Arnab Sen wrote
This is a very insightful article. Please give detailed references.
J.venkata subramanian wrote
Excellent one ! But Mr Shiva Shankar, I have an intellectual dissection done on the Buddhist puzzle by none other than Sri Mahakavi Subrahmanya Bharati, that multi lingual, multi faceted genius poet who lived around the beginning of this century in Tamilnadu. He says in his introduction to his commentary on the Gita thus. (translation from Tamil is mine and I have added a few lines for clarity) "The other day, a friend argued with me in Karaikudi , that Hinduism never won over Buddhism and it was the Buddhism which won over the Hinduism. What a false hood? What we see today is that Buddhism got annihilated in its own birth place. How and why ? Buddhism, though had simplicity, austerity and preached peace, it brought a new dimension into Indian religious scene. That was "sannyasa" (renunciation). The people and the royalty were impressed by the ochre clad Buddhist Sanyasis. Till then India never knew of a renunciated cadre of people. All its rishis were family men. Though a few have been confirmed celibates and remained renounced of worldly life, yet Hindu samaj never knew renunciation the kind of which was introduced by Buddha Sangha. But, this charm never lasted long. What Buddhism preached was that this world was maya. many young men left home to become monks. Leaving the wife , who is the leading light of the home and society, Buddhist teachings were creating a great turmoil in society. Plus, it made the Monks the principal citizens of the state and the king and his subjects were faithful subordinates of the monks. The society naturally started to stink under this Sadhu darbar. Buddhism started to decline due to its own contradictions. At the same time, almost in all parts of India there arose an unprecedented movement called Bhakti movement. The seeds of this movement were there in Bhagavad Gita (3000 BC). The yagya based religion gave way to a temple based religion with Bhakti as its anchor was born. Shaivism and vaishnavism though older, now grew stronger. In the South, the nayanmars and Alwars rose and spread the Bhakti movement. They slammed the atheistic religions of Jainism and Buddhism and propagated the Bhakti religion. Agamas were written at the time to take the place of Vedas. The Agamas, though accepted varnas, never discriminated on caste lines. For example a lower caste Shudra can give dikhs to a brahmin and be his guru. This diksha parampara is still continuing. The glaring examples are the saiva mutts of Tamilnadu whose Gurus are all non brahmins ! But the most significant blow to Buddhism came from Sankara, the star of the resurgent Hinduism, the child saint , who wrote commentary on Upanishads, Gita and a host of scriptures and wrote numerous Hymns on Gods. It was Sankara who was instrumental in a systeamatic defeat of Buddhism. Sankara, showed that the Buddhist, theories of karma was not new to Hinduism. Second, he conclusively defeated the God less theories. Third, he legitimised the temple worship which was started with great fanfare by Nagarjuna of mahayana Buddhism. Hindus also started building temples and the chief attraction of Buddhism vanished. Most importantly, Sankara adapted Buddhist sanyasa hood but in a refined and modifed way to suit Hinduism. He established the dasanami order of monks which continues till today. Also he united and reorganised the 72 divisions in Hinduism and made the principal 6 religions. hence his name 'Shanmatha Stapaka Acharya". The Buddhists also accuse him as "prasanna Bouddha" ( the hidden Buddha). It may be true that some Puranas abuse Buddhism. But, the fact remains that Buddha is accepted as one of the avatars of Narayana . Every brahmin , in his sandhya , while doing sankalpa, says " bouddhavatare" to denote which avatar period he is in. Similarly Maddhwa and Ramanuja accounted for the remaining Buddhism and Jainism. The conquest of Buddhism was a peaceful one in most cases. The violence in some cases is not justified and avoidable as the religion itself was in decline as is the case of every religion who overemphasized its monks (like islam and Christianity). It is fashionable to say today that Hindus occupied Buddhist temples. This is a lie. Majority of Hindu temples are based on Hindu Agamas (tantric). Swamy Vivekananda has said that Puri Jagannath temple was a Buddhist temple. may be. But what will the people will do to a place which has no visitor ? occupy it because it was their money! But luckily India shrugged off Buddhism which would have become a drag on its people. In Burma , Tibet and lanka where it spread, the hold of the clergy on the society is very visible to this day. Venkat __._,_.___
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