The Bauls are the wandering devotional minstrels of West Bengal, India. They belong to a longstanding bardic tradition that poetically glorifies God while rebuking worldly hypocrisy. Many practice left hand tantra. And living off alms, they are the peace, love and freedom “hippies” of West Bengal.
Today their timeless songs may be heard on trains and at public fairs called melas. The Bauls’ poetry had a tremendous influence on the Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, the outstanding Bengali figure who founded the open air, asram-style Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan.
But perhaps most important about the Bauls, they manage to accept people from both Islam (Sufism) and Hinduism (Vaishnavas) in a country where the tension between these two religious groups is usually so thick you could cut with a knife.
- Review: Two books on Bauls (enfolding.org)
- Tagore-Ocampo memorabilia reveals enigmatic relationship (vancouverdesi.com)
- Where a poet’s vision lives on (ndtv.com)
- Mamata Banerjee paints with artists (vancouverdesi.com)
- Tagore-Ocampo memorabilia reveals enigmatic relationship (indiavision.com)
In ancient India the caste system apparently was regarded as a positive, divinely based phenomenon. The hierarchical differentiation of human beings on the basis of color (varna) and birth (jati) was seen as a worldly reflection of a ritually sacrificed Divine Body (purusa).
Accordingly, the Rig Veda of the conquering northern Aryans¹ tells of the ritual dismemberment of a Primal Cosmic Man, on which the caste system is based.
The highest, fair-skinned Brahman caste (priests, thinkers) emanated from the head, the lower and darker Kshatriya caste (rajas, warriors, persons of action) from the arms, while the next lower and darker Vaisna caste (merchants) originated from the thighs.
Later, the additional fourth, lowest and darkest Sudra caste (servants) was added, believed to be the “feet” of the purusa. This caste was probably created by the Aryans to account for the indigenous Dravidians.
Like distinctions made by the apostle Paul in the New Testament, each caste had a unique social duty (dharma) to fulfill, corresponding to the particular part of the cosmic body from which it originated. Unlike Pauline Christianity, however, the Sudras were forbidden to study the sacred scripture of the Veda.²
In time, another fifth category evolved, the “untouchables” (quite literally, societal outcasts), whose members were allegedly so lowly that they didn’t belong to any caste. Deploring the caste system, Mahatma Gandhi called these people Harijans (“Children of God”).
Of the upper three castes, at age twelve the Hindu male undergoes the ritual of upanaya, receiving a sacred thread to indicate his status as ‘twice born.’ Not unlike the Christian Confirmation or Jewish Bar Mitzvah, this ceremony contains both cultural and spiritual significance.
The western equivalent to caste is the equally misguided idea of class. Both concepts tend to separate and evaluate individuals on a hierarchical scale. Caste did this exclusively by birth, whereas class includes other variables.
Despite the fact that caste was openly challenged by Gandhi in the 1930s and legally criminalized in the 1950s, both subtle and overt injustices premised on caste distinctions continue to this day, just as they do with the idea of class.
¹ It should be noted that not everyone subscribes to that version of Indian history. Click here for more.
² Human nature being what it is, similar prohibitions later arose in the Christian Church regarding the study of Latin and the reading of the Bible.
³ S. G. F. Brandon ed., Dictionary of Comparative Religion (1970: 175-177).
- Varna, Veda, and stuff (kalicharanveda.wordpress.com)
- Reservation in Promotion and Caste System (prosperousworld.wordpress.com)
- * Dalits see smallest rise in wages (chindia-alert.org)
- caste system in India as seen by PCI(M) (readandactnow.wordpress.com)
- The Caste System: The Hindu’s imaginary Achilles’ heel – George Augustine (bharatabharati.wordpress.com)
- A Documentary About Anti-Caste System Activists in India (patheos.com)
- “Some people continue to feel they can get away with attacking Dalits” (thehindu.com)
- My comment to the post about caste system in India in the Hindi Language Blog (burubaxair.wordpress.com)
- Reservation, Caste system and Development (ggrwlknl.wordpress.com)
- Take 5: The Halloween Candy Caste System (bronzeagebabies.blogspot.com)
Carvaka is a branch of ancient Indian philosophy marked by extreme materialism, making it a curious alternative to Indian philosophy’s mostly transcendental bias.
In direct opposition to the claims of so many Indian gurus and holy persons, Carvaka does not believe in any form of transcendental reality, be it a soul or God. According to Carvaka, life is finite and its proper aim is the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. In short, nothing exists that cannot be perceived beyond the senses, so the worldly life is where it’s at.
The only surviving written accounts concerning Carvaka come to us second-hand through 8thC Buddhist and Jain commentaries. All the original texts have disappeared in the sands of time or, perhaps, never really existed.
Along these lines, some scholars suggest the school may have never existed, except as a mock philosophy created by rival, transcendentally-based thinkers so as to demonstrate their apparent superiority. That being said, the general consensus is that Carvaka’s roots stem back to the 6th century BCE.¹
¹ S. G. F. Brandon, ed., Dictionary of Comparative Religion (1970: 175).
- The Atheism and Materialism of Cārvāka (Lokāyata) philosophy (dakshinapatha.wordpress.com)
- Sifting Modern India Present Through Its Deepest Past – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- panchbhuta (schoolsofthoughtofindia.wordpress.com)
- Time 4, Cyclic-Explained with Slow Motion,Ultra Motion. (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- An introduction to Indian Logic Tarka (schoolsofthoughtofindia.wordpress.com)
- Who Let the Dogs Out? Peter Sklivas & the Bastardization of Yoga. ~ Vikram Zutshi. (elephantjournal.com)
Dharma is the idea of sacred duty in Hinduism. The concept originates from India’s ancient legal texts, so it’s not surprising that “doing the right thing” within this belief system is usually bound up within specific caste and gender biases, which many today would see as hopelessly backward.
As a Hindu ideal, dharma is doing one’s divine duty in an apparently impersonal manner. In essence, the mind is said to be fixed on God while correct action is performed without care for the personal “fruit” of those actions.
The belief that one’s actions may be entirely untainted by personal biases and desires seems questionable. And this is no scholarly quibble. Orthodox Hinduism, for instance, advocates killing as the appropriate dharma for members of the kshatriya caste. And in domestic affairs, the dharma of the wife is often marked by servitude to her husband and family, a position widely held to be sexist.¹
The idea of surrendering to God is nothing new but each religion tends to define the notion of appropriate surrender differently. Despite the obvious problems with the idea of dharma, recent social movements within India are compelling the middle classes, especially, to become increasingly aware of the often conflicting distinction between the idea of universal human rights and this ancient view of religious duty.
Related Posts » Just War
¹ India, where 80.5 % of the population say they’re Hindu, has recently been labelled the worst place to be a woman, with Canada being the best. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/13/us-g20-women-idUSBRE85C00420120613
- Dharma (energymuse.wordpress.com)
- Dharma (supanca08.wordpress.com)
- what is Dharma? (simplemeditation4health.wordpress.com)
- Merit or Duty Part 2: Breaking out of the imaginary caste system at work (balancedaction.wordpress.com)
- Attacks against the Vedic Agama connection – Vijaya Rajiva (bharatabharati.wordpress.com)
- Krishna, Buddha and Christ: The same or different? (Part 2) (epages.wordpress.com)
- The Golden Rule… (thedailysisterhood.wordpress.com)
- A Question of Beliefs (agapestin.wordpress.com)
- It’s Time To Understand HOW THINGS ARE (globalrowingclub.com)
- Why am I a Hindu……!? (badaga.wordpress.com)
In the Samkhya philosophy of Hinduism there are three main gunas (Skt. string or tendency) of rajas, sattva and tamas. These gunas refer to the qualities that apparently constitute material nature (prakṛti) and a corresponding consciousness within living beings.
Sattva is the highest of the three gunas, and refers to calm, light and peaceful attributes of the personality.
Rajas relates to “excitement, action, passion or force,” and also refers to a mysterious force said to be contained in vaginal fluid, which some yogis allegedly took inward through the urethra to facilitate mystical union.
Tamas refers to the personality attributes of darkness, slothfulness, grief, fear and laziness.
Also, the three gunas are respectively associated with creation (rajas), preservation (sattva) and destruction (tamas), signifying the key elements that go into the essentially cyclic Hindu cosmology.
- Yoga Sutra 2.21 (yoginisadhaka.wordpress.com)
- The gene and sattva,raja,tama(three gunas or qualities) (gadadhar.wordpress.com)
- Yoga Sutra 2.10 (yoginisadhaka.wordpress.com)
- Working with our Gunas and finding balance (blissfularewe.com)
- I fell in to a burning ring of Rajas… (tamalamarama.wordpress.com)
- The 3 Qualities of the Mind (library2humanities.wordpress.com)
- abhyAsa : karmabandhana : the bonds of karma – applying Gita Slokas to my context. (ancientindians.wordpress.com)
Garhashtya is the second Hindu asrama¹ (Vedic stage of life) in which the male generally enters into the marriage bond as a sacred duty and exercise in sexual self-control.
In this stage the man becomes a householder, replete with children and fulfils his dharma by taking a job according to his caste position.
¹ In Hinduism this is the traditional belief, stemming from the Veda, that spiritual aspirants belonging to the “twice born” castes should proceed through four asrama, or stages of life. These stages are: brahmacharya, garhashtya, vanaprashta and sannyasa.
Related Posts » Hinduism
- Hinduism (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Swami Vivekananda (01/12/1863-07/04/1902): Vedanta, Music & Art… (imcradiodotnet.wordpress.com)
- Krsna Consciousness: Hindu Cult or Divine Culture (harekrishnatrondheim.wordpress.com)
- Reading Suggestion: Topic – Hinduism (gorirajkumari.wordpress.com)
- A Brief Description of Popular Hinduism (epages.wordpress.com)
- Book review – Imagining Hinduism: A Postcolonial Perspective (enfolding.org)
Popular images depict him riding a white horse with wings known as Devadatta (God-given.) In these images, Kalki is brandishing a sword in his left hand and is intent on eradicating the corrupt destitution and debauchery of Kali Yuga.¹
Modern interpreters of the Kalki story tell of various prophecies, often linked with their own particular religious beliefs. But probably nobody knows just what this old Puranic prophecy means, and whether or not it contains more than a mythic significance.
Related Posts » Buddhism
- How to recognise Kalki Avatar (prophet666.com)
- The identity of Kalki Avatar (prophet666.com)
- Origin of the Antichrist (prophet666.com)
- Jerusalem UFO and Rider on a White Horse in Cairo are Signs of Maitreya, the World Teacher, says Share International Foundation (prnewswire.com)
- Nostradamus on Sonia (prophet666.com)
When I lived in India in the 80s, one of the things I disliked was how certain products weren’t allowed for sale in that country. Instead of Coke you drank this soapy local stuff called… oh, I can’t remember what it was called and it doesn’t really matter. And I believe Indians can now buy Coke.
Not that being able to buy Coke is any sign of high civilization. But the point I’m trying to make is that I dislike protectionism. To me, it’s a sign of weakness if you try to pretend that a competitor (who does things very well) doesn’t exist.
With that thought in mind, I had to look at myself and how I’ve been running Earthpages.ca.
If you’ve read the About page, you’ll see that the whole project began as a book. I didn’t know I was going to put it online until years after I started writing. And even when I did take the plunge to post it online, I began with the kind of protectionism that I dislike. I did all my own graphics and barely, if ever, linked to any other site from here.
Well, I guess I wanted folks to stay at Think Free and not stray away to some far corner of the web.
But the web is the web. And my approach started to feel increasingly small and insular.
Recently I’ve come to grips with the fact that Think Free is not Wikipedia and never will be. Wikipedia didn’t exist when I began writing the book that became Think Free. But Wiki grew so fast, I quickly realized that I had both a wonderful resource at my fingertips and, also, a very real challenge to face.
That challenge, still here today, is to create an educational site that shares some qualities with Wiki, but which offers something vital that Wiki lacks.
Some people may scoff at Think Free, saying it’ll never really go anywhere. To those individuals I’d like to remind them of how the US car makers once dominated the market, and how small minded people laughed and joked about those “tin can” Japanese cars that hit the scene in the 60s.
Those people certainly aren’t laughing now.
By the same token, Think Free is currently small and can’t really compete (in terms of sheer traffic) with Wiki. But we believe we’ve got something that Wiki doesn’t. And we also believe that folks will read us even more if we (now) link to Wikipedia (and other sites) where appropriate.
So that means… no more protectionism. Protectionism is a sign of weakness. I guess it took us a while to see the light. But we get it now.
- Davos 2011: Pascal Lamy on protectionism (guardian.co.uk)
- free trade and protectionism (jacobian.web.id)
- 13 reviews of Protectionism (rateitall.com)
- Richard Katz: Japanese Farmers Sow Protectionism (online.wsj.com)
- Brazil’s Rousseff criticizes currency protectionism (reuters.com)
- Data Protectionism Begins In Earnest (techcrunch.com)
- Create a Wiki Using Wikispaces – a How to Guide (brighthub.com)
- Bush Worries About The Nation’s ‘Nativist’ Drift (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pacific Rim leaders to pledge against protectionism – AFP (news.google.com)
- *Peddling Protectionism* (marginalrevolution.com)
- DEALTALK-Protectionism threatens cross-border Asia M&A in 2011 (reuters.com)
Laxmi (or Lakshmi) is a Hindu goddess of prosperity and good fortune, worshipped from around 300 BCE to the present.
She’s often portrayed sitting cross-legged on a pink lotus with four arms while gold coins emerge from (one of) her right palms and also from a jar on her left thigh. However, artistic depictions of her vary from the popular to the sublime, with symbolic details differing in each instance.
In India all businesses close in her honor and local merchants close up shop one day every year in October. Likewise, students petition her for good grades in examinations.
- Kukur Tihar being observed, Laxmi puja in evening (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Laxmi Mata Aarti – English – Marathi (prophet666.com)
- Kojagiri Purnima will be celebrated today in India (panasianbiz.com)
- Ghatasthapana observed, Dashain festival begins (thehimalayantimes.com)
Manu is also the name of the alleged author and/or compiler of a series of laws that have been recorded in a lengthy book known as Manu Smirti, “The Laws of Manu.”
Scholars believe that these laws were compiled over a considerable period of time, reflecting previously existing conditions and popular practices.
Some suggest that religious enthusiasts of the brahmin caste connected the name of the anonymous compiler to the Vedic primal man in order to increase the alleged sacred legitimacy of the laws.
The Laws of Manu… (were) first translated into English in 1794 by Sir William Jones, an English Orientalist and judge of the British Supreme Court of Judicature in Calcutta.¹
From a contemporary perspective these laws may seem caste-based, sexist and discriminatory. They nonetheless open a fascinating window on ancient India.
Search Think Free » Avesta, Madness, Matsu
- Tantra’s Metahistory III: The Left-hand Path – I (enfolding.org)
Add more, report errors or voice your opinion by posting a comment