Message of Bhagavadgita For All-Round Development Of Bharat
The most fundamental aspect of Bharatiya national, cultural and social life is that ours is a duty-based society as distinct from right-based societies. There is a qualitative difference between rights and duties. As far as duty is concerned, selflessness constitutes its basis. As far as right is concerned, selfishness constitutes its basis. Therefore, in Bharatiya culture greater importance has been given to perform one duty. This is the substance of the message of Bhagavadgita which is clear, from the words “Karmanyevadhikaraste” in 47th shloka of Chapter-II of Bhagavdgita, which means “your right is to perform your duty”. Therefore, in Mahabharata, composed about five thousand years ago, of which Bhagvadgita is part of it, the four fundamental duties of every individual have been specified:
ऋणेश्चतुर्भि: संयुक्ता जायंते मानवा भुवि।
पितृदेवर्षिमनुजैर्देयं तेभ्यश्च धर्मत:।।
Every individual should discharge four pious obligations. They are Devaruna (towards God), Pitruruna (towards parents), Rishiruna (towards saints) and Manavaruna (towards humanity).
Having secured an individual life as a human being and also natural resources and other wealth from God, it is the duty of every individual to worship God with a sense of gratitude. Similarly, as teachers or rishis would have imparted knowledge necessary to live a life as a good human beings, it is the duty of every individual to discharge the pious obligation towards rishis by using such knowledge in the service of fellow human beings as also other living beings and imparting knowledge to others. Further, having secured children through married life, it is the duty of every parent not only to take care of every child in every respect and secure them all the necessities of life and also impart to them good education and character, so that there is continuous supply of good citizens to the society. Apart from this, the most important pious obligation that is required to be discharged by an individual is helping in various ways all fellow human beings which is the same as discharging ‘Manavaruna’ laid down five thousand years ago in Mahabharata.
In another oldest document Vishnu Purana, there is description not only of territory of Bharat, but also essential aspect of Bharatiya social life thus:
उत्तरं यत् समुद्रस्य हिमाद्रेश्चैव दक्षिणं।
वर्ष तद् भारतं नाम भारती यत्र संतति: ।
“The country which lies north of the seas and south of Himalayas is Bharat and its people are Bharateeyas i.e, decendents of Bharat”.
अत्रापि भारतं श्रेष्ठं जम्बूद्वीपे महामुने।
यतो हि कर्मभूरेषा अतोन्याभोगभूमय:।।
“Bharat which is situated in Jambu Dweepa [Island] is great. The reason for this is that it is karmabhumi or duty-based country. All other countries in the world are luxury or right based.
In all the countries other than Bharat importance is given to enjoyment of their rights. For this reason, they are lands of enjoyment or lands which are based upon rights. This is the mark of distinction between Bharat and other countries in the world. This is the sum and substance of the message of Bhagavadgita, as is clear from the word “Karmanyevadhikaraste”, which means your right is to perform your duties.
Mahatma Gandhi, the pride of our nation in his book ‘My Picture of Free India’ written just before independence, in the very first page of that book has stated thus:
India is to me the dearest country in the world, not because it is my country but because, I have discovered the greatest goodness in it. Everything in India attracts me. It has everything that a human being with the highest possible aspirations can want. India is essentially karmabhumi (land of duty) in contradistinction to bhogabhumi (land of enjoyment).
In saying so, Mahatma Gandhi has reiterated that ours is a duty-based society.
Therefore, after we got political independence and drafted the Constitution, top priority should have been given to the fundamental duties setting out them in the first chapter itself and that it would have been sufficient to provide and educate that every citizen has a fundamental right to discharge his duties. This omission has proved very costly in our national life and however this lapse was realized later and a chapter on fundamental duties was incorporated vide Part-IVA by inserting Article 51A as fundamental duties. In particular, clause (j) of Article 51A reads:-
51-A: Fundamental duties – It shall be the duty of every citizen of inida
(j): to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement.
From Article 51A it is clear that it is the duty of every individual to discharge his duties towards the nation . This principle is known as ‘Manavaruna’ as declared in Mahabhrata.
Though this Article should have been part of our Constitution from the beginning itself, it was omitted, but our Parliament has done the greatest service to the nation by inserting Article 51A by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution as it is well known that it is better late than never.
In Vedas, there were only three debts or obligations which were required to be discharged by individuals. They were:- (1) Devaruna – duty towards the God, (2) Rishiruna – duty towards Saints and (3) Pitruruna – duty towards parents.
It should be stated to the credit of Vedavyasa, the author of Mahabharata, for having considered that the discharge of three debts were not sufficient to fulfill the requirement of humanity and therefore he added “Manavaruna” as is evident from the verse quoted above.
In Bhagavadgita, it is declared as follows
स्वे स्वे कर्मण्यभिरत: संसिद्धिं लभते नर:।
“By discharging whatever duties are entrusted to an individual, he secures success in life”.
This verse is inscribed in golden letters above the entry door of Rajya Sabha which I have incorporated in the book “Message from Parliament House – Bharat”.
This gospel of Bhagavadgita is of greater relevance at the present time as failure to discharge duty becoming victim or yielding to corruption has become rampant not only among the elected rulers and selected administrators including judiciary and others holding responsible offices of the State and also among people in general, as we see from the facts reported and published every day in print and electronic media in particular even teachers and doctors going on strike by failing to discharge their duties for not conceding to their pecuniary demands causing immense loss and injury to our national life.
It is a matter of common knowledge that everyone cannot become every thing. Every individual gets different responsibilities or duties either in the services of the State or in private employments or in any other manner. The message of Bhagavadgita is that one should honestly discharge whatever duties came to be entrusted to him in an honest manner, in which event he is sure to secure success in life individually and collectively for the nation also which is necessary for the development of the entire nation, as has emphatically been declared in the following Samskrit verse:-
सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिन:, सर्वे सन्तु निरामया:।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु, मा कश्चिद दु:खमाप्नुयात।।
“Let all be happy,
Let all be free from diseases,
Let all see auspicious things,
Let no body suffer from grief”.
The letters of this verse in Devanagari are made in cement and plated in gold in our Parliament House. This discloses that the aim and result of performance of duties is the sum and substance of our national ideal and thereby to secure “Right to Happiness” for all by sincerely discharging the duties as mandated in Bhagavadgita – “Do your duty that is the best, leave unto the God the rest” and ensure the all-round development [Sarvangeena Pragati] of Bharat.
Justice (Retd.) Dr. M. Rama Jois
(The writer is former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, former Member of Rajya Sabha and former Governor of Jharkhand and Bihar)