Corollaries of Cliché-s: Tolerance and Diversity

 

Many words are jargon, slogans, cliché-s today: very few really understand their import, how they work in real life and what their implications are. It would be another run-of-the-mill effort to try repeating them, even with the idea of getting to their real meaning, for they are by now too solidified and stereotyped to allow any argument without too many assumptions. So we think of taking up a few corollaries of the jargon which have to follow from their concept but do not end up in discourse because the concept behind the word is no more in vogue. The prevalence/lack of prevalence of corollaries tells us to what extent these concepts are still alive in a society. “Corollaries of Cliché-s” is meant to be a series of such short posts, each an independent one. The first is on Tolerance and Diversity.

 

Pluralism, tolerance and diversity of India are quite a cliché, and these ancient virtues are today both the burden Hindus have to bear in wake of existential threats and something for which their enemies (communists, liberals et al) take credit. It is tirelessly advertised that Indian traditions are “truly tolerant”, “diverse”, “liberal”, and so on. However it is never questioned whether it is the nature of people or institutions and whether today’s state and social institutions are really in line with these “virtues”. We say “virtues” and not simply virtues because nothing is a virtue unless it is natural and self-replenishing. If a virtue destroys a society and does not result in its prospering, it is merely a virtue for advertisement. If Bharata prospered for ages upholding tolerance, diversity etc as virtues it is because those are inherently aligned with the civilizational goals of this great nation and the ways in which they are sought to be achieved. They were not upheld at the expense of survival or prosperity.

 

It is often criticized that these became vulnerabilities when we came under invasions from intolerant monotheistic barbarians. It is an inconclusive debate whether Hindu survival in wake of extinction of most other ancient cultures and their inability to stand up to monotheism is advantaged or disadvantaged by these. But we maintain that they remained strengths that resulted in the prosperity and longevity of this civilization.

 

Post-independence India however, is an entirely different story. After coming out of British rule it has a “father of nation” (indicating a preposterous attempt to redefining the ancient nationhood), a new (post-colonial proxy-colonial) constitution, it is a nation-state, it is a union of states each of which is defined along the European nationhood lines of a one culture-one people-one language-one state. It is not the Bharata whose geo-political non-linguistic states remained agnostic and orthogonal to geo-cultural units. It is not the Bharata whose diversity and tolerance were present in its institutions of nation and state. It is now an India whose state has a monotheistic European nationhood concept which governs a people, a majority of which still espouse diversity and tolerance, but disproportionately empowers a fifth of its people to remain intolerant and exclusivist. It is an India that tries to be equal between diversity and monolithic nature. It is an India whose constitution disadvantages diversity and tolerance and renders these vulnerabilities that can be exploited by predatory monotheists.

 

Given this, it is no more true that tolerance and diversity are virtues for the majority that align to their security, leave alone advantage or prosperity. So they do become vulnerabilities, and the solution is to either give up those (which they are increasingly encouraged to with the developments) or to make an honest review and redefinition of institutions that render these virtues advantageous.

 

Beyond inference from institution design and increasing/decreasing numbers and voice, which establish the advantage or disadvantage of what is called a virtue, its understanding and definition as mentioned can be understood from corollaries.

 

Corollary: Wide Civilizational Spectrum

 

The first corollary of diversity and tolerance is a wide civilizational spectrum where different cultures, systems of life, layers of life are to be seen. The urban, rural and forest dwellers would all be having their own comfort zones of life and not be pressured into falling in line with one norm of “civilized life”. The long civilizational past of Bharata is perhaps the best example of such a wide spectrum where the most sanctimonious lifestyle exists along with the most apparently unpalatable lifestyle, both respected for their contributions to human knowledge and society and protected without any imposed uniform norms of judgment in the name of civilization.

 

Acoustics says there is an audible range of frequency that human ears can hear. A wide range of sounds exists outside of it. Similarly every civilization at every given point of time has a defined range of acceptable and unacceptable conventions of life, thought processes and practices. The strata and spectrum of life defined by western civilization has always been narrow, and remains narrow today. Life in west is too uniform and forced by convention: the urban and semi-urban life becomes their defining pattern. It does not really tell us a story that confirms the western claim that they are learning to be pluralistic and tolerant growing out of their monotheistic thought.

 

But what about Bharata? We are a civilization where a canDAla can stand in front and argue with a jagadguru with no fear of authoritarian persecution. We are a civilization where the most evolved grAma-nagara-mahAnagara-paTTaNa (village-town-city-port city) and cultured life existed in remarkable harmony with the tribals, the “gory” vAmAcArin-s, the sanyAsin-s, canDAla-s and so on. The different sheaths and realms of human existence thrived without threatening each other’s existence, and managed their frictions with dArSanika reconciliations from time to time. Not just that: they did not judge each other’s purpose of existence or right to their ways of life. This is squarely behind the wide range and unfathomable depths of knowledge produced by Indian traditions. This leads us to some of the other corollaries, but staying on this does today’s India value this ideal of tolerance?

The heavy urbanizing, deglamorizing of traditional villages, the preposterous attempt to “civilize” forest dwellers and several other initiatives of post-independent India affirm the exact reverse of what traditional Bharata was, and indicates that it is going by a rather anti-tolerance, anti-diversity philosophy guided by western anthropology.

I remember reading somewhere SN Balagangadhara putting Advaita and Bauddha as two extremes of Indian thought spectrum, while in fact they are only too similar. A good example of two extremes of spectrum in articulated views and practices could really be the urbane non-violent Jaina monkhood and rites of vAmAcArA in burials etc: seeing and engaging with the world and supra-natural in two almost opposite ways.

Corollary: Non-judgmental Attitude

One corollary that follows from the previous one is the non-judgmental attitude towards those dissimilar to one’s understanding of norms of civilization, dignity etc. While dignity is needed by an urbane socializing man, neither dignity nor possession nor relation management is important for a forest dwelling renunciate upAsaka who is devoted to learning the secrets of nature and the nature of truth. While this means law has some norms laid down for the social order and prevention of infringements into human liberties, it is done loosely enough to not impose any uniform norms of dignity.

One of the four ideals enlisted by Indian constitution, namely human dignity, does take a judgmental position on this matter and confines the “acceptable” human conduct and thereby life styles and ways of life. That there is an anti-superstition bill inspired by Christian intolerance in the name of human dignity is not the real problem, it is just a symptom. The problem lies in the attempt to narrow down the spectrum of human possibility through norms and the judgmental attitude behind it.

In fact in many of the inter-traditional matters it the non-judgmental attitude that defines much of the disposition of traditions. It is neither “tolerance” nor “respect” as some claim, including Rajiv Malhotra. Even a cursory examination tells us that in critiques people of one tradition neither accept nor respect the views of another tradition, and even have contempt at times. They do have respect for serious practitioners and teachers of all traditions, for their knowledge austerity etc. They definitely do not “respect” the views of those traditions. At the same time they simply do not try judging the purpose or right of others to exist as equal human beings in the same society.

Most of the modern thinkers produced in India lack the width and depth of knowledge owing to a hindering of non-judgmental attitude. Rare exceptions like Sri Aurobindo exist: we seldom see him denying any human possibility or judging its right/wrong, most of the times we see him getting into the nature of things. Traditions say everything in the world exists for a purpose, but this insight is almost lost today when norms are overwhelmingly driven by judgmental attitude.

Corollary: Mind where your freedom ends

The immediate corollary of being non-judgmental about others is valuing human liberties and space. Rights need to be earned in a constrained social space as the west, where there is so much of judgmental attitude coming top down about acceptable human conduct, dignity etc. In a society where liberties are stretched almost to their extreme possibility, terms like rights look puerile. Human liberty is high, and conduct self-regulated hinged on natural order. Only infringement of basic liberties and crime is articulated.

Corollary: Inward Looking

The most important corollary of a free, diverse, tolerant society is inward looking. While this is related to being non-judgmental about others, it deserves a separate articulation. Traditions engage much in defining their own knowledge and internal consistency than worrying about making it applicable for others. This is source of diversity, creation, freedom, human liberation.

 

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Articulating the ‘caste’ Problem

While ‘caste’ remains Hinduism’s biggest ‘problem’ according to outsider and insider (not same as one with an insider view), it definitely is the most ill-articulated problem. This is a comment on the problem with understanding the problem, not an analysis of the problem itself. There is abundant data existing about the actual problem which just needs to be seen in perspective. So this is just an attempt to get that perspective.

Trouble with most formulations

  1. They mistake the patient for disease and diagnose ‘caste’ to be the problem and not what ails it.
  2. They bring polemic (both rationalizing and vilifying) into concept and we simply do not have the concept examined.
  3. Mostly guesswork is done about the past, both by reading present into past and by reading a lot of prevalent polemic into it. Ex: “outcastes” and their ostracizing; slums and menial jobs for significant parts of population; power disparity and conflict between ‘caste’ groups etc.

Debunking the Notion

We know these –

  1. Slums are a creation of post-slavery urbanism
  2. Large number of groups doing menial jobs are a product of post-slavery urbanism
  3. “Aborigines” are how “modern” civilization treats them, not Hindus. Social fold and its peripheries, the several sheaths of civilization are clearly demarcated without friction in India.
  4. Land was not owned in Bharata until commoditizing of land happened during invasions: we were not a feudal society
  5. Vocations are pursued by skill-groups and not individuals, and the groups had bargaining power in society
  6. Before slavery and feudalism came in, human dignity had different parameters: the Indian ones. After they came in, human dignity started getting defined in abrahamic terms and that continues till date. We continue to be haunted by the Christian concept of rights, secularism, human dignity etc

So attribution errors are abundant in whatever we today know of ‘caste’.

Blind Spots

There are several blind spots in the prevalent discourse. When it comes to causation of the problem, polemic more or less overrides reason and data. Sense of guilt and fake sense of “honest introspection” undermine honest retrospection. For instance –

  1. It is generally said that the “ancient” varNa system was not meant to be “rigid” but it became rigid “later” and got “corrupted”. But the thousand years of invasions and subversion that directly led to all the corruption is not held responsible. On the contrary, reasons for “corruption” of “caste” are searched for in Hindu literature, giving it pervert interpretations. This is the most glaring blind spot in discourse of “caste”, and unfortunately present in “pro-Hindu” discourse. There is a visible cause and visible effect, but they are not attributed to each other.
  2. The rhetoric that varNa “was karma based” and that it became “birth based” and that this is a distortion of the “original” system is repeated tirelessly, even in pro-Hindu discourse. That varNa is a macro model (a cosmic one and when applied to humans encompasses state, nation and every aspect not really vocational) and not a social organization (kula is social) or cultural (jAti is ethno-cultural) somehow completely goes missing.
    1. There is no “is” (as in current time) or “was” or “should be” with varNa. There is only “is” (as in eternal continuous). It is a concept that makes dharma sanAtana, as it is a comment on the unchanging principle of nature in general and human nature in particular. It is NOT an arrangement but an understanding.
    2. Either karma or birth as the basis of varNa is a complete misunderstanding. varNa is determined by guNa and karma. Both these have birth and situational components. To reduce this into a logically inconsistent dichotomy of karma and birth is to buy problems.

Examining Native Idiom

Native idiom is very clear and regardless of the outside-in commentary it gives us a proper understanding of the concept. It is usually not examined. For instance:

  • kula needs to be understood as having a common origin – Ex. as in kulAchAra. It is more like a clan, an extended family.
  • ‘brAhmaNa kula’ means ‘a kula of brAhmaNa-s’, and does not refer to brAhmaNa as a kula
  • We know of kula-vRtti, not jAti-vRtti . So kula is the skill/occupation group.
  • jAti is ethno-cultural endogamous and NOT a skill-group category.
  • Dharma is determined by guNa-karma
  • We know of ‘varNa dharma’ because varNa is macro and based on 3-fold nature (the three guNa-s)
  • Karma (ritual action/consecrated action) is partly of varNa, partly kula, partly family, partly personal, partly for general good of village or the world etc; and ONLY partly ‘daivic’. Quite unlike monotheistic religions where there is only one worship/prayer which is done unto “God”. (In which case, how can karma determine varNa!)

Concept

Indian society’s different collectivity notions are referred with the same word. European colonizers called kula a caste, while Gandhi calls varNa caste. Now this is not a question of granularity but concept.

  • kula means having common origin, groove. It refers to extended family, clan. Has AcAra and vRtti.
  • jAti is an endogamous ethno-cultural unit, a superset of kula. It has samskriti. It can span deSa-s (Ex: naiDu-nADAr of south, yAdav of north).
  • varNa is a macro view. It has dharma. It does not organize but generalizes or describes the nature of things. Dharma being natural order, it is about ‘how things work’ than how things ‘ought to be’. varNa as a social organization hardly fits into traditional understanding.
  • varNa contains kula-s, many of them usually of same jAti. Usually kula grades varNa-s. Ex. When a SUdra clan “ascends” to kshatra, only that kula is moving not entire jAti. Something like vRshni yAdava-s becoming kshatriya but not all yAdava clans.
  • Mobility at individual level etc are all well known, and do not need repetition here.

Problem Articulation

  1. There is no inherent problem with the native system: the inherent problem is with corruption. The native system neither “rigidified” nor “lost essence”. It simply got superimposed with alien state machineries and systems of governance.
  2. Slavery and feudalism, the two worst medieval entries to Indian society cause the ‘caste’ problem that is now called a ‘social problem’.
  3. With democracy, politicizing caste and making it a vote bank is a recent problem. Now if this statement is made to mean that democracy is the problem, instead of politicizing caste being the problem, then that would be mistaking patient for disease. But similar is the cognitive error in formulating ‘caste’ problem.
  4. Hundreds of groups were dalitized due to (a) enslavement (b) displacement (c) loss of vocation and social relevance (d) invalidation of vocations done by colonizers to capture trade and manufacturing. KS Lal’s books can be referred for data on this.

Solution Articulation

  1. Dissolve colonial and proxy-colonial caste notions of forwardness and backwardness and define them according to native worldviews.
  2. De-feudalize “caste”. Hindu society is NOT feudal and feudalizing it is the source of “caste” conflict and exploitation.
  3. De-dalitize “5th varNa”. There is no avarNa or fifth varNa. There is only the question of vitality of society to organize itself, which requires self-governance and native view of governance and organization. Realign groups into the four-fold order. This was the line along which the likes of vASisTha gaNapati muni worked.
  4. Review and revise AcAra norms for the groups as per deSa-kAla.

 

Is He not a Mother?

Sri ArunShourie’s book “Does He know a mother’s heart? – How suffering refutes religions” is praised not just by his usual nationalist admirers but from many quarters. It is not just a moving account but a questioning of the explanation of suffering various religious philosophies offer.

M Pramod Kumar critiqued the book in his article “Of course, He knows every Mother’s heart”. Indeed, I would not be feeling like making a comment on the book but for this rejoinder. While Mr. Pramod makes factual refutations, his judgment of ArunShourie as making “sweeping accusations and distortions found in his book” looks quite harsh to me. Given ArunShourie’s scholarship and the objectivity with which he poses the questions, leisure with which he seeks to refute the answers he comes across, that can hardly be a fair evaluation.

Besides, Pramod does not end up giving the explanation for suffering. Rather he says Sri Shourie fails to survey Hinduism sufficiently, and limits his inquiry to karma theory and mAyavAda. But Sri Shourie does actually go into sources like Bhagavad Gita which Pramod says ‘explains sufficiently’ all the questions raised by the formerand rejects Sri Kane’s explanation – “When we use the word Karma it corresponds to no reality and is a tacit confession of our ignorance and inability to state the cause or causes of what has happened”. Regardless of the validity of the argument (the claim of karma is not to let you know the cause of what happened but to establish that there is a cause, to reason that present is caused by past and future is effectively being caused by present) Gita and Upanishads he does explore, and he cannot thus be accused of not surveying the original sources of Hinduism.

However the primary purpose of this write up is to not find faults with either argument. Taking the question of explaining human suffering, I want to comment on the canvass that Sri Shourie explored, which is itself, in my view, insufficient to give a convincing answer.

Causation

Sri Shourie meticulously explores the various explanations of suffering – inherent in human life, it improves us, a test of character, teacher, caused by identification with unreal to mention a few. However he explores primarily, besides the arguments of contemporary teachers, the Vedantic texts – Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In reality Vedanta is Brahma MImAMsa, not Viswa MImAMsa. No single Indic tradition ever says suffering is part of the absolute nature of the world (brahman). Suffering is essentially part of the phenomenal world, not its absolute essence. Thus to begin with, Vedanta is the wrong place to look for – and it is, as the book becomes an illustration, unlikely that one can arrive at any convincing explanation!

Human life alone?

My first observation of the book in question is that it talks mostly if not entirely, about human suffering. In reality, human suffering is only tip of the iceberg. Pain, misery, suffering and helplessness is vast and a majority of it is visible outside human species. One might ask how it should matter, does human suffering get a better explanation if we consider a bigger range of creation. Yes, it does. It helps us put suffering in its real context.

Why should food chain involve violence at all?

Arun Shourie while acknowledging the traditional explanation that violence and suffering is inherent in the very food chain of nature, questions the logic behind it – as to why it should have been designed that way in the first place. Of course, a question is a question whether or not there is an alternate view presented (for instance how else it could be and still make logical sense).

Attempting Answers

Having pointed out why his line of inquiry does not find the answer to questions posed by the book, a brief attempt at how answers are to be found.

Texts and Subject of Choice

The subject of Vedanta (Upanishads, Gita, Brahma Sutras) is brahma vidya or brahma MImAMsa – not vishwa MImAMsa. Brahman is the remainder of the world, and thus an explanation of phenomenal world needs to be done from the viewpoint of viSwa mImAMsa – sankhya for instance which deals with the qualities of world. Nature of suffering is not sufficiently explained by brahma mImAMsa, it is only taken as a known phenomenon which is sought to be transcended.

sAmkhya for instance, says phenomenal experiences are threefold: sukha (pleasure), dukha (suffering) and moha (delusion). These three are forms of bhoga of a being. In turn, bhoga is one of the threefold experiences of a being: bhoga (phenomenal), swarga (heavenly) and apavarga (liberation from the states of being and all phenomenal experiences). The three primal natural qualities satva, rajas and tamas result in the three kinds of phenomenal experiences (sukha etc). The source of suffering is thus clearly known. The rationale for suffering is not, apparently. However, there can be an inconvenient counter question raised here: why do you only want to know the rationale (or reason for existence) for suffering and why do you not want to know the rationale for pleasure? Thus the book makes a very partial inquiry into truth, and does not hence qualify for a convincing answer. If the questioning is of the rationale for all the three phenomenal experiences and not just one of them, the rationale is not unmentioned in sAmkhya. The jIva seeks all the three experiences offered by nature, whether or not the mind and body seek them. It is the fullest experience of life and world that the being seeks, across lives. The substratum of craving all the experiences is the craving for Ananda, the rasa underlying all rasa-s.

It is said that pain and pleasure are two sides of a coin and you can’t ask for just one. But balance is not really what is sought in life between what is wanted and what is unwanted. It requires more explaining as to why the unwanted is present in the first place. The explanation is that the “unwanted” (suffering in this case) is not really unwanted from a witness point of view (the sAkshI), it is only unwanted from the consumer’s view point (the bhokta). Both these are two consciousness states of the same being, so the same experience is not really unwanted for the being as it is assumed.

Mother Goddess Missed

While the book talks about God, it more or less misses out the feminine aspect of divinity and its inherent implications on our understanding of the world. The book asks whether God understands a mother’s heart, but a mother’s heart is not the abode of unwillingness to suffer but of an infinite willingness to suffer to ensure the offspring comes into being, to ensure it is nourished and becomes capable of experiencing the world. So from where does the question of suffering refuting religious philosophy, even arise?

The very birth of offspring happens out of pain, resulting in pleasure both for the mother. The mother only desires lack of suffering for the offspring, and for fulfilling such desire the mother herself undergoes infinite suffering. The undesirability of suffering and the questioning of its rationale by the book hence, is a very partial inquiry even into suffering. Suffering is not really as undesirable from an objective viewpoint as it is from a selective representation of experience of the world. There are in fact many cases in the world like that of mother, where suffering is embraced willingly, not just because it is inevitable but rather because it yields fruits that are far more desirable. In a simplistic sense the notions of pain being teacher or suffering hardening a person can be rejected as not sufficiently explaining suffering, because a hypothetical “why not otherwise” can always be raised. But when they form part of explaining the entire realm of experiences out of which suffering is essentially not undesirable but only phenomenally (that too partially) undesirable, the question of rationale itself does not arise.

Divine is worshipped in Hinduism equally as God and Goddess. The bhakta-devata relation is full of love and compassion. The world itself, is said to be a creation out of bliss and for the purpose of three-fold experience.

God (I do not prefer using this vague word, just using what Sri Shourie uses in his book) is as much a mother, who brings into existence the phenomenal world, permeates it and experiences through each being all that is experienced by all beings as the witness. Is suffering one of them and if it is, why is it even desired to be seen or undergone if that is not an undesired experience?

Full life spectrum not just human

In my limited study of the subject there is no better explanation of suffering I came across than a commentary of Durga Saptasati written by ‘Sriyanandanatha’ Sri Iswara Satyanarayana Sarma with the title “sAdhana sAmAgri”. Suffering is not just an unwanted experience but one that shapes evolution. But again, suffering in itself cannot be explained without counting all the three forms of phenomenal experiences. The three together shape the evolution of beings, give them the fullest knowledge of world and reality. Suffering inspires action as much pleasure does. And both inspire action towards experience of happiness. This is true not just of humans but of all forms of life.

Seeing suffering as a consequence is quite different from seeing it as a permanent presence.

Experience and Suffering

Of all that is termed suffering, it is difficult to really ascertain what is and what is not. Because it is, most of the times, dependent on the state of being, the forbearance, and positive/negative sense in which experiences of life/world are perceived. What is suffering for a frail body is not really for a strong body. While no being says it doesn’t have suffering, the perception of what suffering is, is quite variable and in many cases the one experiencing doesn’t treat as suffering what the onlookers think it is (and vice versa).

This means that the question posed by the book doesn’t stand a consistent ground as to what is the rationale for suffering, because what constitutes suffering doesn’t have a universal definition. It can be rephrased from “why is there suffering in the world” to “why do beings suffer”. The latter is experience-centric, not phenomenon-centric. Again, this is a short version of the longer question “why do beings suffer and not have only pleasant experiences”, a partial inquiry and has similar defects mentioned above. It indicates the inherent craving of beings for happiness, and what darSana-s lay down is precisely the path to that.

Ananda and Rasa

What Sri Shourie also misses in the book is the survey of human experiences from the aesthetic viewpoint. In rasa siddhAnta the fundamental flavors of human experiences are enlisted, and the goal of aesthetics and works of art is to achieve resonance of those experiences in the audience. The essence of all these experiences is the juice of existence. The substratum of all these is happiness or Ananda. The famous navarasa listing (SRngAra, hAsya, raudra, karuNa, bhIbhatsa, bhayAnaka, vIra, adbhuta) needs to be surveyed to get an idea of how Indic traditions view human experiences. They do not really categorize these experiences as pain or pleasure, but as different colors which in their intensity lead to the same substratum underlying all experiences. Maslow comes close to this by invoking the moments of peak human experiences. The aesthetic moods depict the states of mind, and regardless of their outward “desirability” or “undesirability” their intense pursuit results in the same peak experience of rasa. karuNa, the empathy towards suffering, results in as much a strong human experience as does SRngAra or raudra. Seen from this viewpoint the question of suffering is rather superficial. How does suffering then, refute Hindu traditions?

 

Why are many Internet Hindus Anonymous?

Including us, very many internet hindoos run blogs, many of them wonderful (not including this blog obviously), use pseudonyms/anonymous ids. There are several views of their anonymity, and liberals have colorful readings into it, right from the cowardice of internet yindoos to ease of abusing big names while hiding their own identities.

This brief note is hardly an attempt to justify anonymity: evidently each one has his reasons to remain anonymous and definitely the right to do so at one’s own discretion. On the contrary we (the ones running this blog, not all internet yindoos) seek to spell out our perspective of it: as to why we decide to be anonymous. In the current public discourse what is available is predominantly a liberal comment of bhAratIyata and not a bhAratIya view or participant view of things. Most phenomena are seen through the western liberal lens and evaluated. We attempt one of the participant perspectives.

Just anonymous, not abusive

The liberal allegation of scope for abuse falls flat when one looks at some anonymous IH blogs: http://manasataramgini.wordpress.com http://bharatendu.com/ http://arisebharat.com http://amatyarakshasa.blogspot.in/ http://vajrin.wordpress.com/ to mention a few they are hardly abusive but erudite informative and enlightening. They are anonymous nevertheless, and must be so, hence, for other reasons.

Protect self from abuse

The abuse received by some of the bloggers makes them go anonymous, some moderate and some even block comments. But even that, explains only a part of it. One can obviously enforce moderation without being anonymous.

Some do, seek to remain anonymous to avoid attacks: the environment is overwhelmingly anti-Hindu physical assault/ character assassination is something the likes of Kanchi Swamy and Asaram Bapu could not avoid at the hands of vested interests within Bharata. In which case, those seeking to educate people obviously prefer anonymity as it is the content and not personal glory that they want.

Impersonal

Another, more (or most) important reason: most of the IH content is impersonal, just like bhAratIya knowledge. Very little content in these blogs have personal narratives, most of the content is conceptual. Unlike many non-anonymous bloggers who post abundantly personal narratives.

What is the need to hide personal identity just because what you write is impersonal in nature? That again, is the bhAratIya view: person does not come in impersonal narrative, and even if he does, there is a passive norm for it. So Mahabharata written by Vyasa refers several times to Vyasa but never in first person. The Hindu view of writing content is a primary reason for the impersonal nature of many of the blogs and twitter handles.

Non-participant

Hindu society has abundant knowledge and hence scholarship, though persecuted for centuries. The ones participating in public movements or university/interactive scholarship usually run their blogs without being anonymous. The anonymous ones are the ones studying/educating outside their mainline careers.

Groups

Some of the blogs and twitter handles do not belong to individuals but groups. It is not anonymity in this case: the authors are well known. Some are individuals that blog ideas that are not entirely their own but try to bring them to fore without taking credit or exposing the sources. This again, in departure from the patent world of monetized knowledge, is in consonance with bhAratIya thinking.

Is Purpose of Existence Unimportant?

Richard Dawkins, in this short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwdVD1gGDvA) tells us the importance of “why” is limited to knowing antecedents and that why in a teleological sense or purpose of existence is a useless, even a foolish question.

This short note is not to go too much into the philosophy of these two essential aspects (antecedent and teleology) of causation but to briefly examine their importance.

Is teleology not important? In the four forms of scientific explanations Ernst Nagel lists, teleology and genetic explanations are very well recognized. Genetic explanation (the one that traces the roots of effect in cause) is what underlies the philosophy of searching for antecedents of the present form of universe. Teleology on the other hand, does give answers that are relevant to not just some aspects of life sciences but philosophy. For instance anomalous expansion of water is a known principle. But why exactly should it happen that way and what purpose does it serve? It does serve a purpose, of protecting life under ice by keeping the water beneath above freezing point. Much of evolution, in terms of how living beings develop limbs, resistance, shapes etc in accordance with the challenges of environment, is explained by teleology.

Why is purpose of life and existence then, unimportant? This question is itself teleological in nature and Richard Dawkins’s rejection of importance can be explained teleologically. But leaving that, where is evolution headed? To which end? Teleology is very important to understand this. Mere back-projection into antecedents and fore projections into future evolution path does not help. Unless purpose of evolution is known, its real direction cannot be ascertained. Development of greater abilities, physical or cognitive, is itself serving a purpose.

That purpose, the eastern traditions say, is greater, still greater and ultimate happiness or Ananda (http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Ananda ). An overwhelming majority of human deeds is teleological – not just biological construction of beings. It is for some purpose – and the substratum of all purposes is happiness. How then, can teleology become unimportant, Richard Dawkins?