Feyman Lectures on Physics

Mar 13, 2018

Why I am a Hindu

Shashi Tharoor Interview by Barakha Dutt: @ Why I am a Hindu

It is nice to see that some Congressmen are now openly acknowledging their Hindu moorings.

In the interview, Barkha Dutt does ask some probing questions but she has obvious limitations.. by her own admission she is deracinated.

Tharoor seeks to highlight (after 19.20 minutes of the video) the so called contradiction between PM Narendra Modi's statement that "constitution is his holy scripture" and Deendayal Upadhyay's idea of nation where he gives primacy to the people, their history, culture, and philosophy.

Can Tharoor deny that it is the people of India who solemnly resolved to "constitute" India as a sovereign republic? Was idea of India non-existent before the year 1950 when the written constitution became effective? Are ancient textual references to Bharata and Aryavarta are without any geocultural content? Is it not the fact that democracy based on the universal suffrage is much more successful in India than in the surrounding countries and many other states in Asia and Africa due to syncretic Indian (Hindu) culture?

There were people who believed in the ancient wisdom of वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् (Earth - all those who dwell on earth - are one family) as in the महोपनिषद्. They also believed in एकम् सद्विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति (Wise people say one Truth in many ways) as in ऋग्वेद. Non-violence was their article of faith according to Jaina and Bauddha Agamas but they could wage war for dharma (righteousness) in the face of death and destruction as taught by भगवद्गीता. These people happened to stay in the Indian subcontinent but their philosophy transcended geography. They were forced to carve out the landmass of present India because believers of "one-Book, one-God, and one (last) Prophet" refused to stay with them. Geography was important to these (Hindu) people -  but their philosophy - pantheism, integral humanism, non-dualism or whatever name we may give - transcended the territorial boundaries. This Hindu philosophy manifested in myriad ways where geography - rivers, mountains, seas, flora and fauna - attained divinity. This geography had no strict boundaries.. all earth-dwellers were after all one family! This is the teaching of Integral Humanism - nothing but another form of Advaita Vedanta (Vedic non-dualism) combining the holistic outlooks of (a) Vedic पुरुषार्थ and पंचमहायज्ञ, and (b) Bauddha outlook of द्वादश निदान or प्रतीत्य समुत्पाद. Both are integrally Hindu.

If Deendayal-ji was alive today he would have seen no contradiction in treating Indian Constitution as a holy scripture of the chief executive of India (Prime Minister) and his own philosophy of Integral Humanism. Since PM has taken the oath in the name of constitution, he has to work within its boundaries - both territorial as well as judicial.. however, the framework of Integral Humanism and Indian Constitution is one and the same barring the territorial boundaries.

Deendayal-ji conceives the national soul (chiti) as a unifying thread. Advaita Vedanta too conceives such a soul in its "individuation-aggregation" pedagogy (व्यष्टि-समष्टि प्रक्रिया). In Advaita however, this aggregated soul has no-self (I-ness or ego).. it is a pedagogical device to teach the unity of being. The ultimate Reality (Brahman) of Advaita is attributeless - without mind, causality, doership or consumership. It is anti-conceptual and yet, oxymoronically the ground of Being (Brrihad 3.8.8-9). These subtle metaphysical differences between Advaita Vedanta and Integral Humanism are not important. What is important is that the general framework of Indian Constitution, Advaita, and Integral Humanism is one and the same. I personally find no problem with social contract theory either. IMO, Upanishads and Bhagavadgita provide a solid ground to any egalitarian theory based on preamble principles of social justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity. (See my article here). Hindu basic texts - Upanishad, Gita, Yogasutra, and Agamas provide basis for Nehruvian agnostic socialism, Gandhian theist socialism, Indian communism without injected class conflict, and compassionate capitalism. Adherence to truth and goals ensures that merit is not compromised.