What Krishna Would Do

The consistently brilliant Atanu Dey asks What would Gandhi do and at the end of his answer, says:

“Why does it matter what would Gandhi do? What matters is what we should do,” I said.

“Actually that’s why I ask what would Gandhi do,” CJ said. “I want to figure out what Gandhi would do and do exactly the opposite. It’s like this. Remember in some crime stories the detective asks himself what he would do if he were the criminal? Something like that.

“Sometimes I ask myself what would Manmohan Singh do…Manmohan Singh would want to keep Islamic terrorists like Afzal Guru and Kasab alive and well-fed. The right thing to do would be to starve them for a couple of weeks and then hang them.

As they say, the solution typically lies on the other side of the coin but it doesn’t occur to us to flip the coin because bad things, problems engage the mind for a far longer duration. But first, another quote from that same post:

Gandhi imposed a cult of pain on India, and how! It appears that pain was central to his worldview. The more pain one suffers, the nobler one becomes…”

A very accurate and insightful observation. Think about this: what was the response of Shivraj Patil’s worthy successor to the latest round of Khelo Diwali that Pakistan played in our capital city?

The response in itself is of no significance and will certainly be of little consequence. White Dhoti talking about taking some real manly action against terrorists is akin to Rajiv Gandhi saying “hum banayenge,” “hum karenge,” “jeetenge ya loosenge….” But go the root of the phenomenon that produces people with White Dhoti mindsets. That root is what Atanu calls the cult of pain. But go further and examine the root of the cult of pain. That root goes by several names in the dictionary: pusillanimity is the first that came to my mind. Look up its synonymns. All of them are equally applicable. And so when outraged citizens of India call Manmohan Singh a Spineless Wonder, this is the principle that subconsciously guides such choice epithets.

Now whether Gandhi himself was pusillanimous is debatable but what is indubitable is that he was—is—responsible for the generations-wide infection of the virus of pusillanimity. The middle class idiots of India who mindlessly continue to support Anna Hazare do so because their five-star careers etc won’t face a serious threat by taking some time off from work to hold placards and form human chains and perform such assorted circus tricks. If you think this is a cynical view, why did it take them so long to wait for a Anna Hazare to become a sort of rallying point or whatever? I mean, any one of these placard-holders and Anna cap-wearers could’ve stuck their necks out first. But they didn’t because as Atanu says, they love to wallow in the reflected glory of Anna’s threat to unleash the Gandhian cult of personal pain upon the entire nation. The Indian Middle Class has neither guts nor class to think of sturdy protest. What’s your bet that several of these protest human-chain links didn’t go back to their cubicles post-protest and fudge a conveyance or travel bill?

This reminds me of a story where there was once a forest inhabited only by herbivores. The sheep in the forest began to eat more than what their appetites demanded. As a result, there was no greenery left in the forest anymore. Rains didn’t come. The threat of drought loomed large. Other animals began to die one by one owing to starvation. Which is when providence came to their rescue in the form of a lion, which when it wandered there, saw an endless supply of feast in the form of the tens of thousands of sheep. It began to wipe them off with gusto and soon, order was restored. This is the nature of corruption prevailing in India. Only, there’s no lion in sight yet.

Gandhianism’s contribution to breeding and fostering these sheep is significant. Apart from very few exceptions, most Congressmen who surrounded Gandhi possessed this sheep-like quality. Mild and meek but immensely greedy. And look where it has led us: for the past 7 years, what we have is a a venal ecosystem, which allows the sheep to have a back-slapping relationship with the wolf. Gandhi’s mantra of “no army no police,” and Nehru’s quest to be seen as the Archangel of World Peace has led to a government that thinks nothing of letting its citizens be slaughtered and the slaughter is cheered on by its butt-kissers in the media, intelligentsia and academia. Gandhi’s ahimsa has kind of come a full circle: back in his time, among others, Gandhi’s ahimsa was one of the major causes that led to the horrifying bloodbath of the Partition. Today, the inheritors of his ill-informed legacy are too cowardly—the cowardice mixed with vileness—to even hit back at wanton aggression wreaked upon the nation, all in the name of peace in the subcontinent.

At the root of Gandhi’s ahimsa was a quest to attain martyrdom, which he eventually attained. Martyrdom brings personal glory usually at the cost of enormous quantities of bloodshed, and suffering because the martyrdom-aspirant is propelled by an immense ego and an indomitable sense of self-righteousness. For about four decades, Gandhi was the Saint who had to be only followed, not questioned. Like Jesus Christ. Gandhi’s idea of liberation through suffering and self-sacrifice is a Christian idea. The moment you adopt suffering and self-sacrifice as a sort of absolute virtue, the door to downfall opens up. The first casualty is the loss of the heroic or martial spirit. Look at the history of Christianity, which had kind of inherited the vast Imperial Roman Empire, and look what happened subsequently. All kinds of tribes and groups tore at that Empire till it was reduced to a tiny fraction of its former glory. The rugged spirit of pre-Christian Greece and Rome were submerged under the impotent spell of Christ’s passion in suffering. Indeed, Europe retained its Christian dominance only because the Church realized—a little late—that heroism, not suffering, was needed to combat the Islamic hordes that came knocking. Even there, it wasn’t heroism per se but fear. Hence the Crusades. From those times till Gandhi, suffering/passivity/compassion as a guiding principle of politics has resulted in large scale disasters.

For all his—genuine—reverence for, and pride in Hinduism, Gandhi’s understanding of it was at best in the nature of grasping at the straws. This shows in his fondness for the specific heroes he chose: Rama, Buddha, and Jesus. He worshipped Rama because Rama always spoke the truth, was a dutiful son and loyal husband. His reverence for Buddha and Jesus owes to obvious reasons. Not surprising that Krishna figured somewhere low in his ranking of great personages.

If that wasn’t the case, Gandhi would’ve understood that Krishna actively sought out injustices for the exclusive purpose of uprooting them using foul means if necessary. He had no personal stake in any war or event that he was part of. The sole goal of every such event was to establish or reestablish Dharma, and if violence and deceit was unavoidable to achieve it, so be it. This kind of seemingly-heartless conviction requires unambiguous clarity of purpose. Gandhi’s clarity of purpose was doubtful at best and it was doubtful because he failed to examine things by elevating them to a philosophical level. What he offered and insisted on putting in practice was endless moralizing whose physical manifestation was the cult of pain, which we live continue to live with.

A doctrine based on suffering and compassion works with people who value these precepts in the same spirit and not with those who regard them as signs of weakness. They work only at the personal, individual level. But because even the latter class of people exist in the world, we need to evolve a precept that keeps them in check and/or fights them effectively. And so when nations declare war, a sermon on non-violence and compassion isn’t the best defense. Gandhi’s prescription of voluntarily laying down lives is just that: a cold-blooded and vulgar sermon. Thank God nobody took it seriously.

97 comments for “What Krishna Would Do

  1. S S
    October 2, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    @Amit (and all). The quotes of Gandhi above given by Rahul is from speech at Godhra 3 Nov, 1917; very long article ‘HINDU-MUSLIM TENSION: ITS CAUSE AND CURE’, in ‘Young India’, 29 May 1924; ‘WHAT MAY HINDUS DO?’ in ‘Young India’, 19 June 1924. In fact, vol. 28 of his Collected Works contain many unusual statements and expositions on the issue. Unusual in the sense that they are less discussed, and less in tune with Gandhi’s absolute fixation with ahimsa.

    The problem is you cannot find solace by getting good or useful quotations in Gandhi. Because, first, Gandhi’s image is now ironcast in a particular mould. No qoute can change that. Second, when it came to act, Gandhi himself chose what he called cowardice, and not violence. Nor ever exhorted people to defend their kins in the face of murderer Muslim crowds, something which he seem to support in some of his articles in 1924. In actual situations, be it Jews in Germany or Hindus in Punjab and Bengal, he always prescribed collective suicide instead of taking up sword in defense.

    That is why finding a way with the help of Gandhi is an impossibility in politics.

  2. Amit
    October 2, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    BTW, here’s an excellent write-up on Gandhi, exposing his bizarre notions and cult of non-violence.


  3. Amit
    October 1, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Rahul, would you know the dates/years and the context of the statements made by Gandhi? Were these statements made earlier in his life or later? He might have said these statements, but it’s very unlikely that the acolytes of Gandhi would quote such statements today, for Gandhi is projected as the “Patron Saint of Absolute Non-Violence” behind which, cowardly people hide.

    Contrasting the statements you made, are his statements telling Jews to offer no resistance whatsoever to Nazis, and during the partition riots, telling Hindus & Sikhs to let themselves be killed by rioting Muslims. (Or words to that effect.)

  4. October 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    When one asks: “What would Gandhi do?” the first question that comes to my mind is “which Gandhi?” The orginal famous Gandhi ji, or the family which acquired his surname without owning it for a political mileage?

    It is a good thing to ponder over how Gandhiji would have reacted to Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India. From whatever I have read, I think Gandhiji won’t have sitten like a coward.

    Mahatma Gandhi had said,

    “I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.”

    He also said,

    “The world is not entirely governed by logic. Life itself involves some kind of violence and we have to choose the path of least violence.”

    Gandhiji also said this on self-defence:

    “I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully.”

    “A helpless mouse is not nonviolent because he is always eaten by pussy.”

    “Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defence or for the defence of the defenceless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission. The latter befits neither man nor woman. Under violence, there are many stages and varieties of bravery. Every man must judge this for himself. No other person can or has the right.”

    “What Krishna would do?” is a great question. The greatest strategist ever, Krishna would not have allowed us to be violated like this… Thanks for this apt pointer.

  5. ava
    September 25, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Its above and not it ‘s and he was too Westernized not we…typos

  6. ava
    September 25, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    However, states like Maharashtra helped them after they became refugees by giving them seats in educational institutions, so some people did help them, as a result many of these displaced became engineers. Also with people like Nehru, he liked Kashmir in a very detached way for it’s physical beauty, we was too Westernized, with English and Muslim tutors, and viewed his own culture in a detached kind of way…..

  7. ava
    September 25, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Why would the plight of Kashmiri Pandits be known except for a few who bother to know what is happening in general in India outside their little communities? When do Hindus think of themselves a unity? No one helped, they have helped themselves, people speak of the bad treatment they were given by fellow Hindus such as in Jammu because they had become refugees their own land. And were they not screwed the most by their own kind such as Nehru, hardly Kashmiri in spirit having lived in UP for generations, except by marriage to Kashmiris….Most Kashmiris have gotten out of camps and have pulled themselves up completely their own…How many Hindus recently raised an outcry about displaced Hindus in Bengal?

  8. ava
    September 22, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    The rural folks, saved from the modern education, still have a traditional knowledge and memories of such things.

    This is true and that memory is increasingly dying out. How much more pleasant are such people to associate with than urban elites whose education just constists in ‘tech skills” for a job (not to say that this is not important for survival or for economic growth), deracinated people who have no Samskriti other than a copied liberal BS taught to them by the educational system which is basically anti-traditional. Those who hail from traditional families are lucky if their parents can teach them something, as the schools and universities teach nothing….But that is the real threat culturally to India–that cultural memory which is dying out….

  9. S S
    September 22, 2011 at 8:40 PM


    re. “dhimmiest of the dhimmi “. Yes, you did and thanks for that.

    You are right. In Bihar, Eastern UP and Pashchim Banga there is no temple seem older than a century. There are *places* of Hindu importance for may be millenia, but not a temple. They say in Delhi, the Laxmi-Narayan temple, aka Birla Mandir became so famous only because it was the first temple built after many a centuries! Only in the British rule a Hindu temple could be allowed to come up, not during the previous regimes.

    re. “Did hindus of north india lose the memory of these places altogether?”. Dear sir, if even a most brillient boy is not ever told who is his own father, do you expect him to divine it? That is the game of falsification and suppression of history, especially the Nehruvian-Marxist style. How can educated Hindus have a ‘memory’ of something not given to them during their whole education in the first place! The rural folks, saved from the modern education, still have a traditional knowledge and memories of such things. But, alas! they too are constantly told to forget it by heavy doses of secular lies and incessant propaganda.
    That is really a threat. A civilization hell-bent not to know its past and present, too. Just test it: how many of our educated people could speak or write even a single coherent paragraph about the Kashmiri Pandits’ real, present day stories? Do they even know who is Dr K L Chowdhary or Kshma Kaul?

  10. NASH
    September 21, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    to vv
    1.note point 8 and suggest you visit any of them(mosques) and
    definitely you will find the markings.
    2..it is not difficult to know where they got the stones from.
    3.just the stone sample and the hill that was quarried could
    be identified.
    4.regarding the memory of the said structures,hindus do not
    care once the idol is defiled in any form.
    5.please note that there is an innate idea of the idol being the
    representation of life once it is consecrated.
    6.Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them Vol. 1 by Sita Ram Goel
    Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them Vol. 2

    7.the above should answer your last sentences.

  11. vv
    September 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    That is so true about the stones. These stones were hauled from quarries far, far away from the city. Makes no sense to destroy the stones. In most cases they were reused for building the mosque or the idgah. The intent was to insult the local population, and reusing the same material also served that purpose very well.

    Did hindus of north india lose the memory of these places altogether? Even after the partition holocaust, even after continuous rioting, even after sops given away to the wakf board and all, nobody, not one soul questions how these structures came to be in the first place. Excluding Ayodhya, is there even one recorded instance of one of these structures taken back? I cannot think of any.

  12. vv
    September 21, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Thanks for the link.
    Practically every temple that got destroyed in north india has a mosque built on it. It amazes me that asking for just 3 of these structures back would be such an issue especially among so-called hindus.
    What would krishna do? Maybe he would document every one of those sites and get them back, and more.
    Well, krishna is dead and gone and such people are not made on this land anymore.

  13. NASH
    September 21, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    6.to pinch away the mortar they use a small pointed tool
    and after that they use crowbar to breakaway the stone.
    7.the above action should almost keep the stone intact for use further.
    8.usually the stones would have carvings of images ,these images could
    be from puraana’s,the dasha avataars, astrological signs.
    9.in the new structure these would be distinctly seen unless covered
    with new material.

  14. NASH
    September 21, 2011 at 8:07 AM


    1.check if lime mortars were used,these do degrade over a period of time.
    2.the lime mortars used in stone joints would grow weak over time
    with rains.
    3.here weak in the sense adhesivenss holding the stone masonry would
    4.if it was lime mortar then it follows sledgehammer is all that would
    be necessary.
    5.gunpowder and naptha would destroy the stones and would
    not be useful for further use.

  15. ava
    September 21, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    As to Cunnungham’s claim that such massive temple structures could only be destroyed by gun powder, I suppose he was not aware that most of the massive temples were destroyed in the North by Turks with naphtha, they were set to fire according to accounts of the Islamic historians. I suppose naphtha is some kind of petroleum product or what exactly is it? I think the temples in Kashmir were destroyed with sledgehammers, and gradually dismantled so their parts could be used again. Sikander is said to have created an entire government department for the destruction of the Martand temple.

    Also, your observations about Himanchal is interesting. I recall in Nurpur, the gateway to the Kangra valley, on the fort on the hill, there is a Krishna temple which is just a few hundred years old, but within the complex of the fort, is a much older temple, the basement of which only remains, the top having been lopped off, it is similar to the old classical temples of Kashmir…..

  16. ava
    September 21, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    The pics are missing from the book but it makes an interesting read….But the sad thing is that has history really changed?
    Cunningham writes on page 39: “The foundations of the walls of the Juma Masjid, as well as of all the buildings, reservoirs and canals of the Shalimar gardens are constructed from the square stones brought from Hindu temples, of which many still retain the Hindu mason’s marks, as well as remains of ornamental sculpture…”
    … “Thus every Mohammedean building in Kashmir is constructed entirely or in parts of the ruins of Hindus temples. An instance of the transfer of materials I saw myself, which the ruins of Nur Jehan’s palace (itself built of Hindu materials were daily being removed for the construction of additional buildings attached to Sher Ghari….”(page 6)

  17. ava
    September 21, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    This old essay by Alexander Cunningham on the temples of Kashmir is interesting. Don’t be mislead by the title “Arian order of architecture” it just refers to what the Greeks called aeriostyle or distance between the pillars found in Kashmiri architecture. Cunningham who had examined the temples first hand asserts amost all the mosques in Kashmir of the time were built upon Hindu architecture, also startling is his observation of the similarities between Chinese buddhist architecture and the wooden architecture of Kashmir, leading to think that Kashmir had a heavy influence on the multi-roofed Buddhist architecture found in China…It is unfortunate that all the temples have been destroyed, Cunningham says these temples were of great stature with slabs of stone, and he even thinks that the Sultan could not have destroyed such buildings of such heavy stone without gunpowder (so massive were they and even though there is no evidence of gunpowder)!…Some of his observations are strange, but this little essay is full of information of how rich the regional architecture of those parts of India were, those parts which had most of their architecture destroyed! I doubt the Greek influence on the architecture, just because the architecture of the area was unique does not mean that it had to be related to Greek architecture, the only way it is related is in the classicism of the architectural style, that is, in the observation of strict mathematical proportions….

  18. ava
    September 19, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    One of the oldest is the Martand sun temple in Kashmir, it still exists in ruins in its gradeur it is from around 450, it took the Sultan several decades to destroy it…It was supposed to be an architectural masterpiece in its time which is why the sultan had to destroy as sultans were wont to destory all beautiful things belonging to the infidels, I can only suppose a nihilistic hatred of the beautiful to want to do this, some think the architecture is Indo-Greek because you do not find columns of this type in other temples in India, but many of the scholars are of the opinion that is indigenous in construction…in places like Kashmir, hardly anything remains of the former temples which had a unique architecture, the few newer temples remaining are gradually being wiped out…the few of the old Hindu ruins that remain have to be heavily guarded by the Indian army so the remains are not vandalized….
    My relative visited Kashmir recently, she had grown up outside after the family was forced to leave in 89. She said that the place was so unbelievably filthy and people were full of hostility. Dal Lake is polluted and dirty beyond beoyond belief and the entire place is absolutely filthy, the beauty is no longer there anymore, so it is more in our imaginations…. One just wonders where the billions poured by the government is going there? Ladakh which is mostly Buddhist, however, is still pleasant to visit she said, and the people friendly being Buddhists…

  19. ava
    September 19, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    There have been plenty of temples built, but Akshardham is the only one of this scale in several hundred years in the North….I am referring to the magnitude of the temple building, yes nothing of this scale has been built in the north for several hundred years, and even this the leftists were dead against even though thousands of people visit and thereby support this temple….temples like Somnath and such have been renovated but that is a different story. Again size does not make for architectural grandeur, I was just making a point that Hindus no longer build like they used to….Look at most of the buildings, they are ugly modernist haphazaard structures built for nothing but utility, the concept of building a work of art to last generations is no longer present in building anymore….

  20. vv
    September 19, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    Is Akshardham really the first one built since independence? I did not know. I always assumed some other temples would have been built due to maratha influence in 1700s. But no temple comes to mind now if I do not include current day Maharashtra.
    There are temples that pre-date moslems in Himachal, but maybe its because the momins were too lazy to go up them hills.
    You are right, in all my travels around the Punjab/UP/ Bihar area, I could not find one temple standing that goes back 300 years. If anybody who reads this and thinks of one, please let me know. Now that I think of it, all the places in the plains are associated with nature or natural markers. For example, Mathura, Gaya, Kashi, Prayag. There is no temple of any significance in either of these places. The one in Gaya is a refurbished one built with donations from Holkar family, I think. The one in kashi is an insult to walk through if I were a believer. Just the scale of the mosque right next to it and its significance will not be lost on anybody except for the dhimmiest of the dhimmi (Did I just make up a new figure of speech?).

    I am sure more than one archeologist thought of this before: Where would you find temples and stupas that date back more than 300 years in north india? Under the mosques in some of the main cities there. the qutub minar area in delhi is a perfect case in point.

  21. NASH
    September 19, 2011 at 5:54 AM

    to cricfan

    1.this one point i left out when the observations were made.
    2.that is RITUALS ,which is unique to sanatana dharma.
    3.the rituals reinforces one to adhere to SD.
    4.source = “the vedas” kanchi paramacharya.
    5.the connection and relation between rituals and SD(philosophy)
    are to be explored.
    6.may be point 5 one of the keys to strengthen the SD.

  22. cricfan
    September 18, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    @Nash: thanks for all the points. In particular, this point is so useful:
    “9.so the people who follow santana dharma if they get into
    arguement – they have to argue about the philosophy,they can
    disagree and coexist without bloodshed.-remember we allowed
    at the begining ,it is about philosophies.”

    Recalling the LTTE movement that forcibly eliminated all Tamil voices that deviated slightly from their own. Ultimately, Tamils in Sri Lanka are back to where they where 50 years ago, losing everything.

  23. cricfan
    September 18, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    @vv, thanks for your response: “There is only one way forward: Education.
    If enough people educate themselves and start asking questions, the change will happen automatically. Everything else, the social structures, ideologies, governance etc is secondary.”

    I agree, and in particular, Vivekananda’s vision for India could be actively adopted as the guiding principle. imho, he is very soul of the nation. An avatar of Krishna!

  24. CHOTU
    September 17, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    Just want to add a point…
    Let’s think about Karna in Mahabharat…
    Just IMAGINE from his point of view

    1. Kunti gave birth to him before marriage.
    2. Indra took away his natural Armor.
    3. Parasurama taught him, but cursed that he will be forgetting them at a crucial moment
    4. Bhoodevi (Earth Goddess) cursed him that his chariot wheel would be stuck in the ground during battle
    5. Pandavas did not allow him to join them inspite of his superior skills.

    Just IMAGINE how he should feel.

    Then Duryodhana respected him and gave him a place in the court…
    So, he joined Kauravas side during the Kurukshetra war.

    He would have gone through many things…
    But what matters ultimately is that he supported Adharma…

    What Krishna would do???

  25. x
    September 17, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    >>>”There is only one way forward: Education.”- vv

    Yup, the JNU type.
    western educatn is ‘way forward’.

    >>>”If enough people educate themselves and start asking questions, the change will happen automatically”

    In the world where I spend my time, imagining what a Mahar in 1800s imagined about, change automatically happen, when ‘enough’ people educate themselves and start asking questions. educate themselves about ‘dharma’, that is. Then u start asking the question ‘Why?’ and arrive at answers like- ‘the british never planned to take over India. It just happened, u know’. ‘It was not a british policy to get involved’ and other gems like ‘To blame mercenaries as traitors is being disingenuous’. Yeah

    Oh, btw, ‘m no way related to a Mahar, u know.

    And yes, “If you cannot understand the point of view of the a minority-community member in 1990s and the opportunities available to him and cannot empathize with him for the choices he made in supporting the SIMI for his livelihood, you are no different from a typical JNU racist in my eyes”.

    “If you cannot understand the point of view of a young journo in 2000s and the opportunities available to him and cannot empathize with him for the choices he made in supporting the party for his livelihood, you are no different from a typical JNU racist in my eyes”

    “If you cannot understand the point of view of an aspiring young academician in Nehruvian India and the opportunities available to him and cannot empathize with him for the choices he made in supporting the party for his livelihood, you are no different from… a typical JNU racist in my eyes”

    ‘my eyes’ r very clear I tell ya.

  26. x
    September 17, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    The world as abode of suffering is applicable only to a person who seeks lasting happiness from it. Its a case of unrealised expectation and resultng unhappinss. From this view of Bharatiya Darshanas to “interpretation of the world as a field of suffering from which the only possible or at least the highest possible good was an escape into an other-worldly or at least non-worldly state of beatific transcendence”, there is a wide gap. This gap is bridged by abharamic influence.

    It is in abharamic viewpoint that suffering is considered significant contributor to spiritualty. Eg, Madder Theresa considered the sufferings of the poor of Kolkatta as avenue for her to gain grace of lard and also to lead the sufferers to her path. This tamasic viewpoint is the highest state of reach of abharamic religions. The rest of it is all about blatant self-aggrandization and expropriation, asurika characteristics. The self-aggrandizing western asura, when realizes the futility of running after external objects misinterpret that suffering is inevitable in world and go on to find glory in suffering, as if that will lead to salvation. This wrong expectation is fostered by christian propaganda about jesus suffering to remove sins, about gad allowing his only son to suffer and so on.

    Buddhist way upon realising inevitability of suffering was to recognize desires as cause of suffering and endeavour to suppress/reject/remove such desires.

    ‘Indian Spirituality’ or Bharatiya darshana is about realizing of brahma, realization of self as creator, sustainer, destroyer of all perception and experience.

  27. ava
    September 16, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Well in the North most of the impressive architecture was razed to the ground, so there is very little of it left. What you see is Islamic monuments which remain. It is extremely diffiicult to see a historical continuity in non Islamic architecture, unless one knows something about the subject. The Akshardham temple which the leftist were against due to the expenses involved (but the expenses have already been recovered by visitor donations) is said to be the first temple of such a magnitude built by Hindus in a long time…Now Akshardham is kitchy in many respects, but it is a start and it is quite beautiful to visit, and full of monuments of the heroes of Indian history…Hindus have forgotten to build anymore, most of the architecture which springs up is just commercial and for utility…
    In the South, a great deal of architecture still exists, although a great deal was razed there too, entire cities like Vijayanagar, but where is quite an impressive amount left, one one can visualize the historical development in terms of architectural continuity. I suppose it is for this reason that many Hindu places of worship abroad have been built by
    South Indians as they still retain a sense of temple building and architecture unlike the north…

  28. cricfan
    September 16, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    @Ava, @vv, and others on ‘Indian mercenaries serving the British':
    wow. felt like being back in a classroom :)

    two of @Ava’s points
    1. ” History shows that those civilizations are the strongest where are all males can be mobilized to fight in the event of war, not just a section of society. ”
    A bitter self-inflicted wound of the past for India? should this be read as a negative aspect of the social system that prevented any kind of a ‘draft’ in those days?

    2. ” But the fact is, a great deal of India was already impoverished by the time the British arrived under Islamic rule and a great deal of civilization in the North was destroyed already by the time of the British….”
    This also ties in @VV’s comment below.

    3. @VV’s comment:
    “Practically every non-islamic king built something for public good. I am not talking about ego boosting monuments here, I am talking about public works. Other than Sher shah suri’s improvement of a road, I cannot think of anything else. In Deccan and south it was even worse. The tanks built by Reddy kings and Vijayanagara kings exist to this day, but there is no such thing from bijapur sultans except for their own use.”

    This is amazing to know because it’s something that’s so well hidden in plain sight by our eminent historians and school textbooks, with attention diverted by the Taj’s brilliance. So this lack of any sustained infrastructure development for such a long time also meant that the British get a lot of credit for the useful stuff they built :)

    once again, thanks. hope to respond to feedback from @NASH as well as other questions soon. The problem is that unlike the Angina monologues by Mr.Lonely Planet in Gujarat (aka “the fruitcake”), your comments are actually read and re-read, and much appreciated, thus the delay.

  29. vv
    September 15, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Hello x,
    Given that you admit you were at JNU and a given that it is corroborated by your lack of comprehension skills, I can only say that I am sorry you went to JNU.
    If you cannot understand the point of view of a Mahar in 1800s and the opportunities available to him and cannot empathize with him for the choices he made in supporting the company for his livelihood, you are no different from a typical JNU racist in my eyes.
    The fact that India of 1800s was a heavily armed society can be easily corroborated and I do not see the relevance of that to Godhra. I am not up to speed on your JNU style reasoning here.

  30. G
    September 15, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    >>>”Indian spirituality itself, which was the interpretation of the world as a field of suffering from which the only possible or at least the highest possible good was an escape into an other-worldly or at least non-worldly state of beatific transcendence. ” – G

    care to substantiate this insinuation ?

    @X: Actually this is not an insinuation. I had said accepted this as truth, only a partial one. This is indeed in all Indian spirituality that we know of e.g. in the Gita which while it accepts that all is divine in essence vasudeva sarvam also repeatedly emphasizes the nature of the world as an abode of suffering duhkaalayam, the world of death mrityu-sansaar, a world of unhappinessasukham lokam. And yet the Gita affirms, even posits as necessary, action in the world as a means towards realization and as an expression of a realized person’s work for the world subsequent to siddhi. I did not claim that this was ALL of Indian spirituality but recognized that this element is found IN all of Indian spirituality. With the Buddha and subsequent to his appearance (ONLY) it became the dominant note in Indian spirituality. This perception has become so strong that it has percolated down even into the minds of the masses. That is why there is the refrain “Yeh to sub maya hai” that even the most common people utter sometimes.

  31. x
    September 14, 2011 at 11:38 PM
  32. x
    September 14, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    >>>”Indian spirituality itself, which was the interpretation of the world as a field of suffering from which the only possible or at least the highest possible good was an escape into an other-worldly or at least non-worldly state of beatific transcendence. ” – G

    care to substantiate this insinuation ?

    >>>>”I will also claim that when the traders first came to India from europe, they were only interested in trading. No literature exists from that period that talks about a british conspiracy to take over india. they never planned it and neither did indians. It just happened over time.”- vv

    Never planned it. Just happened over time.
    A rapist may give that as excuse. acceptable?
    A murderer ?

    If u look at past behavior of these ‘traders’, u would know better.

    Inquisitions in Europe, subjugations in Americas, Slavery of Africans, Piracy in seas. These were what Europeans were engaged in when they came knocking the doors of India.
    If anybody accords to them sublime intentions, that person is either fooling himself or has ulterior motives.

    The mleccha westerners only had selfish intent when they landed in India.
    When Bharateeyas led by Shivaji vanquished their collaborator-mleccha-moguls, these partners in trade started taking over India through deceit with the aim of continuing their loot.

    >>>”Given information, a human-being always makes a rational choice.”

    Yeah, all humans r alike.

    Bharatiya experience teaches that some people tend to be selfish minded, Some others dharmik minded.
    So v hav CMs like NaMo and Laloo too. both made rational choices during their respective tenures. Yes!

    >>>>>”No wonder the maratha armies were hated very much during that time. ”

    Yup thats what Madam Thapar taught me at JNU

    >>>”India from early times to 1860s was a very heavily armed society”

    Yeah. It was all the fault of those hindus. Like the post godhra rioters, those hindus took up arms against marauding islami hordes and brutish ‘trader’ armies. Resulted in so much more loss of life and property. Mama Thapar taught me well.

    Before islamic times too these armies existed! Proof? Madam Thapar said so.

    >>>>”Maybe I should not call british, but company because that was what it was. It was not a british policy to get involved. It was a company decision to get involved, it had more to do with company interests that british interests.”

    Yup brutish never displayed any such characterstics. It was those company people, who came from mars that did it.

    >>>>”There you go my friend. Imagine you are a soldier in 1700s/1800s …”

    Yessir, imagine what it was to be Dalit under the upper caste brahmins….
    Imagine, what it was to be Kasab in Pakistan, the poor young lad, hearing the call of Allah to take up arms against infidels… imagine, if u were in his pojishen, u too wud hav done the same thing the poor lad did. imagine…. keep imagining.

    >>>>”I hate to say this, but the company had a much better dharmic way of doing business,”

    Yes. Absolutely. Dharma, as defined by Thaparites and FOIL fellows.

    >>>>”giving dignity to Mahars and others who had no opportunity in other armies …It is not surprising that things turned out the way they did.”

    Inevitable sirjee, inevitable.

    >>>>”To blame those mercenaries as traitors is being disingenuous”

    Same with people like Scami Agniwaste, Harsh Mander, Arundhati Roy, B Dutt,… peple who made rational choices.

    >>>>”I can understand Shivaji following a scorched earth policy…”

    Yes, like NaMo led the assault on muslims post Godhra.

    >>>”Peshwas…they never looked at themselves as leaders of a civilization. ”

    Never having had exposure to liberal, statemanesque, thoughts that a western educated person today has access to, u know.

    >>>>”Their interest were more mundane and did not really extend beyond their clan.”

    As Mama Thapar says, it is only after westernisation that we started thinking beyond clans.

    After all Shri Max Mueller ji taught us- “LokahSamastahSukhinoBhavantu”.

    V war all warring when ‘trader’ brutish and arty moguls came here to improv ar condishn.

  33. NASH
    September 14, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    to cricfan
    1.these are my observations.
    2.individual practitioners are truthful,strong and etc.
    3.because of its individuality unifying would be at great cost.
    4.the process of unifying might not be beneficial as it would
    go against the basic precept of santana dharma and hence spirituality.
    5.the varied individual thoughts or philosophies are to be tied up with
    santana dharma.( i think that is why we say vedas are our books
    note how we say ayurveda,dhanurveda and etc-all referring to the vedas
    6.they all have to quote the same source (sanatana dharma)
    and have any divergence in philosophies.
    7.if dharma has to be preserved it has to be inclusive.
    8.what inclusive means here is- get as many to follow.
    9.so the people who follow santana dharma if they get into
    arguement – they have to argue about the philosophy,they can
    disagree and coexist without bloodshed.-remember we allowed
    at the begining ,it is about philosophies.
    10.this is the simplest i could make.
    10.so you will read PRO’s and CON’s of the above from the commenters here.

  34. G
    September 14, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    2.how the above is beneficial to sanatana dharma.
    3.am i reading out of context?or is it bringing agnostic minds into

    I believe that Sanatana Dharma is not merely a creed in which a person declares his faith but more a process of self-finding and self-perfection… and through this self-perfection achieving a perfect social life as well. Assuming that to be the case the benefit to Sanatana Dharma would be simply the realization of it’s vision and its mission of creating such perfected individuals and groups. The use of the world agnostic is very interesting because as per the Sanatana dharma this perfection is attained through some kind of “gnosis”… or direct realization. So really the appeal would be to anyone who believes that such gnosis is possible and desirable… irrespective of race, creed, gender etc.

  35. vv
    September 14, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    “Can we have some input from commentators on ways for progressing forward as well? while I agree that we must understand what happened in the past to ensure that we dont repeat the same mistakes, i would like to think that we largely agree on those reasons: Indians were not united [..]”

    There is only one way forward: Education.
    If enough people educate themselves and start asking questions, the change will happen automatically. Everything else, the social structures, ideologies, governance etc is secondary.
    If enough people educate themselves about dharma and about how they want it to incorporate into their lives, the organization of such people will be a logical consequence and so will be the agitation for their rights under a new social structure different from what exists in India today.

    In my opinion, the real education starts with a very simple word: “Why?”.

  36. vv
    September 14, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Thanks for the Sita Ram Pandey reference. I did not know about it.

    And about thugees, to me they are freedom fighters. Their banditry was no different from what marathas or mughals did to central india in those days.

  37. NASH
    September 14, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    to G
    1.your quote
    “This too can be communicated in a non-religious, undogmatic manner to appeal to the modern mind and the refined heart.”
    2.how the above is beneficial to sanatana dharma.
    3.am i reading out of context?or is it bringing agnostic minds into
    the fold?
    4.clarification would clue me in.

  38. WordOfTheFree
    September 14, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    G : What I pointed out were the 2 ends of the spectrum that these two professed as far as one’s commitment and approach towards protection of Dharma goes. There are approaches of various hues that could be taken between the two ends of the spectrum, depending on one’s own approach to life. But I agree with Sandeep and Atanu here that Krishna’s approach is a more logical, confident and self-assured approach than Gandhi’s.

    The need of the hour for Dharma and it’s professors is to have multi-pronged strategies with respect to reminding our civilization of ways to lead a Dharmic life. If Saints and Swamis profess Jnana Yoga or Bhakti Yoga, big industrialists should appeal to the non-religious/agnostic Sanaatanis to follow Karma Yoga.

  39. G
    September 14, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    correction: meant to say “what the religions LACK”

  40. G
    September 14, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    @Wordofthefree: Gandhi endorses “dying for Dharma (what he considered as Dharma)” and Krishna endorsed “killing for Dharma”

    Fortunately there are a range of other options beyond just these two :-) The true strength of Hinduism/Dharma, what the religions, and this speaks to the point of Dharma not being merely a religion i.e. belief system, is that it has DEMONSTRABLE VALUE. This is the secret behind the rise of Yoga in the West not just for physical self-culture but as a philosophical outlook on life. I am including Buddhism in Hinduism here. It is also the secret behind Ramdev’s rise in India. The concrete BENEFIT practically sells itself. And it goes way beyond just the body… for e.g. Neelkanth’s point about the exhilaration experienced by the mind… or as it may be, illumination when it grasps the truths and looks at the world anew. This too can be communicated in a non-religious, undogmatic manner to appeal to the modern mind and the refined heart.

  41. ava
    September 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Everyone knows about the thugs don’t they? Even people who know nothing about India. I remember an American telling me a while back, why don’t Indians just send the thugs to deal with the terrorists!!! I suppose only thugs can deal with thugs! These men were assorted former soldiers who could kill , as soldiers are capable of doing, they probably often resorted to banditry to survive….and yes some were Muslims as well, but due to weird British propaganda they have gone down in history as a blood thirsty Kali cult, as if they were some sect of Hinduism encouraged by the religion!!

  42. WordOfTheFree
    September 14, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    The main difference between Gandhi’s ideology and Krishna’s, and also the main reason why Gandhi’s ideals have made generations together pusillanimous and Krishna’s would have invigorated a Dharmic war within and without are that – Gandhi endorses “dying for Dharma (what he considered as Dharma)” and Krishna endorsed “killing for Dharma”.
    P.S: Dharma is not to be confused with religion. Nowadays Dharma is falsely and sometimes mischievously said to be a synonym for religion.

  43. WordOfTheFree
    September 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Among all of the people I have read, Swami Vivekananda is the single most revolutionary saint, in the sense that, he was the only one who told boys to go out, play football, grow biceps and then, they would be able to understand the might of Krishna even better.
    He also went onto say that, we should replace soft and wishy washy musical instruments and start playing the bugle more to awaken the Dharmic warrior spirit. People who’ve heard the bugle being played will know what he means!
    Gandhi came along and spoilt all of that warrior spirit.

  44. neelkanth
    September 14, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    G mentioned Vivekananda as an important figure in Hindu history. I feel Shankaracharya also did a great deal to unify Hinduism. It is said that at one time there were 72 different schools of philosophy, and if Shankaracharya had not established Advaita, Hinduism might well have not existed today. Hinduism was in danger not just from Islam but also from Buddhism whose followers had developed their own metaphysics with too much emphasis on the impermanent.

    Those who are interested in knowing exactly how brilliant Hindu metaphysicians were, and the arguments which Shankaracharya used to defeat other schools of philosophy, should buy the Ramakrishna Mission publication “Dakshinamurti Stotra with Manasollasa”.
    Dakshinamurti is the main hymn composed by Shankara. Manasollasa is the commentary on the hymn by his disciple Sueshwaracharya. Manasollasa is Manas+Ulhas and is named so because Sureshwaracharya promises that the reader who grasps the arguments made, his mind will be exhilarated :) His confidence is not misplaced in the least.
    It is probably the best work on Advaita Vedanta I have read, and it is quite short too.

  45. Amit
    September 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Speaking of Thugee, Anuraag has a fascinating post on it:

  46. ava
    September 14, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Above 1857 , not 1847 typo…Sita Ram Pandey’s account of why he took part in the mutiny of 1857…..

  47. ava
    September 14, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    Sorry for digressing and not addressing the question you asked me, but going on about thugs…. My explanation of thugs is that they were most likely disbanded former soldiers of all stripes….
    I told you why I thought Gurkhas were loyal to the British, as for Sikhs I do not know enough. However, the Panjab was conquered by the British with soldiers form the UP, perhaps there is a reason for Sikh dislike of these people from there… The Bengal army revolted during the mutiny of 1847, so it is not correct to demonize these people as mercenaries, there was also the Madras army which was composed of people from the South….This history is multi layered and needs a lot of reading to understand properly. Darlymple’s Last Mogul which came out a few years back is also about the 1857 revolt, and he gives some details of the composition of the Bengal army….Now Darlymple is an admirer of the Islamic court, however, he gives quite a good account of the mutiny as he spent a lot of time in the Delhi archives….His book is worth reading as it covers a fixed point in history, I find him extremely biased, however, as far as his overall knowledge of Indian history is concerned…
    One book I would like to get hold of is the memoirs of the soldier Sita Ram Pandey. He was an illiterate soldier and someone wrote down his memoirs as to why revolted. This is the only Hindu live account available, and I would love to read the book if I could get hold of it….
    But I am also in the process of learning more about this period….
    some account of the people

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