"Use of the phrase "Indian Knowledge Systems", even if it may smack of Indian identity, has the advantage that over the last 65 years, the Indian Christians & the Indian Muslims have developed a unique Indian identity, unlike those from other countries & they are less likely to cooperate with their external sponsors, specially the US evangelical denominations in their subterfuge of "acculturation" & "inculturation".
Rajiv comment: I argue in BD for the adoption of the term sapeksha-dharma over secularism, be it Indian secularism or not. Right now Indian secularism is a "disputed territory" with forces pulling from the dharmic side and opposing Indian voices based in Abrahamic and western secularist models. Its not a good idea to concede to this space and simply give up our own categories.
While each of us can come up with war stories of victory like you have given, there are plenty of other developments in the opposite direction that are usually too discomforting to be remembered. ..."
"This is a very important caution. The discovery of a path that is Indian in principles and philosophy but contemporary and pragmatic is a 'razors edge'. What will help is for us to create some forums where we can offer constructive critiques on some of the attempts we are making.
Rajiv's response: THIS is a forum meant to inspire this. BD was written to be a platform for developing such modern day Apps. All of us are co-developers of the Apps...
Raghu responds (2)
The BD approach is the most sensible one I have come across. Dharampal ji when he was in chennai had inspired some of us to walk this path and we had created the People's Patriotic Science and Technology (PPST). ...
Rajiv's response: I have worked with some of Dharampal's top followers, and am involved with a few of them for developing
Apps... Please invite such persons here. This is why I want to move on beyond the whining against others mode - that is necessary to define WHY we have such a NEED, but not sufficient by itself."
Even living in Western society one can live a Vedic lifestyle to some extent .I don't think having a Vedic lifestyle means one has to go backwards to some `stone age' or something. Living Dharmic is about finding a balance and harmony in whatever surrounding one lives in by taking the best from all directions
without harming yourself or society as a whole .Vedic lifestyle and modern technology can go hand in hand.
Neeraj comments (1):
"... Since the question asked is in the Vedic framework, I assume we are talking of a model which is based on Vegetarianism as an alternative. This change alone can
make a huge difference because, apart from population, one of the culprits is meat industry. ...In simple terms one hectare of rain forest cut down to feed human population can feed ten time more vegetarians as compared to meat eaters.
Neeraj comments (1):
The use of chemicals for better yield is again a myth propagated by industry. I can say this because I have worked with a group who promotes organic farming. Initially I thought them to be a bunch of Jholawalas but now I have seen that the yield is far better without the use of chemicals. Not only that, the quality of food is also far better. (e.g. ) Genetically modified foods are an even bigger danger then the chemicals that we used. Firstly, the increased productivity is a myth fabricated by industry and scientists on its payrolls.
The increase is said to be a result of pest resistant property of the crop but so far, the bugs have outsmarted the engineers. Secondly, in Punjab, where bt cotton is being grown (cotton belt), the problems that have arisen are miscarriages (humans and animals), increased infertility, allergic reactions and death of cattle fed remnants of crops. Thirdly, experiments done on animals have established stunted human growth, intestinal cancer and stomach cancer due to GM crops. Fourthly, GM crops reduce crop variety by pollinating with non GM plants. Fifthly, inter generational studies on animals have shown that it is not necessary that the manifestation of any side effects will appear in first generation. I suggest everyone to watch a movie called Food Inc. for a better idea.
Rajiv: Good point. So we must do a point by point rigorous analysis of dharmic civ versus alternatives, to determine what aspects should stay, which ones need to be updated (like smritis get updated), and which are to be rejected and
"I would argue not. Almost all of the vedic systems were heavily wedded to the land we live in, the environment, the rural and pre-industrial setup.
The plain answer is a "NO", but what can we have as an alternative system would have to emerge from the best & viable combination of the West (which has been copied in the conscious deliberate development through Indian Five Year plans during the last 65 years & from which the correction would have to start) & the traditional Indian surviving systems which have escaped destruction from the different directions in the past as well as use of the learning that India may have done from the past 1000 years to the extent documented. ...
Rajiv comment: Agreed. This is why I never wanted to join political or other blind bandwagons, because they inhibit creative open thinking out of the box. Criticizing the west is to CLEAR THE SPACE FOR FRESH IDEAS, not as an end in itself.
"1. Vegetarianism is indeed the only alternative when sustainability is addressed on the basis of water foot print. However this has to be by allowing milk as a vegetarian diet.Vedi tradition hold Cow's milk as God's
Nectar. Certain essential nutritive elements such as vitamin B12, and proteins are not available in any vegetables. These can be supplied only by Milk. Cow's Milk is found the only viable source of all these essential nutrients. Again modern science endorses the Vedic tradition that Cows should feed on green forage. Only Green Forage fed cow's milk has much lower saturated fat. This milk also has the highest content of EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) Omega3, and equal amount of Omega 6, Only such milk supplies all the Carotenoids that are
essential for healthy eyes to avoid cataract and age related macular degeneration..
2. It has been also confirmed by researches nearly 100 years ago in India by Sir Albert Howard that cow based agriculture and traditional Indian crop rotation methods of agriculture do not require any chemicals as fertilizers and pesticides/ insecticides. .... Rudolph Steiner's BioDynamic Agriculture is based on cows and lunar calenders is now an accepted improved method of agriculture even by US Agriculture dept.... This obviates all GM crop science intervention.
3. Adulteration and modification of food items to increase the shelf life are concerns of worry on health issues. ... Modern trend of Urban Agriculture and Buy Locally produced food items are trends going back to revive Vedic life style.
4. Zero food miles also makes considerable fuel savings by reducing lot of transportation, and help in bringing down the prices to the lowest levels.
5. Vedic tradition had laid down [?]-Safe forests as pastures in the vicinity of habitats. Prof William Albrecht soil scientist of Missouri University established in 1920s that cows while grazing on land also maintained its fertility by depositing their Urine and Dung in the pastures. Thus pasture lands are self sustaining and do not require any external inputs to maintain the regular forage supply.
7. Vedas also provide clear legislature strategies and priorities for Line Functions and Staff Functions in governance of nations. And these are all found to be most advanced even by modern management yardstick. Vedas give very clear
guidance on sustainable prosperity , mental and physical health and environments."
Except for the final point, all items below seem to deal with only food supply. This does not make a convincing enough case, as there is a lot more involved in society than food supply... I would request that we get the analysis "elaborated in minutest details."
"The first requirement to maintain a civilization distinct from others is its ability to defend itself. Unless return to Vedic lifestyle also returns to you the secret of Brahmastra, etc., the requirement is to have today's high technology - and all the whole societal set-up needed to keep ahead or abreast of the latest in technology. The first challenge, then is to figure out how you will make that work. ... In the words in K.M. Munshi's retelling of our books, kshatra tej is a necessary accompaniment to brahma tej...."
"....While Rajivji has definitely opened the eyes of the real motives of the western do-gooders working in India, we cannot always blame the west or islamic invasions for all our country's social evils. We need to take responsitily for
the rigid stupidity of our ancestors as well. In that regard, I don't see any reformation that could dismantle the Jati/Varna hierarchial social structure of Indian villages other than completely dismantling it through effective legislation that has punitive consequences.
Speaking of punitive consequences, I am aware of it's misuse in India today regarding affirmative action policies or instances of journalistic freedom getting wrongly potrayed as hate speech towards a particular Jati etc. But this genie cannot be put back into the bottle."
"For me a vedic lifestyle is one that allows for the balanced pursuit of the four puruShArthas, dharma, artha, kAma and mOkSha. The activities that can give us artha and kAma change from time to time. We find newer and newer ways of seeking pleasure and material wealth all the time. And the traditions that we have give the other two. Karma KANDam gives a basis for the pursuit of dharma and the jnAna kANDam the pursuit of mOkSha. Thus, for me, a vedic lifestyle is one that gives a strong association for every individual in the society to a particular karma and also lays out a path where the person, if he chooses to, would seek mOkSha.
I see the karma kANDam rituals as ones where our tradition has tried to make us enlightened consumers. Unlike a consumerist society (which lays emphasis on artha and kAma alone, leading to over-consumption and hence decay of dharma), the vedic society expected people to temper their artha and kAma pursuits through dharma. And at the same time, through the various karmas, made us 'consume' for the sake of the devas. ...
The various karmas like yajnas, temple rituals like abhiShEkam, or spending on festivals like Deepavali, or giving dAna to a worthy cause, for me signify this enlightened consumption. So, what we need in a vedic lifestyle then, are such karmas, which will help us temper our artha and kAma pursuits and at the same time direct the consumption for a larger good of the society.
So, we should continue to conduct yajnas, build temples in places where we live, donate money etc. with a proper understanding of why we are doing it and that constitutes the vedic lifestyle, according to me. For this lifstyle to exist, we need
1. To take some pride in our traditions.
2. Know why we are taking pride in the traditions (so it does not get to the head in a meaningless way)
Using ideas from BD, we can say the means of production and points of consumption, should not be connected synthetically as producers and consumers, but as an integral whole, karma being the underlying connection. The producers produce for the yajna and the consumer feeds the yajna. The producer's primary objective then is not to maximize individual profit nor is the consumer's primary objective the pleasure of consumption. Both these exist for sure, but as secondary objectives.
The author, Vimla Patil mentions the worldview promoted by BD, in the context of bringing up children.
"I feel we can get back to Vedic System of living in a limited way, but not in strictest sense.
Take simple example of Pancha Yajnas. Via Pancha Yajnas, which should be treated
as a duty of a householder, he
1) serves society via brahma yajna, deva yajna
2) serves individuals via manushya yajna
3) respects and serves family via pitru yajna
4) respects nature via bhuta yajna
It seems to me that attempt of our ancient gurus has been to return to Yajnic roots but in a different form. Not everybody will be doing all Yajnas. For instance, Namboothiri families can do Athirathram type of Soma Yajnas only once in lifetime. This explains why such complex Soma Yajnas are not so often
conducted. To me, simple concept like Pancha Yajna replaces complex maha yajna procedures with simple and low cost ways, in a day to day life..."
1) Your "solution" to the question Vedic whether lifestyle is scalable to our 100 times bigger population density covers a very narrow aspect only. It looks at ritual as the core of Vedic lifestyle, and simply ignores dealing with broader issues of super high population density:
- Can the rule by king work today?
- Can villages with such high densities and so close to one another enable life to continue without heavy duty technology and machinery?
- Will heavy industry, in turn, lead to competition intense? (Remember the Soviet experiment to fight free enterprise failed.)
- Does the resulting mobility of jobs cause break up of joint families?
- can we keep animals with us in high density apartment buildings?
- can we fight external enemies who are at the gates, if we have so much decentralization of society, and the resulting fragmentation? ...."
"....Any alternative cannot be prescriptive to the core. It has to have a few principles that we should all veer towards but specific answers can be identified by each community/ grouping based on experimentation and review.
b. The core minimum principles that must be established must be such that these can be applied in all situations - whether family life, personal choices, corporate life, societal behaviour, relationship between two nations, scientific pursuit, etc. Such principles must then become the constitution of the country.
If Equality, Secularism, Minority protection, etc are adopted as Constitution, while these are possibly useful on their own, they cannot be applied to our day to day life as these are not really subtle enough or useful enough for application..."