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414. The Future and the Past

People fall into two broad categories. One feels old is gold. The other wants to fully imitate the American lifestyle. Each is true, but the truth in each is partial. Neither can be accepted in toto. It is eternally true that times are changing and with the changing times, man too changes in his dress, appearance, speech, food, etc., known as lifestyle. It is impossible to resist the modern way of life. It is equally impossible now to live as we lived a hundred or two hundred years ago. That is not the end. There is more. To refuse to accept what is really good because it is modern or new is not wise. To insist on the old ways of life because they are old is also unwisdom. The new brings in convenience, comforts, progress, freedom from drudgery, speed of communication, clarity of mind, ease of movement, etc. Why should one refuse any of these things? Is it wise to refuse to use the phone nowadays?

On the other hand, how many can be now persuaded to give up coffee because once upon a time orthodox people never drank coffee? The essential value of the past - values of Truth, honesty, chastity, reliability, etc., -- must be combined with the real advances of the present.  Mainly I wish the nation to appreciate such a value in education and industrial production. In education, we Indians are proud of our skill in memorisation. It was resorted to in days when there was no paper. For want of proper writing material, we resorted to memorisation. It kills thinking and makes us not only dull but prevents us from beneficially using our greatest advantage - our spiritual inheritance. In education, our spiritual inheritance lies in our subtlety, our capacity to understand without thinking - Muni - to see the truth as vision which at later stages gives birth to genius.

In industrial production, our present efficiency is the lowest in the world. While we have a hoary past of the highest efficiency, we have discarded our past efficiency in favour of modern life. Computer is resisted in the USA when it comes to changing the old procedures, especially by the older generation. In these modern days where tufts, dhotis and cold rice have vanished, and the TV, cell phone and two wheelers have invaded our lives, we cling to raghukalam and all the rituals that go with it. The result is we lose the benefit of either fully and in a sort of way combine the defects of both ways of life.