Twenty-two vows of Ambedkar

Inscription of 22 vows at Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur

The Twenty-two vows or twenty-two pledges are the 22 Buddhist vows administered by B. R. Ambedkar, the revivalist of Buddhism in India, to his followers. On converting to Buddhism, Ambedkar made 22 vows, and asked his 600,000 supporters to do the same.[1] After receiving lay ordination, Ambedkar gave dhamma diksha to his followers. The ceremony included 22 vows administered to all new converts after Three Jewels and Five Precepts. On 14 October 1956 at Nagpur, Ambedkar performed another mass religious conversion ceremony at Chandrapur.[2][3]

It is believed by Ambedkarite Buddhists that these vows are the guidelines of the social revolution that motivates human instincts. These vows demonstrate both the social movement aspect of Navayana Buddhism, and demonstrate its core deviation from earlier sects of Buddhism. In India, these vows are taken as an oath by individuals or groups of people when they convert to Buddhism.[4][5]

Vows

(left) On 14 October 1956, Ambedkar administering 22 vows after renouncing Hinduism at Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur; (right) Deekshabhoomi monument, located in Nagpur, Maharashtra where B. R. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in 1956 is the largest stupa in Asia.[6]

The following are the 22 vows administered by Ambedkar to his followers:[1]

  1. I shall have no faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, nor shall I worship them.
  2. I shall have no faith in Rama and Krishna, who are believed to be incarnation of God, nor shall I worship them.
  3. I shall have no faith in Gauri, Ganapati and other gods and goddesses of Hindus, nor shall I worship them.
  4. I do not believe in the incarnation of God.
  5. I do not and shall not believe that Lord Buddha was the incarnation of Vishnu. I believe this to be sheer madness and false propaganda.
  6. I shall not perform Shraddha nor shall I give pind.
  7. I shall not act in a manner violating the principles and teachings of the Buddha.
  8. I shall not allow any ceremonies to be performed by Brahmins.
  9. I shall believe in the equality of man.
  10. I shall endeavour to establish equality.
  11. I shall follow the Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha.
  12. I shall follow the ten paramitas prescribed by the Buddha.
  13. I shall have compassion and loving-kindness for all living beings and protect them.
  14. I shall not steal.
  15. I shall not tell lies.
  16. I shall not commit carnal sins.
  17. I shall not take intoxicants like liquor, drugs, etc.
    (The previous five proscriptive vows [#13–17] are from the Five Precepts.)
  18. I shall endeavour to follow the Noble Eightfold Path and practice compassion and loving-kindness in everyday life.
  19. I renounce Hinduism, which disfavors humanity and impedes the advancement and development of humanity because it is based on inequality, and adopt Buddhism as my religion.
  20. I firmly believe the Dhamma of the Buddha is a true religion.
  21. I consider that I have taken a new birth. (Alternately, "I believe that by adopting Buddhism I am having a re-birth."[7])
  22. I solemnly declare and affirm that I shall hereafter lead my life according to the teachings of Buddha's Dhamma.

The vows marble stone

twenty-two vows marble stone at the Deekshabhoomi

Considering the historical significance of these twenty-two vows, the then president of "Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Deekshabhoomi Memorial Committee", and former Governor of Bihar and Kerala R. S. Gavai and Sadanand Fulzele, the secretary of the organization, have carved these 22 vows on a wide marble stone at the Deekshabhoomi ground and placed the pillar at the first sight of the stupa. At a Buddha Vihara at Wardha, under M. L. Kasare's leadership, a similar grand pillar has been erected.[8][9] According to the 2011 Census of India, Ambedkarite Navayana Buddhists comprise about 87% (7.3 million) of Indian Buddhist community, and nearly 90% (6.5 million) of all Navayana Buddhists in India live in a single state, Maharashtra.[10][11][12][13][14][15]

References

  1. ^ a b Omvedt 2003, pp. 261–262.
  2. ^ Vajpeyi, Ananya (27 August 2015). "Comment article from Ananya Vajpeyi: Owning Ambedkar sans his views". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Nagpur is where Dr BR Ambedkar accepted Buddhism on October 14, 1956, along with several followers". dna. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  4. ^ "236 dalits adopt Buddhism in protest against Hathras Case". Media India Group. 16 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  5. ^ Purandare, Vaibhav. "How Babasaheb rejected and criticised the Vedas". The Economic Times. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  6. ^ Bhagwat, Ramu (19 December 2001). "Ambedkar memorial set up at Deekshabhoomi". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  7. ^ "22 Vows". Jai Bheem (jaibheem.com). India.
  8. ^ "'बावीस प्रतिज्ञा म्हणजे सत्यदर्शन'". Maharashtra Times (in Marathi). Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  9. ^ "क्या भाजपा ने आंबेडकर की 22 प्रतिज्ञाएं पढ़ी हैं?". BBC News हिंदी (in Hindi). Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Manu Moudgil, Dalits are still converting to Buddhism, but at a dwindling rate". The Quint. 17 June 2017.
  11. ^ Moudgil, Manu (1 July 2017). "Conversion To Buddhism Has Brought Literacy, Gender Equality And Well-Being To Dalits". www.indiaspend.com. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  12. ^ Moudgil, Manu (17 June 2017). "Dalits Are Still Converting to Buddhism, but at a Dwindling Rate". TheQuint. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Dalits who converted to Buddhism better off in literacy and well-being: Survey". The Financial Express. 2 July 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Wayback Machine". 25 August 2015. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  15. ^ "बौद्ध बढ़े, चुनावी चर्चे में चढ़े". Aaj Tak (in Hindi). Retrieved 25 October 2021.

Bibliography

  • Omvedt, Gail (2003). Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and caste. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. ISBN 0761996648 – via archive.org.
  • "Ambedkar's 22 vows: Why Babasaheb made the pledge at the centre of BJP-AAP row". The Indian Express. 8 October 2022. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
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