Friday, January 15, 2010

Seriously Sandeep - Strength of Sanatana Dharma

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    • Among others, Sanatana Dharma’s greatest strength is its amazing power of adaptability, which gives it this strength. It responds to change in a manner and quickness that perhaps none of the other religions (desert death cults are not religions) can. This adaptability as history shows us, is multipronged, multifaceted, and dynamic. It took varities of forms in art, painting, music, epics, literature, religious practices, and social mores. It discarded practices that were no longer suited to the changed times but replaced them with suitable modifications and/or evolved newer ones. The underlying idea was a resolve that Sanatana Dharma was something worth preserving and dying for its preservation if necessary.
    • The earliest threat to Sanatana Dharma came from Buddhism, which our secular dunces claim rescued society from the evil Brahmins/caste system of Hindusim. When Buddhism arrived, Sanatana Dharma had become overtly ritualistic, which was pretty much Buddha’s diagnosis. However, over time, Buddhism became missionary and while people converted in large numbers, an irreversible corruption had set in. Santana Dharma responded by evolving the temple culture. This ensured that ordinary people had a terrific alternative to worship God apart from rituals. The role of temple culture in sustaining and preserving Sanatana Dharma can’t be emphasized enough. It created whole cities and towns around it, gave rise to some of the most magnificent works of art the world has seen, and in effect, propagated harmony in society.

      Needless, the next biggest threat to Santana Dharma came in the form of seas of men on horseback motivated by a murderous, imperialist ideology. Islam’s grievous and protracted assault on Hinduism sustained because of a lack of awareness of its true nature. This assault continues to this day in various forms–negation and distortion of history, secularism, and mafia-style politics. It took a few centuries, but Hinduism responded by evolving the Bhakti movement and retelling our epics. The Bhakti movement arose in the wake of Islam’s homicidal record of smashing temples and not allowing new ones to be built. Additionally, the egalitarian Dhimmi “privileges” that Hindus enjoyed made it almost impossible for Hindus to even give expression to their deepest religious needs. The Bhakti movement stepped in to check the real danger of Sanatana Dharma eroding forever. It basically said that God didn’t exist merely in temples or in the mantras but in each of us.

    • The British takeover of India launched the other desert death cult Christianity, on Sanatana Dharma, which had begun to unshackle itself from Islam’s 800-year long attack. Christianity’s attack was refreshingly sophisticated but equally brutal. When it failed to persuade through several attempts, it reclothed its message and equated its Prophetic preaching with whatever parallel it found in Sanatana Dharma. In effect it said Christanity is no different from Santana Dharma–only the Gods and saints were different. Initially, significant numbers of “upper caste” Hindus converted. However, the gains were insignificant because almost in no time, the Hindu response was swift. Besides, a fierce tide of Hindu resurgence led by the likes of Swami Dayananda Saraswathi and Vivekananda pretty much scuttled conversion attempts. The Church quickly realized that it cannot win converts if it takes on Sanatana Dharma purely on the ground of religious precepts. Which is pretty much when the missionary vultures descended on the weaker, and poorer sections of Hindu society. The Church continues this preying activity unchecked today–any deception including but not limited to murder is justified in the service of the humanity, welfare, kindess, love, and compassion that Jesus Christ stood for. However, the greatest damage that the British enslavement of India did was to create the Macaulayite Class, who branched off later as Brown Sahibs and Marxists. This was something Islam couldn’t accomplish in 800 years. Sanatana Dharma responded in various ways: the likes of Swami Vivekananda tirelessly reawakening the Hindu pride, a whole galaxy of scholars who began digging into different aspects of their past and publishing it to the world, and freedom fighters who found inspiration in Sanatana Dharma’s epics, scriptures, saints, and warriors.

      Post-Independence, the Nehruvian regime continued the project of destroying Sanatana Dharma that the British had abandoned in a hurry. Till the late ’80s, the toxic atmosphere ensured that Hindus were ruthlessly put on the defensive. However, as a parallel development, an unpopular section of academics, thinkers, writers, and scholars worked silently and did two things, primarily: they produced top-notch defense of Sanatana Dharma and studied and exposed Islam and Christianity for what they are. Various organizations defended and championed Hindu causes in the political and social spheres. This paved way for yet another resurgence of Sanatana Dharma in the ’90s. But most importantly, it gave tremendous international exposure and support for Hindu causes. Obscure but valuable Hindu traditions were revived, and research began in areas like Ayurveda, astronomy, metallurgy, education, architecture, etc. However, this resurgence didn’t carry enough sustaining power and while it trudges ahead silently, the pace leaves a lot to be desired.

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