Hinduism and Colonialism

Narayan S. Raja raja at IFA.HAWAII.EDU
Fri Aug 18 01:14:07 UTC 2000

On Thu, 17 Aug 2000, Luis Gonzalez-Reimann wrote:

> At 07:18 PM 08/15/2000 +0000, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> > Binary logic, that
> >thinks primarily in terms of X vs. not-X fails miserably in understanding
> >things Indian.
> Here I disagree.  In some cases it can be very helpful.  The best example
> is the god-antigod polarity:  deva vs. asura/dAnava/daitya/rAkSasa ( even a
> new term, sura, was probably coined to stress the oppositional character of
> the sura (i.e. deva) vs. asura relationship).  This polarity, made manifest
> in constant battles between gods and demons, is very useful in
> understanding Epic and Puranic mythology, where it is a recurring theme, a
> theme carried over from Vedic mythology.
> This same polarity is often used for identifying nAstikas (those who
> disagree with 'us') as asuras.

> See, for instance, the MaitrAyaNIya UpaniSad 7.8-10, where the terms
> svargya and asvargya are used as well as deva and asura.  And also the
> ViSNu PurANa (from 3.17.35 up to the end of 3.18) which gives a detailed
> description of different heretics, including Buddhists, and identifies them
> as demons.

The demon Hiranyakasipu was a fanatical atheist
and a persecutor of theists -- a perfect "naastika."
But according to the Bhagavata Purana, he chose
to be an atheist simply because that was the
fastest way for him to be re-united with God.   :-)  :-)

I love that twisted logic, but "binary" it isn't.
Or at least, not always.  That seems logical.  :-)  :-)



More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list