The first offering in this series is Introduction to Shri Ram Swarup.
Shri Ram Swarup was one of the finest thinkers of Bhāratavarṣa who commented upon every important aspect of Hindu culture; and upon the nature of Bhārata’s civilizational enemies, with penetrative insights. He did a pūrva pakṣa of monotheistic ideologies and religions like Islam, Christianity, Judaism and communism, through an exposition of yogic citta bhūmīs.
He explained yoga sādhanā and its centrality to Hindu dharma, drawing from deep meditational experiences. He explained Hindu darśana and nuances of language, words and roots by discussing names of gods.
He dreamed of re-establishing Sanātana dharma as a universal tradition, while helping pagan sects to revive. Never wasting a single word, his writing is un-editable like a sūtra and yet exudes great literary beauty.
Shri Ram Swarup was a deep civilizational thinker – spiritually, intellectually and culturally. Every aspiring thinker and leader should heed his call for Hindu renaissance and his concept of svayambodha and śatrubodha. This Bṛhat Dṛaṣṭā course is an introduction to the work of Shri Ram Swarup, discussing all his works in eight lectures, leading the learners to a better understanding of Bhāratavarṣa and the world.
Who is the Course For
Are you curious about the uniqueness of Bharatiya civilization and how it is different from other great cultures? Are you a Hindu who feels deeply invested in Bharatiya culture? Do you feel that you need to better understand this ancient civilization which is often claimed to be the longest living civilization on earth? Are you curious to know the ways in which Bharatiya civilization is different and distinct from the others? Do you feel there are hostile civilizational forces which want to destroy this ancient civilization? Do you want to do something about it?
Then join this course. This course will tell you who we are, and who we are not. It will tell you the most salient points in which the Hindu culture and Sanātana dharma are different from monotheistic cultures. It will also tell in shortest span possible the most fundamental traits of our own culture and civilization. It will tell you what are the universal features and fundamental propositions which makes us who we are.
Who are we? Every society has to ask this question every time we lose sight of our identity, origin and roots. What does being Hindu mean? What are the universal principles of Hindu dharma? What are the core ideas of Bhāratīya culture and civilization? Shri Ram Swarup has answered all these questions about the fundamental identity of Hindu culture and people. This course will attempt to develop this profound sense of svayambodha, who we are, through the works of Shri Ram Swarup.
India is locked in a civilizational struggle with two colonialisms: the European Christian colonialism and Middle Eastern colonialism. It is necessary to understand the theological, institutional and religious inspiration behind them. It is necessary to understand the nature of prophetic monotheistic religions like Islam, Christianity and Judaism and how they are different from yogic traditions like Hindu dharma, Buddhism, Jainism etc. This course will attempt to do it through the works of Shri Ram Swarup.
Respect for Tradition
Dharma makes itself manifest through traditions, customs and rituals. That is why, ever since the Vedas were written in Bhāratavarṣa, rituals have a central importance in Sanātana dharma. But how do these rituals work? How do mantras operate? How do they connect the human to the divine? Shri Ram Swarup has explained how the Hindu cosmos virtually works and during this while he has explained the deepest of life’s mysteries. This course will develop a deep understanding of the dharmic tradition and will consequently generate respect for the same.
Plan for Pagan Revival
One of the greatest dreams of Shri Ram Swarup was to revive the pagan, polytheistic traditions all over the world. And it was his firm belief that Sanātana dharma, being a great living tradition is capable of providing a cultural umbrella under which diverse non-monotheistic, non-Abrahamic traditions of the world can unite and also take guidance from. He considered it absolutely necessary for posing a united front against monotheistic colonialisms. This course will advance this path by making you understand the need and plan for the same.
1 – Inverting the Gaze: A Hindu View of the World
Studying the pūrva pakṣa of the two religions in his books like ‘Hindu View of Christianity and Islam’ and ‘Hinduism and Monotheistic religions’.
Books Consulted: Hindu View of Christianity and Islam, Hinduism and Monotheistic Religions
2 – The Mind of the Other: A Critique of Islam
Understanding the true nature of Islam and Prophetic Monotheism and how the Muslim mind works. This chapter will also deal with the issue of women in Islam.
Books Consulted: Understanding Islam through Hadis, Woman in Islam, Hinduism and the Monotheistic Religions
3 – The Missionary Threat: A Critique of Christianity
Studying the evangelist and missionary nature of Christianity and why it is fundamentally dangerous for Bhāratavarṣa and Sanātana dharma.
Books Consulted: Hinduism and the Monotheistic Religions, Hindu View of Christianity and Islam, Christianity an Imperialist Ideology
4 – Theory and Practice of Communism: A Critique of Communism
Delving deep into the early works of Ram Swarup in which he analyzes the nature of communism and how it can disturb Indian society and culture by weakening it from within.
Books Consulted: Gandhism and Communism, Foundations of Maoism, Communists after Communism, Red Star over Bengal
5 – Hindu View of Buddhism and Sikhism
Analyzing similarities, problems and conflicts between the two dharmic sects of Hinduism and Buddhism on one hand and between Hinduism and Sikhism on the other.
Books Consulted: Hindu-Buddhist Rejoinder to Pope John-Paul II on Eastern Religions and Yoga, Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism, Hinduism and Monotheistic Religions, Hindu-Sikh Relationship, Meditations: Yogas, Gods, Religions, Whither Sikhism?
6 – On Hinduism: Looking upon Ourselves
Studying our own tradition, religion and culture through the most universal of concepts and practices and reflecting upon the reasons of the cultural self-alienation in Hindus.
Books Consulted: On Hinduism: Reviews & Reflections
7 – Meditations: A Sādhaka’s View of the World
Gazing inwards into the greatest yogic tradition of the world, analyzing Pātañjala Yoga and its importance in our lives along with analyzing the nature of gods.
Books Consulted: Meditations: Yogas, Gods, Religions
8 – Sanātana Dharma and Pagan Religions of the World
Delving deep into the nature of language; analyzing the connection between speech sounds and consciousness; and finally understanding the mystery of the names of gods.
Books Consulted: The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods
Pankaj Saxena is an author on Hindu temples, aesthetics, arts, literature, history and culture. But he also calls himself a Voice of India graduate. Early in life, by the grace of his guru, he encountered the works of Shri Ram Swarup, published by Voice of India. And that started him on a journey of civilizational immersion.
Through the works of Shri Ram Swarup, he realized the importance of Sanātana dharma in greater scheme of things. It made him look at the world through a deeply Sanātana/ Hindu point of view. Ever since then he tries to spread the world of Shri Ram Swarup; particularly focusing on his deep spiritual anchor, the yogic vision behind this worldview, and his call for a pagan revival and unity, presided and guided by a living ancient, pagan civilization like Bhāratavarṣa. Pankaj is a witness to the awakening of a generation through the works of Shri Ram Swarup and Shri Sita Ram Goel. With this course, he seeks to take their vision further.
Civilization is an eternal yajña. And just as every yajña needs a yajamāna, the one who performs or protects dharma, so does the yajña of civilization. Agni, fire, is a symbol of civilization. It needs to be continuous for a civilization to be living. That is why at many places in Bhāratavarṣa, yajñās keep going incessantly.
This motif is all pervasive in Hindu cosmos. Just as the yajña fire needs to keep burning, so did the fire in the rasoi, the kitchen of every house, until it was replaced by LPG. The fire embers were kept in the night so that they could once again produce fire in the morning. Hindus, in this way, were literally, the fire keepers of civilization. It gives to us our name- we are Bharatas, the ones who bear or carry forward.
On an intellectual and civilizational level, this work is done by great rṣīs, scholars, thinkers and dārśanikas. By keeping the fire of knowledge eternally burning by continuous learning and teaching, through the great gurū-śiṣya paramparā, they kept the flame of Indic Knowledge Traditions burning.