The youth, have to inculcate ‘Kshatra Tejas’ in them to fight anyone who attacks
Swami Harshananada, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Matha, is a well-known author, orator and guide. He was initiated into spiritual life by Swami Virajananda who was the sixth president of the Ramakrishna Order. Swamiji joined Ramakrishna Math branch in Bangalore in 1954. In 1962, he entered the monastic life of a sanyasi. He has authored several books in English, Kannada and Sanskrit. His 32 plus years of effort on creating the 3 Volumes of Encyclopedia of Hinduism has been recognised the world over as a seminal work on Hinduism. He spoke to Prashanth Vaidyaraj, Bengaluru Bureau Chief, Organiser on the threats to Hinduism, the way forward and Swami Vivekananda’s message to Hindus, especially the youth of the nation.
There must also be bhavaikya (emotional unity) within the Hindu fold. Each of us should rise above the concept of Jati and reach up to Dharma. Let jati go down, and dharma come up. As jati is dividing the society, we are becoming weaker. Jati is not an essential part of Hinduism
The 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech in Chicago is a significant moment. But how can we take the core message of Swami Vivekananda forward in the coming years?
Swami Vivekananda and his success at the Parliament of World Religions is relevant even today. It is because the ideas he had presented there, especially his paper on Hinduism can give us a direction in which the Hindu society and religion have to move.
Our youth must be made to know the meaning and significance of our religion, the core of Hinduism and all aspects of it including the objections and how to handle them. They should have a clear picture of what Hinduism is. Today there are plenty of books available, especially from RK Mission dealing with various aspects of Hinduism and culture. If these books are studied and conveyed, the doubts in their minds can be dispelled. The best book for our youth, I would suggest, is Swami Vivekananda: His Call to the Nation. It is a collection of Swamiji’s teachings organised in a systematic and disciplined way. It also gives the fundamental aspects of Hinduism. There must be competent people to explain the content of the book. Our youth today need to develop physical strength along with gaining tremendous knowledge about our religion and culture. It will give them the confidence to satisfactorily answer all the questions raised by others including our people.
There are forces within the Hindu fold which are out to distort our philosophy, undermine it and divide us. How can Hindus stay united and fight the forces inimical to the Hindu interests?
The only way is to educate our ‘educated’ people and youth on the values of Indian culture so that they are not affected by the alien and unholy thoughts. Most inimical forces talk without going into the original texts and our people without knowing how to counter it either believe it or ignore it. Our people are not aware of the Gita while foreigners are studying it today.
There must also be bhavaikya(emotional unity) within the Hindu fold. Each of us should rise above the concept of Jati and reach up to Dharma. Let jati go down, and dharma come up. As jati is dividing the society, we are becoming weaker. Jati is not an essential part of Hinduism. Emotional unity based on the fundamental principles of Hinduism is badly needed. Entire Hindu society, especially the youth, has to develop physical strength and then intellectually know about our religion and culture. Along with this, if we all are united emotionally, nobody can challenge us.
“The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realised, or thought of, or stated through the relative, and the images, crosses, and crescents are simply so many symbols—so many pegs to hang spiritual ideas on. It is not that this help is necessary for everyone, but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is wrong. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism.
- Swami Vivekananda, ‘Paper on Hinduism’, World Parliament of Religions, 1893
Swami Vivekananda always exhorted the youth to find a goal in life and achieve it? Today the youth have a lot of distractions, and very few seem to have a goal. How to ensure that our youth follow Swami Vivekananda?
The youth today are attracted to the foreign ideals because fundamentally we are not teaching our children right from the young age about Hindu religion and its values which they need to know. In Christian and Islamic societies, children are taught about their religion, and their values are inculcated from the beginning. As they grow, they develop respect towards the values of their religion and culture. But in Hindu society, neither the elders know about Hindu culture, nor the children are taught about it. The situation 60-70 years ago was not as bad as it is today. We had elders in our families to teach values and healthy ideas to us. With nuclear families today, the entire exposure is to western culture, and nothing about our own culture is being taught. Along with this the so-called intellectuals are deliberately distorting the facts and poisoning the minds of the younger generation. If we list down the enemies of Hinduism, these intellectuals would most probably occupy the first place.
As Swami Vivekananda Ji has specifically mentioned, our youth have to develop Kshatra Tejas in them. When he said “muscles of Iron and nerves of steel” he was particular that our young men and women should develop physical strength along with spiritual development. My own opinion is that based on Swami Ji’s ideas, our youth should first develop physically. They should learn, practice good exercises and ancient arts which were inclined towards developing Kshatra Tejas. For instance, Kalaripayattu is one of the most wonderful sciences of thousands of years old which one can learn.
Why did you feel the need for an Encyclopedia of Hinduism? How should one use it?
Encyclopedia of Hinduism is like a dictionary. It can be used as a reference for any term in Hinduism and gain knowledge about it. It deals with more than 3000 subjects. Anyone wishing to know about a subject in Hinduism, can delve into the Encyclopedia and know more about it. The need for it arose as I felt that there was no proper source for people to know about Hinduism. It took more than 30 years of effort to collate the required information.