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How PM Narendra Modi’s overseas visits are making world aware of Hinduism

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By Devika Sharma

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Mauritius was a balanced mix of promoting the essence of Hindu culture along with strengthening bilateral ties. On March 12, he had visited the Ganga Tales, a place considered to be the most sacred Hindu place in Mauritius and offered prayers at the temple of the Hindu Deity Lord Shiva. Seeing him perform the Puja (Prayer) and Aarti at the temple was a scopophilic sight for millions of Indians not just in Mauritius but world over. Modi also poured ‘Gangajal’ on the Shivalinga at the temple, assisted by Hindu priests. This was symbolic of the larger idea of Hindu rituals and practices.

On the same day he hailed Mauritius for elevating Hindi literature through its contribution and talked about how the Hindi language has occupied a special and important place in the world. Mr. Modi also wished the people of Mauritius on behalf of nearly 125 crore Indians on the occasion of the country’s National Day.

Even in his earlier visit to United States, his presence at the Madison Square created a spectacle of the event that symbolized the essence of India as he wanted the world to see. Speaking about the importance of our holy river Ganga and connecting with a sea of NRI’s there, he laid the groundwork for the construction of a World Hindi Secretariat building at Phoenix where he spoke highly about the uniqueness of the Hindi language. By all this he strategically sent out a larger message of the essence of India.

Similarly, in his visit to Mauritius, the Prime Minister, whose government has been pitching for use of Hindi in official works in India, said that the language has made a special place for itself in the world of languages. Modi also visited Appravasi Ghats during his visit to the island nation. The temple site and Appravasi Ghat are associated with the arrival of Indian indentured work force to Mauritius more than 180 years ago.  Modi has been successful in glorifying our priceless heritage on a global scale by acting as a signifier of Indian culture. These practices by the PM in my view are not based on religious lines but strategic lines.

Mauritius is sometime portrayed as India’s backwaters. A chunk of the population sees India’s condescending attitude as a threat to its own identity. But, are these threats legitimate?

People who are skeptical of better India-Mauritius relationship must give due credit to the fact that unlike China’s cheque-book international relations and the west’s economic materialism, India’s engagement with Mauritius is open and transparent and based on mutual respect and friendship.

In the recent years Indian diasporas world over has been stimulated by India’s economic advances and has started to feel a rejuvenated sense of pride and belonging to their land. For instance the Sindhis define Mauritius in a phenomenal way.  They are an important part of the population composition in Mauritius where people from different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds have together built a unique country.

These are the people who can be invoked on grounds of Hinduism. Invoked to do good for the country, invoke NRI’s to send in support not just morally but even financially for the overall development of India. Modi has done just that. In every  overseas visit he has made sure of addressing Indians living world over.

Next Story

Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

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Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

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The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)