<link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans%3A400italic%2C700italic%2C400%2C700">Buddhism Archives « Aam JanataSkip to content

3

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar converted to Buddhism on 15 October 1956 at Deeksha Bhoomi, in Nagpur. Around 8 lakh followers converted in his steps. At this time he took 22 vows, more like open declarations. These are a rejection of Hinduism as unequal and something that the upper dominant public "memory" rarely remembers. We'd like to begin and end Ambedkar with the constitution and a few photos.

has now withdrawn a book about Dr Ambedkar from school syllabus, because it contained this "objectionable" content against Hinduism. The publisher had added them in the blank space left after the content of the book - not entirely an inappropriate choice given that these are perhaps 's most influential words ever as a part of the 's largest religious conversion.

So much for the claims of Buddhism being "a part of" Hinduism. Unless their Brahmanical symbols are respected, they will not allow the words. So this Brahmin publishes them with pride on my blog and states that there are still Brahmins who manage to be human beyond indoctrinated prejudices of birth. And there must be more.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's contribution to the deprived classes of has given him the status of a God among them. Over half a century after his , people come from all over the nation in his memory by the lakhs - something no politician alive has managed beyond rigging up paid crowds and transporting them by bus.

I say his words have legitimacy and deserve to be read. Here are his 22 vows.

  1. I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh nor shall I worship them.
  2. I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna who are believed to be incarnation of God nor shall I worship them.
  3. I shall have no faith in ‘Gauri’, Ganapati and other gods and goddesses of Hindus nor shall I worship them.
  4. I do not believe in the incarnation of God.
  5. I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this to be sheer madness and false propaganda.
  6. I shall not perform ‘Shraddha’ nor shall I give ‘pind-dan’.
  7. I shall not act in a manner violating the principles and teachings of the Buddha.
  8. I shall not allow any ceremonies to be performed by Brahmins.
  9. I shall believe in the of man.
  10. I shall endeavour to establish equality.
  11. I shall follow the ‘noble eightfold path’ of the Buddha.
  12. I shall follow the ‘paramitas’ prescribed by the Buddha.
  13. I shall have compassion and loving kindness for all living beings and protect them.
  14. I shall not steal.
  15. I shall not tell lies.
  16. I shall not commit carnal sins.
  17. I shall not take intoxicants like liquor, drugs etc.
  18. I shall endeavour to follow the noble eightfold path and practise compassion and loving kindness in every day life.
  19. I renounce Hinduism which is harmful for humanity and impedes the advancement and development of humanity because it is based on inequality, and adopt Buddhism as my .
  20. I firmly believe the Dhamma of the Buddha is the only true religion.
  21. I believe that I am having a re-birth.
  22. I solemnly declare and affirm that I shall hereafter lead my life according to the principles and teachings of the Buddha and his Dhamma.

High time India knew more about Dr. Ambedkar than the carefully controlled "wrote the Indian constitution" which is about the limit of what our upper caste dominated public space has carefully caged him in.

For the curious, Google up why Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet. Spend some time thinking about it, and what it means for concerns we face today. A great leader doesn't deserve to be shoved into a closet of cliches.

A parable about how rituals are born and what they become when they are done for any other reason than the result of the action being performed.

There was once a great zen master of fame far and wide. He had created a school of sorts and disciples flocked from far and wide to be with him. Such was his influence, that his word became a guideline for them to follow. The most important thing he claimed to have taught to the masses was, "Think for yourself!"

backlit silhouette of a monk praying
Monk at prayer in monastery

One day, as the master and students began their morning meditation, the guard dog started barking. No reason could be ascertained, and the dog wouldn't quiet. To restore calm and bring proceedings back on track, the master suggested to his favourite pupil, that the dog be tied in a storeroom at the other end of the building from where, his barking would not disturb them.

On the next day, the same thing happened, and the same solution was followed. On the third, the students, unwilling for their master to be bothered by such a trivial matter regularly, tied up the dog in its designated place on their own.

With the passage of time, it became an automatic procedure. The dog used to be tied in the distant storeroom for the duration of the morning meditation session.

Years passed, and the master, who was already old, at the beginning of our story passed away. A star student of his returned from a distant land to take his place. Disciples came and went, but the dog continued to be tied in the storehouse for the duration of every morning's meditation.

Years passed, and the dog, who was a mere puppy at the beginning of our story passed away too. A new dog was brought to be tied in his place during the morning meditations. Scientific explanations of the benifits of tying a dog in a distant storeroom during morning meditations were proved to be right by the intellectuals of this new school of thought.

And the biggest learning they claimed to learn from the ways of the great departed master was, "Think for yourself!"