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Jun 12, 2008

Development of Hinduism

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THE DEVELOPMENT OF HINDUISM PROF. M.M.NINAN CONTENTS PREFACE CHAPTER 1 CHAPTER 2 CHAPTER 3 CHAPTER 4 CHAPTER 5 CHAPTER 6 THE VEDIC RELIGION THE PROBLEM OF THE DATE OF RIG VEDA TIME LINE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SANSKRIT POST CHRISTIAN HINDU GODS THE DEVELOPMENT OF MONOTHEISM AND THE DOCTRINES OF KARMA AND REINCARNATION PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES THE AGE OF REASON: THE DECLINE OF VEDISM AND THE THE RISE OF RATIONALISM THE COMING OF THOMAS THE COMING OF THE GNOSTIC ARYANS – MANICHEAN TRIMURTHY VAISHNAVISM THE CONCEPT OF AGES THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS GITA AS IT WAS KALKI AVATAR SAIVISM SAKTISM KALABHRA INTER-REGNUM ISAVASYA UPANISHAD CHAPTER 7 CHAPTER 8 CHAPTER 9 CHAPTER 10 CHAPTER 11 CHAPTER 12 CHAPTER 13 CHAPTER 14 CHAPTER 15 CHAPTER 16 CHAPTER 17 CHAPTER 18 CHAPTER 19 APPENDIX 1 APPENDIX II SRI PURUSHA SUKTHAM Preface In my last book, I have traced the emergence of Hinduism from Christianity. While entry of Christianity into India was one of the major transforming event, were there other forces? In this book, I am trying to trace other cultural factors that formed Hinduism. No religion evolves independent of the culture of the society in which it is growing. New concepts and ideas enter the society from outside, but they are transformed by the dynamics of the various forces within, which flows from time immemorial to the present, into it. What I have tried in this book is to trace these forces. It deals with the various facets of the concepts that contributed to the change. Definitely powerful personalities played a great role in forming these changes. Myths and legends developed around them, and finally, they were deified and worshipped. Over and above this syncretism of religious conglomeration, groups and personalities that has vested interest did control the society. In order to achieve their supremacy they distorted learning, disfigured concepts, rewrote history and even erased whole periods of history that runs over to centuries. “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.” “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people” Marx. By altering the contents of the opium, people are kept under chains. This has been continuously done everywhere in the world as it was in India. I can hardly call this my book because in my effort to preserve the objectivity of the history of Hinduism, I have presented quotes from scholars and scientists around the world, which actually forms the entire book. My contribution is limited to linking them together into a coherent meaningful explanation. My obeisance to all scholars of India and Indology. M. M. Ninan February 2008 1. VEDIC RELIGION CHAPTER 1 THE VEDIC RELIGION In general Vedic religion today referrs to a bewildering variety of religious spectrum. • • • • • the historical Vedic religion (practices dating to the Vedic period) Shrauta, surviving conservative traditions within Hinduism Vedanta (Upanishadic) Hinduism with worship of any god Any religion except those of semitic origin Vedic Religion as Proto-Indo-Iranian religion “Hittite is the oldest recorded Indo-European language, but it had remained completely unknown during the period in which Indo-European linguistics developed because its records are on clay tablets that were excavated only at the end of the 19th century. Even then, it was not identified as Indo-European until 1915, when Bedrich Hrozný made the 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION discovery through his reading of tablets that had been brought to Vienna from the Istanbul Museum.” Hittite On Line, Series Introduction, Winfred P Lehman and Jonathan Slocum. Vedic Religion or Vedism is the religion of the ancient Indo-European-speaking peoples who entered India about 1500 BC from the region o present-day Iran; it takes its name from the collections of sacred texts known as the Vedas. Vedism is the oldest stratum of religious activity in India Encyclopedia Britannica The Indo-Iranians, i.e. speakers of Indo-Iranian languages, includes four different subgroups: • • • speakers of the Indo-Aryan languages (that is, the Indic branch); speakers of the Iranian-Aryan languages (both east and west – Iranian branch); speakers of the Dardic languages (Dard people, various ethnic groups living in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan.) Dard, Pisaca, or Pisacha Languages, group of closely related Indo-Iranian 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION languages spoken in Pakistan, Kashmir, and Afghanistan. They are often divided into three subgroups: Kafiri, or Western; Khowari, or Central (spoken in the Chitral district of northwestern Pakistan); and the Eastern group, which includes Shina and Kashmiri. and • those of the Nuristani languages. (of the people of Nurestan Province of Afghanistan.) These groups developed independently to some extent sharing a commonality which we can assume to be the proto- vedic form. The analysis leads to the following basic common concepts: *rta (Vedic rta, Avestan asha), *sauma (Vedic Soma, Avestan Haoma), *mitra (Vedic Mitra, Avestan Mithra). Other Cognate terms and concepts between Rig Veda and Avestan The following is a list of cognate terms and concepts that may be gleaned from comparative linguistic analysis of the RigVeda and Avesta. Both collections are from the period after the proposed date of separation (ca. 2nd millennium BCE) of the Proto-Indo-Iranians into their respective Indic and Iranian branches. Indo-Iranian Vedic term Apam Napat aryaman rta atharvan ahi deva manu Mitra asura Sarasvati soma surya VrtraYama yajña Avestan term Apam Napat airyaman asha athravan azhi daeva manu Mithra ahura Haraxuwati (Aredvi Sura) haoma hvar verethra (see Vahram) Yama/Yima => (Jamshid) yasna, rel: yazata Common meaning the "water's offspring" (see Ap (water), Aban) "friend", "companion" "truth", extending to "order" & "righteousness" "priest" "snake", "serpent" celestial deities, deified natural phenomena primeval man, homo sapiens; see also Mannaz "oath" deified social order a mythological river, a river goddess a plant and its extract, deified the Sun, also cognate to helios, sol "obstacle" the first man, mythical twin, see also Dioscurism "worship, sacrifice, oblation" *(a)rta *athar-van*azi *daiva *manu *mi-tra*nsura *saras-vnt-ih *sau-ma*suhr/svahrya*vr-tra*yama *yaj-na- 3 1. VEDIC RELIGION “Vedic Elements in the Ancient Iranian Religion of Zarathushtra” by Subhash Kak gives a detailed comparison between the Iranian and Vedic religions at Vedic civilization Vedic civilization is the earliest civilization in Indian history of which we have written records that we understand. It is named after the Vedas, the early literature of the Hindu people. The Vedic Civilization flourished along the river Saraswati, in a region that now consists of the modern Indian states of Haryana and Punjab. The Vedic texts have astronomical dates, that some have claimed, go back to the 5th millennium BC. The use of Vedic Sanskrit continued up to the 6th century BC. Vedic is synonymous with Aryans and Hinduism, which is another name for religious and spiritual thought that has evolved from the Vedas. The early Aryans: Unfortunately, the origin of the Saraswati Valley civilization (Vedic culture) and its relation to the Indus Valley civilization remain hazy. The timeline of Vedic civilization is 4500 BC-1800 BC while that of Indus valley civilization is 3300 BC-1800 BC. The texts describe a geography that some believe to be north India. The greatest river of the Rig-Veda was Saraswati, now dry and identified with Ghaggar, a seasonal river. It is believed that this river ceased to reach the Arabian Sea by about 1900 BC. Now, a dry river bed, that seems to fit the description of the Saraswati River, has been detected by satellite imagery. It begins in the modern Indian state of Uttaranchal and passing through Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan, reaches the Arabian Sea in Gujarat. Our knowledge of the early Aryans comes from the Rig-Veda, the earliest of the Vedas. In fact Rig Veda mentions several, which is seen in the figure apart from Saraswati river. These are: Sindhu /Susoma (Indus), Vitasta (Jhelum), Asikni (Chenab), Parusni (Airavati, Ravi), Shatadru (Sutlej), Vipas/Arjikiya (Beas). 4 1. VEDIC RELIGION 5 1. VEDIC RELIGION Sindhu is said to flow united with Tristama and then with Susartu, Rasa, and Sveti, later uniting with Krumu, Gomati, Kubha (Kabul) and Mahatru. Ganga and Yamuna are mentioned as the eastern boundaries of the Aryan settlement. “The religion of the Indo-European-speaking peoples who entered India c. 1500 BCE from the region of present-day Iran, it was a polytheistic system in which Indra was the highest-ranked god. It involved the worship of numerous male divinities connected with the sky and natural phenomena. Ceremonies centered on ritual sacrifice of animals and on the use of soma to achieve trancelike states. These ceremonies, simple in the beginning, grew to be so complex that only trained Brahmans could carry them out correctly.” Merriam Webster Encyclopedia of World Religions “Over time a body of dependent and scholastic material grew up around the poems, known loosely as 'the Veda'. Perhaps around 1000 BC (all dating in prehistoric India is only approximate), editors gathered the ancient poems together and arranged them, together with some more modern material, into ten books according to rules that were largely artificial (see section 4 below). They gave the collection the name by which it continues to be known, 'Rig-veda', or 'praise-knowledge'. Other collections came into being, based on this sacred material, and they were given parallel names. The editors of the 'Sāma-veda' arranged the poems differently, for the purpose of chanting, and introduced numerous alternative readings to the text. The sacrificial formulae used by the priests during their recitations, together with descriptions of their ritual practices, were incorporated into collections to which the general name 'Yajur-veda' was given. Later still, a body of popular spells was combined with passages from the Rigveda, again with variant readings, and was given the name 'Atharva-veda'. A continuously-growing mass of prose commentary, called the Brāhmaas, also came into being, devoted to the attempt to explain the meaning of the ancient poems. To the later Brāhmaas belongs the profusion of texts known as the Upanishads, which are of particular interest to Indologists, as Sanskrit scholars today often describe themselves, because of their important role in the development of early Indian religious thought.”, Ancient Sanskrit Online, Series Introduction, Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum The Chathur (Four) Vedas 6 1. VEDIC RELIGION Rig Veda Rig Veda is a collection of 1028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns dedicated to Rigvedic deities. However the Mandalas I and X were written in Sanskrit and were written down after the second century with later modifications through the centuries. The main deity was Indra. To give an idea of what it is, a part of the Rig Veda is given below. Indra Mathura, India 4th-5th c. A.D 7 1. VEDIC RELIGION 8 1. VEDIC RELIGION Surya, with Navagrahas From Tribenighat, Panauti, Nepal, 14th C AD Rig-Veda has 1017 hymns called SUKTAS and 10500 verses in 10 mandalas chapters. MANDALA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 COMPOSED BY 191 hymns composed by different poets belonging to different families Gritasmada and his family (descendents) Vishvamitra and his family Vamadeva and his family Atri and his family Bharadwaja and his family Vasista alone Kanva and his family (descendents) Hymns addressed to Soma Pavamana; composed by different poets belonging to different families 191 hymns composed by different poets belonging to different families 9 1. VEDIC RELIGION All the 10 mandalas were compiled by KRISHNA DVAIPAYANA VYASA who was hence called VEDA VYASA. Evidently Mandalas I and X are of later origins and might have been collected by the editor Veda Vyasa well into the Christian Era. • The Rig-Veda mentions several tribes and groups of people: Dasyus, who are identified with the Dravidians who are believed to be the descendents of the Indus Vallley Civilization which existed long before the Aryan Arrivals. They had matriarchal system as opposed to the Aryan patriarchal system. • Rakshasas who originally denoted strong and powerful men (Max Muller). Later the term Rakshasas was used to denote short, dark thick lipped, fierce in appearance, curly haired people who were hostile to the Aryans. Unlike the civilized Dravidians, the Rakshasas engaged in guerilla warfare, attacking the Aryans at night and carrying away their cattle. The Rakshasas were called anagnitras i.e. non-worshippers of fire. • Pishachas who were ruddy in appearance and uttered fearful yells. The fact that the Paishachi literature masterpiece, which was later translated into Sanskrit, namely the Brihat katha was written by them proves that they too were civilized people. The five main Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig-Veda are: • • • • • Yadu, Turvasu, Anu, Druhyu, Puru All the following three Vedas are written in Sanskrit and is dated well after the second century A.D. There is no doubt they are projections from the Rig Veda codifying other local arts and occultism. The Yajur-Veda The Yajur-Veda ("Veda of sacrificial formulas") consists of archaic prose mantras and also in part of verses borrowed from the Rig-Veda. Its purpose was practical, in that each mantra must accompany an action in sacrifice but, unlike the Sama-Veda, it was compiled to apply to all sacrificial rites, not merely the Soma offering. There are two major recensions of this Veda known as the "Black" and "White" Yajur-Veda. The origin and meaning of these designations are not clear. The White Yajur-Veda contains only the verses and sayings necessary for the sacrifice, while explanations exist in a separate 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION Brahmana work. It differs widely from the Black Yajurveda, which incorporates such explanations in the work itself, often immediately following the verses. Of the Black Yajurveda four major recensions survive, all showing by and large the same arrangement, but differing in many other respects, notably in the individual discussion of the rituals but also in matters of phonology and accent. Yajurveda consists of Yajus. (chants) for the entire sacrificial ceremony. The Yajurveda gave importance to the sacrifice itself. These were developed, as the rituals and Sacrifices became the center of the Vedic Religion, and proper form and ritual purity were emphasized. After all without that 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION Sacrificer can do the sacrifice and that even without a Brahmana Priest. It was emphasized that a slight error in the performance would bring in wrath of gods instead of blessings. divided into two parts: • • the Shukla Yajurveda (or the Vajasaneyi samhita), which consists only of mantras Krishna Yajurveda which has sacrificial rites, their discussions and mantras. This Samhita is By the time of Yajurveda, the Rig Vedic gods like Indra and Varuna lost their importance. And other new gods took greater prominence. Hence we can be sure that these were developed much later in time. The new gods of prominence were: Vishnu, Rudra, and Prajapati. The Sama-Veda The Sama-Veda (Sanskrit sāmaveda ) is the "Veda of chants" or "Knowledge of melodies". The name of this Veda is from the Sanskrit word sāman which means a metrical hymn or song of praise It consists of 1549 stanzas, taken entirely (except 78) from the Rig-Veda. Some of the Rig-Veda verses are repeated more than once. Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Sama-Veda recension published by Griffith. Two major recensions remain today, the Kauthuma/Ranayaniya and the Jaiminiya. Its purpose was practical, to serve as a songbook for the "singer" priests who took part in the liturgy. A priest who sings hymns from the Sama-Veda during a ritual is called an udgātṛ, a word derived from the Sanskrit root ud-gai ("to sing" or "to chant"). A similar word in English might be "cantor". The styles of chanting are important to the liturgical use of the verses. The hymns were to be sung according to certain fixed melodies; hence the name of the collection. There is no clue to the date of the compilation of the Samaveda Hymns, nor has the compiler's name been handed down to us. 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION Most of the verses (except 75) are from the Rig-Veda. These verses are chanted at the ceremonies of the Soma sacrifice. The Sama Veda has two parts- the Archika (single stanza) and the Uttarchika (Three stanzas). The Sama Veda was meant to teach the Udgatri (priest) the method to sing the Saman melodies appropriate to the rituals being performed. Sama Veda Though, Vedas are considered the source of Indian Music, it should not be assumed that classical music in its present form was fully developed by then. In fact, concept of Raga, Tala, Shruti or even Nava Rasas come only later. All except Sama Veda were sung using only three notes, Anudaatta (low), Udaatta(middle) and Svarita(high). As used today the Anudaatta, Udaatta and Svarita svaras of Rig-Veda, can be equated with Ni, Sa, and Ri of the North Indian Kafi scale (Kharaharapriya of the Carnatic). In early manuscripts of Rig-Veda, the text was written along with accent notes. Anudaatta is marked with an underline and Svarita is marked with a small vertical line above the syllable. Udaatta is left unmarked. Sama Veda consists of about 1900 verses, called samans. Ninety-five percent of the verses of Sama Veda Samhita are in Rig Veda Samhita. One can see from the text of the Sama Veda mantra that the chanting notation in it is much more elaborate than that in the corresponding Rig Veda mantra. SamaVeda was chanted using all seven notes (prathama, dvitheeya, tritheeya, chathurtha, panchama, shashta and sapthama), in descending order, of the Vaidika scale (or of sama gana) which have been equated to (Ma,Ga,Ri,Sa,Dha,Ni,Pa) of the Laukika or Gandhara scale in later classical sanskrit texts like NaradiyaShiksha. Rig Vedic hymns are directed at Gods, to be chanted during sacrifices to please them. It is possible Gods were thought to be fond of music and that it would be easier to please them if the hymns were sung rather than just chanted. Thus, many of the Rig Vedic hymns were set to music and sung and were known as samans, rather than just hymns (Rik). The chanted SamaVeda hymns or Samans were believed to possess the supernatural qualities capable of petitioning and even supporting the deities that controlled the forces of the universe. Since Rig Vedic hymns are just metered they could not be sung using all the seven notes. Thus started a tradition of insertion of a number of seemingly `meaningless' words or syllables (stobha) for musical and lyrical effect, such as o, hau, hoyi, va, etc. 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION It was these stobha syllables which were extended vocally with long duration on various notes of the Sama-Veda scale by the priests who had the special function of summoning the gods to the celebration through the use of droning (monotone) on a number of these tones, believing them to hold magical properties. The wife of the chief sacrificer (i.e. chief priest, brahmana) would play the Vina, during sacrifices. Precise methods of singing the Samans were established and preserved in three different schools, the Kauthumas, Ranayaniyas, and the Jaiminiyas, the oldest. Each has maintained a distinct style with regard to vowel prolongation, interpolation and repetition of stobha, meter, phonetics, and the number of notes in scales. Accordingly, there has been a fervent regard for maintaining continuity in Sama-Veda singing to avoid misuse or modification over many years. Since written texts were not in use, in fact prohibited, the priests memorized the chants with the aid of accents and melodies, and passed this tradition down orally from one generation to the next for over three thousand years ( Hinduism and Music). The Atharva-Veda The Atarvaveda was originally called the Athrvaangirasa. Atharva and Angiras were fire priests. Apte defines an atharvan as a priest who worshipped fire and Soma The etymology of Atharvan is unclear, but according to Mayrhofer related to Avesta athravan (āθrauuan) and denies any connection with fire priests. In all cultures Priests were also medicine men. Sicknesses and problems were assoicated with evil spirits. spells. In India this part is played by the Atharvans. The Atharvan Veda is essentially magic It has over 700 hymns about one-sixth of the hymns are in common with the Rig-Veda. divided into 20 chapters. Since this Veda consists of ways to appease demons, curse enemies (abhichakarani) etc, it was not recognized as a Veda for a long time . The different contents of Atharvaveda are • • • Bhaishajyani: which are songs and spells for healing of diseases. Since this part has the various symptoms of diseases, it is important for the study of history of medicine. Ayushyani: these are hymns and prayers to achieve long life. These are used at the main ceremonies (samskaras) prescribed for any individual. Paustikani: there are benedictions to be used by common men like farmer and merchant to succeed in their work. 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION • Prayaschittani: ceremonies of expiation. Prayaschitta or expiation for any wrong deed done, knowingly or unknowingly is a characteristic feature of the Indian psychology and the Atharvaveda contains hymns and ceremonies for the same. • Strikarmani: are rites for women and are two types. The peaceful ones which refer to marriage and begetting children and the exorcisms and curses to make other men/women barren and cause harm. • • Rajakarmani: are rites pertinent to a king Philosophical hymns: are of metaphysical nature. The Atharvana-Veda is preserved in two recensions, the Paippalāda and Śaunaka. According to Apte it has nine schools (shakhas). The Paippalada version is longer than the Saunaka one; it is only partially printed and remains untranslated. The second part of the text contains speculative and philosophical hymns. R. C. Zaehner notes that: "The latest of the four Vedas, the Atharva-Veda, is, as we have seen, largely composed of magical texts and charms, but here and there we find cosmological hymns which anticipate the Upanishads, -hymns to Skambha, the 'Support', who is seen as the first principle which is both the material and efficient cause of the universe, to Prāna, the 'Breath of Life', to Vāc, the 'Word', and so on. In its third section, the Atharvaveda contains Mantras used in marriage and death rituals, as well as those for kingship, female rivals and the Vratya (in Brahmana style prose) .” Gavin Flood discusses the relatively late acceptance of the Atharva-Veda as follows: "There were originally only three priests associated with the first three Saṃhitās, for the Brahman as overseer of the rites does not appear in the Ṛg Veda and is only incorporated later, thereby showing the acceptance of the Atharva Veda, which had been somewhat distinct from the other Saṃhitās and identified with the lower social strata, as being of equal standing with the other texts." 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION Sacrifices in Vedas The mode of Vedic worship was essentially sacrifices and chanting of hymns. Prayers were essentially for material gains, wealth, health and progeny. Specific rituals and sacrifices of the Vedic religion include: • • The Soma cult described in the Rigveda, descended from a common Indo-Iranian practice. Fire rituals, also a common Indo-Iranian practice, cf. Zoroastrianism: • • • • • • The Agnihotra or oblation to Agni The Agnicayana, the sophisticated ritual of piling the fire altar. The Agnistoma or fire sacrifice The Ashvamedha or horse sacrifice The Purushamedha, or sacrifice of the cosmic Purusha, cf. Purusha Sukta The rituals described in the Atharvaveda concerned with demonology and magic. The Ashvamedha (horse sacrifice), in India continued until the 4th century AD. Like all cattle breeding tribes in the world, killing cows for food was seldom done except as a sacrifice. Sacrifice was but a regular practice.” 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION Ancient Sanskrit Online Karen Thomson and Jonathan Slocum “… ….The circumstances of the original composition of these poems remain unknown. Believed to be of divine origin, this large body of material, in an archaic and unfamiliar language, was handed down orally, from generation to generation, by priests in ancient India. The highly metrical form of the poems, together with their incomprehensibility, made them ideally suited to ritual recitation by a religious elite. Faithfully preserved through the centuries as a sacred mystery, the text has come down to us in a state of considerable accuracy. 2. 'The Veda'. Over time a body of dependent and scholastic material grew up around the poems, known loosely as 'the Veda'. Perhaps around 1000 BC (all dating in prehistoric India is only approximate), editors gathered the ancient poems together and arranged them, together with some more modern material, into ten books according to rules that were largely artificial (see section 4 below). They gave the collection the name by which it continues to be known, 'Rig-veda', or 'praise-knowledge'. Other collections came into being, based on this sacred material, and they were given parallel names. The editors of the 'Sāma-veda' arranged the poems differently, for the purpose of chanting, and introduced numerous alternative readings to the text. The sacrificial formulae used by the priests during their recitations, together with descriptions of their ritual practices, were incorporated into collections to which the general name 'Yajur-veda' was given. Later still, a body of popular spells was combined with passages from the Rigveda, again with variant readings, and was given the name 'Atharva-veda'. A continuouslygrowing mass of prose commentary, called the Brahmanas, also came into being, devoted to the attempt to explain the meaning of the ancient poems. To the later Brahmanas belongs the profusion of texts known as the Upanishads, …. 1 1. VEDIC RELIGION 2.1. The continuing influence of 'the Veda' ….. With major pieces of the jigsaw firmly in the wrong place, the rest, inevitably, refuses to fit, and the comparison of passages in the attempt to establish word meanings appears to be a fruitless exercise. Indology has concluded that the Rigveda is not only uninteresting, "describing fussy and technical ritual procedures" (Stephanie Jamison On translating the Rig Veda: Three Questions, 1999, p. 3), but that it is also intentionally indecipherable. "One feels that the hymns themselves are mischievous translations into a 'foreign' language" (Wendy O'Flaherty The Rig Veda. An Anthology, Penguin, 1981, p. 16). GODS OF VEDIC RELIGION A study of the Rig Veda will reveal the nature of the gods of the Vedic Religion which we now undertake Vedic Pantheon The Vedic pantheon, similar to its Greek or Germanic counterparts, comprises clans of anthropomorphic deities as well as deified natural phenomena, and like the Germanic Vanir and Aesir it knows two classes of gods, Devas and Asuras. The Brihadaranyak Upanishad says that there are mainly thirty-three gods which are classified into three groups: 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION Thus, there are eight Vasus, twelve Âdityas, eleven Rudras, and two Ashvins. Indra and Prajâpati . There are also the Maruts. These gods belong to the three regions of the earth (prithvi), the heavens (Dyaus) and the intermediate space (Antariksha). The eight Vasus are: agni (god of fire), prithivi (goddess of the earth), vayu (god of the wind), antarikch (god of the space), aditya (sun god), dyo (god of the luminous sky), chandrama (moon god) and nakchatra (god of the nakchatras, asterism. Nakchatras are 27, called Magha, Rohini etc.) The following is a list of Deities by prominence as they appear in Rig Veda: (List of Rigvedic deities by number of dedicated hymns, after Griffith. Some dedications are to twindeities, such as Indra-Agni, Mitra-Varuna, Soma-Rudra, here counted doubly.) • Indra 289 is the chief deity of the Rigveda, and the god of weather and war, and Lord of Svargaloka (Heaven) .He rides a white elephant called Airavata and wields the dazzling weapon of lightening called Vajrayudh. Prone to drinking soma, loses control over himself, prone to anger, mighty and sensuous, and always concerned about his survival and status as the leader. “Their god was of principal war and of capable divinity was INDRA, the thunder, whose power destroying the walls of down in order to conquer cities, of burning them 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION and pillage them… For a long time the behavior of the gods would reflect that of wicked men with the mentality of Aryan conquerors, materialistic and pitiless!” • Agni 218 Agni is the demi-god ruling fire, riding on a Ram. Latin ignis (the root of English ignite). The sacrifices made to Agni go to the deities because Agni is a messenger from and to the other gods. He is ever-young, because the fire is re-lit every day; but also he is immortal. Agni is represented as red and two-faced (sometimes covered with butter), suggesting both his destructive and beneficent qualities, and with black eyes and hair, three legs and seven arms. He rides a ram, or a chariot pulled by goats or, more rarely, parrots. Seven rays of light emanate from his body. One of his names is "Sapta jihva", 'seven tongues'. He is worshipped under a threefold form: fire on earth and lightning and the sun. • Soma 123 (most of them in the Soma Mandala) Haoma (in Avestan), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *sauma-, was a ritual drink of importance among the early Indo-Iranians, and the later Vedic and greater Persian cultures. . In the Avesta, Haoma has an entire Yasht dedicated to it. 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION It is described as prepared by pressing juice from the stalks of a certain mountain plant, which has been variously hypothesized to be a psychedelic mushroom, cannabis, peganum harmala, or ephedra. In both Vedic and Zoroastrian tradition, the drink is identified with the plant, and also personified as a divinity, the three forming a religious or mythological unity. Soma represents the god of the Moon. He rides through the sky in a chariot drawn by white horses. Soma was also the name of the elixir of immortality that only the gods can drink. The Moon was thought to be the storehouse of the elixir. • • Vishvadevas 70 are the various Vedic gods taken together as a whole. the Asvins 56 are divine twin horsemen in the Rigveda, sons of Saranya, a goddess of the dawn and wife of either Surya or Vivasvat. They are Vedic gods symbolising the shining of sunrise and sunset, appearing in the sky before the dawn in a golden chariot, bringing treasures to men and averting misfortune and sickness. They can be compared with the Dioscuri (the twins Castor and Pollux) of Greco-Roman mythology. The Twins or Twains who are the equivalent of the Geminis, the Dioskouris. They are the doctors of gods and are devas of Ayurvedic medicine. They are called Nasatya (dual nāsatyau "kind, helpful" in the Rigveda; later, Nasatya is the name of one twin, while the other is called Dasra. By popular etymology, the name nāsatya was analysed as na+asatya "not untrue"="true". • Varuna 46 is a god of the sky, of rain and of the celestial ocean, as well as a god of law and of the underworld. He is the most prominent Asura in the Rigveda, and chief of the Adityas law. 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION • the Maruts 38 storm deities and sons of Rudra and Diti and attendants of Indra. The number of Maruts varies from two to sixty (three times sixty in RV 8.96.8. They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightnings and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses. • Mitra 28 :Mitra, Mithra, Mithras Mitra is a Vedic god who stood for the sun, and was, with his brother Varuna, the guardian of the cosmic order. He was the god of friendships and contracts,. He was an important divinity of Indic culture, descended, together with the Zoroastrian yazata Mithra, from a common Proto-IndoIranian deity *Mitra, a god of . guardian of oaths and agreements. Mithra may also have been 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION worshipped by the Mani. Some branches of Manichaeism identified Mithra as the ruler of the second or third emanation (an occultist would say "ray," "aeon," or "sepheroth"). • Ushas 21 "dawn", is a Vedic deity. She is the chief goddess (sometimes imagined as several goddesses, Dawns) exalted in the Rig Veda. She is portrayed as a beautifully adorned, sexually attractive young woman riding in a chariot. • Vayu (Wind) 12 he is the Vedic god entrusted with the rejuvenation of nature. • Savitar 11 is a solar deity (see Deva) and one of the Adityas. His name is in Vedic Sanskrit meanings "impeller, rouser, vivifier". Savitr is described in the Vedas as having golden arms, 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION hands, hair, etc. He is sometimes identified with, and at other times distinguished from, the chief Sun deity Surya. A number of beautiful Vedic hymns are invoked in his praise. He is the god of the Sun at Sunrise and Sunset, and was most often invoked in the latter role in Vedic hymns. • Rbhus 11 meaning "clever, skilful", cognate to Latin labor, said of Indra, Agni and the Adityas in the Rigveda) are three semi-divine beings of the Rigveda and the Atharvaveda, Rbhu, Vaja and Vibhvan, called collectively by the name of their leader. • • • • Pushan 10 God of meeting. Puchan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle . Apris 9 means "conciliation, propitiation" and refers to special invocations spoken previous to the offering of oblations. Brhaspati 8 (also known as Brahmanaspati) is the guru of the Devas and of the Danavas Surya (Sun) 8 is the chief solar deity.. His chariot is pulled by seven horses, which represent the seven chakras. 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION • Dyaus and Prithivi (Heaven and Earth) 6, plus 5.84 dedicated to Earth alone Dyaus Pita is the Sky Father, husband of Prithvi and father of Agni and Indra (RV 4.17.4). His origins can be traced to the Proto-Indo-European sky god *Dyeus, who is also reflected as Greek Zeus(accusative Día, genitive Díos; theos pater), Jupiter (from Latin Iovius pater, "father-god"; deus pater) in Roman mythology, Div in Slavic mythology and Tyr in Norse mythology in Albanian (Zoti). • • • • Apas (Waters) 6 Ap (áp-) is the Vedic Sanskrit term for "water", Adityas 6 'Ādityas' are a group of solar deities, sons of Aditi and Kashyapa. They are emblems of the sun for each month of the year, and are themselves called suns. Vishnu 6 Viṣṇu involves the root viś, meaning "to settle, to enter", or also (in the Rigveda) "to pervade", and a suffix nu, translating to approximately "the All-Pervading One". Brahmanaspati 6 Brahmanaspati is the lord of prayer, the father of all sacred prayers, lord of the Satya Mantra, the god of the Word who obliterates enemies of the gods with words of magic. He helped create the universe through his chanting words. • Rudra 5("Howler") is a Rigvedic god of the storm, the hunt, death, Nature and the Wind. Later identified sometimes with Siva. • • Dadhikras 4 the Sarasvati River / Sarasvati 3 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION • Yama is a Lokapāla and an Aditya. Yama, "Lord of Death" and "King of the Law of decay" Yaama means evening. He is depicted with green or red skin, red clothes, and riding a water buffalo. He holds a loop of rope in his left hand with which he pulls the soul from the corpse. He is the son of Surya (Sun) and twin brother of Yami, or Yamuna, traditionally the first human pair in the Vedas • • • • Parjanya (Rain) 3 is the Vedic Sanskrit for "rain" or "raincloud". Vac (Speech) 2 (mentioned 130 times, deified e.g. in 10.125) Vastospati 2 Vishvakarman 2 is the presiding deity of all craftsmen and architects 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION • Manyu 2 Manyu is also known as mainyu in the Zorastrian religion. In ancient Persian mythology, Spenta Mainyu ("holy spirit") is the god of life and the personification of the good and the light. He is the twin brother of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman), the god of darkness, with whom he fights an eternal battle. • Kapinjal a (the Heathcock, a form of Indra) 2 Minor deities (one single or no dedicated hymn) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Manas (Thought), prominent concept, deified in 10.58 Dakshina (Reward), prominent concept, deified in 10.107 Jnanam (Knowledge), prominent concept, deified in 10.71 Purusha ("Cosmic Man" of the Purusha sukta 10.90) Aditi Bhaga Vasukra Atri Apam Napat Ksetrapati Ghrta Nirrti Asamati Urvasi Pururavas Vena Aranyani Mayabheda Tarksya Tvastar Saranyu 2 1. VEDIC RELIGION Only documents written in Vedic language predates the second century AD mark. This include only the Rig Veda except mandalas I and X. It is in the Mandala X we have the latest additions in the deities as given in the Vedic Pantheon list. These are: • • • • Manas (Thought), prominent concept, deified in 10.58 Dakshina (Reward), prominent concept, deified in 10.107 Jnanam (Knowledge), prominent concept, deified in 10.71 Purusha ("Cosmic Man" of the Purusha sukta 10.90) These are therefore not really Vedic gods. 3 1. VEDIC RELIGION Sri Aurobindo Akroyd Ghosh (1872- 1950) “There can be no doubt that in the beginning there was a worship of the Powers of the physical world, the Sun, Moon, Heaven and Earth, Wind, Rain and Storm etc., the Sacred Rivers and a number of Gods who presided over the workings of Nature. That was the general aspect of the ancient worship in Greece, Rome, India and among other ancient peoples. But in all these countries these gods began to assume a higher, a psychological function; Pallas Athene who may have been originally a Dawn-Goddess springing in flames from the head of Zeus, the Sky-God, Dyaus of the Veda, has in classical Greece a higher function and was identified by the Romans with their Minerva, the Goddess of learning and wisdom; similarly, Saraswati, a River Goddess, becomes in India the goddess of wisdom, learning and the arts and crafts: all the Greek deities have undergone a change in this direction -- Apollo, the Sun-God, has become a god of poetry and prophecy, Hephaestus the Fire-God a divine smith, god of labor. In India the process was arrested half-way, and the Vedic Gods developed their psychological functions but retained more fixedly their external character and for higher purposes gave place to a new pantheon. They had to give precedence to Puranic deities who developed out of the early company but assumed larger cosmic functions, Vishnu, Rudra, Brahma, -- developing from the Vedic Brihaspati, or Brahmanaspati, -- Shiva, Lakshmi, Durga.” Hymns to the Mystic Fire – Sri Aurobindo 3 1. VEDIC RELIGION HIS HOLINESS SRI SWAMI KRISHNANANDA SARASWATI MAHARAJ A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India , Swami Krishnananda,The Divine Life Society , Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh, India “It is true that the main gods of the Vedas are Indra, Varuna, Agni, Surya (Aditya or Savitr), Soma, Yama, Vayu, Asvins, Brihaspati and Brahmanaspati; and a correct chanting of the Mantras, summoning the power of the divinities could produce supernatural results, and even the actual materialisation of them here. In the Purusha Sukta or the hymn of the Cosmic Person, we have the most magnificent description of the spiritual unity of the cosmos. Here is given, perhaps, the earliest complete presentation of the nature of Reality as both immanent and transcendent. [Purusha suktha occur in RV X written after the common era.] “The hymn has the power to protect (trayate) the one who contemplates (mananat) on it, and hence the name mantra. The mantras of the Vedas are intended to invoke the deities to whom they are addressed, and to summon the power of the deities for executing an ideal. They are the means of connection with the denizens of the celestial world and the divinities that immanently guard and perform different functions in the various planes of existence.” 3 1. VEDIC RELIGION The Theology of Vedism is summarised in the Imperial Gazetteer of India, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1908-1931 v. 1, p. 406 as follows: “Theology, as we find it in the Veda, begins with the worship of the things of heaven, and ends with the worship of things of earth. We have, first, the worship of the sky gods; then of those that rule the atmosphere; lastly, of those that rule on earth. Under the first class comes the worship of the sun in various forms, as Surya, 'the glowing one'; Savitar, 'the enlightener'; Bhaga, 'the giver of blessings'; and Vishnu, who, except in the kindliness of his nature, has little in common with his later form as one of the Hindu triad. In another form as Pishan, god of agriculture, roads, and cattle, who is also known as Kapardin, 'he of the braided hair,' he forms a link between the Vedic gods and Siva. Dyaus, the shining sky, the Zeus of the Greeks, receives less special worship than might have been expected. In Varuna as the sky god a higher plane is reached. He sits enthroned in the vault of heaven; the sun and stars are the eyes with which he sees all that passes on earth. He, more than any of his brother gods, realizes the conception of personal holiness as an ideal for mankind. Among the mid-air gods, Indra gained his ascendancy on Indian soil, where the increasing dependence of an agricultural people on the periodical rains popularized his worship. As a war god he fought in heaven against the demon that dispersed the rain clouds, and was thus adopted by the Kshattriyas to lead them on earth in their campaigns against the aborigines. Great as are these gods of sky and air, greater still are the earth-born gods: Agni, the fire god, as manifested in the sacrifice, and Soma, the moon-plant (Sarcostemma viminale, or Asclepias acida of botanists), the worship of which is based on its intoxicating qualities. The latter came to be identified with the moon, a theory still farther developed in the post- Vedic mythology. With Yama we reach a stage of distinct anthropomorphism. He might have lived for ever, but he chose to die, and was the first to point out to his descendants the way to the other world. To his heaven, guarded by two monstrous dogs, the souls of the departed are conveyed, and are adored on earth as the Pitri, or sainted dead. To retain their place in the abodes of the blessed, the souls need constantly to be refreshed by the pious food offerings of their descendants. Hence arose the Sraddha, or periodical feast of the dead, which has had far reaching effects in the development of the theory of sacrifice” The general study will indicate no deep theology in the Vedas unless it is imposed from outside. Thus: “Generally speaking, the Indian perception of the Rig-Veda has moved away from the original tribalistic, ritualistic content to a more symbolic or mystical interpretation. For example, instances of animal sacrifice are not seen as literal slaughtering but as transcendental processes. The Rig Vedic view is seen to consider the universe to be infinite in size, dividing knowledge into two categories: lower (related to objects, beset with paradoxes) and higher (related to the perceiving subject, free of paradoxes). Swami Dayanand, who started the Arya Samaj and Sri Aurobindo have emphasized a spiritual (adhyatimic) interpretation of the book. Subhash Kak has claimed that there is 3 1. VEDIC RELIGION an astronomical code in the organization of the hymns. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, based on alleged astronomical alignments in the Rig-Veda, even went as far as to claim that the Aryans originated on the North Pole.” “The idea of sacrifice, of a kind of bargain with the deities, was the characteristic idea of the early Vedic cults. "Man needs things which the god possesses, such as rain, light, warmth, and health, while the god is hungry and seeks offerings from man : There is giving and receiving on both sides in the later Vedic Period, the doctrine “ Barth "The Religions of India," (London, 1882) p. 36. 3 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS CHAPTER 2 THE PROBLEM OF THE DATES OF RIG VEDA The religion of the Vedic period can be called Vedism to distinguish it from the modern Hiduism since they differ considerably Texts dating to the Vedic period, composed in “Vedic Sanskrit”. It is closely related to Avestan (the Language of Avesta the zoroastrian scripture) , the oldest preserved Iranian language The only book that can be confidently placed in this period ( pre- Christian Period) is, only the Rig Veda excluding Mandalal I and X. Other Samhitas and Brahmanas and Upanishads came later in the post- Christian period and are written in Sanskrit. Sanskrit came into existence only during the second century AD. Rig Veda itself came to be written down only by the 2 nd century BC. To the rishis, the hymns of the Rigveda and other Vedic hymns were divinely revealed, and they were considered "hearers" (shruti means "what is heard"), rather than "authors". Hence any attempt on the part of 3 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS the scientific community is thwarted by the Hindu religious men. Belief in self manifestation of Vedas history. Thus quotes the Bhagwatam, which says, “Brahma produced the eternal scriptures, Rigved, Yajurved, Samved, Atharvaved and also the Puranas which are like the fifth Ved.” They then go on thus “He produced them at the very beginning of the creation of the world which was 155.52 trillion years ago. So, now we know that the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas are all eternal Divine knowledges which were given by God to Brahma and then Brahma produced them 155.52 trillion years ago to the Sages of this brahmand who then produced them for the people of this earth planet.” Is there anything, which was not in the mind of God? Then we cannot really date anything. In that sense I am eternal. Was I not in the mind of God before the creation? When was the computers discovered? Does God know computer language? In so doing the Hindu sages try to avert the question because the answer is so devastating. According to strict orthodox Hindu interpretation the Vedas are praise for Agni and Vayu and Indra were all done by God? ("not human compositions”). Rig Veda is essentially hymns to nature gods. Are we to assume that God himself wrote those? So those Only some one who has never seen or read the Veda will believe that. They evidently are human reaction to forces of nature. It does not make sense to say that the Psalms of David were written by Yhvh. Incidentally God also wrote this book before the creation of the world. This is also apaurusheya. Yet that is exactly what the import of Rigveda being apaurusheya. They are the human reaction of the early Aryans to the forces of nature as they understood it. In Hinduism, Apaurusheyatva is also argued as "being unauthored". This implies that the Vedas are not authored by any agency, be it human or divine. Apaurusheya shabda ("unauthored word") is 3 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS an extension of apaurusheya which refers to the Vedas. Apaurusheyatva is a central concept in the Vedanta and Mimamsa schools of Hindu philosophy. These schools accept the Vedas as svatah pramana ("self-evident means of knowledge"). These schools accept that the Vedas were "heard" by the Rishis. The Mimamsa school asserts that since the Vedas are composed of words (shabda) and the words are composed of phonemes, the phonemes being eternal, the Vedas are also eternal. To this, if asked whether all words and sentences are eternal, the Mimamsa philosophers reply that the rules behind combination of phonemes are fixed and pre-determined for the Vedas, unlike other words and sentences. The Vedanta school also accepts this line of argument. The question is “Are they?”. Evidently it is a way of throwing sand in they eye. Is there no human author of the Vedas? Are they really Apaurusheya? “The best evidence on the subject is the evidence of the Anukramanis— a special class of literature, which forms part of the ancient Sanskrit literature. What are called Anukramanis are nothing but systematic indices to various portions of the ancient Vedic literature. Every Veda has an Anukramani, sometimes have more than one Anukramani. Seven Anukramanis for the Rig-Veda are known to be in existence, five by Shaunaka, one by Katyayana and one by an unknown author. For the Yajur-Veda there exist three Anukramanis, one for each of the three Shakhas, Atreyi, Charayaniyas and Madhyandina. For the Sama-Veda there are two Anukramanis, one is called Arsheya-Brahmana and the other is known by the name Parishistas. As to the Atharva-Veda one Anukramani is known to exist. It is known as Brihat-Sarvanukramani. 3 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS The perfect Anukramani according to Prof. Max Muller is Katyayana's Sarvanukramani to the RigVeda. Its importance lies in the tact that it gives (1) the first words of each hymn, (2) the number of verses. (3) The name and the family of the Rishi who composed it, (4) the names of the deities and (5) the meters of every verse. What emerges from a reference to the Sarvanukramani is that the Rishis are the authors of the hymns which make up the Rig-Veda. The Rig-Veda therefore on the evidence of the Anukramani cannot but be regarded as a man-made work. The same must be the conclusion regarding the other Vedas. That the Anukramanis are realistic is proved by many passages in the Rig-Veda in which the Rishis describe themselves as the composers of the hymns. Below are given a few of such passages: "The Kanvas make a prayer to you, hear well their invocation'. Thus, O, Indra, yoker of steeds, have the Gotamas made hymns for these efficaciously" "This hymn has efficaciously been made to you, 0 opulent Asvins, by the Manas" "These magnifying prayers, (this) hymn, 0 Asvins, the Gritsamadas have made for you " "Aspiring to heaven, the sage Kusikas have made a hymn with praises to thee, O Indra. " "Nodhas, descendant of Gotama, fashioned this new hymn for (thee). Indra, who are of old, and who yokest thy steeds" "Thus 0, hero, have the Gritsamadas, desiring succour, fashioned for thee a hymn as men make works. " "The sages generated an efficacious production and a prayer for Indra." "These hymns, Agni, generated for thee, celebrate thy bounty in cows and horses. " "Our father hath discovered (or invented) this great, sevenheaded hymn, born of sacred truth; Ayasya, friend of all men celebrating Indra, has generated the fourth song of praise." "We, the Raghuanas, have uttered to Agni honied speech; we incessantly laud him with eulogies. " "Thus, all ye Adityas, Aditi, and ye ruling powers, has the wise son of Plati magnified you. The celestial race has been lauded by the immortal Gaya. " " He it is whom they call a rishi, a priest, a pious sacrificer, a chanter of prayers, a reciter of hymns, he it is who knows the three bodies of the brilliant (Agni), the man who is most prominent in bestowing gifts. " Apart from the evidence of the Anukramanis there is another sort of evidence which militates against the theory of the Vedas being Apaurusheya. The Rishis themselves have treated the Vedas as a human and as a historical product. The hymns of Rig-Veda distinguish between ancient and modern Rishis. Here are a few of them: "Agni, who is worthy to be celebrated by former as well as modern rishis, will bring the gods hither. " "The former rishis who invoked thee for succour. " "Hear the hymn of me this modern sage, of this modern (sage). " " Indra, as thou hast been like a joy to former worshippers who praised thee, like waters to the thirsty, I invoke thee again and again with this hymn. " "The ancient rishis, resplendent and sage, have placed in front of them (Brihaspati) with gladdening tongue." "Neither the ancients nor later men, nor any modern man, has attained to (conceived) thy prowess, O, Madhavan." "As (Indra's) former worshippers were, (may we be) blameless, irreproachable, and unharmed." "For, now, 0 energetic god, men are thy worshippers as the ancients born of old and the men of the middle and later ages have been thy friends. And 0, much-invoked think of the most recent of all. "To Him (Indra) our ancient fathers, the seven Navagava sages desiring food, (resorted) with their hymns. " "Glorified by our newest hymn, do thou bring to us wealth and food with progeny." A closer study of the Rig-Veda will show that the Rig-Veda itself makes a distinction between old hymns and new hymns. Some of them are given below: "Glorified by our newest hymn, do thou bring to us wealth and food and progeny." "Agni thou hast announced (or do thou announcest) among the gods this our offering, our 3 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS newest hymn." "Through our new hymns, do thou, vigorous in action, destroyer of cities, sustain us with invigorating blessings". " I bring to Agni, the son of strength, a new and energetic hymn, a production of, thought uttered by the voice (vachah)." " I present to the mighty protector a mental production, a new utterance (now) springing up" "May the new prayer impel thee, the heroic well-accourted, the loud-thundering to succour us." " I seek like the ancients, to stimulate thee, the ancient, with a new hymn. " "May the new hymns made to praise you, may these prayers gratify you." " Sing O, Sobhari, with a new hymn to these youthful, vigorous, and brilliant (gods) "Indra, slayer of Vritra, thunderer, invoked of many, we (thy) numerous (worshippers) bring to thee, as thy hire, hymns which never before existed." " I will address to this ancient (deity) my new praises which he desires: May he listen to us" " Desiring horses, cattle, and wealth we invoke thee to approach us. " Given this abundance of evidence to prove the human origin of the Vedas it is a riddle to find that the Brahmins should so strenuously propagate this extravagant view that the Vedas are not man made. …. It is in the Purva Mimansa— a book of Brahmanic philosophy—(Jaimini is the author of the Purva Mimamsa ) - that this doctrine of the Vedas being Apaurusheya is propounded. … The bases on which his thesis rests are simple. Firstly God has no body and no palate and therefore he could not utter the Vedas. Secondly, Assuming God had a body, God could not perceive things which are beyond the reach of the senses while the Vedas contain things beyond the reach of human senses. Thirdly, The connection between a word and its meaning is eternal. Fourthly, Sound is eternal. Fifthly, Because sound is eternal words which are made up of sounds are also eternal. Sixthly Because words are eternal therefore the Vedas are eternal and because the Vedas are eternal they are not made by man nor by God. What can one say of these premises? Can there be anything more absurd? Who can accept that the Vedas contain something not comprehensible by human senses? Who can accept that there is an eternal connection between a word and its meaning? Who can accept that sound is not created nor manifested but is eternal?” - Ambedkar: Riddle In Hinduism It is not only the illiterate masses, who believe in this but also the most educated and the learned. Such is the mentality that has been purposefully created by the few elites of this land. It not only remains a harmful superstition on personal level, but is also used by these clever people to obscure any inquiry or any kind of intelligent interchange of ideas. It goes much further in some cases as in the following: Mythologies of the world. 3 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS “One more thing you should know that certain stories of the Puranas and the Bhagawatam which traveled through the trade routes to the West in the earlier days were adopted into the religious mythological imaginations of those countries. Thus the religious myths of the Greeks, Romans, Europeans and Assyrians etc. were all based on the broken stories of the Hindu scriptures that reached those countries by mouth. One thing must be clearly understood that the concept of god/God in the western religions is based either on the imaginations of certain spirit gods of nature (like: god of fire, god of thunder etc.) or one single spirit god (God) of the entire nature. Thus, in both ways. It is only the mylogical level and it is purely mayic. It never relates to the Divinity of the omnipresent supreme God. Thus in no way could there be any comparison of the western religions (whch are based on mythologies) with the Hindu Vedic religion which is eternal, universal and directly revealed by the supreme God.“ The True History and the Religion of India: A Concise Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism By Swami Prakashanand Saraswati It is understandable if a devotee believes in this but for a student of history it is of no use. Unfortunately, the scholars dealing with the subject have taken refuge under this theory of self manifestation to explain away the historical facts, Scientists use several methods to determine the period of Vedas. The first method is based on the texts itself and their references to the events and culture. There are several mentions of astronomical conjunctions. Assuming that they are not just conjectured relations and the authors were good in their astronomy Indologists can say that the Vedas were written after that event. Vedas portrays a life culture and they indicate a period when the writers were nomads with little metallic implements. Their major vehicle was indeed horses. Another method is linguistics. Here we have to consider not only the language but also the script. Scientists studied the change that occurs in phonemes in a language. long did it survive without writing as an oral tradition? The Rigveda is by far the most archaic of the Vedic texts preserved, and it retains many common Indo-Iranian elements, both in language and in content, that are not present in any other Vedic texts. Its creation must have taken place over several centuries, and apart from that of the youngest books (Mandalas 1 and 10), would have been complete—according to mainstream scholarship— not earlier than 1500 BCE. There are strong linguistic and cultural similarities between the Rigveda and the early Iranian Avesta, deriving from the Proto-Indo-Iranian times, often associated with the early Andronovo culture of ca. The writing of the Vedas is another indication. Evidently Rig Veda was not written down earlier than the third century BC. How 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS 2000 BC, when the earliest horse-drawn chariots have been found (at Sintashta, near the Ural mountains). Here is the safest possible assumption. The Vedas There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are the primary texts of Hinduism. They also had a vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. The Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, was composed about 1500 B.C., and codified about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally comitted to writing, but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C. “Based on internal evidence (philological and linguistic), the Rigveda was composed roughly between 1700–1100 BCE (the early Vedic period) in the Punjab (Sapta Sindhu) region of the Indian subcontinent.” Notice that it is talking about supposed composition based on internal references. How long after the event is not really possible to say. It is supposed to be Evidently if something is referred to in the content to have happened, it must have happened before the composition. transmitted orally without any change from 1700 to 200 BC over a period of 1500 years, orally, by word of mouth! At the same time we have traditions which says that most of the other parts of Vedas has disappeared. Yet we are told that what survived survived without distortion or error!! It certainly belies “self evident means of knowledge.” Yet it has been written down. The reason? ”It is believed that the Vedas were orally revealed by Brahma to certain sages, who heard them and passed them down in an oral tradition. They were not written down; in fact this was prohibited. The Mahabharata denounces it and Kumarila Bhatta held that by reading the Vedas, their spiritual significance was nullified. As a result of this, of the 100,000 verses that is believed to have existed in the Dvapara Yuga, most were either lost or altered by the beginning of the Kali Yuga. “ So it did undergo alteration and loss. If writing down was the solution to avoid that why was it not done earlier? If Kumarila Bhatta was right, did it nullify the spiritual significance of the Vedas now? The reason for writing down has to be obtained for reasons other than what the sages are ready to give. The nomadic people whose oral tradition was this veda did not have any knowledge of writing. Even today we have large number of dialects which do not have any scripts. 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS Although twenty one recensions of Rig-Veda have been mentioned yet only five are more popular – Shakala, Vashkala, Ashvalayana, Sankhyayana and Mandukayana. Out of these five also, only Shakala is available. Strangley enough some zealots do quote the Rig Veda to show the existence of writing. But all those that refer writing are from Mandala I and X which were written in Sanskrit and dated in the postChrsitian period. Here is an example for it gives the following arguments to show it was indeed written down: “It is definitely older than the Ramayan (at least 5500 B.C) and some internal evidence takes it as far as 23,000 B.C. There are a number of references in the Rig Veda which allude to the art of writing. That the seers 'inscribed, engraved' words (on some material) itself points that they knew how to write. “One more verse (Rig Veda 1-164-39) states, " In the letters (akshara) of the verses of the Veda...". “There are a number of compositional chandas (metres), lines in a metre and specific number of words in a line available from the Rig Vedic text. “It will take a tremendous amount of mental effort to compose and to commit to memory the vast amount of lines with all the intricacies involved. “Unless these are reduced to writing and given a specific concrete shape, it would not facilitate oral transmission. “Yet another verse (RgV 10-62-7) mentions cows being "marked" by an "8-eight" which again shows that the ancients possessed the art of writing. “Also, RgVed 10-71-4 refers to a language which can be "seen"; that is a script. “If there was no script, preferably the verb "to pronounce" rather than "to inscribe/write" would have been utilized. “However, such a distinction has been made obviously because a written form of language existed during that time. “How could a text with a monumental 100,000 verses could be composed, preserved and transmitted through memory alone?” ‘Vedas’ are the most ancient literary compositions in the world literature. They are the treasurehouse of Indian civilization, culture and philosophy.” 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS Many scholars believe that they were written about 2500 B.C. But there are others like H. Jacobi of Bonn and Lakamanya Tilak who believe that they were written about 6000 years ago. Tilak's conclusion is based on a study of the position of the planets as described in the Vedas. But another scholar, Madame Blavatsky, says that the planetary positions described in the Vedas were not written 60,000 years ago? She personally was of the opinion that they were written in an extremely remote past. Yet states: The first recorded written mention of Yoga appears in a collection of Indian scriptures called the Vedas , which date back to about 1500 BC. The Vedas are perhaps the oldest written (meaning actually composed) text on our planet today. The earliest reference to Brahmins, a derivative of the word Brahmana, in the classical language of Sanskrit, occurs in the Vedas written about 6000 B.C (Classical Sanskrit in 6000 BC!) Most people do not know that Rig Veda was first written down only by the 3rd century BC. Those who know do not want to remove the golden cover. We should not confuse written with composed. People do take advantage of this confusion to their advantage. The True History and the Religion of India: A Concise Encyclopedia of .. By Swami Prakashanand Saraswati Here was a challenge by one Silverbackman on the date of Vedas in the hindunet. The weak attempts to reply was obviously taxing to our super mind to understand 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS What about the Vedas written so late? #57087 - 07/24/05 11:50 PM Silverbackman The Vedas was supposedly brought by the Aryans and in the Vedas says there was war between the Aryans and the natives of India, explain that. That is however not the main point of the thread. The Vedas was written a lot later but if the Vedas are oral tradition how can that be? India is one of the first countries to have a written language so how is it that the Vedas was written many thousands of years after it was passed on and such? That doesn't make sense. It seems logical the reason why the Vedas was not written down is because the Aryans (who have no written system) passed it down orally and finally when they finally found that the Dravidian's written language can be used to write it down. That makes the most sense. Please explain. The wonder is how could, those aryan rishis have transferred the vedas word of mouth, generation to generation. It is almost a super-human memory that they possesed. Most Indologists agree that an oral tradition existed long before they were written down by the second century BC in a variation of Persian Avestan Language which is called Vedic Sanskrit by Indian Hindus. The oldest surviving manuscripts of Rig Veda however are dated in the 11th century AD. 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS Here are some such attempts to extrapolate back into remote antiquity The dates Frawley gives for Vedic civilization are: Period 1. 6500-3100 BC, Pre-Harappan, early Rig Vedic Period 2. 3100-1900 BC, Mature Harappan 3100-1900, period of the Four Vedas Period 3. 1900-1000 BC, Late Harappan, late Vedic and Brahmana period Professor Dinesh Agrawal of Penn State University reviewed the evidence from a variety of sources and estimated the dates as follows: • Rig Vedic Age - 7000-4000 BC • End of Rig Vedic Age - 3750 BC • End of Ramayana-Mahabharat Period - 3000 BC • Development of Saraswati-Indus Civilization - 3000-2200 BC • Decline of Indus and Saraswati Civilization - 2200-1900 BC • Period of chaos and migration - 2000-1500 BC • Period of evolution of syncretic Hindu culture - 1400-250 BC The Indus Valley Civilization flourished, according to the most reliable current scientific estimates, between 2,600 and 1,900 BC—but there are cities, such as Mehrgarh, that date back to 6,500-7,000 BC. These dates are based on archeological fieldwork using standard methods that are commonly recognized in the scientific community today. “The question of chronology has usually been considered a difficult one. Many students of Hinduism after proclaiming the impossibility of ascribing dates to early Brahmanical works, then not only proceed to do so, but give them very ancient ones with little or no justification. This is true not only of Hindu traditionalists, but also of many Western orientalists, who in the words of Nirud C. Chauduri "have succumbed to Hindu chronological fantasies" [Hinduism (1979), p.33]. It may be mentioned that the antiquity claimed for the Hindu texts contrasts strongly with the lateness of all extant epigraphcial, iconographical and archelogical evidence.” HINDUISM IN BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVE V.A.Gunasekar 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS “ We are in danger of moving in a vicious circle: of assigning ideas to an epoch because they occur in a certain book, while at the same time we fix the date of the book in virtue of the ideas which it contains.” HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM - AN HISTORICAL SKETCH BY SIR CHARLES ELIOT 1921 ROUTLEDGE & KEGAN PAUL LTD Broadway House, 68-74 Carter Lane, London, E.C.4. Thus the general tendency of Linguists and Indologists is to date the Vedas much more recently. Kanchi Kama Koti thus states that: The Age of Vedas Some of them say that it was done about 1,500 BC; other suggest that it may have about 3,000 years. Tilak fixes the date as 6,000 BC But modern Orientalists are inclined to bring the date nearer “It is difficult to date the various Samhitas and Brahmanas of the Veda very precisely because of the following reasons – • • First, they are primarily liturgical, ritualistic and spiritual texts. Hence, any information on the material aspects of the culture that they belonged to, would be incidental. Second, they were composed and transmitted by very elitist classes of Brahmin priests and therefore are not representative of the culture and civilizations of the periods to which they belong. This makes it difficult to correlate them with archaeological data. Third, they appeared to have been written and compiled predominantly in modern Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, and therefore, any corroborating information from other parts of India would be of limited utility. Fourth, the texts, as available today, are quite heterogeneous and layered and it is often difficult to separate the layers chronologically. Fifth, we are still in the dark about the precise chronological and cultural relationship between the archaeologically dated Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) and the culture pre-supposed by the Vedic texts. Sixth, we do not know precisely the extent of transformation (in terms of content and language) that these texts underwent before they were finally frozen into their present forms. Thus, while the present forms of these texts might be dated on the basis of principles of Historical Linguistics, we would still not know when the Ur-texts were composed. Seven, the extant Vedic texts are a fraction of the original literature and it is known that at least some of the lost texts showed different linguistic features. • • • • • 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS Therefore, any conclusions drawn on the basis of linguistic studies could only be provisional. “ A very well balanced and very well written introduction to the Aryan Origins and the Age of Veda is found in the following site. I quote (since very often these external links go off line) only the relevant portions. “Age Of The Veda - Aryan Migration Theory The old Iranian language of Avesta, is very close to Vedic language. Avesta, the old scripture of Zoroastrism (modern day Parsis) is very much like the RigVeda. The Avesthan people and Vedic people called themselves, Aryans (Iranian - airya). Infact, Persian kings, proud of their Aryan origin, named their country Iran, in the aftermath of the Aryan race theory. The first systematic theory of the relationships between human languages began when Sir William Jones, the Chief Magistrate of Calcutta and the founder of the Asiatic Society, proposed in 1786 that Greek and Latin, the classical languages of Europe, and Sanskrit, the classical language of India, had all descended from a common source (The Third Anniversary Discourse On The Hindus,1786 ). The evidence for this came from both the structure of the languages - Sanskrit grammar has similarities to Greek - and the vocabulary of the languages. Thus, father in English compares to Vater in German, pater in Latin, patêr in Greek, pitr. in Sanskrit, pedar in Persian, etc. On the other hand, father in Arabic is ab, which hardly seems like any of the others. This became the theory of IndoEuropean languages, and today the hypothetical language that would be the common source for all Indo-European languages (Language Family Tree - Indo-European) is now called Proto-IndoEuropean. 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS First it was thought that India was the possible origin of all civilization (Enlightenment scholars like Voltaire). The famous German philosopher Kant placed the origin of mankind in Tibet. Eighteenth century German scholar, Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), supposed that a new people had formed itself in northern India, swarmed towards the West, populating Europe. Later it was postulated that the original home of Indo-Europeans was Central Asia, (because of common word roots for winter and snow, but not for rice or ocean, also presence of horse - so the original home must hav been a cold place away from the oceans) and various groups of people migrated south to occupy India and Iran, West to occupy Europe. French writer Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) proposed that Eurpean aristocracy was Aryan, peasants were not Aryan and Anti-Semitic ideas against the Jews was born. German scholar Max Muller (1823-1900), who picked up this prevelent theory, explained that Indo Aryans came to India from north west and conquered the Dravidian people who lived there, pushing them to the south, sometime around 1500 to 1000 B.C. He thought the high castes were Aryan people, while the lower castes non-Aryan (just like it was argued in Erupoe). After the excavations and discovery of Indus valley civilization (Harappa, Mohanjodaro - 1920 AD), Sir Mortimer Wheeler a British archeologist, in 1946 theorized that Aryans invaded the cities of Indus Valley bringing that non-aryan civilization to an end. Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) became the accepted theory. In recent times there is little support for the theory of an invading army of Aryans coming down from Eurasia and destroying the cities of settlers on the Indus valley or elsewhere. There is no archaeological evidence for destruction of IVC civilization by invading armies in Indus Valley civilization sites or elsewhere. AIT has been replaced by a migration theory, which talks about movement of people from Steppe of Central Asia to Europe and south and east Asia, spreading IndoEuropean languages (The Spread of Indo-European and Turkish Peoples off the Steppe). Indian civilization is thought to be the product of these migrating people and those who already existed here ( Romila Thapar - The Aryan Question Revisited, Now it is thought that Indus Valley Civilization was abandoned because of shift in river courses rather than because of an invading army of Aryans. Tributeries of Saraswathi diverted to join Jamuna around 1700 BC, leading to drying up of Saraswathi, probably causing the abandonment of settlements and eventual decline of IVC. Some writers, aligned with the ideology of Hindutva, dismiss Aryan Invasion Theory as colonial propaganda. 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS The writers include Shrikant G. Talageri (The RigVeda - A Historical Analysis ,, David Frawley ( The myth of Aryan Invation Of India), Dr. Dinesh Agrawal (Demise of Aryan Racial/Invasion Theory, srh_home/1995_11/msg00056.html), Dr Subhash Kak ( The Aryans and Ancient Indian History, ), N.S. Rajaram (Aryan Invasion), Dr. S. Kalyanaraman ( Sarasvati-Sindhu Civilization, saraswatisindhucivization.html), Koenraad Elst ( The Vedic Harappans in writing) and Dr. S.R. Rao (The Lost City of Dvaraka, They have proposed that Aryans are original to India and spread through out Asia and Europe. We can call this the Out Of India theory (OIT). Max Muller's scholarship and integrity have been questioned (Max Muller - A Missionary Bigot, , and he has been daemonized, by the backers of OIT. OIT proponents argue that Muller and other 19th century Eurpoean scholars believed in divine origin of life as given in the Bible. Archbishop of Ireland had decreed in 1664 that creation took place at 9 a.m. on 23-10-4004 BC and one who will say anything else about it will be considered a heretic. Since, life on earth only started around 4000 B.C., according to their beliefs, they had to make everything else fit into that time frame. Also, several new sites along rivers other than Indus have been excavated in Pakistan, Rajastan and Gujarat in the last two decades. Many of the sites are on the banks of a dried up river, which the OIT backers assert is the river Sarasvti mentioned extensively in the RigVeda. Thus, the Indus Valley Civilization has been renamed as Sindhu - Sarasvati Valley Civilization by the backers of OIT ( Sarasvati Sindhu (Vedic / Indus) Civilization, Language and Script, ieindex.htm). They assign the Age of Vedas between 6000BC to 4000BC (chronology of sarasvati river). Many modern vedic scholars do not agree with this OIT (Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts, EJVS-7-3.htm ). They point to lack of positive evidence and political inclination of the proponents of OIT. Of course, OIT tremendously benefits the Hindutva proponents of the Sangh Parivar. 4 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS Some writers like Rajaram, went to the extent of manufacturing evidence to support their theory ( Horseplay in Harappa, 17200040.htm). Infact OIT proponents seem to be guilty of exactly the same thing they accuse Muller and other scholars of - writing history to suit their ideology. * Prof. Michael Witzel (Age of the Veda) gives the date of RigVeda between 1700 BC and 1200 BC based on the following. RigVeda is a pre-iron age (copper/bronze) age text of the Greater Panjab (incl. parts of Afghanistan). SamaVeda, which is slightly later than RigVeda, mentions iron. This sets a late date of c. 1200 for RigVeda, the earliest iron in India. * The date of the demise of the Indus civilization is c. 1900 BC. RigVeda is post Indus Civilization. Chariots of Indo Aryan type first occur around 2000 BC west and east of the Ural mountains * Horses are indeed not found in South Asia before 1700 BC Philosophy of History Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. Strange Claims about the Greeks, and about India The most easily disposed fallacy of the thesis about the Indo-Europeans in India, however, is in the linguistic evidence. The oldest Indo-European language of India, Vedic Sanskrit, is not related to the Dravidian languages of India in any conventionally ascertainable way. Vedic Sanskrit, however, is nearly identical to Avestan, the oldest attested form of Persian. There are new theories that Indo-European and Dravidian (and Semitic, etc.) languages may be ultimately related, but this connection would be much more remote than the theory of common origin in India would allow. What is clear, however, is that Vedic Sanskrit has already borrowed some Dravidian vocabulary and some Dravidian phonology. The languages of India become a sprachbund, which means a group of unrelated languages that borrow features from each other because of geographical proximity (as in the Balkans). All the languages in India have a characteristic set of "retroflex" or "lingual" consonsants, t., t.h, d., d.h, n., and s., corresponding to the ordinary "dentals," t, th, d, dh, n, and s. These do not occur in other Indo-European languages, which is hardly possible if Indo-European languages had originated with those sounds in India. Ockham's Razor requires the simpler theory that, if no Indo-European languages but in India have retroflexes, then Proto-Indo-European did not have retroflexes. By the same token, the contrast between the Indo-European vowels a, e, and o has been lost in all IndoAryan languages (which means Iranian as well as Indian languages), which only have a. Linguistically, it is easy enough for the three vowels to simplify to one, but unheard of for one to differentiate into three without being the effect of some phonetic or morphological environment. No theory of such an environment, as far as I know, has been suggested as part of the Indian-origin theory. Instead, e, and o actually did reemerge in Sanskrit from the diphthongs ai, and au, respectively. Much the same process can be seen in modern Arabic, where bêt, "house," develops from Classical Arabic bayt. 5 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS A claim that has recently come to my attention is that the writing of the Indus Valley, whose texts are probably too few (3700 inscribed objects, 60% of which are seals, with much duplication), and with no bilingual examples, to ever be deciphered, has now been identified (by S.R. Rao and others) as consisting of alphabetic characters which are recognizably the source of both the later Brahmi script of India and of the alphabet systems -- Phoenican, Canaanite, Hebrew, etc. -- of the Middle East. A very good recent examination of all the work and claims in this area can be found in Lost Languages, The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts, by Andrew Robinson [McGraw Hill, 2002, "At the Sign of the Unicorn, the Indus Script," pp. 264-295]. According to Robinson, the good basic recent work in the Indus Valley script has been done by Asko Parpola and Iravatham Mahadevan. I see three problems with the thesis of the derivation of later alphabet from the Indus script: (1) When every other known writing system in the world begins with pictographic characters and only later evolves phonetic elements, it is improbable to incredible that an alphabetic or syllabic system should leap into maturity in India, without anything like a similar evolution, let alone all the preliterate stages now known for Sumerian (and, recently, perhaps even Egyptian). (2) The chronological gap between Indus Valley literacy and the later attested writing, i.e. from c.1500 to 800 or 700 BC, is so large as to render unlikely to impossible the survival of the earlier system. And (3) the Middle Eastern alphabets appear in the wrong place to be derived from India, i.e. in Syria and Palestine, which is a place strongly linked in trade and culture to Egypt (whose writing the alphabets resemble), but not to someplace on the other side of the India Ocean. To be sure, related alphabetic writing appears in Yemen, where Indian trade could be postulated, but the derivation of South Arabian writing from Levantine seems uncontroversial to Semiticists. A very recent (Vol.197, No.6, June 2000) National Geographic story on the Indus Valley civilization ("Indus Civilization, Clues to an Ancient Puzzle," pp.108-129) mentions some key information, for instance that 400 symbols have been identified in the Indus script (p.122). The longest Indus text is only 26 symbols, while "the average is just five -- not much for a decipherer to work with." Indeed. Robinson says there are 425 +/-25 attested characters (p.281), with the uncertainty due to the possiblity of ligatures (combinations) and allomorphs (alternate forms). This is too many to be either an alphabetic or even a syllabic system, but is a bit deficient to be the whole of an ideographic system -- about 1000 characters are known from the similarly fragmentary texts of the Shang Dynasty. Nevertheless, Robinson mentions that only about 500 characters are attested from Hittite hieroglyphics, 600+ from Sumerian, and about 800 (or as few as 500) in Mayan glyphs. So we seem to be a little short, but in the right order of magnitude. Thus, after almost endless confusion, we must return to the conventional wisdom that the Romans are not Greeks and that the Indo-Aryans invaded India. 5 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS “These Vedas were passed on orally for many generations. When they were written down, they were first written in Vedic, an early form of Sanskrit. Then around 300 B.C. the Vedas were written down in the form we have them today.” We are essentially talking about Rig Veda when we try to date the earliest Vedic composition dates. Even within the Rig Veda mandala I and X are accepted as of much later period. One of the reasons for this as given by Indologists is that the river Indus predominates in these hymns unlike the others where Saraswati is the important river. At any rate Mandala X might have been written as late as 3rd C AD and was the last hymn admitted into the Canon. Rig Veda is a layered collection whose period therefore falls from 1500 BC to 300 AD. The Rig Veda is the oldest of the Vedas. All the other Vedas are based upon it and consist to a large degree on various hymns from it. The Yajurveda is derived from yajus "sacrifice" and veda "knowledge" The Yajurveda Samhita contains the liturgy needed by the priests called adhvaryu, to perform the rituals and sacrifices of the religion of the Vedic period. The Sama-Veda or the wisdom of chants is a collection of samans or chants, derived from the eighth and ninth books of the 'original Veda', the Rig-Veda. As time went along rituals and ceremonies of worship became increasingly intricate and this Veda is a compilation of all the rituals and their chants in a book. Atharvan Veda is a collection of Magic Spells and medicaments. These were finally written down well into the Third century AD “The Vedas have not come down to the present time without considerable dispute as to the text. As might have been expected, when this teaching was given orally, discrepancies arose. One account mentions no less than twenty-one schools (Sakhas) of the Rig-Veda: another gives five of the RigVeda, forty-two of the Yajur-Veda ; mentions twelve out of a thousand of the Saman-Veda, and twelve of the Atharva-Veda. And as each school believed that it possessed the true Veda, it anathematized those who taught and followed any other version. The Rig-Veda Sanhita that has come down to the present age is that of one school only, the Sakala; the Yajur-Veda is that of three schools ; the Sama-Veda is that of perhaps two, and the Atharva- Veda of one only. " The history of the Yajur-Veda differs in so far from that of the other Vedas, as it is marked by a dissension between its own schools far more important than the differences which separated the school of each [of the] other Vedas. It is known by the distinction between a Yajur-Veda called the Black—and another called the White—Yajur-Veda. Tradition, especially that of the Puranas, records a legend to account for it. Vaisampayana, it says, the disciple of Vyasa, who had received from him the Yajur-Veda, once having committed an offence, desired his disciples to assist him in the performance of some expiatory act. One of these, however, Yajnavalkya, proposed that he should alone perform the whole rite; upon which Vaisampayana, enraged at what he considered to be the arrogance of Yajnavalkya, uttered a curse on him, the effect of which was that Yajnavalkya disgorged all the Yajus texts he had learned from Vaisampayana. The other disciples, having been meanwhile transformed into partridges (tittiri], picked up these tainted texts and retained them. Hence these texts are called Taittiriyas. But Yajnavalkya, desirous of obtaining Yajus texts, devoutly prayed to the Sun, and had granted to him his wish,—' to possess such texts as were not known to his 5 2. DATE OF THE VEDAS teacher.'" And thus there are two Yajur-Vedas to this day; the Black being considered the older of the two. As to the date of the Vedas, there is nothing certainly known. There is no doubt that they are amongst the oldest literary productions in the world; but as to when they were composed all is conjecture. Colebrooke seems to show from a Vaidick Calendar, that they must have been written before the I4th century B.C. Some assign to them a more recent, some a more ancient date. Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Purānic By William Joseph Wilkins 1882. 5 3. TIME LINE CHAPTER 3 TIME LINE EARLY CIVILIZATIONS, RELIGIOUS DOCUMENTS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF WRITING SYSTEMS AND CULTURE To put it in perspective, here is the general time line of the “Vedic Period” where the oral tradition is said to have prevailed. Elsewhere in the civilization of humanity had developed writing and had their religious writings in place whereas in India Vedism had only the “oral traditions” with all its pitfalls and misuse right in place and extravagant unrealistic claims of antiquity. though we try to impose untruthful symbolic meanings into it now. It was only by the second century BC Rig Veda was written down. The theology of Rig Veda was simply that of nature worship, 5 3. TIME LINE THE FOUR CENTERS OF CULTURE WERE BASED ON LARGE RIVERS: Nile River– Egyptian Civilization – Hieroglyphics Euphrates-Tigris Rivers - Sumerian Civilization - Cuneiform Indus River– Indus Civilization – Indus Script Huang He River - Chinese Civilization – Chinese Characters 5 3. TIME LINE TILL 2200 BC 3000 BC MESOPOTAMIA Iku-Shamagan, king of Mari 3000 BCE Cultic stela from Mari ca. 3000 BCE Royal Tombs of Ur 2600 Eannatum 2454-2425 5 3. TIME LINE Eannatum's victory over Umma, Ur, Uruk, and Kish Lugalzagesi, Ensi of Umma 2360-2335 Ishqi-Mari, king of Mari 5 3. TIME LINE 2,550 BC Construction of the Great Pyramids This period includes the 3rd to the 6th dynasty of Egypt. The first pharaoh, or king, of the Old Kingdom, was Zoser. The Step Pyramid was the first pyramid built in Egypt and the burial grounds for Pharaoh Zoser. Khunfu's Pyramid in Giza 5 3. TIME LINE 2,500 BC Ancient Libraries The first library was probably located in a temple at the city of Nippur, Babylonia. A number of rooms were used to store clay tablets. Ancient Egypt and China also had libraries 2700 -2200 BC EBLA (TELL MARDIKH) TABLETS an ancient city that flourished between 2700 and 2200 B.C. in what is now northern Syria. Nearly 15,000 tablets and fragments were found, but when joined together they will consitute about 2,500 tablets. Written in the cuneiform characters originated by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, adapted to the language of Ebla's Semitic inhabitants. 5 3. TIME LINE Monotheism was not unknown even from the beginning of mankind. It was the norm. This tablet reads: "Lord of heaven and earth: the earth was not, you created it, the light of day was not, you created it, the morning light you had not [yet] made exist” 2,300 BC Invention of 'Paper' In Ancient Egypt, 'paper' was made from the papyrus plant. The paper making remained a fine art. Regular medium still remained stones and clay for a long time Egyptian paintings done on papyrus 'paper'. 6 3. TIME LINE 2200 – 1000 BC Vedic Period in India? – No written scriptures existed till second century BC The following time line indicates how various cultures communicated their spiritual and religious thoughts through expressive documentations thus defining them. Egyptian Hieroglyphics The letters in a Semitic language, carved in stone cliffs west of the Nile, were found by Yale University Egyptologist, Dr John Darnell. He says they are nearly 4,000 years old, dating from around 1800 to 1900 BC. THE HIEROGLYPHICS, AND THE LANGUAGE AND RELIGION OF ANCIENT EGYPT. = HIEROGLYPHS symbols on Gerzean pottery resemble hieroglyphic writing. 4000 BC Narmer Palette 3200 BC Earliest known hieroglyphic inscription was the Narmer Palette, at Hierakonpolis dated 3200 BC. 6 3. TIME LINE Amduat ("That Which Is In the Afterworld") 2494-2345 BC This lintel once stood above the door to the tomb chapel of a high official of the Kings of the 5th Dynasty (2494-2345 BC). Its beautifully carved hieroglyphs tell us that his name was Ka’Aper Ancient Egyptian Wisdom Literature and was probably written in the 6th Dynasty (2300 to 2150 BCE). It only comes down to us from much later copies. Papyrus Prisse is dated to the Middle Kingdom (2040 to 1650 BCE). Early Dynastic Period of Egypt 3100-2890 seven rulers 2890-2686 nine rulers 6 3. TIME LINE Famine Stela--Djoser grants to temple of Khnum a share of revenue. Netjerirykhet (Djoser) 2628-2609 6 3. TIME LINE The Precepts of Ptah-Hotep, 2200 BC The lines 3 to 5 of the above translated gives: Oh Sovereign, my Lord! Old age has occurred, and Age has arrived Feebleness has come and weakness is renewed 6 3. TIME LINE 2,050 B.C. Middle Kingdom in Egypt The Middle Kingdom lasted from 2050 to 1800 B.C. It was ruled by the 11th and 12th dynasties with its capital at Thebes. During this time, the Nile river was also greatly used for trading. They also used irrigation systems to aid in farming. The Temple of Amen at El Karnak, the largest known temple that was ever built even up till today Pyramid Texts 6 3. TIME LINE The oldest religious texts are Egyptian. "The Pyramid Texts were a collection of Egyptian mortuary prayers, hymns, and spells intended to protect a dead king or queen and ensurelife and sustenance in the hereafter. The texts, inscribed on the walls of the inner chambers of the pyramids [from c. 2686-c. 2160 BC]., are found at Saqqarah in several 5th- and 6th-dynasty pyramids, of which that of Unas, last king of the 5th dynasty, is the earliest known. The texts constitute the oldest surviving body of Egyptian religious and funerary writings available to modern scholars." -Encyclopedia Britannica BABYLON Babylonian Creational Myths - Enuma Elish 6 3. TIME LINE Law Code of Hammurabi 1792-1750 BC Stele of Hammurabi bearing the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon. The code inscribed on it recognized social classes and sought to regulate private life. At the top, Hammurabi approaches the seated sun god, Shamash, who was also the god of justice Gilgamesh XI The Flood story The main Canaanite languages are Phoenician, Punic, Moabite, Edomite, Hebrew and Ammonite. Initially all these were written in Phoenician script. 6 3. TIME LINE A Boundry Stone (kudurru) 12th century land grant by a father to his son. In the top register are the divinities of Sin (moon), Ishtar (planet Venus), Shamash (sun), and horned crowns representing Anu and Enlil and the goatfish of Ea. In the third register are the dragon and spade of Marduk. Kassite Dynasty of Bablylon (c. 1720-1157 B.C.) “Probably the most important of the Middle Eastern religions was that which was developed by the peoples of Mesopotamia (i.e., the Sumerians, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians). These peoples, besides spreading their influence, absorbed contributions of the Hittites, the Phrygians, the Ugarites, and the Phoenicians. It was in Mesopotamia that the Sumerians implanted reverence for the sky and for high places. Later, when they came into contact with the Semites, new gods were absorbed into the pantheon. The result was a blend of religious thought, Sumerian and Semitic, in which everything (a tree, a stone, a fish, a bird, a person, or even an abstract idea) had a particular significance in the universe. The highest authority was the triad of gods: the sky god Anu, the storm god Enlil, and the water god Ea, or Enki. Later a second triad arose: the moon god Sin, the sun god Shamash, and the goddess Ishtar (sometimes replaced by the weather god Hadad). As Babylon rose to supremacy in the 2d millennium B.C., the local god Marduk became important; a thousand years later Ashur of Assyria took his place. Thus many deities were determined by political conquest as well as by interchange. 6 3. TIME LINE There was a gradual development among the Middle Eastern cultures toward belief in a supreme god. One of the most widespread cults was that of the mother goddess (Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Cybele; see Great Mother Goddess). She was considered as more kindly disposed toward humans than the other deities but was also capable of cruelty and vengefulness. It was the Hittite kingdom in Anatolia (Asia Minor) who brought to an end the first dynasty of Babylon. Mursilis I, king of the Hittites, invaded Babylonia by surprise and sacked Babylon.” Hittites are Aryans. We can see very close parallel between the Vedic gods and the Babylonian gods. HEBREW 2000 BC == “A magic spell to keep snakes away from the tombs of Egyptian kings, adopted from the Canaanites almost 5,000 years ago, could be the oldest Semitic text yet discovered.” Associated Press Thursday, January 25, 2007 The first pure alphabet emerged around 2000 BC to represent the language of Semitic workers in Egypt (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets), and was derived from the alphabetic principles of the Egyptian hieroglyphs. PROTO-SINAITIC HEBREW 1900 BC [The Invention of the Alphabet] A specimen of Proto-Sinaitic script, one of the earliest (if not the very first) phonemic scripts. Possibly translate as “death to/for Ba'alt” (feminine form of Ba'al) 1500 BC 6 3. TIME LINE Wadi el-Hol inscriptions Luxor in upper Egypt, Egyptologists have found limestone inscriptions that they say are the earliest known examples of alphabetic writing, in a Semitic script with Egyptian influences, has been dated between 1900 and 1800 B.C. The first experiments with alphabet thus appeared to be the work of Semitic people living deep in Egypt HEBREW 1000 BC Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in Israel from the 10th century BC. Afterward Hebrew continued as a literary language until the Modern Era. when it was revived as a spoken language in the 19th century. This picture shows many carved texts sitting on shelves. This is in a museum in Turkey. But some texts were found in libraries of clay tablets, where they found a shelf full of intact texts, with the catalog list at the front of the shelf. The index list told archaeologists what tablets were missing from the shelf. Obviously the archeologists were amazed to dig up complete libraries of carved clay. 7 3. TIME LINE This script was used in the Indus valley of India between about 3,500 and 2,000 BC. Neither the script nor the language it was used to write are known, however Asko Parpola of the University of Helsinki in Finland claims to have partially deciphered the script and believes it probably respresents a Dravidian language. Dr. Parpola's work, Deciphering the Indus Script was published by Cambridge University Press in 1994. ”The Sanskrit hypothesis, however, is difficult to reconcile chronologically with the date of the Indus civilisation (about the second half of the third millennium B.C.) and antecedent Early Harappan neolithic cultures which were responsible for its creation. Comparison of the Vedic texts with the Avesta and with the West Asian documents relating to the Aryan kings of Mitanni suggests that the Vedic Aryans entered the Indian subcontinent from Northeast Iran and Central Asia in the second millennium B.C. Moreover, it is abundantly clear that the early Aryans were nomads and that the horse played a dominent role in their culture, as it did in the culture of their Proto-Indo-European-speaking ancestors. The horse is conspicuously absent from the many realistic representations of animals in the art of the Indus civilisation. Comprehensive recent bone analyses have yielded the conclusion that the horse was introduced to the subcontinent around the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Horse-drawn chariots made the Aryan-speaking nomads a superior military force which gradually subdued all of North India. Numerically the early Aryans can have been only a fraction of the Indus population, which is estimated to have been about five million. Obviously these millions of people were not all killed; they were made to acknowledge the Aryan overlordship and to pay taxes. In the course of time and through gradually increasing bilingualism, the earlier population eventually became linguistically assimilated. It is most unlikely that this process of linguistic Aryanization happened without leaving clear marks of the earlier substratum language upon Indo-Aryan. There are several structural and lexical Dravidisms even in the Rgveda, the earliest preserved text collection, pointing to the presence of Dravidian speakers in Northwest India in the second millennium B.C. The 25 Dravidian languages spoken at present form the second largest linguistic family of South Asia. Until recently, about one quarter of the entire population has spoken Dravidian, while the speakers of Austro-Asiatic, the third largest linguistic family of long standing in South Asia, numbered just a few per cent. The Indus language is likely to have belonged to the North Dravidian sub-branch represented today by the Brahui, spoken in the mountain valleys and plateaus of Afghanistan and Baluchistan, the core area of the Early Harappan neolithic cultures, and by the Kurukh spoken in North India from Nepal and Madhya Pradesh to Orissa, Bengal and Assam.” 7 3. TIME LINE "I still very strongly believe that the Indus civilization language was in all probability an early form of Dravidian. Having said this, let me also sound a word of caution. This is still a theory." "We haven't had final proof, we haven't been able to crack the code primarily because we do not have a bilingual [inscription in two languages] and also because the available inscriptional materials are all in the form of repetitive tablets and seals which are extremely small, not more than an average of five symbols strung in a row." Iravatham Mahadevan The Indus Script: Texts, Concordance and Tables. The longest Indus document 7 3. TIME LINE While there is a continuity of development of scripts and a growth of literature in all other early cultures, the Indus Valley civilization has no continuity nor literature to claim. Something happened to this ancient culture with elaborate cities and structures that is culture was cut off with nothing to replace. CHINA Shang Dynasty 1752 - 1111 Oracle bone script 7 3. TIME LINE writing was invented in China during the latter half of the 2nd millenium BC and that there is no evidence to suggest the transmission of writing from elsewhere. The earliest recognisable examples of written Chinese date from 1500-950 BC (Shang dynasty) and were inscribed on ox scapulae and turtle shells - "oracle bones". Bronze Inscription Eastern Zhou dynasty (ca. 1150-771 BC) and late Shang period. the total number of these symbols in the Chinese writing system is staggering. Even to be able to read a novel, it is absolutely necessary to learn at least 3,000 symbols. People with college degrees are judged to have mastered about 6-7,000 of them, but some large dictionaries can contain as many as 60,000 characters. 7 3. TIME LINE A page from a medieval Chinese manuscript. Bamboo strips (ca. 300 BCE The Bamboo inscription reads: ...form is not different from emptiness, emptiness is not different from form, emptiness is nothing but form, form is nothing but emptiness... China was an isolated civilization and trade did not affect its literature. In spite of its difficult scripts they developed a large literature and religion of their own. 1500 – 1200 BC 1500-700: Vedic period of India.: "Rig-Veda” is said to have been remembered in oral form as handed down by Brahma the creator and handed down through generations. HITTITE 7 3. TIME LINE 1500-1200: Akkadian Cuneiform became common language of Near East The principal known member of the Indo-European Language (Aryan) family is Hittite. The oldest surviving written records of Hittite, dated at about the 15th or 14th cent. B.C., are among the earliest extant remains of any Indo-European language. From c.1500 to 1200 B.C., Hittite was written both in cuneiform (a system of writing taken over from Mesopotamia) and in hieroglyphics (a form of picture writing unrelated to the hieroglyphics of Egypt). After the fall of the Hittite Empire (c.1200 B.C.) the use of cuneiform ceased, but writing in hieroglyphics continued until the 7th cent. B.C. Cuneiform and Hieroglyphic Hittite are separate but closely related languages. Hieroglyphic Hittite (1500-700 BC) Cuneiform Hittite (1500-1200 BC) A bilingual Hieroglyphic and Cuneiform Hittite Plate GREEK 1450 BC The first known Greek writings date back to 1450 BC. Greek has been spoken in the Balkan Peninsula since the 2nd millennium BC. The earliest evidence of this is found in the Linear B tablets in the 'Room of the Chariot Tablets', a LMII-context (c. 1500 BC) region of Knossos, in Crete 7 3. TIME LINE 1447: HEBREW EXODUS LEAD BY MOSES: Hebrews wandered in the Sinai desert for 40 years JUDAISM Moses was trained in the Royal Art of writing He wrote the five books. Books of the Law: Torah. Writing was in existence in Egypt and Sumer This date can be almost accurately determined as 7 3. TIME LINE As one brought up at the court of the Pharaoh, and learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, he must have had some knowledge of hieroglyphics. Moses was of Semitic Origin (Jew). So he must have been familiar with Babylonian Cuneiform as well RAS SHAMRA TABLETS :PHOENICIAN OR HEBREW ALPHABET 1400 – 1000 BC Among the Ras Shamra tablets, belonging to the Tell el Amarna period some tablets are written entirely in a Canaanite language, and in the cuneiform script. In this case, however, it is surprising to learn that the cuneiform is no longer syllabic, but (apparently under Phoenician influence) has been simplified for use as an alphabet. 'The decipherment of this script, which represents the Phoenician or Hebrew alphabet of actually 1400 BC, century.' [C. Marston, The New Knowledge and the Old Testament (1933) Amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls were found the oldest known Hebrew/Aramaic manuscripts of parts of the Old Testament. Some extensive, some only small fragments, nevertheless, every book is represented except Esther. They are all dated earlier than BC 100. These and also the "Septuagint" Greek translation of BC 285-246, to a remarkable degree, verify the accuracy of the Masoretic Hebrew Text of circa AD 900. THE EGYPTIAN BOOK OF THE DEAD 1427-1392 BC The Papyrus of Ani: Funeral inscriptions is one of the most interesting achievements of the present This hieroglyphics explains what happens after death when the heart is weighed to determine the level of rewards. If it is found wanting the heart is eaten by the wolf 7 3. TIME LINE Period of Judges in Israel West BC Cushan-Rishathaim and Othniel (1) ~1350-1300 Shamgar, Jabin and Deborah (3) ~1275-1220 Midian and Gideon (4) ~1220-1170 Abimelech ~1170 Tola ~1170-1150 Philistines and Samson (6) ~1150-1100 Dan takes Laish (7) ~1150 Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon ~1125-1100 East Eglon and Ehud (2) Midian and Gideon (4) Jair (5) Ammonites (6) Jephthah (8) BC ~1325-1225 ~1220-1170 ~1170-1150 ~1150-1130 ~1130-1125 7 3. TIME LINE 1200 – 1100 Book of Caverns – Egypt It was written on the inside of the tomb for reference by the deceased. It describes the journey of the sun god Ra through the six caverns of the underworld, focusing on the rewards and punishments in afterlife. Limestone ostracon with a drawing of a cat bringing a boy before a mouse magistrate, New Kingdom Egypt, 20th dynasty (1200–1085 BC); in the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. The Hell 8 3. TIME LINE 1,100 B.C. The Age of Greece (1100 BC - 323 BC) The beginnings of Greece was in the form of the Minoan culture, named after the legendary King Minos, on the island of Crete. From here, this great civilization spread to the rest of Europe, resulting in what we term the Greek civilization today. Greek gods and goddesses corresponds to later Indian mythical panthenon. 1000 – 800 BC Vedism as a religion was formalized with the Brahmans as priests. But all rituals are handed down orally only - there were no written scriptures for Vedism This corresponds to the period of Solomon. Jerusalem at that time David – King of Israel wrote a number of Hymns the beginning of Kingship in Israel – Period of Saul, David and We have the songs of David (Psalms) written down and elaborate temple rituals in 8 3. TIME LINE 1000-586: 1st period (Classical) of Hebrew literature in Old Hebrew alphabet: Song of Deborah [Jdg 5], Song of Miriam [Exo 15:1-18], Song of Songs 961-922: Solomon: King of Israel, Solomon’s Temple 8 3. TIME LINE Moabite Stone :West Semitic Language I am Mesha, son of Kemosh-yat, the Dibonite Seal of Jezebel the Queen of Israel : 873-852 BC Ashur-nasir-pal II was king of Assyria from 884 BC-859 BC. 800 – 700 BC 776 B.C. The Olympic Games It was supposedly started at Olympia, named after Mount Olympus, the home of the Greek gods. The first Olympic games were initially dedicated to Zeus, the king of all gods. 8 3. TIME LINE Rome founded 753 BC Rome was founded by Romulus, son of Mars, brother of Remus, raised by she-wolf on April 21, 753 BC by twin descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas, Romulus and Remus Homer 8th c BC Homer's Iliad. Book XIV, ll. 227-253, 256-263, Oxyrhynchus, II A.D. (Manuscripts Division and Princeton Papyrus Home Page) The oldest copy of "Iliad" is dated 300 BC 700 – 600 BC 721 The first Exodus of Jews: settled in countries to the East to escape slavery by the Assyrians. Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon 8 3. TIME LINE The Prophecy of Daniel Nebuchadnezzar Inscription This clay tablet reads, "In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected, and marched and spread abroad." 600 –500 BC Zarthustra (630-553 ?) 8 3. TIME LINE Yasna 28.1, Ahunavaiti Gatha (Bodleian MS J2) 604 - 571 Lao-tzu- Chinese philosopher, "Tao Te Ching" 8 3. TIME LINE "The Way gave birth to unity, Unity gave birth to duality, Duality gave birth to trinity, Trinity gave birth to the myriad creatures." (Tao Te Ching Capter 42 tr. Mair 1990:9). “Requite injuries with good deeds" (chap. 63, tr. Waley) The Valley Spirit never dies It is named the Mysterious Female. And the doorway of the Mysterious Female Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang. It is there within us all the while; Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry. (chap. 6, tr. Waley Earliest available copy of Tao Te Ching is dated 270 AD Solon 594 BC The founding of Greek democracy in ancient Athens is credited to a lawgiver named Solon, who lived from the late 7th to the early 6th century BC. He put an end to the wealthy aristocrats' complete control of the government and advocated that control of the government be shared among the 8 3. TIME LINE people. He divided society into four classes and instituted economic and political reforms. He also cancelled debts and freed people imprisoned for debt. Solon, founder of democracy in Greece Confucius(551-478) (Kung Izu) Confucius had a simple moral and political teaching: to love others; to honor one's parents; to do what is right instead of what is of advantage; to practice "reciprocity," i.e. "don't do to others what you would not want yourself"; to rule by moral example instead of by force and violence; and so forth. 8 3. TIME LINE Hellinistic Philosophers Pythagorus (581-497) Pythagorus (581-497) was famous (1) as an expert on the fate of the soul after death, who thought that the soul was immortal and went through a series of reincarnations; (2) as an expert on religious ritual; (3) as a wonder-worker who had a thigh of gold and who could be two places at the same time; (4) as the founder of a strict way of life that emphasized dietary restrictions, religious ritual and rigorous self discipline. Thales of Miletus (Greece)(----547 BC) Rely on rational explanations for physical phenomena and avoid bringing gods into it. 8 3. TIME LINE Thales of Miletus was the first known Greek philosopher, scientist and mathematician. He is credited with five theorems of elementary geometry. Parmenides (515 - ) Parmenides stated that the senses deceive us and, hence, our perception of the world does not reflect the world as it really is. Instead, the real world is something above our apprehension and can only be apprehended through logic. His chief doctrine is that the only true being is "the One" which is indivisible and infinite in time and space. 575 B.C. Creation of the caste system (India) The caste system was a social division system in India and contained 4 classes. a)the priest (brahmans) - white colour b)the warrior (kshatriyas) - red colour c)the peasant (vaishya) - brown colour; included traders and merchants where trade was not considered an impure activity d)serf (shudra) - black colour; included dasas and the artisans. They were despised because of their contact with the elements and were not allowed to hear or study the Vedas. The serfs included many of the native people, the dasas, who were very skilled artisans and those Aryans who had intermarried. A person is born into a caste and according to Hinduism, the only way to 9 3. TIME LINE move up in the caste system in the next lifetime is to do good in the present one. Professions are heriditary in the caste system and reflect a division of labour. The caste system also has taboos on commensality (eating together) as well as marriage limits; one can only marry within one's own caste. PERSIAN KINGDOM Darius I (522 to 486 BC). A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder sky, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Darius king, one king of many, one lord of many. 9 3. TIME LINE I am Darius the great king, king of kings, king of countries containing all kinds of men, king in this great earth far and wide, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenid, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage. King Darius says: By the favor of Ahuramazda these are the countries which I seized outside of Persia; I ruled over them; they bore tribute to me; they did what was said to them by me; they held my law firmly; Media, Elam, Parthia, Aria, Bactria, Sogdia, Chorasmia, Drangiana, Arachosia, Sattagydia, Gandara, India, the haoma-drinking Scythians, the Scythians with pointed caps, Babylonia, Assyria, Arabia, Egypt, Armenia, Cappadocia, Lydia, the Greeks, the Scythians across the sea, Thrace, the sun hat-wearing Greeks, the Libyans, the Nubians, the men of Maka and the Carians. . Cyrus II (550 – 530 BC) 546BC conquered Asia Minor and defeated king Cresus of Lydia 539BC Cyrus II took Babylon, liberating the Jews, and allowing 40,000 Jewish people to return home and reconstruct their temple 530BC Cyrus II died and Cambyses II became king of Persia (530 to 522 BC). 9 3. TIME LINE The Cyrus Cylinder speaks of Cyrus the Persian and his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC 528BC MAHAVIRA (THE GREAT HERO), THE FOUNDER OF JAINISM IN INDIA Vardhamana Mahavira or 'The Great Hero' founded Jainism during 540-468 B.C. Jainism, Shraman Dharma, Nirgranth Dharma Jains believe all souls are equal because they all possess the potential of being liberated and attaining Moksha. Tirthankars and Siddhas are role models only because they have attained Moksha. Jains 9 3. TIME LINE believe that every human is responsible for his/her actions and all living beings have an eternal soul, jīva. Jains view God as the unchanging traits of the pure soul of each living being, chiefly described as Infinite Knowledge, Perception, Consciousness, and Happiness (Ananta Jnana, Ananta Darshana, Ananta Caritra, and Ananta Sukha). Jains do not believe in an omnipotent supreme being, creator or manager (karta), but rather in an eternal universe governed by natural laws and the interplay of its attributes (gunas) and matter (dravya). The universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. But there is going to be an infinite repetition of the Kalchakra Fall of Israel and Judah Second Temple Period Like the first temple built by King Solomon they were both built out of white limestone, which is a fossil rich rock. Cambyses II (530–522 BC )led a campaign into Egypt and crowned himself king (or pharaoh), thus founding the XXVIIth dynasty. His brother Bardiya (who had usurped the throne of Darius 1st), had him assassinated 9 3. TIME LINE 500 – 400 BC BUDDHA (563 to 483 BC) The Bodhi Tree where Buddha had the realization 9 3. TIME LINE The Dhamekh Stupa. It is believed that Buddha first preached his sermon here Catvāry Āryasatyāni (Pali: Cattāri Ariyasaccāni), or the "Four Noble Truths". 1. Suffering: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering. 2. The cause of suffering: The craving which leads to renewed existence (rebirth) (the cycle of samsara) Reincarnation of Buddha was different from the modern Hindu understanding of reincarnation. 3. The cessation of suffering: The cessation of craving. 4. The way leading to the cessation of suffering: The Noble Eightfold Path; Noble Eightfold Path: 1. Right Speech 2. Right Actions 3. Right Livelihood 4. Right Effort/Exercise 5. Right Mindfulness/Awareness 6. Right Concentration/Meditation 7. Right Understanding 8. Right Thoughts The oldest reference to writing is in a tract called the Silas, embodied in each of the thirteen Dialogues which form the first chapter of the first division of the Suttantas, or conversational discourses of the Buddha. This tract must therefore have been already in existence as a separate work before those Dialogues were put together by the early disciples within the first century after the Buddha's death. The tract on the Silas may be dated, therefore, approximately about 450 B.C. 9 3. TIME LINE 9 3. TIME LINE 9 3. TIME LINE The Sanskrit hypothesis, however, is difficult to reconcile chronologically with the date of the Indus civilisation (about the second half of the third millennium B.C.) and antecedent Early Harappan neolithic cultures which were responsible for its creation. Comparison of the Vedic texts with the Avesta and with the West Asian documents relating to the Aryan kings of Mitanni suggests that the Vedic Aryans entered the Indian subcontinent from Northeast Iran and Central Asia in the second millennium B.C. Moreover, it is abundantly clear that the early Aryans were nomads and that the horse played a dominent role in their culture, as it did in the culture of their Proto-Indo-European-speaking ancestors. The horse is conspicuously absent from the many realistic representations of animals in the art of the Indus civilisation. Comprehensive recent bone analyses have yielded the conclusion that the horse was introduced to the subcontinent around the beginning of the second millennium B.C. Horse-drawn chariots made the Aryan-speaking nomads a superior military force which gradually subdued all of North India. Numerically the early Aryans can have been only a fraction of the Indus population, which is estimated to have been about five million. Obviously these millions of people were not all killed; they were made to acknowledge the Aryan overlordship and to pay taxes. In the course of time and through gradually increasing bilingualism, the earlier population eventually became linguistically assimilated. It is most unlikely that this process of linguistic Aryanization happened without leaving clear marks of the earlier substratum language upon Indo-Aryan. There are several structural and lexical Dravidisms even in the Rgveda, the earliest preserved text collection, pointing to the presence of Dravidian speakers in Northwest India in the second millennium B.C. The 25 Dravidian languages spoken at present form the second largest linguistic family of South Asia. Until recently, about one quarter of the entire population has spoken Dravidian, while the speakers of Austro-Asiatic, the third largest linguistic family of long standing in South Asia, numbered just a few per cent. The Indus language is likely to have belonged to the North Dravidian sub-branch represented today by the Brahui, spoken in the mountain valleys and plateaus of Afghanistan and Baluchistan, the core area of the Early Harappan neolithic cultures, and by the Kurukh spoken in North India from Nepal and Madhya Pradesh to Orissa, Bengal and Assam. 9 3. TIME LINE THE AXIAL AGE This figure identifies the religions that evolved in the civilizations that were based on languages. Vedism was not the major religion of India. They never were because they did not have the knowledge of writing nor the philosophical content until the coming of St.Thomas. Vedism remained a minor religion of a few. 400 – 300 BC Hellinistic Philosophers Zeno 333 – 262 BC Zeno-Stoic (333-262BC) God is not separate from the world; He is the soul of the world, and each of us contains a part of the Divine Fire. ... All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature 1 3. TIME LINE Epicurus 341 – 270 BC Plato 428 - 349 BC Plato is the first person who proposed reincarnation in history. Plato held that there were no eternal rewards or punishments -- except for an evil few who were not allowed out of Hades. All the others had to face the prospect of their next life, and they were given the opportunity to choose the character of their next life from a variety of alternatives. Suffering amnesia upon being born into a new body, the soul cannot easily recollect its divine origin, but instead becomes fascinated with sensory and sensual phenomena in a way that attaches the soul ever more to the body. Plato suggested that philosophy involved the process of recollecting what the soul knew before birth ALEXANDER THE GREAT Alexander (356 – 323BC) the Great invaded India 1 3. TIME LINE Yavana (Greek) Culture comes to India it brought with it the concept of incarnation. 300 – 200 BC ASOKA 273 -232 BC PILLAR 6 Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: Twelve years after my coronation I started to have Dhamma edicts written for the welfare and happiness of the people, and so that not transgressing them they might grow in the Dhamma. Thinking: "How can the welfare and happiness of the people be secured?" I give attention to my relatives, to those dwelling near and those dwelling far, so I can lead them to happiness and then I act accordingly. I do the same for all groups. I have honored all religions with various honors. But I consider it best to meet with people personally. This Dhamma edict was written twenty-six years after my coronation. 1 3. TIME LINE Asoka’s Edicts Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has caused this Dhamma edict to be written Sarnath pillar edict of King Asoka 1 3. TIME LINE PRAKRIT AND PALI 1000 BC – 500 BC Brajbuli dates to 1000 BC Pali is Magadhi, Magadhanirutti, Magadhikabhasa, that is to say, the language of the region in which Buddhism had arisen. The earliest recorded Prakrit is in Asoka's Inscriptions 500 BC Greek and Aramaic translation of an edict by Asoka. Khandahar THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA 1 3. TIME LINE Several walls, referred to as the Great Wall of China, were built since the 5th century BC, the most famous being the one built between 220 and 200 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang . 200 – 1 BC , the oldest of the four Vedas (except Mandalas I and X) is supposed to be composed about 1500 B.C., and codified about 600 B.C. It is unknown when it was finally committed to writing, but this probably was at some point after 300 B.C The language is the same as the Old Avestan or Gathic Avestan now called “Vedic Sanskrit” Old Avestan or Gathis Avestan: This form of the language was used to compose the Gathas and other more ancient portions of the Yasna. Gathic Avestan is an archaic language with a complicated grammar which consists of eight case forms and a highly inflected noun system. It is still quite close to the Vedic Sanskrit. 1 3. TIME LINE “The Vedās were written on palm-leaves and birch-barks. # The earliest manuscripts are dated very roughly around 800 CE and the first person to do so was Vishukra as quoted in Al-hind of Al-Baruni (born in 973 CE) [translation of Al-hind by Edward Sachau entitled 'Alberuni's India', Pub. in 1888 CE; reprinted in 2002]. # The earliest printed text of the Rig-Veda mantra Samhita with the Bhāshya of Sāyaņa was brought out during (1848-1874) by Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900). # Dr. A Weber published the text of Vājasaneyi Samhitā of Shukla YajurVeda in 1852 and the Taittirīya Samhitā of Krişhņa Yajur Veda in 1871. # Dr. L. Von Schroeder published the text of Maitrāyaņi Samhitā in (1881-86) and Kaţhaka Samhitā in (1900-11). # Professor Stevenson published the text of the Rāņāyanīya Sāmaveda Samhitā with English translation in 1842. # Eugene Burnouf (1801-52) produced the German translation of "Kauthumīya Sāmaveda Samhitā in 1848. # Roth and Whitney (1827-94) published the Atharva Veda Samhitā.” from the booklet "An Introduction to the Vedās" by K.S. Srinivasacharya published by the Alliance Company The whole purpose of looking through the time line was to indicate that while all the other religions of the world insisted on the scriptures to be written down and crystalized so that it may not be perverted or interpolated, Vedic religion alone do not have any such heritage. We only have oral traditions for Vedism. We do not have any way of determining its integrity and we have aboslutely no means of dating the vedas since they were never really in any “hard copy” and we have only the hearsay evidences of their antiquity. While oral traditions especially in songs and music are a powerful means of reaching the population, it has no built in safeguard against interpolation and omissions. Thus by the time it was written down, there were several parallel versions and most of the orally transmitted portions of Vedic hymns were totally lost. Only 1% survived according to Vedic scholars. 1 3. TIME LINE “Out of the more than a thousand 'shakhas' (recensions) of the four Vedas in our country, unfortunately only 11 shakhas survive today in the oral tradition” 1 – 100 AD Yehoshua (Isaa) The earliest available manuscript of the New Testament is the Rylands Library Papyrus P52, a business card sized fragment of the Gospel of John dated to the first half of the 2nd century. The Chester Beatty Papyri P45, which contains most of the Pauline epistles, the Magdalen papyrus P54/67 and the Bodmer Papyri P56 are other noted early manusript, dated c. 200, a century after the New Testament books were most likely composed. P52 Gospel of John 1 3. TIME LINE Thomas landed in India around AD 52. He had a 20 year ministry all over India from Taxila of Gondaphores to Kerala in the Southern tip. He was martyred in Mylapore, Madras India in Ad 72 Coin of King Gondaphores of Taxila Greek kingdoms of Gandara and the Punjab came into existence. The Parthian King of Taxila, Gondophares. according to tradition, was baptized by the Apostle Thomas. 1 3. TIME LINE 100 -300 AD VEDIC DEITIES DISAPPEARED. NEW GODS APPEAR Sanskrit evolved First Sanskrit Inscription : 150 AD The earliest inscription in Sanskrit is by the Saka The oldest coin which bears an inscription in Sanskrit is a unique coin of Satyadaman, belonging to the western Kshatrapa dynasty, whose approximate date is 200 A.D. in the J. R. A. S. 1899. p. 379. ) ( Rapson All coins previous to this one bear legends either in Pali or in the vernacular 1 3. TIME LINE Early Temples Mani (215-276) Page from an illustrated Manichaean hymn manuscript, found in Central Asia and probably dating to the eleventh century is shown below Arrival of Gnosticism from Persia 11 3. TIME LINE WITH ITS NEW DEITIES AND UPANISHADS APPEAR SLOWLY. PURANAS DEVELOPED. Thus we come to the startling discovery that almost all of the Hindu Scriptures are of very recent handiwork of Brahmins after the third century AD. If we take the best and most probable date claimed for the Vedas we would be about 1500 BC. If Moses wrote the first book of the Bible (Genesis), the date of his writing would be about the same as the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, about 1490BC. In this case we are comparing a rather uncertain date (of the Vedas) with a rather certain date (of the Exodus) and we are merely 10 years in separation. Ask the Pundit, (Wyatt Robertson) The development of writing in the major civilizations led to established religions essentially because the words of the revelations and intuition and religious thoughts were concretized and passed on to generations. It is not that religions were not in existence in other places, but means of communications were limited to oral transmissions which are faulty and unreliable. They were prone to corruption and intentional misuse by the privileged and priestly classes for vested interest. Writing was known to the world long before Vedas were orally created by the Aryans. All other cultures did document their religious ideas. However Vedas were never written down till the second 11 3. TIME LINE century BC. Either it was a tribal nomadic song collection of a people who did not know writing or cared about it or they were intentionally not put in concrete form. This gives us the clue to the secrecy of Vedas. It was necessary for the Brahmins to keep Vedas from general reading so that religion will remain the prerogative of the Purohits. It was a means of keeping the Social Status. The story of how Brahmins came from the mouth of the Purusha and the dictum “Sun will not rise if the the Purohits do not do the sacrifice” were all woven into the Vedas for that purpose. As a result, even though writing was in existence since 2200 BC Vedas were never written down, lest the Brahmins lost their special status. The Vedas themselves do not claim any divine revelation. It was based on fear of natural forces and were an attempt to appease these forces by giving them their due just as we avoid the wrath of the petty chiefs and landlords. Sources Dr. Frank M. Cross, professor of Near Eastern languages and culture (Emeritus, Harvard University) Home of Pali 11 4. SANSKRIT CHAPTER 4 THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SANSKRIT In a way the name Sanskrit had given way to large misuse by the religion. Sanskrit is used for both the Vedic and the Puranic languages though they differ considerably. It bears the relation as between Latin and English. “By Ancient Sanskrit we mean the oldest known form of Sanskrit. The simple name 'Sanskrit' generally refers to Classical Sanskrit, which is a later, fixed form that follows rules laid down by a grammarian around 400 BC. Like Latin in the Middle Ages, Classical Sanskrit was a scholarly lingua franca which had to be studied and mastered. Ancient Sanskrit was very different. It was a natural, vernacular language, and has come down to us in a remarkable and extensive body of poetry.” the Ancient Sanskrit is referred to here is now called Vedic which is a direct recognition under pressure to recognize it as different from Sanskrit language by the Hindus. close to it. In sharp contrast Sanskrit is of recent origin. This is same as the Persian Indo- European language of the Zorostrians which is the language used in Zend Avesta or very Archealogical and Linguistic studies indicates that the language of Sanskrit came into existence only by the second century AD. Ujjayini (Ujjain) became a center of Sanskrit learning and was taken as meridian by Indian astronomers. 113 4. SANSKRIT Ahunavaiti Gatha from Avesta in Old Sanskrit (The Avestan language should not be confused with the Avestan alphabet) The word Sanskrit means completed, refined, perfected. Sam (together) + krtam (created). The Vedic form of Sanskrit is a close descendant of Proto-Indo-European, the reconstructed root of all later Indo-European languages. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. It is very closely related to Avestan, the language of Zoroastrianism. The genetic relationship of Sanskrit to modern European languages and classical Greek and Latin can be seen in cognates like mother and matr or father and pitr. Other interesting links are to be found between Sanskritic roots and Persian, present in such a striking example as the generic term for 'land' which in Sanskrit is sthaan and in Persian staan. Sanskrit of Upanishads and Puranas European scholarship in Sanskrit, initiated by Heinrich Roth and Johann Ernest Hanxleden, led to the proposal of the Indo-European language family by Sir William Jones, and thus played an important 114 4. SANSKRIT role in the development of Western linguistics. Indeed, linguistics (along with phonology, etc.) first arose among Indian grammarians who were attempting to catalog and codify Sanskrit's rules. Modern linguistics owes a great deal to these grammarians, and to this day, key terms for compound analysis are taken from Sanskrit. The oldest surviving Sanskrit grammar is Pānini's c. 500 BC Ạṣtādhyāyī ("8 Chapter Grammar"). The Indian Scripts are originated from two early sources – one from the Semitic Languages and the other from the Aryan (Indo-European) Languages. The early scripts of Brahmi originated from the Semitic Languages from the seventh centaury BC while the Kharosti originated from the IndoEuropean Languages about the same time. It is interesting to note the Sanskrit Script as used today was actually an offshoot of the Semitic influence rather than Aryan. Certainly, there must have been mutual influence and interaction during the development. This interaction between the two major ethnic languages can be traced back to the Persian invasion of Israel. Ahasaures, also known as Artexerxes was probably the husband of Queen Esther. we see in the script and languages. From then on, the relation between the Aryan and the Semitic people were very cordial. This led to the mutual influence that Sites of Asokan Rock and pillar edicts cover most of the North and Central India and were written in the regional languages. 115 4. SANSKRIT Development of Indian Script from Proto Semitic 116 4. SANSKRIT Bilingual edict (Greek and Aramaic) by king Ashoka, from Kandahar - Afghan National Museum. 117 4. SANSKRIT Vedas were originally written using the Grantha and Nagiri Scripts. Grantha Scripts are found only around 5 anytime earlier. th Since the earliest evidence of This is a conjecture. However, they are not c AD, the Vedas in Sanskrit could not have been written It may be argued that Vedas could have been in oral form. People certainly have been philosophical even without a written document. crystallized until they are written down. The first epigraphic evidence of Sanskrit is seen in 150 AD and this inscription is in the Brahmi script. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1982). From the fifth century A.D., classical Sanskrit is seen to be the dominant language in the inscriptions. The use of Sanskrit as a language was first observed in the 30/17-18). RAMAYANA (Sundarakanda, Shyam Rao makes the following clear statements in regards to Sanskrit in his Anti-Sanskrit Scripture' by Shyam Rao, published by Sudrastan Books, Jabalpur, 1999 (free from any Copyright). It was thence reprinted in Dalitstan Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2 (Oct. 1999) Vedas - The word `Sanskrit' does not occur anywhere in the Vedas. Not a single verse mentions this word as denoting a language. Chandasa - The Vedic language was referred to as Chandasa even by Panini himself [`IndoAryan and Hindi', S. K. Chatterji, Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta-12, p. 63 ], and not as `Sanskrit'. Buddha - The Buddha was advised to translate his teachings into the learned man's tongue the `Chandasa' standard [ Chatterji., p. 64 ], there is no mention of any `Sanskrit'. The Buddha refused, preferring the Prakrits. There is not even a single reference in any contemporary Buddhist texts to the word `Sanskrit'. This shows that Sanskrit did not even exist at the time of the Buddha and that the people at that period, even the Brahmins themselves, were not aware of themselves as speaking `Sanskrit'; they referred to their language as `Chandasa'. Ramayana - The word `Sanskrit' occurs for the first time as referring to a language in the Ramayana : "In the latter [Ramayana] the term `samskrta' "formal, polished", is encountered, probably for the first time with reference to the language" [ Encyclopaedia Brittanica 22 `Langs', p. 616 ] It is to be noted that extant versions of the Ramayana date only to the centuries AD. Asokan Script - The first inscriptions in Indian history are in Prakrit and not in Sanskrit. These are by the Mauryan King Ashoka (c. 273 BC - 232 BC ), and number over 30. They date to the 4th century BC. The script utilised is not `sacred' Devanagari, and the language is not 118 4. SANSKRIT `Mother' Sanskrit. They are mostly in the Brahmi script, while 2 inscriptions are in Kharoshtri. They are in various Prakrits and some in Afghanistan are in Greek and Aramaic [`Inscriptions: Their Literary Value I', R. Basak, `Cultural Heritage of India' vol. 5, p. 390-406,. p. 390-1 ]. In fact all inscriptions in India were in Prakrit till the early centuries AD : "The earlier inscriptions up to the 1st century AD, were all in Prakrit" -- [`Prakrit Language and Literature', Cultural Heritage of India vol. 5, 164-183, A. N. Upadhye., p. 164 ] Satavahana Inscriptions - The Satavahanas, the first historical dynasty of the Deccan, also used a Prakrit language. There is no usage of Sanskrit. The Nagarjunikonda insrciptions are by the Satvahana king Vijaya Satakarni in the early 3rd cetnruy AD & end with the Ikshvaku Rudrapurusadatta who ruled for 11 years in the second quarter of the 4th century. Most of the large number of inscriptions are in Prakrit and only a few belonging to Ehuvulu Santamula are in Sanskrit (he ruled during the last 24 years of the 3rd to the early 4th century AD ) but even most of his inscriptions are in Prakrit and those which are in Sasnkrit are heavily influenced by Prakrit [ Bhatt., p. 408 ftn. 46 ]. The Nanaghat cave inscriptions in Poona distt. are in Prakrit and are the work of the Satavahana Satakarni I. They have been dated to the first half of the 1st century BC. The contemporary relgiion of this region was Vedic. Indra and Vasudev are mentioned as the Vedic gods then worshipped [ Basak, p. 395 ]. The later cave inscriptions of Nasik in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD are in the local Prakrit [ Basak, p. 395 ]. Thus, although the Vedic religion was followed in the Satavahana regions, Sanksrit was not in use. Gandhari - Even Gandhari existed prior to Sanskrit. The Pali Dhammapada in Gandhari was discovered at Khotan in Kharoshtri script. It dates to the 1st or 2nd century AD. A Gandhari insrcription was discovered on a copper casket containing relics of the Lord Sakyamuni [Basak, p. 393 ]. Kharavela's Kalinga Inscription - Kharavela's Kalingan inscription of the 1st century BC were in a Prakrit of the east indian type. Interseting is the first mention of the word Bharatavarsha in an inscription. Kharavela is described as invading Bharatavarsha, which then evidently denoted only North India [ Basak, p. 393 ]. First Sanskrit Inscription : 150 AD - The earliest inscription in Sanskrit is by the Saka Mahakshatrapa Rudradaman at Junagarh in Gujarat dated to AD 150. However, even here several of the words are wrong according to Sanskrit grammatical rules, some words show Prakrit influence and a few are un-Paninian [ Basak 397-8 ]. This inscription is several centuries later than the earliest Prakrit inscriptions, and are the creation of Sakas, not Arya kings. In fact all inscriptions in India were in Prakrit (vernacular languages) till the early centuries of AD . It is evident that Chandasa was renamed as Sanskrit inorder to claim predating Sanskrit writings. 119 4. SANSKRIT Alexander Harris explains it as follows: “The stone pillar inscription of Samudra Gupta (AD 330 to 380) written in Sanskrit and a late Brahmi script called the Gupta script is an undated inscription incised on an Asokan pillar at Allahabad. Composed by Harisena, a commander-in-chief of the king it describes elaborately the moral, intellectual and military achievements of this king. This inscription possibly dates 350 AD. “A key evidence often presented in the dating of Sanskrit is Patanjali’s Vyakarana - Mahabhasya (Great Commentary). The Mahabhasya is both a defense of the grammarian Panini against his chief critic and detractor Katyayana and a refutation of some of Panini’s aphorisms. Patanjali is dated anywhere from 2nd c BC to 5th c AD. On Patanjali’s date, the composition of the Mahabhasya and its early tradition, Joshi and Roodbergen write, It is nearly unanimously agreed that Patanjali has lived around 140 BC. But as stated by Winternitz, we are not in a position to confirm that this is the correct date. The question largely depends on the other question, namely, whether Patanjali was the author of the examples he quotes. According to Tarn, there is nothing conclusive in Patanajli’s assumed date, precisely because his grammatical examples are, or in any particular case may be, not necessarily his own composition but traditional examples. Nor are the dates assigned to Panini and Katyayana in the fourth and third century BC more than a working hypothesis, that is, ornate guesswork. “The spread of Sanskrit South is first evidenced by the Talagunda stone pillar inscription of Kadamba Kakusthavarman13 in the Shimoga District, Karnataka dated between 455 and 470 AD. It is written in late southern Brahmi inscribed in the reign of Santivarman (450 to 470 AD). It is a postthumous record of Kakusthavarman. “Sanskrit then spreads in the South evidenced by the inscriptions in Early Grantha, dating from the 5th to 6th c. AD on copper plates and stone monuments from the kingdom of the Pallavas near Chennai (Madras). The Grantha alphabet, which belongs to the writing system of southern India, was developed in the 5th c. AD to mainly write Sanskrit. From the fifth century A.D. classical Sanskrit is seen to be the dominant language in the inscriptions which indicates that Sanskrit was replacing the dialects. “Further more research on the development of writing scripts in India certainly puts a rather late date on these Sanskrit writings.” “Earlier documents used Pali and Prakrit. Asoka who took every care to make his messages intelligible to the common man used all existing scripts and languages. These 3rd Centaury inscriptions do not include Sanskrit. It included Prakrit, Greek and Aramaic. But no Sanskrit is found because it was not in existence at that time. Asoka’s Edict in Prakrit “Sanskrit was developed out of Prakrit and other existing languages during the interval of 100 AD to 150 AD “The first evidence of classical Sanskrit is found as an inscription dating around A.D.150 in the Brahmi script. It records the repair of a dam originally built by Chandragupta Maurya, and also contains a panegyric in verse, which can be regarded as the first literary composition in classical Sanskrit. It is at Girnar in Kathiawar and was inscribed by Rudradamana, the Saka Satrap of Ujjayini, on the same rock on which the Fourteen Rock Edicts of Asoka were also found. “It is significant that Rudradamana employed classical Sanskrit in a region where about four hundred years before him Asoka had used only Prakrit. This definitely proves that in the second century AD Sanskrit was replacing the dialects. Even so the language did not replace Prakrit everywhere, but it 12 4. SANSKRIT continued to be used in inscriptions for something like one hundred years or even more after this date. However, from the fifth century A.D. classical Sanskrit is seen to be the dominant language in the inscriptions. ( Hinduism, by Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Oxford University Press, USA, 1979.) “The earliest epigraphic evidence on languages employed in India comes from the inscriptions of Asoka inscribed in third century B.C. Asoka took care that his messages were intelligible to all and he used a particular kind of Prakrit. Even more remarkable is the fact, which has been recently discovered, that for those people who at the time lived in Afghanistan, his message was given in Greek as well as Aramaic. One of the Greek inscriptions is a translation of the Kalinga Edict, and the Greek of the inscriptions is not inferior in style to the classical Greek of Greek literature. In such circumstances neglect of Sanskrit by Asoka, if the language was in use, would be contrary to all his practice. So, the absence of Sanskrit in his inscriptions indicates that it did not exist at that time, as otherwise he would have certainly used it.” Dr. Alexander Harris: Significance of Sanskrit. Thus apart from portions of the Veda which were not written in Sanskrit, all other Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmanas and Puranas etc were written down later than 100 AD at liberal estimate. They must have been written down much later in actual fact. A more realistic estimate will be around 6th Centaury AD. “The pious view is that the Vedas are eternal and uncreated and exist essentially as sound. More conventional, but still pious, scholarship may still exaggerate the antiquity of the Vedas, sometimes claiming they go back to 10,000 BC or earlier. Now, however, it looks like even the oldest parts of the Rig Veda do not antedate the arrival of the Arya in India, although the gods and elements of the stories are older, since they are attested with Iranian peoples and the Mitanni, with parallels in Greek and Latin mythology.” (Kelly Ross) Panini Panini's Astadhyayi is the main Sanskrit grammar book. The name Panini came to stand for the unknown author who started the grammar writing process. Bhasyakara (the commentator) Patanjali. Therefore, In a later period, Astadhyayi became the complete Astadhyayi is called even more authoritative through the contributions of Vartikakara Vararuchi (or Katyayana) and Trimunivyakarana (contribution of three grammarians). The rules, which have been compiled in Astadhyai, are considered essential for Sanskrit language and literature. Besides Astadhyai there are many other famous grammars in Sanskrit. Panini was born in Shalatula, a town near to Attock on the Indus River in present day Pakistan. The dates given for Panini are pure guesses. Experts give various dates in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th 12 4. SANSKRIT century BC and there is also no agreement among historians about his date or to the extent of the work with which he is honored. Panini was a grammarian trying to refine existing languages (to make a “Sanskrit” language), who gave a comprehensive and scientific theory of phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Sanskrit was the classical literary language of the Indian Hindus and Panini is considered the founder of the language and literature. The word "Sanskrit" means “refined” – it is refined from some raw material language. A treatise called Astadhyayi (or Astaka ) is Panini's major work. It consists of eight chapters, each subdivided into quarter chapters. In this work, Panini distinguishes between the language of sacred texts and the usual language of communication. Panini gives formal production rules and definitions to describe Sanskrit grammar. Starting with about 1700 basic elements like nouns, verbs, vowels, consonants he put them into classes. The construction of sentences, compound nouns etc. is explained as ordered rules operating on underlying structures in a manner similar to modern theory. In many ways, Panini's constructions are similar to the way that a mathematical function is defined today. There is no means of knowing the date of Panini. The references to existing authors (there are ten of them) does not give any indication since we do not know about those authors. that Panini per definition lived at the end of the Vedic period: he notes a few special rules, marked chandasi ("in the hymns") to account for forms in the Vedic scriptures that had fallen out of use in the spoken language of his time, indicating that Vedic Sanskrit was already archaic, but still a comprehensible dialect. An important hint for the dating of Panini is the occurrence of the word yavanānī (in 4.1.49, either "Greek woman", or "Greek script") There would have been no first-hand knowledge of Greeks in Gandhara before the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 330s BC. Aside from the more abstract considerations of long-distance artistic or philosophical influence, the concrete evidence we have for direct contact between Greeks and Indians is largely limited to the period between the third century BCE and first century CE.", ('Hellenistic India' by Rachel R. Mairs, University of Cambridge) mentions documents which he has referred as Greek (Yavanani). He These would place him after the invasion of Alexander the great when India came in direct contact with the Greek. He certainly lived after Buddha because of his reference to Dharma. How long after that is still a problem. In general, the any attempt to date Panini is just pure conjecture. He could have lived well after the first century AD. Panini’s dating and the complete grammatical structure is important in the Sanskrit history since Classical Sanskrit is normally dated from Panini. It is not certain whether Panini used writing for the composition of his work, though it is generally agreed that he did use a form of writing, based on references to words such as "script" and "scribe" in his Ashtadhyayi. No one with any clear understanding of the complexity of his system could conceive that he worked without written notes using human notepads. That is exactly what we are asked to do 12 4. SANSKRIT by those who want to date back Panini. (It is proposed that composed it with the help of a group of students whose memories served him as 'notepads'. Writing first reappears in India (since the Indus script) in the form of the Brāhmī script from ca. the 6th century BC, though these early instances of the Brāhmī script are from Tamil Nadu in southern India, quite distant from Gandhara in northwestern India. Since Gandhara was under Persian rule in the 6th century BC, it would also be possible that he used the Aramaic alphabet (from a variant of which the Brāhmī script is likely a descendant). Along with the understanding that the first sanskrit documentation is only from the second century AD we are forced to date panini in the first or second century AD rather than at the time of Buddha nor Alexander. One of the Aryan deity was still Vasudeva as Panini refers and so it was long before the appearance of the name Krishna which appears only after the third century AD. their Indian name from Vasudeva until third century AD. Based on the Archeological, linguistics and geographical reasons, the most probable date of Panini is soon after the first century. The Classical Sanskrit starts from there. At any rate we do not have any Sanskrit documents of work of earlier dates in existence. Kushan kings took While Panini’s date is unknown, we have other Grammarians whose dates are well established. Katantravyakarana by Sharvavarman (c200 AD), Chandravyakarana by Chandragomin (c 700 AD), Vakyapadiya by Bhartrhari (700 AD), Katantrasutravrtti by Durgasingha (900 AD), Siddhahemachandranushasana by Hemachandra (1050-1100 AD), Mugdhavodhavyakarana by Vopadeva (1200-1250 AD), Jaumaravyakarana by Kramadishvara (1200-1250), Saupadmavyakarana by Padmanabha Datta (1300-1350), Harinamamrta by Rupagosvami, (c 1470-1559), and Siddhantakaumudi by Bhattojidiksita (1700 AD) 12 4. SANSKRIT Thus in among the known authors the dates starts from 100 AD. Thus, we can guess that Panini must have lived sometime in the later half of the first century, which was the time when Sanskrit began to appear as a language archeologically. In a similar manner, we can look at the Time Line of Sanskrit Literature, which will again give some clue to the beginning of the Sanskrit as a language. We leave aside the legendary authors like Valmiki and Vedavyasa whose dates are really not fixed by any scientific method. Classical Sanskrit Literature: Poems 1. Asvaghosha (2nd C AD): Buddha charita 2. Kalidasa (C. 400 A.d.): Raghuvamsa, Kumara Sambhava 3. Vishnusharma (c.300-500?): Panchatantra Stories 4. Pravarasena (550-600 A.D.): Ravanavaho or Setubandha 5. Bhatti : (500-650 A.D.) : Ravanavadha 6. Vishakadatta (6th century AD): Mudrarakshasa( The Demon and the Signet Ring). Devichandragupta and Abhisarikavancitaka 7. Kumaradasa : (c: 800 A.D.) : Janakiharana 8. Abhinanda (9th cent.) Ramacarita 9. Ksemendra (11th cent.)Ramayanamanjari, Dasavatara-carita 10. Soacakalyamalla (12th cent.) : Udararaghava 11. Cakra Kavi (17th cent.) : Janakiparinaya 12. Advaita kavi (17th cent.) Ramalingamrta 13. Mohana svami : (1608 A.d. Roac(a,)marahasya or Roac(a,)ma Carita (India Office MS. of 1970 A.D.) Drama (1) Bhasa, (2nd cent. A.D.) (a) Pratima (b) Abhiseka (2) Bhavabhuti (8th cent.) (a) mahaviracarita (b) Uttararamacarita (3) Dinnaga (9th cent.) Kundamala (4) Murari (900 A.D.) Anargharaghava (5) Rajesekhara : (10th cent.) Balaramayana (6) Hanuman: Hanumannataka or Mahanataka (7) Saktibhadra (9th cent.) Ascaryacudamani 12 4. SANSKRIT (8) Yasovarman (8th cent.) : Ramabhudaya (9) Mayuraja : Udattaraghava (10) Anonymous : (a) Chalit RM (b) Krtya RM (c) Mayapuspaka (d) Svapnadarsana (11) Ksirasvami : Abhinavaraghava (12) Ramachandra (12 cent AD) (a) Raghuvilasa (b) Raghavabhyudaya (13)Jayadeva : Prasanna-Raghava (12 cent.) (14) Hastimalla : Maithikalyana (1290 A.D.) (15) Subhata : Dutangada (13 cent.) (16) Bhaskara Bhatta : Unmattaraghava (14 cent.) (17) Tryasamisradeva : Ramabhyudaya (15 cent.) (18) Mahadeva : Adbhutaramayana (17 cent.) (19) Ramabhadra Diksita : Janakiparinaya Miscellaneous Poems (i) Slesakavyas (1) Dharnanjaya : Raghavapandaviya (12 cent.) (2) Madhava Bhatta : Raghavapandaviya (3) haradatta Suri : Radhava-Naisadhiya (4) Cidambara : Radhavapandaviya-Yadaviya (1600 A.D.) (5) Gangadhara Mahadevakavi : (18 cent.) Sankatanasanastotra (6) Tulsidas. (17th century AD) : Sri Ramacharita Manasa (Poetry) (ii) Vilomakavyas: (1) Suryadevi : Ramakrshna-viloma-Kavya (1540 A.D.) (iii) Citrakavyas: (1) Krsna Mohana: Ramalilamrta (2) Venkatesa : Citrabandha RM (iv) Amorous Khandakavyas: (1) Venkatadesika : Hamsasandesa or Hamsaduta (2) Rudra Vacaspati : Bhramaraaduta (3) Vasudeva : Bhramara-sandesa (4) Anonymous : Kapiduta (5) Venkatacarya : Kokilasandesa (6) Jayadeva Ramagita-Govinda 12 4. SANSKRIT (7) Krsnacandra : Candraduta (8) Harisankara : Gitaraghava (9) Prabhakara : Gitaraghava (10) Haryacarya : Janakigita (11) Harinatha : Ramavilasa (12) Visvanathasimha Sangita Raghunandana (13) Visvanatha : Raghavavilasa (14) Somesvara : Ramasataka Prose Romance and Campus (1) Banabhatta. (7th century AD)Kadambari and Harsha Charita (Ornate prose) (2) Ksemendra : Brhatkathamanjari (3) Somadeva : Kathasaritasagara (4) Bhoja : Campu RM (Many other campus such as Uttararamayana Campu, etc. based on Uttarakhanda of RM) (5) Vasudeva : Ramakatha Others Dandin. (7th century AD): Kavyadarsa Somadeva Bhatta. (12th century AD) :Katha Sarit Sagara (collection of stories) Again well established writers of Sanskrit all fall after the first century AD which fits the archealogical time frame. Yet we have the Hindu scholars fooling the public with such statements as the one that follows: Sanskrit, the language of Hindu scriptures, is the oldest and the most systematic language in the world. It originated several thousand years ago, yet is still used in India. Here is some other extraordinary claims: Swami Prakashanand Saraswati 12 4. SANSKRIT If you look to the history of the languages of the world you will find that they went through a number of stages of their development. But the Sanskrit language was absolutely perfect by all means from the very beginning. Is it not enough evidence to understand that it is not man-made and it is a Divine gift? Because. Its root system of forming a word and its detailed grammar have no comparison with any of the languages of the world, and because it is the original language, so it is very likely that some of its daily spoken words could have been adopted by the other languages which itself is the evidence that Sanskrit is the mother language of the world. Vedavyasa Reveals the Vedic Chronology of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita Showing great compassion for all living entities Lord Krishna’s lila avatar and literary incarnation Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa composed the authentic historical treatise known throughout creation as the Mahabharata. The eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita are found in the Bhismaparva, chapters 25 to 42 of the Mahabharata and they are the exact words that Lord Krishna spoke in Sanskrit on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, India over five thousand years ago in 3137 B.C. The proof that the Mahabharata is definitely an authentic historical treatise and not allegorical or mythological is verified in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1, chapter 4, verse 25 Bhagvata Purana was written in 6/7th C. AD Bhagavat gita is written in Sanskrit which came into existence only by 150 AD. So if Krishna lived in 3137 BC he could not have delivered it in Sanskrit. The perfection of the pronunciation (of the consonants and the vowels) and the uniqueness of the grammar that stays the same in all the ages from the very beginning of human civilization and up till today are such features which prove that Sanskrit is not manmade; it is a Divine gift to the people of this world This will bring us to the subject of the date of the Upanishads. All Hindu Scriptures other than the Rig Veda are written in Sanskrit. Essentially therefore they were written down after the second century AD. The backdating of Sanskrit Upanishads is a common form of deceit and is taken by many historians without asking questions and is repeated as though it is a truth. Here are some examples: “The Upanishads (basic scriptures of Hinduism proper)--records of teachings and discussions of forest hermits, holy men who accomplished the task of transforming Vedism into Hinduism during and after the 6th century B.C.E. The earliest Upanishads date from 900 to 600 B.C.E., and represent the first development of philosophical reflections in Sanskrit literature. According to a widespread tradition the oldest Upanishads are the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kaushitaki, and Maitri Upanishads.” 12 4. SANSKRIT “Upanishads Vedic texts, circa seventh-fifth century B.C. INTRODUCTION The Upanishads are ancient texts written in Sanskrit, representing the religious and philosophical tradition of Hinduism and India. Together with the Aranyakas the Upanishads are found at the end of the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, and thus called Vedantas.” Upanishads, speculative and mystical scriptures of Hinduism, regarded as the wellspring of Hindu religious and speculative thought. The Upanishads, which form the last section of the literature of the Veda, were composed beginning c.900 B.C. Of the 112 extant Upanishads, about 13 date from the Vedic period and the remainder are later, sectarian works. “Some Western scholars have fixed the age of the Upanishads as B.C. 600, or so. They regard that all of them belong to the pre-Buddhist period. This is a sad mistake indeed. The Upanishads are the knowledge portion, or Jnana-Kanda, of the Vedas. They are eternal. They came out of the mouth of Hiranyagarbha, or Brahman. How can one fix the date of the Upanishads? They existed even before the creation of this world.” Sri Swami Sivananda “As per the Indian tradition Sanskrit Language has no beginning and no ending. It is eternal. Selfborn God has created it. It is divine. It is everlasting. It was first used in Vedas and thereafter it has been the means of expression in other fields.” The True History and the Religion of India: A Concise Encyclopedia of ... By Swami Prakashanand Saraswati 12 4. SANSKRIT Thus, every literature that we have in Sanskrit must invariably fall after the first century. We cannot refute the claims that the literature was in the air long before that time. However, no body can substantiate any such claim. This is therefore definitely applicable to all Upanishads wherein we have the new concept of Brahman, Atman and Iswara None of the Upanishads could have been written in Sanskrit any time before the first century AD is certain. The concepts themselves are embedded in the vocabulary of Sanskrit. 12 5. HINDU GODS CHAPTER 5 POST CHRISTIAN HINDU GODS A recent study ( indicates the top ten Hindu gods as follows: The Top Ten Hindu Gods. Ganapathi Siva Krishna 13 5. HINDU GODS Rama Hanuman Vishnu Lakshmi Durga Kaali Saraswathi 13 5. HINDU GODS None of these gods are found in the Rig Veda except Vishnu. Vishnu appears as a minor subordinate god there. All other gods grew out of myths and legends during the period after the second century AD through myths as given in Puranas. In the Rigveda, Vishnu is mentioned 93 times. He is frequently invoked alongside other deities, especially Indra, whom he assists in killing Vritra, and with whom he drinks Soma, the hallicinating drink of the gods. Indra is called Indrānuja and "Upendra", both referring to Vishnu as being the brother of Indra. Vishnu is often identified with the Sun in the three steps that he takes over the world. Rig Veda I and X references: The 'Vishnu Sukta' of the Rig Veda (1.154) says that the first and second of Vishnu's strides (those encompassing the earth and air) are visible to men and the third is in the heights of heaven (sky). This last place is described as Vishnu's supreme abode in RV 1.22.20 deity in Rig Veda. Visvakarma Sukta of Rig Veda (10.82) refers to Vishnu indirectly as the Supreme God. But Sun is not a high-ranking The Rig Veda (1.22.20) states: "All the suras (i.e., the devas) look always toward the feet of Lord Vishnu. wikipedia There is no reference to Siva in the Vedas, except as a quality. There are some hymns addressed to Rudra, a fierce storm god, the father of Maruts, who heals with his thousand medicines. It is said that the practice of worshipping Siva was a non Aryan and actually a Dravidian practice which was slowly incorporated into Vedic religion as an ongoing process of reconciliation with the non Aryan tribes. Another specialty of the gods of Hinduism as represented in the modern Hinduism is that they are all personal gods and not connected with the forces of nature. There is a radical difference between the Vedic gods and Hindu gods. Something happened between the second century BC when Vedas were written down and the third century AD that it transformed the gods of Hindu religion from Pantheism to Polytheism and then to Henotheism. 13 5. HINDU GODS Fear of Nature has given way to Bhakthi (Faith) or personal relationship with an anthropological godhead. God as a person was a totally new idea. During the Vedic period god was something to be feared and propitiated. Instead now we have a god who is compassionate and human with empathy. It is certainly not an outgrowth of the Vedic gods. Historically an external interference of a personal god entered India between third century BC and first century AD. What does Hinduism owe to “Vedism?” “The legacy of the Vedic religion in Hinduism is generally overestimated,” responds Axel Michaels in an excellent new study, Hinduism: Past and Present: 13 5. HINDU GODS In other words, Hinduism has practically nothing to do with Vedism. Vedas does not really contribute anything to the modern Hinduism. In fact they were totally in contradiction with each other as the above quote shows. Hence we need to look into the historical development of Hinduism during the transition period starting from Buddhist Jain Period (500 BC) to the Upanishad Period (500 AD) 13 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION CHAPTER 6 THE DEVELOPMENT OF MONOTHEISM AND THE DOCTRINES OF KARMA AND REINCARNATION IN HINDUISM As is evident, Vedism was only a nature worshipping religion. It never had the slightest notion about a monotheistic Supreme God. In the Vedic days, there were no temples. The Vedic people would pray in the open sitting around a "vedi (altar)” on which fire was lit and this sacrificial ritual was known as jagna. The Rig-Veda has several verses praising Indra, the god of rain and thunder and the king of all gods. Nevertheless, in the Rig-Veda, we never come across words like Bhagwan or Ishwara. Hindu scholars argue continuously trying to establish monotheistic concept in the Vedas by quoting the concepts of Prajapati, Dharr and Tatr. The hymns often cited are Purusha-Sukta (X-90), Nasadiya Sukta (X-129) and a few others. These are post- Christian writings. interpolations or were developed late in the Christian era. Monistic tendencies within the Indo-European religion came out of its contact with Jewish religion during the period of Nebuchadnezer. St.Thomas. In India it came through the ministy of Monotheistic concepts either are 13 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION Here is the quote on the monotheism in Vedic religion: ”Already the Rigveda, in its youngest books (books 1 and 10) contains evidence for emerging monistic thought. Often quoted are pada 1.164.46c, ékam sád víprā́ bahudhā́ vadanti "To what is One, sages give many a title" (trans. Griffith) and hymns 10.129 and 10.130, dealing with a creator deity, especially verse 10.129.7: iyám vísṛṣṭiḥ yátaḥ ābabhûva / yádi vā dadhé yádi vā ná / yáḥ asya ádhyakṣaḥ paramé vyóman / sáḥ aṅgá veda yádi vā ná véda "He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, / Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not." (trans. Griffith) Ékam sát in 1.164.46c means "One Being" or "One Truth". Such concepts received greater emphasis in classical Hinduism, from the time of Adi Shankara at the latest.” 13 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION All these references are from the youngest of the book which were written duirng the Post Christian period. These Vedic gods have brought about a question that you may find pertinent. In the tenth book of Rig Veda, hymn 121, you may read, "What God shall we adore . . .?" It is repeated eight times. The answer concludes the poem: "The Creator of Heaven and Earth", also called "Lord of creatures". Evidently, this later addition of Rig Veda must have been taken from the early Christian writings. Other interpolations include the ideas of Purusha (the cosmic man), sat (existence), asat (nonexistence), kama (desire) as the first seed of mind. These were essentially the concepts expressed in Sankhya philosophy. Rig Veda does not mention even in passing the Supreme God concept such as, Isvar, Isan, Paramatma, Parmeshwar, Prabhu, Maheshwar, and Bhagavan anywhere. From these, it is evident that the concept of one supreme God did not exist prior to the advent of St.Thomas. It came as a new concept and was adopted by the Indian priestly class to revive their almost lost religious authority. When and why did monotheism come in India? [The following detailed study is based on the paper, Monotheism in Sanatan Dharma Hinduism - By Indrajit Ganguli. Refer also to “The Gita as It Was: Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita” by Phulgenda Sinha)] There are six recognized schools of thought in ancient India. Four of them Sankhya Darshan (Kapila 700 BC), Yoga (Patanjali 400 BC), Nyaya (Buddha 300 BC), Vaisesika, were rational philosophies. Mimamsa and Vedanta were introduced in Upanishads. Next is Charvaka's Lokayatta (Materialism) and his period is dated around 550 B.C. During the period in question, from 5th century B.C. up to 8th century A.D., there was decline in Brahmanism and the new religions of Buddhism and Jainism were well established. Christianity came in with St.Thomas in AD 52 and Islamic invasion took place around 6th c AD. Vedism coexisted with all these other religions, which became powerful and Brahmins lost their position and power. 13 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION Hinduism as we know today came with Shankara of Kerala. Shankara was born in Kerala in 788 A.D. Where did Shankara get this idea? Shankara was born on the Malabar Coast, where the Christians missionaries and the Jewish community had been active for centuries. Further, the agents of Islam, the Arabs had also penetrated the Malabar coastal area decades before the religious training of Shankara had begun. Thus, by the time Shankara was mastering the religious philosophy, concepts and practices of Hinduism from his Guru Gobinda, three versions of monotheism - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - were quite familiar to the intellectuals and religious men of this area. According to historian R.C. Majumdar, "Sankara's monism was based upon Islamic creed which he had learnt from the forefathers of the Moplas, Navayats and Labbes of South India. It was during this period that the original Gita was interpolated and monotheistic concept inserted into what is known as Bhagavad-Gita today. This was done to establish the historical legitimacy of the monotheistic concept. It was for this purpose that the redactors added chapters I and X to the RigVeda, reconstructed the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata by identifying Rama and Krishna with The Supreme Being, added several verses to Sankhya Karika to change the original concept, and the concept of Purusha and Prakriti, and added more than 100 verses to the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali to introduce the concept of Isvara (God) and to interpret Yoga as union with God. The original Gita had only 84 verses and the basic concept was based on Shamkya philosophy. The Bhagavad-Gita has 700 verses and that will mean that 616 verses were interpolated. The interpolated Bhagavad-Gita and other scriptures were corrupted between 800 and 1000 A.D. Research work concerning the interpolation of Gita was done by German scholars such as Richard Garbe, Rudolf Otto, JW Hauer, and others and their findings were later confirmed when copies of the original Gita was discovered in Bali, Indonesia and another one in Farukkabad. Both these versions had 84 verses only. Phulgenda Sinha argues in his book "The Gita as it was" that only the first three chapters of Gita are authenic, and the rest are interpolated around the year 800 in Common Era. He says that the Gita was written by Vyasa, under the influence of Kapilas samkya philosophy and Patanjalis yoga sutras. After Vyasas first three chapters the Gita seems to have been interpolated by two entirely different authors, one of them monist and the other theist. 13 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION Is Hinduism Polytheistic? Evidently, monotheism in Hinduism is a recent development. Even today the Hindu communities around the world is struggling to make sense out the mess of pantheism, henotheism and idolatry while the big wig in America and Europe are trying to call it monotheism by integrating everything together. Hinduism is a decidedly theistic religion; the difficulty lies in determining whether it is a polytheistic, pantheistic, or monotheistic. In later Hinduism, the One is simultaneously many and vice versa. This is a reflection of the Christian Triune God and Hindu avatars retain these characteristics of the early Christian theology. Monotheism is the worship of One God. Polytheism is the worship many Gods. given many philosophical shades. th Monotheism can be In doing so what the Hindu Pandits of the 20 century has done is to equate Polytheism with Monotheism. Monotheism = Polytheism. (see Hinduism : Monotheism and Polytheism Reconciled By Sri Swami Chidananda) This is how it is done with a twist in logic. The basic assumption is the immanence of God in the universe. God is present in the Sun. Therefore, Sun is a God. God is present in the trees. Therefore, trees are Gods. In this process of logic, everything is God and if you worship the Sun, moon, the stars, rocks, and the idols, you are still worshipping the One true God. Here is the confusion between part and the whole. God is both immanent and Transcendent. So part cannot be equated with the whole. It will be similar to confusing my shirt with me. There is also the confusion between symbol and reality. The idol, the icon, the pictures and words are all symbols. However, if we assume that identity of the symbol with the reality what we get is idol worship. While symbols are powerful means of communication, idols can become means of veiling the truth. “So is Hinduism polytheistic, pantheistic, or monotheistic? Contributing to the difficulty of answering this question is the fact that Hindus are not nearly as concerned as are western thinkers with such labels and categories. After all, it is a favorite Hindu saying that "The Truth is One, but different sages call it by different names." (A Quote taken from Rig Veda I, which was written after the first century A.D and this will be important to see how this idea came about.) terms of monotheism and pantheism: Nevertheless, when Hindus do define their religion in these terms, usually for the benefit of curious westerners, they tend to do so in 13 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION "Hinduism worships multiple forms of the one God." (OM, an American Hindu organization) "According to the tenets of Hinduism, God is one as well as many." ( "Hindus believe in monotheistic polytheism, rather than polytheism." (The Hindu Universe) "Even though Hinduism is mistakenly regarded by many as a religion having many gods namely, polytheism, yet truly speaking Hinduism is a monotheistic religion." (Sri Swami Chidanda) From 2nd century A.D, onwards several powerful movements emerged which emphasized various sectarian deities, which gave birth to devotionalism, or bhaktism as it is known, whereby the worshipper enters into relationship with a personal God (Bhagavan) or personal goddess (Bhagavati). Only a Smartha, or follower of the Advaita philosophy, would have no problem worshiping every imaginable deity with equal veneration; he views these different deities as being manifestations of the same God. You don’t need to call it God, because that is the only reality. Everything else is an illusion or dream of that conscious being. In the twentieth century Hindu religion in the west is identified with the Smartha. Other Hindu sects, such as Vaishnavism and Shaivism conform more closely to a Western understanding of what a monotheistic faith is. Vaishnavites considers Vishnu as being the one and only true God. But there is a blurring of the oneness with the concept of avatars – the incarnations. According to Vaishnava doctrine, there are two types of avatars – Svarupavatars (Purna avatars of Full Form of Vishnu) and Amsa Rupa avatars (avatars of partial form). In the full avatars, the godhead himself incarnates while in the partial avatars only certain powers are manifested through certain creatures and persons. The problem is that there are large number of Full incarnations and an infinite number of partial incarnations of Vishnu Traditionally we are told about the ten incarnations of Vishnu in which the only complete incarnations are Narasimha (Lion-Man), Rama and Krishna. All the others are partial forms. Certain power can be manifested through creatures and persons and this number in millions. They are sometimes called Sakty Amsa Avatar (Power Part Incarnation) or Sakty Avesha Avatar. Here again the masters differ in their opinion who is what. At any rate, the general teaching rallies round the idea that all incarnations are equally to be worshipped. Major branches of Vaishnavism include Srivaishnavism, (Ramanuja School) who advocated Vishishtadvaita (Modified Monism), Dvaita (of Shri Madhvacharya – Dual Nature School) and Gaudiya Vaishnavism (of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu -ISKCON). According to the Puranas countless numbers of avatars descend into our universe. 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION avatara hy asankhyeya hareh sattva-nidher dvijah yathavidasinah kulyah sarasah syuh sahasrasah O brahmanas, the incarnations of the Lord are innumerable, like rivulets flowing from inexhaustible sources of water. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.26 Dasavatara as given in Garuda Purana 1. Matsya, the fish 2. Kurma, the tortoise 3. Varaha, the boar 4. Narasimha, the half-man/half-lion 5. Vamana, the dwarf 6. Parashurama, Rama with the axe 7. Rama. 8. Krishna 9. Buddha some versions of the list contain no reference to Buddha instead we have Balarama according to the Bhagavata Purana He is also counted as an avatar of Vishnu by the majority of Vaishnava movements and is included as the ninth Dasavatara. 10. Kalki to come yet. Theologically within Vaishnavism the many avatars have been categorised into a number of different types depending on their specific personality and role as described in scripture. Not all are recognised as 'full' or 'direct' incarnations of Vishnu. Some avatars are believed to be souls blessed with certain abilities of 'divine origin', although being a jiva themselves. Bhagavata purana lists over 22 such avatars. . It is still considered monotheistic since if you worship the partial incarnation you are worshipping the Fullness. After all, you can worship a part and still be worshipping the full. A more realistic monotheism very similar to Christianity is found in Saivism. Siva has no incarnation. Originally there were the trinity in the godhead – Appan, Amma and Makan – Father, Mother and Son. 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION Saivites believe God transcends form, and devotees often worship Siva in the form of a lingam (Formless Form), symbolizing all universe. Later other progenies of Siva were added which includes Mani and Ayyappa. Because of these exclusivism, Saivites and Vaishanavites were constantly at war with each other. Great number of temples in south India were built during the thousand years between 600 and 1600 A.D. Buddhism had great influence in the down south, especially part of the present Tamil Nad and Kerala. Saivism (Shiva Siddhanta) was more popular in the Dravidian South while Vaishnavism was more popular in the Aryan North. There are historical evidence for intense rivalry between the Saivites and the Vaishnavites. It is probable that the dramatization of Sabarimala Ayyappa is a compromise between Buddha, Siva and Vishnu worshippers. The name, Dharma Shastha and the prayer song "Swamiye Saranam" are strong indications of the influence of Buddhism. The Vratham, Pilgrimage and associated rituals points to influence of Advaita and Dwaita sects. As we can see soon after the Christian Era, monotheistic tendencies crept into the Indian religious scenario. Why did it emerge all of a sudden? Who brought this new idea? 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION Five Models of Existence 1. Semitic model (Judaism & Islam): God is One Person and there is no other beside Him. God is the creator of both good and evil. Every creation is outside of God and is controlled by Him. 2. Greek model : God is not the name of A Person but a common noun. Thus Plato speaks of "the gods (hoi theoi), or "the god (ho theos)", in some cases of "god", but then in the same way we would talk of "man", using the word as a generic name. He also speaks of "the divine (to theion)". Aristotle concluded that "being" primarily refers to the Unmoved Movers, and assigned one of these to each movement in the heavens 3. Vedic Model In popular Indo-European (Greek and Vedic) religions the deities are anthropomorphic. This is Polytheism, where there is no God who is absolutely supreme or above all others. These beings are in constant interactions and creates their own hierarchy by virtue of the powers they have and powers they acquire and create. This includes Nature gods, spirits and beings that depend on matter and non-matter. These nature gods can be controlled by sacrifices and presents. They do not define good or evil. 4. Buddhist Jain Model: There are very many beings in the cosmos in different levels of existence and energies. There are both beings and non beings – Purusha and Prakriti. They are in constant flux driven by the laws of existence which are immutable 5. Christian model : Christians believe that the one God is Triune (the Holy Trinity). However, this is not a denial of monotheism but an affirmation of the complexity of the Divine Being. In human terms God is a Community which thinks and act in unison by nature. This community of God is an Organism. This is a recognition that God cannot be thought of in terms of the human dimensions. There are dimensions beyond our comprehension which are to be taken into consideration. The Eastern Christian Churches proposes the unity of God in that even the creation itself is within the dimension of divine, so that all creations are part of the divine. But part is not whole in that the creation in itself is not God. Thus God is both immanent and Transcendant in creation. 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION The various sects of the Hindus has similar theology which are monistic as well as henotheistic. Saivism and Vaishanvism are examples of this. Vashnavism later expanded an open definition which removed the parameters of definition as to what is incarnation thus moved towards polytheism. The Smarta model removed all the boundaries: Self, The All, is One sheer Being present in every part of creation in terms of a manifold of impersonal & personal Divine Selfmanifestations. Hence every part of the cosmos is divine in its fullness. It was Shankaracharya in AD 800 who brought this interpretation to justify worship of all different gods. He said that any of the different Hindu gods could be worshipped, since all are different manifestations of Brahman. In fact one can worship anything since they are all aspects of god. Theo-cosmogenic models 1. Immanentism without Tanscendism : God and creation are the same. There is no Divine essence outside creation, for Divine essence equals Divine existence. 2. Transcendentism without Immanentism: God and creation radically differ. There are two realities Prakriti (Creation) and Purusha (Creator) 3. God Immanent and Transcendant : God is immanent in creation, but God is more than the creation. God existed before the creation. There is a distinction between essence and existence. Creation is a manifestation of God's Power. “Monotheistic religions are exclusive. They deny existence of gods of all other religions, unlike polytheists who believe that there can be more gods than what they themselves worship, The only time that Monotheists have been seen as tolerant of other religions is when they are beginning to move from monotheism to polytheisms and see other gods as reincarnations of their god to help explain away their ultimate God. “ (source : From Monotheism to Polytheism: Early History of Mankind While religions have changed over the ages Polytheism has de-evolved from Monotheism as mankind lost contact with the divine. “Where there is no vision people perish.” 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION Egypt Pharaoh Akhenaten and montheistic religion of Atenism The first mention of monotheism in history is found in Atenism a religion founded by Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV), with Sun as Aten the source of all life. This monotheistic religion did not survive Akhenaten, and the old Polytheistic religion was restored by his son Tutankhamun. Even the memory of Akhenaten was wilfully erased from the Pharohnic history because it was regarded as heresy. It is suggested that early human history was based on monotheism and it fell into polytheism in time untill the first Sinaitic revelation when God himself appeared unto Israel. This was given the final seal with the incarnation of Jesus into history and his resurrection establishing his deitihood. Moses learned the basics of monotheism from Atenism even though Israel was polytheistic during the slavery period Polytheism following the Egyptian gods. So Joshua says “Choose this day whom you will serve” eventually swallowed Israel and Judah under the pressence of Indo-European cultures of Canaan. Monotheism and Polytheism “The earliest people that we know of were all polytheistic: they all worshipped many gods. From 3000 BC to 539 BC, the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Assyrians and the Babylonians all worshipped pretty much the same set of gods, despite their cultural differences. The most important of these gods was Ea. Ishtar was the most important goddess. Like the Greek Aphrodite and Demeter, or the Roman Venus and Ceres, or the German Freya, Ishtar was a fertility goddess. 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION The Phoenicians and Canaanites, further west along the Mediterranean coast, were also polytheistic, but they had different gods. Their most important god was Baal, and some reports say that the Phoenicians and Canaanites sacrificed their children to him. Their most important goddess was Astarte, another fertility figure. The Hittites arrived later, around 2500 BC, and had different gods because they were Indo-Europeans, but they were polytheistic too. The first signs of monotheism in West Asia come from the Bible, where by around 1000 BC the Jews seem to have already thought that they should worship only their own one God. They clearly believed that there were many gods, but they should only worship theirs, and in exchange, he would take care of them against all the other gods. They may have gotten this idea from the Egyptians. The next move toward monotheism comes from Zoroastrianism, also around 1000 BC. In Zoroastrianism the main god was Ahura Mazda, and his twin sons represented the Truth and the Lie; all the minor gods were on either the side of Truth or the side of the Lie. The most important of these minor gods was Mithra, who was the god of treaties and contracts, and of civilization When the Persian king Cyrus converted to Zoroastrianism and then conquered a huge empire, many of his subjects also became Zoroastrians, and the old Sumerian polytheism more or less died out.” Dr. Karen Carr, Associate Professor of History, Portland State University In spite of all these obvious historical realities, we find that the Vaishnavites at least are teaching just the opposite in the name of Truth. Here is a quote from a Dasi in America. You can judge what it means regarding what the ISKON is still teaching. “The Vedas happened to be the first written documents in the world introducing the concept of a monotheistic religion, describing an absolute transcendental God, and the existence of individual spirit souls incarnating in human bodies, celestial bodies, in demigods, animals, plants and minerals. This is the reason why to human beings the injunction has been given to abstain from eating meat. Seen from the spiritual perspective, meat eating is a form of primitive cannibalism 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION The Vedic brahminical civilization attained its peak between 2,500-1,700 BC. The decline set in, when the masses became affected by their lower instincts and bad habits. They started to eat meat, which propelled Lord Buddha to descend on the earth in order to teach "ahimsa", non-violence, in all respects. Animal slaughter and meat eating result in forgetfulness of the soul's eternal relationship with the Lord. According to Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Buddha is an incarnation of Bhagavan Sri Vishnu, who is an expansion of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Gradually, the common man fell into disgrace, forgetting his relationship with the Lord Supreme, Sri Krishna. He continued to eat meat and started to worship a variety of relative demigods, such as Durga, Siva, Sakti, Kali, Hanuman, Ganesa, etcetera, etcetera. His purpose was no longer to attain the Lord, but to collect material boons, such as a nice house, a beautiful wife, an obedient son, and cash. In this way, materialistic polytheism became the mainstream practice in India, called Hinduism. Pure devotees (bhaktas) of Bhagavan and Vedic scriptures, on the contrary, worship Sri Krishna exclusively and pay their respects to the demigods as His servants. These are the basic differences between recent Hinduism and ancient Vaishnavism (worship of Vishnu, or Krishna).” The History of Hinduism by Indira Dasi Development of Theory of Karma and Reincarnation In the oldest written form of scriptures of Egypt found in the Book of the Dead, and we see no trace of reincarnation in it. Instead, we have the concept of a life after death, which is determined entirely by what is done in this life. Egyptians embalmed the dead in order that the body might be preserved to follow the soul into the next world. This suggests their belief in resurrection, judgment, rewards, and punishment rather than in reincarnation. The Book of the Dead was used by the ancient Egyptians as a set of instructions for the afterlife. The Book of the Dead followed a tradition of Egyptian funerary literature that dated back as far as the 26th century BC. In these teachings, the deceased soul must recite the "declaration of innocence" which is addressed to Osiris and consists of the denial of a series of wrong-doings in order to assure Osiris that he has lived a decent life. The deceased must then address the 42 judges by name and deny a further 42 transgressions (one per judge). The content of some of the statements of denial or the 'negative confession' closely resemble the Ten Commandment of Moses – “I have done no falsehood, I have not robbed, I have not killed men”. If the deceased is found worthy he will be taken before Osiris who will 14 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION lead him to the realm of the blessed. Each part of his body changes until the dead is tranformed as a god. Failing the scale the unworthy are eaten by the demoness Ammut (Great of Death, Eater of Hearts, The Devourer) which is the second death. For those who are unrighteous the life ceases to exist. Rig Veda the oldest of the Vedas does not contain the concept of reincarnation as taught by Hinduism today. “The soul of the dead is carried up by the fire-god, Agni, who consumes the material body at cremation, to the heavenly worlds where it disports itself with the gods in perfect, carefree bliss. There will be eating and drinking of heavenly food and drink, reunion with father, mother, wife and sons.” Apparently, the earliest concept of reincarnation in its materialistic form was that of Buddhism. Here life continues – not as an identity - but as a cosmic element. “Men have, O young man, deeds as their very own, they are inheritors of deeds, deeds are their matrix, deeds are their kith and kin, and deeds are their support. It is deeds that classify men into high or low status” (Majjhima Nikaya 135,4). In Buddhism, “only karma is passing from one life to another, using the illustration of the light of a candle, which is derived from another candle without having a substance of its own. In the same manner, there is rebirth without the transfer of a self from one body to another. The only link from one life to the next is of a causal nature. In the Garland Sutra (10) we read: 15 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION According to what deeds are done Do their resulting consequences come to be; Yet the doer has no existence:” This is the Buddha’s teaching. “Classical Buddhist doctrine postulates the existence of skandhas, which are unrelated psychic "causes" that are dissolved upon death and reactivated at birth. However, this is different from the Hindu concept of an individual soul reincarnating; it is more impersonal. Each individual is born with characteristics from a variety of past lives and other karmic sources, just as an automobile might be assembled from miscellaneous parts in a junkyard.” If the cars in the junkyard are all of poor quality, the resultant rebuild also will be poor. If they are good, in general we will get another good car even from the junkyard. Jainism is probably the earliest form continuity of ego as is understood by reincarnation today. ”According to Jainism, in addition to matter and energy, space and time, there are three more entities in the universe: innumerable individual souls, principle of motion and principle of rest. A soul is a distinct entity, different from other entities such as matter, energy, space and time. Further, life of an individual involves interactions between his/her soul and the environment - animate as well as inanimate. As long as a worldly being remains alive, the soul resides in the body and all life-processes go on. Further, a worldly soul continuously obtains and sheds very fine particles of matter (karma) on account of its interaction with its environment. When the living being dies, the soul leaves the body along with the associated karma particles. All entities of the universe are eternal. So the soul does not perish upon the death of a living being. The soul assumes another birth on account of the karmas in its possession. Thus reincarnation is a natural consequence of the concept of eternal nature of all entities of the universe.” (Reincarnation In Other Religions, Jain Study Circular: Dr. Chandrakant P. Shah) It is probable that some form of reincarnation ideas were in existence even before Buddha and Mahavira since they assumed those ideas as taught by earlier Buddhas and Jain Saints. Evidently, they were proposed as a rational explanation for inequalities and various forms of life. Transmigration was known to early Greek philosophers of 4th c BC like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. They were the rationalist of the period. “The soul, then, as being immortal, and having been born again many times, and having seen all things that exist, whether in this world or in the world below, has knowledge of them all; and it is no wonder that she should be able to call to remembrance all that she ever knew about virtue, and about everything; for as all nature is akin, and the soul has learned all things, there is no difficulty in her eliciting or 15 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION as men say learning, out of a single recollection all the rest, if a man is strenuous and does not faint; for all inquiry and all learning is but recollection. -- Plato, Meno” Only when we come to post Christian Hindu literature can we see the clear elucidation of reincarnation as is taught today. ”We can therefore witness a fundamental shift in the meaning of afterlife from the Vedic perspective. The Upanishads abandoned the goal of having communion with the gods (Agni, Indra, etc.), attained as a result of bringing good sacrifices, and came to consider man’s final destiny to be the impersonal fusion atman-Brahman, attained exclusively by esoteric knowledge. In this new context, karma and reincarnation are key elements that will define all particular developments in Hinduism.” The periodical manifestation and dissolution of the world The Puranas, the major writings of Vaishnava Hinduism, state that the god Vishnu causes a cyclic manifestation and dissolution of the world. Each cosmic cycle (mahayuga) has four ages: Krita Yuga 1,728,000 years, Treta Yuga - 1,296,000 years, Dvapara Yuga - 864,000 years and Kali Yuga 432,000 years. Then follows the dissolution (pralaya) of the physical world. This cycle is repeated 994 times, forming a period called kalpa, and then a dissolution (pralaya) of both the physical and subtle world follows. 36,000 kalpas and pralayas make the lifespan of Brahma, the creator god, which is followed by a total dissolution (mahapralaya) of the physical, subtle and causal world. Then all worlds, time and space return into Brahman, and the whole cycle starts again in an endless process of manifestation and dissolution. 15 6. MONOTHEISM & REINCARNATION According to Christianity, on the other hand, the world was created only once, and not as a necessity, but out of God's superabundant love. Although the world became corrupted by sin, this situation does not belong to a normally repeated scenario as in Hinduism but is the result of a wrong human response to God's love. Despite the fact that our world is different from what God has originally intended, it will not follow a repeated cycle of manifestation and dissolution. The "new heaven and new earth" presented at the end of the Revelation (21,1) is not a new creation similar to the one presented in Genesis. Otherwise, it would indeed confirm a cyclic manifestation of the world according to the Hindu pattern. The Bible does not confirm such a mechanism. The "new heaven and new earth" is rather an everlasting world where sin is eradicated and there will be "no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Revelation 21, 4). It will belong to those who accepted the saving work of Christ and will never have a pralaya to end it. 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES CHAPTER 7 PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Purana means ancient tales. All the major puranas are written in Sanskrit and are therefore necessarily written after the second century AD. According to tradition, the Puranas were composed by Vyasa at the end of Dvapara Yuga. The bulk of the material contained in the Puranas was established during the reign of the Guptas (320-500 CE). Puranas are constantly evolving that new additions to the old tales are being constantly added. Traditionally it is said that there are 18 Mahapuranas and 18 Upapuranas. Each Mahapurana lists eighteen canonical puranas, but the contents of each list vary reflecting differences in time and place. “vaisnavam naradiyanca tathabhagavatam subham garudanca tathapadmam varaham subhadarsane sattvikanipuranani vijneyani subhani vai brahmandam brahmavaivartam markandeyam tathaiva ca bhavisyam vamanam brahmam rajasani nibodhame matsyam kaurmam tathalaingam 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES saivam skandam tathaiva ca agneyam ca sadetani tamasani nibodhame” Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda (236.18-21) Some of the listed Puranas and their possible dates are as follows: 1. Vishnu Purana (4th C.) 2. Brahmanda Purana (4th C.) 3. Vayu Purana (5th C.) 4. Bhagvata Purana (6/7th C.) 5. Kurma Purana (7th C.) 6. Agni Purana (8th C.) 7. Narada Purana (10th C.) ) 8. Brahma Purana (10th C) 9. Garuda Purana (10th C.) 10. Skanda Purana (11/12th C.) 11. Padma Purana (12/15th C.) 12. Vishnu Dharmottara Purana 13. Narasimha Purana 14. Vahni Purana 14. Shiva Mahapurana 16. Devi Bhagvata Mahapurana 17. Brihaddharmapurana 18. Narayana Purana 19. Markandeya Purana 20. Bhavishya Purana 21. Brahma Vaivarta Purana 22. Linga Purana 23. Varaha Purana 24. Vamana Purana 25. Matsya Purana ( 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES This list is not complete as there are many others of recent origin. Those marked without an approximate earliest possible date are of later origin. 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Classification The Mahapuranas are also classified by the three aspects of Trimurti, and of the Kashmiri Nagas. • • • • Brahma Puranas: Brahma Purana, Brahmānda Purana, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Mārkandeya Purana, Bhavishya Purana, Vāmana Purana Vishnu Puranas: Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Nāradeya Purana, Garuda Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana Shiva Puranas: Shiva Purana, Linga Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana, Kūrma Purana, Matsya Purana, Vāyu Purana Naga Purana: Nilamata Purana (Kashmir) Authorship, name and chronology Traditionally, the Puranas are said to have been composed by the sage Veda Vyasa. Vyasa in Sanskrit means 'Divider,' and some scholars therefore take this simply as a term meaning 'Editor'. These texts, were probably produced by ordinary people all over India which were collected, collated and composed In Siva Purana, Lord Siva is highly eulogised and an inferior position is given to Lord Vishnu. Sometimes Vishnu is belittled. In Vishnu Purana, Lord Hari is highly eulogised and an inferior status is given to Lord Siva. Sometimes Lord Siva is belittled. Thus the Puranas often contradicts each other. This has developed as each opposing sects invented their derogatory tales to belittle the others. There were periods in Indian history when they persecuted other groups. “Apart from these 18 Puranas, there are also 18 Upapuranas or subsidiary Puranas, which were composed after the major ones. ….The Puranas are a valuable source from which to trace the development of Hinduism. They mark the next stage in beliefs after the Vedas. Hinduism, as practiced today, is largely inspired by the Puranas.” Dates The oldest Purana is believed to date back to 300 AD, and the most recent ones to 1300 - 1600 AD. Although they have been composed at different times, all the Puranas seem to have been revised at a later date. This is apparent because all of them state that the total number is 18. The Puranas vary greatly in length: the Skanda Purana is the longest with 81,000 couplets, while the Brahma Purana and Vamana Purana are the shortest with 10,000 couplets each. The total number of couplets in the Puranas collectively is 400,000. ( 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Scholars regard the Puranas in general as having been compiled by many hands between the 4th and the 16th centuries AD. [] The oldest of the Puranas, Vayu Purana, may date back to about the sixth century. and some of the others may be as recent as the thirteenth century. [ University Scholars Program] Some references are given below: Ganesh Purana Thapan reviews different views on dating and states her own judgement that it appears likely that the core of the Ganesha Purana come into existence around the 12th and 13th centuries, being subject to interpolations during the succeeding ages. Thapan notes that these puranas, like other puranas, developed over a period of time as multi-layered works. Lawrence W. Preston and Hazra considers that the period AD 1100-1400 is the most reasonable date for the Ganesha Purana because that period agrees with the apparent age of the sacred sites mentioned by it. [ Thapan, Anita Raina (1997). Understanding Gaṇapati: Insights into the dynamics of a cult. Manohar Publishers, 304. ISBN 81-7304-195-4. Preston, Lawrence W., p. 103. "Subregional Religious Centers in the History of Maharashtra: The Sites Sacred to Gaṇeśa", in: N. K. Wagle, ed., Images of Maharashtra: A Regional Profile of India.] R. C. Hazra, "The Gaṇeśa Purāṇa", Journal of the Ganganatha Jha Research Institute, Vol. 9, 1951, pp. 79-99. For dating see p. 97. Farquhar dates it between AD 900-1350 [Farquhar, J. N., An Outline of the Religious Literature of India, pp. 226 and 270. ] as retrieved on Apr 13, 2007 16:41:54 GMT. Vishnu Purana: This work contains the geneology of the Gupta kings, and therefore could not have been finalized before 320 AD. Hazra is positive the date of this Purana is between 275 – 325 AD, while Winternitz agrees it is not later than the 400’s. (Jaiswal, 17) Others agree it was probably written between 300 – 400 AD. ( Raychaudhuri agrees that it was probably written between 320 – 355 AD, and goes further by saying that the puranas that relate the Krishna story cannot be placed much before the Gupta kings, since the geneology of those kings is included. (Raychaudhuri, 91, 42) 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Bhagavata Purana: Hazra points out that the Vishnu Puran is a source for the Bhagavata Purana and believes its date to be between 500 – 550 AD, despite many who believe the date should be even later. It embellishes the Vishnu Purana and is the most complete biography of Krishna. Another generally accepted date for it is 800 – 1000 AD. ( It includes myths about all ten of Vishnu’s avatars. The Bhagawata Purana has been placed at several dates by scholars, ranging from 3000BCE (Traditional), to 700BCE, 400BCE, 500AD, 800AD and even as late as 1000AD. “Thus for instance the vast amalgamation of Puranic tradition known as the Skandapurana, as far as we can speak of it as a single work at all, cannot be older than the 16th century, as has been shown in the Groningen Skandapurana project (see Adriaensen et al 1994). Many scientific manuals and commentaries were composed during the 17th and 18th centuries, and a 19th century compilation, the Sukraniti, passed for a long time as a genuine ancient work. And of course Indian scholars of traditional learning are all the time producing new Sanskrit literature” Klaus Karttunen Harivamsa: The work was revised and changed numerous times and adopted its current form sometime around 400 AD. (Jaiswal, 16) It was added to the Mahabharata between 300-400 AD. It tells the story of Krishna as a youth. ( Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita: The Mahabharata was an evolving work that probably started sometime in the 200’s BC and ended in the 400’s AD. The work was constantly being added to, and it was corrupted so badly that we cannot be sure that words were not interpolated hundreds of years later. The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata and is thought by many to be written sometime around 200 - 300 BC. The familiarity with the Greeks as “famous fighters” places the Mahabharata after Alexander, and its alarm at the Buddhist edukas replacing Hindu temples makes a date around the time of Asoka likely. The Romans are mentioned only in passing in a list of possible peoples, thus placing the epic probably before the time of Rome’s greatness. (Raychaudhuri, 41, 42, 32) Nevertheless, many still consider a post-Christian date for the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita. Pisani puts forward a strong argument that the Mahabharata was written between 100 - 300 AD, because it mentions Sakas (Scythians) who invaded around then, Parthians (Pahlavas) who had gained their independence from the Greeks, Huns (Hunas), and Romans (Romakas) who they had not established contact with before the time of Augustus. 15 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES “The great epic called the Mahabaharatha (between 300 BC and AD 300) is by far the most important representative of the purana. Of somewhat similar free style are the 18 Puranas of a much later date. The beginnings of the artistic style are seen in the Ramayana (begun 3rd century BC). The finished epic kavya form, however, was not evolved until the time of Kalidasa, about the 5th century AD. This poet and dramatist is the author of the two best-known Sanskrit artistic epics, the Kumarasambhava and the Raghuvamsa.” If the horoscope given to us is correct Krishna was born in the month of Sravana on the 23rd day on the night of full moon in Lagnam Edavam at midnight and if Guru (Mars), Kujan (Mercury), Ravi (Sun) and Sukran (Venus) were at their own home, Budan, Chandran (moon) and Sani (Saturn) were in their highest time, then Krishna was born in AD 600 “ Mahabaharatha as given to us could not have been written before A.D fourth Century. Panini, who is the famous grammarian, has mentioned several important personalities of the epics of that period. While the reprints published later have made several errors, variations and exaggerations, the main characters and the imports of the stories remain in tact. There is no doubt that Gita came into existence only during the period of Gupta Empire.” K.M.Panicker ( A Survey of Indian History p.67) All Hindu myths are developed over a long period of times, where each myth was built over some older historical fact or person. This is often due to confusion of names and times. Most of them were local stories, which got incorporated, in the bigger picture. So when a purana was presented in a codified form it was normally done in a third person method where this person sees the act being carried out in some distant places at distant time. This was indeed the normal style of story telling of the period. In the present day Katha Kala Shepam and Thullal this is clearly visible. It is the same old “Once upon a time there lived…….”, bedtime story. That does not mean it has no historical basis. But the puranas themselves cannot be taken on face value as presented. It may be a good symbolic presentation or an allegory, but not history or scripture truth. The sheer comparison of the Modern Hinduism with the Vedism simply shows that it could not have been connected directly in any way. One thing is evident, modern religion Hinduism is not based on Vedas. It is a totally different religion which took place sometime before the third century AD. Somehow some vested interest conveniently twisted history so that everything was cleverly hidden and some strange explanations to avoid even directl enquiry into origins and dates and who and why were arrogantly obliterated. “But religion has to extend beyond realisation and cater to the emotional needs of the lesser category of humanity. No historian of philosophy, to our knowledge, has been able to get over the prejudice that all religious thought subsequent to the Vedas and Upanishads, and apart from the later systematic Vedanta of the Darsana school, is a kind of trash, or, at best, a concession to the weakness of the popular mind.” 16 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES A Short History of Religious and Philosophic Thought in India by Swami Krishnananda But the question still remains, What made the step from the old Indian religions to the modern Hinduism. From early monotheism how did it degenerate into polytheism and the elaborate system of Puranas? For this we need to look into the religious events that transpired between the 3rd C BC and 3rd C AD. I leave this quote without comments. Check the dates that are indicated. As we can see from the above verses, Krishna-bhakti is older than the Vaishanacharyas, and dates back to the Rig Veda itself. We should also note of Shankaracharya (500BCE), and his 'BhajaGovindam', as well as Gita and Mahabharata, which note of Krishna-bhakti before the advent of the Guptas (c.300BCE). It was Shankara's influence that, under the Guptas (300BCE), the Greeks such as Heliodorus, become devotees of Krishna, through Bhajagovindam etc. and Bhagawata. # The Bhagawata Purana has been placed at several dates by scholars, ranging from 3000BCE (Traditional), to 700BCE, 400BCE, 500AD, 800AD and even as late as 1000AD. # Krishna's traditional date is around 3180BCE, and his death (3102BCE) marks the end of the Vedic Era, when the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas were re-written for Kali-Yuga minds and the Tantra-Shastra or 'Agama' literature began, according to these dates, from older Vidyas or Shastras (Upavedas, Vidyas and Sutras etc.) from Vedic eras. Now, this seems about correct, as the Indus Cities were all rebuilt around 3000BCE-2500BCE, because of calamities around 3000BCE, and again in 1900BCE, which marks the end of the Vedic period. # To this, we can also include NS Rajaram, who deciphered the Indus script, and in his 'Search for the Historical Krishna', shows much evidence of Krishna at 3000BCE date is correct, and he correlates evidences from Mahabharata-era names in the Shastras and also on Indus seals. 16 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES DATE OF HINDU TEMPLES Table showing the date of building the temple As far as we know there not one single temple which are dedicated to the worship of Brahma, Vishnu or Siva that predates the Christian Era. We can find a lot of Buddhist and Jain temples, art and architecture during the BC period. Lepakshi Temple Anantapur Andhra Pradesh 16c AD Sas Bahu Temple - Udaipur Rajasthan Vishnu 10C AD Thousand Pillar Temple Warangal Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh 12C AD Galta Temple - Jaipur Rajasthan Siva 600 AD Tirupati Temple - Tirupati 12C AD Nathdwara Temple Udaipur Rajasthan Krishna 17C AD Dwarkadhish Temple Dwarka Gujarat 15C AD (Reconstruct) Ekambareswarar Temple Kanchipuram Tamil Nadu Siva 600 AD Somnath Temple - Patan Gujarat 480 -767 AD 16C AD Jain Temple - Chennai Tamil Nadu 1500 AD 11-13c AD Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple - Kurukshetra Haryana Perur Patteeswaraswamy Temple - Coimbatore Tamil Nadu siva Chamunda Devi - Kangra Himachal Pradesh Kali 13C AD Gangaikondas Cholapuram - Chidambaram Tamil Nadu 1020 AD Siva 1020 AD Amarnath Temple Pahalgam Jammu & Kashmir Siva ice Lingam Islamic connection “Buta Malik” Yatra started in 1850 AD Kailasanathar Temple Kanchipuram Tamil Nadu siva 685-705 AD Pallavas Raghunath Temple Jammu Jammu & Kashmir 1835-1860 by Maharaja Gulab Singh Ulahalanda Perumal Temple - Kanchipuram Tamil Nadu visnu 6-7C AD Pallavas 8C AD Vaishno Devi Temple Jammu 1537 AD Parthasarathy Temple Chennai 16 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Jammu & Kashmir Tamil Nadu Visnu 578 AD Bull Temple - Bangalore Karnataka Varadaraja Temple Chennai Tamil Nadu Visnu 1053 AD Cave Temples - Badami Karnataka 16C AD Ananthapura Lake Temple - Kasaragod Kerala visnu 800 AD Guruvayoor Temple Trichur Kerala Krishna 10-12 C AD Kaviyoor Rock Cut Temple - Tiruvalla Kerala Siva 900 AD Sabarimala Temple Pathanamthitta Kerala 18 C AD Mata Tripureswari Temple - Agartala Tripura 1501 AD Tiruvalla Temple Alappuzha Kerala Vishnu ? Bhoramdeo temple Raipur Chhattisgarh 1100 AD Omkareshwar Temple Omkareshwara Madhya Pradesh 11 C AD? Pemayangtse Monastery Gangtok Sikkim 1700 AD Orcha Temples - Orchha Madhya Pradesh16c 16 C AD Ranchhodraiji Dakor Ahmedabad Gujarat Visnu 1772 AD Kailash Temple Aurangabad Maharashtra 757 – 775 AD Hayagriva Temple Guwahati Assam visnu 1550 AD Mahalakshami Temple Kolhapur Maharashtra 600-700 AD Bhojeshwar Temple Bhopal Madhya Pradesh siva 1010-1053 AD Jagannath Temple - Puri Orissa 12C AD Baldeva Dauji Temple Mathura Uttar Pradesh 1535 AD 1535 AD Lingaraja Temple Bhubaneshwar Orissa 617 657 AD Adi Sankara Shrine Chikmagalur Karnataka 9c 9C AD Mukteswara Temple Bhubaneshwar Orissa 950 AD 950 AD Hoysaleswara - Hassan Karnataka 12c Siva 12C AD Sun Temple - Konark Orissa 13C AD Keerthinarayana Temple Mysore Karnataka 1117 AD Visnu 1117 AD Rajasthan Eklingji Temple - Udaipur 15C AD 5C AD Keshava Temple - Mysore Karnataka 1268 AD 1268 AD 1367 AD Chidambaram Temple Chidambaram Tamil Nadu Gulbarga Fort Mosque Bijapur Karnataka 16 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Kanchipuram Temples Chennai Tamil Nadu 6 C AD Brihadeeshwara Temple Thanjavur Tamil Nadu 985-1013 AD 985-1013 AD 1600 AD Mahabalipuram Temples Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu 830-1100 AD Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Thiruvananthapuram Kerala 1600 Visnu Meenakshi Temple Madurai Tamil Nadu 16-18 C AD Srikalahasti Temple Chittoor Andhra Pradesh 16c Siva 16C AD Rameshwaram Temples Rameshwaram Tamil Nadu 17C AD Kiliroor Kunninmel Temple - Kottayam Kerala 1200 AD Parvati 1200 AD Thanjavur Temples Thanjavur Tamil Nadu Raja Raja Cholan built 1003-1010 AD Suryanarayana Temple, Arasavalli - Sri Kakulam Andhra Pradesh 7c 7C AD Vishwanath Temple Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 1627/ rebuilt 1776 Thrikovu Shiva Temple, Cochin - Kochi Kerala 15c Siva 15 C AD Badrinath Temple Badrinath Uttaranchal Sankara built this 9C AD Sirkazhi Sattanathar Temple - Nagappattinam Tamil Nadu 10c siva 10 C AD Kedranath Temple Kedarnath Uttaranchal 8C AD Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple - Mavelikkara Kerala 1014 AD Murugan 1014 AD Srisailam Temple Kurnool Andhra Pradesh 1404 AD Augharnath Mandir Meerut Uttar Pradesh 1000 AD Freedom fighters 1000 AD Sri Bhagavati Temple Parshem Goa 1600 AD Sree Yandra Saneeswarar Temple - Tiruvannamalai Tamil Nadu 1535 AD Sri Mahalakshmi Temple Panaji Goa 1413 AD Sri Mahalasa Temple Mangueshi Goa 17c 17c AD Sun Temple - Modhera Gujarat 1026-1027 AD 19C AD Mahadev Temple - Panaji Goa 12c 12 C AD 1556-1686 AD 1204 AD Chintpurni Temple - Una Himachal Pradesh Devi Shankeshwar Temple Modhera Gujarat 1656-1686 AD Mansa Devi Temple Panchkula Haryana 1811 – 1815 AD Baij Nath Temple Kausani Uttaranchal 1204 AD Siva Gundala Mallikarjuna Swami Temple - 10C AD Ettumanoor Temple Kottayam 16 16C AD 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh Kerala 16c 1553 AD Hadimba Devi Temple Manali Himachal Pradesh Lokanarkavu Temple Kozhikode Kerala 5c AD durga 5C AD Balasundari Temple Nahan Himachal Pradesh 1573 AD Parasurameswara Temple Bhubaneshwar Orissa Siva 4C AD? Jammu & Kashmir Sudh Mahadev - Patnitop 855- 883 AD Leaning Temple Sambalpur Orissa Siva 1670 AD Avantipur Temple Avantipur 855 – 883 AD Jammu & Kashmir Avantivarman built Bramheswara Temple Bhubaneshwar Orissa Siva 11C AD Chamundeswari Temple Mysore Karnataka Chamundi Devi 12C AD Khirachora Gopinath Temple - Balasore Orissa Krishna 650 AD Channakeshava Temple Belur Karnataka 1117 AD Govind Devji Temple Jaipur Rajasthan Krishna 1670 AD Krishna Temple - Hampi Karnataka 1513 AD Govind Devji Temple Jaipur Rajasthan Krishna 1050 AD Hazara Temple - Hampi Karnataka 15C AD Rudranath Temple Gaurikund Uttaranchal 8c 8C AD Gavi Gangadeshwara Temple - Bangalore Karnataka siva 16C AD Ananta Vasudeva Temple Bhubaneshwar Orissa 1278 AD Visnu 1278 AD Deogarh Temple - Gwalior Madhya Pradesh 8-17 C AD The Oldest Temple that we have today do not go beyond the 6th Century AD. In many cases there is no dating possible and history will be replaced with myths which makes it impossible to date the construction of the temple. These are therefore omitted. I suppose these samples are enough to give an insight. World's First Granite Temple The Brihadeswara temple at Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu is the first temple in the world to be built with granite. The shikhara is made from a single ' 80-tonne ' piece of granite. Also, this magnificient 16 7. PURANAS, TEMPLES AND THEIR DATES temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola Oldest known Indian Temple Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Newspaper reports suggested that Mundeshwari Temple was built in 108 A D. (Hindu Blog) 100 feet Statue of Siva of Mundeshwari Temple 16 8. AGE OF REASON CHAPTER 8 THE AGE OF REASON: THE DECLINE OF VEDISM AND THE RISE OF RATIONALISM Radical changes in Indian religion and thought occurred during the Later Vedic Age. This development is clearly seen in the Brahmanas. Here we see the emergence of the Brahmin priests to a position of supreme power and privilege in society. There is a marked difference in the approach to deity before and after the Brahmana period. During the Early Vedic Age, sacrifice had been only a means of appeasing the gods of nature and getting favors based on the mercy and mood of the gods themselves. Now the tables are turned. The Brahmanas has the power to compel gods to act. Gods will have to act under compulsion if proper rituals are performed. Now it became the means of compelling the gods to act, provided the correct ritual was employed in ritual purity. In effect, gods became the servants of the Brahmin priests. "Devadhinam jagat sarvarm Mantradhinam ta devata Tam Mantram Brahmandhinam Brahmana nam devata" "The Universe is under the power of gods, The gods are under the power of the mantras, 16 8. AGE OF REASON The mantras are under the power of the Brahmins, Therefore, the Brahmins are our gods. " Abbe J.A. Dubois's "Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies" Oxford, Third Edition 1906, Page 139. ” This supremacy of the priestly class had its origin in the Purohita (praepositus, = he that is placed in front'), the family priest, who, as ritual developed, took the place of the house-father, by whom the earlier and simpler worship had been conducted. The priests of the Rig-Veda were not yet organized into a profession, nor did they claim their office by hereditary right. However, the period of the Brahmanas shows a rapid development of their pretensions. We are told that there are two kinds of gods, the Devas and the Brahmanas, the latter regarded as deities among men. With this new theology was combined the dogma of the supremacy of sacrifice. 'The sun would not rise,' says the Satapatha Brahmana, 'if the priest did not make sacrifice.' When we meet it first in the Indian ritual, sacrifice is merely a thank-offering ; then it comes to be regarded as a means of nourishing the Pitri, or the gods; finally, a means of wresting favours from them. This naturally resulted in the exaltation of sacrificial ritual. Every religious act must be accompanied by its special Mantra, or formula, each word of which is momentous, each tone fraught with mystery. “ Dr. Hopkins (Religions of India) 1894 This was a direct result of the nature of the Vedic gods. If these gods are powers of nature, by Simple knowing the laws of nature, we will be able to control those forces. It is simple science. The power lay in the mantras and the perfectness and technical accuracy of the ritual performance. deviations and errors will make the machine go wrong and will result in curses and destruction. These expertise and Vedic knowledge were family secrets. In so doing, Brahmins became the superior class even greater than the gods. Brahmins strengthened their position over the nobles and rulers of the Kshatriya class. This eventually produced its reaction in the growth of several rationalistic movement of which the major two were Buddhism and Jainism. What these rationalists were asserting was that the Vedic rituals were just superstitions imposed by the Brahmins to assert their superiority. The real control of the cosmic powers can be achieved by scientific methods. The other more materialistic rational movements eventually died out. We know about them only from the writing of those who denied their atheism. Jain documents clearly mentions four groups” There are four (heretical) creeds, which the disputants severally uphold: 1. the Kriyâvâda, 2. the Akriyâvâda, 3. the Vinayavâda, and 4. the Agñânavâda. Gaina Sutras, Part II TWELFTH LECTURE, CALLED THE CREED . 16 8. AGE OF REASON According to one tradition there were 5 heretical sects. From the point of view of Vedism, there are eight. They are: 1. Akriyavadins of Purana Kassapa, 2. Anuvadins of Pakuda Kattayana, 3. Ajivakas of Makkhali Gosala, 4. The materialists of Ajita Kesa Kambalin, and 5. The sceptics of Sanjaya Belattiputta. 6. The materialistic Lokayata of Carvaka 7. Buddhism 8. Jainism 1. Akriyavadins of Purana Kassapa Purana Kassapa taught a no-action theory called akriyavada. “Purana Kassapa said to King Ajatasattu - To him who acts, O King, or causes another- to act, to him who mutilates or causes another to mutilate, to him who punishes or causes another to punish, to him 16 8. AGE OF REASON who causes grief or torment, to him who trembles or causes others to tremble, to him who kills a living creature, who takes what is not given, who breaks into houses, who commits dacoity or robbery or highway robbery, or adultery, or who speaks lies, to him thus acting there is no guilt. If with a discus with an edge sharp as a razor he should make all the living creatures on the earth one heap, one mass, of flesh, there would be no guilt thence resulting, no increase of guilt would ensue. Were he to go along the south bank of the Ganges striking and slaying, mutilating and having men mutilated, oppressing and having men oppressed, there would be no guilt thence resulting, no increase of guilt would ensue. Were he to go along the north bank of the Ganges giving alms, and ordering gifts to be given, offering sacrifices or causing them to be offered, there would be no merit thence resulting, no increase of merit. In generosity, in self-mastery, in control of the senses, in speaking truth there is neither merit, nor increase of merit.” (Maha Bodhi Journal, Vol. 36, Jan. 1928) 2. Anuvadins of Pakuda Kattayana, Pakuda Katyayana taught that the soul was superior to good and evil, thus unchanged or untouched by it. He classified everything into seven categories, i.e. earth, water, fire, air, pleasure, pain and soul, which were eternal. Hence, Mahavira and Buddha called his doctrine Eternalism. Both Kassapa and Katyayana believed that the soul existed independently of the body and thus unaffected by karma. “Pakuda Katyayana said to the king: The following seven things are neither made nor commanded to be made, neither created nor caused to be created, they are barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, as a pillar firmly fixed. They move not, neither do they vary, they trench not oneupon another nor avail aught as to case or pain or both. And what are the seven? The four elements - earth, water, fire, and air - and ease and pain, and the soul as a seventh. So there is neither slayer nor causer of slaying, hearer or speaker, knower or explainer. When one with a sharp sword cleaves a head in twain no one thereby deprives any one of life, a sword has only penetrated into the interval between seven elementary substances” (Maha Bodhi Journal, Vol. 36, Jan. 1928) 3. Ajivakas of Makkhali Goshala Maskariputra 'Followers of the way of Life,' Ajivikas were founded by Goshala Maskariputra (c 484 BC?) a disciple, and later a rival contemporary of Mahavira Jain, forming a group of wandering ascetics. Ajivikas were deterministic philosophers. Since everything is based on cause effect relationship, and the entire world follows mechanistically, based on physical laws of action and reaction the transmigration of the human soul was determined by a precise and non-personal cosmic principle called Niyati (destiny or fate). They did not believe in the Free Will of man. Destiny was predetermined and could not be changed by any Karma, and it is impossible to influence the cycle of birth and rebirth as Jains and Buddhists imagined. Nirvana was only reached after going through all the predetermined lives, the last being as an Ajivika monk. They were more like the ultra Calvinist of this era. Accordingly knowing the entire natural forces one can foretell the future precisely. Purana Kassapa claimed to know all about the past, the present and the future. 17 8. AGE OF REASON ” All animals, all creatures, all beings, all souls, are without force and power and energy of their own. They are bent this way and that by their fate, by the necessary conditions of the class to which they belong, by their individual nature : and it is according to their position in one or other of the six classes that they experience ease or pain.” Three Tamil texts, the Manimakalai of the Buddhists, the Nilakesi of the Jains, and the Sivajnanasiddhiyar of the Saivites, all contain outlines of Ajivika doctrine. The Ajivika teacher Puranan in the Nilakesi says, "Though we may speak of moments, there is really no time at all." This was the theory of avicalita-nityatvam, unmoving permanence. In addition, to the Ajivikas the soul was also atomic and could not be divided. In its natural state outside the body, it is immense in size, five hundred leagues (yogana) in extent. Emperor Bidusara the father of Emperor Asoka was an Ajivika. The movement died out eventually but lived until 14c AD. There were probably large numbers of ascetic groups into Mauryan times who lived as far as Karnataka. (Basham, A.L. (2002). History and Doctrines of the Ājīvikas. Delhi, India: Moltilal Banarsidass Publications. ISBN 81-208-1204-2. ) 4. The materialists of Ajita Kesa Kambalin Ajita Kesa Kambalin, another contemporary of Buddha went further and taught complete materialism. He did not believe in the afterlife and considered death as the final phase of all souls, fools as well as the wise. “Ajita Kesakambali, who wore the garment of human hair, said: "There is no such thing, 0 King, as alms or sacrifice or offering. There is neither fruit nor result of good or evil deeds. There is neither father nor mother, nor beings springing into life without them. There are in the world no recluses or Brahmans who have reached the highest point, who walk perfectly, and who having understood and realized, by themselves alone, both this world and the next, make their wisdom known to others. A human being is built up of the four elements, and when he dies the earthly in him, returns and relapses to the earth, the fluid to the water, the heat to the fire, the windy to the air, and his faculties pass into space. The four, bearers of the bier take his dead body away to the burning ground. The talk of offerings, this talk of gifts is a doctrine of fools. It is in empty lie, mere idle talk. Fools and wise alike on the dissolution of the body, are cut off, annihilated, and after death they are not. " (Maha Bodhi Journal, Vol. 36, Jan. 1928) 5. The skeptics of Sanjaya Belattiputta – the Agnostics Sanjaya Belattiputta said : 17 8. AGE OF REASON If you ask me whether there is another world - well, if 1 thought there were, I would say so. But I don't say so. And I don't think it is thus or thus. And I don't think it is otherwise. And I don't deny it. And 1 don't say there neither is, nor is not, another world. And if you ask me about the beings produced by chance or whether there is any fruit, any result, of good or bad actions or whether a man who has won the truth continues, or not, after death-to each or any of these questions do 1 give the same reply. “Many Christians, as well as many Hindus, make the erroneous statement that Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism. A cursory glance at the history of what is today called Hinduism would show the statement to be false. The dominant popular religion of the area where Siddhartha Gautama began his teachings was one of animal sacrifice, prayer, magical incantations, and ritual purity. ……. A special class of people known as the Brahmans were the priests and arbiters of this religion. They were responsible for the ritual purity, the sacrifices, and for all other aspects of the religion. Many of the foundations of Hinduism came from this religion, which is Vedism. However, what we think of as Hinduism today was largely developed centuries after the spread of Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama was from a background in which he learned well this religion. He maintained a very skeptical attitude towards it; pointing out that the Brahmans could use the religion and the special status afforded their caste to secure wealth and dominance over the populace at large” Buddhism Offshoot of Hinduism? 6. The materialistic Nastik Lokayata (Atheistic Worldly Ones) of Carvaka The school of materialism called the Charvaka (also called Lokayat) did not believe in the cycle of rebirth and transmigration. The frugal virtues of Buddhism and Jainism were rejected and followers were encouraged to reject all religious observances and make the most of life’s pleasures! The original writings of the Charvaka are lost to us, though Brhaspati is said to be its author. We know of the existence of such a system more from comments its opponents, who were Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical scholars. The Charvakas totally disregarded Vedas as false and even referred to the authors of the three Vedas as demons. According to them, all scriptures like Vedas consist of three major flaws - fallacy, self-contradiction and tautology. They were of the belief that the sacrificial rituals benefited only the priestly class. Charvakas denied accepting the existence of after-life, rebirth, heaven, hell, soul or gods or goddess, as those are not amenable to sense perception. Charvakas believed that the material Universe did exist. However, of God as a creator, it is only an assumption. The matter consisted of four elements: earth, water, energy and air. The creation of life is a specific process of nature and it evolved out of the composite composition of four elements. With death, all ends. That life originated from inanimate substance: "Joro shobhab bhuto-chotustoy hotey praaner utpotti. 17 8. AGE OF REASON Ramayana mentions their philosophy as follows:. “Regard only that which is an object of perception, and cast behind your back whatever is beyond the reach of your senses “(2.108) "Among the books that have been lost is the entire literature of materialism ...much of the literature of materialism in India was destroyed by the priests an other believers in the orthodox religion during subsequent periods." Nehru, The Discovery of India Madhava Acharya wrote an extensive review of the Charvaka system in the 14th century A.D. in the Sarvadarshanasamghraha in an attempt to refute it. We get most of our information about Carvaka from his work. “...but how can we attribute to the Divine Being the giving of supreme felicity, when such a notion has been utterly abolished by Charvaka, the crest-gem of the atheistic school, the follower of the doctrine of Brihaspati? The efforts of Charvaka are indeed hard to be eradicated, for the majority of living beings hold by the current refrain: While life is yours, live joyously; None can escape Death's searching eye: When once this frame of ours they burn, How shall it e'er again return?” “The Agnihotra, the three Vedas, the ascetic's three staves, and smearing oneself with ashes — Brihaspati says, these are but means of livelihood for those who have no manliness nor sense. “In this school there are four elements, earth, water, fire and air; and from these four elements alone is intelligence produced — just like the intoxicating power from kinwa &c, mixed together; since in "I am fat", "I am lean", these attributes abide in the same subject, and since fatness, &c, reside only in the body, it alone is the soul and no other, and such phrases as "my body" are only significant metaphorically. “If a beast slain in the Jyothishtoma rite will itself go to heaven, why then does not the sacrificer forthwith offer his own father? “If the Sraddha produces gratification to beings who are dead, 17 8. AGE OF REASON then why not give food down below to those who are standing on the house-top? “If he who departs from the body goes to another world, how is it that he come not back again, restless for love of his kindred? “Hence it is only as a means of livelihood that Brahmans have established here all these ceremonies for the dead, — there is no other fruit anywhere. The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons. All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc. and all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in Aswamedha, these were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests, while the eating of flesh was similarly commanded by nightprowling demons.” The Sarva-darsana-sangraha, Madhavacharya 7. Buddhism The Vedas themselves does not tell us about Buddhism. However, Buddhist literature addresses the existing Brahminical religion clearly. Even though they were written down after several decades, we do have the basic criticism of Buddha on the Vedic religion. The Brhmaadhammika Sutta is an unambiguous exposition of the Buddha's attitude to both Brahmans and their ritual; he traces a gradual degeneration of the Brahmans from selfless seekers after truth to money-grabbing sacrificers who kill cattle and persuade kings to perform sacrifices, saying, and “Much indeed is your wealth. Increase it by the performance of sacrifice." The Buddha states that even Indra and other deities discard these Brahmans... Similar, and even more severe, attacks on the ancient Brahminic institution of sacrifice are found in abundance in the Buddhist Canon. (see Instead of these mumbojumbo rituals, Buddha proposed rational scientific reasoning and find out how we can change our societies and ourselves. This must be based on the science of cause- effect relationship, which is the law of Kamma or Karma 17 8. AGE OF REASON Buddha (circa 563 to 483 BC) The Samyutta Nikaya states: "According to the seed that’s sown, So is the fruit you reap there from, Doer of good will gather good, Doer of evil, evil reaps, Down is the seed and thou shalt taste The fruit thereof." Karma is a law in itself, which operates in its own field without the intervention of any external, independent ruling agency. The bad seed is the wrong mental attitude and thinking. Out of it comes bad actions and evil for self and for society. "Listen, Tapassi. Of these three types of kamma (thought, word and deed) so distinguished by me, I say that mental kamma has the heaviest consequences for the committing of evil deeds and the existence of evil deeds, not bodily or verbal kamma." The other basic theory for Buddhism was the law of reincarnation. Every birth is conditioned by a past good or bad karma, which predominated at the moment of death. Karma that conditions the future birth is called Reproductive Karma. The death of a person is merely ‘a temporary end of a temporary phenomenon’. Though the present form perishes, another form, which is neither the same nor the totally different takes its place, according to the potential thoughtvibration generated at the death moment, because the Karmic force which propels the life-flux still survives. It is this last thought, which is technically called Reproductive (janaka) Karma, that determines the state of a person in his subsequent birth. This may be either a good or a bad Karma. 17 8. AGE OF REASON Unlike the modern understanding of reincarnation, it is not the same person who continues to be born again. The energy or will to live causes continuation of motion. There is no such thing as soul in Buddhism and so there is no continuation of Soul in reincarnation. Cycle of Reincarnation according to Buddhism 17 8. AGE OF REASON 17 8. AGE OF REASON BUDDHIST CONCEPT OF BRAHMA As Buddhism entered the Christian era it got mixed with Gnosticism also and developed myths and legends parallel to that of Hinduism. They reacted with the myths and legends of Hinduism which emerged by that time in strange ways. sorcery. Later Mahayanist took over many of the Hindu magic and It is this fall from the heights of science into magic and myths that finally destroyed Buddhism. It started by laughing at the myths as the following stories and Jatakas illustrate. Kevaddha sutta Dig. Nik. XI tells of else. Finally he arrived at Brahmâ himself along with all the host of the other gods. After hearing the question, which was ‘Where do the elements cease and leave no trace behind?” Brahmâ replied, "I am the Great Brahmâ, the Supreme, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Controller, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be." "But," said the monk, "I did not ask you, friend, whether you were indeed all you now say, but I ask you where the four elements cease and leave no trace." Then the Great Brahmâ took him by the arm and led him aside and said, "These gods think I know and understand everything. Therefore I gave no answer in their presence. But I do not know the answer to your question and you had better go and ask the Buddha." Kevaddha Sutta has a strange account of how Brahma himself came to be eternal. Dig. Nik. I. chap. 2, 1-6. [The radiant gods are the Abhassara, of Dhammap 200]. ‘There comes a time when this world system passes away and then certain beings are reborn in the World of Radiance and remain there a long time. Sooner or later, the world system begins to evolve again and the palace of Brahmâ appears, but it is empty. Then some being whose time is up falls from the World of Radiance and comes to life in the palace and remains there alone. At last he wishes for company, and it so happens that other beings whose time is up fall from the World of Radiance and join him. And the first being thinks that he is Great Brahmâ, the Creator, because when he felt lonely and wished for companions other beings appeared. And the other beings accept this view. And at last one of Brahmâ's retinue falls from that state and is born in the human world and, if he can remember his previous birth, he reflects that he is transitory but that Brahmâ still remains and from this he draws the erroneous conclusion that Brahmâ is eternal.” Still there was a great body of Buddhist and Jain legend in ancient India which handled the same stories as Brahmanic legend—e.g. the tale of Krishna—but in a slightly different manner. The characteristic form of Buddhist legend is the Jâtaka, or birth story. Folk-lore and sagas, ancient jokes how a monk who wanted to know about the dissolution and formation of cosmos went about asking of it to various gods who always pointed him to somebody 17 8. AGE OF REASON and tragedies, the whole stock in trade of rhapsodists and minstrels are made an edifying and interesting branch of scripture by simply identifying the principal characters with the Buddha, his friends and his enemies in their previous births In Maj. Nik. 49 Buddha tells his disciples how he once ascertained that Brahmâ Baka was under the delusion that his heaven was eternal and cured him of it ( See Hinduism and Buddhism – Charles Eliot 1902) 17 8. AGE OF REASON 8. Jainism Jainism was also another religion based on very similar rationalism. Mahavira Vardhamana (599 – 527 BC, though possibly 549 – 477 BC) was the founder of Jainism. “The Jains from the beginning have held that there is no Brahman-Atman, such as the Brahmins describe. No unity of substance or being holds the universe together. There is no Supreme Ruler of the world, such as the devout look to. There are numerous higher beings, who might be called "gods," and who exist on the various levels of the celestial regions; but they are finite beings, subject like men to rebirth. No help, Mahavira taught, could be expected from such beings, themselves in need of redemption. Therefore human souls caught in the predicament of existence in the physical world, needing to find a way of escape from karma through moksha or release, must realize that salvation is self-attained. Praying to the gods is of no avail. A monk or nun should not say, "The god of the sky! The god of the thunderstorm! The god of lightning! The god who begins to rain! ... May rain fall, or may it not fall! May the crops grow! May the sun rise!" They should not use such speech. But, knowing the nature of things, he should say, "The air; a cloud has gathered, or come down; the cloud has rained." Jainism casted its concepts on rigid scientific terms and classifications and laws. It is a science in its own right. It is probably the most scientific religion ever evolved. According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. They even consider “Karma” as fine infinitely small cosmic particles in order to give it the scientific 18 8. AGE OF REASON basis similar to the early ether concept in physics. Karmic particles are considered very similar to neurons that cause emotional reactions, imbalance in body and mind causing actions. “Karmas are the derivatives of the karman particles. The Karman particles are made up of the nonliving matter (pudgals). They are scattered and floating all over the universe (Lok). They are very very fine particles and we are neither able to see them with our eyes or with the regular microscope. A cluster of such innumerable karman particles is called a karman vargana. The karman varganas is one of the eight kinds of pudgal varganas. The karman vargana has the most subtle particles. When the soul acts with a passion like aversion or attachment; or anger, greed, ego, or deceitfulness, it attracts these karman varganas to itself. When these karman varganas get attached to the soul, they are called karmas. Karmas are classified into eight categories depending upon their nature. The karmas can be good (punya) or bad (Pap). The good karmas are the result of good or pious activities while the bad karmas are the result of bad or sinful activities.” Jains believe that every thing has life and this also includes stones, sand, trees and every other living creatures including animals and man and even devas. Thus, there are infinite levels of life existence. Every soul continues to reincarnate depending on the karmic effect. The Jains believe in the eternity of the soul, and there are thought to be multitudes of souls or life/monads, which are all independent and eternal. Thus, both Buddhism and Jainism were based on the basic assumption that the whole cosmos is based on rational laws to which everything is subject to. The first principle of both was the law of Karma, the Cause - Effect relationship. Like all scientific endeavors, the assumption of a supreme god or existence of gods was negated. Instead, gods themselves were under the law of karma just as every other being. Since the world really exists, and things change it naturally included the law of conservation of matter and spirits, which led to the principle of reincarnation – matter and energy change forms and takes up new relationships. This was a concept brought in by the Greeks into India. Both Jainism and Buddhism refused to acknowledge a being beyond the scientific realm. 18 8. AGE OF REASON 18 8. AGE OF REASON 18 8. AGE OF REASON Thus, Buddhism was not an offshoot of Hinduism nor was Jainism. They were a reaction to the Vedic ritualism and Brahminic domination. necessarily atheistic. They were the scientific rationalist of the period and so It was the scientific theory of the time and was not to be thought of as a religion at all. These were the uprising of rationalism, which existed at all times in history. Buddhism and Jainism emerged in India during a period of great cultural, intellectual and spiritual development, with the influences of foreign cultures of Greece and Syria. Some of the previously accepted truths of the religion were beginning to be questioned and the religious leaders were being asked to defend their views and teachings. Furthermore, the old tribal structure of society was diminishing. Common people stood against the caste system introduced by the Brahmins. Instead of the gods who controlled the universe, scientific understanding of the laws of universe and beings were emphasized. The result was an increasing number of breakaway sects, of which Buddhism and Jainism were probably the most successful. They could trace their origins from the beginning of mankind. Soon after the rise of Buddhism and Jainism in India, Vedic religion began to loose its grip in India. In Indian history Buddhism and Jainism practically eradicated Vedism. The whole of south India comprising the Deccan, Karnataka, Andhra and Tamilnadu was a great stronghold of Jains, especially Digambara Jains. By the time of Asoka Vedism practically disappeared from India. Both North and Vedics remained as a small minority among the people who South India were Buddhist and Jain. claimed Aryan origin. “The Satavahanas (28 BC - 250 AD), also known as the Andhras, emerged as an independent power in the Deccan in the first century BC. It was founded by Simuka (65 BC - 25 BC). His son, Satakarni (25 BC - 20 AD), succeeded him. Under the Satavahanas, many Buddhist worshipping halls (Chaityas) and monasteries (Viharas) were cut out from rocks. Some famous examples are Amravati and Nagarjuna Konda. Buddhist cave temples were also cut at the now-famous sites of Ajanta and Ellora.” 18 8. AGE OF REASON Buddhist proselytism at the time of king Ashoka (260-218 BC), according to his Edicts Thus, the atheistic rationalistic religions Buddhism, Jainism and others effectively wiped out the Vedic religion by the end of the era just before the coming of Christianity into India. This can be interpreted as the wiping out of superstitious fear of nature by the rationalistic thinkers of the period. During the period immediately before and after the Christian Era, Vedism was practically wiped out from India. They remained a minority religious group claiming Aryan origin. The case of Kerala, the southern most area of India stands as a supreme example of what happened. In Kerala for example the temples shows the history as follows: “EARLIEST SHRINES (Before 300 BC) (these stand for local religions) EARLY JAIN TEMPLES (c.300 BC to 500 AD) EARLY BUDDHIST TEMPLES (c.200 BC to 800 AD) HINDUISM & THE 'NEW' BRAHMINICAL TEMPLES (c.800 AD onwards)” 18 8. AGE OF REASON K.R. Vaidyanathan observes: "Like Jainism, Buddhism also held sway in ancient Kerala during the reign of Asoka in the 3rd century B.C. Coming by sea, Buddhism was popular in coastal districts, Karumati, Mavelikkara, Bharanikkavu, Pallikkal, Karunagappalli, Idappalli, Dharmapattabnam, Matayi and Pallikkunny being its chief centers... Many prominent Hindu Temples of today like the Vadakkunnathan temple, Trichur and the Kurumga Bhagwati Temple, Kondugallur, and even the famous Ayyappa shrine atop Sabarimala are believed to have been at one time Buddhist shrines. ... While Jainism did hardly leave any impress on Kerala society, Buddhism was absorbed in Hinduism in respect of some of its ceremonies and forms of worship. The images, processions and utsavam, etc. associated with popular worship in present day Hindu temples in Kerala are said to be a legacy of Buddhism. Even the chakiyar kuttu conducted in temples is said to be an adaptation of the Buddhist monk's religious expositions." [Vaidyanathan: 1982] There is no trace of Vedism or Hinduism before 800 AD certainly in Kerala. It was totally wiped out by the beginning of Christian Era. If they existed, it was as a weak minority group. Even the present day Brahmins cannot trace their lineage before 8c AD. and was revamped as modern Hinduism. It is also to be noted that today there is no trace of Buddhism or Jainism in Kerala. absorbed them. Hinduism took over the Jain and Buddhist temples. The Trichur were all originally Buddhist temples. Thus, the period was a period of enlightenment, which advocated reason as the primary authority as opposed to the Vedas. A close parallel with the 18th century Age of Reason is easily discerned. This was a liberation movement of the time. Gradually India began to turn away from the gory ritualistic Hinduism Instead, another religion grew out of Christianity, which came to be known as Hinduism. This eventually was taken over by the Brahmins Vadakkunnathan Temple of Trichur, the Kurumba Bhagavathi Temple of Cannanore, and the Durga Temple at Paruvasseri near 18 8. AGE OF REASON sacrifice of animals and humans and of the Vedic gods. exploitation of masses in the name of religion This Age of Reason swept away Vedism and Brahminic superiority. By the beginning of Christian Era Vedism was practically dead. A few Vedic Brahmins remained scattered all over India, but without Power. Bhavishya Purana explicitly admits this in the following statement: “At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded” Buddha and Mahavir Jina (the founder of Jainism) were eventually considered incarnations of Vishnu, and hence Vaishnavas now consider Buddhism and Jainism as subsects of the Vaishnava religion! They opposed the caste system and 18 9. COMING OF THOMAS CHAPTER 9 THE COMING OF THOMAS What we have seen is that there is a total discontinuity in the basic concept of God in the history of Indian religions. Suddenly, in the first few centuries of the Christian era there arose a religion, which was very distinct from Vedism along with large number of written scriptures, which explained those principles. These cannot be explained except by recognizing the coming of St.Thomas the Apostle of Jesus into the Indian scene. Thomas came to India in AD 52 and India was never been the same after him. 18 9. COMING OF THOMAS There a few specific items that cannot be explained in any other way. Yet these are the core essence of Hinduism as is claimed today. These are: Monotheism – A persons God who is above all gods who is involved in the matters of man. The concept of Isvara. The very name Isa to mean God came in only after the arrival of St. Thomas. Trinity – God appeared in three distinct personal forms of Father, Sakti and Son. We have traced the development of Trimurti earlier. It was a very new concept and was eventually degenerated with the essential unity and oneness of Godhead was lost through Gnostic duality and conflict. . Gods themselves were in constant fight in Vedism as it is also true within modern Hinduism. discuss what happened in a later chapter. Incarnation – God incarnates into this world out of his intense of love for humankind to provide redemption and salvation through faith in Him. This also includes the idea of Logos, the Word, which was translated as AUM and has now become the central symbol of Hinduism. AUM is found in the front of all early Christian churches in Kerala predating any mention of AUM in the Upanishads. It represents the oneness of the Trinitarian God who is the revealed to humankind through Sages. We will 18 9. COMING OF THOMAS Another symbol, which is closely connected with Christianity, is Lingam, the Form of the formless God, which is worshipped by the Saivites. It was initially the symbol of word becoming flesh. The Formless took Form. ”The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” ”By His stripes we have been healed” 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS All these were very new to the Indian religions. unacceptable hermeneutics. I see no way of explaining these away as something, which was hidden in the Vedas, because that will require twisting of the truth and The usual method employed to accomplish this is to use allegorical interpretation. Anyone who had used allegory knows that any body can establish anything using allegory because there the interpreter imposes his own meaning and symbolism without justification on the text. Bhakthi or faith itself took up a new meaning with the coming of Christianity. Puja and sacrifices were indeed in existence even in the Vedic religion. However, the intent of those was to give gods something in exchange for something the yajamana of the yajna can get from them. Gods liked Whisky (Soma drink) so we give it to them. In return, the Yajamana gets prosperity, children etc. That is barter, not Bhakthi. Bhakthi towards a loving God is in response to who God is, whom we know in our daily life through his faithfulness, provision and love. Man cannot bribe God. This is what Christianity presented. God drank the poison vicariously to save mankind. In response, he demands total surrender. This was the basis of the later Bhakthi movement of South India. Bhakthi movement was a resurgence of the lost concept of Bhakthi as brought in by Thomas. It somehow got lost. We will discuss the mechanism and the agent of such heresy in another chapter. Evidently, something happened during the period soon after the advent of Christian Era in the history of Indian Religions. Vedism disappeared totally which was reeling under the pressure of rationalistic atheistic religious movements of Buddhism and Jainism. There were only three choices for common man – rigorously ascetic religions of Jainism and Buddhism or primitive village gods and goddesses. Brahmins were at the verge of extinction and were scattered throughout India as minority groups trying to clasp at the final straw. The straw came in the form of a foreigner who brought in a totally new religion, which no one has ever heard of before. This was good news – that there is indeed a Supreme God 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS of all creation who cared enough for mankind that he incarnated himself on this earth to redeem those who are heavy laden. Brahmins all over India took this message seriously. After all they had very little to survive. In Kerala alone seventy five families of Brahmins – all who were in that part of India – took shelter under the new religion. The cases elsewhere were no different. However, in Kerala we know that there were no Brahmins until the seventh century showing thereby that it was a people’s movement. The whole Brahmin community surrendered to Christ. powerful medium of folk songs and arts. These include: 1 The Song of the Deacon – the Chapter on Thomas known to us as “Rambaan Pattu – Thoma Parvam” 2. The Morality Plays of the Christians. - The Drama of the Way known in Malayalam as “Margam Kali” 3. The Songs of the Sons of the Great Kings : known in Malayalam as Maapilla Paattu. 4. Songs on Stringed Instrument - Veeradian Pattu – Villadichan Pattu 5. Chavittu Nadakam : Tap Drama Kerala Christians still claim descend from those seventy-five. The story of these conversions is handed down orally through the The Malabar (Kerala) and Indian traditions are referred to by the early Church Fathers through the history of the church. Among them are the following references: Clement of Alexandria 3rd C AD ( 235) Doctrine of the Apostles 3rd C AD Syria Oriegen 3rd (185-254 AD) quoted in Eusebius Alexandria Eusebius (early 4th cent.) Caesarea St. Jerome (342-420 A.D.) about the mission of Pantaenus, to India St. Ephrem (306-373 A.D.), St. Gregory of Nazianze (324-390 A.D.), St. Ambrose (333-397 A.D.), St. Jerome, St. Gregory of Tours (6th cent.) Isidore of Seville (7th cent.) . all 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS St.Thomas the Apostle Thomas was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus who had been with him for over three years as a witness to his teachings and actions. He himself was a hard-core scientist who would not believe in anything true just because some one told him and would trust them only after verification. Thus, he insisted that he touch the wound of the resurrected Jesus to confirm that it was Jesus himself and not any apparition. Having confirmed he became the most powerful Apostle. No wonder Jesus wanted him to go to India into the midst of the Rationalistic Atheistic Buddhists, Jains and to other groups who were materialists. He was himself all that and he could bear witness in their midst. Thomas himself was no Gnostic, as some would like to him to be represented. Later Syrian (Aryan origin) Gnostic would write up and make Puranas (as is the character of all Gnostic religions) which we have as Gnostic Gospels, written as late as third century, soon after the appearance of modern Hinduism. Christian sacred text would not include any document written after the death of the last of the Apostles, John, to ensure the accuracy of the testimony. 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS Apocryphal records do bear some witness and are valuable historical documents once its purposes are understood. In a world where a continued attempt is made to destroy and distort truth about Jesus, it is at least something to go about. We have at least the historic presence of the persons and places given to us in these books. Acts of Thomas is one such important document. It was not written as history but as a fiction using the style of the period. However, in it and through it we have the names and the places and events in history regarding the ministry of Thomas in India. One thing is certain. His ministry covered the entire India from Taxila in the North to Malabar Coast in the South. However, something happened to the records in India that we have a blank period of history indicating an intentional destruction of historical documents for this period and the growth of the church in India. This period is known as Kalabhra Inter-regnum – the dark ages. fathers to their children. Information on Acts of Thomas Harold W. Attridge describes the Acts of Thomas as follows: (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 531): Pseudepigraphic text which relates the adventures of the apostle Judas Thomas as he preaches an ascetical or encratite form of Christianity on the way to and from India. Like other apocryphal acts combining popular legend and religious propaganda, the work attempts to entertain and instruct. In addition to narratives of Thomas' adventures, its poetic and liturgical elements provide important evidence for early Syrian Christian traditions. Attridge writes about the attestation to the Acts of Thomas (op. cit., p. 531): The major Syriac witnesses (B.M. add. 14.645) dates to 936 C.E. the earliest Syriac witnesses to the text, a fragmentary palimpset (Sinai 30), dates from the 5th or 6th century. The major Greek witnesses (Paris. gr. 1510 and Vallicel. B 35) date to the 11th century, although there are partial Greek witnesses dating from the 10th. Some form of the work was clearly in circulation by the end of the 4th century when testimonies begin. Epiphanius (Anac. 47.1 and 60.1.5) records its use by Encratites. Augustine (de serm. dom. in monte 1.20.65; c. Adiamantium 17; c. Faustum 14 and 22.79) attests its use by Manicheans, and allusions are found in the Manichean Psalms. Attestations continue sporadically until the 9th-century Byzantine patriarch Photius (Cod. 114) and the 11th-century archbishop, Nicetas of Thessalonica, who paraphrased the work. The original composition is probably to be dated in the first half of the 3d century, slightly later than the Acts of Peter, John, and Paul, which are attested in the 2d century. Some sections, particularly the originally independent Hymn of the Pearl, presuppose conditions in the Parthian period, which ended with the establishment of the Sassanian Empire in 226 C.E. It is likely that Acts Thom. underwent redactional development, including adaptation by Manicheans, in the late 3d or 4th centuries. We have only scattered information essentially handed down in the form of folk art and songs – tribal memory and faithful transference of faith from 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS The author of Acts of Thomas is considered to be Bardesanes (Bardesan) Bardesanes was born in 154 CE, became a Christian c. 180 CE, and died in 222/223 CE. Bar-Daisan (Catholic Encyclopedia) At the age of twenty-five he happened to hear the homilies of Hystaspes, the Bishop of Edessa; he received instruction, was baptized, and even admitted to the dioconate or the priesthood. …..when Abgar IX, the friend of his youth, ascended the throne (179) he took his place at court. His acceptance of Christianity was perfectly sincere; nor do later stories, that he left the Catholic Church and joined the Valentinian Gnostics out of disappointed ambition, deserve much credit. His royal friend became the first Christian king; and both king and philosopher labored to create the first Christian State. Bardesanes showed great literary activity against Marcion and Valentinus, the Gnostics of the day. But unfortunately, with the zeal of a convert anxious to use his previous acquirements in the service of the newly found truth, Bardesanes mixed his Babylonian pseudoastronomy with Christian dogma and thus originated a Christian sect, which was vigorously combated by St. Ephrem. World map according to Roman geographer Pomponius Mela (ca. 40 A.D.) and probable route of Thomas from Israel to Malabar along the pepper route. 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS The Commercial Routes of First Century Traditional site where St. Thomas landed - Cranganore (Kodungallur) in Malabar Coast -in 52 AD. Here he preached to a Jewish community who accepted mesia and their synagogue became a Christian church. 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS The Church in Cranganuur – near Muziris There were settlements of Jews in southwest India from at least the first century of the Christian era. Their main centre was the seaport of Cranganore. From the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, the Jews in this area had virtually an independent principality ruled over by a prince of their own tradition and choice. The Jewish community was enriched by the arrival of Jews from Spain and other European countries. In 1524, however, Jewish homes and synagogues were destroyed by Moors, and survivors fled to Cochin (Kochi). 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS The Tabula Peutingeriana is the only known surviving copy of the Roman cursus publicus; it was made by a monk in Colmar in the thirteenth century. It shows Muziris as a major port. There is also a Temple of the Great God (Augusts) marked nearby. It is unlikely that it refers to Augustus Ceasar as some seem to suggest. The marking is Augusts not Augustus. The Apostle Thomas is said to have arrived in India, at Cranganore on the Malabar Coast, in 52CE. According to tradition, he was welcomed by a Jewish flute girl. He stayed in the Jewish quarter, and baptized some of the Jews there. He finally settled at Mylapore, near Madras (Chennai) on the south east coast, where he lived in a cave. He was martyred in 72CE and buried beneath what is now the Basilica of St Thomas built in 1898. A bone from his hand remains in the crypt. 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS Probable land route of Thomas during his 20-year ministry within India (52 – 72 AD) Vestiges of North Indian Christian Churches “Bardaisan in his Book of Fate (AD 196) speaks of Parthian Christians living among pagans, which might be a result of the destruction of the Indian Parthian empire by Kushan invaders about AD 50. There are also said to be Christian tribes still living in north India, but holding their faith a secret from all others. For example, at Tatta in Sind (the ancient port of Pattiala at the mouth of Indus), there is a fakir community which calls itself by an Aramaic name, something like ‘Bartolmai’, and claims to have been descended from St. Thomas’s converts and to have books and relics to prove it.” T.V.Phillip In general, we have no reason not to believe the story as given by the traditions. We cannot exactly trace the cris-crossing intertwined routes of Thomas over the 20 years. We are however certain that Thomas visited Kerala twice and he might have visited China at least once. It evidently covered the entire Indian continent - North and South, East and West. Below is a map showing the possible areas of the ministry of Thomas based on the trade routes of the period and taking into consideration the placement of early Christian churches for which we have definite evidence... 19 9. COMING OF THOMAS The extent of the ministry of Thomas In the recent years four coins said to have been given by Thomas to a family in Kerala has come up. Thondachan and the Four Silver Coins The worship of Thondachan, a Hindu family deity, by a particular lineage of Nairs (native martial clan) of Malabar, Kerala and especially the manner and ritual of this worship is noteworthy. Though a family deity, Thondachan is never worshipped within the Nair household. Nor has this deity been ever given a berth among the pantheon of Hindu gods at any of the Hindu temples presided over by the Brahman priests (called Namboodiris). Thondachan has a special altar built outside the Nair family compound, where non-Brahmin priests perform rituals. While Chaamundi, Vishnumoorthy, Pottan, Rakteshwari and Bhagavathi became the non-Aryan, non-Brahmin deities for the village folk of Kolathunaad (an ancient province of North Kerala) along with other primitive spirits and folk-heroes, Thondachan has an even smaller following among a select Nair clan. It is believed, that up to the present day, altars for Thondachan’s worship exists in the Cherukunnu area in Kannur (Cannanore) district, especially in the lands surrounding old tharavad (family) houses - ancestral mansions - of the Nairs. When Thomachan (the Apostle St. Thomas - Achan signifying father) came ashore, landing at Maliankara near Moothakunnam village in Paravoor Thaluk in AD 52 (this village is located five kilometers from Kodungallur), some of his followers as well as other sailors and merchants were suffering from a severe form of scurvy. Thomachan himself suffered from a sore throat which he chose to ignore, and which grew steadily worse, until no voice emanated from his lips for many days. A local Jew named Matan took the weary travelers to a local Nair Tharavad (locally known as Kambiam 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS Vallapil), in the province of Kolathunaad, a territory comprising the present Cannanore District and Badagara Taluk of Kerala. It is said that at the time of Thomachan's arrival at the tharavad, the Nair Karnavar (landlord or head of the family) lay injured from a grievous wound that had been inflicted upon him in a feudal duel. Upon seeing this, Thomachan sat beside the injured man and meditated, laying his hands on the man’s head, his throat, his chest and his groin. Immediately the karnavar felt relieved from pain and his healing was hastened. Within a day he was up and about, his wounds having nearly healed. In return, the Nair household offered shelter to the strangers and called upon their family physician to cure the scurvy that the travelers suffered from, as well as Thomachan's severely infected throat. Nellikaya (Emblic Myrobalan or Indian Gooseberry) based potions prepared by the tharavad was used to cure the sea-worn voyagers. In an act of gratitude, Thomachan is said to have blessed them and gave them four silver coins saying, "May these coins bestow my guru’s blessings upon you and your household, for take heed when I tell you that the money I pay you today is anointed with the blood of my guru." This holy man, Thomachan, is believed to have related a curious story to the members of the tharavad, which has been passed down the ages. The story states that before Thomachan set sail from a seaport in the region called 'Sanai' somewhere in the western seas, he had witnessed the persecution of his guru, who was tortured and nailed to a wooden cross and left to die. He spoke of how his guru returned from his ordeal three days later, fully cured. His guru handed him the silver coins saying, "My body was sold with these, and now they have been returned to me, all thirty pieces. Put them to good use, as I have. Though you shall choose to travel by sea, I shall meet you again in the mountains of the land where you will finally arrive." The Nair Tharavad later migrated further north to the Cherukunnu area of present day Kannur. They referred to the four silver pieces as 'Rakta Velli' (Blood Silver) or 'Parindhu Velli' (parindhu for eagle, as one face of all these four ancient coins bear the figure of an eagle). They also decided never to utilize the silver as it was the custom then not to part with the gift of a guest. Over time, and with the advent of Christianity, the significance of the four silver coins received by the Nair Tharavad was understood, but family history is still obscure as to whether Thomachan possessed, or what he did with the remaining twenty-six pieces of silver his guru gave him. This Nair family never converted to the Christian faith as many others did in that region. Subsequent migrations of Nair clans continued throughout history, but the story of the four rakta velli pieces was passed down the generations, as did their veneration for the holy sanyasi Thomachan (later called Thondachan, a nickname perhaps coined from the story of his sore throat - thonda for throat). Another story goes that the name Thondachan was adopted in the early 16th century to avoid persecution by the Portuguese. Thus by a curious turn of events, the apostle St. Thomas was transformed into a Hindu deity for an ancient Nair clan of Kerala. A present day member of this family is still in possession of the four pieces of silver. The four pieces of silver have identified as the Shekels of Tyre, a common coinage of Judea of the time of Christ. A present day member of this family is still in possession of the four pieces of silver and they have been identified as the Shekels of Tyre, a common coinage of Judea of the time of Christ. 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS The back and front of the four coins gifted down by Thondachen Thomas was commissioned by King Gondaphores of Taxila from where his ministry extended all over India. In fact the success of Thomas in India was much vaster and deeper than the success St.Paul had in Rome and Greece. The Indo-Parthian kingdom with its capital at Kabul barely lasted one century. It started to fragment under Gondophares' successor Abdagases I. The eastern part was conquered by the Kushans around 75 CE. Coin of Gondophares (20-50 CE), king of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom. Obverse: Bust of Gondophares and Greek legend: BACIΛEΩC CΩTHPOC VNΔOΦEPPOV "King Gondophares, the Saviour". Reverse: Winged Nike holding a diadem, with a Kharoshti legend: MAHARAJASA GUDAPHANISA TRATARASA King Gondophores 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS Takthi-Bahi Stone, which says: Maharaja-raja-raja-samahatha –dramia- devawratha Gundaphorasa This stone writing was found in the nearby Buddhist Vihar in a place called Takthi Bahi. Into this spiritual vacuum without a God, Thomas brought in the concept of Parameswara –the Most High God - and his incarnation as Man in the person of Nazarene and he transformed India totally. Parameshwara. [Iswara is God. Param means Most High.] There never was a concept of Most High God in India until the coming of Thomas. Much more strange will be the fact Issa came to mean 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS Supreme God and gave rise to Iswara, Maheswara, Parameswara. Without doubt, Isa is the name, which derived from the name of Jesus. The prescript Param can be replaced with Maha meaning “The Great” to give Maheshwara – The Great God. These words Parameswara and Maheswara occur in Indian religious scenario only after the first century. This was very new to the Indian continent. It transformed all the religions of India – Vedism, The idea that there is a Personal God who is Buddhism, and even Jainism to some extent. Omnipotent and loving changed the whole theology of Indian continent as the later religious scenario shows. The extent of this impact indicates that Thomas established churches with Jesus as center of worship as the Parameshwara throughout India. Gold coin of Vasudeva I. Obv: Vasudeva in tall helmet, holding a scepter, and making an offering over an altar. Legend in Kushan language and Greek script "Shaonanoshao Bazodeo Koshano" which means: "King of kings, Vasudeva the Kushan". Rev: Indian god “Oesho” (Easow) holding a trisula (Trinity) scepter, with the bull. Is this Jesus? Monogram ("tamgha") to the left. Vasudeva I (Kushan: "Bazodeo", Chinese:"Bodiao") was a Kushan emperor around 195-225 AD. He was the last great Kushan emperor, and the end of his rule coincides with the invasion of the Sassanians as far as northwestern India, and the establishment of the Indo-Sassanians or Kushanshahs from around 240 AD. Vaseduva may have been the Indian king who returned the relics of the Apostle St. Thomas from India. It was probably during this time the poetic work of “Acts of Thomas” was written. The relics were transfered triumphally to the town of Edessa, Mesopotamia. The 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS Indian king is named as "Mazdai" in Syriac sources, "Misdeos" and "Misdeus" in Greek and Latin sources, has been connected to the "Bazdeo" on the Kushan coinage of Vasudeva The martyrologist Rabba Sliba dedicated a special day to both the Indian king, his familly, and St Thomas: "Coronatio Thomae apostoli et Misdeus rex Indiae, Johannes eus filius huisque mater Tertia" ("Coronation of Thomas the Apostole, and Misdeus king of India, together with his son Johannes (thought to be a Latinization of Vizan) and his mother Tertia") Rabban Sliba. (Mario Bussagli, "L'Art du Gandhara", p255) Kushan Emperor Vasudeva I and the Christian Connection The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) was a state that at its cultural zenith, circa 105–250 CE, extended from what is now Tajikistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan (in the general area where the initial labors of St.Thomas was concentrated ) and down into the Ganges river valley in northern India. The empire was created by the Kushan tribe of the Yuezhi confederation, an Indo-European people from the eastern Tarim Basin, China. Thomas’s mission extended to China in the very same regions. They had diplomatic contacts with Rome, Persia and China. Christianity was a powerful presence in all these countries.. As late as the 3rd century CE, decorated coins of Huvishka indicates that they were strong proponents of Buddhism. The greatest ruler of the dynasty, Kanishka, had adopted Buddhism and it By the beginning of third century 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS was during his period that both Buddhist religion and Greek art reached their zenith which is known under the nomenclature of Gandhara Civilization. It was again during his regime and because of his efforts that Buddhism spread in Central Asia and China. This period is regarded as the most important in the history of Buddhism However the coins of Vasudeva I presents Siva in his coins. Historically it is known that it was Vasudeva I who carried the bones of St. Thomas from Mylapore to Edessa and the Acts of Thomas was written to commemorate this even. This at least indirectly suggests the Saivism as a Christian Sect associated with the Thomas Churches. Main Kushan rulers o Kujula Kadphises (30–80) Kujula Kadphises established the Kushan dynasty in 78 AD by taking advantage of disunion in existing dynasty of Pahalava (Parthian) and Scytho-Parthians, and gradually wrested control of southern prosperous region, which is the northwest part of ancient India, traditionally known as Gandhara (now Pakistan). Most Kushan Emperors were Buddhists o 5.2 Vima Taktu (80–105) o 5.3 Vima Kadphises (105–127) o 5.4 Kanishka I (127–147) o 5.5 Vāsishka o 5.6 Huvishka (140–183) o 5.7 Vasudeva I (191–225) The Kushan religious pantheon is extremely varied, as revealed by their coins and their seals, on which more than 30 different gods appear, belonging to the Hellenistic, the Iranian, and to a lesser extent the Indian world essentially Saivite. 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS Representation of entities from Greek mythology and Hellenistic syncretism are: Helios, Hephaistos, Selene, Anemos, Further, Heracles (whom Vaishnavites tries to make Krishna), and Sarapis. The Indian religion: Buddha, bodhisattava, Mahasena, Skanda Kumara, Ganesha. The Iranic gods: Ashi Vanghuhi , Asha Vahishta, Atar, Khwarenah, Drvaspa Vohu Manah, Mah, etc Mithra, Ahura Mazda Thomas’ journey covered the whole of India for two whole decades, very similar to the travels of Paul. Paul transformed the Greco-Roman world into Christian faith. Did Thomas achieve the same? There are indications even today to show that he did just that. Scattered groups of Christian sects can be found all along the route of Thomas, claiming their root from Thomas. From Malabar Coast (In South India) Thomas traveled along the West coast to Kalyan, (Bombay) and then onto Sind (Pakistan) and Tibet returning along the East cost through Kaveri area to Mylapore (“The city of Peacock”, Madras, South India.) They are there even today. Some of them remain as secret communities in the face of later persecution. Sufficient records are there to show that: * There existed a thriving Christian community in Kerala at that time. There are palm leaf records, which show that: 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS * Among the Dravidians in Central India (Kaveri Area) there was a Church Poopatanam of Puhur as early as 293 AD. These documents show that, Seventy-Two families of Christians of Vellala origin from Kavery District on the River Kaveri arrived in Kollam (Quilon) in Kerala as refugees fleeing from the persecution in AD 293. Historically well-documented Christian Kingdom of Villarvattom Pana Dynasty (near the present-day Cochin) lasted nearly a millennium from 510 to 1439 AD, until the coming of the Portuguese. There are documents indicating powerful Christian Kingdoms in Kerala, particularly in Ayr (referred to in Greek documents- Ayroor) and Ranni and Vel (Velnad). There must have been other major churches all over India other than in Kerala. However, the problem is “Where are they?” It is this question we are trying to answer. The basic reason why we do not see them is that we may be looking for the wrong clues and so we do not recognize them for want of familiarity. What are we really looking for? • • • Church buildings similar to the Greek and Roman churches. Worship forms like the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Roman Churches Out stretched arms of Praise and Worship We are simply assuming that these are the norms of the Christian Churches. It is these basic expectations that put us off track In time various denominations began to evolve with emphasis on specific aspects of god and gospel with syncretization with local religions. Two such denominations were Vaishnavism and Saivism. In Kerala Christians were called Saivism emphasized the love of god and the Sacrifice of God for the redemption of Mankind, while Vaishnavism emphasized the glorious almighty God of the Skies. Isa) Nasranees (One who follow the Nazarene) and Isanees (or Isanuvadikal – one who are followers of 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS 20 9. COMING OF THOMAS These denominations evolved out of specific emphasis on aspects of God. They all started as Christian Churches but became heretic through syncretization and Gnostic influence from Babylon. We will now look into the forces that transformed Indian Catholic Church to modern Hinduism as it is today. “Saivism and Vaishnavism are the offshoot of Early Indian Christianity. Early Indian Christianity observed the elements of Dravidian worships that prevailed in the pre - Christian era, and developed as Saivism and Vaishnavism. Saivism and Vaishnavism developed as a Bhakti movement around 6th, 7th c. A.D. in South India and spread to the North. Since it is now totally camouflaged by the Brahman concept under the name of Hinduism, it is generally thought that the Vedas are the basis for the development of this Bhakti Movement. Generally Saivite Siva is identified with Vedic Rudra and Vaishnavite Vishnu is identified with Vedic Vishnu. An in-depth study of the Vedas will unveil the hidden truths. Saivism and Vaishnavism have nothing to do with the Vedic Rudra or Vishnu.” Thus Dr. M. Deivanayagam and Dr. D. Devakala in The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion lists the follwing factors which emerged independent of Vedic influence. 1. 2. 3. 4. Emergence of the basic doctrines of Saivism and Vaishnavism depending not on Aryanism or the Vedas. Development of these doctrines which are not seen in the Vedas Emergence of new Agamas, totally contrary to the Vedas Emergence of temple worship, contrary to the Vedas. 5. Emergence of Nayanmars and Alwars who did not belong to the Vedicreligion. 6. The doctrinal explanation of Sankara, Ramanuja and Mathva which arecontrary to the Vedas. 7. Emergence of the names of Gods viz. Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Sakthi ....who are contrary to the Vedic deities. 8. Emergence of the worship of God in Triune form instead of worshipping the Vedic deities'.17 They conclude thus: When Christianity came to India, the New testament was not compiled at that time. Naturally this would lead to the lack of historicity. The need of presenting Christianity at the grass root level in the later period led to the development of myths. Since the doctrine of trinity, doctrine of avatar, and the 21 9. COMING OF THOMAS doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice have to be explained in the mythical aspect at the grass root level, mythical Christ is seen in the Indian religions in different languages in different terms. Though the terms are different and seem to be different Gods and Goddesses, they all refer to one God. An unbiased examination of myths would unveil the hidden Christ. Biblical Christianity, Judaism and Shaivite Hinduism Share the Same Names for God. (See the Chapter on Saivism) Similar sacred symbolism and iconography are associated with both the Hebrew Yah-Veh and the Kashmiri Shaiva: The Holy Trinity; the flame; the cherub; the guardian angel; the snake; the bull; blowing of bull's horn, etc. Hebrew and Kashmiri Cabalistic Terminology Is About the Same. (See the Chapter on Saivism) The basic creed of the saiva sidhantha correspond closely with the Nicean Creed. (See the chapter on Saivism) What is expressed in both the creeds are identitical and we know that this was the faith that existed until the third and fourth centuries in India when the idol worship became prevalent and the inner core of faith was lost to the general public. “Taproot of the Hindu religion: • • • • Doctrine of Avatar - God becoming a man in order to redeem human beings. (Unborn Prime God was born in order to give us eternal pleasure) Trinity or Triune doctrine - God in triune stage - Appan, Ammai, Makan (Saivism); Siva, Vishnu, Brahma (Vaishnavism) Doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice - The offering of sacrifice has ceased even though there is sacrificial altar in the temple. People do not offer sacrifice while they worship God. Doctrine of forgiveness of sin - There is forgiveness for the sins of human beings by the grace of God and this doctrine is totally controversial to the saying that ‘the actions of one person would definitely yield its fruits’. • Doctrine of bhakthi - Appreciating the bhakthi which is in ones heart irrespective of one’s appearance, color, culture etc. (Kannappa Nayanar) “ 211 9. COMING OF THOMAS The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion Dr. M. Deivanayagam, Dr. D. Devakala These are some of the basic teachings that are still embedded in the Hindu Scriptures even after severe Brahminical tampering. 21 11. TRIMURTHY CHAPTER 10 COMING OF GNOSTIC ARYANS: MANICHEAN Pallavas as Persian Aryans Pallavas played a vital role in the development of Hinduism. Who are these Pallavas? In the detailed study on this problem India's Parthian Colony “On the origin of the Pallava Empire of Dravidia” By: Dr. Samar Abbas, May 14, 2003, ( india_parthian _colony1.php) gives the following description along with detailed evidence in V.D.Mahajan) Archaeology, Administration, Language, Toponyms and Personal Names, Anthropology, Architecture, and Legendary Descent. (See also: Ancient India “Pallavas of Dravidia as Pahlavis The Pallavas are first attested in the northern part of Tamil Nadu, precisely the geographical region expected for an invading group. This, together with the evident phonetic similarity between the words "Pallava" and "Pahlava", has long led researchers to advocate a Parthian origin of the Pallavas: "Theory of Parthian origin: The exponents of this theory supported the Parthian origin of the Pallavas. According to this school, the Pallavas were a northern tribe of Parthian origin constituting a clan of the nomads having come to India from Persia. Unable to settle down in northern India they continued their movements southward until they reached Kanchipuram.” The late Venkayya supported this view and even attempted to determine the date of their migration to the South. They must have migrated some time in the second century BC into the North. However in time they were mixed with the local people. Hence we have :Dr V. A. Smith say: 21 11. TRIMURTHY "It is possible that the Pallavas were not one distinct tribe or class but a mixed population composed partly of foreigners and partly of the Indian population but different in race from Tamils and taking their name from the title of an intruding foreign dynasty (Pahlava) which obtained control over them and welded them into an aggressive political power" (Early History of India, 1924, Dr V. A. Smith). The Kiskindha Kanda of Ramayana associates the Pahlavas with the Yavanas (Greek), Shakas, Kambojas, Paradas (Varadas), Rishikas and the Uttarakurus etc and locates them all in the transHimalayan territories i.e. in the Sakadvipa The Markendeya Purana and Brhat Samhita mentions Pahlava and Kamboja settlements. The earliest known coinage in lead issued by the then Pallavs could be dated between 3rd and 4th century AD. They must have come as merchants around 2 nd C BC just as the later colonisers. They became powerful and became Kings only by the third century AD. The kings of Pahlava were also present at the Rajasuya sacrifice of king Yudhishtra. And associates them with barbaric tribes of Uttarapatha. Manusmriti states that the Pahlavas and several other tribes like the Sakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Paradas, Daradas, Khasas, Dravidas etc were originally noble Kshatriyas, but later, due to their non-observance of sacred Brahmanical codes and neglect of the priestly class, they had gradually sunken to the status of Mlechchas. It is therefore quite possible they were Christians as the word Mlecha was usualually used for christians by the strict Brahminical traditions. In Bhavishya Purana Jesus is quoted as the prophet of the Mlechas. Basham point out: "It is to be noted that to Taxila, which was ruled by Gondophares, a Pahlava, the apostle St. Thomas is said to have brought India's first knowledge of Christianity ."(A.L.Basham, The Wonder that was India, P.61). Mani the Persian Gnostic (A.D. 215-276 ) Mani's father was at first apparently an idolater, for; as he worshipped in a temple to his gods, he is supposed to have heard a voice urging him to abstain from meat, wine, and women. In obedience to this voice he emigrated to the south and joined the Mughtasilah, or Mandaean Baptists, taking the boy Mani, with him, but possibly leaving Mani's mother behind. Here, at the age of twelve Mani is supposed to have received his first revelation. The angel Eltaum (God of the Covenant; Tamiel of Jewish Rabbinical lore?), appeared to him, bade him leave the Mandaeans, and live chastely, but to wait still some twelve years before proclaiming himself to the people. It is not unlikely that the boy was trained up to the profession of painter, as he is often thus designated in Oriental (though late) sources. 21 11. TRIMURTHY Babylon was still a center of the pagan priesthood; here Mani became thoroughly imbued with their ancient speculations. On Sunday, 20 March, A.D. 242, Mani first proclaimed his gospel in the royal residence, Gundesapor, on the coronation day of Sapor I, when vast crowds from all parts were gathered together. "As once Buddha came to India, Zoroaster to Persia, and Jesus to the lands of the West, so came in the present time, this prophecy through me, the Mani, to the land of Babylonia", sounded the proclamation of this "Apostle of the true God". He seems to have had but little immediate success and was compelled to leave the country. For many years he traveled abroad, founding Manichæan communities in Turkestan and India. When he finally returned to Persia he succeeded in converting to his doctrine Peroz, the brother of Sapor I, and dedicated to him one of his most important works, the "Shapurikan". Peroz obtained for Mani an audience with the king and Mani delivered his prophetical message in the royal presence. We soon find Mani again a fugitive from his native land; though here and there, as in Beth Garmia, his teaching seems to have taken early root. While traveling, Mani spread and strengthened his doctrine by epistles, or encyclical letters, of which some four score are known to us by title. It is said that Mani afterwards fell into the hands of Sapor I, was cast into prison, and only released at the king's death in 274. It seems certain that Sapor's successor, Ormuzd I, was favorable to the new prophet; perhaps he even personally released him from his dungeon, unless, indeed, Mani had already effected his escape by bribing a warder and fleeing across the Roman frontier. Ormuzd's favor, however, was of little avail, as he occupied the Persian throne only a single year, and Bahram I, his successor, soon after his accession, caused Mani to be crucified, had the corpse flayed, the skin stuffed and hung up at the city gate, as a terrifying spectacle to his followers, whom he persecuted with relentless severity. The date of his death is fixed at 276-277. In his new religion, he consciously sought to reconcile the great religions of redemption, Christianity (Gnostic), Zoroastrianism (Zurvanite) and Buddhism (Mahâyâna), in a new Syncretism which also incorporated elements of Greek philosophy and Indian Jainism; while refuting patriarchal Judaism He was regarded by his Christian adherents as the Paraclete, by his Persian followers as the Zoroastrian redeemer Saoshyant, and by his Buddhist disciples as the Avatar Maitreya. Gnostic Chronology of the Order of Nazorean Essenes clip from Timeline Compiled by Abba Yesai Nasrai, O:N:E: 21 11. TRIMURTHY 216 A.D. Mar Mani, the promised Parclete and Maitreya, was born on 8 Nissan, 216 A.D. in Mardinu, a little village in Iraq and grows up in an Elchasite monastery after age 4. c222 Bardesanes died by about 222, an important esoteric figure and credited with the Nazorean like Hymn of the Pearl found in the Acts of Thomas. 228 The angel At-Taum appears unto Mani in a vegetarian Elchasite monastery. 240 Mani separated from the Elkasite community in his 24th year, at the end of King Ardashir's reign. In early April of 240, or 241 AD, the angel At-Taum again appeared unto Mani and commanded him, saying: "Now the time has come for you to go out and proclaim your authority. Peace be on you, Mani, from myself and from the Lord who sent me to you and who has chosen you for His Message. He has now bidden you to invite to your truth, and to proclaim the good news of the Truth from before Him, and to persevere in that with all your zeal." 240-241 Mar Mani sailed to India, specifically to the Indus valley which is today's Beluchistan, where he converted a Buddhist King, the Turan Shah of India. 242 On the second Sunday after Easter, 20 March, A.D. (or perhaps April 9, 243) Mani first proclaimed his gospel in the city of the King, Gundesapor, on the coronation day of Sapor I, when vast crowds from all parts were gathered together. A significant day in the resurgence of Nazorean Gnosticism. 245 Mani traveled to Shapur's court. It is said that the King saw two torches of light over Mani's shoulders at their first meeting which influenced him to accept the prophetic calling of Mani. 255 Zarathustrian magi led by Kartir persuaded Shapur to break with Mani and promote their religion in the empire, causing Mani to go into exile. . 276 Mani was arrested at Gundev Shapur in 276A.D., was kept in chains until he died 26 days later. Mani died in prison on February 26 in 277A.D. His death was told by two of his disciples - Amu and Ozei, in Mir. 291 Terrible persecution arose once again in the Persian empire in 291. Vahram II killed Sisin himself, and many Manichaeans were slaughtered. Bahram I is said to have buried 200 Manichaeans with their heads downward in pits and their feet tied to stakes." (Manichaens fled to other countries which included India) c300-400 Yoga (Yogocara), the second major Mahayana school, is founded by brothers Vasubandhu and Asanga. According to their teaching absolute reality is mind or consciousness therefore thought creates objects out of itself. Buddhist tantras emerge in India, mingling Hindu Tantras with Buddhist thought. 300 By this date, a village in India was known as Mani-grama, or Mani's Town. 21 11. TRIMURTHY Evidently, one of Mani’s major evangelical fields was India. The reason for that is not difficult to find. He was a Persian and an Aryan. Aryan Pallavas were in India as prominent people scattered all over India from North to South. Beginning with an ancient Persian from of Zarathustrianism, which penetrated the Tibetan region in the 5th Century BC, and followed by a heretical Pudgalavadin form of Buddhism in the 3rd century BC, paved the way for the influx of the teachings of Mani in the late 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th centuries AD. This Manichaean faith became totally dominant in northern Tibet when the Uighur King converted to Manichaeanism in 762 AD. In A.D. 1000 the Great Persian historian Al-Beruni wrote: "The majority of the Eastern Turks, the inhabitants of China and Tibet, and a number in India belong to the religion of Mani, the Buddha of Light” However, what happened in the rest of India was very radical. Thomas Christianity was supplanted by Gnostic Christianity and grew up with tremendous amount of myths and Puranas that it came to be known as Sanadhana Dharma without the mention of Isa (Jesus), though Jesus was taken as a great sage but not a soter. What did Mani teach? It is not necessary to explain what is gnosticism and what Mani taught while in India because Gnosticism in modern form is Hinduism. They believed in the god of creation and also in an on going war between good and evil. They believed in the law of Karma and also in reincarnation. It is through gnosis or knowledge one attains moksha (salvation) which is variously described as union with God or becoming a god or escape from the cycle of birth and death. To the Buddhists Mani became Buddha and to the Christians Mani became the Apostle of Jesus and the Paraclete whom Jesus Promised. communities in Turkestan and India. For many years Mani traveled abroad, founding Manichean Then he returned to Syria and did send his father and his 21 11. TRIMURTHY disciples (one of the names of Mani's disciple was Thomas) into India to continue his ministry. His ministry was centered in Kanchi area Thus in India he efficiently converted isolated Christian denominations of Vaishnava and Saiva denominations into its present day form. Mani’s work was concentrated in and around Kanchipuran which was also the headquarters of Thomas. In due course he was elevated to the status of another Son of Siva along with Ganapathi (the Lord of Hosts who has the face of an elephant) as the Bala Subra Manian. (Bala means young or child, Subra refers to the emanation of light of the dazzling white). Remember Manichaenism was called "The Teaching of Light" The Malabar literature refers to him as Magician Manicka Vachagar. Even in the New Testament Gnostics were referred to as Magicians. (Simon Magnus and Elymas were called Magicians). SubraManyam is represented with a Peacock since the magicians are said to have the ability to fly like a peacock. (Simon Magnus is said to have died in one of those flights) 21 11. TRIMURTHY It was Mani’s teachings that brought in Vegetarianism into India among the Brahmins. Manicheans were vegetarians by principle. We know that Vedics were non-vegetarians and sacrificed animals to propitiate gods and ate them. This was the normal religious form of all pastoral tribes in the world. How did the idea of Vegetarianism came into Hinduism? into Vedic followers of Hinduism? We can trace it to Mani. “One of the main principles of the Manichaean’s was a vegetarian diet of mainly green and yellow foods. Supposedly, light was concentrated in these foods and their bodies served as filters for the particles of light contained in the plants”. (Litvinsky: 1992...Pg 414) It certainly was not Vedic. Jains were Vegetarians as a protest against sacrificial killing. How did vegetarianism and Ahimsa comcept enter The mythical parallel with the teachings of Mani can be seen from the following Manichean doctrine of creation “In the doctrine of Manichaeism, "The Teaching of Light" as it was called; the Universe was originally divided between two eternal, uncreated, and utterly irreconcilable principles: Light and Darkness. The Realm of Light was located in the North, tended upwards, and extended infinitely to the North, East and West. It was ruled by the Father of Greatness (identified with Zurvan in Persia), and was manifested as five "worlds": Nous (Mind), Ennoia (Thought), Phronêsis (Prudence), Enthymêsis (Reflection), and 21 11. TRIMURTHY Logismos (Reason); which are surrounded by a great number of Aions. Twelve of these Aions, the "first-born," surround the Father, three to each quarter of the Heavens.” One of basic teaching of Manicheanism is the idea of process of emanation whereby the Supreme Person transforms and pervades the lower realms. This idea is seen in Vaishnavism as it is found in Mani. The Supreme Being (paramatman) procedes in the following forms of emanations: 1. Para, the transcendental Supreme Being beyond all. 2. Vyuhas, the emanations of God who reside in the higher planes. 3. Vibhavas, the incarnations of God who appear upon earth from time to time. 4. Antaryami, the immanent being who resides in all beings as a partner of the soul. 5. Arcavatara, the consecrated image of God made out of earthly material, which is worshipped by His devotees as God Himself. The Vaishnava doctrine of avatar is evidently derived from Mani’s Evocation principle “The Father of Greatness saw that it was necessary to meet the challenge of the forces of Darkness. But his Aeons were meant for peace, and they could not be sent to do battle with the demons; so the Father resolved to go to battle himself. To do this, He called forth three Evocations from Himself. In the First Evocation, the Father called forth the "Great Spirit" or "Wisdom" (Sophia). The Great Spirit projected the "Mother of the Living," and the Mother of the Living projected the "First Man" (identified with Ohrmazd in Persia). The First Man, with his five sons, fire, wind, water, light and ether who composed his Soul and were also the "five garments of Light" which made up his armor, descended into the Realm of Darkness to do battle with the invading demons.” The single most important event during this period in Indian history was the migration of new groups of Aryans from Syria and the continuation of infiltration of their Gnostic theology. Large number of Syrians were displaced from Persia when the religious persecution took place against the Christians and the Gnostics by Zoroastrians. There were two such recorded migrations of Christians found in the Kerala Christian lore. Some of them were rich merchants. They were received with dignity by the Indian people. Among them was the Thomas of Canaa who came to Malabar Coast. His descendants form the Kananaya Christian Community. South India became the center of communication between Syria and India. Some of the villages where these people lived in Kerala were called Mani-gramakar 22 11. TRIMURTHY (meaning “The Village of Mani people”. Mani literally means Pearl. So some interprets that they were Pearl dealers.) Near Kanchipuram, we still have a village called after Mani, which dates back from the third century AD; the period when Syrian immigration was at its peak and the time when Gnosticism took root in India. Gnostic Christians – the first enemy of Apostolic Christian Churches came along with the trade to India after the 2nd century. As they became dominant, the influence of Persian Gnosticism became widespread that it swallowed almost all other religions then in existence in India and changed it to what we today call as Hinduism. (the name came very recently). Since the Thomas Churches of Inner India (i.e. except Malabar/Kerala Churches) did not have the contact with other churches outside of India, they succumbed to the heresy and became the Gnostic Universal Religion (gnostic Sanadhana Dharma) the beginning of the Hinduism. The Christians who disagreed and who put up a vigorous fight against the heresy were finally forced to flee to Kerala where there was a safe refuge until eighth century. Those of the Northern India fled to the Middle East where the Eastern Churches welcomed them. Some of these came back to India during the Persian Immigration under Bishop David in AD 340. Pallavas were followers of Sanatana Dharma. In line with the prevalent customs, some of the rulers performed the Aswamedha and other Vedic sacrifices. They had made gifts of lands to gods and Brahmins. Mahendravarman I (600 - 630 CE) was a patron of the Jain faith. Mahendravarman later converted to Hinduism under the influence of the Saiva saint Appar, with the revival of Hinduism during the Bhakti movement in South India. (The four Saivite preceptors (Appar, Sampantar, Sundarar and Manicka Vacagar) who were the root cause for the development of Saivism, belonged to Tamilnadu, and the 63 Saivite Nayanmars, belonged to Tamilnadu). 22 11. TRIMURTHY GNOSTICISM It will not be possible even to touch the hem of Gnosticism because it is vast and varied. Here I attempt to give some limited explanation that may be relevant to Hinduism as a Gnostic religion. If we define Gnosticism as a mystical religion then it is "as old as humanity itself." It is in this sense Hinduism can claim its ancient heritage from millions of years. Modern Christian Gnostics date their origin from Simon Magus. Gnosticism is an attempt to syncretize all religions and we can find them in all religions. There were two major groups of Gnosticism: the Syrian Cult and the Alexandrian Cult. The Syrian Cult was led by Simon Magus, who combined Christianity with Egyptian, Chaldean and Persian religions. The Alexandrian group was led by Basilides. But the greatest force in Gnosticism as far as India was concerned was Manichean the Aryan (216-277) who is said to have founded his alternative Christian Church. "Mani traveled into what is now western China and as far south as India to spread his gospel. Although he had been held in high regard at the Persian court, by the time he returned home around AD 270, the royal milieu had changed. The priestly caste of the ancient Persian religion Zoroastrianism resented Mani's presence and succeeded in exerting considerable political pressure on the new king, Bharam I, to get rid of him. Mani was imprisoned, and in AD 276, he was crucified and his corpse flayed." - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects 22 11. TRIMURTHY Page from an illustrated Manichaean hymn manuscript, found in Central Asia and probably dating to the eleventh century. 22 11. TRIMURTHY No one can fail to see the basic Hinduism in Mani. Online edition of India's National Newspaper Friday, Jan 05, 2007 Capital of the Pallavas A. SRIVATHSAN Kanchi or Kanchipuram was an important city that had trade connections with China as early as second century B.C. Sangam poems describe the city as lotus- shaped, and Manimekalai the great Tamil epic was set in this city. Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism co-existed, and Huien Tsang, the Chinese traveller, records the presence of Buddhist structures in Kanchi. The Jain temple at Tiruparthikundram is still in use. The city expanded significantly when the Pallavas made Kanchipuram their capital. Kanchi had outgrown its lotus shape and, as a 12th century Tamil text describes, attained the shape of a peacock. The head of this peacock was the Varadharaja temple and the plumage was the area around Ekambaranatha temple. Of all the temples, Kalisanatha and Vaikuntaperumal are best known for their architectural merits. The Vaikuntaperumal temple is a multi-storeyed temple built in the 8th century A.D and is known for the sculptures depicting the history of the Pallavas. 22 11. TRIMURTHY CHAPTER 11 TRIMURTI The idea of the Trimurti is not found anywhere in the Vedas, nor does the name Brahma or Brahman occur in it. The idea of the Trimurti appears only in the epic poems, which were all written well after the advent of St.Thomas. The very idea of Trinity or Trimurthy is of Christian origin and was later reformed and reinterpreted under Gnostic mysticism arising out of Gnostic Kabballah. they are related to each other. Today all Hindu theological statements of Trinity are shrouded in conflicting descriptions about who are the basic Trinity and how No Hindu philosopher has ever taken this trinity seriously and no 22 11. TRIMURTHY theologian has discussed it to resolve any conflict found therein. This is simply because there is no solution possible as long as each sect considers themselves as superior and others inferior. The active creator in the Vedas as it appears in the later portions (most of which were written after the Thomas ministry) of Rig Veda is known as Hiranyagarbha, or Prajapati. Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India The Rig-Veda Hiranyagarbha "is said to have arisen in the beginning, the one lord of all beings, who upholds heaven and earth, who gives life and breath, whose command even the gods obey, who is the god over all gods, and the one animating principle of their being." According to Manu, Hiranyagarbha was Brahma, the first male, formed by the indiscernible eternal First Cause in a golden egg resplendent as the sun. "Having continued a year in the egg, Brahma divided it into two parts by his mere thought, and with these two shells he formed the heavens and the earth; and in the middle he placed the sky, the eight regions, and the eternal abode of the waters." In The Laws of Manu (Manava-Dharma-Sastra) it is said that the supreme soul, the self-existent lord created the waters and deposited in them a seed, which seed became a golden egg (Hiranyagarbha) in which he himself was born as Brahma, the progenitor of all the worlds. "Brahma, as 'the germ of unknown Darkness,' is the material from which all evolves and develops 'as the web from the spider, as foam from the water,' etc. . . . Brahma 'expands' and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance." (Secret Doctrine, I, p. 83). Brahma (masculine), Brahmanda Brahma is the Self or Hierarch of a Solar System. The Solar System or imbodiment of Brahma is often spoken of as 'the Egg of Brahma' or Brahmanda (a compound of Brahma and anda -- egg). 'A Day of Brahma' consists of seven Rounds of the planetary chain, or what is called a Planetary Manvantara, a period of 4,320,000,000 terrestrial years. 'A Night of Brahma' is of equal duration. 'A Week of Brahma' or seven Planetary Manvantaras make one Solar Manvantara. 'One Year of Brahma' equals 360 Divine Days or Planetary Manvantaras. The 'Life of Brahma' consists of 100 Divine Years or Solar Manvantaras, a period of 311,040,000,000,000 terrestrial years. There are as many Brahmas as there are solar systems. Brahma, Vach, Viraj The ancient Hindu scriptures tell us in their poetic manner that the Universe was sung into being by the inspiration arising in the divine mind of Brahma, the Father of the Universe. This Divine Thought in Brahma's mind was carried by Vach, the Mother of the Universe, or the Divine Voice, or Mystic Sound, and gave rise to Viraj, the Son, or the Divine Word, or the manifested Universe of harmony. Later the epithet Purusha and Prajapati were bestowed on Brahma (meaning 'the Progenitor'). Rig Veda, X, contains the Purusha-sukta. Purusha is at once supreme being, the cosmos, and as such he is sacrificed primordially as the very act of creation. 22 11. TRIMURTHY brihadaranyaka 1:3, 27 Rigveda X:121:1 Ithareyopanishad 1:13 Rigveda X:90:2 Rigveda X:90:7 Yajurveda XXXI:18 Rigveda X:90:16 In short all these quotes mention about the first born son of God who is known as the Prajapathy. It mentions the nature of His birth, i.e through the Holy Spirit and not through a woman. Also that He was sacrificed being tied to a wooden post by the gods and kings along with the seers, refers to the people and kings of the earth. It mentions that the sacrifice is the only way of redemption and liberation of humankind. If there is any evidence that shows the direct borrowing from Christianity by Hinduism is the concept of Trinity and Monotheism. The basis of Trinity is the idea of three in one which is essentially of Hebrew origin. The Hebrew mysticism found in the Old Testament was finally codified in the late medeaval period by Kabballah writers. The essence of these are in the Old Testament revelation on the nature of God as revealed through ages – from Abraham to Moses and through later prophets. Jews were in India as early as the 800 BC The largest Jewish community of Indian Jews is that of the Bene Israel who lived in west Maharashtra in the Konkan coast. The Bene Israel believes that their ancestors arrived in India before the destruction of the second temple. The next biggest number of Jews are the Cochin Jews who claim their heritage from King Solomon’s period. It is to the Cochin Jews, St.Thomas came first. Apparently, they made little impact on Hinduism. Even the strong Monism of the Jews did not make any inroad into India. Now it is not difficult to show that the teachings of Trinity as Three Persons in One Godhead in Hinduism as it was originally perceived is identical with the Christian thought. To make it easy to grasp and present them graphically I will use the Kabalistic Tree of Life approach. In the beginning was God First there is Ain.(neti = not that) Ain is, Nothingness, The Existence, the Great Emptiness, The Absolute, The Originless Origin of all manifestation. It is not knowable, it is indescribable, everything we say about it, and it is not. It is denoted by Darkness. He resides in darkness. Underneath his feet 22 11. TRIMURTHY is darkness so that none can know Him. In every cosmogony, behind and higher than the creative Deity there is a superior Deity, a planner, an architect, of whom the Creator is but the executive agent. There is the UNKNOWABLE and the unknown, the Source and Cause of all these Emanations. This nothingness gave birth to Ain Soph. Ain means 'not' and soph means "end". Ain Soph is the the end of ‘Not”, The end of nothingness, Limitless, Infinite Space-time dimensions, Eternity. Ain Soph is the primal darkness of the absolute unity above anything else. Ain Soph is the one in which everything has its origin, its existence,and to which everything returns. Next we have the Ain Soph Aur. Aur means light. The Ain Soph Aur is the Limitless Light. Now the Ain Soph Aur retracts itself within itself to a light point. The Bindu. This is the beginning of things. Here we have substantiality out of nothing. This brings forth Kether (the Crown), the first Sephira at the top of Tree of Life. This is the Hiranya Grarpha – the Cosmic Womb. Brahma, the creator; the impersonal universe-pervading spirit personified lord or ruler over a Brahman, at the end of whose "life" that system is elements and reabsorbed by Parabrahmam. A word of which the root, brih, stands for the spiritual energy-consciousness side of our solar universe, i.e., the Egg of Brahma is that solar system. under this name; the resolved into its final means "expansion." It our solar system, and Whenever the Eternal awakes from its slumber and desires to manifest itself, the uncreated, self existent reality, Swayambhuva. This Swayambhu divides itself into male and female the universal Father and Mother, the Anu-Anata (male-female) of the Chaldeans, God the Father and the God the Holy Spirit. From the union of the two a third, the creative Principle -- the SON or the manifested Logos -- is generated as the product of the Divine Mind. In Chaldea the Son was Bel. In Christianity, it is Christ. These were fundamental to early Jewish Christians, which Thomas carried with him to India, and they formed the basis of Post Vedic Hinduism. There is similar correlation with the Tibetan’s teachings, which also developed around the same period. Theophilus, 2nd-century Bishop of Antioch—who, was first to use the term “trinity” —described the trinity in terms of Theos (θεοσ), Logos (λωγοσ), and Sophia (σωφια). feminine, as is its Hebrew equivalent Ruach To translate the Christian Trinity we give the Judeo-Christian Trinity and creation concept below. Sophia, or “Wisdom,” is 22 11. TRIMURTHY Taittiriya Upanishad, part of 3-10 I am the Hiranyagarbha, the origin in form of Knowledge out of which this world -- having gross and subtle objects -- seems to have been generated. I came to be before the "gods" -- entities which deal with knowledge. I am also the origin of immortality, i.e. I provide immortality to beings. One who gives me -- in form of Anna (various information inputs) to those who expect Anna (i.e. "gods"), he protects me, i.e. he gets protected himself in form by me. The Father who is both male and female then proceeds to separate into three. . 22 11. TRIMURTHY From this follows the whole cosmos in all dimensions of existence. The creative Logos – Father, Son and the Holy Spirit existed initially in the Divine Realm as One. All creation proceeded from them as a collaborative effort as oneness. One does not exist without the other – they cannot because they are One. Thus, we have three persons within one with relationships. This defines property and gives us the Saguna Brahman – God who can be known. Thus, we have three persons whose properties are different yet forming a unity of essence. This is the realm of the Divine so far. These three define the absolutes since there is none besides. These three define the morals - what is “good”, what is right, what is “truth” and what is beauty. This is the Christian stand. 23 11. TRIMURTHY This is what the early Hinduism stood for too since it was the direct teaching of the Thomas Christians of the period in India. Something happened in the third century that distorted the image. The later development of Hindu theology seems to violate all these defining of ultimate reality, as this Triune God began to quarrel causing uncertainty in these definition. Literally, this is the Fall in the Christian sense. come in as beyond this Trinity in the form of Devi Sakti (Female Creative Power). The Hindu There was Trinity fell from its pristine position. Each began to act selfishly. This provided a fourth principle to something that these gods wanted and were which was beyond within them. They did not form the end of the existence. There were laws and principles over which they had no control and wanted to have those – Self Egotism. The centrality of the concept of Trinity is Love or for better word Agape. When this self-giving love is missing, that produces the fall. The event that happened in the Garden of Eden. “I want to be like God”. Hinduism actually succumbed to this loosing the original concept of Trinity as God falling back into polytheism with a series of gods fighting each other Kether, Chokmah and Binah are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as they are drawn in the Tree of Life of the Hebraic Mysteries. I have used the Tree Symbolism only for convenience. revelations. This Chaldeo-Judean-Christian trinity translated exactly into the early Indian thought. In fact, the two are identical until war broke out within the Hindu Trinity. The first appearance was the Father of all creation, Brahma - the Ancient of Days, the Kether – the Crown. Majesty and Dominion belongs to him, He is the Pitahmahan the creator of all things. He is thus known as Hiranyagarbha (the cosmic womb), Prajapati (the Lord of Hosts), Pitamaha (the Father of Fathers), Vidhi (the Ordainer), Lokesa (Ruler of the World), Dhatr (Sustainer), and Visvakarma (Architect of the Universe). In fact, Brahman became Brahma. Binah and Chokmah were associated with him as the the Holy Spirit and Son. These systematic representations developed recently though the concepts are found deep in the Old Testament 23 11. TRIMURTHY The Creation of Cosmos by the Trimurthi as depicted by Kabalistic Tree; Between the divine world of Trinity and the rest of the creation is the great chasm (Dath - Knowledge) below which lies all the rest of the creations until we come to the Material Kingdom and all the life forms within them all. Because of creation cannot grasp the Divine, Daath remain as a barrier between creation and the Creator. This concept of creation and Trinity and the deep hidden understanding that the Trinity is One appeared all of a sudden soon after the advent of the Christian Era in the Indian soil. We cannot see any indication of a Trinity in any prior scripture, leave alone Vedas. The only possible explanation for its appearance lays certainty in the coming of St.Thomas and Christianity. 23 11. TRIMURTHY This figure is known as Sadasiva Murthy Three in One – Elephanta Cave Father- Son-Mother The earliest Hindu Trinity form was Brahma, Sakti and Siva. This is shown in most temples as Father, Mother and Son. Compare this with the Hindu Trinity as it appears in the iconography all over India in its early phase. The Old Man face on the left and the Woman’s face on the right with the Young Man in the Middle – Fathe, Son and Sophia. Vishnu is represented as a woman. It is not surprising that Vishnu is often represented as Mohini in the war between the Trinity in their fallen state. “The Lord God, though one without a second, assumes three forms respectively of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva for creation, preservation and dissolution of the world.” Vishnu Purana. (Swami Prahhavananda.) “Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, though three in form, are one entity. No difference between the three exists except with respect to attributes.: Padma Purana. (Swami Prahhavananda.) It was later followed by the Gnostics from Syria, which took deeper roots in India, which transformed the Trinity into a mess of confusing priority and primacy. 23 11. TRIMURTHY The Pallava Empire was the largest and most powerful South Asian state in its time, ranking as one of the glorious empires of world history. It encompassed all the present-day Dravidian nations, The including the Tamil, Telugu, Malayali and Kannada tracts within its far-flung borders. foundations of classical Dravidian architecture were established by these powerful rulers, who left behind fantastic sculptures and magnificent temples which survive to this very day. Initially, the similarity of the words "Pallava" and "Pahlava" had led 19th-century researchers to surmise an Iranic origin for the Pallavas. Since then, a mountain of historical, anthropological, and linguistic evidence has accumulated to conclusively establish that the Pallavas were of Parthian origin. Pahlavas were the greatest supporters of Vaishnavism and the victors who defeated the Kalabhra, thus ending the Kalabhra Inter-regnum. They were essentially Gnostic immigrants from Syria Unlike the Christian Trinity, which always acts in unison, in love and as a divine family, the epic period found the Indian interpretation of Trinity in constant competition and fight; each person in the trinity fighting for supremacy. We will see some of these examples. The coming of Gnostic heresy from Syria in the third century produced a dialectical development and relation within the Trinity. The creation, maintenance and recreation became an on going process with each person in trinity did their part to keep the cycle going. Evolution they said followed the Hegelian – Engelian process, thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The three persons in the Trinity found themselves separated and fighting between themselves for primacy. and that led to destructions of the system. .What one proposes the other contradicts 23 11. TRIMURTHY The root of decimation came with several sects giving their devotion and worship to one of the Triad which caused it to split into four major sects. • • Saivites who worshipped Siva. Brahama worship which eventually bowed out. All over India we have only a few temples in the world where Brahma is worshipped. “Lord Brahma has only 3 temples, all in India, one at Pushkar Lake in Ajmer, another in Khokhan - Kullu Valley and the other at Khedabrahma in 23 11. TRIMURTHY Kerala.” ( Instead, his image stand in niches on the walls of temples built for other deities as an attendant deity. Original concept of Brahma as Father of all creation Brahma-Karmali idol • • In its place Vaishnavites came into existence who worshipped Vishnu as a male person who took active role as a female principle to dupe and to get primacy. Sakthism who worshipped the female principle Sakthi which means Power. 23 11. TRIMURTHY The Hindu Trimurti Brahma, Siva, Vishnu from Hoysaleswara Temple in Halebid Here the three appears as three distinct deities The Shivaite said, "These three are one, but mine is the greatest"; the Vishnuite replied, "These three are one, but mine is the greatest." Sakthites replied that Sakthi is the basic Cosmic Principle of Creation and all the Trinity came out of it ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF RELIGION CHAPTER XVIII THE HINDU TRINITY …..Harivansha : "These two highest gods are in their nature one" (10672 f.). …...The sects are still active in India; a rivalry between them still exists; their adherents are marked with different devices. ……In the Puranas each god is worshipped separately. ,,,,,Each sect still asserts that, though the equation Vishnu== Shiva= One, holds good, yet Shiva or Vishnu (as the case may be) is distinctly inferior to the other rival god. ….No Hindu philosopher has ever taken this trinity seriously and no theologian has discussed it. E. Washburn Hopkins, 1923 23 11. TRIMURTHY 23 11. TRIMURTHY The War within the Trinity – The Fall of God Brahma is the first appearance representation of the impersonal brahman Swayambhu Brahma – Pitamaha Religious stories usually place Brahma as an intermediate authority who cannot handle a problem and passes it on to either Vishnu or Shiva. Instead of Brahma as the first appearance Father Vaishnavites reduced him to the one born from the naval of Vishnu. This is the common representation. In this Vaishnavite representation, Brahma came out of the naval of Visnu who rests on Ananta (Infinite) Naga which is floating in the Primal waters. But when the Saivite wanted to correct the error they placed Siva above the Naga as the Kala (Cresent on top of Aum sign) of the eternal Word Aum 23 11. TRIMURTHY Saivite Interpretation Sakthites had a more valid argument. Sakthite Interpretation. Sakthi dances over Siva’s body. 24 11. TRIMURTHY There are over 108 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Durga all over India. The 'Marga', or path, that defined by Sakthism defines five ways to perform penance to attain liberation and happiness which are 'Matsya' (fish), 'Mamsa' (meat), 'Mudra' (parched grain), 'Madya' (liquor) and 'Maithuna' (sexual intercourse). Sakthism came to prominence by the fifth century AD. Female Creative Power behind all creation is Sakti the consort of Siva. Mixed with the potency of sex power Tantric form of Savism along with its amalgamation with all the magic and witchcraft techniques of mantra – tantra – yantra dominated the scene everywhere. The cult of Ellamma (Mother God) and the institution of Temple and Social prostitution became part of Hinduism surpassing the other three, This probably was the profound effect of the Syrian Gnostic influence of India. Female sex power or fertility worship is one of the oldest religions which Hinduism was able to tap effectively and detonated the Christian influence with the help of Gnosticism. In its final blast the trinity arose out of the ParaSakthi making the Devi as Brahman 24 11. TRIMURTHY RIDDLES IN HINDUISM Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar "Father of Indian Constitution" India’s first Law Minister Architect of the Constitution of India …..The second story may well be the issue of the first born. 24 11. TRIMURTHY It is related in the Skanda Purana. The story says that at one time Vishnu lay asleep on the bosom of Devi, a lotus arose from his navel, and its ascending flower soon reached the surface of the flood. Brahma sprang from flower, and looking round without any creature on the boundless expanse, imagined himself to be first born, and entitled to rank above all future beings; yet resolved to investigate deep and to ascertain whether any being existed in its universe who could controvert his preeminence, he glided down the stock of the lotus and finding Vishnu asleep, asked loudly who he was. 'I am the first born' answered Vishnu; and when Brahma denied his preprogeniture, they engaged in battle, till Mahadeo pressed between them in great wrath, saying ' It is I who am truly the first born '. But I will resign my place to either of you, who shall be able to reach and behind the summit of my head, or the soles of my foot. Brahma instantly ascended but having fatigued himself to no purpose in the regions of immensity yet loath to abandon his claim, returned to Mahadeo declaring that he had attained and seen the crown of his head, and called as his witness the first born cow. For this union of pride and falsehood, the angry God Shiva ordained that no sacred rites should be performed to Brahma and that the mouth of cow should be defiled. Trishund Ganesh Temple, Pune When Vishnu returned, he acknowledged that he had not been able to see the feet of Mahadeo who then told him that he was the first born among the Gods, and should be raised above all. It was after this Mahadeo cut off the fifth head of Brahma who thus suffered the loss of his pride, his power and his influence. 24 11. TRIMURTHY According to this story Brahma's claim to be the first born was false. He was punished by Shiva for making it. Vishnu gets the right to call himself the first born. But that is allowed to him by the grace of Shiva. The followers of Brahma had their revenge on Vishnu for stealing what rightfully belonged to him with the help of Shiva. So they manufactured another legend according to which Vishnu emanated from Brahma's nostrils in the shape of a pig and grew naturally into a boar—a very mean explanation of Vishnu's Avatar as a boar. After this Brahma tried to create enmity between Shiva and Vishnu evidently to better his own position. This story is told in the Ramayana. It says: "When King Dasaratha was returning to his capital, after taking leave of Janaka, the king of Mithila, whose daughter Sita had just been married to Rama, ……. The alarming event indicated was the arrival of Parasurama,,,,,,. Being received with honour, which he accepted, he proceeded to say to Rama, the son of Dasaratha that he had heard of his prowess in breaking the bow produced by Janaka and had brought another which he asked Rama to bend, and to fit an arrow on the string; …. latter again addresses Rama, and says that the bow he had broken was Siva's, but the one he himself had now brought was Vishnu's. Two celestial bows, he proceeds, were made by Visvakarma of which one was given by. the gods to Mahadeva Siva, the other to Vishnu". The narrative then proceeds: "The gods then all made a request to Brahma desiring to find out the strength and weakness of Siva and Vishnu. Brahma created enmity between the two. In this state of enmity a great and terrible fight ensued between Siva and Vishnu each of whom was eager to conquer the other. Siva's bow of dreadful power was then relaxed and the three-eyed Mahadeva was arrested by a muttering. ,,,. Seeing that the bow of Siva had been relaxed by the prowess of Vishnu, the gods and rishis esteemed Vishnu to be superior." Thus Brahma managed to avenge the wrong done to him by Mahadeo. Even this stratagem did not avail Brahma to maintain his position against Vishnu. Brahma lost his position so completely to Vishnu that Vishnu who at one time was at the command of Brahma became the creator of Brahma. In his contest with Shiva for supremacy Brahma suffered equal defeat. Here again, the position became completely inverted. Instead of being created by Brahma, Shiva became the creator of Brahma. Brahma lost the power of giving salvation. The god who could give salvation was Shiva and Brahma became no more than a common devotee worshipping Shiva and his Linga in the hope of getting salvation. [Mahabharata quoted in Muir IV p. 192.] 24 11. TRIMURTHY He was reduced to the position of a servant of Shiva doing the work of charioteer [ Mahabharata quoted in Muir IV p. 199.] of Shiva. Ultimately Brahma was knocked out of the field of worship on a charge of having committed adultery with his own daughter. The charge is set out in the Bhagwat Purana in the following terms: "We have heard, O Kshatriya, that Swayambhu (Brahma) had a passion for Vach, his slender and enchanting daughter, who had no passion for him. The Munis, his sons, headed by Marichi, seeing their father bent upon wickedness, admonished him with affection; 'This is such a thing as has not been done by those before you, nor will those after you do it,— that you, being the lord, should sexually approach your daughter, not restraining your passion. This, 0 preceptor of the world, is not a laudable deed even in glorious personages, through limitation of whose actions men attain felicity. Glory to that divine being (Vishnu) who by his own lustre revealed this (universe) which abides in himself, he must maintain ' righteousness '. Seeing his sons, the Prajapatis, thus speaking before him the lord of the Prajapatis (Bramha) was ashamed, and abandoned his body. This dreadful body the regions received and it is known as foggy darkness." The result of this degrading and defamatory attacks on Brahma was to damn him completely. No wonder that his cult disappeared from the face of India leaving him a nominal and theoretical member of the Trimurti. After Brahma was driven out of the field there remained in the field Shiva and Vishnu. The two however were never at peace. The rivalry and antagonism between the two is continuous. The Puranas are full of propaganda and counter-propaganda carried on by the Brahmins, protagonists of Shiva and Vishnu. How well matched the propaganda and counter-propaganda was, can be seen from the following few illustrations: Vishnu is connected with the Vedic God Sun. The worshippers of Shiva connect him with Agni. The motive was that if Vishnu has a Vedic origin Shiva must also have Vedic origin as well. One cannot be inferior to the other in the matter of nobility of origin. Shiva must be greater than Vishnu and Vishnu must not be less than Shiva. Vishnu has thousand [See Vishnu Sahasranama.] names. So Shiva must have thousand names and he has them.[ They are mentioned in the Padma Purana.] Vishnu has his emblems. They are four. So Shiva must have them and he has them. They are (1) flowing Ganges, (2) Chandra (moon), (3) Shesh (snake) and (4) Jata (walled hair). The only point on which Shiva did not compete with Vishnu was the matter of Avatars. In the performance of deeds of glory the propaganda in favour of Shiva is fully, matched by counterpropaganda in favour of Vishnu. 24 11. TRIMURTHY One illustration of this is the story regarding the origin of the holy river Ganges.[Moore's. Hindu Pantheon pp. 40-41.]The devotees of Shiva attribute its origin to Shiva. They take its origin from Shiva's hair. But the Vaishnavas will not allow it. They have manufactured another legend. According to the Vaishnavite legend the blessed and the blessing river flowed originally out of Vaikunth (the abode of Vishnu) from the foot of Vishnu, and descending upon Kailasa fell on the head of Shiva. There is a two-fold suggestion in the legend. In the first place Shiva is not the source of the Ganges. In the second place Shiva is lower than Vishnu and receives on his head water which flows from the foot of Vishnu. Another illustration is furnished by the story which relates to the churning of the oceans by the Devas and the Asuras. They used the Mandara mountain as the churning rod and mighty serpant Shesha as a rope to whirl the mountain. The earth began to shake and people became afraid that the world was coming to an end. Vishnu took the Avatar of Kurma (Tortoise) and held the earth on his back and prevented the earth from shaking while the churning was going on. 24 11. TRIMURTHY This story is told in glorification of Vishnu. To this the Shaivites add a supplement. According to this supplement the churning brought out fourteen articles from the depth of the ocean which are called fourteen jewels. Among these fourteen a deadly poison was one. This deadly poison would have destroyed the earth unless somebody was prepared to drink it. Shiva was the only person who came forward to drink it. The suggestion is that Vishnu's act was foolish in allowing the rivals— the Gods and Demons—to bring out this deadly poison. Glory to Shiva for he drank it and saved the world from the evil consequences of the folly of Vishnu. Third illustration is an attempt to show that Vishnu is a fool and that it is Shiva who with his greater wisdom and greater power saves Vishnu from his folly. It is the story of Akrurasura.[ This story is told in Vishnu Agama and is quoted in Moore's Hindu Pantheon pp. 19-20.] Akrur was a demon with the face of a bear, who, nevertheless, was continuously reading the Vedas and performing acts of devotion. Vishnu was greatly pleased and promised him any boon that he would care to ask. Akrurasura requested that no creature, then existing in three worlds, might have power to deprive him of life, and Vishnu complied with his request; but the demon became so insolent that the Devatas, whom he oppressed, were obliged to conceal themselves, and he assumed the dominion of the world. Vishnu was then sitting on a bank of the Kali, greatly disquieted by the malignant ingratitude of the demon; and his wrath being kindled, a shape, which never before had existed, sprang from his eyes. It was Mahadeva, in his destructive character, who dispelled in a moment the anxiety of the Vishnu. This is countered by the story of Bhasmasura intended to show that Shiva was a fool and Vishnu saved him from his folly. Bhasmasura having propitiated Shiva asked for a boon. The boon was to be the power to burn any one on whose head Bhasmasura laid his hands. Shiva granted the boon. Bhasmasura tried to use his boon power against Shiva himself. Shiva became terrified and ran to Vishnu for help. Vishnu promised to help him. Vishnu took the form of a beautiful woman and went to Bhasmasura who became completely enamoured of her. Vishnu asked Bhasmasura to agree to obey him in everything as a condition of surrender. Bhasmasura agreed. Vishnu then asked him to place his hands on his own head which Bhasmasura did with the result that Bhasmasura died and Vishnu got the credit of saving Shiva from the consequences of his folly. 24 11. TRIMURTHY "Is Isa (Mahadeva) the Cause of causes for any other reasons? We have not heard that the linga (male organ) of any other person is worshipped by the gods. Declare, if thou hast heard, what other being's linga except that of Mahesvara is now worshipped, or has formerly been worshipped, by the gods? He whose linga Brahma and Vishnu, and thou (Indra), with the deities, continually worship, is therefore then most eminent. Since children bear neither the mark of the lotus (Brahma's), nor of the discus (Vishnu's), nor of the thunderbolt (Indra's), but are marked with the male and the female organs,—therefore offspring is derived from Mahesvara. All women produced from the nature of Devi as their cause, are marked with the female organ, and all males are manifestly marked with the linga of Hara. He who asserts any other cause than lsvara (Mahadeva) or (affirms) that there is any (female) not marked by Devi in the three worlds, including all things movable or immovable, let that fool be thrust out. Know everything which is male to be Isvara. and all that is female to be Uma: for this whole world, movable and immovable, is pervaded by (these) two bodies." Vaishnavism generally does not accept the Trimurti concept. For example, the Dvaita school holds Vishnu alone to be the supreme God, with Shiva subordinate, and interprets the Puranas differently. Vijayindra Tîrtha, a Dvaita scholar interprets the 18 puranas differently. He interprets that the Vaishnavite puranas as satvic and Shaivite puranas as tamasic and that only satvic puranas are considered to be authoritative In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Shiva is considered the best of devotee of Vishnu (vaisnavanam yatha sambhu) and also an aspect of Vishnu but not the same as Vishnu. In this view, Shiva is also viewed as subservient to Lord Vishnu, although it is still understood that he is above the category of an ordinary jiva (living entity). In one interpretation, Brahma is considered by Gaudiya Vaishnavites to be the highest of the jivas. 24 11. TRIMURTHY Saivites, similarly hold a similar view with Shiva. Shiva performs four acts of creation, sustenance, reduction and blessing. This bikering between the various groups led to the reformation under Sankaracharya in the 9th C AD to form the Smarta Sampradaya. Smartism is a denomination of Hinduism that places emphasis on a group of five deities rather than just a single deity. The "worship of the five forms" (pañcāyatana pūjā) system invokes the five deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Devī, and Sūrya. This system was instituted by Śaṅkarācārya primarily to unite the principal deities of the five major sects on an equal status. The monistic philosophy preached by Śaṅkarācārya made it possible to choose one 24 11. TRIMURTHY of these as a preferred principal deity and at the same time worship the other four deities as different forms of the same all-pervading Brahman. The choice of Deity is left to the devotee. ”Hey it does not matter who or what you worship. It is actually all you yourself.” 25 12. VAISHNAVISM CHAPTER 12 VAISHNAVISM In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is considered as the supreme God. It arose as a result of the on going conflict with Saivism where Siva is considered as the God of destruction. Vishnu comes from a root meaning "to pervade," and he is known as the Pervader. Thus, Vishnu dwells in everything to defeat the power of destruction. It may be restated as the principle of Life and Death. Vishnu is the principle of Life, which tries to defeat the principle of Death, which is Shiva. eventually Siva wins and the cycle starts all over again. They are two opposing equal Gods, though the hope of the living lies in Vishnu according to Vaishnavism. This struggle is eternal in which 25 12. VAISHNAVISM In the technical terms, these refer to three gunas (properties) of nature viz. Satwa (pulling up), Rajas (fighting) and Tamas (darkness or death) in which Vishnu provides the Satwas aspect of the cosmos. This dialectical nature of cosmos came to India by the third century AD through the Gnostics of Persia; the greatest proponent of this was Manichean. In order to provide the presence in history Vishnu plays the five forms: • • • • • Avatars – the direct incarnation in a life form Cosmic force which is eternally fighting decay and death Consciousness of the living, which in nature consciously directs the fight. Every being is Vishnu in essence Vuyha, the direct emanation of the power of Vishnu. There are many such emanations of godhead such as Vasudeva-Krishna, Samkarsana, Pradymna, Aniruddha etc. Immanent God which is all pervading image of God pervading the cosmos as intelligence. None of these concepts is found in the Vedas. They suddenly appeared in the Indian scene during the first, second and third centuries. These can therefore be traced to two foreigners who came with a mission to evangelize. The first was St. Thomas mission and gospel was based on Christian Isa who incarnated into the earth and dwelt among us. The second was a Persian, the Gnostic Prince Mani. The duality of god and the on going fight between life and death, emanations and degrees of emanation in various levels and the corresponding variations in the avatar forms definitely belongs to Mani. 25 12. VAISHNAVISM The Bhagavat Gita is considered to be the main text of the Vaishnavites where Krishna gives advice to Arjuna how to survive in the face of immanent death. We will be discussing this scripture in detail in a later chapter. Essentially, it proposes to fight decay and death without regard to personal gain or loss in all possible ways. The counsel is “Get it done”. Six of the eighteen Puranas are traditionally considered as Vaishnava text. Of these the Vishnu Purana is one of the oldest (c. fifth century CE) and most important and the Bhagavata Purana (c. ninth century CE) is an authoritative scripture of Vaishnavism. Seventeen of the Upanishads are regarded as Vaishnava, and there are large numbers of prayers and hymns of great literary and religious appeal that are addressed to Vishnu in his different forms. gives an excellent summary of how Vaishnavism grew into the modern form though it misses out the important Christian presence, which gave the basic monotheistic and personal faith as ways of salvation. The presence of Christianity is usually forgotten because the name was never used in India. Dr. Devakala and Dr. Devanayagam suggest that indeed Saivism and Vaishnavism were simply two denominations of Indian Universal Way. It was soon swallowed up by Gnostic infiltration all over India except in the Malabar Coast. Then it was their constant contact with the rest of the world that saved them. What is important to note in the History as given in the Encyclopedia is that it is an outgrowth of various cults and hero worship forms in the Pre-Christian period. With the coming of Thomas into India, the emphasis This caused a spurge out of the shifted to Supreme Person of God and Bhakthi towards Him. led to the Six-fold religion known as Hinduism. Polytheistic Nature worship into the freedom of personal relation with a Supreme God. This eventually History “Vishnu is a solar deity in the Vedas, but the origin of Vaishnavism is not Vedic. It comes more from the pre-Vedic, non-Aryan Bhakthi, devotional cult. As Vedism declined, this cult emerged strongly, and was centered on Vasudeva, the deified Vrsni hero. There is evidence that worship of Vasudeva and not Vishnu came at the beginning of Vaishnavism. This earliest phase was established from the sixth to the fifth centuries BCE at the time of Panini, who in his Astadhyayi explained the word vasudevaka as a bhakta, devotee, of Vasudeva. 25 12. VAISHNAVISM Another cult, which flourished with the decline of Vedism, was centered on Krishna, the deified tribal hero and religious leader of the Yadavas. The Vrsnis and Yadavas came closer together, resulting in the merging of Vasudeva and Krishna. This was as early as the fourth century BCE according to evidence in Megasthenes and in the Arthasastra of Kautilya. Vasudeva-Krishna liberates the throne of Mathura from his evil kinsman Kamsa, travels to the city of Dvaraka on the Arabian Sea to establish a dynasty, and in the Mahabharata he counsels his cousins the Pandavas in their battle with the Kauravas. This then took sectarian form as the Pancaratra or Bhagavata religion. A tribe of ksatriyas, warriors, called the Satvata, were bhagavatas and were seen by the Greek writer Megasthenes at the end of the fourth century BCE. This sect then combined with the cult of Narayana, a demiurge god-creator who later became one of the names of Vishnu. Soon after the start of the Common Era, the Abhiras or cowherds of a foreign tribe, contributed Gopala Krishna, the young Krishna, who was adopted by the Abhiras, worked as a cowherd, and flirted with the cowherdesses. Only as a mature young man, did he return to Mathura and slay Kamsa. The Vasudeva, Krishna, and Gopala cults became integrated through new legends into Greater Krishnaism, the second and most outstanding phase of Vaishnavism. Being non-Vedic, Krishnaism then started to affiliate with Vedism so that the orthodox would find it acceptable. Vishnu of the Rg Veda was assimilated into Krishnaism and became the supreme God who incarnates whenever necessary to save the world. Krishna became one of the avataras of Vishnu. In the eighth century, CE the Bhakthi of Vaishnavism came into contact with Shankara's Advaita doctrine of spiritual monism and world-illusion. This philosophy was considered destructive of Bhakthi and important opposition in South India came from Ramanuja in the eleventh century and Madhva in the fifteenth century. Ramanuja stressed Vishnu as Narayana and built on the Bhakthi tradition of the Alvars, poet-saints of South India from the sixth to the ninth centuries (see Shri Vaishnavas). In North India, there were new Vaishnava movements: • Nimbarka in the fourteenth century with the cult of Radha, Krishna's favourite cowgirl (see Nimavats); • Ramananda and the cult of Rama in the same century (see Ramanandis); • Kabir in the fifteenth century, whose god is Rama (see Kabirpanthis); • Vallabha in the sixteenth century with the worship of the boy Krishna and Radha (see Vallabhas); and • Caitanya in the same century with his worship of the grown-up Krishna and Radha (see Gaudiya Vaishnavas). • In the Maratha country poet-saints such as Namdev and Tukaram from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries worshipped Vishnu in the form of Vithoba of Pandharpur (see Vitthalas) 25 12. VAISHNAVISM 25 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS CHAPTER 13 THE CONCEPT OF AGES Hindu Dispensational Ages (Yuga) and the Avatars According to the Hindu cosmology, the history of the cosmos like the reincarnation is a cycle of birth and death. Vishnu Purana Book I Chapter III gives a detailed analysis of the concept ages. The cosmos goes on repeating the cycle of creation and destruction with a pralya (deluge) in between. Within one cycle of one day of Brahma there are four dispensations which will work out a total of 4320,000,000 human years. The traditional unit is the length of one Kali Yuga which is sometimes called Charana which is 432,000 solar years. Charnas means chorus as in music which is repeated at the end of every verse. That should give us the idea of cycles. Here are the Four Ages (Yuga) and their corresponding lengths. The Four Yugas 4 charanas (1,728,000 solar years) 3 charanas (1,296,000 solar years) 2 charanas(864,000 solar years) 1 charanas(432,000 solar years) Satya Yuga Treta Yuga Dwapar Yuga Kali Yuga 25 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS Surya Siddhanta (490 – 1091 AD) Surya Siddhanta of Varaha as given in his Panca Siddhantika are almost the same as those of the Khandakhadyaka, it is clear that the old Surya Siddhanta was made up to date by Varaha by replacing the old constants in it by new ones from Aryabhata I's 'midnight' system. A subsequent redactor of the Surya Siddhanta changed the constant as introduced by Varaha by following Brahmagupta's teaching in his Brahmasphuta Siddhanta and the Uttara Khandakhadyaka. Thus it has undergone several redactions. From internal evidence alone Burgess came to the conclusion that the superior limit to its date is 490A.D. and that the lower limit is 1091 A.D. If the Avatars are related to the Surya Sidhanta Yugas the Avatar myths came into existence only after 490 AD at the earliest. This will be another indication of the date of the origin of Vaishanvism.” Surya-Siddhanta: A Text Book of Hindu Astronomy By Ebeneezer Burgess The Hindu cosmological time cycles as in Surya Siddhanta 1, 11–23 11). That which begins with respirations (prāna) is called real; that which begins with atoms(truti) is unreal. Six respirations make a vinādi, sixty of these a nādi. (12). And sixty nādis make a sidereal day and night. Of thirty of these sidereal days is composed a month; a civil (sāvana) month consists of as many sunrises. (13). A lunar month, of as many lunar days (tithi); a solar (sāura) month is determined by the entrance of the sun into a sign of the zodiac; twelve months make a year. This is called a day of the gods. (14). The day and night of the gods and of the demons are mutually opposed to one another. Six times sixty of them are a year of the gods, and likewise of the demons. (15). Twelve thousand of these divine years are denominated a Quadruple Age(caturyuga); of ten thousand times four hundred and thirty-two solar years (16) is composed that Quadruple Age(caturyuga), with its dawn and twilight. The difference of the Golden (krtayuga) and the other Ages (yugas), as measured by the difference in the number of the feet of Virtue in each, is as follows : (17). The tenth part of a (Quadruple) Age (caturyuga), multiplied successively by four, three, two, and one, gives the length of the Golden (krta) and the other yugas: the sixth part of each belongs to its dawn and twilight. (18). One and seventy caturyugas make a Patriarchate (manvantara or Patriarchal Age of one manu); at its end is a twilight which has the number of years of a Golden Age (krtayuga), and which is a deluge (pralaya). (19). In an Aeon (kalpa) are reckoned fourteen such Patriarchs (manus) with their respective twilights; at the commencement of the Aeon (kalpa) is a fifteenth dawn, having the length of a Golden Age (krtayuga). (20). The kalpa, thus composed of a thousand caturyugas, and which brings about the destruction of all that exist (bhoo), is a day of Brahma; his night is of the same length. (21). His extreme age is a hundred, according to this valuation of a day and a night. The half of his life is past; of the remainder, this is the first kalpa. (22). And of this kalpa, six Patriarchs (manus) are past, with their respective twilights; and of the Patriarch Manu son of Vivasvant, twenty-seven Ages (caturyugas) are past; (23). Of the present, the twenty-eighth, Age (caturyuga), this Golden Age (krtayuga) is past; from this point,reckoning up the time, one should compute together the whole number." “The cycle repeats itself so altogether there are 1000 cycles of mahayugas in one day of Brahma. However there is a difference. • One cycle of the above four yugas is one mahayuga (4.32 million solar years) 25 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS • • • • • as is confirmed by the Gita statement "sahasra-yuga paryantam ahar-yad brahmano viduH", meaning, a day of brahma is of 1000 mahayugas. Thus a day of Brahma, kalpa, is of duration: 4.32 billion solar years. Two kalpas constitute a day and night of Brahma A manvantara consists of 71 mahayugas (306,720,000 solar years). Each Manvantara is ruled by a Manu. After each manvantara follows one Sandhi Kala of the same duration as a Krita Yuga (1,728,000 = 4 Charana). (It is said that during a Sandhi Kala, the entire earth is submerged in water.) A kalpa consists of a period of 1,728,000 solar years called Adi Sandhi, followed by 14 manvantaras and Sandhi Kalas. A day of Brahma equals (14 times 71 mahayugas) + (15 x 4 Charanas) = = = = 994 mahayugas + (60 Charanas) 994 mahayugas + (6 x 10) Charanas 994 mahayugas + 6 mahayugas 1000 mahayugas In each Mahakalpa, Brahma is born from a particular limb of the Lord. In each cycle it is a different limb. The "Mahabharata" states that Brahma was born on the first Mahakalpa from the mind of the Supreme. In the second Mahakalpa, he was born from the eye, in the third from the words, in the fourth from the ear, in the fifth from the nose, in the sixth from the scrotum and in the present seventh from the navel. And so it will change every Mahakalpa beginning. The reason is that the cycle is not a simple repetition. In a way it is a linear progression. At the end of his day, when Brahma goes to sleep, he is merged with the Supreme Person along with His whole Creation. But the mortal experience of the living is not lost when the merging happens. It is embedded in the Supreme Person. So when the new Mahakalpa starts, the experience gained by the jivas during all the previous Kalpas, the thoughts anxieties and worries which remains within the Supreme Person is brought back and wakes up as well. The Time is essentially a continuation from the last. Hence the cycle is always thought of as a day and night. In the night the cosmos goes to sleep only to wake upto another day. 25 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS Our current date We are currently in the 28th kaliyuga of the first day of the 1st year of the shvetavaraha kalpa of the second parardha of Brahma in the reign of the 7th Manu, Manu Vaivasvata. This is the 51st year of the present Brahma and so about 155 trillion years have elapsed since he took over as Brahma.” wikipedia The current Kali Yuga (Iron Age) began at midnight 17 February / 18 February in 3102 BC There are three types of Pralaya: "Dissolution, reabsorption; destruction; death." A synonym for samhara, one of the five functions of Siva. Also names the partial destruction or reabsorption of the cosmos at the end of each eon or kalpa. There are three kinds of periods of dissolution: 1) 2) 3) Laya, at the end of a mahayuga, when the physical world is destroyed; Pralaya, at the end of a kalpa, when both the physical and subtle worlds are destroyed; and Mahapralaya at the end of a mahakalpa, when all three worlds (physical, subtle and causal) are absorbed into Iswara. Maha kalpa – the Great Age "Truthfully, the quantities of years assigned to a Cosmic Day are symbolic. The Cosmic Night arrives when the ingathering of the perfect souls is complete, which means, when the Cosmic Day is absolutely perfected." - The Pistis Sophia Unveiled The Age of Cosmos and Reality Check Brahma has 2000 MahaYugas which includes a day and a night. There are 360 days in a year for Brahma and we are in the first day of 51st year. So far 360 x 50= 18000 days have passed for Brahma This is equivalent to 18000 x 2000 x 4320000 = 155,520,000,000,000 Human Years Add the current day of Brahma which is 1,972,944,456 Humans Years So as per the vedas, the current age of the universe is 155,521,972,944,456 Years which is about 156 Trillion years. Using the Hubble constant and information about the expansion of the Universe from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, America have been able to measure the age of the Universe to between 12 and 14 billion years old. ( 25 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS Of course we can always fall back on parallel universe or multiple dimensions. Probably Indians of the 5th c AD knew better. Buddhist concept of Kalpa The concept of Yugas is not limited to Hinduism. It is also found in the later Buddhism when it got interacted with the Christians and Vaishnavites and Saivites and as several syncretic forms of Buddhism came into existence. Buddhist Concept of Yugas- Kalacakra Tantra The concept of Kalpa is the period of time expressed in Indian philosophy. Generally speaking, a Kalpa is the period of time between the creation and recreation of a world or universe. One Mahakalpa (Great Kalpa) is subdivided into four Asankhyeya-Kalpas (or simply called Kalpas): 1. Kalpa of formation (Vivarta) 2. Kalpa of existence (Vivatasiddha) 3. Kalpa of destruction (Samvarta) 4. Kalpa of emptiness (Samvartasiddha) Each of the four Kalpas is subdivided into twenty Antarakalpa (Inner Kalpa), so that a Mahakalpa consists of 80 Antarakalpa. Each Small Kalpa is divided into a period of increasing and decreasing. In the increasing period, the length of human life increases by one year every century to 84,000 years and the length of the human body to 8,400 ft. Then it comes to the decreasing period, during which the length of human life decreases gradually to the ten years and the human body to 1 foot in height. There are other distinctions of the Kalpas. A Small Kalpa is represented as 16,800,000 years, a Kalpa as 336,000,000 years and a Mahakalpha as 1,334,000,000 years Christian concept of Yugas - aeons We should remember that the Surya siddhanta and Vishnu Purana were all Post Christian constructions. It would be interesting to compare the corresponding concepts in Christianity as seen through the teachings of Jesus which were later expanded out by Paul. Unfortunately we have no written heritage from St.Thomas. So we cannot really comment on what Thomas brought into India. As the theology of dispensational ages and ‘ages to come’ developed in the rest of Christendom we 26 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS can certainly assume that some basic notions of it came in to India which contributed to the Yuga concept of Hinduism. Here are some quotes related to ages as presented by Jesus: (Mat 12:32) And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Mat 13:39) and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. (Mat 13:40) Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. (Mat 13:49) So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, (Mat 24:3) As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" (Mat 28:20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Mar 10:30) who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Luk 18:30) who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." (Luk 20:34-35) And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, (1Co 2:6) Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. (1Co 2:8) None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (Eph 1:21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; (Heb 6:5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (Heb 9:9) (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, (Rom 16:25) Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages (1Co 2:7) But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. (1Co 10:11) Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come. (Eph 2:7) that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 3:9) and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; (Col 1:26) the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. (1Ti 1:17) To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. (2Ti 1:9) who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, (Tit 1:2) in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago (Rev 21:5) And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." One cannot fail to see that Christ and the later Apostles definitely taught about this age (the current age in which we live and die) and also about ages to come. Jesus declares at the end of this age when the world has gone to the dogs, he will send his angels and make a separation and there will be another age opens up. But this is not a two age picture because Paul speaks about the ages to come and John in his revelation declares that Jesus will make ALL things new. Bible scholars have been able to talk about dispensational ages, which are usually taken as seven ages each with its own 26 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS messengers, and messages, which culminated in the ultimate incarnation of Jesus, which provides redemption for ALL mankind. But we can see only a few saved in this age. We know all about this age. We know much about the age to come. This Age and the Age to Come. The Old Testament predicts the future coming of God or the Messiah; most forms of post biblical Judaism (see esp. 2 Esdras) go further and differentiate this age from the age to come, which is also known as the kingdom of God. This two-age schema is echoed in Matthew 12:32 and Ephesians 1:21, but the New Testament transforms the traditional pattern: with the coming of Christ, the blessings of the future are manifested among God’s people in the present age (cf. Heb. 6:5). In terms of this age as a time of sin and darkness, aion is sometimes synonymous with kosmos or “the world” (cf. Mark 4:19; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 1:20). During this time, Satan appears as the “god” of this age (2 Cor. 4:4) and sin prevails (Gal. 1:4; 2 Tim. 4:10; Titus 2:12). The citizens of this age are living in darkness and must rely on the devices of their own human wisdom (Luke 16:8; 1 Cor. 1:20; 2:6, 8; 3:18). But so long as Christians remain in the world, they are cheered by the spiritual presence of Jesus until the close of this age (Matt. 28:20). Cataclysmic signs will signal the close of the present era (synteleia [tou] aionos, Matt. 24:3). According to the New Testament, the end of the age will bring the return of Christ and the judgment of the wicked (Matt. 13:39–40, 49). When the age to come arrives, the dead will rise to inherit eternal life (Luke 20:34–35). Jewish and later Christian apocalypticists loved to speculate about the blessings of this future age, but the simple message of the Bible is that the coming age will bring a good inheritance (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30). Paul’s advice to Christians is to invest for the age to come by practicing generosity and good deeds in this present age (1 Tim. 6:17–19). ---Gary Steven Elwell, Walter A., Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (Isa 64:4) For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (1Co 2:9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. At the end of this age only a few enters the new age where Jesus is King. But at the end of the AGES Jesus makes ALL THINGS NEW. This is the cycle of ages, deluges in between each age, seperation and judgment in between the ages and at the end of one kalpa everything returns to the original state of oneness in consonance with God. Will that state remain eternally. Yes. If man is made into a machine. If we still have free will – the Sons of God will still make wrong choices as Lucifer the Angel did. The Maha Kalpa may repeat itself. But that depends on those who are in that age and is not revealed to us. This is because we should not find an excuse for the salvificatory work required of man here and now. “Secret things belong to the Lord out God, but the things that are revealed belongs to us and to our chlldren for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” Deu 29:29 26 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS I have presented the Surya Siddhanta in Christian terms. also parallel to the way God talk to the world. The Theology of Avatara in Vaishnavism is Heb 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, There is a logic behind the concept based on the creative power of every man who is created in the image of God “There are active powers within us which are ever busy with the past and the future, and which no limits of time can confine. Memory repeats and, with the aid of imagination, reproduces the past. But the mind rests not at the confines of memory, but follows onward and downward through all the historic period, and into the shadowy ages of the unrecorded and the unknown. And hope and fear, incited by the desire of immortality, lead onward and upward into the ages of the eternal future. We feel that forces and influences operating through long succeeding periods of the past have made us 26 13. THE CONCEPT OF YUGAS what we are, and that the same forces, or others adapted to our nature, will continue to develop our character and shape our destiny, and make us what we shall be in the ages to come.” The Ages to Come: Or, The Future States, E. Adkins 26 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS CHAPTER 14 THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The Doctrine of Avatar yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I descend Myself. paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam dharma-samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I myself appear age after age. "Whenever the world declined in virtue and righteousness; and vice and injustice mount the throne, then cometh I, the Lord and revisit my world in visible form, and mingled as a man with men, and by my influence and teachings do I destroy the evil and injustice and 26 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS reestablish virtue and righteousness. Many times have I thus appeared, and many times hereafter shall I come again?" The purpose of the avatar is defined in Bhagavat Gita 4:7-8 Whenever there is • • • • • Vishnu incarnates • • • to protect the good, the law abiding and to destroy the evil, the delinquent, the unjust or inequitous and to establish dharama, justice decline of dharma, righteousness, justice, rule of law and there is increase in injustice, Yet as we go through the Avatars, we will see that this was never accomplished unless the Suras are the only people of god. It is certainly a history of the people who is represented as Suras who are the enemies of the people represented as Asuras. All the reference to dharma, righteousness, justice, rule of law are the justice of one group of people over another - unfortunately both these group of people are Bharathians – Indians. But as far as Vishnu is concerned only the interest of the Devas are counted. The avatar was at least initially connected to the Dispensational Ages. We shall now undertake a quick look at the concept of Yuga and their probable origin Aeons and Avatars The whole idea of ages and avatars were brought into India by St.Thomas but they were manipulated by the later Gnostics into a fight between good and evil, Suras and the Asuras and developed into myths because of the concept of duality in the world which in turn was introduced into India by the gnostics of Persia and Greece. “Aeons: The term appropriated by Gnostic heresiarchs to designate the series of spiritual powers evolved by progressive emanation from the eternal Being, and constituting the Pleroma or invisible spiritual world, as distinct from the Kenoma, or visible material world. The word aeon (aion) signifying "age", "the ever-existing", "eternity", came to be applied to the divine eternal power, and to the personified attributes of that power, whence it was extended to designate the successive emanations from the divinity which the Gnostics conceived as necessary intermediaries 26 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS between the spiritual and the material worlds. The Gnostic concept of the aeon may be traced to the influence of a philosophy which postulated a divinity incapable of any contact with the material world or with evil, and the desire to reconcile this philosophy with the Christian notion of a direct interference of God in the affairs of the material world, and particularly in the Creation and Redemption of man. Jewish angelology, which represented Jehovah ministered to by a court of celestial beings, and Hellenic religious systems, which imagined a number of intermediaries between the finite and the infinite, suggested the emanation from the divinity of a series of subordinate heavenly powers, each less perfect, the further removed it was from the supreme deity, until at length increasing imperfection would serve as the connecting link between the spiritual world and the material world of evil. In different Gnostic systems the hierarchy of Aeons was diversely elaborated. But in all are recognizable a mixture of Platonic, mythological, and Christian elements. There is always the primitive all-perfect Æon, the fountain-head of divinity, and a co-eternal companion Æon. From these emanate a second pair who, in turn, engenders others, generally in pairs, or in groups of pairs, in keeping with the Egyptian idea of divine couples. One of these inferior Æons, desiring to know the unknowable, to penetrate the secrets of the primal Æon, brings disorder into the Æon-world, is exiled, and brings forth a very imperfect Æon, who, being unworthy of a place in the Pleroma, brings the divine spark to the nether world. Then follows the creation of the material universe. Finally, there is evolved the Æon Christ, who is to restore harmony in the Æon-world, and heal the disorder in the material world consequent upon the catastrophe in the ideal order, by giving to man the knowledge which will rescue him from the dominion of matter and evil. The number of Æons varies with different systems, being determined in some by Pythagorean and Platonic ideas on the mystic efficacy of numbers; in others by epochs in, or the duration of, the life of Christ. The Æons were given names, each Gnostic system having its own catalogue, suggested by Christian terminology, and by Oriental, or philosophical and mythological nomenclature. There were nearly as many aeonic hierarchies as there were Gnostic systems, but the most elaborate of these, as far as is known, was that of Valentinus, whose fusion of Christianity and Platonism is so completely described in the refutation of this system by St. Irenæus and Tertullian. (See GNOSTICISM, VALENTINUS, BASILIDES, PTOLEMY.) “ Catholic Encyclopaedia This gnostic insertion changed the concept of avatar in terms of hierachies and levels of gods. This is what we see in the Avatar myths and the categorization of Avatars in Hinduism. Evidently some time in History gnostics took over the Christian concepts and remodeled it. The Greeks and the Syrians had their role in this transformation. As a result the material world is never redeemed but destroyed. In Christian theology of redemption, the cosmos with its material realm included is redeemed and the blessing of death and decay is removed as sin is removed and beings becomes like the Son of Man. This is the deification or theosis of christianity. All things are thus made new and the mahakalpa ends. It may repeat. But that is another story if and when it arises. 26 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Vaishnava Avatar in History This should then give us some idea of the dates of the period of the four yugas and consequently the time of the various avatars. Kali yuga started 3102 BC Dwapara Yuga Started 3102 +864,000 = 867,102 BC Treta Yuga Started 867,102 +1,296,000 =2,163,102 BC Satya Yuga Started 2,163,102 + 1,728,000 = 3,891,102 BC Hence the incarnations are supposed to be in the following period • • • • Between 3,891,102 and 2,163,102 BC (2 to 3 million years before) in Satya Yuga: Matsya (fish), Koorma (tortoise), Varaaha (boar), Narasimha (the man lion) Between 2,163,102 and 867,102 BC (1 to 2 million years ago) in the Treta Yuga: Vaamana (the dwarf), Parasurama (the angry man), Rama (the perfect human) Between 867,102 and 3,102 BC (3000 to 1 million years ago) in the Dwapara Yuga: Balarama and Krishna Now expected in some 427,000 years time- Kali Yuga: Kalki In the Krita (Satya Yuga) there is no adharma and dharma stands on all four legs (4), in the Treta Yuga it stands on three legs(3) – adharma is only little. In fact there was no adharma to be destroyed in the first three avatars if at all the other had any. In the Dwapara Yuga(2) it stands on two legs and in the Kali Yuga (1) it stands on one leg. If adharma was the reason for incarnation the number of incarnations in each age should have been the other way round. avatars at all since there is no evil in the first Satya Yuga. There is no reason for the first four 26 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The following table summarizes the meaning of Vishnu's past 9 avatars: Topic A demon performed austerities and gained too much power over the gods The avatar came to save the gods The avatar came to save humans The avatar kills a demon The avatar's form of embodiment Which avatar's case fits into this scenario 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 3, 4, 7, 8 Animal (1, 2, 3), half-beast, half-human (4), human (5, 6, 7, 8, 9) according to how the demon had to be deceived. 8 out of 9 avatars (no. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9) are involved in saving the world of gods from the power attained by the demons, while only 6 is concerned with saving humans alone. Whenever there 26 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS was a conflict of interest between the gods and the non-gods, incarnation of God sided with the gods and in fact outright cheated the non-gods. The general structure of the Hindu Avatar myth follows a strict progression as follows: 1. A demon (Asuras) gains great power through austerities and becomes invincible 2. The demon defeats gods (Suras, Devas) totally and takes over their lands 3. The Suras pettitions one of the great deities. 4. The deity takes a form suitable to trick the Asura. 5. Demon is defeated without violating any legal conditions within the law. 6. Suras praise the demon slayer. A casual look will verify that most of the incarnations do not fulfill the reason for avatar. Evidently it is a one sided story and certainly refers not to how the supreme God of all Creations deal with his creation, but how the King of a group of people deal with their enemies. It is this obvious character of the avatar that I treat as historical. The Reality Check with Time This would imply that except for the Balabhadra and Krishna avatars all avatars took place over a million years ago. Even those two fall within the vast time frame of 3000 to 867000 BC (nearly a million years). It would also imply that human civilization with highly sophisticated social system, kingship, chariots, war machines, flying vehicles etc were in existence in India for over three million years. The True History and the Religion of India: A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism.By Swami Prakashanand Saraswati 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS “Using the Hubble constant and information about the expansion of the Universe from the Hubble Space Telescope, we have been able to measure the age of the Universe to between 12 and 14 billion years old.” Dr. Wendy Freedman Dr. Wendy Freedman is one of the leaders of an international team of 27 astronomers at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, America. Poor scientists, What do these people really know? Compare this with the evolutionary history of man. A timeline of human evolution, history, technology, and the fates of human societies. Shane Ross This is History, history understood as a single, coherent, evolutionary process, when taking into account the experience of all peoples in all times. Time in BC 4 million | First bipedal human ancestor. Bipedalism appears suddenly in the fossil record. Could be Ardipithecus ramidus, a hominid that lived in the wooded grasslands of the Horn of Africa. 1.8 million-100,000 | Homo erectus in Africa, Asia, and Indonesia (and Europe?). First use of crude stone tools and may have harnessed naturally occuring fire (1.5 Myr, Swartkrans, South Africa). Genetic studies indicate modern humans are not descended from H. erectus, which appears as an evolutionary side-branch and dead end. 200,000-150,000 | Genetic Eve (or "mitochondrial Eve"), the most recent common female ancestor of all living humans (from mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA, dating). The mtDNA from Eve merely acts as a tracer that links all present-day humans to a single population of ancient humans, who lived in Africa. 150,000-30,000 | Archaic Homo sapiens, otherwise known as Neanderthals, appear in the fossil record, distinct from earlier protohumans. They occupied Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. Differ from modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) in skeletal details and behavior. Recent genetic studies also indicate that modern humans are not descended from Neanderthals. They used crude stone tools and may have harnessed naturally occuring fire. They buried their dead and cared for their sick. Hands could not grip complicated tools, preventing them from engaging in fine motor skills, such as carving and painting. Cultural sharing between Neanderthals and modern humans or Homo erectus during time of overlap? 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 150,000-60,000 | Modern humans appear (sometimes called Homo sapiens sapiens), originally in Africa, probably east Africa. Same stone tools as Neanderthals. No art. Unimpressive hunting skills (killing easy-to-kill, not-at-all-dangerous animals.) No fishing. 140,000 | Diaspora of Neanderthals and modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens)? First domestication of large mammal, the dog. 94,000-12,000 | Prehistoric 'Hobbit'. A little over 3 feet tall, a distinct humanoid species, Homo floresiensis people flourished on Flores from 94,000 to 12,000 years ago, when a volcano killed them off. They apparently hunted dwarf elephants with spears. 60,000-40,000 | Genetic Adam (or "Y-chromosomal Adam"), the most recent common male ancestor of all living humans (from Y-chromosome dating). 60,000-40,000 | Great Leap Forward (anthropological "big bang" of human expression) among Homo sapiens sapiens (modern humans). First standardized stone tools. First jewelry. First painting. Timing of innovation coincides with first appearance of modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens; Cause of innovation unknown, could be due to increase in brain size, some say vocal box became well developed. Most likely first took place among one group of humans in Africa. 60,000 | Diaspora of humans reaches China via Southeast Asia. 50,000 | Human population: 1.2 million hunter-gatherers, H. sapiens sapiens. 50,000 | First human settlement in the Americas, according to evidence found at a South Carolina site. If true, beats the oldest accepted date by 35,000 years. Did they come by sea from Africa or Europe? 45,000 | Humans begin to enter southwestern Europe. Some 6 percent of Europeans are descended from the continent's first founders, who entered Europe from the Near East (these people are modern Basque and Scandinavians). Skeletons are fully modern. Tools of bone: fishhooks, engraving tools, needles. Multi-piece tools. Harpoons, spear-throwers, bows and arrows to catch large, difficult animals. Nets, lines, and snares for fishing. First art: cave paintings, statues, and musical instruments. 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The fallacy of such a history as stated in the Hindu myths is obvious when we realize that even the most ancient Indus Valley Civilization extends only from 3,300 BC. Unless you are one of those who believes that there had been a highly civilized India two million years ago whose remnants even in archeology are destroyed with time, the history as given by the myths will be a fiction of imagination. Scholars like Vamadeva David Frawly and Sri Yukteswar Giri were quick to discern it and is now trying to down grade the traditional yuga to historic lengths “The shorter yuga theory offers better proof of the age of Rama and Krishna and other important historical Indian figures than other dating methods, which make some of these figures out to be millions of years old - too old for the accepted chronology of human history on Earth.” (The Astrology of the Seers, Frawley) "the astronomers and astrologers who calculate the almanacs have been guided by wrong annotations of certain Sanskrit scholars (such as Kullu Bhatta) of the dark age of Kali Yuga, and now maintain that the length of Kali Yuga is 432,000 years, of which 4994 have (in 1894 CE) elapsed, leaving 427,006 years still remaining. A dark prospect! And fortunately one not true." (The Holy Science, Yukteswar) Yet we should not forget that Sanskrit itself started only by the mid second century AD, and the Indian Time Metric System came into existence at the earliest by fifth century AD. What we have seen is that there is no mention even of names of avatars in any pre-christian documentation or archealogy. All these names appeared in due course of time after the Christian Era as is represented in the Purana Stories and in the icons that appeared in the temples. We wont be able to see any historic person in the form of avatar – not even Krishna and Rama. That is why the Vaishnavites want to make them long predated to a period when we don’t have any history and it will be impossible to provide any positive or negate evidence. The Avatar datings are these days done using intricate astronomic references that are found in the Puranas written as late as the fifteeth century AD. Other than that we don’t have any way of finding the historical person of the Avatar and it will remain only as a fiction. Most of these personalities were actually evolved by compiling characters and traits from heroes of our period and presenting it as a unified ideal personality. Evidently none of these persons lived prior to Christian Era – at least we don’t have any evidence whatsoever for that. In a country where incarnations are still walking from Kashmir to Puttaparthy these stories will be taken as true by very sincere believers. Once stories are established additional stories are added in time to elaborate the character and sometimes to cover the trails of truth. The power of the myth continues to delude the masses. 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Re-Interpretation of the Theory of Avataras/Kashinath. 1997 "This book tells about the re-interpretation of the theory of Avataras, Hindu Avataras have always been depicted by the priests as the mythological entitles to be worshiped by the believers with fear and hope. Even the modern scholars of Hinduism also putting all their knowledge aside, often paint Avataras as the supernatural beings, plastered with devotional praise, to be worshipped alone. But a careful study says that the Theory of Avataras, among other things, played a great role in unifying several conflicting elements in ancient India to make it a united nation. The class contradictions between the Brahmins and Kshatriyas, which claimed a lot of human blood, were pacified by delcaring Rama and Parshurama, although contemporaries, as the Avataras of Vishnu. Later the Buddha, an agnostic, was also declared to be the Avatara, with the result that Buddhism, with all its high ideals, became one with Hinduism and India was preserved as a land of unity in diversity. But later this doctorine was forgotten. Had the Hindu genius used the Theory of Avataras when confronted with Christianity and Islam, generating crisis, much human blood could be saved that was poured in India, and the country itself was divided in the name of religion obviously, the Theory of Avataras has again to play its tested role to spread unity and love among all the inhabitants of India and the world as well. This process is natural of Hindu genius and the need of the day." (jacket) Purpose of incarnation An incarnation is essentially an interference in the normal progression of the manifested worlds. It becomes necessary due to the remorseless violation of divine laws by the actions of beings endowed with free will. The law of karma makes each individual being responsible for its action. But in some cases that alone would not act as a deterrent to prevent people from indulging in evil pursuits and causing a great imbalance in the working of the worlds or interfering with the lives of other people. When their number increases disproportionately, a much higher and potent force is required to deal with them. God is not judgmental. But He would also not remain static to the calls of his devotees. So when the situation reaches a boiling point, He decides to take matters into His own hands and come down to earth in physical form to restore order and morality. In Hinduism, an evil force is not opposed to God against His will. It is a force that works for God in its own evil ways. God uses these forces to create situations that warrant His intervention. It is part of His divine drama already planned and embedded in the design. Most of the demons that He slew during his many incarnations were but his own devotees who out of arrogance asked for things that would ultimately lead to the welfare of the good and the destruction of the evil and themselves. From the perspective of duality, we may say the demon was destroyed by a divine force for a good cause. But from the highest perspective of the unity of all creation, we cannot deny the fact that by destroying the evil force God facilitates its ultimate dissolution into Himself and the dawn of a new awareness and promulgation of a new code of conduct among people. So from the highest perspective, an incarnation is a drama (leela) with in a bigger drama (maha leela), orchestrated by God for his own enjoyment and for keeping His laws in place. This, in brief, is the purpose and justification of an incarnation, which the followers of Vaishnavism accept as an undeniable truth. 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Here is how the leela is acted out:Shri Mad-Bhaagvat Puraan Ska nd h 7:Cha p t er 1 Shukdev Jee said - "In fact Bhagvaan is Nirgun, Ajanmaa (does not born), cannot be described and is beyond Prakriti, still He with His Maayaa performs all kinds of actions. Sat, Raj and Tam are the Gun of Prakriti, not of Paramaatma. And these three Gun are not always present in the same amount in Prakriti. Bhagavaan takes all Gun at time to time. When Sat Gun is more, He takes care of Devtaa and Rishi; when Rajo Gun is more, He takes care of Daitya; and when Tamo Gun is more, He takes care of Yaksh and Raakshas. When He wants to take any 'body' for Himself then He creates a separate Rajo Gunee creation with His Maaya. When He wants to take strange Yoni (species), He creates them with Sato Gun and when He wants to sleep, then He increases Tamo Gun. Kaal depends on Him not that He depends on Kaal. Whenever this Kaal Eeshwar increases Sato Gun, He increases the power of Devtaa and kills Tamo Gunee Daitya. 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Here is how the predestination explained in Vaishanvism: Those devotees who were spiritually situated were simply taking part in the Lord's transcendental lila….. Jaya and Vijaya's fall was a special arrangement of the Lord for His lila… In the following excerpts Srila Prabhupada states something very different; that Jaya and Vijaya are pure devotees who have descended to the material world by the Lords arrangement: This incident, therefore, proves that those who have once entered a Vaikuntha planet can never fall down. The case of Jaya and Vijaya is not a falldown; it is just an accident. (Bhag. 3.16.12, purp.) A devotee once accepted by the Lord, can never fall down. That is the conclusion of this incident. [Jaya and Vijaya] (Bhag. 3.16.29, purp.) From authoritative sources it can be discerned that associates of Lord Visnu who descend from Vaikuntha do not actually fall. They come with the purpose of fulfilling the desire of the Lord, and their descent to this material world is comparable to that of the Lord. The Lord comes to this material world through the agency of His internal potency, and similarly, when a devotee or associate of the Lord descends to this material world, he does so through the action of the spiritual energy. Any pastime conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is an arrangement by yoga-maya, not maha-maya. Therefore it is to understood that when Jaya and Vijaya descended to this material world, they came because there was something to be done for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuntha. (Bhag. 7.1.35, purp.) ,, Similarly, Krsna does not fight with anyone ordinary, but rather with some of His great devotees. Because Krsna wants to fight, some of His devotees come down to this material world to become His enemies and fight with Him. For example, the Lord descended to kill Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa. Should we think that these were ordinary living entities? The fighting spirit is there in Krsna also. …. Just like Jaya Vijaya came just to satisfy his master. His master desired fighting, so some of His servant went to the material world and became great enemy like Hiranyakasipu. Ravana.” We can see that the whole history of cosmic creation and cycles are considered by the Vaishnavites as leela – a fun game, which is all pre-planned. This can be seen clearly in the case of the ten avatars which we will be looking at. 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The mythological story goes that the two demigod gate-keepers/dwarapalakas (Jaya and Vijaya) of the abode of Vishnu, known as Vaikunta (meaning place of eternal bliss), barred revered sages from entering Vishnu's abode because Vishnu was sleeping at the time. The sages cursed the Jaya and Vijaya to be born as mortals and roam the earth (Bhuloka). The gatekeepers reported back to Vishnu of the incident that had taken place. He told them that he could not take back the curse, but could give them options on how the curse would be lived out. He gave them the option either to be born several many times as great devotees of the Lord Vishnu, or a few times as powerful individuals that were the sworn enemies of the Lord Vishnu, and to die at the hands of Lord Vishnu. The dwarapalakas chose to be born a few times as enemies of Lord Vishnu, and took the form of the demons Madhu and Kaitabh, Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu, Ravana and Kumbakarna, and Kamsa(in another version dantavakra) and Shishupala. 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Vishnu wanted to someone to fight with. He cannot really fight with someone who is weak and puny. So the two gatekeepers – those strong watchmen at the gate of heaven – are send out to be born as Asuras – the Demons and the whole scenario is set up so that Vishnu can take the playful forms and kill them over and over again. It is like children playing in their early childhood. It is their means of growing up and becoming. It is just the thrill of killing and fighting. In most cases we can see that there is no moral reason for the incarnation, there is no justice in the killing and foul play; trickery and legalism are used. Evidently it puts God in a poor light. The ostentious reasons given as decay of righteousness, justice and dharma are not the real reason for Vishnu incarnation. Those conditions are created intentionaly for the sole purpose of glorification of Vishnu. (Why should God want to be glorified?) It is similar to the five point Calvinistic thought where God creates a class of people to be put in hell and another to put in heaven. Vaishnavism is thus historically a Calvinistic development within the Early Indian Christianity which went wild. This is in sharp constrast with the concept of incarnation within the historic Christianity where incarnation is for the sole purpose of redemption. Judgement and punishment are part of the process and are always justified as it is a consequence of the free will of sentient beings. The on going ages are intended to give as much time as needed to bring in total salvation based entirely on love. God is love and his actions are based only on love. His actions are always just. It is this supreme self sacrificing love that is expressed in the incarnation of Jesus. Fatherhood of God means a great deal more than we sometimes imagine. It is not merely a term of tenderness; it is also a term of law and discipline. But fatherhood means supremely that if the child has wandered away, the father will suffer everything to save and bring it home again. Within the realm of revealed religion this truth emerged, that the one God, mighty, holy, beneficent, is the Father who will sacrifice Himself to save the child. There man found the point of contact, in infinite love which never abandons him, never leaves him. That is the truth which, coming into revealed religion, saved it from being intellectual apprehension, minus moral dynamic, and sent running through all human life rivers of cleansing, renewal, regeneration. THE PURPOSES OF THE INCARNATION, G. CAMPBELL MORGAN, BASIS OF AVATAR MYTH AS STRUGGLE BETWEEN SURAS AND THE ASURAS But every myth has some historic seed and it must be true of the myths of Vishnu Avatars too. A myth is never a reality but is always true in its meaning. It is not history as such, but retells history in a more subtle powerful way to impress the meaning fully. Since these characters do not appear in 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS any of the Pre-Christian documents, literature, history or archeological records the myth refers certainly to some history which is certainly related to Post Christian history. Is there a common thread that runs through the whole ten avatars? We are neglecting the later expansion of infinite avatar and petty additions from the list of heroes and self proclaimed avatars whether leela or serious. One common factor is that in every case it was supposed to kill an Asura. Incarnation - Vasudeva - Vishnu Matsya (Fish) Avatara Asura - Prati-Vasudeva Killed Hayagriva The Shatpath Brahmana and the Bhagavata Purana relate it to Manu, the Padma Purana to Makara or Shankhasura , and the Matsya Purana Kurma (Tortoise)Avatara Varaha (Boar) Avatara Nara Simha (Man-Lion) Avatara Vamana (Dwarf) Avatara Parasu Rama (Rama with the Axe) Rama Bala Rama Krishna to Asura Hayagriva. Associated with the Churning of the Milky Way to get the Amrit Killed Hiranyaksha Killed Hiranyakasipu (brother of Hiranyaksha) Defeated Mahabali (Grandson of Hiranyakasipu) To reclaim Kerala (An Asura Kingdom?) Killed Asura Ravana (Grandson of Mahabali) Killed Asura Dhenuka Killed Kamsa son of an Asura, taken to be the son of Ugrasen Killed Sisupala, the son of Damaghosha, king of Chedi (the rebirth of Hiranyakasipu.) Killed Narakasura son of Hiranyksha with Bhumi Devi in the Varaha Avatar. (Or was he the son of Varahaavatara Vishnu?) If there is a historical germ in these stories, then we must look at it from the historical period essentially after the development of Sanskrit literature. This post dates the beginning of Christian Era. What is given below is the most probable historical explanation. The myths essentially speaks about an on going war between the Vaishnavism (referred as Suras, Devas,gods) and the Asuras (referred in internet sites as daitya, danava, titans, demons, demigods, rakshasa, cannibals,devil). Nagendra Kumar Singh in the Encyclopaedia of Hinduism states: “some are of opinion that the use of the words like daitya, danava, etc, is in accordance with the Puranic character of narrating events of past ages. (Buddha lived long before the authors of the current Puranas.) These words refer to those persons who, in ancient times, followed anti-Vedic religions and consequently found the teachings of Buddha as valid and useful. A similar use of words is found in the legends concerning the destruction or the loss of Vedas. The Puranas say that the 27 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Vedas were destroyed or stolen by the asuras namely Hayagriva, Sankha and others. and who created obstacles to the propagation of Vedic culture. reality?” It would be worthwhile to trace the etymology and history of the Asuras. Who are the Asuras? Much scholarly work were done in this regard that I quote the essential passages from them. They should speak for themselves. There is no doubt that in these legends the world asura refers to those persons who were against Vedic discipline It must be borne in mind that no mythical tale can spring through pure imagination; such tales must have their bases in some for of ASURA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] 'Spiritual, divine.' In the oldest parts of the Rig. veda this term is used for the supreme spirit, and is the same as the Ahura of the Zoroastrians. In the sense of 'god' it was applied to several of the chief deities, as to Indra, Agni, and Varuna. It afterwards acquired an entirely opposite meaning, and came to signify, as now, a demon or enemy of the gods. The word is found with this signification in the later parts of the Rigveda, particularly in the last book, and also in the Atharva,. veda. The Brahmanas attach the same meaning to it, and record many contests between the Asuras and the gods. According to the Taittiriya Brahmana, the breath (asu) of Prajapati became alive, and "with that breath he created me Asuras." In another part of the 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS same work it is said that Prajapati "became pregnant. He created Asuras from his abdomen." The Satapatha Brahmana accords with the former statement, and states that "he created Asuras from his lower breath." The Taittiriya. Aranyaka represents that Prajapati created gods, men, fathers, Gandharvas, and Apsarases from water, and that the Asuras, Rakshasas, and pisachas sprang from the drops which were spilt. Manu's statement is that they were created by the Prajapatis. According to the Vishnu Purana, they were produced from the groin of Brahma (prajapati). The account of the Vayu Purana is: "Asuras were first produced as sons from his (Prajapati's) groin. Asu is declared by Brahmana to mean breath. From it these beings were produced; hence they are Asuras." The word has long been used as a general name for the enemies of the gods, including the Daityas and Danavas and other descendants of Kasyapa, but not including the Rakshasas descended from Pulastya. In this sense a different derivation has been found for it: the source is no longer asu, `breath,' but the initial a is taken as the negative prefix, and asura signifies 'not a god;' hence, according to some, arose the word sura, commonly used for 'a god.' “The gods are the Suras and the demons the Asuras or "non-gods". This distinction, however, did not obtain in the early Vedic period. Originally the deities, and especially Varuna and Mitra, were called Asuras, but in the later part of Rigveda the term is applied chiefly to the enemies of the gods. In the Atharvaveda, as in subsequent Epic literature, the Asuras are simply demons and giants and goblins. No conclusive explanation can be offered as to how this remarkable change took place in the course of the centuries embraced by the Vedic period. It may have been due primarily to sectarian strife between the religious teachers of those tribes which had been influenced by Babylonian modes of thought and those which clung tenaciously to the forms of primitive Aryan nature worship, and perhaps also the worship of ancestors (Pitris). In the old Persian language, which, like Greek, places "h" before a vowel where "s" is used in Sanskrit, Ahura (= Asura) signifies "god". The Zoroastrian chief god is called Ahura-Mazda, "the wise Lord", as Varuna is addressed in early Rigvedic hymns, "wise Asura and King", and "the all-knowing Asura who established the heavens and fixed the limits of the earth". On the other hand "daeva" in the Iranian dialect, which is cognate with Sanskrit "deva", "god", came to mean "demon". "Asura" is derived from the root "asu", which signifies "the air of life", and "deva" from "div", "to shine", or "deiwo", "heavenly".”…… How the gods of the Indian Aryans became the demons of Persia and the demons of Persia became the gods of India is a problem for which a solution has yet to be found. The Asuras became completely identified with the demons and giants; they symbolized evil, darkness, and drought. In Epic literature we read that "in ancient times the gods and Asuras were very active in destroying one another. And the terrible Asuras always succeeded in defeating the gods." . 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Asuras (Sk.). Exoterically, elementals and evil, gods—considered maleficent; demons, and no gods. But esoterically—the reverse. For in the most ancient portions of the Rig Veda, the term is used for the Supreme Spirit, and therefore the Asuras are spiritual and divine It is only in the last book of the Rig Veda, its latest part, and in the Atharva Veda, and the Brâhmanas, that the epithet, which had been given to Agni, the greatest Vedic Deity, to Indra and Varuna, has come to signify the reverse of gods. Asu means breath, and it is with his breath that Prajâpati (Brahmâ) creates the Asuras. When ritualism and dogma got the better of the Wisdom religion, the initial letter a was adopted as a negative prefix, and the term ended by signifying “not a god”, and Sura only a deity. But in the Vedas the Suras have ever been connected with Surya, the sun, and regarded as inferior deities, devas. Asura, from Sanskrit meaning a "power-seeking" and "power-hungry" being (I don’t see how this meaning comes from the word. But this is how the Brahminic world sees it -Ninan), is similar to a Titan, often, but somewhat misleading, described as a "demon"; or anaya (non-Aryan) people of ancient India. The term's derivation is uncertain. Some scholars derive it from Ashur, the Assyrian god, or from the breath (asu) of Prajapati, or from the root as (to be). According to a Hindu myth, a-sura is the negation of sura, an Indo-Aryan liquor, and refers to non-Aryan abstainers. In Hindu mythology sura came to mean a minor godin contrast to a-sura, "not-god" or "demon," but this is believed to be a false etymology. In older part of the Rg Veda, asura refers to the supreme spirit, like the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazdah, or to Vedic deities (devas) such as Varuna, Agni, Mitra, and Indra. In younger Vedic texts and Hindu mythology asuras become demons or titans who war against the devas (gods). (cf., in the Iranian tradition ahura came to mean "god" while dacva came to mean "demon") 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS According to Satapathe Brahmana the devas and asuras both came from Prajapati, but the former chose true speech while the latter chose the lie. Aitarcya Brahmana relates that devas hold power by day and asuras hold equal power by night. The non-Aryan Danavas and Laityas were called asuras. These may have been peoples who were opponents of the non-Aryans and who were mythologically equated with titans and demons. Asuras are not necessarily evil while devas are not necessarily good. They are consubstantial, distinguished only by their mutual opposition, which is not conceived as an absolute ethical dualism. A.G.H. The negative character of the asura in Hinduism seems to have evolved over time. In general, the earliest texts have the asuras presiding over moral and social phenomena (e.g. Varuna, the guardian of Ṛtá, or Bhaga, the patron of marriages) and the devas presiding over natural phenomena (e.g. Ushas, whose name means "dawn", or Indra, a weather god). Devas and Asuras Modern historians tends to consider Asuras and Devas (the enemies of Asuras) as two divisions of ancient people, who shared same motherland, culture and civilization, for some period of time in the past. Later they split into two groups, harbouring enmity to each other. One group used the name Asura or Ahura as a respectful surname to their chiefs and kings. They used the name Deva or Daiva to denote a demon or devil. On the other hand, the other group used the name Asura to denote a demon and Deva to denote a divine being or god. These groups probably came from Iran, Iraq and Syriya, from the kingdoms like Assyria and cities like Assur into India. Their religion was the earliest form of Zorastrianism. Zend Avesta was one of their sacred texts, which have many similarities with the Vedas. A portion of this group spread to the Baluchistan in Pakistan, the western shore of India and finally to the whole of South India. The probably used the sea route also to reach these regions, since they were very good at navigation. This group is described in the ancient Indian texts as Asuras. In The Civilized Demons: the Harappans in Rgveda Malati J. Shendge shows evidence to show that the early Indus Valley Civilization was an Asura civilization. Essentially therefore Asuras are of Chaldean-Syrian origin and they were spread all over India even as far as Southern tip of the subcontinent. The Asuras probably kept their contact with Syria and Iran since their religious affiliations required it. This explains the predominant Christian presence among the Asuras. Relationship of Asuras and Bhargavas Small pockets of Asura regions existed in northern India and regions beyond Himalays as well. Vrishaparvan, was a famous Asura king, who ruled some unknown kingdom in the Himalayas. The founder of the Puru dynasty of kings in north India (described in the epic Mahabharata as the forefather of the Pandavas and Kauravas), viz king Puru, was the son of Sarmishta, the daughter of 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS king Vrishaparvan. Vrishaparvan's priest was the sage Sukra, (alias Usanus), who was a Bhargava (the son or a descendant of the sage Bhrigu.) Often the Asura kings chose, sages in the line of Bhrigu as their priest, whereas the Devas chose, sages in the line of Brihaspati or Angiras, as their priests. Mahabali was yet another Asura king whose priest also was named Sukra, in the line of Bhrigu. Characteristics of Asuras Historically therefore Asuras were a highly religious people with tremendous power, who were opposed to the Aryan Vedic religion, and of the Vaishnavites. As a characteristic they were highly moral and kept high ethical standards even in war. They kept their word even at the point of defeat, death and disaster. We can see that they even allowed Vishnu to take respite in between the combats and never retracted their offers or promise. All through the Avatara myth story we can notice that as a rule, Asuras could not be defeated by the Suras under normal moral methods. It always required subtle deceit, trickery and treachery even for the Supreme Person Vishnu to defeat the Asuras. In fact, it appears that these deceits, tricks and treachery were eulogized and considered honorable by the Suras, if we take the Avatar Puranas as true. Taking the antagonism of Vedics to the Asuras in general, the natural early choices will be Jains and Buddhists. Asuras in the Jain and Buddhist Puranas The Jain Puranas also mentions Asuras as anti-Vasudeva and names the Asura Kings in that list. So we should also assume that Asuras were also against Jainism. Asura This term is often translated as "ogre" or "titan." They are one of the six states of existence that are in samsara. Different types of Buddhism view them differently. Asura is usually seen as positive, resulting from good karma like human beings and gods. In this interpretation, they dwell in the lower heavens. Other views treat the asuras as resulting from bad karma and hence they are seen as the enemies of the gods. Some types of Buddhism ignore this category altogether and have only five states of existence. 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS In Mahayana Buddhism, anti-gods or demi-gods, who populate the lower heavens, the second highest realm of existence. They enjoy a similar existence to the gods of the highest realm, but are plagued by jealousy of the latter and wage fruitless wars against them. . Above the human realm is the asura dharmadhatu; these beings have done numerous good deeds when they were in the human realm but did them with excessive envy and anger toward God. This extra envy prevents them from entering the territory of the gods. They usually fight with God. Non-Death Yoga Yogi C. M. Chen Buddhism considers Asuras as beings among the list of beings the order being- Heavenly Beings, Humans, Asuras and Hungry ghosts. Asuras are beings who have many good things in life, but still like to fight. They appear in the heavens or on earth as people or animals. Hungry ghosts are beings who suffer from constant hunger and Hell-beings. Asura It is a peculiar path in the Six paths. In terms of material enjoyment and psychic power, it is similar to Deva. However, in some aspects, it is even worse than Human Path. The male Asura is extremely ugly, while the female is as beautiful as an angel. The male Asura always fights with each other as they are cruel and furious. They are proud of themselves, and reluctant to learn and practise the Buddhist teachings. Thus Asuras were also anti-Buddhists. Theosophical dictionary gives the following explanation for the etymology of Asuras: Two important points are involved herein: -(a) Primarily in the Rig-Veda, the "Asuras" are shown as spiritual divine beings; their etymology is derived from asu (breath), the "Breath of God," and they mean the same as the Supreme Spirit or the Zoroastrian Ahura. It is later on, for purposes of theology and dogma, that they are shown issuing from Brahma's thigh, and that their name began to be derived from a, privative, and sura, god (solar deities), or not-a-god, and that they became the enemies of the gods. . . . – H.P.Blavinsky The Secret Doctrine, II, 59 A Sura is a Kumara -- a god. Because of their great purity, virginality in every sense of the word, Hindu mythology called them gods. Actually they are monads in so pure, as yet unevolved, a state, so undeveloped a state, that they are swept along, as it were, in the evolutionary Rivers of Life. When this Sura or Kumara has become an Agnishwatta, it is then an Asura. And Hindu mythology, or rather Brahmanical theology, with the same spirit behind it that you will find in Christian theology, says -- and I will now use Christian language -- "It has eaten of the Tree of Life, of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and it is no longer virginal and pure." That is the Christian theological way of explaining it. But leaving these dogmatic theologies of the religions aside, what actually are the facts? That from an unself-conscious god-spark, a Kumara -- the Sura, the monad, the same 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS thing -- through suffering and experience in the lower realms of matter, in the different planes, has become an Agnishwatta. It has tasted of the fire and has become a self-conscious god, an Asura. Asura really comes from Asu, the essential meaning of which in Sanskrit is 'to, breathe.' You will find it in other languages. The verbal root as, in Sanskrit meaning 'to be,' is the same essential idea. So the Asuras are not merely unself-conscious god-sparks swept along through the ages unselfconsciously on the Rivers of Life. They are those who have gained self-consciousness; or, to use a Buddhist term meaning the same thing, they have become celestial Dhyanis, celestial Bodhisattvas, celestial Buddhas. Studies in Occult Philosophy by G. de Purucker, Theosophical University Press Online Edition Evidently we need to look into other possible religious groups ouside of these three – Vaishanavite, Buddhist and Jain to find the Asuras. They were evidently powerful enough to withstand and even overcome all these three religions. The only choice we are left with is the religion which was brought into India early in the Christian Era by St.Thomas who were known as Issa followers or Christians. This fits in very well within the time line. If these myths have any historical basis this is the only choice we are left with. If this is true then the Vishnu incarnations tells us the story of the war between Vaishnavites and Christians. Whenever Christians became powerful, Vaishanavite leadership found a method of This is seen defeating them which evidenly included subtle deceit, treachery, force and war. throughout the incarnation stories. Generations of the Asuras The puranas themselves give us the story of the generation of Suras and the Asuras. Sage Kashyap, had four wives, Diti, Aditi, Vinita and Kudroo. Diti gave birth to Asuras (demons) and from Aditi were born Suras (Devas, gods) , while from Vinita was born Garuda, the carrier of Vishnu. The two sons Diti were Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyapu . Both of them performed so many religious practices and austerities that in course of time they gained limitless powers. There is a story behind the birth of these two where they are the two gatekeepers of Vishnu's heaven, Jaya and Vijaya,who were cursed to fall from grace and find salvation only in opposition to Vishnu -probably added later. Jaya and Vijaya According to a story from Bhagavata Purana, The Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat Kumara who are the sons of Brahma (born from the mind or though power of Brahma), visit Vaikuntha - the abode of Vishnu, to see Him. Due to the strength of their tapas, the four 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha arrogantly stop the Kumaras at the gate, thinking them to be children. They also tell the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see Him now. The Kumaras grow angry at the gate keepers. They tell Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time. They lay a curse to Jaya and Vijaya that they would have to give up their divinity, be born on Earth, and live like normal human beings. Vishnu appears before them and His gatekeepers ask Him to lift the curse of the Kumaras. Vishnu says that the curse of Kumaras cannot be taken back. Instead, he gives Jaya and Vijaya two options. The first option is to take seven births on Earth as a devotee of Vishnu, while the second is to take three births as His enemy. After serving either of these sentences, they can re-attain their stature at Vaikuntha and be with Him permanently. Jaya and Vijaya cannot bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives. As a result, they choose to be born three times on Earth even though it would have to be as enemies of Vishnu. In the first life they were born as Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha. Vishnu takes the avatar of Varaha to kill Hiranyaksha, and the Narasimha avatar to kill Hiranyakasipu. In the second life, they were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna, being defeated by Rama avatar as depicted in the great Hindu epic Ramayana. Finally, in their third life, they were born as Sishupala and Dantavakra during the time of Krishna. Evidently as a class both the Suras and the Asuras are the same. But there is an ethnic difference indicated. Daityas are identified with the Dravidians. If Diti was Dravidian and Aditi was Aryan then this is the struggle between Dravidians and the Aryans with Vishnu as the Aryan leader who uses trickery and deceit to defeat the Dravidians. Apparently Dravidian faith was not the same as the Daityas got Aryan faith. Asuras had more direct relationship with Syria on a constant on going basis. tremendous strength through their austerities and religious practices. The story of St.Thomas plays around the Dravidan centers mostly except for Kerala where Vedics joined them as a group which was a minority in that area. Who are the Dravidians? We usually take Dravidians as people who are native to India and it is considered that they were the original inhabitants of the Mohen Jodero Harappa Civilization. Chaldea. Keturah. According to the present Dravidian Scholarship they are the descendants of Abrahm of the Old Testament originaly from the Ur of The word Ur indicating village still forms part of the Dravidian languages. In the Old At the the time of partition of properties, Keturah’s children were send to the East after Testament Abraham had another wife other than Sara (which forms the root for Saraswathi) called 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS given them gifts. These people are said to have settled in the Saraswathi and Sind Area. Their father Abrahm was a sojourner of great power and he was the Father figure for the nation. “Abraham, a popular leader of masses (legendary prophet for Jews, Christians and Muslims,) lived approximately 2000 BC in the NW Indian subcontinent-Asia Minor-Central Asia region. After his death in the tradition of spirit worship he became the “Bermer(u)” for Tulu tribes. Vedic Aryans converted the Abraham legend into the Brahman, the supreme cosmic creative power. Gradually with time Brahman evolved into the God Brahma with ten or four heads in different Purana epics, by the time of composition of the Ramayana ca. 800-500 BC. The dominance of Lord Brahma in Ramayana has been analysed in detail by SSN Murthy.” “The spirit of Brahma, derived from the mass hero Abraham was one of the earliest spirit worships in the early civilizations around 2000-500 BC. Migrating Tulu tribes and their associates carried Bermer (Brahma) cult around 500 BC from the NW Indian subcontinent to the Karavali (coastal Karnataka) which became their subsequent homeland, the Tulunadu. The Tulu Bermer was imaged originally as a horse riding hero, probably a bearded one like Abraham. Similar horse riding hero image was retained for Bommayya (Brahma) by Halakki and other tribes of Uttara Kannada district. The Uttara Kannada area is in the migration route of the early Tulu tribes. The character of Abraham has been described in the Bible (Genesis) and later retold in the Anacalypsis. Abraham (or the Brahma) was actually a mass hero, an uncommon leader of early tribes, born ca. 1900 BC, more or less during the chaotic time of earth movements, migration of major rivers and mass exodus of tribes from the Indus Valley civilization. Abraham is said to have been lived for a period of 175 years. (The cited lifespan appears to be an exaggerated figure, characteristic of hero worship societies, nevertheless may imply that Abraham was a strong, dynamic character and had considerably long healthy lifespan.) Different tribes called him slightly differently depending upon the style of pronunciation native to them. He was called Abraham by Jews and subsequently by Christians. Arabs called him ‘Ibrahim’ whereas IndoAryans referred to him as Brahma. His father, ‘Terah’ originally came from a place known as Ur of Chaldees or Culdees, a part of Asia Minor. Terah had a beautiful daughter called ‘Sara’ (or ‘Saraswati’ for Indo- Aryans and cohabitants of Pirak and northwest India) born to another wife who was not Abraham’s mother. Abraham or the Brahma fell in love with Sara and married her. For this or other reasons the Abraham and Sara left Ur and settled in Mesopotamia. There he organized Jews and became a venerated hero figure. Abraham has been considered as the founder of Jews. Similarly, Muslims believe ‘Ibrahim’ to be one of their early leader or founder. The original Kaba temple (later a mosque) at Mecca is said to have been built in honour of Abraham or the Ibrahim. At that time, the present day Asia minor-Indian subcontinent region consisting of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (though had different individual provincial names at that time) were all contiguous states where communications and concepts freely exchanged among diverse townships. The Abraham (or the Brahma) was a dynamic leader of the masses and the ordinary people believed that he was the creator of the tribes. The legend of Abraham continued after his death and continued to inspire or haunt memories of the tribes living in the Asia minor-Indian subcontinent region. The legend of Abraham inspired Vedic tribes and others alike. This is the initiation the concept of Lord Brahma the creator of universe in Hindu mythology. Abraham became 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS the Brahma the supreme God after couple of centuries following his demise. In the primitive cultures accustomed to spirit worship, the legendary Brahma, who organized tribes, represented a supreme hero capable of creation of tribes and later the universe itself. Legends turned into myths and Brahma was deified and considered supreme God.” Ravi Mundkur After the coming of St. Thomas, Brahminic domination took over the new concepts of religion brought in by Thomas and transformed it into Vaishnavism in the North and Saivism in the South. However Brahminism through trickery took over Vaishnavism and transformed it totally. Saivism remained as part of the Christian faith for a longer time before they were also influenced by Brahminism. But even today their influence is very small. We can now trace the genealogy of Daitya kings which will come in handy in the discussion 28 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS This genealogy explains the on going mythical history of The Vaishnavite Struggle with Historic Christianity over a period of six centuries If this conjecture is correct, then the stories of the Boar incarnation and Lion-man incarnation of Vishnu tells the story of how the generations of the Christians before Mahabali were driven out from Northern India. This is exactly what we find in terms of geography and order of Vishnu’s incarnation. We can actually see the sequence of Vaishanavite conquest in the figure. Avatar 1. Boar (Varaha) 2. Man-Lion (Narasimha) 3 Dwarf (Vamana) 4. Parasu Rama (Rama with the axe) 5. Rama Dravida Asura King killed Hiranyaksha HiranyaKasipu (Brother of Hiranyaksha) Maha Bali (King of Dravida) great grandson of HiranyaKasipu Lifting Kerala out of the sea and giving to Brahmins Ravana – The King of Sri Lanka Ravana was a great-grandson of Mahabali. 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS First of all we notice that all the incarnations were Vishnu incarnations. Hence they are a history connected with the Vaishnavite traditions and, it is the history which tells how Vaishnavism defeated their opponents. The opponents were all Daityas – who are usually considered as Dravidian Kings and Kingdoms Second all the victims were of one family coming from one lineage. The placement of the events are also interesting. NAME OF DAITYA Hiranyksha Hiranya Kasipu (Brother of Hiranyksha) Maha Bali (Great grand son of Hiranya Kasipu) Keralaputras (of the Kingdom of Maha Bali) Ravana (Grand Son of Maha Bali) AVATAR Boar (Varaha) Narasimha (Man-Lion) Vamana (Dwarf) Parasu Rama (Rama with the Axe) Rama GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION no indication given in any Puranas Indus Valley All of South India – Narmada River to Cape Comorin including Chola, Chera and Pandya Kerala (Chera) Sri Lanka Under the Gnostic influence, the basic avatar concepts were however extended to include a larger number almost including all mankind in one form or other. There are elaborate classifications and explanations, which are summarized, in the following table Kinds of avataras Avataras Karanodakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and Ksirodakasayi Vishnu "For material creation, Lord Krsna's plenary expansion assumes three Visnus. The first one, Maha Visnu, creates the total material energy, known as mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Ksirodakasayi Visnu, is diffused as the allpervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramatma. He is present even within the atoms. Anyone who knows these three Visnus can be liberated from material entanglement." (Satvata-tantra) Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, BalaRama, Kalki. Brahma (Rajas), Vishnu (Satvic) and Siva (Tamas). The Trinity as three aspects of one God 1 Purusha-avatara Personal Emanation Incarnations of Visnu 2 3 Lila-avatara Playfull Incarnations Guna-avatara Quality Incarnations 4 Manvantara-avatara Special incarnations of the Supreme Lord who Innumerable manu avataras (504,000 Manus manifest in the life time of one appear in each Brahma): Main 14 also called as vaibhava-avatars: Yajna, Vibhu, Satyasena, Hari, manvantara to assist Vaikuntha, Ajita, Vamana, Sarvabhauma, Rsabha, Visvaksena, Dharmasetu, Indra and the other Sudhama, Yogesvara and Brhadbhanu. demigods in subduing demons and maintaining the principles of religion. 5 Kalpa-avatara Kumaras, Narada, Varaha, Matsya, Yajna, Nara-narayana, Kardami Kapila, Incarnation within the Dattatreya, Hayasirsa, Hamsa, Dhruvapriya, Rsabha, Prthu, Narasimha, Ages Kurma, Dhanvantari, Mohini,Vamana, Parasurama, Raghavendra, Vyasa, 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Balarama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki. (All these 25 avatars happen every one day of Brahma) Kapila, Rsabha, Ananta, Brahma, Catuhsana, Narada, Prthu, Parasurama, Buddha, ... These are not visnu-tattva but jiva-tattva; jivas, or living beings, empowered for a special mission. Saktyavesa-avatara 6 Spirit filled Incarnation It appears that the number of incarnations increased, till finally an infinite number of incarnations was accepted. It may be an attempt to express the fact that the whole cosmos is permeated with God. After all God is the only reality. Text Reference Agni Purana II-XVI 8c AD Varaha Purana XXXIX,XLVII 16c AD Satapath Brahmana 1.2.5 Narayaneeya of Mahabharata MBh XII 349.37 Mahabharatha XII 338 77-99 4c AD MBh XII 339 104 Bhagavatha Purana I.3 6/7 c AD Incarnations 10 Avatars including Buddha & Kalki Fish, Tortoise These were actually the forms of Brahma which later was associated with vishnu Boar, Vamana, Narasimha, and Krishna Deified heroes Rama-Bhargava, Rama Dasharathi Hamsa, Kurma, matsya Kalki Brahma, Varaha, Nanda, Nara and Narayana, the philosopher Kapila, Dattareya, Yajna, the Jaina Tirthankara Rsabha, the ancient king Prthu, Matsya, Kurma, the physicin Dhanvantari, Mohini, Narasimha, Vamana, Rama- Jamadagnya ( Parsurama ), Veda-Vyasa, Rama-Dasaratha, Rama Haladhara, Krishna, Buddha and Kalkin 19 avatars Matsya, Trivikrama, Vamana, Narasimha, Rama, Varaha, Narayana, Kaplia, Datta, Hayagriva, Mahradhvaja, Narada, Kurmi, Dhanvantari, Sesha, Yajna, Vyasa, Buddha and Kalkin that of gods, animals and men, Hari is all that is male; Laksmi is all that is female; there is nothing else than they.' “This Hari, who is the most immediate of all the energies of Brahma, is his embodied shape” ‘The Vedas, and their divisions; the institutes of Manu and other lawgivers; traditional scriptures, and religious manuals; poems and all that is said and sung; are the body of the mighty Vishnu, assuming the shape of sound.' `The delusion of the false teacher paused not with the conversion of the Daityas to the Jaina and Bauddha heresies, but with various erroneous tenets he prevailed upon them to apostatize, until the whole were led astray, and deserted the doctrines and observances inculculated bythe 3 Vedas. [The teacher was an illusory form of Vishnu, while the Daityas could not be destroyed whilst they performed the sacred rites and were slain by the gods]' The Garuda P. I.202 10c AD Visnu Purana Bk I Ch 8 4c AD Visnu Purana Bk I Ch 21 Visnu Purana Bk I Ch 22 Visnu Purana Bk III Ch 18 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS KINDS OF AVATARS Since the number of avatars have been growing and since in most cases, it would be foolish to say that Vishnu incarnated into forms that are defective, and very often unsuitable in character and nature, various types of avatars are formed to classify them. Here is a table that gives some examples. There is no limit to the incarnations of the Supreme Lord and depending on the roles they play, some avatars can be overlapping to more than one kind... Kinds of avatars 1 Purusha-avatara Examples of actual avataras Karanodakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and Ksirodakasayi Vishnu Matsya, Varaha, Kurma, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, 2 Lila-avatara Bala-Rama, Kalki. 3 Guna-avatara Brahma (Rajas), Vishnu (Satvic) and Siva (Tamas). Innumerable manu avataras (504,000 Manus manifest in the life time of one Brahma): Main 14 also called as vaibhava-avatars: Yajna, Vibhu, Satyasena, 4 Manvantara-avatara Hari, Ajita, Vamana, Sarvabhauma, Rsabha, Visvaksena, Dharmasetu, Sudhama, Yogesvara and Brhadbhanu. Kumaras, Narada, Varaha, Matsya, Yajna, Nara-narayana, Kardami Kapila, Dattatreya, Hayasirsa, Hamsa, Dhruvapriya, Rsabha, Prthu, Narasimha, 5 Kalpa-avatara Kurma, Dhanvantari, Mohini,Vamana, Parasurama, Raghavendra, Vyasa, Balarama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki. (All these 25 avatars happen every one day of Brahma!) Kapila, Rsabha, Ananta, Brahma, Catuhsana, Narada, Prthu, Parasurama, 6 Saktyavesa-avatara Buddha, ... AVATARS OF VISHNU Serial No According to Hari Vamsa 1. Varaha 2. Narasinha 3. Vaman 4. Parshuram 5. Rama 6. Krishna 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. IS. According to Narayani Akhyan Hansa Kurma Matsya Varaha Narasinha Vaman Parshuram Rama Krishna Kalkin According to Varaha Purana Kurma Matsya Varaha Narasinha Vaman Parshuram Rama Krishna Buddha Kalkin According to Vayu Purana Narasinha Vaman Varaha Kurma Sangram Adivaka Tripurari Andhakarh Dhvaja Varta Halahal Kolhahal According to Bhagwat Purana Sanatkumar Boar Nara-Narayan Kapila Datlatraya Jadna Rashabha Prithi Matsya Kurma Dhanwantari Mohini Narasinha Vaman Parshuram Ved Vyas Naradeo 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 19. 20. 21 22. Rama Krishna Buddha Kalkin It is enough to say in a word, that of gods, animals and men, there is nothing else than they.' -[Visnu Purana Bk I Ch 8 (p.53)] THE TEN INCARNATIONS THE STORY OF THE CONQUEST OF VAISHNAVISM OVER THE BUDDHISTS &CHRISTIANS IN INDIA MATSYA (FISH) AVATARA 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The Flood and the Ark This avatar is connected with the Biblical deluge in which Vaivaswata Manu (Satya vrata – The Righteous - Noah) or Noah was saved through the Ark, At the fish's command, Manu embarked in a ship together with the Rishis and the seeds of all existing things, and the ship, bound to the fish's great horn, was preserved during the Flood. Finally it rested on a peak of the Himalayas. The period starting from the creation of Adam or Swayambhuva Manu ended with the coming of the flood and a new dispensation started with the righteous one Vaivaswata Manu. This then reflects the Noah story as well known in the early Christian era in India in all details. The deluge story and the story of Noah form one part of the myth. Gen 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. III - MATSYAVATARA KATHA (BRAHMANICAL VERSION) Shatapatha-Brahmana, I, 8, 1-6. 1. In the morning they brought to Manu water for washing, just as now also they (are wont to) bring (water) for washing the hands. When he was washing himself, a fish came into his hands. 2. It spake to him the word, 'Rear me, I will save thee!' 'Wherefrom wilt thou save me?' 'A flood will carry away all these creatures: from that I will save thee!' 'How am I to rear thee?' 3. It said, 'As long as we are small, there is great destruction for us: fish devours fish. Thou wilt first keep me in a jar. When I outgrow that, thou wilt dig a pit and keep me in it. When I outgrow that, thou wilt take me down to the sea, for then I shall be beyond destruction.' 4. It soon became a ghasha (a great fish); for that grows largest (of all fish). Thereupon it said, 'In such and such a year that flood will come. Thou shalt then attend to me (i.e. to my advice) by preparing a ship; and when the flood has risen thou shalt enter into the ship, and I will save thee from it.' 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 5. After he had reared it in this way, he took it down to the sea. And in the same year which the fish had indicated to him, he attended to (the advice of the fish) by preparing a ship; and when the flood had risen, he entered into the ship. The fish then swam up to him, and to its horn he tied the rope of the ship, and by that means he passed swiftly up to yonder northern mountain. 6. It then said, 'I have saved thee. Fasten the ship to a tree; but let not the water cut thee off whilst thou art on the mountain. As the water subsides, thou mayest gradually descend!' Accordingly he gradually descended and hence that (slope) of the northern mountain is called 'Manu's descent.' The flood then swept away all these creatures and Manu alone remained here. Translation by Julius Eggeling, in Sacred Books of the East, XII (Oxford, 1882), pp. 21618. III - MATSYAVATARA KATHA (HINDU PAURANIC VERSION) The story of Vishnus incarnation as a fish Srimad Bhagavatham 8th Skanda 24th chapter In the end of Kalpa, the entire universe was plunged into the sea-water when Brahma, wished to sleep, the demon Hayagreeva stole all the Vedas from Brahma. Knowing the bad intention of the demon, Lord Vishnu took incarnation as a Fish. In the previous Kalpa, one King-sage named Satyavrata was doing penance without partaking food & taking only water. The same gentleman in this Kalpa took birth as Vaivaswata Manu and was crowned as Manu by Lord Vishnu. Once when he was doing Tarpana at Kritamala River, a small Fish come into his hand. This Dravidian King left that water along with the fish in the river. The fish requested that it may be kept in a safe place since there is danger of being swallowed by big fishes in the river. So the king kept it in his Kamandalu. The fish grew large by the hour so that the fish was transferred to a well the next day. Then the fish got large enough so that it was transferred to the pond, then in a river and at last in the sea. The king was surprised and prayed almighty to reveal the fun or magic behind it. They Lord Vishnu appeared and told Manu. Yes, I am Lord Vishnu in the form of a Fish. From today, on the 7th day the 3 lokas will be immersed in the sea water. Oh King, at that time, I will send one boat near you. You collect and keep all vegetables, all seeds and along with Saptarshi get into the boat and in the total darkness move ahead with the help of light from the Saptarshi. You tie the boat on my horns to protect from wind. I will be dragging that ship up to the end of Brahmas night. Then I will reply to your questions and you will know about Brahman. Then Lord Vishnu disappeared. The King sat on a Darbha with its ends towards east and facing to Esanya side. The saptarshis said Oh, King, you are well blessed, since you could see Lord Vishnu & here his words. Then the King tied the ship to the horn of the fish with the help of a snake as a rope. The king praised Lord Vishnu who then gave him Atma-Jnana & Bhakti. Then Lord Vishnu killed the Demon Hayagreeva & recovered the Vedas. ( 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Asura Hayagriva connection It is then intertwined with the Hayagriva Asura story as they are directly connected. Matsyavatara (The Fish Incarnation) [From the Bhagavata VIII]. There was an intermediate deluge; Brhama slept for a while; the demon Hayagriva stole the Vedas. Lord Vishnu noticed this and took the form of Fish. In the Dravida country, there was a pious King, Satyavrata by name; as he was making an offering of water in the Kritamala River, the Lord appeared as a tiny Fish in the water of his palm. The Fish began to grow, and wondering at this, the King went on transferring it from one vessel or container to another. The Fish, which had finally to be deposited in the sea, told him: "On the seventh day from now, all the worlds will become completely flooded; on the flood waters, a boat will come to you; embark in it with manifold herbs and seeds and surrounded by the seven great sages and every class of living beings; a strong gale will rock the boat, but tie it to my snout with the great serpent, and as you ask me questions, I shall expound to you then the glory of Myself, the Supreme Brahman." Accordingly the sea swelled as huge rain-clouds poured down incessantly, rolled on and engulfed the world; the boat appeared, and also the great Fish; to its single snout, Satyavrata tied the ark. Dragging the ark over the waters, the Lord as a Fish imparted to Satyavrata the teachings about Truth which were collected in the Purana known as the Matsya (Fish). After the waters of the deluge had subsided, the Lord slew the demon Hayagriva and restored the Vedas to Brahma, who awoke from his slumber. [Achaean, the Indian Heritage, p. 377.] Hayagriva is also referred to as Sankhasura – the Asura of the Sankh. The Sankh is the shell which is symbolic of the creative sound OHM. Krishna. But later story tells us that Sankhasura was killed by baby 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Sankhasura (Sanskrit) A daitya said in Hindu legend to have waged war against the gods and to have conquered them, upon which he stole the Vedas and hid them at the bottom of the sea, whence they were rescued by Vishnu in the form of a fish. There are also vague references in connection with one of the dvipas (Sankha-dvipa) and it is tempting to suppose that they are connected. Another Hindu legend mentions the killing of Sankhasura by Krishna -- another instance of the way in which this avatara is placed in many different ages as the Krishna spirit in the world rather than as any incarnated avatara of that name: the death of Krishna is stated as having begun the kali yuga in 3102 BC, whereas Sankha-dvipa was one of the great islands of the Atlantean continental system of several million years ago. "Once, at the end of the previous Kalpa, a demon named Hayagriva wanted to take the Vedic knowledge away from Lord Brahma at the time of annihilation. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead took the incarnation of a fish at the beginning of the period of Svayambhuva Manu and saved the Vedas." Srimad-Bhagavatam 8:24 Bhagavatam then reinterprets it in spiritual history. While Brahma was falling asleep (at a time when Vedism has lost all its ground), at the end of the Kalpa, the Asura Hayagriva wanted to take advantage of the circumstances to drown Vedism. Vedas were stolen and a deluge took place. The Asuras took away the Vedas and kept it submerged in the deluge waters. For a period of time Vedas were lost to the Brahmins. We should remember that Vedas were never written down. It is essentially against the Brahminic principle to write down the Vedas since the intonations and recitation methods will be lost in that process. So what does it mean to say that Vedas were stolen or taken away? The only conclusion we can make is that somehow these Asuras were able to make the Vedas meaningless – drown them. Then the Vedas were rescued and a few people were saved to live on in spite of the deluge and total carrying away of the nation under the Christian influence. Before the latest creation of the present universe, the four Vedas (the holy books from the mouth of the Supreme-Deity) remained drowned in the waters. Who was this terrible demon? Thomas? What was this deluge that totally destroyed Vedism. The deluge here probably refers to the Powerful presence of St.Thomas Ministry which engulfed all of India absorbing all Indians. But the Asuras who stole the Vedas still remained and constituted a continuing Anti-Vishnu element. The story therefore tells us that Vedism survived in the new form of Vaishnavism of the Brahmins. It is all the more interesting since it uses the Christian Noahic story as the background. However there are many variations of this story some which are totally antagonistic with the supremacy of Vishnu. In some cases the demon was Hayagriva (Horse Headed) and was killed by 29 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Matsya. In others, the incarnation that killed Hayagriva was itself called Hayagriva with a horse head. At any rate the demon was always the representation of Ajnana – ignorance. (see Hayagriva, meaning "one with the horse's neck", was the son of 'Kashyap Prajapati'. Through great penance he managed to obtain a boon from the Goddess Durga that he could only be killed by another "Hayagriva". This instilled a sense of invincibility and he started harassing the Devas. The Devas turned to Vishnu for aid, but despite a long struggle of a thousand years, he was also unable to kill Hayagriva. Tired and drained after the battle, Vishnu proceeded to Vaikuntha Dham to rejuvenate and meditate in padamaasna (a yoga posture) with his head supported by the upper end of his taut bow. The Devas once again approached Vishnu for help against Hayagriva but were unable to rouse him from his meditation. The Devas asked a swarm of termites to assist in waking Vishnu by gnawing away the string of the bow upon which he was resting. However, the snapping of the bow string produced such a resonant sound that the universe trembled, and the broken string lashed out with such force that Vishnu's head was severed from his body. The Devas were mortified, and prayed to the goddess Durga for guidance. Durga was pleased with their prayers and told the Devas that they need not fear, as no incident in this universe was without some purpose. She then told them of her boon to Hayagriva and asked them to attach the head of a horse to Vishnu so that he in the guise of "Hayagriva" (that is, one with a horse's neck) could kill his foe. Brahma attached the head of a white horse to Vishnu's body and the revived Vishnu entered into battle with Hayagriva and eventually killed him. atita-pralayapaya utthitaya sa vedhase hatvasuram hayagrivam vedan pratyaharad dharih (Srimad-Bhägavatam 8.24.57) “At the end of the last inundation (during the reign of Svayambhuva Manu) the Supreme Personality of Godhead killed the demon Hayagriva and delivered all the Vedic literatures to Lord Brahma when he awoke from sleeping.” Hayagriva is an avatar of Vishnu. He is worshipped as the God of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Hayagriva is celebrated in the Puranas for rescuing the Vedas from the demons Madhu and 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Kaitabha and teaching them again to Brahma. Symbolically, the story of Hayagriva indicates how the Vedas were restored. In the normal situation the Hayagriva with horse head succeded in destroying the knowledge of Vedas. Evidently it could not be revived. The only way Vedas could be revived was by emulating and copying the basis of the Hyagriva knowledge itself. The old Vedic gods were thrown out and a new Vedanta God was reinstated. This idea is supported by the statement that Vishnu actually made up the Vedas as Hyagriva incarnation. Hayagriva is a very important deity in the Vaishnava tradition. His blessings are sought when beginning study of both sacred and secular subjects. Special worship is conducted on the day of the full moon in August (Sravana-Paurnami) (his avatara-dina) and on Mahanavami, the ninth day of the Navaratri festival. He is also hailed as "Hayasirsa" (Horse-head) There is also a Hayagriva Purana in Devi Bhagavata Purana On the Narrative of Hayagriva (The Devi Bhagavata Purana 1.5) 5-9. Sûta said :-- O Munis! Hear all attentively the glorious deeds of the supremely energetic Vishnu, the Deva of the Devas. Once on a time the eternal Deva Janârdana became tired after the terrible continuous battle for ten thousand years. After this the Lord Nârâyana seated Himself on Padmâsan (a kind of posture) in some lovely place on a level plot of ground and placing his head on the front of his bow with the bow strung and placed erect on the ground fell fast asleep. Visnu, the 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Lord of Ramâ, was exceedingly tired and thus he fell soon into deep sleep. At this time Indra and the other Devas, with Brahmâ and Mahesâ began a sacrifice. 10-13. Then they, for the sake of success in Deva's well, went to the region of Vaikuntha to meet with the Deva Janârdana, the Lord of sacrifices. There the Devas, not finding Visnu, came to know by their Dhyân (meditation) where Bhagavân Visnu was staying and thither they went. They saw that the Lord Visnu, the Deva of the Devas was lying unconscious, being under the arms of Yoganidrâ (the yogic sleep). Therefore they took their seats there. Seeing the Lord of the universe asleep, Brahmâ, Rudra and the other Devas became anxious. 14-18. Indra then addressed the Devas :--“O best of the Suras! Now what is to be done! How shall we rouse Bhagavân from His sleep? Now think of the means by which this can be effected”. Hearing Indra's words S’ambhu said :-- “O good Devas! Now we must finish our sacrificial work. But if the sleep of Bhagavân be disturbed, He would get angry.” Hearing S’ankara's words, Paramesthî Brahmâ created Vamrî insects (a sort of white ants) so that they might eat up the forepart of the bow that was lying on the ground causing the other end rise up and thus break His sleep. Thus the Deva's purpose will, no doubt, be fulfilled. Thus settling his mind, the eternal Deva Brahmâ ordered the white ants Vamrîs to cut the bow string. …. 25-30. Sûta said :-- Thus ordered by Brahmâ, the Vamrî insect soon ate away the fore end of the bow that rested on the ground. Immediately the string gave way and the bow went up; the other end became free and a terrible sound took place. The Devas bcame afraid; the whole universe got agitated; the earth trembled. The sea became swollen; the aquatic animals became startled; violent wind blew; the mountains shook; ominous meteors fell. The quarters assumed a terrific aspect; the Sun went down the horizon. In that time of distress the Devas became anxious what evil might come down. O ascetics! While the Devas were thus cogitating, the head with crown on it of the Devadeva Visnu vanished away; no body knew where it fell. 31-36. When the awful darkness disappeared, Brahmâ and Mahâdeva saw the disfigured body of Visnu with its head off. Seeing that headless figure of Visnu they were greatly surprised; they were drowned in the ocean of cares and, overwhelmed with grief, began to weep aloud. O Lord! O Master! O Devadeva! O Eternal one! What unforeseen extraordinary mishap occurred to us to-day! O Deva! Thou canst not be pierced nor cut asunder, nor capable of being burnt; how is it then that Thy head has been taken away! Is this the Mâyâ (majic) of some. Deva? O all pervading one! The Devas cannot live when Thy condition is thus; we do not know what affection dost Thou have towards us. We are crying because of our selfish ends; perhaps this therefore has occurred. The Daityas, Yaksas, or Râkhsasas have not done this; O Lord of Laksmî! Whose fault will we ascribe this to? The Devas themselves have committed this loss to themselves? 37-41. O Lord of the Devas! The Devas are now dependent! They are under Thee. Now where are we to go? What are we to do? There is none to save the dull stupid Devas! At this juncture, seeing S’iva and the other Devas crying, Brihaspati, supremely versed in the Vedas, consoled them thus :-- “O highly fortunate one! What use there will be in thus crying and repenting? It ought you now to consider the means that you should adopt to redress your calamities. O Lord of the Devas! Fate and one's own exertion and intelligence are equal; if the success comes not through Fate (Luck or chance) one is certainly to show one's prowess and merit”. 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 42-46. Indra said :-- Fie to your exertion when, before our eyes, the head of Bhagavân Visnu Himself has been carried off! Fie, Fie to your prowess and intelligence! Fate is in my opinion, the supreme. …. 47-50. O Glorious ones! …. meditate on the Eternal Mahâmâyâ; who is the Mother of all, who is supporter of all, who is of the nature of Brahmâvidyâ (the Supreme Knowledge) and who is beyond the Gunas, who is the Prime Prâkriti, and who pervades the three Lokas, the whole universe, moving and unmoving; She will dispense our welfare. …. 51-54. Brahmâ said :-- “O Vedas! Now go on and chant hymns to the Sacred Highest Devî Mahâmâyâ, who is Brahmâvidyâ, who brings all issues to their successful issues, who is hidden in all forms.” Hearing His words, the all-beautiful Vedas began to chant hymns to Mahâmâyâ who can be comprehended by Jñân, and who pervades the world. The Vedas said :-- Obeisance to the Devî! To the Mahâmâyâ! To the Auspicious One! To the Creator of the Universe! We bow down to Thee, who is beyond the Gunas, the Ruler of all the Beings! O Mother! Thou givest to S’ankara even His desires. Thou art the receptacle of all the things; Thou art the Prâna of all the living beings; Thou art Buddhi, Laksmî (wealth), S’obhâ, Ks'hamâ (forgiveness), S’ânti (peace), Sraddhâ (faith), Medhâ (intellect), Dhriti (fortitude), and Smriti (recollection). 55. Thou art the vindu (m) over the Prânava (om) and thou art of the nature of semi-moon; Thou art Gâyattri, Thou art Vyârhiti; Thou art Jayâ, Vijayâ, Dhâtri (the supportress), Lajjâ (modesty), Kîrti (fame), Ichchâ (will) and Dayâ (mercy) in all beings. 56-57. O Mother! Thou art the merciful Mother of the three worlds; Thou art the adorable auspicious Vidyâ (knowledge) benefitting all the Lokas; Thou destroyest the Universe and Thou skilfully residest (hidden) in the Vîja mantras. Therefore we are praising Thee. O Mother! Brahmâ, Visnu, Mahes’vara, Indra, Sûrya, Fire, Sarasvatî and other Regents of the Universe are all Thy creation; so none of them is superior to Thee. Thou art the Mother of all the things, moving and non-moving. 58-61. O Mother ! When Thou dost will to create this visible Universe, Thou createst first Brahmâ, Visnu and Mahes'vara and makest them create, preserve and destroy this universe; but Thou remainest quite unattached to the world. Ever Thou remainest constant in Thy one form. No one in this Universe is able to know Thy nature; nor there is any body who can enumerate Thy names. How can he promise to jump across the illimitable ocean, who cannot jump across an ordinary well. O Bhagavatî! No one amongst the Devas even knows particularly Thy endless power and glory. Thou art alone the Lady of the Universe and the Mother of the world. 62-68. … O Mother!... Is it that Hari incurred any heinous sin. How can that be! Where is sin to thy followers who serve Thee! O Mother! ….. was it that Visnu became proud and to curb that, … Therefore dost Thou gladden Her by giving back Her husband's life. 69-73. Sûta said :-- Thus praised by the Vedas with their Angas, with Sâmagânas (the songs from the Sâma Veda), the Nirgunâ Mahes'vari Devî Mahâmâyâ became pleased. Then the auspicious voice came to them from the Heavens, gladdening all, and pleasing to the ears though no form was seen: “O Suras! Do not care anything about it; you are immortal (what fear can you have?) Come to your senses. …. 74-75. Does anything take place in this world without any cause? Now hear why Hari's head was cut off. Once on a time, seeing the beautiful face of His dear wife Laksmî Devî, Hari laughed in presence of Her. 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 87-92. Abandoning all sorts of enjoyments, with control over his senses and without any food, the Daitya (Hyagriva) did Japam of the (repeated) one syllabled Mâyâ-Vija-mantra and, meditating the form of the Utmost Sakti of Mine, adorned with all ornaments, practised very terrible austerities for one thousand years. I, too, went to the place of austerities in My Tâmasî form, meditated by the Daitya and appeared before him. 93-95. Hayagrîva said :-- “Obeisance to the Devî Mahâmaye!... 96-100. The Devî said :-- “O child! I am very much satisfied with your wonderful tapasya and devotion. Now say what boon do you want. I will give you the boon that you desire”. Hayagrîva said ;-- “O Mother! grant me that boon by which death will not come to me, and I be invincible by the Suras and Asuras, I may be a Yogi and immortal”. The Devî said :-- “ Death brings in birth and birth brings in death; this is inevitable.” This order of things is extant in this world; never its violation takes place. O best of the Râksasas! Thus knowing death sure, think in your mind and ask another boon.…. There is none in the three worlds to kill him. So let Visvakarmâ take a horse's head and fix it on the headless body of Visnu. Then Bhagavân Hayagrîva will slay the vicious wicked Asura, for the good of the Devas”. 106-112. … Sûta said :-- Hearing these words, Visvakarmâ quickly cut off with his axe, the head of a horse, brought it before the Devas and fixed it on the headless body of Visnu. By the grace of Mahâmâyâ, Bhagavân became horse-faced or Hayagrîva. Then, a few days after, Bhagavân. Hayagrîva killed that proud Dânava, the Deva's enemy, by sheer force. Any man, hearing this excellent anecdote, becomes freed, certainly of all sorts of difficulties. Hearing or reading Mahâmâyâ's glorious deeds, pure and sin destroying, gives all sorts of wealth. Thus ends the fifth chapter of the first Skandha on the description of the narrative of Hayagrîva in the Mahâ Purâna S’rimad Devî Bhâgavatam. This evidently is not a Vaishnavite version since even Vishnu has become victim of death and was subject to the Goddess who is above all gods even of Vishnu. After the death of Vishnu, the idea was to resurrect Vishnu by putting on a new head similar to that of Hayagriva and regain the Vedas with cleverness. Madhu Asura and Kaitabha Asura Connection Another legend has it that during the creation, the Asuras Madhu and Kaitabha stole the Vedas from Brahma, and Vishnu then took the Hayagriva form to recover them. S’rimad Devî Bhâgavatam X,I On the killing of Madhu Kaitabha 1-49. Sûta said:--O Munis! When the excellent Tâmasi S’akti, the Goddess presiding over sleep came out from the eyes, mouth, nose, heart, etc., of the body of the World-Guru Visnu and rested in 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS the celestial space, then the powerful Lord Visnu began to yawn and got up. He saw the Prajâpati Brahmâ, terrified and spoke to him in words, deep like rumbling in the clouds :-- “O Bhagavân Padmayone! What makes you come here, and leave your tapasyâ? Why do you look so terrified and anxious?” Hearing this, Brahmâ said: “O Deva! The two very powerful and very terrible Daityas, Madhu Kaitabha sprung from the wax of Thy ears approached to kill me; terrified thus, I have come to Thee. So, O Lord of the Universe! O Vâsudeva! now I am quite out of senses and terrified; save me.” Visnu, then, said :-- “Now go and rest in peace, without any fear; let those two stupids, whose life has been well nigh exhausted, come to me for battle; I will certainly kill them.” Sûta said:-- While Bhagavân Visnu, the Lord of all the Devas, was thus saying, those two very powerful Dânavas, elated with pride, came up there, in their search for Brahmâ. O Munis! The two proud Daityas stood there in the midst of the Pralaya water without anything to stand on and with calm attitude. They then spoke to Brahmâ as follows:-- O You have fled and come here? You cannot escape. Go on and fight. I will kill You before this one. Then I will kill him also who sleeps on this bed of serpent. Either give us battle or acknowledge yourself as our servant. Hearing their words, Janârdan Visnu addressed them as follows:-- “O two Dânavas, mad for war! Come and fight with me as you like; I will surely curb your pride. O two powerful ones! If you trust me, come and fight”. Hearing this, the two Dânavas in the midst of that mass of water resting without any support, came up there to fight, with their eyes rolling with anger. The Daitya, named Madhu, became very angry, came up quickly to fight while Kaitabha remained where he stood. Then the hand-to-hand fight ensued between the two mad athletes; Bhagavân Hari and Madhu became tired; Kaitabha came up and began to fight. After that Madhu and Kaitabha joined and, blind with rage, began to fight again and again hand to hand with the very powerful Visnu. And Bhagavân Brahmâ and the Prime Force Âdyâ S’akti witnessed this from the celestial Heavens. So the fight lasted for a long, long, time; yet the two Dânavas did not feel a bit tired: rather Bhagavân Visnu became tired. Thus five thousand years passed away; Hari then began to ponder over their mode of death. He thought:-- “I fought for five thousands of years but the two formidable Dânavas have not been tired anything, rather I am tired; it is a matter of great surprise. Where has gone my prowess? and what for the two Dânavas were not tired; What is the cause? This is a matter, now, seriously to be thought over”. Seeing Bhagavân Hari thus sunk in cares, the two haughty Dânavas spoke to him with great glee and with a voice like that of the rumbling of cloud :-- “O Visnu ! If you feel tired, if you have no sufficient strength to fight with us, then raise your folded palms on your head and acknowledge that you are our servant; or if you can, go on fighting. O intelligent one! We will take away your life first; and then slay this four-faced Brahmâ”. Hearing the words of the two Dânavas, resting there without any support in the vast ocean, the high-minded Visnu spoke to them in sweet consoling words :-- “See, O heroes! no one ever fights with one who is tired, afraid, who is weaponless, who is fallen and who is a child; this is the Dharma of the heroes. Both of you fought with me for five thousands of years. But I am single handed; you are two, and both equally powerful and both of you took rest at intervals. I will therefore take rest for a while, and then fight with certainty. Both of you are very powerful and very much elated in vanity. Therefore rest a while. After taking rest for a while I will fight with you according to the just rules of warfare.” Hearing these words of Hari, the two chief Dânavas trusted and remained far aloof, ready to fight again. Now the four-armed Vâsudeva, seeing them at a sufficient distance, began to ponder in his mind thus :-- “How their death can be effected? Thinking for a time, he came to know that they have been granted, by the Supreme S’akti Devî, death at their will (Ichchâmrityu); and therefore they are not getting tired. I fought so long with them uselessly; my labour went in vain. How then can I now fight, with this certain knowledge. Again if I do not fight, how these two Dânavas, elated with their 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS boon and giving troubles to all, be destroyed? When the boon is granted by the Devî their death is also well nigh impracticable. Who wants his own death, even placed in very great distressed circumstances. Attacked by terrible diseases, reduced to indigent poverty no one wants to die; so how can it be expected that these two haughty Dânavas would want their death themselves? Therefore it is advisable me to take refuge of that Âdyâ S’akti, the giver of the fruits of all desires. No desires can ever be fructified unless She is thoroughly pleased. Thus thinking, Bhagavân Visnu saw the beautiful Devî Yoga Nidra S’iva, shining in the air. Then the supreme Yogi, Bhagavân Visnu, of immeasurable spirit began to praise with folded palms that great Bhuvanes'varî Mahâ Kâli, the giver of boons for the destruction of the Dânavas. “O Devî! I bow down to Thee O Mahâmâyâ, the Creatrix and Destructrix! Thou beginningless and deathless! O auspicious Chandike! The Bestower of enjoyment and liberation I do not know Thy Saguna or Nirguna forms; how then can I know Thy glorious deeds, innumerable as they are. To-day Thy undescribable prowess has been experienced by me, I being made senseless and unconscious by Thy power of sleep. Being tried again and again by Brahmâ with great care to bring me back to my consciousness, I could not become conscious, so much my senses were contracted down. O Mother! By Thy power, Thou didst keep me unconscious and Thou again hast freed me from sleep, and I also fought so many times. O giver of one's honour! Now I am tired; but Thou hast granted boon to the two Dânavas and therefore they are not getting tired. These two Dânavas, puffed up with pride, were ready to kill Brahmâ; and therefore I challenged them to fight with me and they too are fighting fiercely with me in this vast ocean. But Thou hast granted them the wonderful boon that they will die whenever they will; and therefore I have now come to Thy refuge, as Thou protectest those that come under Thy shelter. Therefore, O Mother, the remover of the Devas' troubles! These two Dânavas are become exceedingly elated by Thy boon and I, too, am tired. Therefore dost Thou help me now. See! those two sinners are ready to kill me; without Thy grace, what can I do now? and where to go?” 50-59. Thus praised by the eternal Vâsudeva Jagannâtha Hari, with humility and pranams, the Devî Mahâ Kâli, resting in the air, said smiling :-- “O Deva deva Hari! Fight again; O Visnu! These two heroes, when deluded by My Mâyâ, would be slain by you; I will delude them certainly, by My side long glance; O Nârâyana! then slay quickly the two Dânavas, when conjured by My mâyâ”. Sûta said :-- Hearing these loving words of Bhagavatî, Bhagavân Visnu went to the scene of battle in the middle of that ocean, when the two powerful Dânavas of serene tempers and eager to light, became very glad on seeing Visnu in the battle and said :-- “O four-armed one! we see your desire is very lofty indeed; well stand! Stand! now be ready for battle, knowing that victory or defeat is surely dependent on Destiny. You should think now thus :-- Though it is generally true that the more powerful one wins victory; but it also happens sometimes that the weak gets the victory by queer turn of Fate; so the high souled persons should not be glad at their victories, nor should express their sorrows at their defeat; so don’t be glad, thinking, that you on many former occasions fought with many Dânavas who were your enemies, and got the victory; nor be sorry that now you are defeated by the two Dânavas”. Thus saying, the powerful Madhu Kaitabha came up to fight. Seeing this, Bhagavân Visnu struck them immediately by fist with great violence; the two Dânavas, elated with their strength, struck Hari in return with their fists. Thus fighting went on vigorously. 60-87. Now seeing the two Dânavas of great powers, fighting on incessantly, Nârâyana Hari cast a glance expressive of great distress, towards the face of the Devî Mahâkâli. Seeing Visnu thus distressed, the Devî laughed loudly and began to look constantly with eyes somewhat reddish and shot towards the two Asuras side-long glances, of love and amorous feelings which were like arrows from the Cupid. The two vicious Daityas became fascinated by the side-long glances of the Devî and took great pleasures in them; being extremely agitated by these amorous darts, looked with one steady gaze towards the Devî, of spotless lustre. Bhagavân Hari, too, saw the wonderful enchanting pastime of the Devî. Then Hari, perfectly expert in adopting means to secure ends, began to speak 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS smiling and in voice like that of the rambling cloud, knowing the two Dânavas enchanted by Mahâmâyâ, thus :-O two heroes! I am very glad at the mode of your fighting. So ask from me boons. I will grant that to you. I saw many Dânavas before, fighting; but never I saw them expert like you, nor I heard like this. I am therefore, very much satisfied by your such unrivalled powers. Therefore, O greatly powerful pair of Dânavas! I wish to grant both of you any boon that you want. Seeing the Devî Mahâmâyâ, the gladdener, of the Universe, the two Dânavas felt themselves amorous; and therefore they became proud on hearing Visnu's those words and told Visnu, with their lotus-like eyes wide open, thus :-O Hari! what do you like to give us? We are not beggars; we do not want anything from you. O Lord of the Devas! Rather we will give you whatever you desire; we are donors; not receivers. So O Vâsudeva! Hrisi Kesa! We are glad to see your- wonderful fight; so ask from us any boon that you desire. Hearing their words, Bhagavân Janârdan said :-- “ If you both are so much pleased with me, then I want this that both of you be killed by me.” Hearing these words of Visnu, Madhu Kaitabha became very much wondered and thinking “we are now cheated” remained for some time merged in sorrow. Then reflecting that there is water everywhere and solid earth nowhere, they said :-“O Janârdana Hari! We know that you are truthful; therefore now we want this desired boon from you that you wanted to grant us before now grant us this desired boon of ours. O Madhusûdana! We will be slain by you; but kill us, O Mâdhava! on a solid earth, free from any water; and thus keep your word. S’ri Bhagavân Hari laughed and remembering His Sudarsan disc said :-- “O two highly fortunate ones! Verily, I will kill both of you on the vast solid spot without any trace of water. Thus saying, the Devadeva Hari expanded His own thighs and showed to those Dânavas the vast solid earth on the surface of water and said :-“O two Dânavas! See, here is no water. Place your two heads here; thus I will keep my word and you would keep your word.” Hearing this, Madhu Kaitabha thought over in their minds and expanded their bodies to ten thousand Yojanas. Bhagavân Visnu Hari also extended his thighs to twice that amount. Seeing this, they were greatly, suprised and laid their heads on the thighs of Visnu. Visnu of wonderful prowess, then cut off quickly with His Sudarsan disc the two very big heads over His thighs. Thus the two Dânavas Madhu Kaitabha passed away; and the marrow (meda) of them filled the ocean. O Munis! For this reason, this earth is named Medinî and the earth is unfit for eatable purpose. Thus I have described to you all that you asked. The sum and substance is this that the wise persons should serve Mahâmâyâ with all thei hearts. The Supreme S’akti is worshipped by all the Devas. Verily verily, I say unto you that this is decided, in all the Vedas and other S’astras that there is nothing higher than this Âdyâ S’akti. Therefore this Supreme S’akti should be worshipped anyhow; either in Her Saguna form or in Her Nirguna state. Thus ends the ninth Chapter of the first Skandha on the killing of Madhu Kaitabha in the Mahâpurana S’rimad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâs According to this story Mula-Prakriit (Original Nature), Adi-Sakti(Primal Energy) belongs to Devi (goddess) and not to Vishnu Madhu means nectar in Sanskrit . Madhu kaita means belonging to honey bees. It can be the qualities or nature of honey bees. One of the meanings of "bha" is "having a similarity to". "Madhu Kaitabha" 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS means "having a semblance to the nature of honey bees". The Asuras Madhu and Kaithabha implies something sweet as honey. It was these sweet honey that destroyed the Vedas and made sacrifices come to a stop. According to the Maha-bharata and the Puranas, Mahu and Kaitabah sprang from the ear of Vishnu while he was asleep at the end of a kalpa, and were about to kill Brahma, who was lying on the lotus springing from Vishnu’s navel. Vishnu killed them, and hence he obtained the names of Kaitabha-jit and Madhu-sudana. The Markandeya Purana attributes the death of Kaitabha to Uma, and she bears the title of Kaitabha. The Hari-vansa states that the earth received its name of Medini from the fat (medas) of these demons). In one passage it says that their bodies, being thrown into the sea, produced an immense quantity of fat, which Narayana used in forming the earth. In another place it says that the medas quite covered the earth, and so gave it the name of Medini. The Fat of the earth comes from these two Asuras. Without that the earth would have no medus – youthhood. The myth therefore describes the basic fat on which the earth is created now is the fat from Madhu Kaita. 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Brahma became extremely proud of his position as the creator and about his powers and his Knowledge. (jnAnam). Vishnu wanted to teach him the lesson of humbleness. So he created two Asuras Madhu and Kaitabha out of two drops of water from the lotus leaf. (Other version makes them from his ear wax). These Asuras stole the Vedas and hid them in the Patala. Brahma could not create his kalpa era without them. So he approached Vishnu. Vishnu incarnated as Hayagriva He rushed to Patala lokam and raised His "uthGitham" (outgoing breathe interpreted as OM) in samavedha swaram which terrified the Asuras. They hid the Vedas (which were in the form of babies) and escaped in fear . Hayagriva thus retrieved the Vedas and gave it back to Brahama to start again. Yet another legend has it that during the creation, Vishnu compiled the Vedas in the Hayagriva form. In VishNu puraaNam the list follows thus: "Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Ashva, Simha rupathibhi” ( In the forms of fish, torotoise, boar, horse and lion) 30 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS It may be assumed that such retrieval of lost status of the Vedic religion was repeated and were led by various leaders. These most probably represents the tribal leaders with those insignia. This is supported by the similar epics in Buddhism also. Like Mahakala, Hayagriva is one of the Eight Great Protectors of Buddhism, called as Tam Drim, a guardian and a destroyer of obstacles to enlightenment. He is a popular personal, deity among the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism. Hyagriva Buddhist representation The earliest surviving Tantric text date back to about 600 A.D 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Hayagriva is one of the emanations of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Hayagriva is also regarded as Yidam or Istadevata. Hayagriva has many forms often with three faces, six arms and four legs sometimes with huge wings. Hayagriva can be recognized by a small horse head surmounted on the top of his main terrific head. He is a wrathful god. Tantrism is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism of the period. In Tibet, Hyagriva is one of the Dharmapalas who protect the teachings of Buddhis and the land of Tibet. His name means ‘horse-necked’. He has a stocky human body and a horse’s head, although sometimes he is shown with a smaller horses’ head above his own human one. Other drawings show him with three horses’ heads, which is when he takes the form of Krodha Atigyhya, the ‘Angry Highest Secret’. In this form he carries a goad, a noose, a club and a sword together with lotus emblem and a skull. Hyagriva or Tamdrin as he is also called , is the protector of the padma family of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (those who refuse to enter Nirvana until all are enlightened.) He is seen as an emanation of Amitabha Buddha and is understood to embody the speed of all Buddhas. His essence resides in the chanting of the syllable ‘hri’ which. Like the stallion’s whinny, is the sound that curs through illusion and reveals the nature of reality. Hyagriva also protects horses. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic ... By John Matthews, Caitlin Matthews The Matsya Kingdom was founded by fishermen community who later attained kingship. The Sanskrit word Matsya means fish. Satyavati, the wife of Kuru king Santanu was from this community. King Virata, a Matsya king, founded the kingdom of Virata. He was the father-in-law of Abhimanyu the son of Arjuna. The epic Mahabharata relates the founder of Matsya kingdom to the ruler of Chedi, viz Uparichara Vasu. He was of the Puru dynasty (1,63). Apart from the five royal sons of this king – Pauravas - he had a son and a daughter born of a women of fisherman community. This male child, in due cource established the Matsya Kingdom and founded the royal dynasty called Matsya Dynasti. Their location could be on the banks of river Sindhu. 311 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Tamdrin, Hayagriva, Horse-Throat Emanation of Amitabha, dharmakaya of all the Buddhas of the Lotus family, And emanation of Vajra Dharma and Chenrezi, You are the body of great ferocity manifest from the syllable HRI: Homage to Tamdrin with the horse's neigh An interesting fact is that fishing was the main occupation of the people who lived near river Saraswati. After the Saraswati River dried up, they migrated to river Charmanwati now known as Chambal meaning fish in Dravidian languages. Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, was son of Satyavati who belogned to this fishermen community later became Veda Vyasa who compiled and edited the Vedas and the Puranas. There were six other Matsya Kingdoms The Pandya Kingdom in the extreme south, also bears the icon of a fish on its official banner showing some connection with the Matsya kings. The main Matsyas under Virata had its capital named Viratanagari which is now known as Bairat in Jaipur district of Rajasthan. Swayam Pradhana temples with matsyavatara are very rare. Nagalapuram The one that we know of is in This temple contains few rare Stone images such as Vinahara Dakshinamurthi, Hayagriva Bhuvarala and Trivikrama and was built by Krishna Raya of Vijayanagara Kingdom. From 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS historical records we know that this area was one of the major Christian centers renowned all over the world. 700 BCE–1200 CE. The seals unearthed from the archeological sites of Indus valley civilization, like Harapa and Mohenjodaro, contain a large number of images of fish. These fish symbols were interpreted as representing stars according to Iravattam Mahadevan (fish symbol which he translates as “meen” of the Dravidian languages). Parpola maintains that these represent the Fish God revered by the inhabitants of the Indus valley is connected with the constellations. Or was this the memory of the great Noahic deluge. This ancient memory probably lies behind the Matsya Avatara 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Hayagriva appears to be a King of the Matsya kingdom. There is no doubt that the initial Matsyavatara was an attempt to retell the Noah and the Ark story in the Indian way. Noah was asked to get together his family and all the species into the ark. Here Vishnu asks the Manu to gather the seven Rishis and the animals. How did the Matsya come into the picture of Noah’s story connects us to the era of Pisces that is supposed to have emerged soon after the universal flood. However the story of retrieving the Vedas is an addendum which does not fit the context. These must be two separate stories mixed together in the processes of the growth of mythology. The second part is the story of the Asura – Sura struggle for vedic supremacy and relates to the history of the recent past. The Matsya Kingdom which took active role in the reinstatement of the brahminic power got mixed up with the Matsya of the Noah’s ark story. It must be a myth telling the story of how the Brahminic Vedas were rescued from the pralaya of Thomas faiths of the Asuras. We have also seen how the Sakthi group dealt with the same story making Devi as the supreme laughing at the decapitulation of vishnu’s head and putting on a horses head instead. This group was laughing at the Vaishnavites in trying to copy the theology of the Asuras saying that it is laughable for Vishnu to put on the foolish horses head of the Asura.Asuras Madhu and Kaithabha laughs at the Vaishnavite attempt at syncretization. KURMA (TORTOISE) AVATARA “In Kurma Avatara, Lord Vishnu is incarnated as a tortoise. Lord Vishnu is said to have helped the gods in churning of the ocean for nectar. … The Devas approached Vishnu for help. Vishnu then asked them to churn the ocean of milk after adding medicines into the ocean. Mount Mandara could be used a the churning stick he said. He requested them to ask the help of asuras in lifting the mountain in exchange for offer of the share of nectar of immortality that would ensue from the 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS churning. Both the devas and the asuras churned the ocean using the serpent Vasuki as the rope. As the churning was proceeding the mountain was sinking and then Lord Vishnu took the form of the tortoise Kurma and kept the mountain afloat. As soon as the bowl of amrita, the nectar of immortality was out, the asuras grabbed it. Then Lord Vishnu took the form of an apsara, a beautiful maiden, and seduced the asuras into letting her distribute the nectar and also to abide by her order of distribution. As soon as the devas were served the maiden disappeared thus totally deceiving the asuras and making them totally weak.” The whole nation of Devas were falling apart both physically and mentally. So as usual they approached Brahma for help. (In the older versons of ths Avatar, it was Brahama who took the form of the Tortoise) . Brahma knew he was not strong enough against the mighty Asuras and advised them to seek the help of Vishnu.. When all the efforts to revive them using the Sanjivini medicine failed Vishnu realized that the only way for the Devas to survive was the procurement of Amirtham – the Elixir of Immortality contained in the Milky Way. All the power of the Devas added to the power of Vishnu were not able to churn the Milky Way long enough to obtain the elixir. The only people who could do that was the Asuras. So Vishnu enlisted their help with promises of part of the Elixir while he promised Devas that he will ensure that Asuras did not get any chance of getting the elixir. For a churning rod they selected the Mandara Mountain and used Vasuki the serpent as the rope. Cunningly Vishnu suggested that the Asuras should take up the head of the serpent while the Devas could use the tail part. During the churning process Vasuki breathed out poisonous vapor which As a result Vishnu became the made the Asuras weak. This made sure that if a war ensued Asuras will not be able to stand. During the churning the mountain Mandara began to sink in the Ocean. Tortoise to hold it up. That is the first part of the story. 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The churning produced several things. What first emerged was the eternal poison. The myth is honest enough to admit that even Vishnu could not deal with this calamity. If it fell in the cosmos it will destroy it. At this point Siva graciously gulped it down taking the poison on himself and saving the world. He alone could do that as Mahadeva. This was followed by the Poison Halahala, Varuni (Goddess of Wine and Intoxicants), the Cow Surabhi, Parijatha (the divine tree), the Apsaras (the celestial nymphs), the Moon, the goddess Laxmi (Goddess of fortune – whom Vishnu took as his wife) and Dhanvantari (the God of Medicine). When the Amrit itself came out at last it came to the Asuras. As a result Vishnu had to cheat them out of it. To do this Vishnu appeared in the second form as Mohini the enchantress and offered to serve the Amrit to both the Suras and the Asuras. “She offered to arbitrate, and in the grand tradition of all Tricksters proceeded to rob the trustful demons.” serving. The gods received their portion first and as soon as For this, she ordered the Devas to form one row and the asuras another. Then the maiden Mohini began she had served them Mohini disappeared, bowl and all! Mohini had tricked the Asuras!!! The asuras who got nothing for their efforts now realized that they had been tricked and this time by a young, beautiful woman, who was none other than Lord Vishnu in Mohini's disguise!! The demons, deprived of the drink, remained dark and gloomy asuras. Feeling betrayed, they attacked the gods. Vishnu picked up Sharanga, the bow that had emerged from the cosmic sea, and shot deadly missiles at the asuras, helping the devas push them into the deepest recesses of the cosmos, the Patala. As the gods celebrated their victory, Vishnu blew the divine conch Panchajanya and placed the radiant jewel Kaustubha on his crown 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Evidently this myth does not portray Vishnu either as the Supreme Person nor even as an honest god. It is still preserved as a myth for us. history? The story itself tells us a deep truth that the Elixir of Immortality was stolen from the Asuras who were the people who worked most. What is this Elixir of Immortality? We know that Vedism as Brahminism was dying out totally. The weakened Suras were unable to survive with occasional dose of Sanjivani, the only way out was to deceive the Asuras and get the products of their efforts. Syncretization was the only way out. The Elixirs are nothing but the concepts of Isvara, the Logos (Om) and the incarnation (Avatar) and the related theologies. We see the results today. Brahminism took over the symbols and the basic theology of Thomas Christianity which was the faith of the Asuras. This story tells us in plain words how Vishnu became the god of the Suras. Sri Kurmanatha temple at Srikakulam, Andhrapradesh, India is the only temple devoted to Lord Vishnu's tortoise incarnation. The present temple is at least 700 years old while the original temple is now claimed as to have been built in 200 AD. According to the temple legends, this temple was originally a Saivite temple worshipping Lord siva and was called panchalingaswara. It was Sri Ramanujam who won the battle against The Saivites and built the second dwaza pillar as the victory pole. Then onwards vaishnavites started the worship of Kurmanatha as the principal deity. ( This might probably give us the clue to the myth. Were the Saivites the Asuras who helped to get the Amrit and held the head part of the Serpent string to be victims of the poison and were cheated out of the Elixir of Immortality? Saivism remained within the historical Christianity long after the conflict between Saivism and Vaishnavism. Mohini appears again in the same seductress role in order to save Siva from the Asura Bhasmasura to whom Siva foolishly gave the power to kill by touching anyone on their forehead. Mohini was able to make him do it on himself thus saving Siva himself. Mohini again appeared in much later Kerala history where she gave birth to a child of Siva. Since Mohini did not have the vagina the child was born through the thighs. This is the great god Ayyappa of Sabarimala. Ayyappa’s closest friend was a muslim and so we can date it certainly as later than 600 AD. Mohini however is nowhere a central deity nor worshipped except in Lord Ranganatha temple in Srirangam, that on Vaikunta Ekadasi day only. Mohini Siva interaction indicates the synthetic combination of absorption of Saivism by Vaishanvism. But the total synthezis never took place. This may be a ridiculing of Saivism by Vaishanavites. There What can it be telling us about what happenned in Indian 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS are many such stories that try to tarnish Saivism as developed by Vaishnavites. This mixing up is portrayed in the Bana dynasty stories also. So the basic Palaazhi madanam and the sequence of Mohini deceit is an explanation of how the elixir was cheated out of the Asura’s hand and made use of by the Suras. How will you explain this in terms of the Vaishanava - Christian historic context? Christianity in India was destroyed by the infiltration of Gnostic heresy into the church which destroyed the Church. VARAHA AVATARA 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Varaha - Gupta Period, Early 5th century ADCave 5, Udayagiri, Madhya Pradesh, India. This is the gist of the story. The question is who is this Hiranyaksha? According to Srimad Bhagavatam Hiranyaksha is the first Demon. yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah antar-maharnava upagatam adi-daityam 31 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS tam damstrayadrim iva vajra-dharo dadara (S.B. 2.7.1) "The unlimitedly powerful Lord assumed the form of a boar for the rescue of the earth and pierced the first demon Hiranyaksa with His tusks." Hiranyaksha was an Asura who was the son of Diti, and a king of pre-ancient Dravida.. people of Dravidia. Daksa, the So we should assume that the Asura people came into existence sometime in history among the Indian According the Bhagavatamrta, in Uttanapada's lineage, the son of Praceta was of Daksa was Diti, and the son of Diti was Hiranyaksa His older brother was Hiranya Kasipu. Hiranyksha means daughter ( ‘Golden Eye” The boar-avatara was a descent of Vishnu in the form of a boar, to deliver the world from the demon Hiranyaksha -- the ruler of the fifth region of Patala (the nether world) -- who had carried the earth into the lower regions of his spheres. The contest between Vishnu in this form and Hiranyaksha took place beneath the water, according to the Puranas; Vishnu emerged victorious and raised the earth from the deep. This legend, among several other interpretations, may refer to the risings and sinkings of continents. http: // In the Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, it says, "Lord Varaha appeared twice in one kalpa (day of Brahma). He appeared during the Svayambhuva-manvantara from Brahma's nostril to rescue the earth, and during the sixth manvantara (Caksusa-manvantara), He appeared to rescue the earth and kill Hiranyaksa." At the time of Varahadeva's appearance or in the beginning of the kalpa, Manu did not have any children. So how could Hiranyaksa have taken birth in the reign of Svayambhuva Manu? Therefore, it is seen that in the Bhagavatam, in answer to Vidura's question, Maitreya Muni has described the pastimes of Lord Varaha in both the Svayambhuva devastation and Caksusa devastation. Svayambhuva Manu and Satarupa gave birth to two sons, Priyavrata and Uttanapada, and three daughters, Akuti, Devahuti and Prasuti: The Boar incarnation appeared in two different millenniums. During the period of Svayambhuva Manu, the earthly planet remained submerged in the water of devastation, so the Lord appeared as a white boar and lifted the earth and set it properly. During the period of Caksusa Manu Lord Boar was red and He killed the demon Hiranyaksa. Visnu Purana 1.4.45-50 states: “He then rescued the earth and reestablished it floating over the ocean like a large ship. After planing the earth, he adorned it with mountains and then divided it into seven continents. After this, the god Hari, taking the shape of four faced Brahma and in accordance with the rajas created life” In Taittiriya Samhita 7.1.5 it says: “This universe was formerly fluid. All was water. Over it Prajapathi moved in the form of wind. He saw the earth. Becoming a boar, he lifted her. Becoming Viswa-Karma, he planed her. She extended. Hence earth is called Prthvi” 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Thus if we go through the various versions in Puranas and Samhita we have the Boar as incarnation of Vishnu, Prajapathi, Hari, Brahma, Viswakarma etc. We may conclude that all these were transformed into one personality which later came to be called as Vishnu. According the Wikepeida, the deluge occurred during the period between 1,918,143,100 B.C. to 1,916,463,100 B.C., the Varaha Avathar must have occurred on the fourth day of the 2nd month of 1,916,463,100 B.C. as per the Pauranic calendar about 2 billion years ago! The Earth is accepted by scientists to be around 4.5 billion years old. There are too many contradictions in time and story that we will have to take the myth as a myth and try to see what it is really trying to tell us. The Varaha Avatar is worshipped only in the Andhra Pradesh area. The oldest temple associated with the Boar Avatar is found in Multan, now in Pakistan. • • • The Mahabharata 3.81.15 mentions a Varaha-tirtha in Haryana State where Lord Vishnu appeared as Varaha. At the place known as Soronksetra Lord Varaha picked up the earth on His tusk. This place is located south of Delhi After killing the demon Hiranyakasipu, He rested at Vishrama-ghat in Mathura and spoke the Varaha Purana to Mother Earth. Historically it is connected with the Indian subcontinent and to the places Multan and Mathura. We cannot esccape from that conclusion. During the life of Bhumi Devi (Earth) under the sea with Hiranyksha, she was with child. But when vishnu in the form of Boar rescued Bhumi it was believed that the child was that of Vishnu. This son, Hiranyksha’s son was Narakasura who ruled Assam. There was a doubt about his paternity. However he is called as an Asura, and was an antagonist to Vishnu. Narakasura Narakasura was the son of Goddess earth, (referred to as Bhumi), by Lord Vishnu himself during his Varaha (boar) avatar. In other sources, he is the son of the asura Hiranyaksa. He is said to have established the kingdom of Pragjyotisha in Assam after overthrowing the last of the Danava king Ghatakasura. 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Krishna fighting Narakasura An alternate story is told in the South where it was Satybhama who killed Narakasure Narakasura's Killing Narakasura was a demon king, ruling Pragjothishyapur, a southern province in the present day Nepal. He gained a boon from Brahma that he would die only in the hands of a woman. Armed with the boon, he ruled like a despot. Narakasura was infamous for his wicked ruling and high disregard for demigods and women. Addicted to power, he defeated Lord Indra (king of demigods) and abducted 16000 women and imprisoned them in his palace. He stole the earrings of Aditi (the heavenly mother goddess) and usurped some of her territory. Aditi was a relative of Satyabhama. When she heard of the Narakasuara's ill treatment of women and his behaviour with Aditi, she was enraged. Satyabhama approached Lord Krishna for permission to wage a war against Narakasura. Krishna not only agreed, but also offered to drive her chariot in the battlefield. On the day of the war, Satyabhama fought Narakasura bravely, but she was no match to his trained skills. After a few days days, when Narakasura got a chance, he took aim at Krishna, hurting him lightly. Krishna fainted in a preordained divinely plan adopted to empower Satyabhama. Seeing this Satyabhama was furious. She doubled her attack on the demon king and killed him finally. Her victory on Narakasura translated into freedom for all his prisoners and honoring of Aditi. Having rescued the 16000 women, Krishna was compelled to marry them per the customs of the day. (Theosophy encyclopedia) The Puranas apparently have no knowledge of this. Diwali, the festival of light is also called "Naraka Chaturdasi" and is the celebration of this victory. There are practically two accounts of the Varaha Avatars whereas the older puranas consider Varaha as and avatar of Brahma, later puranas ascribes it to Vishnu. This is one of the occassions when Vaishnavites take over the older stories and rewrite it in terms of Vishnu. In the former Brahma the Creator, in the shape of a boar raised the earth and brought it above the waters. In the latter Vishnu in the form of a Boar extricated the world from a deluge of iniquity by the rites of religion. 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The first mention of this avatara is found in the Taittiriya Samhita and reads as follows: “The Universe was formerly water, fluid. On it Prajapathi (Brahma) becoming wing, moved. Becoming a boar, he took it up.” Taittirya Brahmana concurs with this description with more details. In the Sathapatha Brahmana the boar is called Emusha. The two recessions of Ramayana also gives the two versions, in the older version it was Brahama and in the latter it was attributed to the form of Brahma. The alteration of the text is clearly noriceable Old version “All was water only; in which the earth was formed. Thence arose Brahma, the self-existent, with the deities. He then becoming a boar, raised up the earth, and created the whole world with the rishis, his sons.” Newer Version “All was water only, through which the earth was formed. Thence arose Brahma, the self-existent, the imperishable Vishnu. He then, becoming a boar, raised up this earth and created the whole world.” Hindu Mythology – W.K Wilkinson 1882 Evidently this was done in a period when Brahma was degraded and Vaishanavism subordinated the other theologies. NARASIMHA AVATAR 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Narasimha murthy in Simhachalam - Sri Varaha Narasimhaswamy Temple Andhra References to Narasimha are found in a wide variety of the Puranic scriptures, with seventeen versions of the main narrative, some in more detail than others. The Bhagavata Purana (Canto 7), Agni Purana (4.2-3), Brahmanda Purana (2.5.3-29), Vayu Purana (67.61-66), Harivamsa (41 & 3.4147), Brahma Purana (213.44-79), Vishnudharmottara Purana (1.54), Kurma Purana (1.15.18-72), Matsya Purana (161-163), Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 5.42), Shiva Purana (2.5.43 & 3.10-12), Linga Purana (1.95-96), Skanda Purana 7 (2.18.60-130) and Vishnu Purana (1.16-20) all contain depictions of the Narasimha pastime. There is also a short reference in the Mahabharata (3.272.5660) and an Upanishad (Narasimha tapani Upanisad) named in reference to him. The story of Narasimha as described in the Bhagavata Purana is as follows: As Narasimha Avatara, Lord Vishnu is incarnated as a semi-man, semi-lion in this world. The king of Asuras, Hiranyakasyapa, who was also the brother of Hiranyaksha, wanted to become immortal and wanted to remain young forever. To this end, he meditated for Lord Brahma and because of his severe penance, the gods were frightened and asked Brahma to pacify the king. Brahma was impressed by his austerity and granted him a wish. Hiranyakasyapa wished that he be neither killed by a man or beast, nor in daylight or at night and neither inside or outside a building. But his son Prahlada, became an ardent devotee of Vishnu who was the god of the Suras the enemies of the Asuras. This enraged Hiranyakasyapa very much. He tried in many ways to kill Prahlada. But Prahlada always escaped. Enraged, once he asked Prahlad to show him the Lord Vishnu.. Prahlada said, "He is everywhere". Enraged, Hiranyakasyapa knocked down a pillar, and asked if his Lord was present there. Lord Vishnu then emerged as a half lion, half man from the pillar which was neither inside the house nor outside, and the time was evening, neither night nor day. He killed Hiranyakasyapa. Vajrayana or "Tibetan" Buddhism also has a Man-lion form of buddha. Simhamukha has the head of a lion. She is a wrathful manifestation of (Secret knowledge) Guhyajnana Dakini, who, according to the Nyingmapa tradition, was the principal Dakini teacher of Padmasambhava in the country of Uddiyana. Therefore, although Simhamukha is a Dakini in her aspect, she functions as a Yidam or meditation deity and her special functions are averting and repulsing (bzlog-pa) psychic attacks. Very often the 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Dakinis and the Matrikas were the old pre-Buddhist pagan goddesses of the earth and sky. Among the eight Tantra sections (sgrub-pa bka’ brgyad) transmitted to Tibet in the 8th century by Padmasambhava, wherein Simhamukha, is the chief divine figure, very much assumes the role of the Hindu goddess Durga. Though this is an 8th C development, the tradition of the wrathful god in the form of lion-man is seen common with the Nara-Simha Avatara. ( Lion-Headed Dakini Out of the immensity of the dharmadhatu, the mother of all the Buddhas You arise as chief of all the innumerable Dakinis, With your magical power and shakti pulverising obstructing spirits: Homage to the Dakini Senge Dongma. Killing Hiranykashyapu by incarnating as Narasihma is one of Vishnu's major exploits. In Indian tradition of festivity this episode is related with Holi, India's one of four most important festivals and hence the legend has a nation-wide popularity. In South Indian art - sculptures, bronzes and paintings, Vishnu's incarnation as Narsimha is one of the most chosen themes and amongst Avatars perhaps next only to Rama and Krishna in popularity. “In the legend of the Narasimha Avatara Visnu as Narasimha killed the demon Hiranykasipu even though there was no immediate provovation for this murder. Hiranyakasipu had tormented son Prahalada to renounce his allegiance to Visnu but in vain. Towards the end there was complete reconciliation between the father (Hiranyakasipu) and his son Prahalada, the great devotee of Visnu. The Visnupurana I.XX.29.31.31 alludes to the death of Hiranyakasipu in a very cursory manner after the reconciliation between the father and the son. In Bhagavata VII.8.18 Narasimha kills Hiranyakasipu “to prove the reality of His devotee’s words (that Visnu is the controller of all and source of power in all) and also to assert His own omnipresence.” Encyclopaedia of Hinduism By Nagendra Kumar Singh 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS In this direct story, there is no doubt that we are dealing with a struggle between Vaishanavism and another faith which considered Vaishanvism as a heresy. Further we are told that at least one generation of the Asura faith has passed before this event. Remembering that St. Thomas spent a lot of time in the capital of Gondaphores in Taxila are and that this story is occuring in that area makes us to conclude that the Asura religion was indeed the Way – Christianity. Jains and Buddhists were extreme pacifists in theology and would not persecute a heretic as Hiranyakasipu did to his son Prahalad. Multan located very close to Harappa, the Indus Valley Civilization site is consideredd to be the place where the activities of both the Varaha and Narasimha took place. If that is true the area located around Taxila must have been the capital of both the brothers Hiranyksha and Hiranykasipu. ( This is now in Pakistan. Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India also claim to be However Ahobilam or Ahobalam in where Lord Narasimha killed the Hiranyakashipa. ( It is one of the 108 Divya desam of the Vaishnavites. It is certain that Mahabali family ruled the Andhra Pradesh area. So it is quite possible that all the three activities took place there, if the defeat was just temperory and the Vaishnavites were not able to displace the Asuras. But then it will be difficult to explain the Multan connection. As the Vaishnavites pushed back the Hiranyakasipu family down to the south, they escaped into the areas near Andhra Pradesh. L We know that Mahabali the great grandson of Hiranyakasipu ruled that area and met the next Avatara of Visnu there. The great tribe of Chenchus of Andhra were Saivites who later mingled with the Vaishnavites in time. In fact Lakshmi the wife of Visnu is considered by the locals as “Chenchu Lakshmi” who married the Narasimha. Adi kavi Valmiki himself is said to hail from a tribe in this area. Beddar Kannappa from the Boya Tribe became one of the celebrated Saivite Bahaktha Nayanars. Srisailam still remain one of the great Saiva centers. (Encyclopaedia of Indian Tribes, Shyam Singh Sasi) Later as the Vaishanavites took over that area and they built temples commemorating their victory in Ahobilam. In fact today Narasimha worship is most popular in the this part of South India. The main places of pilgrimage today associated with Sri Narasimha are those places where the events described above are reputed to have taken place. Ahobilam is claimed to be the birth place of Lord Narasimha, there exist Navanarsimha (nine Narasimhas). 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS VAMANA AVATARA “In the account of the Vamana Avatara in the Bhagavatapurana VIII 18-23 it is clear that Bali maintains absolute truth and fulfils his promise of donation to the Dwarf (Vamana) even though Bali knew that he was innocent, and that Visnu had deceitfully ‘begged’ for a piece of land. In fact even the heaven and the earth had lamented Bali’s fate; Brahma also said that “Vali did not deserve this humiliation (of being consigned to Patala) and as a compensation Bali is confined to Sutala which is free from suffering, calamities and diseases with the promise that he would later become Indra. The narration of the story in the purana leaves no doubt that Visnu had deceived Bali to achieve his partisan objective of restoring Indra to his throne. In fact Visnu takes the form of Vamana “to bring about the highest welfare of the gods (devas)” Encyclopaedia of Hinduism By Nagendra Kumar Singh “In the present Manwantara, Vishńu was again born as Vámana, the son of Kaśyapa by Adití. With three paces he subdued the worlds, and gave them, freed from all embarrassment, to Purandara” VISHŃU PURÁŃA. BOOK III. CHAP. I. Vamana was the King of Kerala and they still celebrate the memory of this great and noble Asura King. His empire probably extended far beyond South India upto major portions of North India. He did a 100 Viswajit yagnas and the 100th one was at the banks of Narmada. Vamana in his deceptive dwarf form. Konkana was a southern kingdom populated by Brahmins during and after the period of Puranas. This kingdom is identified to be the Konkan region (coastal region) of Maharashtra. Other such It was here he met 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Brahmin populated kingdoms includes Dravida, Andhra and Karnata. They have migrated in the later periods to the south as far as Kerala. The name Konkana probably have originated from the older name Kanwa-gana (meaning the clan of Kanwa) a clan of Bhrahmins. Kanwas were a sub-clan of the Kasyapa-clan of Brahmins. They arrived at the western shores of Indian peninsula, which were the stronghold of the Bhargava clan of Bhrahmins. This history is hidden in the myth of Vamana who arrived at the sacrifice of king Mahabali, conducted in the land of the Bhrigus (Bhrigu-kaksha (Brauch in Gujarat), on the banks of river Narmada. This sacrifice was officiated by king Mahabali's priest named Sukra, who belonged to the Bhagava clan. In spite of the protest of priest Sukra, king Mahabali gave some land for Vamana. Starting with Vamana, many Kasyapas, in large numbers, settled in the kingdom of Mahabali. Their settlements outumbered those of Bhargavas and of the ruling clan of Asuras. Thus Mahabali lost his kingdom and was forgotten into the underworld of memories. . The Narmada River and Saivism The Narmada River is one of the most important sacred rivers, believed to have descended from the sky by the order of Lord Shiva. It is said that the mere sight of the river will make a pilgrim pure because of its sanctity. As a result, the river represents an important pilgrimage site, and one of the highest acts a pilgrim can perform is to walk from the sea to the source of the river, in the Maikal Mountains and back along the opposite bank, a process that can take one to two years to complete. The town of Maheshwar is a particularly important pilgrimage site along the route of the river. The Narmada is closely associated with Lord Shiva. Naturally formed smooth stones called banas, made of cryptocrytalline quartz, are found in Narmada which are known as Shivalingas; the rare and unique markings on them are regarded by shaivaites as very auspicious. The Brihadeeswara Temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, constructed by Rajaraja Chola, has one of the biggest Bana Shivalingas. Adi Shankara met his guru Govinda Bhagavatpada on the banks of river Narmada. The Narmada River is also worshipped as mother goddess by Narmadeeya Brahmins.Reva is another name of Narmada River. Believed to have originated from the body of Shiva, the river is also known as Jata Shankari. The worship of Shiva is common in these areas, and each stone or pebble found in the bed of the Narmada is believed to be a Shivalinga. Places along the banks—Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, and Mahadeo—are all named after Shiva. 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Omkareshwar has several old and new temples. There is an island on the river that is supposed to have one of India’s twelve great Shivalingas. Maheshwar is on the northern banks of the river. Cenotaphs in memory of the Holkars beautify the landscape at Maheshwar. “In the present Manwantara, Vishńu was again born as Vámana, the son of Kaśyapa by Adití. With three paces he subdued the worlds, and gave them, freed from all embarrassment, to Purandara” VISHŃU PURÁŃA. BOOK III. CHAP. I. Hence the logical assumption will be that Mahabali was a Saivite against whom Vaishnavites plotted. This is the opinion of most modern historians. Mahabali in folk Hindu Art represented as the Idiot of Onam (Ona Pottan) (Wikipedia) ONAM “Thiru Onam (from Sravana?) is celebrated in the second half of August (the Chingam month of Kollam Era) when the August monsoon rains come to an end and the summer heat gives way to the pleasant warmth of the Kerala autumn. Anthropologists see in Onam a great fertility rite, the ceremony of Thanksgiving for a plentiful harvest. For Keralites Onam is the celebration of the return of Mahabali, their once and future king. This king once ruled over the Keralites during the Golden Age before caste existed, “when all men were equal, when no one was poor, when there was neither theft nor dread of theives” (Maveli natu vanitum kalam/ manusharellam onnu pole ..). As the folk song suggests, the great king Mahabali ruled before the caste system was introduced in the Chera society even before the Cheras’ arrival in Kerala in the eighth century. The complete folk-song is given below in its English version: When Maveli, our King, rules the land, All the peoples form one casteless race. And people live joyful and merry; They are free from all harms. There is neither theft nor deceit, And no one is false in speech either. 32 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Measures and weights are right; No one cheats or wrongs the neighbor. When Maveli, our King, rules the land, All the peoples form one casteless race. The celebration of the return of Mahabali takes four days for the Keralites. The house and yard are cleaned; a temporary mud stall is put up and washed with the purifying cow-dung solution for the royal visitor. Flowers are strewn over it for the king to sit upon; pyramid-shaped images of the king called Trikkakarayappan, made of wood or clay, are placed upon it as the onlookers applaud and cheer in sheer welcome. Pujas (worship service) are performed during the four days of Onam every morning; parents give children presents, especially dresses on the occasion. Large-scale feasts are held at this family reunion –increasingly Onam is a holiday, like the American Thanksgiving Holiday, which is characterized by family reunion and feasting. Three foods used to be essential for the festival: split bananas, pappadam(wafer) and payasm (rice pudding). After the sumptuous midday dinner, all the family members dressed in fine clothes amuse themselves: adults and boys play handball, chess, dice, and/or cards: wrestling and display of swordsmanship are not common any more; women and girls sing and dance. In the backwaters of Kerala, young men race the long snakeboats (chundan vallom), which in construction look like ancient Egyptian boats. Onam celebrates the legendary King Bali. Only two versions are told these days. According to the orthodox Brahminical version, Bali was a wicked demon (asura) king who was “good” enough to become a yogi by virtue of his austerities (tapas). He controlled earth and heaven; the gods, of course, felt threatened by Bali. So they sent Vishnu to get rid of this menace; Vishnu assumed the form of a holy Brahmin priest-beggar, the comical dwarf Vamana and asked for the gift of as much land as he could cover in three paces. Vamana grew into cosmic size and in three strides encompassed the whole earth and heaven and Bali’s own person, and Bali was forced to retire to the only space left, paatalam, the nether world. In the Kerala version, Bali is Mahabali, the benevolent ruler who aroused the jealousy and envy of the gods. He gave up his kingdom not just because he was a victim of a trick but because he was too generous to refuse a request and too honorable not to fulfill a promise. He asked the dwarf Vamana to place the third stride on his head ; Vamana-Vishnu kicked him down into the nether world. Mahabali, however, was granted his final wish, before he retired to hell, that on a day each year he be allowed to return to his dear people, the Keralites, to see them and to be with them as father and friend during the Onam Festival. Obviously, these two versions of the Mahabali-legend represent the conquest of the non-Aryan Keralites by the Aryans on the battlefield and in the field of their religion. The Aryans and their gods triumphed over the Keralite Gods; instead of completely banishing their gods to the realm of nonbeing, the Brahmins demonized one god, Mahabali, and accepted Shiva, the god of Bali. Keralites on the other hand, would not consider their God Bali as a demon, but rather a vanquished god and popular ally. There is a third version of Bali retained by the Mundas of Central India, the cousins of the Keralites. This version is untouched by the theology of the Aryan Brahmins. The Cheras of the Chotanagpur region, the ancestors of Keralites, had a great king called Bali who governed the Dinajpur area; he was an asur, who did not worship Vishnu, the Aryan God. He continued to worship the native Munda god, Lord Shiva. Bali introduced the severe mode of worship in which the votary is swung around, while suspended from a lever by iron hooks which are passed through the skin of the back. He spent a thousand years in this penance and obtained the favor from Lord Shiva that no god (Aryan) should ever have the power to kill him. While the king was reigning in his great glory, Anirudha, the grandson of Krishna , the King of Brindaban and Mathura, came in disguise to Mahabali’s court and seduced his daughter Usha. The young man was arrested and thrown in prison. In order to liberate his grandson, Krishna came with a great army and defeated Mahabali; 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS the young man was released and was allowed to marry Usha: King Bali’s city was destroyed by Krishna’s barbarian army later in an unprovoked battle. According to modified Munda and Santal traditions, it was an Aryan Kharwar Chief by the name of Madhu Das who attacked them at night and drove them to the fortresses of Vanchi (vindhya) Hills (the future name of Kerala) for the Bali’s refusal to let one of his girls marry the son of Madhu Das. Such eponymous legends are similar to the Greek legends of the abduction of Helen and the Trojan War. These legends show that Mahabali, the Chera king of Munda race and worshipper of Shiva, was defeated by Krishna, the Vishnu-worshipper. The Mahabali-story of the Keralites, in the Munda-Chera tradition, indicates the triumph of the Vaishnavite brand of Aryans over the Shiva-worshipping MundaCheras. King Bali is immortal and, therefore, a god; though he is defeated, he is still alive because he is divine. It is this once and future king Bali whom Keralites commemorate during the Onam festival. Incidentally, Bali is also called Ban (Is Onam then named after Ban? If that is the case, then thiruvonam is not necessarily a Malayalamization of sravana, as it is generally believed). Further, Bali/Balia is a common personal name among the Mundas. The name appears later as Mahabali and Maveli in the South where the Cheras had settled down. In Tamil Sangam-work, Puram (234), Maveli appears as the Vellala chief of Milalaikurram who was very wealthy and generous. “The gates of the mansion were never closed and he never sat to meals except with a large company.” Maveli died of wounds received in battle fighting against the Pandyan King Nedumchelyan (Puram 233). Mahabali is remembered thus in another folk story in Tamil Nadu; in this story the enemies of Bali are Tamils. There are places bearing Bali’s name in Tamil Nadu like Mahabalipuram and in Kerala like Mavelikkara. The purpose of this discussion on the legends of Onam has been to indicate a well-known folklore truth that there is an historical nucleus to most myths and legends and that they undergo many changes in time, especially during the migration of ethnic groups. My contention is that Mahabali was a great ancient Munda-Chera King, a Shiva-worshipper, who was defeated by the Vishnu worshiping Aryans. Mahabali is still remembered fondly by the Keralites of all religious denominations, the decendants of the Munda-Cheras. Malayalees celebrate the memory of Mahabali as the British (the descendants of the Celtic inhabitants of Britain) cherish the memory of their legendary King Arthur who fought against the invading Anglo-Saxons in the fifth century in Britain. Arthur is called rex quondam atque futurus (“the once and future king”); King Arthur is expected to return once again from his exile in Avalon, like the Mahdi of some Muslim Arabs. Mahabali is exactly that for the Keralites: Bali is still alive and will return every year during the autumn festival of Onam. For the Keralites he is also a Santa Claus or Father Christmas; someday, like king Arthur and Jesus Christ, Mahabali will return in all his former glory, and the defeated Chera culture will rise in splendor like the phoenix from its ashes. Zacharias P. Thundy 1414 N. Ivy Road,B 4 South Bend, Indiana 46637 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Note on Sisupala: The Vishnu Purana contributes and additional legend about him. "Sisupala was in a former existence the unrighteous but valiant monarch of the Daityas, Hiranyakasipu, who was killed by the divine guardian of creation (in the man-lion Avatara). He was next the ten-headed (sovereign Ravana), whose unequalled prowess, strength, and power were overcome by the lord of the three worlds (Rama). Having been killed by the deity in the form of Raghava, he had long enjoyed the reward of his virtues in exemption from an embodied state, but had now received birth once more as Sisupala, the son of Damaghosha, king of Chedi. In this character he renewed with great inveteracy than ever his hostile hatred towards Pundarikaksha (Vishnu),. and was in consequence slain by him. But from the circumstance of his thoughts being constantly engrossed by the supreme being, Sisupala was united with him after death,. for the lord bestows a heavenly and exalted station even upon those whom he slays in his displeasure." He was called Sunitha, 'virtuous.' Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India It may be worthwhile mentioning here that St.thomas landed in Kerala in AD 52. Apparently archealogy and history of Kerala indicates that there never was any Brahminic community or Hindu Temples until AD 600. The only reason would be that the few Brahmins we were stranded in Kerala in the first century accepted Christianity. So we have to look for non Hindu Dravidian King called Bali. Since Jains and Buddhists were non-violent people the Mahabali who conquerred all the three Indias cannot be from those religions. We are thus left with Christianity. The only possibility is that Mahabali was a Christian King. Maha Bali actually means “The Great Sacrifice” typical translation for Jesus. It is probably the name of the Christians in Kerala. Christian kings were ruling Kerala or part of Kerala until the 6th century. We will take this history later. But Puranas mentions that Maha Bali was a Saivite and we have the indication that Saivism was indeed an outgrowth of Christianity among the Dravidians. Thus we have Vaishanvism of North and Saivism of South both emerging from the historic Christianity. Later they developed into Hinduism as we know today. 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS PARASU RAMA Rama was the son of Jamadgni a brahmin. Once Jamadagni accused Renuka (his wife and mother of Rama alone obeyed, he cut Rama) for entertaining impure thoughts and called on each of his sons in succession to kill her. However all the others refused to follow the instruction of their father. his mother’s head off with his axe. This pleased his father that he told him to ask a boon. He begged that his mother might be restored pure to life, and, for himself, that he might be invincible in single combat and enjoy length of days. Parasurama took the protection of Siva, who instructed him in the use of arms, and gave him the parasu, (axe). Thus he came to be known as Parasu Rama or Rama with the Axe. Brahmins are not warriors. However this incarnation of Vishnu took up arms and worshipped Siva to get the Saivite weapon of Axe. He became an expert in Saivite faith and Saivite martial arts. Vishnu’s normal weapon was not sufficient to fight the Saivites. The implications are that it was historically necessary for the Vaishnavites to adopt the Saivite theology and use the Saivite weapons where others failed. The Mahabharata represents Parasurama as being struck senseless by Sri Rama, and relates how Parasurama, who was a follower of Siva, felt aggrieved by Rama's breaking the bow of Siva, and challenged him to a trial of strength. This ended in his defeat, and in some way led to his being "excluded from a seat in the celestial world." This Brahmin turned into Ksahtriya in order to win. According to the Mahabharata, he excelled in the martial arts that he instructed Arjuna 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS in the use of arms, and had a combat with the great indomitable Teacher Warrior Bhishma, in which both suffered equally. He is also represented as being present at the great war council of the Kaurava princes. This is indicative of the development of Brahminic religion into an active terrorist movement in the face of extinction against the Christian Kingdoms of India. experts in martial arts. reinstate Brahminism especially into Kerala. When Sri Rama married Sita and was returning from Mithila, he was accosted by Parasurama and challenged to a duel, where it is said that after bending Vishnu’s bow, Vishnu’s influence in Parasurama passed to Sri Rama. Thereafter Parasurama is said to be no longer an avatara. In this case, Vishnu’s influence that overshadowed the soul of Parasurama, passed on to Sri Rama, leaving Parasurama a mere rishi (sage). In these Puranas Prasu Rama was only a spirit filled rishi and not really a full avatara. Parasurama's hostility to the Kshatriyas evidently indicates a severe struggle for the supremacy between the kshatriyas and the Brahmanas. He is said to have cleared the earth of the Kshatriyas twenty-one times, and to have given the earth to the Brahmans – historically a fight all over the Indian Continent from the North to the South. "Thrice seven times did he clear the earth of the Kshatriya caste, and he filled with their blood the five large lakes of the Samantapanchaka." He then gave the earth to Kasyapa, father of the Devas, Asuras, Nagas and all of humanity, and retired to the Mahendra mountains, where he was visited by Arjuna. According to the tradition with the blessings of Varuna Parasurama created Kerala by throwing his axe from Gokarnam to Kanya Kumari whereupon the land rose up from under the water. Since Kerala was in existence long before Parasu Rama under the King Mahabali, historians are of the opinion that this tells us how Brahmins took over Kerala by use of force. During the early sixth century, Brahmins migrated to Kerala. The Kerala kings allowed them to live among them. They built temples and lived among the people. However the temple grounds became the training ground for preparing Chaver Pada – the Suicide Squads who became a fearsome force in Kerala. Eventually Brahmins became a power destroying the small Christian Kingdoms and Hindu Kings were put in their places. Even today Brahmins of Kerala trace their origins from these sixth century immigrants. Historically I presume that the Parasurama story refers to this conquest of Kerala, the sole abode of Buddhists, Jains and Christians until the sixth century. Christians were well known as This Rama aquired the expertise in this field and used it effectively to 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Cochin and Travancore states, there is an era of reckoning which is known sometimes as Kollam. This reckoning is sometimes referred to as the era of Parasurama. The years of it are solar: ….The initial point of the reckoning is in AD 825; and the year of 1076 commenced in AD 1900. The popular view about this reckoning is that it consists of cycles of 1000 years; that are now in the fourth cycle; and that the reckoning originated in 1176 BC with the mythical Parasurama,…… But the earliest dknow date in it , of the year 149, falls in AD 973; and the reckoning has run on in continuation of thousand instead of beginning afresh in AD 1825. The years are cited sometimes as : “the Kollan year of such and such a number, sometimes as the year so and so after Kollam appeared; and this suggests that the reckoning may possibly owe its origin to some event occurring in AD 825 connected with the one or or the other towns and ports named Kollam …conncected with Parasurama ……. SRI RAMA 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Rama Rama was the prince of the Suryavamsha (Sun Dynasty) House of Ikshvaku, descendant of great monarchs like Ikshvaku, Raghu and Bhagiratha. He is the eldest brother to Bharata, son of Kaikeyi, and the twin sons of Sumitra, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Ramayana is the story of Sri Rama as an ideal human being, with every aspect of His life in perfection. Sri Rama is described as an ideal man who is married only once and gives up the kingdom, which was rightfully His, to His brother Sri Bharatha and goes to the forest to fulfill the wishes of His father following a royal family intrigue involving his step-mother who wanted her son Bharata to become the ruler of Bharat in place of Rama. As a dutiful son he left for his Vana Vasa (Life in deserted to fulfil his fathers promises) with his wife Sita and his other brothers. It was during this period of travel all along the Southern India visiting hermitages that his wife was abducted by Ravanna the Asura King of Sri Lanka. In the ensuing war he befriended the Monkey King Hanuman in exchange for getting his Kingdom back. With the help of the loyal Monkeys of South Indian Kingdoms he crossed over to Sri Lanka and defeated Ravana and retrieved his wife Sita. The story does not really end there because Rama getting jealous of his wife (in spite of her going through the fire test successfully) eventually divorced her and left his pregnant wife in the forest and left. 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Lord Rama is in harmonious agreement with Manusmrti 7:145-153. While lecturing his brother Bharata on how to govern the kingdom, Lord Rama says women are not trustworthy creatures: "[Rama:] 'Do you keep your womenfolk pacified? Are they duly protected by you? I hope you do not repose excessive faith in them and do not confide your secrets to them.' " -- Ramayana 2:100. Rama was a traditional Vedic with strong belief in the caste system. This was considered the highest ideal in that period. The story of how Lord Rama, the sat-purusa (ideal man), the great upholder of dharma, held the dharamic law even to the extent of slaughtering a Sudra because he was performing asceticism (tapas) whch was not lawful for the Sudras. We hear defense of caste system from our Hindu brothers these days who insists that caste system was a labour division and there was no regidity to it. But at least that was not the understanding of Ramayana. The Caste system is first mentioned in the Dharmashastras. This is the ideology that Vaishnu Avatar of Rama who came to reestablish dharma as is seen in the story below. “Caste is a pre-ordained and hereditary institution which has divine sanction.” "Thereupon approaching him, Rama said, 'O you of good vows, blessed are you; I do ask you, now, O highly effulgent and grown old in asceticism, in what Varna (caste) are you born? I put this question out of curiosity. I am the son of king Dasaratha and my name is Rama. For what are you going through such hard austerities? Is it heaven or anything else that you pray for? O ascetic, I wish to hear, of the purpose for which you are performing such hard penances. Are you a Brahman, or an irrepressible Ksatriya or the third caste Vaisya or a Sudra? Speak the truth and you shall be crowned with auspiciousness.' Hearing the words of Rama, the ascetic, whose face was downwards, gave out his degraded birth and communicated unto him for what he was performing ascetic observances. Hearing the words of Rama of unwearied actions, the ascetic, with his face downwards, said, 'O highly illustrious Rama, I am born in the race of Sudras; and with a view to reach the region of the celestials with my body I am going through these austere penances. O Kakutstha (Rama), I shall never utter a falsehood since I am willing to conquer the region of gods. I am a Sudra and my name is Sambuka.' The Sudra ascetic having said this, Rama took out of scabbard a beautiful sharp sword and chopped off his head therewith. And that Sudra being slain, Indra, Agni and other celestials praised him again and again and showered flowers." -- Ramayana 7:88-89. Loyal Vedics still holds on to this ideal of manhood. 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS SHANKARACHARYA OF PURI, NIRANJAN DEV TEERTH, one of the BRAHMINS' supreme Spiritual leaders, gave an interview to the Kalyan (Hindu) monthly magazine. Extracts are given below: Q: "Maharaj! if a Shudra acts righteously, can he become a Brahmin?" A: "If the Shudra acts according to his code and keeps within the limit of Varnashrama he may become a Brahmin in the next birth - but never in the present." Q: "Is the belief in the caste system essential?" A: "Yes, it is very essential. There can be no PROGRESS without belief in caste system. Q: "Maharaj! The change of caste depends on deeds and virtues." A: "No, it depends on birth and not on deeds. Caste depends on birth, deeds cannot change it. This is an IRREFUTABLE TRUTH". At the inaugurating of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (RSS Branch) at Patna in April 1969, the Shankaracharya (of course he is a Brahmin! ) said: "Untouchabitity is a part and parcel of Hindu social system, I shall cling to this belief even if they HANG ME. " Oh You Hindu Awake !, Dr. Chatterjee, Ravana There are several versions of the story. In the traditional version Ravana was born to the Brahmin sage known as Vishrava. His mother was the Daitya princess Kaikesi. Kaikesi`s father, Sumali, king of the Daityas. Thus according to tradition Ravana’s father was a Sura (Vedic Brahmin – Aryan) and his mother was an Asura (Daitya – Dravidian). But according to the Manu law he is counted as an Asura. Under Vishrava`s tutelage,Ravana mastered the Vedas and became a scholar .As he became a man, Ravana went for tapasya. In most cases Asura tapasyas were directed to Brahma (which indicates that Brahma was a powerful god before the coming of Vaishnavism.) Through that he obtained power over the Suras, Nagas and over all creatures along with knowledge of divine weaponry and sorcery . Sri Lanka flourished under his rule. When he came to the knowledge of Shiva he became an ardent devotee of Siva and came to renowned for his Bhakthi which were expressed in his ecstatic dance worship of Shiva Tandava Stotra to Lord Shiva. Some people think that he got the name Rava because of his dances. Ravana literally means “Of terryfying roar” which is connected to Rudra form of Siva. It must have been a nickname symbolic of his faith and response to faith. 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS One Dravidian version of the Sita and Ravana is different. It is believed that Ravana was a greatgrandson of Mahabali. The story goes that Ravana wanted to fight Mahavishnu, sought the advice of his grandfather Prahlada. Prahlada could not convince Ravana that it is unwise to fight Mahavishnu. He pointed at a huge gold ring - And asked Ravana to lift it. Ravana couldn't even budge it! Prahlada pointed-out; that the ring belonged to Mahabali- their great grandfather. Paula Richman’s book titled "Many Ramayanas" gives the various versions of Ramayana stories from various parts of the Hindu world. Laos Ramayana: Buddha recited the story of Rama to his disciples, in Laos; they believe that the jataka tale to be tale of Buddha's previous birth. There are two popular versions of Ramayana namely Phra Lak Phra Lam and Gvay Dvorahbi. According to these Ramayanas, Ravana is the nephew of King Dasarath. Rama while roaming in desert in search of Sita eats a fruit and becomes a monkey. [The biblical Adam and Eve's story and its resemblance could also be taken note of] After becoming monkey Rama meets Nengsi, a woman turned into monkey and marries her. Hanuman is their son. After killing Ravana, Ram marries his widow. Thai Ramayana: The earliest version of Ramakien dates back to 13 th century and Thais believe their version to be the original story. In Ramakien many places in Thailand have been identified with Ramayana episodes. The city of Ayutthaya i.e. Ayodhya has been mentioned as capital of the kingdom. Ramakien vividly describes the marriage of Hanuman. According to Thais, Hanuman had many affairs and children. Jain Ramayana: According to historian D.N.Jha in Jain Ramayana it is Luxman who kills Ravana. Neither Ram, Luxman nor Hanuman is monogamous. Luxman has 16,000 wives while half that number Ram has, says D.N.Jha. "In Buddhist Ramayana Rama and Sita are siblings who later got married while in Jain Ramayana Rama has 8000 wives. Historian D.N.Jha links the monogamous Rama to the patriarchal society, a symptom of which is also Sita's agnipariksha." Cambodian Ramayana: Cambodian version "The Reamkher" states Ram as incarnation of Vishnu. Akaingameso which means God's doorkeeper was reborn as Ravana. Sita, in her earlier birth was the wife of Indra, who was insulted by Ravana. To avenge the wrong she was born as Ravana's daughter. Ravana was cautioned by his astrologer and brother Bibhek about his daughter's evil birth. Ravana put her in a chest and buried her. King Janaka later discovered her. The Reamkher follows Valmiki episodes on Ram's friendship with monkey chiefs and construction of the bridge. There is one important deviation. Sita gave birth to a son named Ramalaksha parented by Valmiki.One day she went to the river for a bath with her son when the sage was in deep meditation. After meditation Vamiki could not see his son, hence created another son by his yogic power and named him Jupalaksha. Asian Tribune Search Ram first before reaching Ram's bridge Thu, 2007-05-10 02:10 Nandhi Varman - General Secretary Dravida Peravai 33 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS To find a historical relevance to the story we need to look into the Sri Lankan history. (SRI LANKA - HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE Historically the island is known as sinhaladipa (unity of the island with the Sinhalese), 'Sinhale' or 'Heladiva' and dhammadipa (island of Buddhism). Sri Lankan history begins with the arrival of Vijaya and his 700 followers. Vijaya, is a Bengali(?) prince, the eldest son of King Sihabahu and Queen Sihasivali, who were siblings born by a mythical union between a lion and a human princess. The historian contrives the chronology to claim that Vijaya landed on the same day as the death of the Buddha, giving added significance to Vijaya's arrival. Vijaya landed near Mahathitha (Manthota or Mannar), and, according to the Mahavamsa,he named the Island "Thambaparni" ('copper-colored palms), a name which entered into Ptolomy’s map of the ancient world. Hela inhabitants comprised of naga, yaksha, deva and raksha. Ancient epigraphic inscriptions indicates the presence of large number of people of North Indian origin. Buddhism came to Sri Lanka under Asoka’s rule. The missionaries were essentially Rationalist Buddhists who opposed the Vedic Brahminic supremacy. Here then we have a mix of North Indian stock of Aryan missinaries in the midst of a Dravidian society. Under Asoka they became the ruling group of Srilanka. Major theological changes took place in Buddhism by the third century in parallel with the rise and development of Hinduism in Vedism. However from the fifth century A.D onward, periodic palace intrigues and religious heresies weakened Buddhist institutions leaving SinhaleseBuddhist culture increasingly vulnerable to successive and debilitating new theology called Hinduism under the renewed Vedic religion. Culavamsa (Lesser Genealogy or Dynasty), describes this decline. It is attributed to the thirteenth century poet-monk, Dhammakitti. The Culavamsa was later expanded by another monk the following century and, concluded by a third monk in the late eighteenth century. The main historical written evidence is the Mahavamsa written in Pali by the Buddhist monks. Two kings from India Sena and Guttika took over the Kingdom of Anuradhapura sometime in 237 BC which lasted over two decades. Later around 145 BC Elara of Chola dynasty repeated the process and ruled over four centuries. There is one Sinhalese King by the name of Dutthagamani who finaly deposed the Elara dynasty after a fifteen year war became the ruler of Anuraadhapura.. We know very little about the Southern Kingdoms during the period of 3rd to 6th C – known as the Kalabhra Interregnum – the dark ages. However by the 6th C Pallavas emerged as victors and rules in the Tamil speaking areas. They were great supporters of Hinduism and great opponents of the three religions 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity which had strong hold in Kerala and Sri Lanka. In the 7th C AD Manavamma defeated (684-718) a Sinhalese Prince with the help of the Pallava Hindu King Narasinghe King Dathopatissa and took over the island of Sinhala. ( This probably is the historical reality behind the Rama Ravanna story. In the Ramyana story Vibhishana (brother of Ravana) with the help of Rama took over the Kingdom of Ravana. It is interesting to note that Ravanna was both a Brahmin and an Asura – most probably a Buddhist of North Indian Aryan origin. He is still a ten headed Asura being a Buddhist an opponent of Vedism. Thus all through the history of Sri Lanka, we see the Rama –Ravanna war repeated over the centuries that preceded the Christian Era. The Route of Ramayana epic as traced by Syracus University studies ( te.jpg) indicates the movement of conquest of Hinduism from the North of India to Sri Lanka 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The various Ramayana Stories with their dates as given by Syracuse University Studies Jain Traditions in Ramayana Story There is no doubt that Rama was a hero of history in the folklore of the nation. But the way his character and the characters of the opponents were dealt with in accordance with the theology of the sect that dealt with the story. Jain Ramayana also contains the traditional characters like Dasaratha, Janaka, Ravana, Sugriva, Vali, Hanuman etc. However Jain theology being atheistic has no place for incarnations and being a rationalistic school of thought existing long before the new Hinduism presents the characters as truly human. There are no monkey tribes nor rakshasas. They are human beings empowered with magical powers acquired through spiritual knowledge - Vidyadharas. may become avarice or proud. They are not inhuman. Ravana is explained as a They Vidyadhara (Scholar) King. Ravana is presented as a very devout Jain and virtuous. We should remember that these stories were written almost at the same time or even earlier than the Valmiki Ramayana of Vaisnavas. (See Ramayana in Jain Tradition – Umakant P Shah; Jaina Puranas: A Puranic Counter Tradition, Papers on Jaina Studies – Padmanabh S Jaini; 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS According to the Jain version, Ravana and Raksas were highly cultured people belonging to the race of the Vidyadharas and were great devotees of Jina. But the Hindu tradition depicted them as evil natured and irreligious demons because they were antagonistic to the sacrificial cult of the Vedic sages. At the same time, they were defeated, therefore, they become the demons in the hands of the poets. Considering these two accounts together, it seems that the Vedic people denounced the Rakshas because they were the followers of Jainism or Buddhism or later Christians. Sheldon Pollock (Ramayana and Political Imagination in India The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 52, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 261-297 ) considers that Ramayana first took on a political character by the 12th century AD. “answer is that until the twelfth century, the hero of the epic, Rama, had little political significance. Instead, Rama's cult blossomed only when Hindu kings found in the Ramayana's story of the contest between Rama and the demonized figure of evil, Ravana, a parallel for their own struggle against Turkic political power. Pollock believes the Rama cult grew during the twelfth century in direct response to the equation of Rama and Hindu kings as the protectors of the purity of the Hindu polity against foreigners. He also suggests that Karl Marx's insight that revolutionaries often "anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service and borrow from them names, battles cries and costumes in order to present the new scene of world history" can help us understand the potential for violence that lies within present-day Hindu invocation of the primacy of Rama.” Rama killing Vali brother of Sugreeva in the battle between Vali and Sugrreva by stealth 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS BALADEVA Balarama as the elder brother of Krishna. Peace loving elder to killer Krishna. Balarama ( Baladeva, Balabhadra and Halayudha) is the elder brother of Krishna. Most South Indian Hindu traditions and many branches of Vaishnavism regard Balarama as being the ninth avatar of Vishnu. In either tradition, Balarama is acknowledged as being a manifestation of Shesha, the divine serpent on whom Vishnu rests. The Sesa – the eternal Serpent is the adhara-sakti (supporter-power) and form the bedstead of Visnu.and is in the category of God (Visnu-tattva). whether Sesha or Vishnu are more primal. At any rate Sesa the globes is Avatara (absorption-avatara) of Krsna (or Sankarsana) It is difficult to say considered as avesa- 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Balarama holds a plough instead of a war tool. clearly in the Jagnath Puri Trnity. Ananda Goswami seems to interpret the plough a cross and considers Baladeva (Almight God) as the second person in the Trinity. This is shown more Images of Lord Jagannath - the Lord of the Universe, his sister Subhadra and brother Balbhadra In the Bhagavata Purana it is described that after Balarama took part in the battle that caused the destruction of the rest of the Yadu dynasty, and after he witnessed the death of Krishna, with the arrow of the hunter, Balabhadra Rama sat down and in his agony departed from this world by producing a great white snake from his mouth. There are 27 salaka purushas in jainism. Out these the nine Baladevas are righteous Jainas who are strictly based on non-violence – ahimsa In Harivamsa he is called Balabhadra. The Vasudevas are half brothers of the Baladevas. They are also half-Ckravartins – half brothers of full Cackravartins. Vasudevas are reborn in the next reincarnation as Thirthankaras. Prati Vasudevas like Ravana and Jarasandhas are Jaina Kings who obtain power through their knowledge – Vidya… They misuse power and are slain by the Vasudevas. They are reborn in hell. Vasudevas are the ideal Jain Kings, while the Baladevas are the lay power of Ahimsa and abstains from social violences that are inherent in every society. Baladevas are found in Kappa Sutta which predates the Jaina Vaishnava interaction at Mathura. In general the titles Vasudeva and Baladeva are formal titles of people in the society with qualities of leadership corresponding to the description. 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS “The Vasudeva represents the ideal Jaina King, who protects the Jaina society but unlike the Cakracartin, is not so perfect as to be able to attain liberation in this life. The Baladeva, on the other hand, represents the detached layman who does not participate in the violence inherent in the broader society. Perhaps these two represent ideal types for the two elements that made up early and medieval Jaina society, the Kshtriyas and the Vaisyas. While the Ksatriyas sacrificed their own chances of liberation in this life time in order to maintain and further Jaina society, the Vaisyas stayed aloof from politics and warfare and sought to further both their own spiritual well-being and that of the Jaina society in general through strict adherence to ahimsa.” Encyclopaedia of Hinduism Nagendra Kumar Singh BUDDHA We have seen how Buddhism practically destroyed Brahminism. However with the resurgence of Hinduism which rose from the ashes of Vedism through gnostic-christian theology, the presence of Buddha remained a thorn to the Hinduism especially to Vaishanavism. Like expert syncretists Vaishnavites were able to abosorb Buddha as one of the incarnations of Vishnu. They declared the Buddha as an avatara of Vishnu, some times around eighth century, as a verse to this effect from Matsya Purana is engraved in a monument at Mahabalipuram. The process seems to be completed by the time of Jaydeo writing "Gita Govind" in 12th century, including Buddha's name in it as an "Avatara". We are also aware that an average Brahmin takes a great pride that Buddhism was driven away from this land by Adi- Sankara. 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Declaring the Buddha as ninth avatara of Vishnu, L. M. Joshi observes, was a "remarkable cultural feat", achieved by the Brahmanic Puranas, which later caused confusion in the minds of people with the result that Buddhism came to be treated as a "heretical" and "aesthetic" branch of Brahmanism. The present scholars like P. V. Kane, Radhakrishnan and even Swami Vivekanand, have pushed this confusion further back to the time of origin of Buddhism, by saying that Upanishadas are the origin of Buddhist thought. To this list must be added the name of B. G. Tilak, who devoted a full chapter in "Gita Rahashya" to prove that Buddhism was an off-shoot of Hinduism, and one more chapter for proving that Christianity arose from Buddhism and hence eventually from Hinduism. Jina Rsabha as an "Avatara" of Visnu Padmanabh S. Jaini Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 40, No. 2 (1977) The declaration of the Lord of the Gita (x,41) that whatever being shows ‘supernal manifestation’ (vibhutimat) or majesty or vigour is sprung from a fraction of his glory, may be taken as an open sanction for conferring the status of an avatara on any person of an exalted nature. Nevertheless, the inclusion of Buddha in the list of avataras must sound incredicble as he evidently is not only an adversary of Visnu but is opposed to the very theistic conception of the Vaisnava religion. The full story of the ‘avatarization’ of this great sramana is shrouded in mystery. More or less all major Puranas follow the lead of the Mahabharata, and confine their account of this great avatara to only a couple of lines. The account invariably consists of the repetition of the fiction that the [anti-Vedic] preaching of the Buddha had [also] the divine purpose of destroying the asuras, who as a result of his teaching desisted from offering the sacrifices and thus ceased to be a danger to the gods! The credit for assigning this avatara a more generous role goes probably to Jayadeva, the twelfthcentury Vaisnava poet who in his Gitagovinda emphasized the great compassion of the Buddha [towards the animals slaughtered in the Vedic sacrifices]. Amongst the Puranic texts he is mentioned as one of the ten Avataras of Vishnu. Some Puranas and Sastras that mentions Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu are: • • • • • • • • • Harivamsha (1.41) Vishnu Purana (3.18) Bhagavata Purana (1.3.24, 2.7.37, 11.4.23) Garuda Purana (1.1, 2.30.37, 3.15.26) Agni Purana (16) Narada Purana (2.72) Linga Purana (2.71) Padma Purana (3.252) etc Rishi Parashara's Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (2:1-5/7). 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS • • • • Brahmanda Purana Bhavishya Purana Matsya Purana(285.6-7) Varaha Purana matsya-kūrmo varāhaś ca nṛsiṃha-vāmanas tathā | rāmo rāmaś ca rāmaś ca buddha-kalkiś ca te daśāḥ || In this buddha replaced Krishna in the traditional dasavatara found in other Puranas or extended the number of incarnations. The Gitagovinda of Sri Jayadeva takes Balarama and omits Krishan making Krishna as the Supreme Lord, the Purusottama,(Gitagovinda 1.1.16). In others Balarama is omitted and Buddha is added. Early Buddhism was indeed atheistic and so it remained a problem to say that God incarnated and denied the very existence of God. Buddha to "mislead the demons": mohanārthaṃ dānavānāṃ bālarūpī pathi-sthitaḥ | putraṃ taṃ kalpayām āsa mūḍha-buddhir jinaḥ svayam || tataḥ saṃmohayām āsa jinādyān asurāṃśakān | bhagavān vāgbhir ugrābhir ahiṃsā-vācibhir hariḥ || Brahmanda Purana The clever way out was the explanation that he took birth as In order to delude the demons, he (Lord Buddha) was present in the form of a child on the way while the foolish Jina (a demon), imagined him to be his son. Later on, Lord Sri Hari (as avatara-buddha) expertly deluded Jina and other demons by his strong words of non-violence. By deluding the demons Buddha was able to get back the power to the devas. ` The delusion of the false teacher paused not with the conversion of the Daityas to the Jaina and Bauddha heresies, but with various erroneous tenets he prevailed upon them to apostatize, until the whole were led astray, and deserted the doctrines and observances inculculated bythe 3 Vedas. [The teacher was an illusory form of Vishnu, while the Daityas could not be destroyed whilst they performed the sacred rites adn were slain b the gods]' -- [V.P. Bk III Ch XVIII p. 271] At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded. - Bhavishya Purana "tatah kalau sampravritte sammohaya sura-dvisham buddho namnañjana-sutah kikateshu bhavishyati Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga [he] will become the Buddha by name, the son of Anjana, in Bihar, for the purpose of confusing those who were enemies of the devas. - (srimad-bhagavatam 1.3.24) "deva-dvisham nigama-vartmani nishthitanam purbhir mayena vihitabhir adrishya-turbhih lokan bhnatam mati-vimoham atipralobham vesham vidhaya bahu bhashyata aupadharmyam When the atheists, after being well versed in the Vedic scientific knowledge, annihilate inhabitants of different planets, flying unseen in the sky on well-built rockets prepared by the great scientist Maya, the Lord will bewhilder their minds by dressing Himself attractively as Buddha and will preach on subreligious principles." Bhag., Canto 2, Ch. 7, Text 37 In a sense this is what really happenned. Atheism gave way to theism even within Buddhism soon after the Ministry of St.Thomas in Asia. As a result Brahminism was able to worm in the newly formed Hinduism whereby they came back to control the power over the Indian masses. nindasi yajnavidhe rahaha zRti jAtaM sadaya hRidaya darzita pazu ghAtaM kezava! dhRta buddha zarIra! jaya jagadIza! hare! 'O Lord Kesava! You took the form of Buddha deva to critisize the Vedas and to rebuke Yajnas, out of Your mercy towards the animals, who were being slaughtered by ritualists for trivial material gain. You are the same Hari, the Lord of all !' -Sri Jayadeva 'dazAvatAra' stotra 1.9 Thus according to Jayadeva, the Buddha who criticised the Vedas and the Yajbas is the same Buddha who is the avatar of Vishnu. Helmuth von Glasenapp attributes these developments to a Hindu desire 34 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS to absorb Buddhism in a peaceful manner, both to win Buddhists to Vishnuism and also to account for the fact that such a significant heresy could exist in India. However not all scholars are satisfied with such a situation. How can an incarnation teach and establish total foolishness to negate very theistic understanding? For them the only solution is that this Buddha who is the incarnation of Vishnu is not really the historical Buddha. So there must be some other Buddha about whom we don’t really have any history. Only we don’t know him in history just like all other incarnations have no history. So Buddha can also be pushed back millions of years. According to Çréla Jéva Gosvämé, the Buddha incarnation mentioned in this verses appeared in a different Kali age. Vaisnava Vijaya: The Life History of Mayavadism" by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Maharaja and there he argues that there are two Buddhas. He bases his argument primarily on the fact that the Bhagavatam mentions the birthplace and parents of the Visnu-avatara Buddha and that these differ from those of Siddhartha Buddha (or Sakya Singha Buddha). Visnu-avatara Buddha was born in Gaya; Siddhartha took birth in Kapilavastu, Nepal. The same argument is presented by Srila B.B. Tirtha Maharaja MODERN BUDDHA AND VISHNU AVATAR BUDDHA ARE DIFFERENT But Stephen Knapp upholds the opposite view. "This verse shows that Lord Buddha was an incarnation of the Supreme Being who would appear in Gaya, a town in central India. Nevertheless, some historians may point out that Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was actually born in Lumbini, Nepal, and that his mother was Queen Mahamaya. Therefore, they might feel that this verse is innacurate. But Siddhartha became the Buddha after he attained spiritual enlightenment during his meditation under the Bo tree in Gaya. This means that his spiritual realization was his second and most important birth. Futhermore, Siddhartha's mother, Queen Mahamaya, died several days after Siddhartha's birth, leaving him to be raised by his grandmother, Anjana. So the prediction in the Bhagavatam is accurate." (Stephen Knapp. 1997. THE VEDIC PROPHECIES: A NEW LOOK INTO THE FUTURE", page 4.) 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS KRISHNA There is a lot of speculation about the antecedents of Lord Krishna. We do not have any clear historical records about him other than the scriptural evidence and his connection with the epic Mahabharata war. We are not even sure whether the Krishna of Mathura, Gopala of Brindavan and the Vasudeva Krishna of Dwaraka are different historical personalities or one and the same. More intriguing is how he came to be accepted as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and how exactly his inclusion in the Hindu pantheon happened. He was definitely not a Vedic god and was not worshipped by early Vedic Aryans. He was neither a Brahmin, nor a Kshatriya nor a Vaishya. He came from a nonVedic background and grew in the company of cowherds. From the vedic perspective he led a controversial life and preached a philosophy that emphasized the internalization of ritual and liberation through desireless actions, devotion to God and self-surrender. He tried to combine the finer aspects of vedic philosophy with the complex philosophies of Samkhya and Yoga and thereby made his teachings extraordinarily appealing to all sections of society. Long before the Buddha, he tried to reform the Vedic religion through his teachings and by making public the mostly secretive Upanishadic knowledge that remained confined to some selected families and vedic schools. The following paragraphs are excerpted from the book, the Hinduism and Buddhism An Historical Sketch, by Sir Charles Eliot in which the author tries to trace the origin of the legend of Krishna based on the available literary evidence. The author made best possible effort to trace the historical origin of Krishna from various sources. He also drew some erroneous conclusions such as the possible connection between Krishna and Greek gods such as Herakles and Pan and his clear bias in favor of Christianity and western culture. Those who are devoted to Lord Krishna and consider him to be Supreme God may not appreciate the effort of the author. They are advised to read this information with an open mind and consider this as an exercise in speculation and intellectual exploration. In the absence of valid historical evidence all that we have about Lord Krishna are the scriptures like the Bhagavadgita, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavatapurana and speculative theories such as these. – Jayaram V 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The following are some of the other factors that Eliot has touched in his book “Hinduism and Buddhism An Historical Sketch, support these. Krishna Theatre in India Bhattacharya Kṛishṇa, as an historical person remains obscure. The word Krishna means black or dark blue and occurs in the Ṛig Veda 7.24 as the name of an otherwise unknown person. Rig Veda refers to Krishna as an Asura and as an opponent of Indra. “the Swift moving Krishna with ten thousand (demons) stood on the Amshumati; by his might Indra caught him snorting (in water); benevolent to man, smote his malicious (band). I have seen the swift mcing (demon) lurking in an inaccessible place in the depths of river Amshumati. I have seen Krishna standing there as (the sun) in the cloud. I appeal to you showerer; conquer him in battle. Then the swift moving one shining forth assumed his own body by the Amshumati and Indra and Brishaspati and his ally mote the Godless hosts as they drew near (VIII.10.3 ) where Krishna emerges By M.L. Varalpande; Krishna-Cult in Indian Art By Sunil Kumar by Sir Charles Eliot.” The following recent scholars concur and The animosity between Krishna and Indra continues in later mythology victorius by subduing Indra. Vishnu on the other hand is referred to in Rig Veda as Upendra or Indranuja – Asistant to Indra or The Brother of Indra. We are not sure when Krishna took the title of Vishnu. It must have been a very late development. The earliest reference to Kṛishṇa, the son of Devakî, (Devakiputra Krishna) is found in the Chândogya Upanishad, who was mentioned as the disciple of the sage Ghora of the Ângirasa clan. Probably Krishna was one of the Angiras. Upanishads being written in Sanskrit antedates 150 AD unless they were transmitted in local languages. In that case we are not sure about the present form in Sanskrit as identical with the original teachings. 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The fight between Indra and Krishna. - Krishna lifts up Govardhan Mountail to protect the village. Vâsudeva as a god is mentioned in a sûtra of Pâṇini. If so Vâsudeva must have been recognized as a god by the time of Panini. However the date of Panini is still not determined. One Rishi Krishna is mentioned in the Rig Veda. He is seen propitiating the Ashvinis by offering them the delightful Soma Drink. The Chandogy Upanishad speaks about a Devakiputra Krishna who was a disciple of Rishi Ghor Angirasa Vasudeva Cult A question of some importance for the history of Kṛishṇa's deification is the meaning of the name Vâsudeva. Krishna of Mahabharata is the son of Vasudeva who is not considered a deity. somehow Krishnas name was considered as Vasudeva. appended the father’s name as surname !! There is a mention of Vāsudevavattikā (Probably meaning followers of Vāsudeva); and also But It may be because it those days they Baladevavattikā (followers of Baladeva) and others in a list of samanabrāhmanāvattasuddhikā. (Nid.i.89; cf. Vāsudevāytana at DhSA., p.141.) Scholars regards Vâsudeva as a name for the deity used by the Sâttvata clan and supposes that when Kṛishṇa was deified this already well-known divine name was bestowed on him. 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS As we have seen the Jains give the title Vâsudeva to a series of supermen, and a remarkable legend states that a king called Paundraka who pretended to be a deity used the title Vâsudeva and ordered Kṛishṇa to cease using it, for which impertinence he was slain. This clearly implies that the title was something which could be detached from Kṛishṇa and not a mere patronymic. Indian writings countenance both etymologies of the word. As the name of the deity they derive it from vas to dwell, he in whom all things abide and who abides in all. In Ghosundi in Rajputana we have an inscription referring to deities called Samkarsana and Vasudeva. This is dated around 200 BC. At any rate the Vasudeva cult was popular by the 2nd century as is shown by the Garuda Pillar. Column of Heliodorus 113 BC, Besnagar, Madhya Pradesh 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS This is the famous Garuda column which is supposed to prove the existence of Vishnu worship before the Christian era. “Heliodorus’ Column publicly acknowledged in the most conspicuous way that Vasudeva, or Krishna, as the "God of gods." Does it? This inscribed Garuda column, in Besnagar near Udayagiri, was erected in honor of Vasudeva (an early name for Vishnu) by a person named Heliodorus, who was a Bactro-Greek envoy from Gandhara to the court of Vidisha. The Garuda is missing from the top of the column, which stands about 6.5m (21') high. Decoration on the column includes geese, a reed-and-bead pattern, lotus leaves, vegetation, fruit, and garlands. The bell capital is similar to earlier Mauryan examples. A reproduction of the inscription, along with the transliteration and translation of the ancient Brahmi text, is given here as it appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) Devadevasu Va[sude]vasa Garudadhvajo ayam Karito ia Heliodorena bhaga Vatena Diyasa putrena Takhasilakena Yonadatena agatena maharajasa Amtalikitasa upa[m]ta samkasam-rano Kasiput[r]asa [Bh]agabhadrasa tratarasa Vasena [chatu]dasena rajena vadhamanasa " This Garuda-column of Vasudeva, the god of gods, was erected here by Heliodorus, a worshipper of Vishnu, the son of Dion, and an inhabitant of Taxila, who came as Greek ambassador from the Great King Antialkidas to King Kasiputra Bhagabhadra, the Savior, then reigning prosperously in the fourteenth year of his kingship." As is evident there is no mention of Vishnu or Krishna in this unless Vasudeva mentioned here can be identified with Vishnu or Krishna for which there is no justification historically. Evidently the Vaishnava readings are imposed externally by vested interest. by the second century BC. The next inscription reads: 1) Trini amutapadani-[su] anuthitani It indicates however that the worship of a Vasudeva as a god was predominant in that part of the area 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS 2) nayamti svaga damo chago apramado "Three immortal precepts (footsteps)..when practiced lead to heaven-self restraint, charity, conscientiousness." This portion indicates the influence of Buddhism on the cult on the cult of Vasudeva and does not indicate Bhakthi as a way. Megasthenes also refers to a god who was worshipped by the local Sourasenoi (Surasena Kshatriyas) in whose land was two great cities, Methora (Mathura) and Kleisobora (Krishnapura?) and through it flowed the river Jobores (Yamuna) called Herakles ( Greek – Hercules) which is also claimed by the Vaishnavites as actually Krishna. The German orientalist Christian Lassen [1800-1876] was the first scholar to bring Megasthenes into the debate on the borrowing theory. He noted that Megasthenes wrote of Krishna under the pseudonym of Heracles and that Heracles, or Krishna, was worshipped as God in the area. The only similarity is that Hercules fought and killed a dragon and Krishna subjugated the Naga the King of the Serpents. How Greek God Hercules is identifiable as Krishna is anyone’s guess as if Krishna needed a Pseudonym and the people actually worshipped Him with that name! "No individual character like Krishna or Rama can be found through archaeology," said Prof. B.D. Chatopadhyay of the Centre for Historical Studies at JNU. "Archaeology can reconstruct the material culture of a people. Krishna is known from legends, epics and puranas. Interpolating archaeology with literature is fraught with difficulties. The efforts of some historians and 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS archaeologists to correlate textual evidence with archaeological finds have not found a consensus even among themselves, and serious archaeologists are questioning the exercise." The Ghata-Jâtaka (Pali Jataka No.454 ) gives an account of Kṛishṇa's childhood and subsequent exploits which in many points corresponds with the Brahmanic legends of his life and contains several familiar incidents, titles and names, such as Vâsudeva (War Hero), Baladeva ( Diplomatic Hero), Kaṃsa. He is presented here are a son of Devagarbha and Upasagar. and his two wrestlers Chanur and Mustik. Vasudeva and his clas Vrishni. weapon of Charkra of Krishna. He is said to have killed Kamsa The story also ends with the total destruction of the Buddhas disciple Sariputta was also a Vasudeva. It also refers to the It tells the story of how, when Vāsudeva's son died and Vāsudeva gave himself up to despair, and how his brother Ghatapandita brought him to his senses by feigning madness. Vāsudeva's minister was Rohineyya. Vāsudeva is addressed (J.iv.84; he is called Kanha at as Kanha and again as Kesava. These names, however, are supposed to give support to the theory that the story of Vāsudeva was associated with the legend of Krsna. The scholiast explains (J.iv.84) that he is called Kanha because he belonged to the Kanhāyanagotta, and Kesava because he had beautiful hair (kesasobhanatāya). In the Mahāummagga Jātaka ( it is stated that Jambāvatī, mother of King Sivi, was the consort of Vāsudeva Kanha. The scholiast identifies this Vāsudeva with the eldest of the Andhakavenhudāsaputtā, and says that Jambāvatī was a candalī. Vāsudeva fell in love with her because of her great beauty and married her in spite of her caste. Their son was Sivi, who later succeeded to his father's throne at Dvāravatī. These stories however does not support the theory that this is Krishna of Mahabharata. Vāsudeva is identified with Sāriputta. J.iv.89. It is certain that those names were very common by that time. Evidently the name Vasudeva and Kesava were common names by that time. So was the name Kanha. Kanha occurs in several places in the Pali traditions including: 1. Kanha.-A name for Māra. E.g., Sn.v.355; M.i.377; D.ii.262; Thag.v.1189. 2. Kanha.-The name of the Bodhisatta; he was born in a brahmin family and later became a sage. He is also called Kanha-tāpasa, and is mentioned among those the memory of whose lives caused the Buddha to smile. See Kanha Jātaka (2). DhsA.294, 426. 3. Kanha.-Another name of Vāsudeva (J.iv.84, 86; vi.421; PvA.94ff ); the scholiast explains that he belonged to the Kanhāyanagotta. 4. Kanha.-Son of Disā, a slave girl of Okkāka. He was called Kanha because he was black and, like a devil (kanha), spoke as soon as he was born. He was the ancestor of the Kanhāyanagotta (D.i.93). Later he went into the Dekkhan and, having learnt mystic verses, became a mighty seer. Coming back to Okkāka, Kanha demanded the hand of the king's daughter Maddarūpī. At first the 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS request was indignantly refused, but when Kanha displayed his supernatural powers he gained the princess. D.i.96f.; DA.i.266. 5. Kanha.-A Pacceka Buddha, mentioned in the Isigili Sutta. M.iii.71. 6. Kanha.-A dog. See Mahā-Kanha 7. Kanha.-See Kanhadīpāyana It is certain that those names were very common by that time. Jain tradition also shows that these tales were popular and were worked up into different forms, for the Jains have an elaborate system of ancient patriarchs which includes Vâsudevas and Baladevas. Kṛishṇa is the ninth of the Black Vâsudevas and is connected with Dvâravatî or Dvârakâ. As the brother of Neminatha, he will become the twelfth tîrthankara of the next world-period and a similar position will be attained by Devakî, Rohinî, Baladeva and Javakumâra, all members of his family. This is a striking proof of the popularity of the Kṛishṇa legend outside the Brahmanic religion. This relief from Borobodur illustrates a Jataka tale in which the bodhisatta is a great turtle who first saves a group of shipwrecked sailors by taking them on his back, then offers his body to them as food to relieve their hunger Kapi Jataka. The Bodhisattva monkey, a previous birth of Lord Buddha, admonishes the cruel and selfish man. Cave 17, Ajanta 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Jatakas are fables and stories like the Aesops fables with talking animals and birds a technique used by early civilizations. The Buddha himself used jataka stories to explain concepts like kamma and rebirth and to emphasise the importance of certain moral values. Story tellers made their stories as required. A Jataka bhanaka (jataka storyteller) is mentioned to have been appointed even as early as the time of the Buddha. Such appointments were common in ancient Sri Lanka and among others, King Llanaga (1st century AD) is recorded in the mahavamsa, to have heard kapi jataka from a bhanaka bhikkhu. In the Buddhist cult this developed into an art after the development of Mahayana Buddhism when theistic elements were introduced into Buddhism. Sihala literature gives us a storehouse of Buddhist jataka stories.Among them are Sasadavata (12th century), Muvadevdavata (12th century), Kausilumina (13th century), Guttila kavyaya and Kavyashekharaya (14th century), Kusa jataka kavyaya and Asadisa da Kava (17th century), Sulu Kalingu da vata (12 century), Ummagga Jataka (13th century), Bhuridatta Jataka (13th century) and Vessantara Jataka are jataka stories re-told in inimitable fashion. Other works such as Amavatura (12th century),Butsarana (12 century) Pajavalia (13th century) which all probably can trace some form of origin from Pali Jatakas of Buddha. Being fables they are not supposed to be taken as history. Stories similar to jataka stories occur in the Vedas. Some of the Brahmanas and Puranas are simply narrative stories. In many places, the context, the style or the core stories are altered. In Mahayana literature Asvaghos’s Sutralankara, Aryashura’s Jatakamala and Khsemendra’s Avadana Kalpalata are well known as jataka stories. Indian Sanskrt works such as Katha sarit sagara, Dasa Kuamara carita, Panca tantra and Hitopadesa contain similar stories. These stories contributed to the later incomparable works of Kalidasa and Ashvaghosa. There are also Mahayana jataka stories such as Vyaghri, Dhammasondaka and Seta Gandha Hasti which do not appear in Pali at all. Some jataka stories can be found in Jain literature, such as the story of Isisinga in Suyakadanga, which is the Nalini Jataka. They are found in even the Mahabharata, for example Rsissringa upakhyana. ( See Kurunegoda Piyatissa Buddhist Literature Society Inc New York Buddhist Vihara No references to Kṛishṇa is found in any other Upanishads or sutras. He is not mentioned in Manu The legend of Krishna (Eliot) 35 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The legend represents him as the son of Vasudeva, who belonged to the Sâttvata seCt of the Yâdava tribe, and of his wife Devakî. It had been predicted to Kaṃsa, king of Mathura (Muttra), that one of her sons would kill him. He therefore slew her first six children: the seventh, Balarâma, who is often counted as an incarnation of Vishṇu, was transferred by divine intervention to the womb of Rohinî. Kṛishṇa, the eighth, escaped by more natural methods. His father was able to give him into the charge of Nanda, a herdsman, and his wife Yâsodâ who brought him up at Gokula and Vrindâvana. Here his youth was passed in sporting with the Gopîs or milk-maids, of whom he is said to have married a thousand. He had time, however, to perform acts of heroism, and after killing Kaṃsa, he transported the inhabitants of Mathura to the city of Dvârakâ which he had built on the coast of Gujarat. He became king of the Yâdavas and continued his mission of clearing the earth of tyrants and monsters. In the struggle between the Pâṇḍavas and the sons of Dhṛitarâshtṛa he championed the cause of the former, and after the conclusion of the war retired to Dvârakâ. Internecine conflict broke out among the Yâdavas and annihilated the race. Kṛishṇa himself withdrew to the forest and was killed by a hunter called Jaras (old age) who shot him supposing him to be a deer. In the Mahâbhârata and several Purâṇas this bare outline is distended with a plethora of miraculous incident remarkable even in Indian literature, and almost all possible forms of divine and human activity are attributed to this many-sided figure. We may indeed suspect that his personality is dual even in the simplest form of the legend for the scene changes from Mathurâ to Dvârakâ, and his character is not quite the same in the two regions. It is probable that an ancient military hero of the west has been combined with a deity or perhaps more than one deity. The pile of story, sentiment and theology which ages have heaped up round Kṛishṇa's name, represents him in three principal aspects. Firstly, he is a warrior who destroys the powers of evil. 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Secondly, he is associated with love in all its forms, ranging from amorous sport to the love of God in the most spiritual and mystical sense. Thirdly, he is not only a deity, but he actually becomes God in the European and also in the pantheistic acceptation of the word, and is the centre of a philosophic theology. The first of these aspects is clearly the oldest and it is here, if anywhere, that we may hope to find some fragments of history. But the embellishments of poets and story-tellers have been so many that we can only point to features which may indicate a substratum of fact. In the legend, Kṛishṇa assists the Pâṇḍavas against the Kauravas. Now many think that the Pâṇḍavas represent a second and later immigration of Aryans into India, composed of tribes who had halted in the Himalayas and perhaps acquired some of the customs of the inhabitants, including polyandry, for the five Pâṇḍavas had one wife in common between them. Also, the meaning of the name Kṛishṇa, black, suggests that he was a chief of some non-Aryan tribe. It is, therefore, possible that one source of the Kṛishṇa myth is that a body of invading Aryans, described in the legend as the Pâṇḍavas, who had not exactly the same laws and beliefs as those already established in Hindustan, were aided by a powerful aboriginal chief, just as the Sisodias in Rajputana were aided by the Bhîls. It is possible too that Kṛishṇa's tribe may have come from Kabul or other mountainous districts of the north west, although one of the most definite points in the legend is his connection with the coast town of Dvârakâ. The fortifications of this town and the fruitless efforts of the demon king, Salva, to conquer it by seige are described in the Mahâbhârata, but the narrative is surrounded by an atmosphere of magic and miracle rather than of history. Though it would not be reasonable to pick out the less fantastic parts of the Kṛishṇa legend and interpret them as history, yet we may fairly attach significance to the fact that many episodes 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS represent him as in conflict with Brahmanic institutions and hardly maintaining the position of Vishṇu incarnate. Thus he plunders Indra's garden and defeats the gods who attempt to resist him. He fights with Śiva and Skanda. He burns Benares and all its inhabitants. Yet he is called Upendra, which, whatever other explanations sectarian ingenuity may invent, can hardly mean anything but the Lesser Indra, and he fills the humble post of Arjuna's charioteer. His kinsmen seem to have been of little repute, for part of his mission was to destroy his own clan and after presiding over its annihilation in internecine strife, he was slain himself. In all this we see dimly the figure of some aboriginal hero who, though ultimately canonized, represented a force not in complete harmony with Brahmanic civilization. The figure has also many solar attributes but these need not mean that its origin is to be sought in a sun myth, but rather that, as many early deities were forms of the sun, solar attributes came to be a natural part of divinity and were ascribed to the deified Kṛishṇa just as they were to the deified Buddha. Some authors hold that the historical Kṛishṇa was a teacher, similar to Zarathustra, and that though of the military class he was chiefly occupied in founding or supporting what was afterwards known as the religion of the Bhâgavatas, a theistic system inculcating the worship of one God, called Bhâgavat, and perhaps identical with the Sun. 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS It is probable that Kṛishṇa the hero was connected with the worship of a special deity, but I see no evidence that he was primarily a teacher. In the earlier legends he is a man of arms: in the later he is not one who devotes his life to teaching but a forceful personage who explains the nature of God and the universe at the most unexpected moments. Now the founders of religions such as MahâVîra and Buddha preserve their character as teachers even in legend and do not accumulate miscellaneous heroic exploits. Similarly modern founders of sects, like Caitanya, though revered as incarnations, still retain their historical attributes. But on the other hand many men of action have been deified not because they taught anything but because they seemed to be more than human forces. Râma is a classical example of such deification and many local deities can be shown to be warriors, bandits and hunters whose powers inspired respect. It is said that there is a disposition in the Bombay Presidency to deify the Maratha leader Śivaji. In his second aspect, Kṛishṇa is a pastoral deity, sporting among nymphs and cattle. It is possible that this Kṛishṇa is in his origin distinct from the violent and tragic hero of Dvârakâ. The two characters have little in common, except their lawlessness, and the date and locality of the two cycles of legend are different. But the death of Kaṃsa which is one of the oldest incidents in the story (for it is mentioned in the Mahâbhâshya) belongs to both and Kaṃsa is consistently connected with Muttra. The Mahâbhârata is mainly concerned with Kṛishṇa the warrior: the few allusions in it to the freaks of the pastoral Kṛishṇa occur in passages suspected of being late interpolations and, even if they are genuine, show that little attention was paid to his youth. But in later works, the relative importance is reversed and the figure of the amorous herdsman almost banishes the warrior. 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS We can trace the growth of this figure in the sculptures of the sixth century, in the Vishṇu and Bhâgavata Purâṇas and the Gîtâ-govinda (written about 1170). Even later is the worship of Râdhâ, Kṛishṇa's mistress, as a portion of the deity, who is supposed to have divided himself into male and female halves. The birth and adventures of the pastoral Kṛishṇa are located in the land of Braj, the district round Muttra and among the tribe of the Âbhîras, but the warlike Kṛishṇa is connected with the west, although his exploits extend to the Ganges valley. The Âbhîras, now called Ahirs, were nomadic herdsmen who came from the west and their movements between Kathiawar and Muttra may have something to do with the double location of the Kṛishṇa legend. Both archæology and historical notices tell us something of the history of Muttra. It was a great Buddhist and Jain centre, as the statues and vihâras found there attest. Ptolemy calls it the city of the gods. Fa-Hsien (400 A.D.) describes it as Buddhist, but that faith was declining at the time of Hsüan Chuang's visit (c. 630 A.D.). The sculptural remains also indicate the presence of GræcoBactrian influence. We need not therefore feel surprise if we find in the religious thought of Muttra elements traceable to Greece, Persia or Central Asia. Some claim that Christianity should be reckoned among these elements and I shall discuss the question elsewhere. Here I will only say that such ideas as were common to Christianity and to the religions of Greece and western Asia probably did penetrate to India by the northern route, but of specifically Christian ideas I see no proof. It is true that the pastoral Kṛishṇa is unlike all earlier Indian deities, but then no close parallel to him can be adduced from elsewhere, and, take him as a whole, he is a decidedly un-Christian figure. The resemblance to Christianity consists in the worship of a divine child, together with his mother. But this feature is absent in the New Testament and seems to have been borrowed from paganism by Christianity. The legends of Muttra show even clearer traces than those already quoted of hostility between Kṛishṇa and Brahmanism. He forbids the worship of Indra, and when Indra in anger sends down a deluge of rain, he protects the country by holding up over it the hill of Goburdhan, which is still one of the great centres of pilgrimage. The language which the Vishṇu Purâṇa attributes to him is extremely remarkable. He interrupts a sacrifice which his fosterfather is offering to Indra and says, "We have neither fields nor houses: we wander about happily wherever we list, travelling in our waggons. What have we to do with Indra? Cattle and mountains are (our) gods. Brahmans offer worship with prayer: cultivators of the earth adore their landmarks but we who tend our herds in the forests and mountains should worship them and our kine." This passage suggests that Kṛishṇa represents a tribe of highland nomads who worshipped mountains and cattle and came to terms with the Brahmanic ritual only after a struggle. The 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS worship of mountain spirits is common in Central Asia, but I do not know of any evidence for cattleworship in those regions. Clemens of Alexandria, writing at the end of the second century A.D., tells us that the Indians worshipped Herakles and Pan. The pastoral Kṛishṇa has considerable resemblance to Pan or a Faun, but no representations of such beings are recorded from Græco-Indian sculptures. Several Bacchic groups have however been discovered in Gandhara and also at Muttra and Megasthenes recognized Dionysus in some Indian deity. Though the Bacchic revels and mysteries do not explain the pastoral element in the Kṛishṇa legend, they offer a parallel to some of its other features, such as the dancing and the crowd of women, and I am inclined to think that such Greek ideas may have germinated and proved fruitful in Muttra. The Greek king Menander is said to have occupied the city (c. 155 B.C.), and the sculptures found there indicate that Greek artistic forms were used to express Indian ideas. There may have been a similar fusion in religion. In any case, Buddhism was predominant in Muttra for several centuries. It no doubt forbade the animal sacrifices of the Brahmans and favoured milder rites. It may even offer some explanation for the frivolous character of much in the Kṛishṇa legend. Most Brahmanic deities, extraordinary as their conduct often is, are serious and imposing. But Buddhism claimed for itself the serious side of religion and while it tolerated local godlings treated them as fairies or elves. It was perhaps while Kṛishṇa was a humble rustic deity of this sort, with no claim to represent the Almighty, that there first gathered round him the cycle of light love-stories which has clung to him ever since. In the hands of the Brahmans his worship has undergone the strangest variations which touch the highest and lowest planes of Hinduism, but the Muttra legend still retains its special note of pastoral romance, and exhibits Kṛishṇa in two principal characters, as the divine child and as the divine lover. The mysteries of birth and of sexual union are congenial topics to Hindu theology, but in the cult of Muttra we are not concerned with reproduction as a world force, but simply with childhood and love as emotional manifestations of the deity. The same ideas occur in Christianity, 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS and even in the Gospels Christ is compared to a bridegroom, but the Kṛishṇa legend is far more gross and naïve. The infant Kṛishṇa is commonly adored in the form known as Makhan Chor or the Butter Thief. This represents him as a crawling child holding out one hand full of curds or butter which he has stolen. We speak of idolizing a child, and when Hindu women worship this image they are unconsciously generalizing the process and worshipping childhood, its wayward pranks as well as its loveable simplicity, and though it is hard for a man to think of the freaks of the butter thief as a manifestation of divinity, yet clearly there is an analogy between these childish escapades and the caprices of mature deities, which are respectfully described as mysteries. If one admits the worship of the Bambino, it is not unreasonable to include in it admiration of his rogueries, and the tender playfulness which is permitted to enter into this cult appeals profoundly to Indian women. Images of the Makhan Chor are sold by thousands in the streets of Muttra. 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Even more popular is the image known as Kanhaya, which represents the god as a young man playing the flute as he stands in a careless attitude, which has something of Hellenic grace. Kṛishṇa in this form is the beloved of the Gopîs, or milk-maids, of the land of Braj, and the spouse of Râdhâ, though she had no monopoly of him. The stories of his frolics with these damsels and the rites instituted in memory thereof have brought his worship into merited discredit. Bhagavat cult It is most probable that Vaishnavism and Krishnaism grew out of the Bhagavat cult which is mentioned in inscriptions which appear to date from about the second century B.C. It also appear in the last book of the Taittirîya Âraṇyaka, which however is a later addition of uncertain date. The name Kṛishṇa occurs in Buddhist writings in the form Kaṇha, phonetically equivalent to Kṛishṇa. In the Dîgha Nikâya (The Long Discourses of the Buddha ) we hear of the clan of the Kaṇhâyanas (= Kârshṇâyanas) and of one Kaṇha who became a great sage. This person may be the Kṛishṇa of the Ṛig Veda, but there is no proof that he is the same as our Kṛishṇa. The Bhagavata sect originated in the Mathura region c. 3rd–2nd century BC and spread through western, northern, and southern India. The faith centers on devotion to a personal god, variously called Vishnu, Krishna, Hari, or Narayana. The Bhagavadgita (1st–2nd century AD) is the earliest exposition of the Bhagavata system, but its central scripture is the Bhagavata Purana. The sect was prominent within Vaishnavism until the 11th century, when bhakti (devotional worship) was revitalized by Ramanuja. 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The figures of Krishna and Balarama are shown on his coins found in the excavations at Al-Khanuram in Afghanistan. Chakra seems to have come into existence as a weapen of war by this time and is associated with the Vasudevas of the army and the wooden club with the Baladevas. Indian-standard silver drachm of the Greco-Bactrian king Agathocles (190-180 BCE) Obv: supposed to be Balarama, wearing an ornate headress, earrings, sword in sheath, holding a mace in his right hand and a plow-symbol in the left. Greek legend: BASILEOS AGATOKLEOUS "Of King Agathocles". Rev: supposed to be Vasudeva, with ornate headdress, earrings, sword in sheath, holding kunda(pear-shaped vase) and chakra (wheel). Brahmi legend: RAJANE AGATHUKLAYASA "King Agathocles". Vaishnavism was most probably an outgrowth of Bhagavata cult. We will now try to see the development of Bhagavat cult. Encyclopaedia of Hinduism By Nagendra Kumar Singh mentions the following: In the Vedas we come across a deity called Bhaga, who is the bestower of blessing in Rg Veda I.164,50; VII.41.4; X.60.12 and in Atharvan Veda II.10.2; V.31.11 2tc. However in these contexts Bhagat is not in anyway related to Vishnu, Narayana or Vasudeva. Eliot points out that Garbe in his “Introduction to Bhagavat Gita” traces four stages of development of Bhagavat Cult. 1. Development of Sankhya dualistic philosophy into a cult. There are no purely Samkhya schools existing today in Hinduism. Its philosophy is dualistic which regards the universe as consisting of two eternal realities: Purusha (Person) and Prakriti (Nature). This philosphy being resonant with Buddhism and Jainism survived to 300 BC. It was later incorporated as being one of the six orthodox (astika- 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS theistic school) systems of Hindu philosophy based on Sankhya Karika, written by Ishvara Krishna or Krishna Vasudeva, (c.350 - c.425 CE) . At some point in history its proponent Krishna Vasudeva might have been deified leading to the central name Krishna and its association with Vasudeva. This must have been parallel to the deification of Buddha. 2. Take over of Bhagavata religion by the Brahmins and incorporation of Vishnu and incarnation. This must have developed to the early years of Christian period . By the time of writing of Mahabharata the word Vaishnava appears as a sect of Vishnu worshippers. 3. Incorporation of Krishna, Vishnu and Brahaman as a Vedanata system along with Sankhya and Yoga. This must have been around 12th c AD. 4. Ramanuja revival 12c AD when the Vaishnavism was systemized into a religion. Bhagavata cult also has another name: Pancharatra (Five Knowledges) because Narayana explained the whole principles of five levels of knowledge – tattva, mukthi-prada, bhakthi-prada, yaugika and vaisesika – through five dimensions of human existence – mahabhuta (five gross elements), five subtle elements, ahankara (ego), buddhi (mind) and avykta (formless original matter) in five nights. In this cult Narayana is the principal deity. Scholars can discern these two strains of the cults even in Mahabharata. Eventually all the name assimilated all these names of God into Vishnu. Later Krishna displaced even Vishnu in the post 1900 AD period to form the present day Vaishnavism. In the Alternative Krishnas, Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity edited by Guy L. Beck, the contributors examine the alternative, or unconventional, Krishnas, offering examples from more localized Krishna traditions found in different regions among various ethnic groups, vernacular language traditions, and remote branches of Indian religions. These wide-ranging, alternative visions of Krishna include the Tantric Krishna of Bengal, Krishna in urban women's rituals, Krishna as monogamous husband and younger brother in Braj, Krishna in Jainism, Krishna in Marathi tradition, Krishna in South India, and the Krishna of nineteenth-century reformed Hinduism. Myth maiking and exaggeration was at its best in Krishna. One example of that is his sexuality . Krishna is said to have 180,000 children during his 120 or so years of life. To achieve this he must have had at least 1600 wives and Radha was not one of them. The Latin writer Ovid (43 BC - AD 17) writes: 36 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS "The god Dionysos (later Bacchus) ... has conquered the East as far as the land where swarthy India is watered by remote Ganges' stream" [Cf. Met 94]. It implies that orgies in woods spread eastwards in antiquity. That could throw much suspicion on parts of the Krishna literature, for Hare Krishna is distinctly hailed for orgiastic dancing with females in the woods as well. There is a similarity between the rites dedicated to the Greek Bacchus and this practice, suffice to say. [Cf Sh] This will also explain the Heraklis (Hercules) as one of the gods of India as given by Megasthenes. It is evident therefore that the current figure of Krishna is a composite of many gods joined together to form a single god. What we have seen is the generation of a deity collecting the lives and teachings and qualities of several heroes - Kings, War Heroes, Peace Makers, Play boys, Sex artists, philosophers, saints and sages – and dumped these mutually conflicting legends into one person with all the various names. This is also confirmed from the iconographic studies of Prof. Jain from which I quote relevant parts below: Iconographic Perception of Krishna's Image Article of the Month - September 2004 by Prof. P. C. Jain The Growth of Krishna-cult “Early references to Krishna, sometimes as Krishna Harita, a teacher of 'Yoga' and metaphysics, and sometimes as Devaki Krishna, a great philosopher, occur in Vedic literature itself, but it is in the Mahabharata that he appears with a fully evolved personality as a great warrior, strategist, diplomat and finally in his Vishwa-rupa, manifesting the cosmos in his form. He was seen as incarnating Vishnu, the supreme Lord of all gods and all beings with a rank and distinction above them all. In the course of time, this Brahmanical cult of God as king, or Lord, had to face the challenge from the fast growing radicalism of Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity and subsequently from Islam that perceived in an humble human born prophet the ultimate divinity effecting transcendence of whosoever was devoted to his teachings. This forced brahmanical scriptures, though they yet continued with their incarnation theory, to minimize, or rather to give up, in their depiction of Krishna, his king-like 'above common man status'. They devoted greater space, instead, in delineating his exploits against evil forces, eliminating Putana, Trinavarta, Kaliya, Shakata, Keshi and finally Kansa, all doing in human form. In most of these scriptures, the later part of his life, that is, after the Kansa-vadha, which is the prime thrust of the Mahabharata, has been dealt with just cursorily, obviously to avoid over emphasis on the depiction of his superhuman form. By the eleventh-twelfth century, this thesis of God as king was seen as alienating the Brahmanical God from Indian masses and then emerged to its rescue the Krishna, as we know him now, a 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS humble born and as humbly clad village stripling herding his cows, adorning himself with peacock feathers, blowing a bamboo pipe and flirting in the streets of Vrindavana with a country born lass and at times also with others. He reveals now and then in his acts his divinity and rises in the estimation of the people of Vrindavana but the ties between the two are always those of love and not of devotion. He soars high but never beyond the muddy lanes of Vrindavana or the sandy banks of Yamuna. 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS This Krishna did not emerge out of rhetoricians' discourses, or from metaphysicians' pen, but from the throats of poets, Jaideva, Vidyapati, Chandidasa, Suradas and Panchasakhas of Utkala, namely, Balarama, Jagannath, Yashovanta, Anant and Achutananda. The Vaishnava saints, Nimbarka, Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, did the rest. Vallabhacharya, and later his son Vitthal, in their Pushtimarg, not only diversified his seats to different parts of the subcontinent but also dismissed the cult of ritual worship, which only the Brahmins could accomplish. He introduced the cult of 'Sewa', or 'service', which anyone irrespective of his varna, caste, gender or social status could render. This Krishna made his way into the hearts of commoners, the peasants, households, artisans, and litterateurs and from amongst them emerged a new class of his devotees. The peasantry discovered in this lad of Vrindavana, in this unique being, someone who belonged to them and the artists, poets, writers the main theme and the prime thrust of their arts and literature. Obviously, it was around this so-evolved form of Krishna that there developed his iconographic perception Krishna's Early Iconography His iconographic manifestation, as reveal epigraphic records, might have begun around the second century B. C., but the actual images discovered so far are not earlier than the first century A. D., that is, from the period of Kushana rulers. The group of these early icons comprises of three largely defaced Mathura sculptures, three sculptures from Gaya and a few terracotta plaques from Rajasthan. Mathura sculptures portray three figures each, a female in the center and two males on her two sides. Triad consisting of Samkarsana/Balarama, Ekanamsa and Vasudeva Krsna. Mathura Museum No. 67.529 Gandhi In Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavadgita By Robert Neil Minor the analysis by J.T.F Jordens on “Gandhi and Bhagavadfita gives the following insight into the concept of Krishna as God by Mahatma Gandhi. 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS Gandhi and Bhagavadgita J.T.F Jordens This brings us to the question of how Gandhi conceived figure of Krishna, and how he interpreted the passages of the Gita which have very specific things to say about Krishna. A letter to Jamnadas Gandhi written in 1900 shows …The essential ideas stated in that letter are the following. Every atman about to attain moksa is an avatar or divine incarnation. Once it has reached moksa, it naturally becomes one with the absolute, and as such perfect. But while living on earth, avatars cannot be perfect….. From those early days onward Gandhi often referred to imperfections of the historical Krishna, for example: “Krisha, Rama and others were divine incarnations….but we need not believe in their perfection while yet alive”. “nor do I regard Rama and Krishna as portrayed in the two poems as infallible beings.” The historical Krishna was a man, an embodied atman just like every other human being. Krishna brought to fruition through his own efforts his own potential of achieving moksa; as such he became an avatar. But this potentiality is part of everyone’s being, … ”For the faithful Hindu, his incarnation is without blemish. Krishna of the Hindu devotee is a perfect being”. To him, this ideal, divine Krishna was “an imaginary figure”, “an imaginary incarnation.” In his commentary of the gita, he succinctly explained it thus: ‘Krishna of Gita is perfection and right knowledge personified; but the picture is imaginary. This does not mean that Krishan, the adored of the people, never lived. But the perfection is imagined. The idea of perfect incarnation is an after growth.” This achievement was not a unintentional. It was purposely made use of by the dying Vedic The Brahmins. The Hindu holy books have been mixed up, changed, interpolated, and abridged. date of final redaction of the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and the other Puranas extends from 500 AD – 1600 AD. According to Banerjee. (Banerjee, 56) Vaishnava and the worship of Krishna did not really solidify into a standardized religion until the 300’s AD. However, the legends may be pre-dated, and many ancient people did not care if they polluted the legend with additions and changes. To them they were not holy books yet – only novels for amusement and spiritual anecdotes that could freely be embellished. Later they became revered as holy books At the earliest days of the Mahabharata, Krishna-Vasudeva was a superhero man-god who was, at best, loosely connected with Vishnu. This was before Vishnu became the God of gods. Krishna The worship was antagonistic to the Brahman priesthood and to their chief Vedic god Indra. Brahmans later stole or agreed to borrow the myth and corrupted it to suit their own purposes. In the face of the Buddhist and Jain competition which was undermining their power, and possibly with 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS interference from the Bhagavata sect, the conservative religious leaders associated with Vedic Brahmanism took the myth originally created by the Bhagavatas and retold it to suit their own agenda Around five hundred years later, Vishnu became the God of gods and Rama and Krishna became his most beloved incarnations. (Gonda, 154-167) Banerjee says “It (the Mahabharata) has gone through various recensions, many of which are the result of Brahmanical accretions.” (Banerjee, 44) The best way to fight a competing sect was to steal their mythology and rewrite it. There is no telling how many different conflicting stories of Krishna were competing between 400 BC and 400 AD Here is one clear evidence. SRI JAYA DEV HAD NEVER AUTHORED GITA-GOVINDA, Says Subhas Chandra Pattanayak According to Sri Pattanayak, Sri Jaya Dev of the 12th Century Orissa, erroneously depicted as Sri Jayadev or Jayadeva, was not a Baishnav as he is being projected; he was a social revolutionary and proponent of Sahajayana sect of Buddhism. He had authored his love lyrics to provide a supportive literature to this cult, which was essential in his time to check spread of Brahminic apartheid in his motherland, Orissa. 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS The lyrics having immense Sahajia impact and being matchlessly popular, agents of Brahminism, in course of time, had tried to transform them into Brahminic literature through interpolations and by editing them in a style conducive to their own cult and by captioning the interpolated compilation as Gita-Govinda when, in fact, the poet was so much against the cult of Govinda that he had never used that name even for once in his lyrics, Pattanayak maintains.……Unable to write off the Buddhist impacts of this revolutionary poet, Brahminism in Orissa had played a trick. It had interpolated 72 verses on his original works and given it a misleading title called Gita-Govinda, editing the same in a style to usurp him for Brahminic Vaishnavism. The Bengalis, without knowing the truth on Sri Jaya Dev, have joined the bandwagon of claiming him for Vaishnavism as well as for their homeland. In the process, the immortal love lyricist has been buried under baseless legends. The direct evidence of this continuing process of amalgamation by trick or treat is seen in todays Vaishnavite attempt to assimilate Jesus into Krishna. Here is the process as articulated by Swami Prabhupada of American Vaishnavism guru who is an avatar of Krishna himself. Jesus Christ and his relationship with Krsna. "If one loves Krishna, he must love Lord Jesus also. And if one perfectly loves Jesus he must love Krishna too. If he says, "Why shall I love Krishna? I shall love Jesus," then he has no knowledge. And if one says, "Why shall I love Jesus? I shall love Krishna", then he has no knowledge either. If one understands Krishna, then he will understand Jesus. If one understands Jesus, you'll understand Krishna too" (Srila Prabhupada - Room conversation with Allen Ginsberg, May 12, 1969 / Columbus Ohio) Despite their differences, Hinduism and Christianity have great similarities. And this is particularly prominent in the case of the life and teachings of the two central figures of these world religions — Christ and Krishna. Similarities in just the names of 'Christ' and 'Krishna' have enough fuel for the curious mind to prod into the proposition that they were indeed one and the same person. Although there is little historical evidence, it is hard to ignore a host of likenesses between Jesus Christ and Lord Krishna. Analyze this! • Both are believed to be sons of God, since they were divinely conceived • The birth of both Jesus of Nazareth and Krishna of Dwarka and their God-designed missions were foretold • Both were born at unusual places — Christ in a lowly manger and Krishna in a prison cell • Both were divinely saved from death pronouncements • Evil forces pursued both Christ and Krishna in vain • Christ is often depicted as a shepherd; Krishna was a cowherd • Both appeared at a critical time when their respective countries were in a torpid state • Both died of wounds caused by sharp weapons — Christ by nails and Krishna by an arrow 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS • The teachings of both are very similar — both emphasize love and peace • Krishna was often shown as having a dark blue complexion — a color close to that of Christ Vaishnavites have been trying to prove that Jesus is a myth fashioned out of Krishna story. In trying to do that they have developed a series of lies, partial truths and remotely parallel events to establish that. Here are some of the attempts. There are lots of websites where these are postulated. On closer analysis except for a peripheral similarities the two lifes were totally apart. Several people have answered these pretty well. Here is one which I have summarized. Looking a little more closely: 1. Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki ("Divine One") "In India a like tale is told of the beloved savior Krishna, whose terrible uncle, Kansa, was, in that case, the tyrant-king. The savior's mother, Devaki, was of royal lineage, the tyrant's sister, and at the time when she was married the wicked monarch heard a voice, mysteriously, which let him know that her eighth child would be his slayer. He therefore confined both her and her husband, the saintly nobleman Vasudeva, in a closely guarded prison, where he murdered their first six infants as they came. According to the story, the mother had six normal children before the 7th and 8th 'special' kids--a rather clear indication that the mom was not a virgin when she conceived Krishna unless killing the earlier child will make the mother a virgin. 2. He is called the Shepherd God. Jesus was not a shepherd it was only a title to show his care of people. Krishna was a cowherd. 3. He is the second person of the Trinity. Although the Hindu pantheon has changed considerably over over time, Krsna has NEVER 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS been the 'second person of a 3-in-1'. In the oldest layers of Hindu tradition--the Rig Veda--the dominant three were Agni, Ushas (goddess), and Indra, After the Vedic period (before 1000 BC), and before the Epic period (400 BC - 400 AD) "trinity" was Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Krishna was one of the incarnations of Vishnu. Trinity has never been put as Brahma, Krishna, Siva though this is what the Vaishnavites are trying to do. 4. He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants. In the case of Jesus, Herod killed all the infants below the age of two. In the case of Krishna, Kamsa killed only his older brothers – 6 of them. That was the massacre? The motif of a king attempting to kill a supposed 'infant rival' is common to royal settings. Hence, one can find this plot-line--a common one throughout human history--in the lives of Gilgamesh, Sargon, Cyrus, Perseus, and Romulous and Remus 5. Krishna was crucified. Krishna was accidentally slain by the hunter Jaras...when he was mistaken for a deer and shot in the foot, his vulnerable spot. Probably he was sitting under a tree. We don’t call it crucifixion. We call that accident. 6. He ascended to heaven. Never heard of such a story. These are presented only to show the tactics used by the Brahminic cult to assimiliate various images into one to create a mythic godhead and identify that with the name Krishna. The following Similarities between Krishna and Christ are given by the Author Kersey Graves (1813-1883.) He found what he believed were 346 elements in common within Christian and Hindu writings. 37 14. THE CONCEPT OF AVATARS He did report some amazing coincidences: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • #6 & 45: Christ and Krishna were called both God and the Son of God. 7: Both was sent from heaven to earth in the form of a man. 8 & 46: Both were called Savior, and the second person of the Trinity 13, 15, 16 & 23: His adoptive human father was a carpenter. 18: A spirit or ghost was their actual father. 21: Krishna and Jesus were of royal descent. 27 & 28: Both were visited at birth by wise men and shepherds, guided by a star. 30 to 34: Angels in both cases issued a warning that the local dictator planned to kill the baby and had issued a decree for his assassination. The parents fled. Mary and Joseph stayed in Muturea; Krishna's parents stayed in Mathura. 41 & 42: Both Christ and Krishna withdrew to the wilderness as adults, and fasted. 56: Both were identified as "the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head." 58: Jesus was called "the lion of the tribe of Judah." Krishna was called "the lion of the tribe of Saki." 60: Both claimed: "I am the Resurrection." 66: Both were "without sin." 72: Both were god-men: being considered both human and divine. 76, 77, & 78: They were both considered omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. 83, 84, & 85: Both performed many miracles, including the healing of disease. One of the first miracles that both performed was to make a leper whole. Each cured "all manner of diseases." 86 & 87: Both cast out indwelling demons, and raised the dead. 101: Both selected disciples to spread his teachings. 109 to 112: Both were meek, and merciful. Both were criticized for associating with sinners. 115: Both encountered a Gentile woman at a well. 121 to 127: Both celebrated a last supper. Both forgave his enemies. From: It is not difficult to see how ridiculous most of these similarities are. Some are outright statements of someone who did not know anything about Krishna – even religious tolerance could identify the absurdities. However the main difference lies in their philosophies which are diametrically opposite. To understand this difference we will now look into Krishna’s Philosophy and Ethics which are by decalaration found in Bhagavat Gita. 37 15. GITA CHAPTER 15 GITA AS IT WAS “Is the Mahabharata epic -- the text of 100,000 verses -- which is a source for the events of the War to be taken as history? The epic itself claims to have been originally just 8,800 verses composed by Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa and called the Jaya. Later, it became 24,000 verses, called the Bharata, when it was recited by Vaisampayana. Finally, it was recited as the 100,000 versed epic (the Mahabharata) by Ugrasravas, the son of Lomaharsana. Thus the tradition acknowledges that the Mahabharata grew in stages. The core of the story is very ancient” Subhash Kak Mahabharata war probably was a real war, which was located somewhere near Delhi area between two tribes over power. However, it is evident that the picture developed in the Mahabharata story is a 37 15. GITA vastly exaggerated one. That is not really very surprising since exaggeration and ballooning up were part of the style of literature in those days. It was still only a story telling and not a scripture. The stories about a war might have been in existence for a long time but it was not written down well into the Christian era and that in Sanskrit language, which we know, came into existence only after the second century AD. Social and Economic Aspects of the BHAGAVAD-GITA D.D. Kosambi - Mathematician, Historian, Marxist, Peace Activist This helps date the work as somewhere between 150-350 AD, nearer the later than the earlier date. The ideas are older, not original, except perhaps the novel use of bhakti. The language is high classical Sanskrit such as could not have been written much before the Guptas, though the metre still shows the occasional irregularity (G. 8. 10d, 8. 11 b, 15. 3a, &c) in tristubhs, characteristic of the M'bh as a whole. The Sanskrit of the high Gupta period, shortly after the time of the Gita, would have been more careful in versification. It is known in any case that the M'bh and the Puranas suffered a major revisions in the period given above. The M'bh in particular was in the hands of Brahmins belonging to the Bhrgu clan, who inflated it to about its present bulk (though the process of inflation continued afterwards) before the Gupta age came to flower. How much of these are true? So any attempt to a scripture truth out of it will eventually lead to fallacies. Here is the result of Dr. D.D. Kosambi’s research on the warriors on the battle field. 38 15. GITA Myth and Reality Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture by D. D. KOSAMBI First printed 1962 If a Mahabharata war had actually been fought on the scale reported, nearly five million fighting men killed each other in an 18-day battle between Delhi and Thanesar; about 130,000 chariots (with their horses), an equal number of elephants and thrice that many riding horses were deployed. This means at least as many camp-followers and attendants as fighters. A host of this size could not be supplied without a total population of 200 millions, which India did not attain till the British period, and could not have reached without plentiful and cheap iron and steel for ploughshares and farmers1 tools. Iron was certainly not available in any quantity to Indian peasants before the 6th century BC. The greatest army camp credibly reported was of 400,000 men under Candragupta Maurya, who commanded the surplus of the newly developed Gangetic basin. The terms patti, gulma etc., given as tactical units in the Mbh did net acquire that meaning till after the Mauryans. The heroes fought with bows and arrows from their chariots, as if the numerous cavalry did not exist; but cavalry—which appeared comparatively late in ancient Indian warfare—made the fighting chariots obsolete as was proved by Alexander in the Punjab. Evidently the exaggeration is obvious. However several attempts have been made to date the war using astronomical references and local touches within the story. It is no wonder that it gives varying dates. 1. The date of 3137 BC. is the traditional date. 2. The date of 2449 BC. This is based on a statement by Varahamihira in 505 AD in chapter 13 of the Brihat Samhita, where it is claimed that the commencement of the Saka era took place 2,526 years after the rule of the king Yudhisthira. If the Saka era meant here is the Salivahana era (78 AD), then the date follows. Some scholars have suggested that this Saka era refers to the one started by an earlier Saka king in Central Asia and that this date is not at variance with the Kali date of Aryabhata. 3. In the " Scientific dating of Mahabharata War" by Dr P V Vartak in Marathi taking into "All the twelve planets confirm their said positions on 16th October 5561 consideration of years B.C. along with two Amavasyas, two eclipses, Kshaya Paksha and a Comet. Thus, in all 18 mathematical positions fix the same date. Therefore, we have to accept this date of the Mahabharat War, if we want to be scientific. Please note that all the twelve planets will come in the same positions again only after 2229 crores of years.” Hence this is a unique date. 38 15. GITA 4. The Celestial Key to the Vedas: Discovering the Origins of the World's Oldest Civilization By B. G. Sidharth 1999 gives the date as around 1350 BC 4. The date of 1924 BC. is suggested based on Puranic genealogies that see a gap of 1000 years or so between the War and the rule of the Nandas (424 BC) we get the date of 1424 BC. 5. In MAHABHARATKA KALA-NIRNAYA: Dr. Mohan Gupta, Visva-Vidyalaya-Prakashan, Chowk, Varanasi-221001 determines the date as 1952 B.C which is confirmed by Puranic genealogies which count up to this date by taking the 1500 years interval between King Parikshit (Arjuna's grandson) and Mahapadmananda, plus 100 years of the rule of the Nandas, plus 322 years, the historical date of Chandra Gupta Maurya, all before the birth of Christ. 6. In Gopala Aiyer’s “The Date of the Mahabharata War” Indian Review Vol. II, January-December 1901 edited by G.A.Natesan. gives the date of the war as 1190 B.C. Sri Aurobindo was obviously fully convinced by Aiyer’s arguments, because he writes, “It is now known beyond reasonable doubt that the Mahabharata war was fought out in or about 1190 B.C.” 7. The date of around 1000 BC. is the date popularized by Western Indologists as being most “reasonable” based on archaeological data. There are a host of other dates given. We should expect such variations since there are several layers of literature overlapping well into the Christian era. Again how far we can rely on the astronomical data given as authoritative and not mythical is a real problem. The appearance of the Gita Upadesa – the teaching of Krishana – the divine song – in the middle of the war and its intent is certainly a problem. We can be certain that it was a very late interpolation by the Brahminic hierarchy for specific purposes. World Spiritual Traditions THE POEM Bhagavad Gita ("Song of Lord Krishna", "Song of God") is said to be the single most important religious text of Hinduism. It forms part of Book 6 of the Mahabharata ("Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty"), which is a very long poem composed between the 4th century BC and the 4th century AD. It is in the form of a dialogue. The Bhagavad Gita is of a later date than the major parts of the Mahabharata and was probably 38 15. GITA written in the 1st or 2nd century AD. It consists of 700 Sanskrit verses divided into 18 chapters. The hard core of the poem: As a result of going to war, a man called Arjuna gets confused, does as guru-dicatated, and ends up worn down and miserable - and so do his brothers. A whole caste is wiped out. That is how the great Mahabharata ends. Swamy Vivekananda asks:"First, was Bhagavat Gita part of Mahabharatham and was the author of Gita really Veda Vyasa?" (P 506 to 509 of Volume IV) “A great many people do not believe that he ever existed. Some believe that [the worship of Krishna grew out of] the old sun worship. There seem to have been several Krishnas; one was mentioned in the Upanishads, another was a king, another a general. All have lumped into one Krishna.”. CW, Vol.1: Krishna, p.438. Before Sankara Acharya mentions about Gita in 8th century A.D, the book Bhagavat Gita was not known anywhere. Some people believe that Sankaracharya was the real author of Bhagavat Gita and he simply inserted it in the Bharatham epic. The Bhagavad-Gita By Indrani Bandyopadhyay Upon reading the Mahabharata, one notices that its middle is out of kilter with its beginning and ending: that amongst the grand and richly detailed narrative of two families lies a text that hardly fits the epic's theme or style. This text is the Bhagavad-Gita. It is no great surprise that a warrior (in this case, Arjun) should should be struggling with the notion of death, truth, and duty as he goes to war: modern literature is well represented in its depictions of the misgivings of soldiers. But what is surprising is the vehemence with which war, death, and a soldier's duty are defended, and especially by Krishna, the chosen Lord of the peaceable Vaishnavites. The Bhagavad-Gita comes to us as a section of the Mahabharata, the epic and romantic tale of two armies and the great battle of Kurukshetra. Here the Gita sits, but not entirely comfortably. In the first volume of A History of India, Romila Thapar explains that "the Epics had originally been secular . . . [and were] revised by the Brahmans with a view to using them as religious literature; thus many interpolations were made, the most famous being the addition of the Bhagavad Gita to the Mahabharata" (pp. 133-4). She mentions that the Mahabharata itself "may have been the 38 15. GITA description of a local feud," but in its final form becomes "no longer the story of war, but has acquired a number of episodes (some of which are unrelated to the main story) and a variety of interpolations, many of which are important in themselves . . ."; and that both epics were "concerned with events which took place between c. 1000 and 700 BC, but as the versions which survive date from the first half of the first millennium AD they too can hardly be regarded as authentic sources for the study of the period to which they pertain" (pp. 32, 31). Judaism and the Gentile Faiths: Comparative Studies in Religion By Joseph P. Gita was interpolated into Mahabharata sometime during the first century C.E….As in the case of Judaism, the Gnostic sects and the mystery cults of the Greco-Roman world may well have been the channels….. Dr. Phulgenda Sinha places the interpolations as late as to around 8th century AD and ascribes it as a result of Christian and Islamic influence. According to Sinha, there was an original gita of 84 as found in the Bali version, verses written by Vyasa, which is consistent in basic theme with Kapila's Samkhya Darshan (700 BC) and Patanjali's Yoga sutra (400 BC). The Bhagavagita of the modern form is, in his angle, intentionally constructed by Brahmins in the period of 800 AD. It borrowed themes of monotheism, hell, heaven, sin and salvation themes from Christanity and Islam. The Gita As It Was: Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita by Phulgenda Sinha The corruption of the original Gita was due to the convergence of several conditions, both internal and external. Externally, three great religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--all believing in the concept of one Almighty God, were well established in the Middle East, with which India had extensive trade relationships through the port of Alexandria. By250 A.D., Indian merchants had established colonies in Alexandria, which provided a meeting ground for Indian scholars, who could exchange philosophical ideas with the preachers, teachers, and missionaries of the new faiths. Thus, some Indians, mostly from the South, had become acquainted with the doctrines of these organized religions centuries before the actual revision of the Gita took place. Second, it is claimed that the Syrian Christian Sect in Kerala was founded by Saint Thomas, who was martyred at Mylapore, a suburb of Madras, in 68 A.D. Further, by the middle of the fourth century, the persecuted Persian Christians had set up their colonies on the Malabar Coast. It is obvious that the philosophy of monotheism had made its entry into India, in some limited but concrete form, long before it was accepted and introduced through the Bhagavadgita in about 800 A.D. Among the external factors, the most conspicuous and dominating appears to be the Islamic invasions and their subsequent conquest of Sind (then the western part of India and now in 38 15. GITA Pakistan) during the early part of the eighth century. After the death of Muhammad ( 570-632) the Arabs,……. Reworking the original Gita to form the Bhagavadgita was not merely the modification of a book. It was a surreptitious plot to dismantle the whole intellectual edifice of Indian culture which had been built up over a thousand years. The changers not only stopped the tide of rationalism in Indian life but also seduced people into believing and accepting the false as genuine, alien as indigenous, religious as political, and mystical as rational. The consequences were deep, all-encompassing, and bewildering. India, indeed, was pushed into a 'dark age'. It has already been mentioned that when the original Gita was altered, the interpolators also made changes in many other works of that time to establish textual support in their favor. It was for this reason that the interpolations were made in the Rig Veda, the Epics, Samkhya Karika, and Yoga Sutra. It is obvious that there could have been numerous alterations in many other texts, still to be detected. It has also been pointed out that bands of proselytizers for the new Brahmanic faith were organized at four different centers (mathas) during the time of Shankaracharya. These teachers received increasing political protection and patronage. At the same time, the national opponents of the new faith were forced into silence. In such an atmosphere, the people had to accept the doctrines of the new faith even when they did not agree with them. This enforced obedience of the Indian people towards the newly coined doctrines and codes of behavior which, though beneficial to the Brahmans as a caste, were disastrous to India as a nation, as a political entity, and as a culture. The repercussions of these changes were so far-reaching that they can not be adequately discussed under any single category. I have, therefore, preferred to cover them under four different subheadings: (i) political submissiveness; (ii) philosophical distortions; (iii) mystification of Yoga; and (iv) religious and cultural effects. 38 15. GITA 38 15. GITA Quest for the Original Gita by Gajanan Shripat Khair (Vedam books) proposes that it was the work of three different authors of three different periods inculcating the concepts of those periods. The Brahminic interpolations effectively took over the monistic concepts of Christians and Islam and then interpolated a relative ethics which justifies the terrorist activities of the Brahmins to take control of the society. We shall now look at the Gita ethics as proposed by Krishna. Morality and Ethics according to Krishna satyameva jayate naanritam satyena pantha vitato devayanah yenaa kramantyarishayo hyaaptakaamaa yatra tat satyasya paramam nidhaanam Only truth prevails, not untruth; by the path of truth is laid out, the Divine way, on which the sages of yore, fulfilled in their desires, attain the supreme treasure of Truth. 38 15. GITA Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6 This is the motto of India as it appears in the seal of India just below the Asoka Lions. This verse is taken from Mundaka Upanishad and asserts the absolute existence of Truth. associated with God himself because God is Good. That is how we define Good. Truth is always Hence Mundaka Upanishad proclaims that Truth will be victorious always. If that is so there must be something which is immutable. Truth cannot be something which changes. This is the basic stand of the Upanishads. However when we come to Vaishnavite teaching we are confronted with a totally different stand point where the concept of an absolute truth is questioned reducing morality into a relative contextual affair. We will try to analyse the Bhagavat Gita as we have it today. due course it was accepted as part of the Mahabharata itself. The very question of the morality of killing his own cousins just to get the power and kingdom was the problem of Arjuna. There is no doubt that it is a later interpolation into the Mahabharata story by a Krishna cult devotee. As the cult gained prominence in “We are resolved to commit very sinful acts, ready to slay our kinsmen to satisfy our greed” Arjun “Alas, we are resolved to commit very sinful acts, ready to slay our kinsmen to satisfy our greed for the pleasure of a kingdom! unarmed and unresisting. It would be far better for me to let the sons of Dritharasthra kill me, Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on his chariot-seat. His mind was overcome with grief. (1:45-46) 38 15. GITA Arjuna said: "Krishna, how can I fight with arrows on the battlefield against men like Bishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship? It would be better for me to live in this world on alms rather than to slay these high-souled teachers. It I kill them, what wealth and pleasures I would enjoy, would be tainted with their blood. We do not know which would be better - conquering them or being conquered by them. Arrayed against us stand the sons of Dritarastr; after slaying them we should not wish to live. (2:4-6) To this eternal moral question the advise of Krishna was: "The wise men who reached true knowledge see with equal vision a brahman (priest), a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater One whose mind is free from egotism, whose intellect is pure, is not bound even though he slays many people, for he does not truly slay. Those who think that they can kill or those that think they can be killed are confused in the manifestations of ignorance. The infinite, immortal soul can neither kill nor be killed" (2,17-19). Thus to an enlightened one who has realized the oneness of the universe in Atman, there is no morality. Everything is moral. There is no killer nor killed. Morality depends only on motives and not on the action or its effect S. Dasgupta, Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, 1991, vol.2 The theory of the Gita that, if actions are performed with an unattached mind, then their defects cannot touch the performer, distinctly implies that the goodness or badness of an action does not depend upon external effects of the action, but upon the inner motive of action. If there is no motive of pleasure or self-gain, then the action performed cannot bind the performer; for it is only the bond of desires and self-love that really makes an action one's own and makes one reap its good or bad fruits. Morality from this point of view becomes wholly subjective, and the special feature of the Gita is that it tends to make all actions non-moral by cutting away the bonds that connect an action with its performer (Ibid, p. 507). The Gita combines together different conceptions of God without feeling the necessity of reconciling the oppositions or contradictions involved in them. It does not seem to be aware of the philosophical difficulty of combining the concept of God as unmanifested, differenceless entity with the notion of Him as the super-person Who incarnates Himself on earth in the human form and behaves in the human manner. It is not aware of the difficulty that, if all good and evil should have emanated from God, and if there be ultimately no moral responsibility, and if everything in the world should have the same place in God, there is no reason why God should trouble to incarnate Himself as man, when there is a disturbance of the Vedic dharma. If God is impartial to all, and if He is absolutely unperturbed, why should He favour the man who clings to Him, and why, for his sake, overrule the world-order of events and in his favour suspend the law of karma. (p533). 38 15. GITA “Morality depends only on motives and not on the action or its effect” Acting in this way, one brings his actions as sacrifices to Krishna and therefore they do not generate karmic seeds: “Consider all your acts as acts of devotion to me, whether eating, offering, giving away, performing austerities. Perform them as an offering to me. In this way you will be free from karma, you will be liberated and you will come to me” (9,27). Modern Godmen in India: A Sociological Appraisal By Uday Mehta, Akshayakumar Ramanlal Desai “They ascribe personality to the Supreme God but deny definite moral character to him. Consequently, the whole system becomes amoral. Then to bring in morality they have to assume an independent moral law – the law of Karma. But it results in various inconsistencies. We have noted in their teaching that God is supreme cheater as well. He is not always honest and reliable. He can take incarnation as Buddha to deceive people.” Buddha -God incarnate to deceive people 39 15. GITA Religious Doctrines in the Mahābhārata By Nicholas Sutton 6. The Ethics of the Bhagavad-gita In 2.31-37 and 3.9-16, he asserts the primacy of sva-dharma over Arjuna’s notion of morality. The views expressed by Arjuna in favour of non-violence cannot be sustained because he is a kstriya and therefore his dharma is to fight. (2.31-37). Warfare is a ritual act for a warrior, intimately connected with the execution of yajnas – yajnah karma-samudbhavah (3.14) – which nourish and sustain both the gods and the earth. Hence in terms of the previous discussion, Krsna in the opening chapters of the Gita rejects Arjuna’s moral view by stressing the ascetic and ritual ethics just as Vyasa does to Ydhisthira in the debate that follows the battle. It is for this reason that Edgerton asserts that morality is underplayed in the gita, a view confirmed by Dasgupta who states, “the Gita does not rise to the ideal of regarding all beings as friends or to that of universal compassion’ and “Gita does not rise to the dieal of regarding all beings as friends or to that of universal compassion.” And. “Gita has no programme of universal altruism, and is never a handbook of good works.” “Since killing is your duty, Kill.” That is what Krsna says. Apart from the teaching Krishna’s acts and advise, during the war that followed this same principle of Sva-dharma (your own dharma which in this case translates as personal interest) was shown in application. If it is advantages for you to lie, deceive or kill do that with soberness and without guilt. “the Gita does not rise to the ideal of regarding all beings as friends or to that of universal compassion” Look at the killing of Dronacharya Killing of Dronacharya According to the Mahabharatha, during the battle at Kurukshetra, (a war between the Pandavas and Kauravas) the warrior Acharya Drona was un-stoppable, until Krishna devises a plan. Krishna plots to trick Acharya Drona into believing that his son Aswatthama, has been killed. Krishna involves three of the five Pandava brothers(Yudishtra, Beemasena and Arjuna) to deceive Acharya Drona. This incident is described by the following quotation from the Mahabharata, translated by C Rajagopalachari. Chapter XC, page 381-382, the 44th edition, 2004 states: “ ‘O Arjuna’, said Krishna , ‘there is none that can defeat this Drona, fighting according to the strict rules of war. We cannot cope with him unless dharma is discarded. We have no other way open. There is one thing that will desist him from fighting. If he hears Aswatthama is dead ….’ Arjuna shrank in horror at the proposal as he could not bring himself to tell a lie. Those who were 39 15. GITA nearby also rejected the idea … Yudhistra stood for a while reflecting deeply. ‘I shall bear the burden of this sin’, he said to resolve the deadlock. ‘I have killed Aswatthama’, Bhemasena uttered these words, greatly ashamed. “the elephant” in mumble # To kill Bhisma, Sikhandin was used as a living shield against whom that perfect knight would not raise a weapon, because of doubtful sex. # Drona was polished off while stunned by the deliberate false report of his son's death. # Karna was shot down against all rules of chivalry when dismounted and unarmed; # Duryodhana was bludgeoned to death after a foul mace blow that shattered his thigh. This is by no means the complete list of iniquities. D.D. Kosambi How Bhishma was killed. 39 15. GITA Krishna using Chakra against Bhishma. It was Arjuna who stopped him reminding him of his oath. Krishna adivises Arjun to keep Sikhandi the eunuch in front and then shoot down Bhishma as Bhishmacharya refused to fight with one who is neither a man nor a woman 39 15. GITA Krishna told Arjuna: "Do it! You will not incur any sin. I shall protect you." It was not "moral" to kill Dronacharya, Bhishma and all the other great and pious heroes fighting for the Kauravas, but Arjuna surrendered to Krishna, his guru. He thus surpassed the mundane principles of morality, which involve following rules and regulations to keep peace and order in human society. B. B. Bodhayan President of Sri Gopinath Gaudiya Math “Good and evil of this world of duality are unreal, are spoken of by words, and exist only in the mind.” Bhagavatam, XI, ch XXII Five occasions when you should tell lie Vasishtha's Smriti Finding Yudhisthira unwilling to tell a lie, Krishna overcame his reluctance by a long exhortation, in the course of which he announced his ethics of untruth in the following edifying text from Vasishtha's Smriti. "In marriage, in amorous dealings, when one's life is in danger, when the whole of one's possession is going to be lost, and when a Brahman's interest is at stake, untruth should be told. 39 15. GITA The wise have said that speaking untruth on these five occasions is not a sin." Krishna thus declares the dharma that is to be followed in Kaliyuga by cutting off the third leg of dharma. He inaugurated Kaliyuga with his death. Now on dharma was to stand on One leg. Buddha and Mahavira were fighting against this decay. They insisted on Ahimsa and Righteousness. Jesus taught that even if you are to lay down your life, stand for what is right. 39 15. GITA Vasishtha Smriti 39 15. GITA Bhagavatha Purana, Sage Sukracharya (He was the divine teacher to all the Dasyas or Devils) also clarified it as: While dealing the women and at fixing the weddings To save the life and wield off inevitable dishonor For saving others from fear and protecting cows and Brahmins You can utter a lie and itself is not a sin at the crucial hour 39 15. GITA Babasaheb Ambedkar in his Riddle of Hinduism gives four such occasions Riddle In Hinduism By Dr. Babasaheb B.R.Ambedkar Actions of Krishna during the Mahabharata War may now be reviewed. The following are some of them: 1. When Satyaki, Krishna's friend, was hard pressed by Bhurisrava, son of Somadatta, Krishna induced Arjuna to cut off his arms, and thereby made it easy for Satyaki to kill him. 2. When Abhimanyu was unfairly surrounded and killed by seven Kaurava warriors, Arjuna vowed the death of the ring leader, Jayadratha, next day before sunset, or, failing that his own death by entering into fire. When the Sun was about to set, and Jayadratha remained unslain, Krishna miraculously hid the Sun, on which Jayadratha, having come out Krishna uncovered the Sun, and Arjuna killed Jayadratha when he was unaware. 3. Despairing of Drona being ever killed by fair means Krishna advised the Pandavas to kill him unfairly. If he could he made to cast down his arms, he could, Krishna said, be killed easily. This could be done if he was told that his son, Asvathama was dead. Bhima tried the suggested device He killed an elephant named after Drona's son and told him that Asvathama was killed. The warrior was somewhat depressed by the news, but did not quite believe it. At this juncture he was hard pressed by a number of sages to cease fighting and prepare himself for heaven with meditations worthy of a Brahmana. This checked the hero still more and he applied to the truthful Yudhisthira for correct information about his son. Finding Yudhisthira unwilling to tell a lie, Krishna overcame his reluctance by a long exhortation, in the course of which he announced his ethics of untruth in the following edifying text from Vasishtha's Smriti. " In marriage, in amorous dealings, when one's life is in danger, when the whole of one's possession is going to be lost, and when a Brahman's interest is at stake, untruth should be told. The wise have said that speaking untruth on these five occasions is not a sin." Yudhisthir's scruples were stifled, and he said to his preceptor, " Yes, Asvathama is killed " adding in a low voice, " that is, an elephant " which last words, however were not heard by Dron. His depression was complete, and on hearing some bitterly reproachful words from Bhima, he gave up his arms, and while sitting in a meditative posture, was killed by Dhristhadyumna. 39 15. GITA 4. When Bhima was unsuccessfully fighting with Duryodhana by the side of the Dvaipayana Lake Krishna reminded him through Arjuna that he had vowed the breaking of his opponent's thighs. Now striking a rival below the navel was unfair, but as Duryodhana could not be killed except by such an unfair means, Krishna advised Bhima to adopt the same and Bhima did." The death of Krishna throws a flood of light on his morals. Ethics in Mahabharatha April 14, 2006 by Prabu Karthik. We can also say the same about the killing of Karna and Duryodhana. It was not exactly ethical to attack someone who is busy lifting his chariot which gets stuck in the mud. Similarly, Bheema had no business to smash Duryodhana’s thighs as part of accepted Kadha war practices. Krishna subtly prompts him to do that citing Bheema’s oath when Panchali was humiliated. So I think Vyasa wants to imply subtly that when you enter a war, a few ethical blemishes here and there are inevitable. But maybe it’s just me. Each person can interpret it in his own way. But the fact remains that the practices of Pandavas to win the war was anything but ethical. 39 15. GITA The following are from Indo link story of Mahabharata: “It was the day when Karna was in command of the Kaurava army. He decided to have his final battle with Arjuna that day. Arjuna was also ready for him. The armies of the Kaurava and Pandava were skeptical of the outcome as both were equally powerful. When Karna proceeded towards Arjuna on the battlefield, Yudhishthira came in between and Karna cut his weapons in pieces. He spared Yudhishthira’s life as he had promised to Kunti. Karna soon stood face to face with Arjuna. Suddenly Karna’s charioteer was killed and one of the chariot’s wheels broke down. Karna requested Arjuna to stop fighting while his wheel was fixed. Karna was unarmed and it was unethical for Arjuna to attack Karna in that situation. But Krishna spoke otherwise, “Karna, this war itself is unethical. It will be foolish of Arjuna not to take this opportunity to kill you.” Krishna encouraged Arjuna to kill Karna instantly. Thus Karna was killed mercilessly in the hands of his brother Arjuna. “The Pandavas were worried. At the rate that they were loosing soldiers, they would not be able to hold out too long against Bheeshma. Bheeshma was blessed with the power to choose his time of death. So, he was practically invincible. When the Pandavas were about to give up, Krishna came up with a plan. Krishna knew that Bheeshma would not fight the eunuch, Srikhandi. To Bheeshma, a noble warrior like him would consider it a disgrace to fight with a eunuch. At one point he had even proudly promised to drop his arms if such a situation ever arose. Krishna knew Bheeshma’s weakness and wanted to take advantage of this. So he asked Arjuna to keep Shrikhandi, a eunuch, in front of the chariot while fighting with Bheeshma. This would stop Bheeshma, and Arjuna could take this opportunity to immobilize him with a volley of arrows. The plan worked and Bheeshma fell down on a bed of arrows. That was the tenth day of war. The fighting stopped so that all could pay respects to a hero of all times.” 40 15. GITA Here is a portion from a blog (names are witheld) Here is the justification for Krishna as given by a blogger: “:) If Tsunami could happen and kill thousands of people... God is there, and yet if this happened, i do not see much of a contradiction in Krishna playing a role in getting the forces that support Duryodhana killed.. :) To Krishna its just a play and he is beyond the play! The role of a charmer and the role of a politician. Krishna played both the roles. Krishna does not cheat. He says, if this is the rule of the game, ill use the rule effectively. He says in the Gita very clearly that even before Arjuna killed them they are dead! Death and Birth are the laws of nature” The original questioner of the Blog is concerned as follows: “And so against all rules of accepted chivalry, it is all right to chop off Dronacharya's head after stunning him with false news of his son's death? It is all right to kill Bhisma after shooting from behind a person of questionable sex who Bhisma, being a preux chevalier, would not attack? It is all right to kill Karna in a completely wicked and treacherous manner? It is ok to advise Bhima to aim his mace (gada) at Duryodhana's thigh, thereby shattering it, against the existing rule of battle? 40 15. GITA Are these really righteous and unquestionable actions? And this person, who repeatedly gives crooked advice, is the one we must turn to for learning about ethics and ethical conduct?” Everything thus becomes sacred as long as it is dedicated to God – a perfect theology for terrorism based on religion. That is exactly what the demoralized Brahminism wanted, to get back into power in the 6th century and it goes on even today. Most Vaishnavites who entered the western civilization of modern day taught exactly the same in direct worlds. The Vedic teaching, like that of other religious traditions, is that God determines what’s right or wrong. His absolute word sets the standards for morality. Without God in the picture, invented morality has no ultimate value. 40 15. GITA Rajaneesh - Osho Rajaneesh - There is no absolute good or evil Rajneesh teaches that "to emphasize morality is mean, degrading; it is inhuman" and that literally "everything is holy; nothing is unholy." Here we see that one of the purposes of the Eastern monistic path is to get the disciple to understand that, after "enlightenment" everything he does is "holy," whether good or evil. Because nothing is truly evil, Rajneesh even acknowledges murder as a potentially meditative act (i.e., something "good" or "holy")—assuming, of course, it is done in "higher" consciousness. In commenting upon the lesson of the Bhagavad Gita (a Hindu scripture) he says: "Even if you kill someone consciously, while fully conscious [i.e., "enlightened"], it is meditative.... Kill, murder, fully conscious, knowing fully that no one is murdered and no one killed.... Just become the instrument of Divine hands and know well that no one is killed, no one can be killed." No one can be killed in this philosophy because no one really exists to be killed. All duality (e.g., people) is illusion and only the impersonal, undifferentiated God is real. In a letter to the editor, 40 15. GITA even Charles Manson once said, "I’ve killed no one." Given the influence of monism upon him, this attitude is not surprising Srila Prabhupada This also becomes evident from the contention of Prabhupada that “In transcendence notoriousness has the same absolute connotation as eminence”. It is not surprising therefore to know tha ISKON holds that “The yogi should be able when the occasion arises, to reject even moral behaviours and do what is necessary to serve Krishna.” A devotee, in other words, can commit any evil because no action done for Krishna has any bad reaction. In ISKON’s version, Krishna himself says, “Anyone whose full consciousness is always absorbed in me, even in lust, is elevated.” This in turn implies that not only is Krishna independent of the law of Karma, but that anybody who is in Krishna Consciousless can afford to be immoral. As pointed out by Mangalwadi, “In theory this does not sound alarming, but it does whenPrabhupada’s followers began to practice these teachings. In December 1975, an Americal devotee on a British passport was arrested for trying to smuggle 17 watches, 82 calculators, two cassette players 803 pounds and $100 in a scarf trunk. Even after being imprisoned for two months and disowned by the Hare Krishna Movement in India, he believed he had not done anything wrong because he wanted to smuggle this money to buy cars and settle in Inda as a preacher of Krishna Consciousness.” 40 15. GITA On a morning walk in Raman Reti one day with a group of disciples, Bhaktivedanta said: “Just like the Muslims converted people with a sword in one hand and the Koran in the other, we can approach people with the Bhagavad Gita in one hand and a gun in the other. ‘Do you accept Krishna?’ ‘No.’ Pow! Not now, but later when we are more powerful.” Remember, the principle was that we could do anything for Krishna. The end justified the means. This resulted in fraud and con tactics, drug dealing, murder and prostitution being used by some devotees. Now some argue whether Bhaktivedanta was aware of these things going on or not. He certainly was pleased with the devotees who brought money and wasn't concerned with how they got it. The biggest wheeler dealers became the biggest ISKCON leaders. It is even sadder to hear people rationalize this incident with the story of the four mystics who plunderred people in South India to construct the Sri Ranganath Mandir in South India. I hear people say, "Prabhupada purified that money." We have shown that the ethics of Vaishanav sect is essentially swadharma and not dharma. It is based on what is convenient and does not respect any eternal principles. We wont be able to find a single situation when we are required to be truthful and righteous as long as the situation demands something personal. Such an ethics is pragmatic and is used even today in war. But such a moral code in daily living is self defeating and will eventually destroy the society. This is exactly what was illustrated in the remaining history of Krishna’s reign on earth. KRISHNA AND DWARAKA CONSEQUENCES OF GITA PHILOSOPHY Riddle In Hinduism By Dr. Babasaheb B.R.Ambedkar 40 15. GITA Krishna's youthful career was full or illicit intimacy with the young women of Brindaben which is called his Rasalila. Rasa is a sort of circular dance in which the hands of the dancers, men and women, are joined together. It is said to be still prevalent among some of the wild tribes of this country. Krishna, it is stated, was in the habit of often enjoying this dance with the young Gopis of Brindaben, who loved him passionately. One of these dances is described in the Vishnu Purana, the Harivamsa and the Bhagavata. All these authorities interpret the Gopi's love for Krishna as piety—love to God, and see nothing wrong in their amorous dealings with him— dealings which, in the case of any other person, would be highly reprehensible according to their own admission. All agree as to the general character of the affair—the scene, the time and season, the drawing of the women with sweet music, the dance, the amorous feelings of the women for Krishna, and their expression in various ways. But while the Vishnu Purana tries— not always successfully—to keep within the limits of decency, the Harivamsa begins to be plainly indecent, and the Bhagavata throws away all reserve and revels in indecency. Of all his indecencies the worst is his illicit life with one Gopi by name Radha. Krishna's illicit relations with Radha are portrayed in the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Krishna is married to Rukmani the daughter of King Rukmangad. Radha was married to..... Krishna who abandons his lawfully wedded wife Rukmini and seduces Radha wife of another man and lives with her in sin without remorse. Having started with the rasleela with gopis of vrindavan, it was taken up by the sex tantric cult which took Krishna cult to another level. Radah probably was an interpolation of the Tantric cult. The Padma Purana describes 18,000 cowherd-girls (gopis) among whom it says 108 are the most important. Among those 108, eight are considered more important still, and among the eight, two have a special position - Chandravali and Radharani. Of the two, Radha is considered the foremost. 40 15. GITA “If you want to empower your spiritual evolution, you can be helped by the sensual software of TantraWorks, which was inspired by traditional Tantra, the only spiritual discipline which utilizes sexuality in a creative and transcendental way TantraWorks is for open-minded sensual beings irrespective of race, gender or faith.” Tantra is probably a Gnostic introduction to India as a science even though it existed in all societies. Gnostic Christianity talks about the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene as it became popular these days through the Da Vinci Code. The Mandaean texts speak of Manichean sexual mysteries: “Then I explained to you, my disciples, that there is yet another Gate (sect) that derives from Msiha (Messiah). They are called “Zandiqi” (saints)and ‘Mar dMani” (of Lord Mani). They sow seeds in concealment” –Ginza (right) 9:1 It is therefore quite possible that Manichaen Gnostics introduced this art in India. Since they influenced Buddhism we see this more among the Buddhsit art. It was somewhere between the 1st and 6th centuries that the Kama Sutra, originally known as Vatsyayana Kamasutram ('Vatsyayana's Aphorisms on Love'), was written. developing period of Hinduism. Even in the gnostic tradition there were two parallel traditions; one ascetic and the other sensual. This is surprisingly paralleled in Hinduism too. So it fall within the 40 15. GITA Tantric sexual behavior among monastics is consistent with Bon and Nyingma traditions from Tibet and is not out of harmony with their strong spiritual focus and higher monastic morals. Whether or not Manichaean monastics practiced some sort of higher tantric sexuality cannot be absolutely proven from the present historical record although circumstantial evidence seems to imply they did. If they did practice some sort of limited intimacy among themselves, such intimacies would have been carried out for purely altruistic spiritual purposes and not some sordid release of lower desire. The Manichaeans monks were not hypocrites, nor were her nuns given over to licentious abandonment. What ever the secret practices of this ancient brother sisterhood, they were in full accord with the advanced ethical teachings of their founder Mar Mani and in full accord with the secret teachings and practices of Yeshu (Jesus) and Miryai (Magdalene) and other great Nazorean Apostles of that Good Realm. Compiled by Abba Yesai Nasrai, O:N:E: David Gordon White, while cautioning against attempting a rigorous definition of what is a protean practice, offers the following working definition: "Tantra is that Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Godhead that creates and maintains that universe, seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosm, in creative and emancipatory ways" When enacted as enjoined by the tantras the ritual sex culminates in a sublime experience of infinite awareness, by both participants. The Tantric texts specify that sex has three distinct and separate purposes — procreation, pleasure and liberation. Those seeking liberation eschew frictional orgasm for a higher form of ecstasy, as the couple participating in the ritual, lock in a static embrace. Several sexual rituals are recommended and practised. This eventually culminates in samadhi 40 15. GITA wherein the respective individualities of each of the participants are completely dissolved in the unity of cosmic consciousness. Modern Godmen in India: A Sociological Appraisal By Uday Mehta, Akshayakumar Ramanlal Desai It is widely known among the scholars that Radha does not figure in the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavat Gita, Hari Vamsa, Vishnu Purana or even the Bhagavad Purana – the movement’s main scripture; Radha, for whom Krishna is presumed to have such intense love, does not figure in Hindu religious literature till about the 10th century A.D. Alternative Krishnas: Regional And Vernacular Variations On A Hindu Deity Guy L Beck While there is a brief mention of Radha in the Padma Purana, and even a long discussion of her in the Brahmnavaivarta Purana, the antiquiry and authenticity of these texts is highly contested. The Brahmavaivarta Purana, a “Tantric” Purana probably dating from the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries CE, “attempted a thoroughgoing synthesis of Krishaite and Sakta ideas, fitting Radha into 40 15. GITA the outlines of Hindu feminine theology sa as to accommodate important devotional-theological movements in North India during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries”. On the other hand , “this same synthetic impetus led to an emphasis on Radha’s maternal role that was largely peculiar to the Brahmavaivarta and was not acknowledged for the most part by the later Radha cults. To be sure, various notions of Radha in the Brahmavaivrata came to be widely accepted. Such as the identification of Radha and Krishna with prakriti and purusa. And such sects as the Radhavallabhis, who worship Radha above Krishna, may be especially indebted to the Brahmavaivrata” However this text does not really describe Radha as a soverign deity……. .The religious writings of Bengali vaishnava were deeply imbued in Tantric thought and practice, wherein Radha becomes theologized Aadysakthi (hladini sakthi), the cosmic energy, the primeval mother of the world, a metamorphoses of the great goddess Durga, whom Krishna once known as his sister, Subhadra, Yagamaya. In the pious veneration of Radha …..these new groups preferred to distance themselves from Sakta and Tantric traditions that were receiving social disapproval for unsavory and unorthodox practices… …wake of twelfth century Sanskrit text, Gitagovinda by Jayadeva in Bengal………Radha-Krishna became popular ……. Radha as the Primary Sakthi of Universe Radha is the principal paramour of Krishna in the Srimad Bhagavatam, and the Gita Govinda of the Hindu religion. In many Vaishnava traditions of Hinduism, Radha is regarded as a primary deity, often worshipped to as an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. Radha is almost always depicted alongside Krishna and features prominently within the theology of today's Gaudiya Vaishnava religion, which regards Radha as the original Goddess or Shakti. Radha's relationship with Krishna is given in further detail within texts such as the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Garga Samhita and Brihad Gautamiya tantra. Radha is also the principal object of worship in the Nimbarka Sampradaya, as Nimbarka, the founder of the tradition, declared that Radha and Krishna together constitute the absolute truth. 41 15. GITA For some of the adherents of these traditions, her importance approaches or even exceeds that of Krishna. She is considered to be his original shakti, the supreme goddess in both the Nimbarka Sampradaya and following the advent of Chaitanya also within the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows: "The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord." Nimbarka (13th C) was the first Vaishnava acharya to disseminate teachings about Radha Within the Bhagavata Purana, Radha is not mentioned by name but is alluded to within the tenth chapter of the text as one of the gopis who Krishna plays with during his upbringing as a young boy. It is in later texts such as the Gita Govinda where we find the story of Radha given in more detail. Vaishnava tradition states that Radha was born in either Varshana, or Rawal, a village about 8 kilometers from Vrindavan, near present day New Delhi in India. There are a number of accounts of her parentage. According to one of the common ones, her father is the leader (sometimes regarded as king) of cowherds called Vrishabhanu, and her mother is called Kamalavati, or Kirtida. Sri Sri Camatkara Candrika by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives the name of Radha’s husband as Abhimnyu the son of Jatila. Other traditions gives the names as Chandrasena and Ayana. They may all be refering to the same person. Harivamsa states that she was older than Krishna by 19 years. They were together in Vrindavan when Krishna was in his teens. 411 15. GITA The Kingdom of Krishna Sri Krishna killed his uncle Kamsa and crowned Ugrasena, his grandfather as the king of Mathura. Kamsa's father-in law, Jarasandha, the king of Magadh pestered Mathura with random attackes that Krishna and the Yadavas were forced to move out of Mathura. They moved to the Island of Dwaraka in order to build their kingdom of Krishna. When they arrived at the coast of Saurashtra they invoked Visvakarma, to build them a city. Visvakarma is the architect of gods. Visvakarma would take up the assignment only if Samudradeva, the lord of the sea, provided the land protected by him. So Krishna worshipped Samudradeva, who granted him a land measuring 12 yojanas. It is located in the Jamnagar District of Gujarat. It is on the mouth of the Gomti River into Gulf of Kutch. The city lies in the westernmost part of India. On this island Visvakarma built a the city of Krishna with gold and he called it Dwaraka meaning Entrance into the Heaven. 41 15. GITA Thus by all expectations this Kingdom is the ideal Vaishnava Kingdom of God and its development and its final doom will give us some insight into the Kingdom of God as envisaged by the Vaishnavites. Here is the summary as given by Dr. Ambedkar. The Kingdom of Krishna Krishna died as the Ruler of Dwaraka. What was this Dwaraka like and what sort of death awaited him? In founding his city of Dwaraka he had taken care to settle thousands of ' unfortunates ' there. As the Harivamsa said: ' O, hero having conquered the abodes of the Daityas (giants) with the help of brave Yadus, the Lord settled thousands of public women in Dwaraka ". Dancing, singing and drinking by men and women married and prostitutes filled the city of Dwaraka. We get a description of a seatrip in which these women formed a principal source of enjoyment. Excited by their singing and dancing, the brothers Krishna and Balarama joined in the dancing with their wives. They were followed by the other Yadava chiefs and by Arjuna and Narada. Then a fresh excitement was sought. Men and women all fell into the sea and at Krishna's suggestion, the gentlemen began a jalakrida (water sport), with the ladies, Krishna leading one party, and Balarama another, while the courtesans added to the amusement by their music. This was followed by eating and drinking and this again by a special musical performance in which the leaders themselves exhibited their respective skill in handling various musical instruments. 41 15. GITA It will thus be seen what a jolly people these Yadavas were, and with what contempt they would have treated the objections urged nowadays by the Brahmans and such other purists against notch parties and the native theatres. It was in one of these revels—a drunken revel—that the Yadavas were destroyed. They, it is said, had incurred the displeasure of a number of sages by a childish trick played on the latter by some of their boys. These boys disguised Samba, one of Krishna's sons, as a woman with child, tying an iron pestle below his navel, and asked the sages to say what child the 'woman' would give birth to. The enraged sage said 'she' would produce an iron pestle which would be the ruin of the Yadavas. Fearing the worst consequences from this curse, the boys took the pestle to the sea-side and rubbed it away. But its particles came out in the form of erakas, a kind of reeds and its last remaining bit, which had been thrown into the sea, was afterwards recovered and used by a hunter as the point of an arrow; Now it was with these erakas that the Yadavas killed themselves. Apparently this gives us another insight into the origins of the Krishna cult probably from the Bacchus cult of the Greek. The position of Dwaraka and the descriptions fit the Bacchus orgies of the Greek and the Romans. Megasthenes: Indika I FRAGM. I.B. Diod. III. 63. Concerning Dionusos. Now some, as I have already said, supposing that there were three individuals of this name, who lived in different ages, assign to each appropriate achievements. They say, then, that the most ancient of them was Indos, and that as the country, with its genial temperature, produced spontaneously the vine-tree in great abundance, he was the first who crushed grapes and discovered the use of the properties of wine. In like manner he ascertained what culture was requisite for figs and other fruit trees, and transmitted this knowledge to after-times; and, in a word, it was he who found out how these fruits should be gathered in, whence also he was called Lenaios. This same Dionusos, however, they call also Katapogon, since it is a custom among the Indians to nourish their beards with great care to the very end of their life. Dionusos then, at the head of an army, marched to every part of the world, and taught mankind the planting of the vine, and how to crush grapes in the winepress, whence he was called Lenaios. Having in like manner imparted to all a knowledge of his other inventions, he obtained after his departure from among men immortal honour from those who had benefited by his labours. It is further said that the place is pointed out in India even to this day where the god had been, and that cities are called by his 41 15. GITA name in the vernacular dialects, and that many other important evidences still exist of his having been born in India, about which it would be tedious to write. Omens appeared in Dwaraka, Day by day strong winds blew. Earthen pots showed cracks or broke from no apparent cause. Society became corrupt. The day of the new moon coincided with the thirteenth and the fourteenth lunation. The fourteenth lunation has been made the fifteenth by Rahu once more. Such a day had happened at the time of the great battle of the Kurukshetra War. It has once more appeared after 36 years. The messengers proclaimed at the command of Vasudeva Krishna that the Vrishnis should make a journey to the seacoast for bathing in the sacred waters of the ocean. (16,2) 41 15. GITA La jeunesse de Bacchus (The Youth of Bacchus) William Bouguereau 1884. The Yadavas, then, with their wives, proceeded to Prabhasa and took up their residence there, each in the (temporary) habitation that was assigned to him, and all having an abundance of provisions consisting of edibles and drink. The Vrishnis, mixing with wine the food that had been cooked for highsouled Brahmanas, gave it away unto monkeys and apes. Those heroes of fierce energy then began their high revels, of which drinking formed the chief feature, at Prabhasa. Then a dispute arose between Satyaki and Kritavarman on the wrongs they did in the Kurukshetra War. This dispute turned into a great massacre, in which all the Yadava heroes were slain. (16,3) 41 15. GITA Balarama sat down downhearted at the sad end of all the great Yadavas. His spirit came out of his body in the form of a large serpent i.e., Sesha Naga, the divine snake whose incarnation he was supposed to be. Krishna found himself isolated with the consequence of all his immoral theology and isolated and dejected. He send for his friend Arjuna to take charge of the land left behind by him, who would take charge of them. As he was sitting under a tree, hidden by its leafy and outstretching branches, and composed his mind in meditation, a hunter named Jara mistook him for a deer and hit him with an arrow, one pointed with the last remaining bit of the fatal pestle. Krishna died there. What is the end of Krsna? The death of a hero, brought down in a duel of epic dimensions by an opponent of mighty prowess? Hardly, Leaving a Dvaraka filled with wailing widows and children, having seen his elder brother Balarama die, he lies down under a tree and dies of the injury caused by an arrow shot into his foot by a ere tribal hunter, a nisada, not even a warrior out on a hunt. Arjuna arrived at Dwaraka and addressed the chief officers, to prepare to leave Dwaraka within 7 days, as Dwaraka is going to sink in the ocean. Krishna's grandson Vajra was chosen as their king to be ruled at Indraprastha. Arjuna then proceeded to the place where the Vrishnis were slaughtered. Searching out the bodies then of Bala Rama and Vasudeva Krishna, Arjuna caused them to be burnt by persons skilled in that act. On the seventh day, Arjuna evacuated Dwaraka Island. After all the people had set out, the ocean flooded Dvaraka, which still teemed with wealth of every kind, with its waters. Whatever portion of the ground was passed over, ocean immediately flooded over with his waters. Beholding this wonderful sight, the inhabitants of Dvaraka walked faster and faster. (16,7) In Mahabharata, there is a specific account about the submerging of Dwaraka by the sea, which reads thus: “The sea, which had been beating against the shores, suddenly broke the boundary that was imposed on it by nature. The sea rushed into the city. It coursed through the streets of the beautiful city. The sea covered up everything in the city. Even as they were all looking, Arjuna saw the beautiful buildings becoming submerged one by one. Arjuna took a last look at the mansion of Krishna. It was soon covered by the sea. In a matter of a few moments it was all over. The sea had now become as placid as a lake. There was no trace of the beautiful city which had been the favourite haunt of all the Pandavas. Dwaraka was just a name; just a memory.” Arjuna took the surviving Yadavas men and women to Hastinapur. A number of Ahiras, armed only 41 15. GITA with lathis, attacked his party. But Arjuna lost the power of his mighty arm and his unrivalled skill as an archer which killed his teachers and brothers in Kurushetra and could not defend Yadavas who were left in his care by Krishna. Ahiras carried off many of the men,women, and children as slaves. He reached Hastinapur only with a small remnant. Tsunami swallowing the island Dwaraka - A LOST CITY RECOVERED – Dwaraka was a western Indian city submerged by the sea right after the death of Sri Krishna. … But in the early eighties an important archaeological site was found at the site of the legendary city of Lord Krishna. Dwaraka is mentioned as Golden City in Mahabharata, Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana and Harivamsha. 41 15. GITA Dwaraka That was the sad end of the Playboy town of Dwaraka which Krishna conceived as the City of God with his theology of Gita. If it gives any lesson we seem to have missed it and we are still teaching the Gita as the greatest ideal of mankind. Incidentaly according to the Yuga theory, the death of Krishna inaugurated the Kali Yuga and the dharma left for us in this Yuga is the Gita dharma. The purpose of avatar according to Gita is to regain dharma where dharma has declined. Now that Krishna came as an Avatar to put it right, the dharma of the Yuga is Svadharma which is the god given dharma of this Kali Yuga. It is probably meant by 41 15. GITA the Supreme Personality to lead the present world to its end and to its destruction. That is the leela of the th Supreme Personality. He used the same technique in his Buddha Avatar. “Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga [he] will become the Buddha by name, the son of Anjana, in Bihar, for the purpose of confusing those who were enemies of the devas” srimad-bhagavatam 1.3.24 As the purpose of Buddha Avatar was to delude the masses into error, was the purpose of Krishna Avatar also the same? After all in the Sri Dasavatara-stotra and Upaaya from the Gita-govinda, Jayadeva Gosvami substitutes Buddha in place of Krishna as the ninth avatar just before the final Kalki avatar. Krishna’s death inaugurated the Kalki Yuga for which Gita is the Dharma. Was Krishna cutting out the one of the two legs of the Holy Cow of Dharma to make it stand on one leg? Are we misled by Krishna? 42 15. GITA 42 16. KALKI CHAPTER 16 KALKI AVATAR Kalki (Kalkin and Kalaki) is the tenth of the final future Maha Avatara of Vishnu, who will come at the end the Kali Yuga in which we are now in. The name probably is derived from the word Kalka which means "dirt", "filth" or "foulness. Kalki therefore means the "Destroyer of Evil", (kalkavinasana) the destroyer of Kalka” 42 16. KALKI There are no references to Kalki in any of the Vedas. They are found only in the Epics and in a few of the late Puranas such as the Bhagavata, the Visnu Puranas and Agni Purana. Agni Purana is specifically interesting in that it is also the earliest work where Gautama Buddha is declared as an avatar of Vishnu. It is therefore legitimate to assume that the idea of avatar came into prominence around that period, extending its meaning. The earliest mentions of Kalki is in the Vishnu Purana, which is dated generally to be after the Gupta Empire around the 7th Century A.D. Since Vishnu Purana describes the triumph of the Brahmanical religion over Buddhism and Jainism it is usually placed by the scholars during the period between the seventh and the twelveth centuries when these religious traditions were on the decline and Brahminical power were again on the increase. Generally we could surmise that Kalki Avatar concept came in by around the 7th century which historically places it after the coming of Christianity in the first century and also soon after the coming of Islam in the 6th century in India. The Buddhist Kalachakra Tantra The seed of Kalki avatar is found also in the Buddhist Kalachakra Tantra tradition. In this 25 rulers of the legendary Shambhala Kingdom have the title of Kalki, Kulika or Kali-king. Though it may have been an old oral tradition, the Kalachakra Tantra text made its first appearance only during the 10th century. So we cannot really place the origin of Kalki from the Buddhist tradition. It may very well be that both Buddist and Hindu tradition borrowed it from the Islamic tradition and mixed it with the Christian tradition. HISTORY AS DESCRIBED IN THE KALACHAKRA TRADITION Several of the prophecies in the Kalachakra tradition are already in the past, for example, king Manjushrikirti (living in the second century BCE) predicted the coming of the "barbarian Dharma" after 800 years (about 600 CE). The prophecy further says that during the reign of the 21st. king, Aniruddha (1927-2027), Buddhism and the Kalachakra will have nearly come to an end in Tibet, Mongolia, China and much of Asia. This could certainly be said to be accurate! For example, after the Chinese invasion in Tibet in 1959 and the destruction of nearly all monasteries afterwards, the master Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche was the only remaining Tibetan master holding a specific lineage of the Vimalaprabha (the 'Stainless Light' commentary); which is one of the only two main Kalachakra texts. This trend of degeneration is said to continue until the incarnation of Manjushri (and of the Panchen Lama), Raudra Chakrin, comes to the throne in 2327 (or 2424 [5]). 42 16. KALKI Raudra Chakrin "The cakravartin shall come out at the end of the age, from the city the gods fashioned on mount Kailasha. He shall smite the barbarians in battle with his own four-division army, on the entire surface of the earth. ... Raudra Kalki shall smite Krinmati .... then they shall go to the city the gods fashioned on Mount Kailasha where Cakri lives. At that time, all the families of men on the earth shall be fulfilled with dharma, pleasure and wealth. Grain shall grow in the wild and the trees shall bow with fruit - these things will occur. " In this way, a golden age throughout the world at the end of the current 'Time of Strife' will be established. The Islamic Kalki concept is found within the Hadiths of Islam Mahdi Arabic: 'al-mahdīy Saviour figure in Islam, for which there are several different interpretations in Sunni Islam, and one dominant interpretation in Shi'i Islam. In Sunni Islam, the "Mahdi" is just one of several important figures, while the "Mahdi" of Shi'i Islam has a real eschatological importance, and is in the future the most important figure for Islam as well as the world The Arabic term "mahdi" is best translated with "divinely guided one". The main principle of the Mahdi is that he is a figure that is absolutely guided by God 42 16. KALKI This guidance is stronger form of guidance than normal guidance, which usually involves a human being willfully acting according to the guidance of God. The Mahdi on the other hand, has nothing of this human element, and his acts will be in complete accordance to God's will The figure of Mahdi, and his mission, is not mentioned in the Koran, and there are practically nothing to be found among the reliable hadiths on him either. The idea of the mahdi appears to be a development in the first 2-3 centuries of Islam. In the case of the Shi'i Mahdi many scholars have suggested that there is a clear inspiration coming from the Messiah-figure of Christianity and its ideas of a judgement day in the hands of a religious renewer. While there are many similarities between the Mahdi and Messias, there are also many variations over the Mahdi theme, which have differed from time to time and from region to region. The first time we hear of the term "Mahdi" is in 686 CE, by the Muslim leader Mukhtar Thaqafi, for Muhammad bni l-Hanafiya Tore Kjeilen Looklex Encyclopedia In the history of Islam, many men have arisen who claimed to be the Mahdi. They usually appeared as reformers antagonistic to established authority. The best known of these in the West was Muhammad Ahmad, 1844–85, a Muslim religious leader in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. He declared himself in 1881 to be the Mahdi and led a war of liberation from the oppressive Egyptian military occupation. He died soon after capturing Khartoum. In his reform of Islam the Mahdi forbade the pilgrimage to Mecca and substituted the obligation to serve in the holy war against unbelievers. His followers, known as Mahdists, for a time made pilgrimages to his tomb at Omdurman. The final defeat of the Mahdists in 1898 at Omdurman by an Anglo-Egyptian army under Lord Kitchener gave Great Britain control of Sudan. P. M. Holt, The Mahdist State in the Sudan (2d ed. 1970). The Columbia Encyclopedia 42 16. KALKI Coming of Mahdi “The world will not come to an end until God sends a man from my family, whose name will be the same as mine, and whose father's name will be the same as my father's. He will fill the earth with justice and equity as it is filled with injustice and tyranny” Fusul al-muhimma, p. 274 Al-Imam al-Mahdi, The Just Leader of Humanity The existence of the Mahdi and that he will emerge in the end times, that he is from the family of the Prophet (saas) and the sons of Fatima, are explained by hadith at the level of tewatur and there is no sense in denying these hadith. It has been proved by clear and explicit hadith that exceed the level of tewatur that the Mahdi is from the predecessors of Fatima, that he will emerge before the end of the world, that he will bring justice and peace to this world which is full of injustice and oppression, that Jesus (as) will descend from the sky in his time and pray in his leadership. (Serif Muhammed b. Resul Berazenci Medeni, el-isae, s.184 ve 305 / Mehdilik ve Imam Mehdi (Mahdism and Imam Mahdi), p.328) In a hadith widely regarded as authentic, Muhammad said, “Even if the entire duration of the world's existence has already been exhausted and only one day is left before the Day of Judgment, God will expand that day to such a length of time, as to accommodate the kingdom of a person out of Ahl al-Bayt who will be called by my name. He will then fill the Earth with peace and justice as it will have been filled with injustice and tyranny before then.” —Sahih Tirmidhi, V2, P86, V9, P74–75. The Mahdi, according to Shi'ite tradition, will arise at some point before the day of judgement, institute a kingdom of justice, and will in the last days fight alongside the returned Jesus against the Dajjal, the Antichrist. Thus just before the Second Coming of Jesus, Mahdi will appear and will establish a righteous kingdom. Zorastrian Savior Prophecy 42 16. KALKI The coming of the Saoshyant – The Parsi Messianic concept An Aryan concept of Saoshyan, a Savior is also found among the Zorastrians –the Parsies of India. Saoshyant is a figure of Zoroastrian eschatology who brings about the final renovation of the world. In the Old Vedic Sanskrit (Avestan) language name Saoshyant literally means "one who brings benefit," The Parsis believe in the coming of the Saoshyant (Saviour) to the earth to defeat evil and further righteousness (Ashoi). They believe that when the Saoshyant comes, the final spiritual battle between the forces of good and evil will commence, resulting in the utter destruction of evil. Ristakhiz, the resurrection of the dead will take place - the dead will rise, by the Will of Ahura Mazda. The Final Judgement of all souls will commence, at the hands of Ahura Mazda the Judge (Davar) and all sinners punished, then forgiven, and humanity made immortal and free from hunger, thirst, poverty, old age, disease and death. "Since He is (the One) to be chosen by the world therefore the judgment emanating from truth itself (to be passed) on the deeds of good thought of the world, as well as the power, is committed to Mazda Ahura whom (people) assign as a shepherd to the poor." - Yasna 27:13 - the Ahuna Vairya prayer "He shall be the victorious Benefactor (Saoshyant) by name and World-renovator [Astavat-ereta] by name. He is Benefactor because he will benefit the entire physical world; he is World-renovator because he will establish the physical living existence indestructible. He will oppose the evil of the progeny of the biped and withstand the enmity produced by the faithful." Avesta, Farvardin Yast 13.129 Except for an ambiguous reference to a savior alluded to in Zend Avesta ( Yasht 19.92), the concept was developed in the 9th-12th century texts of Zoroastrian tradition. It was certainly a late development following the Jewish and Christian Messianic concept. Kalki With these prevalent concepts of Apocalypse we can look into the Hindu concept of Kalki which followed the coming of Christianity and Islam. The two major texts connected with Kalki avatar are found in the Bhavishya Purana and Kalki Purana. Kalki is referred to as Parasraya in Vishnu Purana and as vishnuvyasa in Mahabharata, Vayu Purana and Harvamsa. The Kalki avatar of Vishnu follows the Mahdi tradition in that this Kalki will come as the son of a Brahmin named Visnuvyasa in the land of Dravida in the village of Shambala. Apparently there is no village in Dravida or anywhere in India with that name. 42 16. KALKI "(Sanskrit) A place-name of highly mystical significance. Many learned occidental Orientalists have endeavored to identify this mystical and unknown locality with some well-known modern district or town, but unsuccessfully. The name is mentioned in the Puranas and elsewhere, and it is stated that out of Sambhala will appear in due course of time the Kalki-Avatara of the future. The Kalki-Avatara is one of the manifestations or avataras of Vishnu. Among the Buddhists it is also stated that out of Sambhala will come in due course of time the Maitreya-Buddha or next buddha." Sambala: Theosophy Occultism Mysticism Dictionary on Sambhala He will receive from Shiva a miraculous sword, a parrot and a winged horse of white colour. The horses name is given as Devadatta. He will be trained by Parasurama in the art of fighting. During that time the greatest enemy will be incarnated as Kali the champion of all evil. Kalki will also fight Buddhists and Jains. Kalki is also said to war with the twin demons Koka and Vikoka, similar to Gog and Magog who will attack the utopia established by the rider on the white horse at the end of his thousand year reign on earth. (Rev 20:7-8) Despite the similarities, the Kalki Purana states Koka and Vikoka are simultaneously killed by Kalki (as well as their master) long before the beginning of his thousand year reign as the king of Shambhala. After his victory he will marry two Ksatriya princesses and he will retire in the Himalayas. The Kalki Avatar When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law,Shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, A portion of that Divine Being who exists of his own spiritual nature, In the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end, And who comprehends all things shall descend upon the earth. He will be born as Kalki in the family of an eminent brahmin,Of Sambhala village, endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. By his irresistible might, He will destroy all the barbarians and thieves, And all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will then reestablish righteousness upon earth; And the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age, shall be awakened, and shall be as pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time,shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita Age, the Age of Purity. Vishnu Purana 4.24 The description of the evils of Kali Yuga is more vivid although it is mainly reduced to a list of transgressions against the Brahmanical socio-cosmic order (dharma): confusions of castes, mixed marriages, wrong behaviour of women, ignorance of Brahmans, pride of the low castes or sudras, etc. These are the essential adharmas, which in todays standards do not match as anything evil. So we are in the Kali Yuga. Popular images of the Avatar depict him riding a white horse with wings known as Devadatta (Godgiven) which is typical of the second coming of Jesus. In some text he is described as holding a flaming sword, and in some as four-armed holding a sword, conch shell, wheel and an arrow, 42 16. KALKI and in some others as a human having the head of a horse and holding attributes as above but with a club (gada) instead of an arrow. Kalki in Indian art. The Second Coming of Jesus 42 16. KALKI Kalki as Vajimukha (Horse-faced), as seen in this Cambodian sculpture in Musée Guimet .... At the end of Kali-yuga, when • • there exist no topics on the subject of God, even at the residences of so-called saints and respectable gentlemen of the three higher castes, and when the power of governement is transferred to the hands of ministers elected from the low-born sudra class or those less than them, • and when nothing is known about the techniques of sacrifice, even by word, at that time the Lord will appear as the supreme chastiser. Lord Vishnu--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master of all moving and nonmoving living beings, and the Supreme Soul of all--takes birth to protect the principles of religion and to relieve His saintly devotees from the reactions of material work. Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most eminent brahmana of the Sambhala village, the great soul Visnuyasa. 43 16. KALKI Thereafter, at the conjunction of the two yugas, the Lord of creation will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation and become the con of Visnu Yasa. At this time the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers. Lord Kalki, the Lord of the universe, will mount His swift horse Devadatta and, sword in hand, travel over the earth exhibiting His eight mystic opulences and eight special qualities of Godhead. Displaying His unequaled effulgence and riding with great speed, He will kill by the millions those thieves who have dared dress as kings. After all the imposter kings have been killed, the residents of the cities and towns will feel the breezes carrying the most sacred fragrance of the sandalwood paste and other decorations of Lord Vasudeva, and their minds will thereby become transcendentally pure. When Lord Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears in their hearts in His transcendental form of goodneess, the remaining citizens will abundantly repopulate the earth. When the Supreme Lord has appeared on earth as Kalki, the maintainer of religion, Saya-yuga will begin, and human society will bring forth progeny in the mode of goodness. When the moon, the sun and Brhaspati are together in the constellation Karkata, and all three enter simulatenously into the lunar mansion Pusya--at that exact moment the age of Satya, or Krta, will begin. (translation from BBT Srimad Bhagavatam 1987) "All the Kings will reign on earth at a time. They will be without happiness, full of anger, always violent, ungodly and speaking lies. They will kill the women, children and animals. They will be without valor. They will fall immediately after they prosper. They will be full of lust and they will live for a short time. They will try to unite all the Kingdoms of the world into one world empire. Based on their support, they will behave like Mlecha in an uncivilized manner and will destroy many people". "At that time, righteousness (Dharma) will go on decaying. Only people having money and property will be considered as high class. The mighty people will be considered religious. Sex will be considered as the joy of life. Women will be treated only as the objects of enjoyment. Lies will be at the root of any business". "Holy Thread will be the only sign of Brahmin. Ornaments, jewels will only be considered as praise and prosperity. Injustice will be the root of living. Violence and evil forces will be the root of unemployment. Bathing and washing will be considered as an act of purification. Negligence and laziness will be considered as meekness. Charity will be the only relgion. People wearing good clothes will be considered as good people. Guileful man will be considered as honourable. Then in the end, only the most powerful men will become Kings (because of increased crimes, violence and arson, etc.). People will be non-vegetarians. Their life spans will be reduced to twenty to twentythree years. Then the human beings will go to the limit of extinction". Vishnu Purana 4, 24 43 16. KALKI "In Kali Yuga, there won't be any difference of castes or varnashram, no sacrifice or rituals as prescribed by the Vedas. Marriages will not be as per Scriptures. There won't be the relationship of teacher-disciple. Even the relationship between husband and wife will not be proper. There won't be any traditional rituals through fire. Whoever is mighty in strength, irrespective of caste, will become ruler. Only the rich will be preferred to a learned man in solemnizing the marriage. There will be no form of repentance in Kali Yuga. Whoever likes anything, that will be the Scripture for him. The deities like Kaali (Shakthi) will be worshipped. Women become proud of their beauty. Long hair only will be considered as beauty and pride. As Kali Yuga proceeds to the end, women will go after other men, leaving their husbands. In Kali Yuga people will go for material earnings and not for spiritual developments. Rains will fail. Always people will suffer by famine and scarcity. Women will be short statured, giving birth to too many children and suffer much, always scratching their heads with both their hands. Rulers will impose high taxes on people. Sudras appears like Sanyasis. Many people will go after money to the wheat growing countries". "As Dharma (Godliness) continues to wane, Kali Yuga goes on increasing in its effect. When ungodly religion prospers and when evil happens to be a man of wisdom, know then the end is near. When people will forget or neglect to worship Supreme Purusha Narayana, the Lord of all Sacrifices, and when people worship unscripturally, then know ye that Kali Yuga is in its acme". Vishnu Purana 6:1 "Truth, righteousness, patience, mercy, life, strength, memory etc., go on decreasing. Money will be the criterion for judging a man’s authority or honour. Only money will establish religion as justice. Carnal relationships will be the only bond between man and wife. Holy thread will be the only sign of Brahmins. Dandam and deer skin will be the sign of a Sanyasi. But nobody worries about his character. Justice will not be given to the poor. Much talking will be considered a sign of wisdom. Poor people will be considered as untouchables. Only hypocrites will be considered as saints. Bathing will be the only sign of purity". "Far off rivers and lakes will be considered as Holy places for pilgrimage. People will not respect their parents, teachers or gurus. Different hair styles are considered as beauty. Man will only think of filling his belly. Bold talk only will be considered as truth or real". "Thus when wickedness goes on increasing like this, only a strong man will be considered as chief. Coveters and heartless kings will plunder the money and women from the people. Robber people will leave their places and migrate and will lead very difficult lives. People will die because of mutual quarrels, famine, and excess taxation by the kings. They will suffer from hunger, thirst and a multitude of diseases. In Kali Yuga, the Varnashrama Dharma (religious duties) will vanish. People will become atheistic in their beliefs. Kings will forfeit their duties. People will go on telling lies without any cause. All the high caste people will come down to the level of the low caste people. The cows will be very short statured. The Sanyasis will live like family men. A man will consider only his wife’s relatives as his own. All plants will be short statured. Clouds will not yield sufficient rain. There will be heavy lightning". Shrimad Bhagavatam 12:2 "In Kali Yuga, human beings will become shortsighted, unfortunate, gluttonous, lustful, and poverty stricken. The women, becoming unchaste, will freely wander from one man to the next. The ungodly people will speak and praise the Scriptures and will give their own interpretations. Even the Brahmins will be only after their bellies and sexual desires". "The Brahmacharies will fail to execute their vows and become unclean. The householders will beg for alms (which is only for Sanyasi), the vanaprathas will live in the villages (not in forests or hermitages) and Sanyasi will become greedy for wealth". "Women will eat much, will give birth to children, will be shameless and will be very hard and fighting each other. Businessmen will engage in petty commerce and earn their money by cheating. 43 16. KALKI People will consider any degraded occupation quite acceptable. Teachers will teach and preach matters which they do not know. Because of famine, scarcity, paucity of rains, and because of heavy taxation by rulers, people will become like devils or demons in appearance. In Kali Yuga, people will hate even their friends for the sake of a little amount of money. They will even forsake their parents and children for their selfish desires". Shrimad Bhagavatam 12, 3 "In between Jesus Christ and His destroying Incarnation of Mahavishnu called as Kalki there is a time given to human beings to rectify themselves, for them to enter into the Kingdom of God, which in the Bible is called as Last Judgment." Shri Kama-Rupini Shri Nirmala Devi Kundalini And Kalki Shakti, Bombay, India — September 28, 1979 Kalki is said to kill twin demons Koka and Vikoka and their master as he starts his reighn as the king of Shambala. This has the ring of the destruction of Gog and Magog in the Christian apocalypse where their master Satan is also put in the bottom less pit. “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev 19:11-16 “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire .. “ Rev. 20 7-10 As is evident we have the original apocalypse of Christians with the Second coming of Jesus from the heavens on a white horse with the two edged sword which will establish a thousand year peaceful reign on earth is combined along with the Mahdi concept of a man being raised up to bring peace on earth in the Vaishanvite Kalki description. This is because of the difference in the incarnation concept. In the Vaishnavite theology the incarnation into human race by the Godhead will be born and after completion of the purpse will die as a man. In Christianity there is only one incarnation in Jesus and he resurrected with his body and continue to live. So in Christianity it is this Christ that 43 16. KALKI returns on a white horse to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. But Vishnu will have to born again to do this job. Strangley the timing of the legend is 7th century soon after the conquest of islam in India. History of Kalki concept 43 16. KALKI 43 17. SAIVISM CHAPTER 17 SAIVISM It is difficult to explain the appearance of Saiva cult without the assumption of Thomas ministry all through India. We know for certain that Siva was not a Vedic god. Attempts were made to make him into a Vedic god by equating Siva with the angry god Rudra. Rudra as Pre-Siva The etymology of the word rudra has taken scholars into all sorts of wild chase. The Persian/Sanskrit word Rudr is given normally to mean “howler”. “angry” “fierce” and is generally applied to the storm which was feared by the early nomads. It is a destructive nature force. Thus at least in the Vedic period Rudra simply meant "the Wild One" or "the Fierce God" or the “Terrible” The famous hymn, Shri Rudram is a Vedic chant that is still chanted today. According to Adi Sankara's commentary on the Vishnu sahasranama, Rudra means "One who makes all beings cry at the time of cosmic 43 17. SAIVISM dissolution." Thus Sayana the 14c Sanskrit gramarian suggests over six derivations for the word Rudra. There are seventy-five references to Rudra in the Rig Veda overall. • • • • • • • As a frightening ghora ("terrible"), or asau devam ("that god"). He is "fierce like a formidable wild beast" (RV 2.33.11). the god with braided hair (RV 1.114 I ). armed with a bow and fast-flying arrows. (R.V 7.46) who causes disease and who healed them 2.33.4) (RV 7.46.3). as one of the many deities in Rig Veda (7.40.5.) as one of the Maruts (storms) (RV 8.96.8) as the father of Maruts (RV 2.33.1) (RV 7.46.2) (RV 1.114.1). (RV 1.43.4), (RV Evidently Veda has no direct reference to a god called Siva. If he is simply the god to be feared then Rudra as referred in the Rig Veda may come close to Siva. However as the Siva worship evolved through the ages other interpretations are applied which include the meaning to as “to shine” (Grassmann) and “ruddy” (Pischel). Others have tried to equate with the base concept of “rodasi” – relating it to the duality of Heaven and Earth and Male and Female. This root has led later to the concept of Ardha-Nareeswara (Half man-half woman) form of Siva in the Later Puranas. At any rate these interpretations developed only during the Puranic period. Thus Rudra ("howler") is a storm, the hunt, death, wild nature and a wind god. He has arrows which cause disease in whomever they hit, god, human or animal. With Diti, he is the father of the Maruts (the winds). Rudra is also another name of Lord Shiva, the lord of destruction, according to Saivism – it is the Rudra form of Siva. However the Siva of the Saivites are far different from ghora (Terrible) Rudra of the Vedas. 43 17. SAIVISM Satarudriya, or the hundred names of Rudra, found in the Vajasaneyi samhita of Yajurveda, about which Monier Monier-Williams,( of the Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford University) writes thus: "In this hymn—a hymn which is of the greatest interest, because constantly used in the present day —he is described as possessing many contradictory, incongruous, grotesque, and wholly ungodlike attributes; for example, he is a killer and destroyer; he is terrible, fierce ( ugra), inauspicious ; he is a deliverer and saviour; he causes happiness, and prevents disease ; he has a healing and auspicious body (siva tanuh); he is yellow-haired, brown- coloured, copper-coloured, ruddy, tall, dwarfish; he has braided locks (kapardin), wears the sacred thread, and is clothed in a skin ; he is blue-necked and thousand-eyed; he dwells in the mountains, and is the owner of troops (gana-pati) of servants who traverse the earth obeying his orders ; he is ruler and controller of a thousand Rudras who are described as fierce and ill-formed (virupa); he has a hundred bows and a thousand quivers; he is the general of vast armies; he is lord of ghosts, goblins, and spirits; of beasts, horses, and dogs; of trees, shrubs, and plants; he causes the fall of leaves ; he is lord of the Soma-juice; he is patron of thieves and robbers, and is himself a thief, robber, and deceiver; he presides over carpenters, chariot-makers, blacksmiths, architects, huntsmen; he is present in towns and houses, in rivers and lakes, in woods and roads, in clouds and rain, in sunshine and lightning, in wind and storm, in stones, dust, and earth." Some do believe that there are strong indication that Siva was a Dravidian god and was the god of the Indus Civilization. Shiva in Cave Rock Drawings ! Does these look like god Siva? In a hunter gathering community we should expect these depictions Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh (cave II E-19 and III E-15) shows a bow and arrow bearing dancer as shown in the figure above. It dates back to 3000 to 1900 B. C. Looking at the above cave drawing if you can see a god Siva that would be the greatest imagination God has given to you. 43 17. SAIVISM Lord of Animals in the Indus Valley (The Pashupati seal) In a community where cows are the wealth we should expect these depictions. Compare with the art forms of Baquara Tribes of Sudan where cow horns are worn as a headdress during festivals especially by the Tribal leaders. 43 17. SAIVISM “ Seals such as these date from between c.2500-1500 BCE and were found in considerable numbers in sites such as the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. They are inscribed in a still undeciphered local script; figures and animals are carved in intaglio on their surfaces. This one depicts a male figure seated cross-legged in a yoga-like position, surrounded by animals, and wearing a horned hat. The association with animals and the seated position suggest that this is a depiction of a holy person (shaman?) and a precursor of the images of Siva, an important Hindu god who has been worshipped since at least as early as second century CE and whose powers were thought to be procreative.” From: Linduff, K.M., "Siva Seals, " in Art Past/ Art Present, by D. Wilkins, B. Schultz, and K. Linduff, New York, 2000, 4th ed. This claim has not fared well with some modern academics. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as "speculative", saying that while it is not clear from the seal that the figure has three faces, is seated in 44 17. SAIVISM a yoga posture, or even that the shape is intended to represent a human figure. Historian John Keay is more specifically dismissive, saying: ...there is little evidence for the currency of this myth. Rudra, a Vedic deity later identified with Shiva, is indeed referred to as pasupati because of his association with cattle; but asceticism and meditation were not Rudra's specialties, nor is he usually credited with an empathy for animals other than kine. More plausibly, it has been suggested that the Harappan figure's heavily horned headgear bespeaks a bull cult, to which numerous other representations of bulls lend substance. Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. Other indications claiming the Siva’s Indus origin are are the seals that shows bulls since Bull is the vehicle of Siva. Evidentle those who see these as proofs of Siva worship in Indus Civilization is using their imagination to run wild. We are not in any way near to decoding the Indus Valley script and any attempt in this direction will be guess work which are evidently imposing meanings on otherwise unknown symbols. However we should not be unaware of the fact that once the Siva as Supreme God came to be popular many earlier cults flowed into it. As it was in the case of Vishnavism so also we find similar cultic mergings into Saivism. the modern religions of India known as Hinduism is an outgrowth of various religious experiences not only of the Aryans and of the Dravidians but also of other ethnic and tribal groups like the Negritos, the Australoids (Khasis and Jaintias), the Bodos (the Garos, Kacharis, Chutiyas and Tipperahs), the Mongoloids, and the Kiratas of India through the ages. In that sense we can always trace back some tinges of Vishnu or siva or for that matter any other god among them. So one should not be surprised to see Pre-christian symbolisms that came to be attributed to Siva. Monier-Williams continues this logic: “When once the figure of Siva has taken definite shape, attributes and epithets are lavished on it in profusion. He is the great ascetic, for asceticism in India means power, and Siva is the personification of the powers of nature. He may alternate strangely between austerities and wild debauch, but the sentimentality of some Krishnaite sects is alien to him. He is a magician, the lord of troops of spirits, and thus draws into his circle all the old animistic worship. But he is also identified with Time (Mahakala) and Death (Mrityu) and as presiding over procreation he is Ardhanaresvara, half man, half woman. Stories are invented or adapted to account for his various attributes, and he is provided with a divine family. He dwells on Mount Kailasa: he has three eyes: above the central one is the crescent of the moon and the stream of the Ganges descends from his braided hair: his throat is blue and encircled by a serpent and a necklace of skulls. In his hands he carries a three -pronged trident and a drum. 44 17. SAIVISM But the effigy or description varies, for Siva is adored under many forms. He is Mahadeva, the Great God, Hara the Seizer, Bhairava the terrible one, Pasupati, the Lord of cattle, that is of human souls who are compared to beasts. Local gods and heroes are identified with him. Thus Gor Baba, said to be a deified ghost of the aboriginal races, reappears as Goresvara and is counted a form of Siva, as is also Khandoba or Khande Rao, a deity connected with dogs. Ganesa, "the Lord of Hosts," the God who removes obstacles and is represented with an elephant's head and accompanied by a rat, is recognized as Siva's son. Another son is Skanda or Kartikeya, the God of War, a great deity in Ceylon and southern India.” In “The Concept of Rudra-Śiva Through the Ages” By Mahadev Chakravarti gives probably another basic cult which merged into Rudra. “The Satarudriya rendered homage to a plurality of Rudras, as ganapatis, or leaders or lords of tribes, to the non-vedic carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, fishermen,and Nisadas who belonged to the Proto-Australoid forest tribes. Rudras thus appear here as the leader of troops, called ganas and pramathas, of beings greatly inferior, yet similar to himself; and sometimes the host of Rudras have been blended in the conception of Rudra. He also appears here as the representative of a class of people and the followers of different professions found in him their own god. It might happen often that their own peculiar gods were identified with the Aryan Rudra” Chakravarti in his excellent and very detailed study in the development of Saivism as a mixture of Pre-Aryan and Aryan traditions, points out D.R. Bhandarkar’s theory that Saivism was developed out He also supports this conjecture since the Maruts of the tribe in Magadha which had Vratya cult as their religion under the priest Eka-vratya who with all his followers immigrated to Indus valley. associated with Rudra is called Saka in Rg Veda V.30.10 and VI.1.9.4. Vratyas were an obscure nonsacrificing ethnic group and were victims of Purushameda (human sacrifice) according to Yajurveda. [See the references as given by Chakravarti Vaj Sam, XXX.8 and Tairr Brah. III 4,5,1 ; Mcdonnel and Keith Vedic Index, Vol. II 1958 p 342; Heidelberg, 1976 s.v.”Vratah”; 44 17. SAIVISM J.C.Heesterman, ‘Vratya and Sacrifice’ in IIJ, 6,(1962) p 18.; Walker B, Hindu World Vol II London 1968 p 583] Vratyas Skt., vratya; pagans, outcasts Little information can be found on these outcasts of early Vedic society, but what we know makes them look like proto-type Tantrics who, as was done elsewhere on the planet, worshipped the Goddess and celebrated life with wine and orgies. Women among the Vratyas sometimes became pumscali (ritual prostitutes) and they may well be the precursers of the later devadasi tradition. • Philip Rawson, referring to Vratyas but probably speaking of the pumscali, makes them sound like an all female "sect" and connects them to the dakinis and yoginis of later myth and ritual. According to Rawson, they may represent "a female line of power holders" who initiated male Tantrics by "ritual intercourse with them". [Rawson. The Art of Tantra, p. 80] Mircea Eliade, in his discussion of Shiva, contributes information that refers to the Vratya men. According to him, an obscure chapter of the Atharva Veda refers to this "mystical fellowship," but does not tell us much more than that they dressed in black, wore turbans, practiced yogic techniques such as breathing exercises, and "homologized their bodies with the macrocosm". Thus, he sees them as a precursor of the later ascetics and yogis of Shiva. [Eliade. Yoga, pp. 103f., 256f.] Indra Sinha, on the other hand, clearly defines them as non-Dravidian, Aryan outcasts who were known to have celebrated "bacchantic, orgiastic rites" and hints they may have continued traditions from the early Indus Valley civilization. [Sinha. Great Book of Tantra, p. 72] • • But some times these stories and ideas were often pushed to ridiculous limits. quotes Note the following 44 17. SAIVISM "On the mountain there is a wonderful forest called the forest of Dâru, where many sages live … Shiva himself, assuming a strange form, came there to put their faith to the test. He was magnificent, completely naked, his only ornament the ash with which his whole body was smeared. Walking about, holding his penis in his hand, he showed off with the most depraved tricks." "…. Sometimes he danced lasciviously; sometimes he uttered cries. He wandered around the hermitages like a beggar. … Despite his strange appearance and his tanned colour, the most chaste women were attracted to him. … They let their hair fall loose. Some rolled on the ground. They clung to each other and, barring [Rudra's] path, they made wanton gestures at him, even in the presence of their husbands. The sages cried, this Shiva who carries a trident has a body of ill omen. He has no modesty. … He is naked and ill-made. He lives in the company of evil spirits and wicked goblins."- (Shiva Purana, quoted in Daniélou p55-56). "The world shall not find peace until a receptacle is found for my sexual organ. No other being except the Lady of the Mountain may seize hold of my sexual organ. If she takes hold of it, it will immediately become calm." (op cit, p63) In The Linga Purana, Brahma himself instructs the sages in the reverence of Shiva's phallus: "As long as this phallus is not in a fixed position, no good can come to any of the three worlds. In order to calm its wrath, you must sprinkle this divine sexual organ with holy water, build a pedestal in the form of a vagina and shaft (symbol of the goddess) and install it with prayers, offerings, prostrations, hymns and chants accompanied by musical instruments. Then you shall invoke the God, saying 'You are the source of the Universe, the origin of the Universe. You are present in everything that exists. The Universe is but the form of yourself, O Benevolent One! Calm yourself and protect the world.'" "Having severed the head of the Creator and killed the guardian of of the house of the Sustainer of creation, Bhairava had cut through all fetters. Horrendous, abject, naked, or in rags that emphasized his nakedness, self-contradictory and consistent with his unspeakable being, with an entrancing smile on his lips he bared his fangs. The images of the Lord show him young and in glory as Bhiksatanamurti, the Supreme Beggar. They show him as Kankalamurti, carrying the impaled by of Visvaksena; or emiacated and deathlike in his image as Bhairava; or stern, bloated, his matted hair surrounded by flames, fiercly ponderous, and black as Kala or Mahakala."- Stella Kramrisch, The Presence of Siva Bhairava is also said by some to be a gambler's deity. R.N Saletore (1981) recounts the following prayer addressed to Bhairava, by a gambler: 44 17. SAIVISM "I adore thee that sittest naked with thy head resting on thy knee; thy moon, thy bull and thy elephany-skin having been won at play by Devi. When the gods give all powers at thy mere desire and when thou art free from longings, having for thy only possession the matted locks, the ashes and the skull, how canst thou suddenly have become avaricious with regard to hapless me in that thou desirest to disappoint me for a small gain? Of a truth, the wishing tree no longer gratifies the hopes of the poor, as thou dost not support me, Lord Bhairava, though thou supportest the world.. Thou hast three eyes, I have three dice, so I am like thee in one respect; thou hast ashes on thy body, so have I; thou eatest from a skull, so do I; show me mercy." In the Prabodha Chandrodaya, the following words are attributed to a wizard of the Kapalikas: "My necklace and ornaments are of human bones; I dwell among the ashes of the dead and eat my food in human skulls. I look with eyes brightened with the antinomy of Yoga, and believe that the parts of this world are reciprocally different, but that the whole is not different from God. ...After fasting we drink liquor out of the skulls of Brahmans; our sacred fires are fed with the brains and lungs of men mixed up with their flesh, and human beings covered with the fresh blood gushing from the dreadful wound in their throats, are the offerings by which we appease the terrible god (Maha Bhairava)." Kulanarva Tantra: "The adept should drink, drink and drink again until he falls to the ground. If he gets up and drinks again, he will be freed from rebirth. His happiness enchants the goddess, Lord Bhairava delights in his swooning, his vomiting pleases all the gods.". These were probably developed to ridicule the powerful growth of early Saivism which emphasized love and unity by representing them as vulgar. Evidently these are remnants of the local village gods and their perversions. It is normal for common people to bring with them their own concepts of the gods whom they feared. Rudra evidently does not represent Siva in this respect as Saivites would expound them. Siva has nothing to do with such ideas of Rudra. What is surprising is that these stories still prevail in Puranas. The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudra is however not universally accepted in the academic circles either, as Axel Michaels explains: To what extent Śiva's origins are in fact to be sought in Rudra is extremely unclear. The tendency to consider Śiva an ancient god is based on this identification, even though the facts that justify such a far-reaching assumption are meager Michaels, Axel (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. “Supreme Being of the Saivite religion. God Siva is All and in all, simultaneously the creator and the creation, both immanent and transcendent. As personal Deity, He is creator, preserver and 44 17. SAIVISM destroyer. He is a one being, perhaps best understood in three perfections: Parameshvara (Primal Soul), Parashakti (pure consciousness) and Parasiva (Absolute Reality).” Siva: Hindu - Hinduism Dictionary on Siva By Himalayan Academy These primal qualities of Siva has no reference to Vedic gods at all. Again notice the underlying monotheistic concept the Supreme God. These causes consternation to all who study the subject of the vast difference between the Vedic period gods and the Post Christian period gods of Hinduism that every scholar unanimously agrees that it should be sought in some form of other of external cultural infiltration during the period. “The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India. Modern historians believe that the figure of Shiva as we know him today was built-up over time, with the ideas of many regional cults being amalgamated into a single figure. How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well-documented.” Axel Michaels explains the composite nature of Shaivism as follows: Like Vişņu, Śiva is also a high god, who gives his name to a collection of theistic trends and sects: Śaivism. Like Vaişņavism, the term also implies a unity which cannot be clearly found either in religious practice or in philosophical and esoteric doctrine. Furthermore, practice and doctrine must be kept separate. Michaels, Axel (2004). Hinduism: Past and Present. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Axel Michaels says Rudra was called Shiva for the first time in the Śvetāśvatara Upanishad. As we have discussed earlier, these Upanishads are in Sanskrit and therefore written down at least only by the second century AD. So it is reasonable assume that the Siva evolved during the first two centuries of the Christian era. It was connected to the Aryan and Dravidian gods later as dormant concepts within the culture. But the essential transforming element for these came with the coming of Christianity. In the Saivite theological concept he is the god of love and probably the only god in all Hindu Panthenon who was willing to die for his creation ( He drank the poison that came out of the carelessness of the gods during the churning of the milky way lest it will destroy the whole creation) So the picture here is totally at variant from the Aryan Rudra god. The Saivite Siva is more like Yahvh of the Abrahamic people. I have elsewhere looked into a possibility of descendants of Abraham from his concubines coming to India who probably formed a component of Indus Civilization. Sumerian and Abrahamic culture therefore appears dorment in the religious evolution of Indus Civilization. The 44 17. SAIVISM cultic stone in the form of linga is certainly Abrahamic. It is the traditional worship form of Saivites even today Maẓẓebah. Sacred stones are mentioned with great frequency in the Old Testament; they were erected by Jacob at Beth-el (Gen. xxviii. 18; comp. xxxi. 13), at Shechem (Gen. xxxiii. 20 [where should be read instead of ), at Gilead (Gen. xxxi. 52), and over the grave of Rachel; and by Joshua in the sanctuary of Shechem (Josh. xxiv. 26; comp. Judges ix. 6). The "stone of help" ("Eben-ezer") set up by Samuel (I Sam. vii. 12) was such a "maẓẓebah"; and other sacred stones existed at Gibeon (II Sam. xx. 8), at Enrogel (I Kings i. 9, "the serpent-stone"), and at Michmash (I Sam. xiv. 33). Twelve stones of this characterwere set up by Moses near his altar at the foot of Mount Sinai (Ex. xxiv. 4), and a circle of twelve at Gilgal was ascribed to Joshua (Josh. iv. 20). Finally, Jachin and Boaz, the two columns of the Temple (I Kings vii. 15 et seq.), were such maẓẓebot, not intended as supports for the building, but possessing an independent purpose, as is shown by their names…… These stones were extremely diverse in form, ranging from rough blocks, over which the blood of the sacrifice, or the anointing-oil, was poured (Gen. xxviii. 18; I Sam. xiv. 33 et seq.), to carefully wrought columns, such as those erected in the Temple of Solomon or in the Phenician sanctuaries….. The original signification of the sacred stone is well illustrated by the account of the one at Beth-el (Gen. xxviii.). Jacob slept with a stone for a pillow, and dreamed that the Lord addressed him. When he awoke he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not"; then he anointed the stone, or, in other words, rendered an offering to it. This belief in a maẓẓebah, or in a stone, as the habitation of a deity is spread throughout the world, and even the designation "Beth-el." was adopted among the Greeks and Romans, under the forms βαιτύλιον and "bætulus," to denote a stone of this character. At a very early period the stone served likewise as an altar of sacrifice, and the offering laid upon it was by implication given to the deity that dwelt therein. It must also be borne in mind that originally, even in the case of a burnt offering, it was the blood and not the act of burning which constituted the essential of the sacrifice, and that the shedding of blood on the sacred stone served the same purpose as anointing it. There was no idea, however, of identifying the deity with the stone, as is shown by the fact that a number of stones, or trees, sacred to a divinity might stand together. Where specially chosen or prepared sacred stones took the place of natural landmarks, they expressed an invitation to the deity to take up his abode in them (comp. Hos. xiii. 2). Among the Greeks the sacred pillars of stone were developed into images of the deity, and received a head and a phallus; but the Israelitish maẓẓebot, did not pass through this evolution. 44 17. SAIVISM Caption: Phenician Maẓẓebah. Source: (From Benziger, "Hebräische Archäologie Caption: Cromlech Source: (From Benzinger, "Hebräische Archäologie.") . Compare this with the indus linga structure Harappan linga form Some people believe that artifacts from Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and other archaeological sites of northwestern India and Pakistan indicate that some early form of Shiva worship was practiced in the Indus Valley. These artifacts include lingams and the "Pashupati seal" that has been the subject of much study. The Indus Valley civilization reached its peak around 2300-2000 BCE, when trade links with Mesopotamia are known to have existed, was in decline by 1800 BCE, and faded away by 1500 BCE. 44 17. SAIVISM 1008 Lingas carved on a rock surface. Photograph is taken at the shore of the river Tungabhadra, Hampi, India Since we do not know exactly the Indus religious forms, we cannot really associate these with Siva. But we can see abruptly siva appear soon after the beginning of the first century AD The Dravidian Identity of the Sumerians. An Introduction to the History of Tamil People (by Prof. A. Velupillai) This is another hypothesis that is strongly advocated by certain scholars. The Sumerian records have been deciphered and material remains have been interpreted satisfactorily. Linguistic and cultural affinities between the Sumerians and the Tamils, separated by much more than a millennia, are pointed out. The late Professor A. catAcivam (A.Sathasivam) from Sri Lanka and Dr. ulakaNAtan muttarAjan (Loganathan Muttarayan) from Malaysia are examples. Eminent historians of the caliber of K.A. Nilakanda cAttiri (Nilakantta Sastri), have pointed out similarities in temple worship. A hypothesis, connecting the ancestors of the Dravidians, if not the Tamils. to the Mediterranean area, is still advocated by certain scholars. Abrupt appearance of Siva – evidence of the numismatics How do we accound for such a monotheistic Siva appearing all of a sudden soon after the ministry of St.Thomas in the Taxila throughout India? Ca we find one reference to Siva in any prechristian documentations apart from forced identitifications of some forsaken god from prehistory? Kushan Emperor Vima Kadphises 90-100 AD Copper tetradrachm Obverse: King Sacrificing at Altar Nandi Reverse: Shiva with 44 17. SAIVISM Vima Kadphises 90-100 AD; Gold Dinar, Possibly the FIRST GOLD COIN of India Obverse: King emerging of clouds holding trident Siva standing, facing, holding trident and diadem. Behind him to bull Nandi, standing facing left. Vasu Deva I gold dinar 206-241 AD Kanishka II 200-222 AD Obverse: King Sacrificing at Altar “The reverse of this coin depicts three-headed, two armed Shiva (OHPO) with his bull, Nandi. Shiva in his left hand is holding a trident while right hand most likely is having a diadem. Reverse: Shiva standing “The most profound aspect of the three-headed Shiva, the Maheshamurti, is in evidence at the Elephanta (Gharapuri) caves, built by the Rashtrakuta kings in the 6th century A.D. The three heads represent Shiva as Aghori, Ardhanarishvara and Mahayogi. Aghori (destroyer) form suggest his power of cosmic destruction, Ardhanarishvara(preserver) depicts him as half-man/half-woman signifying the essential unity of the sexes while Mahayogi(creator) posture symbolises the ascetic & meditative aspect. It is also believed that, these three forms represents, Mahesh/Mahadev (Shiva), Vishnu and Brahma, respectively. “It appears that the image of Shiva holding various objects like wheel, club and lotus, which are usually associated with Vishnu, were introduced during the reigns of Kushan rulers, Huvishka and Vasudeva I. Possibly, keeping in the same tradition, their successor, Kanishka II also minted threeheaded Shiva coin which symbolically represent both the major deities of Hinduism, Shiva and Vishnu, in a single form.” Representations of the son of Siva, Skanda (also called Karttikeya, the war god), appeared on Kushan coins as early as AD 100. Siva's other son, the elephant-headed Ganesa, patron deity of commercial and literary enterprises, did not appear until the 5th century. These are probably the earliest documented evidence of Saivas. Parallel to these Saivic development was the development of the cult of Surya, the sun god, who had temples built in his honour. These were probably of Iranian influence which later merged with or developed into Vaishanvism. It is in the Svetasvatara Upanishad, - the Shaivite equivalent to the Vaishnava Bhagavad-gita. - for the first time we come across the name Siva. Here Siva is described as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. A sect of Pasupata ascetics, founded by Lakulisa (or Nahulisa), is attested by inscriptions from the 5th century and is among the earliest of the sectarian religious orders of Hinduism. This sect was very 45 17. SAIVISM similar to the modern Pentecostal Movement including speaking in tongues, visions, revelations, and even holy laughter. “Shaiva theism was expounded in the Agamas, which number two hundred including the Upagamas (the "Lesser" Agamas), which were composed 6- 7th century AD. In the 7th century AD, Banabhatta included the worship of Shiva in his account of the prominent religious sects of that time. In the 7th century AD the great Chinese traveller Xuanzang (Huen Tsang) toured India and wrote in Chinese about the prevalence of Shiva worship at that time, describing Shiva temples at Kanoj, Karachi, Malwa, Gandhar (Kandahar), and especially at Varanasi (Benares) where he saw twenty large temples dedicated to Shiva.” These lead us to the validity at least to some extent on the influence of Christianity in the development of both Saivism and Vaishnavism. Especially relevant is the numistic evidence of the It gives us an Indo-Parthian Kingdom which was the center of St.thomas’ ministry to start with. indication that Saivism was most probably the first form of Christianity. It is certain that it underwent changes and transformations and syncretization by the time it reached the sixth century. Thus there is a lot of validity in the argument as presented by Dr. Devakala which we explained in the chapter ofn Thomas. Biblical Christianity, Judaism and Shaivite Hinduism Share the Same Names for God. Judaism Ish; Yish; Is; Isa; Issa; El; Al; etc. (Suffixes and prefixes to mean "God") Yahve; Jahve; Tseeva (God) Elohim; Elokhim (God intellectualized) El Shaddai (The Almighty) Ha-Kadosh (The Holy One) El Elyon (Possessor of Heaven and Earth) Yesoda (Dual Sexual Nature of Life) Shaivism The same in Shaivism Shiva; Shaiva; Siva (God) Lakhimi (Goddess of Prosperity); Lokhi; Lukh (Shiva) Saday; Sada (Shiva) Hakh-e-Kheda (God's Duty) Il Layun (Absorption in God) Yeshoda (Shiva's Dual Sexual Nature) Similar sacred symbolism and iconography are associated with both the Hebrew Yah-Veh and the Kashmiri Shaiva: The Holy Trinity; the flame; the cherub; the guardian angel; the snake; the bull; blowing of bull's horn, etc. Hebrew and Kashmiri Cabalistic Terminology Is About the Same. Hebrew Kashmiri 45 17. SAIVISM Ani (he spark of life) Avoda (work; labor) Ayeen (void; non-being) Cabala (acceptance) Guevara (force) Keter (crown) Kijum (destiny) Klim (nothing) Malkuth (kingdom) Nefesh (soul) Sephiroth (spiritual energy centers) Yesu; Yesh; Yeh; Yahu; Yakhu; Yah; Yao; Ie (The Material Universe) Yesh me Ayeen (The Goal of Creation) Zohar (brilliance) Agni (Vedic god of fire) Vud; Wud (skilled labor) Ayen (eternity) Cabul (acceptance) Gav'r (surrounding and attacking) Kash'r (crown of the head) Ko-Yimi (path to death) Kholi (nothing) Mulakh (kingdom) Naph's (soul; spirit self) Sipath (spiritual energy centers) The same as in Judaism Yech me ayen (Creation Fused to the Void) Swar; Svar (Heaven; light; brilliance) Saiva Sidhanta The basic creed of the saiva sidhantha is given by the Saiva Sidhantha Church as follows: 45 17. SAIVISM “A Creed of Saivite Hindus 1. We BELIEVE Lord Siva is God, whose Absolute Being, Parasiva, transcends time, form and space. 2. We BELIEVE Lord Siva is God, whose immanent nature of love, Parasakti, is the substratum, primal substance or pure consciousness flowing through all form as energy, existence, knowledge and bliss. 3. We BELIEVE Lord Siva is God, whose immanent nature is the Primal Soul, Supreme Mahadeva, Paramesvara, author of Vedas and Agamas, the creator, preserver and destroyer of all that exists. 4. We BELIEVE in the Mahadeva Lord Ganesa, son of Siva-Sakti, to whom we must first supplicate before beginning any worship or task 5. We BELIEVE in the Mahadeva Karttikeya, son of Siva-Sakti, whose vel of grace dissolves the bondages of ignorance 6. We BELIEVE that each individual soul is created by Lord Siva and is identical to Him, and that this identity will be fully realized by all souls when the bondage of anava, karma and maya is removed by His grace. 7. We BELIEVE in three worlds of existence: the Bhuloka, where souls take on physical bodies; the Antarloka, where souls take on astral bodies; and the Sivaloka, where souls exist in their own self-effulgent form 8. We BELIEVE in the law of Karma — that one must reap the effects of all actions he has caused — and that each soul continues to reincarnate until all karmas are resolved and moksha, liberation, is attained. 9. We BELIEVE that the performance of charya, virtuous living, kriya, temple worship, and yoga, leading to Parasiva through grace of the living satguru, is absolutely necessary to bring forth jnana, wisdom 10. We BELIEVE that there is no intrinsic evil. 11. We BELIEVE that religion is the harmonious working together of the three worlds and that this harmony can be created through temple worship, wherein the beings of all three worlds can communicate. 12. We BELIEVE in the Panchakshara Mantra, the five sacred syllables “Namah Sivaya,” as Saivism's foremost and essential mantra.” The Nicean Creed We BELIEVE in one God, the Father Allsovereign, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. We BELIEVE in one Lord Jesus Christ, and the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from the heavens, and was made flesh of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the heavens, and sits on the right hand of the Father, and comes again with glory to judge living and dead, of whose kingdom there shall be no end. We BELIEVE in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Life-giver, that proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and Son is worshipped together and glorified together, who spoke through the prophets. We BELIEVE in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism unto remission of sins. We look for a resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. “ What is expressed in both the creeds are identitical and we know that this was the faith that existed until the third and fourth centuries in India when the idol worship became prevalent and the inner core of faith was lost to the general public. 45 17. SAIVISM “Taproot of the Hindu religion: • • • • Doctrine of Avatar - God becoming a man in order to redeem human beings. (Unborn Prime God was born in order to give us eternal pleasure) Trinity or Triune doctrine - God in triune stage - Appan, Ammai, Makan (Saivism); Siva, Vishnu, Brahma (Vaishnavism) Doctrine of fulfillment of sacrifice - The offering of sacrifice has ceased even though there is sacrificial altar in the temple. People do not offer sacrifice while they worship God. Doctrine of forgiveness of sin - There is forgiveness for the sins of human beings by the grace of God and this doctrine is totally controversial to the saying that ‘the actions of one person would definitely yield its fruits’. • Doctrine of bhakthi - Appreciating the bhakthi which is in ones heart irrespective of one’s appearance, color, culture etc. (Kannappa Nayanar) “ The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion Dr. M. Deivanayagam, Dr. D. Devakala Pillayar Concept 45 17. SAIVISM In the Savite Trinity of Appan, Amma and Makan – while the concept of Appan (Father), Amma (Sakthi – Holy spirit) and Makan ( Son) - we oftern confront the son in the form of the Elephant. Pillaiyar is depicted as Gana Pathy which in itself simply means Lord or Saviour of People – Emmanuel. Yet the Elephant figure have come to dominate the religious ceremonies. Though it blows off the It is a stretch of imagination, this was a natural development of the concept of incarnation. sybolisation the “The only begotten Son of God” as the following research indicates. In “The Wonder that is Pillaiyarpatti” Sivashankar Chandrasekaran describes this original concept thus: Pillaiyarpatti is a small town twelve kilometers from Karaikudi, near Madurai, in the Sivagangi District of Tamil Nadu. The town is named after the Ganesa Temple that adorns it. Here, Lord Ganesa is known as Pillaiyar, Tamil for revered and noble son, and 'Karpaga Vinayakar', Lord who offers his blessings like the celestial tree Kalpaka whose specialty is ' you ask and it will be given'. This temple is 1,600 years old. It contains fourteen stone inscriptions dated between 400 AD and 1238 AD that reveal that the place was known as 'Ekkattur', 'Thiruveengaikudi', 'Maruthankudi' and 'Raja Narayanapuram' before it became to be called Pillaiyarpatti. An inscription dated 1284 AD, on the right side wall of the Thiruveesar sanctum, suggests that the original name of the Ganesa was 'Desi Vinayaga Pillaiyar', Pillaiyarpatti Temple is a rock cut temple. The image of Karpaga Vinayakar and that of a Siva Linga were carved out of stone by a sculptor called 'Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan' who put his signature on a stone inscription found even today in the sanctum. He put his name in the ' Tamizhi language' which was in use between 2nd and 5th century AD. It can concluded that the icon of Karpaga Vinayakar must have been carved around 4th century AD 45 17. SAIVISM OM Elephant Headwith one Tusk on Lingam This is an image of the rock cut Karpaka Vinayakar Shrine at Pillayarpatti near Karaikkudi at one of the oldest Cave Temples (Rock Cut) temples of Tamilnadu. Pillayarpatti is situated between Pudukkottai and Karaikkudi. Karpaga Vinayakar is one of the oldest Vinayakar images in the world for it has only two arms. The significance of the two arms is that the first god evolved by ancient man was in the shape of man. This male god created out of stone was called Yaksha and the female god was called Yakshi. Later on to show the superiority of god to man the head of the man was removed and in its place a head in the shape of OM was fixed. The OM head was similar to that of an elephant. There are only two images of Vinayakars with two arms in the world. One is at Pillaiyarpatti the other is in Afghanistan. The one at Afghanistan must have been made later, for it is in a standing posture and has a number of ornaments adorning it. The one at Pillaiyarpatti is in a sitting posture mediating. He does not have Modakam (the most favourite sweet of Pillaiyar) but a Siva Linga in his palm. He mediates for the well being of the people and so their prayers are answered immediately. 45 17. SAIVISM Both Arjuna and Krishna worshipped Him and obtained favors from Him. In the Ramayana too we come across several references to Him. Sage Valmiki depicted Ravana, the demon king and chief villain of the epic, as a great devotee and daily worshipper of Lord Shiva. It is believed that worship of His icons was widely prevalent as early as 2nd or 3rd Century B.C.,. The concept of Son of God is clearly indicated in this icon represention where the word Om is superimposed on the Formless Form of Sivlinga to represent the incarnate God who mediates between God and Man. God reaching down to man. Heb 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, But a body didst thou prepare for me; In fact the similarity goes much deeper as explained in detail by Dr. Devakala in Theological Foundation of Hindu Religion ( ) Siva Lingam Siva-linga at Baramula in Kashmir Does the face suggest any one? 45 17. SAIVISM Trinity as expressed in Saivism groups Father Siva Holy Spirit Sakthi Vishnu Son Kumarakkadavul Pillaiyar Brahman Aiyappan ”Saivism and Saiva Sittantha The devotional literature of the Bhakthi movement is known as 'Panniru Thirumurai' and the fourteen Sastras of the theological exposition are known as 'Saiva Sittanta Sastras'. Sivagnanapotham by Meykanta Tevar is regarded as the basic text of the Saiva Sittanta Sastras. The Saiva Sittanta Sastras are also known as the Meykanta Sastras. Sivagnanapotham, the basic text of Saiva Sitthanta explains from the creation of man to salvation. To quote a few examples from the first book of Saiva Sittanta Thiruvunthiar: 45 17. SAIVISM Neelakhanda – One who drank the poison of cosmos which otherwise would have killed all the living (i) Sin “Avan aval athu yenum avai moovinaimaimayin Thotria thithiye odungi malaththulathaam anthan aathi yenmanaar pulavar” In the beginning god created man (avan), woman (aval) and the world (athu) in three different actions and they were holy. . But later they fell into sin (malam) which end the life of holiness and was the beginning of sin say the scholars. ( Sivagnanapothan –1) “Muththi mutharkodikkae mogk kodi padarnthu aththi paluththathu yenru vunthee para appalhan vunnaathaw vunthee para” Among the creatures which were holy, on the first creeper, the creeper of sin crept over it and bore the fruit of evil. Speak this forth. Do not partake of that fruit. Speak this forth. (ii) Avatar 'The hitherto unknown God came down as one of us and gave up Himself to save us from evil'. 45 17. SAIVISM (iii) Salvation through His sufferings 'He who has accomplished the works of salvation through His sufferings will not come again in His body, He has no birth or death again'. (iv) Eternal life 'If you join Him who shared His home with the thieves you will attain the heavenly abode which is light'. Songs from other literature are also quoted. In defining the Trinity as three persons in one God head: (v) Trinity and Avatar " The eternal God( Siva) and the Ornamented one (Vitnu). And the eternal one on the Lotus (Brahma). If examined are one and the same But the ignored are confused". In Saivism God is visualized in three forms as 'Aruvam' (God without form), 'Uruvam' (God with a form) and `Aruvuruvam' (God with semiform). 'The Triune Prime God' sings Thirugnana sampanthar in Tevaram. The author of Potripahrotai sings "Iravaa Inpathu Yemai iruththa vendi piravaa muthalvan piranthaan." (To give us eternal pleasure, the unborn prime God was born). He delivers us from our original sin (Sahasa malaa). (vi) Sacrifice The Godhead had lost all his glories and offered himself as a 'Sacrifice', so that mankind could be restored to a new life leaving the inherent qualities of leading a sinful life. In short, he gave himself as 'Sacrifice' for the remission of sins of the mankind. This is sung by Thirunavukkarasar in Tevaram as follows 'Aviyumaahi' (He offered himself as sacrifice) "Aviyaai aviyumaahi arukkamaai Perukkamaahi Paaviyar paavam theerkum paramanaai brahmanaahi" (He being the sacrifice he offered himself as Sacrifice, decreased yet multiplied, he is the Transcending Brahman who washes away the sins of the sinners.)” Dr. M. Deivanayagam, Dr. D. Devakala:The Revival Movement of Dravidian Religion Main Saivite Traditions 46 17. SAIVISM Dr. Kanti Chandra Pandey (M.A., Ph.D., D. Litt., M.O.L. Shastri, Lucknow University) in Bhaskari (Varanasi, 1998, p. VI) (also "Saivism: Some Glimpses", Delhi, 1996.) lists eight systems of Shaiva philosophy: 1. Pashupata dualism 2. Siddhanta Shaiva dualism 3. Dualistic-cum-Non-dualistic Shaivism of Lakulisha Pashupata 4. Vishishtadvaita Shaivism 5. Visheshadvaita Shaivism (Vira Shaiva) 6. Nandikeshvara Shaivism 7. Raseshvara Shaivism 8. Monistic Shaivism of Kashmir Pasupatis of Vairagis Probably the oldest school within Shaivism. The school of Shaiva Siddhanta is a continuation of this tradition. Shaiva Siddhanta The Shaivasiddhantins date as early as the sixth century AD. Followed by many intellectuals. It has a personal doctrine, stressing the plurality of souls (as opposed to the advaita idea that all souls are one with God ). According to Shaiva Sidhdhaantha the God is formless (arUpa) . But for the salvation of mankind He took the form of lingam – form of the formless (arUpa rUpa). identified with Christ the form of the formless. Kashmiri (Trika) Shaivism - Shiva-advaita. Abhinavagupta (c. 960 – 1020) was the proponent of this theological movement. In this the aim of the believer is to "become Shiva". There is only one reality, that is Cit – consciousness. This the the advaita version of Saivism. It is almost identical with the Lurianic Kaballah of Judaism. This theology is very close to the Eastern Christian Theology of creation of cosmos. Virashaivism (the Lingayats) This movement started with Basava of the 12th c. It opposed caste differences. Shaiva Asceticism – the rebels in Saivism This is very close to the Christian Theology and will probably identical with if Ganapathy, the Lord of reconciliation can be 46 17. SAIVISM Shaiva has long been connected with rigorous asceticism and odd behaviors. Well known are the naked Nagas. Many yogis are Shaivites. Prominent are the Nathapatnis, followers of Gorakhnatha, and the Aghori who deliberately contravene moral norms. 46 18. SAKTISM CHAPTER 18 SAKTISM Worship of Energy or Power of creation as a female power is common in all the cultures. As early as 4th millennium BC Neolithic period, it has been in existence. Here are a few examples Cucuteni Culture statuette, a 4th millennium BC Late Neolithic Upper Paleolithic, Venus von Willendorf, 24,000–22,000 BCE This statue menhir, la Dame de SaintSernin, now in musée Fenaille de Rodez was discovered in southern France 46 18. SAKTISM The ancient culture of Aztecs had a Mother Goddess, Egyptian mother goddesses Hathor and Mut (Mother) of the world known as Coatlique, lived in the Aztlan, or Lady of the Serpent Skirt, the creator mountains. She had 400 children who populated the universe Lucius Apuleius writes in The Golden Ass (AD160) about Goddess, "I am nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead....Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names, propitiated with all manner of different rites, yet the whole round earth venerates me." Translation by Robert Graves. These were the goddesses of the Canaanites when the Hebrews conquered Canaan and are referred to as the “Abomination”. Yet being an agricultural goddess of fertility , magic and witchcraft it thrived in the times of the period of Kings. Evidently Saktism is a universal culture celebrating female power who swayed every formation of culture indirectly in a subtle way. So it is logical to assume that similar cults existed in the Indus Indus valley civilization was also an agricultural civilization. civilization long before the Aryans. According to Bhattacharya it might have been in existence in the pre-Indus cultures of Zhob Valeey and Kulli which existed in the third millennium BC. The Indus seals were found in Sumerian Ur attesting to the fact that people of Sumeria and Mohenjodaro and Harappa in India were trading partners between 2300 to 2000 B.C. 46 18. SAKTISM These objects found in Indus Valley suggests some form of fertility pre-saivite cult. However we cannot say whether they are indeed religious artifacts or not. This is what John Marshal the Indus Valley archeologist has to say: “Now of Saktism there is no direct evidence at Mohen-Jodaro or Harappa. Let me be clear on that point. What evidence there is, is merely suggestive. Sakthi worship was of great antiquity in India; it originated out of the cult of the Mother Goddess, and it is closely connected with the cult of Siva. Moreover, it exhibits features that bear so striking resemblance to those of certain prehistoric cults in West Asia, that we cannot pass it by in silence or ignore the likelihood of its existence among the Indus Valley people. The underlying principle of Saktism is a sexual dualism which has been aptly described as “duality in unity”. In this development of the primitive mother worship, the goddess was transformed into a personification of female energy (Sakti) and, as the eternal productive principle (Prakriti), united with the eternal male principle (Purusha) and became the creator and Mother of the Universe (Jaganmata or Jagad-amba)” Mohenjo-Daro and the Indus Civilization - John Marshal Whatever the echoes of the past may be, Saktism in its present form is an off shoot of medieval India most probably from among the agricultural people rather than of the Aryan immigrants. They eventually absorbed it around the 5th c AD because of the confusion in the war between the gods which we had discussed earlier as a compromise escape. saved the day for the Brahmins. We can try to locate the Shakthi worship to vedic texts like Rig , Yajur ans Sama Vedas in the protions written after the Christian Era. Rig Veda tenth chapter includes – Sri suktham, describing the glory of goddesses, appears to be a late supplement to the Rig Veda differing both in language and in subject. Khilaratri sukta also mentions the Goddesses Mahalaxmi ,Mahasaraswati and Mahakali Sakthi came as a strong solution to the problem which was essentially supported by the Advaitist monism of Sankara in the 8 th century. It 46 18. SAKTISM uttānapad, 650 CE - Badami Museum, India. In the Rig Veda X we have description of Vedic description Aditi which later became popular during the Gupta period as uttānapad ("she who crouches with legs spread"), and as Lajja Gauri idols with a faceless, lotus-headed goddess in birthing posture. The explanation is given as: "In the first age of the gods, existence was born from non-existence. The quarters of the sky were born from she who crouched with legs spread. The earth was born from she who crouched with legs spread, and from the earth the quarters of the sky were born." Rigveda, X.72.3-4, cited in Doniger, p. 38. Yajur Veda - Shatpat Brahman (a part of the white Yajur Veda) says when Prajapati, tired of creating beings, relaxed, Sri came forth from him. The Gods were jealous and wanted to kill her but Prajapati intervened and saved her life. In fact Taittirya aranakyas (a part of the black Yajur Veda) is the first to mention the name Durga. Sama Veda – is the earliest known text where Sakti is acknowledged by the Aryans. Kena Upanishad tells of how the Aryan Gods had no knowledge of the Brahman and failed to recognise or acknowledge that their powers were granted by the ‘Brahman’. When Brahman appeared before them as an Yaksha they could not recognize him. Indra sent Agni (Fire) to find out who this Adorable Spirit is. Brhaman placed a straw before Agni and asked him to burn it. He was unable to burn the straw offered by the ‘Brahman’. Then Indra send Vayu (Wind) and Vayu failed to blow it away. Finally Indra himself went to test this unknown power and Brahman appeared to him as Uma. There are other Upanishads which mentions this cult of Devi 46 18. SAKTISM Puranas By the time of Puranas Devi was probably a major force that . • In Ramayana, there is reference to Sri Rama performing Durga puja befor slaying Ravana Before starting for his battle with Ravana, Rama wanted the blessings of Devi Durga . He came to know that the Goddess would be pleased only if she is worshipped with one hundred 'NeelKamal' or blue lotuses. Rama, after travelling the whole world, could gather only ninety nine of them. He finally decided to offer one of his eyes, which resembled blue lotuses. Durga, being pleased with the devotion of Rama, appeared before him and blessed him. • In Mahabharatha Yudhishtira offered puja to Durga before commencing the last year of exile. Yudishtra invokes her as the Mahisasura Mardini with 4 arms & 4 faces holding a noose, bow and arrow and a disc. • • • Arjuna offerd puja to Durga before the commencement of the Mahabharata war. Durga is mentioned in Arjun’s Hymn. In Srimad Bhagavatha it is narrated how Rugmini offers puja to Durga before marrying Krishna. Markandeya Purana deals with Devi Mahaathmya and Brahmanda Purana contains Lalta Sahasranama with detailed instruction regarding the Devi worship. Puranas were written mostly during the Gupta Period *(320-700 AD), beginning 320 AD and Sakti appears in various Devi forms in these writings. Major figures introduced through the Puranas are, Mahisasura Mardini, the fierce goddess of protection and Uma/ Sati/ Parvati/ Himavati the fertile nurturing form of the goddess. These appeared in the various Puranas of the period such as Markandya Purana (kills the Asuras, Madhu and Kaiatabha.), Vamana Purana, Devi Bhagwat Purana. Siva purana, Skanda Purana Chandi Mahatyama *celebrates the victories of the goddess under the following names – Durga, Dasabhuja, Mahisasura Mardini, Simhavahini, Jagadhatri, Kali, Muktakesi, Tara, Chinnamosta, Jagad gauri.) and Varaha Purana (Siva created Kumari, with dark skin and curly black hair, to kill Andhaka. Varaha Puran talks of the 8th goddess Yogeshwari who leapt from the flames emanating from Shiva’s mouth). As in most cases the Purana period presents Sakti essentially as part of Saivism. [“Sakti - the Mother Goddess” Dr. Manoshi Bhattacharya Sakti%20-%20Mother%20Goddess.htm] Even though Dattatheya (Datta Samhita ) and Bhaskararaya contributed heavily to the development of Sakti cult in South India, it was Sankaracharya who really established it in India as a whole. In his 46 18. SAKTISM Prapancha Saara and Soundarya Lahari he established Srichakra worship essences of Mantra, Yantra and Tantra. Devi connection was soon taken over by the Vaishnavites from the Saivites and reinterpreted in their terms. The Devi-Bhagavata Purana retells the tales of the Devi Mahatmya in much greater length and detail, embellishing them with Shakta philosophical reflections, while recasting many classic tales from other schools of Hinduism (particularly Vaishnavism) in a distinctly Shakta light: "The Devi-Bhagavata was intended not only to show the superiority of the Goddess over various male deities, but also to clarify and elaborate on her nature on her own terms. [...] The Goddess in the Devi-Bhagavata becomes less of a warrior goddess, and more a nurturer and comforter of her devotees, and a teacher of wisdom. This development in the character of the Goddess culminates in the Devi Gita, which "repeatedly stresses the necessity of love for the goddess, with no mention of one's gender, as the primary qualification," a view "inspired by the devotional ideals of Shaktism." [Brown, C. Mackenzie. The Devi Gita: The Song of the Goddess: A Translation, Annotation and Commentary. State University of New York Press (Albany, 1998).] Devi Mahatmya also marks the birth of "independent Shaktism"; i.e. the cult of the Female Principle as a distinct philosophical and denominational entity. "The influence of the cult of the Female Principle [had already] placed goddesses by the sides of the gods of all systems as their consorts, and symbols of their energy or shakti. But the entire popular emotion centering round the Female Principle was not exhausted. So need was felt for a new system, entirely female-dominated, as system in which even the great gods like Vishnu or Shiva would remain subordinate to the goddess. This new system – containing vestiges of hoary antiquity, varieties of rural and tribal cults and rituals, and strengthened by newfangled ideas of different ages – came to be known as Shaktism." [Bhattacharyya, N. N., History of the Sakta Religion, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. (New Delhi, 1974, 2d ed. 1996).] and detailed the major 46 18. SAKTISM The oldest surviving manuscript of the Devi MÄhÄtmya, on palm-leaf, in an early Bhujimol script, Bihar or Nepal, 11th century. Devi Mahatmya is the first religious text to define the Supreme Reality (God) as a female principle. Devi Mahatmya is found in the Markandeya Purana. Composed some 1,600 years ago, c. 400-500 CE, Once the Trinity concept degenerated to a constant struggle between Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha it resulted in the murder of Brahma leaving behind the two major sects of Vaisnava and Saiva. The Female face the Holy Spirit of the original Trinity took to form in the absence of Brahma and the Sakti cult formed. It essentially started with the Saivite sect forming a Trinity of Siva, Sakti and Ganesha as the Father, Holy Spirit and Son. The basic Siva was then shown to be both Male and Female before the creation in the dance of Ardha Nareeswara (Half Woman God) 46 18. SAKTISM Shiva and Devi are regarded as the twofold personalization of Brahman, the primeval 47 18. SAKTISM substance. Which then appears as Siva and Sakthi separated and in action. Sankara (9th C AD) interpreted this as “Supreme, Devi holds ‘the universe in Her womb’ The Union produced the created world. Siva without Sakti is Sava (dead body). 47 18. SAKTISM (Joh 6:63) It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail. It represents the union of Prakriti and Energy. Together it creates forms from nothing. This is also shown in the Linga Yoni symbolism. Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create - Saundaryalahari The height of worship for Devi was the period of the Tantras, the seventh century onwards, when release was found possible through mithuna, ‘the state of being a couple’. V.Krishnaraj gives this detailed meaning of the symbolism “That 1 and 0 are represented in Lingam on its base. Siva is the first ONE who said, I (Aham). That is divine Ego, from which all individual egos came later via Sakti. Upon telling Sakti that He is One, she accepted Her position, Zero (0) initially. Here zero does not mean She is a non-entity. That is when the unitary Siva-Sakti (two cotyledons in a seed) became polarized, gendered and created the Universe and beings. Sakti looked at Him (Pum Rupa = male form, the One) with longing eyes (Sivon Mukhi = turning towards Siva). This is called Mithah Samavaya, mutual agreement or obligation to begin creation. Siva is Consciousness and Sakti is matter (Prakrti). Being ONE (1) is being lonely. One is no more than ONE without the zero (0). From this union of One and Zero comes all numbers, alphabets, combinations, permutations, fractions, beings, matter, souls, and endless possibilities.“ By the 10th – 11th century AD she is established as an independent deity in India. 47 18. SAKTISM As stressed in most Tantrik teachings all things were created by Mahamaya and from her Yoni as also all the Gods and all beings. The Devi is Venerated by Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva 47 18. SAKTISM Devi becomes Adi Para Sakthi – the Primal Eternal Energy worshipped by the Trimurthi and the gods As in all earlier cultures this concept of sex degenerated into various secret cultic foms involving magic, witchcraft, immorality, and occult powers. An example of the perverted expression of the truth, a travesty of the original practices, is the theory of the five Makaras (Pancha Makaras);-Madya or wine, Mamsa or flesh, Matsya or fish, Mudra or symbolical acts, and Maithuna or coition. In order achieve this, Tantra is declared as a secret doctrine. It is a Gupta Vidya. divergent forms of worship and rituals. It then takes many In Sankara’s theology here is the scheme: 47 18. SAKTISM As in all earlier cultures this concept of sex degenerated into various secret cultic foms involving magic, witchcraft, immorality, and occult powers. An example of the perverted expression of the truth, a travesty of the original practices, is the theory of the five Makaras (Pancha Makaras);-Madya or wine, Mamsa or flesh, Matsya or fish, Mudra or symbolical acts, and Maithuna or coition. In order achieve this, Tantra is declared as a secret doctrine. It is a Gupta Vidya. divergent forms of worship and rituals. It then takes many 47 18. SAKTISM According to The Brahma Yamala there are three currents of tradition ,dakshina (right handed of Sattva guna) , vama (left handed of Tamo guna) , and madhyama (Middle of Rajo Guna ) Vamachara follows with pancha-makara, the "Five Ms: Madya (Intoxicant Drink), Mamsa (Meat), Matsya (Fish), Mudra (Cereal), and Maithuna (Sexual Intercourse). asceticism and meditation. Citations to scripture relating to Tantric and Vamachara practice. Dakshinachara consists of traditional I specifically talk about Sahajiya branch of Gaudiya-vaishnavism and Jagannatha cult of Orissa. References are many, U may easily find them in studies of these two cults. What i have read myself are "Obscure Religious Cults" by Dasgupta (still available in India) and "The Place of the Hidden Moon - Erotic Mysticism in the Vaishnava-sahajiya Cult of Bengal" by E. C. Dimock. Some material is present in "Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees", an academical digest by several scholars and some other works. The dialogue of the priests and the queens, as if found in the Vajasaneyi-samhita XXIII.22-31, was likewise meant to be a part of an older ritual act in which a man, evidently a priest, had to unite with the queen - the part played by the horse here - and after his ceremonial sexual union he was put to death. The Vajasaneyi verses mentioned above tell us that the queen and the priest are to be raised up high by a few persons and in that position they are required by the ritual to have sexual intercourse. In Uvata’s commentary on the Vajasaneyi-samhita, this rite is explained in greater detail. Shatapatha-brahmana (XIII.2.7-9) also refers to the queen’s union with the priest. This ritual 47 18. SAKTISM was later transformed into the Ashvamedha sacrifice in which a horse was used as a substitute for the priest. (N. N. Bhattacharyya, History of the Tantric Religion, New Delhi, 1987. P.124) In certain Vedic works, e.g., Shrautasutras of Katyayana (IV.3.17), Gobhila-Grihyasutra (II.5.6.9-10), Taittiriya-aranyaka (IV.7.50) to mention only a few, sexual intercourse is regarded as a part of religious rites. Drinking of wine appears (e.g., Shatapatha-brahmana V.1.2.9; Aitareya VII.1.5 etc.) to have been in vogue in sacrifices. The Vajapeya and Sautramani seem to be the precursor of the Chakra of the Tantric devotees. (Dr. Savitri Vashist, Tantra and Religion, Jaipur, 2002, p. 92). Tara-rahasya 3. 8: "The one who is doing puja or japa [of Devi] without Vamachara, goes to the terrible hell for a period of 14 lives of Indra." … Shvetashvatara Upanishad (?): "Yoni of Bliss, Bliss is Brahman. Brahman is this Devi, who is One in multitude of creation and form of Bliss in four Purusharthas." . Gandharva-tantra 27.36b-37a: "Bliss is the form of Brahman, which should be known through the body. The five Makaras are glorified as manifesting this Bliss." Exactly the same is said in Tantraloka of Shri Abhinavagupta (29th Ahnika). Devi-rahasya, Uttarardha 58.11a: "Parameshvari is satisfied in the worship of Rasa of Bliss." Kularnava-tantra 7.101: "By bliss Devi is satisfied, by orgasm Bhairava himself. Agamas say: "Women are divine, women are life-breaths, women are ornaments. One should always be with a woman, another’s or his own." Vamachara is literally "following a woman" and it leads to Kamakala, essence of the Godhead. Kulachudamani states that "without a woman one never attains the Perfection, thus one should take a refuge in a woman." Meru-tantra (X.67) says: "Only he whose love (bhakti) is strong, attains the Perfection on the Vamapath." And then (XX.153) also: "Linga is Shiva, bhaga (vagina) is Shakti, emission is water of Ganga. Being aware of this in sexual enjoyment the follower of Vama achieves Liberation." Shri Sarvananda in his "Sarvollasa" (24. 7a) says: "One should drink wine for the sake of Bliss, Bliss brings Liberation." In Brihannila-tantra (8. 90) it is said: "Women are divine, women are breaths of life, women are the ornament. One should always unite with women, especially with beautiful." Gandharva-tantra (40. 51b-52a), Shrividya Agama states: "That Bliss which is born out of union of yoni and linga, should be known as [Bliss of] Immense Absolute and a path to Liberation." Kularnava 9. 50 says: "O my Beloved! The joy derived from wine, meat and coition with women is Liberation for the wise, but a sin for the ignorants." Yoni-tantra (8. 2) which says:"There is no Liberation without maithuna, such is the verdict of Shastras." Kali-tantra 12. 22: "O Lady of gods, on the way of Kula Perfection is achieved not by pujas, nyasas or snanas, but only by japa in union with a woman." 47 18. SAKTISM Kali-tantra 9. 23b-24a: "He who knows the heart of Kalika, who does Vama-sadhana with a woman, becomes divine and achieves eternal Liberation." Kulamrita-dipika says: "Sayujya is achieved through sexual union, there is no doubt in this". Vivekananda Vol.3: The Vedanta in All Its Phases, pp.340-341. When I see how much the Vamachara [Tantra] has entered our [Bengali] society, I find it a most disgraceful place, with all of its boast of culture. These Vamachara sects are honeycombing our society in Bengal. Those who come out in the daytime and preach most loudly about achara, it is they who carry on the horrible debauchery at night and are backed by the most dreadful books. They are ordered by the books to do these things. You who are of Bengal know of it. The Bengal Shastras are the Vamachara Tantras. They are published by the cart-load, and you poison the minds of your children with them instead of teaching them our Shrutis. Fathers of Calcutta, do you not feel ashamed that such horrible stuff as these Vamachara Tantras, with translations too, should be put into the hands of your boys and girls, and their minds poisoned, and that they should be brought up with the idea that these are the Shastras of the Hindus? If you are ashamed, take them away from your children and let them read the true Shastras - the Vedas, the Gita and the Upanishads. It is easy to see how the ideal concepts of Holy Spirit as the creative process in the Trinity and the idea that love is the fulfilment of law has been high jacked into perverted forms in the Vamachara. Remember Dwaraka. Remember Sodom and Gomorah. Remember Roman and Greek Cultures. Lest we also perish likewise. 47 18. SAKTISM Dwaraka Sila – witness to the lost world 47 12. VAISHNAVISM CHAPTER 19 KALABHRA INTER-REGNUM REWRITING THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA KALABHRA INTER-REGNUM Post-Sangkam Period - 300 A.D. to 600 A.D. The people who controlled South India during this period is referred to as Kalabhas. But nothing of their origin, character, religion or social structure is known. One even wonders whether these were intentionally destroyed. cultures. Blotting out names and history was an age-old method practiced in ancient Historians affirm that this is exactly what happened in the case of South India as a whole until the fifth century. In Kerala this period extended until the eighth century. Kalabhras were the South Indian dynasty who between the third and the 6th century C.E. ruled over entire Tamil country, displacing the ancient Chola, Pandya and Chera dynasties. Information about their origin and details about their reign is scarce. They did not leave any artifacts or monuments. The only source of information on them is the scattered mentions in Buddhist and Jain literature. They were displaced around the 7th century by the revival of Pallava and Pandya power. . Kalabhra Interregnum - With the ending of the progressive Sangam Age that was beamed with the literary advance in South Indian literature, the light faded and Kerala underwent a dark phase that lasted almost for four centuries. This epoch is known as ‘Kalabhra Interregnum’ and has been referred as the Dark Age in the history of Kerala. The Kalabhra Kings created mayhem and 480 12. VAISHNAVISM disrupted the social and political order of the South Indian Peninsula by overthrowing and deracinating the Adhirajas of Chera, Chola and Pandya dynasties which were a part of present day Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These valorous Kalabhra Kings ruled with an upper hand, relentlessly for almost three hundred years from 300 AD to 600AD. The reign of Kalabhras of South India finally came to an end in the 8th Century AD when the Pallavas, Pandyas, Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas extirpated them from South India. Most historians think that there was a group of Buddhist or Jain marauders who were anti-Brahminic anti-ritualistic who forcefully occupied the land during this period and whose identity is not known. These people are called Kalabhras. Thus we have the Wikipedia statement: ”Historians speculate that these people followed Buddhist or Jain faiths and were antagonistic towards the Hindu and Brahminical religions adhered by the majority of inhabitants of the Tamil region during the early centuries C.E. As a result Hindu scholars and authors who followed their decline in the 7th and 8th century C.E. may have expunged any mention of them in their texts and generally tended to paint their rule in a negative light. It is perhaps due to this reason, the period of their rule is known as a ‘Dark Age’ – an “interregnum”. Vaishnava epigraphists either destroyed the history of Kalabhras or twisted it beyond normal understanding of common people. 481 12. VAISHNAVISM It is referred to as Kalabhra interregnum- the Dark Ages of Kalabhra Period. It is called a dark age, not because it was anything evil or dark, but because of the lack of information about the period. It is as though somebody took a marker and covered these pages with black ink. It is an age that has been blacked out by some body because they did not like the Kalabrahs and their ways. However identification of who this Kalabhra has remained a problem. There had been a number of attempts to identify the Kalabhras based on the etymology of the word. Some attempts in Identification Kalabhras The identification of the Kalabhras is difficult. They have been identified with the line of Muttaraiyar of Kondubalur (eighth to eleventh century C.E.). Others regard them as Karnatas on the strength of a reference in Tamil literature to the rule of a Karnata king over Madurai. A third view is that the Kalabhras were Kalappalar, belonging to Vellala community and referred to in Tamil literature and inscriptions. But the most satisfactory theory identifies the Kalabhras with the Kalavar, and the chieftains of this tribe mentioned in Sangam literature are Tiraiyan of Pavattiri and Pulli of Vengadam or Tirupati. The latter is described as the cattle lifting robber chief of the frontier. The Kalavar must have been dislodged from their habitat near Tirupati by political events of the third century A.D., viz. the fall of the Satavahanas and the rise of Pallavas, resulting in political confusion in Tondaimandalam. While there is no doubt that Buddhism and Jainism (coexisting with Vedism and local religions) existed in Kerala since second century BC (at the least); why should there be a sudden change in their attitude in the first century AD that they are considered heretical during that period (heretical to 482 12. VAISHNAVISM what? Were they not heretical before?) cannot be explained . The very basis of Buddhism and Jainism are extreme non-violence and respect for life. (This is the principle of Ahimsa – they are not allowed even to kill an insect) and no where in India they have ever attacked another religion or kingdom. In fact Asoka became a Buddhist on seeing the bloodshed he has caused in war. So Jain or Buddhist groups could not really be the Kalabhras. So we have to look elsewhere for the real “Kalabhras”. It may be legitimately assumed that it came out of the epithets "Cerobothras' of the Periplus. Pliny the Roman historian of the first century calls them as Caelobothras. These may be the foreigner’s effort to pronouce what Asoka named as "Keralaputra" referring to the Sons of Kerala. All other given explanations are clearly forced. 54. Tyndis is of the Kingdom of Cerobothra; it is a village in plain sight by the sea. Muziris, of the same kingdom, abounds in ships sent there with cargoes from Arabia, and by the Greeks; it is located on a river, distant from Tyndis by river and sea five hundred stadia, and up the river from the shore twenty stadia. Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia, and is of another Kingdom, the Pandian. This place also is situated on a river, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea. Page Number: 50-59. Author: Periplus. . Ancient History Sourcebook Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century The king of Muziris, at the date of publication, was Caelobothras. Ancient History Sourcebook: Pliny: Natural History 6.96-111. (On India) The Muthuraja of Tamilnadu, the Mudiraja of Karnataka and Mudiraj of Andhra Pradesh are one and the same people having the same blood and professional background. 483 12. VAISHNAVISM Mudiraj people are believed to be the descendants of Kalabhra kings of South India who invaded South Indian Peninsula and uprooted the kingdoms ruled by Adhirajas (Great Kings) of Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasties. The kalabhra kings who played a great havoc in South Indian Penensula by snacthing away the kingdoms of the then ADHIRAJAS declared them as the real GREAT KINGS (MUDIRAJAS). Christians in Kerala are still known as MAHAPILLAI (Sons of the Kings) MUNDA LEGEND “The Cheras of the Chotanagpur region, the ancestors of Keralites, had a great king called Bali who governed the Dinajpur area; he was an asur, who did not worship Vishnu, the Aryan God. He continued to worship the native Munda god, Lord Shiva. After being defeated by the Vaishnavites the Mundas were forced to settle down in Kerala. The Mahabali-story of the Keralites, in the MundaChera tradition, indicates the triumph of the Vaishnavite brand of Aryans over the Shiva-worshipping Munda-Cheras. Bali/Balia is a common personal name among the Mundas.” “In Tamil Sangam-work, Puram, Maveli appears as the Vellala chief of Milalaikurram. There are documentary evidence that there was a Christian Church among them.” Dr. Zacharias Thundy, Northern Michigan University This was the Kingdom of Mahabali in South India. Speculation of the Indian historians always left out the impact of St.Thomas and his ministry. historians agree that for some reason A similar willful neglect on this historical reality is also seen in every modern Hindu History. All Hindu Vedic gods got extinct and new gods of Hinduism came in during the first century AD. But there is no reason given!. A sudden change for no reason? They also agree that St.Thomas came to India and had his ministry from North India to South India. But they refuse to see the connection. There is an intentional blacking out or ignoring of the Christian presence and influence anywhere in India. This is really the basic Kalabhra Interregnum. What I am suggesting is that the period referred here as “Black Age” is the epithet given to the Christendom in South India by the later Gnostic Brahminic historians. It was simply a period which they did not want to remember. Christianity was indeed the religion that supplanted Vedism. But this was soon followed by intense conflict between Christians of Thomas and the Gnostic heresies which came from Syria (Aryan – Persian) by the second century AD. Mani came to India and China taking the Silk route and hence his ministry was concentrated initially in the North India. In the North India this conflict easily resulted in the destruction of Christian churches soon after the fall of Taxila kingdom. Most Christian Churches 484 12. VAISHNAVISM went underground as a result of persecution and others fled to Syria where the Syrian churches gave them refuge. In the South India the story was different. All the three regions of Dravidia – the Chola, Chera and Pandya were ruled by Christians –in the Indian myth - by an Asura King called Maha Bali. It is this period when Maha Bali ruled that came to be the Dark Ages of South India which will explain all known facts. All information on this period was wilfully destroyed by the new religious leaders of India. We will be able to identify them from history that followed this period. Considering the history of South India, it appears that Kalabhras can be identified with the Mahabali’s Christian Kingdom, Caelobothras, which covered the three worlds Pandya at the first century. We will take up this story in the next chapter. (The Dark Ages) – Chola, Chera and Kalabhra Interregnum was the result of an attempt to obliterate the Christian Period of Caelobothras. The Possible extent of Kalbhra Empire - Mahabali Empire A good look at the time line of south Indian history will give lots of insight. The Time line goes like this: In Chola and Pandya regions of South India Even though history was blanked out, we still have the secular Tamil literature created in Tamil by the association of poets called Sangam. They give some insight of the period as a golden era. 485 12. VAISHNAVISM This period is designated as Kalabra Interregnum and we have a blank page in South Indian history. Some how even the very nature of the Kalabra has been radically wiped out and we do not know who they are. Even though this period is called a dark age by many political historians, it was definitely a period of prolific literary writing many of which still remain as Tamil’s cherished literary treasure. Note the description of the period by Prof. Velupillai. Religious Traditions of the Tamils Prof. A. Veluppillai ”Politically in this period, the Tamils were under foreign kalabhra domination. Their political history is characterized by many historians as a dark period. Buddhism and Jainism appear to have prospered during this period. Some notable literary works are assigned to this period. The early Tamil kAppijangkaL, (epics) are assigned to this age, as for examples, cilappatikAram, a Jaina epic and manhimEkaly, a Buddhist epic. aRam, the equivalent of Sanskrit dharma , becomes the main theme of literary works. Eleven didactic works were written in this period. Their main purpose seems to be reformation of the society - bringing back values which were reversed during the Heroic Age. tirukkuRaL the most outstanding work in Tamil, belongs to this period. This sets the tone of didactic works. According to Albert Schweitzer's evaluation in his book, Indian Thoughts and its Development, tirukkuRaL represents a synthesis of much of the best in Indian thought up to that time with a positive approach to life. The positive approach to life , also called life-affirmation, seems to owe its influence to the literary traditions of the Academy period. varnAcirama dharma, the central concept of the Brahminical religion, prescribing different rules for the four-fold castes and for the four stages of human life, has not even been mentioned in this work. This work is of universal appeal. The Tamil society never had the varnha system. There was no cattiryjAs, and the vycijAs. The ruling kings and their ancestors, were sometimes eulogized and flattered as the cattirijAs, but there was no consequent development from this position. The non-Brahmin high caste Tamils resented the term - cUttirAs, the name of the fourth caste. So, what we get in the Tamil works, equivalent to the Sanskrit dharmasastras, is sAmAnija dharma applicable to every human being. Religious affiliation of the author is not known. ThiruvaLLuvar, the author, has kept himself clear of external trappings of different religions. The Hindus, the Jains, and the Buddhists have claimed this work as their own. Many Christian missionaries and British administrators have praised this work, even tracing Christian influence in the work. This work, consisting of 1330 verses, has been translated into many languages. Other didactic works, follow the lead by tirukkuRaL. The authors are identified as Jaina or Brahminical, mainly by their invocation verses. Otherwise, there are no deep differences in the contents of these works. NAladijAr the second most important work with 400 verses, ascribed to Jaina authorship and with a noticeable slant to life-negation, had been translated into English by G.U. Pope almost a century ago. tirukkuRaL and NAladijAr can be said to constitute the ethical core of the religious traditions of the Tamils. It is important to note here that varnAcirama dharma had not been brought into Tamil literature. Though the Tamils also developed an evil and pernicious caste system, in certain respects, quite distinct from the varnha system, in subsequent periods, that system had no sanction either in 486 12. VAISHNAVISM Tamil or in Sanskrit texts.” Evidently something strange was happening during this period. Some one has been deliberately deleting the documents with absolute details so that we have been left with no clue to who and what were the Kalabrahs. We have the following characteristics of the Kalabrah Kingdom 1. They were not enemical to Jains or Buddhists. 2. They clearly and actively supported the growth of intellectualism and literature. 3. They were certainly against the caste system of the Brahminic era. 4. They actively opposed the philosophy of svadharma promulgated in the celebrated Bhagavat Gita of Krishnites. Instead they actively advocated the universal equality and the highest ethical standards against opportunistic philosophy which absolved lies and cheating for personal and social achievements of persons and communities. These are reflected in the literature of the people. 5. There is no mention of a group of people called Christians who certainly pervaded the chola, chera and pandya kingdoms during this period. Those references were totally blotted out. When it came out of the Kalabhra Interregnum period it was the Pallavas who were ruling the Pandya and the Chola Kingdoms. We should be able to assume legitimately that the decimers of Kalabhras were indeed Pallavas. Who were the Pallavas? Pallavas are originaly connected to the Pahlavas of Iran. This Pahlava tribe of Indo-Iranian descent migrated Southward and first settled in Krishna River valley. This region is called Pallavanadu even today. Pallavas later extended their territory and established their capital in Kancheepuram. The Early Pallavas claimed to be Brahmins of Bharadwaja gotra. They styled themselves as Brahma Ksnatriyas ( Brahmins in Pursuit of arms). Later by the fifth century CE, the Pallavas were regarded as Kshatriyas. They were followers of the Brahmanical religion. 487 12. VAISHNAVISM Pallava coin 500 – 675 AD The earliest known coinage in lead issued by the Pallavs dated between 3rd and 4th century AD. The Early Pallavas claimed to be Brahmins of Bharadwaja gotra. They styled themselves as Brahma Ksnatriyas. They were Brahmins who took arms. It is easy to see that the Kalabhras were actually defeated and displaced by the Pallavas of Syrian origin. Though they were Brahmins they became a terrorist group to take over the Kalabhra Empire. It was this dynasty who gave refuge to the Gnostics from Syria and were the architects of modern Vaishnavism. Pallavas are famed for their temples which are spread all over Tamil Nadu. 488 12. VAISHNAVISM Timeline: 600 BC 500 BC 400 BC 300BC 200 BCE 100 BC Foreign Kingdoms Northern Empires • Magadha Nanda empire Southern Kingdoms Kerala • Pandyan Chera Kings (Persian rule) (Greek conquests) • • Indo-Greek kingdom • • • • • • • • Maurya Satavahana Cholas • 100 AD Indo-Scythians Indo-Parthian Kingdom • • Sunga Kuninda Kalabhras Kalabhras Kalabhras Kushan Empire Western Kshatrapas 200 AD 300AD 400AD 600AD • • • • Kalinga Pallavas Indo-Sassanians Kidarite Kingdom IndoHephthalites • Gupta Chalukya Perumals 800AD • Pala 489 12. VAISHNAVISM “Bhakti and temple-building movements went hand in hand after the Kalabhra interregnum ended. There was a definite paradigm shift from Vedic yajnas to archa worship in temples and the Velvikkudi copperplates are eloquent witness to the rejuvenation of the Vedic-Brahmanic religion in South India.” (The Hindu, Sunday, Dec 23, 2001 ) However Kerala survived the assault of gnosticism for another three centuries. As a result the Kalabhra Interregnum extended till the eighth century in Kerala. It ended with the coming of Brahmins from outside India with Parasurama. At the end of eighth century we see temples and idols appear all of a sudden in Kerala. Thus soon after the Kalabhra interregnum we see an upsurge of Hinduism specifically of Vaishnavite tradition both in Tamil region and in Kerala. Thus it is certain that the rewriting of history was done by these people to blot out the memory of the vast and powerful history of the Indian Christendom. Apparently they succeeded. “At the end of the eighth century Rashtrakutas and the A.D, South Indian kingdoms such as the Pallavas, the Chalukyas, the succeeded in overthrowing the Kalabhras.” Pandyas ( “The revival of Hinduism from its root during the Kalabhras spurred the construction of numerous temples and these in turn generated Saiva and Viashnava devotional literature.” The Shore Temple at Mamallapuram, built by the Pallava King Rajasimha (c. 700 - 728), is the earliest temple in Southern India. Its three sanctuaries are dedicated to Vishnu and Shiva. 490 12. VAISHNAVISM Bhakti Period 600 A.D. to 1200 A. D. This is the period when the Brahmins having defeated the Kalabhras (Kerala Putras) tookover the country. Realizing the power of devotion to a personal monistic God took over that aspect and restated Brahmanism in Hinduism as we know today in terms of Bakthi. Vedas were artificially introduced as the base as though Hinduism was a continuous outgrowth of the teachings of Vedas and exhaustive mythical Puranas were written as real history. Myths were taught and taken as reality. Thus it is evident that Brahminism took every advantage of the Christian teachings and deliberately distorted or rewrote them into Gnostic Hinduism. In order to cover up this gross reality even history was wiped out. We can still see these tendencies in todays Brahminism where an active process of rewriting history is in process. Sankara united everything in his Advaita where man became God himself. Attempts of writers to regain faith not only failed its intent but were absorbed as part of the Hinduism. 491 APPENDIX I WITH COMMENTARY BY April, 2007 492 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD ISA UPANISHAD or ISAVASYA UPANISHAD THE DOCTRINE OF THE IMMANENCE OF JESUS This Upanishad belongs to the Vajasaneyi School of the Yajur Veda – White Yajur Veda. The Vajasaneya Samhita consists of forty chapters and Isa Upanishad is the last of it. Unlike the other Upanishads, it is directly included in the Samhita itself as its final chapter, rather than as a separate section. White Yajurveda has two branches: vajasaneyi madhyandina (VSM), vajasaneyi kanva (VSK) and the Isa Upanishad appear in both with some variation. The earlier 39 chapters refer to liturgies and procedures associated with rituals in detail. These are the contents of the forty chapters: 1-2: 3: 4-8: New and Full Moon sacrifices Agnihotra (Fire Sacrifice) Somayajna (Drink Sacrifice) 9-10: Vajapeya and Rajasuya, two modifications of the Soma sacrifice 11-18: Details regarding construction of altars and hearths, especially the Agnicayana 19.-21.: Sautramani, a ritual originally counteracting the effects of excessive Soma-drinking 22.-25.: Ashvamedha (horse sacrifice) 26.-29.: supplementary formulas for various rituals 30.-31.: Purushamedha (Sacrifice of Person Prajapathi – The Lord of Hosts) 32.-34.: 35.: 36.-39.: 40.: Sarvamedha (All Sacrifice) Pitriyajna (Sacrifice to honor those who are dead) Pravargya (Sacrifice associated with the restoration of the head of Prajapathi after he Isha Upanishad being beheaded by Rudra – The resurrection ) 493 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD The Purushamedha described in the Yajurveda (VS 30–31) is of particular interest. These verses describes people from all classes and of all descriptions tied to a wooden stake (cross) and offered to Prajapati. Prajapati literally means Lord of Hosts. This re-enacts the creation of a new class of people dedicated to Prajapati. The Purusha Sukta describes the process of creation of man from the cosmic Purusha (Person of Isa) who is described as a human. The Purusha Medha is an enactment of the sacrifice of (Isa) Purusha that leads to creation and recreation. The ceremony evokes the mythical sacrifice of Purusha, the "Cosmic Man", and the officiating Brahman recites the Purusha sukta (RV 10.90 = AVS 5.19.6 = VS 31.1–16) indicating the continuous process of recreation of man in Isa. The sacrifice of the creator himself in order to give life to the people and his resurrection are symbolized in most of these Levitical type rituals. Upanishad! It is written in poetry form indicating that it was supposed to be taught and memorized through generations. Scholars agree that this Upanishad mark the beginning of Monotheism in the Upanishads - hence its importance in the History of Indian Religions. The Samhitâ of the White Yajur-veda is generally acknowledged to be of later origin than the Rig Veda and is written in Sanskrit. Since Sanskrit as a language came into existence only in the second century AD, the Upanishad itself must be placed after that period. It is important to note also that all scholars agree that Isa is one of the earliest Upanishads. Upanishads came into existence only after the ministry of Apostle Thomas in India. Thomas, the disciple of Jesus, came to India in A.D. 52 and had a twenty year old ministry all through India until his martyrdom in Mylapore, Madras, Tamil Nadu, India in A.D.72. His ministry extended from Taxila in the North to the Malabar Coast in the southern tip of India covering the entire subcontinent of India. Considering the impact of the ministry of other Apostles in Africa, Middle East and Europe, we cannot doubt the tremendous impact that the Ministry of Apostle Thomas Dydymus had in the Indian continent. The basic impact of Thomas in India was the radical change in the concept of God. The Three major religions of India at that time were Vedic (who were nature worshippers), Buddhist and Jain (who were atheists). However with the coming of Thomas, the concept of God changed radically – the concept of a Supreme God. This Upanishad expresses the concept of Isa as Paran (Lord; Yesu Paran = Jesus is Lord = Iswaran). The impact of this mission was that the name Isa and Iswaran came to be equivalent to God all through later Indian scriptures. From then on, the entire history of Indian Religions changed radically. Gnosticism which lost its ground in the rest of the west followed Christianity into India and eventually supplanted it to give rise to what we today call Hinduism through syncretism and myths and legends typical of Gnostic religions. It is at the end of these we have the Isa 494 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Isa Upanishad is evidently influenced by Christian concepts as acknowledged by all those who have come across it and introduces Isa as immanent in the cosmos as well as transcendent to it – a concept never found in the earlier Vedas. It also brought in the concept of Sin, Judgment, and Hell which are clearly expressed in this Upanishad. It continually repeats the phrase "Thus have we heard from the wise who taught us this" indicating that the message and teaching as something new and something heard and taught as opposed to the religious teachings current in India at the time and taught by the religious leaders of the period. Thus Isa Upanishad is a clear indication of the wide existence of Isa was “Christianity” throughout India soon after the ministry of Thomas. Gnostics who were the major opponents in the Europe for Christianity came to India in the second and third centuries. probably written when this conflict between the Way and the Gnostics were in their height and the major thrust of the Upanishad is the exposition of the fallacy of Vidyayam (Gnostic knowledge). My contention here is that Isa Upanishad was one of the earliest Christian doctrinal treatises of India defending Christian Way against the onslaught of Gnosticism of the late second century. The text itself must have undergone changes and redactions and additions. Since Yajur Veda itself is a collection of useful ritual liturgies and procedures, this is not surprising. This can to some extent traced when we compare the two known versions. The order of the Mantras differs in the Shukla Yajur Veda’s two sakhas. White Yajurveda has two branches: vajasaneyi madhyandina (VSM) (popular in North India, Gujarat, Maharashtra -north of Nasik) and northern parts of Orissa,), vajasaneyi kanva (VSK)( popular in Maharashtra -south of Nasik, Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.). Here is the order of the mantras. VSK 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 VSM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 13 14 9 10 11 (17) - 15 16 As the comparison of the two branches indicates, mantras 17 and 18 are certainly later additions. Mantra 18 is a copy of Rig Veda verse so it was probably never really the part of the Isa Upanishad. It is omitted in Madhyandina version. Verses 15 – 18 were most probably added later than the earlier Since we have no means of portions and are really used during the rituals of death and burial. determining the time of writing or the sequence or modification made later we can be assured of the integrity of the first fourteen verses alone as really the part of the original Isa. The remaining verses may actually refer to lower gods indicating a redaction. But can be reinterpreted to the theme. Isa as the manifest form of God appears only in one more Upanishad -this time in the The Svetasvatara Upanishad belonging to the Taittiriya school of the Yajur Veda. (Black Yajur-Veda). The emphasis is not on Brahman the Absolute, whose complete perfection does not admit of any change or evolution and cannot have any character or properties, but on the personal form of God as Isa, omniscient and 495 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD omnipotent who is the manifested form of that indefinable. Svetasvatara Upanishad is of much later period and is essentially a Saivite Upanishad. Svetasvatara Upanishad I:8 The Lord, Isa, supports all this which has been joined together—the perishable and the imperishable, the manifest, the effect and the unmanifest, the cause. The same Lord, the Supreme Self, devoid of Lordship, becomes bound because of assuming the attitude of the enjoyer. The jiva again realizes the Supreme Self and is freed from all fetters. saṃyuktam etat kṣaram akṣaraṃ ca vyaktāvyaktaṃ bʰarate viśvam īśaḥ / anīśaś cātmā badʰyate bʰoktr̥bʰāvāj jñātvā devaṃ mucyate sarvapāśaiḥ // The interesting aspect of this particular verse is that it speaks of Isa, laying aside his Lordship and binding himself to the form of a man and it is this that leads to freedom from bondage. There are other variations of translations on the basis of Advaita which tries to avoid this interpretation. Phil 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Svetasvatara Upanishad 3. 8 I know that mighty Person, sun-coloured beyond the darkness: By knowing Him indeed a man surpasses Death; No other path is there to go. Isa in the Puranas Puranas came into existence only much later. The dates of the various Puranas will give some idea of the time scale. In some temples Siva is shown with five faces: Panchanana Siva. Each of the faces has a name and represents a specific aspect. These five faces are Isana, Tatpurusa, Aghora, Vamadeva and Sadyojata. Isana faces south east and represents Iswara aspect of Siva known as Sadasiva, or the Eternal Siva. Panca-vaktra Siva (five forms of Siva with five faces) are Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusa, and Isana. (SB 8.7.29, Garuda Purana 1.21) "Sleeping or awake, Siva is constantly absorbed in meditation on Krsna. As is Krsna, so is Sambhu; there is no difference between Madhava and Isa." (Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Prakriti Khanda 2.56.61) but emptied himself, taking 496 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD As time went on Isa was degraded in the Puranas, from the Supreme Lord who pervades everything to a minor god. By the time of Puranas Isa became a dikpala, a guardian of northeastern quarter, and an ekadasarudra, one of eleven rudras - as an aspect of Shiva - Eshana Rudra. He rides a goat or bull. His color is white, and attributes are five arrows, ax, drum, fruit, hatchet, hook, lute noose, rosary, and staff. He is three-eyed. This degradation went hand in hand with the intense fight between the Saivites and the Vaishnavites. The 11 Rudras are as follows: 1. Mahadeva, 2. Shiva , 3. Maha Rudra, 4. Shankara, 5. Neelalohita, 6. Eshana Rudra, 7. Vijaya Rudra, 8. Bheema Rudra, 9. Devadeva, 10. Bhavodbhava and 11. Adityatmaka Srirudra. Worship is offered to Indra and Dikpalas (guardians of directions, Indra, Agni, Yama, Yaksa, Varuna, Vayu, Kubera, Isana, Brahma and Ananta who carry weapons: Vajra, (thunderbolt); Sakti, (energy); Danda (staff); Khadga (sword); Pasa, (noose); Ankusa (hooked goad) ; Gada, (mace); Sula (trident); Padma (lotus flower); and Chakra (discus). Isana, Astadikpalas, Bhubanesvara Holds mala (prayer beads), trisula (trident) ca. 1000 CE, 975 CE - 1025 CE Dikpalas Ishana Parshvanatha Temple Jain complex, Khajuraho His name means, simply, "the Lord." He 497 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD holds a trident and bowl. Isa in Buddhist Literature The changes are reflected also in the Buddhist literature as Buddhism got syncretized with the Hindu Puranic gods. By the time of Buddhaghosa (5th century Indian Theravadin Buddhist) Isa is given a seat near Sakka (spoken of as “devánam indo,") chief (or king) of the devas. (Sakka is king of both worlds, but lives in Távatimsa. Originally it was the abode of the Asuras; but when Mágha was born as Sakka and dwelt with his companions in Távatimsa he disliked the idea of sharing his realm with the Asuras, and, having made them intoxicated, he hurled them down to the foot of Sineru, where the Asurabhavana was later established. (KS.i.281, n.4).The story probably is telling history which is to be deciphered yet.) These documents were actually translated from Simhala into Pali. Hence the vocabulary themselves were the vocabulary of the 5th C AD and not of the period of Buddha. “ca. 1000 Buddhist Era = 5th c. AD Ven. Buddhaghosa collates the various Sinhala commentaries on the Canon -- drawing primarily on the Maha Atthakatha (Great Commentary) preserved at the Mahavihara -- and translates them into Pali. This makes Sinhala Buddhist scholarship available for the first time to the entire Theravadin world and marks the beginning of what will become, in the centuries to follow, a vast body of post-canonical Pali literature. Buddhaghosa also composes his encyclopedic, though controversial, meditation manual Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification). Vens. Buddhadatta and Dhammapala write additional commentaries and sub-commentaries.” Theravada Buddhism - A Chronology, Edited by John Bullitt Digha Nikaya was compiled in the fourth or fifth century by Buddhaghosa on the basis of earlier commentaries that no longer survive. “To students of Buddhism and Comparative Religion desirous of knowing Buddha's own views and teaching from his own words, it is extremely disconcerting to find that the Pali Canon can no longer be regarded as the actual "Word" and Doctrine of Buddha himself. It has been conclusively established by the researches of Kern, Minayef, Senart, Feer, Poussin, Lefmann, Winternitz, R. O. Franke, and others (including the writer(1) ) that the Pali Canon is a mosaic of material belonging to different ages and stages in the development of Buddhism; and that the words and theories put into the mouth of Buddha therein are largely the composition of monks who lived several centuries after Buddha's death, and considerably later than was estimated by Professor H. Oldenberg.(2) Embedded thus in this mass of heterogeneous material, with no outstanding distinctive marks, it seems almost hopeless to confidently detect and dig out therefrom the pieces containing unequivocally the true Buddha-Word.” 498 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD THE DATE OF THE PALI CANON BY L. A. WADDELL, The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1914.07.15, p. 661 So what we are interested in is whether the word Isa occur in the prechristian Buddhist documentation either in the edicts of Asoka or somewhere in that area. I have checked the edict and could not find it. We know that whenever they wanted to discus Supreme god they used the concept of great to make Deva --- Maha Deva Brahmanan -- Brahman -- Maha Brahman In the Zoarastrian Avestan it was as Asura -- Ahura -- Ahura Mazda So there were words that could theologically deal with the Yahweh like supreme God. Can we find the word Isa to denote the same concept in the prechristian literature? Dr. A.P.Stone points out the following: “In the Tevijja Sutta (D.i.244) Isa is mentioned with Indra, Soma, Varuna, Pajápati and Brahmá, as being invoked by the Brahmins. “Bhuridatta Jataka of the 13th C. A.D uses the word “issaro” as Pali for Creator. “From Ummadanati Jataka, 3422 Dhata vidhata … [perhaps not as divine names] From Bhuridatta Jataka, 5208 Dhata Vidhata Varu_o Kuvero Somo Yamo Candima Vayu Sariyo [read Suriyo, “sun”] These are all Vedic divine names, the first two meaning “Creator”. So the Digha Nikaya could have used these words for Creator, but chose Issara.” We can be certain that by that time Isa as Iswaran – supreme God was established in all Indian languages. We were not able to find “Isa” or its phonetic equivalents anywhere to mean Supreme God before the Christian Era. or Brahma Isa in Tantric Literature 499 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Tantra refers to sacred literature which appeared from the 5th century onward and focused mainly on Shiva, as the supreme Godhead. Power or Cosmic energy. Later the emphasis was on the worship of Sakthi – The Goddess of After the Gupta age ended in the 6th century the Tantric tradition heavily influenced Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. (MSN Encarta encyclopaedia) In Tantra Sastra Shiva is the Supreme God. The Nirguna aspect of Shiva is called Purusha and Saguna aspects belong to Prakriti. Prakriti is called Sakthi. From Sakthi, 'Nada' (Word - Vibration Sound) comes, out of which Nada Bindu (Point source of energy) comes into existence. This has three components - Bindu, Nanda and Biju. Bindu originated Raudri and from Nada comes Jyesta. From Bija 'Vama' and Vishnu were emanated. They are called Jnana, Icha and Kriya - wisdom, will and action. When Bindu divides, there arises a sound in an unmanifested form. The order of emanation or germination is given as: Sadasiva ->Isa ->Rudra ->Vishnu ->Brahman Shiva is one with Kala (Eternal Time).From Sadasiva the all pervading witness of the Universe came. From Sadasiva Isa; From Isa Rudra; From Rudra Vishnu and from Vishnu Brahma came. Tantra Saiva cult, Isa is the first manifest form of Sadasiva – the Father God In the later Tantric literature, there are five Sivas: Sadasiva, Isa, Rudra, Vishnu, and Brahma; all of them are described as "Five Great corpses" because they are all inert without Sakti. Siva is Sava; hence, Sakti is portrayed as standing on Sava-Siva. The Five Great Corpses (pancha-maha-preta) which are inanimate objects upon which Devi sits, reclines, presides, and merges as Consciousness. In yet another representation Siva is the couch; Sadasiva is the mattress; Isa is the pillow; Isa, Rudra, Hari (Vishnu), and Brahma are the four legs of the couch. Somebody was probably trying to trace the growth of the religious ideas in symbolism. Thus by the Sixth century Isa became just a leg of the couch. Thus in INVOCATION Om purnasya Om purnamadah purnamidam purnamadaya santih santih purnat purnamudacyate purnamevavasisyate santih 500 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD The From Word it which was is complete this is complete complete in itself. produced creation. Yet the complete still remains complete. Om ! That is full; this is full, (for) from the full the full (indeed) arises. When the full is taken from the full, what remains is full indeed. Om ! Peace ! Peace ! Peace ! (Panoli) The official explanation in the Upanishad for AUM is that it consists of three sounds representing the three persons within the Godhead, but forming one united sound that creates – the concept of One in Three Persons. It also introduces the fullness or the substance of God as represented by the silence that follows or the totality of the syllable. The Word was the first expression of God through which the whole cosmos – living and the nonliving – visible and the invisible – were all created. The study of the sacred sound Om indicates that it is the representation of the Logos concept. In fact John 1:1 is replicated in exact form in the later Indian scriptures. The earliest direct references are found in the later Upanishads Prashna Upanishad and Mandukya. On the other hand Om is inscribed in all Kerala Christian Churches of antiquity at the entrance. Joh 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. It is the Word that creates from exnihilo. Hence both that creates and that is created are complete without within the complete. Isa did not create anything from within so that some thing was lost by the Word. Gen 1:3 And God said, "Let there be” ……. and there was…….And God saw that it was good. If one looks even deeper, the whole of Kabala and the threefold tree reaching into the unknown darkness encased in the ineffable name of YHVH can be seen in the Upanishadic teachings. It goes far deeper than the simple logos of the Greek. In contrast, the later Hindu trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara of today) with its intricate mythologies are based on the dialectics of good and evil and their interaction, a feature borrowed from the Gnosticism - after the coming of Manichaean the Persian Gnostic. This was the basic conflict on which Manicheans were declared heretics by the early churches everywhere in the world. The AUM 501 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD on the other hand is the Christian “Word”, and represents the Trinity based on Love and not on conflict. The symbol and mantra AUM emerged in Indian scene soon after the mission of St.Thomas the Apostle and were seen only after that time. All early churches in Kerala had used this as the Christian symbol and they appear at the entrance of the seven original churches established by Thomas. The Bible makes a clear distinction between the Creator and created beings, yet as the invocation affirms Isa never cease to be God, nor can the created be God though it is perfect and complete within itself. Isa did not depend on any preexisting entity separate from himself—no preexisting God is the source of all being, and non-being. Nothing exists self-sufficiently stuff, no autonomous principles, no other gods. There were no two eternals – Purusha and Prakriti. (God and Nature). apart from this God. The creation by Word – Om as the creative principle implies two realities: (1) God is a personal being and not a principle. (2) The world exists by a personal act, namely, an effected word spoken by God. In all Indian Vedic, Buddhist and Jain religions, gods were just a class within the cosmos and were governed and controlled by the eternal science of the cosmos. These laws were essentially the cycle of birth, decay, death, and rebirth. In a sense it makes Prakriti – the Physical Universe with all its Laws – as the God of gods and man. It is here Isa Upanishad comes in sharp contrast with the previous religions of India. God is absolutely free, and the world, is an absolutely free act by this absolutely free God. God is beyond any cosmic principles which he imposed on it. He is still capable of transforming and recreating it and is in fact doing it. Since the Perfect God created the world, He created it perfect too. If there is decay or death it has to be explained in terms of the God who controls the cosmos. They are there not without a purpose. It is interesting to note that Isa is the only God mentioned without any reference to the any of the later Hindu gods of Vishnu, Brahma or Siva. Some vedic gods (lower nature forces) are mentioned in the later mantras of 15 to 18. The possible reason is that these other Hindu gods evolved later than the writing of this Upanishad. If this is true this Upanishad was written sometime in the late third century. 502 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD MANTRA ONE Isavasyamidam tena tyaktena sarvam bhuñjitha yatkiñca grdhah jagatyam jagat kasyasvid dhanam || | ma 1 || Jesus is immanent in this entire whatever in this universe, animate or By Him is given sacrificially what is given for Therefore do not try to gain some one else’s wealth. universe – inanimate. your enjoyment. "Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong." (trans. Prabhupada) All this, whatsoever moves on earth, is to be hidden in the Lord. When thou hast surrendered all this, then thou mayest enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man. (trans. Max Muller) All this should be covered by the Lord, whatsoever moves on the earth. By such a renunciation protect (thyself). Covet not the wealth of others. Panoli The name of God as Isa stands in sharp contrast to the Devas of the Pre-Christian Period. Upanishads written in Sanskrit. It is a personal name as opposed to a generic name for god. The name appears only in the post Christian Regarding the starting word “Isavasya” this is what the Sanskrit Scholar Dr. A. Stone states: “It is clear that the first word, ii;saa, could theoretically be a proper noun in compound with the second word (which might begin aa- or with no vowel), OR the instrumental singular of either ii;s or ii;sa or ii;saa.“ If this is true then this upanishad specifically is naming Jesus as God. The concept of Parameshwara originally comes from the concept of El Elyon which is translated as The Most High God as in Gen 14:18 where Melchiz’edek king of Salem was called the priest of God Most High, maker of heaven and earth. He blessed Abraham in the name of the God Most High and then onwards Abraham himself swore in that name in Gen 14:22. The Hebrew name of the person whom we refer as Jesus was Yehoshuav which is rendered in English as Joshua . A shortened form of the name is Yeshua from which we get the Dravidian translation through St. Thomas as Yesu, Easow, Isa, Iswara 503 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD In contrast, the name given in Greco-Roman culture is derived from their context as follows: When the good news of the gospel was translated into to the Greco- Roman culture by Paul and his group it was rendered in Greek as Iesous , pronounced as Yesous. Y in some languages is pronounced as J (ya as ja) rendering it as JESUS. While we have no hesitation to accept the name Jesus, even though it is only a Greco-Roman version of the real name, we should have no problem in seeing the name Isa, Maheswara, Parameshwara as equivalent to Jesus. Evidently this was brought into Indian scenario by Thomas who arrived in India by 52 AD and traveled all around into for twenty years and was finally martyred in 72 AD in Madras, Tamil Nadu. In fact there is no Isa in Hinduism. However as the Gnostic infiltration took away the historical Jesus, Isa was replaced with any favorite deity name according to which religious sect quoted it. see what was happening. The first part is a clear statement of the doctrine of immanence of God. That God is specified as Isa. It also implies that everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled by Jesus. Since the creation came out of God through the Word it is still within Godhead. This doctrine is the doctrine of immanence of God. terms. It is this necessary logic that is enunciated in the first Mantra of Isa Upanishad. Immanence is a difficult concept as long as we think if the space- time four dimensional But cosmos consists of many dimensions and hence allows for a meaningful possible He is the source of all power and all beauty. Nothing understanding of immanence. But God is immanent. He is inside all that He has made as well as outside. He is the Sustainer and Preserver. could continue to exist for a moment if He were not continually keeping it in being. This unity of the cosmos in God implies certain responsibilities to all sentient beings. That is to share the cosmos with each other in Love. Gal 5:13 -15 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an But if you bite and devour one another take Thus Vaishnavite equate Isa with Hari or Krishna, and Saivite with Siva. It is not difficult for any reader to opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." heed that you are not consumed by one another. 'In him we live and move and have our being' Act. 17:28 504 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD MANTRA TWO kurvanneveha karmani jijivisecchatam samah | evam tvayi nanyatheto'sti na karma lipyate nare ||2|| If a man wishes to live a full life on this world, he should live doing his duties. There is no other way for man than to do the work as is given to him. Though a man may wish to live a hundred years, performing works, it will be thus with him; but not in any other way: work will thus not cling to a man (Trans. Max Muller) By performing karma in this world (as enjoined by the scriptures) should one yearn to live a hundred years. Thus action does not bind thee, the doer. There is no other way than this. (Panoli) Obeying the commandments of God, and living a life in consonance with it, is the only way to live a long life on this earth. Going against the rules of the cosmos will only hurt those who violate it. But living in consonance with the laws, one can enjoy it and live a fulfilled life. Deu 4:25-26 "When you beget children and children's children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a graven image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess; you will not live long upon it, but will be utterly destroyed. Deu 11:8-9 "You shall therefore keep all the commandment which I command you this day, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land which you are going over to possess, and that you may live long in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. MANTRA THREE asurya nama te loka andhena tamasa'vrtah | tamste pretyabhigacchanti ye ke catmahano janah || 3 || People who harm the soul will go into the dark worlds which is covered in blind darkness after death. 505 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD There are the worlds of the Asuras covered with blind darkness. Those who have destroyed their self (who perform works, without having arrived at a knowledge of the true Self), go after death to those worlds. (trans. Max Muller) Here Muller equates Asurya (sunless) with Asura which has no connection at all. Asura in the Hindu thought are those who were born of the breath of the Lord as Blavinsky points out. Mat 8:11-12 I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." In the Bible the hell is described as outer darkness as given in Isa Upanishad. Says Swami Vivekananda: "In the Vedas, there is no mention of hell. But our Puranas, the later works of our scriptures, thought that no religion could be complete, unless hells are attached to it, and so they invented all sorts of hells" (Complete Works 1:400). “The concept of heaven and hell evolved at a later stage when we find such amendments in the Veda as "Go thou to the heaven or to the earth, according to thy merit…" ( /aa051401a.htm). In fact Hell and Heaven are interposed between incarnations to make space in the Hindu system. The concept of Hell is alien to pre-Christian Indian thought. It has no place in the reincarnation cycle. This is because if Heaven and Hell are rewards or Punishments for the Karma, then Karma Phala is paid for and further incarnations become redundant. For Vedics and Buddhists and Jains, this living. in a decaying world was the hell. In contrast Isa Upanishad proposes a Hell in direct consonance with the early Christian concept of Hell – a place of punishment for the sins of this age. Especially of interest is the Vayu Purana which describes hell and heaven graphically. Since this was written during the medieval era, it is certain that it is borrowed from Christianity. The four-square city of Yama, the God of Death, simulates pearly city of heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation. 506 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Vayu Purana CHAPTERS I to VII deal with Hells. CHAPTER XIV deals with Heaven CHAPTER III. An Account of the Torments of Yama 34. There is one big tree there, glowing like a blazing fire. It covers five yojanas and is one yojana in height. 35. Having bound them on the tree by chains, head downwards, they beat them. They, for whom there is no rescuer, cry, burning there. 36. Many sinful ones are hung on that silk-cotton tree, exhausted by hunger and thirst, and beaten by the messengers of Yama. 49. Some of the sinful are cut with saws, like firewood, and others thrown flat on the ground, are chopped into pieces with axes. 50. Some, their bodies half-buried in a pit, are pierced in the head with arrows. Others, fixed in the middle of a machine, are squeezed like sugar-cane. CHAPTER XIV. An Account of the City of the King of Justice. In the middle of the city, is the very resplendent mansion of the king of justice. It is shining with jewels, and splendid like lightning, flame and the sun. It is certainly two hundred yojanas in extent, and measures fifty yojanas in height. It is supported by thousands of pillars, decorated with emeralds, ornamented with gold, and is full of palaces and mansions, Pleasing to the mind with cupolas of the splendour of the autumnal sky; with beautiful crystal stairways and walls beautified with diamonds, MANTRA FOUR anejadekam manaso javiyo nainaddeva apnuvanpurvamarsat | taddhavato'nyanatyeti tisthattasminnapo matarisva dadhati || 4 || Although fixed in His abode, the one who has no beginning is swifter than the mind and can overcome all others running. The powerful gods cannot approach Him. Although in one place, He supplies even the (rain and wind) life giving spirit to all living. 507 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD That one (the Self), though never stirring, is swifter than thought. The Devas (senses) never reached it, it walked before them. Though standing still, it overtakes the others who are running. Matarisvan (the wind, the moving spirit) bestows powers on it. (trans. Max Muller) Unmoving, It is one, faster than the mind. The senses cannot reach It, for It proceeds ahead. Remaining static It overtakes others that run. On account of Its presence, Matarsiva (the wind) conducts the activities of beings. (Panoli) This verse is the statement of Omnipotence of Isa. Omnipotence is power with no limits. In the philosophy of most Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence only to God. Western monotheistic religions, omnipotence is listed as one of God's characteristics among many, including omniscience, omnipresence, and benevolence.Isa Upanishad defines Isa with exactly these four characteristics. Act 17:27-29 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent. MANTRA 5 tadejati tannaijati taddure tadvantike | tadantarasya sarvasya tadu sarvasya bahyatah || 5 || He moves but does not move; He is far away, yet He is very near; He is everywhere of this and even outside of this. It stirs and it stirs not; it is far, and likewise near. It is inside of all this, and it is outside of all this. (trans, Max Muller) The Transcendence and Immanence of Isa are a pair of necessary truths, which must be held together. To emphasize either side and neglect the other is to fall into serious error. To believe in God's transcendence and to neglect His immanence is to fall into Deism. To believe in His immanence and to neglect His transcendence is to fall into Pantheism. 508 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD The word transcendence comes from tran-ascend is thus to surpass or excel or move beyond something. The Christian doctrine of God, divine transcendence refers to God being beyond anything that is other than God. In Christian theology what’s other than God is, by definition, the creation. Immanence denotes the ongoing presence and activity of God in creation. God both transcends creation and is immanent in it. As immanent in creation, God sustains and preserves the creation, down to the smallest details. It is not a mechanical world which is wound and then goes by itself. This verse is an emphasis on the balance of the notion of immanence and transcendence. Because of the immanence he does not have to move or change. He is already everywhere at the same time he is beyond this cosmos itself. On the personal level you cannot hide from Him. Thus this verse defines the Omnipresence of Isa. He is near and also very far (yadduure yadvantike); He is within and without (tadantarasya sarvasya tadu sarvasya baahyatah.); He moves and yet does not move (taddhaavato’nyaanatyeti tis.t.hat) MANTRA SIX yastu sarvani bhutanyatmanyevanupasyati | sarvabhutesu catmanam tato na vijugupsate || 6 || He who perceives the spirit of God in all beings , and perceives the immanence of God in everything , does not entertain any hatred and does not hide it. And he who beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, he never turns away from it. (trans, Max Muller) Max Muller seems to identify the Spirit with Self all through his translation possibly because of the influence of Advaita, though it is not warranted anywhere as such. One who sees all animate and inanimate nature from the point of view of Isa (for He exists outside them and is their support), and also sees the Spirit of Isa in all of them (for He exists in them, and is their controller from within), has no reason to hate anything or anyone. Everyperson is created by Isa and guides them. What is enunciated here is not the identity of God in persons – not the”I am God” concept, but the presence of the spirit of God in the creation especially in the sentient beings. 509 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD In Christianity it is the presented as the concept of the “Children of God” – people in whom the Spirit of God resides. In that sense all living has the Spirit of God, because it is the Spirit that gives life. In the genealogy of Jesus Luke ends up as (Luk 3:38) Adam, the son of God. Theosis, (also called divinization, deification, or transforming union) was one of the most important of early Christian doctrines which was probably brought into India by Thomas. When united with Jesus willingly every person transforms himself into the image of the Son of God. “In this way we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God, until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.“ —Ephesians 4:13 This is the basic Eastern Theology of Theosis – that all creation is within God, and all sentient beings are the Children of God with potentiality to be like Christ himself as we grow in Him. C.S. Lewis got the spirit of it in the following statements. “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. . .” —C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory “God said that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him-for we can prevent Him if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for.”—C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 174-5 “Morality is indispensable: but the Divine Life, which gives itself to us and which calls us to be gods, intends for us something in which morality will be swallowed up. We are to be remade. . . . we shall find underneath it all a thing we have never yet imagined: a real man, an ageless god, a son of God, strong, radiant, wise, beautiful, and drenched in joy.” —C. S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle, p. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons... From the beginning until now, the entire creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. —Rom. 8:19, 22-23 May they all be one, Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me, and I am in you, so that the world may believe that it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory which you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so completely one 510 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD that the world will realise that it was you who sent me, and that I have loved them as much as you loved me. —John 17:21-23 MANTRA SEVEN yasminsarvani bhutanyatmaivabhudvijanatah | tatra ko mohah kah soka ekatvamanupasyatah ||7 || One who has known that the spirit of God is present in everything, he will realize that sorrow and pain are transient. "One who always sees all living entities as spiritual sparks, in quality one with the Lord, becomes a true knower of things. What, then, can be illusion or anxiety for him?" (trans. Prabhupada) It is the nature of the present world of this age to have pain and sorrow. Since God is the creator and upholder of this world, the perceiver should know that it is only transient and is here for a purpose. MANTRA EIGHT sa paryagacchukramakayamavranamasnaviram suddhamapapaviddham kavirmanisi paribhuh svayambhuryathatathyato'rthan vyadadhacchasvatibhyah samabhyah || 8 || It is He who pervades all—He, who is bright and bodiless, without sinews, pure and untouched by evil; who is omniscient, transcendent and uncreated, self existent, He has duly allotted respective purposes from ages to ages. "Far-sighted, wise, encompassing, he self-existent hath prescribed aims, as propriety demands, unto the everlasting Years" (trans. Griffith) He (the Self) encircled all, bright, incorporeal, scatheless, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil ; a seer, wise, omnipresent, self-existent, he disposed all things rightly for eternal years. (trans, Max Muller) "Such a person must factually know [paryagat] the greatest of all, the Personality of Godhead [shukram], who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated, the self-sufficient philosopher who has been fulfilling everyone's desire since time immemorial." (trans. Prabhupada) 511 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Col 1:15 - 17 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. This God who loves the creation works out the purposes of this age as well as the purposes of the ages to come to fulfill his ultimate purpose of bringing the creation unto himself. Behold I make ALL things new. MANTRA NINE andham tamah pravisanti ye'vidyamupasate | tato bhuya iva te tamo ya u vidyayam ratah || 9 || Into a blind darkness they enter who are devoted to ignorance; but into a greater darkness they enter who engage in Gnosis. All who worship what is not real knowledge (good works), enter into blind darkness : those who delight in real knowledge, enter, as it were, into greater darkness. (trans. Max Muller) Those who worship avidya (karma born of ignorance) go to pitch darkness, but to a greater darkness than this go those who are devoted to Vidya (knowledge of the Devatas). (Vidyavachaspati V. Panoli) Salvation does not come with works or knowledge. So those who follow karmic path goes into You cannot know God darkness, those who follow intellectual inquiry goes into greater darkness. also beyond it. through your actions nor through your intellect because even though he is present in the world he is Sankaracharya could not explain this passage since both the avidyam and the vidyayam both go into darkness. Rituals cannot save man, nor can good deeds, nor knowledge. Knowledge is usually associated with the Gnosticism. Gnosticism (the Congress of Messina) distinguished between "gnosis" in general as "knowledge of the divine mysteries reserved for an elite" and "Gnosticism" proper which is characterized by the notion that a divine spark has fallen into our world, is entrapped in the soul of man, and must be awakened by a divine aspect or counterpart of the self so that it can be raised and reintegrated with the divine sphere. This group was a second century development which entered 512 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD into India. India later became the center of Gnosticism. What we know today as Hinduism is nothing but Gnosticism of India. It is this Gnosticism that is referred to here as Vidya. The name is derived from the Greek word "gnosis" which literally means "knowledge." However, the English words "Insight" and "enlightenment" capture more of the meaning of "gnosis." Knowledge (gnosos) is not achieved through a purely cognitive procedure. Yoga, Tapas, dialectic, and reflection are the means to enter into the divine realm to which it is cosubstantial. The mantra categorically rejects that idea of salvation through Karma (work) as well as through Jnana (Knowledge). Tit 3:5-7 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. MANTRA TEN anyadevahurvidyaya'nyadahuravidyaya | iti susruma dhiranam ye nastadvicacaksire || 10 || One thing, they say, is obtained through intellectual knowledge; another, they say, from work. Thus we have heard from the wise who have taught us this. One thing, they say, is obtained from real knowledge; another, they say, from what is not knowledge. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this. ( Max Muller)Some people including Sankara interprets Avidya as Rituals and Vidya as Knowledge. Gnostic teachers taught that there were a vast number of lesser gods or divine emanations that emanated from the One true God. Hence we have here the association of Vidya with lesser gods. Both Rituals and Knowledge leads to destruction. The rewards for following work and following the lower gods of nature are different, Both do not lead to salvation. They can provide temporary gains. Each act has its own reward. MANTRA ELEVEN vidyam cavidyam ca yastadvedobhayam saha | avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyaya'mrtamasnute ||11 || He who is aware that both knowledge and the truth beyond knowledge should be pursued together, overcomes death through non- knowledge and obtains immortality through knowledge. 513 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD He who knows at the same time both knowledge and non-knowledge, overcomes death through nonknowledge, and obtains immortality through knowledge (trans. Max Muller) It has two statements: - Through Knowledge or Vidyaya you obtain immortality - Through Non-Knowledge or avidyaya you overcome death. You cannot overcome death by yourself however learned you are. For that you need to go back to Isa who alone overcame death in his own body. But knowing him and submitting yourself to him you will be able to live a righteous life leading to immortality. redeemed. Just having one will only lead to death. 1Pe 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; 1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Col 1:21-23 And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. In this sense you need both together to be MANTRA TWELVE andham tamah pravisanti ye'sambhutimupasate | tato bhuya iva te tamo ya u sambhutyam ratah || 12 || All who worship what is not god, enter into blind darkness: those who delight in the gods, enter, into greater darkness. All who worship what is not the true cause, enter into blind darkness: those who delight in the true cause, enter, as it were, into greater darkness.(trans. Max Muller) 514 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Those who follow work without concern for God enter into blind darkness. But those who worship other gods will go into still more deeper darkness. MANTRA THIRTEEN anyadevahuh sambhavadanyadahurasambhavat | iti susruma dhiranam ye nastadvicacaksire || 13 || One thing, they say, is obtained from the worship of Isa; another, they say, from the worship of the not-Isa. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this. One thing, they say, is obtained from (knowledge of) the cause; another, they say, from (knowledge of) what is not the cause. Thus we have heard from the wise who taught us this.(trans. Max Muller) There are all sorts of beings in the cosmos with varying degrees of freedom and power. worships these beings, they do confer what they can. wealth, if you worship Knowledge (Saraswathi) you get knowledge. If one If you worship wealth (Lakshmi) you get But none of those will lead to redemption from decay and death – moksha. That comes only through the worship of Isa. Worship of devas (demigods) is condemned in favour of worship of Isa only, for worship of anything other than the Isa brings about different results. The reward for correct worship is given as a future life of eternity, bliss and knowledge. MANTRA FOURTEEN sambhutim ca vinasam ca yastadvedobhayam saha | vinasena mrtyum tirtva sambhutya'mrtamasnute || 14 || He who knows at the same time both Isa and the reason for the destruction of our body, obtains the eternal Kingdom of God and will enjoy it after death. He who knows at the same time both the cause and the destruction (the perishable body), overcomes death by destruction (the perishable body), and obtains immortality through (knowledge of ) the true cause.(trans. Max Muller) What is implied here is the temporal law of decay and death. the cause of pain and suffering has a reason. That reason lie in the knowledge of Isa itself and the redemption also lie in Isa. The shocking revelation here is that decay and death are not the normal order of Isa’s creation. Decay and death was imposed on creation caused by promulgating Self as the Supreme, bringing harm to the rest of 515 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD the beings. In Christian terms it is called Sin – Selfishness – I am separate from the rest of the cosmos. Rom 8:20-24 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; hope we were saved. Isa Upanishad verses 15-18 are recited at the time of death, even today by Hindus, in their funeral rites. We are required to remember our past deeds follow the departing soul and they determine the nature of the future life. This was added much later MANTRA FIFTEEN hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham | tat tvam pusannapavrnu satyadharmaya drstaye || 15 || The Truth is concealed with a golden cover. Unveil it, O sustainer, so that the true worshippers may behold the Truth. and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this The door of the True is covered with a golden disk. Open that, O Pushan, that we may see the nature of the True.(trans. Max Muller) The Gnostics cover the truth with great many words of apparent wisdom and logic. Once those golden cover is removed, we will be able to see the truth. Truth is for everyone and for the select few or initiated. You can however hinder the truth from being seen with golden cover as is done by the gnosis people. Why do you submit to regulations, Col 2:21-23 "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh. 516 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD MANTRA SIXTEEN pusannekarse yama surya prajapatya vyuha rasmin | samuha tejah yat te rupam kalyanatamam tat te pasyami ||16|| O nourisher, the logos of the beginning, controller of death and life, judge of man, born of Prajapati, cast away thy rays, gather them up and give up thy radiating brilliance, so that I may see the radiant person of Isa who is immanent within me. O Pushan, only seer, Yama (judge), Surya (sun), son of Pragapati, spread thy rays and gather them! The light which is thy fairest form, I see it. I am what He is (viz. the person in the sun).(trans. Max Muller) MANTRA SEVENTEEN vayur anilam amrtam athedam bhasmantam sariram om krato smara krtam smara krato smara krtam smara Let my breath now attain the immortal; then let this body be reduced to ashes. O Lord, remember – remember that which has been done, O Lord, remember – remember that which has been done for you. Breath to air, and to the immortal! Then this my body ends in ashes. Om! Mind, remember! Remember thy deeds! Mind, remember! Remember thy deeds! (trans. Max Muller) MANTRA EIGHTEEN agne naya supatha raye asman visvani deva vayunani vidvan yuyodhy asmaj juhuranam eno bhuyistham te nama uktim vidhema Lord of all creations, lead us through the fire by the right path. You know, O God, all our deeds. Destroy our sin of deceit. Liberate us from our deceitful sins. We offer thee our praise. 517 ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Agni, lead us on to wealth (beatitude) by a good path, thou, O God, who knowest all things! Keep far from us crooked evil, and we shall offer thee the fullest praise! (Rv. 1, 189, I There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Isa, through whom are all things and through whom we exist 518 PURUSHA SUKTHAM APPENDIX II 519 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Sri Purusha Suktam Translation with Commentary by Prof.M.M.Ninan Introduction The Purusha Suktham occurs in the tenth mandala of Rig Veda. The Rig Veda texts are a collection of the work of generations of poets, and priests extending over many centuries. Books II to VII and so are called "family books”. schools. are considered as the work of a single seer and/or tradition (just as the early Jewish prophetic schools), The hymns in books I and X are composed by different families or (Indo–Euorpean, Avestan) Books II to VII are the oldest. Book X is the most recent and is written as late as the fourth century AD. Earlier portions of Rig Veda were written down in Vedic language only by the second century BC even though it might have been in existence and use in fragments much earlier. But Mandala I and X were written probably only by the fourth century AD. All of these were modified in time by those who retold the hymns or rewritten them with additions, interpolations and embellishments. Thus we should expect redactions and interpolations to help later religious movements or for sheer poetic presentation. until as late as the sixth century AD. which are addressed to forces of nature. introduces four new gods. • • • • Manas (Thought), prominent concept, deified in 10.58 Dakshina (Reward), prominent concept, deified in 10.107 Jnanam (Knowledge), prominent concept, deified in 10.71 Purusha ("Cosmic Man" of the Purusha sukta 10.90) The concept of They were not considered sacred scriptures The They were essentially used in sacrifices and yajnas. language, style and content of Rig Veda X are totally distinct from the rest of the Rig Vedic hymns Thus, in the Rig Veda, there are eight Vasus (Elements), Tenth mandala twelve Âdityas (Suns), eleven Rudras (Fierce forms), among other minor gods. All these four concepts are totally alien to the pre-christian part of the Rig Veda. Purusha stands apart from the others even among the four. 520 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Vedic religion did not have a concept of a Supreme God who was the creator of the universe and who is immanent and yet transcends his creation. Isam, Isvar, Paramatma, Maheswara, Parameswara, Prabhu, Bhagavan etc. denoting a Supreme Being do not occur in the pre-christian part of Rig Veda. Purusha Suktham in its original form as it appears in the Rig Veda X does not call Purusha by any other name other than Purusha. All other appellation as to who this Purusha is the imagination and inklings of the later interpreters. If there was another person in the Rig Veda who could be equated with this Purusha, it would have been obviously done assuming it as the work of one single seer. Though the original Purusha suktha mantra occurs in Rig Veda, it also occurs in Vajaneya Samhitha of Shukla Yajur Veda, Taiteeriya Samhitha of Krishna Yajurveda and also with slight differences in Sama Veda as well as Atharva Veda. Historically these mantras were in existence in a scattered manner probably written down individually by the purohits(Priests) who used these mantras in their yajnas (sacrifices). They were collected, divided and edited according to tradition by Veda Vyasa. The name simply means editor of Vedas. Many great sages have given details of how this great Suthra should be used in Fire Sacrifices and many sages have written commentaries on Purusha Suktham. The currently available text has 24 mantras or stanzas. The first 18 mantras are called by later Hindu interpreters as Prathama anuvAkam (which consists of the sixteen stanzas of Rg Vedic Suktam) and the rest as Uttara anuvAkam -six stanzas - or Vaishnavanuvaka being the interpolation by the Vaishnavites. It is also called Purva (old) Narayana and Uttara (later) Narayana following the meaning of Narayana as Form of Man. These second part is known as 'Vishnu Suktam'. It is in these later interpretations and appendations that later Hindu gods have come to be associated with the Purusha. Nowhere within the original Purusha Suktham is any reference to Vishnu or any other Hindu god. In order to bring in Vishnu, the uttara Narayana part is added later to the mantra by the Vaishnavites, where in the twenty fourth verse Purusha is referred to as the spouse of Lakshmi. Here is the verse, hrishcha te lakshmishcha patnyau ahoratre parshve nakshatrani rupam ashvinau vyattam The goddesses Hri (modesty) and Sri (Lakshmi, wealth) are your wives. Day and night are your limbs. The stars are your form. The Ashvins are your opened mouth. Even here Vishnu is not directly named. If only we know the Purana Story which were built later in the centuries could we associate 521 PURUSHA SUKTHAM the name Vishnu. Otherwise it can just be interpreted as the consort of modesty and wealth. I assume therefore that these were added sometime in the sixth or seventh centuries. It is certain that the current form of Purusha suktha underwent drastic interpolations and redactions. To identify them is a difficult problem. However a simpler comparative study of the various versions as they appear in the various Vedas, aranyakas and Upanishads will help tremendously. There is some perceptible difference of order in mantras found in Rg Veda and the Taittiriya Aranyaka. The The first 17th 6 mantras 18th mantras are of identical Yajurveda in are both not Yajur in Veda Rg Vedic and Rig at Veda. all. The 7th and 18th of Yajurvedic mantras are and found as the 15th and 16th in Rg Veda. found reading The hymns of Purusha Sukta RV X.90 (Anushtubh 1-15, Trishtubh 16) is repeated in the Atharvaveda (19.6), the Samaveda (6.4), the Yajurveda (VS 31.1-16), the Taittiriya Aranyaka (3.12,13). The Atharvan Veda Saunakiya tradition has the following order of Rig Veda verses: 1-4-3-2-11-1213-14-5-6-7-10-9-8-15 The The Atharvan Shukla Veda Yajur Paippalad Veda has has this tradition this has 14 Rig Veda verses, excluding 7-8. sequence: sequence: 1-2-3-4-5-8-9-10-7-11-12-13-14-6-15 1-2-3-4-5-6-15-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14 Taittiriys 3ab2cd]-5] Aranyaka The Sama Veda Naigeya 33-37 has only the first five in a slightly different sequence: [1-4-[2ab3cd]The later interpolations and interpretations are reflected in the Bhagavata (2.5.35 to 2.6.1-29) and in the Mahabharata (Moksadharma parva 351 and 352). It is commented upon in the Shatapatha Brahmana, the Taittiriya Brahmana, the Shvetashvatara Upanishad and the Mudgala Upanishad. Thus we can really vouch only for the first five mantras as the original mantras and the others were probably added later. A casual look at the verses 6 -11 onward will immediately make us aware of the difference in the tone and theology. Most commentators had difficulty in explaining them since the yajna described uses the objects derived from the creation before the object itself was created. Thus for simple logical reason only the first 5 verses can be considered to form part of the original Purusha Suktha. And these have a definite Christian theology which came into the Indian subcontinent by the first century AD with the advent of St.Thomas the disciple of Jesus. Thomas’ first converts were Jewish and Jewish mysticism known as Kaballa is reflected in the Purusha Suktha. 522 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Kaballah considers the cosmos as a man with four dimensions of existence – Divine, Spiritual, Mental and Material. Early Christians presented Jesus as this cosmic Man who pervaded all cosmos. One of the titles of Jesus was “Son of Man” or in Indian terminology Narayana or Purushotama (Great Man). The Purusha Suktha therefore contains various layers of historical development. The first innermost layer was the Thomasian layer following the teachings of St.Thomas during his twenty year ministry in India. This was augumented by the Judao-Christian mysticism of Kaballa. These essentially fall within the first five verses. However following the ministry of Manichaen, whose ministry covered all over India starting from the North to the South, we see another layer, the Gnostic layer, where the gods and seers become the creators of the lower worlds. Later layers come in simply as an attempt to introduce Vishnavism into the Purusha Suktham which must have come very recently after Vaishnavism became popular. It may have been just a few interpolations within the old document also. Most of the apparent difficulties which commentators struggle will disappear as we see this historical realiy. Interpolations makes it difficult to exactly pin point which layer belongs to which period and which portions of a documents are redactions and interpolation. As you go through this commentary you will be able to make your own judgement. 523 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Sri Purusha Suktam (Prathama anuvAkam) Verse 1 THE COSMIC MAN sahasra SIrshA Purusha: | sahasrAksha: sahasra pAt | sa bhUmim vishvato vRtvA | atyatishTad daSAngulam || 1 || Thousand head has Purusha Thousands of eyes has he, Thousands of legs has He He is manifested in the earth and all through the universe. He stands beyond the count of ten fingers. The word ``Purusha'' in its most literal sense means Man. In that sense it is translated into Sanskrit as Cosmic Man – Nara – Narayana – Purushan - Purushotaman – Parama Purushan -the Great Man or Perfect Man. Purusha is not really human, anything that has consciousness or Personality is Purusha. Thus we are not talking about just human beings but about the totality of created beings with personality in the whole universe, in all the cosmic dimensions. While this Supreme Being is a Person, he has a body. The whole cosmos is his body which includes both animate and inanimate. an infinite number of dimensions to the cosmos and He is in everything and everywhere. So why does this Purusha have thousands of feet, hands, eyes? This Supreme Person is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. And then we see that the Purusha extends beyond ten fingers. sAyaNA interprets it as “beyond They are the There are human limitations.” The ten fingers here are the digits, the ten fingers of human hands. basis of count, of all mathematics, of all the logic and science built on measurables. But this Purusha is beyond the measurable material realms and beyond even human logic and understanding. In a sense the whole cosmos must be considered as the body of the Person. Just as body has several 524 PURUSHA SUKTHAM parts, the creation is diverse. But there are dimensions beyond this material body of cosmos. The totality is the Purusha – body , mind and spirit and beyond – beyond into the unknown. The Cosmic Man of Kaballa Kaballa worlds and Sephiroths The Angel of the Lord The Hebrew letters for YHVH is shown to form a Person. God made Flesh and Form Purusha portrays a Lord of the Universe which is earlier depicted only in the Hebrew theology as Adam Kadamon – the Primordial Man. In the Genesis creation of Man, God said, "Let us make man in our own image". The first earthly man was created on the model of a cosmic Purusha. In the Nag Hammadi text, the Apocryphon of John, we learn that this anthropos is the first creation of "knowledge and Perfect Intellect" and the first luminary of the heavens. Kabbalah. is a presentation of Jewish mysticism based on the fragmentary midrashim - rabbinic writings - of the Talmudic period. It is considered as a codification of the Oral Traditions starting from Moses. It is reflected in the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-72) was one of the early mystic who put them in writing. Kaballa was the basis of Gnosticm and it is not Adam Kadmon, is the first The body of this surprising that it features heavily in the Hinduism - which is the heretic outgrowth of Christianity under the influence of Manichaen infiltration into the Indian Churches. Brahman of Hinduism) being to emerge from the infinite unknowable Godhead, Ein-sof (which corresponds to the Nirguna to become the knowable God – the Saguna Brahman. knowable God (Saguna Brahman) is said to both emanate and constitute the cosmos. Man, having been created in God’s image, is said by the Kabbalists to be comprised of the very same cosmic 525 PURUSHA SUKTHAM elements, the sefirot, which comprise the "body" of Adam Kadmon. The symbol of Adam Kadmon expresses the idea that the cosmos itself has both a soul and body. The whole cosmos with all the infinite beings of consciousness form part of the the Body of the Purusha. This image is called the Adam Kadmon, and represents the primordial, pre-created Man, an image of the Godhead that existed before any other divine emanation. It is a vertical arrangement of the four letters of the Tetragrammaton, the four letter name of God YHVH as given to Moses in the Hebrew Bible. In this shape, they represent Keterim, the first reflection or image of the Ain Sof. Adam Kadmon is the first being to spontaneously emerge in the metaphysical void. The Sefirot and worlds which they comprise are, according to Luria and his disciple, Vital, emanated from the various orifices in Adam Kadmon¹s head: from the ear, the nose, eyes, and mouth. The highest, most sublime of these emanations, forms the world of Atziluth, from the Hebrew "etzel", meaning "near" (to the infinite God). However, even higher than Atziluth, according to the Lurianists, is the World of Adam Kadmon itself, often abbreviated as the World of A¹K, a world so high and sublime as to be virtually indistinguishable from Ein-sof. From within this realm, so close to the infinite God, Adam Kadmon directs the subsequent course of events in the lower worlds. The Primordial Man is instrumental not only for the world¹s creation, but for its redemption as well. It is very probable that Jesus identified himself with the primordial or Cosmic Person in saying “... before Abraham was I am” (John 8:58). The primordial man was before Abraham and before all men, who is prior to all creation. "He is the image (Adam Kadmon) of the invisible Elohim (Ayn Sof), the firstborn over all creation (Son of Yhvh). For through Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the Assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence (Messiah)." Colossians 1:15-18 “For the God who made the world and all that is in it, and who is Lord of heaven and of earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Nor is he ministered to by human hands, neither hath he 526 PURUSHA SUKTHAM any wants; for he it is giveth life and breath to every man. And of one blood hath he made the whole world of men, that they might dwell on the face of all the earth: and he hath separated the seasons by his ordinance; and hath set bounds to the residence of men: that they might inquire and search after God, and, by means of his creations, might find him; because he is not afar off from each one of us: for in him it is we live, and move, and exist: as one of your own wise men hath said: From him is our descent. Therefore we, whose descent is from God, ought not to suppose that the Deity hath the likeness of gold, or silver, or stone, sculptured by the art and skill of men” Act 17 24 - 29 The first born of all the creations is divine essence of the Yhvh himself. He is the Father's only- begotten Son. As the writer to the Hebrews expressed it, He is: “the brightness of His glory and the express image of [Yhvh’s] person (Hebrews 1:3).” He is the “Repairer of the Breach,” even before there was a “breach.” Blessed is Yhvh our Elohim Who creates the remedy before the wound. It was from the Adam Kadmon that tremendous light shown forth and aligned itself into creation. It was through “the image of the invisible Elohim,” the Messiah, that Yhvh made all things. The Adam Kadmon is the expression of Yhvh’s complete Word - the Aum.- the creative energy of Yhvh himself. This concept is elaborated in the Hiranygarbh concept. Then Elohim said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So Elohim created man in His own image; in the image of Elohim He created him; male and female He created them. Then Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ Genesis 1:26,28 Yhvh created mankind by His Divine Light of His Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. He was in the beginning with Elohim. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, John 1:1-5 Jesus identifies himself with the Son of Man figure from the Book of Enoch. This book was written a short time before Jesus and was almost certainly in circulation during Christ’s earthly life. Accordingly, it is highly likely that its contents would have been familiar to Christ and also to his disciples. In the Book of Enoch the Son of Man appears and is identified with the “Ancient of Days” who is the Primordial or Cosmic Person who existed before creation. The Book of Enoch also says that the Son of and the darkness did not comprehend it." 527 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Man was hidden from the world and would be manifest at the end of time. This links him with the Son of Man image that is to be found in the book of Daniel. In “The Ancient of Days” (God the Father in Christian Theology) of Daniel represents the unknowable Supreme being out of whom the manifested Son of Man proceded and who became the redeemer of the fallen creation. Dan 7:9 I watched until the thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days sat, whose robe was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like flames of fire, and His wheels like burning fire. In Daniel, the Son of Man is said to have existed from the beginning but would come at the eschaton or fullness of time. The Son of Man in Enoch is also viewed as the promised Messiah who was to come. Dan 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Dan 7:14 And dominion and glory was given Him, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages, should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Jesus would have viewed himself in these terms as the primordial person, the Son of Man and the transcendent Messiah who was to come This is the reason why in the Gospels Jesus never speaks of himself as God. His most common designation of himself is Son of Man identifying himself with the Purusha – the Adam Kadamon. Jesus was identifying himself as the Saguna Brahman, Brahman ‘with attributes’, as Creator, Lord, Saviour, the Self-manifestation of the unmanifest God, the personal aspect of the Godhead, the Purusha Theosophical dictionary gives the following meaning for Purusha “Purusha purusa (Sanskrit) Man; the ideal or cosmic man, equivalent to the Qabbalistic 'Adam Qadmon. It contains with prakriti or nature all the seven, ten, or twelve scales of manifested being. Mystically, Purusha is used for the spiritual self or monad in each self-conscious entity, whether a universe, solar system, or human being; also it is sometimes interchangeable with Brahma, the evolver or creator. Purusha is what is called energy or force in science, if these words include the inseparable attribute of intelligence and moral harmony. “Purusha and prakriti stand to each other as the two poles of the same homogeneous, intelligent, living, cosmic substance, the root-principle of the universe, sometimes called svabhavat. In Kapila's 528 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Sankhya philosophy, "unless, allegorically speaking, Purusha mounts on the shoulders of Prakriti, the latter remains irrational, while the former remains inactive without her. Therefore Nature (in man) must become a compound of Spirit and Matter before he becomes what he is; and the Spirit latent in Matter must be awakened to life and consciousness gradually" (Secret Doctrine 2:42). “Purusha corresponds to the Greek First or Unmanifest Logos; yet at times the svabhavic characteristics of Purusha are reminiscent rather of the Third or Manifest Logos, which shows the various functions attributed to Purusha in cosmogony which have gained currency at different times in Hindu thought. Unmanifested Logos is correctly said to be the first manifestation of the Absolute or the summit or primordial originant of a cosmic hierarchy, of which there are innumerable multitudes in boundless space. The unmanifest corresponds to primordial unity where the totality of the manifested universe is "all numbers." Behind the ultimate which can be conceived, we have to postulate an unknown indefinable antecedent, which may therefore be called unmanifest. It is called the Verbum or the Word by the Christians, and it is the divine Christos who is eternally in the bosom of his father. It is called Avalokiteswara by the Buddhists; at any rate, Avalokiteswara in one sense is the Logos in general. In almost every doctrine they have formulated the existence of a centre of spiritual energy which is unborn and eternal, and which exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahmam.” It is this idea of all numbers that is reflected in the first verse. Verse 2 ISA THE LORD OF TIME AND IMMORTALITY purusha evedaGM sarvam | yad bhUtam yac ca bhavyam | utAmRtatvasyeshAnaH | yad annenAtirohati || 2 || This Purusha is All the future Moreover Jesus, He alone And He manifest those who live on food. all and the Himself the past, the present, Lord of immortality, through is This Purusha is immanent in all his creation in such a way that all creation is his part of him. Immanence is a necessary corollary to the idea that the only self existent reality was indeed God. He cannot but create within Him, because there is nothing beyond Him and outside of Him. The same idea is repeated is the Isa Upanishad first verse. 529 PURUSHA SUKTHAM “Isavasyamidam tena tyaktena sarvam bhuñjitha yatkiñca grdhah jagatyam jagat kasyasvid dhanam || | ma 1 || Jesus is immanent in this entire whatever in this universe, animate or By Him is given sacrificially what is given for Therefore do not try to gain some one else’s wealth. universe – inanimate. your enjoyment. Thus in time, he is all that is, all that was, and all that is to be. Does He have an end, like death ? No. Since Jesus immortal, the universe is also immortal. If changes take place within the cosmos, it is the manifestation of the energies of Jesus. Creation feeds on itself. It requires food to grow, to flourish. What is food but other life? Life feeds on life, be it plant, or animal life. This is why we say the world grows on food, the world is the fill of food (annamayam jagat). All that is hidden in creation, and all that emerges, to show itself and be food, all this is Purusha. He sustains creation as food. For the bread of God is He coming down out of Heaven and giving life to the world. Then they said to Him (Jesus), Lord, always give us this bread. Jesus said to them, I am the Bread of life; the one coming to Me will not at all hunger, and the one believing Joh 6:33 – 35 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty. Rev 1:7 -8. Verse 3 into Me will not thirst, never! THE FOUR WORLDS OF COSMOS etAvAn asya mahima | ato jyAyAGSca pUrusha: | pAdo 'sya vishvA bhUtAni | tripAdasyAmRtam divi || 3 || This Purusha is much Than all his greatness in what all And all that we see in this universe is but And the rest three quarters are divine and are immortal.. greater, see, quarter, we his This cosmos – the full created universe goes far beyond those that are known by five senses and hence beyond our sciences. This world of name and form (nAma-rUpa-bheda- jagat) – the material realm is but one fourth part of Purusha. There are three other worlds which are higher dimensions 530 PURUSHA SUKTHAM and where beings are immortal. This is a direct description of the Hebrew understanding of the Universe which later was codified in Kaballah. The worlds are a s s i y a h , y e t z i r a h , b e r i y a h , and a t z i l u t (doing, feeling, thinking, and existing). Each world is filled with living beings with their own type of bodies but with different layers of the soul: n e f e s h , r u a c h , n e s h a m a h , and c h a y a h (life-force, emotional being, unique soul, and God-spark). These may also be termed the Spiritual World, the Mental World, the Astral World, and the Material World. The Spiritual World is the highest, being the purest in nature or the Primordial Cause, whereas the three worlds which emanate from it are less divine in nature and are in fact reflections, on a descending scale, of the first world. Four Worlds Judaism ASSIYAH, (Spiritual World) earth, the objective material world, where we live with our bodies in the physical world of action. This is the world of sensible, concrete facts and their data. Here we are conscious of the physical realm and the laws of nature as we observe them. Here we are aware of being a creation of God. This is the world of duality, in which everything is seen as separate, and subject to cause and effect. Because of this feeling of separateness it is a world of mortality. Death has dominion and meaning only in this realm of physical world. Beings with bodies of flesh live here. Nefesh world. This is the only Manifest world. This is explained in the next verse. YETZIRAH, (Mental World) water, the World of Formation. Yetzirah is the World of Angels. This is the subjective world of vital feelings; the world of affect, of nuance, of aura, of sensitivity, of visceral and proprioceptive feelings. This is the world of interdependence and relationship. dimension. BRIYAH, (Astral World) air, the World of Creation. Briah is the World of Archangels. This is the symbolic world of the intellect, of contemplation, of pure thought. Everything is part of a pattern in this world; everything has a meaning. We understand ourselves as being the result of intended, loved, and continuous creation. Here we are commanded to exert ourselves to know and to reach the very edge of what is thinkable and understandable. This is the reality of poetry, wonder, intuition, and visualization. In this world, we can work with symbols and with dreams. Neshama soul aspect. Ruach soul 531 PURUSHA SUKTHAM ATZILUT, (Divine World) fire, The Archetypal World (World of Emanations). This is the Divine Realm of the Sons of God. This is the holistic world of deep divine intuition and of beingness with God. Reality is merged; all is one. This is the world of essence, where we recognize ourselves as being a spark of God's fire. Chaya and Yechidah soul aspects. Verse 4 THE MANIFEST WORLD OF MATTER tripAd Urdhva udait purusha: | pAdo 'syehAbhavatpuna: | tato vishva.n vyakrAmat | sASanAnaSane abhi || 4 || Above this world is three quarters But the quarter, which is in Appears again and And from that is born the beings that And those inanimate ones that don’t And all these appeared for every one of us to see. of this Purusha, world, again, take food, take food. Above this manifested material world are the other three worlds. This material world consists of both organic living and the inorganic non-living. 532 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Verse 5 ADHI PURUSHA tasmAt virAd ajAyata | virAjo adhipUrusha : | sa jAto atyaricyata | pashcAd bhUmimatho pura: || 5 || From Him (original Supreme Being – Purusha) was born the Universe. From this Universe came the First Man (Adhi Purusha – Adam). As soon as he was born, he multiplied himself. Later, he expanded throughout the earth and they began to build cities. The Theosophical dictionary gives the meaning of Viraj as follows: “Brahma separating his body into two halves, male and female, creates in them Vach and Viraj. In plainer terms and esoterically Brahma the Universe, differentiating, produced thereby material nature, Viraj, and spiritual intelligent Nature, Vach - which is the Logos of Deity or the manifested expression of the eternal divine Ideation.” “Now as Vach, although feminine in gender, as a noun really represents the logoic aspect of Brahma, Viraj, although masculine in gender, as a noun represents the perpetually active and energic forces of manifested nature in and through which vibrates the unceasing activity of the logoic Vach.” Vairaja(s) (Sanskrit) [from viraj widely shining one] A class of gods emanating from Brahma in his aspect of creator collectively as Viraj, the Third Logos; hence, the celestial beings immediately derived from Viraj. Identified with the kumaras and the manasaputras, as well as the agnishvattas. They are the hierarchies of cosmic conscious and selfconscious dhyani-chohans who spring forth directly from the Third Logos, and furnish the intellectual background and vital urge of the hierarchies of beings who later produce the manifested universe from the ideation emanating from the Third Logos and the vairajas. Here is the traditional Hindu paraphrase where Purusha is identified with Brahma. From that The scintillating, And from that was And he And created The bodies of all beings. Purusha was ever shining born the Purusha called spread himself the earth and born, universe, Brahma, everywhere, then, From Purusha came forth the universe. The creative aspect of his, Brahma, came forth, and grew to include everything in himself. This is why the universe is called ``bramhAnda'', the egg of Brahma. “BramhAnda'' is also an adjective indicating magnitude. This image of extending above and on all sides of the earth is in concordance with Ranganathamuni. 533 PURUSHA SUKTHAM SAyaNA gives the following interpretation. He grows very large after being born (sa jAto atyaricyata). And then (pascAt) he (sa) creates the earth (bhUmim) and then (ata:), (pura:) -- cities -- bodies for creatures to live in. ``virAt vyaktRkto deva-tiryag-manushyAdi rUpo 'bhUt''. He became large and became the bodies, or gave form to devas, animals (tiryak) and humans. Here Ends the Original Purusha Suktha ++++++++++++++++ The Yajna described The Creation of Manifest Fallen World by the gods. The rest of the verses were interpolated in time and shows the infiltration of the Gnostic theology. Since they were interpolations, the order of appearances do vary in various sources. From here onward the suktham goes on to speak about a sacrifice of the Purusha. This is typically a It is a clear Vedic Sacrifice procedure associated with the creation including the yantra and mantra. portion of extreme poetic freedom that went too far astray so that it did lost its meaning and does not make sense – if not even contradictory. Commentators had a tough time to explain it away. The way out they took was, that this is really not a physical sacrifice but imagined sacrifice – mental sacrifice. So don’t give too much emphasis on the yantra and mantra. The word Yajna has two meanings essentially. The first meaning is Effort and the other meaning which is indirect is Sacrifice. The dictionary defines sacrifice as follows: The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person. A victim offered in this way. Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim. In the following verses of Purusha Suktha we have therefore a serious problem. Since there is no greater God than the Purusha, to whom are the sages sacrificing the Purusha to? If Purusha is giving himself as a sacrifice for the creation of the world, why is it being done by the gods? Where did these gods come from and when? From what follows the sacrifice is done by the gods and the sages where as they themselves are later said to have evolved out of this sacrifice. All together therefore there is a confusion in the thought pattern of the rest of the Upanishads. This may be most probably because 534 PURUSHA SUKTHAM we are reading it out of context and the whole of the rest of the portion should have come in some other context. I suggest a few alternate context which will make it relevant. But the continuity of the suktha is severely hampered by such interpretation. Verse 6 PURUSHA SACRIFICED yatpurushena havishA | devA yajnam atanvata | vasanto asyAsI-dAjyam | grIshma idhma Saraddhavi: || 6 || When the Devas spread on the sacrificial offerings with Purusha as oblation, spring was its ghee [melted butter] summer the fuel, autumn the oblation. The creation of the gods is described in RV X as follows: “ Let us celebrate with exultation the births of gods, in chanted hymns, every one of us , who may behold them in (this) later age. Brahmanaspati shaped all these (beings) like a blacksmith. In the In the first age of the gods, the earliest age of the gods, the existent sprang from non-existant. existent sprang from the nonexistent. Thereafter the different regions sprangforth from uttanapad. The earth sprang from Uttanapad; from the earth sprng the regions. Daksha sprang from Aditi; and Aditi (came) from Daksha. For Aditi was produced, she who is thy daughter, O Daksha. After her the gods came into being, blessed, sharers in immortality. When, O gods, ye moved, strongly agitated, on the water, there a violet dist issued forth from you, as from dancers, When ye, O gods, like devotees (or strenuous men) replenish the worlds, then ye disclosed the sun which had been hidden in the sea. seven, Of the eight sons who were born from the body of aditi, she approached the gods with 535 PURUSHA SUKTHAM but cast away (the eighth) Marttanda (the sun) generation of gods. With seven sons (only) Aditi approached the former Again, for birth as for death she disclosed Marttana” Brahmanaspati is elsewhere (R.V ii. 26,3) styled as “the father of the gods” while Brhaspati (who is same or a similar deity) is called “our father” (R.V. vi. 73,1). In R.V. ii 23,17 Brahmanaspathi himself is said to have been generated by Tvashtr superior to all creatures. R.V.x. 129 is rendered as 1. Then was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water? 2 Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever. 3 Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos. All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit. 4 Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit. Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent. 5 Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it? There were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder 6 Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being? 7 He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, Whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it, or perhaps he knows not. Thus in this description we have two generations of gods already in existence after the cosmos came in existence. It was after these the purusha medha took place. Once the cosmos with all its sentient beings came into existence, there happens a yajna. yajna: (Sanskrit) "Worship; sacrifice." A form of ritual worship especially prevalent in Vedic times, in which oblations - ghee, grains, spices and exotic woods - are offered into a fire according to scriptural injunctions while special mantras are chanted. The element fire, Agni, is revered as the divine messenger who carries offerings and prayers to the Gods. 536 PURUSHA SUKTHAM The ancient Veda Brahmanas and the Shrauta Shastras describe various types of yajna rites, some so elaborate as to require hundreds of priests, whose powerful chanting resounds for miles. These major yajnas are performed in large, open-air structures called yagashala. Domestic yajnas, prescribed in the Grihya Shastras, are performed in the family compound or courtyard. Yajna requires four components, none of which may be omitted: dravya, sacrificial substances; tyaga, the spirit of sacrificing all to God; devata, the celestial beings who receive the sacrifice; and mantra, the empowering word or chant. While puja (worship in temples with water, lights and flowers) has largely replaced the yajna, this ancient rite still continues, and its specialized priestly training is carried on in schools in India. Yajnas of a grand scale are performed for special occasions, beseeching the Gods for rain during drought, or for peace during bloody civil war. Even in temples, yajna has its Agamic equivalent in the agnikaraka, the homa or havana ceremony, held in a fire pit (homakunda) in an outer mandapa of a temple as part of elaborate puja rites.” Yajna: Hindu - Hinduism Dictionary on Yajna gives the following: Yajna was essentially a Vedic ritual usually used to appease a higher being or god. Hence it is easy to see the Brahmininc interpolation here. The sacrificial beast itself is the Purusha the cosmic Person who is identified as Isa. The beings that performed the sacrifice was the Devas (the gods). So the Devas were in existence then. It was done in time through spring, summer and autumn. Thus it appears that we have the description of the divine world of sons of God and the two lower angelic world already in existence. Divine world is generated not created. The sentients here are the Sons of God, Divine and are called the Devas. The other two lower worlds are filled with angels. Now comes the creation of the manifest world – the material world. This is probably what is intended here. 537 PURUSHA SUKTHAM The essential problem is that we have ghee and fire before the animals and the trees were created. Overlook those attempts to tell the story. There is also a parady that gods killed the pususha!. Is this the story of the fall of the Angels? Out of this came the material realm and the “Malkut” – the lower world. This lower world creations are described in the book of job. Job 38:3-7 Now gird up your loins like a man; for I will ask of you, and you teach Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell if you have understanding! Who has set its measurements, for you know? Or who has stretched the line on it? On what are its bases sunk, or who cast its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Then follows the details of the sacrifice through which the creation took place in the traditional Indian mode of sacrifice.. Hebrews 11:3 3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear. In this biblical description the creation of the cosmos was a cooperative effort between God and the sons of God. We do create out own worlds by our minds and our actions. We live in the world we ourselves create and enjoy the result of those actions or suffer the consequence of those actions here and now and also in the ages to come. Verse 7 PURUSHA BOUND IN YAGA VEDI saptAsyA san paridaya: | tri: sapta: samida: krtA: | deva yad yajnam tanvAnA: | abadhnan purusham paSum || 7 || Seven Devas were the sticks that enclose the place of Yajña (Sacrificial Fire rituals), thrice seven [21] were made the fuel wood; the Devas performed the Yajña and they bound the Purusha as the cow at the Yajña. Nothing had been created at this point. So what were the paridi-s? The seven chandas-s, or metres, gAyatri, trishTup, brhatee, pankti, ushNuk, anushtup, and jagatI may be the seven here. However, later verses would seem to go against this hypothesis. The chandas-s seem to be later creations, as 538 PURUSHA SUKTHAM the basis of speech. Hence the interpreters suggest that this was really not a real yajna, but an imaginary mental visualization. The traditional Indian explanation of the numbers are: The seven enclosing sticks (without the trees how can there be sticks?) refer to the 5 elements: earth, water, fire, wind, and sky - plus day and night. Twenty- one fuel sticks (?) refer to the 5 sense organs - eye, nose, mouth, ear and skin- , plus 5 vital breaths = prANa, a-pA-na, vyA-na, u-dA-na, and sa-mA-na plus 5 organs of work - hands, legs, genitals, two excretory organs plus 4 feelings of the mind a-ntaH-ka-ra-Nam plus 2 dha-rma and a-dha-rma. Obviously this is a labored explanation for lack of direct explanation using allegory. The imagery itself does not point to these even as symbols. Human sacrifice performed by Mayan priests From Encyclopaedia Mythica (page 3) 539 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Verse 8 THEY SACRIFICED THE PURUSHA tam yajnam barhishi prokshan | purusham jAtam agrata: | tena devA ayajanta | sAdhyA RshayaS ca ye || 8 || As the sacrifice on the Yajña they besprinkled the Purusha, born in the beginning and put him on the sacrificial bed of straw. With him the Devas performed the Yajña along with Saadhyas (other Devas) and the Sages. Here is the Purusha himself was bound as the beast of sacrifice. This beast has to be sanctificed, on a sacred bed of straw, with holy water. The word barhis indicates this straw. According to the Yogaratna, virAt , barhis and prakriti are synonyms. In this sense, all of nature is the stage for this sacrifice, and Purusha the sacrifice to be offered. He was firstborn and foremost of creation. The word sAdhyA: according to Ranganathamuni includes all devas, RSHis, suras, and dwellers of Vaikuntha. Bhagavata Purana II,.6,15 -26 gives a detailed explanation of this passage. There Brahma says: “When I was produced, from the lotus that sprung from the navel of that great being, I found no materials for sacrifice except the members of Purusha. Among them were the victims, the sacrificial posts, the Kusa grass; they formed the sacrificial ground, and the seasons with their various qualities. The utensils, the grains, the verses of the Rifh, the Yajush, and the Samn, the functions of the four priests, the names of the rites, the texts, the gifts, the vows, the list of deities, the ritual rules, the designs, the forms, the arragments, the meditations, the expiation, the dedication, all these 540 PURUSHA SUKTHAM esseantials of sacrifice were derived by me from the members of the Purusha, I being this means offered up Purusha, the Isa himself as a a sacrifice”. The idea is that the gods got their power by killing Isa. Again this would define the difference between Purusha and Brahma. They are very often identified as one. This verse definitely defies such identification. Even Brahma got his power by sacrificing Isa. He took the parts of Isa and used it to obtain power as god. This follows the Gnostic concept of lower gods. The lower gods believed that they are the creators of the world. Evidently their creation was flawed and was subject to decay. Historically what would this mean? We know from history that Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and all the host of the modern Hindu gods were the product of post-Christian period in India, after the ministry of Thomas from AD 52 to 72. The very idea and the term of Isa as Iswara came only after that. Thus this statement is simply the statement of how The Isai religion was destroyed (killed – sacrificed) and how the concepts and ideas of Isai were taken out and used in the recreation of a new religion by the domination of Brahmins. This brought in the caste system and a host of new gods and the Vedas and the puranas and the ithihasas. This is described in the next verses. This is the origin of Hinduism. It emerged as a new religion by sacrificing the central Purusha of the Christian religion as brought in by St. Thomas. When the person of Christ is removed from Christianity what we get is Hinduism. Then out of the remanants are made myths legends and puranas in typical Gnostic fashion following the Manichaen ministry in India. Verse 9 AND THIS WAY THEY CREATED THE FALLEN WORLD tasmAd yajnAt sarvahuta: | sambhRtam prshadAjyam | pashUGs tAGS cakre vAyavyAn | AraNyAn grAmyAs ca ye || 9 || From that sacrifice completely offered, formed the cream and ghee [melted butter]. He made the beasts and birds of the air, beasts of of the forest and the people of the villages. It is only after the sacrifice the animals, birds and people arrived. 541 PURUSHA SUKTHAM The humanity and the rest of the cosmos which were held together in organic unity as the body of the Purusha was destroyed with the fall of gods/mankind. As a result each developed their ego and the cohesive unity of the cosmos was lost and the dismembered body was scattered all over the cosmos as separate entity with ego and will of their own. Brahma creates the material world, which is often called the "one-quarter creation," expressing that it is far smaller than the spiritual world (the "three-quarters portion"). Decay and Death prevail only in this quarter creation. St Augustine said that “Adam, at the fall, was scattered over all the earth” Humanity which was once one, one with nature, one with himself, one with God, when he fell he was scattered and divided. In the Christian thought, the atonement means that God comes into this divided universe and gathers those scattered pieces together and in his sacrifice reunites mankind. He brings all persons together in 542 PURUSHA SUKTHAM his Person. Then He pronounces , “Behold, I make all things new,” and gives the world a new start. That is the meaning of incarnation and the purpose of it. Verse 10 THEY CREATED THE VEDAS AND MANTRAS tasmAd yajnAt sarvahuta: | Rca: sAmAni jajnire | chandAGMsi jajnire tasmAt | yajus tasmAd ajAyanta || 10 || From that sacrifice completely offered came the Rg Veda and the Sama Veda. The Chandhas metres were born from it. Also the Yajurveda. The scriptures came out of this sacrifice. The Upanishads and the Puranas arose out of this sacrifice. Verse 11 HORSES, CATTLE, GOATS AND SHEEP WERE BORN tasmAdashvA ajAyanta | ye ke cobhayAdata: | gAvoham jagnyire tasmAt | tasmajjatA ajAvaya: || 11 || From this Yajña the horses were born and those that have one row and two rows of teeth. Cattle were born from it. From it were born goats and sheep. Cattle appears only now. But where did we get the ghee to start with the yajna? Such passages do imply that this was creation and not recreation or the redemption story. 543 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Purusha is Killed and dismembered and out of the Dismembered Portions they made The Fallen World Kingdom Verse 12 WHAT HAPPENNED TO THE DISMEMBERED PARTS OF PURUSHA? yat puruSHam vyadadhu: | katidhA vyakalpayan | mukham kimasya kau bAhoo | kavooroo pAdA ucyete || 12 || When they divided this Purusha, into how many forms did they make him? What was the form of his mouth? What was his two arms? What are his thighs and feet called? The sacrifice of the animal requires it to be killed and dismembered and then cooked and eaten in most sacrificial systems. The Vedic system was not in any way different and this simile is followed through here. If killing was a crime, then these gods were committing a crime introducing the fall into 544 PURUSHA SUKTHAM the sytem where it did not exist. In the process of this yajna, the sacrificial Purusha was cut up. This verse asks about what happened to the various parts of His body. What came of his face and mouth? What did the arms become? What became of his thighs and feet? It would imply that the sacrificers actually destroyed the form of Purusha and modeled them into what they wanted each part should be. They destroyed what was intended of the universe and made the world as they wanted thus destroying the form and image of God. This was the first murder. Devas being freewilled choose to sacrifice the Purusha which was the wholeness of cosmos and gave life to the parts instead of the whole, for favor of profit for themselves. Out of this fall came the hierarchy system, a system which alone will work in a fallen world. Such a fallen world is indeed a world of decay and death. The devas themselves believed that they were the real creators of the world. This is the story told by the Gnostics. Here is the Gnostic myth of creation: “The pleroma was the substance of the realm of God. It was here that the higher spiritual powers resided - among them, Sophia (Greek for wisdom). Sophia wished to know the nature of the Father (God), and would not stop trying to understand the incomprehensible. Eventually her wish twisted itself and she became impregnated by her desire for unattainable knowledge. Born from her mistaken intentions was the being Ialdaboath, who was exiled from the pleroma due to what he was. Sophia contented herself with the fact that she would never understand the Father, because He was beyond understanding. Although things turned out all right for the mother, her son Ialdaboath was not so lucky. Exiled from the pleroma, he attempted to return by bringing the pleroma to himself. In the Gnostic improvisation on the Creation, the creating god is not the Transcendent God the Gnostics referred to (as Jesus had) the Father. Rather, the creating god was Ialdaboath (with several spelling derivations). This being was known as the Demi-Urge - which is taken from the Greek word for the creator of the physical world - and is identified as being the God of the old testament - YHWH. The Gnostic identification of the creator and the true God being different caused some problems with the Orthodox church on the basis of the phrase "creator of Heaven and Earth" being applied to God. Ialdaboath was referred to as an archon (Greek for ruler). He had a company of six other archons (bringing the total to seven). His intention for creating the world was to glorify himself and to bring the pleroma to him. To do this, he required something that could hold the pleroma. The only proper vessel for this was a living being. Before he and his cronies had been expelled, they had seen a brief vision of Eternal Man (a purely spiritual creature). Ialdaboath attempted to recreate Man from what he remembered, but the only materials he had was the matter of the material universe. Thus the finished product fell short of its inspiring original. The finished product was, of course, Adam. 545 PURUSHA SUKTHAM The pleroma was the place from which human souls emerged. Originally, it was the substance of the realm of God. When the substance was drained off and separated into different vessels, souls formed. The souls took on individual egos because they saw themselves as disconnected from the world. In truth however, each soul was the same thing. This is easily seen in the idea of the Sea from which every human soul came and into which every soul returned during Instrumentality. It is the original state of the human soul. In gnosticism, the term "Creator" is reserved for the Demiurge and his Archons. "Salvation" for gnostics means, literally, the fusion of the divine element of man (the "pneuma", which is different from the soul) with the ultimate godhead.” That is the gnostic story. Verse 13 THE CREATION OF CASTE FROM HIS BODY brAhmaNo asya mukhamAseet | bAhoo rAjanya: krta: | ooru tadasya yad vaishya | padbhyAm shoodro ajAyata || 13 || His mouth formed the Brahmin (teacher or Priest), his two arms were made the Rajaanya (Kshathriya or warrior), his two thighs the Vaisyaa (traders or Agriculturist) and from his feet the Soodhra (worker or servant) was born. This verse is usually used to support the caste system and to support that Brahmins are somehow superior to the rest of the members. There is no mention of any superiority or hierarchy intended here. It is primarily intended to establish the organic oneness of mankind and all living creatures and even the material world. The caste system evolved only when a hierarchy is implied. This was brought into the Vedic thought only by the 8th C AD with the writing of Manusmriti. According to Manu Dharma Sastra , the Brahmins held 'spiritual power' (Priests) ; the Kshatriyas held executive 'secular power' (Kings); the Vaisyas held 'economic power' and the Sudras held 'labor power'. I should assume that this was the period when Brahmins who were relegated to the past took over the new religious movement. Caste system came in prominence once again by the 8th century as the brahminic domination came into effect. In direct contrast is the period of Mahabali which was overthrown by Vamana incarnation of Vishnu. This must have been sometime between the third and the sixth century. In the sixth century the Brahmin immigration and domination came in effect in Malabar through the suicide terrorism of the Brahmin Whether this portion was interpolated later after the 6th century or not cannot be asserted since the verse itself does not speak of any domination of one class by the other. It only speaks of interdependence.. 546 PURUSHA SUKTHAM The real thought pattern should be one of equality. All are parts of the Purusha, but each is assigned a function so that the society is self sufficient and support each other. Who supports whom? necessary to maintain the society. The teacher, defender, the provider and the worker are all In a society where The ultimate supporters are the legs. servanthood is considered menial and servants are outcaste we get the caste system. This is what happens in the fallen world. Once fallen the leg is of no purpose for the head and the arms. Eph 4:11-13 And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. 1Co 12:14-28 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If all the body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If all hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where would be the body? 547 PURUSHA SUKTHAM But now indeed many are the members, yet only one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, And those members of the body I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. But much rather the members of the body seeming to be weaker are necessary. which we think to be less honorable, on these we put more abundant honor around them. And our unpresentable members have more abundant propriety. For our presentable members have no need, but God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor to the member having need; that there not be division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is glorified, all the members rejoice with it. And you are the body of Christ, and members in part. It may be interesting to note that in the Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus, the world was upside down. When the question of who is the greatest came up at one occasion Jesus makes his point. Mar 10:36-45 And He said to them, What do you desire that I should do for you? They said to Him, Grant to us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left hand, in Your glory. But Jesus called them and said to them, You know that they who are accounted rulers over the nations exercise lordship over them. And their great ones exercise authority on them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. And whoever of you desires to become first, he shall be servant of all. For even the Son of Man did Verse 14 NATURE GODS CAME OUT OF PURUSHA’S BODY candramA manaso jAta: | caksho sooryo ajAyata | mukhaadeendrascAgnischa | prANAdvAyurajAyata || 14 || His mind (manas) formed the moon, from his eye became the sun, from his mouth came Indra and Agni, from his breath Vaayu (wind) was born. There is the same problem of order of creation here again. Sun, moon and fire were created after the creation of man? However it may be that they were made gods of men after the creation. Men began 548 PURUSHA SUKTHAM to worship the natural forces. The purusha is the source of these deities which are worshipped by the Vedics too. Verse 15 SPACE , SKY , EARTH AND DIRECTIONS CAME FORTH nAbhyA Aseedantariksham | sheerSHNau dhyau: samavartata | padbhyAm bhoomir disha: shrotrAt | tathA lokAm akalpayan || 15 || From his navel arose the open sky, from his head the heaven originated, from his feet the earth was formed, the directions came from his ears. Thus did they create all the worlds. Verse 16 PURUSHA STILL MAINTAINS THE COSMOS vedAhametam puruSHam mahAntam | AdityavarNam tamasastu pAre | sarvANi roopANi vicitya dheera: | nAmAni krtyAbhivadan yadAste || 16 || 549 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Know Him this glorius Purusha, who is the creator of all forms and all that has names and materils and who maintains all these. He is all powerfull, beyond darkness, bright like the Sun performing all actions. Verse 17 KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUE PURUSHA ALONE IS THE WAY TO SALVATION dhAtA purastAdhyamudAjahAra | shakra: pravidvAn pradishashcatasra: | tamevam vidhvAnamrta iha bhavati | nAnya: panthA ayanAya vidhyate || 17 || The Purusha whom even the gods Brahma and Indra acknowledges as supreme and whom the wise acknowledges becomes immortal by knowing Him. There is no other way for salvation Verse 18 THE PATH TO HEAVEN yagnyena yagnya-mayajanta deva: | tAni dharmANi prathamAnAsann | te ha nAkam mahimAna: sacante | yatra poorve sAdhyA: santi devA: || 18 || The Devas who worshipped this Purusha, by this Yajña and by all the associated acts of faith, attained Heaven. All who follow this will also reach the heaven. The Upanishad is not very clear about the relation between the yAga and tyAga. The Yajna described in the Upanishad somehow misses the fact that it is the Purusha who gave himself up. It involved tyAga of the Purusha not of the gods. The salvific yajna was perfomed by the Purusha Himself not by the devas. It is not in killing the Purusha and dismembering is there salvation. The world is established by sacrifice - the puruSHa giving his all, which is his self, his body, to form this world. The 550 PURUSHA SUKTHAM world is sustained by His giving himself. And it is also the only redemptive process by means of which man may reach heaven. The fall is when man dismember the Purusha and create gods from them and then worship them. The following six verses are not found in all Vedas and is usually counted as a second portion added much later in the historical development. Many omit them while reciting. I add them here for the sake of completeness. Sri Purusha Suktam dvitIya anuvAkam Verse 1 adbhyassambhoota: prthivyai rasAcca | vishvakarmaNassamavartatAdhi | tasya tvaSHTA vidadhadroopameti | tatpuruSHasya vishvamAjAnamagre || 1 || From water and essence of earth was born, The all pervading universe. From the great God who is the creator, Then appeared that Purusha Verse 2 vedAhametam puruSHam mahAntam | AdityavarNam tamasas pArastAt | tamevam vidhvAnamrta iha bhavati | nAnya: panthA vidhyate ayanAya || 2 || I know that Purusha, who is glorius as the sun and transcends everything, beyond darkness. The one who knows him thus, attains salvation here and now, and there is no other way for salvation. Verse 3 prajApatischarati garbhe anta: | ajAyamAno bahudhA vijAyate | tasya dheerA: parijAnanti yonim | mareecheenAm padamiccanti vedhasa: || 3 || The Lord of the hosts moves in the womb like an unborn and appears in many ways. The wise realize his real form, and those who know the Vedas like to do the job of, savants like Mareechi. 551 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Verse 4 yo devebhya Atapati | yo devAnAm purohita: | poorvo yo devebhyo jAta: | namo rucAya brAhmaye || 4 || We salute you Brahman the ever shining one who shines as divinity in the gods and is the priest to the gods, who was borm before the gods who is brilliant in himself Verse 5 rucam brAmham janayanta: | deva agre tadabruvan | yastvaivam brAhmaNo vidhyAt | tasya deva asan vashe || 5 || The knowledge of the Brahman was in the beginning given to the gods. Whosoever thus has inclination towards Brahman and knows him will control the gods. Verse 6 hreeshca te lakshmeeshca patnyau | ahorAtre pArshve | nakshatrANi roopam | ashvinau vyAttam | Modesty and Wealth are your wives and day and night are on your right and on the left. The stars ar your body and healing is in your mouth. iSHTam maniSHANa | amum maniSHANa | sarvam maniSHANA || Grant us Our desires, Happiness, and Everything we need.. 552 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Thus the interpolated parts leads us to the following concept: Hindu Purusha 553 PURUSHA SUKTHAM It is not difficult to see the various layers within the suktham developed probably over a long period of time starting from the second century AD to sixth century AD. The mention of Isa in the second verse would imply that this was indeed an early Christian document. Thus it is legitimate to assume that the the first five certain portions of the Purusha Suktha are indeed Christian in origin. It also indicate the strong Jewish mysticism with regard to the four worlds of existence as the whole Revealed god who fills all and forms all cosmos. We have already discussed the four Hebrew Kaballistic cosmos and their relevance in the Purusha Suktha. The remaining portion indicates the strong influence of Gnosticism. Gnostics used Jewish, Christian and Chalcedoninan concepts to build the system. I would place it after the coming of Mani who we know traveled through out India far and wide and made many congregrations affecting not only the Vedic, Buddhist and Jain theology along with the Christian Churches of St.Thomas. In order to see the relevance it is best to go over the basic Gnostic teaching of Mani. For that purpose I summarise generally from the Bishop Stephan A. Hoeller of the Gnostic Church of America. “GNOSTICISM IS THE TEACHING based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic recognitions. It is nearer the truth to say that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious experience, an experience that does not lend itself to the language of theology or philosophy, but which is instead closely affinitized to, and expresses itself through, the medium of myth. Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths. The term “myth” should not here be taken to mean “stories that are not true”, but rather, that the truths embodied in these myths are of a different order from the dogmas of theology or the statements of philosophy.” In the Gnostic view, there is a true, ultimate and transcendent God. But this God is unknowable. From this God (or, It) “emanated” or brought forth from within Himself the substance of all there is in all the worlds, visible and invisible. In that process God is made a Purusha with a form and nature. In a certain sense, it may therefore be true to say that all is God, for all consists of the substance of God. Thus far it fits the boot of Christianity which forms the initial portions of this Upanishad. In Christian thought all the worlds are created by God and so he is immanent in them all. The sentients are created in all cosmos with freedom of will as images of God with varying degrees of freedom and existence. Because of the freedom of will every sentient can cause selfish ego centric actions, which inevitably causes destruction of the oneness of the body of God. This is the fall. 554 PURUSHA SUKTHAM However in the Gnostic view, the emanations from the ultimate God, of the higher realms,- the gods began to create. Because they themselves are finite, this would mean the creatures created by the gods are flawed. The basic Gnostic myth has many variations, but all of these refer to Aeons, intermediate deific beings who exist between the ultimate, True God and ourselves. They, together with the True God, comprise the realm of Fullness (Pleroma) wherein the potency of divinity operates fully. It is this picture that we see in the rest of this Upanishads. In the verses seven to eighteen of Purusha Suktha, the creation Yajna is not done by the Purusha but by the gods. They tied the Purusha and killed him and dismembered him. Out of this dismemberment came the lower worlds. Evidently these are flawed. To worship the gods of cosmos, or nature, or embodied creatures is thus tantamount to worshipping alienated and corrupt portions of the emanated divine essence. these can lead to temporary gains such as wealth, health, healing etc. comes only through knowing the ultimate. One of the aeonial beings who bears the name Sophia (“Wisdom”) is of great importance to the Gnostic world view. In the course of her journeyings, Sophia came to emanate from her own being a flawed consciousness, a being who became the creator of the material and psychic cosmos, all of which he created in the image of his own flaw. This being, unaware of his origins, imagined himself to be the ultimate and absolute God. Since he took the already existing divine essence and fashioned it into various forms, he is also called the Demiurgos or “half-maker” There is an authentic half, a true deific component within creation, but it is not recognized by the half-maker and by his cosmic minions, the Archons or “rulers”. It is not difficult to see how the teachings of Gnosticism is reflected almost exactly in the latter part of the Purusha Suktham. “Gnostics do not look to salvation from sin (original or other), but rather from the ignorance of which sin is a consequence. Ignorance -- whereby is meant ignorance of spiritual realities -- is dispelled only by Gnosis, and the decisive revelation of Gnosis is brought by the Messengers of Light” I have added the Hindu and Gnostic world view as given by the Theosophy as addendum and one can see the identity through it all. Evidently Thomas ministry followed by the Manichaen ministry changed the Christian model into the Hindu model by subtle manipulation and the gradual take over of the Brahmins as the head of the society. It was probably a political manipulation than intellectual where myths replaced reality and symbols replaced wisdom. However But the ultimate salvation 555 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Isis Unveiled by H. P. Blavatsky Vol. 2 (Theosophical University Press Online Edition ) : Madame Blavatsky gives a comparison between the two world concepts as depicted in Purusha Suktha between Hinduism and Gnosticism as brought in by Manicaen of Persia, which shows almost identical similarity. (page 266-) THE HINDU DOCTRINE. The Upper Triangle Contains the Ineffable Name. It is the AUM -- to be pronounced only mentally, under penalty of death. The Unrevealed Para-Brahma, the Passive-Principle; the absolute and unconditioned "mukta," which cannot enter into the condition of a Creator, as the latter, in order to think, will, and plan, must be bound and conditioned (baddha); hence, in one sense, be a finite being. "THIS (Para-Brahma) was absorbed in the non-being, imperceptible, without any distinct attribute, non-existent for our senses. He was absorbed in his (to us) eternal (to himself) periodical, sleep," for it was one of the "Nights of Brahma." Therefore he is not the First but the Eternal Cause. He is the Soul of Souls, whom no being can comprehend in this state. But "he who studies the secret Mantras and comprehends the Vach" (the Spirit or hidden voice of the Mantras, the active manifestation of the latent Force) will learn to understand him in his "revealed" aspect. The Space Around the Upper Triangle. When the "Night of Brahma" was ended, and the time came for the Self-Existent to manifest Itself by revelation, it made its glory visible by sending forth from its Essence an active Power, which, female at first, subsequently becomes earth (both yet in their ideal, not their manifested form). Thus, this second triad, only another name for the first one (never pronounced aloud), and which is the real pre-Vedic and primordial secret Trimurti, consisted of Nara, Father-Heaven, Nari, Mother-Earth, Viradj, the Son--or Universe. The Trimurti, comprising Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Siva, the Destroyer and Regenerator, belongs to a later period. It is an anthropomorphic afterthought, invented for the more popular comprehension of the uninitiated masses. The Dikshita, the initiate, knew better. Thus, also, the profound allegory under the colors of a ridiculous fable, given in the Aytareya Brahmana, which resulted in the representations in some temples of Brahm-Nara, assuming the form of a bull, and his daughter, Aditi-Nari, that of a heifer, contains the same metaphysical idea as the "fall of man," or that of the Spirit into generation--matter. The All-pervading Divine Spirit embodied under the symbols of 556 PURUSHA SUKTHAM Heaven, the Sun, and Heat (fire)--the correlation of cosmic forces--fecundates Matter or Nature, the daughter of Spirit. And Para-Brahma himself has to submit to and bear the penance of the curses of the other gods (Elohim) for such an incest. According to the immutable, and, therefore, fatal law, both Nara and Nari are mutually Father and Mother, as well as Father and Daughter. Matter, through infinite transformation, is the gradual product of Spirit. The unification of one Eternal Supreme Cause required such a correlation; and if nature be the product or effect of that Cause, in its turn it has to be fecundated by the same divine Ray which produced nature itself. The most absurd cosmogonical allegories, if analyzed without prejudice, will be found built on strict and logical necessarianism. "Being was born from not-being," says a verse in the Rig-Veda. The first being had to become androgyne and finite, by the very fact of its creation as a being. And thus even the sacred Trimurti, containing Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva will have an end when the "night" of Para-Brahma succeeds the present "day," or period of universal activity. The second, or rather the first, triad--as the highest one is a pure abstraction--is the intellectual world. The Vach which surrounds it is a more definite transformation of Aditi. Besides its occult significance in the secret Mantram, Vach is personified as the active power of Brahma proceeding from him. In the Vedas she is made to speak of herself as the supreme and universal soul. "I bore the Father on the head of the universal mind, and my origin is in the midst of the ocean; and therefore do I pervade all beings. . . . Originating all beings, I pass like the breeze (Holy Ghost). I am above this heaven, beyond this earth; and what is the Great One that am I." Literally, Vach is speech, the power of awakening, through the metrical arrangement contained in the number and syllables of the Mantras, corresponding powers in the invisible world. In the sacrificial Mysteries Vach stirs up the Brahma (Brahma jinvati), or the power lying latent at the bottom of every magical operation. It existed from eternity as the Yajna (its latent form), lying dormant in Brahma from "no-beginning," and proceeded forth from him as Vach (the active power). It is the key to the "Trai vidya," the thrice sacred science which teaches the Yajus (the sacrificial Mysteries). Having done with the unrevealed triad, and the first triad of the Sephiroth, called the "intellectual world," little remains to be said. In the great geometrical figure which has the double triangle in it, the central circle represents the world within the universe. The double triangle belongs to one of the most important, if it is not in itself the most important, of the mystic figures in India. It is the emblem of the Trimurti three in one. The triangle with its apex upward indicates the male principle, downward the female; the two typifying, at the same time, spirit and matter. This world within the infinite universe is the microcosm within the macrocosm, as in the Jewish Kabala. It is the symbol of the womb of the universe, the terrestrial egg, whose archetype is the golden mundane egg. It is from within this spiritual bosom of mother nature that proceed all the great saviours of the universe--the avatars of the invisible Deity. "Of him who is and yet is not, from the not-being, Eternal Cause, is born the being Pouroucha," says Manu, the legislator. Pouroucha is the "divine male," the second god, and the avatar, or the Logos of Para-Brahma and his divine son, who in his turn produced Viradj, the son, or the ideal type of the universe. "Viradj begins the work of creation by producing the ten Pradjapati, 'the lords of all beings.' " According to the doctrine of Manu, the universe is subjected to a periodical and never-ending succession of creations and dissolutions, which periods of creation are named Manvantara. "It is the germ (which the Divine Spirit produced from its own substance) which never perishes in the being, for it becomes the soul of Being, and at the period of pralaya (dissolution) it returns to absorb itself again into the Divine Spirit, which itself rests from all eternity within Swayambhuva, the 'SelfExistent' " (Institute of Manu, book i.). 557 PURUSHA SUKTHAM As we have shown, neither the Svabhavikas, Buddhist philosophers--nor the Brahmans believe in a creation of the universe ex nihilo, but both believe in the Prakriti, the indestructibility of matter. The evolution of species, and the successive appearance of various new types is very distinctly shown in Manu. "From earth, heat, and water, are born all creatures, whether animate or inanimate, produced by the germ which the Divine Spirit drew from its own substance. Thus has Brahma established the series of transformations from the plant up to man, and from man up to the primordial essence. . . . Among them each succeeding being (or element) acquires the quality of the preceding; and in as many degrees as each of them is advanced, with so many properties is it said to be endowed" (Manu, book i., sloka 20). 558 PURUSHA SUKTHAM THE HINDU MODEL As given in the Purusha Suktham 559 PURUSHA SUKTHAM THE CHALDEAN DOCTRINE. The Gnostic Model 560 PURUSHA SUKTHAM The Upper Triangle Contains the Ineffable Name. It is En-Soph, the Boundless, the Infinite, whose name is known to no one but the initiated, and could not be pronounced aloud under the penalty of death. No more than Para-Brahma can En-Soph create, for he is in the same condition of non-being as the former; he is non-existent so long as he lies in his latent or passive state within Oulom (the boundless and termless time); as such he is not the Creator of the visible universe, neither is he the Aur (Light). He will become the latter when the period of creation shall have compelled him to expand the Force within himself, according to the Law of which he is the embodiment and essence. The Space Around the Upper Triangle. When the active period had arrived, En-Soph sent forth from within his own eternal essence, Sephira, the active Power, called the Primordial Point, and the Crown, Keter. It is only through her that the "Un-bounded Wisdom" could give a concrete form to his abstract Thought. Two sides of the upper triangle, the right side and the base, are composed of unbroken lines; the third, the left side, is dotted. It is through the latter that emerges Sephira. Spreading in every direction, she finally encompasses the whole trianvgle. In this emanation of the female active principle from the left side of the mystic triangle, is foreshadowed the creation of Eve from Adam's left rib. Adam is the Microcosm of the Macrocosm, and is created in the image of the Elohim. In the Tree of Life the triple triad is disposed in such a manner that the three male Sephiroth are on the right, the three female on the left, and the four uniting principles in the centre. From the Invisible Dew falling from the Higher "Head" Sephira creates primeval water, or chaos taking shape. It is the first step toward the solidification of Spirit, which through various modifications will produce earth. "It requires earth and water to make a living soul," says Moses. When Sephira emerges like an active power from within the latent Deity, she is female; when she assumes the office of a creator, she becomes a male; hence, she is androgyne. She is the "Father and Mother Aditi," of the Hindu Cosmogony. After brooding over the "Deep," the Spirit of God" produces its own image in the water, the Universal Womb, symbolized in Manu by the Golden Egg. In the kabalistic Cosmogony, Heaven and Earth are personified by Adam Kadmon and the second Adam. The first Ineffable Triad, contained in the abstract idea of the "Three Heads," was a "mystery name." It was composed of En-Soph, Sephira, and Adam Kadmon, the Protogonos, the latter being identical with the former, when bisexual. In every triad there is a male, a female, and an androgyne. Adam-Sephira is the Crown (Keter). It sets itself to the work of creation, by first producing Chochmah, Male Wisdom, a masculine active potency, represented by , jah, or the Wheels of Creation, , from which proceeds Binah, Intelligence, female and passive potency, which is Jehovah, , whom we find in the Bible figuring as the Supreme. But this Jehovah is not the kabalistic Jodcheva. The binary is the fundamental corner-stone of Gnosis. As the binary is the Unity multiplying itself and self-creating, the kabalists show the "Unknown" passive En-Soph, as emanating from himself, Sephira, which, becoming visible light, is said to produce Adam Kadmon. But, in the hidden sense, Sephira and Adam are one and the same light, only latent and active, invisible and visible. The second Adam, as the human tetragram, produces in his turn Eve, out of his side. It is this second triad, with which the kabalists have hitherto dealt, hardly hinting at the Supreme and Ineffable One, and never committing anything to writing. All knowledge concerning the latter was imparted orally. It is the second Adam, then, who is the unity represented by Jod, emblem of the kabalistic male principle, and, at the same time, he is Chochmah, Wisdom, while Binah or Jehovah is Eve; the first Chochmah issuing from Keter, or the androgyne, Adam Kadmon, and the second, Binah, from Chochmah. If we combine with Jod the three letters which form the name of Eve, we will have the divine tetragram pronounced IEVO-HEVAH, Adam and Eve, , Jehovah, male and female, or the idealization of humanity embodied in the first man. Thus is it that we can prove that, while the Jewish kabalists, in common with their initiated masters, the Chaldeans and the Hindus, adored the Supreme and Unknown God, in the sacred silence 561 PURUSHA SUKTHAM of their sanctuaries, the ignorant masses of every nation were left to adore something which was certainly less than the Eternal Substance of the Buddhists, the so-called Atheists. As Brahma, the deity manifested in the mythical Manu, or the first man (born of Swayambhuva, or the Self-existent), is finite, so Jehovah, embodied in Adam and Eve, is but a human god. He is the symbol of humanity, a mixture of good with a portion of unavoidable evil; of spirit fallen into matter. In worshipping Jehovah, we simply worship nature, as embodied in man, half-spiritual and half-material, at best: we are Pantheists, when not fetich worshippers, like the idolatrous Jews, who sacrificed on high places, in groves, to the personified male and female principle, ignorant of IAO, the Supreme "Secret Name" of the Mysteries. Shekinah is the Hindu Vach, and praised in the same terms as the latter. Though shown in the kabalistic Tree of Life as proceeding from the ninth Sephiroth, yet Shekinah is the "veil" of En-Soph, and the "garment" of Jehovah. The "veil," for it succeeded for long ages in concealing the real supreme God, the universal Spirit, and masking Jehovah, the exoteric deity, made the Christians accept him as the "father" of the initiated Jesus. Yet the kabalists, as well as the Hindu Dikshita, know the power of the Shekinah or Vach, and call it the "secret wisdom," . The triangle played a prominent part in the religious symbolism of every great nation; for everywhere it represented the three great principles--spirit, force, and matter; or the active (male), passive (female), and the dual or correlative principle which partakes of both and binds the two together. It was the Arba or mystic four," the mystery-gods, the Kabeiri, summarized in the unity of one supreme Deity. It is found in the Egyptian pyramids, whose equal sides tower up until lost in one crowning point. In the kabalistic diagram the central circle of the Brahmanical figure is replaced by the cross; the celestial perpendicular and the terrestrial horizontal base line. But the idea is the same: Adam Kadmon is the type of humanity as a collective totality within the unity of the creative God and the universal spirit. Of him who is formless, the non-existent (also the eternal, but not First Cause), is born the heavenly man." But after he created the form of the heavenly man , he "used it as a vehicle wherein to descend," says the Kabala. Thus Adam Kadmon is the avatar of the concealed power. After that the heavenly Adam creates or engenders by the combined power of the Sephiroth, the earthly Adam. The work of creation is also begun by Sephira in the creation of the ten Sephiroth (who are the Pradjapatis of the Kabala, for they are likewise the Lords of all beings). The Sohar asserts the same. According to the kabalistic doctrine there were old worlds (see Idra Suta: Sohar, iii., p. 292b). Everything will return some day to that from which it first proceeded. "All things of which this world consists, spirit as well as body, will return to their principal, and the roots from which they proceeded" (Sohar, ii., 218b). The kabalists also maintain the indestructibility of matter, albeit their doctrine is shrouded still more carefully than that of the Hindus. The creation is eternal, and the universe is the "garment," or "the veil of God"--Shekinah; and the latter is immortal and eternal as Him within whom it has ever existed. Every world is made after the pattern of its predecessor, and each more gross and material than the preceding one. In the Kabala all were called sparks. Finally, our present grossly materialistic world was formed. In the Chaldean account of the period which preceded the Genesis of our world, Berosus speaks of a time when there existed nothing but darkness, and an abyss of waters, filled with hideous monsters, "produced of a two-fold principle. . . . These were creatures in which were combined the limbs of every species of animals. In addition to these fishes, reptiles, serpents, with other monstrous animals, which assumed each other's shape and countenance." 562

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