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2.) Which culture do you prefer, Indian or Western?

Why?

According to my opinion, a cultural collaboration of both the


Indian and Western culture would do but, I would still prefer the
Indian one. It is easy to compare both the lifestyles. Of course, in the
Indian big cities we are moving towards the Western lifestyle, but we
can still see a different culture here. If we compare the two cultures
we see in India people are more sober and things are done in a more
regulated way. Almost every one of us is having our meals at regular
times at our homes, we have our wives at home and she is cooking.
Everything is regular, life is regulated.

We have information in our yoga system that regulation is


important, even for good health. If the senses are satisfied in a regular
manner even the body remains very healthy. In the Vedic culture, all
the sense activities are there, it is not that the sense activities are
denied. There is eating, sleeping, defense, etc, but there is some
regulation, there is a particular time and place for these activities.
Eating is done, mostly, at a regular time and a regular place. Sleeping
is done at a regular time and place; one goes to bed and gets up in
the morning at a regular time.

In the Western world, it is mostly the opposite of things. They are


accustomed to eat anything, anywhere and at any time. One is used to
spending some time in the heritage buildings and town halls. If we
walk along the roads, we find dozens of shops selling food, there are
so many things, ice-cream shops, every possible variety of
international food, sweet shops, etc. India is also slowly adopting
these qualities from its foreign counterparts. But we are more
controlled than our foreign friends. It is not only in certain parts of the
cities, but everywhere we go in the Western countries we find so many
arrangements meant to agitate people's senses, to force them to
consume a particular product. Here the civilization is mostly based on
dissatisfaction. The whole idea is to make people unsatisfied, even if
they really are satisfied.

If we compare the lifestyle of Bangalore with the lifestyle of any


other foreign city, for example, Sydney,we find a huge difference. The
lifestyle in Bangalore is fairly simple, even from the Vedic times, with a
rather modified outlook. But we are tending towards accepting a
western ways in day to day activites. Bangalore even on being a big
city, here life is simpler. Here, we have a market place called K.R.
Market. It is a very active market place, where one could say business
is going on very smoothly and undoubtedly there are businessmen. It
is said in the Bhagavad Gita (4.13):

‘catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah’,


Meaning: ‘I have created four different types of men.’

These four different types of men exist eternally in every society;


there are brhamanas: the intelligent class, there are ksatriyas: the
administrative and military class. There are vaisyas, the businessmen
and farmers and sudras: who are the workers or labourers. This
system is everywhere. We don't like to hear this but in every society
these divisions exist and they can't be negated.

Today everyone wants a "classless" society but such a society is


not possible because these different groups will always be there. So
there were always businessmen and they are still doing business in all
the markets throughout India, you won't find any better businessmen
in the West. Generally speaking the Indian businessmen are very
expert at doing business but, they are not making very complicated
businesses. They are selling clothes, cooking utensils, practical things,
etc, things you actually need. But basically it is simple, and they are
satisfied with their simple business. They are not mad to expand.
These businessmen are satisfied, their business is not actually their
real business. Every morning they get up before dawn and visit a holy
sanctum or offer and prayers at there establishments, in front of a
pictorial deity. The shops are opened at the earliest, as work in India is
worship; they start their business then at lunch time they close for
lunch and after lunch rest during the hottest part of the day. Then at
around three o'clock they are open again and do business into the
evening. We are happy to live this way and whatever is coming our
way is by the mercy of God. They just need to make some profit to
maintain their families. Some businessmen are doing very well and
wealthy, and some have very small establishments and are quite poor.
They more or less accept whatever they have as their lot in life, it's
not that they don't endeavor to make their life successful, they try to
make money, but they accept that behind everything is the hand of
the Supreme Lord.

But in Sydney, it is different. We see a different type of business


in Sydney. You would not find a single satisfied businessman, they are
always disturbed, wanting to expand their business, the people
working in one company want to go to work for some other bigger
company and nobody is satisfied. This mentality is cultivated, it's
encouraged by the whole Western capitalistic system. This Western
system works by cultivating dissatisfaction. But in India, mostly it is
not like this. The difference between a businessman here and in
Sydney is quite striking. The difference is the spiritual background. The
business activities are similar. Many businessmen are doing business
more or less in the same way in Sydney as in Bangalore, but their
backgrounds are different. The Sydney businessmen take their
business so seriously, it consumes all their energy, it's their whole life,
it's everything to them; their whole world. Of course it is a means to
all our ends. But in the Indian context, the business is just an
occupation.

In India, our understanding and stand towards secularism, our


policies, legal structures, education, etc, have, to a great extent,
saped our colonial past. Adding on to this is the globalization and the
liberal market, which have changed the whole topography of our cities
and towns. It also plays a part in inspiring our imagination with the
images we see daily, everywhere. We are also proud owners of a very
well kept spiritual background in all our religions, throughout the
generations.

So, one can say that the Indian cultural aspect is much more
tightly bound than the loosely knit Western counterpart. Indeed, to
understand the Indian way, one should have a different mindset which
might help one to differentiate between the cultural practices and day
to day activities held around. This will, in turn, help us to understand
our culture better and other cultures in a different perspective.

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