Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
S. Eliot’s ‘Ash-Wednesday’:
Some of the shlokas compiled in Message from Parliament are sound instructions to our representatives assembled in Parliament. They express the profound wisdom set forth in our Shastras. I marvel at the wisdom and insight of those who selected such shlokas for inscriptions for the guidance of our representatives assembled in Parliament to discharge their great constitutional duties.
The fragments of thoughts on the inscriptions in our Parliament House can be tabulated thus mentioning the text of the quotes, their English rendering, and the places where they can be noticed:
|Text on the inscription||English rendering||Place|
|1||धर्मचक्र–प्रवर्तनाय (Lalit Vistara Ch, 26)||For moving the Wheel of Dharma.||overlooking the Speaker’s Chair in the L.S.|
|2||सत्यं वद धर्मं चर (The Taittreeyopanishad Shikshavalli)||Speak Truth; follow Dharma.||on the top of the entry gate to the Rajya Sabha.|
(The Mundakopanishad, 3-1)
|Truth Alone Triumphs.||On the Emblem of India.|
|4||एकं सद्विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति (The Rigveda I-164-466)||‘One’ alone exists, the learned call Him in many names||on the top of the entry gate to Rajya Sabha.|
|5||अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् (The Panchtantra, 5-21)
|The petty minds see the categories of ‘mine’ and ‘not-mine’ (or thine) , the broad minded persons see the whole world just as a family.
|inscribed on the gate of the Central Hall.
|6||अहिंसा परमो धर्मः (The Mahabharata, Vanaparva , 207–74)||‘Non-violence is the Highest Dharma‘.||inscribed on the top of the Rajya Sabha’s entry gate.|
|7||सर्वदा स्यान्नृप: प्राज्ञ:, स्वमते न कदाचन। सभ्याधिकारिप्रकृति–सभासत्सुमते स्थित:
(The Raajdharma: Shukraniti, 2-3)
|The ruler should be wise, not ego-centric. In deciding matters he should consider the views of the Members of the House, Officers, and also from people at large present in the House.||On the dome near the Lift No. 4.|
|8||स्वे स्वे कर्मण्यभिरतः संसिद्धि लभते नरः (The Bhagavad-Gita 18-45)||One attains perfection by discharging Duties.||On the top of the entry gate to Rajya Sabha.|
|9||न सा सभा यत्र न सन्ति वृध्दा:, वृध्दा न ते ये न 9वदन्ति धर्मम्
धर्म स नो यत्र न सत्यमस्ति , सत्यं न तत् यत् छलमभ्युपैति (The Mahabharata 5-35-58)
|‘Sabha’ (parliament) does not exist where there are no elders; and they are not elders whose speech does not accord with Dharma. Their speech cannot be righteous (dharmic) if it is devoid of truthfulness, and bears the taint of deceit.||on the dome near lift no. 1 which can be better viewed from the first floor.|
|10||सभा वा न प्रवेष्टव्या, वक्तव्यं वा समंजसम्अब्रुवन, बिब्रुवन वापि नरो भवति किल्मिषी (The Manusmruti, 8/13)||One may enter the Assembly Hall, or may not do so. But once he goes there, there is no option but to speak truth in a righteous way. The one who does not speak, and the one who speaks falsely, both become sinners.||on dome near Lift No. 2.|
|11||इ_नलाहो ला यूगय यरो मा _बकौ _मनह_ता युगय यरो वा _बन _तसे हुम||“Almighty God will not change the condition of any people unless they bring about a change themselves.” (as translated in Message)||inscribed in the arc-shaped outer-lobby of the Lok Sabha.|
|12||लो ३ कद्धारमपावा ३ र्ण ३३
पश्येम त्वां वयं वेरा ३३३३३
(हुं ३ आ) ३३ ज्या ३ यो ३
आ ३२१११ इति। (छन्दो. 2/24/8)
|“Open the door to thy people
And let us see thee
For the obtaining of the
|inscribed on Gate No. 1.|
|13||बरी रूवाके जेबर्जद नविश्ता अन्द बेर्ज,
जुज निकोई-ए-अहले करम नख्वाहद् मान्द
|This lofty emerald like building bears the inscription in gold: ‘ Nothing shall last except the good deeds of the bountiful.’||on the dome near Lift No. 5.|
On broad reflections on the above mentioned quotes, one can see that the ideas they state can be stated under five different heads: (i) the grammar of existence of the cosmos and everything else in it; (ii) the code of conduct for the humans, in the present context, of the members of our Parliament; (iii) the norms which must govern the process of deliberation in this great deliberative body; (iv) the idea that ‘sovereignty’ is with the people who have the right to see, and (v) the warning of prudence for all those who sit in Parliament to reflect in order to act..
The Grammar of Existence : DHARMA
The quotes on the rocks have been carefully chosen to show those canons of practical ethics which inhere in Dharma, and always govern the discharge of the Kartavy-karma. ‘Dharma’ has no doctrinal bias, no sectarian bias, and no sectoral underpinnings. They are the profound instructions for right actions to all our Arjunas present in Parliament how to act in discharge of their duties.
The most fundamental concept that we know is of Dharma. This word cannot be translated in any other language of the world because nowhere else the very grammar of existence was discerned with greater rofundity and clarity. At the cosmic level, Dharma sustains everything so that it can run its course in accordance with its own existential grammar
The concept of Dharma has great practical relevance. Dharma, as Medhatithi says, means kartavya which is generally translated as ‘duties’ (Dharmasbdad kartavyata vachanah) . An expert has explained it as a set of norms followed by those learned in the Vedas, and are “approved by the conscience of the virtuous who are exempt from hatred and inordinate affection.” The Vaishesik philosophy defines its objective as the promotion of welfare ( yatobhhudayani). Bhishma tells King Yudhisthira that the core of Dharma is: to love others (‘Shantiparva’ Ch. 260). Dharma sustains everything, human and non-human, and controls and regulates their nature and their acts. The Mahabharata has emphasised, at several places, that victory always goes with dharma : ‘Yato Dharmahstato Jayah’ [reiterated by Karna (‘Ydyogaparva’ Ch. 142; by Drona (‘Ydyogaparva’ Ch.148); by Arjuna ( ‘Bhishmaparva’ Ch.21); by Sanjaya (‘Bhishmaparva’ Ch.65) ; and by Bhishma (‘Bhishmaparva’ Ch. 66)].