“No one can teach us, because…” and “No one can make us learn, unless…” are two different statements, often used to convey the same meaning. The latter, however, reminds us about one of our important duties, that is, learning.
Over the years the human society has changed considerably, and the changes have been thoughtfully effected for the benefit of the man. However, it seems, we have failed to inform the man with sufficient clarity that each benefit has a cost associated with it.
Traditionally, we attached much importance to the teachers telling some privileged classes of men that they must, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the entire human race, find able teachers to know what must be known; but we paid little attention to how the big majority of those deprived of the benefit of right knowledge could grow intellectually and spiritually. We were not entirely wrong in thinking that the classes who lead and ruled the human race must think rightly and conduct dutifully for the mankind. But, we failed to fully anticipate and appreciate that physical and intellectual power can easily corrupt the human mind beyond redemption. Our ancestors very carefully and diligently defined and delivered the knowledge concerning ‘Rajdharma’ (duties of those who ruled) in a system of ‘Rajtantra’ when the kings thought and conducted for the welfare of the people.
Perhaps, it was the influence of the right knowledge circulated through various scriptures that the human societies adopted a system of ‘Prajatantra’ (democracy), a system when the people lead and rule themselves. The prevalent system of democracy, however, is not supported by any knowledge, percolated down to the smallest man, of ‘Prajadharma’ (duties of the people who rule themselves). The democratic man of today looks towards some rules and laws framed and enforced by those who ‘rule’ him, and in the absence thereof, acts like an anarchist having no support of some kind of a ‘rule of self’.
Our scriptures cannot provide any word by word or line by line solutions to deal with this situation when the people themselves have become the decision makers and implementer s of the decisions made; they (the scriptures) can only enlighten us about the essence of life and our duties in this world in accordance with our ‘human nature’ to cause no harm to the creation of the God. The scriptures gave freedom to the man to modify the operative parts of the scriptures according to space, time and circumstances.
Perhaps, it has come upon the man to learn how to define and detail the theory and practice of ‘Prajadharma’, without altering the essence of human life and his duties in the world towards himself and the others. We are faced with two new situations concerning our lives; the first is ‘democracy’ and the second is ‘science and technology’. There is also a third situation we have no experience with; it is selfishness and materialistic aspirations of many powerful ones in place of only a few. It is the quality of ‘human adaptability’ that has allowed us to remain apparently immune to ‘an unprecedented’ shock that we have experienced. But, the things are not normal about us and around us, that we must admit.
The big question is, “Do we have the inclination and time to deal with the problem we face today; and, are we ready to experiment with our routines and learn as to how we can improve upon the quality of our life?”
PROMOD KUMAR SHARMA
[The writer of this blog is also the author of “Mahatma A Scientist of the Intuitively Obvious” and “In Search of Our Wonderful Words”.]