RMF Summary: Week of March 12 - 18, 2012

March 12
BD and Management
Srini posted:
"Found an interesting article in today's Hindu on the state of current management students in India being fed on western curriculum and being neither good at it nor having any original ideas for Indian conditions.

and another which aims to involve Vedic and Buddhist management principles into IIM Ranchi curriculum. Hopefully they'll keep the source references intact."

Vijendran responds:
"The irony is that the US/European universities like Harvard are introducing Bhagawad Gita as a part of the standard texts for their MBA programs, while the Indian IIMs are stuck with the western ideals! .."
Rajiv comment: Indian universities are also teaching BG in IIMs. ...The problem is different.
Indians are borrowing spirituality from the west which the west appropriated has from India - this is called stage 5 of Uturn, the Pizza effect. Hence, [Howard Gardner?] teaches multiple intelligences at Tata, Infosys and other corporate houses even though we have more profound versions of it in dharma; Andrew Cohen and Eckhart Tolle type of frauds impress Indians because they see it as "Made in USA" spirituality. Many secular folks I know in Delhi who are outright embarrassed by things Hindu, flock to such events because its cool. In the same way, its cool to get "sufi" teachings even though the same or deeper versions are found in Hinduism."
Maria posts:
"I feel the problem is the inferiority complex that the British have successfully instilled, by making those, who suffer from it, actually feel proud to be superior to the Indian masses by being so western, plus the atmosphere in independent India, where those people had great influence and ancient wisdom still is taboo for part of the ˜elite, and they let westerners run away with it. I really wish that Rajiv's books can change this.

One example. In note 11 of the unity chapter Rajiv mentions Pribram, Grof, Bohm... the Intern. Transpersonal Association organised a conference in Mumbai on the convergence between science and ancient wisdom. Grof, Pribram were there Bohm via video, plus Capra, Sheldrake, on the other side Swami Muktananda (Grof's guru), Dalai Lama sent message, Parsi priest, Jewish rabbis, Bede Griffiths and many psychologists. In the flyer it said that the conference was purposely held in India as Indian wisdom provides a consistent background for the new emerging paradigm of everything as an interconnected Whole.....However, I don't remember any Indian scientist there (only later I realised that it might have been ruinous for a scientist to go to a conference, where Swami Muktananda was a presenter). Yet apart from science, which may be considered ˜lay science, the Indian psychologists did not take it up, who easily could have done so. They continued teaching their western psychology and allowed the westerners to develop it into a branch of '˜western' psychology.

....I was asked to write a chapter for a compendium for German psychology students on '˜the yoga of the Bhagavad Gita as a form of transpersonal psychology'. That means, the origin was not hidden from the beginning. But since Indians did not appropriate their own knowledge, there were no Indian theories regarding psychology, India's wisdom is not projected, as for example Tibetan Buddhism is, it became a free for all and the temptation to build one's career is there. I met several foreigners who feel that Indians don't understand their heritage.
Another example, during NDA regime MM Joshi (HRD minister) proposed research into 20 aspects of India's tradition, like on shaiva siddhanta, etc. I read about it in TOI, yet the article was ridiculing and denouncing it as saffronisation. I guess nothing came out of it.

Actually, Rajiv, I don't feel Eckhart Tolle is a fraud. He stumbled on a change in consciousness and then tried to integrate it and he partly used his Christian background....he said that since this transformation happened to him, he does not feel like a westerner anymore. He feels like an Indian. He considered it a wonderful thing that Indian wisdom is spreading now to the west. I don't think, he is aware of it being insidiously digested.

Apart from Sufism, Buddhism (preferably from abroad) is also an in thing among the elite. I was surprised that when Thich Nhat Hanh came to Dehradun..."
bluecupid responds:
"....Maria, traditional Indian philosophies are used as psychological and self-help models by many Indians who are either dikshit in traditional sampradayas or otherwise active in one Hindu sect or another. Daily sadhana (practice) of japa, dhyana, kirtan, puja etc are often cited as means to rid one of
depression, anxiety and other mental/emotional woes. You find this even in the ancient texts themselves such as the Bhagavat Purana which at the end of its many stotrams often cites which particular mental/emotional ailments the stotram
will "cure" if recited. These are not "incantations" as such for the stotrams themselves often contain philosophical theories, psychological/self-help advice and positive affirmations.

The Indians how have lost touch with this are the ones who are not availing themselves of the info, but there are many millions of Indians who are very active practicioners of the same." 
A couple of comments suggest that India adopt the Japanese model since 'they digested western management into their fold'. Rama asks:
"...is this not hypocrisy? We are fighting to keep our Dharmic
princilpes without being digested by others yet cheering Japanese when they study other philosophies and reproduce it with a japanese tone. Did I miss something?"

Rajiv comment: I did not see cheering on his part - merely pointing that there are other application of digestion as well. The Japanese have done it, too." 
"Do the Japanese pretend that what they have learned is original and exclusive with them?

The problem is not with the Christian West learning dharma. It is with them turning around, claiming to be the original, and proceeding to put India into the museum.

... The violin originated in the west but is also incorporated into Indian classical music. We do not then turn around and start calling the use of the violin in western music as derivative from India. We do not insist that without our music you are damned.

Rajiv comment:
Excellent clarification, Arun. Digestion is destructive and not to be equated with ordinary cross-cultural borrowing."

BVKS shares:
"1. This is concerning the challenge of 'Non-Translatables' in BD.

2. Griffith (in 1870) translates Valmiki's term <'Sita-apaharana> as '˜The Rape of Sita'

3. And the justification was as follows: My first object has been to reproduce the original poem as faithfully as circumstances permit me to do. For this purpose I have preferred verse to prose. The translations of the Iliad by
Chapman and Worsley nay, even by translators of far inferior poetical powers are, I think, much more Homeric than any literal prose rendering can possibly be. In the latter we may find the '˜disjecti membra poetae' but all the form and
the life are gone, for '˜the interpenetration of matter and manner constitute the very soul of poetry.' I have but seldom allowed myself to amplify or to condense, or omit apparently needless repetitions, but have attempted rather to give the poet as he is than to represent him as European taste might prefer him to be. ..

4. And critics go to defend it saying: The Griffith Ramayana is a literary work, not a scholarly one....

5. About Griffith: Ralph Thomas Hotchkin Griffith (born on May 25, 1826, UK) translated Valmiki Ramayana in to English. The completed work appeared in 1870, published by E. J. Lazarus & Co. in Benares, and Trubner & Co in London.

6. Translations are acts of courage. As Victor Hugo noted: '˜When you offer a translation to a nation, that nation will almost always look on the translation as an act of violence against itself.'.."

[The post below has many responses. We will cover this in a separate post as part of Chapter-4 BD]
March 13
Order-Chaos questions
Rajiv, When you say that to the western mind the Kumbh mela looks chaotic and frustrating but for the Hindu mind its all peaceful.Does that also apply to the...

March 14
"BI Effect" - GOI to probe foreign interventions operating via NGOs
[Rajiv: I am told that some of the folks named in BI are under the scanner...] http://www.samachar.com/NGOs-received-over-Rs-31000-crore-foreign-funds-\

March 14
BD Errata posted

March 15
India Digesting America
bluecupid posts:
"..and getting just as fat!

This just in from the New York Times;
How India Became America"

Rajiv comment: The content of the article is just the opposite of the title given to this thread. The content celebrates what it calls "the Americanization of India". This is India getting digested into Americanism, the expansion of the American Frontier. The writer is delighted that "old" things like "caste" are giving way to India's "advancement" in Americanization, and his reference points for Americanization is its popular brands and pop culture lifestyle.

If India had digested America, then America (like the proverbial deer) would cease to be itself - it would be the Indian dhabbhas replacing Pizza Hut, MacDonalds, etc all across USA. This is not the case. America is stronger with
this brand expansion into India. To say that India has digested America would be like saying that British colonialism was also India digesting Britain. (Many Brits at that time did write claiming this to be the case, and many stupid Indians loved to hear it.)

So what is the difference between X digesting Y, and X becoming taken over by Y? If the tiger upon eating the deer turns into the deer, and the deer remains alive and well, then it would be a case of tiger being taken over by the deer.

Following is a different kind of example in India-US transactions: India did appropriate American fast foot know how in the 1990s when a tiny number of American fast foods entered; at that time Haldiram and several other Indian
establishments responded rather than being overwhelmed. They internalized the fast food cleanliness, quick service, franchise methodology BUT RETAINED INDIAN
OWNERSHIP, TASTES, ETC. In other words what was considered good and worth borrowing was Indianized, reformulated in Indian terms and conditions, all under
Indian control.

However, that was just one stage. Later on, people like Pepsi made acquisitions of Indian fast food chains like Haldirams, so these Indian "responses" have become part of American MNCs. Hence, in the long run, this has turned into the
expansion of American MNCs into India, not the other way around.

10 years ago, less than 10% of the Indian Sensex companies' market cap was owned by FII's (Foreign Institutional Investors), and now it is 25% and increasing. This means that the share of foreign ownership in Indian corporates is increasing. ....
The only difference between this and the colonial era is that now there are also super wealthy Indians sharing the pie and in fact facilitating this massive transfer of wealth into foreign hands. I cannot celebrate this Americanization of India and concentration of power as the article does.

Which civilization's framework dominates in these examples? Clearly it is the western framework. A thousand very small, one-family enterprises owning retail stores get put out of business by a massive supermarket with US capital. So the
decentralized ownership in the traditional Indian style of free enterprise gets replaced by a centralized corporate ownership ultimately in foreign hands
. In his process the Indian middlemen get richer as facilitators of wealth transfer.

Much of India's wealth is now foreign owned. The Indian GDP growth rate includes the portion that is foreign owned. BD is not a book on economics but separately I think and argue these points with economists. What is now going on in India is simply UNSUSTAINABLE - please watch my video at the ISEC talk I gave in Bangalore: http://beingdifferentbook.com/isec-bangalore-event/"

bluecupid shares a link:

March 18
NJ Hindus Awaken to Hinduism’s Science, Denigration and "Digestion
http://www.pr.com/press-release/398359 NJ Hindus Awaken to Hinduism’s Science, Denigration and "Digestion&quot; at 10th March Hinduism Summit...

March 18
Chandramauli shares: ....I sense a cognitive dissonance between the mental state of being a physicist and being, at the same time, a dharmic seeker. Arun's proposed metaphor sounds more like an attempted resolution of this personal conflict than a plausible solution to the karma-reincarnation conundrum.

Being a technologist myself I am not immune to this type of mental conflict. However, as a dharmic seeker, I like to think that science is yet to arrive upon a frontier that adhyatmic knowledge (not mine; those of our rishis) has already covered in a manner that vak cannot embrace. Time, I suspect, will keep adding perspective.


March 18

Elst on Meera Nanda
Rajiv shares:
I am glad that Koenraad Elst picked up on Meera Nanda's hypocrisy which I followed for over a decade, including in meetings and interactions with her. ...

At that time Nanda was unemployed and desperate to get funding from somewhere - a mercenary and not ideologically driven. If i had the funds I could have engaged her if I chose. Thats when I suggested to her that Templeton people have lots of money to throw away at scholars who say the right things. Next thing I now she was selected for Templeton grant
and given a high visibility as an "indian/hindu" voice on science and religion. She used the platform to lambast anything to do with dharma on grounds of "scientific inquiry". On the other hand, she spares Protestantism (because the Templetons are Protestants) and tries to argues that they are very rational and scientific, while Hindus are superstitions and dangerous.

So my sense of Nanda is that she did not convert to Protestantism as Elst inquires, but that she merely joined the mercenary army. Sepoys for hire!

I also know that her hatred with hinduism started early in life when she felt that her hindu in-laws ill treated her. ...
The academy, Church, and other "Breaking India" forces find her useful to cite as a reference in works that get widespread readership in college classrooms."

March 18
Four kinds of attacks on BD...
Rajiv Malhotra summarizes the response to BD:
We have seen support from many directions - both insiders of dharma and outsiders. (Just yesterday I had a great one hour radio interview that will be aired in 2 weeks, with a host (white male) who absolutely loved the thesis and emphasized its importance as part of leadership training.)

But there are also a defined set of critics shown below, of which the first three deserve response.
  1. Rick Santorum supporter - Christian who adheres to ideas like Nicene Creed: Complaint is that I am being one-sided by not pointing out the flaws of caste and the benefits of Christianity. 
  2. Christian or Jew who has adopted a post-turn form of Judeo-Christianity - into yoga, Christian Centering Prayer, nondual metaphysics, Wilberism, etc: Complaint is that my explanation of dharma also applies to Christianity, so the differences I give are not really there. Many Western scholars in the academy are likely to say such things. To which I have to respond with the uturn evidence showing that the "New Christianity" they refer to is largely an older era's appropriation of dharma.  Also, this New Christianity is on the fringes and will have to one day wage a war against Christianity as propagated by the Church for centuries.
  3. Secular, leftist, Marxist - anti-Hindu, suspicious that any support for dharma = Hindutva politics: These folks are seldom well informed at the level of #2 above. Debate turns into a shouting match.
  4. Hindu radical/extremist who wants to hit out for personal reasons...
#1 and #2 are found on ...  (See reviews and the comment thread after them by: Gregg, Hirschfield, Donaldson, Burklo...) These are important to engage and learn their contentions.
For #3, a good example is one Harmeet Singh roped in by Steve Farmer's Eurasia egroup, who is being promoted by that camp:
Frankly, I find 1, 2 most intellectually stimulating to respond to. 3 is important just because they exist and should not go unresponded.
As for #4, the less attention given to them the better. Many of their criticisms are simply pedantic, issues of copy editing errors .... My discussion with non-Hindus = "interfaith dialog" = bad thing to do = PROOF of my being anti-Hindu = other ridiculous extrapolations...

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