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Ramana Advaita : A Clear Brief

 In Maharishi Ramana’s own words …

This is a special post.

Only very pertinent comments will be approved

What is reality ? 
You are the supreme reality to yourself – the Self, the I that remains the same, still and silent, awake and aware, through your wakeful, dream and deep sleep states in life, from birth through death. 

Clearly, it is not the ego-being that waxes and wanes with its happy and miserable experience. 
You are awareness. Awareness is your another name. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it.

Your present knowledge is due to the ego and is only relative. Relative knowledge requires a subject and an object, whereas the awareness of the Self is absolute and requires no object. 

People want to see the Self as something new. But it is eternal and remains the same all along. They desire to see it as a blazing light etc. How can it be so ? It is not light, not darkness. It is only as it is. It cannot be defined. 

When a man realises the Self, what will he see ? 
There is no seeing. There is only being. The state of Self-realisation, as we call it, is not attaining something new or reaching some goal which is far away, but simply being that which you always are and which you always have been. 

All that is needed is that you give up taking the not-true as true. All of us are regarding as real that which is not real. We have only to give up this practice on our part.

At one stage you will laugh at yourself for trying to discover the Self which is so self-evident. There is no seer there to see anything. The seer who is seeing all this now ceases to exist and the Self alone remains. 

For those who live in Self as the beauty devoid of thought, there is nothing which should be thought of. That which should be 
adhered to is only the experience of silence, because in that supreme state nothing exists to be attained other than oneself.

It is false to speak of realisation. What is there to realise ? The real is as it always is. We are not creating anything new or achieving something which we did not have before. 

The illustration given in books is this. We dig a well and create a huge pit. The space in the pit or well has not been created by us. We have just removed the earth which was filling the space there. The space was there then and is also there now. Similarly we have simply to throw out all the age-long samskaras [innate tendencies] which are inside us. When all of them have been given up, the Self will shine alone. 

Liberation is our very nature. We are that. The very fact that we wish for liberation shows that freedom from all bondage is our real nature. It is not to be freshly acquired. All that is necessary is to get rid of the false notion that we are bound. When we achieve that, there will be no desire or thought of any sort. So long as one desires liberation, so long, you may take it, one is in bondage.

If you remain as you are now, you are in the wakeful state; this becomes hidden in the dream state; and the dream state disappears when you are in deep sleep. You were there then, you are there now, and you are there at all times. The three states come and go, but you are always there. 

It is like a cinema. The screen is always there but several types of pictures appear on the screen and then disappear. Nothing sticks to the screen, it remains a screen. Similarly, you remain your own Self in all the three states. If you know that, the three states will not trouble you, just as the pictures which appear on the screen do not stick to it. On the screen, you sometimes see a huge ocean with endless waves; that disappears. Another time, you see fire spreading all around; that too disappears. The screen is there on both occasions. Did the screen get wet with the water or did it get burned by the fire? Nothing affected the screen. In the same way, the things that happen during the wakeful, dream and sleep states do not affect you at all; you remain your own Self. 

There is only one state, that of consciousness or awareness or existence. The three states of waking, dream and sleep cannot be real. They simply come and go. It is the seer who says these come and go. The seer and the seen together constitute the mind. See if there is such a thing as the mind. Then, the mind merges in the Self, and there is neither the seer nor the seen. So the real answer to your question is, `They neither come nor go.' 

What is the difference between the mind and the Self ? 
There is no difference. The mind turned inwards is the Self; turned outwards, it becomes the ego and all the world. Cotton made into various clothes we call by various names. Gold made into various ornaments, we call by various names. But all the clothes are cotton and all the ornaments gold. The one is real, the many are mere names and forms. 

But the mind does not exist apart from the Self, that is, it has no independent existence. The Self exists without the mind, never the mind without the Self. 

Brahman is said to be sat-chit-ananda. What does that mean ? 
Yes. That is so. That which is, is only sat – truth, being. That is called Brahman. The luster of sat is chit – consciousness, knowledge, awareness; and its nature is ananda -- bliss. These are not different from sat. All the three together are known as satchidananda. 

If a man thinks that his happiness is due to external causes and his possessions, it is reasonable to conclude that his happiness must increase with the increase of possessions and diminish in proportion to their diminution. Therefore if he is devoid of possessions, his happiness should be nil. 

What is the real experience of man ? Does it conform to this view ? 
In deep sleep man is devoid of possessions, including his own body. Instead of being unhappy he is quite happy. Everyone desires to sleep soundly. The conclusion is that happiness is inherent in man and is not due to external causes. One must realise the Self in order to open the store of unalloyed happiness.

Existence is the same as happiness and happiness is the same as being. The word mukti – liberation, freedom -- is so provoking. Why should one seek it ? One believes that there is bondage and therefore seeks liberation. But the fact is that there is no bondage but only liberation.

Parable of ten foolish men ...
The ten foolish men in the parable forded a stream and on reaching the other shore wanted to make sure that all of them had 
in fact safely crossed the stream. One of the ten began to count, but while counting the others left himself out. `I see only nine; sure enough, we have lost one. Who can it be ?' he said. 

`Did you count correctly ?' asked another, and did the counting himself. But he too counted only nine. One after the other, each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself. 

`We are only nine', they all agreed, `but who is the missing one?' they asked themselves. Every effort they made to discover the `missing' individual failed.

`Whoever he is that is drowned', said the most sentimental of the ten fools, `we have lost him.' So saying he burst into tears, and the others followed suit. 

Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer enquired about the cause. They related what had happened and said that even after counting themselves several times they could find no more than nine. On hearing the story, but seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer guessed what had happened. 

In order to make them know for themselves they were really ten, that all of them had survived the crossing, he told them, `Let each of you count for himself but one after the other serially, one, two, three and so on, while I shall give you each a blow so that all of you may be sure of having been included in the count, and included only once. The tenth missing man will then be found.' 

Hearing this they rejoiced at the prospect of finding their `lost' comrade and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer. While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the ten in turn, he that got the blow counted himself aloud. `Ten,' said the last man as he got the last blow in his turn. Bewildered they looked at one another. 

`We are ten,' they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief. 

However often Bhagavan * teaches us, we are not able to understand. 
* reverential address, meaning God 

People say that they are not able to know the Self that is all pervading. What can I do ? 
Even the smallest child says, `I exist; I do; this is mine.' 
So, everyone understands that the thing `I' is always existent.

What is the ego-self ? How is it related to the real Self ? 
The ego-Self appears and disappears and is transitory, whereas the real Self is permanent. Though you are actually the true Self you wrongly identify the real Self with the ego-self. 

How does the mistake come about ? 
See if it has come about. 

One has to sublimate the ego-self into the true Self. 
The ego-self does not exist at all. 

Why does it give us trouble ? 
To whom is the trouble ? 
The trouble also is imagined. Trouble and pleasure are only for the ego. 

Why is the world so wrapped up in ignorance ? 
Take care of yourself. Let the world take care of itself. 
See your Self. If you are the body there is the gross world also. If you are spirit all is spirit alone. 

It will hold good for the individual, but what of the rest ? 
Do it first and then see if the question arises afterwards. 

Is there avidya [ignorance] ? 
For whom is it ?  For the ego-self. 
Yes, for the ego. Remove the ego and avidya is gone. Look for it, the ego vanishes and the real Self alone remains. The ego professing avidya is not to be seen. There is no avidya in reality. All sastras [scriptures] are meant to disprove the existence of avidya. 

How did the ego arise ? 
Ego is not. Otherwise do you admit of two selves ?

How has the unreal come ? Can the unreal spring from the real ? 
See if it has sprung. There is no such thing as the unreal, from another standpoint. The Self alone exists. When you try to trace the ego, which is the basis of the perception of the world and everything else, you find the ego does not exist at all and neither does all this creation that you see. 

It is cruel of God's leela (play) to make the knowledge of the Self so hard. 
Knowing the Self is being the Self, and being means existence, one's own existence. No one denies one's existence any more than one denies one's eyes, although one cannot see them. The trouble lies with your desire to objectify the Self, in the same way as you objectify your eyes when you place a mirror before them. You have been so accustomed to objectivity that you have lost the knowledge of yourself, simply because the Self cannot be objectified. 

Who is to know the Self ? Can the insentient body know it ?  All the time you speak and think of your `I', yet when questioned you deny knowledge of it. You are the Self, yet you ask how to know the Self. Where then is God's leela and where is its cruelty ? Because of this denial of the Self by people the sastras speak of maya, leela, etc. 

Does my realisation help others ? 
Yes, certainly. It is the best help possible. But there are no others to be helped. 

That will take some years. 
Why years ? The idea of time is only in your mind. It is not in the Self. There is no time for the Self. Time arises as an idea after the ego arises. But you are the Self beyond time and space. You exist even in the absence of time and space. 

All books say that the guidance of a Guru is necessary. 
The Guru will say only what I am saying now. He will not give you anything you have not already got. It is impossible for anyone to get what he has not got already.

I see you doing things. How can you say that you never perform actions ? 
The radio sings and speaks, but if you open it you will find no one inside. Similarly, my existence is like the space; thou this body speaks like the radio, there is no one inside as a doer. 

I find this hard to understand. Could you please elaborate on this ? 
Various illustrations are given in books to enable us to understand how the jnani can live and act without the mind, although living and acting require the use of the mind. The potter's wheel goes on turning round even after the potter has ceased to turn it because the pot is finished. In the same way, the electric fan goes on revolving for some minutes after we switch off the current. The prarabdha [predestined karma] which created the body will make it go through whatever activities it was meant for. But the jnani goes through all these activities without the notion that he is the doer of them. 

It is hard to understand how this is possible. The illustration generally given is that the jnani performs actions in some such way as a child that is roused from sleep to eat eats but does not remember next morning that it ate. 

It has to be remembered that all these explanations are not for the jnani. He knows and has no doubts. He knows that he is not the body and he knows that he is not doing anything even though his body may be engaged in some activity. These explanations are for the onlookers who think of the jnani as one with a body and cannot help identifying him with his body. 

You are Bhagavan. So you should know when I shall get jnana. 
Tell me when I shall be a jnani. 

If I am Bhagavan there is no one besides the Self - therefore no jnani or ajnani. If otherwise, I am as good as you are and know as much as yourself. Either way I cannot answer your question. 

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.beasyouare.info/beasyouare.html

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How Gross !

The gross should have long ago grossed us out. But look around : the world is more involved in businesses related to food, sex, body craft and grooming, than in books and lettercraft.

I am not being condescending. But I do value the self and believe in examining it from time time. As part of that priority, I would prefer to keep the ambience around it clear of matters gross. To do so, it is crucial that our involvement with gross concerns is kept to a minimum, limited to just as much as we need to ensure our good health and survival.

How would you categorise vaginoplasty, necessary or superfluous ?

via I Joke Because I Need Your Steam

Three Pics & Vedanta

This Brings A World To Mind

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The objective – subjective idealistic conflict presents an interesting thought but does not go far enough. The first part roots for the thing as it is; the second is all that we understand of it. One echoes the saying, did the tree fall make a noise, without anybody there to hear it ? The other’s reply is unequivocal : no mater what else we observe or measure, we do not really know if there was a sound when it was not heard. The true sceptic is certain moreover : nothing is really known or knowable either way; we not only interpret the object to our senses but we do so allowing full play to our biases, prejudice and inclinations.

But there is more to the story. We ourselves are qualified and conditioned at any point in time by the interpretation then prevailing in our mind.

And the cycle repeats itself a million times…no matter who initiates the discussion or what it might be occasioned by !

Science is determined to not leave things at that. It says, it will define the object truly, in its own constitution and by its own attributes.

Vedanta aims differently, diametrically oppositely : it says, let the interprepations go and witness your own unqualified, unconditioned self. Theoretically, then, the object will reflect in the mind, as it is, without any interpretation.

Just sharing… Do as you may !

The Elixir of Words

“…Silence shrieks and wounds speak
Strength surrenders to stanzas
Pain pen poems down
and bleed till ink runs dry
Some prose of love and some drafts of goodbye…”

 

Words are fingerprints of the soul Love paints footprints Faith dances on stardust bodies when hope sings on blank paper Syllables of feelings when counted wrong verse flow freely all along Emotions take a different shape when left bewildered Silence shrieks and wounds speak Strength surrenders to stanzas Pain pen poems down and bleed till […]

via 26. Poets and poetry — The Elixir of Words

FROM THE HILL… — kiwissoar

Been up to Hamilton for a family wedding (can’t post those photos yet as the official ones aren’t out) and visited our daughter in Whakatane… …the view from their home is superb, especially when the sun is painting the fields with gold, but also when the sun is sinking.

via FROM THE HILL… — kiwissoar

राजनीति का उपवास कांड-पीएम मोदी से कांग्रेस के ‘छोले भटूरों’ तक — my india my government

जी हां इस वक्त भारतीय राजनीति में उपवास कांड चल रहा है हर कोई उपवास करने की होड़ में शामिल हो रहा है। राहुल गांधी का उपवास अभी विवादों में सुर्खिया बटोर ही रहा था कि प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने भी उपवास का ऐलान कर दिया। विपक्ष द्वारा संसद में गतिरोध उत्पन्न कर देश की विकास […]

via राजनीति का उपवास कांड-पीएम मोदी से कांग्रेस के ‘छोले भटूरों’ तक — my india my government

The Meluhhans In Mesopotamia, Egypt And Africa.

The presence of individuals or groups of immigrants from Indian Subcontinent in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC was recognized since the discovery of Indus Civilization at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in early 1920s, because Indus-like seals were found in stratified contexts in some of the most important Sumerian cities. In 1932, C.J. Gadd opened a new line of archaeological research, collecting and publishing in a fortunate paper a series of seals from Mesopotamia (found during digs or acquired on the antiquarian market) sharing what he regarded as an Indian style. Gadd’s interpretation was fundamentally correct, although the series of seals he published also included specimens of what we presently identify as Dilmunite seals, coming from the Gulf islands of Faylaka and Bahrein.

The great seasons of extensive excavations at Mohenjo Daro (Sindh, presently in Pakistan) were over, and the final report by J. Marshall (1931) had been published. Both the inscriptions and the animal icons on the major group of western seals had obvious similarities with the steatite seals unearthed by thousands in major cities of the Indus civilization. It was on the basis of these finds, at least in a first stage, that the Indus valley civilization was dated to the middle Bronze age.

Since then, two generations of archaeologists and philologists have attempted to investigate the problem of Indian communities that had settled in Mesopotamia in the second half of 3rd millennium BC. As identification of Meluhha with coastal areas controlled by Indus-Sarasvati people is almost universally accepted, the textual evidence dealing with individuals qualified as men or sons of Meluhha, or called with the ethnonym Meluhha, living in Mesopotamia in a Meluhha village established at Lagash (and presumably at other major cities as well), clearly points to the existence of enclaves settled by Indian immigrants.

Conclusion …

As remarked by M. Tosi … the lack of Mesopotamian imports into the Indus Valley reveals the lesser significance of these connections for the eastern pole. Very much like the Roman trade with India and Arabia, as described in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea in the 1st century AD, the
flow of goods towards the head of the Gulf in the later 3rd millennium BC was determined more by the Mesopotamian demand than by economic integration with the distant lands that supplied these goods from the shores of the Indian Ocean.

The Sumerians and Akkadians interacted more with Dilmun sailors and traders, Indian immigrants and largely acculturated social groups than with the remote “Black Country” of Meluhha. In Mesopotamia and in the Gulf, the immigrant Indus families maintained and trasmitted their language, their writing system, weights and measures (known in Mesopotamia as the Dilmunite standard) … as strategic tools of trade. Their official symbol of “gaur” might have stressed, in a foreign land, their connection with their motherland in Indus-Sarasvati valleys. Nonetheless, they gradually adopted the use of foreign languages and introduced minor changes in their writing system for dealing with new, rapidy evolving linguistic needs.

The Indus communities in Mesopotamia developed, thanks to an intimate understanding of Mesopotamian culture and markets, and opportunisties for profitable trade. They promptly adapted their products and merchandise, pricing and availability, to fast-changing local – political, social, cultural and ideological – environment of markets abroad. Their success in Mesopotamia is easily measured by their efficient adaptation to prevailing order in different lands : politics, wars and change of regimes among city-states; presumably centralized Akkadian bureaucracy; and, even more centralized empire established by Ur-nammu.

By 2000 BC, their integration with Mesopotamian social and economic reality seems to be total. The acculturation process involved collaboration with local religious institutions, worship of foreign divinities, production of ornaments with foreign religious symbols, adoption of impure foreign rituals in life and death and, it may be easily imagined, suffering possible discrimination by their compatriots at home for having eaten impure food. The price of their success might have been their apparent contamination with Mesopotamian habits, creeds and ritual practices : a circumstance that may assuredly have not escaped the attention of the conservative and tradition-minded leadership in their home-cities in Indus-Sarasvati valley.

If, as Parpola duo suggest, Meluhha is the origin of “Mleccha”, it would have been especially galling to be addressed as “barbarian or foreigner,” which is what the word means in Sanskrit !

* * *

There is extensive presence of Harappan seals and cubical weight measures in Mesopotamian urban sites. Specific items of high volume trade are timber and specialty wood such as ebony, for which large ships were used. Luxury items also appear, such as lapis lazuli mined at a Harappan colony at Shortugai (Badakshan in northern Afghanistan), which was transported to Lothal, a port city in Gujarat, and shipped from there to Oman, Bahrain, and Sumer.

Indus Valley versus Africa

A number of scholars suggest that Meluhha was the Sumerian name for Indus-Sarasvati Valley Civilization. Asko and Simo Parpola, both Finnish scholars, identify Meluhha (earlier variant Me-lah-ha) from Sumerian documents with Dravidian mel akam “high abode” or “high country”. Many items of trade such as wood, minerals, and gemstones were indeed extracted from the hilly regions near the Indus settlements.

Earlier texts (c. 2200 BC) seem to indicate that Meluhha is to the east, suggesting its location in the Indus-Sarasvati region. Sargon of Akkad is said to have “dismantled the cities, as far as the shore of the sea. At the wharf of Agade, he docked ships from Meluhha, ships from Magan.”

However, much later texts documenting the exploits of King Assur Banipal of Assyria (668–627 BC), long after the Indus Valley civilization had ceased to exist, seem to imply that Meluhha is to be found somewhere near Egypt, in Africa.

There is sufficient archaeological evidence for trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indus Valley seals have been found at Ur and other Mesopotamian sites. The Persian-Gulf style of circular stamped seals, rather than rolled seals, are identified with Dilmun; they have been found at Lothal in Gujarat, India, as well as at Failaka Island (Kuwait), and in Mesopotamia. These widely dispersed finds are convincing evidence corroborating long-distance sea trade among these regions.

We are less sure of what the commerce consisted of : timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from Persian Gulf, shell and bone inlays were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, perhaps oil and grains and other foods. Copper ingots, certainly, bitumen, which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia, may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and chickens, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia—all these have been instanced.

African hypothesis :

Later texts from the 1st millennium BC suggest that “Meluhha” and “Magan” were kingdoms adjacent to Egypt. Assur Banipal writes about his first march against Egypt, “In my first campaign I marched against Magan, Meluhha, Tarka, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, whom Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, the father who begot me, had defeated, and whose land he brought under his sway.”

Apart from Assur Banipal’s reference, there is no mention of Meluhha in any Mesopotamian text after about 1700 BC, which corresponds to the time of decline of the Indus-Sarasvati Valley civilisation. This is a single instance reference to Meluhha nearly 1500 years after the ‘high tide’ of contact between the Indus Valley and Sumeria in 2000 BCE. Direct contacts ceased even during Mature Harappan phase between these two centers. Oman and Bahrain, Magan and Dilmun had become intermediaries. Sumeria had ‘forgotten’ the Indus Valley after the sack of Ur by the Elamites and subsequent invasions in Sumeria. Its trade and contacts shifted west and Meluhha passed into mythological memory. The resurfacing of the name probably relates to cultural memory of similarity of items of trade.

* * *

Shu-ilishu’s Cylinder Seal …

BY GREGORY L. POSSEHL

“Some years ago, while perusing the great Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim’s Ancient Mesopotamia : Portrait of a Dead Civilization, I found a reference to the personal cylinder seal of a translator of the Meluhhan language. His name was Shu-ilishu and he lived in Mesopotamia during the Late Akkadian period (ca. 2020 BC, according to the new, low chronology).

“I was interested in this man because Meluhha is widely believed to have been the Indus Civilization of the Greater Indus Valley in India and Pakistan (ca. 2500–1900 BC)—the focus of my own research. Based on cuneiform documents from Mesopotamia we know that there was at least one Meluhhan village in Akkad at that time, with people called “Son of Meluhha” living there. Therefore, to find evidence of an official translator was no surprise, though it is nifty when archaeology can document this sort of thing.

“To learn more I tracked down a photograph of Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal in a substantial volume found in the Museum Library—Collection de Clercq. Gathered together in the 19thCentury by a wealthy man, this collection is composed of objects purchased from dealers with little, if any, provenience data presented. Therefore, we do not know where Shu-ilishu’s cylinder came from. Despite this, I asked our Museum’s Photo Studio to make a black and white negative and several prints of the cylinder’s rollout impression. I have subsequently published this rollout in several places—renewing interest in Shuilishu. This cylinder seal has now become commonplace in discussions of Persian Gulf archaeology and the Indus Civilization’s contacts with Mesopotamia.

“My late colleague Edith Porada, the world’s leading expert on Mesopotamian seals in her day, confirmed the information presented in Oppenheim’s work. She also noted that the seal had been re-cut from its original appearance (not unusual) and that its style was Late Akkadian (ca. 2200–2113 BC), possibly even from the succeeding Ur III period (ca. 2113–2004 BC). During the spring of 2003, when the topic of Meluhha came up during a seminar I was addressing, I showed Porada’s letter to a small group of students.

“Thinking afresh about the re-cutting of the seal, I decided that the reading of the inscription should probably be checked. Did it really say that Shu-ilishu was a translator of Meluhhan ? I took the photograph I had copied from the Collection de Clercq to Steve Tinney, my colleague in the Museum’s Babylonian Section .”

The founder of Mesopotamia’s Akkadian dynasty, Sargon the Great, boasted that : The ships from Meluhha / the ships from Magan / the ships from Dilmun / he made tie-up alongside / the quay of Akkad (translated by Samuel Noah Kramer).

Magan and Dilmun are modern Oman and Bahrain, respectively. This inscription, other cuneiform documents, and recent archaeology in the Arabian Gulf tell us about the maritime activity between Akkad (modern Iraq) and Meluhha (modern Pakistan and India) during the 3rd millennium BC..

“He was kind enough to look at it and confirm everything, at least as far as the rather poor image allowed. It occurred to me that someone should probably track down the original seal and make a fresh impression, but where was the “Collection de Clercq” now—in Paris? I was sure I would get to it someday, but that is where I left things until a splendid piece of luck dropped it in my lap.

“In the spring of 2004, the “First Cities” show opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On June 10, 2004, I visited the Met with a couple of students. The show was a truly magnificent display, with treasures from the Near East and India set out in a very attractive and informed way. The Penn Museum’s material from Puabi’s grave at Ur was there, as was the British Museum’s famous Royal Standard of Ur. The “Priest-King” from Mohenjo-daro had been lent by the Pakistan Government—he looked great !—and the Louvre had also been very generous with its loan of various objects.

“The students and I did our tour through the galleries and then lingered, reading labels again or with greater concentration than on the first pass through. I was in a gallery near the “Priest-King” when I spotted Shuilishu’s cylinder and a clear impression of its rollout. It was a part of the Louvre’s loan. The “Collection de Clercq” had found its way to the Louvre, and Joan Aruz, the Met curator of the show, had been good enough to put it in her loan request. I showed the students and retold the story of why it is important.

“I knew that Tinney should see the fresh impression, but maybe I could do even better. After consulting with Aruz and her staff, it was agreed that I could approach Annie Caubet, Conservateur Général, Départment des Antiquitiés Orientales at the Musée du Louvre, and seek permission to make a fresh impression while Shu-ilishu’s seal was at the Met. Caubet’s answer was virtually immediate and positive. We could make a fresh impression and it could be a part of the “loan” collections at the Penn Museum. This was all accomplished, and Tinney reconfirmed the original translation. The Penn Museum now has a very fine rollout of the seal in its collections, where it can be used as a research tool for many, many years.

“The writing of Meluhha (the Indus script) remains undeciphered, in spite of many claims to the contrary. The inscriptions are short, and this makes the job of decipherment very difficult. To break the code, what is probably needed is a body of bilingual texts, like Jean-Francois Champollion had when he deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone. The presence in Akkad of a translator of the Meluhhan language suggests that he may have been literate and could read the undeciphered Indus script. This in turn suggests that there may be bilingual Akkadian/Meluhhan tablets somewhere in Mesopotamia. Although such documents may not exist, Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal offers a glimmer of hope for the future in unraveling the mystery of the Indus script.”

* * *

I might continue with a piece on the fascinating linguistic and etymological  evolution of Indian language from Mleccha and Arya vaach of those hoary times in pre-history !

DilmunMap

It’s TINA; Not NOTA.

In electoral politics, NOTA — None Of The Above — makes no sense. By choosing NOTA, we are saying, we are voting for none of the candidates in the list. It can only be our expression of protest. One of the candidates, of a particular political hue, will win anyway. His party will anyway either form the government or sit in opposition. That is how democracy works, with positive expressions, not negative choices.

On the other hand is TINA, a clear choice of the voter who, right or wrong in the opinion of others, knows that there is no other alternative to the choice he was then making. It is the clearest expression, without a shred of doubt.

It you are living in a democracy, choose TINA, not NOTA.

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One More Devotion That Moved The Lord…

It will shortly pass into folk lore which, in the Indian subcontinent, abounds with umpteen instances of the Lord of the Universe being moved by his devotee’s simple will. This one was narrated by the younger sister of an elderly lady, who was passing on in her years and frequently suffered bouts of indifferent health.

She lived in Mathura, a large town in the northern region of Central India that was closely associated with Lord Krishna’s life. It was the seat of Yadav Kingdom, ruled by a tyrant whom the young Krishna had killed. It was a city Krishna had successfully defended a dozen times against the powerful army of Magadh Emperor Jarasandha. It was the place he had evacuated the last time Jarasandha had laid seige and had led its people to the safety of Dwarka, on the west coast in Gujarat. Mathura is close to Gokul and Vrindavan, where Krishna had spent his childhood and growing up years; and to Barsana, the village in which the kind, older woman Radha lived. Their uncorporeal love was legendary, between mature Radha and boy Krishna, much sung and diversely described in texts ancient and modern.

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An Illustrative Pic

The lady was ill for some while then. She would often ask to properly bathed, as had been her routine over the decades before she sat at her worship corner in her home. But pouring water over her body, in weakened physical state was disallowed by the physician who was treating her. Besides, one couldn’t predict when exhaustion would overwhelm her body through the bathing process. The woman was well aware of these material factors to her being; but she would yet make an insistent plea every morning before relenting in the face of opposition by her two grown up sons and kind daughters in law. She would acquiesce to their sincere pleas and give in their service to her, take her breakfast and medicines prescribed, and sleep off while one of them would massage her legs and feet.

One day, just hours after midnight, while it was still dark, she felt being woken up by her elder son, who softly spoke into her ears : “Mother, would you want a bath now ? Come, I’ll help you through it.” The old lady was full of joy at this opportunity to go through the daily ritual of her lifetime. She would once again be able to present her clean self before Krishna and pray, singing praises and chanting his name. She was led to the attached bathroom by her son, who prepared a bucket of warm water for her to use and brought washed and nestly pressed clothes to change into.

The lady took her bath while her son wsited outside, ready to heed her call for help, if she needed. She changed into her new clothes, whereafter she was led by her son back to bed. She had tired of the effort she had to spent by the time she sat on her bed. “Son, I am exhausted. I will lie down to rest for a while before offering my prayers to Krishna. Go for now; I will give you call when I am ready.”

Her son assured her and helped her to lie down. She fell asleep while her son was still massaging her legs and feet. It was a deep, happy slumber that lasted through the night. Next morning, waking up, she gave a call to her elder son, lamenting her sense of loss at having missed out on the rest of the after-bath routine : her worship to Krishna. The members of her family quickly gathered around, enquiring about her need, any discomfort she might be feeling or help she wanted.

“No, no,” the woman cried, “it was nice bathing today, thanks to the elder one. But what good is it, since I missed out on my prayers before the Lord ? Come, take me to temple corner at least now !” But the sons and their wives were shocked, especially the elder one who had slept undisturbed through the night. He let the others know; his spouse too confirmed the truth. They also enquired of the lady if she wasn’t mistaken, had hallucinated about something she had intensely desired.

“No, I am not mistaken and have not hallucinated about the whole thing. Look at these clothes I am wearing now ? Are they the ones I had slept in ?” The wives turned to their husbands and nodded their agreement. They all then wondered and wondered again, disinclined to believe that someone other than any amongst them had served their mother fulfill her deepest desire.

It had been none other than Krishna, the dearest Lord of her lifetime, they all finally agreed. Which however caused the old lady to rant aloud an even more heart renting lament : “Lord ! Lord, you came to serve your maid and this ignorant one did not even recognise you. Lord ! Lord ! What am I to do now…”

She wailed incessantly, inconsolably in her ecstasy.

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Spring Into Action

“It’s frustrating to not be able to make a start, but the soil is still cold and sodden.   When the last of the snow retreated into dark hedges sheltered from the sun, the land may have thawed but it was once again saturated with the deluge of heavy rains.  We must be patient.  Experience tells me to wait to put in the carrot and radish seeds.  Still, I would like to get out and prepare the soil, prune, and tidy.

“Instead, I watch as the channel I dug to protect the track from runoff has been destroyed in places by the cattle.  The potholes are growing, despite a mini break in the weather several weeks ago when we filled dozens.  The moles, rats, and rabbits have left us with some ankle turning land.  Repairs to some of the outbuildings remains on hold as it is too wet to make the needed interventions.

“At this time of the year, it is hard to focus on anything other than the cold and wet.  But, there is a beauty in this seemingly dead of winter.  The grass is not simply green, but accented with colours of gold, brown and red.  Layers of cloud upon cloud cover the sky in multiple tones of grey.  Gone for the winter are the summer migratory birds and it has been months since the Swallows and House Martins have been here dive-bombing about the house feasting on insects.  I know their return soon will announce the arrival of spring, so too the Cuckoo.

“The wildlife is different during this time of the year as much of it is in hibernation or just lying low until spring.   Much, but not all.  The earthworms are being tugged out of the ground by our chickens as they seek foraged delights.  The Sparrows, Tits, Robins, Finches, Nuthatches and Jackdaws are taking it in turns to sustain themselves on the seeds we put out daily.   And none of this winter rain, wind, or mud has stopped the walkers.   Why should it?  If we waited for fine weather, then we would never go outside.  These intrepid souls have been out in huge numbers loaded with their binoculars, cameras, maps and walking sticks.”

via Spring Into Action

Being Judgemental…

Judgement is a function of intelligence. So, unless one is thick as rank stupids are, one would judge whatever is before us : happening, situation, thing, being, person, attitude, choices or behaviour. Having thus understood, we would discriminate and categorise the thing in our judgement as right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, true or false, likeable or not, valuable or worthless.

Who, in life, can live without this faculty to discriminate and capacity to judge ? This blogpost may not seem to be very orderly or brief but its young author drew my appreciation for departing from the cliche, the common social media talk at which people speak first and think never.

Cheers !

via Being Judgemental Is Bad.Really?

Family : The Home In Your Bosom

The family is like a lamb or cow you could easily slaughter. If we do not, at least among Hindus, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, it is because they give us more while they are alive, healthy and strong.

People in other cultures constantly invoke individual rights to disown and deny, and walk away from the cohesive ambit of their respective families. Also, parent’s make a life in togetherness difficult by attaching conditions; and marraiges today, with or without pre-nuptial agreements, already envisage a separation sooner or later. As a result, families keep getting dysfunctional all the time and are destroyed within the span of a few generations.

But the family is the closest and the most immediately natural group, of which we are a part.

via Journal : First Social Nursery

Malana : The Sad Contemporary Tale Of An Ancient Way Of Life

In popular belief they are supposed to be the descendants of some deported Greek soldiers of Alexander, yet some trace roots of their existence deep into Hindu mythology. Their ancestral roots may be debatable but their democratic setup, with participatory court procedure, is similar to that of ancient Greece.

And they have been producing some very good quality hashish. Blessed by Lord Shiva, good quality cannabis plant grows in abundance there. For ages the use of cannabis has been an integral part of their lives, from medicine to footwear. But in the past they had never traded it; neither did they know the value of it. Their only trade with the outside world had been in wool, sheared off their herds of sheep.

Truth Within, Shines Without

The Story Of Malana

Text Source : http://www.aheadofdemocracy.com/story-of-malana.html

A remote primitive little village in the Himalayas, Malana was isolated from the outside civilization for thousands of years. It was never invaded or ruled by an external administration. The people there had been living in harmony with nature, an innocent pure existence with their own language, their own world, their own democracy. Their people’s republic has been governed by a village council with an upper house and a lower house like the bicameral assemblies of our parliament. The council members are chosen by the village folk through a process of unanimous selection – not an election! Their court has been resolving all their internal disputes. No manipulation, no favoritism, in the presence of their God. All decisions have been unanimous; every individual’s opinion is considered – unlike the present form of democracy that leads to dictatorship of the majority. And the secret…

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Democracy Is Not The Ideal

In practice, democracy is not the ideal system of governance. It is just the most acceptable to mainstream people of a nation state. What would be ideal ? Communism; even organised religions have visions of what could be regarded as best or ideal for its believers.

The sooner we appreciate the fact, the better placed we shall be at accepting its limitations and conspicuous failures. The system itself most reflects the people who chose it over others. They are not ideal; their best are not ideally placed to contribute the most to the system.

On one hand, democracy trumps its critics by its overwhelming acceptability among the populace and, on the other, it discharges itself clean by reflecting all responsibility for it performance back to people. That is where and how matters stand, take it or leave it.

People who chose such a see through system of governance are stuck with it. They will never be able to de-select it and they can never have any hope from it except through themselves becoming better : becoming more capable, more responsible and more accountable to themselves. It is what people most severely lack; it also what a democratic system is most poor at : fixing responsibility and accountability.

Cheers !

Sun, Terror And Value

“Though applicable to the same contextual matrix, terror is felt by individuals, in their own distinctive ways, while war is business of communities or nations for or against aggression. The attackers could be charged up against an offensive presence to rail against, a long-term threat to be destroyed, or something valueable to rob and take away. The animal urge could easily deflate with the sense of consequences about to be unleashed. But beastial vitality is not concerned with moral and ethical choices, and is hence without the sense of responsibility for rushing headlong to death and destruction, terror and war.”

Truth Within, Shines Without

There is a constant war both within and without us, The one within is physiological, mental or spiritual; the one out there, between people, is bloody. The latter may involve passion of the whoever first declares or strikes, as a cry for justice to redress a wrong terribly perceived. Equally, a war could be the result of cold calculation either in continuity with a history between feuding parties or with an eye on advantages or spoils the aggressor expects to win.

In all cases, those pushed to defending themselves have no choice when swords begin to fall and the guns start booming : the aggression must be fought against, peaceniks and political correctness be damned. Unless one is a coward to his community or a traitor to his nation. The Gandhian or Christian romance – “absoluteness” as the author of The Rebel terms – is not even relevant to the…

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Not Aśoka…It Was Kumargupta – I

“…I should stress that Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī does not call himself Aśoka in any of the major rock edicts that mention the Greek kings. Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī Aśoka appears on the minor rock inscriptions, which do not mention the Greek kings. The identification of Aśoka Maurya as the Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī of major rock edicts and contemporary of Greek kings is based on the assumption that nobody other than Aśoka Maurya could use the title of Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī. This is obviously not true as shown by various examples in this article.

“Also, Aśoka Maurya could not be the Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī of major rock edicts because he can only be contemporary of Antiochus II as the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and there was no contact with India during the time of Antiochus II. As the great grandson of Chandragupta I, Kumāragupta-I can be contemporary of Antiochus III, who had come to the borderlands of India during a military campaign and received gifts from an Indian king named Sophagasenos.

“Finally, there is no independent evidence for Aśoka Maurya attacking Kalinga, the most important event in the life of Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī of major rock edicts, while there is explicit evidence for Kumāragupta-I to have attacked Kalinga.

“The identifications of Sandrokottos with Chandragupta-I and Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī with Kumāragupta-I, both of the Imperial Gupta dynasty, provide us the opportunity to reconstruct the history of India that better represents the evidence and is more faithful to the native traditions of India. In this chronological reconstruction we have a historical Vikramāditya, the greatest hero of ancient India, whose death in 57 BCE is commemorated by starting the Vikrama era in 57 BCE. We also have Gautamīputra Śātakarṇi crushing Śakas in 78 CE which is celebrated by starting the Śaka era in 78 CE.

“Currently foreigners are given credit for instituting both of these important Indian eras by historians whose hearts are full of love for invaders and who specialize in making a mockery of our traditions.”

Source: Kumāragupta-I, Not Aśoka, was Devānāmpriya Priyadarśī of major rock edicts | IndiaFacts

The Politicised Presentation Of Early Indian History By The Cultural Dacoits Of The West

Quoted entirely from https://2ndlook.wordpress.com/tag/boghazkoi/

To understand the ‘politics’ of Indus-Saraswati Valley sites, a good start point is Turkey.

In 1834, local villagers  in Turkey, (then the Ottoman Empire), guided a French explorer, Charles-Felix-Marie Texier to nearby ruins.  These ruins, he  thought were ruins of the CelticTavium city, mentioned in various Roman sources. Instead, what he ‘found’ was a more ancient culture, that predated Rome by 1500 years.

The Hittite city of Hattusas, that Texier ‘discovered’, took another nearly 100 years to start disgorging its secrets to modern archaeologists. The name of the Hittite city, Hattusas, is itself possibly derived from the Sanskrit word, hutashan, हुताशनmeaning “sacred sacrificial fire.”

Guarded by weathered stone lions, very similar to Ashoka Pillar lions, the city of Hattusas, became a cause for much politicking.

The politics of archaeology

In 1906-07, an Turkish archeologist, Theodore Makridi-Bey, started excavations at Boghazkoi, (identified as the ancient Hattusas city) 150-200 km from Ankara, Turkey. He was joined by Hugo Winckler, a German archaeologist, specialising in Assyria. They unearthed more than 10,000 clay tablets which were of tremendous interest.

Earlier, in 1904, English archaeologist John Garstang (1876-1956) lost out to Hugo Winckler, of Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, (German Oriental Institute) supposedly at the intervention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm-II for excavation rights at modern Boghazkoy.

Related to Boghazkoy tablets were some of the tablets found at Tell-el-Armana, by Flinders Petrie in 1891-1892. The decipherment of the Tell-el-Amarna letters, by JA Knudtzon, in 1901, linked the few earlier tablets found at Boghazkoi-Hattusas. By French archaeologist JA Ernest Chantre in 1893-94, who was

the first in a long line of archaeologists to dig at the ancient site in the 1890s, starting with the hill top compound. His exclusive interest in tablets, unfortunately, led him to destroy everything else he uncovered.

What Makridi Bey and Winckler found, were some 10,000 clay tablets. 10,000 tablets, which no one in the world could read.

On the other side of the world

Bedřich Hrozný
Bedřich Hrozný

A Czech cryptographer, educated in Vienna, Austria, working in Germany, Bedřich (or Friedrich) Hrozný, cracked this code over the next 15 years – and that set off a furore among archaeologists. Hrozný’s

discovery was based on this short sentence written in cuneiform: NU NINDA-AN EZZATENI,WATAR-MA EKUTENI .

Since many Babylonian words were included in Hittite texts, the clue was provided by the Babylonian word ninda, which means “food” or “bread.” Hrozný asked himself a very simple question: What does one do with food or bread? The answer, of course, was, one eats it. So the word ezzateni must be related to eating.

The publication in 1922 of these tablets showed, in one case, a call to Indra, Varuna, Mitra and Nastya to witness a treaty between the Hittite king Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, a Mitanni. Gods that only people in India worshipped.

So, how did Vedic gods land up in Turkey, some 3500 years ago?

A deserter’s tale

Back in India, a British ‘soldier-of-fortune’ working with the English East India Company, during 1833-1838, was making his way into various parts of India. On one such trip, after,

A long march preceded our arrival at Haripah, through jangal of the closest description. East of the village was an abundance of luxuriant grass … in front of the village … (a) ruinous brick castle. Behind us was a large circular mound, or eminence, and to the west was an irregular rocky height, crowned with remains of buildings, in fragments of walls, with niches, after the eastern manner. The entire neighbourhood is embellished with numerous pipal trees, some of them in the last stage of lingering existence; bespeaking a great antiquity, when we remember their longevity. The walls and towers of the castle are remarkably high, though, from having been long deserted, they exhibit in some parts the ravages of time and decay. Between our camp and it extended a deep trench, now overgrown with grass and plants. Tradition affirms the existence here of a city, so considerable that it extended to Chicha Watni, thirteen cosses distant, and that it was destroyed by a particular visitation of Providence, brought down by the lust and crimes of the sovereign. (from “Narrative of various journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan by Charles Masson”; underlined text in parenthesis supplied).

During his travels, over North and North West India, he “bought numerous ornaments, gems and coins in Kabul bazaar and amassed an estimated 60,000 coins, gems, seals, rings and other, mostly bronze, surface finds from the urban site of Begram north of Kabul.”

This travelogue, published in 1842, is the first known Western citing of Harappa.

Railway tracks over history

Much before 1857, the British Raj was wracked by rebellion, mutinies, uprisings, battles against colonial British rule. More than 50 of them between 1800-1850. Pushed by this state of constant war, British defense goals in India justified the expansion of Indian railway system. Many of these railway systems were set up by Indian princely states and the promoter-investors, with funds, underwritten by the Indian fare paying passengers. Buried under this railways expansion, are some vital elements of Indian history.

Between Lahore to Multan, for about a 100 km, buried under railway tracks, lies history. John Brunton, on an assignment to build railway lines from Lahore,  used bricks from Harappa“ruins, which in extent exceeded all (his) anticipations … situated on the banks of a deserted river bed.” As this section for railways was being built, contractors used precise bricks and baked clay blocks from nearby ruins and abandoned buildings, to lay the bedding, to which railways tracks were later anchored. The bricks used for this ballast were 4000-5000 year old bricks and clay material from Harappa. On this ballast, rests ‘modern’ Indian history.

Probably, even world history.

Indus Valley Civilization – a history of false starts

Alexander Cunningham, Director of Archaeological Survey of India reported in 1875, how the sites had changed from the time of his trips in 1850’s. The few seals that came to Cunningham’sattention, were promptly declared as “foreign to India.” In spite of the many finds, the first publication was of “three Indus seals discovered by the Italian scholar L. P. Tessitori at Kalibangan in 1917-18 …”

Between 1911-1912, DR Bhandarkar visited Harappa and Mohenjo daro. He thought the ruins did not represent “the remains of … any ancient monument …” and were less than 200 years old as the “bricks here found are of the modern type”.

The 1931 issue of Illustrated London News - Great New Discoveries of Ancient Indian Culture on a Virgin Prehistoric Site in Sind - further results of pioneer research at Chanu-Daro, in the Indus Valley: relics of craftsmanship, domestic life, and personal adornment in the third millennium B.C. by Ernest Mackay D. Litt, FSA, in 5 x photos of seals and seal amulets with animal designs.

The 1931 issue of Illustrated London News – Great New Discoveries of Ancient Indian Culture on a Virgin Prehistoric Site in Sind – further results of pioneer research at Chanu-Daro, in the Indus Valley: relics of craftsmanship, domestic life, and personal adornment in the third millennium B.C. by Ernest Mackay D. Litt, FSA, in 5 x photos of seals and seal amulets with animal designs.

Very little was published or studied, even though, Cunningham, Auriel Stein, DR Bhandarkar, Harold Hargreaves, were aware of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro sites.

All quiet on the Western front! Why?

Reactionary announcement

After 80 years, (1845-1924) of inaction, silence and denial, suddenly the British Raj ‘decided’ to put these ruins to some ‘good use’.

John Marshall, Director of Archaeological Survey Of India (ASI), a Lord Curzon-appointee, was despatched to Harappa and Mohenjodaro, in 1925, (his first visit!).

Despite being in India, and in ASI from 1902, Marshall’s first visitto Harappa and Mohenjodaro was in 1925. Based on his ‘insights’ and ‘intuition’ Marshall started writing an ‘authoritative’ book on the “Indus  Valley Civilization”.

What was behind this decision?

During 1800-1900, various excavations, in the Levant (Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia et al) Western archaeologists dug up more than 400,000 clay tablets. Showing an ‘Aryan’ linkage, pointing to India – peaking with the Boghazkoi decipherment. ‘Modern’ history does not

appreciate the colossal scale of their discoveries, decipherments, and specialized studies, and the effect of this new material in opening up the ancient Orient to European view in the period between 1880 and 1914. As scholars ransacked a vast quantity of new textual and archaeological documents, they discovered the powerful influence of Zoroastrian Persia, the esoteric depths of ancient India, and the primeval innovations of the Assyrians and Sumerians. These new cultures, appealing in their antiquity, spirituality, and apparent purity, made the well-known “orientals”—especially the ancient Israelites and Egyptians—seem derivative, corrupt, and banal …

… in the quest to give the Wilhelmine Empire autonomous and secure cultural foundations, they shared a common set of enmities—and an inclination to fight occidentalist traditions with “oriental” truths. (from German Orientalism and the Decline of the West By SUZANNE MARCHAND; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied.).

The timing of the Indus Valley announcement, coincided with the publication of deciphered Boghaz-koi and the Amarna tablets between 1920-1925. When Indus Valley announcement was made, world historical narratives were at a delicate stage. Hegel-Marx-Muller’s historiography of ‘Aryan Invasion’ of India was hanging by a thin thread.

From the Illustrated London News - A "Sheffield of Ancient India: Chanhu-Daro's Metal Working Industry 10 x photos of copper knives, spears , razors, axes and dishes (Click for larer picture).

From the Illustrated London News – A “Sheffield of Ancient India: Chanhu-Daro’s Metal Working Industry 10 x photos of copper knives, spears , razors, axes and dishes (Click for larer picture).

After WW1, with Germany defeated and Turkey dismembered, classification and announcement of the ‘Indus Valley Civilization’ (IVC) swiftly followed with a publication in Illustrated London News, in September-October 4th, 1924.  John Marshall, (Director, ASI, 1922-1927), made his first visit to Harappa-Mohenjo daro the next year, in 1925. He ‘recorded’ his excavations and investigations, in a 3-volume book.

Marshall’s tale of ‘Dravidian’ cities (Harappa /Mohenjo-daro) destroyed by ‘Aryan invaders’, has survived for nearly a 100 years. ‘Aryans’ a  Western invention, viewed through a prism of Euro-centric, colonial ideology of the 1920’s, have no basis in history or archaeology. There never was an Aryan race. On the other hands, the Aryan-Dravidian ‘divide’ were obvious colonial attempts to divert attention – and to draw attention away from the Indian connection with Boghazkoi decipherments.

And the story does not end here!

Bigger than WW2

In the dying days of the Raj, came more insidious history. At the apex of WW2, Britain pulled out a general from the Italian theatre of war and sent him to India – to head colonial India archaeological operations at ASI.

One evening in early August 1943, Brigadier General Mortimer Wheeler was resting in his tent after a long day of poring over maps, drawing up plans for invasion of Sicily. Mortimer Wheeler was invited to become the director general of archaeology by the India Office of the British government in its last years of rule in South Asia … Summoning a general from the battlefields of Europe was an extraordinary measure, an admission both of the desperate condition of Indian archaeology and an acknowledgment of its vital importance. (from The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture … – Google Books; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied).

Amazing!

Why would the glorious British Empire, on which the sun never set, struggling for its very existence, in the middle of WW2, suddenly pull a general back from the battlefield – and put him into archaeology! That too, Indian archaeology. Not Egyptian, not Greek!

One writer explains how one of Wheeler’s “main objectives was training the rising generation of Indian archaeologists in the field methods that he had perfected …” Oozing with the milk of human kindness, aren’t we? Especially, in the middle of WW II! When it was clear, that the British would be ‘departing’ from India – sooner than later.

Just why did the world’s foremost imperial power, struggling for its very existence, put a general on to the job of digging dirt.

Dirty brown Indian dirt!

Nejstarší dějiny Přední Asie a Indie Bedřich Hrozný - The oldest history of Near Asia and India

Nejstarší dějiny Přední Asie a Indie Bedřich Hrozný – The oldest history of Near Asia and India

Aryan /Indian history becomes fashionable

At the start of twentieth century, there were swarms of people wanting to study Aryan/Indian history. Along with cultural dacoits like Augustine Waddell, Auriel Stein, there were the more academic types who wrote a book on India and ‘Near East’ – Nejstarší dějinyPřední Asie a Indie by Bedřich Hrozný.

By the 1920’s under a deluge of archaeological evidence, it appeared that Indian history would run away from its rulers – the British Colonial Raj.

Usurping Aryan Achievements

While Britain and the France, for colonial reasons, were ‘discovering’ the Greek miracle, Germany and the USA started ‘discovering the ‘Aryan’ roots’ to Western civilization.

Martin Bernal, the author of ‘Black Athena” trilogy analyzes Western “amnesia” towards African contribution to Western culture. His thesis traces this ‘amnesia’ to the replacement of Europe’s “Ancient Model”  (Egypt-Greece-Rome model) of historiography with the “Aryan” (India-Mesopotamia-Babylon-Assyria) model.

Simply speaking, the West replaced Egypt as the source of culture with the Aryans. Fact is, neither the cultural achievements of Egypt (from Africa) nor of the Aryan (from India) are for the West to arrogate to themselves.

A writer on this phase of history, Susan Marchand says,

“The Aryan industry, of course, burgeoned. Even the former Kaiser Wilhelm II, in exile, took up the study of the Orient … In a 1928 letter to his friend, the former emperor reported a recent conversation with Oswald Spengler in which Wilhelm had tried his best to convince the herald of Western doom that “we are orientals [Morgenländer], and not westerners [Abendländer].” (Bold letters, italics, ellipsis mine).

With Germany and America on the Aryan train, Britain was hard pressed to control Indian historiography. ‘Fresh’ evidence was needed to show ‘Aryan’ invasion. Indus Valley civilization provided that opportunity.

The task became easier as Germany lost WW 1, and the Ottoman Empire was carved out of existence. The rump state of Turkey went down the ‘Westernization’ path. Neither Germany or Turkey were in any position to oppose Anglo-French historiography. The Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe axis dismissed the ‘Aryan model’ archaeologists as pan Babylonists.

And after Hitler and WW II, USA no longer supported the ‘Aryan’model.

The ‘Great’ Game

At the dawn of 19th century, European empires, found themselves with barren cultural cupboards. World powers in their own right, with millions of slaves from Africa, after‘successful’ genocides in Americas, swollen by hubris and military power, across Asia these European powers controlled capital flows across the world. For these empires, archaeology, became a ‘playing’ ground for extending intra-European ‘coopetition’ (a hackneyed business term, made up of cooperation and competition).

For Germany, the charge into archaeology, was a “national competition and a less belligerent realm for expression of resentment at Germany’s late leap into colonial activity.” And these rivalries had a telling effect.

Britons and Frenchmen almost monopolized Egyptian excavation in the 1880s and the 1890’s, but then Germans, Americans, and Italians came in. The turning point came in 1905-1907 with a rush of American expeditions and the founding of the German Archaeological Institute … In Istanbul and its Fertile Crescent provinces, German activity in the army and railroad building spilled over into archaeology. The director of Istanbul’s antiquities service and museum in the 1870s had been a German. German excavations at Pergammon in 1878 and later at Babylon and later at the Hittite capital of Boghazkoi fanned Frenchmen’s uneasiness …

World War I aborted this promising beginning. German property in Egypt was sequestered. After the war, the dispute over Borchardt’s quiet export of the bust of Nefertiti to Berlin flared up. The Eyptians refused to allow German excavation or reopening of the German Archaeological Institute till 1929, when Herman Junker replaced the embittered Borchardt … he clung to his post until 1939 despite British accusations that he worked for the Nazis. (From Whose pharaohs?: archaeology, museums, and Egyptian national identity from … By Donald Malcolm Reid, pages 196-198; ellipsis, underlined text in parenthesis supplied.).

Of course this writer does not tell the complete story of Nefertiti’s bust.

Germany alone, it is estimated, spent some four million marks, between 1899-1913 on excavations in the Middle East /West Asia.

After the founding of the Reich in 1871, archaeology became a national enterprise. The IfAK was taken over by the state, and eventually formed the basis of today’s Deutsches-Archaeologisches Institut. Rivalry with France and Britain extended to the scholarly realm, and resulted in governmental support for large-scale excavations by Ernst Robert Curtius at Olympia (1875-81), Carl Humann at Pergamon (1878-86), and eventually Robert Koldewy at Babylon (1898-1914) and Walter Andrae at Assur (1903-1914) in Ottoman Mesopotamia.[5] Wilhelm II was a particularly enthusiastic promoter of archaeology (pp. 192-199) …

Archaeology abroad grew ever more dependent on the diplomatic and financial support of the Reich for massive long-term projects … German prehistorians of the early-twentieth century also maintained that their countrymen represented the purest modern descendants of the ancient Aryans. Thus they contributed to the witches’ brew that would make up Nazi racist ideology

Out of this politics, came propaganda. In some cases, these archaeological excavations served the purpose of intelligencegathering.

The most famous example of this intelligence work was that of TE Lawrence and Leonard Woolley who were excavating at Carchemish in Syria prior to World War I. Their archaeological endeavours seem to have been secondary and perhaps even a cover for more covert activities.

While Britain and the France, for colonial reasons, were ‘discovering’ the Greek miracle, Germany and the USA started making out a case for ‘Aryan’ roots’ of Western civilization. Martin Bernal, the author of ‘Black Athena trilogy ascribes Western “amnesia” of African contribution to Europe’sreplacement of the “Ancient Model” of historiography with the “Aryan” model.

Simply speaking, the West replaced Egypt as the source of culture with the Aryans.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Competition from Germany was especially very galling for the Anglo-French archaeologists and historians. Hollywood’s portrayals of the ‘German archaeologist’, even today are proof of this. Hollywood could not keep its hand off such a juicy set of characters and incidents.

To this odd and motley crowd of British, French, German and Italian archaeologists, add a character like Sheikh Hamoudi, and you have all the characters needed for a Hollywood potboiler – the Indiana Jones series.

Vendyl Jones, James Henry Breasted, Robert Braidwood, Hiram Bingham III and Roy Chapman Andrews became a mashed up Indiana Jones. Hollywood villainy drew upon German archaeologists like Hermann Junker (German archaeologist will do anything for artifacts), Otto Rahn (SS officer after Holy Grail), Ludwig Borchardt (German archaeologist ships home ‘stolen’ artifacts).

German archaeologists  became cannon fodder to build a Hollywood caricature as a villain – as Indiana Jones’ protagonist.

Three rings for elven kings …

The history of Indus-Saraswati basin sites is full of false starts – and some of these are false beginnings persist to this date.

excavating northwest India’s “forgotten cities”, historians and archaeologists had to break free from received ways of imagining the past. Cunningham, for instance, based his investigation on Hsuan Tsang’s accounts, using them to identify monasteries and stupas in the course of his surveys. Masson made his way with Alexander the Great’s 326 BC route in mind. Harappa demanded a different grid.(from On the Road to Harappa, Indian Express, Posted: Aug 14, 2005 at 0000 hrs IST).

And that different grid is something that Western historians (and their Indian and Western followers) are finding difficult to work with. The usual theory trotted out is that

The discovery of Harappa revised, in one stroke, existing theories of ancient Indian history. Until then, the earliest known Indians were believed to be the literate Hindus who lived by the Rig Veda in the Second millennium BC. Modern Hindus trace their origins to this “Vedic civilisation”, whose language and religion were considered wholly indigenous to the subcontinent. The existence of a separate pattern of settlement, an advanced civilisation predating the Vedic era by a few hundred years, raised confusing – and politically charged – questions. If the Indus Valley peoples were not Hindus, who were they? And where, then, did the Hindus come from?

This seemingly coherent scenario actually smuggles in some very potent and smooth pseudo-concepts – the concept of Hindus, Vedic and Aryans.

India did not have a religion for many centuriesDharma ruled India.  The virus of religion was introduced by Desert Bloc – and Indian’s thereafter become ‘Hindus’. Hindus, Hinduism, in India, especially before 1000 AD is a historical fallacy. This fallacy gained significant traction, especially in the last 100 years.

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, Bihar or Nepal, 11th c., 32 ff., 5x31 cm, 2 columns, (3x27 cm), 5 lines in an early Bhujimmol script, borders marked with double lines with orange pigmentation between lines, 1 miniature in text.

MS in Sanskrit on palm-leaf, Bihar or Nepal, 11th c., 32 ff., 5×31 cm, 2 columns, (3×27 cm), 5 lines in an early Bhujimmol script, borders marked with double lines with orange pigmentation between lines, 1 miniature in text.

Second is the Vedic age. There never was a Vedic age. Not in the sense that Western historiographers slot and exclude various developments. This presupposes linear, directional, phased, and centralized development of the Vedas. Assuming a command and control system, it has a non-empirical base.

For instance, this assumes that the Vedic age was dedicated to the Vedas – and all other texts developed after that.

Fact is that the Vedas depend on the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; along with the Devatas and Asuras. The structure of the Devas, Asuras, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh can really be understood through the Upanishads,  the epics and the Puranas.  And we have not even begun on development of an ‘artificial’ language like Sanskrit  (as opposed to Prakrit).

Pauranik structures, Upanishadic debates, technical compendiums, the twin epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were parallel developments and coeval – albeit at different stages of evolution, pace and direction.

While other cultures struggle with low or high double digits of ancient texts, India has lakhs of them. This vast body of textual creation, has not happened anywhere else in the ancient world. The very assumption that it happened in India, in a matter of a few centuries – while the Aryans, Greeks, Persians, Scythians, Tocharians, Huns, were conquering India.

During these ‘invasions’, the conquerors were kind enough to leave Indian seers, sages, munis and rishis alone so that they could carry on with the composition of these texts. Massacring the males, raping the women and enslaving the rest, in the meanwhile continued in the parallel. And after these massacres and conversions, these invaders were of course kind enough to convert  to an Indian way of life – and melt away from the centre stage of Indian history. These attempts to phase Indian culture are artificial and unproductive. Simply a caricature of history.

The third fallacy of this dating logic is the ‘Aryan’ culture. Especially, as opposed to Dravidian culture. There was no Aryan race, religion, language, armies, conquests, invasions, rulers or other such markers. The only significant markers for the Aryans were values – especially in relation to slavery. Aryan values would not allow believers to enslave or be enslaved. Slavery was an asuric construct – which Aryan values opposed and sought to end. And all regions that abolished slavery became Aryavart.

And with these three pseudo-concepts, ‘modern’ historians mangle Indian history.

Same blunt tools

After WW1, with Germany and America on the Aryan train, Britain (and by extension, the West) was hard pressed to control Indian historiography. To show ‘Aryan’ invasion, ‘fresh’ evidence was needed. Indus Valley civilization provided that opportunity.

The task became easier as Germany lost WW 1, and the Ottoman Empire was carved out of existence. The rump state of Turkey went down the ‘Westernization’ path. Neither Germany or Turkey were any position to oppose Anglo-French historiography. After Hitler and WW2, the US was also in no position to continue with the Aryan legacy story. The Egypt-Greece-Rome-Europe axisdismissed the ‘Aryan model’ archaeologists as pan Babylonists.

Before leaving India, Britain gave one, last twist, to the ‘Aryan invasion’ knife, sticking out of the Indian history side. And Mortimer Wheeler was that last twist in the Indian side by the departing British rulers.

And HARP is the proxy knife which is being used – for the same reasons, with same blunt tools, but with lesser effects.

Enlightenment Is Freedom Of, To And For Oneself

It is more nearly possible, however, for the public to enlighten itself; indeed, if it is only given freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable. There will always be a few independent thinkers, even among the self-appointed guardians of the multitude. Once such men have thrown off the yoke of nonage, they will spread about them the spirit of a reasonable appreciation of man’s value and of his duty to think for himself.

It is especially to be noted that the public which was earlier brought under the yoke by these men afterwards forces these very guardians to remain in submission, if it is so incited by some of its guardians who are themselves incapable of any enlightenment. That shows how pernicious it is to implant prejudices: they will eventually revenge themselves upon their authors or their authors’ descendants. Therefore, a public can achieve enlightenment only slowly. A revolution may bring about the end of a personal despotism or of avaricious tyrannical oppression, but never a true reform of modes of thought. New prejudices will serve, in place of the old, as guide lines for the unthinking multitude.

This enlightenment requires nothing but freedom–and the most innocent of all that may be called “freedom”: freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters. Now I hear the cry from all sides : “Do not argue!”

The officer says: “Do not argue–drill!”

The tax collector: “Do not argue–pay!”

The pastor: “Do not argue–believe!”

Only one ruler in the world says: “Argue as much as you please, but obey!” We find restrictions on freedom everywhere. But which restriction is harmful to enlightenment? Which restriction is innocent, and which advances enlightenment? I reply: the public use of one’s reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment to mankind.

via Dare To Know …

Forget Identity And Ideology…Vote #BJP For Pragmatic Reasons !

Will those who hold anti encumbancy sentiments against Modi or BJP or wax eloquent on left-liberal placard values and “save democracy” concerns, or have laid back support for gentlemen economist Manmohan Singh and that RBI star rocker governor RRR, explain this 27% fall in the value of ₹ between May and August in 2013 ?

You will be hopping mad with anger if you have a hang of its huge effects on the country’s foriegn currency debt and its repayments and surge in our balance of payments costs ? It was a crisis proper that caused the national economy to be categorised among the “fragile five.” And, it boosted the ₹ value of dollar money stashed abroad without criminals having to even move their little fingers !

It is one conspired event, amongst many perpetrated by corrupt non-BJP politicians in power, in which India and its people lost heavily and looters, antinationals and criminal tax evaders gained windfalls.

I recently read the views of some very “bhadralok” IITians who, true to their antecedents as slaves and sycophants to successive rulers — British, Congis, Commies and now terror embracing Didi, opining glibly in their talk shop and running down the current NDA Govt mostly in secularism and pluralism terms and in their felt notions of faux economic performance. Their unawareness was appalling and their shallow views shamed me no end. But I am know they are not the only unsuspecting wise men in the country who have little understanding of how multipronged Break-India programs are working 24/7 around them in various guises : economic, political, academic, media, secularist, leftist, feminist, freedom nazis, et al.

For me, quite frankly, the illiterate man in the street who votes BJP into power is a better, more valuable countryman that all these educated morons glutted on their little monies and puny status, good food and drinks, and their parochial thought world.

I wish we all asked the all-important question :

“Who will protect the nation’s wealth and relentlessly further our people’s interests ?”

BJP-led NDA coalition is the only answer, as of now.