Friday, March 13, 2015

RESPONSES set - 13

97. Athena:

I see in the small post [by P. A. Pauran], the same fight the Muslims are having against the modern world. How is this compatible with Buddhism and accepting change? How can anyone be sure globalization is not our fate? How we judge right and wrong? Are the conditions of poverty and ignorance right? Yes, those who join a monastery maybe education in Buddhist knowledge, but what of the peasants working the fields? Does Buddhist equality mean an equal education for everyone, and of what things are they educated?


98. K. Sugathan:

Non-caste Hindus of Kerala – Are they really Hndus?

Hiduism was recognised as a religion only in the nineteenth century. When the British Government conducted census, they classified Indians into different religions. Those not belonging to Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Judaism were grouped under Hiduism. Here the word Hindu means Indian, as in the terms Hindu Ocean and Hindu Trade. Brahmins, Kshathriyas, Vaisyas and Soodras were called Caste Hindus and the Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and those without any religion were called non-caste Hindus.
The communities labelled as castes, namely, Ezhavas, Theeyas, Pulayas, Parayas, Dheevaras, Thattans, Kollans etc. existed in Kerala before the introduction of Hinduism here and hence they are not castes which occur only in Hinduism. The caste system as well as the word jaathi were imported by Hindus into Kerala. In Hinduism there are four main castes called varnas and the fifth or panchama castes formed by people born of intermarriages and prostitution among the four varnas. Panchama caste names were not attached to children of intermarriages among the Hindus in Kerala.
Avarnas of Kerala are not panchamas. They are non-Hindus.
Narayana Guru once asked who are these avarnas? They are created neither by God nor humans. They must be considered as self-born celestial beings, he gave the answer also. Guru could not label the avarnas as Hindus.
I was born in a coastal village in Central Kerala where 98-99 per centage belonged to avarna communities. I do not believe that any of their forefathers ever joined Hinduism. Parents and grandparents of people of my generation never went to Hindu temples. They did not follow any Hindu rituals like pooja or homam. They did not have a Hindu priest for their religious functions. In stead of a priest they had only a parikarmi who was their barber also. These parikarmis had no high position like that of a brahmin. There used to be no place for idols or pictures of Gods in their houses. The name Hindu mentioned in the SSLC book of these avarnas was probably in the sense of Indian. Now the meaning of the word Hindu is Brahminism or Vedic religion.
The avarnas had their own culture. Their moral code, knowledge of Ayurveda, Astrology, Sanskrit language etc were given to them by Buddhism.
Narayana Guru has said it correctly. There is no religion by the name Hinduism. It is the common name for all the Indian religions like Vedic religion, Puranic religion, sankhyam, vaiseshikam, meemamsa, dvaitham advaitham, visishtadvaitham, saivam, saktheyam and vaishnavism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.


99. Athena:

The Mongols were egalitarian and sheltered and fed everyone. They lived in a harsh climate and knew the failure to take of each other could mean death. It is my understanding people with these values in the region of Tibet became Buddhist. Becoming Buddhist put the focus on temples and a study of time and space, rather than on being warriors.

Genghis Khan thought people in cities were very immoral with their personal wealth at one end of spectrum and extreme poverty at the other. Christianity and Islam stood against this disparity, but city conditions make them so. Always in rural areas there tends to be poverty and cooperation regardless of which religion dominates.

I think many things play into how we are on how we reason through things. City life verses rural life is one of them.


100. K. Sugathan:

Narayanaguru was a Buddhist

When a Srilankan businessman asked Narayanaguru what was his religion, he said, he was a Buddhist, because like Lord Buddha he too was an advaithi.
To convince the Srilankan, he quoted the slokam from Amaram -
Shadhabhijno, dasabalodvayavaadi vinaayakah ”.
Scholars describe three phases of Advaitham. First is the Dharmic Advaitham of Lord Buddha, second the Vaijnanik advaitham of Sri Sankara and the third is the Prayogika advaitham of Narayanaguru. Guru was known as the second Buddha and Srisankara as the Buddha in disguise.




We try to argue here that Ezhuthachan was living and writing within in a cultural space characterised by Buddhist culture. His neighbourhood areas were strongly Buddhist. Still the place names of surrounding places of Ezhuthachan"s native village, like Thiroor, Parappanangadi, Putthan theruvu Putthanathani, seems to carry some remnant of 'Puttha' (Buddha).
In his poetry, Ezhuthachan used many Buddha imagery. What we nowadays attribute to Vishnu is the same Alankaras which once attributed to Buddha. Ezhuthachan was always using Buddha postures for creating mythology of lord Vishnu. Ezhuthachan's aim was to promote Bakthi.By the promotion of Bakthi he wanted to resist Yukthivada (rationalism). Blind belief was the outcome.
If yukthi (reason) is undermined it is easier to promote Brahmanism. Once Brahmanism prevailed caste will rule society. It will promote superstitions disbelief and worship of Brahmins.
The main portion of Ezhuthachan poetry promotes cruelty, justifying murder making Himsa a method of worship. No wonder after Buddhism perished in Kerala, all the god icons were transformed to deities with weapons.
So we could take The Ramacharitham, the anonymous Tamil mixed Malayalam Kavyam, as the first reaction against Buddhist and Jain faith in Kerala. When ever Ramacharithams and Krishnacharithams began to evolve in Malayalam literature the BUddhism and Jainism began to fade.
The unknown author of Ramacharitham the Kannassans After them Ezhuthachan are the main literary figures seriously wounded Buddhist faith.
There is a fanciful belief that These Ramayanas were written to provoke general public against foreign attackers. The fact is that Keralites never won any decisive victories after these so called veera (heroic) literature. It is a historic fact that after Kannassans and Ezhuthachan The Europeans colonised Kerala. Actually these literature promoted Brahman monarchy and divided people into different castes and creeds made lawlessness and anarchy as common law.
While Buddhism united people. Promoted foreign trade and developed agriculture. The name Puttha echoing almost all old trade centeres in Kerala. g almost all old trade centeres in Kerala.


102. K. Sugathan:

Narayanaguru was not a Hindu and
his Sangham was not a Hindu Sanyasi Sangham.

Narayana Guru used to give the saffron robe and new names to his disciples. He was once asked whether he would admit a Buddhist in his order of ascetics, he said he had no objection to take ascetics belonging to any religion in his group. In 1916, he declared that he had given up caste and religion. When a European was admitted to his Sangham he was asked to change neithrr his European dress nor his European name.
A member of the Sreenarayana Dharma Sangham attended a meeting of Hindu sanyasis in the year 1988. The secretary of the Sangham issued a memo to the sanyasi asking explanation for violating rules. Members of the sanyasisangham of the Guru do not belong to any particular religion and they are expected to follow the principle “ One in kind, One in faith and One in God” and to avoid sectarian views.
The sanyasi apologised and escaped from desciplinary action.

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