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ISSN: 2278 – 2168

Milestone Education Review

(The Journal of Ideas on Educational & Social
Year 10, No. 01 & 02 (October, 2019)

Dr.Desh Raj Sirswal

Milestone Education Review (2278-2168)

Milestone Education Review (The Journal of Ideas on Educational & Social

Transformation) is an online peer-reviewed bi-annual journal of Milestone Education
Society (Regd.) Pehowa (Kurukshetra). For us education refers to any act or experience
that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual.
The role of education must be as an instrument of social change and social
transformation. Social transformation refers to large scale of social change as in cultural
reforms and transformations. The first occurs with the individual, the second with the
social system. This journal offers an opportunity to all academicians including
educationist, social-scientists, philosophers and social activities to share their views.
Each issue contains about 100 pages.

© Milestone Education Society (Regd.), Pehowa (Kurukshetra)

Chief-Editor: Dr. Desh Raj Sirswal, Assistant Professor (Philosophy), Post Graduate
Govt. College, Sector-46, Chandigarh.

Associate Editors: Dr. Merina Islam, Dr. Poonama Verma

Editorial Advisory Board:

Prof. K.K. Sharma (Former-Pro-Vice-Chancellor, NEHU, Shillong).

Prof. (Dr.) Sohan Raj Tater (Former Vice Chancellor, Singhania University, Rajasthan).

Dr. Dinesh Chahal (Department of Education, Central University of Haryana).

Dr. Manoj Kumar, (P.G. Department of Sociology, P.G.Govt. College for Girls, Sector-11, Chandigarh.)

Dr. Sudhir Baweja (University School of Open Learning,, Panjab University, Chandigarh).

Dr. Koppula Victor Babu, (Associate Professor,Institute of Education, Mettu University,Metu,Ethiopia).

Dr. Nidhi Verma (Deptt. Of Psychology, Central University of Haryana, Mahendergarh).

Dr. Jayadev Sahoo (Jr. Lecturer in Logic & Philosophy, GM Jr. College, Sambalpur, Odisha).

Declaration: The opinions expressed in the articles of this journal are those of the individual authors, and not
necessary of those of the Society or the Editor.

In this issue………..

Sr. No. Title and Author Page No.

Tariq Rafeeq Khan & Mudasir Ahmad
Reyaz Ahmad Bhat & Tariq Rafeeq Khan
Surajit Das & Moumita Das
Desh Raj Sirswal
Lighitha P.
Suyasha Singh
Sunu Kalita & Archana Barua
Sudhir Baweja


Tariq Rafeeq Khan & Mudasir Ahmad Tantray


Ethics is a significant and inevitable part of religious learning. It is the objective of religious
teaching to develop and create morality in human beings. All religious teaching signifies
ethical codes but all ethical statements and claims may not be religious. Since ethics deals
with values whether social, aesthetical, epistemic, intellectual, and moral but in religions
teaching, values are dependent either on authority of religions or theological principles. This
study inculcates and develops the ethical attitude (objective and subjective) to understand the
role of ethical statements, obligations, duties, prohibitions and permission in context with
religious teaching. The main purpose of this analytical approach is to provide answer to the
research question viz. Is there harmony between ethics and religious belief system? What is
role of freedom of will in the sanctity of religious teaching? How to resolve conflicts in
religious diversity through applied ethical dialogues. This paper shows the arguemental
framework to describe the relation between ethics and religion. Nevertheless, the paper
determines the superiority of religious authority over morality. In this paper it is assumed that
religious values are the source of knowledge of moral values. This analytical exploration
further describes and evaluates the relativity of religious values in different religious beliefs.
It also shows the views of different moralities and philosophers to interpret and clear the
ambiguities in religious teaching.

Keywords: Ethics, Morality, Religion, freewill.


Ethics and Religious help out us to investigate questions of meaning, value and
purpose in life. It helps us to extend our insights, ability for moral and spiritual life and
individual autonomy. These traits help in building the life into meaningful in the social,
cultural and political contexts of the pluralistic world. Religion and ethics are apparently
entangled as there exist innumerable studies of Christian ethics, Islamic ethics, and Hinduism
ethics and so on.

Some believes that the moral systems may well be confined to the standards of a society‘s
religion. Traditionally, the ethical values of cultures have resided within religious traditions.

The main characters and the champions of virtue and character are the faith traditions,
whether you think of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, the ancient Greek and Romans. In
these civilizations, set of laws about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are intimately
united with religious beliefs. Morality is closely attached up with religious beliefs about the
authority of deceased kin, the whims of impulsive gods and goddesses, the will of a solitary
omnipotent deity, or the authority of the Karma of one‘s past volitions.

As religion also teaches moral rules and provides impetus for adhering to them, as
religion proves to be a close neighbor to ethics and we sometimes find it difficult to
distinguish between them. But as compared to ethics, religion working in a dominating way.
The value of sin and moral transgression is not only the sanction of God but also the
disapproval of one‘s religious community.

Ethics, like Religion, is not easy to define with exactness and for many of the same
reasons__ it is the concept whose content shifts with time and varies from place to place.
Ethics is the study of what ―ought‖ to be. It is a theoretical study and is otherwise referred to
as the study of morality. We are interested in how life ought to be lived, morally speaking. As
a branch of philosophy, ethics has three components ―metaethics‖ studies the sources and
meaning of ethical terms; ―normative ethics‖ does the more practical task of examining the
moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct, and ―applied ethics‖ examines
controversies such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, environmental concerns,
homosexuality, capital punishment or nuclear war.

Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate
humanity to spirituality and to moral values. Religion is that complex dimension of human
activity involving beliefs about the supernatural, belief that are expressed in propositions and
narratives and enacted in rituals and institutions. These beliefs authorize the group‘s moral
code and answer the question. What is the best way of life overall? Typically religion refers
to ‗belief in‘ or the worship of god or gods or the service and worship of God or the

Religion, Ethics and Man

Man as a human being, cannot exist without religion because it is intrinsic in his
nature. One cannot isolate religion from the life situation. Religion determines its true value
from the role it plays in the enrichment of the quality of life. It has a role to play, a
contributive role in the evolution of man, by providing society with ethical codes, social rules
and ideas, rituals and devotion. Religion also enhances human and self awareness.

Religion helps one to lead a disciplined and purified life. Religious always stand for
the betterment of human soul. The different religions, though devotedly called by different
names, show a surprising likeness of spirit and life. It is a unique expression and cannot be
equated with anything. There is no religion which does not stress one form or other of
universal brotherhood, and which does not advocate kindness to all living things.

Role of Religion and Ethics in the world

Religion and ethics occupies a central place in all speculations, ancient or modern,
East or West. Religions and ethics of the world are of a great driving force in imparting
guidance and inspirations to human beings in general. The essence of all religions and ethics
is the attainment of self-happiness. When the essence of all religions and ethics in the world
is stung together in understanding and mutual acceptance, then it will create a pleasing world
of human well-being and peace. The philosophy of all religion and ethics offers a clear and
stable foundation for the harmonious existence of men, nations and civilizations.

In our age of scientific and technological civilization, where everything is measured

in terms of pragmatic results and quick remedies, man is hardly in possession of the art of
self-enquiry, the result of which is that our contemporary human society faces an alarming
debasement of values. Violence, injustice wars and human cruelty, our modern age is well
acquainted with all these; scientific progress has further sharpened and refined our skills of
destroying each other.

Religious and Moral Consciousness

Religious, family, education, social norms, culture, etc., are formative factors of moral
consciousness which includes intellectual, emotional and volitional elements. An individual‘s
morality, by content and structure, includes both an explanation of what and the why of
morality. Though a pattern of development cannot predict for the content, the structure has a

well established pattern. Religious constitutes itself as a formative factor in religious
consciousness regardless of the stage of one‘s moral development.

What is truly needed today is a moral and spiritual regeneration of religion apart from
man‘s material progression. To make it more clear, one can firmly specify that our cultural
and social milieu demands an inner transformation of consciousness, a qualitative
improvement of mankind as a whole. That consciousness is the realization of the Ultimate
Reality. That consciousness is to understand the essential oneness of religion. Here the
essence of all religions is to better his soul to be good to the world. The task of religion is to
enkindle in the minds of modern man intuitive perception of his true nature and potentialities.

Relation between Religion and Ethics

The current views of ethics are not of a very high order. Some believe that ethics is
not something quite essential. Others think that there is no relation between religion and
ethics. But an examination of the world‘s religions shows that, without ethics, religion cannot
subsist. True ethics covers religion for the most part. Anyone who observes the laws of
morality for their own sake and not for any selfish end can be regarded as religious.

A substantive definition of religion, by contrast, provides a good tool to think through

the relationship of religion and ethics. Every religion has certain moral rules, such as ―Treat
others in the way you would like to be treated,‖ and ―Do no harm to any living creatures.‖
Clearly, moral rules and ideals are found in religious traditions. But if we assume that not
every tradition or person is necessarily religious, then moral rules and ideals can exist apart
from religion as well. Many people do not qualify as adherents of religion, and yet they have
moral principles and lead lives of moral integrity.

The relationship between religion and ethics has occupied an important place in the
discourses of philosophers. The logical position regarding the relationship of religion and
ethics in general, the intimate relationship between the two, as contingent facts of history, has
never been and never can be, denied.

There may be morality without religion, but there has not been a religion without
morality. This becomes all too clear when we examine the contents of the great living
religions, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism, which have made a
very fundamental use of ethical objectivity.

Ethics is the study and evaluation of human conduct in the light of moral principles.
Philosophers consider ethics as a philosophy. Some philosophers seek an absolute ethical
criterion in religion. Major religions have stressed the importance of ethics. Religion, ethics
and philosophy are interconnected. Religious vision gives necessary guidance to all other
pursuits. Also ethical conduct and philosophical knowledge help the development of
spirituality. Without ethics and philosophy religion becomes empty and in the same way
without religious guidance, ethical and philosophical endeavors become meaningless. All
religious recognize the importance of ethics. Religion as an encounter with something in the
higher order of existence and morality as a personal and social code of conduct are
interconnected. They constitute the spiritual endeavors of man.

Furthermore, it seems that the rules of morality, laid down in the world‘s great
religions, are largely the same. The founders of the religions have also explained that
morality is the basis of religion. If a foundation is removed, the superstructure fails to the
ground; if morality is destroyed, religion which is built on it comes crashing down.

Freedom of Will

The concept of freedom of free-will is a moral, religious and social concept that is
central to most religious. It has been argued that the basis of freedom lies in the contingency
of natural events. According to Kant, freedom of the will is the chief postulate of moral
philosophy, it does not require proof, and it is an apriori truth. Freedom is the very basis of
morality. The moral and religious life is a genuine one, and it cannot be so without freedom.
As far as the religious interpretation of the problem of the free-will is concerned, it seems that
the religious traditions of the East and West both have treated it very differently. Western
religious traditions, especially Judaism and Christianity, deal with the problem of free-will in
two different spheres of philosophy; first the philosophy of religion and secondly the moral
philosophy. In the philosophy of religion the problem of free-will arises in the context of
theistic concept of good and evil. There, this is known as problem of evil. In morality, this is
related to the human responsibility and comes as a problem of free-will and determinism


The subject of this research paper may strike one as strange. The common idea is that
ethics and religion are distinct things; their having two approaches regarding ethics and
religion for some religion as more than ethics, and from others who think that, where there is

morality, there is no need for religion. But there is a close relationship between religion and
ethics. The societies spreading ethical religion or religious ethics believe in religion through
morality. Religion and Ethics is that set of beliefs or institutions, behaviors and emotions
which binds human beings to something beyond their individual selves and fosters in its
adherents a sense of humility and gratitude that, in turn, sets the tone of one‘s world-view and
requires certain behavior dispositions relative to that which transcends personal interests. In
other words, religion and ethics connects a person with a larger world and creates a loyalty
that extends to the past, the present and the future. This loyalty not only makes demands the
person but__ and this is the part that makes it distinctively spiritual_ it creates a sense of
humility. So religion and ethics provides a story about one‘s place in the larger scheme of
things, creates a sense of connection and it makes one feel grateful. The prevalence of
religion and ethics may indicate that there is something about human nature that predisposes
us to be human beings. Religion and ethics also provide an evolutionary advantage.


1. Gary, L. Comstock, (2010). Religion. North State University: USA

2. Bahm, Archie. J, (1964). World‘s Living Religions. New York: Delhi Publishing Co.
3. Widgery, Alben. G, (1954). What is Religion. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.
4. Ben. Oni. Ardelan, (2012). The Ethics of the Relationship between Religious and
Civil Norms. Evagelical Journal of Theology, Vol. Vl. No.2
5. Arnal, W, (2001). The Segregation of Social Desire. Religion and Disney World,
Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
6. Harris, J.R, (1990). Ethical Values of Individuals at Different Levels in the
Organizational Hierarchy of a Singer Firm. Journal of Business Ethics.
7. Weaver, G. R and B. R. Angle: (2002). Religiosity and Ethical Behavior in
Organizations: Academy of Management Review.
8. Henry, C, (1957). Christian Personal Ethics. Grand Rapids, MI: Wim. B. Eerdmams
Publishing Company.
9. Rachels, J, (1993). The Elements of moral philosophy. New York: McGraw-Hill.
10. Rolando. M. Gripaldo, (2008). Religion, Ethics, and the Meaning of Life. Philippine
National Philosophical Research Society.
11. Rashdall, H, (1907). The theory of good and evil: A treatise on moral philosophy.
Vols. I and II. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Reyaz Ahmad Bhat & Tariq Rafeeq Khan

Mahatma Gandhi who is also known as Mohandas karamchand Gandhi was humble seeker of
truth. He summed up his philosophy with the words, ―My life is my message.‖ In this paper
an attempt is made to examine social and political significance of Gandhian concept of truth
and Non violence. This study aims to show how Gandhian concept of non violence is based
on the higher aspects of human nature which rebel against cruelty, injustice and
totalitarianism. Non violence or Ahimsa means lack of desire to harm or kill. This paper
shows how Non violence as a philosophy, act as an existing theory and practice of being
harmless to self and others under any situation. How it produces a means for conflict
resolution without the negative effect of violence. This study will reveal why Gandhi
practiced Non violence right from his youth till the end of his life and why he considered
Non-violence as one of the highest moral values and why it is the basis of the search for truth
and, truth is the search for universal absolute. It is simplest method of persuasion and
guarantees freedom of sense of right and wrong. This study focuses how his policy of Non
violent protest to achieve political and social progress based upon total Non violence for
which he is internationally well-known. In this paper I shall demonstrate how the Gandhian
concepts of nonviolence, brotherhood, harmony, patience, sacrifice etc are the need of the
Keyword: Gandhi, Nonviolence, Truth, Satyagraha, Humanity

Mohandas karamchand Gandhi was born on 1869, called Mahatma, ―Great soul‖,
because of his extraordinary achievements as leader of the Indian movement for
independence; he was not primarily a theorist but a reformer and activist. He was guided by
values and ideas that remained remarkably enduring throughout his life. Chief among them
were his unique concepts of freedom and power. In his pursuit of freedom he transformed our
conception of power through his practice of nonviolence and Satyagraha.
Gandhi stayed in South Africa for 21 years working to secure rights for Indian people.
He developed a method of action based upon the principle of courage, nonviolence and truth

called Satyagraha. He believed that the way people behave is more important than what they
Before one can fully understand Gandhi‘s concept of nonviolence it is essential to
bear in mind the philosophical background of the concept. Through his life and teachings
Gandhi bears testimony to the values for which our country is has stood for ages; faith in
spirit, the beauty of holiness, the acceptance of life‘s obligations, the validity of character and
the values which are universal. Life to him was a total and eternal war against evil to be
fought under the only worthy banner of truth and nonviolence. Such a way of life has
tremendous ethical implications for a world that seems to have lost faith with the mystic, the
holy, and the humble. Gandhi believed in the authority of spirit that alone can bring about
unity and salvation of mankind. He translated his passionate spiritual quest into an equally
passionate struggle to ensure the freedom and dignity of the human spirit everywhere.
Narayan Desai (2008) examined in his article that Gandhi‘s concept of nonviolence as
a force for radical change. He mentioned that present world is divided between the forces of
love and forces of death. He emphasizes the need for strengthening the forces of love to
change the present scenario. He argues that, by and large, people of west and even many
Indians look upon the Gandhian method of nonviolence as a mere technique. But to Gandhi
nonviolence was a technique as well as a way of life. He said that there are three essential
elements in Gandhi‘s Satyagraha. They are firm faith in truth, overflowing love for the
adversary and the capacity to undergo any amount of suffering. Organization is the test of
nonviolence. Gandhi‘s method postulated simultaneous engagement in struggle and
constructive activities. These two are inseparable.
In the next article C. S. Dharmadhikari argues that Gandhi, peace and nonviolence are
crucial for the survival of humanity. He reminds us the importance of the Gandhian approach
to sustainable living. He calls for civil society initiatives to challenge threats of war and
violence. We have to identify the roots of violence and to address them, instead of declaring
global war against violence and terrorism. Often, in the name of caste, creed, religion,
language and even state or nation we are harboring a form of mental terrorism.
Gandhi took up the ancient but powerful idea of Ahimsa or nonviolence and made it
familiar, throughout the world, particularly in political and economic field. However,
nonviolence means more than the more absence of violence. It is something more positive,
more meaningful and dynamic and Gandhi ji combined it with a sense of responsibility for
the welfare of people. His great achievement was to demonstrate through his own examples

that nonviolence can be implemented effectively not only in the political ground, but also in
our day to-day life. His whole life was his experiment with truth.
The 20th century was the most violent period in human history. More people have
suffered and have been killed by organized violence. The wars, the genocides, the weapons of
mass destruction have created such an enormous mass misery and agony that it is difficult to
find any trace of hope. Therefore, Gandhi‘s teachings of nonviolence are most relevant today.
Gandhi demonstrated the power of nonviolence to free India from colonial rule. Although he
was not the originator of the principle of nonviolence, he was the first to apply it in the
political field on a large scale. The concept of nonviolence or Ahimsa and nonresistance has a
long history in Indian religious thought and had has many revivals in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain,
Jewish, Christian and Islamic contexts. According to Gandhi the science of non-violence
alone can show the way to pure democracy. Power based on love is thousand times more
effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment. It is an irreverence to
say nonviolence can be practiced only by individuals and never by nations which are
composed of individuals. The nearest approach to purest anarchy would be a democratic state
based on nonviolence. A society structured and run on the basis of complete nonviolence
would be the purest anarchy.
We live in a globalised world; no one can remain isolated from each other or
unaffected by changes, so it is important to develop a spirit of mutual cooperation, as well as
of tolerance together with the spirit of nationality and understanding. If we succeed in doing
that we can be sure that we will have less problems in our daily living, at the present time we
have to see that we cannot live in isolation we have to learn to live respecting and being
respected as well. On the other side, if we have to face a conflict situation and we are
determined to solve it by nonviolent means we have to take seriously into account two things.

First, that to solve a conflict by nonviolent means is not a sign of cowardice or of not
wanting to face a fight, but of a firm determination of having a secure form of solving it
permanently and without losing lives. Secondly, that, in order to solve a conflict by
nonviolent means, the compromise is essential, this means that we must have a firm intension
of solving it, and we can do this by first, knowing the basic and original cause of the conflict,
then, trying to overcome that tendency in an individual and at social level and finally trying
to use a discussion to arrive at the above mentioned compromise and mutual cooperation.


Satya derives from the Sanskrit root sat meaning ―to be.‖ It refers both to truth in the
sense of truthfulness or honesty, and to truth as ―that which exists,‖ or reality, the real,.
Gandhi‘s inquiry about truth is directed towards understanding reality at the deepest level as
well as living in accordance with that understanding. This ―search for truth‖ formed the
essence of his work. He gave his socio-political struggles the name Satyagraha, meaning
truth-force and his life was to become a string of ―experiments with truth.‖ To Gandhi truth
is both universal as well as particular. He is conceived that there was an ultimate truth, but is
equally convinced that people can only understand it in a relative sense. What is more, one
can only find it in experience.
Mahatma Gandhi said that God appears not in person but in action. He advocated
truth in thought, truth in speech and truth in action. Truth for him was not merely a
philosophical concept; it was the basis of moral life and acted as a link between moral
principles and our actions so that moral life can be attained in practice. Truth is taken by
Gandhi as the supreme principle of moral life since it is the law that regulates all human
actions. It is the fundamental principle of his philosophical teachings of his life.
According to Gandhi truth is the supreme principle of moral life and it is that law
which regulates all human actions. In Gandhi‘s system of thought, truth has its own value and
morality. Gandhi understood by ―truth‖ by several different things. Sometimes he means
epistemological truth, that which we can know, sometimes he means absolute truth, God,
fundamental reality. Sometimes he means the ultimate goal of life that is called liberation. At
other times, he means the natural right, ethical justice which is of its nature generally valid
and binding on all men.
Satyagraha is literally holding on to truth and it means, therefore, truth-force. Truth is
soul or spirit. It is therefore known as soul-force. The term satyagraha was coined by Gandhi
in south Africa to express the force that the Indians there used for full eight years and it was
coined in order to distinguish it from the movement then going on in the united kingdom and
south Africa under the name of Passive Resistance. Its root meaning is holding on to truth,
hence truth-force. Gandhi has also called it love-force.
According to mahatma Gandhi Satyagraha in its initial stage of evolution, means a
moral weapon to fight untruth with truth and violence with nonviolence ‗a priceless and
matchless weapon‘ standing in sharp contradiction to customary force of resistance. The

characteristic beauty of this weapon is not to touch the body of the opponent but to transfer
him into a new man with a new vision of truth and justice. The new weapon of Satyagraha
born of self-sufferings and sacrifice of non-violent resistors thus, has changed the existing
strategy and established pattern of fighting the evils and gives birth to a new technique. A
satyagrahi by creed treats the opponent his friends. Hate evil and not the evil-doer is his
motto. He does not physically hurt his opponent nor does he damage his property. By
undergoing voluntary sufferings up to the extent of death he tries his best to make the
opponent realize his errors. He suffers and suffers till his sufferings melt the story heart of the
opponent to realize the truth of situation. R.R., Diwakar has aptly remarked: the word
Satyagraha is now loaded with so much meanings that it amounts to a philosophy, but it is a
practical philosophy of life, of action, of self and co-realization.

Significance of Gandhian concept of truth, nonviolence and Satyagraha

Mahatma Gandhi during his lifetime employed three different principles to achieve
political goals; these are ahimsa, Satyagraha and tapasya. Together the techniques provide a
means of nonviolent action in situations of conflict. The goal of Satyagraha is to discover the
truth through the establishment of values with the settings of conflict situations. The second
principle Ahimsa or nonviolence provides the means to achieve this discovery. Literally it
means no injury. By following the principles Satyagraha and ahimsa, an individual
undertakes a journey of finding the truth through nonviolence and love. The last key principle
of Gandhi‘s philosophy is ‗tapasya, which means self-suffering. It actually becomes the
essential expression of nonviolence and truth. It follows the concept that the truth of a
nonviolent activists may be further from the real or absolute truth that of his opponent. One
final Gandhian concept that is often overlooked is Swaraj, means self-control. Swaraj in
Gandhian philosophy refers to both personal self-control and the social goal of Indians to
become independent and free from British colonialism.
For Mahatma Gandhi Satyagraha and Sarvodaya were the two sides of the same coin
and rightly regarded as the most significant and revolutionary contributions to contemporary
political and socio-economic thought. One is incomplete without the other. The fundamental
concepts of Satya and Ahimsa, truth and non-violence, can be found in the world‘s major
religious and philosophical traditions. Gandhi‘s originality lay in the way he fused them in
both theory and practice. His doctrines of Satyagraha and sarvodaya or universal welfare
were at once the logical corollaries of his fundamental premise about human nature, and the
mature fruit of his repeated experiments with political action and social reform.

Mahatma Gandhi taught the world that we cannot be truly fulfilled if we only live for
ourselves. He took inspiration from religious scriptures. He said we cannot overcome the
divisive challenges facing our communities if we do not first sincerely respect and love one
other, in spite of our differences of nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion. As we think about
how each of us can affect positive change in our community, across the country, and in the
world, let us always remember the lessons of Mahatma Gandhi, who said, ―the best way to
find you is to lose yourself in the service of others.‖
The most potent weapon to fight oppression and injustice was nonviolence for
Gandhi. His ideas influenced common people as well as leaders across the globe. Martin
Luther King Jr., referred Mahatma Gandhi as, the guiding light of nonviolent social change,
and during his Indian visit in 1959, Martin Luther King, said, ―in a real sense, Mahatma
Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral
structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of
gravitation.‖Nelson Mandela, while unveiling a Gandhi Memorial in South Africa, in 1993,
stated, ―The enemies that Gandhi fought- ignorance, disease, unemployment, poverty, are
today common place… Now more than ever is the time when we have to pay heed to the
lessons of Mahatma Gandhi.‖
There is a need for an in-depth study of Gandhian principles and their potential to
resolve global problems ranging from ethno-religious conflicts, inequality, environmental
degradation, class and race problems, and so on. This anthology emphasizes that there is an
urgent need to revisit the Gandhian principles and apply then to individual-individual,
community-community and state-state relations, to make the world a better place. It is not
only interested in the theoretical aspects of Gandhian philosophy, but also its practical and
educational aspects.

From the above discussion we have observed that Gandhi was such a great leader who
imbued culture and civilization with a sense of nonviolence and his impact is permanent. His
politics of spiritual truthfulness have influenced millions of people around the world, as well
as great thinkers and political leaders. He was a part of the inspiration in South Africa that
turned a failed movement of violence against apartheid into a successful non-violent one.
Non violence implies a complete self-purification as is at all possible. Gandhi‘s great success
was to renew and put into practice the ancient Indian concept of nonviolence in modern
times, not only in politics, but also in our daily life. Another aspect of his legacy is that he

won independence for India simply by telling the truth. His practice of nonviolence depended
completely on the power of truth. This power based method is still applicable for all problems
and conflicts all around the world. He used the technique of truth and nonviolence as a
powerful weapon in fighting against evils and injustice.

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Press, 1893), 1.
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4. Joseph S. k. and Mahodaya B., Contemporary Perspectives on Peace and Nonviolence,
(institute of Gandhian Studies, Maharashtra, India, 2008), 1-5.
5. Tahtinen Unto, The Core of Gandhi‟s Philosophy (Shakti Malik Abhinav Publications
New Delhi, 1979), 24.
6. Dharmadhikari C.S., My Life Is My Message, Mahatma Gandhi (https://pib.gov.in
7. Tripathy M., Glimpses of Gandhi, Gandhism And Gandhians Vol-1, Mahatma Gandhi:
Life and Works, (Cyber Tech Publications New Delhi, 2013), 205.
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Havel, (International Journal on World Peace VOL. XXXII no. 2, 2015), 21.
9. Gandhi, M.K., Non-Violent Resistance (Satyagraha), (Dover Publications Inc. Mineola
New York, 1961), 3.
10. Singh Nirmala, The Concept of Satyagraha. (Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. xxiv
no. 4. 1997), 523-524
11. Mayton D. M and Palmer B. J., The Measurement of Nonviolence. (Vancouver, British
Columbia, 1996), 6-7.
12. Singh S., Satyagraha Gandhi‘s concept of Non-Violence, (India perspective January,
March 2008) 28-29.
13. Bose Anima, A Gandhian Perspective on Peace, (Journal of Peace Research No.2, Vol.
XVIII, ISSN 0022-3433, 1981)161-163
14. Tariq R. and Mudasir T., Impact of Religious Pluralism on the World: An Analytical
Study, (Lokayata: Journal of positive philosophy Vol-8, Issue-02, 2018) 22-28.
15. Tariq R and Mudasir T., LalDedd‘s Contribution to Philosophy (Lokayata: Journal of
Positive Philosophy vol-8, issue-02, 2018) 54-60.


Surajit Das & Moumita Das


The word ―sarvamukti‖ etymologically means ―the liberation of all‖. The Vedic seers
preached the idea of sarvamukti for the first time. The idea of sarvamukti has not been
advanced later on. It almost vanished from the Hindu tradition. But with the advent of
Gautam Buddha this idea was recovered again. He sought not only for his own salvation, but
also for ministering to the spiritual uplift of all sentient beings. Since then more or less a
period of two millennia has passed away. We have neither a Buddha working hard for the
emancipation of all, nor a Vedic seer praying for the true well-being of mankind. This is what
happened in the tradition of Indian philosophy during 2000 years before the emergence of
contemporary Indian philosophy. No doubt, contemporary Indian philosophy has a distinct
status and this status being due to an influence. It is the influence of the Indian Renaissance.
This Renaissance was a new birth of India. It was a thing of inestimable value due to some
important results. It gave to the old truths new aspect, new potentialities of creation and
evolution. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is a real product of this Renaissance. Now, the question is:
what is the position of Ambedkar as a contemporary Indian philosopher? This concerns the
type-distinction of ―sarvamuktivādī‖ character of Ambedkar and as such falls within the
periphery of our initial commitment. The present paper is an attempt to answer it critically
through his teachings and writings.

Key-words: Sarvamukti, Gautam Buddha, Renaissance, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

In the first half of 20th century Mother India had produced many eminent scholars and they
will be remembered with reverence for all times to come. They were Rabindranath Tagore
(1861-1941), Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948), Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950),
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) and a few others. Their activity was directed to a goal,
i.e., the achievement of Independence of India under the British rule. But while working in
that direction, they worked towards another goal which is far greater than the former. And
this is what is called the idea of ―sarvamukti‖.

Now, we may raise some simple questions. What does the idea of ―sarvamukti‖ signify? Is
there any gap between those two? Can we make a bridge between them? The present paper is
an attempt to elucidate these questions. But all these have been done here in reference to
bringing out the sense in which Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) may be regarded
as an exponent of modern ―sarvamuktivāda‖.

The word ―sarvamukti‖ is the combination of two words, such as ―sarva‖ and ―mukti‖. Here
―sarva‖ means ―all‖ and ―mukti‖ means ―liberation‖. Hence, ―sarvamukti‖ etymologically
means ―the liberation of all‖. The Vedic seers preached the idea of sarvamukti for the first
time. In this context we may refer a hymn of the Ṛgveda. It is as follows:

―Sam gacchadhvam sam badadhvam sam vo

Manāmsi jānatām

Devā bhāgam yathā pūrve samjānanā upāsate

Samāno mantrah samitih samāni samānam

Manah saha cittameṣām

Samānam mantrambhi mantraye vah samānena vo

Haviṣā juhomi

Samāni va ākutih samānā hṛdayāni vah

Samānamastu vo mano yathā vah susahāsati‖… (Book-X, 191)

A happy and peaceful coexistence, according to this hymn, is possible through meeting
together, talking together and letting our mind apprehended alike, common be our prayer,
common be our aim and common be the necessities of our life. United be our hearts and our
minds. This was the prayer of the Vedic seers. Liberation of all, according to the Vedic seers,
was something spiritual and knowledge concerned with this liberation was entitled the
highest knowledge (parāvidyā). On the other hand, there was lower knowledge (aparāvidyā)
that dealt with mundane life. The Vedic seers were chiefly interested to concern with the
highest knowledge.

The idea of sarvamukti has not been advanced later on. It almost vanished from the Hindu
tradition. But with the advent of Gautam Buddha this idea was recovered again. The life of

Buddha was devoted to the service of an ideal. He sought not only for his own salvation, but
also for ministering to the spiritual uplift of all sentient beings. He preached the ideal of
socio-political emancipation as well. In other words, according to the Buddha, ―sarvamukti‖
signified terrestrial uplift also.

In the 6th century B.C. Gautam Buddha appeared. ―Since then more or less a period of two
millennia has passed away. We have neither a Buddha working hard for the emancipation of
all, nor a Vedic seer praying for the true well-being of mankind‖.[1] This is what happened in
the tradition of Indian philosophy during 2000 years before the emergence of contemporary
Indian philosophy. No doubt, contemporary Indian philosophy has a distinct status and this
status being due to an influence. It is the influence of the Indian Renaissance beginning with
Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833). Such Renaissance was a new birth of India. It was a thing of
inestimable value due to some important results. These are as follows:

1. It emphasized the power of the human intellect to create a better environment for men
to live in.
2. Before the Renaissance there was a blind follow-up of the old fixed traditions. There
was hardly any break in the customary view of things. But the custodians fixed them
before our view so that we reckon and deal with them in a new light. It turned our
look upon all that our past contained with new eyes.
3. It enabled us to recover the ancient sense and spirit, long embedded and lost in the
unintelligent practice of received forms. It thus ―gave to the old truths new aspect,
new potentialities of creation and evolution‖.[2]
From the above discussion we can precisely say that Ambedkar is a real product of such
Renaissance. No doubt, contemporary Indian philosophy created a new sense of life and a
new vision of life. It is a mixture of the ancient spiritual wisdom of the East and idea of free
thinking of the human intellect. The latter, as we have mentioned earlier, is a result of the
Western tradition. Hence, contemporary Indian philosophy is a philosophy of synthesis. But
this ―synthesis‖ has been done here in three different ways. These are as follows:

1. Some of the contemporary Indian philosophers emphasized the ancient sense and
spirit of the Vedic seers.
2. Some of them enlarged the concept of free thinking of the day.
3. Some of them maintained a balance between the two.

Now, we may raise an important question. What is the position of Ambedkar as a
contemporary Indian philosopher? This concerns the type-distinction of ―sarvamuktivādī‖
character of Ambedkar and as such falls within the periphery of our initial commitment.

This eminent scholar was born on 14th April, 1891 in a Mahar family of Maharashtra. The
Mahars were looked upon as untouchables. Being an untouchable by birth, Ambedkar was
rigorously humiliated during his school days and this continued for a considerably long
period. He was force to sit apart in the classroom. He could not mix with other students. Even
the teacher would not touch his note-book and would not ask him any question from the
lesson. He was prohibited from learning Sanskrit. He was not allowed to touch water vessel
and drink water. ―This humiliation gradually showed the seed of burning hatred in his mind
for the caste-Hindus‖.[3] And it is in this connection that his view on Hinduism deserves to be

We all know that the Hindu society consists of four varṇas. These are Brāhmaṇa, Kṣatriya,
Vaiśya and Ṥūdra. This system was originally based on ―worth‖ and ―virtues‖. But as the
time went on, those varṇas come to be based on ―birth‖. Though the law of the system,
according to Ambedkar, encourages servitude of the weaker section of people in society and
thus it deadens the people from mutual cooperation.

Ambedkar really wanted to lead a movement to pull down the power and prestige of the
priests. He suggested reducing the priesthood of the Brahmins to that extent so that Hinduism
can be saved. He also insisted to have one common religion for the Hindus that ―would
culminate in the system of a close participation of all orders in the common life each
predominating in its own field‖.[4] This was the original spirit and became a religion only in

Ambedkar made a distinction between ―religion of principles‖ and ―religion of rules‖, and
thought that this distinction to be real and important. Though rules are practical, they are
habitual ways of doing things according to prescription. On the other hand, principles are
intellectual and useful methods of judging things. This distinction between rules and
principles makes the acts different in quality and content. He expressed his thought of a true
religion. A true religion, according to him, requires four conditions. These are as follows:

1. A society in order to hold it together must have either the sanction of law or the
sanction of morality.

2. Religion, in order to function, must be in accord with reason which is merely another
name for science.
3. Moral code is not enough for religion, but its moral code must recognize the
fundamental tenets of social life, namely liberty, equality and fraternity.
4. Religion must not sanctify or ennoble poverty.
Ambedkar points out that only Buddhism fulfils all these conditions. That is why, according
to him, Buddhism is a true religion. He was fascinated by other religions as well. These were
Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism etc. But we know that he renounced Hinduism and was
converted to Buddhism. Why, then, was he not converted to Islam, Christianity, Jainism, or
Sikhism? This concerns his comparative study of religions.

Conversion to Islam or Christianity will denationalize the depressed classes. If they go over
to Islam, the numbers of Muslims will be doubled and the danger of Muslim domination also
becomes real. If they go on to Christianity, the numerical strength of Christians becomes five
to six crores. It will help to strengthen the hold of Britain on the country. Regarding Jainism
Ambedkar expressed the view that it was not a powerful religion at all and that the ―Ahimsā‖
preached by Jainism was extreme and thus unacceptable.

Apart from these three religions, Sikhism was the best alternative faith for Ambedkar. It
provides equal treatment for all its adherents. Why, then, did he not embrace to Sikhism?
―What seems to have turned his mind away from Sikhism was the question of seats for the
depressed classes should they become Sikhs. Sikhs were granted such seats only in Punjab
and his people would actually lose political privileges in other provinces by adopting this

As we know that Ambedkar renounced Hinduism and was converted to Buddhism. One of
the most important reasons that influenced Ambedkar to opt for Buddhism was that the
Buddha never proclaimed himself to be a savior of mankind, the son of God, the last
messenger of God and Parameśvara etc. He was born a son of man and was content to
remain a common man and preached his gospel as a common man. He never claimed any
supernatural power nor did he perform miracles to prove his supernatural power. ―The
Buddha made a clear distinction between a mārgadātā and a mokṣadātā. Jesus, Mohammad
and Krishna claimed for themselves the role of mokṣadātā, but the Buddha was satisfied with
playing the role of a mārgadātā‖.[6]

There was another important distinction among the above four religious teachers. Jesus,
Mohammad and Krishna claimed that what they taught was infallible. The Buddha claimed
no such infallibility for what he taught. He told that his religion was based on reason and
experience, and that his followers should not accept his teachings as correct and binding
merely because they emanated from him. Being based on reason and experience, they were
free to modify or even to abandon any of his teachings if it was found that at a given time did
not apply. He wished that his religion not to be encumbered with the dead wood of the past.
He wanted that it should remain evergreen and serviceable at all times. That is why, he gave
―liberty to his followers to chip and chop as the necessities of the case required. No other
religious teacher has shown such courage‖.[7]

Buddhism is not a religion as the expression is traditionally conceived. The religion of the
Buddha is nothing but morality. Morality replaces God. Even the ideal of social gospel, i.e.,
equality is not so much emphasized by other religions as it is done in Buddhism. Naturally,
Ambedkar tended to Buddhism. And the beginning of this tension can be dated from 1935,
just a few months before death.

Long before his conversion to Buddhism, Ambedkar started his journey towards a Buddhist
ideal. But this ideal was neither salvation of an ―Arhat‖ nor supreme insight of a ―Pratyeka
Buddha‖. Ambedkar rejected ―those ideals because they were meant for personal
salvation‖.[8] He accepted the ideal of a ―Bodhisattva‖. This ideal is based on five basic
conditions. These are as follows:

1. A ―Bodhisattva‖ is born in the lowly.

2. He vows to serve the suffering humanity.
3. He interprets and preaches the teachings of his Master.
4. He practices ―Dhamma‖.
5. His life is a continuous process of perfection.
Ambedkar fulfilled all these conditions. As we have mentioned earlier, he was born in a
Mahar family of Maharashtra. The Mahars were not only poor, but also they were treated as
untouchables by the caste-Hindus. Ambedkar vowed in his early life to devote to the cause of
suffering humanity. He tried to the best to root out all type of evils like social, political and
moral. Ambedkar fulfilled the assignment of interpreting the teachings of his Master as well.
He wrote a book, such as The Buddha and His Dhamma. In this book he explained the nature
and ideal of a modern ―Bodhisattva‖. He himself practiced the teachings of his Master. His

activities thereby consisted in his endeavor to liberate the depressed classes, creating a new
awakening among the down-trodden and preparing them for the struggle ahead. He
marshaled many a battle. And having secured for his people the social, economic and
political rights, he turned towards their spiritual uplift. Ambedkar was qualified with virtues
like generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, honesty, resolution, loving
kindness and equanimity. These are known as ten Perfections (pāramitās) in the
Sthaviravāda (or Pali Theravāda).

Hence, I may conclude that in thus living a life of a ―Bodhisattva‖ as per the teachings of
Gautam Buddha, Ambedkar made him an exponent of modern ―sarvamuktivāda‖.

Notes & References:

1. Bahr, H. W. (1996). The Universal Community of Mankind. Germany: Rothenburg

Company. p. 49.
2. Ghosh, A. (2002). The Renaissance in India and Other Essays on Indian Culture.
Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. p. 20.
3. Keer, D. (1887). Dr Ambedkar: Life and Mission. Bombay: Popular Prakashan. p. 12.
4. Ghosh, A. (2002). The Renaissance in India and Other Essays on Indian Culture. Op.
cit., p. 411.
5. Presler, H. H. (1964). Indian Cultures Quarterly. Jabalpur: Jabalpur University Press.
p. 11.
6. Mungekar, B. L. (2010). Ambedkar‟s Approach to Buddhism. New Delhi: Northern
Book Centre. p. 26.
7. Ibid., p. 27.
8. Ahir, D. C. (1982). Ambedkar on Buddhism. Bombay: Peoples Education Society. p.

Desh Raj Sirswal
Indian philosophy is a term that refers to schools of philosophical thought that originated in
the Indian continent. Buddhism is one of the important school of Indian philosophical
thought. Happiness is much pursued by individuals and society in all cultures. Eastern and
western cultures have understood well-being and evolved ways and means to promote well-
being over the years. Buddhism pursues happiness by using knowledge and practice to
achieve mental equanimity. In Buddhism, equanimity, or peace of mind, is achieved by
detaching oneself from the cycle of craving that produces dukkha. So by achieving a mental
state where you can detach from all the passions, needs and wants of life, you free yourself
and achieve a state of transcendent bliss and well-being. The journey to attain a deeper form
of happiness requires an unflinching look into the face of a reality where all life is seen as
dukkha or mental dysfunction. Buddhism is a philosophy and practice that is extremely
concerned with the mind and its various delusions, misunderstandings and cravings but,
happily for us, sees a way out through higher consciousness and mindful practice. Perhaps it
is because of this seemingly dim view of reality that happiness in Buddhism is so
tremendously full; the ideas contained in Buddha's teachings point to a thorough engagement
with lived reality. Ironically, it is through such an engagement with one's self, the world and
reality that one is able to achieve a transcendent happiness. Equanimity, a deep sense of
wellbeing and happiness, is attainable through proper knowledge and practice in everyday
life. The objective of this paper is to the study the conception of happiness Buddhist
philosophy. This paper is divided into four parts (i) meaning of Indian philosophy and its
relation with Indian psychology, (ii) Buddhist philosophy, (iii) Buddhist conception of
happiness and (iv) relevance of Buddhism in present day world.

Key-Words: Buddhism, Well-Being, Happiness, Four-noble truth, Mindfulness, Indian


Philosophy is an attempt to satisfy the rational nature of through the desire of knowledge
regarding the life of man and his world. Philosophy in its widest etymological sense means
―love of wisdom‖. Indian Philosophy denotes the philosophical speculations of all thinkers.
Ancient or modern, Hindus or non-Hindus, theists or atheists.1 Indian philosophy has

basically nine systems of philosophy including three heterodox (nastika) including Charvaka,
Jainism and Buddhism and six orthodox (astika) systems including Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya,
Vaishesika, Mimamsa and Vedanta. Those systems of consider Vedas as the final authority
are considered as astika and those who rejected the authority of Vedas called as nastika. The
central idea of Indian philosophy is that consciousness is the origin and base of manifestation.
The ancient sages did not arrive at this knowledge by a strict mental reasoning and were not
content with a mental idea. They discovered the foundations of their philosophical principles
through a direct intuitive perception and inner experience. This is how, through –out ages
Indian thinkers considered philosophy to be connected a practical spiritual discipline. The
experiential methodology of the Indian philosophers has given rise to a very rich and detailed
psychology. Indian psychology has its roots in Indian Philosophy and shares its emphasis on
knowing by experience. A core characteristic of Indian psychology is that it address the
complete human being-not only the body, heart and mind, but also the soul and spirit. Self-
observation and self-enquiry are the main method of self-development and self-perfection is
most of the systems of Indian psychology.2 Now will have an outlook of Buddhist


Buddhism is one of the three heterodox systems of Indian philosophy. This system was
developed through the teachings of Gautama Buddha (560-480 B.C.) previously known as
Siddhartha. He was deeply influenced by the Upanishadic and the non-Vedic (especially
materialist) philosophies, propounded a philosophy based upon his own empirical and
meditational experiences3. Buddhist literature consists of short collections containing
speeches, saying, poems, tales or rules of conduct, which are combined into longer
collections, called pitika or basket. There were three such pitilas, called the Tri-pitakas
written in Pali language:
1. Vinaya-pitika or the basket of discipline: It supplies the regulations for the
management of the order (the samgha or the community of monks) and for the
conduct of the daily life of monks and nuns.

2. The Sutta-pitik: This is the best source for dharma or religion of the Budhha and his
earliest disciplines. It consists, in prose and verse, the most important products of
budhist literature , grouped in five minor collections called nikayas.

3. The Abhidhamma-pitika or basket of higher religion: It treat the same subjects as the
Sutta-pitika, through in a more scholastic manner

All these were considered to be canonical. There were also non-canonical works in Pali like
the Milinda-panha, recording a dialogue supposed to have taken place between a Buddhist
teacher Nagasena and the Greek kind Menander (Milinda) who ruled over north-west Indian
about 125-95 B.C. Later on several another literatures came to existence in Sanskrit and
mixed Sanskrit literature.4
Happiness is much pursued by individuals and society in all cultures .Measuring human well-
being is important in determining whether people‘s lives improve or worsen over time. Today
many countries focus on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a basis to measure economic
well-being, but focus on economic growth fails to capture the overall well-being of the
people. The researchers showed that increasing incomes are not accompanied by increasing
happiness. The Buddha discovered this 2500 years ago. He did not reject outright the idea of
possessing wealth but recognized that for the layperson a certain degree of wealth is essential
to live a happy life. He did stress, however, that living an ethical and Under the Influence of
Buddhism moral life more so than wealth but would bring genuine happiness. He rejected
greed in accumulating wealth, being enslaved to materialism, and treating wealth as the
ultimate goal5.(Wijeyawansa 2009)‖5 For Buddha, the path to happiness starts from an
understanding of the root causes of suffering. He discussed the Four Noble Truths in his

 The truth of suffering (dukkha)

 The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya)

 The truth of the end of suffering (nirhodha)

 The truth of the path that frees us from suffering (magga)

The Buddha‘s teachings of wisdom and compassion known as Dharma. In the teachings of
Buddha :―All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts.
It is made up of our thoughts. If one speaks or acts with an evil thought,, pain follows one,,
ass the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the wagon.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts. It is made
up of our thoughts. If one speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows one, like a
shadow that never leaves(Dhammapada 11--2 M ller Maguirre, 2002.)‖6

The Buddhist understanding of well-being has two parts:1. The Imperfect Well-Being 2. The
Perfect Well-Being. The imperfect wellbeing of unenlightened persons consists of some
measure of ordinary goods, the more the better, but it is imperfect because suffering is always
present. By contrast, the perfect well-being of enlightened persons precludes suffering and
consists of joyful tranquility, wisdom and virtue. In Buddhism, Suffering is a state of mind:
the dissatisfaction that comes with craving. The joyful tranquility aspect of enlightenment is
also a state of mind: the contentment that comes with not craving. In fact, all aspects of
enlightenment, including wisdom and virtue, are states of mind.

In our daily practice of refraining from thoughts, words, and actions that cause suffering, we
can find support in adopting a commitment to core values that nurture and deepen our sense
of internal and physical well-being. Here are ten values I find particularly beneficial to
developing an enduring sense of well-being.

1. Be truthful in what you say (wise speech) and speak with wise compassion.

2. Be genuine and authentic. We so often protect the ―false pride‖ of the ego or else
―package ourselves‖ for acceptance, approval, or popularity and this is not a winning
strategy for well-being.

3. Be kind in all that you do and say.

4. Be compassionate to those who are in pain and/or experiencing difficulty.

Compassion is contingent on what‘s happening.

5. Act and make choices in terms of relatedness. Know that you are part of something

6. Honor you own creativity. Pay attention to what you care about and align your outer
priorities accordingly.

7. Maintain a personalized life balance such that you primarily spend time on areas you
care about. This requires that you know what matters to you and that be absolutely
honest as to how you are spending your time and life energy.

8. Continue to learn and grow (personally and/or professionally) at every stage of life.

9. Be present in your life moment to moment.

10. Take responsibility for your body and make choices that support your body‘s health
and well-being. This includes choices in the areas of diet, exercise, sleep, relaxation,
play, and health maintenance.7



A central tenet of Buddhism is that we are not helpless victims of unchangeable emotions. In
the words of Buddha himself, "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our
thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world."

It's an idea that's in line with current thinking in psychology. In fact, this simple philosophy –
that changing the way we think can change the way we feel – underpins the very practice of
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), an approach widely used in clinical psychology and
counselling, as well as stress management programs.

CBT emerged in the 1970s, and according to the University of Technology Sydney's Dr
Sarah Edelman, who wrote a book on the subject entitled Change Your Thinking, it was
originally developed to help people recover from problems such as depression, anxiety
disorders, anger and self-sabotaging behaviours.

"But its principles are just as relevant for managing the upsetting emotions that arise and
disrupt everyday life," says Edelman.

However, while psychologists stress actively challenging negative thoughts and replacing
them with more optimistic ones, Buddhists focus more on detaching yourself from all
thoughts to create a state of stillness conducive to ultimate self-understanding, or

For Buddhists, the key method of achieving this is meditation – which usually involves fixing
our attention on a body part, the breath, a mantra or an inspirational picture – to arrive at a
state where we are not distracted by our thoughts.

And psychologists agree that quite aside from any spiritual connotations, meditation is a
powerful tool. Research has shown that practising meditation regularly – and being more
'mindful', that is, focused on the present moment – has beneficial effects for a range of
conditions. These include stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep and coping with chronic
pain. It also has other health benefits like reduced inflammation, improved immunity and
lower blood pressure.

Lungtok describes meditation as "a method to make the mind relaxed and peaceful.
Tranquility gives rise to clarity from which understanding and wisdom grow."

While psychotherapy seems to be in need of integration, psychotherapists increasingly

employ Buddhist meditation. Research has shown that this has proven to be effective in
treating certain aberrant conditions and in promotion of well-being. In the wake of this
development it is safe to assume that Buddhism might be a rich source of inspiration to cater
individual development.

Buddhists and psychologists alike believe that emotions strongly influence people‘s thoughts,
words, and actions and that, at times, they help people in their pursuit of transient pleasures
and satisfaction. From a Buddhist perspective, how-ever, some emotions are conducive to
genuine and enduring happiness and others are not. The ideal here is not simply to achieve
one‘s own individual happiness in isolation from others, but to incorporate the recognition of
one‘s deep kinship with all beings, who share the same yearning to be free of suffering and to
find a lasting state of well-being.8 ―Buddhist conceptions and practices that deal with
emotional life make three very distinct contributions to psychology. Conceptually, they raise
issues that have been ignored by many psychologists, calling on the field to make more finely
nuanced distinctions in thinking about emotional experience. Methodologically, they offer
practices that could help individuals report on their own internal experiences, and such
practices might thereby provide crucial data that is much more detailed and comprehensive
than that gathered by the techniques psychologists now use to study subjective emotional
experience. Finally, Buddhist practices themselves offer a therapy, not just for the disturbed,
but for all who seek to improve the quality of their lives. We hope what we have reported will
serve to spark the interest of psychologists to learn more about this tradition.‖9

In the conclusion, we can say that Buddhism offer a highly relevant knowledge concerning to
human life, which has its roots in ancient tradition and application in modern times.

1. Dutta & Chattejjee, Introduction to Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarasidass
Publications, New Delhi, p.4

2. Neeltje Huppes, Indian Psychology - an experiential approach, Indian Psychology

Institute, Puducherry, 2017, pp. 1-10.

3. K.Satchidananda Murty, Philosophy in India: traditions, teachings & research,

Motilal Banarasidass & ICPR, Delhi, 1991, p.18

4. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction, People‘s

Publishing House, Delhi, 2007, pp.122-123

5. Paul Ekman et all., ―Buddhist and Psychological Perspectives on Emotions and Well-
Being‖ in Current Directions in Psychological Science, Volume 14—Number 2,
2005, pp. 56-57, Cited on February, 2019, Link: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/

6. The Pursuit of Happiness, Cited on February 2, 2019, Link: https://www.pursuit-of-


7. Phillip Moffitt , ―Ten Values Associated With Well-Being‖, DharmaVision, Cited on

February 2, 2019, Link: http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/ten-values-

8. Paul Ekman et all., ―Buddhist and Psychological Perspectives on Emotions and Well-
Being‖ pp.59-60.

9. Ibid, p.62.


Lighitha P.

The notion of understanding (Verstehen) as a method in studies of historical and social

sciences was first introduced by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen. In his
GrundrissederHistorik (1858), Droysen proposed three possible scientific methods discerned
in terms of the object and the nature of human thought. These methods are the speculative,
the mathematical or physical and the historical. Their respective aims were to know, to
explain and to understand. Understanding (Verstehen) is a method in the human sciences that
aims at reconstructing meaning from the agent‘s point of view. Such a method makes
primary, how agents understand themselves; for instance, how cultural anthropologists try to
understand symbols and practices from their native point of view.

Understanding aims at explicating the meaning of an action or expression from an internal

perspective of the actor. This distinction is often the basis for a further methodological and
ontological distinction between the natural sciences and the human sciences. As we know
that, the data of natural sciences may be theory dependent and interpretative to that extent,
while the human sciences are doubly interpretative. This is so because they try to interpret the
interpretations that human subjects give to their actions and practices. The human sciences do
not aim at explaining events but at understanding meanings, texts and text analogues.
Actions, artifacts and social relations are all like texts in that they have significance for and
by human subjects. Thus, the method of Verstehen denies the unity of science, envisaged by
leading philosophers of science and the account of explanation given by empiricists and

Wilhelm Dilthey and the Neo–Kantians have proposed that Verstehen could be the
imaginative re-experiencing of the subjective point of view of the actor. In this connection let
us remember the sharp distinction Wittgenstein and his followers proposed between reasons
(applicable to human sciences) and causes (applicable to natural sciences) and define reasons
in terms of relating an action to the relevant rules or norms that it follows. Dilthey and the
Neo – Kantians have argued that with regard to both sciences, the aim is to understand what
the text or text analogue really means for the agent. All understanding then becomes
interpretations, a universal feature of all human activity including that of the natural sciences.

If all understanding is interpretation, then there are no presupposition less natural data that
can be put to empirical tests. This takes us to the further position that Verstehen is not a
method but an event, in which there is fusion of horizons between the text and the interpreter.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, one of the most important and influential European
intellectuals of the 19th century, and known variously as the Father of Romanticism, the
Father of German Plato studies. He is also known as the father of modern theology, and the
Father of Hermeneutics.He transformed the traditional Biblical hermeneutics into a general
hermeneuticswhich incorporated texts of all kinds. Texts, in this sense refer to anything, not
just written words, but conversation, understanding etc. By raising hermeneutical inquiry
onto a universal level, Schleiermacher opened up the problem of interpretation to a new
world of understanding and explanation. He compared the reading of a text to dialogue in
conversation. The reader was to play both parts in the dialogue : the author and the recipient
of the text. Schleiermacher referred this as ―significant conversations‖ and stressed the
importance of understanding a series of thoughts in texts as if it were a moment in life
breaking forth.1

Hermeneutics is a doctrine of art oriented according to the idea of understanding given the
universality of misunderstanding, which is caused by hastiness or prejudice. According to
Schleiermacher non- or misunderstanding is the ordinary condition, and understanding needs
to the persuade in order to be achieved.2 Art is not imposition of science on tradition or
system on the life – world for Schleiermacher. Art originates in ordinary experience itself. It
always already at work in ordinary understanding to the degree that even the child is engaged
in the art of hermeneutics in language acquisition. Hermeneutics, according to
Schleiermacher, is the art of understanding. Understanding is the art to the extent that it is
neither fully reducible to nor independent of the application of rules. Hermeneutics is an art,
concerned with language, through which we interpret texts and indirectly understand others.

It is proper to commence a discussion on hermeneutics with Friedrich Schleiermacher, since

he is understood as the first to unite the various disciplines‘ specific hermeneutic theories into
a universal hermeneutics. For Schleiermacher, hermeneutics is the art of understanding in
spoken and written language. It is viewed that Schleiermacher has formulated a new general
or universal hermeneutics that could successfully unite and support several disciplines and
their specific hermeneutics like say, legal, biblical and philological hermeneutics. Of these,
legal hermeneutics evidently, attended to the correct interpretation of law and its codification

with an aim to prevent misinterpretations, while biblical hermeneutics developed rules for
interpreting the biblical texts correctly, particularly during the renaissance period.
Philological hermeneutics too grew eventually that concentrated on interpreting the classics.
The state of Art of hermeneutics was described Schleiermacher thus: by ―Hermeneutics as the
art of understanding, does not yet exist in a general manner, there are instead only several
forms of specific hermeneutics‖.3 The intention of Schleiermacher apparently is to unify the
peculiar rules of interpretation emphasized in these various hermeneutic theories, and isolate
a ‗justification‘ applicable in a universal manner.

It is evident that Hermeneutics deals with the art of understanding. Here Schleiermacher‘s
view of art does not mean merely a subjective, creative process. It includes methodological
rules, but their application is not rule-bound, as would be the case in a mechanical procedure.
Schleiermacher clarifies his position here : ―Every single language could perhaps be learned
via rules, and what can be learned in this way is mechanism. Art is that for which there
admittedly are rules. But the combinatory application of these rules cannot in turn be rule-
bound‖.4 According to him there is a contradiction between hermeneutics used as the art of
understanding and the same used as the art of speaking or rhetoric. Hermeneutics in the
former sense deals with the externalization of thought: here speaking moves from the inner
thought to its external expression in language, but hermeneutics in the latter sense moves
from the external expression back to the thinking as the meaning of that expression.

The main goal of hermeneutic practice, therefore, is to understand correctly what another has
expressed, especially in the written form. For Schleiermacher clear thoughts occur when the
appropriate words have been discovered. There is not one meaning for a word that is
represented by one object. Since language is primarily meant for communication it must be
common to both the speaker and the listener. Words have their meaning in relation to other
words of that language. The goal of hermeneuticsis to understand or interpret the appropriate
meaning of the word befitting the context. Since hermeneutics as a method aims at
understanding all types of linguistic expressions, it could be thought to include all disciplines.
Schleiermacher, however, attempts to restrict the scope of hermeneutics. If rhetoric is
concerned with the expression of thoughts in language, hermeneutics is, rather the reverse
process of discovering the thoughts behind an expression.

Schleiermacher ask how hermeneutics is possible or how the interpreter can reconstruct the
author‘s seminal decision that motivates the creative process and constitutes its unity. He also

brings forth the disparities in ascertaining the authenticity of text and the authenticity of the
interpreter of the text. Attention drawn on this reveals that in hermeneutics both these factors
are intertwined and depend on each other, for one must have the correct text in order to
understand and explain completely what the author meant, but in order to judge a text‘s
authenticity, one must have first understood it.5 Therefore, hermeneutics as the art of
understanding utterances, has two parts: (1) the grammatical aspect, is one must understand
the authors language or which interprets the utterance as derived from language, and (2) the
technical or psychological aspect, aims to reconstruct the author‘s thinking and the way these
thoughts are expressed or which interprets the utterance as a fact in the thinker. It
presupposes a partial understanding of the times in which the author writes and the author‘s
life. Hence hermeneutics requires both grammatical and psychological interpretation.
Schleiermacher maintains that it would be wrong in general, to ignore one at the cost of the
other while seeking after the goal of interpretation. If one is interested primarily in language
as the means by which an individual communicates his thoughts, then the psychological
interpretations will take predominance, whereas if one is interested in language as it explains
the thinking of individuals at a particular time, then the grammatical side will predominate.
Both are required to some degree, for to use just grammatical interpretation would imply
complete knowledge of the language, whereas the psychological interpretation would imply
complete knowledge of the person, and neither of these in isolation of the other is possible.6
Therefore, Schleiermacher observes, ―One must move from one to the other, and no rules can
be given for how this is to be done‖.7 This explains why hermeneutics is an art of

According to Schleiermacher, psychological interpretation of acts of speech or writing may

occur by means of either a divinatory or comparative method. The divinatory method is a
means of understanding spoken or written language by trying to understand the motives of
the speaker or writer. Through the divinatory method the interpreter would come to
reconstruct what particular circumstances lead the author to his seminal decision as well as to
his secondary ideas. On the other hand, the comparative method explains the individuality of
the author‘s work through a comparison with others. For Schleiermacher, comparative
method sees as predominating on the linguistic side of interpretation, where it takes the
interpreter from the particular uses of a word to the rule for use that governs them all.

The interpreter is promoted in psychological interpretation by several factors. In that way the
interpreter knows about the author‘s subject matter and the way one thinks about it. For
Schleiermacher, to imagine two travellers who write about their conceptions of what they
experience together. For instance, a landscape, it is simple to understand the individual
differences in their thinking. Thus, if we only had two descriptions it would be state to
separate the subjective impressions from the objective descriptions. If there is aim in the text
that can be discovered, then their descriptions is easier because there will be an important
connection of the different ideas to that aim.

The aim of hermeneutics is ―to understand the utterance at first just as well and then better
than its author‖.8 One understands an author better by defining explicit what is unconscious
in the works of the author. To begin the hermeneutic process one must endeavor to place
oneself subjectively and objectively in the position of the author; here objectively by learning
the language as the author possessed it, and subjectively by learning about the author‘s life
and thinking.

This suggests that hermeneutics ―depends on the talent for language and the talent for
knowledge of individual people‖.9 One needs a talent for interpreting language in the sense of
its possible expressionsfrom a grammatical view point, for instance, its analogies and
metaphors. Schleiermacher pointed out that there are two sides of this talent and they rarely
coincide in one person. One is the extensive talent for comparing different languages and the
other is the intensive talent for penetrating into the interior of one‘s own
language.10Similarly, the talent for understanding others has both aspects. The extensive
talent regards understanding the individuality of one person through comparison to others,
and thereby reconstruct ―the way of behaving of other people‖.11The intensive talent concerns
understanding the ―individual meaning of a person and its particularities in relation to the
concept of a human being‖.12

Hermeneutics is possible, even if infinite, task. The interpreter can reconstruct what the
author means since language permits the interpreter to know the approximate schematization
experience that the author presents in language.13In daily use of language we do not know
this kind of interpretation. But in most tough cases the interpreter must use the comparative
and divinatory methods as we mentioned above. The interpreter needs to focus on the author
and his times, the subject matter discussed and the language area of the text. So hermeneutics
requires experience and talent on the part of the interpreter.

In brief, hermeneutics may be understood as the art of understanding what another means by
her linguistic expressions. Schleiermacher‘s original contribution lies in discerning the two
spheres of hermeneutic understanding that is the grammatical and the psychological : in a
hermeneutical exercise one needs to know the language used by the author to interpret her
writings, while in the psychological side he needs to know how the author thinks with
reference to his particular culture and historical time. The main aim of hermeneutics, from
this perspective is to reconstruct the creative works of the author and attempt to understand
the author even better than he understood himself.

Notes and References:

1. Klemm , David E, Hermeneutical Inquiry : Vol 1, The Interpretation Of Texts, Atlanta :

Scholars Press, 1986. P.57.
2. Matthias Jung,HermenutikZurEinfuhrung, Hamburg :Junias, 2001. P.59.
3. Friedrich Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics and Criticism and Other Writings, Andrew
Bowie (Ed.), Cambridge University Press, 1998, p.5.

4. Ibid., p.229.

5. Lawrence K.Schmidth, Understanding Hermeneutics,Accumen Publishing Ltd,


6. Ibid.

7. Friedrich Schleiermacher(1998),p.11.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid., p.23.

10. Lawrence K.Schmidth (2006), p.13.

11. Friedrich Schleiermacher (1998), p.13.

12. Ibid.

13. Lawrence K. Schmidth (2006), p.27.


Suyasha Singh


Art has a greater purpose of its own. Tolstoy says that for the good of humanity, less kind and
needed feelings are replaced by kinder ones which are applied at both particular and
collective levels. Art acts as a therapy. It is an attempt by educators towards emotional good
health and ethical good sense. His idea of the expression of art did not exhibit political
reforms as he thought that they should not measure up with social goals rather it should be a
display of life and its love in its most utmost forms where he presents the picture of an
individual at an intimate level. He drew on his life experiences as he lived them; just like the
correspondence of his marriage in real life and like in Anna Karenina. The aim is to combine
both the spiritual and materialistic aspects of the world reflected in his novel. One distinctive
idea that can be witnessed in Tolstoy is the metamorphosis of his characters throughout the
reading yet they remain the same. His characters have a thought process and personality of
their own. His narratives include simple outlines - death and love. The descriptions in his
novels are symbolic in nature.

Keywords: Art, Love, Emotional, Metamorphosis, Reform, Anna Karenina, Morality


This paper explores the idea that for Leo Tolstoy, Art especially novels as mainly
predicated by his works were not a source of entertainment but were tools for psychological
education and reform. For knowing others it acted as a supreme medium. This in a way
helped expand humanity as we might also know people who seem unappealing from the
outside. He did not advocate the idea of art for arts‘ sake. He was deeply invested in the
belief that good art should make us less moralistic and judgmental and should supplement to
religion in terms of developing our reserves of kindness and morality. Leo Tolstoy‘s work
casts an expression theory where an artist's feelings are transmitted to a recipient through a
medium. He defines art in his essay "What is Art?"

Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously utilizing certain
external signs, hands-on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are
infected by these feelings and also experience them.1

Experiencing beauty plays a determining factor in this. It is not necessary to give

away one‘s hedonistic assertions of contingent factors like psychological, historical and
physiological. Seeking pleasure cannot be a factor in undertaking art. Art is thereby an
association between man and man. This gives a base to the civilization. Feelings are
communicated and words are expressed between the people which form an imperative.

1. Art-Life Relationship

Theological practices try to suppress art through prohibitions. They do not understand
that by doing this they deny the people of one of the means of communication to humankind
without whose support it‘s difficult to exist. He makes art as a tool for civilization. Also, the
fellowship among humans when communicated through the medium of art makes them
united as if the feelings they share are the same. This is a sort of spiritual union as there is no
isolation of a party. This is a result of a spontaneous infection that the recipient gets with the
artists‘ work. The artistic infection is used as a measure to evaluate the impact of art. The
intensity is in correspondence with each other. The clarity of this communication, the
sincerity of the work and the uniqueness of the feeling spread are some of the necessary and
sufficient factors involved.

Leo Tolstoy‘s work Anna Karenina is understood to have provided a beautiful edge to
his legacy. He has resurrected the character of his novel from people in his real life. Nikolai
Levin in Anna Karenina resembles his brother Dmitry who died of Tuberculosis twenty years
before when the novel was written. There is a term known as artistic machinery, ―it implies a
mechanical process: you feed reality at one end and out comes art at the other.‖2 We witness
an art-life relationship in most of his works.

He tries to strike a ground showing of life through the novel‘s characters. Alexei
Karenina is depicted to be a rational and conservative character. Despite all this, his self -
reflective nature does not improve his life. His character shows that it is important to embrace
dynamism to succeed. Stiva Oblonsky stands as an example by Tolstoy whose human values
stand corrupted with the refinements of city life. One cannot succeed if their lives are
dominated by fun. Stiva‘s lack of responsibility leads to his downfall. Tolstoy links Stiva and

Anna to the end that a developed and prosperous life can be ruined by bad choices. Anna
seems to be connected to the philosophy of love which bounds relationships.

It has lots of glimpses from his life. Similarly, is the case with Levine,

… his struggles toward spiritual light come to the deep satisfaction of work with the
earth, of philanthropic effort, but his last unclouded by false anticipations of great
success. The peasants with whom he has to work areas dull of perception, as slow in
comprehending his great schemes, as were Tolstoy‘s own; his very wife, lovely and
faithful, cannot fully understand him.3

As the similarity of his own family and situation, it is like a Greek tragedy that shows
a marriage with love and adultery. The characters try to live by such an arrangement within
the society but the circumstances force them to give up. To reflect, more on Tolstoy‘s
creations it becomes helpful to go through his significant observations of life and society
through ‗The Death of Ivan Ilytch‘.

There is other work of the purely so-called artistic nature after this period; such as the
―Death of Ivan Ilytch," a marvelous study of the painful death of a worldly and
loveless respectable official; the play "The Power of Darkness;" and the story of
"Master and Man." The action of this last takes place in a snowstorm on the steppes.
The master clothed in his heavy furs, first abandons his man in terror at the death
staring him in the face, and then returns, and, by lying on top of his ill-clothed and
half-frozen servant, saves his life and is himself frozen; the approach and reality of
death this time, however, being not with terror, but with peace, because where there is
love, self-sacrifice, there is God also.4

The book tries to make the sense of death by living life in the right manner. It tried to
form segregation between living an authentic life dominated by pity and compassion and
artificial life dominated by superficial existence.

2. Is Expression of Art Subjective or Objective Feeling

Classical definitions of art in the history of philosophy are portrayed in contemporary

discussions of the definition of art; take art to be characterized by a single type of property.
The standard candidates are representational properties, expressive properties, and formal
properties.5 This is done in the form of different activities through the medium of sound,

light, color, dance, etc. It's also a form of production of human reason. The reaction to any
work of art is subjective appealing to different minds. There have been various debates
surrounding the idea of beauty around it. The success of an artist happens when the creation
has a lasting effect on the human mind. It engages a lot of emotional elements and is not a
dull activity. The element of beauty fulfills the purpose of pleasing people's minds. In this
way, our sentiments align with the creation. Any artwork has an end. They are created for a

Expression of something is a creative process which is evoking the feelings one has
experienced and transmitting in the form of light, words, sound, color, etc. The origination of
art lies in the artist. Artist‘s intention must be genuine and not conceiting. Those feelings
transmitted must be experienced personally. The emotions communicated are not at a
descriptive level but emotions themselves. It is not arousal. Arousal is an activity by skilled
workers. The expressionist theory communicates it as the manipulation of a physical medium.
However, for putting up this thought, Tolstoy had to face several criticisms. Critics like John
Dewey states that manifestation of emotion can be an outburst or a discharge. Screaming of
pain when hurt cannot be said to be a work of art. These are raw emotions. Sussane K.
Langer states that artists cannot work in a state of mind when struck by tragedy or personal
upheaval. This is the case because works of art should be treated as an escape and not turning

Opinions like these falsify the Tolstoy‘s stand. Certain artists become successful in
creating a hue of emotion without that actual backing. Or sometimes the artist is miserable
but the creation will convey happiness and vice – versa. So, it is understandable to say that
the communication of the actual emotion to the audience cannot be deemed as art. There is no
objective certainty that the same emotions were experienced by the artist that was conveyed.
Since it‘s a subjective feeling, it becomes difficult to comprehend this exact line of

Tolstoy wants to make a united feeling with a monistic understanding. But even if an
emotion is passed it cannot be deciphered by the other party as the same. If A experiences
sadness then it does not mean that B will also experience the same sadness with the same
amount of intensity. If we try to portray a scene of erratic behavior by an actor in a scene in
theatre the amount of absorption of that behavior by the audience will vary even though they

are similar emotion or mood. This is the case because they both are distinct entities.
Therefore, the expression theory has a subjective monotony to it.

Even though we see that subjective feelings play an underlying role in

comprehension, when evaluated based on his works, Tolstoy has tried to do justice with his
findings. Tolstoy says that Art should be communicated with a clear and irrepressible feeling
whereas the technique is used unnaturally. A good work of art is interpreted irrespective of
appealing morally and immorally.

The early 1870s in Russia witnessed a ‗suicide epidemic,‘ and the pages of the
Russian press discussed personal tragedies as a social fact at great length, publishing
society‘s ills, especially suicide and crime.6

Anna Karenina is the protagonist who is caught in moral standing. Anna sacrifices her
family, love, and society in her search for more physical and emotional realization.

Anna‘s significant peasant dreams are linked symbolically to a major weakness in her
personality: a tendency, fist, to exaggerate appealing features of an attractive new
acquaintance and then, as time passes and reality inevitably brings layers of
disillusionment. To exaggerate the same person‘s inadequacies……..The cycle then
begins again as Vronsky by degrees displaces Karenin in her dreams and nightmares,
ending in Anna‘s even greater disillusionment and propelling her toward self-

She finds obsession in revenge and self-destroying behavior when her expectations
from her lover and husband are not fulfilled.

This structure shelters and enshrines much of Tolstoy‘s deepest and most essential
message concerning the utter futility of seeking enduring happiness in even the most
defensible and sincere adulterous relationship, which must, Tolstoy asserts, finally
inflict devastating suffering upon all concerned, including both the inevitably
disillusioned, guilty perpetrators and, most sadly, the innocent but gravely wounded

Tolstoy put his fifteen years to research on the subject of Art and was confused that
how the idea of beauty can form its central element. According to him, beauty is nonessential.
He compared the incomplete idea of eating to this. Just as people who just like the idea of

eating and don‘t take food as a means to support the body. Similarly, those who take beauty
as an end to art do not understand a work‘s true nature. If emotions are not transmitted
through art then it just becomes meaningless. It is through art that humanity advances. Art
lately has been used by the rich and the idle rather serving humanity. Advancement in the
human soul happens with the development of human consciousness. Good and bad art are
evaluated in accordance with the religious perception of those times. The Greeks evaluated
work in harmony with the feelings it produces. If it transmits a sensation of beauty and
courage, it‘s good. If it communicates dissent and rudeness it is bad.


Art is a way to promote brotherhood. Serving through their works to a small section is
bad but humanity is good. A creation is marked by the kind of life one has lived. It arises
from the human soul based on their experiences. Those who witness the reality produce
creations that are grounded. It comes out from life proper and not based on the incentive of

Writing acts as a medium for knowing others who seem unappealing from the outside.
It is used to expand our idea of humanity. For Tolstoy, art should be used as a means to
become less judgmental and supplement our morality. Writing is a part of therapy for
inducing goes sense based on ethics. He admonishes the practices based on false pretenses
and encourages people to return to the state of love.

On one hand, Anna is doing her duty although being deprived of love where a social
standing has and on the other hand, where she is following her heart, she is being
admonished. She was a deeply religious woman but still committed suicide. In Christianity,
suicide is considered a sin. The question here then arises is if her actions were moral or not.
In context to Tolstoy‘s essay 'What is Art?' it can be said that it all depends on the appeal to
be a good work of art irrespective of the main character being judged ethically solely on their
actions. Anna Karenina successfully infects its readers with emotional and psychological
appeal in depicting then Russian society, the psychology of people involved along with the
elaborate background settings of city and rural lives of the Russian people.


1. Maria Popova, ―Leo Tolstoy on Emotional Infectiousness and What Separates Good
Art from the Bad,‖ brainpickings (blog), 2019/12/05,
2. Hugh Mclean, ―Truth in Dying,‖ in In Quest of Tolstoy (Boston: Academic Studies
Press, 2008), 30
3. George Clifton Edwards, ―Tolstoy,‖ The Sewanee Review, Vol. 9, No. 04 (Oct. 1901):
4. Ibid, 464
5. Thomas Adaijan, ―The Definition of Art,‖ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
August 14, 2018, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art-definition/
6. Yuri Leving, ―The Eye-Deology of Trauma: Killing Anna Karenina Softly,‖ in
Border Crossing, ed. Alexander Burry, Frederick H. White (Edinburgh: Edinburgh
University Press, 2016), 103
7. Gary L. Browning, ―Conclusion,‖ in A ―Labryinth of Linkages‖ in Tolstoy‘s ―Anna
Karenina‖ (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010), 117
8. Ibid., 119


Adaijan, Thomas. ―The Definition of Art,‖ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, August 14,
2018, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/art-definition/.

Browning, Gary L. ―Conclusion.‖ In A “Labryinth of Linkages” in Tolstoy‟s “Anna

Karenina.” Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010.

Edwards, George C., ―Tolstoy,‖ The Sewanee Review, Vol. 9, No. 04 (Oct. 1901.

Leving, Yuri. ―The Eye-Deology of Trauma: Killing Anna Karenina Softly‖. In Border
Crossing. Edited by Alexander Burry, Frederick H. White. Edinburgh: Edinburgh
University Press, 2016.

Mclean, Hugh. ―Truth in Dying,‖ In In Quest of Tolstoy. Boston: Academic Studies Press,

Popova, Maria. ―Leo Tolstoy on Emotional Infectiousness and What Separates Good Art
from the Bad,‖ brainpickings (blog), 2019/12/05,

Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Penguin USA; Deluxe ed. Edition, 31 May 2004.

Tolstoy, Leo. What is Art? Translated by Alymer Maude. Digireads.com, 01 January, 2013.


Sunu Kalita & Archana Barua

In different regional variations of the great Epics, especially in its vernacular forms, we
find wider scope for addressing woman‘s position in society from a nuanced perspective with
more scope for liberal and sensitive interpretation. With more focus on sahadharminini ideal
than tightening of the same. Sankardeva is a Neo-Vaishavist, and though deeply committed in
Eka-Sarna-Naam-Dharma, he brought a great social reform by spreading secular ideas. We
find that Sankardeva remains very sympathetic for Sita‘s ordeal and trials (agnipariksās).
Taking his liberty as a Bhakta saint, in his creative interpretation of the Uttarakanda
Ramayana, Sankaradeva puts strong words in Sita‘s mouth before which Rama, the God
incarnate, appears to remain speechless. Despite his strong sympathy for Rama‘s own tragic
predicament that he too is a victim of tragic circumstances in life, Sankaradeva is not happy
at repeated ordeals that Sita herself has to undergo despite Rama remaining very sure of her
This kind gesture of Sankaradeva‘s Assamese version of the Ramayana Uttatrakanda
also reflects comparatively liberal attitude shown by Assamese males in general toward
woman a society that placed girl child in high esteem and a society that till lately was not
aware of dowry and crime against girl child. The article thus revisits Sankaradeva‘s portrayal
of Sita in his Assamese version of the later Ramayana. This kind gesture on Sankardeva‘s
part tells a lot about men‘s sympathetic understanding on women‘s conditions. Despite
respecting playing of role models as ideal wife, she is also an individual, a suffering human
being who is to be sympathetically understood by her husband, who is not her master but

friend, philosopher and guide. This article will try to revisit Sankardeva‘s portray of Sita in
the context of role and position of women in Assamese society and in North-East at large.
Keywords: Sankardeva, Sita, Bhakti, Ramayana, Sahadharmini .

Traditionally people have a very negative idea about women‘s position in a patriarchal
society considering the distinctive meaning of Indian patriarchy. We may say the term
patriarchy has different shades and colours as per the phases of its development from an
earlier and a liberal one of its kind that was substituted later with a rigid one during the time
of caste oriented Smarta phase handled by priest-king alliance at the instrumentality of the
Karmakaandi Brahmnis. Even then, even despite all its ups and downs, we cannot overall
generalise the term patriarchy as it is also seen in the context of the Indian scenario, as it is
not exactly what patriarchy means in the west that remains the target of the Feminist critics
across culture. What we can say in the beginning is that we find that similar to other
patriarchal set ups, in India too, gradually a rigid kind of patriarchy emerged out of its base in
a comparatively liberal one as in a comparative study we find that that gradually women‘s
position deteriorated unlike in the earlier phase which we used to see in early Vedic period as
well. At post Vedic and a Smarta period the position deteriorated which was sought to be
corrected and reformed by many including a large section of the Bhakta Saints with their
creative expressions in Bhakti literatures as thus trying to re-discover those lost liberal ethos
of idea. Taking that as the true liberal spirit of this vast country of many cultures and many
races living in harmonious pluralistic platform despite differences.

This is the context that makes sense why in Bhakta saints like Mahapurush Srimanta
Sankaradeva in particular could accommodate some liberal ethos even within a so called
patriarchal family set up. Sankaradeva and the other Bhakata saints and reformers of Assam,
as in mainly in Medieval India, did not interpret husband wife relation in terms of Heglian
and Sartrean master-slave exploitative relation that enables the master, usually the husband if
he remains the authority and the more powerful one, to be the total controller that the wife is
to be completely controlled by the male counterpart, the husband, who is thus projected more
as a boss and a master than equal and complementary partner to his female counterpart. The
initial liberal position of husband and wife as sahadharmi( ni ) was also the true meaning of
the word sahadharmini when more than being a partner in a dominating relation

husband and wife portrayed a complementary status. That way both husband and wife
remains Sahadharmi (also as sahadharmini) as co-traveller in life and in dharma, through
thick and thin. Accordingly there remained more scope for liberal interpretations of men
women relationship that also safeguarded women‘s secured position in society.

The present study is a short exploration of the status of Indian women within a
comparatively liberal and reformist kind of a patriarchal society is based on literature review
and research of particular scriptures with its most traditional sources based on Vedic texts as
analysed by innumerable researchers and scholars in various ways. In order to determine
whether Hindu women really enjoyed some kind of freedom and independence in early phase
of Vedic Period even though that period regarded as patriarchal, we have surveyed some
scholarly literatures in this regard. Based on some of our study we may summarise the
following here.

Women were found enjoying their rights to develop their potentiality in various fields,
ranging from housekeeping, cooking, being a good host to being a good daughter-wife –etc.
also to learn music, other womanly skills from stitching, needle work to weaving and
knitting, from decorating to artistic aspects in them as well. Thus their presence was essential
in all the streams of life even though overall household cantered round a father figure or a
male authority who also remained the prime food provider for the family, also the one who
goes out to the agriculture field when there was need for ploughing etc. Those way families
had a paternal authority as father, the husband and in that case a wife is seen and treated as a
shadhami(ni). Along with that we find that a section of really studious and talented women
excelled as scholars and poets, philosophers etc. during the early Vedic period. On the other
hand some also showed courage and independence as warriors too. Especially in the context
of Sankaradeva influenced Vaishnavite society only we found the first Assamese woman poet
Aai Padmapriya, the learned and bhakti daughter of Sankaradeva‘s disciple Gopal Ata, the
founder head of the Kaala Sanghati sub sect of Neo Vaishnite Order founded by
Sankaradeva. We also hear about the valour of Mula Gabharu during Ahom period as of
Radha and Rukmini and others during Moamoria vidroh from the Maran community in

We also have Sati Radhika as an epitome of ideal housewife balancing her wifely duties
as per moral and social norms and also as the first woman work team leader who contributed
their manual labour in the construction of Tembuani stream (small river) bāndh (dam) that

Sankaradeva sought to save the locality and its people from flood and erosion. That needed
contributions from both male and female members and here came Radhika Sati representing
an otherwise lower caste of Kaivarta community whom Sankaradeva particularly identified
and glorified as the role model of virtues personified in her and an ideal of all other women
also in so called higher castes to follow her. As Sankaradeva also disapproved caste hierarchy
and discrimination that Brahmins and priests and kings sought to impose and monitor. Here
she stands as the role model, a perfect epitome of both feminine and wifely virtues imbibed in
her that so long she remains dharma bound to her husband she values loyalty to her wife as
she expects similar loyalty from her sahadharmi counterpart, her husband. So she remained
chaste, so she said to the Bhakta saint what remains her virtue and strength that will enable
her to pass the trial of the beginning the whole process by one virtuous woman when she
claimed herself to be eligible to do so, to join hand in this dharmic act of helping people out
of crisis situation besides performing all her expected wifely and womanly duties in a
balanced way. No doubt the land was full of some such sahadharmin is when we find the
story of Sati Jaimnati who made herself a crusader to the dictatorial and rigid Ahom
monarchy of her time so that her husband can be saved to restore liberal values in the land
later. The interesting point to note here is that no one forced them to act in this manner , nor
any male member forcing them to do so though it was a patriarchal society, rather the males ,
her husband Gadapani when he heard the news of Jaimoti tortured by the king, came in
disguise to persuade her to withdraw that he himself will be imprisoned if the king wants that
but Jaimoti strongly refused as her dharma was to keep the rightful and liberal heir to the
throne alive so that the people will be liberated from tyranny. This was the kind of
sahadharmani ideal that Sankaradeva too glorified in his literature.

Women were treated equivalent to men and had freedom to develop that encouraged
them to explore their identity as per their choice. Various customs and traditions were
absorbed by the Hindu society gave full and active participation to its women. During this
liberal phase of Vedic patriarchy we find women as Atri, Maitreyi, Lopamudra, and many
others who were also greatly honoured in society but who excelled in merit and intellect
along with their male counterparts. But gradually, with the passage of time, this high and
equal status that women enjoyed once began to decline, more so when as we move from the
early Vedic to later Vedic Period and it touched its base during the Smriti period when
women were deprived and divested of their due status, respect and opportunities. In the north
eastern part of society also, including Assam, it has been found that the impact of patriarchal

pressure on women tightened suddenly and it turned out to be negative and a controlling kind
of authority that also lost its original complementary kind of relations that characterised
sahadharmini ideal. Still later, women were not to be treated as equally as there came social
barrier of various kinds which sought to discriminate between men and women. As long as
the problems of women were identified peripheral and a woman‘s personal problem, and not
as social problems, the attempts at the solution of these problems lost the importance. We see
that this kind of attitude even worked at the otherwise progressive kind of Marxist
movements that paid little attention to woman‘s domestic labour issues in their overall labour
related negotiations. When the problems are seen as major issue for the whole society than
only these may set importance.

In Assam during the time of Mahapurusa Srimanta Sankardeva, 1400 A.D, there were
social structures and old social norms in Assam that suddenly deteriorated demolished the
veil of preserving modesty and sanctity. And Sankardva was one who tried to liberalise
women even though he himself was a product of a patriarchal social system led by the
definite setup where man still possess the central authority in every matters. Patriarchal
system prevailed during Srimanta Sankardeva‘s time when the Bhakta Saint was born in 1449
A.D. The place he was born at Borduwa in the Nagaon district of Brahamputra Valley of
Assam. He was the great social reformer, progressive thinker along with that he was writer,
actor, dancer and he formed some religious drama. Srimanta Sankaradeva was not only a
religious preacher but also a wide-ranging literature as well as a social reformer. Srimanta
Sankaradeva tried to reclaim and recover woman from that degraded state and regarded her to
equal status with man, basically with equality in the all spheres including dharma.

Feminism has mostly challenged idea that women could be projected as ideal wife or
daughter that she can find fulfilment of her life as wives and mothers. In every way the
concept of feminism has applied in the political, social, religious arena by raising the issue of
women‘s rights. But many people do not know that Srimanta Sankaradeva had already
introduced the concept of feminism in the true and in its Indian sense of the term when
despite caste, family restrictions and other constraints some reformers, mostly male,
addressed woman‘s issues in a very liberal and sensitive way back in the fifteenth century
itself, before the beginning of all the proponent of feminism in the West. Though generally
people get bewildered and they conclude that Srimanta Sankaradeva‘s idea as Sahadhrmini is

not a liberal kind of approach if judged from a typical feminist perspective also because
people generally equate feminism with woman‘s right issues than anything with duty aspect
of any relation. Feminists also primarily focus issues more related with sexual liberation etc.
that cannot appreciate how come some woman friendly liberal ideas could be fostered from a
so called patriarchal set up that also glorifies duty aspect of woman and of man.

In this background this article explores some issues that are related to woman welfare
irrespective of whether we use the term feminist or not , to understand what actually this
Bhakta Saint of Assam sought to address on woman welfare or whether this was there in
some manner in his writings or not. Sankaradeva (traditional date 1449-1568) was a near
contemporary of Vallabhacarya and Caitanya and founded the eka-sarana dharma sect which
has dominated Vaisnavism in Assam ever since his day. A skilled and prolific poet, he
produced works in Maithili kind of Brajabuli as well as in Sanskrit and Assamese.

Now trying to understand Sankaradeva‘s liberal approach to woman and her position in
society whether she too can be seen as a person in her own right who has feelings of her own,
whether she can demand her right in a legitimate way despite being otherwise a duty bound
daughter, wife, daughter in law and all others. We will try to see here a so called typical
Feminist kind woman and particularly Sita oriented woman friendly position of Mahapurush
Sankaradeva in his creative translation of a part of Ramayana in Assamese. Here we follow
mostly very scholarly approach to Sankaradeva‘s Uttarakanda by W.L.Smith particularly.
The greater part of Sankaradeva‘s production was in the latter of these languages and consists
of Assamese renderings of portions of the Bhagavata purana, the Hariscandra-upakhyana, the
Rukmini-harana-kavya and various other Sanskrit works‖ (W.L. Smith, 2004). Sankardeva‘s
translation Uttarakanda Ramayana is not an independent book. As mentioned above, when
Adikanda and Uttarakanda could not be found in Madhava Kandali‘s Ramayana, Sankardev
took the responsibility of translating Uttarakanda from the original Valmiki Ramayana and
added it to Kandali‘s Ramayana. While translating from the Sanskrit original, the saint
excluded several stories and emphasized mainly on those portions that rotated around Rama
and Sita (Biswadip Gogoi). Now while coming to see Sankaradeva acting also as a saviour of
woman against injustice made to her in his writings, we have to understand the post Vedic
deteriorating situation that Assamese society in Sankaradeva‘s time was going through in
some part, though not in all others. The time of Srimanta Sankaradeva‘s advent was a
horrible time. As scholars point out: ―Women had no honour in those days. A woman could

be taken by the Bhogi (a man selected for sacrifice before the deity) at any time. That
situation arose from the Tantriks. Making woman the object of enjoyment in the name of the
Sahajiya path of the Tantric cult gave rise to adultery among some people. Srimanta
Sankaradeva redeemed woman from that degraded state and elevated her to equal status with
man in the performance of the religion of devotion‖ (Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, 2008).
Srimanta Sankardeva tried to give these subdued women some taste of their lost dignity being
recovered to them by enabling them to be free while taking leadership in Naam-kirttan, also
some of them emerging as well versed in saastras who could recite kirttanas in performance
of regular Naam-kirttan etc. Some also emerged as Guru to be able o initiate disciples as we
see later in Harideva‘s daughter and also Sankaradeva‘s daughter-in-law Aai Kanaklata
playing active role in rediscovering Gurus dharma and the ancestral place at Bardowa. He
took the steps so that women can enjoy the right to organize offerings in the Kirtan-ghar and
also perform Nama-kirtana by themselves. The Eka-Sarana-Nama-Dharma preached by him,
attracted many women devotees into the fold of Eka-Sarana-Nama-Dharma and women
played a crucial role in the spread of the Dharma. Along with thatSankaradevaadvised the
married couples to offer Bhakti to God together and by this man and women sharing an equal

There are many other instances that show that Srimanta Sankaradeva bestowed honour
to women and His project was progressive in his thought.―A revolt against the traditionalists
was brewing in his maiden book ‗Harish Chandra Upakhyana‘ itself. The people who torture
women are strongly condemned here‖ (S.K.Borkakoti, 2008). Here in his writing Srimanta
Sankaradeva recognized the strength of woman by comparing her with burning fire in various
verses and also even more important than that is narration by Sankardeva in his plays the act
of seeking of apology by men from women in his writings.

In this paper the main focus is to explore Srimanta Sankardeva as a liberal and women
reformer by the character Sita in his writing of Uttarakanda Ramayana. The way he depicted
the character of Sita in his Assamese portrayal is evidence of his great respect for the concept
of women‘s rights. Here the difference of their vernacular translation appears prominently
from the original work in Sanskrit by Valmiki. In Balmiki‘s Ramayana there action of Sita in
the scene of Rama banishing Sita to the Forest or asking for agniparikshaa again and again, it
was a meek Sita who followed Rama‘s order quietly who banished her to exile. What we can
see is that Sita accepts Rama‘s order of banishment meekly in the Valmiki‘s work. But

what we can find in Sankaradeva can rightly be termed as a Feminist –like one as it comes
close to a typical Feminist position in this regard. Usually a Feminist position in this crisis
scene for Sita will remains a strong Sita centric one than taking side with Rama‘s. Here is
Sankaradeva we find a similar position too. Sita of Srimanta Sankaradeva‘s Uttarakanda
Ramayana makes sarcastic comments at Rama when he banished her:

“Awe Râma swâmi sukhe bhunjantoka raja

Mari jâo moi nimâkhiti banamâja

(Uttarâkânda Râmâyana / 23)” (Sanjib Kr Borkakoti, 2008).

Here the above sarcastic comment is given by Srimanta Sankardeva in the mouth of Sita
in his writing means that she did not accept her banishment and she taunted the capacity of
Rama to banish her. Even when later Rama sent Hanumana and others to the Ashrama of
Valmiki for bringing her back, she spoke with revenge and with harshness that there would
be nothing more than acting as a shameless woman on earth if she now follows Rama as her
trusted husband even when he failed to protect her. She will rather despise it to be called as
Rama‘s wife. Sita also said that she would have given up her life in Lanka and that it could
have been a better decision especially when she had she known Rama to be so cruel to her.

The incident of Sita entering into the bosom of mother earth after again facing trial in
the court of Rama on her return to Ayodhya is there both in the original Ramayana as well as
Srimanta Sankaradeva‘s portrayal of the Ramayana.

Aura jena nushuno Râmara ito nâu

Phat diyâ Basumati pâtâle lukâu

(Uttarâkânda Ramayana / 381)” (Sanjib Kr Borkotoki, 2008)

But whereas Sita takes leave of Rama after expressing love for him in the original
Râmâyana, in Sankardeva‘s version of the Ramayana part, she takes leave of Rama angrily.
Srimanta Sankaradeva deviated from the scriptures of Sanatana religion by depicting the

character of Sitain a protesting and revolting image. Here he created a progressive trend of
his own which we cannot find easily in any other scriptural form in that period. So we can see
that the concept of feminism was implanted in this trend initiated by Srimanta Sankardeva
through his religious expression and devotional steps.

In this vernecual version of the story by Sankaradeva, in great contrast from the
Valmiki‘s original Ramayana, Rama is overwhelmed by guilt at having abandoned Sita: -

henaya priyaka mai tejilo kamane /

candala buliya garhibe yiba sune //

ehi buli Ramacandre karanta bilapa /

How did I abandon such a wife? Whoever hears of it will condemn me as a candala. In these
words, Rama lamented. (W. L. Smith, 2004).

But we can see that Sita‘s response is not positive and she said out of anger that ―in my
mind Rama seems like the god of death. Had I known that he was so heartless, I certainly
would have ended my life in Lanka.‖ This is what we cannot find in any interpretation of
Ramayana except Sankardeva‘s.

In Valmiki‘s version of the final scene, Sita does not speak a word to her husband. She
swears her innocence, calling upon Madhavi, her mother, the Earth goddess, to open a fissure
in the ground and admit her as she has never had thoughts of a man other than Rama, and so
it happens, Sita disappears triumphantly into the depths of the earth. In Sankaradeva's
rendering Sita has far much more to say through her silence, through her defying and
protesting acts and through her acts of crucification far more than words can convey. She is
so much humiliated and enraged at the necessity of having to undergo a second public test of
her chastity and her temper is obvious to the crowd which has come to witness the sight.
Thinking of all she had suffered,

That good woman flared up in anger, (....)

Her body shook with rage and grief

Like the flame of an intense fire.

Rama felt great fear in his heart, (....)

Her eyes and face were scarlet with rage and indignation.

In her anger she turned her back to Rama and lying

Aside her shyness, she looked at the crowd. “By a ruse he had me abandoned in the

forest (....)

He wanted to kill the two boys in my womb.”

Everyone said, „today a calamity will take place,‟

If paddy had been put into Rama‟s mouth,

It would have turned into puffed rice.

(I.e. he was burning with shame)

The queen, in her great sorrow,

Began to revile him.

Angrily she looked at Rama from the corners of her eyes. (W.L.Smith, 2004)

―Though Sita does protest her devotion to Rama‘s feet in conventional terms, this is
drowned out in a long (longer, in fact, then the story of her exile) and very unconventional
harangue in which she vents her bitterness. Sita then swears the same oath as in Valmiki, the
earth heeds it, and splits open and accept her. She is gone and Rama is crushed with grief.

The point Sankaradeva is trying to make is one of compassion, compassion for Rama‘s
dilemma, of course, but much more for Sita sufferings. Sankaradeva‘s sympathies are with
her‖ (W.L.Smith, 2004).

The Ramayana story belongs to everyone, and Sita belongs to every woman. Assamese
version of the Ramayana morally supports suffering woman to protest against injustice as
Sita here questions Rama‘s decision to ask for her fire trial second time. Sita has accused
Rama that he failed to protect her even in the minimum way and that as a wife she has a right
to ask him this minimum protection of her life, safety and security. In that period even
Sankardeva carefully creates a scene in which Sita negotiates the questions of freedom,
dignity etc. with Rama, her husband also meant to others who are the audience here. In
contemporary feminist way then it is coming from a duty bound sahadharmini the feminist
questions of rights of woman as wife and as daughters as well, that could be contextualized in
the contemporary context as well. Sankaradeva touches upon human rights aspect on Sita‘s
destiny seeing her as a dignified human being in her own right who deserves a fare treatment,
more so, as a deserving wife asking for her right from a husband.

One of the things is India and Hinduism is that it‘s a male dominated society and
religion and it is a religion that has attributed the words for the strength and power to
feminine. ―Shakti‖ means ―power‖ and ―strength‖ and all male power comes from the
feminine. But Sankardeva given a new image while to mostly Sita protests against Rama, still
she remains or likes to remain dutiful as parivrata herself to her Rama like husband as his true
sahadharmini and we find that Sankardeva remains very sympathetic for Sita‟s ordeal and
trials (agnipariksās). And taking his liberty as a Bhakta saint, in his creative interpretation of
the Uttarakanda Ramayana, Sankaradeva puts strong words in Sita‟s mouth before which
Rama, the God incarnate, appears to remain speechless. Despite his strong sympathy for
Rama‘s own tragic predicament that he too is a victim of tragic circumstances in life,
Sankaradeva is not happy at repeated ordeals that Sita herself has to undergo despite Rama
remaining very sure of her virtue.

Dr.Maheswar Neog has quoted in his book that ‗Sankardeva takes it as the signal to
recount in synopsis the whole story of the Ramayana. The early part of the Uttra-kanda also
comes in this connection for a swift survey. The pathetic scenes of the Uttra-kanda are
reproduced vividly and elaborately. Ankara‘s elderly Site is very much charged with

righteous indignation at the almost cowardly conduct of Rama; and even Rama, with all his
superhuman greatness, becomes a weakling with self-reproach and an impotent love for Site,
much sinned against than sinning. His sentimental character is a bit too much stressed. Both
the hero and the heroine are thus brought bearer to the sphere of the life of the common man‘
(M.Neog, 1965).

This makes the saint to present Sita‘s case kindly and gesture on Sankardeva‟s part tells
a lot about men‘s sympathetic understanding on women‘s conditions though patriarchal
social system prevailed. Sankardeva showed that despite playing role models as ideal wife,
Sita is also an individual, a suffering human being who is to be sympathetically understood
by her husband, who is not supposed to act as her master and boss but as friend, philosopher
and guide. Sankardeva‟s portrayal of Sita in the context of Assamese society and in North-
East at large remains significant and meaningful at Sankaradeva‘s hand.

 Borah, Dr. Rinku.The Neo-Vaishnavism Of SrimantaSankaradeva: A Great Socio-
Cultural Revolution In Assam. Mssv Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences.Vol.
1 N0. 1 [Issn 2455-7706].
 Borkakoti, Sanjib Kumar.Srimanta Sankaradeva as a Feminist in Tejaswini, Souvenir
of SrimantaSankaradevaSangha, 2008.
 Gogoi,Jahnabi Nath. State, Religion and Women: Changing Pattern of Patriarchy In
Pre-Colonialassam. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 73 (2012), pp.
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 Kakoti, Padmakshi and Mahanta, Pradip Jyoti. Understanding Women in the
Religious Institutions: A Study With Reference To the Sattras of Assam. IOSR
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Issue 5 (Sep.-Oct. 2012), PP 19-22. www.iosrjournals.org.www.iosrjournals.org 19
 Neog, Maheswar. Early History of the Vaisanava faith and movement in Assam. LBS
Publication, Guwahati (1965).

 Smith, William L.The Wrath of Sita: Sankaradeva‘s Uttarakanda. Mahapurusa Jota,
Journal of the Srimanta Sankaradeva Sangha, Vol. VI, 2004.
 www.atributetosankaradeva.org
 Gogoi, Biswadip. Translation in Assamese: A Brief Account.History of Translation in

Sudhir Baweja

Bhagavada Gita and Vivekananda are two marvels India would always be proud of. For
so many centuries celestial symphony- Gita, has been overwhelming billions of people
across the globe. This ocean of wisdom and a perpetual fountainhead of strength has been
offering profoundest insights for human excellence, actionable guiding principles and
cogent rebuttals to existential dilemmas. Unfolding in the most unimaginable setting of a
seminal dialogue- a battlefield, this unconventional divine song fruitions in to a universal
anthem of human action without attachment. Gita, ever since his itinerant days, had been
an all- time companion of Vivekananda. Gita was his moral and spiritual compass which
not only guided his life long mission of human emancipation but it also shaped his ethical
edifice and leadership doctrine. The kind and scale of leadership crisis the world is
undergoing is compelling humanity to look for insights and solutions from sources which
had been hitherto almost forbidden and unexplored. No wonder Gita today has emerged
as one of the most respectfully quoted and keenly googled scriptural reference in the
world. Swami Vivekananda‘s Spiritual Servant Leadership doctrine, which he literally
lived himself all through his life, draws not just inspiration but a lot of content and
cardinal principles from Gita. Selfless service, Action without attachment, Manliness,
Strength of Character, Moral courage, Gospel of Spirituality, and Duty Ethics are
some key attributes which characterize the Spiritual Servant Leader of Vivekananda.
And it is not hard to correlate the key doctrines viz.- Detached Action, Sense of
equanimity, Doing one‟s duty skillfully, Karma yoga, Renunciation, Svadharma, Loka-
samgraha, Spirituality and Harmony of Paths, unfolding in Gita and giving a cogent
basis to the Spiritual Servant Leadership doctrine of Vivekananda. The world cannot
afford to ignore the leadership nuggets strewn in Gita and rightly crystallized by
Vivekananda in his Leadership doctrine.
Keywords: Spiritual Servant Leader, Manliness, Detached Action, Rājarsi

Bhagavad Gita (Gita) and Swami Vivekananda (Vivekananda) are two marvels India
would always be proud of. While the two are quite frequently googled independent
keywords they do have a strong connection. If Gita has been called as the „song
celestial‟, Vivekananda has been deemed as the human songster of this divine
composition. This proverbial song is in fact a profound poetic- dialogue between two
legendary leaders- Lord Krishna and Pandava warrior Arjuna which unfolds in one of the
most unimaginable locations- a battle field. We have heard of a saying ‗silence before
the storm’, Gita can well be regarded as- „wisdom before the war.‟ Ever since its creation
this composition has been overwhelming billions across the globe. This profound
scripture has also been a life-long companion of Vivekananda ever since his austere
itinerant days. Gita, one could say, has been his steadfast friend, enlightening
philosopher and a trust worthy guide. Gita not only helped him in surmounting his tough
travails of a globe trotting life, it also turned out to be his perpetual source of motivation
and inspiration. No wonder Gita was one of the dominant recurring themes of his
discourses. His Gita classes were one of his ardently recounted and reverently cherished
spiritual sessions with his disciples. Not only his core doctrines of Practical Vedanta,
Divinity of man and Oneness of soul came out of Gita, his ethical edifice, his dynamic
spirituality, and his legendary man-making education were also deeply inspired by the
timeless wisdom of Gita. For Vivekananda Lord Krishna was the pinnacle of mankind.
According to him Lord Krishna is an epitome of harmonised personality – well rounded,
equally accomplished in matters of head, heart and hand. From this ideal teacher he learnt
quite a few lessons on leadership too. This study endeavors to delineate some key ideas
which Vivekananda drew from Gita to shape his path breaking doctrine of Spiritual
Servant Leadership.
Bhagavad Gita , mostly known as Gita is one of the most prominent popular scriptures of
India. Literally Bhagavad Gita means –the song of the Lord. Divided in 18 Chapters and
carrying 1400 lines (700 couplets) in Sanskrit verse, Gita appears between 23rd and 40th
chapters of Bhishma Parva of epic Mahabharata. It enjoys a unique status besides being
the most revered and respectfully referred scriptural text in India. Despite technically

being a Smriti Gita enjoys the status of a Shruti. Despite being respected as a Shruti
which is mostly associated with eternal esoteric truths, Gita is so full of wise counsel,
advices and tips for a meaningful practical life. All its 18 chapters, independently called
yogas, are in a way as many practical approaches to this world. Gita must have unfolded
in a battle-field to awaken and arouse a demotivated Arjuna but its subtle, universal, and
profound lessons continue to be a perpetual source of strength and long lasting
inspiration for anyone and everyone. Especially for someone who is wrenched in fighting
one‘s own righteous battle. The dominant note of this composition ‗human action
without attachment‘ not only sums up the essential universal message of Gita, it also
encapsules the core of the spirit of leadership excellence. Its universal appeal and
acceptance transcends time and space barriers. It will be interesting to learn that Gita is
not only revered in India, it is a world wide classic which has been, "...translated into 82
languages and it can safely be said that at least 75 or more of these are foreign
languages‖1 Swami Tathagatananda goes on to claim that ―...there are about 2000
translations and commentaries in various languages of the world today‖ 2. Today it is an
established and much respected world-scripture ready to be dived deeper and explored
still more keenly.
Something interesting is happening in the world of leadership these days. The practical
field of leadership and leadership-studies as a research area, both are witnessing
unprecedented growth. More interestingly their interface is quite dynamic and symbiotic.
Objectively leadership- studies without any doubt is becoming one of the fastest growing
academic disciplines in the world. The discipline is emboldened by rich cross-cultural
perspectives and it is being served with a rich plethora of evidence based findings.
Numerous and ever growing multi-disciplinary studies are feeding it right. At the same
juncture time-tested and trusted quantitative methodologies are adding to its rigour.
Above all a huge and ever growing data- base of first hand learning and experiences of
practicing leaders from all over the globe are glibly filling the requisite gaps with
valuable insights and useful innovative practices. But the irony is, that despite these

Tathagatananda, Swami. (2015) Light From the Orient-Essays on the Impact of India's Sacred
Literature in the West, Kolkata, Advaita Ashrama, p.44
Loc. cit.

phenomenal collective accomplishments individual leadership failures are on the rise
every passing day. The aberration and extremity of leadership delinquency is baffling
every one. The severity of leader let-downs and the growing behavioral- deviance in
corporate governance is almost becoming the new normal. The blatant disregard of
human values especially moral values and the growing recourse to coercive and
controlling regimentation in the corporate world is bewildering. Political leadership has
already touched its nadir. The very agency of Leadership is earning an underserved
discredit. In view of this, leadership scholars are exploring the unchartered paths. They
are moving away from trait- competency -skill-based leadership paradigms to normative
spiritual and human excellence driven models. Today Symbolic Leadership,
Charistmatic Leadership and Transformational Leadership are not just academic
interest areas, they are full fledged leadership models, practical paradigms and leadership
styles doing rounds in the changing landscape of Leadership.
In the recent times the Leadership and Management Scholars have literally woken up to
Gita as a new treasure trove of Leadership wisdom. Vivekananda has already gracefully
embraced the Gita Leadership lessons in his Leadership paradigm. This study will
endeavour to outline and articulate some key leadership lessons which Vivekananda drew
from this ‗timeless classic‘.
A personage like Vivekananda defies commonplace description. For Swami
Ranganathananda he is a 'universal phenomenon'. Swami Nikhilananda, author of
Vivekananda's most popular biography, calls him an 'unusual phenomenon of all times.'3
He further acknowledges him as a "...philosopher, a man of action, an introspective yogi
and also a writer, a dynamic speaker, a brilliant conversationalist and a dreamer. 4 He goes
on to ascribe him attributes like – "deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquency, brilliant
conversation, broad human sympathy, colourful personality and handsome figure..."5
Vivekananda's legendary Chicago address got him some unconventional and absolutely
magnificant epithets like 'A Cyclonic Monk', 'A Warrior Prophet' and 'A Millitant Mystic'

Nikhilananda, Swami. 'An unusual phenomenon' in Jyotirmayananda, Swami (Ed.), (1993)
Vivekananda – A Comprehensive Study. Madras : Swami Jyotirmayananda, p. 206.
Loc. cit.
Loc. cit.

and many more. After this momentous speech almost every aspect of his multifaceted
personality has been recognised and eulogized. For William James he was a 'A Paragon
of Vedantists'. For Swami Ranganathananda he was a, 'Spiritual Teacher of Modern
India'. Nehru calls him a "Constructive Genius". For Sister Christine he was a "unique
perceptor". K.M. Panikkar prefers to call him a "unifier of Hindu Ideology" Romesh
Wadhera celebrates him as a "Dynamic Redeemer". Russian philosopher Chelishev would
remember him for "his lofty ideas of humanism". CEM Joad calls him ''the counter-attack
from the east''. Josephine Macleod holds him high for his 'unlimitedness'. Sister Nivedita
rightly spots him as a "worker at foundations". His gurubhai Swami Abhedananda
regards him as, "a patriot saint of modern, India" while for his Nobel prize winning
biographer Romain Rolland he is a "a born king...Everybody recognised in him at sight
the leader... the man marked with the stamp of the power to command."6 And very
recently Asim Chaudhuri writes a full book to highlight -'The attributes and thoughts of
an extraordinary leader manager – A Perfect Embodiment of the Servant-Leadership
The essence of all the myriad tributes he received could be summed up in calling
him – Vivekananda-a leader extraordinaire. World over he is hailed as a great leader of
eternal universal appeal, cutting across nationalities, faiths and economic stratification.
Though he hardly construed his theory of leadership systematically yet one could easily
see his leadership doctrine living through his own life, works, organisations and the
legacy he left behind.
In fact the mammoth missions of mass emancipations and man-making of global
scale he wished to take up needed exceptional leaders not of the kind the contemporary
world is familiar with and full of. His leaders could not have been egoistic, greedy,
coercive, authoritarian, manipulative, power hungry, productivity driven and profitability
oriented. He could not imagine his leaders having no regard for the oppressed masses, no
concession for the trampled ones, no respect for holistic development and no disposition
for selfless-service of the masses. He needed, Servant of Servants' (Dasasya Dasa)
leaders who are imbued with service attitude, powered with dynamic spirituality and

Ibid, p. 179
Asim Chaudhuri (2012) Vivekananda – A Born Leader. Kolkata : Advaita Ashrama, Jacket of the

driven by a missionary zeal to ensure that each individual realizes one's inherent divinity
and actualize one's inborn perfection.
Like the battle of Kurukshetra Vivekananda's life was no less than a saga of
struggle, strife, dilemmas, challenges, adversories and hardships. Like the 18 days of the
Kurukshetra war he lived 18 years of crisis, struggle and strife after the untimely and
sudden demise of his father. Like Arjuna, Gita lessons not only just stayed with him they
always kept him on the righteous path. The human songster of Gita literally lived Gita
through his entire life. K.M. Panikkar rightly calls him- 'New Shankaracharya'. He does
that on two counts-first because he too revived Vedanta and second he too spread the
message of Gita far and wide, the way the Adi Shankaracharya did.
In the phrase-Spiritual Servant Leadership, both the terms-Spiritual and Servant,
preceding Leadership owed their origin to Gita, only. We can also trace that the
inspiration of fearlessness, strength, moral uprightness, manliness, renunciation as key
attributes of spiritual servant leadership also came from Gita only. The category of
selflessness providing the pivot of leadership morality, also originates from Gita.

Service and Renunciation

Swami Vivekananda used to hold that Renunciation and Service are the twin
ideals of India, intensify her in these channels, the rest will take care of itself, who else
than the Spiritual Servant Leaders can accomplish this huge task. A leader must observe
renunciation first, rise above his ego-centricity and then take up service, Vivekananda's
Master Sri Ramakrishna often repeated that Renunciation is the real message of Gita.
In Gita Krishna counsels Arjuna to renounce attachment to all work and their
consequences. Preaching the concept of universal welfare (Lok samgraha) Gita exhorts
Arjuna to choose the universal welfare over one's individual good. Swami Vivekananda
gave yet another dimension to service by associating it with asceticism. The motto of the
Ramakrishna Math and Mission states-'Atmano-mokshartham jagad-hitaya ca' which
means liberation of one's own self and welfare of the world. Vivekananda gave a new
status, significance and expression to these twin ideals- Renunciation and Service, which
owe their origin to Gita. In fact one can see these Gita ideals living through the

operations of the twin-organisations and hundreds of inspired sister organisations and
Man was the epicenter of Vivekananda's deliberations and man making was his
major thrust. Manliness was one of his leading ideals. He used to say, "The older I grow
the more everything seems to me to lie in manliness."8 He used to call this to be his new
gospel and this gospel was the guiding principle of his Spiritual Servant Leaders also.
This manliness was not just physical manliness but an all round manliness-physical,
mental, spiritual and moral. William Page adds, "Swamiji's ideal (manliness)
transcended mere physical strength, it encompassed moral courage, strength of character,
fortitude, resoluteness, tenacity, refusal to bend before adversity..."9
This inspiring lesson of manliness also come from Gita. In beginning of the
Chapter 2 of Gita Krishna exhorts Arjuna, "Do not yield to unmanliness, O Partha, it is
not worthy of you."10 Like Krishna Vivekananda also calls upon his Spiritual Servant
Leaders to shake of their weakness and cowardice and gain in strength, manliness and
courage. Explaining manliness Swami Ranganathananda writes – "This represents a
totality of positive attitude based on faith in oneself and faith in fellow human beings, and
the heroic mood of facing life's problems instead of evading them or running away from
Rajarsi Ideal
The term Rajarsi appears in the fourth chapter of Gita. The composite word
Rajarsi is composed of two words Raja (king) and rsi (seer). Apparently it sounds like on
oxymoron. How can a king be a seer? Gita expects a leader to be a saint too. Swami
Ranganathananda clarifies, "When one combines power and social responsibility with the
strength arising from character, clear thinking, dedication, and practical efficiency, one
effects in oneself this unique synthesis of the rajarsi of the Gita."12

CW, 8:264
Page, William. Manliness, Strength and the Religious connection in Atmashraddhananda Swami
(Ed.) (2014). Swami Vivekananda. The Charm of His Personality and Message, Chennai : Sri
Ramakrishna Math, p. 245
Gita, (2:3)
Ranganathananda, Swami (2013) Democratic Administration in the light of Practical Vedanta.
Chennai : Sri Ramakrishna Math, p. 11
Ranganathananda Swami (2013) Ibid. p. 36

Vivekananda's Spiritual Servant Leaders is also one such Rajarsi, a perfect blend
of manliness and saintliness, he exhorts his servant leaders to build character, embrace
purity and responsibility. Vivekananda strongly believed that future of India lies in the
hands of leaders who are Rajarshis. His own words rightly reflect his faith-"They had
hundreds of Rishis in ancient India. We will have millions. They did great work in the
past, but we must do greater work than they."13
Do whatever you wish
Spiritual Servant Leader of Vivekananda is not an overimposing Coach-leader
grooming streotypical followers, he instead is nurturing empowered Spiritual Servant
Leaders. The inspiration in Gita is not hard to find. Everyone knows that by the time Lord
Krishna concludes his wise counselling session, Arjuna is fully aware that Krishna is not
just his wise counsel he is a divine incarnation. But despite this revelation Krishna
concludes by saying, "I have told you, Arjuna, whatever I had to tell you. I have placed
before you, all the options that are available to you. Through your body mind
infrastructure, with all the faculties that you have, manifest the potential divinity already
present in you. Do whatever you wish (Yatha icchasi tatha Kuru). History is witness that
most of his associates Vivekananda groomed, be it Sister Nivedita or Swami Premananda
or Alsinga Perumal or Swami Turiyananda or Sarachchandra Chakraborty and many
more monastic or lay disciples, all of them stood out as independent Spiritual, Servant
Leaders themselves. Vivekananda groomed them so well that they were responsible
enough to 'Do whatever they wished'.
Swami Vivekananda's Spiritual Servant Leadership doctrine, which he himself
literally lived and made his associates idealize, draws not just inspiration but the
complete framework and the cardinal principles from Gita. Manliness approach, Selfless
service and Renunciation, Action without attachment, Strength of Character, Gospel of
Spirituality, Duty ethics, Rajarsi attitude etc. are some key attributes which characterize
his Spiritual Servant Leaders. And it is not hard to correlate the key doctrines viz.,
Detached Action, Sense of Equanimity, Loka-Samgraha, Yogah Karmasu Kausalam,
Harmony of Paths, Svadharma, Selfless work, Sacrifice and Self surrender which as some

CW 3:284

key principles unfolding in Gita giving a cogent basis to the leadership doctrine of
Vivekananda. The world cannot afford to ignore the leadership nuggets strewn in Gita
and rightly crystallized by Vivekananda in his Spiritual Servant Leadership doctrine.


A compilation (2008) Vivekananda. The Great Spiritual Teacher. Kolkata: Advaita


A Vedanta Kesari Presentation (2012). Gita for everyday living. Chennai : Sri
Ramakrishna Math. Kolkata; Ramakrishna Mission Swami Vivekananda's
ancestral House and Cultural Centre.

Rekha Jhanji (Ed.) (2007). The Philosophy of Vivekananda. New Delhi : Aryan Books

Sridharanananda Swami, Getting Introduced to Bhagavad Gita, in A Vedanta Kesari

Presentation, Gita for Everyday living.

Swami Jitatmananda (2007). Swami Vivekananda, Practical Vedanta and Servant

Leadership (Theme Paper) Seminar on Indian ethos for tomorrow's Leadership
and Management.

Swami Nikhilananda (2015). Vivekananda – A Biography, Kolkata : Advaita Ashrama.

Swami Ranganathananda (2013). Democratic Adminsitration in the light of Practical

Vedanta. Chennai : Sri Ramakrishna Math.

 Mr. Tariq Rafeeq Khan, Research Scholar of Department of
Philosophy, M.L.B Govt. College of Excellence, Jiwaji University
Gwalior (M.P.)
 Mr. Mudasir Ahmad Tantray, Research Scholar Rani Durgavati
University Jabalpur (M.P.)
 Mr. Reyaz Ahmad Bhat, Research Scholar, Department of
Philosophy, M.L.B Govt. College of Excellence, Jiwaji University
Gwalior, M.P.
 Mr. Surajit Das, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy,
Mathabhanga College, Cooch Behar.
 Ms. Moumita Das, Research Scholar, Department of Philosophy,
Vidyasagar University, Midnapore.
 Dr. Desh Raj Sirswal, Assistant Professor (Philosophy), Post
Graduate Govt. College, Sector 46, Chandigarh.
 Dr.Lighitha P., Guest Lecturer, Department of Philosophy,Govt:
College Chittur,Palakkad, Kerala.
 Ms. Suyasha Singh, Research Scholar (Ph.D.), Department of
Philosophy, University of Delhi.
 Ms. Sunu Kalita, Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Technology,
 Prof. Archana Barua, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology,
 Mr. Sudhir Baweja, Co-ordinator, Department of Philosophy,
University School of Open Learning, Panjab University,