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The Saffron Book

The seed of Hindutva was sown 3400 years ago by Sri Krishna who dreamt of a pan India arid also sent his message as far as the present day Waziristan in the north, Manipur in the east and Tamilnadu in the south.

17. Origin of Hinduism

Dear Ziauddin
It is true that the expression cultural nationalism is regarded to have been first used by Rajnarain Bose, the grandfather of Sri Aurobindo, way back in the 19th century. This, however, should not lead anyone to believe that Hindutva is as recent as that; Nor was it a reaction against either Islamic or Christian pressure. The basic inspiration was that the whole of India, despite all its diversity, was essentially one. The significance of the word cultural is also to distinguish this nationalism from a religious impulse. Even today, the central thrust of Hindutva is national unity.

The concept of nationalism, as distinct from mere unity, is comparatively new. Its seed was sown by the Reformation which
overtook Christianity in 16th century Europe. The plant however blossomed some two centuries later with the rise of the mercantile class, as distinct from the landed aristocracy quite a part of which was the clergy that controlled the churches of Europe. The inspirational base of nationalism became useful in reducing the power of monarchy. In fact, until the advent of nationalism, there was little by way of a political ideology except as provided by religion or rather Christianity.

Nevertheless, the desire of the Indian civilisation to underline its unity was first demonstrated as long ago as some 3400 years. It was Sri Krishna who first personified the unity of India. On his shifting from Mathura to Dwarka, Sri Krishna went on to become president of the Andhaka-Vrisni league or confederation of five Yadava republican committees. They were situated on the west coast of what is now called Saurashtra, the great peninsula in Gujarat.

The area was called Prabhas and the capital was at Dwarahpuri. The city of Prabhas Patan still throbs with life and activity. It is only a few kilometres from Somnath. The constituent members of die Andhaka-Vrisni league had their differences and could not pull together. Sri Krishna was keen to ensure unity but his efforts eventually came to naught. He failed. (The Republican Trends in Ancient India by Shobha Mukherji published by Munshiram" Manoharlal 1969).

He realised he was ahead of his time and, yet being wedded to the idea of political unity, Sri Krishna charted a new path. He guided and supported the Pandavas in the epic war. Eventually they emerged victorious and established a united kingdom at Hastinapur. Soon thereafter, Yudhisthira was advised to perform the aswamedha or the horse sacrifice with the typical intent of expanding the state. In the words of A.D. Pusalker (The History and Culture of the Indian People edited by R.C. Majumdar and published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan) there is now a general consensus of opinion in favour of the historicity of Krishna.

Having failed to achieve political oneness with the help of republics forming a confederation, Sri Krishna evidently went on to support King Yudhisthira to consolidate a united kingdom presumably in hope of promoting an expanding unification. The presumption is based on the universal adoration Sri Krishna personally received then and is perpetuated to this day.

Everyone, at least in India, realises what Sri Krishna means to the Hindu psyche. Just as Sri Ram exemplifies the uncompromising idealist, Sri Krishna personifies the comprehensive realist. When a Hindu has a problem, he wonders what Kesava would have done to solve it with his genius for the tactic and the strategy. If the Hindu wants to understand what life is about, he resorts to the Bhagwat Gita. If he wishes to celebrate a festival he thinks of Giridhar Gopal. If he desires frolic, he sees Gopinath. If he looks for love, he cannot but help dreaming of Radheyshyam. Kesava, Giridhar Gopal, Gopinath, Radheyshyam, Kanha, are sane of the many names by which Sri Krishna is referred to, referring specifically to different facets of his personality.

No doubt, Sri Krishna is more woven into the soul of Indians than any other avataar. The Bhagwat Gita is a gem of a philosophy, not a religious commandment, nor even a piece of mythology Sri Krishna was predominantly a strategist whether in diplomacy or in war. His soul was evidently wedded to a united India. Or else how could he still be adored literally from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Kamrup to Kutch? Manipuris on the Myanmar border are predominantly devotees of Sri Krishna. It is believed that Arjun was sent to this border state whose princess Chitrangada was married to him. Arjun was also reputed to have conquered a number of other territories. Similarly, his younger brother Nakul went westwards and made quite a few conquests on the banks of river Sindhu as well as Saraswati. Incidentally, the south was also not neglected; all theAyyangars of Tamilnadu are devotees of Sri Krishna. In Tamil, Krishna is called Kanha and Kannan is quite a popular name.

What else is this but cultural nationalism or Hindutva? Having accepted Sri Krishna as the fountain head or rather the Gangotri of Hindutva, let us move to Vishnugupt Kautilya in the fourth century B.C.A great deal of his life and work are mixed between the light of history and the mist of legend. Traditionally the Hindu is more a speaker or a listener; less a reader and a writer. In the event, ancient history is less recorded than could be. Or else we might have discovered more figures who personified Hindutva. However, let us get back to the recorded history.

Kautilya was undoubtedly the friend, guide and philosopher of Chandragupta Maurya who was the greatest emperor that the subcontinent had known until then. He ascended the throne of Magadha at Pataliputra in 321 B.C. In the context of Hindutva, his achievements were several. He defeated and expelled all foreigners, specifically the Greek conquerors and their garrisons from the soil of India. His empire comprised all of north and a large part of eastern India. There was an urge for a pan-Indian oneness. And behind it the brain was Kautilya's and the brawn was the emperor's whose grandson Ashoka carried the march forward.

Ashoka's empire was larger than his grand father's but for the purpose of Hindutva we are not concerned with kingly or imperial success. The question is who inspired or initiated a new drive towards it he oneness of India. Adi Shankaracharya did a great deal more than all the emperors taken together.

Although there is a controversy about the century in which the Acharya lived his 32 hectic years, circumstantially we take it to be 8th century A.D. (Add Sankara - His Life and Times by T.M.P.Mahadevan and published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan). He is believed to have been an avatnar of Lord Shiva. For the purpose of Hindutva, however, our interest is confined to his consciousness as to the oneness of India. And the fact that he travelled the length and breadth of the subcontinent more than once was no easy task to have been undertaken on foot for someone who was based in Kalady in Kerala. He established the four dhams, namely, Dwarka, Badrinath, Puri and Kanchi/ Rameshwaram. The mission of Adi Shankaracharya went a long way in proving the essential integrity of India. He is an important link in the long chain of Hindutva.

The Saffron Book
Prafull Goradia
1. Awake and Unite!
2. Why The Saffron Book?

10. Small States
3. Vision
4. Economic Face
5. Abolish Casteism
6. Bride Burning, Divorce
7. Rape, Prostitution
8. Revolutionising Education
9. The Constitution

11. Nationalism
12. Pan-Islamism
13. Communism
14. Subnationalism
15. Casteism

16. Hindutva is Dialectical
17. Origin of Hinduism
18. Medieval Phase
19. Modern Resurgence
20. Not Fundamentalism
21. Not Fascism
22. Tolerance
23. Strengths
24. Weaknesses
25. Opportunities
26. Threats
27. Individual Brilliance

Hindu Paradoxes
42. Idolatry
43. Fatalism
44. Double Standards
45. Masochistic Fringe
46. Fifth Column
47. No Soul before Birth

48. Proselytising Unwelcome
49. Myth of Divide and Rule

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