Thursday, October 2, 2008

Remembering a Hindu called Gandhi..

This title may look a bit arrogant and chauvinistic,

yet I wish to have it this way,

as I think the essence of Gandian life and principle is Hinduistic to the core

and the present generation of Hindus and politicians alike

can know what it means to be a Hindu

and why we must not lose our Hindu-ness -

by analyzing Gandhiji.

Here is a good analysis by Mr Jagmohan,

former governor of J&K and a former Union minister

Shanthi nilava vendum

Athma shakthi vOnga Vendum - ulagilE...


Gandhi’s Hinduism was a religion of humanity



ON GANDHI’S birthday, instead of going round the Mahatma’s Samadhi and attending prayer meetings ritualistically, the ruling elite will do well to think how a strong and healthy India could be built on its spiritual traditions and how Hinduism, as viewed by Gandhiji, could be used to refertilise and revitalise that tradition.

Dr S. Radhakrishnan, in connection with his study of religion, posed three questions to Mahatma Gandhi:

“What is your religion?

How are you led to it?

What is its bearing on social life?”

Gandhi replied the first question thus:

“My religion is Hinduism which, for me, is the religion of humanity and includes the best of all religions known to me.”

In response to the second question, Gandhi said:

“I take it that the present tense in this question has been purposely used, instead of the past. I am led to my religion through truth and non-violence.

I often describe my religion as religion of truth.

Of late, instead of saying ‘God is Truth’, I have been saying ‘Truth is God’.

We are all sparks of Truth.

The sum total of these sparks is indescrible, as yet unknown Truth,

which is God. I am daily led nearer to it by constant prayer.”

To the third question, Gandhi replied:

“The bearing of this religion on social life is,

or has to be, seen in one’s daily social contact.

To be true to such religion, one has to lose oneself in

continuous and continuing service of all in life.

Realisation of Truth is impossible without a complete merging of oneself in

and identification with this limitless ocean of life.

Hence, for me, there is no escape from social service;

there is no happiness on earth beyond or apart from it.

In this scheme, there is nothing low, nothing high.

For all is one, though we seem to be many.”

Gandhi elaborated: “The deeper I study Hinduism,

the stronger becomes the belief in me that Hinduism is as broad as the universe.

Something within me tells me that, for all the deep veneration

I show to several religions, I am all the more a Hindu, nonetheless for it.”

On the Mahatma’s birthday, it seems necessary

to bring home these fundamentals,

particularly to those who go on condemning Hinduism

without even studying it and also to those members of the ruling elite

whose attachment to fake and fraudulent “gods”

have made the country a den of

corruption, callousness, confusion and criminality.

Gandhi’s elucidation makes it clear that true Hinduism is nothing but spiritual secularism. To relegate such a religion and to follow a shallow and superficial secularism is one of the worst sins that the false prophets of contemporary India are committing. They call Gandhi the Father of the Nation. And yet in practice they do everything to negate all his beliefs.

Throughout human history, religion has remained a potent force, despite all the pounding it has received from thinkers like Marx who called it “opiate of the masses” and Freud who termed it as “a collective neurosis of the masses”.

It may be relevant to recall a talk between Cardinal Gonsalvic and Napoleon. The Cardinal was pleading the case for the Catholic Church. Napoleon got annoyed on some point and shouted at the Cardinal: “Your Eminence, are you not aware that I have the power to destroy the Catholic Church?” The Cardinal smiled and replied: “Your Majesty, we, the Catholic clergy, for the last 1,800 years, have done our level best to destroy the Catholic Church. We did not succeed. You will not succeed either.” This conversation brings out in a telling manner the staying power of religion, notwithstanding its internal and external destroyers.

While religion has its influence in every country, it is more so in India.

Swami Vivekananda, with his characteristic clarity and insight, has observed: “Each nation, like each individual, has one theme in its life, which is its centre, the principal note around which every other note comes to form the harmony. If any one attempts to throw off this central note, that is, its national vitality, the direction which has become its own through the transmission of centuries, that nation dies. In India, religious life forms the centre, the key-note of the whole music of national life. Take away religion from India; nothing would be left.” Power, in present day India, has become an end in itself. Justice is being buried deeper and deeper. Means, howsoever unscrupulous, are resorted to and then rationalised. Corruption in public life has attained alarming proportions. Most of our institutions have lost their underlying motivation of service and become effete and venal.

Why has this happened? Why have our State and society become soulless entities? Why have criminals enlarged their hold on politics? And why have power and pelf become everything, and justice and truth nothing?

The answer to these questions is that the ethical foundation of Hinduism, as seen by Gandhi, which could provide “an awakened conscience” to an individual and make him an honest, just and compassionate component of society, has been destroyed partly by the stink and slush of our past degeneration and partly by the type of spurious secularism which has been exploited in post-Independence India.

Hinduism, as made clear by Gandhi, sees all human beings as “sparks of truth/divinity”. As such, it neither goes against any other religion, nor is it incompatible with the constitutional goals of equality, fraternity, liberty and justice. If the same divinity constitutes the core of all individuals, they cannot but be equal. Further, divinity in one person cannot in any way be unjust to the same divinity in another person. As Gita puts it: “Seeing the same God equally present in everything, one does not injure the self by self; and goes to the highest goal”.

In Hinduism, Gandhi saw a unique quality:

“In it there is room for the worship of all the prophets of the world. It is not a missionary religion in the ordinary sense of the word”. Gandhi underlined: “God is not encased in a safe to be approached only through a little hole in it, but He is open to be approached through billions of openings by those who are humble and pure of heart”.

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