East is East and West is West
SARASVATI VANDANA ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 – CELEBRATION OF SHARAD DURGA NAVRATRI
SET YOUR MIND FREE – LET SARASVATI FLOW
Goddess Sarasvati is known as the Goddess of Speech or Vag Devi and She symbolizes importance of Speech Etiquette and Speech Discipline.
Richard Lovelace(1618-1657),English Poet and Soldier
SET YOUR MIND FREE :
Richard Lovelace, a romantic poet was confined within the walls of Gate House, a prison in Westminster, London. From the prison, in 1642 he wrote the poem, “To Althea, from Prison.” The poem has the following famous lines:
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for a hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul, am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.
Those who had confined him could not stop him from exercising his ability to think and dream. No one can imprison or enslave the human mind. A human being essentially seeks to exist in a free state and when imprisoned, the man can still set his mind free to think and dream. A mind that is free, expresses its freedom in speech, in writing, in songs and music. Speech in all of its forms conveys the ability of a man to communicate his thoughts. Fluent and coherent speech requires the formulations of propositions, which are translated into conventional symbols, earlier acquired and readily accessible, which then reach external expression by means of an efficient vocalizing apparatus. The sequences involved in efficient speech production could be interrupted at various levels to produce different types of speech defects.
DISTURBANCES OF SPEECH :
Intellectual impairment due to drugs, disease, and old age cause Speech Disorders.
Broca’s Area – Brain’s Speech Center
Co-ordination of sensory and motor functions is vital for normal Speech.
Since speech is an attribute of a free mind, it is important to understand the problems of disturbances of speech:
1. Intellectual impairment: Speech is deranged as a result of a deficit of intellectual function which prevents organization of meaningful propositions. A person who is intoxicated cannot speak well. There are several medical conditions associated with cognitive impairment, and the level of consciousness. Apart from these problems, a person, who is uneducated as he is unwilling to learn, cannot deliver good speech. In Sanskrit language such ignorant persons are identified as ‘MOORKHA’.
2. Dysarthria and Dysphonia: Precise enunciation of words with good volume requires normal function and co-ordination of lips, tongue, palate, and the vocal apparatus called larynx. Several medical conditions could cause a defect in motor output involved in speaking and contribute to slurring and distortion of speech.
3. Aphasias: These are speech difficulties or absence of speech where the person has no motor disorder and the articulatory system is intact. Three major varieties of aphasias are described. a. Broca’s, motor/expressive/Non-fluent aphasia: Broca’s area of brain produces verbs, builds sentences and predicts what people are going to say. Problems in this area makes the person’s speech non-fluent as the person has profound word finding difficulties. The person speaks slowly and with great effort. The speech is described as ‘telegraphic’ because it has no grammatic structure and small connecting words (e.g., and, or, but), are missing. The person comprehends well. The person can formulate thoughts in appropriate words i.e. internal speech is preserved, but is unable to translate them into corresponding sounds. b. Wernicke’s/Sensory/Receptive/fluent aphasia: Wernicke’s area of brain is involved in learning patterns corresponding to different types of auditory stimulation. It attaches meanings, images, and feelings to sounds and to individual words. Problems in this area would result in severe impairment in comprehension of language (both spoken and written). The person speaks fluently with ease and often in large amounts. However, the speech often goes in circles(circumlocutory) and contains incorrect word usages(paraphasia). The person fails to understand or carry out spoken instructions. Internal speech is disturbed and hence there is impairment of external speech. The person cannot understand what he hears. c. Conductive aphasia: The nerve fibers between Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas are involved in this type of problem. The person has trouble converting auditory input to verbal output. It is characterized by a marked inability to repeat words or phrases spoken to the person. d. Dyslexia and Alexia: Impairment of reading ability in individuals with normal intelligence either due to a developmental disorder or due to acquired brain lesions.
Eloquent Speech is comparable to free-flowing water, the words come out continuously without any apparent effort.
SPEECH AND MENTAL LETHARGY:
A normal healthy person with normal intelligence and abilities to speak, write, read, and sing may not automatically become a fluent speaker. Human mind needs to exist in a ‘fluid’ state to maintain and sustain a high state of alertness and activity. Mental lethargy is described in Sanskrit language as “JYAADYAA”. The mental lethargy could be due to disease (‘ROGA’), ignorance (‘MOORKHA’), or could be due to a depressed condition or state of mental activity which is described in Sanskrit language as “JADATHA”. This condition of mental weakness or diminished energy is characterized by intellectual sluggishness. The mind is dull, lazy or indifferent. Whatever term is used, mental inertia, lack of interest or energy or lassitude is an important issue, and the man’s speech lacks the fluency and the mind lacks the ‘fluidity’ that is needed for coordinating activities. Very often, man creates ‘mental barriers’, and erects ‘mental fences’ and impedes his own intellect from generating creative thoughts and in expressing such thoughts through creative forms of speech and music. There should be no obstacles to the flow of thoughts and to its physical expression. In its natural state, a river flows without any impediments and that ‘fluid’ flowing state is important for effective human communications.
The Concept of ‘Mental Fluidity’ is very important to appreciate Eloquent Speech. Eloquence has a charming quality of its own, it is pleasing to the ears of the listeners and captivates the minds of the members of the audience. Speech should make the same impact in terms of its appeal like a scenic picture.
Kunda’s whiteness symbolizes Purity. White Lotus symbolizes Purity. White and radiant personality symbolizes Purity.
Indian Traditions about Letters, Speech, Arts and Music:
Mind if it is responding slowly, a condition of ‘mental lethargy’ described as ‘Buddhi Mandhyam’, the man cannot realize his creative potential in the field of letters, speech, arts, and music. The Vedic River of Sarasvati is personified as the patron Goddess of Speech (‘VAC or VAK’). Sarasvati enjoys a unique autonomous position and apart from man, the entire Hindu pantheon of Gods pay obeisance to Her and seek Her protection to destroy and dissolve the problem of mental lethargy which impairs mental activity. The mind of man cannot be set free unless the mental barriers and mental fences are totally eradicated and Sarasvati can flow in its natural state without impediments.
A HYMN TO WORSHIP GODDESS SARASVATI :
Jasminum multiflorum, ‘KUNDA’, Star Jasmine, Native of India.
Moon, ‘INDU’ and the radiant personality of Sarasvati.
‘TUSHAAR’, Snow clad peaks of Himalayas, the abode of Snow and Ice.
‘VEENA’, stringed musical instrument, native to South India.
Nelumbo nucifera, White Lotus flower, ‘Shwetha Padma’, Native of India.
The Divine Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva join to worship the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom.
The Rig Vedic River Sarasvati, the source of pure, nourishing waters. The Sanskrit language and the Devanagari script originated here.
Sarasvati, the destroyer of Mental Inertia and Lethargy.
Bhagavatee, Facilitator of man’s journey from Reality to Ultimate Reality.
‘AUM’, the Sound Invocation for Sarasvati Vandana.
Ya Kundendu Tushar hara dhavala,
Ya Shubhra vastraavritha,
Ya Veena vara danda manditakara,
Ya Shwetha Padma Sanaa,
Ya Brahma Achyutha Sankara prabhrithi bhih
Devai sadaa poojitha(Vanditha)
Saa Maam patu Sarasvati, Bhagavatee
Sarasvati is defined as “Saaram vaati iti Sarasvati”, She who flows towards the Absolute is Sarasvati. For river-like streaming and fluent speech the blessings of Sarasvati would help and the mind is set free by the fluid motion of River.
Shevata Padma – Symbolizes Purity, Creativity, and Nourishing Qualities
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.,
SPIRITUALISM – THE TRUTH ABOUT HUMAN SOUL OR SPIRIT :
Truth is the quality of being in accordance with experience, and verified facts. Truth or Reality can be established by using a reasoning process called verification and validation. To verify or refute a theoretical claim, we need to clarify statements by demonstrating relation between the theoretical claim and the observational evidence. Such a reasoning process could be applied in two manners; 1. The Coherence Theory of Truth, and 2. The Correspondence Theory of Truth. According to the Coherence Theory of Truth, the standard of Truth is the logical consistency of a proposition with a large system of propositions. According to the Correspondence Theory of Truth, Truth is viewed as a relation between an idea or proposition and its object. To verify Truth or Reality, the Subject and Object of an idea or proposition must have a relationship. Truth when applied to statements or ideas is related to the validity of what we mean and hence it requires correspondence between thought and external reality. It is true that man has the biological ability and capacity called ‘imagination’, but man may not have the ability and capacity to translate the act and power of imagination into actuality, an external experience that could be observed by others. In my imagination, I can seek the existence of an all blissful entity called ‘SHIVA’ while in actuality, I exist in the physical world as a fragile, mortal being. Religion, Philosophy, and Science may represent three distinct fields of learning about Truth and Reality. Scientific knowledge not only provides the knowledge that something is true, but it also provides the reason why it is true. Religion, and Philosophy could use different methods to study Truth and Reality, but the ideas they share require verification, corroboration, and validation. In the study of man, the know-er and the known are one. Man is the observer and the observed fact is that of man’s nature. If man has to know the truth about his self, man has to understand the truth and reliability of his own cognitive powers. If the Subject called man is identified as an Object called Soul, or Spirit, the Truth or Reality of Soul, or Spirit involves a structural/functional relationship between the Subject and its Object.
ADI SHANKARA’S NIRVANA SHATAKAM OR ATMA SHATAKAM :
Adi Shankara ( c. 788 – c. 820 A.D. ), the founder of the Non-Dualist or ‘ADVAITA’ School of Indian Philosophy called ‘VEDANTA’ has shared his ideas about human Soul, or Spirit or ‘ATMA’ or ‘ATMAN’ in Indian Sanskrit language. In six short poems popularly known as ‘Nirvana Shatakam’, or ‘Atma Shatakam’, he has presented his mental concepts about human Soul, or Spirit which he called “AHAM”(Subject ‘A’) . Adi Shankara is primarily concerned about establishing the perfect Identity between this Subject ‘A’ and its Object called “CHIDANANDA SHIVAM(Object ‘C’). However, Adi Shankara makes no attempt in his propositions to establish the basis for this Identity between the Subject ‘A’ and its Object ‘C’. Adi Shankara is proposing that the Subject ‘A’ or ‘AHAM’ has no structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship with its human body or ‘B’. In his view, the human soul or spirit is not involved, and is not concerned with the existence of human body in which the soul or spirit is thought to be residing. In an effort to establish the school of thought called “ADVAITA” or Non-Dualism, he systematically separates the human body from its human soul. Adi Shankara has further extended this proposition to claim that the Subject ‘A’ is the same as the Object ‘C’ and the reason he has given is that of a lack of relationship between Subject ‘A’ and the human body ‘B’. Since, ‘A’ is not the same as ‘B’, ‘A’ is not equal to ‘B’. And, therefore, Adi Shankara claims that ‘A’ is the same as ‘C’ or ‘A’ is equal to ‘C’. He has not stated that there is or there could be a structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship between ‘A’ and ‘C’. If such relationship exists between ‘A’ and ‘C’, Adi Shankara has not presented any observational evidence in support of his claim that states ‘A’ = ‘C’. Let us briefly review the six verses. Kindly note that the verses are composed in Indian Sanskrit language and there are several minor variations in the words that are attributed to Adi Shankara. The word ‘NIRVANA’ means ‘MUKTI’ or Release( the release of the conditioned human soul ), death, Sunset, and conclusion of an event( such as the end of Life ). I must clarify that ‘death’ may not be viewed as a static, or final event. Death is a dynamic event like Life which is characterized by changes like growth and development and various stages like infancy, youth, man, and old age. Just like Sunset which is followed by Sunrise, the event called death is followed by regeneration, renewal, and rebirth. Living organisms arrive with a plan for their own dissolution and such organic decay and decomposition is influenced by the cyclical flow of Time.
MAN IS A PHYSICAL, MORTAL BEING, A CREATED BEING WITH A LIVING SOUL:
Adi Shankara excludes the four mental functions known as Ma-nah( the seat of thoughts and imagination, the chief sense organ called Mind), Buddhi(the seat of intellect and knowledge), Chitta(the seat of emotions such as compassion, affection, and devotion), and Ahankara(the seat of ego, self-pride, the sense of pride that is associated with the recognition of ‘SELF’ or ‘I’ as existing or living) as the basis of his true Identity or Essence(What you are). These four aspects of mental activities are described in Indian tradition as “ANTAH KARANAM” or ‘MANO CHATUSHTAYAM”. The human nature which is known as “CHITTA” or “HRUDAYA”, “KARUNA”, or “DAYA” and “BHAKTI” is recognized as Compassion, Kindness, and Devotion; the mental qualities that are needed for formulating Spiritual relationships both within the Individual and between Individuals. Adi Shankara gives no reason for this separation of human nature from its human Soul. Similarly, he excludes the five organs of Sense Perception( often described as “JNANA INDRIYAS”, the organs that provide sensory information and sensory experience ) such as ears, tongue, nose, eyes, and skin and the Five Primordial Elements described in Indian tradition as ‘Pancha Maha Bhutas’ such as Sky, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. He thinks that they are not truly related to his True Identity and Essence. He is specifically excluding all known material substances, material structures and forces that operate in the natural world in the description of his True Identity. In my view, I consider that man comes into existence as a newly created object, one of its own kind, original, and distinctive who could always be identified as a specific individual. I claim that man is a created being and man has no choice other than that of existing as an Individual with Individuality. The physical form, the morphological appearance of man always makes him unique and it has to be explained and accounted for. I suggest that human Soul is the internal reality; and Soul is the basis for human Individuality and the Soul is the unchanging principle that allows man to exist with changing external forms with specific physical attributes.
MAN IS DEFINED BY HIS STRUCTURE, FUNCTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR :
In this verse Adi Shankara gives a very detailed description of various tissues of human body and describes all the vital functions and states that the Subject ‘A’ or “AHAM” has no structural or functional relationship with human anatomy and physiology. The term “PRAANA” refers to the vital life-energy and is generally used to describe the chief characteristic to make the fundamental distinction between living and non-living; the important sign of life is the act of breathing or respiration.The term “PANCH VAAYU” refers to, 1. Vyaana – the air that is spread in the entire extent of the human body; 2. Samaana – the air that is in the navel region; it could be the air that is swallowed during acts of eating and drinking and may refer to the intestinal gas; 3. Udaana – the air that is in the throat/neck region; this narrow airway is vital for the respiratory function; 4. Apaana – the air that travels downwards and outwards; it could mean the air expelled from the body as flatus or exhaled air from the lungs; and 5. Praana – the inspired air; air that is in the heart, the chief organ of Cardiovascular System that circulates Oxygen throughout human body. The term “SAPTA DHATU” refers to the seven material essences such as the skin, muscle/tendons/nerves, blood, bones, bone marrow, brain( neural tissue ), and “RASA” which describes fluids like semen and lymph. The term “PANCH KOSHA” refers to the traditional view about the structure of Soul. It is believed that the Soul has five coverings or envelopes and each layer establishes human existence and these are called as the five stages of Self-Realization; 1. Anna maya( related to Nutrition ), 2. Praana maya( related to vital functions like Respiration ), 3. Jnana maya( relates to implantation of Innate Knowledge and Consciousness ), 4. Vijnana maya( relates to the ability to make a distinction between human body or Self and Soul as the Knowing-Self ), and 5. Ananda maya( relates to the experience of Bliss, the experience of Peace, Harmony, Tranquility, and Equilibrium as a Living Experience ) ; these are the five aspects of Self-Realization and refer to complete fulfillment or development of man. I have discussed these five aspects in my blog post:
Adi Shankara also refers to the five organs of action that are described in Indian tradition as “KARMA INDRIYAS” which are the five instruments of Speech(VAAK), Hand-Grip and Manipulation(PAANI), Locomotion( PAADA), Procreation(UPASTHA) and Excretion(PAAYU). Adi Shankara has not bothered to state as to how these different organs and organ systems could function together to support the existence of the human person who lives because of those varied living functions. Life is nothing but to function and in my view, the human Soul is the central element that generates the structural and functional coordination that is required for human existence.
MAN IS A MENTAL BEING, AN EMOTIONAL BEING, AND A MORAL BEING:
Adi Shankara correctly claims that the human Soul may not contribute to human feelings, and thoughts associated with hatred, sexual passion, greed, arrogance, and envy or jealousy. At the same time, he rejects the traditional Indian view about man’s purpose in Life; the purpose of Right Action or “DHARMA”, the purpose called earning money or material wealth to support Life or “ARTHA”, the purpose of Procreation or “KAMA”, and the purpose called God-Realization, Liberation, or “MOKSHA”. In other words, Adi Shankara is suggesting that human life and human existence may have no underlying purpose. He is also not giving any coping mechanism to deal with the problems associated with human emotional experiences like passionate desires. Indian tradition consistently recommends that man can exercise self-control as the human Soul is superior to human mind, human intellect, and human sense organs. If human body has no structural or functional affiliation with its human Soul, it will not be likely that man can exercise self-restraint and self-control. In my view, man, the Mental Being can establish himself as a Moral Being using the discerning ability to make the distinction between right and wrong, and distinguish good from evil by knowing the existence of the Knowing-Self or the Soul.
MAN IS A SPIRITUAL BEING :
Adi Shankara is describing that he has no sense of attachment to the consequences of his actions either good(“PUNYA”) or bad(“PAAPA”). He is recommending that man need not perform temple worship, and there is no need to observe religious rituals, sacrifice, and perform acts of pilgrimage. He is rejecting the desire to seek pleasure and comfort(“SAUKHYAM”) and he may not be able to totally avoid the pain, misery, and the experience of suffering(“DUKHAM”). He specifically undermined the role of food and its five functions in support of human existence. The problem is that of the nature of human existence. In my view, man at any given age, in any given condition, under all given circumstances including good health or ill-health depends upon the Power/Energy/Force called MERCY/GRACE/COMPASSION. Man is not in control of his own existence. Man needs a guiding, and controlling force called the Divine Providence. In my opinion, the human Soul operates as the Connection between man and the Divine Providence that supports, sustains, and preserves human existence irrespective of man’s experience of pain or pleasure. Man has no choice other than that of seeking Mercy, Grace, and Compassion that is called “KRUPA” in Sanskrit language.
MAN IS A SOCIAL BEING :
Adi Shankara very boldly asserts that he is without a trace of doubt(“SHANKAA”) and further adds that the Soul that he calls “AHAM” has no Father, or Mother. Indian tradition calls Father(“PITAA”) as the originating principle, and Mother(“MAATAA) as the sustaining principle. In my view, the human Soul comes into existence(“JANMA”) because of the Supreme Will or the Supreme Soul which is the Prime Cause, the Cause of all types of things and all kinds of Existence. The human Soul is conditioned and is not totally independent and hence, the human soul still needs a Divine Mother Principle to maintain its Spiritual Condition and Spiritual Existence.
MAN IS A CONDITIONED SOUL :
In this final or sixth verse, Adi Shankara tries to eliminate the classical dualism that is called the dualism of Universal-Particular. He claims that his human Soul or “AHAM” is universal entity that is limitless, formless(“NIRAAKAARA”) and is without any attributes or attachments(“BANDHAH”). In his view, the human Soul is essentially free; it is everything, everywhere, every time and is always in a state of equilibrium. He has stated this view without a trace of doubt(“NIRVI KALPA”). I would like to suggest some caution and ask my readers to recognize the importance of separation between the human soul and the Ultimate Reality. I can understand that there is no disunity between man and his Creator. I would ask my readers to know the philosophical system of thought called ‘NOMINALISM’ that does not grant universality to mental concepts outside the mind. Universality could be applied only to words or “nomina”, mental habits, or concepts. Nominalism only maintains the objective existence of the concrete, individual thing. It denies all objectivity whether actual or potential to universals. The human soul is attached to the human being and the human being has his existence on planet Earth and hence is not an universal entity. Since the human condition demands existence only on planet Earth and not the rest of the universe, the human Soul cannot escape from its conditioned status while it exists as a human Soul. The Universal Soul as proposed by Adi Shankara is just a mental concept and it can only exist in the mind of the man and it may have no correspondence with the facts of external world and the Universe.
WHAT IS TRUTH, WHAT IS ILLUSION???
Adi Shankara is fully convinced in his belief that ‘A’ and the human body ‘B’ are not connected or related. It must be noted that, ‘A’ or “AHAM” refers to a singular person called ‘I’ and that singular person ‘I’ is in a state called ‘Being’, one who lives, or exists. If ‘A’ is stated to be existing, I would like to ask the following questions:
1. Who is Existing?
2. What is Existing?
3. When it is Existing?
4. Where it is Existing?
5. Why it is Existing?
If the Subject ‘A’, or “AHAM”( I AM ), has no size, no shape, and no form, how could we establish the fact that ‘A’ is existing? Adi Shankara has not categorically stated the place or site where ‘A’ could be existing. If ‘A’ is existing, we may like to know the purpose of this existence. If there is a purpose for the existence of ‘A’, the question would be, What is that purpose? How is the nature of ‘A’ or the nature of ‘C’ is related to its purpose? The Truth and Reality about human Soul, or Spirit can be verified, can be corroborated, and can be validated by knowing the structural, functional, mental, moral, social, and spiritual relationship, partnership, connection, association, or bonding between ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’. Indian tradition suggests that human body has three aspects; “Tri-ani-pada”, or three-in-one; and the three aspects of human body are, 1. Causal, 2. Spiritual, and 3. Material. There is a material connection between ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, if the human body has a ‘causal, and a ‘spiritual’ dimension. It would be very interesting to note that Adi Shankara has specifically avoided to describe the connection or relationship between the human Soul and human Consciousness. In Sanskrit language, Consciousness is called “CHETANA” and this term is not used in any of the six verses. Indian tradition believes that consciousness is the evidence for the presence of the human Soul and there is a structural and functional relationship between Soul and the Living Entity that is Conscious. We need to explain the concepts of Subject-Object, Appearance-Reality, Perceptual-Categorical, Immanent-Transcendent, Regulative-Constitutive, Conditioned-Unconditioned Dualism in respect of man’s existence and man’s status in Nature. In the context of human existence, the human Soul, or Spirit belongs to the Immanent Realm.
Rudra N . Rebbapragada, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
Biographical Information :
1. Place of Birth: Mylapore, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu( Brahmin, Niyogi, Smartha), Telugu-Speaking.
2. Date and Place of Marriage: January 29, 1973. Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Please view this melodious presentation of Adi Shankaracharya’s Nirvana Shatakam or Atma Shatakam at http://www.Youtube.com site:
SPIRITUALISM – NATIONALISM – THE LAND OF INDIA :
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE IN THE LAND OF INDIA :
Today, on August 15, 2012, people of India also known as ‘BHARAT’ are celebrating the 66th Independence Day in commemoration of 65 Years of Independence. In this context, we have to examine the relationship between Spiritualism and Nationalism. In the ancient Land of India, human beings have lived continuously for thousands of years. But, it was a Land divided into several hundreds of small and large kingdoms until Indian people joined together in a Nationalist Movement to win their Freedom from foreign rule and occupation. Indians won this Freedom on August 15, 1947 when Great Britain ceased its occupation of India.
WHAT IS NATIONALISM ?
Nationalism is the state of mind in which the individual feels that everyone owes his supreme loyalty to the Nation-State. Nationalism is a modern movement and it belongs to the modern world. Before the 18th century, people gave their loyalty to their communities, tribes, feudal lords, princes, or religious groups. The historical sense of attachment to the native soil, to social and cultural traditions, and to established territorial authorities has changed by the end of the 18th century when Nationalism began molding public and private life. Since then, Nationalism has become an important factor of modern history. The American Revolutionary Wars(1775-1783), and the French Revolution(1789) could be regarded as the first manifestations of Nationalism. It led to the formation of modern National States in Europe. The 19th century has been called the Age of Nationalism in Europe. The World War I, and World War II resulted in the spread of Nationalism in Asia and Africa and has manifested itself as a struggle against European Colonialism. Nationalism began to appear in India after World War I. Indian National Congress founded in 1885 began a new political process in the private and public lives of Indian people. It had produced leaders such as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi(1869-1948) who had joined the Nationalist Movement for Indian Independence during 1915. The people of India started replacing the king as the center of the Nation. The State had become the people’s State, a National State, and a Motherland. Nationalism is not a political program or ideology; it is a perspective on such programs or ideology. Nationalism can be described as a sentiment that places the existence and well-being of the Nation highest in the scale of personal loyalties. In political terms, it signifies a person’s willingness to work for the Nation against foreign domination. It reflects a person’s willingness to resist foreign political, economic, and cultural domination. Nationalism implies a group’s consciousness of shared history, language, race, and values. Its significance lies in its role in supplying the ties that make the Nation-State a cohesive, viable entity. The terms such as nation, state, or country describe a political entity in which people are united under a particular political organization and are occupying a defined territory. However, the term ‘Nationalism’ demands more than the existence of boundaries or political institutions. Nationalism includes the feelings or thoughts of patriotism, zealous love of one’s country, advocacy of national unity or independence and it involves the creed that fidelity to one’s State or Nation is more important than fidelity to individual interests. We, the people of India and of Indian origin have to truthfully examine if ‘Nationalism’ has ever existed in the Land of India. We have to truthfully explain as to why the Land of India exists as an easy target for foreign invasion, foreign conquest, foreign occupation, and foreign political, economic, and cultural domination.
THE PROBLEM OF NATIONAL UNITY AND THE ROLE OF CULTURAL NATIONALISM IN INDIA :
There is a fundamental problem with the experience of life in the Land of India. The Nation – State was nonexistent during the greater part of Indian history. People did not give loyalty to the Nation – State but to other, different forms of feudal states. Before 20th century, political allegiance was determined by mostly local and regional factors such as that of a local princely ruler, regional language or regional culture. Indian Cultural Nationalism mainly consists of expression of some national characteristics through nonpolitical activities such as art, literature, music, dance, and other forms of culture such as the performance of Temple Worship and Pilgrimage. A vast multitude of people may come together at a particular place in celebration of an event and return to their native places. India did not exist as a large, unified territorial state with political, and economic centralization. The political, and economic centralization that existed in India was largely a product of foreign rule and foreign occupation of the Land of India. This lack of National Unity and the lack of a National identity and Individuality made India an easy target for foreign, military attacks. Sir Jadunath Sarkar, a former Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, a historian who had reviewed the records kept by Al- Utbi, the Secretary of Sultan Yaminu -d- Daula Mahmud bin Subuktigin known as Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna. The Secretary in the Persian document called the Tarikh -i- Yamini recorded the details of several episodes of bloody campaigns waged by Sultan Mahmud between 1001 A.D. and 1027 A.D. Persian historian Ferishta(“Tarikh-e- Fereshteh” work by Ferishta about Mahomedan Power in India ) also recorded the military conquests of India by Sultan Mahmud. The Sultan of Ghazna had directed his military attacks on places of spiritual pilgrimage in India. He had attacked the temple towns of Nagarkot, Thanesar(1011), Mathura(1018), Kannauj(1019), Kalinjar(1023), and Somnath(1024-25). He had also attacked the holy places of Varanasi, Ujjain, Maheswar, Jwalamukhi and Dwaraka. These attacks were witnessed by Persian writers such as Al-Biruni(Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Biruni) and Ferdowsi(Abu ol-Qasem Mansur or Firdawsi/Firdusi). All of these historical records and documents reveal the scale of loss of human life. It is estimated that about two million people had died in the Land of India during Sultan Mahmud’s repeated attacks. Asaru -l- Bilad, a Persian geographer had also described some of the foreign conquests of India. K.S. Lal, an Indian historian estimated that about sixty to eighty million people in India may have died between 1000 and 1525 CE due to foreign invasions. It clearly demonstrates that the idea of Cultural Nationalism did not play a significant role in defending Indian people and had failed to preserve human life. Apparently, Cultural Nationalism did not generate the cohesiveness or Unity that is needed to resist and to defeat foreign military campaigns.
CULTURAL NATIONALISM vs SECULAR NATIONALISM – THE CLASH AT KURNOOL MEDICAL COLLEGE, ANDHRA PRADESH :
I submitted an application to Chief Minister Office, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, India on September 02, 2012. The request made by me is registered by the Secretariat Departments of Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Application Number is shown as : SR 12014477 and it reads as follows:
“I was a student at Kurnool Medical College from November 1965 to June 1970. I had represented the State of Andhra Pradesh as a student delegate at the four-week long National Student Seminar on National Integration sponsored by Vishwa Yuvak Kendra, New Delhi during 1967 to promote the need for developing a National Identity and National Individuality for National Unity and National Integration. I had encouraged students to ignore any identity that is derived from region, religion, language, and caste as India needs Secular Nationalism and not Cultural Nationalism. This was opposed by Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, M.D., who then served as the Professor of Medicine and the Superintendent of Kurnool Government General Hospital. Since he had actively opposed the principle of Secular Nationalism, I would request you to reconsider the decision made by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to name a building on Kurnool Medical College/General Hospital Campus to honour him.”
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE IN THE LAND OF INDIA :
The ideas about human soul or spirit( Atman or Atma in Sanskrit language) find their profound expression in the oral and written literature of India. Indian thoughts about the nature of man and his existence can be traced to the ancient texts of Vedas( the Rig-Veda, the Sama-Veda, the Yajur-Veda, and the Atharva-Veda) which were compiled from c. 1500 B.C. to c. 500 B.C. The Sanskrit texts known as the Upanishads( c. 900 – 500 B.C. ) have systematized Indian philosophy. There are six classical systems of Indian philosophy that accept the authority of the Veda and the Upanishads; 1. NYAYA( 6th century B.C. ) is a school of logic and epistemology, 2. VAISHESHIKA( 3rd century B.C. ) posits a sixfold classification of Reality( Substance, Quality, Activity, Generality, Particularity, and Inherence ), 3. SAMKHYA( 6th century B.C. ) expounds two basic metaphysical principles; Purusha or Soul and Prakriti or Material Nature, 4. YOGA( 2nd century B.C. ) of Patanjali accepts Samkhya metaphysics, presents an eight-stage discipline of self-control and Meditation, 5. PURVA-MIMAMSA( 2nd century B.C. ) sets forth principles of interpretation of the Vedic texts, and 6. UTTARA-MIMAMSA or VEDANTA which includes different schools of thought based on the Brahma-Sutras of Baradayana( early century A.D. ) which summarize the Upanishadic doctrine and explain the teachings of the Upanishads. The most important schools of Vedanta are 1. the non-dualist(ADVAITA) Vedanta of Shankara( A.D. 788-820 ), 2. the qualified non-dualist Vedanta of Ramanuja( A.D. 1017-1137 ), and 3. the dualist Vedanta of Madhava( A.D. 1197-1276 ). Buddhism and Jainism are two important schools of thought that do not accept the authority of Veda and Upanishads. To a great extent, Indian traditions claim that man is an embodied soul. The mind, and body that represent the physical person is an illusion as the human body is thought to be “ASAT”, or unreal, perishable, full of ignorance, and not happy. The real or true man as represented by soul or spirit is unborn. The real person is viewed as an eternal person who is not subject to change called life and death. Indian tradition considers that the Objective Reality of man or Essence of man is soul or spirit. We must note that it is impossible to describe this mental concept called soul or spirit if it is never associated with its human body. The separation of man into body, mind, and soul is not supported by scientific study of man. Man comes into existence from a single, fertilized Egg-Cell. This man cannot be separated into distinct entities like material or physical body, thinking substance called mind, and an immaterial principle called soul. These three aspects of man have no independent existence of their own. There is no Life and there is no human Existence if body, mind, and soul are separated. Who you are describes your Essence and it is defined by What you do to establish the fact of your Existence. In other words, the Essence(Who you are) is preceded by the reality of Existence(What you do). Thus, Existence is the precondition to recognize Essence. Hence, I describe man as a living soul and not as an embodied soul. In my impression, the traditional Indian views about human soul or spirit have failed to recognize the importance of human Existence as a precondition to define the nature of human Essence. Indian people have to give due recognition to the problems of human existence and must realize that Essence has no value if its meaning is not attached to the condition called Existence. In my opinion, Spiritualism demands the existence of a Living Soul or Spirit to understand its characteristic functions that generate Peace, harmony, and Tranquility as a living human experience. If India seeks its existence as a Nation, Indians have to forget the parochial differences to develop National Individualities and the primary focus of allegiance must be the Republic of India and not that of the local language, religion, or culture.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Danavaipeta Municipal/Corporation High School, Rajahmundry, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, India,
S.S.L.C. Class of March/April, 1961.
Biographical Information :
1. Place of Birth: Mylapore, Madras City, Chennai, Chenna Patnam, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu(Brahmin, Niyogi, Smartha), Telugu-Speaking.
2. Date and Place of Marriage: 29 January, 1973. Town Congregational Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
- Spiritualism and Identity – the Conflict at Kurnool Medical College (bhavanajagat.com)
Love is a powerful emotion felt for another person manifesting itself in deep affection, devotion or sexual desire. If love is viewed as fondness or affection it may include or based in part on sexual attraction which is related to libido( sexual urge or instinct ), and lust( a desire to gratify the senses or bodily appetite that seeks unrestrained gratification ). Love implies feelings that are attached to relationships or objects and assumes various forms such as sexual love, brotherly love, and love of God. The attachment may be felt for inanimate things as well as people, or ideas, or expressed as an abstraction. There are many different kinds of love; different in object, different in tendency, and different in expression. The problem of the kinds of love is further complicated by the need to differentiate and relate love and desire. The category of love known as sexual love has the tendency to desire possession of the object that is loved. The tendency of desire is acquisitive. Sexual love is a love born of desire, and the drive of desire continues until it is satisfied by possession of the loved object. Physical possession is the basis for the satisfaction of sexual desire, sexual appetite, or sexual hunger, or sexual thirst. The other forms of love do not tend to possess the object loved but seek to benefit the object that is loved. Love is selfish when it acts like hunger, thirst, or appetite which need to be satisfied for the benefit of the person expressing that love. Love is altruistic when it acts for the good or the benefit of the beloved. Conjugal love may include a combination of selfishness and altruism. The ancient languages have three distinct words for the main types of love; EROS, PHILIA, and AGAPE in Greek language; AMOR, AMICITA or DILECTIO, and CARITAS in Latin language. However, English language has no such distinct words and hence it becomes necessary to use such phrases as “sexual love”, “love of friendship”, and “love of charity” in order to indicate plainly that love is common to all three, and to distinguish the three meanings. The idea of love expressed in Biblical Scriptures makes no distinction between AMOR, DILECTIO, and CARITAS. For example, in The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 22, verses 37, 38, and 39 speak of the Great Commandments of The Laws of Moses: Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the LORD thy GOD with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus brings unity between the idea of self-love, love of God, and the love of one another without making distinction between the three different kinds of love. Jesus does not specify if man should wish and expect to be loved in return. Jesus did not attach any purpose to this act of love, and did not describe the nature of desire, the attachment, and the gratification of his Love Commandment.
Sigmund Freud’s theory places the origin of love in the sexual instincts, and so for him the many varieties of love are simply the forms which love takes as the ‘LIBIDO‘ fixes upon various objects. He states, “The nucleus of what we mean by love naturally consists …… in sexual love with sexual union as its aim. We do not separate from this; on the one hand, self-love, and on the other, love for parents and children, friendship and love for humanity in general, and also devotion to concrete objects and to abstract ideas….. All these tendencies are an expression of the same instinctive activities…. They differ from sexual love only because they are diverted from its aim or prevented from reaching it, though they always preserve enough of their original nature to keep their identity recognizable.” If love is the passion of the sexual instinct, temperance is an inadequate restraint. Neither reason nor law is adequate to the task of subduing the nature of the sexual instinct. Sexual instinct is a very powerful biological instinct and it profoundly influences human behavior. Hence it becomes necessary to transform sexual love either by repressing it, or sublimating it, or mixing it with tenderness or kindness. In that context, friendship, charity or compassion, and devotion to God could be stated as transformations of sexual love. Sexual instincts are inhibited or actually repressed in the expression of brotherly love, or feelings of deep affection for children and others where the relationship should not be based upon feelings of sexual attraction.
THE COMPLEXITY OF LOVE :
Love is a very complex emotional instinct and it is complex as it may not always provide a sense of joy or happiness. There is a fact about love; love frequently turns into its opposite, HATE. Sometimes there is love and hate of the same object; sometimes love inspires hate, and love may also cause jealousy, anger, and fear. Love seems to be the primal passion, generating all the others according to the oppositions of pleasure and pain and by relation of cause and effect. The individual’s experience of love is extremely variable and it includes the operation of both positive and negative impulses. Indian tradition has carefully examined this complex instinctual behavior and has instructed people of the Land of Bharat or India to understand the three major distinctions or categories of love and to apply a sense of restraint, or that of repression has brought love under the purview of morality, the code of Right Conduct or DHARMA. Indian Culture does not provide the linguistic tools to express feelings associated with sexual passion without using temperance. There is no linguistic equivalent in classical Indian languages to profess love. The terms and words that Indians use have specific meaning attached to them.
LOVE vs PREMA :
Love is not a universal term and this idea is not expressed in Indian tradition and classical literature. The word “LOVE” appears repeatedly in the Bible, in several different editions of Bible. I am not a language expert and I believe that people who had translated Bible have exercised great care to convey the meaning of love. Many editions of Bible have further clarified the meaning of Love in their glossary section or Bible dictionary and define Love as a deep sense of affection, devotion for someone or something and they very carefully exclude sexual desire and sexual passion. In English speaking world, and in English literature, the word Love is used to describe desire, libido, lust, and passion based upon sexual attraction. So, Love is a generic term and it may not always mean brotherly love and goodwill. Indian Culture has erected subtle barriers and has not provided linguistic tools to use the word Love as we like. It separates Love into various categories and sets them apart. The feelings of affection, or fondness that are associated with sexual attraction are specifically known as ‘KAMA’ and intense sexual passion or desire is called ‘MOHA’. Any intense or passionate desire could be called KAMA and to act under its influence could be stated as MOHA. My love for God could only be expressed in terms of Bhakti or Devotion, and the desire could be called PREET. The desire called PREETI or Preet is a legitimate desire. It is also called “ISHTA”. I am allowed to seek or desire certain things in my life and that desire is subject to the rule of Good Conduct or Dharma. I can express the sentiment of Preet only when, and where such desire is allowed to be stated in a legitimate manner, and is acceptable to tradition and established conventions and social norms. If I entertain thoughts of sexual attraction about my attractive and rich neighbor, I am not allowed to express my feelings as Preet. It can not be called “ISHTA”. I can call it Kama or Moha. In the epic poem of Ramayana, when King Ravana of Lanka had wanted to marry Princess Sita and had attended her Swayamvara, the desire was legitimate and he was allowed to feel sexual attraction and it was not Kama. But, when he had abducted her while she was lawfully married to Prince Rama, that desire and sexual attraction represents an impulsive action of Moha, and Kama. King Ravana was not entitled to express his Love for Sita if it is formulated by Kama, and intense sexual passion known as lust or Moha. Similarly, a man can express his love or Preet for a woman in a respectful or legitimate manner and to seek a valid relationship. If the relationship is illegal, it can not be called Preet. A father’s love, or mother’s love, or brother’s love is described as “VASTHALYA”, a natural sense of affection and fondness which is not related to sexual attraction or desire. The word “PREMA” or “PREM” is used to describe the feelings of affection, fondness, friendship(SNEHA), kindness(DAYA, or KARUNA), compassion(KRUPA), happiness, joy(ANANDA) that have no direct relationship to the satisfaction of sexual desires and passions. The deep sense of affection between husband and wife is often called “ANURAG” which indicates an intimate friendship. I can not literally translate this word LOVE into any of the Indian languages as such expression is not allowed without stating the nature of its contents.
If Jesus gives the Commandment of Love your neighbour as thyself; I would not be able to express that thought in Indian languages. Jesus has not stated that idea in terms of friendship(SNEHA), kindness(DAYA), or giving happiness(ANANDA). Only when, and if those qualities of friendship, kindness, and giving joy or happiness are specifically included; Jesus could Command others to express PREMA to one another. However, in Indian tradition, the deep sense of affection or fondness of God is stated as Bhakti or devotion. Mirabai has expressed such deep sense of affection and I would not call it as her love of Krishna. Jayadeva in his famous description of Lord Krishna’s creative activities in Brindavan(Vrindavan) has depicted the intense erotic feelings of the young maidens as a product of their intense devotion to the Lord. I can not use the word Love to describe the sexual passions of the Gopis or the young maidens of Brindavan.
SELF-LOVE AND NARCISSISM :
My concern is not about PREMA or LOVE. My concern is about self-love, a man’s love of himself. In psychology the word ‘NARCISSISM’ is used to describe excessive self-love. In my medical practice, I have not encountered such narcissistic tendencies among people of Indian origin. Indian tradition has erected barriers and would not easily let us identify ourselves with the physical-self. Indian tradition repeatedly instructs us about our Essence and true Identity and reminds us not to get attached to the physical-self. If I have no feelings of attachment to my physical-self, I can not really love myself. If I can not truly love myself, I can not also love my neighbor in the same manner, or to a same degree of my self-love. If man is not expected to love himself, the issue of loving the neighbor is redundant.
The Times of India has published a news story about the likely reincarnation of Satya Sai Baba as “PREMA SAI BABA.”My impression about this story is, Sri Satya Sai Baba has attempted to import a foreign idea to the Land of Bharat without fully understanding the subtle cultural barriers that exist in the Land. The notion of PREMA could only be expressed in terms of Friendship( lack of animosity ), kindness and goodwill, and that of giving happiness to others. It can not be related to the idea of Love. The theory of reincarnation is not the issue. The issue is about the idea itself. He has to attach meaning to the word “PREMA” that he used and distinguish from the word “LOVE” that is used in English language.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.
“Prema Sai will be born in Doddamalur”
M B Maramkal & K R Rajendra Kumar, TNN | Times of India, Apr 28, 2011, 05.52am IST
DODDAMALUR(Mandya): Will the reincarnation be reality or not?
Whatever happens, the tiny village of Doddamalur, off the Bangalore-Mysore highway, will definitely be in the news in the coming years, with scores of stories doing the rounds here over the reincarnation of Sathya Sai Baba as Prema Sai.
What has lent credence to claims of people of the Vaishnava sect temples of Aprameya (Vishnu) and Ambegalu Krishna (toddler Krishna) is based on a book `Sri Sathya Sai — Anandasai’ authored by one Swami, an ardent devotee of Sai Baba. In that, he claims that the godman, during his visit to Doddamalur, had told him that Sai Baba had three avatars in kalyug, and of them, he is the second avatar (reincarnation) of Shirdi Sai Baba. The third will be Prema Saiand he will be born in this village. He also claims that Baba, during his visit in the ’60s, showed a small house where he will be born.
However, confusion prevails among people who are making claims of Baba’s reincarnation in the village. According to Ramadas, who runs a Krishna charitable trust, Prema Sai will be born in this village after 2023, as predicted by Sathya Sai Baba. Ramadas said Baba had predicted that his personal assistant, Narayan Kasturi, who died long ago, will reincarnate himself as a woman in a village near Bhadravathi, marry a person from this village and give birth to Prema Sai. “Today you are my assistant, in the next life you will be my mother,” Sai Baba is supposed to have said.
Doddamalur, located on the banks of the river Kanva, will be called Gunaparthy after the reincarnation, said Raghav, an aged villager, disclosing that the soil and water of the village have curative powers. The village will be called Gun (cure) parthy (place) in the years to come.
WHY DID BABA CHOOSE THIS VILLAGE?
Villagers who are well-versed with its history claim that Baba was carried away by the religious history and mythological importance of this village. People say a Kanva sage did tapasya (penance) here and it was an agrahara (Brahmin settlement) in medieval history. It is said that saint Purandaradasa visited the Aprameya and Krishna temples here and presented a kirtana (discourse) on this village and temples. Baba was enamoured by the historic significance of this village.
This blog post is dedicated to Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba who has defined the word “SAI” : The letter ‘S’ stands for Spirituality, the letter ‘A’ stands for Association, and the letter ‘I’ stands for Individual. Man is an Individual, an Association of trillions of Individual Cells which formulate the Identity of the Individual because of a Cellular function known as Consciousness which establishes God-Connection, or Spiritual Connection between the energy dependent Individual and the Cosmic Source of Energy/Power/Force which supports, sustains, and preserves the Living Functions of the Individual and all that is living on the planet Earth.
THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL DISTINCTIONS :
The Totality of Things have been divided by describing The Three Fundamental Distinctions; 1. the Distinction between the natural and the supernatural, 2. the Distinction between the material and spiritual, and 3. the Distinction between the lifeless and the living(inanimate/animate, non-living/living, inorganic/organic). How do we make these Distinctions? The Difference, is that of Kind or that of Degree? If physical matter is called natural material substance, Is there an immaterial, transcendental substance called supernatural? The material substance is governed by The Laws of Physics and interacts with other material substances as per The Laws of Chemistry. Who or what governs the nature of Spiritual substance? The Laws of Thermodynamics are applicable to both non-living, and living systems. What is the Difference? The Living matter or Living cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without a continuous input of energy, a Living cell will degrade spontaneously into a non-living collection of molecules. If Deoxy Ribo Nucleic Acid or DNA is viewed as a Living Organic Molecule, it lives as long as energy is supplied to manifest its living functions. If the supply of energy is withdrawn, this Organic Molecule degrades into its constituent inorganic elements, and molecules.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH :
Death is defined as the extinction or cessation of Life. Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Dean of the Harvard Medical School(1847-1882), defined Life: “To live is to function, and that is all there is in living.” Life is defined as function at the level of physiology, of molecular biology, biochemistry, and of genetic potential. If Life is defined by function, Who or What is the Subject who lives because of its Function? What is that Function that could establish all other living functions? If living functions are goal-oriented, purposeful, sequential and not random, who provides the guidance or what is the source of Knowledge to perform goal-oriented functions? Life is described as a state of an organism characterized by certain processes, abilities that include metabolism, growth, motion, reproduction, responsiveness to stimuli, and awareness of its own condition of existence in a given environment. Functions depend upon the use of information; the information that is stored at a particular site or location is transferred to a different site or location where its is transformed into action which describes the nature of the function performed. Life could be defined as “Knowledge in Action.” The living functions or actions depend upon the use of energy. If Life is a manifestation of a System that is energy dependent, it requires Knowledge to acquire energy from an external source of energy. Life could be defined as a State of Knowing the Connection between energy- seeker and energy-provider. If a cell or matter to exist as Life, it must exist in a State of Knowing, or Awareness, or Consciousness that gives it the ability to acquire energy from its environment. Man has the Capacity of Consciousness in the presence of the vital functions operated by structures in Brain Stem. Man is certified to be dead when Consciousness departs and the same is evidenced by the absence of his Brain Stem functions. Consciousness is a transcendental term. It establishes a connection between matter or substance and a source of energy that is extraterrestrial or of Cosmic origin.
In a multicellular organism, cells have short lives as individuals. The Whole Organism has a life span of its own. However, the Identity of the Individual who is seen as a living person is defined by a process called Cellular Death. The Identity is formulated by what is known as Programmed Cell Death. To achieve proper numerical balance between functionally related cell groups, the death of many cells is necessary for others. This Programmed Cell Death plays an important role in embryological Growth and Development of human fetus. Waves of genetically driven Cell Deaths are critical to the proper modeling of organs and organ systems. Such Programmed Cell Death events are essential if the organism as a whole is to develop its normal, final form and acquire a recognizable morphological appearance. Lord Gautama Buddha had observed; “Whatever is born, produced, conditioned, contains within itself the nature of its own dissolution.” Life and Death are the two sides or the two faces of the same coin. Without death, the Identity can not be expressed, and death also takes away the Identity that it has established. Identity and Individuality are not the same. Identity is established by the Phenotype which undergoes changes under the influence of Time. The Individuality is supported by Consciousness which operates the Genotype. Man’s Essence( Who you are ) is defined and is preceded by the Physical Reality of Existence. There is no Essence without Existence. There is no Existence without Connection, Association, or Partnership between energy-seeker and energy-provider. There is no Connection, Association, or Partnership without Consciousness. Man begins his life journey as a single cell and during his entire life journey the individual cells that describe his physical body constantly experience Cell Death while the Conscious entity survives the dying process. Consciousness is not affected by the dying process that gives the human a shape, a size, a form, and an Identity. Identity is dependent upon Consciousness and Consciousness is independent of the changing Identity such as infancy, boyhood, adulthood, and old age.
THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE INDIVIDUALITY :
The Individual is a Physical being and is a mortal being. The Individuality survives unchanged during the physical life journey of the Individual who lives with changing identity all his life. What happens to the Individuality? Does it continue without change? It depends upon the Flow of Time. Things in Nature change with Time but certain things like Mass, Energy, Momentum remain constant, unchanged, and they can not be created or destroyed. If Time flows in a cyclical manner, the Past flows into the Present, the Present flows into Future, and the Future soon becomes a Past event. Man’s existence depends upon the cyclical flow of Time, and Man’s existence depends upon his inability to directly experience the events that cause this cyclical flow of Time. Man exists not because of things that change in nature, but because of the constancy or unchanging nature of the change he perceives. Day is followed by Night, and the Winter Season is followed by the Spring Season with unfailing constancy. Very often, the cynical people would ask for verification. If not Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Jesus has provided some experience to His disciples and had verified the fact of His Resurrection. The Book of John, Chapter 20, verse 29 quotes the conversation between Jesus and His disciple Thomas. Today, Sunday, April 24, the Christian community is celebrating the Holiday known as Easter. Man will have no direct experience about the unchanging, eternal nature of his Individuality as his perception abilities, his cognitive abilities operate under the powerful influence of Illusion. As long as man lives on this planet Earth without direct experience of Earth’s Angular Speed, and Linear Speed, he will not know what changes and what may not change under the influence of Time. Man has to be uplifted from his State of Conditioned Existence to know his true nature. In a changing world, that is characterized by changes in function such as Life and Death, man has to seek the Unchanging Reality, the Unchanging Constancy that supports all Life.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.
The Hindu A child pays floral tribute to a portrait of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at the Satya Sai Nigamagamam in Hyderabad on Sunday after the spiritual leader passed away at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh . Photo: P.V. Sivakumar
“Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He left his earthly body on April 24, 2011 at 7:40 a.m. due to cardio-respiratory failure,” Director of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences Dr. A.N. Safaya said in a bulletin »
Related: End of a chequered spiritual journey
- Spirituality – Soul, Consciousness and the God-connection (bhavanajagat.wordpress.com)
- The Science of Consciousness (bhavanajagat.wordpress.com)
- The Truth About Self – “i Am Consciousness” (bhavanajagat.wordpress.com)
DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY – THE BRAHMAN CASTE CONNECTION :
THE ORIGIN OF CASTE/VARNA SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF INDIA :
I would be totally surprised if I meet a person of Indian origin who has no personal experience of the Caste/Varna system of India. I am glad to share some of the views presented by Dr. Premendra Priyadarshi in his attempt to explore the origin of Caste in India and the comments from Sri. Ram Gopal, Sri. M K Dhar, and Sri. Bala N. Aiyer on this subject. A mantra or hymn that is found in Rig Veda, Purusha Sukta ( also found in Yajur Veda, Chapter 31 ) is often quoted; “Brahmano-asya mukhamasid, bahurajanyah Kritah; Urutadasya yad- Vaishyah, paadbhyam Shudro- ajayat.” Lord Brahma is the Creator and humanity is described as taking birth from four different parts of the body of the Creator; the Class known as Brahmanas( the priests, religious thinkers, ascetics, and others ) take birth from the Face of the Lord, the Class known as Kshatriyas ( the warrior classes and clans ) take birth from the arms of the Lord, the Class known as Vaisya ( the traders, farmers, and others ) take birth from the thighs of the Lord, and the Fourth Class known as Sudras ( a variety of people with varied social occupations mostly intended to serve the rest of the Society by rendering manual labor ) take birth from the feet of the Lord. This Mantra may create four different Classes of people who have designated social occupations and support the social structures and institutions by their contributions.
THE THREE MATERIAL MODES OF NATURE AND THE FOUR DIVISIONS OF THE SOCIAL ORDER :
The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV ( TRANSCENDENTAL KNOWLEDGE ), verse 13, speaks about Varna or Color of people to describe the Four Classes and says: “Chatur varnyam maya srishtam gun karma – vibhagshah.” Lord Krishna states that the Four Classes of people describe His Creative potency called “MAYA” which is a POWER/FORCE/ENERGY that can cause an ILLUSION and mask the true nature of Man. The Creation of Four distinct Varnas or Classes has been attributed to the three modes of material Nature; man acts under the influence of “GUNAS” or modes of material Nature known as Sattva( the mode of Goodness ), Rajas( the mode of Passion ), and Tamas( the mode of Ignorance ). These Four primary distinctions between people are related to occupation and more importantly to the modes of behavior and conduct which could vary from time to time. The Chaturvarnas or the Four Divisions or Classes of the Social Order have been described as under:
1. The intelligent class of men called Brahmins are situated in the mode of Goodness.
2. The administrative class of men called the Kshatriyas are situated in the mode of Passion.
3. The mercantile class of men called Vaisyas are situated in the mixed modes of Passion and Ignorance.
4. The laborer class of men called the Sudras are situated in the mode of Ignorance.
Lord Krishna, the Creator does not belong to any of these divisions who form the human society as He is transcendental to this system of the Four Varnas or Colors caused by the influence of the modes of material Nature. In Indian tradition, these Classes existed in a flexible manner and people were treated with great respect according to the merits of their actions. The word ‘VARNA’ does not refer to the skin color or ethnicity of the individual and it describes the qualities and certain behavioral characteristics of the individual.
THE ROLE OF CHATURVARNA SYSTEM IN INDIAN MYTHOLOGY AND EPIC POETRY :
The Bhagavata Purana narrates the story of Lord Parasurama( in Sanskrit the meaning is Rama with the Axe, the Weapon of His choice ), the sixth Avatar or reincarnation of Hindu God Lord Vishnu. His legend reflects the strife between the two Classes of Society, the clashes between the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas, in pre-Buddhist India. In the epic poem of Ramayana composed by Maharishi Valmiki there is no description of strife between different Classes of people. The story of Ramayana very dramatically describes the internal contradictions, the conflict of interests among members of the same royal family and the consequence of this domestic strife and disorder caused the hero of the story, Lord Rama to live in exile for fourteen years. To begin with, there was no rift or conflict between the Kingdom of Ayodhya and the Kingdom of Lanka that was ruled by Ravana. The climax of the story was that of killing Ravana in an epic battle for he had abducted Princess Sita from her forest dwelling. Ravana, a powerful ruler had not attempted to attack the Kingdom of Ayodhya or Kingdom of Mithila, the House to which Princess Sita belonged prior to her marriage to Lord Rama. Rama’s problems were imposed upon Him by the members of His royal family, the people who belonged to His Caste and clan. Similarly, in the epic poem of Mahabharata ( The Great epic of the Bharata Dynasty ), the struggle and the strife involves the members of the families of Kauravas, and Pandavas. These were children of King Dhritarashtra and King Pandu sired by Sage Veda Vyasa, the author who had composed the epic poem of Mahabharata. This story describes a family feud and sibling rivalry. There is no evidence to suggest that the Chaturvarna System had caused conflicts or strife between the Four Classes of the Indian Society. However, in India, during its long course of history, the Society developed a Caste based social structure where people simply inherited the Caste by birth and had lived with no further control on their birth Identity. Foreign occupation, and foreign conquests, and foreign rulers had exploited these divisions in the Social Structure to their advantage and they continue to do so to promote their vested interests in India such as the religious conversion of the people to access political power and to destabilize the country by attacking its Social fabric.
THE COLORS OF INDIA : NATIONAL IDENTITY vs CASTE IDENTITY :
I would not rank myself as a great patriot, but like several other young students, during my life spent as a student, I was inspired by the colors of India’s National Flag popularly known as Tricolor or TIRANGA. The deep Saffron or subdued Orange Color represents Courage, and Sacrifice. The White Color represents Purity, Truth, and Peace. The dark Green Color stands for Fertility of the Land, Prosperity of the People, and the Faith. The Blue Chakra, the 24-spoked Wheel symbolizes the Wheel of Life in Movement and of death in stagnation. This is also the Wheel of Law or the DHARMA CHAKRA found in the Saranath Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka of Mauryan Dynasty. Communist China’s brutal attack on India’s Himalayan frontier during 1962 had initiated a desire to defend India from foreign conquests.
To serve, and to defend the Tricolor Flag of the Republic of India, I had joined the Indian Army Medical Corps while I was a Final M.B.B.S.( Part-I) student at Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool of Andhra Pradesh State in India. The Dull Cherry Color of the Army Medical Corps( AMC ) Flag represents the Color of the Royal Army Medical Corps and is associated with positive health, succor, and Freedom from Disease or “SARVE SANTU NIRAMAYA”, the Motto of AMC. The Freedom from Disease Motto of AMC could not give me Freedom from Social Conflict because of the clash between loyalty to the National Identity and my birth Brahman Caste Identity.
WHO AM I ? WHY AM I LIKE THIS ? :
In the epic poem of Ramayana, in Book Six, Yuddha Kanda, Chapter(Sarga) 117, verse 11, Rama who spent 14 years in forest exile and had to kill King Ravana to rescue Princess Sita had inquired : “I think of myself to be a human being, by name of Rama, the son of Dasaratha. You, as a gracious Divinity tell me, Who am I? and Why I am like this?”
I would not equate myself with Lord Rama. As a human being, if I have to explain as to Who am I and Why am I like this, I have to look at my Brahman Caste Connection. Lord Rama’s life journey was influenced by the actions of the members of his royal family. The experience of my life journey is shaped by my Brahman Caste Connection.
THE PAST IS NEVER PAST :
William Faulkner (1897-1962), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature during 1949. His novel titled ‘Requiem for a Nun'(1951) has his famous quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” I define Who I am and Why I am like this from my experience, the past flowing into the present. The divisions in the Social Order, the Social Rankings, the social distinctions and hierarchical social structures exist among all animal groups and among human communities all over the world. Each individual would experience his identity that is defined by the nature of the social group in which he exists. If I am described as a person of Brahman Caste, it is neither unique, nor special. If there is uniqueness, or distinctiveness about this Brahman Caste Identity, it should be revealed by sharing the experience of this Identity.
“JISH DESH MAIN GANGA BAHATI HAI” – THE LAND WHERE GANGES FLOWS :
If I had cherished the idea of serving the Tricolor Flag of India, it is not a product of my Chaturvarna Caste experience. This idea is inspired by a variety of factors such as the geography of this Land known as India, the history of its people, and the history of its subjugation by foreign military conquests. I was selected for the grant of Short Service Regular Commission in the Indian Army Medical Corps during 1969 and the selection was not influenced by my Brahman Caste Identity or Connections. I was granted Direct Permanent Commission in the Indian Army Medical Corps during March 1973 and that selection is not a product of my Brahman Caste Identity. However, I had resigned and relinquished my Direct Permanent Commission during 1983. This act of Resignation from Service in the Indian Army is the product of my Brahman Caste experience. My departure from India during 1984 with a desire to stay away from India is also a product of my Brahman Caste experience. My ability to serve in Uniform with Dignity and Honor, and my Spirit to defend my Country got extinguished by my Brahman Caste Experience.
HUMAN CONTRADICTIONS – THE SOURCE OF SOCIAL CONFLICTS :
A STORY OF BETRAYAL AT AFMC PUNE AND MINISTRY OF DEFENCE NEW DELHI :
Lieutenant General Biruduvolu Durga Prasada Rao( B.D.P. Rao ) served as the Commandant( in the rank of Major General ), Armed Forces Medical College(AFMC), Pune during 1975 – 1976 while I had attended the Advanced Training in Paediatrics Course at AFMC. The term ‘betrayal’ describes an act that helps the enemy of one’s country. I have no hesitation to state that the deliberate decision to disqualify me and post me out of AFMC Pune was not made to serve the cause of our Nation. The Brahman Caste Connection undermined my ability to complete this Training in Paediatrics.
Lieutenant General V V S Pratap Rao was the Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services during 1982 – 1983 when I submitted my letter of Resignation from Service to the Government of India, Ministry of Defence. General B D P Rao, and General V V S Pratap Rao were the two very high-ranking Officers of Indian Army Medical Corps that share my Brahman Caste Identity. I had never spoken to these two individuals and never had a direct, personal contact or interaction with these two very Senior Officers of the Indian Army. My experience of Service in Indian Army got transformed because of interactions between my Brahman relatives and these Army Generals, the top brass of the Indian Army Medical Corps. None of them have shared my passion and my spirit to serve in Indian Army with Dignity and Honor. Clearly, their actions and interactions because of their Brahman Caste affiliation had no element of the Spirit of Nationalism which had drawn me to embrace a career in Indian Army. The course of my life’s journey got changed. It is not within my ability to change my Identity. If I am free to choose, the freedom is about the destination of my life’s journey. I hope to arrive at that destination by simply surrendering my Brahman Caste Identity. I believe that I am a created being. Indian Tradition has instructed me that I am born out of the face of the Lord. The experience of that Brahman Caste has transformed the purpose of my life. If life is viewed as a voyage across unknown Sea, to reach the Shore, to arrive at my destination, I have chosen to surrender to the Feet of the Lord.
DEFINING INDIAN IDENTITY – THE TRADITION OF FEET WORSHIP :
I have narrated the story about my experience of the Tradition of Feet Worship while on a train journey from Rajahmundry to Lucknow Cantonment during July 1970 while I was on my way to report for duty and join the BMOC 20/70 Course(Basic Medical Officers Command Course) at the Officers Training School, AMC CENTRE AND SCHOOL, Lucknow. Paada Vandanam, Paada Sevanam, Paada Archanam, Paada Namaskaram, or the literal worship of FEET is the Indian Tradition and it inculcates a sense of humility. The very essence of Indian Culture is about teaching humbleness and the practice of humility. We humble ourselves in front of God, various images or idols, and in the same manner, we humble ourselves in front of parents, teachers, elders, people in authority, masters, and the variety of objects that we worship including stones, cows, trees, plants, rivers, Sun, Moon, and others. We often touch the feet of the person to whom we want to show respect. If Shudras have born from the Feet of the Lord, those Feet are my ultimate Destination. Those are the Feet I seek for myself as my final refuge. If my understanding of Indian Culture is correct, man is saved by seeking the protection of Feet and not of any other part of God’s body. We have stories, and hymns that exclusively praise the value of adoring Lord’s feet. Is there a greater honor other than the opportunity to touch the Feet or seek the dust that the Feet have touched?
While interviewing army recruits at Army Ordnance Corps Centre, Secunderabad, I met a young recruit whose caste was shown as “BALMIKI” and it specifically refers to the person we know as Poet Valmiki, the author of epic poem of Ramayana who belonged to that Bhil-Kirat Caste Community. The thought that passed in my mind was that of seeking the same Identity for myself. I had asked myself as to how I could get the same caste designation and call myself “BALMIKI”. Being born of Feet is a great Blessing and having taken birth from the face of the Lord, I learned a lesson. Now, I understand that the Feet of the LORD GOD represent my Salvation.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
M.B.B.S., Class of April, 1970.
Biographical Information :
1. Place of Birth: MYLAPORE, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born HINDU( Brahmin – Niyogi – Smartha ), Telugu-Speaking.
2. Date and Place of Marriage: 29 January, 1973. Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.
COMMENT FROM SRI. RAM GOPAL :
It is regretful that many of our Hindu activists are blaming Hindu scriptures without having gone through them. The present birth based Varna (Caste) system is against the letter and spirit of our Vedic teachings. Kindly see my following article which will remove most of the prevailing misgivings on the subject.
Evils wrought by birth-based Caste system and remedy :
Protagonists of the birth-based caste system, quote the following Mantra of Rigveda’s Purush Sukta, (also found in the Yajurveda, Chapter 31), “Brahmano-asya mukhamasid bahurajanyah kritah/ Uru-tadasya yad-vaishyah paadbhyam shudro-ajayat”. They interpret it to mean that the Brahmins are born out of Brahma’s mouth, the Kshatriyas of Brahma’s hands, the Vaishyas (traders and farmers) of Brahma’s thighs, the Shudras of Brahma’s feet and, therefore, the Brahmins are the most respectable because of their birth as such. And, similarly, Shudras born of feet are lowly and despicable or untouchables. A close examination of the quoted text will reveal how fallacious are the claims attributed to the Vedas in support of birth-based caste system and for giving a lower status to the Shudras.
Purpose of Varna-Ashram Dharma
The purpose of the Varna (Caste) Dharma and the Ashram Dharma, [set of dutiesassigned to or accompanying each caste and those assigned to or accompanying various stages of life, namely, Brahmcharya (Learning stage), Grihastha (Family life), Vanaprastha (Life preparatory to retirement from family life) and Sanyas (Life ofcomplete retirement, devoted to public good)], is to enable a person to have good health, prosperity and peace in the present life and Moksha after death. Seeing the deplorable condition of Hindus as a nation or society in the global context, it is necessary that we take another look at our caste system and our scriptures to find out where we have failed.
Defects of birth-based caste system
History shows that one of the major causes of Hindu defeats was the degenerate birth based caste system. Under this system, fighting was confined only to a small section of the Hindu society called, “Kshatriya”. In numerous successive wars, continuing since the fall of the great Gupta empire in the 7th century, most of the Kshatriyas got killed. There was no fresh recruitment. By the 15th century, the depleted fighting forces of Kshatriyas or Rajputs, as they were called at the time, lost all hopes of defeating the ever increasing Mohammedan forces. So, as soon as the Mughal emperor Akbar offered the hand of friendship, they made compromise. Many of them offered their sisters or daughters in marriage to the Mughal dynasty. Maharana Pratap of Mewar was the only patriotic Rajput, who refused to submit to Akbar and continued his fight. He had to enlist Bhils and other Backward class people to raise his army. One businessman, the famous Bhama Shah, provided him the money. When Shivaji in Maharasthra and Guru Gobind Singh in Punjab stood up in revolt against the oppressive Islamic rule, they had to face the difficulty of raising their armies. Both of them had to make recruitment from the low castes Hindus (now called Dalits or OBCs). Both gave them the status of Kshatriyas. The same problem, in a greater degree, faces the Hindu society today. There is a great need of finding ways and means to augment the ranks of true Kshatriyas and true Brahmins.
What do Hindu scriptures says?
Thanks to the printing press of the modern age, the holy Vedas are now easily available to common man. First point to note is that the Purush Sukta of the Rigveda consists of 16 Mantras. The opening Mantra perceives the human society as one huge organism, having a thousand heads, thousand eyes, thousand feet which existed in the past, exists today and will exist in the future. Unlike the mortal human body, the human society is permanent. In Mantra 11, a question is raised, “Which is the face, which are the arms, the thighs and the feet of this great Person?” Mantra 12, quoted above, answers, “Brahmins form his face, the Kshastriyas form his arms, and the same way the Vaishyas (farmers and traders) form his thighs and Shudras form his feet”.
It is very clear that, in Vedic view, the Arya or the present Hindu society, composed of Brahmins (learned ones), Kshatriyas ( Kings and warriors), Vaishyas (farmers & tradesmen) and Shudras (service classes), was a compact whole. All were interlinked and functioned in close cooperation. This meaning is also in consonance with thousands of Vedic Mantras which pray to Almighty and invoke various gods (devatas) to let all live together, eat together, enjoy together, pray together, progress together, fight the evil forces together, and work for global peace together. The message is clear that weakening or malfunctioning of any one organ of the society will cripple the whole body. However, if the head (Brahmin class) stops working or goes berserk, the whole body is dead. That may be the reason for the Brahmin getting the first place among equals. It does not mean or signify a master and slave relationship. In tune with this very Vedic pronouncement, Lord Krishna says in the Geeta, (chap.4/13), “Chaturvarnyam maya srishtam gunkarma-vibhagshah”, (I am the creator of the fourfold human society according to aptitude and profession). There is no reference to birth, either in the Rigveda or the Geeta.
In his great treatise, Arthashastra, Kautilya, the Prime Minister of Chandragupta Maurya, (4th century BC), says that (Hindu or Vedic) polity rests on four branches of Vidya (Knowledge & practice), namely, ‘Anvikshiki’ (philosophy of Sankhya, Yoga and Lokayat – Public relations); Trayee (the three Vedas); Varta (agriculture, trade, cattle breeding): and Dandaniti (system of crime and punishment). Through all these, a State or nation makes acquisitions, keeps them secure, makes improvements and distributes the fruits among the deserving ones. To sustain such a complex organisation of humanity, the earlier mentioned chaturvarni (four fold) social order has been prescribed. This social order must necessarily be profession based, not birth-based. So, in one of his Sutras, Chanakya says, Acharvan vineeto-akulinopi-aaryah, a person of proper code of conduct and gifted with modesty should be considered a man of noble birth, even if he comes from a low family, (KPA Menon’s “Kautilaya’s Arthashastra”, p.259, published by Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi).
The instances of Rishi Jabala of unknown father, (Chhandyoga Upanishad), Rishi Matang born of lowly parents, Mahrishi Ved Vyas, (author of the Mahabharata), born of a boats man’s daughter, and many such others, show that the birth based caste system crept into the Hindu society much later. The Manusmriti (200 BC-200AD), chap. 10/65, says: “Shudro Brahmanatameti, Brahmanashchetu shudrataam/ Kashtriyajaatamevam tu vidfyadvaishyatatathaiva ch, (through education and training, a Shudra can become a Brahmin, and, devoid of these, a Brahmin can also become a Shudra, a Kshatriya or Vaishya, as he may be fit for). It is a matter of research at which point of time, the element of birth was introduced in the above quoted Vedic mantra and Varnas became birth-based. This birth-based caste or Varna system has done great harm to the Hindu society during the past 2,000 years.
Number of Varnas (Castes)
The Vedas talk of only four Varnas. The Manusmriti also speaks of four Varnas, no fifth (Panchama, chap.10/4). With the passage of time each Varna multiplied into various off-shoots. In addition, some new Varnas, like Kayastha, Bhumihars (Bihar), Bhatia, et al, and their sub-divisions also cropped up. The total number of all these castes and sub-castes is surely in hundreds and may be over a thousand. Incidentally, in his comprehensive history of Vaishya community, (Vaishya Samudaya ka Itihas) in Hindi, Dr. Rameshwar Dayal Gupta has listed 354 sub-castes of Vaishya community alone. Even this does not appear complete because I find many south Indian sub-castes missing.
Gotra is a unique feature of Hindu society and has been, for long, an important factor in matrimonial matters. It is believed that every Hindu is a descendant of one or the other Rishi (sage). Descendents of the same sage have a common Gotra, for example, Kashyapa, Gautam, Garg, etc., etc. Thus, marriage within the same Gotra is prohibited in accordance with the following shloka of the Manusmriti, (chap.3/5): “Asapinda ch ya matu-r-asagotra ch ya pituh/ Sa prashasta dwijatinam daarkarmani maithune”, (Among the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas, that girl is best to be taken as a wife or for sex who is not a Sapinda (blood relation) on mother’s side and does not belong to the same Gotra on father’s side). Up to the Mahabharata age, inter-Varna (inter-caste) marriages were common, but marriage within the same Gotra was prohibited. At some stage in the post Mahabharata period, marriage out of one’s Varna(Caste) became anathema, although the above shloka does not bar inter-Varna or inter-Caste marriage.
The Mahabharata, (Shanti Parva,/chap. 296), says that originally there were only four Gotras, namely, Angira, Kashyap, Vashisth and Bhrigu. Matsya Purana names 8 Gotras – Bhrigu, Angira, Marichi, Atri, Pulah, Pulastya, Ritu, and Vashisth. Shatpath Brahmin, (older than Mahabharata), names seven Gotras – Gautam, Bhardwaj, Vishwamitra, Jamdagni, Vashistha, Kashyap and Atri. Based on these and other ancient texts, scholars have deduced that, up to the Mahabharata period, there were 8 Gotras. They also found that Boudhayan, a ninth century commentator, gave the number of Gotras 500 while a later book, “Pravar Manjari” of the medieval period talks of 5,000 Gotras.
In his well researched work “The People of India”, (about 1910), Herbert Risley, (an ICS officer) has given names of main castes, sub-castes under each head of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra and others as in the 19th century. Similarly, he has explained Gotras under the following 5 heads, (1) Totemistic (based on names of animals, flowers, plants, rivers, etc), (2) Great personalities (based on sages or kings), (3) Territorial (based on names of areas or places), (4) Titular or nicknames (like Hazari, Deshmukh), and (5) Local or Tribal (limited to few small areas).
Need to go back to Vedas
The earliest religion on earth, the Vedic Dharma, (the original name of Hindu religion) and Vedic culture took birth in the Indus valley, in the foot-hills of the Himalayas and spread throughout the Indian sub-continent and beyond in Western, Central and South-East Asian countries. It was a period when Varna (Caste) system had not become birth based. Since, it became birth-based and rigid, defence of the country, India, that is Bharatvarsha, became a responsibility of the Kshatriya caste alone. As a result, weakening of India’s defence set in. Along with it, Vedic, that is Hindu Dharma, also started receding. So much so that even the birth place of Vedic Dharma, the Indus Valley, together with its adjoining areas up to West Punjab and East Bengal turned into an Islamic country, before our own eyes in 1947.
It may be recalled that, after repeated attacks from 7th century AD, the Islamic forces from West Asia first occupied Hindu kingdoms lying across Indus (Sindh) river, that is, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, subjugated Punjab and established a firm Islamic rule in northern India at Delhi in 1192 AD. The victor, Mohammed Ghori of Ghor, did not stay here. He appointed his trusted slave General, Qutb-ud-din Aibak as his Viceroy to rule over his conquered territory in India. Qutub-ud-din founded the slave dynasty which extended the Islamic rule up to Gujarat in the West. This dynasty was ousted by Khiljis of Turkish origin in 1290 AD. The Khilji dynasty was subdued by the Tughlaqs. The Tughlaqs were replaced by Sayyids and the latter by Lodi kings of Afghan origin. They too got vanquished at the hands of Babar, who was half Turk and half Mongol. He founded the Mughal dynasty, which ruled up to 1857 AD, when the British, a European power, established its supremacy on Hindus and Muslims both. It would be observed that since 1192, India’s political power passed from one Muslim dynasty to another Muslim dynasty up to 1857, when the British took over. During this entire 800 year period, Hindus – the original nationals and rulers of Hindusthan — made no fruitful effort to replace the oppressive Islamic rule by Hindu Rajya, meaning governance according to Vedic ideals. They were content with their localized dynastic principalities, paying tributes to the Mughal kings or the British Crown.
Consequent to world war II, all European colonial powers, including the British, withdrew from their respective colonies. In that process, India also got Independence in 1947, but only after ceding one third of Hindusthan to Muslim fanatics to make Pakistan. Not only that. Their collective stupidity and cowardice, born out of birth based caste prejudices and detachment from Vedic teachings, led them to adopt a Constitution which made their share of the country, India, a Composite State, (instead of a Hindu State), letting Muslims and Christians have an upper hand in the State policy on the pretext of safeguarding minority interests.
From 1881 AD, the British had started ten-yearly census. Each successive census up to 1941 showed Hindu population declining and Muslim population multiplying. It was then attributed to the anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim British rulers. In 1947, the British left India in Hindu hands. What did the Hindus do? The declination of Hindu population and multiplication of Muslim population has continued with a vengeance. Analyzing the 1991 and 2001 census figures, political pundits have forecast that the Muslims will gain a majority in Hindu India by the close of this century. The fact, however, is that the political influence of the Muslims even now, when they form just 14 per cent of the total population, outweighs that of Hindus, who make 82 per cent. It seems that as and when the Muslims reach the number 25 per cent, they will force at least 50 per cent of Hindu India to be made Islamic, resulting in mass killing and persecution of Hindus as in the years before and after Partition.
The only way of Hindu survival is Hindu unity, but that is impossible without following the true Vedic teaching, de-linking castes from birth and allowing fresh entries in Hindu religion and Hindu society. History shows that, in pre-Islamic period, foreign invaders, like the Greeks, the Shakas, the Huns, and others, who settled in India, adopted Hindu religion and became important part of the Hindu society. In fact, they added to the dwindling force of Kshatriyas, called Rajputs, who made the front line defenders of Hinduism against subsequent Islamic invasions. The Tait-riya Aaranyaka, 8-1, (a branch of Yajurveda), says: “Om sahnavavatu, sah nau bhunaktu, sah veeryam karvavahe/Tejaswinavadhitamatu/Ma vidvishawahe”, (O, Lord (Parmeshwara)! May we together protect ourselves with love and affection among us: May we together make use of this material world: May we together enhance the power and efficiency of one another so that our efforts bring meritorious success: With your blessing, let us bear no jealousy against one another). This prayer would be meaningless if the Vedas had envisaged the existing type of birth-based caste distinctions.
The day Hindu Dharmacharyas decide to delink Caste distinction from birth, the doors will re-open for fresh entry in Hindu Dharma and Hindu society in terms of the Vedic edict “Krinvanto vishvam-aaryam”, (Let us convert the whole world into Arya). Some skeptics have opined that it does not mean conversion. In this context, it will be useful to refer to the full text of the Mantra which reads: Indram vardhanto apturah krinvanto vishwama-aryam apaghnanto aravnah”, Rigveda, 9-63-5, (Increase your energies, extend them far and wide, make the world Arya and destroy the evil doers). Here, Arya means one who follows Vedic dharma and is a member of Vedic society. It cannot mean anything else. Vedic texts refer to three categories of people: (1) Arya (Vedic people), (2) Anarya (Non-Vedic people, for example, various Tribals) and (3) Dasyus or Rakshasas (the rogues and enemies). Thus, this Mantra, in its entirety, means convert as many non-Aryas as possible to Arya-fold and destroy the enemies. With this very interpretation, Vedic (Hindu) religious preachers and teachers (Rishis and Munis) could convert large numbers of people to Hindu religion in India and abroad. Traces of Hindu religion are found in abundance in South East Asia, (Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, etc.), and to a lesser extent in Western and Central Asia.
Now, it is up to Hindus themselves, their religious and political leaders, to follow the faulty interpretation of the Vedic texts and get gradually extinguished or change according to their correct meanings. Relying on the true meaning of the holy Vedas, the six Shastras and authentic Upanishadas, Swami Dayanand Saraswati of the 19th century had vehemently opposed birth-based caste system, supported conversion of non-Hindus to Hindu fold, and lent support to India’s freedom struggle. Following his teachings, the Arya Samaj converted thousands of non-Hindu religionists to Hindu (Vedic) religion. Of them, many became staunch preachers of Hinduism. The work of Arya Samaj was hampered after Independence, firstly, because of opposition from the “traditionalists” and “secularists” and, secondly, because of internal dissensions in the Arya Samaj itself on personal grounds, which divided it into a number of antagonistic camps.
Comment from Sri. M K Dhar :
Varna and caste system have been created by Brahmin and Kshatriya and certain intermediate caste Hindus. There is an interpolation the Gita: Chaturvarnang Maya Sristhang Gunayi Karmah Vivhagasha= I have created four varnas according to guna and karma. How can God do that dividing his creation into varnas. He did not create varna system for the flora and fauna creations.
Manu is said to be a rishi who gave preponderance to Purusha Sukta that indicate from which part of the body of Brahma which class of people were originated. That is sheer madness of the powerful people in the society for perpetuating slavery of the lowly placed and less privileged people. Manuvad is the real enemy of unity of the Hindu people. Hindu society should be One- but we have weakened ourselves by creating SC, OBC etc castes and Shrenis. Fathers of our Constitution should have abolished this demonic system while framing the laws. But they followed the old social practices and British policy of segmenting the Indians. Now we are threatened by Muslims because they know that damn Hindus would never unite and stand as a solid united vs
challenge to Islamist advancement to India.
If our and next generations do not reform the damned caste and class system we would be doomed as a nation. Let us burn the sasthras that divide the Hindu society.
Comment from Sri. Bala N. Aiyer :
Origin of Caste by Dr. Premendra Priyadarshi :
This is a wonderfull explanation and study of Caste problems.
My own few words on this is as follows.
Varna is often mistaken for Kula and Jaathi and even people who know about this refuse to undertand or accept this
mainly for political purpose and get all the benefits of society in the name of Jaathi and Varna.
60 years of trying to eliminate the Jaathi name has not solved their problem and just got worse.
All us know and understand that Varna as in Purushasooktha and in Dharmasastra is different from Jaathi, now called Caste.
Varna is by Guna and in-born desires and ability to do the kind of work in a division of labor. Caste is purely by birth.
Before all discussions, we must first understand the Hindu [Indian] Society from ancient times and how they were organized and divided through traditions.
We must read the new genetic theories of the Indian Society which shows that ALL Indians are genetically same, all men carry similar Y Chromosome,
as different from all communities outside India and have two types of female [Mitochondrial DNA distributed all over the sub-continent.
Now, the division of society is by: VARNA, JAATHI, KULA, GOTHRA, REGION OF RESIDENCE, SAMPRADHAYA, LANGUAGE [AS MOTHER TONGUE] AND FAMILY TREE.
Here varna and Jaathi are different. What we are talking about is Brahmana Kula with the few Jaathis in it and NOT Brahmana Varna. [I know I am confusing you].
We have tall people and short people, light colored and dark colored, brilliant and intelligent and dull ones, rich and poor in every group and every state and in every Kula & Jaathi.
While 70% may be poor in SC&ST, about 60% are poor among Brahmins and other “upper Classes” – or even equal. There are more poor ones among Brahmins in this subgroup.
The four Varnas are interchangeable by Guna, education and in-born qualities – and not by birth alone. All Varnas are of equal status, not one superior to other.
there was never a fifth [untouchable] but the kings punished some Brahmana and Kshatriya for disobedience. But Kulas go by sampradhaya, traditions and culture.
Among Jaathis, which is only birth based, we must feel all are of equal status, but within that Jaathi some may be higher than some in status by their education and achievement [individually -not as a family]
If you consider all these and feel that you are just equal to all other Indians, there will be no problem. Now, among the various segments of the Brahmana Kula [and jaathis]
if we all get together for common cause and support, there is nothing wrong with that. 60 years of independence and 100 years of reform movements have not eliminated the Jaathi problems in India
because people did not see this differences and unity at the same time. The problem is some felt superior to others and some felt insulted by that.
If you eliminate that all Jaathis and Kulas can survive well. This is an organization of a society that evolves over centuries and can not be erased.
ORIGIN OF CASTE BY DR. PREMENDRA PRIYADARSHI :
I have recently uploaded my new article on origin of caste. It is basically a collection of quotes from authorities like Basham 1967 and Srinivas 1967, and also Romila Thapar 2002 (who had a change of mind at the end of her life).
The resoned view of these scholars is that caste and Varna are absolutely unrelated, and no attempt to fuse or confuse the two should be made.
I hope this will broaden our information about hisroy of caste.
After reading this article one of my friends asked “Can we ignore the Purusha Sukta?”
Some friends asked about Chandal in pre-Muslim periods.
Reply is :
We cannot and should not ignore the Purusha Sukta. That is about Varna. And we are talking about caste here, not varna. Caste is caste. And varna is varna.
Chandal was there at the time of Buddha, and Buddha died after eating uncooked pork at the hand of a Chandal. But authorities opine that Chandal cannot be equated with modern “untouchable” castes. Chandals were often those people who had been excommunicated from society because of some heinous crime, like rape or murder etc. Other chandals were those who were excommunicated because they ate dog’s meat etc., or were violent people (Chand =cruel; in Persian Jallad is a cognate of Sanskrit Chandal).
But the untouchable castes of the modern times were untouchable by the reason of birth or heridity. This type of untouchability definitely started after 1000 AD. Basham clearly writes that Huen Tsang had not noted the type of caste system we see today. Megasthanese also has not mentioned such things.
Al-Biruni mentions caste system in Iran during Khusarow’s reign, who made it mandatory for everyone to follow the profession of the caste which one inherited from parents as a result of birth. Old Testament mentions divine orders, if one marries outside caste, one may be killed. Such caste system we never had in India. (Jat Panchayats have although done something like that recently).
We need to delink caste with varna in our minds, that is what the quoted scholars want to say. What Purusha Sukta says is about Varna, not caste.
Varna in not compasorily “endogamous” and “heriditary”, whereas “caste” by definition is an “endogamous heriditary” unit of society. Any class is not caste. Otherwise we can say that when we classify towns, we are talking about castes of town. Classes will always be there in all societies at all times. Varna was a term used for class in ancient India.
Manu also does not mention “jati”. To confirm this I went through all the verses of Manusmriti in original. The translations ahve however used the word “cast” for “varna” in English, something which has been considered wrong by Srinivas and Basham, and many more authorities.
It is interesting to note that while we get definite caste system only after Muslim arrival in India, such systems had been there in other nations long back. In Iran it had been there for at least since sixth century BC. When did it start in Japan, we do not know, but caste and untouchability persist even today in Japan, Sri Lanka and many other nations.
I do not wish to raise any finger on any other country or religion, because if I point one finger to others, the three fingers turn to me. Yet it is important that we should be aware of the fact that caste (especially untouchability ) has existed outside India much before it was noticed in India.
See Korean untouchability in this link:
And the famous Burakumin untouchable group in Japan. Caste system was banned in Japan by Meiji in 1871. Yet it exists.
And in Sri Lanka:
In Thailand Buddhism, there is a different type of caste system. In that system, they have created a special paid class “Thai Brahmana Priest” who is responsible to perform ‘sanskaras’ in each individual’s life. These Brahmanas perform Vaidic rituals to the Buddhist householdersa, like death rituals etc.
And see how Thai Royal Family patronizes Hindu rituals and Brahmanas
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