[Reader-list] fifth posting

Abhik Samanta abhikauliya at googlemail.com
Tue Aug 21 20:12:47 IST 2007

20. Half the people are starving. The other half is preoccupied with
expenditure on luxuries, excess expenditure, false glory and superficial

The contradiction in the contemporary situation is the basis for the path of

service suggested by the edict. That the speaker addresses the elite is
evident from his The emphasis on the symbolic significance of religion is
advocated as of greater relevance, as the explicator of many ethical
precepts, in the latter numbers of the edict. The ethical precepts occur
initially as indicators of public attitude in a situation of economic
devastation of the country. The notion of worship is transformed into the
idea of service by taking on the burden of the deprived sections of the
country who live in squalor;

18. The tradition of charity in Bharatbarsha does not take into
consideration the hungry labourers (sudras) of the country. What it does is
nearly to fill up the stomach of lazy Brahmins, who are the same as the
stone in temples they worship but convey their benevolent patrons to heaven.

19. The weak minded traveler, who gives some money to these people might
console himself by believing that he has earned a place for himself in
heaven but there is no doubt in the fact that he has done something to
worsen the situation in the country.critique of practice. The aim is to
reform the harmful aspects of elite public activity. Thus the specific
situation to which the discourse fits itself is the question of public
presence of the elite. If one attempts to understand how this particular
notion of public presence is related to questions of hegemony, it is
important to see the trajectory of the construction of ethical principles
that are supposed to guide public life. Thee awareness of hegemony is seen
to be embedded in the configuration of universality to which the reader is
open after going through 108 points. [One can feel one with the nation only
if one is able to see all citizens of the nation as the same.] This act of
seeing is engendered or represented by a series of ethical precepts which
signify a certain form of public presence. A functionalist attitude towards
ritualized forms of communal activity is a key point. This functionalist
attitude warrants an understanding of forms and consequences of action,
which can be had only through precepts of universality suggested by these
points. This is how the significance of religious rituals is reconfigured to
establish a new logic for the configuration of the elite and national
public, hence emphasizing its elite points of reference by directing itself
primarily towards the individual.

23.The abhorrence of natural waste matter, to shirk from touching bodies and
bones of dead animals are the primary reasons for the poverty of the

25. O Young reformer! Do not criticize the ancient customs and devotion to
divinity that characterizes Bharatvarsha. If you sow new seeds of
opposition, the citizens of this country can never aspire to oneness.

28. Only he is worthy of becoming a leader who never protests against the
foolishness of his compatriots, betrayal by his followers, the
ungratefulness of mankind and the stubbornness of the public.

The agency that is configured by Swami Ramtirth is thus in the form of
knowledge, which provides an orientation for the configuration of the ideal
public. Juxtaposed with the prose part where the narrative is a journey
through history and life experiences told in the second person by the Swami
, the edict form is intended to embody a moment when private communication
urges a public act. The edict thus occurs as a series of statements that
either affirm or negate. This is actually a language of choice where the
attempt is to bring about a realm of the individual being of the citizen of
the nation. It is thus conceived as a time of movement where all social
affiliations other than that of the nation reveal their evanescent nature.

42. Do not become a part of religion just because it is ancient.

43. Do not become part of a religion just because it is new.

44. Do not become part of a religion because a selected few believe in it.

45.Do not become a part of a religion because many people believe in it.

46. Do not become part of a religion because its propagators are renouncers.
Because there are many who have renounced everything yet they know nothing.
They are fanatics.

47. Do not become a part of a religion just because it is followed by kings.

52. If you stuff innocent children by force with religious ideas then they
will become spiritually retarded.

The realm of choice thus comes forth as a strategy of time whereby the
figure of the Swami becomes coeval to that of the national citizen. It is
the moment when his body resolves the aporia of being a member of the

27. The essence of progress is service and love, not obedience or force.

58.  The decision whether an act of charity is justified lies not in the
intension but in the real effects of the act.

81. The verdict of the Gods is that man must remain free from worries
although his body must be active at all times. His mind must be static while
the body moves. The body must work while the soul reclines.

96. The goal of true education is not to make people do the right things but
to feel good while doing the correct thing, not merely to make people
hardworking but to feel good while working hard.

Work is thus the broad rubric which the body of the Swami enacts. The nature
of work is the implicated content of the message, for it is the task of
defining engagement that forms the basis of being a nationalist. The ideal
is articulated as causing progress which connects to the overall context of
poverty and deprivation in the nation. While the cause of 'progress'
engendered the coherent realm of nationalist ethics, it also defines its
limitation, vis-à-vis the wider scope of religion. The criticism of orthodox
ritual practice as religion is part of the ethics of progress. However, the
framing and articulation of the latter is heavily reliant on religious
concepts which have the effect of re establishing the overall validity of
religion as an organizing principle. The ideas of 'service' and 'love'are
notions which translate the embodiment of nationhood into the inherent
duality of the process of work. The being that works has to be a dual being
as part of the essential duality of being a nationalist with respect to
religion. The paradigms of negation and affirmation generate a firmly
individual mode of existence whose relationship to the nation is defined by
a condition of time that is beyond the given aporia. This generates the
possibility of a history that is beyond the duality embodied in choices.
Since it is an individual condition of a critical engagement with religious
ideas the metaphors of history need also be so. The narrative of history
which is formed by a sequence of ethical premises is extremely eclectic in
the discourses of Swami Ramtirth. Instances from Mughal times and quotations
from Victorian poetry are common. The map as an embodiment of this
ambivalence can be seen here as a visual  medium.(Picture in blog

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