YogiBabaPrem@vedicpath.com

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A Brief Introduction: Ahistorical Transgenerational Trauma.

By Yogi Baba Prem

There is a substantial and clearly defined conflict between traditional Hindu teachings and western Indology.  While this conflict is commonly viewed as a relatively recent event, one should note that conflicts and appropriation attempts go back to the Mughal period when attempts were made by Islamists to suggest that the Bhagavad Gita must have been influenced by or based upon Islam.  My focus in this article will be limited to the period of the 1800s to modern day.  In this paper, I suggest a new term for conflicts between Hinduism in general and western Indology—Ahistorical Transgenerational Trauma. 

Understanding the Terms.

Historical Trauma and Transgenerational Trauma are common terms found in sociology and psychology.  They are commonly used to describe victims of historical events and the effects of these historical events over multiple generations. While these issues are important, one needs to explore how this is relevant to the academic and academics portrayal of history: its study and application.  I suggest seeing these established terms in new and important ways relative to Hinduism from a historical perspective and relative to inflicting cultural trauma.

The Academic Issue.

Academic propaganda proclaims that it is simply seeking the truth.  No doubt, this is an honorable claim.  But does it tell the entire story?  No.  Having spoken with several historians over many years and observing patently false statements in history books; I have come to realize that the study of history is problematic and can be influenced by bias and religious agenda in some cases.  Examples of this are prolific in the 1800s and obvious in the 1900s as well.  In my observation, academics give little thought to the impact their theories, claims or research may have on a culture.  It appears, to me, they give little thought to the potentially harmful effects of poor or false conclusions regarding their research.  While they would likely argue the truth must stand, even against great adversity; what about the cultural implications when academia is wrong?  What about “bad research?” The academic would suggest that peer review negates this from happening. Peer review apologists use this almost as if it is a sacred mantra, though it has become somewhat of a blinding commentary; it can no longer be perceived that critical review is not without its flaws, human error or religious/political bias.  There appears to be an academic inability to accept that peer review is simply broken and is crumbling under the sheer volume of papers that will likely remain unread by most people in their field.  (A few papers have been written about peer review becoming flawed, and noted medical journals have suggested a significant percentage of studies are flawed or unverified.) Additionally, it appears that many academics are unable, unwilling or too busy to correct the flawed system, even when unverified and largely unsubstantiated theories are clung to like a newborn child; the argument that science is self correcting is not legitimate when it drastically affects life and culture.

Ahistorical Transgenerational Trauma.

The term Ahistorical Transgenerational Trauma (ATT) is a modernized term for some of the variants that would be commonly tallied under Hinduphobia.  ATT specifically addresses ahistorical claims such as the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), (which has repeatedly demonstrated to have a significant lack of evidence) and the trauma manifesting over multiple generations.  An example would include the lack of evidence to support the AIT is also relevant regarding the Aryan Migration Theory (AMT.) This poorly based theory (AMT)  is rooted in a need to resolve the Biblical timeline of Noah and the antiquity of India.  (See Klostermaier: A Survey of Hinduism) The effects of this poorly based claim have been a stripping away of a cultures history, self-identity, and understanding of itself, forcing hundreds of years of Hindu generations to be traumatized mentally and emotionally by Ahistorical Transgenerational Trauma. 

Another example would be caste, with the most common reference being the Purusha Suktam of the Rg Veda. (Rg Veda 10.7.90) Regardless of what any academic may claim or has stated in the past, the Purusha Suktam does not make a claim or argument for caste.  In fact, David Frawley (Acharya Vamadeva Shastri) has argued that the Purusha Suktam is a positive confirmation that each person in Vedic society was important and played a role in the ‘Vedic body.’  Again, this poor historicity claim has contributed to the modern day issue of caste in India, subjecting a large number of the Indian population to Ahistorical Transgenerational Trauma manifesting as struggles between a variety of peoples, a struggle that continues to this very day.  India’s recovery from this trauma will likely take hundreds of years, and in some regions, it may take considerably longer. 

Let’s examine a more recent example that has the potential to generate ATT for current and future generations.  Recently a book on Aurangzeb was published which did not agree with the traditional Hindu view regarding Aurangzeb.  The author argued Aurungzeb could not be judged in the context of modern social values.  This same academic using a “loose translation” suggested that Rama could be labeled as a “misogynistic pig.” In effect, albeit incorrectly, applying a modern standard to an ancient text; generating a double standard where the academic suggests  Aurangzeb cannot be viewed in a modern way, yet, for Rama and Hinduism, it is perfectly acceptable to frame Rama in incorrect and modern terms.  Aurangzeb and Rama is an example of a manifesting ATT that has the potential to traumatize or to be used to traumatize the current generations and sow divisive views and conflicts for future generations. 

These are only a few examples, but they clearly illustrate the point.  Regrettably, the history of India is littered with these examples. 

Conclusion.

Hindus are in a great battle for their narrative and seeking liberation from the narrative forced upon them by ahistorical transgenerational trauma forces.  These ATT narratives continue to appear, globally, in textbooks, magazine articles, and even television programming.  These narratives are well funded, and the institutions are well established.  But Hinduism has a rich history of standing up to antagonists.  Hindus have a technological advantage and numbers.  Everyone can contribute to healing the damage of ATT. Educating children and adults about issues related to  ATT is a great start.  Meditation and yoga should not be underestimated in its ability to aid in healing these impressions on a physical, emotional and mental level.  Produce videos, blogs, podcasts on Hinduism.  Talk to other Hindus about these issues.

A great period for Hinduism is awakening. But, it is important to challenge ahistorical comments and content.  I recently encountered a quote from the Bhagavad Gita that was simply not found in the Gita.  I challenged it.  A retraction was produced.  It is important to challenge these falsities whenever they are encountered.  Each of us can make a significant difference. 

Copyright 2018.  All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Yogi Baba Prem

  • Yogi Baba Prem has two books published in India, and has written numerous other books published by Universal Yoga. 

 

  • His articles have appeared in several traditional magazines and a variety of e-magazines.