Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ideology and Exploitation

This evening I had an interesting dialogue with Umapathy. When we were discussing the life of a sannyasi, he said that they have brought around 20 small girls from Megalaya (Northeast India) to their Lingayat Mutt in a nearby area. Their intention was to bring up the girls there.

These children found it difficult to cope with the language and others things here. Even more than the children, the Swamiji of that Mutt struggled to make ends meet as there was not enough financial support to take care of the girls. These girls were ordered to return back to their home by the Sub-Collector of Hosur when they were admitted in another ashram at Mathigiri. But the VHP interfered and said that they will take care of the children, and then sent them to another Lingayat ashram near Thally.

Then I said that the main mistake was done by the Swamiji of that Mutt. Being a sannyasi, he should not be entangled in such affairs that are against his dharma. Taking care of the orphans and meeting all their needs is the duty of the government or the society, and not that of any sannyasi. I often say to visitors when they seek my counsel about resolving several family crises, particularly between husband and wife, ‘If you cannot learn and get an answer from your own elders and other senior people in your home and community/society, you will never get it from a sannyasi also. You are seeking an answer from the wrong person.’ Even if a sannyasi started giving some advice, you could not implement it, as he can only give some theory.

Above all, what is the universal solution to all such problems in relationship? ‘Just Adjust’.

A sannyasi should not have two things in their life: money and authority. The moment they have one or both, they will become a snare to themselves in the end. Even in any situation where the sannyasi must get involved, he should give the major responsibility of administration to a core group of Trustees and keep himself away.

Agreeing with me, Umapathy then shared how some of their Lingayat Mutt Swamijis are directly involved in managing the property and have authority over huge funds. He shared some of the disputes in their community on certain identity issues between two groups.

Then I asked him, ‘Are you a Lingayat or a Hindu’.  With a smile he said, ‘Lingayat’. Then I said that in order to reconvert several Christians, these VHP and their sister organizations bring such girls and boys from their home. By this they are doing a great harm and injustice to them.

If someone from Maruppalli came and asked me to take care of a few orphans, I would say, ‘What a shame it is for you all! Are there not generous hearted families in your village who can make some better arrangement for them within their near or distant relatives?’ When these girls are sent back to their home ten years later, they will be strangers there. They won’t even remember their mother tongue or easily identify with their people. Above all, there will be more chances for them to be abused here as there will be no one to protect them.

In order to impose our own particular religious or any other ideology we should not exploit others.

 

7-11-2013

Dayanand Bharati

Gurukulam.

Indian Hinduism versus Other Hinduisms

Yet another modern interpretation on an ancient thought. Although it is difficult to challenge such a scholar as Prof. Arvind Sharma, I cannot resist the temptation to ask a few questions as a student of Hinduism, and encourage us to ‘ponder’.

To begin with, I am not sure if the Balinese Hindu Father actually quoted ‘tat tvam asi’ while giving a moral teaching about the oneness of everyone after the 2002 Bali Bombing. Finding the unity of not only atman (soul) in every living being (human or nonhuman), and also finding the same unity in spite of one’s narrow sectarian/caste affiliation is the mark of Hindu idealism, which one can trace to many Sanskrit and regional scriptures.

For example, Tirumular says, “Only a fool will say love and Siva are two; they don’t know that both love and Siva are one and the same; once you realize that ‘love and Siva’ are one and the same; all will know that ‘love and Siva are one’”.

“Yaadu uure yaavarum kelir,” (Every place is our own [home] and everyone is our relative) said Kaniyan Punkundranar in the Puranaanuru (192) Sangam Tamil song. One can quote several such examples from various regional and mainline Sanskrit literatures.

Reading a current moral understanding of one’s religious view is to be understood and appreciated as it is expressed by a contemporary person (Hindu) in her social context. But reading one’s own ideology into it by linking with an ancient thought, which is completely diverse in its (metaphysical) context, needs to be questioned — even if it comes from a scholar like Prof. Arvind Sharma.

 

See his quote below.

 

Db. Gurukulam.

20 2 2014.

Chips from an Indic Workshop: Balinese Hinduism. MLBD Newsletter,  13022014. P. 31

Balinese Hinduism

One automatically thinks of India when one thinks of Hinduism, but it might also be useful to extend our vision to include another geographical area where Hinduism has perception of Hinduism and include the Balinese experience, a few interesting points emerge which the student of Hinduism must ponder.

(2) Untouchability is not a part of Balinese Hinduism.  This raises a question: can it then be considered an inalienable element in Hinduism, if it is absent in Balinese Hinduism?  One need hardly remark on the theoretical and practical implications of this line of thinking.

(3) The statement i, or that thou art, appears repeatedly in the Chandogya Upanisad (.6:13; etc.) and is usually understood metaphysically in Indian Hinduism1 as indicating the identity of atmian and Brahmian.  It is however understood currently in Balinese Hinduism morally: ‘A father instructed his son after the 2002 Bali Bombing as follows: “In the teachings of our religion, there is no “I am me” way of thinking, but (rather), :I am you”, “You are me”, “I am her/him”, “I am all”, “all are me”.  This is what is meant by tat tvam asi.  An adherent of tat tvam asi is not going to want to offend and hurt the feelings of another person, because that also means offending and hurting one’s own feelings.’2

  1. K. Satchidananda Murty, Revelation and Reason in Advaita Vedanta (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1974 (199) Chapter ; M. Hiriyanna, Essentials of Indian Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1949) p. 184; etc.
  2. Richard Fox, “Why Media Matter: Critical Reflections on Religion and the Recent History of the Balinese”, History of Religions (May 2010), p. 373