Prof. Dr. Yogendra Yadav
Gandhi Research Foundation, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India
Contact No. – 09415777229, 094055338
Statement by Madan Mohan Malaviya
The object of the special session of the Sanatana Dharma Mahasabha is to focus and voice the most informed and most esteem able orthodox opinion on some questions, including those relating to the removal of untouchability and temple-entry which has been agitating the sanatanist world on one side, and those who are described as reformers on the other. I have been distressed to note differences between the two sides becoming acute, and it is evident that if these differences are unsolved, the Hindu community would be further divided and weakened. The differences are largely due to misunderstanding, and this, in its turn, is due to a great extent on imperfect knowledge of what the Shastras have laid down for our guidance in important matters in question. It should not be necessary to say that Mahatma Gandhi cannot desire to injure sanatana dharma. He has proved to the world that he is willing and determined to throw away even his life in the attempt to serve the country by removing disabilities under which the vast number of those who belong to it labour, so that they may enjoy the full benefit of being Hindus and remain contented and happy members of the community. It is equally necessary to say that sanatanists who do not agree with Mahatma Gandhi’s proposals or methods are not wanting in sympathy with the depressed classes.
This being so, I am confident that it is possible to arrive at a solution of the problem in conformity with the Shastras which should be acceptable to both sections of sanatanist opinion more advanced and less advanced and which should establish peace and religious unity among the Hindu community on a basis that will endure. From statements recently made by Mahatma Gandhi, it is clear that he is not only willing, but anxious to show every respect for the orthodox opinion. From utterances of several esteemed exponents of sanatana dharma, it is also clear that they are willing to move forward to bring about an understanding which will be consistent with the Shastras. This being so, I believe that, by dispassionate consideration of the Shastras by those who claim to expound them, it will be generally conceded, rules of action can be laid down which would secure the most liberal and practicable advance for the humblest Hindu and satisfaction to the most orthodox conservative opinion which is willing to act in conformity not merely with the letter, but also with the spirit of the Shastras. I have convened the Mahasabha with the conviction that such a unity can be brought about among the sanatanist Hindus and appeal to all of them to make such contribution to the success of this effort as lies in their power. To prevent misunderstanding, I wish to make the position clear. Speaking in 1923 as the President of the Hindu Mahasabha of Holy Kashi in the presence of great gathering of learned and pious men, I pleaded that opportunity should be afforded even to the humblest Hindu to have a purifying and ennobling darshan of the deity whom we adore in our temples and offer his prayer to Him.
I urged that this may be done in conformity with rules which may be laid down in that behalf and further urged that other disabilities from which the depressed classes suffered should be removed. I still hold the same opinion and have publicly repeated it many times during the last few years and last few months, but have never been able to approve of recourse to Satyagraha with the object of getting the temple opened to the depressed classes. I do not think it right that this kind of pressure should be exerted in a matter where religious convictions and practices come into play. Those who adhere to the orthodox view have also got their convictions which are deep-seated and come down through the ages. I believe that it is the sacred duty of those of us who differ from them to do our best to bring about a change of those convictions. But by the very nature of the case, this duty demands that we should attempt it by resort to peaceful persuasion only. This was laid down in a resolution which was passed by the Bombay public meeting held immediately after the Poona Pact over which I presided, and at which, the All-India Anti-untouchability League was established for the purpose of carrying on propaganda against untouchability. That resolution stated that “for this purpose steps should immediately be taken to secure as early as possible that
(a) All public wells, schools, roads, saris, dharmashala, crematoriums, burning-Ghats, etc., should be declared open to the depressed classes and
(b) All public temples should be open to members of the depressed classes provided that for carrying out (a) and (b) no force or compulsion be used but resort shall be had only to peaceful persuasion.” It is both just and expedient that the solution of such a question should be one that would satisfy the community as a whole. In my opinion, such a solution can be reached only by the method of argument and persuasion with the help of those scholars who are versed in the Shastras and who desire the good of every section of the community. It is to bring about such an agreement and solution that I have invited the special session of the Sanatana Dharma Mahasabha, and I am hoping and praying too that God will bless the attempt and crown it with success. Towards this end, I intend to place the following concrete proposal before the Mahasabha, that for the uplift of the depressed classes, the following plan may be adopted:
1 (a) Samskar and updesh initiation and instruction known as diksha. This will consist
(a) Of prayashchittam penance and purification;
(b) Tyag giving up carrion and beef, leavings of dishes (uchchhishta), wine;
(c) Diksha receiving mantram, either ashtakshar mantram (with or without wearing tulsi bead); panchakshar mantram (with or without wearing rudraksha bead);
(d) Achara grahana daily bath and daily prayer (morning and evening), daily reading of the sacred book (teaching every man, woman and child to read and write will be an integral part of the scheme);
(e) Vrata vows observing five necessary vows which are prescribed for all castes, ahimsa, satya, asteya, shaucham and indriyanigraha, (heartlessness, truth, non-stealing, purity of body and mind, and control of senses);
2 (a) freedom to join public meetings and public schools;
(b) use of public wells, roads, parks, saris, dharmashala, burning-Ghats, etc.; and (c) entry into public temples for devadarshana and stuti. If the scheme is approved, the giving of diksha should be completed within a month. The carrying out of this scheme will mean a great social, religious and spiritual uplift of the classes. It will mean making them Harijans in the full sense of the term. This will be only one of the proposals to be placed before the gathering of Acharya and learned men. There will be many proposals before them for their consideration. There is every hope that with God’s grace result of deliberations will be one which will be welcomed with joy by all followers of sanatana dharma and all well-wishers of humanity.