Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sun Aug 23, 2020 6:41 am

Part 1 of 2

B. R. Ambedkar, Excerpt from "A Modern Buddhist Bible: Essential Readings from East and West"
by Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

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... the rational humanist schools of Buddhism that are characteristic of what Donald Lopez has usefully referred to as modern Buddhism...as most modern, as most compatible with the ideals of the European enlightenment...Modern Buddhism is thoroughly humanist...Its practice is egalitarian, lay centered, and socially committed, imbued with modernity’s ideals of reason, empiricism, science, universalism, tolerance, and the rejection of religious orthodoxy.

-- Defining Modern Buddhism: Mr. and Mrs. Rhys Davids and the Pali Text Society, by Judith Snodgrass


In his rallying slogans, Ambedkar spoke of liberty, equality and fraternity but emphasised that these were not taken from the French but from Buddhist sources. He said, "Let no one however say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not. My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha". The basic philosophy and ideas about his "master, the Buddha" had come to India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through primarily Sinhalese sources which influenced the European and Indian discovery of Buddhism that Allen recorded. And it was these that eventually became the reading material on Buddhism for Ambedkar.

-- Dharmapala and the Tamil downtrodden, Excerpt from White Sahibs, Brown Sahibs: Tracking Dharmapala, by Susantha Goonatilake


B. R. Ambedkar

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891-1956) was the fourteenth child of an 'untouchable' family in the Indian state of Maharashtra, the son of an Indian officer in the British army. He was one of the only members of his caste to receive a secondary-school education, and eventually went on to study in New York and London, receiving a doctorate from Columbia University. Upon his return to India, he worked both for Indian independence from Britain and for the social and political rights of the untouchables. After independence, he served in Nehru's government, chairing the committee that drafted the constitution. Seeking a religious identity for untouchables that would free them from the caste prejudice of Hinduism, he chose Buddhism, after considering also Islam, Christianity and Sikhism. Buddhism had been defunct in India for many centuries, but Ambedkar would eventually conclude that the untouchables were the descendants of Buddhists who had been persecuted by Hindus for their beliefs. In 1956, six weeks before his death, Ambedkar publicly converted to Buddhism and then led an audience of 380,000 in taking refuge in the Buddha, dharma and sangha and in accepting the five precepts (pancha sila) of lay Buddhists. Eventually millions of others, mostly from low-caste and outcaste groups, followed his example.

Ambedkar portrayed the Buddha as a social reformer and saw in Buddhism the foundation for a more egalitarian Indian society. This vision is clearly articulated in the excerpts below, in which he compares the Buddha with Karl Marx. His summary of the teaching of the Buddha in twenty-five points is remarkable for a number of reasons. First, it functions as a critique of contemporary Hinduism, at whose hands the outcastes had so long suffered. Second, it presents the Buddha as a rationalist philosopher and a social reformer, making no mention of the supernatural qualities that Buddhists have ascribed to him over the centuries. Third, it presents Buddhism as focused entirely on this world and the construction of a just and happy society, with no mention of the doctrine of rebirth and the ultimate goal of liberation from rebirth, with suffering caused not by ignorance of the nature of reality but by poverty. In each case Ambedkar adopts the traditional strategy of the Buddhist exegete, citing a Buddhist text to support his point. In so doing, he turns a blind eye to numerous elements of the tradition that do not conform to his vision of a thoroughly modern dharma that is fully compatible with the most modern and egalitarian of European reforms. He is thus able to combine a certain Buddhist triumphalism with a social programme designed to better the material conditions of his people, finding a critique for what he considered the bigotry of modern Hinduism and the injustices of Indian society not in Christianity or Communism, but in an ancient Indian tradition that had been all but forgotten in the land of its birth.

**

BUDDHA OR KARL MARX

A comparison between Karl Marx and Buddha may be regarded as a joke. There need be no surprise in this. Marx and Buddha are divided by 2,381 years. Buddha was born in 563 BC and Karl Marx in 1818 AD. Karl Marx is supposed to be the architect of a new ideology-polity -- a new Economic system. The Buddha on the other hand is believed to be no more than the founder of a religion which has no relation to politics or economics. The heading of this essay 'Buddha or Karl Marx' which suggests either a comparison or a contrast between two such personalities divided by such a lengthy span of time and occupied with different fields of thought is sure to sound odd. The Marxists may easily laugh at it and may ridicule the very idea of treating Marx and Buddha on the same level. Marx so modern and Buddha so ancient! The Marxists may say that the Buddha as compared to their master must be just primitive. What comparison can there be between two such persons? What could a Marxist learn from the Buddha? What can Buddha teach a Marxist? None-the-less a comparison between the two is attractive and instructive. Having read both and being interested in the ideology of both a comparison between them just forces itself on me. If the Marxists keep back their prejudices and study the Buddha and understand what he stood for I feel sure that they will change their attitude. It is of course too much to expect that having been determined to scoff-at the Buddha they will remain to pray. But this much can be said that they will realize there is something in the Buddha's teaching which is worth their while to take note of.

I. The Creed of the Buddha

The Buddha is generally associated with the doctrine of Ahimsa. That is taken to be the be-all and end-all of his teachings. Hardly anyone knows that what the Buddha taught is something very vast; far beyond Ahimsa.

Image

JESUS: Do not believe that I am here to bring peace unto earth. I am here not to bring peace but the sword!

-- The Milky Way, directed by Luis Bunuel


It is therefore necessary to set out in detail his tenets. I enumerate them below as I have understood them from my reading of the Tripitaka:

1. Religion is necessary for a free Society.


2. Not every Religion is worth having.

3. Religion must relate to facts of life and not to theories and speculations about God, or Soul or Heaven or Earth.

4. It is wrong to make God the centre of Religion.

5. It is wrong to make salvation of the soul as the centre of Religion.

6. It is wrong to make animal sacrifices to be the centre of Religion.

7. Real Religion lives in the heart of man and not in the Shastras.

8. Man and mortality must be the centre of Religion. If not, Religion is a cruel superstition.

9. It is not enough for Morality to be the ideal of life. Since there is no God it must become the law of life.

10. The function of Religion is to reconstruct the world and to make it happy and not to explain its origin or its end.

11. That the unhappiness in the world is due to conflict of interest and the only way to solve it is to follow the Ashtanga Marga.

12. That private ownership of property brings power to one class and sorrow to another.

13. That it is necessary for the good of Society that this sorrow be removed by removing its cause.

14. All human beings are equal.

15. Worth and not birth is the measure of man.

16. What is important is high ideals and not noble birth.

17. Maitri or fellowship towards all must never be abandoned. One owes it even to one's enemy.

18. Everyone has a right to learn. Learning is as necessary for man to live as food is.

19. Learning without character is dangerous.

20. Nothing is infallible. Nothing is binding forever. Every thing is subject to inquiry and examination.

21. Nothing is final.

22. Every thing is subject to the law of causation.

23. Nothing is permanent or sanatan. Every thing is subject to change. Being is always Becoming.

24. War is wrong unless it is for truth and justice.

25. The victor has duties towards the vanquished.

This is the creed of the Buddha in a summary form. How ancient but how fresh! How wide and how deep are his teachings!

II. The Original Creed of Karl Marx

Let us now turn to the creed of Karl Marx as originally propounded by him. Karl Marx is no doubt the father of modern socialism or Communism but he was not interested merely in propounding the theory of Socialism. That had been done long before him by others. Marx was more interested in proving that his Socialism was scientific. His crusade was as much against the capitalists as it was against those whom he called the Utopian Socialists. He disliked them both. It is necessary to note this point because Marx attached the greatest importance to the scientific character of his Socialism. All the doctrines which Marx propounded had no other purpose than to establish his contention that his brand of Socialism was scientific and not Utopian.

By scientific socialism what Karl Marx meant was that his brand of socialism was inevitable and inescapable and that society was moving towards it and that nothing could prevent its march. It is to prove this contention of his that Marx principally laboured.

Marx's contention rested on the following theses. They were:

(i) That the purpose of philosophy is to reconstruct the world and not to explain the origin of the universe.

(ii) That the forces which shape the course of history are primarily economic.

(iii) That society is divided into two classes, owners and workers.

(iv) That there is always a class conflict going on between the two classes.

(v) That the workers are exploited by the owners who misappropriate the surplus value which is the result of the workers' labour.

(vi) That this exploitation can be put an end to by nationalization of the instruments of production i.e. abolition of private property.

(vii) That this exploitation is leading to greater and greater impoverishment of the workers.

(viii) That this growing impoverishment of the workers is resulting in a revolutionary spirit among the workers and the conversion of the class conflict into a class struggle.

(ix) That as the workers outnumber the owners, the workers are bound to capture the State and establish their rule which he called the dictatorship of the proletariate.

(x) These factors are irresistible and therefore socialism is inevitable.

I hope I have reported correctly the propositions which formed the original basis of Marxian Socialism. [...]

III. WHAT SURVIVES OF THE MARXIAN CREED

Before making a comparison between the ideologies of the Buddha and Karl Marx it is necessary to note how much of this original corpus of the Marxian creed has survived; how much has been disproved by history and how much has been demolished by his opponents.

The Marxian Creed was propounded sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since then it has been subjected to much criticism. As a result of this criticism much of the ideological structure raised by Karl Marx has broken to pieces. There is hardly any doubt that Marxist claim that his socialism was inevitable has been completely disproved. The dictatorship of the Proletariat was first established in 1917 in one country after a period of something like seventy years after the publication of his Das Capital the gospel of socialism. Even when the Communism—which is another name for the dictatorship of the Proletariat—came to Russia, it did not come as something inevitable without any kind of human effort. There was a revolution and much deliberate planning had to be done with a lot of violence and blood shed, before it could step into Russia. The rest of the world is still waiting for coming of the Proletarian Dictatorship. Apart from this general falsification of the Marxian thesis that Socialism is inevitable, many of the other propositions stated in the lists have also been demolished both by logic as well as by experience. Nobody now I accepts the economic interpretation of history as the only explanation of history. Nobody accepts that the proletariat has been progressively pauperised. And the same is true about his other premises.

What remains of the Karl Marx is a residue of fire, small but still very important. The residue in my view consists of four items:

(i) The function of philosophy is to reconstruct the world and not to waste its time in explaining the origin of the world.

(ii) That there is a conflict of interest between class and class.

(iii) That private ownership of property brings power to one class and sorrow to another through exploitation.

(iv) That it is necessary for the good of society that the sorrow be removed by the abolition of private property.

-- Buddha or Karl Marx, by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar


IV. Comparison Between Buddha and Karl Marx

Taking the points from the Marxian Creed which have survived one may now enter upon a comparison between the Buddha and Karl Marx.

On the first point there is complete agreement between the Buddha and Karl Marx. To show how close is the agreement I quote below a part of the dialogue between Buddha and the Brahmin Potthapada.

'Then, in the same terms, Potthapada asked (the Buddha) each of the following questions:

1. Is the world not eternal?

2. Is the world finite?

3. Is the world infinite?

4. Is the soul the same as the body?

5. Is the soul one thing, and the body another?

6. Does one who has gained the truth live again after death?

7. Does he neither live again, nor not live again, after death?

And to each question the exalted one made the same reply: It was this.

'That too, Potthapada, is a matter on which I have expressed no opinion.'

'But why has the Exalted One expressed no opinion on that?'

(Because) 'This question is not calculated to profit, it is not concerned with (the Dhamma) it does not rebound even to the elements of right conduct, nor to detachment nor to purification from lust, nor to quietude, nor to tranquillisation of the heart, nor to real knowledge, nor to the insight (of the higher stages of the Path), nor to Nirvana. Therefore it is that I express no opinion about it.' [...]

On the second point I give below a quotation from a dialogue between Buddha and Pasenadi King of Kosala:

"Moreover, there is always strife going on between kings, between nobles, between Brahmins, between house holders, between mother and son, between son and father, between brother and sister, between sister and brother, between companion and companion. . ." Although these are the words of Pasenadi, the Buddha did not deny that they formed a true picture of society.

As to the Buddha's own attitude towards class conflict his doctrine of Ashtanga Marga recognises that class conflict exists, and that it is the class conflict which is the cause of misery.


On the third question I quote from the same dialogue of Buddha with Potthapada;

"Then what is it that the Exalted One has determined?" "I have expounded, Potthapada, that sorrow and misery exist! I have expounded, what is the origin of misery. I have expounded what is the cessation of misery. I have expounded what is [the] method by which one may reach the cessation of misery."

30. "And why has the Exalted One put forth a statement as to that?"

"Because that question, Potthapada, is calculated to profit, is concerned with the Dhamma, redounds to the beginnings of right conduct, to detachment, to purification from lusts, to quietude, to tranquillisation of heart, to real knowledge, to the insight of the higher stages of the Path and to Nirvana. Therefore is it, Potthapada, that I have put forward a statement as to that."

That language is different, but the meaning is the same. If for misery one reads exploitation, Buddha is not [far] away from Marx.

On the question of private property, the following extract from a dialogue between Buddha and Ananda is very illuminating. In reply to a question by Ananda the Buddha said:

"I have said that avarice is because of possession. Now in what way that is so, Ananda, is to be understood after this manner. Where there is no possession of any sort or kind whatever, by any one or anything, then there being no possession whatever, would there, owing to this cessation of possession, be any appearance of avarice?" "There would not, Lord".

"Wherefore, Ananda, just that is the ground, the basis, the genesis, the cause of avarice, to wit, possession.


31. "I have said that tenacity is the cause [of] possession. Now in what way that is so, Ananda, is to be understood after this manner. Were there no tenacity of any sort or kind whatever shown by any one with respect to any thing, then there being [no tenacity] whatever, would there owing to this cessation of tenacity, be any appearance of possession?" "There would not, Lord."

"Wherefore, Ananda, just that is the ground, the basis, the genesis, the cause of possession, to wit tenacity."

On the fourth point no evidence is necessary. The rules of the Bhikshu Sangh will serve as the best testimony on the subject.

According to the rules, a Bhikku can have private property only in the following eight articles, and no more. These eight articles are: —

1 I
2. } Three robes or pieces of cloth for daily wear.
3. I
4. A girdle for the loins.
5. An alms-bowl.
6. A razor.
7. A needle.
8. A water strainer.

Further a Bhikku was completely forbidden to receive gold or silver for fear that with gold or silver he might buy some thing beside the eight things he is permitted to have.

These rules are far more rigorous than are to be found in communism in Russia.

-- Buddha or Karl Marx, by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:05 am

Part 2 of 2

V. The Means

We must now come to the means. The means of bringing about Communism which the Buddha propounded were quite definite. The means can be divided into three parts.

Part I consisted in observing the Pancha Silas.

The Enlightenment gave birth to a new gospel which contains the solution of the problem which was haunting him.

The foundation of the New Gospel is the fact that the world was full of misery and unhappiness. It was a fact not merely to be noted but to be regarded as being the first and foremost in any scheme of salvation. The recognition of this fact the Buddha made the starting point of his gospel.

To remove this misery and unhappiness was to him the aim and object of the gospel if it is to serve any useful purpose.

Asking what could be the causes of this misery the Buddha found that there could be only two.

A part of the misery and unhappiness of man was the result of his own misconduct. To remove this cause of misery he preached the practice of the Panch Sila.

The Panch Sila comprised the following observations: (1) To abstain from destroying or causing destruction to any living thing; (2) To abstain from stealing i.e. acquiring or keeping by fraud or violence, the property of another; (3) To Abstain from telling untruth; (4) To abstain from lust; (5) To abstain from intoxicating drinks.


A part of the misery and unhappiness of the world was according to the Buddha the result of man's inequity toward man. How was this inequity to be removed? For the removal of man's inequity towards man the Buddha prescribed the Noble Eight-Fold Path. The elements of the Noble Eight-Fold Path are:

(1) Right views i.e. freedom from superstition; (2) Right aims, high and worthy of the intelligent and earnest men; (3) Right speech i.e. kindly, open, truthful; (4) Right Conduct i.e. peaceful, honest and pure; (5) Right livelihood i.e. causing hurt or injury to no living being; (6) Right perseverance in all other seven; (7) Right mindfulness i.e. with a watchful and active mind; and (8) Right contemplation i.e. earnest thought on the deep mysteries of life.

The aim of the Noble Eight-Fold Path is to establish on earth the kingdom of righteousness, and thereby to banish sorrow and happiness from the face of the world [...]

The third part of the Gospel is the doctrine of Nibbana. The doctrine of Nibbana is an integral part of the doctrine of the Noble Eight-Fold Path. Without Nibbana the realisation of the Eight-Fold Path cannot be accomplished.

The doctrine of Nibbana tells what are the difficulties in the way of the realisation of the Eight-Fold Path.

The chiefs of these difficulties are ten in number. The Buddha called them the Ten Asavas, Fetters or Hindrances.

The first hindrance is the delusion of self. So long as a man is wholly occupied with himself, chasing after every bauble that he vainly thinks will satisfy the cravings of his heart, there is no noble path for him. Only when his eyes have been opened to the fact that he is but a tiny part of a measureless whole, only when he begins to realise how impermanent a thing is his temporary individuality, can he even enter upon this narrow path.

The second is Doubt and Indecision. When a man's eyes are opened to the great mystery of existence, the impermanence of every individuality, he is likely to be assailed by doubt and indecision as to his action. To do or not to do, after all my individuality is impermanent, why do anything are questions which make him indecisive or inactive. But that will not do in life. He must make up his mind to follow the teacher, to accept the truth, and to enter on the struggle, or he will get no further.

The third is dependence on the efficacy of Rites and Ceremonies. No good resolutions, however firm, will lead to anything unless a man gets rid of ritualism: of the belief that any outward acts, any priestly powers, and holy ceremonies, can afford him an assistance of any kind. It is only when he has overcome this hindrance, that men can be said to have fairly entered upon the stream and has a chance sooner or later to win a victory.

The fourth consists of the bodily passions... The fifth is ill will towards other individuals. The sixth is the suppression of the desire for a future life with a material body and the seventh is the desire for a future life in an immaterial world.

The eighth hindrance is Pride, and ninth is self-righteousness. These are failings which it is most difficult for men to overcome, and to which superior minds are peculiarly liable, a Praisaical contempt for those who are less able and less holy than themselves.

The tenth hindrance is ignorance. When all other difficulties are conquered this will even remain, the thorn in the flesh of the wise and good, the last enemy and the bitterest foe of man.


Nibbana consists in overcoming these hindrances to the pursuit of the Noble Eight-Fold Path.

The doctrine of the Noble Eight-Fold Path tells what disposition of the mind which a person should sedulously cultivate. The doctrine of Nibbana tells of the temptation or hindrance which a person should earnestly overcome if he wishes to trade along with the Noble Eight-Fold Path.

The Fourth Part of the new Gospel is the doctrine of Paramitas. The doctrine of Paramitas inculcates the practice of ten virtues in one's daily life.

These are those ten virtues—(1) Panna (2) Sila (3) Nekkhama (4) Dana (5) Virya (6) Khanti (7) Succa (8) Aditthana (9) Metta and (10) Upekkha.

Panna or wisdom is the light that removes the darkness of Avijja, Moha or Nescience. The Panna requires that one must get all his doubts removed by questioning those wiser than him self, associate with the wise, and cultivate the different arts and sciences which help to develop the mind.

Sila is moral temperament, the disposition not to do evil, and the disposition to do good; to be ashamed of doing wrong. To avoid doing evil for fear of punishment is Sila. Sila means fear of doing wrong. Nekkhama is renunciation of the pleasures of the world. Dana means the giving of one's possessions, blood and limbs and even one's life for the good of the others without expecting anything in return.

Virya is right endeavour. It is doing with all your might, with thought never turning back, whatever you have undertaken to do.

Khanti is forbearance. Not to meet hatred by hatred is the essence of it. For hatred is not appeased by hatred. It is appeased only by forbearance.

Succa is truth. An aspirant for Buddha never speaks a lie. His speech is truth and nothing but truth.

Aditthana is resolute determination to reach the goal. Metta is fellow feeling extending to all beings, foe and friend, beast and man.

Upekka is detachment as distinguished from indifference. It is a state of mind where there is neither like nor dislike. Remaining unmoved by the result and yet engaged in the pursuit of it.

These virtues one must practice to his utmost capacity. That is why they are called Paramitas (States of Perfection).

-- Buddha or Karl Marx, by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar


Such is the gospel of the Buddha enunciated as a result of his enlightenment to end the sorrow and misery of the world.

It is clear that the means adopted by the Buddha were to convert a man by changing his moral disposition to follow the path voluntarily.

The means adopted by the Communists are equally clear, short and swift. They are (1) Violence and (2) Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

The Communists say that there are only two means of establishing communism. The first is violence. Nothing short of it will suffice to break up the existing system. The other is dictatorship of the proletariat. Nothing short of it will suffice to continue the new system.

It is now clear what are the similarities and differences between the Buddha and Karl Marx. The differences are about the means. The end is common to both.


VI. EVALUATION OF MEANS

We must now turn to the evaluation of means. We must ask whose means are superior and lasting in the long run. There are, however some misunderstandings on both sides. It is necessary to clear them up. Take violence. As to violence, there are many people who seem to shiver at the very thought of it. But this is only a sentiment. Violence cannot be altogether dispensed with. Even in non-communist countries a murderer is hanged. Does not hanging amount to violence? Non-communist countries go to war with non-communist countries. Millions of people are killed. Is this no violence? If a murderer can be killed, because he has killed a citizen, if a soldier can be killed in war because he belongs to a hostile nation, why cannot a property owner be killed if his ownership leads to misery for the rest of humanity? There is no reason to make an exception in favour of the property owner, why one should regard private property as sacrosanct.

The Buddha was against violence. But he was also in favour of justice, and where justice required, he permitted the use of force.
This is well illustrated in his dialogue with Sinha Senapati the Commander-in-Chief of Vaishali. Sinha having come to know that the Buddha preached Ahimsa went to him and asked:

"The Bhagvan preaches Ahimsa. Does the Bhagvan preach an offender to be given freedom from punishment? Does the Bhagvan preach that we should not go to war to save our wives, our children and our wealth? Should we suffer at the hands of criminals in the name of Ahimsa?"

"Does the Tathagata prohibit all war, even when it is in the interest of Truth and Justice?"

Buddha replied. You have wrongly understood what I have been preaching. An offender must be punished, and an innocent man must be freed. It is not a fault of the Magistrate if he punishes an offender. The cause of punishment is the fault of the offender. The Magistrate who inflicts the punishment is only carrying out the law. He does not become stained with Ahimsa. A man who fights for justice and safety cannot be accused of Ahimsa. If all the means of maintaining peace have failed, then the responsibility for Himsa falls on him who starts war. One must never surrender to evil powers. War there may be. But it must not be for selfish ends...."

There are of course other grounds against violence such as those urged by Prof. John Dewey. In dealing with those who contend that the end justifies the means is [a] morally perverted doctrine, Dewey has rightly asked what can justify the means if not the end? It is only the end that can justify the means.

Buddha would have probably admitted that it is only the end which would justify the means. What else could? And he would have said that if the end justified violence, violence was a legitimate means for the end in view. He certainly would not have exempted property owners from force if force were the only means for that end. As we shall see, his means for the end were different. As Prof. Dewey has pointed out that violence is only another name for the use of force and although force must be used for creative purposes a distinction between use of force as energy and use of force as violence needs to be made. The achievement of an end involves the destruction of many other ends, which are integral with the one that is sought to be destroyed. Use of force must be so regulated that it should save as many ends as possible in destroying the evil one. Buddha's Ahimsa was not as absolute as the Ahimsa preached by Mahavira the founder of Jainism. He would have allowed force only as energy. The communists preach Ahimsa as an absolute principle. To this the Buddha was deadly opposed.


"The memos and other material collected in this book reveal how political lawyers in the Administration adopted an 'ends justify the means' policy, and tailored their advice to justify torture and avoidance of obligations under the Geneva Conventions. They lost their own moral compass in the process and created a brief for the enemies of America to use the tactics they sought to justify against present and future American servicemen and women captured by our enemies." -- JAMES CULLEN (Brig. General U.S. Army Ret.)

-- The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib, edited by Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel

Just war tenets were devised to specify when the use of violent force is morally justified. However, given people’s dexterous facility for justifying violent means all kinds of inhumanities get clothed in moral wrappings.

Voltaire put it well when he said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Over the centuries, much destructive conduct has been perpetrated by ordinary, decent people in the name of righteous ideologies, religious principles and nationalistic imperatives (Kramer, 1990; Rapoport & Alexander, 1982; Reich, 1990).

-- Moral Disengagement in the Perpetration of Inhumanities, by Albert Bandura

When you realize that these bibles of Communist philosophy teach deceit, murder, lies, and treachery as the very basis of the path to the Communist Utopia you will realize the futility of trying to make treaties with the U.S.S.R., as our own experience has proven time after time. Remember that the end justifies the means is the foundation of Communism.

-- A Business Man Looks At Communism, by Fred C. Koch

And in a sick, twisted manner, working on a theory that the end justifies the means, the CIA published its killer’s manual, breaking down the art of committing the perfect assassination into eight major categories, including definition, employment, justification, classification, the assassin, planning, techniques and examples.

-- CIA Publishes Its Own "Assassin's Manual," Proving It Condones Killing Those Who Oppose U.S. Policy: The CIA 'Killer's Manual' was kept out of the public eye for years, but now we know it teaches the 'fine art' of assassination as if it was a mandatory college course, by Greg Szymanski

Furthermore, the Illuminati principle that the end justifies the means, a principle that Quigley scores as immoral and used by both The Group and The Order, is rooted in Hegel.

-- America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones, by Antony C. Sutton

It never occurred to him that in his fanaticism he was becoming more like Ho Chi Minh than his childhood hero, Thomas Jefferson. The enemy, too, investigated and judged people secretly without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves. They passed sentence and executed men and women secretly-all justified by thousands of secret documents that were never subjected to proper and objective scrutiny or challenge. Had someone pointed that out to McKenney, he would would have answered that his goal was vastly different from that of the communists. He did not understand until much later that "that was just another way of expressing the communist creed he professed to abhor: 'the end justifies the means.'"

-- Spite House: The Last Secret of the War in Vietnam, by Monika Jensen-Stevenson

The Illuminati aims to overthrow all government and religion, setting up an anarcho-communist free-love world, and, because "the end justifies the means" (a principle Weishaupt acquired from his Jesuit youth), they didn't care how many people they killed to accomplish that noble purpose.

-- The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

A good many people now have misgivings about the aerial distribution of lethal chemicals over millions of acres, and two mass-spraying campaigns undertaken in the late 1950's have done much to increase these doubts. These were the campaigns against the gypsy moth in the northeastern states and the fire ant in the South. Neither is a native insect but both have been in this country for many years without creating a situation calling for desperate measures. Yet drastic action was suddenly taken against them, under the end-justifies-the-means philosophy that has too long directed the control divisions of our Department of Agriculture.

-- Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

Bermudez told the cocaine smugglers that “the ends justify the means” in raising money for the Contras.

-- The Warning in Gary Webb’s Death, by Robert Parry

Everything is good or bad according to the use made of it and the advantage derived from it. The ends justify the means.

-- The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, by Maurice Joly


As to Dictatorship, the Buddha would have none of it. He was born a democrat, and he died a democrat. At the time he lived, there were 14 monarchical states, and 4 republics. He belonged to the Sakyas, and the Sakya's kingdom was a republic. He was extremely in love with Vaishali which was his second home because it was a republic. Before his Mahaparinirbban he spent his Varshavasa in Vaishali. After the completion of his Varshavasa, he decided to leave Vaishali and go elsewhere as was his wont. After going some distance, he looked back on Vaishali and said to Ananda. "This is the last look of Vaishali which the Tathagata is having". So fond was he of this republic.

He was a thorough equalitarian. Originally the Bhikkus, including the Buddha himself, wore robes made of rags. This rule was enunciated to prevent the aristocratic classes from joining the Sangh. Later Jeevaka the great physician prevailed upon the Buddha to accept a robe, which was made of a whole cloth. The Buddha at once altered the rule and extended it to all the monks.

Once the Buddha's mother Mahaprajapati Gotami, who had joined the Bhikkuni Sangh, heard that the Buddha had got a chill. She at once started preparing a scarf for him. After having completed it, she took to the Buddha and asked him to wear it. But he refused to accept it saying that if it is a gift it must be a gift to the whole Sangh, and not to an individual member of the Sangh. She pleaded and pleaded but he refused to yield.

The Bhikshu Sangh had the most democratic constitution. He was only one of the Bhikkus. At the most he was like a Prime Minister among members of the Cabinet. He was never a dictator. Twice before his death he was asked to appoint some one as the head of the Sangh to control it. But each time he refused saying that the Dhamma is the Supreme Commander of the Sangh. He refused to be a dictator, and refused to appoint a dictator.

What about the value of the means? Whose means are superior and lasting in the long run?

Can the Communists say that in achieving their valuable end they have not destroyed other valuable ends? They have destroyed private property. Assuming that this is a valuable end, can the Communists say that they have not destroyed [an] other valuable end in the process of achieving it? How many people have they killed for achieving their end. Has human life no value? Could they not have taken property without taking the life of the owner?

Take dictatorship. The end of Dictatorship is to make the Revolution a permanent revolution. This is a valuable end. But can the Communists say that in achieving this end they have not destroyed other valuable ends? Dictatorship is often defined as absence of liberty or absence of Parliamentary Government. Both interpretations are not quite clear. There is no liberty even when there is Parliamentary Government. For law means want of liberty. The difference between Dictatorship and Parliamentary Govt. lies in this. In Parliamentary Government every citizen has a right to criticise the restraint on liberty imposed by the Government. In Parliamentary Government you have a duty and a right, the duty to obey the law and right to criticise it. In Dictatorship you have only duty to obey but no right to criticise it.

VII. WHOSE MEANS ARE MORE EFFICACIOUS

We must now consider whose means are more lasting. One has to choose between Government by force, and Government by moral disposition.

As Burke has said, force cannot be a lasting means. In his speech on conciliation with America he uttered this memorable warning:

"First, Sir, permit me to observe, that the use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment, but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered."

"My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the effect of force, and an armament is not a victory. If you do not succeed, you are without resource, for, conciliation failing, force remains; but force failing, no further hope of reconciliation is left. Power and authority are sometimes bought by kindness; but they can never be begged as alms by an impoverished and defeated violence.

A further objection to force is that you impair the object by your very endeavours to preserve it. The thing you fought for is the thing, which you recover, but depreciated, sunk, wasted and consumed in the contest."


In a sermon addressed to the Bhikkus, the Buddha has shown the difference between the rule by Righteousness and Rule by law, i.e. force. Addressing the Brethren he said:

"(2) Long ago, brethren, there was [a] Sovereign overlord named Strongtyre, a king ruling in righteousness, lord of the four quarters of the earth, conqueror, the protector of his people. He was the possessor of the celestial wheel. He lived in supremacy over this earth to its ocean bounds, having conquered it, not by the courage, by the sword, but by righteousness.

"(3) Now, brethren, after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, king Strongtyre command a certain man, saying:

"Thou shouldest see, Sir, the Celestial Wheel has sunk a little, has slipped down from its place, bring me word.

"Now after many many hundred years had slipped down from its place. On seeing this, he went to King Strongtyre and said: 'Know, sir, for a truth that the Celestial Wheel has sunk, has slipped down from its place.'

"The king Strongtyre, brethren, let the prince his eldest son be sent for and speak thus:

"'Behold, dear boy, my Celestial Wheel has sunk a little, has slipped down from its place. Now it has been told me, If the Celestial Wheel of a wheel turning King shall sink down, shall slip down from its place, that king has not much longer to live. I have had my fill of human pleasures. It's time to seek after divine joys. Come, dear boy, take thou charge over this earth bounded by the ocean. But I, shaving hair and beard, and donning yellow robes, will go forth from home into the homeless state.'

So brethren, King Strongtyre, having in due form established his eldest son on the throne, shaved hair and bearded, donned yellow robes, and went forth from home into homeless state. But on the seventh day after the royal hermit had gone forth, the Celestial Wheel disappeared.

(4) Then a certain man went to the King, and told him, saying: "Know, O King, for a truth, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared!"

Then that King, brethren, was grieved thereat and afflicted with sorrow. And he went to the royal hermit, and told him, saying, "Know, sir, for a truth, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared."

And the anointed king so saying, the royal hermit made reply. "Grieve thou not, dear son, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared, nor be afflicted that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared. For no paternal heritage of thine, dear son, is the Celestial Wheel. But verily, dear son, turn thou in the Aryan turning of the Wheel-turners. (Act up to the noble ideal of duty set before themselves by the true sovereigns of the world). Then it may well be that if thou carry out the Aryan duty of a Wheel-turning Monarch, and on the feast of the moon thou wilt for, with bathed head, to keep the feast on the chief upper terrace, to the Celestial Wheel will manifest itself with its thousand spokes, its tyre, navel and all its part complete." (5) '"But what, sire is this Arya duty of a Wheel-turning Monarch?" "This, dear son, that thou, leaning on the Norm (the law of truth and righteousness) honouring, respecting and revering it, doing homage to it, hallowing it, being thyself a Norm-banner, a Norm-signal, having the Norm as thy master, should provide the right watch, ward, and protection for thine own folk, for the army, for the nobles, for vassals, for brahmins and house holders, for town and country dwellers, for the religious world, and for beasts and birds. Throughout thy kingdom let no wrongdoing prevail. And whosoever in thy kingdom is poor, to him let wealth be given.

"And when dear son, in thy kingdom men of religious life, renouncing the carelessness arising from intoxication of the senses, and devoted to forbearance and sympathy, each mastering self, each claiming self, each protecting self, shall come to thee from time to time, and question the concerning what is good and what is bad, what is criminal and what is not, what is to be done and what is to be left undone, what line of action will in the long run work for weal or for woe, thou shouldest hear what they have to say and thou shouldest deter them from evil, and bid them take up what is good. This, dear son, is the Aryan duty of a sovereign of the world.'

"Even so, sire," answered the anointed king, and obeying, and carried out the Aryan duty of a sovereign lord. To him, thus behaving, when on the feast of the full moon he had gone in the observance with bathed head to the chief upper Terrance the Celestial Wheel revealed itself, with its thousand spokes, its tyre, its naval, and all its part complete. And seeing this is occurred to the king: "It has been told me that a king to whom on such a occasion the Celestial Wheel reveals itself completely, becomes a Wheel-turning monarch. May I even I also become a sovereign of the world."


(6) Then brethren, the king arose from his seat and uncovering his robe from one shoulder, took in his left hand a pitcher, and with his right hand sprinkled up over the Celestial Wheel, saying: "Roll onward, O Lord Wheel! Go forth and overcome, O Lord Wheel!" Then, brethren, the Celestial Wheel rolled onwards towards the region of the East, and after it went the Wheel-turning king, and with him his army, horses and chariots and elephants and men. And in whatever place, brethren, the wheel stopped, there the king, the victorious war-lord, took up his abode, and with him his fourfold army. Then the all, the rival kings in the region of the East, came to the sovereign king and said "Come, O mighty king! Welcome, O mighty king! All is thine, O mighty King! Teach us, O mighty king!"

The king, the sovereign war-lord, speak thus: "Ye shall slay no living thing. Ye shall not take that which has not been given. Ye shall not act wrongly touching bodily desires. Ye shall speak not lie. Ye shall drink no maddening drink. Enjoy your possessions as you have been wont to do."

(7) Then, brethern, the Celestial Wheel, plunging down to the Eastern ocean, rose up out again, and rolled onwards to the region of the south.... (and there all happened as had happened in the East). And in like manner the Celestial Wheel, plunging into Southern ocean, rose up out again and rolled onward to the region of the West... and of the North: and there too happened as had happened in the Southern and West.

Then when the Celestial Wheel had gone forth conquering over the whole earth to its ocean boundary, it returned to the royal city, and stood, so that one might think it fixed, in front of the judgement hall at entrance to the inner apartments of the king, the Wheel-turner, lighting up with its glory the facade of the inner apartments of the king, the sovereign of the world.

(8) And a second king, brethern, also a Wheel-turning monarch,... and a third... and a fourth... and a fifth... and a sixth... and a seventh king, a victorious war-lord, after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, command a certain man, saying:

"If thou should'est see, sirrah, that the Celestial Wheel has sunk down, has slid from its place, bring me word." "Even so, sire," replied the man.

So after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, that man saw that the Celestial Wheel had sunk down, had become dislodged from its place. And so seeing he went to the king, the warlord, and told him.

Then that king did (even as Strongtyre had done). And on the seventh day after the royal hermit had gone forth the Celestial Wheel disappeared.

Then a certain man went and told the King. Then the King was grieved at the disappearance of the wheel, and afflicted with grief. But he did not go to the hermit-king to ask concerning, the Aryan Duty of sovereign war-lord. But his own ideas, forsooth, he governed his people; and they so governed differently from what they had been, did not prosper as they used to do under former kings who had carried out the Arvan duty of a sovereign king.

Then, brethren, the ministers and courtiers, the finance officials, the guards and door keepers and they who lived by sacred verses came to the King and speak thus:

"Thy people, O king. whilst thou governest them by thine own ideas differently from the way to which they were used when former kings were carrying out the Arvan Duty prosper not. Now there are in thy kingdom ministers and courtiers, finance officers, guards and custodians, and they who live by sacred verses—both all of us and others—who keep the knowledge of the Aryan duty of the sovereign king, to O king, do thou ask us concerning it: to thee thus asking will we declare it."

9. Then, brethren, the king, having made the ministers and all the rest sit down together, asked them about the Aryan duty of Sovereign war-lord. And they declared it unto him. And when he had heard them, he did provide the due watch and ward protection, but on the destitute he bestowed no wealth and because this was not done, poverty became widespread.


When poverty was thus become rife, a certain man took that which others had not given him, what people call by theft. Him they caught, and brought before the king, saying: "This man, O king has taken that which was not given to him and that is theft".

Thereupon the king speak thus to the man. "Is it true sirrah, that thou hast taken what no man gave thee, hast committed what men call theft." "It is true, O king." "But why?"

"O king, I have nothing to keep me alive." Then the king bestowed wealth on that man, saying: "With this wealth sir, do thou both keep thyself alive, maintain thy parents, maintain children and wife, carry on thy business." "Even so, O king," replied the man.

10. Now another man, brethren, took by theft what was not given him. Him they caught and brought before the king and told him, saying: "this man, O king, hath taken by theft what was not given him".

And the king (spoke and did even as he had spoken and done to the former man.)

II. Now men heard brethren, that to them who had taken by theft what was not given them, the King was giving wealth. And hearing [that] they thought, let us then take by theft what has not been given us.

Now a certain man did so. And him they caught and charged before the king who (as before) asked him why he had stolen. "Because, O king I cannot maintain myself." Then the king thought: If I bestow wealth on anyone so ever who has taken by theft what was not given him, there will be hereby and increase of this stealing. Let me now put final stop to this and inflict condign punishment on him, have his head cut off!

So he bade his man saying "now look ye! bind this man's arms behind him with a strong rope and tight knot, shave his head bald, lead him around with a harsh sounding drum, from road to road, from cross ways to cross ways, take him out by the southern gate and to the south of the town, put a final stop to this, inflict on him uttermost penalty, cut of his head."

"Even so, O king," answered the men, and carried out his commands.

12. Now men heard, brethren, that they who took by theft what was not given them were thus put to death. And hearing [that] they thought, let us also now have sharp swords made ready for themselves, and them from whom we take what is not given us—what they call them— let us put a final stop to them, inflict on them uttermost penalty, and [cut] their heads off.

And they got themselves sharp swords, and came forth to sack village and town and city, and to work highway robbery. And then whom they robbed they made an end of, cutting off their heads.

13. Thus, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute poverty grieve rife; from poverty growing rife stealing increased, from the spread of stealing violence grew space, from the growth of violence the destruction of life common, from the frequency of murder both the span of life in those beings and their comeliness also (diminished).


Now among humans of latter span of life, brethren, a certain took by theft what was not given him, and even as those others was accused before the king and questioned if it was true that he had stolen, "Nay, O king," he replied, "they are deliberately telling lies." 14. Thus from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty grew rife... stealing... violence... murder... until lying grew common.

Again a certain man reported to the king, saying "such and such a man, O king, has taken by theft what was not given him"— thus speaking evil of him.

15. And so, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute poverty grew rife... stealing... violence... murder... lying... evil speaking grew abundant.

16. From lying there grew adultery.

17. Thus from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty... stealing... violence... murder... lying... evil speaking. . . immorality grew rife.

18. Among (them) brethren, three things grew apace: incest, wanton greed and perverted lust.

Then these things grew apace: lack of filial piety to mother and father, lack of religious piety to holy men, lack of regard for the head of the clan.

19. There will come a time, brethren, when the descendants of those humans will have a life-span of ten years. Among humans of this life span, maidens of five years will be of a marriageable age. Among such humans these kinds of tastes (savours) will disappear; ghee, butter, oil of tila, sugar, salt. Among such humans, kudrusa grain will be the highest kind of food. Even as to-day rice and curry is the highest kind of food, so will kudrusa grain will be then. Among such humans the ten moral courses of conduct will altogether disappear, the ten immoral courses of action will flourish excessively; there will be no word for moral among such humans, the ten moral courses of conduct will altogether disappear, the ten immoral courses of action will flourish excessively, there will be no word for moral among such humans—far less any moral agent. Among such humans, brethren, they who lack filial and religious piety, and show no respect for the Head of the clan—'tis they to whom homage and praise will be given, just as to-day homage and praise are given to the filial minded, to the pious and to them who respect the heads of their clans.

20. Among such humans, brethren, there will be no (such thoughts of reverence as are a bar to intermarriage with) mother, or mother's sister, or mother's sister-in-law, or teacher's wife, or father's sister-in-law. The world will fall into promiscuity, like goats and sheep, fowls and swine, dogs and jackals.

Among such humans, brethren keen mutual enmity will become the rule, keen ill-will, keen animosity, passionate thoughts even of killing, in a mother towards her child, in a child towards its father, in brother to brother, in brother to sister, in sister to brother. Just [as] a sportsman feels towards the game that he sees, so will they feel.

This is probably the finest picture of what happens when moral force fails and brutal force takes its place. What the Buddha wanted was that each man should be morally so trained that he may himself become a sentinel for the kingdom of righteousness.

VIII. WITHERING AWAY OF THE STATE

The Communists themselves admit that their theory of the State as a permanent dictatorship is a weakness in their political philosophy. They take shelter under the plea that the State will ultimately wither away. There are two questions, which they have to answer. When will it wither away? What will take the place of the State when it withers away? To the first question they can give no definite time. Dictatorship for a short period may be good, and a welcome thing even for making Democracy safe. Why should not Dictatorship liquidate itself after it has done its work, after it has removed all the obstacles and boulders in the way of democracy and has made the path of Democracy safe. Did not Asoka set an example? He practised violence against the Kalingas. But thereafter he renounced violence completely. If our victor’s to-day not only disarm their victims, but also disarm themselves, there would be peace all over the world.

The Communists have given no answer.[/size [size=120] At any rate no satisfactory answer to the question what would take the place of the State when it withers away, though this question is more important than the question when the State will wither away.
Will it be succeeded by Anarchy? If so, the building up of the Communist State is an useless effort. If it cannot be sustained except by force, and if it results in anarchy when the force holding it together is withdrawn, what good is the Communist State? The only thing which could sustain it after force is withdrawn is Religion. But to the Communists Religion is anathema. Their hatred to Religion is so deep seated that they will not even discriminate between religions which are helpful to Communism and religions which are not. The Communists have carried their hatred of Christianity to Buddhism without waiting to examine the difference between the two. The charge against Christianity levelled by the Communists was two fold. Their first charge against Christianity was that they made people other worldliness and made them suffer poverty in this world. As can be seen from quotations from Buddhism in the earlier part of this tract, such a charge cannot be levelled against Buddhism.


The second charge levelled by the Communists against Christianity cannot be levelled against Buddhism. This charge is summed up in the statement that Religion is the opium of the people. This charge is based upon the Sermon on the Mount which is to be found in the Bible. The Sermon on the Mount sublimates poverty and weakness. It promises heaven to the poor and the weak. There is no Sermon on the Mount to be found in the Buddha's teachings. His teaching is to acquire wealth. I give below his Sermon on the subject to Anathapindika one of his disciples.

Once Anathapindika came to where the Exalted One was staying. Having come, he made obeisance to the Exalted One, and took a seat at one side, and asked, "Will the Enlightened One tell what things are welcome, pleasant, agreeable, to the householder but which are hard to gain."

The Enlightened One having heard the question put to him said "Of such things the first is to acquire wealth lawfully."

"The second is to see that your relations also get their wealth lawfully."

"The third is to live long and reach great age."


"Of a truth, householder, for the attainment of these four things, which in the world are welcomed, pleasant agreeable but hard to gain, there are also four conditions precedent. They are the blessing of faith, the blessing of virtuous conduct, the blessing of liberality and the blessing of wisdom.

"The Blessing of virtuous conduct which abstains from taking life, thieving, unchastely, lying and partaking of fermented liquor.

"The blessing of liberality consists in the householder living with mind freed from the taint of avarice, generous, open-handed, delighting in gifts, a good one to be asked and devoted to the distribution of gifts.

"Wherein consists the blessing of Wisdom? He knows that an householder who dwells with mind overcome by greed, avarice, ill-will, sloth, drowsiness, distraction and flurry, and also about, commits wrongful deeds and neglects that which ought to be done, and by so doing [is] deprived of happiness and honour.

"Greed, avarice, ill will, sloth and drowsiness, distraction and flurry and doubt are stains of the mind. A householder who gets rid of such stains of the mind acquires great wisdom, abundant wisdom, clear vision, and perfect wisdom.

"Thus to acquire wealth legitimately and justly, earn by great industry, amassed by strength of the arm and gained by sweat of the brow is a great blessing. The householder makes himself happy and cheerful and preserves himself full of happiness; also makes his parents, wife, and children, servants, and labourers, friends and companions happy and cheerful, and preserves them full of happiness."

The Russians do not seem to be paying any attention to Buddhism as an ultimate aid to sustain Communism when force is withdrawn.

The Russians are proud of their Communism. But they forget that the wonder of all wonders is that the Buddha established Communism so far as the Sangh was concerned without dictatorship. It may be that it was a communism on a very small scale, but it was communism without dictatorship, a miracle which Lenin failed to do.

The Buddha's method was different. His method was to change the mind of man, to alter his disposition, so that whatever man does, he does it voluntarily without the use of force or compulsion. His main means to alter the disposition of men was his Dhamma and the constant preaching of his Dhamma. The Buddha's way was not to force people to do what they did not like to do although it was good for them. His way was to alter the disposition of men so that they would do voluntarily what they would not otherwise to do.

It has been claimed that the Communist Dictatorship in Russia has wonderful achievements to its credit. There can be no denial of it. That is why I say that a Russian Dictatorship would be good for all backward countries. But this is no argument for permanent Dictatorship. Humanity does not only want economic values, it also wants spiritual values to be retained. Permanent Dictatorship has paid no attention to spiritual values, and does not seem to intend to. Carlyle called Political Economy a Pig Philosophy. Carlyle was of course wrong. For man needs material comforts. But the Communist Philosophy seems to be equally wrong, for the aim of their philosophy seems to be fatten pigs as though men are no better than pigs. Man must grow materially as well as spiritually. Society has been aiming to lay a new foundation was summarised by the French Revolution in three words: Fraternity, Liberty and Equality. The French Revolution was welcomed because of this slogan. It failed to produce equality. We welcome the Russian Revolution because it aims to produce equality. But it cannot be too much emphasised that in producing equality, society cannot afford to sacrifice fraternity or liberty. Equality will be of no value without fraternity or liberty. It seems that the three can coexist only if one follows the way of the Buddha. Communism can give one but not all.

-- Buddha or Karl Marx, by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar


-- B. R. Ambedkar, 'Buddha or Karl Marx' in Writings and Speeches, vol 3, compiled by Vasant Moon (Bombay: Education Employment Department, 1987), pp. 441- 50.
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Part 1 of 2

Buddha or Karl Marx
by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
Writings and Speeches, Vol. 3



In his rallying slogans, Ambedkar spoke of liberty, equality and fraternity but emphasised that these were not taken from the French but from Buddhist sources. He said, "Let no one however say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not. My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master, the Buddha"62. The basic philosophy and ideas about his "master, the Buddha" had come to India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through primarily Sinhalese sources which influenced the European and Indian discovery of Buddhism that Allen recorded. And it was these that eventually became the reading material on Buddhism for Ambedkar.

-- Dharmapala and the Tamil downtrodden, Excerpt from White Sahibs, Brown Sahibs: Tracking Dharmapala, by Susantha Goonatilake


Contents

I. THE CREED OF THE BUDDHA
II. THE ORIGINAL CREED OF KARL MARX
III. WHAT SURVIVES OF THE MARXIAN CREED
IV. COMPARISON BETWEEN BUDDHA AND KARL MARX
V. THE MEANS
VI. EVALUATION OF MEANS
VII. WHOSE MEANS ARE MORE EFFICACIOUS
VIII. WITHERING AWAY OF THE STATE

Editorial Note in the source publication: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar: Writings and Speeches, Vol. 3:

The Committee found three different typed copies of an essay on Buddha and Karl Marx in loose sheets, two of which have corrections in the author’s own handwriting. After scrutinising these, this essay is compiled incorporating the corrections. The essay is divided into sub-topics as shown below: Introduction

1. The Creed of the Buddha
2. The Original Creed of Karl Marx
3. What survives of the Marxian Creed?
4. Comparison between Buddha and Karl Marx
5. Means
6. Evaluation of Means
7. Whose Means are More Efficacious?
8. Withering away of the State

— Editors.


A comparison between Karl Marx and Buddha may be regarded as a joke. There need be no surprise in this. Marx and Buddha are divided by 2381 years. Buddha was born in 563 BC and Karl Marx in 1818 AD. Karl Marx is supposed to be the architect of a new ideology-polity, a new Economic system. The Buddha on the other hand is believed to be no more than the founder of a religion, which has no relation to politics or economics. The heading of this essay "Buddha or Karl Marx" which suggests either a comparison or a contrast between two such personalities divided by such a lengthy span of time and occupied with different fields of thought is sure to sound odd. The Marxists may easily laugh at it and may ridicule the very idea of treating Marx and Buddha on the same level. Marx so modern and Buddha so ancient! The Marxists may say that the Buddha as compared to their master must be just primitive. What comparison can there be between two such persons? What could a Marxist learn from the Buddha? What can Buddha teach a Marxist? None-the-less a comparison between the two is a attractive and instructive. Having read both and being interested in the ideology of both, a comparison between them just forces itself on me. If the Marxists keep back their prejudices and study the Buddha and understand what he stood for, I feel sure that they will change their attitude. It is of course too much to expect that having been determined to scoff at the Buddha they will remain to pray. But this much can he said, that they will realise that there is something in the Buddha's teachings which is worth their while to take note of.

I. THE CREED OF THE BUDDHA

The Buddha is generally associated with the doctrine of Ahimsa. That is taken to be the be-all and end-all of his teachings. Hardly any one knows that what the Buddha taught is something very vast: far beyond Ahimsa. It is therefore necessary to set out in detail his tenets. I enumerate them below as I have understood them from my reading of the Tripitaka :

1. Religion is necessary for a free Society.

2. Not every Religion is worth having. 3. Religion must relate to facts of life and not to theories and speculations about God, or Soul or Heaven or Earth.

4. It is wrong to make God the centre of Religion.

5. It is wrong to make salvation of the soul as the centre of Religion.

6. It is wrong to make animal sacrifices to be the centre of religion.

7. Real Religion lives in the heart of man and not in the Shastras.

8. Man and morality must be the centre of religion. If not, Religion is a cruel superstition.

9. It is not enough for Morality to be the ideal of life. Since there is no God it must become the Jaw of life. 10. The function of Religion is to reconstruct the world and to make it happy and not to explain its origin or its end.

11. That the unhappiness in the world is due to conflict of interest and the only way to solve it is to follow the Ashtanga Marga.

12. That private ownership of property brings power to one class and sorrow to another.

13. That it is necessary for the good of Society that this sorrow be removed by removing its cause.

14. All human beings are equal.

15. Worth and not birth is the measure of man.

16. What is important is high ideals and not noble birth.

17. Maitri or fellowship towards all must never be abandoned. One owes it even to one's enemy.

18. Every one has a right to learn. Learning is as necessary for man to live as food is.

19. Learning without character is dangerous.

20. Nothing is infallible. Nothing is binding forever. Every thing is subject to inquiry and examination. 21. Nothing is final.

22. Every thing is subject to the law of causation.

23. Nothing is permanent or sanatan. Every thing is subject to change. Being is always becoming.

24. War is wrong unless it is for truth and justice.

25. The victor has duties towards the vanquished.

This is the creed of the Buddha in a summary form. How ancient hut how fresh! How wide and how deep are his teachings!

II. THE ORIGINAL CREED OF KARL MARX

Let us now turn to the creed of Karl Marx as originally propounded by him. Karl Marx is no doubt the father of modern socialism or Communism but he was not interested merely in propounding the theory of Socialism. That had been done long before him by others. Marx was more interested in proving that his Socialism was scientific. His crusade was as much against the capitalists as it was against those whom he called the Utopian Socialists. He disliked them both. It is necessary to note this point because Marx attached the greatest importance to the scientific character of his Socialism. All the doctrines which Marx propounded had no other purpose than to establish his contention that his brand of Socialism was scientific and not Utopian.

By scientific socialism what Karl Marx meant was that his brand of socialism was inevitable and inescapable and that society was moving towards it and that nothing could prevent its march. It is to prove this contention of his that Marx principally laboured. Marx's contention rested on the following theses. They were:—

(i) That the purpose of philosophy is to reconstruct the world and not to explain the origin of the universe.

(ii) That the force which shapes the course of history are primarily economic.

(iii) That society is divided into two classes, owners and workers. (iv) That there is always a class conflict going on between the two classes.

(v) That the workers are exploited by the owners who misappropriate the surplus value, which is the result of the workers' labour.

(vi) That this exploitation can be put an end to by nationalisation of the instruments of production i.e. abolition of private property.

(vii) That this exploitation is leading to greater and greater impoverishment of the workers.

(viii) That this growing impoverishment of the workers is resulting in a revolutionary spirit among the workers and the conversion of the class conflict into a class struggle.

(ix) That as the workers outnumber the owners, the workers are bound to capture the State and establish their rule, which he called the dictatorship of the proletariat.

(x) These factors are irresistible and therefore socialism is inevitable.

I hope I have reported correctly the propositions, which formed the original basis of Marxian Socialism.

III. WHAT SURVIVES OF THE MARXIAN CREED

Before making a comparison between the ideologies of the Buddha and Karl Marx it is necessary to note how much of this original corpus of the Marxian creed has survived; how much has been disproved by history and how much has been demolished by his opponents.

The Marxian Creed was propounded sometime in the middle of the nineteenth century. Since then it has been subjected to much criticism. As a result of this criticism much of the ideological structure raised by Karl Marx has broken to pieces. There is hardly any doubt that Marxist claim that his socialism was inevitable has been completely disproved. The dictatorship of the Proletariat was first established in 1917 in one country after a period of something like seventy years after the publication of his Das Capital the gospel of socialism. Even when the Communism—which is another name for the dictatorship of the Proletariat—came to Russia, it did not come as something inevitable without any kind of human effort. There was a revolution and much deliberate planning had to be done with a lot of violence and blood shed, before it could step into Russia. The rest of the world is still waiting for coming of the Proletarian Dictatorship. Apart from this general falsification of the Marxian thesis that Socialism is inevitable, many of the other propositions stated in the lists have also been demolished both by logic as well as by experience. Nobody now I accepts the economic interpretation of history as the only explanation of history. Nobody accepts that the proletariat has been progressively pauperised. And the same is true about his other premises.

What remains of the Karl Marx is a residue of fire, small but still very important. The residue in my view consists of four items:

(i) The function of philosophy is to reconstruct the world and not to waste its time in explaining the origin of the world.

(ii) That there is a conflict of interest between class and class.

(iii) That private ownership of property brings power to one class and sorrow to another through exploitation.

(iv) That it is necessary for the good of society that the sorrow be removed by the abolition of private property.

IV. COMPARISON BETWEEN BUDDHA AND KARL MARX

Taking the points from the Marxian Creed which have survived one may now enter upon a comparison between the Buddha and Karl Marx.

On the first point there is complete agreement between the Buddha and Karl Marx. To show how close is the agreement I quote below a part of the dialogue between Buddha and the Brahmin Potthapada.

"Then, in the same terms, Potthapada asked (the Buddha) each of the following questions:

1. Is the world not eternal?

2. Is the world finite?

3. Is the world infinite?

4. Is the soul the same as the body?

5. Is the soul one thing, and the body another?

6. Does one who has gained the truth live again after death?

7. Does he neither live again, nor not live again, after death? And to each question the exalted one made the same reply: It was this.

"That too, Potthapada, is a matter on which I have expressed no opinion".

28. "But why has the Exalted One expressed no opinion on that?" "(Because) This question is not calculated to profit, it is not concerned with (the Dhamma), it does not redound even to the elements of right conduct, nor to detachment nor to purification from lust, nor to quietude, nor to tranquillisation of heart, nor to real knowledge, nor to the insight (of the higher stages of the Path), nor to Nirvana. Therefore it is that I express no opinion upon it."

On the second point I give below a quotation from a dialogue between Buddha and Pasenadi King of Kosala:

"Moreover, there is always strife going on between kings, between nobles, between Brahmins, between house holders, between mother and son, between son and father, between brother and sister, between sister and brother, between companion and companion. . ." Although these are the words of Pasenadi, the Buddha did not deny that they formed a true picture of society.

As to the Buddha's own attitude towards class conflict his doctrine of Ashtanga Marga recognises that class conflict exists, and that it is the class conflict which is the cause of misery.


On the third question I quote from the same dialogue of Buddha with Potthapada;

"Then what is it that the Exalted One has determined?" "I have expounded, Potthapada, that sorrow and misery exist! I have expounded, what is the origin of misery. I have expounded what is the cessation of misery. I have expounded what is [the] method by which one may reach the cessation of misery."

30. "And why has the Exalted One put forth a statement as to that?"

"Because that question, Potthapada, is calculated to profit, is concerned with the Dhamma, redounds to the beginnings of right conduct, to detachment, to purification from lusts, to quietude, to tranquillisation of heart, to real knowledge, to the insight of the higher stages of the Path and to Nirvana. Therefore is it, Potthapada, that I have put forward a statement as to that."

That language is different, but the meaning is the same. If for misery one reads exploitation, Buddha is not [far] away from Marx.

On the question of private property, the following extract from a dialogue between Buddha and Ananda is very illuminating. In reply to a question by Ananda the Buddha said:

"I have said that avarice is because of possession. Now in what way that is so, Ananda, is to be understood after this manner. Where there is no possession of any sort or kind whatever, by any one or anything, then there being no possession whatever, would there, owing to this cessation of possession, be any appearance of avarice?" "There would not, Lord".

"Wherefore, Ananda, just that is the ground, the basis, the genesis, the cause of avarice, to wit, possession.


31. "I have said that tenacity is the cause [of] possession. Now in what way that is so, Ananda, is to be understood after this manner. Were there no tenacity of any sort or kind whatever shown by any one with respect to any thing, then there being [no tenacity] whatever, would there owing to this cessation of tenacity, be any appearance of possession?" "There would not, Lord."

"Wherefore, Ananda, just that is the ground, the basis, the genesis, the cause of possession, to wit tenacity."

On the fourth point no evidence is necessary. The rules of the Bhikshu Sangh will serve as the best testimony on the subject.

According to the rules, a Bhikku can have private property only in the following eight articles, and no more. These eight articles are: —

1 I
2. } Three robes or pieces of cloth for daily wear.
3. I
4. A girdle for the loins.
5. An alms-bowl.
6. A razor.
7. A needle.
8. A water strainer.

Further a Bhikku was completely forbidden to receive gold or silver for fear that with gold or silver he might buy some thing beside the eight things he is permitted to have.

These rules are far more rigorous than are to be found in communism in Russia.

V. THE MEANS

We must now come to the means. The means of bringing about Communism, which the Buddha propounded, were quite definite. The means can be decided into three parts. Part I consisted in observing the Pancha Silas. The Enlightenment gave birth to a new gospel, which contains the key to the solution of the problem, which was haunting him.

The foundation of the New Gospel is the fact that the world was full of misery and unhappiness. It was [a] fact not merely to be noted but to be regarded as being the first and foremost in any scheme of salvation. The recognition of this fact the Buddha made the starting point of his gospel.

To remove this misery and unhappiness was to him the aim and object of the gospel if it is to serve any useful purpose.

Asking what could be the causes of this misery, the Buddha found that there could be only two.

A part of the misery and unhappiness of man was the result of his own misconduct. To remove this cause of misery, he preached the practice of Panch Sila.

The Panch Sila comprised the following observations: (1) To abstain from destroying or causing destruction of any living things; (2) To abstain from stealing i.e. acquiring or keeping by fraud or violence, the property of another; (3) To Abstain from telling untruth; (4) To abstain from lust; (5) To abstain from intoxicating drinks.


A part of the misery and unhappiness in the world was according to the Buddha the result of man's inequity towards man. How was this inequity to be removed? For the removal of man's inequity towards man the Buddha prescribed the Noble Eight-Fold Path. The elements of the Noble Fight-Fold Path are:

(1) Right views i.e. freedom from superstition: (2) Right aims, high and worthy of the intelligent and earnest men; (3) Right speech, i.e. kindly, open, truthful: (4) Right Conduct, i.e. peaceful, honest and pure; (5) Right livelihood, i.e. causing hurt or injury to no living being; (6) Right perseverance in all the other seven; (7) Right mindfulness, i.e. with a watchful and active mind; and (8) Right contemplation, i.e. earnest thought on the deep mysteries of life.

The aim of the Noble Eight-Fold Path is to establish on earth the kingdom of righteousness, and thereby to banish sorrow and unhappiness from the face of the world.

The third part of the Gospel is the doctrine of Nibbana. The doctrine of Nibbana is an integral part of the doctrine of the Noble Eight-Fold Path. Without Nibbana the realisation of the Eight-Fold Path cannot be accomplished.

The doctrine of Nibbana tells what are the difficulties in the way of the realisation of the Eight-Fold Path.

The chiefs of these difficulties are ten in number. The Buddha called them the Ten Asavas, Fetters or Hindrances.

The first hindrance is the delusion of self. So long as a man is wholly occupied with himself, chasing after every bauble that he vainly thinks will satisfy the cravings of his heart, there is no noble path for him. Only when his eyes have been opened to the fact that he is but a tiny part of a measureless whole, only when he begins to realise how impermanent a thing is his temporary individuality, can he even enter upon this narrow path.

The second is Doubt and Indecision. When a man's eyes are opened to the great mystery of existence, the impermanence of every individuality, he is likely to be assailed by doubt and indecision as to his action. To do or not to do, after all my individuality is impermanent, why do anything are questions which make him indecisive or inactive. But that will not do in life. He must make up his mind to follow the teacher, to accept the truth, and to enter on the struggle, or he will get no further.

The third is dependence on the efficacy of Rites and Ceremonies. No good resolutions, however firm, will lead to anything unless a man gets rid of ritualism: of the belief that any outward acts, any priestly powers, and holy ceremonies, can afford him an assistance of any kind. It is only when he has overcome this hindrance, that men can be said to have fairly entered upon the stream and has a chance sooner or later to win a victory.

The fourth consists of the bodily passions... The fifth is ill will towards other individuals. The sixth is the suppression of the desire for a future life with a material body and the seventh is the desire for a future life in an immaterial world.

The eighth hindrance is Pride, and ninth is self-righteousness. These are failings which it is most difficult for men to overcome, and to which superior minds are peculiarly liable, a Praisaical contempt for those who are less able and less holy than themselves.

The tenth hindrance is ignorance. When all other difficulties are conquered this will even remain, the thorn in the flesh of the wise and good, the last enemy and the bitterest foe of man.


Nibbana consists in overcoming these hindrances to the pursuit of the Noble Eight-Fold Path.

The doctrine of the Noble Eight-Fold Path tells what disposition of the mind which a person should sedulously cultivate. The doctrine of Nibbana tells of the temptation or hindrance which a person should earnestly overcome if he wishes to trade along with the Noble Eight-Fold Path.

The Fourth Part of the new Gospel is the doctrine of Paramitas. The doctrine of Paramitas inculcates the practice of ten virtues in one's daily life.

These are those ten virtues—(1) Panna (2) Sila (3) Nekkhama (4) Dana (5) Virya (6) Khanti (7) Succa (8) Aditthana (9) Metta and (10) Upekkha.

Panna or wisdom is the light that removes the darkness of Avijja, Moha or Nescience. The Panna requires that one must get all his doubts removed by questioning those wiser than him self, associate with the wise, and cultivate the different arts and sciences which help to develop the mind.

Sila is moral temperament, the disposition not to do evil, and the disposition to do good; to be ashamed of doing wrong. To avoid doing evil for fear of punishment is Sila. Sila means fear of doing wrong. Nekkhama is renunciation of the pleasures of the world. Dana means the giving of one's possessions, blood and limbs and even one's life for the good of the others without expecting anything in return.

Virya is right endeavour. It is doing with all your might, with thought never turning back, whatever you have undertaken to do.

Khanti is forbearance. Not to meet hatred by hatred is the essence of it. For hatred is not appeased by hatred. It is appeased only by forbearance.

Succa is truth. An aspirant for Buddha never speaks a lie. His speech is truth and nothing but truth.

Aditthana is resolute determination to reach the goal. Metta is fellow feeling extending to all beings, foe and friend, beast and man.

Upekka is detachment as distinguished from indifference. It is a state of mind where there is neither like nor dislike. Remaining unmoved by the result and yet engaged in the pursuit of it.

These virtues one must practice to his utmost capacity. That is why they are called Paramitas (States of Perfection).

Such is the gospel the Buddha enunciated as a result of his enlightenment to end the sorrow and misery in the world.

It is clear that the means adopted by the Buddha were to convert a man by changing his moral disposition to follow the path voluntarily.

The means adopted by the Communists are equally clear, short and swift. They are (1) Violence and (2) Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

The Communists say that there are the only two means of establishing communism. The first is violence. Nothing short of it will suffice to break up the existing system. The other is dictatorship of the proletariat. Nothing short of it will suffice to continue the new system.

It is now clear what are the similarities and differences between Buddha and Karl Marx. The differences are about the means. The end is common to both.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 2

VI. EVALUATION OF MEANS

We must now turn to the evaluation of means. We must ask whose means are superior and lasting in the long run. There are, however some misunderstandings on both sides. It is necessary to clear them up. Take violence. As to violence, there are many people who seem to shiver at the very thought of it. But this is only a sentiment. Violence cannot be altogether dispensed with. Even in non-communist countries a murderer is hanged. Does not hanging amount to violence? Non-communist countries go to war with non-communist countries. Millions of people are killed. Is this no violence? If a murderer can be killed, because he has killed a citizen, if a soldier can be killed in war because he belongs to a hostile nation, why cannot a property owner be killed if his ownership leads to misery for the rest of humanity? There is no reason to make an exception in favour of the property owner, why one should regard private property as sacrosanct.

The Buddha was against violence. But he was also in favour of justice, and where justice required, he permitted the use of force.
This is well illustrated in his dialogue with Sinha Senapati the Commander-in-Chief of Vaishali. Sinha having come to know that the Buddha preached Ahimsa went to him and asked:

"The Bhagvan preaches Ahimsa. Does the Bhagvan preach an offender to be given freedom from punishment? Does the Bhagvan preach that we should not go to war to save our wives, our children and our wealth? Should we suffer at the hands of criminals in the name of Ahimsa?"

"Does the Tathagata prohibit all war, even when it is in the interest of Truth and Justice?"

Buddha replied. You have wrongly understood what I have been preaching. An offender must be punished, and an innocent man must be freed. It is not a fault of the Magistrate if he punishes an offender. The cause of punishment is the fault of the offender. The Magistrate who inflicts the punishment is only carrying out the law. He does not become stained with Ahimsa. A man who fights for justice and safety cannot be accused of Ahimsa. If all the means of maintaining peace have failed, then the responsibility for Himsa falls on him who starts war. One must never surrender to evil powers. War there may be. But it must not be for selfish ends...."

There are of course other grounds against violence such as those urged by Prof. John Dewey. In dealing with those who contend that the end justifies the means is [a] morally perverted doctrine, Dewey has rightly asked what can justify the means if not the end? It is only the end that can justify the means.

Buddha would have probably admitted that it is only the end which would justify the means. What else could? And he would have said that if the end justified violence, violence was a legitimate means for the end in view. He certainly would not have exempted property owners from force if force were the only means for that end. As we shall see, his means for the end were different. As Prof. Dewey has pointed out that violence is only another name for the use of force and although force must be used for creative purposes a distinction between use of force as energy and use of force as violence needs to be made. The achievement of an end involves the destruction of many other ends, which are integral with the one that is sought to be destroyed. Use of force must be so regulated that it should save as many ends as possible in destroying the evil one. Buddha's Ahimsa was not as absolute as the Ahimsa preached by Mahavira the founder of Jainism. He would have allowed force only as energy. The communists preach Ahimsa as an absolute principle. To this the Buddha was deadly opposed.


"The memos and other material collected in this book reveal how political lawyers in the Administration adopted an 'ends justify the means' policy, and tailored their advice to justify torture and avoidance of obligations under the Geneva Conventions. They lost their own moral compass in the process and created a brief for the enemies of America to use the tactics they sought to justify against present and future American servicemen and women captured by our enemies." -- JAMES CULLEN (Brig. General U.S. Army Ret.)

-- The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib, edited by Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel

Just war tenets were devised to specify when the use of violent force is morally justified. However, given people’s dexterous facility for justifying violent means all kinds of inhumanities get clothed in moral wrappings.

Voltaire put it well when he said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Over the centuries, much destructive conduct has been perpetrated by ordinary, decent people in the name of righteous ideologies, religious principles and nationalistic imperatives (Kramer, 1990; Rapoport & Alexander, 1982; Reich, 1990).

-- Moral Disengagement in the Perpetration of Inhumanities, by Albert Bandura

When you realize that these bibles of Communist philosophy teach deceit, murder, lies, and treachery as the very basis of the path to the Communist Utopia you will realize the futility of trying to make treaties with the U.S.S.R., as our own experience has proven time after time. Remember that the end justifies the means is the foundation of Communism.

-- A Business Man Looks At Communism, by Fred C. Koch

And in a sick, twisted manner, working on a theory that the end justifies the means, the CIA published its killer’s manual, breaking down the art of committing the perfect assassination into eight major categories, including definition, employment, justification, classification, the assassin, planning, techniques and examples.

-- CIA Publishes Its Own "Assassin's Manual," Proving It Condones Killing Those Who Oppose U.S. Policy: The CIA 'Killer's Manual' was kept out of the public eye for years, but now we know it teaches the 'fine art' of assassination as if it was a mandatory college course, by Greg Szymanski

Furthermore, the Illuminati principle that the end justifies the means, a principle that Quigley scores as immoral and used by both The Group and The Order, is rooted in Hegel.

-- America's Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones, by Antony C. Sutton

It never occurred to him that in his fanaticism he was becoming more like Ho Chi Minh than his childhood hero, Thomas Jefferson. The enemy, too, investigated and judged people secretly without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves. They passed sentence and executed men and women secretly-all justified by thousands of secret documents that were never subjected to proper and objective scrutiny or challenge. Had someone pointed that out to McKenney, he would would have answered that his goal was vastly different from that of the communists. He did not understand until much later that "that was just another way of expressing the communist creed he professed to abhor: 'the end justifies the means.'"

-- Spite House: The Last Secret of the War in Vietnam, by Monika Jensen-Stevenson

The Illuminati aims to overthrow all government and religion, setting up an anarcho-communist free-love world, and, because "the end justifies the means" (a principle Weishaupt acquired from his Jesuit youth), they didn't care how many people they killed to accomplish that noble purpose.

-- The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

A good many people now have misgivings about the aerial distribution of lethal chemicals over millions of acres, and two mass-spraying campaigns undertaken in the late 1950's have done much to increase these doubts. These were the campaigns against the gypsy moth in the northeastern states and the fire ant in the South. Neither is a native insect but both have been in this country for many years without creating a situation calling for desperate measures. Yet drastic action was suddenly taken against them, under the end-justifies-the-means philosophy that has too long directed the control divisions of our Department of Agriculture.

-- Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson

Bermudez told the cocaine smugglers that “the ends justify the means” in raising money for the Contras.

-- The Warning in Gary Webb’s Death, by Robert Parry

Everything is good or bad according to the use made of it and the advantage derived from it. The ends justify the means.

-- The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, by Maurice Joly


As to Dictatorship, the Buddha would have none of it. He was born a democrat, and he died a democrat. At the time he lived, there were 14 monarchical states, and 4 republics. He belonged to the Sakyas, and the Sakya's kingdom was a republic. He was extremely in love with Vaishali which was his second home because it was a republic. Before his Mahaparinirbban he spent his Varshavasa in Vaishali. After the completion of his Varshavasa, he decided to leave Vaishali and go elsewhere as was his wont. After going some distance, he looked back on Vaishali and said to Ananda. "This is the last look of Vaishali which the Tathagata is having". So fond was he of this republic.

He was a thorough equalitarian. Originally the Bhikkus, including the Buddha himself, wore robes made of rags. This rule was enunciated to prevent the aristocratic classes from joining the Sangh. Later Jeevaka the great physician prevailed upon the Buddha to accept a robe, which was made of a whole cloth. The Buddha at once altered the rule and extended it to all the monks.

Once the Buddha's mother Mahaprajapati Gotami, who had joined the Bhikkuni Sangh, heard that the Buddha had got a chill. She at once started preparing a scarf for him. After having completed it, she took to the Buddha and asked him to wear it. But he refused to accept it saying that if it is a gift it must be a gift to the whole Sangh, and not to an individual member of the Sangh. She pleaded and pleaded but he refused to yield.

The Bhikshu Sangh had the most democratic constitution. He was only one of the Bhikkus. At the most he was like a Prime Minister among members of the Cabinet. He was never a dictator. Twice before his death he was asked to appoint some one as the head of the Sangh to control it. But each time he refused saying that the Dhamma is the Supreme Commander of the Sangh. He refused to be a dictator, and refused to appoint a dictator.

What about the value of the means? Whose means are superior and lasting in the long run?

Can the Communists say that in achieving their valuable end they have not destroyed other valuable ends? They have destroyed private property. Assuming that this is a valuable end, can the Communists say that they have not destroyed [an] other valuable end in the process of achieving it? How many people have they killed for achieving their end. Has human life no value? Could they not have taken property without taking the life of the owner?

Take dictatorship. The end of Dictatorship is to make the Revolution a permanent revolution. This is a valuable end. But can the Communists say that in achieving this end they have not destroyed other valuable ends? Dictatorship is often defined as absence of liberty or absence of Parliamentary Government. Both interpretations are not quite clear. There is no liberty even when there is Parliamentary Government. For law means want of liberty. The difference between Dictatorship and Parliamentary Govt. lies in this. In Parliamentary Government every citizen has a right to criticise the restraint on liberty imposed by the Government. In Parliamentary Government you have a duty and a right, the duty to obey the law and right to criticise it. In Dictatorship you have only duty to obey but no right to criticise it.

VII. WHOSE MEANS ARE MORE EFFICACIOUS

We must now consider whose means are more lasting. One has to choose between Government by force, and Government by moral disposition.

As Burke has said, force cannot be a lasting means. In his speech on conciliation with America he uttered this memorable warning:

"First, Sir, permit me to observe, that the use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment, but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again; and a nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered."

"My next objection is its uncertainty. Terror is not always the effect of force, and an armament is not a victory. If you do not succeed, you are without resource, for, conciliation failing, force remains; but force failing, no further hope of reconciliation is left. Power and authority are sometimes bought by kindness; but they can never be begged as alms by an impoverished and defeated violence.

A further objection to force is that you impair the object by your very endeavours to preserve it. The thing you fought for is the thing, which you recover, but depreciated, sunk, wasted and consumed in the contest."


In a sermon addressed to the Bhikkus, the Buddha has shown the difference between the rule by Righteousness and Rule by law, i.e. force. Addressing the Brethren he said:

"(2) Long ago, brethren, there was [a] Sovereign overlord named Strongtyre, a king ruling in righteousness, lord of the four quarters of the earth, conqueror, the protector of his people. He was the possessor of the celestial wheel. He lived in supremacy over this earth to its ocean bounds, having conquered it, not by the courage, by the sword, but by righteousness.

"(3) Now, brethren, after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, king Strongtyre command a certain man, saying:

"Thou shouldest see, Sir, the Celestial Wheel has sunk a little, has slipped down from its place, bring me word.

"Now after many many hundred years had slipped down from its place. On seeing this, he went to King Strongtyre and said: 'Know, sir, for a truth that the Celestial Wheel has sunk, has slipped down from its place.'

"The king Strongtyre, brethren, let the prince his eldest son be sent for and speak thus:

"'Behold, dear boy, my Celestial Wheel has sunk a little, has slipped down from its place. Now it has been told me, If the Celestial Wheel of a wheel turning King shall sink down, shall slip down from its place, that king has not much longer to live. I have had my fill of human pleasures. It's time to seek after divine joys. Come, dear boy, take thou charge over this earth bounded by the ocean. But I, shaving hair and beard, and donning yellow robes, will go forth from home into the homeless state.'

So brethren, King Strongtyre, having in due form established his eldest son on the throne, shaved hair and bearded, donned yellow robes, and went forth from home into homeless state. But on the seventh day after the royal hermit had gone forth, the Celestial Wheel disappeared.

(4) Then a certain man went to the King, and told him, saying: "Know, O King, for a truth, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared!"

Then that King, brethren, was grieved thereat and afflicted with sorrow. And he went to the royal hermit, and told him, saying, "Know, sir, for a truth, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared."

And the anointed king so saying, the royal hermit made reply. "Grieve thou not, dear son, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared, nor be afflicted that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared. For no paternal heritage of thine, dear son, is the Celestial Wheel. But verily, dear son, turn thou in the Aryan turning of the Wheel-turners. (Act up to the noble ideal of duty set before themselves by the true sovereigns of the world). Then it may well be that if thou carry out the Aryan duty of a Wheel-turning Monarch, and on the feast of the moon thou wilt for, with bathed head, to keep the feast on the chief upper terrace, to the Celestial Wheel will manifest itself with its thousand spokes, its tyre, navel and all its part complete." (5) '"But what, sire is this Arya duty of a Wheel-turning Monarch?" "This, dear son, that thou, leaning on the Norm (the law of truth and righteousness) honouring, respecting and revering it, doing homage to it, hallowing it, being thyself a Norm-banner, a Norm-signal, having the Norm as thy master, should provide the right watch, ward, and protection for thine own folk, for the army, for the nobles, for vassals, for brahmins and house holders, for town and country dwellers, for the religious world, and for beasts and birds. Throughout thy kingdom let no wrongdoing prevail. And whosoever in thy kingdom is poor, to him let wealth be given.

"And when dear son, in thy kingdom men of religious life, renouncing the carelessness arising from intoxication of the senses, and devoted to forbearance and sympathy, each mastering self, each claiming self, each protecting self, shall come to thee from time to time, and question the concerning what is good and what is bad, what is criminal and what is not, what is to be done and what is to be left undone, what line of action will in the long run work for weal or for woe, thou shouldest hear what they have to say and thou shouldest deter them from evil, and bid them take up what is good. This, dear son, is the Aryan duty of a sovereign of the world.'

"Even so, sire," answered the anointed king, and obeying, and carried out the Aryan duty of a sovereign lord. To him, thus behaving, when on the feast of the full moon he had gone in the observance with bathed head to the chief upper Terrance the Celestial Wheel revealed itself, with its thousand spokes, its tyre, its naval, and all its part complete. And seeing this is occurred to the king: "It has been told me that a king to whom on such a occasion the Celestial Wheel reveals itself completely, becomes a Wheel-turning monarch. May I even I also become a sovereign of the world."


(6) Then brethren, the king arose from his seat and uncovering his robe from one shoulder, took in his left hand a pitcher, and with his right hand sprinkled up over the Celestial Wheel, saying: "Roll onward, O Lord Wheel! Go forth and overcome, O Lord Wheel!" Then, brethren, the Celestial Wheel rolled onwards towards the region of the East, and after it went the Wheel-turning king, and with him his army, horses and chariots and elephants and men. And in whatever place, brethren, the wheel stopped, there the king, the victorious war-lord, took up his abode, and with him his fourfold army. Then the all, the rival kings in the region of the East, came to the sovereign king and said "Come, O mighty king! Welcome, O mighty king! All is thine, O mighty King! Teach us, O mighty king!"

The king, the sovereign war-lord, speak thus: "Ye shall slay no living thing. Ye shall not take that which has not been given. Ye shall not act wrongly touching bodily desires. Ye shall speak not lie. Ye shall drink no maddening drink. Enjoy your possessions as you have been wont to do."

(7) Then, brethern, the Celestial Wheel, plunging down to the Eastern ocean, rose up out again, and rolled onwards to the region of the south.... (and there all happened as had happened in the East). And in like manner the Celestial Wheel, plunging into Southern ocean, rose up out again and rolled onward to the region of the West... and of the North: and there too happened as had happened in the Southern and West.

Then when the Celestial Wheel had gone forth conquering over the whole earth to its ocean boundary, it returned to the royal city, and stood, so that one might think it fixed, in front of the judgement hall at entrance to the inner apartments of the king, the Wheel-turner, lighting up with its glory the facade of the inner apartments of the king, the sovereign of the world.

(8) And a second king, brethern, also a Wheel-turning monarch,... and a third... and a fourth... and a fifth... and a sixth... and a seventh king, a victorious war-lord, after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, command a certain man, saying:

"If thou should'est see, sirrah, that the Celestial Wheel has sunk down, has slid from its place, bring me word." "Even so, sire," replied the man.

So after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, that man saw that the Celestial Wheel had sunk down, had become dislodged from its place. And so seeing he went to the king, the warlord, and told him.

Then that king did (even as Strongtyre had done). And on the seventh day after the royal hermit had gone forth the Celestial Wheel disappeared.

Then a certain man went and told the King. Then the King was grieved at the disappearance of the wheel, and afflicted with grief. But he did not go to the hermit-king to ask concerning, the Aryan Duty of sovereign war-lord. But his own ideas, forsooth, he governed his people; and they so governed differently from what they had been, did not prosper as they used to do under former kings who had carried out the Arvan duty of a sovereign king.

Then, brethren, the ministers and courtiers, the finance officials, the guards and door keepers and they who lived by sacred verses came to the King and speak thus:

"Thy people, O king. whilst thou governest them by thine own ideas differently from the way to which they were used when former kings were carrying out the Arvan Duty prosper not. Now there are in thy kingdom ministers and courtiers, finance officers, guards and custodians, and they who live by sacred verses—both all of us and others—who keep the knowledge of the Aryan duty of the sovereign king, to O king, do thou ask us concerning it: to thee thus asking will we declare it."

9. Then, brethren, the king, having made the ministers and all the rest sit down together, asked them about the Aryan duty of Sovereign war-lord. And they declared it unto him. And when he had heard them, he did provide the due watch and ward protection, but on the destitute he bestowed no wealth and because this was not done, poverty became widespread.


When poverty was thus become rife, a certain man took that which others had not given him, what people call by theft. Him they caught, and brought before the king, saying: "This man, O king has taken that which was not given to him and that is theft".

Thereupon the king speak thus to the man. "Is it true sirrah, that thou hast taken what no man gave thee, hast committed what men call theft." "It is true, O king." "But why?"

"O king, I have nothing to keep me alive." Then the king bestowed wealth on that man, saying: "With this wealth sir, do thou both keep thyself alive, maintain thy parents, maintain children and wife, carry on thy business." "Even so, O king," replied the man.

10. Now another man, brethren, took by theft what was not given him. Him they caught and brought before the king and told him, saying: "this man, O king, hath taken by theft what was not given him".

And the king (spoke and did even as he had spoken and done to the former man.)

II. Now men heard brethren, that to them who had taken by theft what was not given them, the King was giving wealth. And hearing [that] they thought, let us then take by theft what has not been given us.

Now a certain man did so. And him they caught and charged before the king who (as before) asked him why he had stolen. "Because, O king I cannot maintain myself." Then the king thought: If I bestow wealth on anyone so ever who has taken by theft what was not given him, there will be hereby and increase of this stealing. Let me now put final stop to this and inflict condign punishment on him, have his head cut off!

So he bade his man saying "now look ye! bind this man's arms behind him with a strong rope and tight knot, shave his head bald, lead him around with a harsh sounding drum, from road to road, from cross ways to cross ways, take him out by the southern gate and to the south of the town, put a final stop to this, inflict on him uttermost penalty, cut of his head."

"Even so, O king," answered the men, and carried out his commands.

12. Now men heard, brethren, that they who took by theft what was not given them were thus put to death. And hearing [that] they thought, let us also now have sharp swords made ready for themselves, and them from whom we take what is not given us—what they call them— let us put a final stop to them, inflict on them uttermost penalty, and [cut] their heads off.

And they got themselves sharp swords, and came forth to sack village and town and city, and to work highway robbery. And then whom they robbed they made an end of, cutting off their heads.

13. Thus, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute poverty grieve rife; from poverty growing rife stealing increased, from the spread of stealing violence grew space, from the growth of violence the destruction of life common, from the frequency of murder both the span of life in those beings and their comeliness also (diminished).


Now among humans of latter span of life, brethren, a certain took by theft what was not given him, and even as those others was accused before the king and questioned if it was true that he had stolen, "Nay, O king," he replied, "they are deliberately telling lies." 14. Thus from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty grew rife... stealing... violence... murder... until lying grew common.

Again a certain man reported to the king, saying "such and such a man, O king, has taken by theft what was not given him"— thus speaking evil of him.

15. And so, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute poverty grew rife... stealing... violence... murder... lying... evil speaking grew abundant.

16. From lying there grew adultery.

17. Thus from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty... stealing... violence... murder... lying... evil speaking. . . immorality grew rife.

18. Among (them) brethren, three things grew apace: incest, wanton greed and perverted lust.

Then these things grew apace: lack of filial piety to mother and father, lack of religious piety to holy men, lack of regard for the head of the clan.

19. There will come a time, brethren, when the descendants of those humans will have a life-span of ten years. Among humans of this life span, maidens of five years will be of a marriageable age. Among such humans these kinds of tastes (savours) will disappear; ghee, butter, oil of tila, sugar, salt. Among such humans, kudrusa grain will be the highest kind of food. Even as to-day rice and curry is the highest kind of food, so will kudrusa grain will be then. Among such humans the ten moral courses of conduct will altogether disappear, the ten immoral courses of action will flourish excessively; there will be no word for moral among such humans, the ten moral courses of conduct will altogether disappear, the ten immoral courses of action will flourish excessively, there will be no word for moral among such humans—far less any moral agent. Among such humans, brethren, they who lack filial and religious piety, and show no respect for the Head of the clan—'tis they to whom homage and praise will be given, just as to-day homage and praise are given to the filial minded, to the pious and to them who respect the heads of their clans.

20. Among such humans, brethren, there will be no (such thoughts of reverence as are a bar to intermarriage with) mother, or mother's sister, or mother's sister-in-law, or teacher's wife, or father's sister-in-law. The world will fall into promiscuity, like goats and sheep, fowls and swine, dogs and jackals.

Among such humans, brethren keen mutual enmity will become the rule, keen ill-will, keen animosity, passionate thoughts even of killing, in a mother towards her child, in a child towards its father, in brother to brother, in brother to sister, in sister to brother. Just [as] a sportsman feels towards the game that he sees, so will they feel.

This is probably the finest picture of what happens when moral force fails and brutal force takes its place. What the Buddha wanted was that each man should be morally so trained that he may himself become a sentinel for the kingdom of righteousness.

VIII. WITHERING AWAY OF THE STATE

The Communists themselves admit that their theory of the State as a permanent dictatorship is a weakness in their political philosophy. They take shelter under the plea that the State will ultimately wither away. There are two questions, which they have to answer. When will it wither away? What will take the place of the State when it withers away? To the first question they can give no definite time. Dictatorship for a short period may be good, and a welcome thing even for making Democracy safe. Why should not Dictatorship liquidate itself after it has done its work, after it has removed all the obstacles and boulders in the way of democracy and has made the path of Democracy safe. Did not Asoka set an example? He practised violence against the Kalingas. But thereafter he renounced violence completely. If our victor’s to-day not only disarm their victims, but also disarm themselves, there would be peace all over the world.

The Communists have given no answer. At any rate no satisfactory answer to the question what would take the place of the State when it withers away, though this question is more important than the question when the State will wither away. Will it be succeeded by Anarchy? If so, the building up of the Communist State is an useless effort. If it cannot be sustained except by force, and if it results in anarchy when the force holding it together is withdrawn, what good is the Communist State? The only thing which could sustain it after force is withdrawn is Religion. But to the Communists Religion is anathema. Their hatred to Religion is so deep seated that they will not even discriminate between religions which are helpful to Communism and religions which are not. The Communists have carried their hatred of Christianity to Buddhism without waiting to examine the difference between the two. The charge against Christianity levelled by the Communists was two fold. Their first charge against Christianity was that they made people other worldliness and made them suffer poverty in this world. As can be seen from quotations from Buddhism in the earlier part of this tract, such a charge cannot be levelled against Buddhism.

The second charge levelled by the Communists against Christianity cannot be levelled against Buddhism. This charge is summed up in the statement that Religion is the opium of the people. This charge is based upon the Sermon on the Mount which is to be found in the Bible. The Sermon on the Mount sublimates poverty and weakness. It promises heaven to the poor and the weak. There is no Sermon on the Mount to be found in the Buddha's teachings. His teaching is to acquire wealth. I give below his Sermon on the subject to Anathapindika one of his disciples.

Once Anathapindika came to where the Exalted One was staying. Having come, he made obeisance to the Exalted One, and took a seat at one side, and asked, "Will the Enlightened One tell what things are welcome, pleasant, agreeable, to the householder but which are hard to gain."

The Enlightened One having heard the question put to him said "Of such things the first is to acquire wealth lawfully."

"The second is to see that your relations also get their wealth lawfully."

"The third is to live long and reach great age."


"Of a truth, householder, for the attainment of these four things, which in the world are welcomed, pleasant agreeable but hard to gain, there are also four conditions precedent. They are the blessing of faith, the blessing of virtuous conduct, the blessing of liberality and the blessing of wisdom.

"The Blessing of virtuous conduct which abstains from taking life, thieving, unchastely, lying and partaking of fermented liquor.

"The blessing of liberality consists in the householder living with mind freed from the taint of avarice, generous, open-handed, delighting in gifts, a good one to be asked and devoted to the distribution of gifts.

"Wherein consists the blessing of Wisdom? He knows that an householder who dwells with mind overcome by greed, avarice, ill-will, sloth, drowsiness, distraction and flurry, and also about, commits wrongful deeds and neglects that which ought to be done, and by so doing [is] deprived of happiness and honour.

"Greed, avarice, ill will, sloth and drowsiness, distraction and flurry and doubt are stains of the mind. A householder who gets rid of such stains of the mind acquires great wisdom, abundant wisdom, clear vision, and perfect wisdom.

"Thus to acquire wealth legitimately and justly, earn by great industry, amassed by strength of the arm and gained by sweat of the brow is a great blessing. The householder makes himself happy and cheerful and preserves himself full of happiness; also makes his parents, wife, and children, servants, and labourers, friends and companions happy and cheerful, and preserves them full of happiness."

The Russians do not seem to be paying any attention to Buddhism as an ultimate aid to sustain Communism when force is withdrawn.

The Russians are proud of their Communism. But they forget that the wonder of all wonders is that the Buddha established Communism so far as the Sangh was concerned without dictatorship. It may be that it was a communism on a very small scale, but it was communism without dictatorship, a miracle which Lenin failed to do.

The Buddha's method was different. His method was to change the mind of man, to alter his disposition, so that whatever man does, he does it voluntarily without the use of force or compulsion. His main means to alter the disposition of men was his Dhamma and the constant preaching of his Dhamma. The Buddha's way was not to force people to do what they did not like to do although it was good for them. His way was to alter the disposition of men so that they would do voluntarily what they would not otherwise to do.

It has been claimed that the Communist Dictatorship in Russia has wonderful achievements to its credit. There can be no denial of it. That is why I say that a Russian Dictatorship would be good for all backward countries. But this is no argument for permanent Dictatorship. Humanity does not only want economic values, it also wants spiritual values to be retained. Permanent Dictatorship has paid no attention to spiritual values, and does not seem to intend to. Carlyle called Political Economy a Pig Philosophy. Carlyle was of course wrong. For man needs material comforts. But the Communist Philosophy seems to be equally wrong, for the aim of their philosophy seems to be fatten pigs as though men are no better than pigs. Man must grow materially as well as spiritually. Society has been aiming to lay a new foundation was summarised by the French Revolution in three words: Fraternity, Liberty and Equality. The French Revolution was welcomed because of this slogan. It failed to produce equality. We welcome the Russian Revolution because it aims to produce equality. But it cannot be too much emphasised that in producing equality, society cannot afford to sacrifice fraternity or liberty. Equality will be of no value without fraternity or liberty. It seems that the three can coexist only if one follows the way of the Buddha. Communism can give one but not all.
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Part 1 of 2

Tracking Sinhalese Buddhism, Bodh Gaya and Sinhalese, and Allen: British India discovers Buddhism, Excerpt from White Sahibs, Brown Sahibs: Tracking Dharmapala
by Susantha Goonatilake
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka
New Series, Vol. 54 (2008), pp. 53-136 (84 pages)

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In the 19th century and up to the mid 20th century, there were hardly any formal anthropological writings on Sri Lanka in Western countries. The writings that existed were, apart from Christian tracts and travelers' and administrators' tales a considerable outpouring of texts on Buddhism as in the Pali Text Society and through organizations like the Royal Asiatic Society. Apart from the Christian tracts, these writings were largely sympathetic to the country. The Buddhist texts provided the West for the first time authoritative Buddhist material.

Anthropological writings in Sri Lanka blossomed only since the 1970s at a time when the subject was undergoing a period of deep questioning about its colonial agenda and built-in Eurocentricism. Anthropologists on Sri Lanka like Obeyesekere who emerged at the time did not participate in this questioning of the subject's colonial agenda. The many failings and bias of this anthropology vis-a-vis actual ground fact in Sri Lanka has been explored by the present author in two books and two articles1.

Tracking Sinhalese Buddhism

Since then, several books have appeared again tracking Sinhalese Buddhism, especially actions of Anagarika Dharmapala. These are both in the matter-of-fact genre which was the main staple of writing till the arrival of the distorting lens of recent anthropologists as well as in books that follow in these anthropologists' footsteps. The present article attempts to illustrate the confusion that prevails on the 19th and 20th century Sinhalese Buddhist Renaissance in seven contributions as they describe Buddhism and Sinhalese Buddhist actions. The books are: S. Dhammika, Navel of the Earth: the History and Significance of Bodh Gaya; Charles Allen, The Buddha and the Sahibs; G. Aloysius. Religion as Emancipatory Identity: a Buddhist Movement among Tamils under Colonialism; Alan Trevithick, The revival of Buddhist pilgrimage at Bodh Gaya (1811-1949): Anagarika Dharmapala and the Mahabodhi Temple, H. L. Seneviratne, The work of kings: the new Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Gananath Obeyesekere, Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth2. Their focus is on the 19th and early 20th century Buddhists, especially Anagarika Dharmapala and in the case of Obeyesekere, the Buddhist theory that the Sinhalese Renaissance helped unravel to the West. This paper attempts to elicit their underlying messages and their social epistemology.

Sinhalese interactions with India in the 19th and 20th centuries intensify with Sinhalese contributions to the discovery of India's Buddhist past and especially the work of Dharmapala to regain the Buddha's place of Enlightenment, Bodh Gaya.

The most comprehensive historical narrative of Bodh Gaya. especially tracing Sinhalese connections is Navel of the Earth: the History and Significance of Bodh Gaya by Dhammika, an Australian born Buddhist monk who has studied in Sri Lanka's Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies. It follows the book Buddha Gaya temple: Its history by the Indian, Dipak K. Barua which comes a close second.

Bodh Gaya and Sinhalese

In the 4th century, the Sinhalese King Meghavanna (304- 332 AC) built a special monastery at the Buddha's place of Enlightenment -- the Bodh Gaya Monastery -- which stood for 1,000 years and remained a major University complex parallel to the other two large Buddhist universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila which were built later. The Bodh Gaya Monastery was one of the major educational complexes in the then world and probably the world's first foreign (meaning Sinhalese) funded one.

Dhammika's Navel of the Earth: the History and Significance of Bodh Gaya goes exhaustively into very many historical sources. He gives descriptions of the Sinhalese presence from very early times through inscriptions at the site and descriptions by travellers such as that of Hsuan Tsang the Chinese traveller of the 7th century. The latter has left a vivid description of the Maha Bodhi Monastery. Hsuan Tsang describes this complex as well ornamented having six halls with towers of observation of three stories surrounded by a defence wall of 30 to 40 feet high4. Other inscriptions there mention a royal Sinhalese pilgrim of circa the 8th century; another one in the 10th century refers to a Sinhalese image5. Dhammika notes the excavation by Cunningham in the 19th century which showed the large extent of the Maha Bodhi Monastery. Dhammika observes that, since its founding, the Maha Bodhi Monastery was funded by Sinhalese and dominated by Sinhala monks who came to control the Maha Bodhi Temple itself. Although it had monks from other traditions too, it had become the major centre of Theravada studies in North India6.

Again there is another inscription -- found by Cunningham -- which describes how in the 13th century Sinhalese monks made daily offerings of food, incense and lamps before the Buddha statue at Bodh Gaya. The last epigraphical evidence of Sinhalese monks at the site established around 1262 A.D. is found in an inscription now in the Patna Museum7.

A 12th century inscription describes a donation of members of the Sinhalese order of monks to the Maha Bodhi8. This inscription also indicates that there were a large number of Sinhalese pilgrims there and that their income was important to the Temple9. A Sanskrit poem of the 13th century mentions the Sinhalese monk, Mangala Mahasthavira at Buddha Gaya10. And Dharmavasin, the Tibetan monk of the 13th century mentions the presence of 300 Sinhalese monks officiating at the Bodh Gaya who would not allow any non-Sinhalese monks to sleep in the main courtyard of the Temple11, 12. Dhammika mentions the connections between Bodh Gaya and Burmese Buddhists, especially the repairs to the site undertaken by King Kyanzittha of Pagan (1084-1113). Dhammika recounts that as this was a time of intense relations between Sri Lanka and Burma, the Sinhalese monks resident at Bodh Gaya could have initiated the Burmese contacts with Bodh Gaya13. Illustrating the influence of Sri Lanka on Burma at the time, we should note, is the Myinkba Kubyauk-gyi temple in Pagan built in 1113 AD by Rajakumar. Painted inside are depictions of the Mahavamsa history. the last Sinhalese King painted there is Vijayabahu 1 (1055-1110 A.D) who died shortly before this temple was built14.

An intriguing connection not explored by Dhammika or any of the authorities cited by him is one Cingalaraja of the 15th century as described in 1608 by Taranatha, the historian of the Tibetan tradition 15. Although there are no further details, the name Cingalaraja suggests a Sinhala connection. This is not far-fetched considering that at the time, there were interactions between Buddhists around the region of South-East Asia and North-East India. One Sihalagotta (of the Sinhalese clan) has been ascribed to be a Sinhalese.

Sihalagotta was a general of King Tilokaraja (1448-88) who planted in the monastery Sihalaram [Sinhala monastery] or Mahabodhi Arama (Wat Cet Yod) in Chiangmai in present day Thailand a seedling that was brought from the sacred Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura. Sihalagotta also rebuilt a shrine Rajakuta in which was deposited a sacred relic from Sri Lanka. Saddhatissa has surmised that based on the epithet of "Lanka" mentioned in a Thai text in Pali Atthasalini-atthayojana for a King that the epithet applied to King Tilokaraja16.

With the conquests of North India by Muslims, pilgrimages to Bodh Gaya became difficult and models of the Temple were built in other countries as substitutes for example in the early 13th century in Pagan Burma. In 1472, Dhammaceti, the King of Pegu sent under the leadership of a Sinhalese merchant a large contingent of craftsmen to worship the site and to record plans of the site including its dimensions. It should be noted that this was the same king who reformed the whole Burmese Sangha on Sinhalese pattern after a reordination ceremony of a sangha delegation in 1423 on the Kelani river in Sri Lanka. This is well described in inscriptions and literature17.

Dhammika describes how the Burmese allowed by the British authorities to excavate the Bodh Gaya site in the 19th century, did so in a disorganised manner as British records at the time show. Dhanunika details how the British Archaeology Survey of India went about exploring and restoring the site18.

In describing the actions of Dharmapala at Bodh Gaya, Dhammika quotes the matter of fact descriptions by Dharmapala. Dhammika describes in a straightforward manner the feelings of Dharmapala, as well as of sympathetic Britishers. These include Edwin Arnold and British officials who were keen on restoring the Maha Bodhi Temple. Dhammika describes the efforts of Dharmapala elsewhere including in the neighbouring countries of Tibet, Burma, and the Thailand19. Dhammika also observes that the Indian National Congress, except for Gandhi was secular in outlook and so more favourably disposed to Buddhism than to Hindu practices20.

Dhammika records subsequent events at Maha Bodhi within the Indian body politic up to the 1990s. Hindus were despised by the recent Chief Minister of Bihar Laloo Yadav of the 1990s who came from a scheduled caste community discriminated for millennia by Brahmins. Yadav circulated a bill to hand over management of Bodh Gaya completely to the Buddhists and to ban Hindu marriages there21. In the 1990s and afterwards, those who were converted to Buddhism from Dalit (untouchable) castes by Ambedkar and his followers also entered the fray on the side of the Buddhists. All these recent actions had indirect Sinhalese influences arising from the 19th century and 20th century connections with the Sinhalese Renaissance.

Allen: British India discovers Buddhism

Charles Allen in his The Buddha and the Sahibs treads on somewhat similar grounds as Dhammika and others discussed here in "the discovery" of Buddhism in the 19th and early 20th century by non-Buddhists. Allen was born and lived in India where six generations of his family served the British Raj. His other books have traced many facets of the British presence in the subcontinent. This time, he has turned to the discovery of Buddhism by the British.

Allen observes that Muslim invaders had destroyed Buddhist sites and this destruction continued till the arrival of the British, when it was reversed by British archaeologists. The "sahibs" of his narrative are not the Western Orientalists of Edward Said who distorted Middle East history through colonial lenses. The persons, Allen describes, were products of the European Enlightenment in the late 18th century. A key link in the Western discovery of Buddhism, Allen recalls, was the Asiatic Society founded by Sir William Jones in the latter part of the 18th century22. Allen also notes that even William Jones, the founder of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta believed firmly that history began with Adam and Eve and the Flood. Initially, these early British Orientalists arrived at some laughable conclusions such as the Buddha being African in origin or that the British Isles were included within the Hindu cosmography.

Many of the young British men who came to India in the 18th century were from a genteel background with a solid grounding in the Western Classics, mathematics and philosophy. Through their background in Western Classics, they were aware of the impressions of India of Alexander the Great as well as of Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador in the Mauryan court of Pataliputra. However, when these British hopefuls came ashore to India, they entered a country without a past, India's past not been yet written24. A Sinhalese connection gave key parts of this past.

Allen delves into the Sinhalese connection in the discovery of Indian Buddhism. He begins his sympathetic story when a party of travellers came to Bihar -- the land of Buddhist monasteries -- viharas. In the party was Dr Francis Buchanan an employee of the East India Company and a botanist. He was to gain prominence by bringing information about the religious edifices in Burma. And in 1797, he would make the first serious account in English of the Buddhist religion through his On the Religion and Literature of the Burmas25.

Allen traces the historical memory of Buddhism in the Western imagination from various Greek, Latin and Arabic sources. The writings of Marco Polo on Sri Lanka were the first description of a Buddhist country. Marco Polo (1254 - 1324 A.C.) described what he says the Muslims believed to be "Adam's Peak" but the Sinhalese calling it "Sakyamuni Burkhan's tomb -- clearly a corruption of Sakyamuni Buddha. Marco Polo in the recent translation from the Italian cited by Allen is described as giving a fairly accurate description of the life of Siddhartha from the time of his renunciation which Polo had got from Sinhala sources. Polo says that the Sinhalese believed that Adams Peak contains the teeth, hair and begging bowl of the Buddha. To obtain these, the Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan had sent an embassy in 1284 to Sri Lanka26.

CHAPTER XV. THE SAME CONTINUED. THE HISTORY OF SAGAMONI BORCAN [SAKYA-MUNI] AND THE BEGINNING OF IDOLATRY.

Furthermore you must know that in the Island of Seilan there is an exceeding high mountain; it rises right up so steep and precipitous that no one could ascend it, were it not that they have taken and fixed to it several great and massive iron chains, so disposed that by help of these men are able to mount to the top. And I tell you they say that on this mountain is the sepulchre of Adam our first parent; at least that is what the Saracens say. But the Idolaters say that it is the sepulchre of SAGAMONI BORCAN, before whose time there were no idols. They hold him to have been the best of men, a great saint in fact, according to their fashion, and the first in whose name idols were made.[NOTE 1]

He was the son, as their story goes, of a great and wealthy king. And he was of such an holy temper that he would never listen to any worldly talk, nor would he consent to be king. And when the father saw that his son would not be king, nor yet take any part in affairs, he took it sorely to heart. And first he tried to tempt him with great promises, offering to crown him king, and to surrender all authority into his hands. The son, however, would none of his offers; so the father was in great trouble, and all the more that he had no other son but him, to whom he might bequeath the kingdom at his own death. So, after taking thought on the matter, the King caused a great palace to be built, and placed his son therein, and caused him to be waited on there by a number of maidens, the most beautiful that could anywhere be found. And he ordered them to divert themselves with the prince, night and day, and to sing and dance before him, so as to draw his heart towards worldly enjoyments. But 'twas all of no avail, for none of those maidens could ever tempt the king's son to any wantonness, and he only abode the firmer in his chastity, leading a most holy life, after their manner thereof. And I assure you he was so staid a youth that he had never gone out of the palace, and thus he had never seen a dead man, nor any one who was not hale and sound; for the father never allowed any man that was aged or infirm to come into his presence. It came to pass however one day that the young gentleman took a ride, and by the roadside he beheld a dead man. The sight dismayed him greatly, as he never had seen such a sight before. Incontinently he demanded of those who were with him what thing that was? and then they told him it was a dead man. "How, then," quoth the king's son, "do all men die?" "Yea, forsooth," said they. Whereupon the young gentleman said never a word, but rode on right pensively. And after he had ridden a good way he fell in with a very aged man who could no longer walk, and had not a tooth in his head, having lost all because of his great age. And when the king's son beheld this old man he asked what that might mean, and wherefore the man could not walk? Those who were with him replied that it was through old age the man could walk no longer, and had lost all his teeth. And so when the king's son had thus learned about the dead man and about the aged man, he turned back to his palace and said to himself that he would abide no longer in this evil world, but would go in search of Him Who dieth not, and Who had created him.[NOTE 2]

So what did he one night but take his departure from the palace privily, and betake himself to certain lofty and pathless mountains. And there he did abide, leading a life of great hardship and sanctity, and keeping great abstinence, just as if he had been a Christian. Indeed, an he had but been so, he would have been a great saint of Our Lord Jesus Christ, so good and pure was the life he led.[NOTE 3] And when he died they found his body and brought it to his father. And when the father saw dead before him that son whom he loved better than himself, he was near going distraught with sorrow. And he caused an image in the similitude of his son to be wrought in gold and precious stones, and caused all his people to adore it. And they all declared him to be a god; and so they still say. [NOTE 4]

They tell moreover that he hath died fourscore and four times. The first time he died as a man, and came to life again as an ox; and then he died as an ox and came to life again as a horse, and so on until he had died fourscore and four times; and every time he became some kind of animal. But when he died the eighty-fourth time they say he became a god. And they do hold him for the greatest of all their gods. And they tell that the aforesaid image of him was the first idol that the Idolaters ever had; and from that have originated all the other idols. And this befel in the Island of Seilan in India.

The Idolaters come thither on pilgrimage from very long distances and with great devotion, just as Christians go to the shrine of Messer Saint James in Gallicia. And they maintain that the monument on the mountain is that of the king's son, according to the story I have been telling you; and that the teeth, and the hair, and the dish that are there were those of the same king's son, whose name was Sagamoni Borcan, or Sagamoni the Saint. But the Saracens also come thither on pilgrimage in great numbers, and they say that it is the sepulchre of Adam our first father, and that the teeth, and the hair, and the dish were those of Adam.[NOTE 5]

Whose they were in truth, God knoweth; howbeit, according to the Holy Scripture of our Church, the sepulchre of Adam is not in that part of the world.

Now it befel that the Great Kaan heard how on that mountain there was the sepulchre of our first father Adam, and that some of his hair and of his teeth, and the dish from which he used to eat, were still preserved there. So he thought he would get hold of them somehow or another, and despatched a great embassy for the purpose, in the year of Christ, 1284. The ambassadors, with a great company, travelled on by sea and by land until they arrived at the island of Seilan, and presented themselves before the king. And they were so urgent with him that they succeeded in getting two of the grinder teeth, which were passing great and thick; and they also got some of the hair, and the dish from which that personage used to eat, which is of a very beautiful green porphyry. And when the Great Kaan's ambassadors had attained the object for which they had come they were greatly rejoiced, and returned to their lord. And when they drew near to the great city of Cambaluc, where the Great Kaan was staying, they sent him word that they had brought back that for which he had sent them. On learning this the Great Kaan was passing glad, and ordered all the ecclesiastics and others to go forth to meet these reliques, which he was led to believe were those of Adam.

And why should I make a long story of it? In sooth, the whole population of Cambaluc went forth to meet those reliques, and the ecclesiastics took them over and carried them to the Great Kaan, who received them with great joy and reverence.[NOTE 6] And they find it written in their Scriptures that the virtue of that dish is such that if food for one man be put therein it shall become enough for five men: and the Great Kaan averred that he had proved the thing and found that it was really true.[NOTE 7]

So now you have heard how the Great Kaan came by those reliques; and a mighty great treasure it did cost him! The reliques being, according to the Idolaters, those of that king's son.

NOTE 1.—Sagamoni Borcan is, as Marsden points out, SAKYA-MUNI, or Gautama-Buddha, with the affix BURKHAN, or "Divinity," which is used by the Mongols as the synonym of Buddha.

"The Dewa of Samantakúta (Adam's Peak), Samana, having heard of the arrival of Budha (in Lanka or Ceylon) … presented a request that he would leave an impression of his foot upon the mountain of which he was guardian…. In the midst of the assembled Dewas, Budha, looking towards the East, made the impression of his foot, in length three inches less than the cubit of the carpenter; and the impression remained as a seal to show that Lanka is the inheritance of Budha, and that his religion will here flourish." (Hardy's Manual, p. 212.)

[Ma-Huan says (p. 212): "On landing (at Ceylon), there is to be seen on the shining rock at the base of the cliff, an impress of a foot two or more feet in length. The legend attached to it is, that it is the imprint of Shâkyamuni's foot, made when he landed at this place, coming from the Ts'ui-lan (Nicobar) Islands. There is a little water in the hollow of the imprint of this foot, which never evaporates. People dip their hands in it and wash their faces, and rub their eyes with it, saying: 'This is Buddha's water, which will make us pure and clean.'"—H.C.]

[Illustration: Adam's Peak. "Or est voir qe en ceste ysle a une montagne mont haut et si degrot de les rocches qe nul hi puent monter sus se ne en ceste mainere qe je voz dirai"….]

"The veneration with which this majestic mountain has been regarded for ages, took its rise in all probability amongst the aborigines of Ceylon…. In a later age, … the hollow in the lofty rock that crowns the summit was said by the Brahmans to be the footstep of Siva, by the Buddhists of Buddha, … by the Gnostics of Ieu, by the Mahometans of Adam, whilst the Portuguese authorities were divided between the conflicting claims of St. Thomas and the eunuch of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia." (Tennent, II. 133.)

["Near to the King's residence there is a lofty mountain reaching to the skies. On the top of this mountain there is the impress of a man's foot, which is sunk two feet deep in the rock, and is some eight or more feet long. This is said to be the impress of the foot of the ancestor of mankind, a Holy man called A-tan, otherwise P'an-Ku." (Ma-Huan, p. 213.)—H.C.]

Polo, however, says nothing of the foot; he speaks only of the sepulchre of Adam, or of Sakya-muni. I have been unable to find any modern indication of the monument that was shown by the Mahomedans as the tomb, and sometimes as the house, of Adam; but such a structure there certainly was, perhaps an ancient Kist-vaen, or the like. John Marignolli, who was there about 1349, has an interesting passage on the subject: "That exceeding high mountain hath a pinnacle of surpassing height, which on account of the clouds can rarely be seen. [The summit is lost in the clouds. (Ibn Khordâdhbeh, p. 43.)—H.C.] But God, pitying our tears, lighted it up one morning just before the sun rose, so that we beheld it glowing with the brightest flame. [They say that a flame bursts constantly, like a lightning, from the Summit of the mountain.—(Ibn Khordâdhbeh, p. 44.)—H.C.] In the way down from this mountain there is a fine level spot, still at a great height, and there you find in order: first, the mark of Adam's foot; secondly, a certain statue of a sitting figure, with the left hand resting on the knee, and the right hand raised and extended towards the west; lastly, there is the house (of Adam), which he made with his own hands. It is of an oblong quadrangular shape like a sepulchre, with a door in the middle, and is formed of great tabular slabs of marble, not cemented, but merely laid one upon another. (Cathay, 358.) A Chinese account, translated in Amyot's Mémoires, says that at the foot of the mountain is a Monastery of Bonzes, in which is seen the veritable body of Fo, in the attitude of a man lying on his side" (XIV. 25). [Ma-Huan says (p. 212): "Buddhist temples abound there. In one of them there is to be seen a full length recumbent figure of Shâkyamuni, still in a very good state of preservation. The dais on which the figure reposes is inlaid with all kinds of precious stones. It is made of sandalwood and is very handsome. The temple contains a Buddha's tooth and other relics. This must certainly be the place where Shâkyamuni entered Nirvâna."—H.C.] Osorio, also, in his history of Emanuel of Portugal, says: "Not far from it (the Peak) people go to see a small temple in which are two sepulchres, which are the objects of an extraordinary degree of superstitious devotion. For they believe that in these were buried the bodies of the first man and his wife" (f. 120 v.). A German traveller (Daniel Parthey, Nurnberg, 1698) also speaks of the tomb of Adam and his sons on the mountain. (See Fabricius, Cod. Pseudep. Vet. Test. II. 31; also Ouseley's Travels, I. 59.)

It is a perplexing circumstance that there is a double set of indications about the footmark. The Ceylon traditions, quoted above from Hardy, call its length 3 inches less than a carpenter's cubit. Modern observers estimate it at 5 feet or 5-1/2 feet. Hardy accounts for this by supposing that the original footmark was destroyed in the end of the sixteenth century. But Ibn Batuta, in the 14th, states it at 11 spans, or more than the modern report. [Ibn Khordâdhbeh at 70 cubits.—H.C.] Marignolli, on the other hand, says that he measured it and found it to be 2-1/2 palms, or about half a Prague ell, which corresponds in a general way with Hardy's tradition. Valentyn calls it 1-1/2 ell in length; Knox says 2 feet; Herman Bree (De Bry ?), quoted by Fabricius, 8-1/2 spans; a Chinese account, quoted below, 8 feet. These discrepancies remind one of the ancient Buddhist belief regarding such footmarks, that they seemed greater or smaller in proportion to the faith of the visitor! (See Koeppen, I. 529, and Beal's Fah-hian, p. 27.)

The chains, of which Ibn Batuta gives a particular account, exist still. The highest was called (he says) the chain of the Shahádat, or Credo, because the fearful abyss below made pilgrims recite the profession of belief. Ashraf, a Persian poet of the 15th century, author of an Alexandriad, ascribes these chains to the great conqueror, who devised them, with the assistance of the philosopher Bolinas,[1] in order to scale the mountain, and reach the sepulchre of Adam. (See Ouseley, I. 54 seqq.) There are inscriptions on some of the chains, but I find no account of them. (Skeen's Adam's Peak, Ceylon, 1870, p. 226.)

NOTE 2.—The general correctness with which Marco has here related the legendary history of Sakya's devotion to an ascetic life, as the preliminary to his becoming the Buddha or Divinely Perfect Being, shows what a strong impression the tale had made upon him. He is, of course, wrong in placing the scene of the history in Ceylon, though probably it was so told him, as the vulgar in all Buddhist countries do seem to localise the legends in regions known to them.

Sakya Sinha, Sakya Muni, or Gautama, originally called Siddhárta, was the son of Súddhodhana, the Kshatriya prince of Kapilavastu, a small state north of the Ganges, near the borders of Oudh. His high destiny had been foretold, as well as the objects that would move him to adopt the ascetic life. To keep these from his knowledge, his father caused three palaces to be built, within the limits of which the prince should pass the three seasons of the year, whilst guards were posted to bar the approach of the dreaded objects. But these precautions were defeated by inevitable destiny and the power of the Devas.

When the prince was sixteen he was married to the beautiful Yasodhara, daughter of the King of Koli, and 40,000 other princesses also became the inmates of his harem.

"Whilst living in the midst of the full enjoyment of every kind of pleasure, Siddhárta one day commanded his principal charioteer to prepare his festive chariot; and in obedience to his commands four lily-white horses were yoked. The prince leaped into the chariot, and proceeded towards a garden at a little distance from the palace, attended by a great retinue. On his way he saw a decrepit old man, with broken teeth, grey locks, and a form bending towards the ground, his trembling steps supported by a staff (a Deva had taken this form)…. The prince enquired what strange figure it was that he saw; and he was informed that it was an old man. He then asked if the man was born so, and the charioteer answered that he was not, as he was once young like themselves. 'Are there,' said the prince, 'many such beings in the world?' 'Your highness,' said the charioteer, 'there are many.' The prince again enquired, 'Shall I become thus old and decrepit?' and he was told that it was a state at which all beings must arrive."

The prince returns home and informs his father of his intention to become an ascetic, seeing how undesirable is life tending to such decay. His father conjures him to put away such thoughts, and to enjoy himself with his princesses, and he strengthens the guards about the palaces. Four months later like circumstances recur, and the prince sees a leper, and after the same interval a dead body in corruption. Lastly, he sees a religious recluse, radiant with peace and tranquillity, and resolves to delay no longer. He leaves his palace at night, after a look at his wife Yasodhara and the boy just born to him, and betakes himself to the forests of Magadha, where he passes seven years in extreme asceticism. At the end of that time he attains the Buddhahood. (See Hardy's Manual p. 151 seqq.) The latter part of the story told by Marco, about the body of the prince being brought to his father, etc., is erroneous. Sakya was 80 years of age when he died under the sál trees in Kusinára.

The strange parallel between Buddhistic ritual, discipline, and costume, and those which especially claim the name of CATHOLIC in the Christian Church, has been often noticed; and though the parallel has never been elaborated as it might be, some of the more salient facts are familiar to most readers. Still many may be unaware that Buddha himself, Siddhárta the son of Súddodhana, has found his way into the Roman martyrology as a Saint of the Church.

In the first edition a mere allusion was made to this singular story, for it had recently been treated by Professor Max Müller, with characteristic learning and grace. (See Contemporary Review for July, 1870, p. 588.) But the matter is so curious and still so little familiar that I now venture to give it at some length.

The religious romance called the History of BARLAAM and JOSAPHAT was for several centuries one of the most popular works in Christendom. It was translated into all the chief European languages, including Scandinavian and Sclavonic tongues. An Icelandic version dates from the year 1204; one in the Tagal language of the Philippines was printed at Manilla in 1712.[2] The episodes and apologues with which the story abounds have furnished materials to poets and story-tellers in various ages and of very diverse characters; e.g. to Giovanni Boccaccio, John Gower, and to the compiler of the Gesta Romanorum, to Shakspere, and to the late W. Adams, author of the Kings Messengers. The basis of this romance is the story of Siddhárta.

The story of Barlaam and Josaphat first appears among the works (in Greek) of St. John of Damascus, a theologian of the early part of the 8th century, who, before he devoted himself to divinity had held high office at the Court of the Khalif Abu Jáfar Almansúr. The outline of the story is as follows:—

St. Thomas had converted the people of India to the truth; and after the eremitic life originated in Egypt many in India adopted it. But a potent pagan King arose, by name ABENNER, who persecuted the Christians and especially the ascetics. After this King had long been childless, a son, greatly desired, is born to him, a boy of matchless beauty. The King greatly rejoices, gives the child the name of JOSAPHAT, and summons the astrologers to predict his destiny. They foretell for the prince glory and prosperity beyond all his predecessors in the kingdom. One sage, most learned of all, assents to this, but declares that the scene of these glories will not be the paternal realm, and that the child will adopt the faith that his father persecutes.

This prediction greatly troubled King Abenner. In a secluded city he caused a splendid palace to be erected, within which his son was to abide, attended only by tutors and servants in the flower of youth and health. No one from without was to have access to the prince; and he was to witness none of the afflictions of humanity, poverty, disease, old age, or death, but only what was pleasant, so that he should have no inducement to think of the future life; nor was he ever to hear a word of CHRIST or His religion. And, hearing that some monks still survived in India, the King in his wrath ordered that any such, who should be found after three days, should be burnt alive.

The Prince grows up in seclusion, acquires all manner of learning, and exhibits singular endowments of wisdom and acuteness. At last he urges his father to allow him to pass the limits of the palace, and this the King reluctantly permits, after taking all precautions to arrange diverting spectacles, and to keep all painful objects at a distance. Or let us proceed in the Old English of the Golden Legend.[3] "Whan his fader herde this he was full of sorowe, and anone he let do make redy horses and joyfull felawshyp to accompany him, in suche wyse that nothynge dyshonest sholde happen to hym. And on a tyme thus as the Kynges sone wente he mette a mesell and a blynde man, and whã he sawe them he was abasshed and enquyred what them eyled. And his seruautes sayd: These ben passions that comen to men. And he demaunded yf the passyons came to all men. And they sayd nay. Thã sayd he, ben they knowen whiche men shall suffre…. And they answered, Who is he that may knowe ye aduentures of men. And he began to be moche anguysshous for ye incustomable thynge hereof. And another tyme he found a man moche aged, whiche had his chere frouced, his tethe fallen, and he was all croked for age…. And thã he demaunded what sholde be ye ende. And they sayd deth…. And this yonge man remembered ofte in his herte these thynges, and was in grete dyscõforte, but he shewed hy moche glad tofore his fader, and he desyred moche to be enformed and taught in these thyges." [Fol. ccc. lii.]

At this time BARLAAM, a monk of great sanctity and knowledge in divine things, who dwelt in the wilderness of Sennaritis, having received a divine warning, travels to India in the disguise of a merchant, and gains access to Prince Josaphat, to whom he unfolds the Christian doctrine and the blessedness of the monastic life. Suspicion is raised against Barlaam, and he departs. But all efforts to shake the Prince's convictions are vain. As a last resource the King sends for a magician called Theudas, who removes the Prince's attendants and substitutes seductive girls, but all their blandishments are resisted through prayer. The King abandons these attempts and associates his son with himself in the government. The Prince uses his power to promote religion, and everything prospers in his hand. Finally King Abenner is drawn to the truth, and after some years of penitence dies. Josaphat then surrenders the kingdom to a friend called Barachias, and proceeds into the wilderness, where he wanders for two years seeking Barlaam, and much buffeted by the demons. "And whan Balaam had accomplysshed his dayes, he rested in peas about ye yere of Our Lorde. cccc. &. Ixxx. Josaphat lefte his realme the xxv. yere of his age, and ledde the lyfe of an heremyte xxxv. yere, and than rested in peas full of vertues, and was buryed by the body of Balaam." [Fol. ccc. lvi.] The King Barachias afterwards arrives and transfers the bodies solemnly to India.

This is but the skeleton of the story, but the episodes and apologues which round its dimensions, and give it its mediaeval popularity, do not concern our subject. In this skeleton the story of Siddhárta, mutatis mutandis is obvious.

The story was first popular in the Greek Church, and was embodied in the lives of the saints, as recooked by Simeon the Metaphrast, an author whose period is disputed, but was in any case not later than 1150. A Cretan monk called Agapios made selections from the work of Simeon which were published in Romaic at Venice in 1541 under the name of the Paradise, and in which the first section consists of the story of Barlaam and Josaphat. This has been frequently reprinted as a popular book of devotion. A copy before me is printed at Venice in 1865.[4]

From the Greek Church the history of the two saints passed to the Latin, and they found a place in the Roman martyrology under the 27th November. When this first happened I have not been able to ascertain. Their history occupies a large space in the Speculum Historiale of Vincent of Beauvais, written in the 13th century, and is set forth, as we have seen, in the Golden Legend of nearly the same age. They are recognised by Baronius, and are to be found at p. 348 of "The Roman Martyrology set forth by command of Pope Gregory XIII., and revised by the authority of Pope Urban VIII., translated out of Latin into English by G.K. of the Society of Jesus…. and now re-edited … by W.N. Skelly, Esq. London, T. Richardson & Son." (Printed at Derby, 1847.) Here in Palermo is a church bearing the dedication Divo Iosaphat.

Professor Müller attributes the first recognition of the identity of the two stories to M. Laboulaye in 1859. But in fact I find that the historian de Couto had made the discovery long before.[5] He says, speaking of Budão (Buddha), and after relating his history:

"To this name the Gentiles throughout all India have dedicated great and superb pagodas. With reference to this story we have been diligent in enquiring if the ancient Gentiles of those parts had in their writings any knowledge of St. Josaphat who was converted by Barlam, who in his Legend is represented as the son of a great King of India, and who had just the same up-bringing, with all the same particulars, that we have recounted of the life of the Budão…. And as a thing seems much to the purpose, which was told us by a very old man of the Salsette territory in Baçaim, about Josaphat, I think it well to cite it: As I was travelling in the Isle of Salsette, and went to see that rare and admirable Pagoda (which we call the Canará Pagoda[6]) made in a mountain, with many halls cut out of one solid rock … and enquiring from this old man about the work, and what he thought as to who had made it, he told us that without doubt the work was made by order of the father of St. Josaphat to bring him up therein in seclusion, as the story tells. And as it informs us that he was the son of a great King in India, it may well be, as we have just said, that he was the Budão, of whom they relate such marvels." (Dec. V. liv. vi. cap. 2.)

Dominie Valentyn, not being well read in the Golden Legend, remarks on the subject of Buddha: "There be some who hold this Budhum for a fugitive Syrian Jew, or for an Israelite, others who hold him for a Disciple of the Apostle Thomas; but how in that case he could have been born 622 years before Christ I leave them to explain. Diego de Couto stands by the belief that he was certainly Joshua, which is still more absurd!" (V. deel, p. 374.)

[Since the days of Couto, who considered the Buddhist legend but an imitation of the Christian legend, the identity of the stories was recognised (as mentioned supra) by M. Edouard Laboulaye, in the Journal des Débats of the 26th of July, 1859. About the same time, Professor F. Liebrecht of Liége, in Ebert's Jahrbuch für Romanische und Englische Literatur, II. p. 314 seqq., comparing the Book of Barlaam and Joasaph with the work of Barthélemy St. Hilaire on Buddha, arrived at the same conclusion.

In 1880, Professor T.W. Rhys Davids has devoted some pages (xxxvi.-xli.) in his Buddhist Birth Stories; or, Jataka Tales, to The Barlaam and Josaphat Literature, and we note from them that: "Pope Sixtus the Fifth (1585-1590) authorised a particular Martyrologium, drawn up by Cardinal Baronius, to be used throughout the Western Church.". In that work are included not only the saints first canonised at Rome, but all those who, having been already canonised elsewhere, were then acknowledged by the Pope and the College of Rites to be saints of the Catholic Church of Christ. Among such, under the date of the 27th of November, are included "The holy Saints Barlaam and Josaphat, of India, on the borders of Persia, whose wonderful acts Saint John of Damascus has described. Where and when they were first canonised, I have been unable, in spite of much investigation, to ascertain. Petrus de Natalibus, who was Bishop of Equilium, the modern Jesolo, near Venice, from 1370 to 1400, wrote a Martyrology called Catalogus Sanctorum; and in it, among the 'Saints,' he inserts both Barlaam and Josaphat, giving also a short account of them derived from the old Latin translation of St. John of Damascus. It is from this work that Baronius, the compiler of the authorised Martyrology now in use, took over the names of these two saints, Barlaam and Josaphat. But, so far as I have been able to ascertain, they do not occur in any martyrologies or lists of saints of the Western Church older than that of Petrus de Natalibus. In the corresponding manual of worship still used in the Greek Church, however, we find, under 26th August, the name 'of the holy Iosaph, son of Abener, King of India.' Barlaam is not mentioned, and is not therefore recognised as a saint in the Greek Church. No history is added to the simple statement I have quoted; and I do not know on what authority it rests. But there is no doubt that it is in the East, and probably among the records of the ancient church of Syria, that a final solution of this question should be sought. Some of the more learned of the numerous writers who translated or composed new works on the basis of the story of Josaphat, have pointed out in their notes that he had been canonised; and the hero of the romance is usually called St. Josaphat in the titles of these works, as will be seen from the Table of the Josaphat literature below. But Professor Liebrecht, when identifying Josaphat with the Buddha, took no notice of this; and it was Professor Max Müller, who has done so much to infuse the glow of life into the dry bones of Oriental scholarship, who first pointed out the strange fact—almost incredible, were it not for the completeness of the proof—that Gotama the Buddha, under the name of St. Josaphat, is now officially recognised and honoured and worshipped throughout the whole of Catholic Christendom as a Christian saint!" Professor T.W. Rhys Davids gives further a Bibliography, pp. xcv.-xcvii.

M.H. Zotenberg wrote a learned memoir (N. et Ext. XXVIII. Pt. I.) in 1886 to prove that the Greek Text is not a translation but the original of the Legend. There are many MSS. of the Greek Text of the Book of Barlaam and Joasaph in Paris, Vienna, Munich, etc., including ten MSS. kept in various libraries at Oxford. New researches made by Professor E. Kuhn, of Munich (Barlaam und Joasaph. Eine Bibliographisch-literargeschichtliche Studie, 1893), seem to prove that during the 6th century, in that part of the Sassanian Empire bordering on India, in fact Afghanistan, Buddhism and Christianity were gaining ground at the expense of the Zoroastrian faith, and that some Buddhist wrote in Pehlevi a Book of Yûdâsaf (Bodhisatva); a Christian, finding pleasant the legend, made an adaptation of it from his own point of view, introducing the character of the monk Balauhar (Barlaam) to teach his religion to Yûdâsaf, who could not, in his Christian disguise, arrive at the truth by himself like a Bodhisatva. This Pehlevi version of the newly-formed Christian legend was translated into Syriac, and from Syriac was drawn a Georgian version, and, in the first half of the 7th century, the Greek Text of John, a monk of the convent of St. Saba, near Jerusalem, by some turned into St. John of Damascus, who added to the story some long theological discussions. From this Greek, it was translated into all the known languages of Europe, while the Pehlevi version being rendered into Arabic, was adapted by the Mussulmans and the Jews to their own creeds. (H. Zotenberg, Mém. sur le texte et les versions orientales du Livre de Barlaam et Joasaph, Not. et Ext. XXVIII. Pt. I. pp. 1-166; G. Paris, Saint Josaphat in Rev. de Paris, 1'er Juin, 1895, and Poèmes et Légendes du Moyen Age, pp. 181-214.)

Mr. Joseph Jacobs published in London, 1896, a valuable little book, Barlaam and Josaphat, English Lives of Buddha, in which he comes to this conclusion (p. xli.): "I regard the literary history of the Barlaam literature as completely parallel with that of the Fables of Bidpai. Originally Buddhistic books, both lost their specifically Buddhistic traits before they left India, and made their appeal, by their parables, more than by their doctrines. Both were translated into Pehlevi in the reign of Chosroes, and from that watershed floated off into the literatures of all the great creeds. In Christianity alone, characteristically enough, one of them, the Barlaam book, was surcharged with dogma, and turned to polemical uses, with the curious result that Buddha became one of the champions of the Church. To divest the Barlaam-Buddha of this character, and see him in his original form, we must take a further journey and seek him in his home beyond the Himalayas."

[Illustration: Sakya Muni as a Saint of the Roman Martyrology. "Wie des Kunigs Son in dem aufscziechen am ersten sahe in dem Weg eynen blinden und eyn aufsmörckigen und eyen alten krummen Man."[7]]

Professor Gaston Paris, in answer to Mr. Jacobs, writes (Poèmes et Lég. du Moyen Age, p. 213): "Mr. Jacobs thinks that the Book of Balauhar and Yûdâsaf was not originally Christian, and could have existed such as it is now in Buddhistic India, but it is hardly likely, as Buddha did not require the help of a teacher to find truth, and his followers would not have invented the person of Balauhar-Barlaam; on the other hand, the introduction of the Evangelical Parable of The Sower, which exists in the original of all the versions of our Book, shows that this original was a Christian adaptation of the Legend of Buddha. Mr. Jacobs seeks vainly to lessen the force of this proof in showing that this Parable has parallels in Buddhistic literature."—H.C.]

NOTE 3.—Marco is not the only eminent person who has expressed this view of Sakyamuni's life in such words. Professor Max Müller (u.s.) says: "And whatever we may think of the sanctity of saints, let those who doubt the right of Buddha to a place among them, read the story of his life as it is told in the Buddhistic canon. If he lived the life which is there described, few saints have a better claim to the title than Buddha; and no one either in the Greek or the Roman Church need be ashamed of having paid to his memory the honour that was intended for St. Josaphat, the prince, the hermit, and the saint."

NOTE 4.—This is curiously like a passage in the Wisdom of Solomon: "Neque enim erant (idola) ab initio, neque erunt in perpetuum … acerbo enim luctu dolens pater cito sibi rapti filii fecit imaginem: et ilium qui tune quasi homo mortuus fuerat nunc tamquam deum colere coepit, et constituit inter servos suos sacra et sacrificia" (xiv. 13-15). Gower alludes to the same story; I know not whence taken:—

"Of Cirophanes, seith the booke,
That he for sorow, whiche he toke
Of that he sigh his sonne dede,
Of comfort knewe none other rede,
But lete do make in remembrance
A faire image of his semblance,
And set it in the market place:
Whiche openly to fore his face
Stood euery day, to done hym ease;
And thei that than wolden please
The Fader, shuld it obeye,
Whan that thei comen thilke weye."
—Confessio Amantis.[8]


NOTE 5.—Adam's Peak has for ages been a place of pilgrimage to Buddhists, Hindus, and Mahomedans, and appears still to be so. Ibn Batuta says the Mussulman pilgrimage was instituted in the 10th century. The book on the history of the Mussulmans in Malabar, called Tohfat-ul-Majáhidín (p. 48), ascribes their first settlement in that country to a party of pilgrims returning from Adam's Peak. Marignolli, on his visit to the mountain, mentions "another pilgrim, a Saracen of Spain; for many go on pilgrimage to Adam."

The identification of Adam with objects of Indian worship occurs in various forms. Tod tells how an old Rajput Chief, as they stood before a famous temple of Mahádeo near Udipúr, invited him to enter and worship "Father Adam." Another traveller relates how Brahmans of Bagesar on the Sarjú identified Mahadeo and Parvati with Adam and Eve. A Malay MS., treating of the origines of Java, represents Brahma, Mahadeo, and Vishnu to be descendants of Adam through Seth. And in a Malay paraphrase of the Ramáyana, Nabi Adam takes the place of Vishnu. (Tod. I. 96; J.A.S.B. XVI. 233; J.R.A.S. N.S. II. 102; J. Asiat. IV. s. VII. 438.)

NOTE 6.—The Pâtra, or alms-pot, was the most valued legacy of Buddha. It had served the three previous Buddhas of this world-period, and was destined to serve the future one, Maitreya. The Great Asoka sent it to Ceylon. Thence it was carried off by a Tamul chief in the 1st century, A.D., but brought back we know not how, and is still shown in the Malagawa Vihara at Kandy. As usual in such cases, there were rival reliques, for Fa-hian found the alms-pot preserved at Pesháwar. Hiuen Tsang says in his time it was no longer there, but in Persia. And indeed the Pâtra from Pesháwar, according to a remarkable note by Sir Henry Rawlinson, is still preserved at Kandahár, under the name of Kashkul (or the Begging-pot), and retains among the Mussulman Dervishes the sanctity and miraculous repute which it bore among the Buddhist Bhikshus. Sir Henry conjectures that the deportation of this vessel, the palladium of the true Gandhára (Pesháwar), was accompanied by a popular emigration, and thus accounts for the transfer of that name also to the chief city of Arachosia. (Koeppen, I. 526; Fah-hian, p. 36; H. Tsang, II. 106; J.R.A.S. XI. 127.)

Sir E. Tennent, through Mr. Wylie (to whom this book owes so much), obtained the following curious Chinese extract referring to Ceylon (written 1350): "In front of the image of Buddha there is a sacred bowl, which is neither made of jade nor copper, nor iron; it is of a purple colour, and glossy, and when struck it sounds like glass. At the commencement of the Yuen Dynasty (i.e. under Kúblái) three separate envoys were sent to obtain it." Sanang Setzen also corroborates Marco's statement: "Thus did the Khaghan (Kúblái) cause the sun of religion to rise over the dark land of the Mongols; he also procured from India images and reliques of Buddha; among others the Pâtra of Buddha, which was presented to him by the four kings (of the cardinal points), and also the chandana chu" (a miraculous sandal-wood image). (Tennent, I. 622; Schmidt, p. 119.)

The text also says that several teeth of Buddha were preserved in Ceylon, and that the Kaan's embassy obtained two molars. Doubtless the envoys were imposed on; no solitary case in the amazing history of that relique, for the Dalada, or tooth relique, seems in all historic times to have been unique. This, "the left canine tooth" of the Buddha, is related to have been preserved for 800 years at Dantapura ("Odontopolis"), in Kalinga, generally supposed to be the modern Púri or Jagannáth. Here the Brahmans once captured it and carried it off to Palibothra, where they tried in vain to destroy it. Its miraculous resistance converted the king, who sent it back to Kalinga. About A.D. 311 the daughter of King Guhasiva fled with it to Ceylon. In the beginning of the 14th century it was captured by the Tamuls and carried to the Pandya country on the continent, but recovered some years later by King Parakrama III., who went in person to treat for it. In 1560 the Portuguese got possession of it and took it to Goa. The King of Pegu, who then reigned, probably the most powerful and wealthy monarch who has ever ruled in Further India, made unlimited offers in exchange for the tooth; but the archbishop prevented the viceroy from yielding to these temptations, and it was solemnly pounded to atoms by the prelate, then cast into a charcoal fire, and finally its ashes thrown into the river of Goa.

The King of Pegu was, however, informed by a crafty minister of the King of Ceylon that only a sham tooth had been destroyed by the Portuguese, and that the real relique was still safe. This he obtained by extraordinary presents, and the account of its reception at Pegu, as quoted by Tennent from De Couto, is a curious parallel to Marco's narrative of the Great Kaan's reception of the Ceylon reliques at Cambaluc. The extraordinary object still so solemnly preserved at Kandy is another forgery, set up about the same time. So the immediate result of the viceroy's virtue was that two reliques were worshipped instead of one!

The possession of the tooth has always been a great object of desire to Buddhist sovereigns. In the 11th century King Anarauhta, of Burmah, sent a mission to Ceylon to endeavour to procure it, but he could obtain only a "miraculous emanation" of the relique. A tower to contain the sacred tooth was (1855), however, one of the buildings in the palace court of Amarapura. A few years ago the King of Burma repeated the mission of his remote predecessor, but obtained only a model, and this has been deposited within the walls of the palace at Mandalé, the new capital. (Turnour in J.A.S.B. VI. 856 seqq.; Koeppen, I. 521; Tennent, I. 388, II. 198 seqq.; MS. Note by Sir A. Phayre; Mission to Ava, 136.)

Of the four eye-teeth of Sakya, one, it is related, passed to the heaven of Indra; the second to the capital of Gandhára; the third to Kalinga; the fourth to the snake-gods. The Gandhára tooth was perhaps, like the alms-bowl, carried off by a Sassanid invasion, and may be identical with that tooth of Fo, which the Chinese annals state to have been brought to China in A.D. 530 by a Persian embassy. A tooth of Buddha is now shown in a monastery at Fu-chau; but whether this be either the Sassanian present, or that got from Ceylon by Kúblái, is unknown. Other teeth of Buddha were shown in Hiuen Tsang's time at Balkh, at Nagarahára (or Jalálábád), in Kashmir, and at Kanauj. (Koeppen, u.s.; Fortune, II. 108; H. Tsang, II. 31, 80, 263.)

[Illustration: Teeth of Budda. 1. At Kandy, after Tennent. 2. At Fu-Chau from Fortune.]

NOTE 7.—Fa-hian writes of the alms-pot at Pesháwar, that poor people could fill it with a few flowers, whilst a rich man should not be able to do so with 100, nay, with 1000 or 10,000 bushels of rice; a parable doubtless originally carrying a lesson, like Our Lord's remark on the widow's mite, but which hardened eventually into some foolish story like that in the text.

The modern Mussulman story at Kandahar is that the alms-pot will contain any quantity of liquor without overflowing.

This Pâtra is the Holy Grail of Buddhism. Mystical powers of nourishment are ascribed also to the Grail in the European legends. German scholars have traced in the romances of the Grail remarkable indications of Oriental origin. It is not impossible that the alms-pot of Buddha was the prime source of them. Read the prophetic history of the Pâtra as Fa-hian heard it in India (p. 161); its mysterious wanderings over Asia till it is taken up into the heaven Tushita where Maitreya the Future Buddha dwells. When it has disappeared from earth the Law gradually perishes, and violence and wickedness more and more prevail:

—"What is it?
The phantom of a cup that comes and goes?
* * * * * If a man
Could touch or see it, he was heal'd at once,
By faith, of all his ills. But then the times
Grew to such evil that the holy cup
Was caught away to Heaven, and disappear'd."
—Tennyson's Holy Grail


-- The Travels of Marco Polo, by Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Part 2 of 2

Allen then shifts the narrative to another date in Sri Lanka to the arrival of the Portuguese who attempted to destroy in Goa, a substitute of the Tooth Relic which they had discovered in Jaffna. In spite of attempts by the King of Pegu to give the equivalent of £10 million in today's money to spare the relic, the Portuguese did destroy the replica believing it to be the genuine one. As the Portuguese went further eastwards in Asia, they began to find more information of the Buddha and his religion. Allen recalls another Sri Lankan connection to the West's discovery of Buddhism in the form of Robert Knox who after being a prisoner of the King of Kandy became "Buddhism's first messenger to the British Isles''27. Knox, Allen notes, described also the sense of charity among the Sinhalese brought about through Buddhism.

Allen moves to Sri Lanka again with the arrival of Frederick North as the colony's first Governor (1798 -1805). North surrounded himself with those who learnt Sinhala and Tamil. Major- General MacDowall recorded a visit as the British ambassador to Sri Wickrama Rajasinhe, the last King of Kandy. De Joinville who accompanied him and was Surveyor General of the Maritime Provinces wrote an essay on the religions and customs of the country as well as its monuments. These, he wrote were similar to those of Burma and Siam and all three countries, he noted, worshipped the same Buddha28.

Others soon joined de Joinville's endeavours including William Chambers, then the leading light of the Asian Society in Madras who re-examined Robert Knox's writings which were found to be full of valuable information. Pali writings were now looked at Dr. Buchanan's On the Religion and Literature of the Burmas as the first text written in English on a Buddhist country since the observations of Knox almost 170 years previously was examined afresh. Dr. Buchanan's description was also the first to be based on local intellectual sources rather than the purely personal observations of Knox who wrote without reference to local intellectuals29.

Chambers confirmed the Buddha as a historical person and gave highlights of his biography as known to Buddhists. He also related that according to the Burmese, Buddhism there was brought from Sri Lanka. Buchanan said that the Buddhist practices he described were also found in other parts of Asia. If Buddhists had existed in Sri Lanka for many centuries, it was therefore reasonable to deduce, Buchanan implied, that it had also existed in India. Consequently Buchanan began to support Chambers in a search for Buddhism in India. Buchanan also now contradicted the theory of William Jones that the Buddha was the same as a historical Ethiopian or Egyptian lawgiver pointing out that the religion of Burma was very different from that of Egyptian polytheism30.

The text of Buchanan evoked an immediate response from Sri Lanka in the form of two long papers, one by de Joinville and the other by Mahoney submitted in 1801 to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta. Both referred to the Sinhalese writings in the Pali language and confirmed the general accuracy of Dr Buchanan's work in Burma. Mahoney described Sinhalese Buddhism, its cosmography and its current state. Buchanan on a visit to Nepal later found that what the Nepalese called Sakya Sinha was identical with the Buddha of the Burmese and the Sinhalese31. He confirmed that the Maha Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya was venerated not only by the Sinhalese but also the Burmese and the Siamese as it marked the tree under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment.

Buchanan observed that many of the present buildings of Gaya were built from material that was salvaged from older ones. The Hindu mahant there explained in 1811 that one of his predecessors had come upon the site around 100 years earlier namely circa 1710 A.D. This mahant was unaware of the true nature of the site. Exploring the site, Dr. Buchanan came across many tablets with the telling Buddhist refrain of Ye Dharma hetu prabhava... (''Those things which have a cause as their origin, their cause has been stated by the Buddha") making him conclude that the site was Buddhist. The mahant himself had told Buchanan that the site was the "Maha Bodhi". Buchanan found also a Buddhapada (Buddha Footprint) at the Bodhi tree which a recent convert said was asserted by Burmese Buddhists to have been planted by a King of Singhala [Sri Lanka] while some Burmese visitors claimed it to be planted by "Asoka Dharma". A recent convert to Buddhism told Buchanan that it was the King of Sinhala that had first planted the tree32.

Allen narrates the arrival in Sri Lanka around 1818 of George Turner. When Turner came, he had accepted the general British view that Sinhalese culture had little to offer and echoing Dr. Davy believed that the Sinhalese had no written history, instead they had only legendary tales. But by mid-1820s, Turner was posted to Ratnapura where he began to study Sinhalese culture including Pali. Guided by his Buddhist monk mentor, he began to read the Mahavamsa as well as the Mahavamsa Tika its prose commentary. He soon realised that it was a work of history not only of Sri Lanka but of Buddhism itself and set to work translating it34. In the course of his work, Turner had to expose the earlier completely faulty reading of the Mahavamsa by Edward Upham which had by then gained currency35.

At the time Turner came to Sri Lanka, James Prmcep had come to India and the latter gradually began to shake up the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Soon in 1823, he carne across the translation by Turner of the Mahavamsa with its detailed descriptions of early Indian and Sinhalese history36.

Allen notes that the Mahavamsa had been "first compiled several centuries before the Venerable Bede's Historia Ecelesiastica Gentis Anglorum and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. It [The Mahavamsa) remains the most powerful repost to Mill, Macaulay, Trevelyan and others who have sneered at South Asia's lack of early historical records"37. The above histories of the English are dated earliest to the eighth century. Princep then became one of the fiercest critics of Macaulay who saw no value in India's past knowledge38. Soon with the discovery of a particular type of inscriptions spread through India, Princep with the help of a Sinhalese Pali scholar deciphered them. He found that the King referred to in the inscriptions was the one celebrated in the Mahavamsa as King Asoka39.

Allen notes that Princep's unlocking of these inscriptions with the help of Sinhalese sources "remains unquestionably the greatest single advance in the recovery of India 's lost past"40. Soon other elements of Indian history were being decoded using the Mahavamsa. For example, Cunningham concluded that Sanchi could be identified as the monastery which Asoka built for his son Mahinda41. Allen records that after the Bharhut excavations, Cunningham was approached by the Sinhalese Buddhist monk Subhuti who explained many of the carvings at the Bharhut site as well as at Sanchi as illustrations drawn from the Jataka stories 42.

Allen shifting his gaze again to Sri Lanka, recalls how other key factors in the British discovery of Buddhism. This included a Buddhist monk in the late 19th century, as part of the Buddhist Renaissance, beginning to clear the jungles of Anuradhapura. Rhys Davids came to Sri Lanka in 1864 and began learning Buddhism and Pali leading to the founding in 1881 of the Pali Text Society which we should note was done with the intellectual and financial support of Sinhalese monks and laymen. Edwin Arnold reached out to Rhys David's book Buddhism which "provided both inspiration and source material" for his poem the Light of Asia43.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:47 am

Jean François Pons
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Accessed: 8/23/20

Jean François Pons (1688–1752) was a French Jesuit who pioneered the study of Sanskrit in the West.

He published a survey of Sanskrit literature in 1743, where he described the language as "admirable for its harmony, copiousness, and energy", reporting on the parsimony of the native grammatical tradition, informing the works of de Brosses, Dow, Sinner, Voltaire, Monboddo, Halhed, Beauzée, and Hervás, and was plagiarized by John Cleland (1778).


References

• Rosane Rocher, "Discovery of Sanskrit by Europeans" in Concise history of the language sciences from the Sumerians to the cognitivists, E. F. K. Koerner & R. E. Asher (eds.), 1995, p. 188.
• Rosane Rocher, Lord Monboddo, Sanskrit and Comparative Linguistics, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1980).
• H.W. Bodewitz, De late ‘ontdekking’ van het Sanskrit en de Oudindische cultuur in Europa, Leiden University thesis (2002).[1]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:50 am

Henry Thomas Colebrooke
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Accessed: 8/23/20

The Dayabhaga itself was only translated once before, by H.T. Colebrooke in 1810, reprinted by Parimal Publications (Delhi, 1984). In Colebrooke’s time, the Dayabhaga and the Mitakshara were virtually declared by him to be Hindu law on the subject of succession and inheritance in Bengal and the rest of British India. The frustrating process of seeking to ascertain “Hindu law” through new compilations of texts had earlier been abandoned as unworkable, and Colebrooke was deeply unhappy with the confusing array of responses from the pundits (experts on dharma who were asked leading questions about “law”, a classic case of failed cross-cultural communication). While the pundits still produced their learned opinions as part of the standard legal process, Colebrooke was desperate to procure a codified source of Hindu law. Ultimately he performed this task himself, fully aware that a British pandit’s work might not be acceptable to the Hindus. Evidently, British colonial agenda, rather than socio-legal sensitivity, were driving this astonishing enterprise….

Today, as Rocher states in the Preface, the present translation and edition are no longer primarily aimed at lawyers and the goal is purely academic: “to present, not only to Sanskritists and Indologists but also to legal historians, a translation of a text of a Sanskrit book that, for about one century and a half, has regulated all questions of partition and inheritance for Hindus living in Bengal” (p. vii).

All questions, really? While there can be no doubt about the place of the Dayabhaga as a key text in Anglo-Hindu law, Rocher himself had earlier (1972) questioned to what extent the Dayabhaga was actually “current in Bengal” (p. 20). How much of its eventual practical application reflects just the formal “official” law? Given the central role of patriarchy and of various customs all over India, the assumption that two texts could entirely govern “the law” seems inflated. What about the central role of family arrangements, to which Derrett – also from a practical angle – gave so much importance in his numerous writings? When a matter goes to court – if it ever comes to a final hearing – Anglo-Indian judges often deliberately overlooked social reality and textual variety in their desire to create a uniform system (as Rocher confirms at p. 39 n. 18). In recent litigation over Hindu property law, succession, and so-called “dowry disputes”, family arrangements have been upheld in an effort to achieve equity – and such arrangements might follow neither the principles of the Dayabhaga nor its rival text. Indeed, Colebrooke’s colonial construct is no longer operative in practice – not because it was superseded by the Hindu law reforms of 1956, but because formal legal approaches have never ruled the field to the total exclusion of family practices, covered by sadacara, the informal assessment of dharma.

In his detailed, learned introduction (pp. 1-50), Rocher first locates the Dayabhaga as “part of a long tradition of Sanskrit texts concerned with legal matters” (p. 1). But are we just dealing with “law” here, or with dharma? Without wishing to detract for a moment from the excellence of Rocher’s philological project, I must register some protest here over lack of legal clarity. When Rocher asserts that “[t]he oldest legal prescriptions in India are contained in the dharma-sutras (p. 1), are we to understand that the old texts were written by “jurists” for “lawyers” and were really prescriptive, rather than discussing and recommending various alternatives? Later, it becomes obvious that Rocher himself does not accept that view.

Further we read that “[w]hat is understood as “law” in the West is expressed in Sanskrit by the terms vivada and vyavahara, the former corresponding to substantive law, the latter to legal procedure” (p. 4). There is, however, no agreement in the West as to how we should understand or define “law” (see now Brian Tamanaha, A general jurisprudence of law and society. Oxford, 2001). More seriously, Robert Lingat, in The Classical law of India (Berkeley et al. 1973, p. 285) saw vivada as dispute or private litigation, and vyavahara as the more formal judicial process and procedure. Thus, both terms are “litigation” rather than substantive law, or merely “law”, as the Sanskrit-English dictionary of Monier-Williams also suggests.

When it comes to British colonial interference, Rocher is crystal clear that Colebrooke was desperate to have a code-like text and even doctored the manuscript to achieve that impression (p. 36). Rocher’s new translation cannot ignore this, so entrenched is the colonial pattern. Colebrooke created legal facts in 1810 by elevating these two Sanskrit texts above all others “as the Main representatives of two distinct systems of inheritance” (p. 21). This constructed duality gave rise to many questions about dates and mutual influence of the two authors.

While the Mitakshara must have been composed around 1120-1125 (p. 24), there has been much discussion about the date of the Dayabhaga. Rocher concludes with Derrett that the two authors must have been contemporaneous, working independently of each other in the beginning of the twelfth century.

Next, Rocher tackles the differences between Dayabhaga and Mitakshara law. In a nutshell, the Mitakshara principle has the effect that any male member of the joint family becomes a co-owner of the property from birth. Under the Dayabhaga, ownership of property only arises on the death of the estate’s owner, which clearly favours patriarchal authority; it is no surprise that there should have been various objections to this (p. 29). Rocher shows that Jimutavahana cannot have been the original inventor of the principles of the Bengal school, because they were known to Vijnanesvara, the supposed rival author, who rejected them at great length (p. 31). Thus, Jimutavahana cannot have been the founder of the Bengal School, nor was there anything Bengali about the Dayabhaga principles before Colebrooke intervened to make life easier for British lawyers. An old text was simply given a new lease of life.

Commenting on the text itself, in essence a commentary on earlier smriti works, Rocher highlights that there is actually little nyaya [justice] in this work, while the omnipresence of mimamsa techniques [critical investigation] is remarkable, making Colebrooke’s translation cumbersome to read. Rocher decided to include those tortuous passages, since his main endeavour was to let the original text speak for itself, while the commentaries are given less prominence. This is sound scholarly technique, and Rocher’s translation reads very well indeed as a result.

Researching over many years, Rocher found 44 manuscripts useful for collation. However, he argues that preparing a truly critical edition of the text is no longer possible, given the multitude of manuscripts and their highly conflated [many becoming one] nature.

-- Review of Jīmūtavāhana's Dāyabhāga. The Hindu Law of Inheritance in Bengal by Ludo Rocher, by Werner Menski


As criticism of the India Museum mounted, its star fell in the scholarly firmament of the metropole. Most of this criticism circulated privately among individuals who still sought consideration of one kind or another from the Company. But the pamphleteer Peter Gordon, after having his access to the museum revoked in 1835, launched a scathing attack in the open. Gordon’s portrayal of the directors as “the 24 men who are the most inimical to knowledge” might have been dismissed as hyperbole. Nonetheless, there was something in his observation that William Marsden, Wilkins’ son-in-law and an old servant of the Company, had presented his oriental collections not to the India Museum but to the British Museum and King’s College, London.165 Nor were these the only other institutions to which a metropolitan orientalist might now turn. After being rebuffed by the directors, William Francklin adopted the increasingly popular course of donating his manuscripts and antiquities to the Royal Asiatic Society.166 With the founding of this learned body in 1823, Wilkins’ vision of a London counterpart to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta had finally been realized—under the auspices not of the Company but of the Crown. The Royal Asiatic Society not only maintained a library and museum, but held meetings, printed a journal, and offered support to scholars: everything, in other words, that Wilkins had sought in vain from the directors. While the society’s prospectus did not cite a particular source of inspiration, it expressed “surprise” that such a body had not been established sooner.167 Any implied rebuke to the directors here could only have been reinforced by this founding document’s omission to mention them or the Company. If this were not enough, the society counted two sometime adversaries of the court, Wellesley and Moira, as its vice-patrons, and another, Henry Thomas Colebrooke, as its de facto head. The society did request the directors’ “countenance and support,” but only as an afterthought when it was already up and functioning.168 Nor did the directors appear eager to comply: it took three years and a pointed reminder by Colebrooke to obtain from them a small annual grant.169 Inevitably, the society maintained links with formal and informal networks of Company personnel. Yet even here, it set an independent course, establishing its own Committee of Correspondence to serve as “a medium through which persons in Asia may obtain from Europe, and persons in Europe may obtain from Asia, such information relative to the East as they cannot otherwise obtain with the same degree of facility.”170 The Company’s channels of communication, such language implied, were inadequate to the needs of scholarship. The advent of the Royal Asiatic Society thus both signaled and speeded the movement of scholarly activity away from the directors’ political orbit.

-- The East India Company and the Politics of Knowledge, A dissertation presented by Joshua Ehrlich to the Department of History, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the subject of History, Harvard University, August 2018




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Henry Thomas Colebrooke
A bust of Henry Thomas Colebrooke currently owned by the Royal Asiatic Society
Born: 15 June 1765, London, England
Died: 10 March 1837 (aged 71), London, England
Nationality: British
Occupation: Orientalist
Known for: Sanskrit scholar, one of the founders of the Royal Asiatic Society, one of the founders and second president of the Royal Astronomical Society

Henry Thomas Colebrooke FRS FRSE (15 June 1765 – 10 March 1837) was an English orientalist and mathematician. He has been described as "the first great Sanskrit scholar in Europe".[1]

Biography

Henry Thomas Colebrooke was born on 15 June 1765. His parents were Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, MP for Arundel and Chairman of the East India Company from 1769, and Mary Gaynor, daughter and heir of Patrick Gaynor of Antigua.

Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet (14 June 1729 – 5 August 1809), of Gatton in Surrey, was an English merchant banker, chairman of the East India Company and Member of Parliament, who bankrupted himself through unwise speculations.

He acquired Arnos Grove house in 1752 on the death of his father.


Image

The house was built after the London banker James Colebrooke bought the Arnolds estate in 1719[4] or 1720.[5] The estate was previously owned by William Whitmore, inherited via Thomas Whitmore from the daughter of William Acton, who purchased from Sir John Weld.[6] The house was later inherited by George Colebrooke and sold to Abraham Hume...

The mansion was described in 1821 by Edward Mogg in Paterson's Roads as:[9]

containing many apartments, equally conspicuous for size, elegance, and that air of close domestic comfort so extremely desirable in the ever-varying climate of this country; these were highly adorned by the refined taste and liberality of the late proprietor [Mr Walker] and exhibit, besides a select and valuable collection of paintings, numerous Etruscan vases and other antiquities from Herculaneum and Pompeii, about 4000 specimens of choice minerals, scientifically arranged, and a beautiful cabinet of maple-wood, in which there is a vast number of scarce and estimable shells. The paintings of the staircase, executed by Lanscroon, a pupil of Verrio, in 1723, and representing the triumphal entry of Julius Caesar into Rome, and the apotheosis of that hero, are in good preservation, and may be considered, with the exception of those in the royal palaces, the best staircase decorations now remaining in Middlesex. Several of the principal apartments are fitted up in a costly but delicate style; there is a fine chimneypiece of Sicilian jasper in the dining room, which was executed in Italy, and comprises a beautiful mask of Apollo, in statuary marble; the chimneypiece of the drawing room is likewise of Sicilian jasper, and this apartment is adorned with pillars and pilasters, imitative of the same material.

-- Arnos Grove house, by Wikipedia


After the death of his father and an older brother, George was left in sole charge of the family bank in Threadneedle Street, and invested some of his wealth in buying up control of the borough of Arundel in Sussex, where the family lived. Arundel was not a classic pocket borough, where the power to return MPs was literally tied to property rights that could be freely bought and sold, but a thoroughly corrupt one where bribery was routine and where maintaining influence of the elections required constant expenditure. Nevertheless, Colebrooke kept control for twenty years, sitting himself as its MP from 1754 to 1774 and for most of the period being able to choose also who held the other seat. Meanwhile, his brother, James had bought control of one seat in another rotten borough, Gatton in Surrey, for £23,000, and was also sitting in Parliament.

Both brothers were at first Opposition Whigs, but switched support to the Duke of Newcastle's government and were rewarded in 1759 with the creation of a baronetcy for James (who had daughters but no son) and a special remainder of the baronetcy to George. When James died in 1761, George inherited both the baronetcy, Gatton Park and the Lordship of the Manor at Gatton with its guaranteed control of one of the parliamentary seats there. He had Gatton Park landscaped by Capability Brown between 1762 and 1768

More valuably, however, Colebrooke's support for Newcastle ensured his eligibility for lucrative government contracts. By 1762, he held two of these contracts, one for remitting money to the British forces in the American colonies and the other for victualling the troops there. But with Newcastle's fall from power in that year, Colebrooke was immediately ejected from one contract by the new government, and the other was not renewed when it expired in 1765. Though offered compensation or new contracts on the formation of the Rockingham government, he preferred instead to accept a well-paid post as chirographer to the Court of Common Pleas. From this point onwards although he retained his seat in Parliament he was rarely active there.

Colebrooke's business interests were diverse. He speculated in land, buying large estates in Lanarkshire, and purchased plantations in Antigua (where his wife already had interests), Grenada and Dominica; he was also a member of a syndicate to settle the Ohio Valley in 1768, and had interests in New England. (Colebrook, New Hampshire is named in his honour.) Two interests in particular, however, led to his eventual downfall: his involvement in the East India Company and his speculations in raw materials.

Colebrooke was a Director of the East India Company from 1767–1771, Deputy Chairman 1768-69 and was elected Chairman three times, in 1769, 1770 and 1772. His final year in office was a disastrous one: the company got into financial difficulties (which led to the passing of the Regulating Act of 1773), he was accused of speculating in its stock while Chairman, and was left heavily in debt to a number of the other leading figures in the company, partly through arrangements to procure votes in the Company's elections. He lost much larger sums, however, speculating on prices of raw materials - hemp, flax, lead, logwood and alum among others. In 1771 he lost £190,000 dealing in hemp; from 1772 he was attempting to corner the world's supply of alum, buying up mines in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and saw much of the remainder of his fortune swallowed up when the market collapsed as part of a wider financial crisis.

At first, Colebrooke was able to stay in business with assistance from the Bank of England, but his bank temporarily stopped payment on 31 March 1773, and permanently (after three years in the control of trustees appointed by his creditors) on 7 August 1776. Yet at the same period he was spending considerable sums on the rebuilding of his London house in Soho Square. Most of his property, including his share in the rotten borough at Gatton, was sold to meet his liabilities, and a commission of bankruptcy was taken out against him in 1777.

-- George Colebrooke, by Wikipedia


He was educated at home.[2]

In 1782 Colebrooke was appointed through his father's influence to a writership with the East India Company in Calcutta. In 1786 and three years later he was appointed assistant collector in the revenue department at Tirhut. He wrote Remarks on the Husbandry and Commerce of Bengal, which was privately published in 1795, by which time he had transferred to Purnia. This opposed the East India Company's monopoly on Indian trade, advocating instead for free trade between Britain and India, which caused offence to the East India Company's governors.[2]

He was appointed to the magistracy of Mirzapur in 1795 and was sent to Nagpur in 1799 to negotiate an allowance with the Raja of Berar. He was unsuccessful in this, due to events elsewhere, and returned in 1801. On his return was made a judge of the new court of appeal in Calcutta, of which he became president of the bench in 1805. Also in 1805, Lord Wellesley appointed him honorary professor of Hindu law and Sanskrit at the college of Fort William. In 1807 he became a member of council, serving for five years, and was elected President of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta. He returned to England in 1815.[2]

In 1816 he was elected to the fellowship of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh[1] In 1820 he was a founder of the Royal Astronomical Society. He often chaired the society's meetings in the absence of the first president, William Herschel, and was elected as its second president on Herschel's death, serving 1823–1825. In 1823 he was also a founder of the Royal Asiatic Society, chairing its first meeting although he declined to become its president.[2][3][4][5]

Works

After eleven years' residence in India, Colebrooke began the study of the Sanskrit language; and to him was entrusted the translation of the major Digest of Hindu Laws, a monumental study of Hindu law which had been left unfinished by Sir William Jones. He translated the two treatises, the Mitacshara [Mitaksara] of Vijnaneshwara ...

The Mitākṣarā is a vivṛti (legal commentary) on the Yajnavalkya Smriti best known for its theory of "inheritance by birth." It was written by Vijñāneśvara, a scholar in the Western Chalukya court in the late eleventh and early twelfth century.

Vijnaneshwara was a prominent jurist of twelfth century India. His treatise, the Mitakshara, dealt with inheritance, and is one of the most influential legal treatises in Hindu law. Mitakshara is the treatise on Yājñavalkya Smṛti, named after a sage of the same name.

Vijnaneshwara was born in the village of Masimadu, near Basavakalyan in Karnataka.

He lived in the court of king Vikramaditya VI (1076-1126), the Western Chalukya Empire monarch.

-- Vijñāneśvara, by Wikipedia


Along with the Dāyabhāga, it was considered one of the main authorities on Hindu Law from the time the British began administering laws in India.

The Dāyabhāga is a Hindu law treatise written by Jīmūtavāhana which primarily focuses on inheritance procedure. The Dāyabhāga was the strongest authority in Modern British Indian courts in the Bengal region of India, although this has changed due to the passage of the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 and subsequent revisions to the act.[1] Based on Jīmūtavāhana's criticisms of the Mitākṣarā, it is thought that his work is precluded by the Mitākṣarā. This has led many scholars to conclude that the Mitākṣarā represents the orthodox doctrine of Hindu law, while the Dāyabhāga represents the reformed version.[2]

The central difference between the texts is based upon when one becomes the owner of property. The Dāyabhāga does not give the sons a right to their father's ancestral property until after his death, unlike Mitākṣarā, which gives the sons the right to ancestral property upon their birth. The digest has been commented on more than a dozen times.[3]

-- Dāyabhāga, by Wikipedia


The entire Mitākṣarā, along with the text of the Yājñavalkya-smṝti, is approximately 492 closely printed pages.[1]

-- Mitākṣarā, by Wikipedia


and the Dayabhaga of Jimutavahana, under the title Law of Inheritance. During his residence at Calcutta he wrote his Sanskrit Grammar (1805), some papers on the religious ceremonies of the Hindus, and his Essay on the Vedas (1805), for a long time the standard work in English on the subject.

• The Agriculture and Commerce of Bengal (1792)
• Bible translations into Persian Calcutta (1804)
• Kosha, Or Dictionary of the Sanscrit Language by Umura Singha with an English Interpretation and Annotations by H.T. Colebrooke. (1807)
• Algebra, with Arithmetic and mensuration: from the Sanscrit of Brahmegupta. By Brahmagupta, Bhāsakārācārya. (translated by Colebrooke 1817)
• Miscellaneous Essays. (1837) London: W.H. Allen & Company.
• On the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus. (published 1858) London: Williams & Norgate.

The standard author abbreviation Colebr. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[6]

• Translated Mithakshara into English

A posthumous essay on his father's life was published by Sir T. E. Colebrooke in 1873 as part of a reprinting of Miscellaneous Essays.

Family

Colebrooke married Elizabeth Wilkinson in 1810. The marriage was short-lived and she died in 1814.[1] Colebrooke had several illegitimate children from Indian women.[7]

References

1. Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002 (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. p. 194.
2. Lane-Poole, Stanley (1887). "Colebrooke, Henry Thomas (DNB00)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 11. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
3. Herbert Hall Turner. "The Decade 1820–1830". History of the Royal Astronomical Society 1820–1920. pp. 11, 18–19.
4. "Past RAS Presidents". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
5. G. H. Noehden (1824). "Report of the Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, at Its First General Meeting, on the 15th of March, 1823". Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. 1(1): vii–x. JSTOR 25581688.
6. IPNI. Colebr.
7. Prior, Katherine; Brennan, Lance; Haines, Robin (2001). "Bad Language: The Role of English, Persian and other Esoteric Tongues in the Dismissal of Sir Edward Colebrooke as Resident of Delhi in 1829". Modern Asian Studies. 35(1): 75–112. doi:10.1017/s0026749x01003614. ISSN 1469-8099.

Further reading

• Buckland, C. E., ed. (1906). "Colebrooke, Henry Thomas" in Dictionary of Indian Biography. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Company. Pp. 87–88. Also available online at: "Colebrooke, Henry Thomas", archive.org.
• Colebrooke, Thomas E. (1873). "Life of Colebrooke" in Frederick Max Müller's Chips from a German Workshop, (1875). Vol. IV, pp. 377–317. London: Longmans, Green & Company. Also available here in reprint edition (1881): "Life of Colebrooke", archive.org.
• Higgenbothom, J. J. (1874). "Colebrooke, Henry Thomas" in Men Whom India Has Known: Biographies of Eminent Indian Characters. Madras: Higgenbothom & Company. Pp. 75–79. Also available online: "Colebrooke, Henry Thomas", archive.org.
• Rocher, Rosane and Ludo (2011). The Making of Western Indology: Henry Thomas Colebrooke and the East India Company. London: Routledge for the Royal Asiatic Society. ISBN 978-0415336017
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Royal Astronomical Society [Astronomical Society of London]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/24/20

Image
Royal Astronomical Society
Entrance to the Royal Astronomical Society at Burlington House, London
Abbreviation: RAS
Motto: Latin: Quicquid nitet notandum (Whatever shines should be observed)
Formation: 10 March 1820; 200 years ago
Type: NGO, learned society
Legal status: Registered charity
Purpose: To promote the sciences of astronomy & geophysics
Professional title: Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS)
Headquarters: Burlington House
Location: Piccadilly, London
Website: http://www.ras.ac.uk
Formerly called: Astronomical Society of London

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is a learned society and charity that encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science.[2] Its headquarters are in Burlington House, on Piccadilly in London. The society has over 4,000 members ("Fellows"), most of them professional researchers or postgraduate students.[2] Around a quarter of Fellows live outside the UK.[2]

The society holds monthly scientific meetings in London, and the annual National Astronomy Meeting at varying locations in the British Isles. The RAS publishes the scientific journals Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and Geophysical Journal International, along with the trade magazine Astronomy & Geophysics.

The RAS maintains an astronomy research library, engages in public outreach and advises the UK government on astronomy education. The society recognises achievement in astronomy and geophysics by issuing annual awards and prizes, with its highest award being the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. The RAS is the UK adhering organisation to the International Astronomical Union and a member of the UK Science Council.

The society was founded in 1820 as the Astronomical Society of London to support astronomical research. At that time, most members were 'gentleman astronomers' rather than professionals. It became the Royal Astronomical Society in 1831 on receiving a Royal Charter from William IV. A Supplemental Charter in 1915 opened up the fellowship to women.

Publications

Main category: Royal Astronomical Society academic journals

One of the major activities of the RAS is publishing refereed journals. It publishes two primary research journals, the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in astronomy and (in association with the Deutsche Geophysikalische Gesellschaft) the Geophysical Journal International in geophysics. It also publishes the magazine A&G which includes reviews and other articles of wide scientific interest in a 'glossy' format. The full list of journals published (both currently and historically) by the RAS, with abbreviations as used for the NASA ADS bibliographic codes is:

• Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society (MmRAS): 1822–1977[3]
• Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS): Since 1827
• Geophysical Supplement to Monthly Notices (MNRAS): 1922–1957
• Geophysical Journal (GeoJ): 1958–1988
• Geophysical Journal International (GeoJI): Since 1989 (volume numbering continues from GeoJ)
• Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (QJRAS): 1960–1996
• Astronomy & Geophysics (A&G): Since 1997 (volume numbering continues from QJRAS)

Membership

Fellows


Full members of the RAS are styled Fellows, and may use the post-nominal letters FRAS. Fellowship is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is considered acceptable to the society. As a result of the society's foundation in a time before there were many professional astronomers, no formal qualifications are required. However, around three quarters of fellows are professional astronomers or geophysicists. The society acts as the professional body for astronomers and geophysicists in the UK and fellows may apply for the Science Council's Chartered Scientist status through the society. The fellowship passed 3,000 in 2003.

Friends

In 2009 an initiative was launched for those with an interest in astronomy and geophysics but without professional qualifications or specialist knowledge in the subject. Such people may join the Friends of the RAS, which offers popular talks, visits and social events.

Meetings

See also: National Astronomy Meeting

The Society organises an extensive programme of meetings:

The biggest RAS meeting each year is the National Astronomy Meeting, a major conference of professional astronomers. It is held over 4-5 days each spring or early summer, usually at a university campus in the United Kingdom. Hundreds of astronomers attend each year.

More frequent smaller 'ordinary' meetings feature lectures about research topics in astronomy and geophysics, often given by winners of the society's awards. They are normally held in Burlington House in London on the afternoon of the second Friday of each month from October to May. The talks are intended to be accessible to a broad audience of astronomers and geophysicists, and are free for anyone to attend (not just members of the society). Formal reports of the meetings are published in The Observatory magazine.[4]

Specialist discussion meetings are held on the same day as each ordinary meeting. These are aimed at professional scientists in a particular research field, and allow several speakers to present new results or reviews of scientific fields. Usually two discussion meetings on different topics (one in astronomy and one in geophysics) take place simultaneously at different locations within Burlington House, prior to the day's ordinary meeting. They are free for members of the society, but charge a small entry fee for non-members.[4]

The RAS holds a regular programme of public lectures aimed at a general, non-specialist, audience. These are mostly held on Tuesdays once a month, with the same talk given twice: once at lunchtime and once in the early evening. The venues have varied, but are usually in Burlington House or another nearby location in central London. The lectures are free, though some popular sessions require booking in advance.[5]

The society occasionally hosts or sponsors meetings in other parts of the United Kingdom, often in collaboration with other scientific societies and universities.

Library

Image
The Royal Astronomical Society at the University of London History Day, 2016.

The Royal Astronomical Society has a more comprehensive collection of books and journals in astronomy and geophysics than the libraries of most universities and research institutions. The library receives some 300 current periodicals in astronomy and geophysics and contains more than 10,000 books from popular level to conference proceedings. Its collection of astronomical rare books is second only to that of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh in the UK. The RAS library is a major resource not just for the society but also the wider community of astronomers, geophysicists, and historians.[6]

Education

The society promotes astronomy to members of the general public through their outreach pages for students, teachers, the public and media researchers. The RAS has an advisory role in relation to UK public examinations, such as GCSEs and A Levels.

Associated groups

The RAS sponsors topical groups, many of them in interdisciplinary areas where the group is jointly sponsored by another learned society or professional body:

• The Astrobiology Society of Britain (with the NASA Astrobiology Institute)
• The Astroparticle Physics Group (with the Institute of Physics)
• The Astrophysical Chemistry Group (with the Royal Society of Chemistry)
• The British Geophysical Association (with the Geological Society of London)
• The Magnetosphere Ionosphere and Solar-Terrestrial group (generally known by the acronym MIST)
• The UK Planetary Forum
• The UK Solar Physics group

Presidents

Main article: President of the Royal Astronomical Society

The first person to hold the title of President of the Royal Astronomical Society was William Herschel, though he never chaired a meeting, and since then the post has been held by many distinguished astronomers. The post has generally had a term of office of two years, but some holders resigned after one year e.g. due to poor health. Francis Baily and George Airy were elected a record four times each. Baily's eight years in the role are a record (Airy served for seven). Since 1876 no-one has served for more than two years in total.

The current president is Emma Bunce, who began her term on 26 June 2020[7] and will serve for two years.[8]

Awards and prizes

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The Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society awarded to Asaph Hall

The highest award of the Royal Astronomical Society is its Gold Medal, which can be awarded for any purpose but most frequently recognises extraordinary lifetime achievement.[9] Among the recipients best known to the general public are Albert Einstein in 1926, and Stephen Hawking in 1985.

Other awards are for particular topics in astronomy or geophysics research, which include the Eddington Medal, the Herschel Medal, the Chapman Medal and the Price Medal. Beyond research, there are specific awards for school teaching (Patrick Moore Medal), public outreach (Annie Maunder Medal), instrumentation (Jackson-Gwilt Medal) and history of science (Agnes Mary Clerke Medal). Lectureships include the Harold Jeffreys Lectureship in geophysics, the George Darwin Lectureship in astronomy, and the Gerald Whitrow Lectureship in cosmology.[10]

Other activities

Image
The council room at the RAS

The society occupies premises at Burlington House, London, where a library and meeting rooms are available to fellows and other interested parties. The society represents the interests of astronomy and geophysics to UK national and regional, and European government and related bodies, and maintains a press office, through which it keeps the media and the public at large informed of developments in these sciences. The society allocates grants to worthy causes in astronomy and geophysics, and assists in the management of the Paneth Trust.[11]

See also

• Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
• Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
• National Astronomy Week (NAW)
• List of astronomical societies
• List of geoscience organizations

References

1. "Philip Diamond to be new RAS Executive Director". Retrieved 29 December 2019.
2. "The aims of the Society". ras.ac.uk. Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 12 November2018.
3. Tayler, Roger (October 1977). "Editorial: Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 181 (1): i. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
4. "RAS Meetings". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
5. "RAS Public Lectures". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
6. "RAS Library home page". Retrieved 14 September 2018.
7. @RoyalAstroSoc (26 Jun 2020). "We are very excited to announce that Professor Emma Bunce has started her two year term as the new president of the Royal Astronomical Society!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
8. Hollis, Morgan (10 May 2019). "Election results 2019: new RAS Council". ras.ac.uk. Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
9. "Winners of the 2015 awards, medals and prizes - full details". 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January2015.
10. "Awards, Medals and Prizes". http://www.ras.org.uk. Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
11. RAS Website "Grants for Studies in Astronomy and Geophysics"

External links

• The Royal Astronomical Society
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Royal Society
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/23/20

In 1759, Anquetil finished his translation of the Avesta at Surat; in 1786 that of the Upanishads in Paris -- he had dug a channel between the hemispheres of human genius, correcting and expanding the old humanism of the Mediterranean basin. Less than fifty years earlier, his compatriots were asked what it was like to be Persian, when he taught them how to compare the monuments of the Persians to those of the Greeks. Before him, one looked for information on the remote past of our planet exclusively among the great Latin, Greek, Jewish, and Arabic writers. The Bible was regarded as a lonely rock, an aerolite. A universe in writing was available, but scarcely anyone seemed to suspect the immensity of those unknown lands. The realization began with his translation of the Avesta, and reached dizzying heights owing to the exploration in Central Asia of the languages that multiplied after Babel. Into our schools, up to that time limited to the narrow Grew-Latin heritage of the Renaissance [of which much had been transmitted to Europe by Islam], he interjected a vision of innumerable civilizations from ages past, of an infinity of literatures; moreover the few European provinces were not the only places to have left their mark in history.59

For the first time, the Orient was revealed to Europe in the materiality of its texts, languages, and civilizations. Also for the first time, Asia acquired a precise intellectual and historical dimension with which to buttress the myths of its geographic distance and vastness. By one of those inevitable contracting compensations for a sudden cultural expansion, Anquetil’s Oriental labors were succeeded by William Jones’s, the second of the pre-Napoleonic projects I mentioned above. Whereas Anquetil opened large vistas, Jones closed them down, codifying, tabulating, comparing. Before he left England for India in 1783, Jones was already a master of Arabic, Hebrew, and Persian. These seemed perhaps the least of his accomplishments: he was also a poet, a jurist, a polyhistor, a classicist, and an indefatigable scholar whose powers would recommend him to such as Benjamin Franklin, Edmund Burke, William Pitt, and Samuel Johnson. In due course he was appointed to “an honorable and profitable place in the Indies,” and immediately upon his arrival there to take up a post with the East India Company began the course of personal study that was to gather in, to rope off, to domesticate the Orient and thereby turn it into a province of European learning. For his personal work, entitled “Objects of Enquiry During My Residence in Asia” he enumerated among the topics of his investigation “the Laws of the Hindus and Mohammedans, Modern Politics and Geography of Hindustan, Best Mode of Governing Bengal, Arithmetic and Geometry, and Mixed Sciences of the Asiaticks, Medicine, Chemistry, Surgery, and Anatomy of the Indians, Natural Productions of India, Poetry, Rhetoric and Morality of Asia, Music of the Eastern Nations, Trade, Manufacture, Agriculture, and Commerce of India,” and so forth. On August 17, 1787, he wrote unassumingly to Lord Althorp that “it is my ambition to know India better than any other European ever knew it.” Here is where Balfour in 1910 could find the first adumbration of his claim as an Englishman to know the Orient more and better than anyone else.

Jones’s official work was the law, an occupation with symbolic significance for the history of Orientalism. Seven years before Jones arrived in India, Warren Hastings had decided that Indians were to be ruled by their own laws, a more enterprising project than it appears at first glance since the Sanskrit code of laws existed then for practical use only in a Persian translation, and no Englishman at the time knew Sanskrit well enough to consult the original texts. A company official, Charles Wilkins, first mastered Sanskrit, then began to translate the Institutes of Manu; in this labor he was soon to be assisted by Jones. (Wilkins, incidentally, was the first translator of the Bhagavad-Gita.) In January 1784 Jones convened the inaugural meeting of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, which was to be for India what the Royal Society was for England. As first president of the society and as magistrate, Jones acquired the effective knowledge of the Orient and of Orientals that was later to make him the undisputed founder (the phrase is A. J. Arberry’s) of Orientalism. To rule and to learn, then to compare Orient with Occident: these were Jones’s goals, which, with an irresistible impulse always to codify, to subdue the infinite variety of the Orient to “a complete digest” of laws, figures, customs, and works, he is believed to have achieved. His most famous pronouncement indicates the extent to which modern Orientalism, even in its philosophical beginnings, was a comparative discipline having for its principal goal the grounding of the European languages in a distant, and harmless, Oriental source:

The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three without believing them to have sprung from some common source.60


Many of the early English Orientalists in India were, like Jones, legal scholars, or else, interestingly enough, they were medical men with strong missionary leanings. So far as one can tell, most of them were imbued with the dual purpose of investigating “the sciences and the arts of Asia, with the hope of facilitating ameliorations there and of advancing knowledge and improving the arts at home”: 61 so the common Orientalist goal was stated in the Centenary Volume of the Royal Asiatic Society founded in 1823 by Henry Thomas Colebrooke. In their dealings with the modern Orientals, the early professional Orientalists like Jones had only two roles to fulfill, yet we cannot today fault them for strictures placed on their humanity by the official Occidental character of their presence in the Orient. They were either judges or they were doctors. Even Edgar Quinet, writing more metaphysically than realistically, was dimly aware of this therapeutic relationship. “L’Asie a les prophètes,” [Google translate: "Asia has the prophets"] he said in Le Génie des religions; “L’Europe a les docteurs.” [Google translate: "Europe has doctors."] 62 Proper knowledge of the Orient proceeded from a thorough study of the classical texts, and only after that to an application of those texts to the modern Orient. Faced with the obvious decrepitude and political impotence of the modern Oriental, the European Orientalist found it his duty to rescue some portion of a lost, past classical Oriental grandeur in order to “facilitate ameliorations” in the present Orient. What the European took from the classical Oriental past was a vision (and thousands of facts and artifacts) which only he could employ to the best advantage; to the modern Oriental he gave facilitation and amelioration -- and, too, the benefit of his judgment as to what was best for the modern Orient.

-- Orientalism, by Edward W. Said


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The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge
Coat of arms of the Royal Society. Unlike the coat of arms of the other corporations in Britain that use a closed helmet, the Royal Society uses a barred helmet, reserved for members of the nobility.
Formation: 28 November 1660; 359 years ago
Headquarters: London, SW1, United Kingdom
Membership: 1600 Fellows; 140 Foreign Members; 6 Royal Fellows
President: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
Website: royalsociety.org
Remarks: Motto: Nullius in verba ("Take nobody's word for it")

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Entrance to the Royal Society at 6–9 Carlton House Terrace, London

The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge,[1] is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society".[1] It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world.[2] The society fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement.

The society is governed by its Council, which is chaired by the Society's President, according to a set of statutes and standing orders. The members of Council and the President are elected from and by its Fellows, the basic members of the society, who are themselves elected by existing Fellows. As of 2016, there are about 1,600 fellows, allowed to use the postnominal title FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society), with up to 52 new fellows appointed each year. There are also royal fellows, honorary fellows and foreign members, the last of which are allowed to use the postnominal title ForMemRS (Foreign Member of the Royal Society). The Royal Society President is Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who took up the post on 30 November 2015.[3]

Since 1967, the society has been based at 6–9 Carlton House Terrace, a Grade I listed building in central London which was previously used by the Embassy of Germany, London.

History

Founding and early years


Further information: Gresham College and the formation of the Royal Society

The Invisible College has been described as a precursor group to the Royal Society of London, consisting of a number of natural philosophers around Robert Boyle.

Robert Boyle FRS (/bɔɪl/; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist (a title some give to 8th century Islamic scholar Jabir ibn Hayyan), and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle's law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system. Among his works, The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry. He was a devout and pious Anglican and is noted for his writings in theology...

After spending over three years at Eton, Robert travelled abroad with a French tutor. They visited Italy in 1641 and remained in Florence during the winter of that year studying the "paradoxes of the great star-gazer" Galileo Galilei, who was elderly but still living in 1641.

Robert returned to England from continental Europe in mid-1644 with a keen interest in scientific research. His father, Lord Cork, had died the previous year and had left him the manor of Stalbridge in Dorset as well as substantial estates in County Limerick in Ireland that he had acquired. Robert then made his residence at Stalbridge House, between 1644 and 1652, and conducted many experiments there. From that time, Robert devoted his life to scientific research and soon took a prominent place in the band of enquirers, known as the "Invisible College", who devoted themselves to the cultivation of the "new philosophy". They met frequently in London, often at Gresham College, and some of the members also had meetings at Oxford...

In 1663 the Invisible College became The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, and the charter of incorporation granted by Charles II of England named Boyle a member of the council. In 1680 he was elected president of the society, but declined the honour from a scruple about oaths.

He made a "wish list" of 24 possible inventions which included "the prolongation of life", the "art of flying", "perpetual light", "making armour light and extremely hard", "a ship to sail with all winds, and a ship not to be sunk", "practicable and certain way of finding longitudes", "potent drugs to alter or exalt imagination, waking, memory and other functions and appease pain, procure innocent sleep, harmless dreams, etc." They are extraordinary because all but a few of the 24 have come true...


In 1669 his health, never very strong, began to fail seriously and he gradually withdrew from his public engagements, ceasing his communications to the Royal Society, and advertising his desire to be excused from receiving guests, "unless upon occasions very extraordinary", on Tuesday and Friday forenoon, and Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. In the leisure thus gained he wished to "recruit his spirits, range his papers", and prepare some important chemical investigations which he proposed to leave "as a kind of Hermetic legacy to the studious disciples of that art", but of which he did not make known the nature. His health became still worse in 1691, and he died on 31 December that year, just a week after the death of his sister, Katherine, in whose home he had lived and with whom he had shared scientific pursuits for more than twenty years...

Robert Boyle was an alchemist; and believing the transmutation of metals to be a possibility, he carried out experiments in the hope of achieving it; and he was instrumental in obtaining the repeal, in 1689, of the statute of Henry IV against multiplying gold and silver. With all the important work he accomplished in physics – the enunciation of Boyle's law, the discovery of the part taken by air in the propagation of sound, and investigations on the expansive force of freezing water, on specific gravities and refractive powers, on crystals, on electricity, on colour, on hydrostatics, etc. – chemistry was his peculiar and favourite study. His first book on the subject was The Sceptical Chymist, published in 1661, in which he criticised the "experiments whereby vulgar Spagyrists are wont to endeavour to evince their Salt, Sulphur and Mercury to be the true Principles of Things." For him chemistry was the science of the composition of substances, not merely an adjunct to the arts of the alchemist or the physician...

Boyle incorporated his scientific interests into his theology, believing that natural philosophy could provide powerful evidence for the existence of God. In works such as Disquisition about the Final Causes of Natural Things (1688), for instance, he criticised contemporary philosophers – such as René Descartes – who denied that the study of nature could reveal much about God. Instead, Boyle argued that natural philosophers could use the design apparently on display in some parts of nature to demonstrate God's involvement with the world. He also attempted to tackle complex theological questions using methods derived from his scientific practices. In Some Physico-Theological Considerations about the Possibility of the Resurrection (1675), he used a chemical experiment known as the reduction to the pristine state as part of an attempt to demonstrate the physical possibility of the resurrection of the body. Throughout his career, Boyle tried to show that science could lend support to Christianity.

As a director of the East India Company he spent large sums in promoting the spread of Christianity in the East, contributing liberally to missionary societies and to the expenses of translating the Bible or portions of it into various languages. Boyle supported the policy that the Bible should be available in the vernacular language of the people....


Boyle also had a monogenist perspective about race origin. He was a pioneer studying races, and he believed that all human beings, no matter how diverse their physical differences, came from the same source: Adam and Eve. He studied reported stories of parents' giving birth to different coloured albinos, so he concluded that Adam and Eve were originally white and that Caucasians could give birth to different coloured races. Boyle also extended the theories of Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton about colour and light via optical projection (in physics) into discourses of polygenesis, speculating that maybe these differences were due to "seminal impressions". Taking this into account, it might be considered that he envisioned a good explanation for complexion at his time, due to the fact that now we know that skin colour is disposed by genes, which are actually contained in the semen. Boyle's writings mention that at his time, for "European Eyes", beauty was not measured so much in colour of skin, but in "stature, comely symmetry of the parts of the body, and good features in the face". Various members of the scientific community rejected his views and described them as "disturbing" or "amusing".

In his will, Boyle provided money for a series of lectures to defend the Christian religion against those he considered "notorious infidels, namely atheists, deists, pagans, Jews and Muslims", with the provision that controversies between Christians were not to be mentioned (see Boyle Lectures).

-- Robert Boyle, by Wikipedia


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Emblematic image of a Rosicrucian College; illustration from Speculum sophicum Rhodo-stauroticum, a 1618 work by Theophilus Schweighardt. Frances Yates identifies this as the "Invisible College of the Rosy Cross".

Invisible College is the term used for a small community of interacting scholars who often met face-to-face, exchanged ideas and encouraged each other. One group that has been described as a precursor group to the Royal Society of London, consisted of a number of natural philosophers around Robert Boyle. It has been suggested that other members included prominent figures later closely concerned with the Royal Society; but several groups preceded the formation of the Royal Society, and who the other members of this one were is still debated by scholars.

The concept of "invisible college" is mentioned in German Rosicrucian pamphlets in the early 17th century...

In letters in 1646 and 1647, Boyle refers to "our invisible college" or "our philosophical college". The society's common theme was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation. Three dated letters are the basic documentary evidence: Boyle sent them to Isaac Marcombes (Boyle's former tutor and a Huguenot, who was then in Geneva), Francis Tallents who at that point was a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and London-based Samuel Hartlib.

The Hartlib Circle were a far-reaching group of correspondents linked to Hartlib, an intelligencer [A bringer of intelligence (news, information); a spy or informant.] They included Sir Cheney Culpeper ...


Sir Cheney Culpeper (1601–1663) was an English landowner, a supporter of Samuel Hartlib, and a largely non-political figure of his troubled times, interested in technological progress and reform. His sister Judith was the second wife of John Colepeper, 1st Baron Colepeper...

Of the Hartlibians, he had most to do with Benjamin Worsley. He was interested in alchemy, but most of all in agricultural topics. While on the Parliamentarian side, he was a moderate, against the more theocratic tendencies. He had contacts in Parliament; but insufficient clout to make a real difference to the attitude to Hartlib's projects.

-- Cheney Culpeper, by Wikipedia


and Benjamin Worsley...

Benjamin Worsley (1618–1673) was an English physician, Surveyor-General of Ireland, experimental scientist, civil servant and intellectual figure of Commonwealth England. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, but may not have graduated.

His survey of land in Ireland was of land claimed by Oliver Cromwell under the Act of Settlement. Worsley was from 1651 a physician in Cromwell's army, but took to surveying around 1653. His work was too rough-and-ready to be of practical help to arranging land grants to soldiers, and William Petty took over.

He was an alchemical writer, and associate of Robert Boyle, and knew George Starkey from 1650. He was a major figure of the Invisible College of the 1640s.

Worsley associated with the circle around Samuel Hartlib and John Dury, and on their behalf visited Johann Rudolph Glauber in 1648-9. Worsley followed the theories of Michael Sendivogius and Clovis Hesteau. He was a projector in the manufacture of saltpeter (1646). Later, probably in the mid-1650s, he wrote De nitro theses quaedam. He also took up the alchemy of transmutation, with Johann Moriaen and Johannes Sibertus Kuffler.

He was also probably heterodox in religion.

-- Benjamin Worsley, by Wikipedia


George Starkey (1628–1665) was a Colonial American alchemist, medical practitioner, and writer of numerous commentaries and chemical treatises that were widely circulated in Western Europe and influenced prominent men of science, including Robert Boyle and Isaac Newton. After relocating from New England to London, England, in 1650, Starkey began writing under the pseudonym Eirenaeus Philalethes. Starkey remained in England and continued his career in medicine and alchemy until his death in the Great Plague of London in 1665...

After the death of his father in 1637, Starkey was sent to New England, where he continued his early education before enrolling at Harvard College in 1643 at the age of 15. Introduced to alchemical theory, he would later stylise himself as the "Philosopher by Fire." After graduating from Harvard in 1646, Starkey resided in the Boston area and earned a living practising medicine while at the same time experimenting in chemical technology.

Despite his successful medical practice, Starkey immigrated at age 22 to London, England, in November 1650 with his wife, Susanna Stoughton, whom he had married earlier that year. Susanna is believed to be the eldest daughter of Colonel Israel Stoughton, and sister of William Stoughton, a future governor of Massachusetts. It is not entirely known why Starkey decided to leave New England. One clue points to his interest in alchemy and chemical technology. It is known that Starkey was acquiring great skill at building ovens to facilitate alchemical experiments. However, he complained that the region offered unsuitable material needed for their operation, and therefore believed that relocating to England could provide access to better material and higher quality laboratory implements as well. Around this same time he changed his surname to Starkey for reasons that are unknown.

Once in England, Starkey's reputation as an alchemist and chymical furnace maker grew among the scientific community and he soon acquired a network of colleagues from the circle of friends and correspondents of Samuel Hartlib – a group of social reformers, utopians, and natural philosophers. Within a few years, however, Starkey found himself in financial trouble and was consequently incarcerated because of debt—possibly twice sometime in late 1653 and again in mid-1654. Imprisoned for a brief period of time, Starkey returned to the practice of alchemy and medicine upon his release in late 1654. Additionally, he wrote and published a number of popular treatises. Yet, his most important work was written under several pseudonyms during the period prior to imprisonment when he was associated with the Hartlib circle. The most famous of these works, the Introitus apertus ad occlusum regis palatium, was published in 1667 after his death...

He was a devoted follower of the Flemish iatrochemist Jan Baptist van Helmont, and had been tutored in the practical applications of metallurgy.


Jan Baptist van Helmont (12 January 1580 – 30 December 1644) was a chemist, physiologist, and physician from the Netherlands ruled by the Spanish branch of the Habsburgs. He worked during the years just after Paracelsus and the rise of iatrochemistry, and is sometimes considered to be "the founder of pneumatic chemistry". Van Helmont is remembered today largely for his ideas on spontaneous generation, his 5-year willow tree experiment, and his introduction of the word "gas" (from the Greek word chaos) into the vocabulary of science...

On the one hand, Van Helmont was a disciple of Paracelsus (though he scornfully repudiated his errors as well as those of most other contemporary authorities), a mystic and alchemist. On the other hand, he engaged in the new learning based on experimentation that was producing men like William Harvey, Galileo Galilei and Francis Bacon.


-- Jan Baptist van Helmont, by Wikipedia


His medical practice appears to have been highly successful, which included iatrochemistry.

-- George Starkey, by Wikipedia


who were interested, among other matters, in alchemy.[8] Worsley in 1646 was experimenting on saltpetre manufacture, and Charles Webster in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography argues that he was the "prime mover" of the Invisible College at this point: a network with aims and views close to those of the Hartlib Circle with which it overlapped.[9] Margery Purver concludes that the 1647 reference of "invisible college" was to the group around Hartlib concerned to lobby Parliament in favour of an "Office of Address" or centralised communication centre for the exchange of information.[7] Maddison suggests that the "Invisible College" might have comprised Worsley, John Dury and others with Boyle, who were interested in profiting from science (and possibly involving George Starkey).[10]

Richard S. Westfall distinguishes Hartlib's "Comenian circle" from other groups; and gives a list of "invisible college" members based on this identification. They comprise: William Petty, Boyle, Arnold Boate and Gerard Boate, Cressy Dymock, and Gabriel Platte. Miles Symner may have belonged to this circle.

-- Invisible College, by Wikipedia


The concept of "invisible college" is mentioned in German Rosicrucian pamphlets in the early 17th century. Ben Jonson in England referenced the idea, related in meaning to Francis Bacon's House of Solomon, in a masque The Fortunate Isles and Their Union from 1624/5.[4] The term accrued currency for the exchanges of correspondence within the Republic of Letters.[5]

In letters in 1646 and 1647, Boyle refers to "our invisible college" or "our philosophical college". The society's common theme was to acquire knowledge through experimental investigation.[6] Three dated letters are the basic documentary evidence: Boyle sent them to Isaac Marcombes (Boyle's former tutor and a Huguenot, who was then in Geneva), Francis Tallents who at that point was a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge,[7] and London-based Samuel Hartlib.[8]

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John Evelyn, who helped to found the Royal Society.

The Royal Society started from groups of physicians and natural philosophers, meeting at a variety of locations, including Gresham College in London. They were influenced by the "new science", as promoted by Francis Bacon in his New Atlantis, from approximately 1645 onwards.[9] A group known as "The Philosophical Society of Oxford" was run under a set of rules still retained by the Bodleian Library.[10] After the English Restoration, there were regular meetings at Gresham College.[11] It is widely held that these groups were the inspiration for the foundation of the Royal Society.[10]

Another view of the founding, held at the time, was that it was due to the influence of French scientists and the Montmor Academy in 1657, reports of which were sent back to England by English scientists attending. This view was held by Jean-Baptiste du Hamel, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle and Melchisédech Thévenot at the time and has some grounding in that Henry Oldenburg, the society's first secretary, had attended the Montmor Academy meeting.[12] Robert Hooke, however, disputed this, writing that:

[Cassini] makes, then, Mr Oldenburg to have been the instrument, who inspired the English with a desire to imitate the French, in having Philosophical Clubs, or Meetings; and that this was the occasion of founding the Royal Society, and making the French the first. I will not say, that Mr Oldenburg did rather inspire the French to follow the English, or, at least, did help them, and hinder us. But 'tis well known who were the principal men that began and promoted that design, both in this city and in Oxford; and that a long while before Mr Oldenburg came into England. And not only these Philosophic Meetings were before Mr Oldenburg came from Paris; but the Society itself was begun before he came hither; and those who then knew Mr Oldenburg, understood well enough how little he himself knew of philosophic matter.[13]


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Mace granted by Charles II.

On 28 November 1660, the 1660 committee of 12 announced the formation of a "College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning", which would meet weekly to discuss science and run experiments. At the second meeting, Sir Robert Moray announced that the King approved of the gatherings, and a royal charter was signed on 15 July 1662 which created the "Royal Society of London", with Lord Brouncker serving as the first president. A second royal charter was signed on 23 April 1663, with the king noted as the founder and with the name of "the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge"; Robert Hooke was appointed as Curator of Experiments in November. This initial royal favour has continued and, since then, every monarch has been the patron of the society.[14]

The society's early meetings included experiments performed first by Hooke and then by Denis Papin, who was appointed in 1684. These experiments varied in their subject area, and were both important in some cases and trivial in others.[15] The society also published an English translation of Essays of Natural Experiments Made in the Accademia del Cimento, under the Protection of the Most Serene Prince Leopold of Tuscany in 1684, an Italian book documenting experiments at the Accademia del Cimento.[16] Although meeting at Gresham College, the Society temporarily moved to Arundel House in 1666 after the Great Fire of London, which did not harm Gresham but did lead to its appropriation by the Lord Mayor. The Society returned to Gresham in 1673.[17]

There had been an attempt in 1667 to establish a permanent "college" for the society. Michael Hunter argues that this was influenced by "Solomon's House" in Bacon's New Atlantis and, to a lesser extent, by J. V. Andreae's Christianopolis, dedicated research institutes, rather than the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, since the founders only intended for the society to act as a location for research and discussion. The first proposal was given by John Evelyn to Robert Boyle in a letter dated 3 September 1659; he suggested a grander scheme, with apartments for members and a central research institute. Similar schemes were expounded by Bengt Skytte and later Abraham Cowley, who wrote in his Proposition for the Advancement of Experimental Philosophy in 1661 of a "'Philosophical College", with houses, a library and a chapel. The society's ideas were simpler and only included residences for a handful of staff, but Hunter maintains an influence from Cowley and Skytte's ideas.[18] Henry Oldenburg and Thomas Sprat put forward plans in 1667 and Oldenburg's co-secretary, John Wilkins, moved in a council meeting on 30 September 1667 to appoint a committee "for raising contributions among the members of the society, in order to build a college".[19] These plans were progressing by November 1667, but never came to anything, given the lack of contributions from members and the "unrealised—perhaps unrealistic"—aspirations of the society.[20]

18th century

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Sir Isaac Newton FRS, President of Royal Society, 1703–1727. Newton was one of the earliest Fellows of the Royal Society, elected in 1672.

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Lord Hardwicke, leader of the "Hardwicke Circle" that dominated society politics during the 1750s and '60s

During the 18th century, the gusto that had characterised the early years of the society faded; with a small number of scientific "greats" compared to other periods, little of note was done. In the second half, it became customary for His Majesty's Government to refer highly important scientific questions to the council of the society for advice, something that, despite the non-partisan nature of the society, spilled into politics in 1777 over lightning conductors. The pointed lightning conductor had been invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1749, while Benjamin Wilson invented blunted ones. During the argument that occurred when deciding which to use, opponents of Franklin's invention accused supporters of being American allies rather than being British, and the debate eventually led to the resignation of the society's president, Sir John Pringle. During the same time period, it became customary to appoint society fellows to serve on government committees where science was concerned, something that still continues.[21]

The 18th century featured remedies to many of the society's early problems. The number of fellows had increased from 110 to approximately 300 by 1739, the reputation of the society had increased under the presidency of Sir Isaac Newton from 1703 until his death in 1727,[22] and editions of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society were appearing regularly.[23] During his time as president, Newton arguably abused his authority; in a dispute between himself and Gottfried Leibniz over the invention of infinitesimal calculus, he used his position to appoint an "impartial" committee to decide it, eventually publishing a report written by himself in the committee's name.[22] In 1705, the society was informed that it could no longer rent Gresham College and began a search for new premises. After unsuccessfully applying to Queen Anne for new premises, and asking the trustees of Cotton House if they could meet there, the council bought two houses in Crane Court, Fleet Street, on 26 October 1710.[24] This included offices, accommodation and a collection of curiosities. Although the overall fellowship contained few noted scientists, most of the council were highly regarded, and included at various times John Hadley, William Jones and Hans Sloane.[25] Because of the laxness of fellows in paying their subscriptions, the society ran into financial difficulty during this time; by 1740, the society had a deficit of £240. This continued into 1741, at which point the treasurer began dealing harshly with fellows who had not paid.[26] The business of the society at this time continued to include the demonstration of experiments and the reading of formal and important scientific papers, along with the demonstration of new scientific devices and queries about scientific matters from both Britain and Europe.[27]

Some modern research has asserted that the claims of the society's degradation during the 18th century are false. Richard Sorrenson writes that "far from having 'fared ingloriously', the society experienced a period of significant productivity and growth throughout the eighteenth century", pointing out that many of the sources critical accounts are based on are in fact written by those with an agenda.[28] While Charles Babbage wrote that the practice of pure mathematics in Britain was weak, laying the blame at the doorstep of the society, the practice of mixed mathematics was strong and although there were not many eminent members of the society, some did contribute vast amounts – James Bradley, for example, established the nutation of the Earth's axis with 20 years of detailed, meticulous astronomy.[29]

Politically within the society, the mid-18th century featured a "Whig supremacy" as the so-called "Hardwicke Circle" of Whig-leaning scientists held the society's main Offices. Named after Lord Hardwicke, the group's members included Daniel Wray and Thomas Birch and was most prominent in the 1750s and '60s. The circle had Birch elected secretary and, following the resignation of Martin Folkes, the circle helped oversee a smooth transition to the presidency of Earl Macclesfield, whom Hardwicke helped elect.[30] Under Macclesfield, the circle reached its "zenith", with members such as Lord Willoughby and Birch serving as vice-president and secretary respectively. The circle also influenced goings-on in other learned societies, such as the Society of Antiquaries of London. After Macclesfield's retirement, the circle had Lord Morton elected in 1764 and Sir John Pringle elected in 1772.[31] By this point, the previous Whig "majority" had been reduced to a "faction", with Birch and Willoughby no longer involved, and the circle declined in the same time frame as the political party did in British politics under George III, falling apart in the 1780s.[32]

In 1780, the society moved again, this time to Somerset House. The property was offered to the society by His Majesty's Government and, as soon as Sir Joseph Banks became president in November 1778, he began planning the move. Somerset House, while larger than Crane Court, was not satisfying to the fellows; the room to store the library was too small, the accommodation was insufficient and there was not enough room to store the museum at all. As a result, the museum was handed to the British Museum in 1781 and the library was extended to two rooms, one of which was used for council meetings.[33]
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