Sanatana Dharma - The Path to Eternal Knowledge, Consciousness and Bliss
(PLEASE SEE JUNE, JULY & AUGUST 2010 POSTINGS ON THIS TOPIC)
Also see Chitra Raman's review of Chapter 10 "VIOLENCE IN MAHABHARATA"
(Published as is without editorial scrutiny by Sookta-Sumana Editor)
As an active and practicing follower of the ancient Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Religion) of India, better known to the world as Hinduism, I feel that it is my duty to protest wholeheartedly the sarcastic and disdainful presentation of one of the world’s great faiths in the book entitled “The Hindus: An Alternative History” by Wendy Doniger.
As an example, in chapter 14 the author deals most arrogantly and whimsically with the early Puranic literature as she completely misses the point of the Puranas so clearly stated in the most celebrated and well known Srimad Bhagavat Maha Purana (which the author totally neglects in order to conveniently put forth her skewed negative agenda). Srimad Bhagavat Maha Purana states: “The Vedas and Puranas are one and the same in purpose. They ascertain the Absolute Truth, which is greater than everything else. The Absolute Truth is ultimately realized as the Absolute Personality of Godhead with absolute controlling power. As such, the Absolute Personality of Godhead must be completely full of opulence, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation."
Wendy Doniger misleads the reader into thinking that the epic ancient Indian literatures such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are “roughly contemporaneous” when they belong to different ages separated by thousands of years. The narrations and lessons emanating from the Puranas are ancient yet the author judges this great literature with the eyes of a modern disrespectful and faithless skeptic. The Puranas themselves predict in great detail about the current age that we are living in, which they label as the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Perhaps a prophecy of the blasphemous writings of authors such as Wendy Doniger.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna said to his dear friend Uddhava: “Having achieved this human form of life, which affords one the opportunity to realize Me, and being situated in My devotional service, one can achieve Me, the reservoir of all pleasure and the Supreme Soul of all existence, residing within the heart of every living being.” This essential message emanating from the ancient Hindu philosophy is aptly summarized in The Uddhava Gita from the Srimad Bhagavat Maha Puran, Book 11.06-29.
The essence of the Hindu faith is to guide the inquisitive soul to realization of it’s true and glorious nature and it’s relationship with the Supreme Soul of all, God, and His unfathomable and infinitely glorious nature. Whether it be through disciplined practice of yoga, the medical benefits of which have been proven in study after study, meditation, loving devotion, working and living peacefully and happily without attachment to the end results, the heart of the matter in the Hindu faith is to describe in the most specific and illuminating detail how to achieve the highest goal of self realization, God realization and understanding the individual soul’s relationship with the Divine and how all life is interconnected spiritually.
In addition to this and according to the famous Astro Physicist Dr. Carl Sagan, who in his Emmy and Peabody award winning PBS program named COSMOS which was viewed by more than 500 million people in 60 countries, states that the Hindu faith is the only religious tradition on Earth that provides a time-scale for the Earth and the universe which is consonant with that of modern scientific cosmology. Further, according to Dr. Sagan, not only did the ancient seers of Hinduism get the Cosmic time-scale which speaks of billions of years, right, Hindu cosmology says that the many billion year time-scale is not the entire history of the universe, but just the day and night of Brahma (the first materially created being in the Universe and the creator of subsequent material beings) and that an infinite cycle of births and deaths and an infinite number of universes exists in the Divine cosmological pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
With this in mind, it should be noted that the disrespectful and ignorant bias willfully taken by Wendy Doniger to distort the true greatness of the Hindu faith is shameful and dangerous. I say this because she could be negatively affecting the minds of many who may have otherwise explored with an open mind the vast treasure trove of deeply insightful knowledge as presented in the Hindu scriptures.
Sincerely and Namaste (I bow to the Divine within thee),