An Injudicious Opinion: The rambles of a ‘Jobless ‘ & ‘Sick-U-lar ‘ BABU !!!

via H Balakrishnan - - LETTER TO TNIE published on February 14, 2012

Dear Sir,

Reference the ‘Opinion ‘ -  ” A judicious view of Gita ” – (TNIE – 13 Feb).

The writer concluded his ‘Opinion’ : ” That being so, making lessons from the Gita mandatory in schools is contrary to the statement in the Preamble to the Constitution of India that India is a secular republic. Article 25 gives freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion. Equally, a person has a right not to listen to someone else’s propagation of religion and because he has freedom of conscience he may reject an attempt to teach him what a religious book states. Article 51A in sub-clause (e) makes it the duty of every citizen to promote harmony and a spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. Making a study of a particular scripture compulsory in schools runs contrary to the spirit of Article 51A. To that extent one must disagree with the decision of the honourable high court and continue to believe that the Gita is not only a dharma granth, but for all Hindus has pride of place as a book of faith “.

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This ‘Injudicious Opinion’ (!!), reminded me of the ‘hue & cry’ & ‘furore’ raised by the ‘Sick-u-lar Brigands’, when Justice S N Srivastava, of the Allahabad High Court had stated : ” As India has recognised its national flag, national anthem, national bird, national animal and national flower, Bhagavad Gita may be considered as national (rashtriya) dharma shastra”.  The learned judge passed the order on 30 Aug 2007.

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The ‘furore’ that ensued, followed the ‘usual SICK-U-LAR’ beaten track !! Your paper in its edition of 11 Sep 2007, in a  report entitled : ” Bhagvad Gita should be made National Dharma Shastra : HC, No Says UPA “, had reported:

” Legal experts and philanthropists also came out against the observation of Justice S N Srivastava in an August 30 judgement that Geeta should be made the National ‘dharma shastra’. Law Minister H R Bhardwaj said, “for Muslims, it is the Quran and the Christians have the Bible. Every religion has its own dharma shastra, so how can we say it (Geeta) is for the entire nation”. “We have to respect the scriptures of other religions. Therefore, the observation needs to be ignored. It does not apply to everybody,” he said. “No judge can think like this, that there should be no freedom of religion or conscience,” Bhardwaj said.”

Nothing surprising in ‘Nehruvian SICK-U-LAR India’ !!

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So the Bhagavad Gita is a ‘religious text’, according to our ‘Jobless Babu’ !!

The irony lies in a report carried by the web portal ‘
‘ on November 21, 2008. The report was entitled : ” Gita study to be mandatory at Seton Hall University “. George Joseph, who filed the report from New York wrote :

” The study of the Bhagvad Gita has become mandatory for every student joining Seton Hall University in New Jersey from this year. Seton Hall is an independent, Catholic university under the Archdiocese of Newark founded in 1856. – — . The university wanted a transformational course that will influence the character and life of its students. So it wanted a course that seek answers to perennial questions like the purpose of life, why are we here, where are we going, etc, as part of the course. Titled ‘The Journey of Transformation,’ the course is taken during the freshman year and ‘seeks to forge a community of conversation inspired to explore perennial questions central but not exclusive to the Catholic intellectual tradition.’ The translation of the Bhagvad Gita by Stephen Mitchell is the text. The faculty teaches it with additional training. None of the teachers is Hindu “.

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A year earlier, the Delhi based English daily – The Pioneer – in its edition of September 17, 2007, had carried a report, entitled : ” More B-Schools take up lessons from Ramayana “. The report stated :

” As the controversy over the UPA Government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court [ pertaing to the Ram Setu ] has seen Indian politicians vacillate between bland denial to reverent assertion of Lord Ram’s existence, management gurus in the world’s premier educational institutions have been telling their students to take a lesson from Ram to succeed in the present environment of globalised economy. Lessons of Hindu epics Ramayana have formed part of teaching on leadership, management and governance at prestigious institutions like the Wharton Business School of the USA, the Indian Business School of Hyderabad and many Indian Institutes of Management.

The Bodhananda Research Foundation for Management and Leadership Studies (BRF-ML) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is also developing courses to develop management theories and suggest management practices based on Indian philosophical and mythological literature – the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Panchatantra, Arthasastra etc, informs PN Subramanian,its chief executive “.  

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A paper published by research scholar, Mrs. A.Bharathy , Lecturer, Department of Management Pondicherry University Community College, was entitled : ” Indian epics: Knowledge and Wisdom – Transcending into Millenium management Practices “
The executive summary of the paper read:

” In this modern world , the art of Management has become a part and parcel of everyday life, be it at home, in the office or factory and in Government. This article focuses on how the complexities of the modern management system can take lessons from our Indian scriptures. More so corporate India  is setting new trends through expansion and extension of their corporate boundaries as seen through their acquisitions and mergers. Be it the Arthasashtra or the Ramayana or the Mahabharatha they are a store house of  management knowledge and wisdom.These lessons are relevant in the 21st century for us because these paradigms of management implicit in them are not objects of archives but living lessons for generations to come, without over sighting the fact that they at best supplement or support existing principles or practices of management.

Indian epics and mythology offers countless solutions to day-to-day problems being faced by people. Epics such as the Bhagavad-Gita, Mahabharata and others are the storehouse of invaluable knowledge, which can be utilised to tackle difficult situations in the corporate world. More so today corporate India is setting new trends through expansion and extension of their corporate boundaries as seen through new acquisitions and mergers.

Be it King Ashoka of Kanishka who built rest houses for travelers and advertised Buddhist philosophy on rock edicts to our father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi discovering the paths of truth from the play on Raja Harishchandra or understanding the characteristics of a leader from the Ramayana to our present day corporate entities strategic actions namely Bharti Airtel acquiring Zain telecom’s Africa assets for $10 .7 billion Tata group acquiring  UK ‘s flagship brands LandRover & Jagaur brands, Reliance pay out of 392 million for 60% stake  in US Shale Joint Venture – – – , as the list goes on , one can quote a number of instances where our indian epics  are rich in Business practices and ethics for the man of today , tomorrow and beyond. Indian Business is breaking a new ground facilitating the arrival of the idea of Indian Management.

Yoga, Ayurveda and Indian Management Wisdom (IMW) are the three rivers of knowledge from India that are drawing a new attention at the global level.


Now, that makes me wonder – “Where is Faith in all this ?” !!

Swami Ranganathananda (1908–2005) born Shankaran Kutty, had published a brilliant trilogy on the Bhagavad Gita in 2000. It was entitled: ” Bhagavad Gita: An exposition of the Gita in the Light of Modern Thought and Modern Needs “. Releasing the book at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai on 10 Feb 2001 , Islamic scholar, author and Cabinet Minister in the Maharshtra Govt.  (late) Dr. Rafiq Zakaria, (father of the current foreign affairs Editor of Newsweek – Fareed Zakaria), stated:

” I have read several translations of the Gita in English – from Sir Edwin Arnold’s, to Annie Besant’s, to Gandhiji’s, Vinobhaji’s – -. I find the exposition of Swami Ranganathananda in many respects unique; it is down to earth and fascinatingly erudite. In explaining every shloka, Swamiji relates its real connotation and significance to not only what Adi Shankara said in his introduction to the Gita or how Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda interpreted it in terms of practical Vedanta, but also how it conforms to the thinking of some of the greatest Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. – -.

Even the greatest scientists like Einstein or famous neurologists like Sir Charles Sherrington and poets like Wordsworth and Shelley and philosophers like Julian Huxley and Bertrand Russell are brought in by the Swamiji to give us an in depth understanding of the shlokas. Swamiji weaves every shloka into the requirements of modern life and throws light on ‘HOW MAN SHOULD LEAD HIS LIFE’ while involved in his daily chores or business deals or academic pursuits and fulfil his duties in accordance with the ‘PHILOSOPHY OF ACTION’ as taught by Sri Krishna ‘which is a marvel of the elevation of the Self”.

Any “FAITH” involved in Dr. Zakaria’s commentary ? !!

Swami Ranganathananda, in his ‘Introduction’ (Vol -1) quoted American transcendentalist Thoreu : ” In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal PHILOSOPHY of the Bhagavad Gita, since whose composition, years of gods have
elapsed, and in comparison with which OUR MODERN WORLD AND ITS LITERATURE SEEM PUNY AND TRIVIAL”

To sum up the essence of the Bhagavad Gita, here is what Adi Shankara wrote in his commentary (excerpt):

” The science of the Gita is aimed at spiritual freedom; it also sets out the Ultimate Truth; hence it is equipped with a specific objective, relation and content. Since knowing its meaning results in achieving all the values of life, I am making an effort to elucidate it”.

Any “Faith” being marketed by Adi Shankara ?? !!

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In conclusion, and in context, here is what Dr. Frank Morales – (aka – Shri Dharama Pravartaka Acharya) – the resident Acharya of the Hindu Temple at Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A. wrote in his Introduction, to Dr. David Frawley’s (aka Acharya Vamadeva Shastri) – latest treatise : ” Universal Hinduism : Towards a New Vision of Sanatana Dharama ” (2010), Voice of India, New Delhi:

” – – -. For unlike any other SPIRITUAL world-view in existence, there is no aspect of the HUMAN EXPERIENCE – from the aesthetic, literary, scientific, economic, medical and political realms, to those of philosophy, metaphysics, psychology and ultimate medical transcendence – that Sanatana Dharama does not address directly, systematically and conclusively”.

Anything further to be said on the ‘Opinion’ ?

Coincidentally, the British daily – The Telegraph – in its edition of 14 Feb 2012, carries a Front page report, entitled: ” Britain being overtaken by ‘militant secularists’, says Baroness Warsi” .

“British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation” reminiscent of “totalitarian regimes”, a  Cabinet minister will warn on Tuesday”.

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How true of India also !!!



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