Harvard educated Supreme Court lawyer Dr.Surat Singh told the distinguished audience at a function organized by Press Information Bureau at Shastri Bhawan that what is right with India is much more than what is wrong with India.

He was delivering a talk on the topic ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti and Vishawa (Indian culture and the World).

The noted lawyer Dr.Surat Singh, pointed out that Indian sages have reflected upon the goals for individual and society over 5000 years ago. According to Indian tradition, the goal of life is blessedness (Ananda) or complete freedom (purna swatantra). To put it in modern words- it is ability to see, think and be the best you are capable of and helping others in doing the same. For this purpose, Indian culture prescribed four sub-goals to be pursued namely; Dharma, Artha, Kaam & Moksha.

Giving a modern definition, Dr. Surat Singh elaborated that Dharma means those fundamental values that sustain our life. Artha is pursuit of both economic and political power; Kaam means consumption of various goods and services.

Dr. Surat Singh pointed out that according to Indian culture, one has to pursue Dharma first then acquire political and well as economically; then one has to consume goods and services. If it is done in that order, the freedom (Mokhsa) will follow. But if this order is not followed as is the case in a country like America where Artha and Kaam have assumed more importance than Dharma, the things will become topsy-turvy.

Citing a Greek proverb, “Life is a gift of nature but a beautiful life is a result of wise efforts”, Dr. Surat Singh emphasized that Bhagwat Gita also says the same thing i.e. Yoga Kamsu Kaushalum; meaning thereby that doing your duty with effectiveness is Yoga and Presanna Chetse Budhi pariya vashi the; meaning thereby that being happy takes you closer to God. Dr. Surat Singh summarized the entire Bhagwat Gita in two sentences namely; that do your duty effectively and be happy. That is the essence of Gita and that is the essence of wisdom also.

In response to the question if Indian culture is so great, why Indians are not doing so well? He replied that constant learning is a prize of progress. Indian culture contributed a lot but then it became very arrogant. When you are arrogant, you gradually become ignorant and that is a route of decline. India should strive for constant learning because only a good Shishya (Learner) can be a good Guru (Teacher).

Dr. Surat Singh also made distinction between ego and self regard. He pointed out that self regard is a foundation of culture but being an egoistic leads to decline. India must show self regard for its culture, for its language, for its achievements but it should not be too egoistic and arrogant. Open-mindedness and humility are the signs of greatness and not of weakness. So he exhorted the audience to cultivate open-minded enquiry into things including Indian culture. He emphasized that we must both respect and question our heritage because it is only by questioning, the wisdom of the past becomes living for us and wrong things of the past are filtered through. A respectful questioning towards India and the world is the right approach for Indians. India was great in the past but its future is even greater provided we have an attitude of respectful questioning.

International Lawyer, Dr. Surat Singh concluded that Indian culture teaches how to live wisely and how to die wisely. He cited famous Scientist Dr. Einstein that he uttered that Indian culture has taught me the acceptance of life. Einstein said ‘I have done my share, it is time to go and I will go elegantly’. So Indian culture is a good guidance for living effectively and for dying rightly.

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