Here are 17 Questions to the new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a Hindu from an Indian family. The questions invite the PM to bring the wisdom of the Hindu tradition into the heart of politics and society in the UK.
I am not holding my breath – meaning I do not expect something to happen. Privilege, an elite education and staggering personal wealth shape the mind of the Prime Minister, not Hindu values. The Hindu-Buddhist tradition has much to offer our narrow, secular and ideologically bound society, unhappy, confused and far from any depth of exploration of the collective human experience. Consumerism and obsession with money, via economic growth, reveals the superficiality of our society.
Arrogance prevents us from learning from ancient traditions, so self-indulgence and hubris continue.
1. Hindus explore karma – meaning action brought about by the impact of the past and present.
What actions from the current Government and Conservative Party continue to have karmic consequences?
2. Hindus teach about samara – wandering in the suffering of birth, death and rebirth including arising, staying and ceasing of experience/situations /cycles of life and restarting again.
UK has had five Prime Ministers in six years, four Chancellors of the Exchequers in four months and three Home Secretaries. Before becoming PM in 2015, you wandered in samsara – money-maker at Goldman Sachs, backbench member of Parliament, Chief Secretary at the Treasury, Chancellor (resigned), PM candidate (lost) and PM without naming policies. What is your experience of life in the political samsara?
3. Hindus practice to discover their True Self (Atman).
You worked alongside Boris Johnson. Did you see his True Self or did you see a man in desperate need of attention?
4. Hindus revere the elements such as the Earth element (Himalayas), Air element (Pranayama exercises), water element (River Ganga), Heat Element Agnihotra – ritual embracing the sacred fire.
What steps will the PM take to safeguard sentient life and the elements from ongoing climate catastrophes?
5. Hindus revere animals, such as cows and monkeys.
What steps will the PM take to encourage a vegetarian lifestyle and stop killing farm animals and stop experiments on monkeys and other animals?
6. Hindus have faith in God (Brahman) with multiple names – Siva, Krishna, Vishnu, Saraswati etc
Our God is our first priority. Brahman means the Immeasurable including offering of Immeasurable benefits to people, creatures and the natural world. What is your first priority? God, Power/Money, Both or Neither?
7. Hindus practice giving (dana) without any expectation of personal benefit, fame or reward.
You are the richest person in the Houses of Parliament. You are reputed to be worth £730 million. How much dana will you quietly offer as a helpful contribution to ‘levelling up’ (reducing gap between rich and poor).
8. Krishna says the self of one is the self of all.
This means the self of the rich and the self of the poor are the same self, the same sense of ‘I’ and ‘my.’ The people you govern are none other than yourself with a different name and form. How will such Hindu wisdom affect your actions?
9. Hindus believe in the four castes and birth determines caste/class and those rejected at birth from caste.
• Brahmins (born into privileged secular/religious caste)
• Military caste
• Business caste
Do you support the class/caste structure?
10. Raman Maharshi, one of the most loved Hindu saints of the 20th century, told his devotees to meditate on the core spiritual/existential question WHO AM I?
Who are you when you do not have the identity of politician, incredible wealth, husband, father, public figure and big fan of Star Wars?
11. Hindus point to liberation from suffering and salvation from hell
What salvation does the PM offer the poor, homeless, hungry children, relief from wretched accommodation, low paid workers, the elderly and more?
12. Hindus emphasise non-violence (ahimsa).
What steps will you take to end domestic violence, gang violence, social violence, corporate violence upon the Earth and military violence?
13. Hindus participate in pilgrimages (yatras) such as Gangotri in the Himalayas, Varanasi, Tiruvannamalai, Tirupati, Brindavan, Shirdi and Rishikesh (Rishi – sage, saint, Kesh – hair. Naturally grown).
Will the PM encourage places of pilgrimage in the UK – Glastonbury, Totnes, Walsingham, Canterbury, St David’s (Wales), island of Iona in Scotland and Down Cathedral (St. Patrick’s grave) in Northern Ireland?
14 Hindus trust in the power of meditation, Ayurvéda medicine, homeopathy, harmony of body/mind/consciousness, a healthy vegetarian diet and respect for faiths/secular beliefs as expressions of God.
Will the PM introduce meditation practices, complementary medicine, a preventive approach to sickness into the NHS, well-being practices in Parliament, the public/private sector and cultivate inter-religious/secular harmony for the welfare and peace of mind of all.
15. Hindus explore knowledge that is enlightening (jnana yoga)
Will the PM show the way to an enlightened knowledge/wisdom to expand our narrow system of education and addiction to shallow and harmful information sent out from social media platforms?
16. Hindus support karma yoga – action in the service of others
You appointed as the new Home Secretary Sue Braverman (a practising Buddhist in the Triratna Order, formerly Friends of the Western Buddhist Order). At the Conservative Party conference in October 2015, she said it was her ‘dream’ and ‘obsession’ to see a flight take off full of refugees bound for a camp in Rwanda. Do you regard her obsession as an expression of karma yoga?
17. Hindus develop the Dharma (Duty)
Will you develop the Dharma to serve all those in need landing on our shores and increase aid for people in desperate circumstances overseas. Or do you regard such men, women and children as a minor consideration?
Dear Prime Minister Rishi Sunak,
Stay true to the Hindu tradition.
Please apply the precious principles of your tradition to this nation.
The United Kingdom is lost in trauma, self-harm, conflict and narcissism.
OM. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.
A link to this blog will be sent to the Prime Minister and all 650 Members of Parliament in due course.
Christopher has spent more than seven years
in religious/spiritual India.
He has made around 50 visits to India to offer Buddha-Dharma teachings.
He is a founder of the Prajna Vihar School
(School of Wise Abiding), an inter-religious school
with 600 pupils in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. India.