Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Dharma Dispatch Turns One: A Few Jottings and Sincere Thanks

One year is less than the proverbial drop in the ocean of eternity. But for what it’s worth, The Dharma Dispatch began exactly a year ago on this day by publishing a largely forgotten episode of recent history: the Bangalore Ganapati Clashes of 1928. Looking back at its really brief evolution, some things became clear along the course.

The primary and the core ideal that animates The Dharma Dispatch is what can be called a Civilizational Good. From its earliest origins, the newspaper or media has frequently been referred to as a Public Good. However, over time, one doesn’t recall when this “Public Good” morphed into “media industry” with all the attendant pressures and compromises involved in any business enterprise. In this context, the legendary W.T. Stead’s caution, sounded about a century ago about the Future of Journalism offers a wealth of lessons. As also, the other legend, D.V. Gundappa’s tireless meditations—over sixty years—on newspapers as a Public Good. D.V. Gundappa becomes more intimate and dearer to us than Stead because like every other endeavor, DVG regarded even this as Karma Yoga and Lokasangraha, which has more profound connotations than merely a Public Good.  

Civilizational Good

Bharatavarsha is the only ancient civilization surviving in an unbroken fashion in a world dominated by two aggressive Abrahamisms, whose core ideas and doctrines continue to wreak havoc on the entire planet in an unprecedented manner. In any discourse or discussion about comparative religions and cultures, it must always be remembered that these two Abrahamisms are not civilisations in the true sense of the word. A very simple definition of civilization is an innate and conscious respect for Nature in all its manifestations and expressions, including the inanimate.

From this perspective, the conception of Civilizational Good can be defined as any and every activity that helps to sustain, foster, and preserve the sublime and exalted but invisible notions of Rta (Cosmic Order), Satya (Truth), and Dharma (Virtue). To fully understand this in real terms, we can turn to the selfsame D.V. Gundappa, who writes the following in his extraordinary meditations on the concept of Rama Rajya:

Rama Rajya  is an exquisite conception of the beauty of life because it is an attainable goal instead of being a finished product. A continuous quest for it, the effort to attain it, and a single-minded penance upon it is the greatest profit that our soul can obtain. Its quest is what makes our soul become deserving of completeness, perfection. Just as Rama Rajya  existed in some era in the remote past, it will also be a realized possibility in some era in the future. Our very conviction in this is itself the motivation to achieve it.  [Emphasis added]

Two important facets emerge from this. The first is the obvious element of high idealism embedded in it; the second is the long, patient, and often frustrating road to its achievement. However, it is infinitely better to work towards this sort of an ideal than lapse into the worst malaise of human nature: cynicism followed by nihilism. To put this in a different way, life itself offers us that rare opportunity to magnify and elevate our Spirit. We can once again turn to D.V. Gundappa’s timeless verse which he calls the “Discourse of Hanuman:”

Surrender yourself every day and night to an elevated goal and
thinking of nothing else, work towards it.
This is the teaching of Hanumanta.  

It is here that the countless stories and real-world examples in our outstanding heritage are valuable guides. Both in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, it took more than a decade to root out evil and establish Dharma. Then the story of Vishwamitra who took several centuries of unremitting and arduous penance dotted with repeated, gigantic failures in his quest to become a Brahmarshi.

Civilizational Good encompasses all these facets in a harmonious whole where each facet is interconnected with the other.

The Broken Narasimha at Hampi

One of the extraordinary motifs in Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa’s bestselling and landmark work, Aavarana is the opening scene in which the protagonist Razia contemplates about the underlying meaning of the vandalized Vigraha of Ugra Narasimha in Hampi. This is both a literary and civilizational motif. Of the indiscriminate and thoughtless annihilation of all that is good, valuable, and worthy of preservation, even worth dying for in civilizational terms. Of everything that is fully erased along with this annihilation.

Yet, the vandalized Vigraha of Ugra Narasimha in many ways, is also a harbinger of hope. That this was the genius our past masters were able to create. That from the vestiges of this destruction, we can still salvage and rejuvenate the genius that was. Think about what the glorious epoch of our freedom struggle also signifies: the fact that in 1947, after nearly a thousand years of unremitting invasions and alien rule by the two Abrahamisms, the Sanatana Civilization survived. But for the 70-year-long Nehruvian darkness, it has become resurgent once more.

The task therefore, is to dig up and study and disseminate the subterranean reasons for this sort of continual resurgence. Truth, self-study, and idealism are our best guides in this endeavor and nothing should prevent us from doing this.  

The Dharma Dispatch sincerely thanks everybody who became part of this journey and continue to support our efforts in their own unique way.

|| ॐ तत् सत् ||  

Writer, author, and translator. Author of the bestselling "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." English translator of Dr. S L Bhyrappa's blockbuster Kannada novel, "Aavarana".

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I Congratulate Sri.Sandeep and his entire team for such dedicated and wonderful efforts. Wishing you many more successful years.

  2. “….However, it is infinitely better to work towards this sort of an ideal than lapse into the worst malaise of human nature: cynicism followed by nihilism.”

    What a wonderful viewpoint!

    The Dharma Dispatch is an excellent undertaking in the attempt to work towards this ideal. An immense amount of research, scholarship and effort is obviously needed.

    Congratulations on completing one year and the very best wishes for the future.

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