Thoughts on economics and liberty

When I was a Hindu

Since age 12, I have had many questions re: Hinduism, the religion to which I was born. I had many vigorous discussions and debates with elders who failed to respond sensibly to my questions. The key reason was that they had simply no idea of the scientific method or critical thinking.

I also read extensively (and continue to do so) on all aspects of Hinduism (and other religions). That didn't resolve issues for me.

Somewhere down the road (I forget when), therefore, I stopped calling myself Hindu and became a humanist. I first wrote against the conception of organised religion in the Caravan magazine in May, 1982.

I don't know what I am today. Definitely not a Hindu, particularly given what I see being done in the name of Hinduism. I prefer to see myself just an ordinary human.

Anyway, sometime at age 20 (or 21 – I don't know), I wrote the following which shows I thought of myself at least in some way as Hindu, then. Read the entire scanned text if you have time (I have no time to type it out).

"As a Hindu, I affirm the grand belief in the self – the belief in one's own personal quest, that was engendered by the great originators of this religion. We were not given (nor expected to follow) a closed and dead religion. Hinduism is intrinsically the most vital of all religions – each man is left free to choose for himself the right path – without tying himself up with any myths and other stories of dead men."

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24 thoughts on “When I was a Hindu
  1. Harsh Vora

    Hi Sanjeev — First, let me say that the below explanation refers to some of the questions raised by you in your old writings. You can research on these facts if you are interested. Personally, my critical analysis makes me slightly inclined to believe what I have written below (and what Swami Dayananda proposed in Satyarth Prakash). I haven't concluded on my findings and my research continues. To explain in brief, I like Hinduism (a misnomer!) because it is a highly personal path. It allows tremendous space for critical thinking and experiments. Primarily, it focuses on 'experience' rather than 'beliefs'. So, here it goes:
    ————————————————————————————–
     
    I hope you are aware of the fact that the word 'Hindu' is a misnomer. This word is found in none of the Hindu texts. It was originated by the Persians. Anyway, since you have studied about Swami Dayananda, you might be aware of his huge contribution in reviving the original Hindu religion — the culture of the Aryas. According to Dayananda, "Hindu" people swayed away from their very roots — the Vedas, and this led to the current pollution we see in the religion. For example, the Vedas affirm that there is only one God. They affirm that he is formless (as opposed to having a form, like that of Krishna and Rama).
     
    According to Swami Dayananda, while it it true that Rama and Krishna existed (proofs galore!), their divinity is questionable. Their accounts appear only in Puranas which were compiled centuries later, as opposed to the Vedas which exist eternally. Rama and Krishna are, however, considered exemplary humans worthy of being emulated in terms of their strong adherence to dharma, or righteousness. Vedas encouraged righteousness as the ONLY dharma (as opposed to the rituals and other worships people do in this age). Vedas encourage peace, non-violence, toleration, justice, and the predominance of goodness. And because these so-called "Hindu" people deviated from the original Vedic injunctions, loopholes and gaps formed in their practices and they became vulnerable to invaders. Else, they were the strongest and the most developed civilization in years of the yore.
     
    It really doesn't matter whether we call ourselves a Hindu or not, if we try our best to uphold dharma (by fighting the evils of corruption and injustice), we are fine. I would rather call myself an 'Arya' rather than a 'Hindu'. As of now, I don't identify with any religion. I do, however, follow the Vedas as much as I practically can.
     
    If you want references or wish to dig deeper on Dayananda's views (which I am sure you must already have!), I suggest you visit http://www.agniveer.com
     

     
  2. Harsh Vora

    Oh, and to add, the Vedas are completely against the birth-based caste system. They are against holding women subordinate to men.

     
  3. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Harsh

    I agree with you that Hinduism is "a highly personal path. It allows tremendous space for critical thinking and experiments. Primarily, it focuses on 'experience' rather than 'beliefs'." As I wrote, "In fact Hinduism was not a religion at all, it was merely a deep and beautiful philosophy."

    That is why I still don't mind reading up on the vedanta, among other things (and listening to people like Swami Suddhananda).

    You write, "According to Dayananda, "Hindu" people swayed away from their very roots." True. That's why my father is an Arya Samaji (not a very fervent one, but he did write a book on Vedas). And this stuff about caste not being hereditary, too. I'm aware of it.

    However, that still doesn't help me. It is one thing for reformers to say something and quite another to have all kinds of fanaticism and casteism in society. India remains truly Old World, even though, as I show in DOF, its spark of genius helped kick-start the Western civilisation. 

    I prefer a holistic view of the world, and to me that is what the conception of equal freedom gives. If all these good things (freedom, self-respect, scientific attitude) were there in ancient Hinduism, then why not just call ourselves free? That's much simpler and more direct. It short-circuits all unnecessary need to prove this or that. 

    I have therefore no intention of calling myself Hindu. I belong to the 'bigger tent', of humanity. Of free men.

    Regards

    Sanjeev

     
  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Rozkiroti,

    With due regard, I’m unable to spend time reading up Bible stories (which, like the stories of most religions, I have already quite a good idea about). In addition I have critically evaluated the Bible in my writings (e.g. in DOF) (as I have critically evaluated other scriptures), and found some relatively minor faults with the Bible (e.g. re: acceptance of slavery in the Old Testament and a series of alleged miracles which violate the laws of nature) as well as with other scriptures – but many more issues with the leaders of Christianity (e.g. the Church) and leaders of other religions.

    So I stay away from organised religion. I agree with Vivekananda (and indeed that’s precisely the point Harsh was making re: Hinduism itself – that it no longer represents what it was supposed to be originally!): “The disciples of all prophets have always inextricably mixed up the ideas of the Master with the person, and at last killed the ideas for the person”.

    Similarly Bertrand Russell notes: “Churches may owe their origin to teachers with strong individual convictions, but these teachers have seldom had much influence upon the churches that they founded”.

    I think of religions as political organisations or multinational corporations without any accountability and I’m very wary of them. There is no transparency in their accounts, glad acceptance of black money, fraud during conversions, and so on.

    I am quite happy to read and imbibe whatever good I find anywhere (including in the Bible!). I therefore advocate critical thinking FIRST and foremost. Our mind was not “given” to us (metaphorically speaking) so we could be mindless sheep and believe things for which have no evidence except some heresay, but because we should think.

    While I do not involve myself in the affairs of any religion, I have, next to me as (I write this), copies of the Bible, Koran, Gita, Mahabharata, Buddha’s writings, Guru Nanak’s sayings, and a Tibetan buddhist book, plus a number of books on comparative religion. I keep an active interest in the original writings of all religions.

    So thanks for your suggestions, but I’ll pass. With best wishes.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  5. Umesh Tiwari

    Organized religion may have been relevant and useful as a matter of statecraft many centuries ago, but in current day and age, an organized religion is behind most social unrests, conflicts, wars, most of what is wrong in this world. Growing up in a Hindu household of simple, traditional village setting, traditions were less about fundamental adherence to certain strict rituals (even though those were very much part of everyday life) and more about "Dharma" or duty towards land, nature, society, elders etc. Inter-religious conflicts were never an issue at local levels and all generations lived alongside people who belonged to different faiths. I remember questioning and probing the reasons and origins of certain useless traditions, never got satisfactory responses and therefore treated those as being unimportant but not worthy of picking fights with those who strongly believed in such things as long as noone got hurt by following a certain ritual.
    At times I would engage in debates and analyses, of practices of rituals of the religion most familiar to me (my family's version of Hinduism) and that of some of my friends (including Muslims and Christians). However, I have come to realize two things that are common in all religions: Organized religion suffers from the same exact issue that any organization of humans with too much centralization of power exists, only it is more dangerous than political entities since there are no clear ways to challenge religious norms without upsetting unsuspecting followers who are simply trying to express their spiritualities in the only way they have learned to do so, by having a belief system that gives them a sense of comfort.
    The other, still a very positive contribution of a religion (I would like to think that to be true of most religions) is their less complex, easier to understand and relate to, ways of allowing people to experience a sense of calm and peacefulness that comes from meditation, prayer, songs etc, a sense of inner freedom that one feels by letting go of ego, constraints and everyday issues of life and trying to focus on something bigger than self, that is described differently by different religions/sects. I happen to think the later is a gift, if passed on with proper caution against fundamentalism and intolerence, could be a good thing. I know I enjoy reading and music of Samskrit hymns, of prayers and like the tradition/practices of Dharma that got passed on to me through my parents and I like to pass a version of that on to my kids. This is another way to help my children not take organized religion too seriously.
    My more than 2 cents:)

     
  6. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    I hope you have got now the time for speculation in preference to the material aspect. I would like to request you to read once again the comments by me on http://discovery.sabhlokcity.com/your-views/  where you will find revealed the secret of Hinduism in the form of "Ultimate principle" which is presented along with its scientific proofs. Simply if you remove your unscientific and uncritical response to the same you may find everything resolved or else the scientific and critical questions unlike the one you already posted there are expected. I hope you understand the intrinsic relation between the content of this post and the link suggested above. It may end all your doubts about Hinduism forever but only with critical and scientific approach ironically so dear to you. With your understanding of Hinduism your discovery of Freedom may remain incomplete without the concurrence of someone like me who claims to have understood the Hinduism and which is embodiment of the freedom in its true sense. Hope you get enough time to discuss the same and make you “KALYANSWARUP” with which you are synonymous in my view given the nature of your work.

     
  7. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    I would like to add the following in the above comment.
    Hinduism is more than a religion itself. It is purely as good a science as the rest. People with true scientific temperament will accept it first as a pure science and then may give it a nature of religion after removing the unscientific elements from it.

     
  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Ramesh

    I like your suggestion that “Hinduism is the embodiment of freedom in the true sense”. I’m afraid, though, that I need evidence for such a statement, not assertions. Please provide me precise scriptural quotations in this regard.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  9. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    1.     Can you tell which sort of liberty and freedom you fail to find in ‘Tat tvam asi’ a famous ‘mahavakya’ in Advaita? Since you have asked for scriptures I doubt if you have understood its implications. This scripture is abundantly available.
    2.     Are not my entire comments based on ‘Advaita, Dvaita and other such things’ [the scriptures you needed] as you browse over ‘the ultimate principle and my other comments on your blog? I have amply made it clear vide my comments dated 24.09.10 and 26.09.10 that it is the interpretations (by a Gnani) which guide the scriptures to the desired and scientific end. First Vedas, then Upnishadas, then dvaita and last Advaita (due to fall of dharma a contradiction is seen among these instead of their complementary nature). Don’t you know Hinduism states that Buddhism is a part of it? (Buddhism fails to recognize the same, thing is different.) Note a point- Hinduism doesn’t cite scriptural proofs for the same since there is no necessity as it is the Gnan (for details refer earlier comments) which is supreme and any scripture will always fall short to describe the same in its entirety (Vedas also say neti-neti). There is no truth which is beyond this Gnan. Now I declare, nay it has been eternal truth since the time immemorial that,  all the religions Islam, Christen, Sikh etc including the modern science are just a part of Hinduism not to talk of liberty, freedom etc. You may be tempted to ask scriptural proofs for the same again but better have a patience to grasp the implications of above comments. You know for the universe to come into being one truth (scientific principle/law) is sufficient which may imply innumerable sub laws as its subsequent events. Does it make any sense to ask for proofs of sub rules (freedom, liberty and so on) after having failed to understand the basic principle?
    3.     Do you still need the scriptures to pinpoint freedom, liberty in Hinduism? Or do you need to understand and grasp the scriptures (advaita, dvaita) which are put before since your younger days? What is that which you find against liberty, freedom in Hinduism? Is it its caste structure, limitations on women, rituals, superscriptions, king based politics, its isolation from the west, its 33 crore Gods or anything else? Note these things never originated with the universe itself(You can find it in advaita). It is the wise (Gnani-Vyasa) who arranges for the same (puranas, shruti, smruti, itihasas etc) for the welfare of Human by taking into their limitations and capacities which are bound to change as per Desh and Kal (dealt with earlier comments).
    4.     Do you know in religions/dharma there is little like evidences and more like assertions unlike the pure science? If the religions are different from the pure science it is this aspect which makes it so.
    5.     There cannot be anything like evasive/speculative answers in the above comments. It is the nature of the ‘Ultimate Truth’ which makes the Hinduism so inclusive and universal. The problem of Hinduism is not with its nature i.e. scriptures but it is with their interpretations. You just comprehend the ‘Ultimate principle’ in its entirety and you will wonder to find yourself (freedom, liberty) a part of it. That is Hinduism. I hope the example of Buddhism will suffice to give you more than needed as a scriptural proof, so precise in nature.
    6.     One more thing! Have you or anybody else ever established the absoluteness of any ‘evidences’ which you ask so dearly? An entire path to this answer comprises the Hinduism others being just a part of it. And the nature of this path is scientific.
    7.     Don’t you see that since having been identified with your noble cause I have been still differing with you on a subtle issue of its implementation, approach, style etc and similar things which I am yet to put in a definite manner for want of your unquenched “Jidnasa” which you delegate to the materialistic science. Once you break free of it you will be just like a true Koutilya, Krishna in r/o their successful establishment of the cause for which they existed. Remember they were free of such Jidnasa. Note here I am concerned more with the success rather than the cause. Until that you/me and few others will be unlucky to deliver what we are supposed to do. (My belief says you won’t take any of comments as an effort to deliver you the wisdom. You are above it.)
    8.     All the above implications are already evident in my earlier comments. It is the want of seriousness, patience which makes you think such blogs as speculation (?) without which I am sure your concentration on the materialistic aspect will always be divided. Will you be more critical and scientific in your approach in r/o such SPECULATIVE (?) blogs? Please.
    9.     Do you know in religions/dharma there is little like evidences and more like assertions unlike the pure science? If the religions are different from the pure science it is this aspect which makes it so. Evidences may be the results of incorrect interpretations and assertions tries to show the evidences in the right  perspective. I fail to understand your preferance to evidences rather than assertions.It the wise who give the evidences the nature of thier assertions for the betterment of society since evidences are never absolute.
    10.  Expect pointwise comments when you get enough time.

     
  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok

     

    Dear Ramesh

    The concept of freedom I'm talking about is POLITICAL (including economic) freedom, not spiritual freedom as commonly construed. Let's be very clear on that first. I believe you are mixing up inner freedom (spiritual freedom) with external (political) freedom. I've explained the difference in detail in DOF. I'm NOT talking about inner freedom, hence I don't debate spiritual matters (I do, in passing, provide comment on such things as well).

    A society CAN'T be organised on the principle of spiritual freedom. It can only be organised on an understanding of human nature. If you read DOF in some detail you'll become clearer about what I'm talking about. 

    On matters of inner freedom, it is NOT possible to debate with each other. Thus, you assert that "There is no truth which is beyond this Gnan. Now I declare, nay it has been eternal truth since the time immemorial " (the Gnan being 'Tat tvam asi'). 

    I personally think this is a plausible hypothesis but it fails to even remotely provide me with the kind of information I need to agree to its validity. Yes, it remains attractive, so I'm not denying it. But I don't accept it at the expense of stopping all further questions (and there are hundreds of them – but that is not the key point of my message).

    For you to persuade me that this concept has elevance to POLITICAL freedom, you'll have to show me its implications (in the scriptures, preferably) for human society. The proof of such freedom would be this: Are the people of India (or Hindus more generally) aware that they are free? 

    I show here (http://sabhlokcity.com/2010/10/we-havent-had-our-first-freedom-movement-yet/) that Indians ARE NOT FREE. They don't even REMOTELY understand (99% of them) what freedom means. They are happy to impose their views (e.g. regarding this or that) on others. Baba Ramdev is a good example of a person who simply has no clue about political freedom. 

    Regards

    Sanjeev

     
  11. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    Since my literary skills are limited I have not been able to make short comments for fear of misunderstanding. I am dividing it in three parts for your convenient posting.
    Part I
    I now realize the whole problem with you is your concepts of PERSONAL (inner freedom) and the rest of personal (outer freedom). With this everything is likely to be solved or else I may get dismissed entirely.
    1.    Can you tell me what is personal? Is it our choice, belief, spirituality, what we eat, our spouse, children, what we read, what we profess, what we think, our own ideas, our knowledge…so on…? If ones answer is yes then he himself will be a non-social entity which can live in the world just like any other animal where there is hardly any dearth of prosperity (i.e. it cannot be assessed). There is nothing like personal for the human which doesn’t influence the rest of human community even if you wish. Human history itself is a witness to this fact or you may cite a contrary example. Citing an example itself will be a sort of influence!! You know even our body which you think personal can communicate diseases and has to be managed keeping in view the social interests. Society has the every right to mend or destroy it not to talk of the thoughts if it thinks that it is adversely affecting it.  What we choose, believe, eat influences our children our spouse,…. does it need any elaboration? Have you been immune since your birth from the world in r/o the effects on your mind or body? Even when one keeps himself a mum without any expression of his thought, do you think that others remain unaffected? Never. If you just fail to respond someone’s email, will the sender remain always unaffected? Never. Here there is not a question of rights and wishes. It is a matter of influences on the rest. You can never say that you are born free, hence can profess whatever you believe. You can never expect and make others immune to the influence of what you think to be personal. Such immunity is non existence in human society. Thus question of a barrier to the personal freedom doesn’t arise since there is nothing like personal in the universe except the things which others never become aware of. I am yet to become aware of such a thing if it is really there! Will you provide example? Thus everything is a social, political and economical which differ for conveniences. In your own words, when you add responsibility and accountability to the inner liberty and freedom does it retain its inner nature not to talk of the outer freedom? Not at all. There are no inner items on which responsibility and accountability can not be imposed. However for simplicity such a difference is desirable, the thing is different.
    The above thing is not just a plausible generalisation. It is an obvious scientific fact.
    2.     How we profess/perform in outer field (social, economical, political~ outer freedom) depend on how we profess/perform in inner field (dharma, religion, ethics, spirituality ~ inner freedom). It is our mind/belief which directs/governs our every policy on outer field, the reason being non absolute nature of the outer field and absolute nature of mind/belief compared to outer field. E.g. a robber is not termed as a criminal in his own community on the same terms on which he is termed in the broader society which is governed by the ethics. Thus in their community the robber lives as happily as you can live in your society on that count. No problems. Problem comes either when the robber becomes aware of the ethics of the society or when the people of the society become aware of this robber/his happiness. The fact is that there is no such isolation of a community and society as above that is why a need to have a common belief system which in turn generates common morale (politics is just a part of it unlike your reverse views) and nothing remains such a thing like personal otherwise a conflict discussed in comment dated 26.09.10 arises (due to multiple conventions)
    Continued to part II

     
  12. ramesh

    Part II
    Continued …from part I
    1.     Freedom, so dear to you, is meaningless unless you understand the above aspect of human nature and digest the reality. Those are entitled to the absolute freedom who not only dare to think on their own but also whose thinking takes a definite and successful direction (e.g the likes of Vyasa- Subsequent generations fail to grasp the same the thing is different). The rest only can afford to follow the same either knowingly or unknowingly given the human nature. The very fact has been brought to your notice vide my comment dated 26.09.10 where the benefits of common convention is put up by me in contrast to your suggestion of individual truths . (Either you have little time to read it or failed miserably to understand the same for you havn’t commented on it stating speculation. It is different version.)
    2.     Now after having declared the fact that there is nothing like the personal I dare to question you about the authenticity of your FREEDOM, who, is yet to be set free! Are not you a quality slave to the mystery of the universe? The first freedom occurs at the scientific and not speculative/spiritual answer to that question (on which count you are mistaking me inspite of proofs). Then everything else will be the manifestation of that freedom, that answer. After that manifestation takes the form of religion/spirituality/dharma/social bonds the thing is entirely different. It is this aspect which needs to be discussed critically in the light of the first freedom. But when the people like you take the first freedom as a speculation or yet to discover the same can their subsequent definitions of freedom make any sense? Where is the light to shine the rest of the things (it is not a spirituality)? You being an agnostic cannot be either a personal thing or you cannot comment that I am free either to follow or leave you, for the reasons detailed so well above (non-immunity). That is why there are morale (~rules) in Hindu tradition on how to seat, eat, sleep etc not to restrict individual liberty but to guide it to a welfare. Today the question is about its rigidity, conflict among the religions on these counts and their better (scientific/critical) interpretations, a desirable different topic.
    3.     Where is spirituality, speculation in the above? Don’t you see politics, economics, prosperity, health and wealth in the literal meaning of the words in the above? You must see. Still the people of India lag behind in r/o the above. The reason cannot be its tradition itself (as above), but the degeneration of its tradition. This made it vulnerable to foreign invasion and subsequently made slave to the west. By the time we got independence our already degenerated tradition got charmed by the west and un-holistic mix of east and west e.g constitution was imposed upon us. Now two donkeys govern a horse even though any no of donkeys cannot make up a horse. Is the liberty and freedom given to the donkeys to govern a horse a genuine one? Are you justifying the same? I am aware all are human beings and have the same sense of happiness and worries. Does this fact make DNAs identical in all? All are different. Then why the same voting power? Why not merit/morale based voting? Here merit/morale are judged in the light of ultimate truth. In ancient days king based systems used to last few centuries with good governance with exceptions. Present governments cannot be run even a day without corruption and so on. What sort of government (policies) is to be chosen is a matter of study, experience, skill by the experts like you but definitely not with the sort of your interpretations and understanding of human nature which I am discussing as above.
    4.      It is thus the complicated degeneration which is the root cause of afflictions India is suffering. For rest countries either they were never a slave (traditional prosperity) or were having a high degree of morality (Japan) or a combination of both which in turn promoted good economic policies. On both accounts India failed. Things like lack of awareness of freedom and liberty are a bit irrelevant for the above reasons. Here morality is my version and freedom and liberty your version. No jumbling. When you see the political discourses in Mahabharata perhaps you become aware of the freedom and liberty woven into morality which the Hindus were having as put up by me above.
    Continued to part III

     
  13. ramesh

    Part III
    Continued …from part II
    1.     What is the remedy then? Very difficult since the power is in the hands of unqualified ones. Mass (degenerated people) by their very nature/limitations are unlikely to support the people like you who better understand the economics (rather than these masses itself). It is very rare that donkeys will elect the horse. Then people like you hope the masses to understand the liberty etc for centuries on their own and die unfulfilled for the reason of being unlike to the common mass. Instead a wise man (like Chanakya- heard so) pretends to be a mass, wins their vote by all means (+ and – ve) and establishes a system not to be given into the hands of a mass again with wisely justifying his pretence (fallout of the ultimate principle) like Krishna (there are many examples when Krishna was termed as adharmi). I doubt to what extent you understand the implications of these statements. Let us see when you comment!
    2.     Where do you find the spirituality either in above or earlier comments? Is not this understanding the human nature a far more comprehensive/scientific/critical than yours? In DOF do you talk something different which I have refuted here (not for that sake alone)? Re: "There is no truth which is beyond this Gnan. Now I declare, nay it has been eternal truth since the time immemorial " (the Gnan being 'Tat tvam asi')…………and ‘the ultimate truth’. Have not you understood the scientific evidences as I have provided there itself? On what count they are speculative/spiritual?
    3.     Does these declarations stop further query? What way? It opens up almost infinite discoveries and inventions by permutations and combinations among the existing science except the ultimate one which is a matter of understanding only. I am only saying that till you or science unearths the cause of the first energy everything you say, define is bound to be uncertain. Everything is a function of energy and none knows its nature and ultimate cause except the understanding (scientific) which I am trying.
    4.     I hope you understand that everybody in world is free subject to above discussions (confuse not). Then for what reasons do you feel Hindus are not free? Is it the nature of politics they have, or social system, or their economic prosperity or backwardness compared to developed nations? The reason for these things can never be such an irrelevant thing like freedom or liberty (for above reasons). The reason is human nature as explained in first few points about freedom. The reason is that every human doesn’t understand the things to the same extent. Everybody is different and it influences others. It makes sense when you call an individual to be freedom unconscious. But does it make any sense when you call a group (like Indian, Hindu) a freedom unconscious? Can different units be mingled together to take a meaningful measurement? Never. Other version of cause and remedy is given above in no. 5, 7 and a comment on DoF which you have entirely neglected and still uphold the aspect of human nature!! I do not understand which aspect of yours I have neglected. It is a lack of proper understanding.
    5.     Baba Ramdev is better than you not for the reasons of policy matters but for that the chances of his success are more than you. Refer comment 7 of previous comment. When he comes to power benefit would be better than the present if not more than when FTI comes (the chances of which are very dim given its poor understanding of human nature). It is not that he has studied the human nature but in his approach he touches the common chord of emotions, beliefs (a personal thing for you!) just like Mahatma Gandhi who were not necessarily policy experts. What differs these people from the one like you is this the concept of “PERSONAL” which you weave with the freedom. Will you understand the human nature? Say not you are not a like of mine. It is an effort.
    6.     For this reason you may be made to rethink twice every time you appeal the masses to join the FTI if you just give a thought to my all comments and if you/me seriously wish the FTI to bring to power by copying not the policies but the benefit of human nature which M K Gandhi and now Baba Ramdev are making use of knowingly or unknowingly. I hope you understand the chord which these people struck (may be unknowingly) with the masses.
    7.     I will be grateful to get dismissed but only with critical and scientific and thorough (point wise) manner at your leisure. You may remain unanswered (thinking it to be personal) but then everybody will be influenced little or more bursting the very myth of your accountable and responsible freedom!!!

     
  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Ramesh

    Thanks for extensive comments.

    a) Re: Can you tell me what is personal?
    Essentially anything that does not directly interact with others, e.g. your brushing your teeth in the toilet. My private exercise in the gym, that is focused on my own body. Your thinking something about someone but not saying it or doing anything about it.

    You are talking about externalities (posititive/negative) of our beliefs and thoughts. Sure, but to the extent we don’t harm others, these beliefes and views are perfectly protected as part of our freedoms. The concept of freedom becomes meaningful ONLY when we interact with others, and potentially harm them.

    b) Re: How we profess/perform in outer field (social, economical, political~ outer freedom) depend on how we profess/perform in inner field (dharma, religion, ethics, spirituality ~ inner freedom)

    Agreed. No problems with that views. However, it is NOT our business to worry about what people think, but only about what they DO. That’s when we get involved.

    c) re: We “need to have a common belief system which in turn generates common morale” (you mean morals).

    Sure. That common belief system is the law of the free society, wherein some things are rewarded (or ignored) and other things punished. I’ve extensively elaborated on the law in DOF.

    d) “I am aware all are human beings and have the same sense of happiness and worries. Does this fact make DNAs identical in all? All are different. Then why the same voting power? Why not merit/morale based voting? Here merit/morale are judged in the light of ultimate truth.”

    ALL humans are virtually identical in their DNA. I agree that merit is crucial, but that does not mean people’s voting power should be a function of their ‘intelligence’. I’ve elaborated on this in DOF. We don’t want Plato’s Republic. We want a free society where everyone is highly educated and able to think sensibly.

    e) Re: In ancient days king based systems used to last few centuries with good governance with exceptions. Present governments cannot be run even a day without corruption and so on.

    I beg to differ. Even the most cursory examination of history shows chaotic anarchy in ALL parts of the world. The longest single democracy is UK, followed by USA. Democracies work. The fact that we have a corrupt democracy is because we don’t follow basic principles of governance.

    f) “It is very rare that donkeys will elect the horse. Then people like you hope the masses to understand the liberty etc for centuries on their own and die unfulfilled”.

    I don’t think the Indian voter is a donkey. To the contrary, he is the smartest of all. So far, whenever anyone has exceed their powers, the voter has pinned them down and pushed them out. The problem is not our voter but our EDUCATED classes, who refuse to lead. I’m asking people to lead. If they do that I won’t die “unfulfilled”! (Not that I care! – I’m pretty much self-contained.)

    g) “for what reasons do you feel Hindus are not free?”

    I didn’t point to Hindus! I’m saying that Indians are not free. They are sheep. Their mind is enslaved and they don’t take responsiblity for their own nation.

    h) “it makes sense when you call an individual to be freedom unconscious. But does it make any sense when you call a group (like Indian, Hindu) a freedom unconscious? Can different units be mingled together to take a meaningful measurement? Never.

    Agreed. I therefore qualify my statements (when I don’t forget to do so!). When a vast majority are involved (e.g. Indians not understanding freedom), I make sweeping generalisations. A few odd men or women don’t count.

    i) ” Baba Ramdev is better than you not for the reasons of policy matters but for that the chances of his success are more than you.”

    I’m NOT interested in one-man shows. I want India to have a genuine liberal political party. That means hundreds of thousands of excellent people have to lead. I’m looking at India of the future, not necessarily to the India of today. Baba Ramdev may well succeed in bringing freedom: only then will I count his work a success.

    j) Re: striking a chord with the people, why don’t you lead? I’m asking every educated person to get up and lead. Don’t ask me to become a Baba Ramdev! I’m not! Do it yourself!

    Thanks, again for your elaborate comments. I think we should focus on outcomes. This debate is not leading us to results. I’d appreciate if you get involved in political reforms in India and we can, when I am retired and old, discuss spiritual matters. Let us focus on getting freedom and good governance to India!

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  15. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    On the one hand you say- re: I don’t think the Indian voter is a donkey. To the contrary, he is the smartest of all.
    And on the other hand you say.- re: I’m saying that Indians are not free. They are sheep. Their mind is enslaved and they don’t take responsibility for their own nation.
    The contexts in which both statements are made make the same impact (i.e. unfavourable) on the voting while electing/supporting a meritorious candidate (like FTI). Thus the contexts are not different.
    Both the donkey and sheep are known for their similar characteristics of slave nature,  that they are not smart enough and their inability to think on their own to judge what is good and what is bad in the long term (generalisation) and these are the meanings which I actually intended in r/o the majority of Indians (nay any society). And it is exactly for these reasons that you find Indians most of the time imposing their own views upon the other (for lack of sufficient wisdom which is so natural for majority- my version). But let you realise that it has been the result of the moth eaten liberty granted to them by our democracy which has given them at least a bit of good education but which has taken away all the culture (basic wisdom) from the people by way of universal franchise. Once they get the total freedom I doubt if society will break into pieces since the centrifugal force which will be generated among the like minded groups will be un-containable once they start showing their deeds (at least unless and until people accept the state laws as more sacrosanct than their religious ones.- which seems to be very very tough-since for you it is mixing and placing the state laws above the religious one will be utopian approach.)
    Can you reconcile the contradiction in your above two statements? Is this contradiction a thought or reality? Are not you imposing your own views (result of being liberal as above) just as you blame the Indians without critical analysis and scientific temperament? Is it a beginning of the centrifugal force?
    The intention behind this comment is that an act is always an outcome of some thought. And in a free society it is almost impossible to contain an individual act without containing the thoughts or lest the centrifugal force which will be unleashed from the like minded groups as a result of freedom may tear the society in India.
    I may post detailed comment afterwards since the above sorts of thoughts have been acted in the rest of your comments.
    Is an above comment spirituality? Or a comment for the sake of a debate itself? I think it may contribute to consolidate some sort of views on FREEDOM.
    Regards

     
  16. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Ramesh

    Re: Once they get the total freedom I doubt if society will break into pieces since the centrifugal force which will be generated among the like minded groups will be un-containable once they start showing their deeds (at least unless and until people accept the state laws as more sacrosanct than their religious ones.- which seems to be very very tough-since for you it is mixing and placing the state laws above the religious one will be utopian approach.)

    I beg to differ. As I show in BFN, free societies have strong centripetal tendencies, because everyone can do WHATEVER they want subject only to the laws and principles of accountability determined by themselves through their parliament.

    MOST migrations occur from UNFREE to FREE countries. People leave unfree nations. Right now, as we speak, people are fleeing Afghanistan, North Korea, Bangladesh, China and India. (of course from Bangladesh people are going to India since it is relative more free). Unfree nations ALWAYS break up, as India did over the past 2500 years. It kept breaking up because it was NEVER free. Today, too, it has fairly strong tendencies to break up because its freedom levels are very low. USSR broke up. That was GUARANTEED. China will break up. That, too, is guaranteed.

    Second, the very question of imposing spiritual laws on society is ANATHEMA to the liberal. The state laws are made BY THE PEOPLE and they must be supreme. What you are saying is that Hindu laws must be imposed on Muslims who live in India. Muslims will say the same thing. Then who will decide? Let them all decide through voting in the parliaments.

    Your conception of freedom is TO IMPOSE RELIGION on others. That, I’m afraid is NOT freedom but slavery to old texts and books. Let the mind be free.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  17. ramesh

    Dear Sabhlok,
    Now I am a bit bored in convincing you about the stark reality put up by me repeatedly in r/o the approach to the Indian Voter in particular and People throughout the world in general which you are unnecessarily interpreting as my imposing the Hinduism on the rest by neglecting the key issues of my comments.
    Dear Sabhlok and readers refer the following blog where I find a common cause with Shri Ravi in this respect which I expect, at least at the beginning, may help to pinpoint the issue. I may come to this blog after some time.
    http://sabhlokcity.com/2010/10/freedom-works/
    regards.

     
  18. Dr Tenzin Gogoi

    It was bit difficult to read your scanned copies anyways I understood.
    Actually the way you note down points and think about them is a very noble means scientifically proven.Once I had same questions and no false still I have these questions hovering over my mind but I re-affirm my belief in God by two ways
    1}What is after death?Offcourse it is not like a computer that you delete a file
    2}How is everything existing? when I go deep into this my head aches.
    I have one thing clear in me if there is something after death I would ask there How everything exists?

     
  19. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Dr Gogoi

    The history of philosophical analysis is the history of such ideas as you’ve proposed. Do read any standard book on this subject to find out 10s of other “logical” reasons in favour of God.

    Note that I’m not denying God, nor can I prove God’s existence. However, I must personally verify, either way. No one’s statements are valid proof in this very important matter. I can’t believe what is written in books. I must have 100% personal proof, both logical and otherwise.

    So I basically have not yet formed a view either way.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  20. Ashish

    Sanjeev,
    The matter of the fact is 'You're still a Hindu'. Hinduism is not a religion where you have to believe in some divine person, or you have to do some rituals. If you're person with a good intent. You're a Hindu. If you don't discriminate/hate people based on their caste, creed, religion etc, you're a hindu. if you're fighting for the downtrodden and poor people.You're a Hindu. Even if you outright reject the vedas, you're still a hindu untill unless you met the above criteria.
     
    People who merely parroting/reciting verses and having blind faith and doing nothing for the society/country are only the namesake hindus. And you're WAY better then them.

     
  21. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Thanks, Ashish, for your kind comments. I’m just an ordinary human, I suggest, searching for the truth and hoping for liberty and peace for all. If that matches certain aspects of Hinduism then I must be Hindu, too. The nomenclature is not as relevant as the truth about one’s reality.

     
  22. Ashish

    @Sanjeev
    — I suggest, searching for the truth and hoping for liberty and peace for all. —-
     
    Bulls eye, that's what the essence of Hinduism. Accept the truth, reject the falsehood.
    Cheers!

     
  23. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Nice if that was truly the essence of Hinduism. Sometimes I’m not sure – consider the abuses of the caste system, the opposition to free expression of one’s thought, demolition of a masjid, and massive involvement of Hindus in communal riots. I know this doesn’t apply to most Hindus, but in the eyes of others it is these few aggressive people who determine its essence, just like Islam’s perception is determined by the actions of a few.