[Advaita-l] janmana jaayate shUdraH

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Feb 17 00:03:07 CST 2005

On Wed, 16 Feb 2005, Sanjay Srivastava wrote:

> "There is no place on planet earth where the poor are equal to the rich.
> Democracy or otherwise."
> There is no place on planet earth where there is no injustice. That does not
> make pursuit of justice undesirable or even irrelevant.

Oh no I'm not arguing against justice.  What I'm saying is that a just
society is not necessarily a 100% egalitarian society.  One of the
paradoxes of our times is that for instance communism with its beautiful
dream of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his
needs" has landed on the rubbish heap of history whereas capitalism which
is manifestly selfish has won the day.  Visitors from India are shocked
when they come to New York and see homeless people sleeping on a railway
platform.  How can this be in the land of Bill Gates?  But these are
extremes.  For the vast majority in the middle though America does provide
a just society.  Communism and Fascism (its mirror image) on the other
hand are responsible for the deaths of over 100,000,000 people in the 20th

> "The new order of reality can jump in a lake. I adjust the order of reality
> to fit my own needs as all free men do."
> In a previous post it was argued that social reality comes earlier than
> historical ideals.

No it was saying or atleast trying to convey the point that ideology is
constructed on the basis of social actions.  The actions come first then
the justifications for them.  However...

> The social reality of the caste system is that today it
> is not what it used to be a hundred years ago. There are changes within the
> hindu society and outside that are impacting it and giving rise to changes
> in caste and varna system. They are not going to take a jump in a lake. They
> are here to stay.

...why should the theory mentioned above necessarily require that
ideology be based on _all_ social actions?  The process of formation of an
ideology also requires a critical look social actions (in other words

My father in his youth had the traditional outlook on life of a Gujarati
Brahmana.  As a young man he broke away from that.  By the time I was born
and growing up he had a totally lackadaisical attitude towards religious
obligations.  If my brother or I ate meat he didn't care (I didn't
really eat such things on a regular basis but everyone around me was
doing it so why not?  In fact I only had janoi at all because my mother
insisted on it.  Was this because my father hated Dharma?  No.  He still
liked e.g. bhajans as an art form.  He would gladly send money to my
grandparents so they could go on yatras etc.  He just felt that religion
of all sorts was on its way out and would soon be completely replaced by
"scientific socialism."  And  he wasn't alone, nearly _all_ intellectual
people thought that.  Well looking at the world today, do you think he was
right?  Be very careful about what views you think are "here to stay"

(To my fathers credit, when he saw I was serious about my interest in
Dharma, instead of opposing it he did everything he could to support my
endeavours.  Now in his old age he too has returned somewhat to the path
of our ancestors.)

Now were the ideas of my fathers generation just a temporary hiccup in the
otherwise smooth flow of a Gujarati tradtion or did they represent
something that will require a change in its course?  I think the former
but to tell you the truth, it is something only possibly my grandchildren
will be able to definitively answer.

> Taking what one considers the cause of justice is never beyond ones duty.
> Our society is not insulated from what is happenning outside and is changing
> as a result .

Change is not the issue.  If I wanted to insulate myself from change I
would be reading this to you from palm leaves in a forest rather than on
the Internet.  Rather I want to look critically at which changes are good
and which are bad.  I believe in plural "new orders of reality" what I am
objecting to is "_The_ new order of reality"

Justice is also not the issue.  It is precisely because I believe everyone
is essentially like me, in that they want to advance spiritually, they
want to connect to their history and carry on their time-hallowed
traditions, and they possess the intelligence and ability to do so that I
think it would be better to deal with a small number of people I really
know and can give useful advice to rather than an abstraction like
"society" or "the masses."

> The choice is to either let these changes occur through
> default or to take a considered action. Mobilizing opinion through such
> debates and consensus is a part of the latter.


Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a boy! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/nilagriva/

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