Question 37. Have our Mathas (monastic seats) and the several religious institutions been participating in this movement? Somehow they do not seem to hold forth much promise as instruments of reform. How can these institutions he rejuvenated and reactivated?
Some of the modern Mathas and religious institutions are a direct outcome of this latest reform movement. For instance: Brahma Samaj, Arya Samaj and the Ramakrishna Mission. As regards the traditional and orthodox Mathas, though the part played by them, during the last thousand years, is significant, it is to be conceded that they could have done more. Even now, barring a few exceptions, most of them are not active to the degree that is expected of them, especially by the modern resurgent Hindu society.
These Mathas which were once the guiding lights of our society because of the austere lives of their pontiffs as well as their learning, gradually elapsed into inaction as they paid more attention to pelf and power. Often they limited their service to their particular castes or cults. All these contributed, even though indirectly, to a general decadence of our society. It is in the best interest of the Hindu society as a whole and in their own interest that these Mathas reform their attitudes in response to the changes in the social fabric.
Our traditional Mathas can and should play a more effective role in the following fields: dissemination of the essential aspects of our religion and culture, simplifying the various religious rites and ceremonies as well as Samskaras which all Hindus can put into practice, evolving a code of conduct that embraces both the personal and social life of every Hindu, vigorous campaigning and efforts to eliminate not only untouchability but also caste conflicts.
Starting good educational institutions in which our spiritual values can be imparted effectively along with secular education, is another suggestion which they should consider seriously. Signs of such trends and revival on the part of these Mathas, seen of late, are quite encouraging. It is to be fervently hoped that our society reaps these benefits soon.