Sunday, June 9, 2013

The difference between Dharma Yuddha and Jihad



 

Many people from very diverse quarters say that all religions have a concept of “holy war”. In this, at least, they are all equal. Thus, the recent cases of self-defence against Muslim attacks by Buddhists in Thailand and Myanmar are taken to prove that even the ostensibly non-violent Buddhists have their notion of “holy war”, now on display. Similarly Hinduism has its own dharma yuddha, literally (they say) “religious war”.

Some add that the one exception to this rule, hence the most peaceful religion of all, is Islam. We have all heard about jihad, thinking this is the “holy war” par excellence, but now we are told that we have been mistaken all along. Even Osama bin Laden didn’t know true Islam, he was wholly wrong about the meaning of jihad. They assure us that jihad is merely an inner struggle against the evil in ourselves, not a war against unbelievers. At the very most, it can be a struggle in self-defence when the unbelievers attack us. Let us see what the truth of this can be.

 

Dharma Yuddha

The proverbial war in the Hindu worldview is the great war of the Bharata clan, on which the mega-epic Mahabharata elaborates. This epic philosophizes profusely on the principles of dharma yuddha even as it describes the successive episodes of a real-life war. Yuddha means “struggle, war”. Dharma, “sustenance, that which sustains”, effectively means “maintaining the correct relation between the part and the whole”, “playing your specific role in the whole that you are part of”. It approximately means both “religion” in the sense of “relating to the cosmos” and “ethics” in the sense of “correctly relating to the beings around you”. Dharma yuddha means “struggle in accordance with ethics/Dharma”, “chivalrous war”. But does the epic describe a dharma yuddha at all?

First off, there is no religious conflict on the horizon. The Bharata war pits two branches of the same family against each other. They practise the same religious tradition, just as they have the same teachers, live in the same area, speak the same language and share the same ethnicity. Clearly, dharma yuddha does not mean “war against the unbelievers”. No command is given anywhere to take up hostilities with a religious out-group, nor with any linguistic or ethnic or any other group either. Coincidence has it that two groups of cousins are in a position to compete for the same throne, and attempts at finding a peaceful compromise fail.

But secondly, the actual war is only partly a dharma yuddha. The rules for a dharma yuddha are articulated, but fall into disuse the longer the battle rages. The reader is treated to a complete contemplation of the principles of dharma yuddha, but the epic’s characters are shown as practising them less and less. During the build-up to the war, the Pandava brothers with their friend and adviser Krishna make several attempts to solve the conflict peacefully, and are rebuked by their Kaurava cousins even when they express willingness to make great concessions. They only resolve to make war once they have no other option. And even when the war starts, Arjuna finds all kinds of reasons to forfeit his claim and withdraw from the battle, until Krishna convinces him that it has become necessary.

During the war, however, they let the rules of “justice in war” relax gradually, commensurate with the other party’s breaches of the code of chivalry. Thus, when the enemies’ leader Duryodhana has fallen from his chariot, the rule that someone in an incapacitated state should not be attacked, would normally apply. Yet, Krishna orders to strike him while he is down. Duryodhana had been a party to the forced disrobing of princess Draupadi, an un-ethical act, so Krishna is not impressed when he now invokes the well-known rules of ethical warfare: “Where was your Dharma then?” So, the other side’s breaches of Dharma are increasingly used as a justification for breaking Dharma too.

The battle rages for eighteen days. The change it has wrought, is best realized by Krishna’s brother Balarama, who has missed the battle. He has gone on pilgrimage along the Saraswati river and returns just at the end of the hostilities. He is amazed and indignant at the size of the destruction and the decline into non-Dharmic behaviour. But that is how war goes: at the start, as in 1914, you march off with a flower in your gun, singing songs of victory, you even play football with the enemy soldiers during breaks; but as soon as you have seen some of your comrades die, you get angry and eager for revenge by any means, so war becomes more cruel the longer it lasts.

The epic is by no means a children’s story in black and white, or a hagiography for a saintly Krishna. The bad guys always have a decent motive or a legitimate excuse for their conduct (for instance, Duryodhana has welcomed the illegitimate son Karna after the latter was spurned by the Pandavas), and the good guys have their own past to blame for the misfortunes that befall them. They are all far from perfect, and the dharma yuddha is an ideal which they try to uphold as long as the going is good, but which they betray more and more as the battle gets grimmer. 

 The concept of Dharma Yuddha is akin to the later European concept of Just War. The Just War theory is linked with names like Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Hugo Grotius. It lays down that war should only be started in self-defence, after attempts at a peaceful solution, and with a real chance of victory. During the war, the means used should be commensurate with the aim, non-combatants should be spared, and peace overtures from the other side should be answered. The same principles are already articulated briefly in the Dhanurveda and the Mahabharata.

 

Jihad

In Islam, the first blood that flows is that of an unbeliever who laughs at the Muslims praying with their bottoms up in the air: he is hit by the Muslims with an animal’s bone. There is no trace of self-defence: an unbeliever exercises his freedom of expression and the Muslims decide to become violent. Later, Mohammed would have a handful of critics assassinated and another handful formally executed. This is the model and justification for the murders or attempted murders of writers, cartoonists, film-makers and other critics of Islam during the modern age.

When Mohammed and his followers migrate to Medina, they are welcomed but soon realize that unlike the natives, they have no source of income. So, they start attacking caravans. Mohammed is credited with organising 82 raids (ghazwa, hence also razzia) and with leading 26 of them in person. The passengers were held in captivity until their families paid the ransom. Mohammed gave permission to his men to rape their hostages. At first he instructed them to practise coitus interruptus (often cited in pro-Islamic arguments as proof of how progressive Mohammed was, even condoning birth control!), later he decided that it didn’t matter.

These raids set the pattern for “holy war” against the unbelievers. They were called jihad fi sabil Allah, “exertion on the path of Allah”. Mohammed used the money gained to buy weapons and horses to equip his growing army. Nothing “internal” there, no character struggle against the evil tendencies within oneself, only an external military endeavour. Given the repeated Muslim initiative to strike first, it is also not required that the other side commits aggression; self-defence is no requirement. All Mohammed’s subsequent struggles against various categories of unbelievers are called jihad. So we have it on Mohammed’s own testimony that jihad means a military struggle against the unbelievers.

When Islamic or pro-Islamic apologists (such as David Cameron in May 2013, after a British soldier was murdered by two Muslims in Woolwich) say that an act of violence against unbelievers is a “betrayal of Islam”, they imply that an Islamic court would punish the murderers. But in fact, before an Islamic judge, the culprits could easily invoke the precedent behaviour of Mohammed himself. The words and acts of the Prophet are the basis of Islamic law. All fatwa-s (juridical advice) ultimately answer the question in this form: what has Mohammed done in a similar situation? The only reason for doubt in some judges’ mind could be that in a particular case, an act of violence would yield such negative publicity as to do Islam more harm than good. But the mere fact that the Islamic cause was furthered by violence against the unbelievers would be a sound emulation of the Prophet’s precedent. Whether it was strategically wise to kill soldier Lee Rigby (and thus mobilize British public opinion against Islam) is questionable, which is why the British Muslim Council tried to limit the damage by falsely swearing that the act was un-Islamic; but it was at any rate fully in accordance with Mohammed’s precedent and hence with Islamic law (shari’a).     

There are hundreds of farewell letters, farewell video and suicide notes in which Islamic fighters and terrorists explicitly say that they are going to pay the ultimate price for the sake of Islam. For instance, Mohammed Atta of 9/11 fame and Mohammed Bouyeri, who killed Theo van Gogh, said that Islam made them do it. Not “Islamism” or “fundamentalism” but Islam. I take them seriously and believe them at their word. By contrast, the “experts” overrule these men’s first-hand testimony and assure us that it may have been any reason but not Islam.

Wherefrom then the claim that this jihad is merely the “little jihad”, while the real jihad or “great jihad” is an internal struggle? Firstly, note that all the above is not really being denied by this claim. Jihad is relabelled as  “little jihad”, but is acknowledged nonetheless. Preachers who have to motivate their flock to overcome the evil tendencies in themselves like to picture this as a heroic enterprise, so they compare it to a war. But of course, the metaphor of a figurative holy war is only possible because the physical holy war exists.

The comparison happens to be particularly popular in Sufism, a movement originating in the grey zone around Islam. Mostly, Sufism drew from East-Persian Buddhism and from Turkic Shamanism. The ecstatic trance pursued by the “whirling dervishes” is nothing but the shamanic trance witnessed in e.g. Genghis Khan. The fana’ (annihilation) described by the Sufi poets is an adaptation of the Buddhist nirvana. This preservation of non-Islamic influences was aptly recognized by wary Islamic theologians. Mansur al-Hallaj was beheaded for saying: Ana’l Haqq (“I am the True One”/Allah), an adaptation of the Upanishadic saying Aham Brahmasmi, “I am Brahma”. Only after Sufism was sufficiently assimilated did orthodox Muslims judge it useful for propaganda purposes among the masses.

With success, for Sufi music, though only superficially Islamic, is very popular in Pakistan and Bollywood. Sufi phrases have hoodwinked many would-be “experts” into exclaiming that here is the “real, peaceful Islam”. In reality, Sufis mostly became sweet-talking Muslims who were just as hard-headed when it came to fighting the infidels. The Sufi master Muinuddin Chishti, venerated even by silly Hindus, acted as a motivator and spy in the conquest of North India by Mohammed Ghori. At any rate, if you think that “peace” and “inner struggle” are the real Islam, take the test and try to convince a shari’a court that war against the unbelievers is un-Islamic.

 

Khalistani dharma yuddh

The Sikhs are a Hindu sect particularly devoted to Vishnu in his incarnations as Rama and Krishna. Most of the Sikh Gurus are named after them, e.g. Guru Govind Singh was named after Krishna, the “cowherd” (govind). He founded a military order, the Khalsa, in order to defend “Hindu dharma”. But in the 19th century, the Sikhs, with their history of resistance against the Moghul empire, saved many British colonizers during the Mutiny, perceived as an attempt to restore the Moghul empire. Out of gratitude, the British decided to upgrade Sikhism, not just by reserving many army jobs for Sikhs, but by turning Sikhism into a separate religion.

This Sikh separatism caught on, and by the 1920s Sikhism was led by a faction pushing for a distinct religious identity. Since they could not start altering their holy Granth, a collection of hymns with Hindu themes, and standing proof of Sikhism’s Hindu character, they altered or reinterpreted everything else. Thus, for their holiest shrine, the Sanskrit name Hari Mandir (“Vishnu temple”) was replaced with the Urdu name Darbar Sahib (“revered court-session”). Hindu icons such as the Vishnu statue in the Hari Mandir were removed, along with the Brahmins serving them. To take distance from Hinduism, Islamic concepts were borrowed or Hindu terms were reinterpreted in an Islamic sense. Thus, an Islamic fatwa became the Sikh hukumnama (“command-letter”).

In this climate, it was inevitable that among separatist Sikhs, dharma yuddha (in its Panjabi pronunciation: dharam yuddh) would be emptied of its Hindu content and take on the meaning of jihad: war against the unbelievers. In India this means in effect: war against the Hindus.  In the 1980s, this term was used for the wave of terrorism against the Indian state and for the creation of a Sikh state called Khalistan (“land of the pure”). This struggle was supported by the global hub of terrorism, Pakistan (also “land of the pure”), eventhough there is a historical hostility between the Sikh community and Pakistan, the successor state of the Moghul empire. It also had the sympathy of many Sikhs in the West as well as from poorly informed Westerners. Though the Khalistani struggle in India died out in the early 1990s, there still are some centres of Khalistani ideology in the West.

The Khalistanis’ sense of religion is proverbially crude. This recrudescence resonates well with the cluelessness about the fine points of religion among the “secularist” class, which holds the reins of power in India. Every hazy prejudice by a Western tourist can also be heard from the mouth of Indian journalists and cabinet ministers. Government-sanctioned schoolbooks teach that all religions are basically the same. They are all assumed to preach government-sanctioned ethics and, except for casteist Hinduism, they are all presented as egalitarian. Since the existence of jihad cannot be entirely denied to any Indian who follows the news, the next line of defence is to shield Islam from criticism by alleging that all religions are the same. One way to do this is to spread the false notion of “Hindu terrorism”, another is to blur the terminology and equate Hindu “chivalrous war” with Islamic “holy war”. The use of dharma yuddha as a synonym of jihad, “war against the unbelievers”, is unhistorical and incorrect.

17 comments:

Adityapuram S Mahadevan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ShankaraBharadwaj Khandavalli said...

Dharma as religion is a problematic translation - if Dharma yuddha is literally "religious war", how can its biggest examples be not religious in character?

Religious war whether it is crescentade or crusade, is a "mata yuddha", not "dharma yuddha". Essentially it amounts to fighting to defend your religion or for foisting it on others.

Dharma yuddha by definition is fought for a dhArmik cause, a war *for justice* and not a war *for religion*.

kk said...

Dear Dr. Elst, I think, you meant Karna instead of Duryodhana in the fourth paragraph.

Sincerely,
poulami

Karthikrajan said...

sir,
Good one. And, how do the muslim apologetics explain the 'internal jihaad' of sunni terrorists out to purify muslims by eliminating other muslim sects? Do they acknowledge this as jihaad or do they call it just an aberration ? Really pathetic !
@ Adityapuram S Mahadevan: No big deal about your malayali Christian friend philosophising on the kurukshetra war. These guys were hindus who converted to churchianity, and their muddle headedness can rival their guides and gurus. His observations are not quite correct because the Pandavas didn’t wage war to obtain a land to perform their dharama of ruling or lording. It was more for survival as it became apparent that dhuryodhana’s real intention was to eliminate the pandavas. Whereas all other great wars were imperialistic in nature where might is always right and people don’t bother to analyse the ethics and morals behind it, the kurukshetra war was a family fight where the citizens, well wishers, loyalists couldn’t take sides easily . Every group had to analyse their role & reason in detail before extending their support since both warring factions were dear to them. Hence the ultimate deciding factor was dharma which encompasses the words nyaaya (justice) and sathya (truth) . It became a war for the sake of truth and justice and not a war to verify war-dharma. ‘Bend, do not break’ is the famous line in the Hollywood film ‘chaos’, Krishna just did that long ago. Since the forces of adharma were formidable , Krishna bent a few rules and waged psychological warfare to put down valiant kaurava warriors one by one. The Americans did something similar in WW-2 by nuking the Japanese public. Critics question the role of dhrona and bheeshma as to why they didn’t try to stop the bloodshed by threatening to switch sides or at least remain neutral though they were convinced that dhuryodhana was behaving unjustly. But these two were playing the role according to their dharma: that of fighting alongside their king, otherwise they would be called traitors or cowards. Moreover they could always help the cause of pandava’s dharma by indulging in ‘match fixing’ , i.e, by underperforming in the war in a way no one would be able to notice, though nothing of that sort is suggested in the text. Nevertheless, bheeshma does play a trick by insulting karna and keeping him out of the war thereby reducing the formidability of the kauravas. Call it ‘bheeshma-dharma’ , nothing wrong !!, but has anyone noticed this ?

Rita Narayanan said...

Internal Yuddha of the spirit:

Spirituality, with due respect has become somewhat of a joke in India, the mad rush towards "Sufism" is one such chapter in this sad comedy.A large number of the upper class elite are all sufis and followers of the Buddha.

Mr Elst should really write about the gradations of gurus in ancient India... ones who fulfilled social functions in the court & gurukulas and the hermits who had to be searched for.

spirituality is about Moses confronting the comforts of Pharoah's city on one side and the hostile desert on the other.

All the old tough traditions that people often respected in south Indian temples are superficially present but not in spirit... the loss of wisdom and quietness(not in the Gandhian sense)in Hinduism.

Thanks for another excellent post!

Rita Narayanan said...

The "breaking" of the rules by Krishna:

The society at the time of the Mahabharata was far more degenerate than the Ramayana, therefore the codes too were subject to a great deal of manipulation thus the need to weigh the characters, situations and break rules to arrive at a more dharmic result.

Even in the Ramayana,a Bharata was not very pliant about the wishes of the "elders" when it came to the exile of Rama.Despite all the obeisances paid to elders and such, he saw the whole matter as essentially adharmic.

Trailer of Dharma said...

Dr. Koenraad Elst
.
Many Thanks for taking up this topic. Just wanted to inform the learned Jirga here that I too had posted on the topic: http://bit.ly/16ehVJi
.
"Dharma Yuddha vs. Jihad"
.
I had also posted it on RajivMalhotraDiscussion Yahoo group
.
Will try to understand your perspective and then give my comments!

Trailer of Dharma said...

Something I had written, which aligns with your model:

"Violence prescribed in Bhagavad Gita is dependent only on the (adharmic) actions of others and not based on one's religious identity, affiliation or beliefs, as long as such beliefs do not advocate violence on this basis."

There are many contexts in which one can understand Dharma, but usually for us the most relevant is as meta-ethics.

Dharma as meta-ethics:
http://bit.ly/14gGxM2

While one can translate "Dharma Yuddha" as "Just War", it would lack spiritual and philosophical sanction as one understands under "Dharma"! But looked at practically, one can call it "Just War"

ysv_rao said...

I would like to take this opportunity to utter a kind for the much derided Manu. I think his was the only text in the ancient world which prescribed very strict rules not against harming not just civilians but also unfairly attacking other soldiers off guard.

So an infantryman could only fight an infantry ,cavalry could only attack cavalry ,an elephant mount only another mount and so on.
Furthermore neither party could take advantage of another when disarmed and go for the kill.

Not a very practical way to fight, but after all grim reading re his opinion on lower castes, its good to see his humane side

अश्वमित्रः said...

[Whereas all other great wars were imperialistic in nature where might is always right and people don’t bother to analyse the ethics and morals behind it]

Such an enormous reckless generalization would be meaningless even if it were written by a historian.

[Every group had to analyse their role & reason in detail before extending their support since both warring factions were dear to them.]

I may be wrong, but I don't remember a description of this kind of national soul-searching being carried out by the enormous number of allies listed in the Udyogaparva, including, notoriously, even the Chinese, who I believe fought on the side of the Kauravas, and who are described in what is for me one of the epic's most haunting and beautiful verses. My recollection is that the allies are simply listed without any explanation of their motives. They seem to be allies like any other in a war of succession like any other. I recall that the process of empire-building described in the epic is the conventional one: military conquest. Nothing wrong with that.

[Krishna bent a few rules and waged psychological warfare to put down valiant kaurava warriors one by one. The Americans did something similar in WW-2 by nuking the Japanese public.]

Since the American atom-bombing of Japan is frequently and rightly cited in India and around the world as "one of the most unspeakable crimes in history" (to use Noam Chomsky's phrase), I would think that this comparison could turn out to be a little controversial. Yet it is to be remembered that the Kurukshetra war was a holocaust of a magnitude unknown in history until the nuclear holocausts of the modern period (which have not happened yet): I can't remember the remarkably precise figure given in I think Ashvamedhikaparva, but it's well over a billion (not surprisingly, it's Yudhishthira who has been keeping count).

ysv_rao said...

Spirituality, with due respect has become somewhat of a joke in India, the mad rush towards "Sufism" is one such chapter in this sad comedy.A large number of the upper class elite are all sufis and followers of the Buddha."

The real joke is weasel words like "spirituality". This word has done more damage to the modern world and the role of religion therein than any atheistic tyrannical regimes have managed.

ysv_rao said...

[Whereas all other great wars were imperialistic in nature where might is always right and people don’t bother to analyse the ethics and morals behind it]

AM:Such an enormous reckless generalization would be meaningless even if it were written by a historian.

[Every group had to analyse their role & reason in detail before extending their support since both warring factions were dear to them.]

AM:I may be wrong, but I don't remember a description of this kind of national soul-searching being carried out by the enormous number of allies listed in the Udyogaparva, including, notoriously, even the Chinese, who I believe fought on the side of the Kauravas, and who are described in what is for me one of the epic's most haunting and beautiful verses. My recollection is that the allies are simply listed without any explanation of their motives. They seem to be allies like any other in a war of succession like any other. I recall that the process of empire-building described in the epic is the conventional one: military conquest. Nothing wrong with that.

ysvrao: One of tribes is mentioned as Chin,included in the janapadas therefore an Indian poeple, who fought for the Kauravas, they could be proto Chinese or perhaps not related to them at all. So far the Chinese Han people dont trace their origin to India. It is not out of chauvinism as they revere India as the land of Buddha. Declassified documents reveal that Chairman Mao was hesistant about disprespecting and invading India as he saw it as the land of Buddha to which Chinese civilization owed a lot. Chairman Mao of all people!

Indian empire builders with exceptions of Sagara,Chandragupta Maurya, Chandragupta I,Vikramidtya and Rajaraja Chola were focussed on empires with in India and its janapadas. The aformentioned kings were anomalies as they were one of the few who conquered foreign lands.

[Krishna bent a few rules and waged psychological warfare to put down valiant kaurava warriors one by one. The Americans did something similar in WW-2 by nuking the Japanese public.]

AM:Since the American atom-bombing of Japan is frequently and rightly cited in India and around the world as "one of the most unspeakable crimes in history" (to use Noam Chomsky's phrase), I would think that this comparison could turn out to be a little controversial. Yet it is to be remembered that the Kurukshetra war was a holocaust of a magnitude unknown in history until the nuclear holocausts of the modern period (which have not happened yet): I can't remember the remarkably precise figure given in I think Ashvamedhikaparva, but it's well over a billion (not surprisingly, it's Yudhishthira who has been keeping count).

ysvrao: I wouldnt put too much stock in the opinions of Noam Chomsky. The abombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved countless lives as Japanese were prepared to fight to the point of extinction as per the Emperor's orders which easily raise the death toll of Japanese defenders and American invading forces perhaps in the millions.
Americans had already lost 50000 troops fighting in Okinawa. They werent in the mood for upto 15 times more casualties (estimated) in a mainland invasion scenario

There is also the little matter that the bombs were also a proto cold war display of American might by making the Soviets back of from their own invasion plans of Japan(Russians were still smarting from their defeat at the hands of Japan in 1905)

I wouldnt put too much stock in the numbers mentioned in Mahabharat.Much of it is really poetic conceit,they werent so many people in the whole world much less the subcontinent.

B.N.Gururaj said...

Only we the Hindus are capable of deluding ourselves into believing that Abrahamic Religions such as Islam and Christianity are peace-loving religions. Recently, I read a travelog by a silly Hindu who seems to worship Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Christ on the same alter in his house!

Karthikrajan said...

@अश्वमित्रः : [Such an enormous reckless generalization would be meaningless even if it were written by a historian.]
I will leave it to you to explain where you have discovered recklessness. For the record i am not a historian, just an engg. entrepreneur taking interest in history.
[I may be wrong, but I don't remember a description of this kind of national soul-searching being carried out..............]
Not exactly soul searching , but serious dilemma for the allies. Assuming that the chins were great friends of pandavas than kauravas , what dharma governed the chins in allying with kauravas? May not be a dharma, but simple psychology: ‘what right did the pandavas have to wage war after stupidly losing everything in a silly game of dice? Their predicament was entirely their own making.’ This is what upset the chins , and looking at the formidable kaurava army they quietly sided with it. This may not be mentioned in the text, but it is not too difficult to extrapolate. The same logic is used by the Dravidar kazhagam brand lunatics in the state of Tamilnadu to slam Hinduism in general as a blood thirsty religion.
[Since ........ is frequently and rightly cited in ........... "one of the most unspeakable crimes in history" (to use Noam Chomsky's phrase), I ................ little controversial]
I don’t see any controversy. World community has the right to be upset with the Americans but they can’t seriously complain. Provoking the public against a govt is the surest way to put an end to a war which an imperial power starts. And, this former imperial power simply refuses to learn any lesson. The jap premier continues to provoke the Chinese and Koreans with his yearly secret visit to the shrine dedicated to the ‘martyrs’ of the war. What martyrdom the japs discovered is still a mystery. So enraged are the Koreans that they work overtime to beat japan: Samsung must beat sony , Hyundai must beat Honda etc. The Americans can only be criticised , as a democratic nation , for not doing enough to check a nuclear arms race subsequently. But again, it is this arms race which sapped the soviets economically and blew away the commie myth of utopia.
Contrast this with our own imperial king Ashoka. His war with kalinga is supposed to have changed him drastically. I don’t know whether his kingdom expanded far and wide after the kalinga war or before. At least , we had an imperialist who was willing to learn his lesson !! Probably that is why staunch india loyalists call it ‘the land of dharma’.

ysv_rao said...

Contrast this with our own imperial king Ashoka. His war with kalinga is supposed to have changed him drastically. I don’t know whether his kingdom expanded far and wide after the kalinga war or before. At least , we had an imperialist who was willing to learn his lesson !! Probably that is why staunch india loyalists call it ‘the land of dharma’."

I remember reading about Ashoka in the book by Bhandarkar where he weighed Emperor Constantine and Ashoka,both associated with propagating a major missionary religion using their empire, and found Constantine wanting.
He reasoned that Constantine remained a cruel king and persecuted other faiths which Ashoka didnt.

I think there is a great deal of whitewashing of Ashoka. He was a far more cruel and bloodthirsty king than we are led to believe(he murdered all this brothers) but his transformation post Kalinga has been greatly exagerrated by pacifist historians.

For all the people who died in Kalinga which compelled Ashoka to examine his conscience and choice of faith, he never let Kalinga from his grasp.Same goes for the rest of his principalities.He continued to rule them with an iron hand as well as indulgin in his favorite peackock and deer meat until his death.

It was only after his death that the Empire began disintegrating.

And it was not due to Buddhism but simply a decline that is inevitable with all empires, this time assisted by a coup from a Brahmin general of foreign origins Pushyamitra Sunga.


Please note Buddhist Sri Lanka,Thailand and Imperial Japan had no qualms about using violence to achieve their political ends


romono said...

dr elst, any hindu taking on the virulent abrahamisms of this world, by means of armed resistance, would be participating in a dharma yuddha.

Prabhnoor Rangi said...

The attempt to finish Sikhs and Sikhi will be avenged by Nature (Akal Purakh).
Sickular govt is evil. South Asian intelligence is non-existent.
Who are the traitors responsible for trying to make Sikhs and Sikhi extinct?
I like Sanskrit but my first love is for Gurmukhi Panjabi. We need Dharam. Only Dharam can defeat jihad and other similar terrors. Xtian missionizing is a form of spiritual terror. Vadakayil doesn't know much about Sikhi but he is right in calling S. Gandhi "waitress turned empress". She is ruining our precious Aryavarta.
We need someone like Prabhupad and Raja Janak so all our Sita's are safe and sound at all times.
Monsanto and other agents of terror trying to poison Aryavarta are headed for Dharam Raj's courthouse. Clearly there is no justice to be found on this planet.