History of Hindu Christian Encounters - Sitaram Goel | Basant Behera - viajeras.info
C. Joe Arun, ed., Interculturation of Religion: Critical Perspectives on Robert de . Harold Coward, ed., Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters, . HINDU-CHRISTIAN DIALOGUE DISCUSSES THE HIDDENESS OF GOD The first presentation addressed the hiddenness of God from the Christian perspective. Edward creation as the locus of man's encounter with God. sphere of Hindu-Christian dialogue (These include Robert de Nobili, is not to say that every single person who encounters another religion will change their religious . post-colonial perspective, which means that I am aware of certain biases in colonial periods, ) and the latter as attempts which “ pre-date that.
The Hart model for caste origin, writes Samuel, envisions "the ancient Indian society consisting of a majority without internal caste divisions and a minority consisting of a number of small occupationally polluted groups". The first three groups, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishya have parallels with other Indo-European societies, while the addition of the Shudras is probably a Brahmanical invention from northern India. The Purusha Sukta verse is now generally considered to have been inserted at a later date into the Rigveda, probably as a charter myth.
Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, professors of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", and "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both then and later, a social ideal rather than a social reality".
Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf, both professors of History, write, "One of the surprising arguments of fresh scholarship, based on inscriptional and other contemporaneous evidence, is that until relatively recent centuries, social organisation in much of the subcontinent was little touched by the four varnas.
Nor were jati the building blocks of society.
He concludes that "If caste is defined as a system of group within the class, which are normally endogamous, commensal and craft-exclusive, we have no real evidence of its existence until comparatively late times. The rituals in the Vedas ask the noble or king to eat with the commoner from the same vessel. Later Vedic texts ridicule some professions, but the concept of untouchability is not found in them.
Recent scholarship states that the discussion of outcastes in post-Vedic texts is different from the system widely discussed in colonial era Indian literature, and in Dumont's structural theory on caste system in India. Patrick Olivellea professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions and credited with modern translations of Vedic literature, Dharma-sutras and Dharma-sastrasstates that ancient and medieval Indian texts do not support the ritual pollution, purity-impurity premise implicit in the Dumont theory.
According to Olivelle, purity-impurity is discussed in the Dharma-sastra texts, but only in the context of the individual's moral, ritual and biological pollution eating certain kinds of food such as meat, going to bathroom. The only mention of impurity in the Shastra texts from the 1st millennium is about people who commit grievous sins and thereby fall out of their varna.
These, writes Olivelle, are called "fallen people" and considered impure in the medieval Indian texts. The texts declare that these sinful, fallen people be ostracised. The distinction originally arose from tribal divisions. The Vedic tribes regarded themselves as arya the noble ones and the rival tribes were called dasa, dasyu and pani. The dasas were frequent allies of the Aryan tribes, and they were probably assimilated into the Aryan society, giving rise to a class distinction.
Many husbandmen and artisans practised a number of crafts. The chariot-maker rathakara and metal worker karmara enjoyed positions of importance and no stigma was attached to them. Similar observations hold for carpenters, tanners, weavers and others.
The erstwhile dasas are renamed Shudras, probably to distinguish them from the new meaning of dasa as slave. The aryas are renamed vis or Vaishya meaning the members of the tribe and the new elite classes of Brahmins priests and Kshatriyas warriors are designated as new varnas. The Shudras were not only the erstwhile dasas but also included the aboriginal tribes that were assimilated into the Aryan society as it expanded into Gangetic settlements. Whereas the Brahmanical texts speak of the four-fold varna system, the Buddhist texts present an alternative picture of the society, stratified along the lines of jati, kula and occupation.
It is likely that the varna system, while being a part of the Brahmanical ideology, was not practically operative in the society. They were in fact the jatis of high rank. The jatis of low rank were mentioned as chandala and occupational classes like bamboo weavers, hunters, chariot-makers and sweepers. The concept of kulas was broadly similar. Along with Brahmins and Kshatriyas, a class called gahapatis literally householders, but effectively propertied classes was also included among high kulas.
The gahapatis were an economic class of land-holding agriculturists, who employed dasa-kammakaras slaves and hired labourers to work on the land. The gahapatis were the primary taxpayers of the state.
This class was apparently not defined by birth, but by individual economic growth. Many occupations listed such as accounting and writing were not linked to jatis. The texts state that the Brahmin took food from anyone, suggesting that strictures of commensality were as yet unknown. The Brahmins maintain their divinely ordained superiority and assert their right to draw service from the lower orders.Christianity from Judaism to Constantine: Crash Course World History #11
Buddha responds by pointing out the basic facts of biological birth common to all men and asserts that the ability to draw service is obtained economically, not by divine right. Using the example of the northwest of the subcontinent, Buddha points out that aryas could become dasas and vice versa.
This form of social mobility was endorsed by Buddha. The first model describes varna as a colour-based system, through a character named Bhrigu, "Brahmins varna was white, Kshtriyas was red, Vaishyas was yellow, and the Shudras' black".
This description is questioned by Bharadvaja who says that colors are seen among all the varnas, that desire, anger, fear, greed, grief, anxiety, hunger and toil prevails over all human beings, that bile and blood flow from all human bodies, so what distinguishes the varnas, he asks. The Mahabharata then declares, "There is no distinction of varnas.
This whole universe is Brahman. It was created formerly by Brahmacame to be classified by acts. The Brahmin class is modeled in the epic as the archetype default state of man dedicated to truth, austerity and pure conduct. The four varnas are not lineages, but categories".
Currents of Encounter
According to this legend, Bharata performed an " ahimsa -test" test of non-violenceand during that test all those who refused to harm any living beings were called as the priestly varna in ancient India, and Bharata called them dvija, twice born.
According to Padmanabh Jainia professor of Indic studies, in Jainism and Buddhism, the Adi Purana text states "there is only one jati called manusyajati or the human caste, but divisions arise on account of their different professions".
Supporting evidence for the existence of varna and jati systems in medieval India has been elusive, and contradicting evidence has emerged. This has led Cynthia Talbot, a professor of History and Asian Studies, to question whether varna was socially significant in the daily lives of this region. The mention of jati is even rarer, through the 13th century. Two rare temple donor records from warrior families of the 14th century claim to be Shudras.
One states that Shudras are the bravest, the other states that Shudras are the purest. In contrast to what Brahmanical legal texts may lead us to expect, we do not find that caste is the organising principle of society or that boundaries between different social groups is sharply demarcated. He states, "The omnipresence of cognatic kinship and caste in North India is a relatively new phenomenon that only became dominant in the early Mughal and British periods respectively.
Furthermore, many though not all Christian churches have an authority structure the papacy in Roman Catholicismfor example that lends itself to disseminating official pronouncements that their members will take very seriously. This is not always the case elsewhere. It is difficult, for example, to define such a clearly accepted structure even in the two other major monotheistic religions of Judaism and Islam. Figures from other religions have also become symbols of good interreligious relations: Other contemporary religious leaders have also promoted interreligious dialogue.
Sun Myung Moon has founded, inspired, and supported a great number of interreligious initiatives. These activities, including local, national, and international conferences, have brought together scholars and practitioners of different religions, numbering in the thousands, to discuss matters of interreligious and global concern. The Sikh guru, Baba Virsa Singh, founded an Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion in at Gobind Sadan, a farm on the outskirts of Delhi, Indiawhere many people from all religions make their way to seek his wisdom.
So, future historians may look to that date as another seminal moment in the history of positive interreligious relationships. If so, they should not overestimate its importance. Since aboutthere have been at least four notable trends in interreligious dialogue. The first is the continuing and developing institutionalization of interreligious dialogue. There are now national organizations that bring together members of the major world religions. In recent years, academic institutions have become involved in monitoring and reflecting about the demography and other characteristics of religious pluralism.
This significant and second trend finds its best example in the United States with the Pluralism Project, initiated in at Harvard University. Some organizations bring together people across religious boundaries at conferences or for meals or in joint projects. Jews and Muslims, for example, work together and in doing so often find it difficult to demonize each other; they can learn that justice, hope, peace, love, and common humanity are not just the preserve of one group of people.
The IFYC is not the only organization to do this. The International Council of Christians and Jews and many local interfaith groups have done such things for some years. Interreligious Dialogue and Ethics Interreligious dialogue has always privileged action though sometimes only talking about action and a common moral vision of the universe over sharing more theological or religiously legalistic visions of ultimate reality.
In recent years, an ethical dimension to interreligious dialogue has been strongly emphasized. The Global Ethic project is the most notable example of dialogue aimed at ethics and moral action. The Global Ethic project condemned the parlous state of the world, for example: There already exist ancient guidelines for human behavior which are found in the teachings of the religions of the world and which are the condition for a sustainable world order.
He spelled out his conviction that there can be No peace among the nations without peace among the religions. No peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions. No dialogue between the religions without investigation of the foundations of the religions. This three-fold conviction was what he took to Chicago. He persuaded the Parliament to affirm four directives: Commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life.
Commitment to a culture of solidarity and a just economic order. Commitment to a culture of tolerance and a life of truthfulness.
Currents of Encounter
Commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women. In the wake of the Chicago Parliament, a number of scholars and practitioners of interfaith dialogue took up the cause of the Global Ethic. Books were written, some rather learned and others more popular in tone. Much worthy material has been produced. It has brought politicians, economists, and many people together to talk about justice and peace.
However, there are strong criticisms that can be leveled against it. For a start, it is rather elitist. They validated his work, but did not contribute to it in any significant way. Arguably, it would have been a better document and commanded wider support if more people, particularly women, had participated in the process of bringing it to birth rather than simply giving it their approval with a few modest changes.
The four commitments mentioned above may be practiced by some religious people, but by no means all. It is just as tempting for religious people to define their religions idealistically as it is for secular critics to view them gloomily at their worst. The Golden Rule It is easy to point to the capacity of religions for violence.
Practitioners of interreligious dialogue have wanted to emphasize that this is only part of the story of human faiths. Religions have also had the power to transform people for good. In recent years, the most tangible attempt to stress the ethical influence of religion has centered on the claim that all religions can agree upon the Golden Rule.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that too much has been made of the Golden Rule in writings over the last decade. Two serious criticisms can be leveled against them. First of all, although the Golden Rule makes sense as an aspiration, it is much more problematic when it is used as a foundation for practical living or philosophical reflection. Many goodly and godly people would have problems with such a proposal, even though it is a logical application of the Golden Rule.
At the very least, then, it would be helpful to specify what sort of a rule the Golden Rule actually is, rather than assuming that it is an unqualified asset to ethical living in a pluralistic world.
Furthermore, it is not usually seen as the heart of religion by faithful people, but simply as the obvious starting point for a religious and humane vision of life. Take the famous story in Judaism recorded in the Talmud: A certain heathen came to Shammai [a first century B.
Some religious traditions have strongly emphasized the importance of holiness. Holiness indicates the process of growing into goodness and into understanding what transcendent reality desires and requires humans to do and to be. For example, the Eastern Orthodox traditions of Christianity have stressed this, calling it theiosis or divinization: Surely the concept of holiness is more rewarding than locating the Golden Rule or some other thing or things as our rule of conduct.
For whilst moral behavior is an important dimension of religion, it does not exhaust its meaning. There is a tendency for religious people in the West to play down or even despise doctrine, but this is surely a passing fancy.
It is important for religious people in every culture to inquire after the nature of transcendence: People cannot sensibly describe what is demanded of them as important, without describing the source that wills it and enables it to be lived out.
Besides, the world would be a safer place if people challenged paranoid and wicked visions of God or however ultimate reality is defined with truer and more generous ones, rather than if they abandoned the naming and defining of God to fearful and sociopathic persons.
To be sure, there have been many attempts over the last two decades and more to offer a justification of interreligious dialogue on the grounds that all religions are paths to the same goal.
This rather begs the question of whether they might all be equally false! The British philosopher John Hick is associated with this development, though he drew out implications of the typology offered in a book by Alan Race, originally published in In this book, Race described most Christian views of other religions as exclusivist, denying them any truth.
Some people have moved to inclusivist positions, including members of other faiths within their own Christian viewpoint as able to be saved. A few rare spirits, pointers to a more excellent and humane future, acknowledge that people are saved through following their own religious path.
Therein lies a problem, for most religious people, even Christians, do not see their faith stories adequately represented by a form of western idealismor, indeed, by any philosophical position.
Although Hick has inspired many others mostly but not all Christians to write either in support of or against his position, it is hard not to see this large body of literature as peripheral to the major issues, because it makes light of and occasionally even trivializes what most people believe. How people choose from their religion, and how they interpret what they choose, is as important as what is actually there.
An older trend that argues for the essential truth of all religious ways is the perennial philosophy, found in works by, for example, Aldous Huxley, Frithjof Schuon, Seyyid Hossein Nasr, Huston Smith and James Cutsinger.