“The churning of the milky ocean or ‘Samudra Manthana’ shows the eternal struggle between the two poles of order(personified by devas) and Chaos(personified as asuras). The nectar is produced only after a pot of poison emerges from the ocean-demonstrating the interdependence between good and bad. The myth points the way to the transcendence of both order and chaos, which are brought into delicate equilibrium and ultimately subordinated to spiritual realisation“— Chapter 4, Being Different .
Author: Divya Nagaraj
I am Divya Nagaraj, a post-graduate in Management with a Bachelor’s in computer science engineering from Bangalore. I got to know of Shri. Rajiv Malhotra’s work in 2016, and since then I have had a paradigm shift in my thinking. His work is truly transformative, as it gives a logical understanding of the world we are living in today. His observations and presentation of facts with analogies are unique and profound. Never before has an author or thinker challenged our preconceived notions as he has. The key difference between Rajiv ji’s work and other contemporary authors is that his work is a result of original research, new observations based on logic and facts and most importantly holds relevance for the 21st century.
His work also made me question a lot of my learnings and knowledge of things till date. One of the significant things that I have incorporated in my life is to use Sanskrit terms as they are and not try to translate into English, as I have understood the importance and implications of preserving Sanskrit terms. I have also learned to apply the principles of Sanskrit Non-Translatables to many other simple Indian terms. For instance, ‘Dosa’ is usually mapped to ‘Pancake’ for the Westerners to easily understand, but I contest that Dosa is a healthy dish while Pancakes are not, because of the central ingredients. Another of my biggest takeaways is that all religions are not the same and that one should engage with the others with mutual respect. The operative word “mutual” is especially important today because the claims of oneness that people from other faiths parrot are only skin deep. The deep metaphysics of their exclusive faiths merely tolerate the truly diverse nature of the Hindus.
We may have achieved independence in 1947, but perhaps only in the physical sense. Are we truly independent as a nation or as far as our minds are concerned? Do our governance and policies reflect the culture and traditions of our civilization? Is it feasible for our land? Well, I don’t think so.
What I learned is that the British left us in 1947, but our minds continue to be colonized even today. Most Indians are unconsciously colonized, and that is a bigger danger for we are woefully unaware of the manipulation of our minds. Our societies are colonized in ways that are difficult to comprehend for a layman. Rajiv ji’s work acted as the template for me to identify the forces breaking India that are very active in the society we live today.
On the one hand, the West in the name of globalization, is asserting its supremacy and on the other, Islamic forces are striving towards achieving ‘Dar ul Islam’. Both the forces are relentlessly trying to engulf the Indian civilization and culture through assets that are well entrenched in all aspects of the public sphere such as academics, civil services, media, and government. One needs enough knowledge and exposure to identify this phenomenon. The book Being Different helped me understand the psyche of Abrahamic Religions and their obsession for power and supremacy. It is very important to understand and study the psyche of our opponents as the battles are no more physical. If we don’t contest Western Universalism that is relentless thrust upon us, we may end up being second class citizens in a culture alien to us. Slowly, we will also probably become an extinct civilization like that of the Native Indians in North America or the Pagans of Europe.
If it wasn’t for the book Being Different, I would never have been able to identify and understand the reason for ‘Garuda Stambha’ in a church, or decorating mother Mary like any other Hindu goddess, the biased news reports in the media, the colonized academic discourse, the psyche of our prominent public intellectuals, the use of the word ‘Mythology’ interchangeably with ‘Itihasa’, equating ‘Atma’ to ‘Soul’ and so on. I am also able to identify the popular American spiritual Gurus appropriating, distorting and diluting the Vedic philosophy.
Rajiv ji’s work has enabled me to identify and debate such Breaking India forces. I am a millennial, and we are fed the western unversalist narrative in all forms possible such as at the schools we attended, the movies we watch, TV shows and so on. The mentality of parents also seems to be unconsciously colonized, thereby influencing the upbringing. Therefore, the deracinated mindset is well entrenched in our system. In an environment where we only hear, feel and see everything through a colonized lens, it is challenging to convince my friends and family about the truth of various things. I mostly end up being labeled as intolerant or chauvinistic. The most widely misunderstood and also the most challenging idea to correct is the concept of secularism. The school textbooks present a colonized and distorted version of the concept of secularism. The book Being Different explains the concept of secularism in the most logical way possible.
Another significant issue brought to the fore by Rajiv Malhotra is that of our culture and traditions being appropriated into the Western framework through a process he calls “digestion”. This is being done in a very polite and polished manner where most Indians don’t realize that they are being deceived. We Indians are an easy target when it comes to cultural appropriation because we don’t have enough knowledge of our own culture and civilization. For example, Christian Yoga is a distortion of yoga so that it becomes acceptable to Christians. Indians themselves are not aware of the foundational elements of Yoga and therefore they are accepting of the modified and digested version of Yoga imported from the West. Rajiv ji’s work is also significant in deconstructing the widely popular myth prevalent today, that, to be modern or educated we need to separate from spirituality, philosophy, and traditions, which is purely a Western idea. I strongly believe that one of the reasons for the growing number of cases related to stress and depression among millennials is because of the Western idea of alienating ourselves from spirituality and the rich traditions of this land. Being Different has unearthed the deep underlying psyche of different cultures on which the societies have been built today. He has highlighted issues that we never thought of. He has challenged our thinking to understand the issues hampering our progress and overcome them.
Overall, I now understand the Indian society better, the chaos, traditions, rituals, shastras, philosophy, and most importantly the psyche of different world cultures. Being Different is the result of Rajiv ji’s tapasya and sadhana of over 25 years coupled with his jagad anubhava from his corporate tenure. The book gives the reader a mini jagad anubhava in the form of a great shock into awareness. It is high time that Indians woke up from their deep slumber and act on the path shown by the current modern revolutionaries like Shri Rajiv Malhotra. In this day and age, where everything is taken at face value, I have learned to get to the depth of issues and understand the Breaking India forces in operation. Indology is being misrepresented in Western Academia, why are we not aware of that? Why are we not united in fighting against it? Why don’t we have centers for South Asian Studies to control our discourse? In fact, why do we allow ourselves to be boxed into an identity called South Asia when ours is actually the mother ship civilization for most of the eastern cultures? Why is the authority to study us vested with universities like Harvard or Oxford? These are some of the intriguing questions we should be asking ourselves. The 21st-century battlefield is less about physical skills to fight the opponents and more about intellectual ability to understand the dangers to effectively debate with logical facts and reasons. That is where Shri Rajiv Malhotra’s work is invaluable. I would like to conclude by stating that, Shri Rajiv Malhotra is perhaps arguably the first courageous whistleblower of the designs that the West has on India, particularly the issues facing the Indian Civilization.
Divya Nagaraj from Bangalore is currently a Research Assistant at Infinity Foundation. She is a Computer Science Engineer from PES University, Bangalore with a Post-Graduate degree in management from SP Jain school, View More…