Today, a misleading notion is being circulated among masses by some people that Manusmriti discriminates with low castes and women, which is far from truth. You can read the two book below, which will tell you the truth. आज जनसामान्य को भ्रमित करने वाले एक विचार का प्रचार कई लोगों द्वारा किया जा रहा है कि मनुस्मृति में निम्नवर्ग तथा स्त्रियों से भेदभाव किया गया है, जो कि सत्य से परे है | कृपया नीचे दी गयी दो पुस्तकों का अध्यान करें जिससे आपको सत्य का पता चलेगा |
Continuing our evaluation of Manu Smriti, let us now review the third allegation on Manu Smriti – that Manu Smriti is grossly anti-women and denigrates the Matri Shakti (motherly force).
We have already discussed how Manu Smriti has been grossly interpolated. However it is very easy to identify the fraud verses and separate them from the original Manu Smriti.
If we review this original Manu Smriti, one can proudly assert that there is perhaps no other text in world (except Vedas of course!) that accords so much of respect and rights to women. Even the modern feminist books would have to seek further amendments to match up to Manu Smriti.
I am yet to read a text that so unambiguously proclaims that women form the foundation of a prosperous society.
3.56. The society that provides respect and dignity to women flourishes with nobility and prosperity. And a society that does not put women on such a high pedestal has to face miseries and failures regardless of howsomuch noble deeds they perform otherwise.
This is not merely a flattery of womenfolk. It is a truth – very harsh for those who denigrate women and the sweetest nectar for those who glorify the motherly force. This law of nature is applicable to a family, society, cult, nation or entire humanity.
We became slaves despite all our greatness because we neglected this advice of Maharshi Manu. We did not heed to this advice for centuries even after invasions, and hence our situation turned from bad to worse. In late nineteenth century, thanks to efforts of reformers like Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Swami Dayanand Saraswati, we started considering the Vedic message seriously and hence observed a gradual upturn.
Many conservative Muslim countries of today consider women as half-intelligent and unworthy of equal rights at par with men. Hence these places are worse than hell. Europe followed the derogatory Biblical concept of women for ages and hence was among most superstitious places in world. Then, thanks to reformation era, things changed and Bible ceased to be taken seriously. As a result rapid progress happened. But now women is typically stereotyped as a sensual object of pleasure and not as a respectful motherly force. And hence, despite all the material progress, Western world is still inflicted with insecurity and lack of inner peace.
Lets review some more shlokas from Manu Smriti and attempt to imbibe them in our society:
Importance of happy women
3.55. A father, brother, husband or brother-in-law should keep their daughter, sister, wife or sister-in-law happy and pleased through gentle words, respectful behavior, gifts etc. Those who desire prosperity should ensure that women in their family are always happy and do not face miseries.
3.57. A family where women remain unhappy due to misdeeds of their men is bound to be destroyed. And a family where women are always happy is bound to prosper forever.
3.58. A family- where women feel insulted or discriminated against and curse their menfolk- is destroyed in same manner as poison kills all those who eat it.
3.59. One desiring glory should ensure that he keeps women in the family by giving them respect and pleasing them with good ornaments, dresses, food. Women should always be revered under all circumstances.
3.62. A person who does not keep her wife happy causes misery for entire family. And if wife is happy, entire family appears as happiness incarnate.
9.26. Women give birth to next generation. They enlighten the home. They bring fortune and bliss. Hence women are synonymous to Prosperity.
This shloka forms the basis of women being called Ghar ki Laxmi or ‘Goddess of Fortune in Home‘ in India even till today.
9.28. Woman is the source of all kinds of happiness in all generations – be it from children, or from noble benevolent deeds or through conjugal bliss or through service of elders.
In other words, woman is the primary source of bliss in many forms – sometimes as mother, sometimes as daughter, sometimes as wife and sometimes as a partner in spiritual deeds. It also means that participation of women is necessary for conduct of any religious or spiritual activity.
9.96. Man and Woman are incomplete without each other. Hence the most ordinary religious duty would demand participation of both.
Thus, those who deny Vedas or Vedic rituals to women are anti-Hindu and anti-Humanity.
4.180. A wise man should not indulge in fights and arguments with his family members including mother, daughter and wife.
9.4. A father who does not marry his daughter to a deserving groom deserves condemnation. A husband who does not fulfill just demands of her wife deserves condemnation. A son who does not take care of her widow mother deserves condemnation.
Polygamy is a sin
9.101. Husband and Wife should remain together till death. They should not approach any other partner, nor commit adultery. This, in summary, is the Dharma or religion of all human beings.
Thus those societies which justify polygamy or sex-slavery or temporary marriage are bound to suffer miseries because they neglect the core tenet of Dharma.
Autonomy of Women
9.11. Women should be provided autonomy and leadership in managing the finances, maintaining hygiene, spiritual and religious activities, nutrition and overall management of home.
The shloka clearly puts aside false claims that women do not have right to conduct religious rituals of Vedas. On contrary, women should lead such rituals. Thus all those people who suggest that women do not have right to study or practice Vedas are against Manu and Vedas. Such bigoted people are the cause for misery of the nation. We should simply not tolerate such mindsets that demean women.
9.12. A woman who is kept constrained in a home by noble men (husband, father, son) is still insecure. Thus it is futile to restrict women. Security of women would come only through her own capabilities and mindset.
This shloka explains the futility to attempting to restrict a woman to home in name of providing her security. On contrary, to secure her, she should be given the right training so that she can defend herself and avoid getting misled by bad company. The prevailing notion of cornering women within a small home is against Manu’s ideology.
Protection of Women
9.6. Even a weak husband should attempt to protect his wife.
9.5 Women should keep themselves away from vices. Because when women lose character, the entire society is destroyed.
5.149. A woman should always ensure that she is protected. It is duty of father, husband and son to protect her.
Please note that this protection does not imply restriction as clear from verse 9.12 cited in previous section. But a society that does not protect its womenfolk from attacks of perverts writes its own destiny of doom.
It is because of this inspiration that many a brave warriors laid their lives to protect the dignity of their women when butchers from West and Central Asia invaded our nation. The sacrifices of Alha-Udal and valor of Maharana Pratap brings a gush of glory in our blood.
Its a shame that despite such a chivalrous foundation of our culture, we have women either oppressed in backyard of homes or commoditized as sensual-items instigating lust. When we ourselves have turned invaders instead of protectors of dignity of women, who can help us!
Marriage of Women
9.89. It is better to keep the daughter unmarried than force her to marry an undeserving person.
9.90-91. A woman can choose her own husband after attaining maturity. If her parents are unable to choose a deserving groom, she can herself choose her husband.
Thus the concept of parents deciding the groom for their daughter is against Manu. A mature daughter has full rights to choose her husband. Parents act as facilitators for the marriage and not final decision makers, as wrongly practiced in many societies.
Property Rights of Women
9.130. A daughter is equivalent to a son. In her presence, how can any one snatch away her right over the property.
9.131. A daughter alone has the right over personal property of her mother.
Thus, as per Manu, while daughter has equal share as her brothers over property of her father, she has exclusive rights over property of her mother. The reason for this special treatment of women is to ensure that women are never at mercy of anyone. After all happy dignified women form the foundation of a happy society!
9.212-213. If a person has no kins or wife, then his wealth be distributed equally among his brothers and sisters. If the elder brother refuses to give due share to other brothers and sisters, he is punishable by law.
To further ensure safety of women, Manu recommended harsh punishments for those who rob away wealth of a woman, even if they are her relatives.
8.28-29. If a woman is alone because she has no children, or no men to provide for her security in her family, or is widow, or whose husband has gone abroad, or who is unwell, then it is duty of the government to ensure her safety and security. If her wealth is robbed by her relatives or friends, then the government should provide strict punishment to the culprits and have her wealth returned back.
Prohibition of Dowry
3.52. Those relatives who rob away or thrive on wealth, property, vehicles or dresses of a woman or her family are wiliest of people.
Thus any kind of dowry is a strict NO NO as per Manu Smriti. No one should dare attempt to take away the property of a woman.
The next shloka takes this concept further and states that even slightest exchange of tangible items amounts to sale/purchase and hence against principles of noble marriage. In fact Manu Smriti suggests that a marriage along with dowry is marriage of ‘Devils’ or Asuri Vivah.
Strict Punishment for harming Women
8.323. Those who abduct women should be given death sentence.
9.232. Those who kill women, children or scholarly virtuous people should be given strictest punishment.
8.352. Those who rape or molest women or incite them into adultery should be given harshest punishment that creates fear among others to even think of such a crime.
In this brief article, we shall review the second popular allegation on Maharshi Manu – that he legalized harsh punishments for Shudras and special penal provisions for upper-castes and especially Brahmins.
As we have reviewed in previous article http://agniveer.com/3308/manu-smriti-and-shudras, around 1471 out of 2685 shlokas have been proven to be later adulterations. Thus all those shlokas that recommend special provisions for upper-castes and harsher punishments for Shudras are part of these bogus adulterations that are very easily identifiable. If we review the original Manu Smriti, that is based on Vedas, the situation is completely opposite. As per Manu, penal system takes into account the education, social influence, designation, nature of crime and impact of crime while recommending punishments. Manu offers greater respect and status to Brahmins – the educated ones. Dwijas or twice born or those who completed their education are provided heightened standing in society so far they conduct noble deeds. But when it comes to crimes, they also have to face more severe punishments. With greater potentials, come greater responsibilities and stricter punishments when one fails to fulfill those responsibilities.
(Here, I would like to emphasize once again that Brahmin or Dwija has nothing to do with birth. Its all about education.)
If such a penal code be adopted in our nation, bulk of the crimes and corruptions would cease to exist and politics will become a field where any Tom, Dick or Harry does not dare to enter and pollute like it is happening today. For a more detailed coverage, please refer Chapter 6 of Satyarth Prakash or Light of Truth by Swami Dayanand Saraswati which is available at http://agniveer.com/2037/satyarth-prakash/ and http://agniveer.com/2092/light-of-truth/ Also review Chapter 8,9 and 10 of Manu Smriti edited by Dr Surendra Kumar (Aarsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi) We reproduce a few shlokas that are relevant in the current discussion. 8.335: Be it the father, mother, teacher, friend, wife, son or priest, one who conducts a crime is punishable by the ruler. 8.336: When the punishment for an ordinary citizen is 1 cent, the punishment for those in ruling class should be 1000 cents. In other words, the punishment for those in legislation, executive or judiciary should be 1000 times that for ordinary citizens. The concept of immunity to MPs and Judges from impeachment and legal framework is shamelessly against Manu Smriti.
Swami Dayanand adds here – Even a peon in any department of government should have a punishment that is 8 times that for ordinary citizens. And all other office bearers should have a punishment proportionate to their designation till it is 1000 times for the topmost designation. Because unless government officials have a punishment that is significantly harsher compared to ordinary citizens, the government would destroy the public. Just as taming a lion demands harsher control and a goat much lesser control, similarly to ensure safety of public, government officials should have extremely harsh punishments. Deviation from this penal code is the root cause of all these corruption stories. Unless this is rectified, all other efforts to transform the nation would fall flat. 8.337-338: If one conducts a theft willingly and in full senses knowing the implications, he should be penalized 8 times that of ordinary thief if he is a Shudra. The penalty should be 16 times if he is a Vaishya, 32 times if he is a Kshatriya and 64 times if he is a Brahmin. The punishment can be even 100 times or 128 times if he is a Brahmin. In other words, the punishment should be directly proportional to knowledge and social status of the criminal. Thus contrary to popular perceptions, when it comes to punishments, Manu Smriti is most lenient on Shudras because of their lack of education, significantly harsher on Brahmins and harshest on the government officials. In current context, the Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Chief Justice, Leaders of National Political Parties deserve harshest punishments if they do something wrong. The Ministers, MPs, MLAs, Governors, Judges come the next. Then comes the turn of Bureaucrats and Government Officials. And even a peon of a Government Department deserves much harsher punishment compared to ordinary citizens. Among ordinary citizens, the educated class and those with influential social status who neglect their duties deserve harsher punishments. As we said, with greater responsibilities come greater punishments. This is the real penal system of Manu Smriti. And if so-called birth based Brahmins indeed want to claim supremacy over so-called birth-based Shudras, then they should also be ready to accept stricter punishments for themselves. Most birth-based Brahmins do not know about Vedas. Now Manu says that those Brahmins who put efforts in other areas except Vedas are Shudras. Refer 2.168. This is insult to Brahmins. As per fake verses of Manu Smriti, the minimal repentance for harming a Brahmin even verbally is to remain hungry for a day (11.204 as per fake Manu Smriti). Thus, those who claim birth-right to Brahminism based on fake verses of Manu Smriti should remain hungry for at least 64 days continuously unless they are masters of Vedas and completely free of any vices including harsh language! (Punishment for Brahmins is 64 – 128 times that of ordinary mortals). You cannot have “Heads I win and Tails you lose”. Either be logical and honest, follow the real Manu Smriti and reject birth-based caste-system totally OR be prepared for a minimum of 64 days hunger strike until you master Vedas. And then continue the strike for another 64 days if you still do not master Vedas in 64 days! The bottomline is that birth-based caste system does not even vaguely fit in Manu’s scheme of society. Those who support it or recommend special treatment of birth-based Brahmins in matters of punishments are shamelessly against Manu, Vedas and humanity in general. And as per Manu, such persons who cause harm to society deserve extremely severe punishments. The notion of Shudras deserving harsher punishments is simply a hoax. May we all adopt the penal system proposed by Manu Smriti to save the nation from claws of corrupt politicians, judiciary and other pseudo-intellectuals. Manusmriti 7.17-20: A powerful and rational penal system (Dand) is the true ruler. Dand is the propagator of Justice. Dand is the discipliner. Dand is the administrator. Dand alone protects the 4 Varnas and 4 Phases of life. Dand protects the public and Dand keeps the nation awakened. That is why wise people proclaim that Dand is the Dharma. When Dand is used with wisdom and responsibility, it brings prosperity and bliss among public. And when Dand is used recklessly, it destroys the ruler. It seems that time has come that the corrupt leaders and officials are destroyed because they have misused the Dand a bit too much! Its also time that we use Dand to punish those who support birth-based discrimination in any manner. This alone can save society, nation and humanity. There is no other way!
References: Works of Dr Surendra Kumar, Pt Gangaprasad Updhyaya, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
If Agniveer were to list the top two nuisances in India, it would undoubtedly be birth-based caste system and gender discrimination. Yes, India is plagued by a plethora of challenges today – corruption, fundamentalism, terrorism, conversions, moral degradation, lack of education, health issues, sanitation problems and so many more. But despite all these problems and threats, the top two – by a wide margin – would remain casteism and gender discrimination. This is because all the rest of the problems can be attributed in one way or the other to these two core disgraces of our otherwise glorious culture. And till these two problems – that remain the primary causes of almost all our miseries of past and present – are eradicated from root, the hope of a glorious future would remain nothing more than hallucinations of an insane. In other words, a prosperous and powerful society cannot co-exist with casteism and gender-discrimination. Please note that casteism and gender-discrimination are not specifically Hindu issues. On contrary, they are more of cultural issues. Gender discrimination has been a global phenomenon for ages. And casteism seems like a South Asian nuisance affecting all societies and religions that breed here. However Hinduism being the oldest culture and fountainhead of all other religions has to accept the blame of polluting the source. Because these two nuisances were tolerated, the society was weakened and deluged with so many different cults and religions leading to further weaknesses. All leading to the present mess and all the messes of past that we know from history. It is surprising to find even today, many a defenders of these two nuisances from otherwise intellectual and educated backgrounds. The virus of birth-based superiority is so strong that it renders even the most rational insane. Many of these virus-affected patients are considered among scholars and leaders of contemporary Hinduism! They would innocently point to ancient scriptures that justify these nuisances and then attempt to prove the ‘science’ behind consuming this trash. The most popular scripture that is used as scapegoat is the Manu Smriti – the oldest text on social systems. Some also attempt to allege casteism in Vedas as well. However we have already debunked these fake claims and established the Vedic view in the series on Vedas and Caste System. Refer http://agniveer.com/series/caste-system-3/ In this series of articles, we shall evaluate the Manu Smriti. Now, Manu Smriti is among the most controversial texts of Vedic culture. It is not only known as the first codified text on ethics and laws in the world, but also as a text promoting blatant casteism. The entire Dalit movement of modern times is based on foundations of protesting against ‘Manuvaad’. While Manu is hero for casteists, Dalit leaders typecast Manu as a great villain. Copies of Manu Smriti are burnt en masse to showcase love for backward sections of society by likes of Agnivesh, Mayawati and many more. Films have been made depicting Manu as a horned devil in guise of scholar forcing brutal atrocity on lower caste people to fulfill his perverted fetishes. Manu Smriti has become the favorite pasture for scavengers keen on bashing Hinduism and Vedas. This becomes among the most potent tools for promoting conversion away from Hinduism. And interestingly most of these Manu bashers perhaps never ever gave Manu Smriti a serious reading! On other side, for sadist forces within Hinduism who want to fool themselves and others on basis of their so-called birth superiority, Manu Smriti is a religious text that gives them the divine authority to deny fair treatment to one section of population merely because they were not born special. They would quote from fake adulterated verses of Manu Smriti that smell of casteism and gender discrimination, conveniently ignoring plethora of shlokas that speak exactly the opposite. The tussle between these two forces has not only shaped the current cheap politics of Bharat but has been a major factor leading to foreign invasions of last 1000 years. This wretched caste-system was the prime reason why we could not defend our nation against barbaric invaders. This illogical caste-system was the prime reason why India had to be partitioned in 1947. And this disgusting caste-system is the prime reason why despite so much of talent and intellectual treasure, India is still a sluggish meek spineless snail in the race towards prosperity and power. Thus it becomes utmost necessary to review Manu Smriti and check what it actually stands for. Three allegations on Manu Smriti There are 3 major allegations on Manu Smriti: 1. Manu founded the caste-system based on birth. 2. Manu legalized harsh punishments for Shudras and special provisions for upper-castes and especially Brahmins. 3. Manu was anti-women and condemned them. He accorded inferior rights to women. Let us now review these allegations using evidences from Manu Smriti itself. In this article, we shall review the first allegation – that Manu was founder of birth-based caste system. We would strongly recommend that the readers review our series on Caste System in Vedas to understand the context and definitions of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra as per Vedas. Please review the series at http://agniveer.com/series/caste-system-3/ Manu Smriti and Caste System 1. Manu Smriti hails from an era when even the concept of birth-based caste system did not exist. Thus Manu Smriti nowhere supports a social system based on birth. Maharshi Manu took inspiration from Vedas (refer Rigveda 10.10.11-12, Yajurveda 31.10-11, Atharvaveda 19.6.5-6) and proposed a social system based on qualities, actions and nature of the individual.
2. This is called Varna System. Now the very word Varna derived from root word “Vrinja” means “Choice“. A similar usage happens in common used word “Varan” meaning “choosing” or “Var” meaning a husband chosen by the girl. This also shows that in Vedic system the girl had complete rights to choose her husband.
3. The biggest proof of Manu Smriti proposing Varna System and NOT Caste System is that in the first Chapter of Manu Smriti, there is mention of origin of 4 Varnas and no mention of castes or gotras. Had caste or gotra been important, Manu would have mentioned which castes belong to Brahmins, which to Kshatriyas, which to Vaishyas and which to Shudras. This also means that those who feel proud in calling themselves Brahmins or upper-caste by birth have no evidence to prove so. They can at best prove that a few generations of their forefathers used to also call themselves upper-caste. But there is no way to prove that they were upper-castes since inception of civilization. And when they cannot prove so, what right do they have to allege that a so-called birth-based Shudra was also not a Brahmin several generations ago? And that they themselves were not Shudras a few generation ago!
4. In fact Manu Smriti 3.109 clearly states that one who eats by glorifying his Gotra or Family is considered an eater of his own vomit. Thus, as per the Manu Smriti that the self-proclaimed birth-based Brahmins or upper-castes believe in, the very act of glorifying their lineage or gotra to demand special privileges makes them deserving of condemnation.
5. Manu Smriti 2.136 states that one earns respect due to wealth, company, age, actions and knowledge in increasing order. There is no mention of family, gotra, caste, lineage and other non-factors to demand or earn respect.
Migration within Varnas 6. Manu Smriti 10.65 asserts that Brahmin can become Shudra and Shudra can become Brahmin. Similarly Kshtariyas and Vaishyas can also change their Varnas.
7. Manu Smriti 9.335: If a Shudra (uneducated) serves the educated ones, is polite, devoid of ego and stays in respectful company of knowledgeable ones, he/ she is considered as having a noble birth and stature.
8. There are several shlokas in Manusmriti that state that a person belonging to high Varna falls down to level of a Shudra (uneducated) if he does not conduct noble deeds. For example, 2.104: A person who does not worship the Supreme Lord twice daily should be considered a Shudra.
2.172. He who has not been initiated with teaching of the Vedas is a Sudra. 4.245: A Brahmin acquires brilliance through company of noble persons and avoiding bad company. On contrary, if he indulges in bad company, he becomes a Shudra. Thus clearly, Brahmin refers to a scholarly person who conducts noble deeds. And Shudra refers to an uneducated person. This has nothing to do with birth in any manner. 2.168: A Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya who puts efforts in other areas except understanding and following the Vedic precepts becomes a Shudra and his future generations also suffer from ignorance of Vedas. Thus, as per Manu Smriti, almost the entire population of India today, barring few exceptions, is Shudra because we do not abide by the Vedic concepts and are indulged in anti-Vedic activities – corruption, casteism, selfishness, superstitions, irrationality, gender-discrimination, sycophancy, immorality etc. 2.126: Even if he is a Brahmin otherwise, a person who does not politely respond to a greeting is actually a Shudra (uneducated person).
Even Shudras can teach 9. Though Shudra means an uneducated person, a Shudra can also become a teacher for specific knowledge that he has. For example, 2.238: One should acquire knowledge even from a person born in a low family otherwise. Similarly, one should accept a noble woman as wife even if her family is otherwise not up to mark. 2.241. If needed, one may acquire knowledge from one who is not a Brahmin; and that he shall follow and serve such a teacher, as long as the instruction lasts.
Status of Brahmin is acquired by deeds and not by name 10. As per Manu Smriti, one has to earn the qualification of Brahmin. During childhood, parents are supposed to send their children for specialized education of Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya depending on observed nature of children. So many Brahmin parents may desire that their children also become Brahmins. However that is not sufficient. One becomes Brahmin only if he completes the education and not merely by taking birth in a Brahmin family or taking admission in Brahmin course of a gurukul. 2.157: A Brahmin devoid of education is equivalent to an elephant made of wood or a deer made of leather. They are merely namesake and not real. 2.28: The body is made fit to be called Brahmin only through study of scriptures, discipline, noble selfless deeds, study of duties, science and meditation, charity and goal oriented actions.
Education is true birth 11. As per Manu, actual birth happens after completion of education. All human beings are Shudras or uneducated when born. Those who complete their education are supposed to have a new birth. Thus they are called Dwija or Twice Born. Those who were unable to complete the education remain Shudra. This has nothing to do with birth or heredity. This is pure meritocracy. 2.148: When a teacher who is well-versed in Vedas teaches a student the science of Gayatri (that summarizes all principles of Vedas and rational living), then the actual birth of the student takes place. This birth is free from risks of death or destruction and leads the student to immortality. Thus, forget about being a Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya, one is not considered even a human unless he/she receives education. 2.146: The teacher who provides education is a father who is much greater than the father who gave birth. The knowledge provided by the teacher remains with the soul even after the death and leads him to immortality. But the body provided by father destroys when death comes. 2.147: The birth that happens from womb of mother after parents desire for procreation is an ordinary birth. Real birth happens when the person completes his education. Thus, citing lineage to showcase casteist superiority is an extremely foolish act as per Manu Smriti. Instead of quoting the clan, one becomes superior by showcasing that he is more educated. 10.4: Brahmin, Kashtriya and Vaishya take second birth after education. Shudra who could not complete education is fourth Varna. There is no fifth Varna among Arya or noble people. This also means that merely because a person did not complete education does not make him a villain. He is still regarded as a noble person if his deeds are noble. And if he completes the education, he can become a Dwija as well. Thus Shudra is an adjective and NOT a nomenclature for any castes.
Never insult anyone born in lower family
12. To further ensure that one is not insulted or denied opportunities merely because he/she was born in a family where others did not excel in education, wealth or other parameters of success in society, Maharshi Manu laid the rule very clearly:
4.141: Never deny respect and/or rights to a person who is handicapped, uneducated, aged, not handsome, not wealthy or coming from a lower family. These are NOT the parameters to judge a person.
Examples of Varna migration in ancient history 13. The concept of Varnas – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra – being merit based and NOT birth based is not merely a theoretical concept. It was practiced in ancient era. The greatest misery befell on us when our misguided ancestors converted this scientific meritocracy into a foolish birth-based system causing all the miseries we face today. Here are some examples: a. Aitareya Rishi was son of a Daasa or criminal but became a Brahmin of highest order and wrote Aitareya Brahman and Aitareyopanishad. Aitareya Brahman is considered critical to understand Rigveda. b. Ailush Rishi was son of a Daasi, gambler and of low character. However he researched on Rigveda and made several discoveries. Not only was he invited by Rishis but also made an Acharya. (Aitareya Brahman 2.19) c. Satyakaam Jaabaal was son of a prostitute but became a Brahmin. d. Prishadh was son of King Daksha but became a Shudra. Further he did Tapasya to achieve salvation after repenting. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.14) Had Tapasya been banned for Shudra as per the fake story from Uttar Ramayan, how could Prishadh do so? e. Nabhag, son of King Nedishtha became Vaishya. Many of his sons again became Kshatriya. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.13) f. Dhrist was son of Nabhag (Vaishya) but became Brahmin and his son became Kshatriya (VP 4.2.2) g. Further in his generation, some became Brahmin again (VP 9.2.23) h. As per Bhagvat, Agniveshya became Brahmin though born to a king. i. Rathotar born in Kshatriya family became a Brahmin as per Vishnu Puran and Bhagvat. j. Haarit became Brahmin though born to Kshatriya (VP 4.3.5) k. Shaunak became Brahmin though born in Kshatriya family. (VP 4.8.1). In fact, as per Vayu Puran, Vishnu Puran and Harivansh Puran, sons of Shaunak Rishi belonged to all four Varnas. Similar examples exist of Gritsamad, Veethavya and Vritsamati. l. Matanga was son of Chandal but became a Brahmin. (Mahabharat Anushasan Parva Chapter 3) m. Raavan was born from Pulatsya Rishi but became a Rakshas. n. Pravriddha was son of Raghu King but became a Rakshas. o. Trishanku was a king but became a Chandal. p. Sons of Vishwamitra became Shudra. Vishwamitra himself was a Kshatriya who later became a Brahmin. q. Vidur was son of a servant but became a Brahmin and minister of Hastinapur empire. r. Vatsa became a Rishi though born to a Shudra (Aitareya Brahman 2.19) s. Many verses of adulterated Manu Smriti (10.43-44) state that certain castes were earlier Kshtariya but became Shudra later. These verses are adulterated but prove that concept of Varna migration did exist. The castes mentioned are: Paundrak, Audru, Dravid, Kamboj, Yavan, Shak, Parad, Palhava, Cheen, Kirat, Darad, Khash. t. Mahabharat Anushasana Parva 35.17-18 adds the following to above list: Mekal, Laat, Kanvashira, Shaundik, Daarva, Chaur, Shabar, Barbar. u. Several gotras are common across Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Dalits implying that all of them hailed from same family but rather got entrapped in the stupid casteism.
Respect for Shudras 14. Manu was a great humanitarian. He knew that not all Shudras miss their education deliberately. He also understood that just because one ignored education in early part of his life does not mean that he should be penalized for that mistake for entire life. Thus he ensured that even Shudras get their due respect in society. Thus he never used any insulting adjective for Shudras. On contrary their are several instances of Manu using respectful adjectives for Shudras. Being vulnerable due to lack of education, Shudras deserve greater sensitivity in treatment from rest of the society as per Manu. We have seen some examples of these earlier. Here are some more: 3.112: If a Shudra or Vaishya comes as a guest, the family should feed him with due respect. 3.116: A householder should eat from remaining food only after he has fed the scholars and servants (Shudras) to their satisfaction. 2.137: A very old Shudra deserves more respect than anyone else regardless of their wealth, company, age, actions or knowledge. This special provision is accorded only to Shudra.
Vedas are foundation of Manu Smriti 15. No text apart from Vedas is free from potential for interpolations. To understand why Vedas are immune to tampering, please review http://agniveer.com/2697/why-vedas-cannot-be-changed/ That is why Vedas are accorded such high importance in our culture. Vedas form the foundation of everything else and hence if Vedas are conserved, other texts can be derived by seers in future as well. 16. Thus the benchmark for interpreting any other scriptural text is the Vedas. They are to be interpreted and accepted only to extent they comply with Vedas. This is true for ALL texts including Smritis, Brahmans, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Geeta, Upanishads, Ayurveda, Neeti Shastra, Darshans etc. 17. Manu himself announces in the Manu Smriti that Vedas alone form the foundation of Dharma. Refer 2.8-2.11 (Manu 2.8: A learned man after fully scrutinising all this with the eye of knowledge, should, in accordance with the authority of the Vedas, intent on the performance of his duties.) Thus, it becomes clear that Manu Smriti has to be interpreted ONLY in lines with Vedas.
Shudras have right to study Vedas and conduct Vedic rituals 18. Vedas very clearly provide right to Shudras (and women) – in fact entire humanity – to study Vedas and conduct Vedic rituals like Yajna. Refer Yajurveda 26.1, Rigveda 10.53.4, Nirukta 3.8 etc. Also refer our series on Vedic Caste System at http://agniveer.com/series/caste-system-3/ Thus Manu Smriti also supports the same Vedic truth. That is why nowhere in the context of Upanayan (education initiation) does Manu forbid Upanayan or sacred thread for Shudras. On contrary, one who refuses to accept Sacred Thread of education is called a Shudra! 19. In lines with Vedas, Manu also orders the ruler to ensure that the salary and perks of Shudras be never reduced in any circumstance. (7.125-126, 8.216)
Summary: To summarize, the assumption of Manu formulating a birth-based caste system is baseless. On contrary, Manu Smriti is vehemently against any reference to family or birth to judge a person. The Varna system of Manu is a pure meritocracy. Each human has all the 4 Varnas – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Manu attempted to organize the predominant Varna of each individual in social context in a manner that aids individual and collective uplift. We shall review the other two allegations on Manu prescribing harsh punishments for Shudras and preferential treatment for Brahmins; and being anti-woman in subsequent articles. But we would like to conclude this part from what Manu himself said about fraud and wrong practices. He says in 4.30 that frauds, wrong practices, deceit, perversion and falsehood should not be respected even by words. Caste system based on birth is one of the most disgusting fraudulent deceitful perverted and false practices to exist among civilized human beings. And thus, as per Manu and as per Vedas, one should work to destroy this criminal practice by all means – harshest words and strongest actions. To show soft corner to birth-based caste system even in words is against Manu.
Wait Wait Wait Agniveer! Before you end, I demand you to explain those perverted verses of Manu Smriti that are quoted everywhere to justify birth-based casteism and gender discrimination. I can provide hundreds of such shlokas from Manu Smriti. Agniveer: That is the point my friend. How can the same Manu Smriti have both verses defending as well as rejecting birth-based casteism? This means that Manu Smriti demands a closer scrutiny. We shall also do the same in a future article. But in summary: a. The current Manu Smriti is full of interpolated/ adulterated verses that were added much later for various reasons. Almost 50% of Manu Smriti is actually fake. b. Interpolation is not a problem with Manu Smriti. Apart from Vedas – that are preserved through a unique Patha and Swara method – all other texts of almost all belief systems are prone to modifications, interpolations and deletions. These include Ramayana, Mahabharat, Bible, Quran. Not to talk of texts like Bhavishya Puran that continued to be modified till printing press arrived! c. Three editions of Ramayan are available today – Dakshinatya, Pashchamottariya and Gaudiya which are different. Even Geetapress Gorakhpur has indicated many chapters as adulterated (Prakshipta). Most scholars agree that Balkanda and Uttarkanda are grossly adulterated. Similarly Mahabharat is known to be a grossly interpolated text. Garud Puran Brahmakanda 1.59 states that in Kaliyuga many frauds are posing as Brahmins to remove certain shlokas and add new ones in Mahabharat. Mahabharat Shantiparva 265.9, 4 itself states that Vedic texts clearly prohibit alcohol, fish and meat. All these have been propagated by frauds who have added such verses in scriptures through deceit. Original version of Bible does not exist today! We only have translations of translations of some translations of the original Bible which no one has ever seen. Quran also is claimed to be a modified version of original teachings of Muhammad. Refer http://satyagni.com/3118/miracle-islam/ Thus no wonder Manu Smriti – the oldest text on social systems – is also prone to modifications. More so because Manu Smriti historically had the greatest influence in day to day life of each citizen as well as politics of the nation. After all it was like the constitution for centuries. Thus the incentives for a crooked one to interpolate Manu Smriti were very high. d. When we review Manu Smriti, we find 4 kinds of interpolations: to bring completeness, for selfish reasons, to exaggerate and to bring defects. Most of these interpolations are blatantly obvious. Dr Surendra Kumar has written a detailed translation of Manu Smriti in Hindi that analyzes each shloka on various parameters to weed out those verses that are obviously interpolated. He has deduced that of the 2685 shlokas of Manu Smriti, at least 1471 shlokas are adulterated. He has classified the adulterations as : – out of subject – out of context – contradictory – repetition – difference in usage and style – blatant contradiction with Vedas We recommend all keen students of Vedic texts to procure a copy of Manu Smriti by Dr Surendra Kumar (published by Aarsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi) from www.vedicbooks.com which would make this point as transparent as air. e. Dr Surendra Kumar is not the only person to point out adulterations in Manu Smriti. Even many a western indologists like Macdonnell, Keith, Buhler etc have expressed the same. f. Even BR Ambedkar accepted that ancient scriptures have been adulterated. He has alleged adulterations in Ramayan, Mahabharat, Geeta, Purans and even in Vedas. He cited contradictory verses from Manu Smriti. But he tactfully desisted from calling these verses of Manu Smriti as adulterated. This myopic act of Ambedkar did make him a hero of Dalit movement. It did stir up an anti-Manu movement and created political careers for many a politicians including Ambedkar himself. But this selective honesty only worsened the caste-based hatred and made Manu – a true hero – a popular villain. Even so-called Arya Samaji Sanyasis like Agnivesh burnt copies of Manu Smriti and disgraced the great Rishi only to score political brownies. Though he very well knew that Swami Dayanand himself had asserted that Manu Smriti has been interpolated but the unadulterated verses of Manu Smriti form the foundation of his Vedic ideology. And now people expect such enlightened people to be instrumental in eradicating corruption from the nation by being masterminds of Anna Hazare movement! We seem to never learn from history! But thats a different story.
Conclusion: Manu Smriti has been subject to significant adulterations. However the adulterated verses are easy to identify and trash. The rest of the Manu Smriti is an excellent text that establishes the foundations of a meritocracy based rational society that values each individual and ensures collective success. Vedas form the foundation of original Manu Smriti. The existing movement against Manu Smriti is purely a political game led by those who never reviewed Manu Smriti in first place. True Manuvaad refers to complete outright rejection of birth-based caste system and heavy punishment for those who justify discrimination on basis of birth. It also refers to refusal of word ‘Dalit’ or ‘crushed one’ for certain people who are completely equal to rest of the humanity in all aspects. Let us all work to install this Manuvaad in our society by working towards a completely casteless and merit-based society. This is the only way to save humanity and the nation. Let us follow the true Dharma – that is same for all human beings regardless of caste, birth, gender, geography, religion and other baseless parameters. Manu Smriti 8.17: Dharma or noble deeds is only one true friend that accompanies one ever after death. All others desert one as soon as death has overtaken. References: Works of Dr Surendra Kumar, Pt Gangaprasad Updhyaya, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati
Buddhism is often considered to be an anti-Vedic atheist philosophy. While today there are huge number of schools and sects within Buddhism (exceeded perhaps only by Islam in terms of number of divisions, sects, sub-sects within), if we review the original teachings of Gautam Buddha, we find that he was only trying to teach the concepts of Vedas to best of his understanding.
Vocabulary of Buddhism 1. The vocabulary of Buddhism is adopted from prevailing literature. The word Buddha comes in Mahabharat Shantiparva 193/6 to mean ‘intelligent’. Bodhisatva has been used for Sri Krishna in Shishupal Vadh 15/58 and its commentary by Vallabhdeva. Bhikshu again is a word denoting certain sage in Mahabharat Shantiparva 325/24 and Gautam Dharmasutra 3/2. Shraman comes in Brihadaranyak Upanishad and Gautam Dharmasutra Nirvana comes from Deval Dharmasutra And so on. 2. The famous Buddhist chant of Om Mani Padme Hum speaks for itself on glory of Om – that originates from Vedas and is integral part of Hinduism.
Vedas in teachings of Mahatma Buddha 3. In Sutta Nipat 192, Mahatma Buddha says that: Vidwa Cha Vedehi Samechcha Dhammam Na Uchchavacham Gachhati Bhooripanjo. People allow sense-organs to dominate and keep shuffling between high and low positions. But the scholar who understands Vedas understands Dharma and does not waver. 4. Sutta Nipat 503: Yo Vedagu Gyanarato Sateema ……. One should support a person who is master of Vedas, contemplative, intelligent, helpful if you desire to inculcate similar traits. 5. Sutta Nipat 1059: Yam Brahmanam Vedagum Abhijanjya Akinchanam Kamabhave Asattam…… One gets free from worldly pains if he is able to understand a Vedic Scholar who has no wealth and free from attraction towards worldly things. 6. Sutta Nipat 1060: Vidwa Cha So Vedagu Naro Idha Bhavabhave Sangam Imam Visajja….. I state that one who understands the Vedas rejects attraction towards the world and becomes free from sins. 7. Sutta Nipat 846: Na Vedagu Diththia Na Mutiya As Manameti Nahi Tanmayoso…. One who knows Vedas does not acquire false ego. He is not affected by hearsay and delusions. 8. Sutta Nipat 458: Yadantagu Vedagu Yanjakaale Yassahuti Labhe Taras Ijjeti Broomi I state that one who acquires Ahuti in Havan of a Vedic scholar gets success. These are just a few examples from works of Mahatma Buddha.
Why Mahatma Buddha rejected Vedas 9. Mahatma Buddha did not reject Vedas per se, but the malpractices happening in name of Vedas. For example, if you call someone – He is a Neta of India – today, he may get offended and feel as if you have called him corrupt and manipulative. This is not because Neta word in itself means ‘corrupt’, but because this is what we see of the so-called Netas today. Similarly, when Mahatma Buddha questioned birth-based casteism, animal sacrifice and other nonsense practices, he was answered that Vedas sanction so. Thus, like any sane morally upright person would do, Mahatma Buddha stated that: “If Vedas sanction these evil practices, then I reject Vedas.” Had Gautam Buddha obtained an opportunity to study the actual Vedas and not go by the false notions prevailing, he could no way have issued such a statement. And the country + entire world would have been strong enough to counter barbaric attacks of West/ Central Asian tribals that has resulted in the greatest problem of last 1000 years – terrorism. 10. If you review the basic precepts of Buddhism, they are simply Vedic teachings reworded. – For example, the 4 cardinal truths on life, suffering, desire, cessation is straight from Yoga and Nyaya Darshan. In fact Nyaya Darshan 1.2 echoes almost the same essence in as many words. – The 8 fold path is adequately covered in a variety of ways in all ancient texts – Vedas, Manusmriti, Mahabharat and Yoga Darshan for example. – The emphasis on Ahimsa is adapted from Yoga Darshan that puts Ahimsa as the first essential discipline for progress in Yoga- the process of realizing self and God. – Theory of rebirth and Law of Karma that Buddhism is built upon finds its foundation in mantras of Vedas. Refer examples in http://agniveer.com/3203/islam-vedas/ – Rejection of birth-based caste-system is also in lines with Vedas. Refer http://agniveer.com/series/caste-system-3/ – Emphasis on meditation is straight adopted from the Yoga Darshan that itself is based on Vedas. – The 5 commandments for Buddhists and especially monks are from Yoga Darshan 1.2.3 In summary, one can state that Buddhism, as preached by Gautam Buddha, was a system of morality based on Vedas.
Why was Mahatma Buddha atheist? 11. Mahatma Buddha was not atheist. Atheism developed later. At best, Gautam Buddha can be said to be agnostic. He believed that first and foremost duty is to raise one’s intellect level through practice of moral code of conduct and mind control. 12. Mahatma Buddha did not believe in arguments or debates. He had a very practical approach. He thus refused to either deny or acknowledge presence of God or a supreme entity. He was content with teaching self-control and self-constraint and did not take trouble of attempting a solution of the great problems of Universe: How it began? Is it everlasting? Have I existed in past? Will I exist forever? etc. Later philosophers of Buddhism did attempt to solve these mysteries through their own analysis and that is how Buddhism developed so many branches and sects. In Kula Mayukyaovad Majjhama Nikaya there is a reference where someone asked Gautam Buddha whether the world is everlasting. He replied, “Did I ever promise that I shall teach you whether the world is everlasting or not? If not, then do not press the inquiry.” In Sabbasava Sutta, he suggests that such inquiries into self and universe are meaningless. Thus Mahatma Buddha focused on practical aspects and neglected the theoretical or metaphysical aspects. This was perhaps because he wanted to ensure that ritualistic malpractices do not overshadow the core essence of his teachings. However these are natural questions in any human being and thus later Buddhists had to make up for this deficiency in a variety of ways. But if we review the original philosophy of Mahatma Buddha, there is no evidence of he being atheist or anti-Vedic. His attitude towards Vedas and Theism was that of indifference rather than rejection. In this indifference lied his Vedic foundation. Because he eventually adopted only from the Vedas to form his ideology and strived to be an honest practitioner of “Accept truth, reject the rest.” to best of his capability and intent.
Impact of Buddhism 13. Buddhism had a great impact during its times. It paved way for rejection of distortions and external symbols towards nurture of morality. Since Buddhism did not challenge any of the key philosophical foundations of existing way of life – rebirth, law of karma, emphasis on morality – it became popular not only in India and across Asia. But soon it declined especially in India. 14. As Mahatma Buddha himself said, “The body contains within itself the power to renew its strength but also the causes that lead to its destruction.” In case of Buddhism, the cause lied in its incompleteness. While it adopted the moral precepts of Vedas, it ignored the metaphysical foundations. Thus while a whole generation of Buddhist philosophers did spring up later, they could not address the key metaphysical questions convincingly and cohesively – On Self, Universe and Unchangeable Laws. This may work for pragmatics but not for the truly philosophical minds. A mind tired with illogical ways of life may find great reprieve in focusing purely on moral precepts and meditation. But for someone who hails for a culture having a vast legacy of philosophical richness in every mundane and not-so-mundane aspect of life, there are more questions needed to be explored to quench the intellectual thirst. Acharya Shankar debated with Buddhists of his era and proved that whatever Buddhism (of that era) argues by denying existence of God can also be explained by Adwait (One singular entity everywhere). Thus for centuries the debate between atheists and Vedics continued giving rise to a vast number of philosophical texts in India. 15. Later Buddhism tried to deny more clearly the existence of God and even that of soul but could not give a satisfactory substitute. They believed in eternal immutable law and never ending chain of cause and effect. But in absence of an entity ensuring that the laws work smartly and for our benefit, it was a blind alley: A religion without a deity! A worshipper without an object of worship! This forced Buddhists to evolve their own set of ceremonies, rituals, idols, chants and practices, but this only brought them in rift with the original concepts. And split it into so many branches that are startlingly different at times. The religion supposed to be based on logic, intellect and mind-control, developed loads of superstitions, blind beliefs, tantra practices, witchcraft and myths of miracles. Today the divine Dalai Lama superstition has become foundation of popular Buddhism. 16. The rift widened so much that the religion, which is said to have been based on foundation of Non-Violence or Ahimsa, and which is said to have rejected Vedas because Vedas were perceived to sanction animal-sacrifice, is the largest consumer of meat-products today! In many Buddhist places, they hang a board outside meat-shop that says: “Believe Us, This meat is not for you.” Now the monks are guilt-free in eating meat in these shops!! When someone asked Dalai Lama while he was helping himself with a serving of meat, he said, ” I am Buddhist. I am not vegetarian!” Ironically, what is taught today across world is that Mahatma Buddha got perturbed when he saw people carrying animals for sacrifice and hence rebelled! Very few people perhaps know that the cult that had its very origin in Animal Rights is the largest killer of animals today! All for taste! And followers of Vedas – which were alleged to endorse animal killing – are today the greatest proponents of Animal Rights! In fact, many sects of Buddhism believe that Mahatma Buddha died due to indigestion from consumption of pork offered as charity. (as per these sects whatever provided in charity must be consumed.) Similarly, while Buddhism (which started with rejecting man-made caste system) is now divided into so many sects/ sub-sects with its own sectoral practices that are necessary to adopt to be one of them, it is followers of Vedas who reject all man-made divisions and appeal for oneness of entire humankind regardless of man-made rituals and beliefs. The roles are completely reversed today. Coming back to the roots – Vedas – seems to be the best way to emulate Gautam Buddha today!!
17. While Buddhism could create appeal among other regions and can impress Christians today (Christianity derives its philosophical foundation in Buddhism and hence it is the next logical bridge for Christians to an evolved and more matured view of life), but for India – that has been home to a whole chain of eminent thinkers, the vagueness of Buddhism could not hold its appeal for long. Today, whatever Buddhism prevails in India is primarily a reaction to the birth-based caste system and related rituals which are wrongly attributed to Vedas. 18. The final blow to Buddhism came from Islamic invasion in medieval era. The Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan are mute spectators of that gory period of history. Buddhism, by its very rejection of other aspects of life except moral precepts, became most vulnerable to Muslim attacks. This has been the greatest damaging gift of Buddhist ideology to present era. The escapist Buddhist view that preferred to be neutral to all that happens with us in world, coupled with a damaging caste-system among Hindus, made sure that barbaric uncivilized tribals could decimate us and establish their dominance. Hinduism could still survive due to its inherent emphasis on realism, but Buddhism perished. And this untimely perish had further adverse outcomes on future of India in the form of philosophical downtime. 19. Ask any weight-trainer and he would tell you that if you need to build big biceps, you need to focus on leg-squats as well. Lop-sided development does not work. Similarly mere focus on moral precepts do not work for society. One has to dwell into other aspects – society, politics, science, philosophy, metaphysics, etc – for things to work out. That is why Vedas emphasize and train on a vast variety of subjects. While Buddhism adopted the moral precepts from Vedas, it made a blunder by ignoring the fuller picture. And that changed the path of history forever. In fact Buddhism was not supposed to be a distinct sect in first place. It was merely supposed to be a philosophy focusing on moral aspects of life. Mahatma Buddha did not gave any preachings on other aspects at all. The blunder was that his followers took his narrow focus as complete recipe of life. Often we get so enamored by personalities that we lose the big picture. We consider fullness in whatever attracts our attention for long. For example, we witnessed the cricket drama for a month and now there seems nothing more patriotic than winning a World Cup and recommending Bharat Ratna for a cricketer! Similarly, most cults sprang up because the followers failed to consider the deeds and views of their role models as a critical PART of a bigger picture and instead considered completeness in that small PART. Mahatma Buddha considered eradication of misery as the Mission. While this is true, he took it to a narrow extreme and hence created a philosophy that was too pessimistic for common man to be motivated enough for worthwhile actions. This coupled with absence of any discussions on the key questions that initiate spiritual thinking – who am I, will I die forever, will this world end etc – left no incentive for a layman to extend his efforts beyond sitting in an isolated place trying to control the mind. Why would then one make sacrifice for nation, fight the enemies and work for smiles on face of his fellow-beings when he does not know clearly why he is doing so? Today, psychologists would tell you that running away from miseries cannot bring the same level of motivation for worthwhile actions than desire for greater happiness. Avoidance of miseries because world is full of miseries implies that one would naturally escape from worldly duties because even these performance of these duties would cause indulgence and hence miseries. After all, Buddhist philosophy asserted that our misery began the moment we were born. To deny even the Self (Anatma) to become indifferent to pain becomes goal of life. How can then indifference generate actions when there is even no vaguely clear end-goal to be reached? Mahatma Buddha talked of 4 right beliefs: Knowledge of misery, Knowledge of origin of misery, Knowledge of cessation of misery and knowledge of path leading to cessation of misery. But when even ‘I’ does not exist, who will work for getting these right beliefs? And what would be obtained? This incompleteness led to rank pessimism. The philosophies that emerged to counter this blinded belief system of Mahatma Buddha also suffered from the same pessimism and inertia against vigorous actions. Buddhism was doing bicep curls but not squatting sufficiently. It took only one part of Vedic message but ignored the rest. Thus nationalism and reformist zeal could not co-exist prominently with Buddhism (even though Mahatma Buddha himself was an extremely dynamic man). It left Buddhism defenseless against savage attacks and created ‘Parable of Boiled Frog‘. If you put a frog in hot water, it would jump out immediately. But if you put it in a beaker and gradually increase the temperature of water from cold to warm to hot to boiling, the frog does not jump out. It dies instead. This is because the nervous system of frog is unable to detect gradual changes in temperature. Lack of focus on proactive actionplusview of life being a misery in either case – action or no actionplusbelief in everything being futile because everything is temporaryplusrefusal to look into bigger picture and focussing only on a narrow set of precepts, turned Buddhism into a frog. It offered little resistance to invaders and virtually opened the doors for savages to India. And whatever Buddhism survived is far from original thoughts of the founder – a countless number of sects/ subsects with extremely diverse view and having only image of Gautam Buddha in common.
It is true that there is suffering in world. But to say that it is unalloyed pure suffering, with no iota of pleasure is a dangerous generalization. Absolute unalloyed pessimism cannot goad man to action. The world is not an abode of misery. The Benevolent God could not have made such a nasty world where suffering reigns. Even the most miserable in the world has some sort of joy which keeps him up. Even stoics had to summon up exceptional resolve when they prepared themselves for suicide. No sane being wishes to die because behind all miseries there is a hope that the all-blissful God will not leave us in lurch. Whether one believes in God or not, in this hope for a better future lies the bliss and acceptance of Supreme power. To deny this is to deny reality. And a philosophy that denies realism cannot face the challenges of real world. Kapila states in Sankhya 5.113 that at least during Sushupti (deep slumber), Samadhi (deep meditation) and Moksha (Salvation) soul gets an experience of Supreme bliss. Swami Dayanand succinctly explained the flaw in lines of Vedas: “If you compare the pleasure and pain of the world, pleasures many times exceed the pain. And many pure souls earn the bliss of salvation by constant practice of virtuous actions.” (If Agniveer were to pick the most inspiring quote from entire Vedic teachings it has ever come across, it would undoubtedly be this one.) This makes the Vedic philosophy distinctly optimistic and invigorating. It assuages the rigor of present life and makes the future hopeful. It illumines our present as well as future. We wish if someone could have made this statement during times of Mahatma Buddha! History would have been different. But alas! In absence of this, Buddhism turned to escapism (even though Mahatma Buddha himself was a man of action). When the savages attacked, we were occupied with our meditations to ignore the self and cause of misery through indifference. We neglected built up of strong armies, regular training, and R&D on defense. We were indifferent to need for reformist zeal to break the very roots of caste-system and gender discrimination, we refused to look into the Vedas to discover what the original teachings were. We were simply practicing indifference to real challenges around. And today, while Buddhism does not prominently exist in India (except in Dharmashala where Dalai Lama is forced to have asylum after Chinese aggression), the philosophy and the myriad of other philosophies that emerged to amend or counter it, turns us into a fatalistic society. We have developed high inertia, resist the urge to face challenges, attempt to use philosophy as a tool to justify our escapism and have gradually moved towards becoming indifferent to whatever does not pinch us too much. Ahimsa has become just an alibi for laziness and cowardice.
Conclusion No, we don’t mean that Buddhism is to be blamed for all this. Not at all. Buddhism was a natural reaction to the prevailing ironies in the society of those times. And an essential one. We believe that people have different needs and level of evolution and hence for many include Mahatma Buddha this was the most optimal view of life. For a society that was focusing too much on blind rituals and irrational social practices, Buddhism gave the right shock to spur up more rational and logical thinking. The roots of the problem lay much earlier and Buddhism was merely a logical and necessary outcome. Teachings of Mahatma Buddha are based purely on moral aspects of Vedas. His teachings also showcase his respect for Vedas. His vocabulary and usages were derived from Vedic texts. Thus he was in summary a Vedic preacher to best of his abilities. Thus there is NO WAY that Buddhism of Gautam Buddha can be termed as separate from Vedic Dharma. It is as much an offshoot attempting to reach the source – Vedic wisdom – as other sects. However the adaptation of the narrow focus of Buddhism into a complete philosophy in its own right (which it never meant to be in first place) was detrimental to national interests. Had Buddhism been a more informed and complete philosophy based on a more thorough and rigorous study of Vedas instead of its paradoxical apparent rejection based on extremely superficial grounds, history would have been different. Had Buddhists spent efforts to reform the society the way Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Swami Dayanand attempted, instead of attempting to split into a separate sect (which it never was), history would have been different. Similarly, if all other sects and cults would have not been based on bounded rationality of a few well-intentioned men and had instead attempted to grab the complete picture of the concepts in their original source, the Vedas, world would have been a much more sensible place today. Much more tolerant, broader in outlook and rational. Whatever good that we see in any cult or sect is already existing in Vedas. However because most of these founders were addressing their imminent short-term needs and the followers believed in exclusivity of their sect, the holistic view got missing. The key lesson is that any incomplete or temporary solution for today would eventually become a problem tomorrow. The only way is to adopt the complete solution. Swami Dayanand suggested a way to approach this issue of so many sects and cults and religions touching one part of the elephant each. Let all the common points in all these sects be brought together that are acceptable to all. For example, non-violence, morality, nationalism, truthfulness, non-stealing etc. Then eliminate all assumptions, beliefs and practices unique to each sect that is not otherwise explainable. This becomes the Universal Dharma for all human beings and this is exactly what Vedas teach. Agniveer respects all the great men of history who attempted to bring society closer to Vedic living. And aspires that we evolve to get to the original source that all these great legends were attempting to reach – The Vedas. Instead of viewing completeness in our own silo, let us attempt to integrate all the silos together into One. Lets get back to the roots instead of holding on too each branch as the source. No we don’t mean that all branches be cut-off and only root of the tree should remain. We only desire that each branch knows that we form a tree only when all the branches are together and supported by the root. A branch detached from rest of the branches and root would only be a dry piece of wood. So lets all be One Tree and strengthen the roots of the Tree that would then strengthen us all. This is the only way to pay our homage to their legacy. Our failure to do so brought us the miseries we faced till today. Our success would ensure Shantih (peace, bliss, happiness) everywhere. ॐ द्यौ: शान्तिरन्तरिक्षँ शान्ति: पृथिवी शान्तिराप: शान्तिरोषधय: शान्ति: । वनस्पतय: शान्तिर्विश्वे देवा: शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्ति: सर्वँ शान्ति: शान्तिरेव शान्ति: सा मा शान्तिरेधि ॥ ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति: ॥ References: Works of Pt Gangaprasad Updhyaya, Justice Gangaprasad, Pt Dharmadeva Vidyamartanda and several other scholars Note: The views expressed are supposed to be a perspective to stir up thoughts, discussions and introspection. They may be viewed in context of the Agniveer’s stand and not otherwise.