I was happy to learn that a Hindu organization in Dallas has engaged 2000 kids in the chanting of the Bhagavad Gita to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sri Krishna. This is a breath of fresh air for me as I have been cultured to think that Krishen Janam is rocking the hammock with Baby Krishna and singing Jhule Jhule Phalna Yashoda Julywa Lalna and eating mohanbhog.
Why are Hindus so repetitious and routine? I guess we need individuals from outside to point the way forward. I am reminded of those monkeys that started eating potatoes dumbed along the beach. Not long after the sociologists started washing the potatoes before eating them and the monkeys started doing same.
Krishna was not just about song, music, and dance. This frolicking with the milk maids of Brindavan stopped when he entered his teens. He then migrated to Mathura to fulfil his task to rid the earth of the evil Kans and his cohorts. Throughout his adult life Krishna did not return to his frolicking escapades. In fact, even in his Brindavan days Krishna had to contend with demons such as Putna and the multi-headed Kalya.
Krishna, a warrior, was renowned as a wrestler. Fearless, Krishna defeated several Kings and liberated their citizens from oppression. Jarasandha was a contemporary of Krishna who held several women in captivity. Krishna did not hesitate to destroy Shisuphal who was renowned for hauling insults at Krishna who warned him (Shisupal) that he would be killed when he does so for the 100th time. As promised, Krishna, using his sudharshan chakra or spinning wheel, severed Shisupal’s head after he breached the limit.
Where is the warrior spirit in the community? What are we doing to encourage our youths in sports to get them into the disciplined forces? Do we encourage our youths to engage in gymnasiums and other sporting activities? Do we agree as a community that serving in the security industry is a viable career choice? Or do we hold the view that only those who graduate with a medical degree are intelligent while the others are dummies?
Admit it…our religious teachers have failed to apply the teachings of Hinduism to solve social issues. Alcohol has a greater presence in social gathering than the teachings of Sri Krishna. Not surprisingly, Hindu families rarely come together for regular satsangh because it would not allow them to indulge in drinking alcohol. I have noted that most of the religious activities in the community are death related- shaving, bandara, one-year shraddha and pitri paksh- fast two days before the rites are done and back to the rum bottle!
The message of the Gita is an inspiration to mankind. Arjuna was an ideal pupil. He not only admitted his ignorance but pleaded to Sri Krishna to teach him. More than that is that that he asked questions to clear doubts in his mind. After imbibing the teachings of Krishna, Arjuna executed his duty as a warrior and defeated his enemies so that dharma will prevail.
Is the Bhagavad Gita working for us? This is a question for all Hindus to ask themselves. Many would answer in the positive and point to their children success in education, careers, and material well-being and leisure. But what about being rooted in our traditions?
In his independence address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Indian people to shed the vestiges of colonialism and take pride in their heritage. The Bhagavad Gita is a vehicle to not only bring us success but to help us understand our divine nature.
Being innovative and creative is a sure sign of success. Haripersad Harikissoon (Hariji) (1945-), a well-known social and cultural worker and founder of the Hindu Jawaan Sangh and Hindu Seva Sangh, was able to achieve much as a Hindu activist because of his creative mind.
If our minds cannot be creative and all we can doing is copy like monkeys and jhule the palna, then our future as a community would be bleak. Now that Hariji is not well, many of us are trapped in the same Ramayana and Gita verses and songs that he taught us as if there is nothing more to learn!
I would not be going to the mandir to jhule palna or eat mohanbhog. I would spend my time revisiting two texts: Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita and ARIK The Life of Ariel Sharon. Ariel Sharon embodied the Gita in his life as a soldier and a leader of the Israeli people. He put his life on the line to carve a Jewish nation despite hostile frontiers. He was an Arjuna in his own right, putting the teaching of Sri Krishna into action. Thankfully he was ignorant of julaying the palna and mohanbhog; had he been, the State of Israel would have been still born!