To the Hindu, Mother Earth is the holy mother and the Sky is the father. The whole universe is his family and all beings in this universe are his kith and kin. His way of life, Hindutwa or Sanatana Dharma, is universal and eternal, and it encompasses all religions, which are various forms of worship of one Ultimate Reality. Therefore, a Hindu can never be a fanatic or fundamentalist, just as fire can never be cold or ice can never be hot. Only an ignorant fool can ever refer to a Hindu as a fundamentalist or fanatic. The Hindu got his name because his most ancient spiritual culture and civilization originated in this holy land of Bharat—the Sapta Sindhu Bhoomi as mentioned in the Vedas—which was referred to as Hapta Hindu—in Zend Avesta. Greeks made Hind into Ind and we became Indians. Hindu is India and India is Hindu. Every Indian who reveres and respects that eternal values that have sprung up in Bharatavarsha is a Hindu and those that lack that patriotic sentiment can by no means claim the title of Indian.
Long before the dawn of civilization in other parts of the world, the great ancestors of our land produced the Vedas, the revelations of the highest intuitive wisdom of mankind, which have now been accepted as the most scientific and rational expressions of the truth about the source of entire creation and the meaning and purpose of evolution. The rishis proclaimed that the ultimate goal of human evolution is divinization of man or Self-realization. They taught that each human being can evolve his own religion or pathway to god-realization and all these pathways are like different streams and rivers merging in one ocean. Therefore, in the remote period of history, the great preceptors of this sacred land sent messengers to different parts of the world with their command—Krinvanto vishwam aaryam—make the entire world noble. “Etat desha prasootasya sakaashaat agrajanmanah swam swam charitran shiksheran prithivyaa sarva maanavaah—let the entire mankind learn the meaning and purpose of their life from the preceptors of this holy land”—this was the message that they gave to those heroic souls who left the shores of this Bharatavarsha to distant lands and sowed the seeds of culture, civilization and religion in every continent. The Persians, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Africans—why every section of mankind owe their religion to the great Hindus. Therefore, Swami Vivekananda, who addressed the Parliament of World Religions at Chicago in 1893, proclaimed in the august assembly that he stood there representing the “Mother of all religions”.
Following the footsteps of Swami Vivekananda, in the modern period, many Mahatmas, saints and sadhus of this land have traveled to distant lands reviving and revitalizing the Sanatana Dharma propounded by our revered rishis. Many of the religions that had sprung up in various parts of the world had been condemned as heathen and pagan and crushed under the heels of imperialist forces donning the garb of religions, like Christianity and Islam. They are still on the warpath with their avowed objective to wipe out every other religion in the world. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, one of the world renowned philosophers of the modern period and former President of India, points out: “The intolerance of narrow monotheism is written in letters of blood across the history of man from the time when first the tribes of Israel burst into the land of Canaan. The worshippers of the one jealous god are egged on to aggressive wars against people of alien cults. They invoke divine sanction for the cruelties inflicted on the conquered. The spirit of old Israel is inherited by Christianity and Islam.” (Hindu Way of Life, Unwin Books, 1960, Pp.40)
Today, while both these fanatic and fundamentalist religions are fighting against each other in a global level, they are also nervous about the revival of the universal and eternal values of life propounded by the Hindu seers in distant continents, especially in Europe, America and Africa. Therefore, they have stepped up their aggressive activities in India, the land of the Hindus. However, the irony is that the Churches in Europe and America are being closed down and movements like ISKCON, Transcendental Meditation, Ramakrishna Mission, Chinmaya Mission, Satya Sai Organization, Mata Amritananda Mayi Mission, etc. are attracting people in millions in distant lands. Islamic nations are also at loggerheads and are fighting fratricidal wars.
The old pagan religions, which were once wiped out, are coming back to life under the patronage and protection of Hinduism. Research scholars and historians all over the world are today unearthing the buried links of world’s ancient cultures and civilizations with the earlier Vedic culture and civilization of India. Historical records pertaining to pre-Islamic Arabastan shows that Mecca was a holy city dedicated to Harihara. Linguists point out that ancient Greek originated from Vedic Sanskrit. The Gods and Goddesses of Romans were the deified forms of ancient Indian heroes and heroines. Count Stejerna is of the view that the religion and religious rituals of ancient Italy resembled the religion and rituals of India. The link of ancient Germans who worshipped Sun, Moon and Fire, with the Vedic Aryans is well exposed. The Hungarians descended from the first Indian settlers in that country. Col. Tod says that the ancient mythologies and epics of Scandanavia have a close resemblance to similar literature of ancient Rajasthan. The first ancient inhabitants of England, the Druids, were originally the Bauddha-Brahmins who migrated to England from India. The pre-Judaic Palestenians were idol worshippers like the Indians. Max Mueller says that the Iranians were emigrants from northwest India who retained their original religion in Zorastrianism. Turks are descendants of Turushakas. The Assyrians were ruled by King Bali whose empire extended from Greece in the west to India, Burma and Cambodia in the Far East. The annals of ancient Egyptians delineated on the walls of the Queen Hasli Tope’s temple points out the land of origin of the people and Col. Alcart describes how the ancient Indians landed on the eastern coast of Egypt. Mungo Park, the celebrated explorer of Africa has written his accounts of travels and many of the cities have Sanskrit or Sanskrit based names. In one of his recent visits to South Africa, this sadhu, guided by a famous Czech historian, Dr. Cyril Hromnik, had the opportunity to climb up on the slopes of the Lion’s Head to see the sites of Suriya and Soma temples on the top of the Table Mountain in Cape Town. Bhikku Chaman Lal has written his famous book, “Hindu America?” presenting extensive proofs for the origin of the ancient Mayas, Incas and Aztecs from the Hindu race. Now all over the world there is a deep urge among historians and scholars to know the roots of the ancient traditions and cultures. No wonder, India is going to host the First International Conference and Gathering of the Elders of the Ancient Traditions and Cultures of the World at Mumbai from 4th to 9th February 2003.
It is at this juncture, that this sadhu is getting yet another opportunity to make his tenth visit abroad, carrying the message and mission of Mother Bharat. We will be leaving the shores of India in the middle of November to make our eighth visit to South Africa for about three months, before returning to India in time to participate in the International Conference of the Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures. The spirit of my Master, H.H. Yogi Ramsuratkumar, and His benign blessings and grace are ever with this sadhu in all his travels and humble endeavours. We seek the blessings of all the Mahatmas of this Holy Land for the success of our journey. We go out with a two-fold mission—first, to awaken the sleeping Hindus to the glory of their most ancient culture and heritage and instill in them the feelings of pride and self-respect, and second, to call out to the entire humanity—”Shrunvantu sarve amritasya putraah—listen ye all, children of immortality, you are not siners, but the descendants of God, the whole world is one family—vasudhaiva kutumbakam—and let us make this world a perfect place for all of us to rest in peace and do our spiritual sadhana. When we fly into the sky and look at Mother Earth from the region of clouds, our heart will throb with the Vedic chant: NAMO MAATRE PRITHIVYAI–SALUTATIONS TO MOTHER EARTH! (Yajur Veda, 9.22)
Author: Professor Sadhu Rangarajan