“Hindu Dharma will survive the ‘mainstream American Intellectuals’ and their hate-filled thoughts” “...Hinduism is the most ancient of all religions; it has no Pope or Moulavi to lay down fatwas. It has withstood terrorism of all sorts and has survived over ten thousand years and will also survive the ‘mainstream American intellectuals’ with their hate-filled thoughts on Hinduism, for another ten thousand years, because of its sheer intellectual and spiritual power that remains unsurpassed. For making that clear Rajiv Malhotra deserves full praise”, writes Sri M. V KAMATH, in his thought-provoking review of the book.
“Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity” By Rajiv Malhotra; Pages 376; Harper Collins, Noida; Rs. 599/Denigration of Hindu Dharma -- An Age-old Addiction of the West It is one of the most inevitable facts of political life that when a nation enters the rank of a Great or Super Power, it gets fancy ideas of its superiority in all fields, political, cultural, or religious. It happened to the Portuguese in the sixteenth century when they conquered Goa. They sought to ban the people’s language Konkani and tried to downgrade people’s religion -- Hinduism, by every means. In the 19th century when the British were safely ensconced in India as the ruling party, the end result was the same. Lord Macaulay, who had been dispatched to India as legal adviser to the Supreme Council of India in his Education Minute sought to belittle the country by saying that where literature was concerned he had never found one among “orientalists” who could deny that “a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India”. He then went on to further denigrate Indian learning as “medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long and geography made of seas of treacle and seas of butter”. A Brilliant Analysis of Current Views on Hinduism among American Academia Now in the 20th and beginning of the 21st century we are having in the United States of America prototypes of Macaulay who can’t stand the greatness of India and who think there is no such thing as Hinduism and insisting that if there is something like that it is the product of Vivekananda’s fertile imagination, an artificial unity he constructed for political purposes. As Rajiv Malhotra notes in his brilliant analysis of current views on Hinduism among American Academia, “Vivekananda fabricated present day Hinduism
by appropriating western religious and secular ideas and restating them in Sanskrit!”. Vivekananda is further charged with inventing Karma Yoga to match western social ethics and additionally to prove that Vedic traditions contain scientific merit! Writes Malhotra: “The perception that a unified idea of Hinduism lacks legitimacy has rapidly spread into mainstream intellectual circles”. It must be a pretty sick mainstream intellectual circle indeed that thinks that way. One can only despise such circles. But being a scholar, Malhotra has taken great pains to patiently refute theories that slander contemporary Hinduism as illegitimate and to present the most ancient religion in the world in its true light – a truth that was once accepted by an earlier batch of academicians like Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Indeed Thoreau it was who said that he read the Gita every morning and how important it was to his own life. And do America’s mainstream intellectuals remember what Philip Oppenheimer said when the U.S had its first nuclear bomb detonated? Oppenheimer recited a stanza from the Gita which began as: divi surya sahasrasya bhaved yugapad uttita…. (If the effulgence of a thousand suns were to blaze forth simultaneously, that might resemble the splendour of that exalted Being). But then Emerson and Thoreau lived in another age and clime when the United States was more self-contained and had no pretense to make. American Aacademicians cannot stand being Marginalized Today we are living in a new world in which the United States wants to be seen and acknowledged as a Great Power with no one to challenge that status. And that calls for ridiculing every other segment of thought and action that even remotely challenges America’s self-anointed superiority. Among those segments of thought hails Hinduism, brighter than a thousand suns, with its intrusion in all forms of thought and action, a religion which gave to mathematics the symbol of Zero and to the Mind, freedom to think in its myriad ways. Hinduism was prevailing long before Christ was born, long before The Holy Prophet was born, growing by the day and standing up to the challenges that might have drowned a lesser philosophic entity. That it survives and even more relevantly is growing by the day is the envy of America’s mainstream academicians. Was it Newsweek (August 2009) that published a one page essay with the headline “We are all Hindus now”? It is not Hinduism that is picking the minds of American thinkers; it is plainly the other way round. And American academicians cannot
stand being marginalized. They have to show that it is Hinduism which is borrowing ideas originating in America and the West. The arguments pronounced by the new enemies of Hinduism are funny beyond imagination. NRIs (Non-Rational Imperialists) of the United States There is this character called Van der Veer (is the word ‘Veer’ stolen from Sanskrit which gives it the meaning of ‘hero’?) who is described as “among the most insistent of the scholars who claim that Hinduism was created for sinister political motives”. Veer is reported to have said that the construction of a ‘Unified Hindu identity’ is of utmost importance for Hindus who live outside India because they need ‘a Hinduism that can be explained to outsiders as a respectable religion’. These Hindus are known as NRIs -Non Resident Indians; but then in the United States is born another purely local sect that could also be called as NRIs (Non-Rational Imperialists). Sadly Van der Veer and his ilk, many of whom are quoted, belong to it. Hindu Dharma will survive the “mainstream American Intellectuals” and their hate-filled thoughts Malhotra has done his job in explaining Hinduism remarkably well. Sadly he noted that “it is unfortunate that Hindu and Buddhist ideas are routinely attributed to Western sources be they Hellenistic, early Christian or modern”. The Veers of US today obviously do not know that in his youth Jesus was in India where he reportedly spent a few years, no doubt imbibing Hindu thought. Malhotra makes it plain that the prophets of Abrahamic religions cannot be equated with the rishis of dharmic tradition nor is the Bible being a Smriti text be equated with the Vedas which are sruti. Malhotra has done a brilliant job in putting the west in its place, that of an imitator. But let this be said too: Hinduism is the most ancient of all religions; it has no Pope or Moulavi to lay down fatwas. It has withstood terrorism of all sorts and has survived over ten thousand years and will also survive the “mainstream American intellectuals” with their hate-filled thoughts on Hinduism, for another ten thousand years, because of its sheer intellectual and spiritual power that remains unsurpassed. For making that clear Malhotra deserves full praise.
-- M. V KAMATH (Hon. Director, Manipal Institute of Communication (A Constituent Institute of Manipal University), Press Corner, Manipal-576 104, Karnataka, India, www.manipal.edu/mic)
“...Hinduism is the most ancient of all religions; it has no Pope or Moulavi to lay down fatwas. It has withstood terrorism of all sorts and...