New Book – Understanding India Relevance of Hinduism

Understanding India Relevance of Hinduism - presents views of experts on various aspects of Hinduism. The book states that to know India, an understanding of Hinduism is a must.

The book is edited by Subhash C Kashyap and Abhaya Kasyap and is published by Vitasta. The book contains articles by Dr Karan Singh, Prof HR Bhardwaj, DR Kaarthikeyan, Hari Jaisingh, Bharat Karnad and Subhash C Kashyap.

The noteworthy chapter in the book is by Bharat Karnad, Research Professor at Centre for Policy Research. He explores the weapons and war strategies dealt in the ancient Hindu Scriptures like Vedas, Puranas and the two epics.

Bharat Karnad asserts “Vedic philosophy was realistic about human nature, it did not idealize it instead human nature was perceived in its base and unvarnished form. Venality, ambition, greed and the lust for power and wealth were the givens in this universe.” (link)

He points out the numerous weapons employed in the Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The weapons that were discussed in the ancient Hindu scriptures included chemical and nuclear ones. Karnad talks about various astras (arrows) including WMDs, chemical weapons and about a tear gas named vilapana.

He then compares present day Indian strategy with the Vedic Culture.

“There are two distinct sets of Indian thought that have evolved over the millennia. One is the robust, aggressive, proactive, violent and realistic machtpolitik (militarism in national interest) of Vedic India.

The Vedas and the epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata) spawned the Arthashastra of Kautilya which “advocated the use of force, expediency and amorality.

The other is the later development of the passive, insular, defensive and fatalistic mindset stressing morality, self-abnegation and self-sacrifice that took hold with the infusion of Buddhist and Jain precepts into Hinduism, manifested in the latter-day philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi.” says Karnad.