Culture, History, Spirituality

SRI AUROBINDO’S UTTARPARA SPEECH AND HINDU NATIONALISM

Soon after Sri Aurobindo was released from his one-year incarceration he gave what was at that time and still remains an epochal speech – famous as the Utarrpara speech. In that speech, Sri Aurobindo laid out his plan both the spiritual and the political.

The impact of the words he uttered on that day had an extraordinary effect on all those who heard him. People threw flowers and jasmine garlands and a huge heap of these flowers fell all around the table and the dais. Sri Aurobindo as was his habit walked away leaving the pile of garlands as is. People jumped on stage to pick up garlands that had touched the body of Sri Aurobindo as a token of the divinity and pregnant import of that moment...

What he said that day is not just relevant in today’s troubled times as we face the reality of betrayal  by people who have gone back on their promises but it shall remain relevant so long as Bharat does not become a Hindu Rashtra and when that day comes, this shall be the guiding light for those who will lead that country of our dreams.

//Excerpts//

We are the descendants of those who performed Tapasya and underwent unheard-of austerities for the sake of spiritual gain… We are the children of those MOTHERS WHO ASCENDED WITH A SMILE THE FUNERAL PYRE that they may follow their husbands to another world.

When you go forth, speak to your nation always this word, that it is for the SANATANA DHARMA that they arise, it is for the world and not for themselves that they arise. I am giving them freedom for the service of the world. When therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatan Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatan Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the Dharma and by the Dharma that India exists. TO MAGNIFY THE RELIGION MEANS TO MAGNIFY THE COUNTRY.

What is this religion which we call Sanatan, eternal ? It is the Hindu religion only because the Hindu nation has kept it, because in this Peninsula it grew up in the seclusion of the sea and the Himalayas…

That which we call the Hindu religion is really the eternal religion, because it is the universal religion which embraces all others. If a religion is not universal, it cannot be eternal. A narrow religion, a sectarian religion, an exclusive religion can live only for a limited time and a limited purpose. This is the one religion that can triumph over materialism by including and anticipating the discoveries of science and the speculations of philosophy. It is the one religion which impresses on mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all the possible means by which man can approach God.

It is the one religion which insists every moment on the truth which all religions acknowledge that He is in all men and all things and that in Him we move and have our being. It is the one religion which enables us not only to understand and believe this truth but to realise it with every part of our being. It is the one religion which shows the world what the world is, that it is the Lila of Vasudeva.

It is the one religion which shows us how we can best play our part in that Lila, its subtlest laws and its noblest rules. It is the one religion which does not separate life in any smallest detail from religion, which knows what immortality is and has utterly removed from us the reality of death.

Aurobindo-Acquital
Soon after his acquital

#HINDURASHTRA


Image Source: http://savitri.in/library/resources/sanatana-dharma/may-30-2009

 

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Culture, Politics

The need for Hindu parents to inculcate Hindu values in Children

I am glad my daughter studies in a “Hindu” school. It is not easy nowadays to get an admission into a “Hindu” school given how the RTE act discriminates against “Hindu” establishments while privileging minority institutions.

The decision to move to Mysuru from Bengaluru has obviously helped. Mysuru is less crowded, less competitive, and importantly more culturally rooted, unlike Bengaluru where the majority have been deracinated from their cultural and religious moorings.

Importantly, she gets to read and learn Sanskrit, Kannada, and Hindi along with English. She gets to chant the Bhagavad Gita and Vande Matharam without having to worry about being “Secular”

I myself unfortunately studied for 12 long years in a christian missionary school. It is only now when I think back to those years that I realize how I was not exposed to a single Hindu custom or culture during those 12 long years. Syncretic culture is just plain bullshit. I remember listening to parables from the Bible, attending Mass before exams and participating in Elocution and poetry competitions where it was always about Shakespeare, Wordsworth and a litany of English authors and poets. No Vande Matharam, no Indian poets and nothing from the Hindu culture or History. I was just lucky that despite all this my upbringing at home kept me tied to my roots however tenuously. It has been a long and (still ongoing) uphill task as I make up for the “lost” years trying to play catch-up

I have over the last few years made every attempt to make up for the lost time as I battle on – learning sanskrit, reading and understanding the Vedas and Upanishads, the Gita and all of the other treasures that are scattered across the immensely vast landscape of Sanatana Dharma.

The responsibility of preserving our culture lies with us, this generation – it starts with Hindu parents telling their children about who they actually are and introducing them to the fountainhead of spirituality and culture. Else, I am afraid in a few decades Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma as we know it will be long gone…

Culture, History, Religion

The Vedas are the authoritative texts of Sanatana Dharma (1)

What is the authoritative book on which your religion is based? If this question was posed to a Christian, he/she would say “The Bible”, a muslim “The Koran”; a parsi “The Zend Avesta”; a Buddhist “The Dhammapada”; a Jew probably “The Torah” or “The Tanakh” or “The Hebrew Bible”; a Sikh “The Granth Sahib”

If we were to pose this question to a practitioner of Sanatana Dharma (erroneously referred to as the Hindus) what would his/her answer be? In all probability we would not receive one standard answer – some would say Bhagavad Gita, someone else the Ramayana, someone the Upanishads and so on.

The reason for this is very simple – Sanatana Dharma is the only religion in the world where parents of children do not provide even a basic foundation or grounding in the tenets and principles of their own “Dharma”. I choose not to use the word religion because the word does not capture the true essence of Sanatana Dharma – This “Dharma” was, is, and never will be a religion

Religion means rituals whereas “Dharma” refers to those principles one must follow in life to be CONTENTED and HAPPY. This is probably the reason why even the Supreme Court of India observed that Hinduism is a way of life. This is one major difference between Sanatana Dharma and all other religions.

Besides this, there is one other major difference between Sanatana Dharma and all other religions – All other religions are “Pourusheyam” i.e. “Revealed Texts” – there is one founder or Prophet, or Saint whose commandments form the core of that religion’s beliefs, principles, and practices. Sanatana Dharma however is “Apourusheyam” i.e. not revealed by any one “purusha” or human being – they are timeless, limitless “Truths” that have existed before the time of creation itself and will do so forever.

Therefore, if one were to look for a book or rather a single source of authority in the ocean of Sanatana Dharma then one must look for a book that is truly “Dharma-Pramana” (that which establishes the TRUTH). If this be the criterion, then the Vedas alone pass muster – the Bhagavad Gita is but a small speck in the ocean of Sanatana Dharma – it derives from the Vedantas (Upanishads) and is not even a commentary on the vedas in their entirety.

The Kanchi Paramacharya Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi in the second volume of his “Deivathin Kural” (The voice of God) uses the two quotes below (in Tamizh) to establish what constitutes “The Vedas” (Translation appears below the image)

20170415_052449

The Vedas are four (4) in number (Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva), then the six (6) Vedangas – angas or limbs or divisions of the vedas (more about each of these in subsequent posts), followed by Mimamsa (vedic interpretations), Nyaya (logic), Puranas (Mythology), and Dharmashastras (Codes of Conduct) making it Fourteen (14) in total. To these 14 may be added the 4 Upa-angas (ancillary limbs) namely Ayurveda (Science of Life), Artha-Shastra (Science of Wealth and Economics), Dhanur-Veda (Science of weapon-making and warfare) and Gandharva-Veda (Writings and treatises on the fine arts including music, dance, drama) bringing it to a grand total of 18 – these form the “Vidya-Sthanas” – “…that in which knowledge and wisdom are enshrined”

I will conclude this post with a beautiful conversation between Hanuman (representing the embodied Atman) and Rama (representing the Supreme Divinity – Paramatman) that appears in the beginning of the Muktiko-Upanishad of Sukla Yajurveda which epitomizes the great vastness of the Vedas…

Hanuman asks Rama: “Tell me Raghava, how many are the vedas, and how many their branches and how many the Upanishads?”

Rama replies: “The Vedas are four (4), their branches many and so also the Upanishads – The Rig Veda has 21 branches, the Yajur Veda 109, the Sama Veda a 1,000 and the Atharvana Veda 50 – each of these branches has its own Upanishad (Vedanta)…

Subsequent posts will look at other aspects of the Vedas.

References:

  1. Deivathin Kural Volume-2; Vanathi Publications; 2016 edition/Reprint
  2. Thirty Minor Upanishads – Translated by K. Narayanaswmi Aiyar; 1914 edition. Printed by Annie Besant, Vasanta Press; Adayar; Madras.