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mohanty
13 March 2011, 06:52 AM
Apologies for not being around lately. But life has been somewhat hectic on the work front. Just wanted to share an article of mine that got published in The Daily Pioneer.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/323016/The-wheel-of-time-goes-around-eternally.html

Disclaimer: I do not refer to myself as a "writer, thinker, and scholar". That was the editor. :)

pineblossom
13 March 2011, 07:40 AM
Apologies for not being around lately. But life has been somewhat hectic on the work front. Just wanted top share an article of mine that got published in The Daily Pioneer.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/323016/The-wheel-of-time-goes-around-eternally.html

I thought you raised some valid points.

However ...

For example, I believe that the roots of most of Pakistanís problems today lie in its disconnect with its history. The state of Pakistan turned its back on the millennia-old history that it shared with present-day India and adopted and tried to make alien Arabic roots its own. To put it simply, because they forgot where they came from, Pakistanis have no idea where they are going.

... I found this section interesting.

Although I don't pretend to know the intimate details of the history of Pakistan from my own perspective I would suggest that Pakistan does not actually control Pakistan. The area of the Swat Valley extending into Afghanistan and beyond has been held by tribal people for eons despite the so-called conquests by a whole series of armies - the Western coalition being but the latest attempt. I suggest that the people of this area know exactly where they came from and who they must rely on.

Perhaps I'm missing something.

Adhvagat
13 March 2011, 08:26 AM
I loved it man.

mohanty
13 March 2011, 08:34 AM
Thanks Pietro!

Also thanks for the Facebook share and the friend request. :)

Most people liked it, but I got some very extreme reactions as well. Will share them here in some time.

Adhvagat
13 March 2011, 08:49 AM
Well, any opinion that actually matters will provoke extreme reactions.

Or we could just stick to pastel blanket statements and lukewarm reactions. :)

mohanty
13 March 2011, 10:28 AM
I got plenty of generally dumb responses. But two of the longer ones came from a couple of friends. Here they are along with the responses I gave to them.


D via Facebook

Mohanty, I have to say this, I am shocked at this piece. The number of things you conflate, like the Indian view of time with the Hindu view of time, surely, there are non-Hindu ideas of 'time' and within the Hindu view, many detractors from a fatalistic cyclical view of time?

And a completely non-problematic treatment of this very romantically cast view of cyclical time? No matter that it lies at the very heart of a very exclusionary idea of justice that goes by the name of the rightly-reviled 'karma'?

The idea of past as imbued with cultural content alone when it is not intrinsically problematic, has to be terrible given the social humiliation that it has entailed for many communities in India, don't you think?

"The Western trend, now very prevalent in India as well, of sending aging parents to old-age homes is equivalent to cutting the individual’s connection with his past". Isn't it entirely possible for people to be utterly religious and believe in karmic time (since you seem to suggest this as the only manifestation of being rooted in the past) and still send one's parents to an old age home? Or does the idea of a future life as a dog keep people from being brutal to their parents?

As a completely smitten fan of your earlier writing, I had to react to this piece.

MY RESPONSE

D:

What is the Indian view of time, if not Hindu? Sure, calling things Hindu makes one look politically incorrect, but that does not change the fact that the Indian way is predominantly the Hindu way. All the many religions and cultures co-exist in India because the Hindu way is the backbone of this civilisation. Yes there are many views of time and India is even home to many of them. I concentrated on this one because it is the one that guides ancient Indian cosmology, mythology, and even, as you pointed out, the doctrine of Karma. This was one perspective, not a compendium of all perspectives.

I am amused that you would call the cyclic model fatalistic. Where is the fatalism? If anything, the linear model speaks of one ultimate end and is therefore, truly fatalistic. The cyclic model speaks of new beginnings and an ever ongoing chain of events in time. There is always a tomorrow and always hope in eternity, but the single linear chunk of time is unforgiving.

I am also amused that you call Karma exclusionary. Who does Karma exclude? The doctrine of Karma includes all beings of all races and all species. If anything, Karma is a liberating idea. It puts human beings in charge of their own destiny, as opposed to having them beg for mercy from an all-powerful God who sits in judgment upon them. People reap what THEY sow, not what someone else decides. Action and reaction is a law of the universe and Karma is simply the spiritual dimension of it with the individual soul at its core.

You are right. The past is most definitely not imbued with "cultural content alone". While our cultural past must be given credit for many goods, it must also take the blame for many evils. Casteism is a social wrong and has to go, in the interest of a better tomorrow for Indian society. Classifications, while useful, can and do become a burden upon people when the demarcating lines become too stringent. Social reasons do get in the way of cultue, just as economic ones do.

There are a number of considerations at work on any individual at any point of time. So it IS possible for people to be religious and still send their parents to an old age home. I never said karmic time was the "only manifestation of being rooted in the past". This is ONE perspective, as I said earlier. But are you implying that people only care for their parents because they are afraid of being reborn as a dog? A little unfair, don't you think?

The whole point of my article was about past-consciousness as a cultural quality. This can translate into everyday life in many ways. Beliefs generated by these cultural qualities are nurtured by a shared mythology and become innate behaviour to an individual. I chose culture as my looking glass because it contains all other considerations - economic, religious, scientific inside itself.

------------

Here is the second interaction, also via Facebook.


A via Facebook

I was under the impression that we were done with 'East-West' conversations - largely because they have all the nuance of a sledgehammer and are usually inaccurate (as in this instance).

The idea that time influences how we think/are is interesting - and the study of a three volume magnum opus by Ricoeur: http://www.amazon.com/Time-Narrative-1/dp/0226713326

I was hoping that an article on time would go beyond linearity vs cyclicity. For instance, a friend who works on Mughal history points out that at any given point of time there were several co-existing/competing calendars - Hindu Calendars, Islamic Calendars, Agricultural Calendars, notions of time based on the reign of the Emperor, notions of time based the idea of ghardis and pehars etc

So where does this leave your east vs west binary?

I am also really flummoxed by your monochromatic idea of the past - "The state of Pakistan turned its back on the millennia-old history that it shared with present-day India and adopted and tried to make alien Arabic roots its own" .Pakistan has many problems - but insufficient history lessons are the least of it.

Come on, Mohanty, you know that the 'millennia-old history' is a contested space - that from its inception, this millenia old history points to links with west asia/ middle east. No one really knows the constituents of this 'ancient' culture.

This idea of past consciousness as a cultural quality - raises three simple definitional questions - what past? what culture? what quality?

MY RESPONSE

I think it is sad that we do not have these 'East-West' conversations anymore. Especially since the conflict is still very alive and gets so little attention and whenever it is brought up it gets condescendingly ignored with smug comments like this one. I suggest you check out the recent book 'Breaking India' by Rajiv Malhotra - http://www.breakingindia.com/

This article was less about the true nature of time and more about how civilisations perceive time. Beliefs guide cultures and that was the point I tried to make here. Sure there are multiple models and multiple cosmologies, but that was not what this article was about.

I do not doubt the existence of the many calendars you mention. I chose the cyclic model of time to make my point about a world view rooted in eternity. A world view that is reflected in cosmology, mythology, and even the Indian people's way of life. This eternity-infinity oriented view of life is beneath the inclusive and open character of Indian civilisation even today.

As for Pakistan, it does have history lesson problems. Since the reign of General Zia Ul Haq, a field of study known as "Pakistan Studies" has been part of the curriculum of the average Pakistani student. It pictures India as the big bad Hindu monster next door and it paints the Pakistani military establishment as the country's sole hope against a world out to get it. Not only that, Pakistan Studies also creates an alternative past for the nation in which it is more closely related to the West-Asian chapter of the Islamic empire than it is with India.

Read this:

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-12-27/india/27940972_1_hindus-social-studies-textbooks

And Read this: http://aacounterterror.wordpress.com/here-is-what-70-of-student-population-in-pakistan-study/

(A random Google search got me these links. I am sure you can find more if you search. The pseudo-historicity being taught in Pakistan's schools is fairly well-documented.

So Pakistan's history lesson are not the "least" of the problem. If anything, they are at the root of the problem.

Moving on, the millennia-old history of India is not as contested a space as you make it out to be. Saying, "No one really knows" is a plain old cop-out. Looking for the truth takes effort and fortunately, there are plenty of scholars out there who are doing active research on India's antiquity and bringing up abundant quantities of evidence from archaeology, linguistics, and even genetics. The overwhelming conclusion up until now is that India does indeed have an unbroken civilisational line that starts in ancient times and extends to the present.

The Aryan Invasion Theory has been thoroughly debunked, so it no longer points to "links with west asia/middle east". That again was a myth propagated (without ANY evidence) by Max Muller, who some scholars have said, tried to fit Indian time-scales into the Judeo-Christian model of a 5000 year-old universe.

One good book I can recommend here is the Archaeological Survey of India's "The Saraswati Flows On" - http://www.flipkart.com/sarasvati-flows-lal-continuity-indian-book-8173052026

mohanty
13 March 2011, 10:31 AM
I thought you raised some valid points.

However ...

For example, I believe that the roots of most of Pakistanís problems today lie in its disconnect with its history. The state of Pakistan turned its back on the millennia-old history that it shared with present-day India and adopted and tried to make alien Arabic roots its own. To put it simply, because they forgot where they came from, Pakistanis have no idea where they are going.

... I found this section interesting.

Although I don't pretend to know the intimate details of the history of Pakistan from my own perspective I would suggest that Pakistan does not actually control Pakistan. The area of the Swat Valley extending into Afghanistan and beyond has been held by tribal people for eons despite the so-called conquests by a whole series of armies - the Western coalition being but the latest attempt. I suggest that the people of this area know exactly where they came from and who they must rely on.

Perhaps I'm missing something.

I was referring to the version of history taught in Pakistani schools. The one that fills young Pakistanis with hatred right from the beginning and incites them against India. See my previous post on this thread for some links on that.

Ramakrishna
13 March 2011, 11:35 PM
Namaste Mohanty,

That was a great piece of writing. As a person who identifies as a progressive, I learned a lot. The example at the end about Pakistan was a great case in point.

Jai Sri Ram

pineblossom
13 March 2011, 11:49 PM
I was referring to the version of history taught in Pakistani schools. The one that fills young Pakistanis with hatred right from the beginning and incites them against India. See my previous post on this thread for some links on that.

I am missing something. What has any of this got to do with a Hindu world view versus a Judaeo-Christian world view?

As far as I am aware Pakistani schools have little if anything to do with Christianity.

mohanty
14 March 2011, 12:57 AM
Pakistani schools are a mere example in this case. The nation of Pakistan moved away from its roots, is all I am saying.

But if you have to ask what Pak has to do with the Judaeo-Christian model of time, then perhaps it might be useful to point out that Islam and Christianity both share the idea of distinctive historicity. For the Christians it is Jesus' sacrifice, for the Muslims it is Mohammad's teachings.

pineblossom
14 March 2011, 06:02 AM
Hmmm ... I think you are drawing a long bow there.

I think what you might benefit from is looking at culture rather than history.

Christianity took birth in a Hellenistic culture which became Western rationalism while Islam took birth in a tribal culture which became the Sh'ia/Sunni divide. Very simplistic but you might get my drift here.

mohanty
14 March 2011, 06:18 AM
I don't think you looked at the links I suggested.

Here they are, once again:

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2008-12-7/india/27940972_1_hindus-social-studies-textbooks

http://aacounterterror.wordpress.com/here-is-what-70-of-student-population-in-pakistan-study/

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2008/12/pakistani-textbook-previously-india-was-part-of-pakistan.html

They clearly show that Pakistan has indeed turned its history around in a direction of its own creation.

TatTvamAsi
14 March 2011, 02:50 PM
Apologies for not being around lately. But life has been somewhat hectic on the work front. Just wanted to share an article of mine that got published in The Daily Pioneer.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/323016/The-wheel-of-time-goes-around-eternally.html

Disclaimer: I do not refer to myself as a "writer, thinker, and scholar". That was the editor. :)

great article! Next time, try to make the point that the western world view, really, is trash (life-negating, negative, and highly tamasic) and has been the cause of the greatest pogroms in the history of the world. Of course, communism is trying hard to catch up to them in that regard but that (communism) has been a much more recent phenomenon.

TatTvamAsi
14 March 2011, 02:53 PM
Hmmm ... I think you are drawing a long bow there.

I think what you might benefit from is looking at culture rather than history.

Christianity took birth in a Hellenistic culture which became Western rationalism while Islam took birth in a tribal culture which became the Sh'ia/Sunni divide. Very simplistic but you might get my drift here.

lol.. so because jew-christian nonsense is western it is somehow superior to islam? all three of them are absolute trash; started by the same demon, I mean, "person" abraham.

Those three ideologies are extremely dangerous and are a cancer on humanity.

mohanty
14 March 2011, 03:46 PM
Hmmm ... I think you are drawing a long bow there.

I think what you might benefit from is looking at culture rather than history.

Christianity took birth in a Hellenistic culture which became Western rationalism while Islam took birth in a tribal culture which became the Sh'ia/Sunni divide. Very simplistic but you might get my drift here.

Christianity didn't take birth in Hellenistic culture. It swallowed Hellenistic culture after chewing hard upon it. Western rationalism grew in spite of Christianity, not because of it. Remember the dark ages?

Islam had a similar birth as Christianity. There was a prophet, a book, and a bunch of wars fought so everyone would read and agree with the book. End result remained the same.

TheOne
14 March 2011, 04:28 PM
I agree. We should differenciate between Western Culture and Christian Culture. Western culture is responsible for millions of successes in the Material world many of which are despised by Christian culture.

You may say that Western and Christian culture are intertwined. But you certainly can't say that people like Albert Einstein were a part of "Christian culture"

Adhvagat
14 March 2011, 06:44 PM
Pineblossom, the nonsense that he refers to are the ones with the aggressive attitude.

What's the use of standing still to aggressiveness? You may not want to touch on this subject, but that's just you.

It's gonna come to a point where muslims are going to be bombing everyone and christians starting (masked) holy wars for nothing (today?), new age talk of love is not gonna get them outta of it. I think the ones more close to India feel the effect of this (christian conversions, muslim violence) in a harsher way than some of us in other countries.

All in all the judaeo-christians world view is still very exploitative, intolerant and a harm to this world. Tolering intolerance is a no-go.

I belive the dharmic (I include Buddhism when I say this) religions are a way out!

mohanty
15 March 2011, 12:31 AM
PineBlossom.

On one side is an ideology that thinks it, and it alone, has the truth and its believers are superior to those who do not belong to it.

On the other side is an ideology that sees everyone as equal and all of humanity as one family.

You tell me, what kind of reconciliation is possible between the two?

BryonMorrigan
15 March 2011, 08:04 AM
Islam had a similar birth as Christianity. There was a prophet, a book, and a bunch of wars fought so everyone would read and agree with the book. End result remained the same.

LOL. So true.

There's a neat book about the conflict between the Abrahamic religions and the "Polytheist" religions of Europe called, "God Against the Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism," by Jonathan Kirsch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Kirsch). It's primarily about the philosophical struggle between the generally tolerant Greco-Roman religions and the "Convert or Die!" mindset of Christianity and Islam...and their origins in early Judaism, which was just as much of a "Convert of Die!" ideology as its descendants. Also, the respected Egyptologist, Dr. Jan Assmann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Assmann), has also written a great deal on the concept, particularly in his recent book, "The Price of Monotheism."

Of course, when an academic uses the terms "Monotheism," and "Polytheism," this causes some confusion for Hindus. "Monotheism" is generally reserved to describe the Abrahamic religions, or those who engage in the idea that, "My God...and only my way of worshiping said God...is the only TRUE way!" whereas any religion that accepts the existence of multiple gods and goddesses (even if they are viewed as being all essentially the same deity) are referred to as "Polytheism." For example, most people refer to the religion of the ancient Greeks as "Polytheism," but it is apparent that most philosophers of the period viewed their religion as being much closer to the Hindu view...that Zeus, Apollo, etc., were merely "aspects" of a single deity. (See Pythagoreanism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoreanism), Platonism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonism) and Neoplatonism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoplatonism) for examples...)

The pre-Christian peoples of Europe also viewed history through the same (and let's face it...more advanced and accurate...) view of a "cyclical" history as Hindus, which is just one of the myriad pieces of evidence pointing towards the Out of India Theory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_India_theory).

:::sigh:::

Sometimes, as a Westerner...I feel like Charleton Heston in "Planet of the Apes," who has just discovered how far the human race has devolved during the centuries that he was away...


I came here to explore Hindu teachings not your ideology masked as religion.

I see that religion is as just as fundamentalist as any other.

As I did not come here to partake in any ideology of 'hate' I'll take my leave.

Bye.

Ah, and "pineblossom" fails the test of Swami TTA!

Sahasranama
15 March 2011, 09:51 AM
It is a very common occurance when talking with westerners. They are often ready to expose Islam, but suddenly get defensive when you talk about Judaism or Christianity. This all about holding double standards, you can also see this clearly in the western right wing politicians who speak about the dangers of Islam while they are relying on support from the Judeo-Christian population. The western hatred against Islam has more to do with xenophobia than with ideological differences, but then there are a lot of Hindus like Rajiv Malhotra who keep defending swamis and babas just because they are Indian all the while they are spreading universalism and abrahamic monotheism under the guise of Hinduism. This lack of will to stand up against Indian born Paramahamsas and Babas while still criticising abrahamic religions and westernisation of Hinduism is nothing less xenophobic.

sm78
15 March 2011, 10:47 AM
It is a very common occurance when talking with westerners. They are often ready to expose Islam, but suddenly get defensive when you talk about Judaism or Christianity

But I once again fail to see the point in making a liberal westerner swear against christianity. What does it serve? How does it help Hindus? It seems we want this to be an ant-christian forum instead of a hindu formum and someone who doesn't swear by hatred for christianity don't become a hindu, and on the same note, any person of Indian racial origin who spends 90% of his internet footprint spewing hatred against christianity and/or Islam automatically becomes a 1st class hindu. Is this going to help us or destroy us?

A liberal westerner who has interest or even follows portions of hinduism in his own customized fashion but hasn't disowned the religion of his/her birth a.k.a christianity (quite natural), can only be beneficial to the world, since it removes (at least for the time being) another intolerant bigoted soul. But the moment such a person enters this forum some people start spewing racial hatred, perhaves to prove to themselves how big a hindu they are without devoiting a minute to practice or study, forcing the person to leave with a bitter taste. This has happened so many times now. This is perhaves one of the very few or only non-sectarian hindu forum on the web. Perhaves the only source for some people to connect to other hindus, like this elderly gentleman from Australia. The moment he shows a certain weakness for Xianity, we have these loud mouthed indian racists (who are not hindu by any means except in their own imagination and self justification of their birth status) come and start bashing. It might make a good start to their day somewhere in a western world where they naturally don't belong and don't fit - but it ruins another possibility for Hinduism.

Good job you guys.

mohanty
15 March 2011, 10:59 AM
I think I answered politely the questions he raised. But he never came back.

Ganeshprasad
15 March 2011, 11:47 AM
Pranam


But I once again fail to see the point in making a liberal westerner swear against christianity. What does it serve? How does it help Hindus? It seems we want this to be an ant-christian forum instead of a hindu formum and someone who doesn't swear by hatred for christianity don't become a hindu, and on the same note, any person of Indian racial origin who spends 90% of his internet footprint spewing hatred against christianity and/or Islam automatically becomes a 1st class hindu. Is this going to help us or destroy us?



Wow, i could be forgiven to think this words were written by my friend Atanu ji.

You are right lately this forum has concentrated mainly on Christan's or Islam bashing, it is a shame perhaps some weakness on our part.
To spew hatred is not conducive for spiritual growth, it certainly will destroy us

Jai Shree Krishna

Sahasranama
15 March 2011, 12:38 PM
There's nothing wrong with anyone being non-Hindu and having an interest in Hinduism. I too have argued against others on this forum about Christianity and have probably driven them away because I have taken a strong stance, but I have always tried to keep the discussions ideological and not based on race. Perhaps I have gone too far with this as well in the past, but I cannot keep quiet when people position that according Hinduism Jesus was an avatar/yogi or that the Bible is just as good as the vedas. If they admit they are new age spiritualists instead of Hindus I have no problem with them. I do not blame the westerners for these ideas, they didn't come up with such thoughts by themselves. It's the fault of people like Yukteshvara, Yogananda, Rama Mohan Roy, Vivekananda, Bhaktivinod Thakur, Sai Baba and Satchidananda that people have these convoluted ideas.

There's a fine line between racism and comparing the Abrahamic religions with each other and calling them bad. I do think that TTA is often crossing the line and making racist comments, like he did in this thread saying that all non-Hindus are mlecchas and should be kept away. I do not endorse this view. I have said something about this before to TTA, but the posts have already been removed. I have started to ignore those parts of his posts. I do think TTA is a well meaning guy, he often makes interesting points and I am glad he is a member of this forum, but he also makes me cringe with certain comments. But I don't mind it when the other person is an obvious troll and he is being funny. There's also a general form of hypocracy on the forum when people criticise the westernisation of Hinduism without looking in the mirror or at the Indian born Baba's who are like wolves in sheep clothes.

When we compare west versus east it's not so black and white as comparing the dharmic traditions of Bharata and the rest of Asia to the desert religions a.k.a Abrahamic religions. The west has its own spiritual and philosophical background in the classical culture of ancient Greek and Rome, the Egyptians and the european pagan religions as well in scientific thought and development. These have had their impact as well on Christian and western thought, besides the horrible things we find in the Bible and Koran wich have caused tremendous terror both in the east and west. I don't think it's fair to say east is good, west is bad. It's true that the reverse has often been propagated and we have a right to assert ourselves against that, but we should not make sweeping generalisations about east and west or Hindu and non-Hindu. These are all things we can discuss endlessly on the forum, but in my opinion racism should not be tolerated against western practicioners of Hinduism.

I hope I didn't offend any member with my post. I honestly hope no one will leave this forum, enough people have already left this forum. But the ones who are staying, including myself, should make sure not to piss of the western Hindus. We should respect them as they had to make great changes in their life in order to become a practicing Hindu and are often more dedicated Hindus than the average Indian.

Ganeshprasad
15 March 2011, 01:53 PM
Pranam

You are right lately this forum has concentrated mainly on Christan's or Islam bashing, it is a shame perhaps some weakness on our part.
To spew hatred is not conducive for spiritual growth, it certainly will destroy us



Now does that mean I forget what they had done in the past, the unimaginable damage to our dharma and the country? Off course not especially so when they have still the same design, forgiving them is one thing we should never forget.

However should we harp on about it for ever? Yes if we can maintain Hindu sbhayata and vivek it could prove a valuable source of defence.

Only person I know who has classed Jesus as an avatar is Srila Prabhupad so I donít know this remark was addressed to. Atanu ji certainly defended his Guru and with Shastra pramana itís a shame he chose to leave.
Who are we to decide who is a Hindu based on our little understanding off veda, I certainly donít think Bible is just as good as Vedas but why do I fret if someone finds words of wisdom in it compared to Vedas? How can we divide ourselves because rightly or wrongly our Gurus have found necessary to play the western audience .

Tta can be very blunt but has he said anything wrong to describe those who are not Hindus as Malecha?
It is the word used in our Shastra so need to take issue with him on this score. It is funny how we take notice from outsiders who has taken up the Dharma, most off the time we donít even check weather he is saying the truth or not. A song comes to mind TanSe to Ajad ho gaye hum manse naa gayi gulami. We certainly have got this inferiority complex.

Jai Shree Krishna

Sahasranama
15 March 2011, 02:31 PM
That comment was not regarded to atanu, but the other indeed was. Atanu's position was that the Bible and Koran are equal to shruti, but I am not going to discuss that here in this thread. Atanu was not a westerner though, he even disregarded information when it came from western sources. When reading some old threads I have seen that Mahahrada needed to quote specifically from Hindu authors, because atanu bashed all the sources that came from white people.


Only person I know who has classed Jesus as an avatar is Srila Prabhupad so I don’t know this remark was addressed to. I do not know about Srila Prabhupada, but I remember in one interview he called the Christians corpse worshippers.

satay
15 March 2011, 11:02 PM
Admin Note

This thread has become off topic.