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How Hinduism is Interpreted by Western Indologists: David Frawley. Wendy Doniger. Koenraad Elst

Western philosophy is a mainstream academic field, but pursuing Eastern philosophy is a rare choice that individuals make

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Hinduism. Wikimedia

August 23, 2017: Hindu civilization, the oldest civilization of the world has been the hub of spirituality. Long before the conquests and colonization, travelers would come to India from all over the world to experience this spirituality and Hindu way of life. The Europeans especially have been fascinated by India.

Western philosophy is a mainstream academic field, but pursuing Eastern philosophy is an unusual choice that individuals make. Imagine how hard it is for a non-Hindu to comprehend and become well versed in the tough and robust literature of the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and other scriptures.

ALSO READ: Dr. David Frawley: To respect Hinduism is to respect our ancient spiritual roots

Many white people do make a choice, and some of them excel. Names like David Frawley, Wendy Doniger, Sheldon Pollock, and Koenraad Elst are popular Western Indologists in the Hindu literature.

However, the arrival of these westerners into Hindu literature and interpretations have further divided the study of Hinduism in two distinct fields.

For instance, Wendy Doniger’s sexual take upon reading Hinduism and interpreting a perverse storyline of it frustrated many followers of Hindutva. Even Sheldon Pollock’s claim that Sanskrit, once a dominant language for Hindus, is a dead language led to outrage among many Hinduism supporters.

Wendy Doniger: Doniger’s masterpiece work is titled ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History.’ She claims that Hinduism is a diverse religion developed over the many years with different sources of influence. It shows the violent interpretation of Hinduism. She talks about how the Brahmin men have been more privileged than other communities through out the Hindu history. Doniger portrays the Puranas as a hint of authoritarian Hinduism that is challenged by pacifist Buddhism. Wendy Doniger leans towards the left and her writings exhibit that. Looking through the victim-oppressor lens, Doniger tries to show the unfairness embedded in the religion. Needless to explain why Doniger inspires the leftists to a whole new level. She places the casteist truth above spiritual pursuit.

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Wendy Doniger. Wikimedia

David Frawley: David Frawley is an American Indologist. Frawley’s greatest work is the ‘Gods, Kings, and Sages: Vedic Secret of Ancient Civilization’ which is an honest display of ancient Hindu teachings. So much so, David Frawley converted to Hinduism and brands himself a Hindu. Frawley applauds that Hinduism is the oldest and hence it is original. Further, David Frawley acknowledges that India has given the world a beautiful language called Sanskrit, along with Ayurveda, i.e., medicine. Frawley rejects a scientific analysis (which is also biased) of Hinduism and glorifies the authoritative, yet original nature of it. Frawley has many followers from the Hindutva ideology, and rightly so. His understanding of the fact that science is inadequate for the Vedas has been proven correct on quite a few occasions. David Frawley has also emphasized that geography is dominant to Hinduism and it is only in India that gave civilization to this planet.

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David Frawley. Wikimedia

Koenraad Elst: Elst is especially popular among ardent Hindu followers because of his strong arguments that a Hindu Temple once stood where Babri Masjid had been built later on. Elst main area of study has been the Ayodhya. Elst agrees with Frawley that India was the origin point for language (Sanskrit) and civilization. But going away from Frawley, Elst does not call himself a Hindu. Rather, he insists that conversion to Hindu is not possible since the Hindu way of life is innate by birth and linked to geography.

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Koenraad Elst. Wikimedia

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


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  • Namaskar Namaskar

    There is another one who did not get mentioned in the above article – he may pose like a man of academic interests but the words he uttered against The Goddess of Learning were inexcusable and blasphemous. He should be tried in a court of law for blasphemy against Sanatana Dharma. He would have been hiding like Salman Rushdie if he had taken such a cheap potshot against Abrahamic religious concepts or prophets. Such people must be denounced as demagogues whose sole intention is to denigrate the cultures of other civilsations like Macaulay did hundreds of years earlier. It seems utterly shameful that he earns his living from the very culture/language that he is now denigrating. Even animals are more faithful. SHAME

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  • Namaskar Namaskar

    There is another one who did not get mentioned in the above article – he may pose like a man of academic interests but the words he uttered against The Goddess of Learning were inexcusable and blasphemous. He should be tried in a court of law for blasphemy against Sanatana Dharma. He would have been hiding like Salman Rushdie if he had taken such a cheap potshot against Abrahamic religious concepts or prophets. Such people must be denounced as demagogues whose sole intention is to denigrate the cultures of other civilsations like Macaulay did hundreds of years earlier. It seems utterly shameful that he earns his living from the very culture/language that he is now denigrating. Even animals are more faithful. SHAME

Next Story

Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

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Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

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The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)