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Contents

1. Folly of the Wise

Folly of the Wise

2. Wealth: the unnecessary accumulation and misuse

3. Why Ignore Education?

4. The folly of ever increasing load in the boat

5. Not richness but greatness

6. Women: the need for independence

7. The agonizing walls of divisions and discriminations

8. Fatalism and Astrology

9. Divisions and discrimination would not stay for long

10. This much, the wise must understand

Folly of the Wise

‘Capacity to think’ is the exclusive characteristic of humans. This capacity is the basis for thought, imagination, analysis and specific views on subjects. The other living creatures are concerned primarily with survival and procreation. They cannot think about a world order or the future of civilization etc. Creatures other than men are consistently involved in attack or procuring a greater share of their personal needs. They lead a pre-determined cycle and die as they become incapable of surviving in their environment.

Man has been endowed with a mind that has the capacity to think. He is capable of deriving conclusions from his past experience and making plans for his future. He makes efforts to make the future more comfortable and better organized than the past. He lays down rules of conduct, personal as well as social, based on some value system and tries to abide by them. Cooperation is his exclusive characteristic (although not common among developed animals) and based on this, man develops unique basis for give and take in the society leading to increased avenues for comfort and happiness. It is these urges that have in course of time lead to special mental faculties like determination, courage, initiative, etc. Man stands on a much higher pedestal in the evolution ladder.

This development has also brought in its trail an undesirable feature. Man is tempted to do what others around him are doing. Often he is so much imitative that the pressure of the values being practiced around him (or their violations) overpowers his discrimination between good or desirable and bad or undesirable. The imitation becomes blind, devoid of any rational thought. Soon this urge to imitate what others around him are doing becomes his second nature. His prejudices leave no scope for his trying to understand the other point of view. He becomes a victim of misunderstandings and even follows and practices violence to establish or enforce his prejudices on others. Much of the wastage of human efforts, knowledge and resources can be checked if discretion is allowed to have the better of opposition and violence based on prejudices.

Man has discovered and invented so many things. He has drawn numerous inferences and conclusions in various areas of knowledge. He has brought about changes in the nature’s schemes of things. But all this progress has failed to check the growth of misunderstandings. Men continue to base their conduct on convictions that are doubtful of veracity. The rationals can be proved irrational in their everyday conduct so often.

It is surprising that if we study human nature and beliefs we find that notwithstanding the thought process which is Creator’s exclusive gift to him, blind faith and superstitions not only survive but influence so much of human behavior. He is wise and yet unwise in so many areas of human behavior. It appears as if other creatures are better placed to the extent that they do not have any value system that discriminates between desirable and undesirable. They just live on the instinctive plane.

There are so many prevalent convictions among men that one can hardly categorise him as the rational being, if these were analysed. It is difficult to believe at times how such a developed creature can be so irrational in some areas at certain times.

When men think about themselves, their prime concern is their body. They continuously strive to make it powerful, beautiful and great in all respects. But this belief in the supremacy of the ‘body’ is misplaced for if the ‘body’ were the ultimate truth worth striving for, why is it that nothing remains of

it after death. Inspite of all preventive measures, illness and death do take their toll. The emphasis on ‘body’ does not explain how some people retain memories of an earlier birth. Similarly the mysteries of life after death which we come across in life cannot be explained if the ‘body’ is accepted as the ultimate of all goals.

All these phenomena, for which there are no physical explanations, lead us to the thought that apart from the body) there exists something else also that makes the body ‘living’. There is a ‘soul’ as

distinct from the ‘body’. In the living organism, the body and soul exist in the equilibrium with each other. In the dead, the two are separated and as such we have to accept separate identities of the two

a body and a soul. Unfortunately, most people either do not accept it or remain unmindful of this

distinction. If the distinct identities of both the body and the soul were recognized, men would at least make equal efforts for the development of both.

Man rarely recognizes that he is endowed with a soul that is the projection of the infinite life that pervades all around in this and other universes. He does not accept that as the Creator’s superior manifestation, he has certain aims to be achieved and some responsibilities exclusive to him among

other species on this planet. He is required to strive for yet higher states of evolution. If men realized this responsibility, they would not have been wasting at their time in the pursuit of comforts for the body. Responsibilities that arise from the special status of being a man would also have found a place

in the lifestyles.

Efforts to rise still higher in the evolution ladder would have given rise to things that enable man to get over the mundane and also steer along other persons in contact. Unfortunately, such an urge and consciousness have been lacking with the result that instead of rising to higher plans of conduct, men

have been following paths that lead to dark alleys and ignorance. There is little realization that youth

is the time for striving to rise to higher planes. If such a realization existed, no one would spend

youthful days in wasteful pursuits. They would have rather lived a life of ideal excellence. Youth could be a model for others so far as personal and social conduct is concerned. But very few realize the

importance of youth. Most people realize only after they are no longer young and do things rarely beyond involvement in petty affairs of doubtful utility.

‘Taste of the tongue’ is one area where men seemingly proud themselves as an area they have developed over the centuries. Now in nature, every living organism needs food for survival but it takes and accepts it in naturally existing forms. No living organism or creature cooks, bathes, fries or spices his food. In the name of ‘Cookery’ man started consuming things that are not even good for his system

and all in the name of progress and civilization. This unnaturally has led to so many diseases that other animals never suffer from. Life spans of men have been reduced from what they were when he was not so civilized. It is an accepted fact, that but for the development of ‘culinary’ arts, mankind could survive on much less naturally available food stuff. Cooking and making food tasty involves so much of human effort and waste of food material.

My making himself a slave to taste, man has exposed himself to a variety of diseases. Vegetarianism would have made it possible for the entire human race to be fed only with the existing output. Lifespan would have been longer with the use of natural and raw food stuff. But man has been consistently increasing the urge for taste which is so different from the urge for food to satisfy hunger a natural phenomenon with all living creatures. Disease, disability and a shorter life span caused by food that is not in its natural form, is a typical example of rational beings involved in an obviously irrational behavior the wise acting foolishly.

All of us need shelter. Now houses are made not to live in a hut to look at. A good house should have provision for fresh air and sunlight as the basic requirement. The simplest hut makes provision for these elementary human needs. But men choose to live in slums or in buildings that are very beautiful to look at but where artificial light is necessary every time and where fresh air is shut out at extra cost. We build houses that are expensive but in violation of the basic needs i.e. fresh air and sunlight and then spend more on correcting eye sights and curing diseases of the lungs. Good health is the first casualty in such living conditions. Observation of simple rules of good health that is living close to nature, eating naturally existing food and using sunlight as far as possible with ample scope for availability of fresh air would have saved mankind from loss of good health.

The situation is amazing. Man is afraid of diseases. They cause suffering, loss of working hours, expenditure on treatment, inconvenience to other members of the family, and infection. Good health is the natural state of body while disease is unnatural. Good health is a blessing while to be sick is a curse. It is unfortunate that man, the superior of nature’s creation has invited trouble for himself by leading a life away from nature. One may or may not believe in the theory of punishments being awarded after death for acts done during life time, but the punishment men suffer during their life time for distancing themselves from nature are much too obvious for each one of us to see.

Drugs and intoxicants are yet other abnormalities exclusive to human beings. Smoking, drinking or drug addictions lead to horrible consequences in terms of poor health, economic destruction and depravity moral corruption all around. Incurable diseases like cancer are a direct outcome of these vicious habits. The total consequence is that everyone concerned and related suffers the agony of the addict.

How come that knowing all these consequences of living an unnatural life, men ignore the simple rules of good living. Is it just wisdom or just folly of the wise? Other creatures also suffer from pain but it is not self-inflicted. Not so in the case of man, who knowingly and deliberately does things that cause misery and pain. That part of his conduct puts a question mark on his wisdom.

If one does not realize the real purpose and importance of human existence and wastes all efforts and energies in trifling matters, the consequences in the long run are destined to be disastrous. Precious years of life are spent in activities that have no significance to the real purpose of human existence. Men live in sin and lead a life of depravity carrying their sins to their next birth. How unwise and irrational for the one whom God created as the wise and the rational being?

Wealth: the unnecessary accumulation and misuse

Man is a wise creature. There is hardly any doubt about his position and status in the evolution ladder. His wisdom reflects in his endeavors to produce material goods. Where he fails to earn by honest endeavors, he resorts to dishonesty. It is just a chance that some men do not always succeed due to unfavorable circumstances or lack of competitive skill, but then, whenever a chance comes up they do not desist from foul means to be the riches tin the shortest possible time.

How should the created wealth be used, for whom and in what manner? Man’s decision in these areas is not always free from doubts. The wealth that has been acquired through unethical means and the wealth that is spent without thought and wisdom, both lead to disastrous consequences. One keeps on lamenting for the consequences. One keeps on lamenting for the consequences much later.

All this happens when wealth is accorded an importance that is disproportionate to its due share in the life of man. Where wealth becomes the ultimate goal or is looked upon as the prime source, capable of delivering happiness, misery invariably follows. The entire existence becomes devoid of any worthwhile purpose. There is no time or energy left for other useful pursuits. As a result, all other aspects of human development and evolution remain neglected. Loneliness pervades and even the sole aim becomes gradually difficult to achieve. The simple reason for such a situation arising is that there are limits to how much wealth can a person acquire. There is competition and as a result everyone consistently tries to pull things to his advantage. Some succeed, most fail to grab a major share. If the competition were based on some ethical rules, the situation probably would not have been so dismal. But success in acquisition of wealth depends so much on being clever rather than wise. So often the wise are left behind while the clever succeed. Often, success in acquisition of wealth is determined by sheer chance with no reference to ability.

One must introspect to find an answer whether wealth is really that importance that all other aspects of life could be ignored for its sake? Do riches alone make life worth living? All of us need a certain minimum of wealth to be able to survive and function efficiently. But these needs are very modest and can be met with honest efforts as well. Food, clothes and shelter for self and family are worth working for. It is also an important responsibility that the children are helped to the extent they become self- relying. If all members of the family choose to live a simple life, living can become possible in much less than what every one of us seems crazy to earn.

Saving for the future is like trying to tie up the sky. If during our youth we create in our family a value system in which the old are respected and the weak cared for, that in itself would be insurance for old age. Old age presents problems when we do not make provision for it in our youthful days. If one has to depend economically on others in his old age, misery is unavoidable. Yet another situation for a miserable old age would be when the younger generation has not been imbibed with correct values of respect for age. It could be that the uninitiated youth is greedy and keen to usurp the old man’s savings. For that situation too is the old who are responsible.

So the provision for old age has to be a balanced figure. Neither too little that would lead to economic dependence nor too much that would tempt the younger to kick out the old man. The very idea of living on unearned income is to be abhorred. Children have to be told this when very young, they must have before them models of self made persons. If children grow up with a feeling of self respect through self earned advantages, they will hate the idea of usurping the old man’s savings.

Children need to be told that the money spent on their education and upbringing is in the nature of a social loan which they repay partly by maintaining their own family t whom they have a similar responsibility and partly by supporting the aged who enabled them to come to this earning stage. If this can be appropriately instilled, there is no need to fear the old age or amass a fortune for the period of retirement. There is enough on Earth for every man’s need but not enough even for one person’s greed. If some people insist on amassing huge and disproportionate wealth, some people would have to be poor. This inequality in distribution of wealth would invariably lead to social conflicts. Excess wealth is invariably spent on luxuries, often a vulgar display of wealth. Some of the activities indulged in by the very rich are drinks, wasteful expenditure on false status symbols and the like. Gradually more and more money is needed to live in style and indulgence in vices. Then there are no holds barred so far acquisitions of wealth are concerned. It becomes the very purpose of existence.

Envy is the direct outcome of the situation where some people are very rich and most people very poor. The violence and other crimes in the society are often a direct outcome of the social conflicts generated by inequality of income distribution. The poor want to imitate the life style of the rich and for them it is possible only through resort to dubious means. Thus excessive accumulation of wealth by some is the man cause for a number of social evils.

Living within a restricted budget has its own pleasures. Where all members of the society live modestly, social peace is easier to attain. Uniformity in economic status encourages co-operation among neighbours. They love to live together and enjoy the simple and ordinary things of life. Economic living ensures cordiality within the family and between different sections of the society. There is scope for better values to germinate and develop in an atmosphere that has not been vitiated by greed and envy caused by some people being very rich while the others remain poor.

A social order, in which families can live with modest incomes, ensures that there will be time for other healthier pursuits for introspection, for mutual exchange of ideas and experiences, for group recreations and social for social cohesion. In such a social order there is the possibility that each member of the community can rise to his maximum potential for the would be looking for many more things beyond the mad race for material acquisition.

Co-operation and self-less service are the means to a fuller development of human personality apart from pure knowledge. These qualities create avenues for raising the status of the deprived in the society. The deprivation may be physical, mental or just circumstantial. The expression of these noble qualities affords bliss that is superb. Man becomes great by practicing these virtues. Service to humanity is possible only by those who have learnt to live modestly and save time and energy for

other worth while pursuits that distinguish men from other animals. For those who are always in the mad race for more money, there is no time or energy left for anything beyond greed and self-service.

All men should devote time and attention to gain good health, a balanced state of mind, a happy family and yet have time for self-less service. If all efforts are singly directed towards material acquisitions, there would neither be time nor energy left for higher pursuits of life. If material acquisitions become a craze, it leads to nothing except madness. It is possible to budget our time in a manner that there is enough for family needs and yet time for better things of life. Family maintenance or efficient survival is not the problem. The problem is greed which knows no bounds.

It is very foolish to believe that money can buy everything. The truth is that money can buy only items of entertainment. The real thing is not the object but the happiness that can come out of it. Where thought and actions are coordinated and directed towards the common goal of bliss, real happiness becomes a distinct possibility. If such a balance exists one can accumulate the love of mankind. If a person has attained that respect from humanity, he can achieve everything that is worth achieving on this earth. And for achieving this, one does not need immense material wealth.

It is gain a folly of the wise that men crazily run after material acquisition to the extent they get deprived of real happiness a typical case of missing the end for the sake of means.

Why Ignore Education

Education is needed to be able to get a job or a service. That is what most people believe to be the purpose of education. During their student days, children look upon their schooling as the means to seek some employment or service after they have passed the school courses. Parents too, look to education as the means for enabling their wards to get foxed into some career. Business and enterprise are hardly in their mind for they seek the security of a job that brings regular monthly income with minimum effort. These career dreams have one thing in common a cushy high paid job with an official status and the perquisites attached to high positions. Other sources of income that would open up consequent to the official position are also in the focus. All this is great dream stuff. But the hard realities are different. It turns out to be no more than a pipe dream for all but few students who come out of schools and colleges. There was a time when there were few educated persons in the country. Those who had the benefit of English education immediately got jobs under the British government who had use only for such people.

Ambitions were modest and most education people got fixed up in government jobs at some step. The situation is radically different today. Millions of students go to schools and thousands come out of colleges and even professional institutions every year. It is just not possible for each one coming out of the school to get a job or government service. Vacancies occurring as a result of retirement or creation of new posts are out in the employment market seeking jobs. Educated unemployment at a massive scale is the resulting outcome of this situation. Thousands apply where the jobs are just a one digit number. The rejected keep on trying till they are overage for government jobs. Then they start running for jobs under private employment. Even in this area, the competition is stiff and it is the employers market. So the job seekers have no option but to accept the wages and other terms and conditions of work that the private employer offers. The greatest problem that arises from the mismatch between the demand and supply for jobs the resulting frustration among the youth. A high paid government job was their only dream and with this shattered they feel the future holds no promise for them anymore. They have no skills and hence incapable of any entrepreneurship or self- employment.

The problems they face at this stage had neither been visualized by them nor by their parents who set the career plans for them. No one knows how to come out of this situation. The result is total frustration and feeling of helplessness.

This is the problem of not one but millions of youth in the country today. The problem can be solved only by evolving alternate plans and strategies. It has to accepted in the first instance that every one cannot get a government job, more so a high status position. Once this is accepted, alternative solutions can be thought at and worked out.

In the case of man it is many years later that he becomes physically and mentally capable of being gainfully employed. Childhood is the age most suited for development of mind and body to its

maximum potential. As such, education is necessary for a fairly long period. All the same, it has to be constantly kept in mind that once education is over, there can be no guarantee of a job. The other alternatives should be explored and kept in mind while framing plans for education. It is possible to earn honestly by many more means besides a service. Keeping in view one’s special circumstances, the decision should be taken early and not deferred till frustration arising out of frequent rejections has set in. Self employment and entrepreneurship should be given due consideration as alternative strategies for earning. There is infinite scope in the country for production at various levels and in various fields. Cottage industries have a definite role even in competition with production on a large scale in big industrialised units. Manufacturing costs may be low in large scale production but supervision costs are high. Wastage, transport, stocking, marketing are all very expensive propositions and add up to high costs. Where production is on a small scale at the cottage industry level, such expenses are avoided and waste is minimal due to close personal supervisions. If we once again propagate and accept a social order in which the products from cottage industries e.g. Khadi are looked upon with respect, demand for home made good will increase providing unlimited scope of earning through expansion of self-employment units all over the country.

Mostly people think of business as distribution. Now the scope for distributive enterprises is limited. Shops and commercial establishments provide very limited employment. More over their, employment scope is determined by what and how much is being produced for distribution among the consumers, the emphasis has to be on production rather than distribution. The base for creation of National wealth in our country is agriculture. Cottage industries and ancillary production units that are linked to agriculture offer tremendous scope for earning opportunities. Science and Technology is available for agriculture linked enterprises and simple things like carpentary or blacksmithy can now be taken up in a manner that would give good returns. Similarly traditional village crafts if operated on scientific lines can give products that has national and even international acceptability.

Education is aimed at full and integrated development of personality, an opportunity for optimum growth of the innate talents. Through education, it should be possible for the educated to resolve social conflicts and promote all that is good in human nature. Educational institutions owe it to the society and the students under their care to frame their programmes in a manner that the education imparted would cultivate a respect for social values, apart from development of the individual’s potential for productive work.

The parents must also accept this as the basic function of a good education system. Preparation for a career as the sole objective of school programmes is an idea that needs to be discarded. Transfers are frequent in government jobs. Families make and break friendships and neighbourhoods. Housing is a problem in big cities. Transportation and dislocation of family including children’s education are other problems that arise consequent to new postings and transfers. People from villages have to migrate to cities since most jobs exist only in the cities. Keeping all these in mind it is worthwhile that parents plan the education of their children in a manner that there would be less clamouring for service jobs that involve movement from established homes. Earning opportunities are possible even without exposing children to hardships that go with jobs in big cities. If it is possible to find earning

opportunities while continuing to live with known neighbours and relatives, these possibilities should be explored, expanded and utilized.

In such a scheme of things, the educated will continue to live in their villages and towns and indirectly their stay would bring about a number of changes in the living and working patterns of those around them who did not have the benefit of higher and professional education. The village boy in a big city is a bundle of conflicts and the city would never own him at least for one generation. On the other hand, in his old surroundings, he would get respect being more educated than the rest around him. Thus, family happiness would be much more, if the educated from the village explore and create earning opportunities while continuing to live in their traditional homes. It is surprising that while so much is being made of a few thousand intellectuals migrating to foreign countries, little is being done to retain the local talent among the villagers to their traditional surroundings. The former is a loss that can be quantified but the latter is immense in terms of social disharmony that is plaguing our cities.

In the ancient system of education as practiced in India, bookish knowledge was limited to all that a man need to know for success in life outside the Gurukul. Knowledge is infinite and it would take many births for a man to be able to gather pebbles on the shore while the vast ocean would still remain unexplored. Education, to be related to life, has to put in a secondary place all that is rarely needed in life. The time and resources available for education are strictly limited and within these constraints, the efforts should be to stick to the essential, discarding all that is just load, unrelated to the demands of life outside the educational system. The present scheme does not even offer enough that would enable the student to be able to support himself independently after his education is over. Hence the need for a fresh look at our educational aims, course contents and methodologies. Education should enable a person to be confident even if he does not get the job or service for which he is a candidate like thousands others. In case the present system is incapable of generating that confidence, we may have to scrap it in parts or even in full. On the one hand we have not enough resources for universalizing education while on the other we are wasting them on a system that is producing educated persons that are not even employable. There is need for incorporating some of the essentials of the Gurukul system in our existing educational order so that education becomes an instrument for creating abilities through which the educated can get gainful self-employment. While continuing to live in their village homes, skills should emerge out of school education and all facets of real life situations should be included in the courses.

Students learn at school and also from their environment at home and in the neighbourhood. Often the environment at home is not conducive to growth of a good value system. If that be the case, there is need for special hostels (as in the case of children of criminals or other sections of the society involved in illicit trades).

It is unfortunate that we have been neglecting that one aspect which significantly influences the happiness of our children, their education. If the system is not delivering the goods, we should be anxious to make changes. Our indifference and willingness to tolerate an educational system that we accept as irrelevant to our children’s needs is yet another example of the wise acting foolish.

The folly of ever increasing load in the boat

Ships have a Plimsoll Line. They should be loaded only to the extent the ship sinks in water up to a specific point. If the load exceeds that limit the ship is exposed to the danger of being wrecked on the high seas, if there is a storm. If we have to travel uphill, we can do it conveniently if the load on our head or shoulder is light. Everyone wants to travel light through the long march of life. If the load is bearable, there is scope left for thinking about new goals and also lead a happy life.

The responsibility to maintain a family is a much long drawn process. It is expensive and the expenses range over many years. The child is born, educated, employed before the parental responsibilities are over. In between there is sickness, other contingencies and marriage that have to be catered for. Since all this is spent over many months, one can afford it. If all this were to be totaled, it would be a mind boggling figure. Producing a child is like borrowing a lakh rupees payable in installments spread over two decades.

The bigger the family size, the greater is the burden of maintenance. There is no remission possible in this loan so far as repayment is concerned. May be one has to resort to illegal gratifications to be able to buy all that is due from him. The matter does not end with maintenance till children become self- reliant. Some people even want to leave a big inheritance for their children. Honest earnings rarely suffice in that case. It is only resort to dishonesty that makes such provision possible in an average person’s life.

The physical and mental strain that one must undergo in his lifetime is determined by how much liabilities one has incurred in the above stated manner. The normal man is totally exhausted in this exercise and has neither the time nor the patient left for anything like spiritual uplift or self- realisation. Even if the urge is there, the resources are just not spare.

There is so much to be done for improving one’s health, charity or self-improvement, but none of these becomes possible. Procreation and maintenance take every minute of one’s existence. One enters the world with closed fists and departs with open palms. The worries of a big family are too numerous to leave any time or scope for anything great. Like the ox tied to an oil expeller, one runs around and round moving all time yet reaching nowhere.

It is only appropriate that we look after the elders who have enabled us to become self-reliant ultimately. But it is no wisdom to invite liabilities for which the entire life would have to be staked. Every child expects maintenance, means of recreation, good education, decent standard of marriage and then a job from which he would be able to maintain a standard that his parents achieved after long years of toil. If one cannot afford all this, where is the point of inviting more and then being in- different to their needs. If the parents are not in a position to afford a decent maintenance they have no justification in begetting them. Unwanted children get that feeling of neglect right from their childhood. They are frustrated even before they enter life. The parents are unable to muster enough

resources and feel frustrated too. The result is an inner conflict in both the children and their parents. Both keep on feeling unwanted or guilty.

Often this inner conflict erupts violently in the family. Children revolt and leave their homes. Others get into bad company and learn wasteful vices. Their future becomes dark and in this process they also bring shame to their parents. Children who have not been looked after well do not respect their parents. Neither do they accept any family discipline. Total chaos prevails in the family. The birth of a child in the family adds significantly to the father’s responsibility economically. The mother bears the brunt physically. For 40 weeks, the child derives nourishment from the mother’s body and then come the labour pains. Breast feeding causes further strain on the system and all this tells upon the mother’s health. No time is left for personal care or advancement. Soon the mother’s feel they have become hollow, sick and irritable. The father slumps under the economic strain. Both parents suffer immensely, when children are born to families where adequate resources do not exist.

Procreation assumes an ‘undesirable’ dimension when one take into account the economic conditions prevailing in the country that are incapable of taking any extra load. With limited inputs, there is limit to how much a given plot of land can produce. That would be enough only for a limited number. If there are extra numbers, they will have to remain deprived and victim of malnutrition and all that follows. Then there are problems like education, transport, public health facilities, housing, employment and a host of others. Additional facilities are being created but the rate of population growth far exceeds the provision of facilities leaving the number of deprived unchanged and in some cases even increasing with years. As long as we do not get over the problems of illiteracy and poverty, progress is neither possible nor meaningful. This balance cannot be established until the population growth is effectively checked. In the absence of facilities for personality growth, the additional population will remain inferior leading to fresh social strains.

Unbridled sex desires, unconcerned with its consequences lead to birth of children who are just not desirable to have at this stage. So immense is the folly, yet the parents do not for a moment pause to think what would be the fate of the off-springs of their intense sex desires. Such parents increase the load in the boar exposing it to new dangers. Their children are destined to a very uncertain future. It is a case of wise men acting foolish when under the influence of sex desire they produce children that they are in no position to maintain foreboding for their progeny a dismal future. Bogeys like, ‘how will the family name continue’ or ‘who will perform “shradh” after death’ are propogated by the ignorant and accepted by even the educated in the society. These considerations are devoid of any logic and have no relationship with the realities of life.

The marriages are aimed at providing partnership in the onward struggle towards progress. Progress has many dimensions. An individual feels handicapped and lonely trying to achieve it. In the present context, family earnings mostly come from men. They provide sustenance to the family. Unfortunately, school education provides no opportunities for learning all that is needed for an all- round development. The individual has to find ways and means for such development on his own. Some works like social service, acquisition of knowledge, self-improvement, learning of new skills etc.

have to be continued althrough one’s life. The family is a micro state. It is the foundry where excellence is moulded. Family is the cradle of human virtues but only if there are conditions in which the husband and wife can find time for leisure and relaxation, both physical and mental.

The talented in the society need to have opportunities for special guidance. Now if everyone has many children in his own family, there is no possibility of children of talent in average families being guided by specially talented adults. Each one would be too pre-occupied with his own children.

There may be persons of eminence in the society but if they spend all their time looking after their own children, there is no hope of their guidance being available to other children in the society who may have the potential but not the right exposure in their own family. Where the society is deprived of guidance from the exceptionally talented; directed toward the upcoming generation, rot sets in and the quality of population keeps on becoming inferior. Replacements for the talent do not become available for future use in the society. If the highly talented also insist on producing children to the extent they would have no time left for other children in the society needing their guidance, it would be indifference on their part to their social responsibility.

Its not necessary that everyone must have his own children to bring happiness to the home. This happiness can also be sought through adopting (not necessarily legally) other children and making them a part of one’s family. Our own children may or may not feel grateful for the facilities afforded to them, but if such facilities are extended to some other deprived children, they will always remain grateful. Their gratitude would be more rewarding than the doubtful recognition by one’s own children.

Such happiness would result in “inner happiness” and also social recognition. The generous have always been, respected in every society and people who extend their area of operation far beyond their own family always earn the respect of the society. Honour and prestige follows them.

Often one pampers his own children to the extent that they get into bad company and start moving on the wrong tracks. In such cases they become a liability to the parents even when grown up. Too much fondling and show of concern can often prove counter-productive. But if this show of concern is directed to children outside one’s own family, the results would always be happy and encouraging. There are problems when adoption is resorted to in the legal sense. Succession rights get involved making the process more complex. But if adoption is restricted to extending facilities for better education, it would be national services of the highest order.

It behoves the wise not burden their wives with too many children. She should be left free to contribute her share to the society in terms of extension of educational or just tuitional facilities to the relatively under privileged children in the community or neighborhood. The husbands should provide the support necessary for such a programme.

Not Riches but Greatness

Every talented person has the ambition to establish and publicise his exceptional ability or achievement. All living creatures satisfy the hunger of the body, but men also crave for satisfaction of their hunger for ‘fame’. Ambition is common to all men irrespective of whether the talents are exceptional or not. Very few people would content themselves with just the fulfilling of their basic needs for survival and make no attempts to show off a bit. A few meters of cloth is all that is needed to cover the body and make it socially acceptable and be able to stand the rigours of weather. But fashion decrees a hundred varieties in every garment. Women use jewelry to adore the various parts of their body. There are so many hairstyles both for men and women. All these are just attempts to keep one attractive. This attraction is even becoming a passport to exclusiveness. Women far exceed men in this area. How much time and resources are spent in these pursuits to look attractive could be anybody’s guess. Dress styles and designs are changed frequently so that the person in the latest is taken note of as he or she then stands out of the rest. Art and money, both are put in service so that the wearer catches the attention of everyone else. This is sheer craziness.

The rich build houses that are far in excess of their personal needs. The furnishings are lavish. Servants are engaged with no relationship to their actual need for the family. Dinners and banquets are held to establish superiority in the social group. All this is aimed at proclaiming, ‘Look I am higher than you’. Normally all this show off business is confined to the rich. But for their expenditure on show off, there I would have been enough surplus which could be put to other productive uses or in the use of the relatively, poor section of the society.

Competitions are organized in so many fields every day. There are motor car races and vintage car rallies. Horse races and mountaineering are popular because achievements in these areas put the winner in a different and a higher class, the one talked about in the society. How much effort people make to establish records? Similarly many hardships are endured just to get into the book of records. Why do people put so much in this sort of competitive activities? Just to be able to stand out among the rest. The ambition to be known is at the back of all this fame and gaining activities. Not everyone can excel in these activities. If one has money, but no exceptional talent to get into records, he engages yes men around him who keep flattering him with tales that have no relation with reality.

Many people just live by flattery as profession. They surround people with money or power, dish out stories creating the illusion of greatness for their master, and make handsome money in the bargain.

Wars are so often an extension of personal ambition. Serfs, slaves and servants were all engaged to proclaim a certain status among the nobles and the commons. The expenses on marriage that are totally disproportional to the economic status of the families are also incurred because on such occasions the modest get a chance to become talk of the community. Dogs and even wild animals are tamed as pets (personal zoo) just to proclaim that this person is different.

A little consideration makes it obvious that all this is born out of individual ‘ego’. It rarely happens that as a result of all this expenditure others accept as someone superior. Everyone is busy in one’s own job. There is hardly any time to take note of what the other person is wearing. And besides there are so many manifestations of the individual ego that no one really cares for what the other person is trying to show off. So often the only remark others pass at such ostentatious living is that the person must be resorting to corrupt ways to be able to afford such a living style. People only decry what was meant to establish social superiority. The truth ultimately shows.

The poor too indulge in such actions and all that seems so childish often stupid. Attending marriages in borrowed clothes appears so funny to all those who know the borrower and his usual status. Many people get into permanent debt as a result of such artificial living which is not keeping with their normal income. People squander the wealth inherited by them in such show business. If the poor get into the habit of always trying to look rich, they start taking recourse to illegal and unethical means. Extravagance leads to dishonesty. Ultimately such people are exposed. As more and more people come to know of the reality, they start despising the person who insists on living artificially. They lose friends, for no one likes to be branded as their companion in the evil deeds.

Often the ignorants pretend to be wise. They are destined to fail. Very soon the realities are known. Moreover, the era of feudalism is over. No one bothers about how much money one has, unless he has any designs to get any part of it by flattery or deceit. No one bows before the rich as was once the custom. People living on unearned increments are not respected; they are rather despised. They are criticized and branded dishonest. Only those indifferent to human sufferings can amass wealth. Anyone who is sensitive to human misery would share part of his surplus wealth trying to ameliorate their conditions.

People who are indifferent to human suffering around them and insist on wasting surplus money on luxuries or personal show of businesses are now being increasingly looked upon with contempt in the society.

The urge to look big is ‘childish’. It is unacceptable as an adult quality. Mature thinking demands that men equip themselves with more knowledge, higher ideals and act nobly and generously. Simple living and high thinking are ideals worth aspiring and living upto. If the rich lead a modest life, they would have enough to put to charitable uses. Anyone who is seeking greatness or social recognition through a vulgar display of riches or extravagance is bound to be disappointed in the long run. One cannot earn the respect of his peers by fear either. It is possible that there may be intense hatred within but compulsions to flatter. But this hoax cannot go on eternally. At the earliest opportunity, the truth will be out. What is mean remains mean and cannot be camouflaged as great for long. The corrupt and the selfish cannot gain fame for lasting popularity. All these are known facts and yet people keep on pretending. They continue to live under the delusion that fame and popularity can be acquired through frauds and even maintained by artificial devices: If this misconception would have been removed, may be people would have worked for real greatness rather than imitating the rich or

appearing to be great. May be they too would have worked to gain fame based on solid social concern. The artificially erected tower of fame ultimately comes down like a house of cards.

Real greatness is both universal and stable. If a personality is fired with ideals, it would be accepted as great universally. For stable greatness, the thoughts and deeds have to rise above the average and excellence has to be achieved through consistent hard work and devotion. These qualities alone provide the basis for self satisfaction, social recognition and cooperation in all affairs. Wisdom lies in modulating our actions to honesty and responsibility untempted by greed, never bowing before insolent might.

Personally someone may be rich, learned, strong, talented, clever, or endowed with any other natural

gift. Such a person can easily establish that he is different from the common people. Once that is established there will always be the possibility of arrogance growing up, or jealousy arising among the peers. The flatterers may surround such a person leading to his ultimate downfall. All these unfortunate possibilities will continue to exist. These are some of the dangers inherent in greatness. Anyone of these can lead to disaster. As such the talented need not always declare or publicise their

Publicity can lead to any of the above stated undesirable situations even though the great

person may have committed no fault.

greatness.

The way out of these risks is that greatness be tempered with generosity. Such a combination will be extremely self satisfying and beneficial to the society. Excellence combined with social concern provides an ideal for others to follow. Such examples become a source of inspiration to those who may not be that fortunate in being endowed with natural gifts leading to exceptional excellence.

It is not that only the rick or the learned can be great men. Cleverness and great capacities are also not an essential or basic requirement for achievement of greatness. Everyone of us can be gentle in behavior. If a person is pure in heart and brimming with generosity occasions for practicing charity keep on arising in everyday life.

It is possible to be of service to others even of one has only time as a resource and is willing to put in voluntary work. Through benevolence a model can be put before others that existence is possible even within social rule and discipline. Others may or occasionally may not respond. Even ex-parte good behavior has its influence in society. While it gives happiness to the one practicing it, others do get influenced by it to varying degrees.

Ambitions are like a leaping horse. They must be bridled. The urge to be useful to the society is the control that must accompany the power of personal ambition. Anyone can be great. All that is necessary is to realize the difference between great and being rich or wealthy. It is a folly that people run in a wild goose chase looking for status while greatness lies well within everyone’s reach.

Women, the need for Independence

So much of God’s creation is bi-sexual the male and the female. Both sexes work together for existence. Each one has a role from making nests to protect and feed the young ones. No partner hesitates in doing its part towards raising the family responsibilities.

Man is higher on the evolution ladder. In his case such co-operation should be yet more. Natural attraction for each other brings men and women together. The underlying objective of such attraction is that the two will there-after work together and be complementary to each other. Women are embodiment of all that is soft in human nature. Man symbolizes strength and courage. The two together complete human personality. If that is so, there is the need that both partners distribute the responsibilities among themselves and then each on discharge his or her assignments with sincerity. If the two move in co-operation like the wheels of a chariot, life’s journey can be a pleasure in itself. Nature must have created men and women, the male and the female among species with such co- operation in mind.

As long as this balance was maintained in the society, everything worked well. Both partners were happy. Social responsibilities were discharged in an efficient manner. The trouble started since the time man was overtaken by his sensuality and accepted sex not as means to procreation but something to be enjoyed and trifled with. The male thought of exploiting the softness in women. The softness, with which women had been endowed by nature to be able to nourish the newborns, was treated as her weakness and women came to be regarded as something to be enjoyed. A social order was gradually established in which women were to lead a subservient existence, a source for sex gratification and in return for which she could expect maintenance. She was not be ambitious and not to claim equality. It was argued that nature had created her for reproduction and she should be content with the performance of that function.

The social order based on this hypothesis was in course of time stratified. Women were reduced from the status of partners to something that belonged to men. ‘Purdah’ the veil was put on her face. Restrictions were placed on her movements. A woman who could not produce children was cursed. “Sati” and practices like forsaking the widows were introduced. The males were thus relieved of the responsibility of maintaining the widow and at the same time shoe could not claim share in the property of the deceased husband. Many other measures completely destroyed her self-confidence as a God’s creation in her own right.

She was tempted to stick to activities that made her look attractive to men. She was withdrawn from hard work so that she remained soft and beautiful. Resources were put at her disposal for decoration of body. She started enjoying looking like a doll, all set for the pleasure of her husband.

Once entrapped in these, women became totally dependent on man. Traditions and conventions put her at a place in the male dominated society where she had no business or scope to differ or disagree

with the role assigned to her. The situation was very favorable to the male. He had someone to work for him day and night for just minimum sustenance cost. Women had no choice since by the time they were young, there were children to be looked after. She was in position to maintain the children through her own efforts. Thus started a way of life that is continuing up to date. Like a domestic animal, women lead an existence of dependence on men for their needs with no option to have desires or discretions of her own. She cannot even talk of self reliance. She is just entitled to be maintained and for that too she must work day and night. Self respect or individuality are words alien to her position. The dependent has no self respect. What business she had to talk about affection as long as she was being maintained to live.

There are significant differences in the status of men and women in developing and developed societies. But there are hardly any basic differences in their status in the family or even the society at large. In developing societies, the subjugation of women is total. In developed societies, she has the freedom to dress, decorate and look sexy. She has been given the freedom to show her body in manner that would tempt men. This permissiveness has created a situation in which modesty and feminity have just become dictionary words. This is not progress. It is just subordination of a different kind. In both societies developer or developing, the women have a place that is to be pitied.

Pushing women to such a state has benefited none. Women have lost their freedom but man too has not gained. Deprived of social rights, the women today is no longer the partner, God had created for men. She is a stone in the neck, a total liability that man must carry all his life. The tragedy of the situation becomes obvious when the husband dies leaving behind children to be raised. The family savings are spent during illness of the male supporter. The widow is no more wanted in her in-laws house or at her parents’ house. Children are treated like orphans by everyone. They live through deprivation and humiliations and develop into abnormal personalities. The mother’s agony has no limits. She lives because children have to be brought up. The story is common to all villages all localities. The situation is a logical outcome of the social set up that did not allow women to be grown up as an individual self reliant identity. If she had been allowed to develop like men, she could have looked after the welfare of her children as independently as in the presence of a husband.

It is social paralysis of the worst kind, for half the population has been incapacitated and the other half is required to carry its burden. In such a situation neither the healthy component can be happy nor the one that can only carry the drag. This is the wise man’s folly that out of sheer male ego he created a situation in which he stands deprived of much help and assistance in his way to progress that nature had originally created for him. As a matter of fact women are not inferior in intelligence, skills or other capabilities. Maternity is often forced on her and then she is branded weak because of this physical state. This burden can be regulated. With smaller families, so many couples lead a richer and complete life. If both the wheels are equally strong, the chariot can go much farther and even at higher speed. Both can have individual achievements and also a family where maternity is not a burden forced by the husband but a well thought decision by both partners.

Given an opportunity, women have established their excellence at par with men in many areas. Girls have been showing better academic performances in relation to boys in so many boards and colleges. Education, medicine, fine arts are all areas where they have competed and excelled. Even in industry they have made their mark. There is nothing backward or weak about women inherently. The handicaps are forced on them. If the degree of freedom is same for boys and girls, maybe the girls would achieve better for they are not so easily tempted by distractions. In all species, there is distinction between the male and the female but none of the two is made dependent or incapable of an independent existence. Both have their characteristics and exclusive qualities. When they join, one and one make eleven. It is not possible to quantify how much we have lost by keeping our women at a dependent pedestal but one thing is certain man has been a loser in the bargain. He has to carry the burden of someone who was created to share his burden. The intense sensuality that forced him to push women to a servile position has deprived him even of the sex pleasure. A forced sex is molestation and not natural in which both partners share an ecstasy. Pleasure lies in partnership and partnership demands concern for each other’s progress. Good will and affection are possible only in an atmosphere of free interaction.

The women symbolizes Goddess Laxmi but only where she has been nourished with respect and equality. The disharmony between male-female roles has continued for too long. Mankind has suffered immensely on this account. The time has come when dis-balance should be remedied and a new social order established. The anomaly was started by the male. The rectification also has to come on his initiative. The males in all societies should provide avenues and encouragement for self reliance and independent status to women in their area of influence. Side by side, efforts should be made to ensure that women grow with self respect, capable of holding responsibilities and playing their role as equal partners in human progress.

The Agonising Walls of divisions and discriminations

The world is inhabited by people of different races. Their physical features are distinctive depending on the area of their residence. Yet all of them basically belong to one family, the family of man. Elephants, horses, donkeys, bullocks, pigeons, peacocks, ducks, cranes are known not by individual groups within the species but bracketed together as one. A snake, scorpion or ant many belong to any subgroup but each one of the subgroup constitutes the same biological classification. In the same way, man is one of the species. Whatever the place of residence, language spoken or colour of the skill, he will still be regarded as man. All men have similar biological features. Skin colours may be different but that would be only a difference within the species.

All species mate with their own species only. If two different species are crossed, the chances are that they will not match and they will be no procreation. If men from different regions had belonged to different species, international marriages would have failed to produce any progeny. But no such thing happens in inter-religious, inter-caste or inter-racial marriages. This alone is proof enough that the Creator had no differences in mind when he created men with varying physical characteristics in different parts of the world.

Geographical regions, climate and heredity make variations in the shape of the nose or the colour of the skin. It could be white, black or yellow. But none of them can be classed out. And yet mankind has created divisions based on country of origin, region, language or even religious beliefs. Within the country the distinctions may take the form of a Punjabi or a Bengali depending upon the spoken language. On the international place, the distinctions take the form of Chinese, Japanese etc. depending on the country of origin. But all these are only man made classifications.

India has a peculiar division within its population based on caste. It had its origin in the vedic days when there was a social division of labour. Whatever occupation one followed determined the caste to which he was supposed to belong. There was freedom to choose occupations and people could, if competent, freely move from one occupation to other and then from one caste to other. The castes symbolized professions. Classification by occupation exists even in developed societies. The farmers have their own unions and the teachers are a different class. If the farmer switches over to teaching, he would also be changing his class. On retirement the teacher may take to business. This his class would change once again. But even with all these changes, he will continue to belong to the same biological species the man. The change from one occupational class to other will make no difference to family ties. A person may change his occupation and class any number of times but there will be continuity so far human relationships are concerned.

This was so apparent in the beginning the unity of man as a species irrespective of the colour of the skin, physical features or spoken language. But later came the complications in human society. In India, castes got stratified and branded with heredity irrespective of what one did by occupation. May be even this could have worked but the division did not stop at this stage. Within the castes came the

sub-castes and then even smaller groups that fragmented the society into groups, some considered superior while the others regarded inferior.

The classification based on occupation, was understandable. But this new groupism that emerged on the basis of heredity had no rationality behind it. The labeling of some groups as higher and the others lower made matters worse. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras were the original Vedic classifications based on occupation. But now with the passage of time, this stratification has led to further sub-divisions. For example, some groups among the Brahmins started considering themselves superior to others, who though Brahmins, belonged to some other artificially created sect. The superior and inferior regarded sects did not inter-marry or even dine together on special occasions. The marriage party mostly consisted of people from the same sect. Social interaction was restricted to a small group.

This narrow divisiveness has even entered into business and political circles. Voting is resorted to on community considerations. The ability and the competence of the candidate for election remains no consideration. This disease of divisiveness into very narrow groups has entered even the castes considered as relatively inferior. They also restrict dining together and marriages among their very narrow group or sect. The ‘savarnas’ and those considered untouchables by them, both are moving on similar lines. The untouchables have a grievance against the high caste or the ‘savarnas’ but within their own group they practice similar prejudices. That is something astounding.

This divisiveness and discrimination has caused great damage to our society. We were already plagued with groups and communities based on language, religion and provinciality and to this has been added the caste and the ‘savarna’ and ‘untouchable’ factor. It is the tragedy of the leper getting scabies. His plight has become worse. We remain Indian just for the name sake. The emotional divisiveness amongst us is destroying whatever strength we had as a nation. Like the orange, only a thin skin binds us together. Inside there are slices and within each slice hundreds of smaller bits, each bit crying and craving for a separate identity. The situation is pathetic. Casteism is only adding fuel to the fire of divisiveness. Fundamentalism and narrow loyalties are dividing the country into very small sects. The strength that we had, out of sheer size is getting frittered by factors that threaten our integrated identity.

It is becoming customary to ignore and be indifferent to those with whom we are not communally aligned. This narrow minded ness has very far reaching consequences. In business and job selection, each person tries to promote candidates from his own community. This is a chain reaction. Others react and the gulf keeps widening. This mentally subsequently leads to social conflicts often erupting in violence. Justice and fairplay get a good-bye. Caste and communal fundamentalism overtakes all actions and all this has a parasitic growth in the society. Matters do not rest here. The next target of the fundamentalists and the intolerant groups or communities is political power through their own caste voters. Family welfare considerations are set aside. The emphasis shifts to increasing the number of a particular community so that it has more voters in course of time and a greater share of political power when voting takes place on caste or community lines.

More voters would lead to more representatives and these, when elected on caste and communal considerations, could be expected to be partial to their own group in the distribution of favours. If a particular caste or community succeeds in this strategy in one region, the other community would react similarly elsewhere. It will be an eye for eye leading to a free for all in which there will be still more divisions in the society.

The power of unity is something that everyone accepts. Unity is strength is taught through stores at elementary levels in all languages. The common examples are the sticks in a broom, the bundle of sticks that no individual could break, or the strength of cloth woven out of thin yearns etc. The world has before it the example of a small yet united Israel, a country no one can dare take liberties with. Through unity among ranks, even small nations can achieve much. But when there is disunity, all energy and resources are frittered away in mutual bickerings and group fights. There are mutual jealousies, attacks and counter attacks, all leading to steep deterioration in the strength of the society and its ultimate downfall.

In our country caste is a prime factor in matrimony. Marriages are restricted to boys and girls within the same community. Then there are subcastes and Gotra considerations. Thus the field of choice is very very restricted. Suitable matches are not always available within small groups. The choice being restricted, the eligible ones command a premium in the matrimonial market. Even unsuitable matches have to be accepted. If the field of choice were large, there would have been no need for large scale dowries to the few in the community who may be suitably placed. Suitable matches could be found even in the neighbourhood. Everything about such boys and girls would have been known to each other and no third party enquiries about the antecedents or the real status would have been necessary. But in the present scenario, the search extends to far flung area and persons about whom not much is known except that they belong to the same community. This search is expensive and often many facts do not come to light till after the marriage has actually been performed. There after it is socially an irreversible process and the damage is immense.

Marriages based on caste or sub-caste considerations are becoming a very difficult and tiresome also expensive proposition. If caste considerations could be avoided much of the prevalent dowry system would die a natural death. Inter caste marriages would also lead to a better appreciation of the wide variety of culture that we have in this vast country. National as well as emotional integration would come so naturally.

In our country backwardness has also got associated with certain caste divisions. Not only individuals who are poor, ignorant and conservative, the whole community follows the same age old and conservative practices that other communities have long discarded. Even the educated among the backward classes are compelled to behave the way majority of the illiterate in the community do.

The scheduled and the backward classes and tribes continue with practices that are obsolete and symbolize backwardness. If they had opportunities for social inter action with groups or communities

that are relatively more progressive or educated, the division between backward and progressive would have gradually diminished. The scope to move ahead and progress would have been open to all depending on merits. Caste divisions have side-lined a vast proportion of our population in our march to prosperity. They continue to feel inferior and out of the main stream. That is the limit of social injustice. The constitution of India does not accept social discrimination against any castes and tribe. Political measures have been taken for the upliftment of the backward and their integration in the mainstream. But state action alone in not enough. What is needed is a change in social attitudes. Some of the prevalent prejudices will have to be condemned and discarded. Anything that promotes a feeling that some communities are higher while others are lower will have to be shunned and banned.

It is a folly of the wise that they created such divisions and discriminations in human society. These divisions have come in the way of progress of large sectors of human population. This is the most appropriate time to remedy the situation. This folly on the part of Hindus has driven so many members of this community to other folds where probably they feel more accepted. If the situation does not change, matters will deteriorate further. As social discriminations increase, more and more people will out out of Hindu religion. And who would be responsible for the consequences – ‘the wise through their folly’.

Fatalism and Astrology

Action and its reward are interdependent. The worker works for the day and gets his wages. Banks pay interest at the end of the deposit period. Businessmen make profits. The farmer reaps the crop at the end of agricultural operations. Students study and become scholars or attain degrees and qualifications. Some others exercise regularly and become wrestlers. The same is true for artists who attain perfection through long periods of practice. Action leads to its reward. All this is too obvious. If we take the inedible, we will get deceased. On the other hand of we lead a healthy and disciplined life, we live happily for a long period. If we are gentle and polite in our behavior, people like to meet us and we acquire popularity. On the other hand where people are curt, they are criticized and have more enemies than friends. Thus actions have their own reactions. The reaction may appear immediately or after some time but every action does have reaction. Every effort gets a reward.

How we act today is going to determine what shall be our fate tomorrow. What is milk today will turn into curd the day after. Only the shape would change. We cannot have curd unless there was milk earlier. Similarly, it is our good and bad deeds today that change into good or bad fortune after some time. This is the universally accepted law of action and reaction. Sometimes the reaction does not occur simultaneously with the action. There is a time gap. The impatient lose faith in the university of law if there is slight delay in the results of their efforts. This loss of faith is philosophic atheism. Religion and prayer aims at convincing ourselves that God is omnipotent, omnipresent and judicious. Nothing is hidden or unknown to him. He rewards each one according to efforts and actions. The rewards may be material and tangible in terms of spiritual progress. Where the actions are evil, the outcome would be grief and agony, maybe after a little longer time.

There is time gap between the sowing and the harvesting period. Similarly, trees bear fruits years after having been planted. They take time in maturing. Some trees like the banyan take a very long time for full maturation. But this long gestation does not discourage any farmer or planter. None leaves the job or faith just because the crop or the fruits are not immediately available. Some ignorant people do not understand this simple phenomenon and instead propound the myth of fatalism. They argue that it is some other agency or power that writes fates determining the outcome of human efforts. To them, this writing of faith is discretionary and not necessarily based on any logical principle. Such belief cuts at tile very root of the religious concept of God being just. If he decides as He pleases, there would be no relevance for actions performed by men or their scrutiny as desirable or undesirable.

If the theory of fatalism is accepted, the credit or discredit for all that man does should go to God. Who will do what? What shall be the consequence? If all these are to be determined only by God at his discretion, the responsibility for someone getting fame, pleasure or pain would be that of God alone. Man is reduced to a puppet. It is only the manipulator who gets praise for the performance of his puppets. The puppet is incapable of any performance. It moves the ways the strings are manipulated. Murders are committed by guns and swords. Yet the man wielding them is punished. The gun or the sword is incapable of acting on its own. If God is accepted as the only doer, he alone is answerable for

all that is happening around us in this world. No man can be called noble or ignoble irrespective of what he does. He does it because it is so destined by God. He can neither be praised nor blamed. If that is so no one is entitled to any reward or remuneration for effort.

The belief that God determines destiny has no basis. At best it could be argued that we carry our good and bad actions with us even after the physical body ceases to exist and this carryover also determines the result of our actions in a particular lifetime. In that case too, man remains the ultimate factor responsible for actions and their rewards or consequences. It is just similar to some plants bearing fruit early while others taking longer periods. But the principal factor remains man and his actions. His efforts bear fruit sooner or later. God and his discretion should not be interpolated in this process to put human efforts at a secondary position.

The belief in good and bad results following out of planets and their influence is still more illogical. The planets are far away from Earth and are non-living matter. Rahu and Ketu are not even planets. Similarly moon is only a satellite of Earth and no a planet as regarded by astrologers. There is no life at least on moon. These planets revolve within their orbits according to well known laws of physics. The moon does influence the oceans. Others have their own characteristics. There are many more systems like the solar system of which earth is one planet. Then there are millions of stars. There are constellations and so much more. How come that the planets, the moon, the dragons head and tail are continuously involved in targeting individual persons whose number is hundreds of crores and awarding them rewards and punishments as they please. And if this argument is extended, the millions of other system and stars would also be exercising their influence. And why only on us, even on the animals and millions of other creatures. Such an exercise is simply impossible for any living being, leave aside the dead and non-living planets. On the top is the condition that the influence continues for periods that may extend to many years. That makes the whole proposition so stupid that one can only pity the ignorance of the believers in astrological predictions. Millions of children must have been born in the same Rashi or zodiac sign.

There are only twelve zodiac signs. As such, children born all over the world could have just one of the twelve patterns of fate and future. But this never happens. The tribals have a lifestyle so different those living in developed societies. Children of the poor live so differently from children born in the rich families. There is obviously no logic in life events being determined by time of birth for if that were true everyone born under the same sign should become similarly famous, criminal, rich or poor.

And these planets that are supposed to determine all our fate can be pleased through offerings and worships when they would amend their evil influence. This is corruption of the worst order. If that is how gods could be influenced to grant favours how could we condemn bribery on the part of lesser mortals. If the gods and planets are so amenable to offerings and flattery, they are as low as men who resort to bribery or dishonesty in their every day conduct. The rich would always be at advantage in such a scheme of things being in a position to make offerings. The poor will always suffer at the hands of “Shani” (Saturn). The planets and the gods who act in such manner cannot be regarded as heavenly or judicious. That would be degrading and demeaning also for those who insist on putting them at a pedestal much higher than that occupied by men. If the planets change their scheme of things

according to offerings received from the affected persons, there is nothing to be appreciated or worshiped about them. It is disgraceful for them and more so for those who tempt the ignorant and unfortunate into believing in the power of the stars.

As a matter of fact nothing like that exists. The planets must be too busy in their own functions to be free to work their wrath and pleasure on crores of mortals on this earth. There was a time when man was ignorant about the sun or other planets and starts in the sky. He could not understand their movements. So he put them at par with other powerful natural phenomenon that affected him but about whom he knew nothing. Indra, Varun and Sun were similarly given the status of gods for they influenced human life on Earth and could not be controlled by men. So they were the super-powers of that period, raised to the pedestal of gods. But now that man has been to moon, it is foolish to class it as a super power influencing our destinies and simultaneously being amenable to offerings and flattery. The same applies to other stars and planets. Astronomy has enabled us to know all about their movements. Analysis of rays and radiations coming from various planets give information about their structure. They are no longer the gods they were many million years ago when lived in caves.

It is possible that forces like gravitation of mutual attraction influence planets individually. But such influence could only be of a physical nature like moon affecting tides. The influence would be the same for everyone residing within the affected region. It just cannot be selective. The faith that some people are the planets favourites while others are out of favour is not only ridiculous but an insult to human intelligence. Some boys or girls are declared ‘Mangli’ since Mars finds a specific place in their horoscopes. The belief is that the girl born under such circumstances is destined to be a widow and the boy a widower. So the remedy suggested is that the ‘Mangli’ boy be married only to the ‘Mangli’ girl. Now ‘Mangal’ is synonymous with welfare. How can ‘Mangal’ which is responsible for welfare lead to the death of the husband or the wife making the other partner widow or widower. There can be no rational explanation for such belief. Even the deadliest creatures attack only when their survival is threatened. The snake or the tiger would not attack except in self defence. The ‘Manglik’ are in no position to threaten the existence of Mars. So why should Mars be out to destroy their happiness unless they agree to an arrangement that both the cursed shall be matrimonial partners. The entire assumptions and beliefs are devoid of any sense.

It takes

years before two ‘Mangliks’, in the same community and of marriageable ages are spotted and then

Many a good boys and girls get into this manglik trap and are deprived of suitable matches.

other considerations that really matter in matrimonial harmony are pushed to the background.

Why

and how would Mars come all the way to earth to disturb the married life of some individuals.

It is

beyond logic and beyond comprehension for any person even of modest intelligence. perpetuated.

It is just a myth

As it is, dowry is making matrimony a very difficult job. Matching horoscopes only add to the worries of match making. The great seer Muni Vashisht matched the horoscopes of Lord Ram and Sita. And yet they never had matrimonial bliss for greater part of their life.

Crores of people following religions other than Hinduism do not bother about horoscopes. There is no evidence that all of them suffer or enjoy life more than us who spend so much time and money in matching horoscopes. Even among the Hindus, so many people are discarding match making through horoscope. They suffer no worse. As a matter of fact it is among that this practice is more prevalent and they suffer althrough their life in any case. Match making through horoscopes rarely diminishes their miseries. It is only when the wise act foolish that complications arise in what is otherwise a straight union of two persons.

Divisions and Discriminations would not stay for long

There are as many as two thousand religious faiths. Each one has its own philosophy. While the basic philosophy of all religions has much in common, each religion also has some exclusive beliefs. How did these exclusive beliefs come into existence? There is only one possible answer. God said so or the messengers interpreted like that. How to counteract such source? Faith is faith. Reasoning has no place in matters of faith. How then to refute what is ascribed to God or his messenger?

All religions accept one God as the supreme creator of the entire universe. Religions do not preach more than one superior authority as responsible for all creation. There are smaller gods but they are not equated with the supreme Creator. Smaller gods have limited roles and powers. These smaller gods are not the Omnipotent and Omnipresent Creator of this universe. In some religions, devil is projected as the rival to God. His assigned function is to tempt men into evil actions. But he is different from God. There are beliefs concerning the creation of the universe, modes of worship, life after death, heaven and hell etc. These beliefs are accepted faithfully by the devotees. The devouts treat these beliefs as ordained by God. It is their religious duty to abide by these beliefs. Faith leaves no scope for scrutinizing these beliefs on the basis of their present utility or relevance. As such, they cannot be put to test of reason or logic. How to raise questions regarding the background against which these beliefs were once formed. Anyone questioning them is branded as atheist, the non-believer, ‘nastik’ or ‘kafir’ and then there is the constant fear of hell for those mortals who dare question these religious beliefs. The astounding part of this situation is that each religion insists that its beliefs are hundred percent correct. This one argument alone makes beliefs in other religions that are contrary, as wrong. All this keeps on going in a manner that hurts everyone else. This situation must have started ever since more than one faith came into existence. There were religious debates ‘Shasthtrartha’ and when logic failed to convince, the opponents were just branded atheists. Religious wars were raised by the fanatics against those whose beliefs differed.

These wars were frequent in medieval period. Even today these differences keep on bursting in the form of communal riots in many parts of the world. Reason is at a discount when out of 2000 religions, the beliefs in some are to be accepted and others rejected.

It is just not possible that the devouts submit their beliefs to the scrutiny of some individual or agency for analysis and acceptance and rejection and then agree to abide by the verdict of that individual or authority. Even the possibility of taking the acceptable preachings and beliefs from all religions and mingling them to form a new world religion seems remote-nay out of question. If both possibilities are ruled out, the third alternative is that devouts of all religions stick to their beliefs but refrain from forcing them on believers of others faith. The absolute truth may not prevail but there would at least be peace among mankind. To this end, it would be necessary to create situations as already exist in every family. Different members dress differently or have varying eating preferences. That is permissible within the same family. Diversity in some areas does not breed conflicts between members of the family. It is no use raisin controversies to which there can be no solutions since they are based on

totally irreconcilable premises. best avoided.

It will be waste of time and energy.

Wisdom demands that these be

Scrutiny or analysis can be meaningful if one is mentally prepared to accept results and findings. This seems impossible in present situation. If each one’s belief is god ordained, how can it be modified or rejected by man. The beliefs in other religions are the creation of some other God. One can subscribe only to the beliefs propounded by his God. If all Gods have to be reconciled how to select and reject the beliefs that may be contradictory. This problem has continued since millions of years and may even continue in future till the universally acceptable preachings of all religions are woven together to form a college or all contradicting beliefs are shorn off leaving only that which is universally acceptable.

With freedom of expression becoming a feature common to most societies, even such integration seems impossible or at least impractical for the time being.

The only available alternative then is that the faithful be allowed to stick to their own beliefs without trying to force their beliefs on people following a different religion. At best there could be the liberty to preach the good things about one’s religion to others who may agree to listen to them. A working peace is possible but there could be no freedom to contradict or accuse. If the search for universal truth continues, there is hope that at some time in the future, people will give precedence to logic and reason over blind faith and beliefs.

It would be much better if religion is viewed against the background of good conduct, duty, ideals and ethics. If the focus is shifted to these essentials of religion there is hope that some universal religion could be evolved in course of time. The universal religion thus evolved would highlight politeness of behavior, generosity, freedom from orthodoxy and such ideals as form the basis of all world religions. All rules of conduct that promote love and co-operation along human beings could be incorporated in the universal religion. There number could be enlarged by experience and there may be periodical deletions where they are found to be obsolete in the changed circumstance. From the view point of common sense, the rules of such a religion could be classified under the groups far-sighted wisdom, integrity, responsibility and courage. When and where necessary, these may be amended or explained to become acceptable to all.

Religion has attached to it a number of worship practices, customs and conventions. These details vary from time to time and often from place to place even within the same religion. The changes are necessitated by changes in state of development. Time was when dressing was confined to cover the essentials of procreation and some covering when the weather was cold outside. Now there are large variety of dresses. Oil lamps have now been replaced by electrical lamps. Many more electrical gadgets are used in every home. These changes have also brought about changes in human thoughts. The world has shrunk and the ideas in one corner of the world soon get transmitted all over. Such diffusion of ideas makes critical analysis possible. As a consequence, old values and beliefs change even without persuasion or use of force. Sati, Child marriage, social untouchability have now remained confined only to a very small region or group of people. People are gradually realizing the futility of wasteful expenditure on marriages. Community lunches at the death of persons, ‘purdah’ (veil) and beggary too

are being gradually eliminated. Slave trade is no longer practiced. Monarchies are gradually breaking and so are dictatorships. These changes have been adopted because people all over the world have, after due analysis, found them useful and worthwhile.

These changes will continue. People will keep on modifying their behavior depending on what is the need of the time. As man becomes more and more critical, the practices that become useless will get discarded. New practices and ideas will be accepted in their place keeping in view relative convenience. This change in process is eternal. We should keep ourselves prepared for changes. It is only through adaptation to changes that we have reached the present stage of progress. In future too, we shall be exploring new frontiers of knowledge through changes and adaptation to changes. That will take us farther in our search for the Absolute.

As man progresses through various stages of development, his personality too has acquired multiple dimensions. Nothing can retard this onward march. The earth revolves round the sun and there are so many other systems like the solar system. We have no idea of the relative position of earth amidst millions of systems, stars and galaxies. All we know is that things are moving and changing. Chemical reactions inside the sun are constantly changing the face of our Earth and the sun is getting changed too. The circumstances and the mental thought process among men are also changing constantly. There is nothing to worry about the divergence in beliefs and thought processes that are current these days. Mankind has to be patient and avoid confrontation. Things will work out for themselves. Narrow minded ness, discriminations and social divisions are destined to disappear with the passage of time. As the means of transport and communication become faster, human thoughts will travel faster too. Ignorance will be replaced by knowledge and prejudices will in turn get replaced by rational thoughts. Gradually as man becomes more and more informed, he will become more and more enlightened. That will lead to unity among mankind. The road now seems clear.

This much, the wise must understand

If the universe could be seen through the eyes of Science, there will be heat, light and sound waves travelling all over, collision of atoms and molecules raging storms, attraction and repulsion between matter, present almost a magic scene. Yet this is what the constantly changing world is which otherwise appears static to the naked eye. Things around us seem as they were some time ago but the fact is that much has changed and keeps on changing continuously. Human body, living or dead has constantly growing and decaying cells. The whole process is astounding. What appears stationary is in fact in perpetual motion relating to some thing else. We being part of it cannot comprehend the changes in all cases.

If this change and mobility is linked to life, we are much nearer towards the truth. The fertilized ovum gross into a shape and comes to the world as new born. Soon the new born changes and becomes an adult. The process of maturing continues and then starts decay, another format of change. The visible becomes invisible and new births replace the seemingly dead. The cycle continues unabated, we are part of this cycle of change. That which is past never returns. The journey from life to death carries on unchecked. The astounding thing is that amidst such fast changing situations, man considers himself fixed and static. He concerns himself with just the present, unmindful of what is in store in future. This illusion of things around him being fixed in the present breaks but by that time it is too late to repent.

The wise frequently indulge in the folly of accepting the present as fixed and eternal. Circumstances change with time. The grown-ups have tendencies different from those of children. Old age destroys so many characteristics of youth. Inspite of these obvious changes, man seems to be taking no notice of the changes taking place all around him. He keeps averse to thinking and acting the way he should with the future in mind. The present should be balanced with future. Children will grow and so will their needs. So, wise parents must regulate their present expenditure in a manner that there are savings available in future when the children’s demands would be much more. Shelters need to be looked well before the onset of rains. Winter clothing is provided well before the cold season sets in. Unfortunately, man does not always think of the preparations he must make for the future. Even the simple farmer does not commit such a mistake. He keeps provision for manure and irrigation just as the crop is sown. He knows these will be needed in future. If he does not do that, even his present investments would go waste.

Human life is a boon in itself. Man is God’s unique and superior creation. His superiority lies in being responsible for sustaining and beautifying all other creations on the earth. He is to move onwards, continuously seeking perfection. It is this fore-thought and concern for future that can transform the earth into a living paradise.

But all this is possible only if the present is organized with the future in mind. This in turn demands that a world order based on perpetually changing scenario is conceived and executed with skill. The ‘Vedas’ conceived of the ‘four ashrams’ (phases of human existence). Each one was supposed to be a turning point constantly reminding man of his changing responsibilities.

Childhood is the age for physical exercise so that the body grows well to be able to shoulder the responsibilities of youth. If the childhood is well organized, youth is very well prepared for. In the next stage, the one who organizes youth in a manner leaving enough sustenance for the advancing age can be considered wise. Youth is also the time for restraint, self development and intellectual growth.

‘Vanprastha’, or the post youth period is ideal for repaying the society debts, of social service and looking after the weak and the infirm. By this time the responsibility of putting children on their feet is over and the time thus available should be devoted to the social causes. ‘Sanyas’ or withdrawal is the last stage. Considering life expectancy these days, this ‘varna’ should be combined with ‘vanprastha’. The early period should be devoted to physical and the last to spiritual causes. The division is very logical keeping in view the needs of the individual as well as the society. But this does not always work. People rarely free themselves from the responsibilities of their family life. All the time is spent on acquiring things of short term value. Entire life is spent on self gains. Personal greed is too big to be satisfied even if one devotes the entire life to this, unmindful of his social responsibilities or the need for spiritual development. This happens when the realities of life are ignored.

The present lies in between the past and the future. The Present is like lightening, giving light amidst darkness but only for a while. Laziness and urge for sensuous pleasures should be avoided in this period. Efforts should be directed towards building a radiant future.

One should always keep in mind the pre-birth and the post-death stages. At the time of conception, man is a single cell creature. From that he evolves into a full grown human child capable of performing the most complex functions. So many children die even before they are young. No one knows what is in store in future. Time moves on and waits for none. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing today. Maybe tomorrow one would be paralysed or physically incapacitated in some degree or manner. If that happens, it would be impossible to do or achieve anything in that state of health. Maybe, one may have to live a dependent life. These possibilities should not be ignored. As such, while fit we must not relax in our efforts to make our future bright and purposeful. We have to be vigilant to ensure that a situation does not arise where nothing is achieved.

Self interest need not lead to social damage. Basic needs are few. The body can be maintained well even with a modest standard of living. Discipline can be self imposed. If that is done, there would be both time and resources for service to others. This service will in turn provide contentment, social prestige, co-operation and fame. Service to others ensures a happy life and a happier life even after death. Service to self limits service to others. Physical labour and time, if available, are enough for social service. Co-operation, generosity, politeness and the urge to serve can be combined to make human nature divine. It is possible to combine idealism with everyday life. And if that is done, self survival and service to others could be amalgamated.

One need not get a commemorative pillar erected to be famous. It is also possible that we make our life a source of inspiration. One can help society by being a model of good conduct so that at least some people get inspired by that. Good conduct breeds further good conduct. If this chain reaction is started and continued, both self and society stand to gain.

Gentle behavior percolates to the inner depth of human heart. Divinity in man cannot have a dark future. It will never descend to ignoble depths. Human life is well spent only in such pursuit. One need not do great penances for becoming noble. Everyone can lead a gentle and noble life. And that would be enough.

The greatest mistake that one could commit in his life is to forget the existence of soul-something beyond the physical body. If this distinction is kept in mind, one would not spend all energies in sensuous gratifications. Body after all is transient. So much in life is just entertaining and this must not be allowed to overshadow the serious business of life. The future should be kept in mind and the present should not be squandered ignoring the realities of human existence.

Only service to others is of eternal worth and importance. That is the one thing worth doing. He who does leads a worth-while life. Successfully, he crosses the ocean of life carrying with him many more who needed help.