29# Year 2016’s Resolution- Self-Realization

Dear Readers

Happy New Year

Sorry for coming on the blog after long time.

This is the start of the year but I have crossed my annual reading/listening goal for self-realization, what I actually am and this is the only resolution for year 2016 for me and will be forever in my resolution list.

(Source: Google Images)

Same as last year due to time and other commitments, I couldn’t read any of the books through physical copies but thanks to modern day technology either be it converting YouTube videos into MP3 or text-to-speech technology of Kindle books, I could listen more than 100 an hour lectures and 5 very hefty books till date but recommending 3 of those very thought provoking.

Here is the list of books which may interest you. You can use your commute time to listen such wonderful books.

Some are here which themselves keep you pondering into the deep thought process. Each chapter of these books themselves are the topics  require days of debate and discussions and can become the books by themselves.

1) Being Different By Rajiv Malhotra

Synopsis

“India is more than a nation state. It is also a unique civilization with philosophies and cosmologies that are markedly distinct from the dominant culture of our times – the West. India’s spiritual traditions spring from dharma which has no exact equivalent in western frameworks. Unfortunately, in the rush to celebrate the growing popularity of India on the world stage, its civilizational matrix is being digested into western universalism, thereby diluting its distinctiveness and potential.

This book addresses the challenge of direct and honest engagement on differences, by reversing the gaze, repositioning India from being the observed to the observer and looking at the West from the dharmic point of view. In doing so it challenges many hitherto unexamined beliefs that both sides hold about themselves and each other. It highlights that unique historical revelations are the basis for western religions, as opposed to dharma’s emphasis on self-realization in the body here and now. It describes the integral unity that underpins dharma’s metaphysics and contrasts this with western thought and history as a synthetic unity. The west’s anxiety over difference and fixation for order runs in contrast with the creative role of chaos in dharma. The book critiques fashionable reductive translations and argues for preserving certain non-translatable words of Sanskrit. It concludes with a rebuttal against western claims of universalism and recommends a multi-civilizational worldview.

The discussions and debate within the book employ the venerable tradition of purva-paksha, an ancient dharmic technique where a debater must first authentically understand in the opponent’s perspective, test the merits of that point of view and only then engage in debate using his own position. Purva-paksha encourages individuals to become truly knowledgeable about all perspectives, to approach the other side with respect and to forego the desire to simply win the contest. Purva-paksha also demands that all sides be willing to embrace the shifts in thinking, disruptive and controversial as they may be, that emerge from such a dialectical process.

Being Different highlights six distinct and fundamental points of divergence between the dharmic traditions and the West. These are as follows:

1) Approaches to difference: The West’s pervasive anxiety over personal and cultural differences have resulted in the endless need for the appropriation, assimilation, “conversion” and/or digestion and obliteration of all that does not fit its fundamental paradigms. The roots of this anxiety lie in the inherent schisms in its worldview. Dharmic traditions, in contrast, while not perfect, are historically more comfortable with differences, both individual and collective; they are not driven by mandates for expansion and control.

2) History-centrism vs. Inner Sciences: The Judeo-Christian religious narrative is rooted in the history of a specific people and place. Further, the divine is external rather than within and guides humanity through unique and irreplaceable revelations. The dharmic traditions, in contrast, emphasize a series of sophisticated techniques of meditation and related inner sciences to achieve higher states of embodied knowing.

3) Integral unity vs. synthetic unity: Since the time of Aristotle, the West has assumed an atomic partitioning of reality into distinct and unrelated parts. The Judeo-Christian worldview is based on separate essences for God, the world and/ human souls. Additionally, there is an unbridgeable gap between Greek reason and religious revelation. The result has been a forced unity of separate entities, and such a unity always feels threatened to disintegrate and remains synthetic at best. In dharmic cosmology all things emerge from a unified whole. In Hinduism this integral unity is the very nature of Brahman; in Buddhism there is no ultimate essence like Brahman, but the principle of impermanence and co-dependence provides unity. Dharma and science are enmeshed as part of the same exploration. Every aspect of reality mirrors and relates to every other aspect in a web of interdependency.

4) The nature of chaos and uncertainty: The West privileges order in its aesthetics, ethics, religions, society and politics, and manifests a deep-rooted fear of chaos, uncertainty and complexity. The dharmic worldview see chaos as a creative catalyst built into the cosmos to balance out order that could become stultifying., and hence it adopts a more relaxed attitude towards it

5) Translatability vs. Sanskrit: Unlike Western languages, in Sanskrit the fundamental sounds have an existential link to the experience of the object they represent. This makes Sanskrit a key resource for personal and cultural development. It also implies that the process of translation and digestion into Western schemas is unavoidably reductive.

6) Western universalism challenged: In the “grand narrative” of the West, whether secular or religious, it is the agent or driver of historical unfolding and sets the template for all nations and peoples. This book challenges this self-serving universalism. It contrasts this with dharma’s non-linear approach to the past and multiple future trajectories.

The very openness that makes dharma appealing, however, often makes it vulnerable to invasion, appropriation and erosion by a more aggressive and externally ambitious civilization. The book uses the metaphor of digestion to point to the destructive effects of what is usually white-washed as assimilation, globalization or postmodern deconstruction of difference. For complex reasons, which are analyzed at length, the dharmic traditions have been a particular target of digestion into the West, and Being Different challenges the uncritical acceptance of this process by both Westerners and Indians.”

2) Breaking India by Rajiv Malhotra

“India’s integrity is being undermined by three global networks that have well-established operating bases inside India: (i) Islamic radicalism linked with Pakistan, (ii) Maoists and Marxist radicals supported by China via intermediaries such as Nepal, and (iii) Dravidian and Dalit identity separatism being fostered by the West in the name of human rights. This book focuses on the third: the role of U.S. and European churches, academics, think-tanks, foundations, government and human rights groups in fostering separation of the identities of Dravidian and Dalit communities from the rest of India. The book is the result of five years of research, and uses information obtained in the West about foreign funding of these Indian-based activities. The research tracked the money trails that start out claiming to be for “education,” “human rights,” “empowerment training,” and “leadership training,” but end up in programs designed to produce angry youths who feel disenfranchised from Indian identity. The book reveals how outdated racial theories continue to provide academic frameworks and fuel the rhetoric that can trigger civil wars and genocides in developing countries. The Dravidian movement’s 200-year history has such origins. Its latest manifestation is the “Dravidian Christianity” movement that fabricates a political and cultural history to exploit old faultlines. The book explicitly names individuals and institutions, including prominent Western ones and their Indian affiliates. Its goal is to spark an honest debate on the extent to which human rights and other “empowerment” projects are cover-ups for these nefarious activities. For more information, or to view videos about this book, visit www.breakingindia.com

3) Rearming Hinduism by Vamsee Juluri

“Rearming Hinduism is a handbook for intellectual resistance. Through an astute and devastating critique of Hinduphobia in today’s academia, media and popular culture, Vamsee Juluri shows us that what the Hinduphobic worldview denies virulently is not only the truth and elegance of Hindu thought, but the very integrity and sanctity of the natural world itself.

By boldly challenging some of the media age’s most popular beliefs about nature, history, and pre-history along with the Hinduphobes’ usual myths about Aryans, invasions, and blood-sacrifices, Rearming Hinduism links Hinduphobia and its hubris to a predatory and self-destructive culture that perhaps only a renewed Hindu sensibility can effectively oppose. It is a call to see the present in a way that elevates our desa and kala to the ideals of the sanathana dharma once again. 

“For a civilization is not just buildings and machines, but its people, their thought, and their culture. It is a way of knowing the world, a way of giving meaning and value to the contents of life. It is a resource, most of all, for living intelligently.” 

There are hundreds of videos have been watched, listened and thousands of online articles have been read on the same topics. I will share few best one in my next post.

Later this year I have started practicing meditative and self healing technique called Agnihotra which is Vedic technology. Benefits are enormous. I will share whole blog in relation to Agnihotra in upcoming future.

Hope this one will broaden your vision and you realize your self being.

Happy Reading……

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