Hindu India: Resonance to Symphony!

By: Shreepal Singh

India is quite a big country in terms of its geographical area but in terms of the persons living here it is one of the biggest countries of the world. Every sixth person in this world is an Indian.

In this country people belonging to almost all major religions of the world – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Parsees, Jews and many Indian beliefs of tribal people – live here. It is an asset of India. It is an amazing resource of composite culture of unique diversity. India in terms of the number of cultures thriving here is the mini-world. It is its beauty.

Out of all these persons belonging to different religions, Hindus account the most. Their population is somewhere near 80% in this country. India is a Hindu country. This Hindu-India – or India under the leadership of Hindus – has evolved over a long period an organic unity among the people of these diverse faiths. The unity of people belonging to all these diverse religious streams into one civilization – Indian civilization – has been achieved under the dominant influence of Hinduism.

But what is this Hinduism? In fact, Hinduism is like a big banyan tree with one root having many branches going to the ground; this Hinduism includes all Indic-faiths – Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Shaivism and, even remotely connecting to Zoroastrianism in antiquity. This Hinduism is the broadest in its vision and therefore the most flexible in its capacity to accommodate by assimilation the elements that outwardly seem foreign to its life.

If we look around us in this world, the stark reality is that it is only in this Hindu India alone in the entire world that, despite Hindu dominance over these multiple religions, all religions are thriving here and the number of their adherents is multiplying at the break neck pace – and that too without any hindrance from the Hindus.

The credit for this religious freedom available in India goes to Hindus, their religion and this religion’s broadest vision of the universal Divine Power and the human life on this planet.

This reality becomes vividly apparent when one compares this happy situation of all religions here in India with the sordid situation of all other religions in those countries where the majority belongs to a religion different from them; particularly it is so in the case of Muslim and Christian countries.

This truth cannot be suppressed any longer that Hinduism is the most tolerant religion of the world and that there is an imperative need on the part of other religions that Hinduism be not only tolerated but respected too in its body and spirit for its unique virtues of freedom, flexibility and accommodation.

In fact, the word “Hindu” is a misnomer. This word is merely a Geo-tag that had been applied by those who came from outside of India to the people living in the land east of River “Sindhu” (Indus) – now in Pakistan – and it should not be understood a religion in the sense of the religions of Christ or Mohammad. Historically Hinduism was then – and is even now – better known as “Sanatan Dharma”. In this twin words, “Dharma” is wrongly translated as “Religion”, which is expressed better by the word “Duty”, and “Sanatan” stands for “Without beginning or end or everlasting”. Hinduism – or Sanatan Dharma – is an elaboration of one’s duty, which is relative dependent upon the time in question, circumstances available at that moment and one’s station in relation to those others towards whom such duty is to be determined. Indian Supreme Court defines Hinduism as a way of life. But this particular way of life is an outer reflection of something deeper within embedded in the Hindu psyche. It is a conviction. It is the conviction of a perspective. What is this Hindu perspective? It is an outlook from humans’ viewpoint, which regards everything in this world to be nothing but a cosmic evolution in eternal cycles of the supreme reality from its singular form to its infinite discrete forms, and back again to that singularity, which (outlook) puts the greatest value on human inquisitiveness, search, knowledge and innovation.

The time has come for our civilized world to realize that these virtues of Hinduism should not be considered its weakness and an undue advantage is not taken of these virtues by other religions, for whatsoever reason or under whatsoever pretext. In this respect, it must be admitted by the international community of intellectuals – at academia and political levels – that the dubious tactics of other religions to convert innocent Hindus by deceit, coercion or enticement – like preying on an unsuspecting game – is highly immoral activity and deprecated so, be this activity carried by them under the supposed command of their God or their God’s prophets.

In a world full of religious diversity and violent conflicts in which we live, it is in the best interest of this world that Hinduism not only should survive but also thrive. Hindu India is not a threat to any country of a different religion. Hinduism is the well-wisher of all – the entire humanity – and without any exception or discrimination, religious or otherwise.

This benign Hinduism has its moral guide in its Sanskrit sacred scriptural Sutras like “Vasudhiva kutumbkam…(the inhabitants of this Earth are like a family)” and “Sarve pashyanti sukhine … (we wish to see all happy, without any pains and miseries…)”, which express its goodwill to all – not only to humans but even to other living beings. This Hindu India has a message of peace, amity and love for all.

The rise of this Hindu India is the rise of humanity. The rise of Hindu India is a good omen for this world afflicted with hate, violence, pains and miseries. The world should cherish and welcome this rising of Hindu India – and should condemn all those who are at the business of ringing an alarm bell at this rise. In fact, this violent world should lend a helping hand to this India in its efforts to rise as a spiritual power – that is, the flag bearer of the Universal Supreme Divine Power, wherein all find peace and hope for future; including Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims and all the rest. This rise of a Hindu India becons a possible arrival for us – humans – of the period of peace, amity and enlightenment in the world.

Hindu India is a boon for our world, which is afflicted with warring groups armed to the teeth with atomic weapons. How can this world help the Hindu India rise? What are the obstacles in the way of this India?

The first obstacle is that Hindus – mostly intellectual Hindus – are themselves ignorant of the depth of its well-meaning vision. These intellectuals – teachers, historians, politicians, bureaucrats, artists et al – do not understand, or care to understand, this depth. They have negative views of this benign and sublime Hinduism and their negative views are echoed by the mainstream media. They lampoon Hinduism for its negative side degeneration, without realizing that every good thing degenerates with the passage of time and needs periodic cleansing.

The first need is to educate Hindus of what Hinduism is all about. Hinduism is a particular perspective of looking at things: our life, society, our duties as humans, this world, universe, immortal time and its scheme etc. This particular perspective is not codified in a single book but has an immense literature in thousands of sacred books, which are mostly in Sanskrit language. It needs highest level of intellectual caliber to understand its contents and contents’ depth, which assertion is testified by the statements of the best of European  minds – philosophers and scientists. To have a holistic view of what Hinduism is all about one has to go deeper into the sacred books of all the Indic faiths, of which particulars have been indicated above. It is suffice to say that the essence of all these Indic faiths is one said in different ways from different human perspectives. Those who fail to understand this synthetic view of Hinduism mistake it to be a disjointed collection of many different religious streams, which is the current fashion among many popular American Indologists – presently being led by Sheldon Pollock.

Hinduism is all about humanism, a balanced way of life, the profound inquisitiveness and inquiry about the secrets of human life and this universe. The answer to this natural human inquisitiveness and inquiry is offered superbly by Hinduism in a vision, which is commensurate with the rigid standards of modern science and which is called Yoga. Yoga – carried by one either by one’s actions or conduct or devotion or knowledge or surrender of will to Supreme Power – begets love and goodwill towards all living beings, opens ways to the secret of this universe, which remain mystic  to normal human mind. The essence of Hinduism executed under the discipline of Yoga is best summed up by Sri Aurobindo – an Indian sage living in this materialist age – in these words: All life is Yoga.

An educated Hindu is the best citizen of the world and an asset to the work of generating its prosperity and happiness.

Education in this Hinduism is the perfect antidote to human mental restlessness, which restlessness is reflected in our unreasonable conduct and which conduct inflicts on our human society painful injustice, miseries and violence.

It is in the interest of the welfare of humanity that Hinduism should be taught to all – here in India and elsewhere in the world.

Democracy is an imperfect political tool – though still a better alternative – not because of its inherently deficient intent or working but because of the ignorance of the people, on major issues, who work with this tool. A large chunk of ordinary citizens are an uneducated lot. It is particularly so in India, where the large number of people because of the unfortunate historical reasons are not only ignorant but poor too.

This learning of Hinduism should not be limited to knowing about what it stands for. This should include knowing about the past – learning how this Hindu conviction and perspective had fared in the past; learning  about the mistakes it had committed in the past and the price it had paid for those mistakes; and,  learning about the present, science and all that is current; and, learning about the evolving future. It is leaning about guiding our evolving world, in a meaningful way and for a better tomorrow for all.

It is the responsibility – the work – of the new generation of Hindus in India and elsewhere to learn and learn fast, and particularly so in India. After all, for how long period can a single political leader like Narendra Modi – a person with an understanding of this Hinduism – carry this heavy load of educating our ignorant Indian masses? Hindus – particularly their young generation – need get educated quickly to successfully utilize this deficient political tool called democracy.

It is testified by authentic historical records that this wide Hindu conviction and perspective was having its sway throughout the length and breadth of a land comprising today’s Afghanistan, Pakistan,Bangladesh and India – not so long ago in the past; and, in the long ago past it even included today’s Iran, Iraq (confer Edward Gibbon to find a female deity being worshiped there in the Hindu manner; relics of this ancient past still surviving among Yezidis, the local inhabitants of Iraq etc.), Thailand (confer the royal title ‘Bhumbal Atulya Tej still extent there), Indonesia (confer Angkor Wat temple), Vietnam (confer its royal title Narottam Singh Nakh), Burma, Japan, China, Sri Lanka (confer Sanghmitra and Mahendra teachings) etc. Why has this wide Hindu conviction and perspective – once having sway in all those places – been lost? What are the lessons to be learnt from the past? It is borne by historical records that Prithvi Raj Chauhan in the first encounter had defeated Mohammad Ghauri. What was the reason that he let go the defeated Ghauri alive? Did he consider himself an invincible human being? Should one close his eyes to the stark reality on his fanciful ideas? All these things must be analysed and lessons learned, in order that they may be usefully be applied to the present to help shape the evolving future.

It is apt to relate the Mahabharata story here. Pandavas had lost everything – their kingdom and wealth, like the India of yore lost everything to come to its dismal present state – and returned from their 14 years’ banishment, just begging to be given only five villages kingship and let them live unmolested in peace, just like present India begging to be left alone in peace. This mode was adopted by Pandavas to avert war and bloodshed. However, habits die hard and war could not be averted, and India has got a lesson to be learnt in Gita to do one’s duty to fight injustice. In today’s context, the world is Kurukshetra of Mahabharata, war is between the ideas, the weapon is the knowledge, the lesson of Gita for Hindus is to fight with this weapon of knowledge and the object of this war is to establish truth, justice and peace.

We know in a string musical instrument, like Sitar, we have many strings or wires to make a music. We know if one wire is struck to make a musical note, then the other accompanying wires – if they are rightly tightened or stretched – automatically respond by making the synchronized musical sound producing symphony, even without touching these wires.

It is called resonance. Resonance is used to amplifying the music to create symphony. But this phenomenon is not limited to music alone. It equally applies to politics in a democracy. In the Hindu India democracy too, Indians need to resonate to create symphony of a better tomorrow for all.

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, by touching – striking – one string of the musical instrument of Indian democracy, has already produced a melodious musical note. Now it is for this Hindu India to resonate with that note to create a beautiful symphony – the symphony of a developed, tolerant and humane Hindu India – with a message of peace and goodwill to all.

%d bloggers like this: