Sanatana Dharma’s expression has been morphing with times. The great rishis of the yore have predicted the impact of yugas (time) over the values followed in each yuga. Bhagavatam gives a graphic description of Kali Yuga with a bull standing on one leg. Of the four aids available, Tapah-Soucham-Daya-Satyam “austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness”, we are now left with only Satyam. Only Truth is the remaining aid. We will use this to turn our gaze within.
The sad truth is Hinduism discussions begin and end with Casteism. Caste, as understood today, is not even an original Hindu idea. The Varna-Ashrama dharma is totally defunct and non-existent and the distorted caste representation is such a travesty. For this reason alone, we will not focus on it. (Read more about Varnas – a journey to its roots)
In Kali Yuga, the most effective path available is bhakthi. The modern man’s mind, colored heavily by commercialization and materialism, has reduced bhakthi to a transaction. The love for the para has been replaced it with the evil trinity - I, ME, and MYSELF. What can I get by this deal with this God of my imagination? If I cannot get it, maybe another idea of God (or even different God) may give this is the delusion. This fatal flaw has spawned an entire ecosystem of exploiters and fulfillers. This is the reason why there exist fake swamijis, proselytizers, and rabid hinduphobic bashers, not to forget the sepoys and left media.
Transactional bhakti is the biggest ego trip one can make, all the while hallucinating under the delusion that one is making spiritual (and materialistic progress). The worst cases are the new cults springing under new gurus, mystics, even godheads. The Sanatana Dharma allows an open framework to integrate all these, but real progress comes only when one does SADHANA.
Sanatana Dharma is embodied not in its culture, but the values the people lived by. There was a myriad of practices which have been reduced to the exact opposites, thereby making it difficult for such practices to be effective. The non Grihastashramites relied on bhiksha, today it is a dirty industry with lots of bad actors. Even one cannot go for Unchavritti for purifying one self. In the name of modernization, we are too busy writing epitaphs for many such wonderful practices.
This ecosystem loss, some self inflicted and others due to external factors, is one of the critical reasons why Hinduism is degenerating more rapidly as time marches. Varnashrama’s loss pales in comparison to the loss of values which defined each Varna. Kshatriyas were the traditional dharma rakshaks, but that role has been given up. We deliberated in detail about the loss of Kshatriyata in the Indian society and the ways to revive in the article – Kshatriya – Do you still exist? The late Sage of Kanchi, Chandrasekara Saraswati, observed that Brahmins are not on the back foot due to societal changes, but in their inability to follow the traditional wisdom and practices handed over to them for generations. This has been echoed by numerous great mahatmas. The monikers of Varna may not be relevant, but certainly the values enshrined are.
From sheer common sense, we can translate these observations to the compromise of the two critical pillars of the four Purusharthas, namely Dharma and Moksha. The westernization is a merely this scenario, where Artha and Kama are the accepted foundations of human living. The level to which Dharma is accepted is based on the limited prism of culture. Taking this fatal short-sighted approach and transposing Hinduism is perhaps one of the biggest fatal flaws done by the current generations.
Thus in the absence of a community that constantly keeps reminding the “para” and a community that keeps fighting for upholding and reviving the values, the remainder of the Artha and Kama centered actions also gets corrupted. Just like a river that does not respect its banks; a society that has lost Dharma and Moksha loses its bearing at every step of the way causing untold miseries to its denizens. We see this pretty much every day all around us. The proliferation of selfish activities is also directly proportional to this vital flaw.
When such a call is given, it is immediately misconstrued to be supporting certain classes. This ridiculous polarized bent of mind is the first level of defense barrier one has to shatter, by reminding that the loss of values is not only to certain communities, but applies to every individual.
As we turn our gaze to a key stakeholder in the Sanatana Dharma ecosystem, namely Gurus, we have already noted about the fake ones. But there exist far more good ones who are totally ignorant of the Breaking India forces around. Many of them have no clue about other religions, yet claim all religions are same. To any monotheistic religion, even accepting others on the same level or even as another option is untenable. Yet the constant emphasis in trying to peddle a cheap secular line (all religions are same), instead of promoting dharma and values, makes Hindus very weak. We are pushed to a state where we are neither strong in our own heritage nor are we able to relate with other religions due to this pseudo idea of sameness that is marketed by our Gurus.
This pseudo secular idea layered over an already weak Hindu base supported by strong marketing like media, fickle politicians who are ready to even sell the nation to grab power, make us perfect target for the proselytizing forces. The huge population offers a big incentive for these Breaking India forces. We find shady characters like John Dayal who shamelessly go crying to US Congress to sell the nation. The same pseudo secular forces will be absent when it comes to the Christian inculturization tricks that are very evident in front of us like their copying Hindu temple’s dwajasthamba (kodimaram in tamil or temple flag mast), replacing hindu gods with Christ playing flute or veena, Christ replacing Krishna as charioteer or even their attempts to introduce OM Christu Namaha kind of junk to trick people.
All these will not be even an issue if we go back to the root of the problem in Hindu Society – Loss of Values and fix it. Unless the revival of DHARMIC VALUES happen, the declining trend will only accelerate with Breaking India forces coupled with native self defeating forces, read sepoys.
Another key aspect that ails the Hindu society has been evident for the past few centuries. We are mentally colonized. We need approval of an external society. Though the colonial slave masters have left, we have not left their mental slavery. We can see the desperation we show to celebrate a totally unrelated concept like Halloween in India, while we are ready to argue why we need to celebrate Diwali or Holi. We rush to teach our kids about Santa Claus, yet we ourselves do not know complete Ramayana or Mahabharata. We believe the doctored TV shows which have reduced the itihasas to mere soaps as an authentic source. We do not even know what the original author said. This creates a perfect troubled environment for sepoys like Devadutt Pattanaik, sepoy and famed child of Wendy (one who is desperate to paint everything Hinduism with a perverted sexist angle) to spin their own myths and do justice to their own self given titles.
We must get out of this approval syndrome; the trappings of this debilitating disorder are deep. One way to overcome is the classic recipe – Light dispels darkness. Get more educated by reading original dharmic sources. If the vasana baggage is too heavy, persevere and work on it. Challenge your paradigm by reading great mahatmas like Swami Sivananda, Swami Chinmayananda. One may even keep it more at a laukika plane by reading authors like Rajiv Malhotra. If one has a family guru parampara, it may be advisable to start there. Needless to say breaking this mental slavery will be one of the key symptoms on the road to recovery of dharma.
While we are looking at the Breaking India forces, it is imperative to count one among the top sepoys – very biased and well grown left leaning media. Many media houses have blatantly hinduphobic editors whose daily job is to dish some garbage, hiding under the freedom of speech. The disorganized Hindu masses are confused about not confronting it, as they are trained to be docile. The half line Ahimsa Paramo Dharma is often repeated by the gurus, media and even our pathiri who wants to convert and harvest the nearest neighboring soul. Hindus can get liberated when they pick the same scripture and read the other half of the sloka which says Dharma himsa thathaiva cha. Most of the Manu baiters and haters keep quoting many times statements not even in Manu Smriti. Yet they go unchallenged as we do not even know what is in it and what is not.
Can we change the situation where we can know at least as much about Hinduism like these Breaking India forces, if not more? Is it too much to expect an average Hindu to be just Hindu? The media has reduced it to such a level that a non Hindu can claim his religion. If a terrorist is doing violence in the name of religion the same idiotic media claims terrorism knows no religion and hence they do not even mention such an individual as an Islamic or Christian terrorist. Yet the same substandard media with lots of venom rushes and labels the person as communal, because they claim to be Hindu. The worst standard followed by the media is their definition of being hinduphobic means being secular.
Why should we tolerate this pathetic attitude of the few biased characters who are running the media houses? Unless we raise our voices in protest, this mental beating will continue to weaken us and it will shape our future which is already getting bleaker by these very forces.
Another aspect is the reimport of our own ideas which we have divorced. Cleanliness is a very central concept as expounded in Bhagavad Gita numerous times. We see tons of evidence starting from Saraswati Valley Civilization. Today’s practice is such a travesty and downright hypocritical to say the least. The same ideas are true when it comes to treating women, environmental awareness and respect. Our practice is such a farce. These loopholes become perfect opportunities to half baked ideas imported from West like feminism, environmentalism, imported indology which is too busy imposing liberation philology. We are only too glad because we are getting these diluted digested ideas instead of understanding that we have more powerful originals which are part of our culture and heritage.
Not enough voices seem to exist to protect dharma. Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha (Dharma protects those who protect it) says Sanatana Dharma. The majority of even the ones who are interested in fighting for it seem to be covered by Tamas. Tamas takes either the shape of selfishness or ego. We can see how the different sects of Hinduism still fight with each other, rather than putting a unified front on these destructive forces. The best example of Tamasic demonstration can be from the ones who argue, all is God’s Will; what good is going to happen if I act. The same person will not stop chasing other desires.
The lack of inner fortitude to stay steadfast in Dharma and be unappreciative of our legacy is the sole reason why we find ourselves in this sorry state. To get out of this hole, we have dug ourselves; we have to realize we have to turn the problem on its head for a solution. Finding a grand narrative to unify our past, present and future with all its diversity is crucial for healing the fissures that are deepened by the Breaking India forces.
You water the roots, if you want results. In the same way, if one wants changes in society, it starts with the individual. For the individual it begins with values. Rapid degeneration of values is not merely altering the ethic ecosystem of the society, but also creating serious imbalances for its denizens. We try to do the opposite with a top down approach. This approach will work only as long as the agent of change persists. If we want lasting change, we need to emulate our ancestors in reviving the emphasis on values.
Let each individual commit to working on them. This is not a comparative evaluation amongst others, but rather with one’s own current actions against their true potential.
Om Tat Sat