[Advaita-l] Re: Question: Swadharma

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 3 08:36:13 CST 2006

Namaste Ram-ji. I fully share your concerns and anguish. You have
raised very valid points which every hindu has to grapple with
sometime in life. I cannot pretend that I have any answers for them.
However, I am sharing my understanding on those points which do seem
to have some answers:

You wrote:

> I also do not recommend looking to past for interpreting dharma...
> Recourse to an introspective approach would only be disastrous here...

> Even replacing the idol of Lord Rama with Lord Buddha has not helped.
> It is like cutting a mature tree and trying to replace in a new soil. It doesn't work and it has
> not worked.

My comments:

You have quite correctly diagnosed why buddhism failed to take roots
in non-dvijas' community despite several political movements. Those
who converted to buddhism in wake of political movements still find
themselves in spiritual confusion. Yet, if you go to upper himachal
where entire communities have been buddhists for as far back as they
can remember, there is no such spiritual confusion. The reason should
be obvious. Buddhists in himachal have not invented their traditions.
Their buddhism has grown with their traditions; it is not a break off
from them.

If you look at the recent history of social reforms in hinduism, you
will notice two distinct trends. One is the route of Raja Ram Mohun
Roy (Brahmo Samaj) and Swami Dayananda (Arya Samaj) who tried to
create new traditions. The other is the route of Swami Vivekananda and
Mahatma Gandhi who tried to make reforms from inside the tradition.
Today Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Swami Dayananda have ceased to become
relevant for hindu society. Yet Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi
have left lasting impressions on the sensibilities of hindu society
and continue to be relevant even today.

As I said, I do not have satisfactory answers for all of you concerns,
but it looks obvious to me that any solution which is not rooted in
traditions or does not emerge out of an introspective approach is
doomed to failure in the long run. Roots of our traditions and
spirituality go much deeper than rational thinking. I am not
advocating perpetuation of *all* traditions, yet it seems to me that
the solution must come from this route only if it has to be effective.
If replacing rama with buddha has not worked earlier, how can we
conclude that a complete break off with traditions will work now?


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list