Hinduism and Colonialism
Narayan S. Raja
raja at IFA.HAWAII.EDU
Thu Aug 17 21:14:07 EDT 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. :-) :-)
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