Dalai Lama: “India has great potential to help the world”

H.H. the Dalai Lama said during the last Kumbh Mela in Haridwar that “India has great potential to help the world.” He added that already as a youth in Lhasa he was greatly impressed with the richness of Indian thought, and went as far as to say “Everything in my head is from India. I am a son of India.”

In India, however, there are two camps. One agrees with the Dalai Lama. The other does not and even ridicules anyone who claims that India’s heritage has great value.

I belong to those who agree with the Dalai Lama. The reason is simple: It is true. India does have great potential to help the world. There is plenty of evidence. Just read some of the ancient texts, for example the Upanishads. The insights contained therein are mind boggling. For me, who grew up as a Christian and felt dissatisfied with what I was taught to believe, it was all the more obvious. Christianity is no equal to the Indian tradition.

Here I refer only to the philosophical and religious angle. Yet India’s heritage contains amazing knowledge in all possible fields – from science to music, from architecture to astronomy to medicine and so on. It is a huge treasure, in spite of the fact that a lot of this treasure has been lost or destroyed. Not without reason India is called the cradle of civilization and “Indian wisdom” is proverbial in the west.

Now, since it is clear that the Dalai Lama is right, how can there be people who disagree?

This is a long story that started in 1835 when a politician called Thomas Macauley pleaded in the British Parliament to replace the Sanskrit gurukuls in India with English education. He argued that if Britain wants to successfully subdue Indians, they need to be cut off from their culture.

Macauley got his way. From then on, the Indian elite had to send their children to English medium schools, if they wanted them to make it in life. Naturally, the kids didn’t hear much about their own great culture and whatever little they heard, was negative. And since they didn’t learn Sanskrit, they could not check it out for themselves.

Ironically, this happened at a time, when the European elite had discovered Sanskrit and India’s wisdom and were stunned by its depth. This discovery contributed to the so called era of enlightenment in Europe which resulted in a separation between state and Church.

Yet Indian children were taught from mid-19th century onwards, how great and accomplished Britain was. It suited the colonial masters to have “educated natives” who held them and their lifestyle, including their religion, in high esteem. In return, they, especially those who had converted to the western religions, were allowed to feel superior to the ‘superstitious Indian masses’.

Brainwashing works. And Indians proved that it lasts even over several generations. Those who claim that the Dalai Lama is wrong are generally “Macauley’s children” who feel proud that they are fluent in English and don’t realize that they have been uprooted in the interest of their former masters.

These people never delved into the rich Indian heritage that had impressed the Dalai Lama. Yet in spite of their ignorance, they claim that India has nothing to offer. They don’t really claim it: they shout it, so that any opposition to their view cannot be heard. Of course this is not a healthy state of affairs, but it plays out often on Indian news channels: Macauley’s children (or should I call them ‘anti-Hindu brigade’?) accuse and insinuate about Hinduism what the British convent schools had taught them.

Missionaries have always maligned Hinduism, but in the recent decades, a new, dangerous insinuation is noisily propagated. Christian leaders support it and the international media eagerly picks it up. It is this:

“Hindus are intolerant of other religions. They hate members of other religions, and now, since there is a BJP government, they show their agenda openly. They want a Hindu India and obliterate other religions. The rising incidents of attacks on churches prove it.”

“Who will stop this hate” kept flashing on the screen of a news channel, after a stone had damaged a church window. Such insinuations are unbearably unfair. Hindus (other Indian traditions included) are by far the most tolerant people on earth. There is no other country, where minority Christians, Jews and Muslims are as safe as in India. And yet there seems to be a coordinated effort by Indians and westerners, which is gleefully supported by the media, to paint Hindus as hateful of other religions.

“Attacks on churches have a pattern” they shout, when there is no pattern. After a burglary of 8000 Rupees in a Christian school, Macauley’s children demanded a statement from the Prime Minister in spite of the fact that the principal of the school (a nun) and the police had stated that it was theft without any communal angle. When children threw a stone at a church, it made national news for hours, and will probably be eagerly included in international news reports that “incidents of attacks on churches are rising in India”.

In contrast, attacks on temples are not considered newsworthy. In 2014, 206 temples and 3 churches were vandalized. If vandalism of a place of worship is expected to have been committed by culprits from another religion, then the number of attacks on churches should be a multiple of the attacks on temples, because Hindus are the great majority. How come that far more temples were vandalized?

The point is that the anti-Hindu brigade is not interested in the truth. They want that attacks on churches are rising, at least in the perception of people the world over. They want that ‘Hinduism’ evokes disgust. What could be the reason?

President Obama’s recent remarks may give a hint. At a prayer breakfast in the White House a few days after the Jordanian Air Force pilot was brutally burned alive by ISIS, he tried to give the impression that Islam, Christianity and Hinduism are all in the same boat. They all have committed unspeakable atrocities. “Even Gandhi would be shocked”, he said referring to India.

Now this attempt to draw Hinduism in was blatantly dishonest. While Christianity and Islam indeed have a terrible historical record, Indian traditions do not. There were many different ways of worship in India yet all lived peacefully together – till the dogmatic religions, Islam and Christianity, arrived on the scene, and Hindus became their victims.

Instead of trying to pull Hinduism down to the level of the dogmatic religions in the perception of others, it would be better to find out what makes dogmatic religions prone to violence and eliminate those aspects.

One major aspect is the fact that the dogmatic religions mix up the path with the truth. They claim that only one path is true – their own – and all have to follow this one path, when in reality only one truth is true and paths are many. The Rishis declared “Truth is one; the sages call it by many names”.

The problem with the dogmatic religions is, however, that they don’t enquire into what is really true. They think that truth is the opposite of a lie, and insist that the story they tell about God is true and not a lie. They never deeply reflected on what is really and absolutely true about us and the universe.

Indian rishis did reflect and came up with deep insights Truth is the eternal, unchanging, infinite, conscious basis that upholds this ever changing universe. Names and forms are only fleeting and impermanent appearances on this basis which is among others described as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

The Rishis claim that the goal of life is to discover this truth in us and they show many ways, depending on the tendencies of different persons – bhakti, jnana, karma, yoga, etc. The Hindu tradition is open-minded: If devotion to Krishna helps you, it is fine. If devotion to Jesus helps you, it is also fine.

Will the dogmatic religions correct themselves? Will they agree that truth is one and different paths are possible? It seems so natural and would make such big positive change in the world.

Yet it is not likely that those religions will give up the power that comes with “we alone have the truth” without being pressurized. They keep defending their flawed religion, and one major aspect of this defense is to malign Hindu Dharma. The reason may be that they are aware that if people knew the truth about Hindu Dharma, they would appreciate it as it makes far more sense than the dogmatic religions.

Indians needs to ponder how to translate the potential of their tradition to help the world into reality. Mainstream media clearly sides with dogmatic religions and its influence is close to almighty. Yet those religions have serious drawbacks. Their followers are left stranded regarding the meaning of life. Depression is rampant in the Christian west and Muslim youth is horribly misguided to believe that killing unbelievers makes their lives meaningful and will fetch them a reward in afterlife.

If Hindus and Buddhists join together and propagate India’s wisdom, their voice is more likely to be heard. At the same time, they need to expose absurd dogmas and forcefully demand at international forums that nobody can claim without any evidence that non–Christians (and non-Muslims respectively) will burn in hell for all eternity.
If this is not hate speech, what is? If this is not against human rights, what is?

Voltaire said: “Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” The belief in absurdities needs to be stopped. Then atrocities in the name of religion will stop automatically.

By Maria Wirth

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45 comments

  1. Tulsi Bhandari · · Reply

    your article as ever is very inspiring, Maria. The point is that more Indians must be curious to know about what their spiritual, social and philosophical heritage is. But agian as was predicted thousands of years ago, the influence of Kaliyuga is taking its toll. Yet, there is a minority which is inspired by Sage wisdom and practices it; nothing more can be done. You must notice how many likes are clicked for false and valueless posts on the Face book but nearly nobody likes a book on the Gita or a quote from it. This is how things are; but the priceless spiritual wealth must be saved at all costs.

  2. Arvind Derhgawen · · Reply

    Valid points great presentation. Good lord deliver us from Lord Macauley and his progeny!!!!

  3. Excellent write up Maria. Surprisingly, Maculey’s children are effective till this day. Most of them may have never read the upanishads but all would know about PT (physical training).The Britishers replaced Yoga with PT in Indian schools. PT has taken deep roots in schools & even in armed forces since then. Thankfully there are a few saints in India who have been trying to revive the vedic schools and traditions. They can do better with Govt help.

    Vedic knowledge is universal, peaceful and can benifit the whole world. As Swami Vivekananda so beautifully spoke, “By the Vedas no books are meant. They mean the accumulated treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different times. Just as the law of gravitation existed before its discovery, and would exist if all of humanity forgot it, so is with the laws that govern the spiritual world.”

  4. Classic… Marvelous… Well introspection. No wonder why foreign invasion repeatedly took place on India was not merely only for wealth but also her rich cultural values and peerless scripts. Most of the European countries still use several Samstrutam words is the clear evidence. Thanks Ms. Maria for wonderful article.

  5. you are a great inspiration. Our heart felt gratitude . May the Ganesha give you happiness and good health

  6. thank you all for letting me know that you appreciate the post

  7. Maria thank you once again for this inspiring article Thank you we need a individual like you
    at this hour to put sense into people who are not interested in knowing facts

  8. virender · · Reply

    Yes Maria you are right. Its high time. The world needs to know the truth for the sake of mankind, for peace & prosperity.

  9. R.Venkatanarayanan · · Reply

    With time, more and more people are coming to believe that Buddhists are also proselytizing–converting people to Buddhism–its beliefs and practices. This is all the more so with Westerners fascinated with Buddhism. Scholars and spiritual leaders like Dalai Lama must discourage this development. Without that I doubt if Buddhism and Hinduism can join hands in safeguarding Indic Faith systems. Indic Faith systems, each as a stand-alone, have a lot to convey, teach, explain and enlighten and they are mutually enrichening. They should remain so. Buddhist converts must avoid imitating the Christian and Islamic penchant for converting “others” and adding to their numbers.
    RVN

  10. “I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

    “Macaulay, British Parliament, 1835″

  11. Maria Lozano · · Reply

    Whenever I read your posts, I feel even happier of being a Hindu. I admire your clarity and feel inspired by your boldness for talking the truth. Thank you, Maria.

  12. Persecution of Hindus and Dharmic folks around the world

    http://www.desicontrarian.com/?p=167

  13. BREAKING NEWS: The Catholic Inquisition resurfaces in India!
    Je sue Sriram

    City Police arrest Bengaluru based former telecom executive for criticizing the Catholic Church!

    Fr William Menezes, public relations officer of Mangaluru Catholic Diocese had lodged complaint with Mangaluru City Police against Sriram based on his comments on Facebook. The complaint alleged that the comments questioned the basic tenets of Christianity. The comments, Fr William said were also an affront to the Indian Constitution which upheld secularism and also created a situation of creating a rift between two communities and causing law and order problem.

    A case was registered against Sriram in Mangaluru South police station under section 66 of IT Act and sections 153A, 153B and 295A of IPC, commissioner of police S Murugan said. Incidentally, Catholic Sabha, Mangaluru Pradesh, taking offence to what it described were derogatory references and writings about Christianity, Jesus Christ, Mother Mary and Mother Teresa in social media platforms, writings and speeches, had sought arrests of those involved.

  14. Ramasubramaniam Pourugutsa · · Reply

    Simple,lucid writing, bringing out the points with a subtle force. Great writing, Maria, as usual. Keep it going. We are with you.

  15. surya USA · · Reply

    As always great point of view Maria. Indians are now degenerating on a daily basis,I was reluctant to accept religion as a way to peace, joy or even refuge if you will until I opened Upanishads. After that everything fell in place. Such an amazing wisdom encrypted in those verses written some 6 or 10 thousand years ago during which time humanity lived in all its savagery. Everyone must read Upanishads as works of philosophy to begin with.

  16. surya USA · · Reply

    I read some works of Voltaire’s works, an amazing thinker he was, one of my all time favorites indeed. Maria you are well read, knowledgeable and very articulate. Oneday you will write a book that will become very popular in Europe and rest of the world. Power to you.

  17. Your advice is fine in theory but I don’t think it’ll work in reality, because they are set in their ways,and when one is like that then it’s not possible to give them a logical reason which they don’t know the meaning of. If people like Obama can’t see through it then what chance joe public got.

  18. Om Prakash Purohit · · Reply

    A very inspiring article as always. Can we have your articles in book form. That will be a great treasure for those pursuing truth in India’s political discourse. Good material to strengthen the soul, mind and heart of the common p eople. Inspirational second only to Swamy Vivekananda.

  19. two words … “THANK YOU”.

  20. Surya, USA · · Reply

    Dalai Lama never brings up India when he is overseas. I hope some Indians will raise the question and get an answer from him.
    He is an interesting character indeed

  21. Amazing Article Maria! Keep spreading the truth.

  22. saahil · · Reply

    Namaste mam,I love all your post,and I am glad to see the way you are educating about our dharma.

  23. Varun · · Reply

    This is very true. I’m not very sure that we can do anything substantial individually, the one who can do has already arived, we’ll just follow him.

    It’s the last days of kaliyuga and deamons (only in terms of their current dispositions) must be increasing, expressing whatever evil accumilating throughout the ages in our collective mind.
    The chaos and confusion we see everywhere despite advances in technology and so called modern scientific education shows that something is fundamental wrong in the world. This can usually be attributed to the last days of a yuga because any transition is always characterized by turbulence. When we talk about transition of one yuga to another, we fundamentally mean changes in collective consciousness. This change is bound to bring chaos in mind which expresses itself outward in people’s irrational actions we’re witnessing.

    Dharma is at the lowest and it’s declined so much in India as well that we see no hope

    This is the time when avatar must come and restore the dharma. Rest assured that he’s already taken controls in hand but very few can recognize him for now.
    How can you recognize him? It’s not easy but there are signs. If you see someone doing huge work, selflessly, and his followers are increasingly like anything wherever he goes. at the same time he’s also criticized and atacked like anything by deamons.
    Also, he never claims to be avatar.
    If you recognize above qualities in any individual, don’t think of That individual mere an individual, he could be an avatar. But don’t claim this publically. Because 1) people will ridicule you and 2) this could create problems in his mission.

    Neither Rama nore Krishna was known to be an avatar by many during most of their lifetime. This is how it was and this is how it’ll be.

    PS. Don’t believe that Kaliyuga is 432000 years long, IMO it’s error in interpretation that has crept in as an effect of kaliyuga. Evidence:
    1) All major religions’ prophets/seers had talked about resurrection in near future.
    2) Societal conditions mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam and Mahabharata ETC during peak of Kaliyuga is already manifesting (http://hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/5221/some-sources-say-end-of-kaliyuga-is-near ).
    3) Bhagavan Krishna mentioned that there’ll be a golden period after 5000 years for 10000 years. Refer following article to understand that why a yuga cycle is in fact 12000 years long and how coming 10000 golden years fit in so perfectly.
    End of Kaliyuga in 2025: Unraveling the mysteries of the Yuga Cycle. http://bibhudev.blogspot.in/2012/07/end-of-kali-yuga-in-2025-unraveling.html

    1. Typical defeatist and un-hindu response Varunji! The avatar is not parachuted in when needed, it appears in the hearts of ordinary people. Sri Aurobindo was an avatar, Shyam Charan lahiri was an avatar and even you are an avatar in waiting! For example In the the Hanuman Chalisa, millions of Hindus chant “kijaya nath Hridaya maan dera” how clearer could it be? We invoke teh hanuman personality to manifest within us, not to come and save us. As Swami Vivekanananda ji say Arise awaken and top finding excuses – no matter how articulately…

  24. maria wirth,every religion has its dogmas.to say hinduism is the only religion free of dogmas is nonsensical.look at atrocious untouchability caste system which declares a major chunk of hindus are untouchable by a small number of upper caste hindus.this is the raw ineqality clause in the theology of hinduism .this kind of descrimination is non existent in islam and christianity.thanks to macaulay every body from allcastes creeds got an education.otherwise low castes and even women from upper castes would have stayed un educated,for a woman is “un fit to read criptures”this statement is made by sankaracharya just a few years back.if imposing hindu way of life(beef eating ban),hindu theology(gita national book),hindu ideas of health(yoga) on all religious denominations is not a great way of proving>truth is one sages call it by different names<buddhism originated in india but it thrives any where else but in india.is it not the intolerance of hindus which lead to pograms against buddhists which dalailama and you seem to conveniantly forget.only when the threat of hindus turning to buddhism was removed and the impossibility of killing buddhism off was evident did the hindus calmed down and lo behold,they even started calling it part of hindu dharma!what islam and christianity say openly ,hinduism tells in a circuitous way .yes, there are a mind bogling array of scientific and philosophical matters which are very exciting ,in ancient scriptures.every indian apreciates this fact. now that you have called any one critical of hinduism's rough edges ""macaulay's child"" may i call you "" blond child of a blissed out black sadhu"""

    1. Dear Pasha,
      A litany of inadervent lies from you even if indoctrinated since childhood(helplessly) doesnt become objective truth. Here are some pointers to truth to loosen the dense collection of sticky lies in a paragraph, that you shared.

      The facts:
      1. hindu dharma is not religion and has no dogmas. Yes really. google… dharma vs religion
      2. caste system destroyed hindu varnas. caste from casta (portuguese) was a race science theory of Lord Risley, and he subverted Manusmriti to claim native authority, and enforced it in Public Court System and Census–something Manu himself would have opposed. in other words, caste system as we see now, was shoved down indian jati throats by the British. It destroyed the egalitarian varna system practised until then by jatis. google … varna risley
      3. discrimination in christianity(black vs white vs asian churches/denominations in US), islam (saudi vs paki) very prevalent. christianity was wondering if a woman was a full human until 19th century (she did not have a soul), whereas women were goddesses in hindu dharma. no electoral right for women in sweden etc until 1970! unlike hindu india since 1947! Indian women were encouraged to be exponents of the 64 arts. Indian spirituality recommends love(including 64 kalas) as spiritual sadhana for women because they are natural at it than men, and tapasya sadhana for men(including 14 vidhyas) as they are natural at it than women, and even there Parvati did tapasya, and Shiva is dancing! This is female and male empowerment and liberation, where their natural strength is celebrated, and yet their interest in the opposite path leads to uniqueness. Todays women who have access to education, does not come close to the breadth of education that these ancient women who had access had.
      4. bharatiya dharmas(hindu, buddhist, jain) and culture are intertwined much like american culture and christianity in US. Trying eating dog/cat meat (banned because they hold them dear which Chinese dont), or banning Bible from swearing in oath/testimony in courts/government bodies, or banning PE (Physical Education) from curriculum, in the US because they are too Christian and are not secular enough for you, and you will be condemned and threatened.
      5. “hindu” kings protected and sheltered buddhist sages, temples, and institutions of learning (Nalanda, Takshila etc). Know your history (outside of marxist pseudo-historians like Romilla). They were destroyed by the savage Muslim invaders, out of existence in India, because of increased vulnerability from centralizing their institutions.
      6. islam, christianity say exactly OPPOSITE things from hinduism. “only my way is true, convert or be damned”(violent exclusivism) vs “every way is true”(loving inclusivism). Their “Love” is just a cover to sell their “violent exclusivism”.
      7. your epithet is racist… on the other hand, “Macaulay’s children” is a factual description of events, and is a succint title without exaggerations and racism. The equivalent would be “dharmic children”— which i am sure everyone here would be proud to be attacked with.

      1. Fabolous response, Prashant! Thank you.

  25. Dear Pasha, I have to say it’s your ignorance speaking. Caste system is neither Hindu Theology nor it’s philosophy. Caste system what you see in India is degeneration of Varnashrama Dharma (Requires a whole new blog to explain you about Varnashrama Dharma but you can search on internet) what is a practice of people cannot be associated to Hindu Dharma. Moreover, unlike Abrahamic faiths Hinduism has seen a lots of reformers fighting against these ills of the society (mind you not Hindu religion). Let me tell you one thing, we are not Hindu’s as you are a Muslim or a Christian. The tag of Hindu is attached to us by the followers of Abrahamic faiths as they could not comprehend a nation without a religion and only a way of life. Sanatana Dharma, points everyone only towards one thing “The reality”. After all everything in a person’s life starts with one thing that is the person “himself/herself”. Our philosophy says steady carefully who that self is and you will find the truth. Even though this self has to be only realized by each individual, great Rishis have discovered this self have tried to describe it so that people with appetite for truth and understand, contemplate, follow the instructions and discover the truth for themselves. I may go on and on but deep in my heart I know I am only writing to a wall, who cannot see beyond his misfortune of being born in to a so called Muslim/Christian whose freedom to think is curbed beyond comprehension. Better luck in your next life buddy.

    1. good reply, Prashant. such clear thinking is rarely found among those who have been indoctrinated into incredible dogmas that require blind belief

  26. My compliments , on writing a balanced and truthful opinion. I have the privilege of reading a few of our Puranas . You have nudged me to read the rest of shastras.
    Warm regards
    Manoj

  27. Vasantha Sabapathy · · Reply

    Excellent post Maria! As Sanathana Dharma, Hinduism stood for the Truth, which is eternal. It belongs not just to Hindus but to the whole of humanity. India has great potential but unfortunately most Indians are quite unaware of their own great treasure and hanker after anything non Indian. Pity!

  28. Pintu meeL · · Reply

    thanks @Maria
    Love you

  29. […] Dalai Lama: “India has great potential to help the world” […]

  30. Suraj Agarwal · · Reply

    Great write up!! Very insightful!!

  31. Listen to what Maria Worth says. She put it in a language with reason.
    Hinduism and Buddhism are the two most tolerant religions of the world. However, the adherents of them are now on the foot steps of others. It’s because of the ignorance of the wealth they possess.
    Radicalisation of religions is the greatest danger the world is now going through. In t

    1. saw only now that so many comments, almost 200 had landed in junk. very sorry. thank you

  32. Listen to what Maria Worth says. She put it in a language with reason.
    Hinduism and Buddhism are the two most tolerant religions of the world. However, the adherents of them are now on the foot steps of others. It’s because of the ignorance of the wealth they possess.
    Radicalisation of religions is the greatest danger the world is now going through. In this Islam is in the forefront. Others seem to be following them.How to arrest this?

    1. Islam and Christianity stick to an unproven, unvierifiable doctrine. Hinduism and its offshoot Buddhism focus on what we can know about truth. if only Muslims and Christians also would enquire into truth….

    2. sorry for being late in putting the comment up. was off internet for segveral days.

  33. Balkrishna R. Parab · · Reply

    Brilliant.

  34. Balkrishna R. Parab · · Reply

    I must confess I am one of the Macaulay’s children; I began seeing reason just recently. The demonisation of Modi made me question my former ilk.

    1. happy to know

  35. DINESH KUMAR MAHATO · · Reply

    Great article..

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