Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Bringing back the focus onto Hinduism; I will share my understandings of this belief system, the readers can correct me if I am wrong or others who were unaware can get a capsule version of Evolution of Hinduism in India. Positive criticism will accepted with an open mind.

I got a chance to know more about Bhagavat Gita, Hindu mythology and Vedanta as I did my schooling from “Chinmaya Vidhyalaya” and Graduation from Sri Adhi Chunchangiri College of Business Management which was solely controlled by a ‘Mat’ and absolute authority was in the hands on Swami Adhi Chunchangiri. These were the days when I was deeply involved into Hinduism and was fascinated by the Vedic knowledge.

What I have written further on includes a great deal of compilation from my School education, college education and a few books, documentaries and articles.

References –

· Ohh Hindu you awake

· Why I am not a Hindu? (Gora)

· Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism - Personal Reflections on 9 world religions (Anand Sharma)

· Story of India & Story of God (BBC Documentaries)

· Lectures by Kalanadhan Master – President of Yuktivadi Sangham (Kerala)

· Is God Dead? An Introduction to Kya Ishwar mar chuka hei – (Dr. Ramendra Nath)

· Introduction to Carvaka and Nastika School of Philosophies

At the beginnings what existed in the Indian subcontinent was a mixture of idolatry, ritualistic worship and polytheism. The first Hindus believed in the Karma loop where in you have to fulfill your duties so as to escape the material world and attain Moksha, for this they worshipped Gods and needed blessing from the Gods in return for their respective activities. Thus every one started coming up with their own concept of God. The first gods to arrive were the farming gods (came along with the Aryans). The countless number of gods itself was very confusing and it was impossible for a person to remember, here arised the concept of “Brahmn” the power that gives life for everything and even for the gods. The motives of Hindus were to rejoin their souls with the Brahmn AKA Salvation.

Hindu beliefs revolve around few major gods – Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara

Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer

Buddhism and Jainism were more sophisticated in nature, with the arrival of these new belief systems Vaishnava & Shaiva Gods started losing popularity. Buddha discarded sexuality and gods at the very foundation. He claimed that Gods cannot help us since they too are stuck in the loop for Moksha so “whatever had to be achieved has to be achieved by you”. Thus was brought in the concept of Nirvana, which revolutionized the subcontinent. A man sitting under a tree had started conquering the minds of hundreds and thousands not just in India but to far off countries too. From here on the etymology of the term “Bhagawan” was to be seen changing to “The one who is enlightened” from what it used to be “Creator/Creation/Linga-Yoni Samyoga”. The change was necessary as there was no importance for creation and sexuality in Buddhism and Jainism.

The next mutation came through with the arrival of Shankaracharya into the scene; Hinduism which had lost much of its popularity and was to be revived under the supervision of Shankaracharya. One of the ways shankaracharya planned of, was to remove a “thorn using a thorn”. To assist him was the ‘Haindava’ legacy’, which did not have strict rules and foundation stones. He came out with the first of his own philosophies to popularize Hindutva –

1. Reject Sexuality – to become a ‘Satwik’ you need to stay away from sex

2. Reject ancient belief system of idolatry and ritualistic worship –

Thus he drew the first lines for ‘Advainta Sidhanta’ which is a good defense against Buddhism but still had to keep the concept of God. Here on started the revival of Hinduism and it flourished under the supervision of Brahmanical societies and ‘Matts’. It is said that there was mass cleansing and genocide of Buddhists and Jains all over India. I personally had visited a 13th century Jain Temple in Kerala, however lot of modifications and alterations were seen inside the temple. Carvings of Gods and scriptures written on walls, leads me to think that these would have been additions made by the Hindus after taking over the temple. Many of the major temples prevailing now in India used to be Buddhist monasteries and Jain temples. There is limited evidence to prove my claim so do not wish to publicize any of these.

There wasn’t much a of change in the belief system until the arrival of Mughals and Christian missionaries. Hinduism might have started to feel a bit inferior comparing to these religions as these Semitic belief groups were much more sophisticated in nature and had a better understanding of Creation, creator, life, death, after life and rules & regulations to follow. Even though Shankaracharya’s ideologies do discard idol worship in philosophical standards many Hindus still practiced them. The visitors and invaders (Semitic belief groups and religions) have better understandings of rituals and gods as they had discarded idol worship in the very first stage; moreover they also had control over sexuality which led them to gain popularity in the sub continent. Hinduism if it wanted to survive needed a redefinition and here steps in Dayanand Saraswati. He starts to redefine Hinduism so that it can withstand the Semitic beliefs which the visitors had brought in; he also laid stones for Arya Samaj – “Society for the Nobles”. Dayanand Saraswati denounced idolatry and ritualistic worship in Hinduism. He was addressed as one of the ‘Makers of Modern India’. He was dellusioned by classical Hinduism and believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Further on preached the importance of brahmacharya (Celibacy) and made the first translations of Vedas and other holy scriptures to Hindi for the common man, which until then was the property of the Brahmins alone. He also brought in changes with promoting equality for women and equality for education for all castes. The first stones of the big wall called as “Chatur Varna” system had started falling off.

Shankaracharya had never publically gone against the caste system and until then and even today is a common practice in India; however with the arrival of Dayanand Saraswati the power of the poison had started diminishing. Dayanand’s vaccine had started doing its work and till date it does when I see many preachers and spiritual gurus, they show a better understanding of what is called ‘Spirituality’ without idol worship and sexuality. The terms Nirvana, Moksha and ‘Brahmn’ has regained its popularity.

Big changes were to be seen with the era of Renaissance and arrival of Science (the finest of all players) who had started answering the most mysterious of questions human mind ever had to face. The Semitic belief groups who used to consider their wisdom and scriptures as infallible, now had a new enemy. Science has a different way of looking at things. It did not follow any supernatural message or revelations for answers but did experiments and then started coming out with theories. A Theory was the best practical and reliable explanation for an unexplained question; the results of the calculations as per a theory will be same for everyone. For eg – the calculations will bring the same result for A as it is for B, considering all the ingredients remain the same. This brought in a major revolution because what religion always had in their inventory were encounters of miracles and private revelations which were openly discarded and falsified by Science.

Science will apply and follow things only on the basis of evidence and it will come out with results which can be tested, retested and still comes out with same results as and when required. With the contributions from Galileo, Bruno, Newton and Darwin, the Monotheistic believers started to feel the worst of feverish shivers. All the elite scientists ever existed from the time of Renaissance have discarded the belief in a personal god however many among them had a “Deistic” belief within them. Here on all the major religious groups realized the power of Science and started associating the findings of science with their own scriptures. However theories like “theory of Evolution” completely destroys the monotheistic beliefs as there is no more a need for god to have created humanity or life out of nothing. Science has again started answering things and till date there has been no fossil record identified which has gone against the theory of evolution.

What we are witnessing currently is the effect of a mutation. Hindutva is fighting its way to associate with Science and with the help of people like Gopalakrishnan (who look in for verses that match the scientific discoveries and also associate finding by Aryabhatta and Bhaskara to affirm the Authority of Vedas and Hindutva) it dreams of the old ages to redefine itself and regain its losing popularity. This is the very reason we see spiritual gurus springing up from different areas along with Theo-philosophical teachers and societies like ISKON, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Asaram Bapuji and hundreds and hundreds more. They do reframe and define the meanings of shlokas from ancient scriptures to fit the desired meanings.

Evolution of Hinduism has been a constant phenomenon. Every time a new ideology or belief system emerges it make the appropriate changes within to cope with the new system. This has always been a salient feature of Hinduism however without a doubt like every other religion Hinduism too is a disease and it is time that we eradicate it with the use of scientific study and analyses to go forward as a species.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saffronizing a Pearl of the Orient

February last week of 2005; back then I used to work with ICICI One source for National Rail Enquiry Services as a Customer Service Associate. I was working in the night shift and as usual was late for the debriefing. It was then, we were notified with the “news” that our process NRES was about to get closed down; so as a part of it they were downsizing the workforce. Options that we received were either to move out to another process, quit the company or go on a deputation to ICICI Mumbai for a six month period.

Bombay (as we now know today as Mumbai) had always been a dream destination and a personal favorite for me. A city that never sleeps, its necklace of lights along the corniche, its magnificent British Raj architecture, the elegant Gate way of India, historical Ajanta & Ellora caves, graceful Mosque of Hajji Ali and Siddhi Vinayak temple; everything I remember of Mumbai was super fantastic. I stood up accepting the deputation program and landed on Mumbai along with my colleagues, on the 7th March 2005 which also happened to be my birthday. It takes roughly 24 hours on a train journey to reach Mumbai from Bangalore. During the train journey, Rubeena who was one of my best pals those days and who had previously been to Mumbai gave me the first glance on history of Mumbai.

Within the first few days I realized that this city had a charm of its own kind. A charm that had attracted people from different sects, societies, civilizations and continents to come and settle. A form of cultural co-existence that cities show when they are exposed to sea. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, Zoroastrians and almost every sect of every religion was to be seen in Mumbai.

On my off days I used to pick my backpack and go for random journeys within the city, as a part of localizing which I practice when I arrive into new cities. A large part of my present understanding about Mumbai comes from the information shared by Paan walas, chaai walas, dabba walas, dhobis, dhoodh walas, tender coconut sellers, ice candy walas and at one instance a chat I had with a prostitute in billa road. Most of them were not born in Mumbai; they had shifted to Mumbai in search for a better life and to earn their bread and butter.

It was during these days when I encountered first hand information on the Semi-fascist, chauvinist political outfit called as Shiv Sena and their genocidal lunatic supremo Bal Thackeray. In their five decades of existence, Shiv Sena has always shown systematic hostility against all sections of the society. One of the worst includes communal riots of Mumbai in 92 and Caste atrocities at various instances. They have always symbolized hindutva for their existence and made comparisons with “Marathas” a clan of brave warriors who stood up against a fierce Sunni Mughal Emperor “Aurangzeb” during the 1700s. However their atrocities are not just set to Muslim minorities but have now become a National concern. They made divisions on the basis of Religion, caste and on linguistic terms. Every Mumbai’kar or every Indian has been directly or indirectly affected by their acts of semi-fascism. Media persons, politicians, sportsmen, actors, actresses, trade union members and other minorities like Muslims, Christians and Dalits.

The first two demands put forward by Shiv Sena, soon after their genesis were, 80% jobs in the government and 80% houses in the housing board colonies for Maharashtrians. I was not present at this exotic place during this time however was able to understand the poison doing its work and till date being a challenge to the civil society. The first act of violence, rising tide of fanaticism by the cult of death was shown against South Indians, their establishments and south Indian producers who brought in Hindi cinemas to Bombay. This laid the foundation stone to the collection of protection money / extortion money, which until then was not famous among the infamous Mumbai Mafia. The first full fledge riot was launched during the end of 60s on the Maharashtra – Karnataka issue.

The communal mobilization of the Shiv Sena started by the mid-eighties when Thackeray took sides with the Hindus, during two Mandir-Masjid disputes (Durgadi & Mahikavati). Mumbai was largely starting to get infested with a wide selection of serpents namely RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh), SLS (Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti), Bharatiya Kamger Sena (BKS), Hindu Mahasabha, Jan Sangh, Rastriya Utsav Mandal many more and their respective leaders.

Thus on 1984 the communal division was inaugurated by the parties of god in Bhiwandi, Thane, Kalyan and Mumbai when Thackeray made a provocative speech against Prophet Muhammad , retaliated with a large protest action by a Muslim congress MLA. This ignited the minds of the fanatic Hindus who launched a wide attack taking lives of 238 human beings and crores worth of property being destroyed. The notoriety undertaken in the riot against Muslims was extremely heinous. It left a deep scar on the minds of Muslims which till date is not healed. Only one and one alone were to be held culprit on the death of hundreds; Shiv Sena and its bunch of goons and thugs. The reaction from the government was nothing and no action was taken against Thackeray and his bunch of idiots, which further added fuel on fire among the Muslims minds.

Further in the late 80s wide acts of communal riots were reported and as a result the Saffronists were capitalizing on their victory. Bal Thackeray and his Hindutva campaign were now to be heard nationwide. The acts of atrocities were not just concentrated on Muslims; Dalits were also being exploited in Maharashtra mainly at Vidharbha and Marathwada by destroying their crops, acquiring their lands and burning off their shelters. It was during this time when SS and BJP set an alliance which cemented the base for a new National brainwashing.

The worst face of communal violence in Mumbai was during the Early 90s. Soon after the demolition of Babri–Masjid at Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) an extremely venomous communal hate campaign was launched by SS. It brought utter shame on me personally simply because I was born as a Hindu. I was a teenager when this ghastly instance took place in Bombay. At one instance when I was discussing this issue with my neighbor he was justifying the act of SS with terms like Ram Janma Bhoomi, honour of hindutva and how we should flush out the Muslim invaders. Without a doubt his answers were convincing for me at that age. Religion poisons everything, yes it does, If it was not religion what else would have made me think that the act of these fanatic mass murderers were justifiable, even for an iota of a second. I agree with Christopher Hitchens, yes Religion poisons everything. This chapter of bloodshed didn’t end here, the ignited Muslim minds craved for vengeance thus it gave to an impetus birth to Muslim extremism in Mumbai; followed by the ghastly Bombay blasts in 1993.

The controversies of this mass murdered continues till date, the latest ones with Sachin tendulkar, SRK and against North Indians as a whole.

Will eliminating Bal Thackeray end all the troubles in this region; since he has already passed on the baton to his successor Raj Thackeray? Even though their paths are different their goals are the same “Saffronizing Mumbai and then take over India.

Can someone prescribe a medicine for this Cancer which is spreading at a fast rate?
Wipe off gods and religions on which they base their agenda; this and this alone can cure the cancer.

As of me, I left Mumbai by six months during my first term, later on quit ICICI and joined a Real estate group called SRK Constructions. After moving around in Cochin, Bangalore and Pune I came back to Mumbai for my second term of experiences which did not last for long as I was transferred to SRK Group’s first International office in Dubai.

I still cherish the memories of my Mumbai Term and miss my beloved friends.

“God it is not you, but your fans that I am worried about”.