This is a translation of my very first article which I wrote in 1981. I had sent it to a German magazine which I used to read during my psychology studies. They published it and later, two more magazines reprinted it. I was asked to keep sending articles. It helped me to stay in India… “Will you still be able to fit in with us in the West?” asked my sister in a letter (in 1981). I had shared with her some thoughts about life and death with which I had become familiar in India and which I felt made sense. Her question reminded me of what I had almost forgotten, after staying in India for about a year: how life is seen in the West. First, people there generally do not to think about life and definitely not about death. And in case uninvited questions intrude, for example “Is there a meaning to life?” it is advised to drive them away – with activity, a new outfit or in stubborn cases, with medication. “Depression” is this stubborn state called and, as it is rather common, declared a lifestyle disease. The term ‘disease’ is used, because “healthy” desires, like the desire for wealth, power, fame and sex, are not there any longer. A person is considered healthy, when she tries her best to fulfill those desires, if necessary at the expense of others. After all, everyone has to look after himself first, otherwise he risks being left behind in the race to happiness, the obvious goal of life. And happiness is expected to come when those desires are fulfilled. This is of course a very rough sketch of the world view in the West. But it encapsulates the essence, when I think of the hectic rat race there on one hand and of the widespread depression on the other, while I am writing down this in the afternoon heat at the Gulf of Bengal. Here in India I became familiar with a different view of life which is based on intuition and experience and not only on intellectual deduction. And in my view, it does not hamper in any way one’s ability to fit in, including in the West. ‘What is the truth? From where do we come? Where will we go? Why are we here?’ These questions are essential for all of us. In India these questions have been asked since time immemorial, and answers were found. Yet in the West we keep hearing that we can never find answers to those questions and therefore better do not ask them. The Indian Rishis would probably feel compassion for our pitiable state, because we miss out on the meaning of life. Our life is meant to search for the truth and realizing the truth is the crowning accomplishment, not comparable with any worldly achievement. But it is not easy to realize the truth. It cannot be taught or communicated from one person to another. Everybody has to search and to realize it for himself. Yet India’s wisdom has many hints on how one can experience the truth. The Rishis, who have patiently and intensely searched for it without and within their own being, discovered ‘That’ from where everything emanates, and their insights were handed down over innumerable generations. Vedanta – the highest philosophy, which is based on three major ancient texts, namely the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahmasutras, and which especially Adi Shankara commented upon and spread widely – puts this wisdom simply and clearly: There is only Oneness, the absolute Truth, which is best described as Sat-Chit-Ananda, blissful awareness. You are That, which cannot be put into words; “Tat Tvam Asi” in Sanskrit. This Oneness manifests as ‘many’ due to the divine power called Maya. But the great multiplicity does not exist independently. Here some explanation may be necessary. By “multiplicity” Vedanta means our huge universe with its infinite, staggering diversity where not even on our tiny earth two leaves, or two fingerprints are absolutely the same. This universe, Vedanta claims, has no absolute existence, but depends on our senses and our mind. Here even modern science agrees which, searching for the substance of matter in this seemingly so solid material world, didn’t find any substance, and now explains this apparent world as different states of one incredibly powerful energy – and thereby comes close to the ONE, called Brahman, and his creative energy, called Maya, of Vedanta. An analogy explains the relation between the real Truth and the apparent truth: suppose we take a rope for a snake in the dark, then the rope does not exist for us, only a snake. When we see by daylight that it is a rope, the snake does not exist any longer, only the rope. In truth of course, in the dark also, only the rope existed, even when our mind and eyes convinced us that it is a snake. Similarly, in truth only ONE (usually called Brahman) exists, but we are deceived by its great power, Maya, and take the diversity for real. ‘We’ – that refers to our body with its sense organs, and our mind with reason and intellect, but ignores our conscious essence. We think that each thing in this world is separate from other things, because we wrongly identify with our body and mind, saying “this here is me and that there is you”. It could be compared with waves on the ocean, where each wave insists on its separate identity and claims “I am this wave and you are that wave and we have nothing to do with the ocean.” The fact that we allow ourselves to get deceived through Maya and consider the diverse, phenomenal world as true is the source for our suffering, claims Vedanta. Our biggest error is that we identify with our body and mind and that we have forgotten our true self. This is the cause for egoism, for the competition with others, whose true Self– the ONE – is in reality of course also the same like our true Self. This is also the cause for feeling inadequate or lacking or not beautiful enough. This is also the cause for the (futile) attempt to secure happiness for our ego in the world. True, permanent happiness cannot be found in the world, the Rishis insist. YOU ARE the happiness which you search for. Realise your true Self, know your true identity, discover that Sat-Chit-Ananda is you yourself, and you will be free from suffering and you will also laugh if people speak about dying. Because it is complete nonsense to believe there is death and birth in regard to the Self. What you truly are was never born and will never die. You were here right from the start. You are the ONE, all-pervading, “Tat Tvam Asi” (You are that), “Aham Brahmasmi” (I am Brahman)… thus end the Upanishads. You are the ONE now already. You don’t have to become it. However, you need to see through the veil of Maya. Dare to state that you are free and you will be free the same moment. Dare to make yourself independent of worldly joy and suffering, and the reward will surpass all joys of the world, the sages claim. “Do you still not know how life in this world is? Do you still not know that each joy brings suffering?” Anandamayi Ma, a saintly woman from Bengal, once asked. In the world everything is always changing. How could it be possible to find permanent happiness there? Human relationships are like driftwood – they touch each other for a while and separate again. And yet, the whole of humankind with few exceptions searches for happiness in the world and still hopes that it can be found in a loving relationship, in wealth or in a powerful position. Maybe the relationship is not loving enough, the wealth not vast enough or the position not high enough… a feverish search for happiness in the wrong place. Great spiritual personalities and ancient texts have always maintained that happiness is in yourself, not outside. Do you still not know how life in this world is?… each joy ends in pain, each relationship has an end. And yet, each human being desires an eternal, conscious and happy existence. And this desire actually makes sense, claims Vedanta, because eternity, consciousness and bliss are our true nature. But we make a mistake: we want this conscious, blissful, eternal existence for our body and mind, because we take this to be what we are, as we don’t see the difference between the impermanent body and mind, and our true, eternal Self. Ask yourself frequently “Who am I?” Don’t verbalise an answer, but try to feel who you are. Dive to the source from where the (individual) I-feeling arises. This advice gave Ramana Maharshi, one of the great saints of India. “My whole body pains” – who owns the body? “My thoughts took me away” – who is “me”? Use your intellect (that’s the reason why you have it) to find out who you are. Do not be satisfied with nonsensical replies like “I am Maria” or “I am a businessman.” These are mere names for whom or what? You will realize that you are the ONE whom pain cannot trouble, whom water cannot wet and fire cannot burn – in the same way as we won’t get wet when we bathe or burn when we catch fire in a dream. Then you are free in this world and you can play the different personalities, like an actor on stage, who is aware that in reality, the happenings in the drama do not affect him. Then you can live without hope and without fear, and then only you are free. However, searching for truth with reason and intellect alone won’t lead to this realization. It is no doubt important, as truth does not contradict reason. Vedanta does not demand to believe something which has not been thoroughly checked by one’s own intellect, on the contrary. But to really know and realize the truth, something else is needed, and this is the complete surrender of the limited ego – which in truth anyway doesn’t ‘really’ exist – and devotion for the ONE, by whatever name one wants to call it. This is called Bhakti in Sanskrit. The path to enlightenment leads through Bhakti, wrote Ramanuja, another prominent proponent of Vedanta, who commented on the Brahmasutras in the 11th century. Bhakti develops from knowledge about this world: surrender the limiting ego due to the knowledge about its ‘nothingness’ and have devotion for a “beloved” who is That which alone is behind all happenings and actions. The true beloved is one’s own Self, and the ego is only a fiction or an imposter. The ONE is on one hand the Absolute, the unmanifest, original cause of this manifestation (Brahman) and on the other hand it is the manifest creator (Ishwara with its many divine powers or devas). This manifest aspect of the ONE can be experienced as a loving ‘You’, and can be imagined as a personal God. The creator did not act only once long ago, to bring forth this universe, but is still in action now and everywhere through his many divine powers, even if our egos consider themselves as the sole actors. Vedanta encourages questions: can I, this I with which we usually identify, make a baby grow? Can this I stop the body from decaying? Can this I change food into energy? Can this I add only one stone to this earth, not to mention sun, moon or stars? And we claim in all seriousness that there are no miracles, because we have discovered some laws of nature about “how” certain things work…. Ishwara is always and everywhere present. Always, including now and everywhere, including in us. Let’s stop for a moment and let this sink in. He can be contacted and experienced in us through total, loving surrender, as he is our true Self. His grace is not arbitrary. It is connected to whatever we think, speak and do – not only each action but even each thought has its effect, and this effect will come back and affect the thinker. An Indian analogy describes it in this way: As a calf finds her mother even among thousand cows, in the same way, the effect of a thought finds its thinker. The Bhagavad Gita says that a human being cannot be without action even for a moment. And the consequence of our thoughts, words and deeds – not only from this life, because we are part of the game or Lila since the beginning – becomes evident in what we are today. We are self-made, the Rishis claim. What we call destiny is the result of former freely made decisions. We had a choice, but we have to experience the effect of this choice, as long as we (wrongly) consider our ego as the doer, which we probably all do because the delusional power of Maya is strong. Now, too, we have a choice for good, for bad, for love, for hatred and the result of today’s thoughts and actions will come to us in future. This law of karma makes it clear how very important our thoughts and our behavior are. Every compassionate thought or action brings us closer to our true Self, full of love and bliss. Every angry thought or action moves us farther away. We are not on auto-pilot. We don’t have to be angry, as we can refuse thoughts. We have the choice to be good or bad, however, in all likelihood we don’t have this choice every moment, maybe we even have it rarely, because often we think and act unconsciously like on auto pilot and are helplessly dominated by our thoughts. Yet as soon as we become aware of our thoughts and know what happens in our mind, we have again a choice. We also know that being good is better than being bad, being loving is better than being hateful, helping others is better than having contempt for others. We don’t know it because someone told us so, but because we intuitively know the path back to our true Being. A pure life is an essential condition on the way to realize our Self. On this all sages agree. The ancient Upanishads advise to purify and refine body and mind, as they are the means to approach the Self. Speak the truth and do what is right (Satyam vada, dharmam chara), they advise. The Bhagavad Gita demands to give up anger, lust and greed, because these lead to destruction. And even more: renounce all desires. Be bold and really renounce them. Someone, who is a slave of a desire, cannot be free. Don’t be attached to the world which is perishable. Surrender your limited ego which has no substance in itself and stop worrying about your life. Love and trust your inner Being, by whatever name you want to call it. If your inner Being becomes the main focus in your life, then you are firmly set on the path to true happiness. Printed by arrangement with the author Visit Maria Wirth’s Blog
Anchors at Indian TV channels are generally intelligent and capable. However, when the topic involves religion, they often lack common sense or courage. Last month Rishab Gulati said on NewsX that he wants to explore how to bring the Indian Muslims, who had been brainwashed into hard Wahhabi Islam, back to a softer Sufi version. Rishab surely would know that all versions of Islam are based on Quran and he would also know that the stark division between believers, who are considered good, and unbelievers, who are considered bad, is fixed in this foundational text itself. So why would he not rather explore how Muslims could be brought back to their ancient, benevolent Hindu Dharma? It would make far more sense. Why would he want a big part of Indians continue to believe blindly, albeit in a softer version, what the invaders violently enforced several centuries ago? Why is he so diffident about his own tradition which has contributed maximum knowledge to science and human civilisation in general? The reason may be that over the last thousand years it was very dangerous to stand up for Hindu Dharma. So people tried to be diplomatic, made compromises, and did not mention and certainly not praise their Dharma, even if they greatly valued it. This attitude seems to have got deeply ingrained and is even in today’s generation present. The English education system also did its bit to cement this attitude and even made it worse, as it portrayed the indigenous tradition contrary to facts as inferior. Not wanting to be “controversial” is uppermost in the mind of many Hindus, when they deal with converts. They rather indulge them than ask probing questions. This attitude is, however, in our times not helpful but dangerous. We have a window now, where we can be truthful and talk about the great advantage that Hindu Dharma has over Christianity and Islam. If we don’t use it, it may close again and then probably for a long time. Most Hindus know, and if some still don’t know, it is urgent that they come to know, that both Christianity and Islam consider it as their divine duty to make their religion dominate the whole globe. Only then their God/Allah will be happy and start the Judgement Day proceedings, when the good believers are allowed to enter heaven. It has however not yet been clarified whether the Christian or Muslim believers have this privilege, as naturally only one “true religion” can be true. For Hindus of course it will be hell, both agree on this. Can any sane person believe that the Creator of this unimaginably vast universe will punish the majority of human beings eternally in hellfire because they did not accept that the truth about how we should live was revealed only recently and only to one particular person on this earth, which is already some billion years old? There are other points which are not flattering for those two religions: Christianity and Islam are not based on reason, intuition or experience, but only on blind belief. One can never know if Jesus is really the son of God who was sent to earth to save us from the original sin and who declared that the way to the father goes only through him. Or we can never know if Allah really communicated via Gabriel with Prophet Mohamed and declared that he is the last prophet and all must follow what Mohammed said. These two religions make blind, unverifiable belief, which is not a healthy attitude, look like a virtue: ‘if you believe blindly what the padres or the mullahs tell you, you will be rewarded with eternal heaven after Judgment Day’, is promised. It is an effective method to keep people subdued on earth, waiting for heaven. And common people suspected this already in the dark ages. In Germany we have an old saying that the Pope makes people stupid (and the King makes them poor). Unfortunately, only members of Christianity and Islam go all out to spread their religion with full zest and especially in the case of Christianity, with lots of money and a detailed strategy. Pious members of both religions do not hesitate to claim that their religion alone is true and all others are wrong and will not be accepted by the ‘true God’. They have nothing to support their claim, except that the founder of their religion allegedly said so. This claim of eternal damnation is meant to frighten people to fall in line. On the other hand, it makes them arrogant, believing “We are the chosen ones. We believe the right thing. Earth and heaven belong to us. All others are damned for eternity.” Believing their clergy, they are on a mission to eradicate all other faiths. And how successful they have been! All ancient cultures were eradicated, except for the Indian culture. In India those two religions have encountered the greatest resistance. Indian culture still stands but greatly diminished. Yet neither Christianity nor Islam has conceded defeat, on the contrary. They push harder than ever now by demonizing Hindus to an unbelievable degree. Do they want the world to believe a false narrative that an “uprising of the oppressed Muslims against the demonic Hindus” is justified and must be supported? There is however one great power on the side of Hindus. It is Truth, both on the relative level (Truth is that Muslims are not oppressed in India, on the contrary) and on the absolute, spiritual level (Truth is one). Hindu Dharma is the best option for humanity. Nobody is forced to believe anything that does not make sense or cannot be experienced. Hindu Dharma is not a fixed, unverifiable ‘belief-system’. It is based on reason, intuition and experience. Its claims make sense and can be verified, like the most basic claim that the essence in all is one and the same – ‘sat-chit-ananda’ – blissful awareness behind the names and forms. But for people to know this, they need to be told, including those whose forefathers have converted and who have been brainwashed into blind belief. If they knew and reflected on those insights, they might see that indeed Hindu Dharma is the best option. Therefore it would be so much better if Hindus went all out and informed others of the value of Hindu Dharma. Compare the Indian reluctance to project its wisdom with China. China has only few sages, but makes full use of them. It established already 15 years ago hundreds of Confucius institutes all over the world which are affiliated to colleges and universities. They teach Chinese language and promote Chinese culture to the Western world. India is the cradle of civilization. It has so much knowledge, and millions of texts are not even translated into English. It has Sanskrit, the language which helps develop the brain, apart from being a perfect language; it has documentation of a number of great sages reaching back thousands of years, it has the deepest philosophy still expressed in a vibrant religion; a huge body of literature, amazing art, dance, music, sculpture, architecture, yoga, Ayurveda, delicious cuisine, incredible temples and yet Indians do little to propagate those treasures. “We are not like them”, many Hindus say, “we don’t advertise our religion and push them into accepting it, like the others”. The insights of the Vedic Rishis need not be pushed; they only need to be known. They result in a very beneficial mind-set, definitely far more beneficial than the divisive, narrow mind-set of the new-comer religions. Knowing that God is within gives inner strength, and knowing that God is also in others, including in animals and nature, makes people kind. This broad mindset needs to dominate in the world, and it is Hindus who can lead the way. Bad people would still exist; they are there in every age, but normal, good people would not be indoctrinated en masse by their clergy into despising and even killing ‘unbelievers’ because they worship the Supreme Intelligence by other names. Looking at Muslims and Christian countries, such attitude also does not seem to make for a happy society. Meanwhile, especially in the West, many Christians and Muslims have lost faith and say it openly. I am one of them and sometimes Hindus tell me: “It’s good that you write. You are an insider, you can do it. We can’t.” My reply is: “YOU need to speak up. Don’t wait for ex-Christians or ex-Muslims. Most of us, who have lost faith, don’t bother about religion any longer. But YOU have been suffering for centuries, with millions killed, and the danger is real that it happens again. If someone is fully authorized to talk about those doctrines, and the harmful mindset they produce, it is YOU, Indian Hindus. In fact you owe it to those millions who were massacred for being Hindus.” Fortunately, in recent years more Hindus do speak up. Maybe soon a mainstream channel will have the courage to debate frankly what Muslims and Christians are taught about Hindu Kafirs and Heathen, and maybe more Christians and Muslims in India, who have lost faith in their religion, will have the courage to say it openly. It surely would be a relief for them. Living a lie by pretending to be believers is painful. Hindus can help by being truthful, even if it means being “controversial”. Maria Wirth Blog
Anyone who knows even a little about the mindset of Hindus knows that genocide is simply not in their genes. It never happened and it can never happen. Killing someone because he worships God under another name is for Hindus unimaginable and ridiculous. Sometimes I check the German TV channel Deutsche Welle (dw) to know what they want us to think. Unlike in India, most German news channels are government friendly. Yet it always amazes me, although India and Germany are on friendly terms, how negatively dw reports on India. So when on 17. April 2020 dw ran a negative story on “Islamophobia at an all-time high in India” and claimed that the Modi government uses the Covid 19 crisis to stigmatise Muslims, I was not surprised. The report showed Muslim vegetable vendors complaining that Hindus boycott them. It is true. Even in my village people refuse to buy from Muslims now, but dw did not tell the reason why this happens. It did not tell that some clerics considered the Corona virus as sent by Allah to kill millions of Hindus and asked the faithful to spread it. A huge congregation of Tablighi Jamat, an Islamic missionary movement, took place in Delhi, after which many participants spread out all over India and spread the virus at a time when the whole of India had only some 800 cases and few deaths. The administration and police tried feverishly to trace all those thousands of Tablighis and their contacts, after many of them, including foreigners, had tested positive for the virus. It was a Herculean task. But given the huge population density in India, it was crucial to prevent community spread of the virus. Police razzias and doctors who came to test were often pelted with stones. Several were injured. Moreover, the Tablighis in quarantine facilities or hospitals behaved awfully. Doctors complained about spitting on them, excreting in the corridor, making obscene gestures, running around naked in front of female nurses, and demanding meat to eat. Why would good Muslims, (and missionaries are supposed to be good Muslims), behave like this? The answer is probably that good Muslims know their holy books and want to follow their command. They know that Allah sees Kafirs as the worst of creatures who will burn in hell for eternity (Quran 98.6), so naturally they have contempt for them. They also know that they need to fight till the whole world accepts only Allah (Q 8.39). And since it is not easy to wipe out millions of Kafirs, the virus is seen as a gift from Allah which will do the job if widely spread. So it is no surprise that especially good Muslims want to spread the virus. Videos show how they aggressively resist testing, violate curfew, spit on vegetables and currency notes. A video shows policemen picking up currency notes from the street with a stick and putting them into a plastic bag. It is very insidious to throw money on the road, as the temptation to pick it up is surely great for children and the poor. So it should not surprise that nowadays, during the Corona crisis, Hindus turn Muslim vendors away because they can’t be sure if those vendors are ‘good’ Muslims who believe that Hindus should die out. It is impossible to know, because they are allowed to deceive Kafirs, provided it fosters the spread of Islam. So “better safe than sorry” is naturally the motto. But all this was not mentioned by dw. At the end of the report, a woman commentator from India was interviewed. She said that there is a “360 degree discrimination against Muslims by the Modi government”. It was a lie. The government is not discriminating between different religious groups in regard to relief operations which are running in full swing, with money credited to accounts and massive support to migrant labour. I was annoyed about this type of reportage on India, especially, when dw does not show the real discrimination in Pakistan against Hindus and Christians who claim they don’t get rations during the Corona crisis and several were forced to convert to survive. But then, I was used to the bias against India by dw. A few hours later I checked once more on dw. The same report was broadcast, same footage, same vendors complaining, but now the woman commentator had been replaced with Arundhati Roy. This seemed strange. When she started to speak, slowly, amiably, with a smile in her for-Western-eyes pretty face, it was pure poison, vicious and dangerous. Roy is known to tell terrible lies about India since years but this time, something more sinister seemed brewing. Why did dw not simply run the same report again? Was that previous commentator not vicious enough? Here is what Arndhati Roy (who by the way is Christian) said on the clip that dw put out on Twitter: “Honestly the situation is approaching genocidal, because the government’s agenda has been this. Since this government came, Muslims have been lynched, Muslims have been hunted down but now the stigmatization with this illness has left government policies on the street now. You can hear it everywhere. It comes with the threat of extreme violence.” This clip went viral. Yet it was not the complete interview. Here are some more comments by her which I had jotted down: She said that the extreme violence comes in the background of the massacre (she used the word massacre) in Delhi – cleverly not mentioning who massacred whom, but implying of course that Muslims were massacred. She rued that Trump was there at the time, but didn’t say anything. She called RSS the mother ship of BJP who wants a Hindu state; said that the world welcomes Modi but it should know that he is very much part of the agenda (of making a Hindu state) and they were already building detention centres. She called most anchors in MSM channels “single member lynch mobs”. And as if this all was not enough, she compared the situation in India with what happened in Ruanda before the massive genocide and that genocide in patches happens already. She asked the world to keep its eyes on it. The anchor called it a very important message and asked how can we prevent the genocide, taking it for granted that Roy had spoken the truth and genocide is indeed planned by the Indian government. In the end, Roy is introduced among other flattering attributes as “most acclaimed intellectual”. I felt shaken after hearing her. She gave the false and dangerous impression to the world that Hindus are planning genocide of Muslims. This is not a small thing. It is extremely dangerous and on Twitter already support comes in for the ‘Muslims of India’. We stand by you, is promised and a lawyer dressed in Arabic outfit tweeted he will adopt the cause of Muslims in India at UNHRC in Geneva for free… it got 17,6k likes and over 5k retweets. Anyone who knows even a little about the mindset of Hindus knows that genocide is simply not in their genes. It never happened and it can never happen. Killing someone because he worships God under another name is for Hindus unimaginable and ridiculous. Yet for the past thousand years Hindus were at the receiving end of jihads and conversion campaigns and millions of Hindus were massacred in cold blood because they were Hindus – massacred by Muslims. So did Arundhati Roy demonise Hindus so badly to instigate Muslims to “rise up against the oppression” and prepare the world to believe that oppression by Hindus is for real? Is she trying to help Pakistan fulfil its “unfinished agenda” of taking Hindustan fighting and make it accept Islam? Arundhati Roy would know that Hindus are not aggressors by nature. She and her ilk may be desperate to paint Hindus black, as especially in Europe, people become more and more wary of the behaviour of Muslims in their countries but don’t have any problems with Hindus. The faith of Hindus is based on Dharma and Dharma means to do what is right and in tune with one’s conscience. ‘Good’ Hindus are those rare human beings who see others as brothers and sisters, and are kind to animals and nature, too. Hindus do not divide humanity into those who are chosen by God and those who are eternally damned. Hindu children are not taught to look down on non-Hindus, unlike children of the dogmatic religions who are taught that their God loves them but does not love those ‘others’ unless they join their ‘true’ religions. However, Hindus are often too naïve to realize what mind-set the dogmatic religions foster. They unwisely give privileges to Muslims and Christians, which even Hindus don’t have, in spite of Swami Vivekananda warning already over 100 years ago that every convert is not one Hindu less but one enemy more. Sri Aurobindo also felt that hope for India lies in those, who converted out of Hinduism, to lose faith in their new religion which most accepted anyway due to pressure or allurement at the time of conversion. Truth does not need pressure and allurement. It makes sense. Untruth needs to be enforced with brutal laws that forbid people to believe anything else than what is declared as “the only truth”. The Hindu view is undoubtedly closer to truth. Nobody is forced to believe it and yet Hindus held on to it under extremely painful circumstances, and Westerners, dissatisfied with the Church, accept Hindu Dharma on their own accord. It is also no coincidence that modern science discovered that all is One Energy after Indian philosophy became known in the west. Nobody needs to be worried about a nation where the Hindu roots are fostered. Where Sanskrit is taught, which is the most perfect, dignified, powerful language on earth. Where yoga is practised in schools, which is an ideal means for all-round development and which, on a deeper level, helps to find fulfilment in live. Where Vedic philosophy is studied, which inspired the new scientific discoveries in nuclear physics. Where the amazing wisdom of Mahabharata and Ramayana becomes common knowledge. Where children chant “Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu” (May all be happy). Why would those Indians who converted to Islam or Christianity not be also proud of the achievements of their ancestors? India was the cradle of civilization, a knowledge hub and the richest country on earth. It was known for its wisdom. Surely Christians and Muslims cannot have any objection that students are taught this fact or that they chant “May all be happy” in Sanskrit, the language of their forefathers. If someone calls such teaching communal it is malicious. Is not he the one who tries to divide society and not those who say “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” (all is one family) due to their philosophical outlook? One day, when people have become tired of blindly believing irrational dogmas, and when nobody is threatened any longer with dire consequences or even death if he stops believing in those strange dogmas, the world will be grateful to Bharat Mata that she has conceived and preserved over millennia those eternal, precious insights for the benefit of humanity.
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. Maria Wirth’s blog
Did we ever notice that only Hinduism mentions the universe? The reason is that only Hinduism knows about the vast dimensions and the huge timeframes of the universe of which our earth is just a speck. Ancient cultures like Maya, Inka, Sumeria, and others may also have reached out to the stars, but they were all destroyed either by Christianity or by Islam, and Bible or Quran were enforced as “the truth”. Only Hindus have still preserved this knowledge which in all likelihood originated in India itself. There are still millions of valuable ancient texts in India, even though millions of others were burnt by invaders on the premise that only one book is needed. In Greece in contrast, there are estimated to be only some 20,000 texts. Surya Sidhanta is a major text with incredible knowledge about the universe dated – hold your breath – at least 10,000 years ago. The ancient Indians knew that the earth is round or rather elliptical, that it goes around the sun, they knew the distance to the sun and moon; they knew that the distance is 108 times the respective diameter – the reason why sun and moon appear of the same size from the earth. Their knowledge was truly inspired or ‘God-given’. The Puranas (purana means old and according to tradition were composed by Veda Vyasa around 5000 years ago), which are often dismissed as mere myths, are also a treasure trove of knowledge. They talk among other things about the creation of the universe (the ‘Big Bang’ and ‘expanding universe’ theory were in all likelihood inspired by them) and about the periodic withdrawal after billions of years, about the original, unmanifested One Source and the gods in charge of creation, sustenance and dissolution, who evolved from the One Source. Clearly, the ancient Indians were at home in the universe. The Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana even claims that there are ‘myriads of universes’, a view which may now be taken more seriously by science after certain experiments in Antarctica had strange results. The timescales which the ancient Indians proposed are incredibly huge. Now compare this with the Abrahamic religions. Judaism, the parent religion, as it were, of Christianity and Islam claims that the earth is some 6000 years old. Christianity and Islam didn’t challenge this view. Both did not look beyond this earth and actually hold very primitive ideas about it. Christianity taught that the earth is flat and static and that the sun moves over it until 400 years ago. Giordano Bruno, an Italian philosopher, was burnt to death in 1600 CE because he refused to disown the theory that the earth goes around the sun. Imagine – he was brutally killed for stating the truth and only 400 years ago… Islam too considers the earth as flat and mountains were placed to stabilize it (Q19.15). Like Christianity, Islam also says that not the earth, but the sun moves, and runs to its resting place at night. There was clearly no idea about the vastness of the universe, as Q 67.5. says “We have decorated the heaven of this world with lamps and we made them as missiles for pelting the shaitans and thus prepared for them the scourge of flames.” So naturally, these religions don’t mention the universe, because they had no clue about it. It is truly unfortunate that they dumbed down the intelligence of the human race. They destroyed the natural urge to discover the truth about us and the universe. Only since Christianity lost its power to punish views which are not in tune with the teaching of the Church, science took off in the West. There is no doubt that the sudden tremendous progress of science in the recent few centuries was greatly inspired by Indian knowledge. Some western scientists themselves acknowledged this. Einstein said “We owe a lot to the Indians.” Famous scientists like Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Oppenheimer or Tesla studied India’s ancient wisdom. And Mark Twain opined: “Our most valuable and most constructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” Even in the 1970s and 80s, India’s wisdom had a rather good image, after the Beatles were inspired by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation. The contribution of India for example to Transpersonal Psychology was also acknowledged at that time, yet was meanwhile erased at least from Wikipedia. However, in our modern times, this has changed. Hindu Dharma and Hindus, especially Brahmins, who preserved the knowledge system over many millennia, are unfairly vilified and ridiculed by the mainstream religions. They are accused of ‘oppressing minorities’, of ‘rape culture’ and even of terrorism. It happens rarely that anything positive is said about the Hindu tradition, when it actually produces the most humane mind-set, as it is based on Dharma, which means to do what is right under the given circumstances. Are the institutionalized religions afraid that they lose their followers, if they come to know about the knowledge still stored up in India? Reprinted with permission from the author Maria Wirth Blog
मारिया विर्थ प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी को मेरा पत्र आदरणीय प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी, मैं भारतीय नागरिक नहीं हूं, लेकिन मैं भारत का सम्मान करती हूं और मेरी इच्छा है कि इसकी संस्कृति पल्लवित हो और समस्त विश्व को सुवासित करे, क्योंकि यह संपूर्ण मानव जाति के लिए हितकारी है। भारत को छोड़कर, सभी प्राचीन संस्कृतियों को ईसाई या इस्लाम या कुछ मामलों में साम्यवाद ने नष्ट कर दिया है। भारत एकमात्र पुरातन संस्कृति है, जो अब भी प्राणवान है, लेकिन उसे भी लील जाने के लिए ये तीन नकारात्मक शक्तियां घात लगाकर बैठी हैं। कृपया मुझे एक सुझाव देने की अनुमति दें, क्योंकि मैं अंदरूनी तौर पर ईसाई मत और हिंदू धर्म दोनों से भली-भांति परिचित हूं। ‘हीदन’, ‘काफिर’ और ‘बुतपरस्त’ ऐसे शब्द हैं जो अपमानजक और हेय माने जाते हैं, फिर भी ईसाई और मुस्लिम बच्चों को बेहिचक इन शब्दों को हिंदुओं के लिए इस्तेमाल करना पढ़ाया जाता रहा है। यह एक खतरनाक चलन है, क्योंकि ये शब्द हिंदुओं को अमानवीय बताते हैं जिससे घृणाजनित अपराध जन्म लेते हैं और कई बार नरसंहार का कारण भी बनते हैं। संयुक्त राष्टÑ के एक अधिकारी ने कहा कि यहूदियों का नरसंहार गैस चैम्बर से नहीं, बल्कि घृणा उगलते भाषणों से शुरू हुआ था। ऐसा ही हिंदुओं के खिलाफ भी हो रहा है। इन दोनों पंथों की मजहबी सभाओं में दिए जा रहे प्रवचनों में नियमित रूप से हिंदुओं के खिलाफ घृणा भरे भाव व्यक्त किए जाते हैं। क्या भारत सरकार संयुक्त राष्ट्र में ईसाई और मुस्लिम मतावलंबियों द्वारा हिंदुओं के प्रति भेदभाव दर्शाने वाले शब्द ‘हीदन’ और ‘काफिर’ को मानवीय गरिमा को ठेस पहुंचाने और समानता का उल्लंघन करने वाला घोषित करने की याचिका दे सकती है, जिन्हें ईश्वर स्वर्ग का अधिकारी नहीं मानता और नरक में फेंक देता है? बुरा मंतव्य रखने वाले नेता संकीर्ण और साम्प्रदायिक विचारधारा में हिंसा का उन्माद घोलकर अपने समर्थकों को बार-बार याद दिलाते हैं कि ‘अल्लाह चाहता है कि पृथ्वी पर सिर्फ मुसलमानों का राज हो और इसलिए उन्हें जिहाद करना होगा, तभी जन्नत नसीब होगी’ (कुरान 4़95)। चर्च अब उतना मारक नहीं रहा जैसा पहले था, लेकिन ‘हीदन’ अब भी उसकी नजर में हेय है जिसे कन्वर्ट करना उसका कर्तव्य है। इससे समाज को बहुत नुकसान पहुंच रहा है। दोनों पंथों के अनुयायी अपने बच्चों के अंदर बालपन की कोमल अवस्था में ही अपनी-अपनी मजहबी विचारधाराओं का कट्टर पाठ सिखा रहे हैं जिसकी गांठ बहुत मजबूत होती है, भारत में तो यह कुछ ज्यादा ही कठोर होती है, ताकि उनके अंदर भूल से भी वापस लौटने की इच्छा न जागे। मजहबी स्वतंत्रता की अपनी सीमाएं होती हैं, उसका अतिक्रमण होने से दूसरों के बुनियादी अधिकारों का उल्लंघन होता है। भारत, इजरायल, जापान, चीन, नेपाल, थाईलैंड जैसे एशियाई देशों में इस मुद्दे को गंभीरता से देखने की जरूरत है, क्योंकि बाकी दुनिया के देशों में मुस्लिम या ईसाई बहुल आबादी बसी है। हालांकि कई पंथनिरपेक्ष यूरोपीय सरकारें इस तरह की याचिका का समर्थन कर सकती हैं, क्योंकि उनके नागरिक अब चर्च के बताए सभी रास्तों का पालन करना जरूरी नहीं समझते। पाकिस्तान और इस्लामी सहयोग संगठन ने संयुक्त राष्टÑ में इस्लाम और इस्लामोफोबिया की आलोचना पर प्रतिबंध लगाने के लिए याचिका दायर की है, जो उनकी बुरी नियत दर्शाती है और इस बात का संकेत देती है कि उन्हें भी मालूम है कि वे अपने सिद्धांत का विवेकपूर्ण बचाव नहीं कर सकते। भारत की चिंता उचित है और इस संबंध में कदम उठाना अत्यंत जरूरी है। हिंदुओं को हेय दृष्टि से देखा जाता है और उनके साथ हीन बर्ताव किया जाता है जो उनके लिए बहुत पीड़ादायी है। हिंदुओं और मुसलमानों के बीच शांति और सौहार्द का संदेश तभी सार्थक हो सकता है, जब हिंदुओं के संबंध में मुसलमानों द्वारा सिखाए जा रहे पाठ का संदेश विवेकपूर्ण हो। अब समय आ चुका है कि भारत सरकार संयुक्त राष्ट्र में इस तथ्य पर अपनी आपत्ति दर्ज करे, क्योंकि अधिकांश भारतीय नागरिकों को प्राणियों में सबसे बुरा घोषित किया जा रहा है ‘जो अनंतकाल तक नरक की यातना भोगेगा’ (कुरान 98़ 6)। चर्च का यह भी दावा है कि ‘हिंदू नरक से नहीं बच पाएंगे, अगर वे यीशु का नाम सुनने के बाद भी उनकी शरण में नहीं आते’। हिंदू नहीं मानते कि परमेश्वर उन्हें नहीं अपनाएंगे, लेकिन कई भारतीय मुस्लिम और ईसाई ऐसा ही मानते हैं। उन दावों को सार्वजनिक तौर पर व्यक्त करके उनमें से कई आश्चर्य भी करते होंगे कि क्या यह वास्तव में सच हो सकता है? इन दोनों पंथों में संभवत: सुधार मुमकिन नहीं, लेकिन इसके हानिकारक संदेशों का पालन न करने की राह का विकल्प खुला है। ईसाई पंथ और कुछ हद तक इस्लाम से भी पलायन शुरू होने लगा है। भारत इस रुझान को तेज करने में अहम भूमिका निभा सकता है। उस विचारधारा को कटघरे में खड़ा करने का समय आ चुका है जिसकी जद में सैकड़ों सालों से लाखों लोगों ने जान गंवाई है। इसे बदलने का प्रयास सभ्यताओं की संघर्ष गाथा का संभवत: सबसे महत्वपूर्ण मोड़ होगा। आपकी शुभचिंतक मारिया विर्थ