It was my intention to include in this series a few essays on Hindu Sociology and Hindu History as I see them after many years of study and reflection. But these themes would have to wait for some time. I will return to them later and discuss them with reference to Hindu Spirituality as I have presented it so far.
I have received many letters from the readers of this series as I did when I wrote some earlier ones. Most of the readers have appreciated what I have said. A few friends have reacted against my repudiation of Monotheism. It has not been possible for me to reply to these readers individually in spite of a strong desire to do so. But I have felt immensely encouraged. The appreciation as well criticism confirms that there is a large number of my countrymen who are conscious of their spiritual and cultural heritage, and who are moved by more than mundane matters.
Before I conclude, I should like to summarise what I have said so far in the context of Hindu Spirituality.
1. Hindu society has been sustained by its spiritual center throughout the ages, particularly in the face of Islamic and Christian barbarism. Countless Hindu heroes and heroines have defied death rather than renounce their ancestral religion. Hindu society will be revived and revitalised only by recovering its spiritual centre which is Sanãtana Dharma.2. Hindu society has been thrown on the defensive by blood-soaked bigotries, clay-footed creeds, and a mercenary modernist culture because Hindu society is suffering from self-forgetfulness. A re-awakened Hindu society will not evaluate its own heritage in terms of ideas and ideals projected by imperialist ideologies. On the contrary, Hindu society will process these ideologies in terms of its own vision and world-view. That will restore the self-confidence of Hindu society as also Hindu pride in the ancient Hindu heritage.3. The self-forgetfulness of Hindu society is symbolized by a wide-spread misinterpretation of the Vedic verse ekam sad viprãh bahudhã vadanti to mean that the Vedas also advocate Monotheism. This misinterpretation is motivated by a psychology of surrender as signified by the Hindu slogan of sarva-dharma-samabhãva vis-a-vis Christianity and Islam. A psychology of imitation is also at work. It has led some Sikh theologians to cast into monotheistic moulds the Vaishnava spirituality of the Ãdigrantha.4. Monotheistic creeds like Christianity and Islam view Sanãtana Dharma as chaos and anarchy because Sanãtana Dharma does not (1) swear by a historical prophet or saviour, (2) grant a monopoly of truth to a book (al-kitãb), (3) prop up a True One God against False Many Gods, and (4) seek the intercession of a prophet or saviour for escape from an eternal hell and get admitted into an eternal heaven. But that is not the fault of Sanãtana Dharma. That indicates only the limitations from which the monotheistic mind suffers. A monotheist feels lost in the spiritual freedom of Sanãtana Dharma like a Soviet citizen who fails to understand the functioning of a democratic society.5. Evaluated by Sanãtana Dharma, Christianity and Islam turn out to be constructs of the outer human mind, drawing upon dark drives of the unregenerate unconscious. Sanãtana Dharma stands for self-exploration, self-purification, and self-transcendence, while Islam and Christianity stand for self-stupefaction, self-righteousness, and self-aggrandizement.6. The central message of Sanãtana Dharma is that (1) the spiritual aspiration for absolute Truth, Goodness, Beauty and Power is inherent in every human being, everywhere, and at all times, (2) the spiritual striving cannot come to rest till a seeker overcomes all limitations of human and universal nature, and emerges as master of himself as well as of the universe, and (3) the way to world-discovery and God-discovery is through self-discovery. At the same time, Sanãtana Dharma proclaims that there are as many ways of spiritual seeking as there are seekers, and that spiritual seeking does not express itself in any single and set doctrine or dogma. This is the basis of true universalism enshrined in Sanãtana Dharma, as opposed to the counterfeit universalism of Christianity and Islam which prescribes one fixed, fossilized, and uniform system of belief and behaviour for everyone.7. Sanãtana Dharma is ingrained in the Hindu psyche which sees the same divinity in everything and everywhere, and which invests our entire environment with innumerable Gods and Goddesses. The mullah and the missionary denounce this Hindu psyche as poisoned by Pantheism and Polytheism. But that is the language of Monotheism which is incapable of understanding any type of spirituality whatsoever. Monotheism is disguised materialism which makes God extra-cosmic and denies divinity to God�s creation. The God of Monotheism is soon replaced by the only son or the last prophet who, in turn, is replaced by a monolithic Church or Ummah out to conquer the world by force and fraud.8. Hindu spiritual consciousness is expressed in terms of a plurality of Gods. These Gods are many a time symbolized by concrete images such as Sûrya, Agni, Marut, etc. This is because Sanãtana Dharma allows many variations on the same spiritual theme, and does not put Matter in an irreconcilable opposition to Spirit. The forms and features of Hindu icons have a source higher than the normal reaches of the human mind. Idol-worship is the only way by which the sense-bound human mind reaches something of the higher spiritual knowledge.9. History is a witness that the spiritual consciousness of mankind everywhere had expressed itself in a plurality of Gods and in widespread idol-worship, before Christianity and Islam destroyed many ancient religions by fire and sword and imposed monotheistic materialism on large sections of mankind. Hindu spirituality which still retains its ancient intuition and genius, has to help many societies in Asia, Africa, America, Europe and Oceania to reject these impositions and revive their old Gods. That is the only path towards their spiritual and cultural emancipation from the imperialist and inhuman yoke of Christianity and Islam.10. Monotheism of Christianity and Islam is not only an impediment on the path of spiritual progress, it also divides mankind into warring camps by giving currency to a number of hate-filled words such as infidel, kãfir, heretic, idolater, polytheist, etc. What is worse, Monotheism promotes the most degenerate type of idolatry by manufacturing myths and miracles about its all-too-human apostles and prophets, saints and sufis, and by seeing the supernatural in dirt and dross such as the hair, the saliva, the shoe, the shirt, and the shroud. It expects the idols of the infidels to perform the same supernatural miracles, and breaks them when the miracles are not forthcoming. Monotheism thus turns out to be the most abominable superstition.11. Hindu sages and seers could tap the sources of universal spirituality because they did not start with an a priori assumption of an Almighty God as the creator and controller of the cosmos. Their starting point was the human person. That is why Hindu spiritual literature abounds in psychological and psychic terms. Hindu sages and seers explored human consciousness till they discovered the highest dimension of humanhood. It is seldom that Hindu spirituality speaks in the language of Theism. God as the creator and controller of the cosmos is unknown to the Vedas, to the Upanishads, to Jainism, to Buddhism, and to the six systems of Hindu philosophy. Hindu spirituality never renounces its base in humanism; it only raises humanism to its highest meaning and significance.12. Christian mystics and Muslim sufis continued to travel on the same path of universal spirituality because the new creeds sat lightly on them, and discovered the true fount of freedom from bondage. But Christianity and Islam used the power of theocratic states to suppress this natural and spontaneous mysticism and sufism. In due course, the mystics and sufis were made to serve the imperial establishments of the Church and the Ummah, and they became degenerate accomplices of predatory imperialism. Hindu spirituality has to rescue Christian mysticism from the clutches of Christian theology, and salvage sufism from servitude to prophetic Islam. That is the only basis on which Hindu society can come to terms with Christian and Muslim communities in India.13. The true character of Christian theology and prophetic Islam is revealed when one studies the genesis of Christianity and Islam in the Gospels and biographies of the Prophet. Such a study leaves no doubt that Christianity and Islam are not religions but political ideologies pregnant with imperialist ambitions. Their appetite has been whetted by their conquest of a large part of the world by the power of the sword. Hindu society is making a serious mistake in treating Christianity and Islam as religions, and by extending to them the same samabhãva as has always prevailed among the various sects of Sanãtana Dharma.14. Hindu society has never had an established church, nor ever known a theocratic state. This society has always been a secular society. This society, therefore, does not need lectures on Secularism such as are delivered to it daily by the Nehruvian ruling class. An honest Secularism would have addressed itself to Christianity and Islam which are the strongholds of exclusiveness and the advocates of a theocratic state. This has not happened because the Nehruvian brand of Secularism arose out of surrender to Islamic separatism. Having failed to overcome Islamic separatism, a section of the national movement, particularly the Leftists under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, blamed their own frustration on what they called Hindu communalism. As a consequence, Nehruvian Secularism is no more than the embodiment of an anti-Hindu animus. The secularists serve as the sappers and miners of Islamic and Christian imperialism. They are also encouraging the imperialism of an Islamicized Akali clique which has been allowed to control gurudwara revenues and thereby dominate Sikh society which is only a section of the larger Hindu society.15. Hindu society should see through this perverted Secularism, and reject it not only as a counterfeit coin but also as high treason to the Indian nation. That is the only way to defeat the gangster game which goes on all around Hindu society, and which threatens to reduce it to a minority in its own ancestral homeland. The secularist who accuses Hindu society of communalism is no more than a thug who wants to hoodwink this society into believing that its nationalism is communalism. He has to be unmasked and isolated.
HINDU SOCIETY STANDS TRAPPED BY ITS OWN SLOGAN
The Hindu elite continues to shout its slogan of sarva-dharma-samabhãva vis-a-vis Christianity and Islam. It is rare to meet a member of the Hindu elite who does not shout from the housetops that Christianity and Islam are as good religions as his own Sanãtana Dharma. There is no dearth of dim-witted but sanctimonious scholars who line up quotations from the Bible and the Quran alongside quotations from Hindu shastras in order to prove the �essential unity of all religions�. Matters have come to such a pass that a Hindu who does not subscribe to this slogan suffers ostracism from the elite circles of Hindu society. Hindu politicians are the worst culprits. They are mortally afraid of being branded as �Hindu communalists�. And they have neither the knowledge nor the courage to change the universe of public discourse. The secularists have only to invent a new slogan, the Hindu politicians are the first to fall in line. The only purpose they serve is to keep Hindu society always on the defensive.
Neither the missionary nor the mullah subscribes to the slogan of sarva-dharma-samabhãva. Each one of them is convinced and proclaims publicly that his own creed is the only true one, and that to equate it with Sanãtana Dharma is the height of blasphemy. Each of them claims that Hindu society cannot stop him from converting as many Hindus as he can, by all means including force and fraud, without repudiating its own slogan and thus knocking the very bottom out of Secularism. Every Hindu objection to conversions, they say, exposes the Hindus as hypocrites who do not mean what they say. But if you ask the Hindu leaders to renounce this mischievous slogan, they denounce you as one who is trying to upturn an established Hindu tradition. They do not know that this slogan was coined by Mahatma Gandhi, and that it stood totally defeated in his own life-time. The future of Hinduism and Hindu society is dark if this is not debunked, and Islam and Christianity are allowed to march as they are doing at present.
What is the treatment prescribed for Hindus in case Christianity or Islam acquires state power in India? The prescription provided by the missionary as well as the mullah is again unequivocal.
The mullah says: �Allah has mandated the lands of the infidels to his last prophet who, in turn, has bequeathed them to the Ummah. India continues to be a Dar-ul-harb. It is our Allah-ordained duty to convert it into a Dar-ul-Islãm. Our scriptures prescribe a total destruction of kufr (infidelism) and shirk (idolatry). Allah is very jealous of his own position as the only one worthy of worship. He cannot stand the sight of these Hindu idols imitating his majesty and trying to share his divinity. These idols have to be destroyed and trodden under the feet of the mu�mins in order to propitiate Allah. The temples which house these idols have to be demolished and converted into places worthy of our own way of worship. We will, of course, invite all idolaters in India to embrace Islam, willingly and voluntarily. But if they do not come round of their own accord, we are afraid we shall have to use force in furtherance of the only true faith. Allah had sent his last prophet to save all mankind from perdition. The divine duty has devolved on the Ummah after the departure of the Prophet. We cannot turn traitors to his mission.�
If a Hindu protests at this revelation of the �divine duty�, he invites an angry howl from the Ummah. And the whole of it thunders: �So you do not want us to be true to our religion as revealed by Allah to his last prophet, as enshrined in our sacred scripture, the Quran, and as enjoined by our sacred tradition, the Sunnah? What sort of a Hindu are you? Have you not read the books written by your own scholars and sages such as Dr. Bhagwan Das, Pandit Sunderlal, Rahul Sankrityayan, and Vinoba Bhave about the sublimity of Islam? Have you not heard the lectures on sarva-dharma-samabhãva delivered by your own leaders, day in and day out, and over all these so many years? It seems that you are not secular. It looks as if you are a Hindu chauvinist out to deny to us the fundamental right of religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of the country. We appeal to you to shed your narrow Hindu communalism, and be true to your Hindu Dharma. We assure you that we shall not fail to be true to our Islam. This is the only basis on which our two communities can coexist peacefully till, in due course, the true faith triumphs.�
The Christian missionary also talks in the same vein, though his language is less crude than that of the mullah, and his manners are more sophisticated. His methods of salesmanship are more mature. Also, the mullah is aggressive because he knows that a whole Islamic world supports his onslaught against Hindu society and culture, and because he finds that the Indian ruling class gets really frightened by his threats to mobilize frenzied Muslim mobs for committing gangster acts. He has demonstrated any number of times that his threats are not empty. The Christian missionary, on the other hand, knows that he does not enjoy such solid support in the West, and cannot mobilize Christian mobs on the requite scale.
Hindu society is thus trapped by a slogan which it has itself coined and made current countrywide. It is the same sort of trap in which a democratic society finds itself the moment it grants that the Communist fifth-column or a fascist phalanx is a legitimate political party entitled to enjoy freedom to function and expand.
Hindu society has to realize that Christianity and Islam are not religions but political ideologies inspired by imperialist ambitions. These ideologies came to India as accomplices of Islamic and Western armies. Those armies have been defeated and driven away. The ideologies which came with those armies should now find no place in India. They, too, have to be defeated and dispersed. Hindu society has to recover the ground that was lost to these ideologies during periods of Islamic and Christian expansion and domination. Those sections of Hindu society which were forced or lured into the folds of these ideologies, have to be brought back into their ancestral fold. This is the minimum task which Hindu society has to set before itself. The maximum task is to carry the campaign against these ideologies into their own homelands, and to free large sections of mankind from the abominable superstitions which breed intolerance and aggression.
The cultural climate in the modern West is favourable for the spread of Sanãtana Dharma. The West has repudiated Christianity and returned to rationalism, humanism and universalism, all of which are values cherished and promoted by the Hindu view of life. But the West does not realize that the massive finances which the Christian missions collect over there in the name of doing social service in �a poor, starved, diseased and illiterate India� is used by the missions for the nefarious work of subverting the only sane society which has survived the depredations of genocidal creeds. Hindu society, particularly the Hindus settled or working in the West, have to provide this information to the West so that the menace of Christian missions is challenged in their own homelands.
It is true that Christian missions are involved in the foreign policy manoeuvers and intelligence networks of the various Western nations. The systematic building up of a Christian missionary like Mother Teresa by the U.S. State Department provides an obvious pointer. But Western foreign policy establishments are using Christian missions because Hindu society has made them respectable in India. The day that respectability is destroyed and Christianity and its missions are exposed for what they are, the Western nations will have no use for them.
Islam is a harder nut to crack. The Islamic countries everywhere are closed societies presided over by theocratic states which do not permit any scrutiny of Islam or the propagation of a rational and humanist view of life. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism in many Muslim lands has let loose a reign of terror against all those enlightened sections which have tried to free their people from the stranglehold of a fanatic falsehood. The Western democracies, particularly the United States of America, are encouraging this fanaticism in the fond hope that it will stand as a bulwark against Soviet imperialism.* A dark night envelops the Islamic countries at present due to a combination of historical circumstances, and there seems to be little hope that the Muslim masses will be able to emancipate themselves in the near future.
But it is also a fact that the rise of fundamentalism in a closed creed is a sign of panic, and sounds its death-knell. Christian fundamentalism which surfaced in Europe in the form of Protestantism proved to be the death-gasp of Christianity. For, fundamentalism brings to the fore, in one fell sweep, all the crudities of a closed creed - crudities which normally remain hidden under borrowed cultural trappings.
There is a large number of Muslim students, scholars, scientists technicians, and other sections of Muslim intelligentsia who find no place in their closed societies, and who have fled to other countries including India. Here is a fertile field in which Hindu society can sow some seeds which will bear fruit in due course. These refugees from Islamic terrorism have to be convinced that it is not the politics of their motherlands that has become perverse, it is the culture cultivated by Islam which has poisoned their societies.But before Hindu society can perform these minimum and maximum tasks, it has to revive its own spiritual centre and re awaken to its own ancient heritage. The rest will follow.
By Sh. Sita Ram Goyal