Sunday, August 9, 2015

Of what use is science to the unintelligent?

How can shāstra help a person without self-intelligence?
What will a mirror do, for the one devoid of sight?

shAstra is that which is an authority. A field or a work in that field that is authoritative work, could be any of the –logies that we know, or seminal works in these fields. It is what you fall back on when you have doubt. It could be the dharma-shAstra, artha-shAstra, or any such works that people referred to when in doubt. It can even be the Veda, Upanishad, Gita etc.

But such a shAstra can only help those who have some intelligence of their own. Why? When you don’t apply your own intelligence to the matter at hand, you will never make the truth your own; it will never be part of you. You may babble it out, but you have not understood it. If the situation changes a little bit, the solution won’t fit and you won’t know how to modify the solution to fit the changed situation. That is when, you would say “I don’t know or care, this is how it has been done always, and this is how I will do.” And therein begins the fall of humanity’s progress in whichever field it is. Chandogya Upanishad explains this very clearly in 7:17:1 and 7:18:1 about the who can understand the truth? One who meditates, contemplates, mulls over it, only then the truth becomes yours.

This happens a lot in spiritual and religious fields as well. While in Sanatana dharma aka Hinduism, there are still many previous works to refer to when in doubt, other religions don’t have that luxury or provision. And it is but natural that the conditions in the society are not same as they were 1500 or 3000 years back. Are the shAstra-s themselves flexible enough to allow reinterpretation for changed times? Are they algebra with formulas where in you can feed new values to get results for changed times? Or are they arithmetic so that we don’t know the basic principles which we can apply to changed situations.

A mirror will help you make up only if you have your own eyes. If you are borrowing someone else’s eyes, you don’t need the mirror, that other person will correct your makeup. In which case you are forever dependent on that person - be it a guru or a swami or a priest or a padre.

If you don’t open your eyes, use your intelligence and get up with some initial help from others, you will always be crawling, crying, scared, dependent, helpless like a baby, yet adamant and ever-ready to charge others, like a bull.

And now the language aspects -

यस्य नास्ति स्वयं प्रज्ञा शास्त्रं तस्य करोति किम् ।
लोचनाभ्यां विहीनस्य दर्पणः किं करिष्यति ॥ (Devanagri)
Hitopadesh 3:119

yasya nāsti svayaṃ prajñā shāstraṃ tasya karoti kim |
lochanābhyāṃ vihīnasya darpaṇaḥ kiṃ kariṣhyati || (IAST)

yasya nAsti svayaM praj~nA shAstraM tasya karoti kim |
lochanAbhyAM vihInasya darpaNaH kiM kariShyati || (ITRANS)

yasya = whose
nAsti = na asti = not is
svayaM = self, of one’s own
praj~nA = intelligence (also spelt as praGYA, or pragya)
shAstraM = sciences, shAstra
tasya = that person’s
karoti = does
kim = what?
lochanAbhyAM = from the two eyes (it is a usage thing, goes with vihIna, devoid of the eyes)
vihInasya = of the one who is devoid (that is of the one who is devoid of the two eyes)
darpaNaH = mirror
kiM = what
kariShyati = will do?

Apte's dictionary defines shAstra as:
शास्त्रम् [शिष्यते$नेन शास्-ष्ट्रन्] 1 An order, a command, rule, precept; अतिक्रामति यः शास्त्रं पितुर्धर्मार्थदर्शिनः Mb.5.148. 21. -2 A sacred precept or rule, scriptural injunction; तस्माच्छास्त्रं प्रमाणं ते कार्याकार्यव्यवस्थितौ Bg.16.24. -3 A religious or sacred treatise, sacred book, scripture; see comps. below. -4 Any department of knowledge, science; इति गुह्यतमं शास्त्रम् Bg.15.2; शास्त्रेष्वकुण्ठिता बुद्धिः R.1.19; often at the end of comp. after the word denoting the subject, or applied collectively to the whole body of teaching on that subject; वेदान्तशास्त्र, न्यायशास्त्र, तर्कशास्त्र, अलंकार- शास्त्र &c. -5 What is learnt, knowledge; Śi.5.47. -6 A work, treatise;  

(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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