Friday, October 30, 2009

Evanescent Dharma -How is our cultural and religious corrosion catalysed?

Note: I am referring to bharatiya culture and sanathana dharma in this context.

असतो मा सद्गमय
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय
मृत्योर् मा अमृतं गमय
ॐ शांति शांति शांति
( बृहदारण्यक उपनिषद् 1.3.28)
Day by day, the Kali yuga proceeds and the foresight of the rishis unfold in a very predictable fashion. In the name of freedom, people live as examples of "nrupasu", meaning man who is equal to an animal. This article talks about the various factors which slowly are invading the hindu society to cut it off from its roots, which is sanathana dharma(or "eternal dharma"). These are the ones I wish to concentrate in this post, while several others might also be the reasons.

1 The Christian Missionary activity and Islamic terrorism.
I would like to start with Kanchi paramacharya's quote on the stupidity of certain important tenets of these abrahamic religions.

"We cannot, however, help asking whether their belief is right. People who do not follow either Christ or the Prophet, are they really condemned to hell? A little thinking should show that the belief that the followers of Christianity or Islam have an exclusive right to salvation cannot be sustained. It is only some 2, 000 years since Jesus was born and only about 1, 400 years or so since the birth of the prophet. What happened to all the people born before them since creation? Are we to believe that they must have passed into hell? We are also compelled to infer that even the forefathers of the founders of Christianity and Islam would not have earned paradise. If, like Hindus, all those who lived before Christ or the Prophet had believed in rebirth, we could concede that they would have been saved: they would have been again and again until the arrival of Christ or the Prophet and then afforded the opportunity of following their teachings. But if we accept the logic of Christianity and Islam, according to which religions there is no rebirth, we shall have to conclude that hundreds of millions of people for countless generations must have been consigned to eternal hell."

These untenable religions have such claims which cannot be even reconciled among themselves. Now, they start "saving" the world with their"peaceful" religions. While I acknowledge that there might have been people who were motivated towards humanitarian endeavors because of every religion, the violence in the reference texts are way beyond any acceptable limit.

Exodus 35:2 -- For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.

Dueteronomy chapter 7 : Talks only about violence towards other nations and nothing else.

Ephesians 6:5 --- Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.

Numbers chapter 31---ridiculously eulogises violence. (For eg, verse 17-18 goes like... Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man)

Dueteronomy 21:18-21--If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

This list is much longer. Some more verses as ready examples are Collossians 3:22-24, 1 Samuel 15:3 , Judges 15:8 , Luke 12:49, Matthew 10:34-39 etc. With inspiration from such a scripture, the missionaries who followed the sailors literally burnt off cultures on their path.

The consistency of the missionary behaviour is a giveaway regarding the influence of their religious text on their actions. Christianization of Europe roughly extending over a period of 700 years from 350 AD to 1100AD was one of the most violent in terms of religious conversion. The Ancient greeks were tortured beyond imagination to give up their faith. Many important intellectual works were destroyed in the conversion frenzy. The medieval inquisition and witch hunt are sad episodes in the world history. Millions were killed. The inquisition in fact spread its roots even till Goa in India. Deigo de Landa burnt thousands of books of the Mayans and tortured them endlessly for following their faith. The South American native civilizations also perished in a similar way. African colonization and christianization attempt is another brutal episode. There are few places where they have not left their bloody footprint. (Of course, In India they tried more of an intellectual approach to conversion compared to violence)

Though the vedic religion survived because of its inherent strength and bhagawan's grace, the darker side of the truth is conspicuous. The Dalai Lama during his visit to one of the Kumbha melas(that has been recorded and released as a CD titled 'Shortcut to Nirvana') said that conversion is an outdated concept. I agree. Ancient India had a practise of philosophical debates to initiate conversions. Of course that shows a mature way of dealing with things. However, such fine practices are unknown to the missionaries, who lurk around in every place even now and start preaching whenever it is possible. There is absolutely no need of any new religions in India. The need of the hour is reforms in the age old tradition, to bring the wisdom of the dharmic religions to the masses.

As far as the other monotheistic religion, Islam, I have nothing to say here, because it would consume much of my post. I personally checked out a copy of Quran from my university library. It had been translated by 2 faithful Muslim scholars. To me the text appears to be just a political violence manual. In fact according to some statistics, 61% of quran talks only about violence towards non-believers. Check this out for yourself in the following link(Extremely interesting)

No wonder The Muslim people and Kings in India for a 1000 years destroyed countless temples and killed millions of Hindus. The best part is the hindus are blamed if they retaliate at some point when the issue goes out of control. Ridiculous!

Let us wake up and read the most important treasures of our civilization, which is of course, the vedas, itihasas, saatvika puranas, dharmashastras, pasurams of azhwars and sri sookthis of Acharyas. Let us not be ignorant of our shastras. I encourage the Buddhists and Jains also to be thorough with their religions because though there are clear philosophical and ideological differences among all the Indian religions, they all emphasize a common concern for life, peace and freedom. Otherwise how can one expect to see hundreds of sub sects in the subcontinent even two thousand years ago? 

2.Neo-hinduism and NRMs

There is a dangerous group in India from the distortion point of view of classical ideas. It consists of self-declared swamijis. Swamijis includes many 'anandas' who simply start preaching the greatest myth of all times "All religions are same", which is a statement that cannot be more farther than truth. (I will deal with this great myth in a separate post). Hinduism for that matter does not preach that all religions are same. When a religion declares "kill the non-believers" or condemns all non-believers to eternal hell, how can it be ever equal to sanathana dharma, which teaches us a path to moksham via a dharmic life?

The NRMs are the New Religious Movements. Eg, Arya samaj, ISKCON, art of living, Oneness temple(flowering heart) etc. They often have no direct spiritual lineage to relate to right from the time of vedas or leave out important parts of our scriptures. Many join the new-age gurus to propagate the myth"all religions are same" which is a lie. ISKCON, on the other hand has a track record of miserable failure in the America of the '70s due to inherent flaws. It enforces strict near ascetic life for each and everyone irrespective of their backgrounds. This is impossible for the common folks who then start going astray after sometime. This resulted in the sexual abuses in the iskcon gurukulas of the '70s. Also the much debated "Acharya succession" issue reflects the lack of authentic tradition. These gurus and institutions adapt the teaching to market their discourses to suit their audience's tastes. This contrasts with classical works whos authors never knew us and hence are a good source of our true dharma. While Swami Dayananda did the most important work to re-establish the supremacy of vedas and give them a symbolic interpretation, he rejected the archa form of the lord much to everyone's dismay. The Arya Samaj also does not accept any other later scripture as authentic which is akin to discarding a library consisting of lakhs of books while retaining just 4 books(though of supreme importance).

3. Decline of sanskrit studies.

The masses have become so money oriented that anything that improves one's spiritual life has become a mere mockery for most people in the present generation in India. We can safely assume that atleast 75% of hindus today belong to a modified charvaka matham.(the materialistic school of ancient india). Sanskrit study is not encouraged by many people, parents or the academicians. Since sanskrit, deva bhasha is the key to the vedas and all the associated literature and proper understanding of hinduism, without it most of us miss the profound teachings of our rishis and acharyas and get swayed by superstition and ill-informed malign indologists and cheap-gimmick gurus.

The 'spoken sanskrit' has taken on a huge importance these days. I am not against this trend but i feel that this is insufficient for any great purposes. It is the trend now to go to crash courses and learn to speak sanskrit in 10 days or 20 days but no deep analysis of the written texts are possible with such shallow knowledge.

4. The entertainment epidemic.

Obscene,outdated movies and profane songs full to the brim with tamo gunam and rajo gunam including their trash lyrics seem to be the order of the day. I do not quite understand how any civilised person with a good thinking can spend all their leisure time on such junk and waste away their precious human life without some form of pursuit of sprituality. Most of the Indian movies(especially tamil ones, because i was indirectly forced to listen to such trash lyrics, thanks to those, with such pathetic tastes, surrounding me wherever i go) well gel with the foregoing description. People declare proudly that they are about to watch this movie or that and end up paying huge amounts in the state of art theatres, while not spending even one tenth of such amounts to ancient wisdom or national cause. The media is so bad these days that almost any program except a few can be easily said to be trash. Good movies and songs do exist, but get drowned in the ocean of the above said lot. While it is good to relax with these, it is a grave mistake on anyone's part to spend one's life on it.

I accept that personal tastes vary among the populace but I feel that at least some portion of each one's leisure time should be spent on contemplating about spiritual problems and consulting the solutions of our Ancients. I am pretty sure that there will be guilt in these people for wasting away their youth years in such paltry entertainments. Here is a short article about how we support vulgarity in the media:

5.The rat-race.

Many of us have given up almost all of the nitya karmanushtanams like sandhyavandhanam, aradhanam etc. which do not take huge amounts of time. While we seem to have time for gossip and all the utterly useless things in our life we "do not have time" for such karmas which are the prescriptions of bhagawan krishna.(Remember that it has been repeatedly emphasised that one is unfit for any further karmas if he does not perform sandhya daily. So there is no meaning in these people doing 'pooja' to deities on every occasion). The rat-race for money, comforts and 'hep' lifestyle which were the things precisely avoided by our ancestors (for excessive money leads to attachement and all related evil) , has assumed huge importance. The peer pressure rules our decision regarding any minute thing we do and we are all slowly getting burned out at younger ages due to work pressure. Michel Danino states aptly,

"Western civilisation, not even three centuries after the industrial Revolution, is now running out of breath. It has no direction, no healthy foundations, no value left except selfishness and greed, nothing to fill one's heart with. India alone has preserved something of the deeper values that can make a man human and the world will surely be turning to them in search of a remedy to its advanced malady"

The only thing that differentiates a man from any other animal is his adherence to dharma.

"Aharanidrabhayamaithunam ca samanyametat pasubhirnaranam
Dharmo hi tesamadhiko visesah dharmena hina pasubhissamanah"

(Meaning: Human beings and animals have the same urges. They eat and sleep and copulate and besides, the feelings of fear are common to both. What, then, is the difference between the two? It is adherence to Dharma that distinguishes human beings from animals. Without Dharma to guide him man would be no better than an animal.)

6. The NRI myth.

A common myth about the NRIs is that they are culturally and religiously more pious than their Indian counterparts. While this may accurately describe a few, the general case is not so. The NRIs contribute to erosion of Indian knowledge and heritage in their own unique way. Most of them in their student phases do not even care for what their parents had to say, leave alone what Ancient India had to say. Let me take America for instance. They try to mimic what they consider 'fashionable'. This happens in various ways. Their language,behaviour and body language changes altogether in a few years. Many Brahmins start eating non-vegetarian foods, including beef, become at least half drunkards and consider it to be "modern", "fashionable" etc. This denouncement, which also exists among the Indian college students(discussed later in this essay) is a very etchy problem. Francois Gautier,a Paris-born political analyst who lived in India for 30 years, mocks India's elite intelligentsia's obsession with the west and all things western and asks them:

" O members of the Indian intelligentsia! You think that reading the latest New York times best seller, speaking polished english and putting down your own countrymen, especially anybody who has a hindu connection, makes you an intellectual. But in the process you have not only lost your roots, you have turned your back on a culture and civilisation that is thousands of years old and has given so much to the world. You are forgetting what a privilege it is to be born an Indian-and a hindu at that-inheritors of a spirituality that accepts that God manifests himself under different names, at different times, when today the world's two biggest monotheistic religions still think their god is the only true one and it is their duty to convert everybody by guile or force."

When they settle down and start having children, suddenly knowledge "dawns" upon them and they start behaving slightly better. I have personally spoken with ABCDs(i.e., children of the NRIs) and feel that they are not responsible for the terrible accents when they speak their mother tongues. How does anyone expect them to know deep facets of Indian culture?.(Infact I am not implying here that the Indians are not plagued by these problems, but am trying to analyse the NRI situation). Progressively, as generations go, they can declare proudly that they belong to "Indian" lineage but they have not even seen India . If they expect to learn about India and her culture from their text books, it is just the distortions that they will learn.(Eg, California textbook case where Hinduism was portrayed in a very negative manner due to the bias of the writers towards judeo-christian traditions.).

Most of the NRIs are not prepared to leave their big materialistic life styles to go back and take care of their ageing parents. I know of atleast three elderly women in my extended family who are loners just because their sons choose to visit them only once every two or three years. Sending back money is not the be all and end all of this issue.

I am able to observe the thinking and interests of the general NRI group since I am myself a temporary NRI until I return for good. While I am not targeting someone just for living outside India, what I am really targeting here is the myth that NRIs are somehow closer to their culture. My conviction has been strengthened after observing the people around me. The attitude and goals of most of the NRIs are no different than an average Indian. Only that they happen to live elsewhere. They are as materialistic(if not more) as Indians living in India and arrange a get together for festivals and parties. An additional feature of a NRI family is that the children usually after five years of age, are out of touch with their ancestral land, culture, language and their kinsmen.( Arguiung that culture is something that is in constant flux and hence cannot be defined etc just hints at escapism. While we know that time changes everything, we can definitely ensure that we do not go too far from what we have inherited from the previous generation. Inspite of knowing this, the present generation just seems to give excuses to carry on their easy life).

7.Political manoeuvring.

Caste and religious play is a common feature in Indian politics. More so in Tamilnadu, where the asuric forces(as of 2009) have taken over the government and interfere in many aspects of Sanathana dharma. They try to give wrong facts about the basic texts and also interfere in temple activities,which have an already well-established agama shastra and needs no one's attention. There is absolutely no need for reservation for minority religions because if they have talent then they can compete with others and establish their positions. All these factors turn some hindus against their own religion. They view their own dharma as inferior or sometimes convert to other religions for gaining entry into educational institutions etc.
Update: The New chief minister Jayalalitha was elected in 2011 and hopefully the situation should improve.

8 Self-declared 'Indologists' and their Indian pet-dogs.

Starting with Max Mueller and his "(mis)interpretations" of Rig Veda, this group of so-called scholars have done more damage to Indian and hindu literature and culture than everyone else put together. They worked hard with colonial and christian missionary work in their minds to degrade Indian culture and deem it as primitive and foreign. The Aryan Invasion theory for eg, has been decisively proven to be false. There was no invasion whatsoever and Our great rishis were the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent. for a thorough arguement, see:

The damage they have done is so deep that it will take a long time to heal. Schools in India still teach this outdated and false invasion theory. The indologists also belittled the vedas and other scriptures and tried to instill a negative image into the Indian mind. Their straight descendents still exist for eg, Michael Witzel, a Harvard professor in indology. He holds on to his pet theories with no basis and was given the right treatment by Indian scholars when he could not answer their questions. Frits Staal, Wendy Doniger, Jeffrey Kripal are some more examples in this category. However there is the other lot of westernised and marxist historians like Romila Thapar, writer Meera Nanda who wag their tail to people like Witzel and denounce their own culture. The ineffeciency of these indologists to interpret any vedic scripture ia aptly discussed along with some myths about vedas here:

The other important source of misinformation is popular sites like the wikipedia. While it is true that wikipedia might give reliable information on scientific facts, it is not so for religion or history. The group of "specialists" behind wikipedia is so rigid and hopeless that they do not welcome any suggesions or alternative readings of certain facts and theories in history and religion. They still give outdated information on for eg, Rig Veda but have no scope for improvement. So, my advise to whoever reads this post is "do not rely on wikipedia for sanathana dharma and indian history"

9. The pathetic Indian student.

The 'college culture' if there is anything like that in Indian colleges are as incorrigible as it can be. Students waste away their precious years on computer games that are of null value towards anything one can imagine(health,spiritual growth,material growth,knowledge etc.). In fact it is damaging to each of these. I am from BITS,Pilani. So I will put down what I have gleaned about this corrosive counter-culture from this place. "Oasis" is supposed to be a cultural festival of BITS. In my opinion, parts of it can be better termed as 'acultural festival' as it has no culture whatsoever in it. Some Students lose their inhibitions and freely give themselves away to drugs, sex and other vices. Others who are more sensible, restrain from these but are addicted to rock and third rate music. While taking a break in the form of a fest is perfectly fine, the song-mania almost never ceases and continues through all other times too. None of these reflect even an iota of concern for Indian culture, tradition or values. Drinking and smoking become a part and parcel of their lives for many.

The birth day celebration is another big joke. The birthday person is beaten up and he cannot even move his limbs the next day. Some groups take it to the level of breaking eggs on the person against his own desire. If one successfully puts up with all these uncouth behaviour, then he is acknowledged as "cool dude". Else he is banished from the group.!! Students often have booze parties and go to the level of puking,singing and dancing while drunk and brag later that they have had the best times in their lives(so called memories....huh!) little realizing how much time they have wasted . (It was surpising to me how much time and effort youngsters spend in uploading videos of their friends taken while they are blabbering after getting drunk).

This list of college behaviour is endless. Ragging and continuous watching of pornography are other instances for example. These self-declared free-thinking and modern youth are in fact more stubborn and biased regarding their ill-informed views that they are totally unfit to question traditional wisdom(because they do not even know what their scriptures say). In summary, students care least about other fellow human beings, their parents' feelings, Indian culture and their religion and contribute so effectively for degradation of our dharma.

10. the ubiquitous materialism in educational institutions.

The educational institutions are no less worse. They do not impart any proper moral education from a young age. While students are taught 'about' religion, they are never offered even electives on religious topics(schools as well as colleges). The management is after money and nothing else is important for the administrators. Students are encouraged to study just science for material benefits and other fields of creativity are ignored. Hence they share the role in the widespread guilottine of culture. The result of this as well as neglect on the part of the masses themselves to know their religion is best expressed by the following anecdote from the book Hindu Dharma.

The following is a part of translator's note:

"More than 20 years ago, I said in an article in The Illustrated Weekly of India that "Hindus know less about their religion than Christians and Muslims know about theirs". Wanting to verify the statement, my editor Sardar Khushwant Singh asked my colleagues (most of them were Hindus), in schoolmasterly fashion, to name any four Upanishads. For moments there was silence and it was a Muslim lady member of the staff who eventually responded to the editor's question by "reeling off" the names of six or seven Upanishads""


  1. Hey Anand !

    Nice Post and a milestone in your blog.

    Speaking about violence and religion, a most common misconception is Hinduism's tenets are thought to be Ahimsa and non-violence where all living beings are considered sacred but one of the fundamental doctrine of Hinduism - Gita was narrated by Lord Krishna on the war field. So most of them who write on Hinduism (critics - jobless people wasting their time mocking Hinduism) think that Hinduism is oxymoronous. We do not practice what we preach is the general opinion prevailing amongst these morons. But they fail to understand that the Mahabaratha war was inevitable. Kauravas did not want to lend even a single acre of land to the pandavas without a war and there were so many times when Krishna tried to sort things - when all of that did not work they did not have an option. The ignorance of metaphysical knowledge among these critics is a great predicament. But why don't they just understand that the whole objective of the Mahabaratha war was rendition of Bhagavat Gita !

    Well and your blog is really good. Keep up the good work

  2. In fact according to sanatana dharma, killing or any other act for that matter, just by itself cannnot be classified as either himsa or ahimsa. We have to take the context into account. Adharma and its forces are allowed to be conquered by adharma also. Himsa is something where there is no benefit for the 'victim'. On the other hand consider a doctor performing a surgery on a patient. He/She cuts open the flesh of the patient. Now, do we call this himsa? No. Because the patient has a longer lasting good if he undergoes the temporary pain. Similarly, for the greater good of humanity and this Earth too, Mahabharata war happened. And yes as you say, we have the most important crest-jewel, Bhagavad gita in it.

  3. In fact one other thing that came to my mind is both 'good' and 'bad' things in any human's opinion is part of brahmam's sariram(body). This is because everything that exists is only brahmam. Therefore , if anyone thinks death is bad or opposed to god etc. then he is farthest from truth.

  4. Very nicely written!
    Thumbs up!

  5. Well written Anand! I can't agree with you more!!
    1. The Quran is a violence manual. Hindus existed even in the area what we know as modern Afghanistan. But today there are no Hindus. Reason - muslim invasion - they made it a slaughter house. Therefore Islam = barbarianism. Christianity is an evangelical religion and that's why it is the world'd largest religion. Hinduism doesn't preach any of the ill-teachings found in the Quran or the Bible.

    2. Weeds in a paddy field

    3. When the muslims don't shy to learn Quaran or when the jews keep in touch with Hebrew or to hold it in high regards why should we Hindus not learn Sanskrit that is the root for many Indian languages and the language of Sanathana Dharma or Hinduism as we know it?

    4. Modern day cinemas, songs = BULLSHIT

    5. "The only thing that differentiates a man from any other animal is his adherence to dharma." Just like a plant cannot survive or sustain itself without its roots, a man cannot survive detached from his roots i.e. dharmic values.

    7. Leader of ruling party in TN as of 2009 is a power hungry b*strd.

    8. Indologists and indophiles willfully misinterpret and propagate their own theories of Hinduism.

    People have to be responsible for their spiritual health. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being. The definition needs refinement in that health also has a spiritual dimension. (point # 4)

  6. @Neet

    Thank you.

    Personally , I feel that not all cinema and music are bad for us. Infact some have good story lines and music and give us a relaxation from our mundane office work which turns out to be boring after few years. What i am trying to criticise here is the trend among youth to waste all of their leisure time in such entertainment alone and not keep up and develop our traditional knowledge and culture.

  7. The vulgarity and totally dehumanising nature of the so-called "oneness movement" by kalki has been exposed now. It is hightime people who follow vedic religion wake up(which they adamantly refuse to despite continuous media reports about similar frauds) and start reading their scriptures first hand and seek traditional gurus rather than fickle minded, money thirsty, sex-addicted, sadistic new age monsters in the guise of gurus.

    The exposure of spurious "anandas" is also to be remembered. The latest one in the list is Nityananda who is said to have amassed more than 3000crore rupees property.

  8. Anand, nice post clearly bringing out every facets of evil in today's India.
    BTW, do you also include vivekananda in your list of neo hindu swamis ?
    He was not a fake, but many say he distorted hinduism by equating with advaita.

    1. The term 'hinduism' is a touchy one. Some people denounce that it is a fake term and there is no single religion in India whereas other intellectuals like Rajiv Malhotra argue that the term is just a modern name for systems of philosophies and practices that have an integral unity philosophically and culturally (though there are differences among them). In this sense Vivekananda did not 'invent' anything as malicious indologists would have us believe. However, I do feel that by emphasising too much advaita he has misdirected many people who tend to fall into the trap 'All religions are same' , 'You can be a better christian, better muslim etc by studying hinduism' etc. The last statement so non-sensical that I cannot believe that some people really vouch for it.

      Thus, I agree with you. Though he was not a fraud like many present day gurus, his advaita (which others call neo-advaita because he differs from Shankara) did a lot of damage to the vedic darshana. If we read Shankara's works, even though he mentions nirguna-brahman, his saguna-brahman is Narayana only and he follows the pramanas to that effect. This has been totally distorted and destroyed in modern advaita circles because most people do not know samskritam and cannot read any original shastra.