Archive for September, 2009

Secular assault on the Sacred

Secular assault on the Sacred
R Vaidyanathan
06 Sep 2009

There was a small news item dated 4 August 2009 in some newspapers, stating that the prosecution witnesses in the case pertaining to the Kanchi seer are turning hostile and the case itself might be revealed to be a foisted one. The time period for which a sacred institution has been humiliated and the assault the state conducted on an age old tradition needs introspection by us all.

The day I read a news item that Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Sarasvati entered a Harijan slum, I commented to a friend, ‘he has written his own arrest warrant.’ My friend did not understand. Many of us are totally ignorant about the functioning of the Secular State in a country like India, a point we shall return to later.

There was a debate on his arrest on the NDTV show “We the people,” anchored by Ms. Burka Dutt on 5 December 2004. It was pathetic to see the audience pleading that the Swamiji be treated like Pappu Yadav or Taslimuddin, that law is the same for every one. One “rationalist” suggested the seer be permanently parked inside Vellore Jail as a devotee said the seer’s presence would purify the jail.

This attack on this sacred institution must be understood in the broader context of the threat to Hindu civilization from the so-called neutral secular state.

Is this attack a stray case? Indications are that it is not. There is a demand that the Pejawar Mutt at Udupi be taken over and the Sri Krishna Temple be administered by the government.

The demand is due to the claim that the memory of Kanaka Dasa, a sixteenth century poet and devotee of Sri Krishna, belonging to the Kuruba community, has been insulted by the Matham. Again it is pertinent to note that the Pejawar Swami mingled with Harijans and is a major campaigner for social harmony and removal of untouchability. He is active in the fields of education and in the forefront of the movement to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya.

When the Mulavar becomes Reformer, fear grips the State

In our tradition, there are two types of Mathams. One is what we can loosely call the Mulavar or similar to the God in the garbha griha, and the other is Utsavar or similar to the God who is taken in procession around the temple. The Utsavar is well dressed and the presentable face of Hindu sampradayas. The second category of Seers will know English, will know how to handle the press, how to give television interviews; sometimes they are also globe-trotters.

They represent the “brand image” of the Santana Dharma, if one may use the term. In a sense, they are secular and would most often talk of the “oneness” of all religions, without knowing the implications. Some, due to their secular dealings, get into problems with the State either in India or abroad, as in the case of Rajneesh. One can categorise Ammachi, Sri Sri, Rajneesh and Mahesh Yogi in this category.

The former category is the Mathams like that of Sankara or Madhava, which till recently were completely unconcerned about this-worldly issues and focused only on the Dharma. Mathams like in Sringeri or Kanchi or Udupi derive their strength from a long lineage and the original founders like Adi Sankara or Madhavacharya.

The secular state was tolerant of these sacred symbols as long as these were separate from the laukika issues. This is because these mathams derived their legitimacy from their position and not to any secular support. Once some Mathams began to get into social reform or education or health care, the secular state was upset because the actions of these seers carries phenomenal conviction among the poorer strata and de-legitimizes the hegemony of politicians and bureaucrats over poverty or caste-oriented issues. In the case of the secular-Utsava seers, the state is not unduly concerned as they are mostly individuals with charisma but do not have a hoary tradition and thousands of years of legitimacy.

Conversion or Casteless

This is the backdrop in which the Kanchi Seer tried to solve secular problems using his sacred institution. When he tried to reach out to Harijans, exploring the possibility of a dignified life for them, the political class was disturbed. The secular state was worried since the accepted model in the political discourse for “liberation” of Harjans is either conversion to other religions or a possible overthrow of the caste system.

Swami Jayendra Sarasvati’s model postulates the possibility of their being within the system, but treated with dignity and equality. The SC politicians and secular state satraps whose staple diet is conversion or the destruction of the caste system found it difficult to accept his actions.

Interestingly, some of the orthodox in the Matham system also opposed his approach, believing that being exclusively in the garbha griha or Mulavar position preserves legitimacy. Any deviation to work for this-worldly salvation of people was looked upon with disdain and considered apostate. In a curious coincidence, the orthodoxy attacked the Matham for the same reasons for which the secular political forces were upset! It was, in political parlance, an alliance of the left extreme with the extreme right, to neutralize the middle.

If the State is not secular or neutral, but protective state of Hindu Dharma, this issue would have been dealt with in a different way. The State would have reprimanded the orthodoxy or even punished it for being obstructionist. But the secular State is presumably neutral, but in practice against Dharmic institutions which derive their legitimacy from thousands of years of tradition.

Invite by China

The invitation to visit China was a major turning point in the affairs of our civilization and this Matham. The concerned NGO in China would not have invited him to visit that country without a clearance from the top political authority, knowing how China functions in these matters. It is fascinating that the Chinese authorities that prohibit taking the Bible into their country for preaching and who have refused the Papal visit, invited the head of a Hindu sampradhaya to their country.

Whatever the author could infer from interactions with scholars in India and China, one could surmise that China welcomes the presence of a non-incursive or inclusive religion, and that could be the Sanatana Dharma. There is an ancient Chinese belief that the best rebirth is in India, as it is a Dharma Bhumi. The experience of China with Falung Gong, perceived to be sponsored by the CIA, and the problems with the Dalai Lama, has made Beijing consider other options in terms of religion, which Chinese society needs.

Any other Government would have jumped at this prospect and tried to arrange the Seer’s trip as a geo-strategic move. But the Indian State did not encourage this historic opportunity to foster civilisational bonds through authentic and legitimate institution like the Kanchi Matham, but prevented the effort by not reining in the orthodoxy who protested in the High Court about the “pollution” involved in crossing shores.

The Indian State’s neutrality is a threat to the existence of legitimate Dharmic institutions. Incidentally, this neutrality is only with reference to Indic institutions since the Abrahamic faiths terrorize the State to achieve their ends. At the time of independence, the State should have taken over the land and property allocated to the Church at free or throwaway prices by the erstwhile colonizers, but it did not do so.

The desert traditions can intimidate the State as they have global backup and protesters. The second child of Abraham globalizes local conflict using global networks, while the third child localizes all global conflicts. Witness the death of five people in Mumbai because Jeremy Falwell, a televangelist in USA, called the Prophet a “terrorist.” Witness the outpouring of anger and protests – at the global church level – to the (false) attack on nuns at Jhabua by “Hindu fanatics,” when actually it was the work of rowdies from the same faith.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s diatribes will be picked up by our English media to castigate the Hindu majority. Witness the violence against the arrest of suspects in a criminal /ISI related case (2004) at Hyderabad, where even the Chief Minister had to observe why the arrests were made in a holy month of Ramzan. But the Kanchi Acharya could be arrested on Diwali day! Remember the global hue and cry when the UP police searched the religious school at Nadwa, and how the Prime Minister intervened and expressed regrets?

Obviously, the State can be secular or neutral only with respect to Indian religions, which are non-intimidating, and not with respect to the desert faiths. That is why we encounter such absurd observations like, there has not been any large-scale violence against the arrest of the Kanchi seer so this does not hurt the public.

We have come to a tragic situation, that unless the State is terrorized it does not care. That is all the more reason why the Sanatana Dharma needs the protection of the State or what one may call a Kshatriya State. That State will protect all ancient Sampradayas and sustain the sacredness of the Indic civilization in letter and spirit.

The author is a Professor of Management; the views expressed are his own
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Sangh makes India proud

Sangh makes India proud

Objective viewpoint of an outsider about the RSS
By KK Gupta, IFS (Retd)
It was indeed a great enlightenment to me that far from being communal in any sense of the term, the RSS is secular in true sense of the term and is an ideal organisation in the country to infuse: the high sense of discipline (of body and mind); the sense of pride in Indian culture; the sense of pride in being Indian; sense of pride in our history and background; dedication to the cause of motherland; selflessness and motivation to make supreme sacrifice for Bharat Mata.
Having made-up my mind to join some political party, I considered it most appropriate to study the books and other literature of various political parties in order to take a conscientious decision. For this purpose, the obvious parameters had to be the party’s philosophy, ideology, ideals, leadership profile, organisational culture, approach and the historical background of the party as well as that of the allied or related organisations. Leftist ideology being not compatible to my personal ideology/ideals, was kept outside the arena of such a study. As regards the Congress Party, except the repeated use of terms like ‘socialism’, ‘secular’ and the eulogies about a particular family (covering four generations), there was nothing to know about the party’s philosophy/ideology/ideals. Therefore, the logical conclusion was to focus on the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, which became not only my conscientious choice but also a natural one in keeping with my personal ideals/goals. In this backdrop, a serious reading of the book-Bunch of Thoughts-A Collection of the thoughts of Shri MS Golwalkar (Shri Guruji), gives a panoramic view about the basic philosophy, the main objectives, the ultimate goals and the broad approach of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Apart from this excellent book, I also went through other core literature concerning the RSS with the curious objective of finding something which could give even remote substantiation to the oft alleged charge of communalism against this august organisation.

It was indeed a great enlightenment to me that far from being communal in any sense of the term, the RSS is secular in true sense of the term and is an ideal organisation in the country to infuse: the high sense of discipline (of body and mind); the sense of pride in Indian culture; the sense of pride in being Indian; sense of pride in our history and background; dedication to the cause of motherland; selflessness; motivation to make supreme sacrifice for the country called Bharat Mata. It would be worthwhile for all Indians to read the book-Bunch of Thoughts, to rid them of the mist created due to the aggressively conducted false propaganda by the pseudo-secularists against the RSS. In order to give a synoptic view, the following excerpts from this book are presented:

“..the image of Indian culture as the pattern of nation-building is laid over with many confused notions from the West and from distorted ideas of the past of our own life.

..the national liberation movement of MK Gandhi derived power from the cultural heritage indwelling in the subconscious mind of the people. the political motif was dominant in the Gandhian movement, the cultural forces it invoked and mobilized were not grasped in their genuine purity and power and were not related naturally and organically to the ideals of politics, economics, social order and values and many dharmas of the living past.

The failure of Indian history to assimilate the Muslims into the national society, as it had succeeded in assimilating the earlier invaders- the Shakas, Scythians and Hunas-is a notable fact which the new Indian leaders of national liberation ignored altogather.

No concession given without change of ideology on the part of the recipient could bring the change needed.

..Hinduism is not merely a sect, a small religious fellowship concerned exclusively with modes of worship or social customs peculiar to it. The word Hindu in this context has a national character.

..RSS (literally, National Volunteer Corps)…an organization training the young through a course of mental and physical exercises…(with the objective of) developing a sound mind in a sound body…Sangh instructors stress courage and the virtues needed for resisting wrong and aggression.

..The current aspersions against the RSS mostly by Congress leaders and followers to the effect that it is a ‘communal organisation’ and more dangerous to the country than even Communism are a travesty of the fact.

..the Bunch of Thoughts.. serve to bring together the outlines of philosophy and history of Indian culture as well as the technique of nation-making followed by the Sangh as laid down by its founder Dr Hedgewar. (the RSS) is the most influential movement of cultural reconstruction in the land today…it is based on a philosophy of national culture and envisages the whole of nation.

The Muslims, Christians and Jews etc., have perfect upasana swatantrya, freedom of worship so long as they do not seek to destroy or undermine the faith and symbolism of the national society.

The nation is the grouping next to family and clan and neighbourhood in the service of which we grow in moral stature.

The State should be above partial interests and should regulate all activities according to dharma.

No doubt we may surpass the past but only by thinking through them to new conclusions, not by ignoring them and starting de novo.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not merely a school for teaching ideas and ideals. It is a school for practical education in character-building.

Day-to-day meeting of Swayamsevaks in Shakhas… inculcate courage, discipline, sense of service, respect for elders and the learned, etc. This is a unique system of training the young in the land in full consonance with the proved ideals and practice of Indian culture.

Only the positive image of the Mother country is made to occupy the entire mind and heart of the Swayamsevak.

..the Sangh is the indispensable basic corrective to all other current efforts to furnish the foundations of national reconstruction and inspiration for national regeneration on sound lines.

Readiness for service and even sacrifice is the chief motif of the movement. is devotion to one’s motherland, society and tradition experienced under the concept of nation that inspires the spirit of real service and sacrifice in the individual.

..any arrangement evolved for achieving world welfare can be fruitful only to the extent the men behind it are inspired by real love for mankind which will enable them to mould their individual and national conduct in tune with the welfare of humanity.

The ‘I’ (Shri Guruji) in me, being the same as the ‘I’ in the other beings, makes me react to the joys and sorrows of my fellow living beings just as I react to my own.

..the mission of organizing the Hindu people on the lines of their unique national genius which the Sangh has taken up is not only a great process of true national regeneration of Bharat but also the inevitable precondition to realize the dream of world unity and human welfare.

History has recorded that it is in this land alone that, right from the hoary times, generation after generation of thinkers and philosophers, seers and sages rose to unravel the mysteries of human nature, dived deep into the world of Spirit and discovered and perfected the science of realisation of that Great Unifying Principle.

Our Hindu Society, strong, self-confident and self-effulgent, acted as the fulcrum of that far-flung empire of the Spirit.

It has become a fashion these days to deride our ancient ideals and traditions and talk of recasting our society in the mould of other modern ‘isms’.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has resolved to fulfill this age-old national mission by forging, as the first step, the present-day scattered elements of the Hindu society into an organised and invincible force both on the plane of the Spirit and on the plane of material life.

It is only when the society is looked upon as a living corporate body of which the individual is a limb that the real unifying social consciousness will be ingrained in him.

..the two prominent features of the modern Western society i.e., “permissiveness” and “competition”, have led human society away from peace and happiness.

In order to instill the spirit of self-restraint the concept of Chaturvidha Purushartha was propounded. This four-fold goal of life-Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha-helps one to lead a self-restrained, balanced and harmonious way of life.

..all our physical propensities and enjoyments are held between Dharma on the one hand and Moksha on the other… will be conducive to the happiness of both the individual and the society.

Man as an animal is a victim of passions and passions get more intense when gratified.

To raise always the slogan of revolution is to encourage and invite armed strife, anarchy and murder of peace.

It is through the full manifestation of Dharma in human life that human beings will be able to live in that state of highest harmony in spite of the inherent disparities in nature…The spirit of co-operation takes away the sting of disparity.

..we find great saints and heroes coming up from all sections of our people right from those given to learning and knowledge down to peasants, weavers, cobblers, scavengers and so on, whose thoughts and deeds, songs and sayings have inspired the whole of our people, crossing all superficial barriers.

Our culture has always taught us that restraint of emotions is more potent and charming than extravagant demonstration.

..when we think of the greatness of our nation, we not only think of its wealth and affluence, of all the means of satisfaction of the necessities of the body but also of the mind of the individual which should be made to gradually rise above all these things and place him in a position to which he is entitled as a human being, that is, in direct relation with divinity.

Our definition of Dharma is two fold. The first is proper rehabilitation of man’s mind; and the second is adjustment of various individuals for a harmonious corporate existence, i.e., a good social order to the people together.

The first and foremost prerequisite is the invincible organised life of the people without which even the highest national prosperity will crumble to dust in no time.

Strength without character will only make a brute of man. Purity of character from the individual as well as the national standpoint is the real life-breath of national glory and greatness.

It is of no use to speak of Hindu Nationhood and the eminence of Hindu way of life without a corresponding life-pattern in our practical day-to-day behaviour.

A Hindu is born to be trained in a life-long course of discipline and self-restraint, which purify and strengthen him to reach the Supreme Goal in life.

Let us remain true to our dream of reinstating our Bharat Mata as the Cultural Guide of the world, by making our people once again take to the path of our national genius.

According to our ways of religious belief and philosophy, a Muslim is as good as a Hindu. It is not the Hindu alone who will reach the ultimate Godhead. Everyone has the right to follow his path according to his own persuasion.

There is one substantial philosophy which does not belong exclusively to the Hindu or to the Muslim. Call it whatever you like. It says that there is one Single Power one Single Existence which is Truth, which is Bliss. It is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. All our conceptions of God are only our own limited conceptions of the Ultimate Realty….Religion is only a way of worship.

Give people true knowledge of Islam. Give people true knowledge of Hinduism. Educate them to know that all religions teach man to be selfless, holy and pious.”

Further, the significant role played by the RSS during the hour of crisis/calamity/catastrophe (be it the Partition holocaust or the earthquake or the floods/famine or the terrorist’s strike) is a well documented/established fact which has earned the organisation great appreciation/applause from leaders of all hue and shades (some did it openly in public, while others preferred to do so privately). Still, it is quite intriguing that the Nehruvian mindset, for imposing ban on this great organisation on as flimsy grounds as the ones in 1948, persists even today. The only possible rationale for this kind of mindset could be the fear that if the people come to know about the truth relating to RSS, then they are bound to completely discard the false impressions created due to the vilification campaign carried out by the pseudo-secularists, resulting in the total routing of such pseudo-secularists from the center-stage of the public life in India. Once this happens, most of the Indians are bound to follow the path of Dharma being shown to them by the RSS thereby enabling the achievement of happiness both at individual level as well as at the national/society level.

(The writer is State Convener of the Himachal Pradesh BJP Intellectual Cell)

YSR Reddy’s death

http://in.christian articles/ view-reddys- death-undeniably -a-colossal- loss-for- christians/ 4481.htm

Church leaders in India would agree that it would take another decade
to find a peer commensurate with Reddy who was even-handed and filled
with egalitarian and inclusive principles. Reddy’s audacious decisions
and staunch actions had brought cheer to the minuscule community at
various times. If Reddy’s death is the greatest loss in the political
circle, the same goes for Christians whose pleas had been humbly
addressed and grievances punctually redressed by the deceased leader.

Without question, Reddy’s action spoke larger than words. Just ten
days back, in a first, the Christian politico dauntlessly adopted a
resolution supporting the Dalit Christians. Remember, not recently or
past, has anyone of this stature made such a move to emancipate
millions of Dalits whose predicaments fell deaf ears until now. It was
something to cheer. The chief minister was praised and thanked by
leading Christian councils.

It was not an outright move. The decision to back Dalit Christians
came after many delegations met at his office and beseeched help. To
all, Reddy promised action. Apparently he had even promised to lead a
Christian delegation to New Delhi to speak to the highest authorities
and bring justice to the 20 million Dalit Christians. Unlike others
whose promising words come to satiate their lust for power and yearn
for limelight, Reddy’s was factual. Following his visit to Delhi with
a delegation, it was pertinent that Minister for Minorities came out
with a statement acknowledging that all probes proved the causes of
Dalit Christians and a positive response was in the offing.

Further, a perusal of his contributions in his own state evinces more.
The chief minister apart from taking gargantuan tasks that brought
unprecedented development had pioneered scores of initiatives for
Christians. “He set up the A.P. State Christian Finance Corporation
which is first of its kind in the country. He also introduced the
novel schemes like Government subsidy to the Holy Land and assistance
for Christian Mass Marriages for the first time,” according to Andhra
Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), a state-level apex body of the
Bishops and Heads of Churches of all Christian Denominations.