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Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Printable Version
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Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Printable Version

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Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-06-2005

Lithuania:

Lithuanian language is very closely related to sanskrit. Lithuanians consider it second oldest language on earth after sanskrit.

Some tidbits about ancient Lithuanian culture/religion:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Thus invisible, incomprehensible deity, the universal Indian spirit Brahma, the Lithuanian P r a a m ž i m a s, manifests itself and appears in its emanation as D i e v a i, what mean  d e i - t i e s  in Lithuanian and what would be difficult to understand for us, if we wouldn't have a Slavic word d z i e j,  d z i a ć, that is to act. (...) <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->According to the ancient Lithuanian religion a soul may acquire various forms after the death of a man: that of beasts, animals or plants, sometimes people - that depend on its moral value. However the most perfectly developed soul goes through the Way of Birds [Milky Way] to the heaven, and the residence of those chosen souls is among the stars, to the North from the Way of Birds. (...) Respect to the ancestors, respect to the dead is common to the Lithuanians and the other ancient nations, but nowhere else it was preserved so deeply rooted and so pure, except this tribe. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Some of the ethnographers believe, as I have already said, that all European nations originated from India; that in a distant past a tribe of warriors was pushed away by the tribe of priests. Seeking to introduce a separate religious cult, it left the country and gave a beginning for a small, but glorious tribe - the Azes. A part of these Azes, or Aryans, stayed in the East, and was ruling over the lands of that world, having accepted the names of the Medians, Persians and Lezgians. The second part went through the Central Europe and settled there, calling themselves the Lechites and Czechs. In a distant North the other branch of this bellicose tribe is known under the names of Odin's sons and the Vikings. The magnates and nobles of Indo-Germanic clan originated from them.
      Besides, the same ethnographers are finding a lot of traces, testifying wandering of the other Indian castes - Shudras and even Parya. Very large community of the Gypsies has a lot of features common with the Indian Parya.
      And when we'll remember that the religious traditions of Indostan are exactly reflected in the traditions of the Lithuanian folk, when we'll notice astonishing ties between the both languages and also existing similar castes - excellently organised, developed hierarchy of the Lithuanian priests and a caste of knights vitings, then we'll be able to make a conclusion, that the Lithuanians are the exception in the northern history and that the Lithuanians are the colony of the Indians with the whole its structure. We know a lot of such colonies in history. The Brahmans settled near the Nile and began the caste of the Egyptian priests. The Greeks, as it is supposed, had separate castes as well – those of priests, or warriors, or farmers. Meanwhile the Lithuanians have not a separate caste, but the whole Indian s p l i n t e r with their own priests, warriors and farmers.
      This community, formed in such way, having all components of the organism, resisted various attacks better than any other did. Therefore it is keeping its own traditions until now, didn't cease to speak its own language, which was forgotten by the Indian nations themselves and may be found in their sacred books only. It preserved its own customs of social and family life as well. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

http://viduramziu.lietuvos.net/etno/mickiewicz-en.htm


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-06-2005

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->LANGUAGE

Lithuanians – approximately 3million of them – speak a language from the Balt group pf languages. Latvian is its only remaining neighbour language. Lithuanian has done well in preserving its ancient system of sounds, and a great many morphological distinctions; it has inherited a deep lexical stratum from its parent language.

A comparison of Sanskrit (ancient Indian) and Lithuanian sentences:

    Dievas davė dantis, Dievas duos duonos. (Lith.)
    Devas adat datas, Devas dasyati Dhanas. (Skt.)
    (God gave teeth, God will give bread.)
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

http://students.washington.edu/sima/where/lithuania.htm


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-06-2005

Origin of Lithuanian Laguage


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-06-2005

Potent Pagan Powow


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-06-2005

The O'Odham: Native-Americans With Ancestors From India?


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-06-2005

Lithuanian Gods:

<b>AÅ¡vieniai</b> (Hindu Ashvini)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Ašvieniai in Lithuanian mythology are gods twins identical to Latvian Dieva deli. Symbols and pictures of Ašvieniai are used in folk architecture, especially on the top of the roof. Placed on the roof symbols of Asvieniai protects the house from the bad spirits. Sometimes Ašvieniai are represented as pulling Saulė’s carriage through the sky. Ašvieniai are usually displayed as horses (Lith. Ašvienis, masc. singular, noun, nominative– horse), sometimes like red roosters (symbols of fire). Ašvieniai are betrotheds of Saulė (Sun). One of them was black horse – sunrise, and one afterglow. Ašvieniai have some similarities with Ūsinis (in Latvian mythology Usins), the god of horses.

Alternative names: Saulės Žirgeliai (Horses of Sun), Dievo Sūneliai (Sons of God)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A%C5%A1vieniai


<b>Dievs</b> (Deva/Devata)

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. If an article link referred you here, you might want to go back and fix it to point directly to the intended page.

In art, Dievs is an ancient man with a long white beard.

Also:

    * Dievas (Lithuanian god)
    * Dievs (Latvian god)
    * Deiwas (Prussian god)
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dievas


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-08-2005

V. RELIGION IN CHINESE LIFE ... Hu Shih, "Religion and Philosophy in Chinese History


IT HAS often been observed that the Chinese people are not interested in what the Christians understand as religious life. It has even been said that the Chinese people are not religious.

It is true that the Chinese are not <b>so religious as the Hindus</b>, or even as the Japanese; and they are certainly not so religious as the Christian missionaries desire them to be. Practically all the prominent leaders of thought in China today are openly agnostics and even atheists. And the young men are even openly anti-religious. Although the fierce anti-religious movements of a few years ago have now subsided, it cannot be denied that the educated people in China are indifferent to religion and that the whole intellectual tendency there is not favorable to any religious movement or revival.

But I wish to point out that it is entirely wrong to say that the Chinese are not religious. No people is really incapable of religious life or experience. But there is always a difference in the definitions. And there is always a vast difference in the degree of religiosity or piety, varying from the modern churchgoer to the medieval saint. In the eyes of the medieval saint no one in this audience who listens patiently to a "heathen" lecturing on comparative religion can be said to be religious! Similarly, a people who may not have cultivated such habits as church-going, grace-saying, hymn-singing, and praying, and who may take no interest in the problems of the second person in the trinity, of transubstantiation, of the proper degree of submergence in baptism-such a people may have their own religion which may not necessarily be worse than that of any other people.

The Chinese word for "religion" is chiao which means teaching or a system of teaching. To teach people to believe in a particular deity is a chiao; but to teach them how to behave toward other men is also a chiao. The ancients did say that "the sages founded religions (chiao) on the ways of the gods." But it is not always necessary to make use of such supernatural expedients. And the Chinese people make no distinction between the theistic religions and the purely moral teachings of their sages. Therefore, the term chiao is applied to Buddhism, Taoism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, as well as Confucianism. They are all systems of moral teaching. Teaching a moral life is the essential thing; and "the ways of the gods" are merely one of the possible means of sanctioning that teaching. That is in substance the Chinese conception of religion.

The other factor, the degree of piety, which is in reality a degree of religious fanaticism, is always a result of historical circumstances. It is as accidental as the number of gods worshiped or the color of the vestments of the priests. -In the life of every people with a long history there are always periods of varied intensity in religious experience. The Greek philosophers calmly discussed their gods, and some ridiculed them; the Romans tolerated them and the Christians destroyed them all in favor of their one God; the medieval saints lived and had their whole being in God; the modern Christian peoples fought long and bloody wars over their religious differences and burned witches and heretics in the name of their God; and the present age seems to be again returning to the attitude of the Greek sophists.

The Chinese people, too, went through all kinds of vicissitudes in their religious development. There were long periods in Chinese history when this people also became so fanatically religious that a pious monk would burn a finger, or an arm, or the whole body, willingly and devoutly, as the supreme form of devotion to his Buddhist faith. There were times when every fourth man in the population would be a Buddhist monk or a Taoist priest. There were times when the court and the people spent millions of ounces of silver yearly to build grand temples and monasteries, and millions of acres of land were donated to the monasteries as voluntary offerings to the gods. No student of Chinese history can say that the Chinese are incapable of religious experience, even when judged by the standards of medieval Europe or pious India.

But there were a series of historical factors of very great importance which tended to make the Chinese people less other-worldly than the other historical races of the earth. One of these was the fact that our civilization began in the north-temperate zone where the bounty of nature was never abundant and the struggle for existence was always hard. This produced a hard working, simply living, but never wildly imaginative people. They had no time to indulge in speculating about the ways of the gods, or in effusive praises of the wonderful benevolence of heaven which they never enjoyed. They had a very simple religion consisting chiefly in a worship of their own ancestors, a belief in the spirits and the powers of the natural forces, a worship of a supreme God or heaven (which was probably evolved out of the worship of natural objects), and a belief in divination. To these they added a belief in the idea of retribution of good and evil. There was neither Hell nor Paradise; no life after death, only a firm belief in the importance of the perpetuation of the family line, probably primarily for economic reasons. This was the original religion of the Chinese. The extreme simplicity of this racial religion was the most remarkable in the history of mankind. There was little mythology, and little elaborate ritualism. It never had a generic name, and I have elsewhere proposed to call it "Siniticism." [1]

Another important historical factor is the fact that this already very simple religion was further simplified and purified by the early philosophers of ancient China. Our first great philosopher was a founder of naturalism; and our second great philosopher was an agnostic. Laotze taught that heaven and earth were unkind: they treated all beings like dogs and grass. He revolted against the anthropomorphic conception of a supreme God. There was only a natural process which he called the "Tao," or way. Everything becomes such of itself. The Tao does nothing; and yet it achieves everything. It was this naturalistic conception of the universe which in later ages always came up to serve as an effective weapon against superstition and anthropomorphic religion.

Confucius was a humanist and an agnostic. When asked about death and the proper duties to the spirits and the gods, he replied: "We know not about life, how can we know death? And we have not learned how to serve men, how can we serve the gods?" Life and human society are the chief concern of Confucianism and, through it, the chief concern of the Chinese people. Confucius also said: "To say that you know a thing when you know it, and to say that you do not know when you know it not, that is knowledge." That is his formulation of agnosticism.

A historically minded man, Confucius did not openly repudiate the spirits and the gods of the people. But he told one of his disciples: "Revere the gods, but be aloof from them." And in the Analects, this rule was laid down: "Worship as if something were present; worship a god as if he were present." This is no hypocrisy, but the psychology of religious reverence. As his followers have put it, "When you have purified yourself for the worship and put on the grand sacrificial robes, the solemnity of the occasion naturally makes you feel as if the objects of worship were really above you, and on the right and left of you." And it is not uncommon today to find written on the village shrines in big characters the Confucian motto: "As if he were above you" (ju tsai ch'i shang [pinyin: ru zai chi shang])!

Laotze and Confucius were teachers of a naturalistic attitude toward religion. The former taught us to follow the course of nature; the latter, to abide by fate. "Life and death are ordained, and wealth and honor are determined in Heaven." This deterministic attitude, while quite religious in itself, was not favorable to the older belief in the efficacy of appeasing the gods for favors or for averting misfortunes. "A gentleman," says Confucius, "sorrows not, nor fears. As long as he finds no inward guilt, why should he sorrow, and what should he fear?"

And the Confucianists actually tried to found a new religion of filial piety without the benefit of the gods. This religion centers around the idea that the human body is the sacred inheritance from the parents, and must always be regarded as such. "There are three forms of filial piety: the highest is to glorify one's parents; next, not to degrade them; and lastly, to support them." "This body is inherited from our parents. How dare we act irreverently with this inheritance? Therefore, to live carelessly is a sin against filial duty; so is disloyalty to our princes; so is dishonesty in office; so is faithlessness to friends; and so is lack of courage on the battlefield. Failure in any one of these five duties will disgrace one's parents. Dare we act without reverence?" "The dutiful son never moves a step without thinking of his parents; nor utters a word without thinking of his parents." The parents thus take the place of God or the gods as a new moral sanction of human action.

But all these rationalistic simplifications were of course F~ too sophisticated for the general populace. The people carried on their Sinitic religion as of old, and from time to time they added to it the new increments acquired by contact with other races. And from time to time, great religious movements arose under the leadership of men more pious and inspired than Laotze and Confucius.

Thus there arose the great religion of Moism in the fifth century B.C. under the great religious reformer Mo Ti who was dissatisfied with the rationalist tendencies of the age and who tried to revive the old Sinitic religion by purifying it and giving it a new and more inspiring meaning. He taught a personal god who wills and knows and has the power to reward and punish, and whose will is love-unlimited love for all men without distinction.

Thus again there arose the great religious movement in the second century B.C. under the Confucianist leader Tung Chung-shu, who tried to found a state religion of Siniticism under the disguise of Confucianism. The heart of this new religion of the Han Dynasty was the old Sinitic idea of a teleological god and of retribution for good and evil. He taught that "the action of man, when it reaches the highest level of goodness or evil, all flows into the universal course of Heaven and Earth, and causes responsive reverberations in their manifestations." When the government has done an evil act, God will give warning in the form of such catastrophes as fire, floods, famines, earthquakes, and mountain slides. And when the warnings are not heeded, then heaven will cause strange anomalies to appear on earth to terrify the rulers into repentance. The class of "anomalies" include such things as comets, sun eclipses, the growing of beards on women, etc. And it is only when these anomalies fail to check misgovernment that final ruin and destruction shall befall the empire. For God is always kind to the rulers of man. This religion, which apparently had the political motive of attempting to check the unlimited power of the despots, was zealously perpetuated by the scholars throughout the later centuries.

Then, about the first century B.C., there came the great cultural invasion from India, the introduction of Buddhism. No one really knows how this came about. By 65 A.D. it had already been embraced by a prince of the imperial family; by 165 it was accepted by an emperor who worshiped Buddha together with Laotze. By 200 it was defended by one of the Chinese intellectuals in Southern China. By 300 it was talked about by all educated Chinese and was becoming the most popular religion of the people. <b>China had never seen so elaborate and spectacular a religion. </b>The very simple faith of Siniticism was overwhelmed, and it was speedily conquered. The Chinese people were dazzled, baffled, and carried away by this marvelous religion of rich imagery, beautiful and captivating ""ritualism, and wonderfully ingenious metaphysics. There was not only a heaven, but thousands of heavens; not only a hell, but 18 hells of ever increasing severity and horror. The religious imagination of the Indian people seemed so inexhaustible and always of such marvelous architectonic structure. <b>China readily acknowledged her crushing defeat. </b>

China was so completely Buddhist that everything that came from the Buddhist country of India was readily accepted and became a fashion. Even the worst features of Mahayana Buddhism were blindly taken up by Chinese believers. The practice of burning one's body as a sacrifice was frequently encouraged by the extreme fanatics; the lives of monks who burned themselves to death were recorded in the Buddhist biographies in a special section as exemplary achievements of supreme devotion and piety. Under the T'ang dynasty, some strange monk from India would bring a piece of human bone and call it a sacred relic of the Buddha; and he would be so devoutly believed that the imperial court and the whole population would suspend all business and march in solemn processions to greet the Buddha relic. Truly had humanist China lost her head and gone completely mad under the powerful enchantment of this imported religion from India!

But the native rationalistic mentality of the Chinese intelligentsia gradually reasserted itself and revolted against this humiliating domination of the whole nation by a foreign religion which was opposed to all the best traditions of the native civilization. Its celibacy was fundamentally opposed to the Chinese society which emphasized the importance of continuation of the ancestral lineage. Its mendicant system was distasteful to the Chinese social and political thinker who was naturally alarmed by the presence of millions of monks and nuns living as parasites on society. Its austere forms of asceticism and self-sacrifice and suicide were fundamentally against the idea of filial piety which regarded the human body as a sacred inheritance from one's parents. And its wonderfully abstruse mythology and metaphysics, never ending in the most ingenious inventions of new gods and new titles of the gods, and never failing in the most hair-splitting differentiations and sub-differentiations, were most foreign to the simple and straightforward ways of thinking of the native tradition. And, most important of all, the whole scheme of salvation as taught in Buddhism seemed to the Chinese thinker as most selfish and anti-social. Each man endeavors to become an arahat, a bodhisattva, or a buddha. But, the Chinese began to ask, for what end? What value is there in a salvation which must require the forsaking of the family and the desertion of all one's duties to the family and the state?

The Chinese revolt against Buddhism took many forms. At first it was an attempt to replace it by some native imitation of the imported institution. The native religion of Taoism, which rose in the centuries after the gradual invasion of Buddhism, was a revival of the old Sinitic religion of the people under the influence of the impact of Buddhist ideas and practices. First unconsciously, and then fully consciously, Taoism undertook to kill its foreign rival imitating every feature of it. <b>It invented a founder by superimposing this popular Sinitic religion on Laotze who was then elevated </b>to the position of a supreme god. A Taoist trinity was modeled after the Buddhist. A Taoist canon was gradually but consciously forged after the model of the Buddhist sutras. Heavens and hells were taken over from the Indian religion, and given Chinese names, and they were presided over by Chinese gods deified from the historical heroes of the race. Orders of priests and priestesses were formed in imitation of the Buddhist monasteries and nunneries.

Then they began to persecute the foreign religion of Buddhism. Several great and nation-wide persecutions took place in 446, in 574, in 845, and in 955. In each case, the motive was clearly one of a nationalistic attack on an alien faith.

In the meantime, the Chinese Buddhists themselves had started their revolt against Buddhism. They could not long swallow the whole output of the wonderful ingenuity of Indian metaphysical obscurantism and religious imagination. They began to simplify it to two essential elements: meditation and insight. Then they began to see that even meditation was not quite necessary. So they threw overboard all that complicated machinery of meditation, beginning with breath-control and ending in the attainment of supreme stages of quietude and the mastery of supernatural powers. Soon they began to preach that all the ritualism and verbalism, and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, all the sutras and charms and spells were useless and must be discarded. The Buddhahood is within you; the law is within you; and salvation is within you. And salvation must be sought through the ripe awakening of one's own understanding, through intellectual enlightenment, for which no external assistance could avail, and which must be the result of the individual's patient seeking and traveling and coming into contact with the best minds of the age. This was the meaning of the development of Dhyana or Ch'an or Zen Buddhism in China.[2]

Then the Chinese Confucianist scholars arose in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and dealt the fatal blow to this already much-battered Buddhist religion. The Confucianists began to understand the religion of Buddhism as simplified by the Zennists, and they proceeded to reinterpret the classical literature of Confucianism in the light of what they had learned from the medieval religions. To their delight and surprise, they could find afl the problems of the Zen schools in the philosophers of the classical period. There was the ideal of the perfection of the individual through intellectual training. But the perfection of the individual was never an end in itself, nor was it merely for the sake of individual salvation in which the Chinese philosophers were never interested. The perfection of the individual was only the necessary step for the ordering of the family, the state, and the world. The whole aim must be the improvement of society. The ideal was to be a social one.

All this they found in a little book of post-Confucian origin, called the Great Learning, a booklet of 1,700 words, which had been a part of the Li Ki ["The Book of Rites"] and had attracted very little attention from the scholars for hundreds of years until the Sung scholars began to dig it out of its long oblivion. From this little book, the neo-Confucian philosophers slowly built up a secular philosophy .which became the orthodox moral and social teaching for more than seven centuries. The new philosophy appealed to the humanist tradition of the Chinese, and began to have the sanction of the government and the public. After this philosophy had attained official recognition and was taught in all Chinese schools, the medieval religions began to fade away and die out without another persecution. The best minds of the nation no longer patronized their teachings, and even the Zen schools no longer produced first-rate leaders. Their vitality had been sapped away by the vogue of the more humane and social and more intelligible native systems of thought. The revolt of China against the religion of India had succeeded. The development of critical and scientific scholarship from the seventeenth century down has tended to make the new Confucianist thought drift still farther and farther away from the influence of the medieval religions. The new intellectual life, which was characterized by the development of the humanistic and historical studies, was a continuation of the tendency traceable back to the early days of the Chinese revolt against Buddhism. But, with the contact of the various religious sects of Christianity, there began in the last decades of the nineteenth century a new movement to give China a native religion. It was thought by some leaders of the reforms that probably at least one of China's weaknesses was the lack of a national religion which could uplift the morals of the people and unite the feelings and sentiments of the whole nation. The outstanding leader of this line of thought was K'ang Yu-wei, the reformer of 1898, and the religion he proposed to establish as the national religion of China was Confucianism. He wrote and preached in favor of this political establishment of Confucianism. He initiated the practice of dating Chinese history from the birth of Confucius (551 B.C.), after the fashion in the West of dating history in terms of the Christian era.

But he belonged to a school of classical scholarship which believed that a large portion of the classics, the portion that was originally written in the so-called "ancient script," was a forgery made in the Han dynasty. He tried to prove, with copious evidences, and with audacity and critical methodology, that these texts were forged by a clever scholar, of the beginning of the Christian era, by name Liu Hsin, who fabricated them as a moral support to the usurper-emperor Wang Mang. His arguments were quite convincing to many scholars, and this new critical school has a large following even to this day. But his ardent advocacy of a political establishment of Confucianism as a state religion was received with little or no enthusiasm. Even his great disciple, Liang Ch'i-ch'ao, was opposed to it. The explanation was quite simple. The few classics he had tried to dethrone were the most readable and the most influential of all the classics. If they were to be condemned as forgeries, very little would be left of Confucianism. The remaining texts were difficult to understand and contained little moral teaching. The new interpretations which K'ang's school had tried to read into them were quite as abstruse as the texts themselves. To establish Confucianism after such a radical expurgation would be as ridiculous as to see Hamlet with the Prince of Denmark left out.

As late as 1915 and 1916, K'ang Yu-wei and his followers tried to influence Yuan Shih-kai and the Constitutional Convention to incorporate a clause in the new Constitution of the Republic, establishing the teaching of the Confucian school as the basic system of moral education in China. Under the influence of Yuan Shih-kai, this clause was accepted by the framers of the draft Constitution. But the new leaders of the intellectual class, notably Ts'ai Yuen-p'ei, Wu Chih-hui, and Ch'en Tu-shiu, fought hard against its adoption in the final text of the Constitution. The words of Mr. Ch'en Tu-shiu are worth quoting as indicating the new temper of the age. He said: "All religions are useless as instruments of government and education. They are to be classed with the other discarded idols of a past age. Even if we may concede that a religion may be needed by an uneducated people, are we justified in disregarding all the teachings of the other religions? We shall be guilty of encroaching upon the religious liberty of the people, if the other religions are ignored and Confucianism alone is constitutionally recognized." And he went on to show that Confucianism was the very system of thought which had justified and rationalized the political institution of despotic rule throughout all these centuries, and which must go with the final disappearance of the unlimited monarchy. "The morals taught by Confucius and his school, belonged to the age of feudalism, and are mostly unsuited to an age of democracy." The anti-Confucianists won their fight in the end. Mr. Yuan Shih-kai, who supported this Confu-cianist establishment, tried to make himself an emperor, and failed. Mr. K'ang Yu-wei, who led this movement, took part in the abortive movement in 1917 to restore the Manchu Monarchy with the aid of a reactionary general. The restoration lasted 12 days and then failed completely. These political intrigues greatly discredited the new Confucianist movement, which, as the radical thinkers had predicted, was proved to be in league with the reactionary and monarchist movements.

It is interesting to note that the leaders of anti-religious thought in the first decade of the Republic were largely men of mature age and old scholarship. Ts'ai Yuen-p'ei and Wu Chih-hui were both outstanding figures of the older generation. Ts'ai was a Hanlin, that is, a member of the old literary Academy, and was then Chancellor of the National Peking University. In 1917 he gave a public lecture in which he frankly expressed his conviction that the religions of the world were obstacles to human progress and that the Chinese mentality was not favorable to religious attitudes. He proposed a peculiar substitute for religion. He thought that religion was essentially a product of the instinctive love for beauty and sublimity, and that it might be replaced by a universal education in aesthetics, a training which should lead men to love the beautiful and the sublime in human conduct as well as in nature.

In 1923 there arose in the Chinese periodicals a long controversy over the relationship between science and the outlook on life. The post-war pessimism of Europe had by that time made itself felt in Chinese circles through the writings of Mr. Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and his friends, who were telling the country that science had proved itself bankrupt as the new savior of mankind, and that the solution of the riddle of life could not be found through the channels of science. The defenders of science hastened to reply to these attacks, and the controversy lasted more than a year. When a part of the controversial literature was collected, it amounted to over 250,000 words. With the exception of a few conservative scholars trained in German philosophy through the Japanese schools, the majority of those who took part in this debate were on the side of science which they held to be capable of dealing with all problems of human life and conduct.

The most significant event of this controversy was a long essay of 70,000 words by the veteran thinker Mr. Wu Chih-hui. It had this title: "A New Conception of the Universe and of Life, Based upon a New Belief." In this essay the old scholar unreservedly accepted the mechanistic conception of the universe, and built up a philosophy of life which, in his own words, "ruled out the term 'God' and banished the soul or the spirit." He defined man as the animal with two hands and a big brain which enable him to make tools. This tool-making animal has been able to create a wonderful civilization merely through the accumulation of tools with which he subdues nature and betters his own living. The greatest achievement of man is science together with all its applications which greatly multiply the power of man to do work and to produce things for his enjoyment and betterment. Mr. Wu holds that the moral life of mankind has greatly improved with the advancement of science and technology; and that man has never achieved a moral life anywhere or at any other time in history which can be proved to be higher than that of the age of science and its machines.

He maintains that no religion, but science alone, will be needed to make mankind even better and more moral. He tries to prove that all the moral sentiments expressed in the old religious systems and moral philosophies were merely empty words without the ability or the tools to realize them in actual life. It is science alone which has given man not only the new sympathy, but the new capability to do good which the mendicant saints of medieval times could never possess. Man must therefore rely upon himself, and himself alone, in his ceaseless endeavor to increase his tools, to extend his knowledge and power to the utmost, and thereby to make himself more and more moral by being in possession of greater power to solve the perplexities and difficulties of life. "I firmly believe that men of this age are far superior to those of any previous age; and I believe that men of the coming ages will be even better than ourselves. And I firmly believe that the more material progress is achieved, the more goods will be produced, the more needs will be met, and the more easily will man be in a position to solve all the most perplexing problems of the world."

Mr. Wu Chih-hui is now sixty-eight years old. In him we see the intellectualistic and rationalistic philosophy of life, which is not merely the result of scientific influence from the West, but is the happy combination of that influence with the whole naturalistic and rationalistic tradition of the Chinese people. It is that combination which makes us feel completely at home in this world; and it is that which has led some of us better to appreciate the intellectual and moral significance inherent in Western civilization which the Western philosopher, because of the tremendous weight of a religious tradition, has not always been willing to recognize. [3]

[1] Hu Shih, "Religion and Philosophy in Chinese History," in A Symposium on Chinese Culture (ed. Mrs. Sophia Chen Zen), Shanghai, 1931.

[2] Hu Shih, "Development of Zen Buddhism in China," in Chinese Social and Political Science Review, January, 1931.

[3] Cf. Hu Shih, "My Credo and Its Evolution," in Living Philosophies, New York, 1931.


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-11-2005

Pre-christian pagan origins of Christmas and Easter Festivals and
other Christian traditions by Ravi Kumar, Australia


Christmas, the birthday of Christ, is perhaps the most widely known
festival in the world. But not many know that it is pre-Christian in
its origin. One may wonder how the birth and the death of Christ can
be of pre-Christian origin!! In fact the birth of Christ is shrouded
in one more mystery.

Jesus of Nazareth was born four to eight years before he was 'born.'
(His birth was in the reign of Herod, who died in 4 B.C., four years
'before Christ.')

In 534 A.D., the first man who calculated the year of Jesus' birth
made a mistake and we've been stuck with it ever since. [Source: Isaac
Asimov's Book of Facts] Rob from Kearns, Utah (31 March 1999)

Connections between Pre-Christian Pagans and Hindus:

Pre-Christian Pagans in Europe had many things in common with ancient Hindus in
India - 7 days in a week, worship of Sun-God, Spring Festival,
reincarnation, cremating the dead and immortality of the soul. The
heroes who died in the Trojan war were cremated in a manner similar to
those in India. Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagorus in 500
BC studied in Takshashila University in North India and learnt
Mathematics (famous Pythogorus Theorem is from Bodhayana Sutra of the
Vedic Period), Medicine and Transmigration of the soul. This is called
the Pythogorean School of Thought.

Christmas is Mid-winter Festival of the Pagan Europeans:

Now the Roman records do not throw any light on the life of Jesus Christ and the
mystery starts from whether Jesus was a historical figure. But the
world celebrates December 25th as Jesus Christ's birthday. Santa Claus comes on a sledge driven by a reindeer and distributes sweets and plays with
children throwing snow on them. Jesus was born at Bethlehem and lived
in Palestine all through as recorded in the Bible. But snow games,
sledge and reindeer are unheard of things in Palestine. Obviously
Santa Claus and December 25th celebrations have their origin in
Pre-Christian Europe and not in Arabia or Israel or Palestine.

According to Britanica Encyclopaedia, "the reason why Christmas came
to be celebrated on December 25 remains uncertain, but most probably
the reason is that early Christians wished the date to coincide with
the pagan Roman festival marking the "birthday of the unconquered sun"
(natalis solis invicti). This festival celebrated the winter solstice,
when the days again begin to lengthen and the sun begins to climb
higher in the sky.

The traditional customs connected with Christmas have accordingly developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of
the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observances
at midwinter. In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17) was a
time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts.

December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Iranian mystery
god Mithra,
the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses
were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to
children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and
Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul,
Britain, and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log
and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, and gifts and greetings all
commemorated different aspects of this festive season.

Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been
associated with the winter festival of the pagans. In other words
Christmas is the Pagan Mid-winter festival which in India is called
the Makara Sankranti which also falls during this time. It may also be
noted that Hindu Makara Sankranti used to fall on 1st Januaray before
Pope Gregory XIII introduced the present Gregorian calendar in 1584 by
skipping 11 days and later in a day each was eliminated in 1700, 1800
and 1900. This resulted in Makara Sankranti falling on 1st January
every year to be shifted to 14th January as is seen today. Similarly
the Hindu Solar New Year which used to fall on 1st April before 1584
got shifted to 14th April as is seen today. Thus the Hindu Makara
Sankranti and Hindu Solar New Year Days were also festival days in
Europe till recently.

Easter another Pagan Festival:

Easter is the principal festival of the Christian church, celebrating
the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his
Crucifixion. Britanicca Encyclopaedia 2002 Deluxe Edition says, "The
English name Easter is of uncertain origin; the Anglo-Saxon priest
Venerable Bede in the 8th century derived it from the Anglo-Saxon
spring goddess Eostre."

But many practices associated with Easter festival go to prove more
connections with Pagan beliefs. Millions of eggs and egg-shaped
replicas are being bought, decorated, given as gifts and happily eaten
every Easter. Why the egg? To understand the egg's prominent place in
Easter celebrations we need to go far back in history to the origins
of the festival. The name Easter is derived from
Eostre, the ancient Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility whose
rebirth after the dark northern winter was heralded by feasting,
bon-fires and various rituals involving the egg. The Anglo-Saxons
believed Eostre was reincarnated in the form of a hare, since it was
widely believed that when hunted, the hare would sacrifice itself so
its offspring could escape. The cute little Easter bunny that today
pops up on greetings cards or in chocolate shops is a survivor of
those beliefs.

In former Yugoslavia, children still design nests for hares in their
gardens and next
morning find brightly painted eggs deposited there. In Germany and
Hungary children carry baskets decorated with painted hares, in which
they collect chocolate eggs and other small gifts on Easter Sundays.

While the Anglo-Saxons were wrong in assuming hares hatched from eggs,
they were right in associating eggs with Spring renewal. Spring
Festival Celebrations around the World The rebirth of a spring deity
has been celebrated through rituals and feasting not only by
Anglo-Saxons but by other cultures all around the world.

Hindus have been celebrating this festival as Chaitra Varsha Pratipada
or Yugadi or Cheti Chand or Gudipadwa since times immemorial. This is followed by
eight days of fasting for Goddess Parvati. This is followed by
feasting for Rama Nawami, the birth of Lord Ram of Ayodhya.

The ancient Egyptians marked the rebirth of the God Osiris with eight days of
celebrations. It is from these celebrations that we get the eight days
of Easter, known as Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday and
finishes on Easter Sunday. In ancient Rome, an annual festival was
held for the rebirth of the God Attis, whose return was celebrated
with banqueting, processions and sporting events. This festival was
held just after the spring equinox, and it is from here that we derive
the date of Easter, which always falls on the first Sunday after the
first full moon following the spring equinox. This means Easter can
fall any time between March 21 and April 25. In China people were
offering each other painted red eggs during the Ching Ming (Pure
Brightness) festival as far back as 3,000 years ago. Central to all
ancient spring festivals are huge feasts celebrating the fact that the
spring was a return to abundance after long, lean winters without
fresh food.

Venerable Mother Mary

The concept of Mother Mary has also been taken from another source. Around 11th
and 12th century AD many nomadic tribes from Rajasthan and Sind in
north India were tortured and harassed by the invading Muslims from
Arabia and they migrated to Europe by land route.

In Europe they are called GYPSIES. They were worshippers of Mother
Parvati (a female deity still popular among Hindus in India). When
they were travelling through coastal France, the local inhabitants
sought their help in overcoming the loss of lives and property due to
continuous flooding. The Gypsies kept their deity Mother Parvati in
the local church and offered prayers. To the great surprise of all,
the sea waters receded giving much relief to the local people. They
then requested the Gypsies to leave their female deity so that the sea
may not disturb them again.

Thus Mother Parvati of the Gypsies or Hindus came to be worshipped in
the churches of Europe who gave the name of Mother Mary to it.

Source: Proceedings of the First International Conference and
Gathering of Elders
http://www.iccsus.org/IstConf/215.html (Feb. 2004)


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 02-13-2006

http://www.atributetohinduism.com/articles_hinduism/258.htm



Meet the Brahmins of ancient Europe, the high caste of Celtic society
By Peter Berresford Ellis
http://www.hinduvoice.net/cgi-bin/maillist...5010923&list=HV

The Celtic people spread from their homeland in what is now Germany across Europe in the first millennium bce. Iron tools and weapons rendered them superior to their neighbors. They were also skilled farmers, road builders, traders and inventors of a fast two-wheeled chariot. They declined in the face of Roman, Germanic and Slavic ascendency by the second centuries bce. Here Peter Berresford Ellis, one of Europe's foremost experts of the Celts, explains how modern research has revealed the amazing similarities between ancient Celt and Vedic culture. The Celt's priestly caste, the Druids, has become a part of modern folklore. Their identity is claimed by New Age enthusiasts likely to appear at annual solstice gatherings around the ancient megaliths of northwest Europe. While sincerely motivated by a desire to resurrect Europe's ancient spiritual ways, Ellis says these modern Druids draw more upon fanciful reconstructions of the 18th century than actual scholarship.

The Druids of the ancient Celtic world have a startling kinship with the brahmins of the Hindu religion and were, indeed, a parallel development from their common Indo-European cultural root which began to branch out probably five thousand years ago. It has been only in recent decades that Celtic scholars have begun to reveal the full
extent of the parallels and cognates between ancient Celtic society and Vedic culture.

The Celts were the first civilization north of the European Alps to emerge into recorded history. At the time of their greatest expansion, in the 3rd century bce, the Celts stretched from Ireland in the west, through to the central plain of Turkey in the east; north from Belgium, down to Cadiz in southern Spain and across the Alps into the Po Valley of Italy. They even impinged on areas of Poland and the Ukraine and, if the amazing recent discoveries of mummies in China's province of Xinjiang are linked with the Tocharian texts, they even moved as far east as the area north of Tibet.

The once great Celtic civilization is today represented only by the modern Irish, Manx and Scots, and the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons. Today on the northwest fringes of Europe cling the survivors of centuries of attempted conquest and "ethnic cleansing" by Rome and its imperial descendants. But of the sixteen million people who make up those populations, only 2.5 million now speak a Celtic language as their mother tongue.

The Druids were not simply priesthood. They were the intellectual caste of ancient Celtic society, incorporating all the professions: judges, lawyers, medical doctors, ambassadors, historians and so forth, just as does the brahmin caste. In fact, other names designate the specific role of the "priests." Only Roman and later Christian propaganda turned them into "shamans," "wizards" and "magicians." The scholars of the Greek Alexandrian school clearly described them as a parallel caste to the brahmins of Vedic society.

The very name Druid is composed of two Celtic word roots which have parallels in Sanskrit. Indeed, the root vid for knowledge, which also emerges in the Sanskrit word Veda, demonstrates the similarity. The Celtic root dru which means "immersion" also appears in Sanskrit. So a Druid was one "immersed in knowledge."

Because Ireland was one of the few areas of the Celtic world that was not conquered by Rome and therefore not influenced by Latin culture until the time of its Christianization in the 5th century ce, its ancient Irish culture has retained the most clear and startling parallels to Hindu society.

Professor Calvert Watkins of Harvard, one of the leading linguistic experts in his field, has pointed out that of all the Celtic linguistic remains, Old Irish represents an extraordinarily archaic and conservative tradition within the Indo-European family. Its
nominal and verbal systems are a far truer reflection of the hypothesized parent tongue, from which all Indo-European languages developed, than are Classical Greek or Latin. The structure of Old Irish, says Professor Watkins, can be compared only with that of
Vedic Sanskrit or Hittite of the Old Kingdom.

The vocabulary is amazingly similar. The following are just a few examples:

Old Irish - arya (freeman),Sanskrit - aire (noble)
Old Irish - naib (good), Sanskrit - noeib (holy)
Old Irish - badhira (deaf), Sanskrit - bodhar (deaf)
Old Irish - names (respect), Sanskrit - nemed (respect)
Old Irish - righ (king), Sanskrit - raja (king)

This applies not only in the field of linguistics but in law and social custom, in mythology, in folk custom and in traditional musical form. The ancient Irish law system, the Laws of the Fénechus, is closely parallel to the Laws of Manu. Many surviving Irish myths, and some Welsh ones, show remarkable resemblances to the themes, stories and even names in the sagas of the Indian Vedas.

Comparisons are almost endless. Among the ancient Celts, Danu was regarded as the "Mother Goddess." The Irish Gods and Goddesses were the Tuatha De Danaan ("Children of Danu"). Danu was the "divine waters" falling from heaven and nurturing Bíle, the sacred oak from whose acorns their children sprang. Moreover, the waters of Danu went on to create the great Celtic sacred river--Danuvius, today called the Danube. Many European rivers bear the name of Danu--the Rhône (ro- Dhanu, "Great Danu") and several rivers called Don. Rivers were sacred in the Celtic world, and places where votive offerings were deposited and burials often conducted. The Thames, which flows through London, still bears its Celtic name, from Tamesis, the dark river, which is the same name as Tamesa, a tributary of the Ganges.

Not only is the story of Danu and the Danube a parallel to that of Ganga and the Ganges but a Hindu Danu appears in the Vedic story "The Churning of the Oceans," a story with parallels in Irish and Welsh mytholgy. Danu in Sanskrit also means "divine waters" and "moisture."

In ancient Ireland, as in ancient Hindu society, there was a class of poets who acted as charioteers to the warriors They were also their intimates and friends. In Irish sagas these charioteers extolled the prowess of the warriors. The Sanskrit Satapatha Brahmana says that on the evening of the first day of the horse sacrifice (and horse sacrifice was known in ancient Irish kingship rituals, recorded as late as the 12th century) the poets had to chant a praise poem in honor of the king or his warriors, usually extolling their genealogy
and deeds.

Such praise poems are found in the Rig Veda and are called narasamsi. The earliest surviving poems in old Irish are also praise poems, called fursundud, which trace back the genealogy of the kings of Ireland to Golamh or Mile Easpain, whose sons landed in Ireland at the end of the second millennium bce. When Amairgen, Golamh's son, who later traditions hail as the "first Druid," set foot in Ireland, he cried out an extraordinary incantation that could have come from the Bhagavad Gita, subsuming all things into his being [see sidebar right].

Celtic cosmology is a parallel to Vedic cosmology. Ancient Celtic astrologers used a similar system based on twenty-seven lunar mansions, called nakshatras in Vedic Sanskrit. Like the Hindu Soma, King Ailill of Connacht, Ireland, had a circular palace constructed with twenty-seven windows through which he could gaze on his twenty-seven "star wives."

There survives the famous first century bce Celtic calendar (the Coligny Calendar) which, as soon as it was first discovered in 1897, was seen to have parallels to Vedic calendrical computations. In the most recent study of it, Dr. Garret Olmsted, an astronomer as well as Celtic scholar, points out the startling fact that while the surviving calendar was manufactured in the first century bce, astronomical calculus shows that it must have been computed in 1100 bce.

One fascinating parallel is that the ancient Irish and Hindus used the name Budh for the planet Mercury. The stem budh appears in all the Celtic languages, as it does in Sanskrit, as meaning "all victorious," "gift of teaching," "accomplished," "enlightened," "exalted" and so on. The names of the famous Celtic queen Boudicca, of ancient Britain (1st century ce), and of Jim Bowie (1796-1836), of the Texas Alamo fame, contain the same root. Buddha is the past participle of the same Sanskrit word--"one who is enlightened."

For Celtic scholars, the world of the Druids of reality is far more revealing and exciting, and showing of the amazingly close common bond with its sister Vedic culture, than the inventions of those who have now taken on the mantle of modern "Druids," even when done so with great sincerity.

If we are all truly wedded to living in harmony with one another, with nature, and seeking to protect endangered species of animal and plant life, let us remember that language and culture can also be in ecological danger. The Celtic languages and cultures today stand on
the verge of extinction. That is no natural phenomenon but the result of centuries of politically directed ethnocide. What price a "spiritual awareness" with the ancient Celts when their culture is in the process of being destroyed or reinvented? Far better we seek
to understand and preserve intact the Celt's ancient wisdom. In this, Hindus may prove good allies.

The Song of Amairgen the Druid I am the wind that blows across the sea; I am the wave of the ocean; I am the murmur of the billows; I am the bull of the seven combats; I am the vulture on the rock; I am a ray of the sun; I am the fairest of flowers; I am a wild boar in valor; I am a salmon in the pool; I am a lake on the plain; I am the skill of the craftsman; I am a word of science; I am the spearpoint that gives battle; I am the God who creates in the head of man the fire of thought. Who is it that enlightens the assembly upon the mountain, if not I? Who tells the ages of the moon, if not I? Who shows the place where the sun goes to rest, if not I? Who is the God that fashions enchantments-- The enchantment of battle and the wind of change?

Amairgen was the first Druid to arrive in Ireland. Ellis states, "In this song Amairgen subsumes everything into his own being with a philosophic outlook that parallels the declaration of Krishna in the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita." It also is quite similar in style and content to the more ancient Sri Rudra chant of the Yajur Veda.

Peter Berresford Ellis is one of the foremost living authorities on the Celts and author of many books on the subject, including "Celt and Roman," "Celt and Greek," "Dictionary of Celtic Mythology" and "Celtic Women."
PETER BERRESFORD ELLIS, 30 GRESLEY ROAD, LONDON, N19 3JZ, ENGLAND


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 04-20-2006

check this out -


http://www.viewzone.com/abraham.html

In his History of the Jews, the Jewish scholar and theologian Flavius Josephus (37 - 100 A.D.), wrote that the Greek philosopher Aristotle had said: "...These Jews are derived from the Indian philosophers; they are named by the Indians Calani." (Book I:22.)

Clearchus of Soli wrote, "The Jews descend from the philosophers of India. The philosophers are called in India Calanians and in Syria Jews. The name of their capital is very difficult to pronounce. It is called 'Jerusalem.'"

"Megasthenes, who was sent to India by Seleucus Nicator, about three hundred years before Christ, and whose accounts from new inquiries are every day acquiring additional credit, says that the Jews 'were an Indian tribe or sect called Kalani...'" (Anacalypsis, by Godfrey Higgins, Vol. I; p. 400.)

Martin Haug, Ph.D., wrote in The Sacred Language, Writings, and Religions of the Parsis, "The Magi are said to have called their religion Kesh-î-Ibrahim.They traced their religious books to Abraham, who was believed to have brought them from heaven." (p. 16.)

There are certain striking similarities between the Hindu god Brahma and his consort Saraisvati, and the Jewish Abraham and Sarai, that are more than mere coincidences. Although in all of India there is only one temple dedicated to Brahma, this cult is the third largest Hindu sect.


In his book Moisés y los Extraterrestres, Mexican author Tomás Doreste states,

Voltaire was of the opinion that Abraham descended from some of the numerous Brahman priests who left India to spread their teachings throughout the world; and in support of his thesis he presented the following elements: the similarity of names and the fact that the city of Ur, land of the patriarchs, was near the border of Persia, the road to India, where that Brahman had been born.

The name of Brahma was highly respected in India, and his influence spread throughout Persia as far as the lands bathed by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. The Persians adopted Brahma and made him their own. Later they would say that the God arrived from Bactria, a mountainous region situated midway on the road to India. (pp. 46-47.)

Bactria (a region of ancient Afghanistan) was the locality of a prototypical Jewish nation called Juhuda or Jaguda, also called Ur-Jaguda. Ur meant "place or town." Therefore, the bible was correct in stating that Abraham came from "Ur of the Chaldeans." "Chaldean," more correctly Kaul-Deva (Holy Kauls), was not the name of a specific ethnicity but the title of an ancient Hindu Brahmanical priestly caste who lived in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Indian state of Kashmir.

"The tribe of Ioud or the Brahmin Abraham, was expelled from or left the Maturea of the kingdom of Oude in India and, settling in Goshen, or the house of the Sun or Heliopolis in Egypt, gave it the name of the place which they had left in India, Maturea." (Anacalypsis; Vol. I, p. 405.)

"He was of the religion or sect of Persia, and of Melchizedek."(Vol. I, p. 364.)

"The Persians also claim Ibrahim, i.e. Abraham, for their founder, as well as the Jews. Thus we see that according to all ancient history the Persians, the Jews, and the Arabians are descendants of Abraham.(p.85) ...We are told that Terah, the father of Abraham, originally came from an Eastern country called Ur, of the Chaldees or Culdees, to dwell in a district called Mesopotamia. Some time after he had dwelt there, Abraham, or Abram, or Brahma, and his wife Sara or Sarai, or Sara-iswati, left their father's family and came into Canaan. The identity of Abraham and Sara with Brahma and Saraiswati was first pointed out by the Jesuit missionaries."(Vol. I; p. 387.)

In Hindu mythology, Sarai-Svati is Brahm's sister. The bible gives two stories of Abraham. In this first version, Abraham told Pharaoh that he was lying when he introduced Sarai as his sister. In the second version, he also told the king of Gerar that Sarai was really his sister. However, when the king scolded him for lying, Abraham said that Sarai was in reality both his wife and his sister! "...and yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife." (Genesis 20:12.)

But the anomalies don't end here. In India, a tributary of the river Saraisvati is Ghaggar. Another tributary of the same river is Hakra. According to Jewish traditions, Hagar was Sarai's maidservant; the Moslems say she was an Egyptian princess. Notice the similarities of Ghaggar, Hakra and Hagar.

The bible also states that Ishmael, son of Hagar, and his descendants lived in India. "...Ishmael breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kin... They dwelt from Havilah (India), by Shur, which is close to Egypt, all the way to Asshur." (Genesis 25:17-18.) It is an interesting fact that the names of Isaac and Ishmael are derive from Sanskrit: (Hebrew) Ishaak = (Sanskrit) Ishakhu = "Friend of Shiva." (Hebrew) Ishmael = (Sanskrit) Ish-Mahal = "Great Shiva."

A third mini-version of the Abraham story turns him into another "Noah." We know that a flood drove Abraham out of India. "...Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, Even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor; and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan." (Joshua 24:2-3.)

Genesis 25 mentions some descendants of his concubine Ketura (Note: The Moslems claim that Ketura is another name of Hagar.): Jokshan; Sheba; Dedan; Epher. Some descendants of Noah were Joktan, Sheba, Dedan, and Ophir. These varying versions have caused me to suspect that the writers of the bible were trying to unite several different branches of Judaism.

About 1900 BC, the cult of Brahm was carried to the Middle and Near East by several different Indian groups after a severe rainfall and earthquake tore Northern India apart, even changing the courses of the Indus and Saraisvati rivers. The classical geographer Strabo tells us just how nearly complete the abandonment of Northwestern India was. "Aristobolus says that when he was sent upon a certain mission in India, he saw a country of more than a thousand cities, together with villages, that had been deserted because the Indus had abandoned its proper bed." (Strabo's Geography, XV.I.19.)

"The drying up of the Sarasvati around 1900 BCE, which led to a major relocation of the population centered around in the Sindhu and the Sarasvati valleys, could have been the event that caused a migration westward from India. It is soon after this time that the Indic element begins to appear all over West Asia, Egypt, and Greece." (Indic Ideas in the Graeco-Roman World, by Subhash Kak, taken from IndiaStar online literary magazine; p.14)

Indian historian Kuttikhat Purushothama Chon believes that Abraham was driven out of India. He states that the Aryans, unable to defeat the Asuras (The mercantile caste that once ruled in the Indus Valley or Harappans) spent so many years fighting covertly against the Asuras, such as destroying their huge system of irrigation lakes, causing destructive flooding, that Abraham and his kindred just gave up and marched to West Asia. (See Remedy the Frauds in Hinduism.) Therefore, besides being driven out of Northern India by floods, the Aryans also forced Indian merchants, artisans, and educated classes to flee to West Asia.

Edward Pococke writes in India in Greece,

"...in no similar instance have events occurred fraught with consequences of such magnitude, as those flowing from the great religious war which, for a long series of years, raged throughout the length and breadth of India. That contest ended by the expulsion of vast bodies of men; many of them skilled in the arts of early civilization, and still greater numbers, warriors by profession. Driven beyond the Himalayan mountains in the north, and to Ceylon, their last stronghold in the south, swept across the Valley of the Indus on the west, this persecuted people carried with them the germs of the European arts and sciences. The mighty human tide that passed the barrier of the Punjab, rolled on towards its destined channel in Europe and in Asia, to fulfill its beneficent office in the moral fertilization of the world.the distance of the migratory movement was so vast, the disguise of names so complete, and Grecian information so calculated to mislead, that nothing short of a total disregard of theoretic principles, and the resolution of independent research, gave the slightest chance of a successful elucidation."

If all these refugee ruling peoples were exclusively of Indian heritage,
why doesn't History mention them?

The exodus of refugees out of ancient India did not occur all at once but over a period of one or more thousand years. If all these refugee ruling peoples were exclusively of Indian heritage, why doesn't History mention them? Indeed they are mentioned as Kassites, Hittites, Syrians, Assyrians, Hurrians, Arameans, Hyksos, Mittanians, Amalekites, Aethiops (Atha-Yop), Phoenicians, Chaldeans, and many others. But we have been wrongly taught to regard them as ethnicities indigenous to Western Asia. Our history books also call them "Indo-Europeans," causing us to wonder where they were really from. "The people of India came to realize their social identity in terms of Varna and Jati (societal functions or caste); not in terms of races and tribes." (Foundations of Indian Culture; p. 8.)

Here's an example of how the ancient Indians identified people: The leaders were called Khassis (Kassites), Kushi (Kushites), Cossacks (Russian military caste) Caesars (Roman ruling caste), Hattiya (Hittites), Cuthites (a dialectical form of Hittite), Hurrite (another dialectical form of Hittite), Cathay (Chinese leaders), Kasheetl/Kashikeh among the Aztecs, Kashikhel/Kisheh by the Mayans, and Keshuah/Kush by the Incas. The Assyrians (in English), Asirios (in Spanish), Asuras or Ashuras (India), Ashuriya, Asuriya (Sumer and Babylonia), Asir (Arabia), Ahura (Persia), Suré in Central Mexico, etc., were people who worshipped Surya (the Sun).

Naturally, in areas where this religion prevailed, they were known as "Assyrians," no matter what the real names of their respective kingdoms were.

Another problem that western scholars have in identifying the Indo-Europeans as Indians is that India was not then and never was a nation. Furthermore, it is not "India." It is Bharata, and even Bharata is not a nation. Bharata is a collection of nations, just as Europe is a collection of nations, presently held together by the real or perceived threat of Moslem expansionism. Indian scholars have told me that when and if this expansionism ever disappears, the "Bharata Union" will again splinter into many smaller nations.

"The Arabian historians contend that Brahma and Abraham, their ancestor, are the same person. The Persians generally called Abraham Ibrahim Zeradust. Cyrus considered the religion of the Jews the same as his own. The Hindoos must have come from Abraham, or the Israelites from Brahma..." (Anacalypsis; Vol. I, p. 396.)


also see the whole of this webpage -

http://www.briansbetterworld.com/articles/...israelites.html


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-11-2006

<!--emo&Sad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/sad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='sad.gif' /><!--endemo--> Lanka was more prosperous under Ravana

PK Balachandran

Colombo, August 11, 2006|17:04 IST




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At the time of the Hindu epic Ramayana, Sri Lanka ruled by Ravana was much more prosperous than India, says Dr Karan Singh, Chairman of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Delivering the first Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture here on Thursday, he said: "In the Ramayana - although its author was Mahrishi Valmiki, an Indian - it seems clear that Sri Lanka was much more prosperous than India."

"It was referred to as Swarnamayi Lanka (the golden Lanka) and contains graphic descriptions of the beautiful palaces and buildings that existed there several millennia ago."

Although Lord Rama and Ravana were sworn enemies, and the latter met his death at Rama's hands, the people of India respected Ravana as a great Sanskrit scholar and a devotee of Shiva, Dr Singh said.

"A glorious Sankskrit poem by Ravana addressed to Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Cosmic Dance, is still recited in thousands of homes in India, and surely in Sri Lanka also."

"This clearly shows that our culture does not allow even the severest differences to cloud the intellectual and spiritual stature or our deadly opponents, what to say of our friends."

"In a world that is under continuous threat of becoming more rigid, inflexible and unyielding, we as Indians, believe not in the Clash but in the Confluence of civilisations," Dr Singh said.

Noting that Sri Lanka, like India, was a multi-religious country, he called for the setting up of an Institute for the Comparative Study of Religions in the island.

Dr Singh said that if there were no awareness of the commonalities between religions, intolerance and fanaticism would gain the upper hand and tear the social fabric apart.

On the Sri Lankan ethnic question, the Indian scholar-politician said that there was no place for terrorism anywhere in the world, even as he stressed the need to find a solution to the problem through the acceptance of pluralism and democracy.

As Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was gunned down by a terrorist, Dr Singh came out very strongly against terrorism.

He said that no political thesis or claim of "root causes" could be an adequate justification of terrorist actions.

"Our opposition to terrorism has to be firm and unwavering, resisting any temptation to compromise for tactical or political ends," he said.

Terrorism would seek to exploit the space offered by democratic societies, equating accommodation and tolerance with weakness.

Tolerance of terrorism, Dr, Singh warned, would undermine South Asia's ancient and civilisational values, foremost among them was "the celebration of diversity and the acceptance of pluralism as an existential necessity."




Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 08-11-2006

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Although Lord Rama and Ravana were sworn enemies, and the latter met his death at Rama's hands, the people of India respected Ravana as a great Sanskrit scholar and a devotee of Shiva, Dr Singh said.

"A glorious Sankskrit poem by Ravana addressed to Shiva as Nataraja, Lord of the Cosmic Dance, is still recited in thousands of homes in India, and surely in Sri Lanka also."

"This clearly shows that our culture does not allow even the severest differences to cloud the intellectual and spiritual stature or our deadly opponents, what to say of our friends."<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I think this is very true.


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 10-11-2006

<b>Acrobat Presentation on Hindu Influence in Japan</b>


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - agnivayu - 10-12-2006

http://www.huahintoday.net/index.php?actio...pe=news&id=1079


Phuket Vegetarian Festival
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Posted by admin / 12. October 2006, 01:01

[phuket veg fest oct06]
22-30 October: Phuket Town

A colourful event held over a nine day period in late September/early October, this celebrates the Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.

Though the origins of the festival are unclear, it is thought that perhaps the festival was bought to Phuket by a wandering Chinese opera group who fell ill with malaria while performing on the island. They decided to adhere to a strict vegetarian diet and pray to the Nine Emperor Gods who would ensure purification of the mind and body. On recovery, the people celebrated by holding a festival that was meant to honour the gods as well as express the people's happiness at surviving what was, in the nineteenth century, a fatal illness.

The festival always falls on the first days of the ninth Chinese lunar month, and for nine days participants observe the following commitments:

- Cleanliness of the body during the festival
- Clean kitchen utensils not to be used by others who do not participate in the festival
- Wear white during the festival
- Behave physically and mentally
- Avoid eating meat
- Avoid sex
- Avoid alcohol
- People in mourning should not participate
- Pregnant women and menstruating women should not attend ceremonies

One of the most exciting aspects of the festival is the various, (and sometimes gruesome) ceremonies which are held to invoke the gods. Firewalking, body piercing and other acts of self mortification undertaken by participants acting as mediums of the gods, have become more spectacular and daring as each year goes by. Men and women puncture their cheeks with various items including knives, skewers and other household items. It is believed that the Chinese gods will protect such persons from harm, and little blood or scarring results from such mutilation acts. This is definitely not recommended for the feint hearted to witness.

The ceremonies of the festival take place in the vicinity of the six Chinese temples scattered throughout Phuket. The main temple is Jui Tui Shrine not far from the Fresh Market in Phuket Town. The first event is the raising of the Lantern Pole, an act that notifies the nine Chinese gods that the festival is about to begin. The pole is at least ten metres tall and once erected, celebrants believe that the Hindu god, Shiva, descends bringing spiritual power to the event.

For the next few days, the local Chinese/Thai community brings their household gods to the temple, along with offerings of food and drink. It is assumed that the household gods will benefit from an annual injection of spiritual energy that fills the temple. Visitors can observe and even participate in the lighting of joss sticks and candles that are placed around the various gods.

Usually street processions take place, where visitors can see participants walking in a trance. Other events include hundreds of local residents running across a bed of burning coals, or climbing an 8-metre ladder of sharp blades while in trance.

Apart from the visual spectacle of this festival, visitors can partake in specially prepared vegetarian cuisine made available at street stalls and markets around the island during this time. The vegetarian dishes are not easily distinguished from regular dishes - soybean and protein substitute products are used to replace meat in standard Thai fare and look and taste uncannily like meat. Look for the yellow flags with red Chinese or Thai characters to find vegetarian food stalls - and keep your camera handy!!

For more information on dates and events, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand at +66 (0)7 621 2213.


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 02-21-2007

<b>Japan wants to encourage studies of Hindu gods</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Japan wants to encourage studies of Hindu gods and goddesses found in their country. Saraswati, Laxmi, Brahma, Ganesha among large number of other deities are still prayed to there though under a different names.

Saraswati's sketches (Benzaiten in Japanese) sanctify kitchens in rural areas of Japan even now, says Director International Academy of Indian Culture  Lokesh Chadra.

<b>Japanese understood her as sa-rasavati or the goddess of the kitchen, Rasavati is 'rasoi' in Hindi</b>.

Talking to the Hindustan Times the Japanese Cultural Counsellor Shigeyuki Shimamori said, "We would like to encourage more  studies by scholars on the Hindu deities found in Japan."

It is the Mantrayana sect of Buddhism emphasising mantras (chants) and rituals through which Hindu deities reached Japan, Dr Chandra said. The Japanese also perform "homa" known as "goma" to their deities even today, they get ghee flown from Australia, he added.
 
<b>Sarasvati or Benzaiten in Japanese is one of the Seven Lucky deities (Shichi-fuku-jin) blessing every home. Couples who desire to have beautiful daughters pray to her</b> . She is known as the patroness of writers, composers, musicians and painters.

<b>Besies veena holding Saraswati's another popular form of Sarasvati found in Japan is eight armed Saraswati holding weapons in each. In the Rig Veda itself Sarasvati is termed as "Vritra-hantri" or slayer of demons,</b> Dr Chandra said.

<b>In Golden Light Sutra there is a hymn to Sarasvati "May Goddess Saraswati protect us in the field of war". Many Japanese Generals used to pray to her to defeat their enemies. Japanese classical theatre NOH has a drama dedicated to Saraswati"</b> Dr  Chandra says.
 
"German scholar Philipp Franz von Siebold has written that in 1832 there were 131 Shrines dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati and 100 to Lord Ganesha in Tokyo itself .

<b>A 12th  century temple to Ganesha in Asa kusa suburb of Tokyo is a National Treasure of Japan."  Hindu Gods and Goddesses were introduced into Japan in 806 AD by Kobodaishi a Japanese saint who went to China and brought with him Manytrayana text, scrolls and images.</b>

<b>Ganesha is worshipped as god of love by many young boys and girls for achieving success in their courtship. The old worship him for success in business</b>, Dr Chandra said.

<b>Letters or 'bijaksharas' for twelve devas like Agni, Varuna, Indra, Chandra, Nairritri, Prithvi, Ishana, Brahma, Aditya ,Yama, Vaishravana, Vayu,were calligraphed by Master Chozen in Siddham script (called Shittam in Japanese) a seventh century form of modern Devanagari</b>, he added.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->


Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - acharya - 02-22-2007

RSS bid to make US-born Indians ‘confident’
2/21/2007 3:24:26 PM Hindustan Times

KANPUR : The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has embarked on a mission to convert non-resident Indians from ‘American Born Confused Desi’ (ABCD) into ‘American Born Confident Desi’.

Full-time functionaries of the RSS have undertaken the responsibility to imbibe Indian culture and values among NRIs with the help of its 740 international ‘shakhas’ (branches) spanning in more than 40 countries the world over.

Out of the 740 international shakhas, 120 are being convened on daily basis like any other RSS shakha operating in India. All international shakhas are being regulated and controlled by a special cell of the RSS aptly named the ‘foreign affairs cell’.

Hong Kong is the international headquarters of the party’s foreign affairs cell and a full-time functionary of the organisation is regulating it. The international affairs of the RSS, specially the monitoring of shakhas all over Asia, Europe and America, are being controlled from Hong Kong.

Talking to Hindustan Times, head of the cell Ravi Kumar, who was in the city, informed that RSS had undertaken the responsibility to connect the Indian diaspora abroad with the Indian mainstream.

“At present, almost all NRIs are completely cut off from the Indian culture and are not even aware of festivals like Makarsankranti,” said Kumar. On the importance of international RSS shakhas, Kumar stated that an NRI, especially a youth, was a confused person.

No matter how much he tried to identify himself with the culture of the country he lived in, an NRI would always remain an Indian, he added. This confusion led to the ‘American Born Confused Desi’ tag for an NRI. Now RSS is trying to change it into ‘American Born Confident Desi’, Kumar pointed out. On the acceptance of RSS shakha by the respective foreign governments, Kumar stated that impressed by the working of the RSS foreign governments had extended all support.

Impressed by the teachings and moral values the shakhas preach, the Australian government even offered financial assistance to the RSS, Kumar stated. “But, when we refused to take any financial assistance the Australian government issued free travel passes to RSS functionaries who often travel from one city to another for regulating the shakas,” informed Kumar. The British government too offered financial assistance to RSS shakhas, Kumar added.

Impressed by the contribution made by Indians to the Australian society, their government had also asked RSS to name any day of the year that could be dedicated to Indians, especially some Indian festival.




Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - Guest - 05-09-2007

<b>April 2007-Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico:</b> A call for enhanced Mexico and India relations and for an effective response to the challenges of a globalized world was made at the International Symposium on the Social Sciences, Globalization and the Cultures of Resistance. It was held 4/24-28/2007 in Saltillo, Mexico . Saltillo , also known as ‘la Atenas de México ' or ‘the Athens of Mexico’ is the traditional home of many leading Mexican luminaries. The international convention drew attendance from India, USA and regions throughout Latin America and included many representatives from the Coahuila State and Saltillo City Cultural and Education Depts, local scholars, journalists, artists and students. The symposium was held on the grounds of State Central Public Library ‘Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal Ildefonso Villarello Velez’.

The event was inaugurated by Andre Salas Mendoza from the Coahuila State Secretariat of Education and Culture, India’s RSS National Executive Ram Madhav, Lady Norma Zapata director of the State Central Public Library and author and researcher Gene Matlock. Highlights of the four-day symposium included

Christian theologist and professor Fernando Navas’ of U.N.A.M. presentation on ‘Conversion vs. Inter-religious Dialogue,’

Professor Jaime Torres Mendoza’s ‘The Social Process of Change in Academic Paradigms,’

Vedic Friend’s Association (VFA) President Steven Knapp's ‘The War Against Hinduism,

‘Ancient Mexico's Hindu-Turkish Connections’ by Gene Matlock,

‘On Idols, Myths and Religion vs. Deities, Histories and Science’ by VFA Promotional Director and Vedic Empire Production’s Vrndavan Parker,

‘On Yama in Sanskrit Phonetics’ by Girish K. Jha Dept. of Sanskrit, Patna University,

‘Vedic Cosmology: Understanding the Universe and its Structure’ by Prof. Carlos Rocha of the Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities.

‘Human Rights Violations and the Globalization Process’ by RSS National Executive Ram Madhav,

‘The Importance of Conservation of Ancestral Cultures Before the Globalization Process’ by Dr Yashwant Pathak, International Coordinator for the (ICCS) International Centre for Cultural Studies,

‘The Antiquity of the Srimad Bhagavat Purana’ by Prof Haracio Arganis from VFA’s Latin American Branch Asociación Vedica de los Amigos (AVA) and Coahuila Director of Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities.

Andre Salas Mendoza from the Coahuila State Secretariat of Education and Culture proclaimed "We open a window of our individual being so that others can enter. If we do not open up this way we are going to die of starvation or solitude. And this is immense when such solitude is seen in a global perspective. Such solitude on the international levels leads to misunderstandings and conflicts. So before the necessity to speak it is necessary to think. Invoking Li Yung Tang and Einstein Andre Salas Mendoza called for sustainable growth that measured success through a holistic and humane perspective.

Lady Norma Zapata of the Biblioteca Publica Central Estatal spoke on the holistic understanding that humans are beings who function as societies. “We need to apply that great science, one that includes all other sciences, that which integrates and relates all within the cohesive whole.. We recognize in Augusto Comte, social philosopher, to have elaborated a specific science for the study of the society.".

She declared that the symposium has “the objective of creating bridges of cultural communication, a way to stimulate dialogue and understanding regarding the social and cultural realities facing us all as we attempt to integrate with the great global idea.”

In his talk Ram Madhav of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh highlighted the Hindu perspective on ‘Positive Globalization’ by citing the ancient Vedic phrase ‘Vasudaiva Kuthumbakam’ or ‘the whole world is one family’. He called it a positive form of globalization that can benefit all humanity. He also stated that rather than monotheism or polytheism Hinduism represented an ‘Omni-theistic’ outlook. It is this ‘Omni-theistic’ outlook that is lacking in many places in the world today. Hinduism's indigenous traditions and values, being in sync with the traditions and values of other ancient cultures such as Mexico's, can provide a sustainable path that can guarantee the world harmony. He urged the Mexican people “Do not exchange your tortillas for pizzas and India, please do not give up Rotis in exchange for burgers.” He also called for Mexico and India to develop extensive cultural and economic ties that are “bound to be of great mutual benefit for two such countries as India and Mexico, that share so much in common.”

Ram Madhav and Stephen Knapp were also special guests at the Asociación de Abogados de Coahuila A C or Coahuila State Lawyers Association conference on ‘Societal Violence and the Judicial System’ held at UNIVAS, Universidad Valle de Santiago. In his speech, Ram Madhav clarified India's commitment to peace by combining the wisdom of Gandhi with a holistic approach that takes into account the modern realities of terrorism and globalization. This position is based on preparation and strength in all areas of national life such as economic, social, military, cultural and political. An effective application and modern outlook rooted in the time-tested indigenous traditions and culture of India.

In comparing Detroit, America’s auto city with Saltillo, Mexico’s rising auto city, Author Steven Knapp urged the people of Saltillo to maintain their cultural and peaceful lifestyles in order to avoid the hell that has become Detroit. He also encouraged people to see beyond skin color, nationality, religion, language and class and realize that we are really not so different from one another.

Author Gene Matlock released his latest book “What Strange Mystery Unites the Turkish Nations, India, Catholicism and Mexico?” at the Symposium and live on-air over a local radio station from the conference venue.

The final day of the conference featured a presentation by Dr. Narahari Achar of Memphis University. Using Planetarium Software he revealed ancient humanities’ understanding of the astronomical sciences in his presentation entitled ‘Astronomical Historical Records in the Literature of Ancient South Asia.’

The final presentation of the event was presented by Iskcon Governing Commissioner Guru Prasad Swami. In his lecture entitled ‘A Proposal for the Integration of the Philosophies of India’ he urged the attendees to seriously consider the ancient and practical wisdom of Hindu civilization as we collectively face the onslaught of mercantile globalization.

In the closing ceremonies presided over by the Director of the Coahuila State Library system, Gloria Gonzalez, State Certificates of Recognition were presented to all the speakers at the symposium.

The event finale featured dance and musical presentations from both the Mexican and Indian Hindu traditions. The Indian Guadalupe dancing girls, a 12 man band or Rondalla group, a troupe of Mexican Folk Dancers, Krishna Chaitanya's Bengali Bhajan Band and Bhakta Rueben’s Bharatnatyam of Mexico provided this unique cross-cultural entertaining experience.

The International Symposium on Social Sciences, Globalization and the Cultures of Resistance was organized by Saltillo’s ‘Ildefonso Villarello Velez’ Central Public Library, the Coahuila State Organization of Public Libraries and Book Publishers, (ICCS) the International Center for Cultural Studies, The Bhaktivedanta Institute for the Sciences and Humanities, Vedic Empire Productions and (VFA) Vedic Friends Association.



Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - ramana - 05-09-2007

Try this for an understanding of the spread of Hinduisation of Asia

Hindu Wisdom

and

Tomb of last Tamil King of Kandy



Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - acharya - 05-14-2007

HINDUISM IN AMERICA
CAS RN 313/RN 313 HP/RN 611
Professor Stephen Prothero
TT 2-3:30
Office Hours: TT 1-2
CAS 225
Office: STH 5
th
Floor (540B)
Phone: 353-4426
Email: prothero@bu.edu
Description
This course explores the transplantation and transformation of the ideas, institutions, and
practices of Hinduism in the United States. We will attend to the ways that Asian
Americans and European Americans alike have adapted Hinduism to American
circumstances and, in the process, changed the course of American religious history and
even the history of Hinduism itself. Emphasis on close readings of primary sources,
including memoirs of converts, autobiographies of gurus, Supreme Court cases, and the
controversial literature of “anti-cult” critics. Themes include: Americanization,
creolization, and pluralism.
Requirements
1. Class participation: 10%
2. Site Visit, Written Report, and In-Class Presentation: 10%.
Visit a Boston-area Hindu (or Hindu-influenced) site. (For suggested sites, see
“World Religions in Boston” (http://www.pluralism.org/wrb.html). Write a report
(3 double-spaced, typed pages) regarding the site and your experiences there.
Analyze, as best as you can, the community (demographics, such as gender, age,
race, ethnicity), practices, beliefs, architecture, and location. Describe your
impressions of the people, their place, and their activities. Then analyze your
impressions. How did these people and their place meet your expectations?
Frustrate them? Written report due on April 12 at the bginning of class (2 p.m.).
In-class presentation of your site and your experiences (presentation of
approximately 10 minutes) are scheduled on the syllabus below.
3. Two book reviews (15% each). Choose from two of the following three options:
Jackson, Vedanta in the West (due on February 8 at the beginning of class);
and/or Yogananda, Autobiography of a Swami (due on February 27 at the
beginning of class); and/or Muster, Betrayal of the Spirit (due on March 27 at the
beginning of class).
4. Contribution to our Web site on American Hinduism (details to be announced) (25%).
5. Final take-home essay examination (due on May 8) (25%).
Late Papers/Makeup Exam Policy
Exams will not be rescheduled. Papers are due at the beginning of class on the due date.
Papers may be handed in late, but late papers will be marked down one half grade for
each day or portion thereof they are late. (No excuses necessary.) Plagiarism will not be
tolerated. See Boston University's academic conduct handbook.
Page 2
Required Texts
Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero, Asian Religions in America: A Documentary
History (Oxford University Press, 1998). (Abbreviated here as TP.)
Carl T. Jackson, Vedanta for the West: The Ramakrishna Movement in the United States
(Indiana University Press, 1994).
Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship, 1979).
Nora J. Muster, Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life Behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna
Movement (University of Illinois Press, 1996).
J. Isamu Yamamoto, Hinduism, TM & Hare Krishna (Zondervan, 1998)
Ed Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer (Halo Books, 1992)
Course Packet (CP).
Internet Resources
Hinduism Today (http://www.hinduismtoday.com)
American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD) (http://www.hindunet.org/ahad)
Hindu Web Universe (http://www.hinduweb.org)
Beliefnet (http://www.beliefnet.com)
INTRODUCTION
Jan 16
Introduction: The United States and East/West Encounters
Jan 18
Introduction: Basic Hinduism
Reading: Ed Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu?
Jan 23
Introduction: Basic Hinduism
Reading: Ed Viswanathan, Am I a Hindu?
Jan 25
Madonna, Yoga, and Pop Hinduism
Reading: Review AHAD Web Site (http://www.hindunet.org/ahad).
Assignment/Discussion: Bring to class one example of Hinduism in
American popular culture (art, advertisement, music, TV, etc.). Is this use
of Hindu symbols, terms, divinities a good or a bad thing? Why?
ENCOUNTERS: LITERARY AND INTERPERSONAL
Jan 30
Face-to-Face Encounters Abroad: Missionaries and Travelers
Reading: “Orientations, 1784 to 1840,” in TP, 25-27; Amaso Delano, A
Narrative of Voyages and Travels (1817) in TP, 29-32; Christian Disciple,
“An Account of the Sikhs in India” (1814) in TP, 32-35; Joseph Priestley,
A Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with Those of the Hindoos and
other Ancient Nations (1799) in TP, 44-48; “John Adams to Thomas
Jefferson” (1813-14), in TP, 48-51;
Feb 1
Literary Encounters: Unitarians and Transcendentalists Romance
the Orient
Page 3
Reading: “Encounters, 1840-1924” in TP, 61-65; Hannah Adams, A
Dictionary of All Religions (1817) in TP, 54-57; Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“Brahma” and “Plato” (1857, 1850) in TP, 92-95; Henry David Thoreau,
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) in TP, 95-98.
Feb 6
Pioneers in American Hinduism: The Vedanta Society
Reading: Carl T. Jackson, Vedanta in the West
Feb 8
Pioneers in American Hinduism: The Vedanta Society
Reading: Carl T. Jackson, Vedanta in the West
** Book Review Due at Beginning of Class **
ASIAN INDIAN IMMIGRATION: THE FIRST WAVE (1900-1924)
Feb 13
Asian Indian Immigration and its Discontents
Reading: Saint Nihal Singh, “The Picturesque Immigrant from India's
Coral Strand” (1909) in TP, 82-86; United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind
(1923) in TP, 88-91; Asian Exclusion Act (1924) in TP, 163-64
Feb 15
Mother India’s Scandalous Swamis
Reading: Mersene Sloan, The Indian Menace (1929) in TP, 212-215;
selected newspaper articles regarding the Ole Bull case of 1911 (CP).
Feb 20
** NO CLASS (Monday schedule meets instead because of
Monday holiday)
Feb 22
Pioneers in American Hinduism: Yogananda and the Self-
Realization Fellowship
Reading: “Exclusion, 1924 to 1965” in TP, 159-62; Paramahansa
Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi (1946).
Feb 27
Pioneers in American Hinduism: Yogananda and the Self-
Realization Fellowship
Reading: Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi (1946).
** Book Review Due at Beginning of Class **
Mar 1
The Oriental Christ
Reading: Swami Paramananda, Christ and Oriental Ideals (1923) in TP,
86-88; Stephen Prothero, “The Oriental Christ” (CP).
** SPRING BREAK (March 3-11) **
ASIAN INDIAN IMMIGRATION: THE SECOND WAVE (1965-present)
EXPORT HINDUISM
Page 4
Mar 13
Hinduism for the Counterculture: Transcendental Meditation ™, the
Hare Krishnas (ISKCON), Ram Dass, and Sai Baba
Reading: A TM Catechism” (1975) in TP, 241-44; “The Beatles and A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Search for Liberation” (1981), in TP,
244-48; Ram Dass, The Only Dance There Is (1974) in TP, 235-40; Elsie
Cowan, “Sai Baba and the Resurrection of Walter Cowan” (1976) in TP,
257-60.
Mar 15
African-American Hinduism: The Case of Alice Coltrane
Mar 20
Christian Critiques of Hinduism (and a Hindu Response)
Reading: J. Isamu Yamamoto, et al, Hinduism, TM, and Hare Krishna
(1998); “A Contrast of Convictions,” in TP, 304-306.
Mar 22
ISKCON Criticized
Reading: Nora Muster, Betrayal of the Spirit
Mar 27
ISKCON Criticized
Reading: Nora Muster, Betrayal of the Spirit (continued)
** Book Review Due at Beginning of Class **
Mar 29
Indian Religions and the Law
Reading: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, “The Krishna
Religion” (1992) in TP, 383-85; “Sikh Kirpans in the Public Schools”
(1994) in TP, 385-87.
IMMIGRANT HINDUISM
Apr 3
Hindu Temples in the United States: Adaptation and
Accommodation
Reading: Joanne Wagnorne, “The Hindu Gods in a Split-level World: The
Sri Siva-Vishnu Temple in Suburban Washington, D.C.,” in Robert Orsi,
ed., Gods of the City (Indiana University Press, 1999); Anand Mohan,
“The Pilgrimage” (1994) in TP, 289-94; “Rituals at Sri Venkateswara
Temple” (1995) in TP, 294-99; Sri Ganesha Temple, Nashville,
“Recounting History and Nurturing Youth (1985-95) in TP, 299-303.
Apr 5
Recent Asian Indian Immigration and Identity Politics
Reading: “Passages, 1965 to the Present,” in TP, 223-27; Prema Kurien,
“Becoming American by Becoming Hindu: Indian Americans Take Their
Place at the Multicultural Table,” in R. Stephen Warner and Judith G.
Wittner, Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New
Immigration (CP)
Apr 10
The Swaminarayan Movement and Indian Transnationalism
Page 5
Reading: Raymond Brady Williams, “Transnational Growth of
Swaminarayan Hinduism” (CP).
Apr 12
Issues in American Hinduism: The Hindu Ethic and the Spirit of
Capitalism: Silicon Valley Hindus
Discussion Question: According to the Washington Times, the 300,000
Indian Americans living in the Silicon Valley take home $60 billion
annually. They also hold down roughly 40 per cent of the high-tech jobs
there and have started some of its most successful new businesses. Why
in your view are Indian Americans so successful in the New Economy? Is
their religion central to their success? Are Asian Indians the “model
minority”? To prepare for this meeting, you must research this topic (on
the Internet and/or via Lexus/Nexus) and come to class prepared to discuss
it.
Apr 17
Issues in American Hinduism: Guru Scandals
Discussion Question: Consider the cases of Rajneesh, Sai Baba, and
Swami Muktananda. All were accused of violating the trust of their
students. Are these just trumped up charges invented by an anti-Hindu
media? Or are these teachers actually guilty of exploiting their students
financially and sexually? To prepare for this meeting, you must research
at least one of these cases (on the Internet and/or via Lexus/Nexus) on the
Internet and come to class prepared to discuss it.
Apr 19
Issues in American Hinduism: Americanization and Intergenerational
Conflict
Discussion Question: Older and younger Hindus in the United States do
not always see eye-to-eye. Frequently they disagree about a variety of
matters--language, clothing, diet, and gender relations--that also vexed
Catholic and Jewish immigrants in the nineteenth century. What in your
view are the key “flashpoints” for conflict and compromise between older
generations of Hindu Americans and the younger generations?
Apr 24
Web work
Apr 26
Web work
May 1
Conclusion


www.contemplativemind.org/programs/academic/syllabi/prothero.pdf



Hindu/Indian Culture Outside India - acharya - 05-14-2007

The Death of Traditional Hinduism



http://hinduism.about.com/od/history/a/neohinduism.htm







From Dr. Frank Morales

A tragic occurrence in the very long history of Hinduism was witnessed throughout the 19th century, the destructive magnitude of which Hindu leaders and scholars today are only beginning to adequately assess and address. This development both altered and weakened Hinduism to such a tremendous degree that Hinduism has not yet even begun to recover.



British Attack on Hinduism

The classical, traditional Hinduism that had been responsible for the continuous development of thousands of years of sophisticated culture, architecture, music, philosophy, ritual and theology came under devastating assault during the 19th century British colonial rule like at no other time in India's history.



Innovative Cultural Genocide

What the Hindu community experienced under British Christian domination, however, was an ominously innovative form of cultural genocide.



Hindu Gods and GoddessesHundu deities represented through books, sculptures, and paintings.www.exoticindiaart.com

What they experienced was not an attempt at the physical annihilation of their culture, but a deceivingly more subtle program of intellectual and spiritual annihilation. It is easy for a people to understand the urgent threat posed by an enemy that seeks to literary kill them. It is much harder, though, to understand the threat of an enemy who, while remaining just as deadly, claims to seek only to serve a subjugated people's best interests.



Anglicized Hindu Intellectuals

During this short span of time in the 19th century, the ancient grandeur and beauty of a classical Hinduism that had stood the test of thousands of years, came under direct ideological attack. What makes this period in Hindu history most especially tragic is that the main apparatus that the British used in their attempts to destroy traditional Hinduism were the British educated, spiritually co-opted sons and daughters of Hinduism itself. Seeing traditional Hinduism through the eyes of their British masters, a pandemic wave of 19th century Anglicized Hindu intellectuals saw it as their solemn duty to "Westernize" and "modernize" traditional Hinduism to make it more palatable to their new European overlords. One of the phenomena that occurred during this historic period was the fabrication of a new movement known as "neo-Hinduism".



What is Neo-Hinduism?

Neo-Hinduism was an artificial religious construct used as a paradigmatic juxtaposition to the legitimate traditional Hinduism that had been the religion and culture of the people for thousands of years. Neo-Hinduism was used as an effective weapon to replace authentic Hinduism with a British invented version designed to make a subjugated people easier to manage and control.



The Christian and British inspired neo-Hinduism movement attempted to execute several overlapping goals, and did so with great success:



a) The subtle Christianization of Hindu theology, which included concerted attacks on iconic imagery (archana, or murti), panentheism, and continued belief in the beloved gods and goddesses of traditional Hinduism.

<img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/cool.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='B)' /> The imposition of the Western scientific method, rationalism and skepticism on the study of Hinduism in order to show Hinduism's supposedly inferior grasp of reality.

c) Ongoing attacks against the ancient Hindu science of ritual in the name of simplification and democratization of worship.

d) The importation of Radical Universalism from liberal, Unitarian / Universalist Christianity as a device designed to severely water down traditional Hindu philosophy.



The Death of Traditional Hinduism

The dignity, strength and beauty of traditional Hinduism was recognized as the foremost threat to Christian European rule in India. The invention of neo-Hinduism was the response. Had this colonialist program been carried out with a British face, it would not have met with as much success as it did. Therefore, an Indian face was used to impose neo-Hinduism upon the Hindu people. The resultant effects of the activities of Indian neo-Hindus were ruinous for traditional Hinduism.



The Dilemma

The primary dilemma with Hinduism as we find it today, in a nutshell, is precisely this problem of

1) Not recognizing that there are really two distinct and conflicting Hinduisms today, Neo-Hindu and Traditionalist Hindu; and

2) With Traditionalists being the guardians of authentic Dharma philosophically and attitudinally, but not yet coming to full grips with the modern world, i.e., not yet having found a way of negotiating authentic Hindu Dharma with an ability to interface with modernity and communicate this unadulterated Hindu Dharma in a way that the modern mind can most appreciate it.



[size="6"]A Confused Existence

Hinduism will continue to be a religion mired in confusion about its own true meaning and value until traditionalist Hindus can assertively, professionally and intelligently communicate the reality of genuine Hinduism to the world.[/size]