The Consciousness of India
What exactly is the Hindu consciousness? The most important thing about it is the rooted belief in a Supreme Being which emanates and permeates everything. Every creature and every aspect of creation is nothing but the energy of that Supreme which displays itself in various forms. Nature, God and the human being are all parts of the same energy. They are not separate but always joined in an ecstatic union which is the basis of human life and indeed of all life. This being so there was no antagonism between science and religion in India as there was in the west. The Indian sages or rishis were scientists of the highest order — spiritual scientists, who saw this inter- connectedness of God, Nature and the human being. In the west the church ruled the minds of people and science was put to silence when it overstepped the dictates of the church. Hence the progress of science in the west was very slow. Europe had to go through a period of deep darkness when all creative thought was totally blocked. It was only in the 19th and 20th centuries that the West suddenly ‘discovered’ many things — a fact that did not make much impact on the basic Indian psyche. We still lived and breathed the air of our ancients in which ‘time’ stretched backwards, way past the miserable 2000 years of western calculations. We still lived in a world where ‘time’ stretched to eternity and space to infinity — therefore all the rush and hurry of the West had no meaning for us. The mindset of the Hindu culture can never be grasped by a study of its physical attributes. It can only be grasped by delving deep into its psyche. Of course, westerners went to a great deal of effort trying to penetrate our psyche and make us believe that their infantile civilization was far superior to ours. They did succeed in converting the scum on top of the water into believing that they had rid themselves of the constraints of the Hindu consciousness and had fully integrated with western modernity. The so-called English speaking, western aping elite of India fooled themselves that they had erased their Indian heritage and fully submerged in the western psyche, but when you scratch the surface you will find that, at some level, they fall back on their Indian chitta or consciousness. They may have adopted the external forms of dressing and habits, and even imbibed some of their attitudes and attributes, but basically their consciousness remains Indian. At the most it is probable that about fifty thousand Indians have totally de-Indianised themselves but this matters little in a country of over a billion. Of these many have left the shores of the nation, never to return except for reasons that are largely touristic in nature and even then they have only scorn for the country they were born in and are able to perceive only the dirt, the crowds and the corruption. Their desertion is no great loss to the country!
The heart of India is embedded in the Puranas, in the age of Rama and Sita — in the age of Krishna and the Pandavas. These spiritual giants have so imprinted themselves and their ideas on this country known as Bharat, that neither time nor foreign conquests have been able to erase them completely from the Indian psyche. Even today TV shows on the Mahabharata and the Ramayana have more viewers than other serials. This is because the Indian psyche has been soaked in the ideas belonging to long standing traditions some of which are as old as the Vedas. Thus we can truly say that the majority of the people of India still live in the Puranic age when gods trod the earth and celestial beings mingled freely with human beings.
The twenty-first century represents an epoch of Europe and America that has very little to do with India. All the things that were discovered in the 20th and 21st centuries in Europe had been discovered by Indians a long time before. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries we were already practicing a highly developed type of agriculture, producing excellent steel, making rust proof iron, the secret of which has still to be discovered by modern science. Indian medicine had already discovered the method of inoculation against small-pox, the art of plastic surgery, the way hospitals should be made with in-patients and out-patient departments, and so on. Surgical instruments were of a most sophisticated nature. India had a highly evolved type of village, state and political organisation. Indian sculpture, music, dance and painting were highly sophisticated. India had a unique type of architectural knowledge that took into consideration the lay of the land, the type of material to be used according to the rules of Vaastu (the Vedic method of design and construction) and which also followed the rules of nature and venerated the earth before starting to dig into her. The system was so detailed that even the type of stone that was to be used for particular types of buildings like dwelling houses, public meeting places or rest houses for visitors and, of course, halls where the rulers met — was given a lot of thought. Temple architecture was highly scientific. Temples were normally placed where the earth’s meridians met (at certain crucial points) which enabled the idol, placed at the exact centre, to emit the highest type of vibrations that would be most beneficial to all those who visited the temple.
Since the Indian consciousness has always venerated nature and everything in it, India has always led the world in all the most humane types of thought. It was the only country in which more than half the population gave up meat eating purely on non-violent and spiritual principles and not for health reasons as many westerners are doing now. India was basically a most non-violent country and had never invaded another country and had given asylum to all those who were persecuted by other countries. All we asked was to be left alone to continue with our own research and way of life. Unfortunately this was not to be.
The waves of invasions that took place from the 16th century onwards throttled all the creative instincts of the nation. We became a country at war, one that had to face a continuous series of foreign invasions. This was certainly not conducive to the development of creative thought. However, the fact is that the culture of this land is so strong that foreign cultures could only scratch the surface and never root out the consciousness of India which has always remained Hindu. Unfortunately one of the most important fields on which foreign thought has made the greatest dent is that of education. This is of utmost importance in the shaping of a country and unfortunately this has been left totally in the hands of a few whose feet have been firmly planted in western culture and who have been totally influenced by the western methods of education. They have discarded the type of education that existed in India from time immemorial. The education in ancient India was meant to produce a society of fulfilled and happy individuals not just wealthy people. For this, our ancients accented the fact that good conduct and good intellect or shila and prajna were the most important facts to be stressed in education. This in turn would lead to the attainment of the supreme object of human life which is the union of the individual with the Supreme, the union of the atman with the Brahman. Judged by this standard we find that there are very few people in modern society who can be called educated!
Modern education is meant only for getting a good livelihood and pays little or no heed to character building and development of a good intellect (buddhi). The fact that education should allow us to make a good living should only be a by-product of the first two principles. It should never be kept as the foremost principle as it is now. Unfortunately these principles have been thrown out of the window from the primary schools onwards. Hence we have produced a society that pays little or no attention to moral values or good character and conduct. The greatest downfall is seen in the degradation of the morals of the ruling classes. How far have we fallen from the great example set by Sri Rama. The ruler must always put the needs of his subjects above his own interests. Today we find that self interest rules the day and the government officials set the worst possible examples. Self-styled Indologists who are backed by those whose sole interest lies in breaking India by making indents on her consciousness seem to be succeeding. Hindus have become ashamed of their heritage and are starting to doubt the veracity of their shastras and puranas. We have always been a country of leaders and not one of imitators so why are we aping western customs and cultures that are both alien and inferior to ours?
I strongly believe that there is a re-vitalising and reviving spirit in this country of the Rishis, which is the spirit of Hinduism, which throbs in the very heart of our nation — which has kept us united through all the vicissitudes that we have passed through. This spirit has already started to struggle its way upwards by throwing off the constricting and pernicious influence of the West, making way for the lotus flower of Hindutva to open its petals to the inherent and invincible heart and consciousness of India.