Musings.......A Passing Thought

Downfall of civilizations
It is a fact that humanity has evolved through many a civilizations and quite a few among them were unique in their history. It is on record, during Mayan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Babylonian, and still more ancient civilizations of Chinese, Egyptian, and Indus valley, material progress was at its zenith. Though the modern gadgetry was not invented in those times but progress in other spheres of life viz., art, culture, music, architecture, medicines, hygiene, agriculture, trade, industry and general standards of living, was not inferior to today’s standards. Rather in several disciplines they surpassed the current times: excepting physical sciences, these civilizations were far ahead in every other respect. Each civilization nourished on its values and flourished in their peculiar fields. But the most noticeable commonality amongst them was their twofold development; material development as well as the ‘thought’ development. The driving force was intellect and wisdom. Intellect always projects itself through material projections, whereas ‘thought’ finds its expression through the medium of fine arts, literature, music, besides all that makes the inorganic world so beautiful.
Another similarity which was conspicuous in each civilization was their final enactment of self-disintegration. Each one, when it was at its pinnacle, developed similar symptoms of its ruin. All organs of the state got steeped in luxury and corruption: Sunk in indolence and debauchery, each caved in under its own weight of degenerated values. The ‘thought’, which was once their lifeline, went haywire in each case and the hegemony of materialism reigned: And material progress, at its peek, inevitably leads to war, annihilation and destruction.
Then should it be surmised, that material progress always dominates the finer sensitivities? That the ultimate pinnacle of each civilization was, moral depravity!
Each age produced its own Alexander, Nero, Changez Khan, Halaku Khan, Napoleon, Machiavelli and Hitler. All of them left indelible marks on the pages of human history. But the most lethal of them all was the class of nobility: Subedars, Lords, Sardar Bahadhurs, Nawabs and today’s politicians. Due to the public apathy toward this class of ‘elites’ which emerges after the fall of every history maker and becomes the cause of final nemesis of the very ‘thought’ on which were built the lofty empires of values. History provides us with a long list of such ruffians, who openly loot and usurp public property and warns us repeatedly, but the results have always been the same. We let ourselves be befooled and bludgeoned by the likes of these jokers---the elite, who are, involved in scores of scandals running into millions, but still they continue to show their ugly faces from the equally tainted media.
Why the ‘civilize’ continue to allow this dehumanization---not only by being deprived of wealth and property but let their conscience be mortgaged by forced conversion---by the baser elements of the decaying societies? Does it indicate some ingrained deficiency in our genes that impel us towards violence, greed, lust and power, which are intrinsically the by-product of material progress?
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Let us have a look around our neighborhood. Pakistan’s ex-PM/Presidents, are involved in scandals worth thousands of millions by accepting illegal gratifications and by looting State exchequer. At the same time countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Korea (North & South), Indonesia are involved either in internal strive or fighting with each other. The former President of the most powerful nation of the day, U.S.A., Bill Clinton, faced sexual harassment charges during the term of his office. The other super-power, U.S.S.R., stands disintegrated. The plight of African Continent is even worse. Nearer home, the following extract from an article of a leading daily presents the national scene very aptly:
“The rise of beasts of violence everywhere; hundreds of citizen getting killed everyday at the hands of the terrorist mercenary mafia or foreign agents; serious law and order situation in 210 out of 535 districts; parallel governments and “jungle raj” in certain areas where these “rulers” realize taxes, hold courts and award punishments including death-sentence; private armies possessing more sophisticated weapons than the police forces who have yielded considerable quantity of arms to them under overwhelming threat; high officials and big businessmen buying peace from criminals for their own safety, for the police, unable to protect themselves, cannot be relied upon to protect them – this is only a slice of the mirror “
It is not a co-incidence that the decline of moral values is imminent when material progress is at its peak. It is also a fact that moral values, in the form of religions, sects, conventions, customs, creeds and ritualism, are also embedded deep in the psyche of general public. Only it happens so, the real Religion, which encompassed entire humanity, has been transgressed into various sub-deformities. Any civilization’s enrichment---as the name itself connotes---is gauged by the civilized behavior of its components. That civilized behavior is the outer deportment of inner values, ingrained in its bloodlines through practice for thousands of years. Their sustained continuity manifests through the finer sensitivities. But how these finer sensitivities---the inner (moral) values---allow to be dominated and corrupted by the by-products of material progress, is a big question mark; a big stigma, that has evaded the ‘civilized’ man’s imagination! Or else he would not have allowed the wreckage of his domain, which he visualized, built and nourished with the sweat of his physical, intellectual and spiritual endeavors. Advancement of the materialism and the moral values is contemporary, synonymous and complimentary to each other. But if these are arraigned against each other, there ensues the decline of the system: a way of life: a philosophy (thought) i.e. a civilization, by the very components which enriched it. This is a serious cause for worry. When this downward slide begins, even the terminology of definitions also changes! Moral values are ‘called’ human values, as if humanness is different from morality! Although it is the moral values on which a religion is based, these have also been the major, rather the foundation of any civilization. But on its decline, religion becomes the first causality. Actually its negation and vulgarization cause the downward slide.
Only when the ‘thought’ is compartmentalized into graded layers of reality, sub-realities, pseudo spirituality, religions, creeds, sects, Matts (sectarian religious seats, segregated from the mother religions) ), and Gurudom or in so many other nomenclatures, the value of components gets degraded and derided at. Whenever or wherever, the balance between ‘thought’ and matter is in equilibrium, the society becomes an ideal state, which gives rise to a flourishing civilization. But that equilibrium is very sensitive and always tilts in favor of the matter and materialism. Though matter can never be exclusive of ‘thought’, as it is through ‘thought’ that the matter gets itself transformed from inorganic to organic, and from inert to live! Again it is through ‘thought’, that the material progress is attained. But a willful distinction is made between the two as if the ‘body’ can survive without ‘life’!
The cause or causes that lead to the fall of a civilization becomes the subject matter of the so-called historians, anthropologists, scholars, littérateurs or the modern Janis. Lust, greed, power, indolence, corruption, violence, war, internal strife, declining values, immortality---are some of the prognosis through which these experts find their escape routes. This is very hypothetical proposition, which is, in itself a contradiction. To make a man civilized is to bring him out of barbarism – to enlighten, to refine him. This transformation is not brought within months or years. From the cave man to today’s ‘civilized’ (!) man, it took many eras. Similarly each civilization went through the same process. The very factors which labeled man as barbaric and had gradually been shed off, through the regimentation of a system that made him civilized, can’t be the cause of his downfall! Or perhaps, some genes of his barbaric past are still left in him, which remain in hibernation and sprout only at a time, when their supporting factors are in their best of elements! Or the man is still uncivilized: as since the recorded history he has fought over 5500 major wars and in the process, might have butchered hundred of billions of his kin. Only during the last two world wars some hundred million people were killed. Thus the above prognosis is too preposterous.
The present-day’s man is considered an epitome of his creed; highly advanced, not only in scientific and technological fields, but also in every branch of nature. Even other planets in the solar system are now within his reach. He is on the threshold of establishing his suzerainty on the far off planets. He is on the verge of---as he proclaims, discovering the basic cell and the particles, which ushered life and the Creation. Thus the ingredients that made him civilized cannot be laid latent in a trice and replaced with those baser traits, from which it took him aeons to emerge, and again behave and deport like a barbarian.
There is not a single instance in history, when material advancement was at its peak and ‘thought’ enlightenment was lagging behind, or vice versa. If it is not out of context to state here, the genesis of each civilization is primarily the ‘thought’, though its maturity into a full blooming civilization takes thousands of years. Anthropologists and historians may find archeological relics, ancient ruins, artifacts, as easy material for the study of a civilization’s real worth. However actual parameters that determine the real worth is not the material affluence---which anyway is the obvious outcome---but the legacy that each subsequent civilization inherits from the preceding one. It is this legacy that is the interlinking factor, which besides acting, as a bridge passes on its heritage to the succeeding age; which in due course also evolves into another civilization. This inheritance is in the form of literature. Literature here does not represent one branch of knowledge, but the sum total of intelligence of a period of history, which is composite of all aspects of the civilization!
Each generation produces its genius and knowledge of the age, which gets assimilated in one or two patriarchs---the actual flag bearer of that ‘knowledge’---very aptly defined as ‘philosophers’ or the wise. Wisdom is not the end product of a man’s evolution from baser to higher attainment of values! It is the essence of human values, which are the common feature in the lives of people and transpires for generations together---going through many disciplines imposed by the society, religions, judiciary, state or self-imposed. These disciplines, when applied earnestly---keeping in view the general welfare of the society in mind, and also keeping in tune with general character of the masses chisel out characteristics of human values, deeply saturated with moral values, which are the epitome of those times, reflected through the lives of the chosen few. Does this minority really represent the totality of intelligence of an era or is this a statement of the vagrant minds? This needs to be probed deeply.
Here it is equally important to make a distinction between wisdom and perfection in human life which the scholars often confuse as one and the same thing. Wisdom is the byproduct of the finer sensitivities; genesis of values of life; knowledge; good judgment and prudence, etc. It is always relative and subject to many limitations. It is the knowledge that ultimately determines the kind of experience, judgment, prudence one is capable of discharging in daily life. And knowledge is not only progressive but always relates to the intelligence of an era, that is---the progress it has achieved up to a certain time. Wisdom is the essence of intelligence, whereas perfection is the source of all knowledge. Therefore the wisdom of each era is distinct and its values are always at variance. As the material affluence that each civilization supports, is compatible to the advancement in science and technology; similarly culture, the mother of social sciences, determines the maturity of ‘thought’ of that era. The real parameter to evaluate as to how far the ‘thought’ has gone deep into the inner portals of the minds of the people can easily be assessed from the general behavior of the masses: the system of governance: their art and culture etc. The more deeply the mind (intellect) is utilized---which incidentally has never been utilized more than 7 percent of its capacity---more materially exuberant and well versed would be the lives of the people. The resultant euphoria of material affluence, almost always bursts out in the form of over indulgence, violence and corruption.
It clearly indicates, the factors which make civilizations rich, are either lacking in maturity or are insufficient in content to sustain and retain their shine of refinement---if not forever, then at least for a protracted period of time, till another better ‘thought’ unravels its benign environment and gives birth to a new civilization. Alas, this has never been so! Though civilizations flourished in different regions, during different times in history, each went through the same methodology and employed, invariably, the same tools for their own annihilation. It is pertinent to note, fresh civilization never was born out of the ashes of a bygone civilization. Perhaps when one is vanished it destroys along with, its roots too---its literature.
There is no disputing the fact that the reason for material advancement is science. Since science is a system of education for the study of nature, fine arts are the result of inner development, cultured by human values. Whether it be the fine arts or science, the major contributor for their growth is education. Mere study and cramming of books is not education. It is not simply the study of natural sciences but a complete way of life, a process of learning that spans from birth to death. It (education) is the complete study of matter, life and mind, which evolves man from barbarism to civilization: Stone Age to robots: wheel to rockets: and now has brought him out, from his traditional function of reproduction to cloning. Education makes him a better man, helps him create a healthy society in the polluted environments; raise him from immorality to morality. Whenever the purpose of education is deflected or distorted, decline of society is imminent. Its purpose is not to churn out scholars, whose only proficiency is the ability to recite like parrots the crammed data acquired from the books but to make the man more refined in every sphere of life: clean the atmosphere of all impurities he lives in, and finally make the universe a state of peace and happiness. The Master has truly said:
The end of wisdom is freedom
The end of culture is perfection
The end of knowledge is love
The end of education is character

The real purpose of education therefore is to promote human values like love, compassion, peace, righteous conduct, dedication, honesty, duty, discipline and devotion. Education is for life; life is for the sake of humanity; man is society, and society’s purpose is to promote and share ‘knowledge’ for the betterment of humanity; morality and human values are for the betterment of society, nation and the entire humanity. All of these combined together act as an elixir (positive force) for keeping the equilibrium between negative and positive forces, between the elements and the senses. The universe stands for peace, as its innate nature is peace.
To avoid any misconception about the real meaning of spirituality; it is not, even remotely related to the present day religions. It is the essence of human values, which are universal in nature. For the sake of record, the fundamental meaning and purpose of religion is to lead man to his source, the God. It is wrongly misconstrued as the bundle of doctrines, and dos and don’ts. This is totally a false assumption. The sacred aim of religion is to remind man of his true nature and origin, which is Divine. And it is religion that helps man to reunite with the Supreme, the God. Character is its main ingredient. Only those who preserve impeccable character can be pronounced as religious. Thus the scope of spirituality and religion, in human terms, are not narrow compartments, crammed with the rigmarole of ritualism and bibliography of ‘mantras’ (hymns) which have divided the society in so many castes, creeds and sects.
Civilization is not a territory, property or the wealth---to be possessed, converted, corrupted or conquered. It is the way of life, cultured and nourished on rich human values for centuries. It is not embedded in visible articles of wealth. They (values) are seeped in life that is structured on character---which is the property of the heart. Outer systems, viz., governments, educational institutions, houses of worship, industrial complexes etc., could be destroyed: But the ‘thought’ that sustains the life of a civilization, not only pervades the atmosphere but in the very depths of the times gone by. Time and history cannot be conquered. They can however be distorted: This is no annihilation; only a temporary setback which can be rectified at any future opportunity. Decline of a civilization is very gradual as its growth. Its only disease is the corruption of values on which it had initially flourished, matured and became rich. Human values are not only based on education and cultured wisdom, but play a major influencing role in making of civilizations.
What is a culture? Its real meaning is to hurt never, help ever; foregoing bad habits, avoid doing bad acts; cultivation of good character and thoughts for doing good unto others. In other words: refinement of one’s action is culture. But the basic ingredients which constitute the building block of a rich culture, are ingrained in the heart viz., love, compassion, sacrifice, perseverance, peace i.e., truth relating qualities. The former can be tinkered with, but not the latter ones’. Any cultural decline leads to the fall of civilization. However, it is saddening that these factors have continued to be ignored flagrantly time and again by the successive civilizations
Should we draw the conclusion that humanity has to go through this vicious cycle time and again! This can not be so, since the scientists of our time proclaim that nothing is predetermined as per their theory of uncertainty. If the scientific fraternity is to be believed, then it is logical to assume that, human behavior is constant and unchanging, and it manifests in similar fashion in each succeeding civilization, though in different ways, and becomes the cause of human growth both of material and thought enlightenment as well as self annihilation.
On the other hand, if everything is predetermined, then it means we are mere puppets in the hands of destiny in which intellect has no role to play. Is this a fraud? An illusion! Or Maya, as some spiritualists believe? How preposterous? A modern thinking man will never accept this proposition.
There is also a third proposition that nothing is uncertain or predetermined, but is a one time episode. We are deflecting from our topic and going towards the oft repeated yet never ending dialogue (read controversy) between the rationalists vs. logician: scientist vs. spiritualist: religions vs. paganism. Fortunately our scope of digression is very limited and humble too. We are not after the Creator---the Intelligent-Being, or the propagandists of the ‘uncertainty’ theory who would frown upon us because, in their view, it is the purview of high profile oracles. Only those who use profanity and pollute the clean minds of the innocents are classed as specialists, experts on the subjects, about which they have little understanding. The real progenitors---the genius, are the ignored class, whose voice---as nothing survives in the ruins of civilizations, except the ‘voice’ (thought) of these humble and unknown souls---that still kindles our imagination as well as the finer sensitivities.
Despite all the junk---in the name of ‘literature’---being willfully imposed on us, we are still, sub-consciously, pulled towards our ancient roots and think anew of our lineage. Taking inspiration from our unknown nobles and wise, we are encouraged to think ourselves not as ‘sinners’, bestial animals alone, but the prodigious inheritors of rich culture, tracing its linkage to those times---when rest of the so-called civilizations finding prominent places in the modern history---were not even born. It is no surprise that traces of those genes in us now impel us again to reinvigorate the same values; live and behave in the same manner as our ancestors did aeons ago. Or we are being driven by negative forces and willfully directing us to manifest those traits, which shall ultimately lead to the disintegration of a civilized society! Or, are we really a part of that period of time that posterity would class as an ideal civilization?
What we have been able to understand, so far is, the ‘thought’ that a civilized society develops, and which is the cause of material progression, is routed by the gross fruits it produces. The rout of each civilization was due to the predominance of so-called rationalists, who believed in the dictum that ‘moral thought’ (moral standards) is the result of ‘economic thought’ (material heights). This is far from the truth, as the material progress alone can never be brought about by foregoing the finer aspects of human nature, much less building a civilized society. The facts are otherwise. Whenever material affluence is at peak, finer values are at their lowest ebb. At this critical juncture in each civilization, a class of pseudo scholars emerges at the helm of affairs and their first casualty is religion. Moral values are looked down upon and a new order is invariably established every time, on the so-called new school of thoughts whose main contents are based on: economic, sociological, psychological, passion and liberty (free-will) factors. Religious and moral values are totally abolished from the new order, on the hallow premise of ‘secularism’. This creates an unbridgeable gap between science and spirituality. The latter word becomes an anathema. Strangely this hypocrisy is forced on the middle and lower middle classes of the society---which, incidentally, have always been systematically crushed economically. This has always been done by the elite, in the name of religion, though they themselves flaunt the religion as an article of fashion. They still profess it religiously, even if it has no relevance in their daily life.
Here again the old questions raise their heads by confronting the scholars, pseudo masters/Jnanis and what not:
Can man be civilized without character?
Can man be of character without moral values?
Are human values distinct from moral values?
Can a civilized society survive without religion?
Can a society survive, flourish and be civilized without religion?
Are science (Nature) and spirituality die-hard enemies, or detrimental to each other!
Can fine arts flourish in a society, which is bereft of finer sensitivities?
In fact these questions take us back to the source of all such queries. And that source of curiosity is God! This one word in human vocabulary brings instant reaction of either revulsion or reverence. Various terminologies viz. spirituality, religion, moral/human values, life and death, reincarnation, avatar, prophet, and of reality etc., are directly related to this one word. Doubts or the realization of this ‘word’, have persisted since the element of conscious manifested (activated) in the matter. Whether we believe in this word or not or the concept it represents, it is perennial, hence always with us! Majority of scholars, scientists and the rationalists deny the existence of God whereas the wise herald His pervasiveness.
A Ray…….
Actually our existence or all that is related to Him is incomplete unless we settle the ‘un-certainty’ about this word, once for all times. We may accept or deny this ‘word’ it remains a proverbial riddle that no branch of knowledge is complete unless our Source or that of the cosmos---whish is directly related to Him, is found. Even the Big-Bang event or the scenario before that is nightmarish, unless we find a suitable answer to this enigma.
Now that this word has entered the core of our discussions, the next question is as to what this has to do with the rise or fall of civilizations. To find answer we shall have to go back to the very centre of this controversy. Because His ‘alleged’ reincarnations in the guise of sophisticated nomenclatures are available in abundance! Each rise and fall of civilizations is linked directly to the denial or the acceptance of this word---whether these are under the pseudonym of moral or human values, or finer sensitivities and so on. Since in the making of man a civilized human being, all of these factors play major role, for he is the compositor of all that exists in Nature! So to know him---i.e. us---is to first know about his ‘creation’. That again leads us to Him---He being the compositors of all the creations and all that lies beyond the ‘un-certainty’, has to be known first before we attempt to know Him! But we know nothing beyond our planet, much less about the Creation or beyond that. There the ‘believers’ find Him!
The gap between our discovered knowledge and the totality of Intelligence---that permeates the rest of the existence---is still unknown and abysmal. This void is an easy escape for those, who have not the stamina to probe the depths of yonder worlds, which are beyond the reach of our scientific tools. The technical tools we possess at present are not sufficient to probe the deeper reaches of the cosmos: Big-Bang event is a far cry! The mysteries that followed are proving even difficult to unfold, as we are still in the process to know the physical constitution of our bodies: it can well be imagined as to how much longer it would take for us to understand its complex mind!
Layers of civilizations have placed us at the threshold, where the human mind is engaged in probing the distant planets, galaxies and deep oceans; but is he qualified to understand the mystery behind His creation! Man is that intelligent animal, who never learns from the past history. Instead he tries to learn the same things by repeating and committing the same mistakes his ancestors had committed. No doubt his vision and scientific advancement is really amazing. But will he be able to control, unlike his ancestors, these unleashed energies and channel them for his own betterment--- ushering in a dawn of new promises---is perhaps not distant a dream to realize! Though past is not with him, as it does not behold good examples, but he has however every right to set right his priorities. He has the ability, as well as the vision to guide his steps to scan, not only new horizons but also to utilize the fruits of his endeavors for establishing peace and tranquility on this earth planet. For it would be worth his try to make this Earth suitable for another flourishing civilization, which is universal in scope with universal oneness as its motto! Are we capable of making our own trails and desist from following our ancestors---who at every opportunity in history, instead of pushing forward the ‘thought’, brought about their own downfall---and shall establish a new order---a unique system whose only goal would be peace, peace and peace! This is possible when there is harmony between matter and spirit: elements and the senses: affluence and morality. A ‘nursery’ has already been established, whose saplings are spreading their roots throughout the world and leaving the mark of their fruition. Amen!
Right & Wrong
We perform different actions for different purposes and their effects are registered on individuals, society and humanity in various ways. The actions undertaken by the body, give pleasure-pain, to the individuals only. Whereas the influences of our thoughts, cause good-bad effects on the society as a whole But there are third category of actions, which are generated by our conscience via intelligence, whose effect are universal and their nature is in right or wrong.
It is its own-Self that has become many: It is like an invisible mound of casual sand-grain, united by its own consciousness, which suddenly becomes loose and the casual grains (particles) spread in the entire Universe!
Man may utilize its elements for his progress or destruction but the overall scheme of nature is fathomless, i.e., indestructible. After all, the very purpose of nature is to complete its prescribed course (of evolution) & shower its benefits of resources on the humanity at large
In the 25000 years, intelligence in man has evolved to such an extent, which he could not attain since his evolution from lower categories of life. This is of course a contestable statement— whether man has its ancestry to animal lineage, since there is a gaping link of its alleged transformation or up-gradation from wild to wise syndrome. During this long period; though on the time scale it has no marking, the evolution of intelligence has to be evaluated in each field of knowledge, it has been able to spread its tentacles to. The knowledge in each aspect of Nature creates in man a conscious level that enables him to assert his suzerainty and execute his writ by establishing his reign, which symbolizes through finer sensitivities like art, culture, architecture, music, social structure, maturity of philosophical thought, health care or through his baser elements like wars, conquests: To ascertain the true authentication of his claim of achievements, in those branches of knowledge, in which he has made his access, and has created material symbols (inventions), matching his intelligence, can well be evaluated from his scientific gadgetry! But how far has he been able to probe the depths of his wisdom (thought) is not encouraging!
Intellect can produce scholars and geniuses but not an artist, that is why scholars are barren of love.
Persons who love the work, they are engaged in, are the real artists. Scholars work like machines, hence devoid of love.
Qualitative difference between the work (action) of an intellect/scholar/genius and an artist; though both are dedicated to their jobs, an artist's act never produces the fruits of evil, whereas the farmer’s are susceptible to these. There can, always be an evil genius but not an evil art, because the acts of an artist are conscientious!