Q: For nearly my whole life I have heard and read that the religion of India is what turned it from one of the wealthiest countries in the world into one of the poorest in the world. What do you say to this?
A single word: Nonsense.
Vivekananda, upon his return to India from the prosperous West, said that after having been outside India every square inch of India’s soil was now a sacred place (tirtha) to him. He of course deplored India’s poverty, but he said: “The problem is not the religion of India, but the fact that it has not been followed.”
This is true, but there is a far more obvious reason for India’s economic plight at Vivekananda’s time and even past the midpoint of the twentieth century: ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF FOREIGN DOMINATION, AND OPPRESSION, including in the last three hundred years, deliberate sabotage of India’s economy.
I will not start on that subject because it is too horrible and infuriating. But it is a matter of history and many of my friends in India have told me of their own experiences in this matter.
Why cannot people notice that after India gained Independence the economy began to rise–slowly, yes, but surely. And consider India now. It is emerging as one of the leaders in global economy! Why? Have the people of India abandoned Sanatana Dharma? Not at all. They practice it more openly and freely than ever before.
Therefore India is rapidly progressing beyond a “third world” status. I have myself seen amazing changes since my first pilgrimage to India at the end of 1962. Others I know marvel at the tremendous strides they see in India every time they visit again.
This is only to be expected, since: “In the beginning the Lord of beings created all men, to each his duty. ‘Do this,’ He said, ‘And you shall prosper. Duty well done fulfills desire like Kamadhenu the wish- fulfiller’” (Bhagavad Gita 3:10). Now that India is free both politically and spiritually, this is being demonstrated.