Renascent Hinduism

RENASCENT HINDUISM

GOVINDH.K.BHARATHAN


 

                    I prefer the name Bharath instead of India.  Bharath has poetry about it, whereas India sometimes sounds like the Englishman’s compromise to poor pronouncement of vernacular terms.  Bharath is Bhava Raga Thala and where Bhava Raga and Thala are in perfect, balance alone can harmony emerge. 

 

          The unique strength of Indian culture lies in the perfect amalgam of the divine and the profane.  Even the most mundane aspects of everyday life are elevated to the realms of the spirit and are tinged with shades of the Divine.  The Ganga may be just another polluted over exploited river. But to the Indian mind it represents the grace of the Divine brought down by the firmness of human faith, and preserved in the matted locks of the eternal Yogi Lord Shiva.  Again surpassing the scenic beauty of the confluence of three oceans at Kanyakumari looms the legend of the resplendent virgin goddess eternally waiting for her Lord.

 

          The Bharatheeya Ethos is a remarkable phenomenon.  The Rishi, to whom even the King bowed his head and who as a consequence orchestrated national thought and the texture of life, had a dynamic trend of interiorisation coupled with a surprising openness of mind.  When asked to traces his ancestry, the Hindu unerringly trace his roots back to one of these hallowed Rishis, living in a peaceful heritage, living a life of extreme asceticism.  In the West, quest of one’s ancestral roots, (especially if one claims any degree of nobility) would invariably lead to some horrendous tyrant living in a fortified castle, subsisting on the fruits of his ill begotten riches. 

 

          The openness of the mind of the Rishi flowered into the freshness of the Upanishads, and through meditation, truth which was the ultimate quest assumed the  proportions of individual experience breaking out of the shackles of second hand narration. Chinmayanandaji says that this quest for truth and its resulting treasure of knowledge was going on in Bharath at the time our Anglo Saxons, ex-rules were hunting for hippopotami on the Thames, and when the rest of Europe was re-drawing its boundaries by waging relentless fratricidal battles. 

 

          Most of the Upanishads are in the setting of the forests and the mountains and seemed to carry perpetual echos of asceticism.  This gave the impression that the message of the Upanishads was renunciation.  It is precisely for this reason that Hinduism began to be considered as a religion which advocated withdrawal from everyday life into forests and hermitages.  The dynamism of life in ancient India was befogged by this false interpretation of the Upanishads and it became necessary to revitalize society, shake it out of its periphery and redefine the perennial philosophy.  This is perhaps why the Bhagawad Gita was conceived in the setting of the battlefield.  Life is a constant battle and the remedy is not to withdraw to the forests but to face the challenge.  The strains and stresses felt by Arjuna is in reality the constant pressure of life in society.  The tendency to withdraw and to seek refuge in a vague and philosophical attitude to life is the wrong approach.  One’s duty is to fight without egoistic involvement.  The message of the Gita is renunciation, not merely of objects but for the very desire for such objects.  The Philosophy preached is to keep one’s head in the forest and hands in the world.  Its message is simple and direct and addressed to the seeker, the man of action, the philosopher the house holder and the ascetic.

 

          The process of interiorisation flowered into the freshness of the Upanishads and the ultimate perfection of the Bhagawad Geetha.  And at the same time, on the social scene, an almost perfect class system was evolved where intellectuals and thinkers naturally migrated into a separate category to which was delegated the task of policy making and of giving the nation a direction and an aim.  This class was later called the Brahmins.  To those who are capable of taking up arms if necessary in battle in the cause of righteousness and national defence gravitated into another axis and they were called the Kshathriyas. The class which had the inherent capacity to trade and to nurture the economy either by resorting to agriculture and/or animal husbandry and by dealing with the produce from these activities, enriched the nation and themselves in the process, were classified as Vysyas.  The category, which supplied the labour force for these activities, who became the soldiers for those who led armed manures and those who served the intellectuals, naturally gravitated towards another classification.  They also provided a market for the Vyasyas and they were called the Shudras.  There was perfect harmony in society and each of these categories complemented the other leading to a mature, secure and well-balanced way of life for the entire society.  It is remarkable that there were no rigid barriers between the clases as irrespective of birth a child depending on his inherent talents would migrates towards the appropriate class.  The world’s most ancient system of classification by merit was conceived in the Bharatheeya ethos.  Ancient Hindu Kingdoms flourished on this concept in all aspects of national life. 

 

          To a mind that was free to delve into fathomless depths to discover the essence of truth, nothing could be accepted without first being challenged with questions.  It was in this spirit that brilliant young minds followed the authors of the Aranyakas who had retreated into the forests in search of an atmosphere of peace and quest and, sitting at their feet questioned the basic assumptions of their treatises.  These conversations gave birth to the Upanishads.  The Upanishads have been acclaimed as one of the most fascinating and fearless quests for truth by mankind.  Referring to this unique aspect of the Upanishads, Romain Rolland says:

 

  “The true Vedantic spirit does not start out with a system of preconceived ideas.  It possesses absolute liberty and unrivalled courage among religions with regard to the facts to be observed and the diverse hypotheses it has laid down for their co-ordination.  Never having been hampered by a priestly order, each man has been entirely free to search wherever he pleased for the spiritual explanation of the spectacle of the universe.”

 

                                      (The Life of Vivekandanda and the

                                      Universal Gospel Third Impression 1947, P.196)

 

  It is this spirit of enquiry led these brilliant minds to question even their gods and the basics of all traditionally held faiths.  The creative role of skepticism in the relentless pursuit of truth lent rationality to their faith. 

 

          Knowingfully well that the truth even while so pursued was still bound to be allusive, the Rishies established a system of external practices using the Panchabhuthas, the very building blocks of matter to demonstrate how the gross could be utilized to search for the subtle.  Elaborate systems of rituals were prescribed whereby using fire as the messenger, ritualistic offerings were made to Agni under strictly controlled conditions to attain specified objectives.  Elaborate yagnas were carefully planned and executed in an attempt to fuse the subtlety of the unknowable by using the grossness of the known.  Gradually these practices were perfected into a highly evolved system where the gods could be invoked to satisfy human aspirations.  The age of poojas and rituals was born.  Man created god in his image in stone, metal or wood, and through the ritualistic performance of poojas, using water, sandalwood paste, kumkum, milk, honey and all the best gifts of the fecundity of the earth and its animal and vegetable life, performed poojas and rituals in Temples which he established for this purpose. 

 

          But somewhere along the line something went horribly wrong.  Some commentators are of the opinion that it was the relentless wave of invasion, the debilitating wars that were waged by ruthless conquerors that caused a calcification of this nascent and creative life force.  Others feel that when this unique quest had fulfilled itself and found that it had nowhere else to go, it turned upon itself resulting in a cannibalistic orgy which converted society into a parody of itself.  Whatever it was, in the process, certain near fatal changes occurred in the Hindu psyche.  Interiorisation became secretiveness.  The class system degenerated into the caste system and yagnas and poojas became mere rituals to be performed by a few, purportedly for the benefit of the many.  The art of questioning became argumentativeness.  Hair splitting distinctions were made both in polymics and in practices which resulting the frittering away of creativeness into the “dreary desert sands of dead reason”.  (Tagore in the Geethanjali).  A mighty philosophy which bordered on sheer scientific rationalism degenerated into bigotry and superstition.  This was the curse that Hinduism had to suffer at that distant point of time, some of the ill effects of which subsist even today.

 

          But when this happens to an ancient and tested way of life, a savior emerges from the system itself to set matters right and to re-establish Dharma.  This is Krishna’s promise to the kneeling warrior Arjuna on the battlefield to Kurukshethra in the Bhagawad Geetha.  When Arjuna attempts to retreat into a paralytic pacifism, in the face of the wave of Adharma let loose by the Kauravas, Krishna patiently demolishes his reasons for withdrawal from battle and in the process rejuvenates the Hindu Religion by establishing a dynamic and positive approach to eradicate Adharma, thereby wiping off the false patina of meekness and resignation which Arjuna had raised to the pedestal of virtuousness.  This process of self-correction is one of the basic inherent strengths of Hinduism.  The threats faced by our complex and often misunderstood Religion from within and without and the great souls who emerged to rescue Hinduism from seemingly formidable and invincible threats are too many to catalogue. 

 

          When Hinduism faced the serious threat from within itself in the form of self contradictory and self destructive creeds spawned by a host of interpreters who seemed to be more interested in polemics than philosophy and in self assertion rather in self unfoldment, Adi Shankara emerged to rid Hindu thought of these unnecessary and debilitating accretions. Single-handed, he fought this devastating trend and reconstructed Hindu society, establishing its supremacy once again and made Hinduism a vital and dynamic creed. 

 

          But the greatest threat of them all was from aggressive proselytizing and organized Religions, Centuries of exploitation and Macaulayism supported by the protection, power and patronage of our Colonial Rulers had brought our religion to another crisis.  The very foundation of our faith appeared badly shaken.  The well planned and carefully orchestrated attack going to the roots of the Bharatheeya Ethos and Hindu culture started slowly bearing fruit.  Our youth started turning away from all aspects of our Religion and our Culture.  The result was an appalling pall of spiritual and cultural listlessness.  The stage was thus set for another great advent.   

 

From the very soul of Bharath emerged Sri.Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and along with him came the prophet of Hindu Renaissance, Swami Vivekananda. 

 

          Vivekananda was Sri.Ramakrishna’s facet of karmayoga.  He was passionately averse to passivity, seeking in this bovine attitude, one of the chief reasons for the failures of India.  “ The passions of strength (never of weakness) were striving within his Lions heart.  he was energy personified and action was his message to men”. 

 

                                      (Roman Rolland: “The Life of Vivekananda

                                                and the Universal Gospel”)

 

          In Vivekananda was really born the seed of Hindu renaissance. In his powerful athletic and virile for there raged mighty tempests of the spirit he symbolized the power of pure energy forever ready to translate itself into dramatic and meaningful action. 

 

          Hinduism as misinterpreted exhibited an unhealthy pre-occupation with Moksha as against ignoring Dharma. Vivekananda constantly lashed out at this concept.  His foresight into the fast emerging complex India of the future, shaped more by science and technology than by the abstraction of spirituality caused him to propound the supremacy of the path of a dynamic extrovented fulfillment of ones own Dharma as against a philosophical introverted search for Moksha.  To Vivekananda spirituality had other connotations than meditativeness and introspection.  His contempt for the bovine passivity of the East was expressed in his famous exhortation to his disciples in Rajputana in 1891. 

 

    “Above all, be strong, be manly! I have a respect even for one who is wicked, so long as he is manly and strong; for his strength will make him some day give up his wickedness, or even give up all work for selfish ends, and will then eventually bring him into the Truth”.

 

 

          He reinstalled Humanism on the firm foundation of spirituality and gave it a new meaning, while retaining its ancient sources.  He said. 

 

For the next fifty years let all other vain Gods disappear for that time from our minds.  This is the only Gold that is awake, our own race – everywhere His hands, everywhere His feet, everywhere His ears, He covers everything.  All other Gods are sleeping.  What vain Gods shall we go after and yet cannot worship the God that we see all round us, the Virat?  The first of all worship is the worship of the Virat of those all around us.  These are all our Gods – men and animals and the first Gods we have to worship are our own countrymen”

 

          And this mighty message went to the heart of the Bharatheeya Ethos and kindled there the flame of Hindu Renaissance.  The touch bearers of this message on the political front were the father of our Freedom Movement and ultimately the Mahatma led us out of bondage with the Rama Nama on his lips.  Like a sleeping giant, Bharat woke up and even while waking up, the chains of centuries of colonial rule snapped.  Macualay had lost. The British had succeeded neither in destroying the Hindu Religion, nor Sanskrit, nor the Culture of the Rishi.  Bharat arose from the flames like a phoenix spread her wings in flight and in the echo of her wing beats could be heard the voice of Vivekananda. 

 

          It is the greatness of our culture that our approach to life has been this basic spirituality.  Whether it be art, music, poetry or architecture, the basis of all creative activity has been spiritually oriented.  Art is the crystallization of the overflow of the human emotion.  Thus where the causative factor of emotion is spirituality, necessarily all forms of art must emerge from and symbolize soaring heights of the spirit. 

 

          Any culture not based on spirituality and which traces its origin to power, conquest or the glory of wealth will ultimately peter out into oblivion.  The Greeco Roman cultures have been reduced by time to heaps of marble and granite.  This was because basically these cultures were not rooted in the spirit. 

 

          It is this basic foundation in the spirit that constitutes the unity and continuity of Indian culture.  It is this atmic relationship which transcends the physical and the mental aspects of man.  That is the basic strength of Indian culture and which explains its resilience and continuity. 

 

          Time and again throughout the sweep of history, or land has been subject to successive waves of invasion from beyond its frontiers.  Conquering forces came, each armed with seemingly invincible powers.  The victors brought with them their culture and often tried to impose their cultures on the vanquished.  But time and again they found that the essence of all that was best in their cultures was absorbed by Bharat and the rest emphatically rejected.  Thus, through successive waves of invasion, Indian culture enriched itself often rising phoenix-like from the flames. 

 

          A cursory study of Hindu Law as it existed from time immemorial and as it exists today will also reveal the range and the elasticity of Hindu Dharmic concepts and the Bharatheeya Ethos.  No other system of law has undergone so many changes.  The metamorphosis of Hindu Law from its Divine Rishi oriented origins to a scientifically codified system as it is today is in itself a tribute to refreshing the open mined approach adopted by the Hindus.  When the Hindu Code was introduced in 1950, there was of course a cry of dismay from the orthodox and the scholarly legal sources.  However there was no difficulty in the implementation of the Hindu Code, which dealt with almost all aspects of social life including marriage maintenance adoption succession and women’s rights.  Judicial pronouncements molded many of the reliefs under the various statutes and altered the very texture of life at all levels of society. This according to prominent legal commentators is because the Hindus have understood law as facet of Dharma.  Dharma is one of the few concepts for which there is no western equivalent either in meaning or in words.  The easiest way to understand Dharma is to see it as an aggregate of duties and obligations falling under the multifarious heads of religious matters, mutual obligations, social realities, and legal restrictions. It is a tribute to the genius of the Vedic Aryans that the social concepts of an entire people which are an admixture of religious ethics and legal precepts meshed together perfectly to form the durable model of a legal system, or the Hindu Law can thus be said to be legal facet of Sanathana Dharma. 

 

          Ancient Hindu law is rooted in the Vedas and enlarged though the Smrities. The system was elaborated by enlightened commentaries and by customary usages.  The basic premises was that the law as promulgated in the Smrities was essentially interlinked with ancient traditions leading to position that ancient institutions and time honoured customs should be as far as possible be left unchanged and intact. It is a tribute to the flexibility of enlightened Hindu thought and action that, over a century and a half of judicial pronouncement have not strayed from this basic principle, but have made substantial changes in both Textual Law and Law by customary usage.  The necessity to bring in the entire Hindu fold under one orchestrated and planned structure also resulted in substantial changes being brought into the realm of Hindu Law.  The dominant factor of all statutory enactments in Hindu Law was to bring about a just and effective social order within the framework of existing conditions.  Outstanding statutory interventions into traditional and customary law were brought about by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.  The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and the Hindu Law of Adoption And Maintenance Act, 1956.  It is tribute to the wideness of Hindu thought and its adaptability to social realities that marriage, which was considered to be a sacred union between man and woman, and raised to that status by ceremonies which re-enacted the union of Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi (to the Vishnavites) and Siva & Parvathi to the Shivites was allowed to be dissolved under specific and precisely defined circumstances.  The next dynamic step taken was for dissolution of Marriage through mutual consent, an amendment which in effect altered the very basic concepts of permanency of  any marital union.  It is to be remembered that these enactment are made by a Secular State strongly imbedded in the concept of secularism, introduced into the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment of 1976.  But the inherent adaptability of Hindu thought and action was quick to realize the needs of generation next.  What would have been deemed sacrilegious was accepted without demur, in an act of compassion, supreme yoking today’s realities with yesterday’s truth. 

 

          The blending of the Srutis and the Smritis resulted in the Code of ancient Hindu Law.  Though the Vedas (all four of them) constituted the tone and the texture of Hinduism, legal luminaries found little that bore the stamp and “lawyers law” in them.  Justice P.B.Gajendra Gatkar, Justice B.K.Mukhargee & Dr.P.N.Sen, the countries leading moulders of Hindu Law, agreed with rare unanimity that from the strict legal point of view the Srutis have no legal value or direct connection with “The Law” as we understand it. 

 

          It is thus the Smritis, which constitute the foundation, and Hindu Law.  The Smrities consist of ‘Manusmrithi’, Yagnavalkya’ Smrithi, ‘Naradasmrithi’, the Mimamsa of Jaimini and the Arthasasthra of Kautilya. 

 

          Kautilya is the pen name of Vishnugupta Chankya who was the conscience keeper of Chadraguptha Maurya (4th century BC).  The Arthasasthra of Kautilya was discovered in 1909 when it was published by Dr.Syama Sasthri.  This publication gave a new impetus to research on Hindu Law.  The Arthasasthra is one of the earliest enunciated codes of Law in the world.  In about six thousand verses, Kautilya laid down a purely scholarly and legalistic code of justice.  It is singularly dereft of any nuances of religion or spirituality.  It is purely secular in nature of content and its practical approach to the problems of everyday life completely altered the approach of British interpreters of Indian Law who till then were of the opinion that Hindu Law represented a harsh and tyrannical code of cruel absurdities complied by “Sanskritists without law and lawyers without Sanskrit.” When the Arthasasthra was published hitherto virulent critics of ancient Indian Law woke up to the fact that the Indian soil has not only produced deep thinkers and founders of world religion but also established the foundation of a system of law which flooded the entire sub continent with rare wisdom and which later became the foundation of judicial systems in countries like Burma, Philippines and the Far East.  Dr. Julius Jolly in his Tagore Law Lectures makes special note of the fact that at a period when the whole world was merged in abysmal ignorance and barbarism, there existed in India a kind of culture and civilization which had spawned a legal system of high sophistication and a thorough understanding of daily realities of life. 

 

          No discussion on ancient Hindu Law can be complete without mention of the Manusmriti.  The Manusmriti is ancient and a literal interpretation of this monumental work would lead to grave misunderstandings.  The ‘Manusmriti’ has been interpreted by many scholars, each adding to its basic frame, his own gloss and personal preferences and prejudices.  It is now unanimously accepted that of all the commentaries, the work of Kulluka Bhatta is undoubably the best.  This paper does not envisaged an in depth study of Manusmriti.  The point which is emphasized is that in spite of some of the seemingly harsh edicts contain in the Manusmriti, the wondrous liberty of the Hindu mind has managed to assimilate its basic essential form and has adapted it through interpretation and judicial innovation to bring it in tune with modern Hindu thought relating to law and life. 

 

          A study of modern Hindu Law will indicate the vastness of the changes that have taken place by emancipated judicial interpretation to the classic texts and custom of usage and adaptation to the realities of every day life.  This aspect is the best example of the dynamism and the vital adaptability of Hinduism, not only in the field of Law, but in all aspects of life Being refreshingly free from any dogmatic opposition or restriction, modern Hinduism shows its resilience its capacity for innovation and its marvelous adaptability.  There are the unmistakable features of a Religion that steps beyond the limits of conventional limits and ritualistic practices and because of the power of its inherent spirituality, has converted itself into a way of life it is thus rather than a rigid doctrine of faith refreshingly free from dogma and obscurantism. 

 

          Sanysis and Sadaks who till then lived sequestered lives in remote Ashrams slowly liberated themselves from the suffocating bonds of Orthodox Ashram life descended to the plains to teach the Hindu about his religion and the way to live a life of achievement and fulfillment.  Swamy Chinmayananda was one of those who carried the message of the Upanishadas and the Bhagavat Geetha to the common man.  In his Poorvashram he was Balakrishna Menon from an ancient aristocratic family from Kochi.  His search for truth led him to the sacred feet of Tapovan Maharaj, one of the revered spiritual giants of the Himalayas. Swamiji learnt about the scriptures from realized souls like Swamy Sivananda and Swamy Purushothamananda Mahaaj.  Little by little he realized that the treasure, which lay in the life and teachings of these great souls was too precious to be kept within the confines of their Ashrams or the Himalayas and that the youth of India needed somebody who could talk  to them tat their own level in their own language.  he must have look back at his own rebellious youth and felt that there should be some teacher who could literally carry the message of the Vedandha from the sequestered mountain ashrams to the busy market place, colleges, offices, and ultimately the homes of countless thousands who carried within them the inherent Hindu trait of the search for truth, but did not know where to look for answers to their questions.  The Colossal Chinmaya Mission thus took birth in the mind of Swamy Chinmayananda. 

 

          Swamiji wrote about the origin of the Chinmaya Movement in 1956:

 

          “It was an afternoon dream that has taken me to more than 100 cities in India and to address up till now about 50,000 devotees in the 25 gyana yagnas.  I was then in Gangotri serving and living with my Gurudev, Sri.Swami Thapovanji Maharaj. 

 

          After the direct study of the Upanishads, in the summer of 1951,when I was joyously living the life of Sree Sad-Guru-Seva in the sacred Gangotri, this yagna idea dawned on me, all of a sudden.  In the chill days in Gangotri, we used to sit out in the un and discuss ‘Vedanta’ in a corner of peace’ embraced on its three sides by Mother Bhageerati – and we called it ‘Faquirstan’.

 

          There, the elderly mahatmas among themselves discussed Sankara and asserted vehemently upon some conclusion or other, often without much logical argument.  And it was almost out of court to interrupt the divine prattler even if it be to enquire the logic of his deductions.  I used to get often snubbed by them as ‘one who will never understand Vedanta’.

 

          These daily satsangs gave me a peep into what these mahatmas are doling out in the cities, and how much their words must be affecting adversely no doubt, the educated class.  I was terribly disappointed.  Slowly I left them for my own personal reflections and meditations. 

 

          Once when I was thus quietly composed and extremely pleased with the cool waves of joy within myself, it suddenly struck me that none can argue against the Important Truth that ‘man is essentially a God’.  Looking into the roaring Mother Ganga, I shivered, ‘can I do it? Can I face the educated and bring to their faithless heart a ray at least of understanding of what our wondrous culture stands for?

 

          Mother Ganga in her incessant hurry seemed to tell me.  ‘Son, don’t you see me?  Born here in the Himalayas, I rush down to the plains taking with me both life and nourishment.  Fulfillment of any possession is in sharing it with others.’ I decided I was encouraged.  I felt reinforced.  The urge became irresistible. 

 

          Now I must face the impediments.”

 

          With his instinctive knowledge of the need of intellectual India, Swamiji immediately understood that he had to leave  behind him the sequestered valleys of the Himalayas, however beautiful and peaceful they may be and step out into the heart of modern India where thousands of Hindus were floundering unable to understand the words of the wise who did not speak with their tongue and who thus could not touch their hearts. 

 

          Swamiji knew that the future of Hinduism lay in bringing Vedanta out of the rarified atmosphere of traditions and to air the true magnificence of the inner meaning of sanatana dharma as explained in the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita free from soul-killing dogma and meaningless rituals which had grown like barnacles around it, shrouding its glory, and reducing it to a lifeless fossil.

 

          The very basis of Hindu culture is the concept of Vasudeva Kudumbaka, that the whole world is one family.  Any suffering of any kind by anyone was considered as suffering to oneself.  The very basis of the prayer “Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu” is also based on this universality of this spirit.  The prayer is not for one’s own emancipation, enlightenment, or redemption but for peace and happiness of all the worlds.  In the “Bhagavatham”, Veda Vysa’s classic exposition on the core of our spiritual wealth, Vyasa relates in the 9th skanda the story of the Great King Ranti Deva.  There was a devastating famine in the Kingdom.  Ranti Devan and pained by the suffering of the people. The King underwent a fast for 48 days.  On the 49th day when he was assured that the poor the hungry and the needy had all been taken care of, the King decided to break his fast and was about to take a cup of water when he heard a piteous cry of on outside called Pulkasa asking for water since he was about to died of thirst.  The King immediately ordered that the cup of water that he was about to drink should be given to Pulkasa.  When the entire regal assembly remonstrated, King Ranti Deva made the famous pronouncements that rendered him immortal in the Indian ethos.  The King declared “I do not seek bliss or sidhies or cessations of the cycle of my birth or death.  As the ruler all I desire is to be present in all beings, undergo suffering with them and to serve them so that they may become free from misery.”

 

          The story of King Ranti Deva has inspired great sacrifices when the nation fought for its freedom.  The story epitomizes the essence of the Hindu concept of sacrifice and service.  it also emphasizes the basic principle imbedded in our spirituality and religion that relieving the suffering of others is greater than working of once own salvation or the attainment of personal moksha. 

 

          It is in this message that Hindu India’s greatest spiritual leaders are changing very texture of national life.  Bhagwan Sri. Sathya Sai Baba says that donating one drop of blood is equal to performing a soma yaga.  Bhagawan constantly reminds his devotees that hands that work are holier than lips that pray.  The Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Movement has fanned into the remotest villages of India and have supplied drinking water built hospitals cleaned drains and put up latrines for the poor and the needy.  The moto of the Sai Organization at Bhagawan’s 80th Birthday was 80 Years Of Service With Love.  The state of the art hospitals that Swamy has built in Bangalore and Puttaparthy render totally free medical facilities including heart surgery and kidney transplants both to princes and paupers.  The Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Education Institutions are in the process of producing what Swamy describes as his army of youth dressed in white who will guide the nations future in all fields.    

 

          It is the same principle of love in action arising from the concept of Vasudeva Kudumbakam that has manifested itself in the selfless service of humanity by Matha Amrithanandamayi Devi. The Divine Mother tirelessly circles the globe taking upon herself the sufferings not only of the poor and the needy but also of the rich and the affluent of the west.  The Mothers hospitals have attracted the most brilliant doctors in the world who for her sake spend their time, energy and money to render medical aid to those who could never have otherwise dreamed of such facilities.  The educational institutions established by the Divine Mother provide world class education to Indian students thereby rendering them capable of facing the competitive world along with their western educated counter parts.  The Hugging Saint as She called was invited to speak in the United Nations, an honour to Hindu spirituality in action. 

 

          Sri Sri Ravi Shanker draws from the ancient wealth of Hatayoga and Pranayama to liberate thousands from their suffocating prisons of mundane daily existence, setting them free into the world of freedom and bliss.  With the Sudarsana kriya, Sri Sri Ravi Shanker has brought to the common man the jealously harded secrets of the yogis who used their life breath to eradiate all traces of thamas from their psyche. 

 

          The most aspect of this upsurge of spirituality is that it is refreshingly free from any ritual or traditional offerings of prayers.  It is as if Hinduism has been freed from the bondage of meaningless ritual and burdensome pilgrimages poojas and other religious observances which were slowly strangling the resurgent spirit of renascent Indian spirituality.

 

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