मंगलवार, 5 सितंबर 2017

authority vs adhikar

Divya Jhingran -- 
The prevailing sentiment on this board is that “we” have an Indic perspective and therefore some sort of adhikaar to speak for Hindus. That Shraddha is enough for us to be valid spokespersons for our cause. 
This is far from the truth. We too are in the clutches of a western perspective and we too analyze our traditions through the Protestant framework. We approach our traditions as if they were a religion rather than treating them as systems of knowledge. 
Any old Baba can set up shop without proper knowledge credentials as long as he is brown-skinned and hails from the Desh. We act like he has proper adhikaar to represent our traditions.  In fact such people do as much harm to our image as Wendy and her children.
Our discussions about hatha yoga also betray our western "religious" approach. We are indignant that we have somehow lost control of yoga and that it is a western product now. But the proper way to counter this trend would be to become masters of yoga ourselves. Only a yogi has the adhikaar to speak on behalf of yoga. Hindus who do not practice yoga do not have any adhikaar to speak on its behalf.  It is a system of knowledge and not a religion that any believer can profess to be an expert on. 
On one had we feel proud, and rightly so, about the fact that our traditions are experimental and scientific. However, being experimental and scientific entails that we actually practice and experiment before we proclaim to have knowledge. Merely belonging to the Hindu fold does not give us this adhikaar. Shraddha is a necessary condition but by no means a sufficient one.
Koenraad Elst made a strong point about not trying to gain acceptance by emulating western norms. We will never succeed on those grounds. In any case, egalitarianism is a phony idea, bequeathed to us by Christianity, and treated like the Gospel truth.  Why should we Hindus subscribe to it? It would be much wiser to strengthen our own frameworks of different varnas and ashramas. Not because it is Hindu but because it promises to be a more fruitful approach towards understanding human beings and society. 
I am deeply grateful for everything I have learned from Koenraad Elst. I find him to be a beacon of light and knowledge. Hindus are their own worst enemies (even the ones who believe they are full of Shraddha). I wish we would take his ideas more seriously and really examine where we are going wrong.
There are different kinds and levels of adhikar. Some examples:

A shastri knows certain texts at the intellectual level, and has been qualified/authorized with adhikar to explain them to others. S/he may or may not know them experientially. I would say that outsiders are typically shastris. Most Indologists are certified as shastra experts and dont necessarily even respect the teachings experientally.

A rishi knows experientally; this is embodied knowing. This is a higher level than mentally knowing shastras. In fact, the rishi's uttering later gets compiled into shastras which other shastris study and try to interpret.

A pandit/purohit has adhikar to perform rituals as per aagamas. May or may not know shastras or have embodied experience. But there are strict requirements to get this adhikar.

There are pre-requisites in the tradition for being given specific kinds of adhikar. I invite people here to post from various traditions and explain the process for obtaining adhikar of specific kinds.

Western "authority" is based on a system of higher education certification that has its own history and politics. We have discussed it many times. Indians have largely adopted this criteria for authority. But such authority is not the same as adhikar in the tradition.

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