God has given to man this Earth to live upon. There is no other planet on which there is life.
Only Earth sustains a human or an animal life. Man has traversed a long way to become what he today is. If the Darwinian Theory is to be believed in, we have emerged out of ape hood into manhood. Even in our manhood we have to go back to centuries before.
Let us only think in terms of India — our own country and judge ourselves on the balance of culture vis-a-vis science.
Having got science as our handmaid today, we have begun to revel in the thought that we now have all that want — or can have all that we want. We feel that can question our being civilised and cultured now. civlisation and culture is what we would make it to be.
Let us go back to our ancients. They did not have all that we have today. We have come a long way the Indus Valley civilization. We have become very much more scientifically advanced. And here the question poses itself—are we or have we become more civilised and cultured than our ancestors? Has Science made us more cultured?
The Industrial Revolution in England saw the booming up of industries. Science recorded many discoveries and inventions. We — our country — then was under the foreign yoke.
Gradually our country also reaped the advantages of the scientific growth and industries began to come up. But the foreign rulers — not that much interested in our quick upliftment, stopped short of total industrialization.
We won our independence in 1947 and even after that we gave up the Gandhian model of self-sufficient village economy on a small-scale industry basis and rushed with the Peruvian thought and plan of large scale industrialization.
The results were large scale exodus from villages to towns in search of easy and big money — villages remained where they were and a new phase grew up within and around the big industrial towns — slums.
The living conditions in these slums were and are worse than an animal’s life — no drainage, no sewers, no potable water, no hygiene, no sanitation just a ramshackle structure — called a home. This unplanned growth, none could check, and pollution and pollution-borne diseases became the rule of the day.
The smoke and gases emanating from these clusters have become a health hazard not only to the slum dwells but to the whole community. Added to this — the add circular traffic of buses, trucks and cars is causing an atmosphere warming.
This can even result in a global which could mean melting of the ice over the contain tops thereby raising the water level of seas and oceans. Studies have shown that the earth is 0.5 c warmer than what it was a century or a little earlier. These gases do not only pose a health hazard to the young ones but studies have proved that they can even have adverse effect on the pre-natal child.
So science has given us everything as we proudly claim but has, unfortunately, by our own indiscretions taken away the zest of life — for which zest all this effort and endeavor has been. Even the ozone layer around the earth is losing its thickness, furthermore, adding to our dismay and distress.
More urbanization — need for more habitat space — resulting in the cutting down of trees, reducing the sphere thus far occupied by forests posing a threat to the verdure of the world at large. The wild life is being mercilessly poached and many animal species are becoming extinct.
This self-aggrandisement on the part of ‘man’ — the rational being, is posing a hazard and havoc not only to his present generation but posing a permanent threat for the future generation too.
Let us only look at the scenario in our own country and adjudge our being more cultured and developed our ancestors. Our ancestors did not have the they did not have computers; they did not have E- mails and Fax but they worshipped the rivers; they worshipped trees.
They would revere the river Ganga or as a goddess — could they have allowed these never to be the carriers of all the sewage which today they are carrying. The ‘Cleaning Ganga remains more in plans and very miserably operation. The ancients worshipped Godavari, Kavery and recanted their names in their prayers while bathing. They worshipped trees — Pipal, Baniyan, Tulsi, Neem all was deified hence not to be cut.
This was only a method for tree-protection as this was because they were conscious of their importance for our environment. They had more scientific sense than all our scientific advancement that we claim to have achieved.
In Harappa and Mohenjodaro the building construction shows special attention to the drainage system. Drains were covered and were not left exposed. People were humble and hard working, chivalrous but considerate. They did not live only for themselves but for others too.
‘Vasudheva Kutumbhkam’ Ram went into exile only to clean the world of the devils and demons that was a social mission which he knew, he had to fulfill. Science was fully developed, of which we have all evidence. But man of today has become more self-centered and callous to others’ needs and interest.
Who can then be called more cultured — whether we or our ancients? It is the meaning of culture which has to be rightly learnt and known.
Culture is the discipline of the mind and the soul. Our ancients knew this, hence meditation, prayers, ‘Tapasya’ was a normal and common routine. They excelled in physical and mental vigor and the soul. They were listening to the sane advice — the entire Bhagwat Gita is a treasure house of sane advice and Arjun as a devout ‘listener, at last felt convinced.
Today’s unman treats a sane advice as an encroachment on personal liberty and private life. Parents have given their role of really parenting the child. An eight year boy is reported to have committed suicide. Too much stress over the little child’s mind, and lack of attention on the part of the busy parents — that is leading to the most of Youngman’s way-wardens.
Religion has lost its relevance for the modern man, even prayers and ‘kirtans’ are grand shows devoid of the real emotional and inner faith — everywhere there is pretension and show — that is modern life. While our ancients believed in austerity and simplicity.
Krishna and Sudama could be together as disciples of the same ‘guru’. Today’s public school culture creates an ‘elite’ class from the very childhood. The West which we have been imitating has realised the hollowness of a showy life — their minds are so distracted that they are running to the East — to India in particular to seek a mental escape.
Our religious missions have more devout devotees from among the Westerners. They have given themselves up to our culture, our faith, while our Youngman is in a state of juxtaposition — he is at the crossroads.
Let them — let our modern man, come out of his illusion of show and glamour and let him understand the value of life and take lessons in the eternal verities life. Then only can there be any hope of the revival of our cultural heritage of which we feel proud about and which deserves being proud about.