“All people living in Bharat (India) are Hindus” said the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat thereby implying that Khasis are Hindus. He further said we are here not to convert anyone. The response to his remarks are varied. I agree with the comment of Mr Ardent M Basaiawmoit, President of the VPP when he said one should be able to read between the lines what the statement actually means(ST Sep 28, 2022). In this respect I wish the readers would refer to an investigative article which appeared in the Tehelka magazine dated July 4, 2009 titled, “A strange and bitter crop,” by Sanjana. The article mentioned 1500 to 1600 children from Jaintia Hills, Ri Bhoi, East and West Khasi Hills were taken to Karnataka under the ambitious RSS social engineering project to bring up the children the Hindu way and make them become champions of Hinduism. The article mentioned one Tukaram Shetty (Bah Ram) of Lei Synshar Cultural Society, Jowai who was instrumental in working out this project. Mr Basaiawmoit cautioned the Khasis following the indigenous faith to be very careful and alert and not to be misled by such statements.
Purpose of Durga Puja celebration
Are we aware of the deeper philosophies behind this annual celebration of Durga Puja? To be honest, there is not one single philosophy. The word Durga is derived from the root word ‘Durg’, which means fort. Just as a fort stands tall and mighty around low-lying land, water or jungles and protects the inmates from all kinds of dangers, we look upon “Maa Durga” as our “divine protector” from all worldly evil, including invisible spirituality. We feel safe and secure in her divine embrace and feel her all-pervasive energy around us and within us. Divinity as explained by ancient sages is something far removed from tangible science, mundane logic, and facts.
Of course, the philosophy behind our worship of Maa Durga is not just an amalgamation of sundry religious rites. A rational scientist may also find many similarities in facets of Her story and modern physics. Quantum physicists are beginning to acknowledge that the DIVINE energy, which in Sanskrit refers to as “Shakti”, does have strong underpinnings in every aspect of our life, including atomic to sub-atomic particles and then subtle wave-function. That subtle divine energy is behind the entire cosmic make-up. This profound philosophy of the East has been passionately embraced by the father of Quantum Physics — Erwin Schrodinger.
When you juxtapose this life-giving form of Maa Durga against the Trishul and the sword-wielding warrior form of the Mother Goddess, She comes across as the Destroyer. The targets of her weapons of destruction are the evil forces that she wishes to protect Her children against. So, the philosophy of Maa Durga encompasses all three incarnations in one form – the Destroyer, the Life-Giver, and the Creator. Outside of the physical manifestations of our prayers and devotion for Maa Durga, She also embodies the spirit and characteristics of a mother.
Well, Maa Durga is considered an epitome of Shakti (ENERGY), which is GOOD that alone can triumph over EVIL. Yes, ancient scriptures pour out a rich vein of “philosophical underpinnings” on which to lead our lives well and gradually make an earnest effort for “self-realisation” through MEDITATION, not just only hopping from pandal to pandal — which, in fact is the “initial” stepping stone. Attaining communion with absolute DIVINITY is the final goal. Ultimately, it is the Mother’s DIVINITY that encompasses the whole cosmos.
The great French Nobel laureate Romain Rolland, after realizing the philosophical depth of ancient texts, exclaimed: “Religious faith in the case of Hinduism has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws. Moreover, the former is never made a condition for the knowledge they teach, but there are always scrupulously careful to take into consideration the possibility that by reason both the agnostic and atheist may attain truth in their own way”.
PS: All kudos to the Central Puja Committee (CPC), Meghalaya, which annually organizes the ALL-FAITH get-together. This is undoubtedly a commendable effort to send out the right message which will inspire one and all. It is through mutual love and brotherhood among all religions that we can live in peace and harmony and triumph over evil.