mm

Dr. K S Radhakrishnan

Dr. K S Radhakrishnan (formerly Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sankaracharya University and Chairman, Kerala Public Service Commission) is a learned scholar who has been earnestly trying to revive the ancient knowledge in Indian culture. He worked as a lecturer early in his life and now lives an eloquent advocate of social and cultural causes.

Ultimate Spirituality

Spirituality has often been misunderstood as observance of customs and rituals connected with religion. Customs and rituals are the part of religion but religion is something more than what customary practises can do. As man cannot live without bread, no religion can also be practised without rituals and customs. But as everyman needs, every word come from the mouth of God to surpass the test of time. Religion needs spirituality which need not be acquired by practise of religious rituals alone.

Spirituality has not been meant to be practised by a group of gifted few but is meant for one and all, including the
sinner and the saint. A sinner who need not be religious in the ordinary sense of the term can also be elevated to the world of spirituality, even at the eleventh hour of his life, through his actions. Spirituality can precisely be described as an action dedicated to subserve the purposes of God. Any human action that infuses self-confidence among the weakest of the weaker is a Godly action. Therefore, it is sensible to think that God always appears in the form of bread before a hungry man.

The moment you feed a hungry man, you witness God. To feed the hungry means, to share whatever one has with the rest. So dumping the dining table with delicious food items in our dining room is really a crime against man and God, because God means only the essential items to meet the need of all and provides nothing to satisfy the greed of one. Therefore, spirituality can be defined as the human effort to regulate oneself to take the minimum from the Nature. That is, spirituality is the human effort to fix the minimum by oneself.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 11-08-2017

Nishkama Karma

The term ‘nishkama karma’ has been misunderstood even by the said to be experts of Indian Systems of Thought. Such experts believe that nishkama karma is karma devoid of results (phala). Some of them even interpreted that man has to work without getting anything from it. Such a position is ridiculous, illogical and inhuman, because it has been misinterpreted that a laborer is not expected to demand the wages because the duty of the laborer is only to perform work. Such a ridiculous argument has been made by those who failed to understand even the normal theory of possession, which specifically establishes the connection between cause and effect. Where there is a cause, there must be a result (effect). So, nishkama karma specifically denies that there can be karma without phala (result); it only means that one has to concentrate oneself on the karma when it is to be performed, rather than the phala (result) that can be expected. This is because the cause occurs in the ‘present’ and the result has to be occurred in the future.

Nobody can regulate the future because future is something which has to be occurred. So, what is practically and logically possible is to regulate the present which is at our command. Therefore, the karma being performed at present is to be performed with utmost concentration and intensity. Anything that is performed with utmost concentration and intensity must be able to produce better results in the future. Nishkama karma logically says that one has to regulate the present to regulate the future. It also means that better performance of karma in the present must be able to produce better rewards in the future.  Therefore, ‘Advaita’ believes that every person who wants to do something with utmost care and concentration must be ready to practice nishkama karma. Nishkama karma is not a meaningless process of renunciation of results of action but it is a process that demands everyone to perform his/her actions with utmost care in the present. Here, one must be able to regulate oneself. In short, nishkama karma is nothing but the performance of self-regulated actions.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 08-08-2017

Simple Solution to a Giant Problem

A very false concept on creativity is that it amounts to anarchy. Take for ex. music; anarchical expression of various sound waves can never be able to create music. Music can be created only if the musician regulates his vocal cord to produce a specific range of sound with all required features. A musician also needs consistent practice for effective utilization of all supporting equipments. Like this, a poet has to make rigorous practices to make his selections proper. After all, poetry is diction; but how to use the words appropriately is the question. Words can be connected properly in a poetic manner only if one is able to make discrimination between what the poet needs in a particular poetic context and what he does not need. So the ‘need’ and ‘does not need’ are to be assessed properly, where one has to exercise one’s power to regulate his capacity to select words.

Words are flowing like a river but we have to get what we need. This proper form of selection is to be done by proper regulation. This is applicable to the administration also. A good administrator is the one who is able to regulate himself as well as his establishment. Administration is nothing but an act of exercising freedom, in the sense that he regulates himself and the whole establishment. Regulation can never be confined to the financial matters alone, even though every finance manager gives the warning that one has to regulate one’s expenditure. If one is not able to regulate expenditure, such an institution will end up in bankruptcy because unregulated spending of money will definitely take an institution to financial crisis. So, regulation is essential even for a good administrator. One cannot become a management expert without having regulation.  These rules of regulation are not restricted to either a good politician or a good academician.

Wherever we exercise our free will, there we need regulation. There cannot be any creation or creative activity without having proper regulation. This universal theory can no way be ignored by any person whatever be his area of activity, irrespective of a laymen and an expert. Take the case of a lady who is cooking. Cooking is an activity which needs a high level of attention and concentration. In every minute segment of the process the one who is engaged in cooking has to exercise accurate self-regulation mechanism. She should invariably know the proportion of all ingredients used in a dish – from salt to spices. In short, wherever we are placing ourselves, we essentially need self-regulation. My point is that self-regulation is not merely the concern of Rishis and sages alone but of every person who is engaged in any sort of activity. The moment one wants to transform ones activity as an act of creation, such an act can never be able to ignore the role of self regulation. At the very beginning of this discussion itself, I had made it clear that freedom is self-regulation. Advaita Vedanta clearly gives the idea that any person in any field can be creative only when he exercises his free will with a regulative mechanism that has been designed by the person himself.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 30-06-2017

Asteya

Whatever be the definition given to the term theft, stealing
has been considered as an unethical act by every religionas well as all systems
of law. The Indian term to abstain from stealing is ‘Asteya’.

‘Why should we ask the society to abstain from stealing?’ is
a question to be answered by the philosophers of ethics. Imagine that everyone
in a society practices theft. It is needless to say that no one can lead a
normal life in such a society. A society in which everyone practices theft can
create only confusion. Nobody can lead a normal and peaceful life in a confused
state of affairs. Therefore the primary requirement of the normal human
existence is order rather than chaos.

The primary duty of every ruler, whatever is the nature of
the theory of statecraft, has to ensure law and order; that is to provide
conditions for the existence and co-existence of one and all.

Asteya, specifically demands everyone not only
to take something of somebody either by force or consent but also to give up
everything that is essential to ensure ones’ own existence. In this sense Asteyaspecifically says that one has to
regulate oneself to fix his or her minimum as a prelude to establish law and
order in a civic society. In short law and order can be maintained properly not
by the police force but by the self regulating individuals who firmly believes
in virtues.

Note: Asteyais a Sanskrit word that means
non-stealing and it is an important principle of Hinduism and is a vow taken by
Indian spiritual aspirants. Asteya means much more than the Biblical
commandment ‘Thou shall not steal’.  Asteya
refers to not stealing, not coveting, non hoarding as well as not obstructing
other people’s desires in life.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 20-06-2017

Dvaita, Advaita and Visishtadvaita

Since change always leads to something that is not changing, then the question arises is whether the changing and the not changing are different entities or not. The answers to this question can be classified into three categories. The first category believes that the changing and the non-changing are entirely different entities and there is nothing common in between them. The second category propagates that there is no difference between the changing and the non-changing and all such differences are only peripheral and absolute identity between the two can be experienced at every level. The third category explains that there are certain changing entities amidst something that never changes. It also believes that identity and differences are equally important and cannot be avoided.  The first category of philosophical understandings paved the way for the emergence of a heap of philosophical systems. Such systems in Indian philosophy have been classified into a philosophical stream named ‘dvaita’ (duality). On the contrarory, the second category believes in diversity but everything that appears in diversified manner is nothing but the manifestation of one and the same reality. This system of thought is quite unique to Indian ‘darsana’ (nearest meaning ‘sight’, in the sense seeing from the root – duly explained later) and it is technically known as ‘advaita’. The third category of thought has been systemized by Aristotle the Greek philosopher and it has been manifested in various forms in Europe as well as in the Indian Systems. In India, that category of thought has been classified as ‘visishtadvaita’ (nearest meaning – special non-duality). These three positions are the result of the basic approaches to the understanding of the reality in and around us. A fourth category is not practically and logically possible. That is why these categories of thoughts in Indian Systems are known as Vedanta which means, the beginning and the end of our experiences. That is, human experiences begin with duality and develop into proliferation of thoughts and streams that culminate into the logic of identity in differences, ultimately ending up in the experience of absolute identity. That is why the Indian Systems of thoughts divide categories of understanding of reality into dvaita (dualism), visishtadvaita (nondualism and dualism together) and advaita (non-dualism – absolute identity).

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 20-06-2017

Path of Ahimsa

The whole system of Indian Thought is unique for its concept of Dharma. The definition of Dharma may be varying from system to system, but every system accepts the preservation of dharma as a necessary precondition for the preservation of life and universe. The term dharma means anything that preserves one own existence as well as the co-existence of others. That is, it aims at the co-existence of man and the universe. What is essential to preserve the co-existence of man and universe may be a debatable matter. For Eg; the Carvaka system, the Indian materialistic thought strongly believes that bread alone is enough to preserve human existence.  But all other systems have the opinion that human existence can be preserved by something more than bread and its’ fabrications.  In biblical terms, man needs every word that comes from the mouth of God apart from daily bread.
If we accept that bread alone is enough to preserve human existence then the natural outcome is that every human being has to accumulate the maximum amount of bread to ensure the longevity of human existence. If everyone tries accumulating the maximum for oneself, then the result will be competition, conflict, crisis and war.  In such a set up no one will be able to live a normal life. This shows that if one believes in bread alone, it cannot guarantee even his own existence because victory in any war needs something more than skill and efficiency. That something can be termed as good luck.  But one cannot be sure that the good luck will always be with him.
Therefore, the Indian Rishis introduced a very unique term to the philosophical world, ie, Ahimsa. Literally, it means abstain from killing. But it is impossible to lead a normal life without annihilating the other beings because we want to eat something. Eating something means annihilation of one form of life or other. Even a strict non-vegetarian cannot make a claim that he is not annihilating anything because life element in a piece of grain can never be different from the life element in me. Then the question arises is whether ahimsa is an impractical concept or not. The answer given by the Indian tradition is that it is practical because the term Ahimsa means to take only the minimum from the world. That is Ahimsa means the minimum use of wealth, power, position, fame etc. The use of the minimum guards you from competition, conflict, crisis and war and it guarantees peaceful co-existence.  

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 31-12-2013

Don't be Alienated

In every process of rejuvenation there is an act of self actualization or self regulation, because the moment one creates something one has to ensure full participation in the act of creation. That full involvement occurs only when one is able to exercise free will. Otherwise, a person who is not involved in a particular activity will naturally be alienated from the action as well as the context in which he is acting. This process of alienation is a very serious one and the person who himself alienates from the context, as well as the action, will never be able to make anything novel or anything creative. It is the total involvement of the person in the context as well as in the action that makes him really free and such a person should be able to create something, in the sense that he must be able actualize whatever be the potentialities in him. The range of the actualization as well as the range of the potentialities may be changing from person to person or place to place. A person who is actualizing something alone need not be great – this rule is applicable to a great writer and a great craftsman.  A person who is able to actualize whatever he has with him must be able to produce something and such an act of creation must be able to surpass the test of times. The test of times means that an act of creation must be able to survive irrespective of the temporal changes. This is what is meant by the term novelty. So the act of creation is a novel action and in that novel action the person actualizes whatever he has with him in the potential form. If there is a cent percent involvement in that actualization that can be treated as self-realization in the context in which one acts. So, self-realization is the aim of a creative artist. The moment one feels that he has actualized whatever he has with him then he can be sure of the fact that act has been a creative one. Such an act of creation really leads the whole nation to prosperity and progress. A progressive society is one that gives maximum opportunity to its members for the actualization of their talents. This is one of the reasons why the fascist societies are not able to survive the test of the times. Such a society will never be able to preserve the right of its individuals to create with maximum involvement in the said context. This is one of the reasons why the fascist maxims are failing in due course. Fascism will never be able to entertain the free will of the individual and since they are not able to do that they won’t be able to help those members of the society to actualize their capacities; it can be in any form.  A man can be creative in a business field just like genuine artist. So we cannot say that only artists and writers are creative and business men are not. This style of thought never makes any sense. Business men can also be creative provided they also blossom into full. This is applicable to every area of action including religious service. Take for example any business man or an industrialist, who is making money and he cannot enjoy the total of his creation for himself alone. That is another characteristic of the art of creation. The art of creation guarantees its enjoyment not to the creator alone but to other persons who need not be gifted to live in a particular favour. Take for ex. Ford. The Ford industry has made money, and whatever Ford has made, that money is utilized also by the persons who are not directly linked to him. This is the case of a businessman in India too. My point is that whatever be the art of creation, one of the aims is that any activity of creation is not exclusively meant for the creator alone; it is meant for the whole public in the sense that it also includes the generations to come. 

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 31-07-2012

Freedom and Creativity

If you want to actualize the potentialities
present in an individual, you must ­­­necessarily make him free and if a
teacher can make a student free from fear of a subject, quite sure that such a
student must be able to produce the maximum in the subject as well as in the
society. Because of the fact that there is an element of fear in our students, usually
they are not creative in their activities; they are afraid of language, they
are afraid of mathematics, they are afraid of science and they are afraid of almost
every subject. The duty of an ideal teacher is to remove fear of a subject from
the mindset of the students and removal of fear is exactly the work of a
teacher. A person who is able to remove fear from the minds of the people is a
real leader. But, on the contrary what happens now is that here in the
political organizations the supreme leaders are creating more of it. Because of
this fear any follower always imitates the leader, and imitation cannot bring
out anything creative. So, especially in the case of India, we have to free our
youth, free our students free our management and our employees from that fear
which has already been created by the so called superiors. The removal of fear is
an essential precondition in exploring the potentialities in a human
individual. Advaita aims at removal of fear and the moment we admit that ‘I and
you’ is identical, we also indirectly admit that there is no difference between
‘I and you. If there are identical elements in ‘I and you’ there is no question
of lack of communication. Lack of communication always ends up in creation of
fear. 

No society can be progressive without
expression of freedom by every member. A developed and progressive society
means a society which actualizes the potentialities in every individual. All
such actualizations should have the ability to exercise freedom of each person.
Freedom is something that is not given; it has to be taken by the person
concerned. The one who exercises freedom has to remember that a free person has
to regulate himself too. The self-regulated exercise of freedom by every member
of a society alone ensures progress and development. The present day market
economy believes in unfettered freedom. An unfettered freedom is dangerous to a
healthy society.  A society needs
regulation and that regulation must be self-regulation. This aspect has been
forgotten by the Western philosophical systems of thought. Now-a-days the world
moves towards polarization of power, wealth etc. This is highly dangerous. Freedom is dangerous but not self-regulated freedom.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 10-07-2012

Fear in Freedom

Freedom is one of the necessary preconditions for creativity. A society can be creative, only if it enjoys freedom; same is the case with individuals too. A free person and a free society should be able to actualize whatever remains in potential form. So, the best form of management is exploring the creativity of one and all in that organization. Here, both the organization and all the members of that organization should be free. An organization consisting of free members alone is a free organization; only such an organization turns creative in management, in political affairs, in social affairs and even in industrial development. A developed society in its real form is a society that enjoys freedom, in the sense that it is able to exercise self-regulation.  A self-regulated society alone will be able to effect changes in a creative form in the context in which it exists. Take for example the case of management: we want to get the best product, the best result etc. but the best can be produced only if all the members of that organization, right from the last grade to the Managing Director are exercising their free will. The exercise of free will means that a person in that organization must be able to concentrate, must be able to organize and focus his attention on the goals directed by that organization. Then only an individual can be creative and only a creative individual is able to contribute something effective and valuable to that organization. What happens now days is that we are fixing targets to be achieved. In the process of achieving a target, the individual is bound by issues other than the target because if he is not able to achieve the target, he will be thrown away from that organization. This naturally generates fear. A person who is overpowered by fear can never be a free man. Man must necessarily be free from all sorts of fears including fear of God. The very concept of fear of God has been the contribution of the Jewish tradition. When Jesus introduced His Gospel, He really changed this position and He identified with those persons, who were then treated inferior. Such an identification give those persons, a sense of freedom because they get rid of the fear that has already been created by a philosophical position which says that God is something different from man and man cannot attain the position of God. ¬¬Jesus has made it clear that if a person is able to experience God he should also be able to establish His kingdom on earth. Jesus explains that when one experiences heaven on earth he gets freedom from all the fears that have been created by distinct forces.  This philosophy is never different from right management principles. A management expert must be able to guide others to exercise their free will in tune with the objectives of the organization. When an individual gets tuned to this style, he really turns a contribution to the whole organization. This is what effective management means. But now-a-days what happens is that we are separating the management tactics from the employees; such a separation creates fear in the minds of employees. A person who is afraid of his superiors may not be able to extract the good aspects of his own potentiality. So, in every sense, the management has to make everyone in that organization, free.  If a teacher can make a student free from fear of a subject, quite sure that such student must be able to produce the maximum to the subject as well as to the society. (Contd.) 

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 03-07-2012

Toolsof Communication

Everyone accepts a fact that we are living in a multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-formal world where plurality is a reality. There are cultural plurality, religious plurality, political plurality, economic plurality and even plurality in food, dress habits etc. The question that arises is how it is possible to get an effective means of communication in a pluralistic world. Is no meaning in saying that a monolithic or a uniform world is better than a pluralistic world because nature never provides a uniform world or a monolithic world; there are differences and diversities. All such differences and diversities mean proper means of communication. How is it possible to make communication effective? The modern philosophical trend in philosophy, literature and media etc. have got a very firm opinion that  communication is something that is different from what it is intended by the author. The text here is a different entity and the author has no role to play in the text or the intention of the author need not be considered as a proper element in communication, whatever be the intention of the author, the intention that has been explained explicitly or implicitly there in the text. We, the readers or the hearers have got full freedom to understand it in a way which is in tune with our context. It is well and good that if a particular term has been written by a particular author, has a specific meaning. This theory gives us the right that it can be understood in a different meaning. Suppose a term ‘mother’ has been used to explain the lady who has given birth to me, the meaning can be interpreted as mother-in-law, who is the mother of my wife. So, mother cannot be mother-in-law. That is a very serious aspect. But they simply says that any term be interpreted in any manner. This   results in anarchy in the very experience of communication.  In an anarchical state where there is no communication at all, there must be some specific order communication and communication can be easy only we are able to establish some common elements between ‘I’ and ‘you’. Where there are no common elements, there is no communication. The post-modern trend says that there is similarity but nothing common between them; this makes communication ineffective or it creates chaos in the field of communication. Hence, what makes us more difficult is that the other remains as a mysterious entity as far as I am concerned. Such a trend in philosophical life as well as in cultural life really creates a serious problem. In his context it is essential to look into all possibilities to overcome this crisis and establish a dialogue between ‘I’ and ‘You’. Take for example the inter-religious dialogues. The Western Christianity developed based on a trend given by the Greek philosophers especially by the Aristotelian logic.  Thomas Aquinas was instrumental to make it possible to adopt the Aristotelian logic in Christianity through his theology. He said that the Aristotelian logic is enough to incorporate Christ experience. But it is a proven fact that one cannot be able to understand Christ with the tool provided by the Greek forefathers, especially Aristotle. Hence, we have to find out a new tool. When we make a comparison between Hinduism and Christianity, there is the question, ‘should we follow the tool as developed by either Hinduism or Christianity’. With Hindu tools, your assessment of Christianity need not be correct and vice versa. So, whenever we are in need of an effective communication system, we have to develop a new epistemology which is able enough to keep up identity at every level. Such a logical identity can be developed by the Advaitic System of logic. Advaitic System says that differences are not deficiencies but are the marks of nature; hence, we can be sure of the fact that there are diversified objects and all such diversified objects have something in common and it is that common element which helps us to make communication, more easy and possible. If we are not able to realize and recognize that common element then it is not possible to establish a meaningful dialogue in a pluralistic world.  

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 19-06-2012