than those who do not. The studies have found that more an individual identified with a particular group, happier one is with one’s life. Researches have found that with each additional group that one is connected with, his/her happiness increases by nine percent. That is the feeling, caste gives to a person -caste appears to be a fundamental social institution – a natural, inevitable unit of society. Sense of belonging to a family seems Natural to a person, Family is nothing but unit of an extended family, extended family of Kula, Kula of a tribe (Vish) – and a tribe of a Jana of Jati (Caste). This way, caste is second only to the family in widening a person’s social radius and in getting importance in his/her private and occupational life. 

Caste system has given Indian society a distinguished identity and a solid social structure with a system of thought, a way of life, and sense of direction. Many structures, systems and principles have been evolved for the harmonious and peaceful living of all its members in a society throughout the world from time immemorial. They remained in vogue for some time, then faded and gave way to new structures, systems and concepts. However it does not apply to caste system, which has given Indian society a distinguished identity and a solid social structure with a system of thought, a way of life, and sense of direction. Castes has its ethnic roots as denoted by Jati, and a ritualistic and symbolic significance in its Varna aspect. It is one of the dominant features still running through the entire social fabric of India.

Developed over thousands of years – Like Islam or Christianity, the origin of Caste-system can not be found in one single authoritative text, nor can it be attributed to one single founder. It has taken thousands of years to develop with the association of numerous social groups into it at different point of time. It started with the arrival of Aryans hereditary kinship and tribal groups in India in waves, from different parts of the world. Their mixing up with the indigenous people (popularly known as Hindus) gave birth to caste system. Over thousands of years, the experiences and deep thinking of many learned sages and intellectuals belonging to different communities have contributed to evolve this system.

Caste for a common-man in India – For a common man, caste appears to be a fundamental social institution – a natural, inevitable unit of society. An individual is a natural member of a family, which is the unit of an extended family, extended family of Kula, Kula of a tribe (Vish) – and a tribe of a Jana of Jati (Caste). In a way, caste is second only to the family in widening a person’s social radius and in getting importance in his/her private and occupational life.

Closer-relationship with caste-fellows – A person’s relation with members of his caste is closer than with those, belonging to other castes. Caste values, beliefs, prejudices, injunctions as well as distortions of reality are the indivisible part of a person’s psyche and conscience. Caste norms define an individual role in the society. It makes one feel good and loved, when he lives up to the norms, and anxious and guilty, when he transgresses them. It still provides an individual with social security.

Issue

In modern times, intellectuals and political leaders, both in India and abroad, consider ‘caste’ a problematic, complicated and derogatory word. They hold caste-system responsible for mind-blowing disparities, discrimination and exploitation. In such a situation, it would be interesting to see what actually ‘caste-system is? How and when did it come into existence? What are the salient features of caste system? Has it become obsolete in modern India? If not, then how much influence, the system still excercise over the minds of common-men in India? How can such an institution be discarded, which has so many qualities of good organization?

What is caste system?

A mechanism to assimilate new groups – ‘Caste system’ has provided a mechanism, through which numerous discrete tribes/social groups could be internalized in the mainstream of the society. As more and more indigenous and foreign groups desired to merge into the Hindu-fold in the past, caste system came into existence.

 Vedic ‘Varna’ system gave rise to caste system. Numerous castes and subcastes emerged within each Varna. However, the four Varnas and their order in precedence remained the same. Caste system has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places. Its character is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion.

Giving stability to existing society, while assimilating Numerous communities – The assimilation of various groups, be it racial, immigrants, locals, tribal, professional or others was done under Hindu society cordially through caste-system at different points of time by assigning each new group by assigning each new group a separate caste identity. Hindu society had assigned each new group a separate caste name and included it within its folds without disturbing its existing social order. It never prevented any new group from developing within its own parameters and preserving its specialties and indigenous culture. Each group was allowed to maintain its own rules, regulations, customs, ways of life, beliefs in its own god/goddess and control the conduct of its members. Caste-system has created a plural society long long ago. The beauty of the system was that the main society as a whole remained stable, even while offering a place to new groups within the main-stream.

Preserved carefully the culture of new groups – Caste system never tried to liquidate or absorb new groups artificially into its main stream. Rather it gave them opportunity to come under one umbrella, to preserve their own culture, style of living and traditions, as also an atmosphere to flourish in their own way. While other races and their systems have converted people belonging to other faiths into their own faith, imposing on them their own value system, caste-system has absorbed other groups as whole into itself without annihilating their originality, internal order, customs or language.

Why caste-system came into existence –As Basham says, Caste system may well be called a natural response to many small and primitive groups of people, who were forced to come to terms, with a more advanced economic and social system known as ‘Hinduism’.

Different social groups were fitted well from time to time as a integral part of the whole society on the basis of their being ritually clean or unclean, nature of work and amount of self-discipline they exercised. As far as castes are concerned, they rose and fell in their social order, some died out and new ones were formed from time to time.

The culture of each identity, coming into its fold, has been carefully nurtured and preserved. Hindu society has absorbed the good points of other cultures as well, which has enriched the composite culture of India. Today more than anywhere else in the world, it holds a multitude of thoughts, processes them and practices them. There has been co-existence of varied belief, pattern and thought due to inter-mixing and cultural mingling.

Adaptibility of Caste- system, its saviour  – Caste- system  has survived the vicissitudes of time, saved itself by erosion from within and assault from outside only because of the adaptability. Numerous castes and sub-castes emerged within each Varna. However, the four Varnas and their order in precedence remained the same. Caste system has taken different shades and meaning with the changing times and places.

Changes in caste system according to the needs of the time – Its character during Indus Valley Civilization was altogether different from what exists today. It is still in a transient phase. Its character is different in the context of village, locality, region or religion. Once changed, the system never returned to its original form. Its absorptive nature has internalized alien influences. That is why, it presents one of the oldest social institution and a continuous and uninterrupted living culture still existing in the whole world.

 Salient features of Caste-system

Following salient features have been the same throughout allover India –

Respect for knowledgeVarna/Caste-system has given a high regard to knowledge, wisdom, virtues, characters and will power. Knowledge has always been given importance. It is considered essential for the purpose of giving activities their due meaning and value. According to Hindu philosophy even a wise man may get puzzled without knowledge, as to what he should do or should not do. It is only after the acquisition of knowledge, that a person could understand the real nature of work and could distinguish correctly between action, forbidden action, and inaction.

 Brahmins were given the highest respect in the past, not because of their material successes, but for their learning, character, spirituality and ability to guide the masses. A powerful Emperor, like Ashoka the great, thought it his duty, to bow before the monks as a mark of my deep respect for their learning, wisdom and sacrifice. What matters in life, are not a person’s status or position, but his virtues and wisdom. Only when you have raised yourself up from ignorance, can you recognize the greatness of a few in a sea of humanity.

 Disassociation between Wealth and Status – In Western societies, wealth has always been associated with power, authority and social status. India has never been a materialistic society. Caste system has separated wealth from status, power from authority, pursuit and achievement in knowledge from temptations of worldly comforts. The greatness of a state is judged on the basis of the degree of righteousness and justice, with which the administration governs lives of the people, and not on the basis of the size of a state or its treasury. Similarly, in the society, status of a person or a caste is ranked on the basis of knowledge, discipline and moral standards, and not on the basis of material success, or control of power.

 Stress on duty Whereas, Western cultures have grown around the idea of `rights forming the natural foundation of human relationship, caste system evolves around the concept of duty, tolerance and sacrifice. Emphasis on duty usually makes a person or a group humble and tolerant.

Importance of discipline in social life – Discipline was inculcated amongst ignorant masses and a sense of direction was given to them through infinite variety of rituals, prayers, practices, customs and meditation. At present, its place has been taken over by the laws of a nation, which are enforced on the masses by state authorities to keep them disciplined. Fear of punishment compels the mobs to observe the rules and regulations set-up by state authorities.

Inculcating Tolerance in people – In this system, sacrifice is regarded far more important than success and renunciation as the crowning achievement. Such an attitude prevented ancient India to exercise coercion against its working class, whereas in ancient Greece, Rome or other European countries, people were made to work under the threat of a whip. It stopped people from taking law in their own hands.

 While other nations have passed through many bloody revolutions, India kept on adapting itself to changing times. Its value-system helps people to adjust themselves, without much difficulty, to most drastic changes. India has achieved its freedom in a peaceful manner under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. People, here, are filled with a sense of duty.

 Ranking of different castes– Earlier ranking of different castes was earlier dependent on their relative purity, morality, knowledge and spiritual standards. Considerations of self-discipline, hygiene and cleanliness on the basis of climatic conditions of the region were given importance. Every caste was supposed to lead a self restraint and self disciplined life in all respect, be it in the matter of daily routine, occupation or inter caste relationship. The system of each caste having a specific position in the society and a specific work to do with its rights and duties boosted the morale of the people and promoted social equilibrium and solidarity.

No group placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position – Varna system was so conceived by the sages that there was hardly any room for any Varna to consider itself, as being placed in greater or lesser disadvantageous position with reference to another. The higher the caste within a Varna, the purer it was considered, and greater were the self-restrictions on its behavior through rituals. Brahmins, occupying the highest place in the society, were put under maximum restrictions and were denied accumulation of wealth. They were directed to lead a simple life, devoted to the spiritual and intellectual pursuits.

Not a rigid attitude while ranking – In ancient times, caste system had the seeds of liberalism. It provided the right and opportunity to get to the top from the humblest origin and earn the respect of the whole society. For example, Vashishtha, the principal of the conservative school of Brahmanism, was the son of Uravshi, a prostitute. Vishwamitra, the maker of the very Gayatri Mantra, the quintessence of the Vedic Brahmanism, was a Kshatriya. Aitreya, after whom the sacramental part of Rig-Veda is named as Aitreya Brahamana, was the son from a non-Aryan wife of a Brahman sage. Vyasa of Mahabharata fame was the son of a fish-woman and he was not ashamed of his origin. Balmiki, an untouchable according to present standards, the original author of Ramayana, is highly respected all over India.

Equitable System – Caste system has been associated, more or less, with social position of each caste group, the restrictions and privileges in matters of social intercourse and clearly defined rights and duties. Though the caste system believes in segmental ranking of different caste groups, according to their relevance and contribution to the society, it has placed all the individuals, within a caste group – rich or poor – on the same footing.

 All members of a caste have similar rights and duties, similar thinking process, similar customs, language, food habits, domestic routine, and style of dress. A person’s relation with members of his caste remains closer and equal than with those belonging to other castes. His relations with other castes are usually formal. All the members of a caste share moments of joy and sorrow with each other. Establishment of Uniform law code – a nationwide civil, criminal and commercial legal system by British and its uniform application to all castes and communities helped in bringing in the parity.

 Each caste an independent unit – The key, to understand the caste system, is not in seeing it as a framework of hierarchical layers of social order, each fitting neatly below the other, but as a series of vertical parallels. Each caste is an independent entity, with its own hierarchy, based either on a tribal identity or an occupational identity. In the past, there was not much disparity between different castes or between urban and rural people. Concepts of forward castes or backward castes, disparities between different sections of society and exploitation of the weak were almost non-existent. All this is a development of last hundred and fifty years.

 Interdependence Inter-dependence in social life and self-reliance in personal life were the intrinsic features of caste system. It was practically impossible for a single caste to fulfill all its needs by itself. Local semi-autonomous nature of Caste system has made all the people self-sufficient and capable to fulfill their needs. Every regional area produced enough to fulfill the basic needs of its people. The society had control over its natural resources.

 Now, with the emergence of Global society, people are becoming more independent and started depending on market forces to fulfill their needs, for which they need enough money.

 Bond between Individual and Caste – Every individual has a caste. There has been a close bond between individual and the society and individual and the occupation through caste, which has held them together. People help their caste fellows in times of need/emergency. Earlier the placement of power and access to authority was through the network of kinship and community.

 Employment, dignity and honour for all – The unique feature of caste system was that it provided work and employment to everyone. There was no dearth of employment opportunities for persons willing to work or wanting to become soldiers. Caste system inspired people to do their jobs well, as all worldly honour and spiritual happiness were vested there. It assured the people that proper performance of one’s work, whether high or humble, whether of a priest, warrior, Shudra or yogi were equally important for the society and were, therefore, right, respectable and worth pursuing. It provided the whole society a quality of life.

 Now the government has taken over the responsibility of providing jobs to its people. The trend has adversely affected the work-culture. Also it has become a big challenge for the government to give employment to all according to their capabilities and keep everybody satisfied.

 Division of Labour – Caste system is based on the principle of division of labor. All the functions needed for the maintenance and growth of the society have divided among various groups appropriately. Each caste group has been assigned a distinct function to perform. There was no confusion or frustration on matter of work earlier, because every body had his traditional occupation. Each and every caste serves the needs of Indian community.

 All people earlier lived with dignity and honour with the feeling that they, too, were contributing something to the society. Clear-cut definition of rights and duties for each caste based on its traditional occupation, developed a clear vision of one’s responsibilities. The separation of rights and duties combined with the principle of inter dependence provided its own system of checks and balances over arbitrary use of one’s authority. There was an automatic decentralization of authority.

 Assignment of workAssignment of work was based on certain principles and realities of life. According to it all people do not have the same attitude and aptitude. There are variations in their physical strength, mental capacity and moral aspirations, like and dislikes, inclination and expectations.

 Hindu philosophy believes that the whole world of activities is a result of complex intermixing of three basic qualities of human nature – goodness (Satwa), Passion (Rajas) and dullness (Tamas). `Goodness is associated with purity, peace and knowledge; `Passion with comfort and action; and `Tamas with ignorance, sloth, sleep and carelessness.These qualities determine the tendencies, potentialities, limitations, traits and character of different individuals and give them direction for action. `Adharma (immoral behavior), Alasya (laziness) and Agyan (ignorance) are usually responsible for evils, exploitation, and miseries of the people.

 Earlier different activities were assigned to different groups according to its natural endowment/inclinations, qualities and aptitudes/psychological characteristics. Brahmins having `Sat or `austerity were assigned the work of pursuing knowledge. Rajas quality of Kashtriyas was befitting for actions of courage, bravery, power and protection of the weak. Initially, according to Smritis it was not birth, but the qualities and deeds, which fitted one into a particular group.But, later on, upbringing, atmosphere and convenience tended to make these groups hereditary.

 At present, it is the choice of an individual to decide for ones career and acquire qualifications accordingly through formal education and training.

 Natural leaders – Don Martindale said that India possessed a reservoir of natural leaders – Brahman trained in literary skills and Kashitryas in art of leadership. Most of them were sensitive and caring and totally devoted to their profession. It was with their sincere efforts that numerous reforms were sought and the nation entered the modern era without any cultural break.

 Natural training without investment – The Caste system transmitted the traits of a trade, intelligence abilities, experiences, values and skills from one generation to another in a natural way. People, while growing up, learnt the secrets of their trade, hidden intricacies, solutions of their occupational problems, informally from their elders. It gave them confidence and saved them from confusion or unhealthy competition. Being in constant contact with the family occupation, it was natural for the people to learn maximum about their traditional occupations.

 SpecializationThe Caste system served as a spawning bed for social and technical skills. By its very nature, it encouraged the development and preservation of local skills. There was a tendency to bring in the most diversified skills to high level of excellence. It was encouraged with religious and semi-religious sanctions. Assignment of different functions to different communities led to the transfer of knowledge and expertise, from one generation to another, through inheritance and evolved an atmosphere, where a high level of Specialization and wisdom in different areas of activities could be achieved.

 Mobility– Caste system in its earlier ideology did not restrict mobility. Mobility from one caste to another, was though difficult, but not impossible. Through good deeds, the position of a caste could be improved. Caste system developed the practice of making mobility possible, not for an individual, but for the whole group. Upward mobility could be gained by a caste, either by change in geographical locations, or improving ritual status leading to self-discipline.

 It gave an incentive to groups belonging to lower strata to adopt more orthodox practices, cleaner habits, self-discipline and observance of the rules of Smrities in order to rise in the social scale.`Kayastha community, which is an amalgam of groups from all the four Varnas, secured for itself a place next to Brahmins through its intellectual pursuits, specialization in revenue work and observance of rituals.

 From fourteenth to the eighteenth century, people from all strata of society including the lowest joined army. There was no discrimination in the recruitment and treatment of soldiers of any kind on the basis of caste. Rajput status was given to soldiers.

Institution of ‘Caste’ contains all the essentials of a good organization –

 As is evident, institution of ‘Caste’ contains all the essentials of a good organization, whether social, political or economic, which help its smooth functioning like it –

  •  Provides a stable, sustainable social structure based on Principle of Varna.
  • Satisfies all biological as well as psychological needs of its members as an individual and as a group.
  • Follows the principle of Division of labour.
  • De-centralizes control systems.
  • Defines clearly duties and vocations for different sections of society,
  • Prepares an atmosphere for Specialisation
  • Balances various activities, no activity either be over-valued or under-valued.

  • Believes inself-discipline, inter-dependence, mutual respect for each other, trust and tolrence. 

  •  Creates Team spirit to secure coordination, peace and prosperity for all.

The system had been able to provide such an atmosphere in the past that when the world was passing through the Dark Age, India was full of light. The first few centuries are recognized as the golden period of Indian history. During this period, arts, commerce, crafts, philosophy and knowledge flourished magnificently. Its people reached a high level of intelligence having specialization in different areas.It has become rich in literary, philosophical and religious fields.

 It was a cheerful land. Each person found a niche in the social system. An average Indian, according to Dr. Albert Swheitzen, Did not find life a vale of tears, from which to escape at all costs, rather he was willing to accept the world, as he finds it and, extract, what happiness he could, from it.Recently U.S. Ambassador John Kenneth Galbrigth remarked, While he had seen poverty in many countries of the world, he found an unusual attribute among the poor of India. There is richness in their poverty. They did not count wealth in money alone.

 Many travelers visiting India, from alien lands at different points of time, confirmed that India possessed huge wealth, knowledge, and quality of life. German scholars, in the early Nineteenth Century and English scholars in the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century were deeply fascinated by its scriptures and translated it in their languages.

After Independence in 1947

 After the Independence, the Preamble of the Constitution of India assured all its citizens – EQUALITY of status; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY. Article 14 of the Indian Constitution confers Fundamental rights of “Equality before law.” Article15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 16 assures equality of opportunity in matters of public employment.

System less restrictive and rigid – Spread of education, process of modernization, industrialization, attempts of reformers and growing awareness of the masses have made caste less restrictive and rigid. The system allows its members a greater degree of freedom in all walks of life. The post Independence era witnessed the castes becoming socially more and more liberal. Children are brought up in a much more homogenous atmosphere. The ideas, beliefs and values, have changed to a great extent.

Considerations for purity and pollution fading away from public life

 – The traditional barriers on marriage, hereditary occupations and commonality, have started disappearing. Restrictions or interactions between different castes arising due to considerations for purity and pollution are fading away from public life. The old style of authority of caste-elders in every day life has already diminished. Unquestioned obedience or following blindly orders of family or caste elders is no longer there.
Castes no longer enjoy legal or religious sanctions. Expulsion from castes means little. Through Constitution itself, there is free access to public places to everybody, irrespective of caste or creed.

A well-accepted and well established reality of Indian social system

In social life, caste continues to excercise considerable influence on the minds of its respective members. It still meets important needs of its members more than any political or economic institution. People rely on it for moral and emotional support during normal times, as well as during crisis. That is why an ordinary person is reluctant to abondon the institution of caste, which has proven its value.Caste system still acts as a strong cementing force that binds all its members together and keep them under one umbrella i.e. Hinduism. Caste had always been and are still a well-accepted and well established reality of Indian social system.

 But the entry of caste into politics has made it rigid and led the Indians towards caste-ism, because of which all the sections of society are facing hardships. There is centralization of control systems. There is cut-throat competition and rivalry/bitterness for pelf, power or position now allover India. Besides, total aversion o f youth from their traditional occupation has rendered millions of them unemployed or underemployed, thus wasting their time, energy and efforts. This they could have utilized for constructive purposes.

 Some leaders, intellectuals and social reformers want to replace caste system by creating a new social order, common men are reluctant to abandon the institution of caste, which has proven its value. Caste system still acts in India as a strong cementing force that binds all its people together under Hinduism, from one end of the country to the other. Caste still continues to be a well-accepted and well-established reality of the Indian social life and its systems. It exercises considerable influence on the minds of its all Indians. It meets important needs of people more than any other institutions. People rely on it for moral and emotional support during normal times as well as during emergency/crisis.

May 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments