Indianising the religious discourse

Some months ago I attended an Interfaith Dialogue in Delhi. Hindus, Muslims and Christians spoke, all were nice, smiling. But it was not a dialogue. It was a promotion for the Abrahamic religions. Christians praised Christianity, Muslims praised Islam, and Hindus praised Christianity and Islam. Why were Hindus extra careful not to step on any toes? Christians and Muslims never showed such consideration towards Hindus.

It almost looked as if Hindus still feel the need to please their former Christian or Muslim masters. Fortunately, those masters are gone. Unfortunately, they have made sure, through their education system, that many Indians don’t know anymore, what their great heritage is about and even denigrate it. Sanskrit, which is intimately linked to their tradition, too, was taken from them. Hindus were goaded to forget about the gold at home and instead buy artificial jewellery from the west. This trend is still going on especially in the English educated class.

After Independence, the terms ‘secular’ and ‘communal’ were used as sticks to beat Hindus with. However, those sticks have become brittle now. Many see through the agenda. They wonder why the religions of the invaders are favoured over their own ancient tradition.

Moreover, the term secular is badly distorted in India. ‘Secular’ means to be blind towards religion. So the self-appointed defenders of secularism are clearly not secular, because they zoom in on religion. ‘Communal’ on the other hand means caring for the interest of certain groups or communities. Political parties are by definition communal, yet the party with the broadest support base is least communal.

 

Why is the religious discourse in India so confused? The reason may be that Christianity and Islam on one side and Hindu Dharma on the other are on different levels. They cannot be compared on one platform. In fact, Christianity and Islam don’t have room for a discourse. Each one is adamant that it alone has the full truth and all must accept it. What is the proof? There is no proof, only the claim that the Supreme has revealed it to one particular person. Blind belief in a story around that particular person is their sole basis, whereas Hindu Dharma has solid philosophy as its basis.

Christianity and Islam stress that they are “revealed” religions, therefore no criticism can be allowed, as it is equivalent to criticising the Supreme. Several Muslim countries lobbied with the United Nations to outlaw criticism of Islam. However, there is a flaw in their argument and it is the duty of Hindus to expose it.

The flaw is that neither the revelation of Christianity, nor that of Islam can claim originality, nor do these revelations stand the test of reason.

The most ancient, original revelation regarding the ultimate, metaphysical truth, are the Vedas. The Rishis did not create the Vedas. They ‘saw’ them through the veil that hides the truth from ordinary eyes after doing tapas.

The Vedas are about the eternally valid, universal laws, about Dharma, and they are a goldmine of knowledge in all fields. This knowledge has never been proven wrong. It is thanks to the Vedas (and to the Brahmins who memorised them for future generations) that India has contributed maximum to human civilisation.

The Vedas declared the existence of one, great Brahman that is the cause for this universe ages before the Abrahamic religions were founded. Judaism took over the concept of one God, and Christianity and Islam, too, yet they modified it in an unacceptable way.

This modification needs to be discarded, because it cannot be true: Christianity and Islam portray the Supreme as a separate, superhuman entity, who insists on specific worship and blind belief in a particular book. And even worse: the Almighty, to whom we all owe our existence, will throw those of us who don’t convert to the “only true religion” (of which incidentally two exist!) after only one lifetime for all eternity into hellfire.

Anybody who is not brainwashed from childhood can see that there is something very sinister and dangerous in those impossible claims. They are the basis for divisiveness and hatred, which has caused so much bloodshed over many centuries. These claims need to be put on the table and discarded.

Let’s imagine a Sabha in ancient India, where Dattatreya, Ashtavakra, Gargi, Uddalaka, Yagnavalkya, Vaishistha and others deal with such deviations of truth:

They might first take up the claim that the Supreme Being is separate from his creation and would prove with sound arguments that it is the essence in all. And when it is the essence in all, how could it possibly condemn a big part of Itself to eternal hellfire?

Next they might demolish the wrong notion that we have only one life on which our eternal fate depends. They would explain that on this material plane we take numerous bodies, till we realise that we are not those bodies but eternally one with Brahman. This world is maya, more like virtual reality, they would say and several westerners, including Tesla founder Elon Musk would nod in agreement. However, the sages would also exhort their opponents to do sadhana, as a gross mind immersed only in sense pleasures cannot understand the subtle truth.

It is high time, that we bring back truthfulness and sincerity into the religious discourse. Satya and Dharma need to be honoured. We all know that it is wrong to kill, to deceive, etc. How do we know? Because we have a conscience which tells us what is right and what is wrong. The knowledge of dharma is inbuilt in us. And in case we are confused, like Arjuna at the start of the Kurukshetra war, we can consult the scriptures or a guru.

An ideology, however, which demands submission of one’s conscience, is highly suspect. Christianity and Islam demand exactly this. I remember learning in catechism class, that if there is a discrepancy between my conscience and the Church doctrine, I need to follow the doctrine. The Quran also exhort the believers, “Fighting has been made obligatory for you, much to your dislike…. Allah knows, and you do not.” (Quran 2.216).

The issue is serious. Islamic terrorism has its roots in the claim that Allah despises infidels. Its foot soldiers are taught that it is their duty to rid the earth of infidels to please Allah. We need to save not only the victims of terror attacks, but also the Muslim youth from such wrong notions which have been and still are the cause for so much misery. The youth are deceived that they get paradise as reward. How foolish can one be to believe that killing those whose only ‘fault’ is that they call the Supreme by another name, will fetch a reward?

Intriguingly, Muslim clergy don’t comment on Jihad. Even Zakir Naik still gets support from his community. Why? Because his preaching can be justified by Islamic scriptures. Yet, would Indian sages accept a claim as true only because it is in a holy book? Surely not. There are many ‘holy books’ and if a text is to be considered holy, it must make eminent sense.

If religion (Latin: to bind) is meant to be beneficial, it must stop binding its followers to a book, but instead to the Divine. It also cannot possibly discriminate against ‘others’ and divide humanity into believers and unbelievers, when we all come from the same source.

If an individual degrades somebody because of his religion, he gets booked under some laws. Yet Christianity and Islam are protected by law when they degrade Hindus, Buddhists and Atheists as inferior. This is unacceptable and particularly dangerous for Hindus, as they are unfairly labelled as idol-worshippers, which Abrahamic religions condemn as most despicable. The right to freedom of religion must never include the right to abuse those who worship in other ways.

When Muslim countries can petition the UN, can’t India, together with other Asian countries, highlight the divisive tenets of those religions and petition the UN for restraining  them to preach that ‘others’ are less worth and will be sent to hell? This is not a religious issue. It is safeguarding one’s citizens from hate-crimes.

The dogmatic religions have financial and political power, yet their greatest vulnerability is, when people start reflecting and lose faith. Therefore they try to stifle any genuine debate on their doctrine. They don’t want people to use their intelligence when it comes to ‘religion’. Hindus in contrast are not only allowed, but are encouraged to use their God-given intelligence to its limit.

To make the whole world Christian, respectively Muslim, is for Christianity and Islam a divine duty. They say it openly. The Pope said it even on Indian soil. Therefore they want that Hindu tradition also ends up in a museum, like other ancient traditions have ended up in museums. The vibrancy, joyfulness and astounding variety of ways, with which Hindu Dharma is expressed since many thousands of years, and its profound philosophy are a strong bastion against the expansionist religions.

‘Hindu’ or ‘Indian’ are recent terms. But Hindu Dharma is Sanatan, eternal. It upholds life everywhere. It must never disappear. It needs to spread.

By Maria Wirth

This article was first published in the Independence Day Special on ‘Swaraj of Intellect & Ideas’ by Organiser.

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43 comments

  1. […] Source: Indianising the religious discourse […]

  2. abhiray59 · · Reply

    Simply beautiful. Very lucid comparison. Cannot agree more. A religion and a dharma are not the same. To a Hindu, Islam and Christianity are one of the many branches to reach the truth.

  3. मारिया जी, आपको कोटि कोटि प्रणाम!
    धर्म पर आपकी टिप्पणी और आपके वक्तव्य सदैव सटीक और तथ्यों पर आधारित होते हैं। आप सनातन की सजीव मूर्ति हो जिस से हम भारतीय हिंदुओं और अन्य नागरिकों को प्रेरणा लेनी चाहिए। भौगोलिक, राजनैतिक बंधनों और सीमाओं को छोड़ कर सनातन को अपनाना और इसका सही महत्त्व विश्व को समझाना एक असाधारण कार्य है जिसे आपने पूर्ण किया है। मैं सपरिवार आपसे मिलने चाहता हूँ। दवा भारत को आप के मार्गदर्शन की आवश्यकता है। मेरी ओर से आपको आपके उत्तम स्वास्थ्य और कृत्यों के लिए शुभ कामनाएँ!
    ॐ शांति!

  4. Gaya Spiga · · Reply

    Thank you, Maria.

  5. Great service being by you Madame. Thanks

  6. The problem before Hinduism is not only Christianity and Islam. Another problem this present generation of children of India educated in convent schools who have very typical moral standards. Their believe in pseudo-secularism, and their lack of proper understanding of Christianity and Islam as “Politics masquerading as religion” is certainly harmful to Hinduism as a religion. But more than that when these boys and girls use such indecent and abusive language, when they are so much willing to spend a life in sleeping, eating and other sensual enjoyment, when they have such a polluted conscience and are willing to adopt bad customs from the west then Hinduism as a Dharmic entity is really harmed to a great extent.

    This is the influence of Kaliyuga when persons mind is more engrossed in such adharmic or unrighteous activities. A serious afterlife punishment awaits them for wasting this precious human birth.

  7. i just hope everybody gets to read this.. anybody with brains and open mind should be able to understand…hopefully even thouse minds clouded by their blinkered religions.

  8. The right way to understand this entire complex is offered by Bhagwan Krishan as in the Bhagavadgita, 2/66. Accordingly is to understand Islam as well as Christianity.But that still is the theory. The practice: both Christianity and Islam hold power over the rest. Hindus are, in comparison, too weak at present. Hence the new age main task: India finds ways and means to become strong. The path to that goal passes over a neo-Mahabharat, all the more why Indian Civilization must get strong. But how? Indians are not living to that logic. Quite the contrary, modern Indians are on false courses as of Westminsterism, Englishism, pandering to both Islam and Christianity where they ought to put both in their place. Islam will never ever get what it needs to appreciate the existence better. Therefore, it matters that Indian Civilization gets strong so that it can finish off Islam on Indian soil one day, however far into future. Christians are luckily not as many in numbers, so better manageable. Islam is the enemy, and neo Arjuns must take aim at that using all means possible. To this author, a neo Mahabharat would be quite ok.

  9. You are doing a great service to the humanity.🙏
    The Vedic knowledge was esoteric and was never meant for the masses. Hence, the ignorance & diversity in the religious practices among the followers. Whereas the proselytysing religions are aggressively marketed with standardised codified tenets. The easier the religion to follow, more the followers. Egalitarianism is not the order of Nature.
    Unfortunately, abusing other religions is part of freedom of speech as long as it doesn’t create a social unrest. Since, Hindus are not organised in a way to create unrest, it is easy to get away by abusing them. But things are changing, whether for good or worse only time will tell.

    1. I will here certainly contend with the assertion below:
      The Vedic knowledge was esoteric and was never meant for the masses.

      This is so wrong.

      For example, the Bhagavadgita is meant for everyone from high to the low. So are Veds and Upanishads. Knowledge per se is meant for all human beings.
      The only ‘condition’ is that knowledge is dispensed by those who know, like here the Maria Wirth.
      Hence, Indians had their society organized as Varnashram.
      Well, the time comes up with ups and downs.
      Humankind has meanwhile spent centuries, and 2 millenniums to be exact, trying their own different models. Results speak volumes. The modern ultra-tech human world is the least well served of all so many types before, say Feudalism, capitalism, communism. Lack of comprehensive knowledge of matter and spirit has plagued this humanity. Hence all so many problems.
      Varnashram is a society type with minimum corruption and proper provisions for punishment for social crime.
      Therefore, humankind had better turn to doing a redeal on its constitution.
      Veds and Upanishads are like a blue print ready to do service, if and when put to use.
      It is, therefore, incumbent upon modern free India to set an example by restructuring its society such as accords with Ved and Upanishad spirit.
      That is what Maria Wirth is at pains to explain at length.
      Veds are easy and Upanishads too, but leave that aside. The Bhagavadgita itself is a fulsome guide.
      So, Why are modern Indians not thinking of recasting their constitution? Why not make one brand new, and based on the best knowledge on human living as extractable from the Vedic resources? What stops them from doing that most important piece of work? They are content with Westminster!

  10. Premlata Asopa · · Reply

    It is time that Hindus should hold their Religion with pride
    They should take responsibility to uplift the fellow men . Innocent people are prone to conversions without their own knowledge for their small urgent needs and solving their daily life problems like health ,edn,evil forces behind them.
    We need many Vivekananda to revive their faith so that they Live with Pride.Garve se keho hum Hindu Hai.
    The Brahmins must do their duty of Religious preaching of Veda . Sanskrit ,Yoga Education should be encouraged by the State sponsorship and social platforms.Deep penetration required where children born are not told what is the Name of their own Religion.

  11. Reghumohan kumar · · Reply

    Madam I always like to read your writings. You are doing a great service to our ancient culture so called Hindu Culture…..In spite of all the odds and it survived the onslaught from various quarters….Surely people like you can do a lot to awaken us from the deep slumber…

  12. It is the religion (Hinduism) that keeps them weak, the reason India has always been susceptible to foreign invasion. “everything calculated to advance the dissemination of truth is like poison…..”
    If you insist that Hindus must return to the fold of true Sanatan Dharma (Vedas), they must first be convinced the Vedas and Puranas they read is anti-vedic and must be abandoned for the true one (http://www.vjsingh.info/books.html) as preached by Swami Dayanand Saraswati. There is simply no other way.

    This is the message you must send to Hindus.
    “NA TASYA PRATIMAA ASTI YASYA NAAM MAHAVIDYASHAH.” Yajur Ved 32:3
    He the Supreme, of infinite glory, has no likeness, weight or measurement.

  13. Ranjan Singh · · Reply

    Ma’am Maria, You articles are always beautiful. One can see the truth if read with open heart.

    1. thank you. nice to know

  14. Yes gr8 analysis many selfish timid slave minded idiots behave in same way

  15. God bless you Maria for all your efforts. Sarve jana sukhinobavanthu…

    1. thank you, you too

  16. Excellent piece of work Maria about Hindus and Hinduism and focused on the main thing quite well and hope continue to bring out such well analyzed articles in future, Thanks for your highly informative article

  17. Ganesan · · Reply

    We are ourselves to blame. The catastrophic damage has been caused by the party which ruled for over 60 years; it followed the same divide and rule policy of the British to catch votes; it created many cracks in our society all for votes. It praised all Mogul kings including Aurangzeb; in what way the moguls are different from the British; still we consider moguls as a part of India. Tippu sultan is considered a patriot (he defended his kingdom as any king would do), he is praised, a Tippu day has been created again by the Congress, again for vote politics. No use blaming other countries and religions.

    1. times seem to be changing, fortunately

  18. Sister Salutes few words like Reveleation to one Special Person, Only real religion but two exists
    Knowledge about all fields
    Will be copied into my public speaches
    Thank you Sister
    Mahesh Thuppekallu
    9448193399

    1. great if it is helpful

  19. Shriharsha Sharma · · Reply

    Namaste,
    1300 Years of foreign domination and rule has made Hindus to be spineless and worst of all Gandhi- Nehru”s secularism and teachings in schools that everything Bharatiya is inferior.
    I hope your message reach to every Hindu and would make him/her to realise and rethink in realistic way.
    Hindus have been divided further by Nehruvian policies and I hope they come out of it to unite only then they can exist otherwise they have no future.
    Hindus are leaderless and confused because their children are not getting proper education about Hinduism in schools or by parents because parents are ignorant about Hinduism. .
    Shriharsha

  20. Neptune · · Reply

    It all depends upon who represented the Hindus.These could be those who sport Hindu names but are in fact converts to other religions.There is another possibility of these Hindus being Leftists who spare no effort to denigrate Hindus and Hinduism.

    Being Hindu by Hindol Sengupta is one book which gives ,in brief,what are the basic tenets of Hinduism and this is what Hindus must learn to say when they are asked what exactly is Hinduism.It’s not a way of life but the most noble discipline where no other religion is derided, which is what other religions do to Hinduism.

    Second,except in Yogasutras of Patanjali,there are no rules or straight jacketing advocated in Hinduism.Therefore,Hinduism is not considered by many as a religion.

    Third,there are some who are highly educated–even with doctorates from the Harvard University and others-belong to a club denigrating Hinduism and Sanskrit( after having spent years to learn about these) and have an agenda to do exactly that.Wendy Doniger’s students in India are systematically doing this.

  21. man mohan sharma · · Reply

    excellent

  22. It felt like a cool shower after a hot swet drenched day. Usually I close my eyes and feel the water, it’s murmur and feeling of rivulets going down. The reading gave me a similar experience. Many thanks Maria

  23. Excellent explanation of Hinduism. Great

  24. NARENDRA KUMAR MATHUR · · Reply

    Maria, you are doing a great service to humanity by posting such bold and frank ideas.
    The greatest ‘weakness’ of Hinduism has been that it accepts all humans and all faiths.
    This is beautifully expressed in the opening shloka of Ishavasya Upanishad which
    describes the Endless Whole :
    “Om Purnamidah Purnamidam, Purnat Purnamudachyate, Purnasyah purnamadayah,
    Purnameva Avashishyate”.
    Our next job in India is to retain our cultural values at this hour when our children and
    grand-children are swayed by other recent cultures – mainly of the Western world.
    Character Building is the task before us – which shall take two generations of tireless
    efforts. May Almighty bless you in your efforts.
    N K Mathur

  25. […] Read her full article dated 15-08-2017 retrieved on 22 November 2017 from https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/indianising-the-religious-discourse/ […]

  26. Vinod sreebhashyam · · Reply

    Such articles should have been circulated much more widely than was done. Makes excellent sense and very true.

    1. Please share them in your circle

  27. Prajna Dasgupta · · Reply

    Mam…you r so true. Being a foreigner u have identified the real problem of today’s india, which has become crippled and a slave. Indian children including adults don’t know anything about our rich ancient culture. This is because of more than 800 yeara of slavary to muslims and english invaders. Before the invasion of muslims, this land has schools teaching various sciences of how a human being can realize him true nature. There were schools having specialized branches like modern day medical science has specializations in differwnt body parts of a human. Most of those schools of Yoga and their literature, textbooks, libraries were destroyed by the muslim invaders. Indians are almost totally ignorant of their wealth. There was no religion in this country before the muslims came in. Everything was yoga, every aspect, every ritual was about human wellbeing…that too scientifically. There was no need of any God…gods were made as tools for the evolution of human consciousness, growth of an individual and our ultimate wellbeing. The idols were scientifically made to address human wellbeing. But now-a-days the science is lost. Most of the things are practised blindly..or like superstitions. Indians are in a vert sorry state. They have lost their rich and mature tradition and imitating the western culture, that is still a child.

  28. namita nagpal · · Reply

    I have no clue why are we apologetic all the time. Why are we so scared of calling a spade a spade , uttering plain truths? We must respect people as human beings, but we must respect our existence, entity , and esteem.

  29. Hemant Tulpule · · Reply

    Absolutely Great Madam Maria! I respectfully bow at your feet. You are truly a follower of Santan Dharma!

    1. Please feel free to share it in your circle.

  30. Balaji Padmanabhan · · Reply

    ‘The Calcutta Kuran Petition 1985’ by Shri Sitaram Goel is to the point, bold and honest. Must read.

  31. I bow down to you with respect.

    1. Please don’t bow to me. If it is good, it was inspired.

  32. Hindus should be grateful to you Madam. Thanks for enlightening the Hindus

  33. Madam …. grateful for your wonderful work … we need to find ways to bring back hindus to sanatan dharma & fight the Abrahamic onslaught on our terms … thanks once again

  34. Beautiful Article. Hindus have the wisdom & should feel duty bound to unveil the darkness that surround the myth followed by Abrahmuc religions. A Hindu has this responsibility to bring lights in the society thru ofcourse peaceful but by being assertive.

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