Hinduism with Spine

Swami-Vivekananda

Hinduism is often portrayed as a religion of peace and pacifists. Its legion of world shunning monks and yogis(the genuine ones anyway), reinforce this perception. Sometimes its not even a religion but an Eternal Dharma, a rule of living rightly that goes beyond the worship of its hundred thousand gods.

But all this other-worldliness, the excessive disregard of the world and the adoration of the Eternal and all its manifestations has had an unfortunate side-effect. And that is of lacking a spine, or a true measure and understanding of its own identity.

Origin of our Weakness

I would not be an expert to categorically state whether it was the many hundred years of Muslim rule, or the many hundred years of British rule, or perhaps a weakness that predated both these aggressors that allowed these aggressions to happen. But bottom line we have turned out to be a people lacking a spine.

We spout words about our ancient culture that we have no effing clue about. When our brothers from other religions convert our folks we quote the constitution that allows conversions. When more of our brothers from other religions of peace slaughter us, we quote mantras for peace and convince ourselves to let bygones be bygones. After all an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, as a leading light of the nation had said. When one of us decides to give others a taste of their own medicine we are the right wing!

Don’t get me wrong. If you know me or attempted to read and understand what I have written you will know am all for universal brotherhood and I mean it sincerely. But each culture has to stand up for itself, no one else will come to its aid. Or we will go the way of the Tibetans, the Mayans and all the other peoples that have perished under the onslaught of more ignorant cultures.

Do we understand our religion?

Each of us who profess to be Hindus will have to understand our heritage truly. Not the crap shown on TV serials, or the clueless nonsense spouted by the traditionalists, or the ones that give you certificates. Nor should we believe that spirituality is to be done at the last stage of life, it is such moronic thinking that has given rise to a nation without spine. That allows some so-called secular element within our founding members to interpret our subtle notion of universal brotherhood as a free for all, to come and do as they please. Enough is what I say.

What we need

From now, let each of us vow to understand our identity and our true heritage by going back to the original sources, the Vedas, Upanishads and the Puranas. Not as intellectuals, not to spout verses without understanding or realizing them. But as students and aspirants to the living truth of these scriptures, the One Divine who transcends everything.

The Method

I want us to do this not as Sanyasis or renunciates, not as intellectuals far removed from reality, not as arm-chair custodians of our heritage. I want us to uphold our values in the thick of material life. To build out the wealth of our nation again and not to see Narayana in poverty alone. To create art that once again captures the myriad infinities of the soul’s beauty. To engage our brothers in strength and pride of our identity and heritage. To churn out perfection in every thing we do and take our place once more at the forefront of civilizations.

The Impediments

It is not easy, this double mode of existence. Long has been our enslavement, impoverished our spirit and our members weak. A little wealth and little success rocks the boat of our pride too much. We are as children, who go into rapture at the smallest bauble. We are not a nation of Arjunas and Ashokas anymore. Even our villains are not fit to take the world stage, we have no strength to even do evil on a grandiose scale. Our Balis and Hiranyakashipus are just myths now.

But this need not be the case anymore. And it can start with us. Today. Let us reconnect with the Self within, in our own way. A little perfection in all that we do, a little service to elevate humanity, a little strength to stand up for our identity and a lot of humility is all it takes to offer as sacrifice to the immanent Divine.

The Guide

After all, as Sri Aurobindo states, “He who seeks the Divine is sought by the Divine”. Let us offer our works, paltry though it be, and Sri Krishna shall be with us. We have endured a lot until now, it is time for us outgrow our limited self-conception.

This post is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda.

More Labels on You, Dumber You Get

Often the route we take to arrive at a destination does not matter much. The destination justifies the paths we take.

Reason and logic always seem to have a dryness about them and always seem to be used and thrown out when the higher perceptions open up.

But there are times when even reason hews its way and arrives at perceptions of truth that is ascribed to more intuitive and spiritualized sight.

Today I had come across one such article by Paul Graham, called Identity. Paul speaks about understanding why politics and religion lead to “uniquely useless discussions” 🙂

So here is a terrific quote

What’s different about religion is that people don’t feel they need to have any particular expertise to have opinions about it. All they need is strongly held beliefs, and anyone can have those. No thread about Javascript will grow as fast as one about religion, because people feel they have to be over some threshold of expertise to post comments about that. But on religion everyone’s an expert.

And here is the closing statement..

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

I am not sure Paul had Yoga and Nirvana in mind when he wrote this post. But suffice to say that it is an noble attitude that will directly help anyone pursuing an inner life.

An extremely interesting post to say the least..do not miss.

Identity and The Fragmented Self

Free face of a child with eyes closed creative commons

Identity and the Fragmented Self

The question of identity, the who we are part of the riddle, is fraught with a beguiling complexity.

After all what could be more complex than one’s self. This palpable, tangible being that is us. Asserting itself in every pang of hunger, the stir of desire and in the rushing headlong into life.

In the relationships that tether our being within time and a social setup.

In our accomplishments. The pieces of paper that attest to our knowledge.

In the ID cards that brightly announce our affiliation to a soul-less entity.

In our calendars, schedules, the GTDs that have captured the major facets of our living.

No less in our agony and torments than our dreams and aspirations.

Each a mirror, a specific reflection of what we are within a specific context. Of a role that we play.

Remove all these. Relationships. Ideas. Memory. Experiences. Strip away the verbs that somehow seem to imbue our nouns with meaning.

How to define what remains, this enigma? Are we as a child? A pristine spot of consciousness? Or a orphaned animal out in the wild of reality?

Which brings us to the question. Are we merely an aggregation of connection end-points established with the external world, within the bounds of a specific time and space.

Are the pulls and pushes of the external the only terms of our living? Is there no independent existence to the ‘I’?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography

Identity 2.0

For all its present crudity my race had many saving graces in its past. By ‘my race’ I don’t mean the Aryans or Dravidians or the countless other classification systems by which my people choose to slaughter themselves.

I do not choose geography as the criteria to identify myself. As some of the ancient travelers did, I am not me because I live on one side of the Indus.

Nor am I Dravidian because of the color of my skin, or because I live south of the Vindhyas.

My identity is not subject to the racial notions that the western conquerors wanted to thrust upon me.

I am not defined by the language I was born into. Language is conferred by the accident of birth, but the speech of my mind exceeds man made languages. 

My identity is not encoded in the genes that make up my physical self. Nor am I the mental being made up of time-born conceptions, ideas, opinions and all the impedes the self.

I define my identity by my deepest beliefs, by values that don’t change with the notional values of society.

As hero or villain. As the victor or the vanquished. As delight or anguish. Through all runs a single strain, an eternal music of silence that supports the cacophony.

I am my deepest self. And you too dear soul, you too.

Who/What/How am I, with MeeID

http://www.meeid.com/maheshcr/

Within us, there are many selves. The web reflects each.

MeeID is a static representation, constrained to 10 statements, of what we are.  Not a stream of content from all our online interaction, not even a pointer to all the locations we play in..just abstract space to represent what we are, with a means to provide a URL to de-reference as needed.

I don’t see this taking off at the grassroots but still a small interesting idea executed well. I think of this as Twitter for the idea of multiple online identities.

What do you think?

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We don’t need you Mr.Terrorist – An Open Letter

To Mr.Terrorist

You have kindly consented to spread our lands with the terror and blood and followed up your willingness with action. No doubt immense co-ordination, effort and dark expertise has been expended in this matter and the fruits are apparent for all to see. However I wish to point out that all this effort is not necessary and I shall provide the necessary information to make my point.

India, my vast country, is populated with very small men

All of her heritage, culture and ancient spirit has been reduced to a footnote in history text books. We have enough malice and violence in us to inflict untold harm on ourselves

Take, for example, our response to the hordes of invaders who plundered our land

We have adopted their language, ‘culture’ and even their religion. We stood by, meek like sheep, while all of what we were was being ripped apart. Perhaps it is the pent up rage that makes us throw stones at any damn thing when there is a general strike? Or burn buses, uproot railway tracks? Am sure that injustice is not forgotten, hence our present reaction. Don’t you think this behavior is consistent with the goals that you and your leaders have set for yourself?

Or consider our comrades who look to the east

While the sun of their aspirations rises in fully deserving glory, completely shedding the ideological sheaths of its past, our comrades still worship the image of their deity as it was before. National pride, security, the continued livelihood of our people are of no concern. As long as they can spout the virtues of poverty and open their large magnanimous hearts for the protection of the poor then all is fine.

Or take our practice of subsidies, reservations etc.

By artificially propping up a segment of people they ensure that the very same people are robbed blind of their skills and initiative in the long run. By taking a legitimate means to alleviate social imbalances we have turned it into a means of gathering votes. If there are no poor then how the hell would the politicians display their compassion? Don’t you think this retrograde mindset would keep us materially poor for a long long time, and ensure there is sufficient bitterness for an uprising. Which by the way would be completely impotent to solve the social imbalance problem anyway. Do you still want to add to this list of woes?

Or take our caste and creed system

Which by the way is wildly different than what its creators conceived it to be. We still have this evil prevalent in our towns and villages. The crude accident of birth renders a set of people wise, another set courageous and willing to stand up for the weak and oppressed, yet another set of people sharp with money and the rest mere serfs. I heard you there..it is a load of shit and utter bollocks.

Biology determines some of our traits, you say, and the rest is environment, opportunity and the inborn tendency of the individual. And I agree with you. But reality is that we still have people who proudly display their caste on the back of their cars and suffix it still on the names of their offspring.

We as a race, it seems, have so little self-respect that we need to depend on social systems of religion, caste, creed etc to give us a sense of identity.

Mind you each of these is by the accident of birth and has got nothing to do with what the individual accomplished in this lifetime.

Little matter all this. We still are proud to defend our temples from the serfs who want to pray inside, what deviant attitudes!! Am sure your rage will be better used elsewhere, we have our people to rage on your behalf.

And of course our behenjis, banerjees and lalilthas are capable enough to bleed the nation dry by either taking what is there or preventing the growth of anything.

If all these are preoccupied then our language bigots always rise up to the occasion. And don’t discount our regional chauvinists!

Or those who seek to convert the spirit of this nation towards an alien system of thought and living that has its roots in the remote tribes of the middle-east region?!

Who lure the soul with material rewards, as an advance to the later rewards in heaven? Or even those who take offence at art? Or those who seek to attack an idea by going after the most external edifices, like churches?

This, of course, is only a brief list of items and we have a ton of these weirdos and have not need of you anymore.

Our deviance and capability for self-harm far exceeds your limited imagination and malice. Please leave us alone and in due time we shall have destroyed ourselves.

Regards

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India’s National Anthem Rings Out From Kenya and USA’s From France!

The thing that hooked me in was the Indian National anthem being sung by Kenyans.

Or the French singing the anthem of the Americans.

Pangea, is the name of the project that aims to use film to promote unity. A powerful concept that rides upon the ubiquity of the internet and the visual media.

I should say my national anthem gives me goose pimples, even when sung by a different race/culture/people.

Beneath all the variations of skin, language, cultures and every other distinctness that makes us look upon another as different, there is an unity that binds us all. A variety of means exist to see this unity. Music, painting, poetry, the world of ideas and now increasingly, for the last 60-70 years, the world of films.

Watch it. In 3-4 minutes a considerable amount of prejudice can be washed away.

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