Is the rise of Hinduism a threat to anyone?
1. Hinduism as a religion or as a nation has never been a threat to any nation and cannot be a threat because Hindustan of all nations of the world, has never been a conquering race and has never engaged in forced conversions. Conquerors from across the world have come to us to partake in our glory and grandeur and have made India their home. They came to loot and plunder; to impose their narrow ‘my-god versus your-god’ religious ideologies, to criticize all our systems and break our faith in the wisdom of our forefathers. They’ve marched their battalions to conquer our lands and our beliefs, but our civilization still survives only because it is based on the Vedantic foundation of the ‘spiritual-oneness of mankind’, the ‘whole world as our family’, and holds all religions, sincerely practiced, as equal paths to one god.
Political greatness or military power has never been our mission. On the contrary, we believe that the very purpose of India that is Bharat is to conserve and preserve all the spiritual energy of the human race, and whenever circumstances are favourable and whenever people and nations look god-wards, the universal spiritual wisdom of mankind is ever available for the benefit of mankind.
2. That Hinduism is a threat to minorities etc. is now the electioneering war-cry of parties vying for power. A new party has suddenly emerged as the new ruling party and the old party is unable to accept its humiliating defeat. They’re now building a narrative that this new entrant is bent upon converting India into a Hindu nation and that the ideology of Hinduism will be a danger to the very fabric of a secular, modern India, that they’ve built. They dislike the idea of a majority Hindu nation, because they claim that it will become Brahminical and caste-driven and then will ignore the lower castes, minorities, etc.
We’re criticized about our caste system because of exploitation and unnecessary privileges, which of course will have to go; but isn’t caste a natural order? Based on our inherited tendencies we can perform different duties. Some can govern; others can be entrepreneurs. Some can teach; others can be farmers. However, these aren’t reasons why we should look up to some and look down on others. Can a teacher be a farmer or can a farmer be a teacher? You may be clever in governing but that is no reason why you should trample on my head; These privileges and judging will have to go. Caste is the only natural way of harmonizing life so that we can grow towards the higher dimensions of life, engaged in a vocation where we can serve society best. People form themselves into groups, and we cannot get rid of that. Wherever we go there will be differences, but that does not mean that there should be these privileges. This is Vedantic culture.
The so-called convent and English-educated-intellectuals, in India and abroad who have been in power so long join forces with political parties in an attempt to demolish the rise of the Hindu-ideology and write articles depicting dangers of a Majoritarian Hindu state; they try to show that yes, the rise of Hinduism is a threat to the lower castes, minorities and the constitutional and other institutes! They deride and protest against the rising hegemony of Hinduism and question how dare India call itself a Hindu nation.
The so-called intellectuals simply ignore and gloss over the fact that throughout history, and even till today, India is always called Hindustan, i.e. the land of Hindus, even by Islamic nations. And, for thousands of years we’ve been enslaved by outside forces of Islam and Christianity, who have tried their best to impose their ‘one-master, one-scripture’ religion on the point of the sword and destroyed our temples and libraries. So, the real wonder would be if Hindus themselves wouldn’t rejoice if Hinduism is on the rise or if India is called Hindustan!
3. The sad part is that we Indians are totally unaware of the wisdom of Hinduism, because in the name of secularism our Vedantic composite culture and our religious principles have never been taught to us in mainstream schooling!
We need to ask: Why have we Indians been denied the knowledge of the Vedantic foundation of our composite culture? Our Constitutions clearly states “India that is Bharat….”, thereby sealing the link of modern India with Bharat, with its rich, ancient Vedantic culture aka Hindu or Hinduism Vedic culture. Up till now, for the past many decades we’re simply following an education system given by the British, which teaches us nothing about the glory and grandeur of India and even the NCERT school text books have nothing good at all to say about Hinduism, though they point out its many ills! No wonder, even the educated Indians, Hindus or otherwise, know nothing about the profound experience-based-Vedantic-wisdom, the foundation of Hinduism.
Education as given to us so far, ignores character-building and nation-building. It has certainly done great good but has also failed to produce selfless leaders and workforce who could be committed to duties and would ‘work in spirit of worship’ for good of society. Our text books teach nothing of our ancient Vedantic culture, about our worldview of ‘oneness’, about the goal of life and the purpose of work, about how to manage our mind, build will power, self-control, etc. Our education has failed to develop love for our nation and commitment to fulfilment of our duties for the good of people.
4. It is time to discover our Bharatiya roots and supplement and complement the present 3R’s education with inputs from the Vedantic foundation of Hinduism, its worldview of ‘oneness’; that man is Spirit and as Spirit we’re one, the whole world is our family, as depicted in the Upanishads. The idea of oneness is the ideal, the vision to be realized. We’re self-centred now and we don’t feel oneness with others. Our composite culture if taught in schools can give us clarity that the purpose of our daily work and life is to gradually grow from selfishness towards unselfishness, from wherever we’re now, in and thru’ our daily work and life. The inspiration to grow towards good, better, best, is to be provided by the academia in participation with religions.
5. Conclusion: The Vedantic culture of the Upanishads as elaborated by Vivekananda in English to Western audiences, if it is brought into main stream schooling will teach us from our very childhood to look upon every man, woman, and everyone as God, whatever be their caste, religion, nationality. Let’s not think we can help anyone; schooling should teach us humility, that we can only serve; serve the children of the Lord, serve the Lord Himself, if you have the privilege… Give up the idea that by ruling over others, you can do any good to them.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.