We sometimes miss to consider the first principles in evaluating any religion.
I believe that the “Religion” itself in its face value as it stands today, doesn’t make any sense for the forthcoming modern times. Liberty should drive the society, as it did for Hinduism. It should derive the norms for adaptability and progressive evolution. Rest is just egoistic propaganda. Whichever norms derived in the past, irrespective of religion, and defines the better adaptability and progressive evolution should be considered further, and stay away from the dogmatic approach, as it creates confusion and frustration.
Yes, Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma is the oldest and hence it might provide or provides more insight than any other religion. “Dharma” means “value systems” and “Sanatana” means “everlasting truth”. That is the reason, in Hinduism, the life is divided into phases, child, youth, etc. and each phase has the “gates”, “Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha” and the “paths”, “Shudra, Vaishya, Kshatriya, Brahmana” and sub-paths like “Married, unmarried, educated, uneducated, skilled, non-skilled etc.” to pass these gates. Every path has its own suitable norms to pass the gates. Like, a married person has a certain norms which slightly differ than the norms of an unmarried person. Similarly, a bright child has different norms and paths, than the average kid. These norms were developed for the betterment of the society and to protect the liberty of each and every individual to pursue happiness.
Thus, one need to be careful while reading the Vedic texts. They are not the entire collection. They are written for different phases, paths and gates. We might have lost other important texts reflecting other parts of the life. Like, Bhagvad Gita, Ramayana are contextually for “Kshatriyas” and “value systems” of the society in general. They are not entirely holistic and they alone don’t cover or fulfill the first principles.
Many people argue that we lacked High tech Military which is the cause of failure in defending our borders. There is also an argument that asceticism became a trend for the Indian rulers, renouncing everything, betraying the citizens leaving them on their own, without a proper succession planning. This is self explanatory as Bharatvarsha (India) was one big united country with expanded territories, Bangladesh to Afghanistan and Kashmir to Kerala under emperor Ashoka’s rule and later decided to live in peace which gave rise to asceticism. But, as time passed by, there were internal wars for succession which weakened the unity and economic condition of the nation. They were mostly busy in trading with foreigners in commodities but very few were buying or developing weaponary. Also, the rulers were focusing more on internal stability, and least on the development of defensive strategies from foreign invaders. Indian rulers were having a loosely formed foreign policy. This is the very reason India was not focusing on improving their military strategies as were no plans to invade foreign land or foresee threat of foreign invasion. They also kept themselves engaged with the other worldly pleasures.
We know the perils of Industrialization. If one does the risk/benefit and cost/benefit analysis it will tell clearly that human race is actually progressing towards extinction rather than progression. This is the reason Gandhiji or similar figures advocated simple self sustenance living to protect one’s liberty. But, the fact is the earth, the environment and the genetic structure keeps changing. Thus, Darwin’s theory “Evolution by natural selection” plays its part, and to adapt we need to learn new responsive survival techniques.
In summary, the process of human living in today’s world is highly complex in nature and keeps changing within one life span. One comes to realize that the ideals today are no more applicable after twenty years. Most of the pursuits have changed depending on the family, the social structure and the limitless opportunities. It is hard to follow the religion in black and white (as it exists or documented). There is huge gap between the ideals and the human liberty. We want “freedom” on one hand and “controls” on the other. We expect certainty and at the same time keep exploring high risk opportunities.
At the end we are made of flesh and blood. We have a body which has a limited life span, a mind which can dream, and a soul which always want to experience bliss. We react to the feelings and thoughts and pursue dreams and ambitions. We need a religion which allows us to have freedom to express and respect freedom of others. This will be the quest for this and the next human race.
P.S: The article above is strictly a reflection of my personal views and has nothing to do with any existing religious views or thoughts.
|| namo bhArataM namo saMskR^itaM ||