Hinduism and Religious Tolerance

Written by Ibn Muhammad

Among the most widely propagated myths in the world today is that Hinduism is the most tolerant religion and that it has had no history of persecuting the followers of other faiths. The advocates of Hinduism leave no stone unturned to make the masses believe this myth. The most favourite tactic of the modern advocates of Hinduism to divert attention from the actual history of Hinduism has been to demonize Islam and link it to oppression, terror, plunder, and what not. We often hear Hindutvavadi zealots using phrases like ‘Muslim genocide of Hindus’, ‘Muslims destroyed Hindu temples’, ‘Forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam’, and on and on.So far they have been able to hypnotize the naïve Hindu masses by this tactic and control their minds.

In this article we will dig deeper into the Hindu sources to expose the intolerant and hateful picture they portray of Hindu history. The objective of this article is not to demonize Hindus but to challenge the misinformation that Hinduism has had no history of religious persecutions and intolerance. This article is not written from the perspective of the Aryan Invasion Theory but it will focus on the religious conflicts mentioned in the Hindu sources. Regardless of whether Aryans and non-Aryans were different races or not, it is certain that they had religious conflicts. Anyone who will not agree with the contents of this article must take the pen and disprove the claims made herein.

Let us first take a look at the Vedas, which are the most ancient books of Hindus, and how tolerant (?) they are towards the non-Aryans (Anaryas).

The religious intolerance of Aryans towards the non-Aryans

किं ते कर्ण्वन्ति कीकटेषु गावो नाशिरं दुह्रे तपन्तिघर्मम |
नो भर परमगन्दस्य वेदो नैचाशाखं मघवन्रन्धयानः ||

“O Indra, what do the cows make for you among the Kikatas? They neither yield milk for your offerings, nor do they warm the vessel of libation. Bring to us these cows; bring to us also the wealth of Parmagand (their King). O Brave one, grant us the possessions of the people of low status.” [Rigveda 3:53:14]

‘Kikatas’ were a non-Aryan people living around modern Bihar, who reared cattle. The Aryans were eyeing their property and the way they expressed this desire to their God (Indra), reflects their mind-set. The reason given in these verses to snatch the cattle of the Kikatas is that they do not offer milk oblation to the Aryan god Indra. Explaining the word ‘Kikata’, Nirukt, the oldest treatise on etymology of Vedic words, says,

कीकटा नाम देशो अनार्यनिवासः

Kikata is the name of a country where the non-Aryans dwell.”

Most scholars place this country around modern Bihar. This shows that Vedic Hinduism was not practiced in that region at least. The Kikatas were considered infidels (Naastikas) by the Aryans and thus were legitimate targets. It is worth mentioning how this verse has been translated by two erudite Hindu scholars Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati and Satyakam Vidyalankar in their English Translation of the Rigveda. They write,

“O bounteous Lord, of what avail are the cattle of the infidels to you. Neither they yield milk nor do these faithless persons kindle sacred fire. May you bring wealth of these unbelievers to us and give us possessions of people of low mortality and crush them.”

[Rigveda Samhita, Tr. Satya Prakash Saraswati and Satyakam Vidyalankar; 1977, Vol IV, Page 1235]

On the basis of this clear pronouncement, non-Aryans had no right to keep cows. Aryans, whenever they wished could kill them and appropriate their possessions. Hindu culture thus became the culture of the progress, civilization and welfare of the Aryan people alone.

These non-Aryans have been described at several places in the Vedas as anyavratam अन्यव्रतम
(followers of another religion or creed), amaanusham
अमानुषम
(not human), ayajvaanam
अयज्वानम
(not performing Yajna) [Refer to Rigveda 8/70/11]

इन्द्रः समत्सु यजमानमार्यं परावद विश्वेषु शतमूतिराजिषु सवर्मीळ्हेष्वाजिषु |मनवे शासदव्रतान तवचं कर्ष्णामरन्धयत |

Indra is said to help the Aryan worshippers in battles and punishes the neglecter of religious rites, who are said to be having ‘black skin ‘tvacham krishnaam’ (तवचं कर्ष्णाम). [Rigveda 1/130/8]

The maidens of the ‘dark race’ are the said to be free sexual dishes of Aryans. Nirukt 12/13 mentions that ‘Raamaa‘, the lovely maidens belonging to the dark race are only for sexual enjoyment and not for any sacred purpose. रामा रमणाय उपेयते धर्माय कृष्णजातिया

Whether this description of ‘black race’ is literal or figurative is beyond the scope of this article. What is certain is that non-Aryans were hated by the Aryans for following a different religious creed. That this conflict was religious is evidenced by the Rig Veda itself.

Following mantras from the Rig-Veda illustrate the hatred of other religious groups:

अकर्मा दस्युरभि नो अमन्तुरन्यव्रतो अमानुषः |
तवन्तस्यामित्रहन वधर्दासस्य दम्भय
||

“Around us is the Dasyu, practicing no religious rites, not knowing us thoroughly, inhuman, following other laws. Baffle, you Slayer of the foe, the strength of this Daasa.” [Rigveda 10/22/8]

How many Dasyus were slaughtered? Let us turn to Atharvaveda 8/8/7 which says

बृहत् ते जालं बृहत इन्द्र शूर सहस्रार्धस्य शत्वीर्यस्य |
तेन शतं सहस्रमयुतं नयर्बुदं जधान शको दस्युनाममिधाय सेनया
||

Great is your net, brave Indra, the mighty match for a thousand, Lord of Hundred Powers! Holding them, with his host, therewith has Indra slaughtered  Dasyus a hundred, thousand, myriad, hundred millions.

असुन्वन्तं समं जहि दूणाशं यो ते मयः |
अस्मभ्यमस्य वेदनं दद्धि सूरिश्चिदोहते
||

Slay everyone who pours no gift, who, hard to reach, delights you not. Bestow on us what wealth he has: this even the worshipper awaits.” [Rigveda 1:176:4]

अनुव्रताय रन्धयन्नपव्रतानाभूभिरिन्द्रः शनथयन्ननाभुवः |

“Indra abides, humbling the neglecters of holy rites, in favour of those who observe them, and punishing those who turn away from his worship, in favour of those who are present with their praise).” [Rigveda 1/51/9]

It would thus appear that the non-Aryans lived in secluded spots far from the settlement of the Aryans, and performed their own peculiar rites which were regarded as wicked by the Aryan; and as they did not believe in the existence of Aryan gods, they incurred the hatred of their Vedic neighbours. The very existence of Indra was doubted by even some Aryans, which appears from the following mantra:

यं समा पर्छन्ति कुह सेति घोरमुतेमाहुर्नैषो अस्तीत्येनम |

“He, whom, terrible, they ask for, (saying), where is he? And assert that he is not.” [Rigveda 2/12/5]

A certain Rishi called Nema is quoted as saying,

पर सु सतोमं भरत वाजयन्त इन्द्राय सत्यं यदि सत्यमस्ति |
नेन्द्रो अस्तीति नेम तव आह ईं ददर्श कमभिष्टवाम
||

Offer fervently, my war-loving companions, true praise to Indra, if he truly exists; Nema says, “verily there is no Indra,” who has ever seen him? Whom shall we praise? [Rigveda 8/100/3]

It is thus clear that there were dissenters/apostates from the orthodox faith even in the Aryan society; and we can easily imagine the extent of ill feeling that existed between such dissenters and the orthodox Aryans, which afterwards led to a protracted sanguinary warfare resulting in the ultimate expulsion of the dissenters. These dissenters were called Aryan enemies and were different from the Daasas and Dasyus. Following mantras show the attitude of the orthodox Aryans towards the dissenters:

ते इन्द्राभ्य अस्मद रष्वायुक्तासो अब्रह्मता यद असन |

Since, mighty Indra, those who, differing from us, and are not united with you through their lack of devotion, are not yours; [Rigveda 5/33/3]

उत तया सद्य आर्या सरयोर इन्द्र पारतः |
अर्णाचित्ररथावधीः
||

“O Indra, you instantly killed Aryas, Arna and Chitraratha, on the other side of the Sarayu.” [Rigveda 4/30/18]

यस्ते मन्यो.अविधद वज्र सायक सह ओजः पुष्यति विश्वमानुषक |
साह्याम दासमार्यं तवया युजा सहस्क्र्तेनसहसा सहस्वता ||

“O Manyu (anger), help us so that we may successfully fight our enemies, whether belonging to the Arya clans or those of the Daasas.” [Rigveda 10/83/1]

एना मन्दानो जहि शूर शत्रूञ जामिमजामिं मघवन्नमित्रान |
अभिषेणानभ्यादेदिशानान पराच इन्द्र पर मर्णाजही च ||

“O you valiant Maghavan, be exhilarated by this Soma drink, and destroy all our opposing enemies, whether they be our own kith and kin, or not.” [Rigveda 6/44/17]

From these extracts, it would appear that the ancient Aryan society, as depicted in the Rigveda, was not an ideal peaceful society to live in. It was divided into numerous factions. The dissenters of the Vedic Aryans were driven out of the land, and some of them took refuge in the hills and forests of the western frontiers; while others passed out of the country through the north-western passess into Western Asia, and a wider world beyond. Here it is sufficient to state that these Aryan dissenters, who seceded from the orthodox faith, were subsequently known in history as the Iranians or Parsis or Zoroastrians. They were compelled to leave this country after a protracted war, which came to be known in the later Vedic literature and the Puranas as the Deva-Asura War (Devaasur-Sangraama).

Vedic Hinduism, most certainly, did not spread by peaceful means. A study of the Vedas reveals the enormous scale of religious conflicts that were going on in those times and how the Vedic Aryans were conquering city after city and fort after fort. The Vedas have never been brought in the public domain for precisely this reason. The people were not allowed to read, least they come to know of the brutal battles that were waged.

Vedic Aastiks versus the non-Vedic Naastiks

According to the Hinds, the people opposed to the Vedic religion are called Naastikas (disbelievers). Buddhism, Jainism and Chaarvaaka are called Naastik philosophies, as they do not accept the authority of the Vedas. Hindu Dharmashastras (religious texts) call for severing relations with the Naastiks and socially boycotting them. For example Manu Smriti says,


10. But by Sruti (revelation) is meant the Veda, and by Smriti (tradition) the Institutes of the sacred law: those two must not be called into question in any matter, since from those two the sacred law shone forth. 11. Every twice-born man, who, relying on the Institutes of dialectics, treats with contempt those two sources (of the law), must be cast out by the virtuous, as an atheist (Naastik) and a scorner of the Veda (Veda Nindak). [Manu Smriti 2/10-11]

What should be the behaviour of Aryans towards these ‘Naastiks’ and ‘Veda Nindaks’? Let us turn to Atharvaveda Kaand 12, Sukt 5, Mantra 62. This mantra has been translated by Arya Samaj scholar Pandit Khem Karan Das Trivedi as follows


“Rend, rend to bits, rend through and through, scorch and consume and burn to dust, the one who rejects the Vedas.”

I do not think the above verse leaves any ambiguity as to who the enemies mentioned in the Vedas are. The mantra speaks for itself. It also prescribes the most gruesome forms of slaughter of those who disbelieve in the Vedas.

The same Sookt (hymn) also commands the following in mantras 65-71,


65) So, O Goddess, do thou from him, the Brāhmans’ tyrant,  criminal, niggard, blasphemer of the Gods,  66) With hundred-knotted thunderbolt, sharpened and edged with razor-blades, 67) Strike off the shoulders and the head. 68) Snatch thou the hair from off his head, and from his body strip the skin: 69) Tear out his sinews, cause his flesh to fall in pieces from his frame. 70) Crush thou his bones together, strike and beat the marrow out of him. 71) Dislocate all his limbs and joints.

I wonder what type of mindset would have written this horrendous stuff? This extreme sadist mentality which relishes in instructing such horrible torture deserves to be banned forever before it is put to practice.  One can imagine what would have happened at the time when such teachings would have been enforced thousands of years back. These teachings were recently put into effect when innocent Muslims were burnt alive and tortured in the Indian State of Gujrat, Christians were burnt alive in many places of India especially in Orrisa. Jains and Buddhists in ancient times and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs in recent times have been made the experimental mice of these teachings.

Based on instructions such as these, followeres of non-Vedic religions like Buddhism and Jainsm were brutally persecuted by the Brahmins. Let us deal with these persecutions in detail.

Intolerance towards Buddhists

The Brahmanical hostility towards Buddhism was a major reason of the decline of Buddhism in India, the place of its birth. It is quite true that at a later date the Brahmins accepted Buddha as one of the avataras but it was just another srewd Brahmin way of showing contempt towards the Buddha. The Hindus never really showed any friendly attitude towards the followers of the religion of the Buddha, as it shown from various historical records. The Bramins first sowed the seeds of hatred towards the Buddhists in their scriptures to gain the sympatheis of the common people in slaughtering Buddhists.

In the Ayodhya Kaanda of Valmiki Ramayana, a Buddhist was compared to a thief and the Tathagatas to atheists (Naastiks). It said:

यथा हि चोर स्स तथा हि बुद्ध-
स्तथागतं नास्तिकमत्र विद्धि।

As a thief, so is Buddha. Know that Tathagatas are atheists. [Sarga 109; shloka 34]

The Yajnavalkya Smriti says that the very sight of a monk with red robes and shaven head (referring to Buddhists), even in a dream, is a bad sign. [Yajnavalkya SmritiI/272-273]

The Agni Purana[16/1-3] and Vishnu Purana[18/13-18] refer to Buddha as an embodiment of Grand Deception (māyamohasvarup) and that he deluded the people from the Vedic Religion.  His path is a sure ticket to hell.

The great philosopher of Hinduism, Shankaracharya, said that the Buddha was suffering from what we know as schizophrenia. Shankaracharya said that

he (Buddha) was a man given to make incoherent assertions or else that hatred of all beings induced him to propound absurd doctrines by accepting which they would become thoroughly confused.–So that–and this the Sûtra means to indicate–Buddha’s doctrine has to be entirely disregarded by all those who have a regard for their own happiness.” [Shankar Bhashya on Brahmasutra 2/2/32]

The commentator of Saankhyakaarika, Vachaspati Mishra, uses the words ‘Mleccha (filthy)’, Purushaapsad (low people) and PashuPraay (Animal like) for Buddhists, Jains, etc. He writes in Saankhyatatva Kaumudi:

आप्तग्रहणेनाsयुक्ताः  शाक्यभिक्षुर्नि ग्रन्थकसंसारमो चकादीनामागमाभासाः परिहृता भवन्ति . अयुक्तत्वं चैतेषां विगानात्, विच्छन्न मूलत्वात्,  प्रमाणविरुद्धार्थाभिधानात् कैशिचदेव मलेच्छादिभिः पुरुषापसदैः पशुप्रायैः परिग्रहाद् बोद्धव्यम् .

“By saying ‘true revelation’, all pretended revelations such as those of Shaakya, Bhikshu (Buddha),etc have been set aside. The invalidity of these systems is due to their making unreasonable assertions, to want of sufficient basis, to their making statements contradictory to proofs, and lastly
to their being accepted only by Mlecchas, or by mean men or by animal like people
. ”

Were Buddhists persecuted by Hindus? Yes, they were

Buddhism suffered a great decline owing to the hostile activities of some philosphers of Brahminical thought and preachers of South India. Kumarila Bhatta was regarded as the fiercest critic of Buddhism. He was the strongest protagonist of Vedic ritualism. Kumarila is said to have been a Brahmin of Bihar who raged with the ardour to preach against Buddhism. The Shankar Digvijaya of Madhava (earliest authentic biography of Shankaracharya) refers to Malayali King Sudhanva’s brutal extermination of Buddhists at the instigation of Kumarila Bhatta.


The king (Sudhanva) commanded his servants “kill all Buddhists from Himalaya to Rameshvaram, even children and elderly. Whosoever will not kill them, will be killed at my hands.” [93] At the instigation of Kumarila Bhatta, the king killed the Buddhists, the opponents (of the Hindu religion) just like a Yogi destroys the disturbances. [95] [Madhava-Vidyaranya, Sankara Digvijaya Sarg 1; shlokas 93-95]

This was about Kumarila’s brutal persecution of Buddhists. Now let us turn to Adi Shankaracharya, the Brahmin of South India, who did  a great job of glorifying the Vedas and the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. He was vigorously anti-Buddhism. I have already quoted his remarks on Buddha, which show his ‘regard’ for the Buddhist religion (Refer Shankar Bhasya on Brahmasutra 2/2/32). With regards to the Sringeri matha built by Shankaracharya, Sir Charles Eliot in his book Hinduism and Buddhism (1921 Ed. Page 211) says,

“There is some reason to suppose that the Matha of Sringeri was founded on the site of a Buddhist Monestary”

The 15th Sarga of his biography Madhava-Vidyaranya Sankara Digvijay refers to his campaigns against the Buddhists, being escorted by King Sudhanvan’s army wherever he went from the Himalayas to the India Ocean. Owing to his anti Buddhist activities, Buddhism fell on its evil days.

This royal persecution of Buddhists by some Brahminic rulers was the most potent factor which contributed to bring the decline of Buddhism in India. The Budaun Stone Inscription
of Lakhanapaala refers to one Varamasiva, a Saiva ascetic, who destroyed an idol of Buddha in the South (Dakshinapatha) before his arrival in Vodamayuta (
Epigraphia Indica vol.1, Page 63)

A Chalukya Inscription of 1184 A.D. refers to a feudatory chief, Mahaamandaleshvara Viruparasadeva, who is described as a ‘forest-fire to the Jain religion’, a ‘destroyer of the Buddha religion’, a ‘demolisher of Jain basadis’ and ‘establisher of the Sivalinga-Simhaasana (Shiva Linga Throne).He destroyed several samayas at Pariyalige, Anilevada (Anhilwad), Unukallu (Unkal), Sampagadi (Sampagaon), Ibbaluru (Ablur?), Marudige (Maradigi), Anampur (Alampur), KaTahada (Karad), Kembhavi, Bammakuru and other places. [Annual report of the archaeological survey of India 1929-30 Page 171]

We know from the record of the Nalanda Inscription of Vipulasrimitra, that a Vangala army killed a Buddhist monk named Karunasrimitra of Somapura and burnt down his house, which was actually a monastery. [Epigraphia Indica vol.21 Page 97]

Another fierce Hindu king who showed his great hostility towards Buddhism was Shashanka, the King of Gauda. He was a notable example of anti-Buddhist Brahminical fanaticism. He is said to have uprooted the sacred Bodhi-Tree at Bodh-Gaya but in order to destroy it totally, he burnt its remains. A Buddha image from a temple east of the Bodhi tree was removed by him and in its place, he installed an image of Siva. [On Yuan Chwang’s Travels in India vol. 2 by Thomas Watters, 1905, Pages 115,116]

This is corroborated by The Life of Hiuen Tsiang by the Shaman Hwui Li who mentions that a certain Kumaara-Raja threatened the monks of Nalanda with a behaviour similar to Shashanka, and with the destruction of the whole monastery unless Hiuen Tsang was sent to his court. Kumara-Raja wrote in his letter,

“I have again sent a messenger with a written request: If he (Hiuen Tsang) does not  come, your disciple will then let the evil portion of himself prevail. In recent times Shanshanka-Raja was equal still to the destruction of the law and uprooted the Bodhi tree. Do you, my Master, suppose that your disciple has no such power as this? If necessary then I will equip my army and elephants, and like the clouds sweep down on and trample to the very dust that monastery of Nalanda. These words (are true) as the sun!” [The Life of Hiuen Tsiang by the Shaman Hwui Li ; Translated by Samuel Beal; 1911;  Pg. 171]

Another cruel persecutor of Buddhism was Mihirakula, who had occupied the throne of Kashmir. Kalhana Pandit, the famous chronicler of Kashmir and the author of Rajatarangini, says that for his atrocities he was like Yama, the god of death. Kalhana describes further: “One’s tongue would become polluted if one attempted to record his cruelties and evil deeds in detail” [Rajatarangini I, 289,290 and 304; Translated by M. A. Stein]. From his account it is known that Mihirakula played an important role in the development of Brahmanism. He was a worshipper of Shiva and built a Shiva temple in Srinagara [Rajatarangini I, 306; M. A. Stein]. The view that he was a Shaivite is upheld by M. A. Stein as he writes,

“The impression which this tradition retained of Mihirakula’s religious propensities, is in full accord with the evidence of his coins which, in the emblems of bull and trident and in the legends of jayatu vrsa, jayatu vrsadhvaja, display a distinct leaning towards Shaivism.” [Rajatarangini; M. A. Stein; Footnote to I, 289]

Mihirakula oppressed the Buddhists and behaved with them cruelly. At his instigation not only were many Buddhists murdered but many Stupas, Caityas, Vihaaras, and other Buddhist establishments were destroyed in Punjab and Kashmir. The description of his cruelties as described in the Rajatarangini is corroborated by the description given by Hiuen Tsang in his book Si-Yu-Ki. He writes,

“He exterminated the royal family and the chief minister, overthrew stupas, destroyed the sangharamas, altogether one thousand six hundred foundations.” [Si-Yu-Ki. Buddhist Records of the Western World Tr. Samuel Beal, 1969; Book iv, Page 171]

Mihirakula’s hostility towards the Buddhist was shared by the Shaivite Brahmins. Kalhana comments in the Rajatarangini on the greed of the Brahmins who eagerly accepted grants of land from Mihirakula.

“Brahmins from Gandhara, resembling himself in their habits and verily themselves the lowest of the twice-born, accepted Agraharas from him.” [Rajatarangini I, 307; M. A. Stein]

This shows that the Brahmins were hand in glove with his slaughter of Buddhists and the destruction of the Buddhist establishments. So, the fake polemics of some Hindu writers that Mihirakula was not a Hindu or that his destruction of Buddhists establishments cannot be tied to Hindus are unfounded.

Another hateful persecutor of Buddhists was Pushyamitra Sunga, founder of the Sunga Dynasty. Several Chinese and Japanese historians mention Pushyamitra’s name at the head of the list of persecutors. Buddhist writers portray Pushyanitra as a cruel persecutor of the religion of Sakyamuni (Buddha). Pushyamitra, a militant follower of Brahminism, assassinated the last Mauryan Emperor Brhadratha, capturing the throne of Magadha and founded the Sunga Dynasty. It ruled for a period of one hundred and twelve years.  Pushyamitra had to justify his position as head of the Brahmanic reaction by persecuting the Buddhists and destroying Buddhist monasteries on the one hand and restoring the sacrificial ceremonies of the Brahmanic faith on the other, for which his principal helpers were Patanjali and also perhaps Manu, the author of the Manusmriti. who was also his contemporary according to some scholars. The persecution of the Buddhists by Pushyamitra, was a logical sequence of the Brahmanic reaction and the political coup d’etat. The Buddhist text Divyavadana mentions the persecutions of Pushyamitra and his destruction of Buddhist stupas and monasteries. Hindutva apologists such as Dr. Koenraad Elst have tried to refute these charges on Pushyamitra, saying that they are “rendered improbable by external evidence”. Elst then claims that “he (Pushyamitra) allowed and patronized the construction of monasteries and Buddhist universities in his domains, as well as the still-extant stupa of Sanchi.” Although he gives no reference for this claim, it is possible that he was referring to the epigraph on the gateway of Barhut, which mentions its erection “during the supremacy of the Sungas“. The inscription uses the words सुगनं
रजे
(During the reign of Sungas). It does not necessarily include the reign of Pushyamitra. It only means ‘during the reign of Sungas’. The gateway was constructed during the reign of his successors who were more tolerant to Buddhism than the founder of the dynasty and leader of the Brahmanic reaction. That the gateways were erected long after the time of Pushyamitra is also the opinion of eminent archaeologists like Mr. N. G. Mazumdar, who writes,

“The Sungas referred to in this inscription formed a dynasty which was founded by the general (Senapati) Pushyamitra, succeeding the Mauryas about 180 B.C. The gateways, however, appear to have been set up about a century later, towards the close o the Sunga period.” [A Guide To The Sculptures In The Indian Museum, Pt.I N. G. Mazumdar, 1937 Ed., Page 13]

Dr. Elst also quotes the historian of Buddhism, Etienne Lamotte, who wrote, “To judge from the documents, Pushyamitra must be acquitted through lack of proof”. [History of Indian Buddhism, Institut Orientaliste, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988/1958, p.109] Firstly, this reference is incorrect as the page number is 392. Even then, let me provide the complete quote of Etienne Lamotte. He writes,

“To judge from the documents, Pushyamitra must be acquitted through lack of proof. Nevertheless, as was remarked by H. Kern, in view of the varied opinions, it is possible that, in some localities, there may have been pillages of monasteries, perhaps with the tacit permission of the governors. ”

Prominent Indian historian, professor Romila Thapar writes,

“Buddhist sources claim that they (Sungas) persecuted the Buddhists and destroyed their monasteries and places of worship. This could have been an exaggeration, but archaeological evidence reveals that Buddhist monuments in the Sunga domain were at this time in disrepair and being renovated. However, if the chronology of these monuments shifts forward as is now being suggested, then this would make them post-Sunga renovations. Nevertheless, even if some renovations were of a later date, the damage to the stupa at Sanchi, and to the monastery at Kaushambi dates to Shunga times. Added emphasis is given to this from Pushyamitra having performed ashvamedhas, or horse sacrifices. This is sometimes viewed as indicating support of Vedic Brahmanism and a disapproval of heterodox sects.” [The Penguin History of Early India from the origins to AD 1300, Romila Thapar, 2002 Edition, Pg. 210]

This view of Professor Thapar was confirmed when Deorkothar Stupas were excavated by P. K. Mishra (Archaeological Survey of India) in 1999 till 2000. The story about this Stupa was published by P. K. Mishra on the official website of the Archaeology magazine, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. P. K. Mishra wrote,

“The ancient Buddhist text Divyavadanam speaks of the death and destruction brought about by Pushyamitra Sunga, who ruled in the first quarter of the second century B.C., in a bid to glorify Hinduism. During his reign, Buddhist monuments were wantonly destroyed. Although archaeological evidence is meager in this regard, it seems likely that the Deorkothar stupa was destroyed as a result of Pushyamitra Sunga’s fanaticism. The exposed remains at Deorkothar bear evidence of deliberate destruction datable to his reign. The three-tiered railing is damaged; railing pillars lie, broken to smithereens, on stone flooring. Twenty pieces of pillar have been recovered, each fragment itself fractured. The site offers no indication of natural destruction.”

[SOURCE: http://archive.archaeology.org/online/news/deorkothar/ ]

Etienne Lamotte wrote his book in 1958, when he did not have the new archaeological findings before him. To hang on to his quote is an example of a drowning man clutching at straws.

Further Reading

Buddhist scholars have also laid claim to many Hindu temples being original Buddhist Shrines. A book written by Dr. K. Jamnadas was titled ‘Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine’. In this book, the author has given huge stock of evidence to prove that the temple which is today sacred to Hindus was once a Buddhist Shrine. Readers are advised to make up their own mind after reading the book themselves and verifying the proofs.The book can be downloaded from the link http://www.ambedkar.org/Tirupati/Tirupati.pdf

Intolerance towards Jains

The jains also were not immune to the Brahmanic persecution. Like Buddhism, the Jain religion is also reviled in the Hindu scriptures. Padma Puran Bhumi Khand 2/38/25-27 says

जैनधर्मं समाश्रित्य सर्वे पापप्रमोहिताः

वेदाचारं परित्यज्य पापं यास्यन्ति मानवाः

पापस्य मूलमेवं वै जैनधर्मो न संशयः ,

अनेन मुग्धा राजेंद्र महामोहेन पातिताः

“Men deluded by sins, resort to the Jaina religion. They abandon the Vedic practices and will committ sins. There is no doubt that the Jaina faith is the root of sin. O best King, the fall of those men, who are sinners, is brought about by this great delusion (i.e Jainism).”

Bhavishya Puran, prati sarg parv 3,/3/28/53 says,

न वदेद् यावनीं भाषां प्राणैः कण्ठगतैरापि ,

गजैरापीड्यमानोsपि  न गच्छेद् जैनमन्दिरम्

“What ever may be the amount of pain inflicted, and even though the life be in jeopardy, let not the language of the Yavanas (Muslims) be employed in speech. Let no one save his life by seeking refuge in a Jain temple, even though he be pursued by a mad elephant, (for it is better to be killed by him than to set foot in a Jain temple).”

Persecution of Jains

Jains were brutally persecuted by Hindu Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The Shaivite were aided in their persecutions by the kings of the Chola Dynasty. The marriage of the Chola king Sundara Pandya with the sister of Rajendra, lead to the his conversion to Shaivism. Sundara became a fanatic Saivite and he persecuted the compatriots of his earlier faith, with ruthless cruelty. It is said that he sentenced to death by impalement not less than 8000 of his subjects who did not want to be converted to Shaivism. The impalement of these unfortunate people is said to have been graphically depicted on many sculptures on the walls of the temple of Tivatur in North Arcot (Coins of Southern India; Sir. W. Elliot; 1886; Page 126).

Vincent A. Smith in his book, The Early History of India, writes

“Certain unpublished sculptures on the walls of a temple at Trivatur in Arcot record these executions, and are regarded as confirmation of the tradition.” [The Early History Of India
Smith Vincent A.; 1924; Pg 475]

In the footnote to this sentence he writes,

“The event took place at Madura, where it is celebrated as ‘the impalement of the Jains’ on the 7th day of the mahotsava of Siva and it is treated as an utsava.

Another scholar, T. A. Gopinath Rao, writing about the dating of Puranas and Agamas, in his book Elements of Hindu Iconolgraphy, reveals that the event of the impalement of Jains is mentioned in Uttara-Kaaranaagama. He writes,

“In the Uttara-Kaaranaagama, we find it laid down tht, on the seventh day of the mahotsava of Siva, the impalement of the Jainas, said to have been carried out at the instance of Tirujnaanasambandha, ought to the celebrated: even now the name of this day’s utsava is given as the ‘impalement of the Jainas’ and is celebrated in Madura, the historical scene of its occurence.” [Elements Of Hindu Iconography (1914) Rao T. A. Gopinath, Introd., Pg 55]

Swami Dayananda Saraswati, founder of Arya Samaj, also speaks about the destruction of Jain idols at the hands of Hindus or former Jains. In his book, Satyarth Prakash, under the topic of Shankaracharya, he writes,

“For ten years he (Shankaracharya) toured all over the country, refuted Jainism and advocated the Vedic religion. All the broken images that are now-a-days dug out of the earth were broken in the time of Shankar, whilst those that are found whole here and there under the ground had been buried by the Jainis for fear of their being broken” [Satyarth Prakash, Agniveer Edition, Chapter 11, Page 224]

Sectarian Intolerance within Hinduism

Shaivites and Vaishnavites are the two major sects under the umbrella name ‘Hinduism’, takinng Shiva and Vishnu respectively as the chief objects of their worship. Srimad Bhagvata Purana is a Vaishnava scripture. Concerning Shiva Bhaktas (devotees) it says,

भवव्रतधरा ये च ये च तान् समनुव्रताः

पाखंडिनस्ते भवन्तु सच्छास्त्रपरिपन्थि

मुमुक्षवो घोररूपान् हित्वा भूतपतीनथ ,

नारायणकलाः शान्ताः भजन्तीत्यनसूयवः

“One who takes a vow to satisfy Shiva or who follows such principles will certainly become an atheist and be diverted from transcendental scriptural injunctions. Those who vow to worship Shiva are so foolish that they imitate him by keeping long hair on their heads. When initiated into worship of Lord Śiva, they prefer to live on wine, flesh and other such things.” [Bhagvatapuran 4/2/28-29]

On the other hand the Shaivite scripture Saur purana has this response to give to the Vaishnavites

चतुर्दशविद्यासु गीयते चन्द्रशेखरः

तेन तुल्यो यदा विष्णुः ब्रह्मा वा यदि गद्यते

षष्टिवर्षसहस्राणि विष्ठायां जायते कृमिः

“Fourteen sciences sing the praises of Shiva. A person who puts Brahma or Vishnu on an equal level to Shiva, it incurs him a grievous sin on account of which he will suffer for 60,000 years as an insect.” [Saur Puran 40/15,17]

Continuing the tirade, Padma Puran says,

तस्माद् विष्णोः प्रसादो वै सेवितव्यो द्विजन्मना,

इतरेषां देवानां निमल्यिं गर्हितं भवेत् .

सकृदेव हि योsश्नाति ब्राह्मणो ज्ञानदुर्बलः

निर्मल्यिं शंकरा दीनां स चांडालो भवेद ध्रुवं

“Dwijas (Brahmin, Khatriya, Vaishya) should only eat the Prasad offered to Vishnu, not of any other deity. If any foolish Brahmin, even once, will consume the prasad of Shiva, it is certain that he will be born as a Chandal (outcaste).”

विष्णुदर्शनमात्रेण शिवद्रोहः प्रजायते ,

शिवद्रोहान्न संदेहो नरकं याति दांरूणम्

Even having a glimpse of Vishnu, is tantamount to being a traitor to Shiva and such a person will be cast into hell.

Modern Examples

Swami Dayanand Saraswati (real name Moolshanker), was the founder of Arya Samaj cult. In his book Satyarth Prakash, he criticized various sects in Hinduism in a very rude manner. Few days back, a facebook fan page of preacher Dr. Zakir Naik, uploaded some images with quotes from Naik about the Hindu god Ganesha. Hindus took offence and the notorious anti-Muslim organization, Agniveer, spread this news like wildfire on the social media. Below is a snapshot from Agniveer’s official page on facebook.


[NOTE: The name of this Facebook page is erased without the permission of writer Mushafiq Sultan by the admin of truthabouthinduism]

But the question here is, if Naik is condemned as a terrorist for asking a logical question, what would the Hindutva zealots say about the quotations I have provided from their own books about other religions and sects? Moreover, why not call their own Guru, Dayanand Saraswati as a terrorist also, because has expresses the same ‘offensive’ views about Hindu sects, scriptures and deities. Following quotes from his hateful book Satyarth Prakash, will suffice.

Remarks about Srimad Bhagavat Puran

“Fie on you! O you senseless, idiotic author of the Bhagvat Puranana. What a shameless creature you were! You did not feel a bit of shame or hesitation in writing such falsehood! You became so utterly blind.” [Satyarth Prakash, Agniveer Edition, Page 264]

Remarks about Idol Worship

Idol worship is a fraud. The Jaiinees were the authors of this mode of worship. [ibid Page 240]

It is evil practices like idol worship that are responsible for the existence of millions of idle, lazy, indolent, and beggarly priests in India, who are mainly answerable for this wide-spread ignorance, fraud and mendacity in the country. [ibid 384] What an insult to the priests of India! Again, if you take to idol-worship, instead of keeping company with learned men, you will become greater dunces than you were before. [ibid Page 369]

Remarks about Guru Nanak

“He could never have done unless he was anxious to gain public applause, fame and glory. He must have sought after fame or he would have preached in the language he know and told the people that he had not read Sanskrit. Since he was a little vain, he may possibly have even resorted to some sort of make-believe to gain reputation and acquire fame,..” [ibid page 289]

These are only few samples of modern intolerance amongst Hindus. This article has exposed the double standards of Hindutva zealots who are so militant vis a vis Islam and always grab the opportunity to demonize Muslims and Islam. They should first do a good thorough study of their own books and history before pointing their fingers at us. The issue of Caste persecution also comes under the theme of religious intolerance, however, I have already written on that topic. You can read it here (https://truthabouthinduism.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/caste-and-racial-discrimination/ ). Time and time again Hindutva brigade bring up the issue of banning the Qurán. Before doing so, let them establish an example by banning their own Vedas, Puranas, etc and books like Satyarth Prakash, for now we all know the intolerant messages they preach.

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