For Hindi Version go to : भारत का स्वरुप कैसा हो? सेकुलर या हिन्दू?
“Hinduism, which is the most skeptical and the most believing of all, the most skeptical because it has questioned and experimented the most, the most believing because it has the deepest experience and the most varied and positive spiritual knowledge, that wider Hinduism which is not a dogma or combination of dogmas but a law of life, which is not a social framework but the spirit of a past and future social evolution, which rejects nothing but insists on testing and experiencing everything and when tested and experienced, turning in to the soul’s uses, in this Hinduism, we find the basis of future world religion. This Sanatana Dharma has many scriptures: The Veda, the Vedanta, the Gita, the Upanishads, the Darshanas, the Puranas, the Tantras … but its real, the most authoritative scripture is in the heart in which the Eternal has his dwelling”…Sri Aurobindo
The Real ‘Secularist’ ?
Hindus often attack India’s secularists as anti-Hindu. Indeed this is their only argument. By contrast they say Hinduism has always been truly secular, more secular in fact than secularism itself. Now the secularist also like to think of themselves as liberals, humanists, western-orientated progressives, democrats, socialists and even atheists. The last four categories are borrowed direct from Marxist sources and hence they employ the same arsenal of swear words. The enemies of the secularists in India are the Hindu fascists and communalists. Now in western political parlance the term ‘fascism’ remains highly amorphous and problematic. With ‘communal’ on the other hand we are faced with something rather quaint even if at times repulsive. Communal refers to the ‘commune’ an attempt to build an alternative ideal society, a utopia.
There have been many attempts at this, such as farming organic vegetables in order to be self-sufficient and ecologically sound, adopting a vegetarian lifestyle in order to respect the life of animals, manufacturing natural products without synthetic ingredients, and above all creating a society where all contribute and none are to be exploited.
This is epitomised by the hippy and later New Age movements who would be incredibly shocked and disgusted at how India’s secularists have perverted the meaning of ‘communal’ to something equating to the very fascism, tribalism and intolerance which the New Agers reject. So while the various communal living experiments have met with varying degrees of success, it is therefore undoubtedly grotesque how India’s self-righteous secularists have used the word ‘communal’ to be applied in a totally different context divorced from its original meaning. Yet at the same time they have no problem with communism where communes were just another form of slave labour camps and machinery for mass exploitation
India defines itself as a secular socialist republic, a democratic society where no minorities should feel marginalised. But how far does this accord with the reality? Indeed what do Indians even mean when they employ the term ‘secular’? Western democracies learn about this secularism from India’s small coterie of an English speaking elite. India has an epidemic of groups which I will call English writer forums. Every so often a new species of this bland faceless organism appear among the new wave of aspirant intellectuals. They have several things in common.
They consider themselves a very privileged set as they converse in English. They consider themselves full of enough knowledge to make the infestation of poverty outside vanish into a bright utopia by endless hours of chatting absolutely irrelevant trash, often taking the form of words randomly glued into a meaningless mass, the more out of context the better, because they never intend to manifest these ideas into reality with practical application .
This may seem naïve but then when you have call centre staff working gruelling twelve hour shifts yet earning more money than their parents could ever dream of at that age and then breaking social norms snorting cocaine ,getting drunk or trying to have sex in the company toilets, decades of state economic mismanagement must seem only curable by one-dimensional faceless automata like themselves. But above all they like to think of themselves as progressive, liberal and that ubiquitous mantra of modern India: secular. But what do they mean by secularism? How did it even come about?
Meaning of Secularism
Secularism means the exclusion of religion, which in India is from public life. The trauma of partition led the country’s leaders to emphasise the common citizenship of its people rather than the religious differences which had to led to the creation of Pakistan. India was therefore to be the diametric opposite of Pakistan. In a diverse country such as this it was not initially without its merits. After all Sukarno, the first president of Indonesia, realised that his diverse island nations with a plethora of languages, beliefs and ways of life could only be held together by a common value system he called Panchasila. The man who deposed him, Suharto, though ruling with an iron fist kept to these principles which some would deem secular because they used loyalty to the nation to override narrow religious tribalism. So India under Nehru was by no means unique in using the model of secularism for nation building. So now in India, almost every party claims it is secular, even the religious ones.
Even the Hindu–oriented BJP claims it represents ‘true’ secularism and not the ‘pseudo’ variety of its opponents. Of course the Left parties claim that they are the true guardians of secularism against the fascist, right-wing and Hindu fundamentalist BJP, RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal. Congress has turned India almost into a one-party state by its domination of the political mainstream since independence, decades in which it has been the ruling party. It has done this by claiming the mantle of Mahatma Gandhi and above all by advocating itself as the guardian of secularism. Hindus are always keen to appear secular and will broadcast this in high octane tones. Yet in western countries nobody appears to be bothered as much about proving their secular credentials even in France where religion is almost excluded from all public life. It is either taken as self-evident that you are secularists, or that you really could not care less about it. But what is lacking is this obsession to prove being secular.
The best analogy is the stress in modern Britain to be ‘independent’ and an ‘individual’ In reality this has whole swathes of society more dependent than ever and to actually lose their individuality as faceless cogs in a mindless wheel, reflected in various fiction media about the dead coming back to life or deadly pandemics. The terms have become divorced from their original meanings to be nothing more than hollow identity markers in which deep thinking is discouraged and deemed heretical. Do Hindus who claim to be secular know what it actually means? The term secular has been used in widely different contexts. Yet its origins are surprisingly deeply religious. Secularism was always the manifestation of faith but without the need for a supreme deity. But a faith it always was and a faith like any other it remains.
Hindus who proudly espousing secularism have no idea that despite their non-religious pretensions they have in fact become the most zealous converts of just another religion and one which seeks to actively proselytise and crush all before it.
Dr Richard Dawkins is one of UK’s most eminent biologists. He is also a proponent of modern militant atheism and sees secularism with its scientific rationalism as the only way forward for mankind. In order for this to be successful, we need to shake off the religious dogma which has led to not just mental oppression but throughout history degradation of cast sections of humanity. Religion has justified slavery, inferiority of women, racism, rape, genocide and been the cause of wars. Religion has held back scientific advances which among other things have cured diseases that were once fatal and crippling, notably polio, smallpox, leprosy and malaria. All religion could offer was prayer. The hostility Dawkins expresses towards religion is held by others notably Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens.
These formidable figures were preceded by others notably Bertrand Russell who caused outrage in 1927 with his now famous Why I Am Not a Christian. This included the following statement:
“I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.”
If we are to understand Russell as well as the later more militant secularists such as Dawkins we need to understand how secularism came about. What caused it? What was it about religion that impeded progress? In fact was it the experience of all religions which gave rise to the backlash which became secularism? Or was it just one that was guilty?
Many people confess their amazement that Hitler preaches ideas which they have always held…. From the Middle Ages we can look to the same example in Martin Luther. What stirred in the soul and spirit of the German people of that time, finally found expression in his person, in his words and deeds. Since Martin Luther closed his eyes, no such son of our people has appeared again. It has been decided that we shall be the first to witness his reappearance…. I think the time is past when one may not say the names of Hitler and Luther in the same breath. They belong together; they are of the same old stamp [Schrot und Korn].-Volkischer Beobachter, 25 Aug. 1933, [cited from Richard Steigmann-Gall’s The Holy Reich]
The Origins of Secularism
Five hundred years ago the Reformation split the once monolithic power enjoyed by the Catholic Church over most of Europe, by creating dissenting ‘protest’ Christian movements, the Protestants. Modern evangelicals like to see this as the first stirrings in a logical rational step towards democracy, freedom and equality. In fact it was nothing of the sort. It was an attempt to get back to what the reformers decided was the literal truth of the Bible.
All else was false and created dangerous heretics and infidels. Hence the epidemic in gendercide from the sixteenth century: mass killings in which the only crime was to be female. This is known to us as witch-burnings and actually lasted into the nineteenth century. If we are going to talk about gender equality well in this case both Catholic and Protestant churches can claim an ‘equal’ hand in the mass extermination of women and girls.
After the rise of Protestantism we get the first concept of the divine right of kings, that the sovereign was answerable only to god. Hence King James I of England decided to ignore Parliament as much as possible. Charles I refused to recognise it at all even after it fought and won a civil war against him, and decided to chop his head off when sensible conversation on the matter proved futile.
This should come as no surprise. Martin Luther was the main driving force behind Reformation and the Protestant movement in its heartland of Germany. In India the staunchly monotheistic Arya Samaj claim that their founder Swami Dayananda was indeed the Martin Luther of India and spearheaded his own reformation in his native land. Apart from the embarrassing fact that as a reformation the Arya Samaj did not get very far and in hindsight with the organisation’s freefall into the stagnant lake of irrelevance was an abysmal failure, the dwindling and aging followers of Dayananda should cringe that in their desperate clutching at straws they now claim to be secular.
First for the comparison with Luther. Now this ‘reformer’ proudly went on written record to advocate the wholesale massacre of German peasants under the mystic Thomas Muntzer who dared to claim equality with their feudal overlords. Now when more than one strand of opinion claims that it has a divinely ordained license to forcibly baptise the disenfranchised masses in the name of an angry jealous male god, the results are going to be rather unpleasant. Catholic-Protestant strife wracked much of Europe, coalescing in one of the longest and most destructive conflicts the continent had seen.
This was Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). True believers of each side slaughtered each other as the largely German states of the Holy Roman Empire dragged France, Sweden, Denmark, and at one point even the Ottomans into an unbelievably horrific vortex of bloodshed.Estimates put the reduction of population in the Germany alone at about 25% to 40%, with Württemberg losing three-quarters of its population.
In the territory of Brandenburg, the losses had amounted to half, while in some areas an estimated two-thirds of the population died. The male population of the German states was reduced by almost half.
The population of Bohemia declined by a third due to war, disease, famine and the expulsion of Protestant Czechs. The small village of Drais near Mainz, would take almost a hundred years to recover. The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany, which amounted to one-third of all German towns.Pestilence also ravaged the masses with typhus and dysentery. This hell on earth only ended with the Peace of Westphalia which was instrumental in laying the foundations for what are even today considered the basic tenets of the sovereign nation-state, and indeed this was the last religious war in continental Europe between Christian powers.
Religion may not exactly have been discredited but pragmatism ensured that a new climate would allow greater tolerance. Now the term “secularism” was first used by the British writer George Jacob Holyoake in 1851.
Yet it built upon previous centuries of free thought which the Church was uncomfortable with yet was unable to fully stop as the Thirty Years War proved just exactly where that would lead. Notable among the important free thinkers who went beyond the dominant Christian straightjacket are Spinoza, John Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Thomas Paine.
These were thinkers of the Enlightenment that attempt to break human thought free from the narrow confines of Christian dogma. Voltaire, leading figure of this new school in France, and a follower of deism which believed in a libertarian rather than the interventionist god of Christianity, summed up one of the foundations of secularism with his famous “Down with the Accursed One”, meaning the Catholic Church. This has been an important foundation for the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism, and rationalism which evolved as the antithesis of the dominant churches, both Catholic and Protestant.
Religion in Retreat
“The Revolution was a romantic spiritual revolt, an attempt to replace the Christian God with a Jacobin one. Invocations to Reason were thinly veiled appeals to a new personalized God of the Revolution. Robespierre despised atheism and atheists as signs of the moral decay of monarchy, believing instead in an “Eternal Being who intimately affects the destiny of nations and who seems to me personally to watch over the French Revolution in a very special way.” For the Revolution to be successful, Robespierre had to face the people to recognize this God who spoke through him and the general will.” Jonah Goldberg in Liberal Fascism
Yet for all its rebelliousness, the Enlightenment was itself a product of the Reformation. Protestantism had rejected Catholic ritual and veneration of saints as unnecessary barriers between man and god, and (quite rightly as it turned out) a residue of paganism.
That is why Cromwell’s Puritan dictatorship even banned Christmas. Protestantism emphasised the centrality of text and text alone as the word of god and the basis of religion. Enlightenment thinkers applied this to all religions.
So when the Orientalists came to India and tried to categorise the culture, they ignored much of the customs and traditions in favour of what could specifically be found in texts. This was the only paradigm that they could use when confronted with a bewildering array of what became known as Hinduism. So anything in religious text such as Vedas formed the canon of Hinduism. All else was custom, tradition, tribalism or culture.
It is that thinking which has lasted until today in defining secularism in India. The Enlightenment differentiated between sacred and profane, between religion and culture. But was it correct? In Europe and text was the lowest common denominator. All else was custom, or pagan/Catholic ritual for the Protestants, culture for the freethinkers. Yet how are we to apply this to peoples such as Native Australians who even now retain a rich cosmology.
Can this be dismissed as just ‘folklore’? Is it a ‘religion’ even though there was no system of writing and hence no sacred text? These traditions, like so many and including those of India, were passed orally for thousands of years. The Enlightenment was a mixed bag and some thinkers looked back to the pre-Christian classical era and admired the pagan yet highly developed civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome which Christendom had partially inherited. They did this as a counter to stifling church dogma, but in doing so largely ignored that in Latin ‘religio’ meant tradition of one’s ancestors. Culture and religion were therefore intertwined and inseparable.
The French Revolution was a product of the Enlightenment and the Jacobins, the radical party of Robespierre which hijacked the takeover of government represented the most loyal followers of this new secular republic. Desecration of churches in rejecting the accursed faith led to the Cult of Reason.
The Jacobins had their prophet in Rousseau, Swiss born seventeenth century thinker who had dispensed with the need for a god and replaced it with submission to the human will as expounded in his ‘Social Contract’. Of course with all previous constraints removed in the name of liberty this will power knew no limits. The result was mass carnage of the Terror. Therefore despite its revolutionary and egalitarian credentials France was never able to quite suppress religious fervour.
Admittedly through laicism in 1905 this sense of religious duty was aggressively channelled towards ‘La France’ and not the Catholic Church or indeed any other religion. To this day France actively stamps out outwards religiosity as an affront to the ideals of the republic. With the nefarious role played by the Catholic Church and Christian Democrat movement in the anti-Semitic outrage known as the Dreyfus Affair the country’s aggression towards established religion is perhaps understandable.
But just as Voltaire preached quasi-secular deism for the elite but said that the servants should still be given their belief in Christianity to keep them compliant, France actively encouraged the spread of Catholicism in its empire through religious orders, notably the White Fathers.
The huge cathedral in Algiers was both a religious and imperialist edifice to French power. Post-revolutionary France became the intellectual hub of racism and anti-Semitism. The persecution of French army general Alfred Dreyfus just because he was Jewish provided a desperate window for the Catholic Church to show its relevance to the republic by combining medieval Christian dogma with Jacobinism to forge a new nasty organic nationalism as an alternative faith to liberty, equality and fraternity.
As Europe industrialised, rationalism broke from being the preserve of a few intellectuals. It was the engine behind scientific advancement which saw the masses forced out of villages by enclosures as landlords pioneered new crops and novel agricultural techniques. Industrialisation was perhaps the single biggest factor behind secularism as mass phenomenon. Uprooted from age-old rural communities and livelihoods the influx into cities fed the factory system. The manufacturing industries were themselves the result of scientific experimentation. Rationalism was science.
All else was superstition and backwardness impeding human progress. Science was useful. It brought results, achievement, and above all progress. Religion had impeded this. In Belgium, France and especially Germany the state gradually took over welfare and other provisions that had once been the preserve of the church. While not immediately obvious this is perhaps the single most important factor in why Europe has secularised yet America has remained proudly religious. In the latter if you are poor and need even basic health care, food and shelter, only god can help you because the state says that is your responsibility.
The other major difference is that until comparatively recently, and in the case of Greece, Ireland, and even Britain, there is an established national church. Hence while America may at one level be secular, it has more religiosity. Britain has an established church which is by contrast becoming a quaint reminder of the past. The secularist agenda is to move even this out of the way so that religion will not occupy any part of the public sphere.
This is not quite what happens in India. In India the secularism enforced moves as much as possible of Hinduism out of the public sphere. Indeed secularism in India is so upside down and a contradiction in terms that it actually enforces the very worst in backward beliefs. For example the enforcement of Islamic and Christian personal law is said to be a hallmark of secularism.
Yet not even countries with an established church such as Britain allow this sort of concession (well not yet). In France the idea would be thrown out as an affront to secularism. Yet in India the very religious toxins which caused the devastation known as the Thirty Years War are now paraded as integral parts of secularism. Could that perhaps be the reason for the outbreaks of communal violence? Would not one common legal code that enshrines equal rights for every citizen be the solution? Yet that is denounced as Hindu fundamentalism. So what is happening here?
“By a religion I mean a set of beliefs held as dogmas, dominating the conduct of life, going beyond or contrary to evidence, and inculcated by methods which are emotional or authoritarian, not intellectual. By this definition, Bolshevism is a religion: that its dogmas go beyond or contrary to evidence, I shall try to prove in what follows. Those who accept Bolshevism become impervious to scientific evidence, and commit intellectual suicide. Even if all the doctrines of Bolshevism were true, this would still be the case, since no unbiased examination of them is tolerated. One who believes, as I do, that the free intellect is the chief engine of human progress, cannot but be fundamentally opposed to Bolshevism, as much as to the Church of Rome.”
Bertrand Russell, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism,
Humanists in particular like to claim that theirs is a noble and ancient tradition. They quote Plato, Socrates and the like as antecedents. These great philosophers needed no god. They concentrated on the human. Humanists even claim the Charvaks in India as fellow travellers of the ancient past.
This impenetrable argument is not quite so watertight. The Charvaks were so materialist that they became extinct. The Greek philosophers lived at a time when the gods on Olympus, centaurs and the Oracle at Delphi were an accepted and integral part of their lives. After all, Socrates was forced to drink poison for his ideas. Plato is often said to be the father of totalitarianism as ‘Republic’ speaks of a graded society where children are taken from their parents to be brainwashed.
In reality the secularists built upon religious millenarian movements of the past simply because this was the only paradigm which was familiar to them. That is why the communists were inspired by Protestant mystic and that arch-enemy of Martin Luther, Thomas Muntzer. In that same sixteenth century Germany, Christian preacher John of Leyden had in fact tried to create the first known attempt at a communist society that would survive Armageddon. Communists and Nazis saw themselves as secular, where there was no place for god. Atheists and Christians often argue about this because while these murderous strands of thought rejected religion they did inspire fanaticism that was even more zealous. How to answer this?
In reading ‘Black Mass’ by former conservative thinker John Gray, we find fascinating development is laid bare, demonstrating how the genocidal ideas of the twentieth century in fact built upon centuries of Christian millenarianism, eschatology and the belief in Armageddon. Utopia was the solution to society’s ills. Demons must be expunged, exterminated, wiped off the face of the planet. For Luther it was sometimes Catholics, but always the Jews. For the Jacobins it was the aristocrats and then anyone else. For communists it was class, race and looking at Stalin in a funny way.
For the Nazis it was being the wrong race, verified not by examining DNA (which had not been discovered yet) but by checking back generations to see if any Aryan looking blond-haired blue-eyed members of the volk had had the misfortune to register at the local synagogue. For Ataturk it was the Armenians, Greeks and Kurds. There is no doubting his secularism and drive to make the modern state of Turkey from the ashes of the Ottoman empire. In fact few would doubt that modern Turkey is the child of Ataturk. Yet by doing so he deliberately created a behemoth which will not rest. In doing so he was anything but secular. His annihilation and ethnic cleansing of Armenians, Assyrians and then Greeks was a continuation of the Ottoman jihad.
His campaign against the Kurds was to force them to become one with the new nation which could only be done by denying their very existence in the first place. If that failed then Turkish secularism did not hesitate to deny their very right to physical existence. Ataturk’s brand of secularism, though inspired by the French Jacobins and laicism, proved to have its own ‘infidels’.
In similar vein pan-Arabist ideas of former Egyptian military president Gamel Nasser or the Ba’ath which originated with Syria’s Michel Aflaq were avowedly secular, taking inspiration from Nietzsche, Lenin, socialism, communism, fascism and Nazism: the immoral effluence that flowed from western secularism. There can be only ‘one’. That may be one race, nation, class, because that is the evil genius in this endlessly amorphous concept. Anyone outside the fold is damned to the concentration camp, medical experiment room, gas chamber, death march or exile. All in the name of secularism. Secularists and atheists counter that Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot were actually following some religious perversion and not an actual rejection of religion itself. Yet these monsters were avid admirers of the scientific method.
But despite secular pretensions these were very much sacred causes. Ataturk offered a surrogate faith in place of Islam, yet limited to members of that faith and rabidly violent to those who would previously have been deemed infidels.
Turks were also portrayed not only as the only and original inhabitants of Anatolia, but as speakers of the Sun Language, the original human tongue from which all others had derived. Ba’thist secularism was limited by its own ideological constraints and commitment to Islam. Aflaq asked that his fellow Arab Christians join this pan-Arabism which not only accepted the central position of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, but also looked back the glory days of the Arab empire known as the caliphate. This limited the supposed ‘secularism’ of Ba’ath.
By ignoring the European Enlightenment, Ba’ath did not need to compromise traditional Islamic mores or the place of Arabs in history. Aflaq therefore used Islam as a harness for Arab nationalism. Himmler meanwhile modelled the SS on both the Teutonic Knights who had forced Christianity onto the pagan Slavs during the eleventh century, and that pious Roman Catholic order, the Jesuits. Eschatology within Nazism itself derived directly from Germany’s dominant Lutheran tradition. Hitler always spoke of the annihilation in an apocalyptic fervour characteristic of the Middle Ages.
The Bolshevik intelligentsia resembling monks in their ascetic self-discipline and the fanaticism with which they persecuted ‘unbelievers’. The state was structured like a church in its secular ecclesiastical hierarchy which linked the Kremlin to the humblest cell of the Communist Party and officialdom, and its sacred icons of Marx, Engels and Lenin.
Victims were demonised by employing terminology which drew upon the folklore beliefs of Russian Orthodox Christianity. The French Revolution, secular and rationalist scientific mother of them all, was itself not the wellspring of rationalism it is often claimed to be. Like fascism and communism it was an attempt to create the “New Man” with a fanaticism which was religious in character. Indeed Robespierre compared the Revolution to Islam.
Christianity may have been dethroned and replaced by vague referenced to reason, nation and brotherhood. But of course the state was itself god which now gave legitimacy to the regime. In his 1908 book Révolution sur la violence French thinker and founder of revolutionary syndicalism (which bridged socialism with its fascist offspring) Georges Sorel saw workers responding to the idealist myth of a general strike in similar manner to the early Christians having expectation of an immediate return of Jesus.
Marx was a prophet like Christ and Das Kapital was an apocalyptic text. No matter that if taken literally its social science made little sense. After all religion worked to organise the masses even if it was false. Therefore the syndicalist myth of a paralyzing general strike was merely the secularised version of the second coming of Christ.
It is this which India’s ‘secularists’ import which should not come as a surprise. Most are Marxists or products of a Marxist education system.
They have therefore inculcated the prejudice against Indian culture with which Marx was candid: it was backward, superstitious, and made the country destined to be ruled by aliens. Add to this mix the idea to placate minorities by pushing them under the heel of medieval style self-appointed leaders and the social magma cannot be contained. Why else can someone like Shahi Bukhari claim to be secular and yet demand sharia law and the banning of books deemed ‘offensive’? That is not secularism. On its own website the All India Christian Council says it is committed to two areas without compromise: secularism and the sovereignty of Christ.
You can almost hear Voltaire turning in his grave at this contradiction in terms. In any case such a mission statement would get laughed at by western secularists as being alternative comedy.
Yet in India ‘secular’ means anything non-Hindu and anti-Hindu. While one can at least credit Dawkins with being equitable in wanting anything he deems superstitious banned from the public sphere and all faith schools as child abuse, in India the secularists apply this only to Hinduism, while treating as inviolable the very religions which over the centuries have caused carnage, slavery, genocide and human misery on a mass scale and hence spawned the by-product of secularism as dire necessity just in order to survive. Even then the less than impressive offspring they could not even do it without building upon medieval Christian tradition to cause extermination on a hitherto unprecedented level.
As a result the post-Christian societies of Europe continue to be shaped by the beliefs they reject. Christianity has been responsible for a whole framework of ideas notably that humans are somehow completely different from other living organisms. Only a revealed religion could suppose that idea which is now taken as a norm of scientific rationalism, even when it came crashing down with the threat of pandemics from bird and swine flu. If anything diseases like that, as with the outbreak of West Nile virus in New York, indicate that we share perhaps rather more of our DNA with the natural world than we would care to contemplate. A society that had truly left behind the dogma of Christianity would lack the very concepts which have shaped secular thought.
Pre-Christian Europe lacked the distinction between secular and sacred. It would have made no sense to speak in such terms to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Celts, and Norse. As with other polytheistic cultures the world itself was sacred. The separation can be traced back to Saint Augustine distinguishing between the City of Man and the City of God. Secularism is the legacy of Christianity and has no meaning outside the concept of monotheism, because as with pre-Christian pagan Europe, the cultures that remained polytheistic have lived harmoniously side by side with mystical philosophers. The secular creeds by contrast have been formulated by purely religious concepts, which means that when they try and suppress religion, it just comes back in more grotesque forms.
secularists not only back the most obscurantist and backward religious ideas which led to the secularist and humanist backlash in order to avoid Europe sinking into the Catholic-Protestant strangulation caused by the Thirty Years War, they deem any opposition to their self-righteous views as Hindutva fascism. This does not even look at the origins of fascism which lie both in the dogma of the medieval Church and its surrogate secular offspring. Hence while Nazis rejected Christianity they also inherited its aspects and drew upon them, as explained by Robert Wistrich of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in Hitler’s Apocalypse (Weidensfeld &Nicolson, London, 1985), pages 38 and 39:
“Nazism was from the outset essentially a political religion or eschatology which used sacred structures patterned on Christian forms even as it undermined and inverted their spiritual content. The role of the Fuhrer as Redeemer of the Volk recalled in caricatural from that of the Christian Saviour. In earlier speeches made during the Kampfzeit, especially in Catholic Bavaria, Hitler actually compared his own salvationist doctrine to that of Jesus.
Like his predecessor, he, too, lived in a materialistic world contaminated by Jews, where state power was corrupt and incompetent. Christ in Hitler’s self-projection had created a great world-movement by preaching a popular anti-Jewish faith with patriotic idealism. Hitler wished to bring about the same result in the political sphere. Even when it turned inwardly against Christianity and called for a total revaluation of all values, Nazism inherited from its dogmatic theology the deep-rooted belief that the Jew was the main obstacle to human redemption, the eternal thorn in the flesh of the elect.”
Nazi millenarianism derives directly from its medieval Christian antecedents such as the Joachitic speculation, the Anabaptist wing of the Reformation and the Johannine Christianity of nineteenth century German thinkers Fichte, Hegel and Schelling.
Therefore Nazism and communism were products of the same western mix that produced secularism. How absurd then to apply the term ‘fascism’ to manifestations of Hinduism. If anything it is India’s secularists who are nearer to any form of fascism than politicised Hinduism. Indeed the secularists share common ideological and spiritual kinship. Their rivalry and odium is that of siblings fighting over rights to be spokesmen and the elect of an omnipotent monotheistic entity.
Now being a monotheistic creed without compromise, secularism cannot possibly understand Hindu and other such ancient cultures. As such it is their sworn enemy which is why India’s secularists defend the rights of sharia law in a secular democratic India, as well as jihad in Kashmir and Kerala, contemporary Christian crusades by evangelical terrorists in the north-east such as Orissa and Tripura, rape and killings by Maoist insurgents, and clemency for the attack on Mumbai by Pakistan-backed Islamic terrorists. It is not just a convenient stick to browbeat Hindus under the euphemism of amorphous ‘human rights’.
Even their much vaunted ‘liberalism’ is a lineal descendant of Christianity, sharing its militancy and intolerance on how to deal with those deemed ‘enemies of the faith’ when defending ‘civilisation’, thereby corrupting the very liberal values they purport to be espousing with such evangelical fervour. The secularists are merely being true to their monotheistic foundations in trying to formulate their vision of utopia.
Instead it has dragged India into a quagmire of corruption, nepotism, police brutality, endemic urban rape, caste politics, communal violence, interfering and incompetent bureaucracy, childish financial system and increasing desperation for the masses whose aspirations are crushed by this self-serving, Anglicised, western-orientated secular elite. They rejoice at naming great civic reference points after those who oppressed their ancestors, destroyed their culture, and yet with whom they are conjoined at spiritual birth.
St. Francis Xavier has his name emblazoned on schools, colleges and monuments. Yet he was a psychopathic monster of the worst order who took hammer and chisel to Hindu civilisation and put a sword to the neck of its disciples. In Delhi there are roads named in honour of Aurangzeb whose aim at annihilating all Hindus was only limited by the technology of his age. Can anyone imagine Israel naming roads and buildings after Hitler, Himmler, Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Reinhard Heydrich? It would be insulting and absurd. Yet to the secularists the only modern, liberal and tolerant India is one who admires in having his dignity crushed every day by having to honour the genocidal maniacs of their past. Therefore if India is to move forward, it needs to cleanse the country of the secularist virus and its monotheistic thought patterns. So how can that be achieved?
Secularism is Incompatible with Indian Culture
The Reformation emphasised the written text as the basis of any religion, a concept which was continued by the Enlightenment despite the latter’s revolt against organised faith and a state church. This is the idea of modernism which puts all cultures into neat compartments. But the real world was never like that and this modernist presumption has come under attack by French post-structuralist thinkers Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. Now without a moral and ethical framework this could be argued as a recipe for dystopian breakdown. That is why John Gray is called nihilist, even when he is right in exposing attempts at utopia as inevitable dystopia.
Yet in ‘Black Mass’ he hints at the cultures of India and China as being outside this eschatological, millenarian and apocalyptic framework and all ancient cultures once were. In this he echoes Voltaire who saw Chinese Confucianism as offering a workable philosophical framework which was not in western terms a religion. Nevertheless Confucianism worked in tandem with Taoism and Buddhism. Buddhism of course came from India and it was the ancient intellectual ferment which not only produced workable ethical framework known as Dharma, but the striving towards a higher purpose in the spiritual bliss of moksha.
This is in stark contrast to utopia. But then India remains part of the pre-Enlightenment world which is why the Orientalists could not understand it. Having had thousands of years of their own ancient traditions crushed under the heel of the jealous monotheistic deity they were in no position to understand what they encountered in the East.
Here it was pre-modern. Culture and religion are not separate as oral traditions, unwritten beliefs, local customs and the existence of seemingly contradictory array of ideas baffle anyone used to the one-dimensional discourse which secularism has inherited from the ecclesiastical world it claimed to reject. While secularism claims the mantle of rationalism to show how science improved the modern world, this was only possible by using a numeric system devised in ancient India.
That means that western secular achievements owe much to the ancient Hindus. In her book ‘Atlas Shrugged’ that most dry and unemotional of secular thinkers Ayn Rand has her hero John Galt denounce “the mystic muck of India” as he preaches the virtue of individual selfishness and ultra-materialism, which resonated with the teenagers and twentysomethings of 1957 onwards. Galt, and thereby his creator Rand, saw this mysticism as the greatest foe of her secularism and scientific rationalism. But then she would also have to reject not just decimal numbers but the concept of zero, without which her grimy industrial society of the future would not exist. Would her industrialist messiah Hank Rearden produce his steel using calculations of Roman numerals? Now where is the ‘muck’? But like with so much else that India’s aspirant modern middle-class blindly emulate, they ignore this inconvenient fact.
That is why the use of ‘secularism’ in India is a bankrupt cess-pit of outdated ideas which have lost their relevance, reduced to empty slogans in order to fend off demons that do not exist. In doing so they create very real demons which the Indian masses face daily: police harassment, bungling corrupt officialdom, lack of jobs, stifling of creativity and entrepreneurship. However the most supreme irony is that the secularism followed by India’s secularists, is itself at source the direct offspring and revamping of medieval and Reformation Christianity. It is a schizophrenic result of reaction to the genocidal religious conflicts that tore apart Europe during the Thirty Years War, and yet simultaneously a revamp of those very same millenarian ideas complete with scenarios of Armageddon and an End-Time. Hence secularism in India is in reality a very religious phenomenon.
There was nothing like the Thirty Years War in India. Applying secularism to counter Hinduism in India is like trying to study the works of Shakespeare by using calculus. Unsurprisingly it generates utterly irrelevant data. There were never millenarian and apocalyptic movements such as witnessed in Christianity the secular ideologies which it spawned. So it is strange how India’s secularist set up their ideological rabid mouth-frothing against the majority belief system which was never the problem in the first place. Their reaction is due to conflicts and violence that led to partition in 1947. While displacement and carnage were horrific, could this be blamed on the very Hinduism which they decry in the name of secularism?
In India any separatist, secessionist and terrorist movements have their roots in clear apocalyptic millenarian ideologies, whether Islamic, Christian or Marxist. So here is the nauseating irony. India’s secularists blame the victims for causing the problems which most affect them.Are there armed Hindu secessionist movements in Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia? Or in Christian-majority Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Fiji? Now in all these countries Hindus are openly discriminated against, sometimes even killed and tortured. Yet the secularist are obsessed with Hindus being the problem.
This is not just self-alienation but a deeper rift, a clash of opposing values, and at its inner soul a clash of cosmology. Hindu and secular mindsets literally live in different universes.
Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient philosophers such as Plato viewed human life as part of a larger cosmic cycle. This was how all ancient cultures worked. The obsession with the Mayan doomsday prediction of 21 December 2012 has nothing to do with pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cosmology with its incredibly precise mathematical calculations and astronomical readings. Instead that Mayan writing was read through the warped lens of western mind, both religious and its secular offshoot, which expects Armageddon scenario and needs an End-Time. Unsurprisingly the prediction like all its predecessors came to nothing. It was Christianity which injected the belief that human history is a teleological process which was inherited by Marx as much as Fukyama, hence the latter’s book End of History. In the Book of Revelation the idea of the future being progress is as ingrained as it would later be in Marxism. It postulates a struggle between good and evil in which the latter will be overcome. Modern politics is merely this continuation of the history of religion. The greatest revolutionary upheavals were part of the long process which witnessed the dissolution of Christianity.
The world is littered with the debris of utopian projects which although framed in secular terms were in fact vehicles for religious myths. While communism claims to be based on a science of historical materialism, Nazism on scientific racism, while neoconservatives swear by the whole world having democracy and the free market, these are merely recent versions of apocalyptic beliefs which has shaped western life since Christianity introduced the idea of the End-Time. These beliefs go back to the very origins of the faith. Jesus preaching of the final days made eschatology central to Christianity and its secular humanist, liberal and revolutionary offshoots. Plato put the Golden Age firmly in the distant past, before history, a time which was forever irrecoverable.
Only by returning to its cultural roots can India find the answers. That is why Gujarat has forged ahead while Bihar remains a stagnant backwater and Punjab faces at least a generation lost to drug addiction. By becoming an economic success story Gujarat has become what India should be. A place with opportunities for all, irrespective of religious, social or other background created by a man reviled by both secularist and monotheistic evangelists alike, Narendra Modi. That should come as no surprise. Modi has built prosperity by unashamed reference to indigenous culture and traditions, not some failed jonnie-come-lately intellectually bankrupt import known as secularism. India never needed this bizarre concept as it encompassed many varied systems of belief, devotion and way of life.
The householder and ascetic find a place. The Sanskritic texts are highly technical and deep, while various devotional writings are in simple vernacular. Instead of striving for an unattainable utopia which has never worked the Indian tradition knew this would lead to anarchy and primeval savagery. Hence the concept of Dharma which provided the necessary ethical framework. Such a system can best be seen by the results because like the Industrial Revolution it included the triumph of scientific method. However science was not the cause of Dharma. Rather Dharma was the reason behind scientific milestones. That is why the ancient Hindus formulated the zero and decimal digits without which the Industrial Revolution and scientific advances which we take for granted as the logical trajectory of human development would never even have taken place, and thereby allowed freethinkers to break out of their comfort zones and claim the scientific rational of secularism.
The Religious Roots of India’s Secularism
“The vast and tranquil metaphysics of India is unfolded; her conception of the universe, her social organization, perfect in its day and still capable of adaptation to the demands of modern times; the solution which she offers for the feminist problem, for the problems of the family, of love, of marriage; and lastly, the magnificent revelation of her art. The whole vast soul of India proclaims from end to end of its crowded and well ordered edifice the same domination of a sovereign synthesis.” There is no negation. All is harmonized. All the forces of life are grouped like a forest, whose thousand waving arms are led by Nataraja, the master of the Dance. Everything has its place, every being has its function, and all take part in the divine concert, their different voices, and their very dissonances, creating, in the phrase of Heraclitus, a most beautiful harmony. Whereas in the West, cold, hard logic isolates the unusual, shutting it off from the rest of life into a definite and distinct compartment of the spirit. India, ever mindful of the natural differences in souls and in philosophies, endeavors to blend them into each other, so as to recreate in its fullest perfection the complete unity. The matching of opposites produces the true rhythm of life”. Romain Rolland Nobel Prize winning author for Literature
The Enlightenment philosophers aimed to supplant Christianity but could only be successful if they could satisfy the hopes it implanted. Hence they were dishonest because pre-Christian beliefs took it for granted that human history had no overall meaning, at least in terms of millenarianism, chiliasm and eschatology. This was exposed as far back as 1932 when the American scholar Carl Becker wrote The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century and in doing so exposed just how much Christianity had shaped the Enlightenment. The philosophers merely recast Christian ideas, replacing the idea that history was a struggle between good and evil with that of mankind developing through stages. But they retained the essential belief in demonology. One only has to examine how the Jacobins, Bolsheviks, Nazis, Islamists blame evil forces for all the ills in the world, and how these dark nefarious elements will ultimately be crushed. The Jacobins were the first to believe that humanity and not god could change the world for the better using terror. But while the decline of Christianity and the rise of revolutionary utopianism go together, the eschatological hopes were not rejected along with the Christian faith. Instead the Jacobins offered an alternative form of Christian universal salvation. Nineteenth century German thinker Nietzsche recognised this similarity in spirit which the French Revolution and socialism shared with Christianity.
Marx and Engels of course saw Christianity, indeed religion in general, as enforcing proletariat alienation and oppression under capitalism. The opium of the people eased working-class pains with nebulous fantasies and dreams. Yet Marx actually adapted the ideas of German Christian philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72) who wrote Essence of Christianity in 1841. He said that Christian concepts of god were actually imaginary projections of very real human ideals. The church should therefore reconstitute itself as the celebration of truth and love to be shared by all humanity. Engels argued Christianity was originally socialist in mobilising slaves, peasants and the poor into a revolutionary movement. But this revolution was submerged by orthodoxy which enforced social hierarchy, therefore betraying the original socialism of Christianity. So while Marx and Engels criticised the Christian socialists as lacking both the scientific national revolutionary analyses, their own methodology did in fact inherit traces of Christian thought.
This is important for us because either consciously as animals of the Left or having imbibed the mimicry and copycat system of education in India the domain secular elite culture is imbibed with Marxism. This secular elite culture defines itself as ‘liberal’, an enlightened outpost against the seething dark superstitious masses. In doing so it rejects ‘religio’, the traditions of one’s ancestors as invalid, namely Hinduism. It is Hinduism which is blamed for poverty, domestic violence, and India’s backwardness. If the aim was to help minorities feel more inclusive it has not worked. Indeed it has fanned the flames of the very monotheistic demons which Europe attempted to neutralise as a result of the Thirty Years War. The very minority religions that actually need secularism are in fact shielded from it in the name of that very secularism. In this obscene perversion of values, it is instead only applied to Hinduism when it was never needed for that anyway. In contrast to the Thirty Years War, India’s ancient traditions formed, adapted, absorbed and evolved rather successfully. The secularists and NGOs who bemoan India’s intolerance and problem with ‘minorities’ avert their gaze from how Zarathustrians found sanctuary in India and prospered. Or how Jews, the classic demon for millenarian creeds, both secular revolutionary and their religious antecedents, found that it was only in India that they could flourish unmolested.
India’s secular elite is identified by their often half-hearted attempts to speak English properly and more recently follow the Generation X lifestyle of MTV. But at heart the alienated rootless liberals are in fact of colonial mindset. The masters may have changed in 1947 but the mentality just became more entrenched with the state becoming an ugly beast in order to suck the life blood out of its masses so that the best talent voted with their feet. Like North Korea they need dead personalities of the past to give them markers of identity in which to knit their fragile confines. That is why effigies of Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and Indira Gandhi are constantly paraded by a bankrupt political class that constantly need reaffirmation as to why they even exist. Their erstwhile foes are hardly any better wearing their mismatched mix of a khaki safari shorts and Edwardian era children’s clothing.
Despite what the constitution says about citizens of the republic, the reality remains one of rulers and subjects. Old colonial laws to retain this remain in force, notably the Indian Police Act 1864 which was designed to ensure perpetual British rule, not to have police as servants of the people. Hence the queue to join them with various chattering clubs identified as being English, liberal, secular, humanist and much else. They see it self-evident that they are rational and scientific. Yet again the sad irony is that that very scientific basis lies in India’s ancient past not some desperate by-product of incessant religious conflict that created modern Europe.
Rejecting Secularism in India and Providing the Alternative
‘To us the most striking thing feature of ancient Indian civilization is its humanity….Our second general impression of ancient India is that her people enjoyed life, passionately delighting both in the things of the senses and the things of the spirit….India was a cheerful land, whose people, each finding a niche in a complex and slowly evolving social system , reached a higher level of kindliness and gentleness in their mutual relationships than any other nation of antiquity. For this, as well as for her great achievements in religion, literature, art and mathematics, one European student at least would record his admiration of India’s ancient culture’
AL Basham, The Wonder That was India
The above is from one of the major pioneers in Indology, who was professor of Asian Civilization at the Australian National University in Canberra. Basham further states how unlike other ancient cultures which have almost all died out, that of India has survived. Indeed those aforementioned cultures and civilisations were crushed underfoot and annihilated by the religious antecedents of secularism. In the case of China, that ancient culture was almost exterminated by a millenarian apocalyptic utopian force claimed by Mao to be against all religion.
But it was not just in the spiritual sphere. India had incredible technological achievement in carving of stone column and more impressively the Iron Pillar of Meharauli near Delhi, made from a single piece of iron and at over 4 metres in height. Dating back to over 1500 years it refuses to rust such is the purity of the metal used. Hindu cosmology accepts the great antiquity of a universe which is in a cyclical state of decline and renewal ad infinitum. Indeed there are other universes. In the fifth century Aryabhata postulated that the earth revolved around the sun, and rotated on its axis. Eclipses were understood and reported with accuracy.
Accurate observatories were even built in Jaipur and Delhi as late as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, showing that the ancient traditions were not lost. Aryabhata also found the value of pi to a level more accurate than the ancient Greeks. Bhaskara in the twelfth century recognised what Hindu spirituality had always known, that infinity remains infinity however much it is divided. Bhaskara joins Brahmagupta from the seventh century and Mahavira from the ninth in making mathematical discoveries that were unknown in Europe until the Renaissance. But above all the most important milestone is the anonymously written Bakshali Manuscript, a copy of a fourth century original, where an ancient mathematician devised decimal numerals and with it the concept of zero. AL Basham on page 498 of The Wonder That Was India:
“The debt of the Western world to India in this respect cannot be overestimated. Most of the great discoveries and inventions of which Europe is so proud would have been impossible without a developed system of mathematics, and this in turn would have been impossible if Europe had been shackled by the unwieldy system of Roman numerals. The unknown man who devised the new system was from the world’s point of view, after the Buddha, the most important son of India.”
Yoga and meditation were the basis for the system of holistic medicine known as Ayurveda which is gaining widespread acceptance in the western nations which had once embraced the Enlightenment. Through knowledge of physiology ancient India developed surgical procedures with caesarean section, highly skilled bone-setting and plastic surgery which remained ahead of Europe until the eighteenth century. Surgeons from the East India Company in fact learnt rhinoplasty from the Indians. Then we have no less influential contributions from India to wider humanity such as sugar cane, domestic fowl, cotton, rice and the game of chess. All this form a mindset and ancient civilisation which India’s secular elite despise as being backward, obscurantist and the diametric opposite of western and liberal values. In some ways it is. But without this so-called backward culture their secularism and liberalism would have remained the preserve of a few isolated freethinking dissidents.
Without the mathematical calculations afforded by decimal numeric system the industrial pioneers would not have had the impact on society and economy that they did. Without the Indian invention of zero there would have been no computing as we know it. So all these achievements were the product of the Hindu mind. Secularism would not of thought of them and hence the very scientific rationalism which it claims as integral to itself would never have existed. Hence if India’s secular elite detoxify from their self-alienation the country can not just return to its ancient moorings but develop into the technologically advanced democratic society which is long overdue. The proof can be seen with the transformation of Gujarat under Narendra Modi, where an unhealthy obsession with anti-Hindu secularism and its empty rhetoric has thankfully been ditched in favour of no-nonsense policies that benefit all sections of society and encourage growth and investment. Modi has not been blackmailed by the claustrophobic constraints of secularism but has embraced the rational approach of modernisation. In this his policies have been harmonious with the views of leading western scientists whose views have been submerged under the evangelical atheism of Richard Dawkins.
Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) was a philosopher, bohemian, and radical, as well as a theoretical physicist and the Supervising Scientist for the Manhattan Project. He famously said:
“Access to the Vedas is the greatest privilege this century may claim over all previous centuries.
The general notions about human understanding… which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find [in modern physics] is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom. The juxtaposition of Western civilization’s most terrifying scientific achievement with the most dazzling description of the mystical experience given to us by the Bhagavad Gita, India’s greatest literary monument.”
So why would a supposedly rational scientist and arguably inventor of the most destructive weapon known to man make such a religiously obscurantist comment? Oppenheimer however did not stop there. In 1933 he learned Sanskrit and met the Indologist Arthur W. Ryder at Berkeley. He subsequently read the Bhagavad Gita in the original Sanskrit and later he cited it as one of the books that most shaped his philosophy of life. His close confidant and colleague, Nobel Prize winner Isidor Rabi, later gave his own interpretation on this
“Oppenheimer was over educated in those fields, which lie outside the scientific tradition, such as his interest in religion, in the Hindu religion in particular, which resulted in a feeling of mystery of the universe that surrounded him like a fog. He saw physics clearly, looking toward what had already been done, but at the border he tended to feel there was much more of the mysterious and novel than there actually was … [he turned] away from the hard, crude methods of theoretical physics into a mystical realm of broad intuition.”
The joint work of the scientists at Los Alamos resulted in the first artificial nuclear explosion near Alamogordo on July 16, 1945. Oppenheimer later recalled that, while witnessing the explosion, he thought of a verse from the same sacred text:
“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendour of the mighty one.”
Years later he would explain that another verse had also entered his head at that time: namely, the famous verse:
“kālo’smi lokakṣayakṛtpravṛddho lokānsamāhartumiha pravṛttaḥ”
which he translated as:
In 1965, he was persuaded to quote again for a television broadcast:
“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”
Two days before the test, Oppenheimer expressed his hopes and fears in a quotation from the Bhagavad Gita:
“In battle, in the forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
On the dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
The good deeds a man has done before defend him”
Now perhaps this was just one scientist, a small diversion, a sideshow to the main spectacle. But he was far from alone. Erwin Schroedinger (1887–1961) Austrian theoretical physicist, was a professor at several universities in Europe. He was awarded the Nobel prize Quantum Mechanics, in 1933. During the Hitler era he was dismissed from his position for his opposition to the Nazi ideas and he fled to England. He was the author of Meine Weltansicht and he formulated the wave equation (stationary and time-dependent Schrödinger equation) and revealed the identity of his development of the formalism and matrix mechanics.
He had a lifelong interest in Vedanta which influenced his speculations at the close of What is Life? about the possibility that individual consciousness is only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe. Now in terms of religion, Schrodinger fits in the atheist camp. He even lost a marriage proposal to his love, Felicie Krauss, not only due to his social status but his lack of religious affiliation. He was known as a freethinker who did not believe in any god. But this did not stop Schrodinger from having a deep connection to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Eastern philosophy in general, studying numerous books on Eastern thought as well as the Hindu texts. Interest in Vedanta connected him with ideas of oneness and unity of mind through his research on quantum physics, specifically wave mechanics. In 1918 he stated:
“Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge… It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two “I”‘s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further… when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.”
He was later to elaborate:
“In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge, date back some 2500 years or more… the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts. Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God). To Western ideology, the thought has remained a stranger… in spite of those true lovers who, as they look into each other’s eyes, become aware that their thought and their joy are numerically one, not merely similar or identical…”
Dr. Walter John Moore, a physical chemist, textbook author and biographer, whose book ”Physical Chemistry” (Prentice-Hall, 1950) remained a standard text for more than 30 years, said this of Schroedinger in 1884:
“The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrodinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on super imposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the Vedantic concept of All in One…… He rejected traditional religious beliefs (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) not on the basis of any reasoned argument, nor even with an expression of emotional antipathy, for he loved to use religious expressions and metaphors, but simply by saying that they are naive.”
India now has a choice of whether it continues to be secular state forced to wear a collective inferiority complex with overdoses of old news reels of Nehru and company during 15 August giving boring speeches of freedom at midnight. An education system once created by the colonials now under the control of Marxists to make Indians act subservient , continue to teach outdated race theories of non-existent Aryan invasions, where everything western holds the standards one should aspire to. Imagining India is part of western Europe or a state in the USA becomes a rather macabre farce when that same state faces attacks from the hostile neighbour, only to turn up for a candlelit dinner at the border with the same people. The only alternative is to have self-pride and confidence in being part of the oldest surviving civilisation on the planet which has prevailed against all the odds. A civilisation that contributed in all areas of human thought and which still is respected around the world where Hindu practices such as yoga, meditation and Ayurveda are being taken up. If any other civilization such as the ancient Greeks had survived today then like India it would have elicited fascination from the rest of the world.
It is therefore imperative that we reject secularism by rejecting the same warped teleological view of history that has so distorted our understanding. Humanity has not stopped being religious. The modern era is not one of secular monoculture with a glib liberalism. Instead it is highly diverse and plural. Attempts at making the globe into a morally homogenous society with secularism as the normative reference point have been doomed to failure. While Christian millenarianism which gave rise to India’s secularism will not die just yet, it is important we recognise just how these apocalyptic beliefs manifest: evangelicals, designer religions, financial racketeering, science fiction and doomsday cults. But there are alternatives, notably the ancient legends such Prometheus of ancient Greece. These are much better guides than the modern dysfunctional myths involving progress and utopia in an age which has merely updated superstitions into a belief in the limitless supply of credit, consumerism, selfishness while eschewing responsibility and harmony. Ancient Hindus knew this would return humanity into an age of savagery and ignorance. Hence the formulated the term Kali Yuga to describe it. And they realised Dharma would be the only method to prevent it.
This content was originally published here.