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  #1  
Old October 5th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Question of the day

Why saints/sages in ancient religions (Hinduism/Jainism/Judaism/Taoism) did not actively volunteer to serve the poor and needy/underprivileged, and relatively modern religions (Buddhism/Christianity) have an explicit directive for saints/monks to help poor and the needy/underprivileged?
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Old October 5th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Re: Question of the day

Counter question - How relatively younger to Jainism is Buddhism. Mahavir and Buddha were not too far apart from what I recall.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Re: Question of the day

One reason could be that when the ancient religions were evolving there were no rich and poor. Humans had just evolved from apes and were settling down around farm areas and becoming hunter-gatherers. Every human was involved in the same mundane tasks of avoiding hunger... and some sport. As societies started getting developed and religions advanced, the smarter humans became richer. They developed business plans and commerce to make them richer and richer. And they became kings and ministers and business people.

The dumber ones, of course, continued their every day struggles... and became poorer and poorer. The gap widened over centuries... and were slowly becoming clearly observable. This was then noticed by latter-day prophets and saints, who would then use this difference to establish their own followers and make money/live off of them.
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Old October 5th, 2014, 06:09 PM
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Re: Question of the day

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Originally Posted by Sane Less View Post
One reason could be that when the ancient religions were evolving there were no rich and poor. Humans had just evolved from apes and were settling down around farm areas and becoming hunter-gatherers. Every human was involved in the same mundane tasks of avoiding hunger... and some sport. As societies started getting developed and religions advanced, the smarter humans became richer. They developed business plans and commerce to make them richer and richer. And they became kings and ministers and business people.

The dumber ones, of course, continued their every day struggles... and became poorer and poorer. The gap widened over centuries... and were slowly becoming clearly observable. This was then noticed by latter-day prophets and saints, who would then use this difference to establish their own followers and make money/live off of them.
Only if it was that simple. There were enlightened sages like Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Kashyam, Bhrigu, Bharadwaj, Atri, Agatsya etc. who would rather spend time meditating or doing Yagya for kings...but it seemed that service to poor and underprivileged was not worthy of effort. Even Rama and Krishna would rather take up glamorous job of fighting demons than unimpressive grunt work of fighting poverty. They'd rather be neutral on this by pointing to karma as the reason for person's state/status in society.

Likewise, there was Lao Tse who was enlightened but didn't give a fig about poor and underprivileged. So, the concept of saint started with Jesus (Moses wouldn't care about poor and underprivileged after escaping with slave kinsmen from Egypt) and continues to date with different Christian denominations. Likewise, the concept of "seva" in Hinduism as a meritorous act started with Vivekanand. Previously the only seva worthy of effort was that to family elders and guru, but there was concept of charity by way of "daan".
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Last edited by dhurandhar; October 5th, 2014 at 06:14 PM.
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  #5  
Old October 5th, 2014, 06:43 PM
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Re: Question of the day

Maybe they did actively volunteer to serve the poor and needy/underprivileged, but there is not enough research to suggest or document their efforts.
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  #6  
Old October 6th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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Re: Question of the day

Why, how, and when did dichotomy (split) occur between Brahmins (guardians and disseminators of knowledge) and Artisans (engineers and technicians who worked on construction of temples, palaces, weaponry, textiles etc)?

From what appears in historical literature, Brahmins had mastery over math, but artisans created some marvelous temples/palaces, weapons etc which could not have been possible without deep understanding of math. It can be safely deduced that Gurus might be imparting relevant education to disciples based on their social standing. So, the Brahmins of the distant ancient past must have been knowledgeable on everything, just that they enabled other caste folks to make a living.

Somewhere along the line, the Brahmins might have gotten power hungry and did not care for knowledge. The artisans who were neglected might have jealously guarded and passed on the knowledge within family or via apprenticeship.

Anybody having details or in know about a historical document that sheds light on this event?
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Old October 6th, 2014, 05:14 AM
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Re: Question of the day

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhurandhar View Post
Why saints/sages in ancient religions (Hinduism/Jainism/Judaism/Taoism) did not actively volunteer to serve the poor and needy/underprivileged, and relatively modern religions (Buddhism/Christianity) have an explicit directive for saints/monks to help poor and the needy/underprivileged?
Maybe there is nothing enlightening about serving the poor? If you want to gain Moksha, you need to dedicate time in prayers, research about it etc etc. you need to dedicate all your time for it. There is no time left for family, forget about poor.
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  #8  
Old October 6th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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Re: Question of the day

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Originally Posted by dhurandhar View Post
Only if it was that simple. ....
... and so you will just ignore the truth and go about finding a complex answer to satisfy your humongous ego. The simplest answer is always inevitably the correct answer.
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  #9  
Old October 6th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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Re: Question of the day

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Originally Posted by Sane Less View Post
... and so you will just ignore the truth and go about finding a complex answer to satisfy your humongous ego. The simplest answer is always inevitably the correct answer.
for frog in the well, universe is cylindrical
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Old October 7th, 2014, 03:19 AM
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Re: Question of the day

How come Buddha himself kept hair on his head while requiring his disciples to keep their head shaved?
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Old October 7th, 2014, 05:10 AM
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Re: Question of the day

One of the highest forms of devotion (or so it is believed) is to give one's hair to the one we worship. The disciples were not required to give their hair, they were doing it out of respect. I think.
Till date people going to Tirumala Balaji temple give their hair as a form of devotion.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 05:49 AM
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Re: Question of the day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aashika View Post
One of the highest forms of devotion (or so it is believed) is to give one's hair to the one we worship. The disciples were not required to give their hair, they were doing it out of respect. I think.
Till date people going to Tirumala Balaji temple give their hair as a form of devotion.
Sangha (the community of Buddhist bikkhus) members were either required to shave their head as part of the deal to receive diksha, or that they were just sheeple who copied the first disciple of Buddha who might have done that out of respect.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 05:57 AM
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Re: Question of the day

Another simple explanation in Hinduism is that the only recipients of charity were the sages and the Brahmins. Same for Jains. Only the monks receive charity.
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Old October 7th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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Re: Question of the day

Here's a link that shows the history of world religions and you will note that this absolutely validates my theory mentioned above, in each and every aspect.

The history of all religions explained in one fascinating graphic
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Old October 7th, 2014, 10:39 AM
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Re: Question of the day

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Originally Posted by Sane Less View Post
One reason could be that when the ancient religions were evolving there were no rich and poor. Humans had just evolved from apes and were settling down around farm areas and becoming hunter-gatherers. Every human was involved in the same mundane tasks of avoiding hunger... and some sport. As societies started getting developed and religions advanced, the smarter humans became richer. They developed business plans and commerce to make them richer and richer. And they became kings and ministers and business people.

The dumber ones, of course, continued their every day struggles... and became poorer and poorer. The gap widened over centuries... and were slowly becoming clearly observable. This was then noticed by latter-day prophets and saints, who would then use this difference to establish their own followers and make money/live off of them.
I agree with your views to a certain extent.

I think Indian "saints/priests" understood the inherent inequality among humans. Unlike other religions which believe in equality between all humans, Hindu priests believed in a caste system, which was a refined racial order. Basically, the caste system institutionalized the differences you have observed.

Caste system wasn't designed to be malicious. It was designed to assign roles to clans based on their naturally-evolved capacities, so that everyone can become productive members of society. Hunters became warriors, administrators and medicine-men became priests, gatherers became traders, while the rest became the masses. There are outliers obviously, but for the most part, we all (including you and me) fit into a certain stereotype.
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