Any article, festival write-up, media report, about Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism will invariably carry the prefix or suffix “Mythology”. No other existing religion has to confront the ignominy of being referred to as “mythology’. What is ‘mythology’? It means a collection of stories, without historical or scientific basis. It can also mean false beliefs. Why is Hinduism alone being attacked as “mythology”? To get at the reason for this systematic attack on Hinduism, we need to explore a little history.
Targeting Gods of Ancient Civilisations
Many religions which existed in ancient times, do not exist anymore. All the Gods and Goddesses of ancient civilisations and religions have been fully decimated by using the term ‘mythology’. Thus we have read about Roman mythology, Greek mythology, Chinese mythology, Egyptian mythology, Japanese mythology and so on. All these ancient belief systems and religions were wiped out by simply inserting the word ‘mythology’. These religions have been replaced presently by two West Asian religions, which simply assert that they are the true religions and all the others are mythologies or just superstitious beliefs. Therefore, there is a malafide intention in deriding other religions as ‘mythology’.
All religions have an element of the supernatural, and include blind beliefs in miracles, and many other phenomena which are unexplainable by current logic and reason. All religions can therefore be viewed as illogical, unscientific, superstitious and irrational. Hence if a particular religion derides another as ‘mythology’, it is arrogantly absurd.
Assault On Hinduism By Barbaric Invaders
Hinduism had to bear the brunt of ridicule, extreme violence on its followers, destruction of its places of worship, at the hands of foreign invaders, who were followers of either of the West Asian belief systems. Ever since 712 AD, the assault on Hinduism, is unparalleled in the annals of human history. Millions have been violently butchered and Hindu places of worship ravaged, by frenzied soldiers, generals, priests and kings, just because the people followed a different belief system. Not only Hindus but Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, faced the wrath of barbaric invaders and experienced violent savagery and brutality. Great Hindu empires collapsed to be replaced by foreign invaders who professed the Islamic faith. From 1560 to 1812, another West Asian religion started their reign of savagery through the Goan Inquisition. The advent of British rule saw strategies change. Historians, scholars, educationists, missionaries, took over and similar strategies employed for European conversions were utilised. Many European belief systems were dubbed as ‘mythology’. Many religions were downgraded and degraded and referred to as Basque mythology, Celtic mythology, Brythonic mythology, Breton mythology, Cornish mythology, Welsh mythology, Cantabrian mythology, Norse mythology, Teutonic mythology and so on. This strategy had clicked in Europe and this same strategy was sought to be replicated in India. Arrogant missionaries coined terms like Indian mythology, Hindu mythology, and used this in their educational institutions to brainwash Hindus into converting. Not just Hindus but Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, also had to face the ignominy of their faiths being referred to as mythology. The traditional beliefs of the people of the Northeast were ridiculed as ‘Animism’, and this paved the way for wholesale conversions to the West Asian religion. The ‘mythology strategy’ worked in a few places in India, but met with very limited success. Lakhs of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, who sought education in missionary-run schools and colleges, completed their education harbouring an ingrained belief that their religions were just ‘mythologies’ and the West Asian religion was pure history and a direct import from God!
Though in practice the Indian strain of ‘secularism’ is interpreted by politicians in a distorted and perverted manner, showing marked favouritism for West Asian religions, it still does not confer any right to any religious entity to criticise other faiths as ‘mythologies’
This intellectual damage inflicted on the minds of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs continues even today. Islam, the other West Asian rival religion, could repel this diabolical strategy because of the sheer commitment of its followers. But, English-educated Hindus use the term ‘mythology’ as a compulsory accompaniment, whenever they write, speak or discuss Hinduism. Though it is not used in any derogatory manner, yet it impacts the minds of the readers and listeners very negatively. Many modern young Hindus believe that as their religion is just ‘mythology’, it need not be taken seriously. However, there is nothing wrong in believing in divine birth, stories of making water into wine, miracles, these are not mythology but pure history. The indifference of the young generation to their religion, culture, and traditions, are fraught with serious consequences. As a result, many States are facing the spectre of mass- conversions, aided by Western funding. Punjab State and Sikhism are facing great challenges from missionaries from Kerala backed by foreign funds, who insist that with the exception of their religion all the others are just ‘mythologies’. New terminologies like Dalit-Sikhs are being introduced to divide the Sikh community. Within the next decade this will be organised into a separate political force. Mass conversions are being engineered, which has resulted in Nihang Sikhs appealing to the government to curb conversions. If this trend is not checked, it will create a new dimension in Punjab politics. Many States have been forced to enact Anti-Conversion laws to resist these foreign funded Kerala fundamentalists.
Ever since 712 AD, the assault on Hinduism, is unparalleled in the annals of human history. Millions have been violently butchered and Hindu places of worship ravaged, by frenzied soldiers, generals, priests and kings, just because the people followed a different belief system
How do we resist the branding of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism as ‘mythologies’? This propensity to castigate other religions as ‘mythologies’, directly contradicts the Constitutional mandate of ‘secularism’, which implies equal respect for all religions. Though in practice the Indian strain of ‘secularism’ is interpreted by politicians in a distorted and perverted manner, showing marked favouritism for West Asian religions, it still does not confer any right to any religious entity to criticise other faiths as ‘mythologies’.
The Government can legislate to make it illegal to characterise any faith as ‘mythology’. Adding ‘mythology’ as a prefix or suffix to any religion being practised in the country, should be made an offence. Media can also edit all such epithets in their publications. To conclude, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “Mythology is not a lie; mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth –– penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told”.