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Friday, 9 January 2015

Can we trust an alien? Socialisation, Religion and Civilisation

(with reference to the alien in PK and an atheist dismissing socio-cultural  and religious categories, deemed to be spectacles)

Socialisation is not spectacles that can be taken on and off. It is the very process of being a person. Everybody is socialised. The alien is not a pure soul, he sees everything through the worldview of the filmmaker. According to Marxism, all social, cultural and religious designations are false consciousness and carnal appetite is the only real category. That is the state of animal existence. Religion is a sum total of social, cultural, economic and spiritual moorings of a group of people, that is the basis of civilisation, setting us apart from animals. Of course, there are different religions and civilisations because of different processes of evolution in different geographical areas. Hinduism is a system that evolved in the Indian landmass, it has an open architecture (term borrowed from Rajiv Malhotra), i.e., its forms, rituals and disciplines change according to the historical context and so is its way of visualising the self and the other; it incorporates people professing even contradictory doctrines with an underlying unity.The Abrahamic faiths based on fixed doctrines, what unites them that each claims exclusive franchise of the truth. 

Atheism and materialism are recognised categories in Hinduism, while those can never fit into the Abrahamic tradition. For instance, Samkhya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Jaina, Bauddha and Lokayata philosophers have propagated different versions of atheism; the first three emerged from the Vedas and the latter three from criticism of the Veda. Lokayata is the system of Indian materialism that espouses a pleasure society in which even animals are not killed or treated cruelly (a time when atheistic Brahmanas were conducting animal sacrifices to be born in heaven). Ajivika was another materialistic philosophy. There was a time when anti-Vedic philosophies were considered nastika or outside the Hindu architecture. Today, Hindutva is embracing all those born in the womb of Mother India. So, there can be a Hindu atheist like Savarkar, but it will be an oxymoron to say Christian atheist or Muslim atheist (interestingly, Jewish atheist is now an accepted term based on lineage).

The shift in the Western civilisation emerged due to advent of secularism that won the separation of state and church and liberty of the individual. But what is the meaning of secularism in India without any traditional church? It is nothing but pluralism, which was recognised by the Vedic seers - ekam sad vipra bahuda vadanti. Islamic civilisation, on the other hand, after Al Ghazali's philosophical counter-revolution, has struggled to evolve according to the circumstances. Its solution to the problem of the other is either jihad or dhimmitude, it has been oscillating from the one and the other since the time of Prophet Muhammad. China's official philosophy has been Confucianism, replaced by Marxism-Leninism since 1949; now there is a revival of the ancient systems Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism as parts of China's soft power.

Anyway, the point is that these religions and civilisations are realities, produced by historical forces and human aspirations (also, divine interventions if you are not an atheist, deist or pantheist). They are not false consciousness, certainly not spectacles. Unfortunately, the alien was kept ignorant of these factors by the filmmaker and made his judgements on limited information. In fact, the alien who has no stake in our civilisation and even wishes to enslave us, should be eager to belittle us and drive us to self-hate. Self-hate is the trait of sepoys who assist an alien to conquer and plunder their own homeland, thinking all is one family, vasudhaiva kutumbhakam (see Panchatantra 5.3.37: the story of the four Brahmanas who brought a lion to life, Hitopadesha 1.3.71: the story of the vulture who lets the cat enter the home of baby birds or the history of the East India Company).

Some more wisdom
You have to solve your own problems. If you let an enemy in your home, he will bring about a ruin. That does not mean there is no problem. Just like if there is some problem in your home, you will never allow any outsider to intervene and would consider it offensive if he says something on his own. You will rather like to sort out the issues inside your own home. Indeed, it is very important for us to seize the initiative to stop the cheating business in religion, so that outsiders cannot take advantage of the situation. But you should never allow space to our enemies. There is a long history behind why we have so many problems, only those who have stake in Hinduism and India would try to genuinely understand and resolve the problems.

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