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Friday, November 21, 2008

Self-evident?

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

On a Vaiṣṇava forum I recently debated a secular issue and to support his point a devotee quoted this sentence from the US constitution. Actually, this is not an authoritative statement in principle because those who drafted this constitution are of course conditioned souls, who are prone to mistakes, inattentiveness, deceit and imperfect senses (bhrama pramāda vipralipsā karaṇāpaṭava). Comparing this statement with the verdicts of śāstra was amusing, because it turned out to be not-so self-evident at all.

'All men are created equal' has two flaws in it -

1. No one was ever created. na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsam na tvaṁ neme narādhipāḥ (Bhagavad Gītā 2.12) "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you nor all these kings." The jīva is beginningless and thus never created.
2. No one is equal, created or otherwise. In his commentary on the Vedanta Sūtra 2.1.35, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa argues that God may be blamed for being partial, since some souls suffer and some souls enjoy, but the Vedanta Sūtra text denies that by saying: na karma vibhāgād iti cen nānāditvāt 'If there is a division (inequality) of karma (then that is unfair), but no, for it (karma) is anādi (beginningless).' Baladeva then continues to quote a verse from the Smṛti:

puṇya pāpādikaṁ viṣṇuḥ kārayet pūrva karmanā
anāditvāt karmanas ca na virodhaḥ kathancanaḥ

"Viṣṇu engages (the conditioned souls) in sin or virtue according to (their) previous karma, but there is no controversy (injustice) in that since karma is beginningless.'

Regarding equality on the material level, no Barack Obama is going to turn each homeless bum in Harlem into a Beverly Hillbilly. Inequality is intrinsic. Even communism failed to bring equality to even a single nation.
Then what about ' unalienable rights' like Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness'? Can any US government provide it?

Life - what about the lives that were lost in all the US interventionalist wars, and that are lost now since abortionwas legalized? Can the US government insure or protect Life? Hardly. jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyuḥ (Bhagavad Gītā 2.27) "For those who are born, death is sure."
Liberty - Freedom is an illusion. In this world we serve our families (by having to maintain them), governments (by paying taxes) and our senses. In the spiritual world we serve Krishna, but there is no freedom anyway anywhere.
Pursuit of Happiness -
ye hi saṁsparśaja bhogaḥ duḥka yonaya eva te
ādyantavanta kaunteya na teṣu ramate budhaḥ

(Bhagavad Gītā 5.22)

"Any enjoyment which arises from the touches of the senses are just sources of misery. They have a beginning and an end and thus a wise men does not rejoice in them." duḥkālayam aśaśvatam (Bhagavad Gītā 8.15) ' This world is miserable and temporary.' As the Christian founders of the American state must have known from the Bible, this is the valley of the tears..

14 comments:

  1. >>>>
    Liberty - Freedom is an illusion. In this world we serve our families (by having to maintain them), governments (by paying taxes) and our senses. In the spiritual world we serve Krishna, but there is no freedom anyway anywhere.
    >>>>
    It is a matter of perception, and of degree according to circumstance. So, especially given the basic requirements of material life, it is generally thought that the people in the USA are more free than those in some other places.

    We can consider that serving Krishna in Goloka Vrindavan is freedom.

    >>>>
    duhkalayam asasvatam (Bhagavad Gita 8.15) ' This world is miserable and temporary.'
    >>>>
    The life, in the present, of the jiva, is so much more temporary, shorter, than the life, the existence through the of yugas, so the perception of the jiva is that life is long and they want to minimise suffering - like starvation, for instance - of themselves and their families. Just like you don't, for example, ignore the health problems because they are temporary, in a temporary life. So you will go to doctors, and people will do puja and mantra of Durga and Lakshmi and so on, trying to avoid unfortunate things, more suffering.

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  2. And here's what someone else has to say about equality;

    vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi-hastini
    suni caiva sva-pake ca panditah SAMA-darsinah

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  3. And here's what someone else has to say about equality;

    vidya-vinaya-sampanne brahmane gavi-hastini
    suni caiva sva-pake ca panditah SAMA-darsinah


    Anon, this is not 'someone else'. The Vedanta Sutra which I quoted on this point was composed by Vedavyasa as well as the Gita was. This Gita verse speaks of the purely spiritual level. If we were all equal on the material level, would you marry that dog?

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  4. Point is - spiritually we are all equal and materially we are all existing under the same 3; tamo, rajo, sattva gunas, in varying combinations.

    Would I marry a dog? Some say I already have! LOL!

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  5. puNya pApAdikaM viSNuH kArayet pUrva karmanA

    anAditvAt karmanas ca na virodhaH kathancanaH.

    ' Vishnu engages in sin or virtue according to previous karma, but there is no controversy (injustice) in that since karma is beginningless.'


    I don't quite understand this verse. How can Vishnu engage in sin or virtue according to His previous karma? Since when did Visnu have karma according to His sins or virtues?

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  6. Kukkur patni:
    Point is - spiritually we are all equal and materially we are all existing under the same 3; tamo, rajo, sattva gunas, in varying combinations.

    There is equality in spiritual status (paramartha), but there is never equality in material status (vyavahara). I trust that Washington and Jefferson and their fellows were not such pandita sama darshis, so I judge their document on the vyavaharik level.

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  7. I don't quite understand this verse. How can Vishnu engage in sin or virtue according to His previous karma? Since when did Visnu have karma according to His sins or virtues?

    I never said it is Lord Vishnu's karma - Lord Vishnu has no karma. We have karma and Lord Vishnu is engaging us in work according to our karma. This should be clear from the context of the karma vibhaga sutra I quoted; but to make it abundantly clear I have edited the translation of that smriti sloka.

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  8. I think people take issue with the words "equal" and "equality" because they are loaded with political meaning. I think think those words should be substituded with "same" and "sameness". Obviously we can all see that none of us are the same. However when a word like "equal" is used, the first question will be, "equal to whom or to what?", and then value judgements ensue.

    Inequality denotes that one individul would be deemed less in worth than another. But we know that known of us are less in worth to Krishna than anyone else. All jivas are eternal, spiritually of the same substance. Of course we know that there is a heirarchy in rasa but we are not talking about that here.

    On a material level also we cannot judge someone more worthy or someone less worthy from an objective, ontological perspective, since this world is relative and everyone has some sort of relative worth somewhere, to someone. I'm sure even Charles Manson's mama still loves him, even though to me he is worthless.

    That we are not all the same is obvious, but the words "equal" and "equality" are loaded with assumptions about worth or value and that is why we take exception to those words.

    Mahaprabhu instructs us to respect all in order to humbly chant Nama.

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  9. QUESTION:

    Recently read in the news that 95% of the children born in Costa Rica to girls under age 15 were conceived due to incest, i.e. the father raped the daughter.

    So are you against abortion for this type of inbreeding? Better to let more and more idiots be born due to excessive inbreeding? Because is the nature of Kali Yuga that people will be unfortunate, so we need all the inbred people we can get, so intelligence stays low as per Kali Yuga dictates?

    Also I recently read that in Germany some monster kept his daughter in a secret passage in the cellar and repeatedly raped his own child over a period of mnay years.

    He told his family that the daughter ran off and joined a cult, that is why she disappeared suddenly.

    The daughter then had children from the father keeping her as his sex slave. Gross.

    So, had she escaped from this underground prison hell, you would be against abortion for the same type of inbreeding rape crime?

    Is it just better to not have abortions so monsters like that can continue to breed and spawn more and more monsters, because is Kali Yuga and we need all of the satanic monsters we can get?

    Just curious.
    Thanks

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  10. Is it the child's fault? Should it get the death penalty for the crime of its father? The mother can always put it up for adoption afterwards. I know this is easier said than done, but still...

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  11. One more thing, anon -
    The 6 incest-children of Jozef Fritzl, who is Austrian, not German by the way, are beautiful and grown up. Do you want to murder them still? You would go to jail for that!

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  12. Interesting how you have nothing to say about the horrific crimes of Josef Fritzl, Advaitadas.

    However, that is straying away from the main point(s) of your article, which was definitely among the silliest you have written, I think.

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  13. Interesting how you have nothing to say about the horrific crimes of Josef Fritzl, Advaitadas.

    Anyone who has read the news last summer knows the story, anon. This is not a news-agency. This blog is about a paragraph of the US constitution, in case you forgot. As far as Fritzl is concerned, why don't you hang him instead of his innocent children?

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  14. As for aborting children of demons, check SB 7.7.9-10, where the Devas want to abort Prahlada Maharaja because he was the child of a demon and how Narada Muni stopped them from doing so. Demon father does not mean demon child. Thus it is proven from shastra too that there is no justification for infanticide in any circumstance.

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