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When Germany is Christian, Is India Hindu?

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Maria Wirth The World Reporter

Disclaimer: The views and opinion expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of The World Reporter.

Though I live in India since long, there are still some points that I find hard to understand – for example why many so called educated Indians on TV discussion forums become agitated whenever ‘Hindutva’ is mentioned. The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of it. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression as if an India that values those Hindu roots was dangerous? Don’t they know better?

Their attitude is strange for two reasons. First, those people have a problem only with ‘Hindu’ India, but not with ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian’ countries. Germany for example, is a secular country and only 59 percent of the population are registered with the two big Christian Churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under ‘Christian countries’. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, stressed recently the Christian roots of Germany and urged the population ‘to go back to Christian values’. In 2012, she postponed her trip to the G-8 summit for a day to address the German Catholic Day. In September 2011, the Pope was invited to address the German Parliament. Two major political parties carry ‘Christian’ in their name, including Angela Merkel’s ruling party. Government agencies even collect the Church tax (8 percent of the income tax) and pass it on to the Churches.

Germans are not agitated that Germany is called a Christian country, though I actually would understand if they were. After all, the history of the Church is appalling. The so called success story of Christianity depended greatly on tyranny. “Convert or die”, were the options given not only to the indigenous population in America some five hundred years ago. In Germany, too, 1200 years ago, the emperor Karl the Great ordered the death sentence for refusal of baptism in his newly conquered realms. It provoked his advisor Alkuin to comment: ‘One can force them to baptism, but how to force them to believe?’’ Heresy was put down with an iron hand. I still remember a visit to the Nuremberg castle prison as a school kid. There, we were shown the torture chamber and the torture instruments that were used during inquisition. Unbelievable cruelty!

Nuremberg Castle
Nuremberg Castle, image by bill barber

 

Those times, when one’s life was in danger if one dissented with the dogmas of the Church, are thankfully over. And nowadays many in the west do dissent and leave the Church in a steady stream – in Germany alone over 2 million officially signed out in the last ten years and during a survey in 2011, 5,5 million Germans ‘considered’ leaving the Church – partly because they are disgusted with the less than holy behavior of Church officials and partly because they can’t believe in the dogmas, for example that ‘Jesus is the only way’ and that God sends all those who don’t accept this to hell.

And here comes the second reason why the resistance to associate India with Hindutva by Indians is difficult to understand. Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam was undoubtedly the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind belief in dogmas and the suspension of one’s intelligence. On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one’s intelligence to the hilt. The rishis enquired into truth, discovered universal laws and showed how to live life in an ideal way. Hinduism (please don’t get irritated by this ’modern’ word. In today’s world it is in use for the many streams of Sanatana Dharma) comprises a huge body of ancient literature, not only regarding Dharma and philosophy, but also regarding music, architecture, dance, science, astronomy, economics, politics, etc. If Germany or any other western country had this kind of literary treasure, it would be so proud and highlight its greatness on every occasion.Yet we Germans have to be content with only one ‘ancient’ epic which was written around 800 years ago and probably refers to incidents around 400 AD. That is how far back ‘antiquity’ reaches in Europe, and of course children in Germany hear of this epic, called ‘Nibelungenlied’, in school. Naturally westerners consider the existence of Sri Krishna and Sri Rama as myths. How could they acknowledge a civilization much more ancient and much more refined than their own?

Inexplicably, Indians cater to western arrogance and ignorance by downplaying and even denying their tradition. There is a “Copernicus Marg’ in New Delhi and Indian children do not get to hear in school that the rishis of the Rg Veda knew already that the earth is round and goes around the sun – thousands of years before westerners ‘discovered’ it. (Rg 10’22’14)

When I read some Upanishads, I was stunned at the profundity. Here was expressed in clear terms what I intuitively had felt to be true, but could not have expressed clearly. Brahman is not partial; it is the invisible, indivisible essence in everything. Everyone gets again and again a chance to discover the ultimate truth and is free to choose his way back to it. Helpful hints are given but not imposed.

In my early days in India, I thought that every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized that I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the elite from their ancient tradition but even making them despise it. It helped that the ‘educated’ class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many ‘modern’ Indians are against anything ‘Hindu’. They don’t realize the difference between western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage if not forbid their adherents to think on their own and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.

Many of the educated class do not realize that on one hand, westerners, especially those who dream to impose their own religion on this vast country, will applaud them for denigrating Hindu Dharma, because this helps western universalism to spread in India. On the other hand, many westerners, including Church people, very well know the value and surreptitiously appropriate insights from the vast Indian knowledge system, drop the original source and present it either as their own or make it look as if these insights had been known in the west.

Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation has done painstaking research in this field and has documented many cases of “digestion” of Dharma civilization into western universalism. Hindu civilization is gradually being depleted of its valuable, exclusive assets and what is left is dismissed as inferior.

If only missionaries denigrated Hindu Dharma, it would not be so bad, as they clearly have an agenda which discerning Indians would detect. But sadly, Indians with Hindu names assist them because they wrongly believe that Hinduism is inferior to western religions. They belittle everything Hindu instead of getting thorough knowledge. As a rule, they know little about their tradition except what the British told them, i.e. that the major features are caste system and idol worship. They don’t realize that India would gain, not lose, if it solidly backed its profound and all inclusive Hindu tradition. The Dalai Lama said some time ago that already as a youth in Lhasa, he had been deeply impressed by the richness of Indian thought. “India has great potential to help the world,” he added. When will the westernized Indian elite realize it?

Maria Wirth is a German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. In recent years, she noticed that there seemed to be a concerted effort to prevent Indians (and the world) from knowing how valuable this ancient Indian heritage is, she started to point out the unique value of Indian tradition. http://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/

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Russian by roots, global citizen by choice. In love with India and Indian culture, love to report everything from politics to military news. Against the controlled media.

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Culture and Lifestyle

The answers to your future can be found online

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tarot reading

The most popular tarot and horoscope platforms give answers to the eternal human questions about fate, health and love, which are formulated daily on Internet search engines all over the world.

Tarot is not a simply deck of cards. Each of them is loaded with symbolism and each fortune-teller has their own method. Truth is, the number of people interested in these things increases every day, as they seek ever more detailed knowledge and answers about themselves and their future. This pursuit satisfies an innate human desire to pursue self-discovery, an aspect of our nature that we have never been able reasonably explain. But nowadays, and since the prevalence of the Internet, places like free tarot reading are becoming more and more popular.

Tarot is consulted by people of all genders and social backgrounds, the need to understand what the future holds is such a basic underlying desire.

In some cases, tarot readers can play with the fear of the unknown, while there are others, like the Chilean philosopher Alejandro Jodorowsky, who use the tarot cards as a psychological tool, helping us to know ourselves better and have the awareness to able to change harmful habits.

Love is the answer: penetrating to the unconscious

But If there is one thing that has troubled us since the dawn of time, it is love. Love and relationships raise the most questions, causes the most uncertainty and make us feel so vulnerable. Though the answers to those questions can both disarm us and fill us with hope. Powerful emotions like this are some of the many reasons to consult love tarot reading, from a convenient and simple to use the portal.

Some theorists believe that tarot cards are guided by a spiritual energy that strives to offer guidance, channelled through the expert understanding by the consultant, while others, such as the philosopher Carl Jung, attribute the reading of tarot is a means to tap into a collective unconscious that we all share.

Tarot is not just a crutch to those feeling desperate for answers, but a mean to deepen our self-awareness. A word of caution though, it has the potential to influence in a negative way to the most vulnerable personalities.

Horoscope theories for good and bad times

The other method of divination that is always been very popular is the horoscope. The horoscope uses the position of the stars on an individual’s day of birth to predict the facets of their character. And while much of the theory has been lost to history, the classification of human beings into twelve predefined personalities is still a popular way to approach divination through the use of a daily horoscope.

The horoscope is as old as life itself. The first notches in mammoth skins that represent the stars are dated 25.000 million years B.C. To this day those with a spiritual disposition will not only regularly consult the general daily horoscope, they will also seek patterns and meanings in the stars movements across the year and beyond. Today you can check your fortunes through the horoscope 2018, a must-see for anyone seeking to uncover the secrets of next year.

According to horoscope theories, the most fortuitous result you can hope for it that the stars align propitiously in your most hesitant aspects. To receive an auspicious horoscope can make you feel motivated and reinvigorated. If you are not so lucky then at least forewarned is forearmed.

There is no doubt that tarot and horoscope still have a much-visited home on the net. Questions of faith that humans have always pondered, about the unknown, about the future and about themselves, remain unanswered despite the technology and scientific advances. It is not strange that when we find ourselves faced with questions of faith and spirituality, with no conventional answer to be found, we still turn to divination websites for comfort, reassurance and most of all, answers.

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Did ‘Serial’ Bring Justice?

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flickr/cfieslar

Nearly three years ago, a weekly podcast became a smash-hit and the precursor to media justice series – like the Netflix series Making A Murderer. They had the same case, a man jailed for murder, but there would always be more than meets the eye.

Serial, released by Sarah Koenig and a bunch of producers from the team at This American Life heralded a new age of podcasting and the second ‘podcasting’ boom kicked off – we’re still enjoying the golden age of podcasts right now. Serial ran for two seasons, and while there is talk of a third, it is the first season that will likely live long in the memory.

The very first season of Serial depicted the incarceration of Adnan Syed after the death of Hae Min Lee. In 1999, Hae Min Lee, a high school student, disappeared in Maryland. After a month, her corpse was found in a park, having been strangled to death. A suspect was identified in 17-year-old Adnan Syed, Hae Min Lee’s ex-boyfriend. Syed was arrested, and within a year, Syed was sentenced to life in prison. Syed was damned by the testimony of his best friend, Jay. Jay described, in vivid detail how he had helped Syed bury Hae Min Lee in the Park. Adnan was jailed, and Serial follows this case and Adnan’s plea that he had nothing to do with Hae Min Lee’s death.

Sarah Koenig, during the production of Serial, interviewed Adnan Syed for the podcast and the tale is slowly unraveled. Syed’s first trial was put to bed as a mistrial, but the following court case saw Syed imprisoned for life. Koenig took an impartial view to the trial and found a lot of worrying information, despite refusing to take Adnan’s side.

One of the biggest worries to Koenig was the racial side of the trial. The prosecution made the case that Adnan was going to be smuggled to Pakistan and after a dispute with Hae Min Lee, he performed an ‘honor’ killing. This view could have easily stirred up an anti-Islamic sentiment in the court and within the jury. Certain aspects of the case only seem to arise because of Syed’s religion and race. A criminal defense attorney would have struggled to fight back against such a case put forward and would have found it hard to defend Adnan because of this. Add Jay’s testimony and a bunch of erratic witness accounts and you’ve got an entire case built to setup Adnan Syed.

Serial doesn’t argue for Syed to be released, but for a fair trial to take place. A man was jailed based on circumstantial evidence and a number of biased witness accounts. Thanks to the success of Serial, Adnan Syed has been granted a new trial, meaning the previous trial will not stand. Adnan Syed – right now – is still in jail, but cannot be declared a murderer until his new trial takes place later this year. Justice? It doesn’t always have to be a verdict, but a chance to do a court case once again, but by the book of the law.

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Escaping Your Addiction For Something Safer

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gambling mobile addiction

The modern world is awash with addiction. In day to day life, loads of people use chemicals to make their day easier. And, a lot of the time, these sorts of substances are looked at as being normal simply because so many people use them. Modern living presents new addictions thanks to the Internet, too. With people struggling to stop spending; thousands of people each year are falling into debt because of addictions. Thankfully, though, where you have an addiction; you usually have a solution. But, it won’t be easy. You’re going to have to put in some work.

One of the greatest examples of digital addiction comes with social media. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have millions of active users. These services allow people to connect with others through message-board-like structures. People trade likes and follows, making themselves feel important and popular. As time goes on, this leads to people spending most of their time on websites like this. And, unfortunately, there’s only one way to fix this sort of tendency; through seeing people in real life. Instead of dedicating time to social media, you should be spending it on arranging seeing friends. This is how humans are meant to socialise; and, it’s something that’s much more healthy to be addicted to.

Next, comes something a little more serious. Gambling has plagued people’s lives for hundreds of years. But, now it’s easier than ever to throw away your money from the comfort of your own home. Online casinos have sprung up on all of the corners of the Internet. These sites allow you to play games like you would in a casino; only the board and other players are digital. Thankfully, these games are usually playing on the satisfaction you get from winning. And, the very same feeling can be found in competitive video games; like DOTA 2 and Overwatch. This is a much more cost-effective way to get that winner’s rush.

One of the most addictive substances within modern societies is nicotine. And, most people get their fix from smoking. Unfortunately, though, smoking is very bad for you. Not only does it damage your lungs and throat; but, it also makes it more likely that you will have heart problems, too. E-cigarettes have been proven to be safer than cigarettes. And, they’re just as safe as other nicotine replacements. Getting your hands on something like this is just a matter of visiting a website or two. Just make sure that you read some reviews.

Over 90% of Americans are addicted to caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your heart rates and makes you consume your body’s resources a little quicker. This gives you a rush of energy. People use this substance to help them through the day. If you’re drinking coffee; it’s not so bad. But, if you like to drink carbonated drinks, including energy drinks; it’s best to find a healthier alternative.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of the modern addictions that are easy to slip into. Of course, there are addictions that you should fear more. But, these are much more rare in most places. So, you don’t have to be too worried.

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