“If You are Not with Us, You are Against Us…”
Do we remember these lines by a seasoned politician? How did we react then? I remember meeting someone “big” in India, and he was, then, very clear in his mind: This is not the way our Hindu mind works. A Hindu shall never ever say so.
I agreed, and I still do.
But, looking at the situation now in the land of my forefathers, my ancestors – I am totally confused and frustrated as never before.
The same “big” man mentioned above is now advocating the theory he had rejected earlier, “If you do not choose him, if you do not trust in him, then you are against the Motherland, nay, you are against Dharma!”
What a Change!? Political Correctness has hijacked the genuine Dharma Narrative. The fight in the land of my ancestors is no longer between the forces of Dharma and Adharma, but between two political parties, each with their party interests, even personal interests. It is not a Dharma Yudha – a war to uphold Dharma.
No longer with us are those men and women who knew what Rajya Dharma is – what are the responsibilities of those administering the state. Our icon now is Chanakya, one who so frustrated Chandragupta Maurya, the king of his own making, that the latter finally left his kingdom to become a Jaina monk.
Chanakya was, perhaps, the call of the hour then. But, he can not address the issues today.
Too Much of Politics…. Let us leave the land of my ancestors and meet the Global Hindu Community. Like it or not, most of the vocal members of Global Hindu Community, have their roots in the land of their ancestors. And, somehow, they have bought the popular narrative, “If you are not with him, you are against your Motherland, the Land of your Ancestors. You are against Dharma.”
Many of the Western Converts find their conversion incomplete without an endorsement by and from the institutions, peoples, and administration of the land, now identified as the “country of origin of the Hindu religion”. So, they endorse the same popular narrative.
Left out from the crowd are the indigenous Hindus in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam, and perhaps many, many more countries, depending on how do we define the word Hindu.
So, Let Us Now move to our core topic, which is to redefine Hindu Dharma. First, the word “Hindu” – most of the scholars, historians, and anthropologists today are in agreement that initially it referred to the peoples – that is correct, not people, but peoples – living beyond the River Sindhu or Indus.
The Indos of the Greek, Hindi or Hindu of the Persians and Arabs, Shintu or Intu of the Chinese was a word used to identify not only those living in the present day Indian Subcontinent, but also those in the Southeast Asia, the Indonesian and Malaysian Archipelagos.
The European Merchants went a step futher… wherever they found people “worshipping trees, mountains, rivers, and etcetera” – that is to say wherever they found peoples following non-Abrahamic religions – they coined them wholesale as Indians.
Thus India – the modern Indian Republic; Indonesia or Indo Neses, the Indian Islands or modern Indonesian Archipelago; and, even the indigenous population of the Americas were called Indians – Red Indians.
The word “Indigenous”, thus, defines the entire populace of the planet following a Primordial Faith in a total harmony with nature and the natural laws or Rta, as the Vedic Rishis or Seers called it. Later, another expression Sanatana Dharma or The Eternal Law of Nature became more popular.
The Sundanese, the Indigenous Populace of the landmass that would later be fragmented and known as the Indonesian and Malaysian Archipelagos – called the faith Wiwitan – One That has Always been There from Time Immemorial, the Original One, yes, the Primordial.
Later, many more words would be coined, like Kejawen – the Natural Faith of the People of Java; Kaharingan; Permalim; Pemena, Cham Ahin, and etcetera. All meaning more or less the same – Sanatana, Eternal, Primordial
“Indeed,” someone from Lebanon tells me, “we also had a similar term from ancient times…, now it is being identified with the established religions.” I purposely do not mention the term he used, as it may disturb some of us who are not interested in the ancient history and would label everything ancient or primordial as barbaric and uncivilized.
Conclusion: The word “Hindu” is not a monopoly of any one modern nation-state. It would be wrong to identify Hindu with any modern republic. Hindu can not be confined to any one country.
Hindus are everywhere. They are the indigenous peoples of this planet. The Orang Aseli or Aborigines, be they in the modern Malaysian State, in the Australian Continent, or anywhere else – are Hindus, in the sense they are Indigenous. Their faith and practices go back in time, when established religions and religious institutions were non-existing.
It is our first and foremost duty – the duty of the Indigenous Peoples of the Planet – whether we are called Orang Aseli, Aborigines, Indians, Hindus or whatever; whether we are termed as animists, polytheists, or followers of ancient faiths, such as Sunda Wiwitan, Kaharingan, Kejawen, Pemena, Permalim, Cham Ahin or any other – to save our ancient heritage, our Dharma, or Natural Law of Righteousness from being hijacked by the cunning opportunists for their benefit.