The criticism by the High Commissioner of India, Mr Malay Mishra, should be used as a great opportunity for self-examination, not only of the pundits, gurus and teachers but also of the population at large, Hindus and non-Hindus.
Today, with the Internet and mass communication easily available, we should seek to educate ourselves as to the true nature of reality and our duty—discipline, knowledge-seeking, devotion to one God Supreme and to our fellow men and women, country, environment and family. This, indeed, is what Hinduism is all about.We must ask questions, verify answers by text and practise and seek original and creative answers, for we, too, are an incarnation of the Great Creator.
Mr Mishra has exhibited, courage, fearlessness and goodwill, and taken risks, not only in his statements but also in his tremendous efforts on behalf of all Hindu Trinidadians and as an ambassador from India, the mother homeland of Hindu culture; great frustrations have been tolerated in this process.
The actions of present and past leaders must be examined from the point of view of the two great paths of Hinduism, namely, the path of enlightenment and the path of darkness—yogi dharma and bhogi dharma.
The path of yogi dharma is elicited in the glorious Bhagavad Gita, a monotheist, sublime scripture, a gospel of perfection where God Supreme is the goal of life, and the example is provided in the glorious Ramayan in the personalities of Lord Rama and Devi Sita.
The problem in practice is complicated by the presence and cultivation of self-interest, me and mine love causing divisions, exploitation, perpetuating ignor- ance and creating caste, untouchability and performance of rituals for selfish, transient advantages and pleasure, and where enjoyment is the goal of life.
This is the path of relative darkness from A-B-C religion, the commissioner was probably referring to in his statement, to that of atrocities of the demonic figures like Rawan and Hitler. If we continue finding fault and blame without acting prudently, using our own endowment of intelligence, enlightened scriptures and individuals of character and holiness, we will continue to relegate Hinduism to the weakness it exhibits today. The people, too, must rise above A-B-C Hinduism and seek enlightenment within.
Finally, I want to quote from the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter four, Verse 19, the definition of a pundit:
"One is called a pundit whose every act is free from selfish love (kama) and sensual enjoyments. The sages declare such a man or woman to have their selfishness devoured by the fire of real wisdom (gyana), and transcendental knowledge."
I believe Mr Mishra must have been talking about this definition of a pundit.
Once again, I commend the ambassador for giving us an opportunity to elevate ourselves by our own bootstraps and the Grace of the Almighty.
Dr Roopnarine Singh (MD) FRCP
President and founder of the
Hindu Royal Society and Internet University and author of the New Gita