The Guru of the world is still online
How many civilizations have survived a foreign rule or a religious hegemony without cultural carnage or genocide? The extinct civilizations of native Americans, native south Americans and Africans is a case in point. Imagine a civilisation at gunpoint with political slavery to outside forces for over 1000 years and ravaged in every way possible? What do you think would have happened to that culture, lifestyle, language and traditions after centuries of foreign rule?
Despite 1000 years of foreign rule on India, we see a preservation of an incessant Indian culture of 5000 years still continuing till today. This wouldn’t have been possible without solid foundations.
India with her wisdom foundations has been acknowledged as the Guru of the world for centuries together. However the wisdom of the Guru got forgotten in the allure and glamour of the 19th century industrial revolution and the flashy capitalism that followed. But today the increasing rationality and reasoning is overturning dogmatic stereotypical notions about ancient cultures.
The forgotten Indian wisdom is being discovered by researchers and scholars in the very countries that witnessed a boom of post world-war-capitalism. Many have discovered India as the wisest of civilizations for the philosophy, sciences she produced and the values she imbibed and imparted to others. This discovery has mainly uncovered a secular nature of India’s search for truth that treats everyone as a part of one family.
In fact, even during the industrial revolution, the famous British historian Arnold Toynbee (1852 – 1883), asserted that
“It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history, the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together in to a single family.”
By the word ‘Hindu’, Toynbee doesn’t mean a dogmatic creed that has strange obsessions but about the wisdom traditions with eternal law (Sanatana dharma) as the base, which he discovered in India during his lifetime in the 1800s. He is talking about the way of a philosophical search into the truth – a truth that is sustaining everything in the universe.
Just like Toynbee and the other non-desi scholars discovered, it is not difficult for any open minded rational person to discover why the headquarters for this insight into “Truth” is India. A study of the continuous Indian culture which is fashionably called as ‘Indology’ or ‘Indic study’ shows a dispassion of a civilisation towards material wealth as it embarked on an honest search for the truth. So much so, that even great Emperors like Chandragupta Maurya and Emperor Ashoka retired at the height of power and became renunciates to search and abide in truth.
India had kings like Paari Vallal, the legendary 9th CE Tamil Chola king who gave away his golden chariot to an ordinary wild-jasmine creeper (‘mullai’ in Tamil). As it so happened, Paari Vallal was going through a forest on his golden chariot and stopped near a stream to quench his thirst. On his return he found that a mullai plant (a wild jasmine creeper) had entwined itself around one of the wheels of the chariot. He did not have the heart to disturb the creeper and to avoid breaking the vine of the creeper; he decided to give away his golden chariot to the plant and walked back to his palace. How many emperors or Kings would do that at the height of their glory?
This is not some large-hearted philanthropy of a billionaire but speaks of a mind that is dispassionate about the riches and an intellect that has taken shelter in the search for truth. Later on Paari Vallal was known to become a sage in his dynasty. There were many rulers throughout India like Paari Vallal and their governing councils that made dharmic wisdom as a foreground for governance, which wouldn’t have been possible unless material prosperity is transcended. Such rich rulers also patronized arts and music as an expression of truth, built temples like the Brihadeswara temple & universities like at Nalanda and Taksasila, funded monasteries in Ajanta & Ellora and gave forest sanctuaries to seekers and seers who had a direct insight (darshan) about reality.
India was an example of non-hankering for power, non-subjugation of other cultures because a civilisation that is mature and content turns itself towards higher things in life rather than dogma. Though India was the land of abundance for many a merchants, traders, looters, scavenging invaders, India considered her riches, success, power and everything material absolutely mundane. Talking about India’s material achievements, Grant Duff, the British Historian of India confirms
“Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago”.
Even a brief reading into the Indian past shows why India was the magnet for seekers for centuries. But today’s India has lost much of her ancient glory due to self ignorance, self unconsciousness and lack of visionary leadership.
Philip Goldberg, the Interfaith Minister, author of ‘American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West’ recently commented on the Huffington Post in his post titled ‘Obama Should Have Thanked India’ that
“What we’ve imported in return is far more subtle, but perhaps even more profound. Ages ago, the vast subcontinent (India) birthed explorers and innovators who focused on the inner realm. Those geniuses — spiritual sages or scientists of consciousness, depending on your perspective — gave us, through a series of modern translators and adapters, insights that have profoundly influenced religion, healthcare, psychology, the arts and other areas of life. The way we understand ourselves and the universe has been shaped by India more than we can readily appreciate.”
So how does one get online with this Guru of the world. the great mystic Osho asserts
“For me India and spirituality are synonymous…Only India has established that God is within man, only India has given man the capability, the dignity and the beauty of he himself becoming the temple, the shrine…India is the only land in the whole world, strangely, which has devoted all its talents in a concentrated effort to see the truth and to be the truth…. If you try to categorize it with other countries, you have already missed the point, because those countries don’t have the spiritual aura…the mystic is India’s monopoly…If you come here just as a tourist, you will miss it…there is a spiritual part. Your cameras cannot photograph it; your training, your education cannot capture it…If you come here with a little bit of a meditative mind, you will come in contact with it…”
To get online with real India, perhaps a book like ‘India my Love – Fragments of a golden past’ by Osho is a good start.