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The Pundits.

July 9, 2009


It was during the the early VEDIC eras or  B.C. , when great Rishis used to go to the Himalayas to gain Knowledge and Wisdom.They returned after years of Meditation and after tryst with the lord himself.After seeing the light ,they used to come back and set up an Ashram away from the town, in a remote place..They lived there all through our there life,with their wife and children in some cases.They lived a life of Penance,hardship and Discipline.They were the creator of the world’s oldest religion – Hinduism.

Slowly and surely ,through their Wisdom,common sense, orator ship and other skills they gained recognition and respect among the People.Preaching and guiding their fellow beings was the the reflection of their greatness.All of them were slowly known and recognized by their mastery of knowledge in art ,science ,religion,administration and warfare.That determined the extent of the fame they enjoyed among the masses all over the place.They has their followers and disciples who stayed with their Guru in the Gurukul  or Ashram. Serving him was their mission and that kept them happy. Then they has students who also stayed there from early childhood.The concept of Boarding schools and Hostels was developed from here . They learnt all the Knowledge ,imparted to them by their Guru.The sons of Kings or the Maharajas used to be the students here for many years until they have mastered and gained complete knowledge in all the fields required by a ruler.The concept of Specialisation also was introduced here like in Pandavs we had the Masters, Yudhishtir in Dharma ,Bhima in wrestling, Arjuna as the archer trained by Dronacharya and so on. They and the people and the kings shared the common enemy ,the Asuras or the demons who used to torture and destroy their ashrams and cities.They were protected by the kings who was their disciples too.Chanakya was another Pundit and an shrewd strategist and a man behind the defeat of mighty Guptas and the architect behind Mauryan Dynasty-the golden age of Hindus.

The Pundits were commonly referred to as Brahmins .They were the learned and educated persons. They were the scholars. In the caste system ,an important feature of Hindu Society in India ,The Brahmins—the keeper of Mandirs or the temples were at the top ,followed by Kshatriyas—the Warriors, Vaishyas – the  merchants and at the bottom were Shudras who did menial duties.It was also true that this caste system was the bane of the Hindu religion and society,due to its exploitive nature,especially on Shudras. They were the Slaves ,Untouchables who were separated from the society.In them we had Karna  and Eklavya .Many rebelled and perished against such exploitation ,others lead to the birth of new religions like Jainism  Buddhism and Sikhism. Many  tried to introduce reforms to uplift the downtrodden and remove its exploitive character.Others embraced new religions that were slowly and slowly coming to India like Christianity and Islam .Not that these Religions were not exploitive in nature. The Christians has their dark ages which were worse than anything we see in India , the Islam has its own exploitive feature and same is true for Sikhism,Jainism and Buddhism.All religions are created by the rulers and Pundits who are exploitive ,cruel, arrogant to some extent.

The Important fact of Hinduism is that that despite being the oldest religion in the world ,it was confined to the geographical boundaries of  Undivided India and later to even smaller boundary after its Partition.It shows that Indian people here are basically closed minded and stays in their shell.They still are,even in the present times.That’s why Hindus has the least conversion rate among all other religions. In fact it is discouraged.Whereas ,religions like Buddhism and Jainism which too originated from India  much later the Hinduism ,spread to far eastern countries like China and Japan, Hinduism was confined only to India and Nepal.Nepal is the only  Hindu nation in the world.It is the huge population growth  of India after  Independence ,which is helping Hinduism to survive,where it enjoys the majority .Ofcourse we have thousands of followers of Lord Krishna  Vishnu and Shiva abroad from people of other countries.

That shows the fact that the Hindus and Indians are the people who are generally Inward looking and narrow minded.The rulers and People lacked the vision of the Conqueror.That was the main reason why other religion were able to wean away its followers and paint it the bad picture.India has been constantly attacked from Invaders from its north west borders for thousands of years since Indus valley civilization.They used to settle here and spread their Ideas and religion.This resulted in decline of Hindu Rulers and the rise of the Muslim rulers ,and later the British  which further gave boost  to these religions ,especially Islam and Christianity vis a vis Hinduism.No religion can survive on its own ,in any part of the world, unless it has the Patronage of the rulers and state.

It is true that every Religion have its shortcomings. In Hindu ,the Pundits or the Brahmins were responsible for it. They were the guide of the Dharma and it was their duty to show the Religion and its followers the right direction. Their basic Identity and survival depended on this very fact.They were increasingly facing the challenge both from inside  the religion who questioned their right to exploit and from the scholars as well as preachers of other religions who questioned the basic tenets of Hinduism.The rise in education and the eradication of illiteracy among the masses supported by the state ,exposed these Pundits.The translation of the holy scripture from Sanskrit ,the language that only Pundits could understand to the other languages of common masses challenged their authority and sidelined them.Sooner or later ,with Independent India and the ushering of democracy, forced them to rethink and vacate their position of being the only guardians of the Hindu religion.

Adaptation is a key to anyone’s success and that was quality what the Pundits also needed.The times were changing fast. Ignorance of the people was diminishing fast and sooner or later the Pundits were to become an objects of ridicule and hatred.The rise of science and communism in the 20th Century  started to challenged the existence of religion itself.The pundits had at least one plus point and that was they were intelligent and has common sense.They adapted to the situation fast and mastered the new knowledge.Soon they were Doctors,scientists,Teachers ,Engineers,Lawyers,Policemen and even Prime Ministers .Many went abroad and settled their .Others came back with new knowledge and imparted it here to the people.The change was there to see.Soon they were once again recognized among the people for their work.They were absorbed in the  fast changing society in the new role.Their dress changed and so did their mentality.They are now more broad minded and progressive than others .Once again they have regained their past glory . They now represent the significant section of the present society and have an important role to play. 

The study of the Vedas, linguistics, Rituals, astronomy and all the arts Can be called lower knowledge. The higher Is that which leads to Self-realization. The eye cannot see it; mind cannot grasp it. The deathless Self has neither caste nor race, Neither eyes not ears nor hands nor feet. Sages say this Self is infinite in the great And in the small, everlasting and changeless, The source of life.

– Mundaka Upanishad



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