Secularism: State and Christianity (1)

India proudly proclaims in its Constitution it is a secular country. Let us examine the substance of this Indian secularism and what it has returned back to India during the period of over half a century.

Let us be honest and examine the facts first.

India is a country that is home to millions of people who are devoutly religious by nature. These people profess different religions – Hindus, Muslims, Shikhs, Christians, Parsees and many more. Almost all religions of the world and their vast number of sects and sub-sects find a place for their profession in this country. Out of all these religions, Hindus account the most – they are more than 80% of the population. These Hindus here engage their whole life dedicated to achieve the fruits that are declared by their religion to be the highest desirable thing in this world, which they call ‘Mukti’ or emancipation from the bond of life, death and rebirth – again and again.

Then, there are millions of Muslims living in India whose whole life is entirely devoted to fulfill the mandates of their Holy book ‘Koran’. There are likewise a great multitude of people in India who are Christians and they are completely devoted to accomplish the mandates of their Holy book ‘Bible’. There are also considerable number of Sikhs, Jain, Parsi and similar other religious groups of people in India who are devoutly religious by temperament.

For all these highly religious people this world and this world’s institutions – whether these institutions are political or social in nature – are only secondary in importance to their religious objectives.

But the paradox of the situation is that these very people are expected to elect and man their government, which government is supposed to have nothing to do with (their) religion. They themselves become the part and parcel this government. But they have their varying religious allegiances. They are mandated by their particular religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity etc. – to carry forward their religious duties and mission in their private and public life. And, these religious duties and missions are mostly clashing in their nature with each other. While electing their government or becoming part of the Indian State, these people who mentally submerged in their clashing religious fervor do not and cannot divorce their personal allegiance to the objectives of their religion. In fact, they advance the agenda of their particular religion.

It is but natural. It cannot be otherwise. It is normal human nature to advance the cause of a thing that one cherishes the most. This paradox becomes clear when one finds that historically there is an incompatibility among these diverse religions and their followers.

It becomes an ironic thing when such people with their diverse religion and with their clashing missions are called upon to elect and run their government in the secular manner.

What is a religion? Materialist philosopher and revolutionary Karl Marx famously described religion as the opium of people. He is wrong there; it is not so. Humans are not animals because they have evolved themselves above animals. Humans are motivated like animals in their daily activities by the basic necessities for their survival, like food, shelter, cloths and amenities. But in these activities, humans unlike animals are guided by their emotions, like love and hate, and their mental thoughts and ideas. Only these mental thoughts and ideas make humans separate from animals.

Religion – and everyone of them – is a bundle of peculiar ideas, with which most part of the humanity is afflicted. Religion divides people on the basis of their different ideas. Religion puts them into separate groups, which are bound by their common interests. Religion is a reality for humans.  Animals are immune to religion because they are animals. And in this way religion is an indicator too of human evolution. But it splits them; it divides them. And these divisions are real. All religious groups are bound together with their common interests.

Most often, these religious groups are so vast that they populate the entire country or even a number of countries. Religious ideas firmly grip the mind of common people, make them separate in identity and put them against each other. It is the reality of human society. One cannot overlook this reality of human society.

What is secularism? The essence of secularism is, ‘State has no institutional connection with religion; State is independent of religion’. It is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions. The origin of this principle lies in the Christian history. The invention of this social device was made in the context of Christianity. Apart from this context with Christianity, secularism has no connection with any major religions of the world.

It is a fact that secularism is the invention of western Christian democracies. It originated in England of the sixteenth century. It was invented there to tide over a peculiar difficulty that was being faced by the rationally awakened common masses of Europe. This difficulty arose out of a clash between the Christian religious dogmas, which had behind them the power of State controlled by the Christian religion, and the new scientific ideas, which were being discovered then by the mentally enlightened scientists. Christian dogmas and the newly discovered scientific ideas were incompatible with each other. Only one out of the two could be true and accepted as such. But there was the Christian State power behind the Christian dogmas. This State power was legally bound to punish the new incompatible scientific ideas. It was a horrific situation for those who were mentally awakened and dared to put new scientific ideas before the public. Christian dogmas pricked the common sense of these awakened people but they could not do anything against the Christian State.

The seventeenth century Europe was witnessing a renaissance of mind. It was making new scientific discoveries, which were showing the utter falsity of the views held by Christian Cardinals but were enforced by the might of Christian state power. For example, a new scientific discovery was made by an Italian scientist Galileo Galilei that Sun is the center – the point – around which Earth revolves and, therefore, it was false on the part of Christianity to claim that Earth is the center around which this universe and Sun revolve. And, he demonstrated this truth with the help of his newly invented telescope. This scientific discovery was making an unwelcome impact on the mind of ordinary masses following Christianity. As this scientific fact went against the Christian holy book – Bible (which stated Earth is the center of universe and Sun), there was a fundamental clash between the two. It was pricking the common sense of people and eroding their faith Christianity. It was a serious thing for Christian authorities and a dangerous one for the people. They could not believe in such new ideas openly because the Christian State had a power over their life.  They could be made to pay with their life for this heretic blasphemy. They believed in the new scientific truth but they also saw with their own eyes that Galileo had to pay a heavy price for telling this truth. Galileo was first accused of challenging Church in 1616 and then imprisoned in 1633 for life by the Christian State for telling this truth. He died in prison. It was his crime of blasphemy against Christianity.

What was the way out from this horrific situation? It was solved by inventing the principle of separation of State from the religious institutions. It was called secularism. Secularism owes its genesis to these difficult conditions prevailing in the seventeenth century Europe. It was a solution invented by the political thinkers and endorsed by the popular will. This popular will forced the Christian State to accept it.

Impact of History on Future: Cult of Non-violence

By: Shreepal Singh

India’s official history of her freedom struggle asserts that this country won her freedom from the foreign power – the British imperialists – by non-violent means. Songs were compiled and sung in melodious tones to highlight this “unique” achievement of India.

Non-violence looks like a saintly courage in the face of a brutal force and the word “violence” evokes a deep indignation in our mind and an abhorrence to our conscience. But the reality is that “violence” is the integral part of life of ordinary humanity, whether one likes it or not.

Violence cannot be wished away in this world. It has to be faced as a reality here. Violence belongs to the world and non violence belongs to saints, and this world is not full of saints. It has its full quota of crooked persons who are violent in their thoughts and deeds. One cannot help it.

We are real people and we live in the real world.

Indians must be objective in finding the truth and honest in accepting the truth, because a fanciful approach in this matter has serious consequences for a country. Such a fanciful approach in this matter has implications affecting the correct assessment of the past, facing the present and getting ready to meet the future properly.

Nothing can be more far from truth than the assertion that India got freedom by waging a non-violent struggle.

Flaunting the power of non-violence in getting India free is a slap on the face of those who fought pitched battles with the British power in India and lost their lives at their hands. It is an insult to the sacred memory of those great sons and daughters of Mother India – in thousands, if not more – who suffered torture, agony and misfortune in the service of their Motherland. It is an insult to the supreme sacrifices made by  Jatin Bagha, Master Da Surya Sen, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Subhash Chandra Bose and countless others like them.

Non-violence is a great virtue but it has very serious limitations. It has these limitations not because non violence is unworthy but because the people against whom this non-violence is practiced are more often than not unworthy of this virtuous treatment.

Non violence is founded on moral superiority and – in turn – morality is founded on religious teachings. But the fact is that all religions are not alike in the matter of their foundational morality. Some religions preach and follow the moral standrads, which are immoral ones in the eyes of other religions. Even in some of them, the resort to violence is not only an established morality but a sacred duty to do it in certain circumstances. Most of humanity today follow these diverse religions and practice such diverse concepts of marality. One has to live in this world and face the material acts – including violent acts – based on the morality of one’s religion. Let us deal with the reality of this real world around us and find the just place for ‘non-violence’ – the cult of non-violence – in this world full of people believing in diverse concepts of morality.

Here is an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo – The Morality of Boycott, an unpublished writing of Sri Aurobindo, seized by the Police and made an exhibit in the Alipore Conspiracy Case (May, 1908):

“When tamas, inertia, torpor have benumbed a nation, the strongest forms of rajas are necessary to break the spell; there is no form of rajas so strong as hatred. Through rajas we rise to sattwa, and for the Indian temperament the transition does not take long. Already the element of hatred is giving place to the clear conception of love for the Mother as the spring of our political actions.”

“A certain class of mind shrinks from aggressiveness as if it were a sin. Their temperament forbids them to feel the delight of battle and they look on what they cannot understand as something monstrous and sinful.

” ‘Heal hate by love’, ‘drive out injustice by justice’, ‘slay sin by righteousness’ is their cry.

“Love is a sacred name, but it is easier to speak of love than to love. The love which drives out hate is a divine quality of which one man in a thousand is capable. A saint full of love for all mankind possesses it, a philanthropist consumed with a desire to heal the miseries of the race possesses it, but the mass of mankind does not and cannot rise to the height.

“Politics is concerned with masses of mankind and not with individuals.[10] To ask masses of mankind to act as saints, to rise to the height of divine love and practise it in relation to their adversaries or oppressors is to ignore human nature.

“It is to set a premimum on injustice and violence by paralysing the hand of the deliverer when raised to strike. The Gita is the best answer to those who shrink from battle as a sin, and aggression as a lowering of morality.” — The Morality of Boycott, an unpublished writing of Sri Aurobindo seized by the Police and made an exhibit in the Alipore Conspiracy Case 1908.

“Hinduism recognises human nature and makes no such impossible demand. It sets one ideal for the saint, another for the man of action, a third for the trader, a fourth for the serf.

“To prescribe the same ideal for all is to bring about varṇasaṅkara, the confusion of duties…. Politics is the ideal of the Kshatriya, and the morality of the Kshatriya ought to govern our political actions.

“To impose in politics the Brahmanical duty of saintly sufferance is to preach varṇasaṅkara. (ibid.)

“The sword of the warrior is as necessary to the fulfilment of justice and righteousness as the holiness of the saint. Ramdas is not complete without Shivaji.

“To maintain justice and prevent the strong from despoiling and the weak from being oppressed is the function for which the Kshatriya was created.[11] ‘Therefore’, says Sri Krishna in the Mahabharata, ‘God created battle and armour, the sword, the bow and the dagger.’” (ibid.)

Referring to the circumstances in which passive or nonviolent resistance fails, Sri Aurobindo says: “To shrink from bloodshed and violence under such circumstances is a weakness deserving as severe a rebuke as Sri Krishna addressed to Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra.

“Liberty is the life-breath of a nation; and when the life is attacked, when it is sought to suppress all chance of breathing by violent pressure, any and every means of self-preservation becomes right and justifiable[12]

” … just as it is lawful for a man who is being strangled to rid himself of the pressure on his throat by any means in his power. It is the nature of the pressure which determines the nature of the resistance.[13]

Enlarging upon the necessary evil of war and aggression, ,[14] so long as man in the mass is what he is, Sri Aurobindo writes in his Essays on the Gita:

“War and destruction are not only a universal principle of our life here in its purely material aspects, but also of our mental and moral existence.

“It is self-evident that in the actual life of man intellectual, social, political, moral, we can make no real step forward without a struggle, a battle between what exists and lives and what seeks to exist and live, and between all that stands behind either.

“It is impossible, at least as men and things are, to advance, to grow, to fulfil and still to observe really and utterly that principle of harmlessness which is yet placed before us as the highest and best law of conduct. We will use only soul-force and never destroy by war or any even defensive employment of physical violence?

“Good, though until soul-force is effective, the Asuric force in man and nations tramples down, breaks, slaughters, burns, pollutes, as we see it doing today, but then at its ease and unhindered, and you have perhaps caused as much destruction of life by your abstinence as others by resort to violence; still you have set up an ideal which may some day and at any rate ought to lead up to better things.

“But even soul-force, when it is effective, destroys. Only those who have used it with eyes open, know how much more terrible and destructive it is than the sword and the cannon; and only those who do not limit their view to the act and its immediate results, can see how tremendous are its after-effects, how much is eventually destroyed and with that much all the life that depended on it and fed upon it.

“Evil cannot perish without the destruction of much that lives by the evil, and it is no less destruction even if we personally are saved the pain of a sensational act of violence.

“Moreover, every time we use soul-force we raise a great force of Karma against our adversary, the after-movements of which we have no power to control. Vasishtha uses soul-force against the military violence of Vishwamitra and armies of Huns and Shakas and Pallavas hurl themselves on the aggressor.

“The very quiescence and passivity of the spiritual man under violence and aggression awakens the tremendous forces of the world to a retributive action; and it may even be more merciful to stay in their path, though by force, those who represent evil than to allow them to trample on until they call down on themselves a worse destruction than we would ever think of inflicting.

“It is not enough that our own hands should remain clean and our souls unstained for the law of strife and destruction to die out of the world; that which is its root must first disappear out of humanity…. So far as the problem of the individual’s action goes, his abstention from strife and its inevitable concomitant destruction in their more gross and physical form may help his own moral being, but it leaves the Slayer of creatures unabolished.”[15]

“A day may come, must surely come, we will say, when humanity will be ready spiritually, morally, socially for the reign of universal peace; meanwhile the aspect of battle and the nature and function of man as a fighter have to be accepted and accounted for by any practical philosophy and religion.”[16]

An Evaluation of Mahatma Gandhi

By: Shreepal Singh

Mahatma Gandhi, as he is affectionately called in India, is an official “Father of Nation” for India. He is revered throughout the civilized world. He is a pride of India. He is like a Buddha or Christ for much of the democratic world. These are his virtues; but they stand in the way of his realistic evaluation in the world, in which we live. He is taller after his death in assassination than when he was alive. India is known by his name. But nothing is static in Nature; the world marches on with time. Sometimes an evaluation becomes necessary for a nation to reconcile with itself, with the reality in which it lives. Such evaluation of a great man like Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is not palatable, particularly after 70 years, but it becomes necessary to reconcile India with truth. Here is one such evaluation:

  1. Initial life of Gandhi (for example, at the time when he sided with the British imperialism in Boar War in South Africa and became their military’s Major Sargent for its ambulance corp) was bad. But everybody may commit mistakes in one’s initial immature life. This bad point has not much value when compared to what he did later on in his life.

  2. He grew up when he got the idea of passive resistance, which was an idea got by trial and error method, in South Africa. He was honest to that idea to the core of his heart, he stuck to that philosophy through out his life and practiced it in India.

  3. He was honest to that philosophy beyond reasonable limits – even destroying his family (his son and wife) because of this obstinacy. In his inner private life, he was somewhat above religion (having a mental idea of universality of all religions) but below the accomplishments of a spiritual Yogi. He did not rise above mind and emotions (in spiritual terminology, vital forces) and their limitations, which every Yogi knows and crosses over in Sadhna. Even Sri Aurobindo hinted at his inflated ego.

  4. He was not much aware of Indian history – how India fought valiantly for one thousand years against religious bigotry, how India sacrificed millions of innocent life (for example, killings made by Babar, Mughals, Jauhars – called Saka – committed by Hindu women in the face of attempted violation of their honor, conversion by violence like beheading of Guru Teg Bahadur, imposing Zazia on Hindus etc.) and how non-violence is not a virtue before a brute.

  5. Because of his ignorance of history he committed many political blunders – like supporting Khilafat movement, trusting the British good sense (over confidence of an innocent bafoon) for Indians but had a misplaced distrust against Subhash Chandra Bose; trusted Jawahar Lal Nehru more as against Sardar Patel. Because of this ignorace he trusted Zinnah, Sohrab Vardy and Pakistan – though Pakistan’s political leaders openly declared him an average person, a detastable Hindu – as against Sardar Patel (for example, financially helping Pak despite its attack on Kashmir.

  6. His ideal of non-violence is the highest ideal of humanity … but …. a big but. But till humans are what they are – bigotted, religiously blind, with animal instincts like dominating the competitors by any and every means – non-violence is NOT A VIRTUE. It is a vice. It is a truth that must be admitted. It cannot be an ideal. It is a suicide formula. The proof of this truth can be found in the fate of minorities in Pak, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Iran etc. Committing suicide is not a virtue. Plunging into well is not a virtue. Calling death and embracing it heartily is not a virtue. India has been following “Varnas” system – it is against Kshtriya Dharma. It is against Geeta. Here one has to chose: Gandhi versus Geeta. Let us test its truth. Just imagine we believe in non-violence and we disband Indian army! Why army, even if we disband police, what will be shape of India? A falsehood has to be rejected. Rejecting falsehood is following the truth. You ask any country – USA, England, you name any – to disband their military and see their answer! Let us not make a fool of ourselves. No authority – even a Father of Nation – is greater than the truth. We can neglect the truth at our own peril

  7. It is an analysis of MKG what he stood for till his death in 1948. But India has suffered much more after 1948 because of this idealistic – non-practical – philosophy. Appeasement politics is the direct outcome of this vision – love to all ignoring the bad points of the appeased ones. India has not surpassed Japan, China, even Singapore, Malaysia etc. only because this country has rejected the theory that we should see the stark reality – the truth. We have become a sleeping country ridden with corrupt politicians only because of this passive and false vision of life.

  8. Truth, non-violence, love ARE NOT STATIC formula. They cannot be applied to all regardless of who they are. You cannot love electric current, it will kill you; you cannot love a rabid animal, it will kill you; you confront a habitual offender – a serial killer – to tell him to spare you, he will most likely harm you; you befriend and lovingly trust a person who is religiously obsessed to convert or kill a Kafir, he will kill you if you don’t comply his dictate (do you need an example? Indian history is full of good people who were so killed). Did MKG think for a moment why Sikh Guru Govind Singh had to divert the entire energy of Sikh Panth away from the peaceful path of devoting to Akal-Purush (God) towards the path of fighting the wicked, while devoting to God? If you strike your head against stone, your head will be broken. Obstinacy – persistence without applying reason – does not pay in this world, which has its plentiful quota of wicked persons. Your such obstinacy may harm you, and harm all those who follow you, who have faith in you. If you are held high – a great man – in the estimation of your followers, it becomes all the more important for you to apply reason, to think as a reasonable person; it leaves no scope for you to be obstinate, to be obsessed. Of course, an accomplished Yogi can do it without harm (Buddha chaged Angulimal) but all people – billions of Indians – are not Buddha. Even Pak is not a Buddha. A Yogi – an accomplished spiritual person – has to rise above “thoughts and its world” – called by Patanjali “Chitta Vritti Nirodh”. One who so rises above thoughts, has the power of changing the thoughts of others too – like Buddha did to Angulimaal. Thoughts make people different from each other; thoughts can make them a loving and kind person or, alternatively, a cruel murderer and rapist. The proof of the truth – and the example of following the untruth by MKG on this aspect – is that Gandhi could not change the thought of those Muslims who went to Pakistan, the thought that they and Hindus were one in essence; despite Gandhi’s sainthood, these Muslims thought that they were a separate people, that their religion and culture were separate. They created Pakistan despite MKG’s opposition to it. We are not concerned here with the “craftiness” of the British imperialists in intentionally creating Pakistan but the efficacy of the Gandhi’s way. Gandhi still persisted that Pakistan’s Muslims should be treated as if they are one with India. It was not so; they attacked Kashmir and supplied arms to Nizam of Hyderabad for fighting against India. Truth is to see and accept the reality. Non-violence is: Do not kill the weak but kill the brute to save the weak. Love is: All are having a Divine soul (Atma) in them, even if they do not know it; so love them, take care of them, save them from harm, bring them on to a good path. Bring the wrong-doer on to the good path; it is loving him; it would be beneficial to the wrong-doer too.

  9. MKG was an innocent and honest human being. But he was ignorant. He also had an inflated ego, which is normal thing for one who might be a religious person but not an accomplished in spiritual achievements. He must be given his due place, without any doubt. MKG should be accorded his due respectful place in India because he made effort in the right direction. He tried to attain the level of Buddha or Christ by rising above the level of ordinary people, though he could not attain that level. He was a great human being because he walked on the path of Buddha and Christ in an age dominated by materialism. It is unbelievable thing in the modern age to have been done by any person, an age in which we live.

  10. He is the pride of India and a symbol of India for peace and non-violence. But India must not be allowed to suffer because of the weakness of his philosophy, or vision – if one wants to call it a vision. The truth is that this world is full of good and wicked people. Let the good unite to destroy the wicked – without any ill-will or affection. India should not harbor an enmity against the wicked but must do its duty to destroy the wicked to save the peace loving good people from them. So far as the need for India to follow the path of MKG is concerned, let first Indians rise in their character like Buddha before hoping to change criminal Angulimals of this world by non-violence. Till then, India must be guided by Geeta where the wicked has to be vanquished by the Kshtriya so that the wicked is punished, the good is saved and the peace for the good is ensured in this world. According to Geeta, it is the duty of a Kshtriya. Let India be guided by this teaching.

Climate Change and a Cry to Save Humanity

By: Shreepal Singh

“How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and childhood with your empty words. We will not let you get away with this. Right now is where we draw the line”, cried a 16 year old climate activist in New York outside the “Climate Summit” venue where the world leaders had gathered to deliberate the danger of climate change.  This child gave the voice, the words, to the anguish of humanity at large. The leaders of our civilization have sold us dreams – the dreams of prosperity, happiness in our life and paradise on earth. Instead what they gave us are our lost childhood and gloom in life. What we have today on our hands are not only violence all around us and our disturbed mental peace but also a hanging sword on the very existence of our life on earth. Earth is inching towards an unbearable scorching heat. During the period from 1850  to 2018, the global mean temprature  on earth has risen to 1.01 degree celcious. This trend and what we already have on our hands is deadful.

At the climate summit many leaders spoke many things. Some showed the need to act urgently to avert the coming catastrophe and some looked to the whole issue of climate change almost a non-existant one, a hoax.

The world leaders fell in a spectrum ranging from those who held “climate change” a hoax to those who undelined the need to act urgently to avert the oncoming climate change catastrophe. While the US President Donald Trump chose not to be part of this global effort, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminded the world that now the time was not to talk but to act.

Suprisingly, even those who spoke of the need to act fast did not go beyond suggesting the need to cut global carbon emission by simply substituting the traditional sources of energy (carbon emmitting fosil fuel) with the renewable sources of energy (like solar energy and bio-fuel). Not even one of those who were present there dared to raise his accusing fingar at the root cause of the problem: The un-quenchable human appetite for consumption of goodies and limitless exploitation of natural resources and unbriddled production of those goodies.

What was missing from the deliberations of this gathering of humanity in New York was the absence of any suggestion of conctete and viable roadmap to address the real culprit of this problem: Our endorsement of the culture of excessive consumption.

In the face of this dreadful reality, our unwillingness to address the root cause of the problem and to persist with continuing a greedy economics is nothing but selling the empty dreams. Our wisdom lays in fabricating an alternative world civilization. We have invited the existantial threat of climate change ourselves. What we do today is this.

Remaining oblivious to our commonality of ideal, goal and fate, we pursue our petty selfish interests and mutually inimical agendas; we act in unjustified ways. We go ahead in these perilous pursuits doggedly and pretend otherwise hypocritically. Because of our unreasonable conduct we bring on Earth uncomfortable conditions and perilous circumstances for life. Because of these antagonistic stands, we have disputes – serious disputes – among us that can destroy us. With all this knowledge, how come we do not mend our ways? It is because of our greed for more wealth. Our education, our mission of life, our whole civilization is geared to amass more and more wealth. We have been taught wealth gives us happiness and more wealth gives us more hapiness. We have been fooled into believing that the limitless wealth gives us the limitless happiness. It is factually wrong. We have been sold this dream to become wealthy in whatever way possible – merciless competition, unethical violence and what not – and become happy. The pursuit of this dream has brought this dreadful climate change. If we do not check our way of life soon – notwithstanding solar energy or other inexhaustable sources of energy – we will be putting an end to our existence as happy life thriving on earth. What is the way out of this predicament for us? It is to become wise. It is to turn to reality. It is to turn ourselves towards an internal peace of mind and heart. There is an ancient discipline of this knowledge, which is called Yoga. Yoga is not to be confused with the physical exercise that people take to keep them fit in their body. Yoga is deeper and involves the voluntary transformation of one’s body, emotitions, mind and beyond them into subtle dimensions of human consciousnessness. And, it is not religion.

Yoga in its impact on human mind is so powerful that its education in our academic institutions can bring a fundamental shift in human behavior and in economic institutions of our civilization. Economics is founded on the demand (of consumers) and the supply (of commodities). The knowledge of Yoga has the power to change the priorities of our life. As economic activities of production, distribution and consumption of commodities are dependent on normal human behavior, a change in this behavior is sure to bring a tectonic change in the economic model that we follow today.

The academic education of Yoga is sure to create a new perception of life and awareness to cater to the needs of that perception. And, in turn, such spiritual awareness will kick-start a chain reaction: Change in normal human behavior would result in lesser demands; lesser industrial activities; lesser production; lesser global warming; lesser crimes (born out of the decreasing resources and increasing competition to possess them); and lesser social immorality.

We already know that economic prosperity and wealth, beyond a certain limit, do not necessarily bring more happiness in our life. This wisdom coupled with the education of Yoga can usher us into a new age of a simpler and enlightened life. History teaches us that knowledge, education and awareness have great impact on our way of life, personal and social both.

Antidote to Terrorism

By: Shreepal Singh

All humans are same but their thoughts make them different. Thoughts do not remain thoughts, they translate into actions. The leading thinkers of the western world, since the Classical Times (days of Plato, Arestotal etc.) to Renaissance and even now in 21st century, have been fascinated with the idea of equality of all humans. The institution of democracy invented by the west is founded on the corner stone of this idea.

In the physical anatomy all humans are similar but it is not this anatomy that they are made-up of. The life goes below and above this anatomy, of which now our scienrce is well aware. The domain of physical anatomy of life goes to its very bottom, that is, the life of animals having only one cell, and founded on its DNA..

All life in its biological foundation shares some basic and similar working principles but still this life interacts with the outside world of its environment in different ways. In its action in the outside world, life is not similar. It is not equal, it is different.

Life rising above its anatomy too is not similar. In humans, there are thoughts, which are an extention of life. This extention of life above anatomy does not end at thoughts; there are dimensions of life which are much beyond thoughts and our science – psychology and para-psychology – is making stride into this new branch of knowledge.

Humans have thoughts and that makes them different from one another. It is not necessary that a thought would find a place in the head of one person only. A thought – an idea – may grip the minds of a large group of people.

Thoughts or ideas may be dangerous – sometimes most dangerous. If they are translated into action, they may destroy a large number of human beings; in this atomic age they may destroy even the entire humanity – and along with humanity all life on earth. Such is the power of thoughts.

The most disquietening thing today in this advanced scientific age is the fact that our world is mostly dominated – and is run – by thoughts and ideas. There are innocent ideas; there are dangerous ideas; there are complex ideas – and simple ideas, the ideas that are political, economic, religious, emotional in nàture. There are all sorts of ideas and they compete with each other to dominate and subdue the rival ones. It is voletile situation.

Suppose, a dangerous religious idea gripping a large number of people gets dominance – say, Islamic idea of killing all those who refuse to convert to its fold! And, suppose they come to hold atomic weapons to fulfil their – this – idea into action! It is not far fatched supposition; it is a reality already existing. Anyone with sane mind can visualize the catastrophe that it would bring to entire humanity.

How to get out of the realm of ideas – all ideas? How to become sane in our actions? Is there any way?

Yes, an ancient knowledge that India has preserved since ages has a solution.

There is a science of “controlling – and even stopping” thoughts, thoughts of all kinds. Wow!

It is known as “Yoga” and the very opening sentence of “Yoga Sutra” (of ancient sage Patanjli) describes this science dealing with “Chitta Vritti Nirodh” – that is, controlling or taming the propensity – habit – of our mind.

One cannot – and should not try to – control one’s thoughts, which look to us as our own thoughts but are not so in their origin. It is an intricate science, which has its own safety rules. The first thing in this science is to prepare yourself – physically and mentally – ready, willing and capable to control your thoughts. It is the most appropriate point at this stage to inform the reader that the purpose of “controlling thoughts” etc. is not to control them for the sake of control. The purpose is something else, and very sublime in nature, and it is out of context to dwel on the same here.

To prepare oneself, one has to commence with the change in one’s way of life and thinking. How? The first thing is to practice “Yam”. What is Yam? 1. Ahimsa – that is, commiting no violence against any life. 2. Satya – that is, always speaking truth. 3. Asteya, that is, not to covet, not to steal, not to take what does not belong to you. 4. Brahmcharya, that is, abstaining from sex. 5. Aparigrah, that is, not to hoard or keep with you more than what is ethically required. These are the rules of Yam. Then, there are next steps with their associated rules: Niyam; Aasan; Pranayam; Dharna; Dhyan; Samadhi. All these have elaborate rules, which need to be observed for your own safety. It is obvious that all these rules are not the matter of mental thinking but a matter of practicing them in life. They are the rules of conduct. If practiced in conduct, they bring a radical change in one’s thoughts. Still, observing these rules of conduct is just the first step towards “controlling” one’s thoughts (Chitta Vritti Nirodh) – there are yet many more and subtle measures, like Niyam, Aasan, Prztyahar, Dharna, Dhyan, Samadhi etc. All these measures when mastered by one, make him / her the master of one’s complete self, including quieting one’s all thoughts. In Samadhi you have no thoughts whatsoever but a peaceful consciousness of your existance. Humanity needs to know this science in this age of atomic bombs.

Let the humanity learn this science – for the sake of its own good and welfare in the face of dangerous ideas equipped with atomic weapons.

Tempering Truth is Blasphemy of Nature

By: Shreepal Singh

Out of all that we humans possess, there is nothing more precious to us than truth. Truth stands out against falsehood and wins. Truth wins against falsehood because we are constantly at the lookout for this truth, else truth is where it always has been.

We have the sense to judge what is truth and what is not truth. The story of transformation of animals into humans and progress of her civilization is the story of search of truth.

Truth is the most precious; it is sacred. Tampering the truth is blasphemy of Nature, which produced us and put at the pesdtal where we are today.

The problem is not with the truth, whatever it is; the truth of a thing is whatever it is, whether we know it or not. It may be said a thing is “as it is”. In fact, the real essence of a “thing” is the deepest mystery of Nature. Science is belaboring since the dawn of humanity to know this essence of a “thing” and we have come to know – so far – its “essence” is atoms, electrons, multitude of fundamental forces of Nature, manifestation of space and time ….. (an unending search). There is yet to know much about a “thing” – in fact, much more to know than we have known so far.

The problem arises when we make a claim of the truth of a thing. Such claims of truth become much more problematic when the claimant insists that what he claims to be true is the only “truth”. This disease is most rampant in those fields of human knowledge where the claimants of alleged truth not only claim that “their truth” is the only truth, that other rival claims of truth are false and that one who bear faith in those false truths is liable to be cursed (in eternal hellfire) and / or killed for such blasphemy; this branch of human knowledge is called “religion”.

Hindus and India: Symphony of Hindu India

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 religions of the world – Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians, Parsees, Jews and many tribal faiths of Andaman and Nicobar islands – 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.

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.

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 this great religious diversity all religions are thriving and their adherents are multiplying in India without any hindrance. The credit for this religious freedom goes to Hindus and their religion.

This reality becomes obvious when one compares this happy situation of all religions here with the sordid situation of other religions in those countries where majority belongs to other religions; particularly it is so in the case of Muslim countries. The truth cannot be hidden any longer that Hinduism is the most tolerant religion of the world.

In a world full of religious diversity 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 religious discrimination. This Hinduism has its guide in its Sanskrit sacred scriptural Sutras like “Vasudhiva kutumbkam…” and “Sarve pashyanti sukhine …”, which express its goodwill to all – not only humans but even other living beings.

This Hindu India has a message of peace and love for all. The rise of Hindu India is the rise of humanity. The rise of Hindu India is a good omen for this world.

The world should welcome this rising Hindu India – and should condemn all those who are ringing an alarm bell at this rise.

Hindu India is a boon for our world, which is afflicted with warring groups – mostly rooted in warring religious identities – armed to the teeth, and even some armed with the atomic weapons. How can this world help the Hindu India – the Hindu medicine for a major part of humanity’s fatricidal tendency – to rise? What are the obstacles in the way of this India?

The foremost 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 this depth; and their negative views are echoed by the mainstream media. They lampoon Hinduism for its negative side, without realizing that everything degenerates with the passage of time and needs periodic cleansing. The first need is to educate Hindus of what Hinduism is.

Hinduism is all about humanism and a balanced way of life. It is not about cow and temple. It is about the profound human inquisitiveness and inquiry about the secrets of human life and this universe, where cow and temple – and many other assisting devices like them – serve a purpose. Let educated Indians – particularly educated Hindus – not trivilize Hinduism. Hinduism is profound answer to humans’ inquisitiveness and inquiry. It is presented to humanity in the form of a scientific vision called Yoga. It is about love and goodwill towards all living beings based on this vision and, much more, in the form of new openings for belief-diversified humanity to the mystic secrets of this universe.

An educated Hindu is the best citizen of the world and an asset for its prosperity and happiness. Education in this Hinduism is the perfect antidote to our mental restlessness reflected in our unreasonable conduct and our world afflicted with its dangerous state, and this Hinduism should be so taught here in India and elsewhere.

Democracy is an imperfect political tool – though still a better alternative – not because it is inherently deficient but because the people who work with this are ignorant – an uneducated lot. It is particularly so in India, where the large number of people because of historical reasons are not only ignorant but poor too.

It is the work of new generation to learn and learn fast. After all, how can a single political leader like Narendra Modi – a person with an understanding of this Hinduism – educate our ignorant Indian mass to successfully utilize this political tool called democracy, unless the young generation gets educated quickly?

We know in string musical instrument , like Sitar, we have many strings or wires. We know if one wire is struck to make a musical sound, then other wires – if they are rightly tightened or stretched – automatically make a synchronic musical sound without even touching them.

It is called resonance.

Resonance is used to amplifying the music to create symphony. In the democratic politics too resonance is needed to create a symphony of Hindu India. Modi has touched – struck – one wire and made a musical sound. Now it is for this Hindu India to resonate with that sound to create a symphony – a symphony of Hindu India.

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