(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains GS Online Coaching : Paper 4 - "Contribution Of Moral Thinkers And Philosophers From India And World (Part-1)"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme

Subject: General Studies (Paper 4 - Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude)

Topic: Contribution Of Moral Thinkers And Philosophers From India And World (Part-1)

Thinkers and Philosophers from India

Sri Krishna

Krishna: The Historical Character and the Avatar

From ancient times India has held strongly a belief in the reality of the Avatar, the descent into form, the revelation of the God-head in humanity. India has grown up and persisted as a logical outcome of the Vedantic view of life and taken firm root in the consciousness of the race. All experience, according to Vedantic philosophy, is a manifestation of God because He is the only existence and nothing can be except as either a real figuring or else a figment of that one Reality. Therefore, every conscious being is in part or in some way a descent of the Infinite into the apparent finiteness of name and form. But it is a veiled manifestation and there is a gradation between the Supreme Being of the Divine & there is a gradation between th the consciousness shrouded partly or wholly by ignorance of self in the finite. When the Divine Consciousness or Power assumes the human form and chooses the human mode of .action out of its eternal Self-Knowledge, when the Unknown knows Itself and acts in the frame of mental being and the appearance of birth, that is the height of the conditioned manifestation; it is the full and conscious descent of the God-head, it is the Avatar incarnate God. The fact about the existence of Sri Krishna both as the historical character and the Avatar was well established by the first century B. C. through various .religious legends and Puranas.

The Lesson of the Bhagavad Gita

The life of Lord Krishna is the grand source out of which the Gita has emerged. The life that Sri Krishna lived is the most sublime embodiment of Vedantic principles. The greatest contribution that an incarnation of God makes to the world is his life and career. He is necessarily a man with a message to the world. His deeds and exploits, even more than his utterances, deliver that message in un- mistakable terms. Through the force of his character he exerts an abiding influence on those who come in contact with him. Hi demeanor under varying circumstances teaches humanity more eloquently than his declamation, if any.

Thus the figure of Sri Krishna becomes the symbol of the divine dealings with humanity. Through our egoism and ignorance we are moved, thinking that we are the doers of the work, vaunting ourselves as the real causes of the result, and that which moves us we see only occasionally as some vague or even some human and earthly fountain of knowledge, aspiration, force, some Principle or Light or Power which we acknowledge and adore without knowing what it is until the occasionarises that forces us to stand arrested before the veil. Sri Krishna sets an example in regard to the attitude one should assume towards one’s earthly career. Long before he commenced his teens, his sprightly sports at Vrindavan had all been completed. He viewed this world as a huge playground. Life here is a delightful game. One ought to be a willing and gay participant in this play. Sri Krishna’s boyish and innocent indulgences are indications of this attitude. One is expected to enter into life in the spirit in which a sportsman enters into his game. To such a person this earth is a mansion of mirth. But to him who plays his part with reluctance or disgust, this earthly career is a painful burden. This is all the more necessary for a king who is burdened with a duty of serving his kingdom and his subjects. A just king has no likes or dislikes; his only moral responsibility is to serve his people and kingdom with a sense of dedication. He should always be ready to make all kinds of sacrifices at all stages of life as the situation from time to time demands.

Sri Krishna is a shakti (force) in history and his message, conveyed to the world through the Gita, is :i message of ceaseless action. The very opening word of the Gita is dharmakshetra. Life is a kshetra, a field of dharma-a battle-field. The call of the Gita is a call to the battle-field. Soldiers of the spirit are you. You must conquer your inner desires and chaos, your inner contradictions. To live is to fight for the ideal. History is a battle, field of ideas.

To the world Sri Krishna gave the message of love and peace. He asked the mundane peoples of the world not to fight for cults and creeds and to respect every religion. His message is: “Every path comes to Me’ Religion is immaterial to Me. So is the cull and creed. Devotion or bhakti is supreme to Me.” If we understand his message and carry it the world over, we can then solve all of our political and social problems.

Bhishma Pitamah

Bhishma was the Kuru sage of the Mahabharatt penod. He was not only the most authoritative exponent of rajadharma. as discussed and told in the great Epic, but his contribution to the development of the Hindu political thought in ancient India was also of outstanding historical significance.

Bhishma’s political ideas, like those of Manu and Yajnavalkya, involve the blending of the old Smriti tradition with the teaching of the technical Arthasastra. This blending, however, is more conscious in the one case than in the other, for Bhishma repeatedly quotes as his authorities single texts and even whole discourses purporting to have been composed by the masters of the technical science. The distinctive feature of Bhishma’s teaching consists in its extensive as well as intensive development of the older lines of our political thought. Among his most notable and original contributions are his theories of rajadharma and dandaniti. his theory of the king’s authority.

His theory of public rights of the social classes and the community, his view of the principles of government, his discussion of the moral standards of the king’s policy in exceptional circumstances, and his theory of Brahmanical immunities founded upon the conception of ‘the Brahmana’s birth-right of universal ownership de jure as well as that of co-ordination of the two powers in their common interest and in the interest of the community. Again Bhishma, like Manu, mentions side by side the Smriti and Arthasastra principles relating to a king’s act in fighting his enemy. Bhishma’s theories of rajadharma and dandaniti in the context of his remarkable development of the old Smriti concept of the whole duty of the king. Rajadharma is used in the Mahabharata in two meanings, the royal duties and politics (dandaniti). Its latter sense is confirmed by the fact Uiat one whole section of the Santi Parva, dealing with me rules, relating specifically to me art of government, is known as the Rajadharmanusasana Parva. Therein it has been regarded as me most important science and as me refuge of all omer branches of knowledge. Its (dandaniti’s) full knowledge •is indispensable for a ruler. If strictly followed by the rulers it leads to prosperity and well-being of the ruled. Hence, rajadharma is not only related to dandaniti, but the performance of the former is wholly dependent upon the latter.

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