What is Indian culture?

 Religious leaders and politicians exhort people to uphold the values of Indian culture. In this context, it would help to understand what Indian culture really means. Extracts from an essay on Indian culture by the renowned scholar late Prof S K
Ramachandra Rao would help in this regard.

" The Vedic Corpus, especially the Rigveda is regarded as the source of Indian culture.
Much of what is significant and magnificent in Indian culture can be said to have flowered out of this ancient pool of wisdom. All the cultural elements of our culture like art, architecture, music, literature and values of life have stemmed from the Vedas, which makes Indian culture a continuation from that of the Vedic times, an uninterrupted culture that has survived to this day. The Rigveda looks upon the human being as the child of the sky and the earth, the sky being the father and the earth being the mother. So, by his  source, man is related to all other creatures on earth. If he chooses to be selfish, indifferent and self-centred, he leads the life of an animal. Such a man lives only for acquiring wealth and enjoying the pleasures of life, with no notion of his indebtedness to his forefathers or to his fellowmen or to the Gods. He is not a true man but empty and inactive. Man is born as an animal, filled with instincts and natural predispositions. If he grows up with these defects, he continues to be an animal. The purpose of culture is to transform the animal man into a human-man. The Indian word for this transformation is "Samskara" meaning "to make well" or "to render wholesome".  This process of transformation involves the removal of defects that man is born with and make him into a true human.  This is achieved through education, which seeks to eliminate these natural defects and transform the man into one who is useful to himself as well as to society.  The education should impart the right knowledge, the knowledge of the self and the inner spirit that is independent of the body and which is present in all creatures. Indian culture is described as the primordial tree which has one direction-prosperity, bears two fruits- pleasure and pain, has three roots- the threefold indebtedness mentioned earlier and four flavours- the four objectives of living, ie, acquiring wealth, enjoying pleasures, sense of obligation and finally liberation from earthly afflictions."

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