On an email chat list, a respected guruji offers sermons on topics such as "Study of Veda is the Highest Virtue"
To one of these, a person (to whom I will refer only as Sharmaji) responded as follows:
What is the objective of these sermons. If it was so, India would be the foremost country in the world, both spiritually and physically. Indians can not claim to have spiritual values at all. Worshipping in temples and always asking for material things from Gods is not a spritual characteristic. We do not have values of compasssion and love towards our own people. The way we have treated dalits and poor in this country from centuries despite vedas and gita, belies our claim of being spritual persons. India needs science and technology and INNOVATIVE attitude and not obsessionn of our greatness of the past and assertions that vedas have all the knoweldge which is being realised by science now. If it is so, scrap all the science books and use vedas knoweldge to build aeroplanes and rockets and make India a leading power of the world. The sermons and the culture of gurus has ruined this country...."
To Sharmaji's post, I responded as follows:
I am torn by Sharmaji's mail, but sometimes truth does tear.
Undoubtedly we had some greatness, but we need to know objectively:
(I) what exactly we were great in, and what we were not so great in.
(II) We also need to know objectively why we lost whatever greatness we had.
(III) And finally we need to know what we should do to build ourselves up again.
Having studied these subjects from all sorts of viewpoints for some time, I consider (I) to be finally unknowable in any full sense though of course we do have several clues and hints - but the fact is that we lost our greatness so very thoroughly that not even adequate records remain.
I consider (II) to be more knowable, and the answer lies in our own moral failures.
I consider (III) to be the most clear though most difficult to come to terms with, because it takes us (or at least it takes me) in Sharmaji's direction.
The most helpful books that I have found have been Dr Thom Wolf's little book, India Progress Prone, published by University Institute, Delhi; and Dr Vishal Mangalwadi's latest book, Truth and Transformation (YWAM Publishing, USA, 2009).
Meanwhile, I urge respected (Guruji) to continue providing us with his sermons, because we need all the help we can get, from every direction, if we are to make progress in the face of the difficult winds that have been held back by God's grace from affecting our country too much so far, but the winds could be about to turn against us, in terms of the effects of the global crisis so far as our country is concerned.
I put the "Guruji" in brackets above, because that is not his real name...and I am trying to preserve the privacy of the group concerned....