Bhagavad Gita (13/5) says:
महाभूतान्यङ्ककारो बुद्धिरव्यक्त मेव च |
इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचरा: ||
Meaning (every human being) is made up of the five elements (earth, ether, air, fire, water; interestingly, if you combine first letter of these five elements expressed in Sanskrit/Hindi, namely, भूमि, गगन, वायू, अनल, नीर, that makes it Bhagvan, भगवान, and a common blessing in Hindi/ Hinduism often goes भगवान भली करें, Bhagvan helps you achieving your goal), the ego, the intellect, the Unmanifest (Primordial Matter or Atma or Soul), the ten organs of action and perception (five organs of action, namely, mouth, hands, legs, genitals and gut; and five organs of perception, namely, sound or ears, touch or skin, color or eyes, taste or tongue and smell or nose, the mind.
That makes it total 5 elements from which each human being is made up and 14 components that each human being is.
For your easy counting, it may be stated as follows:
5 Elements = earth, ether, air, fire, water
Atma or Soul (1)
Organs of action (5)
Organs of Perceptions or sense organs (5)
Why do people display different behavior and conduct?
An important question becomes, if fundamental elements and biological components are same for every human being, why do people display different behavior and conduct?
One may blame the environment or stimulus. But here comes the role of Gunas or quality of their mental constitution or intellect. In terms of Gunas or quality, human intellect can be classified into three, namely, Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. What is Sattvik, Rajasik or Tamasik intellect?. It has been well explained in Bhagavad Gita (18/ 30, 31, 32). I am not reproducing those three verses here, so that I keep the length of my article publishable and readable, and you make some efforts yourself to search, research and know. Knowledge is for, and valued by, the seeker, as a saying goes.
Let me however share with you that as per Bhagavad Gita, the origin of every human action, good or bad, is a human desire. And human desire is the result of engagement of human senses with worldly objects. The engagement of senses with worldly objects creates desire and prompts action to fulfil that desire. But the final controller is the intellect. So, indulgence of human being into good or bad actions is ultimately determined by the quality of intellect of a human being.
That constitutes the field of modern human psychology. At a basic level, human brain has left and right side. Left is logical, analytical, critical, verbal; right is creative and intuitive. Though blessed with both, each human being has one dominant. And there begins difference of response to the same stimulus, different human behavior and conduct.
For some, Woman is mother and sister, irrespective of your own or other’s. For others it is a sex object.
What is Hindu Psychology?
To answer this question is obviously fraught with the danger that how could you map psychology of the 1.1 billion people.
I wish to make a few postulates based on empirical observations.
Hindu is Reactive or Defensive
Hindus are generally reactive or defensive, more than offensive.
Right from cradle, a Hindu child is taught that, as a matter of good manners, given an option, you should not open your mouth till you have heard the other person.
So, Hindu’s good manners make him/ her wait and react or respond.
Hindus are not offensive
As a matter of upbringing, a Hindu child is taught not to offend anyone. Priyamvad (be a soft-spoken person). Thus, a Hindu is taught to not to offend even by speech. Question of offending by action and body doesn’t find place in Hindu culture.
Today, Sept 11 is a day of historic significance. Sad for 9/11 terrorist attacks on USA, killing thousands of innocent people; and the power of Hindu culture and thought as Swami Vivekanand had given his oft- quoted speech in the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago on Sept 11, 1893. In the Swami Vivekanand’s speech context, I am reminded of, as a legend goes, that a participant in that Parliament asked Swami Vivekanand, What are the dissimilarities between Christianity and Hinduism? And Swami Vivekanand’s reply was, my friend, I have come here to know the similarities between Christianity and Hinduism, not dissimilarities. Do you see Priyamvad in action in 1893 at the world stage?
Reaction or Defense is not Intolerance
You do hear time to time from some people that Hindus are, or becoming, intolerant. To not offend is a great value, but to not react and defend oneself is pure nonsense or stupidity. In fact, defense and retaliation should be so gruesome that the offender should dare not offend again. What actually happens is that an offender makes an offence and when a Hindu reacts or defends, he/ she is labelled intolerant. Lesson: Don’t go at the face value of such rarified allegations.
A Classic Case: Sarvepalli Dr. Radhakrishnan’s Reaction or Reply
Have you ever heard a Hindu saying that a book of any religion has no room for ethics? You would have possibly never.
But think of no less than the experience of Sarvepalli Dr Radhakrishnan. When he was an undergrad student at Madras Christian College, he wrote a thesis, “The Ethics of the Vedanta and its Metaphysical Presuppositions”. He wrote it in reply to an observation or ill-founded accusation (by a teacher) that in Vedanta there is no room for ethics.
This small little case tells you the difference of depth of thought of a teacher at Madras Christian College and a Hindu Undergrad Student in the year 1905- 06.
Must Hindus change?
There have been case after case in the last 500- 600 years that baseless accusations have been hurled on Hindus, their faith and culture, world-wide. In fact, power of the offence is that you can be illogical or unsubstantiated and are, more often than not, illogical or unsubstantiated. Look at the case of Sarvepalli Dr Radhakrishnan, mentioned above.
A guy makes a wild statement that in Vedanta there is no room for ethics. And a young students battles to reply the ill- founded statement based on his extensive research.
A nice and inexpensive way to distract a Hindu. Isn’t?
A question becomes, must Hindus change?
Everyone knows that 21st Century is not the ancient times from which Hindus have picked up and carried on their heritage, values, conduct and behavior.
Reference: The Bhagavad Gita or The Song Divine (With Sanskrit Text and English Translation), Gita Press, Gorakhpur, UP, India.
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