Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Jun 16 16:05:53 CDT 1998

On Wed, 10 Jun 1998, Ram Chandran wrote:

> Invisible changes have been happening to Dharmic Values continuously
> since long time. The changes that happened  several hundred years back
> were relatively small and negligible in comparison to  more recent
> times.

Not true.  There have been upheavals and crises of confidence in the past
too.  Big ones.

>  Individual families should be held responsible for the
> deterioration of Dharmic Life and Dharmic Values.  The morality of the
> society solely depended on the morality of the individuals who
> constitute the society.  During Vedic time,  religion and life were
> fully synchronized and everyone obeyed their responsibilities without an
> objection. Sacrifice and service were the integral parts of the Vedic
> society.   In today's modern society, selfishness and greed became more
> important and service was based on returns.  The role of religion became
> less important in conducting daily activities of life.

One there never was a "golden age" that's not historically accurate.
Every age has had its own troubles.  And human beings have always been a
mix of good and bad.  I doubt very much if people were better in the "good
old days."


> All Children watch the daily activities of the elders in the
> house and they learn and adopt what they observe.  When the rituals and
> Poojas are conducted without convictions, they create more doubts to the
> minds of the children.   How I can expect my children to understand
> spirituality if I conduct my daily activities with materialistic goals?


> What rights do we have to ask the youngsters
> to confirm to Hindu ideals and values if we don't practice those ideals?
> Youngsters' questions on Hindu rituals and practices arise mostly
> because they do not trust the elders.

The hypocrisy of the older generation is undoubtedly the biggest problem
facing Hindu society in America.  It's what turns off many otherwise
interested people my age from Dharmic activities.  But another problem is
the parents often tell them what they think they want to hear instead of
the truth.  So we have all these "scientific" explanations which are often
complete rubbish.  Any attempt to water down our teachings no matter how
well intentioned is bad and doomed to failure.

> What is the solution to the problems of living in this modern society?

Why assume it is a problem?  The immigrant generation may feel some
discomfort living in america but their children by and large do not.

> Though we may love to go back to the Vedic life and values, it is not
> possible.  Should we feel guilty that we are not practicing the Brahmana
> Dharma? I would say no! This does not mean that we do nothing.  We can
> do concretely to uplift and revitalize moral values by diverting our
> attention to the children. The temples and religious institutions should
> divert their full attention in educating the children about the Vedic
> civilization.  The children of today will be the citizens of tomorrow
> and we the adults have the responsibility to change our life style so
> that children can observe and learn.  Those who are knowledgeable should
> come forward to serve as volunteers in temples and other institutions.
> Volunteers should come forward to organize classes for children of all
> ages and help the children to learn these values at the young age.   Let
> me repeat what Shri Giridhar has said in the previous posting: "So,
> everything can be done if there is a will to do so."

One thing that definitely needs to be done (and which I hope to make my
contribution) is to increase and systemize the level of education.  I mean
no disrespect to the men and women who volunteer to teach classes etc.
but one hour or so every Sunday is simply not good enough.  It is possible
to get a good knowledge of Sanskrit here.  I know, I've done it but
it was needlessly hard.  We need pathashalas where Brahman boys can learn
shastras on just as high a level as they do in Bharat.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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