08 March, 2021

Not This, Not This!

Since we, as a nation, take immense pride in our Upanishadic traditions, why don’t we ask questions?

Illustration by Saahil
Not This, Not This!
outlookindia.com
2016-10-22T12:59:26+05:30

The Sanskrit expression ‘neti, neti’ is an ancient philosophical method from the Upanishads to help the seeker gain wisdom. Literally, it means not this, not this. A precursor to the apophatic or negative theology of the West, this Hindu or Buddhist catchphrase allows the quester to reject what is wrong to arrive at what is right.

Since we, as a nation, take immense pride in our Upanishadic traditions, why don’t we ask questions? Why don’t we say neti, neti, and keep pushing the frontiers of wisdom? Why don’t we reject the form and embrace the essence? But then, we are being told not to ask questions at all, particularly about the army.

What is special about our army? Most of our soldiers are sons of farmers, so are we all—children of farmers, once, twice or several generations removed from the farms of our ancestors. As teachers, politicians, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, judges, lawyers, cops and journalists, we regularly fail. So, it is silly to ass­ume that we won’t fail when we bec­ome...

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