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Dayananda Saraswati [Mul Shankar Tiwari]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/29/20

Blavatsky and Olcott had set sail for India in 1879 largely on the strength of their relationship with Dayananda Sarasvati and his Arya Samaj. A chance meeting in 1878 between Olcott and Moolji Thackeray, a member of the Arya Samaj of Bombay, led to a cordial correspondence with both organisations somewhat over-estimating the similarity of their aims. The Council of the Theosophical Society voted in favour of a merger with the Arya Samaj, and, in May 1878, even changed its name to the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj. When Blavatsky and Olcott landed in Bombay, they were helped by the head of the local Arya Samaj. Although a miss-understanding led him to assume they had more wealth than they did and so overdo the lavishness of his arrangements, and although this caused them to have some doubts about his honesty, the underlying warmth of their feeling for the Arya Samaj remained unaffected at this time. Moreover, after their arrival in India, they attracted supporters from within the Indian community, including prominent men such as Subramanian Aiyar, B. M. Malabari, Raganath Rao, Nurendranath Sen, and Kashinath Telang.7 To understand both the attraction of the Arya Samaj to theosophists and the attraction of theosophy to some Indians, we need to recognise that although Blavatsky's doctrines derived from the occult tradition, she made a crucial change to that tradition. She located the source of the ancient wisdom in India, not Egypt. She said, "it has been discovered that the very same ideas [as those the occultists had traced back to ancient Egypt] . . . may be read in Buddhistic and Brahmanical literature" (1972: I,626). The immediate source of the appeal of theosophy to its Indian followers was, of course, just this emphasis on the historical importance and epistemic validity of their Hindu tradition. If we are to understand why this emphasis had the appeal it did, however, we must consider why a number of Indians were ready to welcome a reformulation of their religious heritage. We need to understand how Indians adapted theosophical beliefs for their own purposes. Almost all the Indians who joined the Theosophical Society came from the western-educated elite. The British adopted a policy - most famously expounded by Macaulay - of educating an Indian elite in a western manner with the intention that this elite then would stand between the colonial rulers and the rest of the Indian people. The tension between the indigenous background of this elite and the worldview they encountered during their education left many of them with a sense of cultural crisis. This crisis consisted primarily of a perceived conflict between the Hinduism in which they had been raised and the scientific rationalism of the west; although there was, in addition, a perceived conflict between the social practices of Hinduism and the moral and political values associated with western rationalism and also with Christianity. It was this cultural crisis that provided the background to the neo-Hinduism of the Brahmo Sabha, the Arya Samaj, and also the Indian Section of the Theosophical Society.

The Brahmo Sabha, the Arya Samaj, and the Theosophical Society all reinterpreted Hinduism to bring it more into line with western science and ethics, thereby helping to resolve the cultural crisis described above; and, moreover, they did so in very similar ways. Although there were differences between the three groups, the differences should not obscure the basic similarity of their doctrines. The Brahmo Sabha was formed in 1828 by Rammohun Roy (Kopf 1979). Roy, heavily indebted to Unitarianism, adopted a universalist perspective, according to which all the religions of the world had a shared core dictated by a pure reason; but he also drew on themes found in western indology to argue Vedic Hinduism came nearer to the true universal religion than did Christianity. Thus, Roy called on Hindus to reform their religion so as to return to the pure Vedanta. It was from this perspective that he condemned the contemporary practices of a corrupt Hinduism, speaking out in favour of widows remarrying, and against both child marriage and sati. Although Dayananda came from Gujurat, and although he formed the first Arya Samaj in Bombay, the Arya Samaj soon came to represent a sort of Punjabi response to Brahmoism, which itself was very much a product of Bengal (Jones 1976; Jordens 1978). Dayananda too called for a return to the pure Vedic faith. He too sought to reform not only strictly religious practices such as idol worship, but also social ones such as child marriage. However, Dayananda rejected Roy's universalism in favour of a militant assertion of Hindu superiority - he even maintained a doctrine of Vedic infallibility, according to which the ancient rishis had grasped all the truths of modern science, including the theory of evolution. The important thing for us to note, however, is the extent to which theosophy embraced core doctrines shared by the Brahmo Sabha and the Arya Samaj. Like Roy and Dayananda, Blavatsky reasserted the validity of Indian culture, especially Hinduism, in the face of the attacks on it by some Christian missionaries. Again like Roy and Dayananda, she did so by appealing to a pure Vedic faith that had become corrupted, where this pure Vedic faith more than met the stringent requirements of a properly defined rationalism. And finally like Roy and Dayananda, she went on to champion various religious and social reforms as necessary to purge Hinduism of its corrupt elements and thereby return it to pure Vedanta. It was with these general doctrines that western-educated Indians, from within the Brahmo Sabha, the Arya Samaj, and also the Theosophical Society, responded to the cultural crisis that then confronted them.8 We can conclude, therefore, first, that theosophy was part of a broader neo-Hinduism characterised by specific intellectual commitments, and, second, that the attraction of theosophy to a section of Indian society can be explained in much the same way as can that of other neo-Hindu organisations. Although there were differences between neo-Hindu organisations, differences which appear, for example, in the later disagreement between the theosophists and Dayananda, they still shared various core doctrines in common. Because theosophy incorporated these core doctrines, it came to occupy a place within the neo-Hindu movement.

-- Theosophy and the Origins of the Indian National Congress, by Mark Bevir

At the end of 1543 … Xavier encountered a Brahmin who revealed to him their secret monotheism: there was only a single God, creator of heaven and earth, and they worshipped this God and not the idols, which were demons. This doctrine was taught in their schools, but the Brahmins were obliged not to reveal it. Xavier added that they had books [scripturas], written in a learned tongue, which contained the commandments.…

It was only toward the end of the sixteenth century that the Vedas are first mentioned, by Agostinho de Azevedo, an Augustinian… The Brahmins, the “masters of their religion,” teach a unified doctrine of God, creation, and the corruption of creatures…

Azevedo’s brief account of the content of the four “origins” makes clear that he had no real access to the Vedas themselves. When he comes to elaborate on the content of the fourfold Veda, he in fact names a series of other texts—all in Tamil…

They say that this first cause is God, and that he is a pure spirit, incorporeal, infinite, full of all power and knowledge and truth, and present everywhere, which they call Carvēsparaṉ [Xarves Zibarum] which means the creator of all…

Despite his claim, then, that the Vedas are the original scriptures that prescribe what the gentiles of India are to believe and what rites they are to perform, Azevedo’s actual sources are all much later Tamil sources…

Bernier … notes that having learned Sanskrit,

they ordinarily put themselves to reading the puranas, which are an interpretation and abridgement of the Vedas, which are very large, at least if they are those which were shown to me in Benares. They are also very rare, so much so that my agha could never find them for sale, whatever diligence he used; for they keep them well hidden, fearing that the Mahometans should get hold of and burn them, as they have done several times…

[T]he Brahmins’ texts—and the teachings they contained—were kept secret….

The first Jesuit to name the Vedas is Jacome Fenicio, who had been in India since 1584… In 1603 Fenicio reports writing a manual of Hindu mythology, in which he mentions that he has copied three hundred verses critical of idolatry from a text in Malayalam ascribed to Pākkanār... Fenicio also mentions and names the four Vedas in connection with the mythology of Brahmā, but he does not otherwise show any knowledge of Vedic sources…

Nobili is the first European known to have read parts of the Vedas… Nobili discovered that while some parts of them did indeed refer to “God in the true and absolute sense” (Brahma)—and even contained “an adumbration of the recondite mystery of the most Holy Trinity”—other parts described superstitious rites directed to false deities (Brahmā) so that “the sayings they record are in striking contradiction one with another.”… Significantly, Nobili also notes that the term Veda refers not only to the “law” of the Brahmin but also to knowledge (scientia) more broadly. It was for this reason that he used it in coining many terms to refer to aspects of Christian life and practice, and even to Christianity itself… This usage was followed by Protestants in the following century and beyond…

He concludes that … by metonymy all these works are identified with the Vedas…

[ I]n September 1706 Ziegenbalg reported that books were being copied out for him by the elderly schoolmaster he had engaged to teach him Tamil…

It is clear, both from the fact that the works were being copied in Tamil and from Ziegenbalg’s later catalogue of his library, that these were not the Vedas. As he began reading Tamil texts, Ziegenbalg’s interest in the Vedas receded, and he even came to doubt their very existence… Ziegenbalg says that he doubts the “lawbooks” exist because none of the many thousands of Tamils to whom he has spoken had seen them. They have only been told by the Brahmins that they exist, but none of the Brahmins Ziegenbalg had spoken to had access to them either… He adds that while the Brahmins make much of the four Vedas, they do not allow others even to see, much less to read, them…

In 1711 one of the Jesuits in this mission, Jean-Venant Bouchet, argued that Hindu religious texts were a diabolic imitation of the Christian scriptures. Although he had not been able to obtain copies of the Vedas, he had been able to learn enough of their contents from “certain teachers” to be able to pronounce it an imitation of the books of Moses…

Louis de Bourzes… [states] that to communicate the Veda to others was a crime punishable by many millions of years in hell… He corrects Bouchet (without mentioning his name) on the question of whether there were at first five Vedas, saying that he has been assured constantly that there are only four… he writes that the name Veda is applied by extension to a whole range of other texts that are not, strictly, Veda… The Vedas proper are never read and expounded to the people—they would not be capable of understanding them…

The reputation of the Vedas in Europe around the turn of the eighteenth century demonstrates what Dorothy Figueria has aptly called “the authority of an absent text.” An intriguing demonstration of this is a mention of the Vedas in a text that was as much sought after—and as much discussed in ignorance of its actual contents—as were the Vedas themselves: De tribus impostoribus. The idea of a blasphemous treatise that grouped Jesus Christ, Moses, and Muhammad as the three impostors who had fooled the world begins with an encyclical from Pope Gregory IX against the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1239. For the next four centuries, accusations of having authored such a treatise—or even just having possessed a copy of it—swirled around Europe, applied to anyone whose orthodoxy was in doubt—from Thomas Scoto (a Franciscan friar accused, arrested, and probably burned to death in Lisbon in 1335) to Michael Servetus and Giordano Bruno, burned alive in Geneva in 1553 and in Rome in 1600, respectively. The text itself, however, proved elusive. When a version of this notorious text was finally printed, in 1753, it bore a false date of 1598. Caland dated De tribus impostoribus sixty years earlier still, to 1538, and therefore suggested that that De tribus impostoribus was likely the first European text to mention the Vedas. In fact, the reference to the Vedas in De tribus impostoribus is one reason for dating it much later, most likely to a manuscript of 1688 by Johann Müller. ..

From Ziegenbalg, Lacroze learned that the Indians, despite their outward idolatry, preserved also a knowledge of the real nature of the supreme being. Rogerius, Baldaeus, and the Jesuits persuaded him that this could be proven, if only the Vedas could be found and translated… Mosheim acknowledged the reputation of Oriental philosophers for wisdom, but regretted that little more could be said until the “very ancient book of the Brachmans called Vedam” was translated into another language…

In 1726 Gargam told Souciet he had been offered a translation of the Vedas. Even though he had not yet read it, he thought it would be of “very great use to all the missionaries . . . in refuting the errors of the Gentiles.”…

Calmette refers to the Brahmins’ secrecy about the Vedas:

Ever since India has been known, it does not appear that the Europeans have been able to unearth this book which the Brames scruple to communicate and which they transcribe superstitiously in the woods or in remote places where they cannot be seen by any who are not of their caste. (1730: 25v)

I have at last recovered the four Vedas, of which the first is called Rougvedam, the second Ejourvedam, the third Samavedam, the fourth Adarvanavedam. The fourth is that which, so long as there have been missionaries in India, has been said to have been thrown into the sea by the Brahmins. Thus, that which the Brahmins have until now kept hidden more than the Jews have the books of Moses, that which they have communicated to no other nation of the world, not even to Indians if they are not of their caste, finally falls into our hands and the sea itself has given up its prey. (1732: 35r)…

In his letter he describes how both Gargam, his close colleague in the northern reaches of the Carnatic mission, and Jean-François Pons, a Jesuit collecting Sanskrit texts in Bengal, had been deceived into buying texts purporting to be Vedas… while Calmette did obtain the Rg, Yajur, and Sama Veda samhitas, his “Adarvana Vedam” is in fact an assortment of tantric and magical texts connected with goddess worship called Atharvanatantraraja and Atharvanamantraśāstra….

[Calmette] adds that it was remarkable how few Brahmins understood Vedic Sanskrit… Some of these works, like others sent by the Jesuits, were not so much copies of actual Indian texts as verbal abstracts of the texts recited by scholars and recorded, on paper not palm-leaves, by converts who adorned them with Christian symbols…

[T]he Jesuits had thus finally succeeded in obtaining for European libraries at least parts of the Vedas…

The growing reputation of the Vedas in Europe was not without effect in India, however. Among the Jesuits, Gargam and Calmette were convinced of the value of obtaining the Vedas, or at least of responding to the demand for them from Europe. This is perhaps reflected also in that the works of preparatio evangelica composed, probably in French, by the Carnatic Jesuits were labelled “Vedam”… Although Francis Whyte Ellis saw these texts in Pondicherry in 1816, only the Ezour-Vedam survives. While their author cannot be determined with certainty, Ludo Rocher has demonstrated that they were probably produced among the Jesuits of the Carnatic mission…

[T]he Tranquebar missionaries gave a brief account of the Vedas. They report that despite their efforts to see the Vedas, they have been told that they are not written, but that boys (who can only be Brahmins) learn sections of them from a priest by repeating it constantly. The language in which they are recorded, which they call Grantha, is so old that no one can understand it without referring to the sastra. Few learn the fourth part, because it consists of sorcery…

[ I]n 1737, four of these missionaries announced that they had obtained a translation of the Yajur Veda… the text that was published in the Hallesche Berichte had, according to Albrecht Weber, “not the slightest thing to do with the Yajurveda,” instead representing “an encyclopedic and systematically ordered representation of the modern Brahmanical world and life-view.”…

[T]he Vedas [Le Gac] dispatched to Europe… remained unread throughout the eighteenth century… Paulinus saw them in late 1789, but … was not permitted enough time to examine them closely. In 1847 the Jesuit Julien Bach commented wryly: “No Indianist is tempted to make use of it, and it is from these books that we can say: Sacred they are, because no one touches them.”…

Voltaire received a manuscript in French entitled Ezour-Vedam in late 1760… Pierre Sonnerat correctly identified the Ezour-Vedam as “definitely not one of the four Vedams” but rather “a book of controversy, written by a missionary”… Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil Duperron, the leading French Orientalist of his time …defended the authenticity of the Ezour-Vedam as late as 1808… In Surat, Anquetil Duperron was offered, through a Parsi intermediary, manuscripts containing extracts of the four Vedas. He declined… because the Brahmin—and Jain—scholars whom he asked to certify the authenticity of the texts assured him they were incomplete…

While the Ezour Vedam was being discussed by Voltaire and others, the Vedas sent by Calmette languished unread in the Bibliotheque Imperiale. They were even excluded from the catalogue of Sanskrit manuscripts prepared by Alexander Hamilton and Louis-Mathieu Langlès in 1807, again because they were mostly not in Devanagari script...

In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão… Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the samhitas of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century…

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, [which] are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

It is perhaps significant that it was in a royal library, rather than in a Brahmin pathasala, that Polier found manuscripts of the Vedas. But the same is not true of the manuscripts acquired in Banaras only fifteen years later by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, during the period (1795–97) when he was appointed as judge and magistrate at nearby Mirzapur…

I cannot conceive how it came to be ever asserted that the Brahmins were ever averse to instruct strangers; several gentlemen who have studied the language find, as I do, the greatest readiness in them to give us access to all their sciences. They do not even conceal from us the most sacred texts of their Vedas.

The several gentlemen would likely have included General Claude Martin, Sir William Jones, and Sir Robert Chambers. These were all East India Company employees who obtained Vedic manuscripts (Jones from Polier) in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Why was it so much easier for Polier, Colebrooke, and others to obtain what it had been so difficult for the Jesuits and impossible for the Pietists?...

Despite Calmette’s statement about no European having been able to unearth this text “since India has been known,” the evidence suggests rather that no European other than Nobili had seriously sought to obtain the Vedas. The “false” Vedas obtained by the Pietists two years after Calmette—and by Gargam and Pons six years before—are explicable by the flexibility of the term Veda; we do not need to postulate either duplicity or secrecy on the part of those who transmitted these texts.

The question of the availability of the texts in manuscript form touches on the hotly debated issue of the oral transmission of the Vedas. That there was a powerful presumption against writing down Hindu texts, and the Vedas in particular, is not controversial. “One who reads from a written text” (likhita-pathaka) is included among a list of the six worst types of those who recite the Vedas…. We do not have to fall into what Johannes Bronkhorst calls “the brahmanical trap” —imagining that the Vedas were never written down—in order to accept that the brahminical prejudice against writing down the Vedas would have meant that it was far less likely that European scholars would come across manuscripts of the Vedas than manuscripts of other texts…

Many Europeans—both Jesuits from Xavier to Bouchet and Calmette, and Protestants from Rogerius to Ziegenbalg and his Pietist successors, as well non-clerical authors like Bernier and Alexander Dow—mentioned restrictions on who could hear the Vedas. This alone would have made the Vedas harder to find; most Hindus would not have had access to them either. But we should not overlook that many of the same writers also stated that even among Brahmins the Vedas were not widely known. Thus, in addition to the reasons suggested above, it seems that one reason, other than religious scruple, for the difficulty Europeans experienced in attempting to obtain copies of the Vedas was a simple lack of knowledge of the Vedas, despite their acknowledged authority, on the part of many Indians. In this sense, the Veda was an “absent text” not only for Europeans, but for many Indians too.

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

Dayananda Saraswati
Born: Mul Shankar Tiwari, 12 February 1824, Tankara, Company Raj (present-day Gujarat, India)
Died: 30 October 1883 (aged 59)[1], Ajmer, Ajmer-Merwara, British India (present-day Rajasthan, India) [Dayananda Sarasvati, original name Mula Sankara, (born 1824, Tankara, Gujarat, India—died October 30, 1883, Ajmer, Rajputana)]
Religion: Hinduism
Nationality: Indian
Founder of: Arya Samaj
Philosophy: Vedic
Religious career
Guru: Virajanand Dandeesha
Influenced by: Kanada, Yāska, Kashyapa, Patanjali, Pāṇini, Kapila, Akshapada Gautama, Badarayana, Adi Shankara, Ramanuja
Influenced: Madam Cama, Pandit Lekh Ram, Swami Shraddhanand, Shyamji Krishna Varma, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Mahatma Hansraj, Lala Lajpat Rai
Literary works: Satyarth Prakash (1875); Rigvedadibhashyabhumika; Vyavharabhanu

There are undoubtedly many learned men among the followers of every religion. Should they free themselves from prejudice, accept the universal truths – that is those truths that are to be found alike in all religions and are of universal application-,reject all things in which the various religions differ and treat each other lovingly, it will be greatly to the advantage of the world

Dayananda Saraswati (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883) was an Indian philosopher, social leader and founder of the Arya Samaj, a reform movement of the Vedic dharma. He was the first to give the call for Swaraj as "India for Indians" in 1876, a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.[2][3] Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in India at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies. Subsequently, the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan called him one of the "makers of Modern India", as did Sri Aurobindo.[4][5][6]

Those who were influenced by and followed Dayananda included Madam Cama, Pandit Lekh Ram, Swami Shraddhanand, Pandit Guru Dutt Vidyarthi,[7] Shyamji Krishna Varma (who established the Indian Home Rule Society and India House in England), Kishan Singh, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Mahadev Govind Ranade, Ashfaq Ullah Khan,[8] Mahatma Hansraj, Lala Lajpat Rai,[9][10] Yogmaya Neupane.[11]

He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from boyhood and a scholar. He believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma and Reincarnation. He emphasized the Vedic ideals of brahmacharya, including celibacy and devotion to God.

Among Dayananda's contributions were his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as in Hindi.

Early life

Dayananda Saraswati was born on the 10th day of waning moon in the month of Purnimanta Falguna (12 February 1824) on the tithi to a Brahmin Hindu family[12] in Jeevapar Tankara, Kathiawad region (now Morbi district of Gujarat.)[13][14] His original name was Mul Shankar because he was born in Dhanu Rashi and Mul Nakshatra. His father was Karshanji Lalji Kapadi, and his mother was Yashodabai.

When he was eight years old, his Yajnopavita Sanskara ceremony was performed, marking his entry into formal education. His father was a follower of Shiva and taught him the ways to impress Shiva. He was also taught the importance of keeping fasts. On the occasion of Shivratri, Dayananda sat awake the whole night in obedience to Shiva. During one of these fasts, he saw a mouse eating the offerings and running over the idol's body. After seeing this, he questioned that if Shiva could not defend himself against a mouse, then how could he be the saviour of the world.[15]

The deaths of his younger sister and his uncle from cholera led Dayananda to ponder the meaning of life and death. He began asking questions which worried his parents. He was engaged in his early teens, but he decided marriage was not for him and ran away from home in 1846.[16][17]

Dayananda Saraswati spent nearly twenty-five years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. He gave up material goods and lived a life of self-denial, devoting himself to spiritual pursuits in forests, retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and pilgrimage sites in northern India. During these years he practised various forms of yoga and became a disciple of a religious teacher named Virajanand Dandeesha. Virajanand believed that Hinduism had strayed from its historical roots and that many of its practices had become impure. Dayananda Sarasvati promised Virajanand that he would devote his life to restoring the rightful place of the Vedas in the Hindu faith.[18]

Dayanand's mission

Aum or Om is considered by the Arya Samaj to be the highest and most proper name of God.

He believed that Hinduism had been corrupted by divergence from the founding principles of the Vedas and that Hindus had been misled by the priesthood for the priests' self-aggrandizement. For this mission, he founded the Arya Samaj, enunciating the Ten Universal Principles as a code for Universalism, called Krinvanto Vishwaryam. With these principles, he intended the whole world to be an abode for Nobles (Aryas).

His next step was to reform Hinduism with a new dedication to God. He travelled the country challenging religious scholars and priests to discussions, winning repeatedly through the strength of his arguments and knowledge of Sanskrit and Vedas.[19] Hindu priests discouraged the laity from reading Vedic scriptures, and encouraged rituals, such as bathing in the Ganges River and feeding of priests on anniversaries, which Dayananda pronounced as superstitions or self-serving practices. By exhorting the nation to reject such superstitious notions, his aim was to educate the nation to return to the teachings of the Vedas, and to follow the Vedic way of life. He also exhorted the Hindu nation to accept social reforms, including the importance of Cows for national prosperity as well as the adoption of Hindi as the national language for national integration. Through his daily life and practice of yoga and asanas, teachings, preaching, sermons and writings, he inspired the Hindu nation to aspire to Swarajya (self governance), nationalism, and spiritualism. He advocated the equal rights and respects to women and advocated for the education of all children, regardless of gender.

Dayanand also made critical analyses of faiths including Christianity & Islam, as well as of other Indian faiths like Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. In addition to discouraging idolatry in Hinduism,[20] he was also against what he considered to be the corruption of the true and pure faith in his own country. Unlike many other reform movements of his times within Hinduism, the Arya Samaj's appeal was addressed not only to the educated few in India, but to the world as a whole as evidenced in the sixth principle of the Arya Samaj. As a result, his teachings professed universalism for all the living beings and not for any particular sect, faith, community or nation.

Arya Samaj allows and encourages converts to Hinduism. Dayananda's concept of dharma is stated in the "Beliefs and Disbeliefs" section of Satyartha Prakash, he says:

"I accept as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with impartial justice, truthfulness and the like; that which is not opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas. Whatever is not free from partiality and is unjust, partaking of untruth and the like, and opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas—that I hold as adharma."

"He, who after careful thinking, is ever ready to accept truth and reject falsehood; who counts the happiness of others as he does that of his own self, him I call just."

— Satyarth Prakash

Dayananda's Vedic message emphasized respect and reverence for other human beings, supported by the Vedic notion of the divine nature of the individual. In the ten principles of the Arya Samaj, he enshrined the idea that "All actions should be performed with the prime objective of benefiting mankind", as opposed to following dogmatic rituals or revering idols and symbols. The first five principles speak of Truth, while the last five speak of a society with nobility, civics, co-living, and disciplined life. In his own life, he interpreted moksha to be a lower calling, as it argued for benefits to the individual, rather than calling to emancipate others.

Dayananda's "back to the Vedas" message influenced many thinkers and philosophers the world over.[21]


Dayanand Saraswati is recorded to have been active since he was 14, which time he was able to recite religious verses and teach about them. He was respected at the time for taking part in religious debates. His debates were attended by large crowds.

On 22 October 1869 in Varanasi, where he won a debate against 27 scholars and 12 expert pandits. The debate was said to have been attended by over 50,000 people. The main topic was "Do the Vedas uphold deity worship?"[22][23]

Arya Samaj

Main article: Arya Samaj

Dayananda Saraswati's creations, the Arya Samaj, condemned practices of several different religions and communities, including such practices as idol worship, animal sacrifice, pilgrimages, priest craft, offerings made in temples, the castes, child marriages, meat eating and discrimination against women. He argued that all of these practices ran contrary to good sense and the wisdom of the Vedas.

Views on superstitions

He severely criticized practices which he considered to be superstitions, including sorcery, and astrology, which were prevalent in India at the time. Below are several quotes from his book, Sathyarth Prakash:

"They should also counsel then against all things that lead to superstition, and are opposed to true religion and science, so that they may never give credence to such imaginary things as ghosts (Bhuts) and spirits (Preta)."

— Satyarth Prakash

"All alchemists, magicians, sorcerers, wizards, spiritists, etc. are cheats and all their practices should be looked upon as nothing but downright fraud. Young people should be well counseled against all these frauds, in their very childhood, so that they may not suffer through being duped by any unprincipled person."

— Satyarth Prakash

On Astrology, he wrote,

when these ignorant people go to an astrologer and say " O Sir! What is wrong with this person'? He replies "The sun and other stars are maleficent to him. If you were to perform a propitiatory ceremony or have magic formulas chanted, or prayers said, or specific acts of charity done, he will recover. Otherwise, I should not be surprised, even if he were to lose his life after a long period of suffering."

Inquirer – Well, Mr. Astrologer, you know, the sun and other stars are but inanimate things like this earth of ours. They can do nothing but give light, heat, etc. Do you take them for conscious being possessed of human passions, of pleasure and anger, that when offended, bring on pain and misery, and when propitiated, bestow happiness on human beings?

Astrologer – Is it not through the influence of stars, then, that some people are rich and others poor, some are rulers, whilst others are their subjects?

Inq. – No, it is all the result of their deeds….good or bad.

Ast. – Is the Science of stars untrue then?

Inq. – No, that part of it which comprises Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, etc., and which goes by the name of Astronomy is true; but the other part that treats of the influence of stars on human beings and their actions and goes by the name of Astrology is all false.

— Chapter 2.2 Satyarth Prakash

He makes a clear distinction between Jyotisha Shaastra and astrology, calling astrology a fraud.

"Thereafter, they should thoroughly study the Jyotisha Shaastra – which includes Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Geography, Geology, and Astronomy in two years. They should also have practical training in these Sciences, learn the proper handling of instruments, master their mechanism, and know how to use them. But they should regard Astrology – which treats of the influence of stars and constellation on the destinies of man, of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness of time, of horoscopes, etc. – as a fraud, and never learn or teach any books on this subject.

— Under "The scheme of studies" Page 73 of the English Version of Satyarth Prakash

Views on other religions


See also: Criticism of Islam

He viewed Islam to be waging wars and immorality. He doubted that Islam had anything to do with the God, and questioned why a God would hate every non-believer, allowing the slaughter of animals, and command Muhammad to slaughter innocent people.[24]

He further described Muhammad as "imposter", and one who held out "a bait to men and women, in the name of God, to compass his own selfish needs". He regarded Quran as "Not the Word of God. It is a human work. Hence it cannot be believed in".[25]


See also: Criticism of Christianity and Criticism of Jesus § Dayanand Saraswati

His analysis of the Bible was based on an attempt to compare it with scientific evidence, morality, and other properties. His analysis claimed that the Bible contains many stories and precepts that are immoral, praising cruelty, deceit and that encourage sin.[26] One commentary notes many alleged discrepancies and fallacies of logic in the Bible e.g. that God fearing Adam eating the fruit of life and becoming his equal displays jealousy. His critique attempts to show logical fallacies in the Bible, and throughout he asserts that the events depicted in the Bible portray God as a man rather than an Omniscient, Omnipotent or Complete being.

He opposed the perpetual virginity of Mary, he added that such doctrines are simply against the nature of law, and that God would never break his own law because God is omniscient and infallible.


See also: Criticism of Sikhism

He regarded Guru Nanak as "rogue", who was quite ignorant about Vedas, Sanskrit, Shashtra, and otherwise Nanak wouldn't be mistaking with words. [27]

He further pointed that followers of Sikhism are to be blamed for making up stories that Nanak possessed miraculous powers, met Gods. He slammed Guru Gobind Singh, and other Gurus to have been "invented fictitious stories", although he also recognized Gobind Singh to be "indeed a very brave man."[28]


See also: Criticism of Jainism

He regarded Jainism as "a most dreadful religion", writing that Jains were intolerant and hostile towards the non-Jains.[21]


See also: Criticism of Buddhism

Dayananda described Buddhism as ridiculous and "atheistic".[29] He describes the type of "salvation" Buddhism as being attainable even to dogs and donkeys. He further criticized the Cosmogony of Buddhism, stating that the earth was not created.

Assassination attempts

Dayananda was subjected to many unsuccessful attempts on his life.[22]

According to his supporters, he was poisoned on a few occasions, but due to his regular practice of Hatha Yoga he survived all such attempts. One story tells that attackers once attempted to drown him in a river, but Dayananda dragged the assailants into the river instead, though he released them before they drowned.[30]

Another account claims that he was attacked by Muslims who were offended by his criticism of Islam while meditating on the Ganges river. They threw him into the water but he is claimed to have saved himself because his pranayama practice allowed him to stay under water until the attackers left.[31]


In 1883, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, Jaswant Singh II, invited Dayananda to stay at his palace. The Maharaja was eager to become Dayananda's disciple, and to learn his teachings. During his stay, Dayananda went to the Maharaja's rest room and saw him with a dancing girl named Nanhi Jaan. Dayananda asked the Maharaja to forsake the girl and all unethical acts, and to follow the dharma like a true Arya (noble). Dayananda's suggestion offended Nanhi, who decided to take revenge.[1]

On 29 September 1883, she bribed Dayananda's cook, Jagannath, to mix small pieces of glass in his nightly milk.[32] Dayananda was served glass-laden milk before bed, which he promptly drank, becoming bedridden for several days, and suffering excruciating pain. The Maharaja quickly arranged doctor's services for him. However, by the time doctors arrived, his condition had worsened, and he had developed large, bleeding sores. Upon seeing Dayananda's suffering, Jagannath was overwhelmed with guilt and confessed his crime to Dayananda. On his deathbed, Dayananda forgave him, and gave him a bag of money, telling him to flee the kingdom before he was found and executed by the Maharaja's men.[1]

Later, Maharaja arranged for him to be sent to Mount Abu as per the advice of Residency, however, after staying for some time in Abu, on 26 October 1883, he was sent to Ajmer for better medical care.[32] There was no improvement in his health and he died on the morning of Hindu festival of Divali on 30 October 1883 chanting mantras.[32][33]

Cremation and commemoration

Information board inside Navlakha Mahal.

He breathed his last at Bhinai Kothi near Ajmer, and his ashed were scattered at Ajmer in Rishi Udyan as per his wishes.[34] Rishi Udyan, which has a functional Arya Samaj temple with daily morning and evening yajna homa, is located on the banks of Ana Sagar Lake off the NH58 Ajmer-Pushkar Highway. An annual 3 day Aruasamaj melā is held every year at Rishi Udyan on Rishi Dayanand's death anniversary at the end of October, which also entails vedic seminars, vedas memorisation competition, yajna, and Dhavaja Rohan flag march.[35] It is organised by the Paropkarini Sabha, which was foudned by Swami Dayanand Saraswati on 16 August 1880 in Meerut, registered in Ajmer on 27 February 1883, and since 1893 has been operating from its office in Ajmer.[35]

Every year on Maha Shivaratri, Arya Samajis celebrate Rishi Bodh Utsav during the 2 days mela at Tankara organised by Tankara Trust, during which Shobha Yatra procession and Maha Yajna is held, event is also attended by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Chief Minister of Gujarat Vijay Rupani.[36]

Navlakha Mahal inside Gulab Bagh and Zoo at Udaipur is also associated with him where he wrote the scond edition of his seminal work, Satyarth Prakash, in Samvat 1939 (1882-83 CE).[37]


Dayananda Saraswati on a 1962 stamp of India

Maharshi Dayanand University in Rohtak, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University in Ajmer, DAV University in Jalandhar are named after him. So are over 800 schools and colleges under D.A.V. College Managing Committee, including Dayanand College at Ajmer. Industrialist Nanji Kalidas Mehta built the Maharshi Dayanand Science College and donated it to the Education Society of Porbandar, after naming it after Dayananda Saraswati.

Dayananda Saraswati is most notable for influencing the freedom movement of India. His views and writings have been used by different writers, including Shyamji Krishna Varma, who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries was influenced by him; Subhas Chandra Bose; Lala Lajpat Rai; Madam Cama; Vinayak Damodar Savarkar; Lala Hardayal; Madan Lal Dhingra; Ram Prasad Bismil; Mahadev Govind Ranade;[8] Swami Shraddhanand; S. Satyamurti; Pandit Lekh Ram; Mahatma Hansraj; and others.

He also had a notable influence on Bhagat Singh.[38] Singh, after finishing primary school, had joined the Dayanand Anglo Vedic Middle School, of Mohan Lal road, in Lahore.[39] Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, on Shivratri day, 24 February 1964, wrote about Dayananda:

Swami Dayananda ranked highest among the makers of modern India. He had worked tirelessly for the political, religious and cultural emancipation of the country. He was guided by reason, taking Hinduism back to the Vedic foundations. He had tried to reform society with a clean sweep, which was again need today. Some of the reforms introduced in the Indian Constitution had been inspired by his teachings.[40]

The places Dayanand visited during his life were often changed culturally as a result.[citation needed] Jodhpur adopted Hindi as main language, and later the present day Rajasthan did the same.[41] Other admirers included Swami Vivekananda,[42] Ramakrishna,[43] Bipin Chandra Pal,[44] Vallabhbhai Patel,[45] Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and Romain Rolland, who regarded Dayananda as a remarkable and unique figure.[46]

American Spiritualist Andrew Jackson Davis described Dayanand's influence on him, calling Dayanand a "Son of God", and applauding him for restoring the status of the Nation.[47] Sten Konow, a Swedish scholar noted that Dayanand revived the history of India.[48]

Others who were notably influenced by him include Ninian Smart, and Benjamin Walker.[49]


Dayananda Saraswati wrote more than 60 works in all, including a 16 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, an incomplete commentary on the Ashtadhyayi (Panini's grammar), several small tracts on ethics and morality, Vedic rituals and sacraments, and a piece on the analysis of rival doctrines (such as Advaita Vedanta, Islam and Christianity). Some of his major works include the Satyarth Prakash, Satyarth Bhumika, Sanskarvidhi, Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Rigved Bhashyam (up to 7/61/2)and Yajurved Bhashyam. The Paropakarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by Saraswati to publish and preach his works and Vedic texts.

Complete list of works

1. Sandhya (Unavailable) (1863)
2. Bhagwat Khandnam OR Paakhand Khandan OR Vaishnavmat Khandan (1866)[50]
3. Advaitmat Khandan
4. Panchmahayajya Vidhi (1874 & 1877)
5. Satyarth Prakash (1875 & 1884)
6. VedantiDhwant Nivaran (1875)
7. Vedviruddh mat Khandan OR Vallabhacharya mat Khandan (1875)
8. ShikshaPatri Dhwant Nivaran OR SwamiNarayan mat Khandan (1875)
9. VedBhashyam Namune ka PRATHAM Ank (1875)
10. VedBhashyam Namune ka DWITIYA Ank (1876)
11. Aryabhivinaya (Incomplete) (1876)
12. Sanskarvidhi (1877 & 1884)
13. AaryoddeshyaRatnaMaala (1877)
14. RigvedAadibBhasyaBhumika (1878)
15. Rigved Bhashyam (7/61/1,2 only) (Incomplete) (1877 to 1899)
16. Yajurved Bhashyam (Complete) (1878 to 1889)
17. Asthadhyayi Bhashya (2 Parts) (Incomplete) (1878 to 1879)

1. Vedang Prakash (Set of 16 Books)

1. Varnoccharan Shiksha (1879)
2. Sanskrit Vakyaprabodhini (1879)
3. VyavaharBhanu (1879)
4. Sandhi Vishay
5. Naamik
6. Kaarak
7. Saamaasik
8. Taddhit
9. Avyayaarth
10. Aakhyatik
11. Sauvar
12. PaariBhaasik
13. Dhatupath
14. Ganpaath
15. Unaadikosh
16. Nighantu 1. Gautam Ahilya ki katha (Unavailable) (1879)
2. Bhrantinivaran (1880)
3. Bhrmocchedan (1880)
4. AnuBhrmocchedan (1880)
5. GokarunaNidhi (1880)
6. Chaturved Vishay Suchi (1971)
7. Gadarbh Taapni Upnishad (As per Babu Devendranath Mukhopadhyay) (Unavailable)
8. Hugli Shastrarth tatha Pratima Pujan Vichar (1873)
9. Jaalandhar Shastrarth (1877)
10. Satyasatya Vivek (Bareily Shastrarth) (1879)
11. Satyadharm Vichar (Mela Chandapur) (1880)
12. Kashi Shastrarth (1880) Note:- For other miscellaneous Shastrarth please read 1.Dayanand Shastrarth Sangrah published by Arsh Sahitya Prachar Trust, Delhi and 2. Rishi Dayanand ke Shastrarth evam Pravachan published by Ramlal Kapoor Trust Sonipat (Haryana).
13. Arya Samaj ke Niyam aur Upniyam (30 November 1874)
14. Updesh Manjari (Puna Pravachan) (4 July 1875) (Please see point 2 of note for some more Pravachan)
15. Swami Dayanand dwara swakathit Janm Charitra (During Puna pravachan) (4 August 1875)
16. Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati Jivan Charitra Photo Gallery[51]
17. Swami Dayanand dwara swakathit Janm Charitra, for the Theosophist Society's monthly Journal: Nov & 1 Dec
18. Rishi Dayanand ke Patra aur Vigyapan

See also

• Cow protection movement
• List of Hindu gurus and saints
• Dayananda Saraswati (Arsha Vidya)



1. Krant (2006) Swadhinta Sangram Ke Krantikari Sahitya Ka Itihas. Delhi: Pravina Prakasana . Vol. 2, p. 347. ISBN 81-7783-122-4
2. Aurobindo Ghosh, Bankim Tilak Dayanand (Calcutta 1947 p1)"Lokmanya Tilak also said that Swami Dayanand was the first who proclaimed Swaraj for Bharatpita i.e.India."
3. Dayanand Saraswati Commentary on Yajurved (Lazarus Press Banaras 1876)
4. Radhakrishnan, S. (2005). Living with a Purpose. Orient Paperbacks. p. 34. ISBN 978-81-222-0031-7.
5. Kumar, Raj (2003). "5. Swami Dayananda Saraswati: Life and Works". Essays on modern Indian Abuse. Discovery Publishing House. p. 62. ISBN 978-81-7141-690-5.
6. Salmond, Noel Anthony (2004). "3. Dayananda Saraswati". Hindu iconoclasts: Rammohun Roy, Dayananda Sarasvati and nineteenth-century polemics against idolatry. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-88920-419-5.
7. "Gurudatta Vidyarthi". Aryasamaj. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
8. "Mahadev Govind Ranade: Emancipation of women". 17 May 1996. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
9. "Lala Lajpat Rai". Retrieved 14 January 2016.
10. Lala Lajpat Rai (Indian writer, politician and Escort) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
11. Neupane, Dr. Kedar (2014). बहुमुखी व्यक्तित्वकी धनी योगमाया by Pawan Alok. Kathmandu: Nepal Shrastha Samaj. pp. 15–21. ISBN 9937-2-6977-6.
12. Robin Rinehart (2004). Contemporary Hinduism: Ritual, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-1-57607-905-8.
13. "Devdutt Pattanaik: Dayanand & Vivekanand". 15 January 2017.
14. ઝંડાધારી – મહર્ષિ દયાનંદ – Gujarati Wikisource
15. "History of India". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
16. "Dayanand Saraswati". Retrieved 14 January 2016.
17. "Swami Dayanand Saraswati". Retrieved 14 January 2016.
18. "Sarasvati, Dayananda – World Religions Reference Library". World Religions Reference Library – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 1 January 2007. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
19. "Swami Dayananda Sarasvati by V. Sundaram". Boloji. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
20. "Light of Truth". Archived from the original on 28 October 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
21. P. L. John Panicker (2006). Gandhi on Pluralism and Communalism. ISPCK. pp. 30–40. ISBN 978-81-7214-905-5.
22. Clifford Sawhney (2003). The World's Greatest Seers and Philosophers. Pustak Mahal. p. 123. ISBN 978-81-223-0824-2.
23. Sinhal, p. 17
24. Title = "Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, Volume 19, Issue 1", publisher = ICPR, year = 2002, page = 73
25. Saraswati, Dayanand (1875). "An Examination Of The Doctrine Of Islam". Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth). Varanasi, India: Star Press. pp. 672–683. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
26. J. T. F. Jordens (1978). Dayānanda Sarasvatī, his life and ideas. Oxford University Press. p. 267.
27. Kumar, Ram Narayan (2009). "Reduced to Ashes: The Insurgency and Human Rights in Punjab". Reduced to Ashes. Vol. 1. p. 15. doi:10.4135/9788132108412.n19. ISBN 978-99933-53-57-7.
28. V. S. Godbole (1987). God Save India. Swatantraveer Savarkar Sahitya Abhyas Mandal. p. 9.
29. Jose Kuruvachira (2006). Hindu Nationalists of Modern India: A Critical Study of the Intellectual Genealogy of Hindutva. Rawat Publications. p. 14. ISBN 978-81-7033-995-3.
30. Bhavana Nair (1989). Our Leaders. 4. Children's Book Trust. p. 60. ISBN 978-81-7011-678-3.
31. Vandematharam Veerabhadra Rao (1987) Life Sketch of Swami Dayananda, Delhi. p. 13
32. Garg, pp. 96–98
33. Arya Samaj founder Swami Dayanand Saraswati's idea of a modern India, India Today, 2018-10-30.
34. Ramananda Chatterjee, 1933, The Modern Review, Volume 54, Page 593.
35. Rishi Dayanand mela start in Ajmer Arya scholors in Ajmer, Rajasthan Patrika, 20 November 2015.
36. Rishi Ustsav celebrated in presence of CM, First Paper.
37. "Udaipur Garden Palace now a shrine to Arya Samaj founder". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
38. Dhanpati Pandey (1985). Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 8.
39. K. S. Bharathi (1998). Encyclopaedia of eminent thinkers. 7. Concept Publishing Company. p. 188. ISBN 978-81-7022-684-0.
40. Garg, p. 198
41. Regina E. Holloman; S. A. Aruti︠u︡nov (1978). Perspectives on ethnicity. Mouton. pp. 344–345. ISBN 978-90-279-7690-1.
42. Basant Kumar Lal (1978). Contemporary Indian Philosophy. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-208-0261-2.
43. Christopher Isherwood (1980). Ramakrishna and His Disciples. Vedanta Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-87481-037-0.
44. Narendra Nath Bhattacharyya (1996). Indian religious historiography. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. p. 58. ISBN 978-81-215-0637-3.
45. Krishan Singh Arya, P. D. Shastri (1987) Swami Dayananda Sarasvati: A Study of His Life and Work. manohar. p. 327. ISBN 8185054223
46. Sisirkumar Mitra; Aurobindo Ghose (1963). Resurgent India. Allied Publishers. p. 166.
47. Andrew Jackson Davis (1885). Beyond the Valley: A Sequel to "The Magic Staff": an Autobiography of Andrew Jackson Davis ... Colby & Rich. p. 383.
48. Har Bilas Sarda (Diwan Bahadur) (1933). Dayanand Commemoration Volume: A Homage to Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, from India and the World, in Celebration of the Dayanand Nirvana Ardha Shatabdi. Vedic Yantralaya. p. 164.
49. "Ninian Smart & Benjamin Walker were influenced by Dayananda Saraswati". Archived from the original on 18 April 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
50. Bhagwat Khandan – Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Internet Archive. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
51. Maharshi Dayanand Jivan Charitra


• Garg, Gaṅgā Rām (1984). World Perspectives on Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Concept Publishing Company.
• Sinhal, Meenu (2009). Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Prabhat Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-8430-017-8.
• Satyarth Prakash

Further reading

• Dayananda Saraswati, Founder of Arya Samaj, by Arjan Singh Bawa. Published by Ess Ess Publications, 1979 (1st edition:1901).
• Indian Political Tradition, by D.K Mohanty. Published by Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. ISBN 81-261-2033-9. Chapter 4: Dayananda Saraswati Page 92.
• Rashtra Pitamah Swami Dayanand Saraswati by Rajender Sethi (M R Sethi Educational Trust Chandigarh 2006)
• Aurobindo Ghosh, in Bankim Tilak Dayanand (Calcutta 1947 p 1, 39)
• Arya Samaj And The Freedom Movement by K C Yadav & K S Arya -Manohar Publications Delhi 1988
• The Prophets of the New India, Romain Rolland p. 97 (1930)
• Satyarth Prakash (1875) Light of Truth – first English translation 1908 [1] [2]
• R̥gvedādi-bhāṣya-bhūmikā / An Introduction to the Commentary on the Vedas. ed. B. Ghasi Ram, Meerut (1925). reprints 1981, 1984 [3] Archived 28 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
• Glorious Thoughts of Swami Dayananda. ed. New Book Society of India, 1966 Dayananda Saraswati at Google Books
• An introduction to the commentary on the Vedas. Jan Gyan-Prakashan, 1973. An Introduction To The Commentary On The VEDAS: Dayananda review
• Autobiography, ed. Kripal Chandra Yadav, New Delhi : Manohar, 1978. Autobiography of dayanand saraswati ISBN 0685196682
• Yajurvēda bhāṣyam : Samskr̥tabhāṣyaṃ, Āndhraṭīkātātparyaṃ, Āṅglabhāvārthasahitaṅgā, ed. Mar̲r̲i Kr̥ṣṇāreḍḍi, Haidarābād : Vaidika Sāhitya Pracāra Samiti, 2005.
• The philosophy of religion in India, Delhi : Bharatiya Kala Prakashan, 2005, ISBN 81-8090-079-7
• Prem Lata, Swami Dayananda Sarasvati (1990) [4]
• Autobiography of Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1976) [5]
• M. Ruthven, Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, USA (2007), ISBN 978-0-19-921270-5.
• N. A. Salmond, Hindu Iconoclasts: Rammohun Roy, Dayananda Sarasvati and nineteenth-century polemics against Idolatry (2004) [6]
• 'THE RENAISSANCE RISHI' By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM [7]

External links

• Dayananda Saraswati at Curlie
• Works by or about Dayananda Saraswati at Internet Archive
• Dayanand Saraswati (1824–1883)
• Life and Teaching of Swami Dayanand


Theosophical and Mystic Publications
The Theosophist (Adyar).Lucifer. On the Watch-Tower
December 15, 1895. No. 100

Vol. XVII No. 2: -- Colonel Olcott gives an account of a discussion with Svami Dayanand on Yoga an dthe Siddhis. This discussion was reported in an early number of The Theosophist, and is of much interest. The Svami holds to the view that a Raja Yogi must, in the present life or a past one, have practised Hatha Yoga, or physical training, before he can successfully achieve possession of the higher mental and spiritual powers. Miss Edger contributes a paper entitled "Man, his own Creator." The "Notes on Scientific Experiments" scarcely appear in keeping with the style of the magazine, but will probably be of service. One or two serious errors have been allowed to pass, such as that of the wavelength of sound, which is given as the distance sound travels in a second. "The Jain Theory of Karma" promises to be of much interest.



The Theosophical Thinker
(Bellary, Madras)
Lucifer. On the Watch-Tower
August 15th, 1893. No. 72

Vol. I, Nos. 15019: -- A Hindu writer makes short work of Prof. Max Muller's recent criticism of "Esoteric Buddhism," and reminds us that "Swami Bhaskaranand Saraswati, of Jodpore, the renowned disciple of the late Swami Dayanand Saraswati, says that, 'Prof. Max Muller has made over 600 important mistakes in his translation of Vedic hymns and other Sanskrit works.'" We still prefer to get our Orientalism from the Orient.
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James Martin Peebles
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/30/20

James Martin Peebles
Born: March 23, 1822, Whitingham, Vermont
Died: February 15, 1922 (aged 99), Los Angeles, California
Occupation: Physician, writer

James Martin Peebles (March 23, 1822 – February 15, 1922) was an American physician, prolific author and organizer of many professional, medical, and religious associations.


Peebles was born in Whitingham, Vermont.[1] Peebles was a member of the Indian Peace Commission of 1868,...

The Indian Peace Commission (also the Sherman, Taylor, or Great Peace Commission) was a group formed by an act of Congress on July 20, 1867, in order "to establish peace with certain hostile Indian tribes." It was composed of four civilians and initially three—later four—military leaders. Throughout 1867 and 1868, they negotiated with a number of tribes, including the Comanche, Kiowa, Arapaho, Kiowa-Apache, Cheyenne, Lakota, Navajo, Snake, Sioux, and Bannock. The treaties that resulted were designed to move the tribes to reservations, to "civilize" and assimilate these native peoples, and transition their societies from a nomadic to an agricultural existence.

As language and cultural barriers affected the negotiations, it remains doubtful whether the tribes were fully informed of the provisions they agreed to. The Commission approached the tribes as a representative democracy, while the tribes made decisions via consensus: Indian chiefs functioned as mediators and councilors, without the authority to compel obedience from others. The Commission acted as a representative of the United States Congress, but while Congress had authorized and funded the talks themselves, it did not fund any of the stipulations that the commissioners were empowered to negotiate. Once treaties were agreed to, the government was slow to act on some, and rejected others. Even for those treaties that were ratified, promised benefits were often delayed, or not provided at all. Congress was not compelled to support actions taken in its name, and eventually stopped the practice of treaty making with tribes in 1871.

The Indian Peace Commission was generally seen as a failure, and violence had reignited even before it was disbanded in October 1868. Two official reports were submitted to the federal government, ultimately recommending that the U.S. cease recognizing tribes as sovereign nations, refrain from making treaties with them, employ military force against those who refused to relocate to reservations, and move the Bureau of Indian Affairs from the Department of the Interior to the Department of War. The system of treaties eventually deteriorated to the point of collapse, and a decade of war followed the commission's work. It was the last major commission of its kind...

Their work was organized around three main goals in an effort to solve the "Indian question":

1. to remove, if possible, the causes of war;
2. to secure, as far as practicable, our frontier settlements and the safe building of our railroads looking to the Pacific;
3. to suggest or inaugurate some plan for the civilization of the Indians.

-- Indian Peace Commission, by Wikipedia

United States Consul at Trebizond, Turkey,...

A consul is an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another, normally acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the people of the two countries.

A consul is distinguished from an ambassador, the latter being a representative from one head of state to another, but both have a form of immunity. There can be only one ambassador from one country to another, representing the first country's head of state to that of the second, and their duties revolve around diplomatic relations between the two countries; however, there may be several consuls, one in each of several major cities, providing assistance with bureaucratic issues to both the citizens of the consul's own country traveling or living abroad and to the citizens of the country in which the consul resides who wish to travel to or trade with the consul's country.

A less common usage is an administrative consul, who takes a governing role and is appointed by a country that has colonised or occupied another...

Consuls of various ranks may have specific legal authority for certain activities, such as notarizing documents. As such, diplomatic personnel with other responsibilities may receive consular letters patent (commissions). Aside from those outlined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, there are few formal requirements outlining what a consular official must do. For example, for some countries, consular officials may be responsible for the issue of visas; other countries may limit "consular services" to providing assistance to compatriots, legalization of documents, etc. Nonetheless, consulates proper will be headed by consuls of various ranks, even if such officials have little or no connection with the more limited sense of consular service.

Activities of a consulate include protecting the interests of their citizens temporarily or permanently resident in the host country, issuing passports; issuing visas to foreigners and public diplomacy. However, the principal role of a consulate lies traditionally in promoting trade—assisting companies to invest and to import and export goods and services both inwardly to their home country and outward to their host country. Although it is not admitted publicly, consulates, like embassies, may also gather intelligence information from the assigned country...

Consulates are subordinate posts of their home country's diplomatic mission (typically an embassy, in the capital city of the host country). Diplomatic missions are established in international law under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, while consulates-general and consulates are established in international law under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Formally, at least within the US system, the consular career (ranking in descending order: consul-general, consul, vice-consul, honorary consul) forms a different hierarchy from the diplomats in the strict sense. However, it is common for individuals to be transferred from one hierarchy to the other, and for consular officials to serve in a capital carrying out strictly consular duties within the consular section of a diplomatic post; e.g., within an embassy...

In the social life of 19th-century Lübeck as depicted in Thomas Mann's novel Buddenbrooks – based on Mann's thorough personal knowledge of his own birthplace – an appointment as the consul of a foreign country was a source of considerable social prestige among the city's merchant elite. As depicted in the book, the position of a consul for a particular country was in practice hereditary in a specific family, whose mansion bore the represented country's coat of arms, and with that country confirming the consul's son or other heir in the position on the death of the previous consul. As repeatedly referenced by Mann, a consul's wife was known as "Consulin" and continued to bear that title even on the death of her husband. Characters in the book are mentioned as consuls for Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal.

-- Consul (representative), by Wikipedia

and representative of the American Arbitration League [Association]...

Chapter II: The Pattern Changes in America, Excerpt from “American Arbitration: Its History, Functions and Achievements”
by Frances Kellor

The new era in American arbitration began in 1920. It was characterized by the modernizing of arbitration law, systematic planning, organization of machinery, the cultivation of a spirit of arbitration, and the construction of foundations of knowledge. Its incentive came from World War I and the resolve to avoid future wars insofar as the settlement or control of disputes through arbitration could accomplish that end.

In thus changing the historical pattern, Americans had before them some invaluable lessons in previous undertakings. One of these lessons arose out of the Conferences of 1899 and 1907 which had laboriously established the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. The Conventions there adopted carefully defined the processes of inquiry, mediation, and arbitration, set up rules of procedure for each process, and provided machinery for their administration. High hopes were held that this Court might prove an instrumentality for the prevention of future wars. But one fundamental omission was made. No provision was made for cultivating the spirit of arbitration, or for education either governments or their people in the knowledge and use of arbitration. So, the first World War came without the Court’s having functioned in the settlement of major issues.

A second mistake was made in the next great international adventure when the League of Nations was organized. It also provided for arbitration and committed its members in principle. It went further and established the first Permanent Court of International Justice with ample machinery for its operation. But the League also failed to cultivate the spirit of arbitration or to teach nations or peoples its use either in their home affairs or in international relations. So, the second World War came, without the League or the Court having been able to settle differences among states.1

In the meantime, a third experiment had been tried. Over a period of half a century, the American Republics, acting through a central organization, known as the Pan American Union, were pursuing a different course. They were binding the Republics together in peace through a network of conventions, agreements, arrangements, and undertakings which established the central principle of settlement of disputes through amicable processes, including arbitration.2 Not only were these agreements consummated, but the Pan American Union unceasingly, through many different educational and scientific undertakings, cultivated the spirit of arbitration and educated governments in the use of pacific processes of settlement.2 This experiment held these Republics together under the stress of international war and the strain of threatened wars among themselves. This experiment furnished both the inspiration and the hope for a new era in American arbitration and for a change in the historical pattern.

The event that was the precipitate this change in pattern, like so many inconspicuous events that later proved momentous, gave no indication of its significance either to American life or to international peace and security. It was, on the contrary, the rather drab event of enacting a modern arbitration law in 1920 in the State of New York – the first of its kind in the United States.4 This law possessed the unusual features of looking forward instead of backward, and of enabling parties in dispute to control future disputes as well as to settle existing disputes. Although similar features had existed in British and Scottish laws for many generations, it proved to be a revolutionary step in the Americas as it had not been in other countries.

Under the provisions of this new law, agreements to submit to arbitration future disputes arising out of the contract containing such agreements, were made legally valid, enforceable, and irrevocable save as any other contract is revocable. Hitherto only existing disputes had enjoyed such legal protection. Furthermore, this law closed the courts to parties to arbitration agreements until they had complied with their arbitration agreements and it brought to the aid of the parties the powers of the court in enforcing agreements and awards by authorizing them to appoint arbitrators or otherwise expedite arbitration upon default of one of the parties.5

Little was it dreamed in 1920 that under this and subsequent laws of a similar nature, arbitration clauses in contracts would become the foundation stones of wide flung systems of arbitration.6

The enactment of this law might, however, have proved no more significant in the United States than had similar laws in other countries, but for the fact that it led to the organization of the first permanent independent institution of arbitration.

This new institution was organized in 1922 as the Arbitration Society of America. It offered arbitration a normal, active career of its own, with its own headquarters and personnel. It made possible the organization of systems of tribunals administered by an independent and responsible institution. It freed arbitration from commodity and geographical limitations to serve all of the people all of the time.

This change in pattern from indifference and casualness to scientific organization was effected not only by a new type of organization but by the adoption of different methods for the advancement of arbitration. Under a distinguished leadership, this institution put on an educational campaign that carried arbitration to the people in a new way throughout the country.

Under this stimulus, arbitration made front page headlines in the press. It went out to luncheon and to dinner; receptions were held in its honor, and forums were dedicated to its exposition. It became the subject of conference, debate, and instruction. It frequented exclusive clubs and found its way into homes, churches, schools and theatres. It passed the exclusive portals of law offices, banks, and corporation board rooms. It came out of dry law books, where only the difficulties were recorded, and found a place in general as well as special periodicals, books, and pamphlets. Sometimes arbitration wore evening clothes; at other times it appeared in overalls, or in a professor’s gown; but always it aroused curiosity and interest.

Nowhere in the world had arbitration ever had such an audience as when sixty members of the New York Judiciary sat down to dinner in its honor, followed by a conference at which more than four hundred business and professional men discussed its future.7

But, other experiments were to come. One morning the Arbitration News made its appearance – and the first arbitration publication was born. Arbitration had become news, for the things that were done and said about it were spotlighted and its leaders became known to the public. Along with Arbitration News, “Learn to Arbitrate” became the slogan of the new Arbitration Society, and a stamp bearing this slogan made its appearance.

A highlight of the Society’s endeavor to make arbitration better known, occurred in 1923, when May 7-12 was made “Arbitration Week.” Charles L. Bernheimer, Chairman of the Arbitration Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, arranged a program in which more than fifty trade and commercial organizations participated. The educational work carried on during that week marked a sharp departure from the traditional treatment of arbitration.

During its first year and a half, the Society recorded the distribution of 158,000 pieces of literature at 1,200 meetings, conferences or gatherings where arbitration was discussed. It received 600 applications for information or for the settlement of disputes. And during its lifetime, from 1922-26, there were enacted modern arbitration laws in Massachusetts and New Jersey. The Society was also instrumental in effecting the enactment of the United States Arbitration Law in 1925, applicable to interstate commerce and foreign trade transactions.

The influence of the Society spread in many directions. Trade and commercial organizations began to furbish their own facilities and services for their own groups and to participate in making this broader pattern of arbitration a reality. For example, in 1923, Will H. Hays, soon to become a Director of the Society, established an arbitration system in the Film Boards of Trade for the motion picture industry. A report on this system, set forth in the Congressional Record, was instrumental in furthering the enactment of the United States Arbitration Act.

Not less significant was the new leadership developed by the Society. It brought business men together in a common endeavor. It found staunch and distinguished advocates to champion the cause of arbitration, not solely as judges in disputes, but for its general advancement. These advocates changed the passive role of arbitration to one of action and gave it a new prestige. No longer was it submerged in contracts or limited to resolutions and endorsements, not to having its failures publicized in law books. On the contrary, arbitration sought the people; it besieged their conscience to recognize its usefulness in the control of future disputes. It stormed the American’s complacency over the social consequences of discord and disputes. It confronted men in their trade press; it challenged their attention at meetings; it stared at them from cartoons and haunted their conference tables.

During the four years of its existence, from 1922-26, this new Society substantially changed the pattern of arbitration. It brought arbitration out of its austere juridical area into the limelight as an instrumentality which people themselves could use generally for the voluntary settlement of many kinds of differences. It made arbitration procedures readily accessible to the people through the establishment and operation of a commercial arbitration tribunal. It created a new leadership through panels of arbitrators and trade groups. It directed public attention to a hitherto drab and obscure subject. It flung a challenge of self-regulation to private enterprise. It opened the eyes of lawyers to a new practice in arbitration tribunals. It envisioned the dawn of a new profession by starting a panel of arbitrators and beginning their education. It brought arbitration to the people in a simple yet dramatic way and stimulated their faith in this age-old method of solving differences and maintaining friendships. It introduced into the American way of life a new institution for building and maintaining good faith, goodwill, and confidence in human relations.

All of this was the contribution of a single leader, Moses H. Grossman, and the devoted group of men who comprised the Society’s first Board of Directors and their associates of the bar, bench, business, education, and the professions. It was, therefore, representative of people from all walks of life, participating in a new concept of arbitration.

Having experienced this change from indifference to approval, from a passive role to action, and from obscurity to public acclaim, arbitration could never again become a forgotten way of American life and was destined to find its way eventually upon a broad international highway.



1. Frances Kellor and Antonia Hatvany, Security Against War, I, International Controversy and the Machinery for Peace; II, International Courts and the Outlawry of War. (New York, Macmillan & Co., 1924)

2. For a summary, see The Basic Principles of the Inter-American System. (Pan American Union [1943].)

3. Among these treaties and agreements were the Gondra Treaty of 1923, which sought to avoid or prevent conflicts; followed in 1929 by a General Convention of Inter-American Conciliation, a General Treaty of Inter-American Arbitration, and an additional Protocol of Progressive Arbitration; then by an Anti-War Treaty of Non-Aggression and Conciliation in 1933. In 1936, there appears a scientific note, namely a Convention for the Maintenance, Preservation, and Reestablishment of Peace; and a Convention to Coordinate, Extend, and Assure the Fulfillment of the Existing Treaties between the American States. The same year, 1936, also witnessed an Inter-American Treaty on Good Offices and Mediation and one on the Prevention of Controversies.

4. The enactment of this law was due largely to the initiative taken by the New York State Bar Association, and to the support given by the Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York and other commercial organizations. The publication of Commercial Arbitration and the Law by Julius Henry Cohen in 1918 was influential in obtaining the law.

5. For a full description of the provisions of this law and its application, see Suggestions for the Practice of Commercial Arbitration in the United States, published for the American Arbitration Association in 1928 by Oxford University Press.

6. This law was followed by the enactment in 1925 of the U.S. Arbitration Act and by similar statutory laws in the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

7. At the home of Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Astor [elder son of John Jacob Astor IV, a wealthy businessman and inventor, and his first wife, Ava Lowie Willing, an heiress from Philadelphia], February 28, 1923.

at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

The Paris Peace Conference was the formal meeting in 1919 and 1920 of the victorious Allies after the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers. Dominated by the leaders of Britain, France, the United States and Italy, it resulted in five controversial treaties that rearranged the map of Europe and imposed financial penalties. Germany and the other losing nations had no voice which gave rise to political resentments that lasted for decades.

The conference involved diplomats from 32 countries and nationalities, and its major decisions were the creation of the League of Nations and the five peace treaties with the defeated states; the awarding of German and Ottoman overseas possessions as "mandates," chiefly to Britain and France, the imposition of reparations upon Germany, and the drawing of new national boundaries, sometimes with plebiscites, to reflect ethnic boundaries more closely.

The main result was the Treaty of Versailles with Germany; Article 231 of the treaty placed the whole guilt for the war on "the aggression of Germany and her allies." That provision proved to be very humiliating for Germany and set the stage for the expensive reparations that Germany was intended to pay (it paid only a small portion before its last payment in 1931). The five great powers (France, Britain, Italy, Japan and the United States) controlled the Conference. The "Big Four" were French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, US President Woodrow Wilson, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. They met informally 145 times and made all major decisions before they were ratified.

The conference began on 18 January 1919. With respect to its end, Professor Michael Neiberg noted, "Although the senior statesmen stopped working personally on the conference in June 1919, the formal peace process did not really end until July 1923, when the Treaty of Lausanne was signed."

It is often referred to as the "Versailles Conference," but only the signing of the first treaty took place there, in the historic palace, and the negotiations occurred at the Quai d'Orsay, in Paris.

-- Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920), by Wikipedia

A former Universalist minister, he became an Episcopalian after the American Civil War, and then a Spiritualist and Theosophist. Many of his books are on spiritualist subjects, although he also penned a quite popular book, titled How to Live a Century and Grow Old Gracefully.[2][3][4]

Peebles obtained a diploma in 1876 from the fraudulent Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery.[5][6][7] He obtained a Doctor of Philosophy from the Medical University of Chicago in 1882.[1][8] He was a professor in the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati.[3]

The Eclectics

Separate from the Thomsonians and the physio-medicals were the eclectics (from the Greek eklego, meaning to choose from), whose botanic system of medicine filled an important void in family practice. The name came from its use by Celsus, Agathinos of Sparta, Archigenes of Syria, Galen, and other medical men who preferred to stand apart from prevailing medical schools by choosing whatever curative measures most benefited their patients. Archigenes, styled the "founder of eclecticism," and his pupil Aretaeus were characterized by the lack of bigotry, choosing their curative agents from among the pneumatic, methodic, and dogmatic sects without adhering to any one particular creed. Although this early sect prospered over seven centuries, it lost ground during the age of the Roman Empire. Later descendants took their place in Germany, Italy, France, and England, but none obtained the importance or duration of these forebearers.

The term "eclectic" seemed to define adequately the nature of this reform philosophy, but Alexander Holmes Baldridge (1795-1874), one of the early pioneers of reform medicine, suggested an alternative, the "American School of Medicine." More expressive of the school's protestant origins, it failed to elicit the same level of sujpport. Nonetheless, individual reformers used the terms "eclectic" and "American School" interchangeably.45

American eclecticism had its origins in the first quarter of the nineteenth century in the investigations of Jacob Tidd, a German herb doctor from East Amwell, New Jersey, and his student Wooster Beach (1794-1868) [father of American Reformed Practice] of Trumbull, Connecticut. A graduate of the medical department of the University of New York, Beach parted ways with allopathic medicine by identifying almost exclusively with vegetable medicines and by being catholic in his selection of the most efficacious principles and agents from all medical systems. Beach was conversant with the botanical literature of his generation, including German physician and botanist Johann David Schoepf (1752-1800); Benjamin Smith Barton's Elements of Botany (1803) and his unfinished Collections for an Essay Towards a Materia Medica of the United States (1798-1804); Samuel Henry's A New and Complete American Medical Family Herbal (1814); Jacob Bigelow's American Medical Botany (1817-20); Constantine Samuel Rafinesque's Medical Flora: Or, Manual of the Medical Botany of the United States of North America (1828-30); the writings of Robley Dunglison (1798-1869) and William Tully (1785-1859); as well as the United States pharmacopoeias of 1820 and 1830. Having adopted the motto vires vitales sustinete (sustain the vital forces), Beach took exception to the practice of bloodletting and the use of strong mineral remedies and moved unhesitatinly toward a more kindly treatment of disease. This he did in opposition to both the Thomsonians and the allopaths.46

As part of his crusade to detect the errors of modern practice, Beach began privately instructing students at his New York City home in 1825, and two years later opened a clinical school known as the United States Infirmary. In 1829, he enlarged the school, calling it the Reformed Medical Academy; a year later, it bore the name Reformed Medical College of the City of New York.47 Assisting him at the college were Thomas Vaughn Morrow, Ichabod Gibson Jones, and John J. Steele, all graduates of regular schools. Each shared Beach's catholic view of botanic medicine and opposed the restrictive and authoritarian views of Samuel Thomson. Beach intended his reformed system of medicine "to release the mind from the dogmas of creeds and systems, the philosophy of medical schools, as they were then taught, and to direct it to an unlimited field of inquiry."48

In 1833, Beach published his popular three-volume American Practice of Medicine, presenting his views on reformed medicine. The founding principles of his system included admonitions against mercury and other mineral drugs; opposition to salivation and long-continued regimens of depletion; condemnation of bloodletting in all forms; and rejection of unnecessary surgery. Although Beach borrowed extensively from Rafinesque, William P.C. Barton, Jacob Bigelow, and Elisha Smith, his American Practice of Medicine became one of the more popular texts of botanical literature in the nineteenth century. His one-volume condensed version (1846) went through fourteen editions and received numerous testimonials and medals of recognition from abroad. Other popular works written by Beach included his Treatise on Pulmonary Consumption, Phthisis Pulmonalis, with Remarks on Bronchitis (1840), Medical and Botanic Dictionary (1847), and Am Improved System of Midwifery (1851).49

The eclectics were as forcibly opposed to the sweating, vomiting, and enervating regimen of the Thomsonians as they were to the bleeding, blistering, and mercurial purging and salivating regimens of the regulars. Both seemed unsound to eclectic thinking, wedded to obsolete theories of disease and disease nosology. Operating on a parallel but more kindly road to wellness, the eclectics introduced a distinctive pharmacy based on indigenous plant remedies -- the resin of podophyllum as a substitute for calomel; betony as an emetic and cathartic; maidenhair for pleurisy and jaundice; compound tar plaster in place of old-school applications of croton oil, catharides, and tartar emetic; and compound tincture of sanguinaria for emesis.50 In general, the eclectics favored the natural curative processes of the organism through the use of noninjurious medication; demanded freedom of thought and investigation; supported the development of the vegetable materia medica as the safest method of treating disease; supported the inductive method of investigation; advocated simplicity in prescribing; determined the value of a drug through the treatment of the sick patient rather than through laboratory experimentation; and condemned the extremes of over drugging and therapeutic nihilism.51

Throughout their history, the eclectics had an affinity for homeopathy, partly because they found common cause in facing the power and politics of old-school medicine. This affinity also derived from the strength homeopathy claimed among many wealthy and cultured Americans who objected to the "sledgehammer" doses of medicines then in vogue. Equally important, the eclectics were enamored with the homeopath's minimalist approach, believing excessive doses of innocuous drugs retarded the body's natural affinity for self-repair.52

Before 1860 thirteen colleges had organized as eclectic or a mixture of eclectic and phsio-medical. These included the New York Reformed Medical College (1826-39); College of Medicine, Botanic, in New York City (1836-46); Reformed Medical College of Georgia (1845-61); Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati (1845-1939); Wooster Medical Institute (1846-59); Eclectic Medical Institute of New York (1847-48); Randolph Eclectic Medical Institute (1848-49); Central Medical College of New York (1849-52); Memphis Institute (1849-50); Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania (1850-80); Metropolitan Medical College of the City of New York (1853-62); American Medical College (1853-57); and the Cincinnati College of Eclectic Medicine and Surgery (1856-59).

By the end of the century, the eclectics numbered 9,703 compared with 72,028 allopaths, 8,640 homeopaths, and 1,553 physio-medicals.53 By then, there were eight eclectic colleges, one national and thirty state societies, ten medical journals, and more than sixty medical texts, many of which had become standard works of reference and study. The approved list of eclectic colleges as determined by the national association consisted of the American Medical College at 407 Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri (1873); Bennett College of Eclectic Medicine and Surgery at the corner of Ada and Fulton Streets, Chicago, Illinois (1868); California Medical College at 1466 Folsom Street, San Francisco, California (1879); Eclectic Medical College of the City of New York at 239 East 14th Street, New York (1865); Eclectic Medical Institute at 1009 Plum Street, Cincinnati, Ohio (1845); Georgia College of Eclectic Medicine and Surgery at Tanner Street, near Edgewood, Atlanta, Georgia (1886); Lincoln Medical College at 121 South 14th Street, LIncoln, Nebraska (1899); and the American College of Medicine and Surgery, Chicago, Illinois (1901). Together, they formed the National Confederation of Eclectic Medical Colleges.54 Graduates held positions in private practices, colleges, hospitals, insurance companies, governmental sanitary boards, and as surgeons in the army and navy. Eclectics perceived themselves as an established force in the medical world "and as likely to be permanent as any other doctrine now held in the whole realm of art and science."55

-- A Profile in Alternative Medicine: The Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, 1845-1942, by John S. Haller, Jr.

A few organizations Peebles took a leadership role in are the National Spiritualist Association,...

The National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) is one of the oldest and largest of the national Spiritualist church organizations in the United States. The NSAC was formed as the National Spiritualist Association of the United States of America (NSA) in September 1893, during a three-day convention in Chicago, Illinois. Although American Spiritualists had previously tended to resist institutional or denominational organization, early NSA leaders hoped organization would help promote the truths of the religion both spiritually and practically. Organization could help non-Spiritualists distinguish genuine mediumship from the rapidly proliferating varieties of fraudulent mediumship, increase communication among Spiritualists, prevent the legal prosecution of spirit mediums under fortune telling and medical licensing laws, and counterattacks by "orthodox" ministers in the press. To these reasons, early leaders added the material support of spirit mediums and healers, just as other religious groups provided for the support of their clergy.

Among the NSA's first leaders were W. H. Bach, Harrison D. Barrett (former Unitarian clergymen), Luther V. Moulton, James Martin Peebles, and Cora L. V. Scott (spiritualist medium). The association is also important for its adoption of a number of statements on Spiritualism which have become a standard to which other Spiritualist bodies more or less adhere...

The influence of Unitarianism is obvious in the definition of God in principle one.

1. We believe in Infinite Intelligence;
2. We believe that the phenomena of Nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence;
3. We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression and living in accordance therewith constitute true religion;
4. We affirm that the existence and personal identity of the individual continue after the change called death;
5. We affirm that communication with the so-called dead is a fact, scientifically proven by the phenomena of Spiritualism;

6. We believe that the highest morality is contained in the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Principles 1-6 adopted in Chicago, Illinois, 1899. Principle 6 revised in Ronkonkorma, New York, 2004.[citation needed])
7. We affirm the moral responsibility of the individual, and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature's physical and spiritual laws;
8. We affirm that the doorway to reformation is never closed against any soul here or hereafter; (Principles 7-8 adopted in Rochester, New York, 1909 and revised in Rochester, New York, 2001.)
9. We affirm that the precept of Prophecy and Healing are Divine attributes proven through Mediumship. (Principle 9 adopted in St. Louis, Missouri, 1944, revised in Oklahoma City, 1983 and in Westfield, New Jersey, 1998.)...

"Are Spiritualists also Christians?" was debated by the NSAC and generally decided in the negative. While the NSAC has drawn heavily on the Christian faith, from which most members came, it identifies its members as Spiritualists. The specifically "Christian Spiritualists" were found in other bodies such as the Progressive Spiritualist Church and the Spiritual Church Movement. Some Spiritualists differentiate between primitive Christianity, which they believe themselves to be following and practicing, and contemporary orthodox Christianity, which they strictly differentiate from both primitive Christianity and Spiritualism...

The Center for Spiritualist Studies (CSS) in Lily Dale, New York is located on the grounds of the NSAC-chartered Lily Dale Assembly, the world's largest Spiritualist camp. The CSS is incorporated as a religious seminary by the New York State Board of Regents. The goal of the curriculum is the training of Spiritualist Clergy, Teachers, Mediums and Healers...

The Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York is the governing body of the University of the State of New York.

The board was established by statute on May 1, 1784. The members were divided into five classes: 1) ex officio members including the Governor of New York, the Lieutenant Governor of New York, the Secretary of State of New York, the New York Attorney General, and the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, the Mayor of New York City, the Mayor of Albany, New York, 2) two people from each of the then twelve existing counties, 3) one representative of each religious denomination in the state, chosen by their congregation, 4) founders of any college or school in the state (and their heirs or successors), and 5) representatives from selected colleges.[1]

The regents were spread across the state and getting a necessary quorum proved difficult given the size of the state and travel demands. On November 26, 1784, 33 additional members were appointed, twenty of them from New York City and affiliated with King's College (now known as Columbia University). This arrangement also proved ineffective, so on April 13, 1787, the Legislature legislated the existing regents out of office, and a new set of regents was appointed: the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor continued as ex officio members, and 19 regents were appointed for life. This legislation also shifted the regents' focus from Columbia to schools, colleges, and universities across the state. On April 8, 1842, the Secretary of State was added again as an ex officio member, and on March 30, 1854, the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Vacancies were filled by joint ballot of the state legislature.

The regents were made a constitutional body, no longer defined by statue, in 1894. In 1904, the Board was reorganized again and the ex officio members were legislated out. The offices of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Secretary of the Board of Regents were abolished and the duties of both transferred to the Commissioner of Education, who "serves at the pleasure" of the Board of Regents. The regents continued to be elected by joint ballot of the Legislature. Eleven of the sitting 19 regents were chosen by the Legislature to continue in office, and were classified to serve for different term lengths, so that every year one seat came up for election, for a full term. The number of board members was reduced to eight, one Regent per New York State Judicial District (based on the 1876 Act establishing the districts.), plus three "at large" members.

-- Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, by Wikipedia

The National Spiritualist Summit (TNS) is the official publication of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches. It has been continuously published each month since 1919. The Spotlight is a magazine, published 10 times a year, for Children of all ages produced by the National Spiritualist Association of Churches and maintains a continued emphasis on the progression of Spiritualism through teaching children.

-- National Spiritualist Association of Churches, by Wikipedia

the California College of Sciences, the Peebles College of Science and Philosophy, the California Centenarian Club, and the California Humanitarian League. Peebles was an opponent of vaccination and vivisection.[1] He authored Vaccination a Curse and a Menace to Personal Liberty in 1900.[9] He was editor of the monthly magazine Temple of Health and Psychic Review.[1]

Peebles was influenced by Sylvester Graham and opposed the consumption of alcohol, coffee, meat, tea and tobacco.[10]

The Reverend Sylvester Graham (July 5, 1794 – September 11, 1851) was an American Presbyterian minister and dietary reformer known for his emphasis on vegetarianism, the temperance movement, and eating whole-grain bread. His preaching inspired the graham flour, graham bread, and graham cracker products. Graham is often referred to as the "Father of Vegetarianism" in the United States of America...

Like other members of the temperance movement, Graham viewed physical pleasure and especially sexual stimulation with suspicion, as things that excited lust leading to behavior that harmed individuals, families, and societies. Graham was strongly influenced by the Bible and Christian theology in his own idiosyncratic way. He believed that people should eat only plants, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and believed that plague and illness were caused by living in ways that ignored natural law. He urged people to remain calm, and not allow worry or lust to shake them from living rightly – perhaps one of the first people to claim that stress causes disease.

From these views, Graham created a theology and diet aimed at keeping individuals, families, and society pure and healthy – drinking pure water and eating a vegetarian diet anchored by bread made at home from flour coarsely ground at home so that it remained wholesome and natural, containing no added spices or other "stimulants" and a rigorous lifestyle that included sleeping on hard beds and avoiding warm baths. The regimen has been described as an early example of preventive medicine. The emphasis on milling and baking at home was part of his vision of America in which women remained at home and nursed their families into health and maintained them there, as his wife had done for him. Graham believed that adhering to such diet would prevent people from having impure thoughts and in turn would stop masturbation (thought by Graham to be a catalyst for blindness and early death) His piece On Self-Pollution, published in 1834, contributed to the masturbation scare in antebellum America. He believed youthful masturbation was dangerous to children's health because of the immaturity of their reproductive organs.

As a skilled and fiery preacher, his peculiar message, combining patriotism, theology, diet, lifestyle, and messages already prevalent from the temperance movement, captured the attention of the frightened public and outraged bakers and butchers, as well as the medical establishment. When the cholera epidemic reached New York in 1832, people who had followed his advice appeared to thrive, and his fame exploded. When he published his first book in 1837, Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making, his lectures in New York and Boston that year were thronged; the Boston lecture was disrupted by a threat of riots by butchers and commercial bakers.

As his fame spread, "Grahamism" became a movement, and people inspired by his preaching began to develop and market Graham flour, Graham bread, and graham crackers. He neither invented nor endorsed any specific product, nor did he receive any money from their sale. Graham influenced other Americans including Horace Greeley and John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Grahamite boarding-houses were established in the 1830s. The Grahamites applied dietetic and hygienic principles to everyday life including cold baths, hard mattresses, open windows, a vegetarian diet with Graham bread and drinking cold water. Animal flesh was banned from Grahamite homes but eggs were allowed to be eaten at breakfast and were an important component of Grahamite diets...

Graham died of complications after receiving opium enemas, as directed by his doctor, at the age of 57 at home in Northampton, Massachusetts. His early death was the source of criticism and speculation. Historian Stephen Nissenbaum has written that Graham died "after violating his own strictures by taking liquor and meat in a last desperate attempt to recover his health".

Russell Trall, who had visited Graham, noted that he had strayed from a strict vegetarian diet and was prescribed meat by his doctor to increase his blood circulation. Trall wrote that before his death Graham regretted this decision and "fully and verily believed in the theory of vegetable diet as explained in his works".

After his death, vegetarians distanced themselves from Grahamism. However, his vegetarian message was disseminated far into the 20th century.

Food historians cite Graham as one of the earliest food faddists in America.

-- Sylvester Graham, by Wikipedia

He a vegetarianism activist and contributed articles to The Vegetarian Magazine. His diet was ovo-lacto vegetarian, he ate butter, cheese, eggs, milk, fruits, nuts and vegetables.[11]

Peebles was married to Mary M. Conkey, and they had three children, none of whom lived past infancy.
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Peebles Epilepsy Remedy

He was the Chairman of Peebles' Institute of Health in Battle Creek, Michigan. The institute sold a dubious "epilepsy cure", which medical experts considered quackery.[5][12][13] His epilepsy remedy was examined by the American Medical Association's Chemical Laboratory which revealed it was made from "mainly a hydro-alcoholic solution of extractives with flavouring."[5] The "indiscriminate use" of bromides was considered dangerous to epileptics.[12]


Peebles' "epilepsy cure" is put out by the Dr. Peebles' Institute of health, Battle Creek, Mich. This company has for its chairman, J.M. Peebles, M.D., and for its treasurer and general manager, W.T. Bobo, M.D.

J.M. Peebles, according to our records, is over 92 years old, and holds a diploma, received in 1896 -- after he was 50 -- from the Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery, that was fraudulent when it became extinct in 1880. Peebles has held forth at Hammonton, N.J.; San Antonio, Tex.; San Diego, Cal.' Battle Creek, Mich., and is at present at Los Angeles. In addition to quacking it in the "epilepsy cure" line, Peebles supplements his income by selling a book, "Vaccination, A Curse and a Menace to Personal Liberty" -- price One Dollar. W.T. Bobo, M.D., the treasurer and general manager of the Peebles Institute was, according to our records, graduated in 1899 by the Marion-Sims College of Medicine, St. Louis. Bobo not only has an interest in the "epilepsy cure" but also advertises a goiter "cure." Altogether the personnel of the Peebles Institute is strictly in keeping with its business.


The Peebles Institute reaches its victims in the usual manner: advertisements in not-too-particular newspapers and magazines. A "free trial treatment" and a booklet containing much "scare" material forms part of the bait. Pictures showing a man followed by a demon (epilepsy) -- a victim of the disease falling from a housetop -- the horribly distorted features of an epileptic in an attack -- a madman raving in his cell as a result of epilepsy -- thus does the Peebles Institute drum up trade. In common with practically all "epilepsy cures" the Peebles Institute leads the public to believe that it does not use those drugs commonly prescribed by physicians in such cases. Also in common with its kind, the concern, of course, uses bromids. It is not very long ago that the Peebles Institute in circulars sent to prospective victims declared:

"We could have done what many 'FIT SPECIALISTS' do, and sent a sedative or bromid mixture that would have deadened and partly paralyzed the brain and nervous system and checked the spells while the remedies were being used, but we do not treat our patients in that way."

The Peebles Institute no longer makes this statement -- directly. It does, however, still make such claims by inference. The fact that the concern now uses more guarded language may be due to the government's successful prosecution of the Peebles epilepsy cure in which the stuff was declared misbranded, and the company fined! A specimen of the Peebles nostrum -- price Five Dollars -- was purchased direct from the concern and the preparation submitted to the Association's laboratory for examination:


The "Peebles Epilepsy Treatment," manufactured by the Peebles Health Institutes, Battle Creek, Mic., was submitted to the Chemical Laboratory for examination. The treatment consisted of two original bottles, labeled, respectively, No. 1 and No. 2.

Peebles Epilepsy Treatment No. 1. -- The bottle of "Peebles' Epilepsy Treatment No. 1" contained 350 c.c. (12 fluidounces) of a brown liquid with extractive matter present and had an odor resembling celery and valerian. The liquid seemed to consist mainly of a hydro-alcoholic solution of extractives with flavoring. The specific gravity at 15.6C. was 1.1040. The solid residue weighed 29.4 per cent, and the ash weighed 1.17 per cent. Quantitative determination showed 11.40 per cent. absolute alcohol by volume. The dose is 1 teaspoonful at mealtime.

Peebles Epilepsy Treatment No. 2. -- The bottle of "Peebles Epilepsy Treatment No. 2" contained about 350 c.c. (12 fluidounces) of a brown liquid, having extractive matter present and a valerian-like odor. The specific gravity at 15.6C. was 1.1061. Qualitative tests demonstrated the presence of alcohol, ammonium, potassium, sodium (traces) bromid and chlorid.

Essentially, each 100 c.c. of the solution contains 7.3 grams of ammonium bromid and 17.9 grams of potassium bromid. Calculating from the bromid determination, each dose, one teaspoonful (1 fluidram), contains the equivalent of 16.8 grains of potassium bromid, and each daily dose (three teaspoonfuls) corresponds to 50.4 grains of potassium bromid.

The report shows, as might have been expected, that the Peebles epilepsy treatment consists, essentially, in giving bromids -- (From The Journal A.M.A., Jan. 30, 1915.)

-- Nostrums and Quackery: Articles on the Nostrum Evil, Quackery and Allied Matters Affecting the Public Health; Reprinted, With or Without Modifications, from The Journal of the American Medical Association, Prepared, Compiled or Edited by Arthur J. Cramp, M.D., Director of the Propaganda Department and Bureau of Investigation of The Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume II, 1921

Peebles also set up psychic healing institutes in California, New Jersey and Texas.[6]

Bibliography (partial)

• 1859 Henry W. Beecher on Theodore Parker's Platform: Signs of the Times, Orthodoxy and Infidelity: Spiritualism. Battle Creek, Michigan: Steam Press of the Review and Herald Office.
• with Joseph Osgood Barrett and Eben Howe Bailey, The Spiritual Harp: A Collection of Vocal Music for the Choir, Congregation, and Social Circle, Boston, New York,: W. White & company.
• 1868 The Practical of Spiritualism: Biographical Sketch of Abraham James, Historic Description of His Oil-Well Discoveries in Pleasantville, Pa., through Spirit Direction. Chicago: Horton & Leonard.
• 1869 Seers of the Ages or Spiritualism Past & Present, W. White & Co. Boston USA & J. Burns London, England
• 1871 with Hudson Tuttle, The Year-Book of Spiritualism for 1871, Boston: W. White and Company.
• 1872 Witch-Poison and the Antidote, Troy, New York: The Troy Children's Progressive Lyceum.
• 1874 with Joseph Osgood Barrett, The Gadarene, or, Spirits in Prison. Boston: Colby and Rich.
• 1875 Around the World: Or, Travels in Polynesia, China, India, Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Other 'Heathen' Countries, Boston: Colby and Rich.
• 1876 The Conflict between Darwinianism and Spiritualism, or, Do All Tribes and Races Constitute One Human Species?: Did Man Originate from Ascidians, Apes, and Gorillas?: Are Animals Immortal? Boston: Colby & Rich
• 1877 with Ann Lee (spirit), Oriental Spiritualism: From the Spirit of Mother Ann Lee to J.M. Peebles. Mt. Lebanon, N.Y.: s.n.
• 1878 Buddhism and Christianity Face to Face, or, an Oral Discussion between the Rev. Migettuwatte, a Buddhist Priest, and Rev. D. Silva, an English Clergyman: Held at Pantura, Ceylon. Boston: Colby and Rich.
• 1878 Christ, the Corner-Stone of Spiritualism, or, the Talmudic Proofs of Jesus' Existence : Who Was Jesus?: The Distinction between Jesus and Christ: The Moral Estimate That Leading American Spiritualists Put Upon Jesus of Nazareth: The Commands, Marvels, and Spiritual Gifts of Jesus Christ: The Philosophy of Salvation through Christ : The Belief of Spiritualists and the Church of the Future. London: James Burns.
• 1880 Immortality, and Our Employments Hereafter, Boston: Colby and Rich.
• 1880 Spiritual Harmonies. 2nd. ed. Boston: Colby and Rich.
• 1884 How to Live a Century and Grow Old Gracefully. New York: M. L. Hollbrook.
• 1887 with Frederick W. Evans, J. P. MacLean, Shakerism in London : Addresses by Frederick W. Evans, Elder in the Order of Shakers, Dr. Peebles, J. Burns, and Others, at Claremont Hall, Penton St., London, N., Sunday Evening, July 3, 1887. London: Reprinted from the Medium and Daybreak.
• 1890 Nihilism, Socialism, Shakerism, Which? Mt. Lebanon, N.Y.: s.n.
• 1895 Magic: One of a Series of Lectures. San Diego, California: Peebles Publishing House.
• 1898 Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Spiritualism, at Its Birthplace. Battle Creek, Michigan: Drs. Peebles & Burroughs.
• 1898 Seers of the Ages: Embracing Spiritualism, Past and Present : Doctrines Stated and Moral Tendencies Defined. 8th ed. Boston: Banner of Light Publishing Co.

J. M. Peebles, from Spiritual Pilgrim 1872
• 1898 Three Journeys around the World, or, Travels in the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, India, Egypt and Other Oriental Countries. Boston: Banner of Light Publishing Co.
• 1899 Spiritualism in All Lands and Times: Address to the International Congress of Spiritualists, Held in London, June, 1898. Battle Creek, Mich.: Drs. Peebles & Burroughs.
• 1900 Priest-Rejected Proofs of Immortality: Its Naturalness, Its Possibilities, and Now-a-Day Evidences Refused a Hearing by Rev. Canon Girdlestone and Other Churchmen Connected with the Victoria Institute and Philosophical Society of Great Britain. Battle Creek, Mich.: Published by the author.
• 1902 A Series of Seven Essays Upon Spiritualism Vs. Materialism, Appearing in the Free-Thought Magazine. Battle Creek, Mich.: Dr. Peebles Institute of Health Publishing Co.
• 1902 The Eightieth Birthday Anniversary of Dr. J.M. Peebles: Celebrated in Melbourne, Australia, and Printed in Part in W.H. Terry's Harbinger of Light (April and May 1902): With an Essay on How I Am Living to Live a Century. London: Published at the office of Light.
• 1903 The First Epistle of Dr. Peebles to His Seventh Day Adventist Critics. Battle Creek, Mich.: Dr. Peebles Institute of Health.
• 1904 Reincarnation, or, the Doctrine of the "Soul's" Successive Embodiments: Examined and Discussed Pro and Con. Battle Creek, Mich.: Peebles Medical Institute.
• 1905 The Demonism of the Ages : Spirit Obsessions, So Common in Spiritism, Oriental and Occidental Occultism. 3rd ed. Battle Creek, Mich.: Peebles Medical Institute.
• 1905 Vaccination a Curse and a Menace to Personal Liberty, with Statistics Showing Its Dangers and Criminality. Battle Creek, Michigan.
• 1906 The Spirit's Pathway Traced; Did It Pre-Exist and Does It Reincarnate Again into Mortal Life? Battle Creek, Michigan,: Dr. Peebles Institute of Health.
• 1909 Spirit Mates, Their Origin and Destiny, Sex-Life, Marriage, Divorce. Battle Creek, Michigan: Peebles' Publishing Company.
• 1910 Five Journeys around the World. Battle Creek, Michigan,: Peebles Publishing Company.
• 1910 What Is Spiritualism? Who Are These Spiritualists? And What Can Spiritualism Do for the World? 5th ed. Battle Creek, Michigan: Peebles Publishing Company.
• 1912 Death Defeated, or, the Psychic Secret of How to Keep Young. 5th ed. Los Angeles: Peebles Publishing Company.
• n.d. with Henry A. Hartt, The Pro and Con of Spiritualism. Boston, Mass.: Banner of Light Publishing Company.
• 1970, Reverent William Rainen published his channeled messages from Dr. Peebles through his own publications in the 60's, 70's and later was a major contributor for a monthly magazine called, 'Spirit Speaks,' along with other famous names during that time frame. William channeled Dr. Peebles for decades, and taught many how to raise their vibration and communicate with Dr. Peebles too. Thomas Jacobson was one of his students who later became known when his journey was documented in to Dance with Angles. Others have followed since. Rev. Rainen also lectured on these same principles in the USA, and abroad.
• 1990, Don Pendleton, and Linda Pendleton, To Dance with Angels : An Amazing Journey to the Heart with the Phenomenal Thomas Jacobson and the Grand Spirit, Dr. Peebles. N.Y.: Kensington Books. 5th edition, CA: Pendleton Artists (Book is written by Don and Linda Pendleton. Includes channeled material from Dr. Peebles, channeled through mediumship of Thomas Jacobson).
• 2012, Three Principles of Angelic Wisdom, The Spiritual Psychology of the Grand Spirit Dr. Peebles by Linda Pendleton. CA: Pendleton Artists. Biographical information on Dr. James Martin Peebles.


1. Guinn, James Miller. (1915). A History of California and an Extended History of Los Angeles and Environs, Volume 3. Historic Record Company. pp. 527-533
2. James Peebles (1884) How to Live a Century and Grow Old Gracefully, M. L. Holbrook & Co., New York
3. "Lives Only Days Short of Century" (Feb 16, 1922) Los Angeles Times
4. Joseph Osgood Barrett (1872) Spiritual Pilgrim: A Biography of James M. Peebles, Boston: William White and Company
5. Cramp, Arthur J. (1921). Nostrums and Quackery: Articles on the Nostrum Evil, Quackery and Allied Matters Affecting the Public Health, Volume 2. Press of American Medical Association. pp. 148-150
6. Massie, Larry B; Schmitt, Peter J. (1984). Battle Creek, the Place Behind the Products: An Illustrated Business History. Windsor Publications. p. 62. ISBN 0-89781-117-8 "He paused from his travels to pick up a quick diploma from the fraudulent Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery in 1876. Dr. Peebles then bounced around the country, setting up psychic healing institutes at Hammonton, New Jersey, San Antonio, Texas; and San Diego, California."
7. "Ludwig Bruck's List of Unregistered Practitioners". "Philadelphia University of Medicine and Surgery (Philadelphia,Pa.) Fraudulent institution. Extinct."
8. Lowe, Berenice Bryant. (1976). Tales of Battle Creek. Albert L. and Louise B. Miller Foundation. p. 71
9. Buescher, John Benedict. (2006). The Remarkable Life of John Murray Spear: Agitator for the Spirit Land. University of Notre Dame Press. p. 335. ISBN 978-0268022006 "Many American spiritualists were also active anti-vaccinationists — see, for example, James Martin Peebles, Vaccination a Curse and a Menace to Personal Liberty, with Statistics Showing Its Dangers and Criminality."
10. Wilson, Brian C. (2014). Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and the Religion of Biologic Living. Indiana University Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-253-01447-4
11. Anonymous. (1897). James M. Peebles, A.M., M.D. Food, Home and Garden 1 (12): 179-180.
12. Anonymous. (1915). Dr. Peebles Institute of Health: A Fraudulent and Dangerous "Cure" for Epilepsy. Journal of the American Medical Association 64 (5): 455-456.
13. "Ads and Labels From Early 20th-Century Health Fraud Promotions". AMA Journal of Ethics.

Further reading

• Anonymous. (1915). Dr. Peebles Institute of Health: A Fraudulent and Dangerous "Cure" for Epilepsy. Journal of the American Medical Association 64 (5): 455-456.
• Joseph Osgood Barrett. The Spiritual Pilgrim: A Biography of James M. Peebles. Boston.


Lives Only Days Short of Century: Dr. Peebles Passes Away at Home Just before His Hundredth Birthday
by the Los Angeles Times
February 16, 1922

Death thirty-six days before his birthday anniversary prevented Dr. James Martin Peebles from realizing his ambition to live 100 years. He died at 3:30 p.m. yesterday at his apartment at 1839 South Main Street [Los Angeles]. He had been ill for nearly a year with valvular trouble of the heart, but had striven by will power to continue his life until March 23, when he would have been 100 years of age. Dr. N. MacFarlane, the attending physician, stated that the patient’s advanced age prevented his recovery. The body was taken to Pierce Brothers’s undertaking establishment, where the funeral will be conducted Saturday at 3 p.m.

He was born in Whittingham, VT., and was graduated from Oxford Academy in Chenango County, N.Y. in 1841. He later won degrees at Pennsylvania University of Medicine and Surgery and Philadelphia University. He owned and operated a number of publications, and he toured the world five times, lecturing in oriental countries.

He was a member of the Indian Peace Commission which in 1868 settled Indian troubles in the Middle West, and in 1869 he was United States Consul at Trebizond, Turkey. Later he represented the American Arbitration League at the International Peace Conference in Paris.

One of his oft-repeated remarks was “I am truly an eclectic not only in medicine, but in all things.” In evidence of this he preached for several years in the pulpit of the Universalist Church, Baltimore, before the Civil War. Then he became an Episcopalian and later a Spiritualist and Theosophist.

For three years Dr. Peebles was professor in the Eclectic Medical College of Cincinnati, he was president of the California College of Sciences for four years, and in 1914 he founded and became president of the Peebles College of Science and Philosophy in Los Angeles. He founded the California Centenarian Club and served as president of the California Humanitarian League. He was a member of numerous societies organized for advancement of science, art, health, philosophy and psychic research.

Dr. Peebles married Miss Mary M. Conkey in Canton, N.Y. She died many years ago, and their three children died in infancy. His sister, Mrs. C.C. Beach of Battle Creek, is the only close relative.

In addition to his widely read book, “How to Live a Century” he wrote eleven others on religion, psychology and similar subjects.


James Martin Peebles, 1822-1922)
by Linda Pendleton
© Copyright 2002, 2006

“The ancestors of James Martin Peebles, originally from the ancient town of Peebles in Peebleshire, Scotland, settled in the north of Ireland more than three hundred years ago. Staunch Protestants with very pronounced religious convictions, they endured much persecution during a period of intense and bitter controversies. In 1718, Robert and Sarah Peebles and children, emigrated from Ulster, Ireland to America and settled in Pelham, Massachusetts. Their eldest son, Patrick Peebles, was fifteen at the time. In 1737, Patrick's eldest son, Robert was born in Pelham, Massachusetts. James Martin Peebles' grandfather, Patrick Peebles, son of Robert Peebles, was born about 1770-1772, and by the time Patrick's first son, James Peebles Sr. was born in 1796, the family lived in Whitingham, Vermont.”

“In 1820, James Peebles, Sr., married Whitingham schoolmistress, Nancy Brown, daughter of Deacon Jonas and Lois Brown, and a seventh generation descendant of Thomas Brown, who was living in Concord, Massachusetts as early as 1640. James Peebles Sr. served as a Captain in the Vermont Militia for many years and held various township offices.”

“James Martin Peebles was born March 23, 1822, at the family homestead in Whitingham, Vermont, the second born of eight children of James and Nancy Peebles. The young James excelled as a student and at the age of sixteen entered the Oxford Academy in New York State to continue his studies, majoring in Latin, Greek, and the Classical Literature of the ancient periods. While a student at the Academy he became a teacher, with some of his students even older than himself.”

“At the age of twenty he was ordained a Universalist minister and preached in Kellogsville, Oswego and Elmira, New York; and in Baltimore, Maryland. During this period, a new spiritual movement began to sweep across America and overseas. The Reverend James M. Peebles was one who chose to stand in the bright light of the new Spiritualism.”

“By 1856, Dr. Peebles was preaching Spiritualism at the Free Spiritualist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan. In 1860, he went to Sacramento, California, where he spent nearly two years ministering throughout the gold mine camps in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was not long until he became known as ‘the spiritual pilgrim’ as he enthusiastically spread his Spiritualists’ philosophy through lectures, writings, and travels around the United States and the world. Himself a medium, he was surrounded by what he called his ‘band of angels’ from whom he received inspiration and spiritual guidance.”

“Aaron Knight was the first of Dr. Peebles’ ‘angels’ or spirit guides to come to his attention. Mr. Knight, the Elucidator, was the spokesman for a group of nine guides, which included Dr. Peebles’ deceased brother, Lorenzo; Mozart, the Spiritual Harmonizer; Madame Elizabeth, the Love-angel and sister of Louis XVI of France; Parasee Lendanta, an Italian scientist; Hosea Ballou, known as the Sermonizer; Caná, known as the Positivist; James Leonard; and John W. Leonard, a clergyman from Edinburgh, Scotland. As Reverend Peebles became more conscious of angel-presence surrounding him, he came to understand his ‘band of angels’ was larger than the aforementioned nine. There were two intertwining bands associated with Dr. Peebles: Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas, and known as the Magnetic Cleanser; a Pawnee Chief; two doctors known as the Analyzers; a quaint and witty Irishman; and John, the Beloved, around whom the whole band revolved as planets around their central sun.”

“In 1852, James married Mary Conkey, a teacher in the Clinton Liberal Institute of Clinton, New York. Mary was considered refined, intelligent, well educated. She excelled as a painter and in later years became a spirit artist. The couple lost three children, either through miscarriages or as infants, and in 1861, their adopted son, Louie, died at the age of ten. In 1867, James and Mary bought a large home in Hammonton, New Jersey. Mary maintained the home, most often in the absence of her husband, who for health reason preferred a warmer climate, and who apparently believed the calling of his life's work was more important than maintaining a ‘normal’ married life. Mary died at the Hammonton, New Jersey home in 1909 at eighty-three years of age.”

“James began a study of medicine in his youth, studying with Dr. O. Martin, but it was not until the age of fifty-four that he completed his medical studies at the University of Medicine and Surgery in Philadelphia. He initiated his medical practice in Philadelphia, and soon after had a sanitarium at his home in Hammonton, New Jersey. For several years, Dr. Peebles was a member of the faculty of the Eclectic Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio, and later served as president of the College of Science in Los Angeles. In 1892, he had a sanitarium in San Antonio, Texas and by 1894 was living and practicing medicine at his health-home sanitarium in San Diego, California. In 1896, he opened a branch sanitarium in Indianapolis, Indiana, under the direction of Dr. John A. Burroughs. During this time, he also published his Temple of Health Journal. In 1902, he founded the Peebles' Institute of Health in Battle Creek, Michigan. Within a short few years, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued medical practice.”

“An international lecturer, prolific and talented author and journalist, Dr. Peebles published more than thirty books and endless newspaper articles and essays during his long lifetime. For many years he was a regular columnist for the Spiritualist paper, The Banner of Light. He journeyed the world five times; the first time in 1865 aboard the Cunarder Persia, and wrote of his adventures within several editions of his book, Around the World. He completed his fifth trip in June 1913, at the age of 91, returning to New York on the Atlantic Transport liner Minnehaha from London, at which time he was interviewed by the New York Times as to the secret of his vitality at 91 years of age. He was probably best known as an author, for his books, Seers of the Ages: Embracing Spiritualism Past and Present, published first in 1869, and followed by several later editions; What is Spiritualism and Who are these Spiritualists?, published in 1903; How to Live a Century and Grow Old Gracefully, published in 1881; and in medical circles for Vaccination, A Curse and a Menace to Personal Liberty, published in 1905.”

“Two authorized biographies of James Martin Peebles were published: the first, Spiritual Pilgrim by J. O. Barrett in 1871, and the second, A Biography of James Martin Peebles by Edward Whipple was published in 1901. In 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Dr. Peebles to the position of U.S. Counsel at Trebizonde, Turkey, where he served for nearly two years. He was a member of the Congressional American Indian Peace Commission and a delegate to several international peace conferences, and an active and outspoken participant in the anti-slavery, temperance, and women's suffrage movements. Dr. Peebles delivered the first series of Sunday evening lectures on Spiritualism in London, Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. He often shared the lecture platform with Garrett Smith, Henry Wright, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, and others. Dr. Peebles was affiliated with the Freemasons; Knight Templars; Odd Fellows; Sons of Temperance; Independent Order of Good Templars; and Theosophy. Several times he toured India with Col. Henry Steel Olcott, who founded Theosophy with H.P. Blavatsky. Dr. Peebles was instrumental in establishing educational facilities in India and Ceylon with Col. Olcott. Dr. Peebles was a fellow of the Anthropological Society, London; the Psychological Society, London; Academy of Arts and Sciences, Naples; and several other societies. He founded the Peebles College of Science and Philosophy in Los Angeles in 1914, the California Centenarian Clubs in 1915, and was president of the California Humanitarian League.”

“James Martin Peebles died in Los Angeles, February 15, 1922, days short of his one hundredth birthday, and at a posthumous centennial birthday banquet celebration held in his honor in Los Angeles, his communication from the other side through a medium and his message from Heaven was reported in a number of major newspapers across the country, and elsewhere, including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. Dr. Peebles' communication with those of us on Earth has continued since that time.”


Globe Trotter at 91: Dr. Peebles Does Things Instead of Talking of By-Gones
by the New York Times
June 17, 1913

The only passenger on the Atlantic Transport liner Minnehaha, which arrived from London last night, who did not seem to mind the heat was Dr. J. M. Peebles of Los Angeles, Cal., who will be 92 on March 23 next. Dr. Peebles has arranged to start on his sixth trip around the world in the Fall of 1915. Dr. Peebles is over six feet tall, with snow white hair and beard and clear gray eyes. He told the reporters last night that he owed his good health to avoidance of drugs, eating proper food, and regular rest and exercise.

"I have been a vegetarian for sixty years," said Dr. Peebles, "and neither drink nor smoke, but I am not a bigot. I was born in Bennington, [Whitingham] Vermont, and was one of the seven founders of the Independent Order of Good Templars in New York State. I stayed in the East until I was 28 years old. I contracted tuberculosis and then went to California to save my life, and have lived there practically ever since."

"What is the real secret of your vitality at the age of 91?" he was asked.

"Just behaving myself, proper living, and always being up and doing account for it," said Dr. Peebles. "I have the will power to compel myself to do things instead of sitting in a corner talking about the by-gone days, when I stood on the anti-slavery platform with Garrison and other good men before the war."

"I feel that I am in the morning of my youth, and have no fear of death because I believe that it merely means the shedding of the outer shell and going to sleep, to wake up in a new world."

Dr. Peebles, who was accompanied by R. Peebles Sudall, his adopted son, was anxious to have the reporters know that he was opposed to vaccination and to vivisection. He was in the active practice of medicine for fifty years, and still treats some of his old patients. He served as a surgeon in the civil war, and was appointed a Consul in Asiatic Turkey by President Grant during his first term, but only served eighteen months of his term of office, as he found the life too tedious for endurance.

At the present time Dr. Peebles is a correspondent of thirty-one newspapers and periodicals, of which nine are in India. Two are Mahommedan papers. He made his first trip across the Atlantic in 1865 in the Cunarder Persia, an iron paddle wheel steamship of 3,300 gross tons, with a speed of 14 knots.

Mr. Sudall said that Dr. Peebles when at his home in Los Angeles generally arose about 4:30 o'clock in the morning and breakfasted about 5 o'clock. He is accustomed then to go to his rose garden. He retires as a rule between 8 and 9 o'clock at night unless he has a lecture to deliver. He intended to attend the international convention of spiritualists in Geneva this month, but the London fogs affected his throat. After lying in bed for a week Dr. Peebles got up and said he was going back to California.


A Man Who Knew Dr. Peebles: "He hasn't changed a bit."
by Linda Pendleton
© Copyright 2001 by Linda Pendleton

During the writing of our book, To Dance With Angels, Don and I heard about a man who had met Dr. Peebles in Los Angeles in about 1920. In 1987, this man had attended the Church of Inner Light in Los Angeles where Thomas Jacobson had channeled Dr. Peebles. His comment that day about Dr. Peebles had been, "He hasn't changed a bit." We had tried to locate the man during the writing of our book but had been unsuccessful.

A month before To Dance With Angels was published we did locate him. Nelson Westphalen agreed to an interview. We arraigned a get together at his home and were accompanied by Thomas and Connie Jacobson:

Nelson Westphalen and Thomas Jacobson. Photograph by Linda Pendleton

Los Angeles, July 30, 1990

Nelson Westphalen, who observed his 90th birthday at his home in West Los Angeles, California this past December is one of few persons still living who could have known James M. Peebles in the flesh. It is fortunate then, that Nelson attended a special service at the Church of Inner Light in 1987 where trance-medium Thomas Jacobson brought forward the spirit of Dr. Peebles in a demonstration of trance channeling.

"As a young man," Nelson recalled during our interview, "I had the privilege of attending a meeting in Los Angeles when Dr. Peebles was the guest speaker for George Francis, a popular psychic of the time. It was on the 8th floor of the old Hamburger Building at 8th and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. I'll never forget that night, and I have held both Dr. Francis and Dr. Peebles close to my heart ever since.

"Well, so I was very interested in hearing Thomas Jacobson and seeing if this was real [the channeling]. But I knew it was him [Dr. Peebles] the minute he started speaking. Same powerful voice, same Scottish accent, the same humor and the same wisdom. I had a chance to ask a question, so I decided to ask about George Francis, who also of course had been dead for many years.

"Dr. Peebles replied that he still saw George on the spirit side from time to time, and that his favorite topic for conversation was still 'man's inhumanity to man.' That sealed it right there. I had to slap my leg. That was George's favorite theme while I knew him."

Nelson described Dr. Peebles as a dynamic lecturer even though he was at that time close to one hundred years old. He recalled Dr. Peebles to have been distinguished looking and that he stood tall even though he used a cane. Nelson chuckled when he told us that Dr. Peebles had been accompanied by an attractive, full bosomed, younger woman.

Dr. Peebles' words had apparently had a tremendous impact on young Nelson for he carried with him the memory of their meeting for so very many years. Nelson's wife Dorothy, a delightful woman, confirmed for us that Nelson, indeed, had often spoke of the impact that both Dr. Peebles and George Francis had on him and of the respect and admiration he had for them.

We had an enjoyable afternoon with Nelson and Dorothy. Nelson was thrilled when Thomas offered to do a trance session for him and bring Dr. Peebles to our get together. Nelson had a lively and humorous discussion with his old "friend."

Don and I saw Nelson and Dorothy one more time after that, at the Church of Inner Light. Sadly, Nelson died several months later.


Dr. Peebles' Letter to a Friend, Edited from excerpts Spiritual Pilgrim by O.J. Barrett, 1871
by Linda Pendleton
© Copyright 2001 by Linda Pendleton

Mrs. H. F. M. Brown was a fellow Spiritualist and very active in the Spiritualist movement. In 1860 or so, she was living in Cleveland, Ohio, but according to later Spiritualist registers she lived in California. The Spiritual registers list her as a traveling lecturer, as they did Dr. Peebles. It is obvious by Dr. Peebles letter to her that they had a close relationship.

This letter was written in 1861 shortly after the death of Dr. Peebles' adopted ten-year-old son, Louis. He was devastated by his son's death. Shortly before writing this letter to his friend Frances Brown, in deep mourning, he had a discourse with his "band of angels."

"Oh, I loved Louie!" said he.

"So do we," was the reply of the angel.

"But he was necessary to my happiness."

"So he was to others."

"I had superior claim."

"You think so, brother? Where is your philosophy in the superiority of the spiritual over the material?"

"I could have made him spiritual here."

"Suppose it be proved that Louie's departure is a mutual and eternal blessing?"

"But I loved him from my soul's depths."

"No doubt you did: the angels, however, loving him better, transplanted him into their heavenly gardens."

"The angels have need of these youthful buds
In their gardens so fair;
They graft them on immortal stems,
To bloom forever there."

He said, "Well, I go mourning over the world, now that Louie is gone."

"Go mourning, O philosopher! to render him and you more unhappy? So many beautiful buds, flowering out on the immortal shore to prepare a paradise for you! So unhappy over it, child?"

It is said this spiritual interchange apparently calmed him to a silence, sweet as the night's rest. Not long after he wrote this letter, accepting that the "angel rules the human at the saddest of losses."

"Sacramento, Cal., March 1861"

"Dear Mrs. Brown...I am sad, oh, so sad and tearful, to-night, Frances! None, however see my tears. There may be something of pride in this; but I long ago resolved that no shadow upon my face should ever filch the sunshine from others. Why sad, do you ask? Aye, last week's mail brought the tidings of the severe sickness and departure to the better land of our darling Louis, -- a precious bud, transplanted to bloom in the garden of God. Oh, how I pity my poor wife! Lonely must she be without the echoes of his dancing feet, and the lyric cadence of his voice. He was a promising, a beautiful child of hardly ten summers, and the very idol of our hearts.

"This deep affliction will weigh heavily upon my wife. I shall hasten home on her account. Home! how many sweet associations cluster around the endearing word! Put me in my library room, and I'm happy; and yet, dearly as I love books, family, home, and home comforts, a divine voice is ever saying to me, "Go forth, -- go among all nations; preaching the ministry of spirits, and the principles of the Spiritual Philosophy.

"Though gifted in intellect, Frances, you are equally sympathetic, and will readily understand the sorrow that will come over me like a cloud upon crossing my threshold in Battle Creek, -- my wife glad to welcome me, gratified with my improved health, but mourning for Louis. It is all well. He has gone to join and become a companion of our own three dear little ones, who left the mortal ere earth's ills had tinged the gossamer of their spirit-garments with a single stain. Angels are their teachers; progress their eternal destiny. Oh, how blessed is Spiritualism in all the trying scenes of life! Would I had a thousand tongues to tell its glories and sing its praises! To its promulgation under the inspiration of a circling band of spirits, I have consecrated my powers, dedicated my life. So have you, and many, many other noble souls.

"Deeply do I sympathize with reform workers, lecturers, and media, negative and sensitized from the heavens. Oftentimes their sorrows are many, their joys few. Beautiful are the crowns that await them in the glorious hereafter.

"Were it not for the impaired health of my wife, and sudden departure of Louis, I should remain here at least a year, and do earnest missionary work in behalf of Spiritualism. I am stopping in an excellent family, Victor B. Post's; the spirits have named them "Peace and Harmony." These, with many other dear friends, entreat me to remain another year; but duty calls me home.

"I must tell you, by the way, that I have formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Eliza W. Farnham; met her in the lunatic asylum, Stockton, Cal. She is the matron; and her brilliant, solid intellect, boundless benevolence, and deep comprehension of principles, charmed me. During several evenings, she read from unpublished volumes she is preparing, -- read me select passages from Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," and several European poets. She told me she delivered the first lecture upon Spiritualism ever given in California. She spoke highly of you, Mary F. Davis, and others of her sex laboring for woman and the great interest of reform. And, only think, -- little, anxious, jealous souls, hardly worthy to unloose her shoe-latches, have tried to traduce this great, noble woman. Blessings upon her! I'm proud I ever clasped her hand, a prelude to abiding friendship."

Several months later Dr. Peebles wrote to a male friend who had given him a message from his departed son and had promised there would be more to come.

"Accept my thanks for the love message sent me from Louie through you. Oh, the dear pet child, how I want to press him to my bosom upon my return home! You know, Charlie, that I am enthusiastic in my love nature; loving not only children, but music, flowers, and friends, almost to distraction. The news of Louie's leaving the earth life almost overcame me at first. I was not prepared for it…."

In To Dance With Angels, Don and I quoted from his biography, Spiritual Pilgrim, a description of Dr. Peebles written by Mrs. H. F. M. Brown at some point prior to 1871.

"Mr. Peebles's leading characteristic is, perhaps, individuality. He is independent in thought and speech, condemns cowardice and jealousies without stint: he commands where he can, never looking to see which way the tide is setting, or waits public approval. But he is quite willing that others should live their lives, if principles are not compromised. He is orderly, generous, social, mirthful, and a great lover of the beautiful. In personal appearance, he is tall, straight, of slender form, brown hair, blue eyes, his face is of Roman mold: his teeth faultless. He dresses with great care, avoiding alike the dandy and the sloven. He is tall and slim as a May-pole; as fair and frail as a delicate woman. Consumption looks him in the face occasionally; but, by sailing the world half round, he has eluded the unwelcome phantom. But, after all, the mistake might have been in putting the right soul into the wrong body. Spiritwise, Mr. Peebles is a mountaineer. He is calm in a storm, laughs at the lightning, and listens to the thunder as friend to friend. His thoughts, like mountain streams, gush forth with freshness, music, and originality. If he is a thought-borrower, his benefactions are the ferns, the dewy mosses, the wild-flowers, the cloud-crowned hills, and green valleys of his native state. I said to my soul, while listening to him, Emerson had this very man in his mind when he said, 'In your heart are birds and sunshine: in your thoughts the brooklets flow.'"

A beautiful tribute to a friend.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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"And so, without further ado, here's the author of Mind Over Matter..."
Gary Larson

"And so, without further ado, here's the author of Mind Over Matter..."
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General Claude Martin
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/31/20

In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão… Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the samhitas of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century…

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, [which] are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

It is perhaps significant that it was in a royal library, rather than in a Brahmin pathasala, that Polier found manuscripts of the Vedas. But the same is not true of the manuscripts acquired in Banaras only fifteen years later by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, during the period (1795–97) when he was appointed as judge and magistrate at nearby Mirzapur…

I cannot conceive how it came to be ever asserted that the Brahmins were ever averse to instruct strangers; several gentlemen who have studied the language find, as I do, the greatest readiness in them to give us access to all their sciences. They do not even conceal from us the most sacred texts of their Vedas.

The several gentlemen would likely have included General Claude Martin, Sir William Jones, and Sir Robert Chambers. These were all East India Company employees who obtained Vedic manuscripts (Jones from Polier) in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Why was it so much easier for Polier, Colebrooke, and others to obtain what it had been so difficult for the Jesuits and impossible for the Pietists?...

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

General Cl. Martin. 1794, published in Lucknow. After an original by Renaldi. Engraved by L. Legoux- Late pupil of F. Bartolozzi.
Born: 5 January 1735, Lyon, Kingdom of France
Died: 13 September 1800 (aged 65), Lucknow, Oudh State
Resting place: Constantia- La Martiniere Lucknow
Monuments: Farhad Baksh Kothi (Chateau de Lyon), Bibiapur Kothi, Hayat Baksh Kothi and Constantia
Occupation: Soldier
Organization: East India Company
Parents: Fleury Martin (father); Anne Vaginay (mother)

Major General Claude Martin (5 January 1735 – 13 September 1800) was an officer in the French, and later the English East India Company's army in India. He rose to the rank of Major General in the English East India Company's Bengal Army. Martin was born in Lyon, France, into a humble background, and was a self-made man who left a substantial lasting legacy in the form of his writings, buildings and the educational institutions he founded posthumously. There are now ten schools named after him, two in Lucknow, two in Calcutta and six in Lyon. The small village of Martin Purwa in India was also named after him.


Fort William in Calcutta

Claude Martin was born on 5 January 1735 in the rue de la Palme, Lyons, France. He was the son of Fleury Martin (1708–1755), a casket maker, and Anne Vaginay (1702–1735), a butcher's daughter.[1] At his local parish school he excelled in mathematics and physics. After leaving school he was apprenticed to a local silk weaver.[1] Martin's family were middle class and by this time they had businesses in mustard, vinegar and brandy. His decision to go into the silk yarn business did therefore not go down well with his family.

In 1751 at the age of 16 Martin decided to seek his fortune abroad, and he signed up with the French Compagnie des Indes [The Mississippi Company].[1] His mother is reported to have said that he should not return from enlisting as a soldier until he was "in a carriage".[2]

The Mississippi Company (French: Compagnie du Mississippi; founded 1684, named the Company of the West from 1717, and the Company of the Indies from 1719) was a corporation holding a business monopoly in French colonies in North America and the West Indies. When land development and speculation in the region became frenzied and detached from economic reality, the Mississippi bubble became one of the earliest examples of an economic bubble.

In May 1716, the Scottish economist John Law, who had been appointed Controller General of Finances of France under the Duke of Orleans, created the Banque Générale Privée ("General Private Bank"). It was the first financial institution to develop the use of paper money. It was a private bank, but three quarters of the capital consisted of government bills and government-accepted notes. In August 1717, Law bought the Mississippi Company to help the French colony in Louisiana. In the same year Law conceived a joint-stock trading company called the Compagnie d'Occident (The Mississippi Company, or, literally, "Company of [the] West"). Law was named the Chief Director of this new company, which was granted a trade monopoly of the West Indies and North America by the French government.

The bank became the Banque Royale (Royal Bank) in 1718, meaning the notes were guaranteed by the king, Louis XV of France. The company absorbed the Compagnie des Indes Orientales ("Company of the East Indies"), the Compagnie de Chine ("Company of China"), and other rival trading companies and became the Compagnie Perpetuelle des Indes on 23 May 1719 with a monopoly of French commerce on all the seas. Simultaneously, the bank began issuing more notes than it could represent in coinage; this led to a currency devaluation, which was eventually followed by a bank run when the value of the new paper currency was halved.

Louis XIV's long reign and wars had nearly bankrupted the French monarchy. Rather than reduce spending, the Regency of Louis XV of France endorsed the monetary theories of Scottish financier John Law. In 1716, Law was given a charter for the Banque Royale under which the national debt was assigned to the bank in return for extraordinary privileges. The key to the Banque Royale agreement was that the national debt would be paid from revenues derived from opening the Mississippi Valley. The Bank was tied to other ventures of Law—the Company of the West and the Companies of the Indies. All were known as the Mississippi Company. The Mississippi Company had a monopoly on trade and mineral wealth. The Company boomed on paper. Law was given the title Duc d'Arkansas. Bernard de la Harpe and his party left New Orleans in 1719 to explore the Red River. In 1721, he explored the Arkansas River. At the Yazoo settlements in Mississippi he was joined by Jean Benjamin who became the scientist for the expedition.

In 1718, there were only 700 Europeans in Louisiana. The Mississippi Company arranged ships to move 800 more, who landed in Louisiana in 1718, doubling the European population. Law encouraged some German-speaking peoples, including Alsatians and Swiss, to emigrate. They give their name to the regions of the Côte des Allemands and the Lac des Allemands in Louisiana.

Prisoners were set free in Paris from September 1719 onwards, under the condition that they marry prostitutes and go with them to Louisiana. The newly married couples were chained together and taken to the port of embarkation. In May 1720, after complaints from the Mississippi Company and the concessioners about this class of French immigrants, the French government prohibited such deportations. However, there was a third shipment of prisoners in 1721.

Law exaggerated the wealth of Louisiana with an effective marketing scheme, which led to wild speculation on the shares of the company in 1719. The scheme promised success for the Mississippi Company by combining investor fervor and the wealth of its Louisiana prospects into a sustainable, joint-stock, trading company. The popularity of company shares were such that they sparked a need for more paper bank notes, and when shares generated profits the investors were paid out in paper bank notes. In 1720, the bank and company were merged and Law was appointed by Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, then Regent for Louis XV, to be Comptroller General of Finances to attract capital. Law's pioneering note-issuing bank thrived until the French government was forced to admit that the number of paper notes being issued by the Banque Royale exceeded the value of the amount of metal coinage it held.

The "bubble" burst at the end of 1720, when opponents of the financier attempted to convert their notes into specie (gold and silver) en masse, forcing the bank to stop payment on its paper notes. By the end of 1720 Philippe d'Orléans had dismissed Law from his positions. Law then fled France for Brussels, eventually moving on to Venice, where he lived off his gambling. He was buried in the church San Moisè in Venice.

-- Mississippi Company, by Wikipedia

He was posted to India where he served under Commander and Governor Joseph François Dupleix and General Thomas Arthur Lally in the Carnatic Wars against the British East India Company. When the French lost their colony of Pondichéry in 1761, he accepted service in the Bengal Army of the East India Company in 1763, ultimately rising to the rank of Major General.

He was initially employed at the then-new Fort William in Calcutta, Bengal, and afterwards on the survey of Bengal under the English Surveyor General James Rennell. In 1776, Martin was allowed to accept the appointment of Superintendent of the Arsenal for the Nawab of Awadh, Asaf-ud-Daula, at Lucknow, retaining his rank but being ultimately placed on half pay. He resided in Lucknow from 1776 until his death. It was the 'Reign of Terror' during the French Revolution which prevented him from returning "in a carriage".[2] His friend Antoine Polier gave up his wives and children, as he left India, to return France. He was stabbed in a criminal assault during the aforesaid revolution. Martin formally never gave up his nationality as a Frenchman but definitely intended to, towards the end of his life, as he sought promotions in the Bengal Army.

Claude Martin's different facets

As soldier

Martin began his career as a dragoon and remained essentially a soldier throughout his life, a fighter and a strategist which explains his extraordinary success in life in spite of tremendous odds.

Beginning with the French East India Company he was quick to realise the changing power dynamics and chose to build his army career with the British East India Company. He was recognized for his military talents and got important experience in various military encounters. His administrative acumen was also well known and it was his reputation that made Shuja-ud-daulah the Nawab of Awadh to request for his services at Lucknow.

His service at the court of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah together with supplementary aids to the Company during the attack on Tipu at Seringpatnam shows that his strategic skills remained intact even in his later years. He was promoted to the ranks of Colonel (in 1793) and Major General (in 1795) being an extraordinary case, since no alien soldier in the Company Army was allowed to rise above the rank of Major.

As architect and builder

Constantia before the "mutiny"

Coming from Lyon, Martin must have acquired an eye for imposing architecture from his childhood days in his beautiful home town.

His architectural skills were much in demand at Lucknow and his nearness to Nawab Asaf-ud-daula gave him a unique opportunity to participate in the making of modern Lucknow. Martin moved to Lucknow almost at the same time when Asaf-ud-daula shifted the Capital to Lucknow. Asaf-ud-daulah and Claude Martin became chief architects of the city of Lucknow. Raj Bhavan (Hindi for 'Government House') is the official residence of the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Raj Bhavan used to be called Kothi Hayat Baksh. Major General Claude Martin drew the layout of the building in 1798 after Nawab Asaf-ud-daula, the East India Company made Sadaat Ali Khan its new ruler. The new ruler liked the buildings designed by Claude Martin. The contract for the construction of Kothi was undertaken by Martin as requested by Saadar Ali Khan.

Some of the buildings of Lucknow which have Martin's distinctive touch are: Farhad Baksh, Asafi Kothi, Bibiapur, Barowen and of course the Constantia.

Most of Martin's buildings were unique and were copied extensively by other designers keeping in mind their defence against military attack.

As collector and connoisseur

While serving under the Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah of Awadh, Martin acquired a massive fortune of about Rs 40,000,00.


Asaf-ud-Daula (Hindi: आसफ़ उद दौला, Urdu: آصف الدولہ‎) (b. 23 September 1748 – d. 21 September 1797) was the Nawab wazir of Oudh (a vassal of the British) ratified by Shah Alam II, from 26 January 1775 to 21 September 1797, and the son of Shuja-ud-Dowlah. His mother and grandmother were the Begums of Oudh.

Asaf-ud-Daula became nawab at the age of 26, on the death of his father, Shuja-ud-daula, on 28 January 1775. He assumed the throne with the aid of the British East India Company, outmanoeuvring his younger brother Saadat Ali who led a failed mutiny in the army. British Colonel John Parker defeated the mutineers decisively, securing Asaf-ud-Daula's succession. His first chief minister was Mukhtar-ud-Daula who was assassinated in the revolt.

The other challenge to Asaf's rule was his mother Umat-ul-Zohra (better known as Bahu Begum), who had amassed considerable control over the treasury and her own jagirs and private armed forces. She at one pointed invited the Company to intervene in her favour in the appointment of ministers against Asaf. When Shuja-ud-Daula died he left two million pounds sterling buried in the vaults of the zenana. The widow and mother of the deceased prince claimed the whole of this treasure under the terms of a will which was never produced. When Warren Hastings pressed the nawab for the payment of debt due to the Company, he obtained from his mother a loan of 26 lakh (2.6 million) rupees, for which he gave her a jagir (land) of four times the value; of subsequently obtained 30 lakh (3 million) more in return for a full acquittal, and the recognition of her jagirs without interference for life by the Company. These jagirs were afterwards confiscated on the ground of the begum's [Umat-ul-Zohra] complicity in the rising of Chait Singh, which was attested by documentary evidence. Ultimately this removed Umat-ul-Zohra as an obstacle to Asaf's reign.

In the aftermath of Saadat's revolt, Asaf sought to restructure the government particularly by appointing nobles favourable to his cause and British officers to his military. Asaf appointed Hasan Riza Khan as his chief minister. Although he had little experience in administration, his assistant Haydar Beg Khan turned out to be a valuable support. Tikayt Ray was appointed finance minister.

He was known for his generosity, particularly the offering of food and public employment in times of famine. Notably, the Bara Imambara, a mosque in Lucknow, was constructed during his reign by destitute workers seeking employment.

The Asfi mosque, located near the Imambara

A popular saying of the time of his benevolence: jisko na de maulā, usko de Asaf-ud-daulā "to whom even God does not give, Asaf-ud-Daula gives..."

Nawab Asaf-ud-Dowlah is considered the architect general of Lucknow. With the ambition to outshine the splendour of Mughal architecture, he built a number of monuments and developed the city of Lucknow into an architectural marvel....

The Nawab's sensitivity towards preserving the reputation of the upper class is demonstrated in the story of the construction of Imambara. During daytime, common citizens employed on the project would construct the building. On the night of every fourth day, the noble and upper-class people were employed in secret to demolish the structure built, an effort for which they received payment. Thus their dignity was preserved.

-- Asaf-ud-Daula, by Wikipedia

He built the palace of Constantia and his fine house of Farud Baksh, both of which he equipped with luxuries that included a library of some 4,000 volumes written in many languages and a picture gallery containing a fine collection of works of art. At his death, Claude's collection included over 650 Company style paintings of birds which were painted by Mughal-trained painters.[3] Black Stork in a Landscape, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is one of these.

Black Stork in a Landscape

Colonel Antoine Polier, a Swiss engineer and architect, Claude Martin, John Wombwell, assay master, and Johann Zoffany, the painter, surrounded by servants and Polier's art collection.

Martin's love of art can be seen not only in his acquisition of art, but also in the design of his houses, his friendship with noted artists like Renaldi, Hodges[4] and Zoffany (who included him in at least two paintings).[3] In a number of cases he used local artists to create work in the style of European artists. His walls were decorated with neo-Greek Wedgwood style decorations, his paintings were by Mughal-trained artists and the statues above his palace were mostly clever reproductions in the style of two European statues.

Later, Martin's life was mired in controversy as he had kept two wives of Colonel Polier's,[5] after Polier had departed from India. It is obvious however that he cared for his favourite mistress Boulone, and she is the subject of a painting by Zoffanyin 1795 which is still at La Martiniere Boys' School in Lucknow today.

His favourite mistress was a girl called Boulone (c.1766–1844), who was some thirty years younger than Martin. He had bought her as a young girl aged nine. Martin always claimed that they lived happily together, but Boulone must inevitably have harboured feelings of jealousy when Martin introduced younger mistresses into the household.

Renaldi is possibly the sculptor for a copper and silver medal (30 mm in diameter) issued by Nawab Asaf-uddula, which bears Martin's image and his motto. On the reverse side it says in Persian:

"Most excellent in government, Sword of the Realm, Supreme amongst Knights, General Claude Martin the Brave, Courageous in War. 1796- 1797."[6]

All the furnishings and treasures of Constantia, as well as those from Martin’s first Lucknow house, the Farhat Buksh, were auctioned on his death, as he had requested. The great chandeliers were bought for the Government House (now Raj Bhawan) in Calcutta, where they still hang, but the majority of his collection was dispersed to private buyers.

As nabob

Colonel Mordaunt's cockfight by Johann Zoffany – Claude is to the right in a shorter red jacket. Hover your mouse pointer over the individuals for identification.

During Martin's stay in Lucknow, he acquired significant wealth as part of the ruling coterie; he was in charge of the state arsenal, designed and constructed many buildings, and acquired vast tracts of land.

This favourable set of circumstances catapulted Martin into the upper crust of Lucknow and he had to conform to the social mores of a contemporary society. Given his unconventional views (as revealed in his Will) this transition must have been not too difficult. He most probably enjoyed his role as a nabob.

The will of Claude Martin

Last Will and Testament made and written by me, Claude Martin, Major General in the Honourable Company services, Bengal Establishment, having destroyed any former ones, or intended to destroy them in case I have time to do it. This present one I declare being the only good one in which faith is to be put and which I require my executors, Administrators or Assigns will put in execution and adhere to and any other will or testament existing I may have forgotten to destroy, and differing from the substances, or intentions of the several articles of this one, I declare them null and of no force value, but this present one being made and written by me in my sound senses and good health. This first day of January in the year one thousand eight hundred (or the year 1800) witness my hand and seal as under this and at the end of the page.

Claude Martin

"In the name of the Supreme Almighty God, Creator of the Universe and which exists on the Globe and respectful thanks to be admitted at the feet of this sublime unknown, unseen and Incomprehensible Omnipotent. For the happiness I have enjoyed on this Globe during the time his usual Benevolence allowed me, as also for the Inducement and time allowed me in making and writing this my last will and Testament in favour of those concerned in it in hope it will be fulfilled in its extent, wishing them every happiness possible in this and the other world. My most exalted praise and most respectful thanks be received by the Almighty Creator of all who exist for his most kind clemency to me during my life, being merciful to all, I have great hope he will pardon me the sins I have committed"

"All the women, Males and women servants, Eunuchs and others that are belonging to me, and for which I have paid for, to have them as my own property, at my Death or the soul essence of life quitting my Material body, I give them their freedom and they are free except those as hereafter mentioned which I had already disposed in favour of those undernamed having acquired, bought, brought up and educated them to be their servants and attendants during the lives of those with whom I have placed them or given said Males or Women or Eunuchs as servants attending on these Mistresses during their life time and no longer..............Having every reason to be satisfied of their services, for these reasons my sincere wishes are to give them their proper reward in this world. For all these above my only anxiety is the Idea that perhaps nobody would be so interested for their welfare as I am, after having lost me, and for the support and protection they will or may be therein need of."

"I give and bequeath the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand rupees to be placed at Interest in the most secure manner possible in the East India Company or Government papers bearing interest and that interest to be employed for the poor, first having divided this Interest in three portions or parts: one- for the relief of the poor of Lucknow of christian religion, (second)-for the poor of Calcutta- and (third) for the relief of the Poor of Chandernaggur......................

"I give and bequeath the sum of five thousand sicca Rupees to be paid Annually to the Magistrate or Supreme Court of Calcutta -- to pay the debt of some poor honest debtor detained in Jail for small sum -- and as being a soldier I would wish to prefer liberating any poor officer or other Military men detained for small debt................"

"I give and bequeath the sum of two hundred thousand sicca rupees to the Town of Calcutta to be put at Interest under the protection of Government of the Supreme Court that they may desire an Institution the most necessary for the public good of the Town of Calcutta or establishing a School to educate a certain number of Children of any sex to a certain age, to have them put in apprenticeship to some profession.............and to have them married when at age...........and a medal to be given to the most deserving or virtuous boy or girl............"

"Since the powerful Almighty creator of all the Universe of all that exist gave me the power and wisdom of thinking, I never discontinued contemplating and admiring his wisdom in the creation and Ruling the Universe, as also the several Globes, Planets, Stars and firmament, things incomprehensible to men's feeble understanding. I was born and educated to believe in the existence of God Ruler of all the World and all that exist beneficent to all of any Religion or sects they may be, being Gratefully bound to thank him for his mercifulness on me, I adored him and worshipped him as my Creator Benefactor and all omnipotent, but doubtful of the mode of worshipping Him. I did it as a child of the earth, though educated in the Roman Catholic Religion, but when my bodily feeling made one weak I resumed the prejudices I had imbibed by my education and salvation of my said Immortal Soul; I worshiped him as I had been taught in my infancy.........but, as still many doubts crowded in my mind, I never could cease enquiring of the true path of Religion and worshiping the Omnipotent Creator God and I have endeavoured to learn the religion of other nations and sects that I might be a proper judge for myself and, though I found mostly every other nations and sects as ridiculous in their ceremony as I thought the Religion I was educated in, still I found a similarity in the same principle and the substance of every Religion of Nations and sects (with which) I have been acquainted, of all possession, sound moral, and recommendation, to do all the good possible to other creatures, to worship as only God, creator of all, and to be charitable to all other creatures and to do Penances for sin............"

"When I am dead, which I suppose will happen at Lucknow, unless in the field of honour against an enemy; if at Lucknow or anywhere else, I request that my body may be salted, put in spirit or embalmed, and afterwards deposited in a leaden Coffin made of some sheet lead in my Godown and this coffin be put in another wooden one of sisson wood of thick plank of two inches thick, and this deposited in the cave of my monument or house at Luckperra, called Constantia, in that cave and in the small round room North Easterly to erect a tomb of about two feet, elevated from the floor, and to have the Coffin deposited in it and the tomb to be covered with a marble stone, and an Inscription put on it of my name Major General Claude Martin, Born at Lyons, the 5th January, 1735, arrived in India a common soldier and died at the........month in the year......and he is buried in this Tomb. Pray for his soul."

Written by me in my perfect health and sound senses, the first January, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen hundred.

signed and sealed by me

(Cl MARTIN, (L.S.)
Witness of my signature and seal signed and sealed before us, where no stamp paper is to be had.

(Sd.) D. LUMSDEN, Captain, in the Hon'ble Company
(Sd.) J. REID, Surgeon, in the Hon'ble Company
Done before me,

Resident, Lucknow

He gave regular parties for the British as well as the nawabi aristocracy and participated with gusto in the social and cultural activities of Lucknow.

He had a city residence the Farhat baksh and a country palace, the Constantia. He had other properties in Lucknow, Canpore, Bhazipur and Benaras as well, from which he got a substantial income.

Keeping his last will and testament in view he was a kind master, concerned about the welfare of his staff and servants.

As banker and businessman

Claude Martin was an astute businessman with a diversity of interests. He was well known for his financial skills, and it was said that he never ran after money, but made it come to him. Part of his immense fortune came from the bank he started at Lucknow.[7] He lent money to the nawab of Awadh [Asaf-ud-Daula], the largest loan being for the sum of £250,000 in 1794, which he apparently retrieved with difficulty.[1]

Martin was quick to realize the importance of indigo farming and invested in this profitable enterprise in several parts of North India. He exported indigo and cloth to Europe in exchange for Spanish dollars.[1]

Indigo planting in Bengal dated back to 1777 when Louis Bonnard, a Frenchman introduced it to the Indians. He was the first indigo planter of Bengal. He started cultivation at Taldanga and Goalpara near Chandannagar (Hooghly).With the Nawabs of Bengal under British power, indigo planting became more and more commercially profitable because of the demand for blue dye in Europe. It was introduced in large parts of Burdwan, Bankura, Birbhum, North 24 Parganas, and Jessore (present Bangladesh). The indigo planters persuaded the peasants to plant indigo instead of food crops. They provided loans, called dadon, at a very high interest. Once a farmer took such loans he remained in debt for his whole life before passing it to his successors. The price paid by the planters was meagre, only 2.5% of the market price. The farmers could make no profit growing indigo. The farmers were totally unprotected from the indigo planters, who resorted to mortgages or destruction of their property if they were unwilling to obey them. Government rules favoured the planters. By an act in 1833, the planters were granted a free hand in oppression. Even the zamindars sided with the planters. Under this severe oppression, the farmers resorted to revolt.

The Bengali middle class supported the peasants wholeheartedly. Bengali intellectual Harish Chandra Mukherjee described the plight of the poor farmer in his newspaper The Hindu Patriot. However the articles were overshadowed by Dinabandhu Mitra, who depicted the situation in his play Nil Darpan. His play created a huge controversy which was later banned by the East India Company to control the agitation among the Indians.

The revolt was ruthlessly suppressed. Large forces of police and military, backed by the British Government and the zamindars, mercilessly slaughtered a number of peasants. British police mercilessly hanged great leader of indigo rebels Biswanath Sardar alias Bishe Dakat in Assannagar, Nadia after a show trial. Some historians opined that he was the first martyr of indigo revolt in undivided Bengal...

R.C. Majumdar in "History of Bengal" goes so far as to call it a forerunner of the non-violent passive resistance later successfully adopted by Gandhi. The revolt had a strong effect on the government, which immediately appointed the "Indigo Commission" in 1860. In the commission report, E. W. L. Tower noted that "not a chest of Indigo reached England without being stained with human blood".

-- Indigo revolt, by Wikipedia

Martin also started a cannon foundry, introduced a Dutch method of cutting diamonds, made gunpowder and coined rupees.[7]

As self-surgeon

Apart from being a self-made man, Martin was an amateur scientist and a doctor of sorts. He seems to have suffered from bladder stones in his urinary tract and in 1782, despite excruciating suffering, he successfully attempted a primitive and unorthodox form of lithotripsy (breaking the stones via a waxed-wire insertion up the urethra). Martin sent details of the operation to the Company of Surgeons in London and, notwithstanding initial scepticism among bladder surgeons, it appears to have been accepted as the first recorded operation of its kind.[1]

As hot air balloonist

First public demonstration in Annonay, France in 1783

Claude Martin's wide interests included hot air balloons and he was instrumental in introducing a montgolfier to the Nawab and aristocracy of Lucknow in 1785 less than two years after its flight in France.

Allan Sealy in his historic novel Trotter-nama[8] features this aspect of Claude Martin.

As philanthropist

Martin was a charitable person and philanthropist by heart as is reflected in the following excerpt from his last will and testament:

"I give and bequeath the sum of one hundred and fifty thousand rupees for to be placed at Interest in the most secure manner possible in the East India Company or Government papers bearing interest and that interest to be employed for the poor first having divided this Interest in three portions or parts one – for the relief of the poor of Lucknow of any religion – for the poor of Calcutta – for the relief of the Poor of Chandernaggur".

As educationist

Of all the European adventurers, Claude Martin is singular in that he left the greater part of his wealth to a variety of charities. Being almost entirely self-educated, he realised the value of formalised education and willed a major part of his fortune to the creation of three institutions of learning in Calcutta, Lucknow and in his birth town of Lyon in France which are all named La Martiniere College.

The schools all celebrate Founder's Day on 13 September, the anniversary of Martin's death.

La Martinière College is a consortium of bi-national private schools, majority of them located in India. They are officially non-denominational private schools with units of two-two branches in Indian cities of (Kolkata and Lucknow) respectively and in France, the consortium is represented by a number of three branches in Lyons.

La Martinière Schools were founded posthumously by Major General Claude Martin, in the early 19th century... His will outlined every detail of the schools, from their location to the manner of celebrating the annual Founder's Day. The seven branches function independently, but maintain close contacts and share most traditions.

La Martinière College, Lucknow was awarded a Battle Honour - 'Defense of Lucknow' for the part the staff and pupils played in the Defence of the Residency at Lucknow during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 -- the only school in the world so distinguished.

La Martiniere Calcutta and La Martinière Lucknow consist of separate girls' and boys' schools, while the three in La Martinière Lyon are co-educational. The Colleges are day schools, but Indian units have boarding facilities as well. Extra-curricular activities, including sports and community service organizations, are emphasized, and music and dance are included in the general curriculum...

The Socials at La Martinière are elegant events in the English tradition. Students from both the girls and boys sections are invited to the socials. Ceremonial uniform is worn by boys, while formal dresses are worn by girls. "The Social" is a tradition of La Martiniere and a memory of its English past.

The Socials are held in the College Hall and the girls are invited to the boys school. Socials are also held after the yearly 'Inter-Martiniere Meet' is held between the two schools at Lucknow and Kolkata.

La Martinière has always been regarded as one of the finest schools in India. Given its foundation in English tradition, it has been compared to the Public Schools of England, and has been referred to as "The Eton of the East" by William Dalrymple, in his book "The Age of Kali."

-- La Martiniere College, by Wikipedia

Claude Martin's ideas on education are reflected in the following extract from his writings:

"I have read a lot, pen in hand, often under difficult conditions, and I know the value of the first rudiments inculcated by the parson of St. Saturnin. That is why I divide my fortune in two. I want to thank all those who have been around me by making their life easier after my death. I also want to give the children of both Lyon and India, the instruction which I received with so much difficulty. I want to make it easy for young people to get access to knowledge, specially the sciences."[9]

Ironically, Claud Martin had willed part of his fortune for the education of children in India without specific mention to race and creed. However, at the turn of the Nineteenth century the attitude of British rulers in India changed to a Victorian and imperialist outlook, resulting in the formation of the school in Calcutta, after 30 years of litigation as meant for European Christians only, though permitting Catholics, Armenian Christians and those of other denominations. It was only in 1935 that native Indians were permitted to join the school.

Personal life

A painting by Johan Zoffany showing Martin's adopted children Boulone Lise and James Martin

Martin never married but, as a nabob, he had close and long relationships with several mistresses, which was the normal practice in that era. His favourite mistress was a girl called Boulone (c.1766–1844), who was some thirty years younger than Martin. He had bought her as a young girl aged nine. Martin always claimed that they lived happily together, but Boulone must inevitably have harboured feelings of jealousy when Martin introduced younger mistresses into the household. Boulone is commemorated in a small gilt-framed painting in the Blue Room of La Martinière. She is pictured next to a young boy named James Zulphikar, who was said to have been adopted by Martin. Both figures are dressed in 18th-century Indian costume, and Boulone is holding a fishing rod. Boulone is buried in a purpose-built Muslim tomb in the grounds of the College. It is here that a few rupees are given out once a month to the poor people of Lucknow, in accordance with the instructions in Martin's will.[1][10]

Martin on himself

Claude Martin has had his admirers and detractors. He was indeed a complex person. Part adventurer, part polymath, part colonial agent, part lover of Oriental life,...

Adventurer: a person who enjoys or seeks adventure; a person willing to take risks or use dishonest methods for personal gain; "a political adventurer"; a financial speculator.

-- Adventurer, by Google

but how did Claude Martin view himself?

Chandan Mitra in his book Constant Glory has this self-introspective analysis from Martin:

"I have always refused to give up the French nationality, but of which France do I belong? That of Louis XV, where I have only known misery before embarking on the L'Orient? That of philosophers, of terror bathing in blood, or that of Bonaparte whose eastern dream has just been dissipated, after leaving Tipu Sahib alone against the English? I have collaborated for his defeat and then after he lost I have been rewarded by some gold sprinkling on my uniform-a vain plaything for my vanity. By my persevarance and hard work I have accumulated a fortune from this country which is my second motherland. I have not cheated the people who have passively succumbed to the yoke of corrupt men."


Claude Martin died on 13 September 1800 at the Town House, Lucknow.[1] According to his last wishes, he was buried in the vault specially prepared for his remains in the basement of Constantia in Lucknow. The inscription on his tombstone reads:

Major-General Claude Martin.
Arrived in India as a common soldier
and died at Lucknow on the 13th of September,
1800, as a Major-General.
He is buried in this tomb.
Pray for his soul."[11]

Further reading

• Rosie Llewellyn-Jones. A very ingenious man: Claude Martin in early colonial India, 1993, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 241pp. ISBN 0-19-565099-9
• Rosie Llewellyn-Jones. A fatal friendship: the nawabs, the British and the city of Lucknow. Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, c.1985, 284pp. ISBN 0-19-561706-1
• Rosie Llewellyn-Jones. A man of the Enlightenment in eighteenth-century India: the letters of Claude Martin, 1766–1800. New Delhi: Permanent Black in Association with The Embassy of France in India: Distributed by Orient Longman, 2003, 412pp. ISBN 81-7824-042-4
• William Chubb. The Lucknow menagerie: natural history drawings from the collection of Claude Martin (1735–1800). London: Hobhouse, 2001. ISBN 0-946630-06-2.

See also

• The will of Claude Martin
• La Martiniere College
• La Martiniere Calcutta
• La Martiniere Lucknow
• La Martiniere Lyon
• Martinians
• Martin Purwa
• Claude Martin Wade – A Colonel named after Claude Martin


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Martin, Claud". Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 794.

1. Rosie Llewellyn-Jones, 'Martin, Claude (1735–1800), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [1], accessed July 2007.
2. For the Public Good in The Hindu Archived 6 May 2003 at the Wayback Machine Sunday, 26 November 2000 accessed July 2007
3. Sale of art originally owned by Claude Martin accessed July 2007
4. Rosie Llewellyn-Jones A Man of the Enlightenment in Eighteenth-century India: The Letters of Claude Martin, 1766–1800 p. 96 accessed July 2007
5. Martin, Claude (2003). A Man of the Enlightenment in 18th Century India: The Letters of Claude Martin, 1766–1800. ISBN 9788178240428. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
6. Archer, Mildred Indian and British Portraiture
7. Mesrovb Jacob Seth Armenians in India: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day : Work of Original Research p.562 Published 1992 Asian Educational Services ISBN 81-206-0812-7
8. The Trotter-Nama: A Chronicle, (New York: Knopf, 1988; London: Penguin Books, 1990; New York: Viking Penguin, 1990) ISBN 0-14-010210-8
9. Mitra, Chandan. Constant glory: La Martinière saga 1836–1986. Calcutta: Oxford University Press, 1987.
10. An article by the Lucknow historian Ms. Rosie Llewellyn-Jones in Taj magazine" accessed June 2007
11. Extract from "Quest for Kim – In search of Kipling's Great Game" by Peter Hopkirk. London: John Murray, 1996. ISBN 0-7195-5560-4. Transcribed by Tony Mooar in a posting on the India-L Rootsweb Mailing List on 23 April 1999 accessed June 2007

External links

• "The Ferenghi Quartet", by G.M. Naug. The series was completed and published by the author in February 2012. The four titles are: Seeds of Empire, Banners of the Sun, Precipice of Power and Salute to the Gods. All are narrated in the first person by a character named (and based on) Claude Martin. Details are posted on the website ... 0M.%20Naug
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:00 am

Robert Chambers (English judge)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/31/20

In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão… Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the samhitas of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century…

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, [which] are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

It is perhaps significant that it was in a royal library, rather than in a Brahmin pathasala, that Polier found manuscripts of the Vedas. But the same is not true of the manuscripts acquired in Banaras only fifteen years later by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, during the period (1795–97) when he was appointed as judge and magistrate at nearby Mirzapur…

I cannot conceive how it came to be ever asserted that the Brahmins were ever averse to instruct strangers; several gentlemen who have studied the language find, as I do, the greatest readiness in them to give us access to all their sciences. They do not even conceal from us the most sacred texts of their Vedas.

The several gentlemen would likely have included General Claude Martin, Sir William Jones, and Sir Robert Chambers. These were all East India Company employees who obtained Vedic manuscripts (Jones from Polier) in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Why was it so much easier for Polier, Colebrooke, and others to obtain what it had been so difficult for the Jesuits and impossible for the Pietists?...

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

Robert Chambers
Puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal
In office: 22 October 1774[1] – 3 December 1783[2]
Sole Justice of the Presidency Court at Chinsurah
In office: 9 July 1781[3] – 15 November 1782[4]
Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal
In office: 3 December 1783[5] – 25 January 1791[6]
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal
In office: 25 January 1791[7] – 25 July 1798[8]

Sir Robert Chambers (14 January 1737 – 9 May 1803) was an English jurist, Vinerian Professor of English Law, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal.


Born in January 1737 in Newcastle upon Tyne, Chambers was the son of Robert Chambers, an attorney. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle and awarded an exhibition at Lincoln College, Oxford, in May 1754. Chambers was admitted to the Middle Temple in the same year, and was called to the bar in 1761. In that year, he was also appointed to a fellowship at University College, Oxford. On 7 May 1766 he was appointed Vinerian Professor of English Law at the University of Oxford, in succession to William Blackstone. He was also appointed Principal of New Inn Hall in 1766, a post which he held until his death, despite continued absence from it.[9]

A contemporary and friend of Samuel Johnson from at least 1754 and up to Johnson's death in 1784, Chambers was provided references by Johnson in his pursuit of the Vinerian scholarship. Whether Johnson also assisted Chambers in composing his lectures,[10] as was sometimes rumoured, is not known.

In the 1770s, Johnson, who had tended to be an opponent of the government early in life, published a series of pamphlets in favour of various government policies...

The last of these pamphlets, Taxation No Tyranny (1775), was a defence of the Coercive Acts and a response to the Declaration of Rights of the First Continental Congress of America, which protested against taxation without representation. Johnson argued that in emigrating to America, colonists had "voluntarily resigned the power of voting", but they still had "virtual representation" in Parliament. In a parody of the Declaration of Rights, Johnson suggested that the Americans had no more right to govern themselves than the Cornish people, and asked "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?" If the Americans wanted to participate in Parliament, said Johnson, they could move to England and purchase an estate. Johnson denounced English supporters of American separatists as "traitors to this country", and hoped that the matter would be settled without bloodshed, but he felt confident that it would end with "English superiority and American obedience".[145]

-- Samuel Johnson, by Wikipedia

By 1773, the East India Regulating Act 1773 had been passed, establishing a supreme council (consisting of a governor-general, the first of whom was Warren Hastings, and four councillors) and judicature (consisting of a chief justice and three puisne judges) of Bengal. Chambers was appointed second judge under Sir Elijah Impey as chief justice, with a promise from the Lord Chancellor that if the Chief Justice's post became vacant, it would be offered to him. The judges departed for Calcutta in May 1774, although Chambers persuaded the Oxford authorities to allow him to retain his professorship for a further three years, in case he did not adapt to the Indian climate. His successor was therefore not appointed until 1777, when he was knighted (on 7 June).

Although Chambers was one of the judges in the notorious case of Maharaja Nandakumar,...

Maharaja Nandakumar, also called Nuncomar (1705? - died 5 August 1775), was a collector of taxes, a dewan, for various areas in what is now West Bengal. Nanda Kumar was born at Bhadrapur, which is now in Birbhum. He was India's first victim of hanging under British rule. He was appointed by the East India Company to be the collector of taxes for Burdwan, Nadia and Hoogly in 1764, following the removal of Warren Hastings from the post.

In 1773, when Warren Hastings was re-instated as governor-general of Bengal, Nandakumar brought accusations of Warren Hastings accepting bribes
that were entertained by Sir Philip Francis and the other members of the Supreme Council of Bengal. However, Warren Hastings could overrule the Council's charges. Thereafter, in 1775 Warren Hastings brought charges of document forgery against the Maharaja. The Maharaja was tried under Elijah Impey, India's first Chief Justice, and friend of Warren Hastings, was found guilty, and hanged in Kolkata on 5 August 1775.

Later Hastings, along with Sir Elijah Impey, the chief justice, was impeached by the British Parliament. They were accused by Burke (and later by Macaulay) of committing judicial murder...

He held posts under Nawab of Murshidabad. After the Battle of Plassey, he was recommended to Robert Clive for appointment as their agent to collect revenues of Burdwan, Nadia and Hooghly. The title "Maharaja" was conferred on Nandakumar by Shah Alam II in 1764. He was appointed Collector of Burdwan, Nadia, and Hugli by the East India Company in 1764, in place of Warren Hastings. He learnt Vaishnavism from Radhamohana Thakura.

Maharaja Nandakumar accused Hastings of bribing him with more than one-third of a million rupees and claimed that he had proof against Hastings in the form of a letter...

Warren Hastings was then with the East India Company and happened to be a school friend of Sir Elijah Impey. Some historians are of the opinion that Maharaja Nandakumar was falsely charged with forgery and Sir Elijah Impey, the first Chief Justice of Supreme Court in Calcutta, gave judgement to hang Nandakumar. Nandakumar's hanging was called a judicial murder by certain historians. Macaulay also accused both men of conspiring to commit a judicial murder. Maharaja Nandakumar was hanged at Calcutta, near present-day Vidyasagar Setu, during Warren Hastings' rule on 5 August 1775. In those days the punishment for forgery was hanging by the Forgery Act, 1728 passed by the British Parliament in England (United Kingdom), but the law was construed for the people committing forgery in England due to the then prevailing conditions in England and there was no provision in the law that it is applicable in India too.

-- Maharaja Nandakumar, by Wikipedia

he escaped criticism, in part through his reputation for integrity. Impey, however, was eventually recalled to the United Kingdom in 1783, leaving Chambers as acting chief justice, but did not resign until 1787, and Chambers was not confirmed in the post until 1791. He served for eight years, returning to England in 1799. Despite frequent efforts to gain preferment, he appears to have acted with integrity despite the controversial administration of which he was part – and to have had a clear understanding that the laws of Georgian England were not always appropriate in the different culture and history of India.

As a result of his time in India, Chambers' health deteriorated, and in 1802 he left England again, this time for the kinder climate of the south of France. Whilst travelling, he fell ill at Paris, where he died in May 1803. He was buried in the Temple Church in London, where his monument was destroyed in 1941 during the Blitz.

In 1774, Chambers married Frances Wilton, daughter of the sculptor Joseph Wilton, who was a founder member of the Royal Academy [of Arts]. She survived him, along with four of their seven children.[11]

Chambers left no publications, though he did consolidate a valuable collection of Sanskrit manuscripts while in India. Later biographers[12] characterise him as a perfectionist, excessively conscientious and scrupulous, to the point where considerations of detail prevented him from completing much. In his legal career, his attempts to act conscientiously often had the appearance of indecisiveness and lack of conviction.

Chambers was a contributor to Hyde's Notebooks during his term on the bench of the Supreme Court of Judicature. The notebooks are a valuable primary source of information for life in late 18th century Bengal and are the only remaining source for the proceedings of the Supreme Court. Chambers continued the notebooks after Hyde's death in 1796.

See also

• British East India Company
• The Literary Club


1. Curley p 194
2. Curley p 522
3. Curley p 332
4. Curley p 344
5. Curley p 522
6. Curley p 522
7. Curley p 522
8. Curley p 524
9. Bowyer, T. H. "Chambers, Sir Robert". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/5078. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
10. published in part by his son in 1824 and in their entirety not until 1986: see below
11. one of whom married John Macdonald, the youngest son of Flora Macdonald, the heroine of the '45.
12. T. H. Bowyer, in Oxford DNB; H.G. Hanbury


• Hanbury, H. G., 1958. "The Vinerian Chair and Legal Education". Oxford: OUP.


• Chambers, R., ed. T. M. Curley, 1986. "A course of lectures on the English law ... 1767–1773". 2 vols.
• Chambers, R., ed. C. H. Chambers, 1824. "A Treatise on Estates and Tenures".
• Rosen, F., 1838. "Catalogue of the Sanskrit manuscripts collected by the late Sir Robert Chambers ... with a brief memoir by Lady Chambers".
• Redford, B. (ed.), 1992–94. "The letters of Samuel Johnson". 5 vols.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Mon Aug 31, 2020 10:24 am

Antoine Polier
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/31/20

In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão… Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the samhitas of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century…

Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, [which] are only Commentaries of the Baids”…

It is perhaps significant that it was in a royal library, rather than in a Brahmin pathasala, that Polier found manuscripts of the Vedas. But the same is not true of the manuscripts acquired in Banaras only fifteen years later by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, during the period (1795–97) when he was appointed as judge and magistrate at nearby Mirzapur…

I cannot conceive how it came to be ever asserted that the Brahmins were ever averse to instruct strangers; several gentlemen who have studied the language find, as I do, the greatest readiness in them to give us access to all their sciences. They do not even conceal from us the most sacred texts of their Vedas.

The several gentlemen would likely have included General Claude Martin, Sir William Jones, and Sir Robert Chambers. These were all East India Company employees who obtained Vedic manuscripts (Jones from Polier) in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Why was it so much easier for Polier, Colebrooke, and others to obtain what it had been so difficult for the Jesuits and impossible for the Pietists?...

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman

Colonel Antoine-Louis Henri de Polier
Col. Polier's Nautch (Lucknow, c.1780), painted by Mihr Chand
Born: 1741m Lausanne
Died: 7 February 1795, France
Occupation: Engineer
Spouse(s): three
Children: three

Colonel Antoine-Louis Henri de Polier (1741–1795) was a Swiss adventurer,...

Adventurer: a person who enjoys or seeks adventure; a person willing to take risks or use dishonest methods for personal gain; "a political adventurer"; a financial speculator.

-- Adventurer, by Google

art collector, military engineer and soldier who made his fortune in India in the eighteenth century. He was the father of Count Adolphe de Polier.

Early life

Antoine Polier, General Claude Martin, John Wombwell, assay master, and Johann Zoffany, the painter, surrounded by servants and Polier's art collection.

Antoine-Louis was born in Lausanne[1] from a French Huguenot family who emigrated to Switzerland in the mid 16th century to escape the wars of religion. He was the youngest son of Jacques-Henri de Polier and his wife Jeanne-Françoise Moreau. He later learned Hindi and Persian.

Colonel Mordaunt's cockfight by Johann Zoffany[2]

Antoine Polier was an engineer from Lausanne who supported the military adventures of Robert Clive and later became a rich trader and loyal supporter of the British Raj administration in Calcutta. He devoted his free moments to collecting rare manuscripts in Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic. Many were sent back to France to augment the growing collection in the Royal Library. France was now the center for the study of ancient Indian languages and its 'orientalism' spread to Germany in the early 1800s as Europe began to show a keen interest in early Indian-Persian-Zoroastrian origins.[1]

In India, he had two Indian wives, Jugnu and Zinat,[3] one senior and one junior and three (or possibly, four) children who were all baptized in Calcutta. He acquired a large art collection and became rich working for the Indian royalty. In 1788 he left his Indian wives with his loyal companion and fellow enlightened adventurer, Claude Martin,[3] and settled in France with an unfortunate timing as he arrived in time for the French revolution. Having purchased a chateau and taking a French wife and two children, Charles de Polier and Adolphe de Polier. He was assassinated in Avignon on February 9, 1795, in the terror that followed the French revolution.[4]


His collection of miniatures are in Berlin.

See also

• Claude Martin


1. Maya Jasanoff, 'Edge of Empire: Conquest and Collecting on the Eastern Frontiers of the British Empire, 1750-1850' Fourth Estate
2. Colonel Mordaunt's Cock Match circa 1784-6, Terry Riggs, October 1997,, accessed April 2010
3. A Man of the Enlightenment in 18th Century India: The Letters of Claude Martin, 1766-1800. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
4. William Dalrymple 'Antoines Junior Bibi' Sept 27 2002 Timesonline accessed July 2007

Further reading

• A European Experience of the Mughal Orient: The I’jaz-i Arsalani (Persian Letters, 1773–1779) of Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier - Translated with an introduction by Muzaffar Alam and Seema Alavi. Pub.Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-564980-X
Jean-Marie Lafont, Indika. Essays in Indo-French Relations 1630-1976. New Delhi 2000. [An extremely useful book outlining French activities in India during Polier's time] ISBN 81-7304 278 0
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Will Sweetman
BA Hons (Lancaster) MPhil PhD (Cambridge)
Professor of Asian Religions
Room: Richardson 5S7
Tel: 64 3 479 8793
by University of Otago, New Zealand


Will Sweetman studied Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Theology at the Universities of Lancaster and Cambridge. He has taught at universities in London and Newcastle, and held research fellowships at the Universities of Cambridge, Halle and Hamburg. Will has published three books and several articles on historical and theoretical aspects of the study of Hinduism. He is founding editor of the journal Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception and Associate Director of the New Zealand India Research Institute. Will is a member of the Heterodox Academy,...

Our Story


To improve the quality of research and education in universities by increasing open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement.


We aspire to create college classrooms and campuses that welcome diverse people with diverse viewpoints and that equip learners with the habits of heart and mind to engage that diversity in open inquiry and constructive disagreement.

We see an academy eager to welcome professors, students, and speakers who approach problems and questions from different points of view, explicitly valuing the role such diversity plays in advancing the pursuit of knowledge, discovery, growth, innovation, and the exposure of falsehoods.

Who we are

Heterodox Academy (HxA) is a nonpartisan collaborative of thousands of professors, administrators, and students committed to enhancing the quality of research and education by promoting open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in institutions of higher learning. All of our members embrace a set of norms and values, which we call “The HxA Way.”

All our members have embraced the following statement:

“I support open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in research and education.”

HxA’s members — professors, administrators, staff, and graduate students — come from a range of public and private institutions, from large research institutions to community colleges. They represented nearly every discipline, and are distributed throughout all 50 states and beyond.

What we do

“No organization in the history of American academic life has done, or is doing, more to promote the basic freedoms of viewpoint diversity we urgently need in our colleges and universities today than Heterodox Academy.”

-Robert George, Legal Scholar, Political Philosopher, & HxA Advisory Council member

In order to address society’s most intractable problems, learners must weave together the best ideas from a range of perspectives. Yet, colleges — the intended training ground for the sort of creative and integrative thinking such problem-solving requires — have become increasingly characterized by orthodoxy in what types of questions can be asked and what sort of comments can be shared in the classroom and around campus. Professors and students alike describe the toll self-censoring and threat of social censure have taken on learning, discovery, and growth. For the sake of higher ed and all the enterprises of life that await students after graduation, now is the time to dig in and fix what’s broken.

Heterodox Academy has the expertise, tools, and profile necessary to make change happen. We increase public awareness to elevate the importance of these issues on campus; develop tools that professors, administrators, and others can deploy to assess and then improve their campus and disciplinary cultures; publicly recognizing model institutions; and cultivate communities of practice among teachers, researchers, and administrators.


Heterodox Academy was founded in 2015 by Jonathan Haidt, Chris Martin, and Nicholas Rosenkranz, in reaction to their observations about the negative impact a lack of ideological diversity has had on the quality of research within their disciplines. What began as a website and a blog in September of 2015 — a venue for social researchers to talk about their work and the challenges facing their disciplines and institutions — soon grew into an international network of peers dedicated to advancing the values of constructive disagreement and viewpoint diversity as cornerstones of academic and intellectual life...

Heterodox Academy is comprised of nearly 4,000 members from a range of demographic backgrounds and academic disciplines, holding various institutional roles all over the United States and beyond. As would be expected from such a heterogenous network, our members hold a range of views on virtually any topic up for discussion. As an organization, we prize pluralism and we value constructive disagreement.

However, we do not promote viewpoint diversity for its own sake. Our primary goal is to improve research and teaching at colleges and universities. We recognize that institutions of higher learning are not ‘public squares’ in the traditional sense, but rather sites for the production and dissemination of knowledge. To facilitate these objectives, we embrace a particular set of norms and values, which we have taken to calling the ‘HxA Way.’ We encourage our members to embody these in all of their professional interactions.

1. Make your case with evidence.

Link to that evidence whenever possible (for online publications, on social media), or describe it when you can’t (such as in talks or conversations). Any specific statistics, quotes or novel facts should have ready citations from credible sources.

2. Be intellectually charitable.

Viewpoint diversity is not incompatible with moral or intellectual rigor – in fact it actually enhances moral and intellectual agility. However, one should always try to engage with the strongest form of a position one disagrees with (that is, ‘steel-man’ opponents rather than ‘straw-manning’ them). One should be able to describe their interlocutor’s position in a manner they would, themselves, agree with (see: ‘Ideological Turing Test’). Try to acknowledge, when possible, the ways in which the actor or idea you are criticizing may be right — be it in part or in full. Look for reasons why the beliefs others hold may be compelling, under the assumption that others are roughly as reasonable, informed and intelligent as oneself.

3. Be intellectually humble.

Take seriously the prospect that you may be wrong. Be genuinely open to changing your mind about an issue if this is what is expected of interlocutors (although the purpose of exchanges across difference need not always be to ‘convert’ someone, as explained here). Acknowledge the limitations to one’s own arguments and data as relevant.

4. Be constructive.

The objective of most intellectual exchanges should not be to “win,” but rather to have all parties come away from an encounter with a deeper understanding of our social, aesthetic and natural worlds. Try to imagine ways of integrating strong parts of an interlocutor’s positions into one’s own. Don’t just criticize, consider viable positive alternatives. Try to work out new possibilities, or practical steps that could be taken to address the problems under consideration. The corollary to this guidance is to avoid sarcasm, contempt, hostility, and snark. Generally target ideas rather than people. Do not attribute negative motives to people you disagree with as an attempt at dismissing or discrediting their views. Avoid hyperbole when describing perceived problems or (especially) one’s adversaries — for instance, do not analogize people to Stalin, Hitler/ the Nazis, Mao, the antagonists of 1984, etc.

5. Be yourself.

At Heterodox Academy, we believe that successfully changing unfortunate dynamics in any complex system or institution will require people to stand up — to leverage, and indeed stake, their social capital on holding the line, pushing back against adverse trends and leading by example. This not only has an immediate and local impact, it also helps spread awareness, provides models for others to follow and creates permission for others to stand up as well. This is why Heterodox Academy does not allow for anonymous membership; membership is a meaningful commitment precisely because it is public.

and an ordained Dudeist priest.


What is Dudeism?

While Dudeism in its official form has been organized as a religion only recently, it has existed down through the ages in one form or another. Probably the earliest form of Dudeism was the original form of Chinese Taoism, before it went all weird with magic tricks and body fluids. The originator of Taoism, Lao Tzu, basically said “smoke ’em if you got ’em” and “mellow out, man” although he said this in ancient Chinese so something may have been lost in the translation.

Down through the ages, this “rebel shrug” has fortified many successful creeds – Buddhism, Christianity, Sufism, John Lennonism and Fo’-Shizzle-my-Nizzlism.

"fo shizzle ma nizzle" is a bastardization of "fo' sheezy mah neezy" which is a bastardization of "for sure mah nigga" which is a bastdardization of "I concur with you whole heartedly my African american brother".

-- fo' shizzle my nizzle, by Urban Dictionary

The idea is this: Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide.

Incidentally, the term “dude” is commonly agreed to refer to all genders. Most linguists contend that the diminutive “dudette” is not in keeping with the parlance of our times.


Great Dudes in History

Pillars of Dudeism, these Dudeist prophets and peacemakers have existed throughout history.
Proud we are of all of them.

Lao Tzu, Creator of Taoism

When things got screwed up in Ancient China Lao Tzu didn’t go all Mr. Miyagi and try to fix it. He got on his buffalo and took off for more copacetic pastures. But not before scribbling down a few what-have-yous that helped define Eastern philosophy ever since.

Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

The man who wrote “you can never step into the same river twice” propagated the idea that everything was in flux, or “burning.” Consequently one should make the most of it and spark one up whenever possible. And step into the river from time to time, preferably with a cocktail and an inner tube.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s Dog

Always living up to the dictum, “It’s a dog’s life,” he also famously said “My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

Jeffrey Lebowski, The Dude

The uber-dude. Helped to bring Dudeism to the forefront of modern consciousness. If not for him, we’d still be stuck in the dude dark-ages. He’s Dude Vinci, Isaac Dudeton, and Charles Dudewin all rolled into one. Or just, His Dudeness, if you’re into that whole brevity thing.

Quincy Jones, Urban Dude/Producer/ Musician/Songwriter

Quincy Jones’ nickname was “The Dude,” and though his 70s urban cult of Dudeism is slightly different than present-day orthodox Dudeism, it still exalts the groovy over the square, the heartfelt over the phony, and the afro over the buzz-cut. At least it did until he started going bald.

Jennifer Lawrence, Angelic, yet down-to-earth-actor

Despite her endearing good looks and the undying affection of everyone on Earth, Lawrence hasn’t let stardom warp her. Deeply down to earth and often refreshingly casual, she’s also an outspoken Big Lebowski fangirl. She even played Maude in a high profile public reading of the screenplay.

The Buddha, Nepalese Sage

In keeping with the idea that the ideal Dude abandons the trappings of society and goes it his own way, there is no better candidate for Dudeism than the Buddha. Born a rich prince, he bailed on his birthright and taught that you should go with the flow. Chicks also dug him like crazy but none ever tied him down, cause Nirvana was what he was all about, man. Righteous.

Jesus Christ, Bearded prophet of the meek and early archetype of the 1960s hippie.

Jesus was born Jewish, but then converted to Dudeism after he realized that the Romans and the Pharisees were fucking fascists. Today lots of people think he’s the son of the guy who created the universe and that our life is in his hands. But probably he was just a dude who thought people should mellow out and stop getting so worked up about stuff. Sadly, few of his followers seem to actually realize that. Remember: There’s not a literal connection.

David Grayson, Alter-ego of Pulitzer-prize winning author Ray Stannard Baker

David Grayson wasn’t a real person, but no one knew that for a long time. Intellectual writer Ray Stannard Baker longed for a life out in the pastures and so wrote a series of seemingly-autobiographical books under this nom-de-dude. The series speaks of the comfort of a simple life without too much work, surrounded by nature and good friends. Baker was forced to admit the truth after the character grew in such popularity that others were claiming to be him. The dude will out. To thine own self be dude.

Jerry Garcia, Guitar canoodler extraordinaire

Roll away, the dude. Got a little carried away with the drugs, but it wasn’t because of psychic torment or weakness of character. He just liked them and maybe they made him play better. He was universally reknowned as an all-around nice guy with a live and let live attitude and appropriately-dudeish facial hair.

Joni Mitchell, Angel-voiced troubador of the unpaved

While most of the sixties rock revolution was fomented by guys, the ladies seemed to end up as notches in their frayed leather belts of free love, or dead from intemperance like Mama Cass and Janis Joplin. Not so for the quintessentially cool dudeist saint Mitchell who sang smartly about individualism while smoking and cursing like a sailor and living life on her own terms. She paints pretty good too.

Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi, Peace-loving subcontinental pacifist

Calmer than you are. Calmer than anyone ever anywhere. Gandhi was never, ever un-dude. He practically invented modern pacifism, not to mention shabby chic – he showed up to stuffy English parliament in nothing more than a ratty sheet. He also invented the sit-in, the hunger strike and the cool 1960s specs. He was the man in the white pajamas.

Walt Whitman, Turned the hobo zero into a boho hero

Never had anything approaching a permanent job. Wandered all over the place. Became a famous poet unexpectedly and accidentally, while poseur contemporaries like Emerson and Thoreau struggled to make sure everyone thought they were hip and bohemian. Was a literate friend to the common man, never really acknowledged his fame, and even though he was probably gay, adamantly refused to iron his clothes.

Julia Child, Brought fine cuisine to the common man

If not for Madame Julia, most Americans afflicted with a bad case of the munchies would only have overboiled 1950s cooking to turn to. But this huge, burly woman proved that you can be working-class and sloppy-looking and still eat good grub. She took the snobbery out of eating well – on one episode of her TV show she accidentally dropped food on the floor and then unceremoniously threw it back in the pan. Right on, Grey Poupon.

Jeff Spicoli, Quintessential Surfer Dude

Surfers are responsible for the resurgence of the term “dude” in the 1970s so it would be downright unholy to omit their pop culture patron saint, Jeff Spicoli, Sean Penn’s character in the 1980s movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Spicoli summed up the dude ethos in this perfectly pithy riposte to another character’s suggestion that he get a job: “What for? All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” He also had the brilliant idea of ordering delivery pizza during history class. Though he almost failed history, he totally aced Dudeist Ethics 101. Radical!

Kurt Vonnegut, Modern day Dudeist philosopher

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.” So wroteth one of the greatest writers of Dudeist novels ever. While few of his books really even had plots, they were so packed with witty, quotable sayings and iconoclastic, easygoing ideas to live by that it hardly mattered. In fact, the very idea that plots were a part of life was anathema to him. Consistently imploring the world to shrug rather than assert, his essential philosophy was that life on earth is totally and utterly nonsensical so just try to have as good a time as possible without blowing anything up. So it goes.

Have any suggestions for additional dudes? Please suggest them to us.Check out more Great Dudes in History at Abide University and The Dudespaper.


The Take it Easy Manifesto
by Rev. Dwayne Eutsey, Arch Dudeship


THERE’S A RELIGION for its time and place…It fits right in there, helps us abide through all the strikes and gutters, the ups and downs of the whole durned human comedy. It really ties your life together.

And the religion for our time and place is Dudeism.

Of course, nihilists and reactionaries will probably dispute that—when they’re not throwing marmots into your bathtub or coffee cups at your forehead. That’s why you need to know how to respond when someone who is un-Dude asks you what the fuck you’re talking about when you tell them about Dudeism.

Now, it’s a basic tenet of the Dudeist ethos to just say “Fuck it,” or “Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man,” when someone micturates upon our faith. But we’re talking about unchecked theological aggression here, drawing a line in the spiritual sand, Dude.
Across this line you do not—also, Dude, “faith” is not the preferred nomenclature—“worldview,” please.

So, What the Fuck am I Talking About?

Lost my train of thought there.
Anyway, in defending whether Dudeism is really a religion, worldview, or what-have-you, a Dudeist must first address a very basic question: What makes a religion? Is it being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost? Isn’t that what makes a religion? Or is it that along with a pair of testaments?


Well, Dude, we just don’t know. Religion is a very complicated thing. A lotta scriptural ins, a lotta ritual outs…a lot of ecclesiastical strands to keep in your head, man. There is a lot about religion that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us. It can be quite stupefying, in fact. But there are some basic tools that can help put you in a unique position to confirm or disconfirm whether Dudeism is a religion.

First off, it’s good to define what in God’s holy name we’re blathering about when we say the word “religion”. A wiser fellah than myself once said that “religion” has its root in the Latin word “ligo,” or “to bind together.” That’s a good place to start, I guess, because the tenets of Dudeism do indeed bind its diverse adherents together in one big round robin.

But there are other ways that can help you explain how Dudeism is a religion, and in English, too. Here are just a couple.

All Right, Let’s Get Down to Cases

The beauty of Dudeism is its simplicity. Once a religion gets too complex, everything can go wrong.

That’s why the “To What/From What/By What Means” method of identifying a religion is a great way to summarize the Dudeist ethos for your un-Dude friends.


For example, if you apply this method to Buddhism (a compeer of Dudeism), you can easily answer what the point of it is.

From what is Buddhism trying to liberate us? Suffering
To what state of being is Buddhism trying to bring us? Nirvana
By what means does Buddhism attempt do this? The Noble Eightfold Path.

Isn’t that fucking interesting, man? Now let’s apply it to Dudeism:

From what is Dudeism trying to liberate us? Thinking that’s too uptight.
To what state of being is Dudeism trying to bring us: Just taking it easy, man.
By what means does Dudeism attempt do this? Abiding.

Now, that’s fucking ingenious, if I understand it correctly.

If You Define It, It Is a DREEMMS

But what do Dudeists believe? Well, although you have your story and I have mine, there are certain things that bring us together and root us, like the aitz chaim he, in a shared community.

a common term used in Judaism. The expression can be found in Genesis 2:9, referring to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. It is also found in the Book of Proverbs, where it is figuratively applied to "the Torah" Proverbs 3:18, "the fruit of a righteous man" Proverbs 11:30, "a desire fulfilled" Proverbs 13:12, and "healing tongue" Proverbs 15:4.

-- Etz Chaim, by Wikipedia

To help me clarify what I’m blathering about, I’ll use the seven dimensions of religion identified by Ninian Smart (another wiser fellah than myself): Doctrinal, Ritual, Ethics, Experiential, Myth, Material, and Social…or, in the parlance of religious studies, DREEMMS).


Doctrinal (the systematic formulation of religious teachings in an intellectually coherent form): Like Zen, Dudeism isn’t into the whole doctrinal thing; we prefer direct experience of takin’er easy, and often contemplate two indiscernible Coens to achieve that modest task.

Perhaps the closest Dudeists come to having a systematic formulation of our religious teachings is: “Sometimes you eat the bear, and, well, sometimes the bear, he eats you.” Is that some sort of Eastern thing? Far from it, Dude.

Ritual (forms and orders of ceremonies): Dudeists are also not into the whole ritual thing, but there are some things we do for recreation that bring us together, like bowling, driving around, the occasional acid flashback, listening to Creedence. Some Dudeists are shomer shabbas, and that’s cool.

a person who observes the mitzvot (commandments) associated with Judaism's Shabbat, or Sabbath, which begins at dusk on Friday and ends after sunset on Saturday.

-- Shomer Shabbat, by Wikipedia

Ethics (rules about human behavior): Although this isn’t ‘Nam, there aren’t many behavioral rules in Dudeism, either. However, we do recognize that we may enter a world of pain whenever we go over the line and we are forever cognizant of what can happen when we fuck a stranger in the ass.

Experiential (the core defining personal experience): Abiding and takin’er easy.

Myth (the stories that work on several levels and offer a fairly complete and systematic interpretation of the universe and humanity’s place in it): The Big Lebowski is our founding myth; just as the Christian Gospels, based on the Jesus of history, provide a portrait of the mythical Christ of faith who “died for all us sinners,” the film, based on the Dude of history (Jeff Dowd), presents the mythical Dude of film (Jeff Bridges) who “takes it easy for all us sinners.”

Material (ordinary objects or places that symbolize or manifest the sacred or supernatural): That rug really tied the room together, did it not?

Social (a system shared and attitudes practiced by a group. Often rules for identifying community membership and participation): Racially we’re pretty cool and open to pretty much everyone…pacifists, veterans, surfers, fucking lady friends, vaginal artists, video artists with cleft assholes, dancing landlords, doctors who are good men and thorough, enigmatic strangers, brother shamuses…And proud we are of all of them.

Those we consider very un-Dude include: Rug-pissers, brats, nihilists, Nazis, human paraquats, pederasts, pornographers, fucking fascists, reactionaries, and angry cab drivers. Friends like these, huh, Gary?


Aw, Hell. I Done Innerduced Dudeism Enough


Although Dudeists may lack three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax, we do share the great spiritual insights espoused by many great Dudes throughout the ages. As our Dudely Lama once wrapped it all up for us:

“Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man. Stop worrying so much whether you’ll make it into the finals. Kick back with some friends and some oat soda and whether you roll strikes or gutters, do your best to be true to yourself and others – that is to say, abide.”

Knowing that, now you can die with a smile on your face without feelin’ like the Good Lord gypped you. And that’s what Dudeism’s all about.

See ya later on down the trail.

Arch Dudeship Dwayne Eutsey is currently founding a Dudeist monastery for Irish monks: The Brotherhood Shamus

The Brotherhood Shamus: A Monastery for Private Investigations
by Rev. Dwayne Eutsey


Say what you will about the tenets of the Brother Shamus Monastic Order…at least it’s an ethos.

St. Da Fino’s Virtual Shrine of Our Special Lady is Dudeism’s first contemplative order consisting of Brother Shamuses (and special ladies) devoted to following their innermost Dude.

What is a Brother Shamus?

Like our blessed patron St. Da Fino, who set out on his quest to crack the Knudsen Conundrum, Brother Shamuses (not to be confused with Irish monks) endeavor to explore life’s most vexing mysteries.

At St. Da Fino’s Virtual Shrine of Our Special Lady, Brother Shamuses join together to dig the Dude’s work and contemplate Dudeism’s enduring questions posed by the Dudester himself, such as:

•“Who the fuck are you, man?”

•“Why the fuck *are* you following the Dude?”

•“How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm once they seen Karl Hungus?”

As everyone knows, there are no easy answers to these questions, and pondering them alone can sometimes cause a darkness to warsh over you, darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night, as a wiser feller than myself once rambled.

Click HERE to pray!

Why Become a Brother Shamus?

It is in the dark night of our most private snoopings that we unexpectedly encounter the Dude. Like St. Da Fino on the night of his epiphany, we must answer the Dude’s call to “get out of that fucking car, man”—or, in the parlance of our times, to let go of the ego’s steering wheel—before we can ever come face to face with our deepest Dudeness.

Unless you’re adhering to a pretty strict drug regimen, though, you need compeers to help keep your mind limber enough to abide with the Dude.

Becoming a Brother Shamus through St. Da Fino’s Virtual Shrine of Our Special Lady provides you with a supportive community that pools its resources, trades information, shares professional courtesies, has some burgers, some beers, a few laughs…and what have you.

How can you become a Brother Shamus?

1. Heed first the Dude’s call to “get out of that fucking car, man.”
2. Confess that you are indeed a dick.
3. Intend to do no harm.
4. Follow the Dude’s admonition to fuck off, but without begrudging the Dude.

Once you have taken these teachings to heart, you may consider yourself a Brother Shamus. Fabulous stuff, man.

If you like, you may now make a prayer to “St. Dafino’s Virtual Shrine of Our Special Lady”. She is a good shrine, and thurrah.


Also, please visit our Facebook Group.

Dwayne can be reached at


Every year Will teaches the section on Hinduism in an introductory paper (RELS102). He also teaches papers directly connected with his research interests: religion in the south of India (RELS212/312), and interactions between Asian religions and the West (RELS220/320). His other teaching includes a paper on the culture of the body in Asian religions (RELS209/309), and another on World Christianity (RELS205/305). All of these papers are also offered by distance learning.


Against Invention: A richer history for ‘Hinduism’
by The Religious Studies Project
February 19, 2018

In this interview Associate Professor Will Sweetman talks to Thomas White about the idea that ‘Hinduism’ and many of the other terms we use to classify religions—including the term religion itself—are modern inventions, emerging out of nineteenth-century inter-cultural contact and European colonialism. Will argues against this critique, and to make his case he draws on historical sources that discuss ‘Hinduism’ both outside of the anglophone ...

In 1781–82 Antoine-Louis-Henri Polier, a Swiss Protestant who served in the English East India Company’s army until 1775, had had copies of the Vedas made for him at the court of Pratap Singh at Jaipur. 122 Polier’s intermediary was a Portuguese physician, Don Pedro da Silva Leitão. A doctor named Pedro da Silva Leitão had been present at the court of Jai Singh in 1728 and played a part in the negotiations with the Portuguese regarding the exchange of scientific knowledge, personnel, and equipment. He was long-lived, but Polier’s friend may rather have been one of his descendants. Jai Singh had assembled a substantial collection of manuscripts from religious sites across India, and in the time of his successor Pratap Singh the library had contained the saṃhitās of all four Vedas in manuscripts dating from the last quarter of the seventeenth century. 123

Although Polier records that he had sought copies of the Veda without success in Bengal, Awadh, and on the Coromandel coast, as well as in Agra, Delhi, and Lucknow and had found that even at Banaras “nothing could be obtained but various Shasters, are only Commentaries of the Baids,” he connects this not with the reluctance of the Brahmins but rather, like Bernier, with “the persecution the Hindous suffered throughout India” under Aurangzeb, noting that Jaipur had been spared because of the services rendered to the Mughal Emperor by Jai Singh.

By this it may be seen how little a dependence is to be placed in the assertions of those who have represented the Brehmans as very averse to the communication of the principles of their Religion—their Mysteries, and holy books.—In truth, I have always found those who were really men of science and knowledge, very ready to impart and communicate, what they knew to whoever would receive it and listen to them with a view of information, and not merely for the purpose of turning into ridicule, whatever was not perfectly consonant to our European Ideas, tenets and even prejudices—some of I much fear are thought by the Indians to be full as deserving of ridicule as any they have.—At the same time it must be owned, that all the Hindous,— the Brehmans only excepted, are forbidden by their Religion from studying and learning the Baids—the K’hatrys alone being permitted to hear them read and expounded: This being the case, it will naturally be asked—how came an European who is not even of the same faith, to be favoured with what is denied even to a Hindou?—To this the Brehmans readily reply—That being now in the Cal Jog or fourth age, in Religion is reduced to nought, it matters not who sees or studies them in these days of wickedness. 124

It is perhaps significant that it was in a royal library, rather than in a Brahmin pathasala, that Polier found manuscripts of the Vedas. 125 But the same is not true of the manuscripts acquired in Banaras only fifteen years later by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, during the period (1795–97) when he was appointed as judge and magistrate at nearby Mirzapur: “A working scholar, he sought manuscripts that ‘had been much used & studied in preference to ornamented & splendid copies imperfectly corrected.’” 126 Moreover, in a letter to his father in February 1797 Colebrooke echoed Polier’s sentiments:

I cannot conceive how it came to be ever asserted that the Brahmins were ever averse to instruct strangers; several gentlemen who have studied the language find, as I do, the greatest readiness in them to give us access to all their sciences. They do not even conceal from us the most sacred texts of their Vedas. 127

The several gentlemen would likely have included General Claude Martin, Sir William Jones, and Sir Robert Chambers. These were all East India Company employees who obtained Vedic manuscripts (Jones from Polier) in the last decades of the eighteenth century.

Why was it so much easier for Polier, Colebrooke, and others to obtain what it had been so difficult for the Jesuits and impossible for the Pietists? There are several differences in the context that might have played a part. Some are geographical: Were Brahmins in the south much more reluctant to transmit the Vedas than those in the north? Or was oral transmission more dominant—and therefore physical copies harder to come by—in the south? Others are historical, political, and economic: Is the lack of resistance encountered by Polier and Colebrooke to be explained by the significant shift in power dynamics as the English East India Company was transformed from a trading company to a territorial power? Anquetil Duperron was offered Vedas he could not afford; Le Gac was restrained by the mission’s parlous finances; but the same did not apply to the wealthy men like Martin and Polier. Finally, there are religious considerations: Did it matter—as Polier suggests—that the East India Company men were not in India to convert Hindus to Christianity?

The difficulty the Jesuits experienced in obtaining copies of the Vedas is often exaggerated. Although Bouchet had reported in 1711 that he had been unable to obtain copies of the Vedas, the reluctance of Le Gac to respond to a request for the Vedas in 1726 from his fellow Jesuit Souciet indicates that in the period after Nobili the Jesuits in India did not regard this as a priority. Le Gac did not mention Brahmin secrecy in his responses to Souciet in 1726 and 1727, but rather the likely cost and doubtful utility of obtaining manuscripts or translations of the Vedas. His attitude changed only in 1728, with the intervention of Bignon and Le Noir. From that point, it took only two years for Calmette to obtain the Ṛg and Yajur Veda saṃhitās. Despite Calmette’s statement about no European having been able to unearth this text “since India has been known,” the evidence suggests rather that no European other than Nobili had seriously sought to obtain the Vedas. The “false” Vedas obtained by the Pietists two years after Calmette—and by Gargam and Pons six years before—are explicable by the flexibility of the term Veda; we do not need to postulate either duplicity or secrecy on the part of those who transmitted these texts.

The question of the availability of the texts in manuscript form touches on the hotly debated issue of the oral transmission of the Vedas. That there was a powerful presumption against writing down Hindu texts, and the Vedas in particular, is not controversial. “One who reads from a written text” (likhita-pāṭhaka) is included among a list of the six worst types of those who recite the Vedas. 128 Nevertheless, in a survey of Vedic manuscripts, mostly of southern provenance, from c. 1650–1850, Cezary Galewicz notes the paradox of a copyist who cites this very verse in the colophon of a manuscript of 1787 containing the fourth aṣṭaka of the Ṛgveda saṃhitā. 129 Of course, the fact that manuscripts of the Vedas existed by this period does not mean that all Brahmins who knew the Vedas would have had them also in manuscript form, still less that they would have been willing to sell or to transcribe them for Europeans. We do not have to fall into what Johannes Bronkhorst calls “the brahmanical trap” 130—imagining that the Vedas were never written down—in order to accept that the brahminical prejudice against writing down the Vedas would have meant that it was far less likely that European scholars would come across manuscripts of the Vedas than manuscripts of other texts. 131 But the Vedas did exist in manuscript, and Calmette’s “hidden Christians” found there were also Brahmins prepared to part with, or to produce, manuscripts—even if they thought they were doing so only for other Brahmins.

Europeans were first able to acquire Hindu texts, in the 1540s and 1550s, because of Portuguese control in Goa. The extension of the English East India Company’s territorial and military might in the later part of the eighteenth century would have changed the nature of interactions between Europeans and Indians elsewhere. 132 Colebrooke’s experience in Mirzapur is perhaps the clearest instance of the effect of a shift in power dynamics, but Polier’s success at the court of Pratap Singh in 1781—not yet within the direct ambit of British power—seems to owe more to the character of the court. Since the time of Jai Singh in the 1720s, the court at Jaipur had been involved in the exchange—partly mediated by Jesuits—of materials of scientific and scholarly interest with the Portuguese court. In 1734 Jai Singh invited Jean-François Pons and Claude Boudier, French Jesuits stationed in Bengal, to Jaipur. 133 Pons was also engaged in collecting manuscripts for Bignon, and had their trip not been cut short by illness it seems likely he would have preceded Polier in gaining access Jai Singh’s collection of Sanskrit manuscripts.

-- The Absent Vedas, by Will Sweetman
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Church of the SubGenius
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/31/20

Jehovah 1, the primary deity of the Church of the SubGenius.

-- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

The Church of the SubGenius is a parody religion[1] that satirizes better-known belief systems. It teaches a complex philosophy that focuses on J. R. "Bob" Dobbs, purportedly a salesman from the 1950s, who is revered as a prophet by the Church. SubGenius leaders have developed detailed narratives about Dobbs and his relationship to various gods and conspiracies. Their central deity, Jehovah 1, is accompanied by other gods drawn from ancient myth and popular fiction. SubGenius literature describes a grand conspiracy that seeks to brainwash the world and oppress Dobbs's followers. In its narratives, the Church presents a blend of cultural references in an elaborate remix of the sources.

Ivan Stang, who co-founded the Church in the 1970s, serves as its leader and publicist. He has imitated actions of other religious leaders, using the tactic of culture jamming in an attempt to undermine better-known faiths. Church leaders instruct their followers to avoid mainstream commercialism and the belief in absolute truths. The group holds that the quality of "Slack" is of utmost importance, but it is never clearly defined. The number of followers is unknown, although the Church's message has been welcomed by college students and artists in the United States. The group is often compared to Discordianism. Journalists often consider the Church an elaborate joke, but some academics have defended it as a real system of deeply held beliefs.[2][3]

Discordianism is a paradigm based upon the book Principia Discordia, written by Greg Hill with Kerry Wendell Thornley in 1963, the two working under the pseudonyms Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst. According to self-proclaimed "crackpot historian" Adam Gorightly, Discordianism was founded as a parody religion. Many outside observers still regard Discordianism as a parody religion, although some of its adherents may utilize it as a legitimate religion or as a metaphor for a governing philosophy.

The Principia Discordia, if read literally, encourages the worship of the Greek goddess Eris, known in Latin as Discordia, the goddess of disorder, or archetypes and ideals associated with her. Depending on the version of Discordianism, Eris might be considered the goddess exclusively of disorder or the goddess of disorder and chaos. Both views are supported by the Principia Discordia. The Principia Discordia holds three core principles: the Aneristic (order), the Eristic (disorder), and the notion that both are mere illusions. Due to these principles, a Discordian believes there is no distinction between order and disorder, since they are both man-made conceptual divisions of the pure element of chaos. An argument presented by the text is that it is only by rejecting these principles that you can truly perceive reality as it is, chaos.

It is difficult to estimate the number of Discordians because they are not required to hold Discordianism as their only belief system, and because, by nature of the system itself, there is an encouragement to form schisms and cabals.

-- Discordianism, by Wikipedia


The Church of the SubGenius was founded by Ivan Stang (born Douglas St Clair Smith) and Philo Drummond (born Steve Wilcox)[4] as the SubGenius Foundation.[5] Dr. X (born Monte Dhooge) was also present at the group's inception.[6] The organization's first recorded activity was the publication of a photocopied document, Sub Genius Pamphlet #1, disseminated in Dallas, Texas in 1979. The document announced the impending end of the world and the possible deaths of its readers.[5] It criticized Christian conceptions of God and New Age perceptions of spirituality.[7]

Church leaders maintain that a man named J. R. "Bob" Dobbs founded the group in 1953.[5] SubGenius members constructed an elaborate account of Dobbs's life, which commentators describe as fictional.[8] They assert that he telepathically contacted Drummond in 1972, before meeting him in person the next year, and that Drummond persuaded Stang to join shortly afterward.[9] Stang has called himself Dobbs's "sacred scribe" and a "professional maven of weirdness".[10][11]



The Church of the SubGenius's ostensible beliefs defy categorization or a simple narrative, often striking outsiders as bizarre and convoluted.[10] The group has an intricate mythology involving gods, aliens, and mutants, which observers usually consider satire of other religions.[5] Its primary deity, generally known as Jehovah 1,[2] is an extraterrestrial who contacted Dobbs in the 1950s. Various accounts state that the encounter occurred while Dobbs was building a television or watching late-night television.[12][13] Jehovah 1 gave him supernatural knowledge of the past and future, in addition to incredible power.[12] Dobbs then posed deep questions to the alien, receiving mysterious answers.[14] Some of their discussion centered on a powerful conspiracy, to which the Church attributes command of the world.[2]

Jehovah 1 and his spouse Eris, regarded by the Church as "relatively evil", are classified as "rebel gods".[15] SubGenius leaders note that Jehovah 1 is wrathful, a quality expressed by his "stark fist of removal".[9] The Church teaches that they are part of the Elder Gods, who are committed to human pain, but that Jehovah 1 is "relatively good" in comparison. Yog-Sothoth, a character from H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, is the Elder Gods' leader. In her 2010 study of the Church of the SubGenius, religious scholar Carole Cusack of the University of Sydney states that Lovecraft's work is a "model for the Church of the SubGenius's approach to scripture", in that aspects of his fiction were treated as real by some within paganism, just as the Church appropriates aspects of popular culture in its spirituality.[16]

J. R. "Bob" Dobbs

Main article: J. R. "Bob" Dobbs

Fictional character Ward Cleaver (right), to whom Dobbs' appearance is often compared.

SubGenius leaders teach that Dobbs's nature is ineffable and consequently stylize his name with quotation marks.[17][18] They call him a "World Avatar"[9] and hold that he has died and been reborn many times.[10] The Church's primary symbol is an icon of his face in which he smokes a pipe.[2] Stang has said the image was taken from Yellow Pages clip art,[17] and it has been likened to Ward Cleaver,[10] Mark Trail,[13] or a 1950s-era salesman.[2] The Church's canon contains references to aspects of United States culture in that decade;[19] religious scholar Danielle Kirby of RMIT University argues that this type of reference "simultaneously critiques and subverts" the American dream.[20]

In the Church's mythology, Jehovah 1 intended Dobbs to lead a powerful conspiracy and brainwash individuals to make them work for a living. Dobbs refused; instead, he infiltrated the group and organized a counter-movement. Church leaders teach that he was a very intelligent child and, as he grew older, studied several religious traditions, including Sufism, Rosicrucianism, and the Fourth Way.[21] Another key event in his life occurred when he traveled to Tibet, where he learned vital truths about topics including Yetis; the Church teaches that SubGenius members are descended from them. The only relative of Dobbs the Church identifies is his mother, Jane McBride Dobbs—Church leaders cite his lack of resemblance to his mother's husband as the reason for not revealing his father.[21] Dobbs is married to a woman named Connie; SubGenius leaders identify the couple as archetypes of the genders in a belief that resembles Hindu doctrines about Shiva and Parvati.[12] Church literature has variously described Dobbs's occupation as "drilling equipment" or fluoride sales,[9][13] and accounts of his life generally emphasize his good fortune rather than intelligence.[19] SubGenius leaders believe he is capable of time travel, and that this results in occasional changes to doctrine (the "Sacred Doctrine of Erasability"). Consequently, members attempt to follow Dobbs by eschewing unchangeable plans.[19]

Conspiracy and "Slack"

The Church of the SubGenius's literature incorporates many aspects of conspiracy theories,[22] teaching that there is a grand conspiracy at the root of all lesser ones.[17] It says that there are many UFOs, most of which are used by the conspiracy leaders to monitor humans, though a few contain extraterrestrials. In the Church's view, this conspiracy uses a façade of empowering messages but manipulates people so that they become indoctrinated into its service.[9] The Church calls these individuals "pinks" and states that they are blissfully unaware of the organization's power and control.[23] SubGenius leaders teach that most cultural and religious mores are the conspiracy's propaganda.[19] They maintain that their followers, but not the pinks, are capable of developing an imagination; the Church teaches that Dobbs has empowered its members to see through these illusions. Owing to their descent from Yetis, the Church's followers have a capacity for deep understanding that the pinks lack.[9] Cultural studies scholar Solomon Davidoff states that the Church develops a "satiric commentary" on religion, morality, and conspiracies.[22]

SubGenius members believe that those in the service of the conspiracy seek to bar them from "Slack",[22] a quality promoted by the Church. Its teachings center on "Slack"[5] (always capitalized),[18] which is never concisely defined, though Dobbs is said to embody it.[2][24] Church members seek to acquire Slack and believe it will allow them the free, comfortable life (without hard work or responsibility) they claim as an entitlement.[12][25] Sex and the avoidance of work are taught as two key ways to gain Slack.[18] Davidoff believes that Slack is "the ability to effortlessly achieve your goals".[22] Cusack states that the Church's description of Slack as ineffable recalls the way that Tao is described,[9] and Kirby calls Slack a "unique magical system".[26]


R. Crumb, a cartoonist who helped publicize the Church.

The Church of the SubGenius's founders were based in Dallas when they distributed their first document. The SubGenius Foundation moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1999.[5] In 2009, Stang claimed the Church had 40,000 members, but the actual number may have been much lower.[27] As of 2012, becoming a minister in the Church consists of paying a $35 fee;[28] Stang has estimated that there are 10,000 ministers[13][29][30] and that the Church's annual income has reached $100,000.[7] In October 2017, The Church moved to Glen Rose, Texas.

Most SubGenius members are male,[14] and, according to Stang, many are social outcasts.[11] He maintains that those who do not fit into society will ultimately triumph over those who do.[7] The Church has experienced success "converting" college students,[10] particularly at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[31] It has also gained popularity in several American cities, including San Francisco, Little Rock, and Cleveland.[11][32] A few Church members have voiced concerns and/or amusement about new members who took the Church too seriously, fearing that they acted like serious cult followers, the very concept the SubGenius parodies.[13] Stang has expressed concern that the Church's doctrines could exacerbate preexisting psychoses of mentally ill devotees, although he believes that the Church genuinely helps many adherents.[11]

Notable associates of the Church include Mark Mothersbaugh,[18] Mojo Nixon,[18] Paul Mavrides,[11] Paul Reubens,[33] members of Negativland,[18] David Byrne, and R. Crumb.[34] Crumb provided early publicity for the church by reprinting Sub Genius Pamphlet #1 in his comics anthology Weirdo.[7] References to the Church are present in several works of art,[35] including the Internet-based collaborative fiction Ong's Hat, the comic book The Middleman, the band Sublime's album 40oz. to Freedom, and the television program Pee-wee's Playhouse.[36][37][38]


Church leaders have issued specific instructions to their followers;[39] Robert Latham of the University of California, Riverside, calls their ideology "anarcholibertarian".[40] Five specific commands particularly embody the group's values:

• Shun regular employment and stop working. This encapsulates the Church's view that to repent is to "SLACK OFF",[39] as opposed to working for a living.[20] SubGenius leaders say it is permissible for members to collect public assistance in lieu of maintaining employment.[39]
• Purchase products sold by the Church, which its leaders say Dobbs founded to gain wealth.[41] Unlike most religious groups, the Church proudly admits it is for-profit (presumably mocking religious groups that seem to have ulterior financial motives).[18] Cusack sees the instruction to buy as an ironic parody of the "greed is good" mentality of the 1980s,[39] and Kirby notes that although the group emphasizes "the consumption of popular cultural artefacts", this consumption is "simultaneously de-emphasized by the processes of remix".[42]
• Rebel against "law and order". Specifically, the Church condemns security cameras and encourages computer hacking. Cusack notes that this instruction recalls Robert Anton Wilson's critique of law and order.
• Rid the world of everyone who did not descend from Yetis.[39] SubGenius leaders teach that Dobbs hopes to rid the Earth of 90% of humanity, making the Earth "clear".[41] The group praises drug abuse and abortion as effective methods of culling unneeded individuals.
• Exploit fear, specifically that of people who are part of the conspiracy. Church leaders teach conspiracy members fear SubGenius devotees.[39]



Klaatu, a character from the 1951 American science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still, who is celebrated by the Church of the SubGenius.

Local groups of members of the Church of the SubGenius are known as "clenches". They host periodic events known as "devivals", which include sermons, music, and other art forms.[5] The term is used by both the Church of the Subgenius and Discordianism[citation needed] for a gathering or festival of followers. The name is a pun on Christian revivals.[43]

At devivals, leaders take comical names and give angry rants.[23] Many take place at bars or similar venues.[27] Cusack compares the style of the services to Pentecostal revivalism;[23] David Giffels of the Akron Beacon Journal calls them "campy preaching sessions".[11] Cusack posits that these events are examples of Peter Lamborn Wilson's concept of Temporary Autonomous Zones, spaces in which the ordinary constraints of social control are suspended.[44] On one occasion, the presence of a Church leader's wife at a SubGenius meeting that included public nudity and a goat costume contributed to her losing custody of her children in a court case. But the publicity surrounding the event was a boon to the Church's recruitment efforts.[45]

The Church also celebrates several holidays in honor of characters from fiction and popular culture, such as Monty Python, Dracula, and Klaatu.[46] The Association for Consciousness Exploration and pagan groups have occasionally assisted the Church in its events.[18][27] Some SubGenius members put little emphasis on meetings, citing the Church's focus on individualism, though the Book of the SubGenius discusses community.[47]

SubGenius devivals are not regularly scheduled, but are recorded on the SubGenius website.[48] Devivals have been held in multiple U.S. states, as well as China, the Netherlands, and Germany. The Church has also held Devivals at non-SubGenius events, such as Burning Man and the Starwood Festival.[49]

Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the SubGenius at The Cyclone of Slack

The Cyclone of Slack[50][51] was a devival in Portland, Oregon, in October 2009 put on by the Church of the Subgenius[52] and the organizers of Esozone.[citation needed] One of its more bizarre moments was when the alcohol and fire-and-brimstone sermon-fueled crowd in front of the stage began to sit down in twos and threes when the Duke of Uke began to play his ukulele.[53]

The "Go Fuck Yourself" devival was held in Astoria, New York, in October 2010 by the Church of the Subgenius at the Wonderland Collective.[54]


In early SubGenius literature, July 5, 1998, was introduced as a significant date, later becoming known as "X-Day".[39] The Church held that Dobbs identified the date's significance in the 1950s,[30] claiming that the world was to experience a massive change on that date when Xists, beings from Planet X, would arrive on Earth.[29] SubGenius leaders said their paying members would be transported onto spaceships for union with goddesses as the world was destroyed,[55] though a few posited that they would be sent to a joyful hell.[11] In anticipation of the event, X-Day "drills" were held in 1996 and 1997.[56]

In July 1998, the Church held a large devival at a "clothing-optional" campground in Sherman, New York,[29][31] attended by about 400 members.[30] The event was ostensibly to celebrate the coming of aliens. When their appearance was not detected using the technology available at the time, Stang speculated that they might arrive in 8661, an inversion of 1998;[29] this has been interpreted as a satire of the way that religious groups have revised prophecies after their failures.[55] Some critics have dismissed the event as a prank or "performance art".[29] Another theory is that The Conspiracy has lied about what year the present year actually is (just as they have lied about everything else), so that the liberation date would seem to pass without fulfillment and cause followers to lose faith. As a precaution, SubGenius members continue to gather for X-Day every July 5. At these events, the non-appearance of the aliens is celebrated.[26][57] Cusack calls the productions carnivalesque[57] or an echo of ancient Greek satyr plays.[29]



The Church of the SubGenius established a website in May 1993,[58] and its members were very active on Usenet in the 1990s.[10]


Although it has gained a significant online presence, it was successful before the advent of Internet communities.[59] The Church was a pioneer in the religious use of zines;[60] Cusack notes that its use of the medium can be seen as a rejection of the alienation of labor practices.[61]

The SubGenius Foundation has published several official teachings, as well as non-doctrinal works by Stang.[5] The Book of the SubGenius, which discusses Slack at length, was published by Simon & Schuster and sold 30,000 copies in its first five years in print.[32][62] Kirby calls it a "call to arms for the forces of absurdity".[26] Its juxtaposition, visual style, and content mirror the group as a whole.[63] It draws themes from fiction as well as established and new religions, parodying a number of topics, including the Church of the SubGenius itself.[26]

A number of SubGenius members have written stories to build their mythology, which have been compiled and published.[61] Their core texts are disordered, presented in the style of a collage.[64] Kirby notes that the group's texts are a bricolage of cultural artifacts remixed into a new creation.[20][63] In this process, Kirby argues, they interweave and juxtapose a variety of concepts, which she calls a "web of references".[20]


The group has also been promoted by a video Stang produced in 1992.[5][26]


The Church of the SubGenius hosts several radio shows throughout the world, including broadcasters in Atlanta, Ohio, Maryland, and California. Several radio stations in the United States and two in Canada broadcast The Hour of Slack, the Church’s most popular audio production.[65]


The Hour of Slack can also be heard in podcast form.[66][67]

Analysis and commentary

Comparative religion

The Church's teachings are often perceived as satirizing Christianity and Scientology,[2] earning them a reputation as a parody religion.[5] Church leaders have said that Dobbs met L. Ron Hubbard, and SubGenius narratives echo extraterrestrial themes found in Scientology.[68] Cusack notes Jehovah 1 bears noticeable similarities to Xenu, a powerful alien found in some Scientologist writings.[41] The Church's rhetoric has also been seen as a satirical imitation of the televangelism of the 1980s.[34] Cusack sees the Church's faux commercialism as culture jamming targeting prosperity theology,[46] calling it "a strikingly original innovation in contemporary religion".[35] Religious scholar Thomas Alberts of the University of London views the Church as attempting to "subvert the idea of authenticity in religion" by mirroring other religions to create a sense of both similarity and alterity.[69]

Cusack compares the Church of the SubGenius to the Ranters, a radical 17th-century pantheist movement in England that made statements that shocked many hearers, attacking traditional notions of religious orthodoxy and political authority. In her view, this demonstrates that the Church of the SubGenius has "legitimate pedigree in the history of Western religion".[70] The American journalist Michael Muhammad Knight likens the Church to the Moorish Orthodox Church of America, a 20th-century American syncretic religious movement, citing their shared emphasis on freedom.[38]

There are a number of similarities between the Church of the SubGenius and Discordianism. Eris, the goddess of chaos worshiped by adherents of the latter, is believed by members of the Church of the SubGenius to be Jehovah 1's wife and an ally to humans. Like Discordianism, the Church of the SubGenius rejects absolute truth and embraces contradictions and paradoxes.[19] Religious scholar David Chidester of the University of Cape Town views the Church as a "Discordian offshoot",[71] and Kirby sees it as "a child of the Discordians".[64] Both groups were heavily influenced by the writings of Robert Anton Wilson, whom SubGenius members call "Pope Bob".[19][72] Kirby states that the two groups have elements of bricolage and absurdity in common, but the Church of the SubGenius more explicitly remixes pop culture.[26]


Scholars often have difficulty defining the Church.[73] Most commentators have placed the Church in the category of "joke religions", which is usually seen as pejorative. Kirby sees this categorization as partially accurate because irony is an essential aspect of the faith.[3] Other terms used to describe the Church include "faux cult",[34] "[postmodern] cult",[10] "satirical pseudoreligion",[62] "sophisticated joke religion",[73] "anti-religion religion",[30] and "high parody of cultdom".[13] Members of the Church, however, have consistently maintained that they practice a religion.[57] Stang has described the group as both "satire and a real stupid religion", and contends that it is more honest about its nature than are other religions.[45]

Cusack states that the Church "must be accorded the status of a functional equivalent of religion, at the very least, if not 'authentic' religion".[2] She sees it as "arguably a legitimate path to liberation", citing its culture jamming and activism against commercialism.[2] Kirby posits that the Church is a religion masquerading as a joke, rather than the reverse: in her view, it is a spiritual manifestation of a cultural shift toward irony.[3] Alberts believes there is broad agreement that the Church is fundamentally a different type of group than religions that date to antiquity; he prefers to use the term "fake religion" to describe it. He sees it, along with Discordianism, as part of a group of "popular movements that look and feel like religion, but whose apparent excess, irreverence and arbitrariness seem to mock religion".[74] Knight characterizes the Church as "at once a postmodern spoof of religion and a viable system in its own right".[38]


Kirby argues that the Church forms a counterpart to Jean Baudrillard's concept of hyperreality, arguing, "they create, rather than consume, popular culture in the practice of their spirituality".[75] She calls their remixing of popular culture sources an "explicitly creative process",[20] maintaining that it prompts the reader to adopt some of the group's views by forcing "the individual to reconsider normative methods of approaching the content".[20] She states that the group attempts to "strip references of their original meaning without necessarily losing their status as icons".[20]

Kirby also sees the Church's goal as deconstructing "normative modes of thought and behavior" in American culture;[59] she believes that it attempts to fight culturally ingrained thought patterns by shocking people.[26] She argues that traditional approaches to religion cast seriousness as a measure of devotion, an approach she believes has failed in contemporary society. She feels that irony is a common value that most religions have ignored. By embracing the quality, she maintains, the Church of the SubGenius offers a more accessible worldview than many groups.[3]

Literature scholar Paul Mann of Pomona College is critical of the Church of the SubGenius. He notes that the Church purports to present the truth through absurdity and faults it for insufficiently examining the concept of truth itself.[76] In addition, he believes that the group undermines its attempts to take a radical perspective with its "hysterical, literal, fantastic embrace" of criticism.[77]

Anarchist writer Bob Black, a former member, has criticized the Church, alleging that it has become conformist and submissive to authority. He believes that although it initially served to satirize cults, it later took on some of their aspects. In 1992, allegations of cultlike behavior also appeared in the newspaper Bedfordshire on Sunday after a spate of SubGenius-themed vandalism struck the English town of Bedford.[18]



• SubGenius Foundation (1987). Book of the SubGenius. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-63810-8.
• Ivan Stang (1988). High Weirdness by Mail. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-64260-0.
• Ivan Stang (1990). Three-fisted tales of "Bob": Short Stories in the SubGenius Mythos. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-67190-7.
• Ivan Stang; SubGenius Foundation (1994). Revelation X: the "Bob" Apocryphon: Appointed to be Read in Churches. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-77006-8.
• Ivan Stang (2006). The SubGenius Psychlopaedia of Slack: The Bobliographon. Running Press. ISBN 978-1-56025-939-8.
• Dave DeLuca (2017). Neighborworld. SubGenius Foundation. ASIN B075W2QD9V.


• Stang, Ivan; Holland, Cordt; Robins, Hal (2006) [1991]. Arise!: the SubGenius Video (DVD-R). SubGenius Moving Pictures. OCLC 388112825.

See also

• Religion portal
• Comedy portal
• Science portal
• Bokononism
• Dinkoism
• Discordianism
• Dudeism
• Flying Spaghetti Monster
• Intelligent falling
• Invisible Pink Unicorn
• Missionary Church of Kopimism


1. Solomon, Dan (2 November 2017). "The Church of the SubGenius Finally Plays It Straight". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 19 May 2019. Dan Solomon: The SubGenius has been a put-on for so long. What's it like to drop that mask and tell the story in a real way now? Ivan Stang: It's fun for me. I've been keeping a straight face for thirty-five years. Your face gets tired. I really would not drop character for a long, long time.
2. Cusack 2010, p. 84.
3. Kirby 2012, p. 43.
4. Chryssides 2012, p. 95.
5. Cusack 2010, p. 83.
6. Shea 2006.
7. Niesel 2000.
8. Kinsella 2011, p. 67.
9. Cusack 2010, p. 86.
10. Batz 1995.
11. Giffels 1995.
12. Cusack 2010, p. 85.
13. Rea 1985.
14. Cusack 2010, p. 102.
15. Cusack 2010, pp. 86 & 101.
16. Cusack 2010, p. 101.
17. Hart 1992.
18. Leiby 1994.
19. Cusack 2010, p. 88.
20. Kirby 2012, p. 50.
21. Cusack 2010, pp. 84–6.
22. Davidoff 2003, p. 170.
23. Cusack 2010, p. 93.
24. Duncombe 2005, p. 222.
25. Duncombe 2005, p. 226.
26. Kirby 2012, p. 49.
27. Cusack 2010, p. 106.
28. Sales.
29. Cusack 2010, p. 90.
30. Scoblionkov 1998.
31. Yuen 1998.
32. Ashbrook 1988.
33. Cusack 2010, p. 94.
34. Callahan 1996.
35. Cusack 2010, p. 111.
36. Kinsella 2011, p. 64–7.
37. Lloyd 2008.
38. Knight 2012, p. 96.
39. Cusack 2010, p. 89.
40. Latham 2002, p. 94.
41. Cusack 2010, p. 87.
42. Kirby 2012, p. 52.
43. Cusack, Carole M. (2010), "The Church of the SubGenius: Science Fiction Mythos, Culture Jamming and the Sacredness of Slack", Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith, Ashgate Publishing, p. 95, ISBN 978-0-7546-6780-3
44. Cusack 2010, p. 97.
45. Cusack 2010, p. 107.
46. Cusack 2010, p. 104.
47. Cusack 2010, pp. 98–9.
48. "Reports on Great Devivals of yore".
49. "SubSite - Past Events". Retrieved 2015-10-07.
50. "Salvation - $10". 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
51. "Cyclone of Slack". Retrieved 2010-02-27.
52. "Hour of Slack #1232 - Portland Cyclone of Slack Devival 1 - 59:08". Retrieved 2010-02-27.
53. "Duke of Uke calms the Devival with the healing power of the ukulele". Retrieved 2010-02-27.
55. Gunn & Beard 2000, p. 269.
56. Devivals.
57. Cusack 2010, p. 98.
58. Ciolek 2003, p. 800.
59. Kirby 2012, p. 44.
60. Kinsella 2011, p. 64.
61. Cusack 2010, p. 100.
62. Stein 1993, p. 179.
63. Kirby 2012, p. 51.
64. Kirby 2012, p. 48.
65. "SubSite - Radio". Retrieved 2015-10-07.
66. "SubSite - Radio". Retrieved 2018-09-28.
67. "". Retrieved 2018-09-28.
68. Cusack 2010, p. 105.
69. Alberts 2008, p. 127.
70. Cusack 2010, pp. 106–7.
71. Chidester 2005, p. 198.
72. The Daily Telegraph, "Robert Anton Wilson".
73. Cusack 2010, p. 109.
74. Alberts 2008, p. 126.
75. Kirby 2012, pp. 42–3.
76. Mann 1999, p. 156.
77. Mann 1999, p. 158.



• Chidester, David (2005), Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-24280-7
• Chryssides, George (2012), Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 978-0-81086-194-7
• Ciolek, T. Matthew (2003), "Online Religion", in Hossein Bidgoli (ed.), The Internet Encyclopedia, 2, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-471-22204-0
• Cusack, Carole M. (2010), "The Church of the SubGenius: Science Fiction Mythos, Culture Jamming and the Sacredness of Slack", Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7546-6780-3
• Davidoff, Solomon (2003), Peter Knight (ed.), Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-57607-812-9
• Duncombe, Stephen (2005), "Sabotage, Slack and the Zinester Search for Non-Alienated Labour", in Bell, David; Hollows, Joanne (eds.), Ordinary Lifestyles, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-335-22420-3
• Kinsella, Michael (2011), Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong's Hat, University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 978-1-60473-983-1
• Kirby, Danielle (2012), "Occultural Bricolage and Popular Culture: Remix and Art in Discordianism, the Church of the SubGenius, the Temple of Psychick Youth", in Adam Possamai (ed.), Handbook of Hyper-real Religions, BRILL, ISBN 978-90-04-21881-9
• Knight, Michael Muhammad (2012), William S. Burroughs vs. The Qur'an, Soft Skull Press, ISBN 978-1-59376-415-9
• Latham, Robert (2002), Consuming Youth: Vampires, Cyborgs, and the Culture of Consumption, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-46891-4
• Mann, Paul (1999), "Stupid Undergrounds", Masocriticism, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-4032-2
• Alberts, Thomas (2008), "Virtually Real: Fake Religions and Problems of Authenticity in Religion", Culture and Religion, 9 (5): 125–39, doi:10.1080/14755610802211510
• Gunn, Joshua; Beard, David (2000), "On the Apocalyptic Sublime", Southern Communication Journal, 65 (4): 269–86, doi:10.1080/10417940009373176
• Stein, Jean (1993), "Slacking toward Bethlehem", Grand Street (44): 176–88, JSTOR 25007625
• Callahan, Maureen (March 4, 1996), "Slacking Off", New York, retrieved August 19, 2012
• Scoblionkov, Deborah (July 6, 1998), "Armageddon Ends Badly", Wired, retrieved August 28, 2012
• Shea, Mike (November 2006), "Douglass St. Clair Smith", Texas Monthly, retrieved August 5, 2013


• "Robert Anton Wilson", The Daily Telegraph, January 13, 2007, retrieved October 27, 2012
• Ashbrook, Tom (July 17, 1988), "'Saving' Souls Irreverently", The Boston Globe, archived from the original on May 17, 2013, retrieved August 19, 2012 (subscription required)
• Batz, Bob (February 17, 1995), "In 'Bob' they Trust", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, retrieved August 19, 2012 (subscription required)
• Giffels, David (August 2, 1995), "Eschew Normalcy Rev. Stang and his Church of SubGenius Prefer Satire to Sacredness", Akron Beacon Journal, retrieved August 19, 2012 (subscription required)
• Hart, Hugh (September 16, 1992), "Behind Every SubGenius Conspiracy Is An Ordinary Bob", The Chicago Tribune, retrieved August 20, 2012
• Leiby, Richard (February 8, 1995), "Holy Smoke, It's Bob!", The Washington Post, retrieved August 19, 2012 (subscription required)
• Lloyd, Robert (June 16, 2008), "Comic-Book Antics", Los Angeles Times, retrieved August 20, 2012 (subscription required)
• Niesel, Jeff (April 6, 2000), "Slack Is Back", Cleveland Scene, retrieved October 28, 2012
• Rea, Steven (May 4, 1985), "The 'Weirdest Supercult' Prepares to Gather the Flock to the Church of the SubGenius", The Philadelphia Inquirer, retrieved August 19, 2012 (subscription required)
• Yuen, Laura (July 5, 1998), "Apocalypse, nah", The Boston Globe, archived from the original on May 17, 2013, retrieved August 28, 2012 (subscription required)


• "Reports on Great Devivals of Yore",, Hall of Mindless Fun, Church of the SubGenius, retrieved October 27, 2012
• "Salvation/Membership/Ordainment",, Official Outreach Sales, Church of the SubGenius, retrieved October 27, 2012

External links

• Official website
• Burning ‘Bob’: Cacophony, Burning Man, and the Church of the SubGenius 2013 interview with Church founders Drummond and Stang, archived from the original May 22, 2014.
• Carleton, Lee (2014), Doctoral Dissertation "Rhetorical Ripples: The Church of the SubGenius, Kenneth Burke & Comic, Symbolic Tinkering"
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:06 am

Pratap Singh of Jaipur
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/1/20

Pratap Singh of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai
Reign 1778 – 1803
Predecessor: Prithvi Singh II
Successor: Jagat Singh II
Born: 2 December 1764, Jaipur
Died: 1 August 1803 (aged 38)
Spouse: Rathorji Maharani
Issue: Jagat Singh II; Rani Anand Kunwar; Suraj Kunwar
Father: Madho Singh I
Mother: Maharani Maji

Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh (2 December 1764 – 1 August 1803) was a Kachwaha ruler of Jaipur from 1778 to 1803. He was born on December 1764 and succeeded his father Madho Singh I. He was a grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of Jaipur. He is known for constructing the Hawa Mahal.


He was the younger son of Madho Singh I. Sawai Pratap Singh became the Maharaja at the age of 14 after the death of his brother Prithvi Singh. He ruled from 1778 to 1803. HIs 25-year rule witnessed many spectacular achievements and strategic failures. Being constantly goaded by the Marathas and the Mughuls, he had to face repeated threats and a heave drainage of funds.

He is known as the great ruler for his devotion to Lord Krishna. The fountains behind the Govind Dev temple are credited to him, his poetic talent and patronage of Arts and Crafts. Sawai Pratap Singh was the only king after Sawai Jai Singh who had a literary taste. During his time, the art of paintings reached to its peak. Mughal Empire was almost in shambles and the artists were fleeting to Delhi. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh gave them patronage and they came and settled in Jaipur. It was these artists who made such good painting that Jaipur school of paintings became world-famous.

The Hawa Mahal was constructed by Pratap Singh.

The finest example of his connoisseurship is the unique monument of Hawa Mahal the palace of the Winds and few rooms of City Palace, which he got constructed. A large number of scholarly works were produced during his time. He himself was a good poet and wrote poems in Brijbhasha and Dhundhari under the pen name of Brijnidhi.

See also

• House of Kachwaha
• Hawa Mahal
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