Buddhism

Some of them seem unnecessary and insensitive

On October 5, Delhi, SC, ST and Gurudwara Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam attended a conversion event in the nation’s capital where around 10,000 people converted to Buddhism. In this case, people have taken the 22 vows originally taken by Dr. BR Ambedkar in 1956. Of these 22 pledges (I do not intend to write them here), the first 5 are the vows not to worship Hindu gods and goddesses. Shortly after the incident, he was accused by the BJP of disrespecting the Hindu religion. Under pressure, he resigned from his post on October 9. I will not go into politics on this, but rather try to examine the vows written by Dr. Ambedkar and determine whether these vows are an integral part of Buddhism per se.

Basic principles of Buddhism

Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism taught four noble truths, (1) “Suffering”, (2) “Samudaya (Origin of suffering-desire)”, (3) “Nirodha (Cessation of suffering) and (4)” Magga (Path to the Cessation of Suffering – the Middle Way)”. The ultimate goal of life is Nirvana (free from the cycle of death and rebirth) through enlightenment. There is no concept of God in Buddhism although it has the concept of Karma. The rebirth of people is decided by the deeds of their past life. It is true that Buddhism is a non-theistic religion, but some of Dr. Ambedkar’s vows take this non-theism to another level.

Wishes of Dr Ambedkar

Here are the first five wishes of Ambedkar.

  1. I will have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, nor will I worship them.
  2. I will have no faith in Rama and Krishna, nor will I worship them.
  3. I will have no faith in “Gouri”, “Ganpathi” and other gods and goddesses of Hindu religion, nor will I worship them.
  4. I do not believe in the theory of the incarnation of the Gods.
  5. I do not and will not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this is malicious and misleading propaganda.

These five vows can be summed up in one line – I don’t believe in God and Gautam Buddha himself said so. But does Gautam Buddha mention some of the gods of the Hindu religion and specifically tell people not to worship them? No.

When I was writing those first five vows, I felt like I was repeating myself with every sentence. Sounds like a student who just wants to attempt a long question but doesn’t have much material. If a person doesn’t believe in God, which is perfectly fine, but mentions some of the names of gods and goddesses from their previous religion, what does that mean besides disrespecting particular gods? Nevertheless, the concept of Sagun gods and goddesses is very unique in Hinduism and does not work as people think.

Gods in the Hindu religion.

As a child, I always wondered why there were so many gods and goddesses in the Hindu religion. And also I used to hear that these are the forms of one God but that didn’t make sense then. But the in-depth study of Hinduism offers a very unique approach to this large number. gods and goddesses in Hinduism.

In his book “The Great Indian Civilization”, Pawan Khera has beautifully explained the concept of Sagun Gods in Hinduism. Contrary to popular belief, Hindus also believe in one universal spirit called Brahman. The ultimate goal of Hindus is to reunite their Atman (soul) with Brahman. Here is the main difference between monolithic religion and Hinduism – in Hinduism it is believed that there are many ways through which an Atman can reunite with Brahman and different gods are the different ways to achieve the ultimate goal. Different forms of gods are aspects of this one entity called Brahman. When a Hindu worships a God, he or she is not worshiping the God per se, but through him he is trying to achieve his ultimate Goal, which means reuniting with Brahman. It’s like thousands of rivers flowing into the same ocean. This flexibility to find our own way is the most beautiful thing about Hinduism. When Dr. Ambedkar wrote his vows, it is very clear that he had a different kind of thinking about Hindu gods and goddesses. In Hinduism, there is no obligation to worship a definite God or Goddess. Ambedkar’s commitment to certain gods and goddesses makes no sense. In fact, the ultimate goal of Hinduism and Buddhism is the same, only the paths are different.

Negation V/S Name call.

Almost all religions do not believe in the gods of other religions. They believe in their own God but they refrain from calling names. Monolithic religions like Islam and Christianity believe in their God. He himself has the negation of the gods in other religions. It does not need to be specified. The curses of the gods can be insensitive to people who worship them. Hinduism is the only religion that recognizes other gods as other means to reach ultimate truth. Unlike others, we truly respect and practice tolerance. All other religions should do the same, if not at least should be sensitive to the beliefs of others.

Religion is a deeply private matter and depends on an individual’s beliefs. One can pursue one’s own beliefs without being insensitive to others. It is very clear that some of Dr Ambedkar’s wishes are inspired by the mistreatment of Dalits in Hinduism. His personal experiences led him to write them. But do all new Buddhists need to repeat them?

The Hindus and their introspections.

Hindus have realized that discrimination is based on caste and have taken several steps to discourage it. Hindu gods cannot be attributed to the mistreatment of Dalits in Hinduism. It is the social structure that is responsible for this. Lack of social practices are completely different things and they have nothing to do with religion. In a religion like Hinduism which has thousands of religious texts and multiple theories, society may act in an inhuman way, but the other texts also provide remediation. Texts like the Upanishads talk about Brahman and Atman and encourage everyone to achieve the highest goal. “Not only humans, even every living entity is entitled to compassion and dignity” is the teaching of Hinduism. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is an integral part of Hinduism. It is wrong to say that caste discrimination is the only way to describe Hinduism. Hinduism is the only religion where everyone is welcome even the atheist. “Self-enlightenment” is also the fundamental principle of Hinduism. It doesn’t matter how different Buddhism is nowadays, but the fact is that Buddha was against the pageantry of religion and his philosophy is deeply inspired by Hinduism.

Neo-Buddhist and their obsession with Hinduism.

Osho once said that if your religion is good, you don’t have to repeat it in front of people. People will see it through your action. Similarly, some neo-Buddhists are less focused on Buddhism but instead mock Hindus for their beliefs. If someone enters another religion, he does not need to abuse his past religion, rather he should concentrate if he gets something meaningful in his new life. But in today’s world, everything has become a show of force, even the religion that explicitly forbids it. Many people do this without understanding the concept of multiple gods in Hinduism. Hindus have shown great respect for Buddhism and the Dalai Lama is the official guest of the Indian government. The Dalai Lama himself said that India was the country where he would like to die. There is no need to mock Hindus for their beliefs. In a democratic country, everyone is free to practice their own religion, but no one should be allowed to disrespect others.