Sunday September 23, 2018

Decoding Adharma: Unrighteousness of mind

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Nithin Sridhar

Gleanings from Hindu scriptures: Part 15

In the previous two installments, we dealt with how unrighteousness can be committed through the body and through speech. We also saw that Dharma by very definition is those actions that take one to overall wellbeing and happiness and Adharma is that which takes one to sorrow and pain.

But, actions are not limited to those committed physically or verbally. Hindu philosophy perceives even thoughts that flow in the mind as ‘actions’ or ‘Karma’. And these thoughts of the mind are the very source of all physical and verbal actions.

Thus, in order to truly prevent the body and the speech from committing various types of unrighteous actions, it is very necessary to restrain the mind by ripping out Adharmic thoughts at their very source.

In this installment, let us now see the various kinds of thoughts that have been considered as ‘Adharma’. Manu Smriti (12.5) says:

paradravyEShvabhidhyAnaM manasA anishtachintanaM |

vithaThAbhinivEshashcha trividhaM karma mAnasaM ||

Meaning: Desiring for the property and belongings of others; thinking in one’s heart of what is undesirable (i.e. thinking about committing unrighteous actions that may cause harm to oneself and others); and adherence to falsehoods and false doctrines, are the three kinds of (unrighteous) mental action.

Before taking up various Adharmas committed through the mind, it is important to understand how the mind works. As we noted earlier, mind is the root of all physical and mental actions. But, mind itself is in the grip of internal passions and tendencies that drive every mental thought.

These internal passions are often referred to as ‘Shad-ripus’ or six internal enemies, because they delude an individual and make him or her to commit Adharma. The six internal enemies, which makes one’s mind ‘impure’ are: kama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride), and matsarya (jealousy). Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (16.21) declares that desire, anger, and greed are three gates to hell because these internal tendencies often give rise to selfish and Adharmic thoughts, which if acted upon will take a person towards his own destruction.

The Manu Smriti has broadly classified these Adharmic thoughts into three categories as seen above. The very first tenet of mental Adharma is thinking about coveting what belongs to others.

In our previous discussion regarding the Adharma through the body, we had discussed in depth about what non-coveting actually meant. To quote: Cheating people by fooling them, extorting people using force, stealing, dacoity, corruption, and bribery, every action that results in unethical accumulation of wealth are all considered as Adharmic actions.” Thus, stealing, cheating, dacoity, corruption, bribery, etc. are all included under bodily action of taking what does not rightfully belong to one.

If a person even ‘thinks’ about committing all those acts of Adharma, or if he hankers for possessing another person’s wealth, property, objects, or even another person’s spouse or children, then such a thought is considered as Adharma of mind. The gist of the tenet is that one should forever be vigilant about one’s own thoughts and should not entertain unrighteous thoughts even for a moment, because if such thoughts are entertained, they would become deeply rooted in the mind and finally they will impel the person to commit Adharmic actions.

The second tenet isthinking bad or undesirable with respect to others’. Here undesirable is a very generic term. Undesirable thoughts could be anything ranging from thoughts of physically harming someone to thoughts of ruining someone’s career. It may include mental conditions which are today categorized as misogyny, sadism, masochism, etc.

In many a sense, this single tenet defines the Adharma of thoughts. Any thoughts, which, when implemented, if it leads to undesirable unrighteous consequences to one’s own self or to some other person or being, or even nature in general, all such thoughts are Adharma.

The third tenet of mental Adharma is adhering to falsehood, propagating false doctrines, or simply being dishonest inspite of being aware of the fact that one is propagating falsehood is mental Adharma. In other words, speaking falsehood is verbal Adharma, but committing that act inspite of being aware that it is Adharma constitutes mental Adharma. While preaching false doctrines and fooling people with ulterior motives (example: evangelism through fraud) constitutes verbal and physical Adharma, mental adherence to these unrighteous actions for selfish reasons constitutes mental Adharma.

To illustrate with an example, consider two persons. One is involved in converting people by fraudulent means like speaking about fake miracles, staging fake miracles, etc. The other person, though he does neither indulges in nor speaks about conversion activities, he does support conversion activities including the use of fraud and falsehood as a principle. He considers use of the fraud and falsehood as legitimate. In this example, the latter commits only the Adharma of the mind, whereas the former commits all the three kinds of Adharma– of body, speech, and mind.

Thus, Hindu philosophy advises people to be very vigilant about their thought process and restrain the mind so that the mind can be purified and put to use in righteous (Dharmic) actions. The purification of mind, called as ‘Chitta-Shuddhi, plays a very central role in Hinduism for the same reason. Realizing this, people should make efforts to adhere to Dharma in mind, speech, and action, and should avoid catering to unrighteous and undesirable thoughts. (Photo: freedomfightersblog.com)

More in this segment:

Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 1
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 2
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 3
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 4
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 5
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 6
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 7
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 8
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures – Part 9
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures – Part 10
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures – Part 11
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures – Part 12
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 13
Gleanings from Hindu Scriptures- Part 14

Gleaning from Hindu Scriptures- Part 15

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  • Pradeep Sreeram

    If source of Dharma is god… then is the source of Adharma?

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Spiritual Ideas Sore At The World Hindu Congress

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new -- when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

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Hinduism
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At its best, speeches at the recently concluded World Hindu Congress echoed the soaring spiritual ideals evoked by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago 125 years ago.

Even Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsangchanalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), focused essentially on the need for unity and patience among Hindus while fighting obstacles, of which, he said, there would be many. The burden of excavating implied accusations in Bhagwat’s speech fell to his critics.

At the plenary session, the moderator requested speakers to address issues of conflict without naming the speakers or their organisations in the interest of harmony. Other speakers sought to unite the followers of all the great religions that took birth in India — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Some of the speakers from Bhagwat to Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, framed the issues before Hinduism in a moral paradigm. Ashwin Adhin, the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, began his speech in chaste Hindi, later quoting cognitive scientist George Lakoff: “Facts matter immensely. But to be meaningful they have to be framed in terms of their moral importance.”

Hinduism
Buddhism relates sins to the characteristics one adopts. Pixabay

The dissonances, between the spiritual and the mundane, were to emerge later on the fringes of the seminars which were part of the Congress. Many of the delegates appropriated to themselves the mantle of a culture besieged by proselytising faiths. There were speakers who urged Hindus to have more children to combat their ‘dwindling population’. Posters warned Hindus of the dangers from ‘love jihad’ (Muslim men ‘enticing’ Hindu women).

In one of the sessions on the media, filmmaker Amit Khanna noted that religion had always played a prominent part in Indian cinema, starting with the earliest mythologicals. “Raja Harishchandra”, the first silent film, he said, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. He sought to reassure the audience on the future of Hinduism. “Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus,” he said adding: “Hinduism has survived many upheavals for thousands of years. Hinduism has never been endangered.”

Other speakers, lacking spiritual and academic pedigrees, drew on an arsenal of simulated anguish and simmering indignation.

The nuances of history pass lightly over the ferociously devout and it took little effort to pander to an aggravated sense of historical aggrievement.

Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons

At one of the debates, the mere mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, elicited sniggers and boos. The speaker hinted at ‘Nehruvian socialism’ which had made the Indian economy a non-starter. He concluded with a coup de grace, to a standing ovation: “Nehru did not like anything Indian.”

The poet Rabindranath Tagore, who composed the Indian national anthem, had spoken of his vision of a country where the “clear stream of reason had not lost its way”. At some of the discussions, even the most indulgent observer would have been hard put to discern the stream of reason.

The image of a once great civilisation suppressed by a century of British rule and repeated plunder by invaders captured the imagination of many in the audience. Hanging above it all, like a disembodied spirit, was the so-called malfeasance of Nehru, the leader who had won the trust of Hindus only to betray them in the vilest manner.

These tortured souls would have been well advised to adopt a more holistic approach to Hinduism, and history, looking no further than Swami Vivekananda, who once said: “The singleness of attachment (Nishtha) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of denunciation of everything else.”

Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Historians have informed us that Nehru preferred his father’s intellect over his mother’s tradition but he was never contemptuous of religion. While he undoubtedly felt that organised religion had its flaws, he opined that it supplied a deeply felt inner need of human nature while also giving a set of values to human life.

In private conversations some delegates spoke of how their America-born children had helped persuade them to drop their pathological aversion to gays and lesbians. Despite their acute wariness of perceived cultural subjugation, the irony was obviously lost on them that Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code,(which criminalises gay sex) recently overturned by the Indian Supreme Court, is a hangover from the Victorian British era-embodied in the Buggery Act of 1533.

In the face of the upcoming elections in the US, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s decision to speak at the conference was a political risk. With a newly energised political Left, even the perception of being linked with “fascist” or sectarian forces could be political suicide in the critical November elections. Despite vociferous appeals to disassociate himself from the Congress, Krishnamoorthi chose to attend.

“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I have ever known and been taught — namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teaching of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Given the almost pervasive abhorrence of anything remotely Nehruvian among a section of the delegates, it was a revelation to hear the opinion of Dattatrey Hosable, the joint general secretary and second-in-command in the RSS hierarchy. Speaking on the promise of a newly-resurgent India, Hosable said in an interview to Mayank Chhaya, a local journalist-author-filmmaker: “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Also Read: Triple Talaq Now Banned in India

The quote is from Nehru’s famous Tryst with Destiny speech delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the midnight of August 14, 1947 — proof, if any is needed, that the force of Nehru’s ideas can transcend one’s disdain of him. (IANS)