The Quest for the Royal Road ► IV. Questions And Answers ► Questions and Answers

Posted: 07.03.2016

Question

Is it possible to establish oneness between the greatness of Indian culture and the present times?

Answer

I regard the past and the present as cyclic movement of the same wheel of Time. I do not see them as completely distinct. The flow of the river of culture, shattered by the onslaughts of changes in time and place never moves smoothly. Every drop of its stream of the past is not pure and every drop of its stream of the present is not sullied. Unity of the great with the great is natural. Any attempt to create any obstacle in it is artificial and meaningless. Mingling the characteristic features of the present with tradition would indeed be the result of adroitness. Anyone who can perform such a remarkable feat would be the world's greatest artist.

Question

Can religion show any solution to get over the feeling of dissatisfaction in the present age?

Answer

The feeLng of dissatisfaction, which is so much in evidence in the present age, is the result of three factors.

  1. Man has become aware about his existence. He is not satisfied with traditional beliefs and the related conditions.
  2. In this scientific age, with its fast changes and sudden ups and downs, he is not able to establish harmony between the present and the past.
  3. He is hungry and is unable to satisfy his basic needs. Religion is the eternal value of life. By giving direction to the changes in the periodic values, religion can be of direct help in getting rid of the first two factors. However, the raging fire of hunger cannot be quenched by religion. It can be quenched only by having a meal. In this simple sense, religion cannot be an answer to the dissatisfaction resulting from hunger. Nevertheless, I do not also feel that religion can do nothing to solve this problem. Endeavour, activity and movement are like the life-breath of religion. Religion can help in solving this third problem too by awakening the frustrated and lazy minds of the Indian people. I would like to clarify one thing in this connection and that is to emphasise that this cannot be achieved by religion which gives the greatest importance to rituals. But it can be done through that religion in which detachment, benefaction and constant endeavour to realise Truth are of pivotal importance.

Question

Do you have any proof of the existence of the Soul and the Supreme Being?

Answer

Existence has been defined by man with awakened consciousness. If what has been defined by him has been authenticated, how would the existence of the one of definite it can be otherwise?

The Soul is a subtle reality. The mind which tried to know it, is crude and fickle. How can the crude mind reveal the subtle soul? How can the fickle show the lustre of the Truth which is steady? Be helpful in making the mind steady and quiet or let it become the integral part of the incessant source of consciousness. After that you would not only be aware of the existence of the Soul, but also you would become free from the delusion of that which though separate from you appeared as your identity.

In this universe, whatever constitutes the worldly existence was always there and would continue to be there. I have no doubt even about the existence of an atom extending into all the three times. How then can I have my doubt about my own existence.

The existence of the Supreme being is not distinct from the Soul.

Question

How far is it true that culture would become sullied by sex-education?

Answer

Man is a developed creature. Hence, whatever he does, is out of his deliberate choice. Is Indian culture not sullied by indulging in sex-activity? If not, then why would it be sullied by sex-education? In ancient India, students were taught kama-shastra. In Indian kama-shastra the principle of control of religion on sexual desire has been accepted. If society can move forward to pass from ignorance to knowledge and from knowledge to realisation of the Soul, there seems no scope for unrestraint.

Question

What have you to say about giving new direction and religion to the young generation?

Answer

The youth of today is not committed to the direction in which it is going, but he has found that direction by way of a reaction to the prevailing situation. What the older generation likes, does not find favour with him. The youth of today is rationalist. He likes freedom, realities of life and change. His values are different from the values of the generation brought up with old sanskaras. He does have religious feeling in him, but it does not get reflected in his practical life. That is why he reacts against his elders who spend their time in worship and prayer and also regards religion as reactionary. As a result, the direction he takes is only his reaction to it all and he becomes indifferent to the eternal values of life. That is why I feel today the need for religious revolution. If worship and religious rituals are considered less important and religion based on moral values is reinstated instead, then the youth of today can very naturally would take a positive direction.

Question

Who is Hindu?

Answer

As far as I know, the oldest mention of the word 'Hindu' is found in the Jain literature. Kalkacharya used the word 'Hinduga' for Bharat (India) while talking to foreigners.[1] In this context, Hundudesha is the name of a country (India). So, he, who is the citizen of Hindustan and whose motherland is Hindustan is a Hindu. The word Hinduism and Hindu community have come into vogue only in modern times. The use of the word Hindu in the narrow sense has led to more complications. I am a supporter of the view that the word Hindu should be reverted, so that its widespread implications would prevail upon us.

Question

Is it true that there is less religious tolerance among the Muslims?

Answer

In some special contexts, it may be said that there is less religious tolerance among the Muslims. But it is not universally true. There are many Muslim countries where we find religious goodwill and humanism. The Hindu- Muslim problem was viewed in a different context in undivided India. That is why there is religious intolerance here, which is the result of circumstances. I do riot consider this as a contribution of Islam. In my view, this is due to the competition growing between the two communities.

I am not talking from the point of view of principle. I have talked from the practical point of view. We find fanaticism in many religions. According to the fanatics of all religions, the followers of other religions cannot be given the same status as the follower of one's own religion. But on the ground of the practical reality, most of the principles get eliminated to such an extent that nothing is left in balance. I do not consider even Islam an exception to it.

Question

Would moral education act like a typhoon and stop religious education? Have you any suggestion on this point?

Answer

In reality, there is no distinction between religion and morality. Their direction and form are not different. The first result of religious conduct is morality. The religion of today is mostly sectarian religion disguised in spirituality. That is why it is cut off from morality. The need of moral education cannot be fulfilled by this kind of religious education. Morality is the science which disciplines social life. It cannot be isolated from religion. In an age of innumerable religious sects, religious education can lead to more complications. It can lead to increased suspiciousness and illusions and can give rise to communal problems. Moral education is free from all such troubles. It is certainly religious education, but not of a religion related to any particular sect. While taiking about anuvrat, I have often reiterated the need for moral education.

No permanent solution of the trouble on account of immoral conduct can be found without presenting morality in a scientific manner. Hence, moral education needs to be given to the student at the same level as education in other subjects like sociology, economics and psychology.

Question

Are agitations advisable for ban on cow-slaughter?

Answer

Ban on cow-slaughter is a national question. Slaughtering a useful and innocent animal like cow is indeed the last limit of man's ungrateful and selfish nature. I am in favour of solving this problem by awakening the national consciousness.

Any attempt to solve this problem by resorting to religious and political agitation appears to me like creating more complications. The natural sympathy we feel for the cow seems less convincing in agitations that arouse passions. Alongwith education, such direction should be given in natural course that man becomes less cruel and more non-violent or compassionate. Thereby, many cruel things like cow-slaughter can be easily stopped.

Question

Is so much noise about Indianisation not political? Is it necessary?

Answer

The demand for Indianisation has been voiced from the political platform and has already been echoed and spread through party politics. So long as the question of devotion to the country is concerned, no Indian citizen can testify if someone who is an Indian by his nationality, but is devoted to another country outside India. But in the present situation, it seems to me hardly possible that the process of Indianisation can be strengthened through party politics.

It is necessary to discuss the question of national loyalty and also to change its context. The Indian outlook has been essentially guided by an emotional approach. It is necessary to relate it to reality. It is necessary for all those who have to live in India to share the moments of happiness and sorrow and want to live in an atmosphere of oneness and uphold the cultural heritage of the country.

Footnotes:
[1]
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Source/Info

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013