“An incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity – but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs.”
White House, February 5,2015
“India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along lines of religious faith, splintered along any lines and it is unified as one nation.”
New Delhi , January 28, 2015
Intro: By exaggerating incidences of religious tolerance in India in his castigatory speech on January 27, 2015, President Obama reflected the meager understanding West has about India’s history of faith and tolerance.
The timing of events on the global stage is always interesting to observe, especially during elections; this has been the case in the recent Delhi Assembly elections. We witnessed what would normally have been of purely national interest take on an international character. This was facilitated by President Obama’s farewell speech to the Indian nation on the morning of 27 January, 2015. All had been going well, indeed very well – but at the last minute a spanner was thrown in the works. I observed the situation with perhaps a greater interest than most because the USA and India coming together is required for an emerging new world order.
On the surface it would seem that Obama is intent on bringing re-structuring to an end, because certainly India cannot accept that outside powers dictate terms and place conditions, as veiled as they may be, on a friendship that promises benefits to both parties. But by analysing what has been happening so far, especially the recent events; there is much to learn. Tolerance is a word that was sprinkled throughout President Obama’s castigatory speech: religious tolerance was his call. Ironically, it was a case of bringing coals to Newcastle because if there is any area on the globe that has consistently demonstrated openness to all faiths it is the Indian subcontinent. However, this is not because the civilisation was ‘tolerant’ – a word that might apply to other nations if indeed they sought to accommodate diverse faiths in their midst alongside the mainstream religion. More often this was not the case. Not only have other beliefs not been ‘tolerated’, many were severely persecuted.
If we take Obama’s speeches both in India and in the USA, we see how far the West is from understanding the Indian approach in the matter of religious tolerance. As history records across the millennia, India has consistently demonstrated this quality, having opened her arms to any number of refugees fleeing from religious persecutions in western countries. Unfortunately, India is being pressured from those very quarters to become more like them – tolerant or benignly condescending. If this does indeed come to pass it would mean the end of the Sanatana Dharma – the only all-embracing tradition on the globe today, without any overt or covert sense of superiority; on the contrary, in embracing others she has succumbed to a sense of inferiority with which she is still grappling.
There was another troubling element injected into the Delhi elections; astute observers sensed there may have been a method to the madness. There was a protest outside a Catholic Church in the capital just before polling. Its timing and the presence of certain political leaders contesting the election indicated that it must have been a planned affair to influence the electorate. But there was more to the madness, coming so closely on the heels of Obama’s castigatory speech on religious tolerance. The protest sought to convey the very same message: not only intolerance but persecution as well. It was a means to fortify the western Christian lobby and its international agenda which many believe was behind Obama’s own diatribe; the Delhi Christian event fell in line by its carefully crafted protest that would ensure national and international media coverage. It had all the appearance of a staged affair and the political leaders showing solidarity in their midst were intent on reaping electoral benefits. Just a day earlier those same leaders vehemently denied courting support from religious quarters, yet they were there!
Where is the dividing line between Church and State that America champions? If the Christian lobby can ensure that the Chief Minister of an Indian State is denied entry into the country through pressure exerted on the government by that lobby, does the divide really exist? There are no officially recognised lobbies in India as in the USA, but the very same pressure is exerted through cases of timely staged protests. This is lobbying Indian style. And if any elected government has the guts to enforce the law and firmly deal with the matter, as was the case in Delhi, it is labelled intolerant and anti-minority. How does a government with the best interests of the country at heart deal with such cases within a democratic structure? On the eve of polling, the strategy can be very effective, especially with Obama, the most powerful man in the world, setting the stage with his own shoot-and-scoot farewell address. It does not get any better than that as a strategy.
Thus, Obama’s ‘Farewell to India’ was questionable, interfering on more levels than a cursory survey would indicate. It was not merely uncalled-for big-brotherly ‘advice’, it was revealing of the great battle being fought across the globe in which India stands entirely alone. Destiny has called upon her to carry forward the Dharma that has perished everywhere else. None of the ancient civilisations exist today with which India could find a kindred spirit. They have all succumbed to the wave that swept across the planet and replaced their all-embracing character with an exclusivism unknown when Goddess worship was prominent. This took a particularly revealing aspect when the focus was on elimination of idol worship throughout the last Piscean Age (234 BCE – 1926 CE). The connection between the Goddess and idol worship of any sort is not recognised by most; however, a deeper penetration uncovers the linkage in that the Feminine is the giver of form, in the Veda known as the Divine Maya. Without a respect for her role along with the Supreme, her relevance in equal measure, idol worship cannot make sense.
Down the line of time we see the effects of this dismissal in the growing number of attacks on women throughout the world, the intensification of their suppression in lands where the wave manifested particularly robustly, and in many other facets of 21st-century life which we like to consider ‘enlightened’. Because the wave brought with it a cloud of darkness, the connection was finally obscured and even India succumbed in her own way to the Time-Spirit’s imperative fiat: an Age of Darkness (kaliyuga) set in across the entire globe becoming more obscuring as time moved on until the Light was almost entirely extinguished.
At that point Indian realisers veered toward quests for otherworldliness and thereby completely abandoned the Earth, favoured planetary abode of the Goddess. Then, at the appointed time, Vishnu’s 9th Emanation took birth and in the last century, he laboured precisely to reverse that otherworldly trend – in a word, to save the Earth, just as many myths foretell. His total seclusion in 1926, the very year the new Aquarian Age began, was criticised within the Freedom Movement of which he had been a prominent figure, without understanding that the new age of Aquarius brought a specific task to the fore: Sri Aurobindo was focused entirely on not only reversing the trend of otherworldliness of all spirituality and religions, but on bringing down the new Power that would be India’s gift to the World. He called it the Supramental Truth-Consciousness or the Gnostic Super mind, which would allow for true enlightenment. India has been nurtured throughout the darkest of nights to be the home of a Supramental Gnosis unknown since the Vedic Age; and even the glorious attainments of that illustrious era will pale in comparison to what lies ahead with the establishment in the evolution of the next principle above Mind, the Supermind. This was the 9th Avatar’s task. But though the war was successfully waged in the subtle dimensions against forces hostile to that accomplishment, it still needs to be worked out in the physical dimension by imprinting it in the evolutionary matrix in such a way that the Earth can never more be submerged in darkness. None are aware of the important turning point India has reached, which Sri Aurobindo called ‘a choice of…destiny’: ‘At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny…’ The point the Avatar makes is that the choice is for the whole of humanity, and that this ‘evolutionary crisis’ will determine the course of evolution on Earth. We need to discover factually India’s role in this act of choosing, using methodologies known to her from ancient times but updated for contemporary purposes.
The wave of darkness spread across the world throughout the Age of Pisces prior to our own (234 BCE–1926 CE). The stakes are higher now than ever. This is not merely a hegemonic struggle for territorial influence and/or conquest by one nation over another. It is the survival of the entire Earth that stands in the balance, just as the ancient myths record. India’s mission for the world and for which she has been assisted across the millennia to keep the foetus of ‘Light’ alive, as it were, is to nurture and strengthen the thread of the ancient all-embracing way of the Sanatana Dharma so that she may take up her position as the one and only cosmological centre of the Earth– i.e., the Earth’s very soul embodiment.
This is why to describe her alliance with the USA as one of ‘equals’ is incorrect. America can only look to India for guidance into the new Light; she cannot attempt to impose her immature grasp of the matter on any nation, much less India, the soul-centre of the world. I will explain the cosmological basis for this statement in my next article; in so doing, we’ll establish a more secure foundation for an examination of India’s unique destiny.
Even more interestingly, on the basis of the new keys of knowledge at our disposal, we’ll discover the manner in which to solve the riddle of her destiny that can be summed up as a choice between the Old and the New. This analysis of the connecting cosmic link between India and America reveals that an amalgam of both ancient and modern is the answer; the way in which this has been expressed through the new cosmology is what makes the destiny of India unique among all nations.
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (The writer is Director, Aeon Centre of Cosmology) (To be continued next week)