Monday, November 3, 2014

Tracing Things Back

The founding fathers saw America as nation  with a new outlook on government and a new attitude towards religion and the role it would play. George Washington invited a rabbi to his inauguration and as president wrote this to a concerned Jewish congregation in Newport:  "The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy — a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship."

The founding fathers saw an America  lead not by royalty or an elite class or any one religion, but by an involved and educated citizenry.  They placed a special emphasis on small enterprises, farmers and shopkeepers. They equated liberty with library. The citizens must safeguard their liberties by being well read and informed.  The new model would be a farmer who was comfortable behind a plow and the pages of a book. And as a century later, with the Statue of Liberty in New York's harbor, America invited people to come and take shelter here and follow their dreams. 

This  America could be equated with Yudhisthira's kingdom at Indraprastra, described in the epic Mahabharata 5000 years ago. After Yudhisthira's capital city was established, thousands of people flocked the roads heading toward the new city with great hope in their hearts. Numerous languages could be heard in their midst.  And just like America, Indraprastra was established as a land of hope and  opportunity. The common adage in Vedic times was that before starting a family, one should first find a suitable livelihood and a righteous king to live under. The Vedic paradigm establishes that the duty of leadership is to protect the citizens and provide order and opportunity for all.

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