The World Hindu Conference held at Durban in South Africa, from July 7 to 10, 1995, was an epoch-making event in the history of the Hindus. The conference held in a nation which had secured its freedom from the monster, Apartheid, and elected an outstanding idealist and humanist, endowed with indomitable courage, will-power and spirit of sacrifice in the fight for the upliftment of the most oppressed and suppressed people of his country – who, in spite of three decades of incarceration in a remote island prison by the tyrannical white regime, had the least ill-will or feeling of revenge against them when he emerged victorious ultimately – Dr. Nelson Mandela, was indeed a proclamation of the glory of the universal values of life and eternal verities propounded by the great sages and seers of Bharatavarsha, the Preceptor of the World. Even when the so called secular leaders of the Indian nation shy away from and shun the congregations of the Hindus, the first black President of the Republic of South Africa was generous enough to grace the occasion and address a massive rally of 35,000 people at Chatsworth on July 9, 1995, when he proudly acknowledged the role of Hindu values of life: tolerance, peace and unity, in not only enriching human civilization, but also in building up his own nation and moulding his own thinking.
A month prior to the historic conference and a couple of months after it, this sadhu had the opportunity to traverse throughout the length and breadth of South Africa, spreading the message of the great rishis and acharyas of Bharatavarsha, especially among the descendants of these great masters, now settled in that distant land. Hindus in South Africa are today awakening. For more than a century under the white rule, the children of Mother Bharat, who reached the shores of South Africa as indentured labour, strove to preserve their own cultural heritage and supreme values in spite of slavery and oppression backed by the onslaught of Western materialistic culture and the proselytization of alien religious groups. The reception that these beloved brethren accorded to this humble sadhu, the most insignificant among the umpteen number of sadhus of India, stands as a testimony to their utmost reverence to the order of the spiritual preceptors of the land of their forefathers. In God’s creation, no instrument is worthless. Each has a role to play. This sadhu had the wonderful opportunity to play his role well in the distant land. At least one thing he could successfully accomplish – to remind the children of Mother India in South Africa that Hinduism is not a religion, it is a way of life and that everyone, irrespective of his caste, creed or community, who adores and worships the sacred land of Bharatavarsha as the Land of Wisdom, their fatherland, motherland, the land of eternal values which elevate one from the mundane human existence to Divine Life, is a Hindu. That way, Mr Reuben Thuku, a blind scholar from Kenya – blind physically, but his inner eyes wide open – who spoke in the conference proclaiming the greatness of Vedanta and the close affinity and rich similarities between the Hindu and African culture and religions, and Hazarat Anwar Shaikh of England whose glowing tribute to Bharat Mata, which adorns the pages of this issue of TATTVA DARSANA, are greater Hindus than the hypocritic and time-serving leaders in India who speak of secularism and human brotherhood day in and day out, but harbor the meanest and selfish ideas to divide the society on the basis of caste and creed to secure electoral victories in the political field.
The culmination of this sadhu’s humble efforts to carry the light of Hindu spiritual and man-making ideals to the brethren in South Africa was in the formal inauguration of the South African branch of Sister Nivedita Academy at Tongaat in KwaZulu – Natal, on August 25, 1995, on the eve of this sadhu’s return to Mother Bharat. The article of Sri Anwar Shaikh on BHARAT MATA became the key-note address on the occasion. The Academy is not one more organization to compete with many others already there which have successfully disintegrated the Hindu community into different compartments, but only an educational institution to enlighten the brethren about the unity and universality of the Hindu thought in all its various hues and colours and to enable them to come out of their narrow sectarian shells, cults and groups to have a comprehensive vision of the all-embracing spiritual culture of Mother India. The Academy is an instrument striving to serve the cause espoused by all the great Mahatmas of Bharatvarsha, not a means to spread a narrow cult.
This issue of TATTVA DARSANA, highlighting the glorious moments experienced by this sadhu in his South African visit, is placed at the feet of my beloved Master, Yogi Ramsuratkumar Godchild Tiruvannamalai, whose unstinted grace and blessings alone have made this sadhu a humble instrument in the service of the Hindu society, Mother Bharat and above all the humanity at large.
Author: Professor Sadhu Rangarajan