Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Secularism as a Tool of Adharma

by Satya Sarma

The basis of Bharat was the eternal dharma. I use the past tense deliberately, because in the short space of the last ten days, ironically on the day we Bharatiyas celebrate dharma's victory over adharma, we awoke to the fact that this was no longer the case. How we got to this point, and how the path of secularism took us there is the story I want to tell here.

Let us begin then with the arrest of Kanchi Sri Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal: an arrest the police conducted without any definitive basis in fact being provided, beyond contradictory and vague rumors disseminated in the press.

Follow that up with the dispatch of police officers to the Kanchi Math, to the schools it runs and to the NGOs it funds, as well as the daily harassing and interrogations of its employees.

Next, examine the delays and hurdles erected by the state in its legal deliberations -- a judicial hearing ruled upon in the absence of the defense counsel, a simple bail hearing unresolved for over a week, the refusal to provide any consideration for the health of the Acharya or the observance of his math traditions.

When it came to an old sanyasin who has concerned himself in this life with the welfare of our society and its dharma, the secular humanists could see no humanitarian grounds to spare this guru physical pain. When it came to the observances of a 2,500-year old Bharatiya tradition, they could find no reason for religious impartiality.

Swamigal could rot in a cell for all they cared, be beaten and tortured by interrogators, if that's what it took. And if the Shiv puja could not be properly carried out, if the rituals that connect the bhakthas to Bhagavan are disrupted, then why should proponents of religious freedom be concerned? If a sanyasin's dharma must forcibly be forbidden him – so what? Do not, the libertarians cautioned, be prejudiced in favor of a defenseless old man's liberty.

None of the human rights activists who keep their eyes peeled for even the faintest transgression against the practice of faith can spot religious persecution in India today. Such is their secularism.

“The law is the law,” they shrug their shoulders to say. What law? Our secular laws are treacherous: full of loopholes for those who harm society, but stern to punish those who work for its benefit. Professional thieves, habitual murderers, rabble-rousing rowdies, thugs and goondas – secularism allows all these to write its laws, even laws that confer them immunity. Now, when a fragile old man who has given up all possessions and all allegiances except to the path of truth is imprisoned arbitrarily, these very looters will point out to us that it is all very legal.

Look at who has custody of this law today: this secular law that prosecutes our Swamigal, who is ours because he has dedicated every breath of his life to our wellbeing. This selfless samaj-sevak who literally gave sight to so many thousands is accused by people who refuse to open their eyes – who deliberately blind themselves, even to the extent of wearing dark sunglasses indoors.

How do such willfully ignorant men gain custody of secular institutions? There are those in our society – or indeed any society – who by nature are debauched. They revel in misery both their own and that of others. Their predatory greed is whetted by those who seek to rule us. Malicious people feed their putrid minds with hatred. Then that fattened hatred is wielded like a cudgel.

There are those in our society or in any other who lack control over their emotions. When their anger is inflamed, they hit out in a blind rage, like children in a tantrum, breaking everything before them. Secular leaders take advantage of that blindness. They make sure this mad anger is kept alive, so that they, being shrewder, can stay in charge of the secular institutions.

Indeed, the institutions of secularism are built on a graveyard of political murders and mass riots and secular justice gropes around there blindfolded, innocently unaware of the slaughterhouse she lives in.

Who are these people to judge a jagatguru? What are their bonafides? How clear are their minds, how clean their hearts? What good have they done in the world to show their credentials to sit in judgment of our Swamigal? They are the talking puppets of a blindfolded woman with empty scales.

And then there are the so-called journalists who are supposed to be the secular guardians of truth. In reality, they are sensationalists and rumormongers, who treat Sankaracharya and Veerappan as equally novel curiosities. They can barely tell the difference between them. Today, in their craving for scandal, they cannot seem to remember the deeds and words our Acharya has left behind. They cannot remember the hospitals, or the temples, or his efforts to make peace between warring factions.

Who should you rely upon? Ask yourself!

Let me tell you what I think of this secularism that strangles dharma and tolerates adharma. I say this secularism and the constitution it is based on is the death-knell of Bharat. I say tear up this constitution. I repudiate its secular basis, because this secularism takes no cognizance of the eternal dharma.

All I know – all I care to know is my dharma, my birthright bequeathed to me through the accumulated wisdom of my ancestors, and kept alive by our jagatgurus. What are the antecedents of this secularism that I should give it even a moment's notice? Secularism was brought here by some foreign invaders, who stole from my Bharat everything that they could carry. Now those invaders are gone. Why should I put up with the refuse they have left behind on my soil? Why should I let the law take its course, when it is taking a course that demolishes the path of sat? Why should I accept the decision of a court that has no authority except in that truth-demolishing bulldozer called secularism? Why should I respect a raaj that has forgotten – worse, lost sight of – even the concept of dharma?

While secularism blindfolds Justice, our dharma urges us to open our eyes. Our dharma asks us to cleanse our own thoughts and our minds, to repel corruption of any kind. Why then should we respect these secular institutions, which are built on corruption, held up by the corrupt – in fact, corrupt through and through?

Our gurus, from Vivekananda to Shirdi ke Sai Baba have taught us all how to make our minds peaceful, how to fulfill our obligations and how to live in society in harmony with sat. The path they have shown us through the example of their existence is open to everyone, regardless of creed or status. It stops at mandirs and dargahs and gurudwaaras, runs through villages and cities. What has secularism done – this secularism that wallows in the filth of corruption?

There is a lesson in our history that many have not learnt. In Bharat, there are still Duryodhanas who clamor for adharma, Dushaashanas who drag the virtuous by their hair to ridicule and insult. There are still Shakunis – foreign-born ones – who smilingly indulge them, there are still turbaned Dhirthrashtras who stare vacantly on. Even today, there are Pandavas who hang their heads in shame, powerless against a corrupted raaj. And then there are Dronas and Kripas, who know better, but stay silent because they remain confused about where their obligations lie. And there is even a Bhishma, who watches in anguish, but fails to lift a finger. To these I say: if you watch silently now while the virtuous are humiliated, you have made your bed of arrows today.

When Draupadi was humiliated with only Bhagavan for refuge, only a terrible war could restore dharma. What the consequence will be of today's paap, I cannot tell. But fight we must to our dying breath to restore dharma.

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