Sandhya Jain and the Global Hindus

Sandhya Jain [1] has been around for a long time, so it is difficult for me to write what I write below. Like many others, I’ve been and hope to continue being an interested reader of her pieces, which often take up the cudgels for Hindus & Hindu issues in the mainstream media. Her latest one is something else though, where she targets “Global Hindu”[2] along with Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the Acharya Sabha, and others who I’d have thought have the unanimous approval of Hindus & well wishers of Hindus.

That it comes out of some visceral angst seems clearer & clearer as one reads through the article. By the time she is done taking the hatchet to them, it appears that if she had her way, “Global Hindu”, along with the other named ‘bad guys’, would need to be consigned to the dustbin of history. So utterly bad & unredeemable are they to her.

Not knowing her motivations beyond my past impression of her as someone fiercely protective of Hindu interests, people like me are at a loss as to why she’s gone into such a vehement ‘attack mode’ towards other public figures who, to the best of my knowledge, are also very protective of Hindu interests, and have dedicated a good part of their adult lives in trying to provide desperately needed intellectual leadership to us common Hindus, the leaderless “Hindu Sheep” of today. 

Hence, after my initial reaction of ‘being hit by a sandbag’ wore off, I figured I’d go over the article, this time very slowly, and see if the points she makes carry intellectual weight with me & other likeminded “Global Hindus”. We may not be out there in the public domain as big names, but are still tenacious in our devotion to our ‘matrubhoomi”, and specifically, the vast, deep,  & wonderful culture that she has spawned & nurtured in her bosom for millennia now.

One’s physical location had nothing to do with this attachment, or so we thought. But Ms Jain seems to think it matters more than anything else.

Resident Bharatvasis/Indians Only, Please

Can only Indian residents be good Hindus? Her answer seems to be a resounding “Yes”.

In her intellectually fluffy justification, Sandhya Jain says:

QUOTE

Here (In Bharata/India) the system of four Varnas, *Caturvarnya*, operates; hence it is the only place where proper practice of religion is possible as *Varnasrmadharma* makes the performance of *svadharma* possible.

 

Hence Bharata alone is *karmabhumi*.

In other countries, *bhoga* is possible, but not *karma*, as without *adhikara*, *karma* is not possible. One cannot tread the path of emancipation without treading the path of *karma*. The *samkalpa*-*mantra*recalls the obligations to which one is heir by virtue of being born in Bharatavarsa, and of the eligibility won by that place in moral and religious life.
END QUOTE

Perhaps someone can enlighten me, but I’ve absolutely no idea why the sentences leading up to the conclusion establish that assertion in any logical way. How does mere geography change a (presumably nishkaama) ‘karmi’ in India into a ‘bhogi’ abroad? Her logic seems to be that the Vedic seers are themselves asserting that Dharma/ Karma etc are exclusive to the geography of India, and somehow only India born imbibe it, & others just don’t, no matter how hard they try to live by the precepts of Vaidika/Sanatana Dharma.

Beyond misrepresenting what the sages intended, this seems a sure recipe for continuing with the introverted mindset that got India conquered & colonized in the past millennia. Also it is dividing Non Indian Hindus from Indian Hindus by firmly holding on to a ‘mleccha’ category which is anachronistic, and not quite supported by Shruti, unless one conjures up half-baked theories. But wasn’t that the domain of the dreaded Western “Indologist”?  

And so much for unity in diversity in an age where the traditional Hindu base is shrinking rapidly, and there is huge untapped demand Globally for the spiritual & other insights Hindu thought & practices offer to the post modern (wo)man trapped in an increasingly nihilistic industrial & post industrial wasteland.

Is it that ‘true’ Hindus are only in India, & can the rest please go ‘home? If so, how does that explain the Universal claims made by Vedanta? All these seem trivial to Ms Jain as her goal seems to be personal targeting couched in philosophical terms.

Other Holes In The logic

1. What Civilisational Patent, & who’s enforced it so far?

Apparently, for Ms Jain the only ‘civilisational patent’ worth fighting for is the contestation for who has the ‘adhikara’ / authority to speak for Hinduism. How is this ‘adhikara’ equivalent to a ‘patent’? She seems to forget that a patent is commonly understood in terms of an Intellectual Property context, as in one holding a patent for a product or process. When one has a ‘patent’, it basically means the sole right to exploit the product/process in the marketplace as one sees fit. Where in the world does the Nityananda scandal fit in here? Specifically how do “Global Hindu”, Swami Dayananda, etc. get to carry blame for the scandal, or it’s aftermath?

On the flip side, & some would say, the really important issue is the large scale & rampant co-opting of Hindu ideas & process (Vedanta, Yoga, Tantra, Ayurveda, etc) into dominant Western systems, both religious & secular, while most Hindus stand by watching idly. Initially into the article, I was hopeful she’ll make some coherent point concerning this, and connect this to her ‘civilisational patent’ metaphor. But no such connection was forthcoming. So much for even understanding the idea of a “Civilisational Patent”. By contrast, those condemned by her as “Global Hindu” & other like minded persons are trying to make sure that Hindus understand their rights & duties to protect as much of these ‘civilisational patents’ before they and/or their derivatives get irrevocably patented as Western systems.

2. Hindus Abroad-Loyalty to Hinduism Questioned

[To her sub heading: Trans-national Hindus and trans-national loyalties of Globetrotting Guru]

You fight for a seat at the table, ergo: the Western establishment controls you?

This one is a weak & completely unsubstantiated attack on the very people that are picking up the cudgels for Hindu thought and raising civil disputes with the Western establishment about the wrong & harm being done to Hindu thought & practices. She mindlessly hurls accusations that the “Global Hindu” is being controlled by the very forces he is trying to expose. This takes a Herculean leap of imagination, and simple logic is a casualty here. All publicly available information is willfully ignored in this charge, and “Global Hindu” is thrust into the company of the very “Sepoys” he has so consistently denounced for more than a decade. Does one detect a hint of envy that she’s not done much in leading such efforts, thus gaining more prominence?

3. Mutual Exclusivity of Siddhis & Dharma Not Understood

[To her sub heading: Global Hindu-speak: Equating Hindu Dharma with Tantric Sex! ]

It would take a very one track mind to say the above, when in fact the mutual exclusivity between seeking Tantric & other Siddhis on one hand, and Dharmic conduct on the other, was being pointed out in “Global Hindu’s” article. This seemed to have completely escaped Ms Jain when she accuses him of equating Dharma with Tantra.

4. Kshatriyata Dodged

 [To her sub heading: Global Hindu-speak: Outsource Hindu Dharma to White Devotees!]

This seems an exaggerated & inflated reading of the assertion by “Global Hindu” that many White disciples of Nityananda in particular, & White disciples of other Hindu gurus in general, who see themselves as genuine disciples and/or true Hindus; have a certain “kshatriyata” about them, and their support should be harnessed well and not ignored.

This being due to (a) the prevalent Western cultural ethos, where a certain robust “kshatriya” type behavior is privileged & encouraged, as opposed to India where it is yet to revive itself in a major way after the sad history of the past thousand years; and (b) today’s public life, with it’s aggressive emphasis on good PR & marketing, and a robust ‘defending of turf’ mentality, needs a kshatriya element in any significant organization for it to succeed.

The above is a hypothesis of the “Global Hindu” with much to data going for it. It is certainly up for refutation with rigorously backed up counterclaims. But to gloss over the main points & to offer a ‘shorthand’ understanding to the effect that there is a ploy to “Outsource Hindu Dharma to White Devotees” is completely misreading the article, and also puts her sincerity in question!

5. Bharat is PunyaBhoomi because of Cultural History, not Present Day Achievements

[To her sub heading: Conclusion: Bharat in the punyabhumi]

No one sympathetic to Hindu thought and traditions would claim that the present Power dispensation in India has Hinduism’s best interests at heart. So it begs the question as to how healthy is it for one to practice & preserve Hinduism in India only and kill it abroad. Yes the millennia of culture that are there are in a way irreplaceable, but isn’t it also true that today’s Indian intelligentsia regards Hindu thought as something to outgrow in order to ‘join the international community’? Under these conditions, shouldn’t hindus be happy that some of their own have found perches abroad stable enough to allow them to work for Dharma, work that would be impossible to do based in today’s India?

Per Ms Jain, the “Global Hindu” & his ilk have been sent to undermine Hinduism by White Christians. This utterly bizarre claim, of course is running through & through the entire article without a shred of evidence to even begin substantiating it. It perhaps makes for good copy for Ms Jain to claim that there is a battle between “good Hindus” & “bad/Global Hindus” for the “civilisational patent” (actually ‘adhikara’) to represent Hinduism.

While there may be such a struggle unbeknownst to common people like me, her article in no way makes any convincing argument that she even understands the issues well enough to offer a credible platform for Hindu leadership. One can only see a deep seated desire to somehow ‘bring down’ a perceived opponent, using made up issues that have no importance on their own. Her ‘issues’ seem like just so many random arrows to throw at the opponent, hoping that a few somehow hit the nebulous target she has in mind.

With ‘leaders’ who create fresh divisiveness, is it any wonder that the average Hindu attempts to stay disengaged even when the very survival of the tradition is at stake? Wouldn’t it be much better for Hindus to first learn how to have civil, issue oriented debates amongst themselves, instead of undermining some of their own who are attempting things in good faith and working very hard at it? Debates on issues strengthens understanding, debates that descend into personalities mostly undermine public confidence in the debaters themselves. Perhaps we will see a Part 2 from Ms Jain that will be light on personalities & heavier on issues? On can certainly hope.

It is common knowledge that for any debater or speaker, there are three categories of public. Firstly, those that are already predisposed to agreeing with one, secondly a vast majority of ‘undecideds’, and thirdly a group that will not agree at all, period. This article of hers seems to engage only the first group, which many would consider ‘preaching to the choir’. For the sake of real issues, and for the second category of ‘undecideds’, Ms. Jain should have the courage to invite her opponents in an online debate where both sides can post equally, so that the Hindu public can decide for itself.

 

-By Karigar (another Global hindu, one of the 20 million or so Diaspora) 

 

Notes

1. Sandhya Jain is a well known columnist in India focussed on Hindu issues, currently writing for Vijayvaani. (The article referenced above is titled “Debutante Dharma-Gurus: Violating a civilisational patent “)

 

2. “Global Hindu”, based on the innuendos & selective quotes in the article, is none other than Rajiv Malhotra, Medha Geopolitical Guru. For more on him, see  https://medhajournal.com/medha-gold-mainmenu-228/geopolitics-guru-mainmenu-229.html . For serious work by his Infinity Foundation, see http://www.infinityfoundation.com  

 

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