‘I refuse to be a witness to reduction of Hinduism by ignorant and illiterate people’

New Delhi, May 3: Launching his latest book “Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker”, former diplomat and author Pavan K. Varma refused “to be a mute witness to the reduction of such a great religion (Hinduism) to its lowest common denominator by ignorant and illiterate people who think they are self anointed protector of Hinduism”. A well-researched account of the life, times and philosophy propounded by the child-seer who not only gave a form and structure to Hinduism but also travelled across India to set up monasteries or mathas to establish its influence, the book was launched by Murli Manohar Joshi and Karan Singh. Also in attendance were senior political leaders and MPs including P Chidambaram and Manish Tewari, among others. Referring to the “self anointed protectors of Hinduism,” Varma called them “ignorant and illiterate people,” even as he attacked them for reducing the faith to its lowest common denominator.  “I want to proudly say that I am a Hindu, but I want to say that for right reasons. I want those traditions to be respected- of inclusion, not exclusion; of assimilation, not hatred; of dialogue, not violence. I believe we need to have the knowledge of Hinduism and its great philosophy and if we don’t, it’s like to be reduced to that level,” he said. The book includes a select anthology of Shankaracharya’s seminal writings; and most importantly, examines the startling endorsement that contemporary science is giving to his ideas today. It reminds readers about the remarkable philosophical underpinning of Hinduism, making it one of the most vibrant religions in the world. (IANS)