We must stand up against the Adharma of Conversions
Conversions are a hot subject everywhere now. September 11, 2001 is going to remain in the psyche of all Americans, especially the white - European American, for a very long time. I make this reference to the European Americans in particular as they have been shaken up more by the incidents of recent terrorist acts on the soil of this country. Americans of other origins and hues have faced so much unjust behaviour from dominant groups that their reaction is more of sadness and less of panic.
For the fundamentalists within the Christian faith, this is an opportunity to further enflame the fear of the fearful! Apart from being able to shred all other traditions to pieces, they can convince their flock that it is all because of the infidels, pagans, heathens and all who do not accept their religious beliefs. Hindus are the worst -- but others are included. Muslims are at least people of THE BOOK so a bit more tolerable than, Hindu Jain, Boudha, Sikh and a host of other traditions, which deserve no respect. In fact the fundamentalists would like to see all of us blended into a creamed soup of one religion or simply eradicated. We are called Devil worshippers, Godless and people of darkness often on Evangelizing Television channels in this secular and powerful country. Did you know that? Of course, with the presence of not one, but two true religions, (neither recognizes the legitimacy of the other) there is a bit of a problem as you can tell!! They will not, cannot agree either in the name of God or in the name of Allah. Freedom in Religion? They do not believe in that at all!
There is also a raging controversy whether the Christians should convert the Muslims. One whole Billion strong potential market -- they provide. (See Time Magazine 30 June 2003) Sadly, enough this conversion issue is simply marketing God as a product in our consumer society. We hear lectures here and there which tell how the money is assigned to various people in the proselytizing battalion – Asia with an emphasis on India gets top dollars, as many souls can be harvested there as opposed to more intelligent nations who watch for there survival. There are many within the Christian fold who are also appalled by the conversion mania, but unfortunately too few here or anywhere seem to understand the real danger of this kind of thinking. So there is no critical mass to bring about a change. Converting by every means known to humanity has become a habit for these people over the past couple thousand years. The Christian crusades followed by Islamic crusades are well known and very well recorded throughout the literature of the world but it continues in one form or another. Even today if we look at conflicts around the world, and more are added every day, there is a strong religious component to all most all. These include both inter and intra (with in the same religion) religious conflicts. While non-religious disagreements can be solved with effort, ones based in religion seem very nigh insurmountable. So what about the Hindus with our Sarva Dharma Sambhaava? I am reminded of: Do paatan ke beech baaki bachaa na koi
Concept of Sarva Dharma Sambhaava is meaningless to all those who have no understanding of the Law of Dharma. It applies to only the Dharma based traditions of Bhaarat, that too on the bases of mutual respect. I see no reason to go on accommodating those who have become a menace to all Humanity. Hindu population and its Government are seen as the softest target for conversion! India allows anyone to come in and desiccate the Hindu society thru various ways – multiple marriages for Muslims which most of the Islamic world does not allow anymore, restrictions on Hindu pilgrimage but subsidies for others, control of media by not only unpatriotic but downright hostile forces, no understanding of Kashmir as the Shaarda Peetha (home of Sarasvaati) and its importance to Hindu tradition of learning, no teaching of anything Hindu anywhere while the Muslims increase Madarsaas and the Christians teach us ALL -- thru the CONVENTS left by our white masters, which even today hold a place of importance in the Hindu psyche. Many other countries with no English are doing quite well. However, our problems do not stem from familiarity with one more language, rather it is our tendency to forget what is ours. All our regional languages contain words for our own indigenous thought processes, which help us stay connected to each other and to our Samskriti. It is well known that a foreign language will create a chasm -- between those seen as educated and those not knowing the language as being uneducated. A book I recommend reading is –The Clash of civilizations by Samuel Huntington. It has a lot of information; Exposes the reader to a certain thinking process, perceptions and planning abilities of the Western World.
Living outside India, both non-Indians and those with Indian roots are stunned that we have survived for so long. No one knows the cost, the tragedy or the pain, let alone the death toll of Hindus. Yet, it is the only country to which people of Indian origins run when they are thrown out from other countries, because of the same ignorance that has caused a host of problems and our present troubles. The persecuted people of this Planet continue to seek Bhaarat just as they always have done. Whether humanity dishes out religious discrimination or political -- India is a sure sanctuary for all. The Jews, the Parsi (Only ones who contributed to Nation Building), the Buddhist including the Dalai Lama sought and found safety on the Punaya Bhoomi of Bhaarat. As a child I used to wonder, why the Dalai Lama did not go to a Buddhist country like Japan or Myanmar or Thailand? Then someone pointed out that for that matter China too was Buddhist, certainly more than India! Difficult for a fourteen year to comprehend, the complex way religion and politics come together and then apart at the whim of some leader who is usually just another person with power. In Democracies this power should rest with the people. In reality the only place where it may be so, is in the Panchaayata Raaj of Indian villages.
Survival of Bhaarat is critical for Hindus, is obvious but also it is important for Humanity. India alone offers another way of looking at life and sees this manifestation called the Jagat or Universe as inter linked. In the world of science, Quantum Physics has come to the same conclusion, but the knowledge sits in the academic World. Our Samskriti on the other hand disseminated complex ideas much like the discoveries of Quantum Physics, in easy ways and language to most citizens. In fact, such a thorough job was done that even now a common Indian is a very intelligent person – who can think independently in new situations. This is the secret behind the success of people of Indian Diaspora as well as the citizens of the country – this ability to interpret, while retaining the core strength of the original VEDIC RISHI culture bothers the apposing cultures of the world. A certain group simply wants to see us gone; while the other wants to claim our ideas as theirs. The second group is doing just that in various ways. They have immense money power and often invite people of Indian origins who are willing to speak against us to major Universities. This shows us in a bad light an also makes our own youth want to move away from our ways. This has been successfully done among people of the Native American groups as well as many other indigenous groups.
However, I see a ray of hope among the very intelligent youth of the world and in the use of the word Universe, rather than -- Twinverse or Multiverse. This ray, this knowledge of a Universe, must be made dominant again. The task of making this possible is the real duty of the Hindus. It must be seen as something that is our destiny, our purpose of still being here -- while so many ancient traditions have been destroyed or nearly destroyed by the aggressive religions.
Him apa shabdam dushyati khandayati –iti Hindu
This is my favorite definition of a Hindu, for the present Kaala (time period). It describes us Hindus, as people who stand up against unrighteousness or Adharma. Each individual is born with a certain Svabhaava or temperament which is her/his core Guna (quality). I believe this to be true also of nations, societies and groups as well. This struggle for the sake of establishing Dharma is our natural Svabhava. In this we find our greatest strength our highest joy. Once we are able to bring the understanding of what is Dharma and how it relates to Karma into the larger world community, a change will begin to take place -- the signs are already here. I believe the youth of this world are quite tired of the conflicts imposed on them – the ancestral burden of slavery, colonization, manipulations of history and now outright lies in the media and financial markets as well as the deceit of the Multi National Corporations. So the youth in India and to certain extent outside, I think, are ready for things to change and they will usher in a new era -- a Yuga Parivartan.
The present world focus on religious terrorism which is a huge cost to society, both in terms of security of life and financial instability of world markets is an ideal time for the peaceful Dharmas of Bhaarat to focus the attention of the world on the solutions that can be offered thru the wisdom of the Vedic Dharma based societies.
Conversion is an idea based in control of the weaker parts of society. Peace and religious conversion are mutually exclusive. We cannot have both. Even with in these fundamentalist religions there is a lot of discord. A fundamentalist is one who will not change her/his stand in the face of reason, so disharmony is the rule not the exception.
Inter-relatedness and interconnectedness of the Universe is a fact to be learnt. That is why Vedanta is a teaching tradition not a preaching system! The mathematician, the Quantum Physicist loves the ideas of the Upanishads but so far, Kalayuga is continuing because very powerful people allow no free flow of information in the aggressive religions! For a better future of the Human race the intelligence, the elite must come together or live in a world always torn by religious conflict, which forms the foundation of other conflicts.