THE OTHER SIDE
The Bhoomi Pujan for the Ram temple at Ayodhya should be viewed as a major development not just because a temple is finally being built at the birthplace of the lord. The ceremony has been welcomed by many and criticised by some. Those criticising it due to their dislike for Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the BJP should recall that construction of this temple was in the election manifesto of the party and a major step towards its fulfillment will naturally not be ignored either by the party or by the voters. Even the Congress which had made questionable contentions on this issue in recent years did its bit to capitalise on the opportunity. One must beware as there is no dearth of those wanting to exploit otherwise logical and fair plans for devious purposes.
Anyway, one would rather focus less on politics and more on Hinduism here. Simply because politicians played a major role in the Ayodhya matter does not make lord Ram a political figure. Swami Vivekanand is considered to be a progressive Hindu monk not accused of fanaticism or narrow mindedness. It would be interesting for one to learn of his experience when his Guru told him that his Isht was Ram. The spiritual experience he had after that can be read in his writings. You will also learn about him telling some youngsters that “football will take you closer to heaven than the Geeta”. He meant that football (physical exercise) will help them build a strong body required for the frame of mind needed to understand the teachings in the scriptures. However, one is often disappointed to come across the ignorance and misconceptions that exist regarding Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma especially among the youth. The youth cannot really be blamed for this because their elders have neither taught them nor inspired them to learn the valuable aspects of our spiritual and cultural heritage. One must understand that symbolism and slogans do not make one a devotee or religious. It is also important to understand that learning about religion does not require one to become an ascetic.
Growing up, we were narrated the story of the Ramanayan much before it was televised on Doordarshan. It was not just a story but also taught aspects of morality, character and other virtues in an interesting manner compared to which the televised version was more of a gaudy disappointment. Not just the Ramayan, but other aspects of Hinduism too are interesting, deep and very helpful to people with different attitudes and views. The beauty is that there is space even for atheists and their philosophy. There is something useful for everyone depending on their tendencies and aims.
However, the sad part is that this treasure of knowledge is being ignored or being presented in ways that makes people especially the youth either misunderstand or avoid it. For starters, learning the tenets of Sanatan Dharma does not mean that one must become an ascetic or sport religious symbols. Can you imagine how it would be if more people pondered on what lord Krishna teaches in the Geeta for example? It may not result in an overnight revolution but it will surely help address various personal and collective issues much more effectively. From personal issues ranging from low self esteem and vices to depression and bigger problems like environmental damage, corruption and varied crimes- all can be addressed more effectively if people have a better understanding of Hinduism or even the Geeta alone. If one learns and adheres to the tenets of Sanatan Dharma, one is less likely to be sexist, narrow minded and negative. And if one thinks that this is some fantastic exaggeration, it is evidently due to not knowing what this ancient philosophy teaches. Religion was and will remain a vital part of life in this nation and affect all including the atheists. Considering this, it is only logical that there be another revival of Hinduism so that people actually know about that one factor which influences all aspects of life and death. It is vital that genuine seers and persons of strong character take the lead in this movement lest it be hijacked by pretenders. Those bemoaning the alleged assault on the constitution without having looked at the original copy of the Indian constitution and those harping on secularism without understanding its meaning and continued violations by certain segments should understand the broad mindedness of the Hindu philosophy. A philosophy which actually accords mutual respect for all religions cannot be narrow minded and adhering to it can only bring good results. But that will also depend on who explains it and how.
Saturday, 08 August 2020 | Paritosh Kimothi| Dehradun
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