Feb 21, 2024
Feb 21, 2024
by T. A. Ramesh
Importance of Culture
Culture has various meanings to various persons and various countries. It is a study of perfection. It is knowing the best of everything and propagating such knowledge to the posterity. It is seeing the things as they really are and making truth prevail over everything. It is doing good to others, loving the neighbors, correcting the mistakes of others, clearing the confusion and reducing the miseries of mankind. It brings peace of mind and helps mankind to achieve spiritual perfection. In short, it refines mind, behavior and activities of men. Culture is taught to the people through classics, painting, music, dance, drama and literature. It is disseminated to all people through art. Every country has an independent culture of its own. These cultures put together into a single whole form the world culture.
Science provides the necessary aids to spread culture of a country to various parts of the world by means of Cinema, TV, CD, Internet connections, etc. These scientific gadgets help people easily understand other countries' life and activities, etiquettes and interests and aim and nature. This knowledge provides the necessary back ground for any person or persons to go to any other country or countries to do most beneficial and good deeds for one's own country and other countries. This is the aim of friendship through world culture. The expression of cultural ideas may be differing from place to place, but the central idea of all the cultures is concerned with human nature only. The internal harmony of the people depends upon the world harmony. Through the world culture by fulfilling the external needs of the people, the world harmony can be achieved.
Like the Kashmiri Hindus for 600 years the life and works of Sourashtrians were very much disturbed by the assaults, attacks, atrocities, looting, burning, plundering and destruction of properties by Mohammed of Ghazini, Sultan of Delhi, Alauddin Kilji and Bahmani Sultan, they migrated from the Sourashtra region of Khatiawar peninsula to Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra and then to Madurai and other towns of Tamil Nadu in search of peaceful life and settled there 400 years ago.
If some community people like the Sourashtrians can migrate from the North to somewhere in the South and live for more than 3 centuries or so it is only because of the similarities of their own culture, the State culture and the National culture. The Sourashtrian culture is so unique that they easily mingled with the local people and became one with them in such a way that they never had any sort of difficulty or differences of caste, class, creed, race and language to cope with. This is because they have acquired the habit, on their migrations from place to place, of learning the local language for communication and business purposes and their mother tongue for home use only. As they are naturally pious they could not find any difficulty to participate in all the local religious festivals that made them reliable to the natives. More over they have the custom of easily adjusting themselves to the behavior, dress pattern and manners of the local people in such a way that nobody would believe that they are Sourashtrians.
Next the Tamil culture which is considered to be one of the best cultures of the world is noted for its hospitality, courage, sense of attachment, human sense, self-respect, respect for women, elderly people, brotherhood, friendship, love, following monogamy in family life and valuing highly the modesty of women. That is why unlike other language literatures of the world they hold high the great epic, Silappathikaram by Elango on the modesty of a good woman, Kannagi as everything is created because of woman and destroyed because of woman.
Then the Indian National culture is so universal in nature that the essence of Indian culture is mainly said to be the international brotherhood (Vasudavaya Kutumbhakam). According to the national culture all peoples give respect and obey to their parents, maintain unity among brothers, protect their family and children, maintain the promise of friendship, respect woman as mother, sister, aunt, etc., maintain one's dharma and save social justice in life, respect the nation as motherland, mother goddess Sakti, as they know that everything starts from Mother Goddess ' education from Saraswati, wealth from Lakshmi, power from Sakti, and even the earth is called as Mother Earth or Bhumadevi. Therefore one brought up in this culture can live anywhere in the world as one among the humanity in harmony, peace and happiness.
Human Culture for Perfection
According to the view of E.M. Forster in his essay, Does Culture Matter? human culture provides 'the power to understand and enjoy' all the best things of life and so, without 'tradition and culture the chance of connecting work and play and creating a life which is all of a piece' is impossible.
Another expert of culture, Matthew Arnold in his book, Culture and Anarchy says that culture for an individual lies in the love for and the study of perfection which is a harmonious expansion of all the powers which make the beauty and the worth of human nature and the pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of 'Sweetness and Light, the reason and the Will of God' and the Hellenistic knowledge of the Greek Classical beauty for the achievement of excellence in human nature and the Hebraic idea of Jewish action of fulfilling the Will of God. He also says that human spirit behind all the great works of literature, art, science and religion aims at harmonious human perfection leading towards the development of all sides of humanity.
Poet Robert Browning whose concern with the evolution of individual soul in his poems like Pauline, Paracelsus, Sordella and Asolando has worked out the idea of synthesis of knowledge and love leading to the perfection of man. Therefore it is clear to say that only when such a human perfection is achieved through human culture, real freedom can be obtained and as a result of that happiness, peace and satisfaction can be achieved in life.
Hence human culture simply means that it is the love for, the study of and the pursuit of all round human perfection and it can be completely interpreted that human culture is thinking about or knowing, speaking or expressing about and doing the best things of human endeavor in many fields like Literature, Arts, Science, Politics, Religion and Philosophy of the past relevant to the present and 'enjoying ourselves those unique and priceless things' and spreading such living truths to the intimates, friends and fellow men we love in order to make those precious things live in the future too.
Love and Knowledge for Human Perfection ' Human Culture
Power, position and possession are all not the permanent things for anyone in the world. The permanent things everyone can rely on are Love and Knowledge of Truth which are as beautiful as the best things in Nature and Art. Only these two things can permanently keep human beings in happiness and peace, save them from difficult and dangerous situations in life and certainly lead them towards perfection. Human perfection is what human culture has been helping to achieve so long and has to help so on and on though many men may come and go in this world. With the knowledge of truth and the inspiration of love many philosophers, poets and prophets have done immortal things and have left the world, but the things they have achieved are still showing light to the helpless and miserable to regain human faith and human spirit and guiding them to achieve human perfection.
Due to the friendship between nations the benefits to the people are many. Many authors like S. Radhakrishnan, Bertrand Russell and Aldous Huxley have written much about the world community, the world government and the modern utopia to bring about the world harmony. They all have supported the view that education, friendship and culture are essential and very important for a good life. It is clear to note that for a good life people are in need of good education, friends, love, good health, sufficient income, congenial society and favorable government. How can world culture fulfill these needs of the people?
These needs are the reasonable ones for any individual and are the common need of all the people. A world organization has the capacity to solve this general problem. We have United Nations Organization (UNO), through which these needs could be fulfilled. It is the joint venture of all the nations on the basis of friendship.
The United Nations Organization has to intensify cultural programs to bring yet closer the nations that are members in it. By diverting the attention of the nations towards the world culture, the thought of war, hatred, fear and competition can be thwarted. In the name of friendship all the nations should be involved in responsible creative activities with a view to solve totally the problems like poverty, disease and ignorance. It should arrange educational programs to give training to all the citizens of the world in Agriculture and Industries, should develop the particular talents of the individuals in Science and Arts and utilize them in the creative direction. This could be the aim of the world culture through friendship in the modern age.
Goodness, Love, Wisdom and Perfection
Lord Buddha has said to the world that wisdom and love can overcome desire, which is the root cause for all the difficulties, problems, miseries, ignorance and so on in the world and liberate men from the recurring cycles of birth and death forever to absolute bliss, which is the final goal of human life. Christ has said that 'be ye therefore perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.' Gandhi has said that if the end should be good, first the means should be good which can be Truth and Non-violence only and nothing else. All these thought provoking realistic and practical philosophies simply say that by means of human culture everyone can achieve human perfection and can live like a free and happy divine being even on the Earth.
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita Gita says that to achieve full liberty one should become a Yogi and follow the path of Dharma suitable to one's nature to achieve perfection emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. This gives the clue to visualize how a man of culture or a cultured person can be like. Yes, a cultured person would be thorough in knowledge, non-aligned in thought, pure in love, non-attached in heart and effective, efficient and excellent in action. Further like a Yogi a cultured person would be calm at difficult, dangerous and trying situations, unruffled before adversaries and criticisms from various quarters and balanced both in sorrow and happiness as such a person is non-attached to anything in this world and is non-aligned to all the controversial matters concerning human problems in the society. In fact this is the way a cultured person can live and achieve good and great things for the benefit of the present and the future generations.
More by : T. A. Ramesh