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DECLINE AND FALL OF BUDDHISM

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The cardinal tenets of "Hindutwa"

There are some who clasify "Hindutwa" in three types, (1) of Aribindo and Vivekananda, (2) of Sawarkar and (3) of RSS propounded by Golwalkar. We feel all this discussion is an eyewash to hoodwink the masses. Neither of them started it, and their interests in interpreting it differently, if at all they did as claimed, had arisen out of political needs of the time. Those interested may see writings of Raosaheb Kasbe against this thinking. For our purpose, "Hindutwa" of any and all types have certain cardinal points, and they are:

1. Chaturvarna: This is the main feature. The society must be divided into four water tight compartments called Brahmin, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra, and that the entry to them is only through birth. It is like a tower with four floors without any staircase. There are many conceptions for this system. It is a devinely ordained system, it was made by god. It is the duty of human beings to follow this system without expecting any returns from it. Your duty is only to do the "karmas," i.e. the deeds related to following the "chaturvarna". This is the devinely ordained "dharma". When this "dharma" gets dormant, god takes birth to puninish the evil, i.e. those who disturbed the "dharma" and preserve those who are "sadhus", i.e. those who follow this "dharma". It must not be confused with the division of labour. This is not the division of labour but division of labourers. Under this system you are allowed to marry only within your own caste, and you are also required to follow the calling of your ancesters, how so ever it may be fearsome. It is better to die in the calling of your ancesters than to follow others' profession. Because it is alwys better to die in your own inferior "dharma" than a better one of others', which is always fearsome. It means the daughter of a prostitute must become a prostitute and son of a pimp must become a pimp. A scavenger's son may take education and become a doctor but he must earn his living not by working as a physician but must earn his livelihood by scavenging. Only he must become an expert in scavenging. This is the summary of "Chaturvarna." Even now there are supprters to this theory.

2. Supremacy of god: As the theory of caste is put forward by god almighty himself, it can not be challenged. Afterall god is the one who has created the universe. Nothing moves in this world without his wish. Not even a leaf of a tree moves without his wish. How is this theory put into action by god? Ofcourse according to the deeds of the past life's deeds. If you have folloewd the "chaturvarna" in the past life, you have accumulated enough virtue to make you, that is your "atma", to have a body of a higher "varna". Afterall, you are of no consequence. It is your "atma" that is the thing of great importance. It is your "atma" which is "real you". It is separate from your body. Though you are not your "atma", the "karmas", that is the deeds of chaturvarna, have to be followed by the body. It is very simple theory. When you die, it is the body that dies. The "atma" goes to another body, just like you change your shirt, "atma" changes its garment. This "atma" does not die, it can not be cut by weapons, neither it can be burned by fire, nor it can be desicated by wind. What ever physical birth you are having now is due to your deeds in previous birth. If you did "good deeds" meaning respecting caste rules, you would be born in higher caste, otherwise you would be born in a lower one. The idea is that you must not grumble about your present situation, it is all arranged by the God himself taking into consideration the deeds of your previous birth.

3. Belief in Infaliability of "Sastras": It is very essential to make this rule so that God and Chaturvarna could be supported, because all the above is stored in Brahmin's books, prohibited to others.

4. Belief in visit to holy places: Also neccesary to keep the supply line of provisions to piestly class, so that they can go on writing "sastras" for the governing of rest of the society, and

5. Bath in "Ganga" washes all sins: Very essential to empower the priests to lure masses to visit the "tirthas", the places of pilgrimae, spread all over the country. Very useful device to deprive the bahujan of what ever has been accumulated by him and also to indoctrinate him in Manu's way of thinking.

These were the mehanisms used by the Brahmins to dominate the Bahujans. And these were the very things opposed by the Buddhists from times immemorial.

Indian History

Ancient Indian History is not only illuminating, but it throws ample light on the happenings of today. One finds that from times immemorial, the struggle between the so called upper caste "savarnas" on one side and the rest of population on other side is going on. It had assumed different names, shapes and forms during the course of different periods of history, and the history of India is nothing but the history of conflict between these two ideologies, as is well demonstrated by Dr. Ambedkar. The present day protagonists of these are Phuley, Shahu and Ambedkar on one side and Tilak, Gandhi and Golwalkar on the other. These are the only two ideologies in present day India, and sooner the people understand this, earlier they will be freed from their slavery.

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Depicting Buddha as Hindu

For a last few years, Sangha activists are trying to depict to the international community, that they respect the Buddha. While doing that they use terminology depicting him as a Hindu. About Ambedkar also, similar thing is seen, books are written to show the work of Hegdewar and Ambedkar was same. We find Shankaracharyas garlanding the photo of Dr. Ambedkar. We find Brahmanic dignitaries like Sankaracharya paying a visit to Nagpur Diksha-bhoomi to pay tributes. And the recent incident is well known that RSS supremo Sudarshan garlanded the statue of Ambedkar - the maker of the Indian Constitution - on Deekshabhoomi at Nagpur, and the Ambedkarites have washed and "purified" the statue "poluted" by touch of someone who condemns the Constitution.

Declaring Buddha as an avatara of god was the beginning

They declared the Buddha as an avatara of Vishnu, some times around eighth century, as a verse to this effect from Matsya Purana is engraved in a monument at Mahabalipuram. The process seems to be completed by the time of Jaydeo writing "Gita Govind" in 12th century, including Buddha's name in it as an "Avatara". We are also aware that an average Brahmin takes a great pride that Buddhism was driven away from this land by Adi- Sankara.

How a non-existent religion can die?

Declaring the Buddha as ninth avatara of Vishnu, L. M. Joshi observes, was a "remarkable cultural feat", achieved by the Brahmanic Puranas, which later caused confusion in the minds of people with the result that Buddhism came to be treated as a "heretical" and "aesthetic" branch of Brahmanism. The present scholars like P. V. Kane, Radhakrishnan and even Swami Vivekanand, have pushed this confusion further back to the time of origin of Buddhism, by saying that Upanishadas are the origin of Buddhist thought. To this list must be added the name of B. G. Tilak, who devoted a full chapter in "Gita Rahashya" to prove that Buddhism was an off-shoot of Hinduism, (and one more chapter for proving that Christianity arose from Buddhism and hence eventually from Hinduism). Commenting Swami Vivekanada's statement that the Swami and other Hindus did not understand Buddha's teachings to be an honest confession, Joshi observes:

"... Not only the ancient and medieval brahmin teachers did not understand Buddhism; modern scholars born into the Brahmanical tradition have not shown any better understanding. Shankara, Kumarila, Udayana, and Sayana- Madhava did not understand Buddhism. This is true also of Tagore, Gandhi, Coomaraswamy and Radhakrishnan. ..." [L.M.Joshi:1973:12]

Showing a great surprise of Brahmanic scholars claiming both that Buddhism was just a refined "Hinduism", and also claiming with pride that Buddhism was driven away by the Brahmanas and it has died down, he sarcastically observes:

"... The causes of the decline of Buddhism in India are attributed either to Tantrika practices or to Muslim invasion, or to both. Nobody even imagines that if Buddhism were only a "reformed" or "refined" version of "Hinduism" how it could be said to have declined and died away while "Hinduism" is still flourishing and is the faith of majority of Indians. Buddhism can be said to have declined only when there was evidence for its existence at a certain period in Indian history apart from the existence of "Hinduism". If Buddhism did not exist apart from Brahmanism or "Hinduism" it did not die at all. A non-existent tradition or way of life does not die. The theory of decline of Buddhism, from the standpoint of "traditional" history is a false theory. On the other hand, if the decline of Buddhism in India was a historical fact, the theory of its origin as a "reformed" Brahmanism is a false one and must be discarded." [ibid. p.14]

If Buddhism was a sect of "Hinduism", then one may well ask the proud supporters of Shankaracharya, what was that religion which was "driven out by Adi Sankara", as they claim? Was it also Hinduism?

Buddhism is not a sect of Hinduism

As Swami Dharmatirtha observed, in an answer to those writers, who have treated Buddhism as a sect of Hinduism, that we do not know of any Hinduism having existed before the Buddha and if Hinduism did not exist, Buddhism could not have been a sect of it. There was the Brahman religion of sacrifices, confined to a small Aryan community, and the common people had their ancient religion of some sort of hero worship and ancestor worship and images. Both these were domestic, neither the public yajnyas of Brahmins nor the temples of tribal Indians were in existance. Swamiji feels:

"... Buddhism was a revolt against both the prevailing systems. In fact it was the first organized religion in the modern sense of the term "religion". It succeeded in driving out the Brahman religion of sacrifices, but gradually succumbed to the influences of the popular religion. Its final absorption in the primitive religion was due to the fact that the Brahmans favoured the religion of gods and goddesses and rituals, and not the religion of righteousness. [swami Dharmatirtha:1946:109]

Buddhism was the national Religion of India

Well, inspite of what these elitits say, decline of Buddhism is a historical fact, and was the cause of all ills, India had to face in the past. That the ills of common people of India today are due to the decline and fall of Buddhism in historical times, is not well understood by the masses, and how it affected the life of common people and what kind of miseries the subsequent generations had to suffer, is a subject which not many scholars have given much thought to.

The fact that at one time Buddhism was the national religion of India and was followed by the majority of population, is almost forgotten. There is a feeling in the minds of many, that India is and was a Hindu country having always had a majority of Hindus. This again is a misconception. In historical times the population of India never had majority of Hindus. Swami Vivekananda, estimated Buddhists to be two thirds of population [L.M.Joshi:1977:358] and Dr. Ambedkar says Buddhist were in majority. [W&S,vol.7,p.345] Then there were Jains and Veerashaivas and Tribal religions in addition to Muslims, Sikhs and Christians coming in the later times.

That Buddhism was not only the faith practiced by majority of people but had eclipsed Brahmanism to a great extent and the Brahmins had lost all the respect of masses as well as princely rulers. They were smarting under this defeat. [W&S,vol.7,p.346] They did everything in their power to finish off Buddhism and after Muslim invasion, succeeded in it. Thus Buddhism disappeared to a great extent from the land of its origin. Buddhism was the national religion of India, not only because the Buddha was an Indian, descended from an Indian king of the Sakya clan, but as observed by Swami Dharma Teertha:

"... because Buddhism was the source and inspiration of the national awakening witnessed in the Indian empires and kingdoms which controlled the destinies of the country for over a thousand years; because Buddhism, for the first time, united India in a common cultural synthesis and organization; because unlike Brahmanism, which was the religion of the privileged classes, Buddhism was the first religion of the common people, not forced on them, but accepted by their free will and pleasure; because Buddhism brought out in the fullest measure the immense potentialities of the nation in all its manifold aspects - science and art, literature and religion, commerce and industry, internal progress and international reputation; and lastly, because no other religion has till this day been able to make India a great nation as Buddhism did. [p.76]

Brahmins usurped Buddhism

Brahmans became the leaders of Buddhism because of their learning, and first disfigured it thoroughly with ritualism and images, and then destroyed its separate organization of monasteries and monks with the help of the foreign masters who came into power. But the Buddhism of Harsha and Nagarjuna did not disappear, it formed the nucleus of the later Hinduism, superadded with horrors of caste. To become the sole leaders of the country and to enforce their system of castes, has always been the prime motive of Brahmanism, and if Buddhist order of monks and monasteries had survived, the Brahmins could not have achieved this goal. So they completely destroyed the external institution of Buddhism, the monks and monasteries. Brahmins became the undisputed leaders, and a new popular religion, Hinduism, emerged with important aspect of caste, as Dharmatitha observed:

"... Caste is an entirely independent social order which was neither in the ancient Aryan religion nor in primitive Indian religion nor in Buddhism. It is the unique contribution of the Brahman priests, and none else ever wanted it, until the country lost its national religion and political freedom, and the Brahmans succeeded in imposing the system upon the people almost at the point of the bayonet with of alien masters. [p.110]

Brahmanism does not mean Brahmins alone

Lest there should be any misunderstanding about the term Brahmanism and other derivatives of it, it must be clearly understood, what is meant by this term. Swami Dharma Teertha made it clear:

"British Imperialism does not mean the British people; it symbolizes a vast system and has numerous votaries among Indians also. Brahmanism, similarly, does not signify the Brahmans exclusively, but an ancient order of things of which the Brahmans are the leaders and champions. It stands for the aggregate of ideals, institutions and past history of the socio-religious constitution of the Hindu society. At the same time, we should not lose sight of the fact that the cause we have to serve is the welfare of the entire nation and not the sentiment of separate classes or castes. If, therefore, some of us Brahmans, or Kshatriyas or others have to accept a larger share of the blame for the disaster which has befallen us all, we should not hesitate to welcome the opportunity. That circumstance should be an incentive to put forth still greater efforts to right the wrong we have done. It is the system which is throttling us all equally, it is that pernicious system that is the subject of our criticisms. [p.11]

A prominent thinker of Maharashtra, Raosaheb Kasbe, has elaborated the subject by saying that, Brahmins are fortunte that, "Brahmin" is a name of Caste as well as of a "Varna", thereby implying Class, this status being bestowed upon them by Smritis. As a class and as a power structure, Brahmins have developed vested interests. Dalit writers divide the history as Brahmin Vs. non-Brahmin, instead of Vedic Vs. non-Vedic, and when the words having Brahmin as one of their components are used by them to criticise these vested interests, the meaning implied is against the power structure and not agaist the caste. If this is a blameworthy mistake, the mistake is committed by the authors of Smritis, specially "Yama smriti", and they and the later authors desrve the blame. [Kasbe Raosaheb:1994:242]

Causes of fall of Buddhism

Before coming to the effects of fall of Buddhism, which is the main subject matter of this tract, we will briefly the discuss the various causes that led to this tragedy which befell on this country. As exclaimed by L. M. Joshi, this "tragedy" is mostly "overlooked or confused", [L.M.Joshi:1977:xvii] and ignored or distorted by the elite of this land for selfish caste motives.

M. M. Kane's views

Maha Mahopadhyaya Dr. P. V. Kane summarizes the various reasons for the decline and ultimate fall of Buddhism from the land of its origin. Like all other Brahmanic scholars, he denies the Brahmanic crusade against Buddhism as the main cause. He mentions various reasons important being the following: [Kane:1980:400]

1. The debates in four Buddhist councils one after the other till Kaniska and the resultant differences of opinion within the Buddhist scholars.

2. End of royal patronage after the reign of Harshavardhana.

3. Important scholars of Buddhism left the country.

4. The high moral set up by the Buddha were found to be too cumbersome for the followers. The monasteries of bhikkus and bhikkunis became the places of laziness and immoral behaviour and lowly tantric practices. Sexual intercourse became the part of their 'yoga saadhanaa'.

5. To oppose Buddhism and to popularize Hinduism, Brahmins had to make revolutionary changes in the nature and practices of their religion, in the early and later centuries of Christian Era and make changes in their religion having long lasting effects.

6. Gods and goddesses in Vedic pantheon were discarded and yadnyas were almost abandoned. Puranic mantras were being used even in the shraadhha. The tenets of ahimsa, daana, tirth yaatraa, and vratas got more importance than the yajnyas. By these changes, importance of Buddhism was reduced to a great extent.

7. People started liking the stories in Puranas in preference to those in Buddhist Jatakas.

8. From about 7th century, Buddha was included in the list of Avataras and by about tenth century, the fact was acknowledged all over India.

9. Around 1200 A.D., the destruction of Buddhist Universities and killings of Bhikkus, the lay Buddhist got confused. Some of them became Muslims and some became "Hindus".

10. It is mentioned in "Chulla vagga", that some times, in big monasteries, the bhikkunis used to quarrel and fight amongst themselves.

11. Apart from these causes, the main reason was in reality different according to Dr. Kane. And it was that the people at large did not find it possible to follow the Buddha's advice of accepting asceticism, which according to Hindu sastras was denounced.

12. When Buddhists started worshiping Buddha as God, and accepted bhakti denouncing old eight fold Buddhist path, the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism gradually vanished.

13. Brahmins incorporated among their religion such as sanyas, worshiping of many gods, 'karma marg' as a means of higher spiritual stage. Thus Brahmins gave their religion very broad character.

14. Puranas and dharma sastras gave so much importance to 'ahimsa' that not only Brahmins, but also vaishyas and shudras accepted vegetarianism. On the contrary, in no other country the Buddhists are purely vegetarians.

Views of other scholars

Before Harshvardhana of seventh century, Buddhism had suffered a lot at the hands of Brahmanism. However, Jagdish Kumar, rather unjustifiably, likes to exclude the persecution of Buddhists by Pushyamitra Shunga (184 B.C.), saying that there is uncertainty about it, mentioning an essay by Nalinaksha Dutta in "Mahabodhi" of June 1955. But he also agrees about religious persecution by Nara, a Kashmir ruler of first century B.C. and by Huna ruler, Mihirkula (510-530 A.D.) [Jagadish Kumar:1981:13]

After Harsha, the situation became very harassing for the Sangha, which was used to lead a life under royal patronage, as per "2500 years of Buddhism". (p.65) This was rather a life of comfort, if not of luxury, avers Jagdish Kumar. [p.14].

We get the glimpses of this decline from Chinese travellers. "The latter (I-Ching) frankly deplores the decay of the faith, which he had witnessed in his own life (i.e. about 650-770 A.D.) but his travels in India were relatively of small extent and he gives less local information than previous piligrims. Hsuan Chuang describing India in 629-645 A.D. is unwilling to admit the decay, but his truthful narrative lets it be seen." [Hinduism and Buddhism, vol II, pp.107-8, quoted by Jagdish Kumar, p.14]

Caliber of Vajrayani Buddhists

As Dr. Rupa Kulkarni Bodhi, a Sanskrit scholar from Nagpur University, who has adopted Buddhism, very aptly observed that the Buddhist Sanskrit literature is the most neglected. Brahmins hate it as it is anti-Brahmanic, scholars of Pali Prakrit or Buddhist studies keep away from it, and Ambedkarites feel it is meant for a dust bin, as it is Mahayanist. [bodhi:1999:7] Anyway, Tibetans do not consider Vajrayan and Mahayan different from each other. Under these circumstances, Siddha Literature has been neglected by all, and because of its esoteric teachings, it condemned by everyone. This is not proper. It definitely deserves more attention, as it was the literature of "masses" rather than "classes" and secondly it was the last Buddhist literature in India, before its disappearance and has historical importance.

It is claimed by the Brahmanical scholarship of the present day, that the quality and caliber of Buddhist leadership declined after seventh or eighth century. This could be true partially as far as the reading of Vedas is concerned. If you consider that the leadership of Buddhist Sangha was in the hands of people of higher castes and the Bhikkus had a background of knowledge of Vedic studies along with the reading of Tripitakas. This was the situation even in the times of Itsing. But as far as principles of Buddhism are concerned, these leaders made no compromises. One appreciable difference in leadership of Buddhism that can be seen palpably is that when the leadership passed on to the Vajrayani Siddhas of esoteric Buddhism, these leaders almost all belonged to lower castes, in contrast to Mahayanis, who mostly came from Brahmin caste.

Though Buddha never believed in supremacy of any caste, and also the caste distinctions were not acute in earlier times, the Brahmins by this time had enclosed themselves into an endogamous group and became a caste from a varna. By the time of Gupta rule, the untouchability was added to this caste consciousness. It had started as an outcome of contempt and hatred towards Buddhists, as is well shown by Dr. Ambedkar. Most of the later leaders of Buddhism hailed from these non-Brahmanic castes as can be seen from the list of Siddhas. This is perhaps the cause of blame by higher caste scholars.

The Vajrayani Siddhas might have had dislike for Vedic so called knowledge but they fererntly follwed the tenets of Original Buddhism, even in those so called degraded conditions. Dharmakirti, a Buddhist scholar of seventh century, in a famous verse in "Praman Vartik", enumerates five differences in the tenets of Buddhist and Brahmanic creed. These were, as elaborated earlier:

1. belief in chatuvarna with supremacy of brahmins and graded ineqality,

2. belief in scritpures strengtheing this inequality,

3. belief in God and atma and all that goes with it together with the sanctions by this God to these books propagating inequality.

4. belief in acumulatimg of 'punya' i.e. virtue by visiting the places of worship situated mostly near the banks of river and belief in bath in these rivers like Ganga can wipe out all accumulated sins and theeby ensuring a fixed and perineal sourse of easy and effortless income for priestly castes, and lastly,

5. belief in extreme austerities of torturing the bodies by some 'yogis' to obtain salvation.

In following these aspects, none of the Siddhas were in any way inferior to their earlier counterparts of Mahayanis, and their zeal of fighting with Brahmanic supremacy and all that goes with it, was in no way of lesser intensity than their predecessors. Therefore, to ascribe the poor caliber of Buddhist religious leaders, who were now called Siddhas, to fall of Buddhism is not correct.

So the real reason or the decline was the hostilty of the brahmins and the final blow was by the conquest by the Muslims, leading to fall of Buddhism. Therefore, Dr. Ambedkar made a distinction between the causes of decline and cause of fall.

Buddhist Siddhas were the forerunners of Bhakti cult

L. M. Joshi avers that the present Bhakti movement, of which the present day Brahmanic scholars are so proud of, and they feel this is the legacy of Aryan/Brahmanic/Vedic tradition and not of Buddhistic origin, and go on congratulating each other for its survival during the Muslim onslaught, was in fact, the gift of the Siddhas, labled by Brahmins as 'corrupt'. While referring to the activities of the saint poets of Karnataka and Maharashtra like Basaveswara and Namdeva, and of North India like Raidas, Kabir and Nanak etc. and of Sufi Muslim saints, he says:

"The Buddhist message of social equality and communal harmony had left a deep impression on the mind of Indian people which continued after the transformation of the classical Buddhist movement. ... The task of fighting the evils of casteism and untouchability was continued by the Buddhist Siddhas, the adepts of Tantrika culture, during the early medieval centuries. A large number of these Siddhas came from lower caste families, but their greatness was assured by their success (siddhi) in esoteric culture (sadhana). This mission of social reform was then resumed by the saint poets of the bhakti movement throughout the Middle Ages. Though these saint poets (sants) were, generally speaking within the fold of the Brahmanical "Hindu" religious tradition, yet they revolted freely against many fundamental dogmas and authentic customs of traditional Brahmanism. Their social and moral teachings were more in keeping with Buddhism than with Brahmanism. All of them disregarded the rules of the varna-ashram-dharma scheme and attacked social distinctions based on birth and profession. Many of them were born in shudra families. They became exalted through their pure character, sincere devotion and magnanimity, ..." [L.M.Joshi:1973:53]

Views of Rahul Sankrutyan

However, Rahul Sankrutayan blames Vajrayanis for decline of Buddhism, saying that decline of Buddhism started with the rise of Vajrayana and was completed after Turkish invasion. [Rahul:1973:71] He opines that the use of women and wine by the Vajrayani bhikshus also could have been a contributory factor in fall of Buddhism. [ibid., p.79]

He says, it is a wrong propaganda that Shankaracharya, in eighth century, drove away Buddhism from India. On the contrary, Buddhism was flourishing during this time. This was the time of glory of Nalanda University and of foundation of Vikramshila University. This was the time when the most powerful Buddhist Dynasty of Palas was established. This was the time that the great Buddhist philosophers like Shantirakshita and Dharmottara emerged from the University of Nalanda. [Rahul:1973:77]

Even four centuries after Shankaracharya, till the end of twelfth century Buddhism was not vanished from North India. The Gaharwad dynasty not only supported Brahmanism, they also supported Buddhism. Gahadwar queen Kumar Devi built the "Dharma chakra maha vihara" at Sarnath. Govindachandra gave gifts of several villages to the Jetvan Mahavihara. [Rahul:1973:77]

Jaganmitrananda (Mitrayogi), the preceptor (dikshaguru) of last Gahardwad king Jaychanda, was a Buddhist saint. His letter to his disciple king Jaychanda is still available in Tibetan language as "Chandraraja- Lekh" in Tibet. [Rahul:1973:77] This king is being defamed in Brahmanic literature as a traitor to have invited Md. Ghori. The Buddhist scholar Bhikshu Dharmarakshit feels that the real reason for his being termed as such was because of his Buddhist leanings. ["sarnath-varanasi", p.63 ff.]

Pala kings in East remained Buddhist till end of their dynasty. [Rahul:1973:77] In south, the Shilahar Dynasty of Konkan, was purely Buddhist. [Rahul:1973:78] Even in Kerala, the mother land of Shankaracharya, Buddhist influence persisted. They did not restrict the Buddhist learning, but on the contrary, it were they who preserved the "Manjushri mula kalpa" and handed over to us. [ibid.,p.78]

That the Tamil word "Cherai" means "Naaga" in Sanskrit [Nair:1959:8] is to be remembered, and that Naagas were the followers of Buddhism is well known.

The bhikshus could be easily spotted because of their Yellow robes, which had became a kind of death warrant for them. It was due to massacre of bhikhus, the leaders of Buddhist laity, and the destruction of their Viharas, by the Muslims, the fall of Buddhism occurred. The Chief of Indian Buddha Sangha, a Kashmiri pundit, Shakyasribhadra, had to migrate to Bengal after the devastation and sack of Vikramshila University. Later when Muslims reached Bengal, he left for Tibet with his disciples. He was respectfully invited by King Kirtidwaja. There, he stayed for many years and ultimately came to his mother land, Kashmir, and died there in 1226 A.D. Similarly many Bhikshus had to run away from India. [Rahul:1973:79]

Brahmin books must not be relied upon

Prof. Rhys Davids has aptly warned the scholars, either in Europe or in India, of the falacy of believing in Brahmanic books to understand the affairs in India. He is referring to the social condition of India in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., but it applies also, rather more so, to later times. He observes:

"...They have relied for their information about the Indian peoples too exclusively on the brahmin books. And these, partly because of the natural antipathy felt by the priests towards the free republics, partly because of the later date of the most of the extant priestly literature, and especially of the law books, ignore the real facts. They convey the impression that the only recognized, and in fact universally prevalent, form of government was that of kings under the guidance and tutelage of priests. But the Buddhist records, amply confirmed in these respects by the somewhat later Jain once, leave no doubt upon the point. [Rhys Davids:1993:2]

Phuley, Shahu, Ambedkar Versus Tilak, Gandhi, Golwalkar

It is well known fact that there existed in ancient India a conflict between two ideologies one that supported chatrvarnya system and the other who opposed it. In various times this strugle assumed different forms and different names with different personalities. History of India is nothing but the history of this strugle. In modern times this strugle is going on with no less zeal and fervour. The leaders of one group are Phuley Shahu and Ambedkar and their opponents are Tilak Gandhi and Golwalkar.

Brahmanic tendency to find faults with Buddhism

That the mentality of Indian elite has always been to find faults with the Budha, His techings, the Buddhist people, and everything they stand for. This is not on any solid ground but just to show them down, just out of spitefulness. Because the Buddhist school of thought always went against vested interests of Brahmins, they were always hostile to the Buddhists. In modern times, they take delight in believing that the cause of all ills in modern India is the Buddhist period of about fifteen centuries, when whole of India was under Buddhist influence. They blame Buddhists for their defeat at war with all the foreigners all throughout the span of history, they blame Buddhists for state of affairs of women, now I came accros a prominent doctor of Nagpur blaming Budhist ahimsa for decline of Surgical skill and knowledge in India, a subject discussed by us elsewhere.

Two Orphans in the world of Nations

Swamiji compares condition of Indians with Jews. Only that presently, the Jews have progressed, but we did not. This is what Swamiji said some sixty years ago:

"The Jews of Palestine gave birth to a Jesus Christ; but they crucified him and rejected his religion; and their country passed into the hands of the Muslims where Britain now holds the balance between the Jews and the Muslims. India produced a Buddha, but when she rejected his religion of righteousness, she passed into the hands of the Muslims and Britain now holds the balance between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Jews became the kingless people of the world and the Hindus the only civilized nation that is not master of its own country. The two great religions, Buddhism and Christianity, rejected in the land of their birth, spread far and wide, and now sustain the religious life of the greatest nations of the East and the West, whereas the Hindus and the Jews rank as the orphans of humanity." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 110]

Vedantists

As Dharmatirtha observes, Hindus always preach about the unique greatness of Hindu philosophy and religion and culture, proclaiming that Vedanta alone can save the world and humanity. However, we know as a grim truth of past history and present reality that it has not saved India, it has not saved Hindus. It has not during any known period of history prevented the Hindus from committing the sins, horrors, and oppressions, or to have social existence any higher standard of happiness and freedom than other nations. Even in modern times, the Hindus have not cultivated any superior virtues and ideals, and have ignominiously failed to prove themselves true to own professed culture or to the aspiration of modern civilization. No other peoples deny justice and humanity to their own kith and kin, their own coreligionist and compatriots, without rhyme or reason as the Hindu do even today. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 302]

Failure of Socialist Reformers

How Swamiji's prophesy has come true, can be seen by his words that, India has seen more saints and reformers and teachers than any other country, but they could not save her. The masses were led to the path of national suicide by their native exploiters and priests. The Socialists and leaders of to day do not educate the people to adjust their lives to the new ideas, or remove the worst anomalies of the country's life. So long as the Hindu classes, rather than the masses, are steeped in the culture of caste and the religion of deception and exploitation, their words achieve nothing. They themselves think and assure us that Socialism has nothing to do with Hindu customs and beliefs, which will remain intact even after Swaraj, or invent new ways to justify and preserve these diabolical distinctions and insults in the name on the sanctity of religion. [Dharmatirtha, p.304]

Nationalists

There is another group of people, the Nationalists, for whom "our unique culture" is important, and this is leading to increased regionalism, though they keep on hankering "Unity in Diversity", i.e. the unique culture of Bengal, the Punjab, the Maharashtra, the Andhras, the Tamils, the Kerala and so forth. For them, Dharmatirtha remaks:

"...God alone knows wherein lies the uniqueness and glory except it be in the castes and their disastrous ramifications. In the ultimate analysis, this separate culture will be found to consist of exclusiveness in marriage, in eating and drinking, in the superstitions and customs, which divide one people from another and help them to organize distinct groups for mutual exploitation at the sacrifice of national unity and freedom. ... a good number of our Socialists and Nationalists will turn out to be rank Capitalists and fanatical Communalists. They cannot be otherwise, born and brought up as they are in the atmosphere of Hindu Imperialism, inured to the slavery of caste and the untruths of priestcraft." [Dharmatirtha, p. 305]

How true his prophecy has come out, is there for everyone to see.

The work of Guru Govind Singh

Of many revolutions against Brahmanism, only Sikhism seems to have survived, at least to some extent. Guru Govind, tenth from Guru Nanak took the reigns of Sikhism, in 1675, and organised his religion on egalitarian basis, commensurate with the saints of northern India, who are now acknowledged as being influenced with the spirit of Buddhism, which has visibly disappeared. It was Kabir, who led the torch, more than others, in boldly assailing idolatry, denying the divine authority of the Quran and Vedas, and protesting against neglect of local languages and use of Sanskrit. Guru Nanak took the lead to found a new order, a new nation free from superstitions of Hindus. His teachings were liked by Hindus as well as Muslims. It was the last Guru Govind who gave Sikhs a religious, social and political constitution. Brahmins tried to impose upon him the authority of goddess Kali, but it failed and his followers were saved from priestcraft and idolatry. He preached against caste, elevated women to equal status, stopped idolatry, among other precepts. His faith was disliked by Brahmins but liked by masses, and

"In a short time, 80,000 men became his followers and the number went on increasing. A large number of Brahmans and other twice-born Hindus deserted the Sikh-fold when he insisted on the observance of these disciplines. Guru Govind welcomed the departure of the incorrigibles who clung to their old customs and castes, and in their place, admitted thousand of the humble peasants and hill tribes who were thus enabled to realise their manhood, and become the respectable citizens of the Khalsa State. "Govind Singh thus appealed to the eternal instincts of equality, liberty and brotherhood, broke for ever the caste prejudices and received into the Khalsa people of all classes who had hitherto been debarred from bearing arms and participating in religion. The Singhs on the Khalsa felt themselves at once elevated and equal to the proud and martial Rajputs. Personal pride and strength were infused into them, and Sikhism knitted them together into one common brotherhood, animated by a common faith, one social life and national longing. The effect of the new teachings, it is said, was immediate and profound. The Sikhs began to manifest great chivalry and courage and live in sweet social love and harmony among themselves. Wherever there was oppression or cruelty, the Sikhs were there, and with ready heart and brave arms, helped the persecuted. Among themselves, they lived like brothers, they used to feed one another, shampoo one another when tired, bathe one another, wash one another's clothes, and one Sikh always met another with a smile on his face and love in his heart." (G. A. Natesan & Co., Guru Govind, p.22), [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 161]

For those who imagined that Sikhs were meant for protection of Brahmins, the above account would make aware of the real position and in this light, if we perceive the recent descison of Authorities of Sikh "Panth", that Sikhs are not Hindus, we can highly appreciate their thinking. If the idea that Sikhs are Hindus, is to disappear from the minds of everybody once for all, we feel that the Sikh authorities must stop the use of the phrase "Sikh Panth" and instead use "Sikh Dharma" for their way of life. This word "Panth" has caused a lot of confusion among the masses.

Hindus became Hindus by Conversion

The word Hindu has no relevance for Indians before the Muslim conquest. It is they who gave Indians this name, rather in a derogatary sense. To those who find fault with Christian missionaries for encouraging mass conversion, Swamiji reminds:

"... Hindus became Hindus by a sort of mass conversion or mass classification by the Muhammadans, and the various castes acquired their status by a similar process of mass classification behind their backs by the Brahman first and lastly by the British Government. Sectarian legislative enactments and judicial decisions based on so-called immemorial customs, fixing the rights of succession, inheritance, family management, marriage, etc., of different groups gave the finishing touches to the caste structure." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 174]

How Brahminism was helped by the British

Swamiji enumerated ten ways, in which Britishers helped establish the Brahmin Raj.

Firstly, they raised the Brahmans to the highest posts of power, profit and confidence.

Secondly, they chivalrously championed the cause of the decaying temples, idolatrous festivals, and charming dancing girls with the hearty patronage and protection of the company's government, to the mutual advantage and recreation of the company and the priests.

Thirdly, they established the caste Kutcheries, the most dreaded tribunal of the Hindus,

Fourthly, they unearthed from their oblivion Manu Shastra and other spurious texts, which the vast majority of the Hindus had never heard of, and elevated them to the status of authoritative works of Hindu law.

Fifthly, they handed over the temples to the controls of trustees, and thus facilitated the aggrandisement of Brahmanisn and deprivation of the rights of the lower orders.

Sixthly, through judicial decision and administrative classification and even by legal enactments, the so-called Hindu law has been applied to all Indians who are not Christians or Muhammadans.

Seventhly, they gave caste distinctions royal recognition, state protection, enhanced dignity, positive value and significance, and even political importance.

Eightly they blasted the hopes of reformers and teachers by making it impossible for them to alter the status quo by any practicable means.

Ninthly, in the name of non-interference, they have actively strengthened and perpetuated the evils of society which it was their duty to fight.

Lastly Christian antiquarians have added insult to injury by flattering the non-British castes and unchristians idolatry as meritorious cultural achievements to be preserved for the delectation of humanity.

Swamiji concludes by saying:

"There is only one more thing which Britain has to do to discharge her trust to the dumb millions of her subjects and to fill the cup of unhappy India's suicidal bliss, and that is to hand over the seal and emblem of Indian Empire to the temple priests and give a farewell kiss or kick to the blissful fool Independent India." [Dharmatirtha, p.177]

It seems, the Brahmins have since achieved their goal, under the guise of "Swaraj", and succeeded in establishing Brahmin dominance under the name of "Hindutva".

What is meant by a Hindu

Swamiji explains that the world "Hindu" must not be confused to have an unity of creed or faith. "Unfortunately, or as some believe fortunately", it is not so, and Hinduism is not a religion in the sense in which Buddhism Muhammadanism and Christianity are. The aggregate of the traditions, beliefs and customs and institutions of multitude of tribes and castes of India, is called Hinduism, though they may be mutually irreconcilable themselves. The questions, who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism have been considered again and again by eminent scholars, and so far no satisfactory answer has been given. Therefore, all those who are not Muhammadans or Christians are treated as Hindus. All types of worship is allowed, as long as Brahin supremacy is maintained, such as Theism, Atheism, Polytheism, Adwaitism, Dwaitism, Saivism, Vaishnavism and so forth. It contains nature worship, ancestor worship, animal worship, idol worship, demon worship, symbol worship, self worship, and the highest god worship, with confounding and conflicting philosophies. It allows all barbarous practices and dark superstitions and mystic rites and sublime philosophies, and covers all population with half barbarian wild tribes, and depressed classes and untouchables, along with cultured gentle natures and highly evolved souls. Hindus are amorphous mass of people, as a prominent scholar of Hinduism observed:

"Though the Hindus are thus separated from other religious communities, it should not be imagined that they are united by a bond of a common system of doctrines. There is in fact no system of doctrines, no teacher, or school of teaching, no single god that is accepted by all the Hindus. Again no amount of deviation from the established doctrines, or disregard of any book or even of some custom, would cause a person to fall from Hinduism, that is become liable to exclusion from the Hindu community." [s.V.Kelkar, Essay on Hinduism, p.34, quoted by Swami Dharmatirtha, p.194 ff.]

Even those Christians and Mohamedans, they have plans to incorporate in Hinduism and terms like "Mohemadi Hindus" are already coined for them, and full preparations are going on for its implementation.

Also plans are afoot to create new 'Swastika' temples for such "purified" Christians.

Vagueness of Hindus is a virtue for them

This vagueness and the absence of all restraints of form and scope, is a boon for some leaders to declare a deceptive slogan of "Unity in diversity", in this "unique vacuity and brilliant disorganisation". Swamiji comments:

"...The honest truth, however, seems to be that the various attempts made by successive teachers and kings in the past to restore order and some sort of uniformity have not succeeded to any considerable extent..."

The obvious reason of this failure, is the desire of Brahmin elites to govern the OBCs. Hinduism is a wild forest with good and bad things thriving together, and needs to be converted into an orderly well planned garden to suit human needs and practical issues, with a good deal of clearing and planning and pruning. Swamiji concludes:

"...If the Hindus want to function as an organised nation along with the other nations of the world, as an independent nation in the midst of other independent nations, they will not be able to do it in their present disorganisation and chaos." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 196]

Arrogance of Brahmins, who rule Hindus

Swamiji belives that the arrogance of Brahmins did not change since the times of Abbe Dobois, who wrote:

"There is a well known Hindu proverb which says, a temple mouse fears not the gods! This exactly applies to the Brahmans who enter their temples without showing the slightest sign of serious thought or respect for the divinities who are enshrined therein. Indeed they often choose these particular places to quarrel and fight in. Even while performing their numerous religious fooleries, their behaviour shows no indication of fervour or real devotion." [Abbe Dubois, p.299, Swami Dharmatirtha, p. 217]

Swamiji feels that these remarks are letter by letter true of the temples of the present day also, perhaps with the additional force that the irreverence is manifest among the worshippers also. It may however be added that the "secular" Brahmins are no different than these "sacred" ones.

Attitude towards women

The learned Frenchman also wrote: "To have any connection with a courtesan or with an unmarried person is not considered a form of wickedness in the eyes of the Brahmans. These men, who look upon the violation of any trivial custom as a heinous sin, see no harm in the most outrageous and licentious excesses. It was practically for their use that the dancers and prostitutes who are attached to the service of the temples were originally entertained, and they may often be heard to intone the following scandalous line: Vesya darsanmnam punyam, papa nasanam! which means, "Looking upon a prostitute is a virtue which takes away sin." (p.213)

Swamiji observes that though the "Dancing girls have been dismissed from some of the temples in recent years, otherwise the priestly mentality is not much different to-day from what it was when the above lines were written." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 217]

Suggestions for nation building

Discussing the constructive thoughts and efforts and guiding as to what must be done, Swamiji considers Nationality as the capacity of a people to function and develop as an organic unit. It is a dynamic impulse to realise a common individuality than of a static unity already attained. It is not a feature but a feeling. It is not merely a heritage of the past but a power of the present. Its importance is not in what has been achieved but in its hopes of future achievements. Swamiji compares those who seek consolation in the records of bygone ages to an insolvent pauper delighting himself in browsing old account books. It lies not in glorifying moutains, lands, rivers and the like but in "Man" and his attitude towards "fellow men", as Swamiji observes:

"... The true national spirit is to be seen in a persistent desire to effect closer union and association among the individuals and groups constituting society, in a growing sense of community of interests, social, religious, economic, political and other, in an instinctive opposition to forces within and without the nation which tend to endanger its solidarity, and in the ability to evolve new ideals and institutions to embody the spirit of the collective life. ..." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 258]

Instead of an obstinate clinging to mere existence and past glories, Nationalism implies capacity to grow and to expand, to assimilate the helpful, and oppose the harmful influences. It is not a passive sentiment of love for a great past, but an active yearning for a greater future, through a collective will. Political nationality is an idea of recent growth, and is result of a new consciousness of territorial and political unity due to the impact of European thought, literature, political ideals and institutions, and for the first time in her history of all India, to a central rule under the British. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 258]

Tests of Hindu Nationalism

India has been suffering under the two imperialisms, "Brahmanical and British placed one above the other", and true nationalism should be tested by the criteria, which are:

"... the three tests of Hindu Nationalism:- (1) Opposition to caste, (2) opposition to priestcraft and idolatry, and (3) Inter-religious tolerance and fraternisation." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 262]

More nationalism persisted in the past

Nationalist spirit is said to have started since British arrived. But in reality, there was more fellow feeling in teachings of saints, inspired by Buddhism, and as Swamiji exclaims that during the days of Akbar, Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, Tukaram, Eknath and Shivaji, there seemed to be greater fellow feeling and brotherhood between Hindus and Mohemedans than after the arrival of the British and manifestation of national spirit. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 288]

Modus operandi of Brahmins to enslave Hindus

That the kalivarjya was the method of brahmins to tackle the Buddhist influence over the masses and impose their supremacy. They changed their laws without actually condemning them. All laws and rules, were amended including Civil, Criminal, Revenue and Personal laws. It is not properly realized by the masses, that King was not the Law maker; he had no legislative power, contrary to the popular belief. He was only the executive head and had a responsibility to implement the laws made by the brahmins. At the most he could only legislate on revenue matter, that too, as per the rules already laid down. He had some judicial powers, but that too, he could not pass judgement against the law given by the brahmins.

Who suffered in Kalivarjya

In Kalivarjya, main law was against sea voyage. That is how the sea worthy races of Pallava and Chola countries suffered. All the trade that was being conducted through the sea stopped. Who suffered? Not the brahmins, surely. It will be clear, if we take a look at the products of export. Most of the the products of export were based on the agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandary and forest economy. Even the textile industry which had reached a high acclaim in foreign lands, was based cotton, silk and wool. All these occupations were in the hands of working classes, who were all doomed to be shudras. All these industries suffered. All these castes in the village econoomy suffered. All these groups, which were prosperous during the Buddhist rule, were degraded into castes, due to rigid caste rules imposed.

The mobility of the professions was stopped. Telis, who extracted oil from oil seeds, Malis, who grew the vegitables, the Dhangars, who reared the goats and lamb, Sutars, who made and repaied the farmers impliments, Kumhars, those who suppled earthen pots to villagers and Mahars and Mangs who protected the villages from strangers. All these proffessions became heriditary and social intercourse among them stopped.

Aim is to awaken the masses

These are the masses of which Indian society is made of, and it is the need of the day to educate them. The process of emancipation of masses was started by Mahatma Phule, strengthened by Shahu, and put in Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar. Now it is the duty of masses to protect the Constitution, if they want to protect themselves from oncoming Brahmanic tyranny. This is an humble effort to aid the education of masses, as Dr. Amdekar has warned that only when a slave is made to realize his slavery, he can revolt against it. In one of his neglected messages to the "Maratha Mandir", 53 years ago, he had observed that, the middle class is not as liberal as upper one, and has no ideology as lower one, which makes it enemy of both the classes. The middle class Marathas of Maharashtra also have this fault. They have only two ways out, either to join hands with upper classes and prevent the lower classes from progress, and the other is to join hands with lower classes and both together destroy the upper class power comming against the prrgress of both. There was a time, they used to be with lower classes, now they seem to be with upper ones. It is for them to decide which way to go. The future of not only Indian masses but also their own future depends upon what decision the Maratha leaders take. What he said about Marathas, equally applies to all OBCs, and still holds true after half a century. Dr. Ambedkar wrote much to educate the OBCs. May be, it is now bearing fruits after fifty years. Those days Swami Dharmatirtha had also observed:

"Object in this volume is to trace the causes and course of India's enslavement, and awaken the conscience of all parties. There is no desire to wound anybody's feelings. There is no rancour in our heart. We believe that the socio- religious order which has brought the whole Hindu race to their knees is more satanic than the worst foreign imperialism and must be crushed before India can be free. We have renounced everything in order to be able to serve the lowliest of the Hindus. Our life is dedicated to the cause of Hindu emancipation. We searched for the causes of thraldom. The results of our investigation and thinking are expressed in this volume without any effort to conceal unpleasant facts. The spirit of lamentation is also entirely absent. The Hindu masses are getting infected with a grim determination to re-establish the free-born rights on the rock of true liberty rather than on self-deception, feigned unity and disguised exploita

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Depicting Buddha as Hindu

For a last few years, Sangha activists are trying to depict to the international community, that they respect the Buddha. While doing that they use terminology depicting him as a Hindu. About Ambedkar also, similar thing is seen, books are written to show the work of Hegdewar and Ambedkar was same. We find Shankaracharyas garlanding the photo of Dr. Ambedkar. We find Brahmanic dignitaries like Sankaracharya paying a visit to Nagpur Diksha-bhoomi to pay tributes. And the recent incident is well known that RSS supremo Sudarshan garlanded the statue of Ambedkar - the maker of the Indian Constitution - on Deekshabhoomi at Nagpur, and the Ambedkarites have washed and "purified" the statue "poluted" by touch of someone who condemns the Constitution.

Declaring Buddha as an avatara of god was the beginning

They declared the Buddha as an avatara of Vishnu, some times around eighth century, as a verse to this effect from Matsya Purana is engraved in a monument at Mahabalipuram. The process seems to be completed by the time of Jaydeo writing "Gita Govind" in 12th century, including Buddha's name in it as an "Avatara". We are also aware that an average Brahmin takes a great pride that Buddhism was driven away from this land by Adi- Sankara.

How a non-existent religion can die?

Declaring the Buddha as ninth avatara of Vishnu, L. M. Joshi observes, was a "remarkable cultural feat", achieved by the Brahmanic Puranas, which later caused confusion in the minds of people with the result that Buddhism came to be treated as a "heretical" and "aesthetic" branch of Brahmanism. The present scholars like P. V. Kane, Radhakrishnan and even Swami Vivekanand, have pushed this confusion further back to the time of origin of Buddhism, by saying that Upanishadas are the origin of Buddhist thought. To this list must be added the name of B. G. Tilak, who devoted a full chapter in "Gita Rahashya" to prove that Buddhism was an off-shoot of Hinduism, (and one more chapter for proving that Christianity arose from Buddhism and hence eventually from Hinduism). Commenting Swami Vivekanada's statement that the Swami and other Hindus did not understand Buddha's teachings to be an honest confession, Joshi observes:

"... Not only the ancient and medieval brahmin teachers did not understand Buddhism; modern scholars born into the Brahmanical tradition have not shown any better understanding. Shankara, Kumarila, Udayana, and Sayana- Madhava did not understand Buddhism. This is true also of Tagore, Gandhi, Coomaraswamy and Radhakrishnan. ..." [L.M.Joshi:1973:12]

Showing a great surprise of Brahmanic scholars claiming both that Buddhism was just a refined "Hinduism", and also claiming with pride that Buddhism was driven away by the Brahmanas and it has died down, he sarcastically observes:

"... The causes of the decline of Buddhism in India are attributed either to Tantrika practices or to Muslim invasion, or to both. Nobody even imagines that if Buddhism were only a "reformed" or "refined" version of "Hinduism" how it could be said to have declined and died away while "Hinduism" is still flourishing and is the faith of majority of Indians. Buddhism can be said to have declined only when there was evidence for its existence at a certain period in Indian history apart from the existence of "Hinduism". If Buddhism did not exist apart from Brahmanism or "Hinduism" it did not die at all. A non-existent tradition or way of life does not die. The theory of decline of Buddhism, from the standpoint of "traditional" history is a false theory. On the other hand, if the decline of Buddhism in India was a historical fact, the theory of its origin as a "reformed" Brahmanism is a false one and must be discarded." [ibid. p.14]

If Buddhism was a sect of "Hinduism", then one may well ask the proud supporters of Shankaracharya, what was that religion which was "driven out by Adi Sankara", as they claim? Was it also Hinduism?

Buddhism is not a sect of Hinduism

As Swami Dharmatirtha observed, in an answer to those writers, who have treated Buddhism as a sect of Hinduism, that we do not know of any Hinduism having existed before the Buddha and if Hinduism did not exist, Buddhism could not have been a sect of it. There was the Brahman religion of sacrifices, confined to a small Aryan community, and the common people had their ancient religion of some sort of hero worship and ancestor worship and images. Both these were domestic, neither the public yajnyas of Brahmins nor the temples of tribal Indians were in existance. Swamiji feels:

"... Buddhism was a revolt against both the prevailing systems. In fact it was the first organized religion in the modern sense of the term "religion". It succeeded in driving out the Brahman religion of sacrifices, but gradually succumbed to the influences of the popular religion. Its final absorption in the primitive religion was due to the fact that the Brahmans favoured the religion of gods and goddesses and rituals, and not the religion of righteousness. [swami Dharmatirtha:1946:109]

Buddhism was the national Religion of India

Well, inspite of what these elitits say, decline of Buddhism is a historical fact, and was the cause of all ills, India had to face in the past. That the ills of common people of India today are due to the decline and fall of Buddhism in historical times, is not well understood by the masses, and how it affected the life of common people and what kind of miseries the subsequent generations had to suffer, is a subject which not many scholars have given much thought to.

The fact that at one time Buddhism was the national religion of India and was followed by the majority of population, is almost forgotten. There is a feeling in the minds of many, that India is and was a Hindu country having always had a majority of Hindus. This again is a misconception. In historical times the population of India never had majority of Hindus. Swami Vivekananda, estimated Buddhists to be two thirds of population [L.M.Joshi:1977:358] and Dr. Ambedkar says Buddhist were in majority. [W&S,vol.7,p.345] Then there were Jains and Veerashaivas and Tribal religions in addition to Muslims, Sikhs and Christians coming in the later times.

That Buddhism was not only the faith practiced by majority of people but had eclipsed Brahmanism to a great extent and the Brahmins had lost all the respect of masses as well as princely rulers. They were smarting under this defeat. [W&S,vol.7,p.346] They did everything in their power to finish off Buddhism and after Muslim invasion, succeeded in it. Thus Buddhism disappeared to a great extent from the land of its origin. Buddhism was the national religion of India, not only because the Buddha was an Indian, descended from an Indian king of the Sakya clan, but as observed by Swami Dharma Teertha:

"... because Buddhism was the source and inspiration of the national awakening witnessed in the Indian empires and kingdoms which controlled the destinies of the country for over a thousand years; because Buddhism, for the first time, united India in a common cultural synthesis and organization; because unlike Brahmanism, which was the religion of the privileged classes, Buddhism was the first religion of the common people, not forced on them, but accepted by their free will and pleasure; because Buddhism brought out in the fullest measure the immense potentialities of the nation in all its manifold aspects - science and art, literature and religion, commerce and industry, internal progress and international reputation; and lastly, because no other religion has till this day been able to make India a great nation as Buddhism did. [p.76]

Brahmins usurped Buddhism

Brahmans became the leaders of Buddhism because of their learning, and first disfigured it thoroughly with ritualism and images, and then destroyed its separate organization of monasteries and monks with the help of the foreign masters who came into power. But the Buddhism of Harsha and Nagarjuna did not disappear, it formed the nucleus of the later Hinduism, superadded with horrors of caste. To become the sole leaders of the country and to enforce their system of castes, has always been the prime motive of Brahmanism, and if Buddhist order of monks and monasteries had survived, the Brahmins could not have achieved this goal. So they completely destroyed the external institution of Buddhism, the monks and monasteries. Brahmins became the undisputed leaders, and a new popular religion, Hinduism, emerged with important aspect of caste, as Dharmatitha observed:

"... Caste is an entirely independent social order which was neither in the ancient Aryan religion nor in primitive Indian religion nor in Buddhism. It is the unique contribution of the Brahman priests, and none else ever wanted it, until the country lost its national religion and political freedom, and the Brahmans succeeded in imposing the system upon the people almost at the point of the bayonet with of alien masters. [p.110]

Brahmanism does not mean Brahmins alone

Lest there should be any misunderstanding about the term Brahmanism and other derivatives of it, it must be clearly understood, what is meant by this term. Swami Dharma Teertha made it clear:

"British Imperialism does not mean the British people; it symbolizes a vast system and has numerous votaries among Indians also. Brahmanism, similarly, does not signify the Brahmans exclusively, but an ancient order of things of which the Brahmans are the leaders and champions. It stands for the aggregate of ideals, institutions and past history of the socio-religious constitution of the Hindu society. At the same time, we should not lose sight of the fact that the cause we have to serve is the welfare of the entire nation and not the sentiment of separate classes or castes. If, therefore, some of us Brahmans, or Kshatriyas or others have to accept a larger share of the blame for the disaster which has befallen us all, we should not hesitate to welcome the opportunity. That circumstance should be an incentive to put forth still greater efforts to right the wrong we have done. It is the system which is throttling us all equally, it is that pernicious system that is the subject of our criticisms. [p.11]

A prominent thinker of Maharashtra, Raosaheb Kasbe, has elaborated the subject by saying that, Brahmins are fortunte that, "Brahmin" is a name of Caste as well as of a "Varna", thereby implying Class, this status being bestowed upon them by Smritis. As a class and as a power structure, Brahmins have developed vested interests. Dalit writers divide the history as Brahmin Vs. non-Brahmin, instead of Vedic Vs. non-Vedic, and when the words having Brahmin as one of their components are used by them to criticise these vested interests, the meaning implied is against the power structure and not agaist the caste. If this is a blameworthy mistake, the mistake is committed by the authors of Smritis, specially "Yama smriti", and they and the later authors desrve the blame. [Kasbe Raosaheb:1994:242]

Causes of fall of Buddhism

Before coming to the effects of fall of Buddhism, which is the main subject matter of this tract, we will briefly the discuss the various causes that led to this tragedy which befell on this country. As exclaimed by L. M. Joshi, this "tragedy" is mostly "overlooked or confused", [L.M.Joshi:1977:xvii] and ignored or distorted by the elite of this land for selfish caste motives.

M. M. Kane's views

Maha Mahopadhyaya Dr. P. V. Kane summarizes the various reasons for the decline and ultimate fall of Buddhism from the land of its origin. Like all other Brahmanic scholars, he denies the Brahmanic crusade against Buddhism as the main cause. He mentions various reasons important being the following: [Kane:1980:400]

1. The debates in four Buddhist councils one after the other till Kaniska and the resultant differences of opinion within the Buddhist scholars.

2. End of royal patronage after the reign of Harshavardhana.

3. Important scholars of Buddhism left the country.

4. The high moral set up by the Buddha were found to be too cumbersome for the followers. The monasteries of bhikkus and bhikkunis became the places of laziness and immoral behaviour and lowly tantric practices. Sexual intercourse became the part of their 'yoga saadhanaa'.

5. To oppose Buddhism and to popularize Hinduism, Brahmins had to make revolutionary changes in the nature and practices of their religion, in the early and later centuries of Christian Era and make changes in their religion having long lasting effects.

6. Gods and goddesses in Vedic pantheon were discarded and yadnyas were almost abandoned. Puranic mantras were being used even in the shraadhha. The tenets of ahimsa, daana, tirth yaatraa, and vratas got more importance than the yajnyas. By these changes, importance of Buddhism was reduced to a great extent.

7. People started liking the stories in Puranas in preference to those in Buddhist Jatakas.

8. From about 7th century, Buddha was included in the list of Avataras and by about tenth century, the fact was acknowledged all over India.

9. Around 1200 A.D., the destruction of Buddhist Universities and killings of Bhikkus, the lay Buddhist got confused. Some of them became Muslims and some became "Hindus".

10. It is mentioned in "Chulla vagga", that some times, in big monasteries, the bhikkunis used to quarrel and fight amongst themselves.

11. Apart from these causes, the main reason was in reality different according to Dr. Kane. And it was that the people at large did not find it possible to follow the Buddha's advice of accepting asceticism, which according to Hindu sastras was denounced.

12. When Buddhists started worshiping Buddha as God, and accepted bhakti denouncing old eight fold Buddhist path, the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism gradually vanished.

13. Brahmins incorporated among their religion such as sanyas, worshiping of many gods, 'karma marg' as a means of higher spiritual stage. Thus Brahmins gave their religion very broad character.

14. Puranas and dharma sastras gave so much importance to 'ahimsa' that not only Brahmins, but also vaishyas and shudras accepted vegetarianism. On the contrary, in no other country the Buddhists are purely vegetarians.

Views of other scholars

Before Harshvardhana of seventh century, Buddhism had suffered a lot at the hands of Brahmanism. However, Jagdish Kumar, rather unjustifiably, likes to exclude the persecution of Buddhists by Pushyamitra Shunga (184 B.C.), saying that there is uncertainty about it, mentioning an essay by Nalinaksha Dutta in "Mahabodhi" of June 1955. But he also agrees about religious persecution by Nara, a Kashmir ruler of first century B.C. and by Huna ruler, Mihirkula (510-530 A.D.) [Jagadish Kumar:1981:13]

After Harsha, the situation became very harassing for the Sangha, which was used to lead a life under royal patronage, as per "2500 years of Buddhism". (p.65) This was rather a life of comfort, if not of luxury, avers Jagdish Kumar. [p.14].

We get the glimpses of this decline from Chinese travellers. "The latter (I-Ching) frankly deplores the decay of the faith, which he had witnessed in his own life (i.e. about 650-770 A.D.) but his travels in India were relatively of small extent and he gives less local information than previous piligrims. Hsuan Chuang describing India in 629-645 A.D. is unwilling to admit the decay, but his truthful narrative lets it be seen." [Hinduism and Buddhism, vol II, pp.107-8, quoted by Jagdish Kumar, p.14]

Caliber of Vajrayani Buddhists

As Dr. Rupa Kulkarni Bodhi, a Sanskrit scholar from Nagpur University, who has adopted Buddhism, very aptly observed that the Buddhist Sanskrit literature is the most neglected. Brahmins hate it as it is anti-Brahmanic, scholars of Pali Prakrit or Buddhist studies keep away from it, and Ambedkarites feel it is meant for a dust bin, as it is Mahayanist. [bodhi:1999:7] Anyway, Tibetans do not consider Vajrayan and Mahayan different from each other. Under these circumstances, Siddha Literature has been neglected by all, and because of its esoteric teachings, it condemned by everyone. This is not proper. It definitely deserves more attention, as it was the literature of "masses" rather than "classes" and secondly it was the last Buddhist literature in India, before its disappearance and has historical importance.

It is claimed by the Brahmanical scholarship of the present day, that the quality and caliber of Buddhist leadership declined after seventh or eighth century. This could be true partially as far as the reading of Vedas is concerned. If you consider that the leadership of Buddhist Sangha was in the hands of people of higher castes and the Bhikkus had a background of knowledge of Vedic studies along with the reading of Tripitakas. This was the situation even in the times of Itsing. But as far as principles of Buddhism are concerned, these leaders made no compromises. One appreciable difference in leadership of Buddhism that can be seen palpably is that when the leadership passed on to the Vajrayani Siddhas of esoteric Buddhism, these leaders almost all belonged to lower castes, in contrast to Mahayanis, who mostly came from Brahmin caste.

Though Buddha never believed in supremacy of any caste, and also the caste distinctions were not acute in earlier times, the Brahmins by this time had enclosed themselves into an endogamous group and became a caste from a varna. By the time of Gupta rule, the untouchability was added to this caste consciousness. It had started as an outcome of contempt and hatred towards Buddhists, as is well shown by Dr. Ambedkar. Most of the later leaders of Buddhism hailed from these non-Brahmanic castes as can be seen from the list of Siddhas. This is perhaps the cause of blame by higher caste scholars.

The Vajrayani Siddhas might have had dislike for Vedic so called knowledge but they fererntly follwed the tenets of Original Buddhism, even in those so called degraded conditions. Dharmakirti, a Buddhist scholar of seventh century, in a famous verse in "Praman Vartik", enumerates five differences in the tenets of Buddhist and Brahmanic creed. These were, as elaborated earlier:

1. belief in chatuvarna with supremacy of brahmins and graded ineqality,

2. belief in scritpures strengtheing this inequality,

3. belief in God and atma and all that goes with it together with the sanctions by this God to these books propagating inequality.

4. belief in acumulatimg of 'punya' i.e. virtue by visiting the places of worship situated mostly near the banks of river and belief in bath in these rivers like Ganga can wipe out all accumulated sins and theeby ensuring a fixed and perineal sourse of easy and effortless income for priestly castes, and lastly,

5. belief in extreme austerities of torturing the bodies by some 'yogis' to obtain salvation.

In following these aspects, none of the Siddhas were in any way inferior to their earlier counterparts of Mahayanis, and their zeal of fighting with Brahmanic supremacy and all that goes with it, was in no way of lesser intensity than their predecessors. Therefore, to ascribe the poor caliber of Buddhist religious leaders, who were now called Siddhas, to fall of Buddhism is not correct.

So the real reason or the decline was the hostilty of the brahmins and the final blow was by the conquest by the Muslims, leading to fall of Buddhism. Therefore, Dr. Ambedkar made a distinction between the causes of decline and cause of fall.

Buddhist Siddhas were the forerunners of Bhakti cult

L. M. Joshi avers that the present Bhakti movement, of which the present day Brahmanic scholars are so proud of, and they feel this is the legacy of Aryan/Brahmanic/Vedic tradition and not of Buddhistic origin, and go on congratulating each other for its survival during the Muslim onslaught, was in fact, the gift of the Siddhas, labled by Brahmins as 'corrupt'. While referring to the activities of the saint poets of Karnataka and Maharashtra like Basaveswara and Namdeva, and of North India like Raidas, Kabir and Nanak etc. and of Sufi Muslim saints, he says:

"The Buddhist message of social equality and communal harmony had left a deep impression on the mind of Indian people which continued after the transformation of the classical Buddhist movement. ... The task of fighting the evils of casteism and untouchability was continued by the Buddhist Siddhas, the adepts of Tantrika culture, during the early medieval centuries. A large number of these Siddhas came from lower caste families, but their greatness was assured by their success (siddhi) in esoteric culture (sadhana). This mission of social reform was then resumed by the saint poets of the bhakti movement throughout the Middle Ages. Though these saint poets (sants) were, generally speaking within the fold of the Brahmanical "Hindu" religious tradition, yet they revolted freely against many fundamental dogmas and authentic customs of traditional Brahmanism. Their social and moral teachings were more in keeping with Buddhism than with Brahmanism. All of them disregarded the rules of the varna-ashram-dharma scheme and attacked social distinctions based on birth and profession. Many of them were born in shudra families. They became exalted through their pure character, sincere devotion and magnanimity, ..." [L.M.Joshi:1973:53]

Views of Rahul Sankrutyan

However, Rahul Sankrutayan blames Vajrayanis for decline of Buddhism, saying that decline of Buddhism started with the rise of Vajrayana and was completed after Turkish invasion. [Rahul:1973:71] He opines that the use of women and wine by the Vajrayani bhikshus also could have been a contributory factor in fall of Buddhism. [ibid., p.79]

He says, it is a wrong propaganda that Shankaracharya, in eighth century, drove away Buddhism from India. On the contrary, Buddhism was flourishing during this time. This was the time of glory of Nalanda University and of foundation of Vikramshila University. This was the time when the most powerful Buddhist Dynasty of Palas was established. This was the time that the great Buddhist philosophers like Shantirakshita and Dharmottara emerged from the University of Nalanda. [Rahul:1973:77]

Even four centuries after Shankaracharya, till the end of twelfth century Buddhism was not vanished from North India. The Gaharwad dynasty not only supported Brahmanism, they also supported Buddhism. Gahadwar queen Kumar Devi built the "Dharma chakra maha vihara" at Sarnath. Govindachandra gave gifts of several villages to the Jetvan Mahavihara. [Rahul:1973:77]

Jaganmitrananda (Mitrayogi), the preceptor (dikshaguru) of last Gahardwad king Jaychanda, was a Buddhist saint. His letter to his disciple king Jaychanda is still available in Tibetan language as "Chandraraja- Lekh" in Tibet. [Rahul:1973:77] This king is being defamed in Brahmanic literature as a traitor to have invited Md. Ghori. The Buddhist scholar Bhikshu Dharmarakshit feels that the real reason for his being termed as such was because of his Buddhist leanings. ["sarnath-varanasi", p.63 ff.]

Pala kings in East remained Buddhist till end of their dynasty. [Rahul:1973:77] In south, the Shilahar Dynasty of Konkan, was purely Buddhist. [Rahul:1973:78] Even in Kerala, the mother land of Shankaracharya, Buddhist influence persisted. They did not restrict the Buddhist learning, but on the contrary, it were they who preserved the "Manjushri mula kalpa" and handed over to us. [ibid.,p.78]

That the Tamil word "Cherai" means "Naaga" in Sanskrit [Nair:1959:8] is to be remembered, and that Naagas were the followers of Buddhism is well known.

The bhikshus could be easily spotted because of their Yellow robes, which had became a kind of death warrant for them. It was due to massacre of bhikhus, the leaders of Buddhist laity, and the destruction of their Viharas, by the Muslims, the fall of Buddhism occurred. The Chief of Indian Buddha Sangha, a Kashmiri pundit, Shakyasribhadra, had to migrate to Bengal after the devastation and sack of Vikramshila University. Later when Muslims reached Bengal, he left for Tibet with his disciples. He was respectfully invited by King Kirtidwaja. There, he stayed for many years and ultimately came to his mother land, Kashmir, and died there in 1226 A.D. Similarly many Bhikshus had to run away from India. [Rahul:1973:79]

Brahmin books must not be relied upon

Prof. Rhys Davids has aptly warned the scholars, either in Europe or in India, of the falacy of believing in Brahmanic books to understand the affairs in India. He is referring to the social condition of India in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., but it applies also, rather more so, to later times. He observes:

"...They have relied for their information about the Indian peoples too exclusively on the brahmin books. And these, partly because of the natural antipathy felt by the priests towards the free republics, partly because of the later date of the most of the extant priestly literature, and especially of the law books, ignore the real facts. They convey the impression that the only recognized, and in fact universally prevalent, form of government was that of kings under the guidance and tutelage of priests. But the Buddhist records, amply confirmed in these respects by the somewhat later Jain once, leave no doubt upon the point. [Rhys Davids:1993:2]

Phuley, Shahu, Ambedkar Versus Tilak, Gandhi, Golwalkar

It is well known fact that there existed in ancient India a conflict between two ideologies one that supported chatrvarnya system and the other who opposed it. In various times this strugle assumed different forms and different names with different personalities. History of India is nothing but the history of this strugle. In modern times this strugle is going on with no less zeal and fervour. The leaders of one group are Phuley Shahu and Ambedkar and their opponents are Tilak Gandhi and Golwalkar.

Brahmanic tendency to find faults with Buddhism

That the mentality of Indian elite has always been to find faults with the Budha, His techings, the Buddhist people, and everything they stand for. This is not on any solid ground but just to show them down, just out of spitefulness. Because the Buddhist school of thought always went against vested interests of Brahmins, they were always hostile to the Buddhists. In modern times, they take delight in believing that the cause of all ills in modern India is the Buddhist period of about fifteen centuries, when whole of India was under Buddhist influence. They blame Buddhists for their defeat at war with all the foreigners all throughout the span of history, they blame Buddhists for state of affairs of women, now I came accros a prominent doctor of Nagpur blaming Budhist ahimsa for decline of Surgical skill and knowledge in India, a subject discussed by us elsewhere.

Two Orphans in the world of Nations

Swamiji compares condition of Indians with Jews. Only that presently, the Jews have progressed, but we did not. This is what Swamiji said some sixty years ago:

"The Jews of Palestine gave birth to a Jesus Christ; but they crucified him and rejected his religion; and their country passed into the hands of the Muslims where Britain now holds the balance between the Jews and the Muslims. India produced a Buddha, but when she rejected his religion of righteousness, she passed into the hands of the Muslims and Britain now holds the balance between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Jews became the kingless people of the world and the Hindus the only civilized nation that is not master of its own country. The two great religions, Buddhism and Christianity, rejected in the land of their birth, spread far and wide, and now sustain the religious life of the greatest nations of the East and the West, whereas the Hindus and the Jews rank as the orphans of humanity." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 110]

Vedantists

As Dharmatirtha observes, Hindus always preach about the unique greatness of Hindu philosophy and religion and culture, proclaiming that Vedanta alone can save the world and humanity. However, we know as a grim truth of past history and present reality that it has not saved India, it has not saved Hindus. It has not during any known period of history prevented the Hindus from committing the sins, horrors, and oppressions, or to have social existence any higher standard of happiness and freedom than other nations. Even in modern times, the Hindus have not cultivated any superior virtues and ideals, and have ignominiously failed to prove themselves true to own professed culture or to the aspiration of modern civilization. No other peoples deny justice and humanity to their own kith and kin, their own coreligionist and compatriots, without rhyme or reason as the Hindu do even today. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 302]

Failure of Socialist Reformers

How Swamiji's prophesy has come true, can be seen by his words that, India has seen more saints and reformers and teachers than any other country, but they could not save her. The masses were led to the path of national suicide by their native exploiters and priests. The Socialists and leaders of to day do not educate the people to adjust their lives to the new ideas, or remove the worst anomalies of the country's life. So long as the Hindu classes, rather than the masses, are steeped in the culture of caste and the religion of deception and exploitation, their words achieve nothing. They themselves think and assure us that Socialism has nothing to do with Hindu customs and beliefs, which will remain intact even after Swaraj, or invent new ways to justify and preserve these diabolical distinctions and insults in the name on the sanctity of religion. [Dharmatirtha, p.304]

Nationalists

There is another group of people, the Nationalists, for whom "our unique culture" is important, and this is leading to increased regionalism, though they keep on hankering "Unity in Diversity", i.e. the unique culture of Bengal, the Punjab, the Maharashtra, the Andhras, the Tamils, the Kerala and so forth. For them, Dharmatirtha remaks:

"...God alone knows wherein lies the uniqueness and glory except it be in the castes and their disastrous ramifications. In the ultimate analysis, this separate culture will be found to consist of exclusiveness in marriage, in eating and drinking, in the superstitions and customs, which divide one people from another and help them to organize distinct groups for mutual exploitation at the sacrifice of national unity and freedom. ... a good number of our Socialists and Nationalists will turn out to be rank Capitalists and fanatical Communalists. They cannot be otherwise, born and brought up as they are in the atmosphere of Hindu Imperialism, inured to the slavery of caste and the untruths of priestcraft." [Dharmatirtha, p. 305]

How true his prophecy has come out, is there for everyone to see.

The work of Guru Govind Singh

Of many revolutions against Brahmanism, only Sikhism seems to have survived, at least to some extent. Guru Govind, tenth from Guru Nanak took the reigns of Sikhism, in 1675, and organised his religion on egalitarian basis, commensurate with the saints of northern India, who are now acknowledged as being influenced with the spirit of Buddhism, which has visibly disappeared. It was Kabir, who led the torch, more than others, in boldly assailing idolatry, denying the divine authority of the Quran and Vedas, and protesting against neglect of local languages and use of Sanskrit. Guru Nanak took the lead to found a new order, a new nation free from superstitions of Hindus. His teachings were liked by Hindus as well as Muslims. It was the last Guru Govind who gave Sikhs a religious, social and political constitution. Brahmins tried to impose upon him the authority of goddess Kali, but it failed and his followers were saved from priestcraft and idolatry. He preached against caste, elevated women to equal status, stopped idolatry, among other precepts. His faith was disliked by Brahmins but liked by masses, and

"In a short time, 80,000 men became his followers and the number went on increasing. A large number of Brahmans and other twice-born Hindus deserted the Sikh-fold when he insisted on the observance of these disciplines. Guru Govind welcomed the departure of the incorrigibles who clung to their old customs and castes, and in their place, admitted thousand of the humble peasants and hill tribes who were thus enabled to realise their manhood, and become the respectable citizens of the Khalsa State. "Govind Singh thus appealed to the eternal instincts of equality, liberty and brotherhood, broke for ever the caste prejudices and received into the Khalsa people of all classes who had hitherto been debarred from bearing arms and participating in religion. The Singhs on the Khalsa felt themselves at once elevated and equal to the proud and martial Rajputs. Personal pride and strength were infused into them, and Sikhism knitted them together into one common brotherhood, animated by a common faith, one social life and national longing. The effect of the new teachings, it is said, was immediate and profound. The Sikhs began to manifest great chivalry and courage and live in sweet social love and harmony among themselves. Wherever there was oppression or cruelty, the Sikhs were there, and with ready heart and brave arms, helped the persecuted. Among themselves, they lived like brothers, they used to feed one another, shampoo one another when tired, bathe one another, wash one another's clothes, and one Sikh always met another with a smile on his face and love in his heart." (G. A. Natesan & Co., Guru Govind, p.22), [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 161]

For those who imagined that Sikhs were meant for protection of Brahmins, the above account would make aware of the real position and in this light, if we perceive the recent descison of Authorities of Sikh "Panth", that Sikhs are not Hindus, we can highly appreciate their thinking. If the idea that Sikhs are Hindus, is to disappear from the minds of everybody once for all, we feel that the Sikh authorities must stop the use of the phrase "Sikh Panth" and instead use "Sikh Dharma" for their way of life. This word "Panth" has caused a lot of confusion among the masses.

Hindus became Hindus by Conversion

The word Hindu has no relevance for Indians before the Muslim conquest. It is they who gave Indians this name, rather in a derogatary sense. To those who find fault with Christian missionaries for encouraging mass conversion, Swamiji reminds:

"... Hindus became Hindus by a sort of mass conversion or mass classification by the Muhammadans, and the various castes acquired their status by a similar process of mass classification behind their backs by the Brahman first and lastly by the British Government. Sectarian legislative enactments and judicial decisions based on so-called immemorial customs, fixing the rights of succession, inheritance, family management, marriage, etc., of different groups gave the finishing touches to the caste structure." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 174]

How Brahminism was helped by the British

Swamiji enumerated ten ways, in which Britishers helped establish the Brahmin Raj.

Firstly, they raised the Brahmans to the highest posts of power, profit and confidence.

Secondly, they chivalrously championed the cause of the decaying temples, idolatrous festivals, and charming dancing girls with the hearty patronage and protection of the company's government, to the mutual advantage and recreation of the company and the priests.

Thirdly, they established the caste Kutcheries, the most dreaded tribunal of the Hindus,

Fourthly, they unearthed from their oblivion Manu Shastra and other spurious texts, which the vast majority of the Hindus had never heard of, and elevated them to the status of authoritative works of Hindu law.

Fifthly, they handed over the temples to the controls of trustees, and thus facilitated the aggrandisement of Brahmanisn and deprivation of the rights of the lower orders.

Sixthly, through judicial decision and administrative classification and even by legal enactments, the so-called Hindu law has been applied to all Indians who are not Christians or Muhammadans.

Seventhly, they gave caste distinctions royal recognition, state protection, enhanced dignity, positive value and significance, and even political importance.

Eightly they blasted the hopes of reformers and teachers by making it impossible for them to alter the status quo by any practicable means.

Ninthly, in the name of non-interference, they have actively strengthened and perpetuated the evils of society which it was their duty to fight.

Lastly Christian antiquarians have added insult to injury by flattering the non-British castes and unchristians idolatry as meritorious cultural achievements to be preserved for the delectation of humanity.

Swamiji concludes by saying:

"There is only one more thing which Britain has to do to discharge her trust to the dumb millions of her subjects and to fill the cup of unhappy India's suicidal bliss, and that is to hand over the seal and emblem of Indian Empire to the temple priests and give a farewell kiss or kick to the blissful fool Independent India." [Dharmatirtha, p.177]

It seems, the Brahmins have since achieved their goal, under the guise of "Swaraj", and succeeded in establishing Brahmin dominance under the name of "Hindutva".

What is meant by a Hindu

Swamiji explains that the world "Hindu" must not be confused to have an unity of creed or faith. "Unfortunately, or as some believe fortunately", it is not so, and Hinduism is not a religion in the sense in which Buddhism Muhammadanism and Christianity are. The aggregate of the traditions, beliefs and customs and institutions of multitude of tribes and castes of India, is called Hinduism, though they may be mutually irreconcilable themselves. The questions, who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism have been considered again and again by eminent scholars, and so far no satisfactory answer has been given. Therefore, all those who are not Muhammadans or Christians are treated as Hindus. All types of worship is allowed, as long as Brahin supremacy is maintained, such as Theism, Atheism, Polytheism, Adwaitism, Dwaitism, Saivism, Vaishnavism and so forth. It contains nature worship, ancestor worship, animal worship, idol worship, demon worship, symbol worship, self worship, and the highest god worship, with confounding and conflicting philosophies. It allows all barbarous practices and dark superstitions and mystic rites and sublime philosophies, and covers all population with half barbarian wild tribes, and depressed classes and untouchables, along with cultured gentle natures and highly evolved souls. Hindus are amorphous mass of people, as a prominent scholar of Hinduism observed:

"Though the Hindus are thus separated from other religious communities, it should not be imagined that they are united by a bond of a common system of doctrines. There is in fact no system of doctrines, no teacher, or school of teaching, no single god that is accepted by all the Hindus. Again no amount of deviation from the established doctrines, or disregard of any book or even of some custom, would cause a person to fall from Hinduism, that is become liable to exclusion from the Hindu community." [s.V.Kelkar, Essay on Hinduism, p.34, quoted by Swami Dharmatirtha, p.194 ff.]

Even those Christians and Mohamedans, they have plans to incorporate in Hinduism and terms like "Mohemadi Hindus" are already coined for them, and full preparations are going on for its implementation.

Also plans are afoot to create new 'Swastika' temples for such "purified" Christians.

Vagueness of Hindus is a virtue for them

This vagueness and the absence of all restraints of form and scope, is a boon for some leaders to declare a deceptive slogan of "Unity in diversity", in this "unique vacuity and brilliant disorganisation". Swamiji comments:

"...The honest truth, however, seems to be that the various attempts made by successive teachers and kings in the past to restore order and some sort of uniformity have not succeeded to any considerable extent..."

The obvious reason of this failure, is the desire of Brahmin elites to govern the OBCs. Hinduism is a wild forest with good and bad things thriving together, and needs to be converted into an orderly well planned garden to suit human needs and practical issues, with a good deal of clearing and planning and pruning. Swamiji concludes:

"...If the Hindus want to function as an organised nation along with the other nations of the world, as an independent nation in the midst of other independent nations, they will not be able to do it in their present disorganisation and chaos." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 196]

Arrogance of Brahmins, who rule Hindus

Swamiji belives that the arrogance of Brahmins did not change since the times of Abbe Dobois, who wrote:

"There is a well known Hindu proverb which says, a temple mouse fears not the gods! This exactly applies to the Brahmans who enter their temples without showing the slightest sign of serious thought or respect for the divinities who are enshrined therein. Indeed they often choose these particular places to quarrel and fight in. Even while performing their numerous religious fooleries, their behaviour shows no indication of fervour or real devotion." [Abbe Dubois, p.299, Swami Dharmatirtha, p. 217]

Swamiji feels that these remarks are letter by letter true of the temples of the present day also, perhaps with the additional force that the irreverence is manifest among the worshippers also. It may however be added that the "secular" Brahmins are no different than these "sacred" ones.

Attitude towards women

The learned Frenchman also wrote: "To have any connection with a courtesan or with an unmarried person is not considered a form of wickedness in the eyes of the Brahmans. These men, who look upon the violation of any trivial custom as a heinous sin, see no harm in the most outrageous and licentious excesses. It was practically for their use that the dancers and prostitutes who are attached to the service of the temples were originally entertained, and they may often be heard to intone the following scandalous line: Vesya darsanmnam punyam, papa nasanam! which means, "Looking upon a prostitute is a virtue which takes away sin." (p.213)

Swamiji observes that though the "Dancing girls have been dismissed from some of the temples in recent years, otherwise the priestly mentality is not much different to-day from what it was when the above lines were written." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 217]

Suggestions for nation building

Discussing the constructive thoughts and efforts and guiding as to what must be done, Swamiji considers Nationality as the capacity of a people to function and develop as an organic unit. It is a dynamic impulse to realise a common individuality than of a static unity already attained. It is not a feature but a feeling. It is not merely a heritage of the past but a power of the present. Its importance is not in what has been achieved but in its hopes of future achievements. Swamiji compares those who seek consolation in the records of bygone ages to an insolvent pauper delighting himself in browsing old account books. It lies not in glorifying moutains, lands, rivers and the like but in "Man" and his attitude towards "fellow men", as Swamiji observes:

"... The true national spirit is to be seen in a persistent desire to effect closer union and association among the individuals and groups constituting society, in a growing sense of community of interests, social, religious, economic, political and other, in an instinctive opposition to forces within and without the nation which tend to endanger its solidarity, and in the ability to evolve new ideals and institutions to embody the spirit of the collective life. ..." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 258]

Instead of an obstinate clinging to mere existence and past glories, Nationalism implies capacity to grow and to expand, to assimilate the helpful, and oppose the harmful influences. It is not a passive sentiment of love for a great past, but an active yearning for a greater future, through a collective will. Political nationality is an idea of recent growth, and is result of a new consciousness of territorial and political unity due to the impact of European thought, literature, political ideals and institutions, and for the first time in her history of all India, to a central rule under the British. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 258]

Tests of Hindu Nationalism

India has been suffering under the two imperialisms, "Brahmanical and British placed one above the other", and true nationalism should be tested by the criteria, which are:

"... the three tests of Hindu Nationalism:- (1) Opposition to caste, (2) opposition to priestcraft and idolatry, and (3) Inter-religious tolerance and fraternisation." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 262]

More nationalism persisted in the past

Nationalist spirit is said to have started since British arrived. But in reality, there was more fellow feeling in teachings of saints, inspired by Buddhism, and as Swamiji exclaims that during the days of Akbar, Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, Tukaram, Eknath and Shivaji, there seemed to be greater fellow feeling and brotherhood between Hindus and Mohemedans than after the arrival of the British and manifestation of national spirit. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 288]

Modus operandi of Brahmins to enslave Hindus

That the kalivarjya was the method of brahmins to tackle the Buddhist influence over the masses and impose their supremacy. They changed their laws without actually condemning them. All laws and rules, were amended including Civil, Criminal, Revenue and Personal laws. It is not properly realized by the masses, that King was not the Law maker; he had no legislative power, contrary to the popular belief. He was only the executive head and had a responsibility to implement the laws made by the brahmins. At the most he could only legislate on revenue matter, that too, as per the rules already laid down. He had some judicial powers, but that too, he could not pass judgement against the law given by the brahmins.

Who suffered in Kalivarjya

In Kalivarjya, main law was against sea voyage. That is how the sea worthy races of Pallava and Chola countries suffered. All the trade that was being conducted through the sea stopped. Who suffered? Not the brahmins, surely. It will be clear, if we take a look at the products of export. Most of the the products of export were based on the agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandary and forest economy. Even the textile industry which had reached a high acclaim in foreign lands, was based cotton, silk and wool. All these occupations were in the hands of working classes, who were all doomed to be shudras. All these industries suffered. All these castes in the village econoomy suffered. All these groups, which were prosperous during the Buddhist rule, were degraded into castes, due to rigid caste rules imposed.

The mobility of the professions was stopped. Telis, who extracted oil from oil seeds, Malis, who grew the vegitables, the Dhangars, who reared the goats and lamb, Sutars, who made and repaied the farmers impliments, Kumhars, those who suppled earthen pots to villagers and Mahars and Mangs who protected the villages from strangers. All these proffessions became heriditary and social intercourse among them stopped.

Aim is to awaken the masses

These are the masses of which Indian society is made of, and it is the need of the day to educate them. The process of emancipation of masses was started by Mahatma Phule, strengthened by Shahu, and put in Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar. Now it is the duty of masses to protect the Constitution, if they want to protect themselves from oncoming Brahmanic tyranny. This is an humble effort to aid the education of masses, as Dr. Amdekar has warned that only when a slave is made to realize his slavery, he can revolt against it. In one of his neglected messages to the "Maratha Mandir", 53 years ago, he had observed that, the middle class is not as liberal as upper one, and has no ideology as lower one, which makes it enemy of both the classes. The middle class Marathas of Maharashtra also have this fault. They have only two ways out, either to join hands with upper classes and prevent the lower classes from progress, and the other is to join hands with lower classes and both together destroy the upper class power comming against the prrgress of both. There was a time, they used to be with lower classes, now they seem to be with upper ones. It is for them to decide which way to go. The future of not only Indian masses but also their own future depends upon what decision the Maratha leaders take. What he said about Marathas, equally applies to all OBCs, and still holds true after half a century. Dr. Ambedkar wrote much to educate the OBCs. May be, it is now bearing fruits after fifty years. Those days Swami Dharmatirtha had also observed:

"Object in this volume is to trace the causes and course of India's enslavement, and awaken the conscience of all parties. There is no desire to wound anybody's feelings. There is no rancour in our heart. We believe that the socio- religious order which has brought the whole Hindu race to their knees is more satanic than the worst foreign imperialism and must be crushed before India can be free. We have renounced everything in order to be able to serve the lowliest of the Hindus. Our life is dedicated to the cause of Hindu emancipation. We searched for the causes of thraldom. The results of our investigation and thinking are expressed in this volume without any effort to conceal unpleasant facts. The spirit of lamentation is also entirely absent. The Hindu masses are getting infected with a grim determination to re-establish the free-born rights on the rock of true liberty rather than on self-deception, feigned unity and disguised exploita

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Depicting Buddha as Hindu

For a last few years, Sangha activists are trying to depict to the international community, that they respect the Buddha. While doing that they use terminology depicting him as a Hindu. About Ambedkar also, similar thing is seen, books are written to show the work of Hegdewar and Ambedkar was same. We find Shankaracharyas garlanding the photo of Dr. Ambedkar. We find Brahmanic dignitaries like Sankaracharya paying a visit to Nagpur Diksha-bhoomi to pay tributes. And the recent incident is well known that RSS supremo Sudarshan garlanded the statue of Ambedkar - the maker of the Indian Constitution - on Deekshabhoomi at Nagpur, and the Ambedkarites have washed and "purified" the statue "poluted" by touch of someone who condemns the Constitution.

Declaring Buddha as an avatara of god was the beginning

They declared the Buddha as an avatara of Vishnu, some times around eighth century, as a verse to this effect from Matsya Purana is engraved in a monument at Mahabalipuram. The process seems to be completed by the time of Jaydeo writing "Gita Govind" in 12th century, including Buddha's name in it as an "Avatara". We are also aware that an average Brahmin takes a great pride that Buddhism was driven away from this land by Adi- Sankara.

How a non-existent religion can die?

Declaring the Buddha as ninth avatara of Vishnu, L. M. Joshi observes, was a "remarkable cultural feat", achieved by the Brahmanic Puranas, which later caused confusion in the minds of people with the result that Buddhism came to be treated as a "heretical" and "aesthetic" branch of Brahmanism. The present scholars like P. V. Kane, Radhakrishnan and even Swami Vivekanand, have pushed this confusion further back to the time of origin of Buddhism, by saying that Upanishadas are the origin of Buddhist thought. To this list must be added the name of B. G. Tilak, who devoted a full chapter in "Gita Rahashya" to prove that Buddhism was an off-shoot of Hinduism, (and one more chapter for proving that Christianity arose from Buddhism and hence eventually from Hinduism). Commenting Swami Vivekanada's statement that the Swami and other Hindus did not understand Buddha's teachings to be an honest confession, Joshi observes:

"... Not only the ancient and medieval brahmin teachers did not understand Buddhism; modern scholars born into the Brahmanical tradition have not shown any better understanding. Shankara, Kumarila, Udayana, and Sayana- Madhava did not understand Buddhism. This is true also of Tagore, Gandhi, Coomaraswamy and Radhakrishnan. ..." [L.M.Joshi:1973:12]

Showing a great surprise of Brahmanic scholars claiming both that Buddhism was just a refined "Hinduism", and also claiming with pride that Buddhism was driven away by the Brahmanas and it has died down, he sarcastically observes:

"... The causes of the decline of Buddhism in India are attributed either to Tantrika practices or to Muslim invasion, or to both. Nobody even imagines that if Buddhism were only a "reformed" or "refined" version of "Hinduism" how it could be said to have declined and died away while "Hinduism" is still flourishing and is the faith of majority of Indians. Buddhism can be said to have declined only when there was evidence for its existence at a certain period in Indian history apart from the existence of "Hinduism". If Buddhism did not exist apart from Brahmanism or "Hinduism" it did not die at all. A non-existent tradition or way of life does not die. The theory of decline of Buddhism, from the standpoint of "traditional" history is a false theory. On the other hand, if the decline of Buddhism in India was a historical fact, the theory of its origin as a "reformed" Brahmanism is a false one and must be discarded." [ibid. p.14]

If Buddhism was a sect of "Hinduism", then one may well ask the proud supporters of Shankaracharya, what was that religion which was "driven out by Adi Sankara", as they claim? Was it also Hinduism?

Buddhism is not a sect of Hinduism

As Swami Dharmatirtha observed, in an answer to those writers, who have treated Buddhism as a sect of Hinduism, that we do not know of any Hinduism having existed before the Buddha and if Hinduism did not exist, Buddhism could not have been a sect of it. There was the Brahman religion of sacrifices, confined to a small Aryan community, and the common people had their ancient religion of some sort of hero worship and ancestor worship and images. Both these were domestic, neither the public yajnyas of Brahmins nor the temples of tribal Indians were in existance. Swamiji feels:

"... Buddhism was a revolt against both the prevailing systems. In fact it was the first organized religion in the modern sense of the term "religion". It succeeded in driving out the Brahman religion of sacrifices, but gradually succumbed to the influences of the popular religion. Its final absorption in the primitive religion was due to the fact that the Brahmans favoured the religion of gods and goddesses and rituals, and not the religion of righteousness. [swami Dharmatirtha:1946:109]

Buddhism was the national Religion of India

Well, inspite of what these elitits say, decline of Buddhism is a historical fact, and was the cause of all ills, India had to face in the past. That the ills of common people of India today are due to the decline and fall of Buddhism in historical times, is not well understood by the masses, and how it affected the life of common people and what kind of miseries the subsequent generations had to suffer, is a subject which not many scholars have given much thought to.

The fact that at one time Buddhism was the national religion of India and was followed by the majority of population, is almost forgotten. There is a feeling in the minds of many, that India is and was a Hindu country having always had a majority of Hindus. This again is a misconception. In historical times the population of India never had majority of Hindus. Swami Vivekananda, estimated Buddhists to be two thirds of population [L.M.Joshi:1977:358] and Dr. Ambedkar says Buddhist were in majority. [W&S,vol.7,p.345] Then there were Jains and Veerashaivas and Tribal religions in addition to Muslims, Sikhs and Christians coming in the later times.

That Buddhism was not only the faith practiced by majority of people but had eclipsed Brahmanism to a great extent and the Brahmins had lost all the respect of masses as well as princely rulers. They were smarting under this defeat. [W&S,vol.7,p.346] They did everything in their power to finish off Buddhism and after Muslim invasion, succeeded in it. Thus Buddhism disappeared to a great extent from the land of its origin. Buddhism was the national religion of India, not only because the Buddha was an Indian, descended from an Indian king of the Sakya clan, but as observed by Swami Dharma Teertha:

"... because Buddhism was the source and inspiration of the national awakening witnessed in the Indian empires and kingdoms which controlled the destinies of the country for over a thousand years; because Buddhism, for the first time, united India in a common cultural synthesis and organization; because unlike Brahmanism, which was the religion of the privileged classes, Buddhism was the first religion of the common people, not forced on them, but accepted by their free will and pleasure; because Buddhism brought out in the fullest measure the immense potentialities of the nation in all its manifold aspects - science and art, literature and religion, commerce and industry, internal progress and international reputation; and lastly, because no other religion has till this day been able to make India a great nation as Buddhism did. [p.76]

Brahmins usurped Buddhism

Brahmans became the leaders of Buddhism because of their learning, and first disfigured it thoroughly with ritualism and images, and then destroyed its separate organization of monasteries and monks with the help of the foreign masters who came into power. But the Buddhism of Harsha and Nagarjuna did not disappear, it formed the nucleus of the later Hinduism, superadded with horrors of caste. To become the sole leaders of the country and to enforce their system of castes, has always been the prime motive of Brahmanism, and if Buddhist order of monks and monasteries had survived, the Brahmins could not have achieved this goal. So they completely destroyed the external institution of Buddhism, the monks and monasteries. Brahmins became the undisputed leaders, and a new popular religion, Hinduism, emerged with important aspect of caste, as Dharmatitha observed:

"... Caste is an entirely independent social order which was neither in the ancient Aryan religion nor in primitive Indian religion nor in Buddhism. It is the unique contribution of the Brahman priests, and none else ever wanted it, until the country lost its national religion and political freedom, and the Brahmans succeeded in imposing the system upon the people almost at the point of the bayonet with of alien masters. [p.110]

Brahmanism does not mean Brahmins alone

Lest there should be any misunderstanding about the term Brahmanism and other derivatives of it, it must be clearly understood, what is meant by this term. Swami Dharma Teertha made it clear:

"British Imperialism does not mean the British people; it symbolizes a vast system and has numerous votaries among Indians also. Brahmanism, similarly, does not signify the Brahmans exclusively, but an ancient order of things of which the Brahmans are the leaders and champions. It stands for the aggregate of ideals, institutions and past history of the socio-religious constitution of the Hindu society. At the same time, we should not lose sight of the fact that the cause we have to serve is the welfare of the entire nation and not the sentiment of separate classes or castes. If, therefore, some of us Brahmans, or Kshatriyas or others have to accept a larger share of the blame for the disaster which has befallen us all, we should not hesitate to welcome the opportunity. That circumstance should be an incentive to put forth still greater efforts to right the wrong we have done. It is the system which is throttling us all equally, it is that pernicious system that is the subject of our criticisms. [p.11]

A prominent thinker of Maharashtra, Raosaheb Kasbe, has elaborated the subject by saying that, Brahmins are fortunte that, "Brahmin" is a name of Caste as well as of a "Varna", thereby implying Class, this status being bestowed upon them by Smritis. As a class and as a power structure, Brahmins have developed vested interests. Dalit writers divide the history as Brahmin Vs. non-Brahmin, instead of Vedic Vs. non-Vedic, and when the words having Brahmin as one of their components are used by them to criticise these vested interests, the meaning implied is against the power structure and not agaist the caste. If this is a blameworthy mistake, the mistake is committed by the authors of Smritis, specially "Yama smriti", and they and the later authors desrve the blame. [Kasbe Raosaheb:1994:242]

Causes of fall of Buddhism

Before coming to the effects of fall of Buddhism, which is the main subject matter of this tract, we will briefly the discuss the various causes that led to this tragedy which befell on this country. As exclaimed by L. M. Joshi, this "tragedy" is mostly "overlooked or confused", [L.M.Joshi:1977:xvii] and ignored or distorted by the elite of this land for selfish caste motives.

M. M. Kane's views

Maha Mahopadhyaya Dr. P. V. Kane summarizes the various reasons for the decline and ultimate fall of Buddhism from the land of its origin. Like all other Brahmanic scholars, he denies the Brahmanic crusade against Buddhism as the main cause. He mentions various reasons important being the following: [Kane:1980:400]

1. The debates in four Buddhist councils one after the other till Kaniska and the resultant differences of opinion within the Buddhist scholars.

2. End of royal patronage after the reign of Harshavardhana.

3. Important scholars of Buddhism left the country.

4. The high moral set up by the Buddha were found to be too cumbersome for the followers. The monasteries of bhikkus and bhikkunis became the places of laziness and immoral behaviour and lowly tantric practices. Sexual intercourse became the part of their 'yoga saadhanaa'.

5. To oppose Buddhism and to popularize Hinduism, Brahmins had to make revolutionary changes in the nature and practices of their religion, in the early and later centuries of Christian Era and make changes in their religion having long lasting effects.

6. Gods and goddesses in Vedic pantheon were discarded and yadnyas were almost abandoned. Puranic mantras were being used even in the shraadhha. The tenets of ahimsa, daana, tirth yaatraa, and vratas got more importance than the yajnyas. By these changes, importance of Buddhism was reduced to a great extent.

7. People started liking the stories in Puranas in preference to those in Buddhist Jatakas.

8. From about 7th century, Buddha was included in the list of Avataras and by about tenth century, the fact was acknowledged all over India.

9. Around 1200 A.D., the destruction of Buddhist Universities and killings of Bhikkus, the lay Buddhist got confused. Some of them became Muslims and some became "Hindus".

10. It is mentioned in "Chulla vagga", that some times, in big monasteries, the bhikkunis used to quarrel and fight amongst themselves.

11. Apart from these causes, the main reason was in reality different according to Dr. Kane. And it was that the people at large did not find it possible to follow the Buddha's advice of accepting asceticism, which according to Hindu sastras was denounced.

12. When Buddhists started worshiping Buddha as God, and accepted bhakti denouncing old eight fold Buddhist path, the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism gradually vanished.

13. Brahmins incorporated among their religion such as sanyas, worshiping of many gods, 'karma marg' as a means of higher spiritual stage. Thus Brahmins gave their religion very broad character.

14. Puranas and dharma sastras gave so much importance to 'ahimsa' that not only Brahmins, but also vaishyas and shudras accepted vegetarianism. On the contrary, in no other country the Buddhists are purely vegetarians.

Views of other scholars

Before Harshvardhana of seventh century, Buddhism had suffered a lot at the hands of Brahmanism. However, Jagdish Kumar, rather unjustifiably, likes to exclude the persecution of Buddhists by Pushyamitra Shunga (184 B.C.), saying that there is uncertainty about it, mentioning an essay by Nalinaksha Dutta in "Mahabodhi" of June 1955. But he also agrees about religious persecution by Nara, a Kashmir ruler of first century B.C. and by Huna ruler, Mihirkula (510-530 A.D.) [Jagadish Kumar:1981:13]

After Harsha, the situation became very harassing for the Sangha, which was used to lead a life under royal patronage, as per "2500 years of Buddhism". (p.65) This was rather a life of comfort, if not of luxury, avers Jagdish Kumar. [p.14].

We get the glimpses of this decline from Chinese travellers. "The latter (I-Ching) frankly deplores the decay of the faith, which he had witnessed in his own life (i.e. about 650-770 A.D.) but his travels in India were relatively of small extent and he gives less local information than previous piligrims. Hsuan Chuang describing India in 629-645 A.D. is unwilling to admit the decay, but his truthful narrative lets it be seen." [Hinduism and Buddhism, vol II, pp.107-8, quoted by Jagdish Kumar, p.14]

Caliber of Vajrayani Buddhists

As Dr. Rupa Kulkarni Bodhi, a Sanskrit scholar from Nagpur University, who has adopted Buddhism, very aptly observed that the Buddhist Sanskrit literature is the most neglected. Brahmins hate it as it is anti-Brahmanic, scholars of Pali Prakrit or Buddhist studies keep away from it, and Ambedkarites feel it is meant for a dust bin, as it is Mahayanist. [bodhi:1999:7] Anyway, Tibetans do not consider Vajrayan and Mahayan different from each other. Under these circumstances, Siddha Literature has been neglected by all, and because of its esoteric teachings, it condemned by everyone. This is not proper. It definitely deserves more attention, as it was the literature of "masses" rather than "classes" and secondly it was the last Buddhist literature in India, before its disappearance and has historical importance.

It is claimed by the Brahmanical scholarship of the present day, that the quality and caliber of Buddhist leadership declined after seventh or eighth century. This could be true partially as far as the reading of Vedas is concerned. If you consider that the leadership of Buddhist Sangha was in the hands of people of higher castes and the Bhikkus had a background of knowledge of Vedic studies along with the reading of Tripitakas. This was the situation even in the times of Itsing. But as far as principles of Buddhism are concerned, these leaders made no compromises. One appreciable difference in leadership of Buddhism that can be seen palpably is that when the leadership passed on to the Vajrayani Siddhas of esoteric Buddhism, these leaders almost all belonged to lower castes, in contrast to Mahayanis, who mostly came from Brahmin caste.

Though Buddha never believed in supremacy of any caste, and also the caste distinctions were not acute in earlier times, the Brahmins by this time had enclosed themselves into an endogamous group and became a caste from a varna. By the time of Gupta rule, the untouchability was added to this caste consciousness. It had started as an outcome of contempt and hatred towards Buddhists, as is well shown by Dr. Ambedkar. Most of the later leaders of Buddhism hailed from these non-Brahmanic castes as can be seen from the list of Siddhas. This is perhaps the cause of blame by higher caste scholars.

The Vajrayani Siddhas might have had dislike for Vedic so called knowledge but they fererntly follwed the tenets of Original Buddhism, even in those so called degraded conditions. Dharmakirti, a Buddhist scholar of seventh century, in a famous verse in "Praman Vartik", enumerates five differences in the tenets of Buddhist and Brahmanic creed. These were, as elaborated earlier:

1. belief in chatuvarna with supremacy of brahmins and graded ineqality,

2. belief in scritpures strengtheing this inequality,

3. belief in God and atma and all that goes with it together with the sanctions by this God to these books propagating inequality.

4. belief in acumulatimg of 'punya' i.e. virtue by visiting the places of worship situated mostly near the banks of river and belief in bath in these rivers like Ganga can wipe out all accumulated sins and theeby ensuring a fixed and perineal sourse of easy and effortless income for priestly castes, and lastly,

5. belief in extreme austerities of torturing the bodies by some 'yogis' to obtain salvation.

In following these aspects, none of the Siddhas were in any way inferior to their earlier counterparts of Mahayanis, and their zeal of fighting with Brahmanic supremacy and all that goes with it, was in no way of lesser intensity than their predecessors. Therefore, to ascribe the poor caliber of Buddhist religious leaders, who were now called Siddhas, to fall of Buddhism is not correct.

So the real reason or the decline was the hostilty of the brahmins and the final blow was by the conquest by the Muslims, leading to fall of Buddhism. Therefore, Dr. Ambedkar made a distinction between the causes of decline and cause of fall.

Buddhist Siddhas were the forerunners of Bhakti cult

L. M. Joshi avers that the present Bhakti movement, of which the present day Brahmanic scholars are so proud of, and they feel this is the legacy of Aryan/Brahmanic/Vedic tradition and not of Buddhistic origin, and go on congratulating each other for its survival during the Muslim onslaught, was in fact, the gift of the Siddhas, labled by Brahmins as 'corrupt'. While referring to the activities of the saint poets of Karnataka and Maharashtra like Basaveswara and Namdeva, and of North India like Raidas, Kabir and Nanak etc. and of Sufi Muslim saints, he says:

"The Buddhist message of social equality and communal harmony had left a deep impression on the mind of Indian people which continued after the transformation of the classical Buddhist movement. ... The task of fighting the evils of casteism and untouchability was continued by the Buddhist Siddhas, the adepts of Tantrika culture, during the early medieval centuries. A large number of these Siddhas came from lower caste families, but their greatness was assured by their success (siddhi) in esoteric culture (sadhana). This mission of social reform was then resumed by the saint poets of the bhakti movement throughout the Middle Ages. Though these saint poets (sants) were, generally speaking within the fold of the Brahmanical "Hindu" religious tradition, yet they revolted freely against many fundamental dogmas and authentic customs of traditional Brahmanism. Their social and moral teachings were more in keeping with Buddhism than with Brahmanism. All of them disregarded the rules of the varna-ashram-dharma scheme and attacked social distinctions based on birth and profession. Many of them were born in shudra families. They became exalted through their pure character, sincere devotion and magnanimity, ..." [L.M.Joshi:1973:53]

Views of Rahul Sankrutyan

However, Rahul Sankrutayan blames Vajrayanis for decline of Buddhism, saying that decline of Buddhism started with the rise of Vajrayana and was completed after Turkish invasion. [Rahul:1973:71] He opines that the use of women and wine by the Vajrayani bhikshus also could have been a contributory factor in fall of Buddhism. [ibid., p.79]

He says, it is a wrong propaganda that Shankaracharya, in eighth century, drove away Buddhism from India. On the contrary, Buddhism was flourishing during this time. This was the time of glory of Nalanda University and of foundation of Vikramshila University. This was the time when the most powerful Buddhist Dynasty of Palas was established. This was the time that the great Buddhist philosophers like Shantirakshita and Dharmottara emerged from the University of Nalanda. [Rahul:1973:77]

Even four centuries after Shankaracharya, till the end of twelfth century Buddhism was not vanished from North India. The Gaharwad dynasty not only supported Brahmanism, they also supported Buddhism. Gahadwar queen Kumar Devi built the "Dharma chakra maha vihara" at Sarnath. Govindachandra gave gifts of several villages to the Jetvan Mahavihara. [Rahul:1973:77]

Jaganmitrananda (Mitrayogi), the preceptor (dikshaguru) of last Gahardwad king Jaychanda, was a Buddhist saint. His letter to his disciple king Jaychanda is still available in Tibetan language as "Chandraraja- Lekh" in Tibet. [Rahul:1973:77] This king is being defamed in Brahmanic literature as a traitor to have invited Md. Ghori. The Buddhist scholar Bhikshu Dharmarakshit feels that the real reason for his being termed as such was because of his Buddhist leanings. ["sarnath-varanasi", p.63 ff.]

Pala kings in East remained Buddhist till end of their dynasty. [Rahul:1973:77] In south, the Shilahar Dynasty of Konkan, was purely Buddhist. [Rahul:1973:78] Even in Kerala, the mother land of Shankaracharya, Buddhist influence persisted. They did not restrict the Buddhist learning, but on the contrary, it were they who preserved the "Manjushri mula kalpa" and handed over to us. [ibid.,p.78]

That the Tamil word "Cherai" means "Naaga" in Sanskrit [Nair:1959:8] is to be remembered, and that Naagas were the followers of Buddhism is well known.

The bhikshus could be easily spotted because of their Yellow robes, which had became a kind of death warrant for them. It was due to massacre of bhikhus, the leaders of Buddhist laity, and the destruction of their Viharas, by the Muslims, the fall of Buddhism occurred. The Chief of Indian Buddha Sangha, a Kashmiri pundit, Shakyasribhadra, had to migrate to Bengal after the devastation and sack of Vikramshila University. Later when Muslims reached Bengal, he left for Tibet with his disciples. He was respectfully invited by King Kirtidwaja. There, he stayed for many years and ultimately came to his mother land, Kashmir, and died there in 1226 A.D. Similarly many Bhikshus had to run away from India. [Rahul:1973:79]

Brahmin books must not be relied upon

Prof. Rhys Davids has aptly warned the scholars, either in Europe or in India, of the falacy of believing in Brahmanic books to understand the affairs in India. He is referring to the social condition of India in the sixth and seventh centuries B.C., but it applies also, rather more so, to later times. He observes:

"...They have relied for their information about the Indian peoples too exclusively on the brahmin books. And these, partly because of the natural antipathy felt by the priests towards the free republics, partly because of the later date of the most of the extant priestly literature, and especially of the law books, ignore the real facts. They convey the impression that the only recognized, and in fact universally prevalent, form of government was that of kings under the guidance and tutelage of priests. But the Buddhist records, amply confirmed in these respects by the somewhat later Jain once, leave no doubt upon the point. [Rhys Davids:1993:2]

Phuley, Shahu, Ambedkar Versus Tilak, Gandhi, Golwalkar

It is well known fact that there existed in ancient India a conflict between two ideologies one that supported chatrvarnya system and the other who opposed it. In various times this strugle assumed different forms and different names with different personalities. History of India is nothing but the history of this strugle. In modern times this strugle is going on with no less zeal and fervour. The leaders of one group are Phuley Shahu and Ambedkar and their opponents are Tilak Gandhi and Golwalkar.

Brahmanic tendency to find faults with Buddhism

That the mentality of Indian elite has always been to find faults with the Budha, His techings, the Buddhist people, and everything they stand for. This is not on any solid ground but just to show them down, just out of spitefulness. Because the Buddhist school of thought always went against vested interests of Brahmins, they were always hostile to the Buddhists. In modern times, they take delight in believing that the cause of all ills in modern India is the Buddhist period of about fifteen centuries, when whole of India was under Buddhist influence. They blame Buddhists for their defeat at war with all the foreigners all throughout the span of history, they blame Buddhists for state of affairs of women, now I came accros a prominent doctor of Nagpur blaming Budhist ahimsa for decline of Surgical skill and knowledge in India, a subject discussed by us elsewhere.

Two Orphans in the world of Nations

Swamiji compares condition of Indians with Jews. Only that presently, the Jews have progressed, but we did not. This is what Swamiji said some sixty years ago:

"The Jews of Palestine gave birth to a Jesus Christ; but they crucified him and rejected his religion; and their country passed into the hands of the Muslims where Britain now holds the balance between the Jews and the Muslims. India produced a Buddha, but when she rejected his religion of righteousness, she passed into the hands of the Muslims and Britain now holds the balance between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Jews became the kingless people of the world and the Hindus the only civilized nation that is not master of its own country. The two great religions, Buddhism and Christianity, rejected in the land of their birth, spread far and wide, and now sustain the religious life of the greatest nations of the East and the West, whereas the Hindus and the Jews rank as the orphans of humanity." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 110]

Vedantists

As Dharmatirtha observes, Hindus always preach about the unique greatness of Hindu philosophy and religion and culture, proclaiming that Vedanta alone can save the world and humanity. However, we know as a grim truth of past history and present reality that it has not saved India, it has not saved Hindus. It has not during any known period of history prevented the Hindus from committing the sins, horrors, and oppressions, or to have social existence any higher standard of happiness and freedom than other nations. Even in modern times, the Hindus have not cultivated any superior virtues and ideals, and have ignominiously failed to prove themselves true to own professed culture or to the aspiration of modern civilization. No other peoples deny justice and humanity to their own kith and kin, their own coreligionist and compatriots, without rhyme or reason as the Hindu do even today. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 302]

Failure of Socialist Reformers

How Swamiji's prophesy has come true, can be seen by his words that, India has seen more saints and reformers and teachers than any other country, but they could not save her. The masses were led to the path of national suicide by their native exploiters and priests. The Socialists and leaders of to day do not educate the people to adjust their lives to the new ideas, or remove the worst anomalies of the country's life. So long as the Hindu classes, rather than the masses, are steeped in the culture of caste and the religion of deception and exploitation, their words achieve nothing. They themselves think and assure us that Socialism has nothing to do with Hindu customs and beliefs, which will remain intact even after Swaraj, or invent new ways to justify and preserve these diabolical distinctions and insults in the name on the sanctity of religion. [Dharmatirtha, p.304]

Nationalists

There is another group of people, the Nationalists, for whom "our unique culture" is important, and this is leading to increased regionalism, though they keep on hankering "Unity in Diversity", i.e. the unique culture of Bengal, the Punjab, the Maharashtra, the Andhras, the Tamils, the Kerala and so forth. For them, Dharmatirtha remaks:

"...God alone knows wherein lies the uniqueness and glory except it be in the castes and their disastrous ramifications. In the ultimate analysis, this separate culture will be found to consist of exclusiveness in marriage, in eating and drinking, in the superstitions and customs, which divide one people from another and help them to organize distinct groups for mutual exploitation at the sacrifice of national unity and freedom. ... a good number of our Socialists and Nationalists will turn out to be rank Capitalists and fanatical Communalists. They cannot be otherwise, born and brought up as they are in the atmosphere of Hindu Imperialism, inured to the slavery of caste and the untruths of priestcraft." [Dharmatirtha, p. 305]

How true his prophecy has come out, is there for everyone to see.

The work of Guru Govind Singh

Of many revolutions against Brahmanism, only Sikhism seems to have survived, at least to some extent. Guru Govind, tenth from Guru Nanak took the reigns of Sikhism, in 1675, and organised his religion on egalitarian basis, commensurate with the saints of northern India, who are now acknowledged as being influenced with the spirit of Buddhism, which has visibly disappeared. It was Kabir, who led the torch, more than others, in boldly assailing idolatry, denying the divine authority of the Quran and Vedas, and protesting against neglect of local languages and use of Sanskrit. Guru Nanak took the lead to found a new order, a new nation free from superstitions of Hindus. His teachings were liked by Hindus as well as Muslims. It was the last Guru Govind who gave Sikhs a religious, social and political constitution. Brahmins tried to impose upon him the authority of goddess Kali, but it failed and his followers were saved from priestcraft and idolatry. He preached against caste, elevated women to equal status, stopped idolatry, among other precepts. His faith was disliked by Brahmins but liked by masses, and

"In a short time, 80,000 men became his followers and the number went on increasing. A large number of Brahmans and other twice-born Hindus deserted the Sikh-fold when he insisted on the observance of these disciplines. Guru Govind welcomed the departure of the incorrigibles who clung to their old customs and castes, and in their place, admitted thousand of the humble peasants and hill tribes who were thus enabled to realise their manhood, and become the respectable citizens of the Khalsa State. "Govind Singh thus appealed to the eternal instincts of equality, liberty and brotherhood, broke for ever the caste prejudices and received into the Khalsa people of all classes who had hitherto been debarred from bearing arms and participating in religion. The Singhs on the Khalsa felt themselves at once elevated and equal to the proud and martial Rajputs. Personal pride and strength were infused into them, and Sikhism knitted them together into one common brotherhood, animated by a common faith, one social life and national longing. The effect of the new teachings, it is said, was immediate and profound. The Sikhs began to manifest great chivalry and courage and live in sweet social love and harmony among themselves. Wherever there was oppression or cruelty, the Sikhs were there, and with ready heart and brave arms, helped the persecuted. Among themselves, they lived like brothers, they used to feed one another, shampoo one another when tired, bathe one another, wash one another's clothes, and one Sikh always met another with a smile on his face and love in his heart." (G. A. Natesan & Co., Guru Govind, p.22), [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 161]

For those who imagined that Sikhs were meant for protection of Brahmins, the above account would make aware of the real position and in this light, if we perceive the recent descison of Authorities of Sikh "Panth", that Sikhs are not Hindus, we can highly appreciate their thinking. If the idea that Sikhs are Hindus, is to disappear from the minds of everybody once for all, we feel that the Sikh authorities must stop the use of the phrase "Sikh Panth" and instead use "Sikh Dharma" for their way of life. This word "Panth" has caused a lot of confusion among the masses.

Hindus became Hindus by Conversion

The word Hindu has no relevance for Indians before the Muslim conquest. It is they who gave Indians this name, rather in a derogatary sense. To those who find fault with Christian missionaries for encouraging mass conversion, Swamiji reminds:

"... Hindus became Hindus by a sort of mass conversion or mass classification by the Muhammadans, and the various castes acquired their status by a similar process of mass classification behind their backs by the Brahman first and lastly by the British Government. Sectarian legislative enactments and judicial decisions based on so-called immemorial customs, fixing the rights of succession, inheritance, family management, marriage, etc., of different groups gave the finishing touches to the caste structure." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 174]

How Brahminism was helped by the British

Swamiji enumerated ten ways, in which Britishers helped establish the Brahmin Raj.

Firstly, they raised the Brahmans to the highest posts of power, profit and confidence.

Secondly, they chivalrously championed the cause of the decaying temples, idolatrous festivals, and charming dancing girls with the hearty patronage and protection of the company's government, to the mutual advantage and recreation of the company and the priests.

Thirdly, they established the caste Kutcheries, the most dreaded tribunal of the Hindus,

Fourthly, they unearthed from their oblivion Manu Shastra and other spurious texts, which the vast majority of the Hindus had never heard of, and elevated them to the status of authoritative works of Hindu law.

Fifthly, they handed over the temples to the controls of trustees, and thus facilitated the aggrandisement of Brahmanisn and deprivation of the rights of the lower orders.

Sixthly, through judicial decision and administrative classification and even by legal enactments, the so-called Hindu law has been applied to all Indians who are not Christians or Muhammadans.

Seventhly, they gave caste distinctions royal recognition, state protection, enhanced dignity, positive value and significance, and even political importance.

Eightly they blasted the hopes of reformers and teachers by making it impossible for them to alter the status quo by any practicable means.

Ninthly, in the name of non-interference, they have actively strengthened and perpetuated the evils of society which it was their duty to fight.

Lastly Christian antiquarians have added insult to injury by flattering the non-British castes and unchristians idolatry as meritorious cultural achievements to be preserved for the delectation of humanity.

Swamiji concludes by saying:

"There is only one more thing which Britain has to do to discharge her trust to the dumb millions of her subjects and to fill the cup of unhappy India's suicidal bliss, and that is to hand over the seal and emblem of Indian Empire to the temple priests and give a farewell kiss or kick to the blissful fool Independent India." [Dharmatirtha, p.177]

It seems, the Brahmins have since achieved their goal, under the guise of "Swaraj", and succeeded in establishing Brahmin dominance under the name of "Hindutva".

What is meant by a Hindu

Swamiji explains that the world "Hindu" must not be confused to have an unity of creed or faith. "Unfortunately, or as some believe fortunately", it is not so, and Hinduism is not a religion in the sense in which Buddhism Muhammadanism and Christianity are. The aggregate of the traditions, beliefs and customs and institutions of multitude of tribes and castes of India, is called Hinduism, though they may be mutually irreconcilable themselves. The questions, who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism have been considered again and again by eminent scholars, and so far no satisfactory answer has been given. Therefore, all those who are not Muhammadans or Christians are treated as Hindus. All types of worship is allowed, as long as Brahin supremacy is maintained, such as Theism, Atheism, Polytheism, Adwaitism, Dwaitism, Saivism, Vaishnavism and so forth. It contains nature worship, ancestor worship, animal worship, idol worship, demon worship, symbol worship, self worship, and the highest god worship, with confounding and conflicting philosophies. It allows all barbarous practices and dark superstitions and mystic rites and sublime philosophies, and covers all population with half barbarian wild tribes, and depressed classes and untouchables, along with cultured gentle natures and highly evolved souls. Hindus are amorphous mass of people, as a prominent scholar of Hinduism observed:

"Though the Hindus are thus separated from other religious communities, it should not be imagined that they are united by a bond of a common system of doctrines. There is in fact no system of doctrines, no teacher, or school of teaching, no single god that is accepted by all the Hindus. Again no amount of deviation from the established doctrines, or disregard of any book or even of some custom, would cause a person to fall from Hinduism, that is become liable to exclusion from the Hindu community." [s.V.Kelkar, Essay on Hinduism, p.34, quoted by Swami Dharmatirtha, p.194 ff.]

Even those Christians and Mohamedans, they have plans to incorporate in Hinduism and terms like "Mohemadi Hindus" are already coined for them, and full preparations are going on for its implementation.

Also plans are afoot to create new 'Swastika' temples for such "purified" Christians.

Vagueness of Hindus is a virtue for them

This vagueness and the absence of all restraints of form and scope, is a boon for some leaders to declare a deceptive slogan of "Unity in diversity", in this "unique vacuity and brilliant disorganisation". Swamiji comments:

"...The honest truth, however, seems to be that the various attempts made by successive teachers and kings in the past to restore order and some sort of uniformity have not succeeded to any considerable extent..."

The obvious reason of this failure, is the desire of Brahmin elites to govern the OBCs. Hinduism is a wild forest with good and bad things thriving together, and needs to be converted into an orderly well planned garden to suit human needs and practical issues, with a good deal of clearing and planning and pruning. Swamiji concludes:

"...If the Hindus want to function as an organised nation along with the other nations of the world, as an independent nation in the midst of other independent nations, they will not be able to do it in their present disorganisation and chaos." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 196]

Arrogance of Brahmins, who rule Hindus

Swamiji belives that the arrogance of Brahmins did not change since the times of Abbe Dobois, who wrote:

"There is a well known Hindu proverb which says, a temple mouse fears not the gods! This exactly applies to the Brahmans who enter their temples without showing the slightest sign of serious thought or respect for the divinities who are enshrined therein. Indeed they often choose these particular places to quarrel and fight in. Even while performing their numerous religious fooleries, their behaviour shows no indication of fervour or real devotion." [Abbe Dubois, p.299, Swami Dharmatirtha, p. 217]

Swamiji feels that these remarks are letter by letter true of the temples of the present day also, perhaps with the additional force that the irreverence is manifest among the worshippers also. It may however be added that the "secular" Brahmins are no different than these "sacred" ones.

Attitude towards women

The learned Frenchman also wrote: "To have any connection with a courtesan or with an unmarried person is not considered a form of wickedness in the eyes of the Brahmans. These men, who look upon the violation of any trivial custom as a heinous sin, see no harm in the most outrageous and licentious excesses. It was practically for their use that the dancers and prostitutes who are attached to the service of the temples were originally entertained, and they may often be heard to intone the following scandalous line: Vesya darsanmnam punyam, papa nasanam! which means, "Looking upon a prostitute is a virtue which takes away sin." (p.213)

Swamiji observes that though the "Dancing girls have been dismissed from some of the temples in recent years, otherwise the priestly mentality is not much different to-day from what it was when the above lines were written." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 217]

Suggestions for nation building

Discussing the constructive thoughts and efforts and guiding as to what must be done, Swamiji considers Nationality as the capacity of a people to function and develop as an organic unit. It is a dynamic impulse to realise a common individuality than of a static unity already attained. It is not a feature but a feeling. It is not merely a heritage of the past but a power of the present. Its importance is not in what has been achieved but in its hopes of future achievements. Swamiji compares those who seek consolation in the records of bygone ages to an insolvent pauper delighting himself in browsing old account books. It lies not in glorifying moutains, lands, rivers and the like but in "Man" and his attitude towards "fellow men", as Swamiji observes:

"... The true national spirit is to be seen in a persistent desire to effect closer union and association among the individuals and groups constituting society, in a growing sense of community of interests, social, religious, economic, political and other, in an instinctive opposition to forces within and without the nation which tend to endanger its solidarity, and in the ability to evolve new ideals and institutions to embody the spirit of the collective life. ..." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 258]

Instead of an obstinate clinging to mere existence and past glories, Nationalism implies capacity to grow and to expand, to assimilate the helpful, and oppose the harmful influences. It is not a passive sentiment of love for a great past, but an active yearning for a greater future, through a collective will. Political nationality is an idea of recent growth, and is result of a new consciousness of territorial and political unity due to the impact of European thought, literature, political ideals and institutions, and for the first time in her history of all India, to a central rule under the British. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 258]

Tests of Hindu Nationalism

India has been suffering under the two imperialisms, "Brahmanical and British placed one above the other", and true nationalism should be tested by the criteria, which are:

"... the three tests of Hindu Nationalism:- (1) Opposition to caste, (2) opposition to priestcraft and idolatry, and (3) Inter-religious tolerance and fraternisation." [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 262]

More nationalism persisted in the past

Nationalist spirit is said to have started since British arrived. But in reality, there was more fellow feeling in teachings of saints, inspired by Buddhism, and as Swamiji exclaims that during the days of Akbar, Kabir, Nanak, Chaitanya, Tukaram, Eknath and Shivaji, there seemed to be greater fellow feeling and brotherhood between Hindus and Mohemedans than after the arrival of the British and manifestation of national spirit. [swami Dharmatirtha, p. 288]

Modus operandi of Brahmins to enslave Hindus

That the kalivarjya was the method of brahmins to tackle the Buddhist influence over the masses and impose their supremacy. They changed their laws without actually condemning them. All laws and rules, were amended including Civil, Criminal, Revenue and Personal laws. It is not properly realized by the masses, that King was not the Law maker; he had no legislative power, contrary to the popular belief. He was only the executive head and had a responsibility to implement the laws made by the brahmins. At the most he could only legislate on revenue matter, that too, as per the rules already laid down. He had some judicial powers, but that too, he could not pass judgement against the law given by the brahmins.

Who suffered in Kalivarjya

In Kalivarjya, main law was against sea voyage. That is how the sea worthy races of Pallava and Chola countries suffered. All the trade that was being conducted through the sea stopped. Who suffered? Not the brahmins, surely. It will be clear, if we take a look at the products of export. Most of the the products of export were based on the agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandary and forest economy. Even the textile industry which had reached a high acclaim in foreign lands, was based cotton, silk and wool. All these occupations were in the hands of working classes, who were all doomed to be shudras. All these industries suffered. All these castes in the village econoomy suffered. All these groups, which were prosperous during the Buddhist rule, were degraded into castes, due to rigid caste rules imposed.

The mobility of the professions was stopped. Telis, who extracted oil from oil seeds, Malis, who grew the vegitables, the Dhangars, who reared the goats and lamb, Sutars, who made and repaied the farmers impliments, Kumhars, those who suppled earthen pots to villagers and Mahars and Mangs who protected the villages from strangers. All these proffessions became heriditary and social intercourse among them stopped.

Aim is to awaken the masses

These are the masses of which Indian society is made of, and it is the need of the day to educate them. The process of emancipation of masses was started by Mahatma Phule, strengthened by Shahu, and put in Indian Constitution by Dr. Ambedkar. Now it is the duty of masses to protect the Constitution, if they want to protect themselves from oncoming Brahmanic tyranny. This is an humble effort to aid the education of masses, as Dr. Amdekar has warned that only when a slave is made to realize his slavery, he can revolt against it. In one of his neglected messages to the "Maratha Mandir", 53 years ago, he had observed that, the middle class is not as liberal as upper one, and has no ideology as lower one, which makes it enemy of both the classes. The middle class Marathas of Maharashtra also have this fault. They have only two ways out, either to join hands with upper classes and prevent the lower classes from progress, and the other is to join hands with lower classes and both together destroy the upper class power comming against the prrgress of both. There was a time, they used to be with lower classes, now they seem to be with upper ones. It is for them to decide which way to go. The future of not only Indian masses but also their own future depends upon what decision the Maratha leaders take. What he said about Marathas, equally applies to all OBCs, and still holds true after half a century. Dr. Ambedkar wrote much to educate the OBCs. May be, it is now bearing fruits after fifty years. Those days Swami Dharmatirtha had also observed:

"Object in this volume is to trace the causes and course of India's enslavement, and awaken the conscience of all parties. There is no desire to wound anybody's feelings. There is no rancour in our heart. We believe that the socio- religious order which has brought the whole Hindu race to their knees is more satanic than the worst foreign imperialism and must be crushed before India can be free. We have renounced everything in order to be able to serve the lowliest of the Hindus. Our life is dedicated to the cause of Hindu emancipation. We searched for the causes of thraldom. The results of our investigation and thinking are expressed in this volume without any effort to conceal unpleasant facts. The spirit of lamentation is also entirely absent. The Hindu masses are getting infected with a grim determination to re-establish the free-born rights on the rock of true liberty rather than on self-deception, feigned unity and disguised exploita

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Alot of this is usually all Dalit propaganda which Khalistanis adopted and often make references to. Propaganda should always be taken in with a pinch of salt. I myself at one point of my life would beleive in all this blindly. But as I read Dalit propaganda over and over again I realised that much of their history is very Dalit centric and when it comes to Dalits and Sikhs, they will never hesitate to even portray Sikhs as they portray Hindus in their propaganda. As a result I began reading up on the real established reasons of why buddhism declined in India, and often times it's quite contradictory to Dalit propaganda which uses history very selectively to portray Hindus as some type of super evil genius as white supremecists portray Jews.

As Sikhs we need to use Bibek Buddhi, and this propaganda should be read but should never ever blindly beleived. Do as I did, read this Dalit propaganda while also reading books about the history of India written by unbiased sources and see if they match.

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It depends how you lok at it. There is a lot of truth in these articles that is backed up by observations from Guru Sahiban and Bhagats.

There has been huge hypocrisy and oppression by Brahman classes over the last few millenia. I recall reading of a chinese buddist account who was travelling in India before the medival era, that Buddists were being slaughtered like cattle (which Brahmans used to consume).

It's not through natural evolution that Buddism disappeared off the face of India, yet remains powerful in all countries that surround it including Sri Lanka and excepting Muslim conquered countires to the west.

The oppressed will always dig deep and highlight their plight, there is much to learn from their struggle and research for the truth.

As Mithr says, there will of course be bias, there always is, but accounts of first hand oppression are not always preserved in independant history - but through the oral history of the oppressed. Sikhs have suffered many atrocities, much of which have only been recorded through our own traditions.

I think the Dalits (and all oppressed people of the world) are going to be a big force for change in the coming years, the international community will certainly be behind them.

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Bhai Shaheediyan, I've seen really false claims in Dalit propaganda that is really out there and is at par with Brahman propaganda. I once read a book by Dalits about Sikh history where they make all sorts of false claims such as saying Baba Deep Singh Jee, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Jee, Hari Singh Nalwa were in reality Dalits, but Jatts and others have conspired to hide this fact from the world.

Also I don’t have any problem with any Gursikh being of any caste, but I do have a problem with people falsifying our history for their particular agenda.

Another tall claim they make is that Guru Nanak Dev Jee was in reality a Bhagat of Bhakt Ravidas Jee and it was from Bhagat Ravidas Jee that he got all his Sikshaa and Naam from. Most Sikhs never believe in our own history, instead we prefer to believe in Sikh history written by Muslims, Brahmans, Dalits, Christians.

Once you read Dalit propaganda, you’ll realise that it is no less misleading as Brahmin propaganda, and to an extent even more falsely vicious against its target enemy.

It’s not just Sikh history that they like to distort. They will even distort the history of India by making claims that Ashok was a Dalit when in fact he was a Kshatiya of the royal family of the Magadh kingdom. According to them the Guptas of the Gupta empire were Dalits when infact their origin is from the Dharan Jats. Another claim is that Ravan was a Dalit king when in fact Ravan was the son of a Brahmin Rishi named Vishrava. Ravan himself had mastered the knowledge of the Vedas and other Vedic sciences.

Just because Dalit propaganda writes against Brahmins does not make them our friends either. We need to stop thinking that an enemy of an enemy is a friend. Dalit propagandists have their own agenda which is not the same as our agenda and if need be, they will even use their propaganda machine against the Sikh Panth as they use it against Hindus and Brahmins.

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Lol, Mithr Ji, your whole worry is about caste!

There are over 150m dalits in India, and their treatment by Indians, including Sikhs is attrocious and disgusting. Out main concern should be to help the Dalits in their struggle for equal rights and opportunities and encourage them to join the Panth as equals. They will then themselves learn the history and take pride in the truth.

It is us that have caused the propoganda by disriminating against the so called low castes since the inception of SGPC and Singh Sabha - which did and still does have a Jat agenda. And it is because of our obsession with caste and power that has caused their to be so many divisions in the panth i.e. Ramgharia, Ravidasia, Ramdasia and we have given power to christian, Muslim, deras such as Radao Swami etc.

After all, we owe it to them, it was the Dalit majority that made up the largest part of the Khalsa that gave their lives fighting under Banda Bahadur and early misls.

With regards to propoganda, we shouldn't stereotype and group all 150m Dalits into one band, after all which religion, tribe or group is free of propoganda or free of those who seek to take advantage of a genuine struggle in their history? Did many patit Sikhs not commit crimes under the banner of Khalistan and genuine struggle of Baba Jarnail Singh ji?

Plight of the "untouchables"

By Carla Power, Newsweek, 25 June2000

After centuries of discrimination, India's Dalits are fighting back using the vote and civil disobedience to claim their rights.

On paper, the people in the slum on Delhi's Lodi Road don't even exist. The Dalits, or literally "broken people," as members of India's Untouchable castes are now called, don't show up on electoral rolls, ration cards or water bills.

HUDDLED IN THE SHADOW of India's Housing and Urban Development Corporation, the slum huts are made of mud, cardboard and plastic bags. Kids play with pigs in the mud; mothers wash clothes in sewer water. These Kabariwallahs, or scavengers, sort through garbage or haul human sewage to earn a few rupees. The children beg at a nearby traffic light. Nobody goes to school. Says Om Prakash, a scavenger who has lived there for 40 years, "We've got a right to live." That's about all many of India's "broken people" have. Theirs is not the India U.S. President Bill Clinton saw on his spring toura land of software gurus and a fast-growing middle class. The Dalits may live in the world's largest democracy, but their lives are shaped by a system of sanctified apartheid. The Hindu caste system has ranked people in a strict hierarchy according to class and job for 3,500 years. The Untouchable castes, who handle society's "dirty" jobs, are at the very bottom of the heap. Villages are divided into Dalit and upper-caste hamlets. In villages, Hindu temples are off-limits to outcasts. In rural areas, Dalits are often victims of harassment, rape and violence from upper- caste landlords. Last month a militia army in Bihar state stormed the town of Miapur and shot dead 35 low-caste villagers, eight of whom were Dalits. The massacre was Bihar's eighth major caste-related atttack in the past six months. The Indian Constitution long ago outlawed discrimination against Dalits. India has a Dalit president and more than 100 Dalits in Parliament. But despite quota systems in government jobs and education, members of the upper castes like Brahmins and Kshatriyas have a monopoly on power; they dominate business, the media and government. But despite quota systems in government jobs and education, members of the upper castes like Brahmins and Kshatriyas have a monopoly on power; they dominate business, the media and government. After centuries of suffering from intense discrimination, they're beginning to fight back. The Dalits have begun their own civil-rights struggle. Inspired by the liberation campaigns of American blacks and South Africans, Dalits are beginning to use the vote, civil disobedience and even violence of their own to claim their rights. Their new assertiveness has angered the powerful and triggered an increasingly bloody struggle. According to the Human Rights Education Movement of India, a Madras-based nongovernment organization, every hour two Dalits are assaulted, three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered and two Dalit houses are burned. The Dalit movement is young and fragmented. Even the term Dalit covers scores of subcastes and tribes, many speaking different languages. Unlike racial apartheid in Africa or gender discrimination in the Muslim world, casteism hasn't captured the West's attention yet. But there are shoots of change. Earlier this spring, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights asked that next year's U.N. Conference on Racism include casteism on the agenda. Says Buta Singh, a Dalit member of Parliament: "If India can achieve [freedom] from the British, why can't the Dalits achieve independence from these caste-minded people?" Few upper-caste people are eager to overturn a social order that supplies them with cheap labor and social standing.

Changing a system sanctified by Hindu religious texts will be tough. Millions of Dalits have tried to escape the system by converting to Islam, Christianity or Buddhism. But the system is so rooted in South Asian society that caste persists in Christian and Muslim communities. Moreover, the Dalit movement threatens upper-caste privilege. Few upper-caste people are eager to overturn a social order that supplies them with cheap labor and social standing. Some upper castes have struck back at Dalits with "atrocities," as hate crimes are called in India. The frailest assertions of rights a Dalit candidate's running for the local council, a Dalit boy's falling for an upper-caste girl, a Dalit's using water from an upper-caste wellcan spark violence. Upper-caste leaders and even police have reportedly raped Dalit women to teach their husbands and brothers "lessons" about the dangers of demanding the minimum wage or reclaiming lost land, according to a 1999 Human Rights Watch Report. "The rise in atrocities is an [outgrowth] of the assertion of the lower castes," observes Dipankar Gupta, professor of sociology at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University. "In generations past, no Dalits were beaten up because they `knew their place'." Not anymore. Grass roots are gaining strength. Perhaps the most radical is the Dalit Panthers, a Tamil Nadu resistance organization based on the African-American Black Panthers. Led by 34-year-old Thirumal Valavan, whose stirring two-hour rally speeches have made him something of a cult figure in the region, the Panthers don't openly advocate violence. But the group does encourage Dalits to protect their rights by any means necessary. Last fall Valavan ran for Parliament and lost. His electoral bid's legacy was destruction. To scare off Dalit voters, upper-caste mobs burned 21 villages in the Cuddalore district, destroying 1,000 huts. They attacked 60 Dalit men, killing one. Valavan, who barely leaves his house without his five bodyguards, routinely receives death threats. "I recently got one saying, `We will cut off your head in a month for fighting against upper-caste people'," he says. Despite the dangers, Dalits are taking risks to free themselves from rural traditions. They've walked into tea shops and broken cups from the "two cup" system, which forces Dalits to drink from separate glasses. They've marched into temples, breaking the centuries-old ban against Dalits' entering upper-caste Hindu holy places. Hindu grooms ride on horseback to their wedding ceremonies but upper-caste vigilantes have attacked Dalits for trying to do the same. Last June in Rajasthan, a Dalit groom rode a horse for the first time, guarded by 400 policemen, ambulances and teams of doctors. Dalits have no national leader, but a new generation of activists has emerged. In the southern state of Karnataka, M. C. and Jyothi Raj, a married couple, have been organizing Dalits in 300 villages through the German- funded Rural Education for Development Society (REDS). When the long- haired Raj, who wears black as a sign of pride in the darkness associated with Dalits, visited a Dalit village recently, a street celebration burst out. Villagers hoisted him on their shoulders, banging huge drums and screaming with joy and rage. They shouted the Dalit power slogan that Raj has coined: "Jai Bhim!""Ambedkar Lives!" (B. R. Ambedkar, a Dalit jurist and activist who helped frame the Indian Constitution, is the closest thing the Untouchables have had to a national hero. He died in 1956. Ambedkar's statue graces thousands of Dalit villages.) A throng of upper-caste villagers eyed the crowd warily. "The people worship us like gods," Raj says sheepishly. "In two local villages, we had to stop them before they put up shrines to Jyothi and me."

`We thought that being a Dalit meant you were low, but why should we do slavish jobs for these people? We have our humanity; we deserve equality.'

Over the decade, the REDS campaign for Dalit rights has gained strength. This spring, after an upper-caste mob burned seven Dalits to death, REDS mobilized thousands of Dalits to block 10 national highways forcing the government to provide shelter and compensation for the victims' families. In January, the Rajs launched the Ambedkar Era, a year of Dalit pride. In Tumkur, M. C. Raj lectured a crowd of 40,000 Dalits, telling them how their people had been the original inhabitants of India before the Aryan Hindus invaded. Many of the listeners have never thought of themselves as anything other than outcasts from Hindu society. "We thought that being a Dalit meant you were low," says Thippeswany, a Dalit. "But why should we do slavish jobs for these people? We have our humanity; we deserve equality." The few Dalits lucky enough to make it to white-collar jobs agree. "I welcome [violence]," says one of the country's top-ranking Dalit civil servants. "It's the only way. We've been pushed to the wall." Even in the corridors of power, Dalit professionals face discrimination. Two years ago, when a high-court judge in Uttar Pradesh took over his post from a Dalit, he was so worried about being tainted by his low-caste predecessor that he had the chambers "purified" with water from the sacred Ganges. Some upper-caste Indians object to the government's affirmative-action policies, which they say guarantee too many jobs for lower-caste people eat the expense of other castes. Under the Constitution, there are "reservations," or quotas, for Dalits: about 23 percent of government jobs and university places are reserved for "Scheduled Castes and Tribes." Dalit activists argue that as of last year, over a million "reserved" posts remained unfilled, ostensibly because there were no qualified Dalits to fill them. "Even under the reservation system, there's practically no recruitment," says K. S. Chauhan. He is one of three Dalit lawyers working among 3,000 attorneys at the Supreme Court. "In the power structure as it stands," Chauhan says, "Dalits don't exist." India's government is pushing for a constitutional review, and Dalits fear that they may lose their quotas. "Rubbish," retorts Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. The purpose of the review, she says, will be "to see what we need to do to make it better." The reservation system has had its success stories. Y. Chinna Rao remembers his upper-caste schoolteacher searching for a stick to beat him when he misbehaved. The man didn't want to touch Rao directly, for fear of pollution by a Dalit. Today, Rao teaches history at Delhi's prestigious Jawaharal Nehru University, a post he says was "literally above the dreams" of a boy who'd been forced to sit separated from upper-caste classmates. But the reservation system that helped him succeed carries a new stigma. It means that caste is duly recorded on all official documents. Asked when their kids first knew they were Dalits, villagers say it was after their first day at school, when their teacher duly notes in the ledger that they are "SC""Scheduled Caste." The label sticks, even after you've made it: `People say, `Oh, he's a reservation fellow'," says the 33-year-old Rao. Many Dalits fear that India's recent shift to a privatized economy, open to foreign investment, will hurt lower castes. Private industry has no quotas. "Once the private sector emerges as the strongest player," says Ambrose Pinto, head of the Delhi-based Indian Social Institute, "Dalits have no chance." But others say an open economy will bring just the opposite opportunity, since foreign investors don't care about caste. "If you can deliver the goods, you rise," observes Tarun Mehta, a Dalit who runs a Delhi-based insurance consultancy. "That will be good for Dalits." India's swift urbanization is a mixed blessing for Dalits. Many lower-caste people have been moving to cities. "Our youth are leaving our village rather than depending on the dominant-caste people," observes Narasimhiah, a villager in the Tumkur district of Tamil Nadu. "They have become bold and independent." But activists point out that urban Dalits are still oppressed. Only Dalits clean sewers, break stones or sweep roads. "Who is building India's cities?" asks Ruth Manorama, head of the National Federation of Dalit Women. "Who is cleaning toilets, building its roads? Dalits."

Politics could change that. Over the past decade, Dalit political parties have emerged across the country. The 1998 election showed a consolidation of Dalits with other minorities into an effective voting block in many Indian states. A Dalit woman, Mayawati, was even elected chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. India got its first Dalit archbishop this spring, and its first Dalit Supreme Court judge last month. In Tumkur's local council elections this spring, Dalits ran for the first time. A Dalit named Ramesh K., like 300 other Dalits across the district, won. His wizened mother, Lakshmamma, sees historic change. "When I was young, people would call me by the name of my caste," she says. "Now they call me by my name." That's a start.

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Bhai Shaheediyan,

You've got is all wrong. Caste is a non issue for me. But what is an issue for me is when a group tries to distort our history to furthur their own agenda whether they are Brahmins, Muslims, Christians or Dalits. Their agenda does not have to mean it is our agenda.

No one is disputing that we should help them as we should help all needy people, but helping does not mean we should promote lies and false propoganda even if it is against our enemy, because I dont beleive in the philosophy of an enemy of an enemy is our friend. This is the mistake we made in 1947.

As critical as I am of the Singh Sabha movement, but caste based discrimination did not start with the Singh Sabha movement. Before the Singh Sabha movement there are cases of so called low caste not even allowed to eat langar or Parshaad in the sangat. There are even shameless cases of low caste not allowed to take amrit in the same group as so called high castes. Singh Sabha with all it's faults tried to change that although not entirely successful which is largely the reason why so many so called low castes in Punjab converted to Sikhi during that era further increasing our numbers as the census data of that period shows.

As for what the fighting force of puraatan armies consisted of, again I beleive you are falling for Dalit propaganda. I'm not going to go into details about that because it will just end up looking like a caste based argument which is not what I beleive in.

Veer, you are mistaken into thinking that I am "stereotyping" against ALL dalits. That is not the case. Just because I question the integrity of Dalit centric propaganda does not mean I am somehow against Dalits, just as I'm not against ALL Brahmins, Muslims or Christians if I question their propaganda. Everything should be taken in with a pinch of salt and not beleived blindly.

I just don't understand how anyone who questions a certain group's propaganda in which they try to selectively change and distort history is labeled as being casteist. This is the type of argument Bahadur Ali Jee uses when he labels everyone "Islamophobe" who questions any aspect of Islamic propaganda.

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Bhai sahib, the make up of the Khalsa armies is not Dalit propoganda, but historical observation and fact.

Re the rest, I was not calling you a castist, I was just trying to redirect the post towards the root cause of both the propoganda and the legitimate fight for survival, freedom, respect and equal rights of this most oppressed society in India.

But as you say, of course everything should be taken with a pinch of salt, including the various Sikh versions of history and theology.

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Lol dalits were original before Aryan hjndus invaded. Listen to this joker, saying from 1984 middle class uses lower to destroy upper then calls army on lower to control them. These activists don't have the same sikh society where fighting injustice, is encouraged, and the bhuddism thing is not well known, they will be corrupted in the end. The people seem to have no confidence, and act like they are lower than others. I see it with south v north where south think north must be like this, that when it comes to skin tone, class, caste etc. A lot of it has to do with the whole racial angle put on the caste system,and projecting your oppression onto others, when they are not your oppressor only creates more enemies. An example is with racism, being against every white man or person; hut like the op said, British imperialism doesn't mean the British people, not every person is benefitting from a system, and people are people. Can't type more on touch but the Khalsa panth is the one just system.

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