Friday, 29 May 2015

Bharat Mata

Bharat Mata (Mother India)

On ‘You can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay. 

While reading her book of self-help - I came across several concepts which bore an uncanny resemblance to what I have read in Vedanta Darshana and by books written by Yogic sages. When I researched on her sources – I realized that she claims to have got her inspiration from the Church of Religious Science (RS).

When I went further to see where the founder of this Church – Earnest Holmes - got his philosophy inspiration from - it turns out that he read voraciously, and the main books included those which spoke of Vedanta thought – by Thomas Troward, who was posted in British-ruled India and his hobby was the study of Vedanta and Upanishads.

Troward is considered the ‘Early Teacher of Mental Science’ – when he has done nothing but propagated and copied the belief system and science of Vedanta. He will be recognized in history as a contributing influence to Religious Science, the New Thought Movement in the United States and Great Britain, and also, to some extent, to the more liberal ideas of the Church of England – but the contribution of Vedanta – well, let us not bother ourselves with it. 

Each and every principle of Holmes’ "What I Believe" (which forms the Religious Science credo) – is a Vedanta affirmation. It is simply a modified version of Sanatana Dharma core tenets.

But if I go by Wikipedia pages, or shallow reading, I will not find the India connection. 

Interestingly enough, Holmes himself was greatly influenced by something the called the ‘New Thought Movement’ in the United States. And to every Indian, who goes through its tenets – it is easy to see that ‘New Thought’ is actually nothing but the thousands of years old philosophy of Sanatana Dharma – ‘New Thought believes that God or Infinite Intelligence is "supreme, universal, and everlasting", that divinity dwells within each person, that all people are spiritual beings, that "the highest spiritual principle [is] loving one another unconditionally... and teaching and healing one another", and that "our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living’. This is exactly what Ayurveda and Yoga teach us - the unity of consciousness (अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि), the principles of “Ātmavat sarva-bhūteṣu” among others.

Even if we try to trace the sources of RS further, we see that one of the influences it had was from the Transcendentalism and Romanticism – which again has roots in the philosophy stated in the Upanishads and the Vedas. The literary figures and main proponents of both these movements have cited Indian thought as their primary sources.

Intriguing indeed… I wonder why should these people, who claim to be very moral and open, do not clearly state that the Vedanta spiritual philosophy played a key role in formulating their ideologies.  

Though Louise Hay does state in her book that she attended the Maharishi University, Iowa and practiced Transcendental meditation (TM – again a fancy/non-Indian name of Yogic meditation), and still does Yoga for her health. But it is sad to see how she underplays that part and does not acknowledge the effect it has had in shaping her teachings.

There are countless examples where the people in the West have copied and plagiarized Indian books and philosophy and made millions out of it, without acknowledging the real source. 

Consider the example of Rhonda Byrne – The Secret. Her dirty little secret is that she copied her million-dollar idea from Vedanta - which believes in omnipresence of divinity, even as she has twisted the concepts in a rather bizarre manner. 

Let me quote from the Art of Living website to elucidate it a but further:

"Vedanta in the West: From Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Steve Jobs and Henry David Thoreau to The Beatles, Eddie Vedder and Russell Brand, westerners have a long history of turning to ancient Indian philosophies and practices to enhance their lives, bring peace of mind and provide practical wisdom. 

Films such as The Matrix, Vanilla Sky, Star Wars (Joseph Campbell, the renowned expert on Vedanta consulted George Lucas on the first three films), Inception and even Kung Fu Panda all have obvious Vedantic references and themes.

When Carl Jung first visited India 100 years ago, he was quoted as saying that Western Psychoanalytic Theory was in its mere infancy compared with Eastern Philosophy. 

Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson also was influenced by Eastern Philosophies, meaning that the 12-Step program has its origins in Vedantic Science as well. 

One of the most popular and effective contemporary mental health treatment programs, Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), is comprised of four primary modules (Mindfulness, Emotional Regulation, Distress Tolerance and Interpersonal Relations Skills) which are pure Vedanta, whether the creator of DBT understood them to be or not. That’s just how much Vedanta has permeated our way of collective thought processes."


At first glance, it might sound naive and immature to claim it to be a new revelation or new movement, when it is but a manifestation of an age old belief system. 

But it is not hard to imagine why the people in West are so unwilling to give the credit to the source. One can understand that it must be difficult for them to accept that a heathen country, which they had enslaved for more than two centuries can be the source of something so profound and good! It hurts their ego and self-respect. 

The title of this post is mother India, because Bharat is truly like a mother. 
People come here, take nourishment (spiritual in this case), and bloom, but go away and forget who nurtured their intellect. And Bharat, like a good mother, still forgives and continues to nourish more.

1 comment:

  1. Namaste Swati-ji,
    Very good observation and well written article. I admire the research you have done to find out the truth. It is indeed sad that people don't acknowledge India connection.

    I feel many Indians themselves don;t acknowledge or realize the depth of wisdom and knowledge that resides here. That each of us who are born as Bharatiya inherit from our ancestors.

    Given this situation it is heartening to see your efforts!

    Jai Bharata!