Common misconsceptions about Hinduism

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by Senthil, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    curry favor...interesting phrase choice there...

    I like the flavor of curry and the horse likes the favor of a curry (curry comb being used to groom, clean, scratch a horse periodically or after a ride)

    Speaking of class you haven't spoke of caste... the article indicated Brahmans were most likely to be the most vegetarian.
     
  2. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    I actually do know what a curry comb is. Only former animal husbandry people would know that. In the context of Hinduism, my friends would wonder what the heck it was.

    Caste .. maybe I was saving one of the toughest for awhile. :)

    The myth, of course, is that Hinduism and caste are intricately tied, and that it's an essential part of Hinduism.

    The part about it being just Hinduism isn't true as the Chiristian and Muslim populations of India also have castes. So for starters, its more of an Indian problem that a Hindu problem.

    Also, the same problem (stratification of society from privileged to underprivileged with boundaries in between) exists in practically every society in the world, but by another name, often class, but it's also been related to race, language, gender etc. Discrimination is discrimination, no matter what the reasons, and generally deplorable. It has provided a reason for genocide, apartheid, slavery and tons of other shameful acts by humans.

    As for caste in particular, it was originally called varna, and simply meant that people should do what they are suited to do. In the beginning, that was also related to birth, just a it was in Europe in the form of guilds. Sons did what their fathers did. But there were always exceptions. That's still alive in India today. Brahmin boys wishin gto remain temple priests will train from an early age for that profession in schools called gurukulas.

    These days things are changing dramatically fast, with intercaste marriage being like interfaith or interracial marriage ... definitely on the rise.

    The idea that one cannot change caste is also shifting dramatically as people get educated, move around and leave India to the diaspora. It's als no longer tied to economics, and perhaps never was. The Brahmin caste, considered the 'highest' (in terms of dharma, ethcics and all that) is now near the bottom economically.

    So it gets very complicated, and sweeping generalisations don't work. Caste based discrimiation also varies by geographic region, sect within Hinduism and more. No religious leader I have ever read is in favor of caste based discrimination, and some of India greatest political leaders today are from lower castes.
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    So are you saying the Purusha Sukta in the Rig Veda is not describing the system?
     
  4. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    I'm not a scriptural Hindu; that is, I don't use scripture primarily as the source of inspiration. A student of Hinduism would be able to quote far more than I ever could. No doubt varna was described somewhere. But varna is not the same as caste.

    This is another misconception held by non-Hindus about Hinduism. Because they often do come from a paradigm where scripture is a BIG component, they naturally assume it is for Hindus as well. The fact of the matter most Hindus are too busy living dharma to study scripture a lot. That doesn't mean they deny the authority from it.
     
  5. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    British influence has got nothing to to with it. Half the Hindus (no exact statistics) were non-vegetarian even before coming of Britishers. As for beef eating by Indians in foreign countries, it is usually the non-vegetarian Hindus who do it because there would not be any social cry, the anonimity. My nephew is in CT., and he eats beef. He won't do it here. We are otherwise also non-vegetarians (Kashmiri brahmins).
     
  6. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Purusha sukta is allegorical and describes only becoming of many from one.
     
  7. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    They weren't talking about veggies at that point.
     
  8. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Thanks. For some reason when I read this, all could think about was the suit and tie. Even here now, in certain temples, people dress like they're off to a church. Business meetings, people at the tourist hotels, etc. The British have indeed left a huge mark. Language and representative democracy are two more of the obvious ones, but personally, I'm more interested in the subtle stuff that many people don't notice.
     
  9. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    So you are saying the non vegetarians still don't eat beef? Pork, chicken, Lamb...all ok, but no beef?
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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  11. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Thanks for the link. Note that it starts with 'for some'. I guess many have speculated on the origins of caste. Whether its a distortion of varna, or a result of human instinctive nature is hard to say. To me, it's a matter of looking at it objectively today, and not practising caste based discrimination.
     
  12. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    I'm saying that of those who eat meat, many wouldn't eat cow. I searched to try to find an accurate survey or data on this, but I couldn't find any.
    :)
     
  13. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Hindus were never anti-muslim. It was Muslim League and Jinnah who wanted a separate state for Muslims. Muslims have cleansed Pakistan, Kashmir Valley, and Bangladesh to a great extent of Hindus. Well, they got what they wanted, Islam, Shariyat, and terrorism. May Allah bless them.

    "Jinnah proclaimed 16 August 1946, Direct Action Day, with the stated goal of highlighting, peacefully, the demand for a Muslim homeland in British India. However, on the morning of the 16th armed Muslim gangs gathered at the Ochterlony Monument in Calcutta to hear Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the League's Chief Minister of Bengal, who, in the words of historian Yasmin Khan, "if he did not explicitly incite violence certainly gave the crowd the impression that they could act with impunity, that neither the police nor the military would be called out and that the ministry would turn a blind eye to any action they unleashed in the city." That very evening, in Calcutta, Hindus were attacked by returning Muslim celebrants, who carried pamphlets distributed earlier showing a clear connection between violence and the demand for Pakistan, and implicating the celebration of Direct Action day directly with the outbreak of the cycle of violence that would be later called the "Great Calcutta Killing of August 1946". The next day, Hindus struck back and the violence continued for three days in which approximately 4,000 people died (according to official accounts), Hindus and Muslims in equal numbers. Although India had had outbreaks of religious violence between Hindus and Muslims before, the Calcutta killings was the first to display elements of "ethnic cleansing," in modern parlance. Violence was not confined to the public sphere, but homes were entered, destroyed, and women and children attacked."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partit...r_Partition.2C_Independence_1946.E2.80.931947
     
  14. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    That is right, Wil. All flesh but no beef. Also, no snakes, dogs, cats, cockroaches, tiger's tongue, bear's eyes, as the South Eastern or Far Eastern Asians may have it. Just the regular stuff. :)
     
  15. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    See it this way. Before the coming of Aryans, Indian society was divided along regional, professional, tribal lines. That was castes. The Aryan society was simpler, just four divisions. Varnas -brahmins, warriors, agriculturists, and the rest. During the assimilation, the indigenous castes were fixed in the four varnas. Brahmins accepted local religious functionaries, doctors (vaidyas), shamans (ojhas) into their fold. This is how we got a double classification of classes in the society. First the varna, then the caste. The post that you refer to is from the time before I was invited and joined Interfaith to silence Bhaktajan. :)
     
  16. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    The Aryan Invasion Theory (mentioned above) is now considered a myth by most Hindu scholars, but my original idea for this thread wasn't to argue that sort of thing with fellow Hindus, but to demonstrate some of the common myhts the average non-Hindu who knows very little about Hinduism.

    So in that vein ... Myth (still in many encyclopedias) : Hindus worship Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer

    This isn't reality at all. Hindusm has 4 main divisions these days, and Brahma isn't hardly ever worshipped as the central God. The 3 far more common are Vishnu (or one of His avatars) Shiva, and Shakti. In each of these 3 cases, the powers of emanation (creative principle) sustaining, and dissolution (incorrectly called destruction) are contained within the main deity, one of the 3.
     
  17. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Myth: Hindus follow the Trimurthi ... Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer.

    Reality: None of the he four main sects (Vaishnavism, Saktism, Saivism, Smarta) follow the Trimurthi. Basically the only few who do are the readers of encyclopedia Britannica. There may be a few who do, but it would be rare. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu does all 3 functions. In Shaktism, She does all 3. In Shaivism, He does all 3. In Smartism, each of 6 Gods could do all w, as each are in essence, God. The only reason I reiterated it here was that I encountered it (again, sigh) in another thread.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    For the record, penis-shaped stones (statues?) can be seen on display at a few temples in Japan.
     
  19. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    I don't know enough about Shinto to comment. Many Polynesian cultures, including the Hawaians also use upright stones in ritual, or as markers.
     
  20. DavidMcCann

    DavidMcCann Hellenist

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    If you posted this in the belief that the lingam used as a symbol of Shiva is a phallic symbol, that's a Western misconception. The Sanskrit term originally just meant a distinguishing mark or sign. Of course, for some (Wendy Doniger!) a cigar is never just a cigar…

    Stones used as symbols of kami in Japan are usually egg-shaped rather than pillars. There, as in many religions, rocks may be seen as vehicles of divine power (e.g. the Black Stone in Mecca). There are phallic stones in Shintō (sekibō), but these are associated with fertility rituals and as boundary markers — just like the Greek Herms.
     
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