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Monday, December 5, 2011

sanathana dharma and how to nurture it

The assumption that those who debate about philosophy or the philosophy of religion do so because they want to prove that the sect in which they were born is right and all others are absurdly wrong is neither true nor charitable. The issues which are the subject matter of the ongoing debates are so vast, so profound and so complex that there has to be disputations over centuries before a measure of congruence let alone agreement can be arrived at.
To brush aside those contributing their opinions, arguments, conclusions and so on as childish people intent upon winning the debate or scoring a point or proving opponents as absurdly wrong is not a healthy attitude. It may also reflect insufficient understanding of the complexity and profundity of the religious and philosophical aspects involved. We have barely begun to scratch at the surface in all the blogs so far. Let not the disputations be discouraged. Let not the disputants be regarded as frivolous fellows with ulterior motives. In general, if you want your ideas to stand the test of external examination, let it be subjected to criticism. A critic is in fact the best well-wisher of your ideas. Why shun them away by casting aspersions on their motives when they challenge your tenets?
What many sincere scholars say about certain quarters in the west that in the past made use of scientific values to demean Indian culture, religion and philosophy is absolutely true and beyond doubt. Likewise, Christian theologians used Christian values to demean Hinduism. But could we have expected them to embrace our culture so easily when our land was easily conquered and we put up no effective rebuttal in thought, word and deed. We also did little to propagate Sanatana Dharma in the correct light. We were ineffective in rebutting western criticism.
This is going on even today and the pity is that we find westernized Indians doing what the Europeans did in the past. Many sincere scholars have often cautioned on this aspect. His warnings should be taken seriously by every Indian for not only the good of India but for the whole world.
The time has come to play a new game. We cannot remain hidebound in our approach. We must propagate the values of Sanatana Dharma in a new package. This means that we must enroll science, morality, and ethics to support the eternal and ancient values of our Dharma. If one believes that Sanatana Dharma would be good for the world then make use of every tool available. If disputants use some aspects of science to support the tenets of their own sampradaya, it is a good sign apart from considerations of validity. This is just the beginning. There is so much to be done using science as an ally. If you believe that the profound revelations made by our ancient Sages in states of samadhi are transcendental and universal in scope and might benefit a world on the way to self destruction, then you should also believe that these revelations cannot be unscientific with regard to the creation of the Universe, its scope and purpose.
I urge you all to encourage every person to apply his or her mind and to blog their thoughts about our Dharma and Philosophy. The internet is a tool of communication unlike anything mankind has encountered in the past. We can use it to propagate what we believe is for the good of mankind. And Sanatana Dharma, in my opinion, fully qualifies on this count.
I myself propose to blog certain aspects of Visishtadvaita and in consequence may be compelled to counter the tenets of other sampradaya. This must be taken as a great opportunity to disseminate ideas, assimilate ideas and move forward in our understanding of the various Darshanas of Indian Philosophies. Any western scholar worth his salt knows how profound our Darshanas are. What about our westernized Indians in India and abroad ?

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