Posts Tagged ‘Dharma’

The Dragon vs. the Eagle

December 10, 2009 1 comment
Such a loving couple ...

Such a loving couple ...

At the same time he seriously plays down the horrors of Mao’s tyrannical rule, writing that “he remains, even today, a venerated figure in the eyes of many Chinese, even more than Deng Xiaoping” and that the Communist Party “succeeded in restoring its legitimacy amongst the people” and fostered “extremely rapid economic growth,” “despite the calamities of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.” In addition he diminishes the importance of the pro-democracy Tiananmen demonstrations and dissident sympathies, arguing that there is an “apolitical tradition” in China and that “the Confucian ethos that informed and shaped it for some two millennia did not require the state to be accountable to the people.” (via Books of The Times – The Dragon vs. the Eagle in Martin Jacques’ ‘When China Rules The World’ – Review –

For this one insight …

The Dragon versus the Eagle analogy is just hot air! A lot of hot air. China is too busy playing footsie with the USA to challenge! But the bit about China being ‘apolitical’ is a gem.

This bit about, China’s “apolitical tradition” in China and that “the Confucian ethos that informed and shaped it for some two millennia did not require the state to be accountable to the people.” This one observation by Martin Jacques’ explains so much about world history – and modern Asian history.

Platonic-Confucian axis

The axis of Confucian-Platonic authoritarian, ‘wise’ rulers, who were not accountable, was (and remains) the overwhelming model for the world. Property rights remained with less than o.1% of the people. Under the CRER principle, (cuius regio, eius religio, meaning whose land, his religion; CRER) even the most personal religious beliefs of the individual were subject to State approval, as per law.

Pareto’s principle … Ha!

Yes – Pareto was wrong.

Rarely (do they at all?) do 20% of the people get to own 80% the national wealth. It is usually about o.1%. Look at America. Less than 300,000 people (from the Forbes /Fortune lists, the Government and the academia, media) who control the US  – a population of more than 300 million.

The West scorns the Chinese one-party rule. But how does one more, collusive party in the national polity, in a ‘democratic set-up, become the paragon of political virtue. Did it ever occur to its defendants, that a two-party polity just an illusion of choice and change. But, it was the same lack of accountability – in a more invisible manner?

The only exception to this was the Indic system of polity – where property rights were vested with the user, justice was decentralized (did any Indic king dispense justice?), religion was maya and dharma was supreme. The modern Indian State has acquired the Desert-Bloc-Platonic-Confucian authoritarian principles of the State as parens patriae. So, the power of the Indic ideas is something that India seems to have forgotten, missed and lost!!

What's the difference?

What's the difference? One more collusive political party!

In Greater China

In Hong Kong Chinese movies, till the 1990’s, a recurring theme was the Buddhist monk. Until the modernist Jackie Chan goes to America versions started coming out, it was always the wise Buddhist teacher who taught the Brave ‘Chinaman’ to fight against feudal oppression. It was always the Wise Buddhist Teacher who showed the way.

Lee Kuan Yew – a Confucius bhakt

Now this explains why Lee Kuan Yew extols Confucian virtues of Greater Chinese. Is it surprising that the ‘modern’ Chinese Government is so afraid of Buddhist revival that they have put restrictions on the Falun Gong followers from doing breathing exercises in the open. Falun Gong which attracted nearly 10 crore followers in the last 15 years, seems to have made the Chinese Government nervous.

Contrast the faith that the Chinese have in Buddhist teachers with the representation of Church and priests in Hollywood and you will see the contrast. One set has been able to maintain trust and faith for more than 2000 years – and the other set seems to have lost it in less than a 1000 years.

Is it any surprise that the common Chinese loves and venerates the Buddha – and the Chinese Government lays so much emphasis on Confucianism?

Baroda’s pearl carpet – The difference between religion and dharma

March 15, 2009 6 comments
Barodas pearl carpet (Picture Courtesy -; Image Source - SOTHEBYS

Barodas pearl carpet (Picture Courtesy -; Image Source - SOTHEBYS

Embellished with an estimated two million natural seed pearls as well as diamonds, the carpet sure has the razzle dazzle to attract buyers. Crafted in 1865, the Pearl Carpet has a tumultuous story behind it. In the early 1860s, Maharaja Khande Rao of Baroda, considered one of the most notable jewellery collectors of the 19th century, had a desire to offer a priceless Pearl Carpet at the shrine of the Prophet in Medina. He wanted it to be just like the Pearl Carpet over Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb in Taj Mahal. (via Baroda’s pearl carpet may go for well over $5m-India-The Times of India).

The Maharaja Of Baroda (Image courtesy -; Click for image source).

The Maharaja Of Baroda (Image courtesy -; Click for image source).

Is this true …

Why would a Hindu ruler spend gad zillions on a carpet for Muslim shrine?

Remember, natural pearls from Basra were more or as expensive than diamonds – and there are nearly twenty-lakhs of these costly pearls in this carpet. Cultured pearls that we get today are ‘grown’ in artificial oyster farms. Back in 1860, what was pearls were salt water pearls that divers recovered from ocean beds – off the Basra coast, in modern-day Iraq.

Of course, presumably, the history of the pearl carpet comes to us from colonial historians, where Hindu orthodoxy is being blamed for this carpet not reaching Medina. But, was it actually the British which discouraged this carpet from going further? After all, they were pursuing their agenda of divide et impera.

In India, The Times of India says that this carpet never reached Medina because Khande Rao’s courtiers opposed the idea.” But the Qatar Tribune tells us that “the intended gift was clearly never delivered as the Maharaja died before he made the donation and the carpet remained in his family”, the press release by the Doha-Sotheby’s said.

Dharma vs religion

Historically, India had no religions. Modern religions are a construct of the Middle East – and given birth to the 3 major religions of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In India, the belief structure centres around Dharma – धर्म

The difference between dharma and religion? Major!

For one, religion is about worship – and there are many others differences. Method of worship (how you worship), object of worship (what you worship), frequency of worship (e.g. every Sabbath; five times a day), language of worship (what you say, in which language), etc.

The cornerstones of modern religions from the Desert Bloc are One God, One Book, One Holy Day, One Prophet (Messiah), One Race, One People, One Country, One Authority, One Law, One Currency, One Set of Festival – the root of most problems in the world. From this Oneness, we get the One Currency, One Language logic  – a fallacious syllogism. Once you accept One, you will accept all others.

The pearl carpet sold for US$5.5 million. A security guard stands next to the Pearl Carpet of Baroda during the Sotheby's auction at a hotel in Doha  Image courtesy; - Photo: AFP/GETTY. Click for larger image.

The pearl carpet sold for US$5.5 million. A security guard stands next to the Pearl Carpet of Baroda during the Sotheby's auction at a hotel in Doha Image courtesy; - Photo: AFP/GETTY. Click for larger image.

Indian worship practices are infinite. Even non-worship to is acceptable – for instance, the Charvaka school of Indian philosophy was atheistic and did not prescribe worship. Structure and deviation from worship practices are a non-issue in Indian dharmic structure. Dharma has no equivalent in the ‘Desert Bloc’ vocabulary of religions. Dharma is the path of righteousness, defined by a matrix of the contextual, existential, moral, pragmatic, professional, position, etc. Dharma is more than moral and ethics.

The really big difference is the holy books – Judaism, Christianity and Islam have one Holy Book each. No deviations. Indian dharma tradition has thousands which are more than 1000 years old – at last count.

India must ban all religions – starting with Hinduism!

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