Thursday, August 2, 2018

Is Buddhism an evolution of Hinduism?

Is Buddhism an evolution of Hinduism? 

The Ashoka Chakra is a depiction of the Buddhist Dharmachakra, represented with 24 spokes appeared on Lion Capital of Sarnath has been adopted as the National Emblem of the Republic of India. The Chairman of the Draft Committee of the Constitution of India wrote a book: ‘The Buddha and his Dhamma’ and publicly changed his faith on 14 October 1956, just 54 days before his death on 6 December 1956. He called it “Navayana”, a step forward to Hinyana, Vajrayana, Mahayana. He had declared that “I had born Hindu but I shall not die a Hindu”. It was his struggle for equality. 

Is Buddhism a evaluation of Hinduism? Many Hindus will answer yes and many Buddhist will say no. If both the sides take a conservative view, there will be little room for the consensus. There is continuous evolution in the belief and faith system in all human societies. Enlightened people see the strengths and weaknesses of the society and accordingly guide the masses for betterment of their life and humanity. 

When the religion was jailed into the rituals and caste inequality was dividing the country into divisions of people based on their births, Buddha came with a new meaning of Dhamma (truth) and preached the logical meaning of human life to live a better and peaceful life with communal harmony. Religion of beliefs was lifted up from the hearts (भावना) to the minds (बुद्धि). अप्प दीपो भव। (atta dippa), be a light unto yourself, follow your own light (inner voice) was his greatest teaching. He was the greatest social reformer. There is a full chapter in Dhammapad, regarding the qualities of a Brahmin. He had accepted Brahmin as a position, one has to earn by following good virtues and live a life for the welfare of others. It is not a brand or status one can acquired by birth. One can’t be IAS by birth, one has to pass the UPSC😊

The four classes of a society was a division of work amongst the people depending upon their mental and physical skills and abilities. One family might had four sons of four different qualities. In modern era, we are doing the same dividing the the personnels in jobs in Classes: 1-2-3-4. But those who were benefited from the system, made it compulsory by birth and the fall of the nation started. Buddhism tried to unite the country through the principle of equality and preached the followers to use their life in the welfare of others but it couldn’t sustained beyond 2-3 centuries. The defence of the country weakened. Brahmanism again acquired the strong position and the inequality of the society limiting the talents and strength within selected classes allowed the Muslims to invade and win and convert the masses into the new faith system. Khatri Guru Gobind Singh, built an Army (Shikh-शिष्य- disciple) of the Hindu Sons from all castes starting from the Panch Pyare, and gave them suffix of ‘Singh’ to their name to countered the Muslim aggression and later with following five Ks of identity, it became an independent faith system of Shikhism, a middle path of taking good things from both the Hindu and Muslim religions. The influence of Shikh Singhs was so high that thereafter, Kshatriyas and Rajputs started using suffix ‘Singh’ to their names!!

One has to understand the journey of ancient Brahmanism (Priest) under pressure from the junction point of Central Asia of Greek Aryans, Persian Aryans and Indian Aryans through present days Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and evolution of the faith system from the Fire Worship to idols worship, from Nature Gods to Hunan Gods and their incarnation and mixing it with the belief system of the native Indians and taking new shapes and colours over the centuries. 

Buddhism, Jainism and Shilkhism were evolution process of the faith system in the Country, were addressed to the needs of the time. With the patronage of Chakrowarthy Kings like Samrat Ashoka, Buddhism spread beyond the boundaries and the countries like China, Japan and whole of South East Asia followed it for more than 2000 years. New system will carry the good teachings of the old system and the followers of old system will catch up the new ideas and refine their system too.

You will be surprised to know that Japan had a Caste system similar to Hinduism and people were divided amongst the 5 divisions of uppers and lowers based on their births. They were following untouchability with the 5th class and marriages were restricted within the same caste group. The religion Shintoism was same like ancient Indian religion of worshiping the nature. But with the strong winds of Buddhism, people moved to Buddhism and today 80% of the Japanese believe in Buddhism. However, the new generation is moving towards no religion. Religion for them is a ritual to perform at three occasions: birth, marriage and death. Marriages in Japan are mostly through love marriages but even today, when it comes to arrange marriages, they do see the family roots.

Where do you place the present form of Government of India? New system? Evolution of the Kingship and Sultanate system of ancient and medieval India? Or the evolution of British East India Company administration? It is a continuous process of governance, changing shape as per the needs of the hour. 

As humans, all are equal and have right to live a life of dignity and respects. All are the lights of the same Sun, whether you call HIM Bhagwan, Buddha, Arihant, Wahe Guru, Allah, or any other name. Those who born will die and the light in them will take new form whether it is called rebirth or disappearance and appearance. Equality, Justice, Liberty and Fraternity are the principles on which the human society of the world has to rest their faith heads. 

X or Y, the truth is in the middle, may be XY. मध्यम मार्ग। बुद्धम् शरणं गच्छामि। (Follow the wisdom)

Punamchand 
2 August 2018

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