Growing up, the word ‘bhakti’ meant only one thing: ultimate devotion for devas.
There were no other connotations associated with that word.
A bhakta was not an ordinary man. In fact, an ordinary man could never be a bhakta.
The school textbooks, which receive so much flak for teaching masses the distorted version of India’s indigenous culture and history, also taught us about the great revolution that the 'bhakti movement' brought over the past millennium.
We learnt about great saints like Alvars, Nayanars, Andal, Basava, Kabir, Nanak, Tulsidas, Ramananda, Ravidas, Namdev, Tukaram and Mirabai — who unleashed this revolution across India’s sacred geography in scores of languages.
While many have tried to paint bhakti as a phenomenon of medieval Hinduism, it’s as old as the Sanatana Dharma itself as scholars like Karen Pechilis, Madeleine Biardeau and Jeanine Miller would testify.
From Vedas to Upanishads to Bhagvada Gita to Puranas to Guru Granth Sahib, bhakti has been a millennia old theme in Hinduism’s religious texts.
Until recently, it was quite common for Hindus in northern India to name their child ‘Bhagat’. Even today, one can find many people with that name in villages of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Sadly, post the 2014 victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the word ‘bhakta’ has been converted into an abuse to throw at ardent supporters of Narendra Modi.
The Mullah-Missionary-Marxist combine and their sympathisers embedded in media, academia or entertainment industry have not let go of any opportunity to denigrate this holy word.
In the past five years, cow — another holy object, a symbol of resistance for the Hindu society — has also been a favourite topic of the same cabal to disparage.
The ground reality is that thousands of people are working in illegal beef trade, most of them Muslims. They resort to all sorts of unlawful activities, including cattle theft and theft of the vehicles used for transportation.
They are breaking who knows how many laws during such an operation. When confronted by either the police or locals, they fire back and attack with impunity.
But what’s being projected to the country is that there is widespread lynching of Muslims by gaurakshaks based on handful of incidents of attacks on cow thieves.
That’s how the reality is being distorted right before our eyes.
Gaurakshaks, those who have taken upon themselves a sacred duty to protect the animal in face of state’s failure to curb cases of cattle theft and slaughter, are being vilified no end.
Islamists, whether he is a suicide bomber or a professor at some university, throw 'gaumutra jibes' at Hindu society with impunity. The agenda is to separate the cow from the Hindu.
Another agenda that the Mullah-Missionary-Marxist-Media network (M4) has taken up recently is to defame and denigrate the harmless, age-old, countryside greeting of ‘Jai Shri Rama’.
Soon after the BJP came to power in 2019 with even bigger majority, the M4 gang started bombarding their audiences with “Muslim beaten up, forced to say Jai Shri Rama” narrative.
The sudden rise in such incidents was too convenient to be true. A Muslim youth in Telangana’s Karimnagar claimed he was beaten up by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP workers for not chanting Jai Shri Rama. It turned out to be fake. Similarly, such fake claims in Unnao, Cooch Bihar, Kanpur, Baghpat, Chandauli, (two in) Aurangabad were also busted.
As I wrote last year, the audience of M4 gang is not the crores of devout Hindus but a certain section of the majority community, the deracinated elite who can be easily guilt-tripped into spitting at their own heritage.
If this influential bunch can be made to crack lame jokes at Shri Rama at stand-up comedy clubs (see the number of cow jokes they use in their material), their job is done. Denigrating the lord, who is an idol to millions and worshipped as mortal personification of righteousness on earth, is no mean achievement. Clearly, the M4 gang has more upsides than downsides in continuing with their propaganda.
Sacred Games, a popular web series on Netflix, trivialised ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, one of the four Mahavakyas (great sayings) from the Upanishads and reduced it to a meme to be mocked. It wasn’t a one-off incident. Such sacrilege was the running theme of that show.
’Tandav’ is the latest addition to the anti-Hindu propaganda literature.
The word associated with the gods are now reduced to a meme.
The makers of the show could have picked any other word because it has nothing to do with the storyline but that would have been a missed opportunity to take a shot at Hinduism.
Another trend in popular culture is to give all chief antagonists a Brahmin surname. It’s 'Gaitonde' in Sacred Games, 'Tripathis' and 'Shuklas' in Mirzapur, 'Tyagi' and 'Bajpayee' in Paatal Lok, etc.
On and on it goes.
Of course, it would be farcical to suggest that all this is a conspiracy by the M4 gang.
The makers, actors and directors of these shows and the ones who indulge in sacrilege of sacred Hindu vocabulary are Hindus themselves. The reason why these elites are so oblivious to these aspects of their own culture is because of their deracination.
Deracination isn’t a virtue but it has been made into one by our education system which is hellbent on mass conversion of India’s youth into ‘secular’ individuals, far removed from their cultural roots that go back millennia. Once uprooted, they are freely swept away by the winds of whatever is in vogue.
So, what’s the solution here? The obvious answer that is staring in our eyes is reversing the ‘secularisation’ of masses in every aspect of our lives starting with the education system.
It’s convenient to blame the state but the Hindu society must take the responsibility of not raising their children right. Reversing this situation is the only sustainable way forward to sustain Sanatana Dharma in the long run.
In the short run, the answer is intolerance: intolerance of small minority of religious and courageous Hindus to not show any tolerance to sacrilege of any aspect of Hinduism which is held sacred — from gods to symbols to language to traditions.
There are double standards when it comes to attacks on Hinduism and Abrahamic religions and the reason for that asymmetry is lack of intolerance on the part of the adherents of the former who try to hide their cowardice in name of alien principles like ‘freedom of speech’, ‘liberalism’, ‘secularism’, etc.
Hindus should remember the old saying: straight trees are cut first.
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