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India/western Sociology
I feel that the western appropriation of Buddhism is a corollary to the missionary use of Buddhism as a waystation to conversion. Geopolitical goals can also not be ruled out.

Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain
by Ngakpa Traktung Yeshe Dorje and A'dzom Rinpoche
Quite frankly, the degree of arrogance contained within the Western Buddhist Movement's writings harkens back to the deadly arrogance of China's Cultural Revolution, Cambodia's egalitarian liberation and consequent killing fields, and Stalin's purges in the name of collectivism. Let me be clear: I am not saying that Mr. Das, or those who mold the belief structure of Western Buddhism, are genocidal fiends<b>. I am simply saying that they embrace certain beliefs, openly expressed, which link them to some of the bloodiest revolutions in history. It is no wonder that those who dress this vision up in new words call it a "postmodern" vision. </b>It is crucial for them to distance their egalitarian, socialist, collectivist goals as far as possible from the results of the same philosophy throughout the "modern" era. I for one am unwilling to sacrifice the beliefs and structure of the precious Buddha Dharma for a social agenda that has shown itself to be a miserable failure over and over again. I am unwilling to become part of the "amalgamated" mashed-potato mixture of Western Buddhism's "collective wisdom," and I am unwilling to pretend that this is not what is hiding behind the great Wizard of Oz's "Western Buddhist" curtain.

Egalitarianism and the utopian fantasies of collectivism are in essence new forms of Buddhist heresy which threaten to derail the subtle and delicate process of Buddhist transmission in the West.<b> The passé philosophy of these movements, dressed up in postmodern apparel, is attempting to heist the image of Buddhism - while denying such a thing as Buddhism exists. </b>Egalitarianism is a seductively noble-seeming philosophy based, unlike the Buddha Dharma, in unreal views of human nature and acted on with disastrous results<b>. Its flaws, obvious for over two hundred years of Western philosophy, are grave. In practice, it is a set of beliefs rampant with patriarchal arrogance and patronizing contempt for the "common man," a set of beliefs which has no compunction about sacrificing traditions and culture in order to "save the ignorant" from their superstitious and backward ways.</b>
Theological roots of modern western education. They can talk about such things as "death of the university" precisely because these are transformed theological issues.
(2003) "Definitions of 'the University' as Arguments in the Evaluative Discussion on 'The University." In: David Seth Preston (ed) The Idea of Education.

In this paper, I will focus on an often-neglected argumentative move in the contemporary debate on the present status and future of the university. The institution we have come to call ‘a university' has been subject to many changes. Some critics warn that recent changes could lead to, or already have lead to, the decline or even death of 'the university'. Others argue that the ways in which universities are adapting to the 'new needs and aspirations' of our times, reinvigorate an outdated version of the institution, boost its relevance and reaffirm its raison d'être. Figuring predominantly in these discussions are 'definitions' of what a university really is. These definitions are as much rhetorical in nature, as they are descriptive. Furthermore, they play a central role in the discussion on how the present status and role of the university should be evaluated.

One reason for the continued use of the term 'university' lies in the fact that naming some kind of institution 'university' amounts to bestowing it with dignity. Calling some institution 'university' and/or denying others the right to do so, is therefore an important move in the ongoing debate on the status of the present university and on its future. The descriptive meanings that by means of definitions, circumscriptions, etc. are given to the term 'university' are important moves in the debate on how the contemporary university should be valued, how it 'really' should be organized, what its functions and mission(s) should be, etc.

Charles Leslie Stevenson has labeled this type of argument 'persuasive definitions'. We will use his analysis of this kind of definition to analyze some aspects of the ongoing debate on ‘the death of the university'. The argumentations for or against certain types of university can be structured along the lines Stevenson identified in the discussions for or against persuasive definitions. <b>From this analysis we will learn that the descriptive sentence 'X is a university' has much in common with overtly evaluative sentences like 'X is good.' </b>The seemingly descriptive term 'university' functions whithin the sentence as an evaluative term. <b>Discussions on ‘the death of the university' are evaluative discussions.</b>
<b>Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche</b>
by Shadia B. Drury

In Part IV Drury argues that the ethic of love has unwittingly fostered a conception of conscience as an inner state of siege. She maintains that <b>both psychoanalysis and postmodernism are the heirs of Christianity: both are trapped within the its horizon. </b><b>Indeed, she argues, Freud has provided Christianity with scientific justification! </b>Likewise, it is alleged that Foucault is not free of the yoke of Christianity. He assumes that there is a deep conflict between human nature and civilization, and that the latter depends for its success on psychic terror. But, Drury contends, this understanding of civilization and terror has the effects of deprecating morality, inviting a Promethean revolt, and romanticizing evil.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A new framework is going to be launched by Infinity Foundation, called
WESTOLOGY, which deals with Secular mindset(Secular hindus in Xian DMZ).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Let me give a logical analogue, rather than self-masturbatory mode,
the way psecs adapt:

There is Mr X. Reddy in Nalgonda. He was associated with Congress(I)
for a while. He is subjugating minorities in that area.

Does it mean that ... is responsible for his chauvanism.

YES, as per YOUR SECULAR Gospel. This clearly shows your Bigotry.

NO on logical grounds. It is high time for psecs to take some logic

When immorality increases in the West, people do not say
the "west is an immoral culture" because it *encourages* immorality.
They bemoan this fact and say that the `fundamental' western values
(or Christian values) need to be revived.

When immorality (say corruption etc) increases in India, people do
not say the same and call for a revival of Indian values.

No, they say that the Indian culture and society are corrupt. Why?
Because the values that the Indian society embody are not considered
moral. This concept promoted by Nehruvian-Marxist Brigade.

Again, your case is dismissed on bigotic, and Logical Grounds.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Against the Critical Edition of the Mahābhārata
by Prof. Arvind Sharma<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Arun Gupta comment:

I can only guess at the answers. In the Indian traditions, stories are constantly retold. The story of the Prince Rama - the Ramayana - has umpteen versions, each with its own perspective. They are all Ramayanas; some versions are revered more than others, but there is no canonical Ramayana except for the philologist. <b>(In some sense, the philologist is the ultimate fundamentalist).</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Theological roots of equal equal tactic (the west projects their own homogeneity and monoculture onto the enemy):

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->5. These Christian ideas about Man and his psychology, society and culture, have become the *presuppositions* for what we call ‘social sciences’ and the ‘humanities’ today. (In my book, I describe this process which I call the ‘secularization’ of Christianity in detail.) They are so deep and so pervasive within the western culture that they sit *limits* to the western imagination itself: it is not simply possible for this culture even to *imagine* that other ways of thinking and going-about the world are possible. The so-called social sciences today, endlessly embroider this theology: all peoples and cultures (except themselves) are heathens. If this is all they tell, it is, one must admit, pretty boring. <b>Indeed so: everyone and everything (excepting the western culture) are the same, and the most ‘interesting’ things are to be found in the western culture. </b>Whether you speak of politics (from ‘dictatorships’ to ‘democracy’), knowledge (‘science’), settling human disputes (‘Law’), welfare of people (from ‘slavery’ to ‘capitalism’), or whatever takes your fancy, it transpires that the western culture has them all. What they do not have at the moment, they say, is what they have *lost* (i.e. had them ‘once’). All other cultures end up becoming pale or erring variants of the western culture, in exactly the same way our ‘religions’ are pale and erring variants of Christianity. link<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Indigenous Knowledge Theft </b>
<i>Western Knowledges And Technologies Stolen From Indigenous Scientists And Scholars</i>
by Tyson Yunkaporta

European science and technology, supposedly what sets the west apart from more "savage" peoples, is merely knowledge stolen from Indigenous peoples throughout history.

Western propaganda has established the view that historically the majority of the world's peoples have been passive recipients of Western science and technology. This has been achieved through silences and fabrications in scientific and historical texts. So let's set the record straight on a few of these "facts".

-Thales (the "father of science") was of Indigenous Phonecian descent, as was Pythagoras.
-Ancient Greek scientific and mathematical knowledge was built in partnership with African scholars from African universities.
-Ptolemy and Constantine were both African, although they are conferred European identities in Western historical texts. Note the picture of Ptolemy above, drawn as a European.
-Most of the famous scientists of the ancient world were Indigenous people, whose names have been westernised in history, eg. Alkindius was really al-Kindi.
-Writing was invented in Africa.
-The decimal point was invented by Hindu people.
-Movable type printing was invented by African Ibn Yunus.
-Many modern engineering concepts come from Northeast Nigeria.
-The Hindu-Arabic numeric system that we use today was introduced to the West when Leonardo of Pisa learned it from scholars at an African university.
-Western textile manufacture techniques (and other methods that enabled the Industrial Revolution) were stolen from Indian people.
-World-wide use of, and western monopolisation of potatoes, cocoa, strawberries, corn, sunflowers and tomatoes are the result of intellectual property theft from Native American botanists and agricultural scientists.

But isn't that all in the past? Not at all. The theft continues, with IMF and GATT used to plunder Indigenous intellectual property worldwide through IPR's that allow Western corporations to steal and own genetic material. Read more about this in my article Intellectual Property .<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>False Protocols </b>
<i>Aboriginal Protocol Perverted With Indigenous Community Protocols Fabricated By Visitors</i>

Non-Indigenous workers entering Indigenous communities should follow local protocols. However, often they are given "gammon protocol" based on colonial mythologies.

Protocols As Stereotypes

"Gammon" in many Aboriginal Englishes and Creoles means false or pretend. So when I talk about gammon protocols, I mean the colonial protocols that are imposed based on generalisations and myths about Aborigines. These perpetuate stereotypes and contribute to communication breakdown between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The Three F's

My favourite gammon protocol is "The Three F's". These are Football, Fishing and Family, in that order. In many communities in northern Australia, foreign health, law, and education workers entering the village are told by their foreign managers to limit their conversation with locals to these three topics. The reasoning is that Aboriginal people are incapable of intelligent discourse on any other topic, and therefore will feel more comfortable and equal with outsiders who restrict their discussions to the Three F's.

Eye Contact

Another is the "don't look anybody in the eye" rule. This is based on actual protocol from many Indigenous clans and families. However, this ignores Indigenous diversity and individual identity. In any given community, there may be some people who would be offended by certain types of "staring". But this may depend on the social context, with the same person being offended by somebody averting their eyes. I know an elder who is frightfully offended when people address her while staring at the ground. "Look me in the eye when you talk to me, boy!" she says.


At the same level of idiocy we find the classic "Don't ask questions, because there are no questions in Aboriginal languages". Although it may be true that many native languages de-emphasise questioning in communication, there are also many others that are very strong on social registers involving questions and answers. For example, I know that Wik Mungkan is peppered with who, what, where, when, and "how come" questions. Questioning is frequent, although it may not always be necessary to answer truthfully...<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Future After Aboriginal Genocide
Futurist's Vision Of A Non-Indigenous Monocultural Future
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>From Manusmriti to Madhusmriti:  Flagellating a Mythical Enemy</b>
by Madhu Kishwar


The Englishmen who came as traders in the 17th century were befuddled at the vast diversity and complexity of Indian society. Having come from a culture where many aspects of family and community affairs came under the jurisdiction of canonical law, they looked for similar sources of authority in India. They assumed, for example, that just as the European marriage laws were based in part on systematic constructions derived from church interpretations of Biblical tenets, so must the personal laws of various Indian communities similarly draw their legitimacy from some priestly interpretations of fundamental religious texts.

In the late 18th century, the British began to study the ancient shastras to develop a set of legal principles that would assist them in adjudicating disputes within Indian civil society. In fact, they found there was no single body of canonical law, no Hindu Pope to legitimise a uniform legal code for all the diverse communities of India, no Shankaracharya whose writ reigned all over the country. Even religious interpretations of popular epics like the Ramayana failed to fit the bill because every community and every age exercised the freedom to recite and write its own version. We have inherited hundreds of recognised and respected versions of this text, and many are still being created. The flourishing of such variation and diversity, however, did not prevent the British from searching for a definitive canon of Hindu law.

Perhaps more egregiously, in their search, the British took no steps to understand local or jati based customary law or the way in which every community - no matter how wealthy or poor - regulated its own internal affairs through jati or biradari panchayats, without seeking permission or validation from any higher authority. The power to introduce a new custom, or change existing practices, rested in large part within each community. Any individual or group respected within that biradari could initiate reforms. This tradition of self-governance is what accounts for the vast diversity of cultural practices within the subcontinent. For example, some communities observe strict purdah for women, whereas others have inherited matrilineal family structures in which women exercise a great deal of freedom and social clout. Some disapprove of widow remarriage, while others attach no stigma to widowhood and allow women recourse to easy divorce and remarriage.

The multiplicity of codes was a major reason for the wide divergence in judgments, interpretations and reports provided by the pandits appointed to assist British judges presiding over the newly established colonial courts. Often, the same pandits even gave different opinions on seemingly similar matters, confounding the judges of the East India Company. The British began to mistrust the pandits and became impatient with having to deal with such a range of customs that had no apparent shastric authority to back them, since that made it difficult for them to pose as genuine adjudicators of Hindu law. The British were even more nonplussed because they had a history of using the common law system, based on precedent. However, given the myriad opinions of the Indian pandits, they couldn't depend on uniform precedents to make their own judgments.
<b>How to Read a Society</b>
Theodore Dalrymple
Rajiv Malhotra


Similar to Said twenty years ago, the book starts with an well-written attack on Orientalism, which is the stereotyping of non-Western religion and culture by Western categories of discourse. Applied to the case of India’s colonialism, King explains that this phenomenon resulted in the development of Hinduism, because that was advantageous to the British and also to Hindu Brahmins for political motives. This new idea of Hinduism, according to King, spun out of British control, as Indians used it to unite the country under a religion. In particular, Vedanta as the corpus of ideas given prominence by Hindus is attacked vigorously by King who characterizes it as a modern construction to (a) facilitate Hindu unity, and (b) claim universality of ideas that would compete with the Western Civilization Narrative on the world stage. Mysticism is another category attacked by him, although in a subsequent chapter he contradicts his earlier position. In the final chapter, his endgame becomes visible for the first time. He recommends redefining India’s traditions through the tribal people, but without revealing that these people’s conversion by Christian missionaries is the nexus of current political upheaval.

While strenuously denying it, King seems to be another in a long line of Western intellectuals who tell Hindus what Hinduism really is or isn’t. Like others before him, he is trying to "rescue" Hindus from some perceived danger. In past times (and even today in some circles), Westerners wanted to rescue Hindus from idolatry, superstition, and all kinds of backwardness in politics, ethics, economics, etc. For King, the danger now seems to be Hinduism in the form of the neo-Vedantic movement. King seems to take delight in casting such great Indian intellectuals as Radhakrishnan and Vivekananda as either dupes of misguided or ill-intended Western interpreters of Vedanta or as their co-conspirators.

The mentality behind this is the xenophobic force of organized religions fearful that human consciousness could be on the threshold of an Age-Beyond-Religions, and will go quite far to stop ideas that are universal and transcend creed and dogma. No repertoire of spiritual universals threatens the global religion business as much as the self-realization nurtured in India for centuries, and hence India’s spiritual universals are the target of such attacks.

Section I is a retelling of King’s agenda and approach, required because only at the end of his book is his posturing clear. Section II is my analysis of his overall position. Section III goes into specific details of his statements claiming what I refer to as ‘inverted Orientalism’. Section IV explains why his thesis cannot be argued at all without first debating two central issues on which his stand is implicit.

<b>I. King’s agenda and approach</b>

Disguised amidst the details of scholarly quotes and references, King’s agenda is not so obvious. It can be understood only after reading the final chapter of the book. Hence, the need to retell it upfront:

1. King’s agenda remains hidden until the final chapter, when he recommends reinventing India on the values of the tribal people (called Dalits), this objective being part of what is referred to as ‘subaltern project’. On page 192: "The subaltern project is characterized not only by its critique of the colonialist but also by its rejection of the ‘nationalist’ model of Indian history that is seen to be a product of European colonial influence." Earlier, he sets the stage for this on page 103: "modern Hinduism represents the triumph of universalized, brahmanical forms of religion over the ‘tribal’ and the ‘local’." However, King never mentions the drama under way of Christian missionaries aggressively trying to ‘save the souls’ of tribal people in India by conversion that has become politically controversial. The chief obstacle to this conversion has been Hinduism. Hence, all his buildup in the first 90% of the book to attack colonialists and use that as cover to attack Hinduism as the product of colonialism. Also he never mentions the leftist and secular nature of the social scientists he quotes, hardly authorities on any religion per se.

2. Given the ethnic diversity of India, Hinduism is one of several unifying factors. Therefore, King also attacks the related idea of nation-state by claiming that it was a European invention in the 16th century, and imposed on India as imperialism. Therefore, cloaked under 'saving' or recovering India from what he calls the ‘violence’ of colonialism, such a nation-state is considered a bad structure. Given its history of foreign rule by Muslims and then Christians, many Indians consider conversions a threat to the nation’s unity, and they are further obstacles to the conversions.

3. Also not mentioned by King is that the conversion campaign has been two-pronged, overt and covert. The overt campaign is in the hands of the missionaries who aggressively try to ‘save the souls’. The covert program is couched within the ‘scholarly objectivity’ of politically oriented books and articles such as King’s. Such writers portray Hinduism as a terrible modern construction that is not religion, and are especially critical of Vedanta as its corpus of ideas, all justified as rescuing ‘the people’. Personally, I have no problems with conversions, because that should be everyone’s right, but provided it is carried out in an ethical way as discussed later.

4. I do resent (a) turning the study of religion into politics, and (b) leaving unstated the inferential and causal consequences of his thesis. If King would clarify his political endgame and its consequences up front in the book, at least one could credit him with transparency. But then many genuine and objective academicians would distance themselves from this leftist politics of religion. A falsehood that most closely resembles the truth is the most dangerous kind.

A summary of King’s line of reasoning is as follows:

1. King starts by explaining ‘Orientalism’ as the European stereotyping of the non-European beliefs, and uses this notion to deconstruct religion as something Eurocentric and imperialistic. He briefly mentions a few alternative methods to explain ‘world religions’, without doing proper justice to some of these methods, as I shall show later. He concludes that the only method acceptable is the socio-political portrayal of culture in which religion would be one dimension. This socio-political prism is then vigorously deployed (with politically correct attacks on colonial ‘violence’) to deconstruct Hinduism. He claims that only in modern times, to achieve independence, ‘indigenous Indian agents’ adopted the notion of having a religion.

2. He realizes that Hinduism cannot be dispensed with unless it's core ‘ideas’ are successfully attacked, for then it could be reduced to anthropology. King completely avoids debating the merits of Vedanta on the basis of its ideas (perhaps fearing that that could open the whole question of the Indic influences on Western post-modern ideas). The attack by King is instead on the pedigree of Vedanta rather than its tenets. His thesis is that Europeans are to be denounced for making Vedanta important, with the help of Brahmins, for mutual gain. This later backfired, he says, because Indians used this constructed idea called Hinduism to (a) arouse nationalism against British rule, (b) dupe the West into adopting many Indic ideas into philosophy and popular culture, and © deny the real tribal people of India their authentic beliefs. This is the "Orientalist" notion turned around. (Interestingly, King does not describe what these authentic beliefs of the tribal people whom he claims to be helping are, presumably because they would get converted from these beliefs into Christianity anyway.) As one counter-example to King's claims, Chinmayananda's Vedantic movement began to combat tendencies amongst the elite to dismiss the traditions of Hinduism.

3. Trashing Vedanta in the book turns into personal attacks against its Indian proponents, especially Bengalis, whereas its many well-known Western admirers are simply described by King as duped or misinformed. He posits that the Vedas’, Upanishads’, and Bhagavada Gita’s claims to hold universal ideas, essences, and ethics were actually planted by modern Western-educated Indians from their colonial rulers’ Orientalism, in order to build a nation that could appear legitimate by Western standards. King uses the same strategy and conclusions also to characterize what he calls ‘Protestant Buddhism’.

1. In order to undermine the claims of Pure Consciousness Experience (PCE), which he acknowledges is central to Vedanta and Buddhism, he also attacks mysticism as a recent Western superimposition on the Indians. However, after he feels safe that Vedanta and Buddhism have been disposed of, then in a drastic reversal, he has a full chapter to protect his credibility as a Vedanta and Buddhism scholar by acknowledging how constructivist attacks against PCE may ultimately fall short.

2. Only in the final chapter does it become explicit that King would like a Balkanized India defined by the Dalits (tribal people), using the subaltern project to provide his ammunition. Of course, this subaltern population, who know nothing of Vedanta, are never really described or identified. And, ironically, who speaks or this voiceless subaltern population? Of course, it is intellectuals like King and the subalternist historians. He does not acknowledge that such a development would be a return to the post-Mughal fragmented environment in which the British first enacted their divide-and-rule drama. He justifies this view as promoting multiple voices of ‘the people’. Anything modern, unifying across India, especially internationally accepted, seems threatening to him. It takes a couple of readings to understand that his over-done attacks against Eurocentrism and colonialism are cover for this manipulative endgame.

3. The book is recommended by his fellow British academician Grace Jentzen as "painstakingly documented, and with major implications for western scholarship". The mentality reminds me of the divide-and-rule tactics, the covertness of agendas, and the power plays so characteristic of the British, whose civilization Gandhi thought "would be a good idea". This book would be better titled "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK".

<b>II. Deconstructing King’s Agenda and his Conclusions.</b>

To objectively assess any thesis, one must uncover the full agenda of the constructing agent and get to know his real motives. The book gives clear evidence of this, which is quoted and discussed in the four parts below:

A. King’s paranoia over Indic ideas succeeding in the modern world.

B. King’s degrading of India, Hindus, and Buddhists in the book in ways that are unrelated or far-fetched to his thesis, except to reveal his own prejudice based on which the books itself is ‘constructed’.

C. King’s thesis to support the tribal people of India, especially in light of (a) the conversion of these people under way by Christian missionaries in India, and (b) the geo-political environment his proposal would lead to and its similarity with the climate in which the British conducted their divide-and-rule of India.

D. Analysis of King’s personal feelings, based on his own statements in the book.

A. King’s xenophobia of Indic thought: The following quotes show how paranoid King is about the potential for India and its ideas succeeding in the modern world:

· "The inclusivist appropriation of other traditions, so characteristic of neo-Vedanta ideology, occurs on three basic levels. First, ..in the suggestion that the Advaita Vedanta of Shankara constitutes the central philosophy of Hinduism. Second, …neo-Vedanta subsumes Buddhist philosophies…Finally, at the global level, neo-Vedanta colonizes the religious traditions of the world…These strategies gain further support from many modern Hindus concerned to represent their religious tradition to Westerners as one of overarching tolerance and acceptance, usually as a means of contrasting Hindu religiosity with the polemical dogmatism of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions." (Page 136).

· "Western apologists for Indian culture as the Theosophist Annie Besant, Hindu convert Sister Nivedita, and apostle of non-violence Leo Tolstoy." (Page 86). He condemns Western supporters of Vedanta fearing "the Vedanticization of other traditions by the perennialism of The Theosophical Society…" (Page 137).

· King fears concerning neo-Vedanta’s "colonialization of other cultures in the form of an ‘essentialist’ view of the various ‘world religions’." (Page 139). This leads to heightened xenophobia: "The reverse-colonialization of the West as work in the essentialism of neo-Vedanta is clearly an attempt to establish a modern form of Advaita not only as the central philosophy of Hinduism but also as the primary candidate for the ‘Universal Religion’." (Page 140).

· "This relatively new and now exported form of Vedanta has over time become an internationally focused and decontextualized spirituality, thanks largely to the efforts of Vivekananda and his Ramakrishna Mission, the influence of the Theosophical Society, and continued Western interest in the ‘Mystic East’." (Page 141).

· "The rise of Hindu- and Buddhist-inspired groups throughout the West, much of contemporary New Age mythology as well as media advertising and popular culture in general, demonstrates the ongoing cultural significance of the idea of the ‘Mythic East’, and the continued involvement of the West in a romantic and exotic fantasy of Indian religions as deeply mystical, introspective and otherworldly in nature." (Page 142).

· "Both neo-Vedanta and the new Zen provided a ‘portable’ and exportable version of indigenous Asian traditions in terms of a non-specific religiosity that explicitly eschewed institutional connections, ritualized forms and traditional religious affiliations. Thus D.T Suzuki’s version of Zen and Vivekananda’s neo-Vedanta became ideal Asian exports to the disaffected but spiritually inclined Westerner searching for an exotic alternative to institutionalized Christianity in the religions of the ‘Mystical East’." (Page 156).

· "The extent to which figures like Vivekananda and Suzuki were able to exploit the relative ignorance of Westerners about the traditions of the East." (Page 157).

· A worried King says: "Huxley was heavily influenced in his description (of Perennial Philosophy) by Vivekananda’s neo-Vedanta and the idiosyncratic version of Zen exported to the West by Suzuki." (Page 163).

<b>My response: </b>

In this time of globalization, why should only the Europeans have the right to spread their ideas to the world? The actions of modern Indians as alleged by King are no different than the European history of how ideas develop, spread, change, merge, and leverage each other. As a vivid example, none of the post-modernist thinkers operated in a vacuum. This encounter among diverse ideas, and the resulting assimilation and repositioning by various proponents, is expected to accelerate as part of the globalization era that the world has entered. Why is it so bad if India begins to participate in this globalization of ideas, even though in the past India was introverted and left the globalization of commerce and ideas to Europeans? Is King threatened by Asia’s growing importance in the new world order, in which Europeans might have to accommodate them and acknowledge their ideas? Some Western scholars seem to have developed a stereotype about Indians, and when there is assertiveness from Indians concerning the ideas they believe in, it becomes cause for alarm. But this attitude must get exposed and deconstructed in the context of globalization.

B. Degrading remarks that are unrelated to King’s thesis: Following are quotes from the book that are unrelated or far-fetched to his thesis, except to reveal his own prejudice based on which the book is ‘constructed’:

· He claims that Indians’ portrayal of Vedanta was to "counteract Western discourses about the effeminacy of the Bengali male." and believes that such a complex motivated Vivekananda. (Page 123).

· He tries to resort to gender politics to convince: "Thus we should note that the construction of ‘Hindu mysticism’ and the location of a ‘spiritual’ essence as central to the Hindu religion is bound up with the complexities of colonial and gender politics in nineteenth century India." (Page 123).

· King claims that Gandhi used Vedanta’s passiveness to turn "Bengali effeminacy" into "organized, non-violent, social protest."

· He refers to proponents of India’s ideals as "indigenous Indian agents…" (Page 155). Would it have been more balanced and truthful to say that Indians just like anyone else, have started to participate in the globalization of ideas?

· King uses Otto’s quote: "It is because the background of Shankara’s teaching is not Palestine but India that his mysticism has no ethic." (Page 127), and then concludes that "Eckhart thus becomes necessarily what Shankara could never be". However, there is no analysis by him on the ethics of Shankara verses Eckhart, and no comparison between their relative acceptance and hence influence within their respective traditions. Nor does he attempt to compare between the ethics of Palestine and India at that period of history. Since his book deals with developments during the modern period, these comparisons are not only prejudiced but also irrelevant to his thesis.

C. King’s endgame to ‘support’ the tribal people of India: Neither of the two important political undercurrents is made explicit in the book: (a) Degrading Hinduism has been a tool for the conversion of the tribal people by Christian missionaries in India. (b) The Balkanization resulting from giving political power to the tribes would be similar to the situation that existed at the time when the British first started their divide-and-rule strategy in India.

· "The modern nation-state, of course, is a product of European sociopolitical and economic developments from the sixteenth century onwards, and the introduction of the nationalist model into Asia is a product of European imperialism in this area." (Page 107)

· He explains the ‘subaltern project’ which is the proposition to remove power from the federal system to the tribal people: "The subaltern project is characterized not only by its critique of the colonialist but also by its rejection of the ‘nationalist’ model of Indian history that is seen to be a product of European colonial influence." (Page 192).

· "..modern Hinduism represents the triumph of universalized, brahmanical forms of religion over the ‘tribal’ and the ‘local’." (Page 103).

· Having used the Marxist historians’ quotes to attack Indian religions, he now also quietly sidetracks Marxism: "…refusal to be confined by the limitations of the Marxist historical categories." (Page 194).

· King shows his real agenda for the first time openly: "The introduction of a variety of indigenous epistemic traditions is, in my view, the single most important step that postcolonial studies can take if it is to look beyond the Eurocentric foundations of its theories and contest the epistemic violence of the colonial encounter." (Page 199).

· "Although the ‘indigenous Indian elite’ may have been successful in overthrowing direct colonial rule of India, in Subalternist terms the achievement of home rule has not led to a participation of ‘the people’ in their own governance." (Page 204).

<b>My response:</b>

· Since the message of the book is primarily political and not religious, I will first explain the relevant political background. After independence, India’s intellectuals were mainly leftist, at different points on the spectrum from extreme to moderate. As in the case of American campuses such as Berkeley, it was fashionable to be leftist, and the terms ‘intellectual’ and ‘leftist’ were almost synonymous. However, unlike America, this was not just a passing or superficial phase in India. Civil service, academics and politics were heavily leftist. Related to this, the first two generations after independence were raised secular. They wanted nothing to do religion, and Marxism was invoked very aggressively to attack religion of all sorts. Even after the collapse of the Soviets, India remained leftist for a few more years before turning towards free-enterprise economic policy. However, while economic thinking of most intellectuals has shifted, and the old guard has become marginalized by the new economic growth, the same is not true in case of religious views. A high percentage of educated Indians today remain secular, their identification with Hinduism or any other religion being mainly symbolic. Leftist social thinking has shifted to matters of environment, tribal rights, caste politics, and feminism. One such social project is the subaltern project. Vital as many of these causes are, and brilliant as many of these social scientists are, they do not pretend to understand Hindu metaphysics, Vedanta, or experiential practice. Meanwhile, there has been a major revival of Hinduism thanks in large part to the Vedanta movements that King finds so threatening. This background should be applied when reading the quotes used by King concerning the socio-political scene in India.

· Contrary to King, Asian nation-states such as those of the Mauryans, the Indus Valley, and of China, certainly predated the 16th century European ones. Therefore, Europe could not be credited with introducing the idea of nationhood into India in modern times as King tries to claim. Furthermore, using King’s approach and describing a comparable Asiacentric historical narrative, one could assert that the Asian pioneering ideas of nation-state, being therefore not of European origin, should be dismantled as structures in Europe. Germany, for instance, being formed from a collection of small kingdoms over the past 200 years, would get disintegrated under such logic. Likewise, the European Union would get disbanded and the tribes of Europe restored. Recognizing the traditional ethnic fragmentation and animosity among the English, French, Spanish, and Dutch, the EU was founded on the premise of the European people wanting to reinvent themselves in the light of the new realities of the world. Why is it so terrible for India to progress likewise?

· By using King’s logic, should there also be a call to return America back to the Native Americans and Australia back to the aborigines, in recognition of the genocides perpetrated on these ‘real people’? After all, the intruders regarded themselves as privileged people, and supported their actions based on claims of superiority of their ideals and religions, not only justifying colonialization, slavery and genocide over other humans, but also the radical destruction of nature. Would this be a fair deconstruction on par with King’s thesis, since the same rhetoric would apply, such as ‘hegemony’ and colonial ‘violence’?

· These ideas might be considered not applicable to the West because they are too radical and counter to the natural progression of history towards more globalization and large regional federal systems. Then why is the same progression of history to be denied to India? Regardless of the past, the future of India should be painted on the same level playing field on which the Western world seeks to unify itself into larger political groups, often at the expense of minorities such as the gypsies of Europe and the Catalonians of Spain. I merely wish to highlight the duplicity in deconstructing the modernization and unity of India while ignoring a similar exercise regarding the West. The British never wanted to see a united India and tried everything to leave behind a chaotic tribal India represented by hundreds of local rulers.

· Taking such an Asian historical narrative further, King’s line of reasoning could be used to point out that Asia developed the modern number system, paper and printing technology, the compass, and many other things to a Europe that was primitive by Asian standards. Analogously to King’s inverted "Orientalism", these Asian imperialistic impositions upon the West should be removed as part of the deconstruction of Europe and its return to the ‘real’ Balkanized Europe.

· Finally, I wish to address head-on the issue of Christian conversions of India’s tribes, which after all is the ‘real’ agenda of King. Personally, I am in favor of an open environment for religion, in which individuals can choose, experiment with alternatives, and change their religious path as often as they want. But I would also like to propose certain ethics of evangelizing or ‘marketing’ religion. I propose that religious leaders and scholars examine the US Federal Trade Commission’s standards for telemarketing and mail order companies selling to older, poorer and other disadvantaged sectors of society. While marketers have argued in favor of their freedom to sell, and the public’s right to choose freely (even unwisely), the FTC has enacted laws balancing this freedom with protection from exploitation of the poor and uninformed. In the practices of Christian missionaries, abuses have taken place, and one wonders why similar rules of marketing should not apply. For instance, it is considered unlawful by the FTC to trash one’s competitor unreasonably or falsely. It is also unlawful for marketers to promise results that are untested or unproven; along these lines, evangelists should differentiate between promises of proven results verses expectations by the religion’s management. Laws must also define what constitutes ‘voluntary’ conversion as opposed to duress and entrapment. Transparency of due process should not get compromised in the drive for market share by any aggressively extroverted religion. If one examines the sales pitch of many evangelists and replaces ‘God’s love’ with some commercial telemarketing product on offer, such sales pitches often compare with those that are banned and prosecuted by the FTC. The consequences of a consumer getting entrapped into a religious conversion could be even worse than someone getting duped into a sales scam. Also, the rewards of political and economic power eschewed by zealots of religious conversion are often greater than the financial rewards of marketing scams. I propose this methodology to create a level playing field of religious choice with proper safeguards, which could then be a human rights guarantee worldwide. There is no reason for religion to be above the norms of honesty.

<b>D. King’s personal feelings on the subject: </b>

· "…my own work is to be seen as a response to the colonial past of my particular field of interest and an attempt to come to terms with the colonial legacy of the England in which I was born." (Page 187).

· "As a scholar specializing in the study of ancient Indian philosophy and religion I am invested with the authority to ‘speak about’ or ‘represent’ such phenomena." (Page 187).

<b>My response:
To properly realize his stated intentions, King needs to have his bias deconstructed objectively, so as to help him "come to terms with the colonial legacy…" Transparency is the best policy. As the first colonial habit worth discarding in his own work, he should avoid the strategy of clandestine agendas. This means being forthright and upfront about his position and its consequences, and doing away with the Trojan horse tactic so characteristic of the British.

If as alluded to, he wishes to cleanse himself of colonial karmas, he should deconstruct Europeans right in his own backyard, concerning the plight of the gypsies who have had a long history of abuse in Europe with rare champions to represent their case.

Also, while he accuses Said’s Orientalism as "dropping names, dates, and anecdotes…" by quoting David Kopf, he should avoid the same name dropping habit himself, and face up to his beliefs more openly rather than hiding behind quotes of others.

<b>III. King’s thesis of Inverted Orientalism.</b>

Christianity was the first to develop the notion of religion and abstract religious ideas, and then imposed them on the Indian subjects through colonialism. Later, as a response to European colonial hegemony, Western-influenced Indians such as Roy, Gandhi, Vivekananda, Aurobindo, and Radhakrishnan ‘constructed’ notions of Hinduism as having universal ideals based on Judaic-Christian concepts, suppressing their particular ‘agenda’.

This thesis is explained below using quotes from the book, along with my responses.

King’s position: European 19th century Enlightenment created the notion of a secular religion, on the false premise of separation of religion from the social or political dimension.

<b>My response: </b>

Greco-Semitic religions are built on the non-negotiable premise of the infinite gap between man and the ultimate reality (which is a personal God in case of the Semitic religions). But the notion that humans inherently have the rishi potential for direct access to the highest principles, beyond the Kantian limit, is central to Hinduism and a similar idea is also true of Buddhism. This concept of bottom-up ‘discovery’ of spiritual truths by man, available to every human at all times in history, and already utilized my thousands successfully, needs to be adequately debated as a claim in the teaching of Indic religions. This is not something I wish to claim as being true or untrue. But just as we do not try to prove whether Moses parted the Sea or whether Jesus was the Son of God, the important point here is that we should portray the claims of Indic religions properly regardless of their veracity. Spiritual discovery had its own set of experimental methodologies for thousands of years in India, and was out by rishis. This methodology is now being re-discovered by cognitive sciences and philosophy in the West and is called meditation, phenomenology, transpersonal psychology, first-person empiricism, and so forth. The entire tradition of yoga was a laboratory for inner scientific empiricism, and this is now a very active research subject in the West known as consciousness studies. My own experience in discussing Indic religion among Americans has been very successful when starting with methodology as opposed to belief. Many students remark that this methodology is akin to scientific empiricism being applied to the inner realm. This is appealing, compared to the history based Greco-Semitic belief systems that inherently privilege ethnic or historical groups by the very nature of the revelation methodology.

Given this, King too quickly dismisses natural sciences as valid methodology for spiritual knowledge, and does not seem to be aware of the work in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, Transpersonal Studies, etc. It is not Enlightenment or Europe that created the notion of secular spirituality. Europe’s secular spirituality started in recent centuries and was based on social ethics, while the Indic spiritual discoveries were based on investigating the private realm and preceded Europe’s by several centuries.

Hinduism is usually not portrayed by Western academics as having this long standing experimental methodology, because (a) the Greco-Semitic religions have no categories to discuss spiritual exploration that is not based on historical dogma and text, and (b) Western post-modernist re-discoveries are recent, incomplete, and still being synchretized into Judaic-Christian frames of reference.

King is right in explaining that Enlightenment’s ideal was to eradicate subjectivity in favor of a neutral view, without emotional bias, achieved through sound reasoning. This glorified reason at the expense of historical tradition. Since post-modernism has disallowed reason as a ‘view from nowhere’, and demanded that one understand entirely from one’s own givenness as being-in-the-world, therefore, a reader cannot help imposing his own interpretation on a text. The error of King is that he assumes the historically fixed character of the Greco-Semitic religions as his standard. This analysis naturally leads him to history as the only proper methodology for the study of religion, but his conclusion only applies to the Semitic idea of religions, and not the Indic idea of religion as a discovery process. King does not consider the third method of spiritual knowing, which is neither based on historical text analysis nor cultural reasoning alone, namely the rishi’s inner science. This method would emphasize the felt experience rather than tradition, and is advocated in W. C. Smith’s book "The Meaning and End of Religion". It transcends the European conflict between historical dogma and cultural analysis as the mutually exclusive and exhaustive methods for determining the truth.

Besides ignoring the most authentic depiction of Indic religions as explained above, King disregards that history is itself a constructed narrative. It has had a power-based orientation, which would also have to be deconstructed to make it an honest portrayal. Are slavery, genocide of natives, and colonialization the shadow side of Western history that must be recovered for any accurate portrayal? Is the aggressive campaign to project superiority of Western philosophies and ideas a way to cover up this shadow, and to further control the world through a portrayal of a superior civilization? Is the myth of religious history a way to establish an inherently privileged people, as per ‘God’s plan’, thereby endowing them with power over other peoples and nature? Is King trashing Hinduism and Vedanta because in a period of globalization they represent the most viable challenge to such a historical narrative of a superior civilization?

King’s position: There was no such thing as ‘religion’ in India prior to European colonialization.

· "The notion of a Hindu religion, I wish to suggest, was initially invented by Western Orientalists basing their observations upon a Judaic-Christian understanding of religion. The specific nature of this "Hinduism", however, was the product of an interaction between the Western Orientalist and the brahamanical pundit." (Page 90).

· On Page 109, he quotes Halbfass defending Hinduism based on the universality of the concept of dharma in pre-modern Hindu thought, and also "its peculiar unity-in-diversity". Then he simply rejects Halbfass without analytical due process, with the abrupt judgment: "However, the ‘elusive’ glue which apparently holds together the diversity of Indian religious traditions is not further elaborated upon by Halbfass, nor is this ‘unity-in-diversity’ as undeniable as he suggests." King presents his position as follows: "To appeal to the concept of dharma as unifying the diversity of Hindu religious traditions is moot, since dharma is not a principle that is amenable to a single, universal interpretation, being in fact appropriated in diverse ways by a variety of Indian traditions (all of which tend to define the concept in terms of their own group-dynamic and identity)." (Page 110).

· "Given the evidence that we have just considered, is it still possible to use the term ‘Hinduism’ at all?" (Page 108).

<b>My response: </b>

· The diversity of interpretations and views, as in the multiple paths of dharma, is precisely the strength and flexibility of Indic traditions, and cannot be the basis for rejecting it. King assumes as being superior the mono-view, mono-loge, mono-path and mono-hierarchy of the Greco-Semitic religions along with the corresponding mono-power orientation of its culture, since these often get mischaracterized as mono-theism.

· To decide the existence or non-existence of India’s abstract ideals and principles in pre-colonial times, King should let the words of the classical texts speak for themselves. But he does not address the tenets of Vedanta and focuses on the politics. He acknowledges that there is an authentic "Orient" out there that got misrepresented by Orientalism. So if Orientalism’s ‘violence’ against Indians were his real concern, then he should replace the misunderstood Vedanta by the ‘true’ one.

· King acknowledges that interest in Indic religions resulted in the Upanishads being translated by Persians during the Mughal period and later also by Europeans, that Plotinus is known to have visited India many times, and that there were numerous other interactions, since the invasion of Alexander of Greece in 300B.C. How could he explain so much Western interest to encounter and appropriate India’s ideas except on the basis that the ideas had universal appeal?

· Furthermore, applying W.C Smith’s proposal of portraying faith as opposed to historical tradition, the examination should consider whether or not there existed universal articles of faith in pre-colonial India, as experienced by the Hindus rather than based strictly on text analysis.

King’s position: Mysticism was defined by Christian and European power politics, romanticized and superimposed on to Indic beliefs in modern times.

My response:

· King quotes Grace Jantzen that mysticism is a male dominance conspiracy, because it involves the (female) soul’s surrender and merger with the (male) God. Remark: He does not establish this view in the case of Vedanta to which the charge is applied.

· "The separation of these various aspects of the mystical and the elevation of one aspect, the experiential, above all others is a product of the modern era" (Page 23). Remark: While this may be a modern product for the West, in India such scientific empiricism using higher meditation states is an ancient discipline and a fundamental basis for spiritual belief.

· "The narrowly experiential approach occludes or suppresses other aspects of the phenomenon of the mystical that tend to be more important for these figures and the traditions to which they belong – for example, the ethical dimension of the mystical, the link between mysticism and the struggle for authority." (Page 24). Remark: The last portion implies power and authority as a basis for mysticism, whereas Indian traditions require surrender of all ego drives as a pre-requisite for mystical quest.

· While discussing the Katz-Forman debate on perennialism verses constructivism, he cannot help portraying it as European power play: "I suggest that there is a need to problematize the modernist and Eurocentric framework of this debate." (Page 174). Remark: This debate has nothing to do with Europe.

· "Try practicing intense meditative concentration on an image of Amitabha Buddha for seven days in a row and you too are likely to have some kind of ‘vision’ or experiences of Amitabha – if only in your dreams!" (Page 178). Remark: Such a comment demonstrates a total lack of experiential basis.

My response: In summary, after discarding Europe’s shallower and politically suppressed experience with mysticism, King does not replace it with the deeper Indic tradition of mysticism.

<b>King’s position: Hinduism and Vedanta were Western constructions. </b>

· "…choice of a spiritualized, non-activist and conservative Vedanta as the ‘central philosophy’ of the Hindus was motivated by British concern about the wider political consequences of the French Revolution and the stability of the British Empire." (Page 130).

· "…the West’s initial postulation of the unity of ‘Hinduism’ derives from the Judaeo-Christian presuppositions of Orientalists and missionaries. Convinced as they were that distinctive religions could not coexist without frequent antagonism…." (Page 104).

· "..the equation of Vedanta with the ‘essence’ of Hinduism provided an easy target for Christian missionaries wishing to engage the Hindu religion in debates about theology and ethics. By characterizing Hinduism as a monistic religion. Christian theologians and apologists were able to criticize the mystical monism of Hinduism, thereby highlighting the moral superiority of Christianity." (Page 132).

· "The study of Asian cultures in the West had generally been characterized by an essentialism that posits the existence of distinct properties, qualities or ‘natures’ which differentiate ‘Indian’ culture from the West." (Page 116). Remark: While negating this stereotype is fine, he should explain India’s own view of its essences, such as directly experienced truth without reliance on historic events.

<b>My response: </b>

He seems to suggest that promoting Vedanta was in the British interest to unify Hindus and to convert them, which is just the opposite of the well-recognized divide-and-rule strategy vigorously applied in the name of harmony and in the interest of control. He also implies in the book that Indians were cooperating with the British in such usage of Vedanta for political purposes. Actually, Nehru, Gandhi, Aurobindo, Radhakrishnan and other leaders were exceedingly individualistic in each having his own style and religious views, and were radically loyal to their freedom struggle against the British.

Within Hinduism, old lineages of various sub-religions flourished side by side for centuries before colonialism, but he fails to mention this diversity. The phenomena of Hinduism is far richer, deeper and more diverse than he is able to get his arms around.

<b>King’s position: Indians appropriated these notions of Vedanta and Hinduism.</b>

· "Orientalist discourse soon became appropriated by Indian intellectuals in the nineteenth century and applied in such a way as to undercut the colonialist agenda." (Page 86). "In Vivekananda’s hands, Orientalist notions of India as ‘other worldly’ and ‘mystical’ were embraced and praised as India’s special gift to humankind. Thus the very discourse that succeeded in alienating, subordinating and controlling India was used by Vivekananda as a religious clarion call for the Indian people to unite under the banner of a universalistic and all-embracing Hinduism." (Page 93). Remark: To make this claim would require far greater scholarship. One would have to examining pre-colonial India to see if there existed prior nation-states, if there existed many philosophical and spiritual paradigms, and if there were previous instances (such as Shankara) of movements to establish a set of universals, essences and values, without any European help.

· "Ram Mohan Roy was probably the first Hindu to use the word Hinduism." (Page 100). Remark: But what about the term dharma? Or what about beliefs and ideas about faith with no formal name? Pre-existing the European encounter, India had oral traditions, experiential meditation traditions, bhakti traditions, and so forth, which he ignores.

· "The Sanskritic ‘brahmanization’ of Hindu religion…remains profoundly anti-historical in its postulation of an ahistorical ‘essence’ to which all forms of ‘Hinduism’ are said to relate." (Page 103). Remark: Since all world religions have abstracted and universalized their tenets over time, why should he be so paranoid of Hinduism becoming abstracted and universalized?

· "…certain key sacred texts such as the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita – all taken to provide an unproblematic account of ancient Hindu religiosity." (Page 105). Remark: He fails to list any alternative texts that would better serve to provide an account of Hinduism.

· " …nineteenth century groups such as…Brahmo Samaj, the Arya Samaj and the Ramakrishna Mission …. Describe these as reform movements." (Page 106). Remark: So what? What is strange or wrong about having Hindu reform, since there have been reforms in every other religion, including Christianity. Shankara was a reformer, Buddha was one, and so were many others within India. Why try to create the impression that pre-colonial India was a static, inactive mass of chaos, which the Europeans synthesized into something sensible. Classical India had centuries of non-violent interfaith dialogs among its rich tapestry of faiths, through honest debate to search the truth rather than as power plays.

· To deconstruct Hinduism, his quotes from Indians such as Romila Thapar, for example on page 103: "Thapar describes this contemporary development as ‘syndicated Hinduism’." Remark: He neglects to state that Thapar is a Marxist historian, and hardly an expert on religion or sympathetic to it.

· Referring to the scriptures, "…despite their apparent dedication to a variety of deities… Roy argued strongly for a monotheistic interpretation of Vedanta" (Page 123) Remark: The equivalent of monotheism is evident in the Upanishads, Bhagavada Gita and other Indic scriptures, without Semitism’s exclusivity of historical privilege of certain people, and without exclusivity of religious path.

· "The Upanishads themselves represent the reflections of a brahmanical elite increasingly influenced by sramana (especially Buddhist) renunciate traditions." (Page 123). Remark: Upanishads pre-date Buddha.

· On Page 157, he tries to claim that Radhakrishnan appropriated some of Vedanta from William James. Remark: On the contrary, James writes about Vivekananda in glowing terms, which indicates that he studied and was influenced by Indian thought. King fails to mention Patanjali’s, Kashmir Shaivism’s and Buddhism’s assimilations into post-modern thought in the West.

· "..the ‘new’ Indian intelligentsia, educated in colonial established institutions, and according to European cultural standards, appropriated the romanticist elements in Orientalist dialogs and promoted the idea of a spiritually advanced and ancient religious tradition called ‘Hinduism’ which was the religion of the Indian ‘nation’." (Page 116). Remark: This would be no different than the West’s practice to develop and enhance its ideas over time, including ideas borrowed, merged, and re-labeled from every useful source.

· "Hindus became inspired to reform their now decadent religion…Thus Hinduism in the twentieth century is allowed to enter the privileged arena of the ‘world religions’, having finally come of age in a global context and satisfying the criteria of membership established by Western scholars of religion!" (Page 106). Remark: After a millennium of foreign rule, first by Moslems and then by Christians, why would it be a bad idea to discover one’s heritage, to restore traditional values and to enhance them with the times.

· "The construction of a unified Hindu identity is of utmost importance for Hindus who live outside India." (Page 107). Remark: The same could be said of the Jewish diaspora, and of English ex-patriots living around the world being parochial towards their monarchy and other ‘English’ nostalgia.

· On page 137, he argues against interpreting the various darshans as ‘points of view’. Remark: This is what darshan in fact means. King fears that this would suggest a harmonious relationship among different Indic schools.

My response:

· Suppose, as alleged, neo-Vedanta’s set of universals, essences, constructs or prototypical paradigms of contemporary Hinduism are "only actually believed by a minority" of Hindus. But even this "minority" of India would still represent a population larger than many other world religions such as Presbyterians, Jews, Sikhs, Shamans, Shinto, etc and many times the total population of Britain, and hence large enough to be considered in the category of world religions by itself. Secondly, many other Hindu denominations regard themselves as Vedantic to varying extents. Finally, would it not deserve to be studied even as a set of ideas, in the same manner as Plato’s ideas, independently of any specific religion?

· King disregards the Indic claim of its empirical methodology: Greco-Semitic religions are based solely on history, regarding God’s participating in their history as their strength. Therefore, they have no on-going methodology to ‘discover’ spiritual truth, and rely entirely on ancient unique historical events, faith in whose validity therefore becomes unquestionable, and subsequent ideas may only be added if ‘miracles’ can be proven. This is untrue of Indic religions, which are alive with continual fresh revelations. For instance, King neglects to discuss the claims of Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta as being rishis who achieved enlightenment, without any education of scriptural texts, and without dependence on tradition or dogma. By definition, these discoveries of truth could not be ‘constructed’. Such claims are widespread throughout Hinduism’s history, and cannot be ignored in any responsible analysis of it. His rejection of Hinduism’s claims to abstract, ahistorical and universal ideas that transcend any and all particular historical instantiations of them is therefore more applicable to the Greco-Semitic religions.

· King fails to understand Hinduism’s dynamic nature that cannot be fossilized into texts: Why would Indic religions not be dynamic and evolving as science does, rather than be judged against the historically frozen attributes of the Semitic religions? He should try to understand Hinduism as moving in time and not as a still photo. Hinduism’s past encounter with colonialism was just one chapter in a long history, whereas he ignores everything prior to it as though this chapter were the beginning. For a religion not dependent on unique events in history, but on evolution of ideas on an on going basis, King does great ‘Orientalist violence’ on Hinduism by demanding a static view. He wants his subject to hold still, and denies it the right and natural inclination to change, evolve, grow, adapt, and re-invent itself, the way the rest of the world is changing in this age of globalization. Scholars are not in a position to prescribe what peoples’ faith should be, based on their text analysis or socio-political analysis. Vedanta’s dynamic corpus of ideas threatens King. Is he xenophobic about a spiritual technique that is based on ongoing experimentation and discovery, because such freedom could be a threat to a power and control oriented civilization?

King’s position: The same remarks as for Hinduism and Vedanta also apply to Buddhism.

· "..role played by Asian Buddhists and specific Buddhist texts in the modern construction of Buddhism." (Page 149). Again: "It is true, for instance, to say that ‘Protestant Buddhism’ reflects to a significant degree the internationalization of Protestant Christian attitudes and presuppositions by the new, Western-educated middle class of Sri Lanka…On result has been the enormous interest shown in the question of the relationship between Buddhism and modern science…Asian Buddhists, however, have been quick to seize upon the opportunity to ‘prove’ that Buddhism is compatible with science and therefore not only worthy of consideration but also superior to Christianity." (Page 151). Remark: Contrary to textual fossils as religions, Buddhism is a living and evolving understanding of the ultimate reality. Why is anything dynamic necessarily ‘constructed’ or threatening?

· "Buddhism has been represented in the Western imagination in a manner that reflects specifically Western concerns, interests and agendas." (Page 149). Remark: What is wrong in being adaptable?

· "Connections are also being made between transpersonal and depth psychologies and Buddhist meditative traditions." (Page 152). Remark: Buddhism has contributed immensely to the modern development of psychology.

· "’Protestant Buddhism’ may be Western-inspired and constructed in response to Western interests but it also has come to reflect the innovations, tactics and ingenuities of colonial subjects." (Page 152). Remark: King is simply too jealous.

My response: My responses for Hinduism also apply for Buddhism. In fact, his stand on Buddhism demonstrates a xenophobic reaction to the globalization of non-Western ideas that goes beyond just criticism of Hinduism.

<b>IV. Globalization of the Humanities: The Two Debates.</b>

Science claims as its values universal truths that are publicly verifiable, thereby enabling a methodology to arbitrate disputes in principle. Through science people do control new technologies, but the universality of scientific laws and their public verifiability makes scientific globalization a level playing field in principle.

Art, on the other hand, claims aesthetics and beauty as its values rather than truth. Different persons might have different preferences in music, visual arts, cuisine, fragrances, and other areas of aesthetics, and yet have no conflict because of the inherently subjective nature of aesthetics. These values influence the global economics of fashion, cosmetics, cuisines, music, and various entertainment industries. Globalization brings more creative choices from different cultures, and provides the suppliers with wider audiences. People do not fight over each other’s aesthetic preferences, and there is no great power struggle among people with different choices of art.

The humanities, the study of humans by humans, are the most complex to deal with in a globalization context. Unlike art, people are unwilling to let ethics, religious beliefs, and other important ideals of civilization be considered as subjective and arbitrary. In fact, political scientists, historians, religious leaders and philosophers are very assertive about the ‘truthful’ nature of their beliefs. But, unlike in the case of science, there is no publicly verifiable neutral methodology available to the humanities. Hence, in the globalization era, the humanities are the battlefield where independently developed narratives of belief from various cultures must encounter each other, and negotiate their position in the new world order. There are no laboratories that could serve as the final arbiters of truth.

Religions, in particular, are built on non-negotiable and yet foundational beliefs. Encounters with other religions are now bringing new options but also tensions. Our approach to teach religions could be tilted to determine how the various religions rate. What is at stake is the globalized narrative to be used to view religions, history, philosophy, literature and political theory. This narrative will shape the belief systems that will define our lives, and yet there is no way to prove any such narrative. Major economic, political and cultural power structures are built on such beliefs of the humanities. With this in mind, I propose that the following two debates be held openly and widely. The first debate questions Western civilization’s superiority and privileged position that is implicitly assumed without question, compared to say, the classical Indian civilization. (This should be broadened to include other non-Western civilizations as well.) The second debate concerns the definition of religion and how we approach its study as an academic discipline.

<b>DEBATE 1: The contributions of India and Western civilization. </b>

i. Only rarely do I come across Western academicians that explicitly discuss non-Western civilizations’ universal ideas of global value. The default position assumed by Western writers and society at large built on the narrative that non-Western ideas are merely applicable to their own host cultures at best. Note that when we teach Plato, we do not position it as part of Greek culture, food, clothing, or music but as generic universal thoughts applicable to all humanity. The same is true for European ideas and philosophy in general. But when we teach say Indic thought, we contain it strictly within the context of the host Indian culture, thereby denying it universal standing. Little wonder, then that when Indians such as Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan have tried to portray Indic thought as being universally applicable, King and others similar to him have considered that a terribly dangerous development. The question in this debate would be why Western ideas should be considered as universal, while Asian ones deconstructed as historical, social, and political artifacts, providing reductionist and causal explanations for the ‘irrational’ behavior of exotic Asians.

ii. Classical Indic thought and modern ‘constructions’ by Indians should each be given a seat in this contemporary debate, in the same manner as we would consider classical Greek thought separately from say post-modernism. The significance of this statement is as follows. We certainly allow modern Europeans the right to enhance old ideas, merge ideas with others, add new ones, and promote their views very actively. In other words, we do not try to freeze Western thought into fossilized texts and try to ‘objectively’ deconstruct these from the outside. We treat the West as a living tradition, entitled to its on going enhancement of ideas using every means available. But when modern Indians ‘construct’ similar enhancements to classical Indic thought, and globalize them in keeping with the times, we find the phenomena as counter to the stereotypes, and make the ideas ineligible from consideration as modern universal ideas.

iii. Deconstructing Saraswati’s shadow side: This debate, while examining claims of universal ideas from classical and modern India and the West on an equal footing, would then enable one to also probe the following unasked questions: Have Western scholars of Indic studies: (1) assimilated Indic thought and re-label as post-modern; (2) shown duplicity about portrayal, and downgraded Indic thought into anthropology; (3) done justice to objective scholarship; (4) and inadvertently facilitated the syncretization of Judaic-Christianity metaphysics? If modern thinkers are seeing farther by standing on the shoulders of giants, these include giants from the East as well, and that must be acknowledged.

The main benefit of this debate would be that it would either support King’s implicit premise that modern ‘construction’ of Indic thought is to be condemned because only the West may have the right to such modern construction, or it would show that Indic thought does indeed have a place of importance in the globalization of ideas. King should not be allowed to steal the conclusion with even debating.

<b>DEBATE 2: Alternative ways to portray religion.</b>

A. The classic Indic approach was to portray religion as a living set of ideas constantly enhanced, experimented with, debated and open to evidence. Truths are based on a combination of (a) inner experience as a disciplined empirical science, and (b) reasoning. Truth is not appreciable through texts without direct experience. This truth is not ‘constructed’ and cannot therefore be deconstructed. Jnana or prajna are the result of radical deconstruction at the private level, and not just a social deconstruction. Truth the state when all context is transcended. Spirituality is not a belief, but a navigation, exploration, and discovery. Nothing new is constructed, what is gets recovered.

B. The Semitic religions’ approach has been to understand religion based on dogma handed down and interpreted through texts. God in the Greco-Semitic conception communicated rarely and finally. Unique historic events created injunctions and covenants and these are non-negotiable articles of faith. There is no way to replicate experiencing the first principles or to prove them. Any claims similar to those of the Indian rishis or buddhas are suspect, unless proven with ‘miracles’.

C. The historian’s approach is based on a narrative of power-driven socio-political dynamics. This portrays religious beliefs mainly as historically ‘constructed’ anthropology and culture. If this be chosen, then there would be competing historical narratives to choose from:

i. The Eurocentric narrative describes world history as the progressive evolution of a privileged people endowed with superior ideas, and entitled to special rights over other humans and nature. This narrative promotes stereotypes of the ‘rational West’ and ‘mystical East’. Its shadow narrative, downplayed within the main narrative but evident via deconstruction, is a story of power and the resulting pattern of colonialization, genocide over natives in America and Australia, depriving animals of rights, and extremes of selfishness. The shadow narrative’s metaphysics has been reductionist science and technology as control mechanisms over nature and others. Now the main narrative is being rewritten with the goals to make it compliant with post-modernism, to preserve the Eurocentric privileged position, and to remain beyond deconstruction.

ii. Globalization creates equal opportunities for ideas of the peoples of the world. Hence, we find tension as vested interests try to protect systemic double-standards. To maintain the old sense of privilege, the strategy sometimes is to contextualize and hence deconstruct ‘other’ cultures, while disallowing others the same right towards oneself. This is equivalent to claiming ‘God’s eye view’, and hiding behind the objectivity of the scholarly mask.

iii. Therefore, the only honest teaching style would be to present all views in their native sympathetic narratives, and regard students as the jury to make their own minds. No culture should
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Inscrutable Americans is a bestselling novel by an Indian author, Anurag Mathur. It is about the experiences of a 'subcontinental bumpkin' in America. Humorous in intention, it concentrates on the mishaps and misadventures of a village Indian in the USA, and many true observations which are humorously told.

Anurag Mathur's The Inscrutable Americans is an upside-down, round-the-bend look by a "fresh off the boat" Indian at the contemporary American society. The novel gleefully reverses the clichéd oriental perspective that saw Asians as 'inscrutable' and formed the basis of western perception of other cultures for more than two centuries, and applies it with insouciant wit on Americans.

Gopal, the protagonist of this novel, is a recently arrived student from a small town in India who encounters the "Dullesville capital" of US with an odd mixture of wide-eyed innocence and worldly wisdom. Inscrutable Americans recounts Gopal's run-ins with small town American with an amused tolerance that springs from the author's understanding of both cultures. As a classic immigrant/exile, Mathur has a wry sense of detachment that arises out of physical and emotional distance experienced by all people who have moved away from their native cultures and have tried assimilating into a new one. Mathur is a cultural hybrid with affiliation to two cultures like a vast majority of people in today's world. He therefore, has the ability to observe and enjoy the quirks of American as well as Indian society. This dual vision shared by both Mathur and his protagonist is common to all immigrants, and makes an enjoyable reading for people of diverse cultures. link<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Impressing the Whites: The New International Slavery
Review of Richard Crasta title
There are alot of problems with the following, including expressing Karma as doctrine and ideology. But it shows level of appropriation and subsequent denigration by the socalled west.

Karma and Archetype: A Teleological Unfolding of Self
By Mark Greene, Ph.D.
In synchronous step with the advent of a Western psychology of the unconscious, the past century has been witness to an enormous influx and integration of Eastern philosophy and mysticism. Evidence of this intellectual cross-pollination can be seen as early as 1875 in New York City with the founding of the Theosophical society, "a small but active international group of occultists who believed in reincarnation as the necessary path to the ultimate, inevitable purification of humanity" (Encarta). Modern Western science, too, with Planck's introduction of a quantum mechanics theory of sub-atomic particle movement in 1900 and Einstein's special theory of relativity (1905), although not directly influenced by Hinduism or Buddhism, began to describe our perceived notion of physical reality in terms much akin to the age-old Eastern concept of Maya which stipulates that "indeed everything (material) other than Brahman, the indescribable Absolute, is an illusion." In the later part of this century, the influence of Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, and Taoism upon popular Western culture in the form of music, television programming, and a surge of interest in Eastern martial arts is readily apparent.

Of all the ideology found in the rich panoply of Eastern religion, perhaps it is the doctrine of Karma which stands out as the most accessible and fascinating for the psyche of the Western individual. Implicit within the Westerner's understanding of Karma is that one's deeds do not go unnoticed and that, indeed, an individual will be either rewarded or punished for one's actions both in this lifetime and in subsequent incarnations. Perhaps the inculcation of the predominantly Christian doctrine of heaven and hell as after-life possibilities dependent upon our behavior on earth enables the psyche of the Western individual to successfully identify with this aspect of Karma called Ethicization, "the belief that good and bad acts lead to certain results in one life or several lives" (O'Flaherty, p. xi). In so imagining ourselves collectively as children of an Old Testament father capable of compassion and wrath, and then subsequently, as sheep under the loving eye of a pastor (manifest in Jesus of Nazareth), the western psyche readily responds to the Karmic doctrine by supposing someone is watching. Granted, such a perception may be the result of projecting a divine father complex upon the karmic law in order to reformulate the Eastern ordering of existence with Western archetypal images in order to more completely integrate it.

Of interest and primary concern in this paper are the actual roots of the Karmic doctrine and its subsequent integration into the modern Western psyche by way of its profound influence upon the theories and psychology of Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology. Implicit within the Karmic doctrine is the concept of accumulation; a synthesis of negative and positive actions which add up to a current balance of energy much like the funds available to us in a bank. How one manages to preserve, invest, or squander these funds over the course of one's lifetime is a personal decision. Nevertheless, one cannot spend what is not there. Thus, a coming to terms with predetermined limitations coupled with a concept of free will, in the broadest possible sense, form the two opposing tenants which comprise the single paradoxical law of Karma.

In picturing one's life or lifetimes laid out linearly left-to-right upon a timeline, it would appear that Karma, as a force, concerns itself primarily with the past and the immediate present. Our Karma unfolds and is created in the moment; its momentum progresses on a bearing from left to right, past to present. Jung, however, postulates that life is inherently teleological (telos: end, purpose; the fact or character attributed to nature or natural processes of being directed toward an end or shaped by a purpose. Websters). Although Jung allows for the same left-to-right movement on the above described timeline, it is as if the motivating force he believes to be at work is one which attracts the individual towards a final end; it is a force based in the future which exerts its pull upon the individual as opposed to one which propels the individual from the past as implied in the Karmic model. In a description of life as teleological, Jung posits our progress as running to a goal:

Life is an energy-process. Like every energy-process, it is in principle irreversible and is therefore directed towards a goal. That goal is a state of rest. In the long run everything that happens is, as it were, no more than the initial disturbance of a perpetual state of rest which forever attempts to re-establish itself. Life is teleology par excellence; it is the intrinsic striving towards a goal, and the living organism is a system of directed aims which seek to fulfill themselves. (Jung, CW 8: p. 798)

It would appear that Jung takes into account forces which both propel as well as attract the individual as evidenced by his use of the word "directed" in the above passage. Later, this paper will give some examples of how Jung's theory of the archetype accounts for the unconscious "directing" which occurs within the human psyche. In exploring the origins of the word karma, one finds that they can be traced to the Vedic sacrifice: At the most basic level, the Vedic tradition employed the term karman, from the Sanskrit root /kr ("to do"), to describe the "doing" of the sacrificial ritual. However, over the many centuries during which it represented India's "culturally hegemonous" system of belief and practice, the Vedic sacrifice developed into an entity of astounding complexity, and the "doing" of the sacrifice became more than a matter of simple action (Tull, p. 6).

Herman Tull argues that the Vedic sacrifice had as it purpose the invocation of a microcosmic world order, one wherein the laws of the greater cosmos were mirrored and the gods propitiated by a controlled act of death. The Purusasukta, one of the books of the Rgveda, describes the creation of the cosmos by the divinity Purusa in two distinct phases. In the first, he is "spread asunder in all directions, to what eats and does not eat" (Rgveda 10.94.4 qtd. in Tull). Since the cosmos are still in a state of primordial undifferentiation, this spreading of the god Purusa in all directions establishes "him as the stuff or materia prima of creation" (Tull, p. 51). In the second phase of creation, Purusa's distributed essence brings forth the cosmos as manifest in the concrete forms of earth, sun, moon, and humankind. Central to this story is the theme of sacrifice as necessary for creation. In this sense, the supreme act of creation can occur only by way of the supreme act of sacrifice of the creator's body. "The form of this sacrifice is dismemberment" (Rgveda 10.90.11, quoted in Tull). "Purusa's body represents the whole of the undifferentiated cosmos; to bring forth the manifest cosmos, with its several constituents, this whole must be broken up into distinct parts" (Tull, p. 51). And so, upon the fire altar of the sacrifice (Agnicayana), a liminal space is created wherein the performer of the ritual substitutes an offering to be sacrificed in exchange for his ultimate sacrifice which will eventually occur in the burning of his own body on the funeral pyre. In exchange for the controlled act of destruction manifest in the sacrifce, this act which "purports to force access to the other world" expects a response in the form of life, "or in simple terms, one must sacrifice a cow in order to obtain cows" (Heesterman quoted in Tull). It can be said that the Vedic sacrifice itself, the "doing" of the sacrifice, reflects and reinforces the idea that in something dying, something new will be born. At the time of his death, the sacrificer moves into a the macrocosmic sphere and thus transcends the symbolism of the ritual by actually becoming a part of the cosmos. His death and implied rebirth take their form from the structure of the cosmos mirrored in the microcosm of the ritual which he has dutifully performed throughout his life. No longer symbolic, the soul is now an active player in the cosmic dance. In assessing these origins of the Karmic doctrine it becomes evident that to the Eastern psyche life is but an unfolding of a momentum within which we as souls have the fortune to partake. In recognizing creation itself as the result of a selfless act of sacrifice it is fitting to acknowledge that "indeed one becomes good by good action, bad by bad action (Brhadaranyak Upanisad 3.2.13 quoted in Tull). It is left to each individual to assist in the creation of the cosmos by performing good deeds, or at least, living one's life to the fullest by returning to the sacrificial fire what was given to all of us at the moment of creation.

The reader perhaps cannot help but notice doctrinal similarities between the Vedic origin of Karma and that of the Christian archetype. In both, a supreme sacrifice is made by a divinity who's death provides humankind with life. In the case of the West, redemption from evil is manifest as life everlasting as a sort of final destination, one awaiting the believer who confesses his sins and acknowledges Jesus Christ as his savior. In the East, each lifetime is a proving grounds wherein the individual strives to better his accrued karmic lot so that someday he may be released from samsara, the round of rebirth, and merge with Brahman. Perhaps the cores of the Eastern and Western psyches are not as dissimilar as previously thought. At the heart of the issue, however, is the following discrepancy: Genesis, the Judeo-Christian origin myth upon which the Western psyche is rooted, does not tell the story of a selfless act of sacrifice which in turn begets the cosmos. Right from the start, the god of the Old Testament creates an I-thou relationship. As Joseph Campbell so aptly puts it, "As long as an illusion of ego remains, the commensurate illusion of a separate deity also will be there; and vice versa, as long as the idea of a separate deity is cherished, an illusion of ego, related to it in love, fear, worship, exile or atonement, will also be there" (Campbell, p. 14). It is as if the Western collective psyche produced the myth of Christ the Redeemer in an attempt to glean some of the fruits to be gotten from the Vedic origin myth. Nevertheless, it is this intrinsic difference between the Eastern and Western religious worldview which accounts for our different psyches. According to Swami Vivekananda, "no one can get anything except he earns it; this is an eternal law; we may think it is not so, but in the long run we shall be convinced of it.... A fool may buy all the books in the world, but they will be in his library, and he will only be able to read those he deserves, and this deserving is produced by Karma" ( Vivekananda, p. 20). It is very likely that Carl Jung read most of the books in his library and recognized the oneness found in Eastern religion between the creator and his creation and strove to bring these elements into the West. His karma certainly did unfold in such a way that his theories acted as a bridge in our understanding or the Eastern psyche, and in turn reveal how he was influenced by the Karmic doctrine.
<span style='font-size:14pt;line-height:100%'>
Jung reveals his high esteem for Eastern philosophy in his memorial address for Richard Wilhelm delivered in 1930. In it, he notes that a significant sign of the times is the fact that "Wilhelm and the indologist Hauer were asked to lecture on yoga at this year's congress of German psychotherapists.... Imagine what it means when a practicing physician...establishes contact with an Eastern system of healing!" He further asserts that "I know that our unconscious is full of Eastern symbolism" (CW Vol. 15, p. 90). As evidenced by his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Jung understood that the Mandalas he had been drawing during and immediately after his confrontation with the unconscious (1912-1918) were "cryptograms concerning the state of the self which were presented to me anew each day. In them I saw the self--that is, my whole being--actively at work" (Memories, p. 196). Not until 1927 when Jung received from Wilhelm a copy of the Taoist alchemical treatise entitled The Secret of the Golden Flower, did he receive an "undreamed-of confirmation of my ideas about the mandala and the circumambulation of the center" (Memories, p. 197). Coward points out the stunning parallels between Jung's description of tapas, "a term which can best be rendered as self-brooding" and a passage in the Isa Upanisad which describes the Atman:

This expression clearly pictures the state of meditation without content, in which the libido is supplied to one's own self somewhat in the same manner of incubating heat. As a result of the complete detachment of all affective ties to the object, there is necessarily formed in the inner self an equivalent of objective reality, or a complete identity of inside and outside, which is technically described as tat tvam asi (that art thou). The fusion of the self with its relations to the object produces the identity of the self (atman) with the essence of the world...so that the identity of the inner with the outer atman is cognized. (CW Vol. 6, p. 189).

Compare the above with the following Isa Upanisad passage provided by Coward:

The Atman is unmoving, one, swifter than the mind. The senses do not reach It as It is ever ahead of them. Though Itself standing still It outstrips those who run. In It the all pervading air supports the activities of beings. It moves and It moves not; It is far and It is near; It is within all this and It is also outside all this. (Isa Upanisad 4-5 quoted in Coward).

It is apparent that Jung drew heavily upon the Eastern religious concept of Atman in the formulation of his concept of the Self. If the Self is for Jung a sort of sun in a solar model around which other characters of the psyche revolve, such as the ego, anima, and shadow, then the archetypes would correspond to the primordial stuff of which the sun and all the other planets are composed.

Jung elaborated his pivotal theory of the archetype throughout his life's work. In the Eastern tradition of yoga, Jung found corroboration of his own theories. Coward argues that Jung uses the term yoga to mean a way of life involving both psychology and philosophy. Jung's interest "from the beginning was not with Patanjali's technical definitions but with the spiritual development of the personality as the goal of all yoga" (Coward, p. 3). In October of 1932 Jung gave a series of seminars on chakra symbolism of Tantra Yoga entitled A Psychological Commentary on Kundalini Yoga. In an attempt to define samskara, memory trace, to his Western audience, he likens it to "...our idea of heredity...also, our hypothesis of the collective unconscious" (Kundalini, p. 8). In later editions of On the Psychology of the Unconscious, he placed a footnote at the end of a description of the collective unconscious where he describes it as containing the "...legacy of ancestral life, the mythological images: these are the archetypes..." and calls it "a deliberate extension of the archetype by means of the karmic factor...(which is) essential to deeper understanding of the nature of an archetype" (CW, Vol. 7, p. 118n). Elsewhere Jung states that "we may cautiously accept the idea of karma only if we understand it a psychic heredity in the very widest sense of the word. Psychic heredity does exist--that is to say, there is inheritance of psychic characteristics such as predisposition to disease, traits of character, special gifts, and so forth" (CW Vol. 11, p. 845). Jung continured to refute the notion of a personal karma since "the main bulk of life is brought into existence out of sources that are hidden to us. Even complexes can start a century or more before a man is born. There is something like karma" ("Letters", p. 436). Only later in his life did he begin to accept the possibility of a personal karma, more specific in its implications to a person's destiny than the collective attributes he had always assigned to it in helping him see corroboration of his theory of the collective unconscious in other religions. Jung connects the collective unconscious, ancestral memories and as yet unfilled out archetypal images with a sort of collective karma.

Although Jung openly credits karma theory as influencing his theories of the archetype, Coward aptly points out that little recognition is given to this major Eastern influence by either Jacobi, Jung's sytematizer, or Jungian scholars...this apparent attempt to hide or ignore the Eastern content in Jung's archetype may be...a fear among Jungians that such an admission would make their already suspect psychology even less acceptable to the mainstream of Western psychology (Coward, p. 98).

Jung offers a rebuttal to those who would criticize his theory by wondering "what sort of idea my critics would have used to characterize the empirical material in question" (CW Vol. 7, p. 18n). Later in life Jung's dreams gave him evidence pointing to his own reincarnation. It was the evidence of his own dreams, plus those of a close acquaintance, which led to a very positive assessment of Indian karma and rebirth theory in the last years before his death. In Memories, Deams, Reflections, in the chapter entitled, "On Life after Death," Jung states, "I could well imagine that I have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me. When I die, my deeds will follow along with me - that is how I imagine it" (Memories, p. 318). Jung believed that his purpose this lifetime was to bring the shadow to the Christian archetype. In striving throughout his life to portray the image of god as containing both evil and good, Jung sought to bring a union of the opposites to our Western consciousness so as to avoid the physical playing out upon our lives of the Judeo-Christian god's inherent imbalance.

Works Cited
Database of European Indologists:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->yes, historically, those calling themselves Christians have held a very large hatred for Jewish people. no one doubts that. Christians even ask for forgiveness about their past sins. my point in all of this is: "the misuse of any religion can be pointed out, but judging a a faith<b> based on it's own theological and philosophical merit is what should be done."</b> i will grant Christians are imperfect, but isn't that one of our cornerstones?<b> that we are all sinners?</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Original sin as the original equal equal tactic.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Authentic Account</b>
Swapan Dasgupta (India Today)

A few months before her novel The Gin Drinkers (HarperCollins, 2000) was published, Sagarika Ghose told me of the bizarre expectations the West had from Indian writers. The videshi literary circles, it would seem, expect desi offerings to be one of the three. First, authentic—by which is meant invoking images of the unchanging India, like R.K. Narayan did in English, Premchand in Hindi and Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyaya in Bengali. Secondly, trendy which implies imbibing Salman Rushdie's techniques and offering dollops of incest. Finally, exploring the diaspora experience as people like Jhumpa Lahiri and Bharati Mukherjee have done so well.

The implication is that there is little marketing percentage in writing about the diaspora within—those Indians who live in India but whose experiences, language and concerns are wonderfully cosmopolitan. The beautiful people that RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan decried earlier this month as the Euro-Hinds. People who are in India but who, as the dust jacket of Sagarika's book put it, are "stranger(s) in your own land". They may be novelties in India, but the West isn't particularly enamoured of those who are equally at ease in South Kensington as they are in Khan Market. There's nothing exotic about them.

Sagarika has proved them conclusively wrong. A novel set in the rarefied world of Delhi and covering three generations of Oxbridge-educated historians, it is by far the most authentic account of the <b>existential dilemmas of Indian PLUs (People Like Us). Separated by education, experience and aesthetics from the rest of the Great Indian Middle Class, the PLUs blend privilege, hedonism with anguish. Once born to rule Jawaharlal Nehru's incredibly inefficient socialist raj, they have been outpaced by the market, by politics and particularly by democracy. </b>The best among them have already fled the country and reinvented themselves in the beautiful enclaves of Manhattan, the Silicon Valley and Hampstead. But a handful has chosen to stay on. And like the Anglo-Indians who eschewed Australia, they live like endangered species, interacting with the cretinous world but keeping their distance. They maintain a precarious existence on the fringes of academia, journalism and are over-represented in internationally-funded NGOs and distinguish themselves with incessant bouts of self-flagellation. It is this delightful world of the deracinated and guilt-ridden PLUs that Sagarika explores wonderfully.

As a fully-paid up member of this fraternity, I find Sagarika's novel truly authentic. Much more authentic than the contrived Village India, lower middle-class India themes of desi writers. That's because the writer isn't overwhelmed by angst. She acknowledges it but keeps it at an arm's length. Of course, she does a politically correct genuflection at the altar of Dalit consciousness but ensures that the character of Jai Prakash—a crusader-fixer with a taste for white women and Ox-phord, is very cardboard.

It's the most authentic and honest sociological study of minusculity without whose presence India would be a far less exciting place to live in. Those who fled should read it to gauge their life had they returned. Sagarika has written the best diaspora novel set in India.

She has put us back on the map.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

very important steps in deconstruction and reconstruction of indian worldview.

a perspective
<i>What is the framework you would use to define Hinduism in this conference?</i>

The definition will only come later. We would first need some kind of description. We will look at traditions first. Is it possible to demarcate traditions? Can we, for example, say that Buddhist traditions are completely different from Advaitin traditions? Do they overlap? Where do you draw the line? Should you draw the line? Why draw the line? These are the kinds of questions that will be asked.

The plurality of Indian traditions has led to them being described as “deficient” religions. An attempt of this conference is to start developing new ways of thinking about these traditions, finding out what their strengths are and how it might be possible for us to recover their essence and explain them in 21st century language. It makes no sense to speak of chittasuddhi, manasuddhi, atman, etc. because many of us don’t even know to what these terms refer. We would have to explain the concepts in a simple language — English in this case, because it is the language of the present time.

<i>Do you think part of the problem in understanding Hindu concepts like atman is that we don’t speak Sanskrit any more? And most of our philosophical texts are in Sanskrit.</i>

No, because Sanskrit, in the first place, was never a spoken language. It was a language of the literati who wrote the texts. It is not simply the absence of Sanskrit that creates a problem. The problem lies in transmitting words, but not their underlying meanings and theories. One could, of course, read up Patanjali’s Yogasutra, but it is very difficult to agree with his theories of the gross body, the subtle body etc. These kinds of explanations are both inadequate and unscientific.

<i>But is there no understanding beyond scientific understanding?</i>

No, but what I’m going to say is something more interesting. Indian insights in themselves are scientific in nature. <b>What we need to do is understand and develop these extraordinary insights into the nature and structure of human psychology that no sociology, psychology or political science has ever come even remotely close to doing. And we have to re-formulate in 21st century language what was formulated 3,000 years ago in languages and idioms of that time.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->why is this conference relevant?
<i>it is very simple. if it is the case that the research programme we are doing is true. then most of the social policies in a country like india and most of the political posturing is based on nothing. so, in that sense it will to have to reconfigure certain political constellations and certain social policies which have become the corner stone and characteristic of india after indian independence.

so the relevance would be this: if you are able to get this into the common, commonsenses of it somehow or the other i think this is going to mean an immense change in india society ...</i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Lots of work... but this i had posted a link to earlier.
The Secular State and Religious Conflict: Liberal Neutrality and the Indian Case of Pluralism
-- S. N. Balagangadhara and Jakob De Roover
Language Hegemony and the Construction of Identity
by Rajiv Malhotra


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