Buddhism as Simplified, Modified Hinduism

vhpa_logoBuddhism as Simplified, Modified Hinduism

Now-a-days, many in the West, and particularly most of the intellectuals in the United States and Europe, feel disenchanted about the orthodox Christianity – what with the unscientific elements the Bible abounds with, and what with the memory of extreme repressive and violent measures against scientists and others in the Middle-Ages. A significant segment of such people, searching for genuine and rational spirituality, feels inclined towards the simple and down-to-the-earth philosophy of Buddhism. Most of these people are totally unaware of the intimate relationship of Buddhism with the mother-religion: Hinduism, however. We, the Hindu community of USA, could have a special role to play in this connection: to make our open-minded American friends familiar with the profound way Buddha adopted the basic Hindu precepts, albeit with certain important modifications and exceptions, to suit his times, and under inspiration and motivation gained by his personal life-experience. First, imagine the case of Prince Gautam Siddhartha, brought up by his parents in utmost luxury and opulence, shielded within the walls of the royal palace, with absolutely no trace of sorrow and unhappiness. Then, suddenly he is exposed to miseries of life in the form of sickness, old-age, and death, in course of his tour of the city, as goes the legend. The deep shock and mental disturbance in his inner-most psyche can only be imagined. This sea-change leads him to form his first and foremost tenet: “Life inevitably entails sorrow and misery.” Renouncing the world, as he relentlessly travels to, and studies in, Kashi and other centers of learning, he undoubtedly must have come across the teachings of Bhagvad-Geeta (BG), pronouncing in no uncertain terms that the source of sorrow is human mind’s endless desires, that to mitigate and eliminate sorrow and delusion toward achieving inner peace and Moksha or ‘Nirvana’ is to seek freedom from mind’s web of desires:

“Prajahati yada kamaan sarvan Partha manogataan; Aatmanyeva atmana tushah, tasya pajna pratisthita’’ and,

BG (2.55) “Esham Brahmi-sthiti Partha, nainam prapya vimuhyati, sthitva syamanta kaalepi BrahmaNirvan mrichhati.’’

BG (2.72) However, there was a great departure in his teaching as compared to the Geeta; he dealt with, and limited to, the raw material of earthly life only, without any reference to devotion and submission to Lord Krishna, or to the ‘Brahmi-sthiti’ based on a the Upanishadic concept of Brahman, or to any form of divinity whatsoever. As the popular saying goes, he remains totally silent about the whole question of God (and gods and goddesses.) What could be the reason for such a radical departure from the prevalent mores? (We continue this discussion in the next issue of the Hindu Vishwa, for space-


Second Hindu
Mandir Priests’ Conference Held in NY
The 2nd Hindu Mandir Priests’ Conference concluded at the Shri Surya Narayan Mandir at 92-17 172nd Street, Jamaica,

NY 11433, amidst joyful expressions of congratulations and handshakes for a highly successful event.  “It was a highly informative two days”, was the general refrain.