True/Complete Knowledge Makes One Humble, From Humility Comes Worthiness, From Worthiness One Gets Wealth, From Wealth One Indulges In Good Deeds, From Doing Good Deeds One Gets Contentment.
विद्या ददाति विनयं विनयाद्याति पात्रताम्।
पात्रत्वाद्धनमाप्नोति धनाद्धर्मं तत: सुखम्॥ ५॥
vidyA dadAti vinayaM, vinayAdyAti pAtratAM |
pAtratvAddhanamApnoti, dhanAddharmaM tataH sukhaM || 5 || (Hitopadesha)
From Yugas, Bharat has been the custodian of true knowledge … our Rishis, Munis and Seers passed on true knowledge from generation to generation via the various scriptures, holy chants, stories and parables. For those who were interested in esoteric knowledge, we had the Vedas and for those who wanted a distilled version of the same, we had the various kathas (stories), Puranas and even dance dramas, which taught the essence of that knowledge.
As per the shloka above, it is only one who has humility who is worthy of knowledge and wealth is to be used for doing good deeds, not for gathering only for the self, at the cost of others. Only then would one get contentment and joy. For years I have heard people telling, “This country runs Ram Bharose” which means that the country functions despite its problems, because we believe that a higher power protects it. Today I am sure that this must be true. Let me list out a few reasons why I feel proud that Bharat is different from the rest of the world and why it runs “Ram Bharose” literally ie. Why Sri Ram protects it …
A population of 1.32 billion people responded to a request for a self-imposed curfew by the Prime Minister. What other countries could not impose without a rule or law, we were by and large able to impose a curfew, first for a day and then for 21 days. Yes, there are violations, and in several places people of one faith have willfully opposed the lockdown, but majority of the population have abided by the request. It is a feat that even the most educated, richest nations anywhere in the world have failed in doing.
Feeding the poor during the lockdown. We are not a welfare state where the Government gives complete benefits to the unemployed or the poor. Yes there are welfare schemes of the Government – State and Central, but these are not for a state of lockdown of the entire nation. Despite this, in almost all States, the respective government machineries have been successful in providing basic food to the poorest of the poor, during lockdown and that too, at short notice. But more than this, common people have risen to the occasion and have formed groups to feed the poor in every nook and corner of the country. And these people have contributed from their own pockets and meagre resources without anyone forcing them to do so. Mathadeeshas, Temples, charitable Trusts, all have also fed people on the streets without showing any bias of any kind. The call for contribution to a special fund created by the PM to tackle this crisis, has had contributions by students, housewives, professionals, movie stars, cricketers and all. Name any other country where this would have been possible at such short notice, without involving religion or politics.
Mathadeeshas, Temples, charitable Trusts, social organisations all have fed people on the streets and every needy without showing any bias of any kind.
Entrepreneurs and Industrialists rise to the Occasion. The Capitalistic outlook of various countries is such that enterprises vie to make a killing even during such calamities. But our Indian entrepreneurs have done the opposite. Mahindra Industries has developed ventilators and face coverings at a very economical cost. Mylabs has developed COVID testing kits at a fraction of the cost of kits from abroad. Thousands of people are tailoring face masks to provide the same at a nominal cost or for free. When the cost of handwashes and sanitizers threatened to hit the roof, we had companies like HLL reducing the cost of handwash and people making and distributing home-made sanitizers by watching videos of enterprising people. This is in complete contrast to the situation across the globe. In fact Chinese entrepreneurs feature in the Wall of Shame for selling faulty masks, equipment and kits to countries hit by the Chinese Virus.
Thanks to the robust family system and innovative ways of socialising even during lockdown, people in Bharat have not become victims of depression unlike people in European nations where isolation has brought about mental problems to the fore. A striking example of this would be how people rose to the call to applaud the medical fraternity and the service providers during this time of crisis. The applause was deafening.
An unprecedented request for telecast of decades old Ramayana and Mahabharata serials. Most people during lockdown have tried to keep themselves entertained via various films and TV serials and music, all over the world. But here in Bharat, millions of people put in a request to re-telecast serials which depict our scriptures and culture. If this is not indicative of our nature to reconnect with ancient values, what is? People are realising that nothing endures as much as culture and heritage and are sincerely trying to reconnect to the same.
Helping people beyond caste and religious barriers. After the Delhi riots one would have thought that the schism between the Hindus and the Muslims would have become so wide that it would not be bridged. But that was not the case. We have umpteen cases which show that deep down, people do not want to have any bias and would rise to the occasion irrespective of religion. Compare this to the dastardly attack on the Sikhs in Afghanistan and the shameful act of refusing of ration to Hindus in Pakistan and one would know how deep the feeling of crossing the crisis TOGETHER is in India.
Indian entrepreneurs and industrialists have come forward to manufacture ventilators, masks, suits for medical staff and have also donated heavily to PM’s Corona relief fund.
People refusing to hoard items unnecessarily. The empty shelves in various supermarkets and the riots for toilet paper and handwashes across Europe and the USA speaks volumes about people only caring for themselves and not for the others. But till now, we have not seen such scenes in India. In fact the little grocery shops (called kirana stores) have proved to be angels in disguise.
Caring for the Elderly. Stories of how the elderly have been left to die brings a lump in our throats everytime. In Bharat we have not heard of any such stories and we truly care for our elderly and aging population.
Having a Leader as our PM. This point deserves a lot of respect. The PM is elected by the people casting their votes to a party. But when a person becomes a PM, he has to think for the country and not for his party. Shri Narendra Modi has proved that he thinks not only for the Nation but also for our neighbours. Reaching out to the SAARC
Nations was part of this move. Appealing to the people to stay indoors, pre-empting the peak of the crisis showed his far-sightedness. Putting people and their health before business and GDP and helping every State to manage the crisis shows that he values people more than money. Truly he has proved to be a Leader with a heart.
Yes, we have problems as a Nation, but as a group, we think of humanity first. We do not aim to rule other countries by bringing them to their knees or by making them be indebted to us fiscally. We have never in the past or in the present supported terrorism and loss of life. We have actively worked to protect Nature in all her forms. We treasure life in all its forms and place it before the illusion called money. This is why Bharat deserves Her place as VishwaGuru. Like in the past, we can still teach a lot to the world of today. We value true knowledge and that is the knowledge to respect all life forms.
(The writer is Mumbai-based columnist)