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December 16, 2009


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Interesting article. We should also recall the fact that the casts were not fixed back then. One could fall from one’s cast, but also rise to a higher cast. As an example, the great rishi Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata, was the illegitimate son of the daughter of a fisherman.

Moreover,wandering ascetics or sadhus like today's Naga Dasnamis are de facto beyond casts. They are commonly addressed to as Maharaj and may grant blessings or even perform rites like a Brahmin.

The main problem is that what we call the Hinduism today never existed as such in India (including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and part of Afganistan and Tibet)before the 19th century. Modern Hinduism has been largely inspired by the Brahmasamaj and the Aryasamaj, tainted with Victorian morality.

Philosophically, the Hindu orthodoxy has been defined by Adi Shakaracarya during the late 8th century, but scholars are well aware that Adi Shankaracarya and his guru Gaudapada were also largely inspired by Yogacara and Madhyamika. In a way, we could say that they reformed Hinduism with Buddhism. How could we really distinguish the two.



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