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

In article <31udnj$lbk@ucunix.san.uc.edu> you wrote:
: Jaldhar Vyas (jvyas@ritz.mordor.com) wrote:

: : Prasad Gokhale (f0g1@jupiter.sun.csd.unb.ca) wrote:

: : : I assume you are refering to Sage Valmiki, Maharshi Vedvyas, et al.
: : : as mythological characters. I see no reason why you say so. 

: : And there is no reason not to either. I'm no "brainwashed secularist." 
: : and neither, I suspect, is Mani Varadarajan.  According to the 
: : Mimamsakas, all the stories mentioned in the shastras are arthavada or 
: : mere examples to illustrate rules of Dharma.  An astika is not required 
: : to believe they actually happened or not.

: : : Mahabharat ia a text documenting the *history* of an ancient civilization.
: : : The characters and events chronicled in the great text therefore are not
: : : mythical or fictitious. Mahabharat is an account of the Great War and
: : : the heroes that participated in it. Ved Vyas's meticulous work
: : : provides progeny with an insight into the cultural trends and customs in
: : : that bygone era. He has written down what he saw and knew as a "itihas",
: : : as a history of that time. Sage Vedvyas, like Krishna, Yudhisthira,
: : : Arjuna, Duryodhana, Abhimanyu, Parikshit, Janamejaya, did exist -- 
: : : having two hands and two legs like people today. The Mahabharat has been
: : : dated to around 3100 B.C by numerous scholars, and even beyond that by
: : : others. Dr. Vartak has calculated the date of the commencement of the
: : : War to be 16th October 5561 B.C.

: : : Same is true with the Ramayan. That it did not occur, and Rama was a 
: : : mythical character is just not true. Sage Valmiki has written down
: : : the accomplishments of a Great Hero, contemporary to him, who lived 
: : : in the ancient times.  The Ramayanic Era precedes the Mahabharat
: : : Era.

: : Do you think you are doing our religion a favor by trying to show how 
: : "historical" it is?  As someone who is familiar with the type of 
: : "scholars" you mention, let me tell you their research isn't worth a hill 
: : of beans to Dharmik people.  Historians have their own agenda which only 
: : accidently coincides with ours.  I read the Mahabharat because it 
: : contains the words of God and tells me how to live, not because it's a 
: : history book.  

: Interesting...

:   Do you feel the same way about the 'historians' who established the 
: theory that the Mahabharata and Ramayana are fictitious and that everything
: contained within is mythological?

Yes.  History is very interesting (especially if you're the argumentative 
sort like me <G>) but it has no bearing on how I practice my religion.

: I ask because it seems that you don't take
: offense at Mani's assumption that Vyasa, Valmiki, etc. are mythological,

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? 

: but
: you do react when someone says they are historical characters.

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. 

: 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. 

: Actually,
: since the idea that they are myths was originally meant to fulfill an agenda
: of converting followers of the Vedas to Christianity, I would argue that we
: should not keep it as our default belief...

Again I agree.  Personally I do believe in the existence of the people and 
events mentioned in our shastras.  But I admit that these beliefs do not have
 a rational basis.  

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 

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