Nathuram Godse, Sadhvi Pragya and Great Controversy


Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)
  One fails to understand as to why there is so much hullaballoo on Sadhvi Pragya saying that Nathuram Godse was a patriot? He was the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi and he always confessed it but that does not make him unpatriotic.
What is ‘patriotism’? Patriotism is a term, which has not only more than one meanings but also it is an anathema to some people, religions and political ideologies. Hindus take it as the love for their ‘Matribhumi’ or Motherland. Muslims view the entire world as an open field for waging a war to bring it under Islam, where nations and countries cannot be an isolated object of their love or special affection. Likewise, the battle cry of Communists is, “Workers have no country of their own” and “Workers of the world, unite!” Many educated people also go beyond nationalism and praise humanism.
Then, what is the essence of “patriotism” of those who are attached to it, like Godse or Sadhvi Pragya? In fact, the issue involved in this attachment to and affection for a nation by some people – particularly in the context of Hindus and India – is much deeper than it looks on the face of it while talking about patriotism.
Patriotism even when it is loved by some people has not a uniform meaning – it has different meanings for the people of different countries. Patriotism of, say, Russia or Germany is not like the patriotism of Kurd and Yazidis of Iraq, Jews of Israel,  Hindus of India etc.
Why it is so? It is because of their peculiar history. Though in its essence, patriotism of a people may be defined as their love to their motherland. But different countries have different history, and so the context of their patriotism is different in each case. The patroitism of Godse – and the defence of his patriotism by Sadhvi Pragya – has to be evaluated on this understanding of this word ‘patriotism’.
India was a vast – if not the vastest – country in the world a few thousands years ago. It has a very long history. Its history is rich in culture and civilization values. Indian people, particularly Hindus who were 90% half a century back and still are 80% here, are not a dead civilization – they are alive to their this long history and cherish it. But this Hindu India has suffered much pain and injury, which pinch them. Starting with Mohd. Bin Kasim around 728 AD, through Mohd Ghori, Mohd Ghazani, Khiljis, Mughals to Aurangzeb, this Hindu India has suffered much. They smart under agony.
If one objects to this reference to past as this being only a matter of history, which cannot be changed or undone now, then let him be reminded by us that everyday is the making of history of tomorrow – the history of tomorrow is being made today. Then, everything being done today is justified as the things done in the past had been justified then. Trifle things don’t convince people and one must come to the substance of the matter.
Now on to Godse!
Just see what had been advocated for and done to India under the national leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in 1947 ! Gandhi advocated, Hindu India must face religious violence of Muslim League and its criminal goons with love and non-violence! Many a times, many Sikhs and Hindus did practice this nonsense – and in the consequence they were murdered by Muslim criminals, who were burning under religious zeal of creating a pure land of Islam – called Pakistan – and waging a war of Jihad against Kafirs.
Once when a Punjabi – whose entire family was murdered by Muslim mob in Pakistan, weeping in agony asked Gandhi, “Bapu, my all family members have been killed; what am I to do now?” Gandhi replied, “Face the mob without violence from your side; how did you come back alive; go back to that place again and face those killers with love” (available on internet resources). One has to see and judge Godse and his patriotism on the anvil of such historical events. What was done to Guru Teg Bahadur by Aurangzeb? What is the religious mission of a Muslim Caliph in the world? And why did Gandhi advocate the support (by Hindus) for the Khilafat Movement of Muslims and himself worked for its restoration? While judging the virtue or vice of Godse’s patriotism, it has to be answered by those who think the taking of the name of Godse is the greatest sin.
One has to add one more thing – a weight – to the scale while judging Godse’s patriotism. A leader – be he Mahatma Gandhi or someone else – is supposed to be aware of the history. Gandhi was supposed to know why Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded; why Prithviraj was killed by Mohd Ghori; or why Mohd bin Kasim was killed Raja Dahir. The list is long.
If Gandhi is supposed to be aware of the Indian history, why did he insist that Muslims should not go from India to Pakistan? In Pakistan there were 23% Hindus who chose to stay there in 1947 and now in 2019 they are about 2% – why did Gandhi in 1947 not anticipate this inevitability falling on Hindus of Pakistan? Even supposing everything in favor of Gandhi, Gandhi has to answer why there have been so many Hindu-Muslim communal riots in India since 1947? Why Owaisi openly threatens Hindus in India? Should Gandhi not have anticipated in 1947 the inevitability of such threats to Hindu in future? It is not said in vain by some one, “Sometime the generations are made to suffer for centuries because of the wrong committed in a fleeting moment by a person.” Let Godse be judged of what he did with this understanding of Indian history.
In his book ‘The Murder of the Mahatma’, Justice GD Khosla has written that ‘Nathuram Godse had declined to be represented by a lawyer and had made a prayer that he should be permitted to appear in person and argue his appeal himself. This prayer had been granted, and so he stood in a specially constructed dock. His small defiant figure with flashing eyes and close-cropped hair offered a remarkable and immediately noticeable contrast to the long row of placid and prosperous-looking lawyers who represented his accomplices. (Page 18)
Arguing his appeal in the High Court he said that ‘If devotion to one’s country amounts to a sin, I admit I have committed that sin. If it is meritorious, I humbly claim the merit thereof. I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other Court of justice beyond the one founded by the mortals; my act will not be taken as unjust. If after death there be no such place to reach or to go to, there is nothing to be said. I have resorted to the action I did purely for the benefit of humanity. I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack (sic) and ruin and destruction to lacs of Hindus”. (Page 46)
Justice Khosla further writes, ‘the audience was visibly and audibly moved. There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men were coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs. The silence was accentuated and made deeper by the sound of an occasional subdued sniff or a muffled cough. It seemed to me that I was taking part in some kind of melodrama or in a scene out of a Hollywood feature film. Once or twice I had interrupted Godse and pointed out the irrelevance of what he was saying, but my colleagues seemed inclined to hear him and the audience most certainly thought that Godse’s performance was the only worthwhile part of the lengthy proceedings.’ (Page 47)
Now look at those people who stood solidly behind the ‘tukade tukade gang’ for saying ‘hamen chahiye aazadi’ and ‘azmal hum sharminda hain , tere quatil zinda hain’ in the name of freedom of speech and expression and who did not sleep for many nights at the killing of the terrorists of Batala house are shamelessly asking that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur should be hanged only for saying that Godse was a terrorist. As far as the criticism of Mahatma Gandhi is concerned even Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who although did not participate in the freedom struggle even for a day, has ripped apart the duplicity of Gandhi ji in all his writings.
Supporters of Arundhati Roy and Zakir Naik, who are asking for the skull of Sadhvi ji, will have to know that they have been championing the cause of the disintegration of the country. On the other hand, Godse, even while being taken to the gallows, kept on shouting for Akhand Bharat. And those who supported the vivisection of the country are now crying for the blood of the saffron-robed Sanyasin for saying a simple fact that Godse was a patriot. He was guilty of the assassination of Gandhi ji and got the capital punishment for that but that does not make him less patriotic than even the staunches patriot. Sadhvi needs to be supported in her assertion about Godse. Her patriotism is unquestionable and those who are asking for her head cannot be the believer in the constitution of India.

Mongoose and Snake cannot Work for the Common Cause


Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)

Nothing is impossible in politics if rank opportunism becomes the guiding principle and it has been proved beyond any shadow of a doubt after the swearing-in of Udhav Thakre as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The alliance of Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress party and the support of the Samajwadi Party was unthinkable a few weeks ago. Thus, this alliance is nothing less than a miracle but the Yaksha Prashna will continue to haunt everybody about its longevity and capacity to deliver to the people of the state.
Maharashtra is one of the richest states of the country, Mumbai as the financial capital of the country, but on the other hand, the farmers are nowhere in as much distress as they are in this state. Let us hope and pray that the government of diametrically opposite ideologies, whose leaders have been the bitter enemies of one another would work in unison, at least, for the cause of the people of the state.
It is indeed the mockery of the democracy, but some say it is the beauty, that the largest party, the BJP, having won nearly two or two and half times more seats than any of the allying parties is out of power. In a way, it is against the mandate of the people, who voted the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to rule. It is also true that the strike rate of the BJP in the assembly election was nearly seventy per cent i. e. it won almost 70 % of the seats on which it constated. The strike rate of Shiv Sena, the second-largest party, was less than 45 per cent. Therefore, not going by the pre-poll alliance is an appalling betrayal with the people of the state.
There is no point in discussing the whataboutery of the breaking of the alliance, which is as clear as daylight that the overambitious tantrums of the Shiv Sena were the root cause. In this backdrop, one point must always be kept in mind that the alliance has always been an anathema to the Congress unless, of course, it has been in the driving seat. It has always refused to play the second fiddle. Take the example of Chaudhari Charan Singh, who had to resign even without facing the trust vote in the Lok Sabha. Chandrashekhar had to go in less than four months. Devegowda and Inder Kumar Gujral had to suffer all insults and indignities but even they were not spared. Very recently, the Congress Party made HD Kumaraswamy of Karnataka eat the humble pie.
The alliance of Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress is bound to crumble due to their pulling of power in different directions. Therefore, the people of Maharashtrians will have to keep their fingers crossed about the Thakre government. The snake and mongoose cannot live together in peace for a long.

Substance of Hinduism


By: Professor Shashi Tiwari (Retd.),

Maitreyi College, University of Delhi, (& General Secretary, WAVES, India)

The Vedic religion, as it developed through the centuries as ‘Hindu Religion’ incorporated ideas of different orders. A variety of beliefs, customs, rites and philosophies have amalgamated here to evolve an organic system. From the very beginning, India has witnessed conflicting civilizations. Each has contributed its own share to the common storehouse of Hinduism. According to the famous philosopher, and former President of India, Honorable Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, ‘Hinduism is more a culture than a creed.’ We can see that the spirit of Hinduism is expressed in various ways through rituals, modes of worship, temples, philosophy, theology, dance, music, festivals, values and beliefs, but all have their base in Vedic concepts.

Long tradition of Hinduism has produced many sacred works. The most ancient and authoritative are the revealed literature, the Vedas ‘Śruti’. There are the Saṁhitās, Brāhmaṇas, Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads. The Upaniṣads, record the philosophical and spiritual teachings given by the ancient seers. In addition to this, Hinduism has a vast corpus of auxiliary scriptures including the two great epics, the Ramāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata. The Bhagavad-Ḡitā is regarded as the essence of the Mahābhārata. These epics have had a profound influence on all aspects of Hindu life and culture in India for thousand of years. Then there are eighteen Purāṇas, rich in myth and symbol of which the best known is the Shrimad-Bhagavatam but traditionally epic and purāṇas are considered as the extension of Vedic texts in their contents and style.

A verse from the Vedas can be considered the essence of Vedic concept of openness– ‘Ā no Bhadrāḥ kratavo yantu Viśvataḥ (YV 25.14; RV1.89.1) meaning ‘Let the noble thoughts come to us from every side’.

This statement reflects the spirit of Vedic outlook which is stated in another Vedic verse as- Ekam sad viprā bahudhā vadanti (RV.1.164.46), ‘there is one and the same Reality but the wise ones describe it in many ways.’ That Reality is responsible for generation (creation), operation (sustenance), and dissolution (merger). The Upaniṣad declares that ‘one Supreme Being manifests in all humans, animals and other beings and one who understands this happens to be liberated from hatred. Do not create enmity with any one as God is within every one’

  • Yastu sarvāṇi bhūtāni ātmanyevānupaśyati/

sarvabhūteṣu cātmānam tato na vijugupsate// (Isa. Up. 6).

The tolerance for others is an essential quality for spiritual development of any individual. The Sanskrit wisdom proclaims- ‘Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ meaning ‘the entire world is one family’.

I. Rta – The Inherent Law Principle

In Vedic view, Ṛta can be seen as the inherent law principle of the whole entity. The Vedic seers studied nature’s drama very minutely. Sand-storm and cyclone, intense lightening, terrific thunder-claps, the heavy rush of rain in monsoon, the swift flood in the stream that comes down from the hills, the scorching heat of the sun, the cracking red flames of the fire, all are witness to power which is beyond man’s power and control. They felt the greatness of these forces and activities and adorned them distinctively in the Vedic Mantras. Their realization of divine supreme power for managing creation, movement, change and destruction in the whole universe was not without any set arrangement. They called that order ‘Ṛta’ after good deals of observation. Simply it is Eternal Order or Eternal Law. The word is obsolete in modern times, but its negative Anṛita (RV.1.105.6) meaning literally, disorder or chaos, has been used from ancient times as the negative of truth. Ṛta, in broader sense, is more than truth as it includes justice and goodness. Ṛta gives integration to natural substances, harmony in environment and reduces chaos to (ordered) cosmos. Hence, the conception of Ṛta has an aesthetic content. It implies splendor and beauty. It is controlling and supporting power. It upholds sun in the sky. Rta as Universal Law governs everything in the cosmos. The whole of the manifested universe is working under it. This is the reason that the Vedic gods, upholding Ṛta, are all lawful, and beautiful and excellent. The brilliance and glory are their significance attributes. Rta exists before the manifestation of any phenomena. The phenomena of the world are shifting and changeable, but this principle regulating the periodical recurrence of phenomena is constant.

Ṛta implies not only the religious and philosophical framework but a total world-view, including the scheme of right conduct under various circumstances. It also implies such concepts as justice, virtue, morality, righteousness, law and duty. Most importantly, love of God is regarded here as the essence of righteousness because through it man becomes pure, kindhearted, honest and virtuous. On the other side, Ṛgveda establishes Śam as ultimate goal in life for being peaceful and happy. All the natural energies, activities, worldly materials and resources are wished to be in harmony and concord for the welfare of all beings (RV7.35.1-15). Harmonization brings desired peace and smooth management which is result of Ṛta.

II. God-Realization and Its Ways

The Vedic view of the Divine is much subtler and deeper in spiritual content than the cults ordinarily known as monotheism and polytheism. This makes a difference in the entire conception of life and religion. According to the Vedic philosophy, God-realization is the main aim of human life. Taittirīyopaniṣad proclaims that god is One and That is the truth.

  • Satyam jañam anantam brahma (Tai. Up. 2.1.1).

God is the sole controller of universe. He is present in all hearts. He is one and indivisible. The whole world is his creation. God is giver of light and warmth to the sun, the moon, and the stars and even to fire according to Kathopaniṣad. He is supreme power in the whole nature. One Supreme God is addressed by different names as Devas.

After a careful consideration, Upaniṣadic philosophy emphasizes that God is the only object of loving adoration. He alone is to be praised and adored for Divine assistance through out life. Man can have his direct relation with God without any hindrance and hitch because He looks upon every one and cares for all beings. God can help one out of one’s sorrows and imperfection.

Those who realize and praise God as their savior, creator and father, seek eternal bliss and not others. Muṇḍakopaniṣad declares –yamevaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyaḥ ( Kath.Up. 1.2.23; Mund.Up. 3.2.3).

In fact, attainment of salvation is the ultimate goal of all means in ancient Indian thoughts but without the grace of God it is not possible. As says Kaṭhopaniṣad –‘By the grace of God, Self (Ātman) can realize the glory of Self.

  • Dhatuḥ prasādānmahimānamātmanaḥ(Kath.Up. 1.2.23)

Kenopaniṣad (4.6) and Chāndogyopniṣad (3.14) have laid stress on the Upāsanā of Brahman , which is regarded as the main subject of Sāmveda Saṁhitā .

Vedic religion prescribes openness of thoughts and beliefs. That is the reason we find here description of different modes of worship and various ways of realization of God. Among them four ways are important-

  1. The path of knowledge (Jñāna)
  2. The path of action (Karma)

  3. The path of Meditation (Yoga)

  4. The Path of Devotion ( Bhakti)

It is significant to note that first three paths involve Devotion (Bhakti) for their fulfillment.

Realization of Self is the path of knowledge (Jñāna). But it appears that the way of Jñāna passes through the way of devotion, Bhakti. It needs Self- determination and renunciation with absolute faith in the Great God. The devotion to God is an innermost means of gaining true knowledge. Knowledge devoid of devotion remains as mere information. Knowledge attains its consummation when the aspirant not only knows God, but he feels a consuming love to attain Him. Among all charities imparting of divine knowledge is regarded as the best charity by Upaniṣads and Manusmṛti.

The man of knowledge is called in the Vedas Vipra (wise), Kavi (Poet- Philosopher) and Ṛṣi (seer), and by many such words. Prayers for wisdom (RV 7.32.26; AV 18.3.67), mental power (RV 3.62.10), mental perfection (RV10.25.1), talent (RV 8.4.16; YV 32.14), knowledge of Brahman ( AV 11.5.5), and Brahmcharya (AV 11.5.17-19) are done in Vedic verses here and there. It is regarded that knowledge of Supreme is essential ‘Ya it ta vidus ta ime samāsate’(RV 1.164.39) meaning ‘Those who have known That- they are perfect’.

The second is the way of action (Karma) which means performance of all actions and activities without any desire or motive. In the late religious literature we find a tendency to consider action useless or at best as a necessary evil, but in the Vedas action is accepted as a vital part of human life.

The Vedas give emphasis on living a full life span with health and vigour and in joy of being (RV 7.66.16; YV 36.24; AV 19.67.1-7). The Vedic God Indra is the most typical representation of this conception. The path of Karma-yoga recommends that actions performed without attachment to their results do not bind one –‘Na karma lipyate nare’(YV40.2) meaning ‘thus actions do not cling to man’ and hence lead to God. Śrī Kṛṣṇa called it Niṣkāma Karma in Gītā. He said, ‘Thy business is with the action only, never with its fruits; let not the fruit of action be thy motive, nor be thou to inaction attached’ (Gītā 2.47).

The Indian philosophic system classifies work in three categories – Sāttvik, Rājas, and Tāmas. Niṣkāma Karma comes under the first category, while Sakāma karma and Akarma belong to the second and third categories respectively. However, by self-control and modulation of desires, one can elevate oneself from an Akarma state to the Niṣkāma state.

Niṣkāma does not mean that one would not get fruits out of it. It only suggests that one should work for its own sake and the best of fruits would follow automatically. For achieving this state, Śrī Kṛṣṇa suggests dedication of fruits of all activities to Supreme God. He, who acts offering all actions to God, shaking all attachment, remains untouched by sin as lotus leaf by water. In such cases of complete surrender, it is combined with meditation and single minded devotion of God. God takes all the responsibilities of the individual and rescues him from troubles. Here too, devotion and remembrance of God is essential for detachment from the fruits of actions. The way of action leads to the realm of devotion, when fruits of actions are dedicated to God. With this view the Īśopaniṣad can be referred here. The last four mantras of this Upaniṣad are regarded by Ācharya Śaṅkara, the great commentator, as prayer of a person who has performed actions through out his life and now, at the final departure time, he is asking a superior region (loka) from God.

For the path of Yoga, the method of Iśvarapraṇidhāna (Yogasūtra 1/23) is prescribed by Maharshi Patañjali. It again means ‘dedication to Lord’. He says- ‘Restriction of the fluctuations of mind i.e. Yoga can be attained through dedication to the Lord. Meditation is a necessary accessory of devotion. The Upaniṣads and Gītā emphasize on the contemplation of God at every moment. Śravaṇa, manana, nididhyāsana are said three steps of contemplation. In Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad finally Yājñavalkya explained to Maitreyi, that it is the Self that should be realized, should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon.

’ – Ātmā vā are draṣṭavyaḥ śrotavyo mantavyo nididhyāsitavyo Maitreyi.(Br. Up. 4.5.6)

According to Vedic philosophical thoughts, the God can be realized through the practice of meditation, chanting of His name ‘Om’, surrendering before Him, and absolute dedication. A devoted Yogī realizes His glory and greatness in the form of His grace. Thus these paths are associated directly or indirectly with the devotion to God.

III. The Path of Devotion ( Bhakti)

Of the different ways by which we can concentrate our lives in the Supreme Lord, the way of devotion, the Bhakti Marg is regarded most accessible to all, may (he or she) be the illiterate or the literate. It is the path of devotion to God and submission to His will. The Sanskrit term ‘Bhakti’ means experience as well as practice, reverence as well as love and adoration to God. Gratitude and devotion to God is defined variously in the ancient Indian scriptures. There are many Sanskrit scriptures dealing devotion as their main theme. Sāṇḍilya-Sūtra (1.1.2) defines Bhakti as the deepest attachment and intense longing for God. Nāradabhakti-Sūtra (1.2) defines Bhakti as the highest form of love towards God. The Bhagavadgītā treats the way of devotion at length. The excellence of Bhakti is clearly brought out in the Gītā. Devotion and admiration for God is its highest teaching. This topic has been treated mainly in chapter twelve and in some sections of other chapters of this great treatise. In many places, Gītā states that the Supreme state is attainable through the practice of devotion only. Here, undoubtedly devotion is described as surest, swiftest and easiest path. Devotion to God with all gratitude is regarded as the culmination of all paths in ancient religion of India. But the Vedas are the foundation of this devotional path. Here the Divinity is contemplated as the Lord and in most affectionate terms, as Father, Mother, Brother, Guest and so on. The worshiper seeks Divine Bliss (Swasti). He prays for Divine help (Ūti), benediction (Śam), protection (Śarman), assistance (Avas ), mercy ( Mṛḍa) benevolence (Sumati), love(Vena) etc. God is the Saviour (Trātā) ,the merciful (Marḍitā) and protector(Avitā). He is the most beloved (Preṣṭhaḥ)   and best (Śreṣthaḥ)-RV 10.156.5. Here superlatives are very significant. He as well as the worshiper is described as the Loving Being (Vena- YV 32.8).

According to Vedic ideology Divinity is common and universal. The principal centre of spiritual life is the heart. By inward prayer, we enable the heart to participate in the union with God. By devotion and prayer we attain a state of mind in which we become detached from every thing pertaining to the world and are directly united with God. Devotion (Bhakti) includes faith and love. The faith and devotion are like oars of a boat which lead life towards God. Meditation of God is important for devotion because through it a devotee reaches nearer to God. The invocation of the Divine Names is a part of the spiritual movement of Bhakti. Attributes and characteristics of God are constantly chanted through these names in the prayers. Praise of the One Divine Being is done in prayers of all Indian languages with many names and forms. In Vedas, Om and Udgītha are referred to as important names for the chanting of Brahman.

It is believed that truly devotional and spiritual practice is constant repetition of the name of the God. ‘Remember Govinda, remember Govinda, remember Govinda, O unintelligent! – Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam Bhaja mūḍhamate- is a famous prayer sang by great philosopher Śaṅkara who propounded Advaita philosophy on the basis of Vedas. Through his inner joyfulness and natural bliss a devotee approaches God, the Merciful and Absolute Bliss. Prayer to God in pain and pleasure is a simple attribute of Bhakti.

In the way of devotion, special attention is given to the path of surrender and refuge to God. Śri Kṛṣṇa began to teach Arjun only when he fully surrendered at His feet accepting himself as His disciple. Gītā ends with this note that whoever surrenders to God with his entire ego, will be relieved from all sins. God saves one from all sins and sufferings who takes His refuse. Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Gītā, “By single-minded devotion to Me, it may be possible to understand, to see and enter Me” (11.54). He promises that “My devotee shall never perish” ( Gītā 9.31) and he will be protected from every trouble in his life. In short, following are the essential requisites in the path of devotion and gratitude to God, according to Vedic tradition:

-Single minded devotion to God

-Meditation and chanting of prayers

-Perfect control over mind and senses

-Absence of attachment

-Complete surrender to God

-Seeking Divine Grace and kindness

Devotion to God is regarded the simplest attitude and the most effective way of attaining the highest realization in Hindu tradition ever since Vedic times. For a devotee all actions become the veritable offerings to the Supreme. All his thoughts become God-centric. He is simply to accept God as the only object of his thought, word and action. His life and existence is devoted to living in consonance with His will. A genuine urge and desire is sufficient to make the God take care of the devotee. God is never partial and is equal towards all beings. But since the true devotee always worships Him devotedly, He stands for him and looks after him completely.

IV. Devotion with Knowledge

Knowledge and devotion are complementary. Knowledge and love of God are ultimately one and the same because knowledge is the foundation of devotion. It is typical of Vedic worship that the worshipper seeks the knowledge of the Object to be worshipped. His devotion is not blind, but based on enlightenment. The Devotee asks, ‘who was manifested as the one Lord of creation? Who upheld this earth and the sky? The Divine being was existed in the beginning. Then to whom we shall adore with our oblations?’

  • Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ samavartatāgre Bhūtasya jātaḥ patireka āsit.

Sa dādhāra pṛthivīm dyām utemām kasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema// RV 10.122.1

The devotion is best cultivated when one has accurate knowledge that Supreme resides in all creatures, and is the real motivating force of all actions, and is means and goal of all our attainments. The second verse says, ‘He who bestows soul-force and vigour, whose laws the whole world including deities obeys.’

  • Ya ātmadā baladā yasya viśvam upāsate praśiṣam yasya devāḥ / RV 10.121.2;YV 23.1.

The doctrine that all men, high and low, are equal before God happens to be the central idea of devotion. The sense of essential divinity of man is a special feature of Vedic religion and spiritual idealism. Man establishes his kinship with divine in the mother’s womb according to Ṛgveda (8.83.8). The path of knowledge removes the ignorance which creates diversity of all living beings. One who realizes the Divine as the Loving One finds the whole world united in Him, and the universe comes to have one home.

  • Venas tat paśyan nihitam guhā sad yatra viśvam bhavatyekanīḍam /YV 32.8

In fact, it is knowledge (Jñāna) that finds fruition in devotion. There remains no scope for dualism and diversity in devotion. It is the basic realization of his imperfection that makes the devotee grateful and appreciative to the Lord. The thirst for union with the Lord is nothing but fervent yearning for perfection.

V. Divine Grace and the Devotee

While experiencing devotion to Supreme God, worshiper looks upon Him as Father, Creator, Saviour, Great Support, Helper, Friend, Merciful One and Most Beloved and prays for His grace. There are numerous Vedic mantras which express this type of feeling of devotee which is according to Bhakti ideal. For instance, a few are given below:

-Yo naḥ pitā janitā yo vidhātā/ RV 10.82.3

-Sa naḥ pitā janitā sa uta bandhuḥ/ AV 2.1.3

-Sa no bandhr janitā sa vidhātā/ YV 32.10

-Uta vāta pitāsi na uta bhrātota naḥ sakhā/ SV 1841

For a sincere devotee, God is full source of all strength, spiritual as well as physical. This results in absolute surrender to Him. In Him he has his ultimate refuge. Consequent upon the complete surrender, the divine grace (Kripā) comes. A mantra of Agni describes him as the great refuge of man, ‘I will bring you oblation. I will send you my prayer. You are adorable in our invocations. O Deity! O King! You are fountain in the desert to a worshipful man.’

-Pra te yakṣi pa ta iyarmi manma bhuvo yathā vandyo haveṣu/

Dhanvanniva prapā asi tvamagna iyakṣve pūrave pratna rājan// RV 10.4.1 8

Here we find an attitude of worship in keeping with what has come to be known latterly as the spirit of Bhakti. As in the desert the thirsty man is saved by a fountain of water found in oasis, so in the world man is saved by Divine grace. When love deepens and absolute surrender happens, the grace of God descends on the devotee. God seems to be under the control of such a devotee. In Gītā, Lord Kṛṣṇa says, “He who is ever content, harmonious, self-controlled, determined, with mind and reasons dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me” (Gītā 12.14). The worshiper seeks only Divine Bliss, help, benevolence, love, and protection. When a devotee disregards everything except devotion to God, it becomes responsibility of God to take care of the devotee. The devotee regains peace by meditation and seeks grace of God by prayer. The attractions of love between the worshipper and the Deity have found fine comparisons in a mantra. ‘ Like cattle to the village, like warriors to their horses, like loving milky cows to their calves, like the husband to the wife, may the deity, the Upholder of the heaven, Lord of all bliss, turn towards us’.

  • Gāva iva grāmam yuyudhi ivāsvān vāśreva vatsam sumanā duhānā/

Patiriva jāyām abhi no nyetu dhartā divaḥ savitā viśvavāraḥ//RV 10.149.4

He experiences the grace of God within him in every situation. God does not refuse His grace to any one who is his sincere devotee. Grace is said to be divinely bestowed to devotees without any discrimination. According to this, the chief thing in religion is Divine grace which is most needed by the humble and distressed. The devotee constantly realizes that all he has and all that he enjoys are from God who in His infinite kindness has endowed him with these. Even a Jñāni or karmīworships Almighty for His grace at the time of his death for better future.

VI. God’s Gifts to Man and Man’s Thanks to God

The gifts of God to men are as varied as men are varied. In Vedic way of life devotee expresses thanks with all modesty to God and praises Him with all sincerity for his wellbeing and his achievements from the sunrise till the end of the day through performing various religious practices, yajans and prayers. Praise and thanks are due to Him for life, health, food, intelligence, society and the whole creation. All the achievements and capacities in life are only possible due to the grace of God. Elements of nature that sustain life such as trees, sun, wind, day and night are all expressions of His grace. Truthful devotees thank God for His grace whenever they pluck a flower or a leave, whenever they take a bath in any holy river, whenever it rains, when there is sunrise or sunset, when there is good harvest and so on. In every prayer to God the devotee expresses hearty praise and thankfulness to God for his existence and wellbeing. Prayers, illustrate God and various deities as father and mother Who can protect the worshiper. All namaḥ is nothing but thankfulness. It shows sense of honour and gratitude towards respectable.

  • Namo Bharanta emasi /RV1.1.7
  • Tryambakam yajāmahe/ YV 3.60 9

  • Bhūyiṣṭham te nama uktim vidhema/ RV 1.189.1; YV 3.25, 40.16

  • Similarly, a popular Sanskrit Prayer says, “You are my mother, You are my father, You are my relative, You are my friend, You are my learning, You are my wealth and You are all and every thing for me.”

    Tvameva mātā ca pitā tvameva tvameva bandhuśca sakhā tvameva/

    Tvameva vidyā draviṇam tvameva tvameva sarvam mama devadeva//

    Feeling of gratitude involves one’s thought, speech and action. It is desired by a devotee that God always be in his memory so that he can lead a happy life by thanking Him. Devotee sings enumerable glories of God with feelings of dedication, and surrender to Him. He performs religious rites for his purification and also for pleasing God. Praise and prayer to God is a natural function of a holy man because he likes to listen and sing enormous glories of God.

    • Tajo asi tejo mayi dhihi/ Vīryam asi vīryam mayi dhihi/

    Balma asi balam mayi dhihi/ YV19.9

    VII. Expression of Gratitude to God

    According to Vedic view, various types of help and support received in one’s growth can be classified into three categories. They are – family and friends, 2. The great sages, and 3.God. These are called three debts – Pitri Ṛṇa, Ṛṣi Ṛṇa, and Deva Ṛṇa. Family and friend provide help and support in our immediate necessities. The great sages and teachers have provided the various levels of knowledge about life and nature which is always very helpful in our growth. God has provided us life and every thing to lead a good life. ‘Jīvem Śardaḥ Śatam’ is a famous prayer of Vedic origin. Besides, He has provided vast nature and its beautiful variations through seasons and other diverse elements for sustenance and growth. The Vedas direct that one has to repay these debts in one’s life by performing certain prescribed actions and above all, by expressing gratitude for them time to time through prayers or yajans. The act of giving earnest thanks is an elevating one because it also expresses the humility and humbleness of a person and reflects one’s wisdom in recognizing the limitation of the individual ego and ability. It also provides everyone a calm, blissful and joyous frame of mind.

    VIII. Perfection Pertains to Providence

    For everlasting peace and bliss of mankind it is imperative that human beings should possess some divine qualities. In comparison to Maker, man is a feeble and frail creature full of flaws and foibles. Man, however strong he may be, is after all a tiny creature in the vast cosmos. Hence, he should not be puffed up with pride over his victory and forget his magnificent Master who is Supreme and sole Sovereign of the universe. He should ascribe his triumph to grace of God. He should resign himself to the will of Magnificent Maker and entrust all his desires and deeds to benign Benefactor. Man is abode of errors. Perfection pertains to Providence only. Admiration is attributed to omnipotent Almighty only. Obeisance suits Supreme Being only. Eulogy and praise befit beneficent Giver of bliss only. Adoration behooves benign Being only. A prayer from the Veda says: ‘Profound obeisance is offered to Provider of bliss! Heartfelt homage is paid to beneficent Lord! Sincerest salute is made to benevolent God! Affectionate adoration is rendered to blissful and benign Supreme Being!’

    -Namaḥ śambhavāya ca mayobhavāya ca/ namaḥ śankarāya caMayaskarāya ca/

    namaḥ śivāya ca śivatarāya ca// -YV 16.41

    IX. Bhakti Tradition in Ancient India

    The charm of Gītā, Divine Song, appears more decided, when we find there an assurance from God about his constant relation and unconditional love with devotee. The ninth chapter deals with Divine constitution in which all creatures rest. The Lord describes that the surest way to approach Divine is to have unswerving devotion ( Ananyā bhakti) with a life and conduct set forth in the scriptures. The verse says, “On Me fix your mind; be devoted to Me, worship Me, prostrate yourself before Me, harmonized thus in the Self, you shall come unto Me, having Me as your supreme goal” (Gīta ̄9. 34). “By one-pointed devotion to Me alone will you be able to know Me, see Me and enter Me” (Gītā 11.54). The eleventh chapter is called Viśvarūpadarśna i.e. the vision of the universal form of the Almighty. Here Śrī Kṛṣṇa showed his Almighty form to Arjun to widen his vision and to put into his mind a higher conception of worship. Finally Arjun, amazed and puzzled by the glorious manifestation of the God, offered his prayers wholeheartedly, “I fall before You, with my body, I worship as is fitting; You bless me. As father with the son, as friend with friend, as lover with the beloved, please bear with me. O Supreme God! Be pleased and kind to me” (Gītā 11.44, 45).

    The Bhakti movement attained intensity and sweep up in different parts of India during medieval times. The Vedantic doctrines of Ramānuja and his disciple, Ramānanda, were the main source of inspiration for this reform movement. Ramānuja declared that it was possible for all men to attain communion with God and enjoy eternal bliss through devotion. His simple maxim was: “Let no one ask a man’s caste or sect, whoever adores God, is God’s own.” He traveled far and wide. He has twelve disciples. Of them, Raidāsa was a cobbler, Dharṇa an untouchable peasant, Senā a barber, and Kabīra a low caste weaver. This was the case with other religious reformers also. The great Tulsīdāsa who lived in the time of Akbar, was a brāhamin by birth but he left parents in his childhood to become a minstrel and a devotee of God. He wrote immortal poetry on Śrī Rāma but his Rāma was none other than eternal God. He desired only His absolute devotion for attaining His grace and thus Tulsīdāsa prayed, “I don’t have any other desire in my mind despite a desire that I can get the devotion, bliss and grace of God.” Dādu, leader of the Bhakti movement in Rajputanā, was a low caste spinner. Nanak was the son of a small trader. The Marathi poet, Nāmadeva was a tailor, while Tukāram was a low caste trader. The great Bengal saint Chitanya, belonged to a poor family but he showed the path of divine Bliss through devotion to God by His popular name Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Vemannā, the celebrated poet of Andhra, was an illiterate peasant. In short, the doctrine that all men are equal before God, became the central idea of this movement.

    These saints were neither idle philosophers nor arm-chair social reformers. They were active among the people and earned their livelihood by hard work. They raised voice against blind superstition and the caste system, and proclaimed the equality of all men before God.

    Kabīra, the fifteenth–century saint of Hindu -Muslim unity, said: “The Hindu God lives at Banaras, the Muslim God at Mecca. But He who made the world, lives not in a city made by hands. There is one Father of Hindu and Muslim, one God in all matter.” Some of his poems sang the unity of Hindu and Muslims: “In all vessels, whether Hindu or Muslim, there is one soul.” Again he proclaimed, “There is one earth and only one potter, one is the creator of all, all the different forms are fashioned by one wheel.” All saints of this movement proclaimed that in the way of devotion all people, irrespective of caste, color, creed and lineage, are basically divine and have innate urge and potentiality for liberation. Among the modern thinkers of India, the name of Swami Vivekānanda is significance in this context. He was a disciple of Śrī Rāmakṛṣna Paramahaṁsa whose association gave a new implication to his life.

    Śrī Rāmakṛṣna, as is well known, has sincerely practiced the various leading faiths, including Christianity, Islam and several approaches of Sanātana Dharma, one at a time, and attained God-realization through them all. Hence, the followers of several religions hold the Paramahaṁsadeva in great esteem. Particularly, his significant pronouncement pertaining to ‘more than mere religious tolerance’ – yato mat tatho path – is hailed as a modern carter of religious freedom.

    The sage had said, “All religions are true: one can attain God by any path of one’s choosing provided it is practiced with sincerity and devotion.” Furthermore, and this is equally important in the present-day context, he inspired his favorite disciple, Swami Vivekananda, to commit himself to the service of the poor and the downtrodden whom, alas, the world has in such a large numbers everywhere; not in ‘an enforced or casual manner, but as a service of the living Nārāyaṇas (God-in-men)’. This counsel, later on, came to form the Ramakrishna Mission for ‘selfless service of suffering humanity.’ It is inspiring that even today people are drawn to it with devoted commitment. Swami Vivekānanda took a great effort to join together the springs of India’s religious thoughts. His Vedānta was to view humanity as the manifestations of Divinity.

    X. Conclusion

    Vedic religion teaches moral universalism and gratitude to God. Gratitude or devotion to God has universal appeal because it constitutes the essence of all types of religious practices. Indeed, gratitude to God is an inter-religious concept and a common virtue. The Vedic seers ask us to rise to the conception of God, who is beyond imagine and concept, who can be experienced but not known, who is the vitality of the human spirit and the ultimate of all that exists. This goal represents the transcendent unity of all religions which is above their empirical diversity.

    In fact, the unity of different religions can be realized in an inward and spiritual way. The feeling of gratitude towards God is a common sentiment in all spiritual experience. It is a universal foundation on which rests faith and devotion. But the building that is erected on this foundation differs with each individual. Each individual has, in some sense, his unique experience. The variety of experience adds to the spiritual richness of the world.

    Śrī Rāmakṛṣna used to narrate a short story on the importance of faith. “There are various sects among Hindus, which sect or which creed should one follow? Pārvati once asked Mahādeva ‘O Lord! What is the root of the Eternal, Everlasting, All embracing Bliss?’ To her Mahādeva thus replied, ‘The root is faith.’ Let every one perform with faith the devotions and duties of his own creed.” Finally it can be said that the cult of devotion which was stared by Vedic seers in their expressions through out the Vedic literature, later on developed and continued as the purest feeling of gratitude towards God in our religious tradition of India and thus refuted all man-made discrimination.

    Abbreviations:

    AV-Atharvaveda;

    RV- Ṛgveda;

    SV- Sāmaveda;

    YV-Yajurveda;

    Up. Upaniṣad;

    Kath.Up.- Kathopaniṣad;

    Mund. Up.-Muṇḍakopaniṣad;

    Br.Up.-Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad;

    Tai.Up.-Taittirīyopaniṣad;

    Isa.Up.- Īśopaniṣad

    (Note: This article was first published on this site under a different caption on 21 March 2015)

    Wretched India under the Mughal Rule


     By Vishnu Vardhan

    Though the Mughal rule of India is the mosr painful chapter of its history, the Indian presstitutes have tried their best to create a false impression that common Indians were happy and prosperous under their rule. In fact, the life of common Indian under the Mughal Raj was a wretched one.

    There was an enormous burden of poverty that Indians had to carry in their life. They were like a worm impaled on a nail who was helpless and immobile in its predicament. The poverty was so oppressive that it seemed irredeemable and people had given up struggling against it long back – in its initial stage. There seemed no light to them at the end of the tunnel. In such an environment of hopelessness, there was no easy possibility for them to engage in enterprise, trade and industry – even the agriculture could hardly endure and flourish the Mughals’ royal plunder in the name of normal revenue tax and, for Hindus, extra-normal burdon of Zajia. At best, they could hope to somehow survive and that was their dream.

    There is a great irony of the way in which we Indians have been taught the history. We learn in schools the names of Mughal kings, the monuments they built, the wars they fought or won, their administrative reforms and the likes. All these are taken from what their court historians describe about them. It is not the history of India or Indian people; it is royal history of those kings.

    This royal history is that India was then the richest nation on Earth. Every piece of bullion be – it silver or gold – used to flow into India, like all rivers flow into seas. Nations gave their gold and silver to buy spieces, cloths, precious stones and many specialities like them from india and India had to never buy anything from outside. This India retained all that wealth and grew rich and oppulous. Europeans were so desperate to come to India and enamoured about the wealth of India that they used to get rich in their dreams on coming to India. It is on the authority of books that they themselves wrote.

    Today USA is the richest country in the world. There are a lot of billionaires in the U.S. but still an average American is also rich there. It is so because there is freedom to do business and enterprise, and there is an opportunity for getting education and reap its fruits. It was not so in India during the Mughal rule. The life of an average indian during the Mughal Raj was a wretched one.

    Then in India it was not the prosperity of the economy that made the ruling kings rich; on the contrary, they fattened themselves by churning the country of whatever wealth it had and by extracting all the cream out of it. The people were poor, the country was poor, only the emperors and their amirs were rich. Let us have a look at the quantum of the looted wealth that these Mughal kings had got with them.

    The Royal chest of Akbar at the times of his death consisted of seven million gold muhrs, 100 million silver rupees and 230 million copper dams, and a vast treasure of gems, ornaments, gold and silver bullion. So vast was Akbar’s stock of gold and silver that in 1597, when he was celebrating the festival of the sun in Lahore and a great fire burned down a part of his palace, molten gold and silver were said to have “streamed into the streets”.

    Jahangir’s chest had the precious stones that were eighty pounds (more than five millions carats) of uncut diamonds, hundred pound each of rubies and emeralds and six hundred pounds of pearls, ‘Of the other less important varieties there was infinite’.
    And Shahjahan had built caves under his palace to store huge bars of gold and silver. The chair he sat on – the peacock throne – alone had jewels worth 10 million.
    Aurangzeb’s Vizier wife wore diamond studded chappals worth 1 million.
    Shahjahan’s Vizier has an annual income of 50 lakhs rupees and an average worker was paid 1/40 rupee per day. This fact cracks the best kept secret of the economic condition of an average Indian under the Mughal rule. Its acute pain of common India under the Mughal rule is accentuated manifold when this income is contrasted with the oppulence of the ruler. Shahjahan alone took 36.5 % of tax revenue collected from India for his personal use. He and his Amirs took 61.5 % income. So nearly 70 percent of India’s wealth was with 655 people in Shahjahan’s time.

    Akbar was even worse. Out of 17.5 million pounds of India’s revenue, Akbar alone took 9 million and combined all his 1000 Amirs took nearly 85%. So 120 million Indians lived only on 15% of income. It is an irony that Akbar, the tyrant, is dubbed as Akbar, the great. He was a tyrant who had squeezed sweat and blood of people and lorded over them. All he did was to make a good administrative system to extract Taxes from common man without giving back anything to them. One should be cautious when reading their court historians like Abu Fazal or Ain-i-akbari and believing statements on that basis that Akbar was a great benevolent or progressive king. He was no better than a Khilji or a Lodi.

    Mughal kings extracted revenue as high as 50 % from farmers. One should remember that today farmers have no tax to pay.
    Since most of these mughal rulers never invested on canals, ponds or any kind of irrigation system, recurring famines were normal part of life of india. These occurred every season in some part of their empire.
    Some of those famines were extremely severe.

    During the reign of Shahjahan – there was a severe Famine in Deccan and Gujarat which claimed 30 lakhs lives. One Dutch traveller Von Twist has described the famine in such a piteous and tragic way that tears will flow down in our eyes. He says “Men deserted their wives and children. Women sold themselves as slaves. Mothers sold their children. Children deserted by their parents sold themselves. Some families took poison, and so died together; others threw themselves into the rivers. Mothers and their children went to the river-bank, and drowned themselves hand in hand, so that the rivers flowed full of corpses. Some ate carrion flesh. Others cut up the corpses of men, and drew out the entrails to fill their own bellies; yes, men lying in the street, not yet dead, were cut up by others, and men fed on living men, so that even in the streets, and still more on road-journeys, men ran great danger of being murdered and eaten.Terrible tragedies were seen every day. It was reported that “a mother had killed and cooked her only son . . . that husbands had eaten their wives, wives their husbands, children their parents . . . Some of our Dutchmen, coming from Ahmadabad, found some people sitting at a little fire where hands and feet were cooking, a terrible thing to see. Even worse was it in the village of Susuntra, where human flesh was sold in open market.”

    Aurangzeb caused many more famines in Deccan war with his scorched heat war, where his soldiers used to burns lakhs and lakhs of acres of farms to punish the deccan kings. Mustaid Khan in his description of a famine that devastated the Deccan during Aurangzeb’s siege of Golconda says: “ Kos after kos (mile after mile) the eye fell only on mounds of corpses. The incessant rain melted away the flesh and the skin . . . After some months when the rains ceased, the white ridges of bones looked from a distance like hillocks of snow.”

    Says Manucci about yet another famine towards the close of Aurangzeb’s reign in these words: “In those two years (1702-04) there expired over two millions of souls; fathers, compelled by hunger, offered to sell their children for a quarter to half a rupee, and were yet forced to go without food, finding no one to buy them.”

    Do we know that Shahjahan – who built TajMahal for his 3rd wife [He is always shown holding a flower and sings great songs like Jo Wada Kiya Who nibhana parerga in movies] – had started a community kitchen and spent a grand sum of 5000 per month of famine relief? In all he spent 1 lakh in 20 months which is 1/10 of the make up money spent by his Queen Mumtaz.

    India produced world’s highest amount of food grains but the famers were starving as empire took away everything. We exported clothes to every part of the world but the weavers were naked, our artisans and workers produced every article in the world, which was exported by Mughals and their nobels to the world, and this brought back all the gold in the world to India. But those artisans died in penury; they starved. When Aurangzeb invaded Deccan the 3/4 of artisans died due to starvation.

    We had the biggest gold mines, diamond mines, copper, silver, coal mines but there was not even a gram of gold in 99 % of people’s homes.

    Wages were so pathetic – a labour earned only 80 paise per month. Slaves earned even less and most were not paid. An Amir employed 500 people just as torch bearers and each elephant had 12 people to look after it and Jahangir’s Dog had 50 people working for it. People and labour were dead cheap. Working for 16 hours didn’t fill theit stomach.

    As there was no incentive to grow, build an enterprise and there was no example where had work had made a person rich, people had no desire to progress; they only tilled hard to fill their stomach. Generations after generations toiled till their death and many died a premature death.

    References

    Pelsaert, Francis (a Dutch trader in India in the second decade of the 17th century): Remonstrantie (translated by W. H. Moreland as Jahangir’s India)

    Tavernier, Jean-Baptiste (a French jewel merchant in India in mid-17th century): Travels in India, 2 vols.

    Thevenot, M. de (a Frenchman in India in mid-17th century): His account in Indian Travels of Thevenot and Careri

    Varthema, Ludovico di: (an Italian traveller in India in the first decade of the 16th century): The Itinerary of Ludovico di Varthema of Bologna from 1502-1508

    Ovington, J (an Englishman in India in late 17th century): A Voyage to Surat in the year 1689

    Manucci, Niccolao (Italitan adventurer in India in the second half of the 17th century): Storia do Mogor, 4 vols.

    Linschoten, John Huighen Van (a Dutch trader in India in late 16th century): The Voyage of John Huighen Van Linschoten to the East pp. 150-76)
    Monserrate, Fr. Anthony (a Jesuit at Akbar’s court): Journey to the Court of Akbar (Tr: J. S. Hoyland) (London, 1922)

    Sarkar, Jadunath: History of Aurangzeb, 5 vols (Calcutta, 1912-24 / Longman, 1973-74) Sarkar, Jadunath: Historical Essays (Calcutta, 1912) Sarkar, Jadunath: House of Shivaji (Calcutta, 1940 / 1978) Sarkar, Jadunath: Shivaji and His Times (Calcutta, 1920) Sarkar, Jadunath: Mughal Administration (Calcutta, 1924) Sarkar, Jadunath: Military History of India (Orient Longman, 1960)

    Moosvi, Shireen: The Economy of The Mughal Empire (Oxford, 1987) Moreland, W. H.: From Akbar to Aurangzeb (London, 1923) Moreland, W. H.: India at the Death of Akbar (Delhi, 1990 / 1920) Moreland, W. H.: The Agrarian System of Moslem India (Delhi, 1990 / 1929)

    काश्मीर: गिलगित बाल्टिस्तान बिना अधूरा


    लेखक: अज्ञात

    ( नोट: यह लेख धारा 370 और 35A निष्य्रभावी होने और जम्मू कश्मीर के भारत मे पूर्ण रूप मे विलय होने से पहले लिखा गया था)

    वास्तव में अगर जम्मू कश्मीर के बारे में बातचीत करने की जरूरत है तो वह है पाक कब्जे वाले (POK) गिलगित, बाल्टिस्तान और अक्साई चीन के बारे में l इसके ऊपर देश में चर्चा होनी चाहिए । गिलगित जो अभी POK में है विश्व में एकमात्र ऐसा स्थान है जो कि 5 इन देशों से जुड़ा हुआ है: अफगानिस्तान, तजाकिस्तान (जो कभी Russia का हिस्सा था), पाकिस्तान, भारत और तिब्बत और चाइना l जम्मू कश्मीर का महत्व जम्मू, कश्मीर या लद्दाख के कारण नहीं है। वास्तव में अगर इसका महत्व है तो वह है केवल गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान के कारण l

    भारत के इतिहास में भारत पर यूनानियों से लेकर आज तक जितने भी आक्रमण हुए – शक, हूण, कुषाण, मुग़ल आदि – वह सारे गिलगित से हुए l हमारे पूर्वज जम्मू-कश्मीर के महत्व को समझते थे उनको पता था कि अगर भारत को सुरक्षित रखना है तो दुश्मन को हिंदूकुश अर्थात गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान से उस पार ही रखना होगा l किसी समय इसी गिलगित में अमेरिका बैठना चाहता था, ब्रिटेन अपना base गिलगित में बनाना चाहता था, रूस भी गिलगित में बैठना चाहता था, यहां तक कि पाकिस्तान ने 1965 में गिलगित को रूस को देने तक का वादा तक कर लिया था। आज चाइना गिलगित में बैठना चाहता है और वह अपने पैर पसार भी चुका है। और पाकिस्तान तो बैठना चाहता ही था l

    दुर्भाग्य से इस गिलगित के महत्व को सारी दुनिया तो समझती है केवल एक उस देश को छोड़कर जिसका वास्तव में गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान है – यानि भारत l हमको इस बात की कल्पना तक नहीं है कि अगर भारत को सुरक्षित रहना है तो हमें गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान किसी भी हालत में चाहिए l आज हम विश्व की आर्थिक शक्ति बनने की सोच रहे हैं। क्या हमको पता है कि गिलगित से सडक से हम विश्व के अधिकांश कोनों में जा सकते हैं। गिलगित से By Road 5000 Km दुबई है, 1400 Km दिल्ली है, 2800 Km मुंबई है, 3500 Km RUSSIA है, चेन्नई 3800 Km है लंदन 8000 Km है l जब हम सोने की चिड़िया थे तब हमारा सारे देशों से व्यापार चलता था, 85 % जनसंख्या इन मार्गों से जुड़ी हुई थी। अगर गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान हमारे पास हो तो हम Central Asia, यूरेशिया, यूरोप, अफ्रीका सब जगह By Road जा सकते है।

    आज हम पाकिस्तान के सामने IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) गैस लाइन बिछाने के लिए गिड़गिड़ाते हैं ये तापी की परियोजना है जो कभी पूरी नहीं होगी। अगर हमारे पास गिलगित होता तो गिलगित के आगे तज़ाकिस्तान था  और हमें किसी के सामने हाथ नहीं फ़ैलाने पड़ते l हिमालय की 10 चोटियों है जो कि विश्व की 10 बड़ी चोटियों में से है और ये सारी हमारी है और इन 10 में से 8 गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान में है l तिब्बत पर चीन का कब्जा होने के बाद जितने भी पानी के वैकल्पिक स्त्रोत (Alternate Water Resources) हैं वह सारे गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान में है l

    आप हैरान हो जाएंगे यह जानकर कि वहां बड़ी – बड़ी 50-100 यूरेनियम और सोने की खदाने हैं। आप POK के मिनरल डिपार्टमेंट की रिपोर्ट को पढ़िए आप आश्चर्यचकित रह जाएंगे l वास्तव में गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान का महत्व हमको मालूम नहीं है और सबसे बड़ी बात गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान के लोग Strong Anti PAK है l दुर्भाग्य क्या है हम हमेशा कश्मीर बोलते हैं जम्मू- कश्मीर नहीं बोलते हैं। कश्मीर कहते ही जम्मू, लद्दाख, गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान दिमाग से निकल जाता है l पाकिस्तान के कब्जे में जो POK है उसका क्षेत्रफल 79000 वर्ग किलोमीटर है। उसमें कश्मीर का हिस्सा तो सिर्फ 6000 वर्ग किलोमीटर है और 9000 वर्ग किलोमीटर का हिस्सा जम्मू का है और 64000 वर्ग किलोमीटर हिस्सा लद्दाख का है जो कि गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान है l यह कभी कश्मीर का हिस्सा नहीं था यह लद्दाख का हिस्सा था वास्तव में सच्चाई यही है l इसलिए पाकिस्तान यह जो बार-बार कश्मीर का राग अलापता रहता है तो उसको कोई यह पूछे कि गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान और जम्मू का हिस्सा जिस पर तुमने कब्ज़ा कर रखा है क्या यह कश्मीर का भाग नही है ? कोई जवाब नहीं मिलेगा l

    क्या आपको पता है गिलगित – बाल्टिस्तान, लद्दाख के रहने वाले लोगो की औसत आयु विश्व में सर्वाधिक है। यहाँ के लोग विश्व के अन्य लोगो की तुलना में ज्यादा जीते है l
    भारत में आयोजित एक सेमिनार में गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान के एक बड़े नेता को बुलाया गया था उसने कहा कि “we are the forgotten people of forgotten lands of BHARAT” l उसने कहा कि यह देश हमारी बात ही नहीं जानता l

    किसी ने उससे सवाल किया कि क्या आप भारत में रहना चाहते हैं? तो उसने कहा:

    “60 साल बाद तो आपने मुझे भारत बुलाया है और वह भी अमेरिकन टूरिस्ट वीजा पर और आप मुझसे सवाल पूछते हैं कि क्या आप भारत में रहना चाहते हैं l उसने कहा कि आप गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान के बच्चों को IIT, IIM में दाखिला दीजिए, AIIMS में हमारे लोगों का इलाज कीजिए l हमें यह लगे तो सही कि भारत हमारी चिंता करता है, हमारी बात करता है; गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान में पाकिस्तान की सेना कितने अत्याचार करती है, लेकिन आपके किसी भी राष्ट्रीय अखबार में उसका जिक्र तक नहीं आता है l आप हमें ये अहसास तो दिलाइये की आप हमारे साथ है l और मैं खुद आपसे यह पूछता हूं कि आप सभी ने पाकिस्तान को हमारे कश्मीर में हर सहायता उपलब्ध कराते हुए देखा होगा l वह बार बार कहता है कि हम कश्मीर की जनता के साथ हैं, कश्मीर की आवाम हमारी है l लेकिन क्या आपने कभी यह सुना है कि किसी भी भारत के नेता, मंत्री या सरकार ने यह कहा हो कि हम POK – गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान की जनता के साथ हैं, वह हमारी आवाम है, उनको जो भी सहायता उपलब्ध होगी हम उपलब्ध करवाएंगे? आपने यह कभी नहीं सुना होगा।”

    कांग्रेस सरकार ने कभी POK – गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान को पुनः भारत में लाने के लिए कोई बयान तक नहीं दिया, प्रयास तो बहुत दूर की बात है l हालाँकि पहली बार अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी जी की सरकार के समय POK का मुद्दा उठाया गया था फिर 10 साल पुनः मौन धारण हो गया और फिर से नरेंद्र मोदी जी की सरकार आने पर विदेश मंत्री सुषमा स्वराज ने संसद में ये मुद्दा उठाया l

    आज अगर आप किसी को गिलगित के बारे में पूछ भी लोगे तो उसे यह पता नहीं है कि यह जम्मू कश्मीर का ही भाग है l वह यह पूछेगा यह किस चिड़िया का नाम है ? वास्तव में हमें जम्मू कश्मीर के बारे में जो गलत नजरिया है उसको बदलने की जरूरत है l अब करना क्या चाहिए ? तो पहली बात है सुरक्षा में किसी भी प्रकार का समझौता नहीं होना चाहिए। जम्मू-कश्मीर की सुरक्षा का मुद्दा बहुत संवेदनशील है इस पर अनावश्यक वाद-विवाद नहीं होना चाहिए l एक अनावश्यक विवाद चलता है कि जम्मू कश्मीर में इतनी सेना क्यों है? तो बुद्धिजीवियों को बता दिया जाए कि जम्मू-कश्मीर का 2800 किलोमीटर का बॉर्डर है जिसमें 2400 किलोमीटर पर LOC है l आजादी के बाद भारत ने पांच युद्ध लड़े वह सभी जम्मू-कश्मीर से लड़े; भारतीय सेना के 18 लोगों को परमवीर चक्र मिला और वह 18 के 18 जम्मू कश्मीर में शहीद हुए हैं l इनमें 14000 भारतीय सैनिक शहीद हुए हैं जिनमें से 12000 जम्मू कश्मीर में शहीद हुए हैं l अब सेना बॉर्डर पर नहीं तो क्या मध्यप्रदेश में रहेगी। यह सब जो सेना की इन बातों को नहीं समझते वही यह सब अनर्गल चर्चा करते हैं l

    वास्तव में जम्मू कश्मीर पर बातचीत करने के बिंदु होने चाहिए- POK , वेस्ट पाक रिफ्यूजी, कश्मीरी हिंदू समाज, आतंक से पीड़ित लोग , धारा 370 और 35A का दुरूपयोग, गिलगित-बाल्टिस्तान का वह क्षेत्र जो आज पाकिस्तान -चाइना के कब्जे में है l जम्मू- कश्मीर के गिलगित- बाल्टिस्तान में अधिकांश जनसंख्या शिया मुसलमानों की है और वह सभी पाक विरोधी है। वह आज भी अपनी लड़ाई खुद लड़ रहे हैं, पर भारत उनके साथ है ऐसा उनको महसूस कराना चाहिए, देश कभी उनके साथ खड़ा नहीं हुआ, वास्तव में पूरे देश में इसकी चर्चा होनी चाहिएl वास्तव में जम्मू-कश्मीर के विमर्श का मुद्दा बदलना चाहिए l जम्मू कश्मीर को लेकर सारे देश में सही जानकारी देने की जरूरत है l इसके लिए एक इंफॉर्मेशन कैंपेन चलना चाहिए l पूरे देश में वर्ष में एक बार 26 अक्टूबर को जम्मू कश्मीर का दिवस मनाना चाहिए l और सबसे बड़ी बात है जम्मू कश्मीर को राष्ट्रवादियों की नजर से देखना होगा जम्मू कश्मीर की चर्चा हो तो वहां के राष्ट्रभक्तों की चर्चा होनी चाहिए तो उन 5 जिलों के कठमुल्ले तो फिर वैसे ही अपंग हो जाएंगे l अब आप इतना जान गये हैं कि जम्मू कश्मीर को लेकर आप किसी से भी वाद-विवाद या तर्क कर सकते हैं l किसी को आप समझा सकते हैं कि वास्तव में जम्मू-कश्मीर की परिस्थितियां क्या है l वैसे तो जम्मू कश्मीर पर एक ग्रन्थ लिखा जा सकता है।

    Swapping of Kartarpur Sahib with Pakistan a la Bangla Desh


    By: Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary IPC)

    Two momentous events – the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor and Ayodhya verdict – happened last week, incidentally on the same day i.e. 9th of November. The Kartarpur Corridor will connect two important Shrines – Derababa Nanak Saheb, which is located in India and Gurdwara Darbar Saheb, which is situated across the border in Pakistan. The distance between the two is less than three miles. The Ayodhya issue has put the curtain down on a dispute which has been lingering and festering between Hindus and Muslims for the last nearly five hundred years. But the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Indian side and welcoming of the pilgrims by the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at Derababa Nanak Saheb (now also known as Kartarpur Saheb) Gurdwara was no less a historic event, except the disgusting speech of the comedian Navjot Singh Siddhu at Kartrpur.

    Shri Modi compared the opening of the corridor with that of the falling of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, which united the east and west Germany. If he was hinting that India and Pakistan will again get united, then it is certainly a matter of great joy for the fourth or fifth generation of Indians and Pakistanis born after the partition of the country in1947. However, the unity of India and Pakistan appears to be wishful thinking at present. There are more chances of Pakistan getting split into four or five parts because of its own internal bickering than Pakistan getting united with India. This unity of India and Pakistan presently looks unthinkable.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi is credited to have solved the India and Bangladesh boundary problem in 2015 by exchanging enclaves. There were some 102 enclaves, some of which were as tiny as two to three acres; and they were transferred to Bangladesh and 21 from Bangladesh were given to India. Swapping of enclaves solved the boundary problem between India and Bangladesh, which were situated along the borders of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.

    Why should the Government of India not make an initiative to swap such important places, which are situated in Pakistan adjoining to the Indian boundary to make them the part of India? In lieu of that India can cede the equal area of land to Pakistan as it would permanently solve the thorny problems of both countries.

    Had it been done at the time of partition itself then there would not have been such an inordinately long wait for Kartapur Sahib. In fact it has now become all the more necessary, in view of the blackmailing tactics of Pakistan, which were seen even before the opening of the corridor.

    It was even reported that Pakistan was going to charge 20$ per person which comes to nearly Rs. 1450/- at the current rate of Rupee-Dollar exchange. Moreover, Kartarpur Gurudwara and its adjoining areas can be used by Pakistan for instigating the anti-Indian forces by turning it into a sanctuary for the terrorists. There are already some reports which suggest that the anti-Indian Sikhs living in Canada, Germany, England, Netherlands and the United States of America are trying to make the Kartarpur Saheb a springboard to spread anti-India hatred campaign. One shudders to imagine the horror of terrorism in Punjab, out of which nightmare India came out in the early 80s to early 90s.

    There is no denying that the terrorism in Punjab was sponsored by Pakistan as it has been giving oxygen to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir especially from the time of that monster military ruler General Zia-ul-Haq. In the valley of Kashmir, Pakistan trained terrorists’ infiltrators have caused huge damage to the country.

    Therefore, it will be in the best interests of the country if Kartarpur Saheb becomes the inseparable part of the country. India had suffered a lot due to the insanity of Redcliffe, who drew the line of partition between India and Pakistan. It is said that he used to take the pencil in his hand only when he was fully drunk and inebriated before drawing the boundary line. As a result of it, half of several villages fell into the Indian side of the boundary and the other half had gone to the Pakistan side. In some of the books, many examples have been given when half of a drinking water well was kept in India and the other half was in Pakistan.

    The saddest part of it was that the power-hungry politicians and bureaucrats from both sides could not point out this dementia of that idiot called Redcliff, which brought a mountain of problems for the coming generations of peoples of both the sides. Nevertheless, it is better late than never, and even if at this point of time it can be done, it will bring immeasurable relief to both the countries. Now when Narendra Modi is at the helm of affairs in India, one can have the sanguine hope that he can translate the dream into a reality.

    Religious “Hate” and “Violence” Against Hindus: Ignorance is No Virtue


    By: Maria Wirth

    This article is borrowed with thanks from HERE

    “Why Indians had to suffer so much for the last 1000 years when they were generally good-natured and did not attack others?” someone asked Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. It was a question which troubled me too. He replied on the lines that Indians had not done their job in analyzing their enemy.

    Why did Prithviraj Chauhan for example let Mohammad Ghori off in spite of knowing that he had not stuck to any rules of war? The young Indian raja obviously had not analyzed what made his attacker so unprincipled. He didn’t seem to be aware about the tenets of Islam, which are so different from his own Hindu Dharma.

    The situation has not changed much. Today, there is still very little clarity about the enemy in spite of Swami Vivekananda or Sri Aurobindo seeing where the danger comes from. Vivekananda stated that every Hindu who leaves the Hindu pale is not one Hindu less but one enemy more. How? Is it possible that a religion makes people into enemies? This surely needs to be analyzed.

    There are big differences between Hindu Dharma on one side, and Islam and Christianity on the other, which we usually are not aware of. We need to know them and have the courage to point them out, in the interest of all humanity.

    The first big difference is this:

    While Sanatana Dharma and the Vedas are most ancient and the foundation for the great, benign Indian culture, Christianity and Islam are newcomers and they brutally destroyed existing cultures and replaced them with a rigid belief system.

    The cultures of Inkas, Mayas, Aztecs, Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Persia, Afghanistan – they all have disappeared and their history was falsified. In what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh, the ancient Hindu culture has disappeared, too. India also has suffered immensely, millions were killed and a treasure trove of knowledge went up in flames when libraries with innumerable texts were burnt.

    But are religions not meant to be beneficial? Is religion not about God, the cause for our existence, and man’s relation to that great Being? About worshipping that great Being and surrendering to it? Is there not even the right to religious freedom enshrined in Constitutions and endorsed by the United Nations? Why then all this brutality? What went wrong?

    It’s easy to see but nobody wants to look that way: The reason is that belief in improbable claims about the “Will of God” was enforced with violence in the beginning, later with indoctrination of children and severe punishment for criticizing or leaving the religion. Over the centuries naturally the numbers of their followers swelled. Very few pointed out what went wrong, because it put their lives at risk. Those religions literally killed dissent.

    We need to go back in time to see more clearly what went wrong:

    The Vedas, the most ancient knowledge about the origin of the universe and our own existence, postulate one great Being (usually called Brahman) from whom this universe emanated and who permeates all parts of it. It means, Brahman is also within us, though veiled by thoughts and other mind activity due to his Maya Shakti. The ancient Rishis analyzed this creation well, and discovered essential powers for our existence, the devas. They “saw” that the microcosm is like the macrocosm; they reached out into the universe, by diving deep into themselves, mapped the sky and left profound knowledge for posterity in all fields of human endeavor – profound knowledge that was present in cosmic consciousness from the start and was revealed to them due to their intense Tapas.

    There is ample evidence that Indian civilization influenced large parts of the globe in ancient times. Over the long history of millions of years (according to Indian texts which should be taken seriously), different forms of worship to different deities, who were seen as a representation of the ONE Brahman, developed, but there was no friction between the different groups. They existed side by side. Nobody insisted that only one way needed to be followed.

    This changed when emperor Ashoka wanted all people in his kingdom to follow only one of the Indian sages, Gautama Buddha. Buddha had died long before Ashoka was born, but in several councils, a Canon with his sayings was compiled, and this was meant to be followed by Ashoka’s subjects. He even sent missionaries to other countries.

    So Ashoka broke with the tradition that everyone was free to choose his way to realize Brahman as his own essence and established what the British later called “Buddhism” as the best way. Anyone, who splits away and wants followers, naturally needs to emphasize that his creed is “better”. And if others are not convinced, it is followed up with some “pressure” if one has power. Later Adi Shankara challenged Buddhists in debates and most Indians came back to their original, less dogmatic Dharma.

    Meanwhile, far away from India, and only some 1700 years ago, the Roman emperor decided to make a small Christian sect into a state religion. He must have felt it would be advantageous if all his subjects believed the same thing. In short: the messiah for whom the Jews were waiting, has come already in the person of Jesus Christ but was not recognized and even killed by the Jews.

    However, this sect showed a very authoritative and violent streak, as soon as it got state patronage. It demolished existing temples, burnt books and murdered even a famous woman philosopher Hypatia in Egypt. And soon Christians stomped over Middle East, North Africa and Europe, forcing the new belief on the population.

    Why were they so intolerant? The reason was that they claimed that the great true God, the creator of the universe, the “Father in heaven”, has finally (2000 years ago) sent down to earth his only son Jesus Christ to save humans from the original sin, and all must follow what Jesus has said. And what did Jesus say? He allegedly said that nobody reaches the Father except via his son. So the Church claims, belief in Jesus is absolutely necessary to be saved from eternal hellfire.

    A few centuries later, a similar story was repeated: Mohammad, an Arab of the 7th century, declared that the one true Allah has spoken to him via Angel Gabriel and what he said must be followed by all human beings. And what does Allah want from humans?  He wants all to believe in Mohammad as the last prophet, to whom He, Allah, has communicated his wishes. And his greatest wish apart from believing in Him and His prophet: He wants his followers to fight (do Jihad) till all believe only in Allah. Those, who resist, will suffer terribly in hell for all eternity.

    Mohammad himself showed the way how to fight. He attacked for example Jewish tribes, butchered their men even after surrender, took their women as slave concubines and their property as booty. After his death, his followers stomped over the Middle East, North Africa, into Spain and parts of Eastern Europe, and forced those, who had earlier been forced to become Christians, now to become Muslims. The conquest was bloody and highly “successful” due to terrible cruelty.

    Muslim invaders also stomped into India and left a trail of bloodshed. Yet here, they could not exterminate the ancient culture because the new creed was simply no match for it. Yet due to the incredible brutality, Muslim invaders made big inroads into Indian society and many Hindus converted to Islam and later, under the Portuguese and British, to Christianity.

    Even now in independent India, Christianity and Islam have not given up their attempt to eliminate Hindu culture. The different Churches do it with enormous vigour, lots of money and sadly, great success, through “projects”, like the Joshua project. Islam does it by having many children, by love Jihad and also by trying to convince Hindus and Christians of the ‘superiority’ of Islam over a religion which “worships monkeys and rats”. Whoever objects to being pressured to convert, risks even being brutally killed.

    One thing has become clear over the centuries. Christianity and Islam are dangerous for “others” and also dangerous for insiders who are not fully conform and express doubts about ‘the only truth’. Islam and Christianity killed tens of millions common citizens, only because they didn’t pay allegiance to their religion or rather “cult”.

    Today, India has over 200 million Muslims and probably much more than 40 million Christians, as many of the converts keep their Hindu names for caste benefits. Are they India’s enemies, as Swami Vivekananda hinted?

    Enemy is a strong word. Yet if those who converted believe what they are taught, they will definitely look down on Hindus. It seeps into their psyche that “they” (Hindus) don’t accept the true God. When I was a child, even Protestants were looked down upon by us Catholics. We Catholics ‘knew’ that we were right and others wrong, and heathen were very wrong.

    In the 1980s, I spent some time in Shantivanam, a Christian ashram, which was very liberal to us foreigners who were friendly towards Hinduism and Buddhism. Yet once I heard Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine monk and the head of the ashram, talk to Indian nun novices. I was shocked how strongly he indoctrinated them that they alone have the true faith, and questioned him afterwards. His reply, ‘I have to strengthen their faith so that they know where the border to Hinduism lies.’

    Hindus are not bothered about borders. They tend to accept all faiths. Whatever helps to connect with one’s essence is welcome. Yet this is not the mindset of followers of those religions, which need borders to survive. Hindus usually don’t understand this mindset. They expect common sense and brush aside claims that they will burn in hellfire if they don’t convert. They can’t imagine that anyone could seriously believe such nonsense.

    But they are wrong. Many people do believe it. Such belief is dangerous and highly divisive. It leads to hate crimes. Since there is no proof and there can never be proof, such dangerous belief needs to be called out and criticized. It must NOT be taught to kids.

    Here is where Hindus didn’t do their duty and still don’t do their duty. It may look cool or secular to let everyone believe what he wants, but such attitude is foolish when it threatens your survival.

    While Christians have stopped killing in recent centuries, Muslims have not stopped. It goes on daily. And those terrorists genuinely believe that they do the right thing and will get a ’higher status in paradise’(Q 4.95). Which youth would throw away his life in a suicide attack if he wasn’t convinced that he will be better off after killing Kafirs?

    The situation is serious. It is bad enough that pious Christians look down on Hindus. But it is even worse that pious Muslims not only look down on others, but also can, with a straight face, tell lies to us (Taqqiya) and even harm and kill us without having any bangs of conscience. It’s allowed. The usual counter that Quran 5.32 forbids killing even one person is a deception. First, Allah addresses the “Children of Israel” in this verse (obviously taken from Jewish texts) and second, a person who does mischief is exempted and can be murdered. And what bigger mischief can there be in the eyes of a believer than not believing in Allah and his prophet?

    Fortunately, there are many who have lost faith. Especially Christians get out of the churches in droves, ever since heresy is not punished any longer. Many Muslims, too, have doubts. A Muslim acquaintance recently estimated that even in Saudi Arabia about 10 percent are atheists. There are numerous videos by ex-Muslims on the net who criticize their former belief openly. It’s dangerous for them. The social pressure is great and their own family may kill them. Moreover, in many countries apostasy is punishable by death.

    And here again, Hindus don’t do their job. They don’t support those who leave their dogmatic faith. And worse, the government even encourages people to stay in their religion by giving ‘minorities’ benefits.

    What can be done? Let’s all think about it. But one thing is needed for sure: we need to be honest and not afraid to expose the harmful aspects of Christianity and Islam, both of which make no secret that they want to eliminate Hinduism.

    Everyone has the right to worship the One Supreme. This is guaranteed by the right to religious freedom. It makes sense, as there must be a great Intelligence and Power at the base of this incredible universe. But nobody has the right to make baseless claims that the Supreme loves some and doesn’t love others and even throws the majority of humans into eternal hellfire – all those who do not accept that only ONE person (there are two…) has received the full truth. This doesn’t make sense. And it has brought so much suffering upon humankind.

    Obviously such claim (about one specific person needing to be followed), is not true. Yet for long, Hindus couldn’t counter it for fear of their lives. But now Hindus slowly find their feet. Many realize the immense value of their heritage and that they were cheated in believing that it has no worth.

    Will they also have the courage to insist that their heritage is respected and taught to students in India and all over the world? The insights of the Rishis have never been proven wrong when tested, and have inspired science, art and harmony in society.

    It’s no virtue to let falsehood spread.

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