It will be a total triumph for the underdog only when the generation that was mired in inferiority complex, also goes on to erect the platform for the future nation that is confident in itself both economically and spiritually.
Hinduism as an open system sans dogma melds well with the long-tail ideas of being customisable and scalable.
It was on display in the last decade with the advent of social media. Hitherto dormant and distributed forces lapped up democratic tools to scale the Hindu consciousness far and wide.
Massively networked societies make ideas go viral much faster. Provided fundamentals are strong and intentions are authentic, ideas that would have taken ages from germination to mass assimilation now spread in weeks.
Only the pseudo-secular cabal still thinks that some centrally controlled agency is directing narratives of the dharmic warriors on the internet.
There are two things we should think about the globalising of Indic thought. One, whether we are passing on the eternal lessons of Hinduism to the future in a way the current generation can understand.
Two, whether the richness of Indic thought and its relevance to the times ahead are properly explored and explained.
On the first issue, as unpalatable as it may sound, the purists (if at all there can be Hindu purists) should be a little more flexible with people who connect with the current generation much better than them.
A famous mythologist, whose books are gobbled up by urban yuppies may utter unpalatable and goofy things. However, the sum total of his contribution is definitely positive.
Similarly, modern-day gurus such as Sri Sri Ravishankar, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and the likes are not Shankaracharyas. But their role in institution building and communication should get unabashed support of the Hindu community.
At the same time, Hindu society should not show any moral ambivalence in dealing with charlatans posing as seers who ultimately provide fodder to the breaking-India forces.
On the second issue, our Hindu public intellectuals should constantly reinterpret and adapt the teachings to the tech-charged decades ahead of us. The pages of Swarajya have explored “Modern day temples”, need for “Globalizing Hindutva”, “AI and Ayurveda” to name a few.
From intersex to intersectional theory, the left liberals have carried out divisive outrage through their failed thought architecture. Extreme PC (political correctness) and policing “micro-aggressions” are pushing society to the other extreme of divisiveness.
The Indic ecosystem needs to promote new young leaders that will take on the fight for setting the narrative, in the language that the modern media consumers understand.
To nurture these young leaders, we need platforms that promote and welcome novelty. Swarajya magazine should be complemented for being one such a platform already, with a good mix of analysis of the past, present and future.
In the podcast “Hidden Brain”, the anthropologist David Graeber argues that millions of people are stuck in unfulfilling jobs. Cometh the robots, many more are going to find themselves staring at the ceiling (and the mobile).
A plethora of sci-fi novels and TV shows have come out exploring the resulting ennui and the impact it will have on our collective self-images as humans.
Sadly, there are hardly any Hindu points of view coming from Indian intellectuals and artists (As an aside, it should be mentioned that the Wachowskis, the Nolans have borrowed freely from Hindu themes).
Trans-humanistic exoskeletons, genetic engineering, virtual reality are the future that we are getting glimpses of already. As human experience transcends what we have known so far, we would need new paths of seeking deeper meanings that will comfort us.
A truly liberal and open spiritual system can offer solace in perplexing times.
The interest from foreigners in learning about Hinduism and holistic living is on the rise. Even now, from Kathmandu to Kerala, the biggest cohort of students come for short-term courses on Ayurveda and Yoga.
Irrespective of whether we consider them rightly as fellow seekers or cynically as carriers of our “soft power”, we should welcome them.
It is necessary to re-engineer our higher-education system to pay attention to issues from the Hindu perspective. Divinity schools and departments of Indic studies should provide additional intellectual heft to our existing ashrams and practice schools that teach yoga, Ayurveda, arts and crafts.
The AYUSH Ministry should jump into to unlock the immense potential in the healthcare and wellness domains.
The generation that braved the “Great Depression” and fought victoriously for America in World War II is called “the greatest generation”. The post-war boom set the platform for prosperity and American dominance.
This Indian generation has to aspire for a similar epithet. Thankfully, we did not face any debilitating war. But Nehruvian socialism and liberalism did put us under siege.
The generation that lived with limited wants has also seen prosperity. And collectively, it has begun the process of coupling economic success with cultural assertion. It will be a total triumph for the underdog only when the generation that was mired in inferiority complex, also goes on to erect the platform for the future nation that is confident in itself both economically and spiritually.
Though India should remain essentially a Hindu rashtra in character and a homeland for Hindus, it is important to expand and build “empires of the mind” forged by values. The larger Indian society should continue to win over minds and hearts by the power of eternal principles of Hinduism.
Our society has to play a role in the persuasion and the struggle. It has always been the monks and the traders, than the kings and the armies that have played powerful roles in building these empires of the minds. For all of us, thinking big is a moral responsibility now.
There is no paradox to end a piece on the future with timeless ideas from the past, like those expressed in Swami Aurobindo’s Uttarapara speech. His thoughts have waited more than a century, perhaps bequeathed to this generation to actualise them:
This is the Dharma that for the salvation of humanity was cherished in the seclusion of this peninsula from of old. It is to give this religion that India is rising. She does not rise as other countries do, for self or when she is strong, to trample on the weak. She is rising to shed the eternal light entrusted to her over the world. India has always existed for humanity and not for herself and it is for humanity and not for herself that she must be great
Wishing everyone a contended, prosperous and purposeful 2020!