Summary: Increasing use of verbiage created by the colonials (both historic and present) is subverting Dharma in a bigger way than even physical violence. Even more damaging is that the assault is invisible and hence no strong counter has been structured as yet. Increasingly Bharatiyas are describing themselves within the frameworks the colonials have established for them – God(s), Prayer, Faith and worse of all religion. As more and more Bharatiyas are exposed to the current English Language and Indian Education system, the situation is exacerbated further and we lose continuously without realizing it. This analogy is loaded with mischief and we need to resist it to the best of our abilities. This will be a multipart series. As I discover more, I will put it up on the blog.
Let us start at the top with the word we have accepted for ourselves – religion. Are the Bharatiya traditions so trivial so as to be constrained to the box of a religion? Do we advocate only one way towards an end? And how do Sikhism/Jainism/Buddhism and other ism’s fit in? Where is the clean break as defined in the western religions of Christianity & Islam? And most of all what are the implications of this force fitting of the word religion on the Indian worldview? What is the cost?
First of all Dharma does not equal religion. Dharma is an entire worldview which subsumes many paths to the same goal keeping in mind an individuals proclivities. The Hindu Dharma (if we want to call it such, even though we are setting boundaries is such a framework). For instance, I am interested in the Abhaida tradition within the Hindu Dharma. Difference from Christianity and Islam is that it is not exclusive.
My belief is that the force fitting of the word religion on the Bharatiya world view is motivated by both ignorance and malice.
Ignorance because, the colonials are trying to simplify and understand the Indian worldview through the framework of religion that they understand. Also, ignorant because even today Indians do not understand the implications of the language they are using.
The malice is primarily the colonialists trying to cut Dharma to size. If Dharma is religion than Hindus worship many gods which have a heirarchy and also pray to the many gods- which is inferior and primitive as per the colonialists. The Dharma is the biggest threat to these cults and dogmas and has the ability to subsume and/or get rid of them within the Bharatiya worldview (another write up on this later).
I would request all Bharatiyas to stop calling Hindu Dharma as religion. When people ask explain that this is a Dharma.
Part II coming soon