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Brahminical conundrum: Tradition vs Modernity

Mani_Chennai

Active member
Let's discuss this not as a conundrum to Brahmins alone but to anyone who wants to lead a dharmic life.

What is a dharmic life? I believe the simplest approach is live in accordance with what our conscience tells us. Conscience is both a timeless aspect of mind in essence but conditioned by realities of one's current birth, which are approved and acceptable.

So it is my belief that there is an external àspect also to one's conscience. If we go by the way of conscience I think the dharmic requirements will be satisfied.

The next question is, how practical and applicable is this solution in current times? I think it is a workable one if we approach it in the right way. Inner wise I think the aspect antagonistic to conscience is our ego. So I think if we are able to rein in our ego which is by no means an easy task, we can let our conscience function properly and powerfully and act in accordance with it.

Ego is something like a veil over our conscience. It is a stupendous task to totally lift it but even if we make sincere efforts in that direction very fruitful results can be achieved. The will to achieve is as important as the process of achieving.
The basic dharma is live and let live without as far as possible knowingly hurt any one. If you are always selfish, when you have COVID you will die alone, Refuse to give bribe because poor people don't have the luxury. While we may look and behave as strangers, we have evolved from the same stock that lived thousands of years back. So, if don't help don't hurt. Share if you can, but don't stop some one who wants to help. -- I live by this and almost always happy and my friends and relatives cherish my relationship with them. I eat in Muslim House, Harijan's house but stipulate that I have allergy for non-veg, don't like too much garlic, I don't eat much and I want a cupy of yogurt(Dhahi) and they oblige. So, for me the only rational is the other person good or not. If not good I move away. While this is my philosophy of life, I don't expect others to follow, because I move away from those who are selfish and discrimnatory.
 

Nemmara Pattar

New member
Sri Rudra Maha had originally asked: "What are the options left for anyone who wishes to lead a normal dharmic life?"

Sri Savna (Srinivasan Vaidyanathan) opines:-

"If we go by the way of conscience I think the dharmic requirements will be satisfied....... The aspect antagonistic to conscience is our ego. So I think if we are able to rein in our ego ...... we can let our conscience function properly and powerfully and act in accordance with it."

Sri Mani Chennai responds:-

"The basic dharma is live and let live without as far as possible knowingly hurt any one..... If don't help don't hurt. Share if you can, but don't stop some one who wants to help. -- I live by this."

My own reaction to Sri Rudra Maha's above question was to refer to the clear and unambiguous injunctions in our Vedams, and to suggest a return to our nithya karmas and to our scriptures such as the popular Bhagavath-Geetha, found in our ithihaasa-puraanam "Mahaa-Bhaaratham".

Can reliance on our individual personal consciences, even if sans ego, adequately lead to a truly impeccable dharmic life, in the absence of any objective and reliable guide and reference yardstick such as our Vedams? Isn't our conscience vulnerable to compromise, inconsistency and debilitation in the face of challenges? Do we end up operating in a moral vaccuum of or own imagination, swayed by temptations to conform to the society around us? Become navel-gazers?

Again, our "live and let live" philosophy, carried to the letter, has resulted in Muslims and Christians outnumbering Hindus in Kerala, Brahmins being excluded from institutions of higher education, from jobs, from business opportunities, being reduced to poverty and ignominy in their own land. Farther afield, it has resulted in losing Tibet to the Chinese, who now, having gained the Aksin area, threaten to take over Arunachal Pradesh. It has resulted in losing Kashmir to the Pakistanis.
 

Mani_Chennai

Active member
Sri Rudra Maha had originally asked: "What are the options left for anyone who wishes to lead a normal dharmic life?"

Sri Savna (Srinivasan Vaidyanathan) opines:-

"If we go by the way of conscience I think the dharmic requirements will be satisfied....... The aspect antagonistic to conscience is our ego. So I think if we are able to rein in our ego ...... we can let our conscience function properly and powerfully and act in accordance with it."

Sri Mani Chennai responds:-

"The basic dharma is live and let live without as far as possible knowingly hurt any one..... If don't help don't hurt. Share if you can, but don't stop some one who wants to help. -- I live by this."

My own reaction to Sri Rudra Maha's above question was to refer to the clear and unambiguous injunctions in our Vedams, and to suggest a return to our nithya karmas and to our scriptures such as the popular Bhagavath-Geetha, found in our ithihaasa-puraanam "Mahaa-Bhaaratham".

Can reliance on our individual personal consciences, even if sans ego, adequately lead to a truly impeccable dharmic life, in the absence of any objective and reliable guide and reference yardstick such as our Vedams? Isn't our conscience vulnerable to compromise, inconsistency and debilitation in the face of challenges? Do we end up operating in a moral vaccuum of or own imagination, swayed by temptations to conform to the society around us? Become navel-gazers?

Again, our "live and let live" philosophy, carried to the letter, has resulted in Muslims and Christians outnumbering Hindus in Kerala, Brahmins being excluded from institutions of higher education, from jobs, from business opportunities, being reduced to poverty and ignominy in their own land. Farther afield, it has resulted in losing Tibet to the Chinese, who now, having gained the Aksin area, threaten to take over Arunachal Pradesh. It has resulted in losing Kashmir to the Pakistanis.

We are not teaching Vedas in homes in big cities. Whatever we see here are written based on the experience of the writer - most old timers who in general, grew in villages. But, are we talking to our children directly or bring our grand parents to talk to them. Live let live does not mean either hating Muslims or Christians and so on. Remember we have had fight with Buddhist, Jainism and so on but we went on. What you say is a political process and Brahmins have never united on political agenda as it was not their dharma. Their dharma was to teach and live poor. Also, a group of Brahmins and forest of Neem tress do not exit as they don't tolerate grouping. No matter how much you cry, according to verified statistics 3.5% of the total population have to join to change things and that has happened only 3 times recently. We fought freedom - Brahmins leading some times, but in general 3.5% total population was involved.

The political and economic struggles are not only for Brahman but also for all Hindus. Look at corruption PM Modi- people want to pull him down without showing how and what they will do to remove the so called "ills" of BJP? It is amusing that we complain, but give no enforceable solutions within the given context of life time. China was allowed to become a bully because Western countries thought they were stupid and gave all the technology. Can they not join together and kick them out of WTO and UN? No. So, give practical solutions to problems please. We can not talk about problems which are beyond the scope of this forum.
 

Nemmara Pattar

New member
Thanks for Sri Mani Chennai's thoughtful response. I was trying to reply to Sri Rudra Maha's question: "What are the options left for anyone who wishes to lead a normal dharmic life?"

"Fighting with Buddhist, Jainism and so on" was, I respectfully submit, a far, far cry from the inroads Islam, Christianity, atheist Communism and Western modernism are currently making into the lives of Hindus, whether Brahmins or not.

Who are the Aadi Shankaraachaaryas of today?

As I wrote earlier: It is a life-challenge we face, not a mere puzling dilemma. It is a battle for survival, for self-preservation.

My suggestion that we "Please try to go back to our roots a little" was not a "political process" as characterised but a practical choice.

"We fought freedom - Brahmins leading some times." Fighting to overthrow the British Raj and to instal the Indira Gandhi Raj to desecrate the Sikh Holy Temple at Amritsar the Harimandir Sahib was not political? Siding with or against the BJP and the Communist rule in Kerala is not political?

Those topics are not "beyond the scope of this forum"?
 
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