A Glorious Hindu Legacy: Indic influence in Southeast Asia




Afghanistan’s epic history starts when it was an important region of ancient India called ‘Gandhara’

Ancient Gandhara

Gandharvas are first described in the Vedas as cosmic beings. Later literature describes them as a jati(community), and the later Natyasastra refers to their system of music as gandharva. Gupt explains1:

Gandharvas, as spoken of in Samhitas and later literature, had derived their name from a geographical people, the Gandharas… Most likely they belonged to Afghanistan (which still has a township called Kandhara)… It was perhaps at this time that the Gandharas raised the art of music to a great height. This region of the subcontinent at the time had become the locus of a great confluence of the musical traditions of the East and the Mediterranean. The very art, thus, came to be known by the name of the region and was so called by it even in the heartland of India. This name, gandharva, continued to be used for music for centuries to come. In the Vayu Purana one of the nine divisions of Bharatavarsa is called Gandharva.”

During the Mahabharata period, the Gandhara region was very much culturally and politically a part of India. King Shakuni, brother of Gandhârî, fought with Pandavas in the famous epic Mahabharata. The battle was fought in Kurukshetra, in the heartland of India. Gandhârî was married to King Dhrtrastra. Exchanges between Gandhara and Hastinapur (Delhi) were well established and intense.


Ancient Afghanistan and the regions referred to in the ancient Indian texts.

(source: The Afghan Connection - By P V Pathak p. 11)


Mehrgarh, located in this region and part of the Indus Valley civilization, is the oldest town excavated by archeologists (8000B.C.E) in the world. Gandhara was the trade crossroad and cultural meeting place between India, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Buddhist writings mention Gandhara (which included Peshawar, Swat and Kabul Valleys) as one of the 16 major states of northern India at the time. It was a province of the Persian king Darius I in the fifth century B.C.E. After conquering it in the 4th century B.C.E., Alexander encountered the vast army of the Nandas in the Punjab, and his soldiers mutinied causing him to leave India.Thereafter, Gandhara was ruled by the Maurya dynasty of India, and during the reign of the Indian emperor Ashoka (3rd century B.C.E.), Buddhism spread and became the world’s first religion across Eurasia, influencing early Christianity and East Asian civilizations. Padmasambhava, the spiritual and intellectual founder of the Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, was from Gandhara. Greek historian Pliny wrote that the Mauryans had a massive army; and yet, like all other Indian kingdoms, they made no attempt at overseas conquest.

Gandhara and Sind were considered parts of India since ancient times, as historian Andre Wink explains:

“From ancient times both Makran and Sind had been regarded as belonging to India… It definitely did extend beyond the present province of Sind and Makran; the whole of Baluchistan was included, a part of the Panjab, and the North-West Frontier Province.”

“The Arab geographers, in effect, commonly speak of ‘that king of al-Hind…’”

“…Sind was predominantly Indian rather than Persian, and in duration the periods that it had been politically attached to, or incorporated in, an Indian polity far outweigh Persian domination. The Maurya empire was extended to the Indus valley by Candragupta, laying the foundation of a great Buddhist urban-based civilization. Numerous Buddhist monasteries were founded in the area, and Takshashila became an important centre of Buddhist learning, especially in Ashoka’s time. Under the Kushanas, in the late first century A.D… international trade and urbanization reached unprecedented levels in the Indus valley and Purushapara (Peshawar) became the capital of a far-flung empire and Gandhara the second home of Buddhism, producing the well-known Gandhara-Buddhist art. In Purushapara, Kanishka is supposed to have convened the fourth Buddhist council and to have built the Kanishka Vihara, which remained a Buddhist pilgrimage center for centuries to come as well as a center for the dissemination of the religion to Central Asia and China… in conjunction with Hinduism, Buddhism survived in Sind until well into the tenth century.”


The Brilliant young Emperor Chandragupta Maurya with Kautilya (also known as Chanakya, c. 350-275 BCE, author of the Arthasashtra) an Indian statesman and philosopher, chief advisor and Prime Minister

(image source: Atlas of the Ancient World - National Geographic p. 48).


“Hiuen Tsang… was especially impressed by the thousand Buddhist monks who lived in the caves of Bamiyan, and the colossal stone Buddha, with a height of 53.5 m, then still decorated with gold. There is also evidence of devi cults in the same areas.”5

Shaivism was also an important ancient religion in this region, with wide influence. Wink writes:

“…Qandahar [modern Kandahar]…. was the religious center of the kingdom where the cult of the Shaivite god Zun was performed on a hilltop…”.

“…the god Zun or Zhun … shrine lay in Zamindawar before the arrival of Islam, set on a sacred mountain, and still existing in the later ninth century …. [The region was]… famous as a pilgrimage center devoted to Zun. In China the god’s temple became known as the temple of Su-na. …[T]he worship of Zun might be related to that of the old shrine of the sun-god Aditya at Multan. In any case, the cult of Zun was primarily Hindu, not Buddhist or Zoroastrian.”


A marble Maha Vinayaka (today partly destroyed) was consecrated by King Shahi Khingala in the 5th century AD in Gardez in Afghanistan, and an earlier undated Ganapati was worshipped in Sakar Dhar. Since Afghanistan was once a land of Hinduism and Buddhism, there were probably other Ganesha images in Afghanistan that were later destroyed.  


“[A] connection of Gandhara with the polymorphic male god Shiva and the Durga Devi is now well-established. The pre-eminent character of Zun or Sun was that of a mountain god. And a connection with mountains also predominates in the composite religious configuration of Shiva, the lord of the mountain, the cosmic pivot and the ruler of time… Gandhara and the neighboring countries in fact represent a prominent background to classical Shaivism.”

From 1st century C.E., emperor Kaniska I and his Kushan successors were acknowledged as one of the four great Eurasian powers of their time (the others being China, Rome, and Parthia). The Kushans further spread Buddhism to Central Asia and China, and developed Mahayana Buddhism and the Gandhara and Mathura schools of art. The Kushans became affluent through trade, particularly with exports to Rome. Their coins and art are witness to the tolerance and syncretism in religion and art that prevailed in the region. The Gandhara school incorporated many motifs from classical Roman art, but the basic iconography remained Indian.

Ancient Taxila and Peshawar

Gandhara’s capital was the famous city of Takshashila. According to the Ramayana, the city was founded by Bharata, and named after his son, Taksha, its first ruler. Greek writers later shortened it to Taxila. The Mahabharata is said to have been first recited at this place. Buddhist literature, especially the jatakastories, mentions it as the capital of the Gandhara kingdom and as a great center of learning. Its ruins may be visited today in an hour’s taxi ride from Rawalpindi (Pakistan).

Taxila was strategically located at the 3-way junction of the great trade routes from eastern India (described by Megasthenes, as the “Royal Highway”), from western Asia, Kashmir and Central Asia. Greek historians accompanying Alexander described Taxila as “wealthy, prosperous, and well governed”. Soon after Alexander, Taxila was absorbed into the Maurya Empire as a provincial capital, lasting for three generations.

The sage Apollonius of Tyana visited Taxila in the 1st century C.E., and his biographer described it as a fortified city with a symmetrical architecture, comparable in size to the most populous city of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Even a thousand years after Buddha, Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fa-hsien described it as a thriving center of Buddhism. But by the time Hsuan-tsang visited from China in the 7th century C.E., Taxila had been destroyed by the Huns. Taxila was renowned as a center of learning.

During other times, the capital of Gandhara was Purusapura (abode of Purusha, the Hindu name for the Supreme Being), whose name was changed by Akbar to Peshawar. Near Peshawar are ruins of the largest Buddhist stupa in the subcontinent (2nd century C.E.), attesting to the enduring presence of Buddhism in the region. Purusapura is mentioned in early Sanskrit literature, in the writings of the classical historians Strabo and Arrian, and the geographer Ptolemy. Kaniska made Purusapura the capital of his Kushan empire (1st century C.E.). It was captured by the Muslims in C.E. 988.

(source: How 'Gandhara’ Became ‘Kandahar' - by Rajiv Malhotra).

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The Afghan Connection

Hindu Influence in Afghanistan

The land between the river Indus and the Hindu Kush mountain was culturally a part of India during the ancient period of Indian history. In the Rigveda we find references to the rivers – the Kubha, the Suvastu, the Krumu and the Gomati which respectively correspond to the Kabul, the Swat, the Kurrum and the Gomal rivers. Afghanistan was always politically considered as part of India and remained culturally Indian. The Mauryas of India asserted an effective impact upon the whole of Afghanistan and Baluchistan and both Hinduism and Buddhism had a strong influence over the entire region until the coming of Islam. Almost all the dynasties in Afghanistan and Baluchistan came under the pale of Indian culture which struck a deep root in the Afghan soil. The coins, inscriptions, art, religion and literature of Afghanistan bore the stamp of Indian origin so much so that it is difficult to distinguish the eastern Afghanistan and Baluchistan from India from political or cultural point of view. Ptolemy included the region as a part of India even in the 2nd century. According to Isidor or Charax of 1st century A.D. Kandahar region, was called “White India” by the Parthians. According to Abul Fazl, Kabul and Kandahar were the twin gates of India. On the basis of the Iranian sculpture the French scholar James Darmester concluded that “Hindu civilization prevailed in those parts (Kabul and Seistan), which, in fact, in the two centuries before Christ, wer known as ‘White India,’ and remained more Indian than Iranian till the Musalman conquest.”

From the testimony of Fa-hien and Hiuen Tsiang we come to know that Afghanistan was still considered to be a part of India. About the Udyana or the Swat Valley river Fa-hien writes: “It is indeed (a part) of North India. The people all use the language of central India. The food and clothes of the common people are the same as those in central kingdom. The law of Buddha is very flourishing.” According to Hiuen Tsiang Lamghan, Jelalbad and the region further east including the Swat valley were within India proper. He, however, noticed that the people of Bamiyan and Kapisa were considerably affected by the rude civilization of the Turks. Buddihism flourished in both Bamiyan and Kapisa. According to local tradition the royal family had migrated there from Kapilavastu.

Archaeological records testify the strong influence of Indian culture over the whole of Afghanistan even beyond the Hindu Kush. The artistic remains of the existence of Indian art tradition which met with full development in Khotan, kuchi, Turfan, Tunhwang and other Indian colonies in central Asia. At Hadda as many as 531 stupas and 500 sculptures have been discovered. These sculptures which are stucco figures display artistic skill of a very high order. An image of Surya of the Gupta style has been discovered at the hill of Khair Khaneh in the north-west of Kabul. In Begram, a large number of ivories with designs of Mathura art have been found. A little to the west of Begram have been found a number of clay modellings and mural paintings of Indian type resembling those of the Gupta and Pala period.

The most ancient civilization in the region, the Vedic civilization flourished in this region. Many a streams from Afghanistan are mentioned in the Rig Veda text. The boundaries of the North-West Frontier of India have changed frequently. During the Indus culture period and the Vedic civilization, these extended up to Central Asia and included major area of the present Afghanistan. The Indus culture settlements are found in the valley of Amu Darya river. Remains of the Indus civilization have been found to the east of Bactria and Margiana, in the so-called 'Eastern Bactria,' at Shortughai and several places.

A Gandhara village produced the greatest of Sanskrit grammarians - Panini. The land of Gandhara was the threshold for entry into India from the North-West.

Ancient Afghanistan

In the ancient period Afghanistan was closely linked with the Indo-Aryan and the Indo-Iranian civilizations. Different regions and social groups from Afghanistan find frequent mention in the ancient Indian literature. The antiquities and symbols from Afghanistan point to their strong affiliation with the mainland India. Till the conversion of majority of the population into Islamic faith, the culture and civilization of Afghanistan was predominantly Hindu-Buddhist in nature specially in the Gandhara-Kapisa region. Apart from the colossal Buddha statue at Bamiyan there are deities belonging to the Hindu-Buddhist pantheon of gods in the historic period. from these sculptures it is apparent that people of the central and eastern Afghanistan were idol worshippers and followers of the post Vedic Hindu religious traditions.

The Unicorn

The unicorn is a mythical animal. It most cases, it is a horse with a golden horn. It is accepted that the concept of unicorn has originated in India (Man, Myth and Magic - By Richard Cavendish Vol. II. p. 2908). In the famous asva sukta in the Rig Veda, the presiding deity of the hymn is horse. It is described as unicorn. It is stated to be possessing wings of an eagle (Rig Veda I.163.1), a golden horn, i.e. hiranyasrnga (Rig Veda I.163.9) and is as swift as thought.


is a very well established symbol in the Indian art and sculpture. It is a mythical bird, a garuda with two heads. The concept of Gandabherunda can be traced back to the Rig Vedic period. The famous asyavamiya sukta of seer Dirghatamas mentions the similie of dual existence of the human soul.

dva suparna sayuja sakhya sakhaya samanam vrksam pari sasvajate
tayoranyah pippalam svadvattyanasnannanyo abhi cakasiti (RV I.164.20)

Two birds, ever together, (and knit with) the bonds of friendship, having the beautiful wings, dwell on the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruits of the fig tree (and looks normal while) the other, without eating remains observer.

This symbol persisted in the imagery of the ancient people of Afghanistan. This establishes an unbroken cultural link of the Vedic culture with the ancient culture of Afghanistan.

Vedic roots of the Afghan ethnography

The name of the nation itself is rooted in the ancient Indian literature. The celebrated text of Brhatsamhita by Varahamihira (6th c. A.D). refers to a group of people named avagana along with Huns and Chinese (brhatsamhita 11.61) which in the later period turned into Avagna and then to Afghan. The Afghan identity is closely associated with Sanskrit origin.

The word "Sthan" is actually a Sanskrit derivative that means place or land. There are a string of countries to the west of India with the suffix of "sthan," including Baluchistan, Kurdisthan, Siwisthan, Arvasthan, and Turgasthan (Turkey). Until the 10th century A.D. Hindu kings ruled over Afghanistan. Many of the names in Afghanistan are also of Sanskrit origin. Pushtu, the language of Afghanistan, is replete with Sanskrit words. The Pakhtoons are the most dominating tribal group in Afghanistan. They were residing in this regions since ancient times. The oldest text in the world, the Rig Veda refers to the tribal enemies of the King Sudasa who had formed a federation against the king. The tribal federation against the king Sudasa included Pakhtha, Bhalanasa, Alinasa, Visani and Siva tribes. The Rig Veda states that these five tribal groups praised the Vedic god Indra (RV VII.18.7). It confirms that they worshipped the same pantheon of gods as the King Sudasa. Thus, the modern Pakhtoons have been identified with the Pakhthas of the Rig Vedic lore. The other easily identifiable tribal group is Bhalanasa. It can be equated with the modern Baluchis who constitute substantial parts of the population of southern Afghanistan and Baluchistan.

Linguistic similarity between Kafiri and Sanskrit

Kafiri     Sanskrit    Meaning

                                                                                                                                                                 Totta     tata      father

                                                                                                                                                                  Istri       stri       mother

                                                                                                                                                                 Angora   anguli   finger

                                                                                                                                                                  Uspa      asva      horse

                                                                                                                                                                  Nona      nava      nine

                                                                                                                                                                  Citta      cint       to think

                                                                                                                                                                  Asta       asti        is

Parts of Afghanistan boasted their connection to the Mahabharata heroes, the Pandavas. Charles Masson (1800–1853) was the pseudonym of James Lewis, a British East India Company soldier and explorer. He was the first European to discover the ruins of Harappa near Sahiwal in Punjab, now in Pakistan. While travelling through this region wrote about this connection. He has written that the Panjashir mountain ranges are named after the five heroes of Mahabharata. The original word in shir was sera i.e. lion and Panja is Sanskrit panca i.e. five. The Pandavas are those seras. The ranges were named after them when they travelled in the region during their exile. This association is possible since the town of Taksasila, where Janamejaya, the grandson of Pandavas, was supposed to have performed the serpent sacrifice, is not very far from these hill ranges.

Panini: The great grammarian

Panini - the great grammarian was a Pathan by birth. His contribution to the Sanskrata grammar is beyond comparison. Being a resident of the North-Western Frontier Province, his unique grammar astadhyayi contains several references to the locations, tribes and geographical landmarks in the region.

(source: The Afghan connection - By P V Pathak).

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The Hindu History of Afghanistan

The year 980 C.E. marks the beginning of the Muslim invasion into India proper when Sabuktagin attacked Raja Jaya Pal in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is today a Muslim country separated from India by another Muslim country Pakistan. But in 980 C.E. Afghanistan was also a place where the people were Hindus and Buddhists.

The name "Afghanistan" comes from "Upa-Gana-stan" which means in Sanskrit "the place inhabited by allied tribes".

This was the place from where Gandhari of the Mahabharat came from, Gandhar whose king was Shakuni. Today the city of Gandhar is known as Kandahar. The Pakthoons are descendants of the Paktha tribe mentioned in Vedic literature. Till the year 980 C.E., this area was a Hindu majority area, till Sabuktagin from Ghazni invaded it and displaced the ruling Hindu king - Jaya Pal Shahi. Shiva worship was widespread in Afghanistan. There was a time when the entire region was replete with hundreds of Shiva temples celebrating Shiva – Parvati worship and abuzz with Shiv chants, prayers, legends and worship. Archaeological excavations in this region conducted by Sir Estine (an East India Company official) led to the recovery of uncountable shrines and inscriptions. He has authored four books on that topic featuring photos of icons, icons and inscriptions discovered. The photos show a sun temple and a Ganesha statue too. An Islamabad University professor Abdul Rehman has authored two books on those finds recalling the glory and prosperity of those times. Regimes of two Hindu rulers “Kusham” and “Kidara” lasted for fairly long periods.

During their rule a number of Shiva temples were not only in Afghanistan but in other West Asian regions too. Uzbekistan and Takzikistan formed part of the Afghan kingdom in those times.

Tashkent has one of those ancient Shiva temples standing even today. Professor Abdul Rehman states that Bukhara region Was known as “Shah Vihar” in ancient times. It was ruled by an Hindu king. When Arabs invaded that kingdom its queen traveled to Kashmir to seek military help. Arab chronicles mention her as 'Khatoon', meaning ’Woman’. Baku (capital of the Azerbaijan region) known for its underground petroleum yields has still an ancient Hindu temple of the Divine Flame generated by the subterranean petrol and gas). During the Czar regimes in Russia a Punjabi priest officiated at that temple. The walls display some religious stanzas written in Punjabi Gurumakhi script. The market there also had Hindu merchants. Nearby was a locality too of Hindu inhabitants. Baku in Azerbaijani language actually signifies a Goddess. Therefore obviously Baku derives its name from a very ancient Vedic Goddess temple there Kenduj a province of Afghanistan, was ruled by a king that had a Hindu prime minister. This is mentioned in history books. Albirruni’s travel account contains details of ancient Hindu Afghanistan, He mentions a Hindu king, Khingla whose coins bore the imprint of Shiva. The first ruler of that dynasty was Viahitagni.

History mentions a Shiva temple in Gardej township, which was plundered by Arab invaders. Khingla dynasty ruled the region from 666 to 843 A.D. From 843 to 850 A.D. a Brahmin Minister ruled the region. The Kalkaa community of Brahmins had acquired prominence in those times. They were later known as Kallers. A township of that name exists in Punjab. Prominent among them who find a mention in later history are Samantdev, Bheemdev, Jaipaldev, Anandpal and Trilochan. Jaipaldev suffered a defeat in 1002 when Mohammed Ganzavi invaded India. Unable to bear that defeat Jaipaldev committed suicide. When Hsüan-tsang visited the region early in the 7th century CE, the Kabul valley region was ruled by a Hindu Kshatriya king, who is identified as the Shahi Khingal, and whose name has been found in an inscription found in Gardez. The Hindu Shahi kings of Kabul and Gandhara may have had links to some ruling families in neighboring Kashmir and other areas to the east. The place where Kabul's main mosque stands today was the site of an ancient Hindu temple and the story of its capture is kept alive in Islamic Afghan legend which describes the Islamic hero Sabuktagin who fought with a sword in every hand to defeat the Hindus and destroy their temple to put up a Mosque in its place.

The victory of Sabuktagin pushed the frontiers of the Hindu kingdom of the Shahis from Kabul to behind the Hindu Kush mountains Hindu Kush is literally "killer of Hindus" - a name given by Mahmud Ghazni to describe the number of Hindus who died on their way into Afghanistan to a life of captivity. After this setback, the Shahis shifted their capital from Kubha (Kabul) to Udbhandapura (modern Und in NWFP).Sabuktagin's son Mahmud Ghazni, kept up the attacks on the Shahis and captured Und. Subsequently, the Shahis moved their capital to Lahore and later to Kangra in Himachal. The recovery and significance of the inscription, telling a story of the Hindu ruler Veka and his devotion to lord 'Shiva', was told by leading epigraphist and archaeologist Prof Ahmad Hasan Dani of the Quaid-E-Azam University of Islamabad at the Indian History Congress. Veka is said to have conquered the earth, the markets and the forts by his eight-fold forces, suggesting that he must have himself gained success against the Arab rulers of southern Afghanistan. During the rule of the Hindu Shahi ruler Bhimapala there was a break in the dynasty - one branch, headed by Jayapala, ruled in Lamaghan and Punjab, and another branch, headed by Veka, ruled in northern part of Afghanistan. The northern branch must have come to an end by the conquest of Alptigin in the second half of tenth century AD"

(source: The Hindu History of Afghanistan – by Pallavi Thakur - speakingtree.in).

Varanasi is as old as Indus valley civilization, finds IIT-KGP study

It's a perfect example of science meeting faith and technology buttressing myth. A detailed study conducted by IIT-Kharagpur - using GPS, one of the latest tech tools - could well turn the clock back on Varanasi, indicating that the holy town has been a continuous human settlement since the days of the Indus Valley Civilization, around 6000 years ago.

The project, funded by the Union ministry of human resources development (it has released Rs 20 crore just for the first phase), has even attracted the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PM made it a point to explore the project's progress on Sunday at Varanasi, when he met the IIT-Kgp faculty members and inquired about its possibilities and scope.

The results that have come from a detailed geo-exploration (exploration conducted through GPS technology) conducted by seven IIT-Kgp departments, tracing the different stages through which civilization progressed, and how Varanasi has been able to maintain continuity as a living civilization, unlike comparable seats of human settlement in the world. The researchers have dug 100-metre-deep boring holes all over Varanasi to conclude that there is evidence of continuous settlement at least till 2000BC. There are enough indications that by the time the data collection is over, there would be enough to prove that this date can be pushed back to about 4500BC.



The geo-exploration, that is being conducted jointly with the British Geological Survey, has already established the existence of Naimisharanya, a forest that finds mention in the Vedas and in the Kashipurana. This forest was considered mythological all these years.

The researchers are also trying to set up a riverine route from Kolkata to Varanasi to Prayag (Allahabad). "Since ancient times, people used this route but the advent of the railways stopped it. We are trying to re-establish that route," said Joy Sen, a senior faculty member of the school of architecture and planning, who is also the chief of the project that has been christened Sandhi. The other departments that are involved in sandhi are humanities and social sciences, computer science, information technology, electrical, electronics and telecommunications and oceanography. The riverine route will be developed to carry tourists, said sources.

Separate heritage trails leading to the five oldest ghats - Asi, Kedar, Dasashwamedh, Panchaganga and Rajghat - are also being created. "We are tracing the ashrams of ancient yogis and spiritual leaders of all religions that dotted the lanes leading to the ghats. Some of these are extinct now, some dilapidated. We will reclaim and restore as much as possible," Sen explained.

A large part of the project, which began in August last year, aims at creating a green rim and reclaiming the greenery and waterbodies that dotted the entire zone from Sarnath to the campus of Benares Hindu University. Efforts are on to remove encroachment and illegal constructions so that the earlier ecosystem is reclaimed as far as possible. "Varanasi has been the seat of all religions and their holy men, who will all be represented elaborately in the project. Efforts are also being made to establish special zones in areas that are dominated by old age homes and shelters for widows," Sen added.
  Language, music and iconograohy play a major role in Sandhi. Old texts like Kashipuran or Skandapuran, Mahabharata and Ramayana and the Buddhist text Anguttaranikaya are being re-read for descriptions of Kashi and Kashiraj that were considered mythological all these years. 

"We are encountering surprises every day. What was thought to be lore or myth is gradually getting established as history, and that is our biggest achievement," Sen said.

Comments from readers

Indian civilization is without the shred of a doubt, one of the most ancient in the world, and what is perhaps unequivocally unique about this land is that the culture representative of its teeming masses astonishingly remained largely unaltered, being seamlessly connected through the ages. The despicable East India Company did its level best to destroy our culture and heritage, besides shipping away tons of wealth and historic treasures, now the Brits are aiding us in unearthing our past. Poetic justice? Are we on the verge of findings that will irrevocably alter the world-view about The wonder that was India?? It boggles ze mind :) There was a deliberate ploy by British and later by left leaning historians to degenerate and degrade the ancient text and wisdom. They wanted us to be ashamed of our heritage and culture. They would have us believe there was nothing good about our past and everything in ancient India was wrong and that Aryans were barbarians and invaders. Truth can be far from it. There were flourishing towns all along the river valleys and trade was going on between Indus Valley is dated 3300 BC and if new dates are confirmed it can push it back to 4500 BCE. And maybe some more times back. This will change the entire way we look at our ancient civilization.

(source: Varanasi is as old as Indus valley civilization, finds IIT-KGP study  - indiatimes.com).

The Nanak Our ‘Establishment’ Historians Don’t Want You To Know About 

Unlike what some historians wrote, what Nanak put forth was actually continuity with the Upanishadic vision, and an adaptation to the challenges of expansionist monotheism



A Sikh painting of Nanak with Vaishnav tilak, mala and rudraksh. Painting(c.1850 CE) shows Shri Guru Nanak DevJi in conversation with yogis at Achal Batala.


Establishment historians of India have always had a problem with Sikhism. Sikhism stands out as an egalitarian movement, rooted in Indic spirituality and chronicles and meticulously portrays the religious persecution suffered by Indian people.

Some historians with their Marxist-M.N.Roy axiom say that monotheism is superior to Indic spirituality and have always tried to minimize as much as possible the importance of Sikhism in the Indian national movement. So, they categorize Guru Nanak as a monotheist under Islamic influence and the Sikh movement as a subaltern movement that can be explained best through leftist-Marxist equation. 

Romila Thapar in her A history of India, makes Guru Nanak almost a Sufi apostate: 

Nanak came of a rural background, being the son of a village accountant. He was educated through the generosity of a Muslim friend, and later was employed as a store keeper in the Afghan administration. In spite of having a wife and children, he left them and joined the Sufis. But after a while he left the Sufis and travelled throughout the sub-continent; he is also believed to have visited Mecca. Finally, he rejoined his family and settled in a village in Punjab, where he preached, gathered his disciples, and eventually died.

Prof Thapar makes Guru Nanak a person totally influenced by almost nothing else but Islam. She states further that Nanak ‘described God without references to either Hindu or Muslim conceptions.’  

According to her, Nanak derived his concept of God ‘from the two existing religious forces.’ 

Far from being a simple synthesis of or equidistant from, both Islam and Hinduism as alleged by establishment historians, Guru Nanak represented a spiritual and civilizational engagement of Hindustan with the consequences of an expansionist religion. This simultaneously involved, stopping proselytization, having a dialogue with those converted and building social institutions to meet the challenging times. A divine-intoxicated poet-visionary, Nanak viewed the Existence and history from that state of consciousness and expressed it through the traditional imagery of Indic religion and mythological framework.

An encounter with the Invader 

Guru Nanak lived in a province that was a battle field of the invaders.  

He had been the contemporary of five Islamist monarchs in India - Bahlul Lodi (1469-89), Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517), Ibrahim Lodi (1517-1526), Babur (1526-1530) and Humayun (1530-1539), the last two being Mughals. Though he named and criticized Babur, he found the rulers, Lodis or Mughals, as unrighteous and tyrannical. In the Lodi Sultanate, Hindus had to pay pilgrimage tax and Nanak refers to this customary tax on deities and temples: 

And the Gods and temples have been taxed: such is the current way!
The ablution pot, the prayer, the prayer-mat, the call to prayer, have all assumed the Muslim garb.

He saw the cruelties of the alien rulers first hand and lamented the imposition of their way of life on the natives of India. He lamented the fall of India. For that he used in his poetry, the concept of ‘Kali Yug’ or times of degeneration and depravity: 

The Kali age is the knife; the kings are butchers,
And justice has taken wings
The darkness of falsehood is abroad,
And one knows not where arises the moon of Truth.
The subjects are blind and submissive.

The encounter which Guru Nanak had with Babur, the invading Mughal, has been recorded in crisp verses now known as Babur Vani. Guru Nanak was returning to Punjab from Baghdad and had observed the recruitment undertaken by Babur for his invasion of India. At Sayyidour, a place (now in Pakistan) north-west of Lahore, he witnessed the massacre of the local population, mostly Hindus, by the invader. He called the army of Babur, 'a bridal procession of sin': 'Modesty and Religion have vanished; falsehood marcheth, O Lalo' he cried. While Guru Nanak never hesitated to point out the specific religious persecution Hindus underwent, he also sang the plight of both Hindu and Muslim women, who did not escape the fury of Babur’s forces. 

As against such atrocities of the Turks and Mughal rules, Sikh religion put as the ideal the rule of King Janak. The Adi Granth upholds Janak as the ideal ruler - one who is immersed in the true knowledge - a Vedantic king. Sikh Gurus were compared to Janak. There are Sikh traditions (like the Miharvan) where Guru Nanak is considered as Janak who had come to earth to establish righteousness. 

Guru Nanak’s Concept of God: Indic engagement with expansionist monotheism 

When asked about the origin of the universe, Guru Nanak replied: 

In the beginning there was utter darkness and chaos upon chaos
There was neither earth nor heavens
Nay nothing but the indescribable Divine Will
Neither was there day nor night; neither sun, nor moon
Only the Divine reflecting Himself in the Void;
There was neither wind; nor water; nor speech; nor the resources of creation;
Neither creation; nor destruction; neither coming nor going;
No seas; no rivers; no continents; no hells; no paradises;
Neither Brahma; Nor Shiva nor Vishnu; but only my Divine
No rituals; No penances; nor the sacred scriptures; nor incantations; nor the ways;
No caste, nor pride; neither life nor death;
He shaped the universe - out of the un-manifested, immovable ground of His Being,
He made Himself manifest to us and within us,
He created the Existence we see and believe

The readers can see in it the echo of the famous so-called creation hymn of Rig Veda.

The cardinal point to Nanak’s world vision is his rejection of the existence of evil. Nanak reveals in his 'dawn hymns' that it is the Divine Himself who mixed desire, duality and delusion. Prof Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, in her study of Khalsa, points out that the Islamic concept of 'oneness' which penetrated India was in conflict with the 'oneness' experience of Guru Nanak: But the Western idea of oneness could not accept the polyphonic imagination of Hindus, Buddhists or Jains.  

Guru Nanak vehemently denounced the exclusivity of the Muslim conquerors.  

When Allah was projected as the only way to read the Divine, or the Qu’ran as the only sacred text, or the mosque the only sacred space, he reacted strongly. In a feminist voice Guru Nanak harshly rejects those who force their way on others, those who reduce the richness and variety of routes by imposing their own narrow path. His protest became a manifesto, a call.

There is an astonishing continuity of geo-cultural space and Vedic times in the religious imagery and terms of Guru Nanak.  

Kushwant Singh in his 'Hymns of Guru Nanak' explains: 

The Sanskrit Brahman became Nanak’s Brahma and he invested Brahma with a dual role. Before Brahma created the cosmos, He was parabrahma (supreme Brahma) in a state of deep trance and was above all qualities: nirguna. Brahma came out of His trance and created the world. Although He still remained nirankar (without form), He now became saguna - repository of all qualities. ...God is like one large lake in which blossom many varieties of water lilies. Nanak’s God pervades His cosmos. ... Despite his incomprehensibility, Nanak’s God is a good, warm and friendly God. ... Call him as you like; Allah, Rab, Rahim, Malik like the Muslims; or Rama, Govinda, Murari, Hari as does the Hindus; Nanak however called Him Aumkar. Taken from the Upanishads, the mystic syllable Aum is said to contain all the consonants in the range of human voice and hence, ‘all speech’ and thus becomes the perfect word to represent God. ‘As all parts of a leaf are held together by a central rod’, says the Chandogya Upanishad, ‘so all speech is held together by Aum.’ Nanak describes Aumkar as the ‘Creator of Brahma, Consciousness, time and speech and the Vedas; the emancipator and the essence of the three worlds.’ 

As one can see, despite the deficient term ‘monotheism’ used to define the concept of God in Nanak’s vision, (that Kushwant Singh also uses) what Nanak put forth has continuity with the Upanishadic vision, adapting itself to the challenge of the expansionist monotheism of Islam. The relation between creator-deity and Aum in Guru Nanak in a subtle way reflects the popular south Indian mythological tale of Skanda-Muruga where Murugan imprisons Brahma the creator, when the creator God forgets that it is Aum - the sound symbol of consciousness that is the basis of all existence. Interestingly, during the freedom struggle, Tamil poet Bharathi sang on Guru Gobind Singh to rouse Tamil people against the British rule. 

The subsequent struggles between Mughals and the Sikhs are grounded in this basic clash of Indic spirituality and organized expansionist religions.

It is exactly this conflict that some historians try to negate through devious means. So when the class XI history textbook prepared by historian Satish Chandra discusses the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur, it makes a point to include 'the official Mughal version' of the execution which blamed the Guru for extortion of money. Then the Marxist historian faithfully added what he called the 'Sikh tradition'. And guess what the 'Sikh tradition' had to say about the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur: "According to Sikh tradition, the execution was due to the intrigues of some members of the family who disputed his succession and by others who had joined them."

The intentional belittling and distortion of Sikh tradition by some historians is the result of an inherent inability in the establishment historiography to understand the social dynamics of Indic spirituality.

(source: The Nanak Our ‘Establishment’ Historians Don’t Want You To Know About - by Aravindan Neelakandan).

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A Mahishasuramardini from Iran

This silver rhyton has been discovered at Deylaman, Northern Iran.The inscription as well as leading art historians identify the artefact as representing “Durga mahishasuramardini”


Interestingly, it gives new insights into high quality production of silver icons. Its provenance is taken to be in Eastern Afghanistan. It was looted during the Arab Muslim raids on shahi and Zunbil kingdoms of Southern eastern Afghanistan in the latter half of seventh century. Its provenance  beyond the Hindu Kush is not surprising  as archaeology attests to the presence of Durga Icons and worship  in pre Islamic Afghanistan. Arabs referred to the land beyond river Helmand in western Afghanistan as “Al-hind”. Arab Chronicles refer to the ruler of Helmand as “the king of  Al-Hind, who bore the title Zunbil”. Many other DurgaMahishamardini figurines(of primarily marble) dating from c.400CE  to c.800CE  have been discovered from South-Eastern Afghanistan. Kabul valley was strongly Hindu in religion during the Pre Islamic age. In the city of Kapisa alone, Xuanzang(c.630) talks about 10 Brahmanical temples and around a 1000 aesthetics.  

Xuanzang(c.630) relates that Kabul Shahis made donations of 18 foot silver images of buddha. The source of Shahi silver was the mines of panjshir. Our silver rhyton  bears an imprint of “Hadda classicism” collated with a “Gupta sensuousness”. The crescent motive (chandrabindu/aad chand) on forehead is reminiscent of shaivite signs found elsewhere. Our silver rhyton could  be compared to a figurine discovered under Khona Masjid in Surkh kotal. The figurine is dated to early Post-Kushana period and provides an iconographical model.


A Mahishasuramardini from Iran

Photo: Trueindology.wordpress.com


It is remarkable that in the Surkh Kotal inscription, Kushan emperor Kanishka explicitly identified Durga(Uma) with their native goddess Nana[9]. Kanishka’s worship and identification of Durga with Nana is apparent in these lines of the inscription.

Such synthesis and fusion lasted well into our times. The Goddess referred to as “Hingla devi” by Indic speakers is referred to as “bibi Nani(Nana)” by  Iranic speakers of Balochistan and Afghanistan[10]. Thus, it seems that kushans played a prominent role in sprouting up the trade routes, facilitating cultural as well as material contacts and dispersing the worship of Indic gods into the heartlands of Afghanistan.


It is striking that these minor kingdoms of Shahis and zunbils were able to provide stiff resistance to invading Islamic armies of saffarids and Arabs. It took the Islamic armies just 20 years to conquer all of Iran. By contrast, these kingdoms of Afghanistan resisted Islamic onslaught until Ghazni’s father Subutegin wrested Laghman(Afghanistan) from Shahi ruler Jayapala during c.990 CE. Not only that the Hindu Kabul Shahis withstood onslaughts by mighty Arab empire(which extended from Spain to Talas in china) for over three centuries , the zunbils managed to raid westwards deep into Arab territory of Nimruz[11]
It has been argued by historians that the Hindu kingdoms of Kabul valley offered the best resistance to Islamic kingdom because these mountain tribes and militant chieftains were harder to be conquered in comparison to the dehqani farmers of Iran[12]
Whatever the reason, it is certain that Kabul Shahis by withstanding mighty Arab and Turkish onslaughts at the gateways of Al-Hind delayed an Islamic conquest of mainland India for a few centuries.

(source: A Mahishasuramardini from Iran - trueindology.wordpress.com).

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Australian-Indic Connection: Deep parallels between Hindu and Australian aboriginal spirituality

More Than Just Genes: The Strikingly Deep Australian-Indic Connection – by Aravindan Neelakandan 

The Indian connection of the Aborigines of Australia is a way more profound than you ever thought. Aravindan Neelakandan lays it bare.

Three years back a discovery was made by geneticists that there was substantial gene flow from India to Australia just 4000 years ago and it made a change in the Aborigine life that was reflected in the archeological records. The 'substantial gene flow between the Indian populations and Australia' happened 4230 years ago and this resulted in changes in 'tool technology, food processing and appearance of dingo' according to the authors of the paper. The second wave migration from India happened 141 generations ago says the paper. Unlike the earlier migration from Africa which most probably happened along Indian coast but in what is called the deep time, this happened during the historical times, which was around 2220 BCE from India. 

So this has interesting possibilities in charting a new history of India and Australia and it also has ramifications with respect to the way Hindus in Australia, as well as Indian government, relate themselves to the aborigines. Australian aborigines are today a lost tribe of India. In a way what has been discovered is a reaffirmation of a strong intuition felt by many Hindus. 

Some colonial anthropologists and early explorers might have posited some superficial relations between the Australian aborigines and ancient Indians.

Colonialists mainly looked for linguistic and ethnic similarities. By 1901, the Australian government had brought to end even such studies as it wanted to restrict any narrative that may allow a large scale Asian migration into Australia. 

The first one to suggest forcibly the connection in the spiritual realm was Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi, the Sankaracharya of Kanchi. He had asked his devotee, dancer-scholar Dr. Padma Subramaniam to search for the deep connections between Indians and Australian aborigines in the realms of culture and spirituality. In 1979, Dr. Padma Subramaniam had to go to Australia for attending the Indian Ocean Arts Festivals in Perth. When she went to seek the blessing of her Guru, Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi, he asked her to visit ‘the Siva tribe’ who adorn themselves with white bands similar to Saivaites.

Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam writes that though she ‘never anticipated it’, she ‘did come across this tribe called Gagudja from the Balgo hills.’ They not only fitted the description given by her Guru, but she discovered that ‘they also had a language not far removed from Tamil.’ She was able to note ‘about 40 Tamil words in the language of this tribe.’  

When Larry Gundora, Elder leader of the northern traditional Aborigines and his companions began to hum a ritual song cycle, 'an animated Padma and her Carnatic musicians joined Gundora on the floor'. Later she noted that their singing seemed to resemble a South Indian classical raga (Hamsanandi). 

However when she spoke about this in public and it made a sensational news in Australia she was rebuked by an Australian anthropologist Prof. Berhnt which she observed was ‘perhaps due to their white Australian policy’. But the connection would not easily go.

In the anthology on Hindu view of nature and ecology published by Prof. Lance Nelson, (‘Purifying the Earthly Body of God: Religion and Ecology in Hindu India’, 1998), the late Indologist Dr. David Kinsley wrote extensively about the deeper parallels between Hindu traditions and Australian aboriginal spirituality. He proposed 'a model for understanding aspects of pilgrimage in Hindu India based on the phenomenon of the 'walkabout' in Austalian Aboriginal religion.' He explained: 

Like the Australian traditions, Hinduism knows a Dreamtime - earlier yugas, periods when divine or heroic figures roamed the land and marked it in special ways, lending the geography its characteristic features.

Like the Austalian traditions, most Hindu pilgrimage sites (tirthas, pithas) have stories connected with them (sthala-puranans), which pilgrims learn and sometimes recite while on pilgrimage. As in the Australian traditions, becoming spiritually awakened or mature in Hinduism may require learning the story of the land. Like Australian Aboriginal spirituality, Hindu spirituality is strongly geographical and involved learning how to read the landscape. 

Physicist Fred Alan Wolf studied the spiritual cosmology of what the Australian aborigines call the ‘dreamtime’ in his work on dreams. He was also saw the ‘Hindu concept of Maya’ related to developing a cosmology based on dream. 

Authors Joyce Westrip, an India-born-Australian and Peggy Holroyde who studied Hindu-Buddhist philosophy under Dr.S.Radhakrishnan, studied what they called ‘surprising history of connections between India and Australia’. They too discovered affinities not just linguistic and ethnical but spiritual and religious.

One such imagery that struck them forcefully was 'the similar use in allegory and myth of the serpent, one of the prime protective images of Hindu belief.' (p.14, Colonial Cousins, 2010). They also found a spiritual kinship between the ‘rainbow serpent’ that figures so prominently in the Aboriginal spiritual art and the protective hood of Anantha – the thousand headed serpent raised above Vishnu.

"Many Indians would be very sympathetic to the way Aborigines treasure their own knowledge of truths as they see them through oral traditions," they write pointing out that the ‘Das Avatar’ concept of Vishnu and some of the spiritual drawings that the Australian Aborigine’s draw even to this day are ‘virtually interchangeable’ (p.17).

They conclude that the Australian aborigines have 'spiritual lives as legitimate as India's tribal people and as sophisticated in cosmic concepts as the Hindu views- but without a written literature to study and dissect'. (p.96) 

In 1979 Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam proposed that she travelled to all the aboriginal communities in Australia and interact with them, not like a Western anthropologist studying the subjects, but as a fellow artist and spiritual seeker, seeking their own culture and spiritual traditions.

Such a study was not comprehended by the ‘tunnel vision’ of Western scholarship. Perhaps now time has come to take up the real vision of Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi – studying with mutual respect the various human cultures to understand and celebrate the underlying spiritual oneness of all humanity.

(source: More Than Just Genes: The Strikingly Deep Australian-Indic Connection – by Aravindan Neelakandan  - swarajyamag.com).

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Western scholars inability to understand Goddesses

Witnessing The Goddesses In Yankee Land

When Christianity tried to appropriate the Goddess through the Marian cult, they made the theological downgrading of the Goddess from Her being the Creatrix and Matrix of all existence to an interceding saint to the Father-God.

Goddess reduced to Mary standing on the crescent is a pre-Christian Pagan imagery they could not destroy. Even as the patriarchal religion tries to pit the obedience of Mary as a model for women against the rebellious questioning nature of Eve, deep down somewhere Mary should be making the institutional authorities nervous, and more so Mary Magdalene.

A week later, I am at New York. People flock to see the Statue of Liberty. She is only a ‘statue’, not a Goddess. She cannot be called Goddess. She can never be a She with the capital ‘S’. I walk away into another building which attracts not much visitors – the Native American Museum.  Inside I see Goddess figurines obsessively named ‘Female cult objects’ or ‘Female figurines’. Except where it becomes absolutely necessary, everywhere else they avoid using the term Goddess. I stand before an exhibit classified 'Female figurines'. They are dated as 3,500 BCE, come from the native cultures of Ecuador and are the 'oldest known pottery in the Western hemisphere' and 'the oldest figurative objects in Americas as well'. Carefully avoiding the word Goddess or even ‘sacred’, the adjoining explanation says that the ‘figurines’ “suggest an association with agricultural rituals and calling for rain”. The description continues, “Many are female, perhaps representing fertility, production or agricultural development.” But no Goddess.

Valvidia female figurines, Ecuador, 3,500 BCE, National Museum of the American Indian, New York

I recall the passage from Rebirth of the Goddess by Dr Carol P Christ, Yale University scholar and an authority on the Goddess traditions in the West. She points to such biases against the Goddess tradition, which is very much part of the supposedly secular Western academia. ...it is hard for scholars to shake the mindset that has encouraged all of us to think of Goddesses in relation to terms such as idolatry, fertility fetish, nature religion, orgiastic cult, blood thirsty and ritual prostitution. These terms and others like them are used to depict Goddess religion in scholarly volumes. All of these prejudices can be countered.  

She explains: 

Scholars’ inability to understand the Goddesses is reinforced by a deep and unquestioned assumption that divinity represents rationality, order and transcendence, as opposed to the alleged irrationality and chaos of the finite changeable world of nature and body. ... Scholars have been unable to see naked female images as Goddesses because they have been taught to view the body and sexuality, especially female sexuality, as being lower than the rationality that is associated with divinity and “man’s” “higher” nature. Naked female images must therefore be “fertility fetishes” or “sexual objects” or if they are called Goddesses, they must be understood to reflect a “lower” and more physical stage in the “evolution” of religious consciousness.

Here is a proof for what Dr Christ has written. No wonder Hindus have such a tough time making the California textbook society understand their point of view. I move along to the next panel. It simply says ‘Pachamama “mother earth and light of the sun”’. I make a mental note of the small case in ‘mother earth’. It can never be ‘Mother Earth’. And the words ‘light of the sun’. Is it not the light of the sun that makes the Earth the Mother?

Six years ago, Stephen Ferry reported for the magazine Geo (March, 2010) the problems the Native American community Guranis faced. For centuries they had been made bonded labourers in their own land by European colonisers who also alienated them from their spiritual traditions. Ferry observes:


Pachamama, Mother Earth, is the deity whose help the Guranis most need as they begin their new lives. But hardly any of them are familiar with traditional rituals any longer. I cannot but remember our own Pachai Amman. She is one of the most popular village Goddesses of South India. If South American Pachamama is associated with ‘light of the sun’, Pachai Amman came to the earth to lift it from darkness and create harmony. The great non-dualist seer Sri Ramana Maharishi used to stay in Her temple in Thiruvannamalai.

Pachai Amman is associated with seven Goddesses and seven seers. Interestingly, the exhibit I see near me is Chicomecoatl – also called seven snakes. The accompanying description reads ‘maize goddess: female spirit of corn and sustenance, the most revered deity among the farmers of Central Mexico’. As they have to call Her a Goddess, they call her a ‘maize goddess’. There is Matlazinca, another Goddess dubbed as a ‘fertility goddess’, and by Her side is a shell used as a trumpet, which is also pigmented.  

Then, I look at a richly carved receptacle-like base. The description knocks the breath out of me. This sculpture is carved in the shape of Quetzalcoatl, animal aspect of the creation god. The bas-relief on the bottom depicts a female zoomorphic Tlaltecuhtli (lord/lady of the earth). The divine female as the base and above it stands the male principle? Almost a Siva Linga? I read on. In colonial times, the head of the Quetzalcoatl was cut off and its body drilled to create a base for a Christian cross. The disfigurement represents – from a Colonial Spanish point of view – the destruction of idolatry and the dawning of a new Christian age.

Only in colonial times? You do it even now, I mutter to myself. The disfigurement of our Gods and Goddesses happens to this day. The place of Spanish Conquistadors has been taken up by academics like Wendy Doniger, Sheldon Pollock and Michael Witzel of universities in the United States, and the disfigurement continues.

Quetzalcoatl with a feminine base, National Museum of the American Indian, New York

Then I see it. What is it doing here? Surely that should have come from a temple in Calcutta. The characteristic curved scimitar with an eye that Kali holds adorns a panel. Only it is not from India; it is a ceremonial sword used in rituals by Chiloe islanders in Chile. The curved scimitar, shaped like a bird’s head with an elevated eye, symbolises a hawk, the description says. I wonder, what would the Shaman from Chiloe island say if he or she sees the same type of scimitar in the hands of Kali.

At Harvard University’s anthropological museum, there is a section on Kuna people. My knowledge of them comes from comic books, where they were the villainous savages trying to stop the works of brave American explorers and surveyors who wanted to build the Panama Canal. The good ones in them collaborated with the whites and got civilised as well as Christianised so that they all lived happily ever after. The real history is entirely different. They suffered hardships and were exploited. The panels speak of how the miners feigned friendship but lied and tricked the natives, who lost their land and resources and whose culture and spiritual traditions became endangered, and with it their entire body of knowledge. Even here the panels mostly avoid the term ‘spiritual’. As if these people never had any religious or spiritual tradition of their own. The way indigenous culture has evolved and adapted, as in the case of mola, shows that the Kuna people were neither closed nor xenophobic as my comic book misinformed me back home. Had the Euro-American interacted with them without their vested commercial interests and supremacist perceptions, the interaction could have benefitted the humanity far more. 

What strikes one is the pervasive presence of the divine feminine throughout the native communities of United States and South America. There are also communities where She is relegated to secondary status. Yet, She is very much there. She has many names and many traditions and many powers, but the divine feminine is one of the strong common strands. There is no need to romanticise Her. She can be practically and positively invoked – for creating sustainable agricultural communities among the Native American communities or to fight for their land rights. She can become a powerful emotive icon. Already, Pachamama is becoming such a divinity around which many South American native communities rally around.  

Now I am in India. I realise the value of things we have taken for granted, theNavaratri festivities, the diversity of the Goddesses and village festivals of the Goddess. Once they existed all across the planet, and today they flourish only in India. Those communities that have lost their Goddesses, they suffer, and today they are fighting a bitter battle to recover Her. I think it is time for the Indian diaspora to network with these communities to serve Her, She who is Mother India here.

(source: Witnessing The Goddesses In Yankee Land - by Aravindan Neelakandan).

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American Elections and India

Why I hope Hillary loses - By Rajeev Srinivasan

It is demonstrably the case that Hillary Clinton would be simply awful for India, based on her prior actions. 

Here are a few examples of the Clinton family's and friends' attitudes towards India (the research courtesy Arvind Kumar):

In 1992, Trade Representative Carla Hills, a Clinton friend, imposed Super 301 sanctions against India.

In 1992, the US blocked the sales of Russian cryogenic engines to India. This, and the fake Maldivian spy case and the ruining of Nambi Narayanan, chief engineer, set India's heavy satellite launch capability back by 19 years.

In 1993, Bill Clinton as POTUS blocked the sale of a Cray supercomputer to India, but permitted the same to China.

In 1993-1994, Bill Clinton refused to appoint a US ambassador to India.

In 1994, Robin Raphel announced that Kashmir is not a part of India.

In 1994, Robin Raphel announced the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, in Delhi.

In 1998, Bill Clinton imposed sanctions against India after the nuclear tests. Madeleine Albright, never pleasant, excelled herself by calling this 'a felony against the future.' But the duo extended MFN to China.

In 2001, the USCIRF was created to harass Hindus and India.

In 2005, India was advised to give up nukes and join the NPT as a non-weapons State.

In 2009, Hillary Clinton proudly released the USCIRF report which unfairly slammed India.

In 2009-2012, Hillary Clinton and her cronies, including the American ambassador to India, ran a crusade against Narendra Modi.

In 2014, Robin Raphel was accused by the FBI of spying for Pakistan.

In 2015, Tim Kaine praised Pakistan.

(source: Why I hope Hillary loses - By Rajeev Srinivasan - rediff.com).

Why Is Europe Finding It Difficult To Solve The Refugee Problem?

Ideas have consequences. The wrong but fashionable idea that all nations desire Western-style democracy was one motivation for the American invasion of Iraq that, in turn, created ISIS with its untold attendant horrors.

It is also a politically correct but wrong idea that all cultures see the world the same way and that is preventing Europe from finding a solution to the problem of refugees streaming into it. To interact creatively with another culture requires understanding of the other. But the West insists on using its categories and refuses to engage with the migrants on their own terms.

Europe -the West-has pretensions that its culture is in some ways universal since modern science emerged there and American pop culture holds the entire world in thrall. In fact it is just one particular window on reality that is primarily based on a materialistic and consumerist approach to life.

Specifically, the embrace of the post-industrial West is contingent on the rejection of traditional practices and beliefs and acceptance of individual freedom that is unfettered by social custom. Those who wish to destroy the West hate this freedom as well as the West’s values, art, and mores, although they may love its comforts.

Interaction between cultures without mutual understanding can lead to disaster. The Aztecs and the Inca did not have an understanding of the categories of the Spaniards whereas the Spaniards had a good sense of their enemy. 

This asymmetry of knowledge made it possible for Hernán Cortés with just a few hundred soldiers to defeat the Aztec Empire in 1521, and twelve years later Francisco Pizarro with a similarly small group conquered the Inca Empire. There is no absolute reality that is wholly a product of nature. 

A culture is like a lens through which people construct their understanding. This happens both with the vocabulary of the language of the culture as well its myths, rituals, manners, and history. If a specific concept has no word in a particular language then that concept is unlikely to play an important role in the politics and social customs of that culture.

The arts are a good place to see the deeper influence of the collective mind of a people. The arts of the Chinese and the Japanese deal with nature both in painting and poetry and there are important traditions of landscape painting in both cultures.The Japanese haiku uses the simplest happenings in nature to communicate deep felt experience and insight as in these famous haiku (17-syllable poem) by Basho (1644-1694):

an ancient pond / a frog jumps in / the splash of water
now then, let’s go out / to enjoy the snow... until / I slip and fall!

The Indian arts are based on Puranic themes and abstractions removed from ordinary lived life, and much of Indian poetry is mystical and religious. When the Turks ruled India, the disenfranchised elite retreated into Tantra, esoteric philosophy, and epic poetry. On the other hand, the educated Chinese, who were barred from high government jobs during the Mongol Yuan dynasty, had literary gatherings in their estates that were commemorated in natural paintings with the code that the prosperous house will be represented by a thatched hut.

Language and culture affects how we perceive and create our world. The simplest example of this is the experience of color. There are languages in which there are no separate words for green and blue, and the same word refers to either of the two, based on the context. When shown a set of several cards that are green with one exception that is blue, viewers are not able to pick out the one that stands apart.

William Gladstone, who was the prime minister of Great Britain four separate times in the 19th Century, was also a classicist who wrote a book on Homeric language. He noted that Homeric poetry hardly ever used the word for blue, using porphyreos, “purple” or “dark red,” to describe blood, a dark cloud, a wave, and a rainbow, and oinops (“wine-looking”) when speaking of the sea. Gladstone suggested that the ancient Greeks used colors mainly in terms of light/dark contrasts, rather than in terms of hue.

Sanskrit has a similar ambiguity, but between green and yellow-golden. The principal words used for green are harit, palāśa, śyāmavara , whereas those for yellow-golden are hari, hiraya, pīta, gaura, haridrābhā. The same word hari represents both green and yellow (golden), and hari for golden in Sanskrit is like zari in Persian. All this doesn’t mean that the ancients were either deficient in their usage of words or colorblind. The convention for the use of adjectives was different. Plants (and other objects) were associated with one color-name, which meant green initially but changed to yellow when ripe. The same object could be used to denote a variety of colors. The transition from the complexity of meaning in the ancient world to a more definite one is one hallmark of our modern times. This transition parallels an emphasis away from contextual definition to one that is stand-alone. If in the ancient one derived comfort and happiness in family and community, in the modern one must find these in oneself.

The idea of sensate pleasure has to a large degree replaced happiness. But these pleasures often come with loneliness, which is made worse in the age of the Internet where personal social interactions have lessened. The migrant, who has left traditional society and entered the West, is soon dismayed by the isolation of the life. While he sees that the individual has freedom and possessions indicate success, he is frustrated by the complex web of rules that must be negotiated to move ahead in life. It is not that only the migrant is disoriented. The unprecedented changes in society have also created dislocation in old communities which explains the current meth, heroin, and painkiller medicine epidemic sweeping the West.

Some argue that the demeaning of the West’s own spiritual tradition by the elites has much exacerbated the problem. Others argue that what is needed to deal with the uncertainty of modern life is a relationship with one’s own true self, and the cry for this explains the ever-growing popularity of yoga.Not knowing the way to relate to a world that looks so orderly and beautiful on the surface but is frightening deeper down, it is easy for many to be swept off their feet by heroic stories of conquest and martyrdom.The wrong but fashionable idea that all nations desire Western-style democracy was one motivation for the American invasion of Iraq that, in turn, created ISIS with its untold attendant horrors.

The West insists on using its categories and refuses to engage with the migrants on their own terms. Interaction between cultures without mutual understanding can lead to disaster.

(source: Why Is Europe Finding It Difficult To Solve The Refugee Problem? - By Subhash Kak).

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Grandmother of the jungle: This Kerala tribal woman can prepare 500 medicines from memory

Hundreds trek to the forests in Thiruvananthapuram district to get treated by Lakshmikutty.

She lives in a small hut with a palm leaves roof in a tribal settlement, deep in the forest of Kallar in Thiruvananthapuram district. Lakshmikutty, a 75-year-old tribal woman is a poet, poison healer and teacher at Kerala Folklore Academy.  With medicinal herbs and plants surrounding her small hut, hundreds trek to the forests to visit Lakshmikutty, who offers herbal treatment for poisoning. But it’s not only medicine that she has to offer but she also helps calm those affected with her gentle words, which can last for hours.  

All her knowledge on herbal treatment, she says, was passed on from her mother, who worked as a midwife. And with neither Lakshmikutty nor her mother making a written record of the medicinal plants and their uses, the Kerala Forest Department has decided to compile a book based on her expertise.



Grandmother of the jungle: This Kerala tribal woman can prepare 500 medicines from memory


“I can prepare about 500 medicinal treatments from memory. Till now I have not forgotten them. But people come here for poison treatment mainly snake or insect bites,” she says.

Her dream, she says, is to convert her hut into a small hospital, where patients requiring long-term treatment can continue to stay. Many fondly refer to her as ‘Vanamuthassi’ (Grandmother of the jungle in Malayalam) but she is more than just that. Lakshmikutty also gives lectures on natural medicine at various institutions across the southern states. “I have visited many places outside the forest. Met many people, but I belong here. My heredity exists here,” she notes. 

It was in 1995 that Lakshmikutti got noticed by those outside her forest when she received the ‘Naattu Vaidya Rathna’ award (award for naturopathy) from the Kerala government. “Till then people used to come here after hearing me from those I have already cured. Before 1995 people visited me from far off places but the number increased after I won the award,” she recalls. She has won numerous awards since then, with the latest coming from the Indian Biodiversity Congress in 2016.

Her persistence made her the only tribal girl from her area to attend school in the 1950s. “I still wonder how I went to school. I was persistent that I go to school and my father finally had to agree,” she laughs. Together with two other boys from her settlement, Lakshmikutty walked 10 kilometres every day to get to school. She, however, studied only until class 8 as her school did not have higher education. One of the boys she walked to school with, was her cousin Mathan Kaani, who she developed a deep friendship with, that eventually progressed to marriage. “He was with me in all my decisions and achievements. He used to tell me that I can achieve my goals even without him because I was a strong woman. He was the perfect partner from the day I got married at the age of 16 until he died last year,” she recounts.

(source: Grandmother of the jungle: This Kerala tribal woman can prepare 500 medicines from memory - thenewminute.com).  

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Passwords to power have changed - By Balbir Punj

Between the BJP’s smashing victory and the decimation of Sharmila and the Left, hangs a tale, a milestone in the chequered saga of India’s decline and her continuing struggle to reinvent and resurrect herself. To solve this riddle, one has to go back in history. India, accounted for 33 per cent of global GDP till the 12th century. Doubting Thomases can refer to the path-breaking works of Angus Maddison and Paul Bairoch, two internationally acclaimed economists.

With Bakhtiyar Khilji sacking Nalanda and other reputed Universities in 1193, the structured system of education in India came to an end. Repeated Islamic invasions played havoc with the cultural life of the country, destroyed bulk of the existing knowledge, ended organised pursuit of scholarship and put a stop to any further research in philosophy, science and technology. After Aurangzeb’s demise in 1707, Muslim power started disintegrating. By the time Lord Clive won the battle of Plassey in 1757, India’s share in global GDP dropped to about 25 per cent. Busy fighting successive battles for their sheer survival, Hindus, the flag bearers of the original culture of this ancient land, were left with only memories of history and heritage.

The 1857 uprising motivated the British to cobble together an intellectual paradigm that established them as a superior race, divide their subjects into mutually hostile groups on the basis of caste, religion, race and regions, to help them perpetuate their empire. The anglicised Indians (with few exceptions) assumed the identity and a past which the British had crafted for them. While the imported Communist movement, swallowed the British version of India, a host of leaders, including Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak, RSS founder Dr K B Hedgewar and a bulk of the masses did not fall in the imperialist trap.

Echoing the British view, Communists held India was not a nation, rather a conglomerate of several nations. No wonder that communists actively conspired with the departing British and Muslim League for the creation of a theocratic Pakistan. They still continue to pursue their divisive agenda, seek to divide Hindus in the name of caste and unite the Muslims on the basis of their shared faith, Islam.

Gandhiji, saw through the British policy of divide and rule, opposed fraudulent conversion of Hindus to other faiths, worked for integration of Dalits with the rest of Hindu society and rejected the concept of class war. He did not see different castes among Hindus as conflicting identities either. Following his tragic assassination in 1948, Congress dropped Gandhian ethos and leaned towards the Left.

When the Congress split in 1969, Indira Gandhi needed Communist support in the Parliament. As a part of the deal, Nurul Hasan, a card holder, became the education minister in her Cabinet and is largely responsible for what JNU has become today. Congress, since then, has outsourced its intellectual paradigm to the Left. Four unrelated developments, did not allow the script on predictable lines. After Mao Tse Tung’s demise in 1976, China gradually turned into a capitalist economy under a Communist dictatorship. In 1991, Soviet Union, yet another role model for bulk of the Indian Left, too disintegrated. Taking cue from the global collapse of Communism, India opted for economic reforms leading to the emergence of news channels. The Left’s stranglehold on views and news started loosening. And now, social media has made public discourse even more inclusive. Congress today is a family enterprise, a covert operation to convert cash into political power and vice versa, without any ideological baggage. The likes of irrepressible Digvijaya Singh only parrot Leftist cliches in search of elusive Muslim votes when they extend support to people resorting to Islamic terror, or to Maoist violence.  Congress has turned poverty into an enterprise, and homes of the poor, tourist destinations. Modi doesn’t have to play this charade to pretend to know poverty. He was born into poverty. His pro-poor schemes have naturally more credibility with the target groups.The divisive template built by the Left and aped by Congress is cracking. Hopefully, election results will no longer be hostage to caste and religious divide. National security, pride, coupled with inclusive development are the new pass words to power.

(source: Passwords to power have changed - By Balbir Punj).

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Why India's voters are rejecting the 'old Leftist rhetoric' – by David Frawley

The old Leftist rhetoric that has dominated India's politics for decades is now falling on deaf ears and becoming rejected by voters. Both recent UP and Delhi elections indicate this trend. Though the old Indian media continues to raise a shrill campaign of Leftist outrage against the dangers of Narendra Modi and the BJP, voters have gone over to them in a landslide. 

Yet, the fact is that the BJP national and state governments are the most competent in recent India, doing more for the poor and to improve administration and infrastructure. This is a welcome change from the corruption of the old Congress dynasty and its regional warlords, with their divide-and-rule policies that prevented development and perpetuated social unrest.  


Narendra Modi and his new dynamic India.

Apart from manufacturing perpetual outrage, the Left has no positive agenda for national growth or futuristic development of the country. 


The truth is that the Left historically has promoted militancy and genocide, extending to the murdering of Hindu workers in communist Kerala and Maoist violence in India today. Similarly, a charge of intolerance is raised against Hindus, as if they were the main group inhibiting harmony in India. This includes exaggerating or inventing Hindu attacks on Muslims and Christians. The fact is that Hindus are more tolerant than any other religious group because they don't follow any theology of salvation and damnation. Far from suppressing other religions, Hindus continue to be targeted by missionary aggression inside India and outside. 

In addition, Christians and Muslims in India have more freedom than in any other country in Asia. Hindus in Pakistan comparatively have a marginal existence and are being systematically eliminated. The charge of majoritarianism is another key part of the anti-Modi agenda with the claim is that there is now an oppressive Hindu majority in power. Actually democracy is majority-ruled, so the majority does have a right to rule within the bounds of the law. In this regard, the majority in India, which is largely Hindu, is much more accommodating than the majority in any Islamic country. 

Apart from manufacturing perpetual outrage, the Left has no positive agenda for national growth or futuristic development of the country. 

The charge of Hindu or saffron terrorism is perhaps the most extreme Leftist claim. This is one of the biggest falsifications brought about by affording repeated media attention to a few isolated cases eventually dismissed as false. All Hindu terrorist charges could highlight is a Hindu woman swami, Sadhvi Pragya, kept in jail without bail for nine years until the case against her was dismissed for lack of evidence. Compare this to ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Taliban, with their organised armies, massacres and terrorist attacks that the media hesitates to call Islamic terror. 

Congress and the left are leaderless and self-destructing, with a number of their prominent representatives becoming figures of public derision. Meanwhile the BJP has come to represent aspirational India at both economic and cultural levels. There is nothing wrong with such national pride and enthusiasm. It is a long overdue change from the old socialist era in which individual initiative was blocked and India's culture denigrated. Such unity is needed for India to progress in the world of nations, which the Nehruvian- Marxist alliance could never deliver. India has a great dharmic civilisation with much to offer the world. 

The world should be happy that India is willing to move forward according to its own civilisational ethos and no longer function as another failed socialist state looking for global sympathy. Yet, it seems the Leftist media was happier with a Lalu Prasad and his backward Bihar than Narendra Modi and his new dynamic India. Fortunately, voters can no longer be deceived.  

(source: Why India's voters are rejecting the 'old Leftist rhetoric' – by David Frawley).


Yogi Adityanath

Guru Gorakhnath was probably the most famous Yogi of the last more than 1,000 years throughout India. The Nath Yogis, of which he was the main teacher along with his guru Matsyendranath, were the main proponents of Hatha Yoga and many other esoteric Yoga teachings.

They were the most important of the Yoga Siddhas, honoured among the Tibetans as well. Many Yoga groups today honour Gorakhnath and place him in their lineages. Explications of asana, pranayama, mantra, kundalini and chakras are prominent in Nath Yoga teachings. Many classical Yoga texts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika derive from the Nath Yogis. The name as Gorakhnath, which does mean the “protector of cows”, was not given because he was a mere gau rakshak, but is simply a general name. Gorakhpur is his main city, yet he is associated with sacred sites all over India from Kailas and Manasarover in the north.   



Guru Gorakhnath and Yogi Adityanath


He was well known in the west of India with shrines in what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some Sufis later studied his teachings as well. Yet, what many people do not know is that the Nath Yogis he inspired were extensively involved in the defense of temples and holy sites andformed an active resistance to Islamic invaders. The Naths were warrior yogis. The Naga Babas largely derive from them, and the Sikhs and Marathas reflected their influence. Many Nath Yogis died in their battles to protect Hindu shrines from destruction. Yet they also maintained their deep Yoga practices and teaching traditions. 

Yogi Adityanath’s concerns continue those of the Nath Yogis. In fact, Yoga in India since the time of the Bhagavad Gita has always had social and political concerns. The Gita emphasises the Kshatriya tradition of Yoga and Lord Buddha was originally a king. Monks not only in China and Japan but also in India had their martial arts.

Yogi Adityanatha’s statements have caused some concern with India’s media and certainly his views should be carefully studied. Yet many of his comments have been distorted. So it is important to let him clarify his views, and not to go back to old allegations.  

Sadly, the same media that has targeted Adityanath has long played up to Islamic preachers. It supported Zakir Naik for years, making him into a celebrity, before his terrorists associations, which never difficult to see, could no longer be denied. The media still treats Asaduddin Owaisi with respect and seldom finds his views, which can be quite separatist and extreme, to be worthy of criticism. That Hindu leaders, extending to Swamis, are denigrated is a sad fact of India’s recent media, which can excuse Jihadis and separatists, particularly in Kashmir, but expects Hindus not to press for their rights in their own country. It can make heroes of Laloos and Mayawatis with their casteist politics, but a Swami seems unacceptable and a divisive figure in principle. Those who win the election, particularly a landslide victory like in Uttar Pradesh, do have the right to form the government, bring in their leaders and have their concerns addressed. It is their duty to those who voted for them. Had a Muslim or a Yadav group won, they would provide benefits for their communities, as they have done in the past.

Communist rule in Kerala since coming to power recently has been quite aggressive and anti-Hindu, which the media still does not find fault with. Sikh rule in Punjab is now accepted by all, or Tamil identity politics in Tamil Nadu. Yet, somehow, a Hindu voice or appearance in Hindu majority India is considered to be wrong and offensive however it is formulated.

Let us see what Yogi Adityanath and the new BJP rule in UP actually does before casting aspersions. The records of the defeated SP in terms of human rights and law and order issues in UP were abysmal, with many communal clashes. UP under SP was at the bottom of most development indexes as well. It is a new Modi era in India and expect more surprises. Yet the logic of Modi’s choices is clear, which is to create a new India without denying the country’s older dharmic heritage.  

Modi’s vision is one of development but also of cultural integration and spiritual regeneration. Such a reawakened dharmic India has the power to guide the world in this age of uncertainty and declining values. 

(source: Yogi Adityanath).

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Why does Hindu leadership terrify South Delhi News rooms?

There are many reasons as to why Hindu leadership terrifies South Delhi News rooms. Particularly, conceptual ones. One, is that Hindu ideas don’t have a place of dignity in Western frameworks.

So why should this rattle South Delhi news rooms?

Because, they must change! Or face oblivion!

The nervousness showed this morning. Both in published articles as well as on Twitter.

The Times of India published a poll on its online edition, asking people to vote on Yogi’s ability to govern.The Hindustan Times published a list of 10 controversial comments made by Yogi. Following the footsteps of South Delhi journalists, eager not to be left out, The Hindu explains that Yogi represents a “hard Hindutva face”

Whether an “indictment” or not, “fringe” or no-fringe, the fact remains that Yogi, a 5-time MP, enjoys an enormous degree of support from the people of that region. Now he has been given a chance to govern. He needs to be allowed that chance to perform. But the interesting point, that I wish to elaborate on, is the disdain, the anger and the general concern of South Delhi journalists. The disappointment that the public sentiment and political events are not shaping up according to the expectations of these journalists, who clearly favored the opposition. Given this rather positive view, what might explain the South Delhi journalists’ disconnect with the Indian population? How is that they generate and propagate ideas that are so alien to Indian concepts? Where do these ideas come from?

The Rise and Fall of Religious Leadership in Europe

The Catholic Church rose as the single largest religious and socio-political entity in Medieval Europe. Its humble beginnings started during Antiquity (Roman era), with the conversion of Roman slaves to Christianity. Deeply resisted by the polytheistic Roman society, Christian slaves were often persecuted. However, the Catholic Church sustained through those difficult times. It achieved a supreme status in Europe with the conversion of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great (306-337 CE), to Christianity.

With the fall of the Roman Empire (476 CE) Europe entered the Medieval Age. Local religions across Europe were overpowered by the Catholic Church’s powerful organizational structure and missionary activities. Eventually, the Catholic Church became the single, if not the only, dominant entity that produced and promoted knowledge, especially religious and social knowledge. It’s power over religious, social and political life was absolute. Power was exercised in the following ways: (1) the Church projected itself as the single authority that could decide who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell (2) it imposed taxes (called tithes, which was 10% of earnings) on its followers; those who failed to pay could not go to Heaven (3) it accumulated vast amounts of land, often donated by wealthy followers in the hopes of having an assured place in Heaven (4) the Bible was copied by hand, by monks, never shared with the general public, so spiritual knowledge and education was kept a secret closely guarded.

Soon, the Catholic Church, with its huge resources of land, grain and wealth became an arbiter of political disputes in Europe. Before long, monarchs began to look to it to settle disputes between them. This is how religion got mixed into politics in Medieval Europe.

But power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Catholic Church was no exception. It brooked no dissent. Detractors and dissenters were mercilessly punished. Under the name of “Inquisition” it sanctioned heinous punishments that involved all sorts of torture, including the burning of people at the stake. Protestantism, as a dissenting view among Christians developed through these difficult times. The Catholic Church, with its great intolerance for rival factions, went to war with Protestants. Although it was waged for religious reasons it gradually came to encompass political reasons as well. Known as the Thirty Years’ War, this religious clash led to peoples’ disillusionment with the Catholic Church and religion in general.

Around the same time, new discoveries and inventions began to spring up. The Gutenberg Bible, or printing of the Bible on a mass scale, began in the 15th century. This was an important factor that weakened the stronghold of the Catholic Church by making the Bible available to the masses. This also began the era of printing press that enabled ideas to be shared widely. A whole slew of scientists emerged soon after. Nicolaus Copernicus (1543; Heliocentric theory), Tyco Brahe (1570s; observations that constituted astronomy), Johannes Kepler (1609-19; Laws of Planetary Motion), to name a few. Their contributions were important on many levels for science; however, their greatest significance was that they were able to successfully establish that knowledge, particularly material knowledge, is not God-ordained and that the Catholic Church was quite wrong on many counts! These events combined with the consistent mistreatment at the hands of the ruling class and the Catholic Church eventually led people to break away from the grip of both elitist and religious leadership. The people were more accepting of ideas from discoverers and inventors; thus, was born the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason.

Relevance of the Age of Enlightenment to South Delhi Journalism Today

The success of scientists was more than just advancement of science. It was an act of resistance against the Catholic Church. So, resistance to religious authority is revered even today, as a powerful tool of social progress. Little wonder that the Western public sphere remains skeptical of religious authority. Therefore, American intellectuals have a reason to be empathetic toward those who seem to want to break away from the shackles of religion in their respective countries.

So, our journalists resist. They resist, knowing well that Hinduism does not have parallels with the Catholic Church. There is no organized structure, no one seat of power, no one book and no single way to the Divine. Assuming a lack of covert motivations, they don’t seem to have original ideas about how to apply Western wisdom to the Indian context.

A second reason, that Indian ideas of resistance find favor among American media (could be other countries in Europe as well, I don’t have data), is that the American sense of superiority is enhanced when they encounter stories about terrible events in other countries, both real and otherwise. As far as India is concerned, they have a good appetite for stories of oppression by the caste system, oppression of women, the issue of untouchability and all the other negative stereotypes a modern Indian mind is far away from. Recognizing talent or merit in other countries, particularly non-European countries, is typically uncomfortable for American media.

So, our journalists, of colonized minds, gladly feed their psyche for a proverbial pat on the back.

But India is changing. New India is being envisioned without the constraints of colonial ties, thanks to home grown intellectuals with original ideas. A culture of aspiration is actively promoted, integrity in public life is starting to look believable and suddenly it feels completely OK to not play by the rules of the West.

(source: Why does Hindu leadership terrify South Delhi News rooms? - by Bhuvana Narayanmurthy).

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Trump, Modi have to purge the system of class and cultural oligarchies to survive 

They are separated by history, geography and their lifestyle. Donald Trump is a businessman and TV anchor who zooms around the world in a private jet and lives in a tony tower. Narendra Modi doesn’t have a house or a car to his name and used to live out of a one-bedroom house provided by the BJP. But it was these two men who dominated prime time debates and front page headlines across the globe last week. In the West, an aggressive and outspoken Trump trounced the politically-correct Hillary Clinton in the filthiest-ever battle for the 45th Presidency of the United States of America. He demolished credibility, acceptability and the dependability of the liberal American establishment. 

In the East, Prime Minister Narendra Modi burst the Indian movers and shakers’ bubble about their imagined control of the nation’s decision-making machinery with a 28-minute address to the nation. By withdrawing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which account for over 85 per cent of the currency in circulation, Modi made one-third of India’s $2.5 trillion economy irrelevant. 

But it’s not just their ability to surprise the public time and time again that unites Trump and Modi. It’s also their outsider status. Trump, in spite of his opulence, has never managed to get his foot into the PLU (People Like Us) Club that’s peopled by old money with multiple degrees from elite institutions. Modi too has been deprived of that privilege in India. Which is probably why both have become darlings of the commoners’ club, the PLTs (People Like Them). 

Trump’s election got much more global attention than Modi’s move to curb black money. But both have been the target of the most vocal and influential sections of the media and the ruling elite. There was hardly a media house in the US that didn’t try to demonise Trump so that he could lose the elections. Hardly any opinion poll gave him even a slim chance of entering the White House. The scene was similar in 2014, when only at the fag end of the campaign did Indian pollsters wake up to the reality of Modi winning the majority for his party.

(source: Trump, Modi have to purge the system of class and cultural oligarchies to survive - newindianexpress.com).

Pathetic and Negative Portrayal of Hinduism on CNN in America

The absurdity of Hinduphobia



An antidote for Reza Aslan’s offensive attack on Hinduism 

At a time, when Varanasi became cynosure of Indian media for the high-decibel political activity, right across the globe a tendentious attempt was made to create “Hinduphobia” under the ruse of unravelling the spiritually vibrant Banaras city. The obnoxious portrayal of Varanasi, the “City of Light” as the “City of Death” by Islamist Scholar, Reza Aslan, in a six-episode Spiritual Adventure series, Believer elicited sharp responses from the Hindu community. Broadcast on CNN, the articulate anchor who wouldn’t take an iota of criticism on Islam had tarnished the reverberating Spiritual iconoclastic civilizational values of India. The episode which aired grotesque images of corpses depicted the Aghori cult of Hindu believers in a poor light. The attempt to portray random brown bearded men as people practicing cannibalism at the height of racial crimes in US is abominable. The brutal misinterpretation of the sanctity of the river Ganges and a reckless assault on the faith of millions of people is indeed callous. 

In the last few weeks, Indians in US have become victims of racial discrimination. This insidious misrepresentation of the third largest religion in the World will not augur well for Indian Americans who are already facing the heat of the anti-immigration. For decades, India Americans are known for their invaluable contributions to American society and are widely reckoned for their peaceful coexistence.

While Reza Aslan and CNN had the temerity to grossly distort the sanctity of the scared city of Varanasi could they ever dare say a word against Mecca or Jerusalem? 

Post 9/11 to defuse Islamophobia, Aslan passionately argued that Islamism and Jihadism were different.

Further he tried to impress that Al-Qaeda was waging a cosmic war with the West. He expounded that Cosmic war “is a ritual drama in which participants act out on earth a battle they believe is actually taking place in heavens”. He even prescribes that “Cosmic war is not to fight, but rather to engage moderate Islamic political forces in the democratic process”. Hence, he tones down the necessity of waging a war on terrorism. [With this he had necessarily evaded from condemned the brutal beheadings and inhuman atrocities committed by IS against minorities and specifically Yazidi women].  In fact, Washington Post, commends his thought process saying that it “offers a very persuasive argument for the best way to counter jihadism”. The New Yorker too applauded his interpretation. Reza thus had a phenomenal success in allaying fears of Islamism at least in intellectual circles. By why on earth should CNN and Reza stoke fears among Americans with dehumanized portrayal of a fringe mystic Hindu group? 

Indian Americans have earned a distinct repute for making outstanding achievements and are among the top tier of the American society still why do channels like CNN relentlessly endeavor to portray India as land of snake charmers? Why this cynical obsession of offensive portrayal of India? This disdainful representation can’t be simply ignored since the Western media has an extensive outreach and penetration through which it can make or break narratives. At this juncture, it might perhaps be important to draw lessons as how the western media functions and how Hindus must learn to handle the gross misinterpretations of Hinduism. In the controversial California text books case, an attempt was made to replace “Hindu” and “India” with “South Asia” amounting to erasing and diminishing the significance of India. It could have been a brazen obliteration of India from the historical precincts. Due to the stellar efforts of the Hindu-American organizations, a literary battle was waged. The honors were equally divided with some of the corrections recommended by Hindu groups reinstated and some historical aberrations corrected. But still there were some discrepancies in the interpretation of Hinduism and India. Indeed, this was one of literary battles waged by the Indologists in Contemporary times who managed to win it partially. The battle of narratives between the Left-Liberals versus the “Hindutva forces” or “Conservatives”, has brought to fore the absence of authoritarians on Hindu intellectuals. Despite being one of the oldest religions, India grievously lacks the intellectual firepower or a battalion of scholars who can defend santana dharma on any platform.

Religion in modern times is judged by the Abrahamic axioms that basically deals with faith in God and mandates the followers to religiously abide by the principles outlined in a holy scripture. But Hinduism unlike the modern religions is more about seeking and urges the seeker to look within to realize the “Brahman”. Interestingly, the all-encompassing Hinduism is so flexible and amenable that it exhorts believers of the faith to pursue different ways to seek salvation. While the beginners are initiated into the religion through simple rituals, ardent seekers inclined to ascend higher realms of spirituality are persuaded to enter the next level. Religious leaders or Gurus emphasize on Sadhana or meditation for the enthusiasts.  

Resplendent Hinduism is thus an ocean of knowledge which can’t be judged by preset boundaries or narrow definitions. To defend this iconic religion a person must take a plunge into the treasure troves. Unfortunately, despite inheriting this enviable treasure troves, successive Indian leadership failed to promote the Indic narratives. Interestingly, there are distinguished chairs and study centers for various religions in India in top-tier universities, but no dedicated center for Hinduism. Ancient scriptures, invaluable literature receives scant attention. While there will be a spurt in outrage when Hinduism is mocked at, India critically falls short of the intellectual arsenal to give a befitting reply. Even now Sanskrit, mother of all languages and the only medium to unravel ancient scriptures is derided. Though the offensive attacks on the religion can be combatted with intellectual might, the rabid misinterpretation can stop altogether if India aspires to become a developed country-economically and militarily strong.

(source: An antidote for Reza Aslan’s offensive attack on Hinduism - by Ramaharitha Pusaria).


Before Reza Aslan, There Was This - The deep rooted the hatred towards Hindus was in the colonial mind.

Along with the murderous attacks on NRIs (Hindus and Sikhs) in the United States, came the CNN documentary that has created a lot of heartburn for the Hindus. 

Interestingly, the documentary in question features Reza Aslan. Aslan loves to flaunt himself as ‘a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and a fluency in biblical Greek who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim’. Yet, he comes across as more a crypto-fundamentalist Muslim; more sophisticated than Zakir Naik of course, but nevertheless in the same spectrum. Aslan finds philosopher Daniel Dennett — leave alone Richard Dawkins — an ‘atheist-fundamentalist’. His sympathy for creationism comes out when he finds fault with Dawkins for comparing creationists with Holocaust deniers. 

And what should be interesting for the Hindus is why this man, who has no scholarship of Hinduism, has been allowed to distort Hindu culture, similar to the way the colonialists distorted Hinduism and Hindu culture in a supposedly secular medium in the West.

The reason can be discovered in a small article published in the December 2016 issue of History Today. Titled bluntly as ‘A Hatred for Hindus’, it was written by Mihir Bose, an NRI journalist who has been the first sports editor of BBC. The article makes one cringe. He says it straight: 

“Long before the recent rise in Islamophobia, distrust of Hinduism was rife among Britain’s ruling class.” Winston Churchill’s secretary John Colville records in his diary a conversation the PM had with Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthus Harris: “The PM said that the Hindus were a foul race ... and he wished Bert Harris could send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them.”

Churchill preferred the Muslims over the Hindus. He lied to Franklin Roosevelt that the majority of the Allied army’s Indian soldiers were Muslims while they were actually Hindus. His views were not just abstract hatred for an exotic people. It had terrifying real term effects as we know from the history of the Bengal Famine as documented by Madhushree Mukherjee in Churchill’s Secret War. What is interesting is that Mihir Bose rightly points out that the ‘Hindu phobia’ of Churchill had deeper roots. Soon after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, General Dyer was forced to leave the army by Edwin Montagu, Secretary of State for India. Even this minor punishment triggered a ‘get Montagu’ witch-hunt. Bose observes that there were ‘ugly overtones of anti-Indian sentiments fused with anti-Semitic ones’. Austen Chamberlain wrote that the feeling of Montagu-Dyer event was of ‘a Jew rounding on an English man and throwing him to the wolves’.

“Eventually, the Moslems will become master, because they are warriors, while the Hindus are windbags.” That was Churchill to Soviet Ambassador Ivan Maisky. “In truth the Hindu like eunuch excels in the qualities of a slave. …But if less soft, the Mahomedan is more manly, more vigorous. He more nearly resembles our own half-civilized ancestors... more susceptible of increased civilization than a people in the state of the Hindus.”

Charles Dickens who wrote that he wished to the Commander in Chief in India that he would ‘exterminate the Race (Indians) … proceeding with all convenient dispatch and merciful swiftness of execution , to blot it out of mankind and raze it off the face of the earth’.

Hitler could well have borrowed words from Dickens. 
The inherent anti-Hindu pro-Islamist nature of Western media was evident even then.

The West constantly produced anti-Hindu literature in the decades to come. Combined with vast missionary literature that showed Hinduism and India in a bad light, academic attacks also continued. William Archer, a British art critic, wrote in detail how Hindus could not call themselves cultured. Not only did Bernard Shaw republish his essays, he also agreed with him. It was then that the American writer Katherine Mayo came with her ‘Mother India’. Mihir Bose places these attacks on India in the context of ‘British fighting to preserve the Empire’ who felt ‘the need to open a new front against Hinduism’. 

It was then that Nichols came with his Verdict on India. He too considered Muslims superior to Hindus. Comparing Jinnah to the ‘typical Hindu politician’ (Gandhi), he declared the difference to be of that a ‘surgeon and a witch doctor’. 

Even after independence, hatred against Hindus and Hinduism has been steadily cultivated in Western media. Two years after 1947, Walter Lippmann, one of the most famous journalists of the US, came to India and felt ‘the Hindu world more alien’. Studying Indian art he emerged ‘with increasing loathing and terror, positive terror that such trains of thought and such feelings should exist’. But in comparison, he felt Islam to be ‘familiar and intelligible’.

Hindu hatred in the United States has a long history though. Swami Vivekananda in an insightful observation pointed out how missionary literature included false stories of Hindu mothers throwing their children to crocodiles, with the child was shown as white and mother as black to invoke maximum contempt for Hindus.

Percival Spear, was the co-author with Romila Thapar of the prestigious A History of India and he defended Aurangazeb's iconoclasm saying that he was 'maligned by Hindu fundamentalists'.

Going through the academic and media representation of Hinduism in the United States, from Steven Spielberg’s Temple of Doom to the recent CNN documentary, animosity against Hinduism is very much there.

Sometimes American Hindus think that the left liberal establishment in the West may understand them better. However, the left liberal establishment in the United States sees Hindus through the colonial eyes and stereotype them. So some Hindus in pure desperation turn to the Right which they consider as pro-Hindu because of the Islamophobic noises and gestures. They cannot be more wrong.  

The right wing in the United States also has at its core a more pro-Islamist dispensation and would find Hindus culturally, religiously and racially inferior. David Duke for example considers Hindus as degraded because of mixing of Aryan and aboriginals. At the same time he also shares podium with Islamist leaders who gathered in 2006 for ‘scientific denial of Holocaust’. So, for many of the rightwing in the United States, Hindus, if not already, would soon become objects of hatred more than the Muslims. After all, with Islam, their fundamentalism shares a worldview.

Now consider this: The left dominates the media. It has inherited from the colonial legacy the hatred for Hinduism, which it continuously portrays as an amalgamation of an oppressive caste system, evil priest-craft and barbaric savagery. Meanwhile, the Christian right has Islamophobia but only as an equal competitor. There can even be handshakes, as it happens, between honourable enemies. The dirty job of eliminating Hindu interests from the discourse can be handled by rightwing zealots of the West; like they did away with the Indian descendants of Roma who too perished in the gas ovens under the Iron Cross of Nazis. Unsung, and to this day never a dominant part of Holocaust memories.

The CNN documentary distorting Hinduism and the sporadic killings are independent, yet connected events. They may be pointing to the shape of worse things to come in the future. So Hindus have to transcend the binary of the left wing and right wing. They have to network with the indigenous cultures and spiritual traditions world over and learn from the Jews how to keep their memories intact, and in a sustained way, study all forms of hatred against them. Ultimately they need to fight centuries of the narrative of hatred with the light of knowledge.

(source: Before Reza Aslan, There Was This – by Aravindan Neelakandan).

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Outsourcing of our Shastric traditions to Western scholars sceptical of our sacred texts?

By appointing the American Sanskritist, editor of Murty Classical Library of India, venture head Rohan Murty has contributed to the outsourcing of our Shastric traditions to Western scholars sceptical of our sacred texts.

Sheldon Pollock is a scholar and a globally well-connected one. For many students and academicians of Shastric tradition and ancient cultural texts in India, the American philologist’s interpretation carries the stamp of authority. For decades in this country since Independence, when the Left-view prevailed from areas as diverse as politics to history to archaeology to even cinema, he held sway over the minds of many Indians who were brought up to understand their culture from the prism of its ancient scriptures such as the Vedas and the Upanishads and magnum opuses such as the Ramayan. Such is his influence that he has managed to brainwash entire generations here and abroad, into buying his theories that present Hindu texts as casteist, oppressive and gender-discriminatory.

Over the years though, and despite his stature and connectivity, many scholars have begun to seriously question Pollock’s premises. They are no longer willing to let go uncontested, his claims that are based on Western models of social studies which simply do not fit in the Indian context, and are far removed from the lived experiences of the people connected with the ethos of their ancient texts, offering them not just a spiritual path but also a better way to mundane living. Given this background, it is unfortunate that Pollock has been chosen as editor of the Murty Classical Library of India. Worse, organisation head Rohan Murty has contemptuously dismissed an online petition by 132 academicians and public figures (the petition has garnered more than 13,000 supporters worldwide), protesting against the appointment. He said, “It is quite rich to sit in the peanut gallery, pass comments and throw empty shells at those who are actually rolling their sleeves up and working on the ground.”

Rohan Murty’s response smacks of arrogance, and of the kind that Pollock and his sort have nurtured against those who dare to question them. The people that Murty says are sitting in the ‘peanut gallery’ are noted academicians and intellectuals from various walks of life — and their common concern is to do with Pollock’s prejudices and the fear that he will exploit the Murty Classical Library of India assignment to further promote his biases and ram down the throats of Indians the belief that there is little for them to be socially proud of in their classical past. As for ‘actually rolling their sleeves up and working on the ground’, the library founder may be surprised to know that there are quite a few scholars who have been doing just that except that they either do not catch his attention or that they do not have the benefit of global connect. Moreover, these scholars are not saying things that can be spinned-off to a world audience by way of a condemnatory appraisal of Indian culture and traditions.

Pollock’s credibility as an impartial interpreter of ancient Sanskrit texts and Sanskrit India is further dented by the overt political position he has been taking. It can be argued that his political beliefs should not be used to judge his scholarship, but such a thought would have been credible had Pollock not mixed up his political persuasion with his academics. It comes as little surprise that the Left-leaning lot in this country is the most vocal in its support for the American and for Murty having ticked off Pollock’s detractors. Commentators who have sided with Murty and Pollock are either the Left-liberals or the Centrists who are Leftists in disguise. While Murty has steamrolled the critical appointment to his venture, he cannot easily wish away the argument of dissent. The online petitioners noted that the historical project ought to be helmed by people who are “deeply rooted and steeped in the intellectual traditions of India”. The petitioners further said that such people “also need to be imbued with a sense of respect and empathy for the greatness of Indian civilisation”. They believe (and they are not the only ones) that Pollock’s record does not inspire confidence. The petitioners forcefully maintained that the American Sanskritist had “deep antipathy towards many of the ideals and values cherished and practised in our civilisation”.

If all this is water off a duck’s back for Murty and his supporters, it is because the pro-Pollock elements in and outside the country are not just well-entrenched but have also got institutionalised over the years. Like the Left had in its over three-decade rule in West Bengal infiltrated into all walks of life and established their dominance, including over political violence, Pollock’s insidious theories on the use of Sanskrit to marginalise people, of Vedas as tools to oppress masses, of Ramayan as a response to the rise of Buddhism etc, have become inherent thought-processes in thousands of minds some innocent and impressionable, and others pre-conditioned to absorb the lopsided.

One of the few scholars to have effectively taken on Pollock in recent times is Rajiv Malhotra an Indian-American author, one-time entrepreneur, and founder of Infinity Foundation, which, Wikipedia says, focuses on “Indic studies”. His new book, The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive?, meets Pollock head-on, systematically refuting the latter’s pet theories by his own intellectual might as well as comments and dissertations of experts who have long worked on Sanskrit studies. The question as to why there haven’t been more voices of the Rajiv Malhotra kind to globally challenge Pollock and his flock, is easy to answer.

The first reason is that many genuine scholars in Indic studies within the country simply do not have the resources to take on the darling Indologist of the West. The second is that quite a few of them, although deeply knowledgeable in their area of expertise, are not comfortable with English and thus cannot reach out to a wider audience. The third reason is that some of them are in awe of Pollock’s reputation and cannot even mildly question him even whey are convinced of his misrepresentations. And the fourth is that these ‘traditionalists’ find no traction even within India, where the Pollock net has been cast far and wide.

Having bagged the prestigious Murty Classical Library of India assignment, Pollock must be hoping to seal the deal to head the Adi Shankara Chair of Hinduism Studies at Columbia University in the US. It is this prospect that propelled an alarmed Rajiv Malhotra to write his latest book and launch a fervent campaign within India and outside to pre-empt the appointment. Will it work or will we see a further outsourcing of our Shastric traditions to the West?

(source:  The Sheldon Pollock Hold on Indian Minds - by Rajesh Singh).

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Where are the Pandavas who can provide Hindu leadership?

In the battlefield of Intellectual Kurukshetra, Hindu leaders who can be like the Pandavas are badly needed

The Hindu re-awakening movement must improve its game in the intellectual Kurukshetra. Unfortunately, we suffer from a deficiency of competent scholars and institutional mechanisms. Hindus are often being represented by substandard voices. Emotional bombast and political patronage are depleting prana and overshadowing vigour and originality. The paucity of internationally competitive fresh Hindu research has many causes. The chief one is the belief that “everything has already been written”. Such persons hide their laziness behind one-liner wisdom and cronyism, instead of pursuing merit and professionalism. The critics failed to notice that ‘Breaking India’ focuses on exposing many present-day individuals and organisations that did not even exist fifty years ago. 

A typical example of this syndrome happened just a few days back. Two of my books (‘Breaking India’ and ‘Being Different’) were attacked by some middle-ranking Hindu leaders on a bizarre allegation: that fifty years ago some prominent Hindus had already written books that were “exactly same” as mine, thereby making all my work redundant and counterproductive. The critics failed to notice that ‘Breaking India’ focuses on exposing many present-day individuals and organisations that did not even exist fifty years ago. And the insights explained in ‘Being Different’ are fresh compared to the supposedly “same” books written in a bygone era. The critics were satisfied with superficial similarities without any interest (or ability) to look deeper. Such turf protection is a form of tribalism driven by personal insecurity and ambition. The best way to respect our past great thinkers is not by worshipping their old books, but by continuing their parampara with fresh research outputs in response to today’s Kurukshetra. The clash of civilisations is becoming ever more complex, and the playing field has certainly not been frozen for the past fifty years. Our tradition was built on very high standards of intellectual excellence. But today there is a cacophony of voices of individuals who barely read serious material – forget about original writing. I have also heard some senior Hindu leaders flippantly dismiss the need for fresh research and intellectualism. It amazes me that retrograde voices can climb up in some Hindu organisations. Hindus must invest in serious investigative work. This includes the revival of the tradition of purva-paksha methods for debating opponents in a respectful manner. We must re-educate the so-called “educated class”, with the use of game-changing discourse. We must encourage self-critiques rather than wasting time at the “feel good” gatherings of “like-minded people”. 

Resource allocations and appointments should be merit based and not driven by loyalty to leaders. 

Resource allocations and appointments should be merit based and not driven by loyalty to leaders. Anyone appointed to lead a “think tank” should have already excelled in thinking, which means having a track record of high impact publications. The new government is conspicuous by its absence in the theatre of civilisation discourse. The is no strategic coherence across its Byzantine maze of departments. Fortunately, the Indian Left is also in disarray. The new technology subverts their monopoly over Hinduphobic knowledge production and distribution. There is a growing display of Hindu emotional activity in social and mass media, as well as the emergence of many conclaves featuring some Hindu voices. This powerful emotion needs to be harnessed and redirected to create an intellectual ecosystem that is globally competitive.

(source: Where are the Pandavas who can provide Hindu leadership? - by Rajiv Malhotra).

Did you know?

“Hindu Belief Is Fascinating and Inspired By It” Says James Cameron “Avatar” Movie Director 


Avatar and the magical land of Pandora in James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster may have had a subconscious reference to Hindu mythology, the director said over the weekend. Avatar has made Hollywood history with $2.6 billion in worldwide ticket sales and showcased Cameron’s bold moviemaking skills. It also revealed the director’s fascination with the imagery of India. “I just have loved everything, the mythology, the entire Hindu pantheon, seems so rich and vivid,”

Cameron told an audience of filmmakers and actors at a conference in New Delhi on Saturday. In Avatar, Cameron creates a lush world of dense forests and floating mountains in a computer-generated spectacular that transforms much of the cast into giant, blue-skinned humanoids.

One of Hinduism’s most revered gods, Krishna, is often depicted with blue skin. 

“I didn’t want to reference the Hindu religion so closely but the subconscious association was interesting and I hope I haven’t offended any one in doing so,” the filmmaker said. Cameron said the title of the film was a subconscious reference to India. Avatar in Sanskrit means reincarnation.

 (source: “Hindu Belief Is Fascinating and Inspired By It” Says James Cameron “Avatar” Movie Director).


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