Hindu Dharma: Surviving and Thriving!

Kumbh Mela, Prayag-India 2019

Numbers Interest Mathematicians, politicians, traders, and the like. Whereas, ideas matter more to the scholars, intellectuals, philosophers, and their tribes.

Now, Dharma is neither about numbers, nor about ideas. Dharma does not depend upon numbers. Kauravas and their supporters outnumbered the Pandavas and their resources, yet they lost the war, because they did not abide by Dharma. There was no dearth of scholars, intellectuals, and philosopher in the times of Krishna, yet it was he, a cowherd, who delivered the Bhagavad Gita, the most comprehensive exposition of Dharma – not any one of those pundits.

The situation changes when Dharma is misinterpreted as a belief system; when the Sanatana Hindu Dharma, the Eternal and Lofty Noble Values and a Way of Life are reduced to Hindu-ism.

When We Talk of Hindu-ism, then we are talking about a belief system, just like any other belief system. And, belief systems cannot survive without fanatic believers, who must shut their minds and blindly follow the system.

A belief system cannot survive without numbers. A belief system is about mathematics. You do not have the numbers, and the belief system dies out. The ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and other belief systems died, became extinct, because they lost in the game of numbers. They were outnumbered by other belief systems, which ultimately uprooted them entirely.

The new belief systems learnt from their predecessors. They knew that their very existence depended upon numbers. So, they created sets of rules and regulations, dogmas and doctrines, customs and creeds to ensure that they did not loose in the game of numbers.

To ensure that the believers followed the system blindly, dialogue was only permitted as long as it did not question the authority of the lawmakers, those who laid the ground for such rules, regulations, dogmas, doctrines, customs, and creeds.

Besides the Threat of Eternal Hellfire in the hereafter, those leaving, or even thinking of leaving the fold were subjected to severe social sanctions, including the death penalty.

Polygamy was also encouraged to ensure that their numbers increased manifold and did not dwindle. The leaders of such belief systems lived in a constant fear of losing in numbers, in the game of numbers.

So much so that the essence of the belief system, the core message of the founder of the system is forgotten. The original vision is undermined. The whole belief system is reduced to a game of numbers in its entirety.

This has been the Fate of All Belief Systems, including the Hindu Dharma, whenever it was reduced to an ism, a belief system; and, used, or rather misused by the rulers of the day to achieve their political goals, and stay in power.

History bears witness to the fact that whenever the rulers tried to have a control over Dharma and decide its tenets, rather than be guided by it, Dharma declined.

This tragedy becomes all the more tragic whenever the arrogant rulers, supported by the loyalist bootlickers, posed himself as a deity and the sole representative of Dharma. All that it took the newcomers to uproot Dharma from those lands was by defeating and/or killing the rulers. The end of the ruler, the end of Dharma.

Thus, Reducing Dharma to a Belief System – connecting it with mathematics and numbers, and allowing the rulers to use it as a tool to stay in power – does not serve the Cause of Dharma.

There are institutions, great institutions, recognized by even greater institutions organizing Yoga Festivals, commemorating the International Yoga Day, and serving meat.

There are people whose reptilian brain is so provoked that they would do-or-die for what they understand to be the cause of Dharma, to defend Dharma – but have no inkling whatsoever of what the Dharmika cultural and spiritual values are. They are driven by their lower emotions, by their animalistic instinct to survive.

How Easy it is to Create a Mob of the most ruthless human beings! Ignite a part of their brain that makes them fearful. And, the greatest fear is the fear of extinction.

Make them believe that without a certain leader, a certain ideology, or whatever, their very existence, their identity is at risk. And, they will do any and everything to save themselves, to keep existing!

This is how the terrorists are created. Make them believe that there is a real threat, a real danger to their very existence. And, they will do anything for survival.

Beware! Lest you are taken for a ride by the cunning leaders, of whom we have no dearth presently.

Is the Dharma in Danger of Extinction? The answer is NO. Read these excerpts from an article published on the Newsweek a decade ago, more relevant and true today than it was then.

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by Lisa Miller

(According to a 2008 survey) a million-plus Hindus live in the United States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like Hindus… in the ways we think about God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God… None is better than any other; all are equal….

(The most traditional, conservative) have not been taught to think like this. (They learn) that their religion is true, and others are false….

Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life”— (including 37 percent of) the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005.

Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

Then there’s the question of what happens when you die. (The traditional belief is) that bodies and souls are sacred, that together they comprise the “self,” and that at the end of time they will be reunited in the Resurrection. You need both, in other words, and you need them forever.

Hindus believe no such thing. At death, the body burns on a pyre, while the spirit—where identity resides—escapes. In reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and again in different bodies.

So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. So agnostic are we about the ultimate fates of our bodies that we’re burning them – like Hindus – after death. More than a third of Americans now choose cremation, according to the Cremation Association of North America, up from 6 percent in 1975.

“I do think the more spiritual role of religion tends to deemphasize some of the more starkly literal interpretations of the Resurrection,” agrees Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard. So let us all say “om.”

Source: https://www.newsweek.com/us-views-god-and-life-are-turning-hindu-79073

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Friends! Not Only Surviving, Hindu Dharma is, actually, thriving…. Let us empower ourselves, and work for the cause fearlessly, joyously. Victory to Dharma!

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