"All Power Is Within You"
100 Years After
India & Her Culture
Relevance of Hindu Dharma
Renaissance of Hindu Dharma
Significant Role of Temples
Exalted Name Divine
India's Gift to world
A SABHA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
(A Brief Note about the historic Meet
of the Spiritual Heads, convened by Swami Dayanandaji, at
Chennai, in which Swami Jyotirmayananda participated, and
later prepared a brochure entitled: "Hindu Dharma Acharya
Sabha: The Apex Hindu Body -- It's Vision and the Mission.")
thou all of one mind, be thou all of one thought
exhorted the enlightened Vedic Rishis of yore.
"Being of one mind is the secret of society", said
Swami Vivekananda. "Secret of power lies in unity and
organization", he pointed out. "Bringing out life-giving
common principles, we have to build up on the common ground
of Sanatana Dharma".
Swamiji highlighted the unifying power of Dharma and emphasized
the need for gathering up of scattered spiritual forces. "To
make a great future India, the whole secret lies in organization,
accumulation of power, coordination of wills
India depends entirely upon that. That is the secret -- accumulation
of will-power, coordination, brining them all, as it were,
into one focus."
"The one common ground that we have is our sacred tradition,
our Dharma. That is the only common ground, and upon that
we shall have to build
Unity in Sanatana Dharma, therefore,
is absolutely necessary as the first condition of the future
of India. There must be the recognition of one Dharma throughout
the length and breadth of this land."
"We know that our Sanatana Dharma has certain common
grounds, common to all our sects, however varying their conclusions
may be, however different their claims may be
are certain common grounds; and within their limitations this
Sanatana Dharma of ours admits of a marvellous variation,
and infinite amount of liberty to think and live our own lives."
"What we want is to bring out these life-giving common
principles of our Sanatana Dharma, and let every man, woman,
and child, throughout the length and breadth of this country,
understand them, know them, and try to bring them out in their
lives. This is the first step; and, therefore, it has to be
"We see how in Asia, and especially in India, race difficulties,
linguistic difficulties, social difficulties, national difficulties,
all melt away before this unifying power of Sanatana Dharma
We know that to the Indian mind there is nothing higher than
dharmic ideals, that is the key-note of Indian life, and we
can only work in the line of least resistance."
"It is only true that the ideal of Dharma is the highest
ideal, in the case of India it is the only possible means
of work; work in any other line, without first strengthening
this, would be disastrous. Therefore, the first plank in the
making of a future India, the first step is to be hewn out
of that rock of ages, is this unification of Dharma."
"All of us have to be taught that we Hindus -- dualists,
qualified monists, or monists, Shaivas, Vaishnavas, or Pashupatas
-- to whatever denomination we may belong, have certain common
ideas behind us.
Swami Vivekananda realized the urgent need of unifying the
Nation by bringing together the various spiritual forces working
on the Indian soil for the last 1000 years. With an unfailing
foresight, he showed the ways of India's solidarity.
"National union in India", he declared, "must
be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces. A nation
in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the
same spiritual tune." These are the words of a great
Acharya, a saint and a modern prophet of India.
In realization of his noble vision, a sincere attempt was
made in India three years ago. History was made at Chennai
when, for the first time in modern Hinduism, some of the most
eminent Dharma Acharyas including revered Swamijis from north,
south, east, west and central India got together and deliberated
upon the momentous issues facing the Hindu society and our
nation. They debated for three days on the future of Sanatana
Dharma, on issues for redress and development, and above all,
for the pooling of energies in seva work all over the country.
It was wonderful to see so many Spiritual Heads -- Peethadipathis,
Matadhipathis and Mahamandaleshwars sit together and discuss
the larger issues facing society. Well organized, and on one
platform for the first time, their agenda was peaceful and
Forming an apex Hindu body, the 'Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha'
crystallized the collective Hindu consciousness and spoke
in a single voice.
Writing about the Sabha Conference, a popular evening newspaper
of Chennai said, "So far, there has been no single voice
that could claim to speak for the entire Hindu Society. There
has been no single body that has been recognised to represent
the oldest religious and spiritual tradition in the world.
And most of the attacks that the hoary Hinduism has come under
for some time now is because it is perceived to be an amorphous
body which can be taken for granted, slighted with impunity
and attacked. Therefore, the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, a
body that comprises almost all the important Hindu religious
leadership in the country, has come about not a day soon.
It is the Apex Body of the Hindu Dharma. 40 Peetadhipathis
and 14 Mandaleshwars met recently for three days and discussed
several issues confronting the Hindu Dharma and the Society."
The Acharya Sabha Sabha Conference was held in Chennai, on
November 29, November 30 and December 1, 2003.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the Convenor of Acharya Sabha,
guided the proceedings. He highlighted its vision and the
mission as also its formation three years ago. He was glad
that there was a very positive response from many members
who expressed their appreciation about the purpose of the
meet. The response was very heartening to the convenor and
the others who helped him in organizing this sacred meet.
|At the venue of the meet,
there was a sitting arrangement in oval shape where every participating
member of the Acharya Sabha was given equal importance. Arrangements
were made for simultaneous translation of the talks of the participants
in Hindi, English, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu.
in which Acharyas' guidance was sought were:
1. Definition of 'religious freedom'
2. Concrete steps for the protection of Hindu Dharma.
|a. Propagation of Hindu
b. Protection of tirthas and temples.
c. How do we take back the people coming back to Hindu Dharma.
d. Any other step.
whether the Government should continue to manage the Hindu Temples
and Endowments or allow individual trusts to manage them.
4. Discussing whether we can formulate certain minimum samskaras
that every Hindu should undergo.
Matadhipathis, Adheenams and Mandaleshwars had a brainstorming
session. There was a free and frank discussion of the problems
that were agitating the minds of the members.
|A galaxy of leaders
like Sri Ravishankar, Founder, Art of Living Foundation, Swami
Chinmayananda, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Sri Ashok
Singhal of VHP, Dr. B. K. Modi, Industrialist and philanthropist,
Sri S. Gurumurthy, Columnist and Chartered Accountant, Dr. Srikant
Jichkar, former Revenue Minister of Maharashtra, Nagpur, Sri
Cho Ramaswamy, Advocate and eminent journalist, and others were
present during the Meet and participated in the discussions.
More than one hundred disciples of Swami Dayanandaji were
also present and assisted in the conduct of the Meet.
The convenor of the Acharya Sabha, Swami Dayanandaji, in
his welcome address to the august gathering hailed the Meet
as a significant historical event for which they had been
waiting for years.
He said: "Hindu Dharma requires one single voice. Muslims
have their Personal Law Board. We need an Acharya Sabha
Addressing the assembled Acharyas he said, "You are
our strength. You occupy a position, which is very significant
and very important. You must realize the importance of your
position. I know you realize this.
"In this session, we will try to project certain important
topics about which we want to hear you. We want to have a
resolution. Every topic is very important. Your participation
is very important in formulating the resolutions. I therefore
consider this as a very significant event in the history of
"There are a number of people who are committed to Dharma
who have been dreaming about this kind of event to see that
there is no more danger. We have to see in our own lifetime
that this Dharma is not in danger in the near future. Later
generations will take care of what they need to take care
of. But in our lifetime, we need to make sure that this Dharma
is protected; Not only it is protected; it is handed over
in tact without any damage to the generations to came".
Talking to newsmen at the end of conclave, Swami Dayanandaji
said it was a massive movement of the people of Hindu Dharma,
with the primary focus on caring for the poor, the downtrodden
and the powerless. This is a commitment," he said. "The
three-day meeting, the first of its kind, deliberated on various
things. A variety of topics were chosen for discussion keeping
in view the concerns of all the Acharyas who had gathered".
The Acharya Sabha, comprising the Heads of various Sampradayas
within the single composite whole known from time immemorial
as Sanatana Dharma, deliberated comprehensively for three
days, on several issues of concern and importance for the
Hindu Society, and crystallized the collective Hindu consciousness.
An immediate issue with the Acharya Sabha was deregulating
the Hindu Religious and Endowments Act, that gave the government
total control over Hindu places of worship. Nor did the Acharya
Sabha held back on its objections to conversion as a project
of faith. Sanatana Dharma does not seek to subvert, conquer
or denigrate other religious persuasions and faiths. It was
therefore resolved to appeal to the leadership of the proselytizing
religion in the country to review and change their theological
disposition towards Hinduism to promote harmony and avoid
any conflict, violence and disruption in Indian society.
The Acharya Sabha was of the view that concerted and conscious
efforts are necessary to safeguard and advance the legitimate
interests of Hindu Society. The spirit of tolerance and inclusiveness
of Hindu Dharma has been exploited by aggressive and acquisitive
religious interests too long.
The protection and strengthening of Hindu Society lies in
the hands of Hindus. Hindu society needs to be strengthened
by ridding it of birth-based caste-centric rigidities such
as untouchability, dowry related atrocities on women, female
feticide and infanticide etc.
Restoring individual dignity through education, employment
opportunities and empowerment of women will result in restoring
social dignity and strengthening of Hindu society. Women are
nurturers and protectors of life and the essence of religion
and spirituality calls for partnership of women and men in
all aspects of life for building a harmonious and just society.
Justifiable and informed pride should be inculcated in the
youth of Hindu Society at being Hindus and to understand that
practicing Hinduism does not stop with some rituals but involves
a set of great values.
Efforts must be made to recover, rejuvenate and rebuild places
and sites, sacred in Hindu memory -- temples, bathing ghats,
pilgrimage centres etc.
Proselytizing religions should not be allowed to erase the
identity and spiritual and religious sampradayas of
tribal, adivasi and mountain dwelling communities;
these communities are far from power centres, are inherently
weak and therefore need support to maintain their spiritual
and religious identities.
Social peace and harmony will prevail in the country only
with correct understanding of the concept of religious freedom,
which means freedom to practice one's own religion but not
denigrating the religion of the other, such denigration being
the basis of all conversion activities in the country.
The Acharya Sabha is not against any religion or religious
community in the country to which Hindu Dharma has played
the role of a well-meaning host. However, the Sabha will not
allow disruption of Hindu families and consequentially Hindu
Society by other religions in the country; nor will it accept
foreign interference in the form of monetary and other support
to contribute to such disruption.
As Swami Dayanandaji rightly pointed out at the end of the
three-day Sabha conference, "Faced with militant missionaries
and missionary militants, Hinduism had to show its plurality,
and all-encompassing acceptance is not a sign of disparateness
or disunity. For that is needed a collective voice. In the
Acharya Sabha, it can find one. Quite simple, it is a Sabha
whose time has come.
"The idea of the Sabha is to become a movement for the
people with the emphasis on caring. But aren't there many
institutions that lend themselves to such service? May be.
But the Sabha cares for the caring. The operative word is
caring and not service which has a patronizing tone to it.
|"But more than such caring proposals,
the very fact that there is now an umbrella body that has representation
from all the important Matams and Peetams (that is, the Hindu
monasteries and the traditional religious establishments) in
the country will in itself send out all the right signals that
Hinduism is looking for."
details about the Acharya Sabha please read the brochure entitled:
"Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha: The Apex Hindu Body--Its Vision
and the Mission". Contact Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Arsha Vidya
Gurukulam, PO Box 1059, Saylorsburg, PA 18353, Tel: 570-992-2339,
Fax: 570-992-7150/9617, Email: [email protected]
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