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Re: Great Contribution of Backward Classes to Hinduism - Replies to Qs.

In article <328rao$gdp@ucunix.san.uc.edu> you wrote:
: The intent of the original article was to show that all sections
: of Hinduism contributed to its greatness and its survival during the
: 1000 plus years of aggression.

I thought you said Shri Rama and Maharshis Vedavyas and Valmiki  lived 6000 
years ago? 

: This is particularly true about the
: so called backward classes. There are many GREAT heros who can serve
: us all as role models and give us a sense of pride. This sense of pride
: in ones heritage can transform one's life.

: The original thought of this belongs to Rev. Pandurang Shastri Athavale
: (lovingly called Dada). Dada has enlivend Vedic sanskriti in all sections
: of society. He is heading a SILENT REVOLUTION on which Shyam Benegal
: made a factual movie "ANTARNAAD". Rev. Athavale's SWADHYAY movement
: has over 6,000,000 followers and has transformed life in 15,000 villages.
: Thru bhakti he has transformed villages of smugglers (fishermen who were
: smugglers) and robbers. SWADHYAY is effectively removing the caste system
: and rebuilding our sanskriti a very contructive way.
: I request you to see the "Antarnaad" movie to get more info.

I am familiar with members of the swadhyaya group in Jersey City and they 
do not strike me as being revolutionaries silent or otherwise.  In fact I 
think they would be quite shocked to discover they are smashing the caste 

: Now let me address some questions raised by few posters by the article

: Q.1) Vyas, Valmiki, Vidur, Matang, Shabari are all mythological figures,
:      so how can you use them as examples ?

I personally did not say this.  My view is we do not know whether they 
are "historical" or not and their historicity is irrelevant to the 
practice of our religion which is based on Shruti, Smrti, and Shistachara 

And if they didn't exist, of course we still could use them as examples.  
In the New Jersey Drivers manual, there is a picture of a man giving a 
right turn signal.  Now. this man is probably a figment of the artists 
imagination.  Does knowing that make a difference to my ability to make a 
right turn in the state of New Jersey?

: A.1) Mahabharat's original name is Jay and in Mahabharat the author
:      explicitly claims that it is Itihas (Iti Has means So it was).
:      You can question the exact date of the occurance and say many
:      things were distorted over time. But you cannot say that these
:      people simply did not exist.

:      Let me take a simple example (Please, I mean no offence )-
:      have you or I seen our great-great-great grandparents ? Have we
:      seen any written account of their biography ? But they DID exist,
:      even though you or I don't have any written or material evidence
:      as such. If this is the case of some one who existed merely
:      200 or so years,

Sure you can say they existed.  But you cannot conclude, like the 
infamous Dr. Vartak, they lived at a certain date or they believed in 
certain things.  This is something we know from tradition only.  I get 
the feeling that somehow you think history is superior to tradition.  
This why, no matter how hard you fight against Western culture, people 
like you will never be able to overcome it.  It has already defeated you. 

:      just imagine the difficulty preserving evidence
:      over thousands of years. Incidently there may have been evidence
:      but that was wiped out in the 1000 years of aggression on India.
:      Muslim invaders burnt libraries of the kaffirs. They destroyed
:      Hindu / Buddhist universities. When Bakhtiar Khilji detroyed
:      Nalanda in 1200 AD, it is said the libraries were burning for many
:      months. If you think that is an exaggeration, perhaps one more
:      fact should help. Greek records indicate that Takshashilla had
:      over 3,000 students. Imagine a university of international repute
:      (many Greeks, persians learnt there) with over 3,000 students
:      functioning for over 1,000 years.

:      So all we have left now are traditions and we still have places

You see, you prove my point.

:      which bear names commemorating these great places.

:      ex. Beas river is really 'Vyas' river

The Sanskrt name of the Beas river is Vipasha not Vyas.  Can you show me 
anywhere in Sanskrt literature where a Vyas river is mentioned? 

:          Dehradoon is really Dera DroN (akin to Dera Baba Nanak)

:      If 1,000 years from now some one claims that Gandhiji never existed
:      would that be true. You may still have Gandhigram by then. Places
:      are often named after great people and (some times not so great
:      such as Aurangabad after Aurangzeb).

:      Also Dwarka, Ayodhya, Kashi, Vidarbha (Rukmini's father's kingdom)
:      Ujjain, Manipur, Naglok (Nagaland), Rameshwar, Lanka, Kailas
:      these places mentioned in the epics do exist even now.

:      I am sure you won't question Guru Nanak's existence.

:      After the destruction of our own libraries, manuscripts, our source
:      of knowledgeof history is mainly accounts by foreigners.
:      Hence history in the Maurya dynasty is well known (due to Greeks).
:      But till 18 th century the west did not even know about Ashok's
:      empire. The Buddhist accounts from Sri Lanka revealed that to the
:      west. Does this mean Ashok did not exist before knowledge about him
:      became known.

:      Ramayan and Mahabharat became 'mythology' only when McCaulay called
:      them so. 

Actually as I stated before, the Mimamsaks teach that the various stories in 
the Shastras are arthavada.  No conclusion is made for their truth or 
falsehood.  For a Kumarila Bhatt or Parthasarthi Mishra, the question 
was irrelevant.  Some Mimansaks went so far as to say the devatas do not 
exist outside the yagna.  This was a good 2000 years before McCauley.  

:      Before that all Indians considered them as history.

What Indians traditionally consider history and you consider history are 
two different things.  Only modern Hindus are concerned with such trivia 
as what year Shri Rama was born in.

:      Net, Vyas, Valmiki, Vidur etc did exist because we have many written
:      accounts that say so.

: 2. Why Dr.Ambedkar is included in the list ?

: If you look at the title it talks about contribution to Hinduism and
: India. Yes, Dr.Ambedkar criticised Hinduism. But if we look at his
: work on Hinduism it is monumental.

Monumentally bad.

: You may not agree with it all (and
: I don't) but you must agree that the effort is trmendous.

Tremendously bad.  :-)

: Some of his
: findings can be used to cleanse Hinduism of its moribund defence
: mechanisms. The defence mechanisms resulted from 1000 years of
: aggression and some bad things crept in. Since Hinduism is not dogmatic,
: we can use his criticism to rejuvenate the religion and its followers.

To all the people who are puzzled by the vehemence with which I'm arguing 
against this type of thinking, take a look at the paragraph above.  In 
the name of defending the past people like this are out to destroy it.  I 
do not regard your "cleansing" of Hinduism to be any different from 

You are right Hinduism isn't dogmatic BECAUSE IT DOESN'T EXIST.  It is a 
Persian catch-all term for a number of different religions which 
sometimes overlap.  These religions most certainly do have dogmas. Mine 
for instance, believes the Varnashrama Dharma based on birth is the 
proper way to organize society.  

 : Dr. Ambedkar was offered crores of rupees to convert to Islam or
: christianity. But he followed advice of a Marathi sant Gadge Baba who
: said 'Do not become a Murti-Bhanjak (idol destroyer- iconclast,
: butshiken)' and hence he became a Buddhist. On his conversion Savarkar
: said that Dr.Ambedkar's conversion is a sure jump back into Hinduism.

Their are aspects of Dr. Ambedkar's character which are highly 
praiseworthy but no matter what Savarkar thinks, he considered himself a 
non-Hindu to his dying day.  He was the enemy of the religion I practice.
I resent any attempt to lump me together with him.
: If you study history, you will find that Buddhism did not renounce
: the Hindu philosophy.

Of course not.  We've already established Hinduism didn't exist back then.
Buddhists are the chief among those who are called Nastiks as they deny 
the soul, God, and the authority of the Vedas.  If you actually read what 
our philosophers have said, you'll find that all of them make 
anti-Buddhist statements.  They only stopped when Buddhism itself 
disappeared from India.  When Madhva called Shankaracharya a 
"crypto-Buddhist" he wasn't paying him a compliment, he was insulting him, 

: Buddhism only took away animal sacrifice which 
: had become ritualistic and focussed instead on providing relief to
: suffering.

No it didn't.  Animal sacrifices continued long after Buddhism declined 
and disappeared.  They survive today in precisely those places like 
Bengal and Bihar which were strongholds of Buddhism.   There is not one 
Buddhist country with anywhere near the percentage of vegetarians as 
India.  And in it's last stages in India, Buddhism was just as 
ritualistic as any "Hindu" sect.  

-- Jaldhar

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