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What is Culture and What is Not
Swami Sivananda
(Published in 1960 Annual Number)
Culture is tilling, cultivating, refining, ‘the working of the ground in order to raise crops’, the condition consequent upon the development and strengthening of inherent powers and capacities.
-Swami Sivananda
Culture is tilling, cultivating, refining, ‘the working of the ground in order to raise crops’, the condition consequent upon the development and strengthening of inherent powers and capacities - physical, mental, moral or spiritual, the transformation of nature into a methodical structure of proportion and completeness, conducive to and responsible for the peace and happiness, not only of an individual, but of mankind as a whole.
Culture refers to whatever is the best and the highest that is capable of being known. It is said that Indian culture is one of the most advanced, an ideal and a pattern to be emulated. What are the characteristics of this culture?
Every country in the world thinks in terms of power and pelf, while we, in India, are taught to adhere to the principles of right morality, and evaluate life in the light of the reality of a universal Spirit existing behind all things.
Unselfishness and self-abnegation are placed first; and then the activities of life follow. The system of education, the concept of values, the rules of society, the aim of politics, the laws of the country, are all emanations from this comprehensive idea of the purpose of existence, which manifests itself in the endeavours for Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha-a technique of living an integrated life in every sphere of human activity.
The essence of true culture is based on a spiritual sense of values and a spiritual outlook of life. The assertion of the divinity of man is his heart, and it rests on inner refinement, on the nurture and unfoldment of the spiritual spark in man.
Right aspiration is the longing for Atma-Swarajya or freedom in the universality of the Self, attainable through the conquest of the internal and the external nature. Self-realisation becomes the goal.

(Contd...)

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