Charity and swadharma dr. shriniwas kashalikarDocument Transcript
The word “charity” has its root in the old French and
Latin and literally means dearness and affection. Thus
the acts of charity give us gratification of fulfilling our
need to express our affection in as much as it benefits
many people around us. This is why most of the
religions and ideologies; have upheld charity as
adorable value and virtue.
Deprivation of the emotion of affection being one of the
causes of stress; charity is logically one of the measures
of stress management also!
Being uncharitable, callous, crude and indifferent to the
needs of other people; is actually being blind to our
own need of expressing our affection and thereby suffer
from stress. By being uncharitable we suffer from stress
and infect and inflict others by our stress! Being
uncharitable is thus violent to us and others.
But is being charitable enough today? Can charity per
se empower and enable us in effective and Total Stress
This is an important question; because we live in a
period; when most of our instincts and emotions, which
include pettiness, inconsiderateness, lust,
possessiveness, impatience, jealousy, anger, sadism,
masochism, pride and so on; are ablaze! Thus our
charity is usually adulterated knowingly or
unknowingly with our petty motivations. Thus
sometimes while being charitable; we tend to extract
political, social and other varieties of advantages and
other times our petty and vested interest drive us to use
“charity” as means of mean goals! Thus charity
becomes shackling force that imprisons and throttles us;
in pride, arrogance, condescending attitude and
“fulfillment” of bloating our ego!
Charity even if unadulterated; can not evolve and
emancipate our all other instincts and emotions which
are unleashed excepting the “dearness or affection” and
hence proves deceptive with respect to Total Stress
Charity in itself; being a palliative; though egalitarian
and commendable action (response, measure, solution);
does not reach and act on the roots of the social and
political stressors (evils), which are in the form of
sectarian perspectives, policies, plans, administrative
machinery, laws, rules, conventions etc, would continue
to produce stress at individual and global levels and
This is why charity even if it is sincere; can not give
emotional gratification to discerning individuals, (who
find themselves suffocated in absence of charity and
cheated by practicing charity)!
Alternatively someone’s charity (e.g. charity involved
in subsidy, free health care, free education, reservations
on the basis of caste etc. by the government) is infected
by our petty motivations, temptations, meekness,
lassitude, indolence, parasitism, irresponsibility and
dependence. We get addicted to “live as liability on the
others; by exploiting “the dearness and affection and
Herculean efforts involved in some one’s charity”! We
begin to despise work; sincerity, service, dedication,
merit etc. and keep on asking for more at the cost of
others; as if it is our right! We go on growing as
beggars and seekers and in the course of time we go to
the extent of indulging in poisonous propaganda,
unleashing indiscriminate violence and creating trouble
for everyone. This is suffering from worst
mismanagement of stress and harming others.
Thus whether we do charity or get benefited by some
one else’s charity; we have to realize that; MERE
CHARITY is not sufficient and in fact proves to be
counterproductive in terms of emotional black mailing,
cheating, tax evasion and other vested interests and
social and political evils (responsible for a variety of
social maladies (stressors).
This scenario of failure of “charity” in every way; is
evident in the queues in front of public hospitals, many
restaurants, temples, mosques, shrines etc in India.
At one stage of the development of society these signs
of diseased (exploited) society; could have been
inevitable. Charity in those times could have been the
only way or solution; for individual gratification and
But today; we need a holistic solution that includes
provisions for fulfilling our needs for expressing our
physiological instincts such as procreation, hunger,
thirst, locomotion, living in our habitat, living in our
herd, parental care, working etc. We also need
provision for gratification our physiological emotions
such as love for the peers, respect for the elders,
kindness and care for the weak and handicapped, anger
against the coercion and dispassionate, selfless and
surgical violence; if and when globally needed.
Do we have any holistic solution full of such
provisions, that can simultaneously bring check our
untoward instincts and emotions and promote
individually and globally benevolent instincts and
Such a solution is SWADHARMA.
SWADHARMA is evolved and refined form of charity.
SWADHARMA is a highly refined and appropriate
solution in the form of proactively allocated
(individually and globally blossoming) duty; to
different individuals; at different stages of life;
according different personal and social relationships,
different seasons and different auspicious days!
SWADHARMA is a matter of evolving individual’s
feelings, fancies, idiosyncrasies, whims, choices;
inseparable from an individual’s subjective mind or
ego. The importance of SWADHARMA is that it does
not give rise to inflation and bloating of our
condescending attitude and ego; on the one hand; and
destruction and/or humiliation of our self esteem; on the
SWADHARMA; is; evolving subjective realm and
fulfilling various responsibilities and obligations,
conducive to individual and global blossoming.
In Hindu culture that I am aware of; these various
responsibilities or obligations are conceptualized as
“paying off loans or debts”. Debt is called RUNA in
Sanskrit. Thus there are PITRU RUNA (debt of father),
MATRU RUNA (debt of mother), and SAMAJ RUNA
(debt of society) etc.
The concept of “repaying these loans” is called
DHARMA. Thus there is PUTRA DHARMA (the
sacred obligations of a son), MATRU DHARMA
(sacred obligations of a mother), PITRU DHARMA
(sacred obligation of a father), RAJA DHARMA
(sacred obligation or responsibilities of a king) etc.
This DHARAMA prevalent in the different stages of
life is called ASHRAMA DHARMA.
Thus the DHARMA in student stage is that of
(BRAHMACHARYA ASHRAMA), married family
person’s stage (GRUHASTHASHRAMA), retired stage
(VANAPRASTHASHRAMA) and stage of
renouncement or renunciation (SANYASASRHAMA).
Thus; a BRAHMACHARI student is expected to
observe austerity and celibacy and study. This is
obviously a wise thing if practiced intelligent ly and
with insight; if one considers the diversion, distraction
and fixation of our mind on physical and sexual
pleasures, besides the menace of AIDS and other
sexually transmitted diseases, problems of unmarried
mothers and most importantly thwarting of sublime
The GRUHASTHA or family person had the sacred
duty of offering hospitality to a guest (ATITHI); who
were usually involved in all socially beneficial pursuits.
The stage of retired life and the stage of renunciation
(VANAPRASTHA and SANYASA) were
characterized by consultative sacred duties.
The concept of SWADHARMA is akin to the role of a
cell in maintenance of internal environment i.e.
homeostasis. Thus just as a cell participates in
homeostasis in subservience to the health of its own;
and of the organism; similarly an individual participates
in social homeostasis in subservience to the health of
his or her own and that of the society.
Since the fabric of the Indian society has been
unidentifiably damaged and mutilated repeatedly; the
revival of the old concept of SWADHARMA; exactly
in the same form; from Hindu philosophy and culture;
does not seem plausible, possible and probable.
But today; we can understand and practice the essence
of our SWADHARMA; through rectification of our
cognition, affect and conation; through Namasmaran,
which catalyzes the evolution of subjectivity, into
objective consciousness! We can develop global
perspective, global thinking, global policies and
globally beneficial administration and implementation,
i.e. practice SWADHARMA in our own field, through
NAMASMARAN, which the seers have intensely and
By practicing NAMASMARAN, a doctor would work
for the advent of holistic medicine, a lawyer for laws
for holistic laws which would provide not merely
punishment but opportunity for individual and social
welfare, an educationist for the development of holistic
education (which nurtures spiritual, cognitive, affective,
psychomotor and productive domain of a child) and so
on, in terms of policy making, planning and
implementation and can effectively and totally manage
stress that embodies the burning stressors such as child
labor, begging, slums and pavement dwelling, diseases,
handicaps, pollution etc.
In fact NAMASMARAN can possibly work far more
than conceived and articulated here. One need not
however believe but verify this.