Thursday, June 25, 2020

सहज जीवन

यह पोस्ट फिर से प्रकाशित कर रहे हैं . नीचे से दूसरे पैरा में दिया लाल रंग का वाक्य पिछले पोस्ट में न जाने कैसे छूट गया था. अंग्रेजी वाला ठीक है.

सहज जीवन
Ordinary Life  पर चल रही यह बहस अगर हिंदी में चलाना हो तो ‘सामान्य जीवन’ की जगह हमारी राय में ‘सहज जीवन’ शब्द का प्रयोग करना अधिक सही होगा. ‘सहज’ शब्द जीवन के प्राकृतिक रूप के निकट ले जाता है और जीवन के स्व-भाव को समझने में मददगार हो सकता है. हमारे देश में सहज पर तो दार्शनिक चिंतन की एक लम्बी परंपरा भी है. किसी भी काल में सहज जीवन अथवा सरल जीवन जीने का प्रयास करना यानि जीवन के स्व-भाव को हासिल करना माना गया है, और यह किसी तपस्या से कम नहीं है. यह मुक्तिदायी जीवन है.   
एक बार की बात है हम कुछ महिलाओं से मिलकर बच्चों के पालन-पोषण पर बात कर रहे थे तब किसी महिला ने कहा “बच्चों को पाला नहीं जाता, वे पलते हैं ”. यह कथन ‘सहज जीवन’ के कुछ पक्षों को उजागर करता-सा मालूम  पड़ता है. सहज शब्द के अर्थ में सामूहिकता, साथ-साथ, सहित, मिलकर, सहोदर, पैदा होना शामिल है. सहज होना यानि अपने मूल रूप अथवा मूल स्वभाव पर आना है. मनुष्य को अपने जीवन को सहज बनाना यानि उसे अधिकाधिक सुविधापूर्ण बनाना नहीं है और न उसकी सक्रियता को घटाना. यह एक ऐसा जीवन है जो सहजीवन और सहअस्तित्व को आत्मसात करता है.
हमारे यहाँ कबीर के समय सहजिया पंथ का प्रभाव व्याप्त था. सहजिया, सहज पंथ, सहजधारी, सहजयान, सहज समाधी, सहज ध्यान आदि की लम्बी परंपरा है. हजारी प्रसाद के अनुसार सहज साधना में ध्यान की अवस्था मन्त्र, आसन और तंत्र साधना के बिना भी हासिल होती है. ‘सहज जीवन’ साधन, धन, तकनीकी, विचारधारा पर निर्भर नहीं है. 
सहज बुद्धि का अर्थ है सभी जीवधारियों में प्रकृति से प्राप्त वह चेतना जिससे वे कुछ करने के लिए प्रेरित होते हैं और सही-गलत का बोध कर पाते हैं. सहज का आग्रह यह नैतिक शक्तियों को अर्जित करने का मार्ग रहा है. सीता का अशोक वन में घास की पाती हाथ में लेकर रावण का मुकाबला करने की कथा सहज का आग्रह है. गांधीजी द्वारा सीता का खादी पहनने का उदहारण सहज होने का आग्रह है. सहज यानि सादगी नहीं है, बल्कि न्यायपूर्ण होने का आग्रह है.
समाज का नेतृत्व करने वालों को सहज होना, उनके विचारों को सहज होना, उनके तरीके सहज होना यह एक अनिवार्य गुण साबित हुआ है. कला की गुणवत्ता में सहज एक कसौटी रही है. माताओं का सहज होना बच्चों के सर्वांगीण विकास का आधार है. यह गौर करने की बात है कि इन सभी क्रियाओं में नेतृत्व और लोगों के बीच या कलाकार और रसिक के बीच या माँ और बच्चों में सम्प्रेषण हो पाए यह ‘सहज’ को अंगीकार करने का कारण नहीं है. इनके बीच ऊँच-नीच का सम्बन्ध नहीं है बल्कि एक ही हो जाने का प्रयास है. कला दार्शनिक नीहार रंजन राय के अनुसार सृजनकारी नेतृत्व या कलाकार जो विचार और कार्य सामने लाते हैं, उन्हें सामान्यत: समाज के अधिकांश स्त्री-पुरुष पहले से जानते हैं.
समाज में बदलती परिस्थितियां मनुष्योचित कार्य के मार्ग में तरह-तरह के भ्रम जाल फैलाती हैं. जैसे आज तकनीकी आधारित जीवन के चलते यह मान्यता हो गई है कि इनके बिना कैसे जिया जा सकता है? सहज कला और सहज साहित्य इन जैसे भ्रम-जालों को सरलता से हटाने का कार्य है. सहज कला-साहित्य अपने समय के सत्य को सरलतम रूपों में सामने लाता है. कबीर का ‘ज्ञान का हाथी’ सहज का दुशाला ओढ़े है, गाँधी की दृष्टि में विद्वत्ता की तुलना में ‘सहज बुद्धि’ श्रेष्ठ मानी गई. प्रेमचंद की ‘सहज शैली’ और हजारी प्रसाद का ‘सहज भाषा’ का चिंतन ज्ञान-मार्ग को नैतिक और सरल बनाता है. चंद्रधर शर्मा ‘गुलेरी’ का ‘बोल-चाल की भाषा’ को शुद्ध भाषा का दर्जा देना और नामवर सिंह का सामान्य पाठक की ‘सहज दृष्टि’ को सृजनशील समीक्षक का दर्जा देना, यह ‘सहज जीवन’ के कुछ महत्वपूर्ण पहलुओं को सामने ले आता है.

चित्रा सहस्रबुद्धे


Sahaj Jeevan
If this debate on ‘Ordinary Life’ is to be carried out in Hindi then in my view the appropriate word would be ‘sahaj jeevan’ and not ‘samanya jeevan’. The word ‘sahaj’ takes one close to natural forms life and it may be helpful in understanding the swa-bhaav of life.  In our country there is a long tradition of philosophical reflection on ‘sahaj’ , the ordinary. In any period attempts at ordinary life or simple life were seen as trying to be one with swa-bhav of life, and this was no less than tapasya. This is emancipatory life.
Once we were discussing with some women the question of upbringing of children and one of them said “ children are not brought up, they grow”. This statement seems to bring into light certain aspects of ordinary life, sahaj jeevan. The meaning of sahaj includes being natural, unhampered by extraneous influences, togetherness, inclusiveness, joining together, brotherhood etc. To be sahaj is to gravitate towards basic forms, instincts or the swa-bhaav . To make one’s life more and more sahaj is not to add conveniences to one’s life , not to reduce one’s activity. Living together and being together is intrinsic to ordinary life.
In the times of Kabir there was a popular sect called Sahajiya Panth. There is a long tradition of Sahajiya, Sahaj Panth, Sahaj Dhaari, Sahajyaan, Sahaj Samadhi, Sahaj Dhyan etc.  According to Hazari Prasad Dwivedi in Sahaj Sadhna the state of dhyan is achievable even without mantra, aasana and tantra.  Sahaj jeevan is not dependent upon resources, wealth, technology, ideology.
The meaning of sahaj buddhi for all creatures is, that consciousness obtained from nature which inspires them to do something and enables them to differentiate what is right from what is wrong. Sahajagrah (सहजाग्रह), that is  insistence on sahaj, is a way to obtain moral strengths.
Sita’s taking into her hand petals of grass as weapon to defend her against Ravan is an instance of sahajagrah.  Gandhiji’s  reference to Sita wearing khadi is also for sahajagrah. Sahajagrah is to insist on what is just.  
Leaders of society need to be sahaj, their thought needs to be sahaj, their methods need to be sahaj.  Sahaj is part of the criteria of art appreciation. Mothers need to be sahaj for all round development of children. It is not for communication between leadership and the people or between artists and audience or between mother and her children that the need for being sahaj is felt, for there is no hierarchy in these relationships, they strive for unity. The philosopher of art Neehar Ranjan Ray says that the thoughts and creations brought forward by the creative leaderships or the artists are ordinarily already known to most men and women in society.
The changing situations in society sometimes create confusions while performing tasks appropriate for human beings. For example the spread of technology has given currency to the thought that life would be very difficult without technology. Sahaj art and sahaj literature remove such confusion. Sahaj art-literature presents the truth of its time in very simple form. Some examples from the towering figures of Hindi literature illustrate the point. Kabir’s ‘elephant of knowledge’ wears a shawl of sahaj. For Gandhi, sahaj-buddhi has preference over scholarship. The ordinary style of Premchand and the ordinary language of Hazari Prasad Dwivedi make gyan-marg, the path of knowledge, simple.  Chandrdhar Sharma ‘Guleri’ gave spoken language the status of  correct and pure language  and Namawar Singh gave the natural stand point of an ordinary reader the status of a creative critic. These bring forward some important aspects of sahaj jeevan, Ordinary Life.
Chitra Sahasrabudhey

Monday, June 15, 2020

ORDINARY  LIFE  IN  EXTRAORDINARY  TIMES

Ordinary Life

"Ordinary life is life without condition. It assumes no science, no technology, no religion, no methods of organisation and communication of knowledge, it assumes nothing. It is not true, austere or moral life, for there is falsehood, extravaganza and immorality in ordinary life. But it has the criteria of truth, morality, justice, wisdom etc. in it."

We cannot ever have words which are more apt to describe what is ordinary life. Ordinary life is not always true, good and beautiful, but it has the standards of truth, beauty and goodness.

There can be excellence and appreciation of excellence in ordinary life - excellence of knowledge, art, ethical behaviour. Everything is not 'ordinary' in ordinary life.

Ordinary life has always existed. It was taken for granted. Everything else came and then passed away - political systems, religions, technologies, philosophies appeared and disappeared. But ordinary life was always there. One did not need to speak of it, it was taken for granted.

Threat to Ordinary Life

Now we are living in an age where 'ordinary life' has become the most extraordinary thing. This is because the conditions necessary for ordinary life are threatened.

Earth itself is under threat. The rivers, forests, land, mountains, seas - all are under threat. There is no ordinary life without the bounties that earth provides. And the knowledge that lives in ordinary life is threatened. There is no regard for such knowledge. All activities of life from birth to growing up, from disease to cure and healing, work and play, from food to entertainment etc. etc. are under threat. From what does this threat come we do not know for sure - technology, capital, political systems, science etc. They used to operate taking ordinary life for granted. Now they threaten ordinary life itself.

Life without Ordinary Life

One response to this situation that is taking shape now in the front rank of dominant classes is that ordinary life is beyond redemption. We have to prepare for a future without ordinary life. We have to build technologies, systems of knowledge and control, systems of finance, etc. etc. that will equip human beings to construct a form of life that will survive the destruction of ordinary life and this planet for the foreseeable future.

There is an understanding and a conviction associated with such attitudes that this can't be done for the whole of humanity. This new form of life will necessitate not only exclusion of large number of people, but even their destruction cannot be ruled out.  This is not a conspiracy. The belief is that this is the only realistic way out unless we want to go back to a pre-technological phase of life. There is an underlying sense of the hard decisions that have to be made, and sentiments that have to be curbed.

This can be seen in the policy circles in the form of 'converging technologies' agenda, in certain attitudes to loss or possible loss of life in adoption of certain courses of action by politicians, in proposals of intensive virtualisation of life, in utopian zeal of new-age capitalists like Elon Musk, in currents of thought called 'post-humanism'. Names do not matter. This is not going to be an overt political project. My sense is that this vision of our future has been explored again and again in science fiction both in dystopian and utopian manner.

All this of course is in the name of the next ultimate step for humanities' progress where the humanity is emancipated from its dependence on natural processes of earth and reproduction of living creatures.

No Life without Ordinary Life

The other response is that life without ordinary life is no life.

It is perhaps such recognition which is the source of affinity among certain kinds of ideas, organisations, and movements. For example, Lokavidya, Sacred Economy, Food Soveignty, Rights of Mother Earth. There will be others.

It seems to me that 'the political' today gets defined by ordinary life, and not by the knowledge question. The questions of knowledge and lokavidya remain important in this 'politics', but my sense is that they do not define the political. In fact, 'the political' itself will have to be redefined in this extraordinary situation, where ordinary life is under threat of destruction.

There is another thing about ordinary life. We cannot banish 'dukha' or suffering from ordinary life. It seems to me that the project of banishing all suffering from life has in some way resulted in this threat to ordinary life that we face today.

-Avinash Jha


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Ordinary is Emancipating!

The post on ordinary life and emancipating transformations by Lalit K. Kaul was nice!

Just one small comment ... about the last paragraph.
I think the word 'ordinary' in 'ordinary life' is quite fitting. If you look up synonyms of this word you come up with these: everyday, natural, normal, traditional, typical, familiar, general, humdrum, public, routine, standard, stock, accustomed, customary, established, frequent, habitual, popular, prevailing, quotidian, run-of-the-mill, settled, usual, wonted. I think the concept of "ordinary life" embraces precisely all these shades, and, of course, much more. The connotation of ordinary as "lowly", or "inferior" is not implied by the word, or these synonyms ... Although this connotation is very much there in regular use of the word ordinary among the 'parasites' ... but that is expected!

It sounds much more fitting to end the blog-note by something like "Ordinary is emancipating!"

- Girish Sahasrabudhe