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Religious Cultures and Dharmic Culture


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Culture, an embodiment of social,moral and ethical mores, is what Civilization brings into human interactions. It maybe derived from Religious Commandments or from an attitude of seeking knowledge to find ways to link with the Cosmos via Nature’s Laws following what is called the Dharmic way. We need to understand the differences and seek to accommodate them in our today’s civilizational culture for prosperity and harmony for ALL.

Quotations for Consideration

  • All great truths begun as blasphemies”. And as the adage goes – “The truth shall set you free.” George Bermard Shaw
  • “I would believe any religion that could prove it had existed since the beginning of the world. But when I read Socrates, Plato, Moses and Mohammed, I do not think there is such a one. All religions owe their origin to Man.”Napoleon Bonaparte
  • “A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves…Stories can conquer…They can make the heart larger.” – Ben Okri
  • “Meekness … Induced prejudices, have no place in the society of thinking humans” – Abhijit Naskar
  • “Morality is doing what is Right, regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is Right.”Plato
  • “Make sure that your religion is a matter between you and God only.”Ludwig Wetherstein
  • “Religion is the last refuge of human savagery.” – Alfred North Whitehead
  • “Religion is the opium of the masses.” – Karl Marx
  • “People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.” – Dave Berry
  • “In the ‘Mahabharata’, the ceremony of oath taking for a King called upon him to –‘Be like a garland maker, and not like a charcoal burner’. The garland maker symbolizes social cohesiveness: it is a metaphor for dharmic diversity in which flowers of many colours and forms are strung harmoniously for the most pleasing effect. In contrast the charcoal burner is a metaphor for the brute force reduction of diversity into homogeneity, where diverse living substances sre transformed into lifeless ashes.” – Rajiv Malhotra
  • “Civilization is about how you behave. How much respect and dignity you give to those around you.” – Rachel Vincent
  • “Empathy is most essential quality of civilization.” – Roger Elbert
  • “Nurturing is what makes us human.” – Jeremy Griffith
  • “No civilization can prosper or even exist, after having lost the pride and connection with its own past.” – Anon
  • I respect faith, but ‘doubt’ is what gets you an education.” – Wilson Mizner
  • We can make people believe anything, anything at all, if we work hard enough on them from childhood. Then Authority becomes Truth, instead of Truth being the Authority. Belief gives you confidence without clarity (this) is a disaster. There is no substitute for clarity.” – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev.
  • “Every formula of every religion, in this age of reason, has to submit to the acid test of reason and universal justice if it is to ask for universal assent.” – M.K.Gandhi

Key Concepts

God is not any separate entity in the Dharmic culture, it is a manifestation, as chosen by each individual, of the all pervading eternal ‘Shakti’ or conscious energy, that exists in all of creation, a force of Nature, with which every individual interacts continuously on a personal basis, as he strives to understand and learn from, to guide his actions in the world he lives in, to make it as best for himself as he can, knowing that to live in consonance with such a Force will benefit him in this life and in this world itself.

However, in the Religious cultures, those who seek power, influence and pelf for themselves, as self-professed leaders, have seen it fit to project God as a separate entity and export the very concept of God, away from this world into an alleged and unproven Heaven, and then claim themselves as the only representatives of such a God on earth and the sole interface between God and the others. This allows them to control the others and also to see Nature as something separate from humans and thus something to be dominated and used for their benefit. The belief system, that is then imposed by such leaders on their followers, based on what they say is God’s direction for them, is called a religion.

The concept of ‘Religion’ is foreign to the culture of ancient India. In-fact, the word, ‘Religion’ is derived from a Latin root meaning ‘to bind’ and does not exist in any Indian language.

Religious Cultures

Cultures arising from religions are ‘authoritative’, ‘delarative’ and ‘imperative’ centralized and rigid, while the culture arising from Dharma is ‘Interrogative’ of everything and hence, diverse, flexible, acceptive and decentralized.

Cultures arising from religions are ‘authoritative’, ‘declarative’ and ‘imperative’, centralized and rigid, while the culture arising from Dharma is ‘Interrogative’ of everything and hence, diverse, flexible, acceptive and decentralized. One is like a well manicured and rigidly laid out garden of selected plants and flowers that cannot be changed and requiring constant supervision, compared to the other which is more like the profuse wild, and seemingly chaotic, growth in a forest of many varieties of flowers, fruits and foliage, which yet has a discerning structure in its very complexity.

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