New Age Islam
Sat Jan 16 2021, 04:43 AM


Books and Documents ( 30 Nov 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

'Hinduism And Hindutva Are Different', Says Sanjiv Bhatla's Book On Two Types Of Hinduism: Excerpts Exclusive To New Age Islam

By Sanjiv Bhatla

Exclusive to New Age Islam

 …The best part about Hindu scriptures is that they form a gargantuan jungle, not scary but colourful, in which any devotee or researcher can get lost and remain blissfully confused for as long as she or he wishes to be. We have seen the example of the Puranas, only half of which can fill 150 of decent sized printed books. We have the important Hindu epic, the Ramayana, the life story of lord Rama (pronounced, Raam) which has a formidable size of 24000 verses, and of which there are not two or ten, but 300 different versions! Like the designers and laborers of ancient Egypt constructed tombs of their kings in the shape of gigantic pyramids, sages of ancient India created reams and reams of real and imagined stories which would collectively be enshrined as the holy scriptures of Hinduism. The dubiousness of many of the narrations was camouflaged by the inordinate reverence that was created around those scriptures.

Sanjiv Bhatla (2020).


Palghar: Crabwise Press. ₹599, Pages 359 (Paperback).

ISBN: 978-93-82566-06-9

….So, dear reader, the entire rigmarole of Hinduism, the entire jazz of it, to put it in a boisterous language, is just this : God is not sitting at the boundary of the universe a billion light years away, but He is right here, right inside you, perhaps intermingled with your DNA molecules, keeping you alive, making you feel pain or happiness, joy or sadness; orchestrating your thoughts, telling you what is right what is wrong; He is more than your soul, soul is like electric current that runs a machinery, you are more than a mere machinery made of flesh, blood and bone, even animals have a machinery made of flesh, blood and bone, animals too have a soul which is like their electric current for their machine – you have something more! You have "conscience"! That is where God sits inside you and me, in our conscience. Just imagine what happens when a person dies. One moment she was talking to the doctor and her children, the next moment she's gone. What has changed? The body is still there, the machinery is still there. But the current has left. The soul has left. But she wasn't just a soul-controlled machinery, a robot made of bone and flesh, she was much more than that : she had kindness and compassion, anger, greed, and passion controlled by her mind, and a resident deity called the conscience which controlled that mind and steered her actions and thought. That conscience too has left. Are ‘soul’ and ‘conscience’ one and the same? Even animals have soul. Conscience is something more than soul: it is soul of course, plus superior soul. What the Hindus call "Aatma" and "Parmatama". Aatma is a sub-set of Parmatama, an “ansh”, in Sanskrit. Soul is a subset of conscience; soul is a subset of Superior Soul; conscience is Superior Soul: what we also call, God. A human being's conscience is God Himself. That is perhaps what Swami Vivekananda meant when he said that naive people see only a human being in front of them, but he, Vivekananda, saw God in that human being.

….Lord Krishna's direct preaching to Arjuna as mentioned above comprise the first cogent enunciation of Karma Yoga, which forms the bedrock of Hinduism. Karma yoga is also mentioned in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which dates back to 9 to 6 century BC, roughly the same time frame as that of the Bhagavad Gita. It features in other texts as well, like, Bhagvata Purana, whose date of composition is much after the Bhagavad Gita, between eighth and ninth centuries AD, and in Narada Purana, whose date is even later, in sixteenth or seventeenth century AD. But in all these texts other than the Bhagavad Gita, "selfless karma" is a standalone phrase – one must do selfless karma to please God. Just that. Explaining it as a social responsibility for liberation of the soul for achieving Moksha was done by lord Krishna alone, and in the Bhagavad Gita. Encouraging Arjuna to dispassionately kill his opponents even if they were his friends and relatives, because they were grievously harming the very idea of human society, was a divine guidance. The same kind of command was given by One God to Muhammad 1000 years later in the context of the Quraish of Mecca. This once again takes me back to my very holy suspicion that our Lord Krishna is the same One God who gave Abrahamic religions to peoples in other geographies of the world. The Quran says, "Permission to fight is granted to those who are attacked, because they have been wronged... They are those who have been driven out of their homes unjustly... If God did not repel some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogue and mosques, wherein the name of God is much invoked would surely be destroyed..." (Q 22:39-40). (Khan & Khanam. pp. 253-254) Besides the exact similarity of the two situations, one in the Bhagavad Gita and other in the Quran when God gives permission to kill with impunity, we must also notice in the above quotation the line, "if God did not repel some people by means of others...". Doesn’t that too look very similar to the situation in the Bhagavad Gita? Here, lord Krishna (God) is repelling some people (Kauravas and associates) by means of others (Arjuna and associates). Is lord Krishna picking up the arms Himself? No! God Himself is not participating in the killings on both occasions. Lord Krishna (God) decided to wreak destruction upon Duryodhan and his group because they were bent upon disobeying the laws of civilized co-existence. Their attitude might have later led to a variety of unlawful acts and caused anarchy in the society – like destroying the places of worship. Equivalent of that in Muhammad's time was the disobedience of the Quraish for a peaceful co-existence with the Muslims which could lead to anarchy – in the form of destruction of places of worship. (Churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) Before I go further, I must quickly point out one more “proof” that our lord Krishna is the same One God Who is mentioned in the Quran. Read the verse (BG 11:32) in the Bhagavad Gita: “...I am mighty Time, the source of destruction that comes forth to annihilate the worlds...” and the following verses in the Quran, (Q 17:16-17): "when we decide to destroy a town, we command the affluent section of its people, but they transgress therein; how many generations we have destroyed since Noah's time? Your lord is aware of the sins of his servants and observes them all." Don't we see a similarity between these quotes from the Quran and the Bhagavad Gita? Even the overall situation is strikingly similar: Kauravas and their accomplices were the "affluent section" as mentioned by One God in the above quote. And they did transgress (...the bounds of propriety, by denying the Pandavas their just right), and lord (Krishna) is indeed aware of the “sins of his servants” (Kauravas and their group)! I am trying to juxtapose the situation at hand and the words in this Quranic quotes (Q 17:16-17), and how smoothly they jell! And as for the part, “how many generations we have destroyed”, lord Krishna wiped out the entire lineage of the Kauravas! We know that Prophet Muhammad received the Quran beginning in 620 AD. Even if we assume the second set of dates for the Bhagavad Gita, it would mean that at least 500 years later "One" God preached exactly similar words that "Someone" had preached in the Bhagavad Gita. Then, wouldn't it mean that the Preacher on both occasions was the same "Entity"? Was our own lord Krishna, in other words, the same One God who is mentioned in the sacred books of Abrahamic religions?! I find this immensely exhilarating and astonishing that God did take the shape of a dark skinned human being, milled around with ordinary mortals, and trod the very same lands that we live on today! (This point will need to be brooded over, because the Abrahamic holy books insist that there is no likeness to God. But can God not change His Own mind?! Who can stop Him? Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Although I am unborn, the lord of all living entities, and have an imperishable nature, yet I appear in this world by virtue of Yogmaya, My divine power” (BG 4:6). Prophet Muhammad too had said, according to one of his hadith (as recorded in Bukhari (6:60:105): "... the Lord of the worlds will come to them in a shape nearest to the picture they had in their minds about Him.. "But indeed, I must point out that in the same hadith prophet Muhammad first says that all those who do not believe in One God will perish, and only the remaining people will see God in their beloved shape. So, as long as a believer has faith that there is only one God, it is insignificant whether he imagines Him as an “omnipresent void” or as “a shape nearest to the picture (he) had in (his) minds about Him”, and therefore strengthens his love for his beloved One God. Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita, “Whatsoever form any devotee desires to worship with faith, that same form of his I make firm and unflinching.” (BG 7:21) This is one more evidence, in my opinion that lord Krishna is the same as One God. The same thought is mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (Bukhari (6:60:105)). Just as the Abrahamic religions say that One God has no physical characteristics, Hinduism too has the concept of Nirgudn Niraakaar for God. The phrase means, "the One who has no shape or any physical attributes". Lord Krishna Himself says, “Unintelligent men, who know me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.” (BG 7:24)). If we want to see some more similarities, consider this: in the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “Thus, I have explained to you the knowledge that is more secret than all secrets. Ponder over it deeply, and then do as you wish,” (BG 18:63). the Quran says, “there shall be no compulsion in religion...” (Q 2: 256). In another place the Quran says, “...grant him asylum so he may hear the word of God; then convey him to a place of safety...” (Q 9: 6). In the second quote God does not command His devotee to convey the non-believer to a place of safety only if that non-believer accepts the word of God or the Quran. God directs that the pagan be conveyed to a place of safety regardless, suggesting that the fellow was free to “ as you wish”, exactly as lord Krishna has said above!

…. The Bhagavad Gita sets much store by Detachment & Renunciation. Let us spend some time and try to understand these desirable attributes. Renunciation is the opposite of possession; detachment is the opposite of attachment. If I am very fond of a particular pen, renunciation for me would mean giving it away to a neighborhood child, or at least not picking it up every now and then and twirling it, or ogling at it. Or as P. G. Wodehouse would say, I would “stop crooning over it." Renunciation for a young girl would mean giving away her best dress in charity, or to a poor girl at her wedding. (Well, just as I write this, an idea strikes me that all such giving-aways are also accompanied by a joy of giving. How does one "renounce the joy of renunciation”?! The important word in this context would be, “indifference”. One can be aware that one has developed a self-control which helps him renounce everything, and this awareness can give him joy or satisfaction on having achieved such a mindset, but he should be indifferent to that joy.) Someone can be attached to something without possessing it, like someone craving for riches. Detachment for such a person would mean to stop craving for riches. It is easy to see how this will help the person do his duty better – he would be able to do it without hoping to get bribed for it. One can possess something without being attached to it, like someone born into riches. This one is easy to guess. Those who are familiar with larger Indian milieu can easily think up some old Parsi or even Marwari persons who are born into mountains of monies but themselves prefer to live a near ascetic life. Not enjoying (the riches or beauty in any form) is not the same as being “not attached”. Some people indulge in self-denial to convince themselves and others that they do not covet a particular item or a particular way of life, while secretly they might be dying to indulge in that indulgence. Self-mortification leaves them neither here nor there. They deny themselves enjoyment but they don't endear themselves to God by this sham detachment. Such charlatans would do well to realize that no one can fool God. Enjoy, I would say, and remain in the thick of attachments, but admit to Him honestly, and by way of atonement, sincerely follow some others of His diktats, like being compassionate to the underprivileged, helping them fulfil their existential needs by giving generously in charity etc. Lord Krishna has said, “these are the saintly virtues of those endowed with a divine nature – fearlessness, purity of mind, steadfastness in spiritual knowledge, charity, control of senses, performance of sacrifice, study of sacred books, austerity, and straightforwardness; non-violence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, peacefulness, restraint from fault- finding, compassion towards all living beings, absence of avarice, gentleness, modesty, and lack of fickleness; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, bearing enmity towards none, and absence from vanity.” (BG 16:1-3) Just as we have seen that "not enjoying" does not necessarily imply renunciation or detachment; enjoying, in the same way, too does not signify being attached to the object of enjoyment, or being possessive of it. But it is a fact that the best kind of enjoyment – the carefree type – sprouts when we are not attached or possessive. So, enjoyment or a lack of it has nothing to do with being or not being attached, or being in possession, or having renounced possessions. It all actually is in the mind. We can be in the middle of a jamboree and yet feel alone, or we may be all by ourselves, all alone, and yet have our mind filled with a thousand conversations as if we are in the middle of festivities surrounded by our fondest friends and relatives!! It's all in the mind: joy or strife, anxiety or elation, fear or bravado. Detachment and renunciation have very little to do with worldly endowments. The litmus test is, does the losing of something give us sorrow? Or, does the acquisition of something give us pleasure? If answer to both these questions is in the negative, then the person in reference is truly detached, or he has truly renounced. A “complete zero” reaction to the above may not be possible, but if it is even "almost zero", then we can say that the person in reference is almost completely detached or has almost completely renounced. (In fact if someone claims that his response is “completely zero”, then he is more likely to be a hypocrite.)

…. The authors of Manusmriti do not give us any chance to be in doubt about the basic motive of this text – that, it is written to put the Brahmins among the Hindus on an elevated and secure pedestal. This can be called the constant refrain or leitmotif of the entire text. Manu and Bhrigu make no bones about their love for the Brahmins: "A Brahmin, coming into existence, is born as the highest on earth, the lord of all created beings, for the protection of the treasury of the law... Whatever exists in the world is the property of the Brahmin; on account of the excellence of his origin The Brahmin is, indeed, entitled to all." (M 1:99-100). In fact they dramatize their adoration of the Brahmins to a ridiculous extent. Read this (here the authors are warning a king) : "Let him (the king) not, though fallen into the deepest distress, provoke Brahmins to anger; for they, when angered, could instantly destroy him together with his army and his vehicles...Who could escape destruction, when he provokes to anger those (men), by whom the fire was made to consume all things...Who could prosper, while he injures those (men) who provoked to anger, could create other worlds and other guardians of the world, and deprive the gods of their divine station?...What man, desirous of life, would injure them to whose support the (three) worlds and the gods ever owe their existence, and whose wealth is the Veda?... A Brahmin, be he ignorant or learned, is a great divinity, just as the fire, whether carried forth (for the performance of a burnt-oblation) or not carried forth, is a great divinity...The brilliant fire is not contaminated even in burial- places, and, when presented with oblations (of butter) at sacrifices, it again increases mightily....Thus, though Brahmins employ themselves in all (sorts of) mean occupations, they must be honoured in every way; for (each of) them is a very great deity." (M 9:313-319). The "deity-ness" of the Brahmin is confirmed by the following. Not just he is the pivot of, and deserves to possess the whole earth, "He sanctifies any company (which he may enter), seven ancestors and seven descendants.. ." (M 1:105) Imagine! Manu gives such a fantastic carte blanche to a Brahmin: despite whatever liberties he might have taken with his own morals (“...though Brahmins employ themselves in all sorts of mean occupations...”), a Brahmin will always remain pure enough to purify his entire surroundings, and also wash away the sins of seven generations of the past and seven of the future of any human being who happens to be available in that Brahmin's august presence! Can you have any doubts about the real purpose of the Manusmriti after reading the above, and how hopelessly the other castes would be placed in reference to the Brahmin? Well if you have, convince yourself some more with this clear assertion : "On account of his pre-eminence, on account of the superiority of his origin, on account of his observance of (particular) restrictive rules, and on account of his particular sanctification the Brahmin is the lord of (all) castes (varna)." (M 10:3). And if you are a moron extraordinaire, the following should definitely pierce some light into your dense head: "Know that a Brahmin of ten years and Kshatriya of a hundred years stand to each other in the relation of father and son; but between those two the Brahmin is the father." (M 2:135). Manu does not rule out the possibility of a quack Brahmin in the above set of quotes from chapter 9, but so much is his affection for the latter that he insists that even a fraud Brahmin is better than a learned Shudra – Manu enjoins strict restrictions to rule outthe possibility of a Shudra ever becoming "learned", but even if he does by some quirky turn of circumstances, Manu ensures that such a Shudra will never be able to win favor with the king : "A Brahmin who subsists only by the name of his caste, or one who merely calls himself a Brahmin (though his origin be uncertain), may, at the king's pleasure, interpret the law to him, but never a Shudra." (M 8:20). (I will explain to you soon who a “Shudra” is when I discuss the Caste System.) The Manusmriti provides unconditional protection to a Brahmin against a major punishment: “Let him (the king) never slay a Brahmin, though he may have committed all possible crimes; let him banish such an offender, leaving all his property to him and his body unhurt” (M 8:380). The king better not even contemplate harming a Brahmin because, “The slayer of a Brahmin enters the womb of a dog, a pig, a chandala...” (M 12:55). There is yet another significant departure in Manusmriti from the preachings of the Bhagavad Gita. That ancient scripture of Hinduism talks of renunciation of worldly possessions, and detachment, as means to achieve moksha, or to please the Supreme Soul, but Manusmriti talks of acquisitions of worldly assets and emblems of authority to please one's own ego or soul. It talks of procedures (sacrifices or yagnas) to go about obtaining worldly gratifications, a Brahmin's pivotal role in those sacrifices or yagnas to please numerous demigods to facilitate acquisitions, and finally, the expression of gratitude by the protagonist towards the Brahmin through gifts and donations for organizing such yagnas. A Brahmin is supposed to be the embodiment of wisdom and calm disposition, striving towards moksha through austerity and renunciation. He is expected to stay away from greed and worldly trappings. But that is only according to the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita; he is only gingerly expected to spurn worldly riches according to sage Bhrigu. According to Manusmriti, a Brahmin is supposed to get the entire wealth of a king when the latter decides to retire from the active affairs of his state.

…. Sage Bhrigu, in his law-book for the Hindus, the Manusmriti, tried to defy God’s law which was given in the Bhagavad Gita that, the gunas of a person and not that person's heredity defined his vocation, and thereby his caste. To briefly delineate what sage Bhrigu tried to circumvent, lord Krishna says on the subject of four castes, "The four categories of occupations were created by me according to people’s qualities and activities...." (BG 4:13). And what are those qualities? "Purity, passion and inertia – these qualities, O mighty-armed Arjuna, born of Nature, bind fast in the body   " (BG 14:5). These three qualities are also called Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas respectively. Each human being has all the three ingredients but in different proportions, and that determines the "Nature" of each (or swabhaav, the Sanskrit word for an individual's nature or temperament, as mentioned in the previous chapter). "Now Sattwa prevails, O Arjuna, having overpowered Rajas and Tamas; now Rajas, having overpowered Sattwa and Tamas; and now Tamas, having overpowered Sattwa and Rajas!" (BG 14:10). By this lord Krishna means, sometimes the Sattwa guna is dominant, sometimes the Rajas, and sometime the Tamas. "Those who are seated in Sattwa proceed upwards; the Rajasic dwell in the middle; and the Tamasic, abiding in the function of the lowest Guna, go downwards". (BG 14:18). Here lord Krishna is saying that one's station in life is determined by the predominance of one of the gunas. Those belonging to the upper strata of society, the Brahmins, must be rich in the Sattwa guna; those in the middle stratas, the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas in Rajas guna; and at the lowest rung, the shudras must be abounding in the Tamas guna. Notice that in all the above references from the Bhagavad Gita, words like “birth” or “heredity” haven't appeared even once, while according to Manusmriti, they are the linchpins in deciding one's status in society. It completely shut the doors on the shudras through the concept of a “twice-born”. It rigidly compartmentalized human beings by birth like animals: a dog by birth remains a dog all its life, a camel a camel, and so on. Lord Krishna had preached that caste boundaries were porous to allow movement of people across them according to their qualities and temperament (gunas), and not rigidly demarcated according to an individual’s heredity as professed by Bhrigu. One’s own attitude determined one’s vocation according to lord Krishna, and not whether one was born to a father who held that vocation. Bhrigu thought the opposite. By modern sensibilities we can say that lord Krishna preached freedom of choice, a blossoming of the human spirit, and thereby Democracy, whereas Manu and Bhrigu supported suppression of human initiative, and thereby bigotry. One of my favorite verses from the Bhagavad Gita is, “Even wise people act according to their natures, for all living beings are propelled by their natural tendencies. What will one gain by repression?” (BG 3:33). Thus spake the kind God, out of fatherly love and resignation: “Let the children do what they want to do; why restrain them”? Sage Manu and Bhrigu, on the other hand, were narcissistic about their own ilk, the Brahmins, and scornful of the rest of the humanity. Lord Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita: "Sages look with an equal eye on a Brahmin endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, on an elephant, and even on a dog and an outcaste." (BG 5:18). Because a true sage views in each of them the Supreme Soul itself, and therefore he views all as equals. But Bhrigu insisted that a Brahmin was a class apart; thus he sought to differentiate among the human beings, what to say of the animals. In (M 8:271-72) he said that boiling oil should be poured into a Shudra’s mouth and ears. We have also seen that the authors of Manusmriti have ordained demonical austerities on human beings as in (M 6:23-24).To the professors of such heinous thoughts, lord Krishna has issued severe admonition in (BG 17:5-6). Really, I wonder if Manu and Bhrigu would even qualify as “sages” in the eyes of lord Krishna!

…. Remember I had said in the initial pages of this chapter that it was intriguing why sage Bhrigu should insist that every man would follow the occupation of his family, because he had also authored a pioneering work on astrology called the Bhrigu Samhita? My reason was this: if astrology determines one's character and destiny by the position of stars at the time of one's birth, as Astrology teaches us to believe, then how could those features be determined entirely by the destiny and character of one's parents? True, we know from modern knowledge that genes play a big role in these matters, but only to an extent. Is it not possible for two progenies of the same parents to have different temperament and character? It of course is, we see it all the time! If one's profession must be determined only by heredity, as the caste system says, then why one offspring of a family chooses to become a doctor or a professor, another wants to join the army, and yet another develops a liking to full-time stand in front of a mirror wanting to become a film star one day? The answer is, as lord Krishna has told us, because each one's swabhaav, or swadharma is different. Each one's temperament, their likes and dislikes, and consequently their aptitude for different professions is different. In short, the alchemy of gunas is different in each person. By rigidly asserting on profession by birth, sage Bhrigu was defying not only lord Krishna but his own treatise on astrology. If I could put it briefly, and this is why I had used the word "intriguing", Bhrigu couldn't afford to believe both in astrology as well as his excruciating Caste System. The two are mutually contradictory. The latter damned so many human beings inside each of whom none other than the Supreme Soul Itself resided! It will be in order to again quote this verse, "The truly learned, with the eyes of divine knowledge, see with equal vision a Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater (chandala))". (BG 5:18)


…. The contours of Hinduism suggested by the title of this book should now be clear to you, dear reader. On the one hand we have the compassionate and divine Bhagavad Gita of lord Krishna, and on the other, the priggish, pedestrian, and conceited Manusmriti of sage Bhrigu. Do both these color the present landscape of this religion equally, or have smudging of our medieval history blurred the divinity part? If holy grace in it has indeed weakened and human effervescence gained in strength, then can that be a stable state of affairs? Is Hinduism at a risk of getting branded the most degenerate religion because of the Manusmriti? Because no organized “code of conduct” belonging to a world religion gives carte blanche to its followers to look down upon a section of human beings as the Manusmriti does. There could have been only pockets of individuals and kings subscribing to other religions who behaved with such perversions. The learned scholars realized this sticky shortcoming attributed to Hinduism, and that triggered many reformist movements in it over the years.

…. But to have a comprehensive understanding of the Brahmins' mindset of those times, we have to be clear about the following two points: exclusivity that was granted to their class by the Manusmriti which reflected in their behavior as recorded above by Al Beruni; and, prominence given to sexuality in that scripture, pre-empting Sigmund Freud by many hundred years. No edifice can stand only on two pillars, and a Brahmin's mind that stood only on these two was not firmly grounded. The Brahmins had no existential worries like the other three Hindu castes had. Life was easy for them. Not only were they spared the routine problems of survival, they also did not have fresh or impartial thinking that could cynically examine their status and provide, like existential worries, a third or fourth pillar for balance and solidity to their existence. It is my observation in life that worries and/or self- criticism firmly ground us to reality. The Brahmins lived a surreal life, or a charmed life, and their mind had all the time to remain intrigued by sexual speculations. Sex, or thoughts of sex is a substitute for productive work. It can occupy your mind wholesale or wholesomely, I do not know what would be the apt description. The Brahmins could not get away from animalistic ruminations because the Manusmriti had unnecessarily introduced the element of sin in the otherwise God-ordained simple, pleasurable copulation between man and woman. The mating between the two was not forbidden, but for reasons best known to sage Bhrigu, its enjoyment was. In other words, "love" was to be removed from the word "lovemaking", and only "making" of progeny was to be allowed. The male sexual response has been known to be simpler and more mechanistic compared to that of women. For every man, the two fundamental realities in life are, eating and mating. There are a number of physiological mechanisms that produce the basic hunger. When our stomachs are empty, they contract, causing the secretion of a particular chemical. Liver and pancreas also get involved in the process somehow, and a message is sent to the brain to generate a signal indicating requirement for food. This routine goes on multiple times every day. Similarly, on an average, a healthy young man produces about six milligrams of testosterone every day. This hormone produces sexual urge in him, every day. With these excitement-vapors hovering in the skull of an idle mind like that of a Brahmin who had nothing to do or worry about, what else but obsession with sex could be expected? What should he do with that blessed testosterone? If he were to ask sage Bhrigu, he would nonchalantly say, "Nothing". But would that sound convincing to any man? Or woman, for that matter? Bhrigu's jealousy or sadism, however, was directed more at the woman; even in the purposeful mating for procreation, no foreplay was allowed, lest she gets aroused and starts enjoying the act. She should not get wet to provide the natural lubricant, was the strict warning of Bhrigu. The man should use clarified butter (!!) for the purpose. ((M 9:60) cited on page 253 in the book). A woman was allowed to get a child with her brother-in-law or another male through the law of Niyog (M 9:59), but if she begot a son "through desire" (meaning, if love and enjoyment burgeoned during companionship), then that act of procreation was illegal. This weird verse out of the Manusmriti is worth quoting again: "If a woman (duly) appointed bears a son to her brother-in-law or to another (Sapinda), that (son, if he is) begotten through desire, they declare (to be) incapable of inheriting and to be produced in vain." (M 9:147). No one other than a Brahmin should touch a Brahmin woman; if she fell for the love of a Shudra, her offspring would be cursed to be a Chandala, the lowest of all possible castes. (M 10:16). A man is the one who often makes amorous advances we know, but for sage Bhrigu it is the woman who is the culprit: "Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world)." (M 9:15). It is not a coincidence that even today you would find that a Brahmin is suspicious of his woman. This male suspicion finds some sort of a crescendo in (M 2:215): "One should not sit in a lonely place with one's mother, sister, or daughter; for the senses are powerful, and master even a learned man." Cannot sit even with one's mother and sister?! I am sure it was Bhrigu's ghost that was reborn as Sigmund Freud a thousand years later. Coming back to the period when native kings were losingground to invader Muslims, coupled with a jolt to their societal dominance, the Brahmins found the latter's sexual marauding too scandalizing and unnerving to bear. They had long been conditioned in a sense of superiority, looking down upon all and sundry, lording around without responsibility, mixing forced abstinence with chaste voyeurism and the use of imagination that goes with it. Sexual obsession was very much a part of Brahminical mindset as mentioned above, even if hidden under the garb of correctitude. Possessiveness and jealousy for one in love are only natural, but these traits per se about women in general, as in the present context, were a consequence of Freudian delinquency, and they assumed paramount concern for the Brahmins when Muslim outsiders started prowling right among their midst. It even relegated their hatred for the Shudras and the untouchables to secondary importance. I believe that much of the Brahmins' suspicion and xenophobia stemmed from the fact that the Muslims were allowed to have four wives. "So much of coitus, permitted by a religion, what sort of religion was that?!", the Brahmins thought. They too were allowed by the Manusmriti to have four wives (M 3:13), but they somehow felt that the Muslims were fulfilling their license more rambunctiously. Islam was arguably condemned by the Hindu elite predominantly for this one, single reason. I am talking about the elite (read, Brahmins) of north India, the direction from which Islamic invaders entered this country. Muslim traders had been visiting the shores of Kerala in the south right since the 7th century AD, but Islam's social permeation there had been limited to building a few mosques and causing some conversions through intermarriages in a peaceful manner.

….. The field of vision of today’s Hinduism is blurred. The pristine component is almost completely missing from it. Lord Krishna's Bhagavad Gita, Vedas and Upanishads are there somewhere, but not in focus. Conventionally peripheral stuff like Pauranic tales about Durga and Ganesha, or Ramayana's folklore about lord Rama are catching full glare of publicity. Public attention has drifted from the serene and meditative to the shimmering stuff they see in limelight. The Vedic Hinduism has got mixed up with prejudices that have seeped in through porous human thinking over the ages – the pure stream has got muddied as it has flown over the soft ridges of human mind. While Brahmins were supposed to be the emissaries of immaculate divine knowledge, they have proved to be the agents of stonewalling it, largely through a dehumanizing, Freudian text called the Manusmriti. Today's Brahmins are gleefully posing as poster boys of that allegedly pious handbook of religion and societal governance rolled into one, because it serves their purpose of one-upmanship. Their priorities have changed the perception of Hinduism.


New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism