Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hinduism or miscommunication? - Guest Blogging!!!

நெய்யில் உறைந்திருப்பவர் யார்.. பாருங்க?
விநாயகர் முருகர் சிவன் மூணு பேரும் சமமாமே!!எப்படி ??

I invite people for guest Blogging- say, if you want to post - ask/ discuss something through my blogspot, you are welcome. Badhri is interested and he volunteered to guest blog!!! I am posting his message below.
- Mayaa

Hinduism or miscommunication?

I know that the title sounds like another religious controversy conceived by so-called thinker with a difference. With all the humblesness, I would like to say that this post is far from one. It is rather a question that has always been in my mind like a painless tumour - passive but palatable. Hinduism's source is the Vedas, a compilation that is mostly lost. The available portion is written in Sanskrit, a language not understood by most today. Hinduism we know today is primarily because of word-of-mouth and to a much lesser extent from the translated version of the book. If you consider other religions, The Bible and The Qur-an, have retained their form in entirity. So, the inevitable misinterpretation of the message delivered by the holy books can be debated, discussed and confirmed/denied as the message intended by the book. (Whether the message is correct, wrong, good or bad is beyond my concern). But this is not possible in Hinduism with a large portion of the Vedas lost. Considering all this, what are the chances that the Hinduism we know today is the Hinduism that the sages wrote? In other words, when a single-line message is passed down on one end of a line of people emerges at the other end fairly distorted (more often than not), how are we to believe that the Hinduism passed down primarily through word of mouth from generation to generation is distorted completely beyond recognition? I have no answer and the painless tumor in my mind is getting bigger and bigger!

- Badhri


Prabu Karthik said...

interesting topic....
made me think :)

first regarding the texts of other religions....

it may not be entirely appropriate to compare Hinduism with other religion bcos the other religions like christianity or islam is of fairly recent origin relatively speaking...

And also it is my conjecture that all the religious textbooks will get rewritten or distorted in due course whether we like it or not.

i am very comfortable with the idea of interpreting the dharma or the principles in accordance with the change in times rather than having it in black and white and forcefully enforced on the masses at all times...

i dont want my religion to get into the nitty gritty of everyday life.

>>Considering all this, what are the chances that the Hinduism we know today is the Hinduism that the sages wrote?

yen apdiye irukanum..even if the words from the source is retained till date, chances are the meanings of the words would've got distored any which way...

i think we have enough examples in our daily lives where words have undergone a transformation in meaning even during our lifetimes...

in this scenario is it not better if the religion just talks about life at a very higher level and leaves the rest to us for interpretations...

misinterpretations.. will always be there but in due course if commonsense is aplied diligently will it not be rectified.... i think religion should provide scope for that...

yedho enakku thoninadhai solten, if its irrelevant manichukongo ba:)

Prabu Karthik said...

aprom priya, blogs laye outsourcing ellam koncham too much ;p

Priya said...

haahaa.. outsourcing ellam illa.. badhri who is also my cousin was talking abt this to me.. naan enakku therinja point ellam sonnen.. he also wanted to discuss with many. thats why all these!!!

Vasu the terrible said...

hinduism isnt confined to what vedas has propounded. If you go to the villages and see, people follow their own rituals which date back much more earlier than vedas.

I think hinduism comprises a broad school of spirituality cutting across, rituals, philosophy and practices.

Hinduism doesent mean vedic way of life.

my own gyan


Zeppelin said...

ineresting topic... but from hearsay I learnt that even the Holy Bible and The Quran have 'versions' if you will..

@ Prabhu Karthik,
totally agree about the necessity for an "adaptive" religion.. but on the contrary i think the current generation is so mixed up..rather messed in understanding values and religious beliefs and I think that is why we see these Babri Masjid,Godra kind of incidents more and more..

apologies if i am wrong..:)

vayasya said...

the word 'hinduism' today denotes much more than what is representend in just the vedic(including vedantic, puranic and itihasic) literature as vasu has rightly said.

badhri, if i understand you r question right, you are questioning (or trying to understand) the closeness or accuracy of the current existing notions or practice to the practices of vedic times.

I guess primarily you should differentiate the various aspects of vedism (as i would like to call the 'lifestyle' represented and recommended; note not insisted, in the vedic literature). Once the aspects are differentiated, then we have to look at one particular aspect and compare it to the vedic times. For example if you consider vedic karmas, then it is obvious that they are not being followed at all (relatively speaking). Even sandhyavandanam is not being followed by many people today, leave alone vedic yajnams. If you look at Vedic laws, even they are not followed. Every country has its own law. If you consider Vedic philosphy, you would find different sets of people arguing that their interpretation of vedic philosophy is the right one.

However coming to the aspect of miscommunication, I think it is a logical point which is also the foundation of our system which is why it is so hard to stick to. Vidyaranya (also called Sayana, there are other debates on identities) when he writes the commentary on the Taittiriya Samhita, he says - nanu ko.ayam vedo naama, ke va tasya viShaya prayojana sambhandaadhikaariNaH, kathaM vaa tasya praamaaNyaM, atrochyate. iShTa prApti aniShTa parihArayoH alaukikam upAyaM yo grantho vedayati sa vedaH. alaukikapadena pratyakShaanumAne vyAvartyete.....etc.,

A pramANa or evidence is very important to backup a statement or argument (which is why i have quoted Vidyaranya's lengthy sanskrit piece). The various categories of evidences are three in number. pratyakSha, anumaana and shabda. pratyakSha means 'direct' OR 'experience' OR 'seen'. What is seen/experienced directly can be taken as evidence. anumaana means inference. By infering something it can be used as evidence. The third or shabda refers to the veda. THe veda is the evidence. The veda is the means for attaining the desired 'iShTa' and avoiding/treating the undesired 'aniShta parihAra' by a means other than pratyakSha and anumaana.

Vidyaranya and other have argued (convincingly to me) why the former two are unreliable evidences to know the truth and hence why veda alone is the truth. Since by definition Veda is orally transmitted, I think the fact that it can erode over time is a fact we have to accept. However the stringent rules for vedic learning and recitation, various forms of chanting etc. are enforced primarily to make sure that it is nor miscommunicated.

I guess this is already too lengthy a post in blog comments even though i havent mentioned anything about sanskrit or the relevance of the lost portions of the vedas etc.. . Sorry bout the length Priya btw what are ur points ? Badhri, Could have a private discussion if interested.

Vasu the terrible said...

Vedic, puranic, ithihasic etc. are once again confined to the concept of good and evil, god and devil. They are all minor offshoots of the same vedic concept. I wont consider them as too diffirent.

There is a whole host of nature worshippers, tantric, aghora way of living followed by more than 70% of the hindus. I would say that the vedic way of life is only followed by 30% of hindus.

For. e.g. Shiva and shakthi are not even part of vedic living. Vedic gods are indra, varuna, agni, vayu etc.

Hinduism is the perfect anology of spirituality. Spiritual path is a higher calling of the soul and different for different people. Yet at the same time one does not contradict the other.

We dont need a central book, central god and a central philosophy.

What we need is the wisdom to see all as one and one as all.

This is where islam and christianity fails miserably. Imagine one book, one god, one set of rituals yet how many sects and orders. catholics, protestants, mormons, plesbyterians... the list is endless..

Its in human nature to independantly follow the path of his liking. Relegions like islam and christianity by their unrelenting monoethism has created conflicts in the world.

Let not hinduism boil down to the same level as islam and christianity, by equating all the varied traditions to vedas, puranas and upanishads.

Lets not become christians.


valli said...

dear Priya, this is manu,valli of blogspots

Have given your name in the invitation list for this aaru vilayaattu.
cld you pl oblige? I will understand if you do not want to do .
with wishes mrs.narasimhan.
have met mr. Badhri in his pathippagam.to buy books.rn

Priya said...

vasu and vayasya
thanks for the comment. I think badhri is busy with work.. may be he has not seen them.. Will let him know abt this.

I was out on a vacation. Thats why I could not reply. I defly want to . Do you mind if I do it after a while as I am really busy now

Ramanan N said...


All books have had their share of evolution (read changes).. the bible was standardized with the King James Version (i think).. so there is always something added/edited/ when things go from pt a to pt B. As far as Hinduism is concerned, IMHO, i think it is a way of life. It encourages contradiction so that ppl could have a healthy debate.. what we follow may not be the Hinduism our ancient fore-fathers envisioned.. but still the current form does have its share of good things and we may take the best practices out of it..

my 2 cents..


Priya said...

neenga sonna vishayam and vidham - rendume clearaa irukku

Badhri said...

Hi all,
It has been quite long since I have visited any blog (including my own!) It looks like the central point in all the replies is that. Hinduism need not stick to a book. Its open and allows people to follow and interpret the concept of God as he sees fit.

Agreed! But here is what bothers me. Every religion conceptualises god and theology in its own way and Hinduism does it too. How many of us know God as conceptualised by Hinduism today? At the first consideration, we think we know. But we don't. (Atleast I didn't).

I am a Vaishnavite by birth. I went to Tirupati by myself recently and as a routine, I went to Govindaraja perumal temple. But this time, I took a detour into a religious museum. Surprise, surprise. It talked about Vishnu, it four forms and went further on about so many things before it even reached the all too familiar 10 avatars.

My point here is we know something *about* our religion, but we don't *know* our religion. If we modify a religion that we don't even follow to suit our needs, we are simply fooling ourselves. So, I realised we either have to make an effort to know our religion or just admit that we are born into Hindu religion and that is where the connection ends. That realisation only reinforced my initial concern (the question I put forth to you)

Priya said...

kalaku daa...
ennavo po!!

Ramanan N said...

hi badhri

its great that u want to know something abt the religon that ur born into. let me put forth a simple question . What do u mean by *knowing* ? IMHO, sticking to a particular book is like writing a std 12 examination. True search is like doing a Phd. u try to find out thro ur own efforts. At times, what u seem to know may not be the accepted *Truth*, still that in itself will instill knowledge in search of another so called truth.. If u are talking abt modifying rituals, then, rituals reflect the current culture. what was perceived normal yesterday is a sin today. what is accepted as normal may be a greater folly tomorrow. It is the beauty of Hinduism that it makes us accept that what we know is not enough and it makes us search for more

A excellent 'thedal'
Ramanan. N

Badhri said...

To answer your question, knowing that a brahman has to perform Sandhyavandanam three times a day, for example, is knowing *about* a religion. The stated reasons (not the interpreted reasons like it involves pranayamam and hence a good yoga) for why a Brahman has to do it, why it is three times a day, why are subtle differences between each other. Why aren't non-bramans encouraged to do it (or if they are not encouraged to do it!) is *knowing* the religion.

Vedas aren't small enough to be a 12th std. "book". They are vast as an ocean. You would agree on it. Again, to reject them without even *knowing* them is a mistake. What if, just, what if the stated reasons are better than, or add more value to the interpreted reasons? Have we ever thought of that?

I think "Hindus" (like me before thinking about the topic) modify the religion to suit my needs not because of the "beauty" of the religion that gives any specific freedom to alter religion. (I really doubt if it does!) It is simply because nobody I would listen to said "This is your religion and this is how strict you have to follow it".

I would say that a religion is flexible if, for example, I propose to include inter-caste marriage as "legal" and the authorities (lets say Tirupathi) accept it. Otherwise, an inter-caste marriage is just an inter-caste marriage between two people who will be looked down upon by the rest of the "hindu" community. Would you agree?

Ramanan N said...

Hi Badhri,

Let narrate a small incident which is bound to have happened in everyones' life (or for most of us).. The child would not eat(refuses to eat).. the mother says.."Sapidu.. illaina puchandikittae pudichikuduthuduvaen".. Here, if the mom had said all the correct reasons for making the child eat, i dont think the child has the mental maturity to understand it.. similarly, our Rishis and other great people made us do things in name of religion which had far reaching consequences...We just followed it to the core...There are so many things u can recount on it( using turmeric for sumangalis is an excellent example since its an antiseptic..) we can go on interpreting the scientific parts..

Coming to the next in line, there is nothing as the religion granting legal status to the inter-caste marriage.. let us be clear that Regligon and Legalities are different.What a religion may say taboo may as well be legal..(An example would be, muslims do not eat pork.. but eating pork is legal).

Regarding someone advising us how to follow the religon, we can see that Hinduism does not have one single head.(in fact there is no one as a leader)

All religions were founded by a person (an elevated soul no doubt), and so what ever he said/advocated became the rules sculptured on rock to follow. Here we DO NOT have anyone. we have gurus (like kanchi, dwaraka.. etc..) and apart from that several aadhineenums.. and there are ppl who do not consider any of the above mentioned ppl gurus who follow hinduism.. I have to repeat my self here.. "the beauty is diversity "

Regarding interpreting vedas, let me tell u this... Each person will interpret something according to his background/culture and the times in which he lived. Many sanskrit words may have lost their true meaning during the course of time, so knowing it as one would love to is out of question.There are things that the rational thought and inquisitive thinking cannot uncover..

Ramanan N

Anonymous said...

вертуальный номер
виртуальный телефонный номер
купить did номер
did номер, плата
телефонные номера австралии


Anonymous said...

http://gohumoje.freehostia.com http://www.playlist.com/user/49504466/blog http://hekineco.nightmail.ru
бесплатное жесткое порно скачать
http://hikohako.emenace.com http://jusipida.d0m.us http://kewumebu.rbcmail.ru
порно-видео 1 мб скачать

Anonymous said...

Bonjour, kuttipriya.blogspot.com!
[url=http://meds.fora.pl/ ]Acheter viagra online[/url] [url=http://medsonline.fora.pl/ ]Acheter viagra en ligne[/url] [url=http://onlinefarmacia.fora.pl/ ]Acheter du viagra en ligne[/url] [url=http://masar.fora.pl/ ]Acheter viagra en ligne[/url] [url=http://med.fora.pl/ ]Acheter du viagra en ligne[/url]

Anonymous said...

Both BA and Iberia have on the agenda c trick been losing hard cash during the downturn as businesses

Anonymous said...

http://lopoqi.emenace.com http://vipindividual.moskva.com/blog-vipindividual/ http://fiqusi.1gb.bg
юные киски
http://paxkoxonxx.t35.com http://fivacape.justfree.com http://daffsex.x10hosting.commegoznakom
смотреть порно девачки