There is quite a lot of confusion among ‘educated’ Hindus and brainwashed followers of other religions on the Hindus’ worship of gurus…derisively termed godmen by the English language media.
When there are religions which claim fanatically that there is only one god, and there should be no visual representation of that God, the Hindu goes about not only worshipping a million images, but a milliion men and women as God!
If it were not downright funny, they would have called this heresy of the worst sort. That is why some labelled the Hindus as pagan, others called them Kafir.
Well, though the Hindu has his given book, his revealed tome in the Veda, you will find that he is not so touchy about it…he is not going to launch a war against anybody based on it, or its perceived misrepresentation. For the Veda is not merely chapter and book, it is living truth, the breath of one’s life.
One of the reasons for the Hindu’s proverbial ‘tolerance’ – again a wrong word…because there is more than mere tolerance, there is an appreciation – of other religions- is the diversity of great gurus and mahatmas who are being revered by them.
From unorthodox saints like Kabir and the Siddhars of Tamil Nadu to the Nath saiths of north India and the Nayanmars of the Saiva tradition, men of god from diverse backgrounds and men of god with divergent streams of thought, have all mingled in the adoration of a greater power.
If it were not for the saints and gurus – who would have been termed godmen by our English media were they not so removed in time from us – Hindus would also have been caught in the tyranny of the book. When Swami Vivekananda was in the United States with the message of the Vedanta, he was not short of traducers who assassinated his character at every turn.
Hinduism is a religion of the devotee, for the devotee and by the devotee. It starts from the earth, not from the heavens. It not only makes representations of gods in clay, it invokes the all pervading divine force to manifest itself in it. It connects man with God at every turn…not only a man of god but every form of life, and every aspect of nature is fit for worship when viewed as a manifestation of the supreme.
”Eesha, or the Lord, pervades everything, all that is animate and inanimate. Therefore live this life in that spirit…don’t grab anything…” declares the Isaavaasya Upanishad…or the guru who gave that Upanishad..
HInduism does not grab followers of other religions…It does not compete in the market for converts. The only conversion it seeks is the spiritual conversion. Not the jealous faith of the angry god for it..but the manifestation of godliness in man.
While others are cynics and pessimists and kafirs when it comes to the divine destiny of man, the Hindu believes it is possible.
Of course there will be fakes, impersonators. But when were they in short supply in all facets of life. From our currency notes, which come with the visual of the father of the nation and the attestation of the reserve bank governor, from politicians who shed crocodile tears for the public but are only crocodiles in the swamps of their illbegotten wealth, from corporate doctors who sharpen their scalpels on unsuspecting human flesh to business heads who plunder their own companies, fakes and sharks abound.
There are also those who fall by the way…for the spiritual path is a razors edge. Our media gods who are innocent of the Buddha’s middle path will keep stoning them till their orgiastic fury comes to an end, or till another scandal releases their pent up energy.
The spiritual search is India’s forte. Thousands of years ago Indian seekers sought not for a thundering god or blazing deity and its overbearing commandments, but the knowledge after knowing which everything becomes known, the one experience after experiencing which man becomes ever full.
India sought a dimension never ever imagined by any other nation or people, and the faith that the Hindu has…call it a hunch…call it an intuition, is that Man can become God…well not a monotheist God, or a no-notheist God…but a divinity surcharged and suffused with universal consciousness.
All I ask of our English educated brethren is this : do not spit and pee at this extraordinary force called the Sanatana Dharma, the path of eternity..which takes man from one fullness to another..which cannot be burnt by fire..which cannot be engulfed by water and refuses to be swept away by the wind. Of course it can be adapted to the times, of course it should shed needless rituals and laws that go by its name.
The Bengal renaissance was sparked by the unique power of the Upanishads…kindly.O .kindly…don’t demean that invaluable Legacy.
India is an old civilization…it never sought an empire on earth. But the empire of the spirit is its destiny….an empire that will not bind…but an empire that will free. Don’t bind the forces that are shaping that empire with the fetters of borrowed ideologies. Barbed wires cannot cleave the scented air.