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Why it is necessary to stop denigration of deities?

FHA received following e-mail raising concerns on protest drives initiated by FHA and Hindujagruti.org website. Hindu scholar of Geeta Mandir, Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra responded to the e-mail. We are giving excerpt of e-mail communication for our reader's study.

E-mail: I understand there are many ways Hinduism is being denigrated. I have seen the website you referred me to as well as the website on denigration of hinduism at www.hinduawakening.org. You will agree that a lot of time of devotees was spent in finding these examples and putting them up on websites. This, i see as time away from progress on the spiritual path. Please note that i do not support denigration, whether it be of hinduism or any other religion for that matter. My concern is that by making devotees focus on that rather than pursuit of spirituality is misguiding a devotee who has come to seek true knowledge.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: O devotee, you are indeed blessed because such a question has arisen in your heart! We will take the help of our scriptures to answer this question. The most profound legacy of Shri Krishna is Bhagavad Geetaji, and perhaps the most important aspect (besides its Spiritual Knowledge) is that the sermons of Bhagavad Geetaji were delivered on a battlefield. Arjuna in Bhagavad Geetaji raises the same concern you have just raised. Isn't it so wonderful that you have the same concern as was Arjuna's! So let us find the answers in Bhagavad Geetaji.

Arjuna asked Shri Krishna:

jyayasi cet karmanas te mata buddhir janardana, tat kim karmani ghore mam niyoyayasi kesavam? BG: 3[1]

Vyamishreneva vakyana budhim mohayasiva me, tad ekam vada nischitya yena sreyo ham apnuyam. BG: 3[2]

O Krishna, if you consider knowledge superior to action, why do you urge me to do this dreadful (ghor) action? My intellect has become confused because it has heard arguments in favor and against action. So please say one thing with complete determination so that it benefits me on the spiritual path.

The recommendation to Arjuna was already given by Shri Krishna in Bhagavad Geetaji Chapter 2 verse 37 last part: yuddhaya krtanischya (which means fight for your right to live with dignity with a decided mind.) Mahatma Gandhiji understood it very well, and the ultimate outcome was India's Independence! But now a more direct answer is given by Shri Krishna in the last verse of Chapter 3.

evam budheh param budhvaa sanstabyatmanamatmana, jahi shatrum mahabaho kaamrupam durasadam BG: 3[43]

Thus knowing this to be the knowledge that is achieved by transcending the ordinary intellect, keeping firm and balanced control over your senses by yourself - win over your enemies (jahi shatrum) O man of great strength (maha baho) in the form of kama (kama rupam), which is destroying you (durasadam). The key word here is kama, and a lack of full spiritual interpretation of this word confuses many. Kama, which is ordinarily translated as personal desires is actually much deeper, a spiritual phenomenon. A clearer understanding of kama can help win over this enemy more easily.

Following the answer that is already given - "yuddyaya krtanischya" - fight for your right to live with dignity with a decided mind helps understand the meaning of this word better.

Arjuna is still confused, and asks a similar question again in Chapter 5 verse 1. Now a longer discourse follows, and after showing Arjuna His supra-cosmic form (Bhagavad Geetaji Chapter 11, explaining him signs of a devotee (Bhagavad Geetaji Chapter 12), and teaching him much-much more about implementing true devotion in Chapters 12-18, the answer comes again near the end of Chapter 18 in verse 59.

Yadahankaramashritya na yotsya iti manyate, mithyaeeva vyavasayas te prakrtis tvam niyoksyati BG: 18[59]

If because of having taken refuge in your ego you will continue to not put up a fight (na yotsya) for your right to live with dignity all that you will do will be of little use (midhya, a waste), your very nature (prakrtis tvam) is part of Me (niyoksyati). The questions in the mind of Arjuna end in Bhagavad Geetaji Chapter 18, verse 73 with Arjuna's words.

Karisye vachanam tava BG: 18[73-last part]

I will do what You are suggesting me to do!

We hope this clears up your doubts.

E-mail: Let me give you the example of Shri Krishna. You obviously know that among the many names attached to him, one is "Ranchod". Translated, 'ranchod' means deserter - someone who abandons the battlefield and today this act is considered a crime and a person can be subject to a court martial. You will remember that Krishna earned this title when he laid out a proposal to leave mathura because Jarasandha was repeatedly attacking mathura. This was despite the fact that he had defeated Jarasandha 17 times already and was fully capable of killing him. He preferred to be denigrated by the name 'Ranchod' and consequently established dwarika - a place where peace prevailed and with peace came progress.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: Shri Krishna was a great strategist. He does not want to see innocent people suffer. He takes this enemy in the form of Jarasandha in a corner, and then destroys him there. His Lovers call him Ranchod (one who has left the battle ground), but indeed He has accomplished His goal by doing this.

E-mail: Krishna was also denigrated by Shishupal and he forgave him 100 times before killing him.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: Very nice example, and I am glad you used the word "denigrated" again. Hindus have been forgiving those who have been denigrating them again and again. But now it is time to stand up and fight for our right to live in dignity.

E-mail: Did krishna's energy diminish when he was denigrated? Did he lose his appeal when someone disrespected him? If the answer is no then how can the energy of a photo of Laxmi Mata diminish if someone tries to disrespect it. Laxmi Mata and all other gods and goddesses are above all this.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: Now you are going in circles, in your question, which shows that you are still confused. If He is not diminished then why would He kill Shishupal? So, the answer is: The Love of Shri Krishna (God) diminishes when He is denigrated. The photo of Laxmi Mata is a symbol that we as Hindus use to help develop this Love of God. It diminishes our ability to develop this Love, so we are asking people not to do this. You are absolutely right the Love of God is much beyond a particular picture or a form, but think about it this way. Don't people keep the pictures of their loved ones in their offices? How would someone feel if their loved one's picture is trampled upon in the middle of a road, for no fault of theirs? God is much more than a picture, and God is in that picture as well. We don't want it disrespected, as it goes against our right to live with dignity.

E-mail: Should we not live by the ideal of Krishna?

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: Interesting that you ask this! The ideal of Krishna is answered in your own question above - the events with Shishupal, Jarasandha, and above all Kansa! Such personalities were denigrating Him, and as a result He took action, and showed the path to rest of the humanity.

E-mail: Please look at some of the comments of people in the M F Hussain section of the link you sent. People talk about instilling a fighting spirit among their children to fight against such people and about hanging him in public. I thought it to be quite appalling. Is this how we want to raise our children because i always thought Hinduism was about compassion.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: Perhaps the only way this evil soul will learn that disrespecting and hurting other people's sentiments is by experiencing this disrespect and hurt in public. This is perhaps the only way his "big ego" that can not see that disrespecting an entire country and an entire population is not the art God want's to see. A true artist expresses respect for others in his art. By becoming famous, and winning awards one does not necessarily become a good artist.

Yes, we think that our children should learn that no matter how big a personality there may be, they should not be afraid of blowing the whistle in public, if they find that this personality is engaged in wrong doing to the best of their abilities. The expression of public "hanging" here means that people who denigrate others must be criticized publically.

E-mail: I ask myself the simple question. Does my love for Krishna or Laxmi Mata diminish if i see their photos on shoes of whichever other form classified as denigration? NO it doesnt. I still love them as much and i still want to follow their ideal to my best ability. There will always be people casting aspersions but remember that these people are not raising your children. You are. And if you raise your children with your ideals no form of denigration can taint their minds.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra: You are absolutely right, if you have realized God, then this Love can not diminish - The Love is boundless once the drop has merged into the Ocean. Once God has truly taught a human soul to Love, there is no coming back. If you think that not teaching our children to fight to live a dignified life that is full of respect for our Great Teachers and Masters whose names and forms have become respected symbols and form of God is the right teaching - we will not question your such faith. We think that it is of paramount importance that our symbols of Love, Respect that remind us of Universal Brotherhood are not disrespected. We are simply asking people to not disrespect us by disrespecting these symbols, because we identify with them. These symbols are our identity, and we do not want our identity disrespected. Our ideals are to Love God, Love and Respect our heritage, Love and Respect Our Teachers, Saints, and our Parents. Our ideals are also to protect our loved ones from becoming an object of disrespect. It hurts us to see these symbols disrespected, and we are asking people like M.F. Hussain not to hurt us out of their ignorance. This frank dialogue is appreciable and I hope it continues to enrich us in our respective efforts towards God-realization.

IISree KrushnaarpanamastuII

 

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