On 12 January, 1863, one of the greatest Hindus in recent memory was born. A son of the soil who would take Dharma to the West and become one of its strongest proponents. The man I speak of is of course Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest Hindus of the modern era. On the auspicious occasion of his birthday, I seek to highlight the malaise that seems to have taken hold of the Hindu organization that he founded, the Ramakrishna Mission.
Many of us were indeed appalled when we came across pictures of Jishu Pujo (Jesus Puja) at Belurmath, Kolkata, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission on Christmas. My initial shock quickly turned into sheer disbelief when I came across a TOI article from 2008 that observed that Christmas was celebrated with much pomp and bluster even then and the bhog that is offered even includes sandwiches and cigarettes. The adoption of such a grotesque form of universalism by the Ramakrishna Mission did not occur overnight, it began a long time ago, perhaps with the affidavit it filed in 1980 in which it claimed to profess a minority religion in itself, a religion distinct from Hinduism.
In the affidavit that it filed in the Calcutta High Court in 1980, it pleaded that the Missionary believed and followed the ‘cult or religion of Shri Ramakrishna’, that they’re a ‘religious domination’ within the Article 26 of the Constitution and since they are less than 50% of the population, they’re a religious minority according to Article 30 of the same Constitution. Thus, one fine day, Hindus all over the world woke up with the sudden news that the organization they loved and prided on suddenly didn’t call itself Hindu and claimed to preach an entirely different religion altogether. The Ramakrishna Mission’s attempt to abandon Hinduism marks one of the greatest betrayals to the cause of Dharma. The Mission maintained that it undertook such a drastic step to avail the benefits that minority institutions are granted in our country but as Shri Ram Swarup observes in his brochure on the subject, the arguments that were put forth in the court reflected a serious will on the part of some of the leaders of the institution to distinguish itself from Hinduism and not inspired merely by legal formalities. And indeed, the Calcutta High Court granted the Mission its wish but its decision was reversed by the Supreme Court in 1995.
More than the betrayal to Hindus and the Dharmic Cause, the Ramakrishna Mission ought to have sought atonement for its deliberate distortion of Swami Vivekananda ‘s and Paramhansa Ramakrishna’s message and life.
Swami Vivekananda once thundered, “Say it with Pride: We are Hindus!” And merely decades later, the Ramakrishna Mission would come to convince itself by virtue of some twisted Mental Gymnastics and attempt to convince others that the Hindu Monk who had defended Hinduism at the Chicago Parliament of the World Religions and preached Vedantic Philosophy for much of his life was no longer a Hindu by the time he founded the Ramakrishna Mission owing to his contact with the West. The very Heavens weep at such a gross treachery! And not merely that, as Shri Ram Swarup observes in the same brochure, the Mission Monks even went on to claim that Shri Ramakrishna was the founder of a new religion and discovered a spiritual status beyond the ken of Hinduism. There is not the remotest bit of truth to this rather fanciful assertion but such a stance is not surprising when Dharma is sacrificed at the altar of Universalism.
I have maintained for a while now that Hindu organizations must shoulder some blame for the degeneracy that permeates much of Hindu society today. Indeed, the intellectual bankruptcy that has come to symbolize Hindu society and the complete inability of Hindus to staunch the onslaught of the Abrahamics is a sad reflection of the failure of Hindu organizations to strengthen the virtues of Dharma. When even Hindu organizations such as the Ramakrishna Mission has fallen prey to Universalist memes with so little a resistance, what chances do the unwashed masses have? Hindu organizations continue to preach the false doctrine of Sarva Dharma Sambhava all the while as Abrahamics strive with the entirety of their resources to undermine Dharma. The utter inability of Hindus to recognize the enemy and treat them accordingly shall indeed be the cause of destruction of our ancient civilization.
The attempt by the Ramakrishna Mission to disassociate itself from Hinduism also highlights the sectarian nature of our Constitution which punishes its citizens and organizations for just being Hindus. The case also highlights the prevalence of sectarian laws in our Constitution which provide an added incentive to Hindus to abandon Hinduism for materialistic benefits. Laws such as the Endowment Act and the RTE specifically target Hindu Temples and institutions and must be immediately abolished to grant Hindu organizations the same freedom as those of the minorities. It is sad that even with a self proclaimed Hindu Nationalist government at the Center, these laws are no closer to being revoked than they were with the anti-Hindu UPA in power. An ideal situation would be where these laws are selectively applied to minority institutions to protect Hinduism against Adharmik forces but presently, revoking these laws would be a good start in itself.
Shri Ram Swarup again makes a prudent observation when he remarks, “Many RK Mission monks follow the same fashion in India, too, where the audience is Hindu, but the elaboration and commentary are Biblical. For this reason some feel that RK mission has been more of a propagandize of Christianity and Islam among the Hindus than of Hinduism abroad. It was happening long before the RK Mission applied for a non-Hindu status; it could continue after it is legally Hindu again.” And indeed, as the Jishu Pujo shows, it is exactly what is happening. The Ramakrishna Mission forgets the words of Swami Vivekananda himself, “The fault with all religions like Christianity is that they have one set of rules for all. But Hindu religion is suited to all grades of religious aspiration and progress. It contains all the ideals in their perfect form. For example, the ideal of Shanta or blessedness is to be found in Vasishtha; that of love in Krishna; that of duty in Rama and Sita; and that of intellect in Shukadeva. Study the characters of these and of other ideal men. Adopt one which suits you best.”
The Hindu organizations must forsake Universalism and dedicate their immense intellectual capabilities towards the refutations of universalist memes they have themselves internalized over a period of time. They must realize that internalizing Universalist memes has made Hindus more susceptible to conversions to Abrahamic religions. By not educating Hindus about the threat of Abrahamisms, they have indeed committed a grave sin. Together, we must take a solemn oath to protect Dharma by all means necessary. We shall not abandon our heritage and ancestry to the false song of Universalism. We shall reclaim our patrimony by the strength of our convictions and piety of our actions. We shall not fall prey to Universalist memes and its million vices. At this critical precipice our civilization, thousands of years old, has been forced into, we shall and we must emerge victorious and stronger than ever before. For Dharma, we must sacrifice. For Dharma, we must endure. And it is by Dharma that we shall eventually shred the vicious constraints that have been forced upon us by Universalist religions.