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Mother India at the Crossroads

By Tina Sadhwani

Stripping of Draupadi & the Rise of Adharma In one world-defining moment of the Mahabharata that bred cosmic repercussions, it is well known that the most venerated icon of grace and purity, Draupadi, was publicly disgraced, brutally violated and stripped of her honour while everyone at the mahasabha watched in mute shamefulness and passivity. Lord Krishna however, timely intervened and averted this degrading display and villainous attack of the sacred feminine spirit by rescuing Draupadi from being disrobed and stripped completely naked by the brute Dushasana. This horrifying event was nothing less than a seismic blow that became one of the driving triggers of the war of Mahabharata and that still continues to reverberate in the dharmic landscape of the Hindu psyche for it defamed the whole motherland that is India, mortified the Gods in every loka and shattered the very foundations of sathya and dharma. The humiliation of this motherland however did not end with the attempted stripping of Draupadi, as the sinful assaults seem to continue to this day, with one of the prime offenders being the late M.F. Husain who once again vulgarized Draupadi and desecrated her nobility by painting her in the nude. Lord Krishna may have saved Draupadis honour but Mr Husain, in one barbaric stroke of his brush took off her clothes anyway. He even went on to paint and present the Goddesses Saraswati, Parvati, Lakshmi, Durga and Bharata-Mata in appallingly pornographic and disparagingly naked displays. Such degenerate bestiality and such contempt for the spiritual ethos of the Hindu civilization could not have been expressed in more explicit ways as was meted out by Husain who nevertheless believed that it was his artistic license that rendered such a sacrilegious and despicable portrayal of Hindu Goddesses and Bharata-Mata. Sacred Essence of Mother India Bharata Mata or Mother India, the cradle of the ancient Aryans, the mystic land of truth, wisdom and beauty, has forever been known to be the fountainhead of the Vedas, the power-house of Dharma and the Citta-Shakti of the evolving spirit of humanity. She has eternally stood with overpowering solemnity as the magnanimous, spiritual dynasty whose people have traversed many lives and many incarnations, carrying her many superconscient truths in their heart. She has embraced us as the cosmic Devi whose womb has given birth to many great sages, kings, warriors and avatars and whose soul has bestowed us with eternal treasures from the past. She has indeed wielded for us a grand, visionary empire of the collective Atman whose destiny it is said has yet to unfold through the trying times of this dark yuga. It is in this same sacred spirit that India as a nation has always been depicted not merely as a piece of land but as a Mother Goddess and this universal motherhood according to the Hindus has always been inseparably united with the heart and soul of India which has been interchangeably referred to as Bhavani, Durga, Bharata-Mata, etc. Since the ancient times, warriors, sages, gurus, and even the common man have all therefore joined forces in their struggle against assailants and even sacrificed their lives to protect Mother India, for the motherland they believed was more sacred than heaven. India has therefore been a symbol and concrete representation of the power and divinity of the cosmic creatix Shakti. Moreover, the reason why the concept of the Divine Mother and Sacred Feminine is unique to India is because while she was burnt at the stake, mutilated and destroyed by other civilizations, she was preserved and protected in the heartland of India as Bhu-Devi (the earth goddess), as Lakshmi

(goddess of wealth), as Durga (warrior goddess of strength), as Saraswati (goddess of knowledge and creativity), as Kali (Goddess of Time) as Aditi (mother of the universe) and as Bhairavi (goddess of speech), to name but a few. In Hinduism all the Goddesses have thus represented important elements of existence and have been respected as different personifications of the eternal truth or Sanatan Dharma. Mother India, Shakti and Dharma have therefore been perceived as synonymous and inextricably linked. Those who have been known to violate and exploit Mother India or the sacred feminine and its myriad expressions have then indeed violated Dharma. Disrobing of a Dharmic Civilization Common violations of Dharma have often come in the guise of modern progressiveness and secularism that has defined and evaluated the indigenous culture and traditions of India not from the lens of her own philosophical foundations but rather from foreign frames of reference that has mechanically applied its own standards for determining how these older cultures should be interpreted and perceived. One can understand the discarding of the indigenous systems of India doled out by the British colonial rulers as it did not fit into their imperial agendas. However, what is dreadfully ironic is the continuing trend of mental slavery sparked by Macaulayism that is now carried forward by the educated classes and neo-intellectuals of India who have found as their special prerogative the necessity to denigrate and debase their own rich history and native culture as the new-age talent that flaunts their freedom of expression. One of the most advanced and venerable civilizations which has made magnanimous contributions to world-development in every field is then reduced to mere fossil and cast-off of as the grime of a more tribal and obsolete era. Hence the same force of Shakti that has nurtured and shaped the colossal life and metaphysical landscape of India is now being rejected and dishonoured and Bharat Mata is being stripped naked of her soul and her mantle that is Hinduism, by todays fashionable and cavalier intelligentsia that instead dresses itself in the hollow garbs of materialism and subscribes more to the ardent imitation of western ideals. Those who consider Hinduism not only as their sacred identity but as their own ancestral family and who thus raise their voice against the violations and intellectual liquidation of their heritage, in an attempt to preserve this legacy of Sanatan Dharma, are often ridiculed and stigmatized as oldfashioned bigots and religious extremists. The freedom of expression then seems to be limited only to the pseudo-modernists and individuals divorced from their own roots while the Hindu voice and point of view is often shut down. Moreover Hinduism is more often than not only associated with backward and primitive rituals and superstitions while the entirety of the Vedic world-view and its multifaceted matrix of philosophies, sciences, holistic concepts and advanced traditions (such as yoga) is perceived as something other than Hindu. The Hindu cause is similar to the cause of native and tribal peoples all over the world, like native American and African groups, notes the renowned Vedic scholar David Frawley, Yet, he asserts that while the concerns of native peoples have been taken up by the left worldwide, the same concerns of Hindus are styled right-wing or communal, particularly by the left in India When one looks at the Hindu movement as the assertion of a native tradition with a profound spiritual heritage, the whole perspective on it changes. Indeed the whole perspective changes for the boundless and liberating vision of Sanatan Dharma and the spiritual pluralism of the Hindu psyche sets it apart from the more narrow creeds and dogmatic religions that forcibly lay down injunctions of a closed mind-set often presented in culturally confined templates. Yet, it is precisely this strength of the unbounded Vedantic Spirit and this unrivalled freedom of Sanatan Dharma that is used against it by the zealous missionaries, the politically pretentious cult of secularists and the English-educated-fundamental-fraternity that hijacks the Hindu wisdom, distorts it with alien constructs and then establishes its scholarly superiority over the Indic sources of knowledge, claiming to know better than the indigenous

systems that preserved this wisdom through centuries. However, history stands as testimony to the fact that except for a few authentic western scholars, mainstream western Indology with its Marxist, Freudian, New-Age and Eurocentric templates has not only failed to comprehensively capture the depth of Hinduisms worldviews but it has also failed to acknowledge India, its spiritual culture and philosophy as a Hindu heritage. Divorcing India from Hinduism As known, the imperial thought systems of the past have effectively distorted the Hindu image and negated the identity of the Hindu civilization to the extent that many Hindus today feel ashamed of their own cultural background. Consequently, the much acclaimed secular ideologies of the more modern and pseudo-intellectual breed of Indians has in essence and to a large extent successfully managed to divorce India from her own Hindu ethos and its undercurrents by ignoring the original premise on which our current society has evolved and the historical platform on which our nation has built its strong spiritual identity. Yet separating India from Hinduism does not render her as a secular nation as most like to believe for Hinduism far from being a religion is indeed a Dharmaculture that has not only been the backbone and power-source of India through time immemorial but also the concealed divinity and life-blood that still pulses through her inner veins. Prominent theosophist Annie Besant emphasized this vision when she said: Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil into which Indias roots are struck, and torn out of that, she will inevitably wither, as a tree torn out from its place Every one might pass away and India would still remain. But let Hinduism vanish and what is she? A geographical expression of the past, a dim memory of a perished glory. Her history, her art, her monuments all have Hinduism written across them. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism, who shall save it? If Indias own children do not cling to her faith, who shall guard it? India alone can save India, and India and Hinduism are one. Hence without the Hindu consciousness which is in fact a global matrix and database of evolutionary wisdom, India stands no chance of survival. Indeed, if one were asked to point towards the nucleus and the singularity around which the social, moral, philosophical and spiritual universe of India has revolved, it would indisputably lead to Hinduism, which has been the blazing sun of Indias past legacy and will continue to be the rising light of her future destiny. The visionary ideal of Santan Dharma, the ancient nobility of the Aryan mind, the mighty strength of the Vedantic wisdom and the life-affirming will of Shakti will therefore have to be once again revived and reinfused into the individual, social and political spheres of India, as was once done by the kshatriyas and sages of the past. The Age of Kali and the Ongoing Mahabharata M.F Husains denigration of the Hindu culture is not the real problem but a symptom and a reflection of a larger disease of stripping Mother India, that has infected the Indian psyche where bureaucrats, writers, academics, journalists, artists and many others tend to perceive and portray this nation and its ancient heritage through a prism that is often detrimental to their own countrys image. It has been the bane of the ongoing struggle of this spiritual motherland and the uprising crisis where India has once again become the target of plunder, exploitation and sustained assault by asuric forces that trample over her intellectual, spiritual and moral integrity from within and without. Much more importantly, brutal terrorism, illegal conversions, human trafficking, organized crime, ethnic cleansing, communist insurgency, psychological warfare perpetrated by oppressive sociopolitical cults, dishonest media campaigns and internal corruption, to name but a few, have been heartlessly abusing Mother India and corroding her soul through an ever-growing storm of violence and hatred as the sphere of destruction continues to expand on the countrys landscape. India is in great danger today, writes eminent journalist Francois Gautier, It is attacked by many forces. And your enemies are united, even if it is in disunity, even if it is a temporary arrangement

based on a common hatred It is not only Hinduism which is at stake, but the Sanatan Dharma, the Knowledge Infinite This Knowledge only can save the world. India, the ancient Mother, is indeed striving to be reborn, said Sri Aurobindo once, striving with agony and tears, but she strives in vain. What ails her, she who is after all so vast and might be so strong? There is surely some enormous defect, something vital is wanting in us We have abandoned Shakti and are therefore abandoned by Shakti. The Mother is not in our hearts, in our brains, in our arms The Shakti we call India, Bhawani Bharati, is the living unity of the Shaktis of three hundred million people [1.21 billion now], but she is inactive, imprisoned in the magic circle of Tamas, the self-indulgent inertia and ignorance of her sons. What our Mother then needs is a revival of this same spirit of sublime divinity and maternal power that was once upheld by the visionaries and warriors of her glorious past for it is only by creating a model and structure that is in tune with the strength and integrity of her timeless Dharmic ethos that we can attempt to sustain, safeguard and enrich India. It was with this same understanding that Aurobindo also declared: When therefore it is said that India shall rise, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall rise. When it is said that India shall be great, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall be great. When it is said that India shall expand and extend herself, it is the Sanatana Dharma that shall expand and extend itself over the world. It is for the dharma and by the dharma that India exists. Henceforth must rise the call to the divine beneficence, a call to Sanatana Dharma, the law of eternal righteousness and cosmic order, to forge ahead on the evolutionary arena and brandish the soul of Mother India for the time has now neared for Shakti to reawaken in her children, who march forward as spiritual warriors of light in abeyance of her immortal dharmic truth. I saw then this land of India, the Aryan country suffering, blinded ruined by her enemies, the mother of the Bharatas wept aloud Arise! Give! The Mothers thirsting call resounded through the night.. I am the mother, O child, of the Bharatas Worshipping the goddess Bhavani in your heart, strive and enrich your motherland. I, the Mother, call all of you Shake off your slumber! Wheresoever are great heroes and leaders engaged in continual self-sacrifice for the good of their race, towards those nations does Kali grow gracious Summon forth to battle the ancient tribes of the Bharatas. Let there be victory; fear not. Lo, I have awakened! Arise, arise, O sleeping lions!.. Be firmly established in the Aryan country. Abide forever gracious in this land, 0 Mighty One, for the good of the world! (Select verses from Bhavani Bharati by Sri Aurobindo)