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... In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.13.47), composed over a thousand years ago, we find the following verse: Ahastani sahastanam apadani catus-padam phalgani tatra mahatam jivo jivasya jivanam Those without hands are prey to those with hands Those without legs are prey to those with four legs The weak are food for the strong Life feeds on life This verse observes the ways of the jungle, where might is right. The phrase used for this in ancient Vedic literature is matsya nyaya, or fish justice. This is not supposed to be the way of culture. For humans have the wherewithal to overturn the ways of the jungle. In culture, the mighty must not feed on the meek; the mighty take care of the meek. This is dharma. When the mighty feed on the meek, when humans behave as animals do, adharma is said to prevail. This is Hindu morality. ...Indian Express on Sept. 9, 2017, 12:15 a.m.
...What makes cultures do what they do? The answer perhaps lies in their mythologies, which map the culture’s mind. At the heart of Chinese mythology is belief in the Mandate of Heaven. The Emperor of China has been given the divine authority to mirror heavenly order on earth. If the emperor fails to do so, he can be replaced. A successful revolution marks the shifting of this mandate from one king to another. Although communism sees itself as rational, and so anti-religion and anti-mythology, the communist revolution under Mao Zedong effectively marked the shift in the Mandate of Heaven from the old order to the new. The rise of China into an economic powerhouse under Deng Xiaoping also indicates yet another shift in the Mandate of Heaven. The current leadership in China is now expanding its Pax Sinica. Geography plays a key role in Chinese mythology. At the centre is the Forbidden City (Beijing) around which is China and around which is the peripheral nations who look towards China for guidance to create heavenly order on earth. ...TOI on May 23, 2017, 2 a.m.
...We can control a woman’s body, lock her in the house, cover her face with a veil, but how do we control her mind. For in her mind, she can imagine a better man, a perfect man, which renders the real men in her life inadequate. Her body can be invaded and violated, but can her mind ever be truly domesticated? These questions emerge as we hear of censor boards denying certificates to films celebrating female fantasy, and of policemen and politicians physically attacking women, against all norms of civilised conduct, arguing that surely if women want to ‘fantasise’ about being equal to men, surely they can handle a punch or two. One way of regulating fantasy has been by propagating stories where women who pursue their desires are viewed as dangerous, hence need to be restrained for social good. For example, in Japanese mythology, the first man and woman are called Izanagi and Izanami. When the woman invites the man to bed, the children born of the union turn out to be the demons, but when the man invites the woman to bed, the children born are the gods. ...TOI on Feb. 27, 2017, 2 a.m.