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On the cliché "I will act according to what my conscience tells me"

Next time you hear anyone resort to 'conscience', or even if you are tempted to resort to your 'conscience', on matters that, well, matter, think about this - 

"Why is conscience called one's "manahsaksi"? Conscience is fit to be only a witness(saksi), not to be a judge. A witness often gives false evidence. The mind, however, doesn't tell an untruth - indeed it knows the truth of all things. " There is no deceit that is hidden from the heart(mind), " says Auvvai. Conscience may be regarded as a witness. But nowadays it is brought in as a judge also in dharmic matters. As a witness it will give us a true report of what it sees or has seen. But on the basis of it we cannot give on what is just with any degree of finality. "What I think is right, " everybody would try to satisfy himself thus about his actions if he were to be guided only by his conscience. How can this be justified as the verdict of dharma?

We often hear people sa…

A Book, and a Tanjore painting

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Jerry Pinto's review of the book 'Smritichitre' by Lakshmibai Tilak (English translation by Shanta Gokhale) convinced me that i should buy it, and i did. Indeed a wonderful account of the people and the circustances in familiar places of Maharastra, the book covers the period from the last couple of decades of the 19th century, and the first three of the 20th century. Experience the author's angst as her spouse hastens steadily from one faith to another, and she ends up treading the same path.

In the same newspaper edition as the review, i got to read another fascinating account of one man's beloved collection of Tanjore paintings. "The gods and goddesses in the iconic paintings often have “stark staring eyes”. This is because, Singh suggests, in the Indian tradition of darshan, you do not just look at the deity but the deity looks back at you. The box frames are a three-dimensional representation of a shrine. The religious cannot be disconnected from the aest…

Lifestyles Vs Livelihoods

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More fascinating possibilities

"....reminds us of the persistence of primal floods rising to punish human beings for their greed. Most often, the stories tell of a giant fish rising to save humanity. We have our own version in ‘matsya avatar’ with Vishnu taking the form of a fish to save Manu, the designated survivor of humanity. The Sumerians’ tales of Gilgamesh talk of Sage Utnapishtim, who takes his family, his animals and enough grains, to start all over again after the deluge.
Then there’s the Aztec myth of a couple that climbs a tree with two ears of grain to save themselves from the flood. And the Norse myth of Odin and his brothers who kill Ymir, an ice-giant, the frost in whose veins melts and floods the earth.
Maybe our own Ichthyosaurus is a reminder of the fragility of all life forms in the everflowing flux of time. Or how closely connected we all are by our myths and heredity. Surfacing as the oceans begin to rise, the Ichthyosaurus of Kutch lives again." Source

So once again, let us revisit the…

Fascinating possibilities

1. "Climbing Australia’s giant red rock Uluru to be banned"
"The rock’s traditional Aboriginal owners’ connection to the site dates back tens of thousands of years and it has great spiritual and cultural significance to them." Source

2. "Tribe rejects plan to build tram, hotel in Grand Canyon"
"Members of the Navajo Nation Council have rejected legislation to build an aerial tram to take paying visitors to a riverside boardwalk in the Grand Canyon in the U.S. Critics showed up to urge lawmakers to oppose the project. They have said the area is sacred and that the proposed development would mar the landscape". Source

3. "In the dim past what we call Hinduism today was prevalent all over the world. Archaeological studies reveal the existence of relics of our Vedic religion in many countries. For instance, excavations have brought up the text of a treaty between Rameses II and the Hittites dating back to the 14th century B. C. In this, the Ve…

T M Krishna in conversation with Ananya Vajpeyi

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Addressing the 'trust deficit'....

All NGOs work for some cause.  And their funding is under scrutiny.  The government or its designated department gives approval after ensuring the legitimacy of the cause.  At the time of registration, let the govt provide a seed fund, open the NGO's account in a chosen bank, and announce that the NGO can seek funds from anyone who wishes to support the cause.  The funds would be routed through only this account. Can't transparency be ensured this way?  And political parties also can be considered non-governmental organizations! Quoting from NGOs’ foreign funds and a trust deficit ".... foreign funding of NGOs is dwarfed by other foreign money coming into India. Of this, the amount used for potentially questionable purposes is about 13 per cent. Let us look at another set of issues. All organisations working in society need to be transparent and accountable, including NGOs, whether domestically or foreign funded. The RTI tries to do that for the government. But beyond the NGOs, …