By: Sumanth Sharma
वित्तं बन्धुर्वयः कर्म विद्या भवति पञ्चमी
वित्तं बन्धुर्वयः कर्म विद्या भवति पञ्चमी ।
एतानि मान्यस्थानानि गरीयो यद् यदुत्तरम् ॥
vittaṃ bandhurvayaḥ karma vidyā bhavati pañcamī |
etāni mānyasthānāni garīyo yad yaduttaram ||
- Manu smRti 2.136 and Srī KrishnamRtamahArNava (236) by Srī Madhwāchārya
There are five ways of earning respect in the society: wealth (vittaṃ), acquaintances (bandhu), age (vayaḥ), action (karma) & knowledge (vidyā). Each one is better than the preceding one.
संपत्ति, बांधव्य, आयु, कर्मानुष्ठान एवं पाञ्च्वी है विद्या. यह गुण गौरव के कारण और योग्य है, इनमें से भी पहले से अधिक अगला गुण अधिक श्रेष्ठ है.
The importance of action and furthermore knowledge being emphasized by Manu and Sri Madhwāchārya.
Who is to be respected and what guṇas are to be respected in the society is also made clear, the person(s) who have realized the highest truth (jnāna) and people of knowledge (vidyā), followed by people committed to selfless work/action, then the elderly are to be respected followed by bandhu and then men of wealth. Means, people of mere wealth come last among the people worthy of respect whereas people of higher knowledge and samanya vidyā to be respected most in the society followed by people immersed in action and then the elders in the society.
It is worth noting that a person of knowledge is not going to differentiate people as his own and others and that could explain the lesser priority for respect based on mere acquaintance as vidyā guides us to see everyone and every-being as our own (ātmavat sarvabhūteśu).
It is a message to us in this era of false hero worship as to who are to be vandaīya and anukaraṇīya in a society and as to which qualities we must strive more for.
Indeed It is our Knowledge and our actions guided by the knowledge that are the ideals we must pursue.
We are all bang in the middle of a very serious second wave of China Virus pandemic.
Some of us are ourselves facing the heat, many of us are trying to be of some help to those who need it. In this era of information overdose, let us filter them, find out (knowledge) which ones are relevant, useful, specific information and share them to those who need it. Based on the knowledge let us strive our best to get into action mode in the way we can be of best use to our immediate neighborhood and where possible in the larger network.