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By Vinay Lal

Bargains a advisor to the foremost philosophical, literary, mythological and cultural traditions of this terribly assorted and pluralistic religion.

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All doubts about her chastity and fidelity are put to rest. Notwithstanding his bizarre conduct, Rama is venerated, and Rama and Sita are represented as the perfect example of monogamous marriage. *Sita means 'furrow'. 60 Some recent feminist interpretations are extremely critical of the Ramayana which is cited as an example of the patriarchal basis of Hinduism. The only conclusion to draw from the fact that Rama and Sita are still viewed as the ideal Hindu couple, despite his mistreatment of her, is that Hinduism expects women to be subservient to men.

38 Revolt against Brahminism Hinduism sometimes goes by the name of Brahminism. Around the time of the middle Upanishads, circa 600 BC, the ritual superiority of Brahmins was clearly established. Brahminism revolved around a multitude of sacrifices. Daily life became too much of a punishing routine over which the Brahmins held sway. 39 Buddhism The Buddha (c. 563-483 BC) was born as Siddhartha into a princely family. In his quest for enlightenment, Siddhartha practised in vain the Brahmanic austerities prescribed by renowned spiritual teachers.

41 Ahimsa or Non-Violence Is there anything common to Buddhism and Jainism? Both religions arose from the soil of India. The Buddha and Mahavira were born into Hindu families. Both religions rejected the caste system, the authority of the Brahmins, the ritualism of the Vedas and abstract thinking. 42 Lokayata: Indian Materialism Another response to Brahminism came in the form of avowedly materialist schools of philosophy. The most notable of these is called Lokayata [from lok, meaning people]. The name is telling, since Lokayata refers to the "philosophy of the people".

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