IT dates back to the days when I worked as editor of the Panchjanya. In its special issue of January 26, we published about one dozen slokas of Charvak philosophy with elaborate connotations. Those who read through only the introductory slokas and did not bother to look at the closing connotations got furious with the Panch-janya. Would you like to know the cause of their fury? The pious and great ideals of Hindu religion and culture were ridiculed in those slokas of Charvak to tease the theists.
In our editorial, we wrote: “Freedom of thought and expression is the chief component of Hindu philosophy of life and its culture.” Interestingly, this is also the very essence of modern democracy. Curiously enough, Shri Madhavacharya has, in his famous treatise, Sarvadharshan Sangrah, given Charvak philosophy first place of priority. Avaitism, specific avaitism and dualism occupy the second place after that.
We find nowhere else except in Hindu philosophy of life and its culture this sense of benevolence and tolerance. The world has not yet forgotten the ignoble incidents related to Salman Rushdie, the author of the Satanic Verses. Could Charvak, who ridiculed every significant doctrines of Hindu religion and culture, ever survive in fanatical Islamic society? On the contrary, should we not admire the positive aspects of Hindutva? Shri Madhavacharya immortalised Charvak by giving his philosophy first place of priority in his great treatise. The reason is simple; Hindutva declares: Satyamev jayate nanritam—which means that ultimately the truth shall prevail.
Our saints and ascetics believe that there ensues an incessant conflict between truth and falsehood, noble and ignoble, virtue and vice and it is truth that ultimately triumphs. There is no need to suppress forcibly free-thinking just because of the apprehension of the ensuing conflict of ideas. Finally, that is true and eternal will survive. We firmly believe that one can discover ultimate truth just passing through a zigzag process, similar to the movement of various streams that finally fall into the ocean. This particular characteristic of Hindutva completely distinguishes it from both Islam and Christianity and gives it worthy dimensions of tolerance and synthesis of all thoughts.
Even a conscious scholar of history knows that exponents of both Christianity and Islam spread their religious faith forcibly in every nook and corner of the world wielding a sword in one hand and holding their religious book in the other; but the followers of Hindutva never used force to spread their thoughts and ideals. They neither desecrated the holy places of others nor compelled them to follow their ideals by wielding swords. This characteristic of Hindutva is the very basis of Hindu Rashtra. In fact, Hindutva and democracy are complementary to each other. Ekam sadviprah, bahuda vadanti, ekoham bahusyam: Which means: “The truth is one but the sages have expressed it in different ways or the one in many”. These ideals of Hindutva can well be summarised in the phrase: “Unity in diversity”. Hindutva is also distinguished by its spirit of tolerance and harmony. It has the rare capability to establish harmony and co-operation among various ideologies, systems and ways of living. Strangely enough, the modern democracy envisages the same vision and faith. Real democracy, thus, is the part and parcel of Hindutva.
Someone has said with reference to democracy: “I disagree with what you say but I shall fight for your right to disagree with me till I breathe my last.” Those who have faith in the nationalism as propagated by Hindutva justify this statement by their conduct.
The intellectuals of the world look with hope towards India to save humanity from disaster. What Arnold Tonybee, the renowned historian, said of Hindu philosophy of life and its culture is very thought-provoking. Tonybee says: “We witness such unique mental approach and consciousness among Indians as may help humanity progress like a family unit. If we do not wish to perish in this atomic age, we have no other alternative left.
“Today, the western scientific progress has physically united the world. It has not only got rid of the ‘space’ factor, it has also equipped the various countries of the world with deadly arms. But they have not yet learnt the art of knowing and loving one another. If we want to save humanity at this most critical juncture, the only option is the Indian approach.”
Democracy is not merely a way of governance, it is also an art of living. Unless and until such an art of living is developed, a democratic system cannot be completely successful. The west might have adopted the democratic system of governance, yet it has to follow the Hindu culture and philosophy of life, as advocated by Arnold Tonybee, to make democracy a way of living. The present rulers of India, too, have to follow the doctrines of Hindu nationalism based on Hindutva to establish genuine democracy. If we do not do that, all the talk of political, social and economic freedom becomes meaningless.
The great spiritual and cultural tradition of Hindutva that perceives divine presence not only in one single individual but also in the whole scheme of the universe is the very foundation of modern democracy. I would again like to draw the attention of the readers what Arnold Tonybee said in this regard. He said: “India has a perception of life-force and has a vital role to play in the performance of human conduct, which will be beneficial not only to India but to the whole world in the present sorry state of affairs.”
(Translated from the book Kutch Seep Kutch Moti—a collection of thought-provoking essays by the author.)
Hindutva is also distinguished by its spirit of tolerance and harmony. It has the rare capability to establish harmony and co-operation among various ideologies, systems and ways of living.
This particular characteristic of Hindutva completely distinguishes it from both Islam and Christianity and gives it worthy dimensions of tolerance and synthesis of all thoughts.
Courtesy: Organiser - New Delhi,India
(Translated from the book Kutch Seep Kutch Moti--a collection of thought-provoking essays by the author.)