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Removing The Sheen From Buddhism


+ The relation between the Hindu moorties in temples/homes and the same Gods during homam is straightforward. This is not some religion of invisible entities/plagiarised fictions. This is the religion of the Hindu Gods, which consists of very real and *visible* Gods. (Like the Daoist and Shinto religions, etc, from what I understand.) As another summarised excellently in a comment on the Raj2004 blog, the moorties of the Hindu Gods seen in temples = the sculpted versions of the same forms of the Gods *seen* [by some/many] during the Hindu Vedic sacrifice (not always fire sacrifice, as for some Vedic rites they use kumbhas of water by/in which the Gods are invoked, or so I was led to understand when I pried). The Moorties are sculpted in temples so that the forms of the Gods can be seen and remembered [and thereafter recognized] by all Hindus and may pervade their minds. So the everyday Hindu at home in his pooja area actually has direct access not only to his ancestral Gods and performs a form of Vedic ritual himself everyday (whenever he offers food to the Gods before he partakes of it), he takes part in a bigger Vedic yagnya at his temple. And the fact that his hRudayam during internal pooja is likened to the Vedic fire itself, seems to me to serve as literal proof for that MBh statement of Yudhisthira about how the Veda is seen in all 4 varNas. All Hindu society essentially. The Vedic fire in the hRudayam represents of course all the Hindu Gods, not just that Bhagavaan called SaptajihvaaH.

[Much of what I say above incl previous post about pooja/moorties is true of Daoist, Shinto and Greek etc religions also, because temples and moorties (and rituals prescribed in detail associated with this) - aka "idol worship" in alien terms - are highly typical of Gods-based Gods-centred religions, even though independently derived in all these cases.

While the Taoists etc don't have the Vedam of course, Daoists can be seen communing with their Gods through fire also: I have seen them burn their calligraphic writing containing <their business> in their fire, by which act their words go to their Gods. Also, the Daoists offer food to the Daoist Gods and hand out prasadam - which, as far as I have witnessed, has been fruit. The Daoists perform daily rituals and pooja to the Gods. Their pooja rooms are full of the moorties of their Gods, BTW. And these are just the *lay* traditional Daoists. Their poojaris etc perform even more rites.]

It is the Jains and Buddhists that need to show proof for where they got their rites from. The fact that they both insinuate that Hindus copied pooja from them instead, implies that they recognise similarities with *Hindu* pooja rituals - which are actually Vedic rituals. But what similarities do they mean? Hindus reciting Mantras* at the Gods? :grin: Singing at the Gods? What, *feeding* the Gods (=essence of homam) including mantra puShpam?

[* Mantras by definition are Vedic in origin and have no meaning outside Hindu religion. No one is going to pretend that OM is anything other than Vedic, right? It was Buddhism and Jainism that copied that too, just as they copied every other formulaic mantra format, down to adding "huM phaT svAhA" maalamantra type stuff. The very concept of Mantras are Vedic, not Buddhist or Jain. <- Another point that shows up who copycatted from whom. And even though they copied it, it's not theirs originally and is only found in their religion *because* they copied it from Hindus' religion. But OM refers exclusively to the trimoorti/parabrahman/sarvadevAH (see asvatha vRikSha/Lingam) alone, so OM etc has no meaning or sense outside the Hindus' religion, despite others' attempts at cloning it/grafting it onto other religions. And people can hardly try claiming mantras for ur-Shramanism because Vedam=mantras (by definition), so will they next be claiming all the Vedam for ur-Shramanism?

Of course the unspoken excuse offered by the Tamizh Buddhist site that was alluded to in the 2 posts ago is that Mantras are "all-Indian" and that Vedic=Hindu Gods similarly are suddenly "all-Indian" (in both cases owing to the long-term inculturation on these Hindu matters) and therefore belong to "everyone". So, magically, everything exclusively Hindu must be recognised - and the requirement is on Hindus, btw - as belonging "equally" to Buddhism/Jainism etc - no it doesn't. Yet the latter also have the right (again magically) to declare Hindu Kovils are supposedly "actually" Buddhist/Jain, and they will try to evict [some] Hindus from the nation as being "not native" while declaring themselves native via the ur-Shramanism fiction, and will invent sobstories about "persecution" - but let's not point out who actually persecuted whom - and oh yeah, they'll rewrite ancient Hindu authors and their sacred Hindu works as being actually "Jain/Buddhist" or at least so in idea/inspiration, and rewrite Indian history with the concocted ur-Shramanism all in order to claim Hindu Vedic teachings for ur-Shramanism and to thereafter declare that it was *Hindus/Hindu religion* who stole from ur-Shramanism instead.

Of course the whole ur-Shramanism thing was invented for missionary purposes. As is the purpose of all the inculturation/plagiarism too. The aim is both to try to end Hindu religion AND to try to claim Hindu stuff for their own religion in order to peddle it better.)]

[color="#0000FF"]+ The greatest absurdity however came when the JMF was trying to explain how temple worship originated in Jainism. After declaring that Temples could never follow from the Vedam/Vedic rites, the JMF proceeded to explain how temples derived from Jainism by reviewing the history of temples in Jainism itself. They mentioned an early type of Jain stupa and how this evolved into a building - the first type of Jain temple - whose name they admitted/blundered that it derived from "yajaniya devata".

And with that they shot themselves in the foot again. Because that phrase in itself underlines the relation between the Vedic fire sacrifice and poojaa.[/color]

YajanIya - as even I can see (but they couldn't) - is related to yagnya/Vedic fire sacrifice's ritualistic worship of the Gods. It's obvious, but let's do this by the book. So looking it up in an easy-access dictionary and it says: "related to sacrifice or worship".

Now, a devatA is of course not just any random Skt word but is particularly related to Vedic sacrifice: being the very Vedic Gods being invoked for a yagnya. A yajanIya devatA is of course the particular God (or Gods) who is the object of a particular sacrifice or pooja. [Also seen in how Hindu stotra preambles often tend to start off. You know, by declaring something ~like "asya <something> mantrasya, <something> RiShiH, <something> ChandaH, <something> devatA(H), followed by <key mantra outline>, and then the formulaic preamble usually ends with <devatA/H-name(s) prItyarthe + to acquire meaningful things> jape viniyogaH". The words mantra, RiShiH, ChandaH and of course devatA(H) - followed by mantra outline - are all Very Vedic, as is the purpose of reciting the stotra. The devatA is the subject of the stotram as well as the object of the stotram being recited, the one(s) being addressed.]

Of course, the silly JMF only knows to mention that yajanIya devatA means... the deity worshipped, by which they want to refer to their teerthankaras.

But "yajanIya devatA" is clearly in origin a reference to Hindu Vedic Gods, and means the *Hindu God* worshipped (both by pooja and yagnya). JMF admits that their earliest temple constructions derived their names from "YajanIya DevatA" and that this last means "deity to be worshipped", without realising that the phrase equally means the "deity of the VEDIC sacrifice". Its two equivalent meanings shows the one-to-one relationship in Hindus' religion between yagnya and temples/temple moorties/pooja. It actually also shows that the earliest Jain temple constructions were not just named after Vedic Hindu concepts but that practically, too, Jains were "inspired" in their temple building by the pre-existing Hindu temple constructions, whose moorties are - by definition even - the real yajanIya devatAs.

In TN and perhaps other parts of the South, the Agama (the entire Hindu tradition of Hindu temple building and pooja to the Hindu moorties of the Gods is meant, not just the Hindu texts that go by that name) is considered without beginning and eternal. Which I suppose underlines the ancientry of Hindu poojaa known to Tamizh Hindu memory. The tradition of Hindu's Agamic temple construction and rites to the Gods and home pooja have a 1-to-1 relation to the Vedas (well, the matter concerns the same Gods/religion, so this is but natural). Perhaps that's another reason why this tradition of worshipping the Hindu Gods (via moorti pooja) has the same definition as the Vedas? (I.e. "eternal" etc.) In any case, the word means the same as Nigama (Vedam), and another word for the Vedam is Agama itself. They're two forms/expressions of the same thing, so maybe that's why.
Hindu Jagruti

November 7, 2013

Kartik Shuklapaksha 6,Kaliyug Varsha 5115

Buddhist monks assisted by SL military in civil, claiming that a Saiva temple in Dambulla is situated on the ‘sacred grounds’ of Buddha Boomi (Buddhist soil) demolished the Paththirakaa’li Amman Koayil Tuesday night, without allowing the temple management to even conduct the rituals for the closure of the temple and relocate the idols of deities inside the temple. The controversial demolition has taken place at the place where Buddhist extremists targeted a 50-year-old mosque for destruction last year, provoking the Muslims in the entire island. Dambulla, situated in the Matale District of Central Province, is a junction of major highways that link Jaffna, Trincomalee, Colombo and Kandy. Colombo – Trincomalee and Jaffna – Kandy highways cut at Dumbulla.

On behalf of the Ka’li temple management, one of its trustees K. Luxmy had requested a few days of extended time to conclude the rituals and relocate the temple deities. But, the demolition was timed one day before the rituals were to commence, the management further said.

A so-called Urban ‘Development’ scheme of the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry, which is led by SL presidential sibling and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has been introduced in the area together with the Buddha Boomi project of the extremist Buddhist monks.

Sometime back, ‘unidentified persons’ had destroyed the idol of the main deity, Kaa’li Amman, and the temple management placed a new idol.

Even though the Tamil residents were relocated from the area a few months ago, the temple was functioning with regular poojas.

The Hindu Maha Sabha, which condemned the demolition, in a statement issued on Wednesday questioned the credibility of the talk of ‘reconciliation’. The destruction of the temple reminded the brutal attacks against temples during the times of the Portuguese who were the first European colonialists to occupy the Jaffna and Kotte kingdoms in the island 400 years ag

Wait. Isn't G.Sub the one who was seen on IF lecturing - on two separate occasions - that Hindus in West Bengal should give up Kali/Durga and Saraswati Pooja? So why in the world does he pretend to care about the Sinhalese and SL Buddhists demolishing a Hindu Kali Kovil in Sri Lanka? Or is it just a case of "one rule for India's Bengali Hindus and one for SL's Tamizh Hindus"?

1. Anyway, more on that news piece.


Quote:Demolition of Hindu temples - Srilankan Govt. will be responsible if Hindus resort to retaliation




New Delhi , Nov. 09, 2013 – Vishva Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) has received complaints from Dr. N. Kumar Guruparan,Western Provincial Councillor and the Deputy Leader of Democratic Peoples’ Front and Spokesman for the Hindu Front of Sri Lanka against demolition of Goddess Bhadrakaali Amman Temple at the historically inhabited Tamil area of Dambulla in Sri Lanka by Government forces. In Dr Guruparan’s report the following points invite particular attention:

1. Hon’ble Sri Lankan Parliamentarian R. Yogarajan and Dr. N. Kumar Guruparan both appealed to His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka, to ensure the safety of the Bhadrakaali Amman Temple at Dambulla;

2. When Government forces in civilian dress along with the monks went for demolition, the Temple Trustee Smt. Lechhumi Ammah requested them to give time till Wednesday for performance of prescribed religious rites for the closure of the temple. But they did not pay heed to this reasonable request and went ahead with their demolition drive immediately on 28th October, 2013 night. [https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.p...ast-night/]

The Working President of VHP Dr Pravinbhai Togadiya in a strong protest against the premeditated pulling down of a living Hindu Temple in Sri Lanka, said, “Vishva Hindu Parishad is deeply distressed to hear news reports that Mother Goddess Bhadrakaali Amman Temple at the historically inhabited Tamil area of Dambulla in Sri Lanka has been completely demolished and uprooted by design. VHP strongly demands from the Sri Lankan Government authorities that immediate steps be taken to reconstruct and restore the sanctity of the temple.”

“During the long civil war hundreds of Hindu temples have been demolished in Sri Lanka . Now the civil war is over. Even in this peace time we are hearing of destruction of Hindu temple which is very disturbing and provoking.”

Dr Togadiya said, “As both Hindus and Buddhists are brothers in Dharma, we do not expect such offense and transgression from our Buddhist brethren committed on a Hindu place of worship. The message has gone all over the world that Hindu Temple has been demolished by government forces along with Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka . We take serious note of this wrongdoing and request the Government of Sri Lanka to refrain from such sacrilege against Hindu places of worship and ensure that such acts are not repeated in future anywhere in the Island Nation, otherwise the Sri Lankan Government will be responsible if such acts invite counteractions by the Hindus.”

Togadiya said: "As both Hindus and Buddhists are brothers in Dharma"... This is a very tricky proposition. *Da* Dharma - aka Vedic Dharma - is actually not the same as Bauddha or Jaina Dhammas, all having different definitions. The latter are indeed spin-offs from the original, but they deviated away from the mainstream and have their own definitions. They can be declared Dharmic religions because they all have a concept of what "Dharma" is - having taken the idea from Vedic religion - despite this concept not being identical for all Indic religions.

Also, Togadiya has a very different definition for brothers/brethren/brotherhood than I do, but maybe we're using a different dictionary...

One of the comments to a VV article lists some details on certain famous Sinhalese who were and are in charge in SL:

Sri Lankan Tamils and Tamil Eelam - III by Thamizhchelvan on 16 Sep 2013


Quote:The Tamils are 15.6% of the population of Sri Lanka as per the 2012 census despite what Vas claims in his comment above.

Tamizhchelvam has written a very good piece. The Sinhalese despite their public stance of being Buddhists actually have a Christian leadership. Sri Lanka's first head of Government was Don Stephen Senanayake, a Buddhist married to a Christian. Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, who introduce the Sinhala Only Legislation in 1956, was born an Anglican Christian and was buried like an Anglican (not cremated as per Buddhism) despite his 'conversion' to Buddhism. Juniusm Richard Jayewardene was also born an Anglican although he 'converted' to Buddhism. Premadasa's wife and children are now Christian. Rajapakse is married to a devout Roman Catholic. As long as the Sinhalese lack a genuine Buddhist leadership, their problems will continue.

The Tamil issue is merely a symptom of the deeper colonial era penetration into Sinhalese society. The Buddhists have no one else to blame except themselves in not knowing who their actual contender is!

4 years after the crushing of the LTTE, the Tamil problem continues to reverberate in the international corridors of power. Why couldn't the Buddhist clergy negotiate a deal with the Tamil Hindus to de-internationalize the Sri Lankan issue?


September 14, 2013
Never doubt what the choice of a christian spouse means. (Or, for that matter, a Buddhist spouse of a heathen king).

I don't question the reports that describe how SL's Bauddha Sangha was quite active in participation of the destruction of the Kaali Kovil, however, as they do that sort of thing a lot. But christianism sure must find their behaviour patterns very predictable, manipulable and hence handy.

Also, christianism in SL has gradually been making the switch to bludgeoning Hindu religion openly and pretending to bat for SL Buddhism. So I'm sure they're in on it too.

But the smoke has started clearing: the LTTE is no longer relevant in SL (though it has migrated to TN India where it's active against Hindus for christianism predictably). Yet the SL Buddhists are still at it.

Wonder how old the Kaali Temple is. The age is actually relevant in explaining the tactic. But I notice the important bit is already stated in this excerpt:

Quote:“Vishva Hindu Parishad is deeply distressed to hear news reports that Mother Goddess Bhadrakaali Amman Temple [color="#FF0000"]at the historically inhabited Tamil area of Dambulla in Sri Lanka[/color] has been completely demolished and uprooted by design. VHP strongly demands from the Sri Lankan Government authorities that immediate steps be taken to reconstruct and restore the sanctity of the temple.

Many famous Tamizh Hindu villages and regions in SL were taken over for Buddhism in the recent past. But in those places harbouring a famous Kovil, the Buddhist Sangha usually spends some years starting a "movement" to send Buddhist laity to invade the space en-masse to supposedly "worship" at the Hindu temple. Large masses start arriving suddenly. Hindus think these new-comer Buddhist masses are like the rarer occasional lay Buddhist that popped up to genuinely pay their respects to the Hindu Gods. [Of course the latter type of Buddhist laity is exactly the reason why the Sangha turned its Green Eye of Envy to taking over the temple and village in the first place: Bauddha Sangha doesn't like its laity reverting to the Hindu religion (though Hindus never sought lay Buddhist interest in Hindu Kovils)*] Then, with the Buddhist masses inundating Hindu temples and setting up shop in the locality, the Tamizh Hindu region is Bauddhified, the Bauddha Sangha officially invades, takes over the Hindu temple by force or edges out the Hindu priesthood at the temple and then Bauddhifies the rituals. Then the Bauddha Sangha invents and circulates back-projected myths about how the Hindu Temple and presiding Hindu Gods are "equally" Buddhist. Sometimes silly alien "converts" (dabblers) in SL Buddhism fall in love with these Kovils and the Bauddhification myths and pretend and advertise for the same myths - in order to dabble in Hindu religion via Buddhism - as happened in Kadirgamam's case. And then eventually - when the last vestiges of the Old Religion and all sincerity is killed (by calculation/pre-meditation of course) - the Hindu Kovil and its moorties are replaced by some Buddhist monstrosity I mean monastery or vihara. And then new myths appear: that the place was always historically Buddhist. That Ashoka or Buddha or some Sinhalese Buddhist king from irgendwo had historically instituted the region as Buddhist and it was never really Hindu, etc. etc.

(SL Hindus had documented this for several famous historically-Hindu areas in SL.)

The irony is that the familiar pattern in SL matches things seen Elsewhere too.

* Actually, similar things happened in E Asia to Daoist and Shinto temples and in SE Asia to Daoist temples. But then, Buddhism etc is nobody's ancestral religion.

The first thing Hindus in SL should do is to circumvent the unceasing jealousy of Buddhism/the Sangha. The Sangha in India or overseas does *not* like it when bauddified laity show signs of reversion by trickling in in any numbers into Hindu Kovils or other pre-Buddhist Temples (i.e. Daoist temples, etc). Hindu Kovils in SL must all clearly state at the entrance that Hindu Kovils are "For Hindus Only - not for Buddhists etc. (or alien dabblers)". [Alien dabblers tend to dabble in multiple religions, so they're a great threat too.] Generally too, Hindus should make it clear that the Hindu Gods and their moorties and rituals are Hindu-Only and not for Buddhists who want to dabble part-time in the Vedic religion while still being Buddhist. In fact, Hindus should take a page from the Daoists in safeguarding their religion from Buddhist incursions and inculturation: traditional Daoists don't allow turning their religion into a 'composite culture' with Buddhism.

Of course the moderate SL Buddhists/Buddhist laity will get deeply offended "Why won't Hindus share anymore? Doesn't everything Hindu magically belong to us as well, we will insist Buddhists are a type of Hindu/Vedic too - even though we aren't really." And the SL Buddhist Sangha will grow jealous in a different way. But it's for everyone's own good and more especially for the good and the preservation of Hindu temples to de-marcate clearly. If lay Buddhists pretend to care about Hindu Gods/Hindu temples, they'll not encourage the destruction of Hindu temples at the hands of Buddhism by continuing to tresspass on Hindu space thereby placing Hindu Kovils on the Bauddha Sangha's hitlist. All natives are free to revert of course - though Hindus certainly don't need reverts, Hindus don't missionise/aren't desperate in that way - but lay Buddhists/etc can't have it both ways: can't have the Hindu Gods/Kovils/rituals and yet be Buddhist and hence not be part of the actual-and-exclusively Hindu aka Vedic etc religion. :ultimatum:

The problem with India's missionary religions is that they're always jealous. Never happy, never contented. Forever competing. They're just not whole (else why are they always looking over the hedge to Hindu matters). They get jealous when the laity starts naturally reverting and yet they will also get jealous if Hindus were to ban others' laity from dabbling in Hindu Gods/religion/invading Hindu temples. As a response to the latter case, they'll declare Hindu Gods are "all-Indian" religion and insist that "therefore" they have an equal share (even though their own historical religious leaders booed against these very things for being Hindu.)

For the rest, the missionary religions behave like those elsewhere: trying to take-over/convert government, proscription, inculturation, vandalism, destruction.

Converted laity are always a precarious thing for missionary religions. The sheep can be lost again at any point. Which makes for sleepless nights for the Sangha.

Whereas islam just mows over all other religions, christianism can't openly do that everywhere anymore and instead is forced at times to resort to doing so more covertly and gradually, and under the guise of secularism if possible. "Buddhism" occasionally wrestles with its Buddhist conscience. But ultimately, the missionary urge of ideological warfare wins, and the end result is the same. Replacement.

On these statements from the previous post:

Quote:The destruction of the temple reminded the brutal attacks against temples during the times of the Portuguese who were the first European colonialists to occupy the Jaffna and Kotte kingdoms in the island 400 years ag
Uh, even in the last century, the Bauddha Sangha in SL was still willingly involved in this sort of thing. I think others at IF linked to/quoted from instances, but SL sites have documented this in detail. And even as late as IIRC the early 2000s, they were still in the business of shady Buddhist takeovers of Hindu Kovils.

Quote:The controversial demolition has taken place at the place where Buddhist extremists targeted a 50-year-old mosque for destruction last year, provoking the Muslims in the entire island.
Oh who cares? Buddhists don't need to be called extremists for blowing up a mosque.

Quote:Sometime back, ‘unidentified persons’ had destroyed the idol of the main deity, Kaa’li Amman, and the temple management placed a new idol.


Buddhist monks assisted by SL military in civil, claiming that a Saiva temple in Dambulla is situated on the ‘sacred grounds’ of Buddha Boomi (Buddhist soil) demolished the Paththirakaa’li Amman Koayil Tuesday night, without allowing the temple management to even conduct the rituals for the closure of the temple and relocate the idols of deities inside the temple.

So the Buddhist mythmaking has already begun has it? A "the historically inhabited Tamil area in Dambulla" of SL is suddenly declared to be "sacred grounds" of "Buddha bhumi" now.

This seems to be a repeating pattern.

<snip angry retort>

In Korea, christianism picks on Buddhism (and native Korean religion). In India's history (and Swat valley of our time etc), islamania picks on Buddhism.

And everywhere there's a heathenism, Buddhism picks on heathenism. E.g. E Asia, SE Asia, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Pecking order.

Heathens may one day have to consider actively/consciously enabling reversion among their own ethnic populations and thus put an end to that aberration of missionising. Else this problem will never go away.

The latest thing - not sure if it is christowestern or Chinese communist or Buddhist history rewriting that started it, but Buddhism is certainly making full use of it - is to declare that Daoist Gods are "Chinese Gods" and that a concocted ur-Chinese religion distinct from Daoism predated Daoism too. Until recent years, it was admitted (in many western books on China by the way) that Daoism was the ancestral religion of China and that the Chinese Gods are Daoist Gods. I.e. the ancestral Chinese religion/Gods was interchangeable with Daoism/Daoist Gods. Suddenly and very deliberately, the split has been created (essentially declaring that ancestral Chinese didn't have any philosophical core and that Daoism is pure-philosophy + associated practices). So Daoists notice how it's being propagated that the Chinese Pantheon is distinct from Daoism, that Daoism is just a "philosophy" (this last is found to be necessary by a certain type of alien would-be dabblers in Daoism, since they want to encroach on Daoist "philosophy" and "practices" but don't want the Daoist Gods). In converse, Buddhism is projecting itself as having an equal right to the ur-Chinese religion and its pantheon by declaring that since these things "obviously" predated Daoism, it is "Chinese culture" and therefore belongs equally to Buddhism. I.e. Buddhism's goal - as elsewhere - is to strip the instrinsic Daoist "philosophy" from Chinese religion and stick Buddhism as the philosophy on Chinese religion, in order to Bauddhify Chinese religion/declare it as "equally Buddhist" as it is Daoist: that since Daoism is now declared distinct from ancestral Chinese religion, all "philosophies" in China have "equal" claim on ancestral Chinese religion, and so does Buddhism.

Buddhism always lops off the head (="philosophy", the one thing Buddhism is competing with to replace) from the body of other religions to install itself as the new head. Buddhism is *only* "philosophy", it has no Gods and no religio-culture (i.e. no unique ritual practices that are not obviously inspired by precursors in pre-existing heathen religion): that is why Buddhism inculturates everywhere, and is seen to have Chinese Gods in Daoist areas and Shinto Gods in Shinto areas and Bon influences in Tibet etc. More proof that Buddhism cares nothing about others' Gods and is not a heathenism, just a missionary religion masquerading as one.

Hindus ought to know that Daoism derives from the Daoist Gods themselves: it is *their* (the Gods') religion, meaning they are the centre of their religion and the upholders thereof, the ones who impart it. Daoist thought - perception of the Kosmos and reality - and cultivation is what the Daoist Gods teach their heathens (even today the Daoist Gods teach it first-hand to humans, by the way - sometimes the Daoist Immortals teach it). Daoist "philosophy" is inseparably associated with the Daoist Gods, the way Philosophy (i.e. of Hellenismos) is associated with Hellenismos and the Olympic Gods.

But it is always a christowestern tactic to strip philosophy and religious practices from heathenism/religions of the Gods to impound these for christianism/alien dabbling (the way christianism does with Philosophy and Vedanta/Yoga/etc), and it's a Buddhist etc tactic to separate philosophy from heathenism/religions of the Gods, only to toss the "philosophy" parts aside and replace this with Buddhism as the "philosophy" instead and inculturate on all the rest.

Christianism has a replacement god but no philosophy (that's why christians started by encroaching on Greek Mysteries and mangled these and declared these to be christian mysteries. It's also why christianism still inculturates on Platonism).

New-agey aliens* interested in Vedanta/Yoga/Sankhya/Tantra but not in Hindu Gods want just the philosophy and practices but not the Gods.

* Different from "Vedic reconstructionist" and other neo-pagan type aliens, who most definitely want to encroach on Hindu Gods. The equally concocted neo-paganism/Goddess-religion types/wiccans declare all heathenisms to be something called a "Paganism" - and even that all Goddesses are "one" etc. - and that these aliens therefore should have access to (=the right to dabble in) all religions of the world, and thus create a nonsense mix of religions. Essentially a new ageism. A blatant example of the latter:


Quote:Uploaded on Mar 14, 2007


Pagan Wiccan Magickal Goddess Chant.

Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna (from The Burning Times - Best of Pagan Song)

Looney (American? Euro?) "Pagan" "Wiccans" pretending that they know Kali or any of the named Goddesses of Others. Or that these Goddesses care for their (inept, btw) dabbling. Well, Kali certainly doesn't.

The "chant" consists of them repeating the listed names in sequence. The sum total of wicca/neo-paganism, I suppose. And then suddenly this becomes "magickal" as in their title.

The bit that gives away (to Hindus) how the alien loons are making this up is where the loons involve Kali in their nonsense.

All alien dabbling in others' heathenism (or bad reconstruction) is - ultimately and equally - in(s)ane, but the above is more *obviously* hilarious to everyone with half a brain.

The whole "Goddess" poaching tactic is a neo-pagan routine. They like to pretend that by declaring themselves "neo-pagan/wiccan" they are conferred automatic access to/right to Other People's *ancestral* Goddesses. They pretend there is an ancient "Goddess" religion and that the Goddesses of all religions are somehow related - or even one and the same ultimately **- and form a religion of their own: a Goddess religion, which neo-paganism pretends is "ancient". Note: this is supposedly independent of the actual religions the poached Goddesses belong to. Whereas in reality Kali belongs in and presides over Hindu religion, while Demeter and Hekate and Diana similarly belong to Hellenismos, etc. Moreover, Kali is not a Goddess of a religion distinct from that of her husband and brother and the rest of the Hindu Pantheon, none of the Hindu Goddesses or Gods are of a religion separate from that of their Spouse and the other Devas. But then, neo-paganism and wicca are just looney invention. And who invited them to dabble in Hindu religion? But about 50% of the "converts" to Hindu religion - or those alleging an "interest" in Hindu religion/Gods/rituals - are neo-pagans. The give-away is always when they dabble in multiple religions or threaten some anonymous "Goddess" or start equating Hindu Goddesses with others' Goddesses. A la in that silly youtube video above. [** In contrast, the genuine Hellenes at YSEE don't even conflate their own distinct Goddesses with each other, let alone conflating Goddesses of Others with the Olympic Gods: e.g. ysee.gr/index-eng.php?type=english&f=polytheism which also has a video explaining how all their Gods and Goddesses are distinct.]

An example of the alien tendency to "collect" Goddesses from all over the world for their new-agey "neo-pagan" dabbling was at an SL link I once posted on this thread concerning the Hindu Goddess known to Tamizh Hindus, Kannagi. IIRC Female alien dabblers in Theravada Buddhism made use of the but few-centuries old phenomenon of Therevada Buddhist inculturation on Hindus' Kannagi to start dabbling in Kannagi and add her to their "collection" of poached Goddesses. [Having said that, it's not just female alien dabblers - or even just lesbian wiccan covens or whatever or other fembot neopagan movements - that dabble in the concocted "Goddess religion" else the "Goddess-onlee religion". The list of perpetrators includes male wiccans/neo-pagans too.]

When aliens discover Daoist and Shinto Gods and Goddesses, they always start dabbling in these too. But it's an Alien Thing. Christo-conditioned forever, all aliens can ever be is new-age and all they can ever do is dabble.

(Also, there are all too many cases on the web of people starting their dabbling in the Vedam only to end by swearing by Hindu tantra and then jumping ship to dabble in the Daoist equivalent of Tantra. Dabbling in Daoism promises a dangerous end however :evil-grin: )

On the subject. I remember that Koenraad Elst's all-new-age following included several aliens [he seems to attract alien new-agers as much as Indian readership], one of whom called himself "Apuleius (sp?) Something". It was an alien, and its gravatar image was the Tamizh OM symbol. <- Typical alien poacher, has moved passed oryan claims on Hindu religion to neo-pagan claims, in order to poach on sacred Tamizh Hindu symbols. Clicking on the alien's handle led to his About page where it quoted some lame English translation from Kalidaasa's Kumara Sambhavam, which has absolutely nothing to do with the alien, despite its delusions of some universal Paganism. But his About quote does explain why the dabbling alien felt entitled to the Tamizh OM: because that is intimately associated with Kumaran. The section on "interests" and further pages revealed the alien is male and hosts various neo-pagan - a mish-mash of Buddhist, Hindu, Hellenistic - and of course Wiccan pages.

Meanwhile, genuine Hellenes politely but firmly disassociate themselves from all things "Neo-pagan" as seen at ysee.gr's FAQ. I'm betting Apuleius has no Greek ancestry either, as Greek Hellenes feel no need to dabble in Wicca AND Hellenismos. (That he has no Hindu ancestry was already obvious.)

The annoying thing about the whole wicca/neo-paganism fad is that neo-pagans - usually dabbling from in the US somewhere - tend to whine "persecuted" as often as christians do. They will consider they're being "persecuted" for their concocted "faith" if Hindus and other heathens were to tell them to stop encroaching on Hindu/etc Gods and practices. Yet it is actually Hindus (and Hindu Gods) and other heathens following their ancestral heatheism who are being persecuted: it's their sacred ancestral religions being messed with, diluted, and utterly *ridiculed* by being forced into some weird mix-and-match new-ageism by aliens who have no business in others' ancestral religion (i.e. people who can't even resurrect their own ancestral religion, aka people dumped by their own ancestral Gods. It's very sad, but it's obviously true - else they wouldn't be dabbling - and it's not a problem I caused: their christo-converted ancestors are to blame, no need to take it out on Hindu or Daoist etc religion therefore. Alien dabblers don't understand why heathens don't feel "positive" towards their dabbling tendencies: it's because ethnic religions consider dabbling a hostile and anti-heathen and de-sacralizing act. Daoism certainly does - their very Gods do - and traditional Hindu society still doesn't accept alien "converts". And native Americans like the L/D/Nakota already told alien dabblers - in a declaration of war no less - to get lost, and delcared new-age religion salesmen selling native religion to aliens the enemy too. I totally comprehend why. Alien dabblers nearly turned sacred native American religion into a joke/new-age-ism. And I see that happening with Hindu religion in the hands of aliens dabblers "converts" all the time, not to mention neo-pagans who dabble in multiple religions at the same time. Which would be another reason why ysee.gr's FAQ describes neo-paganism as probably being christianism in disguise. It's certainly christo-conditioned. It turns serious, sacred religions that *work* into fake new-age travesties.)

E Asians with their great ability to tear the christowest's Asiaphile tendencies to shreds (from lopsided "interracial relationships" to the western hobby of adopting/abducting children from Asia/Africa/S & C America), should really write a tome on the *racism* of alien dabblers (=christoconditioned by definition) in heathenisms and aliens' grand sense of entitlement to dabble in others' ancestral religions. It would be Da Book to read, I'm sure. It will leave Indian would-be scholars' inept "purva-paksha" treatises gathering dust on the shelves. Sigh.

Anyway, YSEE reminded me of the following comparison to be made. The parallel may be unpleasant but it's hardly unfounded.

1. ysee.gr/index-eng.php?type=english&f=dt21-1

Quote:When we were assuring ourselves that the modern byzantines could not sink any lower, we witnessed the statements of the directors of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens Nikos Kaltsas and the Benaki Museum Aggelos Delivorias in the Athenian newspaper "Ta Nea" but also those of the executive director of the Onasis Center Loukas Tzilas in the internet edition of the Greek American paper "Greek News". They all made statements concerning the head of the statue of the Goddess Aphrodite that is part of the exhibit at the Onasis Center. The statue has a cross carved on its forehead, its nose is broken and there are signs of blows to its mouth and eyes. All three shamelessly stated that the christians carved the cross in order to sanctify it, and make it a part of their reality. Tzilas went as far as to say that "now Aphrodite is in the service of the church". We wonder if following their thinking, they should thank the Turks for "sanctifying" the church of Hagia Sofia in Constantinople by turning it to a mosque after whitewashing the icons. Or even the Taliban in Afghanistan that "sanctified" the giant statues of Buddha with the cannons of their tanks.

2. Now can compare the above with the following, posted by others earlier in this thread (on page 1 in fact):

[quote name='Bharatvarsh2' date='09 May 2010 - 02:07 AM' timestamp='1273377387' post='106279']

The nAstika tilopA from the va~Nga country is highly regarded among Tibetans. He was an aggressive subversionist of former dharma. He says in apabhraMsha:

bamhA vihNu mahesura devA | bohisattva ma karahu seva | deva ma pUjahu titya Na jAvA | devapUjAhi Na mokkha pAvA ||

Here tilopA says: bodhisattva, do not worship the deva-s brahmA, viShNu and maheshvara; do not do pUjA to deva-s do not go to tIrtha-s. One does not get mokSha by doing pUjA to deva-s. Earlier, the sthaviravAdin buddhaghosha (born a brAhmaNa in magadha) who calls upon the nAstika-s to desist from hearing the rAmAyaNa or the bhArata. Actually, this strain is an original aspect of the tAthagata-s that passed unchanged through the transition of the yAna-s. Umakant Mishra points to a li~Nga in the Soro village of Orissa that has been defaced by the carving of a nAstika dharaNi on it. So the pAShaNDa-s were ready to put these words into practice. Yet we are repeatedly told that it is the Astika-s who were the buddha-busters (to borrow a favorite term of the Mohammedan: bhut-shikhan).



Same difference.

I recall reading somewhere that in Thailand IIRC (which had a Tamizh Hindu presence before it got Bauddified) Buddhists sell Bauddhified "Shivalingams" (oxymoron) - to bauddify the remnants of the Hindu Shaiva influences in Thailand. (Apparently Nepalese Buddhists carve Buddhist symbols into Shivalingas also - a factoid I have not verified for myself, BTW.) So maybe I shouldn't be so harsh on Aphrodite being tattoed with christian crosses to "sanctify" her for christianism? Or at least not if the christian manufacturing line were to produce Aphrodite imagery with christian crosses carved into her head? Or Buddhism in E and SE Asia selling a Daoist God with the head of a pig, which he does not have, after having invented [a false clone of] him with it?

Yeah, *right*. But it's all *equally* unwelcome.

But inculturation works that way. All these instances are of a nouveau Replacement religion mangling the correct perception of the original religion, by encroaching on Gods/sacred imagery that the replacement religion never even cared for in the first place. And why? For missionary purposes onlee.

Hmmm. The bold bit below from manasataramgini.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/the-anti-shaiva-rants-of-the-nastika-s/

Quote:Both the bauddha and jaina nAstika-s saw shaiva-s of all hues as major competitors. It is interesting to note that despite the popularity of pA~ncharAtra tantra-s much of bauddha hate is particularly directed at the shaiva-s rather than vaiShNava-s. While shuddhodana-putra (=Buddha, Shakyamuni) was a subversionist, he cannot be described as having special hate for his Astika rivals. But his successors definitely had a considerable hate for Astika-s in general and shaiva-s in particular. In contrast, we do not see this level of directed spite and hate on the Astika side. The unidirectionality of it suggests that the nAstika-s indeed had an inferiority complex and were vigorously competing with Astika-s and did everything to absorb key elements of their new innovations.

The same phrase was echoed in page 1, post #14 - a year later in 2009 I note (but I'll put that down to obvious influence).

The bold bit is *way* too polite. It's not "inferiority complex". It's jealousy. Plain and simple.

Copycatting for inculturation purposes is not flattery. It is something missionary religions resort to when their *own* plain-vanilla religion fails to impress the laity they want to convert or when converted laity shows signs of revertibility. They realise their religion doesn't have these "features" and that these things are considered attractive by adherents of the old religion. So the missionary religions/ replacement theologies then compromise some of their principles for the purposes of their zeal and start to inculturate on the native religion - 'transforming' each 'feature' as a legitimate part of its own mythology. Eventually poaching it for all that "appeals", but only to the (utmost) extent that the replacement religion is willing to sacrifice its own features, but not beyond: so for example, christianism will not inculturate as far as adopting Hindu Gods as equivalents for Jeebus let alone as part of an extended pantheon featuring him (only when converting the Hindus do they still use the Hindu pantheon only to introduce jeebus as an addition to it). Having said that, christianism did declare Mercury and Demeter etc were Santas, sort of like how it declared that Aphrodite had been sanctified and was thus part of the christian worldview/cosmogony now. Or the case of how Greek mysteries were poached for "Christian mysteries". And so also Odysseus himself was identified with jeebus - all backwards in time, naturally: "it was all christian mystery", declared moderns in Angleterre peddling a Hellenistic-christian 'composite culture' - another oxymoron).
Husky wrote - Wait. Isn't G.Sub the one who was seen on IF lecturing - on two separate occasions - that Hindus in West Bengal should give up Kali/Durga and Saraswati Pooja? So why in the world does he pretend to care about the Sinhalese and SL Buddhists demolishing a Hindu Kali Kovil in Sri Lanka? Or is it just a case of "one rule for India's Bengali Hindus and one for SL's Tamizh Hindus"?


The context is this, Hindu bengali culture is a gross failure against islam, and Hindu bengali resistance against islam is / was effiminate, despite their so called superior culture

When Assam was 15% muslim ( in 1901 ) and Orissa 2% muslim, Bengal is 70% muslim

And historically much of west bengal belonged to Oriya kingdoms

It would help if the Bengali Hindus took on Oriya culture and dumped the so called superior Hindu bengali culture

Oriya people also do Kali puja

Forgot to state the one thing I came for. Related to this long excerpt again:

[quote name='Husky' date='28 October 2013 - 01:43 PM' timestamp='1382947519' post='116878']

one of his pages mentioned that the 63 Nazhanmars 'must have' been copied off the 63 Sakala puruShas of Jainism. (Note: the Buddhist peddler is clearly a very modern Buddhist, the kind that imagines dreamily that Shramanas - capital S - get along. They certainly didn't historically, which is why even today, the Jain Minority Forum has nothing but contempt for Buddhism - second only to their hatred for Hindus' religion.)

[color="#0000FF"]But to Repeat where the "63" in the 63 Nazhanmars of Tamizh Shaivam comes from. The following is something all Tamizh Hindus and certainly all Shaivas among them know (but Buddhism peddlers wouldn't know or will certainly pretend not to know, as the implications are not flattering for their argument) -

The Nazhanmars as exemplary devotees of Shiva were limited to 63 + 1 for a specific reason, to do with the importance of that number in Hindus' religion:

* SaMkhya's 25 is reflected in the larger set of 24 Vishnu incarnations and the specific subset of 25 Shiva moorties. Another famous subset of Shiva moorties (forms) is 64 in number, others include sets sized 100, 108, etc.

* the 18/28 Shaiva Agamas - with Rudra-s or Sadaashiva-s presiding over each (the texts' origin is ascribed to a line of Rudras and a line of Sadaashivas either as the Rishis of the texts themselves or as transmitting the texts via earthly Rishis) - are reflected in the 18/27 Siddhars of Shaivam (27 Siddhars is off by one from 28 Shaiva Agamas, just like "63 Nayanmars" is off by one from 64 Shiva Tantras when Manickavachagar isn't mentioned alongside. I think Shiva is posited as the implicit first - before Agastya - to make the lineage of Siddhars 28 anyway).

* the 64 Shiva Tantras - with one Shivamoorty of the subset of 64 Shiva moorties presiding over each of these Tantras - are reflected in the 63 Nayanmars + Manikkavachagar.

(Also 64 kalas of Hindu religion that the Hindu Gods originate and preside over. In Shaivam, Shiva and his wife originate and preside over the 64 kalaas)

* the 8 Yamalas (e.g. Rudra Yamala) which IIRC are to be associated with or presided over by one of the AshtaBhairavas each. Or something

And similar sets of important numbers including 32 Ganapatis, 108 Shiva moorties, shata rudrIyam and the rest. These are all numbers significant to Hindu religion, and they were significant to Hindus long before either Buddhism or Jainism made claims to them. In exhalting a limited set of specifically 63 + 1 devotees in Shaiva tradition, the Hindus of the Tamizh regions were naturally acting on ancient Hindu tradition in doing so.[/color]

So either the Buddhist making allegations about Tamizh Hindus plagiarising the 63 from the Jains is simply ignorant, OR he's feigning ignorance with intent to mislead. Certainly the thing that he's conveniently silent about is where Buddhism got its magic number of multiple Buddhas from, or - more famously/tellingly/obviously - where Jainism got its magic number of Teerthankaras from. The number of teerthankaras is 24 or 25 or 26 (forgot the exact number as this is not my religion): it's owing the influence of the very *Hindu* Sankhyan view. (Even the later classical Sankhya is classed Astika.) It makes sense that Hindus had 24/25 Vishnu and Shiva moorties, relating these back to the original, theistic Sankhya. Now what's the excuse the Buddhist wants to give for the Jain plagiarism here? Probably "ur-shramanism", since that's the only way to claim that Sankhya belongs equally if not more to Jainism/Buddhism than Hindu religion. [As a sidenote, I think even the "Sakala Purushas" - going by the name - is a throwback to Sankhyan views, though the more classical variant.]


Not to forget the 64 koti Yoginis (mentioned in the LU) and whose personal names I hear SBR is supposed to have started rattling off to an initially doubtful audience. (Amman was to have whispered these in his ear, he did not personally know them or their names.) I think the 64 koti Yoginis are again related to the 64 tantras of Hindus' Shaivam-Shaktam.

The way the huge volume of the tridasha koti is summarised in the smaller subset of the tridasha, may be how this last larger set of 64 koti Yoginis was represented by the vigrahas of 64 Yoginis - the ones who were moved from the Elephanta caves (was it) to be housed safely in Chennai "to save them from further damage". I presume this last is an allusion to how the christo Portuguese (in)famously took pot-shots using their guns at the Vigrahas at Elephanta: in any case, the damage seen on the pic of the the Yogini vigrahas was severe.

(Note: they can't be claimed as the 63 Sakala purushas of Jainism because a. they're 64 and b. they're very clearly all-female. Further, one of the images IIRC has the head of an ajA, a la how the Amman vigraha at one of the Shakti PeeThas also has the head of a ajA - ajAmukhi devI. Also, one of the 4 VedapuruShas - the Yajus one I think - has the head of what seems to be a ajA/meSha to me, but then meSha represents/embodies yagnya.)

Previous post (by G Sub):

Are you trying to excuse what you said? "Too Late."

Quote:Hindu bengali culture is a gross failure against islam

And what "culture" is that? Durga (Lakshmi) Saraswati pooja is not culture. It is Hindu religion.

And by the way: all heathenism - across geography, across time - is a "total failure" against christoislamism. (And all secularism, all atheism, all agnosticism. All freedom. All humanity. All sanity.) Nothing but violence and total war works against the archterrorism that is christoislam. And no sane person is willing to try total war - at least, no one survives the ordeal to look back with hindsight and say "yeah, we should have responded to total war with total war too". But c'est la vie und andere sache.

But succeeding against christoislam is not the goal of heathenism in the first place: the fact that heathenism predates christoislam sort of gave that one away.

Hindus *lost* because we lost our kShatriyas (massacred by islamania).* Then our brahmanas subverted and now we're stuck with a growing number of loser de-heathenised secularised entities of "brahmana ancestry" - which means all of nothing. So Hindus also lost large quantities of those who should have been the repositories of [the intricacies of] heathenism.

Oh, and Hindus are now further stuck with blind nationalists - and other forms of gangrene - which is a shorthand for "christoislam, you don't even need to destroy me anymore, I'm no longer a heathen/polytheistic idolator anyway".

The fundamental problem is for a society like that of Hindus to have lost all its warriors. That was the first and major tragedy. It was really downhill from there. Hindus would never have survived an assault like that of concerted islamania after that. Hindus had just bought time, in return for gallons of our kShatriyas' blood. They did their duty of course: die with no questions asked for Hindus/the Hindu Dharma. And Hindus... well, in return for such loyalty, Hindus eventually evolved into Indian nationalists-only and stabbed the dead in the back: no more Hindu dharma.

Hindus have lost. (But not for the reasons you stated. But because they've ceased to be Hindus.) Deal with it.

That doesn't mean "Indians" (individuals living in the subcontinent) have to lose. Indians can grow some fangs and slap christoislamicommunism back as hard as they slap you. Whoever's still standing at the end wins. Aka total war.

But now apathy - not humanity - is what is preventing the masses of secular Indians from entering into total war.

Survival of the fittest: christoislam wants to win, Indians don't and are content to sleepwalk. Predicted outcome: christoislamania wins.

Dude, I don't even care. Indians deserve to lose (I was never on the side of "Indians", only on heathens' side). Because you couldn't as a nation do the one thing you were all meant to: Remain Heathen. Subvertible=fundamentally flawed.

Quote:It would help if the Bengali Hindus took on Oriya culture and dumped the so called superior Hindu bengali culture

Oriya people also do Kali puja
And this makes even less sense: to lecture Bengalis to give up Durga/Kali ~ Saraswati Pooja and then lecture them to take up Kali Pooja. "Dump A and take up A."

Nonsense. If you wanted them to win against islamania (instead of wanting them to de-heathenise) you'd have told them to take up arms and defend themselves to the end, not to give up pooja to their Gods.

Is that what you learn at nationalism school? That Hindus giving up yet more of themselves will stop islam? (It never did before.) Oh wait, that's what Rajarant also said: his self-declared "expert" anal-ysis was that Hindus needed to give up the Vedam and all Hindu rituals/all Hindu-ness/heathenism to stop islamania.

Same school of "logic".

Give up nothing. But take up arms. Oh, and offence is the best defence.

Be Israeli, like the brave Jews standing up for their right to exist. There's only so far you can push people until they either start pushing back or extinct. The choice is really easy: it's been narrowed down to two options now (and we can all count to 2), since the enemy that is christoislamicommunism=Total-War gives no other. Bite back.
About the blue bit:

[quote name='Husky' date='10 November 2013 - 06:49 PM' timestamp='1384089093' post='116892']

Many famous Tamizh Hindu villages and regions in SL were taken over for Buddhism in the recent past. But in those places harbouring a famous Kovil, the Buddhist Sangha usually spends some years starting a "movement" to send Buddhist laity to invade the space en-masse to supposedly "worship" at the Hindu temple. Large masses start arriving suddenly. Hindus think these new-comer Buddhist masses are like the rarer occasional lay Buddhist that popped up to genuinely pay their respects to the Hindu Gods. [...] Then, with the Buddhist masses inundating Hindu temples and setting up shop in the locality, the Tamizh Hindu region is Bauddhified, the Bauddha Sangha officially invades, takes over the Hindu temple by force or edges out the Hindu priesthood at the temple and then Bauddhifies the rituals. Then the Bauddha Sangha invents and circulates back-projected myths about how the Hindu Temple and presiding Hindu Gods are "equally" Buddhist. [...] [color="#0000FF"](SL Hindus had documented this for several famous historically-Hindu areas in SL.)[/color]

The irony is that the familiar pattern in SL matches things seen Elsewhere too.

* Actually, similar things happened in E Asia to Daoist and Shinto temples and in SE Asia to Daoist temples. But then, Buddhism etc is nobody's ancestral religion.[/quote]

I can't track the page I was originally thinking of, but found something else that touches on it (it's more angry though). The modus operandi is apparently more involved, but some of the other examples provided sound even more like cases seen in E Asia.


"The state sponsored destruction and desecration of Hindu Temples is continuing in the North East."

(Don't know how dubious/one-sided the site is - "LTTE Ra Ra" sites tend to call themselves "Lanka" not "Sri Lanka", since christianism is allergic to the very Hindu "Sri" prefix - but at least some of the data in the article is verifiable and substantiated in a more reliable source that I had seen earlier.)

The main article as well as the quoted text in the first comment to it are all that's relevant. The latter is a Temple Restoration plea which speaks of "[The Thiruketheeswaram Hindu temple severely damaged by the SL state/army] is revered by the Buddhists too & referred to in the Buddhists chronicles" and "Hindus & Buddhists are members of the same family of Religions."

The rest of the comments at the link descends into the usual "You Sinhala"/"You Tamizh" and "You Buddhist/You Hindu" type retorts, which won't end any time soon.

Note it's from 2009, an era when the christo LTTE was still around and christoconditioned SL Tamizhs - ready to believe christianism was their dear trusted friend - were of course the norm.

Maybe the SL Buddhists' need to take over/Bauddify Hindu majority areas stems from their fear of Tamizh-only demographics leading to or fueling further dreams of "Eelam". However, if that were the sole case behind the ongoing SL govt (and Buddhist monk) anti-Hindu violence, they wouldn't be violently attacking Hindu temples.

Interesting is this bit:

Quote:2) Sudden discoveries are made of such symbols in archaeological excavations in sights historically known to have been that of Hindu shrines, and thereafter the process of converting the areas into Sinhala Buddhist areas begins as aforesaid. [color="#FF0000"]Cyril Mathew[/color], a former minister and a henchman of President Jeyawardena, and rabid chauvinist was the chief architect of this scheme. He and his gang discovered over 100 ancient Buddhist shrines in the Eastern Province.

One of the comments by a SL Tamizh person at that link declared that India's Hindus were labouring under the misconception that eelam was a christian conspiracy.

Typical SL LTTE supporters including once-were-Hindu brainwashees tend to defend SL christianism. But there is no such thing as a Hindu who works with christianism. And eelam *is* a christian conspiracy. That is why the remnants of the LTTE have migrated (under new names) to TN India and is working for christianism and against Hindus there: to still implement "christian eelam". So no, it's not a figment of Indian Hindus imagination. Christian successes among Hindus in SL is amazing. And surprisingly also the christian success among the Buddhists in SL.

Amazing how christians are to be found everywhere in key places to whisper their brilliant "ideas" into the ears of both Buddhists and Hindus. A la Cyril Matthew above or the innumerable SL christian "Tamizhs" supposedly agitating on behalf of SL Hindus, but really just working on creating and cementing "Tamizh" as sole and overarching identity and rope all Tamizhs into their eelam plan.
The following excerpt is from a page that was linked to from the Rajeev2004 blog.


Quote:Gospels Of Mahavir

By Sanjeev Nayyar, February 2003 [esamskriti@suryaconsulting.net]

1Chapter :

From the book Jaina Darsana by Munisri Nyayavijayaji translated into English as Jaina Dharma & Philosophy by Shri Nagin Shah. Courtesy and Copyright Bhogilal Lehar Chand Institute of Technology.

True [color="#0000FF"]Sacrifice[/color]

Susamvuda pamcahim samvarehim iha jiviam anavakamkhamana /

Vosatthakaya suicattadeha mahajayam jayai jannasittham //

-Uttaradhyayanasutra, 12.42

Those who are well protected by the five vows and are not attached to the life of sensual pleasures, who dedicate their body to the performance of good actions, who are pure-hearted and righteous are indeed continuously engaged in the performance of supreme [color="#0000FF"]sacrifice[/color] which brings them victory in the field of good conduct.

Tavo joi jivo joithanam joga suya sariram karisamgam /

Kamme eha samjamajogasamti [color="#0000FF"]homam[/color] hunami isinam pasattham //

-Uttaradhyayanasutra, 12.44

[color="#0000FF"]Austerity is my fire; soul my fireplace; threefold activity of mind, speech and body is my sacrificial ladle; the body the dried cow dung; karman is my fuel; self-control, good activity and tranquility are the oblations, praised by the sages, which I offer. As this sacrifice is of the form of pure self-restraint, it brings peace and happiness to the sacrifice. It is this sacrifice that is extolled by the great sages.[/color]

True Brahmana

Jaha paumam jale novalippai varina /

Evam alittam kamehim tam vayam buma mahanam //

-Uttaradhyayanasutra, 25.26

He who is not defiled by cravings for sensual pleasures as a lotus growing in the water is not wetted by it, him we call a [color="#0000FF"]brahmana[/color].

Jayaruvam jahamattam niddhamtamalapavagam /

Raga-dosa-bhayaiam tam vayam buma mahanam //

-Uttaradhyayanasutra, 25.21

He who is free from attachment, aversion and fear, and as a result who shines forth like burnished gold, purified in fire, him we call a [color="#0000FF"]brahmana[/color].


The above is way too obvious, but will still observe:

1. Mahavira is the only Jaina teerthankara acknowledged by history. History makes him out to be the founder of Jainism.

2. He's talking of Homa-s

3. He's parroting the Hindus' Upanishads (that predate Mahavira) on the matter of the esoteric meaning of yagnya/homa: he acknowledges that this was a view on sacrifice (homa) "extolled by the great sages". This is clearly a reference to Vedic *Hindus* who famously described the esoteric meaning of homas before him (as only they can).

Even were Jains to argue that the reference to "the great sages" refers to the multiple teerthankaras of Jain theology who are to have predated Mahavira, Mahavira's own statement referring to sages "extolling" the esoteric meaning of yagnya *before* him implies that any such persons - be they Jain teerthankaras - clearly always knew yagnyas pre-existed and that the Upanishadic view on yagnyas (their esoteric meaning) pre-existed AND that their very mention of yagnya before Mahavira is a confirmation that their views as much as his own were predicated on the Vedic religion's views. Even though it ended up as an entirely independent spin-off that afterwards blasted the Vedic religion and competed with it directly (common pattern in replacement religion.)

4. The reference to "supreme sacrifice" in the first verse - which Mahavira brings up in the context of the "5 vows" allegedly originally unique to Jainism - should be read in context with the its following verse in the above: the entire section is called "True Sacrifice" and clearly speaks of the relation between physical homam (sacrifice) to esoteric sacrifice. Meaning: the Chandogya Upanishad of the Hindus [and every other ancient Upanishad on the subject] - which Jains had been alleging as having taken its ideas from Jainism - predates the 5 vows in Jainism and is the source for drawing the comparison between the exoteric and esoteric version of yagnya.

5. To be clear: the description of an esoteric yagnya cannot predate the exoteric yagnya. The physical rite to be performed necessarily comes before any descriptions of internal versions of the same. That means that the Vedic rites certainly predated the Jain description of the esoteric version above. But furthermore, it also means the Upanishadic exoteric-to-esoteric enumeration of the meaning of Vedic rites also needs predates the Jain descriptions of the same: needs Hindus who actually carried out Vedic yagnyas and knew it in detail to explicate the 1-to-1 relationships (as the Vedic Hindus did in the Upanishads) before such ideas become common enough to descend into allegory/be used by other religions.

In Mahavira's case, all that can be determined is that he only knows the allegory for the esoteric version and not the actual rites on which such knowledge is contingent.*

6. Jaina definition of Brahmanas is clearly again taken from pre-existing Hindu materials: Upanishads, MBh, Gita.

In short, not only does Mahavira's own statements prove that the Vedas predate Mahavira/Jainism, but also that Jainism is based off of pre-existing ideas. Indeed, dependent on them for its very existence.

* Wonder what Mahavira's ancestral varna was? Was he originally supposed to be a brahmana or kshatriya? Because that would easily explain his latching onto specifics of Vedic Hindu religion and homas in particular.

That Jainism like Buddhism started as a spin-off of Hindus' religion is only questioned and contested by Jains.

But I suspect Jainism further started with the same idea that marked Buddhism: Mahavira like Buddha seems to me to be offering the Hindu Sannyasa state - which in Hindu religion tends to be exclusively for Veda brahmanas in the "4th stage" of their life (i.e. Sannyasa) - to "everybody". Upanishads/its lifestyle are the main focus of Sannyasins anyway.

This fits both the reference to yagnya and brahmana in Mahavira's (both based off clearly Hindu definitions, plus the very fact that he mentions homas and the ghee and cow dung and oblation just underlines that their views - the very existence of their views - were originally predicated on Vedic religion). Which also explains why - like Buddhism - Jainism is purely a "philosophy" and not a complete religion (underscored by the reverting tendency seen in laity converted to the nouveau religions, as laity does not subsist on philosophy alone). Whereas Vedic religion already contained philosophy (even in its founding body of sacred literature) as a part of it: the same philosophy that was initially regurgitated - with immediate else eventual deviations - by Buddhism/Jainism).

One can further - and very easily - surmise the origin of vegetarianism and all ahimsa in Jainism: it is also from the pre-existent vegetarianism and ahimsa objectives prescribed for the Hindu sannyasins. Which is why all the ancient Hindu literature that speaks of Hindu vegetarianism has never heard of Jainism: because it predates Jainism.

[I didn't start the claim-game, but I can play it too.]

Now, the Jain Minority Forum types clearly don't know/want to know about such references in Mahavira's literature. And ur-Shramanism may next choose to peddle that the entire Vedas (Upanishadic/Gnyaana Kandam explanations on yagnyas are needs contingent on the Karma Kandam portions - i.e. the literal physical rituals - that preceded them)... Ur-Shramanism peddlers may next choose to claim that the entire Vedas "originally belonged to the native dravoodian=ur-Shramanist/Jain inhabitants of the IVC, before the oryans invaded and stole the Vedic ritual tradition from the poor oppressed ur-Shramanists/Jains/what-have-you, and then Oryans got credited for the Vedas instead." Ridiculous, absurd, but follows logically from all the claims that has gradually been made for the concocted ur-shramanism. Which is why it fits the initial prediction that eventually Jains/Buddhists/etc peddling their prototypes in ur-Shramanism would eventually have to claim all the Vedam, since the entire Hindu religion is really related and a single thread. They could never have tried to poach on just Yoga or just Sankhya or just Tantra or just Upanishads and Vedanta or even the Aranyaka portions of the Vedam. Eventually, the absurdity of their greed to pretend they predated the Vedam, the Vedic religion and Vedic society would lead them to claim an identity with this.

But they're not identical. They deviated. Long ago. And fought bitterly about this. Which is why they remain antagonistic today and want to eject ethnic Hindus of the Vedic religion (including the Vedic religion itself) from the Hindu homeland, to replace this with themselves/ur-Shramanism as the "true, original natives" instead. So sorry that absurd fable (of ur-Shramanism) fell through, as per the statements of Mahavira above itself.

The above verses by Mahavira are hardly necessary to underline what was already known: Vedic religion is the ancestral religion of the natives of the subcontinents. Buddhism, Jainism and other late comers are spin-offs that deviated and established themsevles as spin-offs and direct competitors (and which are further regarded by knowledgeable Hindus, both ancient and extant, as having twisted - subverted - Vedic religion).

The origination and existence of Jainism as also Buddhism are contingent on Vedic religion, but not vice-versa. That is, Vedic religion needed to have pre-existed in order for Jainism/Buddhism/etc ... to eventually appear. But Buddhism and Jainism having never appeared would be quite irrelevant to Hindus' religion. Vedic religion already had its "philosophy" - its philosophical core - alongside its Vedic rituals, unseparable, intimately related. And unmangled what's more - but only in Hindus' religion. Everyone else has distorted echoes. [Not fair? Then shouldn't have missionised and poached.]

And a typical comment by a Hindu at the link:

Quote:Comment By - shivaramg Thrissur Date - 12 Nov 2012 Time - 5:55PM

Extremely beautiful and inspiring -there is no difference at between these saying and those attributed to more traditional saints, sages and teachers of Sanaatana Dharma. If only the translation is shown I would not guess these Jaina ideals the least bit different from Hindu sages.

The statement admits that the Jaina Mahavira is merely repeating what traditional (i.e. Hindu) teachers of the Sanatana Dharma had already stated before - since these were features of their own religion - before lauding Mahavira/Jainism for repeating the same.

The usual tendency of peddlers at this point (Hindu peddlers of Jainism/Buddhism included) is to declare

- that all these religions are therefore the "same" (No they're actually not. They differ in details - and they all bickered odiously on the subject.)

- look how beautiful Jainism/Buddhism/whatever is. But the beauty you recognised was already there in Hindu religion and indeed derives from there. (At which point it just looks like you're patting yourself on the back.) Can stop peddling therefore.

However, as these things pre-existed and still exist in Hindu religion, do Hindus need Mahavira etc to have re-stated them. No.

*Hindus* don't need Mahavira. Jains do. *Hindus* don't need Buddha. Buddhists do. And again: Hindu religion is not dependent on the religions founded by either of these, whereas the reverse does not hold, because Hindu religion does not need Jainism/Buddhism/etc, whereas the foundations/origin of the latter did depend on Hindu religion.

And there's the main difference already.

It would be great - though incredibly unlikely - if Hindus were in future to tell all beliebers/peddlers of the ur-Shramanism theory (or peddlers of Shramanisms as replacement theologies) to stop peddling this already. Because all that ever results is missionaries of other Indic religions trying to score some of the Hindu laity for their own religion by "subtle" methods like "Jainism taught Hindus ahimsa and vegetarianism and Buddhism taught Hindus compassion and egalitarianism" and not-so-subtle methods like the ur-Shramanism concoction itself as well as the Aliens=Vedic-Hindus-Persecuted-Us-The-Original-Natives ("please convert already") fiction/syndrome. Hindus can at least stop encouraging that. Not asking people to peddle their own religion (since peddling is understandably tacky). Oh, and it would also be great if Hindus stopped rolling over everytime some subtle/unsubtle Jain/Buddhist peddler declared that ahimsa/vegetarianism/<insert Hindu author/literature> was originally/actually Jain/Buddhist.
Not really on the thread topic, but does concern Buddhism. Two items seen at the rajeev2004 blog:


via rajeev2004.blogspot.co.uk/[color="#0000FF"]2013/11[/color]/fwd-chinas-asian-age-depends-on.html

Quote:Today as we discuss, the Chinese are busy strengthening economic and military ties with all our neighbours in an effort to lay the noose all around us. The Chinese have developed the Sri-Lankan port of Hambantota. They plan linking of Chittagong port in Bangladesh to the energy corridor in Burma. They are developing a rail link from the Tibetan capital Lhasa to Khasa on the Nepal China border which will reduce Kathmandu's hitherto dependence on India for imports. They also plan to develop Lumbini, birth place of Lord Buddha in Nepal as Mecca for Buddhists all over the world.

Then on the very next page of entries at the blog:


Quote:Oldest Buddhist Temple Found, Buddha Older Than Thought

Archaeologists claim to have found the oldest known Buddhist temple, possibly pushing back the date of Buddha's birth by a century:


Posted by san at 11/25/2013 01:41:00 PM 0 comments Links to this post

Don't know why San (or anyone) would be jumping to the conclusion that the older temple at the site of the current one was Buddhist. If they can actually prove it was Buddhist, then this could certainly push the Buddha's date to earlier than currently assigned (something many already thought was the case, since the dating of Indian history has been quite arbitrary - before Alexander the Great at least.)

However, the older temple at the site need not be Buddhist. The only reasoning that the eager claimants interviewed at National Geographic can submit is the following, though it hardly constitutes "evidence" but is actually the usual special pleading:

1. Continuity of structural layout:

Quote:The layout of that more recent shrine duplicates the layout of the earlier wooden structures, pointing to a continuity of Buddhist worship at the site, Coningham says.

But it could just be that Buddhism acquired (such as by takeover) a pre-existing temple, and then, after centuries, had to eventually rebuild a new temple over it.

This is not a necessary answer of course, but because it can't be ruled out (and is not unheard of in Buddhism's case) there's no need to assume that the original temple was Buddhist or that the original temple was originally Buddhist.

I mean, consider the case of various temples and sacred sites taken over by Buddhism in Asia, many still not regained by the local religions. (And it's not just India or Sri Lanka, though more recent cases like Kathirgamam may sound more familiar to Indians: just because Buddhism now predominates and dominates at various important ancient Hindu temple sites in Sri Lanka does not magically mean that Buddhism constructed those temples or that Buddhism was the original occupant of those once-Hindu sites. I.e. people in the future would be wrong to assume that such originally-Hindu temples were built as Buddhist sites or even by Buddhists. But further below may just C&P an excerpt from the link pasted 2 posts up, which lists some examples that Indians may already know.)

2. Assumptions of Buddhism:

Quote:The tree roots appear to have been fertilized, and although bodhigara are found in older Indian traditions, the shrine lacked the signs of sacrifices or offerings found at such sites.

"It was very clean, in fact, which points to the Buddhist tradition of nonviolence and nonofferings," says Coningham.

Intriguing need to jump to conclusions of Buddhism by Coningham.

But, uh, to state the obvious: I'm not aware of Hindus ever having offered meat to sacred Trees (or to Elephants or Cows worshipped etc). In fact, many/all? trees are not offered any food and sometimes not offered flowers either. Also, different trees are worshipped differently by Hindus. For instance, one Tree in the premises of a certain Temple that I visited last time I went to Bharatam got little things tied to its branches by the Hindus. The things that the Hindus tied to it (couldn't properly see what they were) represented wishes: the Hindus appealed to the Tree for children. (That Tree is a Hindu God which famously blesses Hindu bhaktas with children.)

While Hindus may possibly do flower pooja to a Bodhi/Pippala/Ashwattha Vriksha as well, or hang garlands on them, what I'm more familiar with seeing is Hindus circumambulating the Vanaspati and reciting several famous stotras to it.

That's why the caution in the following statement from the article makes more sense:

Quote:(Julia Shaw, a lecturer in South Asian archaeology at University College London) was cautious about the oldest Buddhist shrine claim.

"The worship of trees, often at simple altars, was a ubiquitous feature of ancient Indian religions, and given the degree of overlap between Buddhist ritual and pre-existing traditions, it is also possible that what is being described represents an older tree shrine quite disconnected from the worship of the historical Buddha," Shaw says.

So I don't know why San at the Rajeev2004 blog so readily deferred to what's actually non-evidence of Buddhism per se (there's only evidence of Tree worship at the remains of a shrine pre-existing at that site) and declared that "therefore" Buddha's own birthday can be shifted backwards in time. Need *evidence* of *Buddhism* at that date, not evidence of pre-existing Indian religion: because we already know that Hindus' religion existed there at that earlier time, which is not a revelation.

But I'm aware that when it comes to Buddhism etc, Hindus never ask for evidence but operate on blind faith/emotion. Modern Hindus will just swear by it and speculate in its favour (at times even speculating against Hindus' own ancestral religion in favour of Buddhism/Jainism.)

More worrying is if China - in its recently-revealed goal of developing Lumbini, Nepal, as a Buddhist "Mecca" (as claimed at rajeev2004.blogspot.co.uk/[color="#0000FF"]2013/11[/color]/fwd-chinas-asian-age-depends-on.html) - will cause the world to pretend that Lumbini or all of Nepal is Buddhist, or even originally. Sort of like how people pretend that Bihar was always Buddhist and that Takshashila was originally a Buddhist learning centre, or that Afghanistan was ever more Buddhist than Hindu.

Anyway, the excerpt:


Quote:All five renowned Hindu shrines that existed long before the advent of Buddhism in Ceylon, - Thirukketheeswaram, Thirukkoneswaram, Naguleswaram, Munneswaram, and Thondeswaram - are now under the control of Sinhala Buddhist oppressors. The first three temples are under the direct control of the occupying armed forces of the Sri Lankan state which are made up entirely of Sinhala Buddhists except for a handful of Christians and Muslims.

[color="#800080"](Ignoring the angry language, the facts are that the afore-listed old Hindu temples in SL have been taken over, either directly or indirectly by or for Buddhism.)[/color]

The encroachment of Hindu Temples lands by the Sinhala Buddhist Monks with the help of Government of Sri Lanka and armed forces:

1)Buddhists Sinhala symbols, the stupa and bo-tree, are made use of to give legitimacy to Sinhala settlements in Tamil areas. The method normally adopted is to find a bo-tree in a Tamil area, erect a Buddhist idol underneath it overnight, stealthily build a vihara around it or near it with an incumbent Buddhist monk, and then the process of Sinhalisation of the area begins culminating in the claim that the region was an ancient Buddhist area.

2) Sudden discoveries are made of such symbols in archaeological excavations in sights historically known to have been that of Hindu shrines, and thereafter the process of converting the areas into Sinhala Buddhist areas begins as aforesaid. Cyril Mathew, a former minister and a henchman of President Jeyawardena, and rabid chauvinist was the chief architect of this scheme. He and his gang discovered over 100 ancient Buddhist shrines in the Eastern Province. The gang then decided that there should be only Sinhala Buddhists living within the limits of the area in which the peeling of the bells of the newly erected Buddhist viharas could be heard and by means of mob violence and stare terrorism they sought to implement this rule.

3) The declaration of sites of Hindu shrines as archeological reserves to undertake excavation operations, posing a danger to the temple, apart from bringing out false claims based on misinterpretation of findings to prove ancient Sinhala Buddhist settlements. The Muthumariamman temple in Kilivetty, in the Trincomalee District, is a case in point. A gazetted order for the excavation in the lands belonging to the Temple still hangs like the sword of Damocles over it, although the excavation process was suspended because of vehement protests by the former member of parliament. The inhabitants of this area have now been forcibly evicted by the armed forces.

4) Government notifications being issued that certain ruins are Buddhists ruins, as in the case of the historic Samanalankulam Pillaiyar temple in the Vavuniya District that has now been converted into Buddhist ruin.

5) Erecting imposing Buddhist statues in close proximity to ancient Hindu temples as in the case of Thirukoneswaram of Trincomalee, is yet another method adopted to ultimately wipe out Hinduism in Ceylon.

6) Forcible take over by Buddhist monks of Hindu shrines hitherto venerated and maintained by Hindus are not unheard of. Such take overs have taken place at Sellakthirgamam, near the main Murugan temple in Kathirgamam, and at the temple in the holy peak of the seven hills of Kathirgamam.

7) The pilgrim s rest at Kathirgamam managed by the Ramakrishna Mission of Colombo with its headquarters in Calcutta and which gave free board and lodging, to all pilgrims irrespective of religion , was taken over by the state and handed over to the Buddhist monks. Earlier the Hindu Mutts were razed to the ground in the move to declare a sacred area.

8) The Cultural Triangle Project funded by the UNESCO and presently undertaken in the Anuradhapurqa and Polonnanaruwa Districts, is madeuse of for the restoration of Buddhist shrines only, to the complete exclusion of the ancient Hindu temples in those areas. Under this project, in Anuradhapura, the Kathiresan Temple, once venerated by Swamy Vivekananda himself, is to be dismantled and re-erected elsewhere.

Alien converts to SL Buddhism pretend that Kathirgamam (or even Murugan) was always "equally" Buddhist or some such nonsense, sort of like how aliens (like Coningham) are now predisposed to assume that the older temple remains at Lumbini "must have been" Buddhist, despite there being no actual evidence for the case.

Of course, the pre-existing Lumbini shrine could potentially have been Buddhist, but we don't know that yet: no evidence discovered yet of the indisputably Buddhist nature thereof. As it stands, the shrine could just have been of a pre-Buddhist native religion, with a high chance of just having been Hindu. San could have just restricted himself to the known facts and leave the (premature) assumption in Buddhism's favour to dedicated Buddhists.
Some related stuff over the next n posts.

Post 1/?

1. rajeev2004.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/pramod-kumars-rebuttal-of-arun-shouries.html

Quote:Wednesday, December 11, 2013

pramod kumar's rebuttal of ARUN SHOURIE's book on Vijayvaani

i haven't read this, but pramod is a thoughtful person, and his views are worth considering. i have great respect for arun shourie, of course, so it will be interesting to see how he erred (if he erred, that is).

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Pramod Kumar

Date: Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Subject: My rebuttal of ARUN SHOURIE's book on Vijayvaani



In his recent book 'Does He Know a Mother's Heart?' Arun Shourie

discusses how religions deal with the question of human suffering.

In the chapters on Hinduism, Shourie criticizes the karma theory,

attributes a wrong understanding of mayavada to Adi Sankara and mocks

at Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and other Hindu saints.

In this article, I have attempted a detailed rebuttal of his central

arguments against Hinduism. Considering the general relevance and

importance of this topic to all of us, I request you to read and

respond to the article and also circulate it amongst your circle of


LINK: vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=3040


"It is appalling and unfortunate that leaders who espouse 'Hindutva'

in public life have such a poor understanding of their own faith and

philosophy...Leaders who espouse Hindutva must understand Hinduism

properly first. They are supposed to be the Hindu elite – who will

teach them?"

Posted by nizhal yoddha at 12/11/2013 10:23:00 PM

2. Going to the VV link reveals the actual situation:


Quote:Of course, He knows every Mother’s heart!

by M Pramod Kumar on 12 Dec 2013 18 Comments Tweet

Having defended Hinduism in the public space against the onslaught of India’s secular intelligentsia for many decades, Magsaysay award winning journalist and politician Arun Shourie declared his agnosticism to the world in 2011 with the publication of the profoundly moving, Does He know a mother’s heart – How Suffering Refutes Religions. The book was motivated by his personal experiences in dealing with the pain and suffering of his spastic son, Aditya, and his wife, Anita, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease.

Shourie raises deeply philosophical issues about the nature of suffering in human life and finds the ‘answers’ popularly found in the world’s major religions to be inadequate and sometimes even cruel, as the explanations, he says, seem to mock at pain and suffering.

Ever since the publication of his disturbing book in 2011, I have wanted to respond to some of the sweeping accusations and distortions found in his book, but could not do so due to various commitments, academic and personal. In this essay, I will try to respond to some of the central arguments of his charges against Hinduism and its response to human suffering, in the hope that all those who grapple with the question of suffering will find solace through one or more of the answers Hinduism provides. This is not to belittle in any way his painful personal life experiences, but the questions he raises are of universal relevance and deserve to be debated.

[color="#0000FF"]The fundamental problem with Hindus today is that they have no proper exposure to the teachings of our sastras. The traditional institutions of Hindu society which imparted religious knowledge and values to us – mainly the families and the gurukulams – are no longer fulfilling this function today. Instead, we pick up bits and pieces as we grow up, through the media, books and articles, which only confound us further, given the vast scope of the subject matter involved. Hence, the faith of the common English educated Hindu rests on shaky ground. One develops an emotional value for religion without clarity of understanding. An unexpected setback in life is often sufficient to topple this emotional faith.[/color]

This is the reason why we find even highly educated Hindus like Shourie taking recourse to agnosticism, unable to resolve their doubts or come to terms with pain and suffering. In his lecture delivered at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Coimbatore on 22 September 2011, Shourie candidly admitted that many Punjabis, including himself, go through rituals during marriage and other ceremonies mechanically because they do not understand the Sanskrit mantras uttered by the priest [1]

Shourie’s God vs Hinduism’s Isvara

Shourie goes hammer and tongs against a God who is declared to be all-compassionate and almighty, but watches on mutely as human beings suffer or, worse, brings down calamities on people as punishments. Clearly, this is the intolerant, judgmental Abrahamic God who sits in heaven and rules with an iron hand over his tribe of believers.

A creator who creates the universe while remaining outside of it is a logical fallacy which Hinduism never subscribed to. If the creator is not located outside the universe and if he cannot be inside the universe, then where is the creator located? The third and only possibility left is that the creator and the created are not two different entities. The Isha Upanishad declares, “Isavasyam Idam sarvam” (the whole universe is pervaded by Isha).

Every object which is created presupposes a material and an intelligent cause. For example, a pot. The potter is the intelligent cause who has the knowledge of the pot and the clay is the material cause. If the object to be created is the whole universe itself, then the intelligent cause is Isvara who has the perfect knowledge of what is to be created. But what is the material cause of the universe? Since everything is yet to be created, Isvara could not have borrowed this material from anywhere. Thus, the only logical possibility is that Isvara is not only the intelligent cause but also the material cause of the universe. Just as the clay pervades the whole pot, Isvara pervades the whole universe as its material cause.

The Upanishads give us two beautiful metaphors to comprehend this stunning conclusion. The first is the example of a spider and its web: Yathornanabhihi srujate gruhnate cha – just as a spider weaves its web out of its own body and swallows it back when it desires, the creation is born of, is sustained by and dissolved back into Isvara. (Mundaka Upanishad: 1/1/7)

The second example is that of a dreamer and his dream: “The dream is an even better example: you are the creator of the dream as you have the power and the intelligence to create the dream world, based on your own experiences, memories, etc. in the waking. You are also the material from which the space/time and all the objects such as rivers, mountains, road etc. and people, yourself and everyone around you in the dream are created. As the material cause of the dream creation, you pervade the whole dream world. You are the lord of the dream world, both efficient and material cause of the dream world. Similarly, Isvara is both the efficient and material cause of the entire universe” [2]

[color="#800080"](Seems to me that Australian Aboriginees would understand the Hindu analogy.)[/color]

The Vedic concept of Isvara is thus the logical finale of the vexing problem of creation and its creator. Thus, Isvara pervades you and me also! So, when the question of suffering comes, we cannot create a bogeyman called God to blame Him for our suffering, for He pervades the one who is suffering too!

Shourie’s vitanda vaada against Hinduism

Shourie asks, “What answers does [color="#FF0000"]our[/color] religion, Hinduism, offer? Do those answers escape the dilemmas that we have encountered while glancing through the scriptures of other religions?” (p.195) He goes on dissect conversations that saints like Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa had with their disciples when asked about the cause of human suffering. In the case of the Abrahamic faiths, Shourie goes to the source texts like the Old and New Testaments, whereas when it comes to a critical examination of Hinduism, he confines himself to just two concepts – the karma theory and ‘mayavada’ (Chapter 7, ‘As everything including the world is unreal...’)

Why doesn’t Shourie examine the source texts of Hinduism properly before jumping to the conclusion that Hinduism also does not have anything better to offer on the question of human suffering? The Bhagavad Gita alone is sufficient to set at rest all the doubts that Shourie is troubled with, but [color="#FF0000"]he is in a great hurry to damn all religions except Buddhism. Now that he has found some solace through Buddhist philosophy, every other religion is held faulty and all his readers should now find refuge in Buddhism as he did.[/color]

Often, Shourie sounds like an importunate child or an angry young man rebelling against the system: “Could He (God) not have arranged the food chain in such a way that one species would not have to kill the other so as to survive? Could He not have planted a gene for vegetarianism in humans, for instance? In the alternative could He not have created food directly from molecules – as is going to be done using nanotechnology tomorrow...”

Shourie’s ‘God’ and his idea of the universe are static to the point of stagnation with no scope for evolution, improvement or growth at all. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion, one will end up with the final question: “If ‘God’ was to create a world perfect in all aspects, then why create the world at all?” But he stops short of raising this final question because it is not convenient for establishing his thesis here.

Is Karma logical or cruel?

Shourie finds the theories of karma and mayavada to be a mockery of human suffering. If anything, the theory of karma has made Hindus more accountable and served as a shock absorber against the blows of life. Where other civilizations and cultures have collapsed under lesser strain, Hindu civilization has withstood, survived and thrived in times of difficulty precisely by holding onto the karma theory which is the very basis of human ethics.

[color="#FF0000"]Karma is a ‘convenient fiction’ to let God off the hook, Shourie says. And the source? Not Gita, Upanishads or the Mahabharata, but Eliot Deutsch, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Hawaii! (p.272)[/color]

As a scholar and writer who has recommended profound reforms in the processes of law and justice in India, has Shourie lost faith in the basic principle of accountability? Is it cruel then for the courts to punish a rapist, a murderer or a thief as per law? Also, what happens when man-made laws fail to deliver justice? If, for example, Dawood Ibrahim dies a natural death in his ‘White House’ in Karachi at a ripe old age, is he then to be absolved of all the crimes against humanity that he did in his life?

Perhaps, it does sound cruel to say that human suffering has a cause in previous actions. But can Shourie come up with a better logic to explain away the inequalities and contradictions we find everyday in life? It is easy to deconstruct theories, sir, but it is very difficult to provide answers to the mysteries of life.

We find a similar parallel in the life of [color="#800080"][Vivekananda][/color]


[color="#800080"](See the snipped section at the original link. From what I can tell, Vivekananda was a Hindu, not a missionising cryptoBuddhist. So I don't see the "parallel" being discussed at all.)[/color]

It is folly to assume that the oldest religion on Earth has not bestowed sufficient thought on such perplexing existential questions or to think that more than a billion people who profess Hinduism today, despite the onslaught of proselytizing religions, gross materialism and scientific scepticism, do so without finding any satisfactory answers to the problems of life.

[color="#800080"](When Hindus make claims to "oldest", I hope the fuller statement they mean is "oldest religion alongside all the other equally-oldest religions", by which I don't at all refer to the concocted ur-Shramanism, but various heathen religions.)[/color]

Realistic suffering, Unrealistic understanding

Shourie says that any explanation which dismisses suffering as unreal is a mockery of the pain of others. One cannot disagree with this statement, but there is an inherent misconception and an underlying assumption that Adi Sankara uses ‘maya’ or ‘mithya’ to dismiss the whole world, including suffering, as illusion. The same Adi Sankara whose heart burst with such compassion for his ailing mother that he broke and reformed the strict rules of the institution of sannyasa and set an example for all sannyasis. The same Adi Sankara who composed hundreds of devotional hymns seeking the grace of God for the alleviation of human suffering?

[color="#0000FF"]Elsewhere, Shourie admonishes secularists and leftists alike of the pitfalls of quoting a source piecemeal and out of context. And yet throughout his book, he quotes piecemeal from the scriptures and out of context as long as it suits his point.[/color]

Neither Adi Sankara nor the Vedas deny the reality of human suffering. The Vedas prescribe elaborate rituals, charity, mantras all with the one purpose of addressing various sources of human suffering – disease, death, poverty and insecurity.

The karma kanda of the Vedas is specifically addressed to all human beings whose notion of the self is linked to the body-mind-ego complex and therefore vulnerable to suffering. The Upanishads seek to release the human being from his notion of a limited self to that of the infinite Self, but do not in any way mock at or dismiss the experience of individuals before they attain the knowledge of the Self.

The Vedanta distinguishes the reality of the world as a different order of reality compared to the absolute reality of the Self. These two different orders of reality cannot coexist and cannot be superimposed on each other. This is the fundamental problem with Shourie’s superimposition of Sankara’s commentary on the Brahma Sutras to the question of suffering.

Buddhist ‘Self’ vs Hindu ‘Atman’

[color="#800080"](Another inconsistency. Buddhism talks of a self when convenient and elsewhere denies it - sort of like the Hindu Gods, the Hindu Parabrahman, etc. The Hindu Self is of course critiqued by Buddhism as "selfish" only to re-make the concept as the un-self. Presumably to be expanded similarly conveniently to "unselfish"....? Bad joke, but still.)[/color]

[color="#0000FF"]And what answers does Buddhism provide which Hinduism doesn’t? It is only Shourie’s ignorance of Hinduism which leads him to this leap of logic and faith. For Shourie, when Buddha quotes a parable on suffering to his disciple (p. 388), it is sufficient explanation. If Ramakrishna quotes a parable on suffering, it is a mockery of pain! When Buddhism teaches forbearance of pain and suffering as the only way out, it is explanation, but when the Bhagavad Gita speaks of equanimity in happiness and grief, it is a mockery of pain!

For Shourie, Tibetan meditation and mindfulness are the panacea to suffering, but when the Bhagavad Gita reveals a vision and a way to overcome sorrow, they are a mockery of human suffering! The Buddhist way of seeking a way out of suffering is the only way, everything else is just armchair philosophizing, including the search for the meaning of our very existence! Because the Buddha said so (or so he believes).

When the Bhagavad Gita speaks of cultivating the values of non-violence, compassion, humility and empathy, it is armchair philosophizing, but when the Dhammapada talks of compassion, it is divine. When the Gita teaches us not to react to the dualities of life, it is mockery, but when Tibetan meditation asks us to be contemplative, it is soothing. Shourie’s book rests on this foundation of emotional rebellion and the bitterness born of a life that has seen intense and prolonged suffering.[/color]

But we cannot make suffering the pivot of our whole existence because it is only one side of human life. Human beings cannot abandon their pursuit of joy and happiness even in the midst of the most crushing adversity because ananda is the very essence of our nature. And that is why the gloomy world of suffering and pain that Buddhism painted, with monasticism and ascetic withdrawal from life as its only solution, crumbled and declined.

[color="#800080"](The first line of the section: "And what answers does Buddhism provide which Hinduism doesn’t?"

Actually, what original answers does Buddhism provide?)[/color]

The Last Word

Hinduism does provide satisfactory answers and methods to reduce as well as understand the cause of human suffering and it shows us a glorious way out of it. While Advaita Vedanta unfolds the vision of the Self through pure reason, the dualistic Dvaita sects provide solace through a devotional way of life committed to dharma. The common man is willing to learn and seek these answers within his own faith. Millions of poor Hindus have held onto their faith in the face of the most trying adversities. It is appalling and unfortunate that leaders who espouse ‘Hindutva’ in public life have such a poor understanding of their own faith and philosophy. Leaders who espouse Hindutva must understand Hinduism properly first. They are supposed to be the Hindu elite – who will teach them?


1] ‘Time to realize richness of Indian culture, values'

2] The cause of the universe

3] Swami Vivekananda's experience at Kshir Bhavani

[color="#0000FF"]EDIT:[/color] removed a lot of my own interspersed comments=spam, which mainly consisted of the stuff Hindus tend to already know and better, and rhetoric.
Post 2/?

The final lines of the VV article by Pramod Kumar make a few erroneous assumptions:

Quote:It is appalling and unfortunate that leaders who espouse ‘Hindutva’ in public life have such a poor understanding of their own faith and philosophy. Leaders who espouse Hindutva must understand Hinduism properly first. They are supposed to be the Hindu elite – who will teach them?

The first faulty assumption is that the Hindutva leaders are "Hindu elite".

No, the traditional Hindoos - in particular the Experts in Hindu religion (i.e. experts on the Hindoo Gods) - are the ones who know Hindu religion. These are all the ones whom the Hindu Gods directly interact with* - which refers to a large number of everyday traditional Hindus. Don't know why nationalists are crowned the Hindu elite let alone spokespersons for Hindu religion. If you haven't seen the Hindu Gods, you have the right to listen (which is the only right I have) not to lecture (which is the right expert Hindoos have).

* With which I don't mean aliens claiming to have "seen" the Hindu Gods, and who without exception give away the falsehood of their claims by making serious mistakes concerning the Hindu Gods they say they've seen.

The second misapprehension is that Shourie is a Hindu, let alone a Hindu elite. He is a Buddhist, and that is something underlined in some statements in Pramod Kumar's article above. In particular, Shourie's championing of Buddhist views taken from pre-existing Hindu views, while knocking the same views in Hindu religion - that is a very Buddhist (a very missionary Buddhist) thing to do. As is the declaration that Hinduism (and other ethnic religions) is "flawed like christianism etc" and that Buddhism is exempt/not a religion in this sense and is the only "true solution". [Sort of like how christianism claims exclusivity by being "not a religion", when yesterday - in late Roman times - it argued that it was. But christianism/missionary religions are ideologies.]

Shourie is a cryptobuddhist since he speaks of "our religion Hinduism" (the word "our" is made red+bold in Pramod's article above) while championing Buddhism and undermining Hindu religion.

Pramod Kumar could have known Shourie was a Buddhist/converting from earlier articles alluding to this in passing mention. Will re-post some things related to this in the next.

Don't know why Buddha gets a special pass or is placed by Shourie et al as beyond the pale of suffering or with some actual (divine?) stature backing up his obvious humanity. His life - what we are told of it (though a lot was made up after his life, so sifting between what was real and what was posthumous embellishment is often hard: Shourie need not turn off his assumed 'rational' side where Buddha/Buddhism - and Shourie's emotional attachment to the same - is concerned, surely?) - again: the traditions concerning Buddha's life may be considered extraordinary, but his death was very ordinary/mundane and one might say rather banal. Which perhaps is testimony for the only part of his life that's likely to be guaranteeably historic*: seems unlikely followers would have made up such an inglorious and forgettable end to a career that was meant to be impressive. Buddha died of mushroom poisoning/pork - pick one. (BTW, don't know why Shourie expects a perfect world to be vegetarian and yet does not expect Buddhists to be. He is ready to hold the Hindu Gods accountable for the lack of the former, but not Buddhists for the latter.)

* Buddha's birth stories were fictions that appeared afterwards, which is why these take on identical forms to birth stories of parallel figures such as in Jainism (which also got similarly "inspired" from elsewhere/prior influence).

Anyway, like other Buddhists (especially modern ex-Hindu converts to Buddhism, and alien "converts" to Buddhism), Shourie's attack on Hindu religion and missionising attempt on Hindus - it is an attack, but Hindus are conditioned to recognise only christoislamic overtures as attacks, and not the missionisng attempts of Jains and Buddhists - takes the same format, seen even in sudden alien "converts" to Buddhism who 'critique' Hindu religion in the same manner, in order to convey that Buddhism is the sole and real solution, and there is nothing remarkable (or valid) about Hindu religion. Can see this in a lot of Buddhists who critique Vedanta and go on to offer Buddhism's replacement theories as the "real and final truth beyond Advaita/etc".
Post 3/3

To re-post some relevant stuff (on how it was already essentially known/to be guessed that Shourie was a Buddhist/that he was in the conversion phase):


Quote:One thing in Ambedkar’s career which Shourie has not criticized, is his conversion to Buddhism, except to say that Ambedkar had developed a rather personal version of Buddhism. Shourie himself is a practitioner of Buddhist Vipassana meditation, ...

Why that is relevant becomes apparent from the following:


Quote:Francois Gautier

Buddhism makes a comeback in India


Today, unobtrusively, Buddhism seems to be making a great comeback in India through the Vipassana movement of Shri Goenka, who learnt the technique in Burma from a great Master and brought it back to India in the late sixties.

The remarkable Vipassana meditation is originally a Vedic technique, which had been lost and which Buddha rediscovered again.

[color="#800080"](OLD COMMENT: Well, various Yoga forms of meditation are still extant and still Hindu Yoga. Don't know anything about Vipassana in particular, though.

NEW INSERT: To add to the above old comment: Official Buddhist sites, Buddhist Vipassana sites, admit Vipassana was a technique that predates the Buddha and that he merely "rediscovered" it. If it pre-existed, then it pre-existed Buddhism, which means... well, the obvious.

Whether the modern Vipassana movement teaches an authentic, ancient practice or whether the movement is merely "reconstructionist" I haven't bothered to find out. But the latter would imply it's merely new-age. That it appeals to new-agey people certainly implies it, and also its business model of peddling, not to mention Goenka's push for having Hindus acknowledge Ur-Shramanism etc.)[/color]

In the hands of Siddartha Gautama, it became a simple, self-liberation method, accessible to all, regardless of their caste, religion, or social status. Hence its immense success in Buddha's time, when Hinduism had lost some of its appeal because of too much philosophical talk, casteism and rituals.

[color="#0000FF"]Shri Goenka keeps emphasising today that his Vipassana movement is still non-sectarian, open to all, whatever their religion and nationality. But it appears not to have lost some of the anti-Hindu slant that post-Buddha sects adopted (as evident in today's Sinhalese Buddhism). At every sentence of his discourses (meditators usually attend ten days' courses, where at the end of each day, they watch a video tape of Goenkaji, commenting on the technique), Goenka takes a subtle potshot at Hinduism, whether it is the "rites, rituals, Gods, images", or the "priests" (Brahmins), who tried to malign Buddha, or the sadhus "with their beads, matted hair, Shiva marks etc", or Varanasi, "a holy city full of hashish and bhang."[/color] Or else, he riles contemporary Hindu gurus and movements (without naming them openly, but they are easily recognised): Sai Baba "with all these hospitals, schools, etc, with his name inscribed on them"; or Rajneesh/Osho "with this fleet of Rolls Royces"; or the Hare Krishna movement "dancing Hare Krishna this and Hare Krishna that"…

[color="#800080"](I don't care for ISKCON myself, so no comment. Osho is Jain I think (?), so his being dismissed by Goenka may be a relic of Buddhist animosity to Jainism?)[/color]

It is rarely mentioned today that Buddhism, like Islam and Christianity has been a proselytising religion, even if it was done peacefully: Emperor Ashoka's missionaries went all over Asia and converted huge chunks of territory. But Buddhism came out of Hinduism and ultimately went back to it, as the millions of Indian Buddhists of the beginning of our era, eventually reverted to Hinduism. This is why Buddhists may have kept a certain resentment against Hinduism.

Shri Goenka's Vipassana meditation technique is today practiced by millions in India, because it is such a simple and effective procedure. But Shri Goenka's greatest fear is, that like after Buddha's demise, when Hinduism started eating back into the core of Buddhism, after his death (Goenkaji is nearing 80), the same thing will happen to the Vipassana movement.

[color="#0000FF"]Hence, at every step, he warns his practitioners, that if they liked the technique, they should, when they go back to the world, use it exclusively "and not revert to rites, rituals, etc" -- meaning that they should become Buddhists (even if he does not say so in so many words) and shun Hinduism.[/color] But what Shri Goenka fails to see is that on the one hand, he is promoting conversion, even if it is not in a blatant manner; and two, that once more, someone is taking advantage of Hinduism's great tolerance and openness.

For of course, 99 per cent of Vipassana meditators in India are Hindus -- I have attended more than a dozen ten days' courses and I have seen only one or two Christian nuns and never a single Muslim. Only Hindus recognise Buddha as an avatar, Muslims consider him as an infidel and indeed erased all traces of Him in India; and Christians tend to think that only Jesus is the true Son of God.


(IIRC Malhotra dabbles in, among other things, Vipassana also? I could have confused myself about all the modern movements he admitted to be in.)

The above article may explain where Shourie learnt to negate Hindu rituals and practices and praise Buddhist replacements/inculturations/"equivalents" to the sky. It's always amazing how Hindu/other heathen rituals are objectionable only when they exist in Hindu/heathen religion, but the minute they've been transposed/transferred into missionary religions such as being Bauddified into Buddhism or for creating Buddhist likenesses (or christianised into christianism), suddenly such originally-heathen rituals/practices become "proof of missionary religion" (Buddhism/christianism/whatever).

By some magical coincidence, it isn't just Shourie but also Malhotra who attack Hindu acharyas. A la that main Vipassana peddler in India.

Oh, and by the way, Goenka - of the Vipassana movement fame - is a major peddler of Ur-Shramanism (declared that Shramanism was to be recognised as being ancient like Vedic religion). Rather insistent on getting this pet fiction/theory recognised, in fact. (Since he sees how it could help in promoting Buddhism at the direct and deliberate expense of Hindu religion.) And since Shourie - besides Vipassana - seems to be on the same page regarding Hindu rituals and famous Hindu personages (like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa etc), and bats for "Buddhist rituals" [Vipassana] while dismissing Hindu ones,

I'm sure Shourie and other Vipassana practitioners - somewhere along the line - will start mouthing affirmations of belief in ur-Shramanism, unless they're already into that. Don't forget to blindly parrot your "guru" and all. (Many recent alien converts to Buddhism do subscribe to ur-Shramanism. Wonder which brand(s) of Buddhism is propagating this.)

A selection of comments to the VV article pasted 2 posts up follow. Particularly like the ones by DwaadashaakSha (sp?) below:

Quote:The target audience for this article is the English educated Hindu with a confused understanding of Hinduism. Correcting such distortions is also a priority for those who are involved in teaching Hinduism and this cannot be belittled as 'quarreling'. There are many spiritual organizations involved in addressing the needs and suffering of the poor.


[color="#0000FF"]An important critique, Mr. Pramod. However I think a main point is missed out here. People find Hindu texts as armchair recommendations while Buddhist *meditations* to be solutions: precisely because they *read* Hindu texts while go through some form of practice for other traditions including Buddhism. If you ask Arun Shourie whether he contrasted Buddhist meditation with any of the 32 Upanishadic vidyas, the answer is anyone's guess. The locus standi of comparison is a problem.

Another minor disagreement with this critique is the advaita-dvaita distinction as reason-devotion. It is not so. Jnana marga includes dvaitic and advaitic schools. Similarly bhakti is there in both advaitic and dvaitic schools.


@Dwadasaksha - Agree with your points.

1. The Dvaita-Advaita reference was an oversimplification for the purpose of condensing the argument, not to be taken literally.

2. There are many practices in Hinduism also such as japam, meditation (yoga sutras, gita). Q is how did Shourie miss all those or why does he choose to ignore them?


I read that book in malayalam..can we treat those opinions as opinions of a mentally distressed common man..?


[color="#0000FF"]Dear @Pramod,

There is a strange kind of dichotomy in a non-traditionalist scholar's view of Hinduism. The entire range of karma is 'ritualistic' and hence to be shunned as some orthodoxy/superstition/whatever. The umpteen repetitions of acaryas emphasizing the karma as a prerequisite for viveka is ignored with contempt.** On the other hand the "intellectual" aspect of jnana marga is seen in isolation and outside its practicing sphere as if vedanta or jnana marga is not a school of rigorous practice but of some dry philosophizing.

To a lesser extent we can see this in Koenraad Elst's condescension for mantra-devata upasana as something the ritualists hijacked the original "philosophical" idea of yoga with - ignoring how it is a philosophy of practice in the first place.

Arun Shourie is but one visible expression of a wider phenomenon, hence this critique is very important and necessary.


** An example in print are the statements of the previous Kanchi Shankaracharya, relevant portion reproduced here

Dwadasaksha makes the sort of (excellent, btw) points you never see Hindus make online.

As for the commenter's critique of Elst: Well, Koenraad Elst is just one of many who doesn't know the first thing about the religion he would talk about and which he would especially lecture others about. His following of new-agey aliens and Indians consists of... weird people admittedly, but they are naturally so, since they're the type to consciously choose to imbibe what he - of all people - lectures them about their ancestral Hindu religion. (Since when are Elst types the go-to for expertise on Hindu religion?)

More unsettling, perhaps, is that while Elst is not an ethnic Hindu and (fortunately) not a "convert" either, there are those who have Hindu ancestry who have about the same class of opinions as Elst/same degree ('means') of "knowledge". Not all subversion can be blamed on alien interference. And even in those cases were it can, there would be no subversion had there been no subvertibility. I.e. own fault.

What bothers me is Shourie chooses the mantle of crypto-buddhism - as opposed to open, outright Buddhism - to attack Hindu religion and peddle Buddhism with (he is very much *missionising*, which is what the statement in Pramod's article describes: "he is in a great hurry to damn all religions except Buddhism. Now that he has found some solace through Buddhist philosophy, every other religion is held faulty and all his readers should now find refuge in Buddhism as he did.")

The only reason for Shourie to go the crypto route is to get a Hindu audience that won't immediately recognise and dismiss his overtures as proselytising (although, admittedly, Hindus never recognise even overt Buddhist/Jain attempts at missionising) and which Hindu audience he may therefore hope to exert some influence on. (The Indian audience of his 'guru' Goenka - the audience for Vipassana - is similarly also said to be [99%] Hindu, as per the Gautier article. And which Goenka likewise exerts a missionary influence on: case in point is Shourie.)

He's free to be a Buddhist and free also to attack Hindu religion (and free to stand and take all reverse criticism), but should change the name of his son from Aditya to something Buddhist hereafter. Because No, the Adityas have nothing to do with Buddhism and everything to do with the Vedic religion of the Hindus Onlee. Can't poach on Hindu religion AND attack it, after all, which is something only hypocrites/missionaries (inculturationists) do.


Some things fundamentally wrong with this comment by one "Ramu" at the VV article:


There would be many who would disagree with his read on Buddhism. Many consider Buddhism to be over intellectual, sterile and dry for a crisis beset human being. While robust on the level of though, it is also alleged to be overly philosophic. A religion has to appeal to the heart and not just the mind. Buddhists in Japan turn to Shinto deities for solace. Buddhists in China turn to Taoist divinities for help. Buddhists in Thailand and Burma turn to the spirits for help. Buddhists in Nepal and Sri Lanka turn to the Hindu Gods when faced with an existential crisis. Now, what does this tell you about Buddhism? It obviously does not meet a core need of man for its adherants to routinely look outside for solace and help. There is more to life than Nirvana.


And The Errors Are... :drumroll: -

* Pretending that the Gods are not something rational and are merely something that appeals to the "heart" (which term is often used as a source of sentiment than sense, especially when contrasted with "mind" as Ramu does above). The Gods are real and all heathenisms correctly treat their Gods as real. That heathens love their Gods is contingent on their being aware of/acknowledging the realness of their Gods.

* In contrast, the multiple Buddhas are a known fiction - their evolution/concoction is easy to follow. (As is the sainting of others' Gods as "bodhisatvas" etc by Buddhism, in order to hijack others' Gods for the purpose of spreading Buddhism). In that case, why pretend Hindu and other heathen religions appeal to the heart and Buddhism to the mind? Hindu and other such religions appeal to people fond of the truth and who are not prone to swear by a sequence of fictional entities like the post-Buddha (and post-early Buddhism) invention of multiple Buddhas.

* The reason that Bauddified laity in Asia turn to their ancestral Gods is because their ancestral Asian Gods are real, whereas turning to the multiple Buddhas results in "unanswered prayers" (for obvious reasons). This is why Guan-Yin as a Goddess remains popular in Buddhism, and Buddhism repeatedly comes to terms with this: the actual Daoist Goddess under the Bauddhified mask is real. Things cease to work out as well when modern Buddhists try to present her as a male since of course the Bodhisatva Guan-Yin is supposed to be a male character.

* Also, Bauddified laity reverting to ancestral and neighbouring Gods is because heathen religions work. And because for centuries much of the so-called 'Buddhist' laity was often not really properly Bauddhicised: they know more about their heathenisms' Gods than they do about Bauddha dharma. Some worshipping the Buddha exclusively do so with Daoist rituals (and Daoist ideals/views about the Gods). It is only in more recent decades where Buddhism - via Buddhist organisations - has started to demand of E Asian laity that these choose between their ancestral Gods and Bauddha Dharma. This last is worse than a lot of the bad blood that has passed before, because confused Bauddhified laity often think they are more Buddhist than Daoist/Shinto merely because their family got stuck with calling itself with the 'Buddhist' label, so they gradually are made to relinquish their ancestral Gods.

[color="#FF0000"]The only stuff worth reading in these last 3 posts was:[/color]

* rajeev2004.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/pramod-kumars-rebuttal-of-arun-shouries.html

* vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=3040

And especially also the 2 comments there by DwaadashaakSha

* And the statement by Elst that "Shourie himself is a practitioner of Buddhist Vipassana meditation"

* rediff.com/news/2000/dec/01franc.htm

Note also that Goenka of the Vipassana movement - who, as per the above, attacks Hindu religion, Gods and acharyas/saints while peddling Buddhism to his masses of Hindu adherents of Vipassana in India - is further also an active proponent of Ur-Shramanism, trying to get "Shramanism" recognised as being as ancient as Vedic religion (meaning he wants to claim an independent origin for Buddhism/modern shramanism in the concocted ur-Shramanism).
Going to have to get rid of all my excessive and excessively-interfering comments above. Would be far more to the point to quote from direct sources and show up how wrong Shourie is about Buddhism.

1. On this again (Pramod quotes Shourie):

Quote:Karma is a ‘convenient fiction’ to let God off the hook, Shourie says. And the source? Not Gita, Upanishads or the Mahabharata, but Eliot Deutsch, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Hawaii! (p.272)

Along with this comment of mine on the above:

Quote:Shourie's critique of the action-reaction definition of Karma (which exists in Buddhism I understand, but in a less logical version) ...

Now, *actual* Buddhists - as opposed to neo-Buddhists and the new-agey kind (e.g. recent modern ex-"Hindu" converts to Buddhism who can't make sense of Hindu ideas later found in Buddhism and Jainism) -

*actual* Buddhists don't merely hold to a rather similar notion of Karma (inherited from Hindu religion), but Karma is regarded as one of the *fundamental* views of Buddhism. (I mean, this is one of those things every Hindu knew about Buddhism, right? Minus Shourie I must suppose.)

Note: Buddhanet was my preferred online source on Buddhism, since it seems wholesome and appears to represent the real Buddhism (or what I imagined was the real Buddhism) a.o.t neo-Buddhism or the new-agey kind that modern ex-Hindu "converts" to Buddhism epouse or Angry(-and-Missionary) Buddhists. I haven't visited it in more recent years, but it may still be a good source (?)


Quote:Karma is the law of moral causation. The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. This belief was prevalent in India before the advent of the Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained and formulated this doctrine in the complete form in which we [color="#800080"](=Buddhists)[/color] have it today.

What is the cause of the inequality that exists among mankind?

Why should one person be brought up in the lap of luxury, endowed with fine mental, moral and physical qualities, and another in absolute poverty, steeped in misery?

Why should one person be a mental prodigy, and another an idiot?

Why should one person be born with saintly characteristics and another with criminal tendencies?

Why should some be linguistic, artistic, mathematically inclined, or musical from the very cradle?

Why should others be congenitally blind, deaf, or deformed?|

Why should some be blessed, and others cursed from their births?

Either this inequality of mankind has a cause, or it is purely accidental. No sensible person would think of attributing this unevenness, this inequality, and this diversity to blind chance or pure accident.

In this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve. Usually, men of ordinary intellect cannot comprehend the actual reason or reasons. The definite invisible cause or causes of the visible effect is not necessarily confined to the present life, they may be traced to a proximate or remote past birth.

According to Buddhism, this inequality is due not only to heredity, environment, "nature and nurture", but also to Karma. In other words, it is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate.

Perplexed by the seemingly inexplicable, apparent disparity that existed among humanity, a young truth-seeker approached the Buddha and questioned him regarding this intricate problem of inequality:

"What is the cause, what is the reason, O Lord," questioned he, "that we find amongst mankind the short-lived and long-lived, the healthy and the diseased, the ugly and beautiful, those lacking influence and the powerful, the poor and the rich, the low-born and the high-born, and the ignorant and the wise?"

The Buddha’s reply was:

"All living beings have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states."

He then explained the cause of such differences in accordance with the law of cause and effect.

(The part where Buddhism tends lose cohesion/stop making sense on the topic of karma/reincarnation etc is explained in the blue bit of a discussion quoted in post 155.)


Quote:Karma is a ‘convenient fiction’ to let God off the hook, Shourie says. And the source? Not Gita, Upanishads or the Mahabharata, but Eliot Deutsch, professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Hawaii! (p.272)

So Hindus' real crime is in possessing Hindu scriptures explicating much of the same before the Buddhist ones/before the Buddha. Once Shourie finds out the Buddha subscribes to karma no doubt it will become acceptable to him and he will peddle it as "logical and compassionate" (The Truth). It's only "illogical" and "cruel" in Hindu religion, you see.

Whether such a supposedly 'cosmic law' as karma is true or not is a separate question. But Shourie can't take karma out of Buddhism and yet peddle/bat for the 'Buddhism' that 'remains': it wouldn't be Buddhism at that point. That is, he can't be all new-agey and claim to agree with Buddhism while denouncing a fundamental Buddhist principle.

The following page on Karma is part of the series of pages appropriately called "Fundamentals of Buddhism" - see, I'm not making it up (as everyone except Shourie would already have known):



Today we have come to a couple of related ideas which are common in Buddhism and they are the ideas of karma and rebirth. These ideas are closely inter-related, but because the subject is a fairly wide one, we will begin to deal with the idea of karma today and rebirth in the following lecture.

We know that what binds us in samsara are the defilements - desire, ill-will and ignorance. We spoke about this when we talked about the Second Noble Truth - the truth of the cause of suffering. These defilements are something which every living being in samsara shares [...]

Again, above bold stuff is sort of similar to pre-existing Hindu texts like Gita. Gita - summarising the earlier Upanishads etc - already spoke about kaama (not to be confused with Bhagavan Kaamadeva), krodha etc being the causes of what binds us to samsaara. These are stated to be the enemy of the Self or something. It's in that chapter on Karma Yoga - where Krishna further explains that performance of yagnya (to feed the Hindu Gods in return for their bounty; though daanam is also counted as yagnya I think etc) is not only compulsory (prescribed), but that yagnya is further the only karma that accrues no side-effects (especially bad ones), not counting the phalam I suppose. I.e. [Vaidika] karma produces no "karma". He even says that the [Hindu] who doesn't feed the Devas is a thief in that in doing so he takes from the Gods' bounties but does not give anything in return. Sounds quite Daoist, I mean Hellenistic. I meant Hindoo. (They all have approximately the same reasons for sacrifice, btw.)

And inserting a direct quote attributed to the Buddha himself (taken from an otherwise unexamined site)



"I am the owner of my karma .

I inherit my karma.

I am born of my karma.

I am related to my karma.

I live supported by my karma.

Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit."

[color="#0000FF"]The Buddha[/color], Anguttara Nikaya V.57 - Upajjhatthana Sutta

Buddha echoes earlier Hindu teachings in explaining how individuals generate their karma. So if earlier Hindu teachings on karma are illogical and cruel, so too is Buddha/Buddhism in regurgitating much of the same. (Unless Shourie were to conclude it suddenly becomes divinely-inspired when Buddha says it...)

More from viewonbuddhism.org/karma.html


"Countless rebirths lie ahead, both good and bad. The effects of karma (actions) are inevitable, and in previous lifetimes we have accumulated negative karma which will inevitably have its fruition in this or future lives. Just as someone witnessed by police in a criminal act will eventually be caught and punished, so we too must face the consequences of faulty actions we have committed in the past, there is no way to be at ease; those actions are irreversible; we must eventually undergo their effects."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from 'Kindness, Clarity and Insight'

The Sanskrit word Karma (or kamma in Pali) literally means action. In Buddhism however, karma mainly refers to one's intention or motivation while doing an action. The Buddha said:

“It is volition that I call karma; for having willed, one acts by body, speech, and mind.”

AN 3:415, from In the Buddha’s Words, p. 146.

(In the west, the word karma is often used for the results of karma; the Sanskrit words for the effects or results of karma are 'vipaka' or 'phala'. )

On those last statements: while karma in Skt does get translated as action, in Hindu religion too the "law of moral causation" which is called karma (again, buddhanet translation) includes "will/volition" which may lead to acts "by body, speech, mind". So this too is not original in Buddhism. IIRC also already seen in the Gita for instance.

2. (Met mijn verontschuldingen aan de Boeddhisten te Chittagong)

Quote:For Shourie, Tibetan meditation and mindfulness are the panacea to suffering


he is in a great hurry to damn all religions except Buddhism. Now that he has found some solace through Buddhist philosophy, every other religion is held faulty and all his readers should now find refuge in Buddhism as he did.

Since Shourie thinks Buddhism and Buddhist meditation Are The Answer (including to "suffering"), why doesn't it protect the Buddhists of Chittagong Bangladesh from the far-scarier-than-anything suffering they're experiencing at the hands of islamania?

I mean, it's supposed to be the universal solution/panacea, right?

(A: Buddhist meditation is for the purpose of helping Buddhists achieve nirvana/become free of the suffering of samsara, rebirth - considered the 'larger problem'.)
1. On #226:

Quote:And similar sets of important numbers including 32 Ganapatis, 108 Shiva moorties, shata rudrIyam and the rest. These are all numbers significant to Hindu religion, and they were significant to Hindus long before either Buddhism or Jainism made claims to them. In exhalting a limited set of specifically 63 + 1 devotees in Shaiva tradition, the Hindus of the Tamizh regions were naturally acting on ancient Hindu tradition in doing so.

DwaadashaakSha's comment pasted in #232 gives one of the important reasons why this set of Ganapatis is 32 in number:

Quote:An important critique, Mr. Pramod. However I think a main point is missed out here. People find Hindu texts as armchair recommendations while Buddhist *meditations* to be solutions: precisely because they *read* Hindu texts while go through some form of practice for other traditions including Buddhism. If you ask Arun Shourie whether he contrasted Buddhist meditation with any of the 32 Upanishadic vidyas, the answer is anyone's guess. The locus standi of comparison is a problem.

2. And on this bit from #226:

Quote:Further, one of the images IIRC has the head of an ajA, a la how the Amman vigraha at one of the Shakti PeeThas also has the head of a ajA - ajAmukhi devI. Also, one of the 4 VedapuruShas - the Yajus one I think - has the head of what seems to be a ajA/meSha to me, but then meSha represents/embodies yagnya.)

May perhaps also be a play on words, since ajA ("unborn") is an Upanishadic reference to Prakriti from sa~Nkhyam. Repeat excerpt:

Quote:The theory of the three Gunas, which bind the Purusha, is adumbrated in this Upanishad in the passage IV.5, where it speaks of the "Aja" ('female unborn'), red, white and black in colour, and producing offspring resembling her.

Constant references to Amman being prakRiti are frequently seen in various descriptions and in her embodiment. E.g. the 3 sacred lines adorning Amman moorties' necks (which stand for the 3 guNas). The colours of the 3 guNas mentioned above are repeated in various parts of Amman, including the description of her eyes: the white of the eye, the red of [the edges of] her eyes and the black of the mai/kohl, or something.

So it's not far-fetched to entertain that ajAmukhi Amman - with the mukham of an ajA - is a perfect if literal embodiment of her name ajA. (Since Amman is a literal embodiment of the vedam.)

In any case, it's also an appropriate female form to match the various male Hindu Gods who appear with/have the heads of MeSha-s and Aja-s.
Complaining about new trend. Only one example covered. Will try to locate the other one if I remember to (had saved it somewhere).



Two recent pieces on Firstpost on the issue of religious conversions caught my attention: the first one by Jaideep Prabhu for its erudition and depth, and a response to it by Abhinandan Sekhri for its shocking ignorance of history and its flippant tone.

The essence of Jaideep Prabhu’s piece is basically this:

  • <lists several points, among which is this next statement containing a false predicate:>

  • The key fundamental dictum of the Abrahamic faiths to convert (or kill) non-Abrahamics acts to the detriment of Dharmic faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and so on.


Article Title: Dear Abhinandan Sekhri: A Scholarly debate is not a Salman Khan Movie

Author: Sandeep Balakrishna

Note that I confirmed (by searching with Ctrl F for Find) that the Firstpost article by Jaideep Prabhu at firstpost.com/india/religious-conversion-really-fundamental-right-can-ban-1701877.html does not even contain the word Tao/Dao.

So it is Sandeep's own ..."interpretation" that Taoism is to be lumped with Buddhism.

Typical Indiafacts/Sandeep. He probably knows even less about Taoism than he does of what he has dubbed "Temple culture", which he recently "discovered". (Wasn't that him?)

I don't want to write a whole essay on why Taoists do NOT want their religion grouped with Buddhism.

The short explanation is, Taoism belongs with Buddhism as much as Hindu religion belongs with christianism (say).

And here's another example to illustrate the point. It's a famous example, one that Buddhists always whine about. I've chosen it because the para from wackypedia - look even wacky admits this much - is succinct in conveying the view of Emperor Wuzong of the Tang dynasty (and he was neither the first nor the last Taoist of this view), one of several emperors who persecuted all the alien=missionary religions invading China (not just Buddhism, but christianism, zoroastriansm and manichaeanism that the then-Manichaean Uighurs were trying to inject into the Chinese heartland):

Quote:An avid Daoist, Wuzong despised Buddhism and considered the sangha useless tax-evaders. In 845, he ordered the destruction of 4600 vihara and 40,000 temples. Around 250,000 Buddhist monks and nuns had to give up their monastic lives. Wuzong stated that Buddhism was an alien religion and promoted Daoism zealously as the ethnic religion of the Han Chinese. Although Wuzong was soon assassinated by his own inner circle, the damage had been done. Chinese Buddhism, especially Esoteric practices, never fully recovered from the persecution [...]

[1. Uh, I've never heard of Wuzong being assassinated, let alone by his own inner circle... Did I miss something or is this merely Buddhists' consolation tale for why Buddhism didn't succeed in China? All I know is that Wuzong did die in time, possibly from self-medication (happens even today). And that there was a fumble over succession, but IIRC after he died. And I think his successor was lenient to Buddhism or a Buddhist himself, just like some Tang predecessors had been. But that's all I had heard.

2. And what, no mention of how many Chinese "Buddhist" mantras and other esoteric "Buddhist" practices were totally and blatantly stolen from Taoism? E.g. the famous ~9-syllable Taoist mantra from - at the latest - a 2nd century CE exclusively Taoist text invoking the Taoist heavenly army to give victory in battle? <- Honestly, it's scary how similar heathen religions are. That description the way I've casually described it almost sounds like a Veda mantram, but the Taoist "mantram" is entirely Chinese, including syllables and sounds Hindoos simply don't have. Not to mention the little detail that it is the exclusively Taoist Shen-sena that it manifests, not the Hindu Devasena. :Ohohohohoho:]

Note that Buddhists love listing the persecutions they suffered: about how they were repeatedly "persecuted" by Taoists [and Confucianists] in China and by Shintos in Japan (etc etc), always carefully shielding the prior dealings of Buddhism w.r.t. the native religions. In reality, it was always an inevitable reaction. Other heathenisms didn't react strongly enough and hence didn't survive: Bon, various Shamanisms etc.

[In fact, I can still see Buddhists officially listing Pushyamitra as a "brahminical" (read: Hindu, though Buddhism otherwise carefully denies "Hindu") persecutor of Buddhism in India. <- Yes, the same "persecution by Pushyamitra" that an old Koenraad Elst article clearly exposed as being just a Buddhist concoction, modelled closely on Buddhist-convert Ashoka's greater and prior persecution of Jains no less.]

While complaining about the native religions repeatedly "persecuting" (obstructing the advance of) Buddhism in various Asian nations, Buddhists love to declare that China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, etc etc nevertheless readily converted to Buddhism, to the extent that Buddhism paints the picture of entire heathen Asian nations getting converted to Buddhism wholesale (when just the usual upper echelons in the govt and sometimes the military converted). But Buddhism has about the same record of replacement in Asia that christianism has in Europe.

So Wuzong and several other Chinese rulers recognised Buddhism (and christianism etc) as alien missionary ideologies that had no right to the Chinese and their lands and did what they felt was necessary to stunt its undeserved growth. There were at several periods of govt-level "persecutions" of the uninvited religion of Buddhism in China, both by Taoists and Confucianists.

- Now, had it been christianism at the receiving end, Indian Hindu nationalists would have cheered and written articles eulogising how China should be India's example in dealing with the missionary menace of christianism. (Though, of course, China dealt quite as harshly with christianism too, but Buddhism had spread more in China then, and hence more of the native govt's reprisals were directed at Buddhism.)

- But because it was Buddhism that native Chinese govts persecuted, Indians will no doubt immediately frown on the Taoist Wuzong and other Taoist and Confucian Chinese rulers and weep about "poor Buddhism in China, persecuted by the Chinese" [or Japan]. Well, maybe Sandeep and similars will no longer deign to consider Taoism as having the dubious distinction of being "worthy" to be listed alongside Buddhism. Though it is actually Buddhism that has no right to be listed alongside Taoism or Shinto. Buddhism is a *missionary* religion, i.e. a replacement ideology. Taoism and Shinto are ethnic religions, non-proselytising. (Though I will say Taoism actively accepts reverts, but unless Hindus want to Boo at active Hindu reconversion drives inviting reversions from Indian converts to christoislamania, no need to hypocritically frown at Taoism now reverting ethnically Chinese. Especially since Buddhism is on conversion overdrive in E/SE Asian nations - and not just by subcontinental instigation, though Indians seem poised to add to other Asians' woes.)

- Again: Hindus have these rose-coloured glasses through which they look at the other Indic ("Dharmic") religions. But missionary religions are replacement religions.

And wherever Buddhism actually/fully succeeded in Asia, it weeded out the native ancestral heathenism. Often rather violently too, and not just Tibet's Bonpo. All kinds of Asian heathen religions bit the dust in similar manner. You only see native and other heathen religions surviving in regions that didn't get successfully=fully converted to Buddhism (e.g. E Asia, Vietnam, Bali, etc).

Modern Hindus get unnecessarily pained by a blatant fact: Buddhism, like all missionary religions, is absolutely nobody's ancestral religion. And it has even lied (about others' Gods) and cheated (inculturation, encroachment on sacred sites) and used force (violence, iconoclasm) often enough to achieve its successes.

I'm thinking that heathens do recognise the existence of a dichotomy. But they make a distinction not between monopolytheisms (heathenisms didn't even know about that monologue, which is one specifically invented by the monotheisms), but between missionary religions=replacement theologies and the native, ancestral (=ethnic) religions of populations =heathenisms. Can see this in how Shintos, Taoists and Hindus have all historically complained about "foreign religions" when referring to foreign missionary religions/ideologies, as these were replacing the native heathenisms, i.e. the natural tendencies of the native population, which tendencies were alive and fully embodied in the native heathenism.

The real complaint is actually against all missionary religion that replaces (subverts) the ancestral heathenisms of any population, regardless of whether the missionary ideology is foreign or native.

The inability for heathens at large and Indians especially to lodge the general complaint, stems from the fact that Buddhism (and Jainism, Sikhism and other Indian religions) get unfairly labelled as "heathenisms" (also in the minds of some western reconstructionists), despite none of these Indic religions actually being heathenisms. (The only things "heathen" about them are ironically what they inherited/took from Hindu religion.) It is *because* they are Indic, non-Abrahamic religions, and moreover because are called Dharmic religions (since they use the Vedic term Dharma, despite having overwritten its meaning from Vaidika Dharma to suit their own religions' ends, i.e. inculturation + subversion) that has given them a free pass. [Similarly, Zoroastrianism is an old Iranian religion, hence most western reconstructionists/modern polytheists - and especially oryanists - tend to label Zoroastrianism as a heathenism too, through no actual virtue of its own.]

From all that I've seen so far, Hindu religion is far more like Taoism, Shinto, Hellenismos [etc] than like the other Indic/Dharmic religions. (And none of the other Indic religions are like Taoism and Shinto etc except for those elements they took from Hindoos' heathenism, but which have a superficial place in the other visible Indic religions. Reason: because Hindoos' religion is a heathenism, the way Taoism, Shinto and Hellenismos etc are. Nagas' shamanism is also somewhat like certain E Asian shamanisms. Tibetan Bonpo is a lot like Taoism apparently, probably because Mongolian Bonpo was *factually* related to a branch of Taoism and the Bonpo that exists in China beyond Tibet is still somewhat related to Taoism.)

The other Dharmic (Indic) religions seem related to Hindu religion - on the surface - but only *because* they have elements of Hindu religion in them, though this is no more than owing to inculturation/the spin-off nature of all missionary (non-ancestral) religions.

Hindu religion is naturally a Dharmic religion. In fact it is *the* Dharmic religion, since "Dharma" is originally (and hence exclusively) a reference to the Vaidika concept "Dharma". Every extant Indic religion which came later poached on that term (like they did on the o~Nkaara, etc) and subverted the original meaning, making these deeply Hindoo aspects suddenly allude to the novel religions instead. But since all these Indic religions did factually appear in time and started to lay claim to the word Dharma - whether Hindoos wanted them to or not - they are all "Dharmic religions", and hence they also get logically grouped as "Dharmic religions" together with Hindus' own religion (called Hinduism/Vedic religion/Sanatana Dharma/whatever).

And while Hindus may object to Sagarika Ghose trying to get Indian pSecularism declared as "Dharma" too - see indiafacts.co.in/sagarika-ghose-must-go-school/ - Buddhists and Jains and Sikhs surely have no ground to object her on this score: since Dharma wasn't originally their word either and they took it from Hindus too, just like Sagarika is trying to. Sagarika has as much right to give "dharma" a new meaning as the other novel Indian replacement ideologies have, who also tried to wean the Hindu masses from their ancestral religion into novel religions. Hindus' should have argued that Dharma has one original=actual meaning, assigned by the religion that invented and hence owns the term, i.e. Vedic religion. And that all others' usage of that word is externally assigned - by outsiders, who don't own the term - and hence all equally unrecognised by Hindus. But Hindus won't do that. The way that the silly recent indiafacts.co.in article on the many Ramayanams weights Jain and Buddhist subversions on the Ramayanam equally to the Ramayanams by vaidika Hindoos, starting from the original Vedic tradition recounted in Valmeeki's Ramayanam. By that same argument, then - logically speaking - Sagarika can write a psecular anti-Hindu Ramayanam next, promoting Indian psecularism (=another Indic ideology and now also another Indic Dharmic tradition, as per Sagarika), and declare it should be considered equally valid as a Ramayanam. Surely?

That's how replacement religions work. They all start some time after the ancient ancestral religion, and then encroach on some or many aspects of the ancestral heathenism and subvert these to varying degrees, and after manny centuries, they and their claims to the heathen elements they encroached on becomes recognised as "ancient" and therefore "equally valid". Some centuries from now Sagarika's "Indian pSecularism is dharma" will also be ancient and established and hence magically "true" - using the bad logic of modern Hindus.]



Two recent pieces on Firstpost on the issue of religious conversions caught my attention: the first one by Jaideep Prabhu for its erudition and depth, and a response to it by Abhinandan Sekhri for its shocking ignorance of history and its flippant tone.

The essence of Jaideep Prabhu’s piece is basically this:

  • <lists several points, among which is this next statement containing a false predicate:>

  • The key fundamental dictum of the Abrahamic faiths to convert (or kill) non-Abrahamics acts to the detriment of Dharmic faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and so on.


Article Title: Dear Abhinandan Sekhri: A Scholarly debate is not a Salman Khan Movie

Author: Sandeep Balakrishna

The insertion of *Taoism* alongside Buddhism is Sandeep's innovation (there's no mention of Tao/Dao in Jaideep Prabhu's article which Sandeep attempted to distill).

A famous example from history for why Sandeep is hopelessly wrong in grouping Taoism with Buddhism (since Taoism doesn't want to be lumped with Buddhism, so Indian nationalists can stop terrorising Taoists and their religion etc):

Quote:An avid Daoist, [Chinese Emperor] Wuzong despised Buddhism and considered the sangha useless tax-evaders. In 845, he ordered the destruction of 4600 vihara and 40,000 temples. Around 250,000 Buddhist monks and nuns had to give up their monastic lives. Wuzong stated that Buddhism was an alien religion and promoted Daoism zealously as the ethnic religion of the Han Chinese.

Indian nationalists/vocalists seem to be taking steps towards becoming a threat to non-Indian Asian heathenisms. People need to nip this in the bud (or I will, and I guarantee no Dharmic will like the way I do it).
Post 1/?

This serial spam session is directly related to

Posts 105 to 111

of this thread (india-forum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/2224-removing-the-sheen-from-buddhism/page__view__findpost__p__109064)

on Rajeev Srinivasan's attempt to donate the Hindu God Ayyappa and his Shabarimalai temple site to Buddhism, based on Lokesh Chandra's speculative theories on this.

Am returning to that subject, because Rajeev's recently written an article at firstpost on Modi's slated visit to Shabarimalai. He highlights the deliberate mismanagement and systematic destruction of Hindu temples in Kerala by the usual anti-Hindus (3Ms), presumably to get BJP/Modi to turn their attention to this severe threat.

But in writing the article, he once again repeats his complete and indiscriminate acceptance of Lokesh Chandra's speculations on Ayyappa+Shabarimalai being Buddhist:


Quote:Because it [Ayyappa at Shabarimalai] is a point of singular power, and it has been so for millennia: historian Lokesh Chandra notes that it was once a temple to both Shiva and the Avalokiteswara Padmapani (the Bodhisattva of Compassion) simultaneously, as described by the Buddhist monk Hiuen Tsang (Xuanzang) who visited some 1,400 years ago and considered it already an ancient temple. (See my old article on its history here.)

With that last line, Rajeev then links to his much earlier Rediff article, where he quotes Lokesh Chandra's Bauddicising speculations in detail, and embellishes with some of his own (which latter were already covered in Posts 105 to 111).

The worry is that if BJP/Modi were to encounter the above material, since they're conceivably part of the target audience, they may be as ready to take Lokesh Chandra and Rajeev's word for it as so much of the rest of the Hindu population. In an extreme scenario, Modi influenced by such speculations might even add Shabarimalai into his "Buddha Circuit" project in India, and thereby facilitate Bauddhising the Hindu site and Hindu God.

This last is a genuine threat - part of a larger one to Hindu temples in the south - and not to be underestimated, as there are many neo-Buddhist and dravoodianist (and christian*) groups now operating in the south of India - well outside of the birthplace of neo-Buddhism - who are determined to remove Hindu religion from Hindu temples by taking them over under any excuses, such as Buddhism, Jainism and dravoodianism. To generate the numbers they need for this project, they regularly create or further develop and spread just such fictions, in order to claim that sacred Hindu sites were "actually, originally" Buddhist, Jain or back-projected christianism and dravoodianism. These compulsive liars further invert stories of actual historical replacement and inculturation on Hindu religion by missionary religions, to generate a persecution complex, to backproject recently-created identities onto the past (like dravoodianism), and present the ancient native Hindu religion of the south as "alien, imposed", and the novel Indian and foreign religions that were planted in the south (like Buddhism, Jainism, christianism) - as well as backprojected ones like dravoodianism - as the "original, historical, native" religions/identities.

[* Jesuit Francis Clooney already had advanced similar theories about several major Hindu temples, with as difference that he claimed they were originally "christian"]

Returning to Rajeev's earlier Rediff article, I wish to discuss this section:


Quote:There is considerable evidence that Lord Ayyappan was once a Buddhist deity, and that Sabarimala was once a Buddhist temple complex. However, it appears that prior to its Buddhist incarnation, the temple was an early Dravidian Saivite centre; therefore it has been a sacred spot of singular merit of at least three or four millennia. Its famed Makara Jyotis (Divine Light) which appears mysteriously in the forest on Makara Sankranti day gave it the name Potalaka.

Astonishingly, it appears that the Dalai Lama's Palace in Lhasa, the incomparable Potala, is named after Sabarimala! The Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) Avalokitesvara Padmapani, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who is, by tradition, reincarnated as the Dalai Lama, was also the one worshipped at Sabarimala.

I am indebted to my cerebral friend Devakumar Sreevijayan (formerly of Austin, Texas and currently of New York City) for almost all of this fascinating research. It is in three texts: the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Hymn to the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara, and the writings of the intrepid Chinese traveller Hsiuen Tsang (Zuen Xang?), that we find the detailed references. Dev found a good deal of information in the book, The Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara by Lokesh Chandra.


Says Lokesh Chandra: 'The Avatamsaka Sutra describes the earthly paradise of Avalokitesvara: ''Potalaka is on the sea-side in the south, it has woods, it has streams, and tanks''...Buddhabhadra's (AD 420) rendering of Potala (or Potalaka) is ''Brilliance." It refers to its etymology: Tamil pottu (potti-) ''to light (as a fire)''...brilliance refers to the makara-jyoti of Sabarimala.'

'Hsuen Tsang refers to Avalokitesvara on the Potala in the following words, summarised by Waters (1905): ''In the south of the country near the sea was the Mo-lo-ya (Malaya) mountain, with its lofty cliffs and ridges and deep valleys and gullies, on which were sandal, camphor and other trees. To the east of this was Pu-ta-lo-ka (Potalaka) mountain with steep narrow paths over its cliffs and gorges in irregular confusion...'' '

All of this is still true; Hsuen Tsang's description could easily be of contemporary Sabarimala. The only difference perhaps is that the forests are no longer so dense. Pilgrims believe that those who ignore the strict penances -- abstinence from alcohol, smoking, meat-eating and sex -- are in danger of being attacked by wild animals while on their trek. However, there are not too many large animals in these forests any more, as a result of human encroachment.

Lokesh Chandra continues: 'Hsuen Tsang clearly says that Avalokitesvara at Potala sometimes takes the form of Isvara (Siva) and sometimes that of a Pasupata yogin. In fact, it was Siva who was metamorphosed into Avalokitesvara...The image at Potalaka which was originally Siva, was deemed to be Avalokitesvara when Buddhism became dominant... The Potalaka Lokesvara and the Thousand-armed Avalokitesvara have echoes of Siva and Vishnu, of Hari and Hara.'

'...Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala... could have been the Potala Lokesvara of Buddhist literature. The makara jyoti of Sabarimala recalls Potala's "brilliance"... The long, arduous and hazardous trek through areas known to be inhabited by elephants and other wildlife to Sabarimala is spoken of in the pilgrimage to Potala Lokesvara. The Buddhist character of Ayyappa is explicit in his merger with Dharma-sasta. Sasta is a synonym of Lord Buddha.'

Rajeev's articles on this subject are NOT innocent. There is no end to the mischief he has created with this (and this type of) careless myth-propagation. This has only been exarcerbated by the fact that, in his oft-repeated references to Ayyappa at Shabarimalai as "Buddhist", he has increasingly been passing this off as fact (as he has also done with his other theories Bauddhising Hindu religio-history).

I have seen other *Hindu-owned* sites quoting him verbatim and inserting his statements into much larger articles on the history of Shabarimalai, often without mention of Rajeev as the author of the Bauddhising statements, thereby completing the conversion of his opinion into universal fact of the "as is known to all/as all must accept" variety.

And that is not counting the number of anti-Hindu sites that use just such speculations to declare that Hindus have stolen Ayyappa/Shabarimalai from the Buddhists etc.
Post 2/?

I'll be going over the "three sources" of the 'research' - or rather speculations - that Rajeev attributes to his friend Devakumar Sreevijayan. Though one can't help notice that all 3 sources are actually those that Lokesh Chandra traced his speculations to, thus reducing the source of Srivijayan's "research" into just 1: Lokesh Chandra's book.


Quote:Devakumar Sreevijayan (formerly of Austin, Texas and currently of New York City) for almost all of this fascinating research. It is in three texts: the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Hymn to the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara, and the writings of the intrepid Chinese traveller Hsiuen Tsang (Zuen Xang?), that we find the detailed references. Dev found a good deal of information in the book, The Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara by Lokesh Chandra.
(Or rather: Devakumar found *all* his information in Lokesh Chandra's book. And most of Rajeev's own additional speculations in his rediff article were spin-offs from Lokesh's theories.)

All three sources plus the fourth of Lokesh Chandra's book are inadmissable as evidence, and each has contributed further speculations/mythmaking to the Potalaka myth. I'll provide sources for the following arguments in subsequent posts, but the main points are (the short-short version):

1. In the Mahayana Buddhist "Avatamsaka Sutra", Potalaka is a spiritual Buddhist place

- The Avatamsaka Sutra (its Gandavyuha Sutra section) is the primary, originating source of the Potalaka myth. It takes place in the spiritual Indian Buddhist cosmological plane (where the multiple Buddhas of Mahayana like Maitreya, Manjushri etc were to be met) not in the physical geography of India.

- The main character, Sudhana, visits a lot of spiritual Buddhist characters, some living in fantastic places (very bejewelled). Among the significant number of 53 characters he meets are - besides Avalokiteshwara - the Maitreya and Manjushri Buddhas and (anachronistically) Gautama Buddha's mother.

- Avalokiteshwara's Potalaka is actually very bejeweled too (giant jewel rocks and in the verse-section, mountain Potalaka is made of jewels). So it doesn't "just" have an earthlike natural setting, as people claim.

- All of them advise Sudhana on how to proceed to the next stage in his quest for bodhisattvahood. In other words: they all interact with him. Including Buddha's mother. So why isn't everyone trying to find their locations and only Avalokiteshwara's Potalaka?

- Clearly the Sutra is a spiritual text for meditation, on how to attain Bodhisattvahood, where the Buddhist takes the place of Sudhana and learns what the character learns. The text is not meant to be literally - geographically and historically - true. Just like the magic deer in IIRC the Heart Sutra (was it?) was not meant (nor taken) as historically, literally true, even though set in India.

2. Second stage: Potalaka is assumed to be real geography

- It is Hsuan-Tsang, the Chinese Buddhist visiting India, who taking the Avatamsaka Sutra literally, assumed it to allude to real geography and moreover that this was in India, and hence also sought Potalaka in India. (Avalokiteshwara/GuanYin's growing fame in China may have further compelled his interest in Potalaka.)

- However scholars have surmised that Hsuan-Tsang never visited the place that he choice to identify as Potalaka, but that he got the descriptions from hearsay.

- Further, his descriptions admit to no more than Shaivam (only sightings of Shiva [or Shaiva Yogins] are attested: as Ishwara and a PAshupata Yogin) which HT nevertheless chose to interpet as Avalokiteshwara instead, and which apologists are trying to argue away as "but Avalokiteshwara was based on Ishwara so maybe it was a reference to syncretism", except that all the syncretism is HT's interpretation, and all the Shaivam is from the actual descriptions from persons which he's relaying.

3. Third stage: based on the assumption of Potalaka being real geography, various people have tried to locate it, variously.

Resulting in a wide range of speculations.

- Lokesh Chandra subscribes to HT's speculation that Avatamsaka Sutra's Potalaka at least must be real geography. He further believes HT's description to be of the actual Potalaka (though others have sought Potalaka in other parts of Asia, also because Jambudvipa didn't/doesn't necessarily refer to India). Lokesh further chooses to interpret HT's descriptions of Potalaka as referring to Shabarimala and chooses to infer from the 3 source texts in just such a way as to fit his conclusions.

- However, other scholars (like the Japanese Shu) - also working on the assumption that Potalaka is real geography and located in India and that HT must have described the real Potalaka - have used the same sources to identify a different site (in Shu's case, a Hindu site in TN) as the Potalaka described by HT, and have consequently made different inferences from the same source texts such as to come to their own different conclusions. Both Lokesh and Shu widely vary in their derivation of the etymology of Potalaka, again so as to fit their conclusions. Clearly, HT's descriptions are not unambiguous, because they give rise to widely varying speculations on the location of Potalaka, with widely varying conclusions.

[Next to that, neo-Buddhist circles from some distant part of India had claimed that Tirupati is Potalaka. Which negates Hsuan Tsang's descriptions of a PAshupata Yogin manifesting at the foot of the hill and being identical to or related to the deity at the temple.]

- And Lokesh Chandra admits he is only speculating: "... Lord Ayyappa of Shabarimala, who could have been the Potala Lokeshwara of Buddhist literature".

- Also, Lokesh Chandra makes basic errors in retelling Ayyappa narratives that no scholar would have made, and works with some typically Buddhist assumptions (that, everywhere in India, shaastaa "must be" exclusively a synonym for Buddha onlee. This is obviously not the case in the south, the homebase for the popularity of the Hindu God DharmaShaastaa.)
Post 3/?

This post is the long version of the previous post. Wrote it, so posting it.

1. The Avatamsaka Sutra - the primary, originating source for the Potalaka myth - does NOT place Potalaka in real geography.

It is the Gandavyuha Sutra subsection of the Avatamsaka Sutra that is relevant, as it is Gandavyuha that mentions/introduces Potalaka, where it is the setting for Avalokiteshwara; among the many settings of the many Buddhist spiritual characters (Bodhisattvas and Buddhas) that the main character of the text ("Sudhana") meets.

- It was later Buddhists that tried to place Potalaka in actual geography.

As mentioned in one of my earlier posts on Ayyappa: the attempt to superimpose the mythical Potalaka onto real geography has long been a passtime of Buddhists (in much of Buddhicised Asia, not just India) and subsequently also of historians who have taken the cue from them.

- Even in what's deemed to be the earliest descriptions of Potalaka in the Avatamsaka Sutra text, it is only ever a spiritual location: where Avalokiteshwara* seated on a giant diamond rock is found lecturing on the Dhamma to an audience of a "multitude" of Bodhisattvas (not random earthly Buddhists, note), all seated on huge jewel rocks. It is only the rest of the backdrop to this spectacle that sounds "earthlike", though this is no different from paradisal natural descriptions in Hindu literature of groves and gardens of the Hindu Gods in Swargam: may sound "earthlike too, but not on earth. [The Avatamsaka descriptions of Potalaka that are deemed newer, make it even more bejewelled.]

* Avalokiteshwara is not a historical Buddhist person: this deity-like Buddha-variant (a special Bodhisattva) is admitted, even by Lokesh Chandra, to have been modelled on the Hindu God Shiva (and as a replacement for him. In Chinese regions, however, he got remodelled again: to encroach on an extremely popular female Taoist Goddess and replace her with Buddhism, and so GuanYin became the Goddess of Mercy there). Avalokiteshwara originated as a Buddhist spiritual character in Mahayana. It's the search for a real Potalaka that has, in more modern times, resulted on occasion in the spin-off search for a historical human Buddhist to identify as the blueprint for the spiritual Buddhist deity-like figure, Avalokiteshwara. But the Gandavyuha never presented Avalokiteshwara as a human, and his special status only grew when this bodhisattva became specially popular in Asian countries Bauddhised by Mahayana, where his popularity vied with full-blown Buddhas like Maitreya and Manjushri.

- The protagonist Sudhana makes his journey by being directed from one spiritual Buddhist character living in a spiritual place to another who can impart further information. As one stopover node of Sudhana's journey, he is sent to Potalaka to look for Avalokiteshwara. The entire journey of Sudhana, including the Potalaka stretch of it, is not meant to be historical** (and not actual geography): his journey actually represents a spiritual journey. That is why places, when they're described and not merely named (often with names that exist only in this text and which frequently have an allegorical meaning), are often bejewelled to what seems like excess, but it is a visual cue for meditation. Similar to the settings being non-physical and for the purpose og proding a backdrop, the characters that Sudhana meets are supra-human.

Because it is a spiritual quest and because in the Buddhist view of the cosmos it is peopled with multiple buddhas, many of the characters Sudhana meets are anachronistic (like Shakyamuni Buddha's mother), and non-historical characters like the future Buddha (Maitreya) and further multiple Buddhas (Manjushri, Avalokiteshwara) and unnamed multitudes of Buddhas, as well as other special beings in Buddhist cosmology (some taken from Hindu cosmology and placed lower in the Buddhist hierarchy).

[The number of teachers Sudhana meets being 53 seems religiously-significant: approximately that number was already significant in Hindu religion; Buddhism and Jainism are sometimes off by a few units from significant Hindu numbers.]

So why does Avalokiteshwara's Potalaka suddenly become "real geography" when none of the others are?

A: Don't know about the reason for the obsession of Bauddhified Indian individuals of today. But for the rest: other Asians didn't know actual Indian geography (although, the reference to Jambudvipa was generally to the world inhabited by people and not usually to India in specific), so some E/SE Asians took it all literally. And of course because it concerns Avalokiteshwara, who is now an important character in Buddhism. Despite Avalokiteshwara's bit part in this early sutra, where he shares the limelight with others and when his character was not yet developed to the extent it is now, he in time became much more significant to Tibetan and E Asian Mahayana Buddhism, as stated.

** Note that Buddhism never claimed its Sutra literature to be historical. Inspired by how Hindu religion claims spiritual reality to its sacred narratives, Buddhism's Mahayana Sutras and (backprojected) jatakas are claimed to be a spiritual 'truth'. E.g. the IIRC the story associated with the Heart Sutra features a super-magical deer that was to have lived in India and which lives in a forest setting too. The earthlike settings don't make the tale real. The purpose of the tale was to teach "compassion". (But renditions show that it took digs at Hindu religion, just as the Jatakas often did).

The visual meditatons of Buddhist sutras are clearly modelled on the style of Hindu visual meditations. I.e. the descriptions in the texts are visual cues that produce mental responses conducive to meditative states and spiritual purification. In Hindu religion, the ancient Hindoo meditative texts - found in our epics and puranas - even produce the Hindoo state known as samAdhi in Expert Hindoo practitioners. Buddhism and Jainism would later adopt the notion of samadhi too, and - later still - they would stop crediting Hindu religion for its origins and even claim that they had invented it and that Hindu religion had borrowed it from them. Ramayanam, and at least sections of MBh - e.g. the end section of Urvashi's shApam on Arjuna clearly explains the spiritual purity that results from hearing/reading the section; Valmeeki and other Vaidika Ramayanams, Srimad Bhagavatam, any Mahaatmyam, LalithopAkhyanam, are all spiritual/yoga journeys and feature visual cues like that of the dscriptions of Amman's Sreenagara, etc.

2. It is the 2nd source, the Buddhist Chinese visitor to India, Xuanzang=Hsuan-Tsang (HT) - and otherwise variously spelled - who, assuming the Avatamsaka Sutra to be literal truth and taking Potalaka [and possibly the rest of Sudhana's quest] literally, as earthly geography (because of Avalokiteshwara's popularity in China and E Asia), claimed that Potalaka was a real place and furthermore makes reference to a decisively geographic location in India. (But other Asians have similarly claimed Potalaka to lie elsewhere - outside India - "in the south".) The geography that Hsuan-Tsang described and chose to designate as Potalaka, is actually the one that modern historians especially (often Buddhist) have been trying to locate in earthly geography. Though it is only Buddhist writers/research which insist on considering HT's designated earthly "Potalaka" to actually *be* the (spiritual) Potalaka of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Though not all Buddhists take it literally.

- HOWEVER: Scholars, including a translator of Hsuan-Tsang's writings, have concluded that Hsuan-Tsang never actually visited the place that he chose to designate as Potalaka. His descriptions are from HEARSAY.

- Next, the only part of his description that is not seen through his Bauddhifying glasses can at best only mark out the place that he alludes to as a Shaiva sacred site: he admits that, from the hearsay he received, the devotees sometimes got to see the temple deity appear to them in the flesh as "Ishwara"/a "PAshupata Yogin" (elsewhere translated as "Shiva-PAMshupata"). HT *chose* to interpret this as a syncretist Buddhism, i.e. as Avalokiteshwara, the Buddhist clone of Shiva. He interpreted the descriptions of the site as matching that of Potalaka.

What I'm saying is that: the descriptions that Hsuan-Tsang documents from hearsay are of a real place in India - and specifically a Shaiva place - but he mistook it for the Buddhist Potalaka or a syncretised variant.

- HT's descriptions of the place he alleges as the Buddist "Potalaka" are actually not very precise - this is not a crime, except it invites to much speculation.

As seen from the fact that the Japanese scholar (Shu, mentioned in an earlier post of mine on the subject) placed it in a real, existing Hindu temple site at Podigai/Potiyil part of TN, even as the scholar admitted that originally it was a Hindu site and that the locals remained Hindu and did not buy into any attempted Buddhist syncretism on Shiva there; while Lokesh Chandra has sought to place it in Ayyappa's Shabarimalai abode in Kerala.

[This is beside some northern Indian neo-Buddhists nowadays claiming that Tirupati is Potalaka, and E Asian Buddhists having variously identified Potalaka in their own backyards.]

Modern Buddhist writers, often western, argue that references to other Bodhisattvas designated with the qualifier "Potalaka" may indicate that this was an earthly locality where these were worshipped. If it were Hindu, this may be the case. But Mahayana bodhisattvas like the "Potalaka Bhagavati" need not be grounded*: e.g. Indra and Indraani are regularly referenced with Swargam - or the quarter of the heavens (Vasava) that is their abode - as their locality identifer. It does not follow that the locality is *earthly* geography.

* Unless, of course, they were specifically created as Buddhist attempts at localised syncretism on (aka Buddhist clone of) a local Bhagavati=wife of Shiva, as the equivalent for Buddhism's Potalaka Lokeshwara [Avalokiteshwara] as a replacement-via-syncretism on Shiva in some region. Since Shiva always exists with his wife, so Mahayana Buddhism would have been forced to introduce the Bauddhified Tara, or equivalent Buddhist clone, to mask Shiva's Wife.

3. I will treat "the Hymn to the Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara" and Lokesh Chandra's speculations (which he based on both this hymn and the above 2 sources) together. Lokesh's speculations on the subject of Ayyappa/Shabarimalai's alleged connection to Buddhism/Avalokiteshwara/Potalaka are in his book "The Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshwara". His conjectures are also not admissable as evidence, let alone justifying the additional spin-off speculations indulged in by those that have bought into his Mere Hypothesis.

Subsequent posts will contain the relevant screenshots from Lokesh's book where he tries to Ayyappa/Shabarimalai with Avalokiteshwara/Potalaka. Summary of the issues:

- Lokesh admits his choice to identify Ayyappa at Sabarimala with Avalokiteshwara/Potalaka is but speculation - "Lord Ayyappa of Shabarimala, [...] could have been the Potala Lokesvara of Buddhist literature" - a hypothesis thatis itself based on comparatively late Buddhist speculation - such as especially by Hsuan-Tsang - that Potalaka may be real worldly geography, which HT had conveniently located in India based on hearsay.

(And uh, wasn't Potalaka from Buddhist literature - still pre-Hsuan-Tsang - supposed to be IIRC an island? If people are going to try pin-pointing it geographically, it sounds more like Malaysia or a Mahayana Buddhist claim on Theravadan Sri Lanka.)

- Also relevant is that from the same Buddhist sources, most especially Hsuan-Tsang's third-hand hearsay account of a real place in India, Japanese scholar Shu, also in search of HT's particular earthly Potalaka, came to different conclusions from that of Lokesh:

+ not only did Shu identify a Hindu temple site in Tamil Nadu as his probably Potalaka, and as having experienced a "syncretist Hindu-Buddhist" past therefore, but

+ Shu even derived the origins of the word Potalaka differently. But just like Lokesh, he too derived the word in such a way as to suit/support his choice of Potalaka.

- Lokesh bases his identification of Ayyappa/Shabarimalai with Avalokiteshwara/Potalaka on 5 points he advances, and which he derives from the 3 sources (the Sutra, Hsuan-Tsang's description and the Hymn to the 1000-armed Avalokiteshwara) and Chinese translations thereof.

+ 3 of these 5 points are about the meaning of the name Potalaka as *he* interprets it based on the 3 sources. His interpretation of the etymology of Potalaka seems more sound than that of the Japanese scholar - both of whom derive widely-different origins for the word, as will be seen further below, though both have come up with their etymology so as to forcefit/make it conducive to fit the different geographic location each has identified in south India as HT's Potalaka. Having said that, however, Lokesh's etymological derivation of the word becomes much weaker than that of Shu when it's time for him to plead that this would refer to Shabarimalai.

+ the remaining 2 (of the 5) points Lokesh submits in building his 'argument' do no more than show that Buddhism had encroached on Shiva and his personal names for Avalokiteshwara.

- Lokesh makes too much of the real Buddhist appropriation of both Shiva and Vishnu that's seen elsewhere (such as in Lokesh's argument of Indonesia) and tries to introduce it unnecessarily into this particular context, in order to use it to tie it back to Shabarimalai. That is, Lokesh uses Harihara to forcefit his theory on Ayyappa (since Ayyappa is Hariharaputra). In this too he departs from the Japanese scholar, who does not feel the need to introduce Buddhist appropriation of Vishnu or Vishnu-Shiva into Avalokiteshwara (and others scholars dealing with the same Buddhist sources don't either - no more than they bring up Hindu Gods in general as being formative influences behind the Buddhist Avalokiteshwara), because the Hindu temple site *Shu* chose to identify as being possibly Potalaka was largely a Shaiva site.

As for the Buddhist Padmapani form: it's true that Buddhism regularly tried to encroach on Shiva using Padmapani, e.g. it was one of the major means with which Buddhism tried to encroach - euphemised to "syncretism" by modern amnesiac/revisionist/Bauddhified "Hindus" - on a very particular famous manifestation of Hindus' Shiva as Guru in several temples. So Hindus of that time eventually dropped the (traditional, Hindoo) use of padmam in his 4th hand when making vigrahas of that Shiva manifestation, for the express reason that Buddhists tended to use this route for inculturation/encroachment/forced merger via Padmapani. [Such a last-ditch reaction by native heathens to Buddhist inculturation is also seen in E Asia, BTW.]

- Lokesh makes elementary mistakes :

+ in the section where he wishes to recount the popular variant of narratives on Ayyappa, he refers to a MahiShasura instead of the MahishAsurI/MahiShI, who (representing the ignorance clouding the aatman) was defeated and the lady inside (the pristine jeevaatman) got liberated by Ayyappa. Another error is that Lokesh swaps leopards for tigresses. And he keeps speaking of "Hari and Hara" as Ayyappa's literal parents, when it is specifically Hara and Mohini-Hari - Vishnu's Shakti form, i.e. his female aspect. But Lokesh needed to forcefit Buddhism onto Ayyappa using the Buddhist encroachment on Vishnu-Shiva seen in other Mahayana Bauddhised countries, so Mohini would not have been handy for his purpose. All these differences are not nitpicking: they do matter to all but unHindus, and no Hindu would get it wrong.

Maybe all the above mistakes are because Lokesh's ancestry is in the now-Pakistani part of Punjab: Lokesh himself was born in Haryana but his dad, an indologist/Sanskritist, is from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Both are a long way removed from Ayyappa's traditional homegrounds in the south of the Hindu subcontinent. So it may be understandable that Lokesh doesn't really know/care about the tradition (beyond his interest in how much it can be made to fit his Buddhist theories), though a scholar would have made it a point to find out, and ethnic Hindus from anywhere would have made certain to get it right.

+ Then there is that tell-tale error - one repeated by Rajeev who appears to have parroted Lokesh: Lokesh's conclusion that Dharmashaastaa "must be" a reference to the Buddha merely because Buddha in time came to be referred to as "shaastaa" too (but the name shAstR^i means: teacher and commander/ruler. Like the word Guru, its meaning is general. It is also the personal name of the Vedic God Dharmashaastaa aka Ayyappa, like Brahmashaastaa is the name of Murugan.*) Although I've already covered this false conclusion in detail in an earlier post (somewhere between 105 to 111), what is notable that it is an error made peculiarly by Buddhists and the Bauddhified, who are always more familiar with Buddhist history and backprojected history than with Hindu religio-historic originals.

And this last is my own speculation (based on prior experience):

Lokesh Chandra - whether he is named after the original Shiva the Lokeshwara (one of his names), or after Shiva's later Buddhist clone Potalaka Lokeshwara/Avalokiteshwara - certainly has the hallmarks of a researcher of Buddhist leanings/tendencies: his field of research=his field of interest = Buddhism, his need to identify Hindu temple sites as Buddhist even if it is only by means of bad speculation, his lack of knowledge of details of Hindu religion (other than parroting what is convenient) and being far removed from anything he could know by direct experience even though he will nevertheless speculate on and on from general accounts, his comparatively better knowledge of Buddhism stemming from his greater interest in it, his promoting Buddhist variations as the standard ("shaastaa" in its specific Buddhist meaning, rather than the older, general Hindu meaning of shaastaa). There is choice of topic too - the 1000 armed Avalokiteshwara for his book - and his interest in collecting Buddhist hymns in his book, both of which are features also of specifically-Buddhist western scholars.

Next to all this is Lokesh's propensity to speculate based on flimsy evidence on behalf of Buddhism (=lack of actual scholarship) - and which is somehow passed off as scholarship - and which is evident in just the section of his book that I perused. Of course, he's not the only one guilty of that crime.

This post is the long, long version of the previous one.
Post 4/?

Now for the actual supporting evidence to the points made in post #3 of this series.

1. The Gandavyuha Sutra portion of the Avatamsaka Sutra does not speak of an earthly Potalaka but a spiritual one (Buddhist dimension). Sudhana is not meant to represent a "historical" character but his journey is supposed to be a spiritual journey to find the many Bodhisattvas and Buddhas to learn from them their teachings on bodhisattvahood in stages, among which are also the insights on bodhisattvahood that Avalokiteshwara can instill.


Quote:In the Avalokiteśvara chapter, Sudhana’s arrival is described in the following way:

atha khalu sudhanaḥ śreṣṭhidārako…anupūrveṇa yena potalakaḥ parvatas tena-upasaṃkramya potalakaṃ parvatam abhiruhya avalokiteśvaraṃ bodhisattvaṃ parimārgan parigaveṣamāno’drakṣīd avalokiteśvaraṃ bodhisattvaṃ paścimadikparvata-utsaṅge utsasaraḥprasravaṇa-upaśobhite nīlataruṇakuṇḍalakajātamṛduśādvalatale mahāvanavivare vajraratna-śilāyāṃ paryaṅkaṃ baddhvā upaviṣṭaṃ nānāratnaśilā-talaniṣaṇṇa-aparimāṇabodhisattvagaṇaparivṛtaṃ dharmaṃ deśayamānaṃ sarva-jagatsaṃgrahaviṣayaṃ mahāmaitrīmahākaruṇāmukha-udyotaṃ nāma dharmaparyāyaṃ saṃprakāśayantam |[16]

(“Then, the merchant’s son Sudhana… arrived in due order at mount Potalaka, and climbing mount Potalaka he looked around and searched everywhere for the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. Finally he saw the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara on a plateau on the western side of the mountain in a clearing of large woods abounding in young grass, adorned with springs and waterfalls, and surrounded by various trees. He was sitting cross-legged on a diamond rock surrounded by a multitude of bodhisattvas seated on rocks of various jewels. He was expounding the dharma-explanation called ‘the splendour of the door of great friendliness and great compassion’ belonging to the sphere of taking care of all sentient beings.”)[17]
^Stuff that Rajeev and Lokesh Chandra left out^ in their reference to the descriptions of Potalaka. The "primary source" of Potalaka should surely count?

As can be seen, the description is not of a temple with a vigraha of a deity. (And certainly not of Shabarimalai.)

It is *Hsuan-Tsang* that assumed Potalaka must be a physical/geographic place and who had pointed out a site in southern India for it (that he didn't visit himself).

Of great importance to note in the context - as it was also conveniently unmentioned by Rajeev, when he went on about Ayyappa's posture in his arguing for Buddhism - is that the Avalokiteshwara is sitting CROSS-LEGGED here as per the Avatamsaka. And The Ayyappa vigraham at Shabarimalai is specifically NOT SITTING CROSS-LEGGED. Why this is relevant: if Ayyappa's seated posture is significant (as it was to Rajeev when he chose to identify Ayyappa as a Buddhism/Avalokiteshwara because of it), then so too are the distinctions between the particular posture of Ayyappa and Avalokiteshwara as per Da Source (Avatamsaka Sutra) on Avalokiteshwara in Potalaka. No?

For context on Gandavyuha and its relation to Avatamsaka, the history of the development of Avalokiteshwara and as the source for "Potalaka" and subsequent references:

Quote:Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra,[8] in Chinese Buddhism best known under the title Ru fajie pin (入法界品) as the last chapter of the voluminous Huayan jing (華嚴經or Avataṃsakasūtra),[9] is, like the Lotus Sūtra, in terms of literary form and composition a compendium of didactic religious tales, composed as such, most likely, for the purpose of presenting as completely as possible all the doctrinal issues circulating at the time in the Buddhist world of India interpreted within the new framework of the Mahāyāna. The compositional unifying thread is the story of the merchant’s son Sudhana (Shancai tongzi善財童子), an aspirant for the bodhisattvahood, who, following bodhisattva Mañjuśrī’s (Wenshushili pusa 文殊師利菩薩) instruction, travels round India and visits various teachers called ‘benevolent friends’ (kalyāṇamitras, shan zhishi善知識), fifty-three altogether, in order to ask them about the bodhisattva conduct (bodhisattvacaryā, pusa xing 菩薩行). Each of them gives Sudhana specific instructions to contemplate, and finally these were integrated in the meditation of the vision of Maitreya’s (Mile pusa 彌勒菩薩) magic mansion (kūṭagāra), leading Sudhana into the realization of the totality of the bodhisattvahood embodied in the figure of the great bodhisattva Samantabhadra (Puxian pusa普賢菩薩).[10]
Note how no one is looking for the future Buddha - Maitreya - or the other Buddha ManjushrI, or Samantabhadra, or an abode for them in India. Also note that the framing story of Sudhana is not meant as literally, physically true. It only intends to impart Mahayana Buddhist insights/truths on bodhisattvahood.

Instead of meditating on the spiritual visions the Sutra reveals, or at least searching for MajusrhI and Maitreya and Samantabhadra, some people are obsessed with some few paragraphs in the Gandavyuha of the Avatamsaka which is the source for "Potalaka" and the mythmaking surrounding it:

Quote:The list of the early literary sources containing materials on the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara could, however, not be complete without the Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra, another early Mahāyāna sūtra which is, for reasons unknown to me, quite rarely cited in this connection. Even when it is mentioned then merely as one of the main sources in which the mysterious mount Potalaka, the residence of Avalokiteśvara is described.[6] Much more interesting and meaningful doctrinal issues contained in the Avalokiteśvara chapter of the Gaṇḍavyūha, however, are almost completely ignored or overlooked by modern authors.

In this paper, I will introduce and analyze the content of the Avalokiteśvara chapter of the Gaṇḍavyūha. This is one of the earliest sources revealing the concept and figure of the great bodhisattva and thus its examination and the comparison with other textual sources may allow us to see the problem of the origin and meaning of the concept and figure of Avalokiteśvara in the early Mahāyāna literature in a new light.

Most curiously of all, Lokesh Chandra attributes what he implies is an earthly Potalaka to the Avatamsaka Sutra in a sentence that has no terminating double quotes - in GoogleBooks' scan at least - so that it's hard to tell where the quote ends and where Lokesh continues:

Quote:[Lokesh Chandra in his book The Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara:] The Avatamsaka Sutra describes the earthly paradise of Avalokitesvara: "Potalaka is on the sea-side in the south, it has woods, it has streams, and tanks, and is in fact a sort of earthly paradise. Buddhabhadra (A.D. 420) calls Kuan-yin mountain Kuangming or 'Brilliance', which is usually given as the rendering for Malaya, but a later translator, ShikShAnanda, transcribes the name Potalaka" (Watters 1905:2.231)

Note how what's presented as a direct quote from the Avatamsaka-Sutra does not terminate, but segues into "is in fact a sort of earthly paradise" (which seems like a modern comment/observation besides the sentence mirroring Lokesh's intro: "Avatamsaka describes the earthly paradise... and is in fact a sort of earthly paradise.") before proceeding to start the next sentence of "Buddhabhadra in 420 AD" etc, which certainly is a modern sentence. So it's hard to make out whether his attempt at a direct quote ends after "and tanks" or not. ***

The Buddhabhadra mentioned above is I think the translator into Chinese of the Avatamsaka Sutra. The other one of that name, contemporaneous to him, is the one known as Bodhidharma (of Shaolin) and who - coincidentally - in China is often equated with KuanYin aka Da Bodhisattva (AKA Avalokiteshwara) when bodhisattva is left unqualified.

*** ADDED:

- As a matter of fact, I ended up looking up the Avatamsaka Sutra (see later post for larger excerpts) to confirm for myself.

- Turns out Lokesh's alleged direct quote from the Sutra is a semi-mangled version of what's in there.

- The bit that he has carefully missed out is the most interesting bit. See post 10 below.

* The first blockquote of this post (from the Gandavyuha section) is moreover to contain the earliest descriptions of Potalaka, later descriptions in the same section/text are even more bejewelled and unrealistic, in terms of the possibilities of actual planet earth: where jewels start to dominate, while the at least partially-natural settings in the original descriptions recede in comparison -

Quote:In the verse sections, however, more details were added to the description of Avalokiteśvaras’s abode. The verses at the end of the previous Veṣṭhila chapter mention that mount Potalaka is located ‘in the middle of the king of stormy waters’ (śirījalarājamadhye),[18] an important feature which surely had a great impact on the creation of later myths and legends connecting Avalokiteśvara’s residence with the ocean or even describing it as an island.[19] The two following lines describe the surroundings in the mountain generally in the same way as it is done in the prose section but stressing its jewel ground: ratnāmayaṃ taruvaraṃ kusuma-abhikīrṇam udyānapuṣkiriṇiprasravaṇa-upapetam ||[20] (“Made of jewels, surrounded by trees, scattered with flowers, gardens, ponds and streams.”)

Note that this last bit sounds closest to the alleged quotation from Avatamsaka Sutra that Lokesh Chandra wanted to allude to, though he carefully with-held the "made of jewels" bit, probably because it made it all unlikely as an actual geographic place.)

In the verse section in the middle of the Avalokiteśvara chapter,[21] the ocean or other kinds of “stormy waters” are not mentioned any more. The abode of the bodhisattva, however, is described as a ‘jewel mountain’ (ratnaparvata) and Avalokiteśvara’s place there as a ‘cave’ (kandara) on the ‘diamond slope of the mountain adorned with jewels’ (vajramaye giritaṭe maṇiratnacitre). A list of mythological creatures such as ‘gods’ (deva), ‘demigods’ (asura), ‘serpent-demons’ (bhujaga), ‘centaurs’ (kinnara), and ‘demons’ (rakṣasa) is added as part of his retinue.[22]

These are also things that Rajeev and Lokesh didn't want to mention. Even if they were to argue that the older part of the primary source text's descriptions were somewhat more natural and weren't quite so much like that of a veritable Treasure Island (and in which case there's no need to appeal to the late - 7th century CE? - Hsuan-Tsang's descriptions of his own alleged Potalaka either), then the Question still stands: why aren't the more fantastical elements in the earliest Potalaka descriptions in the Avatamsaka (Gandavyuha) presented with equal fervour: the mythical Avalokiteshwara holding court, the multitude of Bodhisattvas, not to mention the huge jewel seats for all the gathered celestials of Buddhist cosmology - making it sound like an obviously divine scene.

Of course, Hindu sciptures regularly have the Gods enthroned on bejewelled simhasanas etc, in divine palaces in divine cities (like Amman's Srinagara etc - also for meditation) that aren't set in the physical world, and with other beings of Hindoo cosmology beside them (which is where Buddhism got this style of content for sutras from). But the search for the historicity and physicality of Potalaka is a peculiarly Buddhist quest. And the identification of it in various *Hindu* sacred sites in India (and in Asian heathen sites) is moreover opportunistic.



The last chapter of the Avatamsaka circulates as a separate and important text known as the Gaṇḍavyūha Sutra (lit. 'flower-array' or 'bouquet';[11] 入法界品 ‘Entering the Dharma Realm’[12]). Considered the "climax" of the larger text,[13] this section details the pilgrimage of the youth Sudhana to various lands at the behest of the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī.

In his quest for enlightenment, Sudhana would converse with a diverse array of 52 kalyāṇa-mittatā (wise advisors), 20 of whom are female,[11] including an enlightened prostitute named Vasumitrā,[13] Gautama Buddha's wife and his mother, a queen, a princess and several goddesses. Male sages include a slave, a child, a physician, a ship's captain.[14] The antepenultimate master of Sudhana's pilgrimage is Maitreya.

The penultimate master that Sudhana visits is the Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, the bodhisattva of great wisdom. Thus, one of the grandest of pilgrimages approaches its conclusion by revisiting where it began. The Gaṇḍavyūha suggests that with a subtle shift of perspective we may come to see that the enlightenment that the pilgrim so fervently sought was not only with him at every stage of his journey, but before it began as well—that enlightenment is not something to be gained, but "something" the pilgrim never departed from.

The final master that Sudhana visits is the bodhisattva Samantabhadra, who teaches him that wisdom only exists for the sake of putting it into practice; that it is only good insofar as it benefits all living beings. Samantabhadra concludes with a prayer of aspiration to buddhahood, which is recited by those who practice according to Atiśa's Bodhipathapradīpa, the foundation of the lamrim textual traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

Obviously a spiritual journey for Mahayana Buddhists to meditate upon. Not meant literally and not originally taken as such (when composing the sutra). Don't know why those people chasing after a Potalaka in India and in the rest of Asia aren't looking to locate in-the-flesh versions of the various Buddhas that the Sudhana character met...

And this:



Sudhanakumâra (simplified Chinese: 善财童子; traditional Chinese: 善財童子; pinyin: Shàncáitóngzǐ; Wade–Giles: Shan-ts'ai-t'ung-tzu), mainly known as Sudhana and Shancai or Shancai Tongzi in Chinese, and translated as Child of Wealth, is the main protagonist in the next-to-last and longest chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra. Sudhana appears in Buddhist, Taoist and folk stories; in most of them he is one of the acolytes of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Guanyin) and is paired with Longnü (Dragon Girl). He and Longnü being depicted with Guanyin was most likely influenced by the Jade Maiden (Chinese: 玉女; pinyin: Yùnǚ) and Golden Youth (Chinese: 金僮; pinyin: Jīntóng) who both appear in the iconography of the Jade Emperor. A fictionalised account of Sudhana is detailed in the classical novel Journey to the West, where Sudhana is portrayed as a villain, Red Boy, who is eventually subdued by Guanyin and becomes the bodhisattva's attendant.[1]

The middle section about the Taoist trio of *Jade* Maiden and *Golden* Youth, alongside the Taoist Jade Emperor, is obviously of Taoist import: like the *Jade* Rabbit of the Moon and *Golden* Raven of the Sun represent the Yin-Yang. Buddhism just copied the trio, replaced Jade Emperor's place with Guan Yin and the Golden JinTong's place with Sudhana and the purpose of the trio makes no sense anymore. As usual.
Post 5/?

2. Hsuan-Tsang assumed that the spiritual place described in the primary Buddhist sources for Potalaka must be a physical place.

It is his descriptions that further place it in India somewhere. But scholars conclude his descriptions are hearsay, not of his own attestation.

That's not to say he's not passing on physical descriptions of a place he's been told of, but there is absolutely no reason to assume they were Potalaka, not to mention that the actual Potalaka (of the Avatamsaka Sutra) is clearly a spiritual place and does not actually fit Hsuan-Tsang's 2nd hand descriptions in important details (more of which are seen in later posts).

Further, the only substantive elements that Hsuan-Tsang mentions of what he alleges/assumes is the abode of a Tathaagatha ("coming and going", Buddhist character) is actually recognisably the Hindu God Shiva, with moreover no description that actually proves the deity in the temple as Buddhist or even to indicate that the presence of Shiva that HT did mention as existing here* got syncretised=encroached on by Buddhism, and which rather lead one to seriously suspect that Hsuan-Tsang merely assumed that the descriptions of an (obviously Shaiva site) he heard about "must have been" about Avalokiteshwara, probably on account of the popularity of the deity and the magnificence of the sacred site, which he clearly had gathered from the hearsay.

* Hsuan Tsang's 2nd hand descriptions say that whoever the God was in the temple at the top of the hill appeared [only] in the form of "Ishwara" and a "pAshupata Yogin" to devotees at the bottom of the hill - note that these are the only forms HT could record. It is obvious who is and who isn't the God of the temple. And no amount of alleged or even attempted syncretism with Buddhism can change that. See also end of post.

Supporting data follows for

- Hsuan-Tsang's description of a place - which he alleged as "Potalaka" - being likely obtained by him from hearsay, not from own experience; and

- how all the sighted manifestations of the deity that he can document from said hearsay are of a Hindu God onlee (no Buddhist syncretism in the sightings implies no Buddhism at the top of the hill, notwithstanding modern Buddhist-leaning authors trying to impute at least a Buddhist-syncretism - via references to Buddhist encroachment "syncretism" on the Hindu God Shiva in the general case - in order to keep HT's desciptions relevant to Buddhism at all. I mean, it can't be claimed as Potalaka if the God of the place is obviously unclouded/unsyncretised Shiva, right?)


Quote:[27] Watters (1996: 229), for example, is of the opinion that Xuanzang did not personally visit the countries western of Andhra including Malakuta and, of course, mount Potalaka. He also mentions that Xuanzang may have been inspired directly by the Gaṇḍavyūha in his search and description of the mount Potalaka. Lee (1994) even elaborates the theory that the Chinese pilgrim may have tried to follow the route of Sudhana in his travelling in India. He does, however, in his intriguing comparative work not discuss the problem of the location of mount Potalaka.

There are also Sudhana trails in Japan, BTW. Meaning: Buddhists can follow the route of Sudhana anywhere, especially in their own home, meditating. Since it is not meant literally. And even many pseudo-histories (gospel stories notable) set their fictions against a more realistic backdrop. For christianism this makes it more historical, for Buddhism -say- this makes it more vivid and as a stepping stone to more fantastical spiritual visions to get Buddhist points across easier.

Still from:


Quote:Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in the Gaṇḍavyūhasūtra[*]

Märt Läänemets

Research Fellow, Centre for Oriental Studies, University of Tartu (Estonia)


Ancient and modern authors have made attempts to localize mount Potalaka in the real geographical space of India. The most famous passage in this regard, cited and examined again and again by scholars is, that of the Xuanzang’s (玄奘) (Hsuan-Tsang) description of mount Potalaka (Budaluojia shan 布呾洛迦山)[24] in his Records on the Western World (Datang xiyu ji 大唐西域記):

“To the east of the Malaya mountains [Molaye shan秣剌耶山][25] is Mount Po-ta-lo-kia [Budaluojia shan布呾洛迦山] (Pôtalaka). The passes of this mountain are very dangerous; its sides are precipitous, and its valleys rugged. On the top of the mountain is a lake; its waters are clear as a mirror. From a hollow proceeds a great river which encircles the mountain as it flows down twenty times and then enters the southern sea. By the side of the lake is a rock-palace of the Dêvas. Here Avalôkitêśvara [Guanzizai pusa觀自在菩薩] in coming and going takes his abode. Those who strongly desire to see this Bôdhisattva do not regard their lives, but, crossing the water (fording the streams), climb the mountain forgetful of its difficulties and dangers; of those who make the attempt there are very few who reach the summit. But even of those who dwell below the mountain, if they earnestly pray and beg to behold the god, sometimes he appears as Tsz’-tsaï-t’ien [Zizaitian自在天] (Îśvâra-dêva), sometimes under the form of a yôgi [tuhui waidao塗灰外道] (a Pâṁśupata); he addresses them with benevolent words and then they obtain their wishes according to their desires.[/color]

“Going north-east from this mountain, on the border of the sea, is a town; this is a place from which they start for the southern sea and the country of Săng-kia-lo [Sengjialuo guo僧迦羅國] (Ceilon). It is said commonly by the people that embarking from this port and going south-east about 3000 li we come to the country of Siṁhala.”[26]

(The "PaaMshupata" reference is expanded to "Shiva PAMshupata" in one of the footnotes. Further, Lokesh Chandra provides 2 translations of Hsuan Tsang - one by Beal and one by Watters - both of which refer to the same as a PAshupata yogin. I.e. Shiva himself, or a Shaivite Yogi of PAshupata type. Also, "Ishwara" and the suffix "-Ishwara", when not qualified by context such as indicate other Hindu Gods, is primarily a reference to Shiva.)

We do not know whether Xuanzang really visited this place or whether his record is based only on what he heard from the locals.[27] Still, in his record the mount Potalaka is described as a real place in South India and we are informed that the approximate location of the Potalaka is “to the east of the Malaya mountains” not far from the sea. That must be somewhere in modern Tamilnadu in South-West India, not far to the north from the southern tip of India.

(So the Estonian *doesn't* place it in Kerala - smack on top of Shabarimalai - but instead speculates that the place that Hsuan-Tsang (but not Buddhist scriptures) is describing "must be somewhere in modern Tamilnadu ... ". Then why has Rajeev been peddling with certainty - basing Lokesh Chandra as his source - what the equally-irresponsible Lokesh Chandra had only ever speculated: "... Lord Ayyappa of Shabarimala, who could have been the Potala Lokeshwara of Buddhist literature".)

We also learn from Xuanzang’s Records that in the first half of the seventh century a kind of mixed Avalokiteśvara-Īśvaradeva (Śiva – ?) cult was practised at this mountain. However, we do not know whether this was in harmony with mainstream Mahāyāna practice at that time or whether we deal with a more or less independent rudimentary local cult. Still, what Xuanzang says seems to support the theory of Avalokiteśvara-Śiva connections.[28] The Gaṇḍavyūha itself also gives some indirect hints in favour of this theory as the next kalyāṇamitra Sudhana was guided to from mount Potalaka by another bodhisattva accompanying Avalokiteśvara, Ananyagāmin, was the god Mahādeva (Datian大天) who resided in the great temple in the city of Dvāravatī.[29]

(Buddhist texts and encroachment - dubbed "syncretism" - always involved Hindu Gods in Hindu localities, including local manifestations of Gods at temples. Like Buddhism involved Taoist Gods in Taoist localities. And Shinto Gods in Shinto localities. And Olympic Gods in Hellenized Afghanistan. I don't know why Bauddhicised should betray surprise. It's a missionising religion that uses inculturation. Especially Mahayana, which was practically invented for this purpose, with the hope of making Buddhism appeal to populations who were attached to Gods.)

[27] Watters (1996: 229), for example, is of the opinion that Xuanzang did not personally visit the countries western of Andhra including Malakuta and, of course, mount Potalaka. He also mentions that Xuanzang may have been inspired directly by the Gaṇḍavyūha in his search and description of the mount Potalaka. Lee (1994) even elaborates the theory that the Chinese pilgrim may have tried to follow the route of Sudhana in his travelling in India. He does, however, in his intriguing comparative work not discuss the problem of the location of mount Potalaka.

[28] There are many modern works discussing this issue. The two following passages represent the current understanding of Avalokiteśvara-Śiva relations in cult and iconography. Niyogi (2001: 58) says: “Avalokiteśvara has been identified with some Hindu gods. He attributes may be compared with Brahmā, his functions as preserver and defender as Viṣṇu, his colour, symbols, etc., with that of Śiva. From this it appears that his origin cannot be traced from any cult or religion, but is the idea of divine compassion represented with such materials as the art and mythology of the day offered. Not only is Avalokiteśvara identified with some Hindu gods but there are supreme forces of Hinduism embodied within the deity.” Williams (1991: 233), citing a number of related works, summarizes the topic as follows: “There is undoubtedly an iconographical connection of Avalokiteśvara with the Hindu god Śiva. We have seen already that Avalokiteśvara bestows upon Śiva his place in the Hindu pantheon. Nevertheless, Avalokiteśvara himself is also called Maheśvara in the Karaṇḍavyūha─Great Lord, a standard epithet of Śiva. He is described as ‘a beautiful man…wearing a diadem on his matted hair, his mind filled with the highest friendliness, and looking like a disc of gold.’ This could be a description of Śiva, for whom the mated hair is a symbol as Lord of the Yogins. In a lovely Kashmiri brass sculpture from c. 1000 CE, Avalokiteśvara is shown seated on Potalaka, his mountain home, with matted hair and deer. Behind is what initially looks very much like Śiva 's trident. Śiva too dwells in the mountains as a yogin, and is associated with animals in his role of Lord of the animals. Elsewhere Avalokiteśvara is described as ‘blue-throated’, a term for Śiva embedded in Śaivite mythology.” See also Holt 1991: 41-42.

(The reference is to the Buddhist encroachment on Shiva's highly-and-exclusively personal name NeelakaNTha. Will bring it up again in a later post.)

[29] The city’s name is rendered differently in the various Chinese versions: Poluoboti婆羅波提in the Luomo and Sixty-Huayan, Duoluobodi墮羅缽底in the Eighty-Huayan, and Menzhu門主in the Fourty-Huayan. We are not able to identify it with any historical site. The Mahādeva chapter is found in: Gv: 367-368; T 278: 9, 719a-719c; T 279: 10, 368a-368b; T 293: 10; 736a-737c; T 294: 10, 861b-862b.). The figure of Ananyagāmin is discussed at the end of this paper.

Footnote 28 is relevant in demonstrating that Avalokiteshwara was particularly a spin-off of Shiva, and admitted even as such by eastern and western (Buddhist) historians, and that Lokesh was unnecessarily referring to instances of Buddhist encroachments on Vishnu-Shiva for his hypothesis that Hariharaputra Ayyappa at Shabarimalai "could have been" Avalokiteshwara at Potalaka.

Appearances of "Ishwara", "pAshupata Yogin" - the last could refer to a Shaiva [though Shiva himself is known to appear incognito in the form of a Shaiva Yogi too, as part of his leela. E.g. as seen in Nazhanmar literature or in the Kumara-sambhavam account, when Shiva is finally wooing Parvati.] In any case, we know the place Hsuan-Tsang recorded from hearsay is definitely Shaiva: his transmissions concerning the site make that much tangibly clear. What we don't know - and there's certainly no need for anyone to take Hsuan-Tsang at his word - is that there was actually *anything* Buddhist (including syncretistic Buddhist) about the site he described. Theoretically there could have been, but there needn't actually be. ***

Of course, later Buddhist writers quoting him - even in modern scholarly articles (like the Estonian, like the Japanese Shu, or like the Indian Lokesh) - choose to conclude that Hsuan-Tsang's eager interpretion of the hearsay as implying the presence of some syncretist Buddhism at the site magically "makes it so".

*** Even modern Bauddhified western travellers have wrongly invaded Taoist temples thinking these to be Buddhist, taken pictures of the vigrahas there which they assumed were "Buddhist" characters, and then blogged about it. <- Such blog entries were discussed by Taoists as examples of alien attempts at Bauddhifying Taoist places.

And it's not just Taoists that get short-changed: western Buddhist converts have visited the Angkor Wat Hindu temple complex and declared it all an ode to "Buddhism's great history and beautiful temples", and posted pictures of all the Hindoo parts on their website. As embarrassing as that is, people in Hsuan Tsang's era were not a different species, and no less... shall we say enthusiastic about their conversion to Buddhism... and also no less prone to identifying popular sacred sites of other religions as something to do with their adoptive one instead. One rumour or one misinterpretation is all that it takes in cases like these to start another avalanche of Buddhist encroachment and history re-writes of native heathenisms.

Again: Hsuan-Tsang's description - relayed from hearsay he obtained - of an existing Indian site (which he *chose* to interpret as Potalaka) only admits to Hindu religion there. The rest seems very much like it could be his choice to conflate it all with Buddhism. (Besides, he was expecting Potalaka etc to exist in the physical world.)

ADDED: many more comments.

But some of the stuff in the quoteblocks are the relevant bits.

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