According to the Merriam-Webster online, to “plagiarize” means:
- 1. to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
- 2. to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
- 3. to commit literary theft
- 4. to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward. (http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism/)
Let´s see examples of these points:
Mindfulness Meditation: entirely based on buddhist Vipassana meditation. The popularization of these buddhist techniques in the West is due to Jon Kabat-Zinn who, according to Wikipedia, “removed the Buddhist framework and eventually downplayed any connection between mindfulness and Buddhism, instead putting MBSR in a scientific context. (…) . His secular technique, which combines meditation and Hatha yoga, has since spread worldwide. (…) Although he has been trained in Buddhist principles, he does not identify as a Buddhist, preferring to think of himself as a scientist.”
Secular??? What is secular in the combination of two Dharmic sources, Buddhism and Hinduism (Hatha Yoga)? Secular is a western concept that doesn´t fit into the Dharmic worldview, therefore it cannot apply to it (refer to article “Western concepts do not fit in the Dharmic worldview”).
Only his is a scientific approach? What is science? Science in the West it is an outward outlook and analysis of the external objects and events. Science in India is an inward outlook through which the entire cosmos can be studied and analyse in the laboratory of the mind. Tools and devices that may be used are only a support for a process that develops in introspection. Buddhism and Hinduism are Dharmic worldviews to which western standards do not apply. So it is foolish to try to fit lively outlooks into sterile frozen fossilized standards. Besides an arrogant ambition.
The work of this gentleman is one of the many of westerners who got trapped in the western standards which he himself cannot comply with. By defining his work as “secular” and “scientific”he is using existing sources without giving them the proper credit and passing the ideas as his own. Everything would have been avoided by just a dose of humility: giving the due credit to the sources of his work, instead of downplaying them. Without Hinduism and Buddhism, mindfulness would have not existed, so what is there to be so proud of himself as a “secular” and a “scientist”?
Another instance that comes to my mind is that of Eckhart Tolle´s best-seller “The power of now. A Guide to spiritual enlightenment”. Heavily drawn from Vedanta, as most of his works, he fails to give it the proper credit by downplaying the role of the dharmic approach in it when diluting it in a mixture of sources from which he has “created” a “belief system based on living in the present moment” (Wikipedia). He has only once acknowledged that he has spent too many hours in the study of Vedanta and Bhagavad Gita before starting his writings (Hinduism Today). But this has not reached the public who thinks of him as a pioneer when he is only parroting not even his one original idea.
These, and many other cases which could be branded as plagiarism by westerners in their interrelation with Dharmic sources, go a step further in what Mr. Rajiv Malhotra names as “digestion”. Not contented with having stolen the dharmic ideas, they repack them as their own, downplaying in such a way the sources that, with the passage of generations nobody would remember the true sources but instead these western egos. The tiger has eaten up the goat, and no more DNA of the goat remains when the tiger has got stronger. This unfortunately has been a constant in the western behaviour all along the history by destroying civilizations that no longer exist but only in museums: see pagans of ancient Europe, american indians, and whoever has interacted with westerners who have impossed themselves as the dominant culture and continue to do so nowadays by wanting to set the western standards for the whole world.
The issue of plagiarism when westerners interact with Dharmic sources could be summarized in the saying “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.” Now the same westerners dare to accuse Shri Rajiv Malhotra of plagiarism. The same western indologists who have become famous in the Academia as scholars by reproducing dharmic ideas in their works without giving the proper acknowledgement to their indian sources dare to accuse Mr. Malhotra of having plagiarized Mr. Nicholson ideas in Mr. Malhotra´s book “Indra´s Net”.
SOME REAL FACTS SUPPORTING THAT HE IS NOT A PLAGIARIZER
– Mr. Nicholson work is mentioned in Indra´s Net more than 30 times. The question of plagiarism does not come when he has been cited so many times.
– Mr. Nicholson has been invited by Shri Rajiv to list the former original ideas. Only copying original ideas of someone without proper acknowledgement can amount to plagiarism. No news for now…because not even one single original idea seems to be there in Mr. Nicholson´s work.
– In Rajiv Sir own words: “Indra’s Net has about 450 end notes, of which about 350 are references to various works by others. There is no intention to hide others’ works at all, in fact, quite the contrary: I am often chided for over-doing references. Nicholson cites far fewer references in any of his works.
Also, less than 3% of Indra’s Net references pertain to Nicholson, because he is relevant only to minor portions of the book. Hence, he is hardly supplying anything major.” (SEE his complete post https://www.facebook.com/RajivMalhotra.Official/posts/517323925087616 )
– In fact, Mr. Malhotra´s work is plenty of original ideas and original approaches from a dharmic perspective. He has developed a new thought system. Besides, he has coined many terms full of new significances that will give an imprint when used by us hindus in the right contexts: Dharma as an open architecture, digestion (of dharmic world by the westerners), sanskrit-not translatables, hinduphobia, and many other terms. These terms as explained by him have become lively as embodied truths.
TRUTH BEHIND THE ACCUSATIONS
As I see it, clearly this accusation is a distracting manoeuvre and a revengful movement.
Revengeful because Mr. Malhotra has earlier criticised the works of Mrs. Wendy Doniger, another western indologist who among other works, she wrote a book “The Hindus, an alternative history” plenty of wrong interpretations of facts and scriptures, as long as her lenses are darkened by western psychological limitations in their mental framework, like most of indologists. Academia could not tolerate that Mr. Malhotra´s voice is being heard more and more and their livehood can be threatened if more and more people start thinking by themselves and realise the limited biased view of those who protect the vested western interests that only seek to dominate the world by destroying whatever is different.
A distracting manoeuvre because Indra´s Net was published more than one year and a half ago, and now when Mr. Malhotra has just anounced in the World Sanskrit Conference in Bangkok the launch of his new book in September “Battle for Sanskrit”, the accusations have arised . In this book he gives the counter view from a dharmic perspective to the studies on Sanskrit that a group of american indologists are doing. You can see in:
What a coincidence that just after this video was released in youtube, the accusations started, trying to put hindrances as to see if they get the book not to be launched. It is not that outsiders cannot study another´s culture. But the problem is that as of now, the insiders, in these case Hindus have not been heard in a fair level play, but only as native informants. The same as usual, as when yogis have been studied by westerners, like Mr. Malhotra says, and the credit has gone to the westerner who studied, instead of to the yogis who were the ones who got the attainments that raised the curiosity of the westerner to study them!!. It is high time that “other cultures” and here Dharmic people stop being only the Guinea pigs of the western masters and raise their voice at the same level at least in any sort of interrelation between West and India. Rajivji is doing it….and masters do not like it…. The battle for Sanskrit is a part of the battle for Dharma that is already on for long. The Kurkshetra is alive and Shri Krishna has adviced us to struggle for Dharma. Mr. Malhotra is a leading voice of what all of us should be doing in our petty and anonymous life, inwardly and outwardly.
We should be thankful to Mr. Malhotra for his fair input differentiating between outsiders and insiders when approaching Sanskrit (and for that matter, all dharmic culture). Hope from now onwards this input of him makes a difference among indians who may realise who is really at their side regardless the color of their skin and their country of birth. This is a battle between Dharma and Adharma, and whoever supports Dharma should be recognised at our side. Because the adharmic forces are too powerful and destructive as for relying in superficial simmilarities to be considered as a friend and superficial differences to be considered as an “enemy”. Go deeper, my dear indian brother, Mr Malhotra has pointed out who the real enemies of Dharma are.