The Myth of the Hindu Right

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Philoshy

Philoshy

In media accounts today, particularly in India, it seems that any group which identifies itself as Hindu or tries to promote any Hindu cause is quickly and uncritically defined as ‘right-winged’.

In the Marxist accounts that commonly come from the Indian press, Hindu organizations are routinely called fundamentalists, militants or even fascists. This may be surprising for the western mind, inclined to think of India as a Hindu country. But not only have states in India like Bengal and Kerala been long dominated by Marxists, most of academia and much of the English-language media has been as well. Their slanted views are often uncritically accepted by the western media as well.

However, if we look at their actual views, Hindu groups have a very different ideology and practices than the political right in other countries. In fact, most Hindu causes are more at home in the left in the West than in the right.

The idea of the ‘Hindu right’ is largely a ploy to discredit the Hindu movement as backward and prevent people from really examining it. The truth is that the Hindu movement is a revival of a native spiritual tradition that has nothing to do with the political right-wing of any western country. Its ideas are spiritually evolutionary, not politically regressive. Let us examine the different aspects of the Hindu movement and where they would fall in the political spectrum of left and right as usually defined in the West.

Hinduism and Native Traditions

The Hindu cause is similar to the cause of native and tribal peoples all over the world, like native American and African groups. Even Hindu concerns about cultural encroachment by western religious and commercial interests mirrors those of other traditional peoples who want to preserve their cultures. Yet while the concerns of native peoples have been taken up by the left worldwide, the same concerns of Hindus are styled right-wing or communal, particularly by the left in India!

When native Americans ask for a return of their sacred sites, the left in America supports them. When Hindus ask for a similar return of their sacred sites, the left in India opposes them and brands them as intolerant for their actions! When native peoples in America or Africa protest missionaries for interfering with their culture, they are supported by the left. Yet when Hindus express the same sentiments, they are attacked by the left. Even the Hindu demand for rewriting the history of India to better express the value of their indigenous traditions is the same as what native Africans and Americans are asking for. Yet the left opposes this Hindu effort, while supporting African and American efforts of a similar nature.

In countries like America, native traditions are minorities and thereby afforded a special sympathy. Leftists in general tend to support minority causes and often lump together black African and native American causes as examples of the damage caused by racism and colonialism. In India, a native tradition has survived the colonial period but as the tradition of the majority of the people. Unfortunately, the intellectual elite of India, though following a leftist orientation, has no sympathy for the country’s own native tradition. They identify it as right-wing in order to express their hostility towards it. They portray it as a majority oppression of minorities, when it is the movement of a suppressed majority to regain its dignity.

Vayu Rahasya: The Secret of Vayu

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Philosophy

Philosophy

Vayu is one of the key concepts of Vedic thought that has great importance in Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedanta. It has many profound implications both at a cosmic level and relative to our own individual lives. Indeed if one understands Vayu, one understands everything, including time, space and karma, life and death and one’s own deeper Self.

Vayu is usually regarded as the element of air at a material level. This is a good place to begin a study of Vayu, but only the beginning of many correspondences. In Vedic thought, Vayu includes the concept of space or Akasha. Space in motion is air, while air at rest is ether. These are the two sides of Vayu, which is the unity of air and ether. Ether is the field in which Vayu as a force operates.

Modern science recognizes that the universe consists of a fabric of space filled with various types of channels, currents or wormholes that are filled with dynamic interchanges. This is a picture of the cosmic Vayu, which is not only space but the energy within it both potential and actual. One could say that potential energy is space while activated space is air. The universe itself is Vayu in its ethereal vibration.

However, Vayu is much more than the material or even subtle elements. Vayu is the power through which everything comes into manifestation and into which everything eventually returns. Vayu is not just the material element of air and space but the cosmic principle of energy and space that pervades body, life, mind and consciousness. The entire manifest universe arises from space and energy which is Vayu at an outer level. At an inner level, Vayu stands for the formless principle of air and space, the invisible Spirit or Brahman behind the visible world of the earth, water and fire elements, the realm of name and form. The famous Shantipath of the Taittiriya Upanishad declares this:

An Alien’s View of Life on Earth

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Life on Earth

Life on Earth

Ever since I can remember, I’ve never been too comfortable about being in this human body, nor about being on this planet. It’s always been too foreign to me. I know that some people may find that odd, but it’s the way I’ve always felt. Whenever I tried to find a niche, or attempted to find a place where I had a sense of belonging on this planet, it seemed I only got more anxious, more worried about the future and how to accomplish my goals. You know, on this world it’s a major decision about what you are going to do in life, what you’re going to become when you grow up, or how to fit in and find approval or acceptance from others.

So when it came time to make a decision about what course of study I had to take in school, I simply felt empty and could never really make up my mind. It seemed that there were few things that seemed worth it or that did not end with disappointment, or the need for constant revision and change.

The Grand Departure

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Stories_2

Stories_2

Lord Yama, the Immortal Man, unveils the mysteries of the afterlife
The Upanishads take us straight to the heart of the metaphysical problem connected with death. By means of lively dialogue, the Katha Upanishad brings us step by step to the disclosure of the mystery of death.

The dialogue is between Yama, Lord of Death and a young brahmin, Naciketas by name. The parable of Naciketas belongs to an already highly developed stage in human consciousness. It combines the symbolism of Yama with elements of the earlier story of the Taittiriya Brahmana, thus weaving together in one artistic fabric the different threads of the Vedic tradition. Naciketas represents Man at his noblest, longing for enlightenment and realization, haunted by the problem of death. He asks Lord Yama the crucial question: “Does Man -the life principle in a Man–continue to exist or not after death?” Or, more tersely and more vividly: “Is he or is he not?”

Naciketas: The doubt that exists about a man when he is dead–for some say “he is ” and others, “he is not “–about that I would clearly know, instructed by you. This is my third and final favor.

Yama: The hard-to-perceive and wrapped in mystery, set in the cave and hidden in the depth–he who, wise indeed, realizes this as God, by means of an awareness centered on the Self, leaves far ehind both joy and sorrow. The man who has understood and grasped this well, who, stripping off all else, has plumbed this mystery, will rejoice, having obtained what merits rejoicing. For you, I think, the house is wide open, Naciketas!