Yes. When I?m told that Hindus ?live in darkness? I?m provoked.
I?m a Hindu, not the usual one, for I took the trouble to make a special study of human civilisations and religious atrocities. Naturally, I see religions in a different light. Not the way the ?faithful? see them.
Religions are full of lies and false claims. The Jews claimed they were ?the chosen people of God.? Where did this delusion take them? To the worst persecution known to man! They remain the object of the longest hate in human history.
Take Christianity. What is its claim and what is the reality? It claims to have civilised Europe. In fact, it destroyed one of the greatest civilisations of man?the Greek civilisation. Vassili Vassilevsky, one of the most stimulating authors of Greece, says: ?It took us inheritors of a joyous paganistic culture, a long time to internalise the notion of ?guilt?. Even today we do not wholly accept the idea that the body is the source of evil.? And yet Jesus had said that the ?Kingdom of God is within you.? Then, who put the Devil inside the Christian to torment them? The Organised Church.
And it also destroyed the Roman empire. One of the first acts of the Christians (that of Emperor Theodisius), when they came to power in Rome, was to order the destruction of the most splendid library in the temple of Serapis. Obviously, the Church had no desire for enlightenment. The Hindus pray for light daily.
The Church converted the pagan temples into tombs, says W.E.H. Lecky, ?for the adoration of the bones of the basest and most depraved of men among the Christian monks.? (History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe?, Vol.II)
And a Christian mob stripped and cut into pieces a gifted, virtuous and beautiful lady in Alexandria. What was her crime? That she was the leader of the Neo-Platonists!
The Roman empire had produced some of the great men in history like poets Horace and Virgil, historians like Livy and Polybius, philosophers like Epictetus and Plotinus, orators like Cicero, lawgivers like Cato. What did Christianity produce in the 1500 years of its dominance over Europe? Not one man of greatness! And almost every great man who was born in Europe after the Renaissance was outside the Church.
And the Roman empire spread the Hellenistic civilisation in half the world. What has the Christian empire to show?
It is the claim of the church that it made a major contribution to the growth of morality in Europe. In fact, it made little contribution. It called Descartes, father of moral philosophy, an atheist! The Church gave its blessings to both capitalism and imperialism. And later to colonialism. Secretary of State Amery (UK) says that an active empire and an inactive Church cannot go together.
The Church had a big hand in slave trade. If there was a conscience problem, it helped to ease it by saying that the black man was the son of the Devil.
Denouncing the trade in black men, Lord Palmerston says: ?If all crimes committed from creation down to the present day were added together, they would not exceed, I am sure, the guilt of the diabolic slave trade.? In America Lincoln had to fight a civil war to outlaw the trade. The Church was behind the rebel southern States.
According to the Church, the dark races were not required in God'sscheme of things.
The genocide of the Incas, Mayas and others has no parallel in human history. They were more civilised than the Europeans. ?By millions upon millions? says Draper ?whole races and nations were remorselessly cut off. The Bishop of Chiape affirmed that more than 15 million were terminated in his time. From Mexico and Peru, a civilisation that might have educated Europe, was crushed out.? (Intellectual Development of Europe, Vol. II)
On Galileo'sincarceration, Draper writes: ?What a spectacle! This venerable man, the most illustrious of his age, forced by the threat of death to deny the facts?treated with remorseless severity during the remaining ten years of his life?.? In the dungeon.
There is nothing in human history as diabolic as the Inquisition. It was created by the Popes to perfect the ?art? of torture of the apostates. I can only think of the gas chambers of the Nazis, which did away with six million Jews. ?What strikes me most in considering medieval torture is not so much this diabolic barbarity, which is impossible to exaggerate, as the extraordinary variety and what may be termed the artistic skills they displayed?. (Lecky)
What else can one expect from a religion which had thought of eternal hell fire as a punishment for even small wrongs of men!
What about Islam? Space compels me to make it a short review. In his book ?In the path of Mahatma Gandhi?, George Catlin, the American philosopher, asks: ?What has Islam to offer to compare with the philosophy of Vedanta and the Upanishads?? So much for its ?Superiority? claim!
Be that as it may, what is the record of Islam'satrocities? ?The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history,? says Will Durant, the American historian.
The Muslims do not want to be reminded of their past. But it is necessary, says S.Bashiruddin, former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Ambedkar Open University. (See his ?Deen and Dharma?). He says: ?Through the present generation of Muslims is not responsible for what has been done centuries ago, an awareness of such a legacy can sensitize the Muslim opinion leaders??
With such a record of their past, I would like to know from Christian and Muslim brothers, in which way they are ?superior? to the Hindus. Do not tell me that your religious texts do not permit these things. This is an easy explanation. I don'ttake it. Men are judged by what they do, not by what they believe or by what is written in their scripture.