Life is also one of the many systems of the Universe. Life is perceived by unification of soul with body and ends whenever soul is separated from body, irrespective of body remaining intact. Thereafter soul and elements of body merge with their superior elements. Soul merges with the Superior Being, and the corpse formed out of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Ethereal dissolve to merge with basic elements through cremation, burial or decay by passage of time.
The moment body and soul are united a desire TO LIVE emerges automatically. No living being including the plants wants to die. Every living thing can take the life of another living being either to satisfy its own food requirement or when there is threat to its own life. Everyone wants to avoid death. This is called survival instinct programmed in every living being as a fundamental duty.
Most living beings can change themselves to certain extent. This is called adaptability. This is more in humans than others. In addition, humans can change other livings as well as non living beings also. This is called effectiveness. Our happiness and sufferings are due to the match or mismatch between our adaptability and effectiveness. We are happy when circumstances are of our liking, and we become unhappy when things are not to our liking. Our adaptability and effectiveness is the result of our Actions.
Formation of Relationships
Food, shelter, and security are also necessary TO LIVE. Plants need manure and protection from Sun or extreme cold. Birds and other animals also need resting place and food. So do humans. No one can live and flourish in isolation. All kinds of plants, animals and humans are in pairs of males and females. No gender is in position to generate life individually. There is need for companionship. Except ‘natural blood relationships’ such as parents and siblings that last for ever, ‘needs’ generate relationships for all living beings and motivate them to work toward satisfaction of their personal ‘needs’. Need theory is always at work for formation of relationships, and mutual obligations for all living beings. All living beings are primed since their birth to satisfy their basic physical needs at their own or with least effort or assistance from others. Physical needs are sleep, hunger, security, sex, body waste expulsions, communication and so on.
For instance, a cat, dog, or any other animal, after feeling hungry leaves his resting place and gets motivated to search food. This action is prompted to satisfy a body need. Having found food, the animal continues to visit the same place daily to maintain continuity of his food supply and secures the source. Often the animal would locate itself near the site, become friendly with the food supplier if there be any, and would not let another animal disrupt the food supply chain. This way animal start belonging to someone and this action leads to forming of a group. Once an animal, has secured source to satisfy basic need for food and rest, it concentrates on psychological needs also to do better things in life. Animals want to be loved also. Pet animals refuse to eat their food on being separated from, or rejected by, their owners. Their need for esteem demands satisfaction by patting and cajoling by the master. Then they want to improve further and develop also. Animals learn to perform several tricks and other functions to fully realize their potential.
This aspect has been explained in Manusamriti:
यं तु कर्मणि यस्मिन्स न्ययुड्क्त प्रथमं प्रभुः।
स तदेव स्वयं भेजे सृज्यमानः पुनः पुनः ।। ( 1- 28)
(For whatever charter of duties a living being was created by the Creator, they started performing the same function at their own repeatedly.)
Same sequence worked for humans also. A new born needs food, care, resting place, and love from parents and relatives. When these are given the child wants to know the surrounding and responds to accept knowledge from parents, teachers and finally resorts to individual efforts for improvement. Basically everyone wants to learn techniques to improve individual effectiveness and adaptability to gain happiness and satisfaction. Needs motivated everyone towards formation of social groups, relationships and subsequently evolving codes of conduct.
Societies and Responsibilities
Early men lived in caves and moved about in groups to search food by hunting. The animal skin provided them means of protection against weather. They lived nomadic life in search of hunting places. Later they adapted to agriculture as an alternate source of food. This way they started settlements near water sources and homes and habitat came into being.
Based on the biological differences, instincts and traits, division of duties was also made. All over the world, by and large, females continued to look after indoor responsibilities, while males managed the external environment. Females and offspring were to be protected from rivals, animals and climatic disasters. Because males were sturdier than females and more apt to undertake hard work and risks, they took upon themselves the responsibility of providing food through hunting and agriculture. Females were assigned the role to manage households.. With division of responsibilities, over a period, traditions got established concerning their rights and duties on the basis of sex, and effectiveness in the group. All over the world civilization was gifted by vanvasies.
Leaders and Followers
There were Needy at the receiving end and givers or satisfiers at the other end. This existence of receiver and the giver formed the basis of further relationships. The intimacy and duration of relationship has always been proportionate to the intensity of need and the capability of the giver to satisfy the same. All relationships are formed out of some need and last till the need is there. A child, who cried bitterly due to momentary separation from mother, would forget the same mother once need for her affection is over and would go in search of friends for satisfying some other need. As the needs changes, relationships also keep changing. A needy person is more dependent on others. His happiness and sadness is at the command of others thus lesser the need the greater are opportunities available to enjoy happiness. This dictum is an eternal truth. The givers emerged as group leaders while the receivers turned followers. Group leaders were more effective, while followers were adoptive. The group leaders were not only to lead hunting expeditions, but also had to arrange for the protection of all group members, their families, tools and crops. They devised customs and traditions regarding birth, marriage, and burial of dead according to availability of resources and environment. Later those customs got formalized in rituals to be followed by all group members in a specified manner to bring uniformity. The group leaders were required to settle internal disputes and administer justice. Therefore scope of group leadership was enlarged and strengthened. The added responsibilities lead to the evolution of kingship, followers, domains, and administrative systems. As the groups enlarged they extended their control over larger areas and later started formation of countries and nationalities. The earlier groupings came to be formed according to races, religions and settlements. Later those developed into nationalities in nineteenth century.
Religion is Natural Identity
A nation is defined today as a population having: a common language and literature, common customs, common consciousness of right and wrong, and inhabiting a territory of geographical unity. This concept of Nationality is more recent one. Nationality merely denotes the formal legal rights and obligations of a person living in a specified geographical area. The limits of the geographical area may expand or shrink to include or exclude persons, but the religious affinities manifested in the form of ‘beliefs and ethical codes’ always overflow the national frontiers. A person inherits his natural identity at birth with his parents, relations, place of living and the customs and belief that are shared by his fellow beings. All these elements are condensed in the concept of Religion. Religion therefore establishes and regulates all mutual obligations. Be it a small group, society or a nation, when everyone wanted to live with others with happiness. Therefore some rules were needed to regulate relationships. This need necessitated emergence of certain codes of behavior in religions all over the world. Obviously the beginning was made by the first human civilization in India. The codes of Mutual behavior formed by Hindus have remained universal even today. These have been accepted by all civilized societies with certain local modifications. Hinduism has universal appeal for all mankind cutting across the international barriers.
Chand K Sharma
(To follow: Splashes – 4/72 Environment based Religious Codes)