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Reclaiming our civilization

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Just after the independence when it would have been the most opportune time to reestablish India’s connection with its ancient and glorious civilization, the Congress stalwart and the then PM, Shri J L Nehru refused it in the pretext of calling it “Hindu Revivalism” as though it was some kind of an affliction. At the time of reconstruction of Somanth temple initiated by Shri Sardar Vallabhai Patel and after his sad demise carried forward by Shri K M Munshi, Shri Nehru showed utter disregard to the reconstruction and admonished Shri K M Munshi about it. The then PM Shri Nehru also vehemently opposed even the participation of President Shri Rajendra Prasad for its inauguration, of course which the President summarily ignored. This was the attitude of the most important person at that time towards our own heritage and someone who had installed himself into India’s destiny through coercion on the architects of modern India.

The “bhoomi pooja” for the construction of Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya is not just some reconstruction like at Somnath but actually is the reclamation of our great ancient civilization. It is to reestablish the deep connection to our Santana Dharma, more importantly by acknowledging the brutality of the invaders who did everything to wipe out the symbols of our civilizational ethos and by reversing these traumatic events. It is the reclaiming of our civilizational psyche that was brutalized over centuries and made to feel inferior even though the values it stands for are loftier than the Himalayas. This is like applying a soothing balm to the deep sores of this civilization that had almost resigned to living with this infestation. It is this change in the attitude of our leadership, from then to now that building of Rama temple is a momentous milestone in the reestablishing of our civilizational glory.

Is that the reason why you see so much anger, frustration and anxiety in the Congress, leftists and other secularists today because the date of the “bhoomi puja” has been finally announced and it will be attended by the PM? I leave it to anyone’s imagination as to why reclaiming our civilization is a matter of discomfort instead of pride for some people.

All the other ancient civilizations have met a tragic death over the last couple of millennia because of either the marauding invaders or the equally treacherous religious zealots or both over the hapless native populations. While these barbaric invaders might have been able to destroy the physical symbols of our civilization, they were not able to destroy the collective bond of Santana Dharma from the subconsciousness of the vast majority of this land. In fact that is precisely the reason why all the other civilizations were destroyed, but only the ancient land of Bharat remained still predominantly imbued to the values of our Santana Dharma.

To me personally it is a watershed moment in this long and continued journey of this ancient and divine land after a gap of about 1000 years. This is the real tryst with our destiny as it finally links the future of India with its glorious past. While many youngsters may not be aware and many under the leftist educational system have discarded our civilizational values but the father of our nation called the ultimate Utopian governance as “Rama Rajya”, and that is what he wanted to see India embrace. While Shri Rama is a divine incarnation in Sanatana Dharma but his legacy still remains the bridge to several of our neighboring countries who might have lost direct link to ancient land of Bharat but yet are connected by the cultural heritage associated with Shri Rama.

Though the original Ramayana was written by Maharshi Valmiki but there are several versions of Ramayana across the lands extolling the “Maryada Purushotama Rama” (honorable and foremost among men) and his virtues in different languages. The people of Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Japan, Tibet and also China know the legend of Shri Rama and connect with it for the ideals he stood for. He and his story connects us culturally with all these modern nation states and you can see the symbols of this that they proudly display even today.

 

Shri Rama though being a divine incarnation chose to teach the world through his personal example by way of the conduct and values he displayed throughout his life. He went through all the mundane mores of life and showed the right path to choose at every situation to set an example of how humans should aspire to live with righteousness. While the Valmiki Ramayan covers the story of Shri Rama as a most noble human being, the philosophy of Advaitha is only implicitly suggested in there. Maharshi Valmiki in his epic honors the human perfection of Shri Rama so that he can be imitated as a role-model for the rest of humanity to follow. But the philosophical aspects of Shri Rama’s life are contained in the Mahrshi Vyasa’s “Adhyatma Ramayana” which is part of the “Bhramanda Purana”. It expounds the Advaitic principles that culminates in Jnana or Self realization through Bakhti.

Another of great treatises associate with Shri Rama is the “Yoga Vashishta” that describes the dialogues between Maharshi Vashishta and Shri Rama as part of Shri Rama’s time spent in the “Gurukul” at Maharshi’s ashram. There are innumerable stories and discussions that cover the epistemology, ontology and axiology of the Advaita Vedanta. Shri Rama as a disciple and Maharshi Vashishta as a guru engage in a detailed dialogue in this treatise wherein Maharshi Vashishta clears doubts of Shri Rama who is inquisitive to know the real nature of the triad of knower, knowing and the known.

These descriptive dialogues with Maharshi Vashishta shows how to attain the Supreme Godhood or the Self realization in perfect synchronization with the Advaitic philosophy as propounded in our Vedas and Upanishidas. Shri Rama being an Avatar, who is the very embodiment of the Supreme Self and the knower of all, engaged in the dialogue with his guru so that an ordinary person can understand the seemingly complex constructs of Advaitic philosophy. For the benefit of showing the right path for the people down the “Yugas” he went through this to ensure that “Atma Sakshatkar” or Self realization is possible for anyone and everyone. Shri Rama is indeed the very center of the Indic civilization and unfortunately a few generations in between have not had a chance to understand and connect with him deeply. I hope this will also revive the interest in younger generations to study and know more about our great heritage and what Shri Rama stands for.

 

For any nation to survive and thrive, it needs deep roots that are borne in the collective history, collective ethos, collective values and collective philosophy. And these roots are kept alive and healthy through the symbols like these. So I see this as the first step towards linking our great past with the great collective destiny in future.

The long wait of centuries, followed by the legal wrangle over decades and finally resting their faith in a judgement by five judges only shows the ethos of this great civilization. Where in the world, otherwise can you see an example of a majority community waiting peacefully to correct the centuries old barbarities on their faith and on the very symbols of their collective conscience? This itself is the testimony to the utmost tolerance and forbearance of our cultural ethos.

In the current situation prevalent in the world brought out due to racial conflicts, religious brotherhoods and expansionist hegemony, India’s ancient civilizational values are the only examples worth emulating where in the brotherhood of all mankind is the foundational principle. So strengthening and reconnecting to the civilizational ethos of India is not just the need of the hour but also the only solution for the peace in the world at large.

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