It is proclaimed that "pure water of Ganga is essential for the spiritual as well as physical well-being of India:' It is Ganga Mahatmya. But the cleaning of the Ganges itself has now become an insurmountable human problem. The socio-governmental effort is certainly one thing and will fetch in the measure of commitment and sincerity as much the reward also. But in India the Indian Ganges is not just a river or a few thousand cusecs of water flowing sedately through the land. The Veda speaks constantly of the waters or the rivers. especially of the divine waters. and occasion- ally of the waters which carry in them the light of the luminous solar world or the light of the Sun. These waters are so because of the spiritual tapasya of the Rishis and Sages. It is in the tapes that there is the purification and there is the constancy of the flood of light. of the divine waters. It implies national tapasya being carried out in the worthiness of the soul of the country and of the River herself. The Ganges that the Society is. that too can get purified only in such a glowing tapasya.
The Decline of Chaturvarna
It is unfortunate that soda I discrimination, exploitation of the weak, violence in the imprudence of life-instincts, untouchability, inequality, disgrace, human deprivation, injustice, violation of human rights should all get wrongly connected with Sanatana Dharma; it is malicious. And then most often Chaturvarna is erroneously equated with caste system. They are not the same. Let us first be very clear that Chaturvarna is not it, it never was caste system; it is classification of qualities based on the nature of the individual, classification to promote qualities. While caste division based on functional occupation is a distortion and degradation, an ugly vilification of values arising out of depraved human vital nature, a despicable crudity manipulating social weaknesses, Chaturvarna has a nobility and universality that transcends geography and history and decadent traditions that have lost contact with the living breadth of the spirit. A Brahmin is no more a Brahmin when he trades his intellect and his knowledge for social or monetary prestige and gain; he is a trader and not even a Vaishya. Brahminism is a quality in the urge of the soul- force that drives it towards knowledge and understanding of the causes of things that afflict life and existence, a constant pursuit in the discovery of the underlying truth that sustains everything. If it is not present in it then it is not Brahminism but something else. Untouchability is one of the dehumanising aspects not of Chaturvarna but of a caste-ridden society. Mahatma Gandhi defined it as "a means of pollution by touch of certain persons by reason of their birth in particular state of family." What has that birth to do with Chaturvarna? nothing. It is the quality, his swabhava that will do it. To Ambedkar it meant a "case of permanent hereditary stain which nothing can cleanse." It is fallacious to say "caste system divides Hindu society into four varnas and later into thousands of castes and sub-castes. Untouchability divides the Hindu society into two groups as touchable and untouchables. The caste system is based on Veda, Manu Smriti and other religious scriptures whereas untouchability is based 0 traditional contempt of Buddhism, and continuation of beef eating. The caste system prescribes certain rules of internal behaviour whereas untouchability is a matter of external behaviour with the so-called lower castes." The untouchables are the avarnas. The hierarchy of caste system considers the untouchables as profane. This is the modern mind trying to reformulate the ancient foundational truth, of Chaturvarna, based on some fundamental reality. The absurdity of this gets thoroughly exposed when one says untouchability originated with the Aryan invasion, that untouchables were non- Aryan and non-Dravidian aboriginals. How can birth determine the caste of an individual? But was there anything like an Aryan invasion at all? all convenient fiction.
But let us come to brass tags of the modern system governing society. Pertinently we may first ask the question as who the untouchables are. Let us take an example.
Here is what an ex-Supreme Court judge narrates as how a corrupt judge continued in Madras high court: "The UPA government was at the Centre at that time. Congress was no doubt the largest party in this alliance, but it did not have a majority in Lok Sabha, and was dependent on the support of its allies. One such ally was the party in Tamil Nadu which was backing this corrupt judge. On coming to know of the recommendation of the three-judge Supreme Court collegium they strongly objected to it. The information I got was that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was at that time leaving for New York to attend the UN general assembly session. At the Delhi airport, he was told by ministers of the Tamil Nadu party that by the time he returned from New York his government would have fallen as their party would withdraw support to the UPA (for not continuing that additional judge). On hearing this, Singh panicked, but he was told by a senior Congress minister not to worry, and that he would manage everything. That minister then went to Justice Lahoti and told him there would be a crisis if that additional judge was discontinued. On hearing this, Justice Lahoti sent a letter to the government of India to give another term of one year as additional judge to that corrupt judge, (I wonder whether he consulted his two Supreme Court collegium members), and it was in these circumstances this corrupt judge was given another one-year term as' additional judge (while his six batch mates as additional judges were confirmed as permanent Judges). The additional judge was later given another term as additional judge by the new CJI Justice Sabharwal, and then confirmed as a permanent judge by the next CJI Justice KG Balakrishnan, but transferred to another high court. I have related all this to show how the system actually works, whatever it is in theory. In fact, in view of the adverse IB report the judge should not even have been allowed to continue as additional judge."
Just to state that such allegations suggest India's higher judiciary is in a state of rot is not an adequate assessment of the issue; certainly it is not a solution. In question is the very fibre of the society, the character of the society at all the levels. We have here none, none belonging to the nobility and idealism of the four wonderful units of society, the glory of Indian social organisation founded on spiritual principles and realities. They who lack that nobility and idealism belong to the untouchable or the pernicious class. What should really be untouchable, what should be matchless or superlative in its real dynamic sense has become this appalling untouchable. One who does not stand by values is really the untouchable. Instead of going by these tenets we divert the attention by pointing out at Chaturvarna and Manu Smriti in a hurried disparaging manner.
We dismiss the Gita which maintains that it was its Teacher who had created this fourfold order of society, and that in its decline he comes here again and again, yuqe-yuqe. This cannot be without some foundational truth behind it.
The problem is, the fact is for centuries we lost contact with the spirit, we are living in an age of wearying conduct, what the Gita says dharmasya glani, the decline of the dharma. We have now multi-causal theories of social degradation arising out of grimy occupations, conversions, defeats in war leading to another kind of slavery, superstitions, suffocating traditions, and so on. These groups of people having lost their livelihood and nothing to survive were forced to eat food never recommended to any healthy person. Buddhism which was embraced by the most in early days, that itself stood for an egalitarian society. But this is something which happened in all the places, everywhere, happened in one form or the other. Ambedkar has a truer perception when he says, "ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality." He gave dhamma diksha to his followers by conducting a ceremony which included 22 vows. These comprised of non-belief in the Hindu deities and incarnations, non-performance of rites and rituals; what was prescribed was the noble eightfold path of the Buddha, equality of man, compassion and loving-kindness for all living beings. In them the follower saw a new birth of his. Ambedkar gave him a Navayana, an updated version of the Dhamma. Of course there is the Buddhist belief that a person's conditions at birth are the result of previous karma and that had to be dismissed. Nonetheless the organisation· of a working system in its multi- functional details remained unattended.
"Dalits represent a community of 170 million in India, constituting 17% of the population. One out of every six Indians is Dalit, yet due to their caste identity Dalits regularly face discrimination and violence which prevent them from enjoying the basic human rights and dignity promised to all citizens of India. Caste-based social organization extends beyond India, finding corollaries in Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, as well as other countries outside of South Asia. More than 260 million people worldwide suffer from this 'hidden apartheid' of segregation, exclusion, and discrimination." A vast amount of Dalit literature also has come out but that is not something which is new; this has been happening through centuries.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Children’s Books (38)
Brahma Sutras (85)
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