Krishna Tyagi Challenged

Written 11 January 2014

Krishna Tyagi’s article, ‘ Ashoka the Great or a Burden of History?’ is a compelling piece looking at the History of India and its enslavement by many invading armies. However I disagree with his premise that it is the influence of Buddhism and the philosophy of Ahimsa Parmodharma that was the cause of India’s downfall. Krishnaji contends that Hinduism never was a pacifist religion. That assertion is absolutely correct. To fight injustice or to defend your Dharma or Country Hinduism sanctions fighting. However every avenue to avoid war has to be explored. This is because as Krishna Tyagi contends the the concept of Ahimsa Parmodharma was a well-established principle in Hinduism well before the advent of Buddhism. This is because a just war is of paramount importance and that means that to attack others and conquer their land is not Kshatriya Dharma. As the Dwapar Yug came to an end and the Kali Yug began a general falling of standards began. The Yadu clan intoxicated with alcohol destroyed itself 5000 years ago and Lord Krishna foresaw the fall of the ancient Aryan civilisation. That India will be invaded by other races was also predicted. It is said that of the world’s recorded civilisations virtually all have died not from enemy action but from spiritual decay. This is the cycle: From Bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to apathy and from apathy once again to bondage. Coming on to the time of the advent of Lord Buddha 2,600 years ago, India was run by Hindu Kings busy fighting each other and animal sacrifices in the name of religion had become widespread. Lord Buddha is considered as an incarnation of Vishnu and his objective was to remind the people of Bharatvarsh of their ancient heritage and Dharma. He was essentially a reformer trying to rid Hinduism of the many negative forces that had taken hold. King Ashoka having wedged a destructive war against the state of Kalinga resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands realised the futility of it all. This was not a just war. It was a war to satisfy his ego of conquering everyone. He realised that this was not Kshatriya Dharma and became a Buddhist. To suggest that Buddhism preached pacifism is to fundamentally misunderstand it. Has Krishna Tyagi not heard of Buddhist monks who are Martial arts masters? Far from being a cause of Hinduisms downfall Buddhism actually saved Hinduism in the sense that it brought in an era of enlightenment. Buddhism successfully spread its message all over Asia. From China to Japan and Vietnam to Thailand and many other countries people became Buddhists and it is the only religion that has spread so far and wide peacefully. We have to thank Buddhism for this otherwise this countries could have been influenced by other religions and the world would have looked much more hostile to Hindus! The romantic idea that if you behave as other civilisations where violence is the means of achieving goals, you too would be great is not backed by History. The worlds most powerful civilisations and military powers have come and gone without any trace. With all his military might Alexander the Great died an ignomous death. The Roman Civilisation, the Greek Civilsation and countless others have come and gone. Even the mighty Germans were crushed as was the British Empire. There is only one civilisation that has lived for tens of thousands of years and continues to thrive and that is Sanatan Dharma. The reason for this is Ahimsa Parmodharma. Ahimsa means is that you protect the weak and those who are at your mercy. You don’t harm animals or even insects. This is the Ahimsa of the brave not of cowards. Ahimsa encourages us to understand that means justify the end not ends justifying means. On his death bed when Bhishma was asked what the greatest jewel was he said Ahimsa. God protects those protect others and it is this Ahimsa that has kept Sanatan Dharma alive in-spite of so many attacks. We may question Gandhi’s non violent struggle but it played a major role in bringing down the world’s most powerful force. As Gandhi said that those who dominate others by their might may look unshakable for a while but soon disappear. So to answer Krishna Tyagis question, no it was not Buddhism that caused the downfall of Hindu civilisation. It was the infighting of Hindu Kings, their failure to practice Raj Dharma and their addictions. Blaming Buddhism for the downfall of Hinduism is a popular theory amongst some Hindus as it gives them a comfortable feeling. Blaming others for our failures is just deceiving ourselves! Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are the pillars of Bharatiya culture

Nitin Mehta

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