Journal : Roots And Heritage

Are our roots — historical, cultural and familial — of any consequence ?

Is our concern with our heritage of any value to our present and future ?

We know some, actually many, would size up the query with impatience, perhaps scorn. Life is anyway immense and apparently more than enough to engage us with its challenges and opportunities. Roots and heritage add nothing to our entrepreneurship or professional capability, for instance, or to our pursuit of money and wealth, for survival and happiness. It does not help us with our income augmentation efforts, with our enjoyment of all that we have, and our reach out for what is on the offer. We, in any case, have our roots in the here and now, with a way of life already upon us, to live up to.

If one is a communist, a leftist of whatever hue, or an atheist irreligious or areligious, a peek into our times in past hardly illuminates the scientific or dialectical catechisms before us. Everything would have to be settled in the light of our respective interests or goals, as it must be led and moved hereon. A treasure of large enough worth or a technological secret that could be unravelled and built upon today would be welcome. But delving into our roots and heritage ?It rarely lead us to such material gain or means to power.

I really cannot answer for others. My own roots and heritage mattered to me when I began looking at myself along the timeline I’d traveled since birth and the successive experiences of the community I was part of , which shaped the way of life I felt carrying on my back and that was already about me. I had gone very much far into the ubiquitous modernity on which business and our urban westernised life was found, with emphasis on scientific temperament and reasoned inquiry into all that we experience and all that happened to and with us, when I had to stop and question the values system and life perspective on which my motivation to living and to life itself was founded.

It was then that I learned about the ancients who insisted on keeping our spiritual moorings stronger than the mental drift, than the psychological, survival and material drives; about the towering men who displayed unflinching perseverence to the just stance, persistence with the right way, and courage to lose everything that bind us small and that leave us with our mere posssessions and the breath to live with all that we have lost — our self and our soul. The sound of Vedic hymns from the banks of our rivers rang in my ears, the celestial song of Gita and the fullsome narrative of the grand epics once more brought the tear-filled eyes of my sire to my memory, and the heroes who cared not for their loss or defeat but only of who they represented and what they stood for…

It was only thereafter that I picked my life once again with a doubtless certainty of who I was, what my life was for, and how my path ahead meandered through all the senselessness, meaninglessness and unrelatedness I had found myself in. The awareness of my roots and my heritage saved me from a certain suicidal purposelessness. It gave meaning to the mountains I visited, the people I met and conversed with, the forces I opposed, the views I demolished, the ways of life and thought I came to second and support, and the values that earlier chimed within me without any apparent basis.

Are our roots — historical, cultural and familial — of any consequence ?

Is our concern with our heritage of any value to our present and future ?

But haven’t I answered already !

Advertisements

Vatican : Culpable Of Multiple Forgery

In fact, from the start …

Cover of "Holy Bible: 10th Anniversary Ed...
Cover of Holy Bible: 10th Anniversary Edition

It is a fact of Christian history that the earliest Gospels did not record a resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that claim is supported in the oldest known complete Bible available to mankind today. Called the Codex Sinaiticus, or Sinai Bible, it was named after Mt. Sinai, the location of St. Catherine’s Monastery where it was discovered in 1859 by Dr. Constantine Von Tischendorf (1815-1874). The discovery of the Sinai Bible provided biblical scholars with irrefutable evidence of wilful falsifications in all modern-day Gospels, and a comparison identified a staggering 14,800 later editorial alterations in modern Bibles.

Vast dating discrepancies

With the Sinai Bible, Christian history is traced back as far as it can conceivably go, but it was still written, at best, more than 350 years after the time the Vatican says Jesus Christ walked the sands of Palestine. The ‘Catholic Encyclopedia’ agrees to this extraordinary late composition of the world’s oldest Bible:

The earliest of the extant manuscripts [relating to Christianity], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD’.

(‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, 1909, ‘Gospels’)

Hand-written on animal skins in a dead Greek language, the Sinai Bible was purchased by the British Museum from the Soviet Government in 1933 and is now displayed in the British Library in London. Sometime after its purchase, English-language translations were published (Manuscript No. 43725 in the British Library) and extraordinary new information about the earliest story of Jesus Christ became available to the world. The great comparative value of the Sinai Bible as the world’s oldest available Bible is today universally accepted, and its discovery provided great embarrassment for the Church’s modern-day presentation of Jesus Christ, for it revealed that newer Gospels are the depositories of large amounts of fabricated narratives and intentional perversions of the truth.

Beyond belief

The Vatican concedes that Mark was the first Gospel written (‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, Farley Ed., Vol. vi, p. 657), and that it later became the prototype of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. In the Sinai Bible’s version of the Gospel of Mark, we see dramatic variations from its modern-day counterpart with an extraordinary omission that later became the central doctrine of the Christian faith … the resurrection appearances of the Gospel Jesus Christ and his subsequent ascension into heaven.

False Gospel passages written by priests

The Sinai Bible’s version of the Gospel of Mark starts its story of Jesus Christ when he was ‘at about the age of thirty’.

No reference is made to Mary, a virgin birth, Joseph of Arimathea, a Star of Bethlehem, or the 51 now-called Old Testament ‘messianic prophecies’.

Words describing Christ as ‘the son of God’ do not appear in the opening narrative of the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:1) as they do in today’s Bibles, and the modern-day family tree tracing a ‘messianic bloodline’ back to King David is non-existent in the Sinai Bible.

No ‘resurrection’, no Christianity

The Sinai Bible’s version of the Gospel of Mark ends its story with Mary Magdalene arriving at the tomb and finding it empty. Yet, in modern-day versions of the Gospel of Mark, resurrection narratives now appear (16: 9-20), and the Vatican universally acknowledges that they are forgeries;

The conclusion of Mark is admittedly not genuine … almost the entire section is a later compilation’.

(‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, Vol., iii, p. 274, published under the Imprimatur of Archbishop Farley;

also, ‘Encyclopedia Biblica’, ii, 1880; 1767, n. 3; 1781, and n. 1, on ‘The Evidence of its Spuriousness’)

The Vatican claims that ‘the resurrection is the fundamental argument for our Christian belief’ (‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, Farley Ed., Vol., xii, p. 792), adding that a resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ is the ‘sine qua non’ of Christianity, ‘without which, nothing’ (‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, Farley Ed., Vol., xii, p. 792).

St. Paul agreed, saying; ‘If Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain’ (1 Cor. 15:17). Yet no appearance of a resurrected Jesus Christ is recorded in the oldest Gospel in the oldest Bible in the world. Nor are there resurrection narratives in any other old Bibles, for a comparison shows they are non-existent in the Alexandrian Bible, the Vatican Bible, the Bezae Bible and an ancient Latin manuscript of Mark code-named ‘K’ by analysts. Some manuscripts of the 15th and 16th centuries have the fictitious verses written in asterisks, a mark used by ancient scribes to indicate spurious passages in a literary document. Resurrection narratives are also absent in the oldest Armenian version of the New Testament, and a number of Sixth Century manuscripts of the Ethiopic version. That is because the resurrection narratives in today’s Gospels of Mark are later priesthood forgeries.

Adding to the Church’s on-going fraud of its presentation of the story of Jesus Christ, we learn how the Vatican accepted the fictitious resurrection narratives in the Gospel of Mark into its dogma and made it the basis of Christianity. Let the ‘Catholic Encyclopedia‘ bear the clerical witness:

When we turn to the internal evidence, the number, and still more the character, of the peculiarities is certainly striking [citing many instances from the Greek text]. But, even when this is said, the cumulative force of the evidence against the Mark origin of the passage is considerable. The combination of so many peculiar features, not only of vocabulary, but of matter and construction, leaves room for doubt as to Mark’s authorship of the verses. Whatever the fact be, it is not at all certain that Mark wrote the disputed verses. It may be that they are from the pen of some other inspired writer [!], and were appended to the Gospel in later times. Catholics are not bound to hold that the verses were written by St. Mark. But they are canonical scripture, for the Council of Trent [Session IV], in defining that all later parts of the New Testament are to be received as sacred and canonical, had especially in view the disputed parts of the Gospels, of which this conclusion of Mark is one. Hence, whoever wrote the verses, we say that they are inspired, and must be received as such by every Catholic’.

(‘Catholic Encyclopedia’, Farley Ed. Vol. ix, pp. 677, 678, 679)

Thus the Vatican forgery was forced onto Catholics as genuine. Here we see incontrovertible documentary evidence that the earliest Christian Gospels fail to narrate a resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and it must be said that the pertinacity, with which the work of suppression, misrepresentation and concealment of real Christian history was conducted, makes the guilt of the successors of the founding presbyters as great as that of those who established the system.

Source : http://www.vatileaks.com/_blog/Vati_Leaks/post/A_glaring_omission_in_World%E2%80%99s_oldest_Bible/
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber to be an example of a charismatic religious leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shakuntala : The Mahabharata Story

The monarch was young, handsome and brave. The hunting expedition had lasted for days now. He was tired, thirsty and hungry. All but a couple of his associates were long left behind. Though without fear, he stood with a sense of reverence before the sacred grounds of Rishi Kanva’s hermitage. It was inviolable. He dismissed even the reduced retinue at the entrance, before stepping in.

The quiet was conspicuous but soothing. The abode yonder seemed unoccupied. He moved closer and called aloud to announce his presence : What ho ! Anybody here ? But only the echo came back to strike his tentative heart. As he felt the desolate eeriness even more intensely, a beautiful maiden came out of the abode, simply attired but glowing with innocence and charm. She bade him welcome and received him with due respect, offering him a seat and water to wash. She introduced herself as Shakuntala, Rishi Kanva’s daughter, enquired about his health and peace, and engaged in such pleasantries as to enable him to settle his breath and find his comfort in strange surroundings.

The king was awe-struck with her unaffected elegance, when the maiden queried politely : How could the Hermitage serve you, O King ! I await your command.

Dushyanta : I have come to pay my respects to the venerated Rishi Kanwa. Tell me, O amiable and beautiful one, where has the illustrious Rishi gone ?

Sakuntala : My illustrious father has gone to fetch fruit for the hermitage alongwith the inmates. Wait but a moment and you wilt meet him when he arrives.

The king was glad for the opportunity to be with Shakuntala, in the Rishi’s absence. He beheld the maiden’s exceptional beauty, her sweet demeanour and cultured articulation, and the perfect symmetry of her form. Her flawlees features stood enhanced by freedom and humility in her speech. She looked the ascetic but he saw the bloom of her youth.

Dushyanta : Who are you, truly, O beautiful one ? Why are you in these woods ? You are gifted with such beauty and virtues. Whence have you come ? O charming one, you affect my heart deeply. I desire to learn all about you; therefore, tell me all.

Shakuntala smiled and addressed him with these words : O Dushyanta, I am the daughter of virtuous, wise and illustrious ascetic, Rishi Kanwa.

Dushmanta : The blessed Rishi is universally revered. It well known that decades of celibate austerity to rigorous vow and extended periods of withdrawal from senses during meditation has caused his seed to sublimate up from its base in the reproductive organ. Dharma himself may stray from his course but an ascetic of rigid vows, such as Rishi Kanva is, can never descend to sensory matters. Therefore, O thou of fairest complexion, how have you been born as his daughter ? It is a sincere doubt of mine that urgently needs to be dispelled.

Shakuntala : Hear, O king, what I have learnt regarding all that befell me of old and how I became the daughter of the Muni. It was narrated by the Rishi Kanva himself to another who had posed the same question.

Vishwamitra, of old, was engaged in austere-most of penances that alarmed Indra, the chief of the celestials. Indra thought that the mighty ascetic of blazing energy would, by his penance, hurl him down from his high seat in heaven. He summoned Menaka and told her, ‘Thou, O Menaka, art the first of celestial Apsaras. Therefore, amiable one, do me this service. Hear carefully : This great ascetic, Vishwamitra, like Sun in splendour, is engaged in the most severe of penances. I am afraid, if he succeeds at acquiring the merit in his quest, he might challenge my position as the head of all gods, and verily unseat me. Hence, O slender-waist, this is the task for you to accomplish. Go, tempt Vishwamitra away from his rapture, disrupt his one-pointed contemplation and penance, and frustrate his certain quest. Win him off his penance, beautiful one, by luring him with your beauty, youth, agreeableness, arts, smiles and speech.

Hearing all this, Menaka was alarmed and very unsure of herself. She respectfully gave voice to her doubt : O foremost among the gods, the illustrious Vishwamitra is a mighty ascetic and is already endued with great power. He is very short-tempered too. His energy, merit acquired of penance, and the wrath of a high-soul such as he leave me diffident and anxious of my own well-being. He made even the great Rishi Vasishtha suffer the unbearable pain of witnessing the premature death of his children. He it was who, though born a warrior, became a man of knowledge by virtue of his ascetic rigour. He created a deep river of his own power, for purposes of his ablutions. It was Viswamitra who, in anger, created a second world and numerous stars, and granted protection to royal sage, Matanga, later known as Trishanku, against your own wrath. I am frightened, O Indra, to approach him.

Menaka further asked : Tell me, O Indra, the means that should be adopted so that I may not be burnt by his wrath. He can burn the three worlds by his splendour and can, by a mere stamp of his foot, cause the earth to quake. He can sever the great Meru from the earth and hurl it to any distance. He can go round the ten points of the earth in a moment. How can a woman like me even touch such a one, who is full of ascetic virtues, like unto a blazing fire, and who has his passions in complete control ? His mouth is like a flaming inferno; the pupils of his eyes are like the Sun and the Moon; his tongue is like that of Death himself. How shall I, O chief of the celestials, a woman like me even touch him ? At the thought of his prowess Yama, Soma, the great Rishis, the Saddhyas, the Viswas, Valakhilyas, are terrified ! How can a woman like me gaze at him without alarm ?

But the first amongst celestial Apsaras submitted : Commanded by you, however, O king of the celestials, I shall somehow approach that Rishi. But, O chief of the gods, devise thou a plan whereby protected by you, I may safely move about the great ascetic. I think that when I begin to play before the Rishi, Marut (the god of wind) had better go there and rob me of my dress, and Manmatha (the god of love) must also, at your command, help me at the task. Let Marut, when it occasions, bear thither fragrance from the woods to tempt the Rishi. And Manmatha cause a pine in his vitality and a flutter in his heart on account of my presence.

Saying this and having obtained Indra’s assurance, Menaka went to the retreat of great sage Vishwamitra. She offered her respectful salutations to the Rishi and began her ever so subtle sensual sport, while engaging him on a walk in the woods around his abode. She was draped in a cloth white as the moon, which Marut soon caused to fly with a gush of wind. Abashed, she ran after her garment, to catch hold of it, and expressed her distress and annoyance at Marut when the garment continued to remain out of her reach.

Eyeing the sensual sport of the fullsome woman barely half clad, her dazzling beauty being played about by the breeze, exerting her fair limbs in distress, unmidful of the rise and fall of her soft breasts, Viswamitra was roused with sensual affection, causing his lust to gather like a ball of fire. Beholding her thus exposed, the sage saw her ageless and exceedingly handsome form, her perfectly endowed features, and was drawn enough to move up and put his arm about her waist in companionship. He kissed her on the neck, inviting intimacy, to which Menaka responded. They spent a long time in physical intimacy, sporting with each other, just as they pleased, as if time had stopped.

Menaka conceived through their conjugal bliss and delivered a daughter. She moved to the banks of the river Malini coursing along a valley of the charming mountains of Himavat, as her pregnancy advanced. She left the new-born on the bank of the river and went away, never to look back. Lying in that desolation abounding with carnivores and other ferocios animals, the infant was protected by scores of vultures, who stood guard around her.

Kanva narrated : Those vultures protected the daughter of Menaka. I went there to perform my ablutions and beheld the infant lying in solitude of the wilderness, surrounded by vultures. Bringing her hither as I would my own daughter, I raised her as such. Indeed, the maker of the body, the protector of life and the giver of food are fathers — all three, in their order, as the scriptures suggest. And because she was surrounded by Shakunts (birds), I named her Sakuntala. O Brahman, know that it is thus Sakuntala has become my daughter. And so does the faultless Shakuntala also regards me, as her father.

Shakuntala concluded her story to Dushyanta : This is what my father had narrated to the visiting Rishi, O king of men. It is thus how I am the daughter of Rishi Kanwa.

Hearing the fascinating tale, King Dushyanta said : You spoke well, O princess, this that thou hast said ! Be my wife, O beautiful one ! What shall I do for thee ? Golden garlands, robes, ear-rings, white pearls, coins of great value, finest carpets, … from various countries. All these I shall present to you this very day. Let the whole of my kingdom be thine today, O charming one ! Come to me, shed the timidity, and join me through the wedding, O elegant maiden, in accord with Gandharva norm. O thou, of tapering thighs, of all forms of marriage rites, the Gandharva is considered the foremost.

Shakuntala heard the King and indicated consent, but with relative calm : O king, my father is presently away. Wait but a moment; he will bestow me on thee.

Dushyanta however was overcome with impatience and entreated : O beautiful and faultless one, I desire that you should be my life’s companion. Know thou that I exist for thee, and my heart is in thee. One is certainly one’s own friend, and one certainly may depend upon one’s own self. Therefore, according to the ordinance, you can certainly bestow thyself to me in a marriage duly ordained.

There are, in all, eight kinds of marriages. These are Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa, and Paisacha, the eighth. Manu, the son of the self-created, has spoken of the appropriateness of all these forms according to their order. Know, O faultless one, that the first four of these are fit for Brahmanas, and the first six for Kshatriyas. As regards kings, even the Rakshasa form is permissible. These are institutes of religion, and one should act according to them. The Gandharva and the Rakshasa form are consistent with the practices recommended for warriors and kings. You need not entertain the least fear.

O thou of fairest complexion, full of desire I am; so are you. Come, become my wife with vows appropriate to the Gandharva norm.

Sakuntala, having listened to the King’s ernest proposal, answered : If this be the sanctioned course, if indeed I am my own disposer, then hear, O foremost of the Purus, my terms to bethrothal … Promise truly to give me what I ask of you. The son that we shall be beget shall be thy heir-apparent. This, O king, is my fixed resolve. O Dushyanta, if you grant this, then let our union take place.

The monarch, without taking time to consider, at once said : It will be thus, O fair maiden. O you, of agreeable smiles, you will be with me in our capital city. I say this truly, O beautiful one, you deserve all this.

The first of the kings thus wedded Shakuntala, of graceful gait. They knew each other as husband and wife. And assuring her duly, he went away, saying, “I shall send for you, O thou of sweet smiles, to escort you to our palace !”

The king retraced his way homewards, thinking of Rishi Kanva : What will the illustrious sage say ? And he was still anxious when he entered his kingdom’s capital.

When Rishi Kanwa arrived at his abode, Shakuntala, from a sense of shame, did not go out to receive her father. That great ascetic, however, possessed of means to all knowledge, knew of events that had taken place in his absence. Indeed, beholding everything with his spiritual eye, the illustrious one was pleased and addressed her with these kind words, ‘Amiable one, what has been done by you today in secret, without waiting for my presence and consent – viz., intercourse with a man – has not stripped you of your virtue in the least. Indeed, union according to Gandharva norm, of a seeking woman with a man of sensual desire, without mantras of any kind, is the best for Kshatriyas. That best of men, Dushyanta, is a high soul and a virtuous man. You have, O Shakuntala, accepted him for your husband. The son that shall be born of you shall be mighty and illustrious in this world. And he shall have sway over the sea. And the forces of that illustrious king of kings, while he goes out against his foes, shall be irresistible.’

Shakuntala then approached her fatigued father and washed his feet. And taking down the load he had with him and placing the fruits in proper order, she told him, ‘It behoves thee to give thy grace to that Dushyanta, whom I have accepted for my husband, as well as to his ministers !’

Kanwa replied, ‘O you of fairest complexion, for your sake I am inclined to bless him. But receive from me, O blessed one, the boon that you now desire.’

Sakuntala, thereupon, moved by desire for Dushyant’s well-being, asked her father that the Paurava monarchs might ever be virtuous and never be deprived of their thrones.

There was no word from Dushyanta in the following weeks and months, and years. The sage Rishi Kanva remained calm and Shakuntala got occupied with her womb that gradually swelled in time. In due course, she brought forth a boy of wondrous vitality, much to her father’s joy. And when the child was three years old, he became in splendour like the rising sun, remarkably handsome and magnanimous, and strong. And that first of virtuous men, Kanwa, caused all the rites of custom to be performed in respect of that intelligent child, thriving with days. The boy was gifted with pearly teeth and shining locks, and was capable of battling the fiercest of animals. He had auspicious signs on his palm, a broad forehead, and his beauty and strength was a source of much happiness to Shakuntala.

Like unto a celestial child in splendour, Bharata grow up rapidly. When only six years of age, he was endued with such great strength that he used to seize lions and tigers, bears and buffaloes, and elephants, and chain them to the trees around the hermitage. He rode some of them and pursued others in sport. Seeing his prowess, the inmates at Kanwa’s asylum called him Sarvadamana, the subduer of all. And the Rishi, marking his extraordinary acts, told Sakuntala that the time had come for his installation as the heir-apparent.

Beholding the strength of the boy, Kanwa commanded his disciples : Bear ye without delay this Sakuntala with her son from this abode to that of her husband, blessed with every auspicious sign. Women should not live long in the houses of their parents or maternal relations. Such residence is destructive of their reputation, their good conduct, their virtue. Therefore, delay not in bearing her hence.

The Rishi’s disciples proceeded towards the city, Hastinapura, with Sakuntala and her son at the head of their retinue. And she, taking with her that boy of celestial beauty, endued with eyes like lotus petals, left the woods where she had lived all her life and had first met her husband, Dushyanta. Having approached the king, in his own palace, her sage escorts introduced her and the boy to him, as his own duly wedded wife and their begotten son. Thereupon, the Rishi’s disciples took leave and returned to the hermitage.

And Sakuntala, paying her respects to the King, announced : This is thy son, O king ! Let him be installed as thy heir-apparent. O king, this child, like unto a celestial, has been begotten by thee upon me. Therefore, O best of men, fulfil now the promise you made to me. Call to mind, O thou of great good fortune, the agreement thou had made on the occasion of our union in the hermitage of my father, Rishi Kanwa.

Hearing her words and remembering everything, the king said : I do not remember anything. Who art thou, O wicked woman in ascetic guise ? I do not remember having any connection with you in spiritual, sensual or financial respect. Go or stay, or do as you please.

Thus addressed by Dushyanta, the fair-coloured innocent one became abashed. Grief deprived her of consciousness and she stood for a time like an wooden post. Soon, however, her eyes became red like copper and her lips began to quiver. And the glances she now and then cast upon the king seemed to burn the latter. Her rising wrath however, and the fire of her asceticism, she extinguished within herself by an extraordinary effort.

Collecting her thoughts in a moment, her heart possessed with sorrow and rage, she thus addressed her lord in anger, looking at him : Knowing everything, O Monarch, how do you issue words as inferiors do ? How do you say that you do not know me and our bethrothal, and your promise ? Your heart is witness to the truth or falsehood of this matter. Therefore, O King, speak truly without degrading thyself. He, who being one but representing himself as another, is a coward and like a thief, a robber of his own self. Of what sin is he not capable ? You think that you alone has knowledge of your deed. But know you not that the Ancient, Omniscient Narayana lives in your heart ? He knows all your sin, and you sin in His presence. He that sins thinks that none observes him. But he is observed by the gods and by Him, who resides in every heart.

The Sun, the Moon, the Air, the Fire, the Earth, the Sky, Water, the heart, Yama, the day, the night, both twilights, and Dharma, all witness the acts of man. Yama, the son of Surya, takes no account of the sins of him with whom Narayana, the witness of all acts, is gratified. But he, with whom Narayana is displeased, is tortured for his sins by Yama. Him who degrades himself by representing his self falsely, the gods never bless. Even his own soul blesses him not. I am a wife devoted to my husband. I have come of my own accord, it is true. But do not, on that account, treat me with disrespect. I am your wife and, therefore, deserve to be treated respectfully. Will you not treat me so, because I have come hither of my own accord ? In the presence of so many, why do you treat me like an common woman ?

I am certainly not crying in the wilderness. Do you hear me ? But if you refuse to do what I supplicate you for, O Dushyanta, this very moment your head shall burst into a hundred pieces ! The husband entering the womb of the wife comes out himself in the form of the son. Therefore is the wife called by those versed in the Vedas as Jaya – she of whom one is born. And the son that is so born unto persons cognisant of Vedic Mantras rescues the spirits of our deceased ancestors. And because the son rescues the ancestors from the hell called Put, therefore, has he been called by the Self-create himself as Puttra – the rescuer from Put. By a son one conquers the three worlds. By a son’s son, one enjoys eternity. And by a grandson’s son, great-grand-fathers enjoy everlasting happiness.

She is a true wife who is skilful in household affairs. She is a true wife who has borne a son. She is a true wife whose heart is devoted to her lord. She is a true wife who knows none but her lord. The wife is a man’s half. The wife is the first of friends. The wife is the root of religion, profit, and desire. The wife is the root of salvation. They that have wives can live by Dharma, in their togetherness. They that have wives can lead households, which collectively constitute our community in truth. They that have wives have the means to be cheerful. They that have wives can achieve good fortune. Wives of sweet speech are friends on occasions of joy. They are as fathers on occasions of religious acts. They are mothers in sickness and woe. Even in the deep woods, to a traveller, a wife is his refreshment and solace. He that has a wife is trusted by all.

A wife, therefore, is one’s most valuable possession. Even when the husband, leaving this world, goeth into the region of Yama, it is the devoted wife that accompanies him thither. If she goes before, she waits for the husband. But if the husband goes before, the chaste wife follows him close. For these reasons, O king, does marriage exist. The husband enjoys the companionship of the wife, both in this and in the other worlds. It has been said by the learned that one is himself born as one’s son. Therefore, a man whose wife has borne a son should look upon her as his mother. Beholding the face of the son one has begotten upon his wife, like his own face in a mirror, one feels as happy as a virtuous man, while departing from this world.

Men scorched by mental grief, or suffering under bodily pain, feel as much refreshed in the companionship of their wives as a perspiring person in a cool bath. No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife, seeing that happiness, joy, and virtue – everything depends on the wife. A wife is the sacred field in which the husband is born himself. Even Rishis cannot create creatures without women. What happiness is greater than what the father feels when the son runs towards him and, even though his body be covered with dust, clasps the man’s limbs with his little hands ? Why then do you treat with indifference such a son, who has approached you himself and who casts wistful glances towards you for climbing up your knees ? Even ants support their own eggs without destroying them; then why should not you, a virtuous man that you are, support your own child ? The touch of soft sandal paste, of women, of (cool) water is not so agreeable as the touch of one’s own infant son locked in one’s embrace.

As a Brahmana is the foremost of all bipeds, a cow, the foremost of all quadrupeds, a protector, the foremost of all superiors, so is the son the foremost of all objects, agreeable to the touch. Let, therefore, this handsome child touch you in embrace. There is nothing in the world more agreeable to touch than the embrace of one’s son. O chastiser of foes, I have brought forth this child capable of dispelling all your sorrows, after bearing him in my womb for full three years. O monarch, of Puru’s race, ‘He shall perform a hundred horse-sacrifices’ – these were the words uttered from the sky when I was in the lying-in room. Indeed, men in places remote from their homes take up others’ children on their laps and, reminded of their own, feel great happiness.

You know that Brahmanas repeat these Vedic mantras on the occasion of the consecrating rites of infancy : Thou art born, O son, of my body ! Thou art sprung from my heart. Thou art myself in the form of a son. Live thou to a hundred years ! My life dependeth on thee, and the continuation of my race too, on thee. Therefore, O son, live thou in great happiness to a hundred years.

He, this son of yours, has sprung from your body, a second being of yourself ! Behold thyself in your son, as thou beholdest your image in a clear lake. As the sacrificial fire is kindled from the domestic one, so has this one sprung from thee. Though one, you have divided yourself.

In course of hunting, while engaged in pursuit of a deer, I was approached by you, O king. I who was then a virgin in the asylum of my father. Urvasi, Purvachitti, Sahajanya, Menaka, Viswachi and Ghritachi, these are the six foremost of Apsaras. Amongst them again, Menaka, born of Brahman, is the first. Descending from heaven on Earth, after intercourse with Viswamitra, she gave birth to me. That celebrated Apsara, Menaka, brought me forth in a valley of Himavat. Bereft of all affection, she went away, cast me there as if I were the child of somebody else. What sinful act did I do, of old, in some other life that I was in infancy cast away by my parents and at present am cast away by you ! Put away by you, I am ready to return to the refuge of my father. But it behoves you not to cast off this child who is your own.

Dushmanta : O Sakuntala, I do not know having begot upon you this son. Women generally speak untruths. Who shall believe your word ? Destitute of all affection, the lewd Menaka is your mother, and she cast you off on the surface of the Himavat, as one throws away flowers offered to gods, after the worship is over. Thy father too, of the Kshatriya race, the lustful Viswamitra, who was tempted to become a Brahmana, is destitute of all affection. However, Menaka is the first of Apsaras, and thy father also is the first of Rishis. Being their daughter, why do you speak like a lewd woman ? Thy words deserve no credit. Are you not ashamed to utter such lies, especially before me ?

Go hence, O wicked woman in ascetic guise. Where is that foremost of great Rishis ? Where is that Apsara Menaka ? And why are you, low as you are, in the guise of an ascetic ? Your child too is grown up. You say he is a boy, but he is very strong. How has he soon grown like a Sal sprout ? You are of low birth and you speak like a lewd woman. Lustfully have you been begotten by Menaka. O woman of ascetic guise, all that you say is quite unknown to me. I don’t know you. Go withersoever you choose.

Sakuntala : You see, O king, the fault of others, even though they be as small as a mustard seed. But you notice not thy own faults even though they be as large as the Bilwa fruit. Menaka is one of the celestials. Indeed, Menaka is reckoned as the first of celestials. My birth, therefore, O Dushyanta, is far higher than yours. You walk upon the earth, O king, but I roam the skies ! Behold, the difference between ourselves is as that between the mountain Meru and a mustard seed !

Behold my power, O king ! I can repair to the abodes of Indra, Kuvera, Yama, and Varuna ! The saying is true which I shall refer to before you, O sinless one ! I refer to it as an example and not from evil motives. Therefore, it behoves you to pardon me after you have heard it.

An ugly person considers himself more handsome than others until he sees his own face in the mirror. He that is really handsome never taunts anybody. And he that always talks evil becometh a reviler. And as the swine always look for dirt and filth even in the midst of a garden of flowers, so the wicked always choose evil out of even the good that others speak. However those that are wise, on hearing the speech of others that has a mix of both good and evil, accept only what is good, like swan that always extracts milk, though it be mixed with water. As the honest are always pained at speaking ill of others, so do the wicked always rejoice in doing the same. As the honest always feel pleasure in showing regard for the old, so do the wicked always take delight in aspersing the good. The honest are happy in not seeking faults. The wicked are happy in seeking them in others. The wicked ever speak ill of the honest. But the latter never injure the former, even if injured by them.

What can be more ridiculous in the world than that those that are themselves wicked should represent the really honest as wicked ? When even atheists are annoyed with those that have fallen from truth and virtue and who are really like angry snakes of virulent poison, what shall I say of myself who am nurtured in faith? He that having begotten a son who is his own image, regards him not, never attains to the worlds he covets, and verily the gods destroy his good fortune and possessions. The Pitris have said that the son continues the race and extends the lineage and is, therefore, the best of all religious acts. Therefore, none should abandon a son.

Manu has said that there are five kinds of sons : those begotten by one’s self upon his own wife, those obtained (as gift) from others, those purchased for a consideration, those reared with affection and those begotten upon other women than wedded wives. Sons support the religion and achievements of men, enhance their joys, and rescue deceased ancestors from hell. It behoves you not, therefore, O tiger among kings, to abandon a son who is such. Therefore, O lord of earth, cherish your own self, truth, and virtue by cherishing thy son. O lion among monarchs, it behoves you not to support this deceitfulness.

The dedication of a tank is more meritorious than that of a hundred wells. A sacrifice again is more meritorious than the dedication of a tank. A son is more meritorious than a sacrifice. Truth is more meritorious than a hundred sons. A hundred horse-sacrifices had once been weighed against Truth, and Truth was found to be heavier. Truth, I ween, may be equal to the study of the entire Vedas and ablutions in all holy places. There is no virtue equal to Truth; there is nothing superior to Truth. O King, Truth is God himself; Truth is the highest vow.

Therefore, violate not thy pledge, O monarch ! Let Truth and you remain united. If you place no credit in my words, I shall of my own accord go hence. Indeed, thy companionship should be avoided. But hear, O Dushyanta, when you are gone, this son of mine shall rule the whole earth, surrounded by the four seas and adorned with the king of the mountains.

Having spoken to the monarch in this wise, Sakuntala left his presence. Whereupon, a voice from the skies, emanating from no visible shape, spoke unto Dushyanta as he sat surrounded by his occasional and household priests, his preceptors and ministers : The mother is but the sheath of flesh; the son sprung from the father is the father himself. Therefore, O Dushyanta, cherish thy son, and insult not Sakuntala. O best of men, the son, who is but a form of one’s own seed, rescues the ancestors from the region of Yama. Thou art the progenitor of this boy. Sakuntala has spoken the truth. The husband, dividing his body in twain, is born of his wife in the form of son. Therefore, O Dushyanta, cherish thy son born of Sakuntala. To live by forsaking one’s living son is a great misfortune. Therefore, O thou of Puru’s race, cherish thy high-souled son born of Sakuntala. And because this child is to be cherished by you even at our word, therefore shall thy son be known by the name of Bharata – the cherished.

Hearing these words uttered by dwellers in heaven, the monarch of Puru’s race became overjoyed and spoke as follows unto his priests and ministers, ‘Hear ye these words uttered by the celestial messenger ? I myself know this one to be my son. If I had taken him as my son on the strength of Sakuntala’s words alone, my people would have been suspicious and my son also would not have been regarded as pure.’

The monarch then, seeing the purity of his son established by the celestial messenger, became exceedingly glad. And he took unto him that son with joy. The king with a joyous heart performed all those rites upon his son that a father should perform. He smelt his child’s head and hugged him with affection. The Brahmanas began to utter blessings upon him and bards began to applaud him.The monarch then experienced the great delight that one feels at the touch of one’s son.

And Dushyanta also received that wife of his with affection. He told her these words, pacifying her affectionately, ‘O goddess, my union with you took place privately. Therefore, I was thinking of how best to establish thy purity. My people might think that we were only lustfully united and not as husband and wife, and therefore this son who I would have installed as my heir apparent would only have been regarded as one of impure birth. And dearest, every hard word thou hast uttered in thy anger have I forgiven thee. Thou art my dearest !’

And the royal sage Dushyanta, having spoken thus unto his dear wife, received her with offerings of perfume, food, and drink. And king Dushyanta, then, bestowed the name of Bharata upon his child, and formally installed him as the heir apparent. And the famous and bright wheels of Bharata’s car, invincible and like unto the wheels of the cars owned by the gods, traversed every region, filling the entire earth with their rattle. That monarch of great prowess was known as Chakravarti and Sarvabhauma.

Rishi Kanwa was himself the chief priest at the sacrifices he performed.

Paan, My Love

Ha – ah – ha … love them both : the man and the outlet !

No one can make a great paan except with love.

Shot in winter time, rather dark evening.

There is a queue, if did not notice.

Ah, Paan, my love !

Have not partaken as frequently

but the feeling for you is undiminshed …

|

The Pan Outlet

A Poet In Afghanistan

A Young Poet Exiled From Her Village

By: Fahim Khairy, KHAAMA PRESS

Source : http://www.khaama.com/a-young-poet-exiled-from-her-village-9887

 

Persian poetry has a long history of fighting injustice and discrimination, dating back centuries. From Jalaluddin Rumi Balkhi and Rabia Balkhi to modern poets such as Foroogh Farokhzad, many have raised their voices through poetry to attack injustice. These poets often touched on taboos that no one dared speak of, fearing punishment from kings and other rulers.

Karima Shabrang is a new sword in the battle for justice and equal rights for women in Afghanistan. Shabrang soon came up against people who do not believe women should be equals. Shabrang was born in Baharak in the Badakhshan province. She studied Farsi/Dari literature and poetry at Kabul University. After graduating, she moved back to her village and started to work as a school teacher.

Shabrang was not yet known as an Afghan poet. She never showed her creative work to anyone until her first book hit the market and shocked everyone who read just a few pages. In Baharak village, Shabrang had enjoyed a peaceful life. She had the chance to publish her first poetry book titled Beyond Infamy.

Her work breaks taboos and carries a depth and darkness. As leading Afghan poet and professor Partaw Nadery said, Shabrang writes in pain and blood. In much of her work, Shabrang shows what it is like to be a victim of sexism. She was working as a teacher when her book was first published. She did not realize how people would react to her poetry.

My hair was saved for you

But destiny left it in the hands of a stranger

Who uses it to fuel his own desire’

* * *

Leave the buttons of your shirt open

Allow me to look at your eyes

And a little lower, let me feel the heat

and understand the warmth of the sun in your chest

In Afghan society, women cannot speak of their love desire, not even in poetry. It’s considered criminal, shameful, and dishonorable to do so, but Shabrang courageously broke this taboo. When asked about the message of these lines, she said that “being in the arms of the opposite gender is a need for everyone, including women. This was an empty spot in our society, and I wanted to fill it in and show the feelings and sensations of a woman.”

Soon rumors reached her entire village, and Shabrang became famous. Finally the religious Mullahs got their hands on her book. Day by day, the peaceful and green village that had inspired Shabrang became like a prison for her. She was harassed on the way to school every day and her entire family felt the effects. The Mullahs called her an ”infidel” who wanted to put Afghan women on the wrong path, teaching them to be immoral and shameless.

The harassment escalated until the Mullahs were sending Shabrang death threats. She had no choice but to leave her village and come back to Kabul which she says is a little more modern and safe compared to the remote provinces.

Karima Shabrang is now homesick and homeless. She stays at nights in her brother’s house. During the day, she wanders around Kabul, searching for her future.

Sometimes, I miss myself

My house and the birds that sing in my village

And the stories I used to hear

Now suffering, misery, and I are friends

Mom, oh my dearest mother

Who told you to give birth to such a sad traveler?’

Karima Shabrang is a poetic star that is falling from the sky.  Breaking such taboos is not an easy thing to do in Afghanistan. Shabrang risked her life by publishing her poetry, and now she is on the run trying to escape the wrath of the Mullahs.

Those who are interested in getting in touch with Karima Shabrang can reach me at fahim.khairy(at)yahoo.com

English: Rabia Balkhi High School (Afghanistan)

The Spiritual Content Of Vedas

A portrayal of Vyasa, who classified the Vedas...

Adapted from Dr Kenneth Chandler’s Origins Of Vedic Civilisation

What is Rig Veda and the Vedic literature ?

What is the Vedic tradition really about ?

What is Vedic Cognition and How is it Passed On ?

The Rig Veda was not “created” out the human imagination, as works of poetry or literature are created. Unlike poetry or literature, the Veda is experienced and then the experience of the Veda is recited in hymns that directly express the experience of the Veda. This is called Vedic cognition. Cognition means that the Vedic rishis or seers heard what is there in the universal field of consciousness and they sang out the sounds that they heard.

This experience is what the recited sounds of the Veda express. But the hymns of the Rig Veda are not about the Veda, as if the expression were something different from the Veda itself, which they were describing. The rishis heard the Veda and saw its structure, and this sound itself is expressed in the hymns of the Rig Veda. The experience of the Rig Veda flowed through the rishis into the hymns of the Rig Veda.

The hymns of the Rig Veda sought out those rishis who were fully awake and made themselves known to them, and the rishis passed on these hymns in a long unbroken tradition that endures to the present. The Rig Veda, the most ancient hymns of the Vedic tradition, has been preserved over time by a method of memorisation and recitation, and passed over from father to son in an unbroken sequence over vast stretches of time. By two pundits chanting the hymns (and by chanting them forwards and backwards), a method of ensuring their purity was established that allowed these hymns to be passed on over thousands of years without loss. The Veda we possess today, unbelievable as it may seem, is thus an expression of the sounds heard many thousands of years ago.

It was only in relatively recent times, probably around 3000 BC, that the Veda and Vedic literature, were committed to writing. Before that Veda was an oral tradition.

There are at least 40 distinct branches of the Veda and the Vedic literature. These include, first and foremost, the Rig Veda samhita, and the Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda. These four bodies of sound are what is meant by the Veda. In addition to the Veda, the Vedic literature includes 36 branches, all based on the Veda itself : six branches of Vedanga, six branches of Upanga, and six branches of Ayur-Veda, for example. All branches of Vedic literature are considered, like the Veda itself, uncreated or eternal structures of knowledge.

The extent of the Veda and the entire Vedic literature is vast, huge—much larger, for example, than the remaining body of literature of all of ancient Greece and Rome. There are ten volumes of the Rig Veda alone in one of the best editions available in English (the Wilson translation). There are 54 books of Kalpa, just one of six branches of the Vedangas. There are 18 books of Puranas. The Itihasa includes the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the latter printed in an English edition having 20 volumes. There are thus, for example, over a hundred volumes in just these four branches of the Veda and the Vedic literature.

Seers see this vast body of the Veda and the Vedic literature as a systematic body of literature that has a detailed, intricate structure in every part, and all systematically related in a whole. It is systematic in the sense that is not a random collection of books that were written over vast stretches of time, but it forms a complete whole, with a comprehensive organisation and structure. Each of the books of Vedic literature relates in a systematic way to all the others and each forms an essential part of the whole of Vedic literature.

The Veda itself, which is expressed in the Vedas, exists in the unmanifest field of unbounded pure consciousness, called param vyoman. This is a universal silent field of consciousness that pervades everything in the universe. Since it is all-pervading, it pervades the body and mind of every individual. It exists on the most subtle, or fine scale, of activity. It is smaller than the smallest particle of the atomic nucleus. It is on a scale smaller than the smallest quark and lepton. It is the field of consciousness in its least excited state. Everything in nature is an excitation of this field. All particles of matter and force are excited states of this one all-pervading field.

To know the Veda, which is everywhere as the most subtle foundation of the world, we have only to take our awareness from the excited states of consciousness to the least excited state of consciousness. By taking our awareness from the active, gross level of activity to the silent field of pure consciousness, we allow our individual mind to become settled and stilled to that state of wakeful silence, and in that state the mind spreads out to identify with the all-pervading field of consciousness. On that level of awareness, the entire Veda and Vedic literature can be directly experienced as the fabrics of our own consciousness. We simply dive from the surface level of activity to the silent all-pervading depth where consciousness is eternally awake and interacting within itself. This self-interaction of consciousness as its flows from unity into diversity is the Veda. It is the eternal reality at the foundation of everything that exists in the observable manifest world.

The Veda has a structure. It is structured in the form of mandalas, or circles. The structure of the Veda and the Vedic literature is a flow of knowledge, not a static, frozen structure. As the eternal consciousness flowing within itself and knowing itself, it flows and creates within itself a structure that is dynamic and flowing. This flowing structure of Veda is an eternal flow of pure knowledge of the self as it unfolds knowledge of itself. It is the flow of consciousness as it knows itself while it flows from unity to diversity. It is the flow of self-knowledge within consciousness, giving rise to the entire diversity of creation. It is the flow of the oneness of eternal pure consciousness into the many formed unity of the Veda and, from there, to the forms and phenomena of the manifest universe, the visible material world.

The first flow of knowledge of the Veda is the flow from the One into the many. The eternal oneness of pure Being or pure consciousness knows itself. And in knowing itself, it breaks itself into many. The infinite One collapses into a point, and into infinitely many points. These points of consciousness are finite, separate, isolated points of individual consciousness. But they are all ultimately points of the one infinite whole of consciousness. Each is a collapsed point of the infinite whole, and in the process of returning to wholeness, the finite points of consciousness expand back into the infinite One from which they began. This is the fundamental process of creation that is expressed in the Rig Veda and in the Vedic literature.

The Rig Veda expresses this process in sound. The Rig Veda is essentially this sequence of vibrations that manifest as the process of consciousness knowing itself. It unfolds out of the process of consciousness knowing itself. This entire process is a necessary sequence of sounds that unfold the pure knowledge of consciousness to itself. It is the eternal murmuring of consciousness to itself.

The Rig Veda does not describe the process in articulate language, using descriptive terms, the way a scientist might describe an object of nature. The vibrations of consciousness as it moves within itself create unmanifest sounds in the unmanifest field of pure consciousness, which manifest as the sound of the Veda, and these sounds within the infinite field of pure consciousness become the vibrations that manifest in the forms and phenomena of physical creation.

The basic process of consciousness knowing itself takes the form of a collapse of the infinite whole of pure consciousness into finite points of consciousness. This process of infinity collapsing to a point, and the points expanding into infinity, is the basic process that structures the Veda. It is the process by which the eternal Oneness of pure consciousness knows itself.

The Rig Veda has a marvelous structure in which each of the parts reflects the structure of the whole. Thus, for example, the First Mandala of the Rig Veda, which gives the meaning of the Veda as a whole, has 192 suktas. The Tenth Mandala has the same number of suktas, mirroring the gaps between the suktas of the First Mandala. This is not an accidental structural parallel, but an indication of the intricately interlocked structure of the Veda as a whole. This kind of structural identity is reiterated in many places throughout Vedic literature.

First Syllable,  First Verse…

The first syllable of the Rig Veda, “Ak,” could be seen as containing the whole Rig Veda within itself. It represents the collapse of the continuum of flow of infinite wholeness to its own point. The “A” sound represents flow or continuum, and the “k” sound represents the stop, or collapse of the flow. This sound is actually the process of the infinite whole of consciousness collapsing to its point values. The line however continues …

अग्निमीळे पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवं रत्वीजम होतारं रत्नधातमम ||

aghnimīḷe purohitaṃ yajñasya devaṃ ṛtvījam | 

hotāraṃ ratnadhātamam || 

Griffith translates it as :

I Laud Agni,

The chosen Priest,

God, minister of sacrifice,

The Hotar, lavisher of wealth.

The traslation above is purely “Adhiyajñika“, in accord with Sayana’s commentary of 14th Century AD. It interprets the Vedic rik at ritual level in terms of performance of works accompanying its utterance. It entirely misses the Ādhyātmika sense that the mantra includes at the spiritual and psychological level in terms of being, individual and universal, commonly signified with use of terms such as God, Heaven, etc. And, lastly, there is always the Ādhidaivika or naturalistic or cosmological sense the reader or hearer obtains, pertaining to phenomenal creation and its laws observed in nature.

The unstrung Adhyatmika sense is included in the syllables as herebelow :

Agnim [Arc : to illuminate + Nī : to lead]

Īle [Īḍ : to praise, to glorify]

Purohitaṃ [Pṝ : full, complete, first

+ Hu : to sacrifice, to conduct]

Yajñasya [Yaj : to exalt, to offer]

Devam [Div(u) : to shine with power]

Ṛtvijaṃ [Ṛ : to guide rightly, to steer

+ Vij : to arouse, to strengthen]

Hotāraṃ [(1) Hve : to call;

(2) Hu : to sacrifice, conduct]

Ratna [Ram : to be or make content, to please]

Dhātamaṃ [(1) Dhā: to put, to order, to set in place;

(2) Dhṛ: to hold, to sustain]

Source : http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/hinduism-dir/143750-rigveda-mandala-1-sukta-1-mantra.html

Left unstrung, the sense which arises with utterance of syllable would fill the heart and intellect in accord with one’s own age, exposure and acquired sagacity, leaving the individual with his own meaning overall as his mind would string the parts up.

One such Adhyatmika translation would perhaps read thus :

Praise, the Prime Illuminator

Who lights up all and enlightens;

The Supreme who offers all

Whose exalted act

At first offered all in creation;

Who gloriously shines of own power

Who vests strength in each to arise;

Who rightly guides and steers all

With the call to our being

To be, to be blissful and content;

And sets each to order

In our own place.

The material or naturalistic is not attempted here for want of context.

In line with the spiritual sense offered above, the first syllable of the Rig Veda is elaborated and commented on in the first 24 richa (verses), which are further elaborated in the corresponding 24 pada (phrases) of the next eight richa, giving 192 meaning of the syllable Ak or [Arc]. These all emerge from the 24 sandhi (gaps) of the first richa. From the 192 gaps between the 192 akshara (syllables) of richa 2-9, emerge the 192 suktas of the First Mandala of the Rig Veda.

The 192 sandhi between the 192 suktas of the first Mandala give rise to the 192 suktas of the Tenth Mandala, a circular structure that precisely fills the gaps of the First Mandala. Similarly, the gaps between the nine richas of the first sukta are elaborated in Mandala 2-9 of Rig Veda, unfolding the total Rig Veda with all its ten Mandalas.

The whole of the Rig Veda has therefore a marvelous and intricately interwoven structure that is beyond the capacity of the human mind to create. It was not created, but cognised by the seers of ancient India. This is part of the reason that seers recognise the tradition and agree that the Veda and the Vedic literature is “eternal” or uncreated.

 *** See Tony Nader, The Human Physiology : Expression of Veda and the Vedic Literature,

(Vlodrop, Holland: Maharishi Vedic University Press, 2000), p. 57.

The Three-in-One Structure of Pure Knowledge

The flow of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas in the Structure of the Veda is one other structure of the Veda that is basic to understanding the Veda. In the process of knowing itself, the infinite pure consciousness, which is eternal knows itself, creates a division within itself of knower, known, and process of knowing. This is necessary for it to know itself. It is both eternally one and yet eternally three—knower, knowing, and known—making a three-in-one structure of self-knowing consciousness.

This is another fundamental feature of pure consciousness that it is both eternally one and eternally many. From the three-fold structure of knower, known, and process of knowing, consciousness continues to reflect on itself, giving rise to many more reiterations of itself, until the one has evolved into the diversity of the entire Veda.

This threefold structure of pure knowledge, that it is one and three at the same time, seers call “the three-in-one structure of pure knowledge.” It is expressed in the Veda in the terms rishi (knower), devata (process of knowing) and chhandas (known). Every sukta of the Rig Veda has a structure of rishi, devata, and chhandas, which is announced at the beginning of the hymn. There are infinitely many values of rishi, infinitely many values of devata, and infinitely many values of chhandas. These provide the basic key to understanding the structure of the Rig Veda, as well as Sama, Atharva, and Yajur Veda.

Not only the Veda but all of Vedic literature reflects this structure of knower, knowing, and known. Each branch of the Vedic literature flows out of the mechanics of self-knowing consciousness. The Vedic literature, with its six-fold organisation, reflects the process of movement from rishi, to devata, to chhandas, and from chhandas back to devata and rishi. This process is the basic process that structures the entire Rig Veda and the entire Vedic literature. It is the process of self-knowing consciousness.

Readers are encouraged to rediscover the structure of the entire Veda and Vedic literature. This is an immense voyage of discovery into a new world of knowledge that has been lost for thousands of years. It is a journey into the fabric of our own consciousness. It is regaining lost knowledge of our own infinite Self.

English: Student learning Veda. Location: Nach...
Student learning Veda. http://parampara.in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Spiritual Content Of Vedas

English: Student learning Veda. Location: Nach...
Student learning Veda. Location: Nachiyar Kovil, Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu. http://parampara.in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adapted from Dr Kenneth Chandler’s Origins Of Vedic Civilisation

What is Rig Veda and the Vedic literature ?

What is the Vedic tradition really about ?

It is as if we have been on an archeological dig on an ancient site in the Indus Valley and find a treasure room of vast extent, filled with books that are about an ancient science. As we decipher these ancient codes, we discover a body of knowledge more advanced than any science known to humanity today. Such is the excitement of the rediscovery of the Veda.

If the European scholars got the dates of the Vedic tradition and the invasion theory entirely wrong, neither did they understand anything of what was going on in the Vedic tradition. It takes direct experience to understand its transcendent revelations.

Veda means knowledge, the one structured within the inner silence of consciousness itself. It is knowledge unravelled by oneself when conscious of itself, of its own nature free of all physical-mental-intellectual terms. It exists on the reverse of how we are otherwise directed, away from ourself. The unbroken Vedic tradition yet holds the ancient, and now lost, knowledge of that conscious method of going within, like turning the sight away from objects in order to look at itself.

We too can experience the Veda deep within our own consciousness; if we do not, it because we are out of touch with the method of going within, of giving up our ‘individual’ occupation with differentiated consciousness of finite being and transiting over to our primordial, undifferentiated stillness and its infinite homogeneous depths. It is on the way that Vedic knowledge arises of its own accord in seer consciousness … of knowledge pure, of inclusive perspective to being in truth, and of human moral values at their source. With this experience, the seers know and declare that the Veda is eternal and safe forever in its transcendent realm.

The Veda is expression of the knowledge the seer passes by while transcending beyond the individual consciousness formed in gross and subtle receptacles available in the mind-body complex, or during the descent from that undifferentiated sublimity. Whilst cleansing the seer’s own mental and intellectual universe of all flaws and taints, the direct experience also retains the awareness of that oneness pervading all creation. It is not localised to individual awareness, as is confirmed by several seers contemporary, before and after; it is universal. Anyone else too can gain the same transcendental experience of the infinite, unbounded silence, and confirm the truth.

The infinite silence is not seen, as one sees an object separate from the self. It is what the seer becomes — the undifferentiated infinite. Since the Veda is structured in consciousness itself, which is not individual but universal and all-pervading, it exists within and is available to everyone. Every individual consciousness grows out of the vast ocean of universal consciousness, which is the Veda. By diving within our individual consciousness and beyond, to the infinite sea of universal consciousness, we can experience the self-interacting dynamics by which the world is created within the eternal sea of consciousness. This is to witness the mechanics of creation. Veda is this mechanics of creation.

The Vedic tradition grew out of a discovery of a way to go within consciousness and directly experience the Veda, which exists deep within it. It is only through this experience that there can be genuine knowledge of the Veda at all. It is for this reason that the seers laid out the method for everyone to go within and directly experience the silent expanse of consciousness. The method is as sacred as the Veda itself, for without it there would have been no way to verify and affirm the truth through unbroken tradition since antiquity. It has enabled humanity to access the silent, unconditioned, universal consciousness that underlies and pervades all manifest objects in the physical world.

The Vedic tradition therefore contrasts starkly with the monotheistic religions of the Book, principally Christianity and Islam. They offer no solid foundation – the method — for knowledge and understanding of their respective personal and personified God or Allah. Adherents of those religions are asked to keep faith, believe and pray; there is no tradition of exploring the fundamental inner silence of pure consciousness itself, that every human being is heir to. As a result, no one in those religions has the direct experience of that level of reality—the silent foundation of universal consciousness— which they write and speak of, exhort and preach about, but without the authority of personal evidence.

The Veda reveals the reality of consciousness through a constant stream of aligned expression, which was meant to be heard and repeated, contemplated and mediated upon, till the same essence of the revelation at source was imbibed and absorbed enough to yield its indescribable reality. The Vedic tradition carries knowledge of that spiritual method over time; amazingly, in fact, through six millennia or so. And Vedic civilisation was raised on that uniquely mystical experience, connecting the universal with the ephemeral !

The Rig Veda and the Vedic literature are a systematic expression of consciousness and the knowledge of consciousness. The Veda tells us something about our own consciousness, about our human potential to be in and to experience a universal field of consciousness that underlies all created things. The essential meaning of the Veda escaped the Western scholars. They failed to appreciate that, to people nurtured in Vedic tradition, the esoteric fulness signified in the Veda and eclectic means that seers have revealed through the ages are of immense practical import, far greater than any other method of knowledge.

Which is why the Veda is preserved as expression of deep knowledge and has survived over many thousands of years in virtually perfect condition, and that it holds the secret to unlocking new knowledge and a new approach to knowledge that will enhance civilisations everywhere more than any other discovery in the history of mankind.

Veda pathashala students doing sandhya vandana...

Story Of Vedic Civilisation

English: Replica of 'Dancing Girl' of Mohenjo-...
Replica of ‘Dancing Girl’ of Mohenjo-daro

To capture the story of any civilisation is easy but only in parts.

The whole narrative, especially its beginning, is impossible. 

Material in this series of essays has been sourced from diverse websites.

I include them here because I believe our present truth derives from its civilisation origins, even as we hurtle towards catastrophes caused by degenerate values, inferior belief systems, ever so subtle but globally entrenched feudalism in governments, democratic or not, in manipulated power heirarchies of regressive and aggressive societies, and in the pyramidal finance structure managed transnationally to collect and pull, direct and push massive finance flows … 

Are we still in the same line of human civilisational aspiration and enterprise, best evident at its source ?

Or is it long since hijacked by some neo-feudals and subverted by swarm of power brokers ? 

Let’s revert to some glimpses of our civilisational facts and inscrutable truths.

*  *  * 

The first three chapters of Kenneth Chandler’s Origins Of Vedic Civilisation makes for a good start. It is a scholarly work in progress. 

Few Images. Some Facts.

A picture of a king seated in yoga ‘Padmasan‘ posture, with Pipili Leaf adorning his head, was found in the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro in the Indus valley. Mark Kenoyer, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist, describes this figure as “seated in a yogic posture.” He characterises it as a deity with three faces, feet in a yogic posture extending beyond the throne, with seven bangles on each arm, and a pipili plant showing over his head. 

The Katha Upanishad of the Vedic tradition relates a metaphor in which the individual self is the lord of the mind-body chariot, intellect the charioteer, and the senses are the horses. “He who has no understanding…” the Upanishad say, “his senses are out of control, as wicked horses are for a charioteer.” Exactly the same metaphor is found in Plato’s Phaedrus, which uses the image of a chariot moving through heaven and falling to earth when the self, the charioteer, allows the horses, representing sense and appetite, to get out of control. 

The Vedic practice of performing sacrificial rites also has echoes in the religious practices of Greece and Israel. In the Odyssey, Odysseus makes sacrificial offerings of a bull to the gods, and in Israel, in the Old Testament, there are many descriptions of burnt offerings of animals to the gods. These practices have their roots in more ancient Vedic rites. 

Fragments from Empedocles’ book on Purification give the same definition of ” health ” that the Charaka Samhita of the Vedic tradition did more than two thousand years earlier. Heraclitus defines “health” as a balance of the fundamental elements (earth, air, fire and water) in all parts of the body, each part ideally having the proportion proper to it. Plato’s Timaeus defines health in the same way. 

Ancient legends in Greece speak of the early Pre-Socratics as traveling to India. Thales, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, and Plato were all fabled to have made the journey. These deserve a skeptical respect as sources of credible possibilities. Commentators on the early Greeks from around the first and second century BC have written on these legends. While these journeys may or may not have taken place, it is not unthinkable, for there were well established commercial routes between India and Greece along the Silk Road, protected by Persian king, as well as between ports on the Red Sea that linked Greece with India in a thriving spice trade. 

Plotinus in the third century AD set out from Alexandria (a city famed for its esoteric knowledge) on an expedition to India to gain more experiential knowledge of the transcendent. The expedition never completed the journey, so that Plotinus never arrived in India, but Plotinus believed that it was the place to learn about the transcendental unity of Being. If anything specifically Vedic brought about the Greek awakening that occurred in the early sixth century BC, it was not ideas or concepts from India, but the introduction of a technique of transcending to experience pure consciousness. Plato writes about a “fair word” that a physician of Thrace gave to Socrates to enable him to become immortal and gain self-knowledge.

The next in series….

Children's toy from Mohenjo-daro. Located in t...
Children’s toy from Mohenjo-daro.

Beauty Of The Quest

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part X : INDIA (1924)

The Talmud relates that the dove brought the first olive branch to Noah from Mount Moriah. And Mount Moriah and the mountain Meru both lie in Asia. Here is the beginning of all things. Here is the source for all travelers and all searchers. Here is raised the first image of the Blessed Maitreya—Messiah—Muntazar, the Messiah now awaited by the Mohammedans. Thrice powerful M ! Here, above all disputes, the teachings have raised up the olive branch of the new world. Here is ordained the universal commune.

Some one voluntarily approached and touched our tent ! Who is this man, with his long black braid and a turquoise earring in his ear, and garbed in a white kaftan ? It is the Lama, Pema Don-dub, the local ikon painter. We ask, “Can you paint for us the Blessed Maitreya, exactly like the one in Tashi-lhunpo ?” He consents and now he sits on a tiny rug in the corner of the white gallery, and with various pigments, paints the Image full of symbols. He prepares the fabric for the painting and covers it with levkas (a mixture of chalk on glue), and irons it with a shell. He works exactly like Russian ikon painters. In the same way does he grind his colors, heat them on a coal pan; and thus does he keep an additional brush in his thick black hair. His Tibetan wife helps him to prepare his colors.

And so, in the corner of the white gallery is being conceived the ingenious image, many-colored. And each symbol upon it more clearly defines the Blessed One. Here is the frightful bird-like Garuda and wise Magi and Ganeshi, elephant of happiness, and Chintamani, the Steed, bearing on its back the miraculous stone, Treasure of the World. A sacred cycle of chosen symbols. And upon the image and the hands is laid pure gold.

Like our ikon painters, the artist lama chants hymns as he labors. The chants become more fervent; this means he is beginning upon the Image itself.

And another wonder occurs, only possible in this land. In the deep twilight when the waxing moon possesses all things, one hears through the house the silvery tones of a handmade flute. In the darkness, the artist lama is sitting upon his rug, playing with rapture before the image of Maitreya-Messiah-Muntazar.

The Strings of the Earth !

Talai-Pho-Brang.


Panoramic Kashmir
Panoramic Kashmir (Photo credit: NotMicroButSoft

PIR-PANZAL (1925)

Where have passed the hordes of the great Mongols ?

Where has the lost tribe of Israel concealed itself ?

Where stands the “Throne of Solomon” ?

Where lie the paths of Christ the Wan­derer ?

Where glow the bonfires of the Shamans, Bon-po, of the religion of demons ?

Where is Shalimar, the gardens of Jehangir ?

Where are the roads of Pamir, Lhasa, Khotan ?

Where is the mysterious cave, Amarnath ?

Where is the path of Alexander the Great to forgotten Taxila ?

Where are the walls of Akbar ?

Where did Ashvagosha teach ?

Where did Avan-tisvamin create ?

Where are the citadels of Chandragupta-Maurya ?

Where are the stones of wisdom of King Asoka ? . . .

All have passed by way of Kashmir. Here lie the ancient ways of Asia. And each caravan flashes by as a connecting link in the great body of the East. Here are the sandy deserts on the way to Peshawar; and the blue peaks of Sonamarg; and the white slopes of Zoji-La. And in the flight of the eagles is the same untiring spirit; in the fleet steed is the same unalterable motion. Nor does the world of roses and shawls of Kashmir resemble that forgotten and hidden world of Kashmiri blades.

Sacre du Printemps“— when we composed it together with Stravinsky, we could not conceive that Kashmir would greet us with its very setting. In Ghari, camping out by night, when the vivid spring sky became afire with stars and the mountains were azured, we observed rows of fires upon the mountains. The fires started into motion, separated and strangely circled about. Then the mountain slopes became aglow with these fiery processions. And in the village below, dark silhouettes began to whirl about brandishing resin torches on long staffs. The flaming circles proclaimed the end of winter frosts. And the songs proclaimed the Sacred Spring. This is the festival of the Ninth of March.

Bulbul,” the nightingale, sings on the apple tree. The cuckoo reckons out a long life. White linens are spread on the meadow and a samovar is boiling. Red and yellow apples and sweet cakes are passed around to those seated upon the spring grass. The eyes of the violets and the white and yellow narcissus are woven into a many-hued carpet. At evening, flocks of ducks and geese completely cover the tiny islands over the lakes. Small bears steal out on the spring glades. But none fears them—unless the mother-bear is with her cubs. . . .

The river banks are sloping. A line of boatsmen steer their canopied boats. . . . Upon a broad road the oxen drag themselves and the wheels grind along. Three-hundred-year-old plantains and tall poplars guard the ways. And the teeth of the encoun­tered travelers gleam often in the smile of greeting.

In the sheds lie the sleighs—veritable Moscow sleighs. In the yard, a crane screeches above the well. The straw roof is over­grown with green moss. Along the road are gnarled willow trees. And the greetings of the children are noisy. But where is this ? Is it in Schuya or Kolomna? It is in Srinagar, in the “City of the Sun.”

Tiny, big-bellied pillars—small ornamental designs—steep little steps of stone—the gilded roofs of the temple—creaking, orna­mented window-shutters—rusty locks—low little doors with their “curtesy”—carved balustrades—slanting tiles on stony floors—the odor of old lacquer—small windows with diminutive panes. Where are we then ? Is this the Kremlin of Rostov ? Are these the monasteries of Suzdal ? Are they the temples of Yaroslavl ? And what of the endless flocks of daws ? What of the naked branches behind the windows ? This is the chief palace of the Maharajah of Kashmir. How curious is everything which re­mains from antiquity. But the modern additions are hideous.

Upon the road are many Fords. In the hotel dining room one sees the faces of Americans. In the jewelry shop, side-by-side, hang two paintings—one of the view of Delhi, the other the view of the Moscow Kremlin. Among the crystals into which one gazes for destiny; among the sapphires of Kashmir and the Tibetan turquoises, are shimmering green Chinese jadaites—and like a garden, many-colored are the borders of the embroidered kaftans. Like precious shawls, the rooms of the museum are strewn with minute Iran-designs and “Gandhara,” belabored by destiny, unifies the cleft branches of West and East.

In the styles of the temples and mosques; in the angular carved dragons; in the tentlike, sloping hexagonal tower, is seen an unexpected combination of the old wooden churches of Norway and the Chinese pagodas. Out of one well is drawn the Roman­esque Chimera, the animal ornaments of Altai and the tiny animals of Chinese Turkestan and China. The Siberian paths of the nations have carried afar the same meaning of adornment.

The fort of Akbar stands firmly planted. But after you have climbed the steepnesses and flights, you may perceive that the old bricks and the claybeaten cement barely hold together. The arches are ready to give way.

Nishad, the garden of Akbar, occupies the site from the lake to the hill—a high place. The structures are modest and upon the corners are the little towers so beloved by him. They are characterized by simplicity and brightness.

Shalimar—the garden of Jehangir—is also in character with its possessor, standing “for itself.” There is less of outward show, but more of luxury—of that luxury which brought the descend­ants of the Moguls to poverty. The last Mogul, in Delhi, secretly sold furniture out of the palace and destroyed the valuable fac­ings of the walls of Shah Jehan and Aurungzeb. Thus ended the great dynasty.

The weaver of Kashmir accompanied the making of each of his designs with a special chant. Such a searching for rhythm reminds us of the great harmony of labor.

No song relates why the mountain “Throne of Solomon” bears this name. This is a place of such antiquity. Janaka, son of Asoka, had already dedicated here one of the first Buddhist temples. Seven centuries later the temple was rebuilt and con­secrated to Mahadeva. . . . But whence comes the name of Solomon? The mountain received the name of Solomon from a legend that Solomon, desiring a respite from the conventions of a sovereign’s life and from the burdens of his court, trans­ported himself upon a flying carpet to this mountain with his favorite wife. Here, again, we come upon the mention of that “flying apparatus” possessed by Solomon. A similar mountain is in Turkestan and in Persia.

It is not alone the mountain “Throne of Solomon” which transports the consciousness into biblical spheres. In the valley of Sindh the prophet Elijah is reverenced in a special manner. Most stirring are the legends; how the prophet sitting in his cave saves fishermen and travelers. Under various aspects, at times benevolent, at times stormy, the prophet appears to defend the works of justice and piety. Mohammedans and Hindus, divided by many differences, equally reverence the prophet Elijah.

Purple iris will always recall Moslem cemeteries. They are covered with these flowers. But there is also joy. The lilacs have blossomed, lilies of the valley are nodding and the wild cherry tree glistens.

Mount Moriah Cemetery Gate


Journal : Thoughts On Iran

Iranians need help, not war or sanctions, to oust their regime,” said Reza Pahlavi in Al Arabiya News in May last year.

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/18/214828.html

Reza Shah Sadabad Palace (کاخ-موزه سبز (قصر سن...

There is no doubt about the Persian influence in Middle East and Central Asia region. It flows from history. Nothing that the West has in mind will change that.

Reza Pahlavi’s views comes across as sensible, sane and insightful, over the noises orchestrated in the media for a while now. He calls upon Israel to help the Iranian people in toppling the current regime instead of launching military attacks against the country to stop its nuclear program. Any misadventure on part of Israel and US – a war on Iran now – will cause a tension with Jewish people worse than it already is with. In fact, it would regress by milleniums, back to how it was during the reign of Cyrus the Great.

Besides, a war against Iran will not achieve the end… because the nuclear program will not really stop. It will only be delayed for a while, Reza says. The only real solution lies in overthrowing the present “Ayatollah” regime. I believe no one in the world would disagree with that.

The programme to waylay the current establishment does not pass through economic sanctions, but is best routed through standing by the Iranian people. People uprisings in recent past has reflected the public apathy for their government… but they are unarmed and know that violence would only bring out the regime’s superiority, its arms and massive cadres schooled by the regime and paid to serve their masters with dedication.

Civil disobedience is the more viable option. When diplomacy fails and war is an unfavorable option, only the Iranian people weigh upon the regime from inside, Reza suggests. Taking the regime’s “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity would also be in order, for best effect… a proposal that would require the Security Council’s recommendation since Iran was not a signatory to the Rome Statute, as was done to bring the former president of Ivory Coast on trial. The Ayatollah aides could then be indicted by the reformed justice system within Iran.

Admitting to plaints of the Shah regime’s several drawbacks, Reza stresses that it was not as bad for the people of Iran as the present one. He slams the Iranian establishment for discriminating against minorities and wished making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the foundation for Iran’s new constitution. The diversity prevailing in Iran could be protected through decentralisation, he feels, by granting a measure of autonomy to each of the provinces, which would then be able to safeguard the rights of minorities and guarantee equality among all citizens. The ethnic groups could have the right to keep their language and further their respective culture.

The response of people on the Al Arabiya web page have been encouraging. A reader lists the three groups of people who would oppose Reza Pahlavi’s suggestions : the Mojahedin, the Fadayain and the Republic’s Ayatollah regime :

Apart from this minority, over 80% of the Iranian people support Reza Pahlavi or are neutral !” He remains a key political figure popular among the people of Iran.

A Parsi representative of the pre-Islamic people of Iran points out that there was no other country he knew of with as extreme a chasm between the people and their government. The Iranian people were cultured, fairly well educated, tolerant, hospitable, hard working and enterprising. In contrast, he lambasts, “these scum bags” have taken the people of Iran to Arbestan of 1400 years ago and have left a legacy of widespread poverty, high unemployment, total lack of respect for women and human rights, an oppressive judiciary as practiced in the seventh century, prostitution through poverty, six million drug addicts and corruption galore. The Iranian people have nothing against anyone except the mullahs and their ways.

Another reader lauds the Shah leadership while castigating the brutality of the ruling clerics. He says, the Shah brought modernity into Iran. He encouraged liberal education both at home and abroad, had social programs and policies to help women… while the Islamists were committing acts of violence across the country and blaming the Shah for cracking down on their brutality. These sub-humans are doing the same…now.

A reader in the West compares Reza Pahlavi with Nelson Mandela, which seems a stretch. But more fair on the balance, he adds, ” Though I cannot agree with everything Mr. Pahlavi says, the important point is that the people of Iran know his love for the country. He is seeking a better life for all Iranians, much like his father did. We had a very good life back during the Shah’s reign. I was young and don’t remember much but I would want Shahzadah Reza Pahlavi back in Iran and back in power….”

Of course, at the head of a democratic government, the reader adds.

Perhaps he is informed of the disconnect the Pahlavis developed with their own people while catering to Western interests, taking to their ways, and pushing the country with unacceptable fait accompli.

Shah-i-Zinda

Light, Beauty And Truth.

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part IX : INDIA (1924)

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

In the twilight under the flowing stars, in the purple sheen of the mist, sounds the soft voice of the lama, telling his calm tale of the “King of the World,” of His power, of His action and wisdom, of His legions, in which each warrior shall be possessed of some extraordinary gift. And he tells of the dates of the new age of general well-being.

The tale is taken from an ancient Tibetan book, wherein, under symbolic names, are given the future movements of the Dalai-Lama and Tashi-Lama, which have already been fulfilled. There are described the special physical marks of rulers under whom the country shall fall during the reign of the monkeys. But afterwards the rule shall be regained and then will come Someone of greatness. His coming is calculated in twelve years —which will be in 1936.

When the time came for the Blessed Buddha to depart from this earth He was asked by four lords of Dharmapala to bequeath to mankind His image. The Blessed One consented and desig­nated the most worthy artist, but the artist could not take the exact measurements because his hand trembled when he ap­proached the Blessed One. Then said Buddha, “I shall stand near the water. Thou shalt take the measurements from my reflection.” And the artist was thus enabled to do so, and exe­cuted four images, modeled from a sacred alloy of seven metals. Two of these images are now in Lhasa and the remaining two are still hidden until the appointed time.

One Tibetan ruler married Chinese and Nepal princesses in order that through them he might attract to Tibet the two sacred images of Buddha.

Twelve hundred years after Buddha, the teacher Padma Sambhava brought closer to men the teachings of the Blessed One. At the birth of Padma Sambhava all the skies were aglow and the shepherds saw miraculous tokens. The eight-year-old Teacher was manifested to the world in the Lotus flower. Padma Sambhava did not die but departed to teach new countries. Had he not done so the world would be threatened with disaster.

In the cave Kandro Sampo, not far from Tashi-ding, near a certain hot spring, dwelt Padma Sambhava himself. A certain giant, thinking to penetrate across to Tibet, attempted to build a passage into the Sacred Land. The Blessed Teacher rose up and growing great in height struck the bold venturer. Thus was the giant destroyed. And now in the cave is the image of Padma Sambhava and behind it is a stone door. It is known that behind this door the Teacher hid sacred mysteries for the future. But the dates for their revelation have not yet come.

Wherefore do the giant trumpets in the Buddhist temples have so resonant a tone ? The ruler of Tibet decided to summon from India a learned lama, from the place where dwelt the Blessed One, in order to purify the fundamentals of the teaching. How to meet the guest ? The High Lama of Tibet, having had a vision, gave the design of a new trumpet so that the guest should be received with unprecedented sound; and the meeting was a wonderful one—not by the wealth of gold but by the grandeur of sound !

Why do the gongs in the temple ring out with such great volume ? And, as silver, resound the gongs and bells at dawn and evening, when the atmosphere is tense. Their sound re­minds one of the legend of the great Lama and the Chinese emperor. In order to test the knowledge and clairvoyance of the Lama, the emperor made for him a seat from sacred books and covering them with fabrics, invited the guest to sit down. The Lama made certain prayers and then sat down. The emperor demanded of him, “If your knowledge is so universal, how could you sit down on the sacred books ?” “There are no sacred volumes,” answered the Lama. And the astonished em­peror, instead of his sacred volumes, found only blank papers. The emperor thereupon gave to the Lama many gifts and bells of liquid chime. But the Lama ordered them to be thrown into the river, saying, “I will not be able to carry these. If they are necessary to me, the river will bring these gifts to my monastery.” And indeed the waters carried to him the bells, with their crystal chimes, clear as the waters of the river.

Talismans… A mother many times asked her son to bring to her a sacred relic of Buddha. But the youth forgot her request. She said to him, ‘I shall die here before your eyes if you will not bring it to me now.’ The son went to Lhasa and again forgot the mother’s request. A half day’s journey from his home, he recalled the promise. But where can one find sacred objects in the desert ? There is nought. But the traveler espies the skull of a dog. He decides to take out a tooth and folding it in yellow silk he brings it to the house. The old woman asks of him, ‘Have you forgotten again my last request, my son ?’ He then gives her the dog’s tooth wrapped in silk, saying, ‘This is the tooth of Buddha.’ And the mother puts the tooth into her shrine, and performs before it the most sacred rites, directing all her worship to her holy of holies. And the miracle is accomplished. The tooth begins to glow with pure rays and many miracles and sacred manifestations result from it.”

A man searched for twelve years for Maitreya-Buddha. No­where did he find him, and becoming angry, he rejected his faith. As he walked along his way he beheld one who with a horsehair was sawing an iron rod, repeating to himself, “If the whole of life is not enough yet will I saw this through.” Con­fusion fell upon him— “What mean my twelve years,” he said, “in the face of such persistence ? I will return to my search.” Thereupon Maitreya-Buddha himself appeared before the man and said, “Long already have I been with you but you did not see me, and you repulsed me and spat upon me. I will make a test. Go to the bazaar. I will be upon your shoulder.” The man went, aware that he carried Maitreya. But the men around him shrank from him, closing their noses and eyes. “Wherefore do you shrink from me, people ?” he asked. “What a fright you have on your shoulder—an ill-smelling dog full of boils!” they replied. Again the people did not see Maitreya-Buddha, for each beheld only what he was worthy of seeing.

The lama says, “There are three kinds of teaching—one for the stranger, one for our own, and the third for the initiated who can retain. Now through ignorance they slaughter animals, they drink wine, they have property and eat meat and live squalidly. Does religion permit all this ? Where is beauty, there is teaching; where is teaching, there is beauty.

The people here are sensitive. Your emotions and desires are transmitted so easily. Therefore know clearly what you desire. Otherwise instead of Buddha you shall behold the dog.

That which is hidden in the past is not of importance—that which in age-old books, copied and unfinished, lies covered with dust. For the new construction, that which now resolves itself into life is important. Not through library shelves but through the living word is measured the possibility of future structures.

Under Kinchenjunga are secreted the caves in which are rest­ing the treasures. In stone coffins the cave dwellers are praying, torturing themselves in the name of the future. But the sun has already defined the future; not in secret caves, but in full sunlight one perceives the worship and expectation of Maitreya-Buddha. It is now three years since the Tashi Lama solemnly and openly dedicated the great New Image in his Tashi-lhunpo. The intense, invisible work progresses.

The Tashi Lama is now on his way to Mongolia by way of China. Unprecedented through the ages is this event. Mystery ! Incidentally, it may be that through Sikhim passed only the ab­ducting detachment and the Lama himself moved on to Mon­golia.

On a sacred morning upon the mountain started to glow rows of fire—another mystery !

Just now the wave of attention is turned toward Tibet—behind the mountain rampart events are stirring, but Tibetan secrecy is great. Information is contradictory. Whither disappeared the Tashi Lama ? What military manoeuvers proceed on the Chinese border ? What transpires on the Mongolian line ? A year of events !

Sikhim is called the land of lightning. Of course, here also occurs lightning but is it not simpler to call it “the land of future steps” ? For it would be difficult to imagine a better threshold to the mysteries of the future than this unexplored, rarely pene­trated country of rocks and flowers.

As behind a tiny silver apple on a saucer, do the hills and steps of the Himalayas reveal themselves. Hundreds, perhaps more, are the monasteries in Sikhim, each crowning the top of a summit. A small temple in Chakong; a big suburgan and monastery in Rinchenpong. Upon the next mountain appears gleaming white Pemayangtse, still higher, Sanga Chöling. Tashi-ding is almost unseen. On the other side of the valley is Daling and opposite Robling and still nearer Namtse. For a distance of forty miles one may behold the monasteries, for we must not forget that here one sees extremely far.

And again before us is the wall to Tibet. And not the back­bone of the lizard but the snow-white girdle is outlined upon the peaks of this wall—the girdle of the earth. Let us point the arrow northward—there must be the base of Mount Meru.

English: I took this photo of the 110 ft (35 m...
110 ft (35 metre) Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River, Nubra Valley near Diskit Monastery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

Devanagari Invocation of Isha Upanishad
Invocation of Isha Upanishad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter V : Madhva’s Eternal Dualism

Madhva, also known as Madhvacharya or Anand-Tirtha “Purna Prajna,” accepts much of Ramanuj’s Qualified Monism but irrevocably departs in his principle of eternal dependence of individual souls on the one Supreme that alone is independent. He agrees with Ramanuj’s belief system of atomic size of the soul and its subservience to Supreme entity, the authenticity of Vedas, the self-evidence of the instruments of knowledge, the triad of evidences, dependency upon the Panch-ratra, and the reality of plurality in the universe. 

But in his doctrine, ultimate principles are dichotomised into the one independent and the many dependent; as it is stated in the Tattva-viveka : Independent and dependent, two principles are received ; the independent is Vishnu the Lord, exempt from imperfections, and of inexhaustible excellences. He brushes aside the interpretation of the absolute principle being void, in the face of proofs positive of duality : perception, for example, of “This” – the individual being – is different from “That” – the Universal being.

The Pure Monists (Advaitin) rejoin : Do you hold that perception is cognisant of a perceptional difference, or of a difference constituted by the thing and its opposite ? The former will not hold : for without a cognition of the thing and its opposite, the recognition of the difference which presupposes such a cognition, will be impossible. If the latter alternative : is the apprehension of the difference preceded by an apprehension of the thing and its contrary, or are all the three (the thing, its contrary, and the contrariety) simultaneously apprehended ? It cannot be thus preceded, for the operation of the intellect is without delay (or without successive steps), and there would also result a logical seesaw (apprehension of the difference presupposing apprehension of the thing and its contrary, and apprehension of the thing and its contrary presupposing apprehension of the difference). Nor can there be a simultaneous apprehension (of the thing, its contrary, and the difference) ; for cognitions related as cause and effect cannot be simultaneous, and the cognition of the thing is the cause of the recognition of the difference; the causal relation between the two being recognised by a concomitance and non-concomitance (mutual exclusion), the difference not being cognised even when the thing is present, without a cognition of its absent contrary. The perception of difference, therefore (the Monists conclude), is not easily admissible. 

To this Madhva replies as follows : Are these objections proclaimed against one who maintains a difference things in themselves, or against one who maintains a difference between things as subjects of their attributes ? In the former case, you will be, as the saying runs, punishing a respectable Brahman for the offence of a thief. In considering the Upanishad saying, “Thou art That,” if the difference is in their essence, then an actual cognition of “That” is unnecessary; the difference is eternally underscored since the difference presupposes a contrary counterpart. 

If the difference is by their attributes, which form the determinate usage (name and notion) we have of them in our understanding, then too their essential contrariness remains as actual contrary counterparts; for example, the essence of a thing so far as constituted by its dimensions is first cognised, and afterwards it becomes the object of some determinate judgment, as long or short in relation to some particular counterpart (or contrasted object). Accordingly, it is said in the Vishnu-tattva-nirnaya : Difference is not proved to exist by the relation of determinant and determinate ; for this relation of determinant and determinate (or predicate and subject) presupposes difference; and if difference were proved to depend upon the thing and its counterpart, and the thing and its counterpart to presuppose difference, difference as involving a logical circle could not be accounted for ; but difference is itself a real predicament (or ultimate entity). 

For this reason (viz. because difference is the thing in itself), Madhva continues, it is that men in quest of a cow do not act as if they had found her when they see a gayal, seeing which they do not recall the word cow. Nor let it be objected that if difference be a real entity between, say, milk and water, then the same difference should be perceived in a mixture of milk and water as well; for the absence of any manifestation of, and judgment about, the difference, may be accounted for by the force of some obstructions that hinder the perception viz. aggregation of similars and the rest. 

Thus it has been said (in the Sankhya-karika, v. vii.) : From too great remoteness, from too great nearness, from defect in the organs, from instability of the common sensory, from subtlety, from interposition, from being overpowered, and from aggregation of similars.

There is no perception respectively of a tree and the like on the (barren) peak of amountain, because of its too great remoteness ; of the collyrium applied to eyes because of too much proximity ; of lightning and the like because of a defect in the organs; of a jar or the like in broad daylight, by one whose common sensory is bewildered by lust and other passions, because of instability of the common sensory ; of an atom and the like, because of their subtlety ; of things behind a wall, and so forth, because of interposition ; of the light of a lamp and the like, in the day-time, because of its being overpowered ; of milk and water, because of the aggregation of similars. 

Difference (duality) is also ascertained by inference. Thus the Supreme Lord differs from the individual soul as the object of its obedience ; and he who is to be obeyed by any person differs from that person : a king, for instance, from his attendant. For men, desiring as they do – let me have pleasure, let me not have the slightest pain – if they covet the position of their lord, they do not become objects of his favour; nay, rather, they become recipients of all kinds of evil. He who asserts his own inferiority and the excellence of his superior, he it is who is to be commended; and the gratified superior grants his eulogist his desire. 

Therefore it has been said : “Kings destroy those who assert themselves to be kings, and grant to those who proclaim their kingly preeminence in all that they desire.” 

Thus is the statement of those (Advaita-vadins) in their thirst to be one with the Supreme Lord, that the supreme excellence of Vishnu is like a mirage. Through offending this supreme Vishnu, they must enter into the hell of blind darkness (andha-tamasa), as is laid down by Madhya-mandira in the Mahabharata-tatparya-nirnaya : 

” Daityas, enemies of the eternal Vishnu, cause his anger to wax great ; He hurls the Daityas into the blind darkness, because they decide blindly.” 

This service (or obedience of which we have spoken) is trichotomised into (i) stigmatisation, (2) imposition of names, and (3) worship. Of these, stigmatisation is (the branding upon one self) of the weapons of Narayana (or Vishnu) as a memorial of him, and as a means of attaining the end which is needful (emancipation). Thus the sequel of the Sakalya-samhita : “The man who bears branded in him the discus of the immortal Vishnu, which is the might of the gods, He, shaking off his guilt, goes to the heaven (Vaikuntha) which ascetics, whose desires are passed away, enter into.

Imposition of names is the appellation of sons and others by such names as Kesava, as a continual memorial of the name of the Supreme Lord. 

Worship is of ten kinds, viz. [A] with the voice : (1) veracity (2) usefulness (3) kindliness (4) sacred study ;

[B] with the body : (5) almsgiving (6) defence (7) protection ;

[C] with the common sensory : (8) mercy (9) longing and (10) faith. 

Worship is the dedication to Narayana of each of these as it is realised.

Thus it has been said : ” Stigmatisation, imposition of names, worship; the last is of ten kinds.” 

Difference (or duality between the Supreme Being and the universe) may also be inferred from cognisability and other marks. So also difference (or duality) may be understood from revelation, from texts setting out duality in emancipation and beatitude, such as : ” All rejoice over truth attained ; truthful, and celebrating the gift of the divine Indra, they recount his glory ; among those that know the truth, Brahman is in the universe ; He is the true spirit ; true indeed is individual spirit ; truth is duality, truth is duality … in me is illusion, in me illusion, in me illusion.” 

Again : “After attaining this knowledge, becoming like unto me, in creation they are not born again, in retractation they perish not” (Bhagavad-gita, xiv. 2). 

Nor should suggestion be made that individual spirit is God in virtue of the text, He that knows the absolute becomes the absolute; for this text is hyperbolically eulogistic, like the text, “Worshipping a Brahman devoutly, a Sudra becomes a Brahman,” i.e. becomes exalted. 

If people urge that according to the text : “If the universe existed it would doubtless come to an end,” this duality is merely illusory, and in reality a unity, and that duality is learnt to be illusorily imagined ; it may be replied : What you say is true, but you do not understand its meaning ; for the real meaning is, if this world had been produced, it would without doubt come to an end; but since it does not, it is everlasting, a five-fold dual universe. Illusion is deemed to be the will of the Lord, in virtue of the testimony of many passages such as : 

” The great illusion, ignorance, necessity, the bewilderment … The originant, ideation, thus is thy will called, Infinite. 

The originant, because it originates endlessly ; ideation, because it produces all ideas. The illusion of Hari, who is called a-, is termed (a-vidya) ignorance : Styled (vidya) illusion, because it is pre-eminent, for the name vidya is used of the pre-eminent. The excellent knowledge of Vishnu who, though one, is calledby these names; for knowledge of Hari is characterised by spontaneous beatitude it bestows.” 

That in which this excellent knowledge produces knowledge and effects thereof is pure illusion, as known and sustained by the Supreme Lord; therefore duality is not illusorily imagined. For in the Lord illusory imagination of the universe is not possible, illusory imagination arising from non-perception of differences (which as an imperfection is inconsistent with the divine nature). 

If it be asked how then that (illusory duality) is predicated, the answer is that in truth there is a non-duality that is real; Vishnu, being better than all else, has no equal and no superior. Accordingly, the grand revelation : 

” A difference between soul and the Lord, a difference between the unsentient and the Lord, a difference among souls, and a difference of the unsentient and the soul, each from the other. Also the difference of unsentient things from one another, the world with its five divisions. This same is real and from all eternity ; if it had had a beginning it would have an end : Whereas it does not come to an end ; and it is not illusorily imagined : For if it were imagined it would cease, but it never ceases. That there is no duality is therefore the doctrine of those that lack knowledge ; and this doctrine of those that have knowledge is known and sustained by Vishnu.” 

The purpose, then, of all revelations is to set out the supreme excellence of Vishnu. With this in view the Lord declared : 

” Two are these beings in the universe, the perishable and the imperishable ; the perishable is all the elements, the imperishable is the unmodified. The other, the most excellent person called the Supreme Spirit, is the undecaying Lord, who pervading sustains the three worlds. Since, transcending the perishable, I am more excellent than the imperishable (soul), hence I am celebrated among men and in the Veda as the best of persons (Purushottama). He who uninfatuated knows me thus as the best of persons, he all-knowing worships me in every wise. Thus this most mysterious institute is declared, blameless (Arjuna) : ” Knowing this a man may be wise, and may have done what he has to do, Bharata” (Gita, xv. 16-20). 

While merit, wealth, and enjoyment are transitory, emancipation is eternal ; therefore a wise man should strive unceasingly to attain thereto. And emancipation is not won without the grace of Vishnu, according to the text of the Narayana Upanishad : Through whose grace is the highest state, through whose essence he is liberated from transmigration, while inferior men propitiating the divinities are not emancipated ; the supreme object of discernment to those who desire to be liberated from this snare of works. 

According to the words of the Vishnu-purana : If he be propitiated, what here may not be won ? Enough of all wealth and enjoyments. These are scanty enough. On climbing the tree of the supreme essence, without doubt a man attains to the fruit of emancipation.

And it is declared that the grace of Vishnu is won only through the knowledge of his excellence, not through the knowledge of non-duality. Nor is there in this doctrine any connection with texts declaratory of the identity (of personal and impersonal spirit) such as, That art thou; for this pretended identity is mere babbling from ignorance of the real purport. 

“The word That, when undetermined, designates the eternally unknown. The word Thou designates a knowable entity; how can these be one ? “ 

And this text (That art Thou) indicates similarity (not identity) … Not essential unity, for even when one is emancipated it remains different.” The difference is in the independence and completeness of the Supreme Spirit and thesmallness and dependence in the individual spirit.

Vishnu is the refuge of liberated souls, and their supreme ruler. 

There is no proof anywhere, then, that the world is unreal. Besides, we would ask :

Is the statement that the world is false itself true or false ?

If the statement is true, there is a violation of a real non-duality.

If the statement is untrue, it follows that the world is true. 

Perhaps it may be objected that this dilemma is a kind of fallacious reasoning, like the dilemma :

Is transitoriness permanent or transitory ?

There is a difficulty in either case. As it is said by the author of the Nyaya-nirvana : The proof of the permanence of the transitory, as being both permanent and transitory, is a paralogism. And in the Tarkika-raksha, “When a mode cannot be evinced to be either such and such, or not such and such, the denial of a subject characterised by such a mode is called Nitya-sama. “

If you (Advaita-vadin) reply : We accept the unreality (or falsity) of the world, not its non-existence, this reply is about as wise as the procedure of the carter who will lose his head rather than pay a hundred pieces of money, but will at once give five score. 

For falsity and non-existence are synonymous. We dismiss further prolixity. 

Shivalli Brahmins
Shivalli Brahmins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Award I Cherish …

 

I don’t believe in fairies and angels. But I have one who showers her kindness on the smallest of effort I put in to raise a blog devoted to beauty, happiness and truth. She – Julianne – is far and unseen, unknown and unmet, but one who I imagine hovering close over me, infusing an encouragement I feel happy to accept. The last part is important … because there are many whose words seem so empty and motivated, and merely distractive to the committment I summon while adding a small beam on my blog staff.

Julianne has awarded this blog with The Sunshine Award … It brightens my blogging spirit. I am grateful to her for honouring the author thus … and thank Robin at Whitecrow12013 and Theresa at Soul Gatherings for earlier conferring the same recognition to her blog at Julianne Victoria dot com ! If you haven’t already, please visit their blogs for all their spiritual and soulful insights.

The “rules” for most of the awards can be viewed on the Awards page.

It’s a blogger’s award to a fellow blogger !

For the Sunshine Award the rules are :

blog-wonderful-team-membership-award

1. Display the award logo,

2. Link back to the person who nominated you,

3. State 7 things about yourself, and

4. Nominate 15 (or however many you can)

other bloggers for the award.

blog-influential-award

  Seven new things about myself:

1) My gods are the Sun, Moon and my late parents.

2) I am a recluse, done with the mundane.

3) I live in heaven with a woman who is love and devotion itself,

and who can bite real nasty.

4) My heaven includes two young men who may be a little foolish and lazy at times,

but who can never ever be accused for lying, dishonesty or cowardice.

5) I was a champ at all small town games that children in Railway colonies

used to play in the 1960s and 70s.

blog-awesomeness

6) I used to write in school and college and read writers little known

among students of engineering at my prestigeous alma mater

7) While young, I’d groove on Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull, Doors, Queens,

Led Zepp, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Joan Baez …

apart from Beatles, Bob Dylan et al.

 

New Nominees: 

Please visit

blog-liebster-award

these interesting blogs

who I choose award because

their efforts mean so much to me.

Nominees, may please honour us 

with their kind acceptance.

blog-loyalty-award

Congratulations !

 1) http://kiwis-soar.com/

2) http://theholisticconsultant.org/

3) http://sreenivasan.ksshouse.com

4) http://wanderingmirages.com

blog-seed-of-light

5) http://worldfalls.wordpress.com

6) http://www.drishtikone.com/

7) http://theethicalwarrior.wordpress.com/

8) http://andidreamed.wordpress.com

9) http://ofthehighest.wordpress.com/ 

blog-best-moment

Namaste _/|\_ …………………………..

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

Sculpture of the two Jain tirthankaras Rishabh...
Jain tirthankaras Rishabha (left) and Mahavira (right).

 

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems

that men have lived with over extended period, that they chose over others

for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter III : The Arhat Or Jain Belief System

The Jain way of life was contemporaneous with the rise of Buddhism, after the catastrophic developments about 1900 BC, when the Vedic convictions were seriously in question. Yet, it was Buddhism that took to prominence with the advent of the third Buddha, Siddhartha Gautam. There are 24 Tirthankars, enlightened ones, in Jain tradition; but this particular belief system was widely embraced only with rise of Mahavir, about 1200 years after Gautam Budha.

Jain Arhats or Tirthankars reject the Buddhist doctrine of momentariness of everything. They say : If there is no permanent soul, then even attaining worldly fruit in life will be impossible; for, without that individual agency to regulate, the action or effort of one person would have its consequences reaped by another. Because there is a permanent soul, we have this conviction, ” I, who previously did the deed, am the person who now reaps its consequences.” 

The soul remains constant through the previous and the subsequent period; the discriminating Jain Arhats reject as untenable the doctrine of momentary existence, in which the soul is said to last only an instant and has no continuity from the previous to the subsequent moments. They define existence as “that which possesses an origin, an end, and an [intermediate] duration.” Therefore, the Arhats exhorted, they who seek the summum bonum of being (human) must not accept the doctrine of Buddha, and should rather honour only the Arhat doctrine. 

The Arhat’s nature has been thus described by Arhachchandra-suri : “The divine Arhat is the supreme lord, the omniscient one, who has overcome all faults, desire, etc. He is adored by the three worlds, and is the declarer of things as they are.” 

But may it not be objected that no such omniscient soul can enter the path of proof, since none of the five affirmative proofs can be found to apply, as has been declared by Tautatita [Bhatta Kumarila] ? The latter says :

1. No omniscient being is seen by the sense here in this world by ourselves or others ; nor is there any part of him seen which might help us as a sign to infer his existence. 

2. There is no injunction (vidhi) of scripture which reveals an eternal omniscient one, nor can the meaning of the explanatory passages (arthavada) be applied here. 

3. His existence is not declared by those passages which refer to quite other topics ; and it cannot be contained in any emphatic repetitions (anuvada), as it had never been mentioned elsewhere before. 

4. An omniscient being who had a beginning can never be the subject of the eternal Veda ; and how can he be established by a man-made and spurious “Veda” ? 

5. Do you say that this omniscient one is accepted on his own word ? How can you establish either when they thus both depend on reciprocal support ? 

6. If you say, the saying is true because it was uttered by one omniscient, and this proves the Arhat’s existence, how can either point be established without some previously established foundation ? 

7. But they who accept a supposed omniscient, on the baseless word of a parviscient, know nothing of the meaning of a real omniscient’s words. 

8. And again, if we now could see anything like an omniscient being, we might have a chance of recognising him by the [well-known fourth] proof, comparison (upamana). 

The Jains reply as follows : The supposed contradiction of an Arhat s existence, derived from the failure of the five affirmative proofs, is untenable because there are proofs, as inference, etc, which do establish his existence. In fact, any soul will become omniscient when, its natural capacity for grasping all objects remaining the same, the hindrances to such knowledge are removed. 

Interestingly, the Jains hold the soul to be a substance and not a person ! They say, “Whatever thing has a natural capacity for knowing any object will, when its hindrances to such knowledge are done away, actually know it, just as the sense of vision cognises form directly when the hindrances of darkness, etc, are removed. Now there is such a soul, which has its hindrances done away, its natural capacity for grasping all things remaining unchanged; therefore there is an omniscient being. Nor is the assertion unestablished that the soul has a natural capacity for grasping all things ; for, otherwise, it could not be maintained that knowledge can be produced by the authoritative injunction of a text * ; nor could there be the knowledge of universal propositions, such as in our favourite argument, ” All things are indeterminate from the very fact of their existence”. Of course, a follower of Nyaya (logic) will grant that universal propositions can be known, though he will dispute the truth of this particular one, because we [Jains] are convinced that there are certain special means to destroy these obstructions, viz. the three ” gems ” of right intuition, etc. By this charm too, all inferior assaults of argument are also countered.

_________

* The teachers of Purva Mimamsa accept that the soul has a natural capacity for grasping all things ; they allow that the knowledge embracing all things can be produced by the discussion of injunctions and prohibitions, as is said by Sankara in his commentary on the Sutras.

_________

But the Naiyayiks (logicians) may interpose, “You talk of the pure intelligence which, after all hindrances are done away, sees all objects, having sense-perception at its height; but this is irrelevant, because there can be no hindrance to the omniscient, as from all eternity he has been always liberated.” We reply that there is no proof of your eternally liberated being. There cannot be an omniscient who is eternally “liberated.” The very fact of his being liberated suggests that, like other liberated persons, he was previously “bound” ; and if the latter is absent, the former must be too, as is seen in the case of the ether. 

“But is not this being’s existence definitely proved by his being the maker of that eternal series of effects, the earth, etc ? For, according to the well-known argument, the earth etc must have had a maker because they have the nature of effects, as a jar.” This argument, however, will not hold, because you cannot prove that they have the nature of effects. You cannot establish this premise from the fact of earth being composed of parts, because this supposition falls upon the horns of a dilemma ! Does this “being composed of parts” mean (i) the being in contact with the parts ; (ii) the being in intimate relation to the parts ; (iii) the being produced from parts ; (iv) the being as the substance in intimate relation ; or (v) the being as the object of an idea involving the notion of parts ?

The Jains continue to decimate the logic behind the premise : Not the first, because it would apply too widely, as it would include ether which, though not itself composed of parts, is in contact with the parts of other things ; nor the second, because it would similarly include genus, etc. as this resides in a substance by intimate relation, and yet is itself not composed of parts ; nor the third, because this involves a term ( ” produced ” ) just as much disputed as the one directly in question ; nor the fourth, because its neck is caught in the pillory of the following alternative : Do you mean by your phrase used above that it is to be a substance, and to have something else in intimate relation to itself, or do you mean that it must have intimate relation to something else, in order to be valid for your argument ? If you say the former, it will equally apply to ether, since this is a substance, and has its qualities through intimate relation with other things ; if you say the latter, your new position involves as much dispute as the original point, since you would have to prove the existence of intimate relation in the parts, or the so-called ” intimate causes,” which you mean by ” something else.” 

We use these terms in compliance with your terminology ; but, of course, from our point of view, we do not allow such a thing as ” intimate relation,” as there is no proof of its existence. Nor can the fifth alternative be allowed, because this would reach too far. as it would include soul, etc, since soul can be the object of an idea involving the notion of parts, and yet it is acknowledged to be not an effect. Nor can you maintain that the soul may still be indiscerptible in itself but, by reason of its connection with some thing possessing parts, may metaphorically become the object of an idea involving the notion of parts ; because there is a mutual contradiction in the idea of that which has no parts and of that which is all-pervading, just as the atom which is indiscerptible but is not all-pervading. 

And, moreover, is there only one maker ? Or, again, is he independent ? In the former case your position will apply too far, as it will extend erroneously to palaces, etc, where we see for ourselves that it is the work of many different men such as carpenters, etc, and, in the second case, if all the world were produced by this one maker, all other agents would be superfluous. As it has been said in the ” Praise of Jina” :

1 ” It is said, there is one eternal maker for the world, all-pervading, independent, and true. But we have none of these inextricable delusions, whose teacher art thou.” 

And again :

2 ” There is here no maker acting by his own free will, else his influence would extend to the making of a mat. What would be the use of yourself or all the artisans, if Iswara (God) fabricates the three worlds ? “ 

Therefore it is right to hold, as we do, that omniscience is produced when the hindrances are removed by the three means we have alluded to. And an objection cannot be be made that ” right intuition,” etc, are impossible, as there is no other teacher to go to, because this universal knowledge can be produced by the inspired works of former omniscient Jinas. We accept an eternal succession of revealed doctrines and omniscient teachers, like the endless series of seed springing from shoot and shoot from seed. So much for this preliminary discussion. 

The well-known triad called the three gems as right intuition, etc, are thus described in the Param-agama-sara (which is devoted to the exposition of the doctrines of the Arhats) … ” Right intuition, right knowledge and right conduct are the path of liberation.” This has been thus explained by Yogadeva : 

When the meaning of the predicaments, the soul, etc, has been declared by an Arhat in exact accordance with their reality, absolute faith in the teaching, i.e., the entire absence of any contrary idea, is “right intuition.” And to this effect runs the Tattvartha-Sutra, “Faith in the predicaments is right intuition.” Or, as another definition gives it, “Acquiescence in the predicaments declared by a Jina is called right faith ; it is produced either by natural character or by the guru’s instruction.” “Natural character” means the soul’s own nature, independent of another’s teaching; “instruction” is the knowledge produced by the teaching of another in the form of explanation, etc. 

” Right knowledge ” is a knowledge of the predicaments, soul, etc, according to their real nature, undisturbed by any illusion or doubt ; as it has been said, “That knowledge, which embraces concisely or in detail the predicaments as they actually are, is called right knowledge by the wise.” 

This knowledge is fivefold : mati, sruta, avadhi, manas-paryaya, and kevala; they mean as stated herebelow – 

1. Mati … by which one cognises an object through the senses and the mind, all obstructions of knowledge being removed. 

2. Sruta … the clear knowledge produced by mati, all the obstructions of knowledge being removed. 

3. Avadhi … knowledge of special objects caused by the removal of hindrances, which is effected by ” right intuition,” etc. 

4. Manas-paryaya … clear definite knowledge of another’s thoughts, manifest upon removal of all obstructions raised by the veil of envy. 

5. Kevala … pure unalloyed knowledge, for the sake of which ascetics practise penance. 

6. The first of these (mati) is not self-cognised, the other four are. Thus it has been said – 

True knowledge is proof which nothing can contradict, which manifests itself as well as its object ; it is both supersensuous and is itself an object of cognition.

Right conduct is the abstaining from all actions tending to evil courses that have effects constituting the mundane. This has been explained at length by the Arhat : “Right conduct is relinquishing the entire blamable impulses ; this has been subjected to a five-fold division, as the five great vows – ahimsa, sunrita, asteya, brahmacharya, and aparigraka.”

Ahimsa is avoidance of injury to all life, movable or immovable, by any act of thoughtlessness. Kind, salutary and truthful speech is called sunrita. That speech is not truthful which is prejudicial and unkind to others. Not taking what is not given is declared to be asteya. 

The vow of brahmacharya (chastity) is eighteen-fold, viz. abandonment of all desires, heavenly or earthly, in thought, word and deed, whether by one’s own action or consent, or by causing another to act. Aparigraha is renouncing of all delusive interest in everything that exists or not ; since bewilderment of thought may arise from a delusive interest even in the unreal. 

7. When carried out by the five states of mind in a five-fold order, these great vows produce the eternal abode.

The full account of the five states of mind has been given in the following passage [of which we only quote one sloka] –

” Let him uphold the vow of sunrita uninterruptedly by abstinence from laughter, greed, fear and anger, and by deliberately avoiding speech;” and so forth. 

Convergence of these three – right intuition, right knowledge, and right conduct – produce liberation.

Tattvas or predicaments are two : jiva and ajiva. The soul, jiva, is pure intelligence ; the non-soul, ajiva, is pure non-intelligence. Padmanandin has thus said :

” The two highest predicaments are soul and non-soul ; discrimination is the power to discriminate between the two, while pursuing what is to be pursued and rejecting what is to be rejected. The affection, etc, of the agent are to be rejected ; these are objects for the non-discriminating. The supreme light of knowledge alone is to be pursued, which is defined as upayoga.” 

Upayoga or “true culmination of the soul’s activity” takes place when vision truly perceives and recognises the soul’s innate nature ; but as long as the soul, by the bond of pradesa and mutual interpenetration of form it produces between the soul and the body, considers itself as identified with its actions and with the body that they produce and form, knowledge may rather be defined as ” the cause of the soul’s cognition of itself being other than these.”

Intelligence (chaitanya) is common to all souls, and is the real nature of the soul viewed as parinata i.e. as it is in itself. But under the influence of upasamakshaya and kshayopasama, the soul appears in its “mixed” form, as possessing both, jiva and ajiva. Or again, by the influence of actions as they arise, it assumes the appearance of foulness, etc. 

Hence has it been said by Vachakacharya : ” The aupasamika, the kshayika, and the mixed states are the nature of the soul. So too are the audayika and the parinamika.” 

The aupasamika state of the soul arises when all the effects of past actions have ceased, and no new actions arise to affect the future. The Kshayika state arises when there is absolute cessation of actions and their effects, as in final liberation. The “mixed” (misra) state combines both these, as when water is partly pure. The audayika state is when actions arise exerting an inherent influence on the future. The Parinamika state is the soul’s innate condition, as pure intelligence, etc, and disregarding its apparent states. This nature, in one of the above-described varieties, is the character of every soul, whether happy or unhappy.

It is further explained : ” Not different from knowledge and yet not identical with it ; in some way both different and the same ; knowledge is its first and last form ; such is the soul described to be.” 

If you say that, ” As difference and identity are mutually exclusive, we must have it as one or the other; that the soul is both is absurd” ; we reply, that there is no evidence to support you when you characterise it as absurd. Only a valid non-perception can thus preclude a suggestion as absurd ; but this is not found in the present case, since (in our opinion, the advocates of the Syad-vada) it is perfectly notorious that all things present a mingled nature of many contradictory attributes. 

Others lay down a different set of tattvas from the two mentioned above, jiva and ajiva ; they hold that there are five astikayas or categories : jiva, akasa, dharma, adharma, and pudgala. To all these five we can apply the idea of “existence” (asti), as connected with the three divisions of time, and we can similarly apply the idea of ” body ” (kaya) from their occupying several parts of space. 

The jivas (souls) are of two kinds, “mundane” and “released.” The mundane soul reincarnates from birth to birth ; these are again divided into two : those possessing an internal sense (samanaska), and those without it (amanaska). The former possesses the power of apprehension, talking, acting and receiving instruction ; the latter are without this power. These latter are also divided into two, as ” locomotive ” (trasa) or ” immovable ” (sthavara). The “locomotive” are those possessing at least two senses [touch and taste], as shell-fish, worms, etc, and are thus of four kinds : as possessing two, three, four, or five senses. The “immovable” are earth, water, fire, air, and trees. But here a distinction must be made. The dust of the road is properly “earth,” but bricks, etc, are aggregated ” bodies of earth,” and that soul by whom this body is appropriated becomes ” earthen-bodied,” and that soul which will hereafter appropriate it is the “earth-soul.” The same four divisions must also be applied to the others, water, etc. Now the souls which have appropriated or will appropriate the earth, etc, as their bodies, are reckoned as “immovable” ; but earth, etc, and the ” bodies of earth,” etc, are not so reckoned because they are inanimate. These other immovable things, and such as only possess the one sense of touch, are considered as ” released,” since they are incapable of passing into any other state of existence. 

Dharma, adharma, and akasa are singular categories [and not generic], and they have not the attribute of ” action,” but they are the causes of a substance’s change of place. Dharma, “merit,” and adharma, “demerit,” are well known. They assist souls in progressing or remaining stationary in the universally extended sky [or ether] characterised by light, and also called Lokakasa; hence the presence of the category “merit” is to be inferred from progress, that of ” demerit ” from frozen station. The effect of akasa is seen when one thing enters into the space previously occupied by another. Pudgala body possesses touch, taste, and colour. 

Bodies are of two kinds, atomic and compound. Atoms cannot be enjoyed; the compounds are binary and other combinations. Atoms are produced by separation of these binary and other compounds, while these arise from the conjunction of atoms. Compounds sometimes arise from separation and conjunction combined ; hence they are called pudgalas, because they “fill” (pur), and “dissolve” (gal). Although ” time ” is not properly an astikaya, because it does not occupy many separate parts of space [as mentioned in the definition], still it is a dravya [or tattva], as the definition will hold ; “substance” (dravya) possesses “qualities and action.” Qualities reside in substance but do not themselves possess qualities, as the general qualities, knowledge, etc, of the jiva, and form, etc, of the body, and the power of causing progress, stationariness, and motion into a place previously occupied, in the case respectively of ” merit,” ” demerit,” and akasa.

” Action ” (paryaya) has thus been defined ; the actions of a substance are, as has been said, its existence, its production, its being what it is, its development, its course to the end, as, e.g., in the knowledge of objects, as of a jar, etc, happiness, pain, etc ; in the pudgala, the lump of clay, the jar, etc ; in merit and demerit, the special functions of progress, etc. Thus there are six substances or tattvas [i.e. the five mentioned above and ” time “]. 

Others add more tattvas … Asrava is described as the movement of the soul called yoga, through its participation in the movement of its various bodies. As a door opening into the water is called asrava, because it causes the stream to descend through it, so this yoga is called asrava because by it, as by a pipe, actions and their consequences flow in upon the soul. Or, as a wet garment collects the dust brought to it from all sides by the wind, so the soul, wet with previous sins, collects, by its manifold points of contact with the body, the actions which are brought to it by yoga. Or as, when water is thrown on a heated lump of iron, the iron absorbs the water altogether, so the jiva, heated by previous sins, receives from all sides the actions which are brought by yoga (mixing of the soul with the body and actions). 

Kashaya (” sin,” ” defilement “) is so called because it ” hurts ” the soul by leading it into evil states ; it comprises anger, pride, delusion, and lust. Asrava is two-fold, good or evil. Thus abstaining from doing injury is a good yoga of the body ; speaking what is true, measured and profitable, is a good yoga of the speech. These various subdivisions of asrava have been described at length in several Sutras. ” Asrava is the impulse to action with body, speech, or mind, and it is good or evil as it produces merit or demerit,” etc. Others, however, explain it thus : ” Asrava is the action of the senses which impels the soul towards external objects ; the light of the soul, coming in contact with external objects by means of the senses, forms the knowledge of respective objects or bodies.”

Bandha, ” bondage,” is when the soul, by the influence of “false intuition,” “non-indifference,” ” carelessness,” and “sin”, and also by the force of yoga, assumes various bodies occupying many parts of space, which enter into its own subtile body and which are appropriate to the bond of its previous actions. As has been said : “Through the influence of sin the individual soul assumes bodies suitable to its past actions; this is, bondage.” 

The causes of bondage are false intuition, non-indifference, carelessness, and sin.

(a) “False intuition” is twofold, either innate from one’s natural character, as when one disbelieves Jain doctrines due to influence of former evil actions, or by influence of another’s teaching. 

(&) ” Non-indifference ” is the non-restraint of the five senses, and the internal organ, from the set of six, earth, etc. 

(c) “Carelessness” (pramada) is want of effort to practise the five kinds of samiti, gupti, etc. 

(d) ” Sin ” consists of anger, etc. Here we must make the distinction that false intuition, etc, cause those kinds of bondage called sthiti and anubhava; yoga [or asrava] causes kinds called prakriti and pradesa. 

” Bondage ” is fourfold, as has been said : ” Prakriti, sthiti, anubhava, and pradesa are its four kinds.” 

I. Prakriti means “the natural qualities,” as bitterness or sweetness in the vimba plant or molasses. 

2. Sthiti lasts beyond billions of units of time.

3. Anubhava is effect produced in different material bodies caused by our actions ; there exists a special capacity (anubhava) for producing their respective effects. 

4. Pradesa is the entrance into the different parts of the soul by the masses, made up of an endless number of parts, of the various bodies which are developed by the consequences of actions. 

Samvara is the stopping of asrava by which the influence of past actions (karma) is stopped from entering into the soul. It is divided into gupti, samiti, etc. Gupti is the withdrawal of the soul from that ” impulse ” (yoga) which causes mundane being. It is threefold, as relating to body, speech or mind. Samiti is acting so as to avoid injury to all living beings.

Moksha ( or Nirvana)

Moksha is the attainment with which there is an entire absence of all future actions, as all causes of bondage (false perception, etc) are ceased forever ; and, since all past actions are abolished in the presence of their causes, there arises the absolute release from all actions. As it has been said : “Moksha is the absolute release from all actions through decay (nirjard} of all actuated and potential causes of bondage and mundane being.” 

Then the soul rises upward to the end of the world. As a potter’s wheel, whirled by a stick and by hands, moves on even after these have stopped until the impulse is exhausted, so the previous repeated contemplations of the embodied soul for the attainment of moksha exert their influence even after they have ceased and bear the soul onward to the end of the world.

Others hold moksha to be abiding in the highest regions, the soul being absorbed in bliss with its knowledge unhindered and itself untainted by any pain or impression thereof. 

” The doctrine of the syad-vada arises from our everywhere, rejecting the idea of the absolute …” If a thing absolutely exists, it exists altogether, always, everywhere and with everybody, and no one at any time or place would ever make an effort to obtain or avoid it. The whole is thus summed up : Four classes of our opponents severally hold the doctrine of existence, non-existence, existence and non-existence successively, and the doctrine that everything is inexplicable (anirvachaniyata) ; three other classes hold one or other of the three first theories combined with the fourth. 

Now, when they meet us with the scornful questions, ” Does the thing exist ? ” etc, we have a ready answer, ” It exists in a certain way,” etc. Syad-vada ascertains the entire meaning of all things. Thus said the teacher in the Syadvada-Manjari :

“A thing of an entirely indeterminate nature is the object only of the omniscient ; a thing partly determined is held to be the true object of scientific investigation. When our reasoning based on one point proceed in the revealed way, it is called the revealed Syad-vada, which ascertains the entire meaning of all things.” 

” All other systems are full of jealousy from their mutual propositions and counter-propositions ; only the doctrine of the Arhat has no partiality and equally favours all sects.” 

The Jaina doctrine has thus been summed up by Jinadatta-suri :

” The hindrances belonging to vigour, enjoyment, sensual pleasure, giving and receiving, sleep, fear, ignorance, aversion, laughter, liking, disliking, love, hatred, want of indifference, desire, sorrow, deceit … these are the eighteen faults (dosha) according to our system. The divine Jina is our Guru, who declares the true knowledge of the tattwas. The path of emancipation consists of knowledge, intuition and conduct. There are two means of proof (pramana) in Syad-vada doctrine – sense-perception and inference. All consists of the eternal and the non-eternal ; there are nine or seven tattwas. The jiva, the ajiva, merit and demerit, asrava, samvara, landha, nirjard, mukti … we will now explain each. 

Jiva is defined as intelligence ; ajiva is all other than it ; merit means bodies which arise from good actions, demerit the opposite ; asrava is the bondage of actions, nirjard is the unloosing thereof ; moksha arises from destruction of the eight forms of karma or “action.” But by some teachers ” merit ” is included in samvara and ” demerit ” in asrava. 

” Of the soul that has attained the four infinite things and is hidden from the world, and whose eight actions are abolished, absolute liberation is declared by Jina. The Swetambaras are the destroyers of all defilement, they live by alms, they pluck out their hair, they practise patience, they avoid all association, and are called Jain Sadhus. The Digambaras pluck out their hair, they carry peacocks tails in their hands, they drink from their hands, and they eat upright in the giver’s house; these are the second class of the Jain Rishis. 

“A woman attains not the highest knowledge, she enters not Mukti, so say the Digambaras ; but there is great division on this point between them and the Swetambaras.”

English: Jain sadhvis meditating (in Brindavan...
Jain sadhvis meditating (in Brindavan)

Yamunotri, By Default

Unable to head for the mountains, for reasons beyond me, I recall this saunter through Garhwal during the rains …

I am not a religious person, though not an atheist and certainly not an anti-theist. If I would have chosen to go to Yamunotri, it would have been for the Himalayan panoramas it offers, the testing journey that provide opportunities for my challenged perfection, and the culture the region particularly fosters.
On this day, the 28th of August 2011, I had not chosen to proceed towards Yamunotri. My general desire was to visit the ” Kaurav County ” in the northwest-most region of Uttarkashi district, including Netwar and Mori in Tons Valley along the route to Har-ki-Dun in the middle of Govind Wild Life National Park, up northwest of Mori.
Mori is a sleepy hamlet of amazing scenic beauty, surrounded by greenish and yellowish paddy fields at this time of the year, on the banks of Tons River. The place lies in a region that has a uniquely Vedic culture and a history that local folks trace back to Kauravas and Pandavas, the royal warriors and kings in the epic age of Mahabharata. It was said that if one had to learn Sanskrit and true Vedic practices, in their detail, there was no better place to go to than this region in Uttarkashi.
Mori seemed to be a perfect vacation retreat to me, with its seclusion and high mountain solitudes. It had the tallest pine trees that thickly populate its forests. A primary curiosity of mine was this ancient historic temple dedicated to Duryodhana, who is generally reviled in the epic and by people in the rest of the country. In Netwar, 11 km up ahead, there is a temple with Karna as the local deity, another character from the epic who is better regarded but still an anti – hero compared to the Pandavas, the ultimate victors who had the support of Krishna. And, the villagers follow a tradition that includes polygamy !
The cultural diversity of the region then seemed fascinating to me… full of legendary temples, architecture, mythology and that ancient culture that still seemed alive to me in its texts. And thus I rolled out for Kaurav County that early morning before dawn, covering the potholed roads onto the tolled highway of recent construct. I noticed the morning sun when I had to stop for relief some distance before Muzaffarnagar.
That’s also when I was charmed by the paddy and sugarcane fields all around.
There was nothing exciting on the way up through Haridwar on to the bypass at the left, before the ancient town and world’s famed yoga capital of Rishikesh, that passes through THDC Colony and meets the National Highway 94, gaining about 700 m in height at Narendranagar. Unawares, I had given up the option of passing over the hanging bridge called Laxman Jhula and of visiting the Vashisht Ashram and Cave, located about 25 km away on the way to Devprayag.
The Greens …

It had gotten exciting, the drive pleasurably demanding, mountain sides intimately pleasing and views… clouds rubbing against the hill sides and the tops … and the houses yonder !

The road remained undulating but gradual, by and large. It wasn’t in the best of shape. The entire region seemed to be terribly neglected in terms of infrastructure. Frequently, there would stretches without metal top on the roads. People were generally disadvantaged with little work opportunity, and seemed severely depressed economically.

But, if anything, the Himalayas represent a continuity. There’s a cultural togetherness and homogeneity that shared beliefs inculcate in people’s outlook… to each other, to other beings, their animals, trees and vegetation, the mountains, temples, river and streams. There were enough of water lines, thick and thin, flowing down the mountain slopes.

The altitudes… 1000 m at Narendranagar… 1200 m at Hindolakhal Village… over a hump of 1600 m before Agrakhal at 1400 m… down to 800 m after Jajal… up again through 1200 m, Mohanchatti, to 1400 m, 1600 m, and 1676 m at Chamba, where I called it a day.
Chamba is situated at the junction of roads converging from Mussoorie, Rishikesh, Tehri Dam/ Lake and New Tehri. It  is a beautiful town, in the heart of Tehri district. Chamba is well-connected and just 60 km from Mussoorie. For travellers from Delhi, Chamba is an ideal interlude on the way up to Gangotri, Yamunotri and north-western parts of Uttarkashi.Some places of interest nearby are Dhanaulti, Surkanda Devi Temple, Ranichauri, and Kanatal, midway through Chamba-Dhanaulti road.

It was still cloudy when I click started the next day. I was heading for Barethi, Dharasu, on to Barkot, Naugaon and Purola, where I intended to halt. It was to be my base for forays into the Kaurav County of Netwar and Mori and, perhaps, the closest I could drive up to Har-ki-Dun. It turned out to be a wrong choice… due to landslides and road construction projects ! On hindsight, I should have taken the left branch off from NH-94 at Chamba, through Dhanaulti – NH 123 – Nainbagh – Kuwa – Naugaon – Purola.

Barely 10 km up Chamba, the National Highway 94 comes close to the bank of the Tehri Dam Reservoir on Bhagirathi River, down at 800 m altitude above sea level, and remains almost parallel right up to Dharasu at 1200 m. A little ahead, the highway forks into NH – 94 on the left and NH – 108 on the right, which continues to run along with the River Bhagirathi to Uttarkashi.

I took to the NH – 94 from Chamba. At Barethi too, I had the option to take a left branch – off to NH – 123 and on to Naugaon. But I was not aware of it and, frankly, felt no need to review my travel plan just then, even though the indications were there of roads being blocked or under construction. So on I continued towards Dharasu, rising up to 2200 m through some of the worst stretches, holdups, soft soil and treacherous mud… down to 1400 m at a sharp bend from where a branch – off to left went to Barkot barely 2 km away.

The place at the neck of that sharp bend, identified from a small signboard, was called Dobatta. The entire area was in a mess, with construction work. I stopped to look about. To my left, I could see school children crossing over a stretch of road paved with large boulders. There was a trekker jeep waiting about 50 m away, beyond the rough un-motorable stretch, to transport the public and the school children. I could only ” sigh ” and resume my way on the main to Yamunotri… to let the disappointment pass.

The road up from Dobatta ( Barkot, 1280 m ) remained difficult and neglected in patches… gaining altitude through Gangani to Sayanachatti ( 2135 m ), where a young man flagged my car. I stopped, curious, when he suggested that I stay the day at his place ! It was drizzling. The landslides and road conditions on the way had been tiring to negotiate. I dropped anchor at his rather basic ‘ hotel.’

The lodge had no food preparation facilities. There was a ‘ dhaba ‘ down the way I’d come, where I could have a simple fare. It was too early for a meal right then and I did not want to step out in the evening when I might be hungry. So, the only alternate was for me to buy something now that I could retain for later.

I went out for a stroll. The place had few houses, mostly villagers from far away who had built by the roadside to participate in the commerce that tourists to Yamunotri bring in. There was a tea stall where a few people sat gossiping… smoking, browsing through the newspaper, sipping tea or simply gazing. I joined them… had a no-sugar tea, made to order. There was sadness on the faces and reeked of depression when people spoke.

The tea stall did not have the eggs I was looking for. Almost the whole of Uttarkashi is supposed to be a sacred zone and non-vegetarian preparations were generally barred from local cuisine. Someone suggested I try a smaller stall across the road. I did find the eggs there and a couple of buns for my evening meal.

Back at the hotel, I tried calling up home but there was no network. I was told only the Govt owned telecom company had it here ! The gray evening passed into a dark night.

Next morning, I started off with a washed car… not toward Yamunotri but return to Chamba, where about I intended to stay overnight before starting for the home leg. Alas, traffic was held up barely a few miles down, due to landslide. The bulldozer came after 3 hours ! Tour operators found it convenient to handout lunch cooked for the tourists they were carrying. And travellers had their wash in the mountainside stream flowing half a furlong up.

The mess cleared up around 1 PM. I spent those 4 hours chatting up occassionally, listening to music most of the time, and gazing at a mule pair grazing in front of me !

On my way back, I followed the Yamuna River until Dobatta ( Barkot ).About 10 – 15 km before Chamba,  I stopped at a ‘ Guest House ‘ that I later discovered was a poor, dilapidated homestay run by a father – son duo. However, the lady of the house had cooked some wonderful chicken curry. But I did take the precaution of calling up the local Police Station and informing them of my stay there !
The next day, I made it home, by late afternoon.

Alternate Destinations. Authentic Experiences…

English: Draupadi and Pandavas
English: Draupadi and Pandavas

Indian History And Its Historians

Inimitable Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s Valedictory Speech

Internatonal Conference on Indian History, Civilisation and Geopolitics – 2009 

Source : http://indianrealist.wordpress.com/2009/01/11/dr-subramanian-swamys-valedictory-speech-at-the-conference/

subramanian-swamy

Introduction

The identity of India is Hindustan, i.e., a nation of Hindus and those others who acknowledge with pride that their ancestors were Hindus.  Hindustan represents the continuing history of culture of Hindus. One’s religion may change, but culture does not. Thus,  on the agenda for a national renaissance should be the dissemination of the correct perception of what we are.  This perception has to be derived from a defalsified history. However, the present history taught in our schools and colleges is the British imperialist-sponsored one, with the intent to destroy our identity. 

India as a State is treated as a British-created entity and of only recent origin.  The Indian people are portrayed as a heterogeneous lot who are hopelessly divided against themselves.  Such a “history” has been deliberately created by the British as a policy.  Sir George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, wrote to the Home Office on March 26, 1888 that “I think the real danger to our rule is not now but say 50 years hence….. We shall (therefore) break Indians into two sections holding widely different views ….. We should so plan the educational text books that the differences between community and community are further strengthened”.

After achieving independence, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and the implementing authority of the anglicised ICS, revision of our history was never done, in fact the very idea was condemned as “obscurantist” and Hindu chauvinist by Nehru and his ilk.

The Imperialist History of India

What is the gist of this British imperialist-tailored Indian history? In this history, India is portrayed as the land “conquered” first by the ‘Dravidians’, then by the ‘Aryans’, later by Muslims, and finally by the British. Otherwise, everything else is mythical. Our history books today exhibit this obsession with foreign rule.

For example, even though the Mughal rule from Akbar to Aurangzeb is about 150 years, which is much shorter than the 350 year rule of the Vijayanagaram empire, the history books of today hardly take notice of the latter.  In fact the territory under Krishna Devaraya’s rule was much larger than Akbar’s, and yet it is the latter who is called “the Great”. Such a version suited the British rules who had sought to create a legitimacy for their presence in India. 

Furthermore, we were also made to see advantages accruing from British rule, the primary one being that India was united by this colonialism, and that but for the British, India would never have been one country.  Thus, the concept of India itself is owed to the plunder of colonialists.

In this falsified history,  it is made out that Hindus capitulated to Islamic invaders.  But on the contrary,unlike Iran, Iraq and Egypt where within decades the country capitulated to become 100% Muslims. India despite 800 years of brutal Islamic rule, remained 80% Hindu.

 These totally false and pernicious ideas have however permeated deep into our educational system. They have poisoned the minds of our younger generations who have not had the benefit of the Freedom Struggle to awaken their pride and nationalism. It has thus to be an essential part of the  renaissance agenda that these ideas of British-sponsored history of India, namely, (1) that India as a State was a gift of the British and (2) that there is no such thing as a native Indian, and what we are today is a by-product of the rape of the land by visiting conquerors and their hordes and (3) that India is a land that submitted meekly to invading hordes from Aryan to the English, are discarded.

Just because India did not have a nation state of the present boundaries, exercising control through a unified modern administration, does not mean that there was no India.  On the contrary, there was always as India which from north to south, thought of fundamentally as one country. 

Just as Hinduism exists from ancient days despite a lack of a Church, Book, or Pope, Hindustan too existed from time immemorial but without the parameters of a modern state. The invading Muslims and the British on the contrary tried to disrupt that unity by destroying the traditional communication channels and educational structures.

Thus, on the agenda for National Renaissance has to be a new factual account of our history, focusing on the continuous and unbroken endeavours of a people united as a nation. This history of India must deal with the conscious effort of our people to achieve a civilization, to reach better standards of life, and live a happier and nobler  life.  Although the lamp of faith of the Indian people burnt brightly in  long periods, this history must also record when that faith dimmed and brought shame to the people. 

Such a factual account of our past is essential to the agenda, because we have to objectively disgorge and discard the foreign versions of our history.  It  is this foreign version that makes us out to be foreigners in our own land. The Aryan-Dravidian divide in the history taught in schools and universities is purely a conception of foreign historians like Max Mueller and has no basis in Indian historical records. 

This fraudulent history had been lapped up by north Indians, and by south Indian Brahmins, as their racial passport to Europe. Such was the demoralization of the Hindu mind, which we have to shake off through a new factual account of our past.

Falsification of Chronology in India’s History

The fabrication of our History begins with the falsification of our chronology.

The customary dates quoted for composition of the Rig Veda (circa 1300 B.C.), Mahabharat (600 B.C.), Buddha’s Nirvana (483 B.C.), Maurya Chandragupta’s coronation (324 B.C.), and Asoka (c.268 B.C.) are entirely wrong. Those dates are directly or indirectly based on a selected reading of Megasthenes’ account of India. In fact, so much so that eminent historians have called if the “sheet anchor of Indian chronology”. The account of Megasthenes and the derived chronology of Indian history have also an important bearing on related derivations such as the two-race (Aryan-Dravidian) theory, and on the pre-Vedic character of the so called Indus Valley Civilization.

Megasthenes was the Greek ambassador sent by Seleucus Nicator in c. 302 B.C. to the court of the Indian king whom he and the Greek called “Sandrocottus”. He was stationed in “Palimbothra”, the capital city of the kingdom. It is not clear how many years Megasthenes stayed in India, but he did write an account of his stay, titled Indika.  The manuscript Indika is lost, and there is no copy of it available.  However, during the time it was available, many other Greek writers quoted passages from it in their own works. These quotations were meticulously collected by Dr. Schwanbeck in the nineteenth century, and this compilation is also available to us in English (J.M. McCrindle: Ancient India as Described by Megasthenes and Arrian).

When  European indologists were groping to date Indian history during the nineteenth century (after having arbitrarily rejected the various Puranas), the Megasthenes account came in very useful. These scholars simply identified “Sandrocottus” with Chandragupta, and “Palimbothra” with Pataliputra.  Since Megasthenes talks of Sandrocottus as being a man not of “noble” birth who essentially usurped the throne from Xandrames and founded a new dynasty, the western writers took it as enough evidence to  suggest that Sandrocottus was Maurya Chandragupta, who deposed the Nanda (=Xandrames) dynasty, and founded the Maurya dynasty.  This identification, thus places Maurya Chandragupta circa 302 B.C. 

However, Megasthenes also notes that Sandrocottus was a contemporary of Alexander, and came to the throne soon after Alexander’s departure.  With a little arithmetic on how many days it would have taken Alexander to cross the Indus, etc., the scholars arrive at c.324 B.C. as the date of Chandragupta Maurya’s coronation.  It is on this date that every other date of Indian history has been constructed.

The western writers constructed other dates of Indian history by using the data on the number of years between kings given in the Puranas, even though they have generally discredited this source.  For instance, the Puranas give the number of years for the reign of Chandgragupta and Bindusara as 62 years.  Using this period, Asoka’s coronation year is calculated by them as 324-62 =c 262 B.C.  This estimated year is then cross-checked and adjusted with other indicators, such as from the Ceylonese Pali tradition.  The point that is being made here is that some of the important dates of Indian history have been directly determined by the identification of Megasthenes’ Sandrocottus with Maurya Chandragupta, and Xandremes with Nanda.

The founder of the Mauryas, however, is not the only Chandragupta in Indian history, who was a king of Magadh and founder of a dynasty.  In particular, there is Gupta Chandragupta, a Magadh king and founder of the Gupta dynasty at Patliputra.  Chandragupta Gupta was also not of “noble” birth and, in fact, came to power by deposing the Andhra king Chandrasri.  That is, Megasthenes’ Sandrocottus may well be Gupta Chandragupta instead of Maurya Chandgragupta (and Xandremes the same as Chandrasri, and Sandrocryptus as Samudragupta).  

In order to determine which Chandragupta it is, we need to look further.  It is, of course, a trifle silly to build one’s history on this kind of tongue-gymnastics, but I am afraid we have no choice but to pursue the Megasthenes evidence to its end, since the currently acceptable history is based on it.

In order to determine at which Chandragupta’s court Megasthenes was ambassador, we have to look further into his account of India.  We find he was at Pataliputra (i.e. Palimbothra in Megasthenes’ account).  We know from the Puranas (which are unanimous on this point) that all the Chandravamsa king of Magadh (including the Mauryas) prior to the Guptas, had their capital at Girivraja (or equivalently Rajgrha) and not at Pataliputra.   Gupta Chandragupta was the first king to have his capital in Patliputra. This alone should identify Sandrocottos with Gupta Chandragupta.  However some 6-11th century A.D. sources call Pataliputra the Maurya capital, e.g., Vishakdatta in Mudrarakshasa, but these are based on secondary sources and not on the Puranas.

Pursuing Megasthenes’ account further, we find most of it impossible to believe.  He appears to be quite vague about details and is obviously given to the Greek writers’ weakness in letting his imagination get out of control.  For example, “Near a mountain which is called Nulo there live men whose fee are turned back-wards and have eight toes on each foot.” (Solinus 52.36-30 XXX.B.) “Megasthenes says a race of men (exist in India) who neither eat or drink, and in fact have not even mouths, set on fire and burn like incense in order to sustain their existence with odorous fumes…..” (Plutarch, Frag. XXXI). However, Megasthenes appears to have made one precise statement of possible application which was picked up later by Pliny, Solinus, and Arrian. As summarized by Professor K.D. Sethna of Pondicherry, it reads:

Dionysus was the first who invaded India and was the first of all who triumphed over the vanished Indians. From the days of Dionysus to Alexander the Great, 6451 years reckoned with 3 months additional.  From the time of Dionysus to Sandrocottus the Indians reckoned 6452 years, the calculation being made by counting the kings who reigned in the intermediate period to number 153 or 154 years.  But among these a republic was thrice established, one extending…..years, another to 300 and another to 120.  The Indians also tell us that Dionysus was earlier than Heracles by fifteen generations, and that except for him no one made a hostile invasion of India but that Alexander indeed came and overthrew in war all whom he attacked.”

While there a number of issues raised by this statement including the concoction that Alexander was victorious in battle across the Indus, the exactness with which he states his numbers should lead us to believe that Megasthenes could have received his chronological matters from none else than the Puranic pundits of his time.  To be conclusive, we need to determine who are the “Dionysus” and “Heracles” of Megasthenes’ account.

Traditionally, Dionysus (or Father Bachhus) was a Greek God of wine who was created from Zeus’s thigh.  Dionysus was also a great king, and was recognized as the first among all kings, a conqueror and constructive leader.  Could there be an Indian equivalent of Dionysus whom Megasthenes quickly equated with his God of wine? Looking through the Puranas, one does indeed find such a person.  His name is Prithu.

Prithu was the son of King Vena. The latter was considered a wicked man whom the great sages could not tolerate, especially after he told them that the elixir soma should be offered to him in prayer and not to the gods (Bhagavata Purana IV.14.28). The great sages thereafter performed certain rites and killed Vena. But since this could lead immediately to lawlessness and chaos, the rshis decided to rectify it by coronating a strong and honest person. The rshis therefore churned the right arm (or thigh; descriptions vary) of the dead body (of Vena) to give birth to a fully grown Prithu.  It was Prithu, under counsel from rshi Atri (father of Soma), who reconstructed society and brought about economic prosperity.  Since he became such a great ruler, the Puranas have called him adi-raja (first king) of the world.  So did the Satpatha Brahmana (v.3.5 4.).

In the absence of a cult of soma in India, it is perhaps inevitable that Megasthenes and the other Greeks, in translating Indian experiences for Greek audiences, should pick on adi-raja Prithu who is “tinged with Soma” in a number of ways and bears such a close resemblance to Dionysus in the circumstances of his birth, and identify him as Dionysus.  If we accept identifying Dionysus with Prithu, then indeed by a calculation based on the Puranas (done by D.R. Mankad, Koti Venkatachelam, K.D. Sethna, and others),  it  can be conclusively shown that indeed 6451 years had elapsed between Prithu and a famous Chandragupta. This calculation exactly identifies Sandrocottus with Gupta Chandragupta and not with Maurya Chandragupta. The calculation also identifies Heracles with Hari Krishna (Srikrishna) of Dwarka.

This calculation must be necessarily long and tedious to counter the uninformed general feeling first sponsored by Western scholars, that the Puranas spin only fair tales and are therefore quite unreliable.  However, most of these people do not realize that most Puranas have six parts, and the Vamsanucharita sections (especially of Vishnu, Matsya, and Vagu) are a systematic presentation of Indian history especially of the Chandravamsa kings of Magadha. 

In order to establish these dates, I would have to discuss in detail the cycle of lunar asterisms, the concept of time according to Aryabhatta, and various other systems, and also the reconciliation of various minor discrepancies that occur in the Puranas.  Constraints of space and time however prevent me from presenting these calculations here.

On the basis of these calculations we can say that Gupta Chandragupta was “Sandrocottus” c.327 B.C.  His son, Samudragupta, was the great king who established a unified kingdom all over India, and obtained from the Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras their recognition of him.  He also had defeated Seleucus  Nicator, while his father Chandragupta was king. On this calculation we can also place Prithu at 6777 B.C. and Lord Rama before that.  Derivation of other dates without discussion may also be briefly mentioned here: Buddha’s Nirvana 1807 B.C., Maurya Chandragupta c. 1534 B.C., Harsha Vikramaditya (Parmar) c. 82 B.C.

The European scholars have thus constructed an enormous edifice of contemporary foreign dates to suit their dating. A number of them are based on misidentification. For instance, the Rock Edict XIII, the famous Kalinga edict, is identified as Asoka’s. It was, however, Samudragupta’s (Samudragupta was a great conqueror and a devout admirer of Asoka. He imitated Asoka in many ways and also took the name Asokaditya. In his later life, he became a sanyasi). Some other facts, which directly contradict their theories, they have rather flippantly cast aside.

We state here only a few examples – such facts as (1) Fa-hsien was in India and at Patliputra c. 410 A.D.  He mentions a number of kings, but makes not even a fleeting reference to the Gupta, even though according to European scholars he came during the height of their reign. He also dates Buddha at 1100 B.C.. (2) A number of Tibetan documents place Buddha at 2100 B.C. (3) The Ceylonese Pali traditions leave out the Cholas, Pandyas, and Cheras from the list of Asoka’s kingdoms, whereas Rock Edict XIII includes them.  In fact, as many scholars have noted, the character of Asoka from Ceylonese and other traditions is precisely (as R.K. Mukherjee has said) what does not appear in the principal edicts.

The accepted history of no country can however be structured on foreign accounts of it. But Nehru and his Leftist cronies did just that, and thus generations of Indians have been brainwashed by this falsified history of India.

The time has come for us to take seriously our Puranic sources and to re-construct a realistic well-founded history of ancient India, a history written by Indians about Indians. Such a history should bring out the amazing continuity of a Hindu nation which asserts its identity again and again. It should focus on the fact that at the centre of our political thought is the concept of the Chakravartin ideal – to defend  the nation from external aggression while giving maximum internal autonomy to the janapadas.

A correct, defalsified history would record that Hindustan was one nation in the art of governance, in the style of royal courts, in the methods of warfare, in the maintenance of its agrarian base, and in the dissemination of information. Sanskrit was the language of national communication and discourse.

An accurate history should not only record the periods of glory but the moments of degeneration, of the missed opportunities, and of the failure to forge national unity at crucial junctures in time. It should draw lessons for the future generations from costly errors in the past.

In particular, it was not Hindu submission as alleged by JNU historians that was responsible for our subjugation but lack of unity and effective military strategy.

Without an accurate history, Hindustan cannot develop on its correct identity. And without a clearly defined identity, Indians will continue to flounder.

Defalsification of Indian history is the first step for our renaissance.

Samudragupta-001

Indian History And Its Historians

Part VI :  The Pernicious Effects Of A False History

An Indian stamp honoring Pāṇini.
An Indian stamp honoring Pāṇini.

One of the criticisms leveled at the new breed of Indian historians who wish to uncover the authentic history of India, after the morass of inconsistencies into which it has sunk, is that they are motivated by political considerations and that they are ‘nationalistic’. 

While one fails to see any violation of ethics in being a nationalist, the charges seem lame if perplexing to us Indians. Political motivations have always dominated the pursuit of Indological studies during the colonial era right from the outset, since the time Sir William Jones discovered the Sanskrit language. One such political motivation was the need for the Europeans to define their identity outside the burdensome framework of Semitic traditions, which dominated their religious life until then. The notion that the North European Viking owed much of his civilisation to the Mediterranean Semite was not palatable to most of the elite in European countries. The length and intensity of that shame is unimaginable today but was as real as their current deep reluctance to accept the historical facts that locate the Proto-Indo-European in India ! 

The discovery of Sanskrit was a matter of immense “political” relief : that, finally, the languages of Europe did not after all derive from Hebrew but from an ancestor language which was initially assumed to be Sanskrit. In the immediate aftermath of the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William Jones, there was a great gush of admiration and worship of the sublime nature of Sanskrit texts such as Kalidasa’s Sakuntala. But that appreciation was political, not in truth, barring a few souls, of whom Voltaire was amongst the foremost. 

The ideas of racial superiority were still dominant in 18th Century Europe despite the Renaissance and the much celebrated Age Of Enlightenment. And it showed, as the Europeans realised that the present day practitioners of Sanskrit were not blonde and blue-eyed, nor as mightily depraved or strong as they themselves were. The fact that they had conquered, robbed and tortured, their own cultural forebears would have been a horribly uncultured thing to do on part of the Europeans, and was hence equally shameful and unacceptable. 

The European Indologists therefore came upon an ingenious explanation, which led them to declare that the Sanskrit culture of the subcontinent was not native to the subcontinent but was impregnated by a small band of nomadic Viking like marauders – the Aryan invaders. These “specialist” scholars then proceeded to root and project themselves, within the short span of 200 British-rule years, as being the intellectual class of India. Of course, the Macaulian project would “educate” the natives and create sidekicks by thousands, and increase their tribe.

This hypothesis (because that is what it was) had of course no basis in fact, but it served the purpose and killed several birds with one stone. It denied India the autochthonous legacy of the dominant culture of the subcontinent, helped create a schism in the Indian body politic, implied that the native Indic was incapable of original thought and certainly not capable of producing a language like Sanskrit. It still fulfilled their obsessive need to escape from the Semitic umbrella and yet did not pin them down to the influence of a “subject” people. The thesis held the ground that their ancestors did not come from India but from a long lost Shangri-La, of whom there were no survivors; an exceptionally nice fit, to say the least, since the hypothesis could never be contradicted !

Thus was born the mythical Aryan, whose only qualification was that he should hail from a land that was anywhere but India, a nowhere, preferably from a region not very densely inhabited or conscious of their antiquity. It gave the excuse for the British to claim that they were indeed the later day version of that long-lost impregnating race, destined to lord it over lesser, more unfortunate people by reason of the fact that they were “Aryans.” One only has to refer to some these stalwarts such as Trautmann (1997) or Chakrabarti (1997), to feel the perversion.

In sum, Indic study during the British era has always been accompanied with a healthy dose of imperialist dogma and by the colonialist’s disdain for a people who, they felt, could be so easily vanquished in battle by a handful of Englishmen. These attitudes and presuppositions are deeply entrenched in the psyche of the Occidental, fortified as they are by text books which retain the caricaturised view of India and its native people. This is in addition to the normal human tendency to exhibit a degree of pride and the urge to devalue civilisations other than their own. 

This is a train of thought that needs to be explored further, but let us revert to our topic. It is not as if there was a total lack of scholarly impulse and intellectual curiosity among Indologists then, regardless of nationality and despite much pressure from European academics to toe the embedded line. But this stream of objective scholars died out pretty soon and became almost extinct in the nineteenth century, with a few exceptions amongst the French. European Indologists came to subscribe to the promoted thought, and fell into the habit of emphasising that Indic research by native scholars, who threw up alternate conclusions, were shallow and unsubstantial, or were derived from work done by the Greeks, as Sir William Jones had postulated. 

The fact is that British presence in India began with nibbles and encroachments long before the Battle of Plassey, in 1757 CE, but so overriding was the British concern for commerce and power that they remained insulated from subcontinental culture and its civilisational treasure for almost three hundred years, until the arrival of a relatively well educated scholar like Sir William Jones. He indeed noticed the similarities between Sanskrit and European languages. Prodosh Aich, after extensive research into primary sources, comes to the conclusion that the vaunted linguistic scholarship of Sir William was, to put it mildly, much exaggerated. 

The coming of the British and the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William had a terminally fatal effect on the conduct of scientific studies in India. It cut off the Indic from his own native source of traditional learning and replaced it with the traditions of a land far away, with which he had no contact and did not relate to. One consequence was that literacy fell to 6% of the population at the turn of the 20th century. Education was tightly controlled by the government and all support to schools that did not teach English was summarily stopped, except in states that were ruled by a local Maharajah such as Travancore, Cochin, Baroda and Mysore. 

India was turned into a vast Gulag where no ideas, other than those of the British, were allowed to flower and propagate, and the Indian was effectively barred from traveling to foreign lands, except on a one way trip as indentured labor, lest they return with subversive notions of freedom and democracy which, as Churchill remarked on more than one occasion, were not applicable to subject populations of British colonies. So great was the travel restriction that the Indic internalised this consequence to be a native characteristic that presumed aversion to adventure and exploration. There was no fund allocation for research and no encouragement to savants, who had little opportunity to pursue further studies. The steady stream of Indic scholars and researchers, which lasted till about 1780 CE, finally dried up.

Most certainly, there were gains from change in the medium of instruction to English. Indic youngsters in later times were at an advantage when it came to gaining admission to graduate studies in North American universities, in part due to the fortuitous circumstance that a substantial part of the new world communicated in English language. Coupled with the investment in higher education made by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, it catapulted India into one of those leading countries that supplied educated hands to western economies. More lately, it has been a major player in the Information Technology for a while. 

But the negatives remain. The vast majority of the Indian population is not a participant in this new bounty, because they do not have access to expensive schools that are modelled to include costly environment and scarce scholars with teaching abilities in a foreign tongue. The most telling impact of the newly coined endeavor called philology, with its unwanted gush of attention engendered ever since the discovery of Sanskrit, was the manner in which the Indic was viewed by the rest of the world and, even more importantly, the internalisation of British and European view of India by the average literate English educated Indic. Till then, the Indic was widely respected throughout the world and his geographical origin was synonymous with scholarship. 

Today it is commonplace in India to deride somebody who expresses pride in his tradition, and his civilisation, as being jingoistic. The British went to extraordinary lengths to undermine the civilisational commonalities amongst the people of India by various means and diverse instruments. Anything that had a negative impact was played to the hilt. The knowledge and pride of India’s antiquity, history and cultural heritage, was systematically downvalued and new datelines had to conform to the belief that India did not contribute anything of significance to the civilised world, and that all she knew in the area of science and mathematics was learnt from the Greeks. The Indian was uniformly characterised as a shiftless, indolent individual with very few redeeming qualities. 

So great was the change and so lasting its effect that today vast numbers of Indian youth have almost the same opinion of India and Indic traditions that the colonial overlords had, and propagated, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. There has been a massive change in the psyche of the Indic, much of it for the worse, a fact that was brought out in vivid portrayals by V S Naipaul, when he coined the phrase ‘the wounded civilisation’ in his reference to the Indian subcontinent. Examples of the internalisation of the European views of India abound today. Even eminent Indian historians like RC Majumdar have expressed some of these views in his works, without substantiating how they have been arrived at.

… to be continued

English: This is one of 12 miniatures from a m...
One of 12 miniatures from a manuscript of Hindu rituals and devotional tracts. The manuscript is written in the Sanskrit language, in Sarada script. It has 74 pages and was made in Kashmir during the 18th century.

Read more of Kosla Vepa uploads 

Indian History And Its Historians

Portrait of Srimushnam Vyakarna Subbaravachary...
Portrait of Srimushnam Vyakarna Subbaravacharya (+1837) a reknown sanskrit scholar

Part V :  British Colonial Indology (1780 CE – 2000 CE)

In reality this field of study was dominated by German scholars. Interest in Indology only took concrete direction and shape after the British came to India, with the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William Jones in the 1770’s. Other names for Indology are Indic studies or Indian studies or South Asian studies. Almost from the beginning, the Puranas attracted the attention of European scholars. But instead of trying to understand the Puranas, and the context in which they were developed, the Occidental went about casting doubts on the authenticity of the texts and, in fact, altering the chronology which could be found in a particular Purana. 

The extraordinary level of interest by German scholars in Indic matters is a very interesting narrative in its own right and we need to reflect upon its highlights. The German speaking people experienced a vast increase in intellectual activity at about the same time that Britain colonised India. We do not understand the specific factors that came into play during this time, other than to remark on the tremendous intellectual ferment that was running concurrently during the French revolution and the keen interest that Napoleon showed in matters scientific, including the contributions of the orient. 

Clearly the remarks that Sir William made about Sanskrit as well as the high level of interest in Sanskrit language that he triggered, contributed to the overall sense of excitement. But why was it Germany and not Britain, the center of research on the Oriental contributions. The answer lies in the intense search for nationhood that was under way in Germany during that period. When Sanskrit was discovered, and it dawned on the Germans that the antiquity of Sanskrit was very great, and that Sanskrit and German were somehow related, the Germans suddenly had an answer to the question of their own ethnic and linguistic origins.

Sir Henry Maine (1822 – 1888), an influential Anglo-Indian scholar and former Vice Chancellor of Calcutta university, who was also on the Viceroys council, pronounced a view that many Englishman shared about the unification of Germany.

A Nation Has Been Born Out Of Sanskrit

From the beginning, the great interest that Germany showed in Sanskrit had more to do with their own obsessions and questions regarding their ethnic and linguistic origins. It had very little or at least far less to do with the origin of the ancient Indic. And yet, that does not stop the proponents of AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory) in India, whose knowledge of European history appears to be rudimentary at best, from asserting that AIT is an obsession of nationalistic Hindus. Such is the fate and perversion of history that conquered nations are expected to suffer !

Different aspects of this fascinating chapter – postulation of an Aryan race and its corollaries, Indo European and Indo German people – are described by various authors … Trautmann, Rajaram, Arvidsson, and very recently by Prodosh Aich. The interesting but curious aspect of this phenomena is that while the concept of Aryan race has been well nigh discarded by most of the modern generation in the Occident, it lingers on in our narrative of Indian History, a relic of the heyday of Europe’s dominance on the world scene. In those heady times as colonial powers, they promoted racist theories eulogising their occupation of distant lands, and over strange people, as part of their heritage as an Aryan people. Kipling’s phraseology, “white man’s burden.” is at once succinct of their superiority in psyche and of the racist outlook in behaviour and strategy formulation. 

In contrast to the Germans and the French, whose interest was catalysed by the ubiquitous presence of Indic civilisation in South East Asia, the British had aparticular reluctance to study the nature and extent of the Indic civilisation. First and foremost, amongst their reasons for such neglect, was the aversion to admit that a subject people had any worthwhile civilisation to speak of, let alone one that was of far greater antiquity than their own.

Britain was the last of the three major powers in Europe to have a chair in Sanskrit; it was almost 50 years after the death of Sir William that England got around to establishing a chair at Oxford, the famous Boden chair.

 *  *  *

Rajagriha or Rajagrha (Sanskrit)

The ancient capital of Magadha, famous for its conversion to Buddhism in the days of the Buddhist kings. It was the royal residence from Bimbisara-raja to Asoka, and the seat of the first Synod or Buddhist Council held 510 BC.The famous Saptaparna cave, in which the Buddha’s select circle of arhats were initiated, was in this famous city. 

Rajgir

is the current name of the city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir (ancient Rajagriha or Rājagha; Pali: Rājagaha) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Maurya Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city. The epic Mahabharata calls it Girivraja and recounts the story of its king, Jarasandha, and his battle with the Pandava brothers and their ally, Krishna.

Rajgir is also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures, which give a series of place-names but without a geographical context. The attempt to locate these places is based largely on references to them in the works of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, particularly Faxian and Xuanzang. It is on the basis of Xuanzang’s records in particular that the site is divided into Old and New Rajgir. The former lies within a valley and is surrounded by low-lying hills. It is defined by an earthen embankment (the Inner Fortification), with which is associated the Outer Fortification, a complex of cyclopean walls that runs (with large breaks) along the crest of the hills.

New Rajgir is defined by another, larger embankment outside the northern entrance of the valley, and is next to the modern town.

 … to be continued

English: Sanskrit manuscript using the Ranjana...
Sanskrit manuscript using the Ranjana script, with an illustration of the Buddha sitting below the Bodhi Tree, day and night. Manuscript either from India or Nepal, date unknown.

Read more of Kosla Vepa uploads