1 The Situation at Present
2 Sanãtana Dharma Versus Prophetic Creeds
3 The Spiritual Centre of Hindu Society
4 Hindu Spirituality Versus Monotheism
5 The Basis of Universal Spirituality
6 Revival of Universal Spirituality
7 Starting Point of Universal Spirituality
8 Christianity and Islam: Ideologies Of Imperialism
9 Character Of Nehruvian Secularism
10 The Trap and the Way Out
The Situation at Present
In an earlier series, Hindu Society under Siege, I had dealt with the forces which threaten Hindu society, and are striving to throttle it out of existence with aid and abetment from their international allies.
I undertook, at that time, to write another series regarding the steps which Hindu society should take in order to break out of the siege, and snatch the initiative from its sworn enemies.
I have delayed this second series deliberately. Firstly, I wanted to watch and weigh the reactions from the readers of the first series. Secondly, the more I thought over the subject, the more diffident I grew about my own competence to deal with it adequately.
The response from the readers has been positive. I have received many letters of appreciation from Hindus residing in all parts of the country as well as abroad, and belonging to all sections of society and age groups. Most of them have congratulated me for articulating, in clear and concrete terms, what they themselves have felt instinctively and for a long time.
A few scholars and journalists who have never been known for their sympathy for Hinduism or Hindu causes have, however, remarked caustically that I have failed to frighten them. Some other birds of the same feather have dived deeper and referred to my mentality rather than refute my facts or demolish my logic.
It was far from my intention to frighten any one, far less the Hindu society which I aspire to serve. But our hand-to-mouth scholars and journalists have only a number of shibboleths up their sleeves. If one says that some events and trends are pregnant with bright possibilities, they dismiss him as a dreamer. On the other hand, if one draws attention to dangers that are maturing, they attack him as an alarmist. What they always refuse to do is to join a serious debate on any subject. And yet they strut around with superior airs as if they know all the answers. Most of the time these superior airs hide only stark ignorance, mental sloth, and moral indifference. I will not, therefore, enter into an argument with this tribe.
My diffidence, however, is an altogether different matter. Defence of a living and complex entity like a society is no easy task. It needs a sure touch which has to be sympathetic at the same time. A defence which does not take into account the spiritual, moral, and cultural aspirations embodied in and expressed by a society, can endanger rather than energize it.
This diffidence is doubly warranted in the case of a vast and variegated society such as the Hindu society, the like of which has been seen only rarely in human history, at least not on this scale. It is perhaps presumptuous on my part to deal with a subject which can be handled adequately and wholesomely only by sages, seers, saints, and visionaries. At the end of this exercise, I may only prove the old adage that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Hindu society has grown and shaped itself in the vision of Vyasa and Valmiki, Manu and Yajnavalkya, Narada and Vasistha, and a hundred other exponents of Sanãtana Dharma in all its dimensions and dynamics.
Hindu society has been inspired through the ages by such mighty ãtras as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, the Jainãgama, the TripiTaka, the various Yogaãstras, the VãNî of Siddhas and Sants, and the devotional outpourings of Alvars and Nayanars.
Hindu society has been defended, during its days of distress, by such high-souled heroes as Chandragupta, Skandagupta, Vikramaditya, Yasodharman, Bapa Rawal, Jayapala, Bhojadeva, Prithiviraj, Prataparudra, Vir Pandya, Harihara and Rana Sanga.
Hindu society has fought a long-drawn-out struggle for freedom against Islamic invaders under the leadership of such veterans as Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, Maharaja Surajmal, Banda Bairagi, Lokmanya Tilak, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, and Sardar Patel.
Hindu society has been reawakened and reformed by such visionaries as Bankim Chandra, Maharshi Dayananda, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath, and Subramanya Bharati.
It is small wonder, therefore, that I feel like an intruder in this august field. No one is more aware than myself of the limitations of head and heart from which I suffer. Adapting a metaphor from Kalidasa, I can state my case in the following loka:
kva dharma-prabhavah tantrah,
kva ca alpa-viSayã-matih,
titîrSuh dustaram mohãd,
uDupena asmi sãgaram.
(I am a small mind when it comes to understanding the social system which has been shaped by Dharma; It is only in a fit of folly that I am attempting to cross the great ocean by means of a ramshackle raft.)
BUT MY HEART BLEEDS
But my heart bleeds when I see this great society being attacked by sheer barbarians whose only weapon is either a criminal theology masquerading as religion, or a materialist dogma sustained by the lowest in human nature, or a phoney modernism parroting the latest slogans from the West. My mind is deeply disturbed when I witness the leaders of this great society going on the defensive in the face of wanton aggression from inhuman ideologies whose only stock in-trade is self-righteous spite.
I fail to understand the selective journalism which spotlights only the atrocities on Harijans when statistics go to show that caste Hindus provide many more victims to violence in our countryside, which plays up only stories of bride-burning without caring to find out what is happening to old parents in many modern homes under the spell of an imported culture which places a premium on what is described as youth, which accuses Hindu organisations of aggression in every communal strife without investigating the hard facts about provocation from the so-called minorities, and which, in short, replaces serious debate on every subject with a few mindless cliches – reactionary and progressive, right and left, capitalist and socialist, revivalist and modern, communal and secular, and so on.
OPENNESS OF HINDU SOCIETY
History stands witness that Hindu society has never refused to listen to those of its critics who have had the good of this society at heart. This society has always accepted every well-intentioned advice, and tried its best to reform and renew itself. This society has always hanged its head in shame before every well-deserved reprimand, and done a penance in good time, provided the reprimand has come from those whose credentials are not in doubt.
Hindu society has never been a closed society which catches cold at the very first whiff of a wind from outside. It has never been a fundamentalist fraternity parroting the pontifications of self-appointed prophets, or burning the entire incense of its reverence at the altar of ridiculous revelations, or ruling out every rational and reflective discussion of its dogmas. It has never been a regimented flock grovelling in an orgy of sinfulness which can be washed only by the blood of God’s only-begotten son, or waiting helplessly for fiats from God’s viceregent on earth.
On the contrary, Hindu society has been the meeting point as well as the melting pot of as many spiritual visions as the human psyche is capable of springing up spontaneously. It has been a willing and welcoming platform for as many seers, sages, saints, and mystics as have responded to the deeper stirrings in the human soul. It has been a repository of as many metaphysical points of view as human reason can render in human language. And it has been a vast laboratory for as many cultural, social, economic, and political experiments as human nature in its widest range can carry out and cope with.
A PAINFUL SIGHT
It is, therefore, a painful sight that the spokesmen of some puny and petrified ideologies should be pointing accusing fingers at Hindu society, and that this society should fail to muster sufficient self-confidence to repel the attack. Hindu society never tries to tick them off in good time with the stem warning they fully deserve. It has never asked them, Who the hell are you? It has never told them, Go and get lost or, better still, do a bit of introspection. You are blind with beams in both your eyes, and yet you have the cheek to raise a hue and cry about a mere mote in one of mine. Here is some sound advice for you. Stop telling lies about me, lest I be forced to tell the truth about you.
What is worse, a brood of professional Hindu-baiters has tried and tested an armoury of cheap gibes – polytheism, pantheism, idolatry, brahmanism, obscurantism, revivalism, fundamentalism, communalism, and the rest – and discovered to its great glee that the gibes hurt. It is a sorry spectacle indeed that this society should take these gibes as well-deserved reproaches for its own good, and indulge in an orgy of breast-beating at the behest of every Hindu-baiter. The sworn enemies of Hindu society have made a great game out of some scare-words in order to keep Hindu society on the defensive, and go on drawing apology after apology from the spokesmen of this society, day in and day out.
THE BROOD OF HINDU-BAITERS
Here we have the inheritors of some blood-soaked bigotries holding aloft the flag of monotheism, and denouncing Hindu ways of worship as polytheism and idolatry. Hindu society has yet to scan the scriptures of these criminal creeds, and have a close look at their prophets, saviours, and saints. The day Hindu society does that, these creeds will beat a hasty retreat, and know not how to defend their dark doctrines and horrid heroes.
Here we have the erstwhile traffickers in slave trade trumpeting about human brotherhood and social equality, and brushing aside the whole of Hindu society as a beehive of brahmin domination, caste discrimination, degradation of women, bonded child labour, and what not. Hindu society has yet to review the matrix of their societies, and expose the true character of human brotherhood and social equality from the annals of their remote as well as recent history. The day Hindu society does that, the human brotherhood will give up its bark, and the social equality shed its self-righteousness.
Here we have the salesmen of a proletarian revolution denouncing Hindu society as primitive, feudal, semi-colonial, capitalist, and full of class oppression in all stages and forms. Hindu society has yet to peep into their proletarian paradise, and raise the curtain on a vast salve empire sustained by mass slaughter and ceaseless terror. The day Hindu society does that, the socialist swearology will lose its sting, and know not how to hide the horrible scene.1
Here we have the minions of a mercenary culture dishing out lectures on individual freedom, rule of law, parliamentary democracy, secular state, human rights, rate of growth, distribution of prosperity, abolition of poverty, and arrest of population explosion. This imported culture frowns at the fundamental failures of the Hindu social system and the hurdles on the path of progress presented by the Hindu cultural milieu. They advocate rapid modernization of Hindu society in the image of this or that Western model. Hindu society has yet to expose this pompous priestcraft patronized by foreign foundations, multinationals, secret services, and defence departments of the West, and place on public view what is hidden behind its pretentious verbiage.
The day Hindu society does that it will show that their notion of individual freedom does not function beyond a small class of the English-educated fraternity; that their rule of law provides justice only for those who can pay the price; that their parliamentary democracy is a game of multiplying grievances in the minds of people who are then manipulated by self-seeking politicians in a ruthless pursuit of power; that their secular state is a promoter of separatism among the so-called minorities some of which have been artificially carved out of the Hindu society itself; that their human rights mean the right of plain criminals to terrorize innocent citizens; that their rate of growth really refers to the growth of their own bank balances besides what they themselves bemoan as black money; that their distribution of prosperity means distribution of the better and bigger jobs among themselves; that their abolition of poverty means sweeping the mass destitution under the carpet of doctored statistics; and that their arrest of population explosion works out towards reducing the Hindus to a minority in the only Hindu homeland. As regards their Western models, all of them are sick with rising curves of crime, with boredom bred by excess of hedonism, and with pollution at all levels – physical, psychological, psychic, and spiritual – produced by hyper-industrialism and soulless commercialism.
Here we have some two-faced secularists who try to impress Western audiences by talking glibly about Indian yoga and mysticism, Indian schools of philosophy, Indian panorama of sciences, Indian styles of music and dance, Indian languages and literatures, and the Indian genius for unity in diversity; but who go into uncontrollable tantrums if someone tells them that what they are taking pride in is the Hindu cultural heritage, or describes India as the Hindu homeland. The same secularists not only do not object but also approve and applaud when some of this cultural heritage is credited to Islam, or when visiting VIPs from Islamic countries refer to India as the second largest Muslim country. These are the people who have fashioned India’s foreign policy in a manner which makes India look like the leader of an aggressive Islamic bloc rather than a peaceful nation pledged to non-alignment and friendship for all.
Hindu society has yet to affirm that all this spiritual, cultural, philosophical, and scientific heritage is Hindu, and that no one who is ashamed of being named a Hindu has a right to take pride in it. Hindu society has yet to proclaim that India has always been and will always remain a Hindu homeland, and that people who fail to come to terms with Hindu society and culture have no place in this country. Hindu society has yet to point out that the only contribution of Islam has been the ruination of this country in medieval times and Partition with wide-spread bloodshed in the recent period, and that projection of Pan-Islamism in India’s foreign policy is neither sanctioned nor supported by the Hindu masses who have no illusions about Islam, or Islamic culture, or Islamic causes, or Islamic countries.
THE FAILURES OF HINDU SOCIETY
Hindu society has so far failed on all these fronts because it has failed to see the closed creeds and criminal ideologies for what they are. It has been suffering from self-forgetfulness, and has been taken in by the self-righteous slogans raised by these creeds and ideologies. It has tried to ransack its own records in search of matching prescriptions. In the process, Hindu society has been yielding ground to wanton aggression all along the line.
Christianity and Islam have only to raise the slogan of monotheism as opposed and supposedly superior to polytheism, and Hindu thinkers go out in search of a similar monotheism in Hindu shastras. At the same time, Hindu scholars line up quotations from the same shastras which are seemingly denunciatory of polytheism and image-worship. The thinkers and the scholars seldom stop to see that the monotheistic creeds are creations of the outer and the lower levels of the human mind, and that nothing which is prescribed by their criminal theologies can have a place in the shastras of Sanãtana Dharma which have their source in the highest reaches of the human soul.
So also in the case of the Christian claim of social service, or the Islamic claim of human brotherhood, or the Communist claim of social equality, or the modernist claim of democracy and secularism, etc. Hindu scholars keep busy marshalling quotations from their own shastras in support of similar ideas, or citing examples from Hindu history of those who put such ideas into practice. The wealth of Hindu spirituality, philosophy, culture, history, and society thus goes on getting weighed in a balance which is tilted against it from the very start. It is small wonder that the entire Hindu heritage is found wanting in the final assessment.
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE OF DEFENCE
The first principle which Hindu society has to observe while preparing its defence is that it will stop processing and evaluating its own heritage in terms of ideas and ideals projected by closed creeds and pretentious ideologies. On the contrary, Hindu society will henceforward process and evaluate the heritage of these creeds and ideologies in terms of its own categories of thought, and find out the real worth of Christian, Islamic, Communist, and Modernist claims.
The first need of the hour, therefore, is for Hindus to become aware of the fundamentals of their own faith (Hindu Spirituality), the premises on which their own society has evolved (Hindu Sociology), and the vicissitudes which their own society has experienced in the march of Time (Hindu History). These are the three domains in which the Hindu image has been distorted to the utmost by imperialist thought systems, resulting in a deep sense of inferiority from which Hindus suffer at present.
Hindus have become devoid of self-confidence simply because they have ceased to take legitimate, well-informed, and conscious pride in their spiritual, cultural, and social heritage.
This lack of pride has led to a serious weakening of the Hindu psyche. Hindus are no more prepared to stand up and fight for anything, because they no more believe or feel that anything is worth fighting for, not at least to the bitter end.
The sworn enemies of Hindu society have taken advantage of this enervation of the Hindus. They feel instinctively that threats coupled with some show of violence are sure to frighten the Hindus out of their wits, and make them yield almost anything including precious parts of their homeland.
1 Since I wrote this para in 1983, the proletarian paradise has been exposed as the worst hell known to human history.
Sita Ram Goel (16 October 1921 – 3 December 2003)