Why must I defend Hinduism and even be ready to die for it? I was born a Hindu. I know nothing about Brahmanic rituals, Vedas, Shrutis, Smritis, Upnishads, Puranas, Itihasa, Darshanas, and a whole lot of funny, fiery, fearful, nightmarish images of Gods and Goddesses, and Sanskrit invocations, and all kinds of mumbo-jumbo and pooja-path my parents and grandparents indulge in. Are they worth being defended?
Actually I want to get out of such religious and ritualistic bondage. I want my freedom.
It’s a paradox. What you consider as ‘bondage’, each one of those religious practices, books, treaties, stories, images, and rituals make you commit to the idea of freedom you so fervently seek. They even exhort you to free yourself from rituals and religions and seek freedom.
Rabindranath Tagore also prayed for such ‘heaven of freedom’ and so did many seers and sages of this land who sought it through intense spiritual contemplation and penance. They called it ‘Moksha’, ‘Nirvana’, the freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the pinnacle, where all fears vanish and what remains is eternal bliss. It’s the ultimate goal of human existence achieved through various paths of your choosing.
Hindu wisdom and life constantly dwell on such freedom for humanity. It’s part of our psyche. We cannot live without it. We cannot be slaves. We keep fighting back, and re-emerging like those tiny little leaves that sprout out of seemingly dead seeds and loudly proclaim to the world the eternity of life. Thousands of years of subjugation could not kill that Hindu spirit of freedom.
We don’t live by any book or prophet. Our scriptures, great sages, seers and gurus confidently proclaim, ‘What you hear and read is ordinary knowledge, what you experience is real knowledge.’ This is unique to us. No other religious system dares to say that. If Judaism, Islam, and Christianity say that, they will disappear from the Earth.
Our scriptures and seers free us to go out and experience life and seek answers through lived experiences. No prescriptions are given. You are free to chart your own path out of your free will. It could be anything.
I, as a Hindu, can never give up on this freedom. I will seek it and aspire for it through whatever path I choose. I have the freedom to worship a million Gods and Goddesses or none, following or not following rituals, and scriptural strictures.
You cannot incarcerate, destroy, and kill that spirit of freedom that may manifest in millions of beautiful deities we chose to worship with elaborate rituals, invocations, joyful dancing on streets, singing kirtanas in their praise, and building grand temples for them. It also manifests in sitting quietly in meditation and contemplating on the true nature of existence leading to ultimate spiritual awakening and realisation.
Such freedom to experience life in all its facets also expresses itself in what the moribund Victorian mind-set construed as debauchery and decadence. Yet it gave the world elaborate, and intricate works of fine arts, from temple architecture to finest sculptures, wall paintings and beautiful and elegant sartorial and jewellery designs, and treaties like Natya Shashtra and Kama Sutra, unmatched Shringara poetry and literature, and philosophical traditions like Charvaka.
We are neither zombies nor slaves. Freedom is our lifeblood. Such freedom is not granted to us by some man-made Constitution. We were born in freedom. And if anything takes that away from us, we shall resist, fight and prevail. Our progeny inherits that genome from us, as we inherited it from our ancestors, the Saptrishis.
The mighty swords of Rajputs, Marathas, Sikhs, Jats, Gurjars, Ahoms, Yadavas, and various Hindu clans, tribes, ethnic groups, kingdoms, and empires across Bharat, never rested in sheaths and constantly and fiercely resisted and repulsed the attack and dominance of melchhas, the Islamist barbarians and the Europeans, for a thousand years. They defended their freedom and diversity against heavy odds and refused to give up, unlike others, to constant wars of attrition engaged in by monotheistic iconoclasts, zealots, zombies, murderers, marauders, plunderers and robbers.
So, remember O orthodox or deracinated Hindus, it’s your honour-bound duty to defend the freedom to experience life in all its facets and live it to the hilt. Your ancestors defended it for you, now you must defend it for your progeny. And it’s constantly under attack from those who believe in political, cultural, and religious enslavement and subjugation of humanity and its free will.
Hinduism must be protected, nurtured, and defended for the freedom of humanity. In fact, Hindu is a synonym of Human.
Save Hinduism; Save Humanity.
Rajesh Kumar Singh
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.