Determining our National Vision – The Times of India Blog

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Sunil Kumar is currently member, managing committee, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi. An engineer and project manager trained at Vickers Armstrong Engineers and Babcox & Wi … MORE
What is our common highest Ideal? Can we deny the thousands of years of the continuing Bharatiya Vedic civilization of Sanatana-dharma, and that of the era of Ramayan, Mahabharat, Buddha, Mahavir, Shankara, the Gurus, Vivekananda, etc. just because of a few hundred years of foreign rule, in spite of which our culture still survives, and we’ve assimilated and learnt from other cultures of ‘brotherhood’; ‘eating together’; ‘be good and do good’; charity’, etc. from modern religions and have reformed many of our shortcomings!
Based on all this history, is it difficult to explore, determine, and fix our national ideal as ‘commitment to duties’; ‘commitment to ethical, righteous conduct’, while striving towards “God realization”, aka ‘Perfection’, ‘Nirvana’, ‘Heaven’, etc. while following our respective ways of worship. Aren’t these our national civilizational ideals?
Why can it not be taught as a compulsory subject of science and philosophy of ‘Know Thyself’, in our mainstream and minority schooling? And our Fundamental Duties as well as the highest courts have made similar recommendations!
Determining our higher National Ideals? PM Indira Gandhi had directed that Vivekananda’s Birthday be observed as National Youth Day every year as it was felt that his philosophy and ideals could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian youth’. Similarly, Nehru had observed: ‘I think that our younger generation will take advantage of this fountain of wisdom, of sprit and fire that flows through Vivekananda’. And Gandhiji declared that his love for India grew a thousand-fold thru’ Vivekananda.
And it is Vivekananda who stated at Parliament of Religions in USA:
# ‘We, of all nations of the world, have never been a conquering race and therefore, we live. Political greatness or military power is never the mission of our race. Our mission is to accumulate and spread spirituality’;
# ‘I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth’.
# Growth and development do not consist in struggles and attempts to believe a certain doctrine or dogma, but in realizing – not in believing, but in being and becoming. Thus, the whole object of education and vocations is by constant struggle to become perfect, to become divine, to reach God and see God, and this reaching God, seeing God, becoming perfect even as the Father in Heaven is perfect, constitutes our civilizational vision. And what becomes of a man when he attains perfection? He lives a life of bliss infinite. He enjoys infinite and perfect bliss, having obtained the only thing in which man ought to have pleasure, namely God, Heaven.
Thus, harmony and acceptance of all religions as valid means to realize God is our culture: It is only because of this background that we’re a ‘Hindu state’ and therefore the Constitution calls us ‘India that is Bharat’! And, historically too, it was always called Hindu-sthan, land of the Hindus, by the Islamic world themselves; and is still called by that very name! And that is why the original handwritten Constitution pictorially depicts scenes from the Vedic culture, Ramayana, Mahabharat, Buddha, et al.
# It is only because of this background that the traditional maxim of ‘atithi devo bhava’, ‘worship the unannounced stranger-guest’ and an inscription that the ‘whole world is our family’ is enshrined on the gate of our Parliament.
Keeping our national vision in view the focus on education has to be instilling and imbibing universal and eternal human-values, aka Sanatan dharma, i.e., ethical righteous conduct, and commitment to duties which are the essentials of all religions – whatever may be our religious affiliations!
Duty of Media and of all Religions and Academia, is to present facts, that instil love for all, from both sides of various religious-political ideology so that as citizens we’re united towards common universal ideals and goals, viz. love for the nation as a whole, ideal of harmony of religions, ideal of the whole world as our family, respect for each other, commitment to our respective duties, etc.!
Our national narrative should be that irrespective of our respective differences and ideologies we must be inspired to strive together for the ‘highest’, by working selflessly for national good.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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