Artha, Kama, Moksha — And a Gaping Hole in the Middle: What Would You Choose, Modern Hindus?

Artha, Kama, Moksha — And a Gaping Hole in the Middle: What Would You Choose, Modern Hindus?
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The correct, non-contradictory way to live is to accept the existential truth that if we love something, we must also support the structures that make that thing possible. If we claim to love Sanatana dharma, we have to inevitably also love the traditions that give shape to that “religion”. And once we love those traditions, we also have to inevitably support the social structures that are the vehicles for the maintenance of those traditions, that is, the Sanatana community.

It cannot be that we claim to love Sanatana Dharma but at the same time work to undermine Sanatana traditions and Sanatana community.


  • “Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully… The effect of this education on the Hindoos is prodigious. No Hindoo who has received an English education ever continues to be sincerely attached to his religion. Some continue to profess it as a matter of policy. But many profess themselves pure Deists, and some embrace Christianity…It is my firm belief that, if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytise, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, merely by the natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in this prospect”
    — Thomas Babbington Macaulay, Letter to his Father, 1836 1
Connecting the Dots — #1

What is sanatana about something that keeps “evolving”?

For the word “Sanatana” to have any meaning, either it must refer to a set of practices that are capable of standing the test of time, or a set of values that are immutable even as practices change. So, if, as many of us believe, our practices have to “evolve” in order to “keep up with the times,”  then is it not vital that we state and define what the rock-bottom unchangeable dharmic values are that we use as a metric to judge whether a change in practice can be considered evolution, or adjustment, or adaptation, or plain surrender?

Achcha chalo, let us assume that we have in fact defined a set of dharmic values that we hold dear and will never compromise with. Would we not now use those values to judge “the times” that we live in? When we do that, will we continue to “keep up with the times” if “the times” themselves are revealed to be adharmic under the lens of our values? Would we not ask where “the times” have arisen from, and what the core values of “the times” are? Would we not enquire if those core values are foreign or dharmic, and even if they are foreign, whether they are complementary to Sanatana values or antithetical to them?

Some key questions remain un-asked and un-answered in our mad rush towards the Western river.

If our religion is constantly evolving, and if our traditions are mere superstitious weakness, then we have to ask ourselves what the contours of this evolving religion are in the absence of our traditions.
What would give it shape, form, exceptionality, definition and differentiation? Going further, if we are serious, we have to ask, what kind of post-traditional social institutions we need to design, and how we would ensure that they continue to reflect sanatana metaphysics and aesthetics while holding its morality at the core?

For example, Ganapathy Sthapathi, who came from an ancestral lineage of shilpis, entered the modern educational universe and eventually founded the Government College of Architecture and Sculpture is Mahabalipuram. Bharat now had an institution designed by a real practitioner to preserve, transmit, and nurture his ancestral knowledge. Any person with interest could now join the university and learn the art. So far so good. But, what happened to that institution immediately after Sthapathi’s death? The five-year course was reduced to a three-year course. All Sanskrit learning was scrapped (even though all the ancestral literature is in Sanskrit). The university has become a hot-bed for political one-upmanship.

These are not my personal observations; these are observations made by a graduate whom I spoke to. There are two problems here that I instinctively see: one, the secularization of the knowledge tears it apart from its original intended context making it nothing more than a technical manual; and two, the steep drop in quality as a consequence of turning a sacred body of knowledge over to a set of politicians, technocrats, and careerists.

So, how do we propose to tackle, seriously, this issue of Hindu institution building in the modern world? How do we retain context without birth-based traditions, and how do we maintain excellence without community? This is a very important questions to answer.

Unless we answer these questions and demonstrate our solutions in practice, we have no business interfering with traditional social structures. On the other hand, if we don’t even think it is important that we ask and answer these questions, well then… we modern Hindus are simply no longer Hindus in anything akin to the old way. We are all converts, either into Christianity Lite or some shade of Atheism (no matter the Ganesha murthi in our puja rooms).

If tradition is erased then we have nothing that holds the community together. In fact, many of us, depending on which shade of “modern” we are, already believe that the Sanatana community is evil,  backward, or regressive. So, we have now decided that along with tradition, community too must go. This brings us to the question – “How do we, the adherents of this evolving religion, plan to transmit reverence for the contours of that religion to the next generation in the absence of community?” What is going to be the institutional mechanism by which our values are going to be bequeathed to the next generation? Because without that mechanism, we are looking at extinction in one generation. Are we going to design a “Hindu Church” or are we going to have once a week congregations and daily calls to prayer? Or are we smart enough to design something totally original here and now?

The phrase “We must be strong” has two parts – “we” and “strong”. If we let go of the “We” in our mad rush to be strong (or united, or to “keep up with the times,” or whatever), then what exactly would it be in aid of, if we are now no longer ourselves? If we are anyway going to stand against our ancestors’ traditions and beliefs, then why not simply convert and be strong Muslims or united Christians? What is the difference? It is obvious that self-definition is the first step in this journey to strength. Who is it that wants to be strong? Why does that entity want to be strong?

Let us gather the courage to define the terms of our self-belief. Why do we care if we are Hindu or not?

  • A moral conviction about the empathy of ancestors is the fundamental building block of a civilization. To know that our inheritance is a moral one.
    A sense of Gratitude. Gratitude creates the desire to preserve, belong and pass on.
    Raghava Krishna 2, via Twitter, 2023

There are many among us today, well-wishers and bhaktas even, who claim to love the “religion” but not the traditions and communities. It has been argued that this new conception of our dharma is essential for our adaptation to the modern world of technology and Individualism. Maybe it is… but let us be clear that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the dharma of our ancestors.

The idea of Chesterson’s Fence 3 is useful at this juncture.

“Do not remove a fence until you know why it was put up in the first place,” he said.

Chesterton went on to explain why this principle holds true, writing that fences don’t grow out of the ground, nor do people build them in their sleep or during a fit of madness. He explained that fences are built by people who carefully planned them out and “had some reason for thinking [the fence] would be a good thing for somebody.” Until we establish that reason, we have no business taking an axe to it. The reason might not be a good or relevant one; we just need to be aware of what the reason is. Otherwise, we may end up with unintended consequences: second- and third-order effects we don’t want, spreading like ripples on a pond and causing damage for years.

To understand, therefore, the use of traditions as ancient as Sanatana traditions (and the need for social structures that held those traditions) requires much sadhana and insight. It is far better that we follow the lead of our acharyas on these matters rather than engage in individual-driven laissez-faire chop and change. It may well be that we fail to follow the traditions in this Kali Yuga, but let us not claim that whatever we do under the influence of Western memes of equality and choice, that suits our convenience, is in fact sanctioned by tradition. It is not.

Traditions do change, but under the guiding hand of fully engaged masters and practitioners, not you and me. How can someone not fully invested in a tradition be allowed to bring about changes in that tradition? It makes absolutely no sense. But the phenomenon of people who do not believe in the traditions but are, ironically, intent on appropriating or erasing the same traditions is a growing phenomenon. In the Sanatana world where invitation rather than imposition prevails, if one has a problem with a particular tradition, one is free to leave, create a new tradition, or engage in dialogue. That is exactly what jaati is for. But unfortunately for us, jaati-nature is fast fading from our consciousness and the idea of change; instead of being accretional as it used to be, it has become viral.

Take for example the Sabarimala issue where changes in a practice were demanded by people who had no bhakti in the practice (let alone knowledge of). So, were they believers or not? If they were believers, would they not want to show their belief by following the traditions? And if they were non-believers, then why do they or should they care? This self-contradictory stance is taken by disruptors and a number of quasi-Hindus of the reformist bent of mind (including the liberal Indian legislature and judiciary).

See the latest incursion into a purely Hindu religious space —
Madras High Court : No more elephants for Tamil Nadu temples 4

If we are constantly using foreign ideals to judge and manipulate our indigenous traditions, then we really have to ask, “Who the hell are we?” If we were conscious Sanatanis, shouldn’t this process of judging be the other way around? Should we not be judging Western ideals using Dharmic values and outcomes as benchmarks?

I have attempted to start this purva-paksha in this essay 5.

Change or evolution (if you will) has to be positioned with respect to dharmic archetypes, dharmic values and/or dharmic outcomes. It is only then that we can weigh what we are likely to lose against what we are likely to gain when we make those changes. And it is only then that evolution takes the form of revitalization rather than the erasure that goes by the name of reform today.

So, let us start to look at the unconscious and unconsidered change that Hindu samaj has been subjected to in the last two centuries as “Adaptation to Modernity” and not as “Reform of Hinduism”. This simple mental trick will help change the way we approach these changes. We will start to see that adaptation may be necessary but it does not have to be packaged as “progress” or “reform”. We will start to see that adaptation has a purpose higher than merely serving as a doorway to Westernization… and that purpose is the long-term protection of all that is beautiful and eternal about our religion. No matter the compromises we may have to make, they all become worthwhile only if we retain a sense of that higher purpose; otherwise, we are on a one-way path to deracination. This requires the state to enter into a sense of its true purpose and become the upholder and builder (along with dharmic private parties) of cultural institutions that hold and protect different parts of our essence.

From such a position of self-belief, all the issues that plague us will find resolution or compromise. But, if we start (under the influence of Western memes) with the assumption that the Sanatana community is an irredeemable evil, as many on both the Left and Right do, then all attempts at “reform” ultimately sow the seeds of erasure.

We are today on the brink of such an extinction.

The far-Left wants to deny Sanatana unity in their imagined pursuit of diversity, little realizing that it is that unity that has resulted in the continued survival of the diversity they so feverishly pursue. The far-Right, on the other hand, wants to erase Sanatana diversity in their pursuit of national unity, little realizing that it is the maintenance of that diversity that has been at the heart of our Sanatana self-definition, and it is that identity that has lent us our differentiation in the face of Abrahamic cultural desertification. Only the ordinary Hindu knows that “we are one, but we are not the same, and we’ve got to carry each other”.6


Connecting the Dots — #2

Why are Christian and Islamic saints never called great reformers?

Why is this dubious honour reserved only for Hindu saints? From Gautama to Sai Baba, every one of our saints has been burdened with this distinction. Is Sanatana Dharma the only world “religion” that is in constant need of “reform”? When a religion has been reformed for 2600 years (even as per Western timelines) would one not expect that it should be reformed by now? Have the reformers been so inefficient? Or the people so intransigent? So much so that we apparently even need a reformist Constitution and a reformist Judiciary! What gives?

If one starts with the a priori assumption that Sanatana Dharma is inherently oppressive, then one is left with no option but to reform the “religion” into extinction. This white man’s burden has unfortunately been internalized by generations of well-meaning reformist Hindus.

I have covered the entire phenomenon of Reform in this essay 7.

But one curious anomaly remains. The reformists do not want to explicitly make the religion extinct or obsolete, but they appear to want to usurp the mantle of the religion while cleansing it of its essence. They want ownership over our symbols without the responsibilities of the symbolisms. They want, for example, a Shri Rama without his Ram Rajya; a Mahaperiyava without his Deivathin Kural; a Yoga without “Chitta Vritti Nirodah”. They want control over our ancient tirthas not for devotion, but for tourism; they want control over our ancient temples, not to offer service as per the will of the Gods, but to offer them as examples of social justice as per the will of American academia; they want the beauty of our traditions without the social structures that hold and honor those traditions. These are the people, on both sides of the political aisle, in India and elsewhere, who want a freedom from direct British rule without freedom from British ideas, ideals, values, and structures of governance that impose those ideals upon our communities. What they want, quite plainly, in the case of the Right, is a Hindu Rashtra without Hinduism… and in the case of the Left, a Hinduism without Hindus. Now why would this be?

In my opinion, the answer lies in the curiously brainwashed state that modern Hindus find themselves in, post our final military defeat in 1857. That was a watershed year. What has come to be known as our first War of Independence was (quite obviously) actually our last war for independence… and this curious inversion of nomenclature is at the heart of the paradox that is the modern Hindu.

For people who have internalized the universality and supremacy of Western ideals, we did not become independent because we overthrew the British military and political yoke, but because we adopted their ideals in our Republic! For this set of people, obviously, 1857 became a starting point — and it is they who are responsible for the inversion of nomenclature. For them, it was in 1857 that we finally started to become “free” by changing ourselves into proto-Europeans and imbibing the best ideals of that continent. For the rest of us ordinary Hindus, on the other hand, 1857 represents the final throw of the dice (so far) for our indigenous aspirations.

Given our current lack of material power and intellectual clarity, everything that can possibly come now (at least in the medium term) is a hybrid solution – some Western beast with Hindu characteristics. Our battles today are about defining and protecting red-lines…. How much of this hybrid creature can we allow to be occupied by the West before we lose all sense of self? It is in the light of this hybrid creature that we must see the efforts by reformists to usurp the mantle of Sanatana Dharma as an empty shell in which to fill the ideals of the French Revolution. For seventy-five years, the idea of India has been held up as superior to the idea of Pakistan, not because it was more original or more moral, but simply because it more closely adhered to Western ideals. Think about that. This is an absurdity that is well past its sell-by date.


Connecting the Dots — #3

Why does the United Kingdom get to keep its monarchy and its state religion (Christianity) while telling us that monarchy and religion are great evils?

Why do Christians and Muslims get to keep control over their religious institutions, schools, and proselytizing arms while Hindu temples and schools remain shackled by social justice considerations and state control? Why are their holy books above reproach while our shrutis and smritis are not?

Why do we accept these power asymmetries like zombies, even seventy-five years after “independence”?

There is only one answer – “Secularism”. And not just secularism, but the peculiar definition of secularism that was adopted in this country. In Europe, secularism in its original context meant “the separation of religion and state”. It was born in a very specific Christian context in Europe to end the constant wars between the papacy and the monarchies of Europe. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Bharatiya history. We never had wars between our religious institutions and political institutions. Nonetheless, Nehru adopted a peculiar “secularist” stance that was supposed to mean “the state shall respect all religions equally”. Any thinking person can see that this is an impossibility because all the religions are mutually exclusive. If you respect one religion, you are bound to disrespect another. For example, if the state were to truly respect Islam and Christianity, it would have to respect their need to convert the whole of Bharat into their creed and subjugate Hindus in the process. That would automatically imply a disrespect for Hinduism. The Indian state has voluntarily walked into this explosive Catch-22. Stunningly, instead of walking out, it doubled down on actualizing this paradox.

For the Indian state to be able to respect all religions equally, it would literally have to reform all religions into submission, until they were force-fitted into the “Liberal” template of the State. At that point, indeed, all religions would be equal and therefore equally respected by the state. But since the two Abrahamic religions, Islam and Christianity, have powerful backers, financial conduits, established institutions of hate (proselytizing arms backed by a universalist mandate and a clear understanding of who their enemies are), clear, uncompromisable, theological injunctions, and a propensity for violence, the weak Indian state can do nothing about them — unlike the very different route that the Chinese state has taken. Inevitably, the Indian state resorts to appeasement of the two Abrahamic religions and unleashes its reformist agenda solely upon the Hindu religion (which, due to its decentralized, “live-and-let-live” nature, has no in-built protections or institutions of propaganda and hate).

No stone was left unturned. From usurping control 8 of Hindu religious institutions to reforming our social structure 9 to ensuring that every ritual practice would comply with Western Liberal ideals 10, the Indian state has poured an enormous amount of energy “educating” people and legislating away the Hindu religion.

We are taught from birth that “caste” is a social evil (which I have deconstructed in this essay 11).

We are kept unaware that the money we put into the hundis at temples is used by the government for whatever purpose it desires 12 , including secular causes and the appeasement of “minorities”. Think about that. Our prayers and contributions are possibly being used to strengthen the very forces who want to erase us from face of the Earth: see Sai Deepak’s eye-opening primer on this matter here 13.

Our ancient rituals, judged today in secular courts of law and in the legislative assemblies of corrupt, atheist men and women, are banned from being performed like they were in the time of Allauddin Khilji. The very latest such incursion is the banning of Sarpa Kavadi 14 for Muruga devotees citing the “Animal Protection Act”. Of course, the gazillion goats, sheep, and turkeys slaughtered during Abrahamic festivals will elicit not a whimper from the honorable men in uniform.

Secularism has morphed, from “separation of state and religion” to “state is the only God”. But mind you, this tasty lollipop is only for Hindus.

Secularism has addled our brains by separating us from the essential nature of our religion. It has convinced many of us that religion is but a small part of our identities that we can practice in private. It has also convinced many of us that there is a neutral space out there where all religions can come together in equality. In reality, none of the other religions believes this sleight of hand, and it is only Hindus who have bought it hook, line, and sinker. The other religions bide their time until the moment we are too weak to resist. Additionally, the secularization of our minds has opened our doors to the degeneracy of liberalism, a third order religion which has entered our lives like a Trojan Horse. We continue to believe that we can be liberal Hindus, while in reality, we are converted Hindu-flavoured liberals. We continue to believe that liberalism is a neutral creed, while failing to comprehend that it has only one mission — the destruction of the traditional world. We believe that our lives are better now… that we are more open now… but open to what? What are the social and political outcomes of that betterment and that openness for us and our children? For our families? For our communities? For the continued existence of our religion? Yesterday Kashmir, today Kerala and Assam, tomorrow Andhra, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab. The war is upon us and here we are, unable to take our eyes off the shiny toys and petty freedoms that liberalism has offered us. We have lost more ground to Abrahamists after we gained “independence,” due to our dalliance with liberalism, than we did in the thousand-year war. For a breakthrough that will give us parity with other religions, we have to first extricate ourselves from the maya of liberalism and from the structures of secularism….

Halley Kalyan has laid bare the nature and effects of Secularism in this essay — 15

I have explored the operating system of Liberalism in this essay — 16

Connecting the Dots — #4

How come all the “great” world religions’ followers are always “victims”?

How come the Christians who occupied all of Europe, Russia, Africa, the Americas, and Australia are “victims,” but the Romans, the Greeks, the Celts, the Gauls, the Yoruba, the Guarani, the Maori, and the Sioux are not?

How come the Muslims who occupied Arabia, Persia, North Africa, Indonesia, and half of Bharat are “victims,” but the Berbers, the Bedouins, the Parsis, the Malay, and the Sindhis are not?

It is very important for Hindus (and other traditional people all over the world), who come from a nobility-inspired template, to understand the nature of revolutionary groups who come from a victimhood-inspired template.

Instead of building unity around a shared constructive purpose, revolutionary groups coalesce around a founding event of victimhood where they were wronged. In the case of the Christians, it was the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. In the case of the Sunnis it was the flight of Mohammed to Medina; in the case of the Shias it is the death of Husayn at Karbala; in the case of the Jews it was the exodus from Egypt, etc. This perverse self-perception prevents them from working constructively to strengthen their own houses, pushing them instead to primarily work destructively at weakening the houses of others (who are classified as “oppressors”). This template has been usurped by all modern revolutionary creeds starting with Communism, which is literally founded on the idea of permanent oppression, and has grown to include every single left-Liberal cause.

To understand how these groups function, an analogy will help.

There is a house. It has been built over time by people with a constructive and therefore noble bent of mind. Over time, groups arrive, either from outside, or rebels from within. They claim they are suffering, and it is the house that has made them suffer. They demand “rights” (but offer to perform no duties). The keeper of the noble house is amazed that his constructive work could possibly be the cause of suffering, and immediately agrees to grant rights. He is unable to imagine that there could actually exist people who will not perform their share of duties. A room in the house is made available for the suffering group. The suffering group, because their very self-definition is suffering, is never appeased. It begins to say that the whole house is rotten and needs to be either torn down or handed over to them to run because they are “more moral”. The keeper of the noble house, at this point, offers a few more rooms and concessions. He even starts to make the suggestion that perhaps the group may be benefitted by building their own house. He may even offer his expertise in house building. But the group grows more and more intransigent. Building their own house will mean that they are no longer suffering, and their very identity would then be at stake. How could they possibly accept such an oppressive proposition? They redouble their clamour for more space in the house and for the house to be torn down.

The keepers of noble houses actually have no problem sharing rooms with any group that is willing to take on house duties and help build more rooms. This is the fundamental logic behind the jaati vyavastha. A reflection of this is clearly seen in medieval and modern times when Bharatiya hospitality was extended to groups like Parsis and Tibetans. It was also seen when native Americans helped White settlers through their first winter, with gifts of corn. The problem lies with groups who do not acknowledge this unspoken covenant of noble houses, spurn their generosity of spirit, claim entire houses for themselves, and do so with a self-righteous claim on the moral high ground. All traditional cultures see the diversity in human affairs as a reflection of the diversity in prakriti herself; it is something to be worked with, not erased. This is the baseline reason why the polytheist claim on ethics has far greater legitimacy than that of revolutionary cults.

The keepers of a noble house have only four options now:

  1. Send the revolutionary group out of their house, but this is a Catch-22, as they will once again have to bear the accusation of being “oppressors”.
  2. Build a wall between the rooms they have given to the group and the rest of the house — in other words, Partition.
  3. Leave the house themselves and build a new one — emigration… but where?.
  4. Take to victimhood mongering themselves.

All options are losing propositions. Consider now what fate will befall the noble house if even post-partition, members of one of the revolutionary groups continue to remain in the noble house, members of another revolutionary group are put in charge of education of the children of the noble house, and members of yet another revolutionary group are granted the constitutional right to expand indefinitely within the house. Eventually, formerly noble children of the house seeing how lucrative the victimhood template is, start to claim victim status 17. Nobility falls.

It must be obvious to all Hindus how these scenarios resonate with their lived experience.

The case of the United States of America is curious too. America was built by a quasi-noble people. They oscillated between constructive and destructive action (and perhaps that continues to be their national characteristic). As time has gone by, the noble aspect of that society has retreated under the onslaught of two revolutionary groups (risen from within), the far-Right Christian groups and the far-Left Liberal groups. Both have entered into a victimhood tug-of-war. As the two main political parties are forced to align exclusively with these two groups, all other options have faded into inconsequence, and the state, unable to find self-definition, has started to flail its arms and legs all over the world. There is no doubt that the rise of victimhood (and rights) signals the end of nobility and the great structures built by a sense of duty.

Thus was it in Rome. So shall it be in America and in Bharat.


Connecting the Dots — #5

How come Marxists who fought revolutions “for the common people” ended up killing 100 million common people in the 20th Century? That’s one followed by eight zeroes.

How come the White Man who invented the ideals of “Liberty” and “Equality” perversely end up enslaving people  or go on genocidal rampage across entire continents? “I will enslave you so you can be free, and I will kill you so we can be equal?” Sheer genius!

As they say on Twitter – “Feature not Bug”. The connections are a bit abstruse, but let me see if I can explain:

Many of us Left-Liberals have bought into the inevitability of modernity and individualism. It is not something many of us question. But, as sensitive people, we have an intuition that something is wrong with the world we live in. It is this intuition that puts us on a collision course with the zeitgeist. This is true for all of us, whether anti-developmentalists, environmentalists, song-writers, artists, social activists, socialists, alternative educationalists, or organic farmers. We want a different world which is, in our minds, a more just world. But we have not truly understood the nature of the capitalist world and our relationship with it.

Let’s start with the understanding that Capitalism is merely the economic arm of a way of being and thinking of self that goes by the name of modernity. It is a totalizing system that arose from the Bessemer Furnace of the Industrial Revolution and unleashed the forces of “Individualism, Atheism and Machine-ism” upon society. I say totalizing because, like its Abrahamic predecessors, it wants to control everything. It cannot leave a single object or person untouched because it sees all as resources to be processed and transformed. It abhors alternate loyalties – family, community, nation, religion, beauty, spirit, Gods — all must, in the medium term, either be consumed or erased.

The neologism “Machine-ism” refers to the “way of the machine” — a self-perception of ourselves and Bhu-Devi as resources whose end goal is efficiency and whose self-worth is measured by metrics of quantifiable productivity. Whereas in the past, we humans saw ourselves suspended between animal-nature and divinity, we today see ourselves suspended between animal-nature and machine-ness, or what has come to be called “The Matrix” in popular discourse. This has been clear to thinkers and writers for a little over 200 years now.

  • “Men have become the tools of their tools.”
    Henry David Thoreau, 1817 18
  • “Instrumentality is considered to be the fundamental characteristic of technology. If we inquire, step by step, into what technology, represented as means, actually is, then we shall arrive at ‘Revealing’. Technology is therefore no mere means. Technology is a way of ‘Revealing’. If we give heed to this, then another whole realm for the essence of technology will open itself up to us. It is the realm of ‘Revealing’, i.e., of Truth.” “And yet the revealing that holds sway throughout modern technology does not unfold into a bringing-forth in the sense of poiesis (poetry). The revealing that rules in modern technology is a challenging (it makes demands) which puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy that can be extracted and stored. If man is challenged, ordered, to do this, then does not man himself belong even more originally than nature within the standing-reserve (becomes a resource)?”
    Martin Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology”, 1954 (German Edition) 13
  • “Today all things are being swept together into a vast network in which their only meaning lies in their being available to serve some end that will itself also be directed toward getting everything under control.”
    William Lovitt, Introduction to Heidegger’s “The Question Concerning Technology”, 1976 19
  • “And, for an instant, she stared directly into those soft blue eyes and knew, with an instinctive mammalian certainty, that the exceedingly rich were no longer even remotely human.”
    William Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984 20
  • “Cyberspace is colonising what we used to think of as the real world. I think that our grandchildren will probably regard the distinction we make between what we call the real world and what they think of as simply the world as the quaintest and most incomprehensible thing about us.”
    William Gibson, 2010 21
  • “It is easy for me to imagine that the next great division of the world will be between people who wish to live as creatures and people who wish to live as machines.”
    — Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition, 2001 22

These three forces — Individualism, Atheism and Machine-ism — accomplish much in the world and transform our lives and the world itself in totality, but let us focus our attention on four major things they enable:

  1. Individualism breaks apart community (and family).
  2. Atheism provides the de-spiritualized and de-socialized “Self” the psychological foundation for the guilt-free ravaging of the Earth.
  3. Machine-ism provides the capability (high technology) and the logic (efficiency) for the centralization of all power and wealth.
  4. Propaganda — The entire system then foists the blame for injustice, inequality, and illiberality inherent in “Modernity” upon traditional systems! It does this to encourage people to break with the past, with all that was organic, beautiful, independent and spiritual in their lives. We start to look with disgust at who we were and turn instead to embrace this whisperer of lies. We are now the converted.

From this traditional point of view, there is zero difference between Capitalism and Communism. Both use the three forces to enable the disintegration described above. Under their pernicious effect and the propaganda of their media and educational arms, we, the intellectuals, have today unconsciously accepted modernity as a given. Some of us mistake modernity for mere capitalism and we fight it, but we never question modernity itself or its legitimacy.

We struggle against the rupture of the community by attempting to recreate community in some intentional way. We rant and rail against centralized power and wealth, we denounce billionaires, we support independent news sources, we root for the small guy, we fight for rights, little realizing that these are all contradictory causes. The very idea of “rights” springs from industrial surplus and big government. Rights cannot exist without Big Government, and Big Government cannot exist without Big Tech, and Big Tech cannot exist without Big Business — in that order.

One cannot live within a capitalist dispensation and fight it. One can only try to avoid it, and avoid being enslaved by it in little ways that French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari described forty-three years ago in their magnum opus – “A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia”.

  • “[o]ur [capitalist] societies exhibit a marked taste for all codes, ­codes foreign and exotic…this taste is destructive and morbid. While decoding doubtless means understanding and translating a code, it also means destroying the code as such, assigning it an archaic, folkloric, or residual function”

Schizophrenics “escape coding, scramble the codes, and flee in all directions… (they are] orphans (no daddy-mommy-me), atheists (no beliefs), and nomads (no habits, no territories)”. Deleuze and Guattari’s schizophrenic will not be trapped by the power-laden and despotic webs of signifiers.

Deleuze and Guattari see the schizophrenic as capitalism’s exterminating angel. For them the “schizo” is a radical, revolutionary, nomadic wanderer who resists all forms of oppressive power. They believe that radical political movements should “learn from the psychotic how to shake off the Oedipal yoke and the effects of power, in order to initiate a radical politics of desire freed from all beliefs”.  Deleuze and Guattari see schizophrenia as a central part of a subversive postmodern politics with the radical potential to bring down Capitalism. Read more here 23.

For Hindus, these deductions are an abomination. Read the last line again – “a politics of desire, freed from all belief”. This is the exact opposite of the goal of Hindu tradition, which is “the politics of belief freed from all desire”.

Deleuze and Guattari recognize the anti-Liberty aspect of totalitarian Capital just like Marx recognized the anti-meaning aspect of it. Marx responded by taking away liberty altogether and centralizing meaning-production in the State, creating an anti-human hell. Deleuze and Guattari go the other route: instead of going head-to-head with capitalism, they attempt to recover liberty by advocating schizophrenia! The fundamental thesis of their work implies that as long as one has identity, one will be enslaved by capitalism. Conversely, if one doesn’t have identity then one is “free”. One cannot be pinned down by advertisements or controlled by corporations and the logic of consumption. To be “free” in a capitalist society, one has to shed one’s identity. In such a world, identity-lessness is valorized. We are encouraged to break all forms and become formless. Indeed, this way of being can be seen as an Advaita without the anchors of Brahman and Atman. But unlike the Advaitin, the Modernist is stuck trying to manifest this vision of formlessness in the material plane. The evidence for the accuracy of Deleuze and Guattari’s reading comes from the patterns we are seeing develop in society today – Transsexualism, Gender as a social construct, Deep Fake, Cloning, Cyborgism, Social Media “Handles,” Artificial Intelligence… all of which represent the breakdown of the last vestiges of authentic human form and identity. Authenticity itself will come to be seen as untruth, lies.

When adharma becomes Dharma, we know that we are well and truly in the throes of Kali Yuga.

Deleuze and Guattari’s thesis is the very antithesis of tradition and the old way where metaphysics helps create form and meaning and aids us in our yearning for eternity and immortality.

Many of us have parts of the puzzle, and some of us have left conventional society and live in rural areas and grow our own food. Some of us are involved in re-wilding parts of the Earth, some in singing resistance songs, some of us start alternate schools to turn kids away from factory schooling… and while all of this is well and good, none of it makes a whit of difference. The logic of “capital” will simply appropriate and commodify all our rebellious actions. To truly critique the capitalist engine, we need to see that capitalism is only a symptom, a manifestation of a deeper underlying “dis-ease”. That disease is modernity itself, and it rests upon three legs — Individualism, Atheism, and Machine-ism.

When we really start to make this critique, we see that only Traditionalism and Polytheism have the solutions to our problems. The move to a low-tech world demands community. The retreat of Big Government opens up space for Tradition. And, the withdrawal from Machine-ism opens up space for Spirituality and the re-enchantment of Bhu-Devi (polytheism).

But as individuals within capitalist societies, we find that we are unable to accomplish anything. Our 1969 student revolutions were a failure, Woodstock was a failure, the Hippie movement was a failure, the anti-war Vietnam protests were a failure, the Occupy Wall Street protests were a failure. But, instead of returning to real community among real people, we look to “High-Tech” to fill that hole in our lives. Similarly, as Moderns, we are bereft of life ordering mechanisms. But, instead of turning to Tradition, we look to Big Government and Big Business to order our lives with dole, subsidy, law, punishment and the “9 to 5” routines. Fine. But do we not see the inner contradiction here? We refuse to take a single step towards true solutions (Community and Tradition), but instead we throw our lot in with high-tech and Big Government and then we complain about corporate control, globalism, environmental damage, end of small business and art and craft. It is inevitable that we will fall into the grave that we continue digging for ourselves.

The acceptance of this line of thinking brings us to the threshold of a portal. What does Community and Tradition mean for us? What has it meant for our ancestors? What are our communities and traditions? How do communities get along? How are traditions transmitted? What does it take to keep that world alive? How can I re-connect? How can I start to see Sanatana community and tradition as something incredibly wise that fulfilled essential human needs instead of as the evil that modernist propaganda had fooled us into thinking they are?


The Sanatana Map of Recent History


Questions for Each of the Six Distributaries of the Sanatana River
For Hindu Left Liberals and Communists

Are we conscious that we stand on the side of Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, and violent Abrahamic Universalism that has caused the hundred million deaths of the 20th Century, the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement of Africans, the colonization of Asia and your own ancestors, the baby-snatcher camps in Australia and Canada, the Holocaust of Jews, and the Globalist empire of materialist irreverence? I know that many of us are unconscious about the ramifications of our allegiances, as I once was, so really, “Are we sure this is where we want to invest our life force?”

Take the example of Tamil Nadu. We imagine that our pro-secularism, anti-hegemony, pro-diversity, pro-decentralization stance is leading us all to a better place. But, in fact, we are being manipulated into a racist, supremacist, violently universalist position by powers beyond our comprehension who are resolutely anti-indigeneity and anti the very pluralism that we think they stand for. These are the people we support:

  • “To destroy caste discrimination, burn the pictures of Nehru and Gandhi and also the Constitution of India. If all these methods fail to give us results, then we should start beating and killing the Brahmins; we should start burning their houses.”
    Sami Chidambaranar, author of Tamizhar Thalaivar 24
  • “The (SC) workers should be taught to live with what they receive as wages.”
    V. Ramasami, in 1968 upon hearing of the Keezhvenmani massacre 25
  • “What are the principles of The Self-Respect Movement? To destroy God, to destroy religion, to destroy Gandhi, to destroy the Congress, to destroy Tamil Brahmins. With these five points only, we founded the Self Respect Movement.”
    — E.V. Ramasami, Public Speech in Karaikudi, 1973 26
  • “I want to warn Annamalai. It is only because he is a non-Brahmin leader of BJP, he is not in jail. We have let him be thinking he is our boy… a young boy. But if he was a Brahmin, he would be in jail by now.”
    — R.S. Bharathi, DMK, 2022 27
  • “Biharis don’t have much brains”
    N. Nehru, DMK, 2021 28
  • “If there were no Christian Fathers and Sisters, Tamil Nadu would have become like Bihar. Catholic Fathers and Sisters helped me develop to this level. Tamil Nadu government is your government. Today’s Tamil Nadu has been created by you.”
    — M. Appavu, TN Assembly Speaker, DMK, 2022 29
  • “I am proud to call myself a Christian, all the Sanghis today will be burning. Because Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Minister Sekarbabu is saying ‘Hallelujah’”
    — Udhayanidhi Stalin, DMK, 2023 30

Brothers and sisters, think again.

For Hindu Hedonists

Have we truly internalized the worldview that humans are merely consuming individuals composed of multiple chains of carbon molecules as Economics and Science tell us? Have we truly internalized that everything is a matter of random chance dependent solely on the interplay of impersonal physical laws and chemical reactions?

If “yes,” then why cry when our fathers die? Why exult when we fall in love? Why be proud of the work we do? Why kiss our babies goodnight? Why not commit suicide right now as Leo Tolstoy once urged?

  • “If a man lives, then he believes in something. If he didn’t believe that one must live for something, then he wouldn’t live. If he doesn’t see and doesn’t understand the illusoriness of the finite, he believes in the infinite; if he does understand the illusoriness of the finite, he must believe in the infinite without which one cannot live.”
    Leo Tolstoy, A Confession, 1880 31

If suicide is not an option for us, then perhaps in our heart of hearts we can start to acknowledge that not everything is meaningless and there is an un-named, un-spoken thing that lends meaning, whatever it may be, that we are being disloyal to… and that perhaps we have some responsibility towards that thing?

For Hindu Liberals
  • “Why is it that when a Hindu youth enters the doors of a madrasa, and stops believing in his traditional Gods, the worldview of the Vedas, in Karma, in multiple births, in the sanctity of life itself, we say that he has converted, but when the same youth enters the doors of a university, stops believing in his traditional Gods, the worldview of the Vedas, in Karma, in multiple births and the sanctity of life itself, we ignore his conversion and go on to praise his accomplishments and call him scientific and liberal? Why do we fear our children entering the former door but not the latter when, in fact, their effects are exactly the same?” 32

I have an answer for us. The reason why Hindus are able to distinguish between Hinduism and Islam, but not between Hinduism and Liberalism, is because Hindus are a free people. We resist dogma. It is this trait that we share with liberals. It is this commonality that leads modern day Hindus to confuse Hinduism with Liberalism and end up undermining and diluting their own faith. This is the reason why it is not Abrahamism but Liberalism which is the single greatest threat to Hinduism. It is a Trojan horse that has entered each of our families on the silent wings of “education” and Netflix.

Freedom from dogma is indeed a commonality we share with Liberals but our paths diverge sharply immediately after that. Liberalism sees freedom as a “freedom to,” while Hindus have always seen freedom as a “freedom from”. Liberal freedom is liberty, whereas Hindu freedom is moksha. Liberty says we are free only when we can fulfil our every desire. Moksha says we are free when we are free from desire itself. Self-­indulgence for individual gratification is the Liberal way. Self­-control for the greater common good is the Hindu way. Liberal happiness is pleasure. Hindu happiness is contentment. If only we know this consciously, we can live as authentic Hindus even within the Liberal world.

Do the Muslims in our lives practice Islam? Yes. Do the Christians in our lives practice Christianity? Yes. Do the Liberals in our lives espouse Liberty? Yes. Do the Communists in our lives espouse Equality? Yes. Do we, as Hindus, practice or espouse Dharma? No. Where’s the self-respect in that?

If we find it hard to step away from the ideals of the French Revolution at such short notice, there is one easy and unfailing way to reorient our priorities, and that is to abide by the Principle of Reciprocity. Observe how other religions including Liberalism treat Hinduism, and give back as good as we get. Not asking for hatefulness, just for fairness and equivalence. The Principle of Reciprocity automatically requires us to embark on a process of self-definition. This slow return to Swayambodh33 may take a few years, but it is unfailing.

For Hindu Reformists/Conservatives

“What is it that Hindu Conservatives want to conserve?” If we believe that we are conservatives, we have to answer this question clearly, because it is our answer to that question that will determine why and how we are different from Hindu Liberals (if at all).

I know, and I understand that we believe that our desire to reform our religion stems from a deep love of it. We believe that we need to reform ourselves in order to be united so we can survive the Abrahamic and modern onslaughts. We believe that we need to be united in order to be strong. Some even believe, subconsciously, that we need to reform ourselves so our society is so moral in the eyes of the West that no questions will ever again be raised about our “regressive-ness”. No more Sati-this, dowry-that. We want to be seen as one among the “progressive” nations. Do any of these courses of action look like they have been initiated by a people with self-respect?

Sociologist A.K. Saran calls it the Nilakantha Syndrome:

  • “The synthesis ideology, or the Nilkantha Syndrome which has continued to possess the Hindu consciousness from the days of Muslim and British domination down to the present time, is the Hindu way not only of paying the fatal price for some kind of survival, but also of masking the fact that such a tremendous price is being paid.” 34

So, ask not if we are good enough to belong in their world. Ask if they are good enough to belong in ours. Ask not what it takes to survive in their adharmic world. Ask what it takes to turn the world towards dharma.

And if our “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” (OCD) does not allow us to look ahead without first resolving every inter-tribal skirmish that plagues this land, then by all means, let us establish taluka-level inter-jaati sambhashan committees; let us design annual Purusha festivals that will travel the length and breadth of the country bringing the jaatis together in shared ritual; let us build those national temples at every taluka, where our new ideas of social organization can be tested.

But let us do so in humility, knowing that the Sramanic paths have been around for three thousand years, Vaishnavism has been around for one thousand years, Sikhism for five hundred years, the Arutperumjyothi for one hundred and fifty years… and yet… and yet, it does not look like the “depressed classes” have the least bit of actual interest in radical equality. They have continued to hold fast to their identities, only riding the coat-tails of Western idealism in order to gain their share of power in the modern world.

Let’s give them, and indeed all of us together, less French Revolution and more Dharma… more Purusha. The parched earth yearns for rain.

For Hindu Moderns

Can we provide our children what our parents provided us and what our grandparents provided our parents? If not, then what will our children be able to provide their children? Will our descendants re-present us as we re-present our ancestors?

I know the Western world is upon us, and its increasingly impossible to make ends meet, let alone keep track of outside influences in our children’s lives, but it is time to start blocking out the noise and pay heed to that voice at the back of our heads. If, as parents, we intuit that there is something wrong with the way the world is set-up, then we’re probably right. The flow of culture is a one-way street. With every new generation, the new normal is always pushed further West. If we want to stop feeding the pink river and generate a flow back towards the blue river before it runs dry, we cannot simply accept everything that comes our way as “zamana badal gaya hai”.

Arre, zamana kyun badal raha hai? It’s not the times that change, it is always we who choose to change. We determine the times, either consciously or by doing nothing.

It is true that the old world has passed. We do not live in a Hindu ethno-scape anymore. In this new mixed world, one has to understand the idea of the cultural “slippery slope”. When we leave our traditional structures, we don’t enter a neutral ground. We enter a ground that has already been prepared for us by Western Modernity, a conversion ground. We get to keep the superficialities of our religion but we are forced to abandon the depths. All of us, today, exist in this liminal state. The Western structures we live within are openly entropic, they are constantly incentivizing the breakdown of all structures of Maintenance in favour of the structures of Experience. If we don’t Stand for Something, we will pretty soon Stand for Nothing. There is no neutral ground where we can exist without culturally falling apart. There is no safe space our children can grow up in where they will automatically turn into Sanatani adults. It is in this context that the idea of Tradition becomes important as a set of red-lines, uncompromisable practices and values that we, as a society, collectively defend (like our ancestors did) from the slippery slope. They serve as footholds for committed people to hold their ground and perhaps even begin the climb up to the heights our ancestors once occupied.

  • “It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are MEASURES…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.”
    Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World 35

The traditions themselves are cultural red-lines but more and more we are realizing that in the mentally-colonized Republic, the very idea of tradition itself has become a red-line.

What traditions will be allowed to remain in the Republic? What traditions will be reformed? Who will be allowed to honor their traditions? Who will not? Are traditions a weakness that need to be eliminated? Or do traditions define our sense of self? Can they be changed? By whom? Who has the adhikaara? Are those adhikaaris themselves to be replaced? On what basis? Will traditionalists be allowed to define a reasonable part of our future? Or will they be exterminated in a wave of self-righteous Western idealism? Can we reach an Israel style arrangement between the orthodoxy and the liberal establishment, where tradition will be protected as a refuge and a library? If not, can traditionalists at least hope to be left alone to carry on in the footsteps of their ancestors?

We must ask all those questions.

And we must answer this one – “Why did our ancestors resist the invaders?”

Was it to uphold the ideals of the French Revolution? Come on now…

What is it they were fighting to preserve and protect? What was so precious that they were willing to sacrifice their lives for…to have their eyes gouged out for, to have their skin flayed for, to be boiled alive for? Does the nation/society we have today suitably honour those sacrifices and their wishes, or do we make common cause with their enemies and send our best and brightest to pay taxes in their lands and swell their coffers? Too many Hindus have un-thinkingly bought into the “End of History” argument which is nothing but a euphemism for our acceptance of a foot-stool at the table of Western Liberal hegemony.

I am aware that it is inevitable, in this age, that a vast majority of us moves to a Westernized way of life, but what is the price we are willing to pay in terms of self-respect and self-perception?

If such vast and uncontrollable change is upon us, then we have to address the crux of the matter:

  1. What is the model of Hinduism that Hindu Moderns will follow? What are the bare minimum cultural red-lines that would comprise this new ‘Hinduism Lite’ so as to help differentiate its practitioners from their Abrahamic peers?
  2. What kind of relationship will the Hindu Modern have with traditional practitioners – Adversarial, Respectful, Symbiotic or Live-and-Let-Live?

Surely it can be nobody’s contention that the civilizational hole created by the retreat of the samskaaras, the kula devatas, the pancha rinas, the yamas, the niyamas and varnashrama dharma can simply be filled by more and more elaborate celebrations of Deepavali and Holi.

Does it not make sense that the last remaining islands of classical Hinduism be protected and nurtured by us all so they continue to serve as a refuge and a library, and maybe when we’re ready, even as a civilizational mirror and inspiration?

For Sanatanis
What vision of inter-relatedness are we willing to offer all the other various shade of Hindus? What model that will suit our needs, the demands of the Gods and our ancestors, and give them all a noble purpose? Here is one way to imagine a model.
The Kurmaha | Hard Shell. Soft Core.


References and Links
  6. Lyric from U2’s “One”,
  23. Life is a Miracle: An Essay against Modern Superstition | Wendell Berry, 2001
  24. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia | Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, 1980 and
  25. Tamizhar Thalaivar | Sami Chidambaranar, 1939
  27. Public Speech in Karaikudi, E.V. Ramasami, 1973
  32. A Confession | Leo Tolstoy, 1889
  34. The Crisis in Hinduism | A.K. Saran, 1971
  35. Revolt Against the Modern World | Julius Evola, 1991
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of any information in this article.


Maragatham returned to Bharat after earning an engineering degree in the US. He moved to a farm in rural Madurai District. Working with rural communities in both farming and construction brought him face to face with the untruths of universalist Western education resulting in his conscious ghar wapsi to Dharma, Hinduism, and the ways of his ancestors. His self-published books include, “Light In The Forest: A Dharmic Landscape for Hindu Kids and their Parents,” and “It's Not For Nothing That We Stand For Something: Basic Intellectual Self-Defence for Hindu Parents”. He tweets at @bhoomiputraa, and writes under a pseudonym to protect his family from left-liberal attacks.