Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Name of God, wealth of Brahmins

Name of God, wealth of Brahmins
Dr. K. Jamanadas, 'Shalimar', Main Road, Chandrapur- 442 402

Dr. Ambedkar asked to use temple money for public good

In a special editorial in Mahanayak of 14th July 2012, titled, 'Name of God, wealth of Brahmins', the author has given interesting statistics.  The following is the gist of it.
Mr. Sharad Yadav has recently demanded that the money collected in the temples should be taken over by the government.  Sharad Yadav is one of the militant OBC leaders emerged after the post-Mandal agitation. India is considered to be most backward country in the world in the matters of education, health, malnutrition of the children, poverty and neglect of human rights. But the people in the country are quite generous in donating money to the temples. They are far ahead in this respect of all throughout the world.
On 24th of January 1954, Dr Ambedkar had said in a conference of the devotees of Saibaba, that money is collected in the name of religion and spent on improper matters.  In the present condition of poverty and misery, it is a highly criminal tendency to collect the money in the name of religion and spend it on at the festivals or on Brahmins.  The money should be spent on hospitals, on education, on industrial enterprises, to provide employment to the unemployed, on poor and helpless women, on vocational training, and the matters like these. The suggestion of Sharad Yadav is in consonance with the ideas expressed by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Therefore, we support the suggestion of Mr. Sharad Yadav, wholeheartedly.

Creation of unthinking society

Among the various organizations in India, which control the national life of the country, there have been tremendous efforts to create the ‘individual religious mentality’ meaning promotion of unthinking mentality, among the masses, during last 25 years. As a result of this, in every state of the country, the number of temples, mosques and other religious places are on the increase in great numbers.  As an example, in Tamil Nadu, there were approximately 2,00,000 temples in 1970, now we get the number of 3,00,000 in the year 2010. Out of these 38,481 are the big temples under supervision of Tamil Nadu government. These temples hold 4,78,462 acres of agricultural land, 22,599 buildings and 33,627 commercial establishments.  The average monthly income of each of these temples is 28.27 crores of rupees. But the government does not get a penny out of this income.  On the contrary, the Tamil Nadu government spent 35 crores of rupees on these temples during last five years, as recommended by 12th and 13th finance commission. In the neighboring Karnataka State also, there are 2,07,000 temples.  Their declared annual income on an average is 72 crores of rupees. In whole of India, there are approximately one million temples.  These temples do not come under the purview of land reform Acts, and in no state, there is any land ceiling act, applicable to these temples.

Problem of Land

Taking undue advantage of this, the corrupt bureaucracy, politicians, the priest in the temples and religious organizations have colluded together and purchased crores of acres of land in the name of temples.  For example, the Jaganath temple at Puri has 57,248.81 acres of land. In Rajasthan, Gagamedhi, Rishabdev, Raghunath mandir, Kunjbihari mandir, and Charbhuja mandir - these six temples possess one lakh bighas of land. In Maharashtra, approximately 2,500 acres of land stand in the name of temples. Guruvayur temple in Kerala has got 13,000 acres of land, and Vaishnodevi temple has got 50,000 acres of land.
Lakhs of temples, if taken into consideration all over India, it will be seen that lakhs and lakhs of acres of land have been horded in the name of God. If all this land is taken possession of by the government and distributed to the landless people, question of Indian poverty will at least be solved to the extent of 50 per cent.

Wealth and Income of temples

The precious metal and jewellery is lying idle in this form to such an extent that the whole world is astonished. Padmanabha temple in Kerala, movable property is estimated to be one hundred thousand crore. (Recently, this estimate has been increased to one million crores) It contains the god’s image of 500 kilograms of gold, 17 kg historical golden coins, and 250 kg of golden ornaments and hundreds of bags, filled with precious stones and jewels.
In Andhra Pradesh temple of Tirumala Tirupati, their declared income is annually 700 crores of rupees. This temple has 5 tonnes gold, and there are ornaments of 1000 kg of gold on the image itself. There are jewels and precious stones worth crores of rupees and 560 crores cash deposits.
The declared annual income of Sai temple at Shirdi is 350 crores.  And it is having 100 crores in ornaments and 427 crores bank deposits. The declared annual income of the Siddhi vinayak temple at Bombay is 48 crores of rupees, and it has got bank deposits of 125 crores. The daily income of Vaishnodevi temple in Jammu and Kashmir is 40 crores. The Guruvayur temple in Kerala has bank deposits of 400 crores of rupees and 40 elephants. One of these elephants can be purchased and donated back to the temple at the cost of minimum of one million rupees.

OBC leaders protectors of Brahmins

Two years back, the then chief Minister Maharashtra, Mr. Ashok Chavhan and the self declared OBC leader Chagan Bhujbal had gone to this temple of Guruvayur and spent lakhs of rupees, and even donated the elephants. There was an editorial on 12th April 2010, in this paper under the title “Bhujbal – leader of OBCs or protector of Brahmins", exposing his actions.

Problem of Employment

There is a parallel economy of temples in this country.  This has created a great danger not only to the Indian economy but also to the security of the country. The priests appointed for performing Puja in these temples and their helpers and assistants, are all Brahmins. In Tirupati temple alone, there are 14 thousand workers. The Kerala Devasthan Board has got 15,000 workers, whereas Tamil Nadu Devasthan Department has got 25,000 of these workers. These posts do not have the Govt. rules regarding reservation for SC, ST, OBC applicable to them. Therefore, it is clear that that only the Brahmin workers are recruited.
This tremendous opportunity of employment is not available to the Shudra Hindus, who are the main donors of Daxina to these temples. The devotees visiting the temples and giving ample Daxina are mostly the Shudra Hindus, whereas, those getting the creamy benefits are the Brahmins.
This kind of unjust scenario is seen the God's Durbars. As the Brahmins have tremendous opportunities of employment in the temples, there is no unemployment among the Brahmins. No Shudra Hindu comes forwards against this scenario, but these very Shudra people are always coming forward to oppose the reservations given to SC, ST and OBCs. This shows that the Manuvadi organizations have been successful in creating a society with 'religious individual mentality', meaning the mentality of irrational thinking men and women.

Problem of Black Money

Right from the BJP to the 'nautanki' Babas Hazare and Ramdev, are shouting hoarse about black money problem in India. But the main and large source of black money in India is the temples. There are literally thousands of organizations related to these temples, which are fed on a lion's share of the declared and undeclared income of these temples. And these bogus so-called charitable institutions prepare various plans on paper and obtain funds amounting to crores of rupees from these temples.  It should be of special interest to note that all such institutions and organizations are run by the Brahmins alone. The possibility cannot be denied that, that the black money from the temples is made available to the Hindu organizations involved in terrorist activities in India,

The illegal and immoral activities

This illegal activity has given birth to innumerable immoral activities going on in temples, flourishing prostitution going on at the centers of pilgrimages, the immoral trafficking of the women and minor girls, the sexual exploitations of the gullible female devotees by the Pundas and Pujaris in the temples and officers and heads of the religious mutts.
To maintain their control over the financial activities, the chiefs of the temples and of the mutts get involved in the illegal activities of criminal nature.  This has been proved by the charges of alleged murder in the case of the chief Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamkoti Peeth, Jayendra Saraswati.
The priests of the temples consider themselves as the scholars and authority of religion. Therefore, these Pundas and Pujaris do not give any importance the Indian Constitution. These slaves of religious books are the ones who are maintaining the caste system in India.

Need for a special Act

The RSS and many related organizations are active in promoting the caste system by using the money in the temples and are trying that, among the citizens of India, there should be no brotherhood, and the society should be permanently kept divided.
Considering all these matters, it is necessary that the government passes a new independent Act for the benefit of the nation and of the citizens, for control the affairs of the temples, control the expenditure of the amount collected in the temples and for appointment of human resources necessary for the working of the temples.  Otherwise, one-day, these temples will create the danger to the very existence of the nation.

Dr. K. Jamanadas, 'Shalimar', Main Road, Chandrapur- 442 402
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012



Dr. K. Jamanadas

Lokayata is a most neglected and highly maligned philosophy of ancient India. Harrapan civilization gave birth to this positive philosophy of ‘lokas’; the Bahujans, though the Vedic books labeled it as Asura culture, and denigrated Charvaka as ‘Nastika Shiromani’ 

The Lokayats criticized the yajnyas, shraddha-s, and doctrines of soul and god, rebirth and karma-vipak and were ‘essentially this-worldly’. They opposed Chaturvarnya and caste rules and propagated social equality. 

There is a strong relation between Tantras, tribal primitive society and materialism. After the Buddha’s revolution, Manusmriti brought in counter-revolution. Charvaka philosophy was the greatest opponent of Manusmriti.

Devas, Asuras, Nagas, Rakshasas etc. were all human beings. The accounts of more important Asura kings are discussed and Relevance of Lokayata philosophy in it is stressed

Author Dr. K. Jamanadas, an Ambedkarite author of ‘Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine’ and other writings

Blue World Series
Rs. 400/-

Monday, December 12, 2011

Those Eventful Days Of The Great Mass Conversions

Those Eventful Days Of The Great Mass Conversions

Dr. K. Jamanadas, 'Shalimar', Main Road, Chandrapur- 442 402

Dr. Ambedkar’s Conversion

Most of the events are well known and well documented. I mention only those facts, which I personally experienced and are not well outside.
“It was not within my capacity to be born in a particular religion. But though I was born as Hindu, I will not die as a Hindu.” This was the declaration of Dr. Ambedkar made by him as early as 1935, at Yeola in Nashik district in Maharashtra. He made this declaration after his disillusion of Hindu reforms due to experiences with the Satyagraha at Mahad to drink water from the public lake, burning of Manusmruti, Kalaram Temple Satyagraha for temple entry and treacherous behavior of Gandhi at Round Table Conference and subsequent coercive Poona Pact. There is already a vast literature available on these subjects. After this declaration, he convened a conference in Bombay, wherein he delivered a speech, which goes by the name of ‘Mukti kon pathe?’ ‘what way emancipation?’ which is available verbatim in his volumes [No. 17, Part 3, pp. 113], describing the need for religious conversion for the lowered castes. His inclination was towards Buddhism from the beginning, but from 1950 or so, it became clear that he would adopt Buddhism and finally he decided to adopt Buddhism in 1956.

Background preparations

After global celebration of 2500 years of Buddha Jayanti, it had become clear, early in 1956, that conversion to Buddhism will take place that year, either at Sarnath, Kanpur or Bombay. But about three months in advance, Babasaheb decided Nagpur as the venue, and 14th October as date. When the news reached Nagpur, the whole atmosphere got charged with enthusiasm and every leader and worker, big and small, started earnestly for the preparation. There were public meetings at all moholla-s (wards) in Nagpur. S. M. Meshram, Babu Hardas Awale and Bar. Rajabhau Khobaragade were the main political leaders of Nagpur, who started organizing public opinion for conversion. The whole atmosphere was charged with a feeling of enthusiasm, vigor, excitement, and zeal about the coming event. Dadasaheb Gaikwad made two or three trips to Chandrapur to supervise preparations here. I also visited Chandrapur more frequently.
I was hectically preparing for my final year MBBS exam in Nagpur in Nov./Dec. We as students decided to hold the Students’ Convention on this occasion, in the Dhanwate Chambers, which was nearly next door to Hotel Shyam, where Babasaheb was scheduled to stay.

Ambedkar’s conception of Buddhism

When asked about which vehicle of Buddhism he is propagating, he remarked that he would preach the original teachings of the Buddha. What are the differences from traditional Buddhism? One is about Siddhartha’s renouncement. Ambedkar believes traditional story of ‘diseased, old man, dead man, hermit’ etc. could not be the real cause. Second he doubted ‘suffering’ to be the main of ‘four noble truths’. Third was his conception of karma and rebirth not conforming to traditional views and lastly he believed the Buddha created ‘Bhikku’ not as a priest or a superman but as a friend, philosopher and guide for the laymen, and hence he liked the standing Buddha rather than one in meditation.

The Great Mass Conversion at Nagpur

All the events about the Grand Conversion ceremony are well recorded. The crowd was more than the present “Diksha Bhoomi” could accommodate. The area beyond the road, where today there are big buildings was a vacant plot of land. The Deputy Mayor being an Ambedkarite the whole labor gangs of Corporation along with volunteers of “Samta Sainik Dal” (SSD - Volunteer Corpse for Equality) were busy in uprooting small shrubs and clearing and cleaning the wasteland into a vast ground for the function. The stage was huge, and protected from all sides. By the side, there was a road built right from the main street to the stage for Babasaheb’s car and protected by bamboo matting from both sides. Excellent arrangement was for sound projection. Stage of shape of Sanchi stupa was erected and covered with white cloth. All the stalls of eatables and free meals were arranged beyond the streets by various organizations.
It was ordained that those who wish to get converted, must come in white apparel, but in the markets white all cloth was exhausted, and then it had to be announced that, any clean clothes of any color would do. Similarly, it was declared that all those wishing to be converted should enroll themselves in Godbole’s office. The rush was so much that in spite of hundreds of volunteers for record keeping, the arrangement broke down. That was the magnitude of the numbers. A conservative estimate was half a million people, who poured down from all directions with whatever conveyances they could get. Many walked down with meals packed for three days, dried pieces of homemade jaur bread and an onion or two.
The ceremony of conversion and Babasaheb’s historical speech are well documented. I mention only salient points. It was Maha Thera Bhikku Chandramani, the most senior Buddhist monk in the country, who gave Diksha to Dr. Ambedkar. He was of Burmese origin but was resident in India for forty odd years. After his own conversion, Babasaheb converted all the rest of half a million people by trisaran, panchasila, and ‘22 vows’. This was a historical event in more ways than one. Never in history half a million were converted to any religion at one time, and never had conversion been effected by a lay Buddhist, and never ever the Hindu gods and goddesses were denounced by ‘22 vows’ which became the inseparable part of ‘rite’ of conversion to Buddhism in India, and never before it was declared that all and every Buddhist lay person was authorized to convert other willing person. There used to be rite of ‘upasampada’ for conversion as a Bhikku, but for Lay Buddhist there was traditionally no rite. Ambedkar started this, as he believed one of reasons of disappearance of Buddhism from India was absence of such a rite.

The famous 22 vows:

They are well known and well documented. These 22 vows, especially prepared by him for conversion and which are used now in all conversions, now form the main principles of guidance for the Indian Buddhists. Ambedkar achieved three things thereby.
(i)                                           It clarified that adopting Buddhism means denouncing Hinduism
(ii)                                        It clarified that even Lay Buddhists were elements of Buddhist society and
(iii)                                     It clarified that even Lay Buddhist have to follow the tenets of Buddhism.
They struck a blow at the roots of Hindu beliefs and practices, and protect Indian Buddhism from confusion and contradictions caused by Brahmanism and wasteful expenditure.

Speech of Dharmantar
It is well documented. He explained Nagpur was selected, as this was the land of Nagas, the great patrons of Buddhism, and we are the progeny of a single Naga warrior Takshak, who was saved from Brahminic genocide of Nagas in ‘naga satra’. He refuted all Brahminic criticism against his conversion. A clear reference to Marx, he said that man cannot live on bread alone and stressed the importance of self-respect more than mundane pleasures. If the Hindu religion had allowed lowered castes to bear arms, India would never have suffered political slavery, he averred. He explained how Buddhism gives hope of progress, which is absent in Hinduism. He asked his followers to be ready to sacrifice for Buddhism; at the same time he declared that he did not want blind followers. He declared that he was feeling relieved from the “Hell of Hinduism”.
Students Convention
As the President of Students’ organization, I led a deputation to Dr. Babasaheb to ask for his blessings for Students’ Convention and congratulate him on the occasion. SSD volunteers led us to a small hall on the second floor of Hotel Shyam after a strong security check.
As we stood in the corner, Dadasaheb Gaikwad told Babasaheb that some students have come to see him. Babasaheb thundered as to what we wanted. Everybody kept mum. Nobody dared to utter a word. After a long pause, I dared to stammer out that we came to congratulate him, and we wanted his blessings. He said something soothing and Adv. S. M. Meshram said, “Do you students wish to ask Babasaheb, anything?” I gathered courage to say, “Babasaheb! We are worried about our scholarships”. No sooner, I uttered these words, Babasaheb started talking loudly, everybody around, and there would be about hundred people around, all sat down at once on the floor, as Babasaheb kept on talking.  He said how, we students have gone lazy, are reluctant to study and avoid hard work.  In spite of facilities we don’t do exams. well, and the lot.  Lastly, he consoled us, the facilities, he got for us was his effort and he will snatch it again for us, and that the scholarships are in his pocket. After about ten minutes’ speech, it was time for us to leave.
Students’ Convention was well attended, there were more people than the hall could accommodate. Main speakers were Adv. S. M. Meshram and Dadasaheb Gaikwad. Many resolutions were passed and all that, but later, the police had come to our hostels repeatedly and wanted to know more and more details, which we had none.

Civic Reception

More important was Babasaheb’s speech at the Civic Reception given by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. After explaining the working of democracy in Parliament, he told the stunned gathering that there are many lady members of Parliament, who talk of Prime Minister Nehru as “aamche he, aamche te”, the mode of addressing used, in Maharashtra, by women only while talking about their husbands. He said that he was ashamed that there were some Maharashtrian lady members among them. He said, he tried to apprise Prime Minister Nehru about this, but Nehru couldn’t care less. All this obviously was a severe criticism about Nehru, but the organizations of upper castes women came down heavily on Ambedkar the next day in Newspapers, curiously enough not for criticizing Nehru, but for defaming womanhood of Maharashtra. Such was the mentality of Press and Media in twisting the facts to suit their purpose, those days not really much different from today, was it?

Tea Party at Shyam Hotel

I was then 24 years old student and perhaps the youngest in the tea-party and perhaps the only person living, who were present in the tea-party. In the night there was a “Tea Party”, only meant for senior workers of the Party from all over India, and entry was by passes. I was given three passes for students. I, along with our secretary Nagdeote, and a senior Ph.D. student from Hindi speaking area, attended. Babu Hardas Awale gave an introductory speech as usual in Hindi, and requested Babasaheb to address the gathering of, may be fifty or sixty people sitting around tables with the snacks served. I had heard Babasaheb on many occasions before, but that was the first time, I was hearing him talk in fluent Hindi. The speech though brief had many new points, and very scanty reports of this speech are available. He said, that we all cared more for politics than social and religious change.  He had achieved everything in his life for himself. There was nothing more to be achieved for himself, “except perhaps the post of Prime Minister”, among cheers, he declared. But he was worried for all of us, as we keep on fighting amongst ourselves. He said, we were not used to work with people of other castes. Though the “Scheduled Castes Federation” (SCF) would be in existence for some more time and though Buddhists, we could still be members of it, as he had already made provisions in Constitution of SCF for “sympathizers”, it was time we change our ways and start learning to work together with other castes. He was already in touch with other leaders like R. M. Lohia, N. G. Gore, Madhu Limaye, P. K. Atre, S. M. Joshi and others and he had prepared the Constitution of new party, which would be launched soon. He gave a lot of stress on mixing with the people of democratic thoughts, belonging to other castes. It is rather unfortunate, that this aspect of his speech, is totally neglected by the next generation of leaders, our predecessors. When next year in 1957, Republican Party of India was formed, there was not one single member of other castes.

Dattopant Thengadi in this private meeting

What kills me most, about this tea party, is that about ten years ago, I read in some book by Dattopant Thengadi, one of the top most leaders of RSS, that he was present in this meeting as a “boy serving snacks dishes”. The meeting was so select and admission was by passes and everybody had to be scrutinized on entry, how could a strong activist of RSS be allowed entry to such a meeting? Was there a slip in security by SSD? Was Dattopant a regular employee of Hotel Shyam and just happened to be there around Dr. Ambedkar, or was he planted there to spy on Ambedkar, is a question I cannot find any answer to. I honestly do not think he was a regular employee of the Hotel. Thengadi himself has not clarified, nor anybody else did, to the best of my knowledge. Anyway, it throws ample light on the working of RSS and its long time planning.

Chandrapur Mass Conversion

A sramner Sumedh wrote a book, wherein he raised three allegations against this mass conversion at Chandrapur that (i) it was not prearranged, (ii) Babasaheb was brought by wrong road and hence had to suffer and (iii) Conversion was carried out not by Babasaheb but by someone else. All these are wrong allegations, which I refuted many times from public platform and in writings, including functions on Diksha-Bhumi. The Conversion ceremony was arranged well in advance, there was no other road then and Babasaheb himself conducted ceremony of Diksha. It is pity the sramner could not even understand that a function of such a magnitude of 300,000 people cannot be arranged at the eleventh hour without preplanning. Reception Committee was formed in meeting of all leaders from all over the district in town hall, funds were collected and all arrangements were made, and enthusiasm was so great that there was no shortage of funds.
On 16th October, 1956, we left by morning passenger train from Nagpur for Chandrapur, in an uncontrollable crowd. Babasaheb was to come by Car via Umerd, Nagbhid and Mul. The present road direct from Nagpur to Chandrapur via Jam was not ready then. It opened for traffic in 1962.
When I reached the stage around 3 p.m., there were hardly any leaders on the stage, and huge ground was over-flooding with people. Myself, another student Raipure and Adv. Umre managed the stage for three hours, with local leaders speaking. The news came that Babasaheb has reached Mul (about 35 km. from Chandrapur) and is having rest because of tiredness of journey, thanks to the worst roads of that time, and all the leaders on the stage left for Mul, leaving three of us students to manage and pacify the crowds, and I must say, we did manage it rather magnificently, come to think of it now.
It was sunset, the stage was well lit, and some one was speaking on the mike. There was commotion on the road, I took charge of mike and started slogan shouting, Babasaheb was approaching after a long wait. He climbed the stage and sat on the sofa there, with Mrs. Ambedkar. Some leader started welcome speech. Babasaheb was too tired and now he got irritated due to green small insects, which appear around lights in that season. He ordered the light to be switched off. I was right behind the sofa. I shouted at the electrician to switch off the light shining on face of Babasaheb. The electrician did switch off. But the wiring was such, not only one tube light but nearly half of the stage where Babasaheb was sitting, went into darkness, though the other half was well lit. In that partial darkness, Babasaheb asked the speaker to stop, took to mike and asked everybody to rise who wish to get converted and started “namo tassa bhagvato”, trisaran, panchsheela and administered “22 vows”. Somebody held a lighted bulb in front of him to read the vows. Then he said that all he wanted to talk was talked at Nagpur, advised all to read that from newspapers, and climbed down the stage and started walking back to car waiting on the road. All was over within five minutes, and the leaders who were gradually coming to stage rushed back behind him to the Circuit House, just nearby. Again the stage was vacant and I found myself shouting slogans over the dispersing crowds.
Well, everybody was very unhappy, that he could not hear the words of Babasaheb, after hours or days of waiting. With heavy heart, everyone dispersed, only to gather around the Circuit House, which was surrounded by heavy security of SSD volunteers there were no police either at Nagpur or at Chandrapur just to get a glimpse or a hear a word of Babasaheb.
We requested Bar. Rajabhau, and Dadasaheb to arrange to bring Babasaheb out for a few minutes in Verandah. But Mrs. Ambedkar would not agree, neither she would let any body approach Babasaheb. Only Dadasaheb Gaikwad could enter his suite, for all those 36 hours he stayed there. Dadasaheb Gaikwad decided that Babasaheb needed a day’s rest before his journey, so morning journey was off.

The Day after Conversion

The next day started with great expectation. There was constant flow of people coming and going, but Mrs. Ambedkar allowed no entry to Babasaheb’s suite except for Dadasaheb Gaikwad. A plan was conceived to send Mrs. Ambedkar out for “shopping” and for giving her presents and ultimately she departed from the scene at about 5 p.m. After she left, Dadasaheb brought Babasaheb to verandah. It was just getting dusky. There were lights in veranda, but none outside, but a pleasant moonlight around. There was no loud speaker. As soon as the word spread that Babasaheb is sitting outside, gradually within minutes and in pin drop silence a crowd of thousands gathered and squatted in the road in front verandah and a garden outside. Then there was a session of about two hours, when Babasaheb was talking and all of us listening, with an intermittent question being asked by Dadasaheb for motivating him to talk.
He talked of his childhood. How he was moving around in a “langoti” (loin cloth) and saluting a padre always going by the locality, how they were sleeping on the ground within an island made of earth around and filling it with water so that the bed bugs could not enter. He talked how he stole some money and ran away from home, when his father once expressed concern what would happen to him as his father married again. He never returned back till last moment of his father.
Many questions about Buddhism, and its practices and new party were put to him. For all those questions, he said he would make everything clear in a meeting scheduled in mid-December in Bombay. Unfortunately that day never arose. There were only two mass conversions effected by him at Nagpur and Chandrapur.
Around 8 p.m., Mrs. Savita Ambedkar came back, started scolding everybody, and took Babasaheb inside, that was the last time I saw him, so did many like me. But the people were happy that they could hear their Messiah and departed home happily. Next morning Babasaheb left Chandrapur by Grand Trunk Express at about 5 a.m.
I went back to Nagpur, got busy in studies, and gave my last paper of final MBBS examination, and came out of the hall at 1 p.m., only to be told the tragedy of demise of our Messiah on 6th of December 1956.

Conversion and afterwards

The immediate effects of conversion were dramatic. The whole community seemed united. Even a few days before conversion ceremony, when Babu Hardas Awale announced in a public meeting that “mangal sutra” (black beaded wedding necklace considered sacred by married Hindu women) is a symbol of slavery of women a tenet opposed to Buddhism about 500 women removed their mangal sutras then and there.
There was an impression among Buddhist converts, that eating of meat is not permitted and many who reared hens, left them to go anywhere they liked and sold off their goats for Rs. ten or so, and stopped eating meat. But it has again started, as it became known that Buddhism never prevented meat eating and even Bhikkus were allowed to eat certain types of meat.
There were images of Hindu gods of all descriptions in the houses of Buddhists, they were all thrown away in wells, lakes, and rivers, some times in processions all over the villages. People stopped going to Hindu pilgrimages like “Mahadeva”.
As Babasaheb had said, the marriages should be performed without expenses, on simple white clothes. So all the bands, barat-s (processions), and “bashing-s” (headgear for marriage) were discarded. A bridegroom in a marriage procession could not be pointed out from others. Unfortunately gusto could not be maintained, again the expensive marriages by taking loans and all that started later. The band has disappeared but loudspeaker has taken its place. All things have now come back, as it was in Hinduism, including expensive marriages, dinners and wasteful ceremonies. Even system of dowry in some form or other is making appearance a system never existed even before conversion.
Many mass conversion ceremonies took place later all over the place, but only the “Mahars” got converted in Maharashtra. There were some followers of Ambedkar from other SC communities, who got converted at different places. It was reported by people like Herlekar, that those people faced troubles in getting their daughters married among the erstwhile “Mahars”. The process of conversion went on for half century and recent conversions by other castes have raised the hopes that Buddhism in India would not become just another caste of Hinduism. It was the dream of Ambedkar that he will convert whole of India to Buddhism. Recently, after 50 years, people like Laxman Mane, who belong to caste other than Mahars, conducted some mass conversions to Buddhism. This has raised the hope that some day India will definitely become Buddhist again.

Dr. K. Jamanadas, "Shalimar", Main Road, Chandrapur - 442 402
Monday, December 12, 2912

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No room for Rebirth in Rationalism

No room for Rebirth in Rationalism

Jaipal Reddy is entirely correct
It is reported that:
“S. Jaipal Reddy mentioned in a Buddhist International Conference that Buddha was a symbol of rationalism and humanism. He was the first intellectual democrat and great believer in moderation. But there is no room for rebirth concept (of Buddhism) in rationalism.”
Mr. Reddy is absolutely correct. All the rationalists have criticized idea of rebirth as exploitative. About those who accept rebirth of the persons, fate, heaven and hell and so on, the rationalists comment that, those accepting rebirth wish to transcend this world considered only as a temporary abode of the souls. There are moral injunctions but there is no socialization of the individual. Spiritual liberation is given the top priority. Society and the world are to be discarded as evil. It must be realized that this is the one single factor of exploitation and also it prevents any sort of rebellion or revolt by the victims.  [http://www.iheu.org/node/3155]
The problem is of that when Mr. Reddy says ‘Rebirth concept of Buddhism is not rational’, he is actually referring to the Brahminical concept of rebirth.
Brahminic Rebirth is misnomer
I had asked the question of Rebirth to Late Dr. Bhadant Anand Kausallyayan in open meeting. He explained that what the Brahmins call as ‘Rebirth’ cannot be rebirth. For some thing to be reborn, it has to first die. Brahmins believe that the atma does not die. How can something be reborn if it never died? What they mean by ‘rebirth’ is that atma enters a new body. That cannot be called a ‘rebirth’. It is transmigration of soul. The Brahmins wrongly call it rebirth. Then he explained what rebirth is according to Buddhism, as explained by Dr. Ambedkar.
A lot of confusion is caused by terminology, and some traditional Buddhists do try to preach same doctrine of Brahmins as doctrine of the Buddha. May be, Mr. Reddy remarked because of that.
The Ten Unanswered Questions of Buddha
The confusion about Rebirth is caused by what is known as, ‘the ten unanswered questions’ by the Buddha. There are two main texts in the Pali scriptures, Sutras 63 and 72 of the Majjhima Nikaya, each with the same list of ten propositions or ‘views’ (ditthi):
1. The world is eternal.
2. The world is not eternal.
3. The world is infinite.
4. The world is not infinite.
5. The soul (jiva) is identical with the body.
6. The soul is not identical with the body.
7. The Tathagata exists after death.
8. The Tathagata does not exist after death.
9. The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.
10. The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.
The Buddha refused to give any teaching about these issues, although the monk Malunkyaputta challenged him. The Buddha’s fundamental point was that to know the answers to these questions is not necessary for relief from Dukkha. He told the parable of the man pierced by a poisoned arrow. If the victim insists to know details of shooter of arrow, before receiving medical treatment, he will die before his thirst for knowledge is satisfied. This was to emphasize that leading a religious life and get freedom from Dukkha, does not need answers to metaphysical matters. (Majjhima Nikaya, 63).
Everybody used to ask these questions. There were, apart from Brahminic, 62 different schools of thought, six of them being prominent, prevalent during the times of the Buddha, and every one of these six believed in the soul except the Buddha, though each had its own way of describing the soul.
But the Buddha had already answered these questions, not in one place but separately, right from the very first sermon at Sarnath, which is famous by the name of Dhamma Chakka Pavattan Sutta, where there is strong rejection of atma. From doctrine of Pratityapa Samutpad, it is clear that the world is infinite. Theory of Anitya was propagated which says world is changing, which means it is not eternal. In Chula Dukkha Khanda Sutta of Majjhima Nikaya, in a dialogue between the Buddha and the Jains, the Buddha asks:
“Do you know, reverend sirs, whether you had an existence before this or you were not non-existent?” On negative reply, he asks: “Do you know that, in a former existence, you were guilty, and not guiltless, of misdeeds?” On further negative reply, he further asks: “Do you know that, in that former existence, you were guilty, and not guiltless, of this or that specific misdeed?” To this again he receives a negative reply.
The gist of the Sutta is there is no other life. This life is the only life, which answers whether the Tathagata lives after death etc.
Now question remains why the Buddha did not reply when Malunkyaputta challenged him. Dharmanand Kosambi explains that Buddha did not reply to avoid confusion in the minds of people to this complex question about Atma, which could be analyzed into five skandha-s. The theory of annatta was already propagated by the Buddha.
The difference of opinion between the Original Buddhism and the traditional Buddhists about Rebirth is caused because the Buddhists misinterpreted the ‘Pratityapa Samutpad’ to include past and future births.
Dr. Ambedkar raised the question of ‘Rebirth’ of ‘what’ and of ‘whom’ and explained that the elements in the body after death disperse and join the wide mass of elements from which new life comes into existence. This means there is no real rebirth in the sense of Brahminic concept, in Buddha’s original teachings.
Brahminic concept of Rebirth
Even the Brahminic theories had very many different ideas about atma. Delicate nuances between the ‘atma’ (soul) and ‘parmatma’ (god) have been exhaustively described in Brahminic spiritual books for centuries. According to this concept it is believed that whatever position you got in this birth is the result of the deeds (karma) of the previous birth/s, the hypothesis of ‘karma vipak’.
The practical discernible use of all the ideological discourses is the concept of Rebirth. The only use the Brahmins made of the theory of atma and karma and rebirth etc. is to avoid responsibility of society to deal with the problems of the poverty and misery in life of poor and lowly, and lead the masses to believe that the cause of their present misery is the deeds their own previous births.
It is still used today by Brahminists to justify inequality, atrocities and injustice to weaker sections of society. At the time of Viacom Satyagraha, the Nambudiri Brahmins argued that the present day untouchables have sinned in previous birth/s, and therefore got the birth of untouchables in this life, and hence can not complain about their sufferings.
We boast of our philosophy of soul, atma, god, karma and rebirth, to be the best in the world, but forget that this ‘great’ philosophy is poisoned by the rules of caste, which has made it highly exploitative and made this country a slave for centuries.
Idea of Rebirth and Karma-vipak reduced this country to slavery
Scholars have observed that the Idealistic outlook – belief in god, soul, rebirth, and all that goes with these – presupposes separation of ‘thought from action’ – ‘manual from mental labor’ and degradation of manual labor.
Concept of Brahminic rebirth is crucial in social field as this doctrine leads to dampen, or rather prevents the creation of, the motivation to fight against exploitation and inequality created by human vested interests.
A person is told and made to believe that his poverty, lower ranks in the varna-caste system, miseries of widowhood, and other sorrows of life are due to his own deeds of past lives and no external exploiter or social order is responsible for his miseries. That creates tolerance to accept sorrows and prevents him from creating just and equitable systems. Because of this doctrine of ‘karma-vipak’, for thousands of years, the evil systems of social life and exploitation got the ideological sanction leading to misery of population in this caste infested country. The realistic opposition to this karma doctrine could challenge the social order based on injustice, and prevent the fatalist attitude.
Laxman Shastri Joshi has observed that, the ideas of otherworld or unrealistic spiritual concepts being the basis of all religious ideologies, they lead to retrograde system of production, evil social structure and parochial worldview.

Sunday, June 26, 2011