Title: India as a teacher in a new era
Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: January 3, 2000
India is entering the third millennium. It doesn't matters that this is a bit of an artificial date created by the West, which arbitrarily decided that the year zero started with the birth of Jesus Christ. India is entering the third millennium.
What does she wish for herself? That she succeeds in her liberalisation? Overcomes the consequ-ences of westernisation, which has killed the soul of so many so-called Third World countries? Or gets rid of the dreadful Nehruvian legacies, which tried to destroy all that was holy and ancient in this country and embraced instead western concepts totally alien to India like Marxism?
And if she does this then, perhaps, in spite of her huge problems she will emerge as a superpower in the third millennium. And then, finally, the West will also take notice of her, as it did of China 30 years ago.
But what does India have that Ch-ina doesn't? Democracy for sure. India is certainly a much more democratic country than China. She has proved it through 50 years of strife.She has a proved it by throwing up leaders and throwing them out when they perfo-rmed badly.
What else does she possess that China does not? India is also a bastion of the pro-western, open-minded, English-speaking, highly cultured upper and middle classes. Soon the West will realise that in Asia India is fighting an isolated battle against Muslim terrorism, which is rising everywhere in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh or faraway in Chechnya. No western nation could wish a friendlier country than India, whose elite dr-eams of sending their sons and da-ughters to study in Harvard!
But there is so-mething else, so-mething infinitely more important, which India can bring to the West. And that is her spirituality. India is a vast and ancient land which alone has managed to keep within herself thanks to the stubborn will of her people and by the silent tapasaya of her yogis hidden in their Himalayan caves the immaculate truth, the ultimate knowledge, the secret of our destiny.
At a time when the worldhas never been as disoriented as it is now; at a time when mankind is erring on the road to evolution; at a time when man has forgotten the `why' and `how' of his existence and all religions have failed, India holds the key to man's future.
And what is this knowledge? It is not some mystical, faraway and smoky Ut-opia, but a pragmatic, down-to-earth, Cartesian knowledge which can be put immediately into practice. Take pran-ayama, for instance, the most exacting, precise, mathema-tical, powerful bre-athing discipline one can dream off. Its effects and results have been observed and categorised by Indian yogis for millennia and it brings in, ve-ry quickly, wonderful results in both the well-being of the body and the quietude of the mind.
What about hata yoga, a 5000-year-old technique, which has inspired today all kind of aerobic, and so-called yogic techniques and gymnastic drills around the world? Practised properly it brings health, strength and endurance to the body. It is the secret of Indian yogis'incredible longevity and it may help foster immortality in the future.
What about meditation, that queen of all the yogic sciences? That which is above everything, that without which any yogic discipline is impossible? That which interiorises us, carries us within ourselves, to the discovery of our true soul and nature. There are hundreds of different meditation techniques, simple, Cartesian, easy to experience, which have been devised by Indian sages since the dawn of Bharat. And so many scientific studies have been done in the West which have shown that it decreases stress.
India is full of ashrams, of yogis, of masters who are still keeping alive all those wonderful sciences. From the tip of Kanyakumari to Kashmir, you cannot go anywhere in this country without finding some ashram, some sadhu, practising a particular tapasaya. If Indian schoolchildren were taught at a very early age the combined techniques of pranayama, hata yoga and meditation, it would may be produce the next human species of ourera, a race which is spiritualised in both mind and body.
Unfortunately, for a long time, the Indian government did not recognise the wonder that India possessed. But India's yogis and gurus are going all around the world to spread this wonderful knowledge. Some of these men are genuine, some are semi-fakes, some are total fakes. But it does not matter because almost all of them carry abroad the message of yoga and are propagating India's eternal dharma to the western world.It may be even that India will become conscious of the wonderful treasures she harbours within herself when the West will point its finger at it. After all, this happened in a lesser way in Japan with its martial art techniques, Zen Buddhism, rock gardens and Bonsai art, when America took to them after the Second World War. Let us hope though, that the true India will emerge before that and enter the third millennium with the knowledge of herself.