Every so often we run into people insisting that Hinduism can only ever be for current Indians.
This is Khmer king Jayavarman II, accompanied by his Purohit, Sivakaivalya, performing oblation to Rudra upon a Shivling.
Jayavarman II forged an empire; was a patron of Brahmanas; and had temples built to the Gods.
Indeed, religious contribution is in large part how and why we know of him today.
We would ask such voices who claim Hinduism can only ever be for contemporary Indians whether they have made greater contribution to our shared faith than he.
And whether they would tell him, Jayavarman II, that he has no place amongst us and that his contribution is unwelcome.
Now, of course – this is NOT to deny one most essential truth: the spiritual ‘center of gravity’ to Hinduism is, and always shall be, Bharat.
And just as the language of the Vedas is Sanskrit – so, too, shall Hinduism always have a distinctively ‘Indian’ flavouring.
Indeed, to indulge a slight ethno-linguistic confluence as to meanings … it would literally not be ‘Hinduism’ without ‘India’ within it.
‘Land of the River’, and all of that, you see.
The most glorious ‘Rivers of Faith’ and ‘Streams of Poetry’, as ever, entwined.
Yet whenever it has come up, that some small minority of persons within the modern Hindusphere have chosen to make a point of proclaiming that those of us born outside it can ‘never be’ Hindus and ought play no part within it … we have exactly that same question:
How much are they personally doing, to protect & uphold our shared religion. And is it more than some of us, out here in the ‘hinterland’ are seeking to be engaged in.
Curiously enough, I do not believe we have yet gotten a good answer on that fronting.
We have nothing but respect & righteous reverence for all persons who are working – together – to help to strengthen and defend the Faith. No matter where they have come from – provided that their hearts are true in this endeavour.
It is not for us to adjudge who has it ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ – the man seeking to ‘live up’ to the resounding ancestral glories of his forebears running back in an unbroken line of sacred tradition for millennia …
or the man who is seeking to engage with the faith of his cousins (for such, in Indo-European terms, the Hindusphere is relative to the pre-Christian religions of Europe, etc.) after a millennium or more of the faith of his own forefathers having died out in earnest.
It is only for us to state that we are enduringly thankful for all those efforts – from many quarters – which truly help to protect, and defend, and above all … to empower : upon many, many fronts simultaneously.
After all – to reference that well-worn passage from the RigVeda which has contributed Arya Akasha’s most trenchant motto:
इन्द्रं वर्धन्तो अप्तुरः कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम् ।
अपघ्नन्तो अराव्णः ॥
[RV IX 63 5]
Observe that the objective here is ‘Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam’.
‘Vishvam’ – it does not refer only to Aryavarta (although, in a sense, it could be read as eventually all becoming such …).
It quite directly refers to All.
‘Cosmic Order’, and ‘Piety’, you see – the righteous reign of the Gods … it does not have to stop at mere human territorial boundaries.
Indeed, it should prove insulting in the extreme to Them to insist that Their Suzerainty & Immanencey is thusly limited.
Somebody once suggested that it was better to “reign in Hell” than “serve in Heaven”. As applies this present line of thought, we have most definitely never taken that view.
In part, because it is the realms outside India that are the spiritual ‘Hell’ due to ‘absence’ of Gods
(by which we mean, the lack of immanent engagement with Gods as part of the ‘core’ Civilizational ethos. It creates, to reference Dante’s Inferno, an ‘awareness’ of Gods – yet a ‘remoteness’ of Gods. And that is a most torturous scenario indeed for the properly pious man).
However we reference Milton’s ‘Satanic’ dictum here for another reason. Namely, that as Brian Herbert had a character note: it concedes a certain ‘defeatist’ sentiment.
To ‘limit’ rule to only one such innately ‘favourable’ realm. Heaven or … elsewhere.
And so, we here suggest exactly the same thing:
Namely, that while it is entirely understandable for focus to be upon revitalization of Dharma within the Indian sphere that is its essential, integral demesne upon this globe of ours …
Seeking to limit in scope the efforts to only this territory is a significant curtailment as to pious ambition.
And not least because – the lands outside India are where key threats to said saliency of Dharma within India are continuously observe to come from.
To put it more simply: if one seeks security for the Faith within India – well, this end can only be served by seeking towards the strengthening of the Faith outside India.
After all – thinking about the subject for my this year’s Indian Independence Day customary tribute (A)arti-cle, the Hindu Shahi – … there was a great force that put three hundred years into waylaying the invasion from a certain religious sphere into Bharat.
And even at its ultimate fall in the 11th Century AD – something protracted out after many seemingly ‘last stands’ right at the borders of Bharat Itself …it bought vitally necessary time and shelter for those Hindu polities within Bharat to be able to weather the coming storm
Now I am a simple man. I am not a great and consecrated king like Jayapala or ‘Nidar’ Bhim [‘Bhima the Fearless’] that opposed Mahmud of Ghazni – or, for that matter, the empire-builder Jayavarman II with which we opened this thread.
My contributions are more … modest.
They marshalled men in their thousands in defence and support of Hindu flowering upon this earth. Armed men and architects – the stuff of which Empires are (to be) made!
I count myself fortunate indeed to have only a few dozen men (and women!) across this globe who perform acts of piety at my direction, and who actively work with us to seek to restore the suzerainty of the Gods out here beyond the veil of the Indus, as and where we can.
But that is the nature of our ‘current times’, I feel – this oft-misreferenced ‘Kali Yuga’ that we all of us find ourselves inhabiting.
It is a ‘Dark Age’. Darker, in some ways, than conditions prevalent a thousand years afore.
And what that means is quite simple –
That those acts of ‘light’, those ‘bright spots’ and ‘sparks’ of pious flame out here ‘midst the black … they burn and shine all the brighter, precisely because there is less illumination to be had elsewhere within the gloom.
So, from a certain perspective – we out here are ‘distant flames’, and must appear as scant scintillating specks from the vision-point of those much closer in scope to the yet-mighty bonfire that blazes as India’s spiritual heart(h).
And yet, I believe it was Tagore who observed that the Stars Themselves are unafraid to appear as fireflies.
We know that we are doing good work out here, in train.
After all – from our perspective … we may not have been born to Bharat Mata directly.
But we are ever keen to do our duty for our Adoptive Ma.
It seems an apt sentiment to close on, on this most recent Indian (Re-) Independence Day:
‘Bharat Mata Ki Jaye’ !
Even, and perhaps especially, from those of us out here in the ‘Hinterlands’ – where, perhaps, we have a rather interesting vantage-point with which to marvel at elements that may have sometimes become less notable by some of those closer to the center due to familiarity.
Although, of course, i should qualify that above statement by noting that we are only able to see these things from afar – precisely because so much effort is kept into their preservation at the center.
Jai Mata Di –
Happy (Re)Birth Day, Adoptive Ma !
Even from the ends of the earth, some ten thousand kilometers away and then some.