CHARITY AND SWADHARMA: DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR Most of us usually accept that it is good to be charitable. Because most of us agree that being callous, crude and indifferent to the needs of other people is the lowest stage of development of mind. This stage neither allows us to grow from within and manage any form of our stress healthily, nor does it ensure any development of the society. Being kind to others is a higher stage. Kindness to others is actually enriching and fulfilling to self in as much as it benefits many people around us. This is why most of the religions have upheld charity. SWADHARMA is evolved and refined form of charity. SWADHARMA is a highly refined and appropriate solution in the form of proactively allocated duty to different individuals; at different stages of life; according different personal and social relationships, different seasons and different auspicious days! SWADHARMA is not a matter of individual’s feelings, fancies, idiosyncrasies, whims or choice but it is inseparable from an individual’s subjective mind or ego. The importance of SWADHARMA is that it does not give rise inflation of condescending attitude and ego on the one hand and destruction of self esteem and humiliation on the other; as it usually does in case of charity. It is a matter of gong beyond subjective realm and fulfilling various responsibilities and obligations, conducive to global blossoming. These are akin to loans or debts called RUNA. 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 such as student stage (BRAHMACHARYASHRAMA), married family person’s stage (GRUHASTHASHRAMA), retired stage (VANAPRASTHASHRAMA) and stage of renouncement or renunciation (SANYASASRHAMA) was referred to as ASHRAMA. Thus a student is expected to observe celibacy and study. This is obviously a wise thing if one considers fixation on physical pleasure and menace of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, problems of unmarried mothers and most importantly thwarting of sublime aspirations. 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 a cell in maintenance of internal environment i. e. homeostasis. Thus just as a cell participates in homeostasis in subservience to health of an organism, similarly an individual participates in social homeostasis in subservience to the health of the society. Since the fabric of the Indian society has changed almost completely the revival of the old concept exactly in the same form does not seem possible and feasible.
But it is possible by practice of Namasmaran to develop global perspective, global thinking, global policies and globally beneficial administration and implementation, i.e. practice SWADHARMA in one’s own field.. This is very important and urgent because; charity in itself; being a crude; though egalitarian and commendable response; does not reach and act on the roots of the social and political evils in the form of perspectives, policies, plans, administrative machinery, laws, rules, conventions etc., which if neglected or deliberately concealed, keep on nurturing the evils unabatedly. Moreover; charity is not sufficient or in fact proves to be counterproductive in terms of emotional black mailing and cheating, tax evasion and vested interests of political and economic nature by harboring and empowering the social evils responsible for a variety of social maladies. 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)! This scenario of failure of “charity” in every way is evident in the queues in front of public hospitals, many restaurants, temples 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 social relief. But today, by understanding our SWADHARMA, and practicing its essence through Namasmaran or any other method, we can rectify our cognition, affect and conation. This can be explained by taking examples. By practicing NAMASMARAN, a doctor would work for the advent of holistic medicine, a lawyer for laws for holistic education, an educationist for the development of holistic education (which nurtures cognitive, affective, psychomotor and productive domain of a child) and so on,
in terms of policy making, planning and implementation and can effectively manage the most important, vital and burning problems such as child labor, begging, slums, pavement dwelling, diseases, pollution etc.