In this day and age, Hindus need to practice sadhana in case they seek to stay relevant and protect their way of life.
Ramakrishna has always been interested in understanding ways to maximize human potential and enhance the experience of life. To fulfil this outcome, he came across the path of Kriya Yoga under the guidance of his Guru which he feels can lead to the ultimate realisation of what it means to be a human being.
The modern Hindu is wafting directionless in a river which leads straight to his cultural extinction. Centuries of living in denial and a pervasive sense of shame and self-hate have led to us being gradually deracinated and bereft of a strong guiding force. I have analysed the causes based on my understanding and experience of this phenomenon. I also feel that a remedy is very much within our reach.
a. Blaming Hinduism for all the social ills of the country – From Macaulay to Marxist historians, the so-called intellectuals have indoctrinated each and every one of us to feel that there was nothing good about the traditions we have. Without understanding the nuances of the traditions, they went into chastising and demonising many of the practices as being evil and the entire religion as regressive. In a very disingenuous and intellectually dishonest manner, this whole subterfuge of colonising the Hindu mind has happened. Whitewashing history when it suits the narrative has been done on a grand scale. It is no wonder that the Hindu after going through the modern education system is contemptuous or at best disinterested in his own traditions. This creates a deep psychological inferiority complex where any idea is judged on the merit of its source rather than the idea itself. This intellectual crippling is actively encouraged by a biased and agenda-driven media who take great pains to fuel this narrative further.
I will now share my own experience. Having grown up in a traditional South Indian family, I was schooled in the nuances of my traditions by my parents & grandparents. All the elders in the family were devout and pious. Even with this type of social support, I felt that at best these traditions were a relic from the past and had no sound justification for being in the life of someone who belonged to the modern age. The West knew how modern life should be lived and the denial of it had resulted in the hard times which our nation now faced. If it was not for my Guru, my eyes would never have opened to the truth.
b. Lack of a unifying rallying force – In modern scientific terms, Hinduism has an open-source architecture where there are several versions for different users and changes and updates are crowdsourced. There is no sole manufacturer giving usage guidelines and terms and conditions. While on one hand this really helped the tradition survive in the face of persecution, this becomes a problem when trying to rally everyone for any important common cause where a show of force is needed. Decisions in modern democracies are based on a show of strength and this is where open source users cannot generate the required impetus to make the drastic changes needed.
Even a perfunctory glance at the way the Hindu temples are treated by the government establishes the clear lack of a unified front. The argument used by the government to control temples is that of better management and controlling corruption. Are we not capable of managing our temples? Is corruption solely a Hindu phenomenon?
c. Lack of mental defence mechanisms – Due to the manner and the circumstances in which the European & Arabic civilisations evolved, the societal and religious values needed to support the conquest of other lands. Theft, when done with divine justification, becomes the work of God. If we study the patterns of the conquest of Abrahamic aggressors, we would find the strong nexus between conquest & agenda of conversions. Whether it was the rulers who used religion as a tool or vice versa is beside the point.
The thought that the war is over is foolishness at best. Aggression is in the nature of these proselytising religions and they will use any means necessary, both overt and covert to establish their dominion. Hinduism did not arise with an intention to subsume other religions. Due to this reason, it also does not have many of the mental defence mechanisms in place to handle such a menace. For instance. Hinduism is not concerned about apostasy and blasphemy. Hence anyone can deride its traditions and get away with it. While this is inherently a noble ideal and a cornerstone for seeking and freethinking, it fails when dealing with bullies.
d. Mistaking rituals to be the essence of Hinduism – Karmkand does have merit in specific situations. However, considering it to be the sole essence of Hinduism is missing the forest for the trees. At its core all the different traditions in Hinduism point towards a striving for Moksha. Everything was designed keeping in mind whether it supports this ultimate endeavour. One may ask then why are there rituals and deities for wealth & prosperity. Well, the answer is very simple – only when one has experienced the inherent uselessness in wealth & prosperity can one truly move towards liberation. This is a very mature outlook towards life and human nature. Higher ideals cannot be grasped on an empty stomach.
Even to understand and successfully execute rituals, higher awareness and Shakti is needed which is severely lacking. Taken out of context, we only see these rituals and then critically argue based on our ‘modern scientific understanding’ as to their demerits.
e. Unwillingness to do critical thinking – The modern Hindu waxes eloquently about how forward his thinking is and how open he is new ideas. However, the fact is that he has never truly opened his mind to do some strenuous thinking on why he thinks the way he thinks. The blind spot regarding his own limitation to comprehend the full scope of the issue is severely lacking. He is not aware of the biases in his thought process.
He is only concerned with the immediate gratification of the senses or trying to achieve ‘success’ milestones. He is not concerned with whether or not there is a civilisation conflict underway. As long as there is this apathy, it is difficult to change the status quo.
There is only one solution to all these problems. Hindus need to develop Shakti. Shakti is not some airy-fairy hogwash – it is a breathing living reality. It is the living force whose paeans have been sung by Rishis and enlightened masters. When the Shakti moves in the system, all the cobwebs of illusion and delusion fall by the wayside. The body becomes truly alive and the mind becomes vibrant to the possibilities of life. The modern Hindu is consuming junk food and junk entertainment in the hope that it will give him the satisfaction he seeks. Instead of becoming sharp, alert and active he is edging towards listlessness and inertia.
Developing Shakti requires doing Sadhana in a Parampara. Separating spiritual processes from their Hindu spiritual core will result in only a breathing exercise and at best a reduced blood pressure. For astonishing results, there has to be Shraddha and Bhava. Each will feed into the other and create a virtuous cycle of self-transformation. I am arguing for a revival of Sadhana as a way to transform our very being.