Intro: Over a span of time, the VHP has become a link between the saints and the Hindu samaj and is working towards reviving resurgence in Hinduism.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was formed on Krishna Janmashtami day in the year 1964. At that time, the meeting was attended by the saint congregation of the larger Hindu fold, besides some social and other leaders. The need was felt of an organisation that would dwell on issues of the Hindu samaj without diluting the work of the respective sampradays.
The meeting was held in Sandipini Ashram of the Chinmaya Mission in Mumbai. Swami Chinmayanand was one of the important saints who had urged Guruji Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghachalak of the RSS, to form an organisation like the VHP. After its formation, Swamiji was the President of the VHP for the first two years of its existence.
The effect of the presence of the saints in all activities and programmes is that the VHP is well on the way of achieving the major objective of resurgence in Hinduism.
Today, the VHP has become an important link between the saints and the samaj- the organisation introduces the saints to the larger Hindu samaj beyond each sampraday. Through its activists, the organisation interacts with the Hindu samaj to understand and formulate the issues that concerns them, and then presents them to the Hindu saints to seek their guidance on ways to deal them. In response, the saints suggest programmes and activities for the samaj which are then converted into action plans to ensure that the message is appropriately passed on to the Hindu samaj for further action.
Hindu samaj respect the saints for their wisdom, and saints on their part are aware of the fact that their loyalty is to the samaj and not the raja. If the raja behaves in an inappropriate way, the saints do not hesitate in pointing at the flaw. And this puts the necessary pressure on the Raja to ensure that his dharma is directed towards the well being of the samaj and keeps him away from self gratification.
|Celebrating the success of completion of fifty years, the VHP has rededicated itself to the objective of resurgence in Hinduism, and will for this continue to seek the guidance of the saints of Hindu samaj.|
The VHP frequently arranges for the meeting of the saints in different parts of the world to have an informed discussion on various issues that are of importance to the samaj and the nation. This was the tradition in Hinduism in the past. However, due to foreign aggressions, when the priority became ensuring physical survival, this tradition, like many others, had to be discontinued.
With the formation of VHP, the Hindu tradition is being revived. The organisation provides Hindu saints a common platform to meet and interact with each other to encourage them to exchange ideas and share experiences. This exercise has not only enriched the saints, but it has also been helpful in enhancing the effectiveness of each sampraday. And since the saints have come to understand the larger issues of the Hindu samaj, over a period of time, their work has become more meaningful and has met with more success.
The initiation of mutual interaction has enabled the saints to undertake many reform programmes within the Hindu samaj without any outside intervention. For example, the work of Satyamitranandgiri Maharaj of Haridwar through the Bharat Mata mandir was replicated by other saints in India. Pejawarswami Maharaj of Udipi established for the other saints the importance of harmony between various sections of the Hindu samaj. He also provided a model for others to follow.
Because of the presence of such saints, the VHP has been able to create a dedicated cadre that has been working on varied civilisational and cultural aspects of Hinduism. Apart from the agitation activities, there are many seva projects that are being undertaken by the cadre to involve the members of all the sampradays in these activities so that there is a true spiritual unity in the samaj.
Hinduism is the oldest surviving civilisation. And this has happened not by accident but by the contributions of our ancestors who took upon themselves the task to defend the soul of Hinduism. As time went by, the civilisation saw dynamic changes, but Hinduism’s relevance to the needs of the society was not diminished. For this, numerous saints made their own respective contribution, and today, it is necessary to recognise and acknowledge their sacrifice. It is the responsibility of every Hindus to not let their sacrifice go in vain, and to take upon themselves the task that the saints carried for so long.
Without doubt, the most important activity carried by the VHP has been carrying forward of the issue of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Vidiadhar Naipaul aptly noted that this was a movement from below, and it needed an organisational guidance to come to the centre stage.
It was/is not just a question of bricks and mortar, in terms of a building a temple, but it’s also been a matter of civilisation ethos which has created a pride about our culture among fellow Indians. Sant Deorababa has been providing continuous guidance to the VHP on the subject. Ramchandra Parmahans was the president of the trust that presented the case before the courts of law and justice, until he achieved Samadhi. Presently the president of the trust is Mahant Nritya Gopal Das of Hanumangarhi of Ayodhya.
Another important event in the post-1980 period was the attempt to do mass conversions to Islam in the areas around Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu, following a large inflow of petrodollars. This was effectively thwarted by swamis like Chandra-shekarendra Saraswati, and the previous Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.
The present Shankaracharya, Jayendra Saraswati is continuing the work of his predecessor on this issue and many others for the resurgence of Hinduism. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, with the various units of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has provided ground level force to thwart mass conversions. The effect of the presence of the saints in all activities and programmes is that the VHP is well on the way of achieving the major objective of resurgence in Hinduism. The forces that had decided that their mission is to attack Hinduism have been properly responded to and they have started retreating. Of course, victory for Hinduism is not complete, and there is much to be done. But the way forward now is much easier than it used to be ten years ago.
The awakening of the Hindus is not just a phenomenon in India, it is happening all over the world. And if everyone contributes there bit, the dedicated work done everywhere will achieve the final result soon.
-Ashok Chowgule (The writer is Working President-External, VHP)