Cultural values lay the foundations of growth, development and prosperity of human life. The place of the culture
of one’s society and nation in the welfare of one’s life is as vital as the genes of one’s parents involved in the creation of one’s body. Culture
nourishes and shapes the progress of human life. Remove culture
from the life of a person and he will be no better than the beastly being of the Stone Age. It is only by the installation of samskaras
that a human being displays humane qualities. It is the nectar of the perennial spring of culture
that enables the healthy growth and blossoming of the tree of personal, social and national life. The flow of cultural values and civilisation orients the direction of one’s life; if a person isolates himself or diverts from it, he would reach nowhere. Therefore knowing our civilization and cultural heritage and learning to adopt its values is necessary for every one of us.
Different races, societies and nations have their own specific culture
because of variations in the historical circumstances, philosophies and modes of life, specialties of personal and social life, geographical conditions, the extent of the development of science and others fields of knowledge, etc. This cultural diversity is natural. Still each culture
has certain foundational elements that are universal because of which it maintains its identity. The more these timeless, superlative values are present in the core of a culture, the greater would be its expansion and effects. A culture
would exist and expand with immortal glory because of its universal relevance even though nations may be born on or wiped out from the map of the globe and societies and civilizations may rise and fall. Cultures emanating from selfish motives and fanatic or narrow ideologies cannot stand the test of time. They inflate and burst like bubbles in due course.
The worth of a culture
depends upon the eternity, universality and absolute truth
of its foundational elements. On their basis, it can spread in all directions at all times. The enduring relevance of a culture
also depends upon how progressive it is. Culture
in its most natural form is like an ever flowing current of a river that overcomes or embraces every obstacle and adjusts its direction accordingly without stopping its flow. It should be noted that some ancient convictions, rigid principles, traditions or customs alone couldn’t be regarded as culture. A culture, which is not open and adaptive to the progressive trends as per the needs of the time, remains backward and gets lost in the mist of time.
Culture in true sense is like a conscious and radiant aura of enlivened values and progressive principles that have been illuminating our lives since the advent of Nature. Our history, civilisation, ethics, philosophy, religion, literature, science, art, etc are its components and reflections. So vast are the folds of culture
that it covers almost every horizon of our existence.
We must know our culture
and its origin and depth in the light of the above aspects. We should also search new truths through experiments for the progressive expansion of our culture
as per the need and call of the present. Establishing and living with noble values of our great culture
is our sacred duty and also a definite source of our advancement on the path of individual and cultural progress towards spiritual unfoldment.
Notes and References:
1. Tylor, Edward B. (1874). Primitive Culture. Estes & Lauriat, London. p.1.
2. See http://www.wsu.edu:8001/vcwsu/commons/topics/culture/culture-definitions/arnold-text.html
3. Haviland, William A. (1990). Cultural Anthropology, Sixth edition. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Publishers, Orlando, Florida. p.30.
4. Verma, Roop Rekha (1994). In the essay entitled The Concept of Progress and Cultural Identity in Culture
and Modernity. Edited by Eliot Deutsch. Motilal Banarasidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. p.530.
5. Chatterji, Pritibhushan (1976). In chapter entitled Language, Culture
and Man In Knowledge, Culture
and Value. Editors R. C. Pandeya & S. R. Bhatt. Motilal Banarasidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. p.118.
6. Here sanskara refers to noble tendencies and habits, positive attitude and psychologically uplifting notions.
7. See the book cited in Ref. 3 above.