A Cyber Magazine for Those Who Think
Vol 1 Issue 4
The Tea Quake
THE BRITISH LEGACY
The British may have left India, but every morning brings a jarring reminder of their continued conquest of India. Its (you guessed it right) tea; the "slow poison" drink that is their post-independence legacy.
Tea is alien to the original Vedic culture. The British started extensive tea-fields in India to meet the demands of the Western market. Once the Western demand was met, they realized that their profits could be multiplied manifold if they could generate a local market. So through economic coercion (the government holds all the tax strings) and false propaganda (the innate inferiority complex of the Indians made them only too ready to imitate anything Western), they hooked the Indians to tea. And the vested interests of the tea barons have ensured the perpetuation and proliferation of this useless addiction.
"MY DEAR TEA?"
Mr. Armchair Critic sits on his easy chair in the morning, sipping a cup of tea and reading the newspaper, "O my God, 50,000 people killed and 1000 crores property destroyed in Gujarat earthquake!" In the same breath, he calls out, "Ramu, get one more cup of tea; make sure its hot and sweet."
Here's hypocrisy at its best. A simple analysis is enough to expose it.
Statistics indicate that the population of India exceeds 100 crores. At least 25 crore people drink 2 cups of tea everyday. If each cup of tea costs Rs. 2.5, India spends Rs. 125 crores just on tea everyday. So if Indians stop drinking tea for just 8 days, it can compensate for the entire quake loss. In other words, the seemingly harmless tea cup causes a devastating quake in the national revenues that takes a toll of 1000 crores every 8 days.
If some prefer coffee instead of tea, that's even more expensive. And if its soft drinks, that hurts the economy even more.
Just imagine if all the hundreds of acres of land now devoted to cultivation of tea, coffee and the like were utilized for cultivating food grains - our hunger and starvation problem could be eliminated from the root.
And there's more in store - the health costs involved. The injurious effects of nicotine in tea, caffeine in coffee and several ingredients in soft drinks have all been well-documented by health experts. And needless to say, they have been equally well-hidden from the public by the powers that be. (It's a matter of big money)
Our financial woes in a nutshell: "A tea cup a day keeps economic health away."
"IT PEPS ME UP"
Just about everyone who drinks tea knows that it has no nutrition value. And yet everyone keeps drinking it. Why? "It stimulates my brain to work better. In a day full of dreary, burdensome work, the tea-break is practically the only thing to look forward to. It helps me cope with problems better. So what's wrong?"
The Vedic scriptures propose a radically different approach to problem management: "Instead of temporarily forgetting the problems in a tea-induced hallucination, find out fundamentally why the problems are there and tackle them at the root level." Tea doesn't solve the problem; it only puts people into a forgetful illusion. And as the clock ticks on inexorably, both their problems and their bodily systems worsen, while they keep gulping down tea and keep trying to forget the reality. Till they die. And become hogs and start gulping sewage water.
WHEN PAINKILLERS REPLACE MEDICINES
An analogy from medicine will make the pernicious effects of tea and the like more clear. When a patient has acute pain, just the medicines don't provide immediate relief; they take time to cure the disease. So he is given some painkillers to numb himself to the pain. Now suppose he thinks, "The painkillers are what relieve my pain; the medicines do nothing." And he starts taking just the painkillers and avoids the medicines. What is the result? Due to the temporary cessation of pain, he lives happily in an illusion of good health. But without his knowledge, the disease is devouring him from within. And one day, even the painkillers stop working. But by then its likely to be too late.
The Vedic scriptures explain that:
The disease of all living beings in the material world is ignorance of their real identity. The direct symptom of this disease is the feeling of incompleteness, the feeling of a lack of real happiness that everyone in the world experiences time and again.
The process of devotional service is the medicine for this disease; it awakens the living being to his actual identity as a spiritual being - a son of the Supreme Lord. Once he is reinstated in his original identity, the soul relishes eternal ecstasy in loving service to God. This is his healthy state.
Material enjoyment is the
painkiller, which helps to temporarily cover the pain of the disease of
ignorance. So it is allowed by the scriptures; but only in a strictly
regulated way so that it does not interfere with the real treatment, the real
business of life - devotional service.
But the modern intelligentsia (?) declares that taking the painkiller (material enjoyment) is the goal of life! And that taking the medicine (performing devotional service) is an unnecessary waste of time, meant for those sentimentalists who can't do anything better! And what does such a myopic view of life lead to? The masses, being addicted to bodily pleasures (of which tea is a mild representative), live in the illusion of well-being. They sip their cups of tea and think themselves much more intelligent than the genuine spiritualists who engage in devotional service. And they drag on in a meaningless mundane vegetable-like existence. Till they are tortured by old age, tormented by disease and finally terminated by death. Only to take birth again - to continue drinking tea (or sewage water, depending on the new body) and suffering old age, disease and death. And the cycle goes on.
"IT GENERATES EMPLOYMENT"
"But the tea industry provides much-needed employment to so many people." That's like saying that pick-pocketing provides employment to so many people. The tea industry doesn't benefit its customers; rather it harms them. The only people who gain are the tea barons. So how is the tea industry different from pick-pocketing?
Of course the ad industry by its awesome power fools people into thinking that they are very elite while they are actually being stripped of their hard-earned money. An inside secret of the ad industry - the key to successful advertising: "The best ad is that which can sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo." Nice to hear and laugh, but in simple language, it means that the best ad is the one which cheats the most. Isn't that what the entire ad industry is? Cheating business. Do they ever advertise rice and wheat and other necessities? No. The only things that are advertised are those which no one actually needs. Through a series of moving optical illusions, the masses are made to think that they can't live without such things. And thus they are plundered - willingly. The entire tea business is a glaring example of such open robbery.
A RECIPE FOR WISDOM
Why don't we learn all these things in our schools and colleges? Could it be because the powers that be want us to stay in ignorance so that they can continue exploiting us? So although in one sense this entire racket is so obvious, the whole system programs us to think in such a way that we just can't perceive the obvious. Common sense thus becomes conspicuously uncommon.
Is there any way out of this whole mess?
The world's greatest masterpiece of philosophical wisdom, the Bhagavad-Gita (10.10) gives a remarkably simple recipe for getting both pragmatic common sense and profound philosophical wisdom. The Lord is the source of all common sense (and all uncommon sense and all super sense too) When a living being engages in the devotional service of the Lord, the Lord gives him intelligence from within. Equipped with this intelligence, the living being can see things as they are. He thus become a genuine intellectual acting for the true welfare of his own self and of the whole world.
In the present age, devotional service can be performed very easily through Mantra Meditation - through the repeated chanting of the maha-mantra (the great chant for deliverance).
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna
Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
The Holy Name is the inner light which opens the eyes of the chanter to the reality of the world he lives in. It also reveals the higher realms of reality where he actually belongs. And most importantly it bestows him with the dynamic intelligence by which he can live in this world as a champion of truth and ultimately achieve the ultimate truth - the kingdom of God.
Mantra Meditation has worked for countless millions of people throughout history. And it is working for millions of people all around the globe even today. Why not give it a try?
Join us next month for another session of thought-provoking discussion.
Investigating Reality from the Higher Dimensional
Perspective of Vedic Wisdom