“I’m pointing at the moon,” Buddha said, “but they are admiring my finger.”
May I mention that I get hit by deja vu all the time whenever I talk about any important spiritual issue on this platform. That you care about me deeply is beyond doubt. And of course, vice-versa too. But, believe me when I say this, the last post was not even one percent about me or what you feel about me or if you share with others that you and I are connected at some level. On the contrary, the dharma can advance only if we don’t make it about gurus and so-called custodians of religions but about principles. Dharma is much bigger than I am and it exists only because of you, its practitioners.
At first, I just wanted to post a comment on my earlier article and acknowledge the love you showered in your comments. But, that would not do justice to all the time you devoted to reading the post and commenting on it. I read almost every comment and felt it was imperative that I show up in this unscheduled, surprise post and share with you a bit more on what keeps me up at night.
Before I do that, however, let me reiterate three key points from the last writeup:
You have the absolute right to privacy. Certainly when it comes to os.me and your spiritual pursuit in general, you are in complete control of your privacy. It is for this reason that no matter who may access this platform, only premium members can see or post comments. This is done to protect the sanctity of os.me and to build a safe community of like minded people. So not only do we fully understand your desire to tweak your privacy settings, we endorse it too.
2. Segregation of personal and professional lives
How you wish to lead your life and what aspect of your personal or professional life you wish to expose to the world is your prerogative. No one must ever judge you for that and you don’t owe anyone any explanation on why you prefer it that way. You must have your reasons. I don’t know about the outside world but I can guarantee you that at os.me, there are no expectations whatsoever that somehow your participation on this platform must be known to the world.
3. What is between you and I is both personal and private.
The last thing I would ever want is for anyone to feel that somehow they should share my writings or tell people about me or make some noise. On the contrary, those who know me closely can tell you that I am a very private person, an introvert, who spends most of his time away from all forms of public interactions and limelight. I am able to do my work and help others better that way.
The core idea of my earlier post was to stress upon the fact that the Vedic way of life is dying a death by a thousand cuts. When I say that, I am not at all holding any other community responsible. This is completely our own doing. We alone are responsible for arriving at this juncture. While there are numerous reasons, the most important is that we are not really doing enough in preserving the Vedic culture. In the guise of being liberal, we are not even exposing our youth and children to the beauty and teachings of the Vedas.
Do you think global warming is real? I mean from Al Gore to Thunberg, numerous people and experts have been warning us about the perils of climate change, some for decades now. We have started working towards it but it’s no way near enough. By some accounts, in the last century alone we have lost more than 70% of the world’s forests. I remember when I was a child, you could bore just fifteen feet into the ground and get fresh water. Today, you have to go as deep as 300 feet. In other words, what I am saying is that when we chop a tree down, it doesn’t seem that big of an issue but when you look at the whole picture, you start to understand the gravity of the situation.
Similarly, the crisis in preserving the Vedic teachings for future generations is very real.
Last year, I took the population census data provided by the Government of India. Plus, I gathered data from other government, academic and authoritative sources to analyze the growth of world religions. I then cleaned up the data, made it uniform, dumped it in a spreadsheet and generated some interesting pivots. Of all the things I got, I wish to share with you two graphs to show you what I mean.
Growth and decline of major religions in India.
At this rate, Hinduism will be a minority in India in the next 200 years.
By 2500 it will be completely wiped out from the face of the Earth.
“Will this trend continue?” I am asked by many people. In my humble opinion not only will this decline go on but it will worsen because 99% of our children don’t know even one verse of the Bhagavad Gita. Ask them anything related to Vedic scriptures and they are mostly clueless. This is our doing and not their fault. What’s worse is that sometimes the parents are just as blank. This is our fault. 200 or 400 years may seem distant at present but we are at the threshold already.
Once again, it’s important to emphasize that I love all cultures, religions and communities. I have travelled enough throughout the world and lived in all kinds of cities and made remarkable friends with people from all religions and walks of life to know that every culture is beautiful. The way to revive the Vedic glory is not by negating or demonizing those who follow a different path but by introducing the extraordinary beauty of the Vedas to the world.
And if someone said to me, “How can you be so sure that Sanatana Dharma will be wiped out? What will you say to a skeptic who feels that you are overreacting?”
I’d give them a similar answer to one that Bill Gates gave to David Rubeinstein: they must not have taken enough science courses. Plus, I’d add, “They have not seen the data yet.”
Our feelings and thoughts can be biased, even skewed. We can lie to ourselves and others. But data does not lie. Whether we choose to deny the facts staring us in the face or we think that these trends will reverse themselves is a different matter. I leave it up to you to draw those conclusions. But, what I will tell you is that a stitch in time saves nine. If we close our eyes and believe that this problem will disappear, we should then be prepared to wake up with a resounding slap that will reverberate throughout the entire planet and beyond.
When we allow the erosion of culture, when we turn a blind eye to preserving our heritage, we are changing the very fabric of a nation. Look at what happened to Tibet, Africa or Kashmir. Did you know that it took us 500 years and the lives of tens of thousands of citizens to regain and restore just one temple to its somewhat original state? See this 12-min video below. It’s in Hindi.
I am not affiliated with any political party nor am I the mouthpiece of any organization. I have no personal agenda either. It’s just that I cannot unsee what’s in plain sight. Besides, it’s not just what I’m seeing but what I am foreseeing that concerns me. I feel compelled to do my two cents’ worth in preserving and passing on the teachings of the Vedas.
Ignoring this decline is akin to a pigeon closing its eyes and hoping a cat won’t see it. The ancient religions of Greece, of Europe, the tribal religions of Africa, the local faiths of North and South America have all but disappeared. Of particular note is Zoroastrianism. This was the oldest religion of Arabia and as historians would tell you, it was Zoroastrianism that gave the world the concept of sun and fire worship. The first religion to document the concepts of heaven and hell, and the first one to move towards monotheism. In the Vedic era, when Judaism was consolidating and finding its roots, other than Sanatana Dharma, Zoroastrianism was the most prevalent and dominant major religion in the world. Where is it now?
Maybe the future generations will still be perfectly alright. After all, you don’t usually miss things you have never been introduced to. If they won’t even know the way of the Vedas, will they find the world a less meaningful place? Maybe, maybe not. What I do know is that a world where only one ideology reigns supreme will hurl us back into the stone age because it would be the equivalent of an absolute monarchy. It would be a religious monarchy. And purely from a religious standpoint, the world needs responsible democracy.
We are walking into oblivion. The future generations will question our inaction and incompetence one day. Chanakya (375 – 283 BCE) too had tried to warn King Dhanananda before the Macedonian and other external imminent conquests. He read the signs, but he was thrown out for speaking the truth (although that didn’t stop him from bringing about the revolution.) On your journey of truth as well, you will discover that when you really have an unadulterated piece of truth to share, there will be few takers. And, in the end quantity will snub quality.
As they say, “In a war, it’s not who’s right but who’s left.”
And there will be nothing left to salvage if we continue to ignore the warning signs. Whenever in doubt, simply look at the two graphs. What I have given you is neither desirable nor pleasant news, but I felt you had to hear it. So, my dear friend, you see, it was never about me or our association. I value it deeply, but I value the cause a lot more. I do not wish to be idolized, worshipped or offered a high seat. It is not good for the dharma. Do not bow down before me or touch my feet, even if you are my initiated disciple. Instead, rise up and vow to do something about the cause. Use your energy to not profess your love for me but to preserve, practice and propagate the Vedas. It would mean the most to me. In fact, it’s everything to me. That’s the reason I’m still here.
There you have it. I’ve used sight, foresight, insight and everything else in me to give you a glimpse into the future. You choose now. Carefully.
See you next week.
P.S. Please join me in welcoming Pankaj Kumar to os.me. Pankaj in his humbleness won’t mention it but at least I should that not only is he the CEO of os.me (he has been holding the office for over a year now), he’s also an early investor in this platform. And the first version of the Sadhana app would not be possible had he not stepped in. The funding received from his os.me stake is what fueled 80% of the app. Pankaj and his better half, Nikunj were the ones who came up with ideas like Q&A forums, karma points, resources, personalized reading, moderators and much more on os.me. Thank you, Pankaj. BTW, I love the slogan at the end of your post: aham brahm os.me. Clever!