Indians are the proud inheritors of a rich heritage the heritage of the great culture and thought-systems of one of the world's greatest and oldest civilisations. Kingdoms have arisen; kingdoms have disintegrated in this great land of ours. Empires have been built here – and empires have crumbled to their fall. Great conquerors have invaded this land – and like bubbles floating on a stream, the conquerors and their powers have perished. India, the home of the ancient Hindu Faith, has had a long history of wars and invasions.
Perhaps no other country in the world has been invaded, attacked and looted more often than this land. And it was not just territorial aggression and invasion; for so many of our invaders and conquerors tried to impose their culture and systems and faith on us – some, by forcible conversion, yet others through propaganda. Despite these invasions and these attempts at religious conversions, India has retained its ancient culture, its values and its faith, its essential belief system. It is still predominantly Hindu in faith. How has this been possible? What makes India and its Hindu faith so firm and strong, so vital and long-lived?
India lives on. India lives on because it has a message to deliver to the modern world. India lives on, for it has a mission to fulfill in the new millennium that has just begun. India lives on, despite the ravages of time, for it has to proclaim that there can be no true freedom without spirituality. The emphasis of the Hindu faith has always been on the unfolding of the inner powers, the atma-shakti. It is precisely due to this atma-shakti, this inner soul power that India has been able to ride many a storm and quell many a tempest. When all other ancient civilisations have perished, when all other ancient cultures have been wiped away without a trace, India lives on, and its own Hindu faith is still vibrant and vital!
The Light of the atman, the Light of the self, the Light of the spirit – it was around this that our glorious culture was built in ancient India. This culture was known as atman vidya – the science of the spirit. Spirituality too is a science, it concerns the discovery of the One Self in all.
(January 26 marks the 73rd Republic Day of India)
(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)