Religion Thread - 10

disha
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Postby disha » 07 Apr 2007 04:55

SriKumar wrote:
Works of poetry, literature abound, but if there are any desi authors from 500 BC to 1800 A.D. who wrote about existing social conditions and history, please mention a few names/works. It seems like much of our pre-British historical record is from accounts of travellers from outside India.


One important flaw in the above argument is that any writing on historical and social conditions is pre suppossed not to be in the form of poetry.

Note that poetic writing was more prevalent and acceptable in India over "prose" writing - which was favoured in the "western" world. I can think of several reasons for such a situation. However, that does not mean any poetry is *not* a commentary on the existing social conditions and history.

The entire Sangam literature in the south is now being viewed as a commentary on the Social conditions prevalent at that time. Some of Kalidasa's work can be viewed as a commentary on social conditions.

Moving away from poetry, all the historical records that has been constructed so far, including that of Ashoka has been from writings on stones and stupas and pillars. Some of them clearly indicate the existing social norms and practices. Even Mahabharata and Ramayana are commentaries on the existing Social structures. Note that Mahabharata has examples of polygamy and polyandry and both patrilineal and matrilineal societies which are still prevalent today.

Just because the western history and culture is relatively new and written on paper, it does not mean they are the only writers out there.

Now coming back to the question of prose vs. poetry, here are some of the reasons poetry became primacy in India:

1. Poetry - easier to remember, easier to pass on. Case in point, who does not remember the nursery rhymes?

2. Writing is costly. Imagine 1000 yrs back when the only options to write were a. Tamra patra b. Stone pillar c. palm leaf. Which one will you prefer if cost is a factor?

3. Destruction of literature. One sure fire way to destroy a culture is to destroy their literature. Go down to patan, gujarat and check out the stories of how Jain monks where burnt alive on pyres made out of Jain literature! Lots of Jain mathematics is only being re-discovered now.

However why is Megasthenes important? More than what he wrote, the very presence of Megasthenes authenticates "Sandracottus" as "ChandraGupta". And if you date Megasthenes then you date ChandraGupta, then with that context you also prove exchange between Greece and India and with that you prove several other things. Including atiquity.
Last edited by disha on 07 Apr 2007 04:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby SaiK » 07 Apr 2007 04:56

the problem with manu smriti and other castizations, is that it was not done in a progressive mode. the smriti itself is "time" bound, but never got to implemented that way. people don't live in all agricultural and farming anymore, and thus have become amendable.

if the heritage needs to be preserved, these smrities needs different sruties now, perhaps a bunch of gurus should re-write it., may be thesis subject for some sanskrit phd folks.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 06:14

Here is a cross post from Acharya from the Packee thread.

What do you make of it?

Wprld map of religion


Image

svinayak
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Postby svinayak » 07 Apr 2007 06:20

It shows that every country in the world has an official religion acknowledged (if not in the constitution) but Not India with one of the oldest civilization and religion.
Product of the marxist historians!

The map is to highlight that Indian people are up for grab!


Image
Last edited by svinayak on 07 Apr 2007 06:29, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby shyam » 07 Apr 2007 06:22

What is the religion of Japan shown in the map?

Raju

Postby Raju » 07 Apr 2007 06:32

shiv wrote:What do you make of it?



Saare jahaan se achcha (striped) hindostan hamara

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Postby Alok_N » 07 Apr 2007 06:42

If you go to the webpage, the table itself shows India as "Hindu" ... so, why is the map distorted?

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 06:48

May I point out the contradictions in the Hindu view of India?

We object when people speak of "Predominantly Hindu India" is in control of "muslim Majority Kashmir".

We mock the open intolerance of Islamic states and lament political tolerance of predominantly Christian nations to the "Private matter, not state business" intolerance of the Church that seeks to convert.

We wax eloquent on the flowering and preserving of many religions in India. We speak of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism. Judaism and Zoroastrianism were allowed to survive. The Syrian Christian church in India is older than all the churches of well funded evangelicals from the US, India split Islam into Barelvis and Deobandis and gave birth to an offshoot of islam - the Ahmedis.

After all this - Hindus lament that India is not labelled Hindu on a map.

But it is a Hindu trait to allow all the faiths to live and evolve as described isn't it? After doing all that why do we not call all those people Hindus? Wouldn't that solve a lot of problem?

We are looking for a special brand of Hindu who does not exist.

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Postby svinayak » 07 Apr 2007 06:50

shiv wrote:

We are looking for a special brand of Hindu who does not exist.


When he is out of India he considers himself a Hindu. Within India he is confused and asks too many questions.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 06:51

FWIW I have a suggestion to make.

I suggest that all Indians, no matter what their religious persuasion be called Hindus.

This after all was how the name "Hindu" came about. Hindus were the people East of the Sindhu river.

Christians shall be called Christian Hindus, and Muslim of India Muslim Hindus.

Hindus of India shall be callled Sanatana Dharmi Hindus or Aboriginal Hindus.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 06:52

Acharya wrote:
shiv wrote:

We are looking for a special brand of Hindu who does not exist.


When he is out of India he considers himself a Hindu. Within India he is confused and asks too many questions.


Therefore Hinduism exists only outside of India and the map is correct.

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Postby Calvin » 07 Apr 2007 06:54

Sajan, why do you hate Hindus, especially upper castes so much?


I don't believe Sajan hates Hindus, what has he said that causes us to make these assertions?

Therefore Hinduism exists only outside of India and the map is correct.


Why are we so concerned about some mapmaker's fantasy of India?
Last edited by Calvin on 07 Apr 2007 06:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Gus » 07 Apr 2007 06:54

I was on a long drive today and happened to tune into AM 1450 (some Christian radio) and caught some USA network news or some such thing...there was this general world news and the UK sailors stuff and out of the blue the "news person" said [paraphrasing] that there is a news report on the persecution of christians in India :lol: and sure enough some "Yohannan" (IIRC) reported in a desi accent that [paraphrasing]..there is a lot of increasing persecution of christians who are helping the poor and the lepers...it is not by the regular hindu people but by fundamentalist hindus amongst them...they are like the taliban :wink:


I wondered why he did not throw names like BD, RSS, VHP etc and then realised that the target audience cannot relate to those names but they all know taliban and hence the likening to taliban. :lol:

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 07:00

I honestly believe that calling all Indians Hindus would be a coup of sorts.

It accepts, in one sweep the historic definition of Hindus where they are supposed to be. It accepts all religions as Hindus. It automatically makes correct the description "Hindu India"

And it would show up the intolerance of anyone who says he is not Hindu because "Hindu" is NOT a religious connotation. It is only a historic and geographic connotation and stamps an identity of India.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 07:03

Calvin wrote:Why are we so concerned about some mapmaker's fantasy of India?


It is a Hindu trait to question, analyse and argue.

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Postby Greg » 07 Apr 2007 07:07

@ Alok_N

1. Hindu thought is not in contradiction to scientific thought ... this may seem like an accident to you, but I am of the view that it is truly remarkable ... especially when you consider that science had itself not come to some of its realizations until recently ...


One thing that these threads do very convincingly is show that Hinduism is too many things to too many people. The analogy to a robust and evolvable organism or a colony of organisms, put forth by Pulikeshi, is therefore apt. The above statement however, conveniently picks and chooses components of Hinduism that appeal to you as compatible with scientific thought to make a generalized assesment of "Hindu thought". IMO, the best way to judge the scientific merits and shortcomings of a religious thought are to look at the overall realities on the ground and not by subjective interpretation of scriptures or data selection that picks small schools of philosophy within a religion. "Hindu thought" is best reflected by "Hindu activity" and that includes millions of Hindus who believe (and act on that belief) that a bath in a polluted river will wash them off their sins. It includes millions of Hindus who believe in the "miracle" of Ganesha statues drinking milk after a ritual and it includes hundreds of millions of Hindus who believe that their prayers will lead to divine intervention on a daily basis and occasionaly toward a victory in cricket world cup. The percentage of Hindus who understand the philosphical strand that you refer to as "not unscientific" and actually live by it appears to be negligibly small. Based on these facts (are they not?), I respectfully suggest that while Hinduism is aromatic with a fascinating and contagious spirituality, it would be grossly inaccurate to say that Hindu thought is not unscientific or that Hindu thought on the nature of the universe is scientifically useful. My apologies if this is harsh and insensitive to devout Hindus.

if you are thrashing about looking for new ideas would you outright reject hints provided to you by religion? ... what gives you that luxury?
so, if some religious ideas hint towrds cyclic nature of time, would you reject that right away? ... again, what gives you that luxury?
if a body of thought exists that insists on "unification" in non-mathematical temrs, would you not be curious enough to at least read it and see if there is anything of value there?
so, what if there is some understanding of these phenomena that is buried in the religios texts but stated in such a different language compared to physics that it is impossibly arcane? ... would you rule that out? ... what gives you that luxury?


We can never prove that there is nothing of scientific value in all the religious scriptures and philosophies that have emerged in human history. Individual scientists are free to find inspiration wherever they wish. Isaac Newton was deeply religious and found inspiration for science in Christian scriptures. Mendel was a Christian monk doing the work of God when he experimentally teased out the principles of heredity. None of these instances mean that answers to Physics or Genetics emerged from Christian thought or that immersion in Christian scriptures improves the chances of a brilliant scientific breakthrough. Loosely or allegorically described "nature of the Universe" will find many interpretations and fire many levels of imagination. So we cant rule out anything - not Hindu thought, nor the Shinto thought, nor the visions revealed to those who practice the voodoo. But that does not mean that there is now a sufficiently high probability that these philosophies will be scientifically useful toward cracking the scientific challenges of the day. If a Hindu physicist or a Neurobiologist feels passionate about the knowledge contained in the vedic scriptures (as you do), he is free to clearly outline the hypotheses, conduct his research and report his findings. Unless and until, something of scientific value emerges out of these studies, it would be rational of other scientists to be skeptical or even dismissive of the said scriptures based on their historical scientific track record. It is that last part, the scientific track record, where all the religious scriptures fail to deliver - leaving them in a cluster of their own. I have already acknowledged the utility of religious thought and ideas in domains other than science.

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Postby SriKumar » 07 Apr 2007 07:10

disha wrote: writing on historical and social conditions is pre suppossed not to be in the form of poetry.However, that does not mean any poetry is *not* a commentary on the existing social conditions.
If poetry (romantic or otherwise) was woven with social customs/mores, that obfuscates. It becomes subject to interpretation as to what is real and what is fiction. Context comes into play in a big way.
all the historical records that has been constructed so far, including that of Ashoka has been from writings on stones and stupas and pillars. Some of them clearly indicate the existing social norms and practices. Even Mahabharata and Ramayana are commentaries on the existing Social structures.
My point exactly: we have had to interpolate/extrapolate from brief stone carvings and stories (which could be part myth) to deduce social structures. All the while, elaborate philosophies survive into present day. (seems like creative thought was given primacy over documentation of the mundane).
If you date Megasthenes then you date ChandraGupta, then with that context you also prove exchange between Greece and India and with that you prove several other things.
You've high-lighted the problem here. For a culture that has such sophisticated thought, math, philosophy and logic, its successor generations have to rely on a roundabout chain that goes through Greece! Something's not right. If you've read Al Biruni's commentary or Megasthenes' surving passages, they are really specific in their description and social comment. There seems to be no Indian equivalent of such works.

This is now probably off-topic (though of much interest to me). It is my last post on this.
Last edited by SriKumar on 07 Apr 2007 07:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Calvin » 07 Apr 2007 07:10

The only place one hears about "hindu" not being a religion is in conversations with a "hindu". My mental capacity is being overwhelmed by this coup.

It is a Hindu trait to question, analyse and argue


This is not a very useful stereotype, its like saying that "its a Hindu trait to drink water multiple times in a day."

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Postby Greg » 07 Apr 2007 07:15

@ Alok
5. the connection to biology was brought up ... the point is simple ... if 10 billion years ago, there was no life but physical laws were in effect then where did life come from if not from some physical process? there is no complete theory for origin of life, but what besides physics can contain the answer?


At a fundamental level, everything is Physics. But we have a vested interest in understanding various systems at different levels of understanding and framework. Physicists have been largely unsuccesful at understanding complex phenomena. Considering the fact that physicists have failed to understand things like turbulence, it would take patience in the order of cosmological time :) to wait for them develop an understanding of emergent phenomena as complex as life. Chemistry and Biology are nothing but Physics that has leap-frogged to understand such systems at a higher (as opposed to reduced) but useful level of scientific framework. A resonably good understanding of life has thereby emerged using a fraemwork that bypasses the need to understand most of the variables in the system in mathematically accurate or even grossly quantifiable terms. So the complete theory for origin of life will come from the same people and the same discipline that delivered the partial theory of origin of life. We are free to call it Physics if we so prefer and we will be as accurate as we would be now, if we called the most recent discovery in medical science as nothing but Physics. I dont think biologists or the chemists or MDs really mind physics getting the limelight as the fundamental science that underlies all other scientific disciplines. From an economical standpoint, they are having the cake and eating it too. :)

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Postby Calvin » 07 Apr 2007 07:16

Mathematicians beg to differ.

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Postby vsudhir » 07 Apr 2007 07:18

Calvin wrote:Mathematicians beg to differ.


Mathematicians are more linguists than 'scientists'.

Ever heard of empirical mathematics? :lol:

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Postby Greg » 07 Apr 2007 07:22

Calvin wrote:Mathematicians beg to differ.


please elaborate.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 07:26

Calvin wrote:question, analyse and argue

This is not a very useful stereotype, its like saying that "its a Hindu trait to drink water multiple times in a day."
"


Let me display a Hindu trait.. :lol:

The a description is a description. Whether you find it useful, or call it a stereotype or not is immaterial. A rock is hard. Is that a 'useful stereotype"?

By saying that Hindus analyse - I am saying only that much. I am not saying anything more. If people feel accused of an inability to analyse for not being Hindus, that accusation is not included in my description of the Hindu.

In this case, you are deeply analysing my statement yourself and are showing Hindu traits

Just an observation. What one makes of that observation is dependent on his mental make up and world view.

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Postby Tilak » 07 Apr 2007 07:32

Warriors For Jesus: Jesus Camp
Documentary Film
:Youtube:







I guess it's time to play "Who want's to be a fanatic" :roll:
Last edited by Tilak on 07 Apr 2007 07:50, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby vsudhir » 07 Apr 2007 07:33

The a description is a description. Whether you find it useful, or call it a stereotype or not is immaterial. A rock is hard. Is that a 'useful stereotype"?

By saying that Hindus analyse - I am saying only that much. I am not saying anything more. If people feel accused of an inability to analyse for not being Hindus, that accusation is not included in my description of the Hindu.

In this case, you are deeply analysing my statement yourself and are showing Hindu traits

Just an observation. What one makes of that observation is dependent on his mental make up and world view.

:rotfl:

On a more serious note, wow. I'm actually wiser for having read that post.

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Postby Calvin » 07 Apr 2007 07:33

So, are all analytical people hindu? Are all non-analytical (say, "feelers") non-hindu? I am not sure I comprehend the purpose of that particular stereotype.

Greg: I was kidding, mathematicians say that without mathematics, there would be no physics.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 07:40

Calvin wrote:So, are all analytical people hindu? Are all non-analytical (say, "feelers") non-hindu? I am not sure I comprehend the purpose of that particular stereotype.
.


Calvin, the answer to that question would depend on whether I wanted to make a "you farted" statement to hit all non Hindus in the face or not.

In my earlier posts I deliberately left the answer to your question ambiguous, but I am using it as an example of it can be used and I can choose any answer I want, now that you ask. The statement is in the same genre as "cow slaughter is not allowed in India and beef sale was nearly banned" in being provocative while being innocent.

Common sense would indicate that anyone is capable of analysis, but since I have the initiative, I could say "Why yes, only Hindus are capable of analysis and deep thought. It is in the nature of Hindus to be that way"

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Postby svinayak » 07 Apr 2007 07:41

Has anybody read this book

Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century by Peter Watson

Just as the 20th century dawned with an unparalleled optimism regarding the moral, social and scientific progress of humanity, it ended with an unshakeable confidence in the promises of technology and the power of free-market economics to deliver a better life for all humankind. British journalist Watson's (War on the Mind; The Caravaggio Conspiracy; etc.) panoramic survey traces various 20th-century ideas and their power to bend and shape society and individuals. At a frenetic pace, he gallops through the modern intellectual landscape, pausing long enough to graze the founts of philosophy (from Wittgenstein to Richard Rorty to Alasdair MacIntyre), literature (Kafka, Woolf, Mann, Rushdie), literary criticism (F.R. Leavis to Jacques Derrida), art (Picasso to Warhol), economics (Milton Friedman to John Kenneth Galbraith), science (Linus Pauling to E.O. Wilson) and film (D.W. Griffiths to Fran?ois Truffaut). He also briefly examines the significance of a wide range of political and cultural movements, such as socialism, communism, fascism, feminism and environmentalism.

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Evanjehadis in action during Tsunami

Postby G Subramaniam » 07 Apr 2007 07:48

Note catholic nuns are involved in this, not some fringe evangelical church

http://in.news.yahoo.com/050116/139/2j1rp.html

Villagers furious with Christian Missionaries






Samanthapettai, Jan 16 (ANI): Rage and fury has gripped this tsunami-hit tiny Hindu village in India's southern Tamil Nadu after a group of Christian missionaries allegedly refused them aid for not agreeing to follow their religion.

Samanthapettai, near the temple town of Madurai, faced near devastation on the December 26 when massive tidal waves wiped it clean of homes and lives.

Most of the 200 people here are homeless or displaced , battling to rebuild lives and locating lost family members besides facing risks of epidemic,disease and trauma.

Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.

Heated arguments broke out as the locals forcibly tried to stop the relief trucks from leaving. The missionaries, who rushed into their cars on seeing television reporters and the cameras refusing to comment on the incident and managed to leave the village.

Disappointed and shocked into disbelief the hapless villagers still await aid.

"Many NGOs (volunteer groups) are extending help to us but there in our village the NGO, which was till now helping us is now asking us to follow the Christian religion. We are staunch followers of Hindu religion and refused their request. And after that these people with their aid materials are leaving the village without distributing that to us," Rajni Kumar, a villager said.

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Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 07:49

Tilak wrote:
Warriors For Jesus: Jesus Camp
Documentary Film
:Youtube:


8)

I guess it's time to play "Who want's to be a fanatic" :roll:


The camp-auntie whose interview starts at 52 seconds says "I want them to be seen as radically laying their lives down for the Gospel as they do down in Pakistan, Israel and Palestine"

Interesting, in the light of things Sadler has said on this forum.

With these forces arrayed against the Hindu - is dhimmitude a bad option? :rotfl:

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Postby Tilak » 07 Apr 2007 07:54


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UP election CD released by BJP

Postby G Subramaniam » 07 Apr 2007 07:54

BJP's communally provocative CD's not the first of its kind
(The Hindu,
April 6, 2007)


CD released by the BJP not the first of its kind

Neena Vyas

Similar disc released at its Lucknow national executive

# It was part of the party's packet of publicity
# "The message in CD has gone home"

NEW DELHI: The controversial and communally provocative audio/video compact disc released officially by the Bharatiya Janata Party — "inadvertently" it claims — in Lucknow on Tuesday is not the first of its kind.

At its Lucknow national executive/national council session in December 2006 it officially released a similar compact disc — it was part of the party's packet of publicity and election campaign material given to the media. Both the CDs include graphic details of the slaughter of a cow at the hands of Muslim butchers. The difference is that the second CD shows a Hindu selling his cow to two youths (they are Muslims but disguised as Hindus) who then slaughter it. The first CD shows a buffalo and a cow being slaughtered in the most cruel and primitive fashion. The meat was then loaded on to a handcart.

While the BJP reiterated that it did not authorise the release of the CD, there is no word from the party on whether the earlier CD distributed in December 2006 to the media was "authorised." And if that one was also unauthorised, how was it given to reporters as a part of the media kit? In any case, the cover on the CD shows the party's "lotus" in full bloom and the photographs of the top brass of the party. It also carries the address of the party office in Lucknow and the name of its "producer," Manoj Mishra, State unit spokesperson who has since been relieved of his responsibilities.

The CD released at the national executive has an audio track saying the Muslim youth dupe Hindu girls and elope with them at the behest of Muslim clerics. The CD released two days ago went a step further. It shows scenes of a woman grieving for her abducted daughter. It also shows the Muslim boy who eloped with the girl after pretending to be a Hindu boy. He then beats up the girl and tells her that she will be forcibly married to another Muslim boy.

At one point the CD also talks about Muslims "breeding like dogs" — a point also made by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in his election campaign in 2002, although without comparing Muslims to dogs.

A ghastly scene in the December 2006 CD shows the beheaded body of a person, who was presumably a BJP worker "murdered" by "goondas" of the Samajwadi Party.

The body without the head is held up by two BJP workers to be captured on camera. There are many references in both the CDs to terrorism, to immigration from Bangladesh and to the "appeasement" policies of the SP and the Congress party.

Party leaders privately admit that the "message" in the CD has already gone where it was intended to go. And they also said that if the Election Commission were to take harsh action against the party, it would only help the BJP.

Anonymous leaflets

While saner voices in the party openly state that the BJP does not need to resort to such dirty propaganda, others know and acknowledge that the Sangh Parivar and the BJP have used such provocative election material in the past. The difference is that earlier they printed and distributed anonymous leaflets and pamphlets, but this time the party has "officially" released provocative material, even if it is now disowning it.

In both the CDs senior leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani figure prominently

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Re: UP election CD released by BJP

Postby shiv » 07 Apr 2007 07:57

G Subramaniam wrote:BJP's communally provocative CD's not the first of its kind


:rotfl: :rotfl:

This is Indian politics at its best/worst.

We need a new word for the well established facts of Indian politics "brost" or something.

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Postby Calvin » 07 Apr 2007 08:11

Calvin, the answer to that question would depend on whether I wanted to make a "you farted" statement to hit all non Hindus in the face or not.


So, what was the purpose of the statement?

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Postby mayurav » 07 Apr 2007 08:16

shiv wrote:I believe many people understand Hinduism but are unable to define the Hindu collective - the Hindu organism.

The Hindu organism has a common thread (or many threads) running through it. Or the Hindu organism may merely be several sets connected by a series of non overlapping circles in my Venn diagram analogy.

That commonality is the Hindu identity that nobody (on here) has defined exactly. One of the confounding factors is that many non Hindus by religion consider themselves Hindu in many ways and they, like Hindus are ambiguous about religious affiliation.

The topic is a "real bugger". I am just posting a few thoughts.


Doctre.. here is some help :-

THE COMMON BASES OF HINDUISM - Swami Vivekananda

On his arrival at Lahore the Swamiji was accorded a grand reception by the leaders, both of the Arya Samaj and of the Sanatana Dharma Sabha. During his brief stay in Lahore, Swamiji delivered three lectures. The first of these was on "The Common Bases of Hinduism", the second on "Bhakti", and the third one was the famous lecture on "The Vedanta". On the first occasion he spoke as follows:

This is the land which is held to be the holiest even in holy Aryavarta; this is the Brahmavarta of which our great Manu speaks. This is the land from whence arose that mighty aspiration after the Spirit, ay, which in times to come, as history shows, is to deluge the world. This is the land where, like its mighty rivers, spiritual aspirations have arisen and joined their strength, till they travelled over the length and breadth of the world and declared themselves with a voice of thunder. This is the land which had first to bear the brunt of all inroads and invasions into India; this heroic land had first to bare its bosom to every onslaught of the outer barbarians into Aryavarta. This is the land which, after all its sufferings, has not yet entirely lost its glory and its strength. Here it was that in later times the gentle Nanak preached his marvellous love for the world. Here it was that his broad heart was opened and his arms outstretched to embrace the whole world, not only of Hindus, but of Mohammedans too. Here it was that one of the last and one of the most glorious heroes of our race, Guru Govinda Singh, after shedding his blood and that of his dearest and nearest for the cause of religion, even when deserted by those for whom this blood was shed, retired into the South to die like a wounded lion struck to the heart, without a word against his country, without a single word of murmur.

Here, in this ancient land of ours, children of the land of five rivers, I stand before you, not as a teacher, for I know very little to teach, but as one who has come from the east to exchange words of greeting with the brothers of the west, to compare notes. Here am I, not to find out differences that exist among us, but to find where we agree. Here am I trying to understand on what ground we may always remain brothers, upon what foundations the voice that has spoken from eternity may become stronger and stronger as it grows. Here am I trying to propose to you something of constructive work and not destructive. For criticism the days are past, and we are waiting for constructive work. The world needs, at times, criticisms even fierce ones; but that is only for a time, and the work for eternity is progress and construction, and not criticism and destruction. For the last hundred years or so, there has been a flood of criticism all over this land of ours, where the full play of Western science has been let loose upon all the dark spots, and as a result the corners and the holes have become much more prominent than anything else. Naturally enough there arose mighty intellects all over the land, great and glorious, with the love of truth and justice in their hearts, with the love of their country, and above all, an intense love for their religion and their God; and because these mighty souls felt so deeply, because they loved so deeply, they criticised everything they thought was wrong. Glory unto these mighty spirits of the past! They have done so much good; but the voice of the present day is coming to us, telling, "Enough!" There has been enough of criticism, there has been enough of fault-finding, the time has come for the rebuilding, the reconstructing; the time has come for us to gather all our scattered forces, to concentrate them into one focus, and through that, to lead the nation on its onward march, which for centuries almost has been stopped. The house has been cleansed; let it be inhabited anew. The road has been cleared. March ahead, children of the Aryans!

Gentlemen, this is the motive that brings me before you, and at the start I may declare to you that I belong to no party and no sect. They are all great and glorious to me, I love them all, and all my life I have been attempting to find what is good and true in them. Therefore, it is my proposal tonight to bring before you points where we are agreed, to find out, if we can, a ground of agreement; and if through the grace of the Lord such a state of things be possible, let us take it up, and from theory carry it out into practice. We are Hindus. I do not use the word Hindu in any bad sense at all, nor do I agree with those that think there is any bad meaning in it. In old times, it simply meant people who lived on the other side of the Indus; today a good many among those who hate us may have put a bad interpretation upon it, but names are nothing. Upon us depends whether the name Hindu will stand for everything that is glorious, everything that is spiritual, or whether it will remain a name of opprobrium, one designating the downtrodden, the worthless, the heathen. If at present the word Hindu means anything bad, never mind; by our action let us be ready to show that this is the highest word that any language can invent. It has been one of the principles of my life not to be ashamed of my own ancestors. I am one of the proudest men ever born, but let me tell you frankly, it is not for myself, but on account of my ancestry. The more I have studied the past, the more I have looked back, more and more has this pride come to me, and it has give me the strength and courage of conviction, raised me up from the dust of the earth, and set me working out that great plan laid out by those great ancestors of ours. Children of those ancient Aryans, through the grace of the Lord may you have the same pride, may that faith in your ancestors come into your blood, may it become a part and parcel of your lives, may it work towards the salvation of the world!

Before trying to find out the precise point where we are all agreed, the common ground of our national life, one thing we must remember. Just as there is an individuality in every man, so there is a national individuality. As one man differs from another in certain particulars, in certain characteristics of his own, so one race differs from another in certain peculiar characteristics; and just as it is the mission of every man to fulfil a certain purpose in the economy of nature, just as there is a particular line set out for him by his own past Karma, so it is with nations--each nation has a destiny to fulfil, each nation has a message to deliver, each nation has a mission to accomplish. Therefore, from the very start, we must have to understand the mission of our own race, the destiny it has to fulfil, the place it has to occupy in the march of nations, and note which it has to contribute to the harmony of races. In our country, when children, we hear stories how some serpents have jewels in their heads, and whatever one may do with the serpent, so long as the jewel is there, the serpent cannot be killed. We hear stories of giants and ogres who had souls living in certain little birds, and so long as the bird was safe, there was no power on earth to kill these giants; you might hack them to pieces, or do what you liked to them, the giants could not die. So with nations, there is a certain point where the life of a nation centres, where lies the nationality of the nation, and until that is touched, the nation cannot die. In the light of this we can understand the most marvellous phenomenon that the history of the world has ever known. Wave after wave of barbarian conquest has rolled over this devoted land of ours. "Allah Ho Akbar!" has rent the skies for hundreds of years, and no Hindu knew what moment would be his last. This is the most suffering and the most subjugated of all the historic lands of the world. Yet we still stand practically the same race, ready to face difficulties again and again if necessary; and not only so, of late there have been signs that we are not only strong, but ready to go out, for the sign of life is expansion.

We find today that our ideas and thoughts are no more cooped up within the bounds of India, but whether we will it or not, they are marching outside, filtering into the literature of nations, taking their place among nations, and in some, even getting a commanding dictatorial position. Behind this we find the explanation that the great contribution to the sum total of the world's progress from India is the greatest, the noblest, the sublimest theme that can occupy the mind of man--it is philosophy and spirituality. Our ancestors tried many other things; they, like other nations, first went to bring out the secrets of external nature as we all know, and with their gigantic brains that marvellous race could have done miracles in that line of which the world could have been proud for ever. But they gave it up for something higher; something better rings out from the pages of the Vedas: "That science is the greatest which makes us know Him who never changes!" The science of nature, changeful, evanescent, the world of death, of woe, of misery, may be great, great indeed; but the science of Him who changes not, the Blissful One, where alone is peace, where alone is life eternal, where alone is perfection, where alone all misery ceases--that, according to our ancestors, was the sublimest science of all. After all, sciences that can give us only bread and clothes and power over our fellowmen, sciences that can teach us only how to conquer our fellow-beings, to rule over them, which teach the strong to domineer over the weak--those they could have discovered if they willed. But praise be unto the Lord, they caught at once the other side, which was grander, infinitely higher, infinitely more blissful, till it has become the national characteristic, till it has come down to us, inherited from father to son for thousands of years, till it has become a part and parcel of us, till it tingles in every drop of blood that runs through our veins, till it has become our second nature, till the name of religion and Hindu have become one. This is the national characteristic, and this cannot be touched. Barbarians with sword and fire, barbarians bringing barbarous religions, not one of them could touch the core, not one could touch the "jewel", not one had the power to kill the "bird" which the soul of the race inhabited. This, therefore, is the vitality of the race, and so long as that remains, there is no power under the sun that can kill the race. All the tortures and miseries of the world will pass over without hurting us, and we shall come out of the flames like Prahlada, so long as we hold on to this grandest of all our inheritances, spirituality. If a Hindu is not spiritual I do not call him a Hindu. In other countries a man may be political first, and then he may have a little religion, but here in India the first and the foremost duty of our lives is to be spiritual first, and then,if there is time, let other things come. Bearing this in mind we shall be in a better position to understand why, for our national welfare, we must first seek out at the present day all the spiritual forces of the race, as was done in days of yore and will be done in all times to come. National union in India must be a gathering up of its scattered spiritual forces. A nation in India must be a union of those whose hearts beat to the same spiritual tune.

There have been sects enough in this country. There are sects enough, and there will be enough in the future, because this has been the peculiarity of our religion that in abstract principles so much latitude has been given that, although afterwards so much detail has been worked out, all these details are the working out of principles, broad as the skies above our heads, eternal as nature herself. Sects, therefore, as a matter of course, must exist here, but what need not exist is sectarian quarrel. Sects must be, but sectarianism need not. The world would not be the better for sectarianism, but the world cannot move on without having sects. One set of men cannot do everything. The almost infinite mass of energy in the world cannot be managed by a small number of people. Here, at once we see the necessity that forced this division of labour upon us--the division into sects. For the use of spiritual forces let there be sects; but is there any need that we should quarrel when our most ancient books declare that this differentiation is only apparent, that in spite of all these differences there is a thread of harmony, that beautiful unity, running through them all? Our most ancient books have declared: "That which exists is One; sages call Him by various names." Therefore, if there are these sectarian struggles, if there are these fights among the different sects, if there is jealousy and hatred between the different sects in India, the land where all sects have always been honoured, it is a shame on us who dare to call ourselves the descendants of those fathers.

There are certain great principles in which, I think, we--whether Vaishnavas, Shaivas, Shaktas, or Ganapatyas, whether belonging to the ancient Vedantists or the modern ones, whether belonging to the old rigid sects or the modern reformed ones--are all one, and whoever calls himself a Hindu, believes in these principles. Of course there is a difference in the interpretation, in the explanation of these principles, and that difference should be there, and it should be allowed, for our standard is not to bind every man down to our position. It would be a sin to force every man to work out our own interpretation of things, and to live by our own methods. Perhaps all who are here will agree on the first point that we believe the Vedas to be the eternal teachings of the secrets of religion. We all believe that this holy literature is without beginning and without end, coeval with nature, which is without beginning and without end; and that all our religious differences, all our religious struggles must end when we stand in the presence of that holy book; we are all agreed that this is the last court of appeal in all our spiritual differences. We may take different points of view as to what the Vedas are. There may be one sect which regards one portion as more sacred than another, but that matters little so long as we say that we are all brothers in the Vedas, that out of these venerable, eternal, marvellous books has come everything that we possess today, good, holy, and pure. Well, therefore, if we believe in all this, let this principle first of all be preached broadcast throughout the length and breadth of the land. If this be true, let the Vedas have that prominence which they always deserve, and which we all believe in. First, then, the Vedas. The second point we all believe in is God, the creating, the preserving power of the whole universe, and unto whom it periodically returns to come out at other periods and manifest this wonderful phenomenon, called the universe. We may differ as to our conception of God. One may believe in a God who is entirely personal, another may believe in a God who is personal and yet not human, and yet another may believe in a God who is entirely impersonal, and all may get their support from the Vedas. Still we are all believers in God; that is to say, that man who does not believe in a most marvellous infinite Power from which everything has come, in which everything lives, and to which everything must in the end return, cannot be called a Hindu. If that be so, let us try to preach that idea all over the land. Preach whatever conception you have to give, there is no difference, we are not going to fight over it, but preach God; that is all we want. One idea may be better than another, but, mind you, not one of them is bad. One is good, another is better, and again another may be the best, but the word bad does not enter the category of our religion. Therefore, may the Lord bless them all who preach the name of God in whatever form they like! The more He is preached, the better for this race. Let our children be brought up in this idea, let this idea enter the homes of the poorest and the lowest, as well as of the richest and the highest--the idea of the name of God.

The third idea that I will present before you is that, unlike all other races of the world, we do not believe that this world was created only so many thousand years ago, and is going to be destroyed eternally on a certain day. Nor do we believe that the human soul has been created along with this universe just out of nothing. Here is another point I think we are all able to agree upon. We believe in nature being without beginning and without end; only at psychological periods this gross material of the outer universe goes back to its finer state, thus to remain for a certain period, again to be projected outside to manifest all this infinite panorama we call nature. This wavelike motion was going on even before time began, through eternity, and will remain for an infinite period of time.

Next, all Hindus believe that man is not only a gross material body; not only that within this there is the finer body, the mind, but there is something yet greater--for the body changes and so does the mind--something beyond, the Atman--I cannot translate the word to you for any translation will be wrong--that there is something beyond even this fine body, which is the Atman of man, which has neither beginning nor end, which knows not what death is. And then this peculiar idea, different from that of all other races of men, that this Atman inhabits body after body until there is no more interest for it to continue to do so, and it becomes free, not to be born again, I refer to the theory of Samsara and the theory of eternal souls taught by our Shastras. This is another point where we all agree, whatever sect we may belong to. There may be differences as to the relation between the soul and God. According to one sect the soul may be eternally different from God, according to another it may be a spark of that infinite fire, yet again according to others it may be one with that Infinite. It does not matter what our interpretation is, so long as we hold on to the one basic belief that the soul is infinite, that this soul was never created, and therefore will never die, that it had to pass and evolve into various bodies, till it attained perfection in the human one--in that we are all agreed.
And then comes the most differentiating, the grandest, and the most wonderful discovery in the realms of spirituality that has ever been made. Some of you, perhaps, who have been studying Western thought, may have observed already that there is another radical difference severing at one stroke all that is Western from all that is Eastern. It is this that we hold, whether we are Shaktas, Sauras, or Vaishnavas, even whether we are Bauddhas or Jainas, we all hold in India that the soul is by its nature pure and perfect, infinite in power and blessed. Only, according to the dualist, this natural blissfulness of the soul has become contracted by past bad work, and through the grace of God it is going to open out and show its perfection; while according to the monist, even this idea of contraction is a partial mistake, it is the veil of Maya that causes us to think the soul has lost its powers, but the powers are there fully manifest. Whatever the difference may be, we come to the central core, and there is at once an irreconcilable difference between all that is Western and Eastern. The Eastern is looking inward for all that is great and good. When we worship, we close our eyes and try to find God within. The Western is looking up outside for his God. To the Western their religious books have been inspired, while with us our books have been expired; breath-like they came, the breath of God, out of the hearts of sages they sprang, the Mantra-drashtas.

This is one great point to understand, and, my friends, my brethren, let me tell you, this is the one point we shall have to insist upon in the future. For I am firmly convinced, and I beg you to understand this one fact--no good comes out of the man who day and night thinks he is nobody. If a man, day and night, thinks he is miserable, low, and nothing, nothing he becomes. If you say, yea, yea, "I am, I am", so shall you be; and if you say "I am not", think that you are not, and day and night meditate upon the fact that you are nothing, ay, nothing shall you be. That is the great fact which you ought to remember. We are the children of the Almighty, we are sparks of the infinite, divine fire. How can we be nothings? We are everything, ready to do everything, we can do everything, and man must do everything. This faith in themselves was in the hearts of our ancestors, this faith in themselves was the motive power that pushed them forward and forward in the march of civilisation; and if there has been degeneration, if there has been defect, mark my words, you will find that degradation to have started on the day our people lost this faith in themselves. Losing faith in one's self means losing faith in God. Do you believe in that infinite, good Providence working in and through you? If you believe that this Omnipresent One, the Antaryamin, is present in every atom, is through and through, Ota-prota, as the Sanskrit word goes, penetrating your body, mind and soul, how can you lose heart? I may be a little bubble of water, and you may be a mountain-high wave. Never mind! The infinite ocean is the background of me as well as of you. Mine also is that infinite ocean of life, of power, of spirituality, as well as yours. I am already joined--from my very birth, from the very fact of my life--I am in Yoga with that infinite life and infinite goodness and infinite power, as you are, mountain-high though you may be. Therefore, my brethren, teach this life-saving, great, ennobling, grand doctrine to your children, even from their very birth. You need not teach them Advaitism; teach them Dvaitism, or any "ism" you please, but we have seen that this is the common "ism" all through India; this marvellous doctrine of the soul, the perfection of the soul, is commonly believed in by all sects. As says our great philosopher Kapila, if purity has not been the nature of the soul, it can never attain purity afterwards, for anything that was not perfect by nature, even if it attained to perfection, that perfection would go away again. If impurity is the nature of man, then man will have to remain impure, even though he may be pure for five minutes. The time will come when this purity will wash out, pass away, and the old natural impurity will have its sway once more. Therefore, say all our philosophers, good is our nature, perfection is our nature, not imperfection, not impurity--and we should remember that. Remember the beautiful example of the great sage who, when he was dying, asked his mind to remember all his mighty deeds and all his mighty thoughts. There you do not find that he was teaching his mind to remember all his weaknesses and all his follies. Follies there are, weakness there must be, but remember your real nature always--that is the only way to cure the weakness, that is the only way to cure the follies.

It seems that these few points are common among all the various religious sects in India, and perhaps in future upon this common platform, conservative and liberal religionists, old type and new type, may shake hands. Above all, there is another thing to remember, which I am sorry we forget from time to time, that religion, in India, means realisation and nothing short of that. "Believe in the doctrine, and you are safe", can never be taught to us, for we do not believe in that. You are what you make yourselves. You are, by the grace of God and your own exertions, what you are. Mere believing in certain theories and doctrines will not help you much. The mighty word that came out from the sky of spirituality in India was Anubhuti, realisation, and ours are the only books which declare again and again: "The Lord is to be seen ". Bold, brave words indeed, but true to their very core; every sound, every vibration is true. Religion is to be realised, not only heard; it is not in learning some doctrine like a parrot. Neither is it mere intellectual assent--that is nothing; but it must come into us. Ay, and therefore the greatest proof that we have of the existence of a God is not because our reason says so, but because God has been seen by the ancients as well as by the moderns. We believe in the soul not only because there are good reasons to prove its existence, but, above all, because there have been in the past thousands in India, there are still many who have realised, and there will be thousands in the future who will realise and see their own souls. And there is no salvation for man until he sees God, realises his own soul. Therefore, above all, let us understand this, and the more we understand it the less we shall have of sectarianism in India, for it is only that man who has realised God and seen Him, who is religious. In him the knots have been cut asunder, in him alone the doubts have subsided; he alone has become free from the fruits of action who has seen Him who is nearest of the near and farthest of the far. Ay, we often mistake mere prattle for religious truth, mere intellectual perorations for great spiritual realisation, and then comes sectarianism, then comes fight. If we once understand that this realisation is the only religion, we shall look into our own hearts and find how far we are towards realising the truths of religion. Then we shall understand that we ourselves are groping in darkness, and are leading others to grope in the same darkness, then we shall cease from sectarianism, quarrel, and fight. Ask a man who wants to start a sectarian fight, "Have you seen God? Have you seen the Atman? If you have not, what right have you to preach His name--you walking in darkness trying to lead me into the same darkness--the blind leading the blind, and both falling into the ditch?"

Therefore, take more thought before you go and find fault with others. Let them follow their own path to realisation so long as they struggle to see truth in their own hearts; and when the broad, naked truth will be seen, then they will find that wonderful blissfulness which marvellously enough has been testified to by every seer in India, by every one who has realised the truth. Then words of love alone will come out of that heart, for it has already been touched by Him who is the essence of Love Himself. Then and then alone, all sectarian quarrels will cease, and we shall be in a position to understand, to bring to our hearts, to embrace, to intensely love the very word Hindu and every one who bears that name. Mark me, then and then alone you are a Hindu when the very name sends through you a galvanic shock of strength. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when every man who bears the name, from any country, speaking our language or any other language, becomes at once the nearest and the dearest to you. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when the distress of anyone bearing that name comes to your heart and makes you feel as if your own son were in distress. Then and then alone you are a Hindu when you will be ready to bear everything for them, like the great example I have quoted at the beginning of this lecture, of your great Guru Govind Singh. Driven out from this country, fighting against its oppressors, after having shed his own blood for the defence of the Hindu religion, after having seen his children killed on the battlefield--ay, this example of the great Guru, left even by those for whose sake he was shedding his blood and the blood of his own nearest and dearest--he, the wounded lion, retired from the field calmly to die in the South, but not a word of curse escaped his lips against those who had ungratefully forsaken him! Mark me, every one of you will have to be a Govind Singh, if you want to do good to your country. You may see thousands of defects in your countrymen, but mark their Hindu blood. They are the first Gods you will have to worship even if they do everything to hurt you, even if everyone of them send out a curse to you, you send out to them words of love. If they drive you out, retire to die in silence like that mighty lion, Govind Singh. Such a man is worthy of the name of Hindu; such an ideal ought to be before us always. All our hatchets let us bury; send out this grand current of love all round.

Let them talk of India's regeneration as they like. Let me tell you as one who has been working--at least trying to work--all his life, that there is no regeneration for India until you be spiritual. Not only so, but upon it depends the welfare of the whole world. For I must tell you frankly that the very foundations of Western civilisation have been shaken to their base. The mightiest buildings, if built upon the loose sand foundations of materialism, must come to grief one day, must totter to their destruction some day. The history of the world is our witness. Nation after nation has arisen and based its greatness upon materialism, declaring man was all matter. Ay, in Western language, a man gives up the ghost, but in our language a man gives up his body. The Western man is a body first, and then he has a soul; with us a man is a soul and spirit, and he has a body. Therein lies a world of difference. All such civilisations, therefore, as have been based upon such sand foundations as material comfort and all that, have disappeared one after another, after short lives, from the face of the world; but the civilisation of India and the other nations that have stood at India's feet to listen and learn, namely Japan and China, live even to the present day, and there are signs even of revival among them. Their lives are like that of the Phoenix, a thousand times destroyed, but ready to spring up again more glorious. But a materialistic civilisation once dashed down, never can come up again; that building once thrown down is broken into pieces once for all. Therefore have patience and wait, the future is in store for us.

Do not be in a hurry, do not go out to imitate anybody else. This is another great lesson we have to remember; imitation is not civilisation. I may deck myself out in a Raja's dress, but will that make me a Raja? An ass in a lion's skin never makes a lion. Imitation, cowardly imitation, never makes for progress. It is verily the sign of awful degradation in a man. Ay, when a man has begun to hate himself, then the last blow has come. When a man has begun to be ashamed of his ancestors, the end has come. Here am I, one of the least of the Hindu race, yet proud of my race, proud of my ancestors. I am proud to call myself a Hindu, I am proud that I am one of your unworthy servants. I am proud that I am a countryman of yours, you the descendants of the sages, you the descendants of the most glorious Rishis the world ever saw. Therefore have faith in yourselves, be proud of your ancestors, instead of being ashamed of them. And do not imitate, do not imitate! Whenever you are under the thumb of others, you lose your own independence. If you are working, even in spiritual things, at the dictation of others, slowly you lose all faculty, even of thought. Bring out through your own exertions what you have, but do not imitate, yet take what is good from others. We have to learn from others. You put the seed in the ground, and give it plenty of earth, and air, and water to feed upon; when the seed grows into the plant and into a gigantic tree, does it become the earth, does it become the air, or does it become the water? It becomes the mighty plant, the mighty tree, after its own nature, having absorbed everything that was given to it. Let that be your position. We have indeed many things to learn from others, yea, that man who refuses to learn is already dead. Declares our Manu: "Take the jewel of a woman for your wife, though she be of inferior descent. Learn supreme knowledge with service even from the man of low birth; and even from the Chandala, learn by serving him the way to salvation." Learn everything that is good from others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others. Do not be dragged away out of this Indian life; do not for a moment think that it would be better for India if all the Indians dressed, ate, and behaved like another race. You know the difficulty of giving up a habit of a few years. The Lord knows how many thousands of years are in your blood; this national specialised life has been flowing in one way, the Lord knows for how many thousands of years; and do you mean to say that that mighty stream, which has nearly reached its ocean, can go back to the snows of its Himalayas again? That is impossible! The struggle to do so would only break it. Therefore, make way for the life-current of the nation. Take away the blocks that bar the way to the progress of this mighty river, cleanse its path, clear the channel, and out it will rush by its own natural impulse, and the nation will go on careering and progressing.

These are the lines which I beg to suggest to you for spiritual work in India. There are many other great problems which, for want of time, I cannot bring before you this night. For instance, there is the wonderful question of caste. I have been studying this question, its pros and cons, all my life; I have studied it in nearly every province in India. I have mixed with people of all castes in nearly every part of the country, and I am too bewildered in my own mind to grasp even the very significance of it. The more I try to study it, the more I get bewildered. Still at last I find that a little glimmer of light is before me, I begin to feel its significance just now. Then there is the other great problem about eating and drinking. That is a great problem indeed. It is not so useless a thing as we generally think. I have come to the conclusion that the insistence which we make now about eating and drinking is most curious and is just going against what the Shastras required, that is to say, we come to grief by neglecting the proper purity of the food we eat and drink; we have lost the true spirit of it.

There are several other questions which I want to bring before you and show how these problems can be solved, how to work out the ideas; but unfortunately the meeting could not come to order until very late, and I do not wish to detain you any longer now. I will, therefore, keep my ideas about caste and other things for a future occasion.

Now, one word more and I will finish about these spiritual ideas. Religion for a long time has come to be static in India. What we want is to make it dynamic. I want it to be brought into the life of everybody. Religion, as it always has been in the past, must enter the palaces of kings as well as the homes of the poorest peasants in the land. Religion, the common inheritance, the universal birthright of the race, must be brought free to the door of everybody. Religion in India must be made as free and as easy of access as is God's air. And this is the kind of work we have to bring about in India, but not by getting up little sects and fighting on points of difference. Let us preach where we all agree and leave the differences to remedy themselves. As I have said to the Indian people again and again, if there is the darkness of centuries in a room and we go into the room and begin to cry, "Oh, it is dark, it is dark!", will the darkness go? Bring in the light and the darkness will vanish at once. This is the secret of reforming men. Suggest to them higher things; believe in man first. Why start with the belief that man is degraded and degenerated? I have never failed in my faith in man in any case, even taking him at his worst. Wherever I had faith in man, though at first the prospect was not always bright, yet it triumphed in the long run. Have faith in man, whether he appears to you to be a very learned one or a most ignorant one. Have faith in man, whether he appears to be an angel or the very devil himself. Have faith in man first, and then having faith in him, believe that if there are defects in him, if he makes mistakes, if he embraces the crudest and the vilest doctrines, believe that it is not from his real nature that they come, but from the want of higher ideals. If a man goes towards what is false, it is because he cannot get what is true. Therefore the only method of correcting what is false is by supplying him with what is true. Do this, and let him compare. You give him the truth, and there your work is done. Let him compare it in his own mind with what he has already in him; and, mark my words, if you have really given him the truth, the false must vanish, light must dispel darkness, and truth will bring the good out. This is the way if you want to reform the country spiritually; this is the way, and not fighting, not even telling people that what they are doing is bad. Put the good before them, see how eagerly they take it, see how the divine that never dies, that is always living in the human, comes up awakened and stretches out its hand for all that is good, and all that is glorious.

May He who is the Creator, the Preserver, and the Protector of our race, the God of our forefathers, whether called by the name of Vishnu, or Shiva, or Shakti, or Ganapati, whether He is worshipped as Saguna or Nirguna, whether He is worshipped as personal or as impersonal may He whom our forefathers knew and addressed by the words, -"That which exists is One; sages call Him by various names"--may He enter into us with His mighty love, may He shower His blessings on us, may He make us understand each other, may He make us work for each other with real love, with intense love for truth, and may not the least desire for our own personal fame, our own personal prestige, our own personal advantage, enter into this great work of the spiritual regeneration of India!

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Postby Karan Dixit » 07 Apr 2007 08:23

Acharya wrote:Has anybody read this book

Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century by Peter Watson

Just as the 20th century dawned with an unparalleled optimism regarding the moral, social and scientific progress of humanity, it ended with an unshakeable confidence in the promises of technology and the power of free-market economics to deliver a better life for all humankind. British journalist Watson's (War on the Mind; The Caravaggio Conspiracy; etc.) panoramic survey traces various 20th-century ideas and their power to bend and shape society and individuals. At a frenetic pace, he gallops through the modern intellectual landscape, pausing long enough to graze the founts of philosophy (from Wittgenstein to Richard Rorty to Alasdair MacIntyre), literature (Kafka, Woolf, Mann, Rushdie), literary criticism (F.R. Leavis to Jacques Derrida), art (Picasso to Warhol), economics (Milton Friedman to John Kenneth Galbraith), science (Linus Pauling to E.O. Wilson) and film (D.W. Griffiths to Fran?ois Truffaut). He also briefly examines the significance of a wide range of political and cultural movements, such as socialism, communism, fascism, feminism and environmentalism.


Christians are allowed to analyze as long as the analysis does not contradict the bible. Their philosophy on life is shackled by biblical mandates. There are very strict mandates that a christian has to abide by. As a result, their views on life are not driven by intellect but by faith in crude mandates. This is hardly an environment that creates a mind that can analyze life objectively.

The most precious thing about Hindu Dharma is its appeal to cerebral cortex and an atmosphere where people are allowed to think freely.

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Postby Calvin » 07 Apr 2007 08:26

Christians are allowed to analyze as long as the analysis does not contradict the bible. Their philosophy on life is shackled by biblical mandates. There are very strict mandates that a christian has to abide by. As a result, their views on life are not driven by intellect but by faith in crude mandates. This is hardly an environment that creates a mind that can analyze life objectively.


What is this analysis based on?

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Postby Alok_N » 07 Apr 2007 08:30

Greg,

nothing personal, but just to set the guidelines, may I enquire as to whether you are a Hindu or not? ... it will help me set the parameters of the required corrections to your thinking process ... secondly, if you are indeed a Hindu, may I enquire as to whether you have any familiarity with the scriptures, you know, the ones loosely referred to as Hindu Thought?

Now, down the to serious business at hand of deconstructing your wayward views ...

Greg wrote:One thing that these threads do very convincingly is show that Hinduism is too many things to too many people. The analogy to a robust and evolvable organism or a colony of organisms, put forth by Pulikeshi, is therefore apt. The above statement however, conveniently picks and chooses components of Hinduism that appeal to you as compatible with scientific thought to make a generalized assesment of "Hindu thought".


this one is trivial ... see above ... Hindu "thought" is defined in terms of scriptures ...

IMO, the best way to judge the scientific merits and shortcomings of a religious thought are to look at the overall realities on the ground and not by subjective interpretation of scriptures or data selection that picks small schools of philosophy within a religion.


Your MO is profoundly misplaced ... let us deconstruct the phrases that you have put forth with authority:

"realities on the ground" == collective ignorance

"subjective interpretation" == I have no clue, so neither do you

"small schools of philosophy" == my school is bigger than yours

let's get serious, shall we?

"Hindu thought" is best reflected by "Hindu activity" and that includes millions of Hindus who believe (and act on that belief) that a bath in a polluted river will wash them off their sins.


see above ... just cause you are clueless does not mean that cluelessness should be enacted into law ...
Based on these facts (are they not?), I respectfully suggest that while Hinduism is aromatic with a fascinating and contagious spirituality, it would be grossly inaccurate to say that Hindu thought is not unscientific or that Hindu thought on the nature of the universe is scientifically useful. My apologies if this is harsh and insensitive to devout Hindus.


My apologies if the following narrative is insensitive to the challenged nature of your comprehension ...

let us just say that you are behaving like an old grandma who thinks her CD-drive is a coffee cup holder and calls up Dell to bitch and complain that "your cofee cup holder is too flimsy for my hefty mug" ... :)

We can never prove that there is nothing of scientific value in all the religious scriptures and philosophies that have emerged in human history.


why not?

Individual scientists are free to find inspiration wherever they wish. Isaac Newton was deeply religious and found inspiration for science in Christian scriptures. Mendel was a Christian monk doing the work of God when he experimentally teased out the principles of heredity.


nice snake-oil, but no sale ... Newton and Mendel discovered what they discovered on their own efforts ... they had ZERO help from religion, unless you can prove otherwise ... can you?

None of these instances mean that answers to Physics or Genetics emerged from Christian thought or that immersion in Christian scriptures improves the chances of a brilliant scientific breakthrough.


thanks for the towel ... however, if a towel was forthcoming, what was the point of the text immediately preceding the towel?

Loosely or allegorically described "nature of the Universe" will find many interpretations and fire many levels of imagination.


what is "loose" in your profound way of thinking? ... is the fact that god dude created the universe in "6 days" a loose interpretation that can be easily fixed by saying 1 day = 1 billion years?

So we cant rule out anything - not Hindu thought, nor the Shinto thought, nor the visions revealed to those who practice the voodoo.


before you go on and make like a priest, let's investigate this assertion of "so we can't rule out anything" ... you have posted some peurile thoughts and have reached a profound conclusion with a glaring absence of substance in between ...

however, I would agree that we can't rule out that "Greg is vacuuous" ... this is not meant to be inflammatory but just an invitation to post any evidence to the contrary ...

But that does not mean that there is now a sufficiently high probability that these philosophies will be scientifically useful toward cracking the scientific challenges of the day. If a Hindu physicist or a Neurobiologist feels passionate about the knowledge contained in the vedic scriptures (as you do), he is free to clearly outline the hypotheses, conduct his research and report his findings.


thank you for the permission ... without your help, I would not have known that I had the freedom to report my findings ... what exactly is your point besides obfuscation?

Unless and until, something of scientific value emerges out of these studies, it would be rational of other scientists to be skeptical or even dismissive of the said scriptures based on their historical scientific track record.


did you miss my post about the "nature of time"? ... that is indeed the overwhelming problem of fundamental science ... there is the christian view of linear time and Hindu view of cyclic time ... which one do you subscribe to? ... that may help clarify where you stand ...

now, it has become quite clear that the linear models are running into trouble ... what do you suggest that we should do this problem?

It is that last part, the scientific track record, where all the religious scriptures fail to deliver - leaving them in a cluster of their own. I have already acknowledged the utility of religious thought and ideas in domains other than science.


nice equal-equal ... :lol:

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Postby svinayak » 07 Apr 2007 08:33

PURPLE PATCH: Humanism — Ajp Taylor

Christianity has never enjoyed undisputed mastery of the civilized world. There have been heresies within the Church, and rivals without.
These enemies accepted the same need for spiritual values and also looked for authority to another world. Now Christianity is the only religion in full vigour, holding a sustained body of doctrine, which is adapted to modern conditions. Yet at the same time the Christian outlook is challenged as never before- the challenge not of an enemy, but of a sceptic. Enemies sustain each other; oblivion is the only doom. What is loosely called the religion of humanism threatens Christianity, and with it all established values, simply by not being a religion at all. Every age flatters itself by supposing that it is unlike any other. Our age has more justification than most for making this claim. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to speak of the age that is just ending. It seems unlikely that the age of reason and of liberal thought will last much longer. All the more need therefore to hail its achievement and to acknowledge its unique character-the only age when man believed in himself and deduced every principle from this simple, though unreal, creed.

Where did humanism come from? How did man- usually so fearful of the universe –reach this rare confidence in himself. The Renaissance certainly rejected the Christian view of the world as a vale of tears, and taught instead an enjoyment of this life. But there was no coherent creed in this outlook, certainly no moral doctrine. Indeed, the men of the Renaissance knew that they were wicked and resigned themselves to it. The investigator of humanism will find its origins elsewhere- in the English secular thinkers of the seventeenth century, and in Italian writers of a slightly later period, who seemed to develop greater wisdom in judging public affairs with every step that their own country took towards anarchy and incompetence. But few will dispute the claim of the French philosophes to be the fathers of humanism. It was they who worked out every aspect of this ‘secular religion’, until it took on precise definition in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and showed itself, less satisfactorily, in practice as the French Revolution. Their thought was deeply written into all our political assumptions... written in so deeply that conscious analysis of it was rarely attempted...

Men make ideas; and each man who handles them contributes some twist of his own. Voltaire, for instance, transcended all his contemporaries as a writer. It is not surprising that he had a burning passion for freedom for expression and a hatred for injustice. Otherwise he cared little for public affairs and asked only to be left alone in tranquillity. Hence his practical demand was for ‘civil liberty’- a demand that could be as well satisfied by a despot as by a parliamentary system, or perhaps better. Rousseau, on the other hand, never appreciated liberty in terms of toleration. He resented disagreement as a calculated slight against himself and dreamed of crushing every opponent by the steamroller of ‘the general will’. No more dangerous idea has ever been invented by a political thinker; and Rousseau would not have hit on it if he had got on with others a little better. Again, more generally, the outlook of the philosophes was determined by the social circumstances in which it was conceived...

The original impulse towards humanism had, of course, a practical side...secular thought began in France with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
This act, so obviously damaging to the State, could not be condemned by theological arguments. Instead it proved the danger of theology.; and the axe which was levelled against the universal Church fell with equal weight against absolute monarchy. Louis XIV had overstepped the written limits of divine right; he had disregarded the half-forgotten constitution of France...The other element which launched humanism was of a different kind and more nearly an example of ideas breeding ideas. The English scientific revolution of the seventeenth century started the French off in their search for political science. If the universe could be reduced to ordered rules then human nature, too, could be brought within a single pattern. The philosophes were the heirs of Newton; and they sought, though, without success, a universal law of political gravitation... Perhaps the greatest single stroke of this scientific attitude was the transformation of men into Man. The millions of individuals, each with their separate character, disappeared; a universal simplicity, or even simpleton, took their place....

The philosophes never questioned the importance of their task. The traditional pattern of political society had failed; abstract general rules could be discovered; and these rules, once discovered, would prove easy of application. The first of these rules was liberty-the greatest of natural rights. Indeed liberty was, in a sense, the only natural right; for, once it was accepted, all other rights followed from it. Liberty meant security from oppression or from unfair laws; it meant security of life and property and therefore also of freedom of thought. Neither for Voltaire nor for most other philosophes did it mean to vote one government out and to vote another government in. Nothing is more curious in these daring thinkers of eighteenth century France than their remote aloofness from anything resembling action. They were engaged in manufacturing a religion, not in devising a political programme....Rousseau [was] the philosopher first of anarchy and later of totalitarianism...Rousseau invented democracy. He invented, first, the dogma that every man has an equal right to say in government- a dogma there is now none to dispute. Thereafter he invented further dogma that democracy alone has the right to silence its critics or opponents- a doctrine applied by the one-party State of the people’s democracy and, with less ruthlessness, in the two-party State of our own. It was an odd ending to a movement of thought that had started with respect for the individual.... There is the doctrine of equality, embarrassingly in conflict with individualist economics- a puzzle that was to dominate the politics of the nineteenth century. There is the doctrine of Progress, finally enunciated by Condorcet under the most pathetic circumstances. The hunted politician in his garret, asserting the perfectibility of man, was a sad epilogue to this record of speculation. And yet an inevitable one. Men insist on believing in something; and once revealed religion has proved false, what is there left to believe in except ourselves? The humanists hunted Man, as a dog chases its tail; and, by a sort of miracle, they sometimes caught him.

AJP Taylor was one of the most popular and controversial historians of his generation — known for his simple writing style and provocative ideas. The above excerpt is from his collection of essays, published as ‘Englishmen and Others’



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Re: Evanjehadis in action during Tsunami

Postby Karan Dixit » 07 Apr 2007 08:36



One thing that has always baffled me about christians is that they hope to go to heaven after engaging in incidents like the one mentioned in the article above.

What I am trying to say is that dogma become nobler than noble deeds. This is where major problem of christianity (and islam as well) lies.


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