Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Pejawar seer offers ‘deekshe' for Dalits

Udupi, May 24, 2011
Pejawar seer offers 'deekshe' for Dalits
Staff Correspondent

Vishwesha Tirtha Swamiji of Pejawar Math said on Monday that Dalits
had very little to gain by embracing Buddhism.

In a release here, the swamiji said he welcomed the Dalits embracing
Buddhism from the viewpoint of Hinduism and nationalism. Because
Buddhism was a part of Hinduism.

Converting to Buddhism was better than getting converted to Islam or

But the Dalits would not gain much in terms of eradication of
untouchability by embracing Buddhism. Besides Dalits, there were
hardly any followers of Buddhism in the country. There would not be
much change in the status of the Dalits if they embraced Buddhism.

Instead of embracing Buddhism, the Dalits would be giving up the gods,
goddesses, and deities, whom they had worshipped for so long.

The Dalit culture, which had a long tradition, too would get
destroyed. Just like Hinduism, Buddhism too believed in the concept of
heaven, hell, sin, and reincarnation, which were an anathema to the
intellectual class.

Instead, he (the swamiji) was ready to give "Bhakti Deekshe" or
"Vaishnava Deekshe" to the Dalits. This "Bhakti Deekshe" could be
divided into categories: ordinary religious initiation ("samanya
deekshe") and special religious initiation ("vishesha deekshe").

Under ordinary religious initiation, people need not give up
consumption of meat and alcoholic beverages. There were no rigid
rules. They could chant simple "mantras".

Although the Constitution was against untouchability, some forms of
untouchability were still being followed in the country.

But by opting for the ordinary religious initiation, a person would
not become an untouchable even according to the Hindu religious texts
("Dharma Shastras"). Such a person would enjoy the same status as
other Hindus. This would help in eradicating untouchability in
religious and social spheres.

But under the special religious initiation, people would have to
abstain from consumption of meat and alcoholic beverages.

They would enjoy a higher status than the Hindus who consumed meat and
alcoholic beverages.

Those interested in these religious initiations may contact the
Manager, Sri Vijayadhwaja Mandira, Pejawar Math, Udupi. A suitable
date for their initiation could then be fixed, the release added.


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