Using mythology to mock Hinduism
Any article, festival article, media report on Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism will invariably bear the prefix or suffix “Mythology”. No other existing religion has to face the ignominy of being called “mythology.” What is “mythology”? It means a collection of stories, with no historical or scientific basis. It can also mean false beliefs. Why is Hinduism alone attacked as “mythology”? To understand the reason for this systematic attack on Hinduism, we need to explore a bit of history.
Target the gods of ancient civilizations
Many religions that existed in antiquity no longer exist. All gods and goddesses of ancient civilizations and religions have been entirely decimated using the term “mythology”. So, we read about Roman mythology, Greek mythology, Chinese mythology, Egyptian mythology, Japanese mythology and so on. All of these ancient belief systems and religions have been shattered by simply inserting the word “mythology”. These religions have now been replaced by two West Asian religions, which simply claim that they are the true religions and that all others are mythologies or simply superstitious beliefs. Therefore, there is a dishonest intention to ridicule other religions by calling them “mythology”.
All religions have a supernatural element and include blind beliefs in miracles and many other phenomena which are inexplicable by current logic and reason. All religions can therefore be considered illogical, unscientific, superstitious and irrational. Therefore, if one particular religion mocks another by calling it “mythology”, that is arrogantly absurd.
Assault on Hinduism by barbarian invaders
Hinduism had to bear the brunt of ridicule, of extreme violence upon its followers, of the destruction of its places of worship, at the hands of foreign invaders, who were followers of one or other of the systems of West Asian belief. Since 712 AD, the assault on Hinduism has been unprecedented in the annals of human history. Millions of people were violently massacred and Hindu places of worship ravaged by frantic soldiers, generals, priests and kings, simply because people followed a different belief system. Not only Hindus, but also Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, faced the wrath of barbarian invaders and experienced violent savagery and brutality. Great Hindu empires crumbled to be replaced by foreign invaders who professed the Islamic faith. From 1560 to 1812, another West Asian religion began its reign of savagery through the Inquisition of Goa. The advent of British rule saw strategies change. Historians, scholars, pedagogues, missionaries took over and similar strategies employed for European conversions were used. Many European belief systems have been referred to as “mythology”. Many religions have been downgraded and degraded and called Basque mythology, Celtic mythology, Brythonic mythology, Brittonic mythology, Cornish mythology, Welsh mythology, Cantabrian mythology, Norse mythology, Teutonic mythology, etc. This strategy had clicked in Europe and this same strategy was sought to be replicated in India. Arrogant missionaries coined terms like Indian mythology, Hindu mythology and used them in their educational institutions to brainwash Hindus into converting. Not only Hindus, but also Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs have also had to face the ignominy of their religions labeled as mythology. The traditional beliefs of Northeasterners were derided as “animism”, which paved the way for mass conversions to the West Asian religion. The “mythology strategy” worked in a few places in India, but met with very limited success. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, who studied in schools and colleges run by missionaries, graduated with the ingrained belief that their religions were just “mythologies” and that West Asian religion was pure history and a direct import from God. !
Although in practice India’s strain of “secularism” is interpreted by politicians in a distorted and perverted way, showing marked favoritism for West Asian religions, it still does not confer any right on any religious entity to criticize other faiths as “mythologies”.
This intellectual damage inflicted on the minds of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs continues to this day. Islam, the other rival religion in West Asia, might fend off this diabolical strategy due to the outright commitment of its followers. But, English-educated Hindus use the term ‘mythology’ as the obligatory accompaniment whenever they write, speak or discuss Hinduism. Although it is not used in a derogatory way, it has a very negative impact on the minds of readers and listeners. Many young modern Hindus believe that their religion, being only a “mythology”, does not need to be taken seriously. However, there is nothing wrong with believing in divine birth, stories of turning water into wine, miracles, these are not mythology but pure history. The young generation’s indifference to its religion, culture and traditions has serious consequences. As a result, many states face the specter of mass conversions, aided by Western funding. The state of Punjab and Sikhism are facing great challenges from foreign-funded missionaries in Kerala, who insist that except their religion, all others are just ” mythologies”. New terminologies like Dalit-Sikhs are introduced to divide the Sikh community. Over the next decade, this will be organized into a distinct political force. Massive conversions are being engineered, leading Nihang Sikhs to appeal to the government to curb conversions. If this trend goes unchecked, it will create a new dimension in Punjab politics. Many states have been forced to enact anti-conversion laws to resist these foreign-funded Kerala fundamentalists.
Since 712 AD, the assault on Hinduism has been unprecedented in the annals of human history. Millions of people were violently massacred and Hindu places of worship ravaged by frantic soldiers, generals, priests and kings, simply because people followed a different belief system.
How can we resist branding Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism as “mythologies”? This propensity to castigate other religions as “mythologies,” directly contradicts the constitutional mandate of “secularism,” which implies equal respect for all religions. Although in practice India’s strain of “secularism” is interpreted by politicians in a distorted and perverted way, showing marked favoritism for West Asian religions, it still does not confer any right on any religious entity to criticize other faiths as “mythologies”.
The government can legislate to make it illegal to label any religion as “mythology.” Adding “mythology” as a prefix or suffix to any religion practiced in the country should be criminalized. The media can also edit all these epithets in their publications. To conclude, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “Mythology is not a lie; mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been said that mythology is the penultimate truth –– the penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images, beyond that delimiting edge of the Buddhist wheel of becoming. Mythology projects the mind beyond this edge, towards what can be known but not told”.