Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Rule of Dharma and Being a Dharmic in Hinduism


We, Nepalese and some Indian seem Dharmic/religious because they put red tika on their forehead, worship god/goddess every day at home or temples, and they often visit temples. HOWEVER , they hardly follow the RULE OF DHARMA! We do more show off kind of things rather than accept, internalize, realize and practice the rule of Dharma in our life. To be very frank we are mostly cheater in somehow because what we do and say for show off in reality we don't exhibit in our attitude and behaviour. 

What Makes You Dharmic?

Anything that helps human being to reach god is dharma and anything that hinders human being from reaching god is adharma. According to the Bhagavat Purana, righteous living or life on a dharmic path has four aspects: austerity (tap), purity (shauch), compassion (daya) and truthfulness (satya); and adharmic or unrighteous life has three vices: pride (ahankar), contact (sangh), and intoxication (madya). The essence of dharma lies in possessing a certain ability, power and spiritual strength. The strength of being dharmic also lies in the unique combination of spiritual brilliance and physical prowess.

The 10 Rules of Dharma".

According to the Law of Manu "Manusmriti" written by an ancient Indian Brahmin priest named "Manu", prescribes 10 essential rules for the observance of dharma:
1. Patience (dhriti),
2. Forgiveness (kshama),
3. Piety or self control (dama),
4. Honesty (asteya),
5. Sanctity (shauch),
6. Control of senses (indraiya-nigrah),
7. Reason (dhi),
8. Knowledge or learning (vidya),
9. Truthfulness (satya) and
10. Bbsence of anger (krodha).

Manu further writes, "Non-violence, truth, non-coveting, purity of body and mind, control of senses are the essence of dharma". Therefore dharmic laws govern not only the individual but all in society."

Source http://hinduism.about.com/od/basics/a/dharma.htm

What is the Law of Manu "Manusmriti"?

The Manusmriti is also called "Law of Manu" is the Law of Hindu developed in an ancient time written by a very clever, cunning ill-minded Indian Brahmin Hindu priest "sage" named Manu, who was very extremely racist, selfish, uncivilized, un-democratic, un-equal, inhumane, casteist, suppressive, promoted slavery and dominating mentality. It is an Ancient Hindu Code of Conduct for Domestic, Social, and Religious Life. Manusmriti created and promoted caste systems and suppress and dominate lower cast people by upper caste "pundits" (Brahmin Priests). In addition, Manusmriti dominates woman in family and Hindu societies. Upper cast people used Manusmriti to create cast system and slavery in ancient time and still following in the present context in the case of Nepal. Manusmriti tells people what upper caste people must do, the lower cast people must do if they are Hindu. 

The Manusmriti, translated smriti of Manu is a work of Hindu law and ancient Indian society. It is one of the eighteen Smritis of the Dharmasastra; and is a part of the Smriti literature. It contains laws, rules and codes of conduct to be applied by individuals, communities and nations. Some of these laws codify the Hindu caste system and discuss the "stages of life for a twice-born man". It explains itself as a discourse given by Sage Manu (Yogi Manu) to rishis having begged him to enlighten them on the topic. 


The scripture is ascribed to Manu, according to the Hindu mythology, the forefather of all humans. The text as preserved is generally dated to ca. the 1st century. This 'revealed scripture' comprises 2684 verses, divided into twelve chapters presenting the norms of domestic, social, and religious life in India (circa 500 BC) under the Brahmin influence, and is fundamental to the understanding of ancient Indian society.


In South East Asian, particularly India and Nepal hose who like to know and understand caste and gender-based discrimination. Otherwise, their study and understanding would be incomplete because this document is the root cause of all forms of socio-cultural discrimination in these two countries highly influenced by Hindu beliefs and superstitions. 


So-called higher castes, especially Brahman young Nepalese men do not think that the Law of Manu ideological influence are still prevail in Nepalese society. However, in India it may be Manusmriti had been abolished from hindusim long long ago I suppose due to the activism of Dr Ambedkar. BUT in Nepal has not  since senior writer and translator Tilak Prasad Luitel (who translated Manusmriti from Sanskrit to Nepali language) said "Manusmriti Prachin Samaj Ko Bidibidhan Nirman ra Lagu Garne Garntha Ho. Aaja Pani Hamra Samajik Bewaharma Tesko Niyamharu Sakriya Raheka Chhan." Translated in english "Manusmriti is an ancient time rule and regulations developed and practiced to govern the society. Still this rules have been actively practice in our society." Source: Manusmriti Ma Sudra ra Shtri by Chitra Psd Panta, Gopi Sapkota and Gita Subedi published in 2065. 


Besides that Rameshwori Pantha has written a newspaper article titled "Manusmriti Kai Bato Ma Hamro Samaj" translated in English "Our society is still in the path of Manusmriti" early this year. These have proven that Manusmriti has still heavy influence and practice in our society. 


An example of discriminatory verse from the Law of Manu's Chapter IX. 94:

" A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty four a girl of eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would otherwise be impeded, he must marry sooner." 

Read more about Manusmriti from below references 


Reference

1. Laws of Manu or 'Manava Dharma Shastra' http://hinduism.about.com/od/scripturesepics/a/laws_of_manu.htm
2.  http://www.hinduwebsite.com 

2. http://www.sacred-texts.com 


3. http://www.en.wikipedia.org 




Always wonder WHY we human beings want to have a captive mindset?

Though we are born as a human beings BUT majority of us don't have human nature in our perspective and don't have humanistic characteristic. To be a real and true human beings and show our humanist view and character we should be able to keep our mind open and free from ancient cleaver man-made GODs and Religions. Only then we can listen, understand and accept each others feelings, situations and problems so that we can establish just society. Otherwise, our religious Dogmatic thinking blocked our thoughts, don't allow to view beautiful world respecting everyone culture, value, traditions, religion, etc and always think MY WAY IS HIGH (My is good everything and yours is bad).


We talk about a lot about Basic Human Needs as theorized by Abraham Maslow, described his hierarchy of needs in 'A Theory of Human Motivation' BUT we carry Religious Dogmatic thinking about other things and human actions. 

Here are Major Thinkers in Humanistic Approach of life and perspective [1,2]:

1. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a theory of self-actualization.

2. Carl Rogers, an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology.

3. Rollo May, an American existential psychologist.

4. Erich Fromm, a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist.

5. Carl Sagan, an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences.

6. Corliss Lamont, a socialist philosopher, and advocate of various left-wing and civil liberties causes.


A humanist is one who value of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally place more importance on rational thought rather than on strict faith, supernatural or authorities. Humanism is an ethical perspective and a rationalistic system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters that emphasises human dignity, concerns, and capabilities, especially rationality. 

Humanism is a body of philosophies and ethical perspectives that emphasize the value of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally place more importance on rational thought than on strict faith.

Steps to become a Humanistic [1,2,3]:
1. Seek knowledge. Most humanists such as Corliss Lamont or Carl Sagan agree that humanity must seek the truth through reasoning and use of the scientific method to test hypotheses.

2. Deal with the practical aspects of life, and do not entertain metaphysical issues. For example, the existence or nonexistence of immortal beings is outside the realm of humanism, which concerns itself with mortal human only.

3. Be optimistic. A humanist believes that through hard work, humans can do good and make life better for others.

4. Love others, and show outgoing concern for humanity. Focus on the present, not the past or the future. Aim to do good and live well now, and leave the world a better place for posterity. The welfare of humanity is the primary concern for a humanist.

5. Be a free thinker. Because humans are the focus of humanism, a humanist will strive to determine right and wrong for himself. Avoid undue influence from others, superstitions, and prejudices.

6. Work out your happiness. For a humanist, happiness is achieved by doing good and living well ("Nicomachean Ethics", (1095a15-22) by Aristotle) Do good unto others, as you would have others do unto you.

Predecessors [3]: 

Asia:
Human-centered philosophy that rejected the supernatural can be found as early as 1000 BCE in the Lokayata system of Indian philosophy.

In the 6th-century BCE, Gautama Buddha expressed, in Pali literature, a skeptical attitude toward the supernatural:
"Since neither soul nor aught belonging to soul can really and truly exist, the view which holds that this I who am 'world', who am 'soul', shall hereafter live permanent, persisting, unchanging, yea abide eternally: is not this utterly and entirely a foolish doctrine?"

In China, Huangdi is regarded as the humanistic primogenitor. Sage kings such as Yao and Shun are humanistic figures as recorded. King Wu of Zhou has the famous saying: "Humanity is the Ling (efficacious essence) of the world (among all)". Among them, Duke of Zhou, respected as an initial founder of Rujia (Confucianism), is especially prominent and pioneering in humanistic thought. His words were recorded in the Book of History as follows (translated into English):
"What the people desire, Heaven certainly complies?
Heaven (or "God") is not believable. Our Tao (special term referring to "the way of nature") includes morality (derived from the philosophy of former sage kings and to be continued forward)."

In the 6th century BCE, Taoist teacher Laozi espoused a naturalistic & humanistic philosophy which gave rise a loose-knit collection of movements known as "Daoism" with some sects adopting forms of Chinese "Yoga" & meditation, yet some other sects incorporating magical rites.

Confucius also taught secular ethics. The silver rule of Confucianism from Analects XV.24, is an example of ethical philosophy based on human values rather than the supernatural. Humanistic thought is also contained in other Confucian classics, e.g., as recorded in Zuo Zhuan, Ji Liang says: "People is the zhu (master, lord, dominance, owner or origin) of gods. So, to sage kings, people first, gods second"; Neishi Guo says: "Gods, clever, righteous and wholehearted, comply with human. 


Ancient Greece



References 
1. Humanism from http://www.simplypsychology.org/humanistic.html 
2. Humanistic Psychology from http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/hist_humanistic.htm
3. Humanism from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

Friday, 26 October 2012

Nepali Hindu scarify animals to goddesses and gods


I respect all religions and cultures but I critic on those religious Dogmatic thinking and superstitious belief imposed to others. 

It is really surprising to me to know that WHY Indian Hindu don't sacrifice animals during the Hindu festival Dashai but Nepalese Hindu do. This always surprise me because across the globe Muslim and Christian celebrate their festival in the same way and have similarity because their holy books are the same. BUT Nepal and Hindu celebrates their feasts and festivals such as Dashain, Teej, Deepawali, etc in very different says. Interestingly, Hindu they worship 33 corer gods and goddesses, however, Christian they just pray and worship Jesus likewise Muslim has Allah and Buddhist has Buddha. 

The oldest holy scriptures of Hindu is Ved and in Ved nothing has mentioned about animals scarifying thus I wonder Why Nepalese Hindu sacrifice animals in the name of Goddess (Durga/Kali,Bhagawati, etc) in the Hindu religion there nothing mentioned to sacrifice animals!!! 

WHY they don't follow pure Hinduism instead promote their superstitious beliefs and traditions??? 

Vedic God demands no sacrifice of animals, instead declaring it a greatest sin He saves dumb animals (Atharva Veda10/1/29). 

The basic principle is “Live and let live‘,as such there is no question of human sacrifice for elevation of his devotee (such as his first born babies, his sons or his only daughter). Instead, Vedas preach non-violence (Atharva Veda1/31/4, 1/16/4). 

Vedic culture can not think of cannibalism, the entire Vedic philosophy revolves round purity of mind (Rig Veda10/20/1, Yajur Veda 34/1). 

Vedas preach “purity of speech‘ and on ‗sweetness of tongue‘ (AtharvaVeda `1/34/2) and therefore use of the words viz. "dogs‘ for men or "bastard‘ fornon-believers is seen no where in Vedas.

Nepalese women status in the Global Gender Gap Index 2012

Very sad and bad to know that Nepalese men are worst then African (Mozambique, Burundi, Ugandan, Malawian, Tanzania, Jamican, etc) and Muslim (Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Malaysian, Arabirc, etc) men who don't want and let girls/women come up 
at their level and be equal.

Out of total 135 countries were analysed for the Global Gender Gap Index 2012 Nepal stands on 123rd and India 105th.

Wow! salute to Nepalese and Indian men for their bravery in succeeding to oppress and suppress your girls and women. I really appreciate these 2 countries men because they have double faces. In one hand they worship women/goddesses (Durga, Bhagawati, Kali, Sita, Parvati, Laxmi, Swarswati, etc) and also suppress, oppress, abuse, harass, dominate, discriminate, humiliate, hate, murder and kill girls/women.

In Asia male from Philippines and Sri Lanka seems really great since these two countries ranked 8th and 39th out of total 135 countries of the world in the report.

Always India and Nepal due to the Law of Manu (Manusmriti) driven mindset and Islamic countries lag behind in gender equality. I've been looking this report since last few years. Sri Lanka is always ahead then USA till 2009 and other developed nations. Nepalese men MUST be proud for the success in suppressing and oppressing women in Nepal.

"I am choked by the Global Gender Gap Report 2012 which listed Iceland the 1st equally adapted country both for men and women, Philippines (8th) leads in Asian countries where Mozambique (23rd) and Burundi (24th) from African poor countries treat both genders equally well. Asian giant China has still good position (69th) in the race. Nepal and India have to do lot of things to bring their female counterpart equally well. Where Japan, the most advanced country already in Asia has very poor stand on it. Literately, where the fuss gone on self reclaiming Gender equality in Asian developed nations? We should proud with Sri Lankan (39th) achievements toward filling gap between men and women in South Asia.
Nepali and Indian cultural men prize and pray female divinity to get strength from them and bow titling forward 180 degree upper body posture into goddess feet lamenting for power, but kick their own mother, wife and daughters out at home. These people are made of ass from those god and goddess, but refuse to realize their mother is one who gives birth to them."- Chhatra Magar, Japan, 26 Oct 2012

This Global Gender Gap Index examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories:
1. Economic participation and opportunity
2. Educational attainment
3. Health and survival
4. Political empowerment

It shows that the 135 countries covered in the Report, representing over 90% of the world’s population, have closed almost 96% of the gap in health outcomes between women and men and almost 93% of the gap in educational attainment. However, the gap between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remains wide: only 60% of the economic outcomes gap and only 20% of the political
outcomes gap have been closed. 




Regarding the status of women and gender equality it would be interesting to analyse based on the country who believe in certain faith because it shapes the people thoughts and practices. 

Nepal being a Hindu state before the declaration of secular state in 2006, therefore, people ideology are still guided by Hindu faith since 80% population are religiously Hindu as per the Census 2001. Relatively women situation in Hindu and Muslim societies are worse then Christian and Buddhist faith believer societies. Ideology of human beings are shaped by religious belief. It is interesting to see from below figures the countries that think it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral ( Source: The Pew Global Attitudes Project 2007). 







Besides, these countries there are other nations who had interesting belief that it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral:
Countries             Yes              No
1. Bangladesh      90                9
2. China              17               72
3.  Indonesia        98                1
4. Japan              33               53
5. Malaysia          86              12
6. Pakistan          88               9



Reference


The Global Gender Gap Index 2012 accessed from http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2012/

The Pew Global Attitudes Project 2007 "47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey" accessed from http://www.pewforum.org/Being-Good-for-Goodness-Sake.aspx 

Brahminism: Why, When and How this term is coined ?

I am not a student of social science neither I worked in this field. I am pure student of health science and had worked in the development sector related to public health across the nation. However, I have been active in taking part and commenting about social issues relating to socio-cultural discrimination, caste and gender based discrimination,  federalism and  state restructuring that are raising by Nepalese youths and people in different social networking sites such as facebook, LinkedIn and else. Initially when I saw the word "Bahunbaad or Brahminbaad (Brahminism) I was bit cynical because I never ever heard such term in my schooling and life till 2010. Then I tried to find out the meaning of Bahunbaad, searched, and found that the term "Bahunbaad" was coined by Late Ganeshman Singh of Nepali Congress Leader and popularised by a renowned Nepali anthropologist, Dor Bahadur Bista, who is considered The 'Father of Nepalese Anthropology' [1, 2].
In the Kantipur newspaper article written by Narayan Manandhar it says, "The fundamental problem with Nepal’s bureaucracy is the prevalence of bahunbad, a concept churned out by Late Ganesh Man Singh and popularised by Dor Bahadur Bista’s Fatalism and Development. Chicanery and chauvinism are hallmarks of bahunbad. It rests on family ties and kinships. There is close correlation between bahunbaad and corruption in Nepal. The Nepali Congress has been almost annihilated by bahunbad, while the UML is another party ruined by it." This has been quoted as well in the book written by an anthropologist, Dor Bahadur Bista titled "Fatalism and Development: Nepal's Struggle for Modernization" in 1990 [2, 3]. 
Nepal’s socio-cultural diversity emanates from various races, several religions, numerous national/ethnic/ caste groups, around 103 languages, and regional-cultures according to the national Census 2001.  In terms of mobilization and self identification, they can be broadly divided into four major identity groups. The indigenous nationalities consist of more than 93 Tibeto-Burman linguistic groups from mountains, hills, and the Tarai.  The dalit mostly consists of hill and Tarai dalit.  Madhesi consist of Tarai Hindu caste groups, Muslims, and indigenous nationalities.The caste hill Hindu elite (CHHE), consisting of Bahun, Chettri, Thakuri, and Sanyasi, have dominated Nepal since its conquest in 1769 [4]. Though a numeric minority, the CHHE has effectively excluded other social-cultural groups from the state apparatus.  Gender inequality is also rampant across the country.       
Perhaps the public role of Bahuns in defining political and social norms is the reason behind identification of Bahunbad or Brahminbad (Brahminism) as cause of various social ills in Nepal [3].  Here it should be pointed out that dalit and janajatis do not show as much anger against other CHHEs: Chhetri, Thakuri, and Sanyasi. 
However, in my understanding Bahunbaad practice and mentality we can find in other castes and ethnic groups as well but it is more prevalent in Brahmin compared to Chhetri and other castes because Brahmin who got an opportunity to be advisors and priests of former Kings and rulers in Nepal got the opportunity using the tactics of the Law of Manu (Manusmriti) to keep their status superior as mentioned in the Law of Manu. Interestingly, I came to know that in the context of Nepal during king Jaysthiti Malla dynasty in 14th century hiring 5 learned Indian Brahmin written the Nepal first code of conduct, Manav Nayay Shastra that had incorporated the Law of Manu "Manusmriti" verses and accordingly PN Shah and Janga Bahadur Rana had followed the law/rule and regulations slightly revising by Janga Bahadur Rana in his time written the Nepal National Civil Code of Conduct (Muluki Ain) in 1854 AD that had further incorporated religious verses on it. 
But this does not mean that indigenous (Janajati) can blame to all Brahmin and Chhetri. We should not generalize saying that all Brahmin/Chhetri are bad and all Janajati, Dalit and deprived communities people are good because poor Brahmin and Chhetri who are victims of cleaver and cunning Brahmin and Chhetri will also be suffered and that is not fair. Better not to generalize and would be wise to identify who were the advisors and priests of former kings and rulers that had promoted such ill practices and heat, beat and kick them out so that Nepal can be made prosperious nation. Well wishers of Nepal land and its people must be united and find out the real culprits that had push Nepal almost 100-200 years back in the development of both people's mind and infrastructure then the western world and Japan.
I came to know that in the context of of India Bahunbaad had been massively practice before and during Siddhartha Gautam Buddha era. They used to say Brahmanism religion. Hindu is the new religion coined after Brahamanism religion and the name Hindu was given by invaders in India. Therefore it is considered adulterated religion. Original religion was Sanatan Dharma followed by Vedic religion. It is said that: 
"Brahmanism is not the oldest of Indian religions but it represents an important starting place for the understanding of Indian philosophy and religion. Hinduism grows out of Brahmanism, and accepts most of the basics of Brahmanism, while Buddhism and Jainism are reactionary—they adopt some of the ideas of Brahmanism, yet they reject much of it, and so in a way they too are an outgrowth of Brahmanism." [5]
Therefore, from this also can be said that Bahunbaad "Brahmanism" is not the new term. It is almost 2500 years old term used in ancient India for the supermacy of attitude and practice used by Brahmin priests. 
But having said this I don't think it is wise to use the term Brahmanism because in the context of Nepal the Law of Manu incorporated in Nepal's code of conduct had promoted hegemony and monopoly of certain grrou of ruling mindset of people. Therefore, it would be wise to use the term "Manubaad" (Manuism) rather than "Bahunbaad" (Brahmanism) so that innocent and ignorant Bahun community members would not feel hurted and sad and bad since manu ideology is prevalent in almost all Nepalese community members.
References
1. Don Messerschmidt. 2009. Dor Bahadur Bista: The Father of Nepalese Anthropology http://www.ecs.com.np/feature_detail.php?f_id=84
2. Narayan Manandhar, 2011. "Between devil and sea"
 http://www.ekantipur.com/2011/10/14/oped/between-devil-and-sea/342161.html
3. Bista, Dor Bahadur. 1991. Fatalism and Development: Nepal's Struggle for Modernization. 
Hyderabad: Orient Longman.
4. Lawoti, Mahendra. 2005. Democracy, Domination and Exlusionary Constitutaioal Engineering Process in Nepal, 1990-Chapter II, accessed from http://homepages.wmich.edu/~mlawoti/documents/PDF%20Docs/ExclusionaryConstitutionalEngineering.Lawoti.CPDN.Sage.pdf
5. Brahmanism accessed from http://www.gossamerstrands.com/Asia105/lecture1.htm   


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Birth place of Buddha, Lumbini Nepal as a Macca of Saudi Arab and Vatican City in Rome, Italy


The birth place of Siddhartha Gautam, Buddha Lumbini of Nepal can be developed as a Mecca in Saudi Arabia of the greatest religious observances in Islam, where millions of Islamic pilgrimages journey take place from across the world during the observance in October every year. Similarly in Vatican City in Rome, Italy, where Christian pilgrimages travel annually in a millions from across the globe. 

It is quite annoying when Indian scholars, historians, buerocrats, etc claimed every now and then saying the Birth place of Buddha is in Orrisa (Odisha), India despite the UNESCO has listed as a world heritage located in Nepal that was discovered in 1896 by a German archeologist Dr A Fiihrer and Khadga Samsher, then Governor of Palpa district of Nepal, the Ashoka pillar and proved that Buddha was born in present Lumbini Nepal. The Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, testified by the inscription on the pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Asoka in 249 BC. Source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/666 .

Prof. Rajesh Kochhar, an Indologists from India said:

“ Orissa is very poor. It will benefit greatly from tourism if Buddha were born there? Can we not rotate Buddha's birth place like the Olympics or the cricket match venue?”

He meant that the birth place of certain historical personages always made full of controversies. 

Indian Embassy to Nepal also acknowledged and accepted the truth about the Birth Place of Buddha is in Nepal and posted on their facebook page on 16 September 2012 stating that LUMBINI: One of the most holiest and sacred places in the world, the place where Siddhartha Gautam, known to world as LORD BUDDHA was born. Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. Lumbini is one of the biggest touristic destinations of Nepal. Source: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=473045142725938&set=a.201359866561135.50198.199580790072376&type=1&theater

Actually, Nepal was formed as a nation in 1768 CE (2,200 years later). So while Buddha was born into a kingdom where the city of Lumbini now resides, it most certainly was not Nepal - nor India - at that time. BUT NOW Lumbini is in Nepal certainly! Professor. Kailash Chandra Dash, a scholar of history from Odisha, India says ancient Kapilvastu was Tilaurakot of Nepal today. He has disputed the claim made by some Indians that "Piprahawa" was actual "Kapilvastu". Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3V6a0MLtKE&feature=g-all-u

However, in Florida, Tampa Bay , USA from Feb 15-17, 2013 there will be an Indian International Film Festival in which they are going to show 36 minutes video documentary about the Birth Place of Buddha claiming that Buddha was born in Orrisa, India.

What a Joke of Indian film makers, scholars, diplomats and government to fool, bull and rule over innocent people's mind for their own sake of benefit BUT truth never ever going to hide. Anyhow one day it will prevail so instead of spreading the rumor better to shut up mouth or speak up the truth. Wonder WHY Indian ill-minded scholars and diplomats always like to lie to the world and want to keep in dark. It might be to promote pilgrimage tourism to make India economically prosperous cheating their tiny neighboring country or clean their own face with purity/truth since their mythologies and the Law of Manu had ruined their image across the globe.

"The Myth of Buddha’s Birthplace | India International Film Festival – Tampa Bay"

Director: James Freeman
Executive Producer: Annapurna Devi Pandey
Co-Director: Karsten Freeman
Running time: 35 mins
India/USA

‘The Myth of the Buddha’s Birthplace,’ a thirty-six minute video documentary, follows anthropologists James M. Freeman and Annapurna Devi Pandey as they investigate a controversial claim about the true origin of the Buddha. Returning to Kapileswar, a small village in the state of Odisha, eastern India that Freeman first visited in 1962, Freeman and Pandey search for an ancient stone inscription, which was discovered in Kapileswar nearly a century ago but has since mysteriously vanished. This stone inscription, so it is said, proclaims Kapileswar to be the birthplace of the Buddha. This claim runs counter to all established theories, since Nepal is generally accepted to be the birthplace of the Buddha.

In searching for the lost inscription, Freeman and Pandey make an unexpected and significant discovery. The villagers of Kapileswar have created a new myth about the Buddha’s birth and a new ritual based on this myth. ‘The Myth of the Buddha’s Birthplace’ shows how a modern myth has been created and answers the questions of the authenticity of the Kapileswar stone inscription and the credibility of the Kapileswar birthplace claim."-Source: http://iifftampa.com/movies/mythabout/ 

Ram Krishna Shrestha, Global Coordinator of Lumbini Kapilvastu Day Campaign has suggested me to contact Mr. Bijay Kumar Dhakal along with other few people who are actively campaigning in spreading the truth about and promoting the birth place of Buddha, Lumbini in Nepal. 

I am quite impressed with his thought who shared about Lumbini and other national prides and symbols of Nepal in the meeting as well as in the facebook group written with the titled "HUNGER NO LONGER" that stated as follows:

Some time I think why we have not a small taste of development in Nation either sufficient resources or nature presents/gift. Nepal is one of the well known country with having own history as nation in the world. Here are living heritage as LUMBINI (where Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbin, Nepal). Pashupati nath (The Father of Universe). Janaki temple in Janakpur (where mother Sita was born in Janakpur, Dhanusha, Nepal) and Highest peak of the world is Mount Everest in Nepal. And we are 2nd richest country for hydro resources (first is Brazil) in the world.
LUMBINI:- LUMBINI is a best and holiest place for entire Buddhist and Buddha believers in the world and the world have 1 Billion Buddhist. LUMBINI is the place to visit a dream for entire Buddhist and believers as other pilgrimage of religion (Jerusalem for Christian, Mecca for Muslim and Pashupatinath for Hindu). Nepal has highly potential for 10 million tourist to visit Lumbin each year (1% of total Buddhist population). And the hope of development is looking here to change the western Terrain belt and looking hope to make cheery chick of Shrunken face/ Mouth and stomach. Western belt is passing their life in big hunger problem and they never may thought for good food, good wearing and good living. Always they are surrounded by poverty and poorness. Some where they are practical and familiar looking with that scarcity because they have no ideal what is the real life and real world.

We could not change their direct life but we could generate the resources for their basic and fundamental change. And LUMBINI is the great way for a small development for whole nation by bringing 10 millions pilgrims/tourist from Buddhist Community and believers. This will change to our neighbor country and their citizen life too.

Pashupathi Nath:- God Shiva is known as father of Universe and entire Hindu and believers have a dream to visit Pashupathi Nath one time in life and the Pashupati Nath foundation have to home work for 5 million pilgrim/tourist to bring from entire Hindu Community and believers each year. 5 million tourists may change city life and Development very broadly.

Janaki Temple: Janaki temple is a place where mother Sita (Ram's Wife) has bron in Janakpur, Nepal. And Janakpur has very old history as Hindu beliefs. Janaki temple is well known as heritage in the world for entire Global Hindu citizen and could be potential for Hindu Pilgrims/tourist 5 million each year and it's plenty for eastern development and changing the life with peace from war. Unemployment is a major cause to create violent and very uncertainty environment everywhere. Peace is sign of prosperity and prosperity is a way of peace. And development is a key for all changing and happiness. Please do not watch the face of Government just you start from your point and sharing small time for changing your place because you are maker of the world.

Mount Everest: Mount Everest is a proud for world as highest peak and is increasing as a dream to visit by Global Citizens. Mount Everest is a peak where we could not reach without basic training and exercises (6 month to 1 year). Even though we have to pay a huge amount of sum to Nepal Government/ authority as excise for climbing on Mount Everest but for visit ( from distance) you can save money and time and could take charms of Mount Everest . we could see the peak from eastern belt of Nepal (if not possible to climb) and much tourist wants to see lively and we have to inform correctly and properly about season to visit for seen sight and area by Nepal Government.

Hydro:- Nepal is 2nd largest county for hydro resources (first is Brazil). This is great gift by nature but some where the gift of nature is turning as curse for SAARC (South Asia Association of Regional Co-operation) country. Nepal has basic power/capacity to supply approximately 25% electricity to the SAARC and SAARC have 19% population of the Globe. This is highly potential reason which could benefit to the world for many developments because we are chained among each to all. But here is 14 hours load shedding/power cuts full length of year whether support for development to the world. Local and International community has to be aware about the possibility that where is the potential of development and produce it to demanding community / world. Because this is not waste of a nation this is the waste for entire Globe.

We always crying for development and changing the nation to the government but when coming the turns to us then showing back and making disappear by self. We should have to sacrifice just small nature that is self centered and self benefit thought. Need to be in chain and little produce positive though for nation. Please do not use the word "what nation gives you" thought to make "what you gave to nation". The Nation could be changed within 10 to 15 years if we produce attention for resources by changing self and friend's thought. PRACTICE FOR BUILDING THE NATION.

Bijay Kumar Dhakal

Great Learning from the Eastern or Chinese philosophy

I am always fond of learning eastern and western philosophy because our way of thinkings and perceiving things are completely different since our school of thoughts and guiding principles in our lives are different. We, eastern values collective actions and life whereas western values individualist action and life.

However, even in the eastern world there is an influence from Indian and Chinese philosophies. We Nepalese have been much influence from Indian philosophical thoughts. We, Nepalese believe that 8 and 12 numbers are bad luck (8, 12 Pirhaa, for example when at 8 months baby are born we consider that it not good :( because of our superstitious belief ) BUT Chinese believe that 8 number is auspicious and they are ready to pay millions and millions $$$ to buy a car, house, property, etc that has 8 number. 

It is evident that there is no absolute truth in this world since there is nothing static in this universe, everything is changing and keep moving since earth itself is moving 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and  so on. A thing that someone consider true might not be true to other. For example, day becomes night and night becomes day and likewise water, liquid can be ice, solid or gas and vice verse.

So to establish peace and harmony in this universe first we must understand that we each of us are unique and the way we think is also completely different cause we are living in two time different zones-east and west. If we learn to respect individual different then harmony and peace might be able to created in this universe. Otherwise, conflict will be continued till the human beings remain in this universe. 

At the age of around 23 when I first time with campus friends came to Kathmandu unknowingly my hand went to catch "Yin and Yang" symbol ear ring because I like its symbol but actually I didn't know its real meaning. Many year after I explored about it and came to know that it is a Chinese Philosopher of Buddha, Plato, Socrates and Confucius time, Lao Tzu created symbol that has deeper meaning of dynamic force in the universe and human life that is governing it. 

About "Yin and Yang" Famous Chinese symbol and its meaning!!!

Yin and Yang are famous symbols of the Tao & Taoism. They are the dynamic force of the Tao, constantly interacting with one another

Yin and Yang characteristics
Yin:
Nature: Famine, passive, receives, soft, dark
Symbols: Moon, Tiger, North
Color: Black
Number: Even (Jodi number)

Original Meaning: North side of a hill (i.e. away from the sun)

Yang:
Nature: Masculine, active, creates, hard, bright
Symbols: Sun, Dragon, South
Color: Red
Number: Odd (Bijodi number)
Original Meaning: South side of a hill (i.e. facing the sun) 
"Fame, wealth, power and being number 1 are costly (for your humanity) to obtain, impossible to keep."- Lao Tzu , Chinese Philosopher 
Eastern, Western Thinking as per Taoist Logic 
The Tao makes an interesting focus point for a discussion of Eastern and Western  ways of thinking.  To summarise 2,500 years of thinking into 2 sentences:
1. The History
Greek and especially Socratic ideas were passed on to the early Christian Church and thereafter both strongly influenced the development of Western thinking and value systems.  Meanwhile in the East, Chinese and Indian philosophy created a slightly different way of seeing life. 

2. Subtle Difference
These differences are often overemphasised.  For example, have you heard of a  country where ordinary people didn't want to be rich, didn't try to prove their point in an argument or try to look fashionable, (whatever that meant for their peer group)? 
Nevertheless, broadly speaking, Western society strives to find "the truth", while Eastern society is more interested in balance.  Westerners put more stock in individual rights; Easterners in social responsibility.


The symbol of the Tao (above) is an affront to the idea of truth in the common Western way of thinking.  White lies inside black, black inside white.  They are part of one another, constantly changing (indicated by the swirling shape), interdependent.   There is no clear truth and therefore opinions have little value.
A Western version might look more like this: White circle - black circle.  Static, separate.  It is hard to say how much Eastern thinking was influenced by the Tao and how much the Tao was a product of a pre-existing thought.

Science
In the last 40 years, scientists  have become increasingly aware of the idea of uncertainty.  Chaos Theory, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Fuzzy Logic all  helped destroy the earlier mechanistic view of the universe, that God created a universe that ran on tightly define principles that could be measured and predicted by science.

Rider
Generalisations are necessarily inaccurate for individuals.  Eastern countries and people don't all think alike anymore than Western people do.  Modern communication has eroded both ways considerably, so the above generalisations are increasing invalid.


Reference
1. About the Tao, accessed on 25 Oct 2012 http://www.thetao.info/tao/index.htm







Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Need to learn with Jewish community healthy food habit


Nepalese need to learn with Jewish community to use mind intelligently eating food healthy without any contamination of germs/impurity!

Interesting, Jews comprise only 0.2% of the world's population, over 20% of Nobel Prize laureates have been Jewish, with multiple winners in each field.

Foods restriction:
- Jewish people eat only certified 'kosher' (clean, fit or proper) food or food made in the 'right' way.
- Certain foods, notably pork, or shellfish like crabs or lobsters are forbidden;
- Meat and dairy must not be combined at the same time;
- Meat must be ritually slaughtered and salted to remove all blood/entirely drained of blood.
- They have different knives, forks, plates, and pans for meat and dairy foods.

Why Kosher Meat Is a Healthier Alternative? Learn from Naturalnews http://www.naturalnews.com/022446_kosher_meat_foods.html

Famous Jewish People in the world
1. Moses
2. Jesus
3. Baruch Spinoza
4. Albert Einstein
5. Marc Chagall
6. Leonard Bernstein
7. Alan Greenspan
8. Elizabeth Taylor
9. Woody Allen-- Film Maker/Actor: Annie Hall, Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Antz

Scientists:
1. Albert Einstein- One of the most famous & influential scientists since Isaac Newton
2. Carl Sagan-astronomer & popular science author; made book & TV series 'Cosmos'
3. Niels Bohr -- Nobel prize-winning Physicist: atomic structure
4. Roald Hoffmann -- Nobel prize winner in Chemistry: field of electronic structures
5. Fritz Haber- winner of the Nobel Prize of Chemistry in 1918, for the synthesis of ammonia from its elements
6. Edward Teller -- Physicist, father of the hydrogen bomb
7. Leo Szilard -- Physicist, proved the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction in 1933.
8. Jonas Salk -- Developed the first polio vaccine.

Business Professionals:
1. Milton Hershey -- Hershey's Chocolate founder
2. Michael Dell -- Founder of Dell Computer
3. Larry Ellison -- Founder and CEO of Oracle
4. Alan Greenspan -- Federal Reserve Chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush
5. Steve Ballmer -- CEO of Microsoft and the richest Jew in the world
6. Sir James Goldsmith- financier & banker who amongst others has taken over Goodyear.
7. George Soros- millionaire philanthropist who has donated millions to aid Eastern Europe.
8. Bernard Madoff -- American financier convicted of operating a Ponzi scheme that resulted in the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person.

Fashion designers:
1. Calvin Klein -- Famous Clothes Designer
2. Ralph Lauren -- (Ralph Lipshitz) world famous fashion designer
3. Levi Strauss -- Inventor of Blue Jeans
4. Kenneth Cole -- Fashion Designer who's married to Mario Cuomo's daughter

Nepalese youths interest in Politics


It is really surprising to learn that compared to the western world students and Nepalese youths and people are much more interested in political parties politics rather than general public businesses and issues. I have realized this while I was studying in Australia. I noticed that in Australia students are more concerned to their own fellow students issues relating to study and also do student union without carrying political parties political flags and ideologies. 
I don't know whether it is fortunate or unfortunate for the nation to have young people and students having interest in political parties interest. 
"In Nepal there is a considerably large youth base interested and willing to get involved in politics and civil service, but they’re struggling with just how that might be done. Young people may have this idea that they have to become parliamentarians to enter politics, but much more valuable participation is needed.

Young, competent, honest Nepalis must choose to be a part of the political process and contribute their perspective, talents and ethics as civil servants, politicians, local administrators and such. It’s relatively easy to stand outside a building and shout, or gather signatures for a petition, or organize a sit-in. Again, make no mistake, these actions are needed. But what’s also needed is for Nepali youth to roll up their sleeves and pitch in, and participate “inside” the political and governance systems and institutions. As painful and distasteful as that may seem to some, this is the only way of closing the trust gap and enabling change." Source: http://nepal.usaid.gov/component/content/article/84-directors-desk/591-nepali-youth-and-the-political-process-from-the-inside-as-well-as-outside-.html

And due to the large number of population are under the poverty line (31%) and living in rural Nepal (83%) huge number of youths and people are influence with the communist/socialist political ideologies that's why either they are affiliated with Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and their different students and other wings. So, it might be wise form them to learn how they can rise or success in their political career. Here is a lesson to be learn from Chinese Communist Party.

Almost all will be career politicians who have risen through the ranks. But what are the secrets of success in one of the world's most rigid authoritarian systems?

1. Start young
In 2011, 22 million people applied and only 3m were accepted. Overall membership rose slightly to 83 million, making it arguably the largest private club in the world.

People want to join for different reasons. Membership brings high status and significant privileges, like access to restricted information, government jobs and a chance to meet people who can help your job prospects. For others, joining is about sacrifice and wanting to contribute to China's future.

2. Choose your faction
3. Study morality
4. Don't flaunt it
5. Be male
6. Don't stand out
7. Work somewhere poor
8. Be ruthless

Learn detail about this points from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19876372

The Theory of US Government: Do or Die!!

The theory of US government is "if you do whatever we said and follow our secret lie then you'll survive. Otherwise, you've to die or face sentence like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi', Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, etc." 

Appreciated the theory of US government!!! Don't worry you'll be also punished one-day by nature. You can't be the king all the time. Your days will also certainly come one day because of your BAD KARMA (ill intention and deeds to innocent people of this world).  The theory of Kamma (Karma) is the universal truth. If some would like to know more about it then study more on this. No one can escape from karmic Results - good or bad.. does not matter!!!


Gerald Kertsch from Germany in our facebook discussion about the topic said "And 97% Of People Do NOT Know that 'Al Qaeda' Is NOT a political or religious group but a 'Database' created by the CIA of all the people they trained back in the early 80s when Russia invaded Afghanistan. Al Qaeda literally means 'Database'. Ronald Reagan, in 1985 said about this group, the Taliban: "These gentleman are the moral equivalents of America`s Founding Fathers."

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Gateway to success: Clear vision, Patience, Perseverance and Positive Attitude


Simple living high thinking Nepali man with No Lapan Chhapan (cheating) became a billionaire after 38 years with NRs 400/- investment in 2031 B.S. to start small grocery store! It has proven that there is no quick fix strategies and hard work with clear vision, honesty, determination, patience, perseverance and positive thinking are must to be succeeded in any initiative in our lives!

Min Bahadur Gurung, Bhatbhateni Supermarkets owner on Fireside dated Oct 8 2012

Mr. Gurung who came for the first time from Khotang district to Kathmandu with NRs. 400 in 2031 B.S started Bhatbhateni departmental store in 2041 B.S with NRs 35,000. Today Mr. Gurung is owner of Bhatbhateni superstore and according to him, the superstore made sales of NRs 5 billion on previous year. Bhatbhateni has six branches today and has been providing jobs to more than 2000 people. It is also one of the highest tax paying company in Nepal. He said from this 6 stores will make 36 other stores. 

With money comes responsibility, so Min Bahadur Gurung has built emergency building in Tribhuwan University Institute of Medicine, Teaching Hospital Maharajgunj on the name of his parents on NRs 100 million. Similarly he has also established scholarship to students from remote areas of Nepal to study MBBS at Patan Academy of Health Sciences. Each year he supports for one student for 5 years that accounts NRs. 35 lakhs per students. 

The interview was very much inspiring and told story about life of Min Bahadur Gurung.  
To listen his interview visit at http://videosanjal.com/videos/fireside-8th-oct-2012

Increasing Nepalese women participation in the decision-making is just a show off!!!

Increasing women participation and involvement in different sectors of decision making in Nepal is just becoming a luring agenda to everyone, especially government of Nepal including those who are involving in the process of women empowerment and ensuring women's rights.

I just wonder in what extent our feminist or women rights activists agree on this statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Deputy Chief of Mission of Nepal at the United Nations in New York Sewa Lamsal Adhikari? I'm bit skeptical in this matter because he said "increase women proportion of their involvement at all levels of decision-making." I don't think so because that 33% involvement of women is not practice at all levels of decision-making and  Mr Dinesh Tripathi, a Supreme Court Advocate and Constitutional and Human Rights Expert in Nepal also asserted that women participation as per proportion basis has not practice as claimed by the government of Nepal and women participation at the decision-making level is just for the show off and an agenda of the government of Nepal. He asserted in his article titled "महिला सहभागिता देखावटी मात्रै" that women' don't have any voice at the decision-making level [1].


“Following the political change of 2006, concrete steps have been taken to empower women and increase the proportion of their involvement at all levels of decision-making,” said Adhikari while addressing the Third Committee of the sixty-seventh session of the UN General Assembly on Agenda item 28 Advancement of Women on Wednesday.

“Several important policies and strategies have been put in place and legislations enacted with a view to empowering women, advancing gender equality and prohibiting violence and discrimination against women.”

Saying that the Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 has for the first time in the history envisaged equal rights to women without discrimination, Adhikari informed that the directive principles and policies of the State as enshrined in the Constitution have explicitly underscored women’s participation on the basis of proportionate inclusion which provides for special measures for education, health care and employment for women and the girl child. Gender equality and social inclusion policy, 2010 is being implemented to ensure gender mainstreaming and elimination of discrimination in all aspects of life.

Nepal has made gender–based violence punishable by law, and since 2010 instituted a fund towards controlling gender-based violence more effectively. The Domestic Violence (Crime and Punishment) Act, 2009 and Domestic Violence Regulation, 2010 form the basis for curbing violence against women, stated Adhikari.

“A high level monitoring mechanism in this regard has also been in place. Nepal has been successfully implementing a national plan of action for UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820.”

“Nepal has recently brought out a five-year National Strategy and Plan of Action to end gender-based violence and ensuring empowerment.”

Adhikari further opined that Nepal is committed to the full and effective implementation of the various international instruments on gender equality and women empowerment, particularly the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.

“At the regional level, Nepal has ratified the SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution, 2002. Necessary enabling legislations and the subsequent action plan are in place to implement the convention.”

While saying that there is a growing concern for the safety of women in some cases in foreign employment, which we are making efforts to deal with, Adhikari said that there should be coordinated and concerted efforts at the national, regional and international levels to combat violence against women migrant workers and to protect their rights.

Mr. Sewa Lamsal Adhikari even didn't feel shame to share in the international forum claiming that there is an increase of women in the proportion of their involvement at all levels of decision-making!!!

Reference
1. Tripathi, D. 2012. "महिला सहभागिता देखावटी मात्रै"  published in 12 Oct 2012 at http://kankrebihardaily.com/np/?p=7819
2. The Himalayan Times, 2012 "Women empowerment Nepal's top devp agenda" published on 18 Oct 2012 at
http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=%27Women+empowerment+Nepal%27s+top+devp+agenda%27&NewsID=351390

Third Eye Opener to all those who believe on logical and scientific thinking rather than religious dogma!!!!!

I am very much caution with religious people because their ideology is driven by religious doctrine and dogma and don't want to hear, listen and understand the logics, natural law and scientific thinking based on the quantum mechanics and physics including spirituality.
Our country, Nepal has been ruined by the imposition of religious doctrine such as the Law of Manu (Manusmriti) incorporating in our code of conducts, Manab Nyaya Sasthra developed in 14th century and Muluki Ain in 1854 by our past and present rulers.  Though I'm a Buddhist by birth I believe in humanistic and rationalist religion because I value equality, humanity, freedom, fraternity, justice, peace and natural law.

I found the article titled "Why I Am Not a Hindu?" written by Professor Ramendra Nath, an India Philosopher, which has helped me to open my third eyes though I have been reading some books and articles relating to Hindu religion such as the Law of Manu.
"I categorically reject major Hindu religious beliefs including the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas, varnashram dharma , moksha, karmavada, and avatarvada. I am not an admirer of Ram and Krishna, and I also do not believe in idol worship or the Hindu taboo of not eating beef. I support logical and scientific thinking; and a secular, rational morality based on human values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Therefore, I am not a Hindu by conviction, though I am a Hindu by birth."
-Professor Ramendra Nath, an Indian philosopher, Reader and Head of the Department of Philosophy at Patna College, Patna University.

The Meaning of "Hindu"

The word "Hindu" is a much-abused word in the sense that it has been used to mean different things at different times. For example, some people even now, at least some times, use the word "Hindu" as a synonym for "Indian". In this sense of the term, I am certainly a "Hindu" because I do not deny being an Indian. However, I do not think that this a proper use of the term "Hindu". There are many Indians such as Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians as well as rationalists, humanists and atheists who do not call themselves "Hindu" and also do not like to be described as such. It is certainly not fair to convert them into Hinduism by giving an elastic definition of the term "Hindu". Besides, it is also not advisable to use the word "Hindu" in this sense from the point of view of clarity. The word "Hindu" may have been used in the beginning as a synonym for "Indian" [1], but, at present, the word is used for people with certain definite religious beliefs. The word "Hindu" belongs to the category of words like "Muslim", "Christian", "Buddhist" and "Jain" and not to the category of words like "American", "British", "Australian", "Chinese" or "Japanese". There are, in fact, many Indians who are not Hindus, and on the other hand, there are many Hindus who are not Indians, for example, those who are citizens of Nepal, Sri Lanka and some other countries.

In the religious sense, the word, "Hindu" is often used broadly to include Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in addition to those who are described as "Hindu" in this most restricted sense of the term, that is, the adherents of Vedic or Brahmin religion. For example, the expression "Hindu" is used in the Hindu law not only for those who are Hindu by religion but also for persons who are Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs by religion. This, again, is too broad a definition of "Hindu". If we consistently use the word "Hindu" in this sense, we will have to say that Japan is a Hindu country!

The above definition of "Hindu" is clearly inadequate from a philosophical point of view. Buddhism and Jainism, for instance, explicitly reject the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas and the system of varna-vyavastha, which are fundamental to Hinduism, that is, if the term "Hinduism" is used in its most restricted sense. Therefore, clubbing together Buddhists and Jains or even Sikhs with those who believe in the infallibility of the Vedas and subscribe to the varna-vyavastha is nothing but an invitation to confusion.

Though I agree with Buddhism in its rejection of god, soul, infallibility of the Vedas and the varna-vyavastha, still I am not a Hindu even in this broad sense of the term "Hindu", because as a rationalist and humanist I reject all religions including Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. However, in this essay I am concerned with explaining why I am not a Hindu in the most appropriate sense of the term "Hindu", that is, the sense in which a person is a Hindu if his religion is Hinduism in the restricted sense of the term " Hinduism". In this restricted sense of "Hinduism", Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are excluded from its scope. I also maintain that this is, at present, probably the most popular sense of the term, and every body should, in the interest of clarity, confine its use, as far as possible, to this sense only, at least in philosophical discourse.

Radhakrishnan, for example, has used the term "Hindu" and "Hinduism" in this restricted sense when he says in his The Hindu View of Life that, "The chief sacred scriptures of Hindus, the Vedas register the intuitions of the perfected souls." [2] Or, when he says that "Hinduism is the religion not only of the Vedas but of the Epics and the Puranas." [3] 

Basic Beliefs of Hinduism

Gandhi, too, has used the term "Hindu" in this restricted sense, when writing in Young India in October, 1921, he says:
I call myself a sanatani Hindu, because,
  1. I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth.
  2. I believe in the Varnashram dharma in a sense in my opinion strictly Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense.
  3. I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than the popular.
  4. I do not disbelieve in idol-worship. [4]
One may be tempted to ask, at this point, whether all the beliefs listed by Gandhi are really fundamental to Hinduism. In my opinion, (I) the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas and (II) the belief in the varnashram dharma are more basic to Hinduism than the belief in cow-protection and idol-worship. [5] Though it cannot be denied that, in spite of attempts by reformers like Kabir, Rammohan Roy and Dayanand Saraswati, idol-worship is still practiced widely by the Hindu masses, and there is, at present, a taboo on eating beef among a large number of Hindus. In any case, I am in a position to establish the fact of my not being a Hindu by asserting the contradictory of each of the above statements made by Gandhi:
In other words, I assert that I am not a Hindu, because,
  1. I do not believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth.
  2. I do not believe in the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either in the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense.
  3. I do not believe in the Hindu taboo of not eating beef.
  4. I disbelieve in idol-worship.
However, while explaining why I am not a Hindu, I will concentrate mainly on (I) the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas, and (II) the varnashram dharma , which I consider more fundamental to Hinduism. Besides, in the concluding section of the essay, I will briefly discuss moksha, which is regarded as the highest end of life in Hinduism, and some other Hindu doctrines like karmavada and avatarvada.

The infallibility of the Vedas

First of all, let me explain what do I mean by saying that "I do not believe in the Vedas", and why I do not do so.

The schools of ancient Indian thought are generally classified by orthodox Hindu thinkers into two broad categories, namely, orthodox ( astika) and heterodox ( nastika). The six main Hindu systems of thought -- Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika -- are regarded as orthodox ( astika), not because they believe in the existence of god, but because they accept the authority of the Vedas. [6]

Out of the six orthodox systems of Hindu thought, Nyaya system is primarily concerned with the conditions of correct thinking and the means of acquiring true knowledge. According to Nyaya system, there are four distinct and separate sources of knowledge, namely, (i) perception (ii) inference (iii) comparison, and (iv) testimony or shabda.

Shabda, which is defined in the Nyaya system as "valid verbal testimony" is further classified into (i) the scriptural ( vaidika), and (ii) the secular ( laukika). Vaidika or scriptural testimony is believed to be the word of god, and therefore, it is regarded as perfect and infallible.[7]

Mimamsa or Purva Mimamsa, another orthodox Hindu system is "the outcome of the ritualistic side of the vedic culture". However, in its attempt to justify the authority of the Vedas, Mimamsa elaborately discusses different sources of valid knowledge. Naturally enough, among the various "sources of valid knowledge", Mimamsa pays greatest attention to testimony or authority, which, too, is regarded by it as a valid source of knowledge. There are, according to Mimamsa, two kinds of authority -- personal ( paurusheya) and impersonal ( apaurusheya). The authority of the Vedas is regarded by Mimamsa as impersonal. [8]

As mentioned earlier, according to Nyaya, the authority of the Vedas is derived from their being the words of god. But Mimamsa, which does not believe in the existence of god, declares that the Vedas like the world, are eternal. They are not the work of any person, human or divine. The infallibility of the authority of the Vedas, according to Mimamsa, rests on the "fact" that they are not vitiated by any defect to which the work of imperfect persons is liable. [9]

Thus, orthodox Hindu schools like Nyaya and Mimamsa regard the testimony of the Vedas as infallible, though they give different reasons for doing so. Well-known orthodox Hindu theologians like Shankar and Ramanuja believed in the authority of the Vedas. Manusmriti, too, upholds the infallibility of the Vedas. As pointed out by S.N.Dasgupta, "The validity and authority of the Vedas were acknowledged by all Hindu writers and they had wordy battles over it with the Buddhists who denied it." [10]

The point worth noting is that though popularly Hinduism is a theistic religion, it is not essential to believe in the existence of god for being an orthodox Hindu -- belief in the authority of the Vedas is more important.

When I say, "I do not believe in the Vedas", what I mean is that I do not regard the testimony of the Vedas as a valid source of knowledge. In other words when I say, "I do not believe in the Vedas", I do not mean that each and every proposition contained in the Vedas is false. It is quite possible that one may find a few true statements in the Vedas after great amount of patient research. But I assert that the truth or the falsity of a proposition is logically independent of its being contained or not contained in the Vedas. A proposition is true if there is a correspondence between the belief expressed by it and the facts. Otherwise, it is false. So, a proposition contained in the Vedas might be true, that is, if there is a correspondence between the belief expressed by it and the facts, but it is, I insist, not true because it is contained in the Vedas. I categorically reject as invalid every argument of the form: "The proposition P is contained in the Vedas. Therefore, the proposition P is true".

Besides, I also assert that some propositions contained in the Vedas are certainly false. For example, according to Purusha-Sukta of Rig Veda , Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras originated respectively from the mouth, hands, thighs and feet of the purusha or the creator. I categorically reject this statement as false. I maintain that varna-vyavastha is a man-made social institution and it has nothing to do with the alleged creator of this world.

I also reject both the reasons put forward in support of the infallibility of the Vedas. I neither regard them to be "the words of god" nor I consider them to be eternal and impersonal. I believe that Vedas were conceived, spoken and written by human beings. The question of their being "words of god" simply does not arise, because there are no good reasons for believing in the existence of god. The existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent god is totally inconsistent with the presence of suffering and evil in this world. It is impossible for god to exist. [11]

Similarly, Vedas could not have come into existence before human beings appeared on this earth, and before Sanskrit language came into existence. And there are no good reasons for believing that Sanskrit language came into existence even before human beings appeared on this earth!

As far as Gandhi is concerned, though he liked to describe himself as a sanatani Hindu, he was, in fact, not a completely orthodox Hindu. For example, in the article quoted earlier in this essay Gandhi goes on to add, "I do not believe in the exclusive divinity of the Vedas. I believe the Bible, the Koran, and the Zend-Avesta to be as much divinely inspired as the Vedas. My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired, I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned in may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense. "[12](emphasis mine)

I seriously doubt that this position will be acceptable to an orthodox Hindu. In fact, Gandhi's position comes very close to that of rationalists and humanists when he says that "I decline to be bound by any interpretation however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to reason and moral sense". However, since he refused to say in so many words that he did not believe in the authority of the Vedas, Gandhi may be described, in my opinion, as a liberal Hindu with an eclectic approach towards religion. On the other hand, my position is radically different from that of Gandhi, because I do not consider either the Vedas or the Bible, the Koran and Zend-Avesta or any other book to be divinely inspired.

Varna-vyavastha

Before discussing varna-vyavastha or varnashram dharma, let me clarify in the very beginning that I am not interested in giving my own interpretation of what varna-vyavastha is or ought to be in its ideal form. I am interested, firstly, in giving an objective exposition of varna-vyavastha as contained in recognized Hindu scriptures like Vedas and dharmashastras like Manusmriti; and secondly, in mentioning my reasons for rejecting varna-vyavastha. In doing so I will concentrate on the chaturvarnya (four-fold division of society) aspect of varna-vyavastha.

We have already noted that the first reference to varna (class based on birth or caste) is to be found in the Purusha-Sukta of the Rig Veda . The reference to the four ashrams or stages of life, namely, Brahmcharya, Garhastya, Vanprashta and Sanyas is to be found in the Upanishads. These are, in their turn, related to the four purusarthas or ends of life, namely, dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama (satisfaction of sensual desires) and moksha (liberation). Out of these, the Upanishads attach maximum value to sanyas ashram and moksha purusartha, which is regarded as the highest end of life. [13]

The system of varnashram dharma is upheld by popular Hindu scriptures like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvat-Gita. In Ramayana, for example, Ram kills Shambuka simply because he was performing tapasya (ascetic exercises) which he was not supposed to do as he was a Shudra by birth. [14]

Similarly, in Mahabharata, Dronacharya refuses to teach archery to Eklavya, because he was not a Kshatriya by birth. When Eklavya, treating Drona as his notional guru, learns archery on his own, Drona makes him cut his right thumb as gurudakshina (gift for the teacher) so that he may not become a better archer than his favorite Kshatriya student Arjuna!

The much-glorified Bhagvat-Gita, too, favors varna-vyavastha.[15] When Arjuna refuses to fight, one of his main worries was that the war would lead to the birth of varna-sankaras or offspring from intermixing of different varnas and the consequent "downfall" of the family. [16] On the other hand, Krishna tries to motivate Arjuna to fight by saying that it was his varna-dharma (caste-duty) to do so because he was a Kshatriya. In fact, Krishna goes to the extent of claiming that the four varnas were created by him only. [17] Thus, Arjuna's main problem was being born a Kshatriya. Had he been a Brahmin or a Vaishya or a Shudra by birth, he would have been spared the trouble of fighting a destructive war. Even the much-applauded doctrine of niskama karma is nothing but an exhortation to faithfully perform one's varnashram dharma in a disinterested manner. [18]

The celebrated orthodox Hindu theologian Shankar, too, was a supporter of varna-vyavastha. According to him, Shudras are not entitled to philosophical knowledge. [19] However, the most elaborate exposition of varnashram dharma is to be found in Manusmriti, an important dharmashastra of Hindus. Let us turn to it in order to have a close look at the varna-vyavastha.

Manusmriti

In the very first chapter of Manusmriti, it is clearly stated that Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras were created by Brahma (creator of this world) from his mouth, hands, thighs and feet respectively. [20]

Manu claims that the same Brahma, who created this world, also created Manusmriti and taught it to him. [21]

The duties of the different varnas are also mentioned in the Manusmriti. The Brahmins were created for teaching, studying, performing yajnas (ceremonial sacrifices), getting yajnas performed, giving and accepting dan (gifts).[22] The Kshatriyas were created for protecting the citizens, giving gifts, getting yajnas performed and studying. [23] The Vaishyas were created for protecting animals, giving gifts, getting yajnas performed, studying, trading, lending money on interest and doing agricultural work. [24] The Shudras were created by Brahma for serving Brahmins and the other two varnas without being critical of them. [25]
It is interesting to note that studying, getting yajnas performed and giving gifts or charity are common duties of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas; whereas teaching, accepting gifts and performing yajnas are reserved exclusively for Brahmins. The Shudras, of course, are denied the rights to study, getting yajnas performed by Brahmins or even giving gifts to them.

Manusmriti further states that having originated from the mouth of Brahma, being elder and being the repository of the Vedas; Brahmins are the masters of the entire universe. [26] Besides, Brahmins alone act as a sort of post office for transmitting food to the gods and the dead, that is to say, the gods and the dead eat food through the mouths of Brahmins (apparently because they do not have mouths of their own). Therefore, no one can be superior to Brahmins.[27] All others are said to enjoy everything owing to the Brahmins' mercy.[28] The Manusmriti clearly states that Brahmins alone are entitled to teach this dharmashastra and none else. [29]

Manusmriti refers to the Vedas, which are to be regarded as the main valid source of knowledge about dharma, as shruti and to dharmashastras as smriti. No one is to argue critically about them because religion has originated from them. [30] Any nastika (non-believer) or critic of the Vedas, who "insults" them on the basis of logic, is worthy of being socially boycotted by "noble" persons. [31]

In short, the main features of chaturvarnya as elaborated in the Manusmriti are as follows:
1. Division of Hindu society into four varnas on the basis of birth. Out of these only the first three, namely , Brahmins , Kshatriya and Vaishya, who are collectively known as dwija (twice-born) are entitled to upanayan and the study of the Vedas. Shudras as well as women of dwija varnas are denied the right to study.

2. Assigning different duties and occupations for different varnas. This is to be enforced strictly by the king. [32] According to Manusmriti, if a person of lower caste adopts the occupation of a higher caste, the king ought to deprive him of all his property and expel him from his kingdom. [33]

3. Treating Brahmins as superior and other varnas, namely, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra as inferior to him in descending order with the Shudra occupying the bottom of the hierarchy. A Brahmin is to be treated as god and respected even if he is ignorant. Even a hundred-year old Kshatriya is to treat a ten year old Brahmin as his father. [34] Brahmin alone is entitled to teach. If a Shudra dares to give moral lessons to a Brahmin, the king is to get him punished by pouring hot oil in his ear and mouth. [35] Similarly, if a Shudra occupies the same seat as a Brahmin, he is to be punished by branding his waist (with hot rod) or getting his buttocks cut! [36]

4. Treating women as unequal. Women, that is, even women belonging to Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya varna are not entitled to upanayan and the study of the Vedas. For them, marriage is equivalent to upanayan and service of their husbands is equivalent to the study of the Vedas in the gurukul.[37] Even if the husband is morally degraded, engaged in an affair with another woman and is devoid of knowledge and other qualities, the wife must treat him like a god. [38] A widower is allowed to remarry but a widow is not. [39] Besides, women are not considered fit for being free and independent. They are to be protected in their childhood by father, in youth by husband and in old age by son. [40] They should never be allowed by their guardians to act independently. [41] A woman must never do anything even inside her home without the consent of her father, husband and son respectively. [42] She must remain in control of her father in childhood, of husband in youth and of son after the death of her husband. [43]

5. Treating different varnas as unequal for legal purposes. The Hindu law as codified by Manu is based on the principle of inequality. The punishment for a particular crime is not same for all varnas. In fact, the punishment varies depending on the varna of the victim as well as the varna of the person committing the crime. For the same crime, the Brahmin is to be given a mild punishment, whereas the Shudra is to given the harshest punishment of all. Similarly, if the victim of a crime is a Shudra, the punishment is mild, and the punishment is harsh in case the victim is a Brahmin. For example, if a Brahmin is awarded death sentence, it is sufficient to shave his head, but Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra are to actually die. [44] If a Kshatriya, a Vaishya, or a Shudra repeatedly gives false evidence in the court, he is to be punished and expelled from the kingdom, whereas the Brahmin is not to be punished, he is to be only expelled. [45] If a person has sexual intercourse with a consenting women of his own varna, he is not to be punished. [46] But if a person of lower varna has sexual intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent, he is to be killed. [47] If a Brahmin forces a dwija to work for him, he is to be punished. [48] But if a Brahmin forces a Shudra to work for him, whether by making or not making payments to him, he is not to be punished, because Shudras have been created only for serving Brahmins.[49] If a Brahmin abuses a Shudra, he is to be fined mildly, [50] but if a Shudra abuses a Brahmin, he is to be killed. [51] On the other hand, even if a Brahmin kills a Shudra, he is merely to perform penance by killing a cat, frog, owl or crow, etc. [52] Thus a Shudra is to be killed for abusing a Brahmin, whereas a Brahmin is to be let off lightly even if he kills a Shudra. Such is the unequal justice of Manusmriti.

In fact, this system of graded inequality seems to be the very essence of the varna-vyavastha. Whether it is the choice of names, [53] or the manner of greeting, [54] or the mode of entertaining guests, [55] or the method of administering oath in the court, [56] or the process of taking out the funeral procession, [57] at each and every step in life, from birth to death, this system of graded inequality is to be applied and observed. Manu does not even spare the rates of interest on loan. For borrowing the same amount, Kshatriya has to pay more as interest than Brahmin, Vaishya more than Kshatriya and the poor Shudra has to pay the maximum amount as interest! [58]

6. Prohibiting inter-marriage between different varnas. According to Manusmriti, a dwija ought to marry a woman of his own varna.[59] A woman of the same varna is considered best for the first marriage. However, a dwija may take a woman of inferior varna as his second wife if he is overcome by sexual passion. [60]   But Manu strongly disapproves of Brahmins and Kshatriyas taking a Shudra woman even as their second wife. They become Shudra if they do so. [61] 

7. Supporting untouchability is also a part of the scheme of social stratification outlined in the Manusmriti. Manu clearly mentions that Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya, collectively known as dwija and the Shudras are the four varnas. There is no fifth varna.[62] He explains the origin of other castes by saying that they are varna-sankara castes, that is to say, castes originating due to the intermixture of different varnas, both in anuloma (upper varna male and lower varna female) and pratiloma (lower varna male and upper varna female) manner. [63] For example, Nishad caste is said to have originated from anuloma relationship between Brahmin male and Shudra female,[64] whereas C handala caste is said to be owing its origin to pratiloma relationship between Shudra male and Brahmin female. [65]
Manu seems to be disapproving of pratiloma relationship more than the anuloma, because he describes C handalas as the lowest of the low castes. [66]
Let us see what Manusmriti, has to say about the C handala. The Chandala, says Manusmriti, must not ever reside inside the village. While doing their work, they must reside outside the village, at cremation ground, on mountains or in groves. They are not entitled to keep cows or horses, etc., as pet animals. They may keep dogs and donkeys. They are to wear shrouds. They are to eat in broken utensils. They are to use ornaments of iron, not of gold. They must keep moving from one place to another, not residing at the same place for a long duration. [67] They must not move around in villages and cities in night hours. They may enter the villages and cities in daytime, with king's permission, wearing special symbols (to enable identification), and take away unclaimed dead bodies. [68]
Moreover, how is the "religious" person to deal with the Chandala? He must not have any social intercourse (marriage, interdining, etc.) with them. He must not talk to or even see them! [69] He may ask servants (apparently Shudras) to give them food in broken utensils. [70]
8. Granting divine and religious sanction to varna-vyavastha. Manu gives divine and religious sanction to the varna-vyavastha by claiming divine origin for the varnas as well as for the Manusmriti and demanding unquestioning obedience of it.
So, that completes my exposition of the varna-vyavastha. I want to emphasize in particular that my exposition does not contain any exaggeration at all. The reader may check each and every statement by comparing with the original Manusmriti in order to satisfy himself or herself. I cannot help if the system is so unjust and so out of tune with out existing values that even an objective exposition reads like a severe condemnation. Nevertheless, I will now turn to my reasons for rejecting varna-vyavastha: I reject varna-vyavastha because it is irrational, unjust and undemocratic, being opposed to the democratic and human values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Criticism of varna-vyavastha

The varna-vyavastha is opposed to the value of liberty as it denies the freedom to choose one's occupation and marriage partner to one and all. Everyone must join the occupation of his varna and must marry within his varna. Similarly, it denies the freedom to study to the Shudras and woman in particular. Even the dwija must study the Vedas before he studies anything else. Otherwise, he becomes a Shudra.[71] (Incidentally, according to Manusmriti, there are several ways by which a Brahmin or dwija may become a Shudra but there is no way by which a Shudra may become a Brahmin. A Shudra must always remain a Shudra.)[72]

What is worse, the Chandala is even denied the freedom to reside at a place of his choice or to wear clothes and ornaments of his choice. He is not even free to keep pet animals of his choice.
The conflict between varna-vyavastha and the value of equality is more than obvious. As I mentioned earlier, the system of graded inequality seems to be the very essence of varna-vyavastha. It denies equal respect to all in society. It denies equality before law. It denies equal access to marriage partners. It denies equal access to jobs. The occupation of teachers and priests, for example, is reserved exclusively for Brahmins. Finally, it also denies equal access to education and knowledge.
A Brahmin, according to Manu, must not teach the Shudra and woman even if he dies with his knowledge without imparting it to anybody. [73] On the other hand, if anyone studies the Vedas on his own he or she will go straight to hell. [74] In other words, cent percent reservations for dwija males in the sphere of education.

The varna-vyavastha is most unfair to the Shudras and the untouchables. They are denied respect, knowledge, power and wealth. They are denied access to occupations considered respectable, just as they are denied access to men and women of upper varnas for marriage. The Shudras are virtually reduced to being slaves of the Brahmins in particular and the dwijas in general, whereas the untouchables are regarded as outcast -- beyond the pale of the society. The women are generally treated as sexual objects and as unfit for being independent and free.

As far as fraternity is considered, we must not expect it to exist in a society, which is so unequal and unjust. A Shudra's waist is to be branded or his buttocks are to be cut only because he occupies the same seat as the Brahmin. The "religious" are not to talk or even look at a Chandala. Inter-marriage is prohibited. Manu seems to be most eager to prevent inter-mixing of the varnas. Thus, the Hindu social order is based on the isolation and exclusiveness of the varnas.

The Manusmriti not only outlines a totally undemocratic and unjust social system but also gives divine, religious sanction to this man-made social institution of chaturvarnya. Some Hindus, including apparently learned "thinkers" and writers, smugly wax eloquent about Hinduism being the most tolerant and liberal religion of the world.

Is there any other religion, which sanctions slavery and untouchability? Is there any other religion in which only persons born in a particular caste ( Brahmin) are entitled to become priests?
Slavery is not peculiar to India or to Hinduism, but carrying it to the extremes of untouchability, and granting it divine and religious sanction is peculiar to Hinduism.

Similarly, some Hindus may be tolerant, just as some of them are intolerant, but Hinduism or Hindu religion is not tolerant at all, either socially or intellectually. Manusmriti, for example, clearly says that anybody who argues critically and logically about dharmashastras ought to be ostracized. [75] Non-believers, including freethinkers, rationalists and Buddhists, are not to be entertained respectfully as guests; though, mercifully, they may be given food. [76] The families of non-believers are destroyed sooner than later according to Manu. [77] A state with a large number of Shudras and nastikas soon meets its destruction. [78] Manusmriti is full of abusive epithets for freethinkers and non-believers. The unorthodox ( nastikas) are sometimes equated with the Shudras, sometimes with the Chandalas, sometimes with thieves and sometimes with lunatics! [79] Such is the generosity of Hindu dharma.

Apologies for varna-vyavastha

Let me now consider what the apologists of varna-vyavastha have to say in its defense.
A standard defense of varna-vyavastha is to say that it is a system of division of labor. It is easy to grant that division of labor is essential for any complex society, but it is equally easy to see that varna-vyavastha is not a system of division of labor based on aptitude and capability. It is a system of division of labor based on birth. Besides, it has other associated features such as feeling of superiority and inferiority, inequality before law, denial of equal access to knowledge and prohibition against inter-marriage.

What have these features to do with the division of labor?

Division of labor is found in all societies, but varna-vyavastha is not. Thus, trying to justify varna-vyavastha as division of labor is a futile exercise.

Another standard defense of the varna-vyavastha is to say that the system was originally based on aptitude and capability. Whether it was actually ever so is a subject for historical research. Most probably, the racial theory of the origin of castes is true. However, even if we grant for the sake of argument that the varna-vyavastha was originally based on aptitude and capability, how does it help? We cannot say that because the system was originally, some time in remote past, based on aptitude and capability; therefore we ought to gladly suffer the present system based on birth. It hardly makes any sense at all!

In any case, Manusmriti was most probably written between200 BC and 200 AD [80] and the system as outlined in it is totally based on birth. Gautam Buddha, who lived in sixth century BC, challenged the infallibility of the Vedas as well as the varna-vyavastha. There are several passages in Tripitaka, mainly in Digha Nikaya and Majhima Nikaya which are "directed against the claims of the Brahmans to be of different origin from the rest of humanity, born from the mouth of Brahma, having a hereditary prerogative to teach, guide and spiritually govern the rest of the society." [81] In Majhima Nikaya Buddha is quoted as refuting varna-vyavastha on several occasions. According to Buddha, it is unreasonable to decide one's place and functions in society on the basis of one's birth in a caste. Buddha is also quoted as insisting that in the eyes of the law all persons ought to be treated as equal, irrespective of the caste or varna in which he or she is born. [82] Thus, it is obvious that even if the system of varna-vyavastha ever existed in its ideal form -- which is doubtful -- it had already degenerated by the time of Buddha, that is, about 2500 years back.

The most blatant defense of varna-vyavastha, however, is to say that human beings are born unequal, and, therefore, it is natural and normal for children to join the occupation of their fathers. Surprisingly and sadly, no less a person than Gandhi defended varna-vyavastha in a similar manner.
To quote Gandhi: "I believe that every man is born in the world with certain natural tendencies. Every person is born with certain definite limitations which he cannot overcome. From a careful observation of those limitations the law of varna was deduced. It establishes certain spheres of action for certain people with certain tendencies. This avoided all unworthy competition. Whilst recognizing limitations, the law of varna admitted of no distinction of high and low; on the one hand it guaranteed to each the fruits of his labors and on the other it prevented him from pressing upon his neighbor. This great law has been degraded and fallen into disrepute. But my conviction is that an ideal social order will only be evolved when the implications of this law are fully understood and given effect to". [83]

Again, "I regard Varnashrama as a healthy division of work based on birth. The present ideas of caste are a perversion of the original. There is no question with me of superiority or inferiority. It is purely a question of duty. I have indeed stated that varna is based on birth. But I have also said that it is possible for a shudra, for instance, to become a vaishya. But in order to perform the duty of vaishya he does not need the label of a vaishya. He who performs the duty of a brahman will easily become one in the next incarnation." [84]

So, varna-vyavastha, according to Gandhi, is a "healthy division of work based on birth", which takes into account the "natural tendencies" of human beings and avoids "unworthy competition."
This apparently plausible defense of varna-vyavastha is, in fact, most unscientific. It is a well-known and scientifically verified fact that acquired characteristics are not inherited biologically, only genetic qualities are transmitted from one generation to another. For instance, carpentry is an acquired characteristic; just as knowledge of philosophy is an acquired quality. Neither a carpenter's son or daughter is born with the knowledge of carpentry, nor is a philosopher's daughter or son born with the knowledge of philosophy. These are acquired characteristics and, therefore, they cannot be inherited biologically. If sometimes, though not always, a carpenter's son becomes a good carpenter or a philosopher's daughter acquires a good knowledge of philosophy, without being formally initiated into these disciplines, it is not because they are born with the required knowledge, but only because of the favorable environment at home, which enables them to acquire these characteristics. The result could be different if their places were to be interchanged.

One may say that though the knowledge of carpentry of philosophy in not inherited biologically, the mental qualities enabling one to acquire the requisite knowledge is inherited. Some physical and mental qualities are, no doubt, inherited but this does not mean that parents and their children are always identical in physical or mental qualities. It is a well known fact -- anybody can verify this by careful observation -- that due to different permutations and combinations of chromosomes and genes offspring of same parents are not always identical to one another or to their parents. More often than not, they are different. For instance, one son or daughter of same parents may be tall and another short. The colors of skin, hair and eyes may differ likewise. What is true of physical characteristics is equally true of mental qualities. Thus, a child may or may not have the mental characteristics, which his father has.

Therefore, it is totally unscientific to forcefully restrict children to the occupations of their forefathers.

It is true that all human beings are not equal in the sense of being identical in physical or mental qualities. But it does not follow from this that they ought to be denied equal opportunity to join a vocation of their choice or that they ought to be denied equality before law or equal respect as human beings in the society.

As for "unworthy" competition, how do we know that the competition is unworthy unless all are, to begin with, given equal opportunity? Take the example of Gandhi himself. He was a bania by caste. Yet, in spite of some serious aberrations such as supporting varna-vyavastha based on birth and linking politics with religion, he performed fairly well in the role of a national leader. It would have been a great loss for the nation if in the name of avoiding "unworthy" competition in politics, Gandhi would have been confined to running a grocery shop. Similarly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in an "untouchable" caste, but he played an important role in the drafting of the democratic constitution of independent India. He also taught in a college for some time. To use the terminology of varna-vyavastha, he ably performed the work of a Brahmin.

Is it possible to imagine how many Ambedkars we may have lost by now owing to the restrictive varna-vyavastha?

As we have noted earlier, varna-vyavastha is a closed system of social stratification without any scope for upward social mobility. To quote M. Haralambos, author of a textbook on sociology, "A person belongs to his parents jati and automatically follows the occupation of the jati into which he was born. Thus no matter what the biologically based aptitude and capacities of an untouchable, there is no way he can become a Brahmin. Unless it is assumed that superior genes are permanently located in the Brahmin caste, and there is no evidence that this is the case, then there is probably no relationship between genetically based and socially created inequality in traditional Hindu society." [85]

Returning to Gandhi, though Gandhi was opposed to untouchability and caste, he did not carry his opposition to its logical conclusion. Inconsistently enough, he continued to support the varna-vyavastha based on birth. At one stage, he even supported restrictions on interdining and intermarriage. As he wrote in Young India in 1921, "Hinduism does most emphatically discourage interdining and intermarriage between divisions... It is no part of a Hindu's duty to dine with his son. And by restricting his choice of bride to a particular group, he exercises rare self-restraint. Prohibition against intermarriages and interdining is essential for the rapid evolution of the soul. "[86] (emphasis mine)

Later Gandhi moved away from these orthodox ideas, and started supporting intercaste marriages. Finally in 1946, he refused to solemnize any marriage at Sevagram Ashram unless one of the parties was an untouchable. [87] May be he would also have given up varna-vyavastha if he had lived longer. That, however, is in the realm of imagination, the fact is that Gandhi supported varna-vyavastha. It is worth noting that he invented his own conception of varna-vyavastha, which, according to him, had nothing to do with the feeling of superiority and inferiority or with prohibition against intermarriage. We find here in Gandhi a quaint mixture of conservatism and reformism.
I would like to dispose of one last objection before concluding this section. One may say that the Hindu law at present is quite different from what Manu desired, and presently Hindus in general do not follow Manu in totality. This is true. The Hindu law at present, for instance, allows inter-caste marriage and prohibits bigamy and child marriage. It permits divorce. It also allows widow remarriage and grants equal rights to daughters in father's property. Nevertheless, there seems to be a gap between the progressive Hindu law and the conservative social practices of the Hindus. A majority of Hindu marriages are still within the caste and very few Hindu women actually claim or get a share in father's property.

The Indian constitution has rightly made special provisions, such as reservations in services for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other socially and educationally backward classes, to enable them to enter occupations and positions of power, which had been traditionally denied to them. No doubt, some upper caste liberal Hindus, too, support the policy of reservation. But, by and large, the Hindu upper castes are far from fully reconciled to this progressive step as is evident from violent and aggressive anti-reservation agitation spearheaded by upper caste students from time to time. This kind of reactionary agitation aimed at preserving the present dominance of upper castes in education and the services enjoys considerable support and sympathy in the upper caste dominated media as well as the academia.

On the whole, the Hindu society is yet to fully exorcise the ghost of Manu. Caste based on birth and untouchability still exist in the Hindu society, in spite of the fact that untouchability has been abolished by the Indian constitution. The distribution of education, power and wealth continues to be uneven in the Hindu society, with the dwijas being on the top and the Shudras and untouchables being at the bottom. Teaching is no more an exclusive preserve of Brahmins, but the occupation of Hindu priests is still fully reserved for Brahmins, though this fact does not arouse the ire of our fervent anti-reservationists.

Moksha, Karmavada and Avatarvada

Moksha is traditionally regarded as the highest end of life in Hindu religion. The "endless cycle of birth and death" is considered a bondage from which one must attain liberation, that is moksha or mukti.
This whole concept of bondage and liberation is based on the unproved assumption of life after death, and the existence of soul ( atma) which continues to exist apart from the body even after death. In the famous words of Gita, the soul changes bodies just as human beings change clothes. [88]

Now, there are no good reasons for believing in the existence of soul or life after death or rebirth. These beliefs are not at all supported by incontrovertible scientific evidence. According to S.N. Dasgupta, "there has seldom been before or after Buddha any serious attempt to prove or disprove the doctrine of rebirth. The attempts to prove the doctrine of rebirth in the Hindu philosophical works such as Nyaya, etc. are slight and inadequate." [89]

However, even before Buddha, Lokayat had disproved the existence of soul, life after death, rebirth, heaven and hell on an empirical basis, as these things are never perceived. [90]

Thus, in absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to believe that each one of us has got one and only one life. Once a person is dead, he is dead for ever. Never to be reborn. Mind, consciousness, memory and life cannot outlast the destruction of brain and body. This is the harsh truth; howsoever we may dislike it.

The belief in soul seems to have originated from primitive animism. [91] If this belief continues to persist, in spite of total lack of evidence in its support, it is only because of human beings' inability to come to terms with, or to squarely face, the reality of death. One likes to believe that one's near and dear ones, who are dead and finished forever, actually continue to live in some other imaginary world, and that they will also be reborn one day. One draws comfort from the thought that one will not die even after death, and continue to live in some other form. It is paradoxical that, first, the fear of death and love of life makes one readily accept the belief in the immortality and rebirth of soul without adequate evidence, and, then, getting rid of this alleged cycle of birth and death itself becomes the topmost religious aim! [92]

The problem of getting "released" from the alleged cycle of birth and death is a pseudo-problem (in the sense that one is trying to get rid of something which simply does not exist) and moksha is an imaginary ideal which has nothing to do with the reality. Instead of running after the imaginary ideal of moksha, it is far better to concentrate on improving and living well this one and only life, which we have.

Mimamsa, which is an orthodox Hindu school of thought, considers attainment of heaven ( swarga), instead of moksha, as the highest end of life. References to heaven and hell are also to be found in the Manusmriti. The belief in heaven is fairly widespread at popular level. However, the ideal of the attainment of heaven, too, is based on unproved assumptions, like life after death and the existence of heaven, and, therefore, it cannot be accepted.
Another related doctrine is the Hindu belief in karmavada or the so-called law of karma. According to this doctrine, every human being gets the fruits of his actions either in the present or in some future life. Whatever a human being is in his present life is the result of his own actions in the past life or lives.
This, again, is a totally unverified and unverifiable doctrine based on the assumption of the "cycle of birth and death". It is only a convenient tool for explaining away the perceived inequality in human society. The idea of karma is found in Buddhism and Jainism as well. However, these religions do not support varna-vyavastha. But in Hinduism the doctrine of karma, along with the idea of god, has been used for providing ideological support to the unjust varna-vyavastha and for making it appear just and fair. In Hinduism the so-called law of karma merely serves the purpose of legitimizing the unjust varna-vyavastha by making the Shudras and the "untouchables" meekly accept their degrading position as a "result of their own deeds" in imaginary past lives, and by assuring them "better" birth in "next life" if they faithfully perform their varna-dharma in their present lives. [93] In this way, this doctrine prevents them from revolting against this man-made undemocratic system, which has nothing to do with alleged past and future lives.
Lastly, I come to the Hindu doctrine of avatarvada. According to this doctrine, whenever religion is threatened in this world, god takes birth as an avatar to put things back into order. Ram and Krishna, for example, are popularly regarded as avatars by the Hindus.
Belief in avatarvada, too, is logically unjustifiable and merely makes one run away from one's own responsibilities. Instead of making efforts to improve their own condition, those who believe in avatarvada keep waiting for an avatar to take birth. Since god does not exist, there is no question of his being born on this earth as an avatar. (Let me add here that I also do not believe in the truth of statements like "Jesus is the son of god" or "Mohammed is the messenger of god".)
Not only I do not regard Ram or Krishna (or anyone else) as an avatar of god, I also do not regard them as ideal personalities. Ram, as mentioned earlier, was on upholder, of the varna-vyavastha. His cruel behavior with Sita, after fighting a destructive war with Ravana to get her released, is too well known to need recapitulation. [94]
Krishna, on the other hand, is portrayed in the Mahabharata as the teacher of Bhagvat Gita , a book which expounds untrue and harmful doctrines like the belief in god and immortal soul, avatarvada, karmavada, varnashram dharma and the doctrine of moksha.
In Mahabharata Krishna adopts and advocates adoption of unfair means like lying and deception for achieving one's ends. Obviously, he did not believe in the doctrine of purity of ends and means. There are several flaws in the character of Krishna as portrayed in the Mahabharata, Bhagvat and Harivamsa. These have been ably enumerated by Dr. Ambedkar in his The Riddle of Ram and Krishna . I refer the interested reader to this work for a fuller treatment of this subject. [95]
To see the references quoted in this write up visit at http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ramendra_nath/hindu.html