Author: Lakshmi Narasu
Editor(s): G Aloysuis
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187412054
The subalternized masses find in the Buddha and his teachings a haven from their socio-cultural degradation and economic-political deprivation. For them, Buddhism comes as a vehicle to emerge into a new and modern religio-cultural, and eventually socio-political, reality.
More than half a century before Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s historic conversion, there were attempts across the subcontinent to resuscitate the core philosophical and social ideas of the Buddha as a means to express the existential problems of the subalternized, and as a vehicle of their socio-political emancipation.
Lakshmi Narasu, a genius among the thinkers of the early twentieth century, symbolized the ferment of the times. A prominent rationalist reformer, he was known for stern independence of character. Courageous in the articulation of his convictions, he endeared himself to the youth and the subaltern.
Forthrightness and daring to take on the arrogance of the mighty were his hallmark. Considerably ahead of his time in his convictions, he impressed many thinkers as a prodigy. His uncompromising and consistent stand against all forms of socio-religious irrationalities and fierce independence of views, however, distanced him from colleagues and the dominant. His public criticism of Annie Besant for her upholding of social obscurantism, particularly caste, as the Indian national genius, and the controversy with her Brahmin supporters on the issue, established him firmly and unambiguously in the public mind on the side of the lowly and the outcaste. Brahminical superstitions in the sense of an ideology of social irrationality, devised to control and dominate the people at large, Narasu found not confined to Hinduism but common to all theistic religions, extending even to what he described as bhikshu Buddhism.
Science as a means of arriving at the truth was a passion with Lakshmi Narasu. The scientific temper underlay his outlook and approach to all social and human problems. He was a pioneer of what has been termed as engaged Buddhism and emancipatory Buddhism. Ruthless in debunking obscurantism and orthodoxy in other religions, he was not less so towards the same trends exhibited within Buddhism. As he put it, Truth and purity being the essentials of Buddhist morality, It is the duty of every Buddhist to fight against all illusion, all superstition, all beclouding of right knowledge.
In this book, which bears the stamp of his extremely wide reading, deep reflection and constant interaction with the men and women of the subalternized communities, Narasu seeks to further the cause of rationalism, freedom, and emancipation. With sparkling wit, and regular flashes of brilliance, while expounding he basic tenets of his interpretation of Saddharma, he reflect upon many issues of close concern to every human being. Even when he is not polemical, he does not fail to provoke alternative ways of perceiving commonly held notions and promote new thinking. The essays testify to his wide scholarship, maturity of thinking, simplicity of articulation, and, above all, independence and originality of formulation.
Professor Narasu, fought European arrogance with Patriotic fervour, orthodox Hinduism with iconoclastic zeal, heterodox Brahmins with a nationalistic vision and aggressive Christianity with a rationalistic outlook, all under the inspiring banner of, the teaching of the great Buddha.
-B R Ambedkar
The Missionary Spirit
Brahminic Systems of Philosophy-I
Brahminic systems of Philosophy-II
The sources f Knowledge
The Soul Theory
Karma and Rebirth
IS Buddhism a Religion?
Prayer and Worship
The Middle Path
Training the Will
The Sanctions of Morality-I
The Sanctions of Morality-II
Charity and Justice
The Goal of Existence