Yashwant Malaiya malaiya at CS.COLOSTATE.EDU
Thu Oct 5 20:09:46 UTC 2000

Nanda Chandran wrote:

>Take this commonly used term "Hindu" as distinguished from JainA and
>Bauddha. Can you cite a single instance from any pre-colonial JainA or
>Bauddha literature where the followers of SanAtana Dharma are referred to
>Hindus? Does the Buddha or MahAveera refer to us that way? It is always
>brAhmana or shrAmana or the follower of this or that school - like Bauddha
>or JainA, it would be NaiyAyika or VedAnti or Shaiva or Vaishnava - but
>never Hindu.

I'm not aware of any examples of the use of word Hindu, before the British
period that would exclude Jains (or Indian Buddhists). I have seen examples
where Jains were specifically termed Hindu.

I would therefore suggest that word "Hindu" not be used in a historical
discussion, except where it describes native Indians, or Indian attributes.

The term "SanAtana Dharma" I think, is also of recent origin.

The question then is, what term should be used to call the
popular-brahmancial-Hinduism?  It has been called Brahmanism.
(Incidentally Arab/Central Asian authors have called some
Indian Kings "Brahmin", they could have meant "Brahmanist").
However many Buddhist and Jain authors have been Brahmin.
They remained brahmin if they become Buddhist or Jain, just like
they remain brahmin when they become Vaishnava or Shaiva.
There are some brahmin communities which have a historic
affiliation with Jainism.

Regarding the race of Gautama Buddha (Shakyamuni). His gotra
was indeed Gautama, and he generally referred to his immediate
students by their gotra. In case of Kshatriyas (Shakya), the
gotra was determined through teacher-student relationship.
For brahmins, it could be determined through either father-son
or teacher-student relationship.

Some Newars call themselves Shakyas. They are monogoloid
and Newari language (in spite of a large number of Sanskrit words)
is not an Indo-European language. I'm not sure what relationship,
if any, they have with the ancient Shakyas.

If I remember correctly, a majority of the previous Buddhas
were brahmin.

Buddhas are only born in Jambudvipa, and not anywhere else.
(This does not apply to Tirthankaras in Jainism.)

The Shakyas were derived from Ikshvakus, the Shakyamuni
had an ancestor Rama, son of Dasharatha. However I'm not
sure if he is the same as the hero of Ramayana.


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