Bankim Chandra’s Vision

Posted August 3, 2014 by admin in Dharmic Warriors Code

Bankim Chandra brought out the shallowness of modern Indology in two short satirical essays. The poverty of mind at the back of Western scholarship vis-a-vis Hinduism was thus brilliantly portrayed. He also questioned the notion current in his times that India had always been a game for every foreign invader. It was he who showed with facts and dates and for the first time that the Islamic sword which had swept so swiftly over a large part of the world had taken a long time even to breach the borders of India, and that it had failed in the final round. Our people were thus enabled to look back at their past with a sense of pride.

It was also Bankim Chandra who restored the Mahabharata to its rightful place as a profound elaboration of what the Veda had said in the form of mystic mantras. The Gita which had been subjected to sectarian interpretations for several centuries past, was rescued by Bankim Chandra from the quagmire of casuistry. This great scripture had been interpreted by many ãchãryas either to support sannyãsa or to bolster bhakti. Its central core of karmayoga had been consigned to oblivion. Bankim Chandra was the first in modern times to restore the lost balance, so much so that in his ÃnandamaTha it was the sannyãsin who took up the sword in defence of Dharma. In days to come, the Gita was to become the greatest single inspiration for revolutionary action. Many a freedom fighter mounted the gallows with the Gita in his hands and Bankim Chandra’s Vande Mãtaram on his lips.

But the greatest achievement of Bankim Chandra was the rehabilitation of Sri Krishna of the Mahabharata. This highest Hindu image of the seer, the statesman, and the hero had been made to sing and dance with the gopîs for far too long. Some devotees of Sri Krishna’s dalliance with the gopîs had gone to the extent of saying that Krishna had ceased to be Krishna as soon as he left Vrindavana. Bankim Chandra did not fall foul of this portrayal. Instead, he quietly brought back the Krishna who had sided with the just cause in a controversy involving Dharma, who had befriended Draupadi in moments of her great distress, who had guided the Pandavas through every twist and turn of fortune, who had given the Gita on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, who had rescued Yudhisthira from a fit of unmanly remorse, but who had nonetheless bowed before Bhishma as that paragon of valour, virtue, and wisdom lay on his deathbed.

By Sita Ram Goel


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