Saturday, 3 September 2011

Explain principles of Dhamma in the light of edicts and causes of its failure. Opine its relevance to current society.

(30 marks)

Ashoka during his 8th regnal year at the culmination of Kalinga war has stricken by remorse at the deplorable sight of war aftermath and hence, introspectively undergone moral transformation thereafter, became an Archangel of promoting compassion. Moreover, society at that time was constantly under religious turbulence and cultural uproar and hence he felt the need of moral upliftment to redeem mankind from wretched scourge thus, formulated a novel policy ‘Dhamma’ as need of hour and considered it as vehicle for change.

Ashoka promulgated the principles of Dhamma through edicts to all the subjects. Edicts copiously found throughout Mauryan Empire gives substantial information about the principles of this ideology. In his MRE X, he briefs about Dhamma as ‘Freedom from Evil’ and in Major pillar edict questions himself and answers as ‘less evil and more good’. So it is can be inferred that he majorly focused on espousing kindness and concern to mankind. Through MRE III, V, XI, XII emphasizes on religious tolerance, humane treatment for slaves, being friendly with neighbors, respecting elders and teachers, and parental guidance to offsprings. Ashoka, as a maxim says, practiced before preaching thus setting an example of religious forbearance by donating Barbara caves to Ajivika monks albeit being a Buddhist patron personally. He mentions about imparting ban on indiscriminate killing of animals in Royal kitchen and urges subjects to involve in ahimsa practices through MRE I and VIII. Through MRE IX he condemns rituals and censures them as source of ignorance and hence don’t engage hereafter. Moreover, MRE XII details about the positive virtues that human should possess and negativities that should be refrained. Dhamma preaches humane practices and born human it is cardinal duty to observe them. To encapsulate, way of Dhamma is to cure the deep rooted maladies of the society and revive the mankind for a peaceful existence.

However, Dammagosha failed to make a significant impact though sincere efforts were put in and considerable mobilization of wealth and humans were done. On careful analysis the causes for failures can be attributed firstly to Ashoka’s successors, who weren’t enthusiastic to continue the perpetuation of Dhamma, hence, it short-lived and disappeared soon after his death. Secondly, doctrines of Dhamma seem utopian. Dhamma was like a mirage and less pragmatic in a divergent immature society of Orient. Hence, ideology of Dhamma short breathed in Indian society. Moreover, few believe human conservatism was also a factor for its failure.

Present human society is no less than that of times immemorial. It is intensely diversified and more heterogeneous in thought and culture too.  So for sure Dhamma principles are ideal therapy for current mankind grievances.  Yet, how appealing the outcome may seem it still lacks the practical applicability, it is more idealistic, and moreover its viability depends on the subject. Therefore sustainability of Dhamma, if revived, is still a question.

No comments:

Post a Comment