There seems to be some “defect” in Hinduism, because worldwide, it is clearly not as respected as Christianity and Islam. Hindus struggle to get a fair representation for Hinduism in the media or in textbooks whether abroad or even at home.
This is hard to understand, because Hinduism has the best philosophical basis of all and is in tune with modern nuclear science. It acknowledges that the essence in all is consciousness (spirit) and shows practical ways how to realize this one spirit as true. It is therefore even in tune with the ever growing tribe in the west who say “I am spiritual, not religious”.
When India was ruled by Christians and Muslims, it was understandable that those in power promoted their religion as the best and denigrated the ‘primitive native religion’. But today, when there is an open market of ideas, why is Hinduism still getting a rough and very unfair deal when it actually deserved the highest respect, and how can this be changed?
One fine morning I realized what Hinduism is “lacking” and how this could be rectified. Hinduism would finally be on the same footing as Christianity and Islam.
It is simple.
The ancient rishis had left out only one important sentence after passing on their insights. This one sentence obviously makes all the difference whether a religion is respected, powerful and keeps gaining followers or whether it is demeaned, ridiculed and loses followers.
This sentence is:
If you don’t believe what we tell you, the supreme Divinity will throw you for all eternity into hellfire.
Let’s imagine Maharishi Vyasa, after compiling the Vedas, had added this sentence: “Whoever does not believe in the Vedas as the only truth, will be thrown for all eternity into hellfire by Brahman himself.”
Or after writing the Mahabharata, if he had added “Whosoever does not believe that Sri Krishna is the only true mediator between man and Brahman, will burn eternally in hell”.
Or if Valmiki, after writing down the teaching of Guru Vashishta to Prince Rama, had added that Vashishta alone is the true guru and whoever does not believe it will end up in hell.
Or even today, if Mata Amritanandamayi for example, who has several miracles to her credit and an unparalleled outflow of love, would claim that she is the only indigenous daughter of god and who does not believe it, will be thrown into hellfire forever…
If this had happened, Hinduism would not be the underdog. It would be on the same level with the respected religions. In fact, the newcomer religions probably had little chance to come up, because Hinduism was there ages before them and it could have easily declared those newcomers as inexcusable heretics that need to be put to death.
In fact, not all is lost. Since the Bible and the Quran were written down after Jesus and Mohamed had died and several earlier versions were discarded, maybe Hindus still could amend their sacred texts?
In case it is not clear, of course I am not serious.
But it struck me one morning that the respect for dogmatic religions is based on irrationality and how easily it could be corrected if Hindus would chose to be as irrational and if they would back up –this is an important ingredient – their irrationality with blasphemy laws. Hindus could take part in the one-upmanship of “only we are right” and threaten those who dare to dissent with death.
Actually, it is not so much irrationality but cunningness, because those who made those claims of eternal hell for outsiders in all likelihood did not believe it themselves. It could not possibly have come from Divine inspiration but is driven by worldly power.
The rishis in contrast were truthful. They were not cunning or irrational, and Indians – all Indians – can be proud of them.
But pride is not enough. Present day Indians need to take care that this irrationality does not eat into their society because it will lead to its downfall. It is not difficult to find examples for such societies.
Dharma finds expression through people who stand up for it and if necessary fight for it. Adharmic forces need to be called out and challenged.
It seems, on this world stage, a Mahabharata war is always on, in all ages. Yet ultimately, at a higher level beyond the dichotomy of good and evil, all are absorbed in the one eternal Brahman from whom all has originated.
There won’t be a huge cauldron of fire where billions of human beings will burn for all eternity. This claim by both Christianity and Islam does not deserve respect. It deserves ridicule.
By Maria Wirth