Moral Absolutism in a Dharmic Society

When we look at the tenets that a Dharmic State would possess, we find it is inherently a Pluralist, Compassionate, and Tolerant State as long as people comply with its basic tenets. When people evolve, we always mostly refer to a sense of moral evolution, whether it’s a teenager getting over a penchant for chocolate, or an adult getting over teenage indulgences and further in life a sense of growing over even adult indulgences and attempting to make peace with oneself. In a Dharmic society the avenues and paths to this transition are many, and Dharmics are free to experiment and evolve many diverse methods. This approach to moral evolution not only allowed the emergence of many deep ethical principles, different Sampradaya’s and their associated processes, but even allowed the co existence of erotic temple art with extremely conservative Sampradayic demands. Moral evolution in contrast to Moral absolutism was an underlying theme both for nature and Dharmic thought.

While many Sampradaya’s within the Dharmic Meta Ethic system have strict codes of conduct and behavior, there are many Sampradaya’s that do have very dissimilar moral codes to approach the Supreme being.  For example, while according to Islamic or Victorian mores nudity will be a shameful act to be corrected for reasons of moral absolutism. The Naga Sadhus have no such shame in shedding apparel to be closer to nature. Moreover in the Dharmic ethos Naga Sadhus are considered highly evolved. So while an evolving Dharmic who is not particularly attached to particular Sampradayic norms, say as those that  the Naga Sadhus follow, might find it offensive to see someone walking nude, we can only instigate Moral absolutism if we want to curtail and control the freedom of the evolved Naga Sadhus. Moral absolutist laws regarding nudism thus should be avoided in a Dharmic Rashtra. There is a subtlety here and therefore evolved legal Dharmics when faced with such issues must be able to differentiate if someone was, say, flashing or was genuinely involved in a Sampradaya as say the Naga Sadhus. The perspective must lie not in principles of Moral absolutism here, but in evolution away from Victorian and Islamic mores as is the case of Naga Sadhu’s.  Another example of shedding covering is the case of the very exalted Digambar Jain ascetics who are highly revered for their purity and piety.

Nature itself is not ‘straight’ in many senses. It does produce mostly Men and Women, but it has a small percentage of people that can neither be grouped as men, nor as women. Even if 99.9% people are straight, it does leave 1 in a 1000 which in billions is a fairly large figure for the 99.9% people to justifiably play the Abrahmic Moral absolutist. The concept of Rights is perfectly in synchronicity with the Dharmic concept, as Rights tend to protect these people of different choices and temperaments from the moral absolutism imposed by the 99.9%. From various examples in our ancient Texts and treatises we find remarkable tolerance to natural minority dispositions.

The highest evolution for most Sampradaya’s amongst Dharmics was –  Moksha, or Nirvana –  final liberation from the cycle of birth and death. This entailed a ceasing of desire, culminating in a life of Sanyas. The moral absolute for attainment of the highest in many was and remains abstinence. To the Sanyasi, union between male and female itself was sin. The Moral absolute for the Sanyasi can never logically be implemented as absolute law for any kind of nation and so for a Dharmic one too, but the codes will remain relevant to the Sampradaya. It remains for aspiring individuals to rise above these desires and seek reunion with the Supreme. The method of Yoga/ Sampradaya is the choice of the Individual and in accordance with his nature. Impressing certain Sampradayic codes of Absolutist ethic as law will cause regression and interfere with the spirit of enquiry required to flourish a Dharmic State entity.

Many Dharmic origin Sampradayas including Krishna’s message in the Bhagavad Gita refer to Desire as the root cause of Evil. Can we as a Dharmic nation outlaw desire? Or can we help people evolve to the higher state. A Dharmic nation thus must not get into issues which ask it to make Moral Absolutist calls. The condition for this refrain must be based on disturbance or nuisance caused. The demands of Moral Absolutism can never be fulfilled, and if attempted will lead to repressed societies as we largely see in Islamic States.

The State by decriminalizing a law (Art 377, made originally by Henry VII in 1536 in accordance with the Church’s moral absolutism), should not be seen to be approving the conduct. Simply put, decriminalization of an act must not be interpreted as an endorsement by any stretch of logic. Henry VIII also used the law to jail and execute his opponents conveniently. Presence of the Act allows the State to realistically have eyes within your bedroom, or the ability to misuse the law for vindictive purposes or particular Sampradayas to have grasp on political control. Every result of that brings the Dharmic entity into conflict and strain. Dharmic tenets mentioned in the earlier post encourage the spread of Dhama (self-control), Shaoca (cleanliness), Indriyanigraha (Self control), Dhii (intellect), Vidya’ (knowledge), and ultimately would bring about decrease in promiscuity and other associated excesses.

Below is a small section of an article from The Atlantic:

“In fact, the law that India’s supreme court just upheld is one of the most resilient relics of the British Empire. Known as Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, it imposed Victorian values on what colonial rulers viewed as unpardonable tolerance toward homosexuality throughout their empire. The British instituted versions of Section 377 in colonies all over the world. India’s ruling on Wednesday brings the tally to 42 out of 52 British Commonwealth countries in which the law is still on the books. But was it just the British? You might notice that a lot of the other countries from the map above where homosexuality is illegal were French colonies:”

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/12/gay-sex-bans-one-of-the-british-empires-most-enduring-legacies/282307/

The natural tendency for political domination by Sampradayas is not healthy for a Dharmic State. Sarva Dharma Sambhava is only applicable if Sampradayas respect the Dharmic tenets. In return the Dharmic entity strengthens and protects the Sampradayic denomination.

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