Ashoka And Pushyamitra Sunga: A Study In Mythmaking

The allegation against Pushyamitra’s intolerance is much less credible than the allegation against Ashoka.

Let us elaborate one example of pro-Buddhist bias in modern indologist scholarship. It has to do with a story of alleged Hindu persecution of Buddhism by Pushyamitra, a general in the service of the declining Maurya dynasty, who founded the Shunga dynasty after a coup d’état. This story serves as the standard secularist refutation of the “myth” that Hinduism has always been tolerant.

Thus, the Marxist historian Gargi Chakravartty writes-

Another myth has been meticulously promoted with regard to the tolerance of the Hindu rulers. Let us go back to the end of second century BC. Divyavadana, in a text of about the second-third century AD, depicts Pushyamitra Shunga as a great persecutor of Buddhists. In a crusading march with a huge army he destroyed stupas, burnt monasteries and killed monks. This stretched up to Shakala, i.e. modern Sialkot, where he announced a reward of 100 gold coins to the person who would bring the head of a Buddhist monk. Even if this is an exaggeration, the acute hostility and tensions between Pushyamitra and the monks cannot be denied… (Gargi Chakravartty: “BJP-RSS and Distortion of History”, in Pratul Lahiri, ed.: Selected Writings on Communalism, People’s Publishing House, Delhi 1994, p.166-167)

We need not comment on Chakravartty’s misreading of Divyavadana as a person’s name rather than a book title. Before considering the context, remark the unobtrusive bias in the assumption that the supposedly “undeniable” conflict between the king and the monks proves the king’s intolerance. The question of responsibility is evaded: what had been the monks’ own contribution to the conflict?

rajeWhen Shivaji had a conflict with the Brahmins (see Jadunath Sarkar: Shivaji, Orient Longman, Delhi 1992/1952, p.161, 165-167), all secularists and most Hindus blame the “wily, greedy” Brahmins; but the Buddhist monks, by contrast, are assumed to be blameless.

The story is given in two near-contemporaneous (2nd century AD) Buddhist histories, the Ashokavadana and the Divyavadana; the two narratives are almost verbatim the same and very obviously have a common origin (Avadana, “narrative”, is the Buddhist equivalent of Purana; Divyavadana = “divine narrative”).

This non-contemporary story (which surfaces more than three centuries after the alleged facts) about Pushyamitra’s offering money for the heads of monks is rendered improbable by the well-attested historical fact that he allowed and patronized the construction of monasteries and Buddhist universities in his domains.

After Ashoka’s lavish sponsorship of Buddhism, it is perfectly possible that Buddhist institutions fell on slightly harder times under the Shungas, but persecution is quite another matter. The famous historian of Buddhism Etienne Lamotte has observed: “To judge from the documents, Pushyamitra must be acquitted through lack of proof.” (History of Indian Buddhism, Institut Orientaliste, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988/1958, p.109).

In consulting the source texts I noticed a significant literary fact which I have not seen mentioned in the scholarly literature (e.g. Lamotte, just quoted), and which I want to put on record.

First of all, a look at the critical edition of the Ashokavadana (“Illustrious Acts of Ashoka”) tells a story of its own concerning the idealization of Buddhism in modern India. This is how Sujitkumar Mukhopadhyaya, the editor of the Ashokavadana, relates this work’s testimony about Ashoka doing with a rival sect that very thing of which Pushyamitra is accused later on:

At that time, an incident occurred which greatly enraged the king. A follower of the Nirgrantha (Mahavira) painted a picture, showing Buddha prostrating himself at the feet of the Nirgrantha. Ashoka ordered all the Ajivikas of Pundravardhana (North Bengal) to be killed. In one day, eighteen thousand Ajivikas lost their lives. A similar kind of incident took place in the town of Pataliputra. A man who painted such a picture was burnt alive with his family. It was announced that whoever would bring the king the head of a Nirgrantha would be rewarded with a dinara (a gold coin). As a result of this, thousands of Nirgranthas lost their lives…(S. Mukhopadhyaya: The Ashokavadana, Sahitya Akademi, Delhi 1963, p.xxxvii; in footnote, Mukhopadhyaya correctly notes that the author “seems to have confused the Nirgranthas with the Ajivikas”, a similar ascetic sect; Nirgrantha, “freed from fetters”, meaning Jain.)

Only when Vitashoka, Ashoka’s favourite Arhat (an enlightened monk, a Theravada-Buddhist saint), was mistaken for a Nirgrantha and killed by a man desirous of the reward, did Ashoka revoke the order.

Typically, Mukhopadhyaya refuses to believe his eyes at this demythologization of the “secular” emperor Ashoka:

This is one of the best chapters of the text. The subject, the style, the composition, everything here is remarkable. In every shloka there is a poetic touch.(…) But the great defect is also to be noticed. Here too Ashoka is described as dreadfully cruel. If the central figure of this story were not a historic personage as great and well-known as Ashoka, we would have nothing to say. To say that Ashoka, whose devotion to all religious sects is unique in the history of humanity (as is well-known through his edicts) persecuted the Jains or the Ajivikas is simply absurd. And why speak of Ashoka alone? There was no Buddhist king anywhere in India who persecuted the Jains or the Ajivikas or any other sect. (The Ashokavadana, p.xxxviii)

This just goes to show how far the idealization of Buddhism and Ashoka has gotten out of hand in Nehruvian India.

When the modern myth of Ashoka as the great secular-Buddhist ruler is contradicted by an ancient source (one outspokenly favourable to Buddhism and Ashoka) which shows him persecuting rival schools of thought, the modern scholar (a Hindu Brahmin) still insists on upholding the myth, and dismisses the actual information in the ancient source as a “great defect”.

Moreover, the non-persecution of other religions, claimed here for Ashoka against the very evidence under discussion, was not unique at all: it was the rule among Hindu kings throughout history, and the Buddha himself had been one of its beneficiaries.

It is at the end of the Ashokavadana that we find the oft-quoted story that Pushyamitra offered one dinara for every shramanashirah, “head of a Buddhist monk”. (Mukhopadhyaya: The Ashokavadana, p.134) Not that he got many monks killed, for, according to the account given, one powerful Arhat created monks’ heads by magic and gave these to the people to bring to the court, so that they could collect the award without cutting off any real monk’s head.

At any rate, the striking fact, so far not mentioned in the Pushyamitra controversy, is that the main line of the narrative making the allegation against Pushyamitra is a carbon copy of the just-quoted account of Ashoka’s own offer to pay for every head of a monk from a rivalling sect.

Hagiographies are notorious for competitive copying (e.g. appropriating the miracle of a rival saint, multiplied by two or more, for one’s own hero); in this case, it may have taken the form of attributing a negative feat of the hero onto the rival.

But there are two differences. Firstly, in the account concerning Pushyamitra, a miracle episode forms a crucial element, and this does not add to the credibility of the whole. And secondly, Ashoka belongs to the writer’s own Buddhist camp, whereas Pushyamitra is described as an enemy of Buddhism.

When something negative is said about an enemy (i.c. Pushyamitra), it is wise to reserve one’s acceptance of the allegation until independent confirmation is forthcoming; by contrast, when a writer alleges that his own hero has committed a crime, there is much more reason to presume the correctness of the allegation.

In the absence of external evidence, the best thing we can do for now is to draw the logical conclusion from the internal evidence: the allegation against Pushyamitra is much less credible than the allegation against Ashoka.

Mukhopadhyaya can only save Ashoka’s secular reputation by accusing the Ashokavadana author of a lie, viz. of the false allegation that Ashoka had persecuted Nirgranthas. Unfortunately, a lie would not enhance the author’s credibility as a witness against Pushyamitra, nor as a witness for the laudable acts of Ashoka which make up a large part of the text.

So, Mukhopadhyaya tries to present this lie (which only he himself alleges) as a hagiographically acceptable type of lie:

In order to show the greatness of Buddhism, the orthodox author degraded it by painting the greatest Buddhist of the world as a dreadful religious fanatic. (The Ashokavadana, p.xxxviii).

However, contrary to Mukhopadhyaya’s explanation, there is no hint in the text that the author meant to “show the greatness of Buddhism” by “painting the greatest Buddhist as a religious fanatic”.

By this explanation, Mukhopadhyaya means that the writer first made Ashoka commit a great crime (the persecution of the Nirgranthas) to illustrate the greatness of Buddhism by sheer contrast, viz. as the factor which made Ashoka give up this type of criminal behaviour.

There is a famous analogy for this: the cruelty of Ashoka’s conquest of Kalinga was exaggerated by scribes in order to highlight the violence-renouncing effect of Ashoka’s subsequent conversion to Buddhism.

buddhaBut in this passage, Buddhism plays no role in Ashoka’s change of heart: it is only the sight of his own friend Vitashoka, killed by mistake, which makes him revoke the order. And it was his commitment to Buddhism which prompted Ashoka to persecute the irreverent Nirgranthas in the first place.

Buddhism does not gain from this account, and if a Buddhist propagandist related it nonetheless, it may well be that it was a historical fact too well-known at the time to be omitted.

By contrast, until proof of the contrary is forthcoming, the carbon-copy allegation against Pushyamitra may very reasonably be dismissed as sectarian propaganda. Yet, we have seen how a 20th-century Hindu-born scholar will twist and turn the literary data in order to uphold a sectarian and miracle-based calumny against the Hindu ruler Pushyamitra, and to explain away a sobering testimony about the fanaticism of Ashoka, that great secularist avant la lettre.

Such is the quality of the “scholarship” deployed to undermine the solid consensus that among the world religions, Hinduism has always been the most tolerant by far.

At rate, this sort scholarship is another bad case of the political abuse of history concerning Ashoka, glorified by Jawaharlal Nehru as the emperor who was first bad and Hindu, then “converted” to Buddhism and became good. This wilfully distorting spin has led to the ignoring of an earlier testimony which suggests a different story.

(This slightly edited essay is a chapter in the author’s book: Ayodhya, the Case against the Temple, Delhi 2003.)  

  • Slasher

    I hate to rain on Mr. Elst’s parade but I think Indian history en masse needs to be revamped Based on re-analysis and re-examining of old archaeological artifacts or new diggings to find out how much of the “history” cooked up by our fake JNU Academics is true. I would think that only 10% of it will turn out to be true. The rest will have been made-up tales spun by these Desh Drohis to fit their Commie fantasies or Mughal/Muslim bias or Slavishness to White Man.

    I think Mr. Elst must first read the link below and see what he thinks of it. Similar to the article below, we need to re-examine old “theories” with new radical insights such as what Vadakayil has observed and postulated. Not all may turn out to be correct. Not all will turn out to be incorrect either. I think we need such lateral thinking as Ajit has done in order to completely smash the false edifice that Current Indian History resembles.

    http://ajitvadakayil.blogspot.com/2014/08/chanakya-taxila-university-professor.html?m=1

    I believe this kind of radical re-thinking based upon facts and cross-linking cultures and civilizations is the new “Hindu History”. If some one takes up in it and makes a major discovery of importance out of it, it could be a game changer for India and Hinduism and how the world views both.

  • Karigar Medha

    Incisive as usual from Elst

  • m p

    In 1947, Buddhism was (wrongly) made India’s state religion:-

    India is not a socialist secular republic but a buddhist-abrahamic republic with buddhism&abrahamic receiving govt. patronage at the cost of Hinduism.

    Nearly all national symbols of India are Buddhist and none are Hindu. In the middle of India’s national flag is the holiest of the holy Buddhist symbol “Dharma Chakra”. India’s national emblem is another Buddhist holy symbol “Sacred pillars of Sarnath”. In 1947, There was hardly any cultural relevance of these symbols because 99% of India’s population would fail to recognize it.

    Nearly all modern monuments honoring Buddha, like Golden Pagoda at Mumbai, World’s largest Buddha statue at Hyderabad, are built by Hindu Believers or Government of India.

    I understand that Hindus love Buddhism but this love is being exploited by Nehruvian Socialist Establishment. Buddhist Symbol and tradition is used by Nehruvian Socialist with sole agenda of keeping Hindu Symbols out. It’s an extremely clever ploy. Govt. Promoting/Reviving Buddhism satisfies need to promote Indian culture at the expense of Hindu heritage. More-over, Hindu love for Buddhism is a one way street. Buddhist, with exception of Dalai Lama, has never shown reciprocity. Not to mention the hate-filled anti-Hindu propaganda of neo-buddhist variety.

    • कृ

      It was not. Honestly, if everyone converted to Vajrayana tomorrow, there’d be zero difference. Practices don’t change when you move from Hinduism to Buddhism. That’s what happened in China/Japan.

      It is the club with which the English class beats the population into submission. Nehru was more Islamic than Hindu (let alone Buddhist!). The neo-Buddhists are doing essentially what maximizes their tribe; Buddhism proselytizes too. They are only pandering to the idiots from the Ambedkarite camp, who think that their position is religiously granted.

      • Anfauglir

        “Practices don’t change when you move from Hinduism to Buddhism. That’s what happened in China/Japan.”

        Actually, the reverse. Shintos fought tooth and nail to keep their religion pristine (some even fought to keep Buddhism from mangling Hindu texts that earlier Hindus had shared with the Shintoists). Chinese Taoists are still working hard to keep their religion pristine from Buddhist encroachment: there are still some Buddhists who actively work to infiltrate Taoism with Buddhist notions to Bauddhicise it.

        So it’s not “the same”.

        Vajrayana is rather different from Hinduism. Vajrayana and Mahayana are only outwardly similar-looking to Hinduism, which itself is entirely owing to Buddhist inculturation on Hinduism. (As elsewhere outward similarities to native heathenisms are owing to Buddhist inculturations on native Asian religions.) If the outward similarities assumed by inculturation makes Buddhism “identical”, then christian inculturation on Hinduism (jesus in Gita pose and yoga poses, Vedic mantras used in the new Indian bible, jesus namaskaram, jesus sahasranamam with the theft of Hindu Gods’ names and epithets for jesus etc, reinterpretation of Vedic and other Hindu texts as referring to biblical religion) would equally mean that one day such a christianity–that outwardly looks “Hindu”–is identical to Hinduism too. All because it “looks” “similar”.

        Buddhism and Jainism are actually fundamentally different at cosmological level from Hinduism. Buddhism (and Jainism to a different extent) only inculturated on Hinduism in order to do replacement of the inner fundamental differences, using the assumed outward similarities. It’s surprising how Shintos understood this of Buddhism and learned Taoists understand it too, yet many of today’s Hindus don’t (want to). Not sure if it’s because the latter don’t know or don’t understand how Buddhism differs from Hinduism and why these differences are fundamental–to both Hindus and Buddhists (else Buddhism wouldn’t have needed to start inculturating on the very things it had originally denounced).

        • कृ

          I meant the laity not the priests. The Shinto shrines and Buddhist places of worship are separated. Those in South India have switched back & forth, which I imagine also came with a historic continuity of practices.

          Although, you’re quite right that that was a stretch. I doubt the differences would really matter to most people though; certainly most Hindus and Buddhists, have next to know knowledge about the cosmological basis. I wouldn’t particularly worry about a switching of their loyalties, if they weren’t inherently hell-bent on destroying Dharma as the Christians are, despite the shameless inculturation.

          Do you know how the Nepalese Vajrayana compares with Hinduism ? They have borrowed quite a lot of deities into their pantheon.

          • Anfauglir

            I was going to respond in time, and then forgot to do so.

            This is like deja vu. I’ve already had this discussion. I’m first going to link you to my responses to another person who was working from similar assumptions as yours.

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2126136505

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2126138551

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2128676349

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2128678555

            Especially the end of
            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2128680754

            where I’d already summarised the aspects of the Japanese case that are relevant to your claim that “Shinto shrines and Buddhist places of worship are separated”. The keyword there is the present tense of the verb (“are”): Buddhism had historically forced Buddhist elements into Shinto Shrines, and Shintos had to repeatedly remove these.

            In Japan people have been remarkably immune, considering. Under converted governments, Buddhists were given the power not only to build Buddhist temples right next to many prominent Shinto shrines (and on Shinto land), but eventually the right to insert Buddhist symbols into Shinto shrines themselves, by which it was attempted to introduce Buddhism to the stubborn Shinto worshippers. Whenever Shintoists regained power, they removed such symbols again, as they had long wanted to do. Buddhists began crying foul–and still do–about how this was “persecution” and was undoing the “peaceful syncretism” (that Buddhism enforced and which was never welcomed). In contrast though, in North Korea, a missionary within the last year left a Bible or tract in a Buddhist temple and was imprisoned by the authorities. Western Christians also murmured on reading the news that this was persecution. Missionary religions have a modus operandi. And the goal, even to their whining, is always conversion.

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2125995676
            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2125985818

            (Only the final part of https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2126061959)

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/swarajyamag/am_i_a_hindu/#comment-2126005859

            Some of the comments linked above also cover your unnecessary and unwarranted assumption of “composite culture” in this statement of yours:

            “Those in South India have switched back & forth, which I imagine also came with a historic continuity of practices.”

            The switching back and forth is Buddhism taking over Hindu sites and Hindus reclaiming these. There were also permanent losses. Your imagining a historic continuity of practices is not truly the case: no more than that christian takeover of Greek Goddess Demeter etc as christian “saints”–complete with original attire! (at least initially)–constitutes a “historic continuity of practices”. But if one case may be regarded as being ‘ultimately’ the same, then so is the other.

            But neither traditional Taoists nor Shintoists think so. And they’re right, because their religions are defined by their cosmologies and the place their Gods have therein: which is the nature of their Gods and shows their real identities. Heathen Gods become lost to those who invent novel (say Buddhist) makeover stories about them and thus subvert the sole authentic perceptions.

            “I wouldn’t particularly worry about a switching of their loyalties, if
            they weren’t inherently hell-bent on destroying Dharma as the Christians are, despite the shameless inculturation.”

            It is merely relative. The pecking order remains. Because other Indic religions remain missionary.

            And factually, Buddhism has persecuted and destroyed native heathen religions–quite a few. Inculturation is just one of the means (and often employed in tandem, as also done by other missionary religions). Sometimes the destruction is very active too.

            An example is the famous case of Shamanism:

            https://web.archive.org/web/20150503112853/http://www.tengerism.org/lamaism.html

            This page could be found from Tengirism Org’s table of contents under the link “The struggle against Lamaism” [by Mongolian/Siberian Shamanism], where “Lamaism” is another term for Tibetan Buddhism a.k.a. Vajrayana Buddhism. The page briefly condenses the “difficult” conversion of Central Asian Shamanists to Tibetan Buddhism (the conversion of Tibetan Bon to Buddhism was also “difficult”. Outright violent persecution, in case you wanted it spelled out).

            And if you thought that the Vajrayana developed by Indic Buddhists such as in India was better: Indian Vajrayana Buddhists including famous Tibetan Buddhist figureheads had earlier persecuted the native Bon adherents of Tibet to near-extinction–as documented by the Buddhists themselves, but also their victims.

            Since very recently Buddhists have been hard at work spinning tomes (and de-facing wikipedia, as other missionaries do) to rewrite history and invert pre-Buddhist Bon as having been an offshoot of Buddhism instead.

            Buddhists might next start pretending that the other related Shamanism (the Siberian-Mongolian kind) is an offshoot of Buddhism too.

            The whole nonsense about Hinduism and Buddhism being “similar/indistinguishable” because “they look similar” (to people who don’t care) makes about as much sense as how strikingly similar Tibetan Buddhism now looks to Bon having largely murdered it despite inculturating on it.

            In Tibet, Buddhism has also roped in many of the native Bon Gods and rituals, despite genociding the heathen Bon religion for these very features. (Comparable to the way christianity attacks Sanskrit, bindi, saree, bharatanatyam, yoga and all Hindu things in Hindu religion, but when these are transposed into christianity, they magically become acceptable and are considered wonderful “features” of christianity).

            The Buddhist extinction of Bon and the Buddhist co-opting of Bon Gods and rites (and the original Bon Tibetan Book of the Dead) went hand in hand. Not unlike how christianity murdered out Graeco-Roman religion (starting with proscribing worship of its Gods), yet claiming that from the Goddess Demeter and God Mercury to even instances of Goddess Venus were “christian” saints and part of christian theology all of a sudden.

            “Do you know how the Nepalese Vajrayana compares with Hinduism ? They have borrowed quite a lot of deities into their pantheon.”

            Yes, and as Taoists note: Vajrayana/Tibetan Buddhism has hijacked prominent Taoist deities (and Taoist mantras) too and Bauddhicised them. Even the yazhis used in Tibetan Buddhist depictions are Chinese (specifically: Taoist) Dragons.

            Which means all of nothing, because it’s still not Taoism, just Buddhist inculturation.

            (As an aside: A nationalist with some ground-level familiarity with Nepal and its history had once observed that Nepal’s Pashupatinath temple had at one point in time been taken over by Buddhists and how Hindus had to wrest it back. But perhaps you will regard this as more of that mere “switching back & forth” and “imagine [it] also came with a historic continuity of practices.”)

            Whenever Buddhism didn’t succeed on its own merit, as happened all over Asia by the way, its method has been to hijack others’ Gods from the native religions where these Gods are central, and then force these Gods into the continuously concocted Buddhist hierarchy: the hijacked Gods were either placed as Bodhisattvas lower in the hierarchy to superior Buddhas, or reinvented as Buddhas and as upholders of Buddhism.

            But it’s still false. Not “the same” or even “similar”.

            They’ve done this to Taoist, Shinto, Bon, Hindu and other heathen Gods and pantheons of heathen religions. And Buddhists even attempted it on the Greek Gods, to the west in Afghanistan. (Yet none of these heathen pantheons have anything at all to do with Buddhism or its precepts. The Gods of the various heathen pantheons are solely upholders of their own religions.) So what next? Must we also pretend that the Graeco-Roman Olympic religion and Buddhism are “practically the same” just because Buddhism attempted an albeit failed inculturation project on them too?

            Missionary religions try to desperately clothe themselves in heathen garb–when they failed to make converts otherwise–including attempting to take over heathens’ Gods, in order to claim that Buddhism “also” has these [Gods and related rituals/ritual styles], so as to make the switch to Buddhism more enticing. The point where Buddhism miscalculates–and other missionary religions too–is that heathens are not attracted to the “idea” of Gods but to the actual Gods, who are animated only in their own native heathen religions and thus exude attraction. So Buddhism blindly copying heathen Gods or taking over heathen temples ultimately does not serve the purpose of retaining their light converts (Buddhist laity).

            Which is why in Sri Lanka you can still see improperly-converted Buddhist laity flocking in masses to one Hindu temple after another. In each case, the Buddhist sangha–despite still being totally against worship of Hindu Gods and seeing this as dilution of Bauddha Dharma (which it admittedly is)–are forced to compromise their own Buddhist precepts in order to prevent Buddhist laity from self-Hinduising: so the Buddhist sangha have repeatedly taken over one historic Hindu temple after another when these became too popular and then try to Bauddhicise these, often starting with their Hindu rituals. They then start inventing Buddhist myths about how the Hindu Gods at these Hindu temples–and the sites themselves–have Buddhist origins (“too”) etc., and then slowly the temple stops having any meaning (since the Buddhist sangha throttled its heathen powers, the way monotheist usurpation of heathen sites do too). And then the Buddhist laity throng to the next of the last remaining Hindu temples, since what they wanted in the first place was the Hindu Gods in their proper Hindu setting, not Buddhist-dilutions.

            In many parts of southeast and east Asia too, “Buddhist” laity still throng heathen temples–including Taoist and Hindu ones–because their attraction is to the real Gods and the real homes of these Gods: heathen religions. Buddhism can’t give them that, because it’s not a heathenism. It just tries to desperately give the appearance of being one (via inculturation), but only when it’s aiming to convert.

            “I wouldn’t particularly worry about a switching of their loyalties”

            While I would. Because I’m not a mere nationalist, I’m a heathen. So it is very much a concern to me if any Hindus were to become subverted out of the proper perceptions of their heathenism (i.e. Gods) by Buddhists or Jains or Hindu “atheists/agnostics” or Indo-Europeanists or dravidianism or foreign “converts” or foreign anti-Hindus or monotheists or any subversion.

            The Gods are of central value to heathen religions for a reason. By implication, the proper–that is, heathen–perceptions of the Gods are of central value too.

            “I doubt the differences would really matter to most people though;
            certainly most Hindus and Buddhists, have next to know knowledge about the cosmological basis.”

            Actually, most Hindu laity do have a very clear knowledge of Hindu cosmology, as it is drilled into them in practically every narrative of the Hindu Gods. (Why do you think those narratives had to be mangled by the missionary Indic religions before they could co-opt these by means of inculturation?)

            It is not the traditional Hindu laity that is so confused that it will conflate Buddhism or Jainism with Hinduism. Nor is it the truly learned among traditional Hindus. (Historically, Buddhism and Jainism had very little success among Hindu laity.) It is the “middle-class” among Hindus and the de-racinated nationalists, whose knowledge in all things is reduced to a smattering and who therefore make the equivalences rather too easily. The problem with them is that their ego makes them think they know enough, and they start shoving their mistakes on to the Hindu laity which was never so conceited as to think it knew better, and which therefore relies solely on tradition to teach it about the Gods and imbibe Hindu cosmology with (which entirely concerns the Hindu Gods).

            The fact that Shintos have identified with Hinduism but do not identify with Buddhism, the fact that traditional Taoists relate to Hindus and Hinduism but specifically not to Buddhism, further shows that Hinduism did not inflict the “same” things on others as Indic missionary religions have a tendency to (such as attempted temple takeovers, inculturation on Gods, their rites and other aspects of native heathen religio-culture). This observation is also in response to your equal-equal on the “back-and-forth switching of temples”. There were instigators in this last, and that matters. And they were quite the same as experienced by other Asian heathens who were similarly victimised by such tactics.

            I’ve witnessed Chinese Buddhists invading Taoist sites and attempting their inculturation. For example, during a discussion about the Taoist God Jade Emperor, a Buddhist declared that this God is also “Buddhist” and was trying to advertise for Buddhist dharanis and festivals. To which a learned Taoist responded that the Jade Emperor has nothing to do with Buddhism–Buddhism initially didn’t want/dare to inculturate on him, knowing he was the upholder of Taoism and indigestible. The learned Taoist then factually stated that only “Taoist mantras” about Jade Emperor have any bearing on him (note how the Taoist was okay with using Hindu terminology “mantra” while avoiding Buddhist ones.)

            Such unwelcome interruption or trolling is not unlike how christian missionaries have been spamming indiafacts about how Prajapati, Shiva, Purusha sooktam, Bhagavaan etc suddenly have something to do with jesus.

            Either it’s all equally acceptable, or it’s all equally unacceptable because it’s all equally false. And heathens know it’s all false and hence unacceptable, as seen in the Taoist refutation of Buddhist encroachment on the Jade Emperor. That’s because heathens have always been interested in keeping their heathen religions pristine, instead of allowing subversions. Subversions break heathen religions in transparent and not so transparent ways.

        • JagatguruDas

          “It’s surprising how Shintos understood this of Buddhism and learned Taoists understand it too, yet many of today’s Hindus don’t (want to)” – When I don’t know anything about my religion how can I compare and contrast with others? Most of our folks believe that all religions are same.
          As far Buddhism I think the similarity concept is more due to the inclusion of Buddha avatara as one of Vishnu’s. They are not even aware that it has rejected the authority of vedas.

          • Anfauglir

            “the inclusion of Buddha avatara as one of Vishnu’s”

            In Hindus’ defence, this inclusion is not universal: not being so common in southern India. (In fact, I have yet to meet a southern Hindu who’s been taught that Buddha is an avataara of Vishnu.)

            “When I don’t know anything about my religion”

            Speaking of the tendency of people to lecture about the very things they don’t know, here’s one “Gamma-Ray Burst” and his agenda against Ayyappa. (He deluded himself into concluding that Ayyappa is claimed to be an avataara of Vishnu. He then took great offence at this, and thus started planning to debunk Ayyappa by “publishing his findings”. Yet his findings make every promise to be of the same accuracy-scale as his misconception that Ayyappa is supposed to be a Vishnu Avataara.)

            Besides that, GRB was also offended at how Mohini is perceived as a Vishnu avataara in the south by established Hindu tradition. And he also has it in for Gandaberunda. And who knows what else, as GRB stated something about southern “folklore” being nonsense, and is clearly training his guns on that.

            I think Vaidika Hindus should be prepared for the insinuations and allegations from half-baked “research” against Ayyappa etc. that are promised to emanate from GRB’s quarters in time, and which will no doubt appeal to the class of de-racinated “Hindu” nationalists doing the rounds on the internet.

            This fear of such falsehoods finding fertile ground in the modern crop of internet “Hindu” nationalists–whose definition of Hindu is incomprehensible to heathen Hindus–is not unwarranted, considering the amount of subversion that another, famous “Hindu” nationalist, who’d clearly fallen prey to Buddhist conditioning, has achieved: he’d already poisoned throngs of “Hindu” nationalist fans as well as 6th degree readers of his (not all of them Hindu or otherwise nationalist) into believing and often propagating

            – conspiracy theories that are demonstrably recently-concocted about Ayyappa and Shabarimalai being Buddhist,

            – his theories about how Trivikrama overcoming Mahabali to reconquer territory usurped by Asuras is “actually allegory” for “Hinduism vs Buddhism”,

            – his failed understanding of the Mahabharatam by his interpreting Karna as the “real hero” of the Mahabharatam and not Arjuna or the Pandavas (he particularly dislikes Arjuna),

            – perhaps more such anti-Hindu subversive nonsense.

  • Indian

    There is Only one solution to Demonic degenerate demented ideology of RABID MADDOGS IS SUHARTO SOLUTION. WIPING OUT THE COMMUNISTS WITH THEIR FILTHY FAMILIES A SATAN WILL BREED A SATAN.THE FOLLOWERS OF MADDOG MARX and Demeted mass murderer need the Franco, Suharto solution. Read HAINDAVAKERALAM the Kiss Pink panty Brigand commie pig offered his so called wife to Higher ups in Mother F..king Commie Party for posts. OFFCOURSE NO AWARD WAPASI. SIMPLE TAKE OUT THE COMMIES EN MASS WHERE THEY ARE WEAK KILLED

  • varunreddy2

    Every part of history I read during my childhood is either a lie or a twisted account of events.
    What a waste of time that I had to read it all over again.This is a criminal endeavour on the part of the Marxist historians committed on many children of India meticulously.