Man’s attempts to figure out his existence has been ceaseless since time immemorial. This has resulted in the formation and dissolution of various ideologies and religions around the globe. These ideologies and religions have also majorly determined the systems of societal habits and shaped pursuits which can accommodate the struggle for survival. Many devastating wars have been fought and conquests claimed to establish dominance by usurping the existing systems. Sometimes in the name of religion and sometimes in the name of advancement; the common force has been to dominate. And the need to dominate, psychology suggests, springs from insecurity. Insecurity has direct relevance to existence. It implies a fear of losing one’s existence.
The oldest known literary compilation in the world is The Veda. Wherever Veda got transmitted, there it influenced human thinking so deeply that it shaped the identity, culture and ways of living for those people. The knowledge therein remained irrefutable even to the wisest. And it’s content ever attractive, since it spoke on life. This made it popular in society as it spread through word of mouth. But, as humans, people also want quick, easy solutions and applications. They do not have time, leisure or inclinations to engage in growing the understanding first, which should propel the life direction. They are left with the choice to accept what is told and fall risk to becoming rigid, and prey to blind faith. Or another choice remains, is to just reject it, and keep searching for different ways and methods, untried before, fuelling newer ideologies with an attempt to restructure society.
A society which had embraced the Veda’s way of life, over time, shows all the three firmly established. Currently seen as well there are people who have the availability of the correct knowledge and understanding of the Veda with which they lead their life. Then there are people who have blind faith on prevailing systems with which they lead their lives. And then there are the new systems emerging every now and then with a defying vision to direct lives. There are people who understand what their roots uphold, and they are happy to abide in it. There are people who have no understanding what their customs and rituals or festivals truly meant but they blindly follow it, and there are people who are rebellious about it and try to restructure their life with a recent or experimental ideology. It is this amalgamation which makes it difficult to define Hindu and Hinduism. For all of them come under the vast canopy of The Veda.
Geography was not concretely laid out when The Veda ruled the thought. As time advanced, and man globally continued to find meaning to his existence, intermingling with other regions became accessible. The ‘force of domination’ on geography became essential. For once you travelled to another land, your survival and insecurities had to play up and find their ground! Geographies tried to become distinct and people started to group to preserve their ideologies which sustained their predecessors.
Bhārata was the name of the area where the Veda ruled the life. And in the knowledge of the Veda, is the knowledge of one’s existence. Thus, these sets of people had a very low sense of insecurity, almost none. And hence they did not feel any need to dominate. To the extent that they did not even feel the need to travel to another land except to trade! Worse still, so lacking the sense of insecurity was, that even the need to defend when attacked was sparse! But, Bhārata was advanced due to the liberal way in which Vedās had educated man. This became a focus of many invasions. Every invasion brought with it new diverse ideological thoughts, customs, habits to be integrated in the mainstream. The fallout was that the method which educated the correct understanding of The Veda got intercepted by diverting energies to giving explanations to the non conformers. This added layers of contextual reasoning and integrated it to the main body of knowledge. Making it more and more difficult for the blind believer to get educated. The distance between the three sections, knowledge based, faith based and defiance based kept growing. And in the present, the latest invasion of Britishers almost broke the link of transmission of correct understanding of the Veda! Making it very difficult to define or even explain who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism especially to the one who have been integrated to this land by their ancestors but were not rooted here in the times when knowledge prevailed life!
Our ancestors in the form of great visionaries struggled hard to uphold and teach the correct understanding of The Veda. Only because it is that system of thinking, following which one knows the Truth of one’s existence, which alone ends all insecurities and miseries. There is death of the urge for violence and birth of compassion. This is Hinduism and the knower of it, A Hindu!
Wishing everyone a Happy Sankranti! Invoking the grace of Surya Devata to shine once again upon Bharata! Only this time, the lands have merged! Sarvebhya sukhino bhavantu! May wisdom prevail in all the beings! OM.
© Deepti Vishwanath. 🙏
Pic courtesy – google.com