After attaining enlightenment, Gautama Buddha never uttered anything critical of Sanatana Hinduism, Veda-s or even Manusmriti, for that matter. He was a highly enlightened reformer leading to social enrichment rather an iconoclast or a revolutionary. As a matter of fact, the sect now famous as Buddhism and ascribed to Gautama Buddha, was not even founded by the Tathagata. Gautama Buddha had never even heard of Mahaayaana, Heenayaana…or anything even similar to that. He was one of the greatest exponents of Vedic wisdom and sought to purge the contemporary society of social evils, superstitions, senseless violence, animal slaughter etc. He emphasized on re-visiting fundamental human values, also enshrined in Veda-s, as a measure of improvisation of quality of human existence and augmentation of objectivity, peace and bliss. He wished and proposed, we all precisely cognize real worth of human life, how to make it more beneficial unto others and how to realise that goal as effectively as possible. By elevating the level of consciousness, he preached to improve ones quality of existence.
As he was not an iconoclast, he did perceive profound merit hidden in the social order as prescribed in Manusmriti by Maharsi Manu for society of the era bygone. He did not find wisdom of Manusmriti at the root of prevailing social evils hence, did not oppose that in his life-time. However, social orders as advised in Manusmriti were later, subjected to manipulations, deliberate distortions, be an instrument of persecution of defenceless and those deprived of education under the torturous weight of human frailties as well as foreign invasions. All these collectively ravaged sanctity and sheen of the wisdom of Manusmriti, substituted Varna with caste particularly under British domination. With this unfortunate substitution of Varna by caste, the order of four Varna-s transformed into a potent instrument of persecution followed by degradation of Hindu society. Had this not really been forced upon us in such a macabre manner, internal natural remedial mechanism of Hindu society would have taken care of all distortions, anomalies in due course without allowing development of other anomalies as we behold today.
More under the influence of British domination than internal factors, notion that Manusmriti was at the root of their mortification, assumed strong roots in gullible minds of so called Dalita-s. The resentment grew in geometric progression during subsequent decades and centuries nourished by forces hostile to Hinduism. Concurrently, same groups somehow succeeded in rooting the idea that Buddhism was a Varna- free / caste-free (though caste was implanted externally and it never existed in Hinduism) faith quite independent of Sanatana Dharma !! Thus, the stage was now set to aid and encourage so called Dalita-s, to reject Hinduism, embrace Buddhism, then turn hostile / abusive to Sanatana Dharma. To a great extent, anti-Hindu strategy of enemies of the nation had been effective in their sinister mission.
If the sequence of socio-historical events is mapped properly, it turns out to be a theatre of absurdities –
Sudra-s persecuted under tormenting weight of Mughal invasions / British domination wherein Varna system degraded into crass casteism, seeking liberation from oppressive Hinduism by conceding Buddhism in the belief of Buddhism being a caste free / independent faith which in reality, is the highest form of Sanatana Hinduism, leading to a strange scenario of almost all followers of Buddhism, now further degraded, desecrated by non-Buddhist practices, also large segment of them tormented by Communists in Tibet / China, being dubbed Dalita-s / Sudra-s, once again !!
In spite of conversion to Buddhism, their lot has hardly improved and all Buddhists are still regarded as so called Dalita-s demanding reservation benefits. How has this ‘cosmic’ rigmarole helped so called Dalita community ? Have they really been emancipated from shackles of a certain ‘-ism’ they have been desperate to get rid of ?
Faith conversion / faith condemnation of Hinduism by proselytising to Buddhism is never the right answer. Escapism never ferries one either on the right path or towards the right goal of emancipation. By resolutely remaining a Hindu insider and resisting social oppressions diffidently, as declared once by Dr. Ambedkar, provides the panacea for all Dalita related issues and hurdles.
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