SWAMI RAMDEV AND HINDU DISUNITY
When CPI leader Brinda Karad attacks Swami Ramdev, she is not attacking Ramdev in particular, she is attacking Hinduism in general. This guru or that guru, makes no difference to her, she is against all gurus. Other gurus might think that they are safe, that Ramdev committed some sin, for which he is paying. But one of them will be next in the line of fire! Hindu gurus are all vulnerable in today’s India: the Shankacharya has already been hit, so has Satya Sai Baba, with accusations of paedophilia, Amrita Anandamayi has to live under the constant shadow of an hostile Kerala communist-dominated government, Dhirendra Brahmachari has been obliterated and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is periodically targeted as the ‘Guru of the rich’, the ‘glib Godman’ etc…
May I be forgiven my arrogance, but what Indian gurus have to understand is that for Indian communists, Hinduism is the N°1 enemy. Mao called religion ‘the opium of the people’. But for Indian communists, as for Britishers and Muslim invaders before them, what stands between their ambition for absolute power in India (and eventually a triumphant return of communism in the world – as Indian communists believe) is the hold that Hinduism has in the hearts of the rural people of India, who constitute 80% of this country. And still today, the humble farmer, from Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu, has a natural understanding of the universality of God, who takes many names throughout the ages and can be Buddha, Jesus Christ, Ram or Mohamed and this humble farmer possesses the knowledge that there is something deeper than the skin and the mind, and a life beyond death. This knowledge is inbred, it is not in his head, not even in his heart, but in his or her genes transmitted from generation to generation.
Of course, the English speaking media is too happy to oblige Brinda Karat and come down hard on gurus with all kind of accusations, ranging from superstition to conman ship. There is of course a strong communist streak in most Indian newspapers, whether it is Frontline’s and the Hindu’s open allegiance to Communist China, or Brinda Karat being the sister of Prannoy Roy’s wife (not many people know that). Before Ramdev, they condemned the Shankacharya, before him Osho, before him Dhirendra Brahmachari. You can even go back to Sri Aurobindo, who was accused in the early 1900’s by the moderate Congress-controlled press to be a ‘fanatic’, when he was only demanding total independence from the British, long before Gandhi took it up. Accusation against Hinduism of superstition, brainwashing, ritualistic ignorance, date back from British missionaries and have been taken up today by communists. Yet, Hinduism, at least the Hinduism which goes beyond the rituals and becomes universal spirituality, has nothing to do with superstition and conman ship: it is all about science, knowledge and light. Look at pranayama, a science that has known for thousands of years how to harness breath and use it for controlling the mind, for a better, more healthy, more spititualized life. If you read Osho’s books today, you find a lot of solid common sense and wisdom. Sai Baba cannot have millions of disciples from the most humble to the presidents of India, without ‘something’ which is beyond superstition. So it goes for Amrita Anandmai, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ramdev, or Guruma of Ganeshpuri.
And why should Brinda Karat target Ayurveda, the most ancient medical system in the world still in practice, the first medecine to realize 3000 years ago that plants and minerals offer the best cure, that many illnesses have a psychosomatic origin, the first to practice plastic surgery on patients? In India today, every third shop is an allopathic medical shop, whose profits go to western multinationals (hello Mrs Karad!) at a time when ayurvedic medicine is becoming increasingly popular in western countries, disillusioned by antibiotics and other heavy-handed medicines.
We are witnessing an interesting phenomenon in India today. Communists, Christians, Muslims and some of the Congress leadership (notice that Brinda Karat has written to Uttaranchal Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari to close down Swami Ramdev’s pharmacy), all of whom have nothing in common and often hate each other, are all united against Hinduism and Hindu leaders. Each one of course, have their own reasons for doing so. The Christians, under the leadership of people like John Dayal, want to convert the maximum of ‘heathens’ Hindus, as Jesus Christ is the only ‘true’ God that can save India; some of the Muslim leadership, here, in Pakistan, or even in today’s Bangladesh, still dream of ‘Dar-ul-Islam’, the House of Islam in South Asia; and Sonia Gandhi, maybe in a true spirit of secularism, maybe out of personal conviction, has chosen to ally her party with anti-Hindu forces. Whatever it is, their unity makes them a powerful enemy.
In contrast, look at Hindus: Swami Ramdev himself criticized Sri Sri Ravi Shankar live on TV, advising his followers not to practise the Art of Living breathing techniques. During the Tsunami relief operations in Nagapatinam, disciples of Amrita Anand Mayi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar nearly came to blows over who would give relief to whom, instead of networking and uniting their efforts. And who came to the rescue Osho when he was maligned to death, or Brahmachari, when the entire press came down on him, of Sai Baba, when he was slandered, of the Shankacharya when he was thrown into jail, or of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, when Javed Akhtar accused him of coming ‘from a cave to live in a palace’ (and not from a palace to a cave, like the Buddha) ? None of the previously mentioned. Yet, Indian politicians can commit any crime, have any number of court cases against them, and they still end up as Union ministers and get positive press coverage .
The greatest curse of Hinduism throughout the ages has been its disunity – and more than that – its betraying each other. The British did not conquer India, it was given to them by its warring Hindu princes, jealous of each other. The same is true of Islam: the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar, was betrayed to the Muslims by the Lingayats. Today, if the combined forces of communists, Muslims, Christian fundamentalists and the Congress win, it will not be because of their strength and valour, but rather because of the disunity of Hindu leaders.
I know that there is something mysterious and unfathomable in the manifestation of the Divine upon earth, that each guru has a defined task to fulfil and that the combined task of all the gurus may solve the great puzzle that is this ignorant and suffering earth. Thus it may not be necessary for each guru to communicate with each other. But nevertheless, it is of the greatest urgency today that Hindu leaders unite to save Hinduism, rather than the ‘each one for his own’ that we see today. The Catholics have their Pope – and his word is binding to most catholics, whatever the resistance of some progressive leaders. Muslims have Mohamed’s words written 1400 years ago – and that binds all of Islam together, whatever the relevance of these words in the 21st century; India Communists have Marx and Lenin words, their opium, even if it has become irrelevant in Russia, Germany, and even in China; but the poor Hindus have nobody to refer to, so as to defend themselves.
Yet, if you take the combined people power of Satya Sai Baba, Amrita Ananda Mayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Gurumayi of Ganeshpuri, the Shankacharya of Kancheepuram, and so many others I cannot mention here, it runs in hundreds of millions.
Again, in all humility and conscious of the limitation of my small mind, compared to some of these great gurus whom I have met, I propose that a Supreme Spiritual Council, composed of at least seven of the most popular Hindu leaders of India, be constituted, maybe under the leadership of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (with a yearly rotation of leadership), the most travelled of all these, the one who has disciples and teachers of all religions, both from India and the West. It would be a non-political body, and each group would keep its independence but nevertheless, it could meet two or three times a year and issue edicts, which would be binding to 850 millions Hindus in India and one billion over the world.
Then and then only, can this wonderful spirituality which is Hinduism, this eternal knowledge behind the outer forms, the wisdom to understand this mad earth and its sufferings, be preserved for the future of India, and for the future of humanity. I bow down to each of these gurus above-mentioned and to all those not mentioned, to Swami Vivekananda, the initiator of modern Hinduism, to Sri Aurobindo, the great avatar of the supramental and to all the great gurus who have graced over the ages, this wonderful and sacred land which is India and beseech them to hear my prayer: Hindus leaders, unite against the common enemy if you want the eternal Dharma to survive.