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Re: Contribution of 'Backward Classes' to Hinduism and India

On Sun, 7 Aug 1994, H. Krishna Susarla wrote:

> > 
> > In article <31udnj$lbk@ucunix.san.uc.edu> you wrote:
> > : Jaldhar Vyas (jvyas@ritz.mordor.com) wrote:
> > 
> > Mani will correct me if I am wrong, but what I think he was saying was 
> > that we have no firm evidence that Shri Rama etc. existed.  This is true 
> > so why should I take offense?  If he had said they were mythological and 
> > therefore I shouldn't practice my religion then I would have taken great 
> > offense.  But he didn't so who cares? 
> >
> Because it is not true. The fact that the Ramayana was composed and passed
> down should be treated as evidence that the events chronicled therein did
> occur. To say otherwise is to assume that the Ramayana was a mythological
> story, an assumption which is not scientific. Calling it evidence that such
> a thing actually happened takes into account the fact that it might be true. 

ANY assumption on this subject is guesswork hence unscientific.
> > I reacted to the idea that the historical nature of Shri Rama etc. should 
> > have any bearing on how we practice Dharma.  Our acharyas have 
> > specifically told us that this is not true. 
> > 
> I don't recall that Prasad was trying to establish that you should practice
> your religion differently. What I believe he reacted to was the assumption
> that Vyasa and Valmiki were mythological, nothing more. 

He gave the wrong answer.  The correct one is "If they are mythological 
so what?  Have they not influenced more people living or dead than many 
people who are historical?  And in that sense have they not made a 
contribution to Hinduism and India?"

The way Prasad answered the question makes tradition subordinate to 
history.  Which needless to say is not good.

> > : At the very
> > : least, I don't see how saying that Rama, Krishna, Vyasa, etc. are myths is
> > : any more scholarly that saying that they are historical entities.
> > 
> > You are absolutely right.  Which is why Dharmik people shouldn't waste 
> > their time this stuff.  We don't need it. 
> > 
> I disagree. I consider myself a 'Dharmik' person and I am very much interested
> in the historical nature of what was chronicled by Vyasa and Valmiki.

If you found out Shri Rama lived 5000 years ago instead of 6000, would 
your faith be any less?  How about 4900?  It's an interesting piece of 
trivia but irrelevant to our religion.  That's all I'm saying. 

> For many
> who are not religious, demonstrating the historical truth behind the 
> scriptures
> can be a real eye opener. For some people who only follow parts of the 
> scriptures and ignore other parts, showing evidence for a historical basis may
> influence them to take the teachings more literally. 

In my experience this is not true.  The kind of person who doesn't see 
the intrinsic value of religion is not likely to be impressed by 
"historical truth." either.

> [ stuff deleted ] > 
> > 
> > As well as being on guard against those who openly hate us like the 
> > Christians, we have to watch out for those who claim to be on our side 
> > but are also out to pervert our faith.  Prasad Gokhale mentioned a Dr. 
> > Vartak who "scientifically" calculated the birthday of Shri Rama to be in 
> > December even though everyone knows it's on Rama Navami.  If his views 
> > were widely known, it wouldn't be long until some idiot "reformer"  tried 
> > to start celebrating that day instead of the real Rama Navami.  That 
> > would be a terrible sin don't you think?
> > 
> > -- Jaldhar 
> > 
> Possibly you may have some sort of predisposed negative feelings towards
> Prasad,

Prasad, like most "modern" Hindus, is well-intentioned but uninformed.  
That is not a sin, but it is nothing to be proud of either.

> because i did not see that this particular posting was an attempt
> to 'pervert the faith.'

Well, Prasad did say that the Buddha should be considered a Hindu.  And 
the post that started this thread suggested that Dr. Ambedekar should be 
considered one too.  So insofar as I being lumped together with people I 
detest, it is an attempt to pervert my faith.  But as I said before, it 
is the attitude that bothers me more than any specific thing.
> I might agree with you on the case of Rama Navami,
> but overall I still don't understand your reaction to his post if you are
> sympathetic to the view that the characters in Mahabharata and Ramayana are
> real. 

I hope I've made my reasons for reacting this way abundantly clear.

>  -- Krishna

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