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Reg. GV2000, Hindu, Ancient culture etc.

From: susarla@great-gray.owlnet.rice.edu (H. Krishna Susarla)
Newsgroups: alt.india.progressive
Subject: Re: Cosmos/World Vision 2000 etc...
Message-ID: <22286@blue.cis.pitt.edu>
Date: 11 May 94 20:11:05 GMT
biju+@pitt.edu wrote:
: In article <21953@blue.cis.pitt.edu> susarla@great-gray.owlnet.rice.edu (H.
Krishna Susarla) writes:
: This has been my point althru... For me what is currently referred to
: as "Hinduism" includes not just the "religion of the vedas" but many
: traditions that are pre-vedic... most of my examples have been
: repeatedly pointing to this very fact... why are we incapable of
: recognizing a pre-vedic tradition which survives, albiet with some
: difficulty, even today.
What pre-Vedic civilization are you referring to? If, as I suspect, it is
the 'Dravidian' civilization postulated by the Aryan Invasion Theorists, then
you should understand that this theory has been discredited.
It's also equally important here to understand that many devout Vedantists
regard the Vedas as timeless. They always existed, and will always exist.
Therefore, according to literal interpretations of the scriptures, Vedic
civilization was the first civilization. That idea may not sit well with
many atheists and Marxists, as well as with many Hindus who don't like
to interpret the scriptures literally, but it is a possibility that one
should not be closed to simply because it is written in scriptures.
: Maybe the answer lies in the rest of Mr. Susarla's note....
: [stuff deleted]
: >to the literal meaning. By this, I don't mean the revival of backward customs
: >(many of which actually have no scriptural basis anyway), but rather in
:   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
: "backward customs"?? Why the label... the answer seems to be in your next
: - "no scriptural basis anyway"...... ah ah! the assumption surfaces again -
:       religions with a scriptural basis are superior to those based
:       on purely oral traditions
What are you talking about? I reread my post, but I don't understand how you
read this into it. Actually, the Vedas were passed down by oral tradition
before they were put in writing on Earth. So i guess that puts a hole in your
theory about what I was trying to say.
: Precisely the point... my argument above holds... the scriptures are part of
: the relation of power I am talking about... the scriptures form a particular
: mode of knowledge production and these knowledge structures are precisely
: what creates and maintains relations of power and vice versa (that is,
: scripture based practice of Hinduism that gave power to a social elite
: then reproduces using that power similar knowledge structures again...)
: Now why I leave out scriptures must be quite clear... the scriptures are
: part of the oppresive relations of power... (Ah! a lil bit of
: ol' fashioned Foucault there!!!). In short, given that the scriptures
: embody a wholly unacceptable relation of social power, I am not about to
: accept the scripture as the basis for judgments in this debate
: and thus perpetuate that power relation that I seek to oppose.
Now you are analyzing scriptures from an atheistic/Marxist viewpoint. Have
you ever read any of the scriptures? Have you ever had a spiritual master
teach you about them? If the answer is no, which I suspect, then how can
you say all this about the scriptures supporting some sort of 'power
structure' if you have never learned about them? A lot of social evils,
like the caste system, are based on misinterpretations of scriptures.
Because misinterpreting the scriptures can lead to such problems, you don't
just go around listening to and accepting any old 'interpretation' of them
(the Marxists, I'm sure, are fond of analyzing them in terms of such vague
concepts as 'power' and 'exploitation'). You should learn about them from
a true spiritual master, or else what you learn will not be the true meaning
of the Vedas. There is an absolute truth which these scriptures contain; they
are not just an amalgamation of various hodgepodge religions, which is
precisely the viewpoint many 'progressives' espouse for political reasons.
However, let me assume for the moment that you actually have read the Gita,
the Upanishads, etc. instead of just the Marxist analysis of them. Where is
the passage which you take such objection to? What scripture, what sloka,
what verse do you find so offensive? Please quote it here, as well as a
verse citation so we can discuss it. My guess is, you and others who share
the same political beliefs (the 'progressives' as they ironically call
themselves) are interpreting verses in such a way as to change their
meaning and then criticizing them because of your 'interpretation.'
: i go instead, in resistance, to the oral traditions and try to reclaim
: these as "hindu" too.... for if you want to count a person who has,
: following an oral tradition, been worshipping bali as a hero-deity
: instead of a villain, as a hindu (as per the census) then his "faith"
: need not bow to the written scripture.  if that was not permissible,
: if the scripture had to remain above all, - "the hinduism"- then maybe
: we should have accepted mahatma phule's call that the dalits not be
: counted as part of the hindu order and be treated as a minority after
: independence from the british - that would have made india a country
: of 40% - 50% hindus and rest minorities - dalits, muslims, sikhs,
the name 'hindu' itself does not mean any one dogma or religion; it tends
to be used to refer to all people in india following some religion which
has some relation to the original religion of the vedas. a lot of these
practices are based on declining reliance on the teachings of the vedas,
and yet they are also called hinduism. many of these practices are actually
unethical (like the goat-slaughter for the bengali kali puja) and inconsistent
with the vedas. however, no one here is arguing that such people should be
forced to comply with scriptures. what is important is to realize that many
define 'hinduism' by what is contained in scriptures, and many critics of
hinduism often confuse the degenerated practices of today with what is
actually in scriptures. i find this distateful and highly offensive.
: christians, parsis, buddhists etc..!!!! hey,  that was not
: acceptable to the brahmin lobby in the congress.... if that wasn't
oh, give me a break! how many 'brahmins' are there in congress, anyway?
my guess is, somewhere around zero. people don't become brahmins by birth,
only by conduct. That's what scriptures say. People who say otherwise are
misinterpreting them.
: then today I am part of those who will refuse to accept "high"
: Hinduism as identical to the more global term "Hinduism" which the
: sons and daughters of Mahatma Phule were forced to accept.
: [stuff deleted]
: >Also, bear in mind that the idea of Hinduism as polytheistic is one that
: >prosperity in schools of thought founded by Christian missionaries and/or
: >atheists. Naturally, such people have an ulterior motive in calling Hinduism
: >polytheistic, just as today's 'progressives' do.
: As I explained above, yes, I am sure the European missionaries did it for
: their own imperialistic reasons (just as it was key for them in subjugating
: the Native Americans here)... definitely pagan-polytheism was a mode of
: asserting superiority for the Enlightenment bred Europeans - but our
: anti-imperialistic tendencies shd not conceal a particular mode of
: internal colonialism that was being propounded thru a certain articulation
: of religious practice.
There is an element of internal colonialism here, and I see it everytime I
read a posting by an Indian denigrating the Hindu scriptures or putting down
Indian culture in general. This school of thought that holds that Hinduism is
polythestic has survived to the present day and is well entrenched in the
Indian intellectual sphere. Many of today's 'progressives' seem to share the
exact same views propagated by Max Mueller et. al. about the scriptures which
today are being discredited. It's interesting to hear them speak, because
often they are guilty of statements which would be called prejudiced had they
come from someone of non-Indian descent. As an example, consider a recent
article written by Praful Bidhwai in India Abroad. He argues that the
Indian middle class is 'backward' because the majority of them still celebrate
the traditions of arranged meetings for marriages and joint families! This sort
of thing is an example of the 'holier-than-thou' attitude I encounter among
Indians who become so enchanted with Western materialism that they can't
resist putting down the culture of their ancestors. It isn't enough for these
people to simply give up their traditions (which doesn't bother me), but
suddenly they feel as if they are on the moral high-ground for bashing of
customs they no longer practice!
I think I am seeing the same things right now on this thread. For example,
your insistence on analyzing the scriptures without the aid of a spiritual
master, as well as your desire to make sweeping generalizations about what they
contain without reading them carefully smacks of the same disgusting tactics
used by the European imperialists who tried to understand the Hindu scriptures.
If you really think that everything you said about scriptures supporting some
sort of objectionable 'power' structure was true, then you should have no
problem quoting verses to support that hypothesis. However, the fact that you
have not yet done so weakens your argument considerably.
>From a very cynical viewpoint, one is tempted to look at things like this and
say that the European imperialists never left India. Their contemporaries
remain to the present day, working ever so hard to propagate the ideas of
Hindu polytheism, Aryan Invasion Theory, and other unscholarly ideas which
survive only because of their implications for supporting Leftist propaganda
in India.
-- Krishna

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