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About Plato and the relation between political and vedic values.


Concerning yoga as a more integrated soft science contrary to the platonian proposition, is it interesting to see to what extend the platonian system of political values is in accord with the vedic system. In "The Republic" there is a formulation of the socalled political values: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. The same set of values one finds with the sathya, s'auca, tapas dâyâ division in the Vedas (see Bhâgavata Purâna). They are also called the four legs of the bull of religion (dharma) that would decay in modern time (Kali-yuga).

Sathya means wisdom or truth. To the definition of Plato this means that one should see (and speak of) reality as it is. That is wisdom. The vedic concept of truth implies that one should keep one's consciousness pure (free from intoxication) ultimately to perceive the reality as it is. So these two are refering to the same value.

The concept of courage implies with Plato that one would be consistent in one's commitments and would dare to take a stand fearless. With the Veda this value is expressed in the concept s'aucam or purity: it means that one should abstain from illicit sex an be a loyal member of the community abiding by legitimate relations in the intimate sphere. This loyalty is exactly what Plato talks about when a hero would take a stand and persist in his commitments to the truth.

This as the second match.

The third match between the vedic values and the philosopical (political) ones is that of temperance; tapas or penance. In this respect Plato refers to the moderation of individuals as in being obedient in relating to commanders and being of selfcontrol in sensual pleasures. In the vedic concept it is refered to as non-possesiveness, penance and austerity. This would, as also is the case with the second value of purity, add up to the virtue of sharing, the communal interest in material affairs. Although it also is associated with the second concept, can it be found as being the dominating theme here that one is of control over one's material desire and greed (greed as 'disobedience' to the necessity of sharing)

The fourth match is found in the concept of justice. At first Plato suggests it to be the ability and necessity of having a good division of labor in society: each would mind his own business and would thus contribute to a complete of societal service. Later on Plato in his work proposes this concept as being subservient to the interest of the soul or the true of knowledge: the eternal quality opposing that of temporal interests. This type of justice is what is called compassion in the Veda's (dayâ). It also refers to ahimsa, non-violence. These latter values correspond less clearly realtive to the tree mentioned before, but concerng the concept of justice can the notion of non-violence be considered as belonging to the same category. The law (justice) would settle the cultural necessities of compassion and non-violence, in order to secure the safety of one's civilian life. That to do justice would mean to become a compassionate, non-violent vegetarian is not so clear with Plato though, but in the consequence of christianity it is all too clear that this concept of justice makes for a vegetarian, religious order with a mission of being compassionate with all living creatures.

In this respect I am very glad to welcome Plato as a recommendation to the values and interests of The Order of Time and its filognosy, and as a contributor in the discussion about the apparent opposition between the easthetic and the moral argument. (for further reference about the eternal values as relating to the christian commandments one may surf to the article called "The Gurus and Their Teaching" (at personal at this site), also check out the guide-picture of the four basic values of filognosy: values.jpg)


 This discussion took place in the webforum in 1999