Saturday, January 20, 2018
HINDU RENAISSANCE - UNTOUCHABILITY (Contd...)
In many ways, India’s past is shrouded in Mystery. Ancient India comprised of hundreds and thousands of small, small kingdoms for a long, long time. Living conditions in each of them were entirely different from all others. There were many small kingdoms headed by tribal kings also and kings of various castes – including kshatriyas and non kshatriyas. All kingdoms were not headed by Kshatriyas. There were numerous exceptions.
Vedas existed from a very long past but were known to very few individuals. My view is - they were changing and expanding all the time. Most Upanishads are stories of great saints and sages and dialogues among them. Evidently, they were written by some sages only. They are integral part of Vedas. Therefore, Vedas also may have been written by some great sages. God (or Gods) have no need for most of the things written in Vedas. They are meant for practical usage of Humans only.
In those mysterious, ancient days, there was just no way to proliferate the Vedic literature among people of all castes or of any single caste, or even among a small percentage of the people of any single caste. Learning Vedas and Upanishads needed more than a full life time, to be spent at remote Asrams of several Sages in deep forests. So, very few spent time in learning and studying them. Yet, each Individual could learn a small portion of this vedic literature. For a long time, there were no written texts and teaching was totally by word of mouth.
If we look at today’s reality, there is not NOT A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL in the whole of India who knows all the Vedas and at least the 10 Upanishadas which Sankaracharya stressed on amongst over 108 Upanishads. It is probably a HUMAN IMPOSSIBILITY to learn all Vedas and all Upanishads – for any single Individual. Brahmins were therefore divided into 4 categories and asked to specialize in one Veda each. Even that was (and is) found to be an impossibility.
Social interactions, Customs and procedures differed from village to village and kingdom to kingdom at all times. Marriages were limited in near vicinities of the people for this reason. Marriages with unknown people was almost unknown. Unknown people and people with hugely unacceptable habits were always shunned.
Wars were frequent and so was mutual enmity among kingdoms, which bred those wars. Both Ramayan and Mahabharat were histories of Great wars fought during the times of the writers of these Epics. We can see in them - real and anecdotal stories of valour, love, romance, adventure, yoga, Tapas, super human powers and feats and so on. There were of course lots of facts about the earth and other planets and lots of other sciences that they seemed to know and that we don’t know even today. Bhagavad Gita is full of introductions to many such sciences.
We can always find some exaggerations of different types in such epics. No writer of History knows the full facts and tends to substitute his imagination where facts are not readily available. Ramayan and Mahabharat also may have some such exaggerations and small distortions. In my childhood, I had heard that some stories (like Sambuka Vadha) are not in line with the Valmikian genre of storytelling and must have been input into Ramayan by somebody else at a much later date. Ditto with Mahabharat. That said, both Valmiki and Vyasa display extraordinary knowledge of Geography, medicine, warfare and many sciences and arts of those days. They display a total knowledge of Individual Dharma, Raja Dharma, Patni Dharma, Pati Dharma and so on. They also display a highly liberal attitude towards people of all castes, sexes, other races, animals and so on.
Human Intellect either before them or after them has not produced GREATER EPICS than RAMAYAN and MAHABHARAT till today. Mahabharat is the largest and the most beautiful narrative in the entire Human history. I don’t think that HUMANITY (in its entire future, for the next million years) is capable of producing anything better than Vyasa’s MAHABHARAT.
The art of warfare described in Mahabharat is simply fantastic. Whether the type of Astras or powerful weapons that the then warriors were said to have used really existed or not – is not for us to debate and disprove today. Many such things are not for us to argue on, in today’s conditions. It is downright unwise. If we can’t even produce a better book than Mahabharat, our imagination is clearly and simply incapable of understanding the science behind the Astras.
Mahabharat was written by the son of a Fisherwoman who became the most venerable sage of that time and all time. And his mother, the fisherwoman, married a Brahmin Sage first and later a Kshatriya King. Her first son describes all her life and the lives of all her progeny (from the first and second husbands both) for the next 5-6 generations, with no facts concealed.
We and our mental outlook today, look extremely and extraordinarily primitive, underdeveloped and foolish, in comparison to the social conditions and intellectual capacities described in the Mahabharat. How did it degenerate to our present level, is difficult to explain.
Mahabharat itself says – after Lord Krishna died, slowly Kaliyug entered on earth, in which human intellect, physique, living conditions and cultures were supposed to degenerate to the extent that we see today.
Therefore, I am not going to argue on the historical perspectives of Mahabharat beyond what is written by Vyasa. The greatest Kingdoms of Mahabharat were still small in comparison to today’s India. Geographical Consolidation of India happened in the last 1000 thousand years or so – during the reign of some Great kings like Kanishka, the Mouryas, the Guptas, the Mughals, and finally the British. After Independence, India United into its present Geographical vastness, under the great efforts of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.
The pre-independence India was still a highly fragmented India and conditions in each fragment were different from all others. Education system with schools and colleges like we have today – was absent almost totally. Yes. The British established a few colleges in Metros. But, that was for creating a workers pool needed for their governance.
Creation of Jobs was an unheard of activity. A few factories were started by a few Indian entrepreneurs for certain purposes. The telegraph and telephone system was started in rudimentary form. So was the railways. Some roads existed for military movement but otherwise, mud roads were the main paths all over India. Hospitals and allopathy medicines were very rare.
Whatever the society needed was taken up by somebody or other. People could migrate from one kingdom to another freely. Agriculture was the main occupation for all communities and castes.
Poverty was the main feature in respect of all Indians. Slave system was also present among Muslim kings and warlords but almost absent among Hindus. Hindu kings seemed more benevolent generally. But, there was no Unity among Indian kings.
I repeat that Indian History of the last 5000 years is shrouded in deep mystery. Nothing is clear. India never existed in the united form and shape as we see it today. Each small kingdom existed with its own set of rules or at the whims and fancies of the Rulers.
Unity of India today is one way the result of the British rule on India. The other major reason is the fruitful efforts of Sardar Patel after Independence.
Unfortunately the Uniters of India have all largely passed away and we are largely left with the dividers. There are many excuses which anybody in India can pick up to divide all of us so that we can perpetually suspect, hate and fight each other.
On the other hand, there are umpteen ways by which we can dump into the gutter all possible excuses that can divide us and strengthen our social systems in such a way that all Indians can stand United for all time to come. Unity must be the Mantra for all Indians.
So, what are the possible excuses that must be dumped into the Gutter?
1. Birth based Caste system, in which no one can change his caste – even if he changes all his living methods
2. Gender divide – and atrocities against women, elderly people and children
4. Aryan-Dravidian false divide
5. Learning only about one’s own state and not learning about other states in India
6. Superiority complex in respect of own caste, own language, own state and contempt for other castes, languages and states.
I prefer to take today’s conditions as they are without going much into their historical degeneration. Let us examine what we should do with our present social structures and conditions as they exist today.
Today, we in India, are facing two real, huge challenges, namely – (i) Social Unity and (ii) economic progress. These two are any nation’s primary goals. Any type of governance system needs to aim at social unity and economic progress as its primary goals. Then comes the flowering of human achievement in sciences and arts of all kinds. One great, implicit goal to be aimed at, for achieving all the above purposes is – a “high emotional intelligence or awareness.”
We cannot hope to achieve social unity and harmony without high emotional intelligence and awareness. This fact, unfortunately, is rarely understood by people and rulers both today.
It is in this context that we are examining the existence of various social ills like untouchability and atrocities against women in India. We must get rid of UNTOUCHABILITY and Gender related atrocities and we must achieve a much greater degree of social Unity than at present. All people of all castes must come together emotionally and intellectually as the progeny of one mother land, that is India, or, Bharat.
Disunity based on birth is a sin. Untouchability based on birth is a Great crime against humanity. The practice of untouchability indicates the lack of emotional intelligence by people on both sides of the problem.
Nobody can make you feel LOW and UNTOUCHABLE without your explicit or tacit consent. If you are feeling LOWER, than others by birth and harbouring anger and hatred against others, then you are at least 50 percent of the problem and perhaps more.
Nobody can feel superior by birth, or can be made to feel superior by birth, unless there is somebody who feels inferior. The superiority and Inferiority complexes are both emanating from the same ego problems, same innate foolishness and lack of emotional intelligence.
We are talking here of whole castes or sub castes and not of Individuals. Individuals can rise to great eminence by dint of their effort, fortune or fortuitous circumstances. But, whole castes being considered as either superior or inferior by birth is just a psychological issue which needs to be corrected.
People with these complexes have no knowledge of the cycle of birth and death and are unknowingly misinterpreting them. If we keep our eyes and hearts open, we can clearly see that - 100 percent of people are born in the same way, grow in the same way, eat in the same way, and die in the same way.
All emotions are basically common to all of us. There are No exceptions. What makes significant difference in respect of the emotions of each Individual is – education, upbringing and environment. It can uplift the Individual towards positive highs making him the best friend of all in the society or make him the worst enemy of all in the society. Education, upbringing and environment need to be moulded positively – by conscious effort of the society.
Genetic differences do exist and do differentiate one individual from another. But, these genetic differences exist and exhibit themselves even within the same family. If 10 children are born of a mother, all the ten children are bound to display different genetic characteristics at birth. No Individual is equal to any other in any way. So, where is the question of people of a whole caste being ALL EQUAL in any way? It is a nonsensical approach born of ignorance. General upbringing, Education and training become the real differentiators, after we are all born and as we grow.
Indian sages have come from ALL CASTES. Indian warriors have come from all castes. Indian scientists and tradesmen have come from all castes. Indian Farmers come from all castes. So, caste is not a genetic differentiator as some people assume for the purpose of loving or hating all people of any castes.
Caste based similarities in life or life styles arise when uniform methods of upbringing are adopted across certain families or castes, and certain other uniform methods are adopted in some other set of families or castes. Brahmins may read Mantras, Vedas etc. Kshatriyas may like to be skilled in warfare and courage. Vaisyas may like to be skilled in business and trade. Sudras are skilled in ALL OTHER PROFESSIONS which are really, really important for human living. Problems arise only when, No one has any love for other professions practiced by other castes and no one learns other professions and gets skilled in them.
That said – anyone can live without Vedas, warfare and Business but can we live without agriculture, without food, water etc? So, superiority and inferiority of any caste was always a myth and needed to be dumped totally.
So, untouchability is an idiotic and stupid habit. Untouchability is Unscientific, Unwise and the height of IDIOTIC STUPIDITY, and is suicidal for any society. We cannot and should not continue to live with it in any form.
* * * WILL CONTINUE * * *