Critiquing Hindu Ethics – Part 2

In his article “Why Indians don’t give back to society”, Aakar Patel asks: “Why don’t we worship Brahma? We know he’s part of the Hindu trinity as the creator, but we worship Vishnu, manager of the cosmos, and Shiva, its eventual destroyer.” Patel then proceed to deconstruct Indian culture and makes a series of logically sequential observations. He observes that Indians are opportunistic in nature and that Indian society is Hobbesian in its low trust outlook. Patel ponders about why this is so and then provides us with a clue:

“The Hindu devotee’s relationship with god is transactional: I give you this, you give me that. God must be petitioned and placated to swing the universe’s blessings towards you. God gives you something not through the miracle, and this is what makes Hinduism different, but by swinging that something away from someone else. This is the primary lesson of the Vedic fire sacrifice.”

This is certainly an interesting observation and one which I discussed in the previous article. The transactional relationship between man and the divine was common throughout the various cultures of antiquity, and this is what characterized the Jewish relationship with Yahveh in the old Testament. Various tribes and groups in the middle/near east would select a patron deity, devote themselves to it via rituals and sacrifices in exchange for divine favours and a chosen people status.

Patel continues:

“There is no afterlife in Hinduism and rebirth is always on earth. The goal is to be released entirely and our death rites and beliefs—funeral in Kashi—seek freedom from rebirth. Christianity and Islam are about how to enter heaven; Hinduism is about how not to return to earth, because it’s a rotten place…Hinduism recognizes that the world is irredeemable: It is what it is. Perhaps this is where the Hindu gets his world view—which is zero-sum—from. We might say that he takes the pessimistic view of society and of his fellow man.”

I would also argue that three thousand years of caste segregation has created a low trust culture which doesn’t emphasize consideration for one’s fellow man.

He then concludes by saying that: “Society has no role in your advancement and there is no reason to give back to it (in any way, including leaving the toilets clean behind you) because it hasn’t given you anything in the first place. That is why Indian industrialists are not philanthropists.”

I think Patel is certainly onto something here as even colonial writers like John P Jones commented on the essentially pessimistic nature of Hinduism. In his book “India’s problem: Krisna or Christ” (1903) he stated:

“Hinduism, on the other hand, is essentially pessimistic. It teaches that human life is totally and irremediably evil. Every power of the soul must be exercised in the endeavour to shake off this terrible burden of separate human existence and escape all the conditions of this life. That is the only relief possible. To the Hindu the question so often discussed in Christian lands—“Is life worth living?”—has no interest, since it has but one answer possible.”

If the world is truly ‘irremediably evil’ and if the goal of existence is to seek liberation from it, why bother making it a better place? Why strive for morality and social justice? The Christian worldview states that the world is worth saving and mankind is capable of self betterment by adhering to a universal code of ethics. This code of ethics lies at the heart of western civilization. The term “Gospel” literally means ‘Good news’ and this summarizes Christianity’s worldview in one word: Joy. Islam likewise sees the world as redeemable and stresses order and egalitarianism, but is otherwise an austere and dull religion.

On a separate but related argument, Hinduism (like Taoism) worships nature in its own way. Since nature is outside of human control, it is endowed with divinity and and must be worshipped/appeased. Even the ancient Greeks perceived nature as divine precisely because it was outside the sphere of human control. Nature is inherently amoral. Nature isn’t concerned with fairness, but with survival. This might possibly account for the extreme opportunism that the Indian is infamous for. Small wonder then that Hinduism and Taoism pay scant attention to ethics. Despite Hinduism’s sophisticated and highly developed philosophy, it retains its nature centric character, at least in popular practice. Arthur Danto was essentially correct when he observed that Hinduism (and other eastern philosophies with the exception of Confucianism) stresses a vertical relationship between man and the universe whereas Christianity stresses a horizontal relationship between men; and it is in this space that morality resides.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Asia, Caste, China, Christianity, Hinduism, India, Islam, Middle East and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Critiquing Hindu Ethics – Part 2

  1. Eren Jäger says:

    Damn, its 9/11 today, so right now my anger isn’t too focused on Hindoos, but just to let y’all know Spammer Manny has been BANNED from Roberto’s site. Spammer Manny was an annoying Hindu guy, and it is great that he has been silenced.

    No to caste!

    • Dota says:

      Yeah I saw. These Internet Hindus wreck every blog they touch, and I suspect that is their goal. Manny isn’t banned here however, so we probably haven’t seen the last of him.

      • Eren Jäger says:

        Rise Of The Banned Manny—The Legendary Spammer Chronicles Part 2!—By Manuel de Dikheados los Assholios.

      • Eren Jäger says:

        Right now in the very class I am sitting in and typing this on my phone (Social Studies), we are learning about the amazing Ancient India, and how modern Indians are poor victims of British colonialistic oppression. Fuck this shit, why can’t we learn about Wagner, Christopher Columbus, or Aristotle instead?

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        Because Eren, you must have it instilled in you that oppression is endemic to white people.

  2. Batterytrain says:

    This blog doesn’t get enough attention and traffic to warrant visitations from trolls like him. You guys need more posters and blog traffic so you need to get down and dirty like Robert to attract more posters. The numerous flame wars between the posters was what attracted so much attention, Xera vs Huax, Xera vs Hacienda, Bag vs Hacienda, Xera vs East Asian nationalists, Wade/Bag vs Huax, Robert vs Hinduvta’s, Cyrus vs Hindu’s, Cyrus vs Muslims, JohnUK. Andyboy, Heg, were entertaining and hilarious at the same time. It’s quality entertainment like that that you don’t get on other blogs.

    • miki says:

      Xera ,why you aren’t honest and admit this is you posting in other name? you have been giving us clues to notice it

      • miki says:

        Hi back Eren ; Besides and in topic with this post, i though MOKSHA was the final goal of Hinduism…

      • Eren Jäger says:

        miki, are you Indian? Did you study South Asian history in college? How are you so knowledgable on these topics?

      • Batterytrain says:

        Unfortunately I am not 😦

        But you sound like a Hindu or another version sock pocket of narutoo

      • miki says:

        Eren have you ever Heard of the phrase “Women like to be listened to” ? i am a bit ofended because i have explained my background already, don’t ask a woman the same question ,that shows you don’t pay attention to her, and i don’t know what are you talking about Xera / Batterytrain

      • Eren Jäger says:

        miki, I don’t remember personal info very well. I am not a people person; because if I was, I would be outside talking to real people instead of scanning the blogosphere desperately looking for a few friends like Robert Lindsay who have time to waste by chatting with me. And yes, Xera is Batterytrain, but a few flame wars here and there don’t hurt. Now the level of wars on Bob’s site is RIDICULOUS.

      • batterytrain says:

        LoL what makes you guys think I am Xera? Was it because I mentioned Asians?

      • Eren Jäger says:

        1; You called me by my old name Coward

        2; You spoke about Roosh

        3; Same modus operandi

        4; You think Asians are unattractive

        5; You talk a lot about Islam

        6; You talk a lot about the Middle East

        7; You are extremely familiar with all the old Bobby commentors.

      • miki says:

        I am sorry, we women are more emotional, so many of us don’t like to be asked the same question, we feel we aren’t really listened and it hurts.
        About Batterytrain (Xera ) we was really clueless
        8) he spoke about Anatoly Karlin ( Xera said Anatoly was one of his favorite blogs)
        9) “Do you go visit forum.biodiversity by any chance btw?” (written by Batterytrain (Xera) )
        not many people know about forum.biodiversity, Xera talked about that page many times and said is 1 of his favorites 🙂

      • Alice says:

        Miki you should be even more offended than a bit, according to Eren he is such a genious IQ, how can someone so intelligent forget things so easy? unless Eren is lying about his IQ

      • miki says:

        Lol ,why people can’t be more honest? difficult to trust people, both Xera and Eren lying about something, i didn’t believe either about his supposed genious IQ anyways, but good observation Alice to be sure about it.

      • Eren Jäger says:

        I am being honest miki-girl. I do have a genius IQ. Genius is over 140 and my IQ is 165. My visuospatial was as high as 181. Not on a Terrance Tao level but at a Stephen Hawkings level and above John Forbes Nash.

      • miki says:

        And in fact, i am the Queen of England…

      • Remenber the clues we discovered about Batterytrain (Xera). ; )

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      The way I see it, as long as we continue to produce interesting and insightful material, we’ll draw the traffic in time.

      A few amusing fools will be permitted for a time, but I will not allow this blog to transform into a cesspool of petty flame wars and bickering.

  3. mixedraced says:

    The world is past saving. People enjoy conflict BECAUSE it gives them reasons for living. Without something to fight against there is no objective in life. Even in education the goal is to compete to get higher qualifications than everyone else. Every single industry developed on earth did so because of competition and conflict. The human race would be stagnant without it.

    • Dota says:

      And that is why Man was kicked out of the garden of Eden.

      Captain Kirk said it best: Maybe we weren’t meant for paradise. Maybe we were meant to fight our way through, struggle, claw our way up, scratch for every inch of the way. Maybe we can’t stroll to the music of the lute. We must march to the sound of drums.

  4. Priyamvada Jain says:

    There are a lot of misconceptions about Hinduism in this but these are the 3 main ones;

    1. “There is no afterlife in Hinduism and rebirth is always on earth. ”

    Incorrect.

    2. “Hinduism, on the other hand, is essentially pessimistic. It teaches that human life is totally and irremediably evil.”

    Incorrect. And he seems to be channeling “original sin” with this. In Hinduism human life is considered rare, a golden oppurtunity to achieve divine status while embodied.

    “Every power of the soul must be exercised in the endeavour to shake off this terrible burden of separate human existence and escape all the conditions of this life.”

    That sounds more like the duality of Christianity to me. Was the author a Christian?

    3. “If the world is truly ‘irremediably evil’ and if the goal of existence is to seek liberation from it, why bother making it a better place? Why strive for morality and social justice?”

    I’ve already established that the Hindu view is not that the world is “irremediably evil”. In fact, its not evil at all.

    While it is true that there is a place for vairagya, or renunciation of the world, within Hinduism, it is during old age when sannyasa is recommended. Until then, in the grihasta stage, one is expected to be fully engaged with the world in an ethical manner that incorporates morality and justice.

    • Dota says:

      Actually Hinduism does see the world in a negative light, why else is the ultimate religious goal ”liberation” from the world? The constant cycles of birth and rebirth have created a nagging pessimism that is clearly expressed in Hindu temple art (I’ll be doing a post on that soon). Hinduism defines suffering as a set of conditions that originate in the Human condition, ie: old age, sickness, death, birth, hunger ect… The ancient Hindus never saw a connection between human inequity and suffering, and as such, Ethics were never internal to Hinduism’s salvation schema (although Hinduism does specify a set of ethical rules). The only way to escape the human condition is to escape the world. I cannot think of a more pessimistic religion.

      • Priyamvada Jain says:

        “I cannot think of a more pessimistic religion.”

        Christianity, which teaches we are born “sinful” and will go to hell for eternity if we do not accept Jesus Christ as our savior, no matter if we are the most compassionate and good will working human on the planet, is the most pessimistic religion I have ever come across in my life.

        Even Satanism is more life affirming.

      • Priyamvada Jain says:

        “Actually Hinduism does see the world in a negative light, why else is the ultimate religious goal ”liberation” from the world?”

        Because this is a world of duality. There is both positive and negative in the finite existence. However, one can achieve liberation from the duality while still embodied. Moksha does not necessitate death and the emergence of a new spiritual body in a “paradise” or “heaven”. Nor does it necessitate the death of someone else, their resurrection, a rapture or armageddon,

        All it necessitates is you and a personal willingness to go beyond finite dualities.

      • Dota says:

        Christian doctrine states that mankind can overcome sin by acting in a godly fashion, or by imitating God by imitating the virtue of Christ. All men are created equal, and in the image of God, and can strive towards self betterment. Christianity links ethics to piety whereas Hinduism divorces ethics from piety. This is why Christianity does away with ritual, to retain a stronger focus on ethics. If you want to attain salvation in Christianity you must forgive those that wrong you, feed the hungry and clothe the poor. You can’t attain salvation in this religion by merely jumping into a holy river, or meditating in the mountains. Ethics and piety are linked. Christianity encourages empathy for others, Hinduism is solipsistic. Christianity encourages fraternity, Hinduism encourages separation.

        Moshka/liberation is a metaphysical space which is beyond the realm of ethics. This is why I keep saying that ethics aren’t internal to Hinduism. Moshka is essentially a union with Brahman, where the drop merges into the ocean. It is a passive bliss. One surrenders one’s identity, will, and rational autonomy. These three however are the key components of morality, all of which Hinduism aims to suppress.

      • Priyamvada Jain says:

        “Christian doctrine states that mankind can overcome sin by acting in a godly fashion, or by imitating God by imitating the virtue of Christ.”

        False. Christian doctrine says ALL humans are born “sinful” and can only overcome their fallen, sinful nature-state by “accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior” – in other words, by converting to the religion of Christianity. Those who do not do so are bound for Hell.

        “Moshka/liberation is a metaphysical space which is beyond the realm of ethics.”

        This is true. However the 4 purusharthas are

        Dharma
        Artha
        Kama
        Moksha

        Moksha is last.

        Dharma is first because it is the basis of the 4.

        Those who achieve moksha while embodied are expected to conduct themselves dharmically, as an example for others as well as out of humility for oneself.

      • Dota says:

        Liberation is the ultimate goal of Hinduism, liberation from the world and the cycles of birth and rebirth. Caste determines duty (dharm) which is fulfilled by action (Karma). This vertical scheme has little to do with ethics. This isn’t very hard to follow.

        False. Christian doctrine says ALL humans are born “sinful” and can only overcome their fallen, sinful nature-state by “accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior”

        That’s only partially true. One must act in a godly way as well.

        Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

        Also from Matthew 25:35

        35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

        37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

        40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

        In other words, one has to love one’s fellow man if one is to love God. Christianity links ethics to piety. Hinduism in its eternal solipsism does not.

        Read this to see how Indians behave in comparison to Canadians in the context of helping the less fortunate.

  5. Priyamvada Jain says:

    “That’s only partially true.”

    So you admit that Christian doctrine is a morbid one of “either accept this religion or go to hell”.

    ” One must act in a godly way as well. ”

    Obviously its assumed one would do that after converting, but before converting, no matter how godly one acts, they will still “go to hell” if they do not convert to Christianity, according to Christian doctrine.

    There is no positive view of humanity in this whatsoever.

    This is one of the many reasons why Christian doctrine has been dying in the West for the last 100 years. It doesn’t make any sense, nor is it life affirming.

    • Dota says:

      religion A: Convert to religion A, feed the poor, give charity to the orphans so you go to heaven.

      religion B: Non Bs are not damned to hell, but you are not compelled to help your fellow man either so long as you blindly submit to caste dictates.

      I pick religion A

      This is one of the many reasons why Christian doctrine has been dying in the West for the last 100 years.

      Western culture is Christian culture. You see it in the order and symmetry of their cities, the etiquette and consideration for your neighbour, the civic sense, the appreciation of nature. Non of this exists in Indian culture yet you go on defending it for reasons unknown. If you love India so much, you should be there right now. Give it up.

      • Priyamvada Jain says:

        Excuse me? Where have I “gone on defending Indian culture”?

        “I pick religion A”

        Why pick either? What is your motivation in doing so?

        What I am doing is showing that you are wrong about Christian doctrine. It is not at all life or humanity affirming.

        Caste is not at all central to moksha. In fact if one identifies with caste, much less if one is obsessed with it, one is not mokshit.

        The Gita speaks of varna, which are 4, and which are general universal divisions of labor. They are determined by guna and karma. Not janma. The Gita also speaks of ashram, which are 4.

        Together this is varnashrama dharma.

        There is Dharma with a capital D and dharma with a small d. Dharma is general and applies to all, while dharma is specific and applies to one’s stage of life.

        The dharma of a brahamchari is different than that of a grihasta. However their Dharma is the same. When a brahmachari moves into grihasta life then her dharma will be that of wife and mother (or husband and father). While single and childless, one does not take up grihasta dharma.

        However the universal Dharmas as described in the Gita, are common to all; compassion, mercy, charity, honesty, simplicity, etc.

        The nature of the Dharma changes with one’s stage of life. A grihasta has a certain type of charity (such as food and clothing) to give while a sannyasi has another (such as gyan) to give. Charity must be given, the nature of it will depend on one’s resources.

      • Dota says:

        I know all of this, and it doesn’t change anything.

      • Priyamvada Jain says:

        “I pick religion A”

        Yet again I ask:

        Why pick either?

  6. Priyamvada Jain says:

    We know you married or are going to marry a Desi Muslim girl from a similar background as yourself, is she also the same caste as you? Close to it?

  7. Pingback: Strange bedfellows: Deconstructing the alliance between Hindutva (hindu nationalism) and Jewry | Occident Invicta, the unconquered west

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s