Monday, January 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



PM and Hindutva

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has spelt out his vision for the country like a sober statesman and sane sage in his New Year thoughts. He has expressed himself in a straight-forward and realistic manner free from rhetorical flourishes.

Parochial and paranoid Hindutva poses a grave threat to the onward march of the Hindu community itself which as a result of the renaissance in the 19th century offloaded the obnoxious accretions of ages to emerge as a liberal, broad-minded, forward-looking, rational and scientifically-oriented dynamic community.

Quoting from some of the leading lights of our national regeneration, Mr Vajpayee has shown how Hindutva, rather than putting the clock back and shackling the community with discarded shibboleths, should provide the spiritual dynamics for a resurgent India engaged with all its resources in grappling with the problems of poverty, population, illiteracy, health, corruption, superstition, dowry, social injustice and economic inequalities, rigidities of caste system, terrorism etc. Hindu social organisations have a definite positive role to play in combatting all our problems provided that they confine their activities to their legitimate area of social service and keep away from politics.


We must not forget that we owe the forceful emergence of militant Hindutva to the short-sighted policies and attitudes of some of our professed secularists. We should realise from the emergent situation that the fears, concerns, sensibilities and sensitivities of the majority community can be ignored only at the peril of disrupting our social and political fabric. In the blind pursuit of the politics of vote-banks and sectional interests, we cause social fissures and communal divisions.

One grouse of the Hindu community is that only it is advised to be tolerant while others take advantage of its tolerance to expand their bases at its cost and to trample on its interests with impunity. It is the perception of a very large section of the Hindu community that well-organised and well-planned attempts are being made to malign the Hindu religion and to engineer large-scale conversions from it to other religions in order to weaken it and to add to the numerical strength of other communities to enhance their electoral clout. It is in our larger national interest that this fear of the Hindu community is convincingly dispelled.


Punish the orthodox

Apropos the news item “Vedanti opposes the orthodox” (Jan 2), the idea of Jathedar Vedanti to remove restrictions on women performing “seva” and “kirtan” at Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar is laudable. Yet one fails to understand why someone has thought about it so late. Such a restriction flouts the very fundamental principles of Sikhism. Our Guru Sahiban removed all social taboo and myths attached to females. Banning Sati, widow remarriage, education of females and granting them equal status in all walks of life, are a few of the salient social reforms brought in by them.

When Sikh women can fight battles shoulder to shoulder with their menfolk, languish with them in jungles in difficult periods of history, suffer imprisonments and unbearable excesses at the hands of enemies of the Sikh Panth, make any sacrifice that any male Sikh has ever made, then with what logic anyone calling himself a Sikh can deny them the privilege of performing seva and kirtan at Sri Darbar Sahib. If this practice was introduced by Mahants, then what have our great religious leaders, preachers and scholars been doing since the management of Sikh shrines was handed over to the SGPC about three quarters of a century ago? No Sikh, however, orthodox he may be, can support this practice which is against the very ethics of Sikhism.

Jathedar Vedanti will do well to name the so-called “orthodox” Sikhs, who are opposing the removal of this unethical practice, and summon them to Sri Akal Takht Sahib for awarding appropriate “tankhah” for eroding the basic ideology of the Panth. Why try to convince them, will he try to convince anyone not to flout guru Sahibans’ edicts? He should also convene a meeting of the five Singh Sahiban to order the practice be stopped forthwith.

Lt. Col BHAGWANT SINGH (retd), Mohali

Gita and science

This refers to the letter by Rupesh Bhandari (Jan 4) taking exception to Dr B.L. Chakoo’s article “Significance of Gita today” in which he has described the Gita as a “great book of science”.

In the opening chapter when Krishna takes Arjuna’s chariot to the pathway between the facing armies, Arjuna on seeing his close relatives on both sides was overwhelmed with deep sorrow at the thought of their being killed, his limbs failed, his Gandiva slipped from his hands and his mind was in twirl. If all these symptoms of Arjuna were described to a Sigmund Freud, he would have diagnosed him as suffering from clinical or manic depression and prescribed a number of psychotic medicines. But Krishna set at rest all reservations and questions emanating from confusion, diffusion and dispersion of Arjuna’s mind by the spiritual science of mysticism.

It is important to remember here that there is a big difference between Western psychiatry and Eastern spirituality. Sigmund Freud at the fag end of his life was asked a very significant question: can psychiatry make a man happy? Freud replied with unequivocal candour that psychiatry cannot make a man happy, it can only make unhappiness livable. We all know that after 18 question-answer sessions, all the equivocations and reservations of Arjuna dropped and he turned back to the call of his Kshatriya dharma rejuvenated cerebrally and fortified in spirits by the divine grace. It is less than a century back that Carl Jung discovered for science that man is multi psychic. It was thousands of years back that Krishna addressed to the “bahuchitvan” (multi psychic mind) dimensions of Arjuna’s personality traits.

Therefore, Dr Chakoo’s thoughts about the Gita being a book of science deserve to be treated with deference.

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

Religion as science

In response to Mr Rupesh Bhandari’s letter (Jan 4) I may state that religion itself is a science. In the primeval times when knowledge was not classified into physics, chemistry etc all the scientific laws and discoveries were induced in the text of religion and passed on from generation to generation. The Vedas and Upanishads stand a great testimony to the plethora of knowledge in medicine, mathematics, economics, war science etc. These scriptures have been translated into all languages and are studied throughout the world as ancient books of science. However, with time artifacts do enter these scriptures.

Bhagwad Gita is a similar text pronounced more than 5,000 years ago. It builds the two most important concepts: reincarnation and immortality of soul. It has been unequivocally proved that reincarnation is an abstract reality which has been eluding scientists despite their best efforts. I wish to mention here the name of Dr Ian Stevenson, a University of Virginia based medico-scientist, who has extensively studied more than 2,000 cases of reincarnation over the last 40 years.

Reincarnation occurs across continents, countries, religions, castes, sexes and so much so across different life forms. Mr Bhandari may study two such cases published in The Tribune recently (Dec 28, and June 22, 2002). The cases of reincarnation are tested for their genuinity through direct evidence and interviews of all persons known to the reborn in his/her past/present lives. An indomitable evidence the reincarnate carries is the deformities possessed by him/her in the previous life at the time of death. Another scientific technique is the age regression in which the reborn is brought to a hypnotic state and asked about his previous life. Except for a few cases, all cases have been proved true.

Similarly, the existence of soul has been proved. Souls can express themselves in visible form and appear in a shape in which the person died appeared in the last days of his death. A soul can be made to write in a slate writing experiment, it can move a small cup and can express itself through another person, known as medium. Scientists have given the name ectoplasm of which the soul is made of. This substance is welting and disappears soon, but has not been identified. All this is not a figment of fiction but a stark reality. It is not the handiwork of fraudulent people, but an analysis of scientifically designed experiments.

Thousands of references are available in this regard. Scientists such as Sir John Eccles and sages like Swami Vivekanand cannot be belied. Discrepancies in religions, however, have occurred on account of the selfish motives of pseudo-saints, who exploit the sentiments of people for monetary, political or psychological reasons, or to prove their supremacy over the others. A metaphorical language also adds to the confusion. For most of us religion is a synonym of recitation of the name of God, maybe by proxy, and to follow the tenets blindly without any mental involvement, and maybe to the disadvantage of others.

It is, however, certain that somehow and somewhere science and spirituality intersect each other. The theories enunciated by Lord Krishna, 5000 years ago and still eluding the scientists, bear testimony to the authenticity of his being a superscientist.

Dr A. K. THUKRAL, Amritsar

Panchayat secretaries

The appointments of panchayat secretaries based on a pick and choose policy. I have every right to know from the authorities concerned how an MA pass candidate, besides possessing two professional diplomas, was ignored while candidates having far below educational qualifications were appointed. There are thousands of sufferers, besides my son, and, therefore, I am of the confirm belief that the fresh test proposed to be taken by the government in this regard is quite justified.



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