WHEN in early-mid 1990s Samuel Huntington theorised how cultural consciousness would pervade the world and drive different cultures to assert and challenge Western universalism, the Western universalists shockingly argued that modernity through globalisation, pop culture, Coke, jeans and discotheques would unite the world.
The Economist (7-13 April 2007) wrote that the new structure of corporations are “Globalisation’s offspring” and “globally integrated enterprise” with firms shaping strategy and operations “as a single global entity” and argued that “Trends in popular culture, major criminal activities like the drugs and arms trade, and humanitarian networks are generally not restricted by the boundaries of so-called ‘civilisations.’(1) This response showed the intellectual bankruptcy of the West. In his book The clash of civilisations and the remaking of the world order written in 1996, Huntington had prophetically said that “Somewhere in the Middle East, a half-dozen young men could well be dressed in jeans, drinking Coke, listening to rap, and between their bows to Mecca, putting together a bomb to blow up an American airliner.” (2) Huntington was on the dot when he said that these externals have no meaning, as Mohammed Atta, who hijacked one of the two aircrafts and turned it into a missile to hit one of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 was a Coke and beer-drinking, jeans wearing youth.(3) Atta was a product of multiculturalism.(4) Multiculturalism which promoted minority immigrant rights that made the Muslims in the West organise themselves as Muslims(4A) also promoted modernisation (5) which the Muslims would detest as Atta did. This is the cultural clash which Huntington had predicted and which jeans, Coke and discotheques would not and could not resolve.
This is where the modern West is bordering on intellectual and also spiritual bankruptcy by equating external uniformity which concerns the material world to internal unity which is spiritual. World unity requires a higher and profounder philosophy than Coke, discotheque and jeans. Guruji’s formula for world unity was founded on the inner spirit of humans. Citing the ancient Hindu concepts of Vasudaiva kutumbakam [world as a family], Ekam sat vipra bahudavadanti [The Truth is one, Sages describe is differently] and Ano badraha kritavo yantu vishwataha [let noble thoughts come from all sides] Guruji said that the Hindu formula for world unity was founded on inner spirit while the West did not take to this study of this science of spirit, with the result the mainline Western thinkers remained extroverts studying the world only through their senses. Therefore, Guruji argued, the Western thinkers have remained ignorant of the knowledge and experience of the world of spirit however much they might have unravelled the mysteries of the world of matter. Guruji argued that it is this inner-directed grand world-unifying thought of Hindus alone that can supply the abiding basis for human brotherhood.
Guruji said that human brotherhood born out of the concept of unity in diversity is the foundation of global harmony, the intellectuals of the West had argued that discotheque and Coca-Cola – which is again the universalist formula of the West for global uniformity rather than unity – would ensure global harmony! So, Guruji said that there is no scope for world unity on the material plane and a higher principle of unity is needed to bring about world unity. That is why Guruji put the onus on the Hindus to supply that higher principle of unity of which they are the trustees and custodians.(6) Huntington’s theory that has now been largely validated by the turn of events after September 11, 2001, now has at least proved that the external, material ideas or appearances cannot bring about harmony. In fact enforced uniformity is the trigger for clashes.
Recognising the uniqueness of each culture is unity in diversity
Despite the terror attacks on US/UK and the retaliatory wars in Afghanistan and Iraq many Western universalists still insist that Western multiculturalism will ensure that there will be no clashes. But Huntington had argued that on the one hand multiculturalism of the West at home threatens the US and the West, universalism of the West founded on multiculturalism abroad threatens the world and the West. Both multiculturalism and universalism, said Huntington, deny the uniqueness of Western culture.(7) And that is the point. While Huntington claimed that Western civilisation is unique to the West, he does not seem to recognise that the culture of every society is unique to it. That therefore no civilisation is universally valid for all people is what diversity is all about. And that is precisely what the ‘modern’ West did not understand, and even now doesn’t. The rule equally, even with greater force, applies to religions. Each religion, whether Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, is indeed unique. By recognising each religion as unique means that no religion is superior to another, nor any religion universally valid for all people. This is precisely what religious diversity means. This was the Hindu position as articulated by Guruji from diverse perspectives, religious, cultural, political, national and global.
The Exclusive Vs The Exclusive leads to closed mindset
But the claim of universal validity has made the Abrahamic religions exclusive which caused bloody religious wars for the last two millennia. Not only Judaism and Christianity, Islam also claims universalism with each of them believing and asserting as the only true faith that can lead to heaven and others as false which will lead to hell, the foundation of exclusivism. (8) In particular, Christian universalism is the drive of Western universalism.
What is meant by the term Christian Universalism?That Christianity is a “Universal Religion,” and is for people everywhere and in all times, is a statement that is disputed by very few Christians today. But, the full extent of the truth of its universality is not realised by the majority.(9) But the Western secular universalism, which Huntington sees as the cause of the emerging civilisational clashes, is derivative of Judeo-Christian universalism. Western Universalism is deeply intertwined with the Judeo-Christian narrative.(10) In the twentieth century, the Western world is often described as a Judeo-Christian civilisation, thus linking the West to two of those Abrahamic faiths.(11) Yet, despite common origins, common ancestors and common God, Judaism and Christianity have been torn apart by Christian Mission – which is the other name for religions conversion.(12)
But religious exclusivism translates into universalism by the concept of ‘Mission’ or ‘Conversion’. Finally the Abrahamic evolution has led to ‘Exclusivity Plus Universalism to Close-Ended mindset’.(13) Religious exclusivism is a major cause of much of the world’s civil unrest, civil wars, mass crimes against humanity and genocide.
“Many religions exhibit an inner tendency to claim to be the true religion, to offer the true revelation as the true way of salvation or release. It appears to be self-contradictory for such a religion to accept any expression of ultimate reality other than its own.” It is probably difficult for them to recognise much merit in other religions.(14) Thus, when Abrahamic religions – particularly Christianity and Islam – speak about religious diversity [pluralism] they not only contradict themselves, they are not honest.
World moving towards Hindu thought
Long after Guruji spoke of higher unity founded on inner spirit which manifested in the principle of unity in diversity, the contemporary West is gradually beginning to accept diversity as the governing principle of life on earth. The Abrahamic-monotheistic faiths believed the world as secular and as having been created for the enjoyment of humans. Consequently contemporary science held has held monotheism, particularly Christianity responsible for environmental destruction. (15) The rising environmental consciousness made the West recognise started the Western intellectual reassessment of monotheism and its impact on environment, ecology and bio-diversity.With the West slowly recognising and legitimising diversity of nature and of peoples, their culture and religion less relevant. The result has been quite encouraging in the last few years, though not fully noticed in the common discourse. For example the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha [HDAS] a powerful voice of the traditional Hindu religious maths and institutions, began dialogue Jewish religious establishment and HDAS signing a historic MoU in 2009 under which the Jewish religion shed its 2000 year old bias towards Hindu faiths as idolatry and accepted the Hindu concept of Brahman as approximating to the formless and nameless Jewish God.(16)
Thus the most original and ancient monotheistic faith has accepted the legitimacy of Hinduism, a seemingly polytheistic, even idolatry faith. Later, in December 2008 the Convener of HDAS Swami Dayananda Saraswati participated in the dialogue among all faiths including Christianity and Islam that led to an inter-faith document “The Faith Human Rights Statement on December 10, 2008” signed by all religious leaders on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which made (a) mutual respect among faiths which the Abrahamic faiths never accepted in the past; (b) the portrayals of objects of religious veneration which fail to be properly respectful to the sensibilities of believers’ as part of human rights and (c) inducement to covert a person as violative of human right. (17) Are these precisely not the first issues for which Guruji had worked all his life?
 American multiculturalism after 9/11: Transatlantic perspectives by Derek Rubin, Jaap Verheul p119-20
[4A] The debate over multiculturalism: Philosophy, Politics, and Policy by Irene Bloemraad
University of California, Berkeley http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?ID=854
 Islam and Modernization by Dr. Sami Alrabaa http://www.islam-watch.org/Sami/Islam-and-Modernization.htm
 Bunch of Thoughts 1980Ed p1-8]
 Samuel P. Huntington, The West, civilizations, and civilization, in the clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order (New York: Simon & Shuster 1996)
Religious Exclusivism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_exclusivism#cite_ref-1
 What is ”Christian Universalism”? By Ken Allen, Th.D. http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/chr-univ.html]
 Rajiv Malhotra. http://www.firstpost.com/world/gandhi-resisted-digestion-by-the-west-we-must-too-476166.html]
Pretender to universalism: Western culture in the Globalising age by Prof Ali Mazrui World Lectures BBC Online http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/features/world_lectures/mazrui_lect.shtml]
 [Jews and Christians: Perspectives on Mission; The Lambeth-Jewish Forum [http://www.woolf.cam.ac.uk/uploads/Woolf%20Mis sion%202011%20print%20version.pdf]
 The Historic Roots of our Ecological Crisis, published in Science magazine  by Lynn White Jr. http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/focusareas/environmental_ethics/lesson10.html]
 Two ancient religions behave like old friends: http://njjewishnews.com/njjn.com/070209/opedTwoAncientReligions.html
] 2008 Faith in Human Rights Statement www.oikoumene.org/…/