Wednesday, November 30, 2022

On The Gayatri Mantra

10th Century Sculpture of 

Sadashiva (Parameshwara)

ॐ भूर् भुवः स्वः ।
भर्गो॑ देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

(Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt) ~ the Gayatri Mantra

Dedicated to God Savita, the Gayatri Mantra is part of the Vedic tradition of spiritualism and philosophy that is more than 3000 years old. It occurs in the early section of the Rigveda (Mandala 3.62.10). In some Vedic hymns, Savita means the Sun God. However, Yaska, the celebrated grammarian and linguist of the Vedic age, gives a different meaning to Savita. In his text Nirukta, Yaska posits that Savita was the creator of the universe. This implies that Savita is Parameshwara, the ultimate reality. 

Till this day, millions of Hindus recite the Gayatri Mantra at sunrise and sunset. This is the world’s only mantra whose recitation has been widespread for over 3000 years. Why do the Hindus of today take the Gayatri Mantra so seriously? Why do they feel that the chanting of this mantra purifies their body and soul? Bankim Chandra Chatterjee believed that there was a historical reason behind this mantra’s popularity. In his essay, “The Glory of the Gayatri Mantra,” he wrote: 

“When the greatest rishis of India turned Brahmavadi, or believers in one Supreme God, they were keen to point out how their philosophy was rooted in the Vedas. As the prayer to Savita in the Gayatri Mantra could also be interpreted as a prayer to ‘one who has given brith to the universe’, they attached great importance to it… We are not sure to whom exactly the hymn to Savita in the Gayatri Mantra was originally dedicated, but it makes sense to regard it as dedicated to Parameshwara...” 

In the final paragraph of his essay, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee reflects on the importance of Vedic knowledge:

“The Vedas are definitely the roots of Hinduism. But the roots cannot be the tree. The tree acquires branches, leaves, flowers and fruit. But if we do not acquaint ourselves with the roots, if we remain totally blind about the early stirrings of Hinduism, we will not know our tree well.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Classical Indian Metaphysics by Stephen H. Phillips

Stephen H. Phillips’s book Classical Indian Metaphysics is a good examination of Nyaya (the word “Nyaya” is roughly translated into logic), one of the six schools of ancient Hindu philosophy. The Nyaya school arose in India probably between the sixth and the second centuries BCE.

In his book, Phillips has examined the metaphysics and epistemology of the Nyaya school from the second century CE to the Middle Ages, a period in which prachin Nyaya transformed into navya Nyaya. He looks at the works of several important Indian philosophers of the Middle Ages: Sriharṣa, Manikantha Misra, Gangesa, Sankara Misra, and Vacaspati Misra. The final section of the book contains translations of key passages from the texts of these philosophers. 

Sriharṣa is the proponent of idealism, while the metaphysics of Nyaya is realist. The debate between the Indian idealists and realists that has been going on for centuries, through the ancient and the Middle Ages, and is still ongoing, is the primary focus of this book.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Girilal Jain’s Book: The Hindu Phenomena

If you are looking for a simple, concise, and systematic introduction to the political and cultural issues that India faced in the twentieth century (most of these issues remain unresolved and continue to plague this country in the twenty-first century), then Girilal Jain’s 1989 book The Hindu Phenomena is the one for you. Jain was the editor of The Times of India from 1978 to 1988. I read his book more than a decade ago—at that time, I was immensely impressed by his analysis of political and cultural issues. I regard Jain’s book as a classic, an absolute must-read.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Rabindranath Tagore: On Hinduism, Semitic Religions, and Communism

Tagore in 1925

“There are two religions on earth, which have distinct enmity against all other religions. These two are Christianity and Islam. They are not just satisfied with observing their own religions, but are determined to destroy all other religions. That’s why the only way to make peace with them is to embrace their religions.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore (Original works of Rabindranath, Vol. 24, page 375)

Tagore believed that universalism preached by Hinduism was the only solution to the divisive and destructive influences of the Semitic religions. He exhorted the Hindus to hold on to their moral and religious values. In his article “Aatmaparichapa,” published in his 1916 book Parichaya, he compared the Semitic religions to Bolshevism (communism) which, he warned, was spreading very fast in the country. He saw communism as a modern sequel to the Semitic religious doctrine. He wrote:

“When two-three different religions claim that only their own religions are true and all other religions are false, their religions are only ways to Heaven, conflicts cannot be avoided. Thus, fundamentalism tries to abolish all other religions. This is called Bolshevism in religion. Only the path shown by Hinduism can relieve the world from this meanness.”

Friday, November 25, 2022

Sister Nivedita: The Vision of Siva

Siva Statue at Murdeshwar Temple

Sister Nivedita describing her vision of Lord Siva (in her essay, “The Vision of Siva”):

Those human eyes of His are half closed. Though worlds are uttered and destroyed with every breath, it is nothing to Him. All comes and goes before Him like a dream. Such is the meaning of the curious unrealism of the image. But one faculty is all activity. Within it has been indrawn all the force of all the senses. Upright in the middle of the forehead looks forth the third eye, the eye of inner vision. It is natural then, that Siva the Great God, set forth as ideal manhood, should be known amongst other names as the Wondrous-Eyed.

He is the Refuge of Animals. About His neck have wound the serpents, whom none else would receive.

Never did he turn any away. The mad and the eccentric, the crazed, and the queer, and the half-witted amongst men—for all these there is room with Siva. His love will embrace even the demoniac.

He accepts that which all else reject. All the pain and evil of the Universe He took as His share, to save the world, when He drank the poison of things, and made His throat blue for ever.

He possesses so little! Only the old bull on which he rides, and the tiger-skin of meditation, and a string or two of praying beads—no more.

And, last of all, He is so easily pleased! Could any trait be so exquisite as this? Only pure water and a few grains of rice, and a green leaf or two may be offered to Him daily, for the Great God in matters of this world is very very simple, and sets no store by things for which we struggle and lie and slay our fellow men. Such is the picture that springs to the Indian mind, as representing the Soul of the Universe—Siva, the All-Merciful, the Destroyer of Ignorance, the Great God. Such is the form in which are uttered finally those first faint suggestions of the light of Himalayan snow peaks and the new moon shining on still waters. Perfect renunciation, perfect withdrawnness, perfect absorption in eternity,—these things alone are worthy to be told concerning Him Who is "the Sweetest of the Sweet, the most Terrible of the Terrible, the Lord of Heroes, and the Wondrous-Eyed."

Listen to the prayer that rises to Him daily from many a worshipper, through the length and breadth of India:—

"From the Unreal lead us to the Real,
From Darkness lead us unto Light,
From Death lead us to Immortality.
Reach us through and through ourself,
And evermore protect us,—
O Thou Terrible!—from ignorance,
By Thy sweet compassionate face.”

Such is Siva—ideal of Manhood, embodiment of Godhead.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Vivekananda: Kali The Mother

Samhara Kali 

by Raja Ravi Varma

Swami Vivekananda wrote his poem Kali The Mother, on 24 September 1898, while he was staying in Srinagar, in a houseboat on Dal Lake.  The poem is a prayer to Goddess Kali (the ferocious form of Mahakali), the ultimate deity of Shaktism, the mother of all living beings, and the Goddess of power, time, and the destruction of demonic forces. 

Vivekananda became a worshipper of Kali in 1886, after the death of his guru Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Sister Nivedita, who had accompanied Vivekananda to Srinagar, has said that on the day when he wrote the poem, Vivekananda had visited Srinagar’s Kheer Bhawani temple and was in a “fever of imagination.” He was feeling impatient till he had penned his thoughts. Nivedita was herself a devotee of Kali. Her first book on Hinduism, bearing the same title as Vivekananda’s poem, was published in 1900.

Here’s Vivekananda’s poem, Kali The Mother:

The stars are blotted out,
The clouds are covering clouds.
It is darkness vibrant, sonant.
In the roaring, whirling wind
Are the souls of a million lunatics
Just loosed from the prison-house,
Wrenching trees by the roots,
Sweeping all from the path.

The sea has joined the fray,
And swirled up mountain-waves,
To reach the pitchy sky.
The flash of lurid light
Reveals on every side
A thousand, thousand shades
Of Death begrimed and black-
Scattering plagues and sorrows,
Dancing mad with joy,
Come, Mother, come!

For terror is Thy name,
Death is in thy breath,
And every shaking step
Destroys a world for e'er.
Thou Time, the All-destroyer!
Come, O Mother, come!

Who dares misery love,
And hug the form of Death,
Dance in destruction's dance
To him the Mother comes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Kumarasambhava: The Birth of War God

Shiva-Parvati (11th century)

as Uma-Maheshvara

The central idea in Kalidasa’s epic poem Kumarasambhava is the union of Shiva and Parvati for the birth of their son Kartikeya. The word “Kumara” refers to Kartikeya, and the word “sambhava” refers to the possibility of a great cosmic event. It was important for Kartikeya to be born because only he had the power to destroy Tarakasura, a rakshasa (demon) who was oppressing the pious and threatening the God of heaven, Indra, and was causing misery to Vishnu. 

Brahma had granted Tarakasura a boon that no one except the son of Shiva and Parvati could kill him. The problem was that Shiva was engaged in deep tapas (extreme austerities and prayers) and he was not ready to notice Parvati. The Gods engaged Kamadeva and Rati, the God and Goddess of love, to arouse Shiva’s passion. But Shiva burnt Kamadeva to ashes. On seeing that Kamadeva and Rati had failed in their mission, Parvati became engaged in deep tapas—her prayers were finally answered and she won Shiva as her husband. Through their union Kartikeya was born and he restored the balance of the universe by slaying Tarakasura. 

Kumarasambhava is an epic poem of seventeen cantos—the Sringara rasa (the rasa of  love, romance, and eroticism) plays a more critical role in it than the Vira rasa (the rasa of heroism and warfare). A large part of the epic poem is devoted to describing the union between Shiva and Parvati. Kalidasa describes their union as the coming together of the two primordial elements of the universe: Purusha (the spirit or the conscious energy) and Prakriti (the cosmic material that is the root of everything in the universe). 

The period of composition of Kumarasambhava is not clear. Most historians believe that Kalidasa lived between the 1st and the 5th centuries CE.  Several English translations of Kumarasambhava have been published under the title, The Birth of War God. Here’s an excerpt from the section in which Shiva is describing to Parvati the beauty of the Himalayas (they had come to the Himalayas after their marriage): 

See, my beloved, how the sun
With beams that o’er the water shake
From western skies has now begun
A bridge of gold across the lake.

Upon the very tree-tops sway
The peacocks; even yet they hold
And drink the dying light of day,
Until their fans are molten gold.

The water-lily closes, but
With wonderful reluctancy;
As if it troubled her to shut
Her door of welcome to the bee.

The steeds that draw the sun's bright car,
With bended neck and falling plume
And drooping mane, are seen afar
To bury day in ocean's gloom.

The sun is down, and heaven sleeps:
Thus every path of glory ends;
As high as are the scaled steeps,
The downward way as low descends.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Hindu Cosmology and Concept of Yugas

Statue of Kalki in Gujarat

on a wall of Rani Ki Vav

Sister Nivedita and Anand K. Coomaraswamy have given a brief explanation of Hindu cosmology and concept of yugas in the book that they jointly authored, and published in 1914, Myths and Legends of the Hindus & Buddhists. Here’s an excerpt from the book's Chapter 8, “Conclusion”:

“In speaking here of the Hindu cosmology, it is chiefly our solar system that is to be understood; but it will be clear that similar principles are applicable to any other system, or to a whole universe composed of many systems. No original creation of the universe can be imagined; but there are alternations, partial and complete, of manifestation and withdrawal. At the commencement of a cycle (kalpa) the world is created by the Brahma aspect of Ishvara; during the cycle it is sustained by Vishnu; and at the end, as Shiva, he destroys it. This cosmic process takes place according to the following time scheme:

“A cycle, or Day of Brahma, a kalpa, the period of the endurance of the solar system, is 12,000 years of the devas, or 4,320,000,000 earth-years. At the beginning of each Day when Brahma wakes, the "Three Worlds" so often spoken of in the myths, together with the devas, rishis, asuras, men, and creatures, are manifested afresh according to their individual deserts (karma, deeds); only those who in the previous kalpa obtained direct release (nirvana, moksha), or who passed beyond the Three Worlds to higher planes, no longer reappear. At the close of each Day the Three Worlds, with all their creatures, are again resolved into chaos (pralaya), retaining only a latent germ of necessity of remanifestation. The Night of Brahma is of equal length with the Day. The life of our Brahma or Ishvara is one hundred Brahma-years, at the end of which time not only the Three Worlds, but all planes and all beings Ishvara himself, devas, rishis, asuras, men, creatures, and matter are resolved into chaos (riiaha-pralaya, "great-chaos"), enduring for another hundred Brahma-years, when there appear a new Brahma and a new creation. It will be seen that both major and minor alternations of evolution and involution are represented as necessitated by natural law, the latent force of past action (karma). Causality governs all conditioned existence. The whole scheme is highly scientific.

"The Day of Brahma is divided into fourteen manvantaras, over each of which presides a Manu, or teacher. Each manvantara is followed by a Deluge, which destroys the existing continents and swallows up all living beings, except the few who are preserved for the repeopling of the earth. The name of our Manu is Vaivasvata, who is the source of the Laws of Manu, formulating the basic structure of Hindu society. The Day of Brahma is also divided into 1000 yuga-cycles (maha-yuga); each consisting of four ages, the Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali yugas, of which the last three are periods of progressive degeneration from the first. The four yugas together last 4,320,000 years; the first 1,728,000, the second 1,296,000, the third 864,000, and the last 432,000. The present year (A.D. 1913) is the 5013th of the Kali yuga of the present maha-yuga ; this maha-yuga is the twenty-eighth of the seventh manvantara of our kalpa, called the Varahakalpa, because in it Vishnu incarnated as a boar (varaha); and this kalpa is the first day of the fifty-first year of the life of our Brahma.”

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Conspiracy for One-World Government

Between 1920 and 1991, the Western ideologues were a divided lot. Some of them wanted to create a one-world government under the banner of capitalism; others wanted to create a one-world government under the banner of communism. 

After the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1991, America and Western Europe became the drivers of both capitalism and communism. Now there was no conflict between the two ideologies—both became the ideological tools for perpetuating Western hegemony in every part of the world. Since 1991, Western ideologues have been trying to create a one-world government by combining communism and capitalism under a Western tent. 

If you believe that capitalism stands for freedom and prosperity, and communism stands for equality and fraternity, then you are brainwashed by the propaganda of Western ideologues. Both ideologies are remarkably evil and totalitarian.

On Kamandaka’s Nitisara

Among the extant works on niti (polity) from ancient India, Chanakya’s Arthasastra and  Kamandaka’s Nitisara are the most renowned. Since Kamandaka has mentioned Chanakya (Vishnugupta) and Emperor Chandragupta in his text, it is assumed that Nitisara was composed after Arthashastra, which is placed in the third century BCE. 

The shloka 1.1.7-8 of the Nitisara says: “Having studied the learned works of that master of science (vidyanam paradrsvana) (Chanakya) and out of our love for science of polity (rajavidya), we set ourselves to the compilation of an abridged treatise following the views of the master of science of polity (rajavidyavidam matam).”

There is mention of Kamandaka in the Mahabharata—this has led some scholars to suggest that the Nitisara belonged to the age of the Mahabharata war. Traditionally the text has been dated to the fourth and third centuries BCE. But modern historians have placed the text between the Gupta and the Harsha periods (between the third and the seventh centuries CE).

The title “Nitisara” means elements of polity. The text contains 1,192 verses, grouped into 20 sargas (cantos or chapters) and 34 prakaranas (sections). 

In the Arthasastra, the emphasis is on bureaucratic measures, negotiations, and treaties to maintain order, but in the Nitisara there is shift in the emphasis towards the use of force. Here’s a translation of four shlokas from the Nitisara which offer militaristic advice to the rulers:

“Destruction of enemy territory, forcing loss or waste of his powers, taking oppressive and harassing measures against him and his subjects, these are the four expedients to be adopted suitably by the Vijigisu against his enemy, as recommended by expert in the science of polity.”  ~ shloka 8.13.57

“A ruler has to bear the attack from a strong assailant by adopting the policy of the tortoise (that withdraws its limbs within its shell) (i.e., the ruler should withdraw from battle and take shelter within his own fortifications). It is only when time is found to be opportune that an intelligent king should strike at his enemy like a furious snake.” ~ shloka 10.15.38 

“When attacked by two powerful enemies from either side (finding his own means of resistance inadequate), a ruler submits to both with flattering words only (so as to deter them from open hostility) and remain stationed in his own fortification (waiting for an opportune moment), adopting (the asana of) dvaidhibhava or double dealing like a crow’s eyeball (kakaksivad-alaksita, which moves between the right and left sockets as necessary) and of course keeping it undetected.” ~ shloka 11.16.24

"Thus the vijigisu should always adopt guileful tactics (kuta-yuddha) in annihilating his enemy, and by killing the enemy by deception, he will not be transgressing dharma (righteousness, for there is nothing unfair in war). The son of Drona (Asvatthama) killed with his sharp weapons the sons of the Pandavas completely unaware, while they were asleep.” ~ shloka 19.31.71

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Facets of Sanatana Dharma

The Seven Sages Depicted as the 

Seven Stars of the Big Dipper

In the eyes of the ancient sages, there were no boundaries or physical and spiritual limits to Sanatana Dharma in any direction. They preached that space and time divide, but the divine unites—the universe is divided by infinite space and time, but human beings are united by their oneness with the divine.

They saw the universe as an infinite expansion of time, space, mass, and energy. In the Vedic and Puranic texts that are more than 3000 years old, they have used extremely large numbers to express the distances of the universe and the length of the yugas and mahayugas. 

The seven sages (Saptarishi) of Sanatana Dharma are: Atri, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vasistha, and Vishvamitra. These seven names are from the Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Other ancient texts give slightly different names of the seven sages. In Hindu astronomy, the seven stars of the Big Dipper (constellation of Ursa Major) have been identified as the seven sages. 

Bharatavarṣa (the land of Sanatana Dharma) has seven chains of mountains: Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Śuktimat, Rikṣa, Vindhya, and Paripatra. 

The seven holiest rivers of Bharatavarṣa are: Ganga, Yamuna, Godaveri, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu, and Cauvery.

The habitable world is divided into seven dvipas: Jambu dvipa, Plaksha dvipa, Shalmali dvipa, Kusha dvipa, Kraunca dvipa, Shaka dvipa, and Pushkara dvipa. 

Some historians and theologians have identified the ancient conception of seven dvipas with the seven continents discovered in the modern age—they posit that Jambu dvipa means Asia; Kusha dvipa is Oceania (including Indonesia and Philippines); Plaksha dvipa is South America; Pushkara dvipa is Africa; Shalmali dvipa is Australia; Krauncha dvipa is North America; and Shaka dvipa is Greater Europe. 

According to Santana Dharma, all parts of the universe are sacred and entitled to homage, but the seven holy spots where moksha can be attained are: Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Mayapuri or Haridwar), Kashi (Varanasi), Kanchi (Kanchipuram), Avantika (Ujjain) and Dwaravati (Dwaraka).

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Sister Nivedita: If Niagara Falls Were on the River Ganga?

Devprayag: Ganga's Birthplace

Confluence of Alaknanda & Bhagirathi

In Hinduism, the places of natural beauty are associated with the divine and are regarded as a place of pilgrimage. For thousands of years, the Hindu sages and theologians have been associating the mountains, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and forests in the Indian subcontinent with divinity. 

The holy places of Hinduism are the places of natural beauty located in the land where Hinduism was founded—the Hindu does not have to travel to Palestine or Arabia or any other part of the world to conduct a pilgrimage. His holy places are located in his motherland. 

If the Niagara Falls were located on the River Ganga, then there is no doubt that the world would have known these falls as a holy place, a place where the pilgrims could wash their sins, a place where they could experience a sublime union with the Gods and Goddesses, and hope to become physically and spiritually healed. A multiplicity of religious and mythical stories would have arisen around the Niagara Falls. 

In her 1904 essay, “An Indian Pilgrimage,” Sister Nivedita has reflected on the global image of the Niagara Falls if these falls had been located on the River Ganga. Here’s an excerpt:

“Beauty of place translates itself to the Indian consciousness as God’s cry to the soul. Had Niagara been situated on the Ganges, it is odd to think how different would have been its valuation by humanity. Instead of fashionable picnics and railway pleasure-trips, the yearly or monthly incursion of worshipping crowds. Instead of hotels, temples. Instead of ostentatious excess, austerity. Instead of the desire to harness its mighty forces to the chariot of human utility, the unrestrainable longing to throw away the body, and realise at once the ecstatic madness of the Supreme Union. Could the contrast be greater?”

The institution of pilgrimage has always served as a powerful factor for developing a sense of cultural unity in the Indian subcontinent. Even 3000 years ago, during the Vedic period, there was a sense of unity in this land. 

In the Vedas, Puranas, and other ancient texts of Hinduism the major rivers, mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and forests in the Indian subcontinent have been identified with the divine and depicted as a place of pilgrimage. There is a long tradition of people living in one part of the Indian subcontinent going on a pilgrimage to other parts of this land.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Lord Dhanvantari: The World’s First Physician

Dhanavantri’s Sculpture 

Somanathapura temple, Karnataka

Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was the first physician on earth. According to the Vedic tradition, in the primordial universe, at the time of churning of the kshir-sagara (the ocean of milk) by the devas (Gods) and the asuras (demons), Dhanvantari emerged from the ocean carrying the vessel of amrita, the divine drink of immortality. 

During his incarnation on earth, Dhanvantari reigned as the king of Kashi (today’s Varanasi). The Puranas mention him as the God of the therapeutic practice of Ayurveda. He mastered Ayurveda from Sage Bharadvaja. Dhanvantari conducted further study of Ayurveda and classified the science of healing into eight parts. He taught his system of Ayurveda to numerous disciples who were sent to various regions of the world to serve as physicians.

Hindus worship Dhanvantari, especially on the occasion of the festival of Dhanteras (observed two days before Diwali puja), for good health, happiness, and long life. The Vishnu Purana identifies Dhanvantari as the great-grandfather of Divodasa, the legendary king mentioned in the Rig Veda who is protected by Indra and the Ashvins.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Love of Motherland in the Ramayana

A gold depiction of Ayodhya 

in Ajmer Jain Temple

In the Ramayana, Lord Rama says to Lakshmana:

अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते |
जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी ||

Translation: "Lakshmana, even this golden Lanka does not appeal to me. Mother and motherland are superior even to heaven.”

The phrase, “जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी,” is the national motto of Nepal. It is depicted on Nepal’s national emblem. 

In some versions of the Ramayana, a similar shloka was spoken by Bharadwaja addressing Rama:

मित्राणि धन धान्यानि प्रजानां सम्मतानिव |
जननी जन्म भूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी ||

Translation: "Friends, riches and grains are highly honored in this world. (But) mother and motherland are superior even to heaven."

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Nitiprakasika: The Ancient Treatise on the Science of War

Astika Stops 

Janamejaya’s Snake Sacrifice

Sage Vaisampayana, the narrator of the Mahabharata, was the expounder of Nitiprakasika, an ancient treatise on the science of war. Nitiprakasika delineates Nitisastra, which means rajaniti (the theory of politics). It is believed that this text was produced more than 3000 years ago, after or during the Mahabharata war, which is mentioned in the text. Vaisampayana learned the knowledge described in the Nitiprakasika from his guru Veda Vyasa.

The Nitiprakasika contains 546 verses, divided into eight sargas (cantos). The first sarga opens with Vaisampayana’s journey to Takshashila for meeting Emperor Janamejaya, who was the son Parikshit, the grandson of Abhimanyu, and the great grandson of Arjuna. After the exchange of usual greetings, the sage and the emperor sat down to discuss political and military issues. The science of war unfolds during the course of their conversation. 

In the second sarga, Vaisampayana describes four kinds of weapons of war: Mukta, Amukta, Muktamukta, and Mantramukta. The Mukta weapons are those that are thrown; the Amukta weapons are those that are not thrown; the Muktamukta weapons are those that are thrown or not thrown; the Mantramukta weapons are those that are thrown with spells. A distinction is made between ordinary weapons and advanced weapons which consist of projectiles and counter-projectiles. A total of 132 weapons are described. 

In the third sarga, there is explanation for the use of only one weapon, the khaḍga (sword). The purpose of the khaḍga is explained and there is a discussion of the mythical Khaḍgapuruṣa. The sargas four and five explain the movement of the ordinary weapons and the advanced projectiles described in the second sarga. The discussion of dhanurveda (art of archery) in these two sargas is more elaborate than in any other ancient text. 

In the sixth sarga, the longest in the text, there is discussion of the strategies for attaining victory in war, and the policies for maintaining political stability in the kingdom at war time. The method of building an effective military is discussed, and there is a description of the administrative mechanisms for ensuring that qualified commanders get promoted to key positions in the military units. There is also a discussion of the strategies for proper deployment of soldiers in the battlefield, and the necessity for ensuring that valorous soldiers get recognized and rewarded. 

The seventh sarga dwells on the size of the military units. The smallest unit Patti has 10 warriors: 1 Elephant (Gaja) + 1 Chariot (Ratha) + 3 Horse (Ashwa) + 5 Foot Soldiers (Padati). The largest unit Akshauhini has 218,700 warriors: 21870 Elephant + 21870 Chariot + 65610 Horse + 109350 Foot Soldiers. This sarga contains information on the remuneration of the commanders, the ethical practices that must be adopted at war time, and the administrative mechanism for training of soldiers and officers, and for punishing offenders. 

In the eighth and final sarga there is an account of the duties and privileges of the ruling class. Vaisampayana explains to Janamejaya the time table that the rulers should follow to provide good governance to their kingdom, especially in the period of war. He talks about the methods by which competent officers can be identified and promoted, and those who commit war crimes can be demoted and punished. He describes the administrative mechanisms for villages and cities.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Yaska and the Meaning of Deva

The opening pages of Yaska's Nirukta

Yaska, the grammarian and linguist of the Vedic Age, lived before the seventh century BCE. According to tradition, he was the the author of Nirukta, which is probably the oldest extant work of etymology in India, and contains explanations of words within the Sanskrit grammatical tradition. Yaska viewed words as the primary careers of meaning.

In Nirukta, Yaska determines the etymological meaning of the term “Deva” (the modern equivalent would be God), by considering the roots da, dip, and dyut. In verse 7.15, he notes: “devo dānādvā dīpanādvā dyotanādvā dyusthāno bhavatītivā.” This means that Deva is the one who bestows gifts, who shines, who is bright, and who resides in heaven. In verse 7.2.5, he classifies the Gods mentioned in the Vedas into three divine entities: “tisraḥ eva devatā iti nairuktāḥ | agniḥ pṛthivīsthānaḥ vāyurvā indro vā antarikṣasthānaḥ, sūryo dyusthānaḥ” This means that the three Deva are: “Agni who resides on earth, Vayu or Indra who reside in the air, and Surya who resides in the sky and is always moving.” Yaska also says that whatever is venerated by a devotee in a hymn becomes a Deva. 

It is believed that Panini, another great grammarian and linguist of the ancient age, came after Yaska.This is because Yaska’s contribution to etymology is mentioned in a sutra in Panini’s Aṣṭadhyayi. There were other grammarians who came before Yaska—for instance, there is Rishi Shakalya, whose work has been criticized by Yaska.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Rig Veda’s Treatment of Polytheism and Monotheism

Hiraṇyagarbha (Cosmic Egg)

Painting by Manaku (1740)

In the Middle Ages, the ideologues and warlords of the Semitic religions branded their own religion as monotheistic and they caricatured all ancient religions as polytheistic. This is the origin of the conflict between polytheism and monotheism—there was no conflict between the two before the rise of the Semitic religious ideology. 

In the Rig Veda, which is probably the oldest religious text of Hinduism, instead of conflict, there is conformity and confluence between polytheism and monotheism. The Hiraṇyagarbha Sukta of the Rig Veda (hymn 10.121) begins with an inquiry about God. In Vedic philosophy, Hiraṇyagarbha, first mentioned in the Rig Veda’s Vishvakarma Sukta (verses 10.82.5 and 6), is the golden womb through which the universe was born.

Here’s a translation of the verse 10.121.1: 

“IN the beginning rose Hiranyagarbha, born Only Lord of all created beings.
     He fixed and holdeth up this earth and heaven. What God shall we adore with our oblation?”

In the question—“What God shall we adore with our oblation?”—the ancient sages are inquiring if they should offer their prayers to the one creator God of the universe, or to the many manifestations of the creator God. They decided that since the one creator God was accessible to the human mind through his many manifestations, the oblations must be offered to many Gods, who were identified as: Indra, Agni, Varuna, Soma, Vishnu, Ashwins, Vayu, Rudra, Mitra, Maruts, Yama, Saraswati, Garutman, Matarisvan, and other Gods. 

The verse 1.164.46 of the Rig Veda states that there was one creator God behind the multiplicity of Gods:

“They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutman.
     To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Matarisvan.”

The Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda (hymn 10.90) is dedicated to Purusha, the Cosmic Being, who was the creator of everything in the universe. The sages of the Vedic age were drawn to the idea of one creator God. The multiplicity of Gods were the various manifestations of the creator God.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Science of Healing in the Vedic Age

Three-headed Rudra

(2nd Century AD) 

The practice of medicine had become a profession in India more than 5000 years ago, during the Vedic age. The cures being provided in this age could have been based on the research and experience of the medical professionals, and on their religious and philosophical beliefs. 

Numerous references to healing powers of the bhishaj, the Gods and sages who possess the knowledge of medicinal herbs, can be found in the Rig Veda, and the later Vedic samhitas, the Atharva Veda in particular. Among the Gods, Rudra (Shiva), the Ashvins, and Varuna have been depicted as the bhishaj in the Vedic texts. The healing powers of the Ashvins are legendary—they can bring sight to the blind, heal the lame, and replace a lost limb with a metal limb. 

The mandala 10, hymn 97, of the Rig Veda has a discussion of the bhishaj, the herbs with healing power, and various physical and mental ailments. Here’s a translation of two verses (verses 7 and 8 from Mandala 10, Hymn 97):

“He who hath store of Herbs at hand like Kings amid a crowd of men,-
     Physician/Vaidya is that Bipra/sage's name, fiend-slayer, chaser of disease.”

“Herbs rich in Soma, rich in steeds, in nourishments, in strengthening power,-
     All these have I provided here, that this man may be whole again.”

The Atharva Veda contains references to the plants and herbs that can be used to cure certain diseases. The curative power of these plants and herbs can be enhanced through the chanting of hymns. Some hymns in the Atharva Veda suggest that water has curative powers, and that fire has the power to cure by driving away the pishachas and rakshasas (evil spirits and demons) that are often the cause of diseases.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Solzhenitsyn on America’s Expansionist Policies in Europe


Sixteen years ago, in an interview with Moscow News on April 28, 2006, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, accused the United States of destabilizing Europe through its policy of using NATO to encircle Russia. His words sound prophetic today: 

“The United States is placing its occupation troops in one country after another. This is the de facto situation in Bosnia for 9 years, in Kosovo and Afghanistan for 5 years each, in Iraq for 3 years so far, but it will be a long time there. There is little difference between NATO’s actions and individual U.S. actions. Clearly seeing that today’s Russia poses no threat to them, NATO is methodically and persistently developing its military apparatus – to the east of Europe and into the continental reach of Russia from the south. There is open material and ideological support for “color” revolutions, and the paradoxical introduction of North Atlantic interests – in Central Asia. All this leaves no doubt that a complete encirclement of Russia is being prepared, and then the loss of its sovereignty. No, Russia’s accession to such a Euro-Atlantic alliance, which conducts propaganda and the violent introduction into various parts of the planet of the ideology and forms of current Western democracy – would lead not to expansion, but to the decline of Christian civilization.

“What is happening in Ukraine, even from the falsely-constructed wording for the 1991 referendum (I have written and spoken about this before), is my constant bitterness and pain. The fanatical suppression and persecution of the Russian language (which in past polls was recognized as its primary language by more than 60% of the population of Ukraine) is simply an atrocious measure, and also directed against the cultural perspective of Ukraine itself. Huge expanses of land that never belonged to historical Ukraine, like Novorossia, Crimea, and the entire southeastern region, have been forcibly squeezed into the current Ukrainian state and its policy of greedy NATO membership. In Yeltsin’s entire tenure, not a single meeting with Ukrainian presidents was without capitulations and concessions on his part. The expulsion of the Black Sea Fleet from Sevastopol (never ceded to the Ukrainian SSR even under Khrushchev) is a base and vicious desecration of the entire Russian history of the 19th and 20th centuries.

“Under all these conditions, Russia dares not in any form indifferently betray the many millions of the Russian population in Ukraine, to deny our unity with them.”

Solzhenitsyn’s biographer Joseph Pearce said in his March 2022 article, “Solzhenitsyn and Putin,” that in 2007, Solzhenitsyn questioned the West’s double standards in targeting Putin for his KGB background while seeing nothing wrong in George Bush’s CIA background. Here’s an excerpt from his interview: “Vladimir Putin – yes, he was an officer of the intelligence services, but he was not a KGB investigator, nor was he the head of a camp in the gulag. As for service in foreign intelligence, that is not a negative in any country – sometimes it even draws praise. George Bush Sr. was not much criticized for being the ex-head of the CIA, for example.”

In the same article, Pearce notes that Solzhenitsyn saw America’s the bombing campaign against Yugoslavia that lasted 78 days as a warcrime and a direct challenge to Russia. Solzhenitsyn said: “The cruel NATO bombings of Serbia… It’s fair to say that all layers of Russian society were deeply and indelibly shocked by those bombings… So, the perception of the West as mostly a ‘knight of democracy’ has been replaced with the disappointed belief that pragmatism, often cynical and selfish, lies at the core of Western policies. For many Russians it was a grave disillusionment, a crushing of ideals.”

Friday, November 11, 2022

The Rediscovery of the Arthashastra

Shiva as Nataraja

Dancing in the posture of Om

It is surprising that most Indians don’t know that the Arthashastra, which was very influential till the 12th century, was lost in the later Middle Ages. Its text was discovered in 1905 by a scholar called Pandit Rudrapatna Shamasastry. According to an estimate by the Government of India, the country possesses five to six million manuscripts, probably the world’s largest collection. The work of identifying and cataloguing these manuscripts has been going on for more than a century but most manuscripts are not yet published. 

Because of his mastery of Vedas, Vedanga, classical Sanskrit, and Prakrit, Shamasastry was appointed as the librarian of the Oriental Research Institute in 1899. The library at the Oriental Research Institute housed thousands of Sanskrit palm-leaf manuscripts. Shamasastry took the responsibility of examining the manuscripts and cataloguing them. In 1905, he discovered a copy of the Arthashastra in a heap of manuscripts. In 1909, he published the Sanskrit edition of the Arthashastra. He also became engaged in translating the manuscript in English. Between 1905 and 1909, his English translation was published in installments, in the journals Indian Antiquary and Mysore Review

In the 1950s, another version of the Arthashastra was discovered in the form of a Devanagari manuscript in a Jain library in Patan, Gujarat. Based on this manuscript, Muni Jina Vijay published a new edition in 1959. In 1960, a critical edition of the Arthashastra, based on a number of ancient manuscripts, was published by R. P. Kangle.

Sita Ram Goel’s Hindutva Manifesto

An Ancient Page from 

the Atharva Veda Samhita

These lines from historian and philosopher Sita Ram Goel read like a manifesto of Hindutva: 

“Hindu society by and large has become a poor society as a result of centuries of exploitation by Islamic and British imperialism. Unlike the Muslims and Christians in India, Hindu society has no patrons and financiers abroad and has to depend entirely on its own resources from inside its only homeland. The class which came to power on the strength of sacrifices made by Hindu society has turned its back on its benefactor, and continues to cultivate the sworn enemies of Hindu society in the name of Democracy and Secularism. Hindu society also suffers from a lack of leadership which can free it from the stranglehold of power-hungry politicians who divide it into smaller and smaller segments pitted against each other. Hindu-baiting has become a profitable profession for all sorts of pen-pushers. As a cumulative effect, Hindu society has lost its self- confidence, and has been thrown on the defensive by a variety of bullies and blackmailers. Such a society is in no shape to face the inroads of Islamic imperialism which remains as vicious today as it was in the years before Partition. 

“The first task before Hindu society is to recover its self-confidence. That can happen only if Hindu society reawakens to its inimitable heritage — spiritual, cultural, and scientific — and stops treating totalitarian ideologies like Islam as anything other than falsehoods fattened by force and fraud. The rest will follow. A self-confident Hindu society will make a start by attaining the pride of place in its present-day homeland. It will assert itself as the nation rather than be treated condescendingly as one of several communities, or even as the majority community. Next, it will recover those parts of its ancestral homeland which have been lost to its enemies, as also those of its children who have been alienated from it in the past. Finally, it will hold its head high as the inheritor of a vast spiritual and cultural vision. A self-confident Hindu society alone can make its characteristic contributions to the present-day human society which is caught in the throes of an unprecedented spiritual and moral crisis.”

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Chanakya’s Politcal Doctrine of Matsya Nyaya


Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau are regarded as the original philosophers of the ‘state of nature.’ But about 2000 years before these three philosophers, this theory was first propounded in India by the Mauryan era political thinker, Chanakya (Kautilya, 375–283 BCE), in his Sanskrit treatise on statecraft, the Arthashastra.

Chanakya posits that in the beginning human beings lived in the state of nature, as there was no concept of government. In some cases, people managed to live happily and peacefully in small groups. But the peace and happiness did not last because some people became wicked and started suppressing and exploiting the weak ones. There were no political institutions to control the wicked, and might alone was right. The state of nature society collapsed, and people suffered due to anarchy, lawlessness, and misery.

In the Arthashatra, Chanakya has coined the term ‘Matsya Nyaya’ (the law of the fish) to describe a state of nature society that is being destroyed by the rise of wickedness. Matsya Nyaya is the principle of a lawless pond in which the big fish devour the small fish. Chanakya posits that in the absence of ‘danda’ (strong stick of the law) society will be ripped apart by Matsya Nyaya, and that a strong government is critical for the maintenance of peace and stability.

The Arthashastra offers a surprising modern conception of governance. Here’s the Arthashastra’s verse 1.4.13-14:

अप्रणीतः तु मात्स्यन्यायं उद्भावयति ।
बलीयान् अबलं हि ग्रसते दण्डधराभावे ।

Translation: But when the law of punishment is kept in abeyance, it gives rise to such disorder as is implied in the proverb of law and order of fishes (matsyanyaya udbhavayati);
for in the absence of a magistrate (dandadharabhave), the strong will swallow the weak; but under his protection, the weak resist the strong.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Clash of Three Civilizations & the Wildcard

The three civilizations competing for global domination are: Western Supremacism, Islamic fundamentalism, and Chinese Confucianism. These civilizations claim that it is their manifest destiny to dominate the world. The Western Supremacists and Chinese Confucianists claim that only they can bring peace and prosperity; the Islamic fundamentalists claim that since they are God’s authorized representatives on earth, and all other religions are fake, they have the right to rule. 

The West has had its teeth knocked out in the last 15 years—now it is unwilling to confront Islam and China. Over time, the West will continue to decline, Islam and China will become stronger and bolder. India is the geopolitical wildcard. This country has strong economic and cultural links with the three civilizations—West, China, and Islam—but it is also aspires to be a “vishwaguru” (a global spiritual power). With its huge population, and significant economic and military power, India is capable of thwarting the geopolitical designs of all three civilizations.

The three dominant civilizations want to use India as an ally against the other two. Most Hindus of India are wary of all three—they want their country to find its own way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Kancha Ilaiah: Why I Am Not a Hindu

Vishnu surrounded by his ten avatars

Bertrand Russell’s 1927 book Why I Am Not a Christian created a new genre of writing by apostates—books with the title ‘Why I am Not of this religion or that movement’ became common.

In 1996, Kancha Ilaiah published his book Why I Am Not a Hindu. His book is written in a typical Russell style—the content of his book, not just the title, seems inspired (plagiarized) from Russel. In so many passages of his book, Iliah has used Russell’s arguments against Christianity to make his own case against Hinduism. 

Koenraad Elst  has reviewed Ilaiah’s book, and found parallels between Ilaiah’s denunciation of Hindus and the anti-Jewish caricatures of the Nazis. Here’s an excerpt from Elst’s review: 

“These anti-Hindu forces are exploiting the Aryan Invasion Theory to the hilt, infusing crank racism in vast doses into India’s body politic.  Read, e.g. Kancha Ilaiah’s book Why I Am Not a Hindu (Calcutta, 1996), sponsored by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, with its anti-Brahmin cartoons: move the hairlocks of the Brahmin villains from the back of the head to just in front of the their ears, and you get exact replicas of the anti-Semitic cartoons from the Nazi paper, Der Stumer.”

Ilaiah is not a human rights activist. He is a Hindu hater. He is a propagator of racial myths. In his book, he posits racial categories which never existed in Hinduism. He depicts the Hindu Gods as oppressors. He wants his readers to believe that the Ramayana was a race war in which the Aryan North suppressed the native South. Just replace the word Hindu in Ilaiah’s book with Jew or black, and you will find yourself reading the worst kind of anti-semitic or racist literature. 

Here’s another passage from Elst’s review:

“Why I Am Not a Hindu is a caricature for simpletons. It starts out with a few interesting sketches of caste life in his childhood village, but then descends into unwarranted theoretical speculations for which he is simply not equipped. Essentially he assumes, like most haters of Hinduism, that “Hinduism is caste, wholly caste and nothing but caste”, and that the only way to break free from caste is to destroy Hinduism root and branch.”

Monday, November 7, 2022

Rig Veda’s Exhortation to Aryanize the World

A Page from the Rig Veda

The Rig Veda exhorts the followers of Sanatana Dharma to bring peace and prosperity to the world by Aryanizing mankind. Here’s a verse from the Rig Veda

इन्द्रं वर्धन्तो अप्तुरः कृण्वन्तो विश्वं आर्यं अपघ्नन्तो अराव्णः  ~ The Rig Veda 9-63-5

Translation: Become valorous by the blessings of Indra of magnificent strength, and perform the raj-dharma of destroying the evil enemies and aryanizing the world.

The term “Arya” is not related to race, caste, and creed—the Aryas are refined, civilized, and noble; they are the ones who follow the principles of dharma enunciated in the Vedas.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

The Rig Veda’s Message of Heroism

The Four Vedas

The message of the Rig Veda is that man should go forward without fear to achieve his goals and win his victories. Here’s the finest exhortation from the Rig Veda:

प्रेता॒ जय॑ता नर॒ इन्द्रो॑ व॒: शर्म॑ यच्छतु ।
उ॒ग्रा व॑: सन्तु बा॒हवो॑ऽनाधृ॒ष्या यथास॑थ ॥ ~ Rig Veda 10-103-13

Translation: Advance, O heroes, win the day. May Indra be your sure defense.
                   Exceeding mighty be your arms, that none may wound or injure you.

During the Middle Ages, Hindus forgot this important lesson to march triumphantly and never yield that the Rig Veda, and the other three Vedas, and the Puranas and the Upanishads, have preached.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Time in Sanatana Dharma: Yugas, Mahayugas, Manvantaras, and Kalpas

The 4 pillars of the Kedareshwar Temple

symbolize the 4 yugas (only 3 are intact)

On the matter of the scope of time and space, there exists a significant difference between the ancient philosophy of Sanatana Dharma and that of the Semitic religions which emerged in the Middle Ages. The age of the universe varies between 6000 and 10,000 years, according to the popular Semitic doctrines. But in Sanatana Dharma, we are confronted with time spans which are overwhelmingly large—running into millions and even billions of years. 

The Big Bang model, developed in the twentieth century, suggests that the age of the universe is almost 14 billion years—this large number seems to vindicate the overwhelmingly large time spans suggested in the Vedic, Upanishadic, and Puranic texts of Sanatana Dharma. 

The Upanishads preach that the substratum of the universe (known as the Brahman) is absolute and eternal, only the created part of the universe is affected by the passage of the yugas, which are very long periods of time. Four yugas are mentioned in the Upanishads: Krita (Satya), Treta, Dvapara, and Kali. The cycle of four yugas comprise a single mahayuga. There are periods of time much larger than the yugas and the mahayuga—these are called manvantaras and kalpas. One manvantara comprises 71 mahayugas—and 14 manvantaras comprise one kalpa, which is equal to a single day in the life of Brahma. 

Thus, the length of one day in Brahma’s life is infinite from the human perspective. In the Puranas, thirty kalpas are mentioned. The present kalpa is the Varaha Kalpa which came after the passage of the previous kalpa, the Padma Kalpa. 

The cycle of creation of the universe begins with the Krita Yuga, which is the golden age of divinity, bliss, and righteousness. There is only one holy text in the Krita Yuga—the Brahma Veda. Human beings live for 4000 years; they are righteous and possess superior mental faculties. The timespan of this yuga is 4800 years, which is equal to 1,728,000 human years. When the Krita Yuga comes to an end, the Treta begins. In this yuga, the divinity, bliss, and righteousness have come down by one fourth—but people still live for 3000 years and they possess superior mental faculties. In this yuga, Vishnu divides the single Veda into four parts. The Treta Yuga lasts for 3000 divine years, which is 1,296,000 human years.

The next yuga is the Dvapara—now divinity, bliss, and righteousness have declined to half of the Treta Yuga. The Puranas are the sacred texts of this yuga. People live for 2000 years and their mental faculties have declined considerably. This yuga lasts for 2400 divine years, which is 864,000 human years. The final yuga of the cycle is the Kali, the age of hatred, foolishness, violence, chaos, and wars—the average age of human beings declines to below 100 years and their mental faculties reach the lowest level. The current universe is in the phase of Kali Yuga, which began in 3102 BC, and will last for 1200 divine years, or 432,000 human years.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Sanatana Dharma Transcends Monotheism and Polytheism

A Page From Isha Upanishad

The idea that religions were either monotheistic or polytheistic became popular in the Middle Ages, after the rise of the Semitic religions. The Semitic ideologues and warlords labelled their own religion as monotheistic and the ancient religions as polytheistic. They propagated that only their kind of monotheism would lead to salvation and that the polytheists could not attain salvation since they were the worshippers of false Gods. They exhorted their followers to wipe out polytheism by forcibly converting the polytheists. 

But Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), which was branded as polytheistic in the Middle Ages, is not polytheistic. It is not monotheistic either. Sanatana Dharma is eternal dharma which transcends the simplistic Semitic conception of monotheism and polytheism. In the theology and practice of  Sanatana Dharma we find a unique blend of monotheism and polytheism. 

In Sanatana Dharma, the goal of existence is the Brahman. The term “Brahman” has originated in the Rig Veda. It is described as the substratum of the universe. Everything that exists—all living beings, heavenly bodies, and space and time—originate from the creative powers of the Brahman which is uncreated, absolute, and eternal. The Upanishads contain an extensive discussion of the concept of the Brahman. According to the Upanishads, the true nature of the Brahman is “sat-chit-ananda,” which means “truth, consciousness, and bliss.” Though it is the creator of the universe, the Brahman retains its uncreated and eternal form. 

The Upanishads preach that the Brahman has two aspects: Saguna and Nirguna. The term “guna” means a quality. Saguna means the qualities of the Brahman that can be understood and described by human beings, while the nirguna means the qualities that cannot be understood and described. Adi Narayana, or Sri Krishna, is the personal form of Saguna Brahman. Nirguna Brahman, also known as Para Brahman, pervades existence and is beyond all descriptions and conceptualizations. If we examine the aspects of Nirguna Brahman, then Sanatana Dharma seems monotheistic. But Saguna Brahman has polytheistic aspects.

From Saguna and Nirguna aspects of the Brahman, and other elements in the theology of Sanatana Dharma, it becomes clear that this ancient religion cannot be explained by using the Semitic labels of monotheism and polytheism. Sanatana Dharma is an eternal religious system (dharma) derived from the cosmic vision of the rishis who lived thousands of years before the rise of Semitic religious doctrine.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Thoughts on Sanatana Dharma

The term “Sanatana Dharma,” which means eternal dharma, denotes the religious and moral principles that have been practiced for thousands of years. Since it is not a revealed religion like the Semitic religions, Sanatana Dharma is not doctrinal, dogmatic, and fundamentalist. 

Derived from the cosmic vision of ancient rishis, the principles of Sanatana Dharma are naturalistic, philosophical, spiritual, and practical. The false dichotomy between monotheism and polytheism is rejected in Sanatana Dharma—its theology and practice constitute a unique blend of monotheism and polytheism. The principles of Sanatana Dharma are not changeless; they are subject to evolution—the Rig Veda emphatically states that change is the law of life. Since the principles change with time and space, often there is diversity in the social and religious beliefs of different Sanatani (Hindu) communities. The dharma (moral principles) and the religious rituals that a Sanatani practices are based (loosely) on the ancient traditions but their practice is also a personal responsibility.

In the last 1500 years, the Semitic religions have grown on the ruins of ancient religions and have constrained a large section of mankind with their unchangeable and strictly codified religious and political doctrine. Sanatana Dharma does not accept the coercive religious and political strategies of the Semitic religions because it is a civilizational system, which propagates itself through civilizational means—from the activities of sages, educationists, rulers, and traders who, through their teachings and personal example, inspire others to adopt a Sanatani way of life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

The Notorious Blue Tick is Dead

The notorious blue tick, a mark of political notoriety, brute financial power, and feudalistic (petty) royal status, is finally dead. It has been killed by Elon Musk. With one tweet he has slit the blue beast’s throat. Here’s the text of his tweet:

“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”

If just about anyone can get a blue tick for a mere $8 per month, then this is no longer a mark of power and status. Twitter’s blue tick brigade has been cut down to size—Musk has flushed their notorious blue empire down his toilet.