There would be nothing wrong with it if we were-
‘That’s how I have lived my son. Now decide how are you going to.‘
No. We are –
‘That’s how I have lived my son. And you HAVE TO live this way.‘
We don’t say-
‘Elders have lived the way they saw right. I shall as what I see‘
‘I will live as my elders have. And so will my son.‘
What is samskar? Family traditions and rules. Community traditions and rules. Made permanent. By force and by preaching.
Here is the difference between culture and samskar. There is a strong element of force in samskar. Culture is habit. One grows up seeing things done in certain way. Gets habituated to it. One is free to break away or modify if that be his will. The moment force comes- it becomes rigid– samskar. Culture is fluid. Can, does and wants to change.
Why should we tie a string around our shoulder just because I am born to certain father? Why am I superior and free to extort those who were not born to the privilaged? Why? Why should I, for being born to a certain father, be denied education? Even though I may have more ability than they do? Why foster elitocracy? JUST because that is what was going on? Why are our fathers never wrong? The biggest weakness in our culture is that it emphasizes loyalty than justice.
A story from the Ramayana comes to mind. Ram’s name is being written on stones and thrown into the sea. The stones float on water and the ‘banar sena’ is making bridges out of them. Ram himself picks up a stone and throws into water without writing Ram on it. This one does not flow. The message? ‘It’s all in a name’. The person is unimportant. His name is. Terrible. This is the attitude that has enabled our age old samskar’s take on sensible people. We swear by the name and greatness of Tegore. ‘He was a great poet, so they say’ is our response. The name is important, the person is not. We don’t much know what he wrote and what he believed.
Amartya Sen. Even right wing hindutva champions cheered at his getting the Nobel prize. Sen had avidly criticized them. That voice went down in cheers of his getting Nobel prize. ‘When is he returning home’? ‘Where is his home’? ‘I went and have seen his house’. Idol worship. Voice got buried in mountain of pictures and photos. The name is important.
Buddha was silent about God. He said he was just a man. And he suggested how to live. ‘Don’t lie’, ‘Don’t cheat’… What have WE made out of him? Ohh… the nineth avtar of Vishnu. Rebirth of Vishnu, a god!
The message or the messenger? We chose the messenger. Or his name, rather. It’s easier. You don’t have to overcome temptations. Do wrong. Just name him. It’s far far easier.
Look at the messenger. Listen not. Follow not. Just name him. Make excuses in his name.
ADDENDUM: When I wrote this article, I wrote that Budhha did not believe in rebirth. That may not be correct. So I have edited the article later.