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Thread: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

  1. #1

    Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    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/T...eternally.html

    Disclaimer: I do not refer to myself as a "writer, thinker, and scholar". That was the editor.
    Last edited by mohanty; 14 March 2011 at 01:16 AM. Reason: Added disclaimer.
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    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    Quote Originally Posted by mohanty View Post
    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/T...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.
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2603&dateline=1299563544

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    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    I loved it man.

  4. #4

    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    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.
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    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    Well, any opinion that actually matters will provoke extreme reactions.

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

  6. #6

    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    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.indiati...dies-textbooks

    And Read this: http://aacounterterror.wordpress.com...akistan-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-fl...ook-8173052026
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  7. #7

    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    Quote Originally Posted by pineblossom View Post
    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.
    Vimoh's blog and Twitter

  8. #8

    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    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

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    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    Quote Originally Posted by mohanty View Post
    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.
    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=2603&dateline=1299563544

    Not all those who wander are lost

  10. #10

    Re: Hindu world view vs Judaeo-Christian world view

    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.
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