Because it is the first religion in the world which was founded on freedom of enquiry. The rishi exclaims!
Who is there who truly knows
And who can say
Whence this unfathomed world
And from what cause!
His awe led to enquiry. Enquiry led to freedom of thought and expression. Freedom of thought and expression led to diversity of views. Diversity of views led to the richness of civilisation. Richness of civilisation led to tolerance. And tolerance became the way of life of the Hindus. This is the step by step growth of the Hindu religion.
The Hindu way of life was thus built on the freedom of the mind and the senses. The mind gave us our religions and philosophies, our sciences and literatures. And the senses gave us our music and dances, paintings and sculptures, arts and architectures. We have put no restraint either on the mind or on the senses as other civilisations have done.
The people of the Semitic faiths also expressed the same awe. They too asked the same questions. But the answers came, not from enquiry, but from their gods, from revelation. And as the answers were ?revealed? by gods, no further enquiry was permitted. To question God was to commit apostasy. And apostasy invited punishment, even the penalty of death. There is, therefore, no diversity of views in Semitic faiths and no richness of civilisation either. And, at the end, there was no tolerance of different views. Intolerance became the way of life of the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
So, the Hindu way of life was characterised by tolerance of different views. And the Semitic way led to loss of choice and intolerance. Which is why it is said that the Hindu way is the best.
There is nothing comparable to the logic of the Hindu way. One thing leads to another by necessity. The Buddhists and Jains?born in India?followed the Hindu example.
Asked for his last message to his disciples at the end of his life, the Buddha told Ananda: ?O Ananda, be ye a lamp unto yourself. Be ye a refuge unto yourself?. Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourself.? In short, he was asking Buddhists to rely upon themselves, upon their own reasoning power.
Similarly, the essence of Jainism is their doctrine of Anekantavada. In other words, the Jains seem to say that truth is multi-faceted.
Can gods go wrong? They can. They are not supposed to. But when they go wrong, it leads to loss of faith. This is what happened to all the Semitic faiths. They tied their men to dogmas which turned out to be false.
Thomas Paine (1737-1806), the philosopher of the American Revolution, said in his famous work The Age of Reason that ?the greatest tyranny in the world is to tie the future generations to a set of dogmas and beliefs.? More so when those dogmas are wrong.
And Tagore has something to say on this. He says: ?If it were true that whatever needs to be done or known has already been done or known in the past, once and for all, then our continued existence would only be a burden to the earth.
Aurobindo says that man'sfuture evolution has to come from his growing consciousness. So the mind has to be kept free to grow. ?If we chain the spirit,? he says, ?to some fixed mental idea or system of religious cult, intellectual truth, aesthetic norm, ethical value? and declare all departures from that as a peril, then the emergence of a higher consciousness is not possible.?
There is, then, the final argument. Nature itself wants our minds to be free. Nature has created the mind to think. A higher consciousness can come only from a highly developed mind. To put restraint on the mind'sdevelopment, as is being done by the Semitic faiths, is, therefore, to go against the very design of Nature. Nature wants the mind to grow. To grow, the mind has to be free to think.
It is, therefore, time for the Hindu to resume his quest for the final truths, for man is still in his infancy and he has not answered any of the three questions that men have always asked: 1) From where did we come?, 2) What are we to do on earth? and, 3) Where do we go at the end? True answers to these questions are not to be found in the books of the Semitic faiths, although this is what they claim. What they say are ?fairy tales?, says George Bernard Shaw.
India is on the move. Soon it will be a super power. Indians will be all over the world. This ?Global Indian? must know his strengths and weaknesses before he launches himself on the wide world.
To be a ?Global Indian?, an Indian must be a true Indian?not an American or British clone. He must be a nationalist and a lover of his country. He must know the history of his country. And also that of others.