Our forefathers were extremely learned people and gave the world modern tools providing the basic foundations of science; spiritual thought; mathematics; palmistry; planetary and astro-sciences. However, somewhere down the times knowledge seeking was replaced by superstitions for the masses and interpretation of wisdom left to the educated Brahmins. But, they failed to modernise or add to the basic knowledge and propagated blind faith and superstitions to control masses through fear-cum-appeasement of gods as a panacea for curing all ills.
It’s a shame that this menace continues unabated. Rather than going down with education, it is rearing its ugly head, kind courtesy of the vote bank politics and the inability of the religious leaders to fight this evil. Since the gurus have a hold at grass root levels they are the most effective force to usher this change. If Hindu is divided today, this is one of the root causes and unless addressed the future is not too great.
Mandirs though wealthy, but poorly maintained
Our mandirs are wealthy because of devotees, but the management of mandirs, to say the least, is pathetic. Filth, beggars, greedy pundits, touts, inadequacy of basic amenities, corruption, mismanagement of funds are the hallmarks of most of them. There is a need to coordinate the minimal give back to people in terms of feeding/sheltering the hungry; providing basic amenities and CSR. Take a look at Gurudwaras’ maintenance. They provide free langars and shelter to devotees. In case of mandirs, reasonable amenities and charity could be the way ahead. There is a need for a centralised body to monitor implementation of this aspect.
Self over society
Charity amongst all religions- Islam/Sikhism/Christianity is well known and this needs to be incorporated wholeheartedly by Hindus as well.
Dowry and women status
The low status of women in our religion has taken deep roots in the modern day society. The day to day treatment of our women-folk needs serious attention. Dowry and may be equal property for girls may be a starting point. It’s not the way the great religion has taught the society to treat its women. Social ban on dowry can be imposed by the dharma gurus and society.
Ills, incidents and failures are all blamed on God
All ills and failings are ascribed to past karmas and in spite of teachings in our Vedas and Swami Vivekananda that we need to take charge, we refuse to accept responsibility by misinterpreting the philosophy of Gita. That we make our destinies needs to be taught to the people.
Knowledge and pride in past, future little bright
People who led the world in knowledge are laggards today. We have stopped learning and expect the west to tell us even about our ancient wisdom, what is good or bad before acceptance. Pride in our knowledge and past has been traumatised by the slavery that the nation was subjected to for so long. This needs to be brought back by making the wisdom available in the language which people understand and supporting/refining those pearls with modern scientific tools available to us today.
Diversity harming the cause
Ram, Shiv, Kumbh, Krishan, devis have got associated with Ram mandir, Amarnath/ Kailash-Mansarovar/Dwarka-Vrindavan- Tirupathi-Puri; vaishnavo – chintapurni etc. and Peeths have all become autonomous entities with no centralised coordination. Problems are being addressed individually with little synergy whereas the basic problem is same.
Hinduism is the only religion in the world which does not have Vatican/Golden Temple/Mecca – Medina. There is need to defend together when it comes to the basic thought. Hindus are being converted by allurements because of in-house follies. There is a need to have a centralised body which should combat the threats.
There are other issues and not all can be addressed here. What needs to be done is the issue. The Dharma Gurus assembly at Maha Kumbh should address the issues which are threatening our religion and society today. The government and laws cannot change the mind-set but the Dharma gurus have the clout and where with all to take on these veils head on and force a change for the good. Once we revert to the values and wisdom of the past and simultaneously evolving/ refining the sciences, we can become the religion which was once proud of its thought, traditions, socio-economic fabric and self-sustaining communities living in harmony. Soft power or smart power or mind power or knowledge society whatever one may call it – this is the way and these are the tools.