This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

The decay of Hindu social structures and the balance of Islam

Occasionally, the encroachment of one tradition into the sphere of another may serve the purpose of restoring balance and order, and in that sense is not inappropriate. This was the case when Islam ruled Hindu territories. Even if Hinduism has always retained its unity and its doctrine, and has been successful in adapting and re-adapting itself to changing conditions, this has also had effects that, even if secondary, are detrimental to its objective stability. Hence almost limitless splintering of its caste system. Moreover, Hindu civilization has been impregnated by the passional element, since this must be the case in the Kali Yuga, and this eventually overshadowed the contemplative element. One striking example of this is the general acceptance of a strictly literal interpretation of its scriptures on transmigration which gave rise to the contemporary idea of reincarnation, which is a metaphysical impossibility. Moreover this superficiality also led to tendency to take the vast, symbolic tapestry that is the Hindu pantheon and interpret it in a theistic manner–in other words, it has led Hindus to become something like polytheists, which is idolatry. In this context, Islam, being the youngest of the revelations and therefore most suitable to the disorder of present conditions, was able to offer something of great value to Hindu civilization. Islam was able to “absorb,” so to speak, the elements in Hindu society that Hinduism itself could not organize or account for (in practice, even if they were accounted for in Hindu theory). Moreover, since Islam is synthetic (as a cross between Mosaic and Christian temperaments) and simple in its form, and is therefore quite effective and closing up the gaps in a system that has become too complex, neutralizing to some degree the progress of decomposition. And that is truly what is in question here: the castes, being the reflection of cosmic order and “distinction” among nature, have dissolved back into the primordial indistinction.

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