Swami Vivekananda's call for National Renaissance
Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Ph.D. (Harvard)
Former Cabinet Minister for Commerce, Law and Justice, Govt. of India September 28, 2013
1. THE IDENTITY OF AN INDIA AS HINDUSTAN
In Chapter 7 Sloka 5 in the Gita, Bhagvan Krishna says that besides eight material elements , the noble souls collectively empower him to control the world. Swami Vivekananda is one such soul that Lord Krishna must have had in mind. As RSS senior adhikari K. Suryanarayana Rao pointed out in his booklet, Swami Ramakrishna, the guru of Swami Vivekananda had prophesied that indeed Vivekananda as Narendranath, a shishya of the guru, would one day through his intellectual and spiritual powers shake the foundations of the world. Swami Vivekananda indeed did so by his discourses and speeches. He spoke vigorously on the need for a new Hindustan. He wanted the cultural unity of India to be acknowledged openly by all Indians. Swamiji wanted a renaissance in the Hindu outlook based on Vedanta scriptures, and from it outlined the architecture of Hindu identity.
In his “Paper on Hinduism” read at the World's Parliament of Religions, Chicago on 19th Sept 1983, Swami Vivekananda emphasized the common points agreed by all the Indian-born religions (or Indic religions):
"From the high spiritual flights of the Vedanta philosophy, of which the latest discoveries of science seem like echoes, to the low ideas of idolatry with its multifarious mythology, the agnosticism of Buddhists, and the atheism of the Jains, each and all have a place in the Hindu's religion."
Swami Vivekananda defined Hindutva, upon returning from Chicago in 1896, in an address in Lahore as follows:
“Mark me, then and then alone you are a Hindu when the very name Hindu sends through you a galvanic shock of strength. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when every man and woman who bears the name Hindu, from any country, speaking our language or any other language, becomes at once the nearest and dearest to you. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when the distress of anyone bearing the name Hindu comes to your heart and makes you feel as if your own son or daughter were in distress” [Collected Works, vol 3, page 379].
Swamiji listed seven common points of Hindu and other Indic [India born] religions:
1. Religion is received through revelation, the Vedas. By Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different sages in different bodies.
2. Creation is without beginning or end. Creation and creator can be likened to two lines without beginning and without end.
3. We are a spirit living in a body. We are not the body.
4. The present is determined by our past actions and the future by the present. There must have been causes before the present birth to make a man miserable or happy and those were his past actions. Also the natural habits of a new-born soul must have come from past lives.
5. The soul in its very essence is free, unbounded, holy, pure and perfect. But the soul will go on evolving up or reverting back from birth to birth and death to death.
6. Worship Him, the God Almighty, through love, love for the love's sake without pre-conditions or expectation.
7. The whole object is by constant struggle to become perfect, to become divine, to reach God and see God. We can have the experience of God in this life.
And Deendayal Upadhyaya, an outstanding original thinker and President of the Jana Sangh, in hisIntegral Humanism following Swami Vivekananda, outlined how to modernize the concepts of Hindutva as follows:
“We have to discard the status quo mentality and usher in a new era. Indeed our efforts at reconstruction need not be clouded by prejudice or disregard for all that is inherited from our past. On the other hand, there is no need to cling to past institutions and traditions which have outlived their utility”. This is the essence of renaissance.
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who emerged later in 1916 as a young scholar just after Swamji attained Samadhi, expressed much the same view in his forgotten writings on Indian history. Presenting a research paper as long ago as in l916, titled “Castes in India; Their Mechanism, Genesis, and Development” at an Anthropology Department seminar at the prestigious Columbia University in New York, Dr.Ambedkar stated:
“I venture to say that there is no country that can rival the Indian Peninsula with respect to the unity of its culture. It has not only a geographical unity, but it has over and above all a deeper and much more fundamental unity - the indubitable cultural unity that cover the land from end to end”(Indian Antiquary. vol.XVL May, 1917. p.94).
Hindu culture is at the root of the Indian civilization. After 1000 years of aggression against Hindus, causing deprivation and subjugation, nevertheless the core Hindu spirit remained undiminished, despite the consequential poverty and destitution having dented the mindset of the average Hindu.
Thus, Swami Vivekananda uplifted the Hindu mind which was since 1857 in a gloom to again throw of the shackles of the mind. Hindu renaissance thus began in inclusive best after Swamiji’s speech in Chacago in 1893.
Earlier, Ram Mohan Roy who propounded the concept of Brahmo Samaj, tried to import the Christian methodology of revival such as congregational worship, and eschewing individualizing and personalizing the divinity. Swamiji advocated the individual’s commitment to serve the downtrodden as the real form of worship, and held the “Truth alone is my God”. Nor did he agree to Swami Dayanand Sarasvati’s creation of a one dimensional deity, the fire, as the only way to worship.
Swami Vivekananda thus focused his spiritual energy on liberation of the individual from the shackles of the mind instilled by foreign rule and occupation of the nation which he called Bharat Mata. In that sense Swamiji was the fore runner of the national freedom fighters, opening the path for Sri Aurobindo and later Mahatma Gandhi to shape the Indian identity.
The question "Who are we?" is the first step in this search for that identity. It is an attempt to seek the foundation stone for a new Hindu Renaissance, which is necessary for discarding dysfunctional trappings of the past. We are today on the verge of an Indian cultural revolution that draws its sustenance and roots from our glorious past centuries of achievements, and of valour while in bondage.
Swamiji said: “If a Hindu is not spiritual, I do not call him a Hindu. National union in India must be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces. A nation of India must be a union of those whose hearts beats to the same spiritual tune.”[Quoted I K. Suryanarayana Rao : Swami Vivekananda : India Condensed].
We shall therefore define India as "Hindustan, a nation of Hindus and those others who proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus”. India is therefore a spiritual country and not secular in the West European sense.
In this definition of identity of India as Hindustan, Parsis, Muslims and Christians who accept the historical and scientific truth that their ancestors were Hindus, are an integral part of the identity of Hindustani [see my Virat Hindu Identity (2013), Harnanand Publications, New Delhi]
The late Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington penned an influential book titled: Who We Are? to define the American’s identity as a “White Anglo-Saxon Christian who speaks English” even if a very large proportion of Americans are of African, Mexican, Phillipines and Indian origin. For this Huntington focused on two ingredients of identity: Salience and Substance.
Salience is the willing commitment of every citizen to place enlightened national interests, security and integrity above any personal interests and aspiration and thus be ready to make sacrifices, if necessary, for the same.
Substance is the existence and recognition of commonality of a citizen with other citizens of the nation, an emotional bonding that is not possible with citizens of other nations.
Fortunately, we Indians do not have to contrive an identity as Huntington had to for a multi-ethnic USA. The territory in which Hindus have lived has been known for ages as Hindustan, i.e., a specific area of a collective of persons who are bonded together by common culture, history, ethos, aspirations.
As recent researches on DNA of the Indian people shows, Indians are ethnically one people. The Indian nation-nation is a modern Republic today, whose roots are also in the long unbroken civilisational history.
It has been scientifically established in the research of Ramana Gutala and Denise Carvalhosilva (published in the renowned Human Genes journal, Sept.2006, VI. 120 p.543-51), titled "A Shared Y-Chronoosomal Heritage between Muslims and Hindus", that Hindus and Muslims have the same DNA structure. Parsis, Indian Jews, and Christians do not deny Hindu ancestry.
The whole world has known our vast territory and millions of the inhabitants for centuries as ‘India and Indians’ or ‘Hind and Hindi’ or as the Chinese know us even today both as nation and people as ‘Yindu’. The root word in all these terms is ‘Hindu’, which word for the Persians, Arabs and Europeans meant a people living beyond the Sindhu river, and for the Chinese a people living beyond the Himalayas and bounded by the Indu Sagar [Indian Ocean].
The theology and epistemology of Hindu religion, or Hinduism is codified in the four Vedas and in the Vedanta scriptures, and the values contained therein are the basis for the Substance of being an Indian.
India’s glorious past in aptly summarized in the writings of Dr.Ambedkar, and his oration in the Constituent Assembly for a strong united country. Ambedkar wrote in this vein several such brilliant books, but alas, Nehru and his cohorts so thoroughly frustrated him and electorally humiliated him that in the end bitterness drove him to his sad end. We must honour him now as a great Rajrishi and co-opt his writings as a mandatory part of the patriotic Indians’ literature.
Jonah Blank, an American journalist curious about the “paradoxical” durability and the solidSubstance of Indianness, took a journey in 1991-92 from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka on the route taken by Lord Rama. He then wrote a book about titled: Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God—Retracing the Ramayana Through India [Houghton Mifflin, Boston USA]. He writes: “India’s land may be ruled by aliens from time to time, but never her mind, never her soul…..In the end, it is always India that does the digesting”[p.217].
He concludes: “But somehow a nebulous sense of ‘Indianness’ does exist, and it binds together Gujaratis, Orissans, to Nagas who might seem to have nothing at all in common. Perhaps it is this elusive, undefinable [yet very real] link that has allowed the sub-continent’s multitude of races to live in some rough semblance of harmony for four thousand years”[p.218]. Despite Blank’s unthinking adherence to Indian ancient and medieval history as written out by British colonialists, the reality of his direct experiences from his travels in India makes him come to the opposite conclusion to the British colonialists viz., India has always existed because of the “Indian-ness” of the people.
Moreover, the world knew of Indians in these millenniums not as nomads but as a highly civilized people who produced exotic goods they had never seen before and were hospitable to visitors of all religious persuasion from abroad. Many travelers such as Fa Hsien, Yuan Chuang, Marco Polo, Vasco d’Gama, and Mark Twain wrote glowingly then about the tolerant behaviourial quality of the Hindus, which quality can be summarized as the defining characteristic of the ancient Indian people.
Justice Bharucha, a Parsi, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, wrote in his Babri Masjid judgment of 1993 [Reported in (1994) 6 SCC 378] that “…Hinduism is a tolerant faith. It is that tolerance that has enabled [emphasis added] Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism to find shelter and support upon this land.”
Throughout this history Hindustan was a Republic in content and a monarchy in form [a possible but weak exception being Asoka’s reign]. In this ancient Republican concept, the king did not make policy or proclaim the law. The intellectually accomplished elite in the society, known as Brahmins, framed the laws and state policy and the King implemented it. Chanakya [circa 1500 B.C.], one such Brahmin, propounded the concept of ‘Chakravartin’ to explain how a highly decentralized Indian polity nevertheless united when the nation would face danger. Such unity, which Huntington called Salience we saw many times in existence, more recently for example, in 1857, in the Freedom Movement, 1962 Chinese conflict, 1977 in the post-Emergency elections.
Brahmins, contrary to the current practice in India, were not necessarily by birth. They could be born in any family but had to become accomplished in knowledge, learning including in the art of warfare but only for teaching others and advising the monarch.
Not only according Lord Krishna in Gita [Sloka 13, Chapter IV] but even modern research of scholars such as M.N. Srinivas and M.V. Nadkarni, it was this guna which defined the Brahmin. Vedas were to be learnt and researched by Brahmins, and the values in particular which are the pillars ofSanatana Dharma, were to be inculcated by all.
Vedic values hence form our innate nature, the Substance, while India is our territorial body, while our republican soul , the Salience, is in today’s Hindustan. Hindu panth [religion] is however a theology of faith rooted in the Vedas. Even if an Indian has a different faith from a Hindu, he or she can still be possessed of Vedic values.
Since India was 100 percent Hindu a millennium ago, the only way any significant group could have a different faith in today’s India is if there was religious conversion from Hindu faith, hence today those are whose ancestors were Hindus.
Conversion of faith does not have to imply conversion to another culture or language or nature. In Iran, the converted Muslims have continued with Persian, the language of the Zoroastrians, as their own. Hence in India too the Sanskrit language can remain to be sacred for a non-Hindu in India.
Thus, we can say that Hindustan is a country not only of Hindus but also of those others who accept that their ancestors were Hindus. Acceptance with pride this reality is to accept the Vedic legacy of values even if like the Jains and others, they do not accept the Vedas. A republican nation of Hindustan is therefore of Hindus and of those of other faiths who have assimilated Vedic values in them. This formulation of salience and substance settles the question of identity of the Hindustani or Indian. An Indian is a Hindu rooted in Vedic values or is one who proudly admits that his ancestors were Hindus and thus imbibed with Vedic values.
This is what Swami Vivekananda meant by Vedanta philosophy, and which is the only way that Hindustan can become a modern Rashtra, thereby, as Parmacharya had wanted, achieving Independence after having recovered our Freedom in 1947.
However, Vedic values relevant today have to be inculcated in our people from values and norms that emerge out of a renaissance, that is, shorn of the accumulated but unacceptable baggage of the past as also by co-opting new scientific discoveries, perceptions and by synergizing with modernity.Its implementation of course requires political action with public consent. This thus is the goal of this address: to chart a road map for India that is Hindustan to become a Rashtra based on Vedic values.
I was inspired in preparing this address by the comment of the greatest sage and sanyasi of the 20th century, namely Chandrashekharendra Sarasvati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt at Kanchipuram, TN, who is reverentially referred to as the Parmacharya.
That great sage had counseled the Indian leadership on August 15, 1947 that “having become free, we must translate that freedom into independence”. It is the content of that independence that should have concerned all thinkers since then, but did not. The then Establishment and political dispensation disregarded Parmacharya’s advice, ignorantly perhaps thinking that freedom and independence were synonymous words. These words are however not synonyms, and moreover, without independence we cannot retain freedom either for long. That is the danger today of failing to follow the wise counsel of the Parmacharya.
Freedom is a physical attribute of a citizen’s rights, such as the right to a livelihood, the freedom of travel etc., while Independence of a nation rests on the quality of the citizen’s values such as his or her attitude to duties, morality, inter-personal relations, social commitment, and nationalism. This requires knowledge of the correct history of Hindustan. Vedic values embody all these aspects.
I shall now make the presentation of such an Agenda in three parts: First, I will highlight the structural parameters of Hindu theology which circumscribe any Vedic values Renaissance Agenda;Second, I will discuss the Five Point Agenda to adopt as a road map for political action today; Third, I will raise some issues for consideration in the implementation of this Agenda.
VEDANTIC VALUES: THE STRUCTURAL PARAMETERS
Structurally, there is no scope for a theology based on Vedantic values to be fundamentalist. For fundamentalism, by definition, requires an unquestioning commitment to the scripture in its pristine original version. For Hindus, there is no one scripture to revert to for theological purity since there are many scriptures which raise a plethora of beliefs and sustain faith, debates, and profound speculations on basic questions[e.g., Upanishads], such as on advaita, dvaita, astika and nastika.
Questioning, debating and synthesizing are an integral part of Vedic values. Nor does Sanatana Dharma have just one prophet to revere, or prohibits anyone from holding any other view of religious experience. But most of all, Vedic values are committed to the search for truth [including knowing what is truth] for which incessant debate is permitted, while fundamentalists are committed to a Book and brook no debate.
We Hindus even tolerate and passively suffer the most lewd and blasphemous interpretation of the Vedic tradition as recently witnessed in the paintings of M.F. Hussain or the writings of Wendy Doniger. This democratic temperament induced by Vedic values is why Vedanta can never lead to fundamentalism.
This is because Vedic philosophy is not a theology founded on the revelation of a single prophet or constituted by a single scripture that which all adherents have to blindly believe in. It is instead accumulated wisdom of sages. Hence, the synergy between the Vedic values and a national renaissance.
There is in Vedanta no ‘Church’ to belong to, or to obey dictums or fatwas, or to believe in a ‘Pope’ who is held to be infallible, or to regard a ‘Bible’ or Koran as the sole Holy Book to specify a mandatory code of what to believe in and what not to. Nor is there the likes of a Hadith or a Sura in Vedanta to goad the faithful into submission to God to commit, as His direction, violence against unbelievers termed as Kafirs and Dhimmis.
Vedas also formally acknowledges that that there are many paths to reach God and hence treats other religions with respect on the principle of Sarva Pantha Sama Bhava even if these paths are not considered equally efficacious for reaching the Divine. That is why in Hindu civilisational history, there has never been burning of religious books of others, destructing places of these other religions, crucifying of prophets of other religions, holding of inquisitions, or even disrespecting other schools of thought. Jews and Zoroastrians suffering persecution in their own countries and elsewhere, found safe refuge only in Hindu India and were assisted by Hindus to practice their religion freely. No other religion has this compassionate track record or proud legacy.
Hindu acharyas instead have always believed in shashtrathas[debate] to convert others to their point of view. Hence, even when Buddha challenged the ritualistic practices of Hindus, or Mahavira and Nanak gave fresh perspectives on Hindu concepts, there was never any persecution of these Prophets. Indeed these Prophets were considered Hindu avataras and their teachings challenged in debates and then synthesized into Hindu theology itself.
That is why the Indian Constitution defines Hindus to include Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, and in the theological framework Hinduism accepted by these other religions even if the concepts of Vedic theology was challenged or even rejected . Religious intolerance and sustained persecution however later came to India with Islam and Christianity and through their instrumentalities.
Vedic philosophy thus founded on a vast rainbow spectrum of scriptures and a monumental accumulated wisdom of many sages that is contained in the Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas etc., all of which intellectually hold that the Ultimate Truth is manifested in manifold ways.
Hence, the essentiality of Vedic values, or alternatively the core quality of being a Hindu, which we may call as our Hindu-ness [i.e., Hindutva], is that structurally there is no danger in the advocacy ever degenerating into fundamentalism. In fact, so liberal, sophisticated, and focused on inward evolution is Vedanta, that in a series of Supreme Court judgments, various Constitutional Benches have not held Hindutva as a communal outlook, as we discover from an useful review of these judgments by Bal Apte MP [in Supreme Court on Hindutva, India First Foundation, 2005].
All the apex court judgments since 1951 on the subject have rejected the notion that Hindutva is either an antonym of secularism or held that per se an appeal to voters by a candidate to poll for him on the ground that he believes in Hindutva, will constitute an offence under the electoral law of the country than bans appeal to religion in elections.
Hence, we can rest here our case for defence of Vedic values as an ideology incapable of becoming fundamentalist, and proceed now with the larger issues of Vedic values for nation building and national renaissance. This is often described as Hindu-ness or Hindutva.
Hindu-ness of outlook on life had been termed Hindutva by Swami Vivekananda. Hindutva’s political perspective has been developed by Veer Savarkar. Deendayal Upadhaya briefly dealt with the concept of Hindutva when he wrote about chiti in his seminal work: Integral Humanism.
The focus of all three profound thinkers was the multi-dimensional development of the Hindus as an individuals harmonizing material pursuits with spiritual advancement, and on how to aggregate individualistic Hindus into an united community or a vibrant collective on the concept of Hindutva.
Because of the individual-centric distinctiveness of Vedanta, it is possible to see millions of Hindus, for example, come to Kumbh Mela on their own, without a direction in the nature of a fatwa, or invitation, peacefully and without any imposition, perform their pujas and then depart. It is purely voluntary and disciplined even as the state does not provide any organization or subsidy for travel expenses. This is individualism par excellence inculcated by Vedic values.
With this kind of widespread voluntary commitment of Hindus, seen not only in Kumbh Mela, but in other pilgrimage occasions such as in Sabarimalai, Vaishno Devi, etc., and the reality of our tolerant civilisational history, can we feel secure that we Hindus can and will unite when it becomes necessary to defend against sinister, sophisticated, and violent threats that the religion faces today?
We cannot be sure, because the Kumbh Mela spirit not only represents the innate strength of Vedic values, but also the main weakness of Hindus as a society. That is, those who assemble at Kumbh Mela do it as an act of individual piety. Hindus do not go to Kumbh Mela to be with other Hindus in a religious congregation, but because they believe that their individual salvation lies in going there.
Patriotic Hindus should understand this structural limitation in the theology that individualism, mistakenly taken nowadays as apathy, and find ways to rectify it for the national good. Collectively, Hindus today lack the necessary modern mindset that can pro-actively bond the community in an inclusive virile wholesome unity, which unity is necessary today for meeting the threats that the Hindu religion faces from terrorism, conversions, religious minority appeasement, and distortions in the history textbooks [ for a discussion of the nature of this siege see my Hindus Under Siege: The Way Out(Haranand, New Delhi, 2005)].
This limitation must not only be overcome but we must try rectify it, not on an ad hoc basis, but on a durable foundation that is sustainable, because Hinduism is being targeted today as never before by terrorism, religious conversion, minority appeasement, debasement in history textbooks, and distortions in the mass media.
It is worthy of notice that, recognizing this limitation, Hindu spiritual leaders in the past have from time to time come forward to rectify it, whenever the need arose e.g., as the Sringeri Shankaracharya did by founding the Vijayanagaram dynasty or Swami Ramdas did with Shivaji and the Mahratta campaign. In the Ramjanmabhoomi Mandir campaign, and the Rama Setu Raksha Abhiyan, the VHP had demonstrated that this individualism is not apathy and that this limitation can be overcome by mass action, by mobilizing most of the sants and acharyas of the Hindu faith.
Such involvement of sanyasis is required even more urgently today, and thus the mobilization of the sants and sadhus for social action has become crucial for our spiritual consolidation. In fact, Swami Vivekananda had aptly put it when he stated that: “National union of India must be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces. A Nation in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune….The common ground that we have is our sacred traditions, our religion. That is the only common ground… upon that we shall have to build”.
The recent efforts in this direction of Swami Dayananda Sarasvati of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in forming the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha that includes all the Shankaracharyas, Mahamandaleshwars, Akharas, and others as members, for the first time as a body corporate, is highly necessary and noteworthy.
Let us recall here that well before the birth of Christianity and Islam, Hindu religion had been intellectually dethroned by Hinayana Buddhism. But Adi Sankaracharya rethroned Hinduism through his famous shastrathas [religious debate] and caused a renaissance in Buddhism itself, which later came to be known as Mahayana Buddhism, conceptually in complete harmony with, if not indistinguishable from Hindu theology. It is Mahayana Buddhism that spread to China, Cambodia and Vietnam.
In Tamil Nadu, the Azhwars and Nayanmars, also through shastrathas, repositioned Hinduism after dethroning Jainism and Buddhism. Since then the Hindu dharmacharyas have always been looked up to whenever Hindu society faced a threat or crisis, for guidance to meet these dangers.
Moreover, the facts of our history have to be well understood so that we are not condemned to re-live it. Militant Islam and later crusading Christianity had come to India, and aggressively had challenged Hinduism. Because Hindus had then very civilized Vedic rules of warfare such as fighting only on open barren fields, and between sunrise and sunset, besides forgiving the loser and sending him back with due honour, therefore these Muslim and Christian invaders despite being much smaller in numbers, seized power in sequence by the changing the rules of combat, and established their own state in India that lasted several centuries.
This change of rules is what Prithviraj Chauhan had not realized while repeatedly defeating Mohammed Ghori and then forgiving him. But Chhatrapati Shivaji had fully understood the perfidy of these aggressors, and accordingly improvised new tactics while dealing with the likes of Aurangzeb and Afzal Khan. The difference [in outcomes achieved] between Chauhan and Shivaji thus speaks for itself.
Today the terrorists and religious missionaries are doing precisely that again of playing by new and even more clandestine and deceptive rules. We Hindus have to accordingly devise our strategy for dealing with them, and will be successful only after understanding the rules by which these enemy forces will scheme against us.
In 1947, temporal power and freedom were defacto restored to the Hindu majority. But the Indian state formally adopted secularism, which concept however was never properly defined or debated. For example, it left vague what a modern Indian's connection was with the nation's Hindu past and legacy. What Nehru grafted on the nation was a vague concept of secularism which operationally meant that anything European in mores and manners was good and anything Hindu was obscurantist.
In the name of secularism, it was taboo for a public servant even to break a coconut or light an oil lamp to inaugurate an official function on the ground that religious symbols must not invade public life! This orthodox concept of secularism has debilitated the civilisational independence of the nation since 1947 when we recovered our freedom.
Secular orthodoxy promoted by Jawarharlal Nehru and his Leftist advisers led the government to take over supervision of temples, legislate on Hindu personal laws, and regulate religious festivals, but kept aloof from the Muslim and Christian religious affairs. In fact, data from Karnataka show that during 1997-2002, over 25,000 temples under state government administration had appropriated Rs 391.40 crores in revenue from devotee offerings, but only Rs.84.00 crores of that was spent on the temples for its upkeep.
As a consequence of this meager expenditure, over 8000 temples went into disuse. Madrasas and Haj travel however received Rs. 180.60 crores from these temple funds! Churches got Rs.44.00 crores, thus diverting a total of 78.58% of Hindu temple donations to Muslim, Christian and other non-Hindu activities!! Is this not incredible in a nation of 83% Hindu even in the name of secularism? The secularism principle was thus foisted on the Hindu masses without making him understand why they had to abide by such legislation, but not Muslims and Christians.
As a result of the Nehruvian secularist’s chicanery, the renaissance that had begun in the late nineteenth century to redefine the national identity [in contemporary terms and norms valid in a pluralistic society], was aborted by the confusion thus created in Hindu minds by a vaguely understood concept of secularism. Confusion causes debilitation of one’s strength.
The Agenda of Vedantic Values for National Renaissance
Therefore my call today is first and foremost for undiluted unity of Hindus, and those others who proudly accept that their ancestor were Hindus, a unity based on a mindset that is nurtured and fostered on the fundamentals of a renaissance.
First, the concept of Hindustan defines the identity of India. That is, Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and those others who proudly accept that their ancestors are Hindus. Muslims and Christians are a part of the Hindustan if they accept this truth and revere it. That is the first dimension of national renaissance. In this inclusive concept of Indianness, we have to examine and determine if the present divisive caste system can be considered as sustainable or we must seek ways to jettison.
Modern India is portrayed by foreign interests through school and college curriculum as a discontinuity in history and as a new entity much as are today's Greece, Egypt or Iraq. That curriculum is largely intact today. On the contrary efforts are afoot to bolster the disparagement of our past in the new dispensation today. A rudderless India, disconnected from her past has, as a consequence, becomes a fertile field for religious poachers and neo-imperialists from abroad who paint India as a mosaic of immigrants not as a nation but much like a crowd on a platform in a railway station. But instead the reality is that today’s India is connected to her hoary past because this India is a nation of Hindus and those others [such as Muslims and Christians] whose ancestors were Hindus. That definition applies to Jews and Parsis too because of inter-marriage and now proved by DNA testing.
The identity of India is thus Hindustan, a nation of Hindus with Vedic values and those others who acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus thus respect Vedic values. It is this acknowledgement that remains pending today, delays the unity of the nation on a historic identity based Vedic values. We can accept Muslims and Christians as part of our Vedic family when they proudly acknowledge this fact and accept that change religion does not require change of culture or values. Thus the cultural identity of India is undeniably, immutably, and obviously its Hinduness, that is rooted in Vedic values.
But the challenge today confronting Hindus is much more difficult to meet than it was ever earlier in history, because the forces at work to erode Vedic values and undermine Hindu faith, unlike before, are unseen, clandestine, pernicious, deceptive but most of all sophisticated and media-savvy.
Tragically therefore, a much larger numbers and more educated of Hindus have been unwittingly co-opted in this sinister conspiracy directed by foreigners who have no love for India and who also see much as Lord Macaulay did in the nineteenth century, that the hoary Hindu foundation of India is a stumbling block for the furtherance of their nefarious perfidious game.
The concept of a collective Hindu mindset is being ridiculed as chauvinist and retrograde, even fundamentalist. The BJP is regularly advised by its enemies to purge out Hindutva from its poll plank to become more “acceptable”. This fatuous advice from enemies however deserves to thrown into the dustbin where it belongs. There is nothing to debate in this because such a debate would only be dysfunctional and will disrupt the synergy between voter appeal and cadre morale that is necessary for electoral success of the patriotic forces..
The corporate Hindu unity and identity based on Vedic values, is that of a collective mindset that identifies us all, Hindus and others, with a motherland from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean and it's glorious civilisational past, and the concomitant resolve of it's representative leadership, defined as "chakravartin" earlier by Chanakya, to defend that vision. It is this concept and resolve that is being sought to be discarded or is just evaporating under the onslaught of the Nehruvian secularists and the corroding forces of materialistic globalisation.
However pious a Hindu becomes, or how many millions come to Kumbh mela, Sabarimala etc., however prosperous Hindu temples and ashrams become from doting devotees' offerings, when the nation is in danger it is this collective mindset of the people that matters, and not the piety of the individual in that collective.
Otherwise we may be numerous like goats and sheep but run helter skelter at the sight of just one tiger or hyena. Or we can be individually strong and well fed like circus lions, but obey the commands of a physically much weaker circus ring master. Hindu society today lacking a cohesive corporate identity, is thus in the process of becoming fragmented, and hence increasingly in disarray. This fission process is on simultaneously with the reality of millions of Hindus going to temples regularly.
That is, by a failure to usher a renaissance after 1947 India has lost her opportunity to cleanse the accumulated dirt and unwanted baggage of the past. The nation missed a chance to demolish the birth-based caste theory as Ambedkar had wanted to do. The battering that the concept of Hindu unity and Indian identity based on Vedic values has taken at the hands of Nehruvian secularists since 1947 has led to the present social malaise. Thus, even though Hindus are above 80 percent of the population in India, they have not been able to understand their roots in, and obligations to, the society in a pluralistic democracy.
Today the sacrilege of Hindu concepts and hoary institutions, is being carried out not with the crude brutality of past invasions, but with the sophistication of the constitutional instruments of law. The desecration of Hindu icons, for example the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt, is being made to look legal, thereby completely confusing the Hindu people, and thus making them unable to recognize the danger, or to realize that Hindus have to unite to defend against the threats to their legacy.
But, if this degeneration and disconnect are not rectified and repaired by a resolve to unite people, the Indian nation may go into a tail spin and ultimately fade away like other civilizations, like Greece and Egypt, have for much the same reason.
To resist this siege, we need a reaffirmation of Vedic values through a national renaissance. Numbers [of those claiming to be adherents to Hinduism] do not matter in today's information society. It is the durability and clarity of the mindset and quality of commitment to values of those who unite that matters in the forging of an instrument to fight this creeping danger.
However, today the Indian mind suffers from a cognitive dissonance, that is, a mental disorientation that arises from conflicting modes of thought because it lacks a framework of consistent beliefs. Today’s Hindu suffers from equivocation and temporization in his mindset in his craze to appear to be impartial and sound secular. We cannot be impartial or equivocate for example between the fire brigade and the fire. The Vedic civilization of India is under a siege and we have to break through it and get it lifted. Equivocation and nonchalance at this juncture will destroy us. I can do no better here than quote Swami Dayananda Sarasvati of the Arsha Vidyalaya Gurukulam:
"Faced with militants and missionaries. Hinduism has to show that its plurality and all-encompassing acceptance are not signs of disparateness or disunity. For that, a collective voice is needed."
Second, resolve that Sanskrit and the Devanagari script, will be learnt by all in addition to the mother tongue and its script, and which will one day in the future be Hindustan’s link language. As Shri Suryanarayana points out[op.cit.,] Swamiji was vehement that Sanskrit must be widely taught for fostering Indian identity. All the main Indian languages have already a large percentage of their vocabulary common with Sanskrit. Hence, the second item of the Agenda has to be a commitment to re-throne Sanskrit as Hindustan’s link language, achieved through a 3-language formula and by a steady sanskritization of Hindi’s vocabulary till Sanskritized Hindi becomes indistinguishable from Sanskrit. English thanks to the Americans and globalization has now become an essential international language, and must be learnt as a third language by all Indians.
Third, Hindus, and those others who are proud of their Hindu past and origins, learn the correct history of India. That history which records that Hindus have always been, and are one; that caste is not birth-based nor immutable but a code of discipline by choice and adherence. India is a continuum, sanatana. That is, ancient Hindus and their descendents have always lived in this area from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean, an area called Akhand Hindustan, and did not come from outside; and that there is no truth in the Aryan-Dravidian race theory. Instead Hindus had gone abroad to spread learning.
But most all this history must record the valiant and continuous struggle against the foreign invaders whether Islamic or Christian and the ultimate victory in 1947.
It must be said at this juncture that Hindus committed to Vedic values, and barring a small exception, despite being duped by perfidy of the aggressors for the last thousand years, and even in defeat, remained steadfast in their individual commitment to defend the Hindu religion. Thus, despite state patronage to the ensuing onslaught, plunder, impoverishment and victimisation, spread over a thousand years, those of Hindu faith could not be decimated, and thus today, Hinduism remains today the theology of the vast Indian majority in the length and breadth of the terrain of India.
Defiant Hindus thus suffered persecution and economic deprivation during Islamic and Christian reigns, such as through differential taxation [e.g., jezia and zamindari land revenue appropriation] and plain brutality, but by and large refused to capitulate and convert.
This is an unprecedented achievement in any civilisational history of any nation. Compare this with the historical fact that Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Egypt crumbled to become 100% Islamic within three decades of Islamic aggression, and so did Europe become 100% Christian within five decades of the Crusades.
Even after almost a thousand years of such targeting by Muslims and Christian rulers, undivided India in 1947 was more than 75 % Hindu. This was partly because of the victorious Vijayanagaram [which lasted twice as long and over a larger area than Mughal rule from Akbar to Aurangzeb], the Sikh reign, and Mahratta kingdoms, and later the Freedom Movement, each inspired by sanyasis such Sringeri Shankaracharya, Swami Ramdas, Guru Nanak, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Sarasvati of Arya Samaj, and Sri Aurobindo, besides patriots like Bankim Chatterjee and Subramania Bharati, who by their preaching about the Hindu identity ensured that the flame of Hindu defiance never dimmed.
It was also due to individual defiance of Hindus such as of Rana Pratap, Rani Jhansi, Rani Chennamma, Kattaboman and Netaji Subhas Bose. These icons are admired not because they led us to victory [in fact they were defeated or killed], or had found out for us Hindus a safe compromise with the aggressors [they did not!], but because of their courage of conviction in the face of huge odds not to submit to tyranny.
That courageous defiance is also is part of Hindus' glorious legacy. But those who capitulated like Raja Man Singh or Jai Chand or Pudukottai Raja in order to live in pomp and grandeur by capitulating before the invader for selfish motives and betraying our heroes in war with the aggressor, are despised today by the people. Thus, Hindus safeguarded the nation remembering their heroes even those who lost, and rejecting those who had capitulated to the invader even if they prospered.
But such passive defiance or intermittent victories in the battlefield to safeguard the nation is not sufficient for the future survival of the Vedic civilization. Bharat Mata today have won her freedom but it has not been translated into civilisational independence as Parmacharya had wanted.
Attempts at Hindu debilitation are also being made through falsification in history texts adopted for curriculum in the education system, to disconnect and disinherit the contemporary Indian from the past glory of Hindu India. The intrinsic Hindu unity has been sought to be undone by legitimizing such bogus concepts as Aryan-Dravidian racial divide theory [AIT], or that India as a concept never existed till the British imperialists invented it, or that Indians have always been ruled by invaders from abroad.
There is no such word as ‘Aryan’ in Sanskrit literature [closest is 'arya' meaning honourable person, and not community] or Dravidian [Adi Sankara had in his shasthratha with Mandana Mishra at Varanasi, called himself as a 'dravida shishu’ that is a child of where three coastlines meet, i.e., south India].
The theory was deliberate distortion by British imperialists and propagated by their witting and unwitting mental slaves of India. Incidentally, the Aryan-Dravidian myth has now been exploded by modern research on DNA of Indians and Europeans conducted by Professor C.Panse of Newton, Mass. USA, Dr. Ms. Patel of Houston, Texas USA, and other scholars. Most recently, Dr. Toomas Kivisild of Cambridge University, U.K., and Dr. Gyaneshwar Chaubey of the University of Tartu in Estonia, have concluded after four years of research on 12,000 samples that all Indians “had common genetic traits irrespective of the regions of India to which they belonged.” Thus they rule out the so-called AIT [Aryan Invasion Theory].
In light of such new research, the British Broadcasting Corporation[BBC] service in it's October 6, 2005 service completely debunked the Aryan—Dravidian race theory stating that: "Theory was not just wrong, it included unacceptably racist ideas" [www.bbc.co.uk, religionðics homepage, Thursday, 6/10/05].
So the third item of the Hindutva Agenda item has to be a total and complete re-writing of history text books, which books are then prescribed as texts in educational institutions.
Fourth, the virat mindset committed to Vedic values is prepared to retaliate when attacked. This defensive retaliation must be massive enough to deter future attacks. If terrorists come from training camps in Pakistan, Bangla Desh or Sri Lanka, India must seek to carpet bomb those training camps, no matter the consequences. If 5 lakh Kashmiri Hindus are driven out of the Valley by Islamic terrorists, we must arm and financially equip 10 lakhs of the able-bodied ex-servicemen Hindus to go with their families and settle in the former residences of the driven-out Hindus to keep the Constitutional guarantee under Article 370 of not maintaining the religious composition of the state.
If Bangla Desh permits its population to infiltrate into Hindustan, then India must demand territorial compensation within the meaning of the Indian Independence Act of June 1947 passed by the British Parliament to legitimize Partition. The Act was framed on the principle that Muslims not wanting to live under what Jinnah called as the ‘hegemony’ of the Hindus, be carved out of undivided India, called as Pakistan, in proportion to it. One-third of Bangla Desh Muslims now, after six decades after Partition, have already infiltrated back into Hindustan to live under Hindu ‘hegemony’.
Thus, the fourth item of the Hindutva Agenda has to be a commitment of ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorists of all hues, as also for those who forcibly or by inducements, seek to convert Hindus to other religion, and to never negotiate with such forces, and to retaliate massively to nullify the political objectives of these violent enemies.
Fifth, renaissance has to be based on Ekatma Manavad or Integral Humanism. There has to be a harmonisation of material progress with spiritual development of any human being for a happy contented individual. Deendayal Upadhyaya articulated as far back as 1965 the Vedic view that the world cannot be a happier place solely through material progress. This reality has now dawned after centuries on Christians and even Communists.
The Chinese President Hu Jintao actually got a resolution passed in a special session of the Communist Party of China in October 2006 stating that Chinese progress is sustainable only if China adopts the concept of “Harmonious Society” blending material progress with spiritual values drawn from Confucious and Buddha. In 2007 China convened an international conference on Buddhism and now the Chinese government is setting up Confucious Centres of Study around the world.!
The far-sighted Deendayal Upadhyaya advocated the concept of the ‘Integral Human’, which concept is squarely within the Vedic values and ethos. Ekatma Manavad or Integral Humanism as he termed it contrasts this harmonization as it differs from capitalism and communism. The tabular presentation in Annexure 3 brings this out.
Some Comments on the Implementation of the Agenda
Adherence to Hinduism today is also being sought to be diluted and debilitated in the name of modernity and this dilution is made a norm of secularism. Religion, it is advocated, is personal. To be a good Hindu today is conceptually being reduced to just praying, piety, visiting temples, and celebrating religious festivals.
Electoral politics further confounded the issues arising out of secularism, and hence the Indian society is becoming gradually and increasingly fragmented in outlook and of confused perspective. Hindu society, divided by caste, is becoming increasingly mutually antagonistic. The nation’s enemies are easily gaining simply by leveraging secularism and modernity in this era of mass communication and globalization.
Hence, time has arrived to completely reject this confused and confounded concept of secularism,and not even attempt to re-define it, as a choice between authentic and pseudo-secularism. We need instead to make a clean break for the implementation of the Agenda, by simply saying that we reject secularism as being vague and instead want India to be a spiritual society based on Vedic values.
Vedic values encompasses sarva pantha sama bhava and hence Hindu theology is no threat to any other religion as Justice Bharucha had pointed out[op.cit.]. Since the task to defeat the nefarious forces ranged today against Hindu society is not going to be easy, we cannot therefore trust those amongst in our midst whose commitment to the motherland is ambivalent or ad hoc or those who feel no kinship to the Hindu past of the nation.
We partitioned a quarter of Hindustan to enable those who could not live even in a democratic framework of Constitutionally guaranteed equality and in fraternity with Hindus. We now know such appeasement does not work. The national renaissance is possible if patriotic Indians accept this reality.
Nor we can fight the existential threat to the nation unless we first identify what we have to fight. We cannot effectively respond unless we understand the nature and complexity of the challenge. What makes the task of defending Hinduism much more difficult today is that the oppressors are not the obvious murderous entities as were Ghazni, Ghori, or Clive, but sophisticated mind-manipulators. The means of communication and the supply of funds in the hands of these enemies are multiples of that available in the past, for camouflaging their evil purposes.
That basic strategy of those who want to see a weak and pliant India remains the same as before: Making Indians to lose their self esteem by disparaging their tradition-- the strategy of British imperialists for the conquest of India. Only the tactics have changed. Now the target is the Hindu institutions and Hindu icons, and the route is not the creation of a comprador class of civil servants and Zamindar-revenue collectors as the British did to subdue the nation, but fostering a psychological milieu to denigrate the heritage and to delink the Hindu from his past legacy thereby causing a loss of self esteem and a pride in the nation's past, as had been attempted in the Rama Setu issue.
At the same time, the lack of Hindu unity and the determined bloc voting in elections by Muslims and Christians has created a significantly large leverage for these two religious communities in economic, social and foreign policy making.
Thus, although uniform civil code is a Directive Principle of state policy in the Constitution, it is taboo to ask for it because of this leverage. It is not as if Muslims will not accept uniform laws when it suits them, even if it is against the Sharia. For example, Muslims accept uniform criminal code under the IPC even though it infringes the Sharia, but resist uniform civil code because it violates the same Sharia.
But we must see clearly what Muslim majority anywhere will mean to Hindus when we look at the situation in Kashmir or in the districts of Meerut or Mau in UP, or in Mallapuram in Kerala, or even in the tiny town panchayat of Melvisharam near Vellore. There Muslims in majority behave toward Hindu minority much as Saudi Arabian rulers behave with Hindu migrant workers in denial of their religious rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by the UN Human Rights Charter.
Moreover, patriots concerned with the safeguarding of the Vedic foundation of the nation have to take note that conversion to Christian faith has been put on a war footing by religious entrepreneurs. In Dallas, Texas USA, the Global Pastors Network[GPN] held a conference in 2006 and resolved that over the next fifteen years, the organization will support financially worldwide the construction of five million churches and conversion of one billion persons to Christianity. From India alone the target, according the Evangelist Pat Robertson, is 100 million persons.
What a monumental journey we have been till today from the depression of the defeat in the First War of Independence in 1857 to Swami Vivekananda birth in 1863 to Independence in 1947. In just 90 years to 1947, the British imperialists had brainwashed us Indians to acquiesce in destroy the sacred memories.
Hence, in a democracy, fighting elections are very important part of the struggle for implementation of an agenda for national renaissance. For this it is necessary for formation of a bloc vote of all those who cherish Vedic values and who accept the Hindu civilisational heritage. In India even if half of the Hindu population decides to vote as a bloc in elections, a government will be formed by a two-thirds majority. Therein is embedded the salvation for us who cherish Vedic values and aspire for a national renaissance.