Foundations of Sanatana Dharma - Fact and Value

'Fact' and 'Value' in the Context of Indian Culture

Unlike other cultures, Indian heritage deeply concentrated on the implications of 'facts' and 'values' both within and outside the purview of religion and belief. Unlike the Greeks who completely excluded religion from philosophy and unlike the Semitic people who tried to explain everything within the narrow perspective of religious dogmas, ancient Indians approached lofty dimensions of facts and values both from the logical and intuitive, emotional and intellectual, pragmatic and esoteric, realistic and idealistic, materialistic and spiritualistic levels. Therefore, their understanding of facts and values are obviously universal and remain unbiased.

Now, we shall try to distinguish 'facts' from 'values.' Facts are always comprehended for, they are perceived through the physical senses. That is why we have little differences in the case of mundane things. Perhaps none can dispute with anybody regarding the nature of water or color of the rising sun or waves of the ocean and structure of the trees, but there are myriad diverging opinions and views regarding the values because they are essentially realized through our experience. Therefore, values are intrinsic in nature. They are our reflections towards life, Values are not ready-made things or even fabricated ones like facts. They are the obvious possibilities happening in our life and ever-growing with it. Above all, facts are always pursued for purposes other than themselves. But the values are pursued for their own sake. The very non-materialistic nature of the values makes them seemingly elusive in the mundane world.

They are not perceived through our physical senses but are felt in our consciousness. To give an example so as to distinguish facts from values, we can take a common example of a bottle full of mineral water. Water of course, is a fact and a bottle full of it has a prescribed market price. It may differ at the most, in terms of currencies of different nations. But all that can be settled well within the standards of the international market. Thus, a bottle full of mineral water may bear the face value of fifteen rupees as its factual price. But can it be its real value? Perhaps no. If we feel the real price of a bottle full of water which is the product of hundreds of sun-rays distilling the saline waters of the oceans and hundreds of clouds which bear the droplets of rains and the mechanism of conservation of water on earth and that being bottled in a handy form, and the bottling industry which includes the five Ms in terms of industrial management – Man, Money, Machines, Methods of manufacturing, and Marketing. We cannot but refrain from abusing water. The whole world is behind a bottle full of water, nay a drop of water. Thus, values make us think global and act universal. This is what Indian spirituality teaches us.

Author(s)

About:

Dr. Ganesh is a 'shatavadhani' and one of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars. He writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. He is a master of the ancient art of avadhana and is credited with reviving the art in Kannada. He is a recipient of the Badarayana-Vyasa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.

Translator(s)

About:

K B S Ramachandra works in the software industry and has a deep interest in Kannada and Sanskrit literature.