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Sangha and democracy

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  • Sangha and democracy

    It is often said buda was not a king for the sakyas was a kind of tribal democracy. I sometimes think it is so arrogant of the west to always say it is greece who invented democracy. As my basque friend Inaki said westerners may have not finished with their feeling of superiority. I dont know

    This tribal kind of democracy is supposed to have influenced how the sangha works.

    This from wiki on Ambedkar,thanks to fu
    Architect of India's constitution

    Upon India's independence on August 15, 1947, the new Congress-led government invited Ambedkar to serve as the nation's first law minister, which he accepted. On August 29, Ambedkar was appointed chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee, charged by the Assembly to write free India's new Constitution. Ambedkar won great praise from his colleagues and contemporary observers for his drafting work. In this task Ambedkar's study of sangha practice among early Buddhists and his extensive reading in Buddhist scriptures was to come to his aid. Sangha practice incorporated voting by ballot, rules of debate and precedence and the use of agendas, committees and proposals to conduct business. Sangha practice itself was modelled on the oligarchic system of governance followed by tribal republics of ancient India such as the Shakyas and the Lichchavis. Thus, although Ambedkar used Western models to give his Constitution shape, its spirit was Indian and, indeed, tribal.

  • #2


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    For other uses, see Gana (disambiguation).

    A Dancing gana, Dashavatara temple, Deogarh

    The word Gaṇa (Devanagari: गण), in Sanskrit, means "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class" (Monier Williams's dictionary). It can also be used to refer to a "body of attendants" and can refer to "a company, any assemblage or association of men formed for the attainment of the same aims". [1]
    In Hinduism, the Gaṇas (Devanagari: गण) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailasa. Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha's title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, "lord of the gaṇas". [2]
    The word "gana" can also refer to councils or assemblies convened to discuss matters of religion or other topics.

    [edit] Ganas as Shiva's attendants

    In Hinduism, the gana or bhutagana are attendants of Shiva that reside in chthonic and liminal locations such as cemeteries and charnel grounds. The bhutagana also attend to Shiva on Mount Kailash. The story of creation of Virabhadra from the Shiva’s lock and destruction of Daksha by Virabhadra and his ganas is a popular myth.
    Thakur Deshraj has claimed that the story arose from a clan of Jats named Shivi who had a republic ruled by democratic system of administration known as ganatantra. Kshudrakas had formed a sangha with Malavas.[3] This view is not mainstream[4]

    [edit] Ganas as assemblies

    Many books of Sanskrit literature have used ganas and sanghas frequently. The famous Sanskrit scholar Panini of 900 BCE has mentioned in his Sanskrit grammar known as Aṣṭādhyāyī in the form of shloka as जट झट संघाते or Jat Jhat Sanghate. This means that the terms 'Jat' and 'democratic federation' are synonymous.[5]
    Panini in his sanskrit grammar used gana as:
    संघोद्घौ गण प्रशंसयो Sanghoddhau gaṇa praśansayo
    Narada smriti in sanskrit mentions as:
    आदि शब्दों गण संघादि समूह विपक्षया Ādi śabdon gaṇa sanghadi samūh vipakshayā
    It shows that the ganatantra (republic) system of rule was prevalent in India since ancient period.

    [edit] Ganas in Shanti Parva

    A detailed analysis has been done about ganas in chapter 108 of Shanti Parva in which Yudhisthira asks Bhisma about the ganas that how ganas increase, how they defend themselves from the dividing-policy of enemies, what are the techniques to conquer enemies and making the ganas friends, how they hide their secret mantras being in majority. The Bhisma’s answers to these questions have been recorded in the form of shlokas (verses) from 16 – 32 in Shanti Parva. [5], [6]

    [edit] Ganas in Vedas

    Ganas have been narrated in Vedas in the form of assemblies of warriors as is clear from the following sutras of Rigveda (RV 3-26-6): [5]
    व्रातं व्रातं गणम् गणम् Vrātam Vrātam gaṇam gaṇam
    Gana in brief means an assembly. Ganatantra (republic) means a state run by assemblies.
    The representative members of clans were known as ganas and their assembly as sanghas, there chief as ganadhipati or Ganesha and Ganapati.

    [edit] Ganas in Buddhist literature

    The Buddhist literature Mahabagga mentions that:
    गण पूरकोवा भविस्सामीति Gaṇa pūrkovā bhavissāmīti
    It indicates that there was an officer who used to see the number of ganas and their koram in the Rajasabha (state assembly).[5]
    During Buddhist period, the Buddhist books like ‘Pali-pitaka’, Majjhamnikaya, mahabagga, Avadana shataka have mentioned ganas and sanghas many times. During Buddhas period there were 116 republics or ganasanghas in India.
    In Buddhist times, Gaṇas were assemblies of the Sanghas, early democratic republics known as Gaṇa-rājyas, literally "rule of the assembly", a term paralleling demo-kratia or soviet republic. The term was revived in Bhārata Gaṇarājya, the official name of the Republic of India.

    Myths in which the Ganas appear


    One version of the birth of Ganesha tells of how Ganesha was created by Parvati to act as a dvarlapala - a guardian of her threshold. When Shiva came to his wife's apartments, not only did Ganesha refuse to admit him, he had the audacity to strike Shiva. Shiva ordered his bhutaganas to kill Ganesha. Not only did Ganesha successfully oppose the ganas, he also defeated all the gods who came to their help. With the help of Vishnu's power to create a dazzling illusion, the gods managed to take Ganesha unawares, and struck off his head. Parvati, furious at this, began to fight Shiva herself. Eventually, Paravti agreed to make peace, on the condition that her son was restored to life. Shiva agreed and ordered the devatas to travel north and bring back the head of the first animal they came across - which happened to be the head of an elephant. Thus Ganesha was restored to life and Shiva, impressed at his fighting prowess, made him chief of his troops, the Ganas.


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