22/02/2009

What can one Hindu do?

Dr. BABU SUSEELAN

Individuals who are concerned about the state of Hindus around the world and want to correct it frequently ask this question. More often than that, it is asked in a form that indicates the cause of their helplessness: "What can one Hindu do?" "How can an individual propagate the ideals of Hinduism on a scale large enough to effect the immense changes which must be made in every walk of life in order to create the kind of ideal society? Some ask the right questions, some feel that some wider scale of action is required. Many others ask the question, but do nothing. Some expect to perform instantaneous miracles; some however paralyze themselves by projecting an impossible goal. Some want to overhaul Hindu society overnight, and they tend to regard knowledge of Hinduism as irrelevant.

CHANGING MINDSETS

If you are a Hindu and are concerned with the present state of affairs, begin by identifying the nature of the problem. The battle is primarily intellectual, political, social and religious.  Politics is the practical implementation of the ideas that dominate our culture. One cannot fight or change the consequences without fighting and changing the cause, nor can one attempt any practical implementation without knowing what one want to implement.

In an intellectual battle, one need not convince every one. History is made of minorities, or more precisely, intellectual movements which are created by minorities. They make history. Intellectuals with foresight and commitment can develop abstract and functional strategies to change the society. An intellectual battle is a battle for man's mind, not an attempt to enlist blind followers. Only people who understand them can propagate ideas. An organized movement has to be preceded by an educational campaign, which require active and willing participants. Such trained persons are the necessary precondition of any attempt to change the Hindu society.

The immense changes, which must be made in every walk of life, cannot be made singly, piecemeal or retail. But the factor that underlies and determines every aspect of Hindu life is Hindu ideals. Teach every man the right Hindu ideals and his own mind will do the rest. The starting paoint is the family. Teach your children Panchatantra, Ramayana, Bhagavat Gita, Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Chanakya Sutra, Vedas, Upanishads and Darsanas. These books contain everything you need to know about moral life, healthy living and spiritual directions.  Practice our rituals, protect it and promote it without reservations. Make temple visit a daily routine. Partcipate in temple festivals and pilgrimage.

Hindus cannot exist without practicing and protecting Hinduism.  Every Hindu is not intellectual innovators, but they are receptive to the ideas, when and if it is offered. There are also great numbers of Hindus who are indifferent. Such Hindus accept subconsciously dualistic and divisive ideas of other religions and thoughts without critical evaluation. They also accept whatever is offered by the distorted secular culture, and swing blindly with any transient ideas. They are merely oscillators-be they politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, or educators-and by their own choice, irrelevant to the fate of the world.

Today, most Hindus are acutely aware of cultural pollution, coercive religious conversion, Jihadi  terrorism, ideological confusion, distorted secularism, and political turmoil created by the pseudo secularists and alienated intellectuals. But they are anxious, confused and groping for answers. Are we able to enlighten them? Can we answer their questions? Can we offer them a consistent ideology? Do we know how to convince them? Are we immune from the fallout of the constant barrage aimed at the destruction of our Hindu culture? To provide them with clear, consistent, and correct concepts, we need an intellectual, social and political struggle.

If we want to influence a country's intellectual trend, the first step is to bring order to our own ideas and integrate them into a consistent case, to the best of our knowledge and ability. Knowledge necessarily includes the ability to apply abstract principles of Hinduism to concrete problems, to recognize the principles to specific issues, to demonstrate them, and to advocate a consistent course of action. Our Rishis and Acharayas have given us philosophical guidelines in the Vedas, Upanishads and Darshanas.Our Puranas and Ithihasas are replete with examples, illustrations and guidelines to handle any imaginable human problem.

When our convictions and commitment to Hinduism are in our conscious, orderly control, we will be able to communicate them to others. This does not mean one must make philosophical speeches on Hinduism when unnecessary and inappropriate. We need the philosophy of Hinduism to back us up and give us a consistent case when we deal with or discuss specific issues.

How can we propagate our ideals of Hinduism? Do not wait for a national audience. Speak on any scale open to you, large or small---to your friends, your associates, your professional organizations, or any legitimate public forum. You can never tell when your words will reach the right mind at the right time. You will see no immediate results---but it is of such activities that public opinion is made.

Make any issue or problem an ideological issue. An issue of Hindu ideals versus sectarian philosophy (pluralistic, all inclusive, spiritual, open, and systemic philosophy versus pseudo secular, fundamentalist, dualistic, divisive, rigid, all exclusive, mechanical models).

Do not pass up a chance to express your views on important issues affecting Hindus. Whether it is discrimination, prejudice, race relations, international affairs, religious conversion, terrorism, distorted secularism, fundamentalism, personal law, polygamy, or any social, political or religious issues. Write letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines, to TV and radio commentators and, above all, to the political leaders.

Remember, the best democracy is still no guarantee against intolerance and bigotry, and eternal vigilance is an expression that will never become obsolete. The opportunities to speak about Hindu philosophy are all around you. Hindus need to repeatedly examine incidence and issues of prejudice and false propaganda. Hindus should not keep silent when the philosophy of Hinduism and Hindu values are being questioned. Always be vigilant and recognize warning signs of intolerance and its perpetrators, and contribute to efforts to preserve religious freedom to practice and promote Hindu values.

Always explore the nexus of pseudo-secularists and deprogrammers who want to demoralize Hindus. Above all, do not join the wrong ideological groups or movements, in order to do something. By ideological (in this context), I mean group or movements proclaiming anti-Hindu values. Many anti-Hindu groups substitute anarchism for liberal democracy, pluralism for theological fundamentalism, and reason to whims and faith. To join such groups means to reverse the noble philosophy of Hindus, and to sell out pluralistic principles for the sake of some superficial and intolerant ideologies. It means that you help defeat the noble values of Hinduism and the victory of sectarian and exclusive ideas.

FORGE PARTNERSHIP

The groups one may properly join today are organized to achieve a single, specific, clearly defined goal, on which men of differing regions and backgrounds can agree. Actively participate in organizations like RSS, VHP, Bajarang Dal, and Hindu Munnani. These groups have no hidden agenda, selfish motives or sectarian political purpose. These organizations have a mandate, mission and desire to assist those Hindus in difficult circumstances to improve their life. It is important to establish close working relationships with such Hindu organizations to foster coordination, cooperation and coalitions addressing specific Hindu needs. All across the globe thousands of volunteers regularly give their time and talents to make a positive difference in the lives of Hindus. They are proud of their part in a great endeavor. For Hindu society to prosper and survive, we all must live up to our responsibilities as Hindus.

It is a mistake to think that the intellectual movement to propagate Hindu ideals is without difficulties. It requires a profound conviction, that ideas based on Hinduism are important to you and to your own life. If you integrate that conviction to every aspect of your life, you will find many opportunities to enlighten others.

There is no short cut to achieve our objectives. Hindu philosophy is a permanent fuel and ideological powerhouse. So propagate it with activism. If others destroy our identity, and establish a mechanical, all exclusive, narrow minded and rigid political philosophy and life style, it will be the default of those who keep silent. We are still free enough to speak, organize and act. Do we have time? No one can tell. But time is on our side-because we have an indestructible and invincible thought system-Hindu ideals.

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