Namaste to all readers,
My name is Stephanie Ellison. I am a Sanātani (Hindu) and have been for many years at varying levels. I first became exposed to Sanatana Dharma traditions when I was studying to be a Natural Hygienist (natural health educator) in Austin, Texas in 1994-95. Over the years, I learned more about Sanātana Dharma (Hinduism) and felt I was coming closer and closer to it, the more I learned about it. Finally, about a year and a half ago, I decided to jump in and do detailed research ABOUT Sanātana Dharma rather than Sanātana Dharma ITSELF. I took this position because I felt it was important to do “White Studies” on myself as a white woman of European stock. I wanted to know how I was going to get tripped up by my biases upon studying Sanātana Dharma scriptures and sacred writings.
In this article, I am writing for several audiences; 1) the alienated Indians who don’t have a strong connection with Sanātana Dharma, 2) outsiders in general who don’t quite understand what Sanātana Dharma really is and what the fuss is about, and 3) Academia who need to understand what they are doing/allowing to happen. We need to address this within ourselves in order to be able to present a unified front to the rest of the world. One answer to that is known as Rajiv Malhotra.
But first, it must be made clear that what is at stake is HUGE. This is not just about the right to practice Hindu Dharma (as it is often mistranslated to mean only religion1), but also the right to have a civilization entirely based upon Dharma, as in “right action, right thinking,” the four basic occupational divisions of civilization (varṇa), the four goals of life (puruśārtha), and the four stages of life (āśrama), in addition to all the knowledge contained within the sciences, hard (engineering, mathematics, etc.) or soft (spirituality, psychology, etc.).
There are two aspects of this struggle I see. One is the struggle to be able to practice an advanced way of seeing the world and living within it that can benefit all people, and two, the knowledge that is present in Indic civilization, if it is lost, represents having to drop down to what is currently Western civilization’s state of affairs – that of having excellent technological development and skills, but at the expense of Inner Science (Consciousness or Spirituality). This results in a civilization in which artha (prosperity, security, and economic values) and kāma (pleasure, personal values, etc.) are overemphasized at the expense of dharma and spiritual development and exploration.2 Also, because of the Abrahamic religions’ tendencies of exclusion, black-and-white thinking, history-centrism, and geo-centrism,3 there are all these wars, conflicts, riots, and petty fighting in the streets, public affairs, and Academia.
Now, I want to address the alienated Indians who don’t feel a strong connection to Sanātana Dharma. The fact is, Indic civilization thousands of years ago, was the birthplace of a very large number of knowledge disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy, navigation, ship-building, metallurgy, forestry, water conservation, medicine and surgical science, etc. Much of this knowledge was picked up by the invaders and carried out west, until it finally arrived centuries later in western Europe. India is where it all got started (how many times and when did this happen in the remote past?). Credit is being taken from your ancestors, and their history is altered to make them appear to be primitive, poor, and superstitious, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Dharma is not all about mata or sampradāya (words for religion); it is much more than that, encompassing the whole of Indic civilization. You could take in pride in saying that Indic people had a history of knowledge, language, civilization, spiritual education, and the ability to balance that as civilized beings with observance of limits within nature instead of destroying it and the people. This is what we need today; to combine technology with spiritual education that could result in a world far beyond our imagination.
As a white American woman, I am indebted to the ability of the people of India in being able to preserve the knowledge and spiritual education in face of the Muslim invaders and the Britishers. As an American, I see very clearly that American civilization is very unbalanced. There is the drive to make lots of money, have all kinds of things, and go on all kinds of sensation-enhancing adventures, as if only these are the ends themselves rather than the means to a higher goal, and this is at the expense of doing what is right. “Wait, how toxic or dangerous is it to make this product or that product? Pollution emissions?” Laws have had to be enacted to address these questions precisely because the persons who own the means of production or the knowledge to make things do not have the people and the environment at heart in decision-making, and that comes from our Western background that is not focused on spiritual education to the level found in Dharmic society. Upon receiving this spiritual knowledge, a person begins to see other less destructive ways of making and using things, and really ask the question of “Do we really need this or that?” In essence, being able to do without so much of what exists today.
Lastly, Academia must make note of this… What happens to dictators and despots eventually… Eventually, people figure out what is going on, and they start to work around you before pushing you into irrelevance. With many more Hindus awake today than ten years ago, you are that much closer to being pushed aside and made to watch the resurgence of Sanātana Dharma as a strong, viable third civilizational option.2 Rather than fighting the people you claim to study, please make the effort to simply listen to Sanātanis as collaborators of equal standing, not as “native informants.” Having grown up as a white American woman and having studied enough about Sanātana Dharma to know the difference, I can see where western Indology knowledge doesn’t match the knowledge of insiders. First of all, you don’t know the people you claim to study. Secondly, you don’t know or speak the languages fluently, and thirdly, you don’t bother to ask the people to help check the accuracy of your translations and perspectives on subjects that are natural to them but alien to you.4 On top of this, many Hindus and supporters are now aware of the attempts of Christian missionaries, Muslims, Communists, and Western Indology to tear asunder Indic civilization and Dharmic life. For those of you work intentionally to try to defeat Sanātana Dharma and install in place some other substitute, beware; there are consequences, such as being shunned, blacklisted as haters, and having scholarly careers destroyed because people will know about you and what you are up to. Please stop to think about what you are doing and consider the consequences of being caught and tossed aside. Many regimes in the past fell because they thought they were so strong that nothing could stop them.
What we as Sanātanis are faced with is western hegemony in dissemination of knowledge about Indic civilization and Sanātana Dharma. The way it works is that control is established at the outset by setting clearly the roles of the observer and the observed. In this case, the Indologist is like the anthropologist studying a “primitive people” living with a Traditional Knowledge System, and the observed is exoticized like a jungle native. At best, the native informant is just that; “providing information” without really being understood in the proper perspective, meaning from a Hindu perspective rather than an American perspective trying to come to grips with something as different as Sanātana Dharma. The second thing that is done to control this information is only letting in those who have degrees conferred by said Academics; you have to follow their line of thought and perspectives on their subjects of interest before they let you in. Thirdly, people within the ranks are restricted to what is okay to write about/share with other people, and they are dealt with when they step out of line. Fourthly, contact with the media through relationships enables the Indologists to train the media to “massage” the message they want to portray, usually to their advantage. Fifthly, they do not allow emic, or insider views, to be presented and discussed on an equal and collaborative basis, and sixthly, insiders who do try to present such evidence are deemed demonic disruptors or “terrorists,” just for trying get the other side of the story presented, juxtapositioned alongside the Indologists’ story.
What Rajiv Malhotra is attempting to do is take on the scholars, the Academics who have a hold over this information, and break that hold, because most people continue to learn much inaccurate information through individuals like Jeffrey J. Kripal and Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty. Such individuals take advantage of the fact that the lay public will look up to these people as experts, just because they teach at a university and have “credentials” in Indology without taking the time to do the research on how accurately this information is being presented to them, and these “experts” are counting on that (especially Sanātanis are known to be naive). They especially did not expect someone like Rajiv to step in and disrupt what has been either a lucrative process and/or an entrenching process for Western powers. These individuals serve as the education arm of Western civilization, appropriating Indic knowledge, doing a u-turn as Malhotra has described elsewhere, integrating this knowledge into their framework, and then DELETING the source to make it as though the INDOLOGIST came up with the information, not the Indians, another thing Malhotra wants to bring to your attention. They are stealing credit for the knowledge of your ancestors in addition to presenting the face of your ancestors not as culturally, scientifically, and spiritually advanced people, but as primitive peoples who need to be saved from themselves by a superior race living in a superior civilization. Malhotra wants to bring to your attention that there is the inferiority complex that was installed by the foreign invaders, and they are using it, coupled with the intentional disinformation, to their advantage to this day.
Rajiv Malhotra has led this fight for many years through many writings to reveal what is going on with regard to the gradual process of dismantling India and turning it into a Christian nation (if Muslims don’t beat them to it). He has written 74 articles on his rajivmalhotra.com web site5 that provide an excellent range of topics on this matter related to Sanātana Dharma. He has also written several books, including Breaking India (which deals with subtle western efforts to use Indian fault caste lines to divide Indian from Indian), Indra’s Net (which seeks to combat western criticism that Indian religious philosophers and saints did not use empiricism and observation to inform their worldviews (among other things)), and Being Different (which takes a Indic view of Abrahamic faiths),6 all of which are important to understand the changing landscape that Sanātanis find themselves in and what to do to defend themselves. He has also held talks and presentations to widely disseminate the knowledge about what is happening to Sanātana Dharma, and what can be done to see the problem, stop it, and reverse it.
People such as Crusading Christians, extremist Muslims, Communists, and other foreign invaders look at this situation as a potential power vacuum should Dharma disappear, and each one of them want to step in to take its place. They did not expect Sanātanis to step in and say, “Enough is enough. Please respect us and stop trying to take us over and to mold us to your ideology.” That is why they are attacking people like Rajiv Malhotra and other aware educated Sanātanis who understand what is at stake here.
It is important to support Rajiv Malhotra in his efforts to educate other Sanātanis and deal with his critics in constructive ways. Failing this, you stand to lose your civilization, your history, and your way of life. Eventually, you may not be able to pass this onto your children and younger family members, either because it is illegal or you (future generations) may not even remember. Don’t let what happened to pre-Christian Europeans and Native Americans happen to you. The Europeans were among the first victims. Native Americans experienced this substantially later on. You’re next… Will you be next, or will you break the cycle?
1. Malhotra, R. March 5, 2012. Dharma Is Not The Same As Religion. http://rajivmalhotra.com/library/articles/dharma-religion/
2. Bharatiya Janata Party. Integral Humanism.
3. Malhotra, R. March 2, 2012. Dharma Bypasses ‘History-Centrism.’
4. Swami Tyagananda. 2000. Kali’s Child Revisited – or – Didn’t Anyone Check the Documentation?
5. Malhotra, R. Complete List of Rajiv Malhotra Articles
6. Jagannathan, R. July 18, 2015. Plagiarism charge: Why Rajiv Malhotra is on the gunsights of western Indologists, http://m.firstpost.com/india/rajiv-malhotras-net-plagiarism-charge-shows-no-longer-man-ignore-2349652.html