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Naipaul (1932 - ) Nobel Laureate, was born in Trinidad into a
family of Indian origin is known for his penetrating
analyses of alienation and exile. Writing with increasing irony
and pessimism, he has often bleakly detailed the dual problems
of the Third World: the oppressions of colonialism and the chaos
of post-colonialism. His grandfather had emigrated there
from India as an indentured servant. He is the author of several
books including Beyond
Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples, India:
A Wounded Civilization,
the Believers: An Islamic Journey,
A Million Mutinies Now.
He has observed:
key Hindu concept of dharma - the right way, the sanctioned way,
which all men must follow, according to their natures - is an
elastic concept. At its noblest it combines self-fulfillment and
truth to the self with the ideas of action as duty, action as
its own spiritual reward, man as a holy vessel."
The Treasury of Hinduism - By
Harischandra Lal Singh p. 199).
in India to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and discussed
some of his controversial ideas about rewriting Indian history.
reminded us time and again that India was ravaged and intellectually destroyed
by invasions that began in about 1000 AD.
do you ignore history? But the nationalist movement,
independence movement ignored it. You read the Glimpses of World
History by Jawaharlal Nehru, it talks about the mythical past
and then it jumps the difficult period of the invasions and
conquests. So you have
Chinese pilgrims coming to Bihar, Nalanda and places like that.
Then somehow they don't tell you what happens, why these places
are in ruin.
never tell you why Elephanta island is in ruins or why
Bhubaneswar was desecrated.
see, I am less interested in the Taj
Mahal which is a vulgar, crude building, a display of power
built on blood and bones. Everything
exaggerated, everything overdone, which suggests a complete
slave population. I would like to find
out what was there before the Taj Mahal.
actually more at ease with the epics, the Ramayan and the
Mahabharat, and the stories from the Panchantantra. But
I would like to see this past recovered and not dodged. That
foolish man Nirad Chaudhuri, who wrote one good book, then went
into kind of absurd fantasy, he built a whole book around
somebody who came with the invaders, Al-Beruni, who said, “the
Hindus are very violent and aggressive people”. Their land is
being taken away from them, they are being destroyed and
enslaved and he says this. This foolish man Chaudhuri builds a
book around this statement; that is the kind of absurdity we
have to avoid."
do you ignore history? - interview -
economictimes.indiatimes.com - January 13 ' '03).
He sees India as a vast and ancient civilization
that successfully met its own challenges centuries ago. It was
first disconcerted, then subjugated, and finally released by the
West in a damaged condition.
Islam, he claimed, had both enslaved and attempted to wipe out
other cultures. He has touched upon the consequences of a series
of Muslim invasions of India beginning in the 10th century--and
remarked on how these invasions had "shattered" Indian
(at that time almost exclusively Hindu) civilization.
"There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam
and the Arabs,"
Lakshman in the epic of Ramayana.
more refer to chapter on Greater
India: Suvarnabhumi and
He has supported the Ram
Janmabhoomi movement and the idea to build a temple at Ayodhya and expressed his
sympathy for Hindu Revivalism.
"India was trampled over, fought
over. You had the invasions and you had the absence of a
response to them.
There was an absence even of the idea of a people, of a nation
defending itself. Only now are people beginning to understand
that there has been a great vandalizing of India.
The movement is now from below. It
has to be dealt with. It is not enough to abuse these youths or
use that fashionable word from Europe, 'fascism', There is a
big, historical development going on in India."
He has pointed that India
was one of the cultural basins of the world till
about 1400 AD or so, but it had declined since then.
Bharatiya Divas - rediff.com).
has been a wounded civilization because of Islamic violence:
Pakistanis know this; indeed they revel in it. It
is only Indian Nehruvians like Romila Thapar who pretend that
Islamic rule was benevolent.
We should face facts: Islamic rule in India was at least as
catastrophic as the later Christian rule. The
Christians created massive poverty in what was a most prosperous
country; the Muslims created a terrorized civilization out of
what was the most creative culture that ever existed.”
15 November 1999
Naipaul described the mosque's
destruction as being part of a "mighty
creative process" unleashed by Hindus.
The people who say that there was no temple there are missing
the point. Babar, you must understand, had contempt for the
country he had conquered. And his building of that mosque was an
act of contempt for the country. Today, it seems to me that Indians are becoming alive to
their history. Romila Thapar's book on Indian history is a
Marxist attitude to history which in substance says: there is a
higher truth behind the invasions, feudalism and all that. The
correct truth is the way the invaders looked at their actions.
They were conquering, they were subjugating. And they were in a
country where people never understood this.
"What is happening in India is
a new historical awakening....Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in
their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But
every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down
he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times
this response appears in his eyes to be threatening."
Area of Awakening - Interview with V.S. Naipaul
– By Dileep Padgaonkar Times
of India July 18, 1993).
He says Hindu
militancy is a 'creative force'. "Dangerous or not, it's a necessary
corrective to history and will continue to remain so."
He feels that India was renewing herself, yet again, from her
own inexhaustible stream of history and civilization, her native
intellectuals have a responsibility to the state and should
start a debate on the Muslim psyche," To speak of Hindu fundamentalism, is a contradiction
in terms, it does not exist. Hinduism is not this kind of
religion. You know, there are no laws in Hinduism.
And there are many forces in Hinduism.... My interest in these
popular movements is due to the pride
they restore to their adherents in a country ravaged by five or
six centuries of brutal government
by Muslim invaders. These populations, in particular
the peasantry, have been so crushed, that any movement provides
a certain sense of pride. The leftists
who claim that these wretched folk are fascists are wrong. It's
absurd. I think that they are only reclaiming a little of their
own identity. We can't discuss it using a Western
‘‘I think every liberal
person should extend a hand to that kind of movement from the
bottom. One takes the longer view rather than the political
view. There’s a great upheaval in India and if you’re
interested in India, you must welcome it’’
is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. Gandhi
used religion in a way as to marshal people for the independence
cause. People who entered the independence movement did it
because they felt they would earn individual merit.
Only now are the people beginning to understand that there has
been a great vandalising of India. Because of the nature of the
conquest and the nature of Hindu society such understanding had
eluded Indians before."
"I think when you see so
many Hindu temples of the tenth century or earlier time
disfigured, defaced, you know that they were not just defaced
for fun: that something terrible happened. I feel that the
civilization of that closed world was mortally wounded by those
invasions. And I would like people, as it were, to be more
reverential towards the past, to try to understand it; to
preserve it; instead of living in its ruins. The Old World is
destroyed. That has to be understood. The
ancient Hindu India was destroyed."
by Sadanand Menon - The Hindu, 5 July 1998).
older I get, the more Hindu I become."
Today August 1999). For more on Naipaul,
refer to chapter Islamic
Peter Kezwer a physicist from Canada. He lives in
Himachal Pradesh and is author of the book Meditation,
Oneness and Physics writes:
Spirituality is an intrinsic part of Indian culture and life. For
the worshipper, this aspect of Indian culture serves as a
constant reminder that behind the material forms which
constitute our daily world, there is an unchanging consciousness
which permeates everything.
times immemorial India's message has been promulgated by her
saints, sages, gurus and rishis and transmitted by them
to those who were desirous of knowing the truth. The essence of
this message is simple: Behind the eyes
of every living being on earth there shines a light. This light
is one and the same in all beings. This light is immortal,
blissful, eternal and indestructible. This is the light of
consciousness which makes each and every one of us alive and
alert and gives us the power to breathe.
is written in Chapter II, verse 30 of the Srimad
Bhagavad Gita that Dayhee nityamavadhyoayam /
Dayhay Sarvasya Bhaarat: The spirit which dwells within the
body is eternal and indestructible. It dwells in the bodies of
all, and is therefore the selfsame spirit in every living human
being or creature. This spirit, which can also be called Aatmaa
or Self, is the true nature of all. It is indivisible, being one
and one alone, and is the unchanging reality behind the changing
world which we experience every day through our senses. To know
or realize this Self is the quest of every spiritual seeker
throughout history, and the means to
achieve this loftiest of goals can be found in the spiritual
heritage of India."
Spiritual Heritage - By Glen P Kezwer).
253. Swami Chinmayananda
(1916-1993) founder of Chinmaya Mission. He was
not satisfied with degrees in literature and law or with other
worldly aspirations pursued the spiritual path in the Himalayas
under the guidance of his Gurus Swami Tapovanam and Swami
Swami Chinmayananda was appalled by the fact that
majority of Indians had no appreciation of their religious
heritage, and that spiritual learning was given to only the
privileged classes. From then on his only mission in life was to
take religion from classes to the masses, and to "convert
Hindus to Hinduism". He told his guru, "I
feel the immense urge to go down to the plains and share the
wealth of the holy scriptures with my fellow countrymen. I want
to run down like a Ganga which nourishes and inspires with its
refreshing waves. "If he thought the task was going to be
an easy one, he was wrong for he faced stiff opposition from the
orthodoxy. But he was not the man to be baffled by such
obstacles, and he carried on with his goal of the
democratization of religion
Has written several books including Self-Unfoldment
(The Self-Discovery Series).
is not bound by any rigid text book or commandments, orders,
declarations and revelations; but it is a
storehouse of scientific facts and has in it healthy impulses of
a growing tradition. The Hindu religion or Sanatana
Dharma, is the way of life of perfect living and of gaining
mastery over oneself. This religion reveals the secret process
which brings forth an effective personality out of a shattered
man of despair and disappointment."
The Eternal Religion - By M. D. Chaturvedi p.
3-5). Swami Chinmayananda
"Hinduism is the religion
for our times," Unlike the other scriptures, the
methodology followed by the Gita appears to be more conducive to
the modern, scientific mind and the educated classes. For they
don't believe in anything. They want everything to be rationally
proved, intellectually defensible. And the approach of the Gita
is very rational because Krishna had to address a dynamic,
young, educated, intelligent man who was a born skeptic. Arjuna
did not believe or understand that Krishna was an intellectual
giant. It is only in the eleventh chapter that he got a glimpse
- and, thereafter, his attitude changed. But till the eleventh
chapter he was absolutely rational. He did not believe a word of
what Krishna said. Krishna had to make him believe it by the
strength of logic."
In his book, Vedanta:
The Science of Life, he states:
"The Gita is very intimately
connected with the life of everyone of us, whether it be in the
market place, at home or in the political field, Bhagavad Gita
not only indicates theories of the Hindu way of life, but also
reveals certain definite scheme by which every individual can
work out his own self-improvement."
The Eternal Religion - By M. D. Chaturvedi p.
254. Robert R. C.
Zaehner (1913-1974) British historian of
religion who investigated the evolution of ethical systems and forms of
mysticism, particularly in Eastern religions. The son of Swiss parents who had
immigrated to England, Zaehner studied Oriental languages at the University of
Oxford. Author of several books including Hindu
Scriptures, and Hinduism.
Zaehner said “Hindus do not think of
religious truths in dogmatic terms.” and Hindus say,
“dogmas can’t be eternal, only the
transitory distorting images of truth that transcends not only
them but all verbal definitions.”
Zaehner goes on to say, “for the passion for dogmatic
certainty that has racked the religions of Semitic origins, from Judaism itself
through Christianity and Islam to Marxism they feel nothing but shocked
How certain should we be, the problem of religious pluralism – By Mark Tully).
It was the
sublime ancient tolerance of Hinduism that he often stressed,
that was the true proof of the wisdom
and mature dignity of the Hindu tradition.
family of religions, Hinduism is the wise old all-knowing
mother. Its sacred books, the Vedas, claim, 'Truth is one, but
sages call it by different names.' If only Islam, and all the
rest of the monotheistic 'book' religions, had learned that
lesson, all the horror of history's religious wars could have
been avoided. Which other religion has
its God say, as Krishna does
in the Bhagavad Gita, 'All paths lead to me.'
the Church had the sense to allow so many different and
seemingly contradictory approaches to God, how much saner its
history would have been!"
observed that all traditional poems and meditations and
philosophical texts of Hinduism are "different-shaped peaks in one
vast, grand, interconnected mountain chain, like the
of Hindu Mystics - By Andrew Harvey p. xv -
Avelino ( ? ) who was the Consul General for Brazil in
India in 1930 belonged to the inner circle called Tattva Shri
Chaitanya. He was a devout Vaishanava and an ardent admirer of
Shri Ramakrishna. In an address at Panihati, near Calcutta, on
the occasion of a religious festival organized by the Shri
Gauranga Grantha Mandir to commemorate Shri Chaitanya's visit to
that place, he said:
is the only country which has known God and if anyone wants to
know God he must know India."
Vision of India - By Sisirkumar Mitra
Claude Arpi ( ? )
dentist-turned- Tibetologist, author
of Tibet: When Big Insects Eat Small Insects has
I am still a French man, I adopted this country as my own long
ago However, today, I am sad. When I left France for India, I
came with a dream: I was going to the land
of the Vedas, of the Buddha, a continent with an eternal
religion. I thought everyone in this country was
turned "inwards", seeking a higher light; I believed
India would soon be able to guide the world towards a more
meaningful tomorrow. Why I am sad now? I can't help feeling a
terrible divide between this dream and today's reality (at least
the one depicted in the English media).
still believe in "India of the ages", but I cannot
grasp why Indians themselves still refuse to acknowledge the
greatness of their culture.
it not disheartening that historians base their judgment on
press reports and not on their own scholarship? Then why do they
spend three days discussing text-books when there are so many
more important subjects related to history to be discussed?
about the neglected discoveries of Poompuhar or the new sites in
the Gulf of Cambay?
is estimated that 12 million Americans are today practicing yoga
and that 450 yoga centers are blossoming in the US. The same
tidal wave is submerging Europe. In France alone, more than one
million people are practicing Buddhist meditation.
is sad and shocking is that these historians, like many
intellectuals in India, are not at all concerned by what has
always made India great, they prefer to denigrate India. "
of old-new dreams - by
Claude Arpi - dailypioneer.com).
Michel Varenne ( ? ) the distinguished French Orientalist
wrote in 1976:
“The only remaining testimony to the prestigious
civilization of ancient Egypt lies buried in archaeological
remains; which meant that the inhabitants of the Nile valley,
converted to Islam thirteen centuries ago, had to wait for
Champollion to decipher the hieroglyphics before they could know
anything of the beliefs of their distant ancestors. Yet
during all this time Hindu families continued, and still
continue today, to venerate the selfsame Vishnu who is
celebrated in the archaic hymns of the Rig Veda…”
“It would be impossible to overemphasize this exceptional
durability of a civilization that is extremely difficult to
conceive of as mortal. And certainly the Hindus themselves would
be the last to subscribe to the notion that all cultures have a
limited life-span. That is the product of Western minds trained
at an early age to write essays on “The Causes of the fall of
the Roman Empire,” of a Christian or a Moslem faith proud of
the fact that its first believers once repudiated pagan
polytheism, and therefore prone to assume that all civilizations
are perishable the same way as human beings themselves. To the
traditional minded Hindu, on the other hand, such revolutions
are inconceivable, for him, the religion he professes has no
beginning and no end; it had no founder, and it lies in no
one’s power to attack or breach it. It
is the eternal norm (in Sanskrit, sanatana dharma), the
universal law, the supreme religion. Being absolute, it cannot
be modified in any way and remains identical to itself down
through the ages.”
India knows that nothing in the universe is chance, that
everything is necessity. In the infinite multiplicity of the
real it reads a reference to unity, and perceives the rule of a
sovereign order even where complexity seems in danger of lapsing
chaos and incoherence. The All, in itself and in each of its
parts, is governed by an immutable, unbreakable law that
supports the world while at the same time transcending it
And the Hindu Tradition - By Jean Varenne p.
258. Count Louis Hamon aka
(1866-1936) author of several book, Language
of the Hand and
Predictions published in 1926. Born in Ireland as William John
Warner, Cheiro also went by the name Count Louis Hamon.
He had a
wide following of famous European and American clients like Mark
Twain, Sarah Bernhardt, Mata Hari, Oscar Wilde, Grover
Cleveland, Thomas Edison, the Prince of Wales, General
Kitchener, William Gladstone, Bernard Shaw and Joseph
He spoke of the Hindu race and the remarkable sciences for
Purana) which the Hindus, have, as prophetic
“To consider the origin of this science, we must take our
thoughts back to the earliest days of the world’s history, and
further more to the consideration of a people the oldest of all,
yet one that has survived, and who are today as characteristic
and as full of individuality as they were when thousands of
years ago the first records of history were written.
I allude to those children of the East, the Hindus,
a people whose philosophy and wisdom are every day being more
and more revived.”
“Looking back to the earliest days of the history of the
known world, we find that the first linguistic records belong to
the people under consideration, and date back to that far
distant cycle of time known as the Aryan civilization. Beyond
history we cannot go; but the monuments and cave temples of
India, according to the testimony of archaeologists, all point
to a time so far beyond the scant history at our disposal, that
in the examination of such matters our greatest knowledge is
dwarfed into infantile nothingness – our age and era are but
the swaddling clothes of the child; our manhood that of the
infant in the arms of the eternity of time.”
“Long before Rome or Greece or Israel was even heard of,
the mountains of India point back to an age, of learning beyond,
and still beyond. From the astronomical calculations that the
figures in their temples represent, it has been estimated that
the Hindu understood the Precession of the Equinoxes centuries
before the Christian Era."
in The Space Age - By E. Vedavyas p. 233-235).
In a book called You
and Your Hand by the late Count Louis Hamon, known better
as Cheiro, this statement is found:
"people who in their
ignorance disdain the wisdom of ancient races forget that the
great past of India contained secrets of life and philosophy
that following civilizations could not controvert, but
were forced to accept. For instance, it has
been demonstrated that the ancient Hindus understood the
precession of the equinoxes and made the calculation that
it [a complete cycle] took place once in every 25,870
years. The observation and mathematical precision
necessary to establish such a theory has been the
wonder and admiration of modern astronomers. They, with their modern knowledge and up-to-date instruments, are
still quarrelling among themselves as to whether the precession,
the most important feature in astronomy, takes place every
25,870 years or every 24,500 years. The
majority believe that the Hindus made no mistakes, but how they
arrived at such a calculation is as great a mystery as the
origin of life itself."
of Indian Astrology).
259. Richard Lannoy (1928
- ) author of
A Study of Indian Culture and Society
“The Kailash temple at Ellora, a complete sunken Brahmanical temple
carved out in the late seventh and eighth centuries A. D is over 100 feet high,
the largest structure in India to survive from ancient times, larger than the
Parthenon. This representation of Shiva’s mountain home, Mount Kailash in the
Himalaya, took more than a century to carve, and three million cubic feet of
stone were removed before it was completed. An
inscription records the exclamation of the last architect on looking at his
work: “Wonderful! O How could I ever have done it?”.
In Europe’s middle ages, the great cathedrals, including
the one of Chartres, rose from the ground upwards to the sky, supported not so
much by stone as by the powerful religious symbolism that drove the Christian
church. In India, the craftsmen did not build, but removed the earth and stone
to discover space in the service of a different religious symbolism, not one
identified with any religious monolith, but instead, one to which different
religious groups owed allegiance. Here Lannoy is more precise:
“A hollowed-out space in living rock is a totally different
environment from a building constructed of quarried stone. The human organism
responds in each case with a different kind of empathy. Buildings are fashioned
in sequence by a series of uniformly repeatable elements, segment by segment,
from a foundation upwards to the conjuction of walls and roof; the occupant
empathizes with a visible tension between gravity and soaring tensile strength.
Entering a great building is to experience an almost imperceptible tensing in
the skeletal muscles in response to constructional tension. Caves, on the other
hand, are scooped out by a downward plunge of the chisel from ceiling to floor
in the direction of gravity; the occupant empathizes with an invisible but
sensed resistance, an unrelenting presence in the rock enveloping him; sculpted
images and glowing pigments on the skin of the rock well forth from the deeps.
To enter an Indian cave sanctuary is to experience a relaxation of physical
tension in response to the implacable weight and density of solid rock.”
History: Technology and Culture in India, China and the West
1492 to the Present Day - By Claude Alvares p.72-73).
Danino (1956 - )
in 1956 at Honfleur (France) into a Jewish family recently
emigrated from Morocco, from the age of fifteen Michel Danino
was drawn to India, some of her great yogis, and soon to Sri
Aurobindo and Mother and their view of evolution which gives a
new meaning to our existence on this earth. He
has been settled in Tamil Nadu for 25 years and has given many
lectures in India and is author of The Invasion That
Never Was, The Indian
Mind Then and Now, L’Inde
et L’invasion de nulle part
and Kali Yuga or The Age
He is also
the convener of the International Forum
for India's Heritage.
He talks about Indian culture:
so-called “New Age” trend of the 1960s owed as much to India
as to America;
a number of Western universities offer excellent courses on
various aspects of Indian civilization, and if you want to
attend some major symposium on Indian culture or India’s
ancient history, you may have to go to the U.S.A; some
physicists are not shy of showing parallels between quantum
mechanics and yogic science;
ecologists call for a recognition of our deeper connection with
Nature such as we find in the Indian view of the world;
a few psychologists want to learn from Indian insights into
hatha yoga has become quite popular."
has shown the reverence
with which nature is held in Hinduism.
fact, since the start of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the West
broke away from Nature and began regarding her as so much
inanimate matter to be exploited (a polite word for plunder).
The contrast with the ancient Indian attitude is as stark as
could be. Indian tradition regards the earth as a goddess,
Bhudevi ; her consort, Vishnu, the supreme divinity,
incarnates from age to age to relieve her of the burden of
demonic forces—sometimes of humanity itself. This he does out
of love for the earth, his companion. Sita means
“furrow,” and she returned to the earth whence she came.
Shiva too is bound to the earth through Parvati, daughter of
Himavat, i.e. the Himalayas. Earth and Heaven are therefore
inseparable: “Heaven is my father; my mother is
this vast earth, my close kin,” says the Rig-Veda (I.164.33)."
and Indian Tradition - By Michel Danino).
Awake to the New Indian Age - By Michel Danino
The Lost River: On the trail of the Sarasvati - By Michel
Danino - penguin.
"Western civilization, not even
three centuries after the Industrial Revolution, is now running
out of breath. It has no direction, no healthy foundations, no
value left except selfishness and greed, nothing to fill one's
heart with. India alone has preserved something of the deeper
values that can make a man human, and the world will surely be
turning to them in search of a remedy to its advanced malady."
Once India's ancientness is recognized, we can understand the
strength that enabled her civilization to survive through all
those ages. Whether she will survive her present phase of
degradation and lead the world to a new phase is the question."
Aurobindo and Indian Civilization - By Michel Danino).
For more on Michel Danino, refer to chapter on Aryan
He has asked
this agonizing question:
German or French or English child will be taught something of
Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, because they are regarded as the root
of European culture and somehow present in European
consciousness today. ... But Indian Epics a hundred times richer
and vaster in human experience, a thousand time more present in
Indian consciousness will not taught to an Indian child. Not to
speak of other important texts such as the beautiful Tamil
epics, Shilapathikkaram and Manimekalai."
riddle of India's Ancient Past -
indicdharma.blogspot.com). For more refer to http://micheldanino.voiceofdharma.com/).
[Indian] teachers were not so ignorant, as a rule, of their own
culture, they would have no difficulty in showing their students
that the much vaunted 'scientific temper' is nothing new to
of Colonization on Indian Thought - By Michel Danino
studying Hindu scriptures. Engravings by Pierre Sonnerat.
(image source: http://www.heatons-of-tisbury.co.uk/sonnerat.htm).
261. Jack Sarfatti
( ? ) Physicist of the Physics/Consciousness
Research Group writes:
"I suspect that general relativity and quantum theory are two complimentary
aspects of a deeper theory that will involve a kind of cosmic consciousness. The
cosmic consciousness or the Mahat of India's Samkhya Philosophy is the basis of
and Vedanta - By H M Ganesh Rao).
(1921- ) On joining the Archaeological Survey in January
1946, he held charge of the Excavations Branch and participated
with Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the excavations at Harappa, now in
Pakistan. In 1951 he was deputed for advanced studies at the
Institute of Archaeology, London. In 1961, under a UNESCO
project, he conducted excavations in Nubia, Egypt, and brought
to light valuable evidence relating to prehistoric and
protohistoric periods of that country.
was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India
from 1968 to 1972. He writes:
civilization of the Indian subcontinent, has had its roots deep
in antiquity, some seven to eight thousand years ago, and its
flowering in the third millennium B.C. still lives on. In
contrast, when we look round the world we are surprised by the
fact that the Egyptian and Mesopotamia civilizations that
flourished alongside this Indic Civilization have all
disappeared, leaving hardly any trace behind. Why? The Indian
psyche has indeed been pondering over this great cultural
phenomenon of 'livingness', and this quest.."
is that ‘something’, some inherent strength? Doubtless it
lies in the liberal character of the Indian civilization, which
allows for cross-fertilization with other cultures, without
losing its own identity. Even time (kala),
the great devourer, has stood testimony to the fact that the
deep foundations of Indian culture could not be shaken either by
internal upheavals, however great may have been their
magnitude...." " the soul of
India lives on!"
the River Saraswati, he writes:
linguists and historians and their, more vociferous, Indian
counterparts claim that the Rigvedic Sarasvati was the Helmand
of Afghanistan. The Rigvedic Saraswati, according to what is
stated in the Rig Veda (RV. 10. 75. 5) itself lay between the
Yamuna on the one hand and the Sutlej on the other. These two
rivers do not exist in Afghanistan.
Saraswati Flows on: The Continuity of Indian Culture - By B.
B. Lal. p. Chapter V p. 136).
is critical of ‘‘Western scholars and their Indian
followers’’ for not accepting the unity between the Indus
Valley and Vedic Civilizations.
‘‘Most likely, the authors of the Indus valley civilization
were the Sanskrit-speaking Vedic Aryans,’’ Lal asserted. Lal
invoked the Rig Veda to prove his thesis.
“To say the Vedic
people were nomads is either ignorance or due to a willful
twisting of facts,” he alleged.
of India 12/26/02).
dubbed the hypothesis of “Aryan invasion of India” a myth.
He alleged that it was still accepted for reasons other than
theory that there was an Aryan invasion of India is completely
wrong,” Lal stressed in a seminar in New Delhi and
alleged that political reasons were behind its being in the
proponents of this theory expect us to believe that urban
Harappans, on being sent away to south India, shed overnight
their urban characteristics and took to a stone age way of
living?" asks Lal.
invasion a myth, argues former DG of ASI - indianexpress.com).
For more refer to chapter on Aryan
Sir John Woodroffe aka
Arthur Avalon (1865
-1936) the well known scholar, Advocate-General of Bengal and sometime
Legal Member of the Government of India. He served with competence for eighteen
years and in 1915 officiated as Chief Justice.
Alongside his judicial
duties he studied Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy and was
especially interested in the esoteric Hindu Tantric Shakti
system. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts, and
under his pseudonym Arthur Avalon he published and
lectured prolifically and authoritatively on Indian philosophy
and a wide range of Yoga and Tantra topics. His work helped to
unleash in the West a deep and wide interest in Hindu philosophy
and Yogic practices.
instrumental in removing many of the cobwebs of ignorance that
had come to cluster round the Sakta philosophy and practice. His
most popular and influential book, a major contribution to the
appreciation of Indian philosophy and spirituality, is The
Serpent Power – The secrets of tantric and shaktic yoga,
and Sakta, Introduction
to Tantra Sastra and The
World as Power
He has said:
"Ages before Lamarck and Darwin it was held
in India that man has passed through 84 lakhs (8,400,000) of birth as plants,
animals, as an "inferior species of man" and then as the ancestor of
the developed type existing to-day. The theory was not,
like modern doctrine of evolution, based wholly on observation and a scientific
enquiry into fact but was a rather (as some other matters) an act of brilliant
intuition in which observation may also have had some part."
thought with its usual profundity and avoidance of arbitrary
divisions, regards Philosophy as religious and Religion as
Vedanta does not speak ill of any
religion, but assigns to each its place....I however
was concerned with the religion of the "Idolatrous"
"Heathen"...The point was this,...how could such a
grade people have principles so excellent that the Western
Religions also laid claim to them? It is clear that God has
revealed Himself at all times and to all peoples according to
their capacity to receive knowledge of Him. "It is
Official Christianity which has been slow to recognize the merit
of Indian teaching and to give credit for anything to the
"Heathen." Vedanta kindly
tolerates even the most ignorant of its detractors. "
is Official Christianity which has been slow to recognize the
merit of Indian teaching and to give credit for anything to the
"Heathen. The European
man of a "religious" turn of mind is too often
over-beset with sectarian notions."
Indian culture however have led and will lead to its defense and
"Jvalati chalitendhanah agnir viprakritah
pannagah phanam kurute
Prayah svam mahinmanam kshobhat pratipadyate hi janah."
faggots are stirred the flame leaps. When the Snake is stirred
it rears its hood. Through being stirred to action people mostly
attain their proper greatness."
In writing then
of Indian Culture I have in mind not any soiled or hybrid
developments of the time, but the principles of
civilization of old India, with its Dharma, Devata and Gomata -
a civilization in its depths profound, on its surface a pageant
of antique beauty - the civilization of India of the
Hindus." In India there has been
intellectual and spiritual freedom - the most valuable of all.
The history of Europe on the contrary is marked by intolerance
and abominable persecutions."
"If, as is
finely said in India, Satyannasti paro dharmah - there is no
religion higher than truth. As the Veda says, "Truth will
conquer." (Satyam jayate).
India Civilized: Essays on Indian Culture - By Sir John Woodroffe
p. xiv - 22).
John Woodroffe in Hindu attire at The Konark Sun Temple of Orissa, India.
(image source: The Garland of Letters - By Sir John
examination of the Vedic thesis shows that it is in conformity
with the most advanced philosophical and scientific thoughts of
the West and, where this is not so, it is the scientist who will
go to the Vedantist and not the Vedantist to the
The Eternal Religion - By M. D. Chaturvedi p.16-17).
judge, an educator, a Hindu scholar and translator as well as an
author. During his multifaceted career, he practiced and
taught law in India. Aside from his successful career in law,
which lead to his appointment as Chief Justice of the high court
in 1915, he had a a prolific output as a scholar of Tantra. Had
it not been for him, we might still share that general prejudice
At the beginning of the twentieth century,
Woodroffe boldly disregarded the hostile attitude towards Tantra.
John Woodroffe's achievement in the exposition of Tantrik
thought cannot be over estimated. Himself a follower of Tantric
cult, this great Englishman edited in a masterly way a number of
Tantric texts and most of his views on them are regarded as
authoritative. It is mainly through his writings - a rare
combination of insight and scholarship - that the ideas of the
Tantras began to enter the mind of the West in modern times.
Vision of India - By Sisirkumar Mitra p. 209).
his views, Tantrism represents the full
flowering of the religious spirit of India.
Religions of Ancient India - By Louis
Renou p. 84).
the pseudonym, Arthur Avalon seemed to be an ‘An
Indian Soul in a European Body? His books challenged
the dominant Western understanding of Tantra as a primitive and
demonic cult. His emphasis was on
the philosophical aspects of Tantra and his conclusion that
textual descriptions of rites should be read as deeply spiritual
symbolism. Author of several books including Bharata
Serpent Power he has written:
believe that the East and particularly India possesses that
which is the highest value. I wish to see this preserved for the
mutual benefit of East and West. "
has Panini, Patanjali's Mahbhashya, Supadma, Kalapa, the
Vakyapadiya, Bhopadeva, Sangkshiptasara, Siddantakaumudi,
Laghukaumudi, amongst the ancient, while the Vyakarna Kaumudi,
Upakramanika of Ishwara Chandra Vidyasagara, and the ashubodha
of Taranatha Vachaspati head the moderns. How is it that all
these have been displaced? "
tolerance is not merely a matter of temperament. It is based on
the doctrine of the relativity of ordinary human knowledge and,
in part, of morals and on the doctrine of Adhikara, that is the
teaching that all people are not fit for the same beliefs and
practices, and that what is suited to the capacity,
intellectual, moral, and spiritual, of each person is that which
he may and should accept, follow, and practice.
Hinduism has no
word for "pessimism," a European conception, nor for
optimism either. The universe according to it is a Dvandva or
duality of good and evil.
Bharata Shakti: Collection of Addresses on Indian
Culture - By Sir John Woodroffe p. xxi-xxvi. For more
information, refer to chapter on Yoga
and Hindu Philosophy).
“In India there has been
intellectual and spiritual freedom – the most valuable of all.
This is evidenced by the great variety of religious and
philosophical opinion in this country, Rationalism Theism,
Atheism and so forth, and the existence of a large number of
varying religious communities. The history of Europe on the
contrary is marked by intolerance and abominable persecution.
The “liberty loving nations of the West” have been in the
past greatly, and still are to some extent, behind India in the
matter of intellectual and religious freedom.”
India Civilized: Essays on Indian Culture - By Sir John Woodroffe
p. 21 - 22).
Klaus Klostermaier (1933
- ) Distinguished Professor in the Department of Religious
Studies at the University of Manitoba in Canada. He is author of
several books including Hinduism:
A Short Introduction.
He has written:
has proven much more open than any other religion to new ideas,
scientific thought, and social experimentation. Many concepts
like reincarnation, meditation, yoga
and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be
surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the
twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is
less clear-cut than mainstream Christianity, politically less
determined than Islam, ethically less heroic than Buddhism, but
it would offer something to everybody.
It will appear idealistic to those who look for idealism, pragmatic to the
pragmatists, spiritual to the seekers, sensual to the here-and-now generation. Hinduism,
by virtue of its lack of an ideology and its reliance on intuition, will appear to be more
plausible than those religions whose doctrinal positions petrified a thousand years
"Hinduism will spread not so
much through the gurus and swamis, who attract a certain number
of people looking for a new commitment and a quasi-monastic
life-style, but it will spread mainly through the work
of intellectuals and writers, who have found certain Hindu
ideas convincing and who identify them with their
personal beliefs. A fair number of
leading physicists and biologists have found parallels between
modern science and Hindu ideas. An increasing number
of creative scientists will come from a Hindu background, will
consciously, and unconsciously blend their scientific and their
religious ideas. All of us may be
already much more Hindu than we think."
Survey of Hinduism - by Klaus
B V Tripurari ( ? ) American born has spent over 30 years as a Hindu
monastic, Awarded the
sannyasa order in 1975, Swami Tripurari has studied under
several spiritual masters in the Gaudiya lineage, notably AC
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He is the
founder of the
Gaudiya Vaishava Society in 1985, author
of several books, most recently Bhagavad-Gita:
Its Feeling and Philosophy.
"For those now disenchanted
with industrialization and scientific materialism as well as
pseudo spirituality, India's ancient spiritual heritage provides
a rich alternative. Eastern philosophy, and the
devotional heart of India's Vedanta in particular, can fill the empty shopping bag of our
'Whoever reads the Bhagavad Gita for the first time will be
struck by the beauty and depth of this work."
"Our present environmental crisis is in essence a
spiritual crisis. We need only to look back to medieval Europe and the psychic
revolution that vaulted Christianity to victory over paganism to find the spirit
of the environmental crisis. Inhibitions to the exploitation of nature vanished
as the Church took the "spirits" out of the trees, mountains, and
seas. Christianity's ghost-busting theology made it possible for man to exploit
nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects. It made
nature man's monopoly. This materialist paradigm has dominated the modern world for
last few centuries. The current deplorable condition demands a spiritual
response. A fundamental reorientation of human consciousness, accompanied by
action that is born out of inner commitment, is very much needed. One of the
measures that could help a great deal to fulfill this need is to regenerate and
rejuvenate basic values of Hindu culture and propagate them."
Wisdom for Modern Ignorance - By
B V Tripurari p ix -xii
and 13). For more on Swami Tripurari refer to chapter on Nature
Biardeau ( ? )
was professor of Indian Religion at the Ecole
Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, author of several books,
in Hinduism: Vedism and Hinduism and India.
wrote about the interchange that is continually occurs in Indian
philosophy and which can even be experienced by the more prosaic
foreigner if he is willing to attune himself to the Indian
atmosphere. She writes that, as well as being 'a personal loving
God in the form of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, divinity is at
the same time referred to in the Bhagavad Purana divinity and in
many other texts as supremely impassive - none other than the
God of Indian devotion - bhakti who responds to the same eternal
needs of the human heart as exists anywhere else, never detaches
himself wholly from the immanence of the world. He is personal
and endowed with feelings only in the eyes of popular piety; to
thought he reveals himself both far beyond and within at the
same time; he reveals it as much as he hides it; and each man is
in himself in some sort a manifestation of God."
Music of India -
By Peggy Holroyde p. 36).
267. Navaratna S
Rajaram (1943 - ) is a mathematician, computer
scientist and linguist and historian of science. He has taught
in several universities in the United States. Since 1984 he has
been an advisor to the National Aeronautical and Space
He has written several books including Politics
of History, Aryan Invasion Theory and the Subversion of
He has written:
"Hindu God is not an
external God who reveals himself only to a chosen prophet to be
then imposed as the ultimate authority on others. God is
something that anyone can know through one's own effort and
seeking. Remember Krishna's words: "All creatures great and
small - I am equal to all; I hate none, nor have I any
favorites." The different yogas are pathways that can lead
one to knowledge of God. This is similar to ancient Greek
mysticism as practiced by sages like Pythagoras. There is no
dogma that an external agent enforces upon everyone in the name
of One God. Thus, the Hindu God like the Greek God is a personal
God - as diverse as the individual. The multiplicity of Gods one
sees in Hindu and Greek pantheons is a reflection of the
multiplicity of pathways explored by sages. It is a natural
consequence of the spiritual freedom that is the right of every
Hindu View of the World: Essays In the
Intellectual Kshatriya Tradition -
By N S Rajaram p. 8). For more refer to chapter on Aryan
Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883)
Rightly described as
a human dynamo, Swami Dayananda shook the structure of
established Hinduism to its foundations and infused into it new
blood and fresh vigor. The
Samaj, was a prophet with a difference. Dayanand is the
father of both Renaissance (he brought to life world’s supreme
knowledge, the Vedas, with his slogan ‘Back to Vedas) and
In 1849, the British
annexation of Punjab, introduced the
aggressive conversion of faith of
In time, Christianity threatened each of the coexisting
religions. Christian missionaries brought with them new forms of organization
and techniques of proselytism. He
created a psychological revolution and gave tremendous
self-confidence to Hindudom. Swamy Dayananda took the Christian
and Muslim converts back into the Hindu fold by performing
purification rites for them.
British rulers sought to consolidate their rule by instilling
inferiority complex among the then 90 per cent majority
community. The British called Indians "most backward,
barbaric, without the gift of scientific inventions and
discoveries, the worst and most pitiable creatures, to whom we
brought the light of learning, blessings of science and
Vedas are the earliest books, Hinduism is the most ancient of
all the religions that have survived".
prophet with a difference - tribuneindia.com).
Another very important
contribution of Swami Dayananda is his work, 'Satyartha
Prakash' (The Light of Truth). It contains fourteen
chapters. It is a great book. It explains the true meaning of
the Vedas and therefore is 'Satyartha Prakash'. And it is based
solely on the Vedas.
For more on Dayananda Saraswati, refer to chapter Unknown
Hindu Revivalists and refer to Arya
Holroyde ( ? ) British author of several
books on India including Indian
Music: a vast ocean of promise and East
comes West: a background to some Asian Faiths, writes:
sparkling energy of India lies in Hinduism. Without the
framework of Hindu belief India would fall apart. Without
Hinduism India is not herself.
"Because Indian society has, like the Chinese, been a
unitary one where science and religion have never been in
conflict, there has been no basic split as has happened with our
own Christian background. Our own antagonism between the two
disciplines of theology and science has created chaos in our
thinking and a curious dichotomy during the past two centuries.
In India I found a thankful release from our restricted vision
of the creation of God."
has remained in constant, replenished usage throughout this
tremendous stretch of time, impervious to outside influence, as
onward flowing as the imperturbable Ganga itself. Not even
Moghul invasion and Muslim supremacy for 700 years, nor the
arrival of the British, Dutch, French and Portuguese with their
own civilization and standards, penetrated into the imperious
core of this steadfast faith. Hindu thought took and absorbed
according to its own will, folding itself inwards at the sense
of approaching danger like some gigantic sea-anemone drawing up
all its tentacles, only to stretch outwards and flourish when
the danger was past. One continues to hope that this will remain
so, that modern Indians will realize
that this is their enviable strength despite all their
understandable yearnings for the material advantages of
technology which they have seen give power and monopoly of
advantage to the Western world. But their quality of synthesis,
of intelligent absorption, may still save them from the
sterility of urban life and the monotonous obsession with
quantity and things, rather than with quality and
Music of India -
By Peggy Holroyde p. 44-52).
(1939 - )
Austrian-born famous theoretical
high-energy physicist and ecologist and the author of
Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and
is co-director of the Center for Eco-Literacy in Berkeley. Capra
who studied with Werner Heisenberg says:
be called a philosophy, nor is it a well defined religion. It
is, rather, a large and complex socio-religious organism
consisting of innumerable sects, cults, and philosophical
systems and involving various rituals, ceremonies and spiritual
disciplines, as well as the worship of countless gods, and
goddesses. The many facets of this
complex, and yet persistent and powerful spiritual tradition
mirror the geographical, racial, linguistic and cultural
complexities of India’s vast subcontinent. The
manifestations of Hinduism range from highly intellectual depth
to the naïve ritual practices of the masses. If the majority of
the Hindus are simple villagers who keep the popular religion
alive in their daily worship, Hinduism
has, on the other hand, brought forth a large number of
outstanding spiritual teachers to transmit its profound
contain the essence of Hinduism’s spiritual message. They have
guided and inspired India’s greatest minds for the last
twenty-five centuries, in accordance with the advice given by
Taking as a bow
the great weapon of the Upanishad,
One should put upon it an arrow sharpened by
Stretching it with a though directed to the essence of That,
Penetrate that Imperishable as the mark, my friend.
has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not
only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and
death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of
inorganic matter. Modern physics has thus revealed that every
subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is
an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and
saw cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which
particles were destroyed and created in rhythmic pulses; I saw
the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in
this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I heard its
sound, and at that moment I knew that this was the Dance
of Shiv, the Lord of Dancers."
"The metaphor of the cosmic dancer has found its most
profound and beautiful expression in Hinduism in the image of
the dancing Shiva."
dance of Shiva is
the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy
going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one
For the modern
physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic
matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of
creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis
of all existence and of all natural phenomenon. Hundreds of
years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing
Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our times,
physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the
patterns of the cosmic dance. The bubble-chamber photographs of
interacting particles, which bear testimony to the continual
rhythm of creation and destruction in the universe, are visual
images of the dance of Shiva equaling those of the Indian
artists in beauty and profound significance. The metaphor of the
cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art, and
modern physics. It is indeed, as Coomaraswamy has said,
‘poetry, but none the less science."
Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic
more refer to chapter on Greater
India: Suvarnabhumi and
idea of a periodically expanding and contracting universe, which
involves a scale of tome and space of vast proportions; has
arisen not only in modern cosmology, but also in ancient Indian
mythology. Experiencing the universe as an organic and
rhythmically moving cosmos, the Hindus were able to develop
evolutionary cosmologies which come very close to our modern
scientific models. The Hindu sages were
not afraid to identify this rhythmic divine play with the
evolution of the cosmos as a whole. They pictured the
universe as periodically expanding and contracting and gave the
name kalpa to the unimaginable time span between the beginning
and the end of one creation. The scale
of this ancient myth is indeed staggering; it has taken the
human mind more than two thousand years to come up again with a
two foundations of of twentieth-century physics - quantum theory
and relativity theory - both force us to see the world very much
in the way a Hindu, Buddhist...sees it."
Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and
Eastern Mysticism - By Fritjof Capra p.
85 - 245 and 17).
of my first excursions in Bombay was to the famous Elephanta (Gharapuri)
caves, a magnificent ancient temple dedicated to Shiva with huge
stone sculptures representing the god in his many
manifestations. I stood in awe
in front of those powerful sculptures whose reproductions I had
known and loved for many years: the triple image of Shiva
Mahesvara, the Great Lord, radiating serene tranquility and
peace; Shiva Ardhanari, the stunning unification of male and
female forms in the rhythmic, swaying movement of the deity’s
androgynous body and in the serene detachment of his/her face;
and Shiva Nataraja the celebrated four-armed Cosmic Dancer whose
superbly balanced gestures express the dynamic unity of all
life.” “I had a more powerful experience of
Shiva sculpture in the Ellora caves. The beauty and power of
these sacred caves are beyond words. “
had shown Heisenberg
numerous examples that the principal Sanskrit terms used in
Hindu and Buddhist philosophy – Brahman,
rita, lila, karma, samsara etc. had dynamic
Wisdom - By Fritjof Capra
p. 49 and p
Cosmic Dance at CERN - the European Center for Research in
Particle Physics in Geneva.
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