Putting secularism into perspective

Like before the last election in 2014, this time too, there are voices by so-called intellectuals that “secularism is in danger” if BJP comes to power again. Though Indians are generally highly intelligent, when it comes to secularism, most intellectuals, media and politicians get the concept wrong.

Since secularism is a western ‘invention’, I would like to put it into perspective:

Contrary to the general perception in India, secular is not the opposite of communal. Communal as such is not objectionable either. It means ‘pertaining to a community’. In Germany, elections to local bodies are called “communal elections” (Kommunalwahlen).

Secular means worldly and is opposite to ‘religious’. Now ‘religious’ in this context refers to Christianity, i.e. to a well-organized, dogmatic religion that claims that it is the sole keeper of the Truth, which God himself has revealed to his Church.

And what is this revealed truth? In short: the human being is born in sin, which dates back to Adam and Eve. But fortunately, some 2000 years ago, God had mercy on humanity and sent his only son Jesus Christ to earth to redeem us by dying for our sins on the cross, then rising from the dead and going back to his father up in heaven. However to be able to get the benefit of Jesus’ sacrifice, one must be baptized and become a member of the Church, otherwise one will be singled out for eternal hell on Judgment Day.

Understandably, such claims did not appeal to those who used their brains, but for many centuries they had to keep quiet or risk their lives.  The reason was that for long the Church was intertwined with the state, and  harsh laws made sure that people did not question the ‘revealed truth’. Heresy was punished with torture and death. Even in faraway Goa, after Francis Xavier called the Inquisition to this colony, unspeakable brutality was committed against Indians. In many Muslim countries till today, leaving Islam is punishable by death.

Significantly, those centuries, when Church and State were intertwined, when the clergy prospered and the faithful sheep suffered are called the dark ages. And the time when the Church was forced to loosen its grip, is called the age of enlightenment, which started only some 350 years ago. Scientific progress, which was greatly fostered by Indian knowledge reaching Europe, played a crucial role in curbing the influence of the Church.

Slowly, the idea that reason, and not blind belief in a ‘revealed truth’, should guide society, took root in Europe and this lead to the demand for separation between State and Church. Such separation is called secularism. It is a recent phenomenon in the west.

Today, most western democracies are ‘secular’, i.e. the Church cannot push her agenda through state power, though most western democracies still grant Christianity preferential treatment. For example in Germany, the Constitution guarantees that the Christian doctrine is taught in government schools, or that Church tax is collected by the state. Nevertheless, the present situation is a huge improvement over the dark ages.

In India, however, the situation was different. Here, the dominant faith of the Indian people never had a power centre that dictated unreasonable dogmas and needed to be propped up by the state. Their faith was based on insights of the Rishis and on reason, intuition and direct experience. It expressed itself in a multitude of ways. Their faith was about trust and reverence for the One Source of all life. It was about doing the right thing at the right time according to one’s conscience. It was about The Golden Rule: not to do to others what one does not want to be done to oneself. It was about having noble thoughts. It was about how to live life in an ideal way. It was about Satya and Dharma.

However, this open atmosphere changed when Islam and Christianity entered India. Indians, who good naturedly considered the whole world as family, were despised, ridiculed and even killed in big numbers only because they were ‘Hindus’ (which is basically a geographical term). Indians did not realise that dogmatic religions were very different from their own, ancient Dharma. For the first time they were confronted with merciless killing in the name of God. Voltaire, who fought the stranglehold of the Church in Europe, had accurately observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.

During Muslim rule Hindus had to lie low for fear of their lives, and during British rule they were ridiculed by missionaries, and cut off from their tradition with the help of ‘education’ policies. Naturally, this took a toll on their self-esteem. In fact, till today, this low self-esteem especially in many members of the English educated class is evident to outsiders, though it may not be so to the persons concerned. Swami Vivekananda’s efforts to give Hindus back their spine did not impact this class of people. Nevertheless, it is a great achievement that Hindu Dharma survived for so many centuries, whereas the west succumbed completely to Christianity and over 50 countries to Islam in a short span of time.

Coming back to secularism. Though Hindu Dharma survived and never dictated terms to the state, ‘secular’ was added to the Constitution of India in 1976. There might have been a reason, as since Independence, several non-secular decisions had been taken. For example, Muslim and Christian representatives had pushed for special civil laws and other benefits and got them.

However, after adding ‘secular’, the situation did not improve. In fact the government seemed almost eager to benefit specifically the dogmatic religions (which secularism is meant to counter) and occasionally had to be restrained in its eagerness by the courts.

This is inexplicable.  Why would ‘secular’ be added and then not acted upon? And the strangest thing: ‘secular’ got a new, specific Indian meaning. It means today: fostering those two big religions which have no respect for Hindus and whose dogmas condemn all of them to eternal hell – a fact that most Hindus simply laugh off or don’t even know.

It is a sad irony. Can you imagine the Jews honouring the Germans with preferential treatment instead of seeking compensation for the millions of Jews killed? Yet Islam and Christianity that have gravely harmed Indians over centuries got preferential treatment by the Indian state, and their own beneficial dharma that has no other home except the Indian subcontinent, is egged out. And to top it, this is called ‘secular’!

Obviously Indians have not learnt from the European experience. Hindus have not yet realized the intention of the dogmatic religions, though they say it openly: “We alone have the full truth. All must accept this.”

Media and politicians did their best to muddy the water. They called parties that represent a religious group, ‘secular’, instead of ‘religious’. When the state gave in to demands made by Christianity and Islam, it was (falsely of course) called ‘secular’. WHY did the government do this? Did it want to give its citizens a firsthand experience of what the dark ages were like? In the interest of all Indians it surely is wise for the state to ignore the powerful, dogmatic religions and focus on all citizens equally. This means being ‘secular’ in the western sense.

Yet this advice is valid only regarding dogmatic religions which demand blind belief in unverifiable and even divisive dogmas. It does not apply to Dharma.

It would be a disaster if the state would also ignore Dharma and become adharmic. Every citizen needs to do what is right under the given circumstances, including politicians. This shows that Hindu Dharma or Hinduism, as India’s tradition is called, is in a completely different category from religion. There must never be a separation between State and Dharma. On the contrary, only when all politicians follow dharma, when they follow their innate knowledge about what is the right thing to do, India has the best chance to truly shine again and become the famed golden bird.

By Maria Wirth

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65 comments

  1. Hare Krishna Maria Maam. Hope people of India work to nurture Dharma. Their fate relies on their conscience i.e viveka.

  2. You spoke a lot about violence committed by so called Christians. But why are you keeping silent on the current religious tension in India? There is a current trend to harmonize being Indian means being Hindu, when it is not. Hinduism is yet another religion. Why is the government endorsing a religion then by passing anti-democratic laws such as anti-conversion and beef bans? The government has no authority to restrict someone’s religious beliefs. Please don’t try to manipulate the current tension in India by pointing fingers about something happened centuries ago. Where do you find Christians attacking Hindus and Muslims or even Dalits?

    What can you say about Sati, caste system, breast-tax practiced by Indian societies? By now, you must have heard of the infamous Channar revolt and the role of Christian missionaries in Kerala.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channar_revolt

    As a women, do you support all those? Or should we keep them as our culture? I am sure you are on disagreement with this.

    1. Very well, the first paragraph of your comment is rubbish. Christianity and Islam is “Filth of existence” – this breath taking simplicity, quite horrifying and full of beastly orgy, like your mind. Being uncompromising and polarizing, they should be kicked out without a second thought. Not a religion, as your dreadful, hostile and degenerate mind is capable of conceiving, but a spiritual culture, your criminal creed has nothing to do with spirit. As a matter of fact, your ancestors went on a spree of ethnic cleansing and genocide of natives around the world.

      And the third paragraph, well, you’re of course naive.

      Second paragraph assumes true the concoctions and propaganda of imperialists and invaders.

      1. There is no propaganda. Channar revolt is inspired by Christian missionaries. Hinduism claims to be the oldest, yet all reforms happened during foreign era. Who inspired them?

        https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/35b2/ab75337876272811eb98dbf824c92d1f23df.pdf

        Please don’t speak gibberish.

      2. Hmm, good. Goa inquisition was also perpetuated by Christians, out of their religious zeal, out of their hatred not for India but for natives and their culture. Caste is a Portuguese word. Varna System is not slavery or equivalent to class system. No scriptural support unlike vast amounts of Islamic and Christian literature professing fude between believers and kafirs or heathens. That which you describe is a degraded form of that pre-existing differentiation based on Dharma, based on natural inclination to scriptural preaching or defence, or management of wealth or service through skills, all for nurturing Dharma. Dharma declined, so the society sunk. These claims only strengthens what you suppose to break and disown.

        As for my languages skills, let alone you, your thousand generations together cannot match it.

    2. ‘Current religious tension in India?’ Are you drunk? Please go to Muslims countries and see to believe what is religious tension is. How conveniently you kept aside that ‘something happened centuries ago.’ World history is the proof, and for Indian history, it is the most manipulated history by British and of course by our own ‘shameless few Indians’-who did it for the sake of money or other means. ‘Secularism is in danger” if BJP comes to power’, these were the terms you, so self-called secularists threw in 2014 General Election and tried to stop Modi from becoming PM of India. Indians, of course, can be fooled once or twice, not every time. Enough is enough, we were fooled for 70 years by you, self-called secularists, we don’t’ want to be idiots again and again. It is NAMO AGAIN! It is not BJP we common Indians support, it is Modi we are supporting. We were desperate to have such a capable leader for all these years to lead our country, after seeing so many puppets in the Centre. Thanks to BJP for creating such a tall leader.

      Mr. (Ms.?) EJ (so scared to even reveal your name)! Let me also clear two more meaningless points of yours.

      ‘Being Indian means being Hindu, when it is not.’ Whether you accept it or not, you are a Hindu since you were born in this country. The people who are born in this great country are Hindus irrespective of their religious belief. For your understanding, an atheist of our Dharma may not believe our God or any God but still, he/she is a practising Hindu without his/her intention and you people Christians or Muslims or a Farsi are all Hindus by birth here. It is not religious identity but regional identity.

      ‘Hinduism is yet another religion.’ Never! The so-called Hinduism is not a religion but the way of life that which you are already practising without your intention because it is in your blood. You may deny it, but I can prove you wrong if I could stay with you sometime, how many Hindu customs are being followed by Christians or Muslims in this country. Let me tell you, the mentality of Muslim (the way of thinking) in India is not the same that in other Muslim countries. It is because you people have Hindu blood in you and because of ignorance of so-called Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) you people talk like this.

      I am happily ready to face your questions EJ.

  3. Yeah, right! I am an Indian Christian from Kerala. We have been Christians for 2000 years and my ancestors didn’t go around the globe for ethnic cleansing.

    Just because Hindus are incapable of writing their honest history, whatever works? Tell me what can you say about India’s communal tensions happening now? Who is doing ethnic cleansing? Sheesh, the sheer hypocrisy of your statements!!

    1. Reply directly to me you coward. India’s communal tensions have always been there since the time of Islam. No solution to it. Whatever harmony exists, it is due to Hinduism, and no sooner does power equation changes, just as it happened after Portuguese met

      1. native Christians who took shelter from Islam in India and lived with natives without being able to create any problem because they lacked political power, the consequences will be horrific for the latter.

    2. GENESIS AND CHARACTER OF CHRISTIANITY

      Some historians in the West have serious doubts about the very existence of a man called Jesus Christ. And almost all historians agree that if he existed at all, nothing can be known about his person or teaching because all contemporary sources, Christian and non-Christian, are either silent or unreliable regarding the subject. Thus all we have is the Jesus of the Gospels which are now regarded as theological statements rather than a record of historical events. And Jesus of the Gospels is a questionable character. He makes tall claims about himself, and curses all those who do not accept those claims. He denounces his own people as sons of the Devil and killers of prophets.

      In due course, Christian theology came to proclaim that Jesus was the only-begotten son of the only true god; that he had been sent down in order to wash with his own blood the sins of mankind by mounting the cross; that he had risen from the dead on the third day and appeared to his apostles in flesh and bones; that he was the same as his father whose divinity he shared in full; that those who accepted him as the only saviour had all their sins washed by his blood; that he had entered his apostles as the holy ghost and entrusted them with the mission of saving all mankind from eternal hell-fire; that the Church founded by the apostles and joined by the converts was his body and bride; and that the whole world had been mandated to the Church by the father and the son and the holy ghost.

      What one finds striking about these ridiculous statements is that none of them can stand the test of human reason or experience. The Church declares them to be mysteries beyond the reach of human understanding. The apostles had tried to sell these mysteries to the Jews in Jerusalem. The only response they met was dismissal with contempt. Next, they tried these mysteries on Jewish communities settled in Syria, Asia Minor and Greece. They had some small success but most of the time met with considerable resistance. Finally, they took this merchandise to the metropolitan mart at Rome where their business found some firm footing for the first time. It was in Rome that the methods of missionary salesmanship were matured over a period of time. The structure of the Roman empire provided a model for the structure of the Church. The missionaries got busy building a state within the state.

      In the next two centuries, the Church became a rich and powerful organisation with members in many leading families of Rome. It found many adherents among politicians who wielded power, among military commanders who were superstitious or in need of political support, and among merchants who had money but no brains for philosophical questions. The mother of emperor Severus (222-235 AD) became a Christian. So did emperor Philip the Arabian (244-249 AD). Helena, the mother of Constantine, was also a Christian convert. Now the Church extended the Divine Right to rule as a despot to anyone who was prepared to declare Christianity as the sole state religion and suppress all pagan religions. Constantine who wanted to secure a dynastic succession for his family – a practice unknown to Roman politics so far – saw his opportunity in this new doctrine, and proclaimed in favour of the Church. The common people in Rome resisted this royal renegade. So he removed his capital from Rome to Byzantium which was renamed Constantinople.

      The precedent set by Constantine in consolidating a dynastic despotism with the help of the Church was copied by many crowned heads all over Europe in subsequent centuries. The king in pagan societies was only the first among equals. The Church enabled him to become an unbridled autocrat who derived his authority not from the community over which he ruled but from God Almighty. The conflicts which developed between these autocrats and the powerful Church with a Pope at its head, came much later, after the common people all over Europe had been enslaved and deprived of their traditional institutions which safeguarded their fundamental freedoms. For quite some time, the Church cooperated with the kings to convert the common people everywhere into hewers of wood and drawers of water.

      This was one part of the story. Another was a large-scale destruction of ancient religions all over Europe, Asia Minor, and North Africa where the Church spread its tentacles with the help of despotic rulers. All pagan schools were closed, all pagan temples were demolished or converted into churches, and all pagan images were publicly defiled and destroyed. Pagan books were burnt and pagan priests were killed, mostly by Christian monks who led Christian mobs after lecturing them into fevered frenzy. That is how Christianity triumphed over pagan religions and societies – not by the power of its moral or spiritual superiority or the logic of its doctrines, but by the power of the sword wielded by despicable despots. 

      1. Thanks for putting it so clearly.

      2. Very precisely touched the points. Nice gathering info.

      3. Very well written! Informative and logical.

      4. Yes, very informative. Thank you for writing.

  4. Oh really? So by the same standards, what can we say about Hinduism? If I say modern Hinduism is a rip off of Persian myths by Mughal poets, can you counter claim it? Do we have any manuscripts for so-called Vedas or Puranas before the Mughals?

    1. Doesn’t qualify as a question. Either you didn’t studied at school or need mental treatment.

      1. Why? What happened to your critical lens suddenly?
        Almost all historians accept the historicity of Christ. Biblical manuscripts surpass any other books in history. It is possible to reconstruct the whole of NT from the writings of early church fathers even. The one needing mental treatment is you. A Hindu should be the last to talk about reason and logic.

      2. Jesus Christ probably a Jewish cult leader. Christian literature borrowed from Buddhists (=Hindus) of Asia Minor.
        You need mental treatment because you want the forged and malicious history of the communalists, the communists, the pseudo seculars and invaders to be first assumed true and then discussed upon.
        You, your Christ, your rapacious fathers and your most malignant saints never made an idiot of spiritual progress in life. More honest than you were Muslim historians, who although glorified Islamic brutalities, were honest in their dealings.

      3. CHRISTIANITY IS DISGUISED MATERIALISM

        One may spend a lifetime searching this theology of Monotheism for a factual or rational proof of what it proclaims so pompously. But the search will be in vain. For, all the time it assumes what it wants to prove, and proves what it has already assumed. At its best, it is a syllogism of which the major as well as the minor premise are arbitrary assertions.
        Is there a proof that a being called Almighty God exists, and controls the cosmos? The answer is that the only son or the last prophet has said so. Who has sent this son or appointed this prophet to tell us about God and his doings? The answer is that it is God who has proclaimed the son or the prophet. What is the proof that what the son or the prophet pronounces as a divine revelation comes from God? The answer is that the revelation says so. And so on, it is an endless exercise in casuistry with no reference to human experience or human reason at any point.
        In the last analysis, God is really a superfluity in this system of thought. A time comes when God imparts his final revelation to the only son or the last prophet, and retires to a well-deserved rest after entrusting the fate of his world as well as of his creatures to the keeping of the son or the prophet. In due course, the son or the prophet also is dead and gone after bequeathing his monopoly over truth and virtue to the Church or the Ummah. The Church or the Ummah, in turn, is dominated by a single man or a clique that can control and use a mighty military machine which has been built in the meanwhile. In the final round, it all ends up as imperialist aggression against other people in which a veneer of religious verbiage is retained in order to sustain the self-righteousness of the aggressor. The idols of the conquered people are destroyed and their temples pillaged, not because their Gods have been found to be false but because an imperialist always aims at destroying the self-respect of a people upon whom he wants to secure a stranglehold. It is in the nature of imperialism to indulge in cultural genocide on the slightest pretext, or at the first favourable opportunity.

      4. Instead of bragging that Christian literature is borrowed from Budhist (?), literature please provide proofs.

      5. For instance :

        “India was the motherland of our race and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages. India was the mother of our philosophy, of much of our mathematics, of the ideals embodied in christianity… of self‐government and democracy. In many ways, Mother India is the mother of us all.”
        ‐ Will Durant ‐ American Historian 1885‐1981

      6. A quote from Will Duran and hence proved. I am not going to repeat this “Appeal to authority” fallacy by giving you quotes from people. I am questioning your Aryan supremacy.

        Some reflections on this “mother of all philosophies”

        COW URINE OBSESSION

        Mahabharata 13.78 One should always bathe, using cow-dung at the time. One should sit on dried cowdung. One should never cast one’s urine and excreta and other secretions on cowdung.

        Srimad Bhagavatam 10.6.20 The child was thoroughly washed with cow urine and then smeared with the dust raised by the movements of the cows. Then different names of the Lord were applied with cow dung on twelve different parts of His body, beginning with the forehead, as done in applying tilaka. In this way, the child was given protection

        SATI

        Brahma Purana.80.75 : ” It is the highest duty of the woman to immolate herself after her husband

        ”It is the long-standing tradition of the Vedic system that a faithful wife dies along with her husband. This is called saha-maraṇa. In India this system was prevalent even to the date of British occupation. At that time, however, a wife who did not wish to die with her husband was sometimes forced to do so by her relatives. Formerly that was not the case — the wife used to enter the fire voluntarily. The British government stopped this practice, considering it inhuman. However, from the early history of India we find that when Mahārāja Pāṇḍu died, he was survived by two wives — Mādrī and Kuntī. The question was whether both should die or one should die. After the death of Mahārāja Pāṇḍu, his wives settled that one should remain and the other should go. Mādrī would perish with her husband in the fire, and Kuntī would remain to take charge of the five Pāṇḍava children. Even as late as 1936 we saw a devoted wife voluntarily enter the fire of her husband.’’ A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Bhagwad Purana 4.28.50

        NARABALI OR HUMAN SACRIFICE

        Krishna Yajur Veda 5.1.8 With twenty-one beans he approaches the head of the man; beans are impure, the man’s head is impure; verily by the impure he redeems its impurity and making it pure takes it. There are twenty-one; man is composed of twenty-one parts; (verily they serve) to obtain man. The man’s head is impure as bereft of the breaths; he deposits (it near) an ant-heap pierced in seven places; the breaths in the head are seven; verily he unites it with the breaths, to make it pure. Of all those

        Satapatha Brahmana 1.2.3.6-7 At first, namely, the gods offered up a man as the victim. When he was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out of him. It entered into the horse. They offered up the horse. When it was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out of it. It entered into the ox. They offered up the ox. When it was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out of it. It entered into the sheep. They offered up the sheep. When it was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out of it. It entered into the goat. They offered up the goat. When it was offered up, the sacrificial essence went out of it. It entered into this earth. They searched for it, by digging. They found it (in the shape of) those two (substances), the rice and barley: therefore even now they obtain those two by digging; and as much.”

        Do you still keep all these legacies, I mean the mother of all philosophies, from your religion?

    2. EJ, I think you need to study the history of your country a bit more. You appear to be little informed and nurse ill-conceived ideas.

    3. chankya · · Reply

      This is exactly the current hindutva wave is all about. Someone who thinks/speaks anything in name of freedom of expression. Without looking into well established history or facts. It is time to start reading real books then what you have been reading till now. This wake up call is what they find hard and communal. You want to roam around and convert gullible people by using foreign funded NGO money and call it a right to do so. SHAME ON YOU. We know when to allow persecuted and when somebody wants to occupy and give back them in kind. Hindus are using BJP or BJP using Hindus time will answer to you.

      1. Manoj Choudhary · ·

        EJ ji is indeed correct, there is nothing wrong with faith conversion. However, it is to be noted that conversions that have taken place to Christianity or Islam usually do not involve a change in faith, but rather are a result of coercion, bribery, or allurement. Don’t believe me? Look at our neighbors Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, who succumbed to the will of foreign armies by changing religions. Take a look at the US, where torture centers called “Missions” were built along the West Coast to convert natives to Christianity or become slaves and die.

        You state that India is a secular democracy, here you are correct again, but I wonder: “secular” for whom? When an individual or their family converts to Christianity or Islam, it is considered “religious freedom” yet the same people cry foul when Ghar Wapsi or re-conversion to Hinduism takes place with the consent of all the people being re-converted and without bribery or coercive methods.

        We see their double standards again when Uniform Civil Code is concerned. The same “seculars” who denounce RSS and Hindutva ferociously seem to find no problem in having a different set of laws for one specific religious group, even when the rest of the population is governed by a civil code for all religions and castes.

      2. There is nothing wrong with faith conversion. India is a secular democracy. Why do you think it is shameful if someone changes religion? Why would you wanna keep people under control by calling them ‘Shudra?’ This is another type of shameless, racist, Aryan supremacy. If you can’t live with it, quit India.
        Which history are you talking about? Sure, I don’t agree with RSS psuedo history.

      3. chankya · ·

        When it organised and sponsored by foreign funded NGO it is THE cause of concern. It is shameful if happens without people knowing the truth of the religion one is joining. One is cajoled and confused to believe one religion has panacea or utopia. The fact that biases are there in each society in every country in world, not only class difference by caste difference in each religion. I do not want to point out individual issues. So do not make much “celebrated” caste as your right to convert people. If that is the issue let the positive affirmation like reservation which has made tremendous difference be the solution. And for GOD sake pls get acquainted of real history there was no Aryan invasion. Greatest text mahabharat, ramayan was written by rishis were Shudra. And most revered Gyatri mantra was written by again Shudra. Your Homeground is known for racism which lead to colonialism / slavery and what not so don’t open your mouth on that. Yes if you don’t associate with country and its culture you do not have any moral & ethical grounds to live in any nation that it universal idea. Anybody who defends such idea is not necessarily RSS person then. Besides there is nothing SO wrong with RSS as you projected, that perhaps explains the fact that there is something wrong about your knowledge and thinking.If they were that bad number of things would have happened in last five years. So stop fear mongering.

      4. Excellent explanation, however goes to deaf ears of pseudo persons like one here EJ.

  5. Very good article, Maria.

    1. Thanks Susan

  6. Om Prakash Sharma · · Reply

    Hindus are their own enemies?

  7. […] article first appeared on author’s blog on 5th April, 2019 and has been reproduced here in […]

  8. Sukumar Krishnamachari · · Reply

    Good article,put secularism in true perspective for Indians like me.

  9. Very good article Maria Wirth. I wish the ignorant, pseudo-intellectuals get themselves educated about secularism. I also appreciate the efforts taken by “longlivewisdom” to expand upon the history of organized religions and give fitting replies to a certain toxic person on this thread.

  10. Dear Maria, thanks for your continuous supply of food for thought. Love your impulses for critical reflection. And thank you also for providing this comment section as additional platform for dialogue.

    Unclear terminology can be an issue. I might be wrong but in India the word ‚secular‘ is often used as a derogative term (like a sophisticated swear word) or as a filler to sound smart (intellectual woo woo from academics). It would probably help discussions to define its meaning before any debate – or just drop this abstract term altogether as it comes with various interpretations, emotional and political charge, and use a simple unambiguous description instead.

    You already explained that secular in the West refers to a society / government more or less free of religious agendas. Secular is primarily used to distinguish a position that is not specifically religious or dogmatic (sectarian).

    Indian secularism tends be understood as protection of minority rights, maybe to prevent communal conflicts. The model in India also advocates equal treatment of all religions. While the majority of people would probably not dare to question a statement about responsibility to spread the message of love, compassion and acceptance towards all religions, it cannot be overemphasized enough that discernment is needed as well. Saying that Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is a religion like Islam and Christianity is equally wrong as stating that Jesus and the Christian Church represent the same. Herein also lies the controversy about India‘s secularism: the (past) government‘s inclusion of the Sharia law for Muslim Indians despite the fact that the doctrines of Islam are not only different but diametrically opposite to Hindu Dharma (e.g. endorsing misogyny).

    If I understand your post correctly, you are saying, that Dharma is neither religious nor dogmatic. Hence secularism applied in India should only concern Islamic and Christian religions‘ agendas. And that „there must never be a separation between State and Dharma.“ As a German (catholic-born ex-church member) who has been living in India for several years, I see it similarly.

    If Jesus was self-realised / liberated, he could be described as a siddha, like Vashishta or other Rishis. Jesus embodied christ consciousness (christos, Greek = ethical, righteous, good, just, upright, virtuous) like other mystics or seers, and spoke about the universality of God. Unfortunately the church gives more weight to who Jesus is and how he ended up (on the cross) than to his messages as much of what he said does not fit comfortably with church doctrines. Liberation and religion (in form of systematically organised, politicised institutions) are a contradiction in terms and incompatible: Religions tend to focus on faith, hope and wait for salvation, using the concepts of judgement, sin, guilt and punishment – to manipulate people into powerlessness and obedience.

    Swami Vivekananda explained with admiration how Jesus conveyed the Mahavakyas the messages of the Upanishads like aham brahmāsmi / soham. Ultimately, what Jesus taught were insights on universal truths and the kingdom of heaven, and how every person can individually come to an inner communion with the divine / the eternal christ. It would not be wrong to say that Jesus teachings are aligned with Sanatana Dharma. So it is really hard to comprehend why Indians turn towards the christian church when they already sit on the ultimate spiritual treasure chest.

    The good news is that India has now a Prime Minister who is culturally and spiritually rooted. Narendra Modi is a true statesman who has already transformed a lot and planted many seeds. One seed is the establishment of the International Yoga Day. This way, Sanatana Dharma invites every human to re-member their spiritual roots and to discover the universal key to freedom: unity consciousness, and (self-)love.

    1. Please refrain from commenting ignorance. Vedanta is a 20th century concept. Vedantists from 20th century cannot claim Jesus or Budha’s earliest followers got it all wrong. If you wanna study any religion, you have to know how the earliest followers understood it from their teachers. Vivekanana is being ignorant of history and made up his own agenda, by stripping Jesus or Budha off of their historical roots. Please don’t be fooled. If you wanna study Christianity, you have to understand it from Roman and Jewish perspectives and then move onto the first Christians upto 4th century. Hope that made sense.

      1. I asked you already by email, now I ask you again, stop this rant against Hindu Dharma without any basis in facts.
        Please start your own blog. Here you got already more than enough space to express your hatred. Sad that some people are so prejudiced due to having been indoctrinated into “the only truth”.

      2. This is a discussion about the injustices secularism poses for Hindus in their own country, stop trying to turn it into one of your Crusades.

        Your facts are shallow and reflect, as Maria ji has stated, your prejudice and indoctrination to hate Hinduism and hold Hindu culture in inferiority. Keep your hatred restricted to your Church don’t expel it here.

        You are an Indian citizen and as you have stated that your family has been a Keralite Christian for 2,000 years, you have every right to this land as much as anyone else does. That being said, you must understand that because of whatever differences there may be, one’s attachment to their motherland is different. The Islamic holy land is in Saudi Arabia, many Christians consider Israel or Vatican as their holy land. We Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains and followers of other Indian tribal or animistic faiths consider India our holy land, or punyabhoomi. That does not mean that you are any less an Indian as I am, but I consider this as my holy land of revered Vedas, Gurus, Saints and Temples.

        When you have Israel or Vatican, Muslims have Saudi Arabia, what right do you people have to deny this as my holy land? My love and attachment for this country is spiritual. What right do you have to look down on that? I want to protect and preserve the beliefs and cultures of my country, what right do you have to call me “communal” or “hateful” for doing so?

        Secularism is perhaps the most misunderstood term in India. Secularism is meant for countries which cannot distinguish between religion and law, or when religion dictates law. What in the world makes you think that if India was to be declared a Hindu state or seeks to protect Indian religions, we will reduce you to 2nd-class citizens, destroy your places of worship, or enforce Manusmriti?

        Stop your ignorance and hatred and understand our perspective.

      3. Well made the points Manoj lucidly. It’s crystal clear. Thank you.

      4. @Manoj. Your comments sound more like the issue of “white privilege” in the Western world. I think the framers of the Indian constitution already were already aware of this Aryan supremacy when they guaranteed minority rights.

      5. Which century are you living in? Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) has been disproved by archaeologists, historians, and Indologists alike and is considered to be a tool of British imperial propaganda to divide-and-rule Hindus. There is NO such thing as the “Aryan race” and for your information the word “Aryan” is derived from the Sanksrit “arya” referring to those who are noble in character and virtuous people. Rather, it is a tool of the Left and minorities to make the so called “upper castes” to appear like invaders and subjugators of the tribal and “low caste” people.

        Because you were the one to bring it up, in contrast, the Western world is a result of Caucasian adventurers driven by greed and and the toxic expansionist ideology that is Christianity. This time is perhaps one of the darkest in history, when European armies rampaged across the Americas massacring natives by the thousands and spreading diseases to such a degree that it is estimated that from 1491 to 1691, the indigenous population of North and South America decreased by over 90-95%. If you would like, please see an answer I have written on Quora regarding this question:

        https://www.quora.com/What-role-did-the-Vatican-and-the-Christian-church-play-in-the-colonization-of-much-of-the-world-by-western-powers

        There is no “white privilege” like situation here in India. Sanatana Dharma has existed on this land for thousands of years before Jesus Christ and Muhammad learned how to walk. Contrary to what you would like to believe, we are not invaders who imposed religion and caste on an already existing people. In other words, our cultures are indigenous to this land and whether you like it or not, will remain so. I, as a Hindu, associate my spirituality with my country, just as you may associate it with Bethlehem, and a Muslim with Saudi Arabia. Why is this so “communal” in your eyes?

      6. “Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) has been disproved by archaeologists, historians, and Indologists alike and is considered to be a tool of British imperial propaganda to divide-and-rule Hindus.”
        I don’t need to prove you anything. If you have read your Vedas (translations and commentaries by Arya Samaj), the gist is the enslavement of Dasas(Dravidans) and establishing the superiority of Aryans. Don’t you think Vedas had divine origin?
        “He gained possession of the Sun and Horses, Indra obtained the Cow who feedeth many.
        Treasure of gold he won; he smote the Dasyus, and gave protection to the Āryan colour.”-Rig Veda 3.34.9
        https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Rig_Veda/Mandala_3/Hymn_34
        This verse tells us all. I used a more whitewashed Griffith translation.
        Before connecting European colonialism to Christianity, you should be reading your own Vedas first.

  11. Aradhya · · Reply

    Thank you for all your love, care and support to India and Hinduism 🙏
    Such clarity of thoughts and reality is hard to find.

  12. Wonderfully written article exposing the fake secularism that is practiced in India and how Hindu values and culture has become the receiving end of the so called liberals. Thank you Maria ji.

  13. Late Historian Sita Ram Goel was the source (because citation was demanded). Copied from the book (because proof was demanded).

    1. He was a historian? Will Sadhguru become a quantum physicist next?

      I am not sure why my comments are getting deleted from this blog. I feel like I should have the right to defend my faith from lies. Thanks!

      1. Your faith is a lie. You speak lies. Had you even been honest to your very own faith, there might have been some hope for you.

      2. Repeat, Your faith is a lie. You speak lies. Had you even been honest to your very own faith, there might have been some hope for you. You will perish into the abyss of hell.

  14. Maria, you snagged a christian troll! 😂

  15. Kuldeep Kaushik · · Reply

    Limiting the dharma to Hinduism is the worst thing happened.

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