Thoughts on Crime Control – II (Hindu Outlook to Nature and Woman)

The recent public protests and media debates around rising crime in India have been, as expected, quite superficial. They hardly go into the root of the issue – because the protesting layman is only concerned about his safety and not roots of the problem, and the media is not equipped with the understanding of Hindu society, its outlook, its workings, its problems or solutions. So when people cannot talk of the source of problem or solution, easy way is to make noise and divert attention. While media appeared to be honest in the first couple weeks, its true colors came out nonetheless – trying to blame the “retrograde” Hindutva folks for “not being able to digest” woman’s empowerment in the “evolving” world culture, giving publicity to distorted statements of popular leaders etc.

But as we discussed in the previous write up, the problem is not limited to assaults on women, nor is it about empowerment of women. Statistically rise in crime has to do with tendency towards crime and opportunity for the offender, and is hardly related to woman’s empowerment or any other genuinely progressive change. In fact whenever a progressive change was proposed, Bharatiya people accepted it way faster than any other society, given factors like its size, complexity, awakening time etc.

Fact remains that there have been stray publications in the media, mostly sloganeering, saying woman should not be treated “as an object”, woman “deserves her social space, freedom and protection”, woman “is equal to man” and so on. There is however no serious thinking or worthwhile analysis on this topic from media, state or secularists. The job is attempted by those Hindutva folks only – they are the ones trying to see *why it is happening* instead of merely shouting “it should not happen”. This means they are not, unlike the others, standing outside the sphere of the problem to shout slogans but have owned up the problem of the society. And whatever statements they gave out in public, show their attempts as responsible citizens and not their escapism. On the other hand congress and media tried to keep out of the dirt, and kept throwing mud at these people whenever possible – sometimes calling them foolish, sometimes calling them retrograde, sometimes “sexist” and sometimes “outrageous”.

Let us consider two out of the many statements that media chose to rake controversy about, and move on.

  1. Mohanji Bhagavat’s message, calling to restore the native ethos of this nation where woman always held a respectable position. Saying that India that is always in a cultural conflict with native Bharatiya values, he said rise in crime happens in India but not in Bharat where the native ethos are respected. In short, the more westernized India is becoming, the more it is exposing itself to crime. Media pretended to not understand this, and interpreted this with all negative connotations possible. Media also pretended to not understand the simplest statement that marriage is a social contract and ran a negative campaign for days – do such people deserve to run media?
  2. One BJP MP said “badoun ke saath tho samajh mein aata hai, lekin nabalik bacchoun ke saath… phaansi deni chahiye”. Any sane individual can understand this – that rape on an adult woman is at least imaginable, but people who attempt abuse of children is incomprehensible and needs severest possible action. Now this gets interpreted as he is saying it is “understandable” that adult women are raped, and then articles get published saying he calls it “understandable”, people interpret as condoning, worse promoting such crime. Does the translator deserve the benefit of doubt that he did not understand what the MP said? If yes, does he deserve a place in national media?

Worst part is, it has become a sort of crime to advice caution on the part of victim – an indication of how directionless and jingoistic our media is. Any measures suggested for women to protect themselves are met with an allegation of misogyny. Well, there are thefts on rise in many places and police issued public welfare notices indicating the precautions people should take to avoid theft. When an old man is robbed in broad daylight, people could not help but ask how he could carry cash alone without protection. Bank folks do not carry cash to ATM without protection. But it is an “insult to womanhood” to ask for proper caution to ensure safety!

So as always, how much ever maligned, it is the same Hindutva folks who search for solutions – with whatever success does not matter. At least, they are not like those who actively participate in creating the problem (as was discussed in the previous part).

While media tried actively to read ill-treatment of woman as a part of Hindutva, a few guys went way too far – calling for an undoing of the macho-masculinity of Hindutva movement! Of course, the same newspaper had to tender an apology and publish a countering article. But in reality, where is machoism and anti-feminine masculinity presented in India? The most of it comes from bollywood-gym culture where the macho figures are publicized along with flocking semi-nude heroines. But this is only an aside.

The Theory

Broadly there are two planes or consciousness frames – bhoga (enjoying) and jnAna (knowing). As a man evolves into the higher reaches of consciousness, from gross to subtle, he also gradually evolves from the bhoga to the jnAna. This evolution also involves a lot of parallel changes – from personal to impersonal awareness, from individual to selfless pursuits etc. So to say, as a man moves up in the Maslow pyramid, he becomes less outwardly enjoyment-centric and becomes knowledge-centric (or inwardly enjoyment-centric). So synthesis of knowledge happens from evolved men, as knowledge is their object of enjoyment. In a society that understands and encourages this kind of evolution, there is development of the technical and philosophical nature of subjects. In a society that loses this vision, there is a consumption of the results of knowledge but lack of knowledge synthesis.

When the outlook changes from enjoyment to knowledge, man looks at nature as a teacher rather than as a repository of pleasure. He sees the experiences of nature, both pain and pleasure as means to the synthesis of knowledge, and thus nature as a teacher and a provider who confers knowledge and provides the means and experiences for the knowledge. Thus he evolves respect for nature, as the impersonal and eternal teacher and mother. When this kind of vision underlies the founding principles of a society, it would learn to worship nature than abuse it. Whether it is the general Hindu approach of worshiping natural phenomena or treating nature, earth as mother, the respect towards nature is pervasive.

In a society that is evolved and civilized, the flow of thought descends from jnana to bhoga, involving the necessary outlook. A man in jnana bhumi tries to fix his mind on jnana. A man in bhoga bhumi still has his mind on bhoga and not jnana. But with the above aesthetic backdrop, even the layman in bhoga bhumi derives bhoga not with the sense that he is enjoying nature but with the sense that mother nature is giving him sources of enjoyment – a subtle but very important difference (for people who think Veda is for the priest and layman is off of it, this stands a big counter example as of how the Hindu layman’s view of life and nature takes the same backdrop as that of a scholar). This makes all the difference between treating nature as a conquered object and as a providing mother. It is not limited to some esoteric reverence – but affects the way nature is conserved or disturbed. While the word “conservative” is made synonymous to “retrograde” and “closed” in popular discourse today, fact remains that with permanent things like nature being conservative is the only way mankind can survive long. Extinction of several species, loss of ecological balance etc are major concerns today, though it is much less advertised at common man level.

The Hindu view of women derives from the same view of nature. This is the reason Hindu outlook places woman in a much better position than any other society/outlook. Woman is nature herself, and one who respects nature would also respect woman. This thought is sinking very slowly into western thought, but is pervasive in Hindu thought. Since primitive times, woman’s contribution to Hindu knowledge is not random but fundamental. Right from the reflective observation of natural phenomena and cycles to profound spiritual concepts like feminine notion of bhakti.

That feminist movement is not as rampant in India as it was in west, is not because of Indian resistance but because India never put woman in that miserable state as west did in the past. People who quote examples like sati or niyoga or child marriage fail to see how the practices came in time and went in time – demanded by the situation but not eternal features of Hinduism.

Current Situation  

So when the “Hindutva” leaders ask for restoration of woman’s position, they know exactly what they are saying – that the secondary treatment or disrespect of woman is a consequence of utilitarian worldview India is absorbing, which is in total contrast to the way Hindu society always treated women. Of course, there are aberrations during external aggressions – again what we see there is a sense of possession and protection of something precious than a “secondary” treatment which is more definable on ego grounds.

Today the challenge is not with empowerment of woman but of her self-discovery. Hindu society never defined womanhood with respect to a man, and recognized her uniqueness – something that is lost in the modern parlance. No amount of “equality” argument is going to allow that self-discovery, as long as that equality is defined as equality with respect to man. What is required is the freedom for woman to identify herself in her own image – something that is totally lost in the west and hence being lost in India.

Woman is always treated as the center of family, and as Sister Nivedita puts it, she is “The Web of Indian Life” (title of her book itself) – the one that holds the society safe and intact. The deterioration of woman’s position in society is hence directly related to (1) rise of utilitarian view of life (2) deterioration of family and society and rise in individualism. Identification of male-female relation within the fold of family is not equal to limiting woman to family role, but realizing her uniqueness. As mentioned earlier, when Hindu society was healthy and both these aspects were in balance woman’s role in the society was not limited to household. A society that is healthy and civilized, is not merely sustained but held intact by empowered and capable woman. The development of refined aspects of civilization can come only by the identification of feminine principle as unique in itself.

Today the Bharatiya society has to suit itself, and identify ways to prevent this degradation. It is not contrary to, but a part of the overall revival of the civilization under constant attack. The present lack of self-confidence and superimposition of individualistic definition and a loss of macro perspective need to be overcome.

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18 thoughts on “Thoughts on Crime Control – II (Hindu Outlook to Nature and Woman)

  1. Pingback: Hindu Version of Feminism? « Devayasna

  2. Annie F. Shaffer

    To a Hindu, the motherly aspect of God in nature is full of beauty, gentleness, kindness, and tenderness. When we look upon all the glorious and beautiful things ill nature and experience a feeling of tenderness within us, we feel the motherly instinct of God. The worship of God in the form of Mother is a unique contribution of the Hindu child. When a devotee worships God as Divine Mother, he or- she appeals to Her tenderness and unconditional love. Such love unites the de votee with God, like a child with its mother. Just as a child feels safe and secure in the lap of its mother, a devotee feels safe and secure in the presence of the Divine Mother-. Pararnaharnsa Sri Ramakrishna, one of the greatest Indian s ages of modern times, worshipped the Divine Mother Kali during his entire life. He established a personal relationship with Her and was always conscious of Her presence by his side. In Hinduism, Divine Mother is the first manifestation of Divine Energy. Thus with the name of Divine Mother comes the idea of energy, omnipotence, omnipresence, love, intelligence, and wisdom. Just as a child believes its mother to be all-powerful, and capable of doing anything for the child, a devotee believes the Divine Mother to be all merciful, all-powerful and eternally guiding and protecting him with her invisible arms. The worship of God as Mother- has had a significant impact on Hinduism. The position of women in the Hindu religion is dignified because each woman is considered a manifestation of the Divine Mother. Hindus view man and woman as the two wings of the same bird. Thus, a man is considered incomplete without a woman, since “it is not possible for- a bird to fly on only one wing”—Swami Vivekananda. Through the worship of God in the form of Mother, Hinduism offers a unique rev erence to womanhood.

    Reply
  3. satyadeva prasad

    Atul Thakur’s repeated appeal to prayer as cure to our problems looks a bit amusing but there is truth in his appeal. Prayer as a gathering point of ones mind has its own power. But what is most important and lacking at present among Hindus, especially educated Hindus, is the lack of study and application. As one example, I may point out that what we observe as muslim aggressiveness is not an independent development, though it is the latest, youthful expression of a long of asuric tradition. We can, for our purpose here, trace that tradition to christianity, the elder brother of islam. The latter got most of its mindset and practice pattern from the former, though there are notable differences. Now christianity may appear to some as sober in some respects but it is the mother of all terrorism, facism and what not.Because of the lack of study by the modern educated Hindu beyond his own chosen academic field, knowledge about the asuric tradition is not acquired as it should be. As a result the Hindu fails to combat the problems posed by the members of the asuric tradition in modern times. As a sample of how christianity shows way to islam in illtreating women, one may go through Helen Ellerby’s The Darkside of Christian History, and such other books.Prasad.

    Reply
    1. skandaveera Post author

      The appeal to prayer comes from many sides, but fact is Hindu society’s approach to prayers is quite different from the layman style prayers done in Church. One must recall what Bhishma tells Duryodhana in Virata Parva – whichever place dharmic men like Pandavas live, will be prosperous and peaceful. Thus social well being depends on the powerful dharmic rituals on one side and the following of dharma on the other. Prayer in itself is good, but we have to soon realize what has been sustaining Hindu Dharma and follow it. And Dharma includes svadhyaya – proper learning.

      Reply
    2. Atul Thakur

      Hmmm.. It saddens me to see the state of Hindu though, Hindus are their own biggest enemies !! Not Christianity or Islam. Hindus are very religious people. Yet they have NO faith in their prayers or God. Why else would they write stuff criticizing other religions and not worrying about finding solution through prayer as taught in the scriptures.
      Do u know that Christians pray before every meal. Just a short prayer. Christian presidents say “God bless their country” .. They are far more spiritual than Hindus that just claim to know and refuse to find a solution through prayer. Islamic people pray 5 times a day touching their head to the ground numerous times. How many times have hindus gone to the temple and bowed their head to the ground ?? How many times do they touch their head to the ground in general. If we Hindus do not do it then we have no right to even criticize the west. They want to use the products of the west and still criticize it.

      Reply
    3. Atul Thakur

      Hmmm.. It saddens me to see the state of Hindu though, Hindus are their own biggest enemies !! Not Christianity or Islam. Hindus are very religious people. Yet they have NO faith in their prayers or God. Why else would they write stuff criticizing other religions and not worrying about finding solution through prayer as taught in the scriptures.
      Do u know that Christians pray before every meal. Just a short prayer. Christian presidents say “God bless their country” .. They are far more spiritual than Hindus that just claim to know and refuse to find a solution through prayer. Islamic people pray 5 times a day touching their head to the ground numerous times. How many times have hindus gone to the temple and bowed their head to the ground ?? How many times do they touch their head to the ground in general. If we Hindus do not do it then we have no right to even criticize the west. They want to use the products of the west and still criticize it.

      Reply
      1. skandaveera Post author

        “Hindus are very religious people. Yet they have NO faith in their prayers or God. Why else would they write stuff criticizing other religions and not worrying about finding solution through prayer as taught in the scriptures.”

        Of course they have, but faith is not the only thing in Hinduism. Going by your logic if faith is central you must be asserting that Christians do not criticize other religions? But what is the fact? They happen to spread the worst kind of lies and hatred all over the world. So you having faith and abusing others are entirely different things. Christians do not try solving their problems through prayers – that is just a facade. What they actually do is defrauding, attacking others, destroying others. Why else is the West today bereft of all those native civilizations and religions, why else is it all Christian majority today? Why else is all the missionary aggression and turbulence in the oriental societies today?

        “How many times have hindus gone to the temple and bowed their head to the ground ?? How many times do they touch their head to the ground in general.”

        Why is temple going a criterion for someone’s religiosity or spiritual strength? Thats a very, very superficial statement.

        ” If we Hindus do not do it then we have no right to even criticize the west. They want to use the products of the west and still criticize it.”

        Another mixup. Indians buying costly western products is much less than the west looting India’s rich natural resources. Please do some study of how systematically India’s largest industry is systematically destroyed replacing it with imports from the west – right from textiles. Your interpretation is wrong.

  4. Pingback: Part III (Justice JS Verma Committee Report) | Arise Bharat

  5. Confused Krishan Bhakta in Canada

    “That feminist movement is not as rampant in India as it was in west, is not because of Indian resistance but because India never put woman in that miserable state as west did in the past.”

    Can’t speak for the entire “west” but at least here in Canada and the US, women had it better pre-Feminism than a lot of women have it even know in many other countries.

    Of course there’s always room for improvement (for everyone, not just women) but I always tell Canadians and Americans “you have no idea just how good you got it”.

    Reply
  6. Atul Thakur

    Long post. Had some good points. I feel that women are being treated this way due to the Muslim influence. They r the only religion that touts that women should behave this way or that or wear this or that. Hindus have to fight this influx of Muslim thought. We can do it as follows.

    We need to pray to cleanse the environment in India. With a lot of Faith we all should pray. The prayer can be as follows..

    ” We pray for all the women/girls in India/World be Protected be Free and be Happy” .. Say this prayer several times a day. Say it with conviction. Say it with concentration.

    By saying such a prayer it will send positive vibrations to everyone in India. Even if a small number of people start saying this prayer in hindi or english does not matter, it will have a profound effect on the environment in India.

    It has been said that Hindus are very religious. They go to religious functions and pray. However they do not have faith in their prayer !! That has to change. Have faith that if anything can change the environment it is PRAYER. So PRAY and PRAY hard as suggested above and change the environment and peoples minds via Prayer !!!

    Reply
    1. Confused Krishna Bhakta in Canada

      “Long post. Had some good points. I feel that women are being treated this way due to the Muslim influence. They r the only religion that touts that women should behave this way or that or wear this or that. Hindus have to fight this influx of Muslim thought. ”

      Ancient Hindu women did not wear a lot of clothes or cover their skin extensively, nor did the men, because of the tropical climate in much of the area.

      However the less clothes Indian women wear today, it is thought of as “western influence”. !

      Reply
      1. skandaveera Post author

        1. Things change with time. So what was acceptable in ancient times does not automatically become acceptable today, especially when it is a practice that has to do with current social mores.

        2. What exactly came with western influence is not just “lesser clothes”. After all a saree might cover “less” than what T-shirt and pants cover. But until recently when the traditionally accepted saree is thoroughly misused and abused in public media and made to look obscene, it still stood for the Indian *culture* and *respectable clothing* (does even now to a good extent) more than T-shirt and pants. Each society has its ways of looking at human body, its notions of what is public and what is private – dress is one part of it, there is a lot more to it. And western influence happens to be there in all that.

      2. Atul Thakur

        Very good points !! Agree with you. I feel that we Hindus should start praying for one another’s protection, success and health. Pray for Hindus in muslim dominated countries that they be protected. Pray for your neighbor hindu so that his problems are resolved. Pujaris and pandits should pray this way for the growth of Hinduism that respects and honors women without any conditions !

      3. Atul Thakur

        Agree with your points totally. We should be very worried about the Muslim expansion of thought and religion and imposition of their rules on society. Hindu women were free and respected all over no matter what they wore. The one way that I know of fighting this influence is to pray.

        Pray and pray hard for women to be protected and free

    2. skandaveera Post author

      Dear Sri Atul, the Hindu concept of prayer is an inherent part of dharma in many ways. While on one hand the daily ritual must include prayer for the well being of entire universe and mankind, on the other hand the primary motivations of people’s actions must be based in dharma. Hence while agreeing with you that prayer or worship for the well being of others is necessary, we must revive the lofty traditions that have this as an inherent and inseparable part.

      Reply
      1. Atul Thakur

        The basic issue with Dharma is that it is too difficult to understand ! i.e. what is my dharma at this very second !! We get caught in the duality of doing this as Dharma or that as non Dharma.. We as Hindus have to define first of all what Hinduism is .. My definition of Hinduism is as follows.

        Hinduism is a religion that gives one multiple paths to spirituality.. One can chant mantras and/or sing bhajans and/or do meditation and/or do deity workship and/or do reading of multiple scriptures and/or do Yoga and/or breath control and/or yajnas etc. Hindus believe in multiple scriptures like the Vedas, the Upanishads, Gita, Ramayana etc. So Hinduism is a true democratic religion giving folks the choice to worship and connect with the Divine in the manner that they prefer !

        So this definition should go to the masses. Once the masses start practicing pujas then Dharma follows.
        Suggestion is to not get caught up in the ideology.. Instead do something practical.
        I have written articles on how scientific Hindu religion is and have helped Hindus with mantra etc. That is what Hindus need !!
        Focus on that

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