Now I’ll talk about Hindu resistance, a little the other part of the topic. What created the Hindu resistance? Did they surrender to the terror? How did they cope when their sacred places were desecrated? Conventional psychological theories cannot explain how people in large numbers resisted such brutality. I have discussed this with people many times that when the invasions began in the 11th century we faced a lot of brutality at a mass scale and it was similar to the invasions in Middle East in other parts. They changed their religion. They became completely different. But here it’s did not. And I’ve asked many psychologists that what can explain this?
Answer again came from one of my friends who was a Jewish psychologist. We discussed this. He had read Gita and he said that one of your philosophy is that the detachment of the body and the soul being eternal. He said that you have a philosophy and I have seen many Hindu say “I’m not the body, I’m not the mind, I’m the ever pure ever glorious Atma. I am the soul that will never die. This is something deeply ingrained in all of you”. And he said, as we discussed this it came on that, I believe this is a philosophy that helped you to sustain unimaginable torture on yourself because the invaders, who are our rulers, they definitely created a lot of torture and abuse on ourselves. If we, for example, take the example of the pictures for which we have, for example the Sikh gurus. We have documented history of (Guru Teg Bahadur). Your flesh being torn out, your body being slowly decapitated. For example, when Aurangzeb ordered Teg Bahadur to be killed, he said, “You see to it that only one drop of blood falls at one time. When he asked his disciples to be killed, they were boiled alive. Now these were not exceptions. These were regular things in those times and yet there was something that helped many Hindus to sustain that.
And I had an interesting experience. I asked a Kashmiri Pundit whose temple was burnt down. The mob had attacked and desecrated it and destroyed it. I said, “What happened? How did you survive?” I mean he was badly injured. He said, “When I realized that I cannot save it, I did not want to run. I came, I sat in meditation quietly and I said now whatever they do to me they will not be able to do any further. I will die over here, and a calmness came over me. I put my hand around the deity and then I lost after that all consciousness because they beat me, and they left me for dead.”
Now this thing about going into a meditational phase, thinking that I am different from the body, thinking that I am eternal, I am a soul, this philosophy I believe and this is something that I find that with psychologists that being the core element of our philosophy, helped us to cope in a big way. Further research is needed on that but I believe that it is very much needed.
This is one of my favourite pictures of all times- Guru Tegh Bahadur just before he was killed by Aurangzeb. He’s sitting in meditation and as he was killed and as he was decapitated, he continued to sit in this pose and not move. He who has a ‘why’ to live for can survive anyhow. Victor Frankel, a psychiatrist explained in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ that when a man discovers (I am writing the word man in a generic sense. I don’t mean man or woman here.) only when why he exists at the deepest level, this is also the message of Gita. I feel that it’s time enough for us to think of how we survived, why we survived and how we have carried on despite all the atrocities.