Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sanatana Dogma

A Sanatana Dogmatist is someone who holds any of the following beliefs:

1. Belief that their belief is not based on faith, but based on the Ultimate Truth.

Sanatana Dogmatists are quick to laugh at Christianity or Islam because those are faith based. But the dogmatists are oblivious to the irony of having a belief that the Vedas have been revealed to humans and hence are perfect and infallible. They just know that it is true. In short it is a faith based belief.

2. Belief that atheism too is accepted in their Sanatana Dogma.

The dogmatists are ignorant of naturalism (both methodological and metaphysical) which underlies today’s atheism. Naturalism doesn’t invoke the supernatural to explain things. Sanatana Dogma does. But the dogmatists in their fervor of supremacy have to make everything inclusive in their dogma. Even if it results in contradictions.

3. Belief that morality has an objective existence and that it is eternal.

Morality depends on the existence of human minds. The Universe by itself doesn’t care about morality. For example, you can’t impose any morality on the Sun. It just can’t give a damn.

But these dogmatists not only claim that morality exists independently of humans, but also that it has been existing eternally. They also perform the intellectually dishonest feat of conflating properties of the Universe like gravity and electromagnetism with their dogma. When you press them for details as to where in their dogmatic revelations will one find these properties of the Universe, they either peddle pseudoscience or weasel their way by saying only enlightened people can know it. And who is considered as enlightened? Somebody who gives up reason and give themselves into dogma. It’s a circle jerk of circular reasoning.

4. Belief that the Varna system is good.

This belief entails high grade weaseling. Apparently human capabilities and behavior can be neatly pigeon holed into four types. And even more apparently such pigeon holing isn’t determined by birth but by how one behaves. So what are the rules of behavior? That which are set in their dogmatic revelations. For example, a Brahmin plying a rickshaw is a bad thing, as the dogmatic revelations are ignorant of the concept of dignity of labor.

The dogma is also ignorant of technological revolution which makes many of the requisite behaviors irrelevant in today’s world. An example is the rote memorization of dogmatic revelations by the those of the purest varna. When the eternal dogma was “revealed”, the people of that time did not have a cheap and reliable means of storing and transmitting information. So they resorted to rote memorization aided by some neat techniques. But such memorization is not needed today. Hence we also do not need a varna to keep doing such pointless tasks. But dogma by definition involves beliefs that are unrealistic and unreasonable. So a Sanatana Dogmatist will insist that such a varna is needed.

But what about the dogmatist’s sacred chant “Oh, Varna is based on quality, not by birth”? What qualities a person has depends to a great extent on their surroundings. So someone born to parents of low varna, will likely remain there unless they are exposed to a different surrounding. The dogmatists bemoan that anyone can acquire qualities to acquire high varna status, but they provide no means for people to acquire those qualities. To use some present day societies as an example, all the children there get the same education regardless of their social standing. Did the dogmatists do something like that in the past? No. Technology too levels the playing field. One can acquire a good range of skills via the Internet without going through a formal education system.

5. Belief in Karma.

The dogmatists believe that what you are today is determined by your past deeds. So if you born into a lofty varna, pat yourself for the good deeds you did in your previous life. If you born into a lowly varna, it is because you did bad deeds in your previous life. Righteously suffer for it and your karma score will go up. Likewise natural disasters happen when there is too much bad karma around. These dogmatists are so arrogant and dripping in vanity that they think their actions have any effect on things like earthquakes. Also, karma is another faith based belief that dogmatists have despite the proclamations that their dogma is not based on cheap faith that Christianity and Islam rely on.

6. Belief in a decaying world.

Dogmatists think that we are living in the age of bad karma. The age where for the first time people dared to proclaim something like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, gender equality and respect for a person’s private life. They think that the world is being attacked by corrupting ideas.

So what is the nature of those corrupting ideas? As we saw in point 4, ideas like dignity of labor are corrupting. How dare someone suggest that performing lowly physical work has dignity? And how dare they suggest that one do their own work - clean their houses, toilets, surroundings by themselves. The eternal dogma dictates that people with neatly demarcated pigeon holed capacities exist. So it is the duty of the people belong to the lowest varna to do tasks like physical labor and cleaning dirt. The highest varna's duty is to not do such tasks.