Fundamentals Of Indian Culture
   Date :17-Dec-2023

Indian Culture 
Indian culture is one of the oldest surviving cultures of the world. In his famous poetry the Urdu poet Iqbal has summarised it as Kuccha Bata Hai Ki Hasti Mitati Nahi Hamari there is something special that our existence is not omitted. A glimpse at the speciality of Indian culture opens a window through which we can peep into the fundamentals of Indian culture. The first is the Freedom of Speech. The concept of Freedom of Speech is a new one from the western point of view. But since the very beginning this is practised in the Indian culture. The Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Vedangas, Dharmasutras, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Puranas, six systems of Indian philosophy and many other religious texts are testimonials of the Freedom of Speech. About the phenomenal and the noumenal variety of views are expressed and all are honoured in the Indian system. There is no concept or practice of blasphemy . All the above mentioned texts belong to the Astika or Vedic system. A whole lot of systems have emerged parallel or even in opposition to the Vedic system.
The Buddhism, Charvaka and Lokayatana systems are called Nastika philosophy which do not subscribe to the Vedic system. They are also accepted in Indian culture. The second fundamental of Indian culture is its inclusiveness. It is based upon the concept of the welfare of all, both living and nonliving. Divinity is experienced in one and all. Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam are the slogans of the Indian psyche. Let everyone be happy and the entire globe is one family. Nobody has been discriminated against due to his ideology or faith. Intellectual debates and discussions were the ways to decide one's one point, not the sword or force. There is no concept of institutional or organised conversion. Thirdly, women are held in high esteem in Indian culture. There are numerous women seers in the Rig Veda. The famous women scholars of the Upanishadic period are Gargi and Maitreyi. The judge who presided over the classical debate between Shankaracharya and Mandana Mishra was Ubhaya Bharati, the wife of Mandana Mishra. The goddesses of wisdom, wealth and power are women deities.
Fourthly, a holistic concept of human life is enshrined in the Indian system. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four principal purposes of human life. Dharma is not a fixed dogma or faith, but the rightful conduct . Ravana was a Brahmin, but was treated as a Rakshasa or demon due to his bad conduct. Artha or monetary accomplishments are to be achieved through rightful conduct. Kama or pleasures also occupy an integral aspect in human life. But these pleasures should not be against rightful conduct - Dharmaviruddha Kamosmi. Lord Krishna says that I am the sensual pleasure which is not in contrast to Dharma or the rightful code. Moksha is the freedom or liberation from the suffering or limitations of the human mind. Lastly, it is only in the Indian tradition where we find Mahavakyas or the Supreme Declarations that I am God. Aham Brahmasmi, Tattvamasi, Shivoham etc, are the boldest statements about the supreme evolution of human consciousness. Yoga and Tantra have developed very systematic and scientific techniques and methods to elevate human consciousness to the divinity.
(The writer is Former DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)