Friday, September 18, 2009

A is A - who said so?

Couple of years back, I heard a speaker in one of the community functions. The man was boasting that he was socially very active and was a member of clubs varying from Lions Club to Maatuthavani welfare association kind of clubs. What interested me was his claim that he had spoken in more than 15000 public meetings so far. The audience clapped with wonder at this claim. I started doing the math - he was 45 years old, he wasn't a child prodigy so he must have started his speaking career around the age of 20. So that is a total of 25 years of public speaking or 9125 days. So he must have spoken in about 2 meetings a day daily for the last 25 years. I was astonished at his stamina and started to idolise him.

That was an extreme example, but there are so many 'truths' that go around that aren't exactly true. At any point of time, some myth or the other is being built which will later become true. Most of the myth building happens in religious space because it is considered heresy to question the religion you were born in and unsecular to question other religions.

Take for example the assertion by the Kanchi Mutt that it was established by Adi Sankara 2500 years back. Every few years Kanchi Mutt releases a book authenticating its claims to be 2500 years old. Only problem is most of the records date Adi Sankara to 8th century AD. A detailed de bunking of Kanchi Mutt's claims is here. . Even those who aren't taken up with the current Sankaracharya Jeyandra Saraswati idolise his predecessor Chandrasekarendra Saraswati, the Maha Periyaval. But it was during his reign that the rewriting of mutt's history occurred. If one manipulates history, even if it is for the sake of establishing dharma, doesn't his dharma become weak?

Or take the laughable theory being propagated by evangelists in coastal districts of Tamilnadu, claiming the development of Tamil religion and literature was only after the arrival of St. Thomas to Tamilnadu. According to them even Tiruvalluvar was a Christian. Writer Jeyamohan wrote a detailed post (tamil blog) debunking that theory some time back. However the idea seems to slowly propagating into mainstream. You can be sure that in a few years this will become an established truth like the history of Kanchi Mutt.

A is A as Aristotle said in his law of identity doesn't hold true in the real world, I thought. Then I stumbled on this page, which goes on to show that even the law of identity may not have originated from Aristotle. So what is to be believed?

Disclaimers :
1. I am not a follower of any religious organisation.
2. I am not a Christian or a Muslim or a Zorastrian.
3. I am not a student of philosophy or logic.

7 comments:

Hawkeye said...

I would like to say a few things about Kanchi Mutt and their prediliction to claim that everything from Azhagar Kovil to Thirupathi is theirs. But I can't put the disclaimers that you have put plus I am significantly biased, so I'll keep quiet :-)

However, one minor point on dating and Hindu religion. The "acceptable" dates are generally adjusted and aligned to ensure everything happens after death of christ. The mentality exists even today. You cannot claim any religious leader lived in B.C because you will be considered (a) non-secular (b) right wing and (c) non-scientific.

Most thamizh inscriptions surrounding the azhwars were earlier than 400 B.C for many years. But suddenly post british era they have all been pegged to 8 A.D (the date of discovery of their works).

Krishnan said...

Established religions always take oodles of liberty with dates. Most of them ought to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Ela said...

well... i read all the links... sounds interesting... may be u can help me with the doubt i had some time ago...

do we have our own (tamizh) dating procedures..?! we do have tamizh nos. and i cannot believe that we did not have some way of aligning years before the usage of B.C and A.D!

Anonymous said...

You're not a follower of any religious organization, just a freelance kavadi-lifter?

Just because the Kanchi Math publishes this or that doesn't make it an "established truth", except among followers, and I don't really see that people like you and me run much risk in expressing skepticisim. I've seen explicitly anti-religious rallies a few feet away from the Kabali koil, no one batted an eyelash.

'ingotha said...

"Most thamizh inscriptions surrounding the azhwars were earlier than 400 B.C for many years. But suddenly post british era they have all been pegged to 8 A.D (the date of discovery of their works)."

1. Give evidence this happened
2. State the official explanation.
3. Then pick flaws with that.


If 1 & 2 are not available, shut up.

IEDig.com said...

I would like to invite all of you to join blogging Social Netwrking
IEDig.com
which helps you to get more visitors to your blogs and you get the chance
to meet other celebrity bloggers.

Join IEDig.com

Robin said...

Chenthil,

You are wrong in stating that " laughable theory being propagated by evangelists in coastal districts of Tamilnadu". I am a Christian and can assure you that nobody in Christian community says that the development of Tamil religion and literature was only after the arrival of St. Thomas to Tamilnadu. [BTW, there was no reference on how you came to this conclusion]. And, I for one, believes strongly that St. Thomas's contribution to Tamil Literature, if any, was minimal.

Yeah! There was a Ph.d. thesis stating that there are similarities between teaching in Thiruvalluvar's poems and Christ's teachings. But that is where it stops. A little research before you write would have been better.