Historic reference for FOMO article

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    Saurav Raj

    Prabhuji may u please give some historic references of society conditions at the time of appearance of Buddha and Shankara through which we can say that there were a group of FOMO people attacking completely devoted people and were envious of them?

    Ashish Dalela

    I’m not a historian and I have not studied history so it is hard for me to cite references. I can give you a high-level storyline, which I have gathered from reading tidbits here and there. Since this isn’t a focus area for me therefore I haven’t collected references.

    Buddhism arose because the Vedic tradition had been reduced to rituals by Brahmanas. The Brahmanas would say that ascent to heaven depended on doing rituals. The transcendental component of religion had reduced and the ritualistic component had risen. The Brahmanas had taken elitist positions in society and were marginalizing the other classes. In this milieu, Buddhism arose as a social opponent to Brahmanism. It was less opposed to the Vedic tradition but it was deeply opposed to Brahmanas. Slowly, they became opponents of the Vedic tradition as well. The subsequent clashes between Brahmanas and Buddhists are well-known. They were sworn enemies.

    The Nanda dynasty (which Chandragupta defeated) came from lower classes (some say that they came from a family of barbers) and they rapidly started secularizing society by appointing people from anti-Vedic traditions such as Ajivikas, Jains, and Buddhists into powerful roles in society. Nandas moved away from the principles of dharmic rulers. Even as Chandragupta Maurya defeated the Nanda dynasty, he could not reverse the course of the social trajectory. Buddhists had established their language, texts, social orders, and practices by then. Buddhists had Pali and Brahmanas used Sanskrit. Chandragupta Maurya accepted all the groups that the Nanda dynasty encouraged and the trend toward secularization of society continued. There was competition between them but from the king’s perspective, they were given equal powers. The kings were trying to keep a balance in society to prevent betrayal and defeat in any war.

    Chandragupta Maurya encouraged secular subjects like mathematics, astronomy, and linguistics and moved education away from the Vedic traditional systems. This is called by some historians the “golden age” because they are looking at it from a modern perspective. It was quite similar to a constitutional secular government.

    But when Ashoka came to power, he killed his relatives, and took favor from Buddhists (some people say that Ashoka had converted to Buddhism even before the Kalinga war so he was violent even after the conversion), and then the balance tilted in the favor of Buddhists. When Ashoka shifted in favor of Buddhism, then it became the standard export to the rest of Asia from India. Buddhists went to Afghanistan, Tibet, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, and so on. The Vedic culture was dying rapidly as a result.

    This is when Shankaracharya appeared to defeat Buddhists. Even as he restored some respect for the Vedic system, he did not overturn the social changes. The ritualistic Brahmanas were still rejected. In fact, now, it was standard practice to say that worldly duties do not lead to salvation and if anyone wanted salvation from rebirth then he had to renounce the world and become a Sannyasis. The Sannyasa Ashram became a competitor to the Buddhist monks. The Grihastha Ashrama was lowered in status. This is clearly seen in the condition of debate between Shankaracharya and Mandan Misra. The condition was that if Shankaracharya won, then Mandana will abandon the Grihastha life and become as Sannyasis. But if Shankaracharya lost, then he will abandon Sannyasa and become a Grihastha. It had become a competition between Ashrams. When Shankaracharya won, then Sannyasa Ashram won, ritualism was defeated, and the study of the Upanishads was given far greater prominence.

    Upanishads still required the knowledge of Sanskrit which was beyond the reach of ordinary people. So, the net result was that Brahmanas were replaced from the elitist position by Sannyasis, something that we can see in practice even at the present.

    Advaita claimed that rituals were not going to lead to transcendence. It was true for demigod rituals but not true for the deity worship of the transcendent forms. But both were bundled together incorrectly. Thereby, more than 95% of the Vedic texts (aside from principal Upanishads) were deemed as non-transcendent texts. Hence, the decline of the overall society not just continued but accelerated because of Advaita because now there were critics of the Vedic texts within the Vedic tradition. Advaitins were very proud of their Vedanta Sutra commentary. They did not accept Vaishnavas as authoritative Vedic traditionalists because they did not have a Vedanta commentary. That is how the tradition of writing commentaries on the Vedanta Sutra came about. Before that devotees were doing bhakti without writing a new commentary.

    Almost all Vaishnava Acharyas who wrote commentaries on Vedanta Sutra also wrote a commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam because they considered it a natural conclusion. You won’t find so many Acharyas writing commentaries on other Puranas, but they wrote commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam. It came to be held as the highest book for Vaishnavas. The Advaitins, however, rejected all Puranas and Itihasas as inferior. So the conflict between them continued. If you want a recent example of this competition, then just talk to Iyer and Iyengar Brahmins. The same competitive mindset exists in them today. It is because Iyers are Advaitins and Iyengars are Vaishnavas. Basically, Shankaracharya split even the Brahmanas in the Vedic tradition into “philosophers” and “ritualists”. The “philosophers” became more egalitarian, secularists, and modernists while the “ritualists” remained more traditional, conservative, and orthodox.

    Eventually, due to Islamic attacks, both Hindus and Buddhists were decimated by invasions. Muslims targeted Buddhists more than Hindus because (a) they did not bear arms, and (b) they rejected any kind of transcendent deity or God. They were easy to kill and their killing was easy to justify on religious grounds. The Muslims would raid the places of Buddhists and massacre them. Hence Buddhism died in India.

    Buddhists are clubbed into Nastika traditions along with Ajivikas and Jains. The reason is that they don’t accept the Vedas. They are also atheists in the sense that they don’t accept any Supreme Deity or God. There is no transcendental personality. There has been a natural opposition toward them historically, although both Buddha (the founder of Buddhism) and Rishabhadeva (the founder of Jainism) are recognized as incarnations of Lord Vishnu in the Vedic texts. The Vedic system had recognized them but they rejected the Vedic system. This is a historical fact. Of course, when Muslims and Christians invaded India, all these groups came together into a single group called “Hindus” because “Hindu” means whoever lives East of the Sindhu River. The bonhomie that we can see today among these groups hasn’t always been a historical fact.

    The conflict between Advaitins and Vaishnavas has been continuously growing since Shankarcharya’s Advaita commentary. Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, Vishnu Swami, and Nimbarkacharya (representatives of the four Vaishnava traditions) wrote commentaries rejecting the Advaita position. But today because nobody studies these differences, hence everyone is bundled into the “Hindu” category, which simply means anyone who lives East of the Sindhu River.

    The “Hindus” have embraced and accepted this “unity” on political grounds because of the attacks from Christians and Muslims which are perceived as greater threats. But that doesn’t mean there is an acceptance of these traditions. It also doesn’t mean there is violence between them. Opposition is philosophical, not violent.

    And yet, we have to ask: Why does God appear as Buddha to create a system that then rejects the Vedic system? Why even create an alternative? Why does God appear to comment on Vedic texts to take people away from devotion to God and create the illusion that by reading some books they will become God? The article is a response to these questions, for those who might ask these questions. It doesn’t mean that the conflict within the groups within India is on par with the conflict with Abrahamic faiths. We have to be able to make these subtle distinctions.

    Historians study material things such as wars, architectures, empires, and emperors. They don’t study philosophy. So how will they understand the fact that the Vedic system accepts Rishabhadeva and Buddha as incarnations of Lord Vishnu, but Buddhists and Jains say that there is no God? How will they understand the fact that the opposition is created by Buddhists and Jains rejecting the Vedic system after the Vedic system recognized them as followers of the incarnations? How will they understand that Buddha is included in the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, and yet, the Buddhists prefer not to read those books that call Buddha such an incarnation?

    You have framed your question in violent terms (“There were a group of FOMO people attacking completely devoted people and were envious of them”) which is surprising to me because I have clearly stated that (a) everyone who comes to the material world is envious of God, (b) due to that envy of God, there is envy of other people, (c) when this envy becomes high then it becomes envy of other religions, and (d) in extreme cases it becomes violence against other religions. Losing this nuance and bundling everyone into one group of envious people attacking others shows an oversimplification. It is neither what I said nor what I meant. Try to understand the complicated and nuanced relationships and try to avoid the tendency to reduce everything to binary opposites.

    Saurav Raj

    Clear Prabhuji. Thank you very much.

    Few more queries in reference to this article only.

    1. May u please let describe how this article theme can be applied in context of Islam? The creation of this group and its extreme principles are a more chaos and trouble than it would have not existed. In their principles, their whole and sole moto is to kill kafirs, convert, destroy their deities etc. So, how this pied Piper incarnation helping?

    2. Prabhuji as u described, we should avoid proactively attacking these FOMO based religions but should remain prepared for counter attack. But in ISKCON preaching style, we see that we tell people a lot about what is pramanik and what is not, what is a genuine path and what is not? Like we say lots of things in relation to mayavaad etc.(like vivekananda teachings, aurobindo teachings). Will this be considered an attack on FOMO religions or just an act of describing what is the true path or which is better (creating awareness)?

    Ashish Dalela

    Any religion that rejects reincarnation and karma is not a religion. It is a man-made concoction. There cannot even be morality without reincarnation and karma. We can forget about any knowledge. Nobody is going to any kind of heaven anywhere in the universe with such religion because they cannot stop killing, stealing, and lying. The bare minimum requirement for calling something a religion is reincarnation and karma along with some purifying activity such as austerity and penance. Buddhism and Jainism have karma, reincarnation, austerity, and penance. So we can accept them as religions. We can accept any religion that has these things as its foundational understanding. Others are simply cheating and nothing more.

    When someone follows a religion with karma, reincarnation, and penance, then he is gradually purified. He performs good deeds, and by that he becomes sukriti. Then in a future life, he comes to inquire about God in one of four ways, namely, (a) due to distress, (b) due to material desires, (c) due to curiosity, and (d) due to search for truth. These four types of sukriti are discussed by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita.

    Conversely, those who do bad deeds are called duṣkṛti and they never truly go to God. They are also in four categories. If in distress, they say that God is evil. If they have material desires, they say that God gave us the privilege to exploit others. If they have curiosity, they fulfill it by looking into a telescope and microscope instead of looking into their mind. If they seek the truth, they use axiomatic reasoning based on self-created self-serving axioms. These are the traits of duṣkṛti. They have zero idea about God. If they do good deeds, then they can understand God in future lives. If they do sinful deeds then they degrade themselves into atheism.

    Over 70% of Jews are atheists today. Over 50% of Christians are atheists today. And over 30% of Muslims today are atheists. In contrast, less than 5% of Hindus are atheists despite relentless false propaganda by Abrahamic faiths, Communists, Capitalists, and so on. Just by statistics, you can understand how followers of these religions are leaving their religion. Abrahamic religions don’t have a future. They would have died long ago if they don’t control their followers by force and false propaganda. We don’t have to worry about them. We just have to protect dharma and we can do so by bringing dharma into our life. When we practice dharma, then we become the embodiment of dharma. That is how dharma is protected. Not simply by waving a flag. That is called a dharma-dhvaji, not a dharmic.

    For the battle against Mayavada, you bow in your heart to Lord Shiva and then criticize Shankaracharya. He is the boss. What is the use of criticizing the minions like you have mentioned? They don’t have any authority on their own. They are speaking on the authority of Shankaracharya. Therefore, I don’t criticize minions. In my heart, I bow to Lord Shiva and seek His blessing. Then I criticize Shankarcharya factually based on Vedic texts. That can be done because so many Acharyas have previously criticized Advaita. When the authority of the minion is gone then the minions are gone. Try to take out the authority rather than the minion.

    But for that, you must know philosophy very deeply. That means what is dvyaya and what is advaya or duality and non-duality? Try to understand these two words and then you will know why everything (including the material world) is advaya but it appears as dvaya. That appearance is not the truth. Hence, appearance is also maya.

    For example, sometimes I show a harsh face to people who ask questions in an arrogant manner and sometimes I show a kind face to people who ask questions in a humble manner. But my heart has love for both. Therefore, harsh and kind is superficial dvyaya but underneath that appearance of duality, there is the non-duality of love. The duality of harsh and kind is an illusion and the reality is non-dualistic love for both. The same is true for the material world. Under the duality of hot and cold, enjoyment and suffering, rich and poor, there is a non-duality of trying to bring the jiva to the Lord. Sometimes a person is enticed by good and sometimes reprimanded by bad. That good and bad seem duality but beneath that duality is a non-duality of a mother’s love for her child trying to bring the child back to its father.

    Try to understand what is duality and non-duality and then you can say that even the material world is non-duality, and hence, all the false propaganda about the world being Maya is nothing but an absence of spiritual vision. Since the Mayavadi is blind so he sees duality and cannot see non-duality right here and now. Therefore we reject his philosophy using his own method of duality and non-duality. Using their weapons you can break their teeth. For that, you have to know their weapons and how to use them expertly. Don’t bring your weapons to the battle. Learn how to use their weapons expertly on them. Then you can defeat them easily.

    The biggest truth about cheating religions is that when they are exposed, they play the victim card. They pretend that their deception is not misconduct. But they call your exposing their deception misconduct. In that process, you become the uncivil and rude person instead of the deceiver that you have just exposed. Previously when they were winning, then they were not victims. But as soon as they are defeated, then they become the victim. This is their expert victim card game. You have to know their game and play your game in a way that they cannot play their game. The losers will never accept their defeat. They will try to defeat you in other unforeseen ways. Hence, you have to understand and anticipate their games.

    Victim card always comes along with virtue signaling. If you say that Mayavada is false, then someone will say “This Mayavadi made this beautiful temple”, “that Mayavadi saved the Hindus from humiliation”, “such and such Mayavadi supported the battle against so and so”, and so on. This is virtue signaling. It means that since I have done some good deeds, therefore, I am beyond reproach. There are no faults in me. On the other hand, since you are not looking at my good deeds and just looking at my faults, therefore, the fault exists in your vision rather than in me.

    These are expertly played games. You should know what the games of virtue signaling and victim card are and how they are used. Don’t be naive. Know that their game is not about the truth. It is just a game about victory. So you have to play the game of truth while also carefully avoiding the traps of the victory games. It comes with practice and understanding. This is also an art, not just a science.

    Saurav Raj

    Dandavat Pranam Prabhuji

    Thank you very much for your time. Fully clear

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