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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

Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

ALSO READ: How Automation Can Help Scale Continuous Testing in Agile?

Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali