Views and Words

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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 28-09-2017
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‘Aparigraha’

We are living in a ‘Market culture’. It influences us in many ways. It says that it is the routine matter to offer something as an incentive to buy something. Even if we are not in need of that particular thing which is being offered by the market, we have the habit of acquiring all those ‘free gifts’ as a part of our routine life.

How far are we being justified morally in these free gifts accumulation? The Indian System of thought says that accepting anything which is not essential for our existence is wrong. This concept is technically called ‘aparigraha’. ‘Aparigraha’ literally means to abstain from receiving anything which is not essential to ensure our existence, i.e. the basic needs like food, shelter etc. are to be minimized to ensure a fact that we are not taking anything which is not our due. We are warned to practise ‘aparigraha’ because the Nature is sure to provideeverything to meet the need of all but nothing to satisfy the greed of even one. So if we take anything that is not essential to us, no matter how small it is, we are taking something which could have been the share of someone else. This act amounts to theft.

So what is necessary in the present context is to check the influence of the market by oneself. Market really tempts us to accumulate the maximum but ‘aparigraha’ reminds that there is nothing to satisfy the maximum of a single person. Therefore we have to accept a simple fact that our greed also is responsible for the famine in Bosnia and other countries. Is it that difficult to sort out our needs from our wants?

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 25-09-2017
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Revisiting Vedas

Man cannot live on earth without a body and body is a spacio – temporal entity. That is why the holy Bible says that man is in need of bread to sustain his body and he also needs something more than that. Anything in space and time is changing. Hence man is an ever changing entity. Everything in him including his body, mind and something more than them are changing.

Though everyone knows that there is change, it is not that much easy to know how does change occurs and how it can be known. Change is always known in relation to something that remains at least relatively unchanging. For example, imagine of a wrist watch in which the dial as well as the needle are in a perpetual changing mode having the same velocity or not. It is not possible to know change and hence no time can be known using such a wrist watch. That is, changing time can be known ‘if and only if’ the dial remains stationary and the needles are on move. The moving needle is a ladder that leads us to the stationary dial and the dial indicates time. So what is known is not the moving needle but the stationary dial. Therefore, it has been argued that change is a ladder that takes us to the unchanging state of experience. That is, the space time entity which is always in a changing mode had been a ladder to something that is not changing. That something which is free from change is known as ‘Satya’ or ‘truth’. It is the ‘truth’ that is known through the phenomenon. Hence, it has been argued that every phenomenon in space and time is a sign that testifies the unchanging truth.

The ever changing phenomenon is ‘Agama’ (changing), which is ladder to ‘Nigama’ (unchanging). The Agama is the whole world and ‘Nigama’ is the basis of the world. The Vedic texts expressed in lingual form is ‘Agama’ and the basis to be experienced to it is ‘Nigama’.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 13-09-2017
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Ensuring the Minimum

The uncertainty and the resultant anxiety have to be either avoided or eliminated. Otherwise, nobody can lead a normal life. Fear Psychosis is one of the major diseases of our times. We are afraid of death, afraid of losing power, losing wealth, losing positions, losing fame …….. We are afraid of being attacked and getting defeated. If one is not able to remove
this fear psychosis, one cannot be happy, even if he/she possess wealth or fame to unlimited extend. Therefore, what we need at present is to find out an effective remedy to remove the fear psychosis.

It is at this point that one has to seek an alternative method of life practice. That method demands us to focus on the minimum each one requires to sustain one’s existence in space and time. That minimum can be ensured by the practice of ‘iham, uttra, artha, bhoga, vairagya’. This advises us to keep equal distance with pain and pleasure. Vairagya does not mean that one has to renounce everything that can be experienced by the sense organs and mind, it is humanly impossible
too. Since man is a spacio-temporal entity and since he has to depend on space and time to ensure his existence, he cannot renounce everything in space and time. He needs food, shelter, cloth etc. Vairagya does not mean the practice of compulsory starvation but it demands that one has to stick on to the minimum food, minimum shelter and everything that requires
to keep one’s existence on earth at the minimum.

Since nature never provides unlimited resources to satisfy the unending need and greed, then every individual, society and state has to limit oneself to the minimum. But today, the whole media with all their magnificent varieties of performances make us believe that it is possible to go to the unlimited extend. That is why we are thinking of an ambitious world. But
really, the world is incapable to satisfy human ambition. Therefore one has to control one’s own sense organs and mind.

By Dr. K S Radhakrishnan on 28-08-2017
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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