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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Hindu Resurgence and Challenges – Part 2

In the previous article, we made it clear that the real challenge to Hindu Dharma is from false synthesis ideology and vague secularism.  It was also suggested that a lot of groundwork needs to be done within the community before any sort of call evokes a unified response from the community.

At present, Hindu Dharma has multiple challenges: both external and internal. The challenges are as follows:

External Challenges:

·         Conversion by religious groups such as Missionaries and Muslim Evangelists.

·         Foreign powers aiming to balkanize Bharat

·         Political ideologies such as communism

·         NGOs masquerading as champions of Human Rights

Internal Challenges

·         Proliferation of new religious movements, sects, Ashrams, and Gurus

·         Inability to produce political parties that are truly dedicated to Hindu cause

An attempt is being made through this article to address these challenges. Before tackling external challenges, we need to deal with internal challenges first. After all, can a soldier embark on a journey to guard borders if their own houses are vulnerable?

The first and the foremost thing that Hindus need to do is to stop banking on political parties to take their fight ahead. We already have paid a heavy price for mortgaging our interest to Congress party for so many years. We never challenged the wisdom of congress and let it play as it liked. Congress, communists, and other parties of secular hue raised the bogey of Hindu communalism to seek Muslim votes. Hindus succumbed to the tactics and refused to flaunt Hindu identity for fear of being branded as Communal. It is heartening to see that Hindus are now willing to flaunt their Hindu identity, but we should remember that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Hence, we should not allow any party to occupy political space without doing tangible service to Dharma. We should spare none when it comes to Hindu interests.

The proliferation of new religious movements within Hindu Dharma is another challenge. There are some common features of all such sects. They all claim to lead disciples to truth, preach only Guru Bhakti and no Bhagwan Bhakti, claiming to be true guides and rejecting others as false guides just as monotheistic religions claim ownership to true god, claiming spiritual character and disowning religious character, and important of all distancing themselves from Hindu religion and Hindus. Brahma kumaris, Radha Soami Satsang, Sahib Bandgi are few examples of the organizations that fall under this category.

The Brahma Kumaris was founded by in 1937 in Hyderabad city (now in Pakistan). In the beginning its members would chant “Om” together, before having discourse on spiritual matters in the traditional satsang style. The original discourses were closely connected to the Bhagavad Gita. However, over years, the religious movement has separated itself from its Hindu roots and sees itself as a spiritual movement. Brahma Kumaris see no merit in going to temples and discourage worship. Brahma Kumaris see themselves as originators of Raj Yog while as it is several centuries old.

Similarly, Radha Saomis strongly reject rituals and idols. However, the images of own gurus are revered. They also reject deities, reject cow worship, regard Krishna as one of the lowest of the low cadre gods who cannot grant salvation, so on and so forth. There are several other small and big gurus, ashrams preaching such things. Interestingly, most of these religious movements have borrowed heavily from Hindu Dharma such a meditation, Yoga, pranayam, etc. They will discuss atma-paramatma, Brahm, Suksham shareer, Raj Yog, Kundalini Yog, Niranjana etc., yet refuse to call themselves Hindus. Tweaking Hindu concepts here and there, does not make these movements seminal. They are not offering anything new to humans. It would be only fair if they give credit to ancient rishis and munis who gave us these concepts.

One of the major emphasis of such sects is on formless worship and many Hindus are made to believe that the concept of formless God is the contribution of Islam to mankind. While as the truth is that Vedic rishis have dwelt upon the form/formless God & worship many centuries before the advent of Islam. On seeing the Virat Swaroop of Krishna, Arjuna asks Saarthi Krishna about the form of God, Bhagwan Krishna offers a beautiful explanation stating that God has no form and is not bounded by boundaries, hence Nirgun-Nirakar, but when the need arises, He can take a form and be seen, hence Sagun Sakar. Hence, the belief of incarnation in Hindu Dharma.

Most references to God in Christianity and Islam are in Masculine and are not gender neutral. Christians consider Jesus as the son of God. So how can they claim their God is formless and criticize Idol worship. Similarly, in most of the Suras in Koran, Allah is referred to as He and attains a masculine form. The very first chapter of the Koran starts with the verse “In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.” All chapters of the Koran start with it except Al-Tawba (Chapter 9). Even this gender-neutral verse, if we examine closely, we can see that Allah is a living being with a form as only living beings can be merciful, benevolent.

Hindus should not start flocking to a place on hearing the name Ashram, Guru or Satsang as no stream of truth is flowing in these Guru Dharas. The only Dhara that can be seen flowing is the Dhara of money. These sects are more interested in increasing followers rather than telling the truth. They will preach ideas like “All religions are good” and yet find faults with Hindu practices only. They will not highlight any weaknesses in Islam and Christianity and instead say that these religions are highly misinterpreted. They target Hindus only, succeed in enlisting Hindus only, yet distance themselves from Hindus.

So, there is no need to form any new sect or religious order, but to spread the existing message of Vedas, Upanishadas, Bhagwat Gita in the unadulterated from.  Critical examination of our scriptures is the need of the hour, but any sort of reform can be fully carried while remaining in the Hindu fold itself. Any sect that urges devotees not to worship Bhagwan Ram, Krishna, Shankar, and other Hindu gods/goddesses should be avoided. Any sect that does not give credit to Rishi Valmiki, Rishi Vyas, Rishi Patanjali, Rishi Tulsidas, Rishi Parshuram, Shankaracharya, and numerous other Vedic sages and seers should be avoided.

Hindu scriptures mention different types of Rin (obligations/debts) that a person acquires and must repay in his lifetime. One of these is Rishi Rin. It is the obligation to the sages who gave us the scriptural knowledge. The debt is repaid by disseminating the acquired knowledge to as many people as possible. Of course, without claiming origination.

(This is the second article of a 3-part series on the challenges facing a potential Hindu resurgence. Part 1, Part 3)

(Featured image credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/379780181056882752/)

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