Sounds familiar? I have heard this from many a gurus and (confused) Hindus. Below is Rajiv Malhotra’s response in 7 min. For a rigorous response, read the Gita in Sanskrit. Or if you don’t know Sanskrit, follow an authentic interpretation, for example, from Arsha Vidya Gurukulam :
Just like the Aryan Invasion Theory, this conflict between Hinduism and Buddhism is one of the myths manufactured by western indologists that just refuses to go away. The videshi narrative is that Buddhism was a much needed social reform movement to free the masses from the clutches of caste-ridden, superstitious, ritualistic and regressive Hinduism that was rampant during the times of the Buddha. The conflict between Hinduism and Buddhism is often equated with that between Islam and Christianity.
All this is nonsense.
How so? Watch the below talk by Prof Koenraad Elst at the second swadeshi indology conference at Delhi in Feb 2017. Buddhism naturally fits in the bigger tent of Hinduism. It borrows many core ideas like Karma and rebirth from the Vedas. As Prof Elst says, Buddhism should be considered a sect of Hinduism, just like, say, the BhrahmaKumari sect, just much more successful and more international. There is NO conflict. I am quite convinced by the data and arguments that Prof Elst presents.
Hinduism vs Buddhism is another Breaking India fault line that needs to be healed. In fact this fault line was partly responsible for the terrible civil wars in Sri Lanka as explained in chapter seven of Breaking India. So we better take it seriously and do our part to bury this myth and unite the dharmic forces.
We should realize a lot of theories of the western indologists are based on fabricated or cherry picked data and flawed arguments. You may wonder then as to how such falsehoods survived for long enough that they have now become the default narrative and part of our popular culture. A good example is a new TV series Aarambh on Star Plus which is based on the Aryan-Dravidian divide! Rajiv Malhotra spoke about it a while back and there is now a petition against the show with lot more information.
The reason these myths have survived for so long is because the alternative swadeshi perspective was deliberately suppressed by the British before independence and the Congress-Left nexus after independence. High time we set the record straight now. Do check out other talks from the swadeshi indology conference.
Indian embassy in Washington DC kick started their Third International Yoga Day (2017) celebration with the below lecture by Rajiv Malhotra. The main theme of the talk was appropriation and digestion of Indian ideas and techniques by the west. It charted the developments in Mind Sciences in the West since Swami Vivekananda’s trip to the west. In one-hour Rajiv Malhotra mentioned all the people (in yellow), institutions (in red) and techniques/ideas (in blue) in the image above! That should be reason enough to watch the lecture!
Every time I hear RM speak on this topic, I realize something that I was overlooking earlier. Digestion clearly violates the ethics of academic and scientific research since the references are not properly cited and acknowledged. By weakening Indian culture and tradition, digestion also facilitates various Breaking India forces. I appreciated all this earlier.
However, all that is a problem for the Indian government and Swadeshi scholars. Should the aam aadmi care? How does it matter whether one gets the authentic version of a technique or the digested one? In other words, should it matter whether you learn Vipassana or it’s digested version of mindfulness; yog nidra vs lucid dreaming, Transcendental meditation vs relaxation-response? Rajiv Malhotra argues that it does matter because the digested versions are usually just a small subset of the source body of knowledge, and often are also substandard. He mentions that authentic Vipassana is much more advanced than mindfulness, yet mindfulness is projected as the “new and improved” version and is all over the town today! In a few generations, people may not even know that something called Vipassana even existed. I can easily imagine this. Indian scriptures and rituals can be very complex with many layers of meanings and symbolism. Same idea can often be interpreted and implemented in many different ways and combined with other ideas in numerous different ways. Once the source has been reduced to one or two digested forms, such experiments will no longer be possible. Paraphrasing from the talk:
digestion effectively plucks the fruit on a tree and leaves the tree behind to atrophy thereby eliminating the possibility of future harvests.
Another thing I realized is the difference between the way rest of Asia treated knowledge from India and how the west did it and is still continuing. Buddhism spread to China, Japan and south-east Asia over millennia and steadily became less prevalent in India. Yet, Buddhist scholars and practitioners in those countries even today respectfully acknowledge their Indian roots. Western appropriators, on the other hand, go out of their way to avoid crediting India. RM gives a powerful analogy to illustrate this point:
it is like you run 100m faster than any one before and the credit goes to the guy with the clock who timed you and reported it to the world!
RM mentioned that he is writing seven books based on this talk. I can’t wait for it!
Watch the below speech of PM Modi on the occasion of 1000 year birth anniversary of Sri Ramanujacharya, one of the great philosophers of Hinduism, in the same league as Ādi Shankaracharya and Madhvāchārya.
PM Modi presented a biography of Sri Ramanujacharya most of which I was not aware of. Particularly interesting was the fact that Sri Ramanujacharya’s guru was a non-bhrahmin! This was a big deal then. Removing caste-based discrimination was one of the big themes of Sri Ramanujacharya’s life. And this was duly acknowledged by Ambedkar in an editorial to which PM Modi heavily refer to in the speech. [Readers, if you find the soft copy of Ambedkar’s editorial, please share.]
So, two points:
Finally there is some sign of sensible and urgently needed reform in JNU‘s humanities departments. But some intellectuals are not happy about it:
Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University
David Ludden, New York University
Lawrence A Kimpton, University of Chicago
Joya Chatterji, University of Cambridge
Mrinalini Sinha, University of Michigan
Francesca Orsini, School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS)
K. Sivaramakrishnan, Yale University
I am glad that they expressed their opinion as it is a good indicator of a Sepoy. Right, right, I am not using Sepoy accurately here, since some of these are actually Angrez, not Indians employed by Angrez to shoot at fellow Indians.
Ok, so let’s call this post Sepoy and Lords-of-Sepoy alert! I will keep adding to the list.
This is a very important talk by Rajiv Malhotra delivered in Feb 2017 in New Delhi at an event organized by IGNOU. It addresses the question – what is the Indian counterpart of American exceptionalism?
The answer is – Bhartiya Exceptionalism. RM defines it, lays out the need for such a thing and compares it with the Grand Narrative of other nations. Of course, the sad thing is that there is need for articulation of Bhartiya Exceptionalism 70 years after independence!
For any student (this is, an honest student – not the Pollockian variety!) of Indian history and Hindu philosophy, it would be clear that Bhartiya exceptionalism would derive from Hindu heritage and philosophy.
The immediate next question, most likely from a confused Hindu, would be – what about the non-hindu minorities? Is there room for them? How can you right wingers be so intolerant?! First, let me remind you of the name of this blog: this-is-not-right-wing! Second – calm down. These would be non-issues in a society built on Hindu principles. That is because mutual respect (watch this short clip, ideally read Being Different) has always been a defining characteristic of Indian civilization. It has not just been an abstract idea but a ground reality and has actually facilitated integration of multiple immigrants over the ages.
So, how would we go about implementing Bhartiya exceptionalism in today’s India? Towards the end of the talk, RM clearly lays out there requirements that minorities ought to meet in order to integrate in a nation built on Hindu values. These are :-
1. Mutual respect should be a two-way street
2. Minority religions should disown foreign authority (apparently China has done this)
3. Minorities must accept the history of violence and oppression perpetrated in the name of their religions (think Aurangzeb).
I think these are perfectly reasonable requirements.
On the third point, note that no apology is being demanded from the minorities today. What is being asked is a recognition that, just like Jewish holocaust is a fact of history, so is Hindu holocaust. Anyone denying the Jewish holocaust in the west is promptly labeled fringe. But in India, Hindu holocaust deniers can easily be found writing for The Hindu, appearing on NDTV and, of course, raising slogans in JNU!
Rajiv Malhotra today posted the below talk delivered in Feb 2017 at the Foreign Service Institute in Delhi which is part of the Ministry of External Affairs. I must have watched over 50 lectures by RM. This one is definitely among his greatest hits. It is full of deep insights, telling anecdotes and, of course, political incorrectness!
Some of the questions that RM addresses are:
- Why would US and the west destabilize India? Isn’t India, being a democracy, a natural ally?
- Are the Breaking India forces isolated and local? Or, are some foreign “grand designs” also at play?
- How does India studies in the west compare with that of other major civilizations such as Chinese, Japanese and Islamic? Who funds it? Who controls it?
Some observations from the talk that struck me are:
- It is not always the case that Breaking India forces are driven by Western agencies. Indians are far too eager to blame it all on the west. However, now there even are vested interest groups based in India who are duping western agencies into supporting them under the pretext of human rights, etc. It is the responsibility of Indian government to identify and weed them out.
- Islamization of India is often pointed out as a threat to the stability of India. However, RM makes a distinction between islamization and Arabization, and says that it is the later that is the problem. Islam per se is not an issue. He points to Indonesia as a case study since, in spite of converting to Islam, it has retained the Indian civilizational identity. So religion and civilization are two different things – fascinating! He also points to the rise of Urdu in Kerala as a symptom of the problem. Urdu in Kerala – WTF?!