*Hindu Rights to Survive with Dignity & Sovereignty *Join Hindu Freedom Movement to make Bharat Hindu Rashtra within 2025 *Jai Shri Ram *Jayatu Jayatu Hindu Rashtram *Editor: Upananda Brahmachari.
~ Dr. Thillayvel Naidoo.
The people of India have much to contemplate when giving attention to the facts concerning the preservation of their national cultural ideals. Many of us pay serious attention to this matter because there is a need to preserve aspects of it for extremely important reasons. India’s unique cultural heritage has been in existence for many thousands of years. It has given attention to this over a long period of time and has produced some of the most profound perceptions on it. Few countries in the world are in a position to emulate this so they are very well worth knowing. In this unfortunate context of having to struggle to maintain and preserve this heritage two important perceptions come to the fore. Firstly, for understanding most intelligently the religious truths that control our lives. And secondly to follow these for reasons of self-respect in the face of foreign threats.
This essay places itself in the context of a struggle to maintain its cultural heritage. This in itself calls into sharp focus the very nature of culture at both national and global levels. It is a matter of extreme embarrassment that there is a need for confrontation with foreign religions. India more than most countries of the world is faced with some very serious challenges. This is the basis of the discussion this paper undertakes. It is all the more embarrassing that such a struggle should be undertaken in India itself. A country that is known for the size of its population the majority of whom are Hindus is an extraordinary state of affairs. This failure lies squarely at the doors of cultural organisations and their neglect of religious education.
Sri Ramakrishna, the nineteenth century sage, was among the first of India’s savants, responsible to rescue for the degraded position in which India finds itself in modernity. While it may be true that there are few if any methods of verification of his declaration that “all religions lead to the same goal” it is even more true that his contention never has been and never will be verified. It is more surprisingly true that a study of many religions never lends itself to verifiability. Mahatma Gandhi’s adherence to the policy of respect for all religions at several of his inter-faith meetings was never given much credence outside the Hindu tradition. India’s adherence to the perception that all religions are true contributes to her own cultural undoing.
That India has to confront the problem of the preservation of her culture in her own homeland is a matter of incredible embarrassment. It is now involved in some salvaging operations. But her failure to confront and preserve those aspects of her culture that require most immediate attention are not proving as highly successful as some of us wish. We recall some of India’s most obvious contributions to her own degraded cultural position. Her greatest failure lies in her failure to formulate a secular educational system that incorporates her cultural ideals.
The importance given by foreign faiths to spreading their respective theologies in India must be recognised for what they really are. They were nothing more than proselytising campaigns. India has a spiritual heritage of its own. Not a single foreign faith is in any position to add to India’s knowledge of religion. While it is true that Indians themselves fail to acknowledge this, it is of unbearable pain that so many Indians prefer to adhere to the teachings of foreign faiths that not only ignore Hindu teachings but in many instances heap contempt on them. This is a disgrace of unforgivable proportions. They therefore raise questions about what religion really means to them and what their real purposes may be in adhering to foreign faiths. There most certainly are explanations that need clear examination. This is what this paper intends. We ask what the precise reasons are for the presence in India of foreign faiths. A very sympathetic view adopted in this paper requests an acceptable explanation. Adherents of foreign faiths have a duty to explain why foreign faiths are preferable to the religions born in India.
Soon after his return home after his highly successful visit to America in 1893 to attend the World’s Parliament of Religions, Swami Vivekananda delivered a series of inspiring lectures. His talks were compiled and presented to the people of India and the world as “Lectures from Colombo to Almora”. They are among the most profoundly thought-provoking, awakening ideas as could possibly be presented by any dedicated student of Hindu culture. One wonders just how many adherents of foreign faiths in India ever take the trouble to read them. They still stand as monuments of Hindu culture. All the people of India who fail to read them even now can be accused of committing cultural offences of unimaginable proportions. The question concerns the importance placed on the discourses by the Hindu community and more important what impact they make on the people of India who prefer to adhere to foreign faiths.
It is however his Guru’s generosity that now stands as a bane to India’s cultural heritage. Hindus have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that their culture is preserved. They have a duty to ensure that they fulfil a vital cultural responsibility that could only ensure that India’s self-respect is restored to its rightful place in the hearts of all Indians. Our presence on this earth poses many questions about our cultural responsibilities. If we are a civilized people, we ought to realise just how important the demands are for preserving India’s heritage for the reasons of culture and therefore world civilization. The brightest minds must rise to the challenges of comprehending Hinduism. Hindus have a duty to ensure that self-respect is never compromised. Understanding Hinduism is a cultural necessity for a vast number of reasons.
Questions arise about the place in India for foreign faiths. It has long been the tradition in India to show respect to all the cultures of the world. But very serious questions arise about the respect that foreign faiths accord to India. Many questions arise about any serious intention on the part of foreign faiths to reciprocate. What evidence is there of this reciprocation? By far the most important question in this regard is the reason for the preference to the teachings of foreign faiths by Indians. In what ways do any of India’s own religious teachings fall short? In what ways are India’s spiritual ideals defective? If there are Hindu teachers who are in a position to draw attention to any serious difficulties that arise in the context of world religions are followers of foreign faiths in a position to give reasons for any failure to re-examine the position assumed by Indians who prefer to sustain their preference for foreign faiths?
Writer Dr. T Naidoo is an aspirant of Sanatana Dharma and researcher on Hindu Faith who worked as a professor in a South African University for years.
Opinions are personal to the author.