I would only briefly enlist a few major achievements. The negative aspects have been highlighted quite often. The effort is to indicate its quality in acquiring, maintaining, nurturing and developing Spiritual Evolutionary knowledge to be carried into future living societies. This effort and its motivations cannot be belittled. This society, it claims, has provided the first resources of spirituality to the entire world.
(1) There is in existence a stream of continuous life as a specific Human society living on Indian Soil, largely identified as 'Hindus'. It has the claim of indicating the Vedic and Upanishadic knowledge. It prides in it. It strives to preserves its special Epistemology, and undertakes its continuous interpretation and wisdom for application in life, the latest example being Sri Aurobindo's book," The secret in Vedas".
(2) This 'Vedic knowledge and light' did not have Human Language as a Mode of communication. It involves an inherent difficulty of communication and transmission between the Spiritual Supreme Truth eternally existing in an unmanifest form to be transmitted to a new human life, Mortal in nature and manifestly born in this world. Its secret source is however provided in the Human form. This is also a discovery. Thereafter, a unique, unparalleled and totally sacrificial effort is on the record of the annals of this world. It is known as a meticulous preservation of the Vedic Shrutis by an elaborate rigid and foolproof system. This realized knowledge or Darshan is stored in a sort of Audio, Swara bound and Sanskrit Textual system carried over meticulously over the generations of the stream of Hindu life on this sacred soil.
(3) It also had developed appropriate Interpretatative Models of the said Esoteric Spiritual Knowledge such as Yajna, Yoga, Tantra, Mantra, Yantra, and Spanda Shastra and Bhakti for right psychological state etc. Supported by Yajurvedic, Atharva and Samavedic Vedic Mantra system and Symbolistic Rituals skillfully incorporated in the daily social Life.
(4) Consistent with the theory of rebirth of the Jivatma (Individual soul) and the desirable continuity of the acquired esoteric Transcendental knowledge possessed by the 'Group Soul', it had developed a scheme of 16 Sanskars to be imparted to every new born life on this soil (a scheme restored from the Vedas at the efforts of Swami Dayananda, Arya Samaj)
(5) The Vedas represents an 'Apourusheya' knowledge, a first cause of Human Knowledge, translated and based on intuitive interpretation, but its intellectual rendering has been done by this specific Human society and preserved in about six well known Darshanas (Charvak, Sankhya, Nyaya, and vaishshic, Buddha, Vedanta, Advaita and its sub varieties). Aurobindo has given us its new integrated Darshana, which is its continuation and improvement, in "the Life Divine". It may be, however, noted that the source and carrying social instrument is the same.
(6) There are innumerable institutions spread over the whole of India for preserving, maintaining, educating this esoteric knowledge. But the unique feature of the Hindu System is that the Institutions involve the participation of parcels of Land like the 51 Shakti Sthalaa like Kamakshi, Trees like Ashwattha, Nyagrodha, Palas etc described as ten Spiritual Brahmin trees in the Vedas, the famous Bodhi Vriksha of Goutam Buddha, several Temples in enabling specific sadhana, Sculptures like Ajuntha, Rivers like Ganga, Yamuna Saraswati, Mountains, the stars like the sun, the moon and many others etc.all are actively involved and invoked by the medium of Mantra Shastra to participate in this process of transmitting and imparting the esoteric Spiritual knowledge in some measure to the continuing and living Hindu societies. This is not poetry but an actual practice. Even Sri. Aurobindo employed his perception of poetry and by using a story in Hindu mythology, gave to us in the terms of the Mother the fifth Vedas in " Savitri".
I could go on endlessly, but I felt that as a specimen some evidence was needed to be posed before the critics. One may wonder about the comprehensive effort and the structures, which have been created by a specific society on this soil. We are hunting a suitable social instrument. Should we, therefore, only highlight some 'blind spots' observed intellectually, allowing some prejudices and ignorance to poison our minds, and overlook the gigantic comprehensive Human struggle ever undertaken to win the Spiritual secrets and ensure its propagation this knowledge to the future generations in order to realize its aspirations as expressed in the RigVeda and highlighted by Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo.
Lastly, I agree with the observation of Shri. Debashish Banerji, "thus, Sri. Aurobindo’s thought and practice need to be located in an Indian philosophical Tradition, whose epistemological basis are different from those of the West". The same or similar mindset may be indicated in refusing to see a universal Spiritual movement in "Hindutva", incidentally growing by an unknown cosmic Spiritual choice located on the Indians soil. This is like taking sides in the intellectually enticing issue of debating the aspects of beauty and aesthetics on the ontology of ‘a Rose’ and ‘a Lotus’; and object the claims of a Lotus, because it is adopted as an Indian National flower, which also happens to have been chosen as a spiritual Symbol. 7/21/07
(Yeshwant Sane) Mr. Yeshwant Ramchandra Sane, B.E. (Civil), FIV, FIS, RICS (Lond)Retd. Estate Manager Bombay Port Trust, Visiting Faculty Member, Sardar Patel University, and Dr. Ambedkar University, Ahemdabad, Gujrat State, India Trustee Granthali (Mumbai), and Brahman Shikhan Mandal, Thane, Vice President Thane Nagar Wachan Mandir Library (160 yrs Old), A founder member of the Madhyamik Shiknottar Mandal, Thane Trustee, Thane Film Society, Thane President Spiritual Science Centre, Thane, Res: Sonal Appt. Agiary Lane, near Saraswat Bank, PC 400601 Res Tel: -91-022-25368450 MBL: 9892046539 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org