There is a reason why we say “Dharma, Artha, Kaama, Moksha” are the four pillars of our society and civilization. If you read carefully, it is always Dharma first. For society to be healthy, it is always necessary that all aspects of Dharma are taught to the child first, much before Arth (wealth) and Kaam (desires) are taught about. Unfortunately, Hindus forgot about this order and the result is that parents tend to introduce their children to education aimed at wealth gathering first with almost zero exposure to Dharma or Kaam. We think that if we tell our children to only do well in school and college and get a good job, we become successful parents.
Arsha Vidya Samajam
is among the foremost institutions, established in Kerala, which has been coming to the rescue of youngsters (especially girls) who have landed in unfortunate situations because parents forgot about the necessity of teaching about Dharma to their children. One such young lady who was rescued by AVS is O Sruthi, a girl belonging to the very conservative Havyaka community of North Kerala. Her book “Story of a A Reversion”
is a book which every parent must read first & then pass it on to their children to read. It talks about her journey from Hinduism to Islam and the journey back to Hinduism. One of the surprises in the book is that she was not “trapped” in the traditional sense of the word, into accepting Islam. The conversion came because she grew up as a confused teenager whose questions about our rituals and traditions were never answered satisfactorily. The story of almost every Hindu teenager today because of the breakup of the traditional joint family system & lack of religious education provided to our children.
O. Sruthi has written in very simple language her experiences of how her Brahmin parents believed in “Sarva Dharma Samabhava” while being unable to answer her questions about castes in Hinduism. They were not able to make her feel pride in being a Hindu, while all her Muslim friends and acquaintances felt immense pride in their Allah and Nabi. This struggle has been brought out very well in her honest writing. How she was brainwashed into believing that if she continued to believing in Hindu Devatas, she would face cruel punishment after death and the immense fear she felt if she had any doubts about Islam has been described very poignantly.
Her conversations with the man who went on to become her Acharya and Guru – Acharya K R Manoj ji of Arsha Vidya Samajam form an important part of the book, because it is through these conversations that one learns about the biased and bigoted teachings in the Koran and learns more about Sanatan Dharma. What interested me a lot is the way the truth about the publicized teaching of women being given a lot of respect in Islam, is exposed. Also, the harsh and cruel tortures meted out to Kafirs or non-believers in hell, as per the Koran is shown very starkly. It is no wonder then as to why people fear leaving Islam. One very important thing struck me when I read the above conversations and that was the hero worship of Nabi as being the perfect person, despite all his flaws.
We Hindus almost never talk about any of our Devi-Devatas or Rishis or Sanyasis in this manner. The zeal we saw during the Bhakti movement in the 16th and 17th centuries, the worship of our Devi Devatas as our personal friend, has gone down several notches I feel.
Of course, the best part of the book is the revelation that one can return back into the Hindu fold and rediscover our ageless Sanatana Dharma. O Sruthi has done it and what more, she’s part of Arsha Vidya Samajam and helps thousands of youngsters come back into the fold of Dharma. She has given many talks and has her own YouTube channel too which has guided many. Yes, our Devi Devatas are forgiving and truly loving.
Read the book without fail.“Story of a Reversion”
by O Sruthi is available at http://www.arshaworld.org/avs/books