Monday, April 13, 2015

What is dharma?

Saw it on Rahul Banerjee's walI

"Dharma is not merely a hope. Nor speculation. Nor rituals. Nothing which is inspired by anger, greed or fear.... It is the will to shape oneself, men and situations, by rising above weaknesses.No, that is not enough; Dharma for each one is, to weld the vision, the will and the deed - they are not three but one" - K.M Munshi in "Krishnavatara".

I am not into this stuff at all. Rahul Banerjee is one of those people who is erudite and spent most of his life working for the poor and claims that he is an anarchist, which version I am not sure. May be, he started wondering about this because of comments on his wall. 

There are several posts about Rahul Banerjee in this blog since 2007, when I got to know his book Recovering the lost tongue.
P.S. Rahul Banerjee responds on my wall "I am indeed an anarchist and so was Krishna if one goes by some of what he is supposed to have said in the Gita. I liked this particular quote because it firmly puts the onus of ethics on the individual leaving no room for making excuses and is in the same mould as the Buddha quote I had mentioned earlier."
I question him again "Rahulji, I am not sure about how much the individual is separate from the values and norms around. He already comes with some baggage. What are you saying is a bit like what the mainstream economists say "..the theory of action that comes with economists’ analytical style is hardly compatible with the basic premise of much of the human sciences, namely that social processes shape individual preferences (rather than the other way round). " May be you are talking at the next level when compatibility of values of different groups come in or when philosophers question the values."
More in the conversation ( I do not know how to connect to facebook pages). Here is one more comment from Rahul Banerjee:
"The institution of marriage and family is a very late development following on the neolithic revolution about 10000 years ago when it became necessary for men to identify their male progeny to whom they would pass on their private property. Before that in the anarchist phase men and women slept freely with each other within a small group or clan and there was no family and no identified children. Marriage and family thus institutionalised patriarchy which had come into existence 5000 years earlier. Initially as humans began to walk upright about 20000 years ago it resulted in the shortening of the pelvis and so childbirth became more difficult and also the head of the child had to be smaller as compared to that required by the intellectual development of humans. So the child after spending 9 months in the womb was born helpless and had to spend another year or so developing the head to the appropriate size. Since mortality rates were high, it became imperative for survival that women have babies regularly and tend to them and this evolutionary requirement pushed them into the domestic sphere and men became socially powerful and informal patriarchy was established. 
As for morality it is constructed by a combination of many factors environmental, economic, social and political and I doubt whether there can be any absolute morality."

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