Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife (A critical appraisal of Islamic faith, Indian polity)
Author: BS Murthy

Chapter 2
Advent of Dharma

As opposed to the purported revelation of the God’s ‘chosen path’ to man through some messiah, which forms the basis of the Semitic faiths, the essence of Hinduism has been for one to adhere to his dharma, supposedly sanctified by their gods in communion with the rishis of yore. And dharma, though varies from man to man, per se is the common course for the salvation of the souls. It is this salient feature of its religious character that gives Hinduism its theological variety and philosophical edge, sorely lacking in the Semitic faiths, each moulded in the persona of its prophet, moreso the Mohammedan cult of Islam.

Well, in the Semitic religions, the essence of the faith is the implicit obedience to the All-Knowing Almighty, and strict compliance with the dogma enunciated by the messiah, ostensibly received from the Creator Himself. Moreover, it is incumbent upon the faithful to believe that ‘the God’ revealed to their prophet the right ‘path of life’ for them to unquestioningly follow so as to stand them in good stead on the Day of Judgment. Besides, it is the unique feature of the Semitic religious dogma in that the messiah is believed to be endowed with the power of intercession on behalf of the faithful on the Fateful Day. If anything, this precept seems more pronounced in the Christianity and Islam than in the Judaism. This unmistakably led to the Semitic habit of the faithful looking up to the messiah to help them attain salvation, or reach the paradise as the case may be. Intended or otherwise, the messiah became the fulcrum of the faith as well as the icon of the Abrahamic religious ethos. In the process, as it were, the Lord God of the religion got relegated to the background, nevermind the pretence to the contrary.

In such a religious setting, it was only time before the vulgar minds insensibly allowed the prophet to rule their religious space in the practice of the faith, supposedly founded by him at the behest of ‘the God’. The Semitic idea of decrying idol-worship, ostensibly to let ‘the God’ not suffer any rivals, seems to have been   diluted by the gentiles who embraced the Christianity in the medieval times. Of course, that was well after Moses’ Hebrew herds worshipped that golden cow in the ancient times. At length, in the practice of the faiths, this ‘no rival to the God’ dogma turned out into an ‘accent on the prophet’ culture. But in the end, the Christian model insensibly found the savior sharing the ecclesiastical dais with the exalted preachers of his faith enshrined as Saints. And seemingly Islam wanted to avoid that ever happening to its prophet, and designed a mechanism to forever preclude that possibility driven by human proclivity. But in the process, the Musalmans came to condition themselves to revere their prophet rendering Islam into Mohammedanism in practice.  

However, in the precepts of sanātana dharma, aka Hinduism, even as one’s religious ethos is to seek God’s favour for his moksha, in the philosophical sense he perceives Him as his own spiritual self, aham brahmasmi brahma. Conceptually thus, such a relationship between man and his maker, without the intermediary of a messiah, enables the worshipper experience a sense of oneness with the One worshipped. Hence, it is no blasphemy for a Hindu to tirade his God, strange though it may seem, when felt let down by Him.

Thus, going by the precept and practice, Hinduism cannot be deemed a dogma in the Semitic religious sense. Naturally, our enquiry should be directed at exploring the causative factors that should’ve induced this unique Hindu spiritual oneness with God, as against the Semitic religious projection of him as an overseeing ‘n overwhelming outside power, to whose Will, believed to be conveyed to their prophet, the faithful should submit themselves regardless. Well, had the Lord ‘God’ stopped his divine intervention in man’s mundane affairs after bestowing the Ten Commandments to his chosen people through Moses, our worldly things would have been all different. But he not only thought it fit to alter his Will twice but also chose to communicate the contradicting things to his peoples, first through Jesus his Son and later Muhammad his Messenger, but for which the world wouldn’t have been as strife-torn as it has been ever since. 

It has often been suggested, unfairly though, that Hindus have no sense of history and thus failed to record their journey down the historical lane. However, what is not appreciated is that the grand libraries in Takshasila ‘n Nalanda Universities, among their premier seats of learning of yore, which could have held the records of their history from the ancient times, were vandalized by the bigoted Musalmans. That Nalanda itself is believed to have housed over nine million books and other literary works, which sustained its arson by Bakhtiyar Khilji’s for three months in 1,193 C.E., should give one an idea of the magnitude of the Hindu ‘historical’ loss.

Thus, bereft of their ancient history and having been fed thereafter with the unpalatable diet prepared for them by Musalmans and the Christians, who together ruled them for a millennium, Hindus have no clue about their past moorings. So, needless to say, the ‘in vogue’ Indian history is the victors’ version of it about the vanquished that the Hindu left-liberals and the Islamic supremacists lend credence to, and what is worse; the Hindus are made to believe they were not even their native selves but the hybrids of Aryans who migrated to India from Eurasia in 1,500 B.C.E.

The moot point is whether the Aryans descended upon Ila Varta aka Bharat Varsha with all four Vedas in their kitty to rechristen it as Arya Varta. Had it been the case, then it is reasonable to assume that there would have been claimants for the Vedic legacy in Eurasia as well, but as it is not the case, it can be said without any contradiction that the theory of the Aryan migration is devoid of any base. Moreover, now the growing school of thought, supported by DNA analysis that India’s populace is both indigenous as well as homogenous should debunk this theory invented by the Whites, probably to appropriate the ‘admired’ Hindu philosophical legacy to their race or as a ploy to divide the Hindus, they came to colonize, on racial lines for political ends and / or both. Even if Aryans did indeed migrate to India that would have been in their nomadic state and it was India’s evolved environs that would have enabled them to acquire their intellectual sophistication that they displayed in the Vedas, Brahmasutras, and Upanishads in later years. And for the doubters, once out of silvery, haven’t the Jews, in due course, transformed themselves into an intellectually formidable race on earth.   

Be that as it may, for the final nail in the coffin of the doubtful theory is yet to be hammered home, we may still go along with it for the sake of analyzing the evolution of the Hindu social order, which may hold well even in the non-Aryan setting. So, an enquiry into the origins and the evolution of sanātana dharma in Bharat Varsha is warranted, however bearing in mind the discovery, of the presence of the Indus Valley Civilization at Mohen jo daro in Sind and Harappa in Punjab way back in 3,500 B.C.E, which is bound to address the question of the Aryan philosophical purity as well.

By the time of the said Aryan arrival, or the more probable emergence of a fair-skinned Indian tribe bearing the same name, or a similar sounding one (Native  namesake), as the dominant force, even if the glorious ancient civilization were to be extinct by then, yet the remnants of its culture should have been still extant. After all, a civilization is but the cultural ethos of a people, and culture itself is a synthesis of the communal arrangement in a given society. Hence, it can be assumed that a stable polity would have been in existence in the ancient Bharat Varsha, probably dating back to 7,500 B.C.E. that is going by the recent discovery of a submerged city in the Gulf of Khambhat, off the coast of Gujarat.

That being the case, the usage of ‘Aryan’ in this study should be taken as the generic term referring the people, be it aliens or natives, who came to shape the Hindu social and religious order.    

But, the Aryan cultural hegemony, over the life and times of all others, that anyway is to be expected, left no traces of the old social order for us to divine that is owing to the destruction of its archives by Muslim marauders and others. Thus, for all practical purposes, the prevalent communal code with caste as creed, apparently in vogue from the Vedic times, is the only known social mores of India’s ancient past.  

Though we might remain clueless about the ancient Indian social arrangement, yet, we may speculate about its probable influence on the evolution of the new way of life, under the aegis of the Aryans, which eventually became the Hindu way of life known as sanātana dharma in the times of yore and Hindutva in the current age. Just the same, as they were set to dominate the polity of the land that came into their hand, they could be expected to have been acquainted with the nuances of the cultural ethos of other native tribes.   

Hence, it would be interesting to speculate as to how the Aryans should’ve subdued the native majority, without a fight, only to absorb their culture in the polity they evolved. It seems probable, notwithstanding their mental prowess exemplified by the civilization of Mohen jo daro and Harappa; those people might not have been martial races. Added to that, they should have been either depressed economically or depleted in numbers or even disjointed politically, could be owing to famines, floods or fights among themselves occasioned by petty jealousies of the communes. Whatever, they obviously were unable or unwilling to offer any significant resistance to the incoming Aryans or their Native namesakes, as the case may be; also, the latter’s adventurous spirit should have overawed them into surrendering to that emergent force. In support of this presumption, in all of Vedic literature, we have no account of any battle royal fought by them with the other inhabitants. Well, the battle of Mahābhārata was fought some 1,500 years before these newbies are said to have arrived on the scene in the ancient land. Besides, won’t the latter-day Indian history – of Islamic invasions and British colonization - vouch for this native characteristic?  

Whatever it was, the new lords became the overlords of all they purveyed in the land they took pride in as Arya Varta, which they came to believe as their karma bhōmi. It goes without saying that these newbies would have needed a social structure in place to dominate the others they subdued. It was thus, the colour of the skin could have played its part in stratifying the society, and it is not without significance that as they would have been fair-skinned, they made the concept of caste as varna, which in Sanskrit means colour. The subdued people, probably a mix of brown and black, could not have measured up to their fair skin, and thus in the psychological sense, were unequal to them to start with. Why wouldn’t the Whitemen’s psychological dominance of the physically far more endowed African blacks in modern times, so much so that they could enslave them, support this proposition? Just the same, on account of the real politick; the newbies could not have afforded to keep the others out of their socio-cultural orbit, and yet, it was imperative for them to preclude any politico-cultural threat from them as well. It was to serve these ends that they might have looked for ways and means for keeping the others in an extended social fold, albeit at arm’s length. And the result of this newbie’s political compulsion could have been behind the evolution of the caste system, so unique to the human experience.

Needless to say, an organized culture, as the one available to the native tribes, would have had some class structure of its own. The imperative for the newbies would have been to devise a new social order, without disturbing the old, in a way to accommodate all the others at the lower ends; needless to say, placing themselves at the acme of the new social pyramid they built. Thus, the native brown-skinned would have been ‘casted away’ as vaisyas and sudras in that order, depending upon their social status or occupation, and / or both. It’s thus; the caste system so devised by them to integrate themselves into the polity, while dividing the others from one another, was brilliant though cynical. With the newbies’ social comfort zone thus drawn, the unfortunate blacks amongst the natives were dubbed as antyaja only to be eventually relegated as untouchables.

To enforce their caste law as law of the land, the newbies would have earmarked muscle-men amongst them as bouncers, who in time came to be christened as kshatriyas. At some length, however, their intellectual class might have wanted to institutionalize their social supremacy for all times to come, and it was towards this end that they posited themselves as Brahmans at the apex of the caste structure, which they helped build over the ruins of the then prevailing social orders. And in order to perpetuate the caste hierarchy thus evolved, the Brahmans envisioned the concept of swadharma, which, being caste specific, not only defined the caste ethos but also drew the caste boundaries. It was thus, Brahmans, as a caste, came to be the shepherds of the Hindu philosophy and culture for centuries to come.  

So, it were these very Brahmans who gifted Sanskrit to the world, whose incredible beauty makes the Hindus believe that it is the deva bhasha, the language of the gods. Hence, it’s no wonder that the British Indologist, Sir William Jones, a Greek and Latin scholar, who mastered it as well, should have remarked that, ‘Sanskrit is of wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either’.

Nowhere in the annals of human history that a small group of people, by the privilege of birth or the faculties of mind, and / or both, came to monopolize the soul of a people, the spirit of a culture and the destiny of a society for so long as the Brahmans in Bharat did. Only a unique sense of their destiny, or the arrogance of their perceived superiority, should’ve enabled the Brahmans to eventually posit themselves as angels on earth, endowed with, lo the power to control the gods themselves, well, with the mantras, composed by them in the language of the gods at that. And that is what Nārāyana Upanishad expostulates as follows: 

daiva dēnam jagat sarvam, / mantrā dēnantu daivatam,

tan mantram brāhmanānam, / brāhmano mama dēvata.

It’s on god that hinges all / Mantras rein in that godhood

Controlled are those by Brahmans / Making them our own angels.

In the end, it was this Brahmanical arrogance that brought about the degeneration of the expansive sanātana dharma, evolved by their forebears, into the narrow Brahmanism, exemplified by swadharma, to the eternal hurt of Hinduism. However, to be fair to them, it’s not that they committed any fraud on the gullible public on that score, for they truly believed that the gods could indeed be appeased with their mantras. Besides, they felt it was their destiny to intercede between gods and man for the well-being of the latter, and thus strived to equip themselves to fulfill the unique role their swadharma ordained them.

So, for the supposed benefit of mankind, they devised appropriate mantras to propitiate the gods for their rewarding man in his every endeavor. To help serve the public cause, they led a spiritually righteous life that involved a high degree of self-discipline as well as self-denial. Besides, for their mantras to be effectual on the gods, they strived unremittingly to attain the required chastity in the intonation of their recitation. Be that as it may, whatever could be the effect of the Vedic mantras on the gods; the sheer lyrical beauty of their composition has the power to enthrall all Hindus, nay, every listener for that matter.

Thus, in a unique phenomenon, their intellectual quality and a righteous lifestyle, gave the Brahmans an unmatched spiritual supremacy, which combined with the credulity of the public, enabled them to retain their premier status in the Indian society till very recently. However, their methodology for monopoly over the gods curiously led to a religious system that helped as well as harmed the Hindu society in the end. In the Hindu system of heavenly rewards, the devout can seek them at their own dwellings, of course aided by the Brahmans, who through their mantras, strive to invoke gods’ blessings on them albeit for a fee. It was thus, in the Brahmanical scheme of worship, there was no felt need for a temple for their gods as such.

However, the temple with its presiding deity in the sanctum sanctorum was a latter-day innovation in the puranic period and even then; the periodic visits of the Hindus to temples are but supplementary to their ceremonies in their homes. Thus to this day, every Hindu home, if not a pooja room as such, has an earmarked space for private worship that is treated as a ‘temple’ by the family. And the Brahman purohits continue to perform numerous Vedic rituals at individual residences, designed for the benefit of the believers’ prosperity on earth and happiness in the heaven. Even in the temples, it is through mantras that the Brahman priests seek to invoke the deity’s blessings on the thronging devotees.

It is interesting to see how this unique religious model virtually frees the non-priestly classes that include the majority of the Brahmans as well, from the obligation of religious education as well as a prayer regimen. All this enables the rest of the population to improve the productivity of the nation, assured of their own salvation, albeit of a lesser station. On the negative side, it distanced the masses from the nuances of Hindu spirituality, and that kept them ignorant and illiterate, religiously and otherwise too. And it is this shortcoming of the Brahmanical religious model that fails to address the theological grooming of the illiterate masses, which rendered, and still does, the Hindu caste fringes susceptible for religious conversion into the alien faiths of the Christianity and Islam. And the proselytizing zealots from both these faiths fail not to exploit this grand Hindu religious fault line by means fair and foul. 

It is one thing for the newbies to have established socio-cultural hegemony over Bharat, and it was another, given their numerical minority, to avoid their social disintegration in the long run. As would be seen later on in this book, it was this very circumstance that compelled Muhammad to shape his creed of Islam the way it was shaped. The newbies too would have been alive to the nature of man to covet other man’s spouse, while being possessive about his own mate, and thus wanting to possess the others’ women, their men would have been constrained to detain their fair sex from succumbing to the charms of the other male folks. It was thus, they would have come up with a code that served them both ways.

While allowing the union of a higher caste man with a lower caste woman in anuloma, through pratiloma they strived to ensure that cupid’s ‘other’ arrows wouldn’t strike the newbie women. And to deal with the recalcitrant of their stock, motherly sentiment was brought in as a possible hurdle to deter them from opting for pratiloma, especially, with the lowly men, in view of which it was decreed that the offspring of a newbie woman through a union with a sudra would be jeopardized as chandāla, as an outcast. It would have dawned on the Brahmans, sooner than later, that for its effective adherence, it would be imperative to back the social code with divine sanction as well. It is thus, the Manu Dharma Sāstra, with its adverse features that are inimical to the good of women as such, should have been the outcome of their compulsion to deter their females from coveting the other males.

It is inconceivable to imagine that a well-evolved ancient civilization, such as the Mohen jo daro one, should be bereft of a religious custom, if not a theological creed as such. The Brahman intellect would have divined that the dogma or prejudice of the others brooks no abrogation; so it is realistic to assume that in fashioning the Vedic rituals, if not their mantras, the Brahmans should have co-opted, or modified, the others’ mores to suit their tastes or fancies, and / or both. This could be the reason why the ancient folklores of Ramayana and Mahābhārata would’ve been adopted as Hindu purānās. In this context, it is relevant to note that both Rama and Krishna, the puranic heroes, respectively of those epics, were indeed dark skinned and thus were not from among the ranks of the newbies.

Likewise, the ongoing debate about the much repeated reference to samudra, the sea, in the Rig Veda, the first scriptural composition of the newbies, apparently a land locked people, yet to venture south of the Vindhyas from the Gangetic plains to have reached a beach, would suggest the Indo-Dravidian influence on the newbies’ thought-process and religious practices. Hence, they would have co-opted the social mores and the religious symbols of the others, maybe such as the hallowed Om and the sacred Swastika, for their appeal or as an expedient, and /or both. Sadly though, in the modern times, Adolf Hitler, in pursuit of the Aryan hegemony over the Anglo-Saxon races, made the swastika infamous by giving it an artistic turn and a satanic twist. 

Nevertheless, having accepted the inferior social status, for their part, the other natives would have had no difficulty in embracing the emerging doctrine of the newbies that accommodated their own religious symbols, if not their dogmas. This probably was the great Brahman religious coup that enabled their dominance of the Indian society for millennia to come.

 

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