adherence to the tenets of our religion entails certain
inconveniences in our workaday life, following the rules of the
dharmasastras,people feel, creates difficulties in social life.
On this pretext reformers want to change the sastras.
they are not aware either of the truths on which the
dharmasastras are founded or their ultimate purpose. By
"social life" they-the reformers-do not have in mind
anything relating to the Self. They take into account political
orders that keeps changing every now and then, the sciences,
trade and commerce, fashion, etc. If our worldly existence alone
were the objective of social life, the rules pertaining to it
would also be subject to change. But our scriptures do not view
social life as having such an objective alone. They (the sastras)
are meant for the Self, for the Atman, and their goal is our
release from worldly existence. That which has to do with mundane
life is subject to change but not the truths relating to the
Self. The injunctions of the sastras have the purpose of
establishing changing society on the foundation of the unchanging
Truth; they cannot be subject to change themselves.
our goal were but a comfortable and happy life in this world,
matters concerning social life could be changed now and again.
But ours is an exalted goal and it concerns the Self. The rules
of worldly life are in keeping with this high purpose and they
cannot be changed according to our convenience. The sastras do
not regard happiness in this world as of paramount importance.
They teach us how we may experience joy in the other world even
by suffering many kinds of hardships or discomforts here. So it
is not right to seek changes in them to suit our worldly
views of the reformers must have been shaped by our present
system of education and so it is no use blaming them. In other
countries no contradiction exists between their religion and
their system of education. Unfortunately, the schools established
by the British in India had nothing to do with our religion.
People were compelled to take to Western education for the sake
of their livelihood. Soon a situation arose in which they came to
be steeped from childhood itself in an alien system of
instruction. They had therefore no way of developing acquaintance
with, or faith in, our ancient sastras. And, since they were kept
ignorant of their scriptures and their underlying purpose, they
persuaded themselves to take the view that the sastras could be
changed according to their convenience.
youngsters are exposed to the criticism of our religion and our
sacred texts from a tender age. They are told that the Puranas
are a tissue of lies, that the sastras help the growth of
superstition. How can they have any attachment to our faith, to
its rites and traditions?
in religion and God must be inculcated in people from their
childhood. They must get to know about great men who lived and
continue to live an exemplary life true to the tenets of our
religion. Faith in the works of the seers must be instilled in
them, works based on the experience of the seers themselves,
experience beyond a life of sensation, and pointing the way to
spiritual uplift. They must also be helped to believe that the
rsis formulated the sastas in such a way as to make worldly
happiness and social life subservient to the advancement of the
Self. Only then will people recognize that the rules of religion
have a far higher purpose than the comforts and conveniences of
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here