Hinduism and Religious Tolerance: Part One


Among all religions of the world, Hindu religion is considered as an ancient religion that is recognized as foundation of civilization. Hindu Dharma is a righteous way of life based on accumulated wisdom of great sages, Vedas, Upanishads and Agamas. Various basic concepts like Dharma, Karma, Ahimsa, Rebirth, Moksha (Nirvana) are inherited by various dharmic traditions like Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism from Hinduism.

Sri Chinmoy said

I am a Hindu. I love being a Hindu. I am proud to be a Hindu. Why? Why? Why? Because a Hindu soul is a world-peace-dreamer, a Hindu heart is a world-peace-lover and a Hindu life is a world-peace-server. My spiritual ancestors, the Vedic seers of the hoary past, taught my soul the song of universal peace. My soul has taught the singer in me that particular song. Now I wish to sing that song lovingly and devotedly for you, my world-peace-dreamer, lover and server brother and sister-friends.

Hindus are most responsible religious people on the earth because our belief is based on “law of cause and consequences”. Therefore we never blame others for our own deeds. Hinduism is most tolerant religion on the earth because it is the only religion who declare “whole world as a family”. No one can question on Hinduism’s universalism.

Maha Upanishad Chapter 6, Verse 72:

‘ayam bandhurayam neti ganana laghuchetasam

Udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam’

‘Only small men discriminate saying: One is a relative; the other is a stranger.

For those who live magnanimously the entire world constitutes but a family.’

[So,
Lets take a better look, beyond a narrow book
. This is our intellectual response to some scholars who are working hard to defame Hinduism with their stinking skills. This is for information purpose. We would encourage people to read this article in broad mind and clearer head so it would help them to understand the actual situation properly. This article is for educational purpose so any indecent or hatred discussion or comments would be condemned.]

Aryans, Non-Aryans and Aryan Invasion Theory

Aryans were cultured people, skilled and peaceful people. They migrated and peacefully mixed with local people. First of all Aryan/dasyu/dasa is not a race. No where in Vedas and other ancient Hindu scriptures these terms are used to refer as a race or a particular tribe. In Vedic literature, the word arya is no where defined in connection with either race or language. Instead it refers to; gentleman, good-natured, righteous person, noble-man.

According to the AIT theory, northern India was invaded and conquered by nomadic, light-skinned race of a people called ‘aryans’ who supposedly descended from central Asia (or some unknown land?) around 1500 BC, and destroyed an earlier more advanced civilization of the people habitated in the Indus Valley, and then imposed upon them their culture and language. These Indus Valley people were supposed to be either Dravidian, or Austrics or now–days’ Shudra class etc.

The main elements on which the entire structure of AIT has been built are: Arya is a racial group, their invasion, they were nomadic, light-skinned, their original home was outside India, their invasion occurred around 1500 BC, they destroyed an advanced civilization of Indus valley, etc.

Nobility | Not Race


In 1853, Max Muller introduced the word ‘Arya’ into the English and European usage as applying to a racial and linguistic group when propounding the Aryan Racial theory. However, in 1888, he himself refuted his own theory (Biographies of Words and the Home of the Aryas, 1888, pg 120) and he wrote:

“I have declared again and again that if I say Aryas, I mean neither blood nor bones, nor hair, nor skull; I mean simply those who speak an Aryan language…to me an ethnologist who speaks of Aryan race, Aryan blood, Aryan eyes and hair, is as great a sinner as a linguist who speaks of a dolichocephalic dictionary or a brachycephalic grammar.”

In Vedic Literature, the word Arya is nowhere defined in connection with either race or language. Instead it refers to: gentleman, good-natured, righteous person, noble-man, and is often used like ‘Sir’ or ‘Shree’ before the name of a person like Aryaputra, Aryakanya, etc.

In Ramayan (Valmiki), Rama is described as an Arya in the following words: a;yR: sv;R-smWcewv: sdwv ip[y;dxRn (Aryah sarvasamashchaivah sadaiv priyadarshan ) :Arya - who cared for the equality to all and was dear to everyone.

V.S. Apte's Sanskrit-English dictionary the meaning of Arya is given as "excellent, best", followed by "respectable" and as a noun, "master, lord, worthy, honorable, excellent", upholder of Arya values, and further: teacher, employer, master, father-in-law, friend, Buddha.

Stephen Knapp says

"In this way, we can understand that Aryanism, or Vedic culture, is a way of life. It is not race of people or sectarian creed or religion. It belongs to no particular country or race. It is a path that upholds a code of conduct which values peace and happiness and justice or all. Thus, it is a path open for all who want to be trained to be happy with simple living and high thinking, while engaged in proper conduct, a moral life, and selfless service to humanity. Therefore, anyone who wants to live in such manner may be called Aryan, a member of Vedic culture, no matter from which race or country a person may come."

Arya is a Sanskrit word meaning "noble". Therefore, "aryan" was not a race of physical characteristics, but mental characteristics.

Relationship between Aryas and Kikatas

Historians are divided over Kikatas were non-aryan or Aryan. But according to most of historians, kikatas were a major kingdom of Dasyus. So, we have to know the actual meaning of "dasyus" to know more about kikats. According to Veda dasyus are "Ayajva" meaning those who do not perform noble acts or noble resolutions. So, dasyus were one kind of atrocious and offensive people. Sayana defines Dasyu as thief; Dasyu origins from root "dasa" which means "Upakshaya" or that which leads to "destruction". Hence dasyu refer to those people who are destructive or calamitous or hurtful. Dasyu in Veda does not refer to any caste or race. That is why we found many hymns related to destroy such anti-nobles to safeguard righteous people.

Rigveda mantra 3/53/14 - Amongst the ignorant, the cows are not taken care of/nursed, hence, the number of cows does not increase there. Similarly, the good qualities and righteousness does not progress amongst the atheists. So, to avoid atheism, theism/belief in God/righteousness is required to be popularized. (Vedmandir, H H Swami Ramswarup)

"Kikata being the ordinary appellation of that province: and it is not incompatible with the apparent limitation (vegetarianism, non-violence) of Hindus in the time of the Vedas to the western countries that their religion had not extended so far into the interior, especially into a country which was still partly covered by forest and inhabited by barbarous tribes."
(Rig Veda Sanhita: H H Wilson)

Stephen Knapp
says
"However, anybody who is unwilling to follow such rules for balanced moral standard is dubbed a non-Aryan. Such a person is not on the spiritual path of life, regardless of what other standards or principles of etiquette he may follow. So a person who lacks spiritual tendencies and acts on bodily platform life, willing to do whatever he likes, or who thinks he is white body, or from this country or that, and who holds loyalty only to that conception and shows irt by criticizing everyone who is not like him, is a non-Aryan."

Anti-Nobles or Non-aryans were used to steal cows from Aryans. As for Vedas, anti-noble did not use cow for generous religious purpose or for any humble cause. Therefore noble people used to prayer to save themselves and their cattle from anti-socials. In contrast, this verse does not reference to individual or collective battle/conflicts between the Aryas and the dasyus/kikatas. This verse even indicates that Dasyus used to keep cows but for any injurious or harmful purpose. Above verse gives us idea of people making spiritual progress and development by overcoming material obstacles to attain spiritual perfection at all levels. The sole aspiration of this verse simply, to offer prayers to the "Almighty Lord" to save spiritual and peaceful people from darkness or people dwelling in darkness. This verse is prayer to God to punish evil people, but this nowhere shows that Aryan used to take law on their own hand and punished kikata people.

H H Sri Aurobindo, one of prominent scholar in Vedas, has given an entire new light on this matter.

He said "The hymns were written in a stage of religious culture which answers to a similar period in Greece and other ancient countries, a stage in which there was a double face to current religion, an outer for the people, profanum vulggus, and inner for initiates, the early period of mysteries. The Vedic rishis were mystics who reserved the inner knowledge for the initiates; they shielded them from vulgar by the use of alphabet of symbols which could not readly be understood without the initiation, but were perfectly clear and systematic when the signs were once known." (Vedic Symbolism)

According to him "there is nothing in present ethnological features of the country" to prove the common theory that there was, from outside India, a penetration of a "small body fair skinned barbarians into a civilized Dravidian peninsula". The Rig Veda's "non-Aryan" – it's Dasa-Dasyu – is for Sri Aurobindo not human foes of different race but supernatural beings of a demonic darkness opposed to the inner spiritual adventure of the Rishis".

Even in present days most Hindus believe that Veda is fountain of symbolism which helps to transform and attain perfection in personal level. For Hindus, Hindu ancient scriptures are composed in symbolic language, using metaphors. To the extent we are spiritually aware the religious texts of Hinduism reveal their secrets to us. Spiritually weak people interpret Veda in wrong way, but Hindu scriptures has always inspired spiritually enlighten mankind to work positively from Vedic period to now. So, Vedic religion does not approve of superiority of a particular race or races over others. None is superior or inferior. All are equal children of one Father.

EaRNvantau ivaEvao AmaRtasya pau~aa:

"All men are sweet sons of Supreme Being"

Vedic religion (Hindu religion) is also based on the golden principle of 'live and let live'. Exploitation in any form is strictly prohibited in Vedic religion. Supreme Being dwells in the hearts of all men. Then why to enslave a fellow-being, who has the same equal right to live with dignity and liberty? Holy Vedas admonish us to live and let others live:

jaIvaa sqa jaIvyaasaM

à Aqava-vaod 19ó69ó1

You may live

And let me also live. - Atharva Veda 19/69/1

So, The Aryans had concept of universalism not advanced by any people of those eras; they glorified non-violence, not preached or practiced anywhere in the world. Secular Universalism is central to philosophy of Hinduism and has continued to be honored and respected in India throughout the ages, right from emergence of Sanatan Dharma/Hinduism. Therefore Hindu culture became the culture of the progress and became one of most advance civilization at that time.

No Racism in Veda


In the Rig Veda, Dasa, Dasyu and similar terms (e.g. Pani) occur sometimes in conjunction with the terms krsna ("black") or asikni ("black"). This was often the basis for a "racial" interpretation of the Vedic texts. But Sanskrit is a language that uses many metaphors. The word cow for example can mean Mother Earthsunshine, wealth, language, Aum etc. Words like "black" have similary many different meanings in Sanskrit, as it is in fact the case in most languages. Thus "black" has many symbolical, mythological, psychological and other uses that are simply unrelated to human appearance.

Also Iyengar (1914) commented on such interpretations: "The only other trace of racial reference in the Vedic hymns is the occurrence of two words, one krishna in seven passages and the other asikini in two passages. In all the passages, the words have been interpreted as referring to black clouds, a demon whose name was Krishna, or the powers of darkness." (6-7, Iyengar, Srinivas. 1914.)

There are only three instances in the Rig Veda where the word krsna (or asikni) tvac occurs. This has been translated by some as meaning "black skin". Maria Schetelich (1990) who has analyzed these three instances finds this as symbolic expression for darkness. Similary, Michael Witzel (1995b) writes about terms like krsna tvac that "while it would be easy to assume reference to skin colour, this would go against the spirit of the hymns: for Vedic poets, black always signifies evil, and any other meaning would be secondary in these contexts". The rigvedic commentatorSayana explains the word tvacam krsna as referring to an asura called Krsna whose skin was torn apart by Indra. Koenraad Elst (1999) writes: "And when Usha, the dawn, is said to chase the "dark skin" or "the black monster" away, it obviously refers to the cover of nightly darkness over the surface of the earth. (This is admitted in so many words by Sir Monier-Williams in his A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, entry tvac, Reference is to Rg Veda 1:92:5 and 4:51:9.)"

Sri Aurobindo (The Secret of the Veda, p. 220-21) commented that in the RV III.34 hymn, where the word Arya varna occurs, Indra is described as the increaser of the thoughts of his followers: "the shining hue of these thoughts, sukram varnam asam, is evidently the same as that sukra or sveta Aryan hue which is mentioned in verse 9. Indra carries forward or increases the "colour" of these thoughts beyond the opposition of the Panis, pra varnam atiracchukram; in doing so he slays the Dasyus and protects or fosters and increases the Aryan "colour", hatvi dasyun pra aryam varnam avat." Thus, Aurobindo sees the Arya color or lustre of the thoughts that Indra increases as psychological.

The term krsnavonih in RV 2.20.7 has been interpreted by Asko Parpola as meaning "which in their wombs hid the black people". Sethna (1992) writes, referring to a comment by Richard Hartz, that "there is no need to follow Parpola in assuming a further unexpressed word meaning "people" in the middle of the compound krsnayonih", and the better known translation by Griffith, i.e. "who dwelt in darkness" can be considered as essentially correct.

Who were Dasyu!

Rigveda mantra 10/22/8- God or the king destroys the persons who lack hard-working, have pride, who suppress and torture others. (Translation-HH Swami Ramswarup)

Dasyu or miscreants were termed as "anyavratam" because they used to observe different rites (not religious but social like killing, robbing, creating disturbance). They are also described as "brahma-dicisah" means "those who hate devotion". Rig Veda 10.22.8 describes the Dasa-Dasyus as a-karman (non-performers of sacrifices/lazy), and in Rig Veda 10.105.8 they are described as anrc (non-singer of prayers). In Rig Veda 8.70.11 they are described as a-deva-yu (not respecting to God). This shows messy characteristics of Vedic dasyus-dasas.

If we would always take Veda as a literal mirror of that period then it would not be correct every time. Vedas are spiritual library of mankind and
delineating spiritual and psychological wisdom. As per Sri Aurobindo words like dasa does not refer to human beings, but rather to demons who hinder the spiritual attainment of mystic. Many dasa/dasyu are purely mystical or celestial and can only refer to demons. There is for example a dasa called urana which 99 armsa (RV2.14.4) and a Dasa with six eyes and three heads in Rig Veda.

According to Aurobindo (The Secret of the Veda), RV 5.14.4 is a key for understanding the character of the Dasyus:

Agni born shone out slaying the Dasyus, the darkness by the light, he found the Cows, the Waters, Swar. (transl. Aurobindo)

Aurobindo explains that in this verse the struggle between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, divine and undivine is described. It is through the shining light created by Agni, god of fire, that the Dasyus, who are identified with the darkness, are slain. The Dasyus are also described in the Rig Veda as intercepting and withholding the Cows, the Waters and Swar ("heavenly world"; RV 5.34.9; 8.68.9). It is not difficult, of course, to find very similar metaphors, equating political or military opponents with evil and darkness, even in contemporary propaganda.

K.D. Sethna (1992) writes: "According to Aurobindo,(...) there are passages in which the spiritual interpretation of the Dasas, Dasyus and Panis is the sole one possible and all others are completely excluded. There are no passages in which we lack a choice either between this interpretation and a nature-poetry or between this interpretation and the reading of human enemies." And according to Koenraad Elst: "When it is said that Agni, the fire, "puts the dark demons to flight", one should keep in mind that the darkness was thought to be filled with ghosts or ghouls, so that making light frees the atmosphere of their presence. And when Usha, the dawn, is said to chase the "dark skin" or "the black monster" away, it obviously refers to the cover of nightly darkness over the surface of the earth."

Any Human Dasyu was killed! A Damn NO

Atharvaveda mantra 8/8/7- The king of a nation should enlarge his army. He should be powerful, so that even if the enemies are in thousands or millions yet the enemy should be unable to win over him. (Translation-HH Swami Ramswarup)

According to some scholars this hymns shows that "hundreds of millions" innocent dasyus were slaughtered by the so called barbarious Aryans. So, let's take a deep look in this matter. This verse says that God Indra (not Aryans) killed millions of dasyus, and as per Sri Aurobindo those dasyus were celestical demons, not earthly people. Sri Aurobindo is correct because 10000 BC which is last ice age ends after 65,000 years; world population was 1 million. It was 5 million in 8500 BC and it grew up to 7 million by 4000 BC. Though it is still a mystry that when Vedas are compiled but dates varies from 8000 BC to 4000 BC. So, its foolish and comical to believe that alone Aryan killed their human enimies in "hundred of millions" in northern India while very few from total world population used to live in ancient cililization like Nile, Mesopatamia, Mahenjodaro, Harrapa etc.

It is interesting to observe that in Rig Veda there is no condemnation of the persons who are skeptical of the existence of devas (8.100.3). There are many references to poets saying that they recite the Vedas, still they are still plagued by a variety of troubles. Rig Veda has no conception of hell. Here there is no question of the unbelievers of skeptics being thrust to hell after their death. This shows existence of high tolerance in Vedic society which accepted atheistic religions like mimansa, samkhya as astika philosophy.
Ancient Vedic society became one of world's most civilized societies and everybody used breath in peace, harmony and abundance.

As Rigveda says: -"Te ajyesthaa akanisthaasa udbhido amadhyamaaso mahasaa vi vavridhuh | sujaataaso janushaa prishnimataro divo marya aa no achaa jigatana ||" – Rig: 5-59-6

Among these men there are no superiors or no inferiors, no middle ones either. They become great from small beginnings. They make progress in different ways by dint of their merits. By birth they are all highborn because they are all children of Mother-Earth. O you men of the Lord Refulgent! Be available to us in a loveable manner or grow into praise-worthy souls in fair ways.

"The Rig Veda describes its god "destroyer or conqueror of city". This was used to regard the Vedic as primitive nomadic culture that destroys cities and opposed to urban civilization. However, there are many verses in rig veda that speak of the Aryans as having a cities of their own and being protected by cities of their own and being protected by cities up to hundered in number…..Hence the idea of vedic culture as destroying/conquering but not building cities is based upon ignoring what the Vedas actually say…..However since recent evidence shows that indus cities were abandonded and not destroyed, the idea of Veda Aryans as destroyers of cities has also vanished from the interpretatiobns of those who stand still hold to and Aryan invasion." (Myth of Aryan Invasion of India – Dr. David rewley).

Actually,
Aryan migrated and peacefully mixed with local people.The word "Aryan" started to term as "Race" in 1800 and 1900 century Europe, especially to Germany before Iranians becomes aware of Hitler, they did think of themselves as Aryans, after the shah brainwashed the Persian people into thinking they are Aryan in the 1930s. It has become a fundamental terment of their identy, later it "Aryan" as Race played a big role in German politics and British clonolization.

Dr N S Rajaram says:

"The real Aryans have lived in India for thousands of years without commiting anything remotely resembling the Nazi horros."


In the early Vedic period, caste system originated but all castes were equal and fluid. There also seems to have been no discrimination against the Caste Sudras on the issue of hearing the sacred words of Veda and fully participating in all religious rituals. As Holy Vedas preach equality of all men of the earth and equal rights of all irrespective of caste, colour, creed and country.

 

samaanaao AQvaa pa`vataamanauYyado |

à Pgvaod 2ó13ó2

 

All the walkers

Who walk on the path

Have equal right

To the path

- Rig Veda 2/13/2

 

But in the end of Vedic period, Brahmin caste gained economical supirity and caste system became rigid and inhuman. Then Brahmins restricted accessibility to Vedas fearing that it could be able to recreate equality in society and decline of their superiority. The Vedas have never been brought in the public domain for precisely this reason. But, now Vedas are gaining popularity in spiritual world. Now Vedas are helping to god less people to shine as dynamic yogi or jivanmukta. Vedas inspiring us to rise and go beyond the body-conciousness.

 

Prof. Max Muller admires and appreciates Vedas in the following words:

"Vedas will continue to be admired and appreciated as long as the oceans and the mountains exist on the earth."

- Prof Max Muller

 

Vedic Aastiks and Vedic Naastiks

Hinduism is traditionally philosophical instead of literal. The main difference between Abrahmic religion and Hinduism is that Abrahamic religions stress on being literal while Hinduism is pure philosophical. Therefore Abrahamic religions are literal and confined in One Book, but Hinduism is most diversified religious tradition in the earth. For a Hindu thinker the purpose of studying Hindu Scriptures/Philosophy is not merely to gain knowledge for own sake or to satisfy one's curiosity, but to discover and live the highest kind of life, the life that life will bring permanent God-realization or Supreme bliss. Pure devotes/Hindus must recover truths themselves not just accept them on blind faith or form the testimony of others. Therefore abrahamic literal scholars fail to understand the metaphysical or allegorical or analogical meaning of Holy Hindu scriptures.

Throughout its history, Hindus has interpreted and understood Hindu scriptures philosophically that's why this has not made Hindu scriptures dogmatic or creedal but an overall synthetic tradition.     This stress on synthetic vision has made possible on intellect and religious tolerance towards differences between Hinduism and towards other faiths and systems of thought. Therefore Hinduism is broad, inclusive and most tolerant religion on the earth.

Vedic scholar Sri Aurobindo said

"The Veda is a book of esoteric symbols, almost of spiritual formulae, which masks itself as a collection of ritual poems. The inner sense is psychological, universal, and impersonal; the ostensible significance and the figures which were meant to reveal to the initiates what they concealed from the ignorant, are to all appearance crudely concrete, intimately personal, loosely occasional and allusive. To this lax outer garb the Vedic poets are sometimes careful to give a clear and coherent form quite other than the strenuous inner soul of their meaning; their language then becomes a cunningly woven mask for hidden truths. More often they are negligent of the disguise which they use, and when they thus rise above their instrument, a literal and external translation gives either a bizarre, unconnected sequence of sentences or a form of thought and speech strange and remote to the uninitiated intelligence. It is only when the figures and symbols are made to suggest their concealed equivalents that there emerges out of the obscurity a transparent and well-linked though close and subtle sequence of spiritual, psychological and religious ideas. It is this method of suggestion that I have attempted." (Source – The Secret of Veda)

 

So this is also applied in Nastik and Astik matter because it is very complex theory than believer and non-beliver theory of abrahamic religions.

According to Dr. Satkari Mukhopadhyay Buddhism and Jainism were not nastika group. He says that "the Buddha was Nastika is basically a wrong notion! As Buddha Sankhaya and Mimansik philosophy underplayed the God, then why don't you call them Nastika. I tell you actually the English word 'Atheist' and the Sanskrit 'Nastika' carry different Meanings. Let us look into etymologically and trace the meaning of Nastika from Panini's perspective. It says' He who believes in life after death (Paraloka) is Astika. Buddha believed in incarnations and rebirths so he was Astika so how can we say Gautam Buddha was a Nastika!"

Actually T H Griffith describes atharvaveda12.5 as "On the duty of giving cows to Spiritual performers, and the sin and danger of withholding the gift."It has nothing to do with Veda nindik or non-believer of Vedas.

Though Vedic scholars show a entire different meaning of that verse but even if one has to take so called violent meanings of scholars who have translated Atharvaveda Mantras to show killing of Nastikas, look closely, whom the mantras are asking to kill, its VED VANNI. So not remotely these mantras are applicable on Humans! Veda is talking to Veda Vanni (Mantra of Vedas!). Secondly there is no word in Mantra that means atheist. Thirdly anyone can reject these mantras/meanings if he/she finds them nothing wrong. But it is not same for people who are questioning on Veda. Do they have that much of courage to reject violent teachings of their books?

According to Sami Ramswarup; the idea of said Atharva Veda mantra 12/5/54 is that the devine Vevanni which emanates from God is like a "Vajra" for an ved nindik i.e, the learned person have power to take said vedaic knowledge to change that mind of atheist but the fundamental law of Vedas is that everyone has to maintain non-violence. As regards the destruction it applies to antisocials tendencies.

The mantra 12/5/62 relates to law "Ved Nindak" who insults Vedas, in this case the divine "Ved Vanni" takes its own option to destroy the said elements of Ved Nindik.

Firstlly, it is not for atheist who does not belive in god, it is for them who insult Ved instead of questinging doubts. Secondlly nastik and Ved Nindik are totally different. Nastik is not a negative meaning in Ved; it simply means who does not believe in reincarnation or Vedic words. But Ved Nindik can be both astik and nastik. Thirdly, it is not mentioned anywhere in mantras that any person should take law in his own hand to harm. Fourthly according to many those Ved Nindiks are celestical demons.

Translation of this sukta start with – Hey Ved vanni! So, according to it Bhagwan/Eswar is adreesing Ved Vaani (Vedic mantras) here and not any humans. So, finding relationg AV 12.5 with killing of infidels is now in vain they start to point out to Manusmruti about treating biasedly with nastika.

So, according to those scholars, As per Vedas who those disagree with authority of Vedas are Nastik and who those believe in Vedic authority are Astika. (But it is completely different from abrahamic believer or disbeliever theory.)

Manusmruti 2-10, 11

"Vedas should be known to be srutis and dharma sastra to be smritis. They both are beyond the range of criticism. Dharma manifested from them. The person, who disregards these two and bends on logical arguments, should be shunned by wise ones as non-believer and censorious to the Vedas."

So, let's see what is dharma sastra and smritis according to manusmriti.

"The Vedas, the Vedic smritis, the qualities of the knowers of Vedas, the conduct of pious ones and lastly the self-satisfaction-these are the sources from which dharma emanates." (Manusmruti 2-6)

"Steadfastness, forbearance, self restraint, non-thieving, purity, and control over the sense-organs, intellect, self-knowledge, truthfulness and absence of anger- these ten qualities are characteristic marks of Dharma." (Manusmruti 4-92)

So, Manusmruti says to censor people who those have no such above qualities and still criticize divine work instead of asking doubts.

But, let us know that we can also simply reject this meaning or mantra of manusmruti. We should remember that the basic criteria of authenticity of a Hindu scripture, that a scripture is authentic only solong as it is in tune with the Vedas. About the authenticity of smiritis, Jaimini Rishi says, "They are authentic to the extent they are in tune with the Vedas."(Mimansa2.3.3). Acccording to TANDYA Brahman (23.16.17) "A word by Manu is supreme, and is like medicine." Acharya Brahaspati says: "When there is contradiction among the smritis, treat Manusmiriti as authentic.But is should be taken like this only, when Manusmiriti is consonance with the Vedas, and NOT where it (MS) contradicts it (VEDA). Jabal Rishi says, "In the event of contradiction between Vedas and Smritis primacy should be accorded to Vedas."

So, One Human can not take law in its own hand or can not censor/harm a Ved Nindik because Ved says that Ved Vanni (not human) would terminate all the evil/negetive thoughts and speeches by establishing God consciousness knowledge in that person.

The Vedic people had no founding prophet unlike Abraham of Jews, Christ of Christians, Muhammad of Muslim (peace be upon him) and many others. Therefore there was no concept of and "infidel" or "jihad" in "noble" culture.

Some Indian scholars (?) try to link these literal works with the modren day riots in India. According to them these riots are happing because influence of violent (?) teaching of atharva Veda. So, let's analize these aligations in unbiased way. The riot in Orissa between Christian dalits and Hindu tribes was purely economical, social and ethnic not religious. It happened because anti socials first killed Swami Laxamananada Saraswati and his four disciples in his ashrams. Then violence started but long lasting social and economical tension between two groups was actual cause which sparked violence in Kandhamal. Communal violence also started in gujurat because religious minorities burnt a train containing religious majority people. This sparked bloody communal violence in gujurat which became worse and went out of control due to ineffective actions of govt. Conflict between Hindus and Sikhs was shocking because historically two religions worked together for a smooth running society. This conflict was purely based on political dimension instead of religious. Skih found themselves split by border between the two new nations and many fled to India, fearing worse persecution in Muslim country. Then Indian military's counter attack against aggressive Sikh militant movement leaded by Sant Jarnail caused riot between traditional brothers. Post partition humiliation, future Partition anxiety, decline in mutual trust were major factors in communal riots. In Assam, Bodo and Muslim conflict is based on land war and illegal immigration of Bangladeshi Muslims. Some fanatics try to paint these riots as a negative result of Hinduism, but in proper light all can understand that all these conflects were raised for mutual distrust, regional/social tension, slow economical growth and underdevelopment and uneducated society. In Hinduism there is no room for violence and hatred. Whatever happened, it was inhuman, evil and heinous to civilized society and national shame. Hindus as born secular condemn these destructive activities.

Hinduism and Buddhism: Ancient Relation


The Buddha is viewed as an avatar of alalmighty Vishnu. He is described in important Hindu scriptures, including almost all the major purans. It is considered that not all of them refer to same person: some of them refer to other persons, and some occurrences of "Buddha" simply mean "a person possessing buddhi".

In the Srimad-Bhagvatam, Lord Buddha is accepted as a saktyavesa avatara, a specially empowered incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Srimad-Bhagvatam, which was compiled by Vyasadeva five thousand years ago, foretold the incarnation of Lord Buddha who appeared just 2,600 years ago, saying Buddha will appear in Gaya Pradesh, in the province of Gaya. "In the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya, just for the purpose of deluding those atheists." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:3:24). Kesava dhrta buddha sarira – Krsna/Vishnu has accepted the body of Buddha. That is the Vaisnava conception of Lord Buddha.

Lord Buddha appeared at a time when the so called religionists were falsely using the Vedas to justify violent acts like meat-eating and animal sacrifice. It was the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to end violence being committed in the name of the Vedas. Taking compassion on the poor animals, he appeared as Lord Buddha to preach ahimsa, non-violence, leading the fallen people away from such false interpretations.

At the time of Lord Buddha's appearance, many people had become atheistic, and Srimad-Bhagvatam states that Lord Buddha appeared in order to bewilder this atheistic class of men. Due to their ignorance, the people were being implicated in innumerable sinful activities by unnecessary animal killing in the name of religion. In his preaching, Lord Buddha declined to accept the Vedic principles because the animal-killers would have simply pointed to evidences that in the Vedas there is mention of animal-killing for sacrifice. Therefore, Lord Buddha established a system of religion on the platform of non-violence to stop the nonsense they were engaging in due to a lack of knowledge.

Lord Buddha preached atheism so that the atheists would follow him and thus be tricked into devotional service to Lord Buddha (Krsna). By obeying Lord Buddha, they were actually following God. In order to take the bewildered atheists under his control, he collaborated and said, "Yes, there is no God, but you hear me." Being an actual incarnation of God, this was a kind of transcendental cheating. Those who were followers of Vedic religion, however, did not accept Lord Buddha's religion because it was against the Vedas. In other words, this philosophy is actually meant for bewildering the atheists and should not be accepted by devotees.

In order to condemn the practice of animal sacrifice, Supreme Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Buddha. Saint Jayadeva Gosvami prays to the Lord of the universe in his Dasavatara-stotra:

nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
sadaya-hridaya-darsita-pasu-ghatam
kesava dhrita-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare

(Sri Jayadeva's Dasavatara-stotra, 9th Verse)

"O Kesava! O Lord of the universe! O Lord Hari, who have assumed the form of Buddha! All glories unto You! O Buddha of compassionate heart, You decry the slaughtering of poor animals performed according to the rules of Vedic sacrifice."

 

The name of Buddha also appears in the verse that describes the ten avataras in Srimad-Bhagavatam:

matsya kurmo varahasca nrisimha vamanastatha

ramo ramasca ramasca buddha kalki ca te dasah

 

In the dasavatara verse of Sahitya-darpana (a Bengali reference encyclopedia), we find the names of Buddha and Kalki. The Agni, Vayu and Skanda Puranas also mention the name of Buddha, as does the following verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam:

tatah kalau sampravritte sammohaya sura-dvisham

buddho namnanjana-sutah kikateshu bhavishyati

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.24)

"Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya (Bihar) just for the purpose of infatuating those who are envious of the faithful demigods."

 

In Chapters 17-18 of the 3rd Section of Vishnu Purana, Buddha has been designated as 'Mayamoha'. Once, while bathing in the waters of the Yamuna, Akrura was astonished to see Krishna-Balarama within the river. Coming out, he saw them seated in a chariot as They had been before appearing in the water. Again he immersed himself in the water, and saw the yellow-clad four-handed Vasudeva Sri Krishna along with His associates, graciously seated on the lap of the thousand-hooded Sri Anantadeva while being worshiped by Brahma and other demigods. At that time, he prayed to the Lord in the following manner:

namo buddhaya suddhaya daitya-danava-mohine

mleccha-praya-kshatra-hantre namas te kalki-rupine

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.40.22)

"O Lord! I offer my obeisances unto Your form of Buddha, who, possessing a faultless nature, deluded the miscreants by composing anti-Vedic scriptures. I also offer obeisances unto Your Kalki form, the annihilator of the wicked kshatriyas who are no better than barbarians."

 

Amarakosha-grantha (Sanskrit dictionary) states:

sarvajnah sugato buddho dharmarajastathagatah

samastabhadro bhagavan marajillokajijjinah

shadabhijno dasabalo 'dvayavadi vinayakah

munindrah srighanah sasta munih sakyamunistu yah

"All-Knowing, Transcendental, Buddha, King of Righteousness, He Who Has Come, Beneficent, All-Encompassing, Lord, Conqueror of the God of Love-Mara, Victorious of Three Worlds, He Who Controls His Senses, Protector from the Six Enemies, Possessor of the Ten Powers, Speaker of Monism (One Absolute), Teacher, Lord of the Sages, Embodiment of Splendor and Eminent Saint."

In Sri Madhvacarya's commentary on Verse 1.3.24 of Srimad-Bhagavatam, from his book Bhagavata-tatparya, the following quotation from Brahmanda Purana has been referred to:

mohanartham danavanam balarupi pathisthitah

putram tam kalpayamasa mudhabudhirjinah svayam

tatah sammohayamasa jinadyana suramsakan

bhagavan vagbhirugrabhirahimsa vacibhirharih(Brahmanda Purana)

"In order to delude the demons, He (Lord Buddha) was present in the form of a child on the way while the fool, Jina (a demon), imagined Him to be his son. Later on, Lord Sri Hari (as avatara-Buddha) expertly deluded Jina and other demons by His strong words of non-violence."

This shows Hindu's high respect or lord Buddha. No, other religion offered such type of high tolerance

Buddhism and Myth of physical prosecution by Hindus

Kumarila Bhatta and Buddism

Kumarila bhatta was Hindu philosopher and proponent of the purva mimamsa from Assam.
Among the most influential thinkers in the history of Indian philosophy, he made significant contributions regarding the full range of issues that follow from that school's constitutive concern with Vedic authority and exegesis. He resolved to rescue Vedic culture from the criticism of the Buddhist who was ascendency at that time. Kumarila Bhatt successfully defended Vedic tradition from the Buddhist philosophical position. He was a brilliant scholar in Vedic literature and philosophy, which Buddhist had no mach. Inter-traditional debate or inter-religious debate was characteristic of that period. According to Buddhist historian Tathagata, Bhatta defeated disciples of Buddhapalkita, Bhavya, Dharmapalkita, Dignaga etc. He also defeated many prominent Buddhist thinkers in debates.

Many scholars believe Bhatta's understanding of Buddhist philosophy was far greater than that of any other non-buddhist philosopher of his time. Though many intellectually weak scholar paint renowned scholar Bhatta as "Ardour Anti-Buddhist" but that period shows Bhatta was only "intellectual" answer and reaction for Buddhist philosophical fundamentalists. Hindus adopted "Preaching against" rule from Buddhists because these tactics goes back to the time of Buddha himself. During Buddha, Bikyus themselves established Buddhism by preaching against Vedic Hinduism. Bhatta debated logically with his former and his mimamsaka textual works says all. He often credited for decline of Buddhism but as history, such accounts are surely as suspect as the view (still widely attested in much Indian scholarship) that Kumarila's dialectical success are chiefly to be credited for the decline of Indian Buddhism; nevertheless, these traditions confirm at least, Kumarila was a impressive philosophical opponent of his Buddhist counterpart. So called "Brahmin hostile against Buddhism" was no where, in that period. "Revival of Hinduism and gradual absorption of Buddhism in Hindu practices" occurred from fifth century which causes Buddhism's disappearance.

King Sudhanava and buddhism

Accorinding to Sankara Digvijaya Sarg The king (Sudhanva) commanded his servants "kill all Buddhists from Himalaya to Rameshvaram, even children and elderly. Whosoever will not kill them, will be killed at my hands."

Though that period was flourishing under inter-religious influence yet there is no evidence to show that the Buddhists were killed by King Sudhanva at the instigation of Kumarila Bhatta. Sankara Digvijaya Sarg can not be taken as historical witness because there are simply zero archeological evidences to solidify this myth.

Historians say decline of Buddhism in India was "gradual" instead of "sharp". Buddhism started declining from 5th century and completely vanished during 12th century. So, this goes against "complete prosecution of Buddhism from Himalaya to rameswaram" during early 5th century. Therefore, there are No archeological evidences to support the "prosecution of Buddhist by King Sudhanva" story.

Adi Sankar and Budhhism

Many believe that Buddhism was ousted from India due to the efforts of Adi Sankar to revive Hinduism. That is not exactly the way it happened. Many scholars say; Buddha was a yogi who was not actually against Veda. He simply attempted to restore the original purity of Vedas through rock strong samkhya philosophy but he did not speculate on the existence of god. He left such arguments to the priests. As to be expected though, his followers soon made the mistakes that his predecessors made. By the time of Sankara, the original teachings of Buddha were muddled and degenerate. Martin Buber put it, "His (Buddha) succession among peoples, however, that "great vehicle" (Mahayana Buddhism), has contradicted him magnificently."

Adi Sankara, attacked the philosophies of decadent Buddhism; but he never speaks of the Buddha himself derogatorily. In fact he refers to Buddha with the highest reverence calling him "Yoginam Chakravarti", or "The Greatest among Yogis". Adi sankara, by admitting to the beauty of the Buddha's original teachings while disapproving the distortions wrought by later Buddhists back into the fold of Vedanta where they belonged. Therefore Buddhism dissolved in Hinduism. But rhetorical literal work is not necessarily to be read as physical violence perpetrated upon the Buddhists.

Even Buddha never created Buddhism; it is His followers who created Buddhism making it as a "set of beliefs".


Many historians reject any Buddhist relation with Sringari Math. There is no archeological evidence of any prosecution done by any anti-buddhist near sringari math. Due to absence of any reliable "prosecution evidence" makes it impossible to jump on any "bloody conclusion". Buddhist left their monasteries and went to Nepal and china due to revival of Hinduism and declining followers of Buddhism. Due to high tendency to absorb its opponents; Hinduism stared to regain popularity during the medieval period so "deserted Buddhist monasteries" also became worshiping centers for Hindus. Apart of building brand new buildings, Hindus also used pre-existing Buddhist bases because no one had been using it for years. Secular motives are behind the reuse of these monuments because Buddha is incarnation of lord Vishnu who came to his earth to attract atheists. This shows secular ideology among the population which caused considerable peaceful culture change. Even now in several places of Orissa (near Udayagiri) ancient Buddha and bodhisattva images are worshiped by Hindus as incarnation of Almighty Vishnu. But this was not same with the criticizer of Hinduism because

King Shashank and Myth of Prosecution

"Hsuen Tsang's contention, form hearsay, that the Shaiva King Shashank had persecuted Buddhists and felled the Bodhi tree, also goes unquestioned. Yet, his story is visibly untrustworthy; he claims that replanted sapling of the Bodhi tree (which, from his story, must have been felled only a few years before his own arrival) miraculously grew overnight into a mature tree. Remember that secularist historians reject myths and irrational beliefs? What Hsuen Tsang got to see with his own eyes was a tree far bigger than a recently replanted sapling could have been: an indication that the tree had never been felled in the first place." (Source – The Misuse of History)

'Secular' and Marxist historians in India often cite the example of the supposed persecution of Buddhists by King Shashank, the Shaivite ruler of Bengal, as a proof of their politically motivated thesis that the notion of 'Hindu tolerance is a myth. In fact, even some apolitical scholars like P. V. Kane (see his 'History of Dharmashastra') state that Shashank did persecute the Buddhists, although they take this as an exceptional act in the long history of Hindu-Buddhist intercourse over the last 25 centuries.

Surprisingly, the only mention of the persecutions of Buddhists by Shashanka occurs in the memoirs of Yuan Chwang. Chwang (popular called Hieun Tsang) visited India during the latter part of the reign of Emperor Harshavardhana, who fought King Shashank to avenge the murder of his brother Rajyavardhana. The memoirs of the Chinese traveler are however riddled with numerous inconsistencies, egotistic accounts, fictitious anecdotes and mythical portions and gross exaggerations. Goyal has analyzed the testimony of Yuan Chwang critically and has compared it unfavorably with other contemporary and parallel sources [GOYAL 1986: 87-96]. The Buddhist bias of Chwang’s testimony is clear to anyone who reads his memoirs. It is clear that the traveler’s intention was to convince his countrymen that all was well with Buddhism in India and therefore it deserved to spread in China as well. For instance, in his records, while describing the religious assembly at Kanyakubja, he states that several Brahmins became jealous at the attention received by him from Emperor Harshavardhana, and therefore plotted to kill the latter.

However, his later letters written to other monks reveal that it was actually some Hinayanist monks who plotted to kill the ruler [COWELLet al. 1929: 98]. This inconsistency not only absolves the Brahmins of hostility towards the Buddhists, but also shows that there was considerable intra-Buddhist hostility as well. Moreover, Chwang actually records that after defeating Shashanka, Harshavardhana prescribed ‘the punishment of cutting tongues of those who would eat meat and of cutting the hands of those who would kill living beings [GOYAL 1986: 48].’ This rather gives the impression of a Buddhist king imposing his beliefs on his non-Buddhist subjects by force.

Even a contemporary account of Emperor Harsha, viz. the Harshacharita of Banabhatta is silent about these persecutions. The Harshacharita has been published with an old, non-datable and a short gloss called ‘Sanketa’ of Shankar Kavi with a Hindi translation [PATHAK 1964]. King Shashanka is not even mentioned in the Harsacharita directly. There are some allusions to him in the work though [SHARMA 1970: 150]. The Sanketa mentions him explicitly as the King of Gauda at the beginning of the chapter VI. The Arya Manju Sri Mulakalpa, a Buddhist chronicle, characterizes Shashanka as a wicked king but does not mention explicitly that he persecuted the Buddhists [SHARMA 1970:156].

Even if Shashanka did persecute the Buddhists, it is likely that it was probably not done out of religious reasons. Harshavardhana became an avowed enemy of Shashanka because the latter killed Rajyavardhana, who was the elder brother of and the predecessor of Emperor Harshavardhana. Rajyavardhana was very strongly inclined towards Buddhism, and therefore, the predominantly Buddhist populace of Kanyakubja must have revolted against Shashanka when he murdered Rajyavardhana to usurp his territories. This is further corroborated by Bana when he says that during Harshavardhana’s march against Shashanka, people approached the former with presents and took the opportunity to complain against the wrongs done to them (by Shashanka) [SHARMA 1970: 245]. That the persecution was not a case of a Hindu-Buddhist clash is borne out further by the testimony of Tsang that the inhabitants of Kanyakubja followed diverse doctrines (but were predominantly Buddhists) and lived in harmony with each other, a testimony which is accepted as a proof of religious tolerance even by Cowell and Thomas [COWELL et al 1929: xiii]. This is not to say that the relations between Hindu and Buddhist sects were perfectly cordial. Bana clearly says in chapter 7 of Harshacharita that in his times, there was not a single Parasari (= ochre robed Buddhist) monk who loved the Brahmanas. However, he does not elaborate why, but it only shows that the Buddhists hated the Brahmins, and not vice versa necessarily. The general picture in the Harshacharita is that of harmony between various sects, as exemplified in the presence of followers of 17 sects in the hermitage of the Buddhist monk Divakaramitra [AGRAWALA 1969: 225].

Also is noteworthy the fact that while Shashanka himself is said to be a Shaivite, it is another Shaivite king Bhaskaravarman of Pragjyotisha (modern Assam) who assisted Emperor Harshavardhana wholeheartedly in defeating Shashanka, according to both Bana Bhatta and Yuan Chwang. Yuan Chwang himself praises Bhaskaravarman in his memoirs for his hospitality.

It is also known that after being vanquished by Harshavardhana, Shashanka continued to rule parts of coastal Bengal and Orissa. If he were a pathological hater of the Buddhists, he would have tried to exterminate Buddhism in those areas as well. However, no such indications are available. Yuan Chwang himself mentions that Hinayana Buddhist scholars came from Orissa to the court of Harshavardhana to debate with him. Secondly, Buddhism is said to have survived in Orissa till as late as the 14th Century.

Shashank is also maligned for usurping the Bodhagaya Shrine from the Buddhists and for installing a Shivalinga therein. In reality, there is no literary and archaeological evidence for this ‘tradition’ (that appears to be a later concoction). Rather, the shrine appears to have functioned as a Buddhist one for several centuries thereafter. Rather, the literary sources inform us that when the Tibetan monk Dharmaswamin visited the place in 1234 C.E., he discovered that the icon of Lord Buddha had been walled up to save it from desecration by the Muslim Turkish invaders. Soon thereafter, Buddhism declined and rapidly disappeared from that area, thanks to Islamic persecution, and the shrine was abandoned. In 1590 C.E., the local ruler permitted a Shaivite Mahant to take over the place and use it for worship. In recent times, the Buddhist status of the shrine has been restored, with the help of Hindus, and the place is managed by a joint committee of Hindus and Buddhists.

As Elst sums up [ELST 1992]:

“Hsuan Tsang’s story from hearsay about Shashank’s devastating a monastery in Bihar, killing the monks and destroying Buddhist relics, only a few years before Hsuan Tsang’s own arrival, is contradicted by other elements in his own report. Thus, according to the Chinese pilgrim, Shashank threw a stone with the Buddha’s footprint into the river, but it was returned through a miracle; and he felled the bodhi tree but a sapling from it was replanted which miraculously grew into a big tree overnight. So, the fact of the matter was that the stone and the tree were still there in full glory. In both cases, the presence of the footprint-stone and the fully grown bodhi tree contradict Husan Tsang’s allegations, but he explains the contradiction away by postulating miracles (which everywhere have a way of mushrooming around relics, to add to their aura of divine power). If we do not accept miracles, we conclude that the bodhi tree which Husan Tsang saw, and which was too big to have been a recently replanted sapling, cannot have been felled by Shashank.

Hsuan Tsang is notorious for his exaggerations and his insertions of miracle stories, and he had to explain to China, where Buddhism was readhing its peak, why it was declining in India. It seems safer to base our judgement on the fact that in his description of Buddhist life in the Ganga basin, nothing shows the effects of recent persecutions. In fact, Hsuan Tsang himself gives a clue to the real reason of pre-Islamic Buddhist decline, by describing how many Buddhist monasteries had fallen into disuse, esp. in areas of lawlessness and weak government, indicating that the strength of Buddhism was in direct proportion to state protection and patronage.

Unlike Brahminism, which could sustain itself against heavy odds, the fortunates of Buddhist monasticism (even more than those of the Christian abbeys in early medieval Europe) were dependent upon royal favours, as under Ashoka, the Chinese early T’ang dynasty, and the rulers of Tibet and several Southeast-Asian countries”.

He further says

“Hsuen Tsang’s contention, form hearsay, that the Shaiva King Shashank had persecuted Buddhists and felled the Bodhi tree, also goes unquestioned. Yet, his story is visibly untrustworthy; he claims that replanted sapling of the Bodhi tree (which, from his story, must have been felled only a few years before his own arrival) miraculously grew overnight into a mature tree. Remember that secularist historians reject myths and irrational beliefs? What Hsuen Tsang got to see with his own eyes was a tree far bigger than a recently replanted sapling could have been: an indication that the tree had never been felled in the first place.” (Source – The Misuse of History)

These low intellectual historians also need to inform us of the scriptural authority that could have inspired Shashank to persecute Buddhists. The fact is that Shashank died virtually unsung, and was not eulogized as a Hindu hero even though he ostensibly championed Hinduism at the cost of Buddhism. And that sums the difference between the Islamic despots and persecutors of Hindus and the so-called Hindu persecutors of Buddhists. While the former have numerous panegyrics composed for them by Muslim chroniclers, and claim to have drawn, with much justification, the inspiration of their acts of religious bigotry from the Islamic scriptures, exactly reverse is the case with Hindu rulers who supposedly persecuted Buddhists and Jains.

In summary then, there is no conclusive evidence that Shashank actually did persecute the Buddhists. Even if he did, it was a rare aberration in the Hindu society, and not a part of a pervasive pattern as seen in the following millennium under Islamic invasions of India. Therefore, the example of Shashank does not disprove the fact that Hindus have traditionally been tolerant towards members of other religions.

Nalanda Inscription of Vipulasrimitra, that a Vangala army killed a Buddhist monk namedKarunasrimitra of Somapura and burnt down his house, which was actually a monastery.This Vangala or Bengal army, was army of Iikhtiyar Uddisn Khilji.

Pusyamitra Sunga and Buddhism

“Pusyamitra Sunga myth” nothing but a myth about the cause of suffering and misfortune of Buddhism like “Pandora Box”, when opened brought all pain and suffering to mankind. So called Hindu Sunga Dynasty victory over Buddhist Maureen dynasty is fuel of this myth.

Truth is Buddhism dissolved in Hinduism because of intellectual revival of Hinduism and destroyed completely from South Asia because of “peace” worker of Islam. Our Islamic brother give all credit to Hinduism for the decline of Buddhism from its birth place; but it is opposite of TRUTH. Islamic scholars always try to hide their major and messy participation in the decline of Buddhist from India by selling “Brahmin prosecution”, but History portrays a completely different picture.

Jhon Preacher
says

“Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Quran have played a key role in very real massacre and genocide. This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for five centuries beginning around 1000 AD with Mahmud of Ghazni’s bloody conquest. Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number merely for defending their temples from destruction. Buddhism was very nearly wiped off the Indian subcontinent. Judaism and Christianity met the same fate (albeit more slowly) in areas conquered by Muslim armies, including the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including today’s Turkey. Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of a proud Persian people is despised by Muslims and barely survives in modern Iran.”

(Source – The Islamic Antichrist, page – 127)

Pusyamitra Sunga was a Brahmin monarch. He is said in Buddhist tradition, to have been very active in persecuting the Buddhist faith, which the Mauryan Empire had been promoting since Ashoka around 250 BCE. He is said to have destroyed Buddhist monasteries and exterminated monks, offering to pay 100 gold coins for the head of each one (Indian Historical Quarterly Vol. XXII, p.81 ff cited in Hars.407, also Divyavadana, p.429-434). It is also said that he destroyed 84,000 buddhist stupas which had been built by the Mauryan king Ashoka (R. Thaper). According to the Asokavadana:

“Then King Pusyamitra equipped a fourfold army, and intending to destroy the Buddhist religion, he went to the Kukkutarama. (…) Pusyamitra therefore destroyed the sangharama, killed the monks there, and departed.

After some time, he arrived in Sakala, and proclaimed that he would give a hundred dinara rewards to whomever brought him the head of a Buddhist monk” 

Ashokavadana, 133, trans. John Strong.

However, the Sungas may not have been vehement for at some point they also seem to have been involved in the building of a stupa at Bharhut.
Some facts of his region clearly show that he did not persecute Buddhists.

The eminent Indian historian Romila Thapar has also refuted claims of Buddhist persecution by Sungas as “exaggerations that are unsupported by archaeological evidence“. Buddhist literature relates that Pusyamitra wishing to gain notoriety decided that “even a wicked action could be excused provided it made him well known. When questioning people as to why Asoka gained fame, he was told that it was due to Asoka having built 84000 stupas for Buddhism. Whereupon Pusyamitra decided that he would gain fame by destroying these 84000 stupas”.

She further Points to archeological evidences that “suggests the contrary” to the claim that Pusyamitra was a fanatical anti-Buddhist and never actually destroyed 84000 stupas as claimed by Buddhist works. She stresses that “Buddhist accounts are probably hyperbolic renditions of Pusyamitra’s attack of Maurays, and merely reflect the frustration of Buddhist religious figure in the face of decline in the importance of their religion under Sungas.” (Source; Indian Religions)

Many historians have rejected Pushyamitra’s persecution of Buddhists. The first accounts appear two centuries after Pusyamitra’s reign in Asokâvadâna and the DivyâvadânaKoenraad Elst posits, historical facts confirm that Pushyamitra allowed and patronized the construction of monasteries and Buddhist universities in his domains, as well as the still-existent stupa of Sanchi. Following Ashoka’s sponsorship of Buddhism, it is possible that Buddhist institutions fell on harder times under the Sungas but no evidence of active persecution has been noted. Etienne Lamotte observes: “To judge from the documents, Pushyamitra must be acquitted through lack of proof.”   Yet, an archaeological study of the Stupa at Sanchi proves that it was enlarged and encased in its present covering during the Sunga period.

It is much more likely that the Asokavadana legend is a Buddhist version of Pusyamitra’s attack of the Mauryas, and reflects the fact that, with the declining influence of Buddhism in the Imperial court, Buddhist monuments and institutions would naturally receive less attention. (Thapar, Romila, Asoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Oxford University Press)

The Sungas were patrons of Brahmanism and their lack of royal patronage was also a setback to Buddhism, resulting in the splintering of Buddhism into many forces. Some of them were: the Saravastivadins, Mahasargikas, Sthaviravadha, and Yogacara. This resulted in a diversity of opinions and interpretations that led to a conflict between warring schools shortly after the fall of the Mauryans. Sunga kings were seen as more amenable to Buddhism and as having contributed to the building of the stupa at Bharhut.”

 (“A History of Indian Buddhism: From Sakyamuni to Early Mahayana”, pg 223)

The period however, has been described as one of political and spiritual competition with Brahmanism in the gangetic plains and one in which Buddhism flourished in the realms of the Bactrian kings.

  • Archeology evidences says during Sunga dynasty, Buddhism flourished very goodly through out the state.
  • During Sunga period Hindus helped Buddhist in making of stupas.

Anada Kumar says

“The art building of Bodh-Gaya has been taken from the sanchi and bharhut. It was established by the wife of Sunga minister named “indragnimha” The mother women was “Nagdeva” who took serious part in making buildings. She was the wife of “Brahamamitra” a great minister of Sunga court.” This shows religious tolerance of Sunga Period.
(Buddhism in India From the Sixth Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D. – Ashok Kumar Anand )

“On the basis of some inscription we may say that “AryaKurangi” had made a Vihar in Bodh-Gaya near temple. The Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien has also visited that place. The vihara made by the mines of Sunga King prove that they had great sympathy for Buddhism.”
(Buddhism in India From the Sixth Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D. – Ashok Kumar Anand )

“The railings of Bodh-Gaya are no doubt the creation of Sunga age. Besides the stories of the jatakas, Sun god is also painted on the railing. It still remains in the Eastern North direction of the temple. These evidences present the religious and cultural assimilation (during Sunga Dynasty).”
(Buddhism in India From the Sixth Century B.C. to the Third Century A.D. – Ashok Kumar Anand)

He further says

“The centers of art in the Sunga age were Sravasti, Kosambi, Bodh-Gaya, Mathura, Sanchi, Pataliputra and Bharhut. In Sunga age too, though it is called unfavorable for Buddhism, many steps were taken for its development. Some Buddhist scholars like Nagsena were born those days. The rapid growth of Buddhist teachings reached at its high water mark. The idols of Buddha at several places were established. Although it has been sought to be expounded that Sunga rulers were persecutors of Buddhism and that they were against Buddhism, yet there is no definite evidence either archeological or of secular nature to suggest that either Pusyamitra or any of his successor did really involve in destruction of Buddhist buildings. Rather to the contrary he undertook the construction of many buildings Buddhist in character.”


Dr Koenraad Elst‘s arguments should not be denied without any prove. He is Correct. The Sanchi Stupa was enlarged to twice its original size in 150 BC under King Pusyamitra’s rulling (185 – 149 BC). Three parasols, within a railing, decked its top, like a dazzling tiara. In addition, railings, staircase and a harmika were also added to structure. Sunga dynasty also erected Stupa 2 and 3. (Source – Archeological Survey of India). In 149 BC Agnimitra succeded his father, Pusyamitra Sunga (he ruled for 36 years).

One of the donors of Bharhut stupa was “Champadevi” wife of the Idisha King, who was a worshiper of Almighty God Vishnu. This facts bears testimony to high degree of religious tolerance pervading during the Sunga Period. Minor works of Sunga ART are found in the Stupas at Mathura, Kausambi and saranath. So called orthodox Brahmin Kings of the Sunga Dynasty favored Buddhism; the religion made substantial advances during this period. During this age though some non-secular scholar paint it as anti-buddism era, but in actually Buddhism used to flourish properly with out any “prosecution” hurdle. Inscription record that Hindu king Dhanabati-Vachiputa contributed a gate (torana) and stone building (silakammata) to the Buddhist stupa at Bahuratin in Pusyamitra region.

 

Sunga kings were secular; but due to Buddhism’s declining influence in Royal Kingdom of Sunga; created many anti-sunga stories. Buddhism always was “King centric” so when Buddhist Maureen gone and Hindus Sung dynasty came; influence of Buddhism declined in the Sunga Imperial Court. So, Buddhist started portraying pusyamita as anti-Buddhist. Traditional narratives like Divyavadana are dated to two centuries after Pusyamita’s death. So, it can be understood how pusyamitra or sunga dynasty was overstated and represented as great evil than was actually the case. The familiar type of incident is also written about cruelty of Asoka in Ashokavadana. According to it “King Asoka killed 18000 Ajvikas (Janis) in One day, a man who painted picture of “Buddha worshiping Mahavira” was burnt alive with his family. It was announced that whoever could bring to the King the head of Nigratha would be awarded with divana (gold coin). So, thousands of Nigrathas lost their lives.” Therefore one can easily recognize that Buddhist scriptures are more into “stories” instead of “historical witness”. P k mishra also said “archaeological evidence is meager in this regard” and he has not given any direct evidence for “Pusyamitra Prosecution”. He just tried to link up archeological evidences with a mythical story. Therefore partial vandalization of Sanchi Stupa is not done by

King Pusyamita.

 

Buddhist tales can not be trusted and various archeology evidences shows that sunga dynasty never prosecuted and destroyed Buddhism or Buddhist stupas. So, Sanchi stupa affected for any other reason. And it is because of intense schism and sectarian disputes in Buddhism. In the book “Studies in Buddhistic culture in India“, Lal Mani Joshi says After Buddhism supporting dynasty’s disappearance, Buddhist divided in to many sects. Joshi further quotes Chinese traveler Yuan Chwang to show fierce disputes among the Buddhist sects. Buddhism was no longer one system but had become a family of several systems, schools and communities. The Buddha was apprehensive of danger of internal disunity (Sanghabheda) and had condemned it as one of the five deadly sins. However, the history of schism in Buddhism dates back to the time of Buddha himself. For instance the followers of Devdata revolted against the sangha, Shantideva refuted Abhidharma and Vijnavada, Chandrakati attacked non-madhyamika syatems, Sammityas of sindh and Prajnagupta reviled the Mahayana, etc. There is no single direct evidence to support “prosecution of pusyamita”. So, damage to sanchi stupa can be a result of sectarian conflict of Buddhism or it could be deconstructed to reconstruct grand new Stupas at the same place. But blaming Pusyamitra/Sunga dynasty for it would be completely wrong because it was Pusyamitra/Sung Dynasty who helped in expansion of Sanchi Stupa in various ways.

[Please refer to "Hinduism and Religious Tolerance: Part Two" to read complete article.]