Dharmic Laws are intrinsically tied to values. Values change with time and place. Therefore they are not applicable across time and place.
There was a time when all dharmic laws were considered as given by God or by rshis. If they were really given by God or rshis then they would not vary from religion to religion and from place to place.
Dharmic Laws of all religions were given by enlightened souls and served the needs of the period and place they belonged to. They are not applicable to other periods and places.
When Thomas Jefferson architected a free America, he architected a free America for white men. Not for blacks or for women. He owned slaves.
Today we hold deeply in our hearts that slavery is bad, racial discrimination is bad. But that does not mean that Jefferson was evil. Jefferson was a good man in other aspects, wise and learned in many aspects but he did not address himself to this issue. That was left to Abraham Lincoln.
There was a time when bible studies in America were banned to blacks and women. But today we hold that anyone who wants to can study the bible.
There was a time when it was considered a sin to eat an animal that was not first offered to the devas in a prescribed yajna. There was a time when it was considered a sin to eat an animal at any time. Some people thought it was a sin to wear clothes and others thought only white or orange coloured clothes should be worn. Some people believe in indulgence, some in moderation and some in penance.
Parasara himself gave an easier reformed Smriti for the Kaliyuga to replace the tougher Manu Smriti of the Tretha Yuga. And yet it has elements of caste in it. This does not mean that either Manu or Parasara were bad. It means they felt that division of labour was best for society.
At one time the thinkers in this country felt that division of labour would strengthen the society and develop the country quickly. They said that it was a sin for learned people (the brahmins) in whom the society had invested so heavily to leave the country. They said that brahmins should not save any money for tomorrow.
At one time we had rshis from all jathis – devas (Narada), brahmins (Vasishta). kshatriyas (Janaka, Viswamitra) and others (Valmiki, Sabari) and both genders (Vagambhrani). Some of them contributed to the Veda Mantras. Then later learning/listening restrictions came in, in some areas. These restrictions were relaxed again in some areas to various extents thanks to some enlightened souls.
The rshis of our present Dharma Sastra, the Indian Law, are Jawaharlal Nehru and his colleagues. Can you imagine some 5000 years from now if what people will think if they see our legal system, with our reservations for women, SCs and STs? What will they think of us? Do you think that the reservation system should/will continue for 5000 years? Can you see the irony of a brahmin student setting himself on fire in protest against the Mandal Comission recommendation for reservations in “engineering” colleges? (He did not want a brahman Vedic career as a guru or a purohita, he wanted a career that was banned to his caste over thousands of years, and still continued to elude him thanks to the reservations!)
The basis of the Hindu religion are our Vedas, our Upanishads and our Bhagavad Gita. They discuss matters pertaining to God and how to attain a God like state – brahma-gnyana. These are timeless and valuable to people of all countries, races and genders.. to everybody who wants them! The Vedangas are helpful in interpreting the Vedas correctly.
The puranas and itihasas are our histories taught to us in a way to keep it interesting and to teach us science and ethics as well. The dharma sastras were our evolving socio-legal system. These are not our religion, they help us know our history, they help us understand why our society is the way it is today. They help us understand the accomplishments of the Indian Race.
- There are some people who hate the dharmasastras so much they reject the Vedas and Upanishads also.
- This is called throwing the baby out with the bath water, it is foolish. Incidentally they consider themselves intellectuals .
- There are some people who refuse to believe that the dharmasastras of previous centuries conformed to a different value system than what we hold today.
- This is called wearing blinkers or blindfolds. They think everything in the past was perfect as per today’s value system.
- There are some people who refuse to believe that the dharmasastras of the yesteryears are out of date and out of place.
- These people are either true idealists or are very innocent, but they are out-of-context.
- There are some people who accept all the advantages that the new legal system, science and technology confer on them and still try to preach restrictions on others. These are hypocrites.
- For eg they were stitched clothes, leather shoes and wallets, work for multinational companies (mlecchas), cross the seas, avoid the learning and practice of Veda, accept payment for services, accept bank interests on their saved money and tell us that women can’t wear jeans or learn Vedas.
- There are some people who respect the ancient systems and understand how society evolved. They believe in God and work for reform. Wise in knowledge and compassionate in direction.
Related Posts :
- Live The Ideal!!
- strī-śūdrādibhir api : By Women and Sudras and Others also.
- Evolution of Dharma Sastras
- Can women learn the Veda?
- Anulled Marriages : Vasistha Dharmasastra
- Women, Sons and Remarriage : Vasistha Dharmasastra
- Sanatana Dharma and Taboos
- Suka Muni Refuses to get Married : Devi Bhagavatham 14th and 15th Adhyaya, first Skanda
- Sociology and Social Issues
- Hinduism Abroad
- Who is a Hindu?
- Hindu Women Priests
Authorship and Copyright Notice : All Rights Reserved : Satya Sarada Kandula