The Hindus chose the way of freedom. Others chose the way of security (you may call it fate, necessity). These are the two great streams of human civilisations-one based on freedom, the other based on the fear of the future. Fear calls for security.
The Hindus explored the universe for God. Others set up tribal and personal gods.
The Hindus produced a voluminous literature on their explorations. Others-the Semitic faiths in particular produced a book for each tribe on God’s relation with them. The books were, they claimed, the words of God, never to be questioned. With that they closed the gate to their own freedom.
Thus, the Hindus chose the path of freedom, others chose to surrender before God. The free became responsible for their life. Others left it to God. The Hindus kept God and the State separate.
And those who chose security deified their rulers and the Vice Vicar of God on earth combined in his duties or priest and ruler.
There is a price to be paid for what you choose in life. For instance, Adam and Eve broke the command of God in order to be free. As a result, they and their progeny became sinners for ever. If you surrender to God, you lose your freedom.
Most of the Hindus are individualist. They are not interested in the collective unless there is a direct threat to their life. It was this indifference to unity which brought about the subjection of the Hindus for a thousand years. Thus it is in the Hindu’s search for freedom that he lost his freedom! Paradox? Yes!
What went wrong? A kind of extremism. Although of the same culture, the Hindus were not united either politically or militarily. And the Hindu forgot the need for a strong state to ensure their security. And they failed to realise that small kingdoms could not meet the challenge of foreign invaders. The Hindus not only neglected the state but also Kautilya, the only military strategist India had produced.
Apart from these two groups, there is another category of men-those who seek power and dominance over other men. They denied the right to be free to others. How do you explain this? Lack of democracy. In a strong democracy, mafia cannot thrive. It is when democracy ceases to exist that the tyrants raise their heads. Thus, only strong democracies can prevent outbreak of evil forces, and ensure freedom.
Men are generally anti-social, says Edmund Freud. Take him seriously if you want an effective law and order machinery. Citizens of a country are all brothers to each other. But if we are unwilling, like Arjuna, to take arms against evil men, they will overwhelm us. The message of the Gita is clear: fight evil and evil men. That men are born good is not supported by science. To preserve freedom, one must be ready to give a fitting punishment to evil men.
Individualism alone can ensure excellence . But it should not lead to isolation of individual. Isolation leads to greater insecurity. It also raises doubt about all your beliefs. All these can lead to a feeling of helplessness.
Fate is a Greek concept. Legend has it that to divine sisters used it spin the fate of all men. This is not a Hindu concept. In fact, the Hindus have nothing similar. Karma is what spins the fate of a Hindu. But a Hindu can change his karma. Karma is really a cause and effect theory. You reap what you sow. But the farmer has freedom to choose. Man is master of his destiny if he has freedom to choose.
Yoga Vasishta is the most passionate advocate of the “nobility and grandeur” of human effort.
Yoga Vasishta dismisses fate as ” a piece of imagination, as a word crafted by fools, for there exists no such thing as fate or destiny. There is no destiny other than one’s best efforts coming to fruition.” Yoga Vasishta says: “Among these with weak intellect, fate is only a consolation of sorrow.”
It is the priest who has encouraged the belief in fate, man’s incapacity to alter the course of his life. The philosophers have never agreed. They believe that man has enough freedom to guide his life.
And yet there is widespread belief that there is fate, that the life of a man is controlled by God, etc. This is what the Bhakti movement propagates. And Islam supports this view. But the basic philosophy of the Hindus does not support this dependence theory.