‘Buddhism with its exaggerated emphasis on quiescence & the quiescent virtue of self-abnegation, its unwise creation of a separate class of quiescents & illuminati, its sharp distinction between monks & laymen implying the inﬁnite inferiority of the latter, its all too facile admission of men to the higher life and its relegation of worldly action to the lowest importance possible stands at the opposite pole from the gospel of Srikrishna and has had the very effect he deprecates; it has been the author of confusion and the destroyer of the peoples.
Under its inﬂuence half the nation moved in the direction of spiritual passivity & negation, the other by a natural reaction plunged deep into a splendid but enervating materialism. As a result our race lost three parts of its ancient heroic manhood, its grasp on the world, its magniﬁcently ordered polity and its noble social fabric.
It is by clinging to a few spars from the wreck that we have managed to perpetuate our existence, and this we owe to the overthrow of Buddhism by Shankaracharya. But Hinduism has never been able to shake off the deep impress of the religion it vanquished; and therefore though it has managed to survive, it has not succeeded in recovering its old vitalising force.
The practical disappearance of the Kshatriya caste (for those who now claim that origin seem to be with a few exceptions Vratya Kshatriyas, Kshatriyas who have fallen from the pure practice and complete temperament of their caste) has operated in the same direction.
The Kshatriyas were the proper depositaries of the gospel of action. But when the Kshatriyas disappeared or became degraded, the Brahmins remained the sole interpreters of the Bhagavadgita, and they, being the highest caste or temperament and their thoughts therefore naturally turned to knowledge and the ﬁnal end of being, bearing moreover still the stamp of Buddhism in their minds, have dwelt mainly on that in the Gita which deals with the element of quiescence.
Time, however, in its revolution is turning back on itself and there are signs that if Hinduism is to last and we are not to plunge into the vortex of scientific atheism and the breakdown of moral ideals which is engulﬁng Europe, it must survive as the religion for which Vedanta, Sankhya &Yoga combined to lay the foundations, which Srikrishna announced & which Vyasa formulated.
– Sri Aurobindo, Early Cultural Writings.
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