Defining Hindu Rastra
One of my minority community friend called me couple of days back. She was very angry on the current government social policies. The conversion between us went on for an hour. I hardly said anything during entire conversation and I was passionately listening to get sense of her fear. One thing, She was constantly iterating that Shri Narendra Modi want to reduced indian constitution to a Brahminical Republic. When I asked her to explain, what did She meant by Brahminical Republic? She responded that Shri Modi want to establish a nation with caste hierarchy under the garb of merit. To check her understanding of caste and Hindu religion, I asked her a question, why Dr. Ambedkar got converted to Buddhism? She gave a typical response that Hinduism is backward religion, obsessed with purity and pollution, and hardly anything praiseworthy to offer. Then I replied, you don’t understand actual reason for conversion which was purely political and Buddhism itself is a part of Hinduism(will write an article in due course to explain the reason of above proposition). As far as I am concerned, I hardly appreciate this concept of paraphrasing Hinduism as Brahminical Religion by few Marxist Historian. So, I will ponder in this essay the nature of Hindu Rastra.
In Hinduism, Broadly two set of Text are there namely Shruti and Smriti. Shruti means “text that are revealed on” whereas Smriti means “text wrote by Pundits”. Shruti consists of four Vedas, Upnishad and Bramhasutra whereas there are Hundreds of Smritis. Smritis are applicable to their time and age. They can be amended, if required they can be written afresh. Interestingly, Bhagwat Geeta is also a Smriti, since it narrated by Sanjay, it is not a revealed text. But, It is broad consensus among the Vidwans that Geeta is just another Shruti. So, it would be fair to take Geeta as reference to examing the nature of Hindu Rastra. One of thesis extended by Bhagwan Krishna in Chapter 9.29 as follows —
समोऽहं सर्वभूतेषु न मे द्वेष्योऽस्ति न प्रिय: |ये भजन्ति तु मां भक्त्या मयि ते तेषु चाप्यहम् ||(samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣhu na me dveṣhyo ’sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā mayi te teṣhu chāpyaham)
Translation — I am equally disposed to all living beings; I am neither inimical nor partial to anyone. But the devotees who worship Me with love reside in Me and I reside in them.
Let us examine above verse in broad sense, The UN Convention of Political and Civil Right Article 3 says- “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant”. Further, so called liberal democracies of west are perpetually selling the equality. But, Bhagwan is abundantly clear, He is clear that he neither love anyone nor abhor other. He is fair to all.
Further, In liberal Democracy, Liberty of thought is pushed with lot of passion. Interestingly, Bhagwat Geeta has a very intereting take on liberty of thought and giving agency to people. The Context comes in Chapter 18, when Lord Krishna has given knowlege of Karmayoga, Gyanyoga, Bhaktiyoga to Arjun. Then he says —
इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया |विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु || 18.63|| — “iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
vimṛiśhyaitad aśheṣheṇa yathechchhasi tathā kuru”
Translation — Thus, I have explained to you this knowledge that is more secret than all secrets. Ponder over it deeply, and then do as you wish.
This inherent principle of bestowing agency to human since he/she is a rational being and capable of determinism is central to Kantism liberalism and Modern Human Right theory. I would be more than happy if India become Hindu Rastra. Since, At it’s core, it is very liberal and it even allow Human to forsake Vedas if they understood true meaning of life.
यावानर्थ उदपाने सर्वत: सम्प्लुतोदके |तावान्सर्वेषु वेदेषु ब्राह्मणस्य विजानत: || — Whatever purpose is served by a small well of water is naturally served in all respects by a large lake. Similarly, one who realizes the Absolute Truth also fulfills the purpose of all the Vedas.