Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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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


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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
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5. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 57
6. Swami Parmeshwaranand p. 60
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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
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30. Rao pp. 325–6
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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.
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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.
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• 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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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:09 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 11/4/19



"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

Postby admin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:45 am

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

Postby admin » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:45 am

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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80. Rao, M.A. (1988). Indian Railways, New Delhi: National Book Trust, p.15
81. Suijk, Paul (Director) (2015). The British East India Company [The Great Courses (Episode 24,19:11)] (on-line video). Brentwood Associates/The Teaching Company Sales. Chantilly, VA, USA: Fisher, Professor Michael H (lecturer).
82. Suijk, Paul (Director) (2015). The British East India Company [The Great Courses (Episode 24,17:27)] (on-line video). Brentwood Associates/The Teaching Company Sales. Chantilly, VA, USA: Fisher, Professor Michael H (lecturer).
83. Suijk, Paul (Director) (2015). The British East India Company [The Great Courses (Episode 24,16:00)] (on-line video). Brentwood Associates/The Teaching Company Sales. Chantilly, VA, USA: Fisher, Professor Michael H (lecturer).
84. Suijk, Paul (Director) (2015). The British East India Company [The Great Courses (Episode 24, 9:27)] (on-line video). Brentwood Associates/The Teaching Company Sales. Chantilly, VA, USA: Fisher, Professor Michael H (lecturer).
85. "Bringing back John Company".
86. "The Company that ruled the waves", in The Economist, 17–30 December 2011, p. 111.
87. Davis, Mike. Late Victorian Holocausts. New York Times. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
88. Moxham, Roy. "Lecture: THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S SEIZURE OF BENGAL AND HOW THIS LED TO THE GREAT BENGAL FAMINE OF 1770". You Tube. Brick Lane Circle. Retrieved 6 June2015.
89. Dalrymple, William (4 March 2015). "The East India Company: The original corporate raiders". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
90. Fawcett, Charles (30 July 2013). Rob Raeside (ed.). "The Striped Flag of the East India Company, and its Connexion with the American "Stars and Stripes"".
91. "East India Company". Hubert Herald. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
92. East India Company coin 1791, half pice, as illustrated.
93. "Scinde District Dawks". 27 October 2009.
94. Sutton, Jean (1981) Lords of the East: The East India Company and Its Ships. London: Conway Maritime
95. A2A – Access to Archives Home
96. Farrington, Anthony, ed. (1999). Catalogue of East India Company ships' journals and logs: 1600–1834. London: British Library. ISBN 978-0-7123-4646-7.
97. Farrington 1976.
98. The Emergence of International Business, 1200-1800: The English East India Company. p. Appendix.

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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Part 1 of 2

Suzuki Daisetsu and Swedenborg: A Historical Background
by Yoshinaga Shin’ichi 吉永進一
translated by Erik Schicketanz
Modern Buddhism in Japan
edited by Hayashi Makoto, Ōtani Eiichi, and Paul L. Swanson



Suzuki Daisetsu and Swedenborg

A Historical Background

The present article is the updated English version of an article previously published in 2005 in Japanese. It has been amended substantially in light of the subsequent work done by other scholars. At the time of the article’s original publication, Thomas Tweed had already begun his groundbreaking work on the issue of the influence of esotericism on modern Buddhism with his volume The American Encounter with Buddhism (1992). This volume was followed by the pioneering work of Jorn Borup,1 along with further comprehensive research by Thomas Tweed (published in the same year, 2005, as my own original article),2 and the work of Wakoh Shannon Hickey (2008).3 While the overall number of publications on the topic remains relatively small, it has attracted the attention of American and European scholars and been cited time and again since the 1990s.

My intentions in writing this article were threefold. Having been inspired by Tweed’s American Encounter with Buddhism, my main aim lay in elucidating the relationship between Swedenborgianism and Japanese Buddhism on the basis of Japanese source materials. The second aim of this article was to familiarize the readership with a lecture by Suzuki Daisetsu that was included in the Annual Report of the Swedenborg Society (arss), which was kindly pointed out to me by a librarian (Nancy Dawson) during a visit to the Society’s headquarters in London in 2003. In this lecture, rather than discuss the reception of Swedenborg in Japan, Daisetsu talked frankly about his own admiration for Swedenborg. The significance of the lecture thus lies in showing Daisetsu’s deep commitment to Swedenborgianism. My third aim was to discuss the way in which Swedenborg’s thought had been absorbed into Daisetsu’s own philosophy. Regrettably, the first version of this paper failed to address this last point sufficiently.

Before taking up the main subject, I will briefly outline the historical facts concerning Suzuki’s involvement with two kinds of Western esotericism, namely Theosophy and Swedenborgianism.

It should be pointed out at the outset that there is actually only a little research about the theosophical activities of Suzuki Daisetsu and his wife Beatrice that is grounded in a thorough reading of the primary sources. Among the small body of essential works in existence, an important contribution is the article by Adele Algeo (2005) based on a survey of materials in the possession of the Theosophical Society. According to Algeo, Suzuki Daisetsu and his wife engaged with a Theosophical lodge on two occasions. The first instance was with the International Lodge, founded by the Irish poet James Cousins in Tokyo in March 1920. Beatrice and Daisetsu had not become Theosophists during their time in the United States, but did so when they joined the International Lodge. According to the chronology included in the “Fundamental Materials in Suzuki Daisetsu Research” (Kirita 2005), Daisetsu and his wife took part in seven meetings of the lodge between 13 March and 26 June 1920.4 The secretary of the lodge at the time of its founding was Kon Buhei, but he resigned shortly thereafter. He was succeeded by Jack Brinkely, and Suzuki Daisetsu took on the position of president. However, Suzuki’s involvement with the lodge ended when he left Tokyo in April 1921 to become a lecturer at Ōtani University.

Suzuki’s second involvement with Theosophy came on 8 May 1924. On that day, the first meeting of the newly established Mahayana Lodge was held at the Suzuki’s Kyoto residence. Of the eight founding members, Emma Erskine Hahn, Beatrice Suzuki, Suzuki Daisetsu, as well as Ryukoku University lecturers Jisoji Tetsugai and Utsuki Nishū were already members of the Theosophical Society. The latter two were both priests of the Nishihonganji sect and had joined the Theosophical Society while in Los Angeles on mission duty. According to the chronology provided in Kirita 2005,5 the lodge met at least sixteen times and is believed to have existed until 6 October 1929. Beatrice was an enthusiastic supporter of Krishnamurti’s Order of the Star in the East, which was a kind of messianic movement that existed within the Theosophical Society. Its central figure, Krishnamurti, personally disbanded the organization in August 1929 and it is likely that the activities of the Mahayana Lodge also ended following this event.

Apart from Utsuki and Jisoji, the Mahayana Lodge was joined by other university lecturers as well, among them Uno Enkū, Akamatsu Chijō, Hatani Ryōtai, and Yamabe Shūgaku. According to the volume on Suzuki Daisetsu edited by Hisamatsu Shin’ichi et al. (1971, 470), the activities of the Mahayana Lodge were not dedicated to the study of Theosophical texts; the lodge rather provided a venue for members to present their research of religious studies.6 It appears as if there were only a handful of members, including Beatrice, who were enthusiastic about “esoteric” activities, like those of the Order of the Star of the East.7

While the Theosophical Lodge was established at his own residence, Suzuki Daisetsu did not seem to be enthusiastic about its administration. (Since Beatrice Suzuki acted as secretary and Utsuki Nishū had the position of treasurer, it seems as if these two were in charge of the lodge’s actual affairs.) Also, while Suzuki Daisetsu hardly ever discussed Theosophy in his publications, critical remarks about it can be found in his correspondences. As Tweed writes, ”Suzuki seems more negative about Theosophy by the end of the 1920s.”8

On the other hand, compared to Theosophy, there are many works by Daisetsu dealing with Swedenborgianism. He wrote the following five monographs about Swedenborg.

1. Tenkai to jigoku 天界と地獄 (Heaven and hell). Tokyo: Yūrakusha, 1910.

2. Suedenborugu スエデンボルグ, Tokyo: Heigo Shuppansha, 1913.

3. Shin Erusaremu to sono kyōsetsu 新エルサレムとその教説 (The new Jerusalem and its heavenly doctrine). Tokyo: Heigo Shuppansha, 1914.

4. Shinchi to shin’ai 神知と神愛 (Divine wisdom and divine love). Tokyo: Heigo Shuppansha, 1914.

5. Shinryo ron 神慮論 (Divine providence). Tokyo: Heigo Shuppansha, 1915.

Apart from the biographical Suedenborugu, the remaining four volumes are all translations. The translation and publication costs of these volumes were covered by the Swedenborg Society as part of their activities to disseminate Swedenborg’s texts. Daisetsu himself had also been a member of the Japanese Swedenborg Society (Nihon Suedenborugu Kyōkai) for a short while in the 1910s (the early Taishō period). In addition to the above, there are further fragmentary writings on Swedenborg by Daisetsu, the two most comprehensive of these being:

6. “Suedenborugu” スエデンボルグ, in Sekai seiten gaisan 世界聖典外纂 (Sekai Seiten Zenshū Kankōkai 1923, 323–29.

7. “Suedenborugu (sono tenkai to tarikikan)” スエデンボルグ(その天界と他力観), in Chūgai nippō, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 February 1914. Later included in the collection Zuihitsu zen 随筆 禅 (Suzuki 1926).

Furthermore, a speech given in English by Daisetsu in 1912 at the Swedenborg Society in London is included in the volume listed below and has been consulted in the writing of this article:

8. Annual Report of the Swedenborg Society 1912, Swedenborg Society, 1912.

Just in terms of the number of publications, in 1915 Daisetsu had more works on Swedenborg than monographs on Zen. Daisetsu’s thought was rich in nuance and it is impossible to say anything decisive based on this limited data, but it is impossible to deny that he was sympathetic towards Swedenborg’s philosophy. Daisetsu was not alone, however, in his appreciation of Swedenborg. In keeping with my three aims outlined in the beginning, this article will first discuss the encounter of other Japanese Buddhists with Swedenborg. Next, I will touch on Daisetsu’s appraisal of Swedenborg. Lastly, I will examine the influence Swedenborgianism had on Daisetsu.

Swedenborg in the Mid-1880s to Mid-1890s

The first Japanese to come into touch with Swedenborgianism were figures such as Mori Arinori sent by the Satsuma domain to study abroad at the end of the Edo period. Through the introduction of Laurence Oliphant, they joined the spiritual colony, New Life, which was presided over by Thomas Lake Harris, a Swedenborgian medium. Among the Japanese who had been at New Life, Arai Ōsui was the only one who continued his religious activities after returning to Japan in 1899. While Arai’s thought is recently receiving a gradual and deserved reevaluation, due to his reclusive lifestyle, his Swedenborgian philosophy was at the time only transmitted to a small circle of persons, including Tanaka Shōzō.9

On the other hand, Swedenborg became known among Buddhists during the decade between the mid-1880s and mid-1890s. This was due to the exchange that existed between America’s first Buddhist magazine, Buddhist Ray, and contemporary progressive Buddhist magazines in Japan, such as Hanseikai zasshi 反省会雑誌 and Kaigai Bukkyō jijō 海外仏教事情.

America’s first Buddhist magazine, Buddhist Ray (1888–1894), was published in Santa Cruz, California, by Philangi Dasa. This was the Tibetan name used by Herman Carl Vetterling (1849–1931), an American of Swedish descent. Vetterling was born in Sweden, immigrated to the United States, studied at Urbana University’s Theological School, graduated in 1876, and was ordained a minister in the Swedenborgian New Church the following year. He resigned, however, in 1881, and became critical of the New Church. He studied homeopathy at Hahnemann College in Philadelphia and was active for a while as a doctor. He also joined the Theosophical Society for a time, and between 1884 and the following year he contributed several articles about Swedenborg to the Theosophist, the magazine of the Theosophical Society. However, he disassociated himself from the society in 1887 and subsequently became very critical of it. After publishing Swedenborg the Buddhist: or the Higher Swedenborgianism, Its Secrets, and Thibetan Origin in Los Angeles in 1887, Vetterling moved to Santa Cruz and began to publish the magazine Buddhist Ray.10 In his later years, Vetterling became a spiritual seeker who studied Jacob Bochme and moved in between various forms of spiritual thought, becoming an individualist who mistrusted sects and religious organizations. Vetterling can be described as a self-made Buddhist, one who had created himself through the study of Buddhist texts. His main work, Swedenborg the Buddhist, takes the form of a dream vision in which Swedenborg converses with a Buddhist monk. The Buddhism presented in this work combines information about Buddhism found in English translations of Buddhist texts available at the time along with Theosophy. Swedenborg’s writings are often discussed alongside occult and Orientalist works, and the work can be read as a comparative treatment of Eastern and Western esotericism. Vetterling was not merely motivated by academic interest. He engaged in a comparison of the religious thought of the East and West in order to decipher Swedenborg’s “lost sacred word” (the universal truth common to all mankind that existed in antiquity and held to still in Central Asia). By doing so, he sought to prove that Swedenborgianism and Buddhism are no less than the same.

The year that Vetterling became active as a Buddhist coincided with the inauguration of a progressive Buddhist reform movement in Japan. In 1886, students of the Nishi Honganji-operated school Futsū kyōkō 普通教校 started the Hanseikai 反省会 movement, advocating abstinence from alcohol and the strengthening of moral discipline among Buddhists. Publication of the movement’s magazine Hanseikai zasshi began in August 1887. By coincidence, it was during the same period that Matsuyama Matsutarō, an English teacher at the Futsū kyōkō, began to correspond with several foreign “Buddhists” (most of them Theosophists), such as Vetterling and William Q. Judge, head of the Theosophical Society in America. Matsuyama contributed translations of letters he had received from abroad as well as articles about Theosophy to the inaugural issue of Hanseikai zasshi. In the second issue, which appeared in January 1888 and coincided with the publication of the first issue of Buddhist Ray, the column “News from the Western Correspondence Society” (Ōbei tsūshin kaihō 欧米通信会報) was established. In the course of this year, “News from Europe and America” was expanded and became its own magazine, Kaigai Bukkyō jijō 海外仏教事情 (published from 1888 to 1893). Translations were not only featured in Hanseikai zasshi or Kaigai Bukkyō jijō, but also in the Jōdo sect publication Jōdo kyōhō 浄土教 報, the supra-denominational magazine Bukkyō 仏教, the Tendai magazine Shimei yoka 四明余霞, and the Shingon magazine Dentō 伝燈. Vetterling’s letters and articles from Buddhist Ray were also published first in Kaigai Bukkyō jijō, and since 1890, in Shimei yoka. This was because Ōhara Kakichi, the central figure behind Shimei yoka, had been in close correspondence with Vetterling. In 1893, the Japanese translation of Swedenborg the Buddhist was published under the title Zuiha Bukkyōgaku 瑞派仏教学 (Hakubundō, 1893) with an exclusive foreword by Vetterling for the Japanese edition, as well as a foreword by Nakanishi Ushirō, a famous Buddhist reformer at the time. Ōhara Kakichi was responsible for the translations.11

A number of articles were published in Buddhist magazines from the mid-1880s to the mid-1890s which mention Swedenborg’s name in their titles. The earliest of these was the article “Suedenborii shi no ritsugi,” which appeared in issue 5 of Hanseikai zasshi in April 1888 (Meiji 21). This was a translation of the article “Dicta of Swedenborg” published in the first issue of Buddhist Ray. The article’s content is summed up by the following quote:

That in archaic times there existed throughout the world a system of Spiritual Truth handed down from pre-archaic times. That this system of truth, which may be called Ancient Word, exists still, and is in the hands of Central-Asian Buddhists. (The Buddhist Ray 1 [Jan. 1888]: 1)

Furthermore, in Hanseikai zasshi’s ninth issue from August 1888, the article “Bussha Suedenborii” (The Buddhist Swedenborg) appeared, and the nineteenth issue from June 1889 featured the article “Bussha toshite no Suiidenboogu shi” (Swedenborg as a Buddhist). Both of these were likely based on articles from Buddhist Ray.

Of particular interest is the article on “‘Sueedenboorugu’ no zenron” (Swedenborg on Zen) which was published in the monthly Rinzai magazine Katsuron’s third issue from May 1890. Katsuron 活論 was edited and published by Hirai Kinza, who had been responsible for inviting Colonel Olcott to Japan in 1889. The anonymous author of the introduction to this article (probably penned by either Hirai or the article’s translator, Araki Toshio) states that, “Swedenborg emerged as a famous religious philosopher in the previous century and propagated Buddhism. Now, since Buddhism is prospering, people frequently discuss Swedenborg” (Katsuron 3 [25 May 1890]: 21–22). This shows that Swedenborg was already known as a Buddhist in Japan. The original author of this article is given in Japanese as “Osukeauitchi” (the original spelling is unknown; maybe “Oskarewich”), and based on my discussion below, it is likely that this was another name used by Vetterling.

The article takes the form of a dialog between a Christian belonging to the New Church and a Buddhist. The “Buddhist,” who stands in for the article’s author, argues that the New Church’s interpretation of Swedenborg is wrong and that true Swedenborgianism is identical with Buddhism. According to this argument, Swedenborg entered “contemplative samadhi” under the guidance of a Tibetan Buddhist, and it is claimed that the method he used was to block out his senses.12 It is no coincidence that among the articles dealing with Swedenborg and Buddhism, it was this article concerning religious experience that was already available in translation in 1890. This fact should probably be seen as an expression of the interest that existed in the notion of “experience” among progressive-reformist Japanese Buddhists.13 As will be discussed later, the key-words “Swedenborg” and “Theosophy” were discussed in connection with “experience,” at least by Ishidō Emyō and Taoka Reiun.

Hirai went to America in 1892 in order to propagate Buddhism and received acclaim for a speech he gave at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, wherein he criticized the unequal treaties.14 Apart from this, Hirai gave speeches in various places about the topic of synthetic religion (sōgō shūkyō 総合宗教). For instance, in a speech entitled “Mahayana and Hinayana” given in May 1892 in Los Angeles, Hirai argued that the object of veneration in all religions is “truth” (shinri 真理), and declared that all religions are the same. To illustrate this point, he quoted a Japanese waka that reads, “While at the base of the mountain the paths leading upward are many, is it not the same moon in the sky that all see in the end?” (wakenoboru fumoto no michi wa ōkeredo, onaji takane no tsuki o miru kana; Los Angeles Herald, 9 May 1892).

In 1893, Hirai published the article “Religious Thought in Japan” in English in the magazine Arena (Hirai 1893). To begin with, he stresses that the Japanese are not idol worshippers (that is, savages), but seekers of the truth. The Shinto purification rite, too, is nothing other than a spiritual exercise (gyō 行) to cleanse the mind (kokoro 心) and bring it into harmony with truth. He explains that the term kami, used for the Shinto deities, comes from the word kangami, to think about the truth. In Buddhism, buddha nature (busshō 仏性) includes the truth, the understanding of the truth, and the potentiality to know the truth. Since humans have consciousness and are made out of inanimate matter, inanimate matter also has consciousness. Therefore, all things, including inanimate matter, have buddha nature. Buddhism means the understanding of truth, and if the Christian god is also the essence of universal reason, then there is no difference between the two religions. On the other hand, the object of faith cannot be grasped logically and is unknowable. In other words, all religions share an a priori faith in an unknown entity, and the various truths pertaining to the existence of this entity constitute the edifice of all religions. Therefore, by synthesizing the various religions, it is possible to obtain a more complete truth. In the case of Japan, there were Prince Shōtoku (who not only promoted Buddhism but also Shinto), Kōbō Daishi Kūkai (who blended Buddhism and Shinto), and Ishida Baigan (who founded Shingaku 心学 in the early modern period combining Shinto, Confucianism, and Buddhism). This kind of synthetic religion, reflecting the full spectrum of Japan’s original wisdom, Hirai also refers to as Japanism. Hirai concludes his article by expressing hope that through the World’s Congress of Religions, which will be held shortly, Syntheticism and Japanism will be put into practice. Hirai thus employed a strategy in America of invoking the global ideal of Syntheticism while at the same time stressing the superiority of Japanism and covertly criticizing Christianity. Putting the issue of Japanism aside, at least in regard to Syntheticism, Hirai shared common ground with liberal religious thinkers such as Jenkin Lloyd Jones.15 After returning to Japan, he discussed his religious faith in the following way in a lecture he gave in 1899: “Whether ‘Mohammed’ or ‘Swedenborg’, Buddhism or Christianity, my belief is that despite these divisions, they [religions] are all fundamentally one” (Hirai 1899: 16). That he lists him alongside other religious founders shows in what high esteem Hirai held Swedenborg.

There are hardly any writings by Hirai himself about Swedenborg, but there exists a discussion of Swedenborg that was influenced by Hirai. This is Ishidō Emyō’s article “Suedenbori to Kōbō Daishi” (Swedenborg and Kōbō Daishi), published in the Shingon sect magazine Dentō from issue 98 (28 July 1895) to issue 103. Ishidō was a priest in the Shingon sect who had studied at the Unitarian Senshin Gakuin, later becoming chief editor at Dentō and finally acting as superintendent priest (kanchō) of the Omuro branch of the Shingon sect.

Ishidō’s understanding of Swedenborg basically followed that of Vetterling. He held that the essence of Swedenborg’s philosophy was Buddhism, and that because it was the product of Asian spirituality, if read by someone not versed in Buddhism, it would be as if someone were to enter a treasure mountain and return empty-handed (Dentō 101 [13 Sept. 1895): 16). From this position, Ishidō compared Buddhism and Swedenborg’s philosophy by dividing the comparison into four categories: theories concerning the cosmos, the identical essence of sentient beings and buddhas, the stages of the soul, and life. I will touch on the first two categories here.

In regard to cosmology, Ishidō points out that Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai) saw matter and mind (busshin 物心) as originally neither arising nor ceasing and thus constant. In this regard, Ishidō saw a congruence with Swedenborg. However, according to Ishidō, while Swedenborg does talk about the existence of an invisible heavenly god, this god does not have human guise. Rather, god stands in for the truth, “hiding the rational ideal,” in Ishidō’s words. Next, he proceeded to explain the correspondence that exists between “part” and “whole” in Swedenborg’s thought. Parts possess the same quality as the whole. A heart, for example, is made of infinitely small hearts. All things in the universe contain the entirety of creation. Where Swedenborg says that “not only are all things your possession, but you are all things,” Kōbō Daishi states that, “every particle and every dharma are the body of the dharma realm” (ichijin ippō mina kore hokkaitai 一塵一法皆是法 界体). Drawing on Swedenborg’s statement that “the human body is strictly universal,” Ishidō held that this was identical to Kōbō Daishi’s “Principle of Attaining Buddhahood in the Present Body” (Sokushin jōbutsu gi 即身成仏 義). Swedenborg had stated that not only men and women, old and young, but also animals and plants possess divine nature, and Ishidō likened this to tathāgatagarbha thought in Buddhism, seeing it as corresponding to Kōbō Daishi’s statement that, “everything that has form and possesses consciousness also has buddha nature” (ugyō ushiki ha kanarazu busshō o gusu 有形有 識必具仏性).

The idea that sentient beings and buddhas are of the same essence (shōbutsu funi 生仏不二) is an extension of this inner divine nature and constitutes a theory of salvation. According to Ishidō, Kōbō Daishi’s idea of the shared essence of sentient beings and buddhas is similar to Swedenborg’s theory of the intimate connection between humans and god. Drawing on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s discourse on compensation, Ishidō further erased the distinction between self and other, and argued that by reaching a stance of treating all with the same benevolence (isshi dōjin 一視同仁) and accepting the knowledge and virtues of others as one’s own, it becomes possible even for ordinary people to reach the realm of saints and buddhas. However, ordinary people and buddhas are not initially the same. Distinctive characteristics obviously exist in the beginning. Achieving this state of sameness requires a struggle employing earnest intention (hosshin 発心) and faith-based effort (shinju 信修). This holds true whether it be Yangming learning (which emphasizes inner spirituality in the form of good knowledge and good capacity), Swedenborg, or Kōbō Daishi.

Having said that, Ishidō writes that one should not search for guidelines to salvation in an external church or system, but rather within one’s own mind. He holds that in this regard, Kōbō Daishi’s statement that, “the Buddha Dharma is nowhere remote. It is in our own mind; it is close to us. Suchness is nowhere external. If not within our body, where can it be found?” and Swedenborg’s statements, “Why do people focus so much on the external? Why do people propagate the Bible over and over again?… Is the lord not within us?” and “it is imprinted onto all humans to look within oneself to perceive the divine entity” all correspond to each other (Dentō 101 [1895]: 10).

Hirai’s influence on Ishidō can be seen in his treatment of “truth” as the foundation for comparison. Like Hirai, Ishidō also cites the poem, “While at the base of the mountain the paths leading upward are many, is it not the same moon in the sky that all see in the end?” and comments: “There is only one cosmic truth; while people of then and now, east and west differ, the ultimate truth cannot but be one, just as they look at the same bright disc of the moon. There exist various methods, however, to reach the source of this truth” (Dentō 100: 12). While it is also possible to see the influence of Unitarianism in these ideas, the influence of Hirai Kinza’s notion of synthetic religion can be felt strongly in the use of the moon as a metaphor for truth. Further, drawing on Emerson, Ishidō stresses the importance of intuition for salvation. Following Swedenborg, intuition can be further divided into the superficial and the profound. Ishidō argues that profound (spiritual) intuition corresponds to what Kōbō Daishi propagated, saying that through this intuition it is possible to see the entire cosmos in a single drop of water (Dentō 100: 13).

Among Ishidō’s contemporaries, there were young intellectuals who made similar arguments concerning the understanding of truth trough intuition. Among intellectuals who were discussing mysticism in the second half of the 1880s to the mid-1890s, Taoka Reiun (1871–1912) is of particular importance. Taoka was known as a literary critic and as an author of pioneering writings about mysticism. He was not only familiar with classical mysticism (German mysticism, Indian Yoga philosophy, Neo-Platonism) and Schopenhauer’s philosophy, but also had detailed knowledge of contemporary European intellectual trends such as Theosophy, Mesmerism, and Vegetarianism.16 In the essay “Beauty and the Good” (Bi to zen 美と善), Taoka wrote that the experience of forgetting the self is “the state where every being is perfect and spiritual enlightenment is without impediment.” Since the existence of “buddhas” or “god” can also be traced back to this subjective psychological state, “Christ and paradise are already inside of you, and Shakyamuni has achieved buddhahood in his very body” (Nishida 1973, 234; first published in Shūkyō 35 [5 September 1895]). He also wrote that the climate of skepticism created by experimental science is overpowering, and that Japan has turned into a state of “no faith and no religion.” However, without faith people cannot live, he writes. To overcome skepticism, the only option is to gain mystical experiences through Zen and to realize that “one should not look for god outside oneself nor should one look for Buddha outside one’s own nature.”17 The emergence of this issue in Japan came with the introduction of Western civilization, but, Taoka prophesized, Western and Eastern civilization were headed towards reconciliation in the twentieth century: “Material civilization was imported to the Orient from the West, but spiritual civilization has not been injected from the Orient to the West. Ah! Will we see in the coming twentieth century the mutual mixing of Eastern and Western civilization and the emergence of a grand new civilization whose light will reach all corners of the world?”18

It is a fact that during the period from the mid-1880s to mid-1890s, Vetterling’s Buddhist Swedenborgianism exerted a great influence on Buddhism. Whether in the case of those who saw Swedenborg as a Buddhist, as Vetterling did (as did Shaku Sōen who will be discussed below), or in the case of those who, like Ishidō Emyō, distinguished between Swedenborg’s philosophy and Buddhism but still compared the two, Swedenborg’s philosophy was widely regarded as very similar to Buddhism. This is not the result of a one-sided imposition of American occultism onto Japan, however, nor of a strategic occidentalist usage, as James Ketelaar (1993) argues. That Ishidō’s comparative framework was that of an amalgamated religion like Heart Learning (Shingaku) and its modernized version in the form of Hirai Kinza’s synthetic religion is the result of active attempts on the Japanese side to absorb this thought. It was also nothing unusual for a young Buddhist such as Daisetsu in the mid-1880s to mid-1890s to be interested in Swedenborg.

Furthermore, discussion of Swedenborg led to a focus on psychological states that went beyond reason and the ordinary senses in the form of samadhi, or intuition. At the same time, Taoka Reiun was already proposing a theory of mystical experience based on religion and a decontextualized theory of Zen experience that was inseparably linked to the former. Considering that Taoka had been a non-regular student at Tokyo Imperial University like Daisetsu, and that he had been a prolific writer in the first half of the 1890s, it can be assumed that Daisetsu knew of Taoka.19 Further, as I argue below, judging by the similarity in content of Daisetsu’s and Ishidō’s writings, there is the possibility that Daisetsu was also familiar with these ideas. That is, the topics that Daisetsu would continue to reflect on—the meaning of the universality of religious truth, the congruence or opposition of Western and Eastern mystical thought, Swedenborg’s philosophy—all had been raised already by other young intellectuals during the period of the mid- 1880s to mid-1890s. In other words, ideas that later came to be criticized as characteristic of Suzuki Daisetsu’s thought (an exclusive emphasis on experience, comparisons of stereotyped Western and Eastern civilization) were already constitutive elements of the Buddhist world of that period without Daisetsu’s help.

Daisetsu and Swedenborg

It is believed that there were three instances in the first half of Suzuki Daisetsu’s life in which he came into contact with Swedenborg‘s philosophy.

It is possible that Daisetsu learned about Swedenborg through contemporary Buddhist magazines before embarking for America. We know at least that his master Shaku Sōen was familiar with the volume Zuiha Bukkyōgaku. In an “Epigraph” attached to Daisetsu’s partial translation of Paul Carus’ The Gospel of Buddha, published in the eighty-sixth issue of Shimei yoka, he writes:

Even though there are a great number of Western scholars who translate Indian Sanskrit texts or write about Chinese Buddhism, works that have been translated and distributed in our country are limited to those by Mr. Max Müller, A Buddhist Catechism by Mr. Olcott, The Light of Asia by Mr. Arnold, and Buddhist studies (Bukkyōgaku)20 by Mr. Swedenborg.

(Shimei yoka 86 [24 February 1895]: 12)

The fact that Zuiha Bukkyōgaku is mentioned here alongside Müller, Arnold, and Olcott can also be taken to show that Shaku Sōen regarded it as a work on Buddhism, despite knowing its contents.

Furthermore, Daisetsu published a short piece entitled “The Zen of Emerson” in issue 14 of the magazine Zenshū on 1 March 1896. He does not mention Ishidō’s name in it, but its content resembles that of Ishidō’s articles. The way that Daisetsu develops an argument about the unity of all religions based on Zen through a poem that uses the moon as a metaphor is another example of this conflation, as witnessed in the following quote.

Since the so-called paths leading up from the base of the mountain are manifold, somebody who is in one place will look at the reflection of the moon from that position and take that as the truth, while somebody in another place will look at the reflection of the moon from another perspective and take that as the truth. If someone reaches the very top beyond which one can proceed no further, he is already removed from the path of delusion, does not discriminate between this and that, and therefore there is no more quarrel. Therefore, even Confucianism ultimately becomes Zen, and Daoism and Christianity, too, inevitably turn into Zen. (sdz 30: 42)

Or, as shown by the next quote, the emphasis on experience over scriptures reminds one of Ishidō and Taoka:

Concerning Emerson, Daisetsu wrote that, “[Emerson] does not take god to actually exist outside the mind or to be a human-like creator. Correspondingly, he does not employ literal meanings in his understanding of the teachings of Christ, turning the idolatrous Christianity of the past into an intuitive and self-reflective religion. He does not seek god through other languages and scripts, [instead] arguing that if one moves straight ahead and removes the manifold emotions, the spirit will be enriched, and the mind will enter a realm of highest joy (gokuraku). (sdz 30: 49)

As a matter of fact, this interesting philosophy consisting of the idea of the unity of all religions centered on “Zen,” the rejection of a personalized creator god, and an intuitive understanding not dependent on texts had already been formulated at this point, and Ishidō had already used these notions in his own writings. The similarity of Ishidō’s and Daisetsu’s theories of religion does not only derive from Swedenborg’s influence on Emerson, but possibly also from Daisetsu having read Ishidō’s writings (or those of Vetterling). However, it is interesting to note that what Ishidō called “truth” (shinri 真理), Daisetsu called “enlightenment” (satori 悟り). Having said that, all this amounts only to circumstantial evidence, and, as far as can be ascertained, it was only after making his way to America that Daisetsu became interested in Swedenborg. This was probably due to the influence of A. J. Edmunds, whom he met while living there. It has been argued that Daisetsu learned about Swedenborg from Edmunds, who was employed for a short period of time at Open Court in July 1903. This can be ascertained through both Edmunds’ own diary and Daisetsu’s own words.21

Albert Joseph Edmunds (1857–1941) has already been mostly forgotten, but he was a “Buddhist” who in many points resembled Vetterling. He was born in 1857 into a family of Quakers in England and immigrated to America in 1885. He moved to Philadelphia, a Quaker stronghold, becoming a cataloger for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and spent the rest of his life there. A scholar of Buddhism, Edmunds co-authored, together with Anesaki Masaharu, a work comparing Buddhism and Christianity (Edmunds 1905), while spending a quiet life as librarian for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Besides research on Buddhism, he also tried his hand at research on early Christianity and penned an anthology of poems (Leonard 1908, 230). Despite being a Quaker, he was a Swedenborgian and vegetarian. It is unclear, though, how Edmunds and Vetterling stood towards each other, and it should be pointed out that this combination of Buddhism and Swedenborgianism was not exceptional.22

The third instance of contact with Swedenborg came in 1909, when Daisetsu visited London on his way back to Japan from America. On that occasion, on commission from the Swedenborg Society, he fashioned a translation of Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell for the purpose of proselytization in Japan. In the summer of 1912 he visited London at the invitation of the Swedenborg Society, translating a further three of Swedenborg’s works. After this, the Japan Swedenborg Society was launched with his participation, 23 and he became involved in publishing these works. However, the activities of the Japan Swedenborg Society seem to have ended in 1915 with the publication of Divine Providence (Shinryoron 神慮論), the conclusion of its publishing contract with the Swedenborg Society in Britain. At the time that Daisetsu began work on his translation, Swedenborg was no longer wrongly regarded as a Buddhist, but Buddhists had also ceased to read and discuss his philosophy. The target audience Daisetsu sought to familiarize with Swedenborg’s philosophy, then, were not Buddhist priests and believers as had been the case when Hirai and Ishidō were writing in the mid- 1880s to mid-1890s, nor was it the young intellectuals (as had been the case with Taoka), but rather the wider general public.

Daisetsu and the Swedenborgians

Apart from the translations, Daisetsu did not pen many other writings about Swedenborg, although he held Swedenborg fundamentally in high regard. Daisetsu’s collected thoughts on Swedenborg are expressed in a lecture he gave at the Swedenborg Society, which is included in the Society’s 1912 Annual Report. The lecture is divided into three parts, the first dealing with the allure of Swedenborg, the second with the spread of his philosophy in Japan, and the last with Japan’s spiritual poverty as well as Daisetsu’s expectations for its recovery via Swedenborg’s thought. Spread across these three parts is an analysis of Japan’s spiritual culture and a discussion of the transmission of Swedenborg’s philosophy. With regard to its content, it can be called the antetype of later discussions of Swedenborg, but its unadulterated praise and expressions are rarely seen in Japanese writings.24

First, Daisetsu praises Swedenborg’s writing style in the following terms:

Even his peculiar repetitious style of writing is so characteristic of him. It is so much like a grey-haired, long-bearded, kind-looking, patriarchal wise man teaching his children, who gather about him and wonderingly listen to what he says about the wonders of an unknown world. He has naturally to repeat over again and again lest his ignorant audience should miss his heavenly message—he has so much to say, and all so new to his listeners. In his style I perceive the kindly heart of the author, and in the matter of his writing I perceive his intellectual penetration and deep spiritual insight into the secrets of life. (aars, 31)

Next, he makes an interesting argument regarding the need for Swedenborg’s philosophy in Japan.

A senior friend of mine who is the chief prosecuting attorney in the supreme Court of Japan is a religiously minded person—and he was one of the first who bought the Japanese copies of Heaven and Hell. When I met him later, he was enthusiastic about the book, and highly recommended it to the Japanese public, which is lately, I am sorry to say, losing faith in the world to come, or rather in a world which exists along with this one. He ascribed one of the reasons why crime seems to be growing rampant lately in Japan, to the lack of the knowledge of a coming life. (aars, 32)

Here, Daisetsu introduces the concept of the loss of belief in the afterlife or other world (that is, Japan’s modernization) and the idea that enlightenment thought has invited moral decay. These notions also reflect his own opinions. His conclusion is a rather vicious critique of Japan:

There was a time once when everything spiritual was hopelessly trodden under foot and most contemptuously looked upon as having nothing to do with material welfare, political reformation, industrial prosperity, or, in short, with the development of the national life. This was when materialism was at its height, which came soon after the political revolution about forty years ago. This revolution or reformation destroyed everything historical, priding itself in this very destruction. Old Japan was to go, and New Japan to be welcomed at any cost. But the fact is that we cannot live without history. We are all historical. We grow out of the historical background. New Japan must be the continuous growth of Old Japan. And Old Japan was religious and spiritual, as you can see from the numerous temples, monasteries, and shrines still in existence. Swedenborg, too, must come and help New Japan to be placed once more upon the solid pedestal of spirituality. In concluding this, I wish to express my gratitude for your having made it possible for me to peruse Swedenborg with thoroughness, which has opened to me so many beautiful, noble things belonging to the spirit. My next task will be to purify my own will through this elevated understanding and thus to appreciate his wonderful message spiritually. (aars, 33–34)

By comparison, in Suedenborugu, the representative treatise on Swedenborg in Japanese, Daisetsu gave an overall very positive evaluation of Swedenborg despite some criticism, writing that, “despite the fact that not all that [Swedenborg] wrote can be believed, there are pearls among the rubble” (sdz 24: 11. From Suedenborugu).
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Part 2 of 2

In the same text, Daisetsu lists three advantages and three disadvantages of Swedenborg’s philosophy. The advantages are: (1) Swedenborg discusses his journey to heaven and hell sincerely and without boasting; (2) “in this world, beyond the five senses, there is something like the world of the spirits. When one enters a certain psychological state, it is as if one can access it like we do our own” (sdz 24: 7, 8); and (3) the idea that one should discard the self and leave things up to the divine nature resembles Buddhism. Conversely, the disadvantages are: (a) the text reads tediously and sounds like a grandfather berating a child; (b) since Swedenborg is too serious about the world beyond the senses, he comes across as a madman; (c) the descriptions are too concrete.

However, in his lecture in English Daisetsu defended point (b), making it unlikely that he really considered it a shortcoming. As (b) and (c) represent the flipside of advantage (1), he probably did not necessarily think of them as shortcomings. That is, while using the expression “pearls among the rubble,” he hardly dealt with the “rubble” part in a substantive manner. Ultimately, for Daisetsu the allure of Swedenborg and the seed of his bewilderment are probably encapsulated in advantages (1) and (2), that is, in the notion of the “existence of an other world.” I will deal with this issue in the next section and address here the problem of (3): individualism and morality.

First, as he had done in his English lecture, Daisetsu also harshly criticized the religious attitude of the Japanese in Suedenborugu: “Looking in particular at the current state of spiritual life in Japan, it seems that people are tired of the superficiality of our materialistic, industrial culture, but do not know where to turn. Both the government and the people feel the need for religion, yet it has not been adequately investigated how this need can be met” (sdz 24: 11). Judging from the arguments made in both the English lecture and in Japanese, Daisetsu’s expectations for Swedenborg’s philosophy were undergirded by a strong sense of crisis in regard to the moral decay of the Japanese people and their spiritual poverty.

In regard to the social critique that is hidden within these arguments, the scholar Andrew Bernstein has proposed an interesting analysis from the perspective of the history of ideas of intellectuals from the Meiji to the Taishō period (Bernstein 1996, xix). The development of capitalism after the Russo-Japanese War, the “age of suffering” (kunō 苦悩) symbolized by Fujimura Misao’s suicide, the imposition from above of a national morality (kokumin dōtoku 国民道徳) as represented by the Boshin Rescript (Boshin shōsho 戊申詔書) of 1908 conceived to rectify the situation, and the emergence of an introverted individualism to escape the confines of this national morality—all of this, Bernstein points out, was the social and intellectual climate against which Daisetsu indicated two guidelines in Suedenborugu. The first guideline was the need to introduce a variety of religions to meet the needs of different people, and thus create a free market of religions to still the religious thirst of the people, instead of edifying the people through a standardized national religion or imposed morality. The second guideline was provided by Swedenborg’s life and person itself as depicted in the book. In Suedenborugu, Daisetsu describes the first half of Swedeborg’s life as dedicated to scientific research, and the second half of his life as committed to research into the spiritual world. Based on this depiction, he praised Swedenborg’s combination of spiritual research and social action. According to Bernstein’s reading, Daisetsu saw Swedenborg’s life in direct relation to the first half of the Meiji period, which was characterized by Japan’s efforts to build a rich country and strong army (fukoku kōhei 富国強兵), and the period of inner absorption stretching from the second half of the Meiji period into the Taishō period. Bernstein sees Daisetsu as understanding Swedenborg as combining everyday and inner life as a lesson for those who have given up their social duties as a result of an inner orientation. However, in his 1924 essay “Swedenborg’s View of Heaven and Other-Power” (Suzuki 1926), this social argument has disappeared in favor of an ahistorical, religious argument about the relationship between free will and universal salvation. The reason is that between 1913 and 1927, Daisetsu himself was not concerned with social issues. Regarding this judgment, Bernstein bases his interpretation on that of Robert Sharf (1993, 1994, 1995), who sees a transition from a liberal Daisetsu to a conservative Daisetsu. In his work, Bernstein contrasts the Swedenborgian Daisetsu with the introverted Buddhist Daisetsu, being somewhat critical towards the latter.

I find nothing to take issue with in the first half of Bernstein’s argument. The proposal of a free market of religions is, as I will discuss further below, also consistently expressed in Daisetsu’s sympathetic statements about new religions. Further, precisely because spiritual thought was popular during the Taishō period, it is important to point out that Daisetsu depicted Swedenborg as possessing a realistic, socially balanced personality. As Daisetsu had also argued in his English lecture, however, the issue of social morality rests ultimately on the fact that the other world has lost its reality. The issues of the existence or non-existence of a transcendental realm and morality are interrelated. At the core of Daisetsu’s view of Swedenborg lies the issue of the existence of the other world.

From Religion to Superstition

As I argued in the previous section, the importance of Swedenborg’s writings for Daisetsu lay in the fact that they provided a concrete and realistic view of the other world. But this concreteness was difficult to accept for Meiji Buddhists. Inoue Enryō, who sought to revive Buddhism, had argued that Buddhism represents a truth in accord with reason and modern science. The reformers of the New Buddhist Society (Shin Bukkyōto Dōshikai 新仏教徒同志会), who inherited Inoue’s spirit of rationalism, called for a healthy faith and the eradication of superstition in their program. As Daisetsu himself had close contacts to the New Buddhist Society, it is only natural that he would claim that “not all that [Swedenborg] wrote can be believed,” such as Swedenborg’s visits to the spiritual world. However, insofar as Daisetsu had a positive view of Swedenborg, it is possible to identify two levels here: the larger framework of Daisetsu’s understanding of religion and his concrete interpretation of Swedenborg. In his first book, Shinshūkyōron 新宗教論 (A treatise on new religion) from 1896, Daisetsu employed an essentially enlightened and rational interpretation of Buddhism. In this same work, Daisetsu dedicates a chapter to the topic of science and religion. In it, he argues that there are not two truths in the universe, and that science and religion are indistinguishable. However, since religion originates in mythology, it is steeped in superstition. It is the role of science to expunge these elements and restore truth. Therefore, science and religion complement each other and true religion is devoid of any shred of superstition. Furthermore, he dedicates a chapter to spirits (reikon 霊 魂), quoting Hume and pointing out that in modern psychology the soul has no real existence and that this view is shared by Buddhism. While one may question whether he was actually at ease with this understanding of the soul,25 seven years later in 1903 in a lecture entitled “The Question of the Existence of the Soul and the Fate of Faith” (Reikon no umu to shinkō no taifutai 霊魂の有無と信仰の退不退) published in Beikoku Bukkyō 米国仏 教 (American Buddhism) he argued that “Buddhism allows for a nominal self (kega 仮我), that is, it allows for the unification of consciousness or the continuation of personality, but it does not allow for the existence of a kind of individual, concrete soul that could be called true self (jitsuga 実我) or enduring self (shinga 神我). What people call soul (reikon 霊魂), or what Buddhism calls the ‘self,’ is a superstition that is a figment of one’s imagination” (sdz 32: 322).

It is held that Daisetsu was influenced by the Monist Paul Carus, president of Open Court Publishing where Daisetsu had been employed in America. Carus advocated a “religion of science” and was a representative figure of rationalist and moralist sympathizers with Buddhism. There are, however, some differences with regard to Carus’s influence on Daisetsu in the English and the Japanese literature. The Japanese literature does not necessarily depict Daisetsu as being infatuated with Carus. It is true that Daisetsu originally held Carus in high esteem, among other things translating his The Gospel of Buddha. After moving to America, however, he became critical of Carus’s rationalist view of religion. In a letter to Nishida Kitarō from 1898, he is extremely harsh. “He [Carus] argues about morality based on the experiences of scientists or whatever and seeks to explain the fate and happiness of people. But based on my own life, I believe that people seem to be moved by a kind of indeterminate force whose origin is unknown. I think that the idea that the power of reason can limit natural impulses is nothing more than an illusion.… Carus’s views on religion are not worth adopting, and his opinions are only persuasive because he has read more books than I have” (day and month unknown; sdz 36: 163).

The person who provided Daisetsu with a solution for the conflict between this “kind of indeterminate force” on the one side, and scientific or Buddhist rationalism on the other, was William James, Carus’s rival in debate. In another letter to Nishida Kitarō dated 23 September 1902, Daisetsu expressed his joy over James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience. He described it as having brought relief to a longstanding thirst and shown him an alternative to Carus’s theory on religion, writing that it represented “a refreshing change not experienced in years”:

Unlike other philosophers, he [James] does not take things to unrealistic extremes, citing many concrete facts in compiling his works. This professor appears to be rich in religious sentiment and unlike, Carus’s theory of religion, [his arguments] directly affect people. The views of the professor, who seeks to study religious experience as psychological facts as opposed to studying them under the moniker of delusion or superstition, coincide with my own. (sdz 36: 222)26

What can be discerned here is a switch from a binary system of superstition and true faith based on a one-dimensional view of truth to that of a multi-dimensional view of religion. From here on an awareness of the limits of moral judgments imposed from above by intellectuals, a standpoint of respecting different forms of faith, and a modest attitude towards human reality composed the basis of Daisetsu’s view of religion. As an indication of this, he still expressed the same opinions in writings twenty-five years later.

In the article “New Religions and Superstitious Evil Cults” (Shinkō shūkyō to meishin jakyō 新宗教と迷信邪教) written for the newspaper Nagoya shinbun in 1935, Daisetsu expressed sympathy for those groups accused of being evil, superstitious cults. He wrote that, “rather than calling them stupid and belittling them, is it not more appropriate to call them human and show sympathy?” (sdz 32: 118). “We are essentially bundles of contradictions, in one word, bundles of superstition. Therefore, I believe that these so-called new religions will always exist” (sdz 32: 120). Or, in “The World of Superstition” (Meishin no sekai 迷信の世界), he expressed a quite radically pluralist worldview, writing that, “terms such as scientific knowledge or religious knowledge are always trudged out by scholars. The validity of these types of knowledge seems to be limited to and effective only in the world of those who belong to the peculiar class of scholars. It is hard to believe, however, that they have any use at all for the deity ‘Konjin’” (sdz 19: 578).

When directly connecting the inspiration young Daisetsu felt on reading James to the views on religion of the middle-aged Daisetsu, it is easy to understand his attraction to and sympathy for Swedenborg. In his outline of his pluralist view of religion and the world, both a society in which Swedenborg talks to angels as well as a society of the everyday status quo, have equal existential value as human societies. As already mentioned, Daisetsu considered this kind of pluralism to be necessary for modern Japanese society. It is possible to posit this as the first level of his affirmation of Swedenborg.

The second level was the issue of how to work Swedenborg’s picture of the journey to heaven and the spiritual world into reality.

Since naïve ideas of the actual existence of the afterlife or the Pure Land had received a decisive blow following the Meiji Restoration, a variety of arguments had been put forth. The scholar Kashiwahara Yūsen lists four of them: (1) the rejection of an afterlife from a scientific perspective by modernist Buddhists starting with Inoue Enryō; (2) the agnostic position that took the afterlife as a transcendental reality which the Buddha had come to know and which lies outside the perception of ordinary people; (3) an expedient means (upāya) to give faith; and (4) an affirmation of the afterlife on the condition of seeing it as a purely subjective reality. Kiyozawa Manshi represents the fourth standpoint, arguing that, “hell and heaven are entirely limited to the subjective realm, and only acknowledged and posited as facts of faith” (Kashiwahara 1987, 218). This probably represented the finalized version of the modern view on the Pure Land, but considering the popularity of spiritualism in the Taishō period,27 it is unlikely that it was able to completely satisfy the yearnings of modern people.

On the other side, Bernhard Lang has described Swedenborg’s view of the afterlife as an “anthropocentric view of the afterlife,” pointing out the following four characteristics: (1) The veil between heaven and earth is thin; (2) life in heaven is seen as a continuation and fulfillment of earthly existence; (3) people in heaven are also progressing, the journey to god continues in heaven; and (4) social relationships are seen fundamental to heavenly life. “God is not only loved directly, but also through the love and charity shown to others in heaven” (Brock 1989, 310). Concerning points (3) and (4), modern Japanese Buddhists probably held similar views, but the other world’s continuity and concreteness expressed in the first three points clashed head on with their views.

For Daisetsu, too, one of the allures of Swedenborg was the aforementioned concreteness of the other world found in Swedenborg’s writings and the fact that he revived it, through concrete experience, in the form of a naïve belief in the reality of the other world. It had been such a belief in the reality of the other world that had been rejected as part of the process of modernization. Based on Swedenborg, Daisetsu was convinced that “there is no doubt that a kind of transcendental world exists beyond the sensual world or alongside this world” (sdz 30: 457). However, the next step posed a problem. As a modern Buddhist, Daisetsu could not simply affirm such a view. It seems he divided the further argumentation into two steps.

The defining characteristic of Swedenborg’s view of the other world lay in the fact that, while it was brimming with concreteness, the spiritual world and the real world were intimately linked through a relationship of
correspondence, the natural world being a mirror of the spiritual. Daisetsu interpreted this to reflect the philosophy of rituals and doctrines (jisō 事相) in esoteric Buddhism. “Ultimately, heaven is a giant symbol. In Swedenborg’s words, a representation. However, the sole mental function needed to understand this is sympathetic imagination. Without such imagination, it is impossible to reach the great fundamental power that is hidden within the myriad phenomena, that is, within these symbols” (sdz 18: 322). In Swedenborg’s philosophy, the possibility of deciphering spiritual meanings from the real world is guaranteed through the law of correspondence. Daisetsu argues that this law also runs through Buddhism.28 This comparison to Shingon esoteric Buddhism is not very different from the comparative approach taken by Ishidō and does not go beyond the confines of scriptures.

However, Daisetsu’s interpretation does not merely confine the other world to something that can only be concretely experienced through such “sympathetic imagination.” Rather, the creativity of his interpretation lies in the fact that it regards the familiar, everyday world as itself a kind of other world. Of course, Daisetsu writes that this world is this world, and the Pure Land is the Pure Land, and that humans cannot leave this world, which is divided in two but connected through symbols.29 A transcendental other world exists, but its shape can only be perceived by special people like Swedenborg or through the mediation of symbols. As an example, in a piece on personal matters entitled “What Happened One Day” (Aru hi no koto ある日の事), Daisetsu recounts his reaction to an exposition on the Rinzairoku 臨済録 (Record of Linji) at the Kaizenji temple in Asakusa, he provides another response to the issue of how to view the other world:

Swedenborg says that heaven is only a state. Not only heaven. Our lives that take place every day on this earth might only have entirely subjective value. This subjective value is our lot in life (kyōgai 境涯). (sdz 30: 498)

What can be seen here is the expression of joy at discovering that heaven and the real world are the same in regard to the realm of our experience (kyōgai).30 The expression “this world is the Pure Land” (shaba soku jōdo 娑婆即浄土) contains a similar free-spirited vigor. The word “subjective” is used in this context, but this view differs greatly from the distressing view of the other world that holds the Pure Land to exist only in one’s belief. It is not something that can only be experienced within the special and restricted frame of religious experience. Diverging from Swedenborg’s view of the other world, in which the spiritual world and the real world were seen in a hierarchical relationship, Daisetsu regarded the two as equal. I believe that Daisetsu’s creative interpretation of Swedenborg’s thought can be recognized in this unique interpretation.


The relationship between Swedenborg and Buddhism differs greatly from the period of the second half of the 1880s and first half of the 1890s, where it is characterized by the influence of Vetterling’s writings on Swedenborg, and the period after 1907 when Daisetsu began his translation work.

In the first period, Swedenborg’s philosophy was compared with Buddhism and often seen as congruent with it. During this phase, there existed a multilayered situation in which Buddhism as understood by a Swedish American centered on Swedenborg and filtered through Western mysticism, was then given a further layer of interpretation in Japan. Furthermore, at this stage, the decontextualization of the Zen experience later attempted by Suzuki Daisetsu was already emerging.

By the end of the Meiji period, however, Swedenborg’s philosophy and Buddhism were clearly distinguished from each other. By strategically employing Western natural science and Orientalism, Meiji Buddhism was able to protect itself from the intellectual class and respond to a social atmosphere that emphasized productivity as symbolized by the slogan fukoku kyōhei (rich country, strong army). It did not face problems in this regard. But it was also for this reason that Japanese Buddhism ended up passing over the liminal question of life and death, which could only be dealt with by religion. This issue came to the fore again at the end of the Meiji period. In the face of a state of spiritual poverty, Daisetsu advocated not a morality or view of life and death imposed by the state, but a free market of religions that could respond to the religious inclinations of everyone. He sensed acutely the need to import Swedenborg’s philosophy as one of the choices offered by this market.

Daisetsu welcomed Swedenborg’s philosophy as proving the existence of the afterlife within a dominant atmosphere of rationalism and thereby providing a solution to this issue. The existence of the soul and afterlife was rejected by segments of modern Buddhism, however, and Daisetsu needed a perspective that allowed him to harmonize these two positions. As the term kyōgai (“lot in life” or “realm of our experience”) shows, the position that saw the real world and the other world as equal, represented a creative (re-) interpretation of Swedenborg’s view of the other world and can be characterized as a new view of the other world in which the issue of the existence of the soul is not raised. Elsewhere, Daisetsu took the mystical experiences that were regarded as temporally limited psychological states belonging to the special realm of the temple and freed them from this limitation, seeking to move them into the secular world rather than see them as psychological states.

Daisetsu’s understanding of Zen may only disappoint those expecting the “traditional” Zen of monasteries and temples. Daisetsu’s writings, however, allow the world to appear, even if momentarily, in a different guise, thus continuing to appeal to those who still have to live pondering how one can attain salvation in a modern society that has rejected the existence of god or the other world.

[translation by Erik Schicketanz]


ARSS Annual Report of the Swedenborg Society 1912, London: Swedenborg Society, 1912.

SDZ Zōho shinpan Suzuki Daisetsu zenshū 増補新版鈴木大拙. 40 vols. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1999–2003.


Algeo, Adele, “Beatrice Lane Suzuki and Theosophy in Japan.” Theosophical History 11/3 (2005): 3–16.

Bernstein, Andrew, Swedenborg: Buddha of the North. West Chester: Swedenborg Foundation, 1996.

Borup, Jorn, “Zen and the Art of Inverting Orientalism: Buddhism, Religious Studies and Interrelated Networks.” In New Approaches to the Study of Religion, Peter Antes, Armin W. Geertz, and Randi R. Warne, eds., volume 1, 451–87. Berlin: Verlag de Gruyter, 2004.

Brock, Erland J., ed., Swedenborg and His Influence. Bryn Athyn Collete, pa: Academy of the New Church Book, 1989.

Edmunds, A. J., Buddhist & Christian Gospels: Being Gospel Parallels from Pali Texts, edited with parallels and notes from the Chinese Buddhist Tripitaka by M. Anesaki, Tokyo: Yuhokwan, 1905.

Hickey, Wakoh Shannon, “Swedenborg: A Buddha?” Pacific World, 3rd series, 10: 101–29 (2008).

Hirai, Kinza M., “Religious Thought in Japan.” Arena xxxix (February 1893): 257–66.

_____ 平井金三, Sōgō shūkyō ron 総合宗教論, Dentō 192 (28 June 1899): 16–20. Hisamatsu Shin’ichi 久松真一, Yamaguchi Susumu 山口 益, and Furuta Shōkin 古田紹欽, eds. Suzuki Daisetsu: Hito to shisō 鈴木大拙—人と思想. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1971.

Ichiyanagi Hirotaka 一柳廣孝, “Kokkurisan” to “senrigan”: Nihon kindai to shinreigaku 「こっくりさん」と「千里眼」—日本近代と心霊学. Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1994.

Kashiwahara Yūsen 柏原祐泉, Kindai ni okeru jōdokan no suii 近代における浄土 観の推移. In Ikeda Eishun 池田英俊, Ronshū Nihon Bukkyōshi 論集日本仏 教史, vol. 8. Tokyo: Yūzankaku Shuppan, 1987.

Ketelaar, James Edward, Of Heretics and Martyrs in Meiji Japan: Buddhism and Its Persecution. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Kirita Kiyohide 桐田清秀, ed. Suzuki Daisetsu kenkyū kiso shiryō 鈴木大拙研究基 礎資料. Kamakura: Matsugaoka Bunko, 2005.

Klautau, Orion, Hara Tanzan ni miru Meiji zenki Bukkyō gensetsu no dōkō 原 坦山に見る明治前期仏教言説の動向. Nihon Bukkyō sōgō kenkyū 日本仏教 総合研究 7 (2009).

Leonard, John W., Who’s Who in Pennsylvania: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries, second edition, New York: L. R. Hamersly & Co., 1908.

Nishida Masaru 西田 勝, ed. Taoka Reiun zenshū 田岡嶺雲全集, vol. 1. Tokyo: Hōsei Daigaku Shuppankyoku, 1973.

Sekai Seiten Zenshū Kankōkai 世界聖典全集刊行会, ed., Sekai seiten gaisan 世 界聖典外纂. Tokyo: Sekai Bunkō Kankōkai, 1923.

Senoue Masahito 瀬上正仁, Meiji no Suedenborugu 明治のスウェーデンボルグ. Yokohama: Shunpūsha, 2001.

Sharf, Robert H., “The Zen of Japanese Nationalism,” History of Religions 33 (1993): 1–43. (Japanese translation: Zen to Nihon no nashonarizumu 禅 と日本のナショナリズム, Nihon no Bukkyō 日本の仏教 4 (1995): 81–108.)

_____, “Whose Zen? Zen Nationalism Revisited.” In Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, and the Question of Nationalism, James W. Heisig and John C. Maraldo, eds., 40–51. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1994.

_____. “The Zen of Japanese Nationalism.” In Curators of the Buddha, edited by Donald S. Lopez, Jr., Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995.

Snodgrass, Judith, Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West. Chapel Hill, nc: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.

Suzuki Daisetsu 鈴木大拙, Suedenborugu (sono tenkai to tarikikan) スエデンボル グ(その天界と他力観). In Suzuki Daisetsu, Zuihitsu zen 随筆 禅. Tokyo: Daiyūkaku, 1926.

_____, Hōshinkan no shūkyō shinri teki kisoron 報身観の宗教心理的基礎論 (The religio-psychological basis of views on the reward body), Ōtani gakuhō 大谷学報 9/4 (20 December 1928).

Taoka Reiun 田岡嶺雲, Jūkyū seiki seiō ni okeru tōyō shisō 19世紀西欧における東 洋思想. Tōa setsurin 東亜説林 2 (December 1895).

Tweed, Thomas A. The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844–1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

_____, “American Occultism and Japanese Buddhism: Albert J. Edmunds, D. T. Suzuki, and Translocative History.” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 32 (2005): 249–81.

Vashestov, Andrei, Swedenborg the Buddhist. Culver City, ca: Aracana Books, 2003.

Vetterling, Herman Carl, Swedenborg the Buddhist: or the Higher Swedenborgianism, Its Secrets, and Thibetan Origin. Los Angeles, 1887. (facsimile reprint Kessinger Publishing, 2006)

Yoshinaga Shin’ichi 吉永進一, Rei to nekkyō 霊と熱狂. Meikyū 迷宮 3 (1980).

_____, Hirai Kinza ni okeru Meiji Bukkyō no kokusaika ni kansuru shūkyōshi/ bunkashiteki kenkyū 平井金三における明治仏教の国際化に関する宗教 史・文化史的研究. Research Reports Published for Grants-in-Aid for Research, no. 16520060, 2007.

_____, “After Olcott Left: Theosophy and ‘New Buddhists’ at the Turn of the Century,” Eastern Buddhist 43/1–2 (2012): 103–32.



*Acknowledgments: I would like to express my gratitude to Kirita Kiyohide (Hanazono University), Wayne Yokoyama, Nancy Dawson (Swedenborg Society), John and the late Adele Algeo (Theosophical Society), the late Nagashima Tatsuya (Arcana Press), and Senoue Masahito. A research trip to London was made possible thanks to jsps kakenhi Grant Number 13410010.

1. See Jorn Borup on “Zen and the Art of Inverting Orientalism” (2004). This article employs an extension of the Orientalist angle proposed by Robert Sharf (1993), pointing out that Daisetsu not only rearranged Zen under the influence of modern Western thought, but also strategically employed an image of the “Orient” that was built on top of an Orientalist perspective borrowed from the West. Borup’s article is also trail-blazing in that it exposed the relationship between Japanese Buddhism, Theosophy, and Swedenborg.

2. See Tweed 2005. This article discusses the esoteric connections and contacts of Suzuki Daisetsu as well as his wife Beatrice and her mother Emma Erskine Hahn by focusing on the Swedenborgian scholar of Buddhism A. J. Edmunds. Employing a large number of new sources, this article remains the most comprehensive treatment of these topics.

3. See Hickey 2008 on “Swedenborg: A Buddha?” This article discusses the figures of Albert J. Edmunds, Herman Carl Vetterling, Warren Felt Evans, and D. T. Suzuki. It argues that while esotericism played an important role in modernizing Buddhism in Asia and America, this role was later performed by a discourse grounded in psychology. It stresses the need to examine Buddhist history from perspectives other than “psychology,” but in Japanese scholarship on modern Buddhism, it is rather this psychological perspective that is missing.

4. On 13 March, 27 March, 10 April, 22 May, 29 May, 12 June, 26 June. On these dates, meetings were held three times at Suzuki Daisetsu’s residence where he lectured on sitting meditation and Daoism.

5. 1924: 14 June, 11 October; 1925: 15 February, 20 June, 31 October; 1926: 20 November, 4 December; 1927: 5 February, 28 May, 16 October, 13 December; 1928: 29 January, 13 May; 1929: 10 February, 15 June, 6 October. At the meeting on 13 May 1928, Daisetsu talked about “Mahayana and Hinayana.”

6. According to an essay by Hatani Ryōtai on “Kyōto jidai no Daisetsu hakushi” (Professor Daisetsu during his time in Kyoto; Hisamatsu et al. 1971, 470), who was a member of the Lodge, meetings were held once a month at the Suzuki residence and presentations were delivered by lodge members on these occasions. All members who were lecturers dropped out because of the burden of presenting in English. According to the essay “Kateijin toshite no Daisetsu koji” (Layman Daisetsu, the family man) written by another member, Jugaku Bunshō, “As Beatrice was interested in esoteric Buddhism, she also had an excessive interest in Theosophy, setting up the Japan chapter of Krishnamurti’s Order of the Star of the East in their house, organizing regular meetings and inviting like-minded people. This group was disbanded in 1929 on the effective initiative of the leader himself and it was up to that point that the Daisetsu residence experienced the gatherings of this rather bizarre society” (Hisamatsu et al. 1971, 209). This shows that the level of commitment of the various members of the Theosophical Society varied greatly.

7. Beatrice Suzuki, “Report of Mahayana Lodge. 1927,” “In December the first meetings in Japan of the Order of the Star were held and it is hoped to do some work for the Star: this work has been started by two members of the Mahayana Lodge” (Algeo 2004, 12).

8. See footnote 50 in Tweed 2005. Tweed quotes from a letter by Suzuki to Beatrice dated 4 August 1930: “the T. S. [Theosophical Society] is too mixed up not only in its teaching but in its organization [sic]. People want something more direct and simple” (sdz 36: 547).

9. Concerning Arai Ōsui, Mori Arinori, and Tanaka Shōzō, see Senoue 2001.

10. According to Tweed 1992, 58–60, and Vashestov 2003, “Introduction.”

11. For more information, see Yoshinaga 2012, 103–32.

12. See Katsuron 3 (25 May 1890): 24. Contemporary scholars argue that Swedenborg’s mystic experiences originate in the Kaballah or Tibetan Buddhism. See Hickey 2008: 108–9.

13. A focus on “experience” in modern Japanese Buddhism can be seen in the early Meiji scholar monk Hara Tanzan. See Klautau 2009.

14. For information on Hirai, see Yoshinaga 2007. Regarding Hirai’s lecture at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, see Snodgrass 2003, chapter 8.

15. Hirai was present at The First American Congress of Liberal Religious Societies held in May 1894 at Sinai Temple.

16. Taoka 1895 touches on Theosophy and Swedenborgianism, mentioning that with the popularity of Theosophy, research on vegetarianism, cremation, and mesmerism had greatly increased.

17. “Zenshū no ryūkō o ronjite kyō no shisōkai no shūsei ni oyobu” 禅宗の流行を論じて 今日の思想界の趨勢に及ぶ, in Nishida 1973, 428. First published in Nihonjin 日本人 6 (20 September 1895).

18. “Jūkyū seiki seiō ni okeru tōyō shisō,” in Nishida 1973, 270. First published in Tōa setsurin 東亜説林 2 (December 1895).

19. Taoka Reiun became a non-regular student in Chinese classics at Tokyo Imperial University in 1891, while Furukawa Rōsen and Suzuki Daisetsu became non-regular students in 1892 (the former in Chinese classics, the latter in philosophy). Daisetsu’s and Taoka’s relationship is not known, but it is at least known that Furukawa Rōsen met Daisetsu in the summer of 1895, when he was participating in sitting meditation at Engakuji. Taoka was active as a critic from early on, publishing a small number of articles on mysticism and Zen between 1894 and 1903 in such magazines as Nihonjin, Tōa setsurin, Rokugō zasshi, and Shūkyō. On the other hand, while Daisetsu published Shin shūkyō ron 新宗教論 in 1896, until his move to America in 1897, many of his works were translations and he was still only a fledgling writer on Buddhism. “Emāson no zengaku ron” エマーソンの禅学論 and “Kami wa shinpikyō naru ka” 神は神秘教なるか, published in 1896, are believed to have been written under the influence of Taoka who regarded Zen and mysticism as the same.

20. Refers to Zuiha Bukkyōgaku, Ōhara Kakichi’s translation of Swedenborg the Buddhist.

21. The entry for 18 July 1903, of Edmunds’s diary, in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society (Diary #10), mentions that Daisetsu had become interested in Swedenborg and Myers. Myers refers to William James’s friend, the psychical researcher and depth psychologist F. W. H. Myers, who also influenced James’s Varieties of Religious Experience. However, no statements by Daisetsu concerning Myers have been discovered yet. Daisetsu himself has written that “it was he (Edmunds) who turned this author (Daisetsu) on to doing research on Swedenborgian mysticism” (Eastern Buddhist 2: 92). See also Tweed 1992, 185–86. I owe this information on Edmunds’s archive to Thomas Tweed’s kind e-mails.

22. In 1886, a Swedenborgian vegetarian magazine with the title Health, Family, Garden began publication in Philadelphia. The magazine published articles on Vetterling and Japanese Buddhists, such as the introduction to Vetterling “A Buddhist in California” (Health, Family, Garden 1/10, October 1889) or Albert J. Edmunds’s “Food in the Light of the Scripture” (Health, Family, Garden 3/31, July–August, 1891).

23. According to the Minutes of a Meeting of the Committee for Japan held on the 17th April 1914 in the possession of the Swedenborg Society in London, F. G. Sale, E. W. Frazer, and D. Teitaro Suzuki became committee members in the year before the publication of Suedenborugu in order to ensure the smooth progress of other publications after its publication. However, at least as far as can be seen from the sources, it does not seem that the dissemination of the texts went well.

24. Annual Report of the Swedenborg Society 1912 (aars), London [Swedenborg Society], 1912, 31–34. I learned about the existence of this source from Ms. Nancy Dawson, honorary secretary of the Swedenborg Society.

25. In a letter to Yamamoto Ryōkichi, dated 1 May 1890, in which Daisetsu mentioned the passing of his mother, he expressed his grief and confusion, writing, “While I take on an air and tell others that ‘living beings are doomed to die’ (shōja hitsumetsu 生者必滅), or that I am free from trouble and at ease, in reality I am terribly lonely and sometimes witness her likeness in my dreams.… What I feel upon the death of my aged mother is the immortality of the soul (rei)” (sdz 36: 18, 19).

26. Daisetsu, who came to teach at Ōtani University after this, lectured on the writings on religion of Bergson, van der Leeuw, and others. According to the memories of one of his students, “among these works, it was only those by James that he showed deep sympathy for” (Hisamatsu et al. 1971, 43).

27. Concerning the popularity of spiritualism in modern Japan, see Ichiyanagi 1994 and Yoshinaga 1980.

28. In “Hōshinkan no shūkyō shinriteki kisoron” 報身観の宗教心理的基礎論 (The religio- psychological basis of views on the reward body), Ōtani gakuhō 9/4 (20 December 1928), he uses his own interpretation of Heaven and Hell as the basis for his understanding of views on the reward body (hōshin 報身).

29. “While ‘non-obstruction among individual phenomena’ (jiji muge 事事無礙) is affirmed, the sameness of hell and heaven is not. While we can conceive of the Pure Land existing in this world, hell is hell, and not the Pure Land after all. Kannon, Amida, Fudō, Yakushi, and the myriad deities all exist. The principle of being bound together (sōō 相応) cannot be removed from the consciousness of human beings” (sdz 19: 637).

30. [Translator’s note: In the above quote, kyōgai has been translated as “lot in life.” The same term here seems to have a more fundamental meaning, and has thus been translated “realm of our experience.”]
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:56 am

The Chinese Revolution of 1911
by Office of the Historian
Department of State
Accessed: 11/5/19



In October of 1911, a group of revolutionaries in southern China led a successful revolt against the Qing Dynasty, establishing in its place the Republic of China and ending the imperial system.

Photograph of Revolutionaries in Shanghai

In the Nineteenth Century, the Qing Empire faced a number of challenges to its rule, including a number of foreign incursions into Chinese territory. The two Opium Wars against Western powers led by Great Britain resulted in the loss of Hong Kong, forced opening of “treaty ports” for international trade, and large foreign “concessions” in major cities privileged with extraterritorial rule. After its loss in the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95), Imperial China was forced to relinquish control over still more of its territory, losing Taiwan and parts of Manchuria and ending its suzerainty over Korea. The Russo-Japanese War (1904–05) firmly established Japanese claims to the Northeast and further weakened Qing rule. The combination of increasing imperialist demands (from both Japan and the West), frustration with the foreign Manchu Government embodied by the Qing court, and the desire to see a unified China less parochial in outlook fed a growing nationalism that spurred on revolutionary ideas.

As Qing rule fell into decline, it made a few last-ditch efforts at constitutional reform. In 1905, the court abolished the examination system, which had limited political power to elites who passed elaborate exams on Chinese classics. Faced with increasing foreign challenges, it worked to modernize its military. With its central power weakening, the court also attempted a limited decentralization of power, creating elected assemblies and increasing provincial self-government.

Qing Soldiers

Although the Qing court maintained a degree of control within China in these years, millions of Chinese living overseas, especially in Southeast Asia and the Americas, began pressing for either widespread reform or outright revolution. Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao emerged as leaders of those proposing the creation of a constitutional monarchy. Sun Yat-sen led the amalgam of groups that together formed the Revolutionary Alliance or Tongmenghui. The Revolutionary Alliance advocated replacing Qing rule with a republican government; Sun himself was a nationalist with some socialist tendencies.

Both the revolutionary leaders and the overseas Chinese bankrolling their efforts had their roots in southern China. The Revolutionary Alliance attempted seven or more different revolts against the Qing in the years leading up to the revolution
, most of which originated in south China and all of which were ultimately stopped by the Qing army.

Finally, in the autumn of 1911, the right set of conditions turned an uprising in Wuchang into a nationalist revolt. As its losses mounted, the Qing court responded positively to a set of demands intended to transform authoritarian imperial rule into a Constitutional monarchy. They named Yuan Shikai the new premier of China, but before he was able to retake the captured areas from the revolutionaries, the provinces started to declare their allegiance to the Revolutionary Alliance. Dr. Sun was in the United States on a fundraising tour at the time of the initial revolt; he hastened first to London and Paris to ensure that neither country would give financial or military support to the Qing government in its struggle. By the time he returned to China, the revolutionaries had taken Nanjing, a former capital under the Ming Dynasty, and representatives from the provinces began to arrive for the first national assembly. Together, they elected Dr. Sun the provisional president of the newly declared Republic of China.

Sun Yat-Sen

Sun Yat-sen telegrammed Yuan Shikai to promise that, should Yuan agree to the formation of a republic, the position of president would be his. With the military position of the Qing weakening and provisions made for the maintenance of the royal family at court, the emperor and the royal family abdicated the throne in February of 1912.

The 1911 revolution was only the first steps in a process that would require the 1949 revolution to complete. Though the new government created the Republic of China and established the seat of government in Nanjing, it failed to unify the country under its control. The Qing withdrawal led to a power vacuum in certain regions, resulting in the rise of warlords. These warlords often controlled their territories without acknowledging the nationalist government. Additionally, the reforms set in place by the new government were not nearly as sweeping as the revolutionary rhetoric had intended; unifying the country took precedent over fundamental changes.

International reaction to the revolution was guarded. Foreign nations with investments in China remained neutral throughout the upheaval, though they were anxious to protect the treaty rights they gained from the Qing through the first and second opium wars. Still, the United States was largely supportive of the republican project, and in 1913, the United States was among the first countries to establish full diplomatic relations with the new Republic. Britain, Japan, and Russia soon followed.
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