Section 2: Live and let live


Religion induced misdeeds


Sankars of the day

Year 1994 was coming to a close when my friend and Director (H.R.) Jauhari Lal expressed his desire to invite Sankaracharya of Sringeri to the Institute of Petroleum Exploration in November 1994. I was coordinating his visit in the auditorium of the Institute with a program commencing with welcome address by the C&MD of ONGC. Sankar of the day wanted that the welcome address of C&MD during his visit should be in Sanskrit.  I translated the address of C&MD in Sanskrit, and read it after the head of ONGC had welcomed the seer on the dais.

 Crowd was overflowing the seating capacity of our large auditorium in the Institute. Archarya arrived in a sedan. A silver seat of Acharya was traveling with him. It was on the dais for the invited guest when he arrived. A video-photography covered the event and its tape is still with me.

The seer spoke about the management style of Raghu, as figuring in the Raghuvansham of Kalidas – a famous Sanskrit epic. The function concluded as planned for the Sankaracharya who came from the first mutt of Sankar, founded 1200 years ago by him and looked after by Mandan.

The speaker was not fully aware that we are living 2000 years after simple hearted and truth abiding villagers of India depicted in the epic of Kalidas. I had attended a lecture of Prof. Guptare of London, organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology sometime during nineties. Its topic was: management of research during the nineties of twentieth and early twenty-first century. The speaker summed up drastic changes in the moral and character of the men since fifties.

 Men of fifties followed Dharma; and, since the basic tenets of all religions are truth and honesty research thrived under morale of honesty. Dharma took a back seat during the sixties but people cared for their deeds still; it was a decade of Karma.  An effortful avoidance of misdeeds was the tenet then. In the following decade of seventies human population cared for some moral values still, and most men felt ashamed in carrying out dishonest and immoral acts. It was a decade of shame-consciousness or Sharm. During eighties and later even shame vanished. People have turned liars, dishonest and bereft of morality. Prof. Guptare was emphatic “This is a difficult environment of managing scientific research, which sees truth and morality as essential requirement for basic data-generating”. What the seer had talked was utterly unacceptable in corporate management of nineties where the backbone of the trait was dishonesty and maximization of wealth by any means. There is nothing like moral or conscience left now in the corporate world of India today, I feel.

But more than that, I was ill at heart for another reason. Does Vedanta of erudite Sankar fighting lazy Buddhists of the day contain some seeds of worldliness too? How come his title-holder is talking of management from the works of a poet giving best descriptions of breasts and passion soaked love? It happens often, when the goal of beginning disappears and the fruits of past efforts are in hand.

What can we do to reverse the trend of fall in Vedanta in our times? Only another messiah like Sankar can answer. I don’t fall in that category. Neither people are allowed to meet me nor can they talk to me on telephone. These are anti-messiah traits.