Author: Shridhar V Ketkar
Publisher: Sundeep Prakashan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8185066159
This book aims to introduce a variant of the theory on the origin of Hinduism, for the generation that is scientifically conscious and philosophically aware of the religious factor leading to the development of the human society.
The author describes how the process of evolution under the social factor enabled further the formation of the unified group for attaining higher consciousness and the subsequent human society emerging from it. The debate is bound to evoke further thought relating to the formation of Hinduism and its uncertain future.
CHAPTER I : DEFINITION OF A RELIGION
The word religion is European and conveys an entirely European conception.
A recapitulation of the popular ideas proposed in order to get the current meaning of the word.
According to the popular mind a religion should give ideas regarding the unknown things like God and admonitions regarding conduct.
It should posses authoritative scriptures, and rituals.
It should receive supreme authority, and should create strong sentiment among followers.
Religion should form or determine the social group.
Religion necessary to attain heaven or some kind of eternal bliss.
Restatement of the above essentials in a formal definition.
The definition not useful in general social science, but it useful un studying particular (European) development.
This complex meaning of the world religion is due to the events in the European history itself. For the same reasons the word cannot be translated in the non-European languages.
Religion is akin to sampradaya or theophratry, which mean a tribe based on theological doctrine or worship, and therefore.
It should be distinguished from the traditions of a natural tribe.
CHAPTER II : HINDU TERMINOLOGY
Analysis of phenomena into more elementary concept necessary Definitions of Dharma, Marga, Sadhana, Mata, Sampradaya and Sadhya.
Hindu theory of Dharma.
Dharma differs according to class, conditions and other circumstances.
Dharma towards family (Kula) and tribe (Jati).
Knowledge of Dharma still incomplete, for Dharma is infinite and eternal
Oneness of Dharma
Hindu interpretation of Christian religion and its analysis into Khristi-dharma and Khrista-marga etc.]
Margas or paths described, classified and explained
Hindu idea regarding the peculiar dharma of the Christians.
Mata, or doctrine, explained, with special reference to the Christian doctrine.
The hindus do not accept the interdependence of theology and morality as the Occidental people do.
Sampradaya, and its relation to marga and mata.
Classifications of dharma, possibilities for the expansion of dharma literature.
Arya-dharma (Hindu-dharma) versus Mlechchha-dharma.
Hinduism and Christianity belong to entirely two different categories : the former is determined by the group, while the latter determines the group.
Sampradayas tend to become tribes, so sampradayas, like Christianity, are regarded only as tribal tradition.
CHAPTER III : HINDU SOCIAL THEORY
Hindu society is composed of a large number of castes grouped in a hierarchy ; precedence of particular castes therein is determined by the sacredness or pollution that is supposed to be attached to them.
This theory does not determine the position of the so-called Hindus in the society, but of all peoples in the world in the world society.
Hindu social theory does not distinguish between various Hindu castes and religious castes, like mohamnedans and christians.
Hindus did not have any consciousness of "Hindu community" but that of the World-community.
Origin of group-consciousness, Tribal consciousness.
Similarity itself does not generate the ideas of unity, unless they have the idea of contrast.
Hinduism not a creation of conscious effort.
Uniformity produced by contact of tribes.
Hinduism is not exclusive. It is the mixture of heterogeneous tribes and traditions.
Two processes of producing uniformity : Process of Hinduism or Hinduisation or Contact and the process of religions.
The process of contact is the only process capable of universal expansion.
It this process is allowed to work itself, all civilizations will be unified into one civilization.
In India, through there was no Hindu Consciousness, there was Human or Manava Consciousness. Hindus were developing not Hinduism, but a comopolitanism, a dharma for Humanity, but were prevented by two heresies of Semitic origin.
When Mohammedans came, they called all people in India "Hindus" and treated them as heathens. Hindus regarded these foreigners as extremely impure. Hence the origin of Hindu Consciousness.
This Consciousness become stronger with the immigration of the Christians.
India got along very well with those foreign people, like the Parsis and the Jews, who did not belong to any theophratry.
The distance between a Hindu caste and a non-Hindu tribe is not theological, but social, and that also is in amount and not in kind. For this reason the definition of a Hindu and classification of a tribe either as Hindu or non-Hindu depends considerably on the wish of the definer. Still as Hindus are a social group, mere theological differences should not be allowed to class any theophratry outside Hinduism. Communities like Sikhs, Jains and Brahmas are therefore Hindus.
The present distinction between a Hindu and non-Hindu is provisional.
CHAPTER IV : INTERNAL TIES
Though Hindu society is Separated from Other Communities like Christian and Mahamedan which are theophratries.
The various castes and tribes within Hinduism are bound by various ties; but each of those ties binds together groups variously formed.
This regard to Vedas is an important tie.
Vedas are not read, and they are not looked up to for guidance.
But other books which are regarded as based on the Vedas, and as sacred, are read.
Vernacular books become useful in actual guidance.
Vedas not expected to be popular. They are useful to philosophers only. The policy of the Brhamanas had been to discourage the study of the Vedas.
The reasons for the attitude are : The masses would be
(1) Misguided if they read Vedas, as they do not have fitness to interpret them.
(2) There was a revolution in the ideas, and the Vedas represented the forsaken thought.
(3) The Brahmanas did not regard the knowledge of the Vedas as necessary for salvation.
The good motives of the Vrahmanas to prohibit the study of the Vedas to the Shudras, are being misrepresented by Christian missionaries out a unworthy motives.
The Education of a Hindu in morals and theology described shown that the Vedas do not supply the same.
Vedas are referred to when the question of social reform arises.
The later writings which are regarded as sacred freely depart from vedic ideas, still they are regarded as orthodox because they revere the vedas.
The question as to whether the later writing or the Vedas should be followed when they differ, is yet to be fought out. Conservative and the reformer attitudes stated and criticised.
Summary statement of the relation of the Vedas to the modern Hindu society.
The common priesthood as a uniting factor.
Hindus prefer to be guided by the Brahmanas rather than by Vedas. The reason for the same :-
(1) The bulky character of Hindu Scriptures.
(2) The Brahmanas represented sciences, and the knowledge of dharma depends on the knowledge of sciences.
Certainly of the Brahmanas position a cause of their universal recognition.
Other Binding strings : (1) Castes who have no right to read Vedas and to whom the Brahmanas do not act as priest have still respect for both. (2) castes again have right to read "history and antiquity", the sacred books which are really read by all classes. They have (3) deities and (4) beliefs in common with the upper castes (v) Lower casts have a tradition of birth from higher caste.
Cosmopolitan philosophy also evolved by the Hindus and the philosophy binds all Hindus to each other and to the entire world. The principles of that philosophy are :
(1) Pantheistic theology. This philosophy unites various cults and worships.
(2) Recognition of various forms of worship (instruments).
(3) Exaltation of the principle of duty (dharma).
This principles of Hinduism united Japan. Though nominally Buddhism was taken to Japan, what was actually taken there was not Buddhism but Hinduism.
Sampradayas (theophratries) disturbing element to cosmopolitanism in India as elsewhere.
They are social groups distinct from the rest. They are missionary in their character. They have often the principle of love and devotion. They attract inferior minds.
Brahmanas, looked upon these with disapproval and hostility.
Hinduism discouraged sampradayas and promoted dharma.
Sampradayas have little ability to break caste.
Sampradayas and a caste compared, advantages and dis-advantages of each.
CHAPTER V : MEMBERSHIP OF HINDUISM
The word conversion has two meanings : (1) Creation of similar belief; (2) admission of a person to the social group .
Unlike the case of the Christians and Mohamedans, membership of Hindu Community is not to be gained by similar belief. Hindus do make converts in the first sense, but not in the other.
Doors of Hindu Community are open to the foreigners in some ways : (1) by joining various sampradayas or theophratries under Hinduism.
(2) By admission to a particular caste.
(3) By the formation of a new caste.
"Reclamation of the fallen" can be accomplished by appealing to the particular original caste and not to the general society.
Excommunication (bahishkara) of a Hindus has to-day become extremely difficult,
Definition of "Excommunication" in the smaller sense.
Ostracism or unorganized excommunication.
CHAPTER VI : MODERN SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Explanation of the system of Bahishkara requires knowledge of modern social conditions. Maharashtra chosen as a type.
Description of the Maratha country and of the hierarchy of the population.
Maratha society is unorganized. Laissez-faire doctrine in the Maratha country extravagantly dev eloped. No other body without government has sufficient power to control.
Sources of power. The Brahmanas are power, but they cannot do anything since they are unorganized.
Many castes who are not organized have no government whatsoever. Ostracism the only remedy in the hands of these castes.
Chittapavana Brahmana caste taken for Illustration.
In the days of the Peishwas, the Shasisis and Pundits used to act as authorities in this matter, but to-day they have no power.
They have no power even to create ostracism because (1) The Shastris do not represent the learned class in the country, and also because (2)The community is divided into two parties (I) The traditionalists and (2) The reformers
These parties were brought into existence as a result of the spread of western ideas.
The present condition of the Chittapavana caste is extremely multiform in ideas, manners, and occupation.
Great change has been brought about in the ideas regarding purity and pollution. People do not observe the rules regarding purity and pollution.
It has also become difficult to maintain those ideas, because they require greater sacrifice to-day.
Examples. The idea of the pollution by touch is modified, and ideas regarding impure food also become moderate, Brahmanas to-day are willing to eat food which their forefathers regarded as uneatable.
Reasons for this moderation : (1) Changed economic conditions (2) Advent of European ideas (3) The western system of medicine (4) Increased skill which presents substances in less disagreeable form.
Value of lowering the standards of purity and pollution.
The European philosophy does not suffice to silence scruples of Hindu mind. They are compelled to resort to fictions.
These details brought here to show how "excommunication" works.
Excommunication by a village affects Hindus as well as non-Hindus, it is usually practiced in social offences and not for doctrine.
Excommunication by caste.
CHAPTER VII : ORTHODOXY AND HETEROODOXY
There are two methods of social reform i.e., (1) The method of the modern reformers; (2) and that of Gautama and Basava. To explain the difference between them it is necessary to make out the distinction between heterodoxy and orthodoxy.
This distinction is very modern.
Orthodox and heterodox sampradayas.
Orthodoxy opposes the formation of a new tribe on the basis of theological doctrine.
Some heterodoxies have their origin in the rejection of the Brahmanical sacraments.
Sampradayas should not blame the society if society treats them with hatred.
Heterodoxies fated to become new castes.
The working principles of orthodoxy to make numerous small changes remaining within the society.
Orthodox Methods of social reform and for the abolition of caste will be expounded by the Author.
CHAPTER VIII : THEORY OF SOCIAL EVOLUTION
History of Hinduism gives principles of social evolution.
Summary of the process.
Larger social groups are formed by (1) Political conquest; (2) Creation of common culture by contact; (3) religion forces of contact and its work.
Two types of tribes in sociology : (1) socio-political tribes; (2) Theophratries
Work of theophratary is anti-social.
Christian and Mohamedan worlds are creation of the sampradaya (theo-phratry) method.
Process of contact and theophratry-method compared.
Both these processes from part of the integration of world society.
Societies and individual organisms compared.
Definition of integration.
Caste systems, Empires, and hereditary classes, and their relation to integration.
Integration is not a term in Biology or Sociology merely, it is a term of the Evolutionary philosophy
Aids to integration.
Place of the discovery of America and of sea-route to India in the unification of the world.
Of the aids to integration, political conquest, and propaganda of religions are of greatest importance.
Political conquest. It tricks to obliterate civilization. Conquered nations imitate the conquering ones; motives of imitation are various.
Importance of the propaganda of religions, in producing uniformity among the various tribes.
Analysis of Christianity.
Religion often carries the national institutions and not religious institutions of the missionary nation.
The religious exert unifying influence, still they are anti-social.
The Position Explained.
Impossible to find perfectly integrated society : (1) Through intermixture of blood. (ii) Destruction of the old division of labour on tribal lines. (iii) Common aristocracy.
Obstacles to the integration of society.
The belief that the present multiplicity of caste is a result of original good condition is wrong.
History of caste is therefore not a good title for the work
The reason why the previous efforts to abolish caste failed
Our chances in future to remodel the society.
CHAPTER IX : FUTURE OF HINDUISM
Meanings of the expression "Will Hinduism spread" : (1) Will Hindu ideas spread. (2) Will the membership of the Hindu community increase on account of the admission of foreigners.
Hindu idea of the world-community, its relation to the spread of Hinduism.
Hindu community is absorbing savage elements in India, but civilized people could be brought into Hinduism only be the sampradayas under Hinduism or after reforming Hinduism.
To reform Hinduism, the defects of the Hindu civilization should be noted. Lack of integration in Hinduism, lack of social philosophy enable them to absorb all races and tribes. The theory that the world is composed of four varnas and barbarians is not fit to accomplish the task. No philosophy which inspire them with mission to take joint action.
Necessity of sociological theory as to what we want to achieve
The ideal of world community is to be admitted, but we should be cautions not to have it too early.
Necessity of the territorial feeling.
The bases of Indian unity : (1) Cosmopolitan philosophy in the matters of religion (2) Indifference to religion in political and social matters (3) Assertion of the doctrine of the equality of all tribes.
To reform Hinduism is to create Indianism or Indian Nationalism.
Change from Tribalism to territorialism, a requirement of Indianism. The two terms explained.
How territorial society becomes tribal society and vice versa.
Cause of great barriers between peoples is the concourse of races an nationalities greatly removed from each other.
The change in people`s ideas to meet the circumstances : (i) Man has become moral liberal; (ii) Increase in the assimilative powers of man.
Meaning of the words, "increase of assimilative power".
The ultimate end of territorial system is to make man more individualistic.
Measures to make Indians at territorial society : (1) By displacing tribal or religious law by common Indian legislation. (2) To make political division of Indians conform as far as possible with the areas occupied by the dominant tribes.
Aristocracy and its place in nation making.
No genuine Indian aristocracy.
Possibility of creating aristocracy of princes and chiefs. It is desirable to create such aristocracy if possible.
But it is not possible at present because the princes are slothful and therefore for Brahmanas ought to undertake the task.
Future of religions and unity of civilization. Expansion by the process of sampradaya (theophratry) must cease sometime. Therefore some social philosophy larger than that of loyalty to a sampradaya is needed and to that philosophy all the religions in the world will be subordinated and that philosophy is Manava-dharma or cosmopolitanism.
Religions are not necessary for the well being of the society.
The future work for Hinduism is to create cosmopolitanism
The work of the process trying to create a tradition common to the Western World and India, in India and in the West.
How far the civilizations will be unified : the limitations.
Knowledge of the world will be unified earlier than other factors.
As conflict exists where truth is unknown and as truth regarding God and other kindred subjects could not be known, the difficulty will be removed by spreading the ideas of an educated orthodox Hindu.
The Hindu ideas described.
This attitude will unify theological thought and will achieve the ultimate aim of Hinduism.
Appendix I - On the principles of the scientific study of religions
Appendix II - Ethnological classification and its place in the history of man.