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VIOLENCE AND NONVIOLENCE IN HINDU RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS Francis X. Clooney, SJ. Boston College Outline I .Violence, Sacrifice and Ritual 1 . Some basic attitudes toward the killing of animals 2.Resolving the problem of sacrificial violence by internalization 3.Substitutions 4.Renunciation and nonviolence: an elite pathway 5.Violence andnonviolenceinrelation to vegetarianism: Hans Schmidt's theses ?. Traditional Hindu Theorizations of Violence in Mimamsa Ritual Theory and Vedanta Theology 1 . The ritual analysis (at Mimamsa Sutra 1.1.2) of the Shyena rite which is performed in order to harm enemies 2.The Vedanta analysis (at Uttara Mimamsa Sutra 3.1.25) of ritual violence in relation to the prohibition of violence ??. Violence in the Life of the State HOFrancis X. Clooney, S.J. 1. The royal power to punish (danda) 2.The synthesis of the ideals of brahmin and king a..The distribution and management of violence in the Laws ofManu (1st century CE) b. Policy toward warfare in the Arthashastra of Kautilya 3.The collapse of the brahmanical synthesis—and the emergence of a (seemingly) more nonviolent Hinduism 4.A comment on Gandhi (1 869-1948) and the contemporary emergence of post-Gandhian Hindu perspectives IV.Alternate Views from Outside the Sanskritic Tradition 1 . Tamil Wisdom on Violence and Nonviolence: a.Tirukkural (c. 2nd century CE) b.Cilappatikaram (5th century CE) 2.Blood and Goddesses 3.From a Village Perspective a. Some Trouble with Cows b.Mahasweta Devi and the Literary Exposure of Violence V.The Question of a Christian Perspective on the Hindu Treatment of Violence and Religion: Are Victims Necessary? Some Presuppositions: • The following reflections, complex as they are, are governed by a reluctance to simplify Hindu teaching. I seek to avoid the view that the Hindu traditions had only one view of violence and nonviolence. • I use the term "Hindu" loosely and as a shorthand, without claiming that there is a single Hindu tradition, or a single creed shared by all Hindus, or a single attitude toward violence. But neither do I claim that there are simply many traditions without any common elements which justify the appellation "Hindu." • I am reluctant to idealize the Hindu traditions as if nonviolence must necessarily be taken as the epitome ofHindu thought. India's traditions are complex, and require complex treatment. • A serious artificiality of this paper is that I treat Hinduism without simultaneously lookinginto Buddhist andJain materials, though both were traditions with important and enduring commitments to nonviolence. Particularly with respect to the renunciant, marginal components of traditions, one ought not to make overly neat or decisive distinctions Violence and Nonviolence in Hindu Religious Traditions 1 1 1 between the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain theories and practices related to violence and nonviolence. • I attempt to give preference to indigenous discussions ofissues related to violence and nonviolence; the context and mode of thinking are important, notjust the conclusions drawn. I therefore avoid simply mining Hindu texts for an answer to a contemporary question, "What is the Hindu attitude toward violence and nonviolence?" • In most ofwhat follows we must distinguish contexts where "violence" indicates "physical action which causes pain to some living being," from contexts where "violence" indicates "an intention, rooted in anger or malice, to hurt someone." I use the word "violence" for both in order to highlight the complex issues of distinction involved. In considering the Sanskrit formulations, one likewise has to distinguish himsa as "causing pain" from himsa as "intending to harm." • It is often difficult to date ancient texts, and even when one narrows down a date—within 200-300 years—its significance still depends on other, often equally broadly stated dates. Nevertheless, I do offer dates throughout, as summarized here: •ancient Vedic sacrificial practices, from before 1200 BCE •Vedic ritual analyses and reformulations of sacrifices as ritualized acts, in the Brahmanas, from after 1000 BCE •the Upanishadic exploration of the deeper meanings of ritual and interiorized alternatives to ritual, from after 900 BCE •the Buddha, c. 500 BCE •key texts in the theorization of royal power, The Laws of Manu (beginning of Common Era) and Arthashastra (c. 150 CE) •the Tamil wisdom text Tirukkural (100 CE) •Goddess texts as evidenced in Sanskrit formulations, from after 500 CE...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1930-1200
Print ISSN
1075-7201
Pages
pp. 109-139
Launched on MUSE
2011-01-26
Open Access
No
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