Religion – The Conversion Call ! A New Dhamma For New World! – Dr.B.R.Ambedkar
The sufferings of Untouchables [and backwards] was due to the sanctity of caste and untouchability that Hinduism assigned to it. “Hinduism is not interested in the common man. Hinduism is not interested in society as whole. The centre of its interest lies in a class [i.e. brahmins] and its philosophy is concerned in sustaining and supporting the rights of that class. That is why in the philosophy of Hinduism the interest of the common man as well as of society are denied, suppressed and sacrificed to the interest of this class of superman. What is the value of such a religion to Man?… It cannot be called the Religion of humanity.”
Dr. Ambedkar argued that the Hindu Social Order (HSO) does not recognize the individual as a centre of social purpose and has no consideration of individual justice, instead it is reared on the “graded inequality” of varna and castes. To Dr. Ambedkar individual is an ‘end’ in himself/herself and the aim and object of society is the growth of the individual. The ‘associated life’ between members of society must be regarded by considerations founded on liberty, equality and fraternity. Dr. Ambedkar ardently upheld individual as ‘end’ and a free social order based on equality, liberty and fraternity. Hinduism negates them both. Inequality is the soul of Hinduism. “Hinduism! Thy name is inequality !” Hindu civilization is “guilty of a greater cruelty” for mercilessly producing unseeables, unapproachables [untouchables], tribals and criminal tribes or varnabahayas [i.e. the SCs, STs, DNTs]. Hindu civilization was nothing but a ‘felony’ and Hinduism full of ‘riddles’.
Religion to Babasaheb must be not a matter of ‘rules’ but of ‘principles’. “Man is not for religion. Religion is for Man.” Hinduism due to its sanction, origin and maintenance of varna, caste & untouchability cannot be reformed and does not uphold the worth of human dignity and welfare of society. Such a religion must be discarded. He therefore gave a “conversion call” on October 13, 1935 at Yeola (Nashik). A conference of half a million untouchables on 31st and 1st May 1936 adopted the resolution of ‘conversion’ at Naigaon, Mumbai, followed by ascetics of shraman culture. Babasaheb delivered his famous speech ‘What Way Liberation?’ But unlike Marx, Ambedkar considered true religion necessary for the progress of human being and society. This quest for “true religion” based on principles for human beings could not find abode either in Christanity, Islam or Sikkhism inspite of their preachers making an appeal to Dr. Ambedkar. They were all revealed religions and concerned with the other world. Sikkhism was nothing but a ‘protestant Hinduism’, having the same demerits of caste like the latter.
This resolve of 1935 was completed with the “greatest mass conversion” of over 1 million people orchestrated by Babasaheb at Nagpur on 14th October [also 15th, and 16th at Chandrapur] 1956. The Deeksha Ceremony was conducted by refuge in Tripple Jwels [Trisharans], Five Percepts [Panchasheela], and 22 Vows as ordained by Babasaheb.
Buddhism to Babasaheb was a pragmatist, scientific, modern, egalitarian, welfaristic and humanitarian religion. Not ‘god or soul’ but ‘man and morality’ was the centre of Dhamma. The object was removal of human sufferings and making the world happy! The purpose of religion is to explain the origin of the world [or promise salvation in other life]; whereas the purpose of Dhamma is to reconstruct the world, enlightened Babasaheb in The Buddha And His Dhamma, the greatest scripture on the principles, values and orders of human life. The other writings which enlighten Babasaheb’s views on Buddhism are Buddha And The Future Of His Religion (1950), Buddha or Karl Marx (1956). A number of speeches delivered after 1950 also do so.
The 22 vows ordained were :
1. I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, nor shall I worship them.
2. I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna, nor shall I worship them.
3. I shall have no faith in ‘Gouri’, ‘Ganpathi’, and other Gods and Goddesses of Hindu religion, nor shall I worship them.
4. I do not believe in the theory of incarnation of Gods.
5. I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this to be mischievous and a false propaganda.
6. I shall not perform ‘Shraddha’ nor shall I give ‘pind-dan’.
7. I shall not act in any manner contrary to the Principles and Teachings of the Buddha.
8. I shall not perform any ceremony through brahmins.
9. I believe that all Human beings are Equal.
10. I shall endeavour to establish Equality.
11. I shall follow the Eightfold Path taught by the Buddha.
12. I shall completely follow the ‘Ten Paramitas’ enunciated by the Buddha.
13. I shall be compassionate to all living beings and nurture them with care.
14. I shall not steal.
15. I shall not lie.
16. I shall not commit carnal sins.
17. I shall not consume liquor or other intoxicants.
18. I shall strive to lead my life in conformity with the three principles of Buddhism i.e. Pradnya, Sheel and Karuna.
19. I hereby renounce my old Hindu religion which is detrimental to the prosperity of the Humankind, discriminate Human beings and treat them low, and embrace Buddha’s Dhamma.
20. I firmly believe that the Buddha Dhamma is the only Saddhamma (true religion).
21. I believe that I am entering a New Life.
22. I hereby piously pledge to conduct myself hereafter in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha.
Thus Babasaheb wished to make Bahujans as Buddhists [along with all Indians and humanity also], and make them enlightened people.
Thus Dhamma as enunciated by Babasaheb is both for the “mental and material” reconstruction of the world. Nothing than the creation of NEW WORLD based on it can remove human sufferings and make the world happy!
Babasaheb’s scientific conception of dukkhas [sufferings] as individual, collective and natural and their abolition by ‘reorganization of India’ and ‘reconstruction of world’ makes Ambedkarian enlightenment as New Dhamma for a New World, and Babasaheb – The Modern Buddha!