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Aham Bhaktam: the dimensions of Bhakts on political spectrum

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Kishore Asthana

The word ‘Bhakt’ has been lately made an epithet by some on the left side of our current political divide. This is dismaying. I wish these name-callers had selected some other word to give vent to their angst. However, that they chose this ancient word reveals what is actually behind their mind-set.

In this mood, let me explain to those who wish to learn what a real Bhakt is, at least from my perspective.

Yes, I am a follower of the Dharm, an unequivocal Bhakt. Do not take ‘Dharm’ in the religious sense. My ‘Dharm’ is ‘duty’ and my bhakti is all encompassing. It includes those who agree with me and those who don’t.  It also includes all others in between. I do not get viscerally riled if someone says things against my faith, my idols, or my nation, or my environment, or my friends. I think about their motives and whether what they have said and done harms my society. When I say ‘society’ I mean my family and friends, my countrymen, my India and my Earth. If it does, I oppose them logically, with the required amount of vehemence, in the spirit of my Dharm.

I oppose even those who agree with my political leanings if they do something that is harmful to my society. I ignore dissent or negative comments if they do not result in short or long term harm to my society.

Viewing the current agitation and allegations and counter-allegations from both sides, I ask myself, “what does my Dharm dictate under the circumstances? Who is on the side of the right and who is on the side of the wrong? Who is Dharmic in this chaos and who is Adharmik?

I can find Dharmik people on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Imagine a long band. One end is white and the other black. In between, there are shades of gray. All those within my conscience are ranged along this band. Their positioning depends upon whether, in my view, they are Dharmic or Adharmic, with the real Dharmic ones aligned on the lighter side.

On the real dark side of this band, I find all terrorists, regardless of their nationality or religion. Here I see those who initiate anti-India slogans and those who engineer and lead anti-India demonstrations. I also find those ‘right-wingers’ who resort to death threats or threats of rape etc. against those who they oppose. I find everyone here who seeks to divide India, physically or metaphorically, for whatever reason.

Just a few millimeters away from them towards the darkest grey, I find those agitators who burn national and private property and stop normal lives in pursuit of their political demands – demands for reservations for example. Here are those, too, who resort to physical violence against those who voice views they are opposed to.

Just a smidgeon more towards the greyer side, but still fairly dark, I find those influential people in the media, politics and society who actively support and defend these dark forces. They do this by writing articles, giving speeches and recirculating posts on social media that further the agenda of dark ones.

These people are not ‘misguided’. They are conscious believers in the discourse of these anti-Nationals, on both sides of the political divide. Often, they resort to chicanery. They use the power of the media and the power of their social status to spread the message of darkness everywhere they can.

Yes, I consider them merely a fraction better than the ones in real darkness. These people harm the society in two ways – firstly by spreading the message of the dark and secondly by distracting the country’s attention from real issues like poverty, education, farmers, employment, health, economic development etc.

Many other Adharmic are here too, including industrialists who blatantly pollute my rivers, builders who illegally chop down forests and those who undermine society through corruption. All those who promote superstition also populate this area.

Then come the masses, mostly young people who gather and shout slogans. It does not matter who they are supporting or who they are reacting against. They are in the grey area on both sides of the ideological divide. They are easily moved and they rely on others to form their opinions. They are puppets with their puppet-masters hiding in the dark, convincing them that their views are entirely their own. I do not consider them anti-national. They are merely guided by the dialogue fed to them. They are bhakts, too, in a naïve, twisted sort of way. They pray with their faces towards the dark.

At this stage, I wonder why the authorities do not realize this difference in shades of motivation and work out a different strategy for countering each segment. Force is appropriate against some on the darkest side, regardless of whether they support or oppose the regime. Social shaming, exposure and financial pressure are better for the social supporters of the dark. A gentler approach, proper communication and understanding is more suited to those who are being manipulated puppet-like.

Problems escalate when the same strategy is used for people populating all shades of gray.  Furthermore, when this is perceived to be especially targeted only against those holding anyone mindset, it makes the situation worse. A true leader will not take sides and deal in an appropriately firm manner with all the dark ones.

As my vision moves more towards the lighter grey side, I increasingly find more and more logical people. These people, regardless of their socio-political leanings, rely on analysis of events and their real implications for our society. They may believe in a certain ideology but are not blind slaves to it to the extent of seeing everything rosy in it.

Such people react in a measured manner, addressing issues rather than personalities. There are quite a few here, too. There are some defense services officers, some corporate executives and some retired people populating the light grey. I espy a very few social activists but hardly any journalists and politicians here.

Having had my fill of the dark, I turn around and look towards the brightest side of the band. I see my ancient India here, the fount of my Bhakti. I sense sadness in her heart and tears in her eyes. I bow my head, partly in reverence and partly in shame at what past generations of my countrymen have done to her and so many in the present generation are intent, even now, on doing to her. Our propensity for divisiveness and a warped sense of what is right and what is wrong have brought her to this pass.

Through good thoughts, I try to assure her that all will be well but, knowing the resolve of foreign and domestic dark forces, the mindsets of the opinion-makers, the gullibility of the puppet majority amongst my countrymen and the cynical vote-bank politics and frequent ham-handedness of our politicians, there is not much conviction in my thoughts.

All I can do is affirm to my India that, whatever happens, I am and will remain her Bhakt. I will not take sides except against anyone who attempts to harm her. I will not react in a knee-jerk manner to any provocation. I will willingly lay down my life for her and will respect others who do so too, both at our troubled borders and inside. I will analyze issues and look below the obvious to see where they originate. I will cut the strings if anyone tries to make a puppet out of me. Then I will determine my own action.

Yes, as a true Bhakt, I will be my own man – and my India’s.

Mr. Asthana is a resident of Gurgaon. Twitter: @kishoreasthana

asthana1@yahoo.com

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Vivekananda Cannot Be Desecrated by Marxism

Just recently, the statue of Swami Vivekananda was mindlessly defaced by a group of students in JNU, Delhi

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Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda was a thinker and free from worldly affairs. He is known to have realized the divinity in every being. He is also known to have preached across the world that we must learn to see every individual as God manifestation in flesh and blood. Wikimedia Commons

BY SALIL GEWALI

Some people still hold that “power” comes only from the barrel of the gun. But the power in spurts also comes from the pens. The power coming from the pen is mightier and more impactful. That’s why we have the works from the pens of great thinkers like Hegel, Friedrich Engels and Karl Max  which easily “demolished” the monopoly of feudalism, aristocracy, monarchy and churchism that no weapons on earth could have done.  In India we Have a Great Philosopher and Thinker Swami Vivekananda.

Probably about 100 countries had determinedly opted for communism till the first half of the 20th Century. The leaders were euphoric that they would bring “equality” among all, they would fill the stomach of each individual. The ordinary citizens will have no worries. The news of new-found joy and peace among the commoners in Russia veritably spread world-wide. But very soon, standing on the elevated pedestal of power, the torchbearers of Communism projected themselves to be “more equal”. Thus, in spite of major changes in the socio-economic fabric, the Marx-Lenin doctrines also came to wreak havoc with the lives of the people who at times raised their voices against the brutal atrocities in the name of achieving equality. Millions of people were killed. Consequently, that endless violence and bloodshed have further bloodied the pages of history. The second half of the twentieth century thus saw the fall of communism like a ton of bricks. 

Vivekananda
Is loving each being without discrimination not the first teaching of right-thinking philosophers and all religions? Even Karl Marx and Hegel will not disagree on this, and so will Vivekananda. But it is very disgraceful that such great men with great ideas from the home country are brazenly disrespected and demeaned.

This rapid transition was in fact prompted by various factors. The loss of the “integrity” of the leaders was the prime cause. On seeing the rise of power of the leaders who acted with unusual arrogance, George Orwell could not hold himself back. He roared – communism to totalitarianism is terribly frightful’. Orwell penned down a satirical novel – ANIMAL FIRM. This touched everyone’s heart. It was a lethal attack upon self-righteous Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. 

Vivekananda
In spite of major changes in the socio-economic fabric, the Marx-Lenin doctrines also came to wreak havoc with the lives of the people who at times raised their voices against the brutal atrocities in the name of achieving equality just like Vivekananda.

True, the wayward and whimsical misinterpretation coupled with the loss of human values turned out to be Frankenstein’s monster to kill this well-intended ideology of classless government. Within a period of less than 50 years, only a few nations stood up to continue to follow the pathway conceived by Karl Marx and his masters. Many rational political scientists had set forth diverse reasons for the chronic sickness of the communism. 

Yet, the literature by Marx and his ilk still continue to cast its spell. In some countries, it roars and thunders with a vengeance. This results in barbaric riots and violence disturbing the peaceful co-existence of the diverse communities. 

Vivekananda
Just recently, the statue of Swami Vivekananda was mindlessly defaced by a group of students in JNU, Delhi.

 As other countries, India has also long been suffering the onslaught of such ideologues and their proclivities. Therefore, we regularly witness the “cruel avatar” of Marx-and-Mao. Just recently, the statue of Swami Vivekananda was mindlessly defaced by a group of students in JNU, Delhi. If you ask earnestly what they have found wrong in the Indian monk then their answers come with the tone of immaturity, dogmatism and hatred. JNU has earned a reputation of being infested with a swarm of certain kind of crackpots whose eyes can’t bear to look at that which glorify the nation. Their minds are weighed down by the heavy load of prejudices and hatred for the nation, nay, humanity. They are almost like spoilt brats kicking their parents and smashing their own household furniture. “Tukre-tukre” gang is a new term to describe them for their open subversive activities.

Vivekananda
If you ask earnestly what JNU Students have found wrong in Vivekananda then their answers come with the tone of immaturity, dogmatism and hatred. JNU has earned a reputation of being infested with a swarm of certain kind of crackpots whose eyes can’t bear to look at that which glorify the nation.

What is very appalling is that round-the-clock they are motivated and protected by certain forces. Those forces also held the Indian academia to ransom for the past over a hundred years. Therefore, many wrongs are taught in Indian schools as right. The TRUTHS are resisted to be included in the academic curriculum. The pride and glories history of the country and its rich literary KNOWLEDGE has been systematically buried. Yes, they are the kind of intellectuals who see “virtues” in Mahishasur and foreign despotic invaders like Mohd. Gajni, Babar, Aurangzeb but vehemently criticize Indian icons who are invariably the paragon of righteousness.

Vivekananda
The Minds of JNU Students are weighed down by the heavy load of prejudices and hatred for the nation, nay, humanity. They are almost like spoilt brats kicking their parents and smashing their own household furniture. “Tukre-tukre” gang is a new term to describe them for their open subversive activities and deseceration of Statue of Vivekananda depicts the Same.

Right from the embodiment of righteousness like Krishna, Rama, Ved Vyasa, Shankaracharya to the present social and literary figures who have contributed remarkably in the making of INDIA, are the objects of regression and derision for those scholars who hold Karl Marx, Hegel, Lenin….,  and in high esteem. Therefore, when the statue of Vivekananda was desecrated, we noticed conspicuous “silence” while the groups of intellectuals rocked the country when the statue of Lenin of Russian was pulled down in Tripura, India. 

Vivekananda
It is very disgraceful that such great men like Vivekananda with great ideas from the home country are brazenly disrespected and demeaned. It seems it is time for serious introspection and to take the right measures before it is too late.

Rightly speaking, Swami Vivekananda was a thinker and free from worldly affairs. He is known to have realized the divinity in every being. He is also known to have preached across the world that we must learn to see every individual as God manifestation in flesh and blood. Is it not the universal wisdom of humanity?  Is loving each being without discrimination not the first teaching of right-thinking philosophers and all religions? Even Karl Marx and Hegel will not disagree on this. But it is very disgraceful that such great men with great ideas from the home country are brazenly disrespected and demeaned. It seems it is time for serious introspection and to take the right measures before it is too late. 

ALSO READ: Insufficient Sleep In Poor People Linked With Heart Disease

Look at North Korea — how Ho is super equal who has write to kill other equals.

Making heroes of those sadists ,,,

Freedome of speech the speech the man weak …

Look at North Korea — how Ho is super equal who has write to kill other equals. 

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali