“1970-CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION”
INTERPLAY OF CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION
before 1970, INDIA
By society ordinarily we mean a collective body of men and women; but the innate spirit of the word is not so. Samaja ( “Society”) in the true sense of the term implies an action of moving together (Samanam ejate). We come across as semblance of persons in bus, tram and train moving together; this occasional movement cannot be termed as society either. Being inspired by a common ideology, when different individuals move towards the common goal, and become active for their achievement, it can be called a “Society”. The appropriate English equivalent for “Samája” should not therefore be Society. By social advancement, which is a type of social action, it means that the tie of mutual unity among the persons moving together has become stronger.
From good old days, there was social life but no stable society. This stability in the social life is the gift of the Kśatriya Yuga (Age of the warriors) to some extent and of post-Vaeshya Yuga (Age of the Capitalists) leading to Shúdra revolution. So long proper atmosphere for Shúdra revolution is not created, it can be said that there has been no social consciousness. How to achieve the Social consciousness?
Social consciousness implies the influence of a particular ideology and a new awakening among the people due to this ideology. This depends upon so many factors, the most important of which is the leadership of a great personality. Shúdra revolution, therefore, needs a strong personality, and so long as this is lacking a strong society cannot be formed, what to speak of Social Revolution.
To guide the society in the right path, two factors are, therefore, essential; namely a Great Ideology and a Great Personality.
Those who talk aloud of society and seem horrified at the apprehended destruction of it, do not know that society in the true spirit of the term has yet to be formed in this world. So our primary duty now is to form a Society, the seed of social consciousness is inherent in our “Saḿgacchadhvaḿ Saḿvadadhvaḿ” Mantra. Where there is no such Mantra there is no ideology, where there is no ideology, life is a goal-less voyage.
The man’s expression is multilateral. The ways of the life are multifarious. Amidst these multifarious activities the picture of a man that we get is his Culture.
To sum up, the sum total of different expressions of human life is called Saḿskrti (Culture). The ways of expressions may differ from one group of people to other.
Some may eat by hand, some by spoon, yet others by sticks but eat all must. Human culture is, therefore, one and indivisible. It is, therefore, absurd to use such expressions as Hindu culture, Muslim culture , Indian culture or European culture. Those who hold these partisan idea are not well-wishers of man-kind.
Expressions of life may increase with the intellectual development. There is no place for fine arts, literature and music among the so-called under-developed groups of people, so expression of life are less in number in their case. Where the number of expression is more it can be said that there has been more cultural development in the material sense. Persons with more varied expressions of life may be called more Cultured.
Where the expressions of life is diverted to crude objectivities it is called krśt́i, which is a part of Saḿskrti. Crude manifestations of expressions is called krśt́i. The sum total of both crude and subtle manifestation of experience is Saḿskrti. Krśt́i may differ from one group of people to other but the Saḿskrti of man is one.
Cultural expressions have no bearing on Civilization. Where there is control and rationality in the different expression of life, there is civilization. To take a concrete example, eating is a cultural expression of life. Those who ration ally think that over-eating is bad and restrain from it, may be called Civilized. Even though the cultural expressions in a man are very many, but there is no control in the different expressions, he may be called culturally advanced but not civilized.
So Culturally advanced people may not necessarily be civilized if in their expression there is a lack of rationality, reasoning and control.
Similarly, a so-called culturally backward people may not necessarily be socially backward. There are many who treat the Adivasis as backward. But dispassionate consideration will reveal that though due to less number of expressions of life they may be culturally backward but social progress has been more in them and they are more socially advanced. So is the case with the Africans.
From ancient age, man has struggled against his odds. Struggle is the essence of life. Those who cry for disarmament are enemy to human beings. They are reluctant to fight even against criminals. It is however true that with the spread of civilization man will not attack the unarmed and the weak. But there are many persons in this world who think themselves civilized but mercilessly crush the helpless and innocent.
The pitiable destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bears witness to the uncivilized action of the so-called civilized Nations. Though they are culturally advanced, they are most backward in civilization.
They should come at the feet of the Indian Adivasis and learn about Civilization. Those who possessed of Atom bomb and hydrogen bomb have to be taught the lesson that this universe is for man and not for demon. More powerful weapons have to be invented to raise head against these persons.
Today special care has to be given to society and civilization. With intellectual development there will be cultural progress. But restraint and rationality have to be exercised on the cultural expressions. In life today there is utter lack of these qualities. It is the bounden duty of the leaders of this world to form a strong society of men on the basis of a constructive Ideology and to spread civilization in them. If this is done, cultural development will automatically occur.