As I said in one of my posts, there is a natural human tendency of seeing everything through our own lenses and translate it into the words that we can better understand. Or we could also say that what may fit into the western society, may not fit into the indian society, or for that matter, in any other culture apart from the western itself. But the West has all along the history lacked the humility to accept that there are things that are far from the common western mindset´s understanding, and has wrongly fitted everything into their binary and many times childish view. This would have been only a problem of misunderstanding had it not been because, being the West the dominant culture, it has always tried and got to impose their wrong understandings as the ultimate truth. It seems most of the western people cannot help but being euro/american-centric to observe the other culture, to interpret it, and to talk about it (through their myopic lenses).
I want to mention some topics as an example. The list would be much longer:
THE CONCEPT OF GOD:
None of the categories used by the western scholars to qualify “the other´s cultural view of God” serves its purpose. It becomes too poor to understand the many nuances of the Hindu worldview:
The word “God” is used in some of the abrahamic religions. For comfort and understanding, Hindus may use it also (and unfortunately, because many of them having a colonial mindset as well). But God for Hindus has many different names, depending on the characteristics one wants to highlight: Ishwara, Bhagavan, Conciousness, Shiva, Krishna, Durga, Sat-Chit-Ananda and thousands more. Besides being the ultimate aim of a spiritual path, the hindu meaning of Bhagavan, Ishwara, etc has very little to do with the God from the Bible. Much less with the revengeful Yawveh.
Hindu view on “God” is not a monotheistic one. Or not only.
Hindu view on “God” is not a politheistic one. Or not only.
Hindu view on “God” is not a pantheistic one. Or not only
Hindu view on “God” is more similar to what modern german philosoper Karl Christian Friedrich Krause called Panentheism in the eighteenth century. And he is acknowledged as the “creator of the concept” with “some base in Plato”….what a shame. Even this view of God is clearly stolen from Hindu perspective: he was a Freemason and they learn from different sources including Hinduism. so beautifully said by the sages with this analogy: Brahman is to the creation as the spider is to the web it creates: the web emanates from the spider and it is made of the same substance as the spider. Likewise, the creation is the emanation of the formless attributeless Brahman. “Heroes on the path of the spirit will behold that great Reality within their own selves”. (Swami Krishnananda on the Mundaka Upanishad).
Westerners have been appropriating and continue to do the hindu views and indian discoveries and the world has accepted them as western without even questioning the veracity of these claims.
Secularism is a worldview that was born to solve a conflict that was solely a western conflict: the separate worlds that in the West are the science affairs and the religious affairs. It is the result of a revolt from society in a moment in History when the church was having too much power in society, and Church was against science, as it was seeing science against christianity. From this viewpoint stems that even nowadays there exist bizarre discussions in the West (especially in America) as if one had to choose between religion or science because for some and up to a certain extent, it continues to be incompatible.
In a Hindu mind framework, this dichotomy doesn´t make any sense, provided that Bhagavan and Hinduism itself is the most scientific approach one can do to reality: every statement proclaimed by the hindu Rishis and contained in the shastras is absolutely verifiable, eventually, by each and everyone in the inner laboratory of the mind.
Importing this concept to India, as it has been done, is not only strange for indians, but harmful for them. As it has been used only to benefit the minorities in detriment of the majority of dharmic religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. A true secular country would be one that shelters and protects every citizen, disregarding their religious adherence or their lack of it, permitting everyone to live according to their own convictions, and giving uniform laws to all. What is happening in India thanks to this unnatural import is shameful. Under the label of “secularism”, muslims and christians are being favoured highly above their hindu countrymen, by giving them all sorts of benefits and different laws according to their religious adherence. In short, a simple example: in case of an altercation between a muslim or christian and a hindu without witnesses, there is a presumption of inocence only for the muslim or christian citizen, and the hindu will have to prove his/her part. How can this be tolerated?
I take advantage here to say that it is high time for the implementation of a UNIFORM CIVIL CODE for ALL INDIAN CITIZENS.
The only true secular viewpoint is the Dharmic viewpoint: hindus and other dharmic religions tend to live and let live, they don´t aim converting any other to their viewpoints. Hindus have proven all along the history that many persecuted minorities have taken shelter in India: jews, parsis, etc. And these minorities could continue their lives and the practice of their religion in peace and harmony with their hindu brothers. Has it happened the same with the muslims and christians in India? Have they reciprocated the Hindu good will towards them? No. Many individuals of these minorities are harmless, but as a group, they have only brought violence to India, physical, mental and spiritual violence.
How can they dare to call Hindus as “fundamentalists”? If a Hindu is a fundamentalist, they will only provide space for the others to develop, as this is the dharmic outcome! Please see another wonderful article by Maria Wirth in this matter: “Let´s all be Hindu fundamentalists”:
The concept of “soul” has harmed individuals too much.
1- By highlighting, as the Christianity does, that we “have” a soul, it comes the great identification of human beings with their physical body, as if we were our physical body.
2 – By talking of “soulS”, in plural, as many as persons are there, it enforces the disconnectedness among all, and empowers the individuality, so much extolled in the West, and in the worst cases, brings the feelings of loneliness, of each individual, that has to cry out for the help of an outer God placed unreachable somewhere.
3- Moreover, when talking about “soulS”, it was only in the past century or so when the women were accepted by the Vatican as “also having souls” (!!!). And even more recently, perhaps in the last twenty years, that the pope John Paul II has pronounced that “the animals too have souls, just like men”. Everybody has their own right to their own faith or absence of it. The problem comes when they feel that it is their duty to impose they worldview on the others.
Please hindus, it is enough of using the word soul when talking of individuals. As Mr. Malhotra says, soul IS NOT ATMAN. Atman is Brahman, the One and Only that pervades everything and everyone and naturally interconnects everything in the Universe.
We have our own word, that though it doesn´t mean the same, it could be used for this purpose: “jiva” or “jivatman”, the atman individualised with all his paraphernalia of the mind-body-senses complex. Why do we have to use THEIR word, when we are NOT meaning the same? Just to be understood? Let the non-hindus also learn that in this, too, western concept does not fit our viewpoint of the Universe.
INDIAN “MYTHOLOGY” vs JESUS “HISTORY”. NO PANTHEON
In the textbooks of the West, children learn of Jesus “history” (historical=true) vs. Indian “mythology” (mythology=imagination, invented). This is one of the many conditionings with which the western children grow up. Conclusion: clear: life of Jesus was true, “indian gods” were in the realm of the indian imagination. With Rajiv Sir I highlight the importance of non-translatables, and using “mithya” instead of “mythology” is a must. Let´s try to make people think twice of what they take for granted. Mithya is sort of “relatively real”, compared to the eternal Brahman. “Relatively real” as the Universe is, having a beginning and an end, or several beginnings and ends, as there will be dissolutions and creations in kalpas or very long periods of time that keep repeating in cycles.
We neither have a pantheon of Gods, as some western scholars say. Pantheon is for the deads. They are alive and active, only at the end of the cycles, when dissolution comes, they will disappear….to appear again in the new kalpa.
I would tell my many christian friends: how would you feel if, when refering to Jesus, we said “the myth of Jesus”? This is exactly what has been said for long when talking of the Hindu Devathas, “the Hindu mythology”. Hindu Gods are real, completely real, as real as Jesus is for Christians. I know the disrespect is many times out of not realising of the harm we do, that is why with my blog I am humbly trying to make my western bethren think twice when tackling sensitive matters.
RIGHT AND LEFT WINGS IN POLITICS
If we can find differences with right and left wings between Europe and America, even among different countries in the same continent, what is the sense of transplanting these concepts to a completely different culture as Indian culture is? Well, it has been done, and why it is more serious is that is has been accepted by the so called “seculars” in India, for calling themselves “leftists” and calling the hindus (“bigot”) ”right”. The indian “seculars” do not realise that for the culture they are immersed in, simplifying the things again into the western binary division of “right” and “left” wings is unnatural, and dangerous for the culture: it is a WESTERN intellectual weapon of some powerful westerners with a hidden agenda to destroy the indian culture from inside, and transform it into an extension of the West, by denying the present purely cultural Indian all-inclusive way of life. This would be an irreparable loss for all the mankind. (This is not a persecution complex, it is real. For more information, read the book Breaking India by Shri. Rajiv Malhotra).
India is targeted by the West (especially from U.S.) as a “dangerous country for the human rights”. As Mr. Malhotra says, China has not allowed U.S. to dictate what has to be the human rights list to be defended in China. What makes the West to have the “right” to dictate the rules to other countries?
High rates of rapes in India? Please, check the statistics, even the official U.S. statistics of number of rapes per population and you will be astonished to see that in the U.S. itself the figures of number of rapes/inhabitant are higher. Being an abominable crime that every human should condemn, what is the hidden agenda of the western world for highlighting each and every rape that occurs in India at the same time than trying to pass unnoticed the HIGHER number in many western countries? You will find that in my own country, that is considered as a “safe” country, there regretfully have occured rapes of british citizens and other foreigners every summer in some of the tourist sites in Spain…no news or spare news about it even in the Spanish newspapers.
Gender equality? Of course, for same job one should be paid same amount, no matter whether one is a man or a woman. Same opportunities for seeking a job and all the rest that for us in the West sounds as the paramount of the human rights. But my dear westerners: who said that having the same opportunities to access a job is and should necessarily be in the first posts of the rank of rights in the non-western cultures.? Why has the west to set the priorities in the whole world according to their own lenses only? Why is this interference?
Westerner feminists: please, note down that MANY of the non-western women in this world DO NOT WANT TO BE and DO NOT FEEL REPRESENTED by you and by what for you is important. They want and should have AN EQUAL VOICE to represent themselves. This would be a real right. The right to be heard as much as the shouting voices of the west are listened.
In short: WESTERN VALUES ARE NOT AND CANNOT BE UNIVERSAL.
ONE OF THE FIRST AND FOREMOST HUMAN UNIVERSAL RIGHTS, IS NOT RESPECTED BY THE WESTERN DEFENDERS OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS: TO RESPECT the OTHER CULTURES AND THE FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN IDEAS IN EQUAL TERMS AS PART OF THE RICHNESS OF THE DIVERSITY IN THE WORLD.
Moreover, limiting the rights for the humans, as they do in the west, and trying to impose their restricted view on other cultures, it would be absurd and ridiculous that it is, had it not had genocidal consequences for many cultures!!
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
Hindus in India are accused by indian and non indian secularists of obstructing the “freedom of speech” and the “religious freedom”. Let me tell you in a very simple way what do these two concepts really mean for secularists nowadays:
– Freedom of speech: very simply put, it means the freedom of non-hindus to offend and distort what for Hindus is important and dear. India did not need the defence of the freedom of speech by the so called secularists, given both indian and non indian secularists have distorted the meaning of these words. Indian culture has been traditionally very prompt to intellectual debates in which everybody had real freedom to express their points. Nowadays freedom of speech unfortunately has become the freedom only for the non-hindus to express their views and the silence of the hindus for avoiding being called “communalists” and “anti-minorities” just for being hindus.
– Religious freedom: it means the freedom for the minorities, especially for Christians and Muslims, to express their faith and live it freely (which has brought forced conversions, either via fraudulent methods by Christians or Love Jihad by Muslims: targeting hindus counterpart to marry and force them to become muslims and increase their number and their power). Religious freedom is not for Hindus or the other Dharmic traditions, that though being majority don´t even have the minimum freedom to simply rule their own temples, ruled by the government, unlike the churches and the mosques over which their own communities decide.
More simply put yet: actual freedom is only practised by non-hindus in a majority Hindu India. Why this has happened? Among other reasons:
– Ages of muslim rule with the Moghuls, that left a powerful position for the muslim community in India.
– British empire dominating and suffocating india
– China claiming indian land and putting their own maoists working from inside India, especially in West Bengal, to destroy it from inside.
– Alliances with foreign companies and foreign forces done in the past by previous indian government
As the result of all of this, several forces have been and continue to try to break India, both from inside and from outside (for further details, read the book “Breaking India” by Shri Rajiv Malhotra).
Forcing the acommodation of the western understanding of the things and their dogmas on the non-western cultures, besides being disrespectful, an aggression, and of course a lack of appreciation of “the other culture”, it is impoverishing it in front of the eyes of those who only read from western sources. This post is another aspect for which I maintain that shifting the mindset from western to indian as much as possible is a must for any westerner who wants to understand and rejoice the profound nuances that indian culture and Hinduism have to offer to the world. Much more if that westerner considers him/herself a Hindu.