Hinduism: once was: RAJARAM EPISODE

Ven. Tantra troyoga at YAHOO.COM
Wed Oct 4 03:53:01 UTC 2000

1. Robert Zydenbos wrote:

<<�which implies that 'Hindus' are not the followers
of a religion. Or are you talking about a religion
within a religion? One must make up one's minds
whether Hindus are a religious community or not, and
then speak consistently�>>

My mind is clear. �Hindus� do not make up a religious
community. �Hindu� has little to do with �religion,�
per se. At best, �Hindu� implies a tentative
community. By �tentative� community, I look to the
fact that, fundamentally, �-isms� need not at all be
conjoined to the various religious sectors of India,
especially in so far as they attempt to discern the
degree to which there is retention of, or origin in, a
Brahmanical field; hence the traditional schemata,
�Brahmanical,� �heretical� and �foreign.� But �gurus�
in fact amount to the predominant religion in Indian
society, as people typically belong to no church or
temple but pay honor to their personal guru as a god,
perhaps, and rely on him or her for their essential
development. I would further suggest that the �guru�
in-itself is already �heretical,� i.e., a tradition
contrary to the Brahmanical institution of hereditary

2. Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

<<Which takes one to a fundamental methodological
problem, does it not? Under the general description of
"Hindu" as an inhabitant of the land east of the Indus
(especially true for 500-300 BC), Janis and Buddhists
would be "Hindu" in origin. That apart, does anyone
have a consistent and comprehensive statement of
Hindu-ism as defining *a* religious community? If so,
I would very much like to know what it is.>>

I agree with you sir. But again, �Hindu-ism� can only
imply *a* �tentative� religious community. The real
culprit here is �-ism.� I find attaching the suffix
��ism� to the end of all sorts of words is one of the
most unacademically sound penchants we of the academic
breed exhibit, and which, indeed, makes Hindu-�ism� a
catchall term that ultimately defies any definition. I
assume (correct me if I�m wrong) that Western
�scholarship� contrived the term in the early part of
the 19th century. The Oxford English Dictionary traces
�Hindooism� to an 1829 reference in the Bengalee, 45,
and refers to an 1853 usage by the German Indologist
Max Muller. But a point worth restating is that as a
modern term, �Hindu� simply means �Indian� or �Made in
India���A Product of Hindustan.� And as for the
equally modern term �India,� it appears as an early
Hellenism whereby the Persian �H� was changed to �I.�
As an ordained �Buddhist� priest/monk of many years
standing, I am perfectly willing to call myself
�Hindu,� at least in so far as my religion is [I am
speaking rhetorically] �Hindu.� What is more, I view
the essential vitality of the �cult� (i.e., �this
religion within a religion�) as inseparable from its
greater Brahmanical field. And as for the founder of
this tremendously long-lived religious movement, I
would uncompromisingly identify him as a
K.satriya-caste Hindu named Gautama. And in boldly
underscoring his Indian-ness, I gladly part company
with those who would persist in shoring up the walls
of spiritual apartheid in attempt to partition
Pan-Indian culture from their exclusive enclave of
true salvation. Going a step further, I would also
cast this Brahmano-Buddhic complex as intrinsically
rooted in the Religion of the Mother that �in ancient
times reigned over an immense Aegeo-Afrasiatic
territory and that has always been the major form of
piety in India.� This is why Buddha, together with its
�-ism,� can never be conceived as something beyond, or
incongruous with the aboriginal Indian premise. There
is a very significant saying in India. �Never compare
the beauty of the daughter with that of the Mother.�
Yet, then again, the �Buddha-,� as distinct from the
�Jaina-cult,� has a particular relation to its
Brahmanical field, as it largely exists in
contradistinction to its misperceived notion of the
meaning of Hindu.

Best regards

Ven. Tantra

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