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Rahul Gandhi’s encounter with the Upanishads

Bharat Bhushan | Updated on: 13 June 2017, 22:30 IST

"Nowadays, I study the Upanishads and the Gita since I am fighting the RSS and the BJP'' - Rahul Gandhi, Vice President, Congress.

Once Rahul Gandhi decided to acquire the wisdom of the Upanishads to explore ways to counter the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he found a wise teacher well-versed in the knowledge of the scriptures. He lived in the Himalayas, in a remote alpine meadow beyond Uttarkashi. The young Gandhi trekked to his ashram to learn at his feet.

The first lesson he learnt at the feet of his learned teacher was from the modern-day "Ucane Upanishad" – "Ucan-o-panishad" or “You-can-do-it- Upanishad”.

With a grateful nod to the Great Spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, a renowned translator of the Upanishads, we bring to you what our sources tell us about how Rahul Gandhi’s first lesson went:

Rahul Gandhi inquires:

"Who is making our minds think?

Who fills our hearts with hatred against other men?

Who causes our tongues to spew venom? Who is this

Invisible demon who sees through our eyes

And hears through our ears?"

The Teacher replies:

"Ideology is the ear of the ear,

The eye of the eye, the mind of the mind,

The word of words, and the life of life.

Immersing the senses and the mind

And renouncing their separate existence,

Only the wise realise the power of ideology.


"It is ideology our eyes cannot fully see, nor words fully express;

It grasps the mind in myriad ways. It divides us or unites us in

Ways which we do not recognise or understand,

"That which makes the tongue speak what should not be

Spoken by the tongue, know that as the ideology of hate.

Know that your hatred is not someone other than you.


"That which captures the mind but cannot be

Easily captured by the mind, that is ideology indeed.

This ideology is ultimately not someone other than you.


"That which makes the eye see but cannot be

Seen by the eye, that is ideology indeed.

This ideology is not someone other than you.


"That which makes the ear hear but cannot be

Heard by the ear, that is ideology indeed.

This ideology is not someone other than you.”

II

Teacher:

If you presume, "I know the ideology of hate," you know not.

All you can see is its external form. In hate-speech, killing and lynching.

Continue, therefore, your meditation.


Rahul Gandhi:

I do not think I know its power, nor can

I say I know it not.


Teacher:

There is only one way to know ideology,

And that is through its power to move people.


The ignorant think that they are immune to it

It cannot affect their intellect as they have no ideology,

But the wise know it is beyond the duality

Of the Knower and the Known.


This ideology of hate can be recognised in a higher state

Of consciousness when you have broken through

The wrong belief that you are

Immune to propaganda, misinformation and manipulation.

To recognise its dangers is to go beyond absolute beliefs and truths.


Realise the power of hate or of love, and where either one leads.

If you do not, there is only darkness.

Recognise the hatred around you, before preparing to fight it.

III

Once upon a time our forefathers defeated

These very demons; and though the victory

Was brought about through the power of an egalitarian Ideology,

They boasted, "Ours is the victory,

And ours the power and glory."


Ideology saw their foolish pride and appeared

Before them to teach them a lesson. They recognised it not.


It unleashed thugs, hate-mongers and practiced killers

And they convinced people to kill each other, to rape and to pillage

They murdered each other in the name of religion

As if on orders from a deity. That was ideology wreaking havoc


Our forefathers first went to the gods.

They pleaded with Agni, god of fire, "Find out

What this mysterious force is." "I will,"


Promised Agni and approached Ideology.

"Who are you?" asked the mysterious force.

"I am Agni, god of fire, known to all."

"Are you powerful?" "I can burn all on earth."

"Burn me": said Ideology and placed itself in front.

The god of fire attacked it, but failed

To burn it. Then he ran back to confess, "I have failed to discover

What this mysterious force is."


They pleaded with Vayu, god of air, "Find out

What this mysterious force is." "I will,"

Promised Vayu and approached the mysterious being (Ideology).

"Who are you?" asked the mysterious being.

"I am Vayu, god of air, king of space."

"Are you powerful?" "I can blow all away."

"Blow me away." Ideology placed itself in front.

The god of air attacked it, but failed

To move it. Then he also ran back to

confess, "I have failed to discover

What this mysterious force is."


The gods having failed them, they begged a mere human, Mohandas Gandhi,

"Find out what this mysterious force is." "I will,"

Promised Gandhi and approached the being,

Who disappeared instantly. In its place

Appeared the lovely goddess of wisdom,

And Gandhi asked her, "What was that force?"

IV

She replied, "That was Ideology, from whom

Come all your ideas of freedom, your power and glory."

Our forefathers realised at last (that)

they have been shaped by this mysterious force.


The light of Ideology flashes in lightning,

The light of Ideology flashes in our eyes.

It is the power of Ideology that makes

The mind think, to desire, and to will. Therefore

Meditate on Ideology and the power of ideas.


It defines the innermost Self of everyone;

It is worthy of our full attention.

You need ideology to fight ideology. Those who

Meditate upon this truth succeed both in politics and in life.


Rahul Gandhi:

Teach me more of this political wisdom.


Teacher:

I shall share with you fully what I know.

Focusing your senses and passions

On the people, and selfless service of all

Are the body of politics, your actions are its limbs,

And truth and compassion for all is the heart of this wisdom.


Those who realise the power of ideas to do good shall conquer

All evil and spread wisdom among other men.

Truly they shall attain control over the hearts and minds of others!


Om shanti shanti shanti!

First published: 13 June 2017, 22:30 IST
 
Bharat Bhushan @Bharatitis

Editor of Catch News, Bharat has been a hack for 25 years. He has been the founding Editor of Mail Today, Executive Editor of the Hindustan Times, Editor of The Telegraph in Delhi, Editor of the Express News Service, Washington Correspondent of the Indian Express and an Assistant Editor with The Times of India.

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