Advaitam and Science

OM, Purnamata purnamitam purnat purnamutachyate, purnasya purnamataye purnamevavasishyate – Bri.Up V.i.1


                                                                           CULTURAL DIFFERENCES


Technology has made the world very small and has made faraway places appear as very near.  Travelling has become so easy and this is an added advantage to cover distance.  In the modern era, there are only a very few people who have not moved outside their own place.  People move for different matters – from trade to entertainment and for just having fun.  When people return back, they always bring with them many things and the most important among them is culture.  Similarly when people go from their native place, they too carry their own culture with them.  This makes India a multicultural society and Indian culture is widely spread across the globe.  Like any matter, mixing of culture brings many positives and some negatives with it.

Basically, a culture is based on the nature of the people, the environment in which they live, their requirements, desires and needs.  This world is so beautifully divided and each division or group of people has an entirely different culture of their own.  When a person enters into a new culture, he is very naive to that culture.  It is the responsibility of the people in that culture to guide him with dignity and respect his individuality.  That naive person must feel comfortable and relaxed;   it is at this point a culture gets its credit.  This matured behaviour enables one to adapt to that new culture with interest and respect.  In contrast, if a naive person is ridiculed, insulted and criticized for not being aware of that culture, it creates only negative feelings towards that culture and the people who follow it.  It is the responsibility of all the people around him to make him feel comfortable.  This is absolutely lacking in this vast technological world, where a naive person is always insulted and criticized for his ignorance.  Such harsh behaviour will only bring back negative reaction in a way or other.

Similarly, when people come back to their place of origin, they always try to superimpose their newly practiced culture on the already existing culture.  This brings utter chaos.  A culture which is suitable for one environment may not be suitable for another environment.  Basically, it is the freedom of every individual to select the culture they want to live in.  In my view, when one tries to superimpose one’s culture on others without understanding their situation and freedom of choice, one gains only hatred feelings instead of love and respect.

When cultures exchange, we gain knowledge.  When cultures mingle with each other, we may give a back seat for our own culture too.

When cultural differences are not dealt properly, it causes mental trauma, especially in young children and elderly people.  They are forced to adapt to different cultures, without considering their individuality or power of adaption.  If they fail to adapt, they are rejected and neglected.  There is nothing wrong in any culture, but when a culture is forced on others then it becomes ugly.

Regardless of the culture we live, it is important not to forget the basic nature of a person – a human being.  Utmost importance, respect and acceptance have to be given for this basic nature as a human; culture takes only a back stage.  If the basic humanness is respected, then everything falls back to place as in a jigsaw puzzle.