Difference between revisions of "Values of life based on dharma"

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It was also made obligatory for the king to give equal protection to all his subjects without discrimination. On this subject, '<nowiki/>'''Manu Smriti'''' on Raja Dharma (IX-31) says :-
 
It was also made obligatory for the king to give equal protection to all his subjects without discrimination. On this subject, '<nowiki/>'''Manu Smriti'''' on Raja Dharma (IX-31) says :-
<nowiki/><blockquote>यथा सर्वाणि भूतानि धरा धारयते समम् । तथा सर्वाणि भूतानि बिभ्रतः पार्थिवं व्रतम् । । ९.३११ । ।<ref>Manusmrti, [https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83/%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%A7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%83 Adhyaya 9]. </ref></blockquote><blockquote>''yathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni dharā dhārayatē samam । tathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni bibhrataḥ pārthivaṁ vratam । । 9.311 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: Just as the mother earth gives equal support to all the living beings, a king should give support to all without any discrimination.
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<nowiki/><blockquote>यथा सर्वाणि भूतानि धरा धारयते समम् । तथा सर्वाणि भूतानि बिभ्रतः पार्थिवं व्रतम् । । ९.३११ । ।<ref name=":1">Manusmrti, [https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83/%E0%A4%A8%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%A7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%83 Adhyaya 9]. </ref></blockquote><blockquote>''yathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni dharā dhārayatē samam । tathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni bibhrataḥ pārthivaṁ vratam । । 9.311 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: Just as the mother earth gives equal support to all the living beings, a king should give support to all without any discrimination.
  
 
Narada Smriti vide Dharmokosha P-870 laid down thus:<blockquote>पाषाण्डनैगमश्रेणीपूगव्रातगणादिषु | संरक्षेत्समयं राजा दुर्गे जनपदे तथा ||</blockquote><blockquote>''pāṣāṇḍanaigamaśrēṇīpūgavrātagaṇādiṣu | saṁrakṣētsamayaṁ rājā durgē janapadē tathā ||''</blockquote>Meaning: The king should afford protection to compacts of associations of believers of Veda (Naigamas) as also of disbelievers in Veda (Pashandis) and of others.
 
Narada Smriti vide Dharmokosha P-870 laid down thus:<blockquote>पाषाण्डनैगमश्रेणीपूगव्रातगणादिषु | संरक्षेत्समयं राजा दुर्गे जनपदे तथा ||</blockquote><blockquote>''pāṣāṇḍanaigamaśrēṇīpūgavrātagaṇādiṣu | saṁrakṣētsamayaṁ rājā durgē janapadē tathā ||''</blockquote>Meaning: The king should afford protection to compacts of associations of believers of Veda (Naigamas) as also of disbelievers in Veda (Pashandis) and of others.
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The above verses also indicate the utmost consideration given to women in Manusmriti. The normal duty of Grihastashrama{the state of the house holder) is to feed guests first and only thereafter the owner of the house, his wife and other members of the family have to have food. The above provision shows that a young daughter who had been recently married and a young daughter-in-law as also young girls and pregnant women were given such an importance and priority in that they were to be provided with meals even earlier than the guests. This indicates the highest concern shown to women in view of their great importance to the happiness of the family.
 
The above verses also indicate the utmost consideration given to women in Manusmriti. The normal duty of Grihastashrama{the state of the house holder) is to feed guests first and only thereafter the owner of the house, his wife and other members of the family have to have food. The above provision shows that a young daughter who had been recently married and a young daughter-in-law as also young girls and pregnant women were given such an importance and priority in that they were to be provided with meals even earlier than the guests. This indicates the highest concern shown to women in view of their great importance to the happiness of the family.
  
An analysis of many other provisions concerning women in the Smritis indicate that special provisions had been made in favour of women in many respects. They are:
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However, there is a verse on the basis of which Manu Smriti is criticized and condemned as being against women. It reads:<blockquote>पिता रक्षति कौमारे भर्ता रक्षति यौवने । रक्षन्ति स्थविरे पुत्रा न स्त्री स्वातन्त्र्यं अर्हति । । ९.३ । ।<ref name=":1" /></blockquote><blockquote>''pitā rakṣati kaumārē bhartā rakṣati yauvanē । rakṣanti sthavirē putrā na strī svātantryaṁ arhati । । 9.3 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: The father protects the girl in her childhood, the husband protects her after marriage and her sons protect her in old age. At no stage should a woman be left free.
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On the basis of the last part of the above verse, without reference to the earlier parts and other verses in Manu Smriti, referred to earlier, the criticism levelled against Manu Smriti is that it wanted women to live like slaves of man through out their life.
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However, women shape the fortunes of the family. Therefore, the true meaning and purpose of the above verse is that a woman requires and is entitled to protection in every stage of life. Correspondingly it is the duty of the father, the husband and the sons to look after the daughter, the wife and the mother respectively. It does not mean that woman must be kept without freedom. Such an interpretation runs counter to the verse, which says that the house in which women are insulted and shed tears gets destroyed. The above true meaning of the verse becomes more clear when it is read with another provision in Manu in which the highest respect is required to be given to women.<blockquote>उपाध्यायान्दशाचार्य आचार्याणां शतं पिता । सहस्रं तु पितॄन्माता गौरवेणातिरिच्यते । । २.१४५ । ।<ref>Manusmrti, [https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83/%E0%A4%A6%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%AF%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%A7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%83 Adhyaya 2].</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''upādhyāyāndaśācārya ācāryāṇāṁ śataṁ pitā । sahasraṁ tu pitr̥̄nmātā gauravēṇātiricyatē । । 2.145 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: The acharya is more venerable than a Upadhyaya (teacher). father is more venerable than an acharya. But the mother is more venerable than the father.
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A combined reading of the verses quoted above indicate that women were placed at a higher position. So the real meaning is, the women should be honoured and protected. It is a humane and a duty-oriented provision, the mandate to provide security. This should not be misunderstood as making her life insecure. For, if women are denied freedom and they are kept under subjugation they are bound to be in grief and tears, and as a consequence the happiness of the family disappears. Hence, a meaning consistent with the above verses alone is appropriate.
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This exposition can be completed best by quoting what Kerry Brown has stated in his book, "The Essential Teachings of Hinduism", having ascertained the real meaning of the controversial verse in Manu.<blockquote>''In Hinduism a woman is looked after not because she is inferior or incapable but, on the contrary, because she is treasured. She is the pride and power of the society. Just as the crown jewels should not be left unguarded, neither should a woman be left unprotected. No extra burden of earning a living should be placed on women who already bear huge responsibilities in society; childbirth; child care, domestic well being and spiritual growth. She is the transmitter of culture to her children.''</blockquote>An analysis of many other provisions concerning women in the Smritis also indicate that special provisions had been made in favour of women in many respects. They are:
  
 
==== Rights of women members of joint family ====
 
==== Rights of women members of joint family ====
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Though women were not admitted to the membership of coparcenary, they were members of the joint family and the law gave them the right to a share equal to one fourth of the share of the brothers at partition though they were not given the right to compel partition.
  
 
==== Misuse or dependence of the property of women prohibited ====
 
==== Misuse or dependence of the property of women prohibited ====
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<blockquote>न कन्यायाः पिता विद्वान्गृह्णीयाच्छुल्कं अण्वपि । गृह्णञ् शुल्कं हि लोभेन स्यान्नरोऽपत्यविक्रयी । । ३.५१ । ।</blockquote><blockquote>स्त्रीधनानि तु ये मोहादुपजीवन्ति बान्धवाः । नारी यानानि वस्त्रं वा ते पापा यान्त्यधोगतिम् । । ३.५२ । ।<ref name=":0" /></blockquote><blockquote>''na kanyāyāḥ pitā vidvāngr̥hṇīyācchulkaṁ aṇvapi । gr̥hṇañ śulkaṁ hi lōbhēna syānnarō'patyavikrayī । । 3.51 । ।''</blockquote><blockquote>''strīdhanāni tu yē mōhādupajīvanti bāndhavāḥ । nārī yānāni vastraṁ vā tē pāpā yāntyadhōgatim । । 3.52 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: No father who knows (the law) must take even the smallest gratuity for his daughter; for a man who, through avarice, takes a gratuity, is a seller of his offspring.
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But those (male) relations, who in their folly live on the separate property of women, (Ex: appropriate) the beasts of burden, carriages, and cloths of women, commit sin and suffer a downfall.
  
 
==== Right of Wives ====
 
==== Right of Wives ====
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<blockquote>यदि कुर्यात्समानंशान्पत्न्यः कार्याः समांशिकाः । न दत्तं स्त्रीधनं यासां भर्त्रा वा श्वशुरेण वा । । २.११५ । ।<ref>Yajnavalkya Smrti, Vyavaharadhyaya, [https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%9C%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%9E%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%B2%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83/%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%B9%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%A7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%83/%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%B5%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%AD%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%97%E0%A4%AA%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%A3%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%8D Dayavibhaga Prakaranam].</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''yadi kuryātsamānaṁśānpatnyaḥ kāryāḥ samāṁśikāḥ । na dattaṁ strīdhanaṁ yāsāṁ bhartrā vā śvaśurēṇa vā । । 2.115 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: Wives are entitled to a share equal to that of sons at a partition. But the share is liable to be reduced by the amount of stridhana given by the husband or the father-in-law, if any, in their possession.
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This rule recognised the right to share in favour of a wife and if there was more than one wife, all the wives were entitled to equal shares. The amount of Stridhana to be taken into account for the purpose of reducing the share was only that which was given by the husband or the father-in-law.
  
 
==== Right of mothers ====
 
==== Right of mothers ====
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<blockquote>समांशहारिणी माता | ''samāṁśahāriṇī mātā |'' </blockquote>Meaning: Mother is an Equal Sharer<blockquote>समांशहारिणी मातेति वचनात् मातृपदस्य जननीपरत्वात् न | सपत्नीमातृपरत्वमपि सकृत् श्रुतस्य मुख्यगौनत्वानुपपत्तेः ||</blockquote><blockquote>''samāṁśahāriṇī mātēti vacanāt mātr̥padasya jananīparatvāt na | sapatnīmātr̥paratvamapi sakr̥t śrutasya mukhyagaunatvānupapattēḥ ||''</blockquote>Meaning: The expression 'mother' includes the step-mother, i.e., the other wives, if any, of the father. Their share was, however, liable to be reduced to the extent of stridhana in their possession. (Smrti Chandrika)
  
 
==== Rights of daughters ====
 
==== Rights of daughters ====
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Daughters, whose marriages had taken place before partition, were given no right in the coparcenary property of their parents' joint family. As regards unmarried daughters, a share in the coparcenary property was recognised.<blockquote>स्वेभ्योऽंशेभ्यस्तु कन्याभ्यः प्रदद्युर्भ्रातरः पृथक् । स्वात्स्वादंशाच्चतुर्भागं पतिताः स्युरदित्सवः । । ९.११८ । ।<ref name=":1" /></blockquote><blockquote>''svēbhyō'ṁśēbhyastu kanyābhyaḥ pradadyurbhrātaraḥ pr̥thak । svātsvādaṁśāccaturbhāgaṁ patitāḥ syuraditsavaḥ । । 9.118 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: To maiden sisters, each of the brothers shall give out of his share, one-fourth part. Those who fail to give shall become patita.
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Kat.858, however, while repeating the rule, provides that in cases where the property is small, sons and unmarried daughters should share equally.
  
 
==== Stridhana ====
 
==== Stridhana ====
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Every property movable or immoveable, given to a woman by anyone constitutes her own absolute property. The rule of succession to Stridhana was that it would go to daughters, to the exclusion of the sons and, to the sons only in the event of there being no daughters.
  
==== Exception to women's property from the law of adverse possession ====
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=== SAMANATA (EQUALITY) ===
  
==== Special provision in favor of women regarding quantum of penalty ====
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The Vedas constituted the primordial source of Dharma. The Charter of Equality (Samanta) incorporated in the Rigveda, the most ancient of the Vedas, and in the Atharvanaveda are worth quoting.<blockquote>अज्येष्ठासो अकनिष्ठास एते सं भ्रातरो वावृधुः सौभगाय ||</blockquote><blockquote>''ajyēṣṭhāsō akaniṣṭhāsa ētē saṁ bhrātarō vāvr̥dhuḥ saubhagāya ||''</blockquote>Meaning: No one is superior (ajyestaso) or inferior (akanishtasa). All are brothers (ete bhrataraha). All should strive for the interest of all and should progress collectively. (sowbhagaya sam va vridhuhu).
  
=== SAMANATA (EQUALITY) ===
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Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of human rights reads thus:
  
The Vedas constituted the primordial source of Dharma. The Charter of Equality (Samanta) incorporated in the Rigveda, the most ancient of the Vedas, and in the Atharvanaveda are worth quoting.
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All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
  
'''vT;s"Bklks vdfu"Bkl ,rs la Hkzkrjks oko`/kq% lkSHkxk;AA'''
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The above said verse of Rigveda is almost similar though most ancient.<blockquote>समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः । समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति ॥४॥<ref>Rigveda, Mandala 10, [https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%8B%E0%A4%97%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%87%E0%A4%A6%E0%A4%83_%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%82%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%82_%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%A6.%E0%A5%A7%E0%A5%AF%E0%A5%A7 Sukta 191].</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''samānī va ākūtiḥ samānā hr̥dayāni vaḥ । samānamastu vō manō yathā vaḥ susahāsati ॥4॥''</blockquote>RIGVEDA – MANDALA – 10, SUKTA-191, MANTRA-4 (Concluding part of Rigveda)
  
No one is superior (ajyestaso) or inferior (akanishtasa). All are brothers (ete bhrataraha). All should strive for the interest of all and should progress collectively. (sowbhagaya sam va vridhuhu).
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Meaning: Let there be oneness in your resolutions, hearts and minds. Let the strength to live with mutual co-operation be firm in you all.<blockquote>समानी प्रपा सह वोन्नभागः | समाने योक्त्रे सह वो युनज्मि | अराः नाभिमिवाभितः ||</blockquote><blockquote>''samānī va ākūtiḥ samānā hr̥dayāni vaḥ । samānamastu vō manō yathā vaḥ susahāsati ॥4॥''</blockquote>(ATHARVANAVEDA – SAMJNANA SUKTA)
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of human rights reads thus:
 
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
 
The above said verse of Rigveda is almost similar though most ancient.
 
  
'''lekuh o vkÑfr% lekuk ân;kfu o%A lekueLrq oks euks ;Fkk o% lqlgklfrAA'''
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Meaning: All have equal rights to articles of food and water. The yoke of the chariot of life is placed equally on the shoulders of all. All should live together in harmony supporting one another like the spokes of a wheel of the chariot connecting its rim and the hub.
  
'''RIGVEDA – MANDALA – 10, SUKTA-191, MANTRA-4 (Concluding part of Rigveda)'''
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These Vedic provisions forcefully declare equality among all human beings. The last of them impresses that just as no spoke of a wheel is superior to another, no individual can claim to be, or regarded as, superior to others. This was the grand concept of equality in this country at the earliest period of civilization.
  
Let there be oneness in your resolutions, hearts and minds. Let the strength to live with mutual co-operation be firm in you all.
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As for question like was discrimination sanctioned by Dharma? It is not so. The very expression Dharma is opposed to and inconsistent with any such social inequality. The relevant provisions of the Shruti (Vedas) leave no room for doubt that discrimination on the ground of birth or otherwise had no Vedic sanction; on the other hand such discrimination was plainly opposed to vedic injunction. Discrimination of any kind is, therefore, contrary to Dharma. It is really Adharma.  
  
'''lekuh izik lg oksTMkHkkx%A lekus ;ksD=s lg oks ;qufTeA vjk% ukfHkfeokfHkr%AA'''
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It should however be pointed that though society had been divided some time later, on functional basis, into four Varnas (Chaturvana) namely
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# Brahmanas, the class of persons taking to teaching and other learned professions;  
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# Kshatriyas, warriors and the ruting class;  
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# Vyshyas, the class of persons undertaking trade, commerce and agriculture and
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# Sudras, the class of persons rendering another essential services to the society,
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the superiority or inferiority of an individual does not seem to have been determined by birth in anyone of these classes, For instance, Valmiki and Vyasa, the authors of the two great epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharatha, who are regarded as the greatest poets, writers and philosophers of the country and who are held in the highest esteem down to this day by all sections of the society, belonged to the fourth and the second varna, respectively. This is also the case as regards the heroes of these two great epics. Rama, belonging to Kshatriya varna, because of his superb qualities as a man and as an ideal ruler, has won a place in the hearts of one and all for ever. So too Krishna, the greatest of diplomats and warriors, and a great teacher, being the propounder of the immortal Bhagvad Gita. Both these are adored and worshipped by all sections of the society as incarnations of God Himself.
  
== ATHARVANAVEDA – SAMJNANA SUKTA ==
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At a still later point of time, in the long meandering course of our history, society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes on the basis of occupations, vocations or trade or business. The evil of discrimination as high and low among men, on the basis of birth, hereditary avocations and other considerations, raised its ugly head and the pernicious practice of untouchability with all its degrading implications came into existence, However, all right-thinking persons and social reformers have been fighting against these evils which were afflicting society. In spite of such divisive and undesirable customs, the love for the country and its culture, the common heritage and aspirations of our people, and the basic tenets of dharma have held us together and there has always been unity despite diversity in the country. This was refurbished during our struggle for freedom when everyone fought for it unitedly.
All have equal rights to articles of food and water. The yoke of the chariot of life is placed equally on the shoulders of all. All should live together in harmony supporting one another like the spokes of a wheel of the chariot connecting its rim and the hub.
 
These Vedic provisions forcefully declare equality among all human beings. The last of them impresses that just as no spoke of a wheel is superior to another, no individual can claim to be, or regarded as, superior to others. This was the grand concept of equality in this country at the earliest period of civilization. However, we see a few patently discriminatory provisions in the Smritis in the matter of imposition of penalties and the division of the society, which came to be called 'Hindu' for historical reasons, into innumerable castes, some of them claim to be superior to others with varying customs and usages which have brought about inequality, resulting in discrimination against certain classes of people The worst of it is the practice of untouchability with all the incidental inhuman and humiliating treatment meted out to those who were regarded as 'untouchables'. So the question that naturally arises is, were all these sanctioned by Dharma? It is not so. The very expression Dharma is opposed to and inconsistent with any such social inequality. The relevant provisions of the Shruti (Vedas) leave no room for doubt that discrimination on the ground of birth or otherwise had no Vedic sanction; on the other hand such discrimination was plainly opposed to vedic injunction. Discrimination of any kind is, therefore, contrary to Dharma. It is really Adharma. It should however be pointed that though society had been divided some time later, on functional basis, into four Varnas (Chaturvana) namely 1. Brahmanas, the class of persons taking to teaching and other learned professions; 2. Kshatriyas, warriors and the ruting class; 3. Vyshyas, the class of persons undertaking trade, commerce and agriculture and 4. Sudras, the class of persons rendering another essential services to the society, the superiority or inferiority of an individual does not seem to have been determined by birth in anyone of these classes, For instance, Valmiki and Vyasa, the authors of the two great epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharatha, who are regarded as the greatest poets, writers and philosophers of the country and who are held in the highest esteem down to this day by all sections of the society, belonged to the fourth and the second varna, respectively. This is also the case as regards the heroes of these two great epics. Raffia, belonging to [[Kshatriya (क्षत्रिय) | क्षत्रिय || Kshatriya]] class, because of his superb qualities as a man and as an ideal ruler, has won a place in the hearts of one and all for ever. So too Krishna, the greatest of diplomats and warriors, and a great teacher, being the propounder of the immortal Bhagvadgita. Both these are adored and worshipped by all sections of the society as incarnations of God Himself.
 
At a still later point of time, in the long meandering course of our history, society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes on the basis of occupations, vocations or trade or business. The evil of discrimination as high and low among men, on the basis of birth, hereditary avocations and other considerations, raised its ugly head and the pernicious practice of untouchability with all its degrading implications came into existence, However, all right-thinking persons and social reformers have been fighting against these evils which were afflicting society. Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest of such reformers, had as his life's mission the total abolition of untouchability, and toiled in that direction. In spite of such divisive and undesirable customs, the love for the country and its culture, the common heritage and aspirations of our people, and the basic tenets of dharma have held us together and there has always been unity despite diversity in the country. This was refurbished during our struggle for freedom when everyone fought for
 
it unitedly. On account of the continuing crusade by social reformers against these evils and the bond of oneness regenerated during the freedom struggle, the evil of casteism has substantially declined.
 
In view of the above vedic declarations, the various discriminatory provisions in the Smritis arid other customs have to be regarded as invalid being opposed to the Shruti and set aside as inconsistent with Dharma, which alone is of eternal value, just as in modern constitutional law, provisions of laws enacted by legislatures are set aside if they are inconsistent with the Constitution. In fact Vyasa Smriti expressly provided that whenever there is conflict between the provisions in the vedas (shruti) and those in smritis or puranas (including custom or usage) what is declared in the veda alone should be accepted. The provisions in the smritis or custom, which ran counter to the Shruti was Adharma and invalid.9 Manu Srnriti also incorporated the following directive vide Ch.IV-176:
 
  
'''ifjR;tsnFkZdkekS ;kS L;krka /keZoftZrkSA /keZ pkI;lq[kksndZ yksdfoØq"Veso pAA'''
+
In view of the above vedic declarations, the various discriminatory provisions in the Smritis arid other customs have to be regarded as invalid being opposed to the Shruti and set aside as inconsistent with Dharma, which alone is of eternal value. In fact Vyasa Smriti expressly provided that whenever there is conflict between the provisions in the vedas (shruti) and those in smritis or puranas (including custom or usage) what is declared in the veda alone should be accepted. The provisions in the smritis or custom, which ran counter to the Shruti was Adharma and invalid.9 Manu Srnriti also incorporated the following directive vide Ch.IV-176:<blockquote>परित्यजेदर्थकामौ यौ स्यातां धर्मवर्जितौ । धर्मं चाप्यसुखोदर्कं लोकसंक्रुष्टं एव च । । ४.१७६ । ।<ref>Manusmrti, [https://sa.wikisource.org/wiki/%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%A8%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B8%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AE%E0%A5%83%E0%A4%A4%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%83/%E0%A4%9A%E0%A4%A4%E0%A5%81%E0%A4%B0%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%A5%E0%A5%8B%E0%A4%A7%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%AF%E0%A4%83 Adhyaya 4].</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''parityajēdarthakāmau yau syātāṁ dharmavarjitau । dharmaṁ cāpyasukhōdarkaṁ lōkasaṁkruṣṭaṁ ēva ca । । 4.176 । ।''</blockquote>Meaning: Discard wealth (artha) or desire (kama) if it is contrary to Dharma as also any usage or custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation".
  
Discard wealth (artha) or desire (kama) if it is contrary to Dharma as also any usage or custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation".
 
 
Our constitution has discarded undesirable customs and practices and has re- established Dharma in the real sense of that expression by tabooing the aforesaid social evils. It confers the right to equality (vide Articles 14, 15 and 16) and abolishes untouchability (vide Article 17).
 
Our constitution has discarded undesirable customs and practices and has re- established Dharma in the real sense of that expression by tabooing the aforesaid social evils. It confers the right to equality (vide Articles 14, 15 and 16) and abolishes untouchability (vide Article 17).
 +
 
It is therefore, the duty or Dharma of every individual to obey these provisions in letter and spirit in thought, word and deed which will foster the feeling of fraternity and ensure the dignity of individuals.
 
It is therefore, the duty or Dharma of every individual to obey these provisions in letter and spirit in thought, word and deed which will foster the feeling of fraternity and ensure the dignity of individuals.
  

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New title : Values of Bharatiya life

परिचय || Introduction

Based on 'Dharma' and the doctrine of Trivarga, certain basic values of life were evolved and assiduously sustained through out the history of Bharat. These values were intended to ensure the good and happiness of all, not only in this land but in the entire world. This culture constitute our rich heritage and wealth which is more valuable than all the material wealth of the world. Further it is this culture which has established unity in diversity and it is this cultural bond which has welded the people of this Land into a Nation.

Though various factors such as language, religion or common aspirations etc., might constitute a basis for the formation of or bringing into existence a Nation, the most essential of them are :-

  1. A common territory which people concerned have made their home and existence of filial attachment between the territory and the people, and
  2. Common values of life evolved and cherished by the people.

The people and the territory which is their homeland together constitutes the body of a Nation whereas the values of life evolved by the people, constitute its soul. Both together constitute "National Life". If one of the two disappears, the Nation dies, for the Body without the soul is a corpse and the soul without a body is a Ghost.

Common values of life i.e., culture evolved by the people living in a specific territory, constitute not only national vitality but also national identity. so long as they are preserved the nation survives. If destroyed, the Nation dies.

This aspect is highlighted by Swami Vivekananda, the harbinger of our National renaissance :

If any nation attempts to throw off its National vitality, the direction which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, that Nation dies, if it succeeds in the attempt.(INDIA AND HER PROBLEMS.p.8)

The greatest satisfaction for the people of Bharath has been that though attempts were made and are being made, by some deliberately, and by others out of ignorance and/or under Western influence, to destroy all our values evolved from ancient times which are the basis of our nationalism they have not been successful in destroying our National Vitality and identity. Our Nationalism, has withstood both political and social onslaughts on it, for several centuries as it is firmly based on noble values which are the very life breath of our people.

Vasudeva Kutumbakam (WORLD IS ONE FAMILY)

Though it is natural that for historical, cultural civilizational, linguistic reasons there had always been many nations/states, the basic philosophy that all living beings are children of God is deep rooted. Therefore, anyone who considered some one as his own and others not as his own, was dubbed as petty minded. This value is expressed in the Hitopadesha.

v;a fut% ijks osfr x.kuk y?kqpsrlkeà mnkjpfjrkuka rq olq/kSo dqVqEcdeÃA

Those who think "He is mine", "He is not", are petty minded". Those who are large hearted regard the world as one family. "

If the people constituting different nations understand this value, and act ill that spirit, there will be friendly and harmonious relationship among the nations of the world, and the enormous defence budget of all the nations can be drastically reduced and humanity will enjoy greater happiness. Thus our national stream continued to flow even during foreign rule, because for us national idealism was primary, and statehood, political power was secondary. It is through this cultural bond that we the people of this country became a nation and are surviving as a nation. This aspect has been forcefully brought forth by the Supreme Court in the case of Pradeep Jain Vs. Union of India (A.I.R. 1984 S.C. 1420), while expounding the basis which has made the people living in this vast sub-continent a nation, in the following words: The history of India over the past centuries bears witness to the fact that India was at no time a single political unit. Even during the reign of the Maurya dynasty, though a large part of the country was under the sovereignty of the Maurya kings, there were considerable portions of the territory which were under the rule of independent kingdoms. So also during the Moghul rule which extended over large parts of the territory of India, there were independent rulers who enjoyed political sovereignty over the territories of their respective kingdoms. It is an interesting fact of history that India was forged into a nation neither on account of common language nor on account of the continued existence of a single political regime over its territories but on account of a common culture evolved over the centuries. It is cultural unity -something more fundamental and enduring than any other bond which may unite the people of a country together -which has welded this country into a nation. Thus, it is the samskriti (culture) which was evolved in this country from times immemorial which not only welded the people of this country into a nation but also made it invincible and consequently the country has survived, despite all sorts of onslaughts to which it was subjected to from time to time during the last nearly one thousand years.

Sarvajna Narayana in his "Hitopadesha" (words of wisdom) in his inimitable style expounds the distinction between human beings and animals and says that man's legitimate claim to superiority over the animals would be valid only if he conforms to Dharma. The verse reads:

"vkgkjfunzkHk;eSFkquapA lkekU;esrr i'kqfHkuZjk.kkeà /keksZ fg rs"kkef/kdks fo'ks"kks /kesZ.k ghuk% i'kqfHkLlekuk%AA "

"Consumption of food, sleep, fear, and enjoyment of sex are common to man and animal. But, 'Dharma' is a special attribute of man. Bereft of 'Dharma', man is equal to animal.Therefore everyone should conform to dharma (right conduct). Otherwise he is no better than an animals. "

With this backgroupd if we examine the values of life evolved in Bharat which are collectively called Dharma, they are of universal application. It is Manava Dharma, also now coloquially called Hindu dharma, which is the name given by those belonging to Islam religion who came to this land around 1000 A.D. ; in view of its origin in this land; which they called Hindustan. It is no religion. Instruction in those values would not constitute religious instruction. This position can be made clear by posing the following question:

Whether the rules of Dharma that : 1. Everyone should tell the truth; 2. No one should indulge in violence against other living beings; 3. No one should acquire illegitimate wealth; 4. Every one should establish control over his senses; 5. There should be purity in thought, speech and deed; 6. Everyone should render service to other individuals; 7. Every one should eschew selfishness and greed. 8. The world should be regarded as one family, can be regarded as applicable to persons belonging to any particular religion? The answer must be in the negative. The above values which originated in this country are applicable to all human beings. Ingraining these values, in every individual through education is the only solution to the evil which the world including our country is now facing. The correct approach therefore is that irrespective of the religion to which the citizens of this country belong, arid practice, which they have the right and liberty, the great values of life evolved from times immemorial in this country which are of eternal value and which alone call ingrain character and love towards other human beings and also all the living beings is our rich heritage, should be inculcated in all citizens. All the values of life evolved in this land are collectively called Dharma or Sanatana Dharma and their practice gave rise to our culture, 'the Bharatiya Samskriti' This also came to be known as Hinduism (Hindutva) for historical reasons as stated by Kerry Brown in his celebrated work "The Essential Teachings of Hinduism". He says: "The term "Hindu" was first used by the medieval Muslim invaders to describe the dwellers of the Indus valley. But the culture we now know as Hinduism and which the Indians call Sanatana Dharma -Eternal law predates that label by thousands of years. It is more than a religion in the doctrinal sense that the west understands religion. One can believe in any God or no God and still be a Hindu. It is away of life, a state of mind". It is this culture, which comprises our values of life. The resurrection of these values alone provides the remedy for all the ills afflicting our National life as also humanity. Even in the face of such noble ideals, and large heartedness, of our nation, estrangement was brought about between a section of the people, viz., the Muslims and the rest, on the basis of religious intolerance which ultimately resulted in the division of the country into two nations; Hindustan and Pakistan. This injury inflicted on the nation was the price paid for securing political independence. This proved to be very costly. Despite such unfortunate partition of our Motherland, the deep rooted, unshakable, everlasting principles which are an inseparable part of our civilization and culture, from times immemorial which as indicated earlier is collectively called "Dharma", the people of this part of the country gave secularism a pride of place in our constitution. A careful study of the provisions of the Constitution shows that the broadest philosophy essential for peaceful co-existence of all the citizens evolved from times immemorial in this ancient land of ours as also the requirement of fostering and ensuring feeling of fraternity among the people and unity and the integrity of the nation, has been given top priority in the constitution. These objectives among others, are summed up in the preamble. It reads: We the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a (sovereign socialist, secular democratic republic) and also to secure to all its citizens; Justice, social, economic, political, liberty of thought, expression, belief faith and worship; Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all; Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individuals and the unity and integrity of the Nation. It is the same dharma, which is colloquially called Hindu Dharma or Hinduism just as Bharat is called Hindustan, which has inspired us not to opt for a theocratic state, Just as Rule of Law is said to be the sworn enemy of caprice, Dharma or Hinduism is the sworn enemy of theocracy. It is in view of the sway of Dharma that Secularism has been made one of the elements of the basic structure of our constitution. despite Islamic states established in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Therefore, it is clear that so long as Dharma has sway, Secularism survives and it gets destroyed the moment Dharma loses its primacy. Hence, it is our duty to resurrect, protect and preserve "Dharma" not only to safeguard national interest but also in the interest of humanity as a whole.

The Country

As far as the first aspect is concerned, all our ancient literature gave respectful description of the country and its special features. The second chapter of Manu Smriti gives the description of different parts of our mother land.

"ljLorhn`'k}R;ksnsZou|ks;ZnUrjeÃA ra nsofufeZra ns'ka czãkor± izp{krsAA dq#{ks=a p eRL;k'p ikŒpkyk% 'kwjlsudk%AA ,"k cziãf"kZns'kks oS czãkorkZnuUrj%AA fgeof}U/;;kseZ/;a rRizkfXou'kuknfiAA izR;xso iz;kxkPp e/;ns'k% izdhfrZr%AA vkleqnzkÙkq oS iwokZnkleqnzkPp ifÜpekrÃA r;ksjsokUrja fx;ksZjk;kZor± fonqcqZ/kk%AA

MANU2-17-19-21 The country which is created by God, which lies between the two sacred rivers, Saraswathi and Drishadvati, is called Brahmavarta. Kurukshetra, Matsya, Panchala and Shurasena are the regions which go by the name of Brahmarshi Desha. The country to the north of which lie the Himalaya mountains, and to the South of which are the Vindhya Mountains and to the east of which there is an area called Vinashana in which area the river Saraswati is hidden and to the West of which is Prayag, is called Madhya Desha. The area which is surrounded by the sea in the east and in which the mountain ranges are located, is called Aryavartna.

Having given the territorial description of our motherland, Manu 2-20, declares thus :

"

,rÌs'kizlwrL; ldk'kknxztUeu%AA Loa Loa pfj=a f'k{ksju i`fFkO;ka loZekuok%AA

In this country, there is great accumulation of knowledge and people from allover the world come here to secure, knowledge from the learned scholars. The above declaration made in Manu really makes everyone of us feel proud of our country. In fact, it is recorded in history that our country was the store house of knowledge; there were many great Universities like Takshashila and Nalanda and people from different parts of the world used to come here to acquire knowledge. Then, we have the verses of Vishnupurana which give the territorial boundaries of the whole country and its name and specify the important mountain ranges.

mÙkja ;r leqnzL; fgeknzs'pSo nf{k.keà o"k± r kjra uke Hkkjrh ;= lUrfr%AA egsUnzks ey;% lá% 'kqfDreku _{kioZr%A foU/;Üp ikfjik=Üp lIrk= dqyioZrk%AA

CH. III -VERSES 1 AND 3

The Country which lies to the north of the seas and to the south of Himalayas, is Bharat, and the people of this Country are 'Bharateeyas'. The other seven main chains of Mountains (in Bharata Varsha) are, Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Suktimat, Riksha, Vindhya and Paripatra. In his book "Fundamental Unity of India (pp.1-31) Dr. Radha Kumud Mukherjee, the greatest Bharateeya historian highlights this aspect. He says: The name Bharata Varsha is not a mere geographical expression like the term 'India' having only a physical reference. It has a deep historical significance symbolising a fundamental unity. The Rig- Veda, one of the oldest literary records of humanity, reveals conscious and fervent attempts made by the rishis, those profoundly wise organisers of Hindu polity and culture, to visualise the unity of their mother-country, nay, to transfigure mother earth into a living deity and enshrine her in the loving heart of the worshipper. Thus, there has been a filial attachment between the territory of Bharat and the people. The attachment of an individual to his mother is the highest and she is the dearest, such is also the attachment between the people of this country and the territory of Bharat. The emotional attachment is depicted in the following verse :

u es okaNkfLr ;'kfl fo}Ros u p ok lq[ksA izHkqRos uSo ok LoxsZ eks{ks·I;kuannk;dsAA ija rq Hkkjrs tUe ekuoL; p ok i'kks%A fogaxL; p ok tUrks% o`{kik"kk.k;ksjfiAA

I am not enamoured of fame, knowledge, luxuries of life, power, or heaven or Moksha, but my desire is to have rebirth in Bharat, as a human being or as an animal or as a bird, or as an insect or at least as a stone. This is the same feeling one has in this country towards his mother expressed in the words "Even if I have seven rebirths let me have you as my mother". Probably emotional attachment cannot be placed higher than this. This concept of love for the motherland among the citizens is the very foundation of every nation. This feeling makes every citizen patriotic and makes him remain loyal to the nation not only in its prosperity but also in its adversity and to dedicate himself to the service of the Nation and offer great sacrifices for the welfare and happiness of the people. There is an ever shining example of love and affection motherland exhibited by Raffia, the great hero of the Ramayana which is expressed in a popular Sanskrit verse. The occasion was this. After the defeat of Ravana in the war his younger brother Laxmana appears to have told Raffia that, instead of returning to Ayodhya, the place where they were insulted and from which they were driven out, they could as well become the rulers of Lanka which was a rich country then. Raffia replied thus :-

vfi Lo.kZe;h yadk u es y{e.k jksprsA tuuh tUeHkwfr'p LoxkZnfi xjh;lhAA

May be, Laxmana, Lanka is full of gold. But one's mother and the motherland are greater than Heaven. This verse gives expression to Raffia's intense love for his mother and motherland though his coronation was cancelled at the last moment, and he was asked to undergo forest life for fourteen years, and as a result he had suffered great hardship. Though he had won the war against Ravana and could have easily become the King of rich Lanka, he decided to go back to Ayodhya being eager to return to the mother and the motherland like a child eager to join its mother after having been separated for a long time. It is well known that however ugly, illiterate or otherwise deficient, one's mother alone is the dearest person. This is the feeling towards motherland developed in this country as one of the values of life which inspires many to make great sacrifices in the service of the people and the motherland. History has shown that despite the fact that our country was under foreign rule for several centuries, the love for the Country and its people and the deep sense of patriotism remained strong. It is on account of this feeling that the banner of revolt against foreign rule was raised, repeatedly, and, ultimately the nation was successful in overthrowing it. As we all know just two slogans "VANDE MATARAM" and "BHARAT MATA KI JAI" (SALUTATION TO MOTHER INDIA) inspired lakhs of youths to sacrifice their all during the freedom struggle. This feeling towards the motherland alone preserves and protects our national unity. From this point of view, Bharat Mata should be the murti or vigraha to be adored and worshipped by all the citizens and singing in praise of her should be the common song to be sung by all the citizens. This is the 'Dharma' of every citizen of this country and it holds good for all the nations of the world. Apart from a study of the history of the Freedom struggle, a visit to the cellular prison in the Andaman Island, will at once make anyone understand the tremendous sacrifice made by the children of Bharat Mata, to break the shackles of slavery by which she was bound. It was our nationalism and love for the country which inspired all of them to make such sacrifices despite the unbearable pains, hardship and suffering which those patriots and members of their family had to undergo.

Values of Life

The second factor which welded the people of this Country into a nation is the system of values of life. There are many main and subsidiary values. I shall refer only to the most important of them, all of which come within the purview of 'Dharma'.

  1. Duty towards others
  2. (a) Samanya Dharma -A Code of Conduct for all human beings (b) Raja Dharma -The Duty of Rulers
  3. Respect for Womanhood
  4. Equality (Samanata)
  5. Gratitude (Kritajnata)
  6. Compassion (Daya)
  7. Simple Life -Sparing use of Natural Resources
  8. Service (Seva -Paropakara)
  9. Sacrifice (Tyaga)
  10. World is one Family (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam)

DUTY TOWARDS OTHER LIVING BEINGS

In our culture and civilization, primary importance attached was to duty. Our ancestors established a duty based society in which the right given to an individual was the right to perform his duty. This position is declared in the following verse of the Bhagvad Gita thus :-

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते |[1] karmaṇyēvādhikārastē |

Meaning: Your right (adhikara) is to perform your duty This duty based philosophy has been reiterated in Vishnupurana thus :-

अत्रापि भारतं श्रेष्ठं जम्बूद्वीपे महामुने । यतो हि कर्म्मभूरेषा ततोऽन्या भोगभूमयः ।। 22 ।।[2]

atrāpi bhārataṁ śrēṣṭhaṁ jambūdvīpē mahāmunē । yatō hi karmmabhūrēṣā tatō'nyā bhōgabhūmayaḥ ।। 22 ।।

Meaning: Among the several countries Bharat is great, for, this is land of duty whereas others are lands of enjoyment.

Mahatma Gandhiji quoted this as the basis of his love for the country. He said :

INDIA is to me the dearest country in the world, not because it is my country but because, I have discovered the greatest goodness in it Everything in India attracts me. It has everything that a human being with the highest possible aspirations can want. India is essentially Karmabhumi (land of duty) in contradistinction to Bhogabhumi (land of enjoyment).

Our civilization, our culture, our swaraj depend not upon multiplying our wants and self indulgence, but upon restricting our wants -self denial.

This duty based philosophy makes this Nation qualitatively different from others. This is a need based culture in contrast to greed based civilizations. The right given to an individual is the right to perform his duty. It is this philosophy which is the essence of the Bhagvad Gita.

This value alone can instill in individuals the desire to perform their duty and to surrender/sacrifice their personal interests in the larger interest of the nation and/or humanity.

SAMANYA DHARMA

The meaning of Sanskrit word 'Dharma' as earlier indicated is very wide. It is not religion as understood nay misunderstood by many as a result of using that word for 'Dharma' in the absence of an equivalent word. In fact there is no word "corresponding to Dharma in any of the languages of the world. All the rules of righteous conduct of human beings in every sphere of human activity evolved from times immemorial in this country, fall within the meaning of the word 'Dharma' .It is Universal. Religion means the mode of worship of God by all believers calling Him by different names. Religions are many such as Shaivism, Smartha, Vaishnavite, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and Parsi. It is personal and left to the choice of individuals. One can join or change one's religion according to one's urge and desire. Respect for all religions is Dharma. Dharma applies to all, whether they belong to any religion or not. It is code of conduct for all human beings for all time to come. It is eternal as indicated in Manu Chapter X-63 :

अहिंसा सत्यं अस्तेयं शौचं इन्द्रियनिग्रहः । एतं सामासिकं धर्मं चातुर्वर्ण्येऽब्रवीन्मनुः । । १०.६३ । ।[3]

ahiṁsā satyaṁ astēyaṁ śaucaṁ indriyanigrahaḥ । ētaṁ sāmāsikaṁ dharmaṁ cāturvarṇyē'bravīnmanuḥ । । 10.63 । ।

Meaning: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (not coveting the property of others), Shoucham (purity), and Indriyanigraha ( control of senses) are, in brief, the common Dharma for all.

RAJA DHARMA

This is equivalent to the modern Constitutional Law, Raja dharma regulated the power and duties of the King. The Atrisamhita declared that there were five fundamental duties of a king :-

दुष्टस्य दण्डः सुजनस्य पूजा न्यायेन कोषस्य च सम्प्रवृद्धिः | अपक्षपातोर्थिषु राष्ट्ररक्षा पञ्चैव यज्ञाः कथिता नृपाणाम् ||

ahiṁsā satyaṁ astēyaṁ śaucaṁ indriyanigrahaḥ । ētaṁ sāmāsikaṁ dharmaṁ cāturvarṇyē'bravīnmanuḥ । । 10.63 । ।

Meaning: To punish the wicked, to honour (protect) the good, to enrich the treasury by just methods, to be impartial towards the litigants and to protect the kingdom -these are the five yajnas (selfless duties) to be performed by a king.

Even in the hoary past, the duties and responsibilities of the king were regulated by Raja Dharma. To inculcate the desire to implicitly to obey Rajadharma was part of the education of the princes, who were to succeed to the throne. While the form of Government was kingship the substance was Democratic.

In conformity with this spirit of Raja Dharma, Kautilya, in his famous " Artha Shastra" (P-39) (the Constitutional Law of ancient India (compiled around 300 B.C) summed up the duties of the king (State) thus ;-

प्रजासुखे सुखं राज्ञः प्रजानां च हिते हितम् | नात्मप्रियं हितं राज्ञः प्रजानां तु प्रियं हितं ||

prajāsukhē sukhaṁ rājñaḥ prajānāṁ ca hitē hitam | nātmapriyaṁ hitaṁ rājñaḥ prajānāṁ tu priyaṁ hitaṁ ||

Meaning: In the happiness of the subjects lies the king's happiness, in their welfare his welfare; what pleases himself the king shall not consider good but whatever pleases his subjects the king shall consider good.

The king was required to conform to the above rule of Raja Dharma and act only in the interests of the people and not according to his likes or dislikes or whims and fancies. He was directed not to act capriciously or arbitrarily. It was pointed out that his interests and the interests of his subjects were inseparable. What was good for the people was to be regarded good for him irrespective of any disadvantage or inconvenience caused to him.

Every prince before assuming office as king was required to take an oath that he would rule the kingdom strictly in accordance with Dharma.

The more important aspect relating to assumption of office as king at the coronation ceremony was, it was regarded as 'Samskara' for the commencement of selfless discharge of duty as a king during his entire tenure of office and not assumption of power. On this aspect K.M.Panikkar observes:

Great importance was, therefore, attached to the coronation ceremony. Not only was it a dedication to the service of the people but also an affirmation of the covenant between the people and the ruler.

The coronation was a Diksha, a dedication, and a king bearing the crown became a Vrati, i.e., a person devoting his life to a cause (in this case, the service of the people.

The Mahabharata has expressed the ideal with great clarity and precision. Shanti Parva Verse 3(1), Chapter-90, says:-

धर्माय राजा भवति न कामकरणाय तु।[4] dharmāya rājā bhavati na kāmakaraṇāya tu।

Meaning: The proper function of the king is to rule according to Dharma (the law) and not to enjoy the luxuries of life.

The above directive principle laid down five thousand years ago is of eternal value. It is very relevant now as many consider that securing political power is the golden opportunity to amass wealth indulging in extravagant and ostentatious living, enjoying all luxuries of life, conferring privileges on their kith and kin, undertaking foreign tours etc., misusing the power and position of the office, disregarding the law and morals, which is the root cause of rampant corruption, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of power which are prevailing now.

The above ideal is worthy of emulation by all those who take oath of office in different capacities according to the relevant Constitution under the present day Democratic system of Government; and they would do well to remember always that they are not merely wielders of power but they stand charged with the duty of rendering selfless service to the people in conformity with the constitution and the laws of the land.

It was also made obligatory for the king to give equal protection to all his subjects without discrimination. On this subject, 'Manu Smriti' on Raja Dharma (IX-31) says :-

यथा सर्वाणि भूतानि धरा धारयते समम् । तथा सर्वाणि भूतानि बिभ्रतः पार्थिवं व्रतम् । । ९.३११ । ।[5]

yathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni dharā dhārayatē samam । tathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni bibhrataḥ pārthivaṁ vratam । । 9.311 । ।

Meaning: Just as the mother earth gives equal support to all the living beings, a king should give support to all without any discrimination. Narada Smriti vide Dharmokosha P-870 laid down thus:

पाषाण्डनैगमश्रेणीपूगव्रातगणादिषु | संरक्षेत्समयं राजा दुर्गे जनपदे तथा ||

pāṣāṇḍanaigamaśrēṇīpūgavrātagaṇādiṣu | saṁrakṣētsamayaṁ rājā durgē janapadē tathā ||

Meaning: The king should afford protection to compacts of associations of believers of Veda (Naigamas) as also of disbelievers in Veda (Pashandis) and of others.

These most ancient provisions, show how, in this land, where the Vedas were regarded as Supreme, the disbelievers in the vedas were to be respected and protected.

Apart from the specific provision of the Raja Dharma, it has been the fundamental practice to pray individually as, well as collectively for the well being of all. This is evident from the following popular Sanskrit verse:

सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः । सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद् दुःखभाग्भवेत् ॥ (Vajasaneyi Samhita)

sarvē bhavantu sukhinaḥ sarvē santu nirāmayāḥ । sarvē bhadrāṇi paśyantu mā kaścid duḥkhabhāgbhavēt ॥

Meaning: Let all be happy, let all be free from diseases, let all see auspicious things and let nobody suffer from grief. There is a prayer made in every temple every day to the following effect :

लोकाः समस्ता सुखिनो भवन्तु || lōkāḥ samastā sukhinō bhavantu ||

Meaning: Let all people be happy. Our ancestors also laid stress on the principle that God is one despite the fact that people belonging to different religious faiths call him by different names and therefore by whatever name god may be addressed in offering obeisance the destination is the same. This principle has been forcefully expressed in the following verse:

आकाशात् पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् | सर्वदेवनमस्कारः केशवं प्रति गच्छति ||

ākāśāt patitaṁ tōyaṁ yathā gacchati sāgaram | sarvadēvanamaskāraḥ kēśavaṁ prati gacchati ||

Meaning: Just as the rain water corning down to the earth from the sky reaches the same ocean, obeisance to God by any name reaches the same destination - The one God by whatever name He is called. The following prayer incorporated in the Upanishads, discloses the lofty ideals evolved in our culture from ancient times :

सह नाववतु | सह नौ भुनक्तु | सह वीर्यं करवावहै | तेजस्वी नावधीतमस्तु | मा विद्विषावहै | ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः |

saha nāvavatu | saha nau bhunaktu | saha vīryaṁ karavāvahai | tējasvī nāvadhītamastu | mā vidviṣāvahai | oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ |

Meaning: May He (God) protect us both together; may Re nourish us both together; may we work conjointly with great energy; may our study be vigorous and effective; may we not hate anyone. Let there be peace, peace and peace. Again in Bhagavadgita, Chapter XII-13-14, Lord Krishna lays down the proper code of conduct by saying that a person who observes such a code of conduct is dear to Him. It reads:

अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च । निर्ममो निरहंकारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ॥१२- १३॥

संतुष्टः सततं योगी यतात्मा दृढनिश्चयः । मय्यर्पितमनोबुद्धिर्यो मद्भक्तः स मे प्रियः ॥१२- १४॥[6]

advēṣṭā sarvabhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa ēva ca । nirmamō nirahaṁkāraḥ samaduḥkhasukhaḥ kṣamī ॥12- 13॥

saṁtuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yōgī yatātmā dr̥ḍhaniścayaḥ । mayyarpitamanōbuddhiryō madbhaktaḥ sa mē priyaḥ ॥12- 14॥

Meaning: The person who hates none, who is friendly and has compassion for all, who has no selfishness and ego, who , maintains balance of mind in pain and pleasure, who has contentment, is steady in meditation, self controlled, and firm in his decision, who is dedicated to me, and who is my devotee is dear to me.

Every one of the qualities indicated is general in nature. Surely cultivation of such qualities, elevates the individual to a higher level of humanity. The above mentioned provisions in the Smritis, the Upanishads and the Geeta indicate that secularism par excellence has been one of the elements of the basic structures of Raja Dharma, our constitutional law, from times immemorial.

RESPECT FOR WOMANHOOD

Respect for women was another most cherished value of life from times immemorial in Bharat. Manusmriti mandates in the following verse that highest respect and regard must be extended to women.

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः । यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः । । ३.५६ । ।

शोचन्ति जामयो यत्र विनश्यत्याशु तत्कुलम् । न शोचन्ति तु यत्रैता वर्धते तद्धि सर्वदा । । ३.५७ । ।

जामयो यानि गेहानि शपन्त्यप्रतिपूजिताः । तानि कृत्याहतानीव विनश्यन्ति समन्ततः । । ३.५८ । ।[7]

yatra nāryastu pūjyantē ramantē tatra dēvatāḥ । yatraitāstu na pūjyantē sarvāstatrāphalāḥ kriyāḥ । । 3.56 । ।

śōcanti jāmayō yatra vinaśyatyāśu tatkulam । na śōcanti tu yatraitā vardhatē taddhi sarvadā । । 3.57 । ।

jāmayō yāni gēhāni śapantyapratipūjitāḥ । tāni kr̥tyāhatānīva vinaśyanti samantataḥ । । 3.58 । ।

Meaning: Gods are pleased, with the house in which women are respected, in that house in which women are insulted and are made to suffer, every thing done is sure to go waste.

If in a house daughter, the daughter-in-law, and the sisters 'and other women suffer, that house is sure to be destroyed. The house in which such women live happily, secures wealth and happiness.

The family in which the wife, the daughter, the sister and the daughter-in-law, etc, are not respected and in which they suffer from insult, is sure to be destroyed.

Hence, men who seek (their own) welfare should always honour women on holidays and festivals with gifts, good attire and dainty food,

स्त्रियां तु रोचमानायां सर्वं तद्रोचते कुलम् । तस्यां त्वरोचमानायां सर्वं एव न रोचते । । ३.६२ । ।

सुवासिनीः कुमारीश्च रोगिणो गर्भिणीः स्त्रियः । अतिथिभ्योऽग्र एवैतान्भोजयेदविचारयन् । । ३.११४[१०४ं] । ।[7]

striyāṁ tu rōcamānāyāṁ sarvaṁ tadrōcatē kulam । tasyāṁ tvarōcamānāyāṁ sarvaṁ ēva na rōcatē । । 3.62 । ।

suvāsinīḥ kumārīśca rōgiṇō garbhiṇīḥ striyaḥ । atithibhyō'gra ēvaitānbhōjayēdavicārayan । । 3.114[104ṁ] । ।

Meaning: The house in which women folk are decorated with dress and jewellery, shines, otherwise, the house is sure to suffer.

Recently married daughters, as well as daughter-in-law, young girls as also pregnant women should be served with meals even before the guests.

The above verses impress that any person who wants happiness at home and who desires that his family should prosper, and should secure enjoyment of life, must respect women always, There can be no doubt that the house in which husband and wife have mutual love and affection always secures happiness and good results and is really equal to heaven; the house in which women are insulted and harassed, becomes a hell.

The above verses also indicate the utmost consideration given to women in Manusmriti. The normal duty of Grihastashrama{the state of the house holder) is to feed guests first and only thereafter the owner of the house, his wife and other members of the family have to have food. The above provision shows that a young daughter who had been recently married and a young daughter-in-law as also young girls and pregnant women were given such an importance and priority in that they were to be provided with meals even earlier than the guests. This indicates the highest concern shown to women in view of their great importance to the happiness of the family.

However, there is a verse on the basis of which Manu Smriti is criticized and condemned as being against women. It reads:

पिता रक्षति कौमारे भर्ता रक्षति यौवने । रक्षन्ति स्थविरे पुत्रा न स्त्री स्वातन्त्र्यं अर्हति । । ९.३ । ।[5]

pitā rakṣati kaumārē bhartā rakṣati yauvanē । rakṣanti sthavirē putrā na strī svātantryaṁ arhati । । 9.3 । ।

Meaning: The father protects the girl in her childhood, the husband protects her after marriage and her sons protect her in old age. At no stage should a woman be left free.

On the basis of the last part of the above verse, without reference to the earlier parts and other verses in Manu Smriti, referred to earlier, the criticism levelled against Manu Smriti is that it wanted women to live like slaves of man through out their life.

However, women shape the fortunes of the family. Therefore, the true meaning and purpose of the above verse is that a woman requires and is entitled to protection in every stage of life. Correspondingly it is the duty of the father, the husband and the sons to look after the daughter, the wife and the mother respectively. It does not mean that woman must be kept without freedom. Such an interpretation runs counter to the verse, which says that the house in which women are insulted and shed tears gets destroyed. The above true meaning of the verse becomes more clear when it is read with another provision in Manu in which the highest respect is required to be given to women.

उपाध्यायान्दशाचार्य आचार्याणां शतं पिता । सहस्रं तु पितॄन्माता गौरवेणातिरिच्यते । । २.१४५ । ।[8]

upādhyāyāndaśācārya ācāryāṇāṁ śataṁ pitā । sahasraṁ tu pitr̥̄nmātā gauravēṇātiricyatē । । 2.145 । ।

Meaning: The acharya is more venerable than a Upadhyaya (teacher). father is more venerable than an acharya. But the mother is more venerable than the father.

A combined reading of the verses quoted above indicate that women were placed at a higher position. So the real meaning is, the women should be honoured and protected. It is a humane and a duty-oriented provision, the mandate to provide security. This should not be misunderstood as making her life insecure. For, if women are denied freedom and they are kept under subjugation they are bound to be in grief and tears, and as a consequence the happiness of the family disappears. Hence, a meaning consistent with the above verses alone is appropriate.

This exposition can be completed best by quoting what Kerry Brown has stated in his book, "The Essential Teachings of Hinduism", having ascertained the real meaning of the controversial verse in Manu.

In Hinduism a woman is looked after not because she is inferior or incapable but, on the contrary, because she is treasured. She is the pride and power of the society. Just as the crown jewels should not be left unguarded, neither should a woman be left unprotected. No extra burden of earning a living should be placed on women who already bear huge responsibilities in society; childbirth; child care, domestic well being and spiritual growth. She is the transmitter of culture to her children.

An analysis of many other provisions concerning women in the Smritis also indicate that special provisions had been made in favour of women in many respects. They are:

Rights of women members of joint family

Though women were not admitted to the membership of coparcenary, they were members of the joint family and the law gave them the right to a share equal to one fourth of the share of the brothers at partition though they were not given the right to compel partition.

Misuse or dependence of the property of women prohibited

न कन्यायाः पिता विद्वान्गृह्णीयाच्छुल्कं अण्वपि । गृह्णञ् शुल्कं हि लोभेन स्यान्नरोऽपत्यविक्रयी । । ३.५१ । ।

स्त्रीधनानि तु ये मोहादुपजीवन्ति बान्धवाः । नारी यानानि वस्त्रं वा ते पापा यान्त्यधोगतिम् । । ३.५२ । ।[7]

na kanyāyāḥ pitā vidvāngr̥hṇīyācchulkaṁ aṇvapi । gr̥hṇañ śulkaṁ hi lōbhēna syānnarō'patyavikrayī । । 3.51 । ।

strīdhanāni tu yē mōhādupajīvanti bāndhavāḥ । nārī yānāni vastraṁ vā tē pāpā yāntyadhōgatim । । 3.52 । ।

Meaning: No father who knows (the law) must take even the smallest gratuity for his daughter; for a man who, through avarice, takes a gratuity, is a seller of his offspring.

But those (male) relations, who in their folly live on the separate property of women, (Ex: appropriate) the beasts of burden, carriages, and cloths of women, commit sin and suffer a downfall.

Right of Wives

यदि कुर्यात्समानंशान्पत्न्यः कार्याः समांशिकाः । न दत्तं स्त्रीधनं यासां भर्त्रा वा श्वशुरेण वा । । २.११५ । ।[9]

yadi kuryātsamānaṁśānpatnyaḥ kāryāḥ samāṁśikāḥ । na dattaṁ strīdhanaṁ yāsāṁ bhartrā vā śvaśurēṇa vā । । 2.115 । ।

Meaning: Wives are entitled to a share equal to that of sons at a partition. But the share is liable to be reduced by the amount of stridhana given by the husband or the father-in-law, if any, in their possession.

This rule recognised the right to share in favour of a wife and if there was more than one wife, all the wives were entitled to equal shares. The amount of Stridhana to be taken into account for the purpose of reducing the share was only that which was given by the husband or the father-in-law.

Right of mothers

समांशहारिणी माता | samāṁśahāriṇī mātā |

Meaning: Mother is an Equal Sharer

समांशहारिणी मातेति वचनात् मातृपदस्य जननीपरत्वात् न | सपत्नीमातृपरत्वमपि सकृत् श्रुतस्य मुख्यगौनत्वानुपपत्तेः ||

samāṁśahāriṇī mātēti vacanāt mātr̥padasya jananīparatvāt na | sapatnīmātr̥paratvamapi sakr̥t śrutasya mukhyagaunatvānupapattēḥ ||

Meaning: The expression 'mother' includes the step-mother, i.e., the other wives, if any, of the father. Their share was, however, liable to be reduced to the extent of stridhana in their possession. (Smrti Chandrika)

Rights of daughters

Daughters, whose marriages had taken place before partition, were given no right in the coparcenary property of their parents' joint family. As regards unmarried daughters, a share in the coparcenary property was recognised.

स्वेभ्योऽंशेभ्यस्तु कन्याभ्यः प्रदद्युर्भ्रातरः पृथक् । स्वात्स्वादंशाच्चतुर्भागं पतिताः स्युरदित्सवः । । ९.११८ । ।[5]

svēbhyō'ṁśēbhyastu kanyābhyaḥ pradadyurbhrātaraḥ pr̥thak । svātsvādaṁśāccaturbhāgaṁ patitāḥ syuraditsavaḥ । । 9.118 । ।

Meaning: To maiden sisters, each of the brothers shall give out of his share, one-fourth part. Those who fail to give shall become patita.

Kat.858, however, while repeating the rule, provides that in cases where the property is small, sons and unmarried daughters should share equally.

Stridhana

Every property movable or immoveable, given to a woman by anyone constitutes her own absolute property. The rule of succession to Stridhana was that it would go to daughters, to the exclusion of the sons and, to the sons only in the event of there being no daughters.

SAMANATA (EQUALITY)

The Vedas constituted the primordial source of Dharma. The Charter of Equality (Samanta) incorporated in the Rigveda, the most ancient of the Vedas, and in the Atharvanaveda are worth quoting.

अज्येष्ठासो अकनिष्ठास एते सं भ्रातरो वावृधुः सौभगाय ||

ajyēṣṭhāsō akaniṣṭhāsa ētē saṁ bhrātarō vāvr̥dhuḥ saubhagāya ||

Meaning: No one is superior (ajyestaso) or inferior (akanishtasa). All are brothers (ete bhrataraha). All should strive for the interest of all and should progress collectively. (sowbhagaya sam va vridhuhu).

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of human rights reads thus:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The above said verse of Rigveda is almost similar though most ancient.

समानी व आकूतिः समाना हृदयानि वः । समानमस्तु वो मनो यथा वः सुसहासति ॥४॥[10]

samānī va ākūtiḥ samānā hr̥dayāni vaḥ । samānamastu vō manō yathā vaḥ susahāsati ॥4॥

RIGVEDA – MANDALA – 10, SUKTA-191, MANTRA-4 (Concluding part of Rigveda) Meaning: Let there be oneness in your resolutions, hearts and minds. Let the strength to live with mutual co-operation be firm in you all.

समानी प्रपा सह वोन्नभागः | समाने योक्त्रे सह वो युनज्मि | अराः नाभिमिवाभितः ||

samānī va ākūtiḥ samānā hr̥dayāni vaḥ । samānamastu vō manō yathā vaḥ susahāsati ॥4॥

(ATHARVANAVEDA – SAMJNANA SUKTA)

Meaning: All have equal rights to articles of food and water. The yoke of the chariot of life is placed equally on the shoulders of all. All should live together in harmony supporting one another like the spokes of a wheel of the chariot connecting its rim and the hub.

These Vedic provisions forcefully declare equality among all human beings. The last of them impresses that just as no spoke of a wheel is superior to another, no individual can claim to be, or regarded as, superior to others. This was the grand concept of equality in this country at the earliest period of civilization.

As for question like was discrimination sanctioned by Dharma? It is not so. The very expression Dharma is opposed to and inconsistent with any such social inequality. The relevant provisions of the Shruti (Vedas) leave no room for doubt that discrimination on the ground of birth or otherwise had no Vedic sanction; on the other hand such discrimination was plainly opposed to vedic injunction. Discrimination of any kind is, therefore, contrary to Dharma. It is really Adharma.

It should however be pointed that though society had been divided some time later, on functional basis, into four Varnas (Chaturvana) namely

  1. Brahmanas, the class of persons taking to teaching and other learned professions;
  2. Kshatriyas, warriors and the ruting class;
  3. Vyshyas, the class of persons undertaking trade, commerce and agriculture and
  4. Sudras, the class of persons rendering another essential services to the society,

the superiority or inferiority of an individual does not seem to have been determined by birth in anyone of these classes, For instance, Valmiki and Vyasa, the authors of the two great epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharatha, who are regarded as the greatest poets, writers and philosophers of the country and who are held in the highest esteem down to this day by all sections of the society, belonged to the fourth and the second varna, respectively. This is also the case as regards the heroes of these two great epics. Rama, belonging to Kshatriya varna, because of his superb qualities as a man and as an ideal ruler, has won a place in the hearts of one and all for ever. So too Krishna, the greatest of diplomats and warriors, and a great teacher, being the propounder of the immortal Bhagvad Gita. Both these are adored and worshipped by all sections of the society as incarnations of God Himself.

At a still later point of time, in the long meandering course of our history, society got divided into innumerable castes and sub-castes on the basis of occupations, vocations or trade or business. The evil of discrimination as high and low among men, on the basis of birth, hereditary avocations and other considerations, raised its ugly head and the pernicious practice of untouchability with all its degrading implications came into existence, However, all right-thinking persons and social reformers have been fighting against these evils which were afflicting society. In spite of such divisive and undesirable customs, the love for the country and its culture, the common heritage and aspirations of our people, and the basic tenets of dharma have held us together and there has always been unity despite diversity in the country. This was refurbished during our struggle for freedom when everyone fought for it unitedly.

In view of the above vedic declarations, the various discriminatory provisions in the Smritis arid other customs have to be regarded as invalid being opposed to the Shruti and set aside as inconsistent with Dharma, which alone is of eternal value. In fact Vyasa Smriti expressly provided that whenever there is conflict between the provisions in the vedas (shruti) and those in smritis or puranas (including custom or usage) what is declared in the veda alone should be accepted. The provisions in the smritis or custom, which ran counter to the Shruti was Adharma and invalid.9 Manu Srnriti also incorporated the following directive vide Ch.IV-176:

परित्यजेदर्थकामौ यौ स्यातां धर्मवर्जितौ । धर्मं चाप्यसुखोदर्कं लोकसंक्रुष्टं एव च । । ४.१७६ । ।[11]

parityajēdarthakāmau yau syātāṁ dharmavarjitau । dharmaṁ cāpyasukhōdarkaṁ lōkasaṁkruṣṭaṁ ēva ca । । 4.176 । ।

Meaning: Discard wealth (artha) or desire (kama) if it is contrary to Dharma as also any usage or custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation".

Our constitution has discarded undesirable customs and practices and has re- established Dharma in the real sense of that expression by tabooing the aforesaid social evils. It confers the right to equality (vide Articles 14, 15 and 16) and abolishes untouchability (vide Article 17).

It is therefore, the duty or Dharma of every individual to obey these provisions in letter and spirit in thought, word and deed which will foster the feeling of fraternity and ensure the dignity of individuals.

GRATITUDE (Kritajnata)

To have a feeling of gratitude towards persons and other living beings who/which have been helpful to us, is another value of our national life. It is this feeling which is the basis ~ custom of worshipping animals, and plants as also Ayudha Pooja, i.e., worshipping one day in year all the implements or instruments through which we earn our lively hood. It is the same feeling which had led to the prohibition of slaughter of cows, calves, oxen, bullocks -as the cows give milk which sustains us, from childhood till death. We worship the cow as 'Gomata' (Mother Cow). Kautilya in his Artha Sastra made a specific provision banning cow slaughter. It reads:

oRlks o`"kks /ksuqÜpS"kkeo/;k%A

Cattle such as calves, bulls or cows, shall not be slaughtered. Yajnavalkya Smriti (VI 234) also declared Govadha (Killing of a cow) as an offence. It is this value which has found its way into article 48 of the Constitution of Bharat, which makes it obligatory for the state to make a law prohibiting cow slaughter.

Compassion

To have compassion towards all living beings, including human beings was considered as the root of 'Dharma' .Every one was asked to look towards other living beings as his ownself (Atmavat Sarvabhutanam). The Smritis declared that cruelty to animals was a punishable offence. There is also a custom to give a weekly holiday to bullocks. In the Mahabharatha, Raja Rantideva, declares:

dke;s nq%[krIrkuka izkf.kukekfrZuk'kueÃ

My desire (as the) highest Dharma is to wipe out the tears from the eyes of living beings in distress. Basaveshwara, the great 12th Century Reformer declared "Compassion is the root of Dharma; bereft of compassion, there is no Dharma".

Aparigriha- Simple living & sparing use of Natural resources

It is the desire of all human beings to enjoy life, and to secure happiness. The question however examined by the ancient Bharatiya thinkers has been how to secure it. Is it by increasing the wants or limiting the wants1 They opted for the latter and incorporated it in the first verse of Ishavasyopanishad. It reads:

"bZ'kkokL;fen¡ lo± ;fRdŒp txR;ka txrà rsu R;Drsu HkqŒthFkk% ek x`/k% dL; fLon ?kueÃA

All we find in this ephermeral world are created by God. Let us use them only to the minimum extent and let us not snatch the wealth belonging to another.

Swami Vivekananda who rejuvinated and propagated the greatness of Dharma, said thus:

"

Race after race has taken the challenge up, and tried their utmost to solve the world-riddle on the plane of desires. They have all failed in the past; the old ones have become extinct under the weight of wickedness and misery, which lust for power and gold brings in its train, and the new ones are tottering to their fall. (India and Her problems p.12)

He declared that only 'Sacrifice' brings harmony and real happiness. The life of Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest personality of this century, has been the manifestation of the above principle. He said: Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication, but in the deliberate and voluntary restriction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment. A certain degree of physical harmony and comfort is necessary, but above a certain level it becomes hindrance instead of help. Therefore, the ideal of creating an unlimited number of wants and satisfying them seems to be a delusion and a snare. The satisfaction of one's physical needs must meet at a certain point a dead stop, before it degenerates into physical voluptuousness. A man must arrange his physical and cultural circumstances so that they do not hinder him in his service of humanity on which all his energies should be concentrated. The Supreme Court of India, in its celebrated judgment in Sachidananda Pandey V s. State of West Bengal ( 1987 (2) S.C.C. 295) dealing with the importance of environment quoting a German Philosopher, said thus: Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first. Ecologists are of the opinion that the most ecological and social problem is the widespread disappearance allover the world of certain species of living organisms. Biologists forecast the extinction of animals and plant species on a scale that is incomparably greater than their extinction over the course of millions of years. It is said that over half the species which became extinct over the last 2000 years did so after 1900. The International Association for the Protection of Nature and Natural Resources calculates that now, on average, one species or sub-species is lost every year. It is said that approximately 1000 bird and animal species are facing extinction at present. So it is that the environmental question has become urgent and it has to be properly understood and squarely met by man. The world is awakening now, having seen the disastrous consequences of overexploiting of natural resources and there is a great movement for preserving and protecting natural resources. We have to fall back on the directive in the Ishavasyopanishad in order to ensure justice to posterity.

Service or Paropakara

Great importance was attached to service to others. This value is brought out with illustration in the following verse:

ijksidkjk; QyfUr o`{kk% ijksidkjk; ogfUr u|% ijksidkjk; nqgfUr xko% ijksidkjkFkZfene 'kjhjeÃA

The trees bear fruits to serve others. The rivers flow to serve others Cows give milk to serve others. This human body is meant to serve others. This value inspires every individual to serve society through every profession or avocation. It impresses that, as rivers serve others, and animals and plants serve others, and are not selfish; man being the highest form of life should not lag behind in serving others; not merely human beings, but all living beings.

TYAGA -SACRIFICE

This is another cherished value of our national life. Subordinating smaller or self - interest to a larger interest, even at the cost of some inconvenience and suffering is Tyaga. This principle is found incorporated in Hitopadesha.

R;tsnsda dqy L;kFksZ xzkeL;kFksZ dqya R;tsrà xzkea tuinL;kFksZ vkRekFksZ i`fFkoha R;tsrÃA

Sacrifice/subordinate, individual interest to that of the family. Sacrifice/subordinate, family interest to that of the village Sacrifice/subordinate, the interest of the village to that of the nation. Renounce all worldly interest if you want your soul to rest in peace. The last one is adhyatmik and concerns those who believe in Swarga and Moksha (liberation) from rebirth. But the first three concern life in this world. This has inspired individuals and national life. Every individual works hard and takes all trouble not with purely selfish interest but to secure the happiness of all those who depend on him, this wife, children, aged parents, sisters, and brothers as he feels for them and considers that he has a duty towards them and that their interest is his own interest. Similarly, if an individual is also made to realise that all his brethern also belong to his larger family, and he has the duty to serve them, he makes enormous sacrifice for the nation. Swami Vivekananda recounted that renunciation and service have been our main national ideals. In this regard he said: The National ideals of India are renunciation and service. Intensify her in those channels, and the rest will take care of itself. The Indian nation cannot be killed. Deathless it stands, and it will stand so long as that spirit shall remain as the background, so long as her people do not give up their adhyatmikity. Aye, a glorious destiny, my brethern, as far back as the days of the Upanishads we have thrown the challenge to the world

-'Na dhanena na prajaya tyagenaike amritatwamansshuh 

- not by wealth, not by progeny, but by renunciation alone immortality is reached'. Race after race has taken the challenge up, and tried their utmost to solve the world-riddle on the plane of desires. They have all failed in the past –the old ones have become extinct under the weight of wickedness and misery, which lust for power and gold brings in its train, and the new ones are tottering to their fall. The question has yet to be decided whether peace will survive or war; whether patience will survive or non-forbearance; whether goodness will survive or wickedness; whether muscle will survive or brain; whether worldliness will survive or adhyatmikity. This is the theme of Indian life-work, the burden of her eternal song, the backbone of her existence, the foundation of her being, the raison d'etre of her very existence –the adhyatmikization of human race. In this her life course she has never deviated whether the Tartar ruled or the Turk, whether the Moghuls ruled or the English". (India and Her Problems - pp.lO, 12-13) We have to resurrect this ideal.

धर्ममूलानि ॥ Fundamentals of Dharma[12]

Non violence

Ahimsa or non-violence is the most important virtue. That is the reason why Patanjali Maharshi has placed it first in Yama. Practice of Ahimsa must be in thought, word and deed. Practice of Ahimsa is not impotence or cowardice or weakness. It is the highest type of heroism. The practice demands immense patience, forbearance and endurance, infinite inner spiritual strength and gigantic willpower.

Ahimsa or non-violence is the most important virtue. That is the reason why Patanjali Maharshi has placed it first in Yama. Practice of Ahimsa must be in thought, word and deed. Practice of Ahimsa is not impotence or cowardice or weakness. It is the highest type of heroism. The practice demands immense patience, forbearance and endurance, infinite inner spiritual strength and gigantic willpower.

He who is firmly established in Ahimsa can hope to attain Self-realisation. He who practises Ahimsa develops cosmic love to a maximum degree. Practice of Ahimsa eventually leads to realisation of oneness or unity of Self. Such a man only can attain self-restraint.

Constant vigilance and alertness are needed in the practice of Ahimsa. If you are careless even a bit, you will be carried away by the force of previous wrong Samskaras and impulses and will become a victim of Himsa, despite your good intentions.

Truth

Brahman is Sat or Existence-Absolute. Truth must be observed in thought, word and deed. If you are established in truth, all other virtues will cling to you by themselves. Harischandra sacrificed everything for the sake of truth.

Yudhishthira was also devoted to truth. There is no virtue higher than truth. Practice of truth and Ahimsa constitute the crown and glory of ethical life. In the Taittiriya Upanishad, the preceptor says in his convocation address to the students: “Satyam vada—Speak the truth.” The world is rooted in truth. Dharma is rooted in truth.

Honesty, justice, straightforwardness and sincerity are only modifications or expressions of truth.

Purity

Purity comprises both external purity and internal purity. Purity implies both purity of body and purity of mind. Purity of body is only the preliminary to purity of mind.

This body is the temple of God. It should be kept clean by daily bathing and clean dress. Cleanliness is a part of godliness.

The restriction in diet is best calculated to make the mind pure. Food exercises a direct influence on the mind.

Sattvic food makes the mind pure. Purity of food leads to purity of mind. Mind is only made up of the fine essence of food. As the food is, so is the mind.

Purity comprises such virtues as frankness, innocence, straightforwardness and absence of all evil thoughts. He who is endowed with purity will find it easy to tread the spiritual path.

Self-control

You must have perfect self-control or self-mastery. Self-control implies both control of the body and control of the mind. Self-control does not mean self-torture. You must lead a well-regulated and disciplined life. You must keep all the senses under your perfect control. The senses are like turbulent and wild horses. This body is like a chariot. Mind is the reins. Intellect is the driver. The Atman is the Lord of the chariot. If the senses are not kept under proper control, they will throw this chariot into a deep abyss. You will come to ruin. He who keeps the reins firm and drives this chariot intelligently by controlling the horses (senses), will reach the destination (Moksha or the Abode of

Eternal Bliss) safely.

Self-control implies self-sacrifice, annihilation of egoism, patience, endurance, forbearance and humility. Overcome Raga or attachment by Vairagya or dispassion. Dispassion will dawn in your mind if you look into the defects of sensual life such as birth, death, disease, old age, pain, sorrow, etc. (Mithya-Drishti and Dosha-Drishti). Overcome anger and hatred by Kshama or forgiveness, love and selfless service. Overcome evil by good. Return good for evil. Overcome lust by the practice of Brahmacharya and regular Japa and meditation. Conquer greed by charity, generosity and disinterested actions. Conquer pride by humility and delusion by discrimination and enquiry. Overcome jealousy by magnanimity, Atma-bhava and nobility. Conquer egoism by self-sacrifice, self-surrender, self-abnegation and meditation on the non-dual, eternal, self-luminous Brahman, the innermost Self, the Inner Ruler, the Immortal.

References

  1. M. RAMA JOIS, DHARMA - The Global Ethic, Published by "Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  1. Bhagavad Gita, Adhyaya 2.
  2. Vishnu Purana, Amsha 2, Adhyaya 3.
  3. Manusmrti, Adhyaya 10.
  4. Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, Adhyaya 90.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 9.
  6. Bhagavad Gita, Adhyaya 12.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Manusmrti, Adhyaya 3.
  8. Manusmrti, Adhyaya 2.
  9. Yajnavalkya Smrti, Vyavaharadhyaya, Dayavibhaga Prakaranam.
  10. Rigveda, Mandala 10, Sukta 191.
  11. Manusmrti, Adhyaya 4.
  12. Swami Sivananda (1999), All About Hinduism, Uttar Pradesh: The Divine Life Society.