Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/3/19

Most important, the central doctrine of nazism, that the Jew was evil and had to be exterminated, had its origin in the Gnostic position that there were two worlds, one good and one evil, one dark and one light, one materialistic and one spiritual.... The mystical teachings of Guido von List, Lanz von Liebenfels, and Rudolf von Sebottendorff were modern restatements of Gnosticism.

When the apocalyptic promise of Christ's resurrection was broken, the Gnostics sought to return men to God by another route, more Oriental than Hellenist. They devised a dualistic cosmology to set against the teachings of the early Christian Church, which, they claimed, were only common deceptions, unsuited for the wise. The truth was esoteric. Only the properly initiated could appreciate it. It belonged to a secret tradition which had come down through certain mystery schools. The truth was, God could never become man. There were two separate realms -- one spiritual, the other material. The spiritual realm, created by God, was all good; the material realm, created by the demiurge, all evil. Man needed to be saved, not from Original Sin, but from enslavement to matter. For this, he had to learn the mystical arts. Thus Gnosticism became a source for the occult tradition.

A famous medieval Gnostic sect, the Cathars, came to identify the Old Testament god, Jehovah, with the demiurge, the creator of the material world and therefore the equivalent of Satan. Within Gnosticism, then, existed the idea that the Jewish god was really the devil, responsible for all the evil in the world. He was opposed to the New Testament God. The Cathars tried to eliminate the Old Testament from Church theology and condemned Judaism as a work of Satan's, whose aim was to tempt men away from the spirit. Jehovah, they said, was the god of an earth "waste and void," with darkness "upon the face of the deep." Was he not cruel and capricious? They quoted Scripture to prove it. The New Testament God, on the other hand, was light. He declared that "there is neither male nor female," for everyone was united in Christ. These two gods, obviously, had nothing in common.

The synagogue was regarded as profane by Christians. The Cathars -- themselves considered heretical by the Church -- castigated Catholics for refusing to purge themselves of Jewish sources; Church members often blamed the [Cathar] Christian heresy on Jewish mysticism, which was considered an inspiration for Gnostic sorcery.

But Gnostic cosmology, though officially branded "false," pervaded the thinking of the Church. The Jews were widely thought to be magicians. It was believed that they could cause rain, and when there was a drought, they were encouraged to do so. Despite the displeasure of the Roman Popes, Christians, when they were in straitened circumstances, practiced Jewish customs, even frequenting synagogues.

This sheds light on an otherwise incomprehensible recurring theme within Nazi literature, as, for example, "The Earth-Centered Jew Lacks a Soul," by one of the chief architects of Nazi dogma, Alfred Rosenberg, who held that whereas other people believe in a Hereafter and in immortality, the Jew affirms the world and will not allow it to perish. The Gnostic secret is that the spirit is trapped in matter, and to free it, the world must be rejected. Thus, in his total lack of world-denial, the Jew is snuffing out the inner light, and preventing the millennium:

Where the idea of the immortal dwells, the longing for the journey or the withdrawal from temporality must always emerge again; hence, a denial of the world will always reappear. And this is the meaning of the non-Jewish peoples: they are the custodians of world-negation, of the idea of the Hereafter, even if they maintain it in the poorest way. Hence, one or another of them can quietly go under, but what really matters lives on in their descendants. If, however, the Jewish people were to perish, no nation would be left which would hold world-affirmation in high esteem -- the end of all time would be here.

... the Jew, the only consistent and consequently the only viable yea-sayer to the world, must be found wherever other men bear in themselves ... a compulsion to overcome the world.... On the other hand, if the Jew were continually to stifle us, we would never be able to fulfill our mission, which is the salvation of the world, but would, to be frank, succumb to insanity, for pure world-affirmation, the unrestrained will for a vain existence, leads to no other goal. It would literally lead to a void, to the destruction not only of the illusory earthly world but also of the truly existent, the spiritual. Considered in himself the Jew represents nothing else but this blind will for destruction, the insanity of mankind. It is known that Jewish people are especially prone to mental disease. "Dominated by delusions," said Schopenhauer about the Jew.

... To strip the world of its soul, that and nothing else is what Judaism wants. This, however, would be tantamount to the world's destruction.

This remarkable statement, seemingly the rantings of a lunatic, expresses the Gnostic theme that the spirit of man, essentially divine, is imprisoned in an evil world. The way out of this world is through rejection of it. But the Jew alone stands in the way. Behind all the talk about "the earth-centered Jew" who "lacks a soul"; about the demonic Jew who will despoil the Aryan maiden; about the cabalistic work of the devil in Jewish finance; about the sinister revolutionary Jewish plot to take over the world and cause the decline of civilization, there is the shadow of ancient Gnosticism.

-- Gods & Beasts: The Nazis & the Occult, by Dusty Sklar

7. Lucifer's Quest for the Holy Grail

As long as I live I will think of Sabarthes, of Montsegur, of the Grail castle, and of the Grail itself that may have been the treasure of the heretics spoken of in the Records of the Inquisition. I haven't been fortunate enough, I admit, to discover it myself! [1]


Probably one of the most outlandish -- yet somehow oddly grand, strangely cosmic -- endeavors of the Third Reich in general, and of the SS in particular, was Himmler's search for the Holy Grail. This was an actual program of the SS, a program which has since been immortalized in the first and third films of Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones trilogy. The author is not aware of the degree to which Spielberg was cognizant of actual SS operations designed to acquire such legendary treasure, but there is enough fact in the fiction to warrant serious consideration in this chapter.

In order to understand what Himmler was up to, we will have to look at the climate surrounding the Ahnenerbe and at what many readers probably think of as being a purely Christian symbol: the Holy Grail. As we do so, we will come across a fascinating individual whom history has treated rather shabbily, the young SS officer and historian, Otto Rahn (1904-1939).

It was, after all, Otto Rahn who helped popularize the notion that the Grail was not the special property of the Catholic Church (should it actually exist, and should it ever be found). For Rahn, the Grail was an emblem set up in opposition to the established Church -- indeed, was a Luciferian symbol -- and for this the Nazis were grateful; for, if Rahn's conclusion was correct, it gave them a philosophical and historical edge over organized Christianity.

The Crusade against the Grail

Rahn's first published work, Kreuzzug gegen den Graal (Crusade Against the Grail), was devoted to a study of what is sometimes referred to as the Albigensian Crusade: a war that took place between the Roman Catholic Church and a Christian cult known alternatively as the Albigensians (after the town of Albi in southern France) or the Cathars: "the Pure." The Cathars were a type of fundamentalist Christian sect that enjoyed enormous popularity in thirteenth-century Europe, even among the nobility. They were opposed to the materialism of the Catholic Church and what they perceived to be the corruption of Christ's teachings by the Church. In many of their beliefs, they were closer to the Gnostics and Manichaeans than to Roman Catholics; indeed, there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that they might have been a Manichaean survival. Regardless of their actual origins, however, they began attracting converts in large numbers, particularly in France.

Their beliefs included the doctrine that Christ was pure spirit and had never inhabited a human -- that is, a material -- form; that the dead will not be resurrected in the body, since the body was made of matter, which the Cathars viewed as Satanic; that there were two forces in the universe, one of good and the other of evil; that procreation was evil, as it increased the amount of matter in the world and trapped souls within material forms.

That death was good, and not a time for mourning; that there was no particular reason why the bodies of the dead should be revered since the bodies were the evil part of the human constitution.

Naturally, they were branded as heretics by the Church and eventually Catholic armies were sent to destroy them under order of Pope Innocent III in 1209. It was from a Catholic commander -- a Cistercian abbot, no less -- surrounding a French town composed of both Cathar and Catholic civilians (men, women, and children) that we receive the immortal line: "Kill them all. God will recognize his own."

The belief of the Cathars -- and of their close relatives, the Albigensians or Albigeois of the Languedoc region of France -- that matter was essentially impure and evil, and that only spirit was pure and good is a patently Gnostic doctrine. The belief in two gods -- one evil, the other good -- is both Gnostic and Manichaean. Hence, it has been argued that the Cathars were an extension of a Middle Eastern sect of Manichees or of Gnostics in possession of a "secret tradition" concerning the life and death of Christ and the origins of Christianity. The Cathars claimed that the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) was full of references to an Evil God -- Jehovah -- even as they insisted that the Bible was either full of errors or had been interpreted incorrectly by generations of self-serving Roman Catholic theologians. (One should remember that in 1209 the Gutenberg press had not been invented and that Bibles were in scarce supply. Those that existed were in the dead tongues of Latin and Greek, and in the possession of the Church. The average person knew very little of what was in the Bible, except for what he or she was told by a priest.)

Another Cathar peculiarity is that -- perhaps late in their tragic story -- they legitimized a form of ritual suicide, called the endura: one simply starved oneself to death, or was poisoned, or was strangled or suffocated by the brethren. They also rejected most of the sacraments of the Church as so much superstitious nonsense. In their anti-Papal stance they were close to the rather more Calvinist Waldensians with whom they have been frequently -- and erroneously -- linked.

At dinner ... he spoke of India and Indian philosophy. This led him to speak of a subject which was a hobbyhorse of his: in a lively manner he described to me the result of researches in German witchcraft trials. He said it was monstrous that thousands of witches had been burned during the Middle Ages. So much good German blood had been stupidly destroyed. From this he began an attack on the Catholic Church, and at the same time on Calvin; before I had caught up with all this he was discussing the Spanish Inquisition and the essential nature of primitive Christianity. [2]


These words from Foreign Intelligence Chief Walter Schellenberg's memoirs concerning a meeting with Himmler in the Ukraine in the summer of 1942 indicate just how interested the Reichsfuhrer-SS was in such philosophical and metaphysical questions, including early Christianity, Calvinism, the Inquisition ... even the witch trials, on all of which Himmler considered himself something of an expert.

The Cathar ideology must have appealed to him and the other Nazis in a profound way. After all, the very word "Cathar" means "pure," and purity -- particularly of the blood as the physical embodiment of spiritual "goodness" -- was an issue of prime importance to the SS. The Cathars railed against the gross materialism of the Church; the Nazis viewed themselves as inherently anti-Capitalist, even though they were forced to deal with large industrial concerns in order to obtain absolute power in Germany. (To Hitler and his followers, Capitalism was immoral and they equated it with the excesses of the Jewish financiers that -- they said -- had brought the nation to ruin during the First World War and the depression that followed.)

The Cathars, in denying the value of the Old Testament and in attacking Jehovah as a kind of Satan, naturally seemed to be in perfect agreement with Nazi ideology concerning the Jews and, as we shall see, with the current incarnation of neo-Nazi ideologues in the Christian Identity movement and in the Process Church of the Final Judgment.

Further, the Cathars were fanatics, willing to die for their cause; sacrificing themselves to the Church's onslaught they enjoyed the always enviable aura of spiritual underdogs. There was something madly beautiful in the way they were immolated on the stakes of the Inquisition, professing their faith and their hatred of Rome until the very end. The Nazis could identify with the Cathars: with their overall fanaticism, with their contempt for the way vital spiritual matters were commercialized (polluted) by the Establishment, and with their passion for "purity." It is perhaps inevitable that the Cathars should have made a sacrament out of suicide, for they must have known that their Quest was doomed to failure from the start. They must have wished for death as a release from a corrupt and insensitive world; and it's entirely possible that, at the root of Nazism, lay a similar death wish. Hitler was surrounded by the suicides of his mistresses and contemplated it himself on at least one occasion before he actually pulled the trigger in Berlin in 1945. Himmler and other captured Nazi leaders killed themselves rather than permit the Allies to do the honors for them. Haushofer committed suicide. Even Sebottendorff plunged himself into the Bosporus. Perhaps the passionate desire of concentration camp survivors to see all Nazi war criminals executed for their crimes -- even at this late date -- represents an unconscious realization that suicide (like a natural death) is too good for the monsters of the Reich; that, like the Cathars whom they admired, the Nazis saw in suicide that consolation and release from the world of Satanic matter promised by this most cynical of Cathar sacraments.

For some reason, it became popular to assume that these same Cathars were in possession of a mysterious sacred object and that, on the eve of destruction of the last major Cathar opposition at the fortress of Montsegur in southern France on March 14, 1244, some Cathars managed to escape with this object down the side of their mountain citadel (then under siege by Catholic troops). This sacred object has been identified by later generations of amateur historians as nothing less than the Holy Grail. [3]

Before the collapse of Montsegur, as some (mostly French) authors have proposed, the Grail was in the possession of the infamous Order of the Knights Templar, the Order after which von Liebenfels and Kellner named their respective cults; the same Order that was created by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the famous abbot of the Cistercian Order. Depending on whom one reads, the Templars were believed to have discovered either the Grail or the Ark of the Covenant (or both?) during their sojourn in Palestine at the site of Solomon's Temple. Several studies have been made of the Templar cathedrals -- Chartres in particular -- to prove that the Templars left a coded message in stone revealing that they brought a sacred object of great value back with them from the East, an object whose tremendous, otherworldly power enabled them to finance, design, and build a series of magnificent churches all over France in an amazingly short period of time. Indeed, the time line is suggestive for, according to an authoritative work on the subject by Henry Adams, during the space of one hundred years (from A.D. 1170 to A.D. 1270) the Church built eighty cathedrals in France and hundreds of other "cathedral-class" churches at an estimated cost of one billion in 1905 U.S. dollars. [4]

The pseudonymous author on alchemy and architecture, Fulcanelli, contributed to this idea of a Templar secret tradition in his Le Mystere des Cathedrales, first published in 1925. It has been translated into English and forms the core of yet another mystical tradition. [5]

Just why the Cathars should then have found themselves in possession of the Grail remains something of a mystery. Certainly there is a robust literature concerning the Grail -- known as Grail Romances to the historians -- that identify it as anything from a sacred stone that fell from the sky (the lapis exilis or lapis ex coelis) to the actual cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and which was used to catch drops of his blood during the crucifixion. Indeed, Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival depicts the Grail as a stone and not as a cup; the older romance by Chretien de Troyes depicts the Grail as a cup and not as a stone, and this image is perpetuated in Malory's Le Marte d'Arthur. As if to compromise on this controversy, one of the carved figures on the north door of Chartres Cathedral -- that of the Old Testament High Priest Melchisedek -- is shown holding a Cup from which the Stone rises.

And from time to time various objects have been found which their owners claimed to be the Grail but none of these have stood up to even cursory scrutiny.

Recently, the writing team of Walter Birks and R. A. Gilbert have conspired to put an end to all the speculation. [6] Birks served with the British Army in the Middle East during the war with the rank of major, prior to which he had been involved in esoteric and spiritualist circles in England; Gilbert is an historian of occultism, most notably of the Golden Dawn. Together, they denigrate the writings of Rahn as "tortuous reasoning and linguistic lunacy" [7] and the book by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln (Holy Blood, Holy Grail) as evidence of a "lunatic theory" supported by an "inchoate mass of irrelevancies." [8]

For Birks and Gilbert, the treasure of Montsegur "never was": it was not the Grail, not a cache of Templar gold, not the bloodline of Jesus, but "the power to transmit the apostolic succession, the seed perhaps of a higher form of Christianity to be revealed when the world is ready to receive it." [9] They base this theory on Biblical exegesis, interpretations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the writings of Josephus and others, and on what remains of Cathar ritual and theology. Birks was present at a Cathar research site at Ussat-les-Bains in the late 1930s (although too late to have met Rahn, who also researched and lived at the site) and was friendly with one Antonin Gadal, about whom more later. Birks himself states that it was during conversation with a member of the Nosairi sect in the Middle East that he realized the Cathar treasure was not a material Grail at all, but the "Light-filled vessel": i.e., a purely metaphorical image based on the cup of sacramental wine which the Nosairi use to drink "to the Light": an emblem of the true teaching of Christianity before it became confused and bowdlerized by the Evangelists and the various Councils. This is all involved with a Nosairi tradition of the "way of the Stars," that a human soul, after death, proceeds up a ladder of lights, of stars, to heaven. Birks was satisfied with that, and the doctrine of Light provided him with a great illumination (no pun intended); but we have come full circle, for the way of the Stars and the doctrine of the Light are amply represented by the myths of the Celts, the Nordic peoples, and many others in whom Rahn discovered the scattered fragments of a lost mystical tradition, and the "Light-filled vessel" may be an entirely appropriate reference to Rahn's rediscovered doctrine of Lucifer, the Light-Bearer.

SS-Obersturmfuhrer Parzival

As mentioned, one of the most famous Grail romances is that composed by Wolfram von Eschenbach, entitled Parzival. It is this particular romance that has remained the authoritative word on the subject for many people, and which was the work that inspired Otto Rahn in his researches (and Richard Wagner in his famous opera by the same name).

Rahn was an impoverished scholar of history whose soul became inflamed by equal doses of Wagner and von Eschenbach in his youth. The beneficiary of a classical education in both literature and philology, he spent five years traveling throughout Europe in search of myths, legends, and the records of heretical cults, all of which he believed would point to the existence of a native, crypto-pagan, Gnostic-type religion in Europe. Finding mythological and philological links between such varied phenomena as the troubadours, the Grail legends, European paganism, and the heretical sect known as the Cathars, Rahn felt he had discovered evidence of an ancient German religious tradition that had been suppressed by the Church.

Identifying the pure knight Parzival as a Cathar or Cathar manque, Rahn went on to write a history of the Cathar rebellion from the point of view of Grail Romance. Although this sounds like pure Guido von List or Lanz von Liebenfels, Rahn was a scholar of somewhat greater integrity who based his work on accepted primary sources (such as the records of the Inquisition, the poems and songs of the troubadours, and the medieval Grail legends) and on his own, on-the-scene research.

He arrived in the Languedoc region of France in 1931 and there met a gentleman well-known in Grail circles, Antonin Gadal. [10] Gadal maintained a private Cathar museum at the small town of Ussat-les-Bains, a tourist attraction and spa in the Pyrenees with an allegedly Cathar connection. He also had an extensive library on the subject of the Cathars and the Grail, from which Rahn probably derived much benefit. Gadal was a member of a society called The Friends of Montsegur and the Grail, of which the noted historian Rene Nelli was vice president (it was Nelli who would translate Rahn's work into French). [11] The society -- as its name implies -- believed that a connection existed between the Cathar movement and the Grail Romances. This concept had been broached in 1906 by the popular French author Josephin Peladan in Le Secret des Troubadours. Former Golden Dawn member Arthur Edward Waite had discounted the theory that the Grail legend had anything to do with either Cathars or Albigensians in a book published three years later (The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail), but then Waite was in a state of apostasy from the Golden Dawn as he had denied their occult rituals as essentially evil and replaced them with Christian versions, forming his own rather boring occult order in the process.

In May of 1932 Rahn decided to become an innkeeper to support his researches and invested in a local establishment at Ussat. By September he was bankrupt, and disappeared from France only to reappear shortly thereafter in Germany. By then, he had accumulated quite enough information to write his own book on the subject of the Cathars and the Grail, Kreuzzug gegen den Graal, which was published in 1933 and translated into French the following year as Croisade contre le Graal (Crusade Against the Grail).

Although the book did not earn Rahn a lot of money, it eventually came to the attention of no less an admirer than Heinrich Himmler.

According to one version of the story, [12] the Reichsfuhrer-SS personally invited the author to meet him at his Prinz Albrechtstrasse headquarters in Berlin. There, he offered Rahn a commission in the SS and virtually unlimited resources for which Himmler expected Rahn to continue his research into the Grail legends, the Cathars, and related subjects of Aryan interest.

According to another version, [13] Rahn was a personal friend of volkisch "channeler" Karl Maria Wiligut -- also known as SS-Oberfuhrer Weisthor -- a gentleman who had once been certified insane but who nonetheless claimed that he had perfect recall of the entire ancient history of the Teuton peoples going back over 200,000 years, a kind of ancient racial memory upon which he could call at any time. This was, of course, a very handy ability to possess and Himmler considered himself fortunate to have access to the services of a man who could fill in those great gaps of Teutonic history that result when a master race proves rather lax in developing a written language. Wiligut's ability was, he claimed, due to the fact that his family's lineage had been kept pure at every generation down the millennia from that time in the misty past when the gods of air and water mated in humid embrace to produce the milky Wiligut bloodline. Wiligut, another of Germany's rune scholars, clairvoyants, and Teutonic mystics, held salon-type meetings at his home on arcane Aryan topics at which Himmler and the young Otto Rahn were said to be frequent guests.

Wiligut insisted that Christianity was really a German invention; that Christ was really the ancient Teutonic god Baldur, who was crucified by a schismatic group of Wotan-worshiping thugs. Baldur, however, managed to escape to the Middle East and ... and ... well, the rest is New Testament. His remaining followers in Germany built a cult center sacred to their faith at the prehistoric site of Externsteine, which was to become the subject of much discussion and excavation by the Ahnenerbe. (See Chapter Six.)

Of course, like most other occult theory, Wiligut's cross-eyed thesis is based on a number of verifiable historical traditions that can be found in a careful reading of ancient texts, in this case of the Eddas and other Scandinavian and Gothic lore that predate the Christian conversion of these peoples by hundreds (and not hundreds of thousands) of years. Baldur, for instance, was a slain and resurrected god like many other agricultural deities of many other lands. The Norse Creation story is remarkably similar to that of ancient Sumeria, with the known universe created out of the corpse of another slain god. That Christianity adopted pagan ceremonies, cult centers, holidays, and myths is by now well known; in fact, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify just what a "pure" form of Christianity would look like. However, Wiligut's problem -- and the problem of many amateur historians in his class -- is that he took the myths and legends of the ancient European peoples and blended them together with theosophical and other newly coined mystical beliefs with little or no historical basis. The commonality of motifs in these various myths from widely divergent sources may best be explained by the type of research undertaken by MIT Professor de Santillana (as mentioned in a previous chapter) and others who see in these stories a coded form of astronomical observations. The relatively new sciences of epigraphy and paleoastronomy may answer many questions previously considered the domain of occultism.

Yet, on the basis of this and related historical fantasies, Wiligut was made the head of the Department of Prehistory at the Race and Settlement Office (RuSHA) of the SS, and eventually attained the exalted rank of SS-Brigadefuhrer, or Brigadier, on Himmler's Personal Staff. It was Wiligut who designed the Schutzstaffel's special Death's Head (totenkopf) ring, a device replete with runic symbols including the inevitable swastika as well as those of Wiligut's personal armorial design. The latter detail implied that somehow Wiligut was, himself, the last and sole physical repository of glacially pure Teutonic blood; a claim that was the cornerstone of his philosophy and which gave him that unique unbroken memory which made him so valuable to those lesser mortals who could only prove their racial purity back to the year 1750 (as required of SS recruits) and whose race memory had therefore fallen victim to the ravages of ancient couplings with diseased and drooling subhumans, such as Hungarians.

It has been said that Rahn was introduced to Himmler by Wiligut himself, and that Himmler accepted the young scholar into the SS on Wiligut's personal recommendation. Wiligut then kept in constant touch with Rahn as the latter went about on his travels through France, Germany, and Iceland, hot on the very cold trail of the mysterious Cathar treasure he believed was the Grail. He communicated his findings to Wiligut periodically in letters that were to be shared with no one else but Himmler, so secret and so important were their contents. One wonders what these secrets were, for they are certainly not to be found in Rahn's second book, a work published under Nazi supervision. However, some letters from Rahn to Wiligut have survived, [14] marked "extremely confidential," dealing -- for instance -- with linguistic evidence of pagan sites concealed within modern German place names, and begging the Seer to communicate his findings with "the Reichsfuhrer-SS only." As these letters are dated as early as 1935 -- and signed with a hearty "Heil Hitler!" -- we can see that Rahn was intimate with the highest circles of the SS hierarchy by this time. Rahn's friend Paul Ladame, however, insists that when he ran into Rahn in July, 1936, on the Joachimstaler Strasse in Berlin, Rahn was resplendent in full SS uniform, bearing the flashes of the Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler and, when asked how he had come to be wearing such a thing, replied "My dear Paul, a man has to eat!" [15]

Whether or not Rahn was any kind of real Nazi, his two books do reveal, however, that he believed the Catholic Church had all but destroyed essential elements of a secret German religious tradition, a tradition whose persecution began with the Cathars in the thirteenth century and which ended, triumphantly, with the destruction of the Templar Order a hundred years later. The German tradition was not a Christian one in the generally accepted sense. Rather, it was a pagan religion whose elements were appropriated by the Church as a means of diluting it of its power: the Grail, the knightly Orders, the sacred Quest, and the eternal struggle between Light and Darkness. Except, for the Cathars as filtered through the meditations of Rahn, Light in this case was represented by -- not Jesus or Jehovah -- but by another spirit, the "Light-Bearer." To Rahn, this Entity represented the highest good. To Rahn (at least officially), the Nazi Reich in general -- and the SS in particular -- became the servitors of an ancient pagan cult whose god was known to the medieval Christians not as Jesus but as Lucifer.

Lucifer's Servants

As we saw in the preceding chapter, Himmler's personal agenda was to amass enough data -- archaeological, historical, cultural, religious, and occult -- to prove that the Aryan "race" was superior to all other races on earth and that the Germans were the inheritors of the Aryan bloodline. He also had to prove that, at some point in history, what are now the German peoples owned virtually all the real estate in Europe. This would not only seem to legitimize Hitler's Drive to the East, but might prove useful in establishing that the Germans had an historical right to do whatever they wanted with whatever inferior, mongrel races they found there.

Proving the existence of a hitherto unknown German religious tradition that predated Christianity and which was more in tune with the German Volk would go a long way toward propping up Himmler's other theories and give substance to the twin policies of Aryan racial superiority and German claim to the land. It would provide the necessary philosophical underpinning for an occult renaissance in Europe and prove stronger than the various Christian sects that had arbitrarily divided the race along ideological lines. A German spiritual tradition that transcended Christian history would provide a blood religion that could unit the racially pure peoples of Europe -- Aryans in diaspora -- and thus erase national boundaries and Christian sensitivities in one blow.

(To those readers of today who find this mission a trifle weird, might the author be permitted to remind them that no less a modern state than Israel was founded along pretty much the same lines? Jewish claims upon the territory are based upon religious scriptures, and citizenship in the State of Israel is limited to those who can prove they are Jews. One may remember the difficulty Ethiopian Jews had in emigrating to Israel. The author does not point this out in order to devalue Jewish claims upon the territory known as Palestine before 1948, but to illustrate a point: that great nations -- and national agendas -- are sometimes erected on such weak timber as a human-interpreted word of God or on the blood of the "Aryans." If it could have been proven that the so-called Aryan peoples were at one time in the distant past in control of vast amounts of European, American, and Asian real estate ... so what?)

In this dubious endeavor, Himmler had two distinct sets of ideological opponents. First of all, there were the genuine scientists who disparaged such canonical Nazi claims as Aryan racial purity and the prevalence of an Aryan cult or proto-Christian society over all of Europe and Asia in the distant past. For these, Himmler hoped to provide concrete evidence that Aryans (and, hence, Germans) had established communities in such remote locales as Minsk in Russia, northern India, and Tibet. The Deutsche Akademie and later the Ahnenerbe were both heavily involved in the archaeological work necessary to buttress this argument.

His second opponent was the established Christian Church itself. Himmler's dream was to create, out of the SS, a new religion based on the pagan elements of what he perceived to be the original, Ur-Aryan religion of ancient India and Europe. However, many Germans were devout Christians. Hitler himself realized this, and knew that he had to play politics with them for as long as the churches held power and as long as the people felt they owed spiritual allegiance to the churches and what they represented. In this he was as cynical in his dealings with the Church as he was pragmatic with the Capitalists.

Himmler, on the other hand, wanted nothing so much as the destruction -- not only of the organized Church -- but of Christianity itself. And, with the assistance of Wiligut and other like-minded individuals, Himmler drew up new ceremonies and a new liturgical calendar to thoroughly replace Christian versions. He was dealing Judaism the death blow in the camps and with his roving bands of death squads, the Einsatzgruppen, under the command of such men as Theosophist and convicted war criminal Otto Ohlendorf and the notorious Dr. Six. The Church was next on the list. How better to capture the attention and imagination of the pious than to appropriate the Grail as a purely pagan and Aryan symbol, actually restoring to the Grail its original character and identity? The Grail figured prominently in European folklore as a powerful occult symbol, and was also the basis for a Wagnerian opera that was just as powerful, just as compelling. It was assumed that Wagner, an admitted anti-Semite who provided the sound track for the Third Reich, would not have wasted his time writing a Christian or Jewish propaganda tract. Therefore, Wagner's own take on the Grail must be consistent with rest of the Aryan operatic canon that included, of course, the Ring Cycle. It was all Aryan myth and, therefore, part of a single, continuous epic story.

Rahn's thesis went a long way to establishing just that. Based on research undertaken in the Languedoc region of southern France and especially at fabled Montsegur, site of the Cathars' last stand, Rahn believed he had acquired enough evidence to repudiate any Christian claim to the Grail. The Grail of von Eschenbach and Richard Wagner was redeemed as the ultimate Aryan relic around which Himmler would build his pagan Temple. The castle at Wewelsburg, with its Round Table for himself and the members of his Inner Circle, would be the heart of a new metropolis; the chamber containing the Round Table and the crypt below it would be the precise geographical center of the new city, the Aryan Camelot, and of the New World itself. And what is King Arthur, a Round Table, and Camelot without a Grail?

Initially, Rahn did not seem to hold pro-Nazi ideas in the least. According to his friend, the French author Paul Ladame, [16] Rahn thought the Nazis faintly ridiculous. But he was starving. He could not turn down a lucrative offer of employment with Himmler, and so he eventually donned the black uniform of the SS and continued his researches better fed and more warmly (if somewhat ostentatiously) clothed.

He may not have had much of a choice in the matter, but it was a decision that nevertheless proved his downfall. As Himmler encountered more and more difficulty in finding hard evidence to prove his Aryan thesis, he became increasingly disillusioned with Rahn and his ilk. Finally, according to Ladame, he gave the frightened young scholar an ultimatum: he would finish his next book by October 31, 1936 -- the pagan festival of Samhain -- and provide it to the Nazi editors for approval. Or else.

This, Rahn managed to do. According to one source, he was then sent to Dachau for the four months of scheduled military training required of all SS men (as was Adolf Eichmann at the same camp several years earlier). That would have been sometime in the last half of 1937. [17]

He resigned his commission in the SS sometime after leaving Dachau.

Then, in 1939, at the age of thirty-five, he was dead.

The book that resulted from this relatively unknown Nazi project was entitled Luzifers Hofgesind or Lucifer's Servants, sometimes translated as Lucifer's Court. [18] It reads quite differently from Rahn's first book, which was at least sincere in its effort to portray a kind of occult underdog group of purists who held the secret of the ages in their hands if only the rest of us would pay attention. Lucifer's Servants, on the other hand, is at least partly a genuine Nazi propaganda tract and several passages make a good case for the worship of Lucifer, if one follows (and credits) Rahn's exegesis on several ancient sources including Parzival and the surviving texts of troubadors, Cathars, and even Persian mystics. Indeed, this idea of Lucifer as a benign or divine being was familiar and congenial to the "white light" Theosophists of the 1920s who, after all, entitled one of their official German publications Luzifer.

The following citations should adequately illustrate this claim (all translations by the author, all emphasis by Rahn):

It was necessary, in effect, to be faithful to God until death, "and God will give to his servant the crown of eternal life," as it is written in the Bible. Having established that, for the Church of Rome -- the sole repository of "Truth" in the eyes of its faithful -- the troubadors were members of the servants of the Devil; having also established that they were faithful to the God of Love; and finally having established that they celebrated -- as numerous examples have proved -- the marvels of the crown of Lucifer, it is permitted to believe that they had faith in the existence of a Luciferian crown of eternal life (to speak Biblically). And if we follow this thought to its logical conclusion, we will say that, for them, the God of Love was none other than Lucifer in person.

This hypothesis will become certain if we allow our thought to range more widely: the god Amor is the god of Spring, as is Apollon.... Apollon brought back the light of the Sun: he is a light-bearer, or "Lucifer." According to the Apocalypse of John, Apollyo-Apollon was equated with the Devil, and according to the belief of the Roman Church ... Lucifer is Satan. Consequently, the god of Spring Apollon-Amor is, according to the doctrine of the Church, the Devil and Satan. [19]

In a further ferverino on the subject of Lucifer, he writes in the same chapter:

There is much more [Light] than in the houses of God -- cathedrals and churches -- where Lucifer neither is able nor wishes to enter due to all the somber, stained glass windows wherein are painted the Jewish prophets and apostles, the Roman gods and saints. The forest, that, that was free! [20]

As the above two passages indicate, Rahn is using Biblical and Patristic writings to support his thesis that the Cathars and the troubadors were, in a sense, Devil worshipers ... but only so far as they worshiped pagan gods whom the Church had demonized. In an earlier chapter Rahn notes that Esclarmonde, a famous Cathar saint, "one of the noblest women of the Middle Ages" and heretic of the highest rank, believed that Jehovah -- the Old Testament God of the Jews -- was none other than Satan himself; that Christ never died on the cross and that, therefore, his suffering and death do not redeem the lives or souls of his followers. (This idea that Christ did not die on the cross is one possible reason why Templar postulants were to trample a crucifix underfoot during their initiation ceremony into the Order, and may be the reason there were no crucifixes at Chartres.) "Cursed by the Pope, detested by the King of France, she thought -- until her dying breath -- of nothing other than the religious and political independence of her country." [21] These ideas -- Jehovah the "god of the Jews" as the real Satan, inherent falsehoods in the Gospel account of Christ's life, and dying for the religious and political independence of the state -- all had a receptive audience among the scholars of the Ahnenerbe and of the SS in general, and still does among the racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity movement today. The Cathars had represented a pure form of Christianity that denied even large portions of the Bible, and they were a political threat to the established Church; certainly, Himmler could approve of this point of view married, as it was, to the idea of a pagan Grail and of the Cathars as "guardians of the Grail." Characterizing Jehovah as an evil demon tallied nicely with the mass destruction of his followers in the camps, and made the extermination of the race of Jehovah an even greater spiritual necessity. Now they were no longer simply members of an inferior race that conspired to rob good Germans of their money, their pride, and their birthright; they were also the children of Satan.

Further, and perhaps even more importantly, as the Old Testament Jews were worshipers of Satan, then Christ could not possibly have been Jewish. Strip away the Jewish content of the New Testament and -- relying on the Biblical "revisionist" scholarship of generations of genuine German academics who cast doubt on the validity of the Gospels themselves -- you are well on your way to accepting Wiligut's thesis that Christ was Baldur, and a Teutonic Sun God!

The "Crusade against the Grail" -- subject and title of Rahn's first book -- was that undertaken by the Catholic Church during its vicious assault on Catharism, in which hundreds of thousands were brutally murdered. To Rahn, the Church was the Enemy both during the time of the Cathars in the thirteenth century and right up to the present day. Worse, it was the enemy of all that was pure, and noble, and good in the world, ideals represented by the Grail: centerpiece of Parzival, of Wagner's operas, of the Morte d'Arthur, and the entire Camelot mystique. The idea of the virgin knight, on a mystic quest throughout Europe for the Sacred Cup, must have appealed enormously to the young, virtually penniless scholar. Himmler referred to his SS men as the knights of a new Order, and one must wonder if Rahn felt -- in his heart of hearts -- somehow at home in his elegant black uniform with the silver runes, a new Teutonic Knight on the same sacred quest for the Grail. In his introduction to the French translation of Luzifers Hofgesind (La Cour de Lucifer), Paul Ladame insists that Rahn joined the SS because there was no option: Himmler offered him a salary, perks, and the freedom to conduct his own academic research unhindered. To refuse would have seemed like madness, and perhaps would have resulted in Rahn's eventual imprisonment anyway.

Other scholarship on the question provides a somewhat different perspective. Evidence from the Nazi side depicts Rahn as an enthusiastic Grail scholar, an admirer of WiIigut (a man who claimed that the Bible was a German creation; a man whom anyone in his or her right mind must have known was a lunatic), and an eager member of the SS.

At first glance this is consistent with Rahn's introduction to Lucifer's Servants, which ends with the proud and defiant claim "My ancestors were pagans. My forebears were heretics." [22] Yet, there is a mystery surrounding Rahn's sudden and unexplained resignation from the SS, a resignation that took place a little over a year after his leave from military service at Dachau.

He resigned his commission in February 1939.

He died less than a month later, on March 13 of that same year, supposedly from exposure while hiking in the mountains. This, from a seasoned traveler, and a trained survivalist (as all SS men were), at an altitude of less than 2,000 meters a week before spring! As Ladame puts it, "to die of cold the 13th of March at less than 2,000 meters, one needs a lot of patience, a strong will ... and time ... perhaps one or two weeks." [23]

Thus Ladame disputes the dating, insisting that his friend died in 1937, shortly after finishing Lucifer's Servants. [24] Ladame claims that Rahn was no Nazi, and no racist. He insists that the Nazi elements in Lucifer's Servants were not of Rahn's making or, if they were, they were inserted at the command or instigation of the SS. And, not surprisingly, Ladame implies that Rahn was murdered; executed by his former colleagues for reason, or reasons, unknown.

Unfortunately, there is some documentary evidence that Otto Rahn was alive and well at least as late as January 1938, when he gave a lecture -- based on Luzifers Hofgesind -- to the Dietrich Eckart Society at Dietrich Eckart House in Dortmund, in Westphalia ... a lecture that was reported upon in the local newspaper. From the tone of the review, Rahn was in fine form that evening:

The Albigensians were exterminated. 205 leading followers of Lucifer were burnt on a huge pyre by Dominicans in the South of France after a large-scale priestly Crusade in the name of Christian clemency. With fire and sword, the Lucifer doctrine of the Light-Bearer was persecuted along with its followers. The Albigensians are dead, but their spirit lives on and has an effect today through new devotion and rejuvenated enthusiasm. The Vicar of Christ could truly burn men; but he was mistaken if he believed that he burned along with them their spirit, devotion and longing. This spirit became alive again before many men yesterday, powerfully and visibly, in Otto Rahn, a descendant of the old Troubadours. [25]

Could someone as intelligent as Rahn's published writings indicate he was, a scholar for whom medieval legend and lore came alive only through careful research and study, have willingly taken up with a character like Wiligut, who claimed that the Teutonic tribes had a verifiable history going back to the year 228,000 B.C.... when the Earth had an embarrassment of three suns? As much as one may wish to argue with the thesis of Crusade against the Grail or Lucifer's Servants, there is nothing of the raving mystagogue about Rahn. One likes to think that his period of obligatory military service at Dachau opened his eyes to the horror of the Reich, and that -- in a final, doomed but proud gesture of dignity -- he resigned his commission in the SS in outrage and disgust at the atrocities he may have witnessed at the death camp associated with the SS base there; and was then murdered for his insubordination a month later.

Then, too, the fact that both Wiligut and Rahn retired from the SS at the same time -- in the same month -- is suggestive of some collusion between the two mythologians: the one elderly and quite insane, the other young and quite intelligent. Rahn's exploits and the mystery surrounding his resignation and subsequent death have received a great deal of attention in European circles over the years, although they are little known in America. His unusual life story has led to considerable speculation that Rahn actually did discover something in his travels, and that since he seemed to confide in Wiligut they both had to be gotten out of the way to protect the secret. That, in fact, they "knew too much." Wiligut was kept under SS lock and key for some time until the end of the war, and died in 1946; he was eighty years old and, with his background of mental illness, hardly a serious threat to the Reichsfuhrer-SS. Rahn, on the other hand, was a bit more of a liability and -- so the theory goes -- he had to be killed.

Either that, or Himmler decided to can them both at the same time when reports of Wiligut's earlier hospitalization for mental illness became common knowledge within the SS. But why would news of Wiligut's infirmity have jeopardized Rahn's career?

There is an intriguing note in the definitive study of Wewelsburg by Prof. Dr. Karl Huser [26] to the effect that Rahn was kicked out of the SS because of his homosexuality. Himmler had a rabid dislike of homosexuals, and through the auspices of Nazi psychiatrists at the Goring Institute tried to have several SS men "cured" of this "malady." [27] Many homosexuals, of course, wound up in concentration camps themselves. Although that was probably not an option with an SS man as relatively well known as Rahn, he was possibly looking at some sort of reprisal in the future, either professionally or in some other way. Unfortunately, we shall never know.

One final possibility -- though there is no evidence to support it -- is that Rahn himself was the first of the SS men to take refuge in that sad Cathar rite, allowed only to the privileged few, the Perfect; that, in the mountain snows above Kufstein, and on the anniversary of the destruction of Montsegur, the miserable scholar exchanged the secret of the long-sought-after Grail for that other treasure of the Cathars: the consolation of a noble death.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail

If the Cathars and troubadors -- heirs of a Gnostic tradition in Europe, possibly brought over from the Middle East from whence the Templars had brought their own mysterious rites -- were crypto-pagans as Rahn believed, and if the set piece of their mythology was the Holy Grail, then it follows that the Grail is not a Christian symbol at all but a purely pagan one. And if the Grail is a pagan ikon, then the Nazis -- overt pagans as they were -- saw in the Grail a sacred instrument of divine power that they could use for their own ends. As the inheritors of the pagan traditions in Europe (at least in their own eyes) the Grail belonged to them. After all, were they not the spiritual descendants of the Teutonic Knights, a chivalric Order that pressed Germany on in a Drive to the East centuries before Hider's invasion of Russia? Were they not the people of the Runes? The people of the Pure Blood?

Messrs. Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln might have been more correct than they realized when they entitled their famous book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. For them, the Grail was in reality the bloodline of Jesus Christ, preserved down through the millennia and safeguarded by yet another secret society, the Priory of Zion, which the authors link to an underground tradition of Freemasonry and Templarism spanning the centuries and which finds its modern manifestation in the Knights of Malta, Italy's P-2, and other such groups.

Part of the problem lies in the term "holy grail," and in the word "grail" itself. Messrs. Baigent et. al. consider that the term sangreal as found in Le Morte d'Arthur and other Grail Romances is really composed of two words: sang and real, that is, blood and royal. (The term sangreal is usually interpreted to mean san greal, "holy grail.") It is an attractive theory and to an extent linguistically satisfying since no two authorities can agree on where the term "grail" comes from and what it means. By denying that such a word really has any meaning at all -- that it is merely the result of misunderstanding the syllable break in sangreal -- we have neatly solved the problem of the Holy Grail by revealing its true nature as Royal Blood. After all, the Grail makes its appearance to Parzival alongside a lance that is dripping blood onto the floor. This scene is presented wordlessly, without comment, as if in a dream. Was the intention of the author to communicate the fact that sangreal really does indicate "royal blood"? This would have pleased the Nazis enormously if the story had been current at the time, for the Nazis were nothing if not Blood enthusiasts after the Foucault model introduced in Chapter One, and -- if they could have somehow linked the concept of "royal blood" with a Teutonic Christ and the Aryan race -- they would have had the basis for a new religious synthesis that could have brought together all acceptable Christians and pure-blooded Aryans in one, big, happy (if rather inbred) family.

By claiming the Grail as their own the Nazis rob Christianity of a huge chunk of its popular mythology. The chalice a Catholic priest raises during the Mass becomes a pagan cauldron; the mystery of the Blood of Christ becomes a hollow echo of pagan sacrifice. Appropriation of the Grail symbolism then becomes an assault on Christian faith itself; at least, on the popular faith of the lumpenproletariat of Europe, from the Pyrenees to the Alps to the Caucasus.

That the Grail was originally a pagan symbol is today virtually beyond debate; that it was appropriated by romantic elements within the Christian world (as was much pagan iconography) is certain. However, had Himmler succeeded in producing an actual "Grail" during the war, the effect on the Christian populations of Europe might have been traumatic. Depending on the spin, it would have signaled either the divine mission of the Nazi Party as true inheritors of the ultimate representation of occult power ... or the need for a holy war against the black-clad SS, the satanic monsters who had "stolen" God's sacred Cup from the righteous.

As it is, history records no such discovery of the Grail by the Nazis, or by anyone else. Birks and Gilbert claim that there is no evidence that Nazi hierarchs had any interest at all in the Cathars or in Montsegur. [28] Yet, Himmler had enlisted the talents of a young Grail scholar in a search for the perfect centerpiece for his secret cult headquarters at Wewelsburg, and put his favorite prehistorian, SS-Brigadier Karl Wiligut, in charge of the project. Whether Cathar or Templar, sacred stone or golden cup, finding the Holy Grail was certainly a dream of Himmler's; his Wewelsburg center was beyond any doubt a reverent shrine to the legend of the Round Table. If he eventually gave up on the search, one imagines he did so only with the greatest reluctance.

A final word on Montsegur -- this time by Sabine Baring-Gould, an author who wrote extensively on history and travel at the turn of the century -- is in order, for it shows how Rahn's feelings were shared by a great many people on both sides of the Channel:

The treasures of the Albigenses ... have never been recovered; but the true treasure, for which they fought and for which they died, the emancipation of the human soul from the fetters of slavery in which it had been bound by Rome, has been won by nearly all Europe. [29]

-- Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement With the Occult, by Peter Levenda

Alfred Schuler (* 22 November 1865 in Mainz; † 8 April 1923 in Munich) was a religious founder, a gnostic, a mystic and a visionary. Franz Wegener has called Schuler the last of the German Cathars. Schuler saw himself as a reborn Roman of the late imperial era. Also a neopagan, he was the spiritual focus of the "Munich Cosmic Circle."

-- Alfred Schuler, by Wikipedia

The Occitan cross, a "Cathar rallying symbol".[1]

Catharism (/ˈkæθərɪzəm/; from the Greek: καθαροί, katharoi, "the pure [ones]")[2][3] was a Christian dualist or Gnostic revival movement that thrived in some areas of Southern Europe, particularly what is now northern Italy and southern France, between the 12th and 14th centuries. The followers were known as Cathars and are now mainly remembered for a prolonged period of persecution by the Catholic Church, which did not recognise their belief as being Christian. Catharism appeared in Europe in the Languedoc region of France in the 11th century and this is when the name first appears. The adherents were sometimes known as Albigensians, after the city Albi in southern France where the movement first took hold.[4] The belief system may have originated in Persia or the Byzantine Empire.[citation needed] Catharism was initially taught by ascetic leaders who set few guidelines, and, thus, some Catharist practices and beliefs varied by region and over time. The Catholic Church denounced its practices including the Consolamentum ritual, by which Cathar individuals were baptized and raised to the status of "perfect".[5]
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 2

Catharism may have had its roots in the Paulician movement in Armenia and eastern Byzantine Anatolia and certainly in the Bogomils of the First Bulgarian Empire,[6] who were influenced by the Paulicians resettled in Thrace (Philipopolis) by the Byzantines. Though the term Cathar (/ˈkæθɑːr/) has been used for centuries to identify the movement, whether the movement identified itself with this name is debated.[7] In Cathar texts, the terms Good Men (Bons Hommes), Good Women (Bonnes Femmes), or Good Christians (Bons Chrétiens) are the common terms of self-identification.[8]

The idea of two gods or principles, one good and the other evil, was central to Cathar beliefs. This was antithetical to the monotheistic Catholic Church, whose fundamental principle was that there was only one God, who created all things visible and invisible.[9] Cathars believed that the good God was the God of the New Testament and the creator of the spiritual realm. They believed the evil God was the God of the Old Testament, creator of the physical world whom many Cathars identified as Satan. Cathars thought human spirits were the sexless spirits of angels trapped in the material realm of the evil god, destined to be reincarnated until they achieved salvation through the consolamentum, when they could return to the benign God.[10]

From the beginning of his reign, Pope Innocent III attempted to end Catharism by sending missionaries and by persuading the local authorities to act against them. In 1208, Innocent's papal legate Pierre de Castelnau was murdered while returning to Rome after excommunicating Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, who, in his view, was too lenient with the Cathars.[11] Pope Innocent III then abandoned the option of sending Catholic missionaries and jurists, declared Pierre de Castelnau a martyr and launched the Albigensian Crusade which all but ended Catharism.[11][12]


Paulicianism and Europe

The origins of the Cathars' beliefs are unclear, but most theories agree they came from the Byzantine Empire, mostly by the trade routes and spread from the First Bulgarian Empire to the Netherlands. The name of Bulgarians (Bougres) was also applied to the Albigensians, and they maintained an association with the similar Christian movement of the Bogomils ("Friends of God") of Thrace. "That there was a substantial transmission of ritual and ideas from Bogomilism to Catharism is beyond reasonable doubt."[13] Their doctrines have numerous resemblances to those of the Bogomils and the Paulicians, who influenced them,[14] as well as the earlier Marcionites, who were found in the same areas as the Paulicians, the Manicheans and the Christian Gnostics of the first few centuries AD, although, as many scholars, most notably Mark Pegg, have pointed out, it would be erroneous to extrapolate direct, historical connections based on theoretical similarities perceived by modern scholars.

John Damascene, writing in the 8th century AD, also notes of an earlier sect called the "Cathari", in his book On Heresies, taken from the epitome provided by Epiphanius of Salamis in his Panarion. He says of them: "They absolutely reject those who marry a second time, and reject the possibility of penance [that is, forgiveness of sins after baptism]".[15] These are probably the same Cathari (actually Novations) who are mentioned in Canon 8 of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in the year 325, which states "... [ i]f those called Cathari come over [to the faith], let them first make profession that they are willing to communicate [share full communion] with the twice-married, and grant pardon to those who have lapsed ..."[16]

A map signifying the routes of the Cathar castles (blue squares and lines) in the south of France around the turn of the 13th century

The writings of the Cathars were mostly destroyed because of the doctrinal threat perceived by the Papacy;[17] thus, the historical record of the Cathars is derive primarily from their opponents. Cathar ideology continues to be debated, with commentators regularly accusing opposing perspectives of speculation, distortion and bias. Only a few texts of the Cathars remain, as preserved by their opponents (such as the Rituel Cathare de Lyon) which give a glimpse into the ideologies of their faith.[14] One large text which has survived, The Book of Two Principles (Liber de duobus principiis),[18] which elaborates the principles of dualistic theology from the point of view of some Albanenses Cathars.[19]

It is now generally agreed by most scholars that identifiable historical Catharism did not emerge until at least 1143, when the first confirmed report of a group espousing similar beliefs is reported being active at Cologne by the cleric Eberwin of Steinfeld.[20] A landmark in the "institutional history" of the Cathars was the Council, held in 1167 at Saint-Félix-Lauragais, attended by many local figures and also by the Bogomil papa Nicetas, the Cathar bishop of (northern) France and a leader of the Cathars of Lombardy.

The Cathars were largely local, Western European/Latin Christian phenomena, springing up in the Rhineland cities (particularly Cologne) in the mid-12th century, northern France around the same time, and particularly the Languedoc—and the northern Italian cities in the mid-late 12th century. In the Languedoc and northern Italy, the Cathars attained their greatest popularity, surviving in the Languedoc, in much reduced form, up to around 1325 and in the Italian cities until the Inquisitions of the 14th century finally extirpated them.[21]

General beliefs


War in heaven. Illustration by Gustave Doré.

Cathar cosmology identified two twin, opposing deities. The first was a good God, portrayed in the New Testament and creator of the spirit, while the second was an evil God, depicted in the Old Testament and creator of matter and the physical world.[22] The latter, often called Rex Mundi ("King of the World"),[23] was identified as the God of Judaism,[22] and was also either conflated with Satan or considered Satan's father, creator or seducer.[6] They solved the problem of evil by stating that the good God's power to do good was limited by the evil God's works and vice versa.[24] All visible matter, including the human body, was created by this Rex Mundi; matter was therefore tainted with sin. Under this view, humans were actually angels seduced by Satan before a war in heaven against the army of Michael, after which they would have been forced to spend an eternity trapped in the evil God's material realm.[6] The Cathars taught that to regain angelic status one had to renounce the material self completely. Until one was prepared to do so, they would be stuck in a cycle of reincarnation, condemned to live on the corrupt Earth.[25] Zoé Oldenbourg compared the Cathars to "Western Buddhists" because she considered that their view of the doctrine of "resurrection" taught by Christ was similar to the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth.[26][self-published source]

Cathars venerated Jesus Christ and followed what they considered to be his true teachings, labelling themselves as "Good Christians."[8] Cathars denied the physical incarnation of Jesus.[27] Authors believe that their conceptions of Jesus resembled docetism, considering him the human form of an angel,[28] whose physical body was only appearance.[29] This illusory form would have possibly been given by the Virgin Mary, another angel in human form.[24] Most did not accept the normative Trinitarian understanding of Jesus, instead resembling nontrinitarian modalistic monarchianism (Sabellianism) in the West and adoptionism in the East, which might or might not be combined with the mentioned docetism.[30] Bernard of Clairvaux's biographer and other sources accuse some Cathars of Arianism,[31][32] and some scholars see Cathar Christology as having traces of earlier Arian roots.[33][34] In any case, Cathars firmly rejected the Resurrection of Jesus, seeing it as representing reincarnation, and the Christian symbol of the cross, considering it to be not more than a material instrument of torture and evil. They also saw John the Baptist, identified also with Elijah, as an evil being sent to hinder Jesus's teaching through the false sacrament of baptism.[6]

St. Paul, by Valentin de Boulogne.

However, those beliefs were far from unanimous. Some Cathar communities believed in a mitigated dualism similar to their Bogomil predecessors, stating that the evil God, Satan, had previously been the true God's servant before rebelling against him.[24] Others, likely a majority given the influence reflected on the Book of the Two Principles, believed in an absolute dualism, where the two Gods were twin entities of the same power and importance.[24] In the same line, some communities might have believed in the existence of a spirit realm created by the good God, the "Land of the Living", whose history and geography would have served as the basis for the evil God's corrupt creation. Under this view, the history of Jesus would have happened roughly as told, only in the spirit realm.[22] The physical Jesus from the material world would have been evil, a false messiah and a lustful lover of the material Mary Magdalene. However, the true Jesus would have influenced the physical world in a way similar to the Harrowing of Hell, only by inhabiting the body of Paul. [22] Cathars also possibly believed in a Day of Judgement that would come when the number of just equated that of angels who fell, in which the believers would ascend to the spirit realm while the sinners would be thrown to everlasting fire along with Satan.[24] 13th century chronicler Pierre des Vaux-de-Cernay recorded those views.[22]

The alleged sacred texts of the Cathars, besides the New Testament, included the previously Bogomil text The Gospel of the Secret Supper (also called John's Interrogation) and the Cathar original work The Book of the Two Principles.[35] They regarded the Old Testament as written by Satan except for a few books which they accepted.[6]


Cathars, in general, formed an anti-sacerdotal party in opposition to the pre-Reformation Christian Church, protesting against what they perceived to be the moral, spiritual and political corruption of the church.[14] In contrast to the them, the Cathars had but one central rite, the Consolamentum, or Consolation. This involved a brief spiritual ceremony to remove all sin from the believer and to induct him or her into the next higher level as a perfect.[36]

Many believers would receive the Consolamentum as death drew near, performing the ritual of liberation at a moment when the heavy obligations of purity required of Perfecti would be temporally short. Some of those who received the sacrament of the consolamentum upon their death-beds may thereafter have shunned further food or drink and, more often and in addition, expose themselves to extreme cold, in order to speed death. This has been termed the endura.[37] It was claimed by some of the church writers that when a Cathar, after receiving the Consolamentum, began to show signs of recovery he or she would be smothered in order to ensure his or her entry into paradise. Other than at such moments of extremis, little evidence exists to suggest this was a common Cathar practice.[38]

Painting by Pedro Berruguete portraying the story of a disputation between Saint Dominic and the Cathars (Albigensians), in which the books of both were thrown on a fire and Dominic's books were miraculously preserved from the flames.

The Cathars also refused the sacrament of the eucharist saying that it could not possibly be the body of Christ. They also refused to partake in the practice of Baptism by water. The following two quotes are taken from the Inquisitor Bernard Gui's experiences with the Cathar practices and beliefs:

Then they attack and vituperate, in turn, all the sacraments of the Church, especially the sacrament of the eucharist, saying that it cannot contain the body of Christ, for had this been as great as the largest mountain Christians would have entirely consumed it before this. They assert that the host comes from straw, that it passes through the tails of horses, to wit, when the flour is cleaned by a sieve (of horse hair); that, moreover, it passes through the body and comes to a vile end, which, they say, could not happen if God were in it.[39]

Of baptism, they assert that the water is material and corruptible and is therefore the creation of the evil power, and cannot sanctify the spirit, but that the churchmen sell this water out of avarice, just as they sell earth for the burial of the dead, and oil to the sick when they anoint them, and as they sell the confession of sins as made to the priests.[39]

Social relationships

Killing was abhorrent to the Cathars. Consequently, abstention from all animal food (sometimes exempting fish) was enjoined of the Perfecti. The Perfecti avoided eating anything considered to be a by-product of sexual reproduction.[36] War and capital punishment were also condemned—an abnormality in Medieval Europe. In a world where few could read, their rejection of oath-taking marked them as social outcasts.

To the Cathars, reproduction was a moral evil to be avoided, as it continued the chain of reincarnation and suffering in the material world. It was claimed by their opponents that, given this loathing for procreation, they generally resorted to sodomy. Such was the situation that a charge of heresy leveled against a suspected Cathar was usually dismissed if the accused could show he was legally married.

When Bishop Fulk of Toulouse, a key leader of the anti-Cathar persecutions, excoriated the Languedoc Knights for not pursuing the heretics more diligently, he received the reply, "We cannot. We have been reared in their midst. We have relatives among them and we see them living lives of perfection."[40]


It has been alleged that the Cathar Church of the Languedoc had a relatively flat structure, distinguishing between the baptised perfecti (a term they did not use; instead, bonhommes) and ordinary unbaptised believers (credentes).[36] By about 1140, liturgy and a system of doctrine had been established.[41] They created a number of bishoprics, first at Albi around 1165 [42] and after the 1167 Council at Saint-Félix-Lauragais sites at Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Agen, so that four bishoprics were in existence by 1200.[36][41][43][44] In about 1225, during a lull in the Albigensian Crusade, the bishopric of Razès was added. Bishops were supported by their two assistants: a filius maior (typically the successor) and a filius minor, who were further assisted by deacons.[45] The perfecti were the spiritual elite, highly respected by many of the local people, leading a life of austerity and charity.[36] In the apostolic fashion they ministered to the people and travelled in pairs.[36]

Role of women and gender

Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209. In this group, women appear to be nearly as numerous as men.

Catharism has been seen as giving women the greatest opportunities for independent action since women were found as being believers as well as Perfecti, who were able to administer the sacrament of the consolamentum.[46]

Cathars believed that one would be repeatedly reincarnated until one commits to the self-denial of the material world. A man could be reincarnated as a woman and vice versa, thereby rendering gender meaningless.[47] The spirit was of utmost importance to the Cathars and was described as being immaterial and sexless.[47] Because of this belief, the Cathars saw women as equally capable of being spiritual leaders, which undermined the very concept of gender as held by the Catholic Church.[48]

Women accused of being heretics in early medieval Christianity included those labeled Gnostics, Cathars, and, later, the Beguines, as well as several other groups that were sometimes "tortured and executed".[49] Cathars, like the Gnostics who preceded them, assigned more importance to the role of Mary Magdalene in the spread of early Christianity than the church previously did. Her vital role as a teacher contributed to the Cathar belief that women could serve as spiritual leaders. Women were found to be included in the Perfecti in significant numbers, with numerous receiving the consolamentum after being widowed.[46] Having reverence for the Gospel of John, the Cathars saw Mary Magdalene as perhaps even more important than Saint Peter, the founder of the church.[50]

The Cathar movement proved successful in gaining female followers because of its proto-feminist teachings along with the general feeling of exclusion from the Catholic church. Catharism attracted numerous women with the promise of a leadership role that the Catholic Church did not allow.[10] Catharism let women become a perfect of the faith, a position of far more prestige than anything the Catholic Church offered.[51] These female perfects were required to adhere to a strict and ascetic lifestyle, but were still able to have their own houses.[52] Although many women found something attractive in Catharism, not all found its teachings convincing. A notable example is Hildegard of Bingen, who in 1163 gave a widely renowned sermon against the Cathars in Cologne. During this speech, Hildegard announced a state of eternal punishment and damnation to all those who accepted Cathar beliefs.[53]

While women perfects rarely traveled to preach the faith, they still played a vital role in the spreading of the Catharism by establishing group homes for women.[54] Though it was extremely uncommon, there were isolated cases of female Cathars leaving their homes to spread the faith.[55] In Cathar communal homes (ostals), women were educated in the faith, and these women would go on to bear children who would then also become believers. Through this pattern the faith grew exponentially through the efforts of women as each generation passed.[54] Among some groups of Cathars there were more women than there were men.[56]

Despite women having an instrumental role in the growing of the faith, Catharism was not completely equal, for example the belief that one's last incarnation had to be experienced as a man to break the cycle.[40] This belief was inspired by later French Cathars, who taught that women must be reborn as men in order to achieve salvation.[10] Another example was that the sexual allure of women impeded man's ability to reject the material world.[40] Toward the end of the Cathar movement, Catharism became less equal and started the practice of excluding women perfects.[10] However, this trend remained limited (Later Italian perfects still included women.[10])


Cathars being burnt at the stake in an auto-de-fé, anachronistically presided over by Saint Dominic, as depicted by Pedro Berruguete

In 1147, Pope Eugene III sent a legate to the Cathar district in order to arrest the progress of the Cathars. The few isolated successes of Bernard of Clairvaux could not obscure the poor results of this mission, which clearly showed the power of the sect in the Languedoc at that period. The missions of Cardinal Peter of St. Chrysogonus to Toulouse and the Toulousain in 1178, and of Henry of Marcy, cardinal-bishop of Albano, in 1180–81, obtained merely momentary successes.[14] Henry's armed expedition, which took the stronghold at Lavaur, did not extinguish the movement.

Decisions of Catholic Church councils—in particular, those of the Council of Tours (1163) and of the Third Council of the Lateran (1179)—had scarcely more effect upon the Cathars. When Pope Innocent III came to power in 1198, he was resolved to deal with them.[57]

At first Innocent tried peaceful conversion, and sent a number of legates into the Cathar regions. They had to contend not only with the Cathars, the nobles who protected them, and the people who respected them, but also with many of the bishops of the region, who resented the considerable authority the Pope had conferred upon his legates. In 1204, Innocent III suspended a number of bishops in Occitania;[58] in 1205 he appointed a new and vigorous bishop of Toulouse, the former troubadour Foulques. In 1206 Diego of Osma and his canon, the future Saint Dominic, began a programme of conversion in Languedoc; as part of this, Catholic-Cathar public debates were held at Verfeil, Servian, Pamiers, Montréal and elsewhere.

Dominic met and debated with the Cathars in 1203 during his mission to the Languedoc. He concluded that only preachers who displayed real sanctity, humility and asceticism could win over convinced Cathar believers. The institutional Church as a general rule did not possess these spiritual warrants.[59] His conviction led eventually to the establishment of the Dominican Order in 1216. The order was to live up to the terms of his famous rebuke, "Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth." However, even Dominic managed only a few converts among the Cathari.

Albigensian Crusade

Main article: Albigensian Crusade

Pope Innocent III excommunicating the Albigensians (left), massacre of the Albigensians by the crusaders (right)

In January 1208 the papal legate, Pierre de Castelnau—a Cistercian monk, theologian and canon lawyer—was sent to meet the ruler of the area, Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse.[60] Known for excommunicating noblemen who protected the Cathars, Castelnau excommunicated Raymond for abetting heresy following an allegedly fierce argument during which Raymond supposedly threatened Castelnau with violence.[61] Shortly thereafter, Castelnau was murdered as he returned to Rome, allegedly by a knight in the service of Count Raymond. His body was returned and laid to rest in the Abbey at Saint Gilles.

As soon as he heard of the murder, the Pope ordered the legates to preach a crusade against the Cathars and wrote a letter to Philip Augustus, King of France, appealing for his intervention—or an intervention led by his son, Louis. This was not the first appeal but some see the murder of the legate as a turning point in papal policy. The chronicler of the crusade which followed, Peter of Vaux de Cernay, portrays the sequence of events in such a way that, having failed in his effort to peaceably demonstrate the errors of Catharism, the Pope then called a formal crusade, appointing a series of leaders to head the assault.

The French King refused to lead the crusade himself, and could not spare his son to do so either—despite his victory against John, King of England, there were still pressing issues with Flanders and the empire and the threat of an Angevin revival. Philip did sanction the participation of some of his barons, notably Simon de Montfort and Bouchard de Marly. There followed twenty years of war against the Cathars and their allies in the Languedoc: the Albigensian Crusade.

Cité de Carcassonne today

This war pitted the nobles of France against those of the Languedoc. The widespread northern enthusiasm for the Crusade was partially inspired by a papal decree permitting the confiscation of lands owned by Cathars and their supporters. This angered not only the lords of the south but also the French King, who was at least nominally the suzerain of the lords whose lands were now open to seizure. Philip Augustus wrote to Pope Innocent in strong terms to point this out—but the Pope did not change his policy. As the Languedoc was supposedly teeming with Cathars and Cathar sympathisers, this made the region a target for northern French noblemen looking to acquire new fiefs. The barons of the north headed south to do battle.

Their first target was the lands of the Trencavel, powerful lords of Carcassonne, Béziers, Albi and the Razes. Little was done to form a regional coalition and the crusading army was able to take Carcassonne, the Trencavel capital, incarcerating Raymond Roger Trencavel in his own citadel where he died within three months; champions of the Occitan cause claimed that he was murdered. Simon de Montfort was granted the Trencavel lands by the Pope and did homage for them to the King of France, thus incurring the enmity of Peter II of Aragon who had held aloof from the conflict, even acting as a mediator at the time of the siege of Carcassonne. The remainder of the first of the two Cathar wars now focused on Simon's attempt to hold on to his gains through winters where he was faced, with only a small force of confederates operating from the main winter camp at Fanjeaux, with the desertion of local lords who had sworn fealty to him out of necessity—and attempts to enlarge his newfound domains in the summer when his forces were greatly augmented by reinforcements from France, Germany and elsewhere.

Summer campaigns saw him not only retake what he had lost in the "close" season, but also seek to widen his sphere of operation—and we see him in action in the Aveyron at St. Antonin and on the banks of the Rhône at Beaucaire. Simon's greatest triumph was the victory against superior numbers at the Battle of Muret—a battle which saw not only the defeat of Raymond of Toulouse and his Occitan allies—but also the death of Peter of Aragon—and the effective end of the ambitions of the house of Aragon/Barcelona in the Languedoc. This was in the medium and longer term of much greater significance to the royal house of France than it was to de Montfort—and with the Battle of Bouvines was to secure the position of Philip Augustus vis a vis England and the Empire. The Battle of Muret was a massive step in the creation of the unified French kingdom and the country we know today—although Edward III, Edward the Black Prince and Henry V would threaten later to shake these foundations.


Massacre of the Albigensians by the crusaders

The crusader army came under the command, both spiritually and militarily, of the papal legate Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Cîteaux. In the first significant engagement of the war, the town of Béziers was besieged on 22 July 1209. The Catholic inhabitants of the city were granted the freedom to leave unharmed, but many refused and opted to stay and fight alongside the Cathars.

The Cathars spent much of 1209 fending off the crusaders. The Béziers army attempted a sortie but was quickly defeated, then pursued by the crusaders back through the gates and into the city. Arnaud-Amaury, the Cistercian abbot-commander, is supposed to have been asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics. His reply, recalled by Caesarius of Heisterbach, a fellow Cistercian, thirty years later was "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius"—"Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own".[62][63] The doors of the church of St Mary Magdalene were broken down and the refugees dragged out and slaughtered. Reportedly at least 7,000 men, women and children were killed there by Catholic forces. Elsewhere in the town, many more thousands were mutilated and killed. Prisoners were blinded, dragged behind horses, and used for target practice.[64] What remained of the city was razed by fire. Arnaud-Amaury wrote to Pope Innocent III, "Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex."[65][66] "The permanent population of Béziers at that time was then probably no more than 5,000, but local refugees seeking shelter within the city walls could conceivably have increased the number to 20,000."[67][self-published source]

After the success of his siege of Carcassonne, which followed the Massacre at Béziers in 1209, Simon de Montfort was designated as leader of the Crusader army. Prominent opponents of the Crusaders were Raymond Roger Trencavel, viscount of Carcassonne, and his feudal overlord Peter II of Aragon, who held fiefdoms and had a number of vassals in the region. Peter died fighting against the crusade on 12 September 1213 at the Battle of Muret. Simon de Montfort was killed on 25 June 1218 after maintaining a siege of Toulouse for nine months.[68]

Treaty and persecution

The burning of the Cathar heretics

The official war ended in the Treaty of Paris (1229), by which the king of France dispossessed the house of Toulouse of the greater part of its fiefs, and that of the Trencavels (Viscounts of Béziers and Carcassonne) of the whole of their fiefs. The independence of the princes of the Languedoc was at an end. But in spite of the wholesale massacre of Cathars during the war, Catharism was not yet extinguished and Catholic forces would continue to pursue Cathars.[58]

In 1215, the bishops of the Catholic Church met at the Fourth Council of the Lateran under Pope Innocent III; part of the agenda was combating the Cathar heresy.[69]

The Inquisition was established in 1233 to uproot the remaining Cathars.[70] Operating in the south at Toulouse, Albi, Carcassonne and other towns during the whole of the 13th century, and a great part of the 14th, it succeeded in crushing Catharism as a popular movement and driving its remaining adherents underground.[70] Cathars who refused to recant were hanged, or burnt at the stake.[71]

On Friday, 13 May 1239, 183 men and women convinced of Catharism were burned at the stake on the orders of Robert le Bougre. Mount Guimar was already denounced as a place of heresy by the letter of the bishop of Liège to Pope Lucius II in 1144. Augustine, bishop of Hippo Regius, had expelled from the city a Fortunatus who had fled Africa in 392; he is a Fortunatus who is reported as a monk from Africa and protected by the lord of Widomarum.[72][73][74]

From May 1243 to March 1244, the Cathar fortress of Montségur was besieged by the troops of the seneschal of Carcassonne and the archbishop of Narbonne.[75] On 16 March 1244, a large and symbolically important massacre took place, where over 200 Cathar Perfects were burnt in an enormous pyre at the prat dels cremats ("field of the burned") near the foot of the castle.[75] Moreover, the church decreed lesser chastisements against laymen suspected of sympathy with Cathars, at the 1235 Council of Narbonne.[76]

Inquisitors required heretical sympathisers—repentant first offenders—to sew a yellow cross onto their clothes.[77]

A popular though as yet unsubstantiated theory holds that a small party of Cathar Perfects escaped from the fortress before the massacre at prat dels cremats. It is widely held in the Cathar region to this day that the escapees took with them le trésor cathar. What this treasure consisted of has been a matter of considerable speculation: claims range from sacred Gnostic texts to the Cathars' accumulated wealth, which might have included the Holy Grail (see the Section on Historical Scholarship, below).

Hunted by the Inquisition and deserted by the nobles of their districts, the Cathars became more and more scattered fugitives: meeting surreptitiously in forests and mountain wilds. Later insurrections broke out under the leadership of Roger-Bernard II, Count of Foix, Aimery III of Narbonne, and Bernard Délicieux, a Franciscan friar later prosecuted for his adherence to another heretical movement, that of the Spiritual Franciscans at the beginning of the 14th century. But by this time the Inquisition had grown very powerful. Consequently, many presumed to be Cathars were summoned to appear before it. Precise indications of this are found in the registers of the Inquisitors, Bernard of Caux, Jean de St Pierre, Geoffroy d'Ablis, and others.[58] The parfaits it was said only rarely recanted, and hundreds were burnt. Repentant lay believers were punished, but their lives were spared as long as they did not relapse. Having recanted, they were obliged to sew yellow crosses onto their outdoor clothing and to live apart from other Catholics, at least for a while.


After several decades of harassment and re-proselytising, and, perhaps even more important, the systematic destruction of their religious texts, the sect was exhausted and could find no more adepts. The leader of a Cathar revival in the Pyrenean foothills, Peire Autier, was captured and executed in April 1310 in Toulouse.[78][79] After 1330, the records of the Inquisition contain very few proceedings against Cathars.[58] The last known Cathar perfectus in the Languedoc, Guillaume Bélibaste, was executed in the autumn of 1321.[80][79]

From the mid-12th century onwards, Italian Catharism came under increasing pressure from the Pope and the Inquisition, "spelling the beginning of the end".[81] Other movements, such as the Waldensians and the pantheistic Brethren of the Free Spirit, which suffered persecution in the same area, survived in remote areas and in small numbers into the 14th and 15th centuries. Some Waldensian ideas were absorbed into other proto-Protestant sects, such as the Hussites, Lollards, and the Moravian Church (Herrnhuters of Germany). Cathars were in no way Protestant, and very few if any Protestants consider them as their forerunners (as opposed to groups like Waldensians, Hussites, Lollards and Arnoldists).

Later history

After the suppression of Catharism, the descendants of Cathars were discriminated against, at times required to live outside towns and their defences. They retained their Cathar identity, despite their reintegration into Catholicism. As such, any use of the term "Cathar" to refer to people after the suppression of Catharism in the 14th century is a cultural or ancestral reference, and has no religious implication[citation needed]. Nevertheless, interest in the Cathars, their history, legacy and beliefs continues.

Pays Cathare

The castle of Montségur was razed after 1244. The current fortress follows French military architecture of the 17th century.

The term Pays Cathare, French meaning "Cathar Country", is used to highlight the Cathar heritage and history of the region where Catharism was traditionally strongest. This area is centred around fortresses such as Montségur and Carcassonne; also the French département of the Aude uses the title Pays Cathare in tourist brochures.[82] These areas have ruins from the wars against the Cathars which are still visible today.

Some[who?] criticise the promotion of the identity of Pays Cathare as an exaggeration for tourism purposes. Many of the promoted Cathar castles were not built by Cathars but by local lords and later many of them were rebuilt and extended for strategic purposes.[original research?] Good examples of these are the magnificent castles of Queribus and Peyrepertuse which are both perched on the side of precipitous drops on the last folds of the Corbieres mountains. They were for several hundred years frontier fortresses belonging to the French crown and most of what is still there dates from a post-Cathar era. Many consider the County of Foix to be the actual historical centre of Catharism.

Interrogation of heretics

In an effort to find the few remaining heretics in and around the village of Montaillou, Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers, future Pope Benedict XII, had those suspected of heresy interrogated in the presence of scribes who recorded their conversations. The late 13th- to early-14th-century document, discovered in the Vatican archives in the 1960s and edited by Jean Duvernoy, is the basis for Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie's work Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error.[21]

Historical scholarship

The publication of the early scholarly book Crusade Against the Grail by the young German Otto Rahn in the 1930s rekindled interest in the connection between the Cathars and the Holy Grail, especially in Germany. Rahn was convinced that the 13th-century work Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach was a veiled account of the Cathars. The philosopher and Nazi government official Alfred Rosenberg speaks favourably of the Cathars in The Myth of the Twentieth Century.[83]

Academic books in English first appeared at the beginning of the millennium: for example, Malcolm Lambert's The Cathars[84] and Malcolm Barber's The Cathars.[24]

Starting in the 1990s and continuing to the present day, historians like R. I. Moore have radically challenged the extent to which Catharism, as an institutionalized religion, actually existed. Building on the work of French historians such as Monique Zerner and Uwe Brunn, Moore's The War on Heresy[85] argues that Catharism was "contrived from the resources of [the] well-stocked imaginations" of churchmen, "with occasional reinforcement from miscellaneous and independent manifestations of local anticlericalism or apostolic enthusiasm".[86] In short, Moore claims that the men and women persecuted as Cathars were not the followers of a secret religion imported from the East, instead they were part of a broader spiritual revival taking place in the later twelfth and early thirteenth century. Moore's work is indicative of a larger historiographical trend towards examination of how heresy was constructed by the church.[87]

In art and music

The principal legacy of the Cathar movement is in the poems and songs of the Cathar troubadors, though this artistic legacy is only a smaller part of the wider Occitan linguistic and artistic heritage. Recent artistic projects concentrating on the Cathar element in Provençal and troubador art include commercial recording projects by Thomas Binkley, electric hurdy-gurdy artist Valentin Clastrier and his CD Heresie dedicated to the church at Cathars,[88] La Nef,[89] and Jordi Savall.[90]

The Cathars are depicted in Jacques Tissinier's cement sculpture Les Chevaliers Cathares, along l'autoroute des Deux Mers in Narbonne.[91]

In recent popular culture, Catharism has been linked with the Knights Templar, an active sect of monks founded during the First Crusade (1095–1099). This link has caused fringe theories about the Cathars and the possibility of their possession of the Holy Grail.[citation needed]

See also

• Antonin Gadal
• Crusades
• Edmund Hamer Broadbent—The Pilgrim Church



1. La vie quotidienne des cathares du Languedoc, René Nelli.
2. OED (1989), "Cathar".
3. καθαροί. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
4. Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel (1990). Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French Village. London: Penguin. pp. vii. ISBN 978-0-14-013700-2.
5. Lambert, Malcolm (1998). The Cathars. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 21. ISBN 0-631-14343-2.
6. Peters, Edward, ed. (1980). "The Cathars". Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 108.
7. Pegg (2001a), pp. 181 ff.
8. Théry (2002), pp. 75–117.
9. See: Nicene Creed
10. Schaus (2006), p. 114.
11. Sumption (1999), pp. 15–16.
12. Madaule (1967), pp. 56–63.
13. Lambert (1998), p. 31.
14. Alphandéry (1911), p. 505.
15. John of Damascus (2012), p. 125.
16. Schaff & Wace (1994), p. 20.
17. Murphy (2012), pp. 26–27.
18. Dondaine (1939).
19. Wakefield & Evans (1991), pp. 511–515.
20. See especially R. I. Moore's The Origins of European Dissent, and the collection of essays Heresy and the Persecuting Society in the Middle Ages: Essays on the Work of R.I. Moore for a consideration of the origins of the Cathars, and proof against identifying earlier heretics in the West, such as those identified in 1025 at Monforte, outside Milan, as being Cathars. Also see Heresies of the High Middle Ages, a collection of pertinent documents on Western heresies of the High Middle Ages, edited by Walter Wakefield and Austin P. Evans.
21. See Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie's Montaillou: the Promised Land of Error for an analysis of the social context of these last Languedoc Cathars, and Power and Purity by Carol Lansing for a consideration of 13th-century Catharism in Orvieto.
22. Sibly, W. A.; Sibly, M. D. (2002). The History of the Albigensian Crusade. Boydell Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 9780851158075.
23. Jeffrey J., Butz (2009). The Secret Legacy of Jesus: The Judaic Teachings That Passed from James the Just to the Founding Fathers. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781594779213.
24. Barber (2000).
25. O'Shea (2000), p. 11.
26. Maseko (2008), p. 482: "In the book 'Massacre at Montsegur' (a book widely regarded by medievalists as having a pronounced, pro-Cathar bias) the Cathars are referred to as 'Western Buddhists' because of their belief that the Doctrine of 'resurrection' taught."
27. Butz (2009).
28. Townsend (2008), p. 9: "The Cathars did not accept the Church doctrine of Jesus being the 'Son of God'. Cathars believed that Jesus was not embodied in the human form but an angel (Docetic Christology), which echoed back to the Arian controversy."
29. "Albigensians", Encyclopaedia 2, The Free dictionary
30. "Cathari", Columbia Encyclopedia, Columbia University Press, 2007.
31. Lambert (1998), p. 41: "Bernard's biographer identifies another group in Toulouse which he calls Arians, who have sometimes been identified as Cathars though the evidence is scant. It is most likely that the first Cathars to penetrate Languedoc appealed..."
32. Luscombe & Riley-Smith (2004), p. 522: "Even though his biographer does not describe their beliefs, Arians would have been an appropriate label for moderate dualists with an unorthodox Christology, and the term was certainly later used in Languedoc to describe Cathars."
33. Johnston (2011), p. 115: "However, they became converts to Arian Christianity, which later developed into Catharism. Arian and Cathar doctrines were sufficiently different from Catholic doctrine that the two branches were incompatible."
34. Kienzle (2001), p. 92: "The term 'Arian' is often joined with 'Manichean' to designate Cathars. Geoffrey's comment implies that he and others called those heretics 'weavers', whereas they called themselves 'Arians'."
35. The Gnostic Bible, Google Books.
36. Johnston (2000), p. 252.
37. Murray, Alexander. Suicide in the Middle Ages. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820539-2.
38. Barber (2000), pp. 103–104.
39. Burr (1996).
40. O'Shea (2000), p. 42.
41. Sumption (1999), pp. 49–50.
42. O'Shea (2000), pp. 2–4.
43. Lambert (1998), p. 70.
44. Lambert (2002), p. 140.
45. Moore (1995), p. 137.
46. Ward (2002), pp. 241–42.
47. O'Shea (2000), pp. 10–12.
48. O'Shea (2000), pp. 25–26.
49. Clark (2001), p. 412.
50. O'Shea (2000), pp. 80–81.
51. O'Shea (2000), pp. 40–43.
52. Kaelber (1997), p. 120.
53. Newman (1998), pp. 753–755.
54. O'Shea (2000), p. 41.
55. Weis (2001), p. 122.
56. Walther (1965), p. 167.
57. Alphandéry (1911), pp. 505–506.
58. Alphandéry (1911), p. 506.
59. Johnson (1976), p. 251.
60. Sumption (1999), pp. 68–69.
61. Sumption (1999), pp. 72–73.
62. of Heisterbach, Caesarius (1851), Strange, J (ed.), Caesarius Heiserbacencis monachi ordinis Cisterciensis, Dialogus miraculorum, 2, Cologne: JM Heberle, pp. 296–8, Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eis. Caesarius (c) was a Cistercian Master of Novices.
63. Moore (2003), p. 180.
64. Johnson (1976), p. 252.
65. Innocent III (1855), Vol. 216.
66. Sibly & Sibly (2003), p. 128.
67. Maseko, Achim Nkosi (2008). Church Schism and Corruption. Durban, South Africa. p. 485.
68. Chanson de la Croisade Albigeoise laisse 205.
69. Sumption (1999), pp. 179–81.
70. Sumption (1999), pp. 230–232.
71. Martin (2005), pp. 105–121.
72. fr:Mont Aimé[circular reference]
73. «Ce lieu est terrible, le Mont-Aimé en Champagne », père Albert Mathieu
74. "Albert Mathieu". BnF. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
75. Sumption (1999), pp. 238–40.
76. Innocent IV (1252), Ad extirpanda (Bull).
77. Weis (2001), pp. 11–12.
78. O'Shea (2000), pp. 237–38.
79. Sumption (1999), pp. 242–43.
80. O'Shea (2000), pp. 239–46.
81. O'Shea (2000), p. 230.
82. "Pays Cathare".
83. Rosenberg, Alfred (c. 1980). "Myth of the 20th century". p. 93. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
84. Lambert (1998).
85. R. I. Moore, War on Heresy. New York: Belknap Press, 2012.
86. Moore, R. I. (2012). "L. J. Sackville. Heresy and Heretics in the Thirteenth Century: The Textual Representations" (PDF). H-France Review. 12 (44). Retrieved 11 June 2018.
87. Biller, Peter. "review of The War on Heresy: Faith and Power in Medieval Europe, (review no. 1546)". Reviews in History. Retrieved 9 October 2015, with R. I. Moore's response.
88. L'Agonie du Languedoc: Claude Marti / Studio der frühen Musik – Thomas Binkley, dir. EMI "Reflexe" 1C 063-30 132 [LP-Stereo]1975
89. La Nef. Montségur: La tragédie cathare. Dorian Recordings.DOR-90243
90. Savall The Forgotten Kingdom: The Cathar Tragedy – The Albigensian Crusade AVSA9873 A+C Alia Vox 2009
91. "Narbonne: les chevaliers cathares de Pech Loubat dans le top 15 des aires autoroutières 'immanquables'!". L'Indépendant(in French). Pyrénées-Orientales. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2019.


• Alphandéry, Paul Daniel (1911). "Albigenses" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 505–506.
• Arnold, John H, Inquisition & Power, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0-8122-3618-1. An excellent and meticulously researched work dealing with Catharism in the context of the Inquisition's evolution; analyses Inquisitorial practice as the construction of the "confessing subject".
• Barber, Malcolm (2000), The Cathars: Dualist heretics in Languedoc in the High Middle Ages, Harlow: Longman, ISBN 978-0582256620
• Berlioz, Jacques (1994), Tuez-les tous Dieu reconnaîtra les siens. Le massacre de Béziers et la croisade des Albigeois vus par Césaire de Heisterbach (in French), Loubatières. A discussion of the command "Kill them all, God will know his own." recorded by a contemporary Cistercian Chronicler.
• (in French) Biget, Jean-Louis (2007), * Hérésie et inquisition dans le midi de la France, Paris: Picard (Les médiévistes français), 2007.
• Brunn, Uwe (2006), Des contestataires aux "cathares" : Discours de réforme et propagande antihérétique dans les pays du Rhin et de la Meuse avant l'Inquisition, Paris, Institut d'études augustiniennes
• Burr, David (1996), Bernard Gui: Inquisitor's Manual, Internet History Sourcebooks Project, New York City: Fordham University, retrieved 25 May 2013
• Caernaii, Petrus Vallis, Historia Albigensium et Sacri Belli in Eos (PDF), Migne Patrologia Latina (in Latin), 213, 0543–0711. An history of the Albigensian war told by a contemporary.
• Chesterton, G. K. (1910), What's Wrong with the World
• Clark, Elizabeth A. (2001), "Women, Gender, and the Study of Christian History", Church History, 70, Cambridge University Press, pp. 395–426, doi:10.2307/3654496, JSTOR 3654496
• Conybeare, Frederick Cornwallis (1911). "Cathars" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 515–517.
• Jean Duvernoy, Jean: transcriptions of inquisitorial manuscripts, many hitherto unpublished
• Dondaine, Antoine OP (1939), Un traité neo-manichéen du XIIIe siècle: Le Liber de duobus principiis, suivi d'un fragment de rituel Cathare (in French), Rome: Institutum Historicum Fratrum Praedicatorum
• Frassatto, Michael, ed. (1996) [1975]. Heresy and the Persecuting Society in the Middle Ages: Essays on the Work of R.I. Moore. Medieval Academy of America. ISBN 978-9004150980.
• Given, James (1992). Inquisition and Medieval Society: Power, Discipline, and Resistance in Languedoc. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0801487590.
• Godlike Productions (2010), Web Forum: Before the Catholics, The Cathars taught of Jesus, Power of Love, Godlike Productions, Zero Point Ltd.
• Gui, Bernard; Shirley, Janet (2006), The Inquisitor's Guide: A Medieval Manual on Heretics, Welwyn Garden City: Ravenhall Books, ISBN 978-1905043095
• Henry, William (2002), Secrets of The Cathars: Why the Dark Age Church Was Out to Destroy Them, Biblioteca Pleyades and Atlantis Rising
• Innocent III (1855), Volume 216, Patrologia Cursus Completus, Paris: Jacques Paul Migne.
• John of Damascus (2012) [1958], Writings: The Fount of Knowledge: The Philosophical Chapters, On Heresies, The Orthodox Faith, The Fathers of the Church, Translator: Frederic H Chase (Reprint ed.), CreateSpace, ISBN 978-1470149246
• Johnson, Paul (1976), A History of Christianity, Atheneum, ISBN 0-689-70591-3
• Johnston, Ruth A (2011), All Things Medieval: An Encyclopedia of the Medieval World, Greenwood Press, p. 115, ISBN 978-0313364624
• Johnston, William M (2000). Encyclopedia of Monasticism. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. ISBN 1-57958-090-4.
• Kaelber, Lutz (1997). "Weavers into Heretics? The Social Organization of Early-Thirteenth-Century Catharism in Comparative Perspective". Social Science History. 21 (1): 111–137. doi:10.1017/S0145553200017661.
• Kienzle, Beverly Mayne (2001), Cistercians, heresy, and Crusade in Occitania, 1145–1229, York Medieval Press, ISBN 978-1903153000
• Lambert, Malcolm (1998). The Cathars. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631143437.
• Lambert, Malcolm (2002). Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631222767.
• Lansing, Carol (1998). Power and Purity: Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy. Oxford University Press (USA). ISBN 978-0195149807.
• Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel (1979). Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error, Barbara Bray translator. Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0807615980.
• Luscombe, David; Riley-Smith, Jonathan (2004), The new Cambridge medieval history: c. 1024 – c. 1198, p. 522
• Madaule, Jacques (1967). The Albigensian Crusade: An Historical Essay. New York: Fordham UP.
• Magee, M D (12 December 2002), Heresy and the Inquisition II Persecution of Heretics.
• Mann, Judith (2002), The Trail of Gnosis, Gnosis Traditions Press
• Markale, Jean (2003), Montségur and the Mystery of the Cathars, Inner Traditions, ISBN 978-0892810901, archived from the original on 4 December 2003
• Martin, Sean (2005), The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages, Pocket Essentials, ISBN 1-904048-33-1, archived from the original on 22 February 2014, retrieved 29 May 2006
• Maris, Yves (2006), Cathars – Memories of an initiate, AdA.
• Maseko, Achim N. (2008), Church Schism & Corruption, South Africa:, p. 482, ISBN 9781409221869
• Mathieu, Albert, "Ce lieu est terrible, le Mont-Aimé en Champagne" Vendredi 13 mai 1239 Réf : Bibliothèque Nationale de France
• Moore, John Clare (2003), Pope Innocent III (1160/61–1216): To Root Up and to Plant, Brill, p. 180, ISBN 90-04-12925-1
• Moore, R. I. (1985). The Origins of European Dissent. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0631144045.
• Moore, R. I. (1995). The Birth of Heresy. Medieval Academy of America. ISBN 0-8020-7659-9.
• Moore, R. I. (2006) [1992]. The Formation of a Persecuting Society. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405129640.
• Moore, R. I. (2012). The War on Heresy. London: Profile Books. ISBN 9781846682001.
• Moreland, Miles (1992), Miles Away: A Walk Across France, New York: Random House, ISBN 0-679-42527-6
• Murphy, Cullen (2012), God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, Houhton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0-618-09156-0
• Newman, Barbara (1998). "Possessed by the Spirit: Devout Women, Demoniacs, and the Apostolic Life in the Thirteenth Century". Speculum. 73 (3): 733–770. doi:10.2307/2887496.
• O'Shea, Stephen (2000). The Perfect Heresy: The Revolutionary Life and Death of the Medieval Cathars. New York: Walker & Company. ISBN 978-1861972705.
• Pegg, Mark (2001a), "On Cathars, Albigenses, and good men of Languedoc", Journal of Medieval History, 27 (2): 181–190, doi:10.1016/s0304-4181(01)00008-2.
• Pegg, Mark (2001b), The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245–1245, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691006567
• Pegg, Mark (2006), "Heresy, good men, and nomenclature", in Frassetto, Michael (ed.), Heresy and the Persecuting Society in the Middle Ages, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions, Leiden: Brill, pp. 227–39.
• Pegg, Mark (2008). A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195171310.
• Pegg, Mark (2015). "Innocent III, les 'pestilentiels Provençaux' et le paradigme épuisé du catharisme/Innocent III, 'Pestilential Provençals' and the Obsolete Paradigm of Catharism". Innocent III et le Midi (Privat (English and French abstracts)). Cahiers de Fanjeaux, 50. Toulouse: Presses Universitaires de Rennes. pp. 277–207. ISBN 9782708934542.
• Peters, Edward, ed. (1980), Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, University of Pennsylvania Press. A collection of primary sources, some on Catharism.
• Riparelli, Enrico (2008), Il volto del Cristo dualista. Da Marcione ai catari (in Italian), Bern: Peter Lang, ISBN 978-303911490-0
• Roach, Andrew P (2005), The Devil's World: Heresy and Society 1100–1320, Harlow: Pearson Longman
• Schaff, Philip; Wace, Henry, eds. (1994) [1900], Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Volume 14: I Nice AD 325 (Canons of the Council of Nicaea), Trans. Henry R. Percival (Reprint ed.), Hendrickson, ISBN 978-1565631168
• Schaus, Margaret (2006), Women And Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia, New York: Taylor and Francis Group, ISBN 978-0415969444
• Sennis, Antonio, Cathars in Question, York: York Medieval Press, 2016
• Sibly, W A; Sibly, M D (2003), The Chronicle of William of Puylaurens: The Albigensian Crusade and Its Aftermath, Boydell Press, p. 128, ISBN 978-0851159256
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• Stork, Nancy P., The Inquisition Record of Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers 1318–1325, California: San Jose State University
• Sumption, Jonathan (1999) [1978]. The Albigensian Crusade (New ed.). London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0571200023.
• Théry, Julien (2002), L'Hérésie des bons hommes (XIIe-début du XIVe s.). Comment nommer la dissidence religieuse non vaudoise ni béguine en Languedoc?, Heresis (in French), 36–37, pp. 75–117
• Théry, Julien (2010), "Les Hérésies, du XIIe au début du XIVe s.", in de Cevins, Marie-Madeleine; Matz, Jean-Michel (eds.), Structures et dynamiques de la vie religieuse en Occident (1179–1449) (in French), Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 373–386
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External links

• Ce lieu est terrible [Texte imprimé] : le Mont-Aimé en Champagne [Forgotten Story of France: Northern Cathar in Champagne]
• Cathar texts, The Gnostic Society Library, including the Lyon Ritual.
• Cathars Today: Official website of the Cathar Temple
• Catharism on In Our Time at the BBC
• "Catharism and the Cathars of the Languedoc", Castles & Manor Houses, archived from the original on 7 June 2011: History, origins, theology and extirpation.
• Cathar castles, details, histories, photographs, plans and maps of 30 Cathar castles.
• Cathar castles (interactive map), Aude‐Aude.
• Perrottet, Tony (9 May 2010), "The Besieged and the Beautiful in Languedoc", The New York Times
• "Des hérétiques dans les Pyrénées catalanes à la fin du XIe siècle?" ["Heretics in the Catalan Pyrenees at the end of the 11th century?"] (article), Paratge, 2013.
• Pegg, Mark Gregory (2008), A Most Holy War: The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom (book), Oxford – via Google Books.
• Cathars, Cathar history & theology
• Mark, Joshua J. (2 April 2019), "Cathars", Ancient History Encyclopedia
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Jules Doinel
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/3/19



Jules Doinel

Jules-Benoît Stanislas Doinel du Val-Michel (December 8, 1842, Moulins, Allier – March 16 or 17, 1903), also simply Jules Doinel, was an archivist and the founder of the first Gnostic church in modern times.

Gnostic Church Revival

After spiritual experiences in 1888-89, he proclaimed 1890 the beginning of "the era of Gnosis restored." Doinel assumed the office of Patriarch of the Église Gnostique (French: Gnostic Church of France), taking the ecclesiastical name of Tau Valentin II, after Valentinius, the 2nd century Christian Gnostic teacher.[1] [2]

The doctrinal orientation of the church was based on extant Cathar documents, with the Gospel of John, and strong influence of Simonian and Valentinian cosmology, the church was officially established in the autumn of 1890 in Paris, France. Liturgical services were based on Cathar rituals. Clergy were both male and female, having male bishops and female "sophias."[3]

Doinel was "spiritually consecrated" in a spiritual experience in 1888 and not into a line of apostolic succession. Doinel subsequently consecrated a number of bishops for the Église Gnostique, notable among these was Gérard Encausse founder of the closely allied Martinist Order.[4][5]

Anti-Masonic Period (1895-1897)

In 1895, Doinel resigned from the Église Gnostique, leaving the leadership of the church to a council of bishops. Doinel then converted to Roman Catholicism and began a collaboration with Léo Taxil, being one of many taken in by Taxil's anti-masonic hoax. Doinel wrote a book entitled Lucifer Unmasked, a book attacking freemasonry, under the name Jean Kostka, in which he associated many of his prior activities with the diabolic. A. E. Waite described Lucifer Unmasked and revealed the real identity of its author in Devil Worship in France his exposé of the anti-masonic movement Taxil inspired.[6] Taxil unveiled his hoax in 1897.


Doinel was readmitted as a bishop in the Église Gnostique in 1900.

The Église Gnostique Catholique Apostolique (E.G.C.A.), in Latin Ecclesia Gnostica Apostolica Catholica (not to be confused with Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica), or known as the Gnostic Catholic Apostolic Church of North America, which operates in New York, claims the heritage of Église gnostique de France.[5] This church is in a state of fraternal alliance (concordat) with the Ecclesia Gnostica.

-- Gnostic Church of France, by Wikipedia

The chief function of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is the public and private performance of the Gnostic Mass (Liber XV), a eucharistic ritual written by Crowley in 1913....

The Gnostic Creed

A creed is a statement of belief—usually religious belief—or faith. The word derives from the Latin credo for "I believe". The creed of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica—also known as the Gnostic Creed—is recited in the Gnostic Mass, during the Ceremony of the Introit.

The text of the Creed is as follows:

I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS, the sole vicegerent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.
And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON.
And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.

And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA.
And I believe in the communion of Saints.
And, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.
And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.
And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.

-- Ecclesia Gnostica Catholicam by Wikipedia


I.<<WEH NOTE: Throughout, quotations from Liber AL have been corrected against the text and enclosed in quotation marks.>>

Of the Furnishings of the Temple.

In the East, that is, in the direction of Boleskine, which is situated on the southeastern shore of Loch Ness in Scotland, two miles east of Foyers, is a shrine or High Altar. Its dimensions should be 7 feet in length, 3 feet in breadth, 44 inches in height. It should be covered with a crimson altar-cloth, on which may be embroidered fleur-de-lys in gold, or a sunblaze, or other suitable emblem.

On each side of it should be a pillar or obelisk, with countercharges in black and white.

Below it should be the dias of three steps, in black and white squares.

Above it is the super-altar, at whose top is the Stele of Revealing in reproduction, with four candles on each side of it. Below the stele is a place for the Book of the Law, with six candles on each side of it. Below this again is the Holy Graal, with roses on each side of it. There is room in front of the Cup for the Paten. On each side beyond the roses are two great candles.

All this is enclosed within a great veil.

Forming the apex of an equilateral triangle whose base is a line drawn between the pillars, is a small black square altar, of two superimposed cubes.

Taking this altar as the middle of the base of a similar and equal triangle, at the apex of this second triangle is a small circular font.

Repeating, the apex of a third triangle is an upright tomb. {345}

II. Of the Officers of the Mass.

The PRIEST. Bears the Sacred Lance, and is clothed at first in a plain white robe.

The PRIESTESS. Should be actually Virgo Intacta or specially dedicated to the service of the Great Order. She is clothed in white, blue and gold. She bears the sword from a red girdle, and the Paten and Hosts, or Cakes of Light.

The DEACON. He is clothed in white and yellow. He bears the Book of the Law.

"Two Children." They are clothed in white and black. One bears a pitcher of water and a cellar of salt, the other a censer of fire and a casket of perfume.

III. Of the ceremony of the Introit.

"The" DEACON, "opening the door of the Temple, admits the congregation and takes his stand between the small altar and the font. (There should be a doorkeeper to attend to the admission.)"

"The" DEACON "advances and bows before the open shrine where the Graal is exalted. He kisses the Book of the Law three times, opens it, and places it upon the super-altar. He turns West."

The DEACON. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. I proclaim the Law of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty in the name of GR:Iota-Alpha-Omega.

The CONGREGATION. Love is the law, love under will.

"The" DEACON "goes to his place between the altar of incense and the font, faces East, and gives the step and sign of a Man and a Brother. All imitate him."

The DEACON and all the PEOPLE. I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one Star in the company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name {346} CHAOS, the sole vice-regent of the Sun upon Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breaths.

And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON.

And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in his name BAPHOMET.

And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is GR:Theta-Epsilon-Lambda-Eta-Mu-Alpha.

And I believe in the communion of Saints.

And, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.

And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.

And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.

GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu, GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu, GR:Alpha- Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu.

"Music is now played. The child enters with the ewer and the salt. The "VIRGIN" enters with the Sword and the Paten, The child enters with the censer and the perfume. They face the "DEACON "deploying into line from the space between the two altars."

The VIRGIN. Greeting of Earth and Heaven!

"All give the hailing sign of a Magician, the "DEACON "leading.

The "PRIESTESS," the negative child on her left, the positive child on her right, ascends the steps of the High Altar. They await her below. She places the Paten before the Graal. Having adored it, she descends, and with the children following her, the positive next her, she moves in a serpentine manner involving 3-1/2 circles of the Temple. (Deosil about altar, widdershins about font, deosil about altar and font, widdershins about altar and so to the Tomb in the west.) She draws her sword and pulls down the Veil therewith.)"

The PRIESTESS. By the power of + Iron, I say unto thee, {347} Arise. In the name of our Lord + the Sun, and of our Lord + that thou mayst administer the virtues to the Brethren.

"She sheathes the Sword."

"The "PRIEST, "issuing from the Tomb, holding the Lance erect with both hands, right over left, against his breast, takes the first three regular steps. He then gives the Lance to the "PRIESTESS "and gives the three penal signs.

He then kneels and worships the Lance with both hands.

Penitential music."

The PRIEST. I am a man among men.

"He takes again the Lance and lowers it. He rises."

The PRIEST. How should I be worthy to administer the virtues to the Brethren?

"The "PRIESTESS" takes from the child the water and the salt, and mixes them in the font."

The PRIESTESS. Let the salt of Earth admonish the Water to bear the virtue of the Great Sea. "(Genuflects)." Mother, be thou adored!

"She returns to the West, + on "PRIEST" with open hand doth she make, over his forehead, breast and body."

Be the PRIEST pure of body and soul!

"The "PRIESTESS" takes the censer from the child, and places it on the small altar. She puts incense therein. "Let the Fire and the Air make sweet the world! "Genuflects." Father, be thou adored!

"She returns West, and makes with the censer + before the "PRIEST," thrice as before."

Be the PRIEST fervent of body and soul!

"(The children resume their weapons as they are done with.)

The "DEACON "now takes the consecrated Robe from the High Altar and brings it to her. She robes the "PRIEST" in his Robe of scarlet and gold."

Be the flame of the Sun thine ambiance, O thou PRIEST of the SUN!

"The "DEACON" brings the crown from the High Altar. (The "{348} "crown may be of gold or platinum, or of electrum magicum; but with no other metals, save the small proportions necessary to a proper alloy. It may be adorned with divers jewels; at will. But it must have the Uraeus serpent twined about it, and the cap of maintenance must match the scarlet of the robe. Its texture should be velvet.)"

Be the Serpent thy crown, O thou PRIEST of the LORD!

"Kneeling she takes the Lance between her open hands, and runs them up and down upon the shaft eleven times, very gently."

Be the LORD present among us!

"All give the Hailing Sign."

The PEOPLE: so mote it be.

IV. Of the Ceremony of the opening of the Veil.

The PRIEST. Thee therefore whom we adore we also invoke. By the power of the lifted Lance!

"He raises the Lance. All repeat Hailing Sign.

A phrase of triumphant music.

The "PRIEST" takes the "PRIESTESS" by her right hand with his left, keeping the Lance raised."

I, PRIEST and KING, take thee, Virgin pure without spot; I upraise thee; I lead thee to the East; I set thee upon the summit of the Earth.

"He thrones the "PRIESTESS" upon the altar. The "DEACON" and the children follow, they in rank, behind him. The "PRIESTESS" takes the book of the Law, resumes her seat, and holds it open on her breast with her two hands, making a descending triangle with thumbs and forefingers.

The "PRIEST" gives the lance to the "DEACON" to hold; and takes the ewer from the child, and sprinkles the "PRIESTESS," making five crosses, forehead, shoulders, and thighs.

The thumb of the "PRIEST" is always between his index and "{349} "medius, whenever he is not holding the Lance. The "PRIEST" takes the censer from the child, and makes five crosses as before.

The children replace their weapons on their respective altars.

The "PRIEST" kisses the Book of the Law three times. He kneels for a space in adoration, with joined hands, knuckles closed, thumb in position as aforesaid. He rises and draws the veil over the whole altar. All rise and stand to order.

The "PRIEST" takes the lance from the "DEACON" and holds it as before, as Osiris or Phthah. He circumambulates the Temple three times, followed by the "DEACON" and the children as before. (These, when not using their hands, keep their arms crossed upon their breasts.) At the last circumambulation they leave him and go to the place between the font and the small altar, where they kneel in adoration, their hands joined palm to palm, and raised above their heads.

All imitate this motion.

The "PRIEST" returns to the East and mounts the first step of the Altar."

The PRIEST. O circle of Stars whereof our Father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom Time is ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark, not unto Thee may we attain, unless Thine image be Love. Therefore by seed and root and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit we do invoke Thee.

"Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat: O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of Thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous!"

"During this speech the "PRIESTESS" must have divested herself completely of her robe. See CCXX.I.62."

The PRIESTESS. "But to love me is better than all things: if under the night-stars in the desert thou presently burnest mine incense before me, invoking me with a pure heart, and the Serpent flame therein, thou shalt come a little to lie in my bosom. For one {350} kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour. Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in splendour & pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy. I charge you earnestly to come before me in a single robe, and covered with a rich headdress. I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me!" To me! To me!" Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you! I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous nightsky. To me! To me!"

"The "PRIEST" mounts the second step."

The PRIEST. O secret of secrets that art hidden in the being of all that lives, not Thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also Thou. Thou art that, and That am I.

"I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death." "I am alone: there is no God where I am."

"(The "DEACON" and all rise to their feet with Hailing Sign.)"

The DEACON. "But ye, o my people, rise up & awake! Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty!"

"There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times."

"A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!"

"A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law."

"A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet-secret, O Prophet!"

"A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods."

"A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death!"

"A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture!" {351}

"A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight!"

"(The "PRIEST" mounts the third step.)"

The PRIEST: Thou that art One, our Lord in the Universe, the Sun, our Lord in ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mystery, uttermost being whose radiance, enlightening the worlds, is also the breath that maketh every God even and Death to tremble before thee --- by the Sign of Light appear thou glorious upon the throne of the Sun.

Make open the path of creation and of intelligence between us and our minds. Enlighten our understanding.

Encourage our hearts. Let thy light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection.

A ka dua

Tuf ur biu

Bi a'a chefu

Dudu nur af an nuteru!

The PRIESTESS. "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt."

"(The "PRIEST" parts the veil with his Lance.)

(During the previous speeches the "PRIESTESS" has resumed her robe.)"

The PRIEST: GR:Iota-Omega GR:Iota-Omega GR:Iota-Omega GR:Iota-Alpha-Omega GR:Sigma-Alpha-Beta-Alpha-Omicron GR:Kappa-Upsilon-Rho-Iota- Epsilon GR:Alpha-Beta-Rho-Alpha-Sigma-Alpha-Chi GR:Kappa-Upsilon-Rho-Iota- Epsilon GR:Mu-Epsilon-Iota-Theta-Rho-Alpha-Sigma GR:Kappa-Upsilon-Rho- Iota-Epsilon GR:Phi-Alpha-Lambda-Lambda-Epsilon. GR:Iota-Omega GR:Pi- Alpha-Nu, GR:Iota-Omega GR:Pi-Alpha-Nu GR:Pi-Alpha-Nu GR:Iota-Omicron GR:Iota-Sigma-Chi-Upsilon-Rho-Omicron-Chi, GR:Iota-Omega GR:Alpha-Theta- Alpha-Nu-Alpha-Tau-Omicron-Nu, GR:Iota-Omega GR:Alpha-Beta-Rho-Omicron- Tau-Omicron-Nu GR:Iota-Omega GR:Iota-Alpha-Omega GR:Kappa-Alpha-Iota- Rho-Epsilon GR:Phi-Alpha-Lambda-Lambda-Epsilon GR:Kappa-Alpha-Iota-Rho- Epsilon GR:Pi-Alpha-Mu-Phi-Alpha-Gamma-Epsilon GR:Kappa-Alpha-Iota-Rho- Epsilon GR:Pi-Alpha-Nu-Gamma-Epsilon-Nu-Epsilon-Tau-Omicron-Rho. GR:Alpha-Gamma-Iota-Omicron-Sigma, GR:Alpha-Gamma-Iota-Omicron-Sigma, GR:Alpha-Gamma-Iota-Omicron-Sigma GR:Iota-Alpha-Omega.<<WEH NOTE: This Greek text varies in spelling in some other texts of Liber XV.>>

"The "PRIESTESS" is seated with the Paten in her right hand and the Cup in her left. The "PRIEST" presents the Lance which she kisses eleven times. She then holds it to her breast while the "PRIEST" falling at her knees, kisses them, his arms stretched along her thighs. He remains in this adoration while the Deacon intones the collects. All stand to order, with the Dieu Garde, that is: feet square, hands, with linked thumbs, held loosely. This is the universal position when standing, unless other direction is given.)" {352}

V. Of the Office of the Collects which are Eleven in Number


The DEACON. Lord visible an sensible of whom this earth is but a frozen spark turning about thee with annual and diurnal motion, source of light, source of life, let thy perpetual radiance hearten us to continual labour and enjoyment; so that as we are constant partakers of thy bounty we may in our particular orbit give out light and life, sustenance and joy to them that revolve about us without diminution of substance or effulgence for ever.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Lord secret and most holy, source of light, source of life, source of love, source of liberty, be thou ever constant and mighty within us, force of energy, fire of motion; with diligence let us ever labour with thee, that we may remain in thine abundant joy.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Lady of night, that turning ever about us art now visible and now invisible in thy season, be thou favourable to hunters, and lovers, and to all men that toil upon the earth and to all mariners upon the sea.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Giver and receiver of joy, gate of life and love, be thou ever ready, thou and thine handmaiden, in thine office of gladness.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Lord of Life and Joy, that art the might of man, that art the essence of every true god that is upon the surface {353} of the Earth, continuing knowledge from generation unto generation, thou adored of us upon heaths and in woods, on mountains and in caves, openly in the market-places and secretly in the chambers of our houses, in temples of gold and ivory and marble as in these other temples of our bodies, we worthily commemorate them worthy that did of old adore thee and manifest thy glory unto men, "Lao-tze and Siddhartha" and Krishna and "Tahuti," Mosheh, "Dionysus, Mohammed and To Mega Therion, with these also," Hermes, "Pan," Priapus, Osiris, and Melchizedeck, Khem and Amoun "and Mentu, Heracles," Orpheus and Odysseus; with Vergilius, "Catullus," Martialis, "Rabelais, Swinburne and many an holy bard; Apollonius Tyanaeus," Simon Magus, Manes, "Pythagoras," Basilides, Valentinus, "Bardesanes and Hippolytus, that transmitted the light of the Gnosis to us their successors and their heirs;" with Merlin, Arthur, Kamuret, Parzival, and many another, prophet, priest and king, that bore the Lance and Cup, the Sword and Disk, against the Heathen, "and these also," Carolus Magnus and his paladins, with William of Schyren, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, Roger Bacon, "Jacobus Burgundus Molensis the Martyr, Christian Rosencreutz," Ulrich von Hutten, Paracelsus, Michael Maier, "Roderic Borgia Pope Alexander the Sixth," Jacob Boehme, Francis Bacon Lord Verulam, Andrea, Robertus de Fluctibus, Johannes Dee, "Sir Edward Kelly," Thomas Vaughan, Elias Ashmole, Molinos, Adam Weishaupt, Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludovicus Rex Bavariae, Richard Wagner, "Alphonse Louis Constant," Friedrich Nietzsche, Hargrave Jennings, Carl Kellner, Forlong dux, Sir Richard Burton, Sir Richard Payne Knight, Paul Gauguin, Docteur Gerard Encausse, Doctor Theodor Reuss, "and Sir Aleister Crowley." Oh Sons of the Lion and the Snake! With all thy saints we worthily commemorate them worthy that were and are and are to come.

May their Essence be here present, potent, puissant, and paternal to perfect this feast!

"(At each name the "DEACON" signs + with thumb between index and medius. At ordinary mass it is only necessary to commemorate those whose names are italicised, with wording as is shown.)"

The PEOPLE. So mote it be. {354}


The DEACON. Mother of fertility on whose breast lieth water, whose cheek is caressed by air, and in whose heart is the sun's fire, womb of all life, recurring grace of seasons, answer favourably the prayer of labour, and to pastors and husbandmen be thou propitious.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Mysterious energy triform, mysterious Matter, in fourfold and sevenfold division; the interplay of which things weave the dance of the Veil of Life upon the Face of the Spirit, let there be harmony and beauty in your mystic loves, that in us may be health and wealth and strength and divine pleasure according to the Law of Liberty; let each pursue his Will as a strong man that rejoiceth in his way, as the course of a Star that blazeth for ever among the joyous company of Heaven.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Be the hour auspicious, and the gate of life open in peace and in well being, so that she that beareth children may rejoice, and the babe catch life with both hands.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Upon all that this day unite with love under will let fall success; may strength and skill unite to bring forth ecstasy, and beauty answer beauty. The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


"(All stand, Head erect, Eyes open.)"

The DEACON. Term of all that liveth, whose name is inscrutable, be favourable unto us in thine hour.

The PEOPLE. So mote it be.


The DEACON. Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life {355} hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their Wills.

GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu, GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma- Nu, GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu.

"(All sit.)

(The "DEACON" and the children attend the "PRIEST" and "PRIESTESS," ready to hold any appropriate weapon as may be necessary.)"

VI. Of the Consecration of the Elements.

"The "PRIEST" makes five croses. "+3+1+2 "on paten and cup; "+4 "on paten alone; "+5 "on cup alone.)"

The PRIEST. Life of man upon earth, fruit of labour, sustenance of endeavour, thus be thou nourishment of the Spirit!

"(He touches the Host with the Lance.)"
By the virtue of the Rod!
Be this bread the Body of God!
"(He takes the Host.)"

GR:Tau-Omicron-Upsilon-Tau-Omicron GR:Epsilon-Sigma-Tau-Iota GR:Tau-Omicron GR:Sigma-Omicron-Mu-Alpha GR:Mu-Omicron-Upsilon.

"He kneels, adores, rises, turns, shows Host to the PEOPLE, turns, replaces Host and adores. Music. He takes the Cup.)"

Vehicle of the joy of Man upon Earth, solace of labour, inspiration of endeavour, thus be thou ecstasy of the Spirit!

"(He touches the Cup with the Lance.)"
By the virtue of the rod!
Be this wine the Blood of God!
"(He takes the Cup)"

GR:Tau-Omicron-Upsilon-Tau-Omicron GR:Epsilon-Sigma-Tau-Iota -Tau- Omicron GR:Pi-Omicron-Tau-Eta-Rho-Iota-Omicron-Nu GR:Tau-Omicron-Upsilon GR:Alpha-Iota-Mu-Alpha-Tau-Omicron-Sigma GR:Mu-Omicron-Upsilon.

"(He kneels, adores, rises, turns, shows the Cup to the people, turns, replaces the Cup and adores. Music.)" {356}

For this is the Covenant of Resurrection.

"He makes the five crosses on the "PRIESTESS.

Accept, O Lord, this sacrifice of life and joy, true warrants of the Covenant of Resurrection.

"The "PRIEST" offers the Lance to the "PRIESTESS," who kisses it; he then touches her between the breasts and upon the body. He then flings out his arms upward as comprehending the whole shrine.)"

Let this offering be born upon the waves of Aethyr to our Lord and Father the Sun that travelleth over the Heavens in his name ON.

"(He closes his hands, kisses the "PRIESTESS" between the breasts and makes three great crosses over the Paten, the Cup and Himself. He strikes his breast. All repeat this action.)"

Hear ye all, saints of the true church of old time now essentially present, that of ye we claim heirship, with ye we claim communion, from ye we claim benediction in the name of GR:Iota-Alpha-Omega.

"(He makes three crosses on Paten and Cup together. He uncovers the Cup, genuflects, takes the Cup in his left hand and the Host in his right. With the host he makes the five crosses on the Cup.)"

+1 +3 +2 +5 +4

"(He elevates the Host and the Cup.)

(The Bell strikes.)"

GR:Alpha-Gamma-Iota-Omicron-Sigma, GR:Alpha-Gamma-Iota- Omicron-Sigma, GR:Alpha-Gamma-Iota-Omicron-Sigma, GR:Iota-Alpha-Omega! "He replaces the Host and the Cup and adores.)"

VII. Of the Office of the Anthem.

The PRIEST. Thou who art I, beyond all I am,
Who hast no nature, and no name,
Who art, when all but thou are gone, {357}
Thou, centre and secret of the Sun,
Thou, hidden spring of all things known
And unknown, Thou aloof, alone,
Thou, the true fire within the reed
Brooding and breeding, source and seed
Of life, love, liberty and light,
Thou beyond speech and beyond sight,
Thee I invoke, my faint fresh fire
Kindling as mine intents aspire.
Thee I invoke, abiding one,
Thee, centre and secret of the Sun,
And that most holy mystery
Of which the vehicle am I.
Appear, most awful and most mild,

As it is lawful, in thy child!<<WEH NOTE: This is an uncertain. Other extant versions give "to thy child!" The preposition is very significant to the meaning. "to thy child" would indicate that the Priest etc. are taken to be children of the deity or perhaps the god Horus. "in thy child" would refer to the IX Degree secret of O.T.O., of the technique of which this Mass is a very exact and detailed hyperbole. "to thy child" is the text in Crowley's mystery play "The Ship", found in EQUINOX I, 9. Although it is possible that the version found here is a simple error for that earlier text, Crowley may have deliberately changed this late version in the Mass to reflect the IX Degree idea. Other versions of the Mass are found in the "International" (first publication) and in the EQUINOX III, 1 (the "Blue Equinox", published a few years before this text).>>

The CHORUS: For of the Father and the Son
The Holy Spirit is the norm;
Male-female, quintessential, one,
Man-being veiled in woman-form.
Glory and worship in the highest,
Thou Dove, mankind that deifiest,
Being that race, most royally run,
To spring sunshine through winter storm.
Glory and worship be to Thee,
Sap of the world-ash, wonder-tree!

FIRST SEMICHORUS: MEN. Glory to thee from Gilded Tomb.

SECOND SEMICHORUS: WOMEN. Glory to thee from Waiting Womb.

MEN. Glory to Thee from earth unploughed!

WOMEN. Glory to thee from virgin vowed!

MEN. Glory to thee, true Unity
Of the Eternal Trinity!

WOMEN. Glory to thee, thou sire and dam
And Self of I am that I am! {358}

MEN. Glory to thee, eternal Sun,
Thou One in Three, Thou Three in One!

CHORUS. Glory and worship unto Thee,
Sap of the world-ash, wonder-tree!

"These words are to form the substance of the anthem; but the whole or any part thereof shall be set to music, which may be as elaborate as art can. But even should other anthems be authorised by the Father of the Church, this shall hold its place as the first of its kind, the father of all others.)"

VIII. Of the Mystic Marriage and Consummation of the Elements.

"(The "PRIEST" takes the Paten between the index and medius of the right hand. The "PRIESTESS" clasps the Cup in her right hand.)"

The PRIEST. Lord most secret, bless this spiritual food unto our bodies, bestowing upon {us} health and wealth and strength and joy and peace, and that fulfilment of will and of love under will that is perpetual happiness.

"(He makes "+ "with Paten and kisses it. He uncovers the Cup, genuflects, rises. Music. He takes the Host, and breaks it over the Cup. He replaces the right hand portion in the Paten. He breaks off a particle of the left hand portion.)"

GR:Tau-Omicron-Upsilon-Tau-Omicron GR:Epsilon-Sigma-Tau-Iota GR:Tau-Omicron GR:Sigma-Pi-Epsilon-Rho-Mu-Alpha GR:Mu-Omicron-Upsilon. GR:Eta-Omicron GR:Pi-Alpha-Tau-Eta-Rho GR:Epsilon-Sigma-Tau-Iota-Nu

GR:Eta-Omicron GR:Eta GR:Upsilon-Iota-Omicron-Sigma -Delta-Iota- Alpha<<WEH NOTE: The text here has been corrected from a typo: GR:OmicronIota- Alpha.>> GR:Tau-Omicron GR:Pi-Nu-Epsilon-Upsilon-Mu-Alpha GR:Alpha- Gamma-Iota-Omicron-Nu.

GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu. GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu. GR:Alpha-Upsilon-Mu-Gamma-Nu.

"(He replaces the left hand part of the Host. The "PRIESTESS" extends the lance point with her left hand to receive the particle.)"

The PRIEST and The PRIESTESS. GR:Eta-Pi-Iota-Lambda-Iota-Upsilon.

"(The "PRIEST" takes the Lance. The "PRIESTESS" covers the Cup. The "PRIEST" genuflects, rises, bows, joins hands.

He strikes his breast.)" {359} The PRIEST. O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the destroyer, be mighty among us. O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the destroyer, be mighty among us. O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the destroyer, be mighty among us.

"(The "PRIEST" joins hands upon the breast of the "PRIESTESS," and takes back his Lance. He turns to the people, lowers and raises the Lance, and makes "+ "upon them.)"

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The PEOPLE. Love is the law, love under will.

"(He lowers the Lance, and turns to East. The "PRIESTESS" take the lance in her right hand, with her left hand she offers to Paten. The "PRIEST "kneels.)"

The PRIEST. In my mouth be the essence of the life of the Sun.

"(He takes the Host with the right hand, makes "+ "with it on the Paten, and consumes it.)


(The "PRIESTESS" takes, uncovers, and offers the cup, as before.)"

The PRIEST. In my mouth be the essence of the joy of the Earth.

"(He takes the Cup, makes "+ "on the "PRIESTESS," drains it, and returns it.)


(He rises, takes the lance and turns to the people.)"

The PRIEST. There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.<<WEH NOTE: This is taken from the Golden Dawn Adeptus Minor initiation and appears in many of Crowley's works. See EQUINOX I, 3.>>

"(Those of the People who intend to communicate, and none other should be present, having signified their intention, a whole Cake of Light and a whole goblet of wine have been prepared for each one. The "DEACON" marshals them; they advance one by one to the altar. The children take the elements and offer them. The "PEOPLE" communicate as" {360} "did the "PRIEST," uttering the same words in an attitude of Resurrection;"

"There is no part of me that is not of the Gods."

"The exceptions to this part of the ceremony are when it is of the nature of a celebration, in which case none but the Priest communicate, of a wedding, in which none, save the two to be married, partake; part of the ceremony of baptism when only the child baptised partakes, and of Confirmation at puberty when only the persons confirmed partake. The Sacrament may be reserved by the "PRIEST," for administration to the sick in their homes.)

The "PRIEST" closes all within the veil. With the Lance he makes "+ "on the people thrice, thus.)" The PRIEST. + The LORD bless you.

+ The LORD enlighten your minds and comfort your hearts and sustain your bodies.

+ The LORD bring you to the accomplishment of your true wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.

"(He goes out, the "DEACON" and Children following, into the tomb of the West.)

Music. (Voluntary.)" NOTE: "The "PRIESTESS" and other officers never partake of the sacrament, they being as it were part of the "PRIEST" himself." NOTE: "Certain secret formulae of this Mass are taught to the "PRIEST" in his ordination."

-- Magick in Theory and Practice, by Aleister Crowley (The Master Therion)

See also

• Marie Sinclair, Countess of Caithness


1. Pearson, J. (2007) p. 46
2. Waite (1896) p. 185
3. Hoeller (2002) p. 176-8
4. Pearson, J. (2007) p. 47
5. Hoeller (2002) p. 177
6. Waite (1896) p. 184


• Hoeller, Stephan. Gnosticism: New light on the ancient tradition of inner knowing. Quest Books.
• Pearson, Joanne (2007). Wicca and the Christian Heritage. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25414-0.
• Waite, A. E. (1896). Devil Worship in France. pp. 182–187.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:19 am

Taxil hoax
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/3/19



In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for "reduction to absurdity"), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for "argument to absurdity"), apagogical arguments or the appeal to extremes, is a form of argument that attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible.[1][2] Traced back to classical Greek philosophy in Aristotle's Prior Analytics[2] (Greek: ἡ εἰς τὸ ἀδύνατον ἀπόδειξις, lit. 'demonstration to the impossible', 62b), this technique has been used throughout history in both formal mathematical and philosophical reasoning, as well as in debate.

-- Reductio ad absurdum, by Wikipedia

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two completely opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.[1]

-- False equivalence, by Wikipedia

The Taxil hoax was an 1890s hoax of exposure by Léo Taxil intended to mock not only Freemasonry but also the Catholic Church's opposition to it.[1]

Poster advertising the work of Leo Taxil

Taxil and Freemasonry

Léo Taxil was the pen name of Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, who had been accused earlier of libel regarding a book he wrote called The Secret Loves of Pope Pius IX. On April 20, 1884, Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical, Humanum genus, that said that the human race was

separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ... The other is the kingdom of Satan... At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons.

After this encyclical, Taxil underwent a public, feigned conversion to Roman Catholicism and announced his intention of repairing the damage he had done to the true faith.

The first book produced by Taxil after his conversion was a four-volume history of Freemasonry, which contained fictitious eyewitness verifications of their participation in Satanism. With a collaborator who published as "Dr. Karl Hacks", Taxil wrote another book called The Devil in the Nineteenth Century, which introduced a new character, Diana Vaughan, a supposed descendant of the Rosicrucian alchemist Thomas Vaughan. The book contained many tales about her encounters with incarnate demons, one of whom was supposed to have written prophecies on her back with its tail, and another who played the piano while in the shape of a crocodile.[2]

Diana was supposedly involved in Satanic freemasonry but was redeemed when one day she professed admiration for Joan of Arc, at whose name the demons were put to flight. As Diana Vaughan, Taxil published a book called Eucharistic Novena, a collection of prayers which were praised by the Pope.

On April 19, 1897, Taxil called a press conference at which he said he would introduce Diana Vaughan to the press. He instead announced that his revelations about the Freemasons were fictitious. He thanked the clergy for their assistance in giving publicity to his wild claims.[3]

Parisian newspaper with the account of Leo Taxil's confession to the Taxil hoax

The confession was printed, in its entirety, in the Parisian newspaper Le Frondeur, on April 25, 1897, titled: Twelve Years Under the Banner of the Church, The Prank Of Palladism. Miss Diana Vaughan–The Devil At The Freemasons. A Conference held by M. Léo Taxil, at the Hall of the Geographic Society in Paris.[4]

The hoax material is still used to this day. Chick Publications publishes such a tract called The Curse of Baphomet[5] and Randy Noblitt's book on satanic ritual abuse, Cult and Ritual Abuse, also cites the Taxil hoax.[6]

A later interview with Taxil

In the magazine National Magazine, an Illustrated American Monthly, Volume XXIV: April – September, 1906, pages 228 and 229, Taxil is quoted as giving his true reasons behind the hoax. Ten months later, on March 31, 1907, Taxil died.

Members of the Masonic orders understand the false exposure heaped upon that organization in anti-Mason wars. The Catholic church and many other religious orders have been the victims of these half-written and oftentimes venomous attacks. The confession of Taxil, the French Free-thinker, who first exposed Catholics and then Masons, makes interesting reading bearing on the present situation today. Similar motives actuate some of the "muck rakes" of today, as indicated in the following confession:

"The public made me what I am; the arch-liar of the period," confessed Taxil, "for when I first commenced to write against the Masons my object was amusement pure and simple. The crimes I laid at their door were so grotesque, so impossible, so widely exaggerated, I thought everybody would see the joke and give me credit for originating a new line of humor. But my readers wouldn't have it so; they accepted my fables as gospel truth, and the more I lied for the purpose of showing that I lied, the more convinced became they that I was a paragon of veracity.

"Then it dawned upon me that there was lots of money in being a Munchausen of the right kind, and for twelve years I gave it to them hot and strong, but never too hot. When inditing such slush as the story of the devil snake who wrote prophecies on Diana's back with the end of his tail, I sometimes said to myself: 'Hold on, you are going too far,' but I didn't. My readers even took kindly to the yarn of the devil who, in order to marry a Mason, transformed himself into a crocodile, and, despite the masquerade, played the piano wonderfully well.

"One day when lecturing at Lille, I told my audience that I had just had an apparition of Nautilus, the most daring affront on human credulity I had so far risked. But my hearers never turned a hair. 'Hear ye, the doctor has seen Nautulius,' they said with admiring glances. Of course no one had a clear idea of who Nautilus was, I didn't myself, but they assumed that he was a devil.

"Ah, the jolly evenings I spent with my fellow authors hatching out new plots, new, unheard of perversions of truth and logic, each trying to outdo the other in organized mystification. I thought I would kill myself laughing at some of the things proposed, but everything went; there is no limit to human stupidity".

The Luciferian quote

A series of paragraphs about Lucifer are frequently associated with the Taxil hoax. They read:

That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?

Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive....

Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.

While this quotation was published by Abel Clarin de la Rive in his Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry, it does not appear in Taxil's writings proper, though it is sourced in a footnote to Diana Vaughan, Taxil's creation.[7]

It is “Satan who is the god of our planet and the only god,” and this without any allusive metaphor to its wickedness and depravity. For he is one with the Logos, “the first son, eldest of the gods,” in the order of microcosmic (divine) evolution. This is vouched for by the very authority from whom the author of “Esoteric Buddhism” got his information. To those who bring this passage forward as showing “decided Darwinism,” the Occultists answer by pointing to the explanation of the Master (Mr. Sinnett’s “teacher”) which would contradict these lines, were they written in the spirit attributed to them. A copy of this letter was sent to the writer, together with others, two years ago (1886), with additional marginal remarks, to quote from, in the “Secret Doctrine.” “Still, as these ‘failures’ are too far progressed and spiritualized to be thrown back forcibly from Dhyan Chohanship into the vortex of a new primordial evolution through the lower kingdoms. . . . .” After which only a hint is given about the mystery contained in the allegory of the fallen Asuras, which will be expanded and explained in Book II. When Karma has reached them at the stage of human evolution, “they will have to drink it to the last drop in the bitter cup of retribution. Then they become an active force and commingle with the Elementals, the progressed entities of the pure animal kingdom, to develop little by little the full type of humanity.”

-- The Secret Doctrine, by Helena P. Blavatsky

See also

• List of hoaxes


1. written by Noah Nicholas and Molly Bedell (2006-08-01). "Mysteries Of The Freemasons — America". Decoding the Past. A&E Television Networks. The History Channel. Archived from the original on 2007-05-09.
2. Hause, Steven C. (Spring 1989). "Anti–Protestant Rhetoric in the Early Third Republic". French Historical Studies. 16 (1): 192. JSTOR 286440.
3. "The Confession of Leo Taxil". April 25, 1897. Archived from the original on 2007-03-03. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
4. Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? Authors: de Hoyos, Arturo and Morris, S. Brent, 1988, 2nd edition, pp. 27–36 & 195–228, Chap. 3, Leo Taxil: The Hoax of Luciferian Masonry, and Appendix 1, The Confession of Leo Taxil ISBN 1590771532
5. also called "That's Baphomet?"
6. King, EL. "Book review: Cult & Ritual Abuse — Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America". Retrieved 2009-04-05.
7. de Hoyos, Arturo; Morris, S. Brent (1998). "Albert Pike and Lucifer". Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? (2nd edition (revised) ed.). Silver Spring, Maryland: Masonic Information Center. Archived from the original on 2006-08-15. Retrieved 2007-10-25.

Further reading

• Melior, Alec (1961). "A Hoaxer of Genius-Leo Taxil (1890-7)". Our Separated Brethren, the Freemasons. trans. B. R. Feinson. London: G. G. Harrap & Co. pp. 149–55.

External links

• "A hoax", l'Illustration, May 1. 1897- No. 2827: Paris, France.
• Abel Claren de la Rive (1855-1914)
• Devil-Worship in France, by A.E. Waite complete e-text of Waite's debunking of Taxil.
• Lady Queenborough, Edith Starr Miller
• Leo Taxil's Confession
• The Prague Cemetery, a novel by Umberto Eco, 2010
• National Magazine, an Illustrated American Monthly, Volume XXIV: April, 1906 - September, 1906
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:50 am

Rewata Dhamma
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/4/19



Residence in India gave him the opportunity to come into contact with all sorts of people. He was on the committee that welcomed the Dalai Lama after his flight to India in 1969 [1959] and struck up a lasting friendship. He told the story that at their first encounter His Holiness asked who was the senior monk in the room. On hearing it was Dr Rewata Dhamma, he immediately got up and offered his seat. Indeed, he was to repeat this offer on later occasions, but Bhante never accepted. ‘He was the ruler of Tibet and I was just a humble monk,’ he explained. Nevertheless, he honoured the Dalai Lama for this observation of the monastic rule.

Dr Rewata Dhamma also seems to have been friendly with several exiled Tibetan monks then studying in India, some of whom he was to come across again in the West. More significant for his future was getting to know Frieda [Freda] Bedi, who took the robe as a Karma Kagyu nun under the name of Sis. Palmo. Eventually she joined the entourage of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa XVI, the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and brought Dr Rewata Dhamma to his notice when the question of setting up a Buddhist Centre in Birmingham came up.

-- Rewata Dhamma [Bhante], by LOTUS, May 2014

Dr. Rewata Dhamma carrying the United Nations Buddha relics during their display at Dhammatalaka Pagoda in July 2003
Title Sasanadhaja Siripavara Dhammacariya (1953)
Aggamahapandita (2002)
Born: Maung, December 1929[1]
Thamagon, Henzada District, Irrawaddy Province, British Burma
Died 26 May 2004 (aged 74), Birmingham, England
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Burmese
School: Theravada
Education: Varanasi University
Occupation: Buddhist monk

Sayadaw U Rewata Dhamma (Pali: Revatadhamma; 4 December 1929, Thamangone – 26 May 2004, Birmingham) was a prominent Theravada Buddhist monk and noted Abhidhamma scholar from Myanmar (Burma). After pursuing an academic career in India for most of two decades, he accepted an invitation to head a Buddhist centre in Birmingham UK, and over the next three decades gained an international reputation as a teacher of meditation and an advocate of peace and reconciliation.

Life and career

The young Rewata was first ordained as a novice at the age of 12, and received higher ordination at the age of 20. In 1953, he was awarded the title Sasanadhaja Siripavara Dhammacariya, after achieving distinctions in a state examination in Pali. Then, having received a state scholarship, he left for India in 1956 to continue his education at Varanasi University, using the expanded name of Rewata Dhamma for his passport. In 1960, he obtained a BA in Mahayana Buddhism; in 1964 an MA in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy; and in 1967, a PhD. He now became a university lecturer and published works in Pali and Hindi, including the Abhidhammatta Sangaha, which was awarded the Kalidasa Prize by the Hindi Academy in 1967.[2]

In 1975 he relocated to England to establish a Buddhist centre in Birmingham which catered for both Theravadins and followers of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu school. Later he set up his own monastery and then went on to sponsor the Dhamma Talaka Pagoda, which officially opened in 1998.[3] He also helped establish meditation centers throughout Europe as well as in North, Central and South America. During that time he lectured at several universities on Buddhist subjects and attended numerous conferences dealing with the application of religious practice to bringing about political and economic justice, harmony among religions and ecological responsibility.[3] From the 1990s too, books by him in English began to appear, the last three only posthumously. In 2002, the Burmese government conferred on him the title Agga Maha Pandita.[3]

Throughout his career, Dr Rewata Dhamma championed the cause of national reconciliation, speaking to international bodies such as the United Nations and Amnesty International.[3] He was one of Aung San Suu Kyi's most influential Buddhist mentors, first meeting in Rangoon and becoming acquainted with Khin Kyi and Suu Kyi during their residence in India, in the 1960s, and then becoming reacquainted while conducting meditation retreats at the Oakenholt Centre near Oxford.[4][5]

On the 6th May 1977, Ajahn Chah and Venerable Sumedho arrived at Hampstead, the Venerable Khemadhammo having already arrived on the 5th. The Venerables Anando and Viradhammo arrived on 7th July 1977.

The Sangha and lay following began to grow and they were offered the use of “Oaken Holt”, a Buddhist centre comprising some thirty acres in the Oxfordshire countryside owned by a Burmese business man. The Venerable Khemadhammo took on the role of Buddhist prison chaplain (already arranged earlier between the Venerable Kapilavaddho and the Home Office) and in this capacity he visited the Isle of Wight on a regular basis. It was here that a Buddhist group invited him to start a Vihara, which he did. This has since moved to Warwickshire. In April 1979 the Hampstead properties were sold at auction and the Sangha moved to Chithurst in June 1979. Following this, more Viharas have been opened in England, USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.”

-- The English Sangha Trust after Venerable Kapilavaddho, 1972, from "Honour Thy Fathers: A Tribute to the Venerable Kapilavaddho ... And brief History of the Development of Theravada Buddhism in the UK, by Terry Shine


• Anuruddhacariya’s Abhidhammatta Sangaha with Sumangala Samitthera’s Abhidhammattha Vibhavantika, edited and revised by Bhandanta Rewatadhammathera. Bauddha Swadhyaya Satra, Varanasi, India, 1965. [Hindi language]
• Anuruddhacariya, Abhidhammattasangaha I-II, with Hindi translation & Abhidharma-Prakasini commentary. Critically edited, translated & commented by Bhadant Rewatadhamma and Ram Shankar Tripathi, Varanasi Sanskrit University, India,1967.
• Buddhaghosâcariya, Visuddhimaggo I-III, with Paramatthamañjusatika of Bhadantacariya Dhammapala. Edited and revised by Dr. Rewatadhamma, Varanasi Sanskrit Univ., India, 1969-72. [Hindi language]
• The First Sermon of the Buddha. 1st ed. Dhamma Talaka Publications, Birmingham, 1994; 2nd ed. as The First Discourse of the Buddha, Wisdom Pbls, Boston, USA, 1997.[6] French translation by Tancrède Montmartel as Le premier enseignement du bouddha, le sermon de Bénarès. Eds Claire Lumière, Saint-Cannat, France, 1998.
• Maha Paritta: The Great Protection - Buddhist chants. Dhamma Talaka Pbls, Birmingham, 1996.
• A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammattha Sangaha - Pali Text, Translation and Explanatory Guide. Introduction and Explanatory Guide by U Rewata Dhamma & Bhikkhu Bodhi. BPS Pariyatti Editions, Onalaska WA, 2000.
• The Buddha and his Disciples. Dhamma Talaka Pbls, Birmingham, 2001.
• Emptying the Rose-apple Seat - a guide to Buddhist meditation methods. Triple Gem Pbls, Chino Hills CA, USA, 2004; 2nd ed. The Buddha Educational Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan, 2005.
• The Buddha’s Prescription – selected talks and essays, edited by Yann Lovelock. Triple Gem Pbls, Chino Hills CA, USA, 2005.
• Process of Consciousness and Matter – the philosophical psychology of Buddhism; edited by Dr Ottaranyana. Triple Gem Pbls, Chino Hills CA, USA, 2007.[7]


1. Wintle, Justin (2007). Perfect Hostage. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 9781602392663.
2. "The Joyful Traveller". Scribd. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
3. "SAYADAW Dr.REWATA DHAMMA". Birmingham Buddhist Vihara. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
4. Lovelock, Yann, The Joyful Traveller, 2005, pp.5, 9
5. Popham, Peter (2012). The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi. Workman Publishing. p. 305. ISBN 9781615190645.
6. Limited preview at Google Books
7. Archived online


Rewata Dhamma [Bhante]
Page 18
May 2014

[Rewata Dhamma was] included among the young monks who helped with arrangements for the Sixth General Sangha Council, held in Yangon between 1954 and 1956. He was then given a state scholarship to study in India and went to the Sanskrit University in Varanasi. It was at this period that he added ‘Dhamma’ to his name when applying for a passport. After taking his Shastri (BA) Degree in Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy, he went on to gain an MA in Sanskrit in 1964 and a PH.D in 1967. He was now proficient in Hindi and began to write in that language. One of his books, a translation of the Ahidhammatha Sangaha with his own commentary, was awarded the Kalidasa prize from the Hindi Academy as one of the outstanding books of the year in 1967 and is still a standard textbook. He also edited a three-volume edition of The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) with commentary, published like the first by the Sanskrit University. In 1969 he was appointed Chief Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Buddhist Technical Terms and later edited the Paramita magazine in Hindi and English.

In 1964 another event took place that was later to have important repercussions. In that year the young academic came into possession of the Burmese royal relics. Thibaw, the last Burmese king, had been exiled by the British to India in 1886 and took with him this family treasure. At the beginning of the twentieth century two Burmese monks visited him at Ratanagiri and were entrusted with a portion. One of those monks, U Kitti, passed these on to U Arsaya, another Burmese monk resident in India. Shortly before his death, U Arsaya passed them on in his turn to Ven. Rewata Dhamma.

Residence in India gave him the opportunity to come into contact with all sorts of people. He was on the committee that welcomed the Dalai Lama after his flight to India in 1969 [1959] and struck up a lasting friendship. He told the story that at their first encounter His Holiness asked who was the senior monk in the room. On hearing it was Dr Rewata Dhamma, he immediately got up and offered his seat. Indeed, he was to repeat this offer on later occasions, but Bhante never accepted. ‘He was the ruler of Tibet and I was just a humble monk,’ he explained. Nevertheless, he honoured the Dalai Lama for this observation of the monastic rule.

Dr Rewata Dhamma also seems to have been friendly with several exiled Tibetan monks then studying in India, some of whom he was to come across again in the West. More significant for his future was getting to know Frieda [Freda] Bedi, who took the robe as a Karma Kagyu nun under the name of Sis. Palmo. Eventually she joined the entourage of His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa XVI, the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and brought Dr Rewata Dhamma to his notice when the question of setting up a Buddhist Centre in Birmingham came up.

The lay meditation teacher S.N. Goenka lived in India too. Of Burmese origin, he belonged to a business family that was proud to support him in his work. In those days over forty years ago there were few in the West who knew of him yet. Having heard of Dr Rewata Dhamma’s reputation as an Abhidhamma scholar, Goenka approached him for tuition. Bhante made a bargain with him that he would do so in return for being instructed in Goenka’s meditation method. There were those who frowned on a monk going to a layman for teaching but Bhante did not care. For him learning something new was more important than his personal dignity. On account of this, Dr Rewata Dhamma was accredited as a teacher of the method and over the years was made welcome at Goenka’s centres on three continents.

Among others that Bhante got to know at this time was the eleven-year old Aung San Suu Kyi, the future leader of the democratic movement in Burma, whose mother was then ambassador to India. More curiously, he was asked by the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, to go to Peking in 1974 and attend the deathbed of Prince Sihanouk’s mother. His secret objective while there was to get China’s support for a peace conference to be held in India following its recent nuclear tests. Although improvements in Sino-Indian relations did not come until two years later, one can date from this point the beginning of his involvement in peace-making and reconciliation.

It was late in 1974 too that Dr Rewata Dhamma received the invitation to head a Buddhist centre in England but, in view of his commitments, he turned it down. U Nu, an ex-prime minister of Burma then in Indian exile, came to hear of this and persuaded the reluctant academic to change his mind. Long before he left Burma, U Nu recalled, it had been foretold that the young monk would settle in the West. Dr Rewata Dhamma had supposed that his coming to Varanasi was what had been meant. Now he was persuaded that Britain rather than India was his ultimate goal. He therefore left for Birmingham in 1975.

To start all over again in a strange land required both courage and humility. Bhante was then approaching middle age and, though his reading knowledge of English was good, he never learned to speak it well. He had no monastery to go to and very few friends in this new country. Then there was the wide contrast between the ...

S.N. Goenka with Dr Rewata Dhamma
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:30 am

Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya [Government Sanskrit College / Sampurnanand Sanskrit University]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/4/19



Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya
Former names: Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya Government Sanskrit College, Varanasi
Motto: Șrutam me gopāya
Motto in English: Let my learning be safe
Type: State university
Established: 1791, Vice-Chancellor Raja ram shukla
Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Campus: Urban
Affiliations: UGC

Sampurnanand Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya (IAST: Sampūrnānand Samskrit Vișvavidyālaya, Vāraṇāsī), formerly Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishwavidyalaya and Government Sanskrit College, Varanasi is an Indian university and institution of higher learning located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, specializing in the study of Sanskrit and related fields.


In 1791, during the rule by the East India Company, a resident of the company, Jonathan Duncan, proposed the establishment of a Sanskrit college for the development and preservation of Sanskrit Vangmaya (grammar) to demonstrate British support for Indian education. The initiative was sanctioned by governor general Lord Cornwallis. The first teacher of the institution was Pandit Kashinath and the governor general sanctioned a budget of ₹20,000 per annum. The first principal of Government Sanskrit College was John Muir, followed by James R. Ballantyne, Ralph T. H. Griffith, George Thibaut, Arthur Venis, Sir Ganganath Jha and Gopinath Kaviraj.[1]

In 1857, the college began postgraduate teaching. An examination system was adopted in 1880. In 1894, the famous Saraswati Bhavan Granthalaya building was built, where thousands of manuscripts remain preserved today. These manuscripts have been edited by the principal of the college and published in book form. More than 400 books have been published in a series known as Sarasvati Bhavana Granthamala.

In 1958, the efforts of Sampurnanand changed the status of the institution from that of a college to a Sanskrit university. In 1974, the name of the institution was formally changed to Sampurnanand Sanskrit University.[2]


A contemporary Ardhanarishvara statue at Sampurnanand Sanskrit University

The Ardhanarishvara (Sanskrit: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśwara) is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati (the latter being known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half-male and half-female, equally split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.

-- Ardhanarishvara, by Wikipedia


In this faculty, there are four departments:

• Department of Veda
• Department of Vyakarna
• Department of Jyotish
• Department of Dharmashastra

Sahitya Sanskriti

In this faculty, there are three departments:

• Department of Sahitya
• Department of Puranetihas
• Department of Prachin Rajshastra-Arthashastra

Darshana (Philosophy)

• Department of Vedanta
• Department of Sankhyayogtantram
• Department of Comparative Religion and Philosophy
• Department of Nyaya
• Department of Mimansa

Shraman Vidya

• Department of Pali and Theravada

Adhunik Jyan Vigyan

• Department of Modern Language and Linguistics


In this faculty, there are many departments, such as:

• Kayachikitsa Tantra (Internal Medicine)
• Shalya Tantra (Surgery)
• Shalakya Tantra (ENT)
• Kaumarabhritya Tantra (Pediatrics)
• Agada Tantra (Toxicology)
• Bajikarana Tantra (Purification of the Genital organs)
• Rasayana Tantra (Health and Longevity)

The establishment of a Bhuta Vidya (Spiritual Healing) department is currently being proposed.

Research Institute

When the status of this institution was Sanskrit college, all research activities were carried out by the principal. This includes the work done for manuscripts which were kept in the Saraswati Bhavan Granthalaya.

When the institution became a university, the whole research work was supervised by the director of the Research Institute. The director is the chief editor of the famous book series Sarasvati Bhavana Granthamala and is also the chief editor of the journal Sarasvati Susama. The director has to supervise all the research activities in the university. The director is the academic head of the University. Famous grammarian Vagish Shastri made valuable contribution towards the Sanskrit journal Sarasvati Susama and edited numerous books of the Sarasvati Bhavana Granthamala series.[3]


More than 1,200 Sanskrit-medium schools and colleges are affiliated with this university. This is the only university in India which enjoys such widespread affiliation throughout the country. The statistics of affiliated colleges are as follows:

S. No. / State / No. of affiliated colleges

1 / Uttar Pradesh / 963
2 / Rajasthan / 7
3 / Maharashtra / 7
4 / Gujarat / 21
5 / Delhi / 13
6 / Kashmir / 2
7 / Himachal Pradesh / 3
8 / Sikkim / 4

See also

• List of Sanskrit universities in India


1. History of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University Archived 29 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
2. University Circular, Vol. 3 No. 1, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University
3. Acharya Baldev Upadhyaya, Kashi ki Panditya Parampara, Vishwavidyalaya Prakashan, Varanasi, 1983.

External links

• Official website of Sampurnanand Sanskrit University (English and Sanskrit)
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:44 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/4/19



Affiliation: A combined form of Shiva and Parvati
Weapon: Trishula
Mount: Nandi (usually), sometimes along with a lion

The Ardhanarishvara (Sanskrit: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśwara) is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati (the latter being known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half-male and half-female, equally split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.

The earliest Ardhanarishvara images are dated to the Kushan period, starting from the first century CE. Its iconography evolved and was perfected in the Gupta era. The Puranas and various iconographic treatises write about the mythology and iconography of Ardhanarishvara. Ardhanarishvara remains a popular iconographic form found in most Shiva temples throughout India, though very few temples are dedicated to this deity.

Ardhanarishvara represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe (Purusha and Prakriti) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God. The union of these principles is exalted as the root and womb of all creation. Another view is that Ardhanarishvara is a symbol of Shiva's all-pervasive nature.


The name Ardhanarishvara means "the Lord Who is half woman." Ardhanarishvara is also known by other names like Ardhanaranari ("the half man-woman"), Ardhanarisha ("the Lord who is half woman"), Ardhanarinateshvara ("the Lord of Dance Who is half-woman"),[1][2] Parangada,[3] Naranari ("man-woman"), Ammiappan (a Tamil Name meaning "Mother-Father"),[4] and Ardhayuvatishvara (in Assam, "the Lord whose half is a young woman or girl").[5] The Gupta-era writer Pushpadanta in his Mahimnastava refers to this form as dehardhaghatana ("Thou and She art each the half of one body"). Utpala, commenting on the Brihat Samhita, calls this form Ardha-Gaurishvara ("the Lord whose half is the fair one"; the fair one – Gauri – is an attribute of Parvati).[6] The Vishnudharmottara Purana simply calls this form Gaurishvara ("The Lord/husband of Gauri).[7]

Origins and early images

An early Kushan head of Ardhanarishvara, discovered at Rajghat, now in the Mathura Museum

The conception of Ardhanarishvara may have been inspired by Vedic literature's composite figure of Yama-Yami,[8][9] the Vedic descriptions of the primordial Creator Vishvarupa or Prajapati and the fire-god Agni as "bull who is also a cow,"[10][11] the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad's Atman ("soul") in the form of the androgynous cosmic man Purusha[8][11] and the androgynous myths of the Greek Hermaphroditus and Phrygian Agdistis.[10][12] The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says that Purusha splits himself into two parts, male and female, and the two halves copulate, producing all life – a theme concurrent in Ardhanarishvara's tales.[13] The Shvetashvatara Upanishad sows the seed of the Puranic Ardhanarishvara. It declares Rudra – the antecedent of the Puranic Shiva – the maker of all and the root of Purusha (the male principle) and Prakriti (the female principle), adhering to Samkhya philosophy. It hints at his androgynous nature, describing him both as male and female.[14]

The concept of Ardhanarishvara originated in Kushan and Greek cultures simultaneously; the iconography evolved in the Kushan era (30–375 CE), but was perfected in the Gupta era (320-600 CE).[15][16] A mid-first century Kushan era stela in the Mathura Museum has a half-male, half-female image, along with three other figures identified with Vishnu, Gaja Lakshmi and Kubera.[9][17] The male half is ithyphallic [with an erect penis] or with an urdhvalinga and makes an abhaya mudra gesture; the female left half holds a mirror and has a rounded breast. This is the earliest representation of Ardhanarishvara, universally recognized.[9][18] An early Kushan Ardhanarishvara head discovered at Rajghat is displayed at the Mathura Museum. The right male half has matted hair with a skull and crescent moon; the left female half has well-combed hair decorated with flowers and wears a patra-kundala (earring). The face has a common third eye. A terracotta seal discovered in Vaishali has half-man, half-woman features.[9] Early Kushan images show Ardhanarishvara in a simple two-armed form, but later texts and sculptures depict a more complex iconography.[11]

Ardhanarishvara is referred to by the Greek author Stobaeus (c. 500 AD) while quoting Bardasanes (c. 154–222 AD), who learnt from an Indian embassy's visit to Syria during the reign of Elagabalus (Antoninus of Emesa) (218–22 AD).[8][15] A terracotta androgynous bust, excavated at Taxila and dated to the Saka-Parthian era, pictures a bearded man with female breasts.[15][16]

Ardhanarishvara is interpreted as an attempt to syncretise the two principal Hindu sects, Shaivism and Shaktism, dedicated to Shiva and the Great Goddess. A similar syncretic image is Harihara, a composite form of Shiva and Vishnu, the Supreme deity of the Vaishnava sect.[3][19][20][21]


A rare example of a Shakta Ardhanarishvara, where the dominant right side is female

The iconographic 16th century work Shilparatna, the Matsya Purana and Agamic texts like Amshumadbhedagama, Kamikagama, Supredagama and Karanagama – most of them of South Indian origin – describe the iconography of Ardhanarishvara.[22][23] The right superior side of the body usually is the male Shiva and the left is the female Parvati; in rare depictions belonging to the Shaktism school, the feminine holds the dominant right side.[24] The icon usually is prescribed to have four, three or two arms, but rarely is depicted with eight arms. In the case of three arms, the Parvati side has only one arm, suggesting a lesser role in the icon.

Male half

The male half wears a jata-mukuta (a headdress formed of piled, matted hair) on his head, adorned with a crescent moon. Sometimes the jata-mukuta is adorned with serpents and the river goddess Ganga flowing through the hair. The right ear wears a nakra-kundala, sarpa-kundala ("serpent-earring") or ordinary kundala ("earring"). Sometimes, the male eye is depicted smaller than the female one and a half-moustache is also seen.[25][26] A half third eye (trinetra) is prescribed on the male side of the forehead in the canons; a full eye may also be depicted in middle of forehead separated by both the sides or a half eye may be shown above or below Parvati's round dot.[25][27] A common elliptical halo (prabhamandala/prabhavali) may be depicted behind the head; sometimes the shape of the halo may differ on either side.[27]

In the four-armed form, a right hand holds a parashu (axe) and another makes an abhaya mudra (gesture of reassurance), or one of the right arms is slightly bent and rests on the head of Shiva's bull mount, Nandi, while the other is held in the abhaya mudra gesture. Another configuration suggests that a right hand holds a trishula (trident) and another makes a varada mudra (gesture of blessing). Another scripture prescribes that a trishula and akshamala (rosary) are held in the two right hands. In the two-armed form, the right hand holds a kapala (skull cup) or gestures in a varada mudra.[25][26] He may also hold a skull.[23] In the Badami relief, the four-armed Ardhanarishvara plays a veena (lute), using a left and a right arm, while other male arm holds a parashu and the female one a lotus.[28]

Ardhanarishvara statue

The Shiva half has a flat masculine chest, a straight vertical chest, broader shoulder, wider waist and muscular thigh.[26] He wears a yagnopavita (sacred thread) across the chest, which is sometimes represented as a naga-yagnopavita (a snake worn as a yagnopavita) or a string of pearls or gems. The yajnopavita may also divide the torso into its male and female halves. He wears ornaments characteristic of Shiva's iconography, including serpent ornaments.[23][25][27][29]

In some North Indian images,[27] the male half may be nude and also be ithyphallic (urdhavlinga or urdhavreta: with an erect phallus), or with a full or half phallus and one testicle.[18] However, such imagery is never found in South Indian images;[27] the loins are usually covered in a garment (sometimes a dhoti) of silk or cotton, or the skin of a tiger or deer), typically down to the knee, and held in place by a sarpa-mekhala, serpent girdle or jewellery. The right leg may be somewhat bent or straight and often rests on a lotus pedestal (padma-pitha). The whole right half is described as smeared with ashes and as terrible and red-coloured or gold or coral in appearance; however, these features are rarely depicted.[25][27]

Female half

The female half has karanda-mukuta (a basket-shaped crown) on her head or well-combed knotted hair or both. The left ear wears a valika-kundala (a type of earring). A tilaka or bindu (a round red dot) adorns her forehead, matching Shiva's third eye. The left eye is painted with black eyeliner.[30] While the male neck is sometimes adorned with a jewelled hooded serpent, the female neck has a blue lotus matching it.[5]

In the four-armed form, one of the left arms rests on Nandi's head, while the other is bent in kataka pose and holds a nilotpala (blue lotus) or hangs loosely at her side. In the three-armed representation, the left hand holds a flower, a mirror or a parrot. In the case of two-armed icons, the left hand rests on Nandi's head, hangs loose or holds either a flower, a mirror or a parrot. The parrot may be also perched on Parvati's wrist. Her hand(s) is/are adorned with ornaments like a keyura (anklet) or kankana (bangles).[29][30]

Parvati has a well-developed, round bosom and a narrow feminine waist embellished with various haras (religious bracelets) and other ornaments, made of diamonds and other gems. She has a fuller thigh and a curvier body and hip than the male part of the icon.[18][30] The torso, hip and pelvis of the female is exaggerated to emphasize the anatomical differences between the halves.[31] Though the male private parts may be depicted, the female genitalia are never depicted and the loins are always draped.[18] She wears a multi-coloured or white silken garment down to her ankle and one or three girdles around her waist. The left half wears an anklet and her foot is painted red with henna. The left leg may be somewhat bent or straight, resting on a lotus pedestal. In contrast to the Shiva half, the Parvati half – smeared with saffron – is described as calm and gentle, fair in colour.[29][30] Very rarely, Parvati is shown with parrot-green skin, this represents how she is the daughter of the mountains but mostly she is shown as Gauri (the fair one). She may be draped in a sari covering her torso and legs.

Postures and vahana

A seated Ardhanarishvara with both the vahanas

The posture of Ardhanarishvara may be tribhanga – bent in three parts: head (leaning to the left), torso (to the right) and right leg or in the sthanamudra position (straight), sometimes standing on a lotus pedestal, whereupon it is called samapada. Seated images of Ardhanarishvara are missing in iconographic treatises, but are still found in sculpture and painting.[27][32] Though the canons often depict the Nandi bull as the common vahana (mount) of Ardhanarishvara, some depictions have Shiva's bull vahana seated or standing near or behind his foot, while the goddess's lion vahana is near her foot.[33][34]

Eight-armed form

The Parashurameshvara Temple at Bhubaneswar has a dancing eight-armed Ardhanarishvara. The upper male arms hold a lute and akshamala (rosary), while the upper female ones hold a mirror and a book; the others are broken.[5] Another non-conventional Ardhanarishvara is found at Darasuram. The sculpture is three-headed and eight-armed, holding akshamala, khadga (sword), pasha, musala, kapala (skull cup), lotus and other objects.[32]

Other textual descriptions

The Naradiya Purana mentions that Ardhanarishvara is half-black and half-yellow, nude on one side and clothed on other, wearing skulls and a garland of lotuses on the male half and female half respectively.[35] The Linga Purana gives a brief description of Ardhanarishvara as making varada and abhaya mudras and holding a trishula and a lotus.[36] The Vishnudharmottara Purana prescribes a four-armed form, with right hands holding a rosary and trishula, while the left ones bear a mirror and a lotus. The form is called Gaurishvara in this text.[7]


Ardhanarishvara relief is from the Elephanta Caves near Mumbai

The mythology of Ardhanarishvara – which mainly originates in the Puranic canons – was developed later to explain existent images of the deity that had emerged in the Kushan era.[11][20][37]

The unnamed half-female form of Shiva is also alluded to in the epic Mahabharata. In Book XIII, Upamanyu praises Shiva rhetorically asking if there is anyone else whose half-body is shared by his spouse, and adds that the universe had risen from the union of sexes, as represented by Shiva's half-female form. In some narratives, Shiva is described as dark and fair-complexioned, half yellow and half white, half woman and half man, and both woman and man. In Book XIII, Shiva preaches to Parvati that half of his body is made up of her body.[38]

In the Skanda Purana, Parvati requests Shiva to allow her to reside with him, embracing "limb-to-limb", and so Ardhanarishvara is formed.[39] It also tells that when the demon Andhaka wanted to seize Parvati and make her his wife, Vishnu rescued her and brought her to his abode. When the demon followed her there, Parvati revealed her Ardhanarishvara form to him. Seeing the half-male, half-female form, the demon lost interest in her and left. Vishnu was amazed to see this form and saw himself in the female part of the form.[21]

The Shiva Purana describes that the creator god Brahma created all male beings, the Prajapatis, and told them to regenerate, which they were unable to do. Confronted with the resulting decline in the pace of creation, Brahma was perplexed and contemplated on Shiva for help. To enlighten Brahma of his folly, Shiva appeared before him as Ardhanarishvara. Brahma prayed to the female half of Shiva to give him a female to continue creation. The goddess agreed and created various female powers from her body, thereby allowing creation to progress.[10][39][40] In other Puranas like the Linga Purana, Vayu Purana, Vishnu Purana, Skanda Purana,[10] Kurma Purana,[41] and Markandeya Purana,[42] Rudra (identified with Shiva) appears as Ardhanarishvara, emerging from Brahma's head, forehead, mouth or soul as the embodiment of Brahma's fury and frustration due to the slow pace of creation. Brahma asks Rudra to divide himself, and the latter complies by dividing into male and female. Numerous beings, including the 11 Rudras and various female shaktis, are created from both the halves. In some versions, the goddess unites with Shiva again and promises to be born as Sati on earth to be Shiva's wife.[10] In the Linga Purana, the Ardhanarishvara Rudra is so hot that in the process of appearing from Brahma's forehead, he burns Brahma himself. Ardhanarishvara Shiva then enjoys his own half – the Great Goddess – by "the path of yoga" and creates Brahma and Vishnu from her body. In the repetitive cycle of aeons, Ardhanarishvara is ordained to reappear at the beginning of every creation as in the past.[36][43]

Ardhanarishvara playing a veena surrounded by Bhringi and a female attendant, Badami[44]

The Matsya Purana describes how Brahma, pleased with a penance performed by Parvati, rewards her by blessing her with a golden complexion. This renders her more attractive to Shiva, to whom she later merges as one half of his body.[23]

Tamil temple lore narrates that once the gods and sages (rishi) had gathered at Shiva's abode, they prayed their respects to Shiva and Parvati. However, the sage Bhringi had vowed to worship only one deity, Shiva, and ignored Parvati while worshipping and circumambulating him. Agitated, Parvati cursed Bhringi to lose all his flesh and blood, reducing him to a skeleton. In this form Bhringi could not stand erect, so the compassionate ones who witnessed the scene blessed the sage with a third leg for support. As her attempt to humiliate the sage had failed, Parvati punished herself with austerities that pleased Shiva and led him to grant her the boon of uniting with him, thereby compelling Bhringi to worship her as well as himself in the form of Ardhanarishvara. However, the sage assumed the form of a beetle and circumambulating only the male half, drilling a hole in the deity. Amazed by his devotion, Parvati reconciled with the sage and blessed him.[45][46] The seventh-century Shaiva Nayanar saint Appar mentions that after marrying Parvati, Shiva incorporated her into half of his body.[21]

In the Kalika Purana, Parvati (called Gauri here) is described as having suspected Shiva of infidelity when she saw her own reflection in the crystal-like breast of Shiva. A conjugal dispute erupted but was quickly resolved, after which Parvati wished to stay eternally with Shiva in his body. The divine couple was thereafter fused as Ardhanarishvara.[39] Another tale from North India also talks about Parvati's jealousy. Another woman, the river Ganga – often depicted flowing out of Shiva's locks – sat on his head, while Parvati (as Gauri) sat on his lap. To pacify Gauri, Shiva united with her as Ardhanarishvara.[46]

Only in tales associated with the cult of Shakta (in which the Goddess is considered the Supreme Being) is the Goddess venerated as the Maker of All. In these tales, it is her body (not Shiva's) which splits into male and female halves.[24]


Ardhanarishvara sculpture, Khajuraho

Ardhanarishvara symbolizes that the male and female principles are inseparable.[29] The composite form conveys the unity of opposites (coniunctio oppositorum) in the universe.[3][12][47][48] The male half of Ardhanarishvara stands for Purusha and female half is Prakriti. Purusha is the male principle and passive force of the universe, while Prakriti is the female active force; both are "constantly drawn to embrace and fuse with each other, though... separated by the intervening axis". The union of Purusha (Shiva) and Prikriti (Shiva's energy, Shakti) generates the universe, an idea also manifested in the union of the Linga of Shiva and Yoni of Devi creating the cosmos.[49][50][51] The Mahabharata lauds this form as the source of creation.[38] Ardhanarishvara also suggests the element of Kama or Lust, which leads to creation.[51]

Ardhanarishvara signifies "totality that lies beyond duality", "bi-unity of male and female in God" and "the bisexuality and therefore the non-duality" of the Supreme Being.[20][52] It conveys that God is both Shiva and Parvati, "both male and female, both father and mother, both aloof and active, both fearsome and gentle, both destructive and constructive" and unifies all other dichotomies of the universe.[47] While Shiva's rosary in the Ardhanarishvara iconography associates him with asceticism and spirituality, Parvati's mirror associates her to the material illusory world.[53] Ardhanarishvara reconciles and harmonizes the two conflicting ways of life: the spiritual way of the ascetic as represented by Shiva, and the materialistic way of the householder as symbolized by Parvati, who invites the ascetic Shiva into marriage and the wider circle of worldly affairs. The interdependence of Shiva on his power (Shakti) as embodied in Parvati is also manifested in this form.[47] Ardhanarishvara conveys that Shiva and Shakti are one and the same, an interpretation also declared in inscriptions found along with Ardhanarishvara images in Java and the eastern Malay Archipelago.[3][9] The Vishnudharmottara Purana also emphasizes the identity and sameness of the male Purusha and female Prakriti, manifested in the image of Ardhanarishvara.[54] According to Shaiva guru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001), Ardhanarishvara signifies that the great Shiva is "All, inseparable from His energy" (i.e. his Shakti) and is beyond gender.[55]

A three-armed Ardhanarishvara sculpture with only Nandi as a vahana, 11th century, Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple

Across cultures, hermaphrodite figures like Ardhanarishvara have traditionally been associated with fertility and abundant growth. In this form, Shiva in his eternal embrace with Prakriti represents the eternal reproductive power of Nature, whom he regenerates after she loses her fertility. "It is a duality in unity, the underlying principle being a sexual dualism".[50] Art historian Sivaramamurti calls it "a unique connection of the closely knit ideal of man and woman rising above the craving of the flesh and serving as a symbol of hospitality and parenthood".[20] The dual unity of Ardhanarishvara is considered "a model of conjugal inseparability". Padma Upadhyaya comments, "The idea of ... Ardhanārīśvara is to locate the man in the woman as also the woman in the man and to create perfect homogeneity in domestic affairs".[19]

Often, the right half of Ardhanarishvara is male and the left is female. The left side is the location of the heart and is associated with feminine characteristics like intuition and creativity, while the right is associated with the brain and masculine traits – logic, valour and systematic thought.[12][56] The female is often not equal in the Ardhanarishvara, the male god who is half female; she remains a dependent entity.[57] Ardhanarishvara "is in essence Shiva, not Parvati". This is also reflected in mythology, where Parvati becomes a part of Shiva. It is likewise reflected in iconography: Shiva often has two supernatural arms and Parvati has just one earthly arm, and his bull vahana – not her lion vahana – typically accompanies them.[58]

Worship and adoration

Ardhanarishvara worshipped at Sri Rajarajeswari Peetam.

Ardhanarishvara is one of the most popular iconographic forms of Shiva. It is found in more or less all temples and shrines dedicated to Shiva all over India and South-east Asia.[29][59][60] There is ample evidence from texts and the multiple depictions of the Ardhanarishvara in stone to suggest that a cult centred around the deity may have existed. The cult may have had occasional followers, but was never aligned to any sect. This cult focusing on the joint worship of Shiva and the Goddess may even have had a high position in Hinduism, but when and how it faded away remains a mystery.[61] Though a popular iconographic form, temples dedicated to the deity are few.[60][62] A popular one is located in Thiruchengode,[62][63] while five others are located in Kallakkurichi taluk, all of them in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.[64]

The Linga Purana advocates the worship of Ardhanarishvara by devotees to attain union with Shiva upon dissolution of the world and thus attain salvation.[53] The Ardhanarinateshvara Stotra is a popular hymn dedicated to the deity.[65] The Nayanar saints of Tamil Nadu exault the deity in hymns. While the 8th-century Nayanar saint Sundarar says that Shiva is always inseparable from the Mother Goddess,[5] another 7th-century Nayanar saint Sambanthar describes how the "eternal feminine" is not only his consort, but she is also part of him.[5] The renowned Sanskrit writer Kalidasa (c. 4th–5th century) alludes Ardhanarishvara in invocations of his Raghuvamsa and Malavikagnimitram, and says that Shiva and Shakti are as inseparable as word and meaning.[7] The 9th-century Nayanar saint Manikkavacakar casts Parvati in the role of the supreme devotee of Shiva in his hymns. He alludes to Ardhanarishvara several times and regards it the ultimate goal of a devotee to be united with Shiva as Parvati is in the Ardhanarishvara form.[47]

See also

• Harihara: composite form of the gods Shiva and Vishnu
• Jumadi: a regional composite form of Shiva and Parvati
• Vaikuntha Kamalaja: composite form of Vishnu and Lakshmi


1. Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary (2008 revision)
2. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 69.
3. Garg (ed), pp. 598–9
4. Jordan, Michael (2004). Dictionary of gods and goddesses (2 ed.). Facts on File, Inc. p. 27. ISBN 0-8160-5923-3.
5. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 57
6. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 60
7. Collins p. 80
8. Chakravarti p. 44
9. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 58
10. Kramrisch pp. 200–3, 207–8
11. Srinivasan p.57
12. Daniélou pp. 63–7
13. Srinivasan pp. 57, 59
14. Srinivasan pp. 57–8
15. Swami Parmeshwaranand pp. 55–6
16. Chakravarti p. 146
17. See image in Goldberg pp. 26–7
18. Goldberg p. 30
19. Chakravarti p. 43
20. Dehejia pp. 37–9
21. Pande, Dr. Alka. "The Icon of Creation – Ardhanarisvara". Official site of author. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
22. Rao p. 323
23. Collins p.77
24. Goldberg pp. 145–8
25. Rao pp. 324–5
26. Goldberg p. 12
27. Goldberg p. 13
28. Rao pp. 327–8
29. "Ardhanārīśvara". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
30. Rao pp. 325–6
31. Rao pp. 329–30
32. Rao pp. 330–2
33. Srinivasan p.266
34. Daniélou p. 147
35. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 61
36. Collins p. 78-9
37. Goldberg p. 157
38. Collins p.76
39. Swami Parmeshwaranand pp. 60–1
40. Rao pp. 321–2
41. Collins p.77-8
42. Collins pp. 76–7
43. Kramrisch p. 205
44. Rao pp. 327–8: The male half of the four-armed Ardhanarishvara at Badami wears snake ornaments and a knee-length deerskin dress and holds a parashu. His jatamukuta is adorned by the crescent moon as well as a skull. The female side wears gold ornaments and an ankle-length silk garment, and carries a nilotpala. Together with the remaining arms, Ardhanarishvara plays a veena. The skeleton figure identified with Bhringi stands beside him. The bull stands behind the deity.
45. Rao pp. 322–3
46. Pattanaik, Devdutt (Sep 16, 2005). "Ardhanareshwara". Official site of Devdutt Pattanaik. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
47. Kinsley, David (1998). Hindu Goddesses: Visions of the Divine Feminine in the Hindu Religious Tradition. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 49–53. ISBN 81-208-0394-9.
48. Goldberg p.115
49. Rao pp. 332
50. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 59
51. Daniélou, Alain (1985). The Myths and Gods of India: the Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism. Inner Traditions. ISBN 0-89281-354-7.
52. Conner, Randy P.; Sparks, David Hatfield; Sparks, Mariya (1998). "Ardhararishvara". Cassell's Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit. UK: Cassell. p. 67. ISBN 0-304-70423-7.
53. Srinivasan p. 158
54. Srinivasan p. 59
55. Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (2003). Dancing with Siva: Hinduism's Contemporary Catechism. Himalayan Academy Publications. p. 758.
56. Goldberg p. 156
57. Courtright, Paul B. (December 2005). "Review: The Lord Who is Half Woman: Ardhanāriśvara in Indian and Feminist Perspective". Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 73 (4): 1215–1217. doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfi130.
58. Seid, Betty (2004). "The Lord Who Is Half Woman (Ardhanarishvara)". Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies. The Art Institute of Chicago. 30 (1): 48. JSTOR 4129920.
59. Goldberg p. 1
60. Yadav p. 161
61. Swami Parmeshwaranand pp. 55, 61
62. Moorthy, K. K. (1991). "Tiruchengodu - Ardhanareeswarar Tirukovil". The Temples of Tamilnadu. Tirupathi.
63. "Site about Tiruchengode temple".
64. Hiltebeitel, Alf (1988). The Cult of Draupadi: Mythologies: from Gingee to Kuruksetra. The cult of Draupadi. 1. University of Chicago Press. p. 447. ISBN 978-0-226-34046-3.
65. Goldberg p. 4


• Collins, Charles Dillard (1988). The iconography and ritual of Śiva at Elephanta. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-88706-773-5.
• Chakravarti, Mahadev (1986). The concept of Rudra-Śiva through the ages. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-0053-2.
• Daniélou, Alain (1992). Gods of love and ecstasy: the traditions of Shiva and Dionysus. Inner Traditions International. ISBN 0-89281-374-1.
• Dehejia, Harsha V. (1997). Pārvatīdarpaṇa: an exposition of Kāśmir Śaivism through the images of Śiva and Parvati. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 81-208-1484-3.
• Goldberg, Ellen (2002). The Lord who is half woman: Ardhanārīśvara in Indian and feminist perspective. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-5325-1.
• Garg, Ganga Ram, ed. (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world. 3: Ar-Az. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 81-7022-376-8.
• Kramrisch, Stella (1981). The Presence of Siva. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01930-4.
• Rao, T.A. Gopinatha (1916). Elements of Hindu iconography. 2: Part I. Madras: Law Printing House.
• Srinivasan, Doris Meth (1997). Many Heads, Arms, and Eyes: Origin, Meaning, and Form of Multiplicity in Indian Art. BRILL. OCLC 208705592.
• Swami Parmeshwaranand (2004). "Ardhanārīśvara". Encyclopaedia of the Śaivism. 1. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 81-7625-427-4.
• Yadav, Neeta (2000). Ardhanārīśvara in art and literature. D.K. Printworld. ISBN 81-246-0169-0.

External links

• Ardhanari

Very old famous temple, for Sri ArdhaNareshwara, in Vasudeva Nallur, is worth visiting. This town is located between Sivagiri and Tenkasi of Thirunelveli district.
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"Ithyphallic" redirects here.

This article is about the roles of erect penises as symbols. For their physiology, see erection. For the mushroom, see Phallus (fungus). For the phallus in embryology, see Primordial phallus. For the rock formation, see The Phallus.

Mural of Priapus depicted with the attributes of Mercury in a fresco found in Pompeii

Phallic religious sculpture of Linga, Kathmandu street, Nepal 1973

A phallus is a penis (especially when erect),[1] an object that resembles a penis, or a mimetic image of an erect penis.

Any object that symbolically—or, more precisely, iconically—resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic (as in "phallic symbol"). Such symbols often represent fertility and cultural implications that are associated with the male sexual organ, as well as the male orgasm.


Tintinnabulum from Pompeii showing a phallus

The term is a loanword from Latin phallus, itself borrowed from Greek φαλλός, which is ultimately a derivation from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰel- "to inflate, swell". Compare with Old Norse (and modern Icelandic) boli "bull", Old English bulluc "bullock", Greek φαλλή "whale".[2]


The Hohle phallus, a 28,000-year-old siltstone phallus discovered in the Hohle Fels cave and reassembled in 2005, is among the oldest phallic representations known.[3]


Classical antiquity

Polyphallic wind chime from Pompeii; a bell hung from each phallus


In traditional Greek mythology, Hermes, god of boundaries and exchange (popularly the messenger god) is considered to be a phallic deity by association with representations of him on herms (pillars) featuring a phallus. There is no scholarly consensus on this depiction and it would be speculation to consider Hermes a type of fertility god. Pan, son of Hermes, was often depicted as having an exaggerated erect phallus.

Priapus is a Greek god of fertility whose symbol was an exaggerated phallus. The son of Aphrodite and either Dionysus or Adonis, according to different forms of the original myth, he is the protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens, and male genitalia. His name is the origin of the medical term priapism.

The city of Tyrnavos in Greece holds an annual Phallus festival, a traditional phallophoric event on the first days of Lent.[4]

The phallus was ubiquitous in ancient Roman culture, particularly in the form of the fascinum, a phallic charm.[5][6] The ruins of Pompeii produced bronze wind chimes (tintinnabula) that featured the phallus, often in multiples, to ward off the evil eye and other malevolent influences. Statues of Priapus similarly guarded gardens. Roman boys wore the bulla, an amulet that contained a phallic charm, until they formally came of age. According to Augustine of Hippo, the cult of Father Liber, who presided over the citizen's entry into political and sexual manhood, involved a phallus. The phallic deity Mutunus Tutunus promoted marital sex. A sacred phallus was among the objects considered vital to the security of the Roman state which were in the keeping of the Vestal Virgins. Sexuality in ancient Rome has sometimes been characterized as "phallocentric".[7]

Ancient India

Traditional flower offering to a Lingam in Varanasi

Shiva, the most ancient widely worshipped, and the foremost of the Indian deities with prehistoric origins, and the third of the Hindu Trinity—and the most widely worshipped and edified male deity in the Hindu pantheon, is worshipped much more commonly in the form of the Lingam, or the phallus. Evidence of phallic worship in India dates back to prehistoric times. Stone Lingams with several varieties of stylized "heads", or the glans, are found to this date in many of the old temples, and in museums in India and abroad. The famous "man-size" lingam in the Parashurameshwar Temple in the Chitoor District of the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, better known as the Gudimallam Lingam, is about 1.5 metres (5 ft) in height, carved in polished black granite. Dated back to ca. 2300–2800 BC, it is one of the existing lingams from the pre-Buddhist period. The almost naturalistic giant lingam is distinguished by its prominent, bulbous "glans", and an anthropomorphic form of Parashurama carved in high relief on the "shaft". Shiva Lingams in India have tended to become more and more stylized over the centuries, and existing lingams from before the 6th century show a more leaning towards the naturalistic style, with the "glans" clearly indicated.

Etymology of “linga”, or “lingam”

Linguistic evidence indicates that the post-Vedic Hindus not only adopted the tradition/ cult of the linga from the pre-Vedic non-Aryans, but even the term itself is of Austric origin. — Mahadev Chakravarti: The Concept of Rudra-Siva Through the Ages (p. 130)

The word "linga", while ubiquitous in the Austro-Asiatic world, cannot be seen originally to be occurring in the Indo-European languages. Chakravarti further says that when these two words entered Sanskrit, they, along with another word "langula" (tail) were derivations of the same root syllable "lang" or "lng". If this correlation is accepted on the basis of the obvious phonetic proximity between the three words linga ~ langala ~ langula, then it is not hard to recognize the semantic evolution of the words — because the usage of the phallus or the male generative organ in human procreation and the usage of a tool/implement like the ploughshare (langula) to till the earth for its fertility to bring forth life-supporting vegetation have a natural and spontaneous symbolical parallel and similarity to each other. Stone lingams have been found in several Indus Civilization sites, varying in size from 3 feet in length to very small pieces. These are found to be of steatite, sandstone and burnt clay. Some among these are unmistakably naturalistic in their rendition. Phallic worship was prevalent in India from the Chalcolithic period itself, and it was closely associated with magical rites based religion of that time. Stone lingams have been found in several Indus Civilization sites, varying in size from 3 feet in length to very small pieces. These are found to be of steatite, sandstone and burnt clay. Some among these are unmistakably naturalistic in their rendition.

Ancient Egypt

Egyptian statuette of Osiris with phallus and amulets

The phallus played a role in the cult of Osiris in ancient Egyptian religion. When Osiris' body was cut in 14 pieces, Set scattered them all over Egypt and his wife Isis retrieved all of them except one, his penis, which was swallowed by a fish; see the Legend of Osiris and Isis. Isis made him a wooden replacement.

The phallus was a symbol of fertility, and the god Min was often depicted as ithyphallic, that is, with an erect penis.

Ithyphallic Man with a Harp, Romano-Egyptian, 3rd-4th century Brooklyn Museum


According to the Indonesian chronicles of the Babad Tanah Jawi, Prince Puger gained the kingly power from God, by ingesting sperm from the phallus of the already-dead Sultan Amangkurat II of Mataram.[8][9]


The phallus is commonly depicted in its paintings.

Ancient Scandinavia

Husavik Phallusmuseum (Icelandic Phallological Museum), Húsavík

• The Norse god Freyr is a phallic deity, representing male fertility and love.
• The short story Völsa þáttr describes a family of Norwegians worshiping a preserved horse penis.
• Some image stones, such as the Stora Hammers and Tängelgårda stones, were phallic shaped.


The Mara Kannon Shrine (麻羅観音) in Nagato, Yamaguchi prefecture is one of many fertility shrines in Japan that still exist today. Also present in festivals such as the Danjiri Matsuri (だんじり祭)[10] in Kishiwada, Osaka prefecture, the Kanamara Matsuri, in Kawasaki, and the Hōnen Matsuri (豊年祭 Harvest Festival), in Komaki (小牧市 Komaki-shi), Aichi Prefecture (愛知県 Aichi-ken), though historically phallus adoration was more widespread.


Phallus representation Cucuteni Culture 3000 BC

Kuker is a divinity personifying fecundity, sometimes in Bulgaria and Serbia it is a plural divinity. In Bulgaria, a ritual spectacle of spring (a sort of carnival performed by Kukeri) takes place after a scenario of folk theatre, in which Kuker's role is interpreted by a man attired in a sheep- or goat-pelt, wearing a horned mask and girded with a large wooden phallus. During the ritual, various physiological acts are interpreted, including the sexual act, as a symbol of the god's sacred marriage, while the symbolical wife, appearing pregnant, mimes the pains of giving birth. This ritual inaugurates the labours of the fields (ploughing, sowing) and is carried out with the participation of numerous allegorical personages, among which is the Emperor and his entourage.[11]


The bear on the arms of Portein, Switzerland has a clearly visible red phallus, in accordance with the long-held tradition.

In Switzerland, the heraldic bears in a coat of arms had to be painted with bright red penises, otherwise they would have been mocked as being she-bears. In 1579, a calendar printed in St. Gallen omitted the genitals from the heraldic bear of Appenzell, nearly leading to war between the two cantons.[12][13][14]

The Americas

Figures of Kokopelli and Itzamna (as the Mayan tonsured maize god) in Pre-Columbian America often include phallic content. Additionally, over forty large monolithic sculptures (Xkeptunich) have been documented from Terminal Classic Maya sites with the majority of examples occurring in the Puuc region of Yucatán (Amrhein 2001). Uxmal has the largest collection with eleven sculptures now housed under a protective roof on site. The largest sculpture was recorded at Almuchil measuring more than 320 cm high with a diameter at the base of the shaft measuring 44 cm.[15]

Alternative sects

St. Priapus Church (French: Église S. Priape) is a North American new religion that centres on the worship of the phallus. Founded in the 1980s in Montreal, Quebec, by D. F. Cassidy, it has a following mainly among homosexual men in Canada and the United States. Semen is also treated with reverence and its consumption is an act of worship.[16] Semen is esteemed as sacred because of its divine life-giving power.


Phallic-Head Plate, Gubbio, Italy, 1536

The symbolic version of the phallus, a phallic symbol is meant to represent male generative powers. According to Sigmund Freud's theory of psychoanalysis, while males possess a penis, no one can possess the symbolic phallus. Jacques Lacan's Ecrits: A Selection includes an essay titled The Signification of the Phallus in which sexual differentiation is represented in terms of the difference between "being" and "having" the phallus, which for Lacan is the transcendent signifier of desire. Men are positioned as men insofar as they wish to have the phallus. Women, on the other hand, wish to be the phallus. This difference between having and being explains some tragicomic aspects of sexual life. Once a woman becomes, in the realm of the signifier, the phallus the man wants, he ceases to want it, because one cannot desire what one has, and the man may be drawn to other women. Similarly, though, for the woman, the gift of the phallus deprives the man of what he has, and thereby diminishes her desire.

In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler explores Freud's and Lacan's discussions of the symbolic phallus by pointing out the connection between the phallus and the penis. She writes, "The law requires conformity to its own notion of 'nature'. It gains its legitimacy through the binary and asymmetrical naturalization of bodies in which the phallus, though clearly not identical to the penis, deploys the penis as its naturalized instrument and sign". In Bodies that Matter, she further explores the possibilities for the phallus in her discussion of The Lesbian Phallus. If, as she notes, Freud enumerates a set of analogies and substitutions that rhetorically affirm the fundamental transferability of the phallus from the penis elsewhere, then any number of other things might come to stand in for the phallus.

Modern use of the phallus

The phallus is often used to advertise pornography, as well as the sale of contraception. It has often been used in provocative practical jokes[17] and has been the central focus of adult-audience performances.[18]

The phallus had a new set of art interpretations in the 20th century with the rise of Sigmund Freud, the founder of modern psychoanalysis of psychology. One example is "Princess X"[19] by the Romanian modernist sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. He created a scandal in the Salon in 1919 when he represented or caricatured Princess Marie Bonaparte as a large gleaming bronze phallus. This phallus likely symbolizes Bonaparte's obsession with the penis and her lifelong quest to achieve vaginal orgasm.[20]

See also the Most Phallic Building contest for examples of phallic architecture.

See also

• Mars symbol
• Hōnen Matsuri
• Kanamara Matsuri
• Maypole
• Phallic narcissism
• Saint Ubaldo Day
• Tyrnavos
• Dog's bollocks (typography)
• Horse worship



1. "Definition of phallus in English" Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
3. Amos, Jonathan (2005-07-25). "Ancient phallus unearthed in cave". BBC News. Retrieved 2006-07-08.
4. "The Annual Phallus Festival in Greece", Der Spiegel, English edition, Retrieved on the 15-12-08
5. R. Joy Littlewood, A Commentary on Ovid: Fasti Book 6 (Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 73; T.P. Wiseman, Remus: A Roman Myth (Cambridge University Press, 1995), p. 61 online.
6. Joseph Rykwert, The Idea of a Town: The Anthropology of Urban Form in Rome, Italy, and the Ancient World (MIT Press, 1988), pp. 101 and 159 online.
7. David J. Mattingly, Imperialism, Power, and Identity: Experiencing the Roman Empire (Princeton University Press, 2011), p. 106.
8. Moertono, Soemarsaid (2009). State and Statecraft in Old Java: A Study of the Later Mataram Period, 16th to 19th Century. Equinoc Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 9786028397438.
9. Darmaputera, Eka (1988). Pancasila and the search for identity and modernity in Indonesian society: a cultural and ethical analysis. BRILL. pp. 108–9. ISBN 9789004084223.
10. Danjiri Matsuri Festival
11. Kernbach, Victor (1989). Dicţionar de Mitologie Generală. Bucureşti: Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică. ISBN 973-29-0030-X.
12. Neubecker, Ottfried (1976). Heraldry : sources, symbols, and meaning. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 120. ISBN 9780070463080.
13. Strehler, Hermann (1965). "Das Churer Missale von 1589". Gutenberg-Jahrbuch. 40: 186.
14. Grzimek, Bernhard (1972). Grzimek's Animal life encyclopedia. 12. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. p. 119.
15. Amrhein, Laura Marie (2001). An Iconographic and Historic Analysis of Terminal Classic Maya Phallic Imagery. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Richmond: Virginia Commonwealth University.
16. J. Gordon Melton (1996, 5th ed.). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Detroit, Mich.: Gale) ISBN 0-8103-7714-4 p. 952.
17. "Yale Band Punished for Half-Time Show". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
18. Hurwitt, Robert (2002-11-01). "Puppetry of the Penis". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-12-01.
20. Mary Roach. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. W. W. Norton and Co, New York (2008). page 66f, page 73


• Vigeland Monolith – Oslo, Norway
• Dulaure, Jacques-Antoine (1974). Les Divinités génératrices. Vervier, Belgium: Marabout. Without ISBN.
• Honour, Hugh (1999). The Visual Arts: A History. New York: H.N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-3935-5.
• Keuls, Eva C. (1985). The Reign of the Phallus. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-520-07929-9.
• Kernbach, Victor (1989). Dicţionar de Mitologie Generală. Bucureşti: Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică. ISBN 973-29-0030-X.
• Leick, Gwendolyn (1994). Sex and Eroticism in Mesopotamian Literature. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-06534-8.
• Lyons, Andrew P.; Harriet D. Lyons (2004). Irregular Connections: A History of Anthropology and Sexuality. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-8036-X.
• Jesse Bering (April 27, 2009). "Secrets of the Phallus: Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?". Scientific American.

External links

• Media related to Phallus at Wikimedia Commons
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 2

East India Company
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/4/19



East India Company (EIC)
Company flag (1801)
Coat of arms (1698)
Motto: Auspicio Regis et Senatus Angliae "By command of the King and Parliament of England"
Former type: Public
Industry: International trade, Opium trafficking[1]
Fate: Government of India Act 1858
Founded: 31 December 1600
Founders: John Watts, George White
Defunct: 1 June 1874
Headquarters: London, Great Britain
Products: Cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium
The East India Company's opium stacking room at Patna, India

Colonial India
British Indian Empire
Imperial entities of India
Dutch India 1605–1825
Danish India 1620–1869
French India 1668–1954
Portuguese India
Casa da Índia 1434–1833
Portuguese East India Company 1628–1633
British India
East India Company 1612–1757
Company rule in India 1757–1858
British Raj 1858–1947
British rule in Burma 1824–1948
Princely states 1721–1949
Partition of India: 1947

The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), or the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company,[2] Company Bahadur,[3] or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company.[4] It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies, and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control over large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.

Originally chartered as the "Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East-Indies",[5][6] the company rose to account for half of the world's trade,[7] particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, spices, saltpetre, tea, and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India.[7][8] In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been.[9]

The company received a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, coming relatively late to trade in the Indies. Before them the Portuguese Estado da Índia had traded there for much of the 16th century and the first of half a dozen Dutch Companies sailed to trade there from 1595. These Dutch companies amalgamated in March 1602 into the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which introduced the first permanent joint stock from 1612 (meaning investment into shares did not need to be returned, but could be traded on a stock exchange). By contrast, wealthy merchants and aristocrats owned the EIC's shares.[10] Initially the government owned no shares and had only indirect control until 1657 when permanent joint stock was established.[11]

During its first century of operation, the focus of the company was trade, not the building of an empire in India. Company interests turned from trade to territory during the 18th century as the Mughal Empire declined in power and the East India Company struggled with its French counterpart, the French East India Company (Compagnie française des Indes orientales) during the Carnatic Wars of the 1740s and 1750s. The battles of Plassey and Buxar, in which the British defeated the Bengali powers, left the company in control of Bengal with the right to collect revenue, in Bengal and Bihar,[12] and a major military and political power in India. In the following decades it gradually increased the extent of the territories under its control, controlling the majority of the Indian subcontinent either directly or indirectly via local puppet rulers under the threat of force by its Presidency armies, much of which were composed of native Indian sepoys.

By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000—twice the size of the British Army, with Indian revenues of £13,464,561 (equivalent to £225.3 million in 2018) and expenses of £14,017,473 (equivalent to £234.5 million in 2018).[13][14] The company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its private armies, exercising military power and seizing administrative functions.[15] Company rule in India effectively began in 1757 and lasted until 1858, when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown's assuming direct control of the Indian subcontinent in the form of the new British Raj.

Despite frequent government intervention, the company had recurring problems with its finances. It was dissolved in 1874 as a result of the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act passed one year earlier, as the Government of India Act had by then rendered it vestigial, powerless, and obsolete. The official government machinery of British India assumed the East India Company's governmental functions and absorbed its navy and its armies in 1858.



Further information: Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604)

James Lancaster commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601

Soon after the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the captured Spanish and Portuguese ships with their cargoes enabled English voyagers to potentially travel the globe in search of riches.[16] London merchants presented a petition to Queen Elizabeth I for permission to sail to the Indian Ocean.[17] The aim was to deliver a decisive blow to the Spanish and Portuguese monopoly of Far Eastern Trade.[18] Elizabeth granted her permission and on 10 April 1591 James Lancaster in the Bonaventure with two other ships sailed from Torbay around the Cape of Good Hope to the Arabian Sea on one of the earliest English overseas Indian expeditions. Having sailed around Cape Comorin to the Malay Peninsula, they preyed on Spanish and Portuguese ships there before returning to England in 1594.[17]

The biggest capture that galvanised English trade was the seizure of the large Portuguese Carrack, the Madre de Deus by Sir Walter Raleigh and the Earl of Cumberland at the Battle of Flores on 13 August 1592.[19] When she was brought in to Dartmouth she was the largest vessel that had been seen in England and her cargo consisted of chests filled with jewels, pearls, gold, silver coins, ambergris, cloth, tapestries, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, benjamin (a tree that produces frankincense), red dye, cochineal and ebony.[20] Equally valuable was the ship's rutter (mariner's handbook) containing vital information on the China, India, and Japan trades. These riches aroused the English to engage in this opulent commerce.[19]

In 1596, three more English ships sailed east but were all lost at sea.[17] A year later however saw the arrival of Ralph Fitch, an adventurer merchant who, along with his companions, had made a remarkable fifteen-year overland journey to Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, India and Southeast Asia.[21] Fitch was then consulted on the Indian affairs and gave even more valuable information to Lancaster.[22]


On 22 September 1599, a group of merchants met and stated their intention "to venture in the pretended voyage to the East Indies (the which it may please the Lord to prosper), and the sums that they will adventure", committing £30,133 (over £4,000,000 in today's money).[23][24] Two days later, "the Adventurers" reconvened and resolved to apply to the Queen for support of the project.[24] Although their first attempt had not been completely successful, they nonetheless sought the Queen's unofficial approval to continue. They bought ships for their venture and increased their capital to £68,373.

The Adventurers convened again a year later, on 31 December, and this time they succeeded; the Queen granted a Royal Charter to "George, Earl of Cumberland, and 215 Knights, Aldermen, and Burgesses" under the name, Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading with the East Indies.[17][25] For a period of fifteen years, the charter awarded the newly formed company a monopoly on English trade with all countries east of the Cape of Good Hope and west of the Straits of Magellan.[25] Any traders in breach of the charter without a licence from the company were liable to forfeiture of their ships and cargo (half of which went to the Crown and the other half to the company), as well as imprisonment at the "royal pleasure".[26]

The governance of the company was in the hands of one governor and 24 directors or "committees", who made up the Court of Directors. They, in turn, reported to the Court of Proprietors, which appointed them. Ten committees reported to the Court of Directors. According to tradition, business was initially transacted at the Nags Head Inn, opposite St Botolph's church in Bishopsgate, before moving to India House in Leadenhall Street.[27]

Early voyages to the East Indies

Sir James Lancaster commanded the first East India Company voyage in 1601 aboard the Red Dragon.[28] After capturing a rich 1,200 ton Portuguese Carrack in the Malacca Straits the trade from the booty enabled the voyagers to set up two "factories" – one at Bantam on Java and another in the Moluccas (Spice Islands) before leaving.[29] They returned to England in 1603 to learn of Elizabeth's death but Lancaster was Knighted by the new King James I.[30] By this time, the war with Spain had ended but the Company had successfully and profitably breached the Spanish and Portuguese monopoly, with new horizons opened for the English.[18]

In March 1604, Sir Henry Middleton commanded the second voyage. General William Keeling, a captain during the second voyage, led the third voyage aboard the Red Dragon from 1607 to 1610 along with the Hector under Captain William Hawkins and the Consent under Captain David Middleton.[31]

Early in 1608 Alexander Sharpeigh was appointed captain of the company's Ascension, and general or commander of the fourth voyage. Thereafter two ships, Ascension and Union (captained by Richard Rowles) sailed from Woolwich on 14 March 1608.[31] This expedition would be lost.[32]

East India Company Initial expeditions[32]

Year / Vessels / Total Invested £ / Bullion sent £ / Goods sent £ / Ships & Provisions £ / Notes

1603 3 60,450 11,160 1,142 48,140
1606 3 58,500 17,600 7,280 28,620
1607 2 38,000 15,000 3,400 14,600 Vessels lost
1608 1 13,700 6,000 1,700 6,000
1609 3 82,000 28,500 21,300 32,000
1610 4 71,581 19,200 10,081 42,500
1611 4 76,355 17,675 10,000 48,700
1612 1 7,200 1,250 650 5,300
1613 8 272,544 18,810 12,446
1614 8 13,942 23,000
1615 6 26,660 26,065
1616 7 52,087 16,506

Initially, the company struggled in the spice trade because of the competition from the already well-established Dutch East India Company. The company opened a factory in Bantam on the first voyage, and imports of pepper from Java were an important part of the company's trade for twenty years. The factory in Bantam was closed in 1683. During this time ships belonging to the company arriving in India docked at Surat, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608.

In the next two years, the company established its first factory in south India in the town of Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The high profits reported by the company after landing in India initially prompted James I to grant subsidiary licences to other trading companies in England. But in 1609 he renewed the charter given to the company for an indefinite period, including a clause that specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years.

Foothold in India

See also: Establishment of English trade in Bengal (1600–1700)

Red Dragon fought the Portuguese at the Battle of Swally in 1612, and made several voyages to the East Indies

Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe of honour, watched by Sir Thomas Roe, English ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra from 1615 to 1618, and others

English traders frequently engaged in hostilities with their Dutch and Portuguese counterparts in the Indian Ocean. The company achieved a major victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally in 1612, at Suvali in Surat. The company decided to explore the feasibility of gaining a territorial foothold in mainland India, with official sanction from both Britain and the Mughal Empire, and requested that the Crown launch a diplomatic mission.[33]

In 1612, James I instructed Sir Thomas Roe to visit the Mughal Emperor Nur-ud-din Salim Jahangir (r. 1605–1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty that would give the company exclusive rights to reside and establish factories in Surat and other areas. In return, the company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market. This mission was highly successful, and Jahangir sent a letter to James through Sir Thomas Roe:[33]

Upon which assurance of your royal love I have given my general command to all the kingdoms and ports of my dominions to receive all the merchants of the English nation as the subjects of my friend; that in what place soever they choose to live, they may have free liberty without any restraint; and at what port soever they shall arrive, that neither Portugal nor any other shall dare to molest their quiet; and in what city soever they shall have residence, I have commanded all my governors and captains to give them freedom answerable to their own desires; to sell, buy, and to transport into their country at their pleasure. For confirmation of our love and friendship, I desire your Majesty to command your merchants to bring in their ships of all sorts of rarities and rich goods fit for my palace; and that you be pleased to send me your royal letters by every opportunity, that I may rejoice in your health and prosperous affairs; that our friendship may be interchanged and eternal.

— Nuruddin Salim Jahangir, Letter to James I.


The company, which benefited from the imperial patronage, soon expanded its commercial trading operations. It eclipsed the Portuguese Estado da Índia, which had established bases in Goa, Chittagong, and Bombay, which Portugal later ceded to England as part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza on her marriage to King Charles II. The East India Company also launched a joint attack with the Dutch United East India Company (VOC) on Portuguese and Spanish ships off the coast of China, which helped secure EIC ports in China.[34] The company established trading posts in Surat (1619), Madras (1639), Bombay (1668), and Calcutta (1690). By 1647, the company had 23 factories, each under the command of a factor or master merchant and governor, and 90 employees[clarification needed] in India. The major factories became the walled forts of Fort William in Bengal, Fort St George in Madras, and Bombay Castle.

In 1634, the Mughal emperor Jahangir extended his hospitality to the English traders to the region of Bengal,[35] and in 1717 completely waived customs duties for their trade. The company's mainstay businesses were by then cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, and tea. The Dutch were aggressive competitors and had meanwhile expanded their monopoly of the spice trade in the Straits of Malacca by ousting the Portuguese in 1640–1641. With reduced Portuguese and Spanish influence in the region, the EIC and VOC entered a period of intense competition, resulting in the Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Within the first two decades of the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company or Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, (VOC) was the wealthiest commercial operation in the world with 50,000 employees worldwide and a private fleet of 200 ships. It specialised in the spice trade and gave its shareholders 40% annual dividend.[36]

The British East India Company was fiercely competitive with the Dutch and French throughout the 17th and 18th centuries over spices from the Spice Islands. Spices, at the time, could only be found on these islands, such as pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon could bring profits as high as 400 percent from one voyage.[37]

The tension was so high between the Dutch and the British East Indies Trading Companies that it escalated into at least four Anglo-Dutch Wars between them:[37] 1652–1654, 1665–1667, 1672–1674 and 1780–1784.

The Dutch Company maintained that profit must support the cost of war which came from trade which produced profit.[38]

Competition arose in 1635 when Charles I granted a trading licence to Sir William Courteen, which permitted the rival Courteen association to trade with the east at any location in which the EIC had no presence.[39]

In an act aimed at strengthening the power of the EIC, King Charles II granted the EIC (in a series of five acts around 1670) the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas.[40]

In 1689 a Mughal fleet commanded by Sidi Yaqub attacked Bombay. After a year of resistance the EIC surrendered in 1690, and the company sent envoys to Aurangzeb's camp to plead for a pardon. The company's envoys had to prostrate themselves before the emperor, pay a large indemnity, and promise better behaviour in the future. The emperor withdrew his troops, and the company subsequently re-established itself in Bombay and set up a new base in Calcutta.[41]

Indian exports of textiles to Europe (pieces per year)[42]

Years / EIC / VOC / France / EdI / Denmark / Total

Bengal / Madras / Bombay / Surat / EIC (total) / VOC (total)

1665–1669 7,041 37,078 95,558 139,677 126,572 266,249
1670–1674 46,510 169,052 294,959 510,521 257,918 768,439
1675–1679 66,764 193,303 309,480 569,547 127,459 697,006
1680–1684 107,669 408,032 452,083 967,784 283,456 1,251,240
1685–1689 169,595 244,065 200,766 614,426 316,167 930,593
1690–1694 59,390 23,011 89,486 171,887 156,891 328,778
1695–1699 130,910 107,909 148,704 387,523 364,613 752,136
1700–1704 197,012 104,939 296,027 597,978 310,611 908,589
1705–1709 70,594 99,038 34,382 204,014 294,886 498,900
1710–1714 260,318 150,042 164,742 575,102 372,601 947,703
1715–1719 251,585 20,049 582,108 534,188 435,923 970,111
1720–1724 341,925 269,653 184,715 796,293 475,752 1,272,045
1725–1729 558,850 142,500 119,962 821,312 399,477 1,220,789
1730–1734 583,707 86,606 57,503 727,816 241,070 968,886
1735–1739 580,458 137,233 66,981 784,672 315,543 1,100,215
1740–1744 619,309 98,252 295,139 812,700 288,050 1,100,750
1745–1749 479,593 144,553 60,042 684,188 262,261 946,449
1750–1754 406,706 169,892 55,576 632,174 532,865 1,165,039
1755–1759 307,776 106,646 55,770 470,192 321,251 791,443
1760–1770 0
1771–1774 652,158 182,588 93,683 928,429 928,429
1775–1779 584,889 197,306 48,412 830,607 830,607
1780–1784 435,340 79,999 40,488 555,827 555,827
1785–1789 697,483 67,181 38,800 803,464 803,464
1790–1799 787,000 2,200,000 4,500,000
– 1790–1792 727,717 170,442 38,707 936,866 936,866
1800–1809 1,331,000 1,824,000
1810–1819 1,358,000
1820–1829 431,000
1830–1839 6 271,000 478,000 3,000,000
1840–1849 304,000 2,606,000
1850–1859 2,279,000

Eventually, the East India Company seized control of Bengal and slowly the whole Indian subcontinent with its private armies, composed primarily of Indian sepoys. As historian William Dalrymple observes,

We still talk about the British conquering India, but that phrase disguises a more sinister reality. It was not the British government that seized India at the end of the 18th century, but a dangerously unregulated private company headquartered in one small office, five windows wide, in London, and managed in India by an unstable sociopath – [Robert] Clive.[13]


Document with the original vermilion seal of Tokugawa Ieyasu, granting trade privileges in Japan to the East India Company in 1613

In 1613, during the rule of Tokugawa Hidetada of the Tokugawa shogunate, the British ship Clove, under the command of Captain John Saris, was the first British ship to call on Japan. Saris was the chief factor of the EIC's trading post in Java, and with the assistance of William Adams, a British sailor who had arrived in Japan in 1600, he was able to gain permission from the ruler to establish a commercial house in Hirado on the Japanese island of Kyushu:

We give free license to the subjects of the King of Great Britaine, Sir Thomas Smythe, Governor and Company of the East Indian Merchants and Adventurers forever safely come into any of our ports of our Empire of Japan with their shippes and merchandise, without any hindrance to them or their goods, and to abide, buy, sell and barter according to their own manner with all nations, to tarry here as long as they think good, and to depart at their pleasure.[43]

However, unable to obtain Japanese raw silk for import to China and with their trading area reduced to Hirado and Nagasaki from 1616 onwards, the company closed its factory in 1623.[44]

Mughal convoy piracy incident of 1695

In September 1695, Captain Henry Every, an English pirate on board the Fancy, reached the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, where he teamed up with five other pirate captains to make an attack on the Indian fleet on return from the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The Mughal convoy included the treasure-laden Ganj-i-Sawai, reported to be the greatest in the Mughal fleet and the largest ship operational in the Indian Ocean, and its escort, the Fateh Muhammed. They were spotted passing the straits en route to Surat. The pirates gave chase and caught up with Fateh Muhammed some days later, and meeting little resistance, took some £50,000 to £60,000 worth of treasure.[45]

Every continued in pursuit and managed to overhaul Ganj-i-Sawai, which resisted strongly before eventually striking. Ganj-i-Sawai carried enormous wealth and, according to contemporary East India Company sources, was carrying a relative of the Grand Mughal, though there is no evidence to suggest that it was his daughter and her retinue. The loot from the Ganj-i-Sawai had a total value between £325,000 and £600,000, including 500,000 gold and silver pieces, and has become known as the richest ship ever taken by pirates.[citation needed]

In a letter sent to the Privy Council by Sir John Gayer, then governor of Bombay and head of the East India Company, Gayer claims that "it is certain the Pirates ... did do very barbarously by the People of the Ganj-i-Sawai and Abdul Ghaffar's ship, to make them confess where their money was." The pirates set free the survivors who were left aboard their emptied ships, to continue their voyage back to India.

When the news arrived in England it caused an outcry. To appease Aurangzeb, the East India Company promised to pay all financial reparations, while Parliament declared the pirates hostis humani generis ("enemies of the human race"). In mid-1696 the government issued a £500 bounty on Every's head and offered a free pardon to any informer who disclosed his whereabouts. When the East India Company later doubled that reward, the first worldwide manhunt in recorded history was underway.[46]

The plunder of Aurangzeb's treasure ship had serious consequences for the English East India Company. The furious Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered Sidi Yaqub and Nawab Daud Khan to attack and close four of the company's factories in India and imprison their officers, who were almost lynched by a mob of angry Mughals, blaming them for their countryman's depredations, and threatened to put an end to all English trading in India. To appease Emperor Aurangzeb and particularly his Grand Vizier Asad Khan, Parliament exempted Every from all of the Acts of Grace (pardons) and amnesties it would subsequently issue to other pirates.[47]

English, Dutch and Danish factories at Mocha

An 18th-century depiction of Henry Every, with the Fancy shown engaging its prey in the background

British pirates that fought during the Child's War engaging the Ganj-i-Sawai

Depiction of Captain Every's encounter with the Mughal Emperor's granddaughter after his September 1695 capture of the Mughal trader Ganj-i-Sawai

Forming a complete monopoly

Trade monopoly

Rear view of the East India Company's Factory at Cossimbazar

The prosperity that the officers of the company enjoyed allowed them to return to Britain and establish sprawling estates and businesses, and to obtain political power. The company developed a lobby in the English parliament. Under pressure from ambitious tradesmen and former associates of the company (pejoratively termed Interlopers by the company), who wanted to establish private trading firms in India, a deregulating act was passed in 1694.[48]

This allowed any English firm to trade with India, unless specifically prohibited by act of parliament, thereby annulling the charter that had been in force for almost 100 years. By an act that was passed in 1698, a new "parallel" East India Company (officially titled the English Company Trading to the East Indies) was floated under a state-backed indemnity of £2 million. The powerful stockholders of the old company quickly subscribed a sum of £315,000 in the new concern, and dominated the new body. The two companies wrestled with each other for some time, both in England and in India, for a dominant share of the trade.[48]

It quickly became evident that, in practice, the original company faced scarcely any measurable competition. The companies merged in 1708, by a tripartite indenture involving both companies and the state, with the charter and agreement for the new United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies being awarded by the Sidney Godolphin, 1st Earl of Godolphin.[49] Under this arrangement, the merged company lent to the Treasury a sum of £3,200,000, in return for exclusive privileges for the next three years, after which the situation was to be reviewed. The amalgamated company became the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies.[48]

Company painting depicting an official of the East India Company, c. 1760

In the following decades there was a constant battle between the company lobby and the Parliament. The company sought a permanent establishment, while the Parliament would not willingly allow it greater autonomy and so relinquish the opportunity to exploit the company's profits. In 1712, another act renewed the status of the company, though the debts were repaid. By 1720, 15% of British imports were from India, almost all passing through the company, which reasserted the influence of the company lobby. The licence was prolonged until 1766 by yet another act in 1730.

At this time, Britain and France became bitter rivals. Frequent skirmishes between them took place for control of colonial possessions. In 1742, fearing the monetary consequences of a war, the British government agreed to extend the deadline for the licensed exclusive trade by the company in India until 1783, in return for a further loan of £1 million. Between 1756 and 1763, the Seven Years' War diverted the state's attention towards consolidation and defence of its territorial possessions in Europe and its colonies in North America.[50]

The war took place on Indian soil, between the company troops and the French forces. In 1757, the Law Officers of the Crown delivered the Pratt–Yorke opinion distinguishing overseas territories acquired by right of conquest from those acquired by private treaty. The opinion asserted that, while the Crown of Great Britain enjoyed sovereignty over both, only the property of the former was vested in the Crown.[50]

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, Britain surged ahead of its European rivals. Demand for Indian commodities was boosted by the need to sustain the troops and the economy during the war, and by the increased availability of raw materials and efficient methods of production. As home to the revolution, Britain experienced higher standards of living. Its spiralling cycle of prosperity, demand and production had a profound influence on overseas trade. The company became the single largest player in the British global market. In 1801 Henry Dundas reported to the House of Commons that

... on the 1st March, 1801, the debts of the East India Company amounted to 5,393,989l. their effects to 15,404,736l. and that their sales had increased since February 1793, from 4,988,300l. to 7,602,041l.[51]

Saltpetre trade

Saltpetre used for gunpowder was one of the major trade goods of the company

Sir John Banks, a businessman from Kent who negotiated an agreement between the king and the company, began his career in a syndicate arranging contracts for victualling the navy, an interest he kept up for most of his life. He knew that Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn had amassed a substantial fortune from the Levant and Indian trades.

He became a director and later, as governor of the East India Company in 1672, he arranged a contract which included a loan of £20,000 and £30,000 worth of saltpetre—also known as potassium nitrate, a primary ingredient in gunpowder—for the King "at the price it shall sell by the candle"—that is by auction—where bidding could continue as long as an inch-long candle remained alight.[52]

Outstanding debts were also agreed and the company permitted to export 250 tons of saltpetre. Again in 1673, Banks successfully negotiated another contract for 700 tons of saltpetre at £37,000 between the king and the company. So high was the demand from armed forces that the authorities sometimes turned a blind eye on the untaxed sales. One governor of the company was even reported as saying in 1864 that he would rather have the saltpetre made than the tax on salt.[53]

Basis for the monopoly

Colonial monopoly

Further information: Great Britain in the Seven Years' War

An East India Company coin, struck in 1835

Robert Clive became the first British Governor of Bengal after he had instated Mir Jafar as the Nawab of Bengal

The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) resulted in the defeat of the French forces, limited French imperial ambitions, and stunted the influence of the Industrial Revolution in French territories. Robert Clive, the governor-general, led the company to a victory against Joseph François Dupleix, the commander of the French forces in India, and recaptured Fort St George from the French. The company took this respite to seize Manila in 1762.[54][better source needed]

By the Treaty of Paris, France regained the five establishments captured by the British during the war (Pondichéry, Mahe, Karikal, Yanam and Chandernagar) but was prevented from erecting fortifications and keeping troops in Bengal (art. XI). Elsewhere in India, the French were to remain a military threat, particularly during the War of American Independence, and up to the capture of Pondichéry in 1793 at the outset of the French Revolutionary Wars without any military presence. Although these small outposts remained French possessions for the next two hundred years, French ambitions on Indian territories were effectively laid to rest, thus eliminating a major source of economic competition for the company.

The East India Company had also been granted competitive advantages over colonial American tea importers to sell tea from its colonies in Asia in American colonies. This led to the Boston Tea Party in which protesters boarded British ships and threw the tea overboard. When protesters successfully prevented the unloading of tea in three other colonies and in Boston, Governor Thomas Hutchinson of the Province of Massachusetts Bay refused to allow the tea to be returned to Britain. This was one of the incidents which led to the American revolution and independence of the American colonies.[55]

East India Company Army and Navy

Main articles: Presidency armies and Company rule in India

In its first century and half, the EIC used a few hundred soldiers as guards. The great expansion came after 1750, when it had 3,000 regular troops. By 1763, it had 26,000; by 1778, it had 67,000. It recruited largely Indian troops and trained them along European lines.[56] The military arm of the East India Company quickly developed into a private corporate armed force used as an instrument of geo-political power and expansion instead of its original purpose as a guard force. Because of this, the EIC became the most powerful military force in the Indian subcontinent. As it increased in size, the army was divided into the Presidency Armies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, each of which recruited its own infantry, cavalry, and artillery units. The navy also grew significantly, vastly expanding its fleet. Although heavily armed merchant vessels, called East Indiamen, composed most of the fleet, it also included warships.

Expansion and conquest

The company, fresh from a colossal victory, and with the backing of its own private, well-disciplined, and experienced army, was able to assert its interests in the Carnatic region from its base at Madras and in Bengal from Calcutta, without facing any further obstacles from other colonial powers.[57]

The Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II, who with his allies fought against the East India Company during his early years (1760–1764), accepted the protection of the British in the year 1803, only after he had been blinded by his enemies and deserted by his subjects

It continued to experience resistance from local rulers during its expansion. Robert Clive led company forces against Siraj Ud Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal, Bihar, and Midnapore district in Odisha to victory at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, resulting in the conquest of Bengal. This victory estranged the British and the Mughals, since Siraj Ud Daulah was a Mughal feudatory ally. That led to the Battle of Buxar.

With the gradual weakening of the Marathas in the aftermath of the three Anglo-Maratha wars, the British also secured the Ganges-Jumna Doab, the Delhi-Agra region, parts of Bundelkhand, Broach, some districts of Gujarat, the fort of Ahmmadnagar, province of Cuttack (which included Mughalbandi/the coastal part of Odisha, Garjat/the princely states of Odisha, Balasore Port, parts of Midnapore district of West Bengal), Bombay (Mumbai) and the surrounding areas, leading to a formal end of the Maratha empire and firm establishment of the British East India Company in India.

Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore, offered much resistance to the British forces. Having sided with the French during the Revolutionary War, the rulers of Mysore continued their struggle against the company with the four Anglo-Mysore Wars. Mysore finally fell to the company forces in 1799, in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war during which Tipu Sultan was killed.

Battle of Assaye during the Second Anglo-Maratha War. Company replaced the Marathas as Mughal's protectors after the second Anglo-Maratha war.[58]

The fall of Tipu Sultan and the Sultanate of Mysore, during the Battle of Seringapatam in 1799

The last vestiges of local administration were restricted to the northern regions of Delhi, Oudh, Rajputana, and Punjab, where the company's presence was ever increasing amidst infighting and offers of protection among the remaining princes. The hundred years from the Battle of Plassey in 1757 to the Indian Rebellion of 1857 were a period of consolidation for the company, during which it seized control of the entire Indian subcontinent and functioned more as an administrator and less as a trading concern.

A cholera pandemic began in Bengal, then spread across India by 1820. 10,000 British troops and countless Indians died during this pandemic.[59] Between 1760 and 1834 only some 10% of the East India Company's officers survived to take the final voyage home.[60]

In the early 19th century the Indian question of geopolitical dominance and empire holding remained with the East India Company.[a] The three independent armies of the company's Presidencies, with some locally raised irregular forces, expanded to a total of 280,000 men by 1857.[61] The troops were first recruited from mercenaries and low-caste volunteers, but in time the Bengal Army in particular was composed largely of high-caste Hindus and landowning Muslims.

Within the Army British officers, who initially trained at the company's own academy at the Addiscombe Military Seminary, always outranked Indians, no matter how long the Indians' service. The highest rank to which an Indian soldier could aspire was Subadar-Major (or Rissaldar-Major in cavalry units), effectively a senior subaltern equivalent. Promotion for both British and Indian soldiers was strictly by seniority, so Indian soldiers rarely reached the commissioned ranks of Jamadar or Subadar before they were middle aged at best. They received no training in administration or leadership to make them independent of their British officers.

During the wars against the French and their allies in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the East India Company's armies were used to seize the colonial possessions of other European nations, including the islands of Réunion and Mauritius.

There was a systemic disrespect in the company for the spreading of Protestantism, although it fostered respect for Hindu and Muslim, castes, and ethnic groups. The growth of tensions between the EIC and the local religious and cultural groups grew in the 19th century as the Protestant revival grew in Great Britain. These tensions erupted at the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the company ceased to exist when the company dissolved through the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873.[62]

Opium trade

Main articles: First Opium War, Second Opium War, and History of opium in China

The Nemesis destroying Chinese war junks during the Second Battle of Chuenpi, 7 January 1841, by Edward Duncan

In the 18th century, Britain had a huge trade deficit with Qing dynasty China and so, in 1773, the company created a British monopoly on opium buying in Bengal, India, by prohibiting the licensing of opium farmers and private cultivation. The monopoly system established in 1799 continued with minimal changes until 1947.[63] As the opium trade was illegal in China, Company ships could not carry opium to China. So the opium produced in Bengal was sold in Calcutta on condition that it be sent to China.[64]

Despite the Chinese ban on opium imports, reaffirmed in 1799 by the Jiaqing Emperor, the drug was smuggled into China from Bengal by traffickers and agency houses such as Jardine, Matheson & Co, David Sassoon & Co., and Dent & Co. in amounts averaging 900 tons a year. The proceeds of the drug-smugglers landing their cargoes at Lintin Island were paid into the company's factory at Canton and by 1825, most of the money needed to buy tea in China was raised by the illegal opium trade.

The company established a group of trading settlements centred on the Straits of Malacca called the Straits Settlements in 1826 to protect its trade route to China and to combat local piracy. The settlements were also used as penal settlements for Indian civilian and military prisoners.

In 1838 with the amount of smuggled opium entering China approaching 1,400 tons a year, the Chinese imposed a death penalty for opium smuggling and sent a Special Imperial Commissioner, Lin Zexu, to curb smuggling. This resulted in the First Opium War (1839–42). After the war Hong Kong island was ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking and the Chinese market opened to the opium traders of Britain and other nations.[63] The Jardines and Apcar and Company dominated the trade, although P&O also tried to take a share.[65] A Second Opium War fought by Britain and France against China lasted from 1856 until 1860 and led to the Treaty of Tientsin, which legalised the importation of opium. Legalisation stimulated domestic Chinese opium production and increased the importation of opium from Turkey and Persia. This increased competition for the Chinese market led to India's reducing its opium output and diversifying its exports.[63]

Regulation of the company's affairs


The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor, 1773

The company employed many junior clerks, known as "writers", to record the details of accounting, managerial decisions, and activities related to the company, such as minutes of meetings, copies of Company orders and contracts, and filings of reports and copies of ship's logs. Several well-known British scholars and literary men had Company writerships, such as Henry Thomas Colebrooke in India and Charles Lamb in England. One Indian writer of some importance in the 19th century was Ram Mohan Roy, who learned English, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Greek, and Latin.[66]

Financial troubles

Although the company was becoming increasingly bold and ambitious in putting down resisting states, it was becoming clearer that the company was incapable of governing the vast expanse of the captured territories. The Bengal famine of 1770, in which one-third of the local population died, caused distress in Britain. Military and administrative costs mounted beyond control in British-administered regions in Bengal because of the ensuing drop in labour productivity.

At the same time, there was commercial stagnation and trade depression throughout Europe. The directors of the company attempted to avert bankruptcy by appealing to Parliament for financial help. This led to the passing of the Tea Act in 1773, which gave the company greater autonomy in running its trade in the American colonies, and allowed it an exemption from tea import duties which its colonial competitors were required to pay.

When the American colonists and tea merchants were told of this Act, they boycotted the company tea. Although the price of tea had dropped because of the Act, it also validated the Townshend Acts, setting the precedent for the king to impose additional taxes in the future. The arrival of tax-exempt Company tea, undercutting the local merchants, triggered the Boston Tea Party in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, one of the major events leading up to the American Revolution.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 2

Regulating Acts of Parliament

East India Company Act 1773

By the Regulating Act of 1773 (later known as the East India Company Act 1773), the Parliament of Great Britain imposed a series of administrative and economic reforms; this clearly established Parliament's sovereignty and ultimate control over the company. The Act recognised the company's political functions and clearly established that the "acquisition of sovereignty by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right".

Nawab Mubarak Ali Khan with his son in the Nawab's Durbar with British Resident, Sir John Hadley

Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in Parliament and from the company's shareholders, the Act passed. It introduced substantial governmental control and allowed British India to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased back to the company at £40,000 for two years. Under the Act's most important provision, a governing Council composed of five members was created in Calcutta. The three members nominated by Parliament and representing the government's interest could, and invariably would, outvote the two Company members. The Council was headed by Warren Hastings, the incumbent governor, who became the first governor-general of Bengal, with an ill-defined authority over the Bombay and Madras Presidencies.[67] His nomination, made by the Court of Directors, would in future be subject to the approval of a Council of Four appointed by the Crown. Initially, the Council consisted of Lieutenant General Sir John Clavering, Sir George Monson, Sir Richard Barwell, and Sir Philip Francis.[68]

Hastings was entrusted with the power of war and peace. British judges and magistrates would also be sent to India to administer the legal system. The governor-general and the council would have complete legislative powers. The company was allowed to maintain its virtual monopoly over trade in exchange for the biennial sum and was obligated to export a minimum quantity of goods yearly to Britain. The costs of administration were to be met by the company. The company initially welcomed these provisions, but the annual burden of the payment contributed to the steady decline of its finances.[68]

East India Company Act 1784 (Pitt's India Act)

The East India Company Act 1784 (Pitt's India Act) had two key aspects:

• Relationship to the British government: the bill differentiated the East India Company's political functions from its commercial activities. In political matters the East India Company was subordinated to the British government directly. To accomplish this, the Act created a Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India, usually referred to as the Board of Control. The members of the Board were the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State, and four Privy Councillors, nominated by the King. The act specified that the Secretary of State "shall preside at, and be President of the said Board".
• Internal Administration of British India: the bill laid the foundation for the centralised and bureaucratic British administration of India which would reach its peak at the beginning of the 20th century during the governor-generalship of George Nathaniel Curzon, 1st Baron Curzon.

Pitt's Act was deemed a failure because it quickly became apparent that the boundaries between government control and the company's powers were nebulous and highly subjective. The government felt obliged to respond to humanitarian calls for better treatment of local peoples in British-occupied territories. Edmund Burke, a former East India Company shareholder and diplomat, was moved to address the situation and introduced a new Regulating Bill in 1783. The bill was defeated amid lobbying by company loyalists and accusations of nepotism in the bill's recommendations for the appointment of councillors.

Act of 1786

General Lord Cornwallis, receiving two of Tipu Sultan's sons as hostages in the year 1793

The Act of 1786 (26 Geo. 3 c. 16) enacted the demand of Earl Cornwallis that the powers of the governor-general be enlarged to empower him, in special cases, to override the majority of his Council and act on his own special responsibility. The Act enabled the offices of the governor-general and the commander-in-chief to be jointly held by the same official.

This Act clearly demarcated borders between the Crown and the company. After this point, the company functioned as a regularised subsidiary of the Crown, with greater accountability for its actions and reached a stable stage of expansion and consolidation. Having temporarily achieved a state of truce with the Crown, the company continued to expand its influence to nearby territories through threats and coercive actions. By the middle of the 19th century, the company's rule extended across most of India, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and a fifth of the world's population was under its trading influence. In addition, Penang Island, ceded from the Kedah Sultanate in Malaya, became the fourth most important settlement, a presidency, of the company's Indian territories.[69]

East India Company Act 1793 (Charter Act)

The company's charter was renewed for a further 20 years by the Charter Act of 1793. In contrast with the legislative proposals of the previous two decades, the 1793 Act was not a particularly controversial measure, and made only minimal changes to the system of government in India and to British oversight of the company's activities. Sale of liquor was forbidden without licence. It was pointed that the payment of the staff of the board of council should not be made from the Indian revenue.

East India Company Act 1813 (Charter Act)

Major-General Wellesley, meeting with Nawab Azim al-Daula, 1805

The aggressive policies of Lord Wellesley and the Marquess of Hastings led to the company's gaining control of all India (except for the Punjab and Sindh), and some part of the then kingdom of Nepal under the Sugauli Treaty. The Indian princes had become vassals of the company. But the expense of wars leading to the total control of India strained the company's finances. The company was forced to petition Parliament for assistance. This was the background to the Charter Act of 1813 which, among other things:

• asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by the company;
• renewed the charter of the company for a further twenty years, but
• deprived the company of its Indian trade monopoly except for trade in tea and the trade with China
• required the company to maintain separate and distinct its commercial and territorial accounts
• opened India to missionaries

Government of India Act 1833

The Industrial Revolution in Britain, the consequent search for markets, and the rise of laissez-faire economic ideology form the background to the Government of India Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. 4 c. 85). The Act:

• removed the company's remaining trade monopolies and divested it of all its commercial functions
• renewed for another twenty years the company's political and administrative authority
• invested the Board of Control with full power and authority over the company. As stated by Professor Sri Ram Sharma,[70] "The President of the Board of Control now became Minister for Indian Affairs."
• carried further the ongoing process of administrative centralisation through investing the Governor-General in Council with full power and authority to superintend and control the Presidency Governments in all civil and military matters
• initiated a machinery for the codification of laws
• provided that no Indian subject of the company would be debarred from holding any office under the company by reason of his religion, place of birth, descent or colour
• vested the Island of St Helena in the Crown[71]

British influence continued to expand; in 1845, Great Britain purchased the Danish colony of Tranquebar. The company had at various stages extended its influence to China, the Philippines, and Java. It had solved its critical lack of cash needed to buy tea by exporting Indian-grown opium to China. China's efforts to end the trade led to the First Opium War (1839–1842).

English Education Act 1835

Main article: English Education Act 1835

View of the Calcutta port in 1848

The English Education Act by the Council of India in 1835 reallocated funds from the East India Company to spend on education and literature in India.

Government of India Act 1853

This Act (16 & 17 Vict. c. 95) provided that British India would remain under the administration of the company in trust for the Crown until Parliament should decide otherwise. It also introduced a system of open competition as the basis of recruitment for civil servants of the company and thus deprived the directors of their patronage system.[72]

Under the act, for the first time the legislative and executive powers of the governor-general's council were separated. It also added six additional members to the governor-general's executive committee.[73]

Indian Rebellion and disestablishment

Main article: Indian Rebellion of 1857

Capture of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar and his sons by William Hodson in 1857

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as the Indian Mutiny or Sepoy Mutiny) resulted in widespread devastation in India: many condemned the East India Company for permitting the events to occur.[74] In the aftermath of the Rebellion, under the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858, the British Government nationalised the company. The Crown took over its Indian possessions, its administrative powers and machinery, and its armed forces.

The company remained in existence in vestigial form, continuing to manage the tea trade on behalf of the British Government (and the supply of Saint Helena) until the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873 came into effect, on 1 January 1874. This Act provided for the formal dissolution of the company on 1 June 1874, after a final dividend payment and the commutation or redemption of its stock.[75] The Times commented on 8 April 1873:[76]

It accomplished a work such as in the whole history of the human race no other trading Company ever attempted, and such as none, surely, is likely to attempt in the years to come.

In the 1980s, a group of investors purchased the rights to the moribund corporate brand and founded a clothing company, which lasted until the 1990s. The corporate vestiges were again purchased by another group of investors who opened their first store in 2010.

Establishments in Britain

The expanded East India House, London, painted by Thomas Malton in c.1800

The company's headquarters in London, from which much of India was governed, was East India House in Leadenhall Street. After occupying premises in Philpot Lane from 1600 to 1621; in Crosby House, Bishopsgate, from 1621 to 1638; and in Leadenhall Street from 1638 to 1648, the company moved into Craven House, an Elizabethan mansion in Leadenhall Street. The building had become known as East India House by 1661. It was completely rebuilt and enlarged in 1726–1729; and further significantly remodelled and expanded in 1796–1800. It was finally vacated in 1860 and demolished in 1861–1862. The site is now occupied by the Lloyd's building.

In 1607, the company decided to build its own ships and leased a yard on the River Thames at Deptford. By 1614, the yard having become too small, an alternative site was acquired at Blackwall: the new yard was fully operational by 1617. It was sold in 1656, although for some years East India Company ships continued to be built and repaired there under the new owners.

In 1803, an Act of Parliament, promoted by the East India Company, established the East India Dock Company, with the aim of establishing a new set of docks (the East India Docks) primarily for the use of ships trading with India. The existing Brunswick Dock, part of the Blackwall Yard site, became the Export Dock; while a new Import Dock was built to the north. In 1838 the East India Dock Company merged with the West India Dock Company. The docks were taken over by the Port of London Authority in 1909, and closed in 1967.

Addiscombe Seminary, photographed in c.1859, with cadets in the foreground

The East India College was founded in 1806 as a training establishment for "writers" (i.e. clerks) in the company's service. It was initially located in Hertford Castle, but moved in 1809 to purpose-built premises at Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire. In 1858 the college closed; but in 1862 the buildings reopened as a public school, now Haileybury and Imperial Service College.

The East India Company Military Seminary was founded in 1809 at Addiscombe, near Croydon, Surrey, to train young officers for service in the company's armies in India. It was based in Addiscombe Place, an early 18th-century mansion. The government took it over in 1858, and renamed it the Royal Indian Military College. In 1861 it was closed, and the site was subsequently redeveloped.

In 1818, the company entered into an agreement by which those of its servants who were certified insane in India might be cared for at Pembroke House, Hackney, London, a private lunatic asylum run by Dr George Rees until 1838, and thereafter by Dr William Williams. The arrangement outlasted the company itself, continuing until 1870, when the India Office opened its own asylum, the Royal India Asylum, at Hanwell, Middlesex.[77][78]

The East India Club in London was formed in 1849 for officers of the company. The Club still exists today as a private gentlemen's club with its club house situated at 16 St. James's Square, London.[79]

Legacy and criticisms

The East India Company was one of the most powerful and enduring organisations in history and had a long lasting impact on the Indian Subcontinent, with both positive and harmful effects. Although dissolved by the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act 1873 following the rebellion of 1857, it stimulated the growth of the British Empire. Its professionally trained armies rose to dominate the sub-continent and were to become the armies of British India after 1857. It played a key role in introducing English as an official language in India. This also led to Macaulayism in the Indian subcontinent.

Panorama of a durbar procession of Mughal Emperor Akbar II, 1806-37. The Emperor is followed by the British Resident.

Once the East India Company took over Bengal in the treaty of Allahabad (1765) it collected taxes which it used to further its expansion to the rest of India and did not have to rely on venture capital from London. It returned a high profit to those who risked original money for earlier ventures into Bengal.

During the first century of the East India Company's expansion in India, most people in India lived under regional kings or Nawabs. By the late 18th century many Moghuls were weak in comparison to the rapidly expanding Company as it took over cities and land, built railways, roads and bridges. The first railway of 21 mile (33.8 km),[80] known as the Great Indian Peninsula Railway ran between Bombay (Mumbai) and Tannah (Thane) in 1849. The Company sought quick profits because the financial backers in England took high risks: their money for possible profits or losses through shipwrecks, wars or calamities.

The increasingly large territory the Company was annexing and collecting taxes was also run by the local Nawabs. In essence, it was a dual administration. Between 1765 and 1772 Robert Clive gave the responsibility of tax collecting, diwani, to the Indian deputy and judicial and police responsibilities to other Indian deputies. The Company concentrated its new power of collecting revenue and left the responsibilities to the Indian agencies. The East India Company took the beginning steps of British takeover of power in India for centuries to come. In 1772, the Company made Warren Hastings, who had been in India with the Company since 1750, its first governor-general to manage and overview all of the annexed lands. The dual administration system came to an end.

Hastings learned Urdu and Persian and took great interest in preserving ancient Sanskrit manuscripts and having them translated into English. He employed many Indians as officials.[81]

Hastings used Sanskrit texts for Hindus and Arabic texts for Muslims. This is still used in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi courts today in civil law. Hastings also annexed lands and kingdoms and enriched himself in the process. His enemies in London used this against him to have him impeached. See (Impeachment of Warren Hastings)[82]

Charles Cornwallis, widely remembered as having surrendered to George Washington following the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, replaced Hastings. Cornwallis distrusted Indians and replaced Indians with English. He introduced a system of personal land ownership for Indians. This change caused much conflict since most illiterate people had no idea why they suddenly became land renters from land owners.[83]

Mughals often had to choose to fight against the Company and lose everything or cooperate with the Company and receive a big pension but lose the throne. The British East India Company gradually took over most of India by threat, intimidation, bribery or outright war.[84]

The East India Company was the first company to record the Chinese usage of orange-flavoured tea, which led to the development of Earl Grey tea.[85]

The East India Company introduced a system of merit-based appointments that provided a model for the British and Indian civil service.[86]

Widespread corruption and looting of Bengal resources and treasures during its rule resulted in poverty.[13] Famines, such as the Great Bengal famine of 1770 and subsequent famines during the 18th and 19th centuries, became more widespread, chiefly because of exploitative agriculture promulgated by the policies of the East India company and the forced cultivation of opium in place of grain.[87][88]

The historian William Dalrymple has called Robert Clive an "unstable sociopath" due to these harmful policies and actions that resulted in famines and atrocities towards local native Indians and peasants. Changes caused by Clive to the revenue system and existing agricultural practices to maximize profits for the company led to the Bengal Famine of 1770.[89]



Further information: Flag of the East India Company

Historical depictions

Downman (1685)

Lens (1700)

National Geographic (1917)

Rees (1820)

Laurie (1842)

Modern depictions




The English East India Company flag changed over time, with a canton based on the flag of the contemporary Kingdom, and a field of 9-to-13 alternating red and white stripes.

From 1600, the canton consisted of a St George's Cross representing the Kingdom of England. With the Acts of Union 1707, the canton was changed to the new Union Flag—consisting of an English St George's Cross combined with a Scottish St Andrew's cross—representing the Kingdom of Great Britain. After the Acts of Union 1800 that joined Ireland with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the canton of the East India Company flag was altered accordingly to include a Saint Patrick's Saltire.

There has been much debate about the number and order of stripes in the field of the flag. Historical documents and paintings show variations from 9-to-13 stripes, with some images showing the top stripe red and others showing it white.

At the time of the American Revolution the East India Company flag was nearly identical to the Grand Union Flag. Historian Charles Fawcett argued that the East India Company Flag inspired the Stars and Stripes of America.[90]

Coat of arms

The original coat of arms of the East India Company

The later coat of arms of the East India Company

The East India Company's original coat of arms was granted in 1600. The blazon of the arms is as follows:

"Azure, three ships with three masts, rigged and under full sail, the sails, pennants and ensigns Argent, each charged with a cross Gules; on a chief of the second a pale quarterly Azure and Gules, on the 1st and 4th a fleur-de-lis or, on the 2nd and 3rd a leopard or, between two roses Gules seeded Or barbed Vert." The shield had as a crest: "A sphere without a frame, bounded with the Zodiac in bend Or, between two pennants flottant Argent, each charged with a cross Gules, over the sphere the words Deus indicat" (Latin: God Indicates). The supporters were two sea lions (lions with fishes' tails) and the motto was Deo ducente nil nocet (Latin: Where God Leads, Nothing Harms).[91]

The East India Company's later arms, granted in 1698, were: "Argent a cross Gules; in the dexter chief quarter an escutcheon of the arms of France and England quarterly, the shield ornamentally and regally crowned Or." The crest was: "A lion rampant guardant Or holding between the forepaws a regal crown proper." The supporters were: "Two lions rampant guardant Or, each supporting a banner erect Argent, charged with a cross Gules." The motto was Auspicio regis et senatus angliæ (Latin: Under the auspices of the King and the Senate of England).[91]

Merchant mark

HEIC Merchant's mark on a Blue Scinde Dawk postage stamp (1852)

When the East India Company was chartered in 1600, it was still customary for individual merchants or members of companies such as the Company of Merchant Adventurers to have a distinguishing merchant's mark which often included the mystical "Sign of Four" and served as a trademark. The East India Company's merchant mark consisted of a "Sign of Four" atop a heart within which was a saltire between the lower arms of which were the initials "EIC". This mark was a central motif of the East India Company's coinage[92] and forms the central emblem displayed on the Scinde Dawk postage stamps.[93]


See also: East Indiaman and List of ports of call of the British East India Company

Ships in Bombay Harbour, c. 1731

Ships of the East India Company were called East Indiamen or simply "Indiamen".[94]

Royal George was one of the five East Indiamen the Spanish fleet captured in 1780

During the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the East India Company arranged for letters of marque for its vessels such as the Lord Nelson. This was not so that they could carry cannon to fend off warships, privateers, and pirates on their voyages to India and China (that they could do without permission) but so that, should they have the opportunity to take a prize, they could do so without being guilty of piracy. Similarly, the Earl of Mornington, an East India Company packet ship of only six guns, also sailed under a letter of marque.

In addition, the company had its own navy, the Bombay Marine, equipped with warships such as Grappler. These vessels often accompanied vessels of the Royal Navy on expeditions, such as the Invasion of Java.

At the Battle of Pulo Aura, which was probably the company's most notable naval victory, Nathaniel Dance, Commodore of a convoy of Indiamen and sailing aboard the Warley, led several Indiamen in a skirmish with a French squadron, driving them off. Some six years earlier, on 28 January 1797, five Indiamen, the Woodford, under Captain Charles Lennox, the Taunton-Castle, Captain Edward Studd, Canton, Captain Abel Vyvyan, Boddam, Captain George Palmer, and Ocean, Captain John Christian Lochner, had encountered Admiral de Sercey and his squadron of frigates. On this occasion the Indiamen also succeeded in bluffing their way to safety, and without any shots even being fired. Lastly, on 15 June 1795, the General Goddard played a large role in the capture of seven Dutch East Indiamen off St Helena.

East Indiamen were large and strongly built and when the Royal Navy was desperate for vessels to escort merchant convoys it bought several of them to convert to warships. Earl of Mornington became HMS Drake. Other examples include:

• HMS Calcutta
• HMS Glatton
• HMS Hindostan (1795)
• HMS Hindostan (1804)
• HMS Malabar
• HMS Buffalo

Their design as merchant vessels meant that their performance in the warship role was underwhelming and the Navy converted them to transports.


Main article: India Office Records

Unlike all other British Government records, the records from the East India Company (and its successor the India Office) are not in The National Archives at Kew, London, but are held by the British Library in London as part of the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections. The catalogue is searchable online in the Access to Archives catalogues.[95] Many of the East India Company records are freely available online under an agreement that the Families in British India Society has with the British Library. Published catalogues exist of East India Company ships' journals and logs, 1600–1834;[96] and of some of the company's daughter institutions, including the East India Company College, Haileybury, and Addiscombe Military Seminary.[97]

The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British India and its Dependencies, first issued in 1816, was sponsored by the East India Company, and includes much information relating to the EIC.

Early Governors[98]

• 1600–1601 : Sir Thomas Smythe (first Governor)
• 1601–1602 : Sir John Watts
• 1602–1603 : Sir John Harts
• 1606–1607 : Sir William Romney
• 1607–1621 : Sir Thomas Smythe
• 1621–1624 : Sir William Halliday
• 1624–1638 : Sir Maurice (Morris) Abbot
• 1638–1641 : Sir Christopher Clitherow

See also

• British Empire portal
• Companies portal

East India Company

• Company rule in India
o Economy of India under Company rule
o Governor-General of India
o Chief Justice of Bengal
o Advocate-General of Bengal
o Chief Justice of Madras
o Indian Rebellion of 1857
o Indian independence movement
• List of East India Company directors
• List of trading companies
• East India Company Cemetery in Macau
• Category:Honourable East India Company regiments


• British Imperial Lifeline
• Lascar
• Carnatic Wars
• Commercial Revolution
• Political warfare in British colonial India
• Trade between Western Europe and the Mughal Empire in the 17th century
• Whampoa anchorage

Notes and references

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Further reading

• Andrews, Kenneth R. (1985). Trade, Plunder, and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480–1630. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-25760-2.
• Bowen, H. V. (1991). Revenue and Reform: The Indian Problem in British Politics, 1757–1773. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-40316-0.
• Bowen, H. V. (2003). Margarette Lincoln; Nigel Rigby (eds.). The Worlds of the East India Company. Rochester, NY: Brewer. ISBN 978-0-85115-877-8.; 14 essays by scholars
• Brenner, Robert (1993). Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London's Overseas Traders, 1550–1653. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-05594-7.
• Carruthers, Bruce G. (1996). City of Capital: Politics and Markets in the English Financial Revolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-04455-2.
• Chaudhuri, K. N. (1965). The English East India Company: The Study of an Early Joint-Stock Company, 1600–1640. London: Cass.
• Chaudhuri, K. N. (1978). The Trading World of Asia and the English East India Company, 1660–1760. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-21716-3.
• Chaudhury, S. (1999). Merchants, Companies, and Trade: Europe and Asia in the Early Modern Era. London: Cambridge University Press.
• Dalrymple, William (March 2015). The East India Company: The original corporate raiders. "For a century, the East India Company conquered, subjugated and plundered vast tracts of south Asia. The lessons of its brutal reign have never been more relevant." The Guardian
• William Dalrymple The Anarchy - The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, Bloomsbury, London, 2019, ISBN 978-1-4088-6437-1.
• Dirks, Nicholas (2006). The Scandal of Empire: India and the creation of Imperial Britain. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-02166-2.
• Dodwell, Henry. Dupleix and Clive: Beginning of Empire. (1968).
• Dulles, Foster Rhea (1931). Eastward ho! The first English adventurers to the Orient (1969 ed.). Freeport, New York: Books for Libraries Press. ISBN 978-0-8369-1256-2.
• Farrington, Anthony (2002). Trading Places: The East India Company and Asia, 1600–1834. London: British Library. ISBN 978-0-7123-4756-3.
• Finn, Margot; Smith, Kate, eds. (2018). The East India Company at Home, 1757–1857. London: UCL Press. ISBN 978-1-78735-028-1.
• Furber, Holden. John Company at Work: A study of European Expansion in India in the late Eighteenth century (Harvard University Press, 1948)
• Furber, Holden (1976). Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient, 1600–1800. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-0787-7.
• Gardner, Brian. The East India Company : a history (1990) Online free to borrow
• Greenwood, Adrian (2015). Victoria's Scottish Lion: The Life of Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde. UK: History Press. p. 496. ISBN 978-0-7509-5685-7.
• Harrington, Jack (2010), Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, New York: Palgrave Macmillan., ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1
• Keay, John (2010). The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company. HarperCollins UK. ISBN 978-0-00-739554-5.
• Lawson, Philip (1993). The East India Company: A History. London: Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-07386-9.
• Leinwand, Theodore B. (2006). Theatre, Finance and Society in Early Modern England. Cambridge University. ISBN 978-0-521-03466-1.
• MacGregor, Arthur (2018). Company Curiosities: nature, culture and the East India Company, 1600–1874. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 9781789140033.
• Marshall, P. J. Problems of empire: Britain and India 1757–1813 (1968) Online free to borrow
• Misra, B. B. The Central Administration of the East India Company, 1773–1834 (1959)
• O'Connor, Daniel (2012). The Chaplains of the East India Company, 1601–1858. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-1-4411-7534-2.
• Oak, Mandar, and Anand V. Swamy. "Myopia or strategic behavior? Indian regimes and the East India Company in late eighteenth century India." Explorations in economic history 49.3 (2012): 352–366.
• Philips, C. H. The East India Company 1784–1834 (2nd ed. 1961), on its internal workings
• Riddick, John F. excerpt and text search The history of British India: a chronology (2006), covers 1599–1947
• Riddick, John F. Who Was Who in British India (1998), covers 1599–1947
• Ruffner, Murray (21 April 2015). "Selden Map Atlas". Thinking Past. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
• Risley, Sir Herbert H., ed. (1908), The Indian Empire: Historical, Imperial Gazetteer of India, 2, Oxford: Clarendon Press, under the authority of H.M. Secretary of State for India
• Risley, Sir Herbert H., ed. (1908), The Indian Empire: Administrative, Imperial Gazetteer of India, 4, Oxford: Clarendon Press, under the authority of H.M Secretary of State for India
• Robins, Nick (December 2004). The world's first multinational, in the New Statesman
• Robins, Nick (2006). The Corporation that Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational. London: Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-2524-8.
• Sen, Sudipta (1998). Empire of Free Trade: The East India Company and the Making of the Colonial Marketplace. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-3426-8.
• Sharpe, Brandon (23 April 2015). "Selden Map Atlas". Retrieved 28 April 2015.
• St. John, Ian. The Making of the Raj: India Under the East India Company (ABC-CLIO, 2011)
• Steensgaard, Niels (1975). The Asian Trade Revolution of the Seventeenth Century: The East India Companies and the Decline of the Caravan Trade. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-77138-0.
• Stern, Philip J. The Company-State: Corporate Sovereignty and the Early Modern Foundations of the British Empire in India (2011)
• Sutherland, Lucy S. "The East India Company In Eighteenth-Century Politics." Economic History Review17.1 (1947): 15–26. online
o Sutherland, Lucy S. (1952). The East India Company in Eighteenth-Century Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
• Williams, Roger (2015). London's Lost Global Giant: In Search of the East India Company. London: Bristol Book Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9928466-2-6.


• Farrington, Anthony, ed. (1976). The Records of the East India College, Haileybury, & other institutions. London: H.M.S.O.
• Stern, Philip J. (2009). "History and historiography of the English East India Company: Past, present, and future!". History Compass. 7 (4): 1146–1180. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2009.00617.x.

External links

• Charter of 1600
• East India Company on In Our Time at the BBC
• Seals and Insignias of East India Company
• The Secret Trade The basis of the monopoly.
• Trading Places – a learning resource from the British Library
• Port Cities: History of the East India Company
• Ships of the East India Company
• Plant Cultures: East India Company in India
• History and Politics: East India Company
• Nick Robins, "The world's first multinational", 13 December 2004, New Statesman
• East India Company: Its History and Results article by Karl Marx, MECW Volume 12, p. 148 in Marxists Internet Archive
• Text of East India Company Act 1773
• Text of East India Company Act 1784
• "The East India Company – a corporate route to Europe" on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time featuring Huw Bowen, Linda Colley and Maria Misra
• HistoryMole Timeline: The British East India Company
• William Howard Hooker Collection: East Indiaman Thetis Logbook (#472-003), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University
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