AAPI Convention 2022


No place in Hinduism for intolerance of other faiths

Denigration of another faith is not the act or practice of a true Hindu. Every Hindu must condemn such acts., writes Amb Sarvajit Chakravarty (retd) for South Asia Monitor 

No place in Hinduism for intolerance of other faiths (Photo: Twitter)

Humans require to believe in divinity owing to the principle of cause and effect. Action would be paralysed if the actor were to first consider every possible consequence of it. That is why man does his best, and leaves to God the rest.

The unwarranted conflation of Hindutva with Hinduism by some sections of Indian society these days has been creating unnecessary tensions in our domestic social and political problems and is now generating diplomatic problems and opprobrium around the world as well as threats of violence to our national security. The time is opportune, therefore, to clarify once again, particularly for our youth, the basic tenets of a true Hindu.

The first principle of Hindu belief is encompassed in the Sanskrit phrase “ Tvat tam asi” , which can be loosely translated as “You are That”. In other words, this phrase is a philosophic expression of Einstein’s mathematical equation “e=mc2”. If That represents cosmic energy, or what we term divinity all matter, including humans contains some proportion of the divinity.

Therefrom comes the belief that Nara=Narayan. From this stems the belief in a pantheon of 330 million of gods and goddesses, equal to the population of India at independence in 1947. That number has increased now to over 1.3 billion. 

The eternal effort of humanity is striving for complete reunion with the divine energy. If each human is to some extent divine and can by exercise of his or her intelligence determine the path to achieve that ultimate reunion, one’s path is as valid as another’s. Whence comes the adage “Yata mat tato path” (All paths lead to the same Supreme).

Essence of HInduism

Divinity or energy is formless or Nirakar. However, humans seek from it additional powers to improve their conditions on earth. Therefore, some persons attribute to it anthropomorphic forms embodying the capacities they seek to augment within themselves in their journey to achieve the ultimate reunion - Moksha, Nirvana, Nibbana, call it what you will. Therefore, they imagine divinity as “Sakaar”. All of them belong to the “Aastik” group , which believes in divinity as the ultimate goal and source of their capacities. Others may even deny the existence of divinity and be Nastiks, seeking to improve themselves without depending upon unseen powers. Every path is as valid as the next one for all are striving to reunite their share of divinity with the greater whole.

Consequently, there is absolutely no place in Hinduism for intolerance of other faiths or sects. There are no texts which can be termed scripture but a wealth of philosophical musings about the nature of divinity and the duties of humankind for ethical and civilised existence. Debate and logic are essential to developing discourse and refinement of one’s path, but no path is superior to any other. There is no basis to denigrate any faith or belief system. All are equally valid for their adherents. This process helped Indian thinkers develop the largest number of faiths in the world and be a welcoming home to all the world’s faiths and practices. India was one of the first in the world to welcome the Abrahamic faiths and they all flourished here along with the others.

Therefore, the Indian Constitution too recognizes freedom of religion and faith. Denigration of another faith is not the act or practice of a true Hindu. Every Hindu must condemn such acts.

(The author is a former Indian ambassador. Views are personal)


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