WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE KATHA

THE PRIDE OF TELUGU PEOPLE-ALLURI SITA RAMA RAJU

BURRA KATHA :

Burra Katha is the most popular art form of narrative entertainment in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India. In this theatrical form, a story teller accompanied by two partners, one on either side, recites a story while speaking, singing and dancing. The term “BURRA” refers to a stringed musical instrument called “TAMBURA”. The resonating chamber is made of a hollow shell( and the word ‘burra’ also refers to the human skull in Telugu language). The main performer wears this instrument across his right shoulder. The term “KATHA” means a story. Story telling is an important Oral Tradition in India and there are several traditional ways of narrating a story.

The main performer (‘KATHAKUDU’) plays the ‘tambura’ as he dances rhythmically moving forwards and backwards on the stage while reciting a story. He also weras a metal ring and carries a ring in his palm to add to the tempo while he sings. The co-performers play two-headed earthen drums(‘DAKKI’)to accentuate the songs. All the three performers will be wearing anklets with tiny bells called ‘ANDELU’ or ‘GAJJELU’ which add to the music when they dance and perform. One of the drummer is referred to as the ‘RAJKIYA’ and he comments on contemporary political and social issues even if the main story concerns historical or mythological events. The other drummer is known as ‘HASYAM’ and he cracks jokes and provides comic relief and constantly keeps the audience well entertained and keeps up their interest in the performance. The performers regularly address each other and the co-performers often interrupt the main performer to ask doubts and they add emphasis to the main events in the story with short words and phrases. Generally, the performance would begin with a prayer song. Then the main performer introduces the story by establishing the place, time and historical context of the action. The co-performers repeat the refrain of the narrative. The story begins with the statement, “VINARA BHARATA VEERA KUMARA, VEERA GADHA VINARA” whcih means,HEAR, THE YOUNG BRAVE SON OF BHARAT(INDIA), HEAR THE STORY OF THE BRAVE and the co-performers affirm the proceedings with the words ” TANDHANA TANE TANDHANA NA “. After these introductions, the main plot begins in which all three performers take an active role assuming various characters in the incidents, as well as providing narrative bridges between incidents. Thus, dance, recitation, songs, dialogues and enactment of scenes provide variation within a strong narrative line of Burra Katha.

Burra Katha stories could be mythological, historical and sociopolitical. It became the medium to enlighten the people about the political situation and played an effective role in conveying the message to people and awakening them during Indian Independence Movement. This art form became so popular, the British government banned its performance in the Madras Presidency and Nizam, the ruler of the princely State of Hyderabad, prohibited these shows in Telengana region.

MY CONNECTION TO THE NATION :

I am connected to the place known as Rajahmundry of East Godavari district by way of my family connections. The most important connection is that my father and my grandfather belong to Rajahmundry and both of them worked for the ‘CROWN’ while the British ruled India.The British created opportunities to render public service and Natives who served in the name of the Crown remained in their jobs even after Independence as their services were very much appreciated by the community and such public service was not seen as a hindrance to winning the political freedom. I had arrived on the scene after India’s independence and the relics of the colonial rule were still fully evident. For example, the elementary school in my neighborhood was known as King George elementary school. As I grew up, it is Rajahmundry which had shaped my connection to the rest of the country. The spirit of ‘NATIONALISM’ was fully thriving even after the departure of the British. The people of Rajahmundry loved all types of freedom fighters. On one hand, they adored Mahatma Gandhi and on the other hand, they embraced ‘NETAJI’ Subhash Chandra Bose, a revolutionary as their true hero. They made no distinction between the non-violence, ahimsa credo of Gandhi and the revolutionary tactics of armed rebellion advocated by Bose. Fighting the foreign occupier was important to the natives of Rajahmundry and all kinds of tactics were equally welcome. The story that connected me to this spirit of ‘nationalism’ had reached me by way of Burra Katha performances that I had witnessed in Rajahmundry. The one story that had made a lasting impression was about a young freedom fighter known popularly as “RAJU”.

“ANDHRA SRI “, ALLURI SITA RAMA RAJU( July 4, 1897- May 7, 1924) :

He lives in the hearts of the Telugu people as the “Manyam Veerudu”(Hero of the Jungles). He was Andhra’s early revolutionaries. He was disillusioned with Gandhi’s nonviolence. He was inspired by the patriotic zeal of the revolutionaries in Bengal. He fought for social justice, for freedom and to liberate the innocent tribals from ruthless exploitation and oppression. The tribal corridor known as ‘MANYAM’ extends from Vijayanagaram to Godavari districts. He made this Agency area as his home and launched his struggle against the British with the help of the tribal people. This young man renounced his marital life and became the leader of what is known as the ” RAMPA REBELLION “. In Telugu language, it is known as the ” RAMPA PITURI “. The word ‘pituri’ means complaints. He believed that freedom is not something to be begged for. He waged a successful but short lived guerilla warfare against the British occupiers from 1922 to 1923. The British general Rutherford who was deputed to crush the uprising used trickery and enticed Raju with a deal for peace.The British burnt down entire villages of the tribals, beaten the old and the children, molested the women, killed the young and tortured the captives. Raju who had innocently shown up to talk peace to save the tribals from the campaign of terror unleashed by the British forces was unceremoniously captured, was tied up to a tamarind tree and was brutally shot dead with a rifle in Mampa village, in the forests of Chintapalli. He became a martyr at the young age of 28. He was executed without a trial on May 7, 1924. His story generates the feelings of nationalism and is very effectively narrated to the people in the format of Burra Katha. Raju had his early education at Rajahmundry and I feel connected to my place and to the rest of the country because of this man of great spirit and honor.

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WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE LORD

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Moses parts the Red Sea in “The Ten Commandments” (1956) film directed by DeMille.

 

This entry is dedicated to the memory of legendary actor Charles Heston who passed away on April 5, 2008 at age 84.

In the Holy Bible, The Old Testament, The Second Book of Moses known as EXODUS traces Moses’ personal development and his emergence as one of history’s most decisive, powerful leaders. In Jewish history, Moses earned a place primarily as a liberator. He led the march from slavery to freedom, from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt as “PASSOVER” festival. Passover is one of the most important Jewish festivals. It is celebrated for seven days(by the Jewish calendar, Nisan 15-22). This year the festival begins on Saturday, April 19th. Jews celebrate the festival while reading the Book of Exodus. It includes encounters and conversations with God that have no equal in the Bible. Exodus contains much material about the nature of God. Moses met God in intimate ways which is not possible for other humans.

THE PROPER NAME OF GOD :

EXODUS, Chapter 3, verses 13-14

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name ?’ Then what shall I tell them ?”

God said to Moses, ” I AM THAT I AM “. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. ‘ I AM has sent me to you.”

I AM is the most proper name of God because it signifies that the being of God is His very essence and it is the proof of His existence. The great ” I AM ” would represent the following ideas :

1. I AM THE LORD GOD.

2. I AM THE SUPREME BEING.

3.I AM GREATER. THERE IS NO THOUGHT GREATER THAN I AM.

4.I AM THE UNCHANGING REALITY.

5. I AM THE TRUTH.

6. I AM THE PRIME CAUSE. I AM THE CREATOR.

7. I AM THE SOURCE OF LOVE, GRACE, AND COMPASSION.

Rudra N Rebbapragada, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.,

Organization: The Spirits of Special Frontier Force.

 

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE PROPHET

MOSES PARTS THE RED SEA IN ” THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ” 1956 FILM DIRECTED BY DEMILLE

This entry is dedicated to the memory of legendary actor Charles Heston who passed away on April 5, 2008 at age 84.

In the Holy Bible, The Old Testament, The Second Book of Moses known as EXODUS traces Moses’ personal development and his emergence as one of history’s most decisive, powerful leaders. In Jewish history, Moses earned a place primarily as a liberator. He led the march from slavery to freedom, from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt as “PASSOVER” festival. Passover is one of the most important Jewish festivals. It is celebrated for seven days(by the Jewish calendar, Nisan 15-22). This year the festival begins on Saturday, April 19th. Jews celebrate the festival while reading the Book of Exodus. It includes encounters and conversations with God that have no equal in the Bible. Exodus contains much material about the nature of God. Moses met God in intimate ways which is not possible for other humans.

THE PROPER NAME OF GOD :

EXODUS, Chapter 3, verses 13-14

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name ?’ Then what shall I tell them ?”

God said to Moses, ” I AM THAT I AM “. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. ‘ I AM has sent me to you. “

I AM is the most proper name of God because it signifies that the being of God is His very essence and it is the proof of His existence. The great ” I AM ” would represent the following ideas and you may explore these thoughts and the references are cited :

1. I AM THE LORD GOD.(Genesis 46:3, Leviticus 18:2)

2. I AM THE SUPREME BEING. THE GOD OF THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE.( Jeremiah 32:27)

3. I AM GREATER. THERE IS NO THOUGHT GREATER THAN I AM.(Genesis 35:11, Isaiah 51:15)

4. I AM THE UNCHANGING REALITY. I CHANGE NOT.(Malachi 3:6)

5. I AM THE TRUTH.(John 14:6)

6. I AM THE PRIME CAUSE. I AM THE CREATOR.(Isaiah 45:18)

7. I AM THE SOURCE OF LOVE, GRACE AND COMPASSION.(Exodus 22:27)

8.I AM ETERNAL. IAM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA. ” WHO IS, AND WHO WAS,

AND WHO IS TO COME “. THE BEGINNING AND THE END.(Revelation 1:8, 21:6)

9. I AM THE FIRST AND I AM THE LAST(Isaiah 44:6)

10. I AM HOLY.(Leviticus 11:44,45, 19:2, 1 Peter 1:6)

11. I AM THE COVENANT MAKER.(Genesis 9:12, Exodus 34:10)

12. I AM THE PROVIDER OF LAWS.(Deuteronomy 4:8, 12:28, 13:18)

13. I OFFER LIFE OR DEATH.(Deuteronomy 30:11, 32:39)

14. I AM THE SAVIOR.(Isaiah 45:22)

15. I AM THE LIVING BREAD.(John 6:51)

16. I AM THE TRUE VINE.(John 15:1)

17. I AM THE TEACHER.(John 13:13)

18. I AM THE HEALER.(Exodus 16:21)

19. I AM THE DESTROYER.(Genesis 6:13)

20. I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.(John 11:25)

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE VIEWS

>LETTERS – mlive.com

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE YUGOSLAVIA

KOSOVO-A TINY, ECONOMICALLY STAGNANT BREAKAWAY PROVINCE OF SERBIA

James Palmer is a student in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A.(james.palmer@tufts.edu) In a guest editorial titled ‘ U.S. blunders by recognizing Kosovo independence’ that was published in The Detroit Free Press on Monday, March 31, 2008, he had claimed that the decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence was foolish. In doing so, he had stated that the United States and its European allies have undermined international law and opened the door to separatist movements world wide to follow suit.

THE UNITED NATIONS AND THE INTERNATIONAL LAW ;

The United Nations Charter enshrines the inviolability of state sovereignty. Mr. Palmer had argued that in recognizing Kosovo without a UN Security Council Resolution, the United States and its European allies have weakened two of the fundamental principles of international law : that states are free to determine their internal composition and that their territorial integrity must be respected. Security Council Resolution 1244 had placed Kosovo under UN administration and had provided for Kosovo’s autonomy within Serbia. Now, the administrative authority is transferred from the UN sanctioned mission in Kosovo to an EU mission that has no legal mandate in the province. The main problem is that Kosovo’s independence undermines a system of international law. Kosovo’s independence sets the precedent for ethnic enclaves within other sovereign states. As per Mr. Palmer, the dangerous precedent it has created is : the carving off of a sovereign state’s territory in favor of an ethnic and religious minority threatening violence – a model to be replicated elsewhere.

America has been making ill-fated decisions in the Balkans for at least a decade and a half. Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence has only re inflamed the divisions and enmities of the 1990s. Mr. Palmer had warned that the ethnic Albanians in the states of Bosnia, Macedonia and Montenegro are emboldened and they are calling for creation of ” greater Albania ” which would result in a new round of ethnic cleansing and more violence.

KOSOVO AND KASHMIR – AMERICAN POLICY :

America and its European ally Great Britain have consistently worked to undermine the interests of India in the United Nations and the Security Council had passed resolutions which ignore India’s territorial integrity and India’s sovereignty over areas of Kashmir state that Pakistan had illegally occupied during its wars of aggression in 1947-48. India could protect its vital interests in the Security Council only on account of the help provided by the Soviet Union. Leaders of USSR, Nikita Khrushchev(1953-1964) and Leonid Brezhnev(1964-1982) played the role of a life savior and had helped India to defend its position with regard to Kashmir. At the end of the cold war, America to exercise its role as the world’s only Super Power had changed its attitude towards the basic principles of the United Nations Charter which govern international relations. America would now like to intervene on its own initiative without obtaining a mandate from the United Nations. American support to militant groups based in Kashmir clearly poses a great threat to India’s sovereignty over Kashmir and India should protect itself from the dangerous precedent created by the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE CONDEMNED

Jean-Paul Sartre (um 1950)
Image via Wikipedia

 

   

SARTRE, JEAN-PAUL(b. JUNE 21, 1905, PARIS – d. APRIL 15, 1980, PARIS) FRENCH NOVELIST, PLAYWRIGHT, AND EXPONENT OF EXISTENTIALISM  

MAN IS BORN FREE :  

The Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verse 27:"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

The Christian idea of freedom is based in the concept of man as the image of God. The Holy Bible, The Old Testament, The First Book of Moses called Genesis in chapter 1, verse 26 says : Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”  

Man is a person because God is a person. The real sign of God as personal being is freedom. When God created man according to His image, He also gave over to him this mark of nobility i.e ., freedom.  

FREEDOM IS BASED ON KNOWLEDGE :  

German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel(1770-1831) viewed the whole of human history as a vast dialectical movement toward the realization of freedom. All of history is the progress of mind or spirit along a logically necessary path that leads to freedom. Human beings are manifestations of this universal mind, although at first they do not realize this. Freedom can not be achieved until human beings do realize it, and so feel at home in the universe. Hence, Hagel claimed that freedom is based on knowledge.  

THE RADICAL FREEDOM OF ” BEING AND NOTHINGNESS” :  

Existentialism is the popular name of a philosophical focus on human freedom, personal responsibility, and the importance of the individual’s need to make choices. Sartre’s book “Being and Nothingness”(1943) is considered to be one of the best philosophical work of the 20th century. Sartre’s central thesis is that humans are essentially free, free to choose( though Not free Not to choose) and free to negate the given features of the world. Sartre’s driving belief was in human freedom, the ability to choose not only a course of action but also what one would become. If man is truly free, the world, whether material or social, can place no constraints on him, not even to the extent of determining what would or would not be good reasons for following a given course of action.  

Sartre focused on the opposition between objective things and human consciousness. Human consciousness is a non-thing as its reality consists in standing back from things and taking a point of view on them. Because consciousness is a non-thing(Sartre’s “neant” literally means “nothingness”), it does not have any of the causal involvements that things have with other things. This means that consciousness and thus humans themselves are essentially free. Ironically, the freedom of human consciousness is experienced by humans as a burden. “Man is condemned to be free”.  

The existentialist emphasis on the ultimacy of human freedom continues to represent an essential ingredient of philosophical thinking.  

INDIAN TRADITION AND HUMAN FREEDOM  :  

 Who or what is the subject who lives because of the functions of trillions of cells that comprise the human organism? How to describe the identity of this individual who is truly a multicellular organism? While describing man’s identity, Indian Tradition points out the problem of Subjective-Objective dualism. The man who is born is the Subject and the man who is unborn is the Object. Indian thinkers had proposed that man is an embodied soul; the physical body experiences birth, growth, old age, sickness, and death while the soul is eternal, it is unborn and it never dies. Man as a subjective individual exists as a physical being, mental being, social being, moral being, and a spiritual being. The subjective reality of man’s physical or material existence is conditioned by his physical, mental, social, moral, and spiritual well-being. Man can seek to exist with a total sense of freedom in his thoughts but the thoughts exist while they are supported by a material being with a physical body and mind. The fact that the man is born binds him into a state of conditioned existence and the experience of freedom is a subjective experience. 

  

Ramayana narrates the life journey of Lord Rama as a mortal human being. Man is a physical being, a mental being, a social being, a moral being, and a spiritual being. Man can not express a sense of human freedom and he is not free to act as he pleases. All the central characters of the epic poem of Ramayana acted within the limitations imposed upon their existence by mental, social, moral, and spiritual factors. Hence, I would claim that Rama is not born FREE.

 

 In the epic poem of RAMAYANA, which describes the life journey of Prince Ramachandra of Ayodhya Kingdom, the Book of Ayodhya Kanda, chapters X IV to X VIII describe the anguish of King Dasaratha, the ruler of Ayodhya Kingdom. King Dasaratha was the father of Prince Ramachandra. He was in extreme agony as he had failed to act to express his natural affection to his son. The Emperor was tied down by the traditions of SATYA(Truth) and DHARMA(Right Conduct), was totally helpless and could not display any sense of freedom. King Dasaratha was a moral being and this identity of a moral being would not allow him the freedom to act as a social being and express love and affection to his son. King Dasaratha had ordered his son to live in a forest and then urged his son to disobey his order to fulfil his duty to show his sense of filial affection. Prince Ramachandra claimed that He was not free to act in disobedience of His father’s command and stated that He can not make any choice other than that of choosing a life in exile. Man who is experiencing the subjective reality of conditioned existence has no real freedom.  

This inexplicable and unexpected act that resulted in the banishment of Prince Ramachandra is described as a work of ‘FATE’. In Sanskrit literature, “DAIVAM” means fate. It conveys the sense of belief in God as the ‘PRIME CAUSE’. Since God is in control, man is not free to act as he pleases. Since man is tied down, he is born in shackles without freedom. The goal of man is to seek “RELEASE” which is described as “MUKTI” and the purpose of human life is described as “LIBERATION” which is named as “MOKSHA”.  

ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE  :  

Man describes as to who he is, his nature, and his essence, with the help of his thoughts, his intellect, his knowledge, his feelings, his sense of self-pride or self-ego, and his social status and social position. However, this essence is not the basis for man’s existence in nature. Man can not sustain his biological existence because of his essence. Man is not an independent entity. Man leads a dependent existence. The reality of man’s existence is a conditioned experience. Without this reality of conditioned state of existence, man can not describe his essence. Existence precedes essence. Existence is the prerequisite for essence to manifest. The essence is manifested by the being, the material body with mind, thoughts, intellect, knowledge, feelings, and self-pride or self-ego. This material being need to exist, and the state or condition of this physical existence is biologically manifested as alertness, wakefulness, awareness, and consciousness. Consciousness or Nothingness is the prerequisite for essence, and for the physical existence of the material Being. When consciousness departs, the essence also gets dissolved. If man enjoys a sense of freedom and expresses it as his essence, this freedom is subject to the reality of conditioned subjective existence. Man, and his essence is displayed if it is accompanied by Nothingness, the biological function called the capacity for consciousness. The contents of consciousness describe the nature of man’s essence. The contents of consciousness are known only when man has the capacity for consciousness. The anatomical structure that performs the function to provide the ability or the capacity for consciousness is in the Reticular Formation of the Brain Stem. Man is aware of his essence when the functions of his Brain Stem exist. Brain Stem functions in an autonomous manner and man is not truly free to govern the functions of his Brain Stem which is the prerequisite for his physical and mental being to maintain its living functions, the state and the condition called Living. 

THE OBJECTIVE REALITY OF MAN’S EXISTENCE  : 

In Chapter Four( Transcendental Knowledge ) of The Bhagavad Gita, in verse 6 Lord Krishna states that He is unborn and also in Chapter VII ( Knowledge of the Absolute ), in verse 24, He states "Unintelligent men, who do not know Me not, think that I have assumed this Form and Personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme."

 Indian Tradition suggests that the mind and body which represent the material human person is in reality an illusion named as ‘MAYA’. The real identity of man is described by an eternal and unchanging reality that is unborn and hence is not subject to birth or death. 

Please also view the page titled ‘I am Consciousness, therefore I am” 

http://bhavanajagat.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/i-am-consciousness-therefore-i-am/ 

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,  

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,  

M.B.B.S.,  Class of  April,  1970.   

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE GURU

Chanakya (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

CHANAKYA, KAUTILYA OR VISHNU GUPTA – INDIAN STATESMAN AND PHILOSOPHER

What is good for America should and is good for the world !!!

American military spending has a detrimental impact on many sectors of the economy. It has led to slow economic growth, less investment, higher trade deficits and fewer jobs. Is that Good for America ???

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April,  1970.
 

http://360.yahoo.com/rebbapragada@sbcglobal.net

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE INTUITION

> JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU – FRENCH PHILOSOPHER, POLITICAL THEORIST WHOSE IDEAS INSPIRED THE LEADERS OF FRENCH REVOLUTION

Could science and the methods of rational and empirical inquiry help us in knowing the nature and the destiny of humanity ? Could we extend scientific methods into every field of inquiry ? Could we find truth and reality as an external experience or is it visualized entirely in the realm of intuition and conscience ?

Man has to find his way to his pure nature, and this, through feelings. Man’s duty is to look for his most deep interior feelings and follow them.

http://360.yahoo.com/rebbapragada@sbcglobal.net

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE HELP

CHANAKYA, KAUTILYA OR VISHNU GUPTA – INDIAN STATESMAN AND PHILOSOPHER

‘CHANAKYA NITI’ :

Chanakya could be described as the pioneer economist of the world. He is known for his shrewdness, astuteness and diplomacy. He may have been influenced by Zoroastrians who had arrived in India from Persia( present day Iran). He became a counsellor and adviser to King Chandragupta(reigned c. 321- c. 297) of the Mauryan Empire in India. King Chandragupta was a contemporary of Alexander the Great. Chanakya was instrumental in helping Chandragupta overthrow the powerful Nanda dynasty at Pataliputra, Magdha. Chanakya is praised for his sound political wisdom and knowledge of human nature. Because of him the Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta and later under ASHOKA( reigned c. 265- c. 238) became a model of efficient government. Chanakya wrote a classic treatise on polity, ARTHA SHASTRA. Artha means property, economics or material success. It incorporates Principles of Economics and Administration. The book discusses monetary and fiscal policies, welfare, international relations and war strategies. His book NITI SHASTRA deals with the ideal way of life. The book CHANAKYA NITI enunciates his policies.

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY – ‘ HEGEMONISM ‘ :

Dr. Henry Alfred Kissinger who was chief foreign policy adviser and Secretary of State to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford is described as the architect of American foreign policy which he named as ‘ HEGEMONISM ‘. At the end of the cold war, America has assumed the role of World’s only SUPERPOWER(HYPERPOWER) and is willing to dominate the globe in all aspects including that of being the sole military, political, economic and socio-cultural power.

WHAT IS GOOD FOR AMERICA SHOULD AND IS GOOD FOR THE WORLD :

If Chanakya is called upon to evaluate the performance of American foreign policy, he would naturally first look at the impact of American military spending. The total amount of year 2008 supplemental funding for American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $ 189.3 Billion and $ 158 Billion is for the Iraq war. The total spending for the Iraq war is $ 617 Billion and would be increasing on a daily basis. The total U.S. casualties in Iraq has reached a grim milestone of 4,000. America fought battles in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and the human toll was very heavy.But, in terms of the costs of waging wars, the present costs are astronomical. Does this military spending boost the national economy and create jobs ? The verdict is that the military spending is draining resources from the productive economy. It has a detrimental impact on many sectors of the economy. It has resulted in slow economic growth, less investment, higher trade deficits and fewer jobs. American economy has now slowed down and currently it is the biggest concern of the American public and the concern for economy is greater than the concern for the future course of war in Iraq.

In the United States, the national debt is expanding by about $ 1.4 Billion a day. It means about $ 30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant living in the United States. Currently, the national debt stands at $ 9.2 Trillion. In the fiscal year 2006, United States government spent $ 406 Billion on interest payments to the holders of the National Debt. The interest payments keep compounding, and could in time squeeze out most other government spending. The national debt is projected to grow beyond $ 10 Trillion by January 2009 when the Americans would have chosen the next President to lead their country.

HOW WOULD AMERICA DEFEND ITS NATIONAL SECURITY ?

American national security will remain hostage to events on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is no easy way out. The next President of the United States would not be in a position to pull back the troops in spite of the election time rhetoric. The moment America pulls out of Iraq, the power vacuum would be filled up by Iran which would be against American interests in the Middle East. The situation is much worse in Afghanistan. Their economy survives on foreign support and as of today the government in Kabul rules very little of its territory. America had claimed a big success for its foreign policy in the break up of the State of Yugoslavia and for creating the State of Kosovo. Kosovo has no economy of its own and is currently dependent upon the American and European troops who spend their money while they are stationed there. American military spending in Europe is projected to increase much more on account of the new missile and radar bases it would have in Poland and Czech Republic. None of these foreign policy initiatives for global dominance could help America to balance its federal budget and control its deficit spending which is the root cause of the problems that its economy is facing now. If American economy suffers, it would definitely cause a ripple effect. I am not surprised to hear that the merchants in the New York city are willing to accept payments in EUROS as an acknowledgement of the fact that the U.S. Dollar has become weak and will continue to remain weak in comparison to major global currencies.

WHOLE DUDE – WHOLE ENLIGHTENMENT

JEAN-JACQUES, ROUSSEAU(b.JUNE 28, 1712, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND-d. JULY 2, 1778, ERMENONVILLE, FRANCE) FRENCH PHILOSOPHER, POLITICAL THEORIST WHOSE IDEAS INSPIRED THE LEADERS OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.

BUDDHA’S ENLIGHTENMENT

Gautama, at the age of 35, attained the Enlightenment or Awakening. In Buddha’s own recorded words : ” My mind was emancipated…. Ignorance was dispelled, science(knowledge) arose, darkness was dispelled, light arose.”

Could science and the methods of rational and empirical inquiry help us in knowing the nature and the destiny of humanity ? Could we extend scientific methods into every field of inquiry ? Could we find truth and reality as an external experience or is it visualized entirely in the realm of intuition and conscience ?

ENLIGHTENMENT – THE AGE OF REASON

Enlightenment is a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature and man were synthesized into a world view. The thinkers of the Enlightenment were committed to secular views based on reason or human understanding only, which they hoped would provide a basis for beneficial changes affecting every area of life and thought. The Enlightenment was based upon a few great fundamental ideas- such as the dedication to reason, the belief in intellectual progress, the confidence in nature as a source of inspiration and value, and the search for tolerance and freedom in political and social institutions. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and the celebration of reason, the power by which man understands the universe and improves his own condition. The goals of rational man were considered to be knowledge, freedom and happiness. It instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy and politics. Sir Issac Newton is considered to be the true father of Enlightenment. He had established the basic idea of the authority and autonomy of reason.

The Enlightenment Movement eventually broke up under the impact of new evidence and new insights. Nature, once considered a synonym of reason and visible proof of the existence of God and His benevolence, broke up into something to be studied with scientific objectivity and something to be enjoyed in romantic indulgence. The most significant contribution of the Enlightenment came in the field of social and political philosophy.

ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES – THE ROLE OF INTUITION

Rousseau is the least academic of modern philosophers but in many ways he is the most influential. His thought marked the end of the Age of Reason and the birth of Romanticism. He had a profound impact on people’s way of life. He opened men’s eyes to the beauties of nature and he made liberty an object of almost universal aspiration. He is credited with having introduced a great discovery about the nature of freedom and he emphasized the primacy of individual liberty. The other Enlightenment thinkers pursued the nature of humankind empirically in physiological and psychological studies or in historical and anthropological researches, whereas Rousseau sought the nature of humans in the wholly private realm of intuition and conscience. He looked inward for the fundamental source of moral obligation. Enlightenment has faith in reason which is understood as abstraction from external experience, Rousseau has emphasized that the inner life as a source of truth.

Rousseau had shared the Enlightenment view that society had perverted natural man, the “noble savage” who lived harmoniously with nature, free from selfishness, want, possessiveness, and jealousy. In his essay, ‘ A Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts ‘(1750), he argued that the history of man’s life on earth has been a history of decay. Man is good by nature but has been corrupted by society and civilization. In India, thinkers have described the true nature of man as ‘ SAT+CHIT+ANANDA(GOOD, PURE CONSCIOUS, AND BLISS).

One of the first principles of Rousseau’s political philosophy is that politics and morality never be separated. The second important principle is freedom, which the state is created to preserve. The state is a unity and as such expresses the general will. The general will is to secure freedom, equality and justice within the state and in the Social Contract, individual sovereignty is given up to the state in order that these goals might be achieved.

In his political book called ‘ Du Contrat Social ‘(The Social Contract) published in 1762, Rousseau begins with the opening sentence; ” Man was born free, but he is everywhere in chains “. He proposed a society able to cultivate the individual’s moral stature without injury to his freedom. He had expressed freedom and equality of citizens in the idiom of natural and inalienable rights. Rousseau had believed that man has to find his way to his pure nature and to achieve this , man’s duty is to look for his most deep interior feelings and follow them.

Science and scientific methods bring us knowledge about life, nature and the universe that we live in. But, intuition provides us with the insight to improve the way we live this life. My Guru, Shankara has spoken a word of caution :

” MAAYAA MAYA MIDA MAKHILAM HITVAA “

Please be advised, this entire universe is shrouded in the (mysterious)creative energy of the Creator. ( Hence,We may never know the truth and the reality). The solution is

” BRAHMA PADAM TVAM PRAVISA VIDITVAA “

Be wise, and desire only getting back to the abode of your Creator.(Leave aside all other desires as it would be futile, it would be like chasing a mirage.)