I had no concept of Indra’s Net before reading this book of the same name written by Rajiv Malhotra. This was recommended to me by my nephew while I visited him last month (October 2018).
I’d divide my review in two parts: 1. the concept of Indra’s Net and 2. Fallacy in the Western representation of neo-Hinduism.
1. Indra’s Net: Indra’s Net is mentioned in Atharvaveda (Vedas are the oldest scriptures of Hinduism). It states that everything living or nonliving in the cosmos is connected with each other in an infinite web with no beginning and no end. At each node of the net is a jewel, so arranged that every jewel reflects all the other jewels. Thus everything and everyone in the cosmos is interconnected and interdependent on everything else.
The fact that all nodes are simply a reflection of all others implies the illusory nature of all appearances. Appearances are thus not reality but a reflection of reality.
Whatever we do to one jewel will affect all other jewels including ourselves. If we do harm to others, we will also be harmed. Similarly, if we remain kind to others, it will have an infinite ripple effect affecting all the jewels in the cosmos. Indra’s Net touches every jewel, every person in existence.
2. Fallacy in the Western representation of neo-Hinduism: Unfortunately the modern followers of Hinduism seem to be affected by the Western interpretation of their religion which has many fallacies.
According to Malhotra, the first and the foremost myth spread about modern Hinduism by the Western philosophers is that Vivekanand borrowed the ideas from Christianity in defining neo-Hinduism.
Malhotra mentions 8 myths about Hinduism propagated by western academia:
• India’s Optimum state is balkanization
• Colonial Indology’s biases were turned into Hinduism
• Hinduism is manufactured and didn’t grow organically
• Yogic experience is not valid path of enlighten and tries to copy western science
• Western social ethics are incorporated as seva and karma yoga
• Hinduism has no prior self-definition, unity and coherence
• Hinduism is founded on oppression and sustained by it
• Hinduism presumes sameness in all religions.
In essence, the Western academicians have tried to spread the notion that modern Hinduism is an experimental result of colonization and it has nothing to do with ancient Hinduism. It is important for all Hindus to understand this fallacy which is against ancient ideology of their religion. –Reviewed by Musafir