A Hindu Saint whose heart beats for Israel

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India is a faith based country whose nature is very much religious although in Indian context religion is very much different what generally people conclude from this word. Religion in India has some different meaning from pre reformation age of Western world where church and state had no separation and western world fought hard to evolve the concept of secularism. In Indian context religion is not intermingled with state and Hinduism as a religion has no institution as church to dictate state. In this way definition of religion is very much different in Indian context which is not pregnant with danger of fundamentalism. For thousands of years India has a diverse culture as Hinduism has never been confined in one prophet and one book. Hinduism evolved itself as a principle for universe and here duty for every one is defined as religion. For thousands of years India has its identity in its religiosity and now even in modern world India is being identified with its religiosity as its nationalism. But this religiosity has wide range of coverage for every faith and religions. India showed its generosity  thousands of years back when this nation which carries  history of continuity for last five thousand years first overwhelmingly sheltered to Jews when they were forced to leave their promised land. This strong bond of relationship between Hindus and Jews has continuity for thousands of years. From time to time Hindus saints raise this issue and praised Jews for their great heritage, culture and legacy.
 
India as a faith based country and most populated Hindu country always keep lot of reverence for saints and sages. In modern history of 20th century we have lot of Hindu saints who crossed the confinement of rituals or routine worship and dreamed something big. One name which we remember in this tradition is Swami Vivekanand who addressed the world religious conference in 1893 in America and opened the door for internationalization of Hindu religion. After his speech in 1893 he became popular in the whole world but particularly in India his popularity changed the era and Indian youth of 20th century got international exposure. His contribution to modern India is more than any political or social leader. Every political or social movement was organized by those figures who drawn inspiration from Swami Vivekanand. Swami vivekanand was such a visionary person that he taught Indian people to see their problem in global perspective and being a faith based and religious country people responded him and heard him carefully.
 
Again India is on the verge of change and country is facing lot of internal and external problems from security to nation building, in this hour of crisis Indian people again hope for a Saint to guide them.
 
Few days back I had a chance to visit Haridwar a holy pilgrim for Hindus and well known for  spiritualism ,yoga and meditation. In this visit I got a chance to meet an influential saint with richest following in India Swami Avadheshanand Giri. He is the chief of Juna Akhara a tradition of sages in Hindus. This Akhara is a conglomerate of various saints  and sages which counts in thousands. In Hindu tradition there is a big role of Master( Guru) and disciple . The  purpose of my visit was to witness the ceremony of Gurupooja ( worship of Master) and in this way I had a chance to meet Swami Avdheshanand and spend some time with him. During my brief interaction in various sessions it was known to me that how much passion he has for Israel. Being a saint his heart beats for mankind but his first love after India is Israel. He gave me a book of Israel to read which articulates the ancient history of Israel with comparison of its contemporary situation. His passion got overflowed when he showed in that particular book how third temple mount has been converted into a mosque. He was the saint who had a privilege to lead the Indian delegation in Israel in this year in “presidential conference-Facing Tomorrow”. With his lot of experiences from Israel he has realized the necessity of strong Indo-Israel relations.
 
In present scenario where some religions have been used to achieve political goal with lot of blood shed it was always nice to see a saint talking for progress of country with security and spirituality. Religiosity in India has influenced people to such extent that administrative machinery and political structure did not decide the future of India but it is force of saints and sages with their followings have the last laugh. Taking this truth into consideration vision of Swami Avadheshanand ranks him to a realistic saint who is not only worried for his traditions and rituals but want to contribute in nation building as well.
 
In my meeting I was a curious listener and tried to analyze his vision which culminates in strong and developed India. He has worked a lot to organize and collect hundreds of scientists to search for those ancient rivers of India who have vanished in course of time. This initiative from a saint sounds unusual as we have some different concept for religion and faith but Swami Avadheshanand has broken the tradition and he is working overtime day and night to fulfill his vision as well as his rituals and traditional worships etc. One thing which inspired me was his love for Israel and its culture as well as respect for its technological advancement in irrigation and defense. In his visit to Israel he had a chance to meet with agriculture minister who has taken the project of drip irrigation in farming. According to Swami Avadheshanand this technology could prove to be a revolution in Indian agriculture sector. Story does not end here he ranks Israel as natural ally of India in cultural and strategic areas also. Swami Avadheshanand is a different saint who believes in using new technology with an IPOD with him to see the film on holocaust whenever he gets chance.
 
He has several program to execute .He looks to have more social and spiritual interaction between Hindu saints and Rabbis as well students of both countries along with thousands of Jews who come to visit India every year.
 
Indians in particular and Hindus in general term Jews and Israel as their allies but due to cold war syndrome and leftist inclination of academicians and pursuance of polity for political correctness India took 44 years to have a diplomatic relationship with Israel and it  happened in 1991 only when government headed by P.V.Narsimha Rao initiated on this front and both countries opened embassies in their countries. After 15 years of diplomatic relationship between these two countries who have several similarities in them started to come close to each other. Now time has come to have more cultural and social interaction between people of these countries and when this has been initiated by a saint in India nobody could question about its long term success.   
© amit madhur., all rights reserved.
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