abhyAsa : Conversations with my Veda Guru : Loukika, Nyaya and Dharma : Self-knowledge

Kunda Guruji says that every event in life is a test that Bhagwan offers us!

I always protest, why would a perfect being take any interest in testing bits of itself? But guruji says that since she was a sanskrit teacher before she became a Veda Guru, she like to model the universe on the lines of teaching and testing of a being on its evolution to a perfect understanding of itself.

My son showed me a video on TED. There is a machine that first thinks its a box. Then it tests itself by things that it can do and build its self-image of itself. It adds joints and digits (hands and legs as it were to its self-image) and so on to its self image. http://www.ted.com/talks/hod_lipson_builds_self_aware_robots.html from 2:36 to 4:28. Then it uses this self-image to move.

So I think, the puruSa is inside us. It is us. Maybe it tests Itself, that is us and sees what it can do and therefore understands what it is.?

Kunda Guruji says that when life presents us with a choice on interacting with other humans, we can respond from Loukika, Nyaya and Dharma standpoints.

Kunda Guruji says that the loukika response is a worldly wise.

I agree. We have learnt a few things about the world around us. If a “matlabi” person calls us, we think, “What does this person want? Why are they calling now?”.  And we answer cleverly, in a way so as not to get trapped or hooked. Krishna was certainly worldly-wise and he knew what people were after and up to and whether to side-step them or help them. Many worldly-wise, loukika people see other people who behave differently as fools! And often call them so to their face!

I myself have often felt that Kunda Guruji lacks loukika knowledge and has been cheated by that guy who insisted on putting a lock on the CDs of her guruji’s veda mantras and and who took her guruji’s hard disk and a lot of money saying he would repair it.. but who now does not answer her calls.

But even the most worldly-wise people are not wise in matters where they have strong desires and attachments. So perhaps when you see someone who is tricked into buying fool’s gold or being led up the garden path by a rascal, you can say, “O! they had/have a strong desire or attachment here!”

And even the least worldly-wise people cannot be tricked in areas where they have no desire or attachment. So I guess it is unbalanced attachment that tricks us in the final count.

Kunda Guruji says that the Nyaya response is a fair or legal response.

This money is mine because I earned it. That guy never helped me, so I do not have to help him back! I will not accept charity because I did not earn it. I will not take a thing does not belong to me. I will never cheat anyone, because that is unfair. I will not push in line and will not let anyone take my turn. My seat in the bus is not reserved for pregnant ladies, so I don’t have to give it to them

They nyaya response comes from a strong sense of human social justice. From a standpoint that says, “do unto others, what you would have them do unto you”! It does not include animals. For example you could kill a mosquito for drinking a drop of your blood! Or kill an animal to feed your hunger or to keep you warm. But it would not permit meaningless killings for cruelty or pleasure.

Kunda Guruji says that the Dharma response is an ethical response, a code of conduct, beyond nyaya or justice and beyond loukika or worldly wisdom.

Dharma includes generosity. Giving unearned gifts to unrelated people with no expectation of any return. Generosity is neither loukika nor nyaya.

Dharma includes mercy and forgiveness.

Loukika says protect yourself from being cheated, and if you are penalise the weaker offenders and submit to the more powerful ones. Loukika people are the ordinary people of our society – who get by.

Nyaya says stand up for justice and fight the offenders and bring them to justice. Penalise the guilty and make them pay for it. Many civil rights people who fight for justice belong to this group.

paritrANAya sAdhUnAm, vinAs’Aya ca duSkRtAm” – this phrase from the Gita, where Krishna promises “to save the good and destroy the wrongdoers” – indicates the Just aspect of Krishna.

When Dharmaraja Yudhisthira advocated forgiveness, his wife and brothers thought that he was weak and unmanly.

Dharmic people are kind, compassionate and giving even to those who have given them offence.

Daana Veera Karna’s self-selected dharma was generosity. So he gave away his protective kavacha kundalas to his arch-rival’s Arjuna’s father, Indra. He promised the mother who abandoned him at birth that we would not kill her other sons, though she did not ask them to refrain from killing him! This was anyAya or injustice to the mother who raised him, to his friend who depended on him and to his own wife and children. And yet he believed that it was dharma to give whatever was asked to whoever asked it without any discrimination or limit or self-preservation (loukika) instincts!

I think that while ethics is valuable and it is noble to hold your code-of-conduct in trying situations, it must be continuously reviewed and upgraded!

Dharmaraja staking his wife  and kingdom as a wager at gambling was dharma but not nyAya. So Krishna had to interfere to protect Draupadi’s honour and the welfare of the people of Indraprastha.

Invincible Bhishma, with a die-at-will boon, fighting on the side of the Kauravas to keep up the word to his father was dharma but not nyAya. It made it necessary for Krishna to suggest that Arjuna should fight from behind Sikhandi, the reincarnation of Amba. Amba herself was victim to the rAja dharma that princesses could be carried of by force to get them married to princes and then victim to the dharma that said her chosen king could not marry a woman carried away for another and then a victim of Bhishma’s oath of celibacy. Injustice was done to Amba and she was reborn as s’ikhanDi to avenge that injustice.

The purpose of generosity is that others should also live and prosper. Once you take it to a point where the giver loses his life and orphans his children – it is sickening!

You can certainly forgive a friend or stranger who acted in the heat-of the moment. For the government to forgive a serial killer, a terrorist or a general dwyer, is to put thousands of innocent people at risk! We can then abolish the judiciary and just have  a board that says “turn-the-other-cheek”!

And that brings me back to the Gita Sloka –

paritrANAya sAdhUnAm, vinAs’Aya ca duSkRtAm – dharma samsthApanArthAya – sambhavAmi yugE yugE!

In order to establish the dharma, I will be born again and again (in every yuga), to punish the wrong-doers and to save the good.

Krishna’s Dharma is samAja dharma – the welfare of the worlds and it is aligned with samAja nyAya – social justice.

It is not a weak personal oath (Bhishma) to please a father or a dangerously extrapolated and exploitable concept of generosity (Karna)!

And that is why Krishna is yugandhara!

dharmo rakshati rakshitah refers to samAja dharma and not to some (silly) self-sacrificing ideal such as held by Bhishma. If his oath to his father had been to protect the people of hastinApura or samAja dharma and not the simhAsana (throne), our history would have been different! If Karna had kept his goal in mind – give whatever a person asks – for his welfare consistent with samAja dharma and samAja nyAya and loukikata, he would not have ended up a tragic hero. He may not even have promised blind loyalty to duryOdhana!