"One of the overlooked advantages of the decentralized dharmic spiritual system is extreme resistance to outside attempts to destroy it, such as moves by conquerors to wipe out the system.
The strength of the centralized authoritarianism like Christianity or Islam is its clear lines of authority, organization internally, its leadership class of highly trained priests, its education system and its ability to act like a unit against threats. That is also its weakness, because the centralized system works well only when it is protected by the state. If the state is conquered by an outside group or a new political entity, the centralized authoritarian group loses its protection and can easily be shattered.
Look at how the Russian communists crushed the Eastern Orthodox church after the Russian Revolution as an example. .... So in a single generation the Eastern Orthodox was wiped out, and no new generations grew up within that system.
In contrast the dharmic systems like Hinduism are apparently designed for the long term, to be able to resist immense pressure from the outside. Hinduism does not depend on the patronage or protection of the state and can exist strongly even if the state is hostile. ... They can choose their own spiritual path, their own ish devta, without permission or approval from any organized group.
When the Muslims invaded India they made enormous attempts to wipe out Hinduism and convert all to Islam, by force if necessary. ...
This went on in various forms for hundreds of years, but yet at the end of the Moghul era in India less than 10 percent of the Indians had been converted to Islam. In most other countries they had conquered, the Muslims quickly achieved conversion rates of over 75%, and in some places like Iran and Iraq they hit close to 100%. In India the only way to wipe out Hinduism was to wipe out the Hindus physically, which was foolish.
I understand that Buddhists has also proved very resistant to destruction or conversion, because of the same decentralized system that has the individual free to pursue his connection with the divine without intermediaries, institutions or permission from authoritarian structures.
We believe that the Hindu rishis and swamis who wandered the world thousands of years ago made some conclusions that we are still benefitting from today. Religions rise and fall over time, depending on the nature of their structure and change in circumstances. ... A system that is fixed and attached to the norms of a particular culture in historical time will shatter when that culture changes and moves on.
So those rishis and swamis developed a system that would be flexible and adaptable to change, that would not be dependent on centralized authoritarian structures, that could be practiced without dependence on external instututions or priests, that could be practiced secretly or at home, that offered freedom of choice as opposed to a fixed menu, that allowed members to function at their own level of development, that was based on firm and defensible philosophical principles, that allowed and welcomed new methods of worship and religious systems, that was egalitarian and non sexist, non racist, respectful towards other systems, respectful to the environment and all living beings....
That is the heritage of Hindus, one which we neglect at our peril."
"Its true that Hinduism is resilient but lets not forget that Hindus in the past did also stand their ground militarily especially during Islamic periods.Theres many myths that have been created to promote that hindus were just passive were slaves for a thousand years but still made it through.This is the reason why sometimes even good intentioned Hindus think that its ok we dont have to stand our ground because we survived in the past so we will continue to survive but thats not the truth or the reality.."
"...The core takeaway of Chapter 3 is in the contrasting attitudes towards Science and Reason in the respective societies. Hebraism and Hellenism coming together to create the artificial entity known as 'Western Civilization' was always a force-fit.
It is ironical that Matthew Arnold used 'Hebraism' as his term for Christian Biblical heritage and moralistic worldview that contrasted with Science - when the original Hebraic religion (Judaism) was and is perhaps less dogma-driven than is Christianity, resulting in a more positive attitude towards Science.
See this article for a Jewish viewpoint on why Judaism 'embraces Science' far more so than does Christianity:.
Each one of the three points that the Rabbi makes for Judaism, holds true to a much larger extent for Hinduism (& Dharmic religions in general)..."
"...applied to evolving proper policy for development.
"... Just by coincidence... they remind me somewhat of these five principles:
- The importance of real freedoms in the assessment of a person's advantage
- Individual differences in the ability to transform resources into valuable activities
- The multi-variate nature of activities giving rise to happiness
- A balance of materialistic and nonmaterialistic factors in evaluating human welfare
- Concern for the distribution of opportunities within society
"This is very good analysis of Amartya Sen's and his girlfriend's (i.e. Nussbaum's) trajectory that fits the UTurn Theory. With one hand appropriate (i.e. stage 3 of uturn) and with the other hand denigrate the source (i.e. stage 4 of uturn). These stages as per uturn theory do not have to happen in one set sequence, nor do thay all happen in the same individual, and could take multiple generations of scholars to become evident. There is also stage 5 in which this "new and Western" thought is re-exported back to Indian intellectuals who eagerly lap it up"
"BD comments further to distinguish between apparent organic systems and Dharmic integral systems.
(1) Synthetic unity is, at best, a convenience; it misses out on the deeper bonds that hold people together across the boundaries of hierarchies and diversified of various kinds. Synthetic systems can be functional and pragmatic -serve their design purpose well. For them to be integral systems, how the individual elements function versus the whole is looked at.
(2) A tighter form of synthetic unity can take on an organic quality where the overarching interests of the whole override separate interests of the parts. The whole takes priority and parts are subservient to it.
(3) Many organic systems fall short of integral unity in the Dharmic sense. This is because their building blocks are still separate and exert powers separately. It is rare for a synthetic collection to become so integrated that the parts permanently relinquish their own self-interest.
(4) It could be a tentative coalition for a purpose - individual interests can surface at any time. In integral systems, there is no question of temporary coalitions. There is only one purpose.
.. There is a simple test offered in BD to see if a system qualifies the definition of an integral system:
If the individual elements of the system retain their identity and interests separately then the system is synthetic.
It is easy to identify some synthetic systems. For example, the capital marketplace is synthetic in the sense that its participants try to optimize their own separate interests, the market's purpose being to enable each participant to transact for its own benefit.
Cooperative farming is a synthetic system. Here the coalition is temporary and the individual elements are participating out of self interest. United Nations is another example of this kind."
"Actually this issue of Top-Down Organization vs Self-Organization is important for the future trajectory of Indian Retail Industry.
In the Western World one sees a few big players who own most of the retail outlets. They keep on buying the smaller players in the market further consolidating their market share and joint-monopoly!
In India one sees a huge number of sellers and vendors, who may be small and have just a few shops in a single town.
Now why is it important to preserve Mom&Pop Stores, family owned businesses, etc. vs Big Retail. After all Big Retail does offer us consumers more competitive prices, i.e. until their (monopoly project is complete), they do help in the creation of more efficient industry for Logistics, Refrigeration, Storage, Assembly, etc.
The biggest advantage in keeping it small is that in times of repression, self-organized retail sector has the ability to absorb a lot more people, who can look independently for opportunities, who can be self-employed. The Self-Organized Retail Sector offers a buffer for such times, especially as all other areas including agriculture in order to become more efficient have to cut down on dependent people. So Self-Organized Retail Sector remains the only savior in such times. For a huge country like ours where big industry nor government can provide jobs for everybody, this is a huge plus point.
How does the West react during times of recession? Well they roll out huge stimulus packages. They give money to various industries like construction industry, and other industries, for doing new projects in the hope that this heightened economic activity would give more people jobs. Invariably one gets only jobless growth. The industry takes the money but does not hire new people because they can do without! And the unemployed have nowhere to look for jobs. And the government has nowhere to fund jobs directly except the already bloated public services. So these people remain unemployed. In the West there is no Industry, which can act as a Recession Buffer.
In a global economy, where the pressure is so much to keep production costs low, it is possible that in agriculture and manufacturing there would be shift towards more efficiency and possibly more organization. That is all the more reason that inefficiency costs can be tolerated when they are more closer to user, i.e. in the retail sector.
Summarizing, we should keep the Retail Sector as self-organized and try to avoid Big Retail to force its way in! It will save us from the Recession and Jobless Growth problems of the West!"
"Developing, and effectively marketing, a BD-based "App" for economic development is a particularly pressing need, because poverty (like the "plight of women") is one of those emotive touchstones used over and over again by postcolonial theorists employing Western categories to depict India as a "uniquely divided and oppressive place" (Ronald Inden, quoted in BD)
When the arch-pedagogues of the Western Grand Narrative, and their acolytes on the Indian Left, use "poverty" to bash India (and by extension, all that is Indian)... we have the deck stacked against us from the start. That is because "poverty" is emotionally loaded, and any discussion of the subject provides an excellent vehicle for gratuitous civilizational invective.
Everybody knows "poverty" is bad, right? So when we get defensive about drain-inspector portrayals of poverty in India (such as "Slumdog Millionaire") it becomes easy for the enemy to portray us as vain jackasses... indeed, to assume a moral high ground and bash us with righteous indignation at our "inhumane indifference to the suffering of less privileged Indians". We are accused, in our embrace of "bourgeoisie nationalism", of willfully turning a blind eye to the harsh realities with which millions of our fellow countrymen contend every day.
Here is a case study in the use of "poverty". A potentially honest and non-judgmental journalistic treatise on an Indian slum has been immediately co-opted by the Usual Suspects to push their venal and motivated deconstruction of India.
Boo herself is a journalist, not a "theorist". She appears to have reported on her experiences in Annawadi (thankfully) without resorting to "analysis" or "interpretation".
However, her book has already become a vehicle for celebration, and hijack, by the theory-wallahs we know so well. They have seized upon it as another chance to do India down, and reinforce their pet themes.
"....." Ramachandra Guha
[...In her view, Bollywood should take its cue from the mirror that American journalist Katherine Boo is holding up before India, and become inspired to incorporate the Western Grand narrative of Indian poverty into its own pop-cultural representations of itself!...]
One effect of this assault is to pre-emptively delegitimize alternative frameworks of conceiving of poverty, of approaching and resolving the social and economic problems associated with poverty. That is exactly what the Indian left wants: a monopoly over the characterization of Indian poverty, restricted to dogmatically Marxist frameworks that will never, ever concede an inch of space for dharmic solutions.
Just one of many reasons why I am so grateful that Rajiv has begun this work.."
"Regarding a BD-based "App" for economic development-
Senthil introduces a new angle to the discussion. Rajiv notes: "Good points made. See my challenge in the new thread I am starting, titled "Is the Vedic lifestyle viable today?". This thread was summarized here.
"One of the important message in BD is "Reversing the Gaze".. its a call to bring ourselves out of the western models and see them from our dharmic perspective..
So far, we were discussing about dharma from a philosophical angle.. i call it as "Software" part.. We also need to consider another part of our dharma, which is the hardware part.. ie, what are the physical environment needed for our dharma to flourish? I wish, this should also be discussed.. Let me share few things, which i had thought over..
1. The present system of politics, the administration, the geographical organisation, are all based on western systems. What i find is that, we are trying to fit our dharma, in to these western systems, which i feel is incompatible.
To quote one example, the current westernised urban system, heavily pollutes rivers, seas, and ground water system. So many lakes, has been destroyed to expand big metros like chennai, mumbai etc. Such acts cannot be part of dharma. Rivers are divine for us, so as other water sources.
Another example i could cite is that every hindu has to perform pitru dharpan to our ancestors, and for that we need water sources. In our traditional administration system, a nagara or a grama is planned, and built in such a way, that is conducible for hindu way of life style. In all ancient nagaras, there would be a shiva/vishnu temple at the center, with a big lake. In All traditional gramas, there would be a grama devata at the centre of the village, with a lake/pond or a small water body besides it. These water bodies, enable hindus to do their religious rituals. So our dharma flourished, because, our nagara and grama were built according to agamas. Today, the metros, and towns are built based on western model, for western type of economic system, and not based on dharmic way of life or dharmic way of economy. That's the reason we are finding it more and more difficult to adhere to our dharma in Metros. Infact, its virtually impossible for dharma to exist there.
2. We never had anonymous/atomised populations before britishers. Our society had a different kind of representation system, based on family/jathi/village, which is still existing in the other part of india. Every jathi had jathi panchayat headed by jathi elders, which resolves internal family and jathi disputes. At a village level, there would be village panchayat, resolves issues related to village administration or inter-jathi disputes. Whether jathis are outdated or not, is a different question. ...
3. Hinduism is often described as a way of life. However, a way of life is based on societal setup, and the physical setup (village/nagara planning).
Societal setup: the jathis, its gothra, kula devata, all have their own way of worship, rituals, marriage etc. which forms the cultural part.
Physical Setup: the facilitation by design of living area (village/nagara), in such a way, that the life style (& hence the dharma) of these jathis are made possible and feasible.
There is one more angle - the economic angle - which i will not include for now.
4. Based on Rajiv's excellent point of "Sanskrit Non-Translatables", i would like to convey, that the words, Nagara, Grama, Dhesa cannot be equated to city, village or nation of the western vocabulary. In Europe, the nation is always based on race and language. Whereas in our civilization, a dhesam is based on dharma. We had 56 ancient dhesams, and all of them, had the same social structure - The brahmanas, kshatriyas, vyshyas, and shudras. The racial formation is virtually impossible in such setup.
In western terms, a village is a place with sparse population. As per webster's dictionary till 1830s, a village is termed as place where barbarians live. We cannot apply this term to denote our gramas. Our gramas are well planned, and well designed as per agama. (Note: we verified this aspect, by visiting many of the gramas in chera dhesam in tamilnadu.. )
5. The social composition of a typical village is same across south india ( for north india, i have no data as of now). The farming community would be predominant, and some dozen other jathis that exists as part of them. The beauty is that, all these jathis constitute a single entity. ie, due to some reason (famine/war), if the farming community migrates, they do no go alone. But migrate as a whole, with all the associated jathis.."
Raghu responds to Senthil:
"We must guard against a romantic reconstruction of our past. ... studied the Vaastu Shastras for ten years... We have seen both the exalted and the extractive sides of the so called pundits. While the original texts are open and rational, later day practitioners and present day Vaastu pundits have distorted the design principles beyond recognition into
a dogmatic set of formulae backed by blind belief.
Some of the governance mechanisms described by Dharampal and Claude Alvarez were misrepresented by the leaders of the time to accumulate land and wealth on the one hand, and allow the traditional duties to languish.
We have a difficult task on our hands, firstly of rediscovering a balanced sense of pride, secondly, of looking critically and rationally at both the past and the present. Dharampal was fond of saying that we can't become a great nation by
running behind the tails of the west, nor by blind resurrection of the tradition."
Rajiv's response: This is a good comment and belongs to the new thread I started with message no. 2208. (summarized in this post - last week).
Arun has the last word in this discussion:
"The decentralized knowledge systems such as we call Hinduism today survived.The centralized ones, such as were taught in Nalanda, Taxila (of course, it included the traditions that survive today) perished. It is not as though we did not have centralized knowledge systems, IMO."