This letter is in response to Swami Aksharananda’s letter dated November 14 in the Stabroek News titled ‘Worship of the Goddess will remain hollow and dry until we break out of our double standard.‘
In his letter, the Swami expounded with a great level of intellectualism his understanding of the worship of the goddesses in the Hindu religion. None would disagree with Swami as to the social context of his Deepavali message as it relates to the abuse of females in Guyanese society, and the extent to which this violence is perpetrated.
As can be seen from the way he articulated his position and crafted his arguments, Swami Aksharananda is a trained Hindu scholar. It is well known that since the early sixties, he has been in the companionship of major world Hindu organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the RSS, HSS, Seva Inter-national, and the like; and more recently on his return to Guyana some time in the early nineties he played a pivotal role in the establishment of these organizations here.
The Swami has now reached, what some would say is the pinnacle of Hindu leadership in Guyana. The stature of his leadership is unquestionable, and his influence on the political leadership and business community in Guyana and abroad can be seen from the display at his annual graduation ceremony of the Saraswati Vidya Niketan School.
It is against this background that I ask, now what? The issues have been ventilated in the public sphere continuously, and come next Deepavali, they would be aired again, unless something is done to comprehensively address them. No sense we speak. I am sure we are all aware of the old adage, ‘actions speak louder than words.‘ Besides making continual public pronouncements on an issue that has seemingly become endemic in the society, as a man with influence, what is he doing?
In the early days of his return, he vehemently opposed the government and major Hindu organizations in Guyana for not properly addressing the concerns of the Hindus, particularly on the issues he raised in his letter. I do not want to believe more than a decade later he is doing nothing. I want to believe this letter is not singing the same song in the same tune, with the same vigour, the same enthusiasm and in the same language. I am more inclined to believe that it is a reflection of a consciousness that says it is time for action. Step one has been accomplished. Kudos.
He has demonstrated his ability to raise the necessary funds required for priority Hindu projects. With him he has the confidence of the political leadership of Guyana.
Does the Swami’s organization have a single priority project to address the issue of female abuse in Guyanese society? If he does, it would be nice to have an outline of it. If he doesn’t, I refuse to believe that man with such a thorough grasp of the issue with resources, however small, at his disposal, would do nothing – well except talk of course. I believe, and he will agree with me, that ‘talk is cheap.‘ It is time we put our money where our mouth is.
If the strong sentiments expressed in Swami Aksharananda’s letter are expressions of the true meaning of Goddess worship in the Hindu religion, wouldn’t it be better for him to use his clout and network to get down to some concrete projects to address the issue, rather than give the same lesson, over and over again? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Hindu society, and by extension the Guyanese society at large?
Come on, let us as men do something about the scourge.