Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Will Sweetman
BA Hons (Lancaster) MPhil PhD (Cambridge)
Professor of Asian Religions
Room: Richardson 5S7
Tel: 64 3 479 8793
Email: will.sweetman@otago.ac.nz
by University of Otago, New Zealand





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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

Mission

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

Vision

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.

History

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.

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CERTIFICATE OF ORDINATION: THIS DOCUMENT HEREBY AFFIRMS THAT WILL SWEETMAN HAS BEEN ORDAINED BY THE CHURCH OF THE LATTER-DAY DUDE ON THIS DAY MAY 20, 2019

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.

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Great Dudes in History

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

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

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[Uncle Sam Says:] I WANT YOU TO TAKE IT EASY

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?

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IF YOU WILL IT, DUDE, IT IS NO DREAM

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.

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DUDE, THE CHINAMAN IS NOT THE ISSUE HERE. ALSO, DUDE, CHINAMAN IS NOT THEPREFERRED NOMENCLATURE. ASIAN-AMERICAN, PLEASE.

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).

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JUST TAKE IT EASY, MAN! THE TAKE IT EASY MANIFESTO

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?

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I CAN HAS IT EASY?

Aw, Hell. I Done Innerduced Dudeism Enough

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LIFE IS A CYCLE. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GET OFF. GRANE JACKSON'S FOUNTAIN STREET THEATRE THIS TUESDAY (NOTES WELCOME)

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

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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.

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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.

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THE PASSION OF THE JESUS. YOU GOT A DATE ASH WEDNESDAY, BABY

Also, please visit our Facebook Group.


Dwayne can be reached at dwayne@dudeism.com


Teaching

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.

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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, w.ch 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 w.ch 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 w.ch 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



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

Image
-- 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


Origins

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]

Beliefs

Deities


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

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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]

Members

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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]

Instructions

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]

Events

Devivals


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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]

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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]

X-Day

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]

Publishing

Online


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

Print

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]

Video

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

Radio

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]

Podcast

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]

Categorization

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]

Appraisal

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]

Publications

Books


• 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.

Videos

• 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

Notes

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. SubGenius.com 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". http://www.subgenius.com. 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.
54. "SUBGENIUS DEVIVAL IN ASTORIA".
55. Gunn & Beard 2000, p. 269.
56. SubGenius.com 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". http://www.subgenius.com. Retrieved 2015-10-07.
66. "SubSite - Radio". http://www.subgenius.com. Retrieved 2018-09-28.
67. "hourofslack.libsyn.com". 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.

References

Books


• 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
Journals
• 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
Magazines
• 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

Newspapers

• "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)

Websites

• "Reports on Great Devivals of Yore", SubGenius.com, Hall of Mindless Fun, Church of the SubGenius, retrieved October 27, 2012
• "Salvation/Membership/Ordainment", SubGenius.com, 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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Pratap Singh of Jaipur
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/1/20

Image
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.

Biography

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.

Image
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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Jai Singh II
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/1/20

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Jai Singh II, Maharajah Sawai
Reign: 1699–1743
Predecessor: Bishan Singh
Successor: Ishvari Singh
Born: Vijay Singh, 3 November 1688, Amer, India
Died: 21 September 1743 (aged 54)
Spouse: Ranawat; Surya Kumari; Gendi
Issue: Kunwar Shiv Singh (d. 1724); Kunwar Ishwari Singh; Kunwar Madho Singh
Father: Bishan Singh
Mother: Indar Kanwar of Kharwa[1]
Religion: Hinduism

Jai Singh II (3 November 1688 – 21 September 1743) was the Hindu Rajput ruler of the kingdom of Amber, he later founded the fortified city of Jaipur and made it his capital. He was born at Amber, the capital of the Kachwahas. He became ruler of Amber at the age of 11 after his father Maharaja Bishan Singh died on 31 December 1699.[2]

Initially, Jai Singh served as a Mughal vassal. He was given title of Sawai by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb in the year 1699, who had summoned him to Delhi, impressed by his wit.[3] On 21 April 1721, the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah bestowed upon him the title of Saramad-i-Rajaha-i-Hind and on 2 June 1723, the emperor further bestowed him the titles of Raj Rajeshvar, Shri shantanu ji and Maharaja Sawai (which he personally sought from the Mughal emperor by means of various officials and gifts).[4] "Sawai" means one and a quarter times superior to his contemporaries.[5]

In the later part of his life, Jai Singh broke free from the Mughal hegemony, and to assert his sovereignty, performed the Ashvamedha sacrifice, an ancient rite that had been abandoned for several centuries.[6][7] He moved his kingdom's capital from Amber to the newly-established city of Jaipur in 1727, and performed two Ashvamedha sacrifices, once in 1734, and again in 1741.[8]


The Ashvamedha (Sanskrit: अश्वमेध aśvamedha) is a horse sacrifice ritual followed by the Śrauta tradition of Vedic religion. It was used by ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty: a horse accompanied by the king's warriors would be released to wander for a period of one year. In the territory traversed by the horse, any rival could dispute the king's authority by challenging the warriors accompanying it. After one year, if no enemy had managed to kill or capture the horse, the animal would be guided back to the king's capital. It would be then sacrificed, and the king would be declared as an undisputed sovereign.

The best-known text describing the sacrifice is the Ashvamedhika Parva (Sanskrit: अश्वमेध पर्व), or the "Book of Horse Sacrifice," the fourteenth of eighteen books of the Indian epic poem Mahabharata.
Krishna and Vyasa advise King Yudhishthira to perform the sacrifice, which is described at great length. The book traditionally comprises 2 sections and 96 chapters. The critical edition has one sub-book and 92 chapters.

The ritual is recorded as being held by many ancient rulers, but apparently only by two in the last thousand years. The most recent ritual was in 1741, the second one held by Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur. The original Vedic religion had evidently included many animal sacrifices, as had the various folk religions of India. Brahminical Hinduism had evolved opposing animal sacrifices, which have not been the norm in most forms of Hinduism for many centuries. The great prestige and political role of the Ashvamedha perhaps kept it alive for longer.

The Ashvamedha could only be conducted by a powerful victorious king (rājā). Its object was the acquisition of power and glory, the sovereignty over neighbouring provinces, seeking progeny and general prosperity of the kingdom. It was enormously expensive, requiring the participation of hundreds of individuals, many with specialized skills, and hundreds of animals, and involving many precisely prescribed rituals at every stage.

The horse to be sacrificed must be a white stallion with black spots. The preparations included the construction of a special "sacrificial house" and a fire altar. Before the horse began its travels, at a moment chosen by astrologers, there was a ceremony and small sacrifice in the house, after which the king had to spend the night with the queen, but avoiding sex.

The next day the horse was consecrated with more rituals, tethered to a post, and addressed as a god. It was sprinkled with water, and the Adhvaryu, the priest and the sacrificer whispered mantras into its ear. A black dog was killed, then passed under the horse, and dragged to the river from which the water sprinkled on the horse had come. The horse was then set loose towards the north-east, to roam around wherever it chose, for the period of one year, or half a year, according to some commentators. The horse was associated with the Sun, and its yearly course. If the horse wandered into neighbouring provinces hostile to the sacrificer, they were to be subjugated. The wandering horse was attended by a herd of a hundred geldings [castrated horse, or donkey or mule], and one or four hundred young kshatriya men, sons of princes or high court officials, charged with guarding the horse from all dangers and inconvenience, but never impeding or driving it. During the absence of the horse, an uninterrupted series of ceremonies was performed in the sacrificer's home.

After the return of the horse, more ceremonies were performed for a month before the main sacrifice. The king was ritually purified, and the horse was yoked to a gilded chariot, together with three other horses, and Rigveda (RV) 1.6.1,2 (YajurVeda (YV) VSM 23.5,6) was recited. The horse was then driven into water and bathed. After this, it was anointed with ghee by the chief queen and two other royal consorts. The chief queen anointed the fore-quarters, and the others the barrel and the hind-quarters. They also embellished the horse's head, neck, and tail with golden ornaments. After this, the horse, a hornless he-goat, and a wild ox (go-mrga, Bos gaurus) were bound to sacrificial stakes near the fire, and seventeen other animals were attached to the horse. A great number of animals, both tame and wild, were tied to other stakes, according to one commentator, 609 in total. The sacrificer offered the horse the remains of the night's oblation of grain. The horse was then suffocated to death.

The chief queen ritually called on the king's fellow wives for pity. The queens walked around the dead horse reciting mantras. The chief queen then had to spend a night with the dead horse.

On the next morning, the priests raised the queen from the place. One priest cut the horse along the "knife-paths" while other priests started reciting the verses of Vedas, seeking healing and regeneration for the horse.

The Laws of Manu refer to the Ashvamedha (V.53): "The man who offers a horse-sacrifice every day for a hundred years, and the man who does not eat meat, the two of them reap the same fruit of good deeds."...


In the Arya Samaj reform movement of Dayananda Sarasvati, the Ashvamedha is considered an allegory or a ritual to get connected to the "inner Sun" (Prana) According to Dayananda, no horse was actually to be slaughtered in the ritual as per the Yajurveda. Following Dayananda, the Arya Samaj disputes the very existence of the pre-Vedantic ritual; thus Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati claims that

the word in the sense of the Horse Sacrifice does not occur in the Samhitas [...] In the terms of cosmic analogy, ashva s the Sun. In respect to the adhyatma paksha, the Prajapati-Agni, or the Purusha, the Creator, is the Ashva; He is the same as the Varuna, the Most Supreme. The word medha stands for homage; it later on became synonymous with oblations in rituology, since oblations are offered, dedicated to the one whom we pay homage. The word deteriorated further when it came to mean 'slaughter' or 'sacrifice'.


He argues that the animals listed as sacrificial victims are just as symbolic as the list of human victims listed in the Purushamedha. (which is generally accepted as a purely symbolic sacrifice already in Rigvedic times).

All World Gayatri Pariwar since 1991 has organized performances of a "modern version" of the Ashvamedha where a statue is used in place of a real horse, according to Hinduism Today with a million participants in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh on April 16 to 20, 1994. Such modern performances are sattvika Yajnas where the animal is worshipped without killing it, the religious motivation being prayer for overcoming enemies, the facilitation of child welfare and development, and clearance of debt, entirely within the allegorical interpretation of the ritual, and with no actual sacrifice of any animal.

The earliest recorded criticism of the ritual comes from the Cārvāka, an atheistic school of Indian philosophy that assumed various forms of philosophical skepticism and religious indifference. A quotation of the Cārvāka from Madhavacharya's Sarva-Darsana-Sangraha states: "The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons. All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc. and all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in Aswamedha, these were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests, while the eating of flesh was similarly commanded by night-prowling demons."

According to some writers, ashvamedha is a forbidden rite for Kaliyuga, the current age.


This part of the ritual offended the Dalit reformer and framer of the Indian constitution B. R. Ambedkar and is frequently mentioned in his writings as an example of the perceived degradation of Brahmanical culture.

While others such has Manohar L. Varadpande, praised the ritual as "social occasions of great magnitude". Rick F. Talbott writes that "Mircea Eliade treated the Ashvamedha as a rite having a cosmogonic structure which both regenerated the entire cosmos and reestablished every social order during its performance."

-- Ashvamedha, by Wikipedia


Jai Singh had a great interest in mathematics, architecture and astronomy. He commissioned the Jantar Mantar observatories at multiple places in India, including his capital Jaipur.[9]

The situation on his accession

When Sawai Jai Singh acceded to the ancestral throne at Amber, he had barely enough resources to pay for the support of 1000 cavalry—this abysmal situation had arisen in the past 96 years, coinciding with the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The Jaipur kings had always preferred diplomacy to arms in their dealings with the Mughals, since their kingdom was located so close to the Mughal power centers of Delhi and Agra. Under Aurangzeb, successive Kachawaha Rajas from the time of Ramsingh I were actually deprived of their rank and pay despite years of close alliance with the Emperors of Delhi. Two of their chiefs, Jai Singh I and Kunwar Kishan Singh, died in mysterious circumstances while campaigning in the Deccan.

Six months after his accession, Jai was ordered by Aurangzeb to serve in his ruinous Deccan Wars. But there was a delay of about one year in his responding to the call. One of the reason for this was that he was ordered to recruit a large force, in excess of the contingent required by his mansab. He also had to conclude his marriage with the daughter of Udit Singh, the nephew of Raja Uttam Ram Gaur of Sheopur in March, 1701. Jai Singh reached Burhanpur on 3 August 1701 but he could not proceed further due to heavy rains. On 13 September 1701 an additional cut in his rank (by 500) and pay was made.[10] His feat of arms at the siege of Khelna (1702) was rewarded by the mere restoration of his earlier rank and the title of Sawai (Sawai-meaning one and a quarter, i.e. more capable than one man). When Aurangzeb's grandson Bidar Bakht deputed Sawai Jai Singh to govern the province of Malwa (1704), Aurangzeb angrily revoked this appointment as jaiz nist (invalid or opposed to Islam).

Dealings with the later Mughals

The death of Aurangzeb (1707) at first only increased Jai Singh's troubles. His patrons Bidar Bakht and his father Azam were on the losing side in the Mughal war of succession—the victorious Bahadur Shah continued Aurangzeb's hostile and bigoted policy towards the Rajputs by attempting to occupy their lands. Sawai Jai Singh formed an alliance with the Rajput states of Mewar (matrimonially) and Marwar, which were done to form an alliance against Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah I. Aurangzeb's rule of excluding Rajputs from the administration was now abandoned by the later–Mughals and Bahadur Shah appointed Jai Singh to govern the important provinces of Agra and Malwa. In Agra he came into conflict with the sturdy Jat peasantry.

Attack on Sardar Churaman

While Aurangzeb was sinking deeper into the morass of his Deccan Wars, the Jats overthrew the Mughal administration in Agra province. Sawai Raja Jai Singh received large funds from the Mughal courts and with the support of Bhim Singh Hada, of Kotah, Gaj Raj Singh of Narwar, and Budh Singh Hada of Bundi, besieged the fort of Thun in 1716. Churaman's nephew Thakur Badan Singh came over to Jai Singh and provided him with vital information on the weak points of Thun. After its conquest Jai Singh captured and demolished other smaller forts and dispersed the Jat confederacies for a short period.

Sawai Jai Singh and the Marathas

The Kachwaha ruler was appointed to govern Malwa three times between 1714 and 1737. In Jai Singh's first viceroyalty (subahdar) of Malwa (1714–1717), isolated Maratha war-bands that entered the province from the south (Deccan) were constantly defeated and repulsed by Jai Singh. In 1728, Peshwa Baji Rao defeated the Nizam of Hyderabad, part of the Mughal Deccan (treaty of Sheogaon, February 1728). With an agreement from Baji Rao to spare the Nizam's own domains, the Nizam allowed the Marathas a free passage through Berar and Khandesh, the gateway into Hindustan. The Marathas were then able to plant a permanent camp beyond the southern frontier of Malwa. Following the victory of the Peshwa’s brother, Chimaji Appa, over the governor of Malwa Girdhar Bahadur on 29 November 1728, the Marathas were able to convulse much of the country beyond the Southern borders of the Narmada.

Upon Sawai Jai Singh's second appointment to Malwa (1729–1730), as a far-sighted statesmen, Jai Singh was able to perceive a complete change in the political situation, during the twelve years which had passed since his first viceroyalty there. Imperial power had by then been crippled by the rebellion of the Nizam of Hyderabad as well as the ability of Peshwa Baji Rao to stabilize the internal situation of the Marathas, which resulted in their occupation of Gujarat and an immense increase of their forces. Nonetheless, in the name of the friendship between their royal ancestors, Sawai Jai Singh II, was able to appeal to Shahu to restore to the imperialist, the great fortress of Mandu which the Marathas had occupied a few weeks earlier (order date 19 March 1730). By May, Jai Singh was recalled back to Rajputana to attend more pressing matters, which thus resulted in his two years disassociation from Malwa.

In 1732, Jai Singh was for the last time, appointed Subahdar of Malwa (1732–1737), during which time he advocated Muhammad Shah, to compromise with the Marathas under Shahu, whom greatly remembered the kindness and relationship between the late Mirza Raja (Jai Singh I) and his own grandfather, Shivaji. For this sensible advice, coupled with anti-Jai Singh rhetoric at the Mughal court at Delhi, as well as Muhammad Shah's inability to assert his own will, Jai Singh was removed from his post while the Mughals decided on war. In this regard, Sawai Jai Singh II was practically the last subahdar of Malwa, as Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah, who replaced him in 1737, met with most discomfiting failure at the hands of the Peshwa, resulting with the ceding of the whole of Malwa to the Marathas (Treaty of Duraha, Saturday 7 January 1738).

Exploiting the weakening of the Mughal state, the Persian raider Nadir Shah defeated the Mughals at Karnal (13 February 1739) and finally sacked Delhi (11 March, same year). Through this period of turmoil Jai Singh remained in his own state—but he was not idle. Foreseeing the troubled time ahead, Sawai Jai Singh II, initiated a program of extensive fortification within the thikanas under Jaipur, to this date, most of the later fortifications abound the former Jaipur state, are attributed to the reign of Sawai Jai Singh II.

Sawai Jai Singh’s armed forces and his ambitions in Rajputana

Jai Singh increased the size of his ancestral kingdom by annexing lands from the Mughals and rebel chieftains—sometimes by paying money and sometimes through war. The most substantial acquisition was of Shekhawati, which also gave Jai Singh the most able recruits for his fast expanding army.[11]

According to an estimate by Jadunath Sarkar; Jai Singh's regular army did not exceed 40,000 men, which would have cost about 60 lakhs a year, but his strength lay in the large number of artillery and copious supply of munitions which he was careful to maintain and his rule of arming his foot with matchlocks instead of the traditional Rajput sword and shield - He had the wisdom to recognize early the change which firearms had introduced in Indian warfare and to prepare for himself for the new war by raising the fire-power of his army to the maximum, he thus anticipated the success of later Indian rulers like Mirza Najaf Khan, Mahadji Sindhia and Tipu Sultan. Sawai Jai Singh's experimental weapon, the Jaivana which he created prior to the shift of his capital to Jaipur, remains the largest wheeled cannon in the world. In 1732, Sawai Jai Singh, as governor of Malwa undertook, to maintain 30,000 soldiers, in equal proportions of horsemen and foot-musketeers. These did not include his contingents in the Subahs of Agra and Ajmer and in his own dominions and fort garrisons.

The armed strength of Jai Singh had always made him, the most formidable ruler in Northern India and all the other Rajas looked up to him for protection and the promotion of their interests at the Imperial court. The fast-spreading Maratha dominion and their raids into the north had caused alarm among the Rajput chiefs—Jai Singh called a conference of Rajput rulers at Hurda (1734) to deal with this peril but nothing came of this meeting. In 1736 Peshwa Baji Rao imposed tribute on the Kingdom of Mewar. To thwart further Maratha domination Sawai Jai Singh planned a local hegemony, to form under the leadership of Jaipur, a political union in Rajputana. He first annexed Bundi and Rampura in the Malwa plateau, made a matrimonial alliance with Mewar, and intervened in the affairs of the Rathors of Bikaner and Jodhpur. These half-successful attempts only stiffened the backs of the other Rajput clans who turned to the very same Marathas for aid, and consequently hastened their domination over Rajasthan. Jai Singh's ambitions in Rajputana failed after the Battle of Gangwana, Gangwana was the last battle fought by Jai Singh as he could never recover from the shock and died two years later in 1743. Madho Singh later avenged his father by poisoning Bhakt Singh. (Jai Singh was cremated at the Royal Crematorium at Gaitore in the north of Jaipur) he was succeeded by his less capable son Ishwari Singh.[12]

Contributions to society, culture, and science

Sawai Jai Singh was the first Hindu ruler in centuries to perform the ancient Vedic ceremonies like the Ashwamedha (1716)[13] sacrifices — and the Vajapeya (1734) on both occasions vast amounts were distributed in charity. Being initiated in the Nimbarka Sampradaya of the Vaishnava religion, he also promoted Sanskrit learning and initiated reforms in Hindu society like the abolition of Sati and curbing the wasteful expenditures in Rajput weddings. It was at Jai Singh's insistence that the hated jaziya tax, imposed on the Hindu population by Aurangzeb (1679), was finally abolished by the Emperor Muhammad Shah in 1720. In 1728 Jai Singh prevailed on him to also withdraw the pilgrimage tax on Hindus at Gaya.

In 1719, he was witness to a noisy discussion in the court of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. The heated debate regarded how to make astronomical calculations to determine an auspicious date when the emperor could start a journey. This discussion led Jai Singh to think that the nation needed to be educated on the subject of astronomy. It is surprising that in the midst of local wars, foreign invasions, and consequent turmoil, Sawai Jai Singh found time and energy to build astronomical observatories.

Image
The observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh in Delhi

Five observatories were built at Delhi, Mathura (in his Agra province), Benares, Ujjain (capital of his Malwa province), and his own capital of Jaipur. His astronomical observations were remarkably accurate. He drew up a set of tables, entitled Zij Muhammadshahi, to enable people to make astronomical observations. He had Euclid's "Elements of Geometry" translated into Sanskrit as also several works on trigonometry, and Napier's work on the construction and use of logarithms.[14] Relying primarily on Indian astronomy, these buildings were used to accurately predict eclipses and other astronomical events. The observational techniques and instruments used in his observatories were also superior to those used by the European Jesuit astronomers he invited to his observatories.[15][16] Termed as the Jantar Mantar they consisted of the Ram Yantra (a cylindrical building with an open top and a pillar in its center), the Jai Prakash (a concave hemisphere), the Samrat Yantra (a huge equinoctial dial), the Digamsha Yantra (a pillar surrounded by two circular walls), and the Narivalaya Yantra (a cylindrical dial).

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Jantar Mantar in Varanasi

The Samrat Yantra is a huge sundial. It can be used to estimate the local time, to locate the Pole Star, and to measure the declination of celestial objects. The Rama Yantra can be used to measure the altitude and azimuth of celestial objects. The Shanku Yantra can be used to measure the latitude of the place.[14]

Jai Singh's greatest achievement was the construction of Jaipur city (known originally as Jainagara[citation needed] (in Sanskrit, as the 'city of victory' and later as the 'pink city' by the British by the early 20th century), the planned city, later became the capital as the Indian state of Rajasthan. Construction of the new capital began as early as 1725 although it was in 1727 that the foundation stone was ceremonially laid, and by 1733 Jaipur officially replaced Amber as the capital of the Kachawahas. Built on the ancient Hindu grid pattern, found in the archaeological ruins of 3000 BCE, it was designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya who was educated in the ancient Sanskrit manuals (silpa-sutras) on city-planning and architecture. Merchants from all over India settled down in the relative safety of this rich city, protected by thick walls, and a garrison of 17,000 supported by adequate artillery. A Sanskrit epic by the name 'Ishvar Vilas Mahakavya' written by Kavikalanidhi Devarshi Shrikrishna Bhatt gives a good historical description of various important events of that era, including the construction of Jaipur city.[17]

Jai Singh also translated works by people like John Napier. For these multiple achievements, Sawai Jai Singh II is remembered as the most enlightened king of 18th-century India even to this date. These days Jai Singh's observatories at Jaipur, Varanasi, and Ujjain are functional. Only the one at Delhi is not functional and the one at Mathura disappeared a long time ago. [18]

See also

• House of Kachwaha
• List of Rajputs

References

1. Harnath Singh, Jaipur and its Environs (1970), p.9
2. Andrew Topsfield (2000). Court Painting in Rajasthan. Marg. p. 50. ISBN 978-81-85026-47-3.
3. Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994) A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.171
4. Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994) A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.171
5. Prahlad Singh; Kalyan Dutt Sharma (1978). Stone observatories in India, erected by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur. Bharata Manisha. p. 57.
6. Ajay Verghese (2016). The Colonial Origins of Ethnic Violence in India. Stanford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8047-9817-4.
7. Yamini Narayanan (2014). Religion, Heritage and the Sustainable City: Hinduism and urbanisation in Jaipur. Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-135-01269-4.
8. Catherine B Asher (2008). "Excavating Communalism: Kachhwaha Rajadharma and Mughal Sovereignty". In Rajat Datta (ed.). Rethinking a Millennium: Perspectives on Indian History from the Eighth to the Eighteenth Century : Essays for Harbans Mukhia. Aakar Books. p. 232. ISBN 978-81-89833-36-7.
9. Virendra Nath Sharma (1995). Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 2, 98. ISBN 978-81-208-1256-7.
10. Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994) A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0333-9, p.157
11. "Military History & Fiction: Shekhawati". web.archive.org. 20 October 2006. Retrieved 20 August2020.
12. Vir Vinod, Rajasthan Through the Ages By R.K. Gupta, S.R. Bakshi pg.156
13. Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 103
14. Umasankar Mitra (1995). "Astronomical Observatories of Maharaja Jai Singh" (PDF). School Science. NCERT. 23 (4): 45–48.
15. Sharma, Virendra Nath (1995), Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., pp. 8–9, ISBN 81-208-1256-5
16. Baber, Zaheer (1996), The Science of Empire: Scientific Knowledge, Civilization, and Colonial Rule in India, State University of New York Press, pp. 82–90, ISBN 0-7914-2919-9
17. ‘Īśvara Vilāsa Mahākāvya’, Ed. Bhatt Mathuranath Shastri, Jagdish Sanskrit Pustakalaya, Jaipur, 2006
18. Sharma, Virendra Nath (1995), Sawai Jai Singh and His Astronomy, Motilal Banarasidass, ISBN 81-208-1256-5

Bibliography

1. Bhatnagar, V. S. (1974) Life and Times of Sawai Jai Singh, 1688-1743, Delhi: Impex India
2. Sarkar, Jadunath (1984, reprint 1994) A History of Jaipur, New Delhi: Orient Longman, ISBN 81-250-0333-9
3. Jyoti J. (2001) Royal Jaipur, Roli Books, ISBN 81-7436-166-9
4. Tillotson G, (2006) Jaipur Nama, Penguin books
5. Schwarz, Michiel (1980) Observatoria : De astronomische instrumenten van Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in New Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain en Benares, Amsterdam: Westland/Utrecht Hypothekbank
6. Sharma, Virendra Nath (1995, revised edition 2016) Sawai Jai Singh and his Astronomy, Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass Publishers

External links

• Genealogy of the rulers of Jaipur
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Ashvamedha
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/1/20

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Ashwamedha yagna of Yudhisthira

The Ashvamedha (Sanskrit: अश्वमेध aśvamedha) is a horse sacrifice ritual followed by the Śrauta tradition of Vedic religion. It was used by ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty: a horse accompanied by the king's warriors would be released to wander for a period of one year. In the territory traversed by the horse, any rival could dispute the king's authority by challenging the warriors accompanying it. After one year, if no enemy had managed to kill or capture the horse, the animal would be guided back to the king's capital. It would be then sacrificed, and the king would be declared as an undisputed sovereign.

The best-known text describing the sacrifice is the Ashvamedhika Parva (Sanskrit: अश्वमेध पर्व), or the "Book of Horse Sacrifice," the fourteenth of eighteen books of the Indian epic poem Mahabharata
. Krishna and Vyasa advise King Yudhishthira to perform the sacrifice, which is described at great length. The book traditionally comprises 2 sections and 96 chapters.[1][2] The critical edition has one sub-book and 92 chapters.[3][4]

The ritual is recorded as being held by many ancient rulers, but apparently only by two in the last thousand years. The most recent ritual was in 1741, the second one held by Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur. The original Vedic religion had evidently included many animal sacrifices, as had the various folk religions of India. Brahminical Hinduism had evolved opposing animal sacrifices, which have not been the norm in most forms of Hinduism for many centuries. The great prestige and political role of the Ashvamedha perhaps kept it alive for longer.

The sacrifice

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A 19th-century painting, depicting the preparation of army to follow the sacrificial horse. Probably from a picture story depicting Lakshmisa's Jaimini Bharata

The Ashvamedha could only be conducted by a powerful victorious king (rājā).[5][6] Its object was the acquisition of power and glory, the sovereignty over neighbouring provinces, seeking progeny and general prosperity of the kingdom.[7] It was enormously expensive, requiring the participation of hundreds of individuals, many with specialized skills, and hundreds of animals, and involving many precisely prescribed rituals at every stage.[8]

The horse to be sacrificed must be a white stallion with black spots. The preparations included the construction of a special "sacrificial house" and a fire altar. Before the horse began its travels, at a moment chosen by astrologers, there was a ceremony and small sacrifice in the house, after which the king had to spend the night with the queen, but avoiding sex.[9]

The next day the horse was consecrated with more rituals, tethered to a post, and addressed as a god. It was sprinkled with water, and the Adhvaryu, the priest and the sacrificer whispered mantras into its ear. A black dog was killed, then passed under the horse, and dragged to the river from which the water sprinkled on the horse had come. The horse was then set loose towards the north-east, to roam around wherever it chose, for the period of one year,[10] or half a year, according to some commentators. The horse was associated with the Sun, and its yearly course.[11] If the horse wandered into neighbouring provinces hostile to the sacrificer, they were to be subjugated. The wandering horse was attended by a herd of a hundred geldings, and one or four hundred young kshatriya men, sons of princes or high court officials, charged with guarding the horse from all dangers and inconvenience, but never impeding or driving it.[10] During the absence of the horse, an uninterrupted series of ceremonies was performed in the sacrificer's home.

After the return of the horse, more ceremonies were performed for a month before the main sacrifice. The king was ritually purified, and the horse was yoked to a gilded chariot, together with three other horses, and Rigveda (RV) 1.6.1,2 (YajurVeda (YV) VSM 23.5,6) was recited. The horse was then driven into water and bathed. After this, it was anointed with ghee by the chief queen and two other royal consorts. The chief queen anointed the fore-quarters, and the others the barrel and the hind-quarters. They also embellished the horse's head, neck, and tail with golden ornaments. After this, the horse, a hornless he-goat, and a wild ox (go-mrga, Bos gaurus) were bound to sacrificial stakes near the fire, and seventeen other animals were attached to the horse. A great number of animals, both tame and wild, were tied to other stakes, according to one commentator, 609 in total. The sacrificer offered the horse the remains of the night's oblation of grain. The horse was then suffocated to death.[10]

The chief queen ritually called on the king's fellow wives for pity. The queens walked around the dead horse reciting mantras. The chief queen then had to spend a night with the dead horse.[12]

On the next morning, the priests raised the queen from the place. One priest cut the horse along the "knife-paths" while other priests started reciting the verses of Vedas, seeking healing and regeneration for the horse.[13]

The Laws of Manu refer to the Ashvamedha (V.53): "The man who offers a horse-sacrifice every day for a hundred years, and the man who does not eat meat, the two of them reap the same fruit of good deeds."[14]


On Gupta coins

One type of the gold coins of the Gupta Empire kings Samudragupta (reigned c. 350-370 CE) and Kumaragupta (reigned c. 415-455 CE) commemorates their Ashvamedha sacrifices. The obverse shows the horse anointed and decorated for sacrifice, standing in front of a Yūpa sacrificial post, and is inscribed "The king of kings who has performed the Vajimedha sacrifice wins heaven after protecting the earth". The reverse shows a standing figure of the queen, holding a fan and a towel, and is inscribed "Powerful enough to perform the Ashvamedha sacrifice".[15]

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Samudragupta, Ashvamedha horse; The queen, reverse of last

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Samudragupta

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Kumaragupta

Similar sacrifices elsewhere

Main article: Horse sacrifice

Many Indo-European branches show evidence for horse sacrifice, and comparative mythology suggests that they derive from a Proto-Indo-European ritual. Most appear to be funerary practices associated with burial, but for some other cultures there is tentative evidence for rituals associated with kingship. The Ashvamedha is the clearest evidence preserved, but vestiges from Latin and Celtic traditions allow the reconstruction of a few common attributes.

A similar ritual is found in Celtic tradition in which the king in Ireland conducted a rite of symbolic marriage with a sacrificed horse.[12] The October Horse Roman horse sacrifice was an annual event, and apparently the only time horses were sacrificed, rather than cattle or smaller animals.[16]

Horse sacrifices were performed among the ancient Germans, Armenians, Iranians,[17] Chinese, Greeks,[18] among others.

List of performers

Sanskrit epics and Puranas mention numerous legendary performances of the horse sacrifice.[19] For example, according to the Mahabharata, Emperor Bharata performed a hundred Ashvamedha ceremonies on the banks of Yamuna, three hundred on the banks of Saraswati and four hundred on the banks of the Ganga. He again performed a thousand Ashvamedha on different locations and a hundred Rajasuya.[20] Following the vast empires ruled by the Gupta and Chalukya dynasties, the practice of the sacrifice diminished remarkably.[5]

The historical performers of Ashvamedha include:

Monarch / Reign / Dynasty / Source

Pushyamitra Shunga / 185-149 BCE / Shunga / Ayodhya inscription of Dhanadeva and Malavikagnimitra of Kalidasa[21]
Sarvatata / 1st century BCE / Gajayana / Ghosundi and Hathibada inscriptions.[21] Some scholars believe Sarvatata to be a Kanva king, but there is no definitive evidence for this.[22]
Devimitra / 1st century BCE / Unknown / Musanagar inscription[21]
Satakarni I / 1st or 2nd century CE / Satavahana / Nanaghat inscription mentions his second Ashvamedha[23][21]
Vasishthiputra Chamtamula / 3rd century CE / Andhra Ikshvaku / Records of his son and grandson[24]
Shilavarman / 3rd century CE / Varshaganya J/ agatpur inscriptions mention his fourth Ashvamedha[21]
Pravarasena I / c. 270 – c. 330 CE / Vakataka / Inscriptions of his descendants state that he performed four Ashvamedha sacrifices[25]
Bhavanaga / 305-320 CE / Nagas of Padmavati / The inscriptions of Vakataka relatives of the Nagas credit them with 10 horse-sacrifices, although they do not name these kings.[21][24]
Vijaya-devavarman / 300-350 CE / Shalankayana / Ellore inscription[25][26]
Shivaskanda Varman / 4th century CE / Pallava / Hirahadagalli inscription[25]
Kumaravishnu / 4th century CE / Pallava / Omgodu inscription of his great-grandson[25]
Samudragupta / c. 335/350-375 CE / Gupta / Coins of the king and records of his descendants[25][27]
Kumaragupta I / 414 – 455 CE / Gupta / [28]
Madhava Varman / 440-460 CE / Vishnukundina / [24]
Dharasena / 5th century CE / Traikutaka / [26]
Krishnavarman / 5th century CE / Kadamba / [26]
Narayanavarman / 494–518 CE / Varman Legend of Bhaskaravarman's seals[29]
Bhutivarman / 518–542 CE / Varman / Barganga inscription[29]
Pulakeshin I / 543–566 CE / Chalukyas of Vatapi / [30]
Sthitavarman / 565–585 CE / Varman / [31]
Pulakeshin II / 610–642 CE /Chalukyas of Vatapi / [24]
Madhavaraja II (alias Madhavavarman or Sainyabhita) / c. 620-670 CE / Shailodbhava / Inscriptions[32][29]
Simhavarman (possibly Narasimhavarman I) / 630-668 CE / Pallava / The Sivanvayal pillar inscription states that he performed ten Ashvamedhas[25]
Adityasena / 655-680 CE / Later Gupta / Vaidyanatha temple (Deoghar) inscription[29]
Madhyamaraja I (alias Ayashobhita II) / c. 670-700 CE / Shailodbhava / Inscriptions;[33] one interpretation of the inscriptions suggests that he merely participated in the Ashvamedha performed by his father Madhavaraja II[29]
Dharmaraja (alias Manabhita) / c. 726-727 CE / Shailodbhava / Inscriptions; one interpretation of the inscriptions suggests that he merely participated in the Ashvamedha performed by his grandfather Madhavaraja II[29]
Rajadhiraja Chola / 1044–1052 CE / Chola / [34]
Jai Singh II / 1734 and 1741 CE / Kachwahas of Jaipur / Ishvaravilasa Kavya by Krishna-bhatta, a participant in Jai Singh's Ashvamedha ceremony and a court poet of his son Ishvar Singh[35][36]


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The Dhanadeva-Ayodhya inscription, 1st century BCE, mentions two Ashvamedha rituals by Pushyamitra in the city of Ayodhya.[37]

The Udayendiram inscription of the 8th century Pallava king Nandivarman II (alias Pallavamalla) states that his general Udayachandra defeated the Nishada ruler Prithvivyaghra, who, "desiring to become very powerful, was running after the horse of the Ashvamedha". The inscription does not clarify which king initiated this Ashvamedha campaign. Historian N. Venkataramanayya theorized that Prithvivyaghra was a feudatory ruler, who unsuccessfully tried to challenge Nandivarman's Ashvamedha campaign. However, historian Dineshchandra Sircar notes that no other inscriptions of Nandivarman or his descendants mention his performance of Ashvamedha; therefore, it is more likely that the Ashvamedha campaign was initiated by Prithvivyaghra (or his overlord), and Nandivarman's general foiled it.[38]

In Hindu revivalism

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The horse Shyamakarna on the bank of Lake Dudumbhi, illustrating Jaimini's commentary on Ashvamedha, 19th century, Maharashtra

In the Arya Samaj reform movement of Dayananda Sarasvati, the Ashvamedha is considered an allegory or a ritual to get connected to the "inner Sun" (Prana)[11][39] According to Dayananda, no horse was actually to be slaughtered in the ritual as per the Yajurveda. Following Dayananda, the Arya Samaj disputes the very existence of the pre-Vedantic ritual; thus Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati claims that

the word in the sense of the Horse Sacrifice does not occur in the Samhitas [...] In the terms of cosmic analogy, ashva s the Sun. In respect to the adhyatma paksha, the Prajapati-Agni, or the Purusha, the Creator, is the Ashva; He is the same as the Varuna, the Most Supreme. The word medha stands for homage; it later on became synonymous with oblations in rituology, since oblations are offered, dedicated to the one whom we pay homage. The word deteriorated further when it came to mean 'slaughter' or 'sacrifice'.[40]


He argues that the animals listed as sacrificial victims are just as symbolic as the list of human victims listed in the Purushamedha.[40] (which is generally accepted as a purely symbolic sacrifice already in Rigvedic times).

All World Gayatri Pariwar since 1991 has organized performances of a "modern version" of the Ashvamedha where a statue is used in place of a real horse, according to Hinduism Today with a million participants in Chitrakoot, Madhya Pradesh on April 16 to 20, 1994.[41] Such modern performances are sattvika Yajnas where the animal is worshipped without killing it,[42] the religious motivation being prayer for overcoming enemies, the facilitation of child welfare and development, and clearance of debt,[43] entirely within the allegorical interpretation of the ritual, and with no actual sacrifice of any animal.

Reception

The earliest recorded criticism of the ritual comes from the Cārvāka, an atheistic school of Indian philosophy that assumed various forms of philosophical skepticism and religious indifference. A quotation of the Cārvāka from Madhavacharya's Sarva-Darsana-Sangraha states: "The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons. All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc. and all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in Aswamedha, these were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests, while the eating of flesh was similarly commanded by night-prowling demons."[44]

Charvaka (Sanskrit: चार्वाक; IAST: Cārvāka), also known as Lokāyata, is an ancient school of Indian materialism. Charvaka holds direct perception, empiricism, and conditional inference as proper sources of knowledge, embraces philosophical skepticism and rejects ritualism, and supernaturalism. It was a very popular belief system in India before the emergence of Jain and Buddhist tradition.

Brihaspati is traditionally referred to as the founder of Charvaka or Lokāyata philosophy, although some scholars dispute this. During the Hindu reformation period in the 600 BCE, when Buddhism and Jainism arose, the philosophy was well documented and opposed by the new religions.[10] Much of the primary literature of Charvaka, the Barhaspatya sutras, were lost either due to waning popularity or other unknown reasons. Its teachings have been compiled from historic secondary literature such as those found in the shastras, sutras, and the Indian epic poetry as well as in the dialogues of Gautama Buddha and from Jain literature. However, there is text that may belong to the Charvaka tradition, written by the skeptic philosopher Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa, known as the Tattvôpaplava-siṁha, that provides information about this school, albeit unorthodox.

One of the widely studied principles of Charvaka philosophy was its rejection of inference as a means to establish valid, universal knowledge, and metaphysical truths. In other words, the Charvaka epistemology states that whenever one infers a truth from a set of observations or truths, one must acknowledge doubt; inferred knowledge is conditional.

Charvaka is categorized as a heterodox school of Indian philosophy. It is considered an example of atheistic schools in the Hindu tradition...

In 8th century CE Jaina literature, Saddarsanasamuccaya by Haribhadra,Lokayata is stated to be the Hindu school where there is "no God, no samsara (rebirth), no karma, no duty, no fruits of merit, no sin."

The Buddhist Sanskrit work Divyavadana (ca. 200–350 CE) mentions Lokayata, where it is listed among subjects of study, and with the sense of "technical logical science". Shantarakshita and Adi Shankara use the word lokayata to mean materialism, with the latter using the term Lokāyata, not Charvaka...

The tenets of the Charvaka atheistic doctrines can be traced to the relatively later composed layers of the Rigveda, while substantial discussions on the Charvaka is found in post-Vedic literature. The primary literature of Charvaka, such as the Brhaspati Sutra is missing or lost. Its theories and development has been compiled from historic secondary literature such as those found in the shastras (such as the Arthashastra), sutras and the epics (the Mahabharata and Ramayana) of Hinduism as well as from the dialogues of Gautama Buddha and Jain literature.

Substantial discussions about the Charvaka doctrines are found in texts during 600 BCE because of emergence of competing philosophies such as Buddhism and Jainism. Bhattacharya posits that Charvaka may have been one of several atheistic, materialist schools that existed in ancient India during the 600 BCE...

The earliest Charvaka scholar in India whose texts still survive is Ajita Kesakambali. Although materialist schools existed before Charvaka, it was the only school which systematised materialist philosophy by setting them down in the form of aphorisms in the 6th century BCE. There was a base text, a collection sūtras or aphorisms and several commentaries were written to explicate the aphorisms. This should be seen in the wider context of the oral tradition of Indian philosophy. It was in the 600 BCE onwards, with the emergent popularity of Buddhism that ancient schools started codifying and writing down the details of their philosophy.

E. W. Hopkins, in his The Ethics of India (1924) claims that Charvaka philosophy predated Jainism and Buddhism, mentioning "the old Cārvāka or materialist of the 6th century BC". Rhys Davids assumes that lokāyata in ca. 500 BC came to mean "skepticism" in general without yet being organised as a philosophical school. This proves that it had already existed for centuries and had become a generic term by 600 BCE. Its methodology of skepticism is included in the Ramayana, Ayodhya kanda, chapter 108, where Jabāli tries to persuade Rāma to accept the kingdom by using nāstika arguments (Rāma refutes him in chapter 109):[44]

O, the highly wise! Arrive at a conclusion, therefore, that there is nothing beyond this Universe. Give precedence to that which meets the eye and turn your back on what is beyond our knowledge. (2.108.17)...


Charvaka was a living philosophy up to the 12th century in India's historical timeline, after which this system seems to have disappeared without leaving any trace...

The Charvaka epistemology holds perception as the primary and proper source of knowledge, while inference is held as prone to being either right or wrong and therefore conditional or invalid. Perceptions are of two types, for Charvaka, external and internal. External perception is described as that arising from the interaction of five senses and worldly objects, while internal perception is described by this school as that of inner sense, the mind. Inference is described as deriving a new conclusion and truth from one or more observations and previous truths. To Charvakas, inference is useful but prone to error, as inferred truths can never be without doubt.[48] Inference is good and helpful, it is the validity of inference that is suspect – sometimes in certain cases and often in others. To the Charvakas there were no reliable means by which the efficacy of inference as a means of knowledge could be established.

Charvaka's epistemological argument can be explained with the example of fire and smoke. Kamal states that when there is smoke (middle term), one's tendency may be to leap to the conclusion that it must be caused by fire (major term in logic). While this is often true, it need not be universally true, everywhere or all the times, stated the Charvaka scholars. Smoke can have other causes. In Charvaka epistemology, as long as the relation between two phenomena, or observation and truth, has not been proven as unconditional, it is an uncertain truth. In this Indian philosophy such a method of reasoning, that is jumping to conclusions or inference, is prone to flaw. Charvakas further state that full knowledge is reached when we know all observations, all premises and all conditions. But the absence of conditions, state Charvakas, can not be established beyond doubt by perception, as some conditions may be hidden or escape our ability to observe. They acknowledge that every person relies on inference in daily life, but to them if we act uncritically, we err. While our inferences sometimes are true and lead to successful action, it is also a fact that sometimes inference is wrong and leads to error.Truth then, state Charvaka, is not an unfailing character of inference, truth is merely an accident of inference, and one that is separable. We must be skeptics, question what we know by inference, question our epistemology.

This epistemological proposition of Charvakas was influential among various schools of in Indian philosophies, by demonstrating a new way of thinking and re-evaluation of past doctrines. Hindu, Buddhist and Jain scholars extensively deployed Charvaka insights on inference in rational re-examination of their own theories...

Since none of the means of knowing were found to be worthy to establish the invariable connection between middle term and predicate, Charvakas concluded that the inference could not be used to ascertain metaphysical truths. Thus, to Charvakas, the step which the mind takes from the knowledge of something to infer the knowledge of something else could be accounted for by its being based on a former perception or by its being in error. Cases where inference was justified by the result were seen only to be mere coincidences.

Therefore, Charvakas denied metaphysical concepts like reincarnation, an extracorporeal soul, the efficacy of religious rites, other worlds (heaven and hell), fate and accumulation of merit or demerit through the performance of certain actions. Charvakas also rejected the use of supernatural causes to describe natural phenomena. To them all natural phenomena was produced spontaneously from the inherent nature of things.

The fire is hot, the water cold, refreshing cool the breeze of morn;
By whom came this variety ? from their own nature was it born.


The Charvaka did not believe in karma, rebirth or an afterlife. To them, all attributes that represented a person, such as thinness, fatness etc., resided in the body. The Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha states the Charvaka position as follows,

There is no other world other than this;
There is no heaven and no hell;
The realm of Shiva and like regions,
are fabricated by stupid imposters.

— Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verse 8


Charvaka believed that there was nothing wrong with sensual pleasure. Since it is impossible to have pleasure without pain, Charvaka thought that wisdom lay in enjoying pleasure and avoiding pain as far as possible. Unlike many of the Indian philosophies of the time, Charvaka did not believe in austerities or rejecting pleasure out of fear of pain and held such reasoning to be foolish.

The Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha states the Charvaka position on pleasure and hedonism as follows,

The enjoyment of heaven lies in eating delicious food, keeping company of young women, using fine clothes, perfumes, garlands, sandal paste... while moksha is death which is cessation of life-breath... the wise therefore ought not to take pains on account of moksha.

A fool wears himself out by penances and fasts. Chastity and other such ordinances are laid down by clever weaklings.

— Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verses 9-12


Charvakas rejected many of the standard religious conceptions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Ajivakas, such as an afterlife, reincarnation, samsara, karma and religious rites. They were critical of the Vedas, as well as Buddhist scriptures.

The Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha with commentaries by Madhavacharya describes the Charvakas as critical of the Vedas, materialists without morals and ethics. To Charvakas, the text states, the Vedas suffered from several faults – errors in transmission across generations, untruth, self-contradiction and tautology. The Charvakas pointed out the disagreements, debates and mutual rejection by karmakanda Vedic priests and jñānakanda Vedic priests, as proof that either one of them is wrong or both are wrong, as both cannot be right.

Charvakas, according to Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha verses 10 and 11, declared the Vedas to be incoherent rhapsodies whose only usefulness was to provide livelihood to priests. They also held the belief that Vedas were invented by man, and had no divine authority.


Charvakas rejected the need for ethics or morals, and suggested that "while life remains, let a man live happily, let him feed on ghee even though he runs in debt".

The Jain scholar Haribhadra, in the last section of his text Saddarsanasamuccaya, includes Charvaka in his list of six darśanas of Indian traditions, along with Buddhism, Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Jainism and Jaiminiya. Haribhadra notes that Charvakas assert that there is nothing beyond the senses, consciousness is an emergent property, and that it is foolish to seek what cannot be seen.

The accuracy of these views, attributed to Charvakas, has been contested by scholars...

There was no continuity in the Charvaka tradition after the 12th century. Whatever is written on Charvaka post this is based on second-hand knowledge, learned from preceptors to disciples and no independent works on Charvaka philosophy can be found.[43] Chatterjee and Datta explain that our understanding of Charvaka philosophy is fragmentary, based largely on criticism of its ideas by other schools, and that it is not a living tradition:

"Though materialism in some form or other has always been present in India, and occasional references are found in the Vedas, the Buddhistic literature, the Epics, as well as in the later philosophical works we do not find any systematic work on materialism, nor any organised school of followers as the other philosophical schools possess. But almost every work of the other schools states, for refutation, the materialistic views. Our knowledge of Indian materialism is chiefly based on these...."


Buddhists, Jains, Advaita Vedantins and Nyāya philosophers considered the Charvakas as one of their opponents and tried to refute their views. These refutations are indirect sources of Charvaka philosophy. The arguments and reasoning approach Charvakas deployed were significant that they continued to be referred to, even after all the authentic Charvaka/Lokāyata texts had been lost. However, the representation of the Charvaka thought in these works is not always firmly grounded in first-hand knowledge of Charvaka texts and should be viewed critically.

-- Charvaka, by Wikipedia


According to some writers, ashvamedha is a forbidden rite for Kaliyuga, the current age.[45][46]

This part of the ritual offended the Dalit reformer and framer of the Indian constitution B. R. Ambedkar and is frequently mentioned in his writings as an example of the perceived degradation of Brahmanical culture.[47]

While others such has Manohar L. Varadpande, praised the ritual as "social occasions of great magnitude".[48] Rick F. Talbott writes that "Mircea Eliade treated the Ashvamedha as a rite having a cosmogonic structure which both regenerated the entire cosmos and reestablished every social order during its performance."[49]

See also

• Ashva, horse in Vedic culture
• October Horse in Roman religion
• Cruelty to animals

Footnotes

1. Ganguli, K.M. (1883-1896) "Aswamedha Parva" in The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (12 Volumes). Calcutta
2. Dutt, M.N. (1905) The Mahabharata (Volume 14): Ashwamedha Parva. Calcutta: Elysium Press
3. van Buitenen, J.A.B. (1973) The Mahabharata: Book 1: The Book of the Beginning. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, p 478
4. Debroy, B. (2010) The Mahabharata, Volume 1. Gurgaon: Penguin Books India, pp xxiii - xxvi
5. Mansingh, Surjit. Historical Dictionary of India. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 68.
6. Rick F. Talbott 2005, p. 111.
7. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 72.
8. Glucklich, 111-114
9. Glucklich, 111-112
10. Glucklich, 112
11. Roshen Dalal 2010, p. 399.
12. Thomas V. Gamkrelidze; Vjaceslav V. Ivanov (1995). Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and Proto-Culture. Part I: The Text. Part II: Bibliography, Indexes. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 402–403.
13. Rick F. Talbott 2005, p. 123.
14. The Laws of Manu, translated by Wendy Doniger with Brian K. Smith, p.104. Penguin Books, London, 1991
15. Glucklich, 111
16. Thomas V. Gamkrelidze; Vjaceslav V. Ivanov (1995). Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and Proto-Culture. Part I: The Text. Part II: Bibliography, Indexes. Walter de Gruyter. p. 70.
17. Rick F. Talbott 2005, p. 142.
18. Roshen Dalal 2010, p. 44.
19. David M. Knipe 2015, p. 234.
20. K M Ganguly 1896, pp. 130–131.
21. Dineshchandra Sircar 1971, p. 175.
22. Dinesh Chandra Shukla (1978). Early history of Rajasthan. Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan. p. 30.
23. David M. Knipe 2015, p. 8.
24. Jayantanuja Bandyopadhyaya 2007, p. 203.
25. Dineshchandra Sircar 1971, p. 176.
26. Upinder Singh 2008, p. 510.
27. David M. Knipe 2015, p. 9.
28. Ashvini Agrawal 1989, p. 139.
29. Dineshchandra Sircar 1971, p. 179.
30. David M. Knipe 2015, p. 10.
31. Karl J. Schmidt (20 May 2015). An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History. Taylor & Francis. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-317-47680-1.
32. Snigdha Tripathy 1997, p. 67.
33. Snigdha Tripathy 1997, pp. 74-75.
34. Rama Shankar Tripathi (1942). History of Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 466. ISBN 978-81-208-0018-2.
35. P. K. Gode (1953). "Some contemporary Evidence regarding the aśvamedha Sacrifice performed by Sevai Jayasing of Amber (1699-1744 A. D.)". Studies in Indian Literary History. 2. Singhi Jain Shastra Sikshapith. pp. 288–291. OCLC 2499291.
36. Catherine B Asher (2008). "Rethinking a Millennium: Perspectives on Indian History from the Eighth to the Eighteenth Century : Essays for Harbans Mukhia". In Rajat Datta (ed.). Excavating Communalism: Kachhwaha Rajadharma and Mughal Sovereignty. Aakar Books. p. 232. ISBN 978-81-89833-36-7.
37. Ayodhya Revisited by Kunal Kishore p.24
38. Dineshchandra Sircar 1962, p. 263.
39. as a bahuvrihi, saptāśva "having seven horses" is another name of the Sun, referring to the horses of his chariot.; akhandjyoti.orgArchived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine glosses 'ashva' as "the symbol of mobility, valour and strength" and 'medha' as "the symbol of supreme wisdom and intelligence", yielding a meaning of 'ashvamedha' of "the combination of the valour and strength and illumined power of intellect"
40. The Critical and Cultural Study of the Shatapatha Brahmana by Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati, p. 415; 476
41. Hinduism Today, June 1994 ArchivedDecember 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
42. "Ashwamedha Yagam in city". Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The Hindu. Oct 13, 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
43. Ashwamedhayagnam.org ArchivedSeptember 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
44. Madhavacarya, Sarvadarsana-sangraha, English translation by E. B. Cowell and A. E. Gough, 1904 quoted in Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (ed.), Carvaka/Lokayata: An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies (New Delhi: Indian Council of Philosophical Research, 1990)
45. Rosen, Steven. Holy Cow: The Hare Krishna Contribution to Vegetarianism and Animal Rights. Lantern Books. p. 212.
46. The Vedas: With Illustrative Extracts. Book Tree. p. 62. horse sacrifice was prohibited in the Kali Yuga
47. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches. p. 1376.
48. "History of Indian Theatre, Volume 1" by Manohar Laxman Varadpande, p.46
49. "Sacred Sacrifice: Ritual Paradigms in Vedic Religion and Early Christianity" by Rick F. Talbott, p. 133

References

• Ashvini Agrawal (1989). Rise and Fall of the Imperial Guptas. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0592-7.
• Charles Drekmeier (1962). Kingship and Community in Early India. Stanford University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8047-0114-3.
• David M. Knipe (2015). Vedic Voices: Intimate Narratives of a Living Andhra Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Dineshchandra Sircar (1962). Ramesh Chandra Majumdar (ed.). The History and Culture of the Indian People: The classical age. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
• Dineshchandra Sircar (1971). Studies in the Religious Life of Ancient and Medieval India. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-2790-5.
• Jayantanuja Bandyopadhyaya (2007). Class and Religion in Ancient India. Anthem. ISBN 978-1-84331-332-8.
• K M Ganguly (1896). The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa. Sacred Texts.
• Glucklich, Ariel (2007). The Strides of Vishnu: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195314052.
• Rick F. Talbott (2005). Sacred Sacrifice: Ritual Paradigms in Vedic Religion and Early Christianity. Wipf and Stock. ISBN 978-1-59752-340-0.
• Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. ISBN 9780143414216.
• Snigdha Tripathy (1997). Inscriptions of Orissa. I - Circa 5th-8th centuries A.D. Indian Council of Historical Research and Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1077-8.
• Stephanie Jamison (1996). Sacrificed Wife / Sacrificer's Wife. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Upinder Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131711200.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:17 am

Indigo revolt
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/1/20

Image
A [Bikaner dye] factory in Bengal, 1867

The Indigo revolt (or Nil bidroha) was a peasant movement and subsequent uprising of indigo farmers against the indigo planters that arose in Chaugacha village of Nadia in Bengal in 1859.

Causes leading to revolt

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).[1]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

The revolt started from the villages of - Gobindapur and Chaugacha[2] in Krishnanagar, Nadia district, where Bishnucharan Biswas and Digambar Biswas first led the rebellion against the planters in Bengal ,1859. It spread rapidly in Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan, Pabna, Khulna, and Narail. Some indigo planters were given a public trial and executed. The indigo depots were burned down. Many planters fled to avoid being caught. The zamindars were also targets of the rebellious peasants.

Image
Mongolganj Indigo Kuthi in North 24 Parganas

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. In spite of this, the revolt was fairly popular, involving almost the whole of Bengal. The Biswas brothers of Nadia, Kader Molla of Pabna, and Rafique Mondal of Malda were popular leaders. Even some of the zamindars supported the revolt, the most important of whom was Ramratan Mullick of Narail.[3]

The effect on the British rulers in India

The historian Jogesh Chandra Bagal describes the revolt as a non-violent revolution and gives this as a reason why the indigo revolt was a success compared to the Sepoy Revolt. R.C. Majumdar in "History of Bengal"[4] 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.[5] In the commission report, E. W. L. Tower noted that "not a chest of Indigo reached England without being stained with human blood".[6]

Finally, the British government formed the Indigo Commission in 1860 due to Nawab Abdul Latif’s initiative with the goal of putting an end to the repressions of indigo planters(by creating the Indigo Act 1862).

Cultural effects

Dinabandhu Mitra's 1860 play Nil Darpan is based on the revolt (was published from Dhaka). It was translated into English by Michael Madhusudan Dutta and published by Rev. James Long. It attracted much attention in England, where the people were stunned at the savagery of their countrymen. The British Government sent Rev. Long to a mock trial and punished him with imprisonment and fine. Kaliprasanna Sinha paid the fine of Rs 1000 for him.

The play was the first play to be staged commercially in the National Theatre in Kolkata.

More About History

• Sepoy Revolt
• History of Bengal
• Indigo plant
• Indigo rebellion

References

1. Chaudhuri, Kalyan (2016). Madhyamik History And Environment. 56, Surya Sen Street, Kolkata-700009: Oriental Book Company Pvt. Ltd. p. 54.
2. Bhattacharya, Subhas (July 1977). "The Indigo Revolt of Bengal". Social Scientist. 5 (60): 17. JSTOR 3516809.
3. Bhattacharya, Subhas (July 1977). "The Indigo Revolt of Bengal". Social Scientist. 5 (60). JSTOR 3516809.
4. Majumdar, R. C. The Government in 1860 enacted the Indigo Act, according to which no planter could be forced to cultivate indigo against his will. The History of Bengal ISBN 81-7646-237-3
5. Bhattacharya, Subhas (July 1977). "The Indigo Revolt of Bengal". Social Scientist. 5 (60): 14. JSTOR 3516809.
6. The Calcutta Review. University of Calcutta. 1861-01-01. p. 291.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:24 am

Charvaka
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/20

A quotation of the Cārvāka from Madhavacharya's Sarva-Darsana-Sangraha states: "The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons. All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc. and all the obscene rites for the queen commanded in Aswamedha, these were invented by buffoons, and so all the various kinds of presents to the priests, while the eating of flesh was similarly commanded by night-prowling demons."

-- Ashvamedha, by Wikipedia


Charvaka (Sanskrit: चार्वाक; IAST: Cārvāka), also known as Lokāyata, is an ancient school of Indian materialism.[1] Charvaka holds direct perception, empiricism, and conditional inference as proper sources of knowledge, embraces philosophical skepticism and rejects ritualism, and supernaturalism.[2][3][4][5][6] It was a very popular belief system in India before the emergence of Jain and Buddhist tradition. [a]

Brihaspati is traditionally referred to as the founder of Charvaka or Lokāyata philosophy, although some scholars dispute this.[8][9] During the Hindu reformation period in the 600 BCE, when Buddhism and Jainism arose, the philosophy was well documented and opposed by the new religions.[10] Much of the primary literature of Charvaka, the Barhaspatya sutras, were lost either due to waning popularity or other unknown reasons.[11] Its teachings have been compiled from historic secondary literature such as those found in the shastras, sutras, and the Indian epic poetry as well as in the dialogues of Gautama Buddha and from Jain literature.[11][12] However, there is text that may belong to the Charvaka tradition, written by the skeptic philosopher Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa, known as the Tattvôpaplava-siṁha, that provides information about this school, albeit unorthodox.[13]

One of the widely studied principles of Charvaka philosophy was its rejection of inference as a means to establish valid, universal knowledge, and metaphysical truths.[14][15] In other words, the Charvaka epistemology states that whenever one infers a truth from a set of observations or truths, one must acknowledge doubt; inferred knowledge is conditional.[16]

Charvaka is categorized as a heterodox school of Indian philosophy.[17][18] It is considered an example of atheistic schools in the Hindu tradition.[ b][7][c][21][d]

Etymology and meaning

The etymology of Charvaka (Sanskrit: चार्वाक) is uncertain. Bhattacharya quotes the grammarian Hemacandra, to the effect that the word cārvāka is derived from the root carv, ‘to chew’ : “A Cārvāka chews the self (carvatyātmānaṃ cārvākaḥ). Hemacandra refers to his own grammatical work, Uṇādisūtra 37, which runs as follows: mavāka-śyāmāka-vārtāka-jyontāka-gūvāka-bhadrākādayaḥ. Each of these words ends with the āka suffix and is formed irregularly.”[22] This may also allude to the philosophy's hedonistic precepts of "eat, drink, and be merry".[23]

Others believe it to mean "agreeable speech" or pejoratively, "sweet-tongued", from Sanskrit's cāru "agreeable" and vāc "speech" (which becomes vāk in the nominative singular and in compounds). Yet another hypothesis is that it is eponymous, with the founder of the school being Charvaka, a disciple of Brihaspati.[24]

As Lokayata

According to Chattopadhyaya 1992, p. 1, the traditional name of Charvaka is Lokayata. It was called Lokayata because it was prevalent (ayatah) among the people (lokesu), and meant the world-outlook of the people. The dictionary meaning of Lokāyata (लोकायत) signifies "directed towards, aiming at the world, worldly".[23][e]

In early to mid 20th century literature, the etymology of Lokayata has been given different interpretations, in part because the primary sources are unavailable, and the meaning has been deduced from divergent secondary literature.[26] The name Lokāyata, for example, is found in Chanakya's Arthashastra, which refers to three ānvīkṣikīs (अन्वीक्षिकी, literally, examining by reason,[27] logical philosophies) – Yoga, Samkhya and Lokāyata. However, Lokāyata in the Arthashastra is not anti-Vedic, but implies Lokāyata to be a part of Vedic lore.[28] Lokāyata here refers to logic or science of debate (disputatio, "criticism").[29] Rudolf Franke translated Lokayata in German as "logisch beweisende Naturerklärung", that is "logically proving explanation of nature".[30]

In 8th century CE Jaina literature, Saddarsanasamuccaya by Haribhadra,[31] Lokayata is stated to be the Hindu school where there is "no God, no samsara (rebirth), no karma, no duty, no fruits of merit, no sin."[32]

The Buddhist Sanskrit work Divyavadana (ca. 200–350 CE) mentions Lokayata, where it is listed among subjects of study, and with the sense of "technical logical science".[33] Shantarakshita and Adi Shankara use the word lokayata to mean materialism,[11][34] with the latter using the term Lokāyata, not Charvaka.[35]

In Silāṅka's commentary on Sūtra-kṛtāṅgna, the oldest Jain Āgama Prakrt literature, he has used four terms for Cārvāka viz. (1) Bṛhaspatya (2) Lokāyata (3) Bhūtavādin (4) Vāmamārgin.[36]

Origin

The tenets of the Charvaka atheistic doctrines can be traced to the relatively later composed layers of the Rigveda, while substantial discussions on the Charvaka is found in post-Vedic literature.[11][37][f] The primary literature of Charvaka, such as the Brhaspati Sutra is missing or lost.[11][37] Its theories and development has been compiled from historic secondary literature such as those found in the shastras (such as the Arthashastra), sutras and the epics (the Mahabharata and Ramayana) of Hinduism as well as from the dialogues of Gautama Buddha and Jain literature.[11][12]

Substantial discussions about the Charvaka doctrines are found in texts during 600 BCE because of emergence of competing philosophies such as Buddhism and Jainism.[11][37][39] Bhattacharya posits that Charvaka may have been one of several atheistic, materialist schools that existed in ancient India during the 600 BCE.[40] Though there is evidence of its development in Vedic era,[41] Charvaka school of philosophy predated the Āstika schools as well as a philosophical predecessor to subsequent or contemporaneous philosophies such as Ajñana, Ājīvika, Jainism and Buddhism in the classical period of Indian philosophy.[42]

The earliest Charvaka scholar in India whose texts still survive is Ajita Kesakambali. Although materialist schools existed before Charvaka, it was the only school which systematised materialist philosophy by setting them down in the form of aphorisms in the 6th century BCE. There was a base text, a collection sūtras or aphorisms and several commentaries were written to explicate the aphorisms. This should be seen in the wider context of the oral tradition of Indian philosophy. It was in the 600 BCE onwards, with the emergent popularity of Buddhism that ancient schools started codifying and writing down the details of their philosophy.[43]

E. W. Hopkins, in his The Ethics of India (1924) claims that Charvaka philosophy predated Jainism and Buddhism, mentioning "the old Cārvāka or materialist of the 6th century BC". Rhys Davids assumes that lokāyata in ca. 500 BC came to mean "skepticism" in general without yet being organised as a philosophical school. This proves that it had already existed for centuries and had become a generic term by 600 BCE. Its methodology of skepticism is included in the Ramayana, Ayodhya kanda, chapter 108, where Jabāli tries to persuade Rāma to accept the kingdom by using nāstika arguments (Rāma refutes him in chapter 109):[44]

O, the highly wise! Arrive at a conclusion, therefore, that there is nothing beyond this Universe. Give precedence to that which meets the eye and turn your back on what is beyond our knowledge. (2.108.17)


There are alternate theories behind the origins of Charvaka. Bṛhaspati is sometimes referred to as the founder of Charvaka or Lokāyata philosophy, although other scholars dispute this.[8][9] Billington 1997, p. 43 states that a philosopher named Charvaka lived in or about the 6th century BCE, who developed the premises of this Indian philosophy in the form of Brhaspati Sutra. These sutras predate 150 BC, because they are mentioned in the Mahābhāṣya (7.3.45).[44]

Basham 1981, pp. 11–17, citing the Buddhist Samaññaphala Sutta, suggests six schools of heterodox, pre-Buddhist and pre-Jain, atheistic Indian traditions in 6th century BCE, that included Charvakas and Ajivikas. Charvaka was a living philosophy up to the 12th century in India's historical timeline, after which this system seems to have disappeared without leaving any trace.[45]

Philosophy

The Charvaka school of philosophy had a variety of atheistic and materialistic beliefs. They held perception and direct experiments to be the valid and reliable source of knowledge.[46]

Epistemology

The Charvaka epistemology holds perception as the primary and proper source of knowledge, while inference is held as prone to being either right or wrong and therefore conditional or invalid.[16][47] Perceptions are of two types, for Charvaka, external and internal. External perception is described as that arising from the interaction of five senses and worldly objects, while internal perception is described by this school as that of inner sense, the mind.[16] Inference is described as deriving a new conclusion and truth from one or more observations and previous truths. To Charvakas, inference is useful but prone to error, as inferred truths can never be without doubt.[48] Inference is good and helpful, it is the validity of inference that is suspect – sometimes in certain cases and often in others. To the Charvakas there were no reliable means by which the efficacy of inference as a means of knowledge could be established.[14]

Charvaka's epistemological argument can be explained with the example of fire and smoke. Kamal states that when there is smoke (middle term), one's tendency may be to leap to the conclusion that it must be caused by fire (major term in logic).[16] While this is often true, it need not be universally true, everywhere or all the times, stated the Charvaka scholars. Smoke can have other causes. In Charvaka epistemology, as long as the relation between two phenomena, or observation and truth, has not been proven as unconditional, it is an uncertain truth. In this Indian philosophy such a method of reasoning, that is jumping to conclusions or inference, is prone to flaw.[16][48] Charvakas further state that full knowledge is reached when we know all observations, all premises and all conditions. But the absence of conditions, state Charvakas, can not be established beyond doubt by perception, as some conditions may be hidden or escape our ability to observe.[16] They acknowledge that every person relies on inference in daily life, but to them if we act uncritically, we err. While our inferences sometimes are true and lead to successful action, it is also a fact that sometimes inference is wrong and leads to error.[40] Truth then, state Charvaka, is not an unfailing character of inference, truth is merely an accident of inference, and one that is separable. We must be skeptics, question what we know by inference, question our epistemology.[16][37]

This epistemological proposition of Charvakas was influential among various schools of in Indian philosophies, by demonstrating a new way of thinking and re-evaluation of past doctrines. Hindu, Buddhist and Jain scholars extensively deployed Charvaka insights on inference in rational re-examination of their own theories.[16][49]

Comparison with other schools of Hinduism

Charvaka epistemology represents minimalist pramāṇas (epistemological methods) in Hindu philosophy. The other schools of Hinduism developed and accepted multiple valid forms of epistemology.[50][51] To Charvakas, Pratyakṣa (perception) was the one valid way to knowledge and other means of knowledge were either always conditional or invalid. Advaita Vedanta scholars considered six means of valid knowledge and to truths: Pratyakṣa (perception), Anumāna (inference), Upamāna (comparison and analogy), Arthāpatti (postulation), Anupalabdhi (non-perception, cognitive proof) and Śabda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts).[50][51][52] While Charvaka school accepted just one, the valid means of epistemology in other schools of Hinduism ranged between 2 and 6.[50][51]

Metaphysics

Since none of the means of knowing were found to be worthy to establish the invariable connection between middle term and predicate, Charvakas concluded that the inference could not be used to ascertain metaphysical truths. Thus, to Charvakas, the step which the mind takes from the knowledge of something to infer the knowledge of something else could be accounted for by its being based on a former perception or by its being in error. Cases where inference was justified by the result were seen only to be mere coincidences.[53]

Therefore, Charvakas denied metaphysical concepts like reincarnation, an extracorporeal soul, the efficacy of religious rites, other worlds (heaven and hell), fate and accumulation of merit or demerit through the performance of certain actions.[43] Charvakas also rejected the use of supernatural causes to describe natural phenomena. To them all natural phenomena was produced spontaneously from the inherent nature of things.[54]

The fire is hot, the water cold, refreshing cool the breeze of morn;
By whom came this variety ? from their own nature was it born.[54]


Consciousness and afterlife

The Charvaka did not believe in karma, rebirth or an afterlife. To them, all attributes that represented a person, such as thinness, fatness etc., resided in the body. The Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha states the Charvaka position as follows,[55]

There is no other world other than this;
There is no heaven and no hell;
The realm of Shiva and like regions,
are fabricated by stupid imposters.

— Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verse 8[55]


Pleasure

Charvaka believed that there was nothing wrong with sensual pleasure. Since it is impossible to have pleasure without pain, Charvaka thought that wisdom lay in enjoying pleasure and avoiding pain as far as possible. Unlike many of the Indian philosophies of the time, Charvaka did not believe in austerities or rejecting pleasure out of fear of pain and held such reasoning to be foolish.[46]

The Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha states the Charvaka position on pleasure and hedonism as follows,[56]

The enjoyment of heaven lies in eating delicious food, keeping company of young women, using fine clothes, perfumes, garlands, sandal paste... while moksha is death which is cessation of life-breath... the wise therefore ought not to take pains on account of moksha.

A fool wears himself out by penances and fasts. Chastity and other such ordinances are laid down by clever weaklings.

— Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verses 9-12[57]


Religion

Charvakas rejected many of the standard religious conceptions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Ajivakas, such as an afterlife, reincarnation, samsara, karma and religious rites. They were critical of the Vedas, as well as Buddhist scriptures.[58]

The Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha with commentaries by Madhavacharya describes the Charvakas as critical of the Vedas, materialists without morals and ethics. To Charvakas, the text states, the Vedas suffered from several faults – errors in transmission across generations, untruth, self-contradiction and tautology. The Charvakas pointed out the disagreements, debates and mutual rejection by karmakanda Vedic priests and jñānakanda Vedic priests, as proof that either one of them is wrong or both are wrong, as both cannot be right.[58][59][60]

Charvakas, according to Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha verses 10 and 11, declared the Vedas to be incoherent rhapsodies whose only usefulness was to provide livelihood to priests. They also held the belief that Vedas were invented by man, and had no divine authority.[54]


Charvakas rejected the need for ethics or morals, and suggested that "while life remains, let a man live happily, let him feed on ghee even though he runs in debt".[54]

The Jain scholar Haribhadra, in the last section of his text Saddarsanasamuccaya, includes Charvaka in his list of six darśanas of Indian traditions, along with Buddhism, Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Jainism and Jaiminiya.[61] Haribhadra notes that Charvakas assert that there is nothing beyond the senses, consciousness is an emergent property, and that it is foolish to seek what cannot be seen.[62]

The accuracy of these views, attributed to Charvakas, has been contested by scholars.[63][64]

Public administration

An extract from Aaine-Akbari (vol.III, tr. by H. S. Barrett, pp217–218) written by Abul Fazl, the famous historian of Akbar's court, mentions a symposium of philosophers of all faiths held in 1578 at Akbar's instance. The account is given by the historian Vincent Smith, in his article titled "The Jain Teachers of Akbar". Some Carvaka thinkers are said to have participated in the symposium. Under the heading "Nastika" Abul Fazl has referred to the good work, judicious administration and welfare schemes that were emphasised by the Charvaka law-makers. Somadeva has also mentioned the Charvaka method of defeating the enemies of the nation.[65][66]

Works

No independent works on Charvaka philosophy can be found except for a few sūtras composed by Brihaspati. The 8th century Tattvopaplavasimha of Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa with Madhyamaka influence is a significant source of Charvaka philosophy. Shatdarshan Samuchay and Sarvadarśanasaṅ̇graha of Vidyaranya are a few other works which elucidate Charvaka thought.[67]

In the epic Mahabharata, Book 12 Chapter 39, a villain who dresses up like a scholar, appoints himself as spokesperson for all scholars, and who then advises Yudhishthira to act unethically, is named Charvaka.[68]

One of the widely studied references to the Charvaka philosophy is the Sarva-darśana-saṅgraha (etymologically all-philosophy-collection), a famous work of 14th century Advaita Vedanta philosopher Mādhava Vidyāraṇya from South India, which starts with a chapter on the Charvaka system. After invoking, in the Prologue of the book, the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu ("by whom the earth and rest were produced"), Vidyāraṇya asks, in the first chapter:[69]

...but how can we attribute to the Divine Being the giving of supreme felicity, when such a notion has been utterly abolished by Charvaka, the crest-gem of the atheistic school, the follower of the doctrine of Brihaspati? The efforts of Charvaka are indeed hard to be eradicated, for the majority of living beings hold by the current refrain:

While life is yours, live joyously;
None can escape Death's searching eye:
When once this frame of ours they burn,
How shall it e'er again return?[69]


Sanskrit poems and plays like the Naiṣadha-carita, Prabodha-candrodaya, Āgama-dambara, Vidvanmoda-taraṅgiṇī and Kādambarī contain representations of the Charvaka thought. However, the authors of these works were thoroughly opposed to materialism and tried to portray the Charvaka in unfavourable light. Therefore, their works should only be accepted critically.[43]

Loss of original works

Main article: Barhaspatya sutras

There was no continuity in the Charvaka tradition after the 12th century. Whatever is written on Charvaka post this is based on second-hand knowledge, learned from preceptors to disciples and no independent works on Charvaka philosophy can be found.[43] Chatterjee and Datta explain that our understanding of Charvaka philosophy is fragmentary, based largely on criticism of its ideas by other schools, and that it is not a living tradition:

"Though materialism in some form or other has always been present in India, and occasional references are found in the Vedas, the Buddhistic literature, the Epics, as well as in the later philosophical works we do not find any systematic work on materialism, nor any organised school of followers as the other philosophical schools possess. But almost every work of the other schools states, for refutation, the materialistic views. Our knowledge of Indian materialism is chiefly based on these."[70]


Controversy on reliability of sources

Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 10, 29–32 states that the claims against Charvaka of hedonism, lack of any morality and ethics and disregard for spirituality is from texts of competing religious philosophies (Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism). Its primary sources, along with commentaries by Charvaka scholars is missing or lost. This reliance on indirect sources raises the question of reliability and whether there was a bias and exaggeration in representing the views of Charvakas. Bhattacharya points out that multiple manuscripts are inconsistent, with key passages alleging hedonism and immorality missing in many manuscripts of the same text.[63]

The Skhalitapramathana Yuktihetusiddhi by Āryadevapāda, in a manuscript found in Tibet, discusses the Charvaka philosophy, but attributes a theistic claim to Charvakas - that happiness in this life, and the only life, can be attained by worshiping gods and defeating demons. Toso posits that as Charvaka philosophy's views spread and were widely discussed, non-Charvakas such as Āryadevapāda added certain points of view that may not be of the Charvakas'.[71]

Buddhists, Jains, Advaita Vedantins and Nyāya philosophers considered the Charvakas as one of their opponents and tried to refute their views. These refutations are indirect sources of Charvaka philosophy. The arguments and reasoning approach Charvakas deployed were significant that they continued to be referred to, even after all the authentic Charvaka/Lokāyata texts had been lost. However, the representation of the Charvaka thought in these works is not always firmly grounded in first-hand knowledge of Charvaka texts and should be viewed critically.[43]

Likewise, states Bhattacharya, the charge of hedonism against Charvaka might have been exaggerated.[63] Countering the argument that the Charvakas opposed all that was good in the Vedic tradition, Riepe 1964, p. 75 states, "It may be said from the available material that Cārvākas hold truth, integrity, consistency, and freedom of thought in the highest esteem."

Commentators

Aviddhakarṇa, Bhavivikta, Kambalasvatara, Purandara and Udbhatabhatta are the five commentators who developed the Carvaka/Lokayata system in various ways. [72] [73]

Influence

• Dharmakirti, a 7th-century philosopher deeply influenced by Carvaka philosophy wrote in Pramanvartik.[74]
• Pyrrho
• The influence of this heterodox doctrine is seen in other spheres of Indian thought.

Organisations

• The Charvaka Ashram founded by Boddu Ramakrishna in 1973 has stood the test of time and continues to further the cause of the rationalist movement.[75]

Criticism from Abrahamic philosophers

Ain-i-Akbari, a record of the Mughal Emperor Akbar's court, mentions a symposium of philosophers of all faiths held in 1578 at Akbar's insistence[76](also see Sen 2005, pp. 288–289). In the text, the Mughal historian Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak summarizes the Charvaka philosophy as "unenlightened" and characterizes their works of literature as "lasting memorials to their ignorance". He notes that Charvakas considered paradise as "the state in which man lives as he chooses, without control of another", while hell as "the state in which he lives subject to another's rule". On state craft, Charvakas believe, states Mubarak, that it is best when "knowledge of just administration and benevolent government" is practiced.[76]

See also

• Ajñana
• Atheism
• Cyrenaics
• Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya
• Epicureanism
• Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism
• Materialism
• Positivism
• Śramaṇa

Notes

1. "Aside from nontheistic schools like the Samkhya, there have also been explicitly atheistic schools in the Hindu tradition. One virulently anti-supernatural system is/was the so-called Charvaka school."[7]
2. "some of the ancient Hindu traditions like Charvaka have a rich tradition of materialism, in general, other schools..."[19]
3. "Of the three heterodox systems, the remaining one, the Cārvāka system, is a Hindu system."[20]
4. For a general discussion of Charvaka and other atheistic traditions within Hindu philosophy, see Frazier 2013, p. 367
5. See loka and ayata, Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon, Germany; (लोक, loka which means "worlds, abode, place of truth, people", and आयत, āyata means "extended, directed towards, aiming at"[25]
6. "These atheistical doctrines existed from the earliest times as their traces are visible even in the Rigveda in some hymns of which Prof Max Muller pointed out the curious traces of an incipient scepticism. (...) Two things are therefore clear that the Brihaspatya tenets also called Charvaka tenets are of a very old standing..."[38]
1. Seema Chishti (21 August 2018). "Indian rationalism, Charvaka to Narendra Dabholkar". The Indian Express.
2. Tiwari 1998, p. 67.
3. Perrett 1984, pp. 161-174.
4. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 21–32.
5. Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, pp. 187, 227–234.
6. Flint 1899, p. 463.
7. Raman 2012, pp. 549–574.
8. Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna (December 2002). "Cārvāka Fragments: A New Collection". Journal of Indian Philosophy. Springer. 30. doi:10.1023/A:1023569009490.
9. Jeaneane Fowler (2015). A. C. Grayling (ed.). The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Humanism. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 114 with footnote 17. ISBN 978-1-119-97717-9.
10. Quack 2011, p. 50:See footnote 3
11. Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, pp. 227–249.
12. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 21–44, 65–74.
13. Balcerowicz, Piotr (2016), Zalta, Edward N. (ed.), "Jayarāśi", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 ed.), Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University, retrieved 8 July 2020
14. Acharya 1894, p. 5.
15. Bhattacharya 2011, p. 58.
16. Kamal 1998, pp. 13-16.
17. Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, pp. 1–3, Contents.
18. Flood 1996, p. 224.
19. Thomas 2014, pp. 164-165.
20. Tiwari 1998.
21. Cooke 2006, p. 84.
22. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 166–167.
23. Isaeva 1993, p. 27.
24. Sharma 1987, p. 40.
25. Stöwe 2003.
26. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 187–192.
27. Hacker 1978, p. 164.
28. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 188–190.
29. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 27, 189–191.
30. Bhattacharya 2011, p. 188.
31. Chapple 2003, p. 2.
32. Haribhadrasūri 1989.
33. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 193–195.
34. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 196.
35. Bhattacharya 2002, p. 6.
36. Joshi 1987.
37. Koller 1977, pp. 155-164.
38. Vaidya 2001, p. 503.
39. Riepe 1964, p. 53-58.
40. Bhattacharya 2013, p. 133-149.
41. Sinha 1994, pp. 235-241.
42. Bhattacharya 2011, p. 9.
43. Bhattacharya 2011a.
44. Schermerhorn 1930, pp. 132-138.
45. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 65–74.
46. Acharya 1894, p. 3.
47. Bhattacharya 2010, pp. 529-542.
48. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 55–67.
49. Chatterjee 1977, pp. 195-209.
50. Deutsch 2001, pp. 245-248.
51. Grimes 1996, p. 238.
52. Flood 1996, p. 225.
53. Acharya 1894, p. 9.
54. Acharya 1894, p. 10.
55. Billington 1997, p. 44.
56. Billington 1997, pp. 44-45.
57. Billington 1997, p. 45.
58. Hayes 2001, p. 187-212.
59. Madhavacharya n.d., pp. 3-7.
60. Acharya 1894, pp. 5-9.
61. Potter 2003, pp. 435–436:See verses 78-end (ET99-end)
62. Potter 2003, pp. 435.
63. Bhattacharya 2011, pp. 10, 29–32.
64. Riepe 1964.
65. Salunkhe, A. H. (16 October 1998). "Astik Shiromani, Charvak". Lokayat – via Google Books.
66. Smith, Vincent Arthur (16 October 1917). "The Jain Teachers of Akbar". Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute – via Google Books.
67. Joshi 2005, p. 37.
68. Roy 1894, pp. 121-122.
69. Acharya 1894, p. 2.
70. Chatterjee & Datta 2004, p. 55.
71. Del Toso 2010, pp. 543-552.
72. Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna; BHATTACHARYA, BAMKRISHNA (2010). "Commentators on the "Cārvākasūtra": A Critical Survey". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 38 (4): 419–430. doi:10.1007/s10781-010-9088-6. JSTOR 23497726.
73. Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna (15 January 2000). "Materialism in India; After Carvaka". Indian Skeptic. 12: 31–36 – via ResearchGate.
74. http://www.vkmaheshwari.com/WP/?p=2769
75. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/h ... sts-100193
76. Mubarak 1894, pp. 217-218.

References

• Acharya, Mādhava (1894). The Sarva-darśana-samgraha: Or, Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy. Translated by Cowell, E. B.; Gough, A. E. London: Trübner & Company.
• Basham, Arthur Llewellyn (1951). History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, a Vanished Indian Religion. Motilal Banarsidass (published 2002). ISBN 978-81-208-1204-8.
• Bhattacharya, Ramakrishna (2002). "Cārvāka Fragments: A New Collection". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 30 (6): 597–640. doi:10.1023/A:1023569009490.
• Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna (2010). "What the Cārvākas Originally Meant". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 38 (6): 529–542. doi:10.1007/s10781-010-9103-y. ISSN 0022-1791.
• Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna (2011). Studies on the Carvaka/Lokayata. Anthem Press. ISBN 978-0-85728-433-4.
• Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna (21 August 2011). "Materialism in India: A Synoptic View". carvaka4india.com. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
• Bhattacharya, Ramkrishna (2013). "The Base Text and Its Commentaries: Problems of Representing and Understanding the Cārvāka/Lokāyata". Argument Biannual Philosophical Journal. 3 (1): 133–149.
• Billington, Ray (1997). Understanding Eastern Philosophy. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-415-12964-0.
• Chatterjee, D (1977). "Skepticism and Indian philosophy". Philosophy East and West. 27 (2): 195–209. doi:10.2307/1397616. JSTOR 1397616.
• Chatterjee, Satischandra; Datta, Dhirendramohan (2004). An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. University of Calcutta.
• Cooke, Bill (2006). Dictionary of Atheism, Skepticism, and Humanism. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-59102-299-2.
• Chapple, Christopher Key (2003). Reconciling Yogas: Haribhadra's Collection of Views on Yoga With a New Translation of Haribhadra's Yogadrstisamuccaya by Christopher Key Chapple and John Thomas Casey. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-5899-0.
• Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1964) Indian Philosophy: A Popular Introduction. New Delhi: People's Pub. House.
• Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1992) [1959]. Lokayata: A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism (7th ed.). New Delhi: People's Publishing House. p. 1. ISBN 978-81-7007-006-1.
• Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad (1994). Carvaka/Lokayata: An Anthology of Source Materials and Some Recent Studies. New Delhi: People's Publishing House.
• Del Toso, Krishna (2010). "The Stanzas on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata in the Skhalitapramathanayuktihetusiddhi". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 38 (6): 543–552. doi:10.1007/s10781-010-9106-8. ISSN 0022-1791.
• Deutsch, Elliot (2001). "Karma in the Advaita Vedanta". In Roy W. Perrett (ed.). Philosophy of Religion. Vol. 4. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-8153-3611-2.
• Doniger, Wendy (2018). Against Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-23523-4.
• Flint, Robert (1899). "Appendix Note VII - Hindu Materialism: The Charvaka System". Anti-theistic theories. London: William Blackwood.
• Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Frazier, Jessica (2013). "Hinduism". In Bullivant, Stephen; Ruse, Michael (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-964465-0.
• Grimes, John A. (1996). A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy: Sanskrit Terms Defined in English. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-3067-5.
• Haribhadrasūri (1989). Saddarsanasamuccaya. Translated by M Jain. Asiatic Society. OCLC 255495691.
• Hacker, Paul (1978). Kleine Schriften (in German). Steiner Franz Verlag. ISBN 978-3-515-02692-5.
• Hayes, Richard (2001). "The Question of Doctrinalism in the Buddhist Epistemologists". In Roy W. Perrett (ed.). Philosophy of Religion. Vol. 4. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-8153-3611-2.
• Isaeva, N. V. (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7.
• Joshi, Dinkar (2005). Glimpses of Indian Culture. Star Publications. ISBN 978-81-7650-190-3.
• Joshi, Rasik Vihari (1987). "Lokayata in Ancient India and China" (PDF). Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. 68 (1/4): 393–405.
• Kamal, M. Mostafa (1998). "The Epistemology of the Carvaka Philosophy". Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies. 46 (2): 1048–1045. doi:10.4259/ibk.46.1048. ISSN 1884-0051.
• Koller, John M. (1977). "Skepticism in Early Indian Thought". Philosophy East and West. 27 (2): 155–164. doi:10.2307/1397613. JSTOR 1397613.
• Mubarak, Abu'l-Fazl ibn (1894). The Ain-i-Akbari. Vol. 3. Translated by Henry Sullivan Jarrett.
• Madhavacharya (n.d.). Sarva-Darsana-Samgraha [Sanskrit-Hindi] [An Epitome of the Different Systems of Indian Philosophy] (in Hindi). Translated by Narain Sinh.
• Perrett, Roy W (1984). "The problem of induction in Indian philosophy". Philosophy East and West. 34 (2): 161–174. doi:10.2307/1398916. JSTOR 1398916.
• Potter, Karl H. (2003). Buddhist Philosophy from 350 to 600 A.D. Vol. IX. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-1968-9.
• Quack, Johannes (2011). Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-981261-5.
• Raman, V.V. (2012). "Hinduism and Science: Some Reflections". Zygon - Journal of Religion and Science. 47 (3): 549–574. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9744.2012.01274.x.
• Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; Moore, Charles (1957). A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-01958-1.
• Riepe, Dale (1964). The Naturalistic Tradition of Indian Thought (2nd ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
• Roy, Pratap Chandra (1894). "§ XXXIX Shanti Parva". The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli. Calcutta : Bharata press.
• Schermerhorn, R. A. (1930). "When Did Indian Materialism Get Its Distinctive Titles?". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 50: 132–138. doi:10.2307/593059. JSTOR 593059.
• Sen, Amartya (2005). The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-7139-9687-6.
• Sharma, Chandradhar (1987). A critical survey of Indian philosophy(Reprinted. ed.). Delhi: M. Banarsidass. ISBN 9788120803657.
• Sinha, A. K. (1994). "Traces of Materialism in Early Vedic Thought: A Study". Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. 75 (1): 235–241. JSTOR 41694419.
• Stöwe, Kira (11 February 2003). "Sanskrit and Tamil Dictionaries". sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
• Tiwari, KN (1998). Classical Indian Ethical Thought. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-8120816077.
• Thomas, R. (2014). "Hindu Perspectives on Evolution: Darwin, Dharma, and Design". Sociology of Religion. 75 (1): 164–165. doi:10.1093/socrel/sru003. ISSN 1069-4404.
• Vaidya, CV (2001). Epic India, Or, India as Described in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-81-206-1564-9.

Further reading

• Charvaka Sixty by Dr. Tanvir Ratul
• Bhatta, Jayarashi. Tattvopaplavasimha (Status as a Carvaka text disputed)
• Gokhale, Pradeep P. The Cārvāka Theory of Pramāṇas: A Restatement, Philosophy East and West (1993).
• Nambiar, Sita Krishna (1971). Prabodhacandrodaya of Krsna Misra. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass.

External links

• The Lokāyata, Nāstika and Cārvāka, Surendranath Dasgupta, 1940
• Jayarāśi, a 9th-century Indian philosopher associated with Cārvāka / Lokāyata school, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2011)
• Lokāyata/Cārvāka – Indian Materialism (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
• Materialism in India: A Synoptic View Ramkrishna Bhattacharya
• Bibliography: Carvaka/Lokayata secondary literature, Karl Potter, University of Washington
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Vedas
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/2/20

Image
Vedas
Four Vedas
Information
Religion: Hinduism
Language: Vedic Sanskrit
Period: c. 1500-1200 BCE (Rig Veda),[1][note 1]; c. 1200-900 BCE (Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda)[1][2]
Verses: 20,379 mantras[3]

Image
The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the Atharvaveda.

The Vedas (/ˈveɪdəz, ˈviː-/;[4] Sanskrit: वेदः vedaḥ, "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism.[5][6]

There are four Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda.[7][8] Each Veda has four subdivisions – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (texts discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).[7][9][10] Some scholars add a fifth category – the Upasanas (worship).[11][12] The texts of the Upanishads discuss ideas akin to the heterodox sramana-traditions.[13]

Vedas are śruti ("what is heard"),[14] distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is remembered"). Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman"[15] and "impersonal, authorless,"[16][17][18] revelations of sacred sounds and texts heard by ancient sages after intense meditation.[19][20]

The Vedas have been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques.[21][22][23] The mantras, the oldest part of the Vedas, are recited in the modern age for their phonology rather than the semantics, and are considered to be "primordial rhythms of creation", preceding the forms to which they refer.[24] By reciting them the cosmos is regenerated, "by enlivening and nourishing the forms of creation at their base."[24]

The various Indian philosophies and Hindu denominations have taken differing positions on the Vedas; schools of Indian philosophy which acknowledge the primal authority of the Vedas are classified as "orthodox" (āstika).[note 2] Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Carvaka, Ajivika, Buddhism and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" (nāstika) schools.[13][25]

Etymology and usage

The Sanskrit word véda "knowledge, wisdom" is derived from the root vid- "to know". This is reconstructed as being derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯eid-, meaning "see" or "know."[26]

The noun is from Proto-Indo-European *u̯eidos, cognate to Greek (ϝ)εἶδος "aspect", "form" . This is not to be confused with the homonymous 1st and 3rd person singular perfect tense véda, cognate to Greek (ϝ)οἶδα (w)oida "I know". Root cognates are Greek ἰδέα, English wit, etc., Latin videō "I see", German wissen "to know" etc.[27]

The Sanskrit term veda as a common noun means "knowledge".[28] The term in some contexts, such as hymn 10.93.11 of the Rigveda, means "obtaining or finding wealth, property",[29] while in some others it means "a bunch of grass together" as in a broom or for ritual fire.[30]

Vedas are called Maṛai or Vaymoli in parts of South India. Marai literally means "hidden, a secret, mystery". But the Tamil Naan Marai mentioned in Tholkappiam isn't Sanskrit Vedas.[31][32] In some parts of south India (e.g. the Iyengar communities), the word veda is used in the Tamil writings of the Alvar saints. Such writings include the Divya Prabandham (aka Tiruvaymoli).[33]

Vedic texts

Image
Rigveda manuscript in Devanagari

Vedic Sanskrit corpus

The term "Vedic texts" is used in two distinct meanings:

1. Texts composed in Vedic Sanskrit during the Vedic period (Iron Age India)

2. Any text considered as "connected to the Vedas" or a "corollary of the Vedas"[34]

The corpus of Vedic Sanskrit texts includes:

• The Samhitas (Sanskrit saṃhitā, "collection"), are collections of metric texts ("mantras"). There are four "Vedic" Samhitas: the Rig-Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda and Atharva-Veda, most of which are available in several recensions (śākhā). In some contexts, the term Veda is used to refer only to these Samhitas, the collection of mantras. This is the oldest layer of Vedic texts, which were composed between circa 1500-1200 BCE (Rig Veda book 2-9),[note 1] and 1200-900 BCE for the other Samhitas. The Samhitas contain invocations to deities like Indra and Agni, "to secure their benediction for success in battles or for welfare of the cln."[35] The complete corpus of Vedic mantras as collected in Bloomfield's Vedic Concordance (1907) consists of some 89,000 padas (metrical feet), of which 72,000 occur in the four Samhitas.[36]
• The Brahmanas are prose texts that comment and explain the solemn rituals as well as expound on their meaning and many connected themes. Each of the Brahmanas is associated with one of the Samhitas or its recensions.[37][38] The oldest dated to about 900 BCE, while the youngest Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana), were complete by about 700 BCE.[39][40] The Brahmanas may either form separate texts or can be partly integrated into the text of the Samhitas. They may also include the Aranyakas and Upanishads.
• The Aranyakas, "wilderness texts" or "forest treaties", were composed by people who meditated in the woods as recluses and are the third part of the Vedas. The texts contain discussions and interpretations of ceremonies, from ritualistic to symbolic meta-ritualistic points of view.[41] It is frequently read in secondary literature.
• Older Mukhya Upanishads (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chandogya, Kaṭha, Kena, Aitareya, and others),[42][1] composed between 800 BCE and the end of the Vedic period.[43] The Upanishads are largely philosophical works, some in dialogue form. They are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions.[44][45] Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are still influential in Hinduism.[44][46]
• The texts considered "Vedic" in the sense of "corollaries of the Vedas" are less clearly defined, and may include numerous post-Vedic texts such as the later Upanishads and the Sutra literature, such as Shrauta Sutras and Gryha Sutras, which are smriti texts. Together, the Vedas and these Sutras form part of the Vedic Sanskrit corpus.[1][note 3][note 4]

While production of Brahmanas and Aranyakas ceased with the end of the Vedic period, additional Upanishads were composed after the end of the Vedic period.[47] The Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, among other things, interpret and discuss the Samhitas in philosophical and metaphorical ways to explore abstract concepts such as the Absolute (Brahman), and the soul or the self (Atman), introducing Vedanta philosophy, one of the major trends of later Hinduism. In other parts, they show evolution of ideas, such as from actual sacrifice to symbolic sacrifice, and of spirituality in the Upanishads. This has inspired later Hindu scholars such as Adi Shankara to classify each Veda into karma-kanda (कर्म खण्ड, action/sacrificial ritual-related sections, the Samhitas and Brahmanas); and jnana-kanda (ज्ञान खण्ड, knowledge/spirituality-related sections, mainly the Upanishads').[48][49][50][51][52][note 5]

Śruti and smriti

Vedas are śruti "what is heard"),[53] distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is remembered"). This indigenous system of categorization was adopted by Max Müller and, while it is subject to some debate, it is still widely used. As Axel Michaels explains:

These classifications are often not tenable for linguistic and formal reasons: There is not only one collection at any one time, but rather several handed down in separate Vedic schools; Upanişads [...] are sometimes not to be distinguished from Āraṇyakas [...]; Brāhmaṇas contain older strata of language attributed to the Saṃhitās; there are various dialects and locally prominent traditions of the Vedic schools. Nevertheless, it is advisable to stick to the division adopted by Max Müller because it follows the Indian tradition, conveys the historical sequence fairly accurately, and underlies the current editions, translations, and monographs on Vedic literature."[42]


Authorship

Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman"[15] and "impersonal, authorless."[16][17][18] The Vedas, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts that have been more carefully preserved since ancient times.[19][20] In the Hindu Epic Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma.[54] The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.[20][note 6]

The oldest part of the Rig Veda Samhita was orally composed in north-western India (Punjab) between c. 1500 and 1200 BC,[note 1] while book 10 of the Rig Veda, and the other Samhitas were composed between 1200-900 BCE more eastward, between the Yamuna and the Ganges, the heartland of Aryavarta and the Kuru Kingdom (c. 1200 – c. 900 BCE).[56][2][57][58][59] The "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000–500 BCE.

According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas, who arranged the four kinds of mantras into four Samhitas (Collections).[60][61]

Chronology, transmission and interpretation

See also: Vedic period

Chronology

The Vedas are among the oldest sacred texts.[62][63] The bulk of the Rigveda Samhita was composed in the northwestern region (Punjab) of the Indian subcontinent, most likely between c. 1500 and 1200 BC,[2][56][64] although a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BC has also been given.[65][66][note 1] The other three Samhitas are considered to date from the time of the Kuru Kingdom, approximately c. 1200–900 BCE.[1] The "circum-Vedic" texts, as well as the redaction of the Samhitas, date to c. 1000–500 BCE, resulting in a Vedic period, spanning the mid 2nd to mid 1st millennium BCE, or the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age.[note 7] The Vedic period reaches its peak only after the composition of the mantra texts, with the establishment of the various shakhas all over Northern India which annotated the mantra samhitas with Brahmana discussions of their meaning, and reaches its end in the age of Buddha and Panini and the rise of the Mahajanapadas (archaeologically, Northern Black Polished Ware). Michael Witzel gives a time span of c. 1500 to c. 500–400 BCE. Witzel makes special reference to the Near Eastern Mitanni material of the 14th century BCE, the only epigraphic record of Indo-Aryan contemporary to the Rigvedic period. He gives 150 BCE (Patañjali) as a terminus ante quem for all Vedic Sanskrit literature, and 1200 BCE (the early Iron Age) as terminus post quem for the Atharvaveda.[67]

Transmission

The Vedas were orally transmitted since their composition in the Vedic period for several millennia.[68][21][69] The authoritative transmission[70] of the Vedas is by an oral tradition in a sampradaya from father to son or from teacher (guru) to student (shishya),[69][71][22][72][21] believed to be initiated by the Vedic rishis who heard the primordial sounds.[73] Only this tradition, embodied by a living teacher, can teach the correct pronunciation of the sounds and explain hidden meanings, in a way the "dead and entombed manuscript" cannot do.[71][note 8] As Leela Prasad states, "According to Shankara, the "correct tradition" (sampradaya) has as much authority as the written Shastra," explaining that the tradition "bears the authority to clarify and provide direction in the application of knowledge."[74]

The emphasis in this transmission[note 9] is on the "proper articulation and pronunciation of the Vedic sounds," as prescribed in the Shiksha,[76] the Vedanga (Vedic study) of sound as uttered in a Vedic recitation,[77][78] mastering the texts "literally forward and backward in fully acoustic fashion."[79] Houben and Rath note that the Vedic textual tradition cannot simply be characterized as oral, "since it also depends significantly on a memory culture."[80] The Vedas were preserved with precision with the help of elaborate mnemonic techniques,[21][22][23] such as memorizing the texts in eleven different modes of recitation (pathas),[70] using the alphabet as a mnemotechnical device,[81][82][note 10] "matching physical movements (such as nodding the head)[disputed – discuss] with particular sounds and chanting in a group"[83] and visualizing sounds by using mudras (hand signs).[84] This provided an additional visual confirmation, and also an alternate means to check the reading integrity by the audience, in addition to the audible means.[85] Houben and Rath note that a strong "memory culture" existed in ancient India when texts were transmitted orally, before the advent of writing in the early first millennium CE.[82] According to Staal, criticising the Goody-Watt hypothesis "according to which literacy is more reliable than orality,"[86] this tradition of oral transmission "is closely related to Indian forms of science," and "by far the more remarkable" than the relatively recent tradition of written transmission.[note 11]

While according to Mookerji understanding the meaning (vedarthajnana[89] or artha-bodha[90][note 12]) of the words of the Vedas was part of the Vedic learning,[90] Holdrege and other Indologists[91] have noted that in the transmission of the Samhitas the emphasis is on the phonology of the sounds (śabda) and not on the meaning (artha) of the mantras.[91][92][71] Already at the end of the Vedic period their original meaning had become obscure for "ordinary people,"[92][note 13] and niruktas, etymological compendia, were developed to preserve and clarify the original meaning of many Sanskrit words.[92][94] According to Staal, as referenced by Holdrege, though the mantras may have a discursive meaning, when the mantras are recited in the Vedic rituals "they are disengaged from their original context and are employed in ways that have little or nothing to do with their meaning."[91][note 14] The words of the mantras are "themselves sacred,"[95] and "do not constitute linguistic utterances."[24] Instead, as Klostermaier notes, in their application in Vedic rituals they become magical sounds, "means to an end."[note 15] Holdrege notes that there are scarce commentaries on the meaning of the mantras, in contrast to the number of commentaries on the Brahmanas and Upanishads, but states that the lack of emphasis on the "discursive meaning does not necessarily imply that they are meaningless."[96] In the Brahmanical perspective, the sounds have their own meaning, mantras are considered as "primordial rhythms of creation", preceding the forms to which they refer.[24] By reciting them the cosmos is regenerated, "by enlivening and nourishing the forms of creation at their base. As long as the purity of the sounds is preserved, the recitation of the mantras will be efficacious, irrespective of whether their discursive meaning is understood by human beings."[24][note 16] Frazier further notes that "later Vedic texts sought deeper understanding of the reasons the rituals worked," which indicates that the Brahmin communities considered study to be a "process of understanding."[97]

A literary tradition is traceable in post-Vedic times, after the rise of Buddhism in the Maurya period,[note 17] perhaps earliest in the Kanva recension of the Yajurveda about the 1st century BCE; however oral tradition of transmission remained active.[68] Jack Goody has argued for an earlier literary tradition, concluding that the Vedas bear hallmarks of a literate culture along with oral transmission,[99][100] but Goody's views have been strongly criticised by Falk, Lopez Jr,. and Staal, though they have also found some support.[101][102]

The Vedas were written down only after 500 BCE,[103][68][21] but only the orally transmitted texts are regarded as authoritative, given the emphasis on the exact pronunciation of the sounds.[70] Witzel suggests that attempts to write down the Vedic texts towards the end of 1st millennium BCE were unsuccesfull, resulting in smriti rules explicitly forbidding the writing down of the Vedas.[68] Due to the ephemeral nature of the manuscript material (birch bark or palm leaves), surviving manuscripts rarely surpass an age of a few hundred years.[104] The Sampurnanand Sanskrit University has a Rigveda manuscript from the 14th century;[105] however, there are a number of older Veda manuscripts in Nepal that are dated from the 11th century onwards.[106]

Vedic learning

Main article: Svādhyāya

The Vedas, Vedic rituals and its ancillary sciences called the Vedangas, were part of the curriculum at ancient universities such as at Taxila, Nalanda and Vikramashila.[107][108][109][110] According to Deshpande, "the tradition of the Sanskrit grammarians also contributed significantly to the preservation and interpretation of Vedic texts."[111] Yāska (4th c. BCE[112]) wrote the Nirukta, which reflects the concerns about the loss of meaning of the mantras,[note 13] while Pāṇinis (4th c. BCE) Aṣṭādhyāyī is the most important surviving text of the Vyākaraṇa traditions. Mimamsa scholar Sayanas (14th c. CE) major Vedartha Prakasha[note 18] is a rare[113] commentary on the Vedas, which is also referred to by contemporary scholars.[114]

Yaska and Sayana, reflecting an ancient understanding, state that the Veda can be interpreted in three ways, giving "the truth about gods, dharma and parabrahman."[115][116][note 19] The pūrva-kāņda (or karma-kanda), the part of the Veda dealing with ritual, gives knowledge of dharma, "which brings us satisfaction." The uttara-kanda (or jnana-kanda),[note 20] the part of the Veda dealing with the knowledge of the absolute, gives knowledge of Parabrahma, "which fulfills all of our desires."[117] According to Holdrege, for the exponents of karma-kandha the Veda is to be "inscribed in the minds and hearts of men" by memorization and recitation, while for the exponents of the jnana-kanda and meditation the Vedas express a transcendental reality which can be approached with mystical means.[118]

Holdrege notes that in Vedic learning "priority has been given to recitation over interpretation" of the Samhitas.[113] Galewicz states that Sayana, a Mimamsa scholar,[119][120][121] "thinks of the Veda as something to be trained and mastered to be put into practical ritual use," noticing that "it is not the meaning of the mantras that is most essential [...] but rather the perfect mastering of their sound form."[122] According to Galewicz, Sayana saw the purpose (artha) of the Veda as the "artha of carrying out sacrifice," giving precedence to the Yajurveda.[119] For Sayana, whether the mantras had meaning depended on the context of their practical usage.[122] This conception of the Veda, as a repertoire to be mastered and performed, takes precedence over the internal meaning or "autonomous message of the hymns."[123] Most Śrauta rituals are not performed in the modern era, and those that are, are rare.[124]

Mookerji notes that the Rigveda, and Sayana's commentary, contain passages criticizing as fruitless mere recitation of the Ŗik (words) without understanding their inner meaning or essence, the knowledge of dharma and Parabrahman.[125] Mookerji concludes that in the Rigvedic education of the mantras "the contemplation and comprehension of their meaning was considered as more important and vital to education than their mere mechanical repetition and correct pronunciation."[126] Mookerji refers to Sayana as stating that "the mastery of texts, akshara-praptī, is followed by artha-bodha, perception of their meaning."[90][note 12] Mookerji explains that the Vedic knowledge was first perceived by the rishis and munis. Only the perfect language of the Vedas, as in contrast to ordinary speech, can reveal these truths, which were preserved by committing them to memory.[128] According to Mookerji, while these truths are imparted to the student by the memorized texts,[129] "the realization of Truth" and the knowledge of paramatman as revealed to the rishis is the real aim of Vedic learning, and not the mere recitation of texts.[130] The supreme knowledge of the Absolute, para Brahman-jnana, the knowledge of rta and satya, can be obtained by taking vows of silence and obedience[131] sense-restraint, dhyana, the practice of tapas (austerities),[116] and discussing the Vedanta.[131][note 21]

Vedic schools or recensions

Main article: Shakha

The four Vedas were transmitted in various śākhās (branches, schools).[133][134] Each school likely represented an ancient community of a particular area, or kingdom.[134] Each school followed its own canon. Multiple recensions are known for each of the Vedas.[133] Thus, states Witzel as well as Renou, in the 2nd millennium BCE, there was likely no canon of one broadly accepted Vedic texts, no Vedic “Scripture”, but only a canon of various texts accepted by each school. Some of these texts have survived, most lost or yet to be found. Rigveda that survives in modern times, for example, is in only one extremely well preserved school of Śåkalya, from a region called Videha, in modern north Bihar, south of Nepal.[135] The Vedic canon in its entirety consists of texts from all the various Vedic schools taken together.[134]

Each of the four Vedas were shared by the numerous schools, but revised, interpolated and adapted locally, in and after the Vedic period, giving rise to various recensions of the text. Some texts were revised into the modern era, raising significant debate on parts of the text which are believed to have been corrupted at a later date.[136][137] The Vedas each have an Index or Anukramani, the principal work of this kind being the general Index or Sarvānukramaṇī.[138][139]

Prodigious energy was expended by ancient Indian culture in ensuring that these texts were transmitted from generation to generation with inordinate fidelity.[140] For example, memorization of the sacred Vedas included up to eleven forms of recitation of the same text. The texts were subsequently "proof-read" by comparing the different recited versions. Forms of recitation included the jaṭā-pāṭha (literally "mesh recitation") in which every two adjacent words in the text were first recited in their original order, then repeated in the reverse order, and finally repeated in the original order.[141] That these methods have been effective, is attested to by the preservation of the most ancient Indian religious text, the Rigveda, as redacted into a single text during the Brahmana period, without any variant readings within that school.[141]

The Vedas were likely written down for the first time around 500 BCE.[103] However, all printed editions of the Vedas that survive in the modern times are likely the version existing in about the 16th century AD.[142]

Four Vedas

The canonical division of the Vedas is fourfold (turīya) viz.,[143]

1. Rigveda (RV)
2. Yajurveda (YV, with the main division TS vs. VS)
3. Samaveda (SV)
4. Atharvaveda (AV)

Of these, the first three were the principal original division, also called "trayī vidyā"; that is, "the triple science" of reciting hymns (Rigveda), performing sacrifices (Yajurveda), and chanting songs (Samaveda).[144][145] The Rig Veda most likely was composed between c. 1500 and 1200.[note 1] Witzel notes that it is the Vedic period itself, where incipient lists divide the Vedic texts into three (trayī) or four branches: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva.[134]

Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies such as newborn baby's rites of passage, coming of age, marriages, retirement and cremation, sacrifices and symbolic sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).[7][9][10] The Upasanas (short ritual worship-related sections) are considered by some scholars[11][12] as the fifth part. Witzel notes that the rituals, rites and ceremonies described in these ancient texts reconstruct to a large degree the Indo-European marriage rituals observed in a region spanning the Indian subcontinent, Persia and the European area, and some greater details are found in the Vedic era texts such as the Grhya Sūtras.[146]

Only one version of the Rigveda is known to have survived into the modern era.[135] Several different versions of the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda are known, and many different versions of the Yajur Veda have been found in different parts of South Asia.[147]

The texts of the Upanishads discuss ideas akin to the heterodox sramana-traditions.[13]

Rigveda

Main article: Rigveda

Nasadiya Sukta (Hymn of non-Eternity):
Who really knows?
Who can here proclaim it?
Whence, whence this creation sprang?
Gods came later, after the creation of this universe.

Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whether God's will created it, or whether He was mute;
Only He who is its overseer in highest heaven knows,
He only knows, or perhaps He does not know.

—Rig Veda 10.129.6–7[148]


The Rigveda Samhita is the oldest extant Indic text.[149] It is a collection of 1,028 Vedic Sanskrit hymns and 10,600 verses in all, organized into ten books (Sanskrit: mandalas).[150] The hymns are dedicated to Rigvedic deities.[151]

The books were composed by poets from different priestly groups over a period of several centuries between c. 1500 and 1200 BC,[note 1] (the early Vedic period) in the Punjab (Sapta Sindhu) region of the northwest Indian subcontinent. According to Michael Witzel, the initial codification of the Rigveda took place at the end of the Rigvedic period at ca. 1200 BCE, in the early Kuru kingdom.[152]

The Rigveda is structured based on clear principles. The Veda begins with a small book addressed to Agni, Indra, Soma and other gods, all arranged according to decreasing total number of hymns in each deity collection; for each deity series, the hymns progress from longer to shorter ones, but the number of hymns per book increases. Finally, the meter too is systematically arranged from jagati and tristubh to anustubh and gayatri as the text progresses.[134]

The rituals became increasingly complex over time, and the king's association with them strengthened both the position of the Brahmans and the kings.[153] The Rajasuya rituals, performed with the coronation of a king, "set in motion [...] cyclical regenerations of the universe."[154] In terms of substance, the nature of hymns shift from praise of deities in early books to Nasadiya Sukta with questions such as, "what is the origin of the universe?, do even gods know the answer?",[148] the virtue of Dāna (charity) in society,[155] and other metaphysical issues in its hymns.[note 22]

There are similarities between the mythology, rituals and linguistics in Rigveda and those found in ancient central Asia, Iranian and Hindukush (Afghanistan) regions.[156]

Samaveda

Main article: Samaveda

The Samaveda Samhita[157] consists of 1549 stanzas, taken almost entirely (except for 75 mantras) from the Rigveda.[42][158] While its earliest parts are believed to date from as early as the Rigvedic period, the existing compilation dates from the post-Rigvedic Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit, between c. 1200 and 1000 BCE or "slightly later," roughly contemporary with the Atharvaveda and the Yajurveda.[158]

The Samaveda samhita has two major parts. The first part includes four melody collections (gāna, गान) and the second part three verse “books” (ārcika, आर्चिक).[158] A melody in the song books corresponds to a verse in the arcika books. Just as in the Rigveda, the early sections of Samaveda typically begin with hymns to Agni and Indra but shift to the abstract. Their meters shift also in a descending order. The songs in the later sections of the Samaveda have the least deviation from the hymns derived from the Rigveda.[158]

In the Samaveda, some of the Rigvedic verses are repeated.[159] Including repetitions, there are a total of 1875 verses numbered in the Samaveda recension translated by Griffith.[160] Two major recensions have survived, the Kauthuma/Ranayaniya and the Jaiminiya. Its purpose was liturgical, and they were the repertoire of the udgātṛ or "singer" priests.[161]

Yajurveda

Main article: Yajurveda

The Yajurveda Samhita consists of prose mantras.[162] It is a compilation of ritual offering formulas that were said by a priest while an individual performed ritual actions such as those before the yajna fire.[162] The core text of the Yajurveda falls within the classical Mantra period of Vedic Sanskrit at the end of the 2nd millennium BCE - younger than the Rigveda, and roughly contemporary with the Atharvaveda, the Rigvedic Khilani, and the Sāmaveda.[163] Witzel dates the Yajurveda hymns to the early Indian Iron Age, after c. 1200 and before 800 BCE.[164] corresponding to the early Kuru Kingdom.[165]

Image
A page from the Taittiriya Samhita, a layer of text within the Yajurveda

The earliest and most ancient layer of Yajurveda samhita includes about 1,875 verses, that are distinct yet borrow and build upon the foundation of verses in Rigveda.[166] Unlike the Samaveda which is almost entirely based on Rigveda mantras and structured as songs, the Yajurveda samhitas are in prose and linguistically, they are different from earlier Vedic texts.[167] The Yajur Veda has been the primary source of information about sacrifices during Vedic times and associated rituals.[168]

There are two major groups of texts in this Veda: the "Black" (Krishna) and the "White" (Shukla). The term "black" implies "the un-arranged, motley collection" of verses in Yajurveda, in contrast to the "white" (well arranged) Yajurveda.[169] The White Yajurveda separates the Samhita from its Brahmana (the Shatapatha Brahmana), the Black Yajurveda intersperses the Samhita with Brahmana commentary. Of the Black Yajurveda, texts from four major schools have survived (Maitrayani, Katha, Kapisthala-Katha, Taittiriya), while of the White Yajurveda, two (Kanva and Madhyandina).[170][171] The youngest layer of Yajurveda text is not related to rituals nor sacrifice, it includes the largest collection of primary Upanishads, influential to various schools of Hindu philosophy.[172][173]

Atharvaveda

Main article: Atharvaveda

The Artharvaveda Samhita is the text 'belonging to the Atharvan and Angirasa poets. It has about 760 hymns, and about 160 of the hymns are in common with the Rigveda.[174] Most of the verses are metrical, but some sections are in prose.[174] Two different versions of the text – the Paippalāda and the Śaunakīya – have survived into the modern times.[174][175] The Atharvaveda was not considered as a Veda in the Vedic era, and was accepted as a Veda in late 1st millennium BCE.[176][177] It was compiled last,[178] probably around 900 BCE, although some of its material may go back to the time of the Rigveda,[179] or earlier.[174]

The Atharvaveda is sometimes called the "Veda of magical formulas",[180] an epithet declared to be incorrect by other scholars.[181] The Samhita layer of the text likely represents a developing 2nd millennium BCE tradition of magico-religious rites to address superstitious anxiety, spells to remove maladies believed to be caused by demons, and herbs- and nature-derived potions as medicine.[182][183] The text, states Kenneth Zysk, is one of oldest surviving record of the evolutionary practices in religious medicine and reveals the "earliest forms of folk healing of Indo-European antiquity".[184] Many books of the Atharvaveda Samhita are dedicated to rituals without magic, such as to philosophical speculations and to theosophy.[181]

The Atharva veda has been a primary source for information about Vedic culture, the customs and beliefs, the aspirations and frustrations of everyday Vedic life, as well as those associated with kings and governance. The text also includes hymns dealing with the two major rituals of passage – marriage and cremation. The Atharva Veda also dedicates significant portion of the text asking the meaning of a ritual.[185]

Embedded Vedic texts

Image
Manuscripts of the Vedas are in the Sanskrit language, but in many regional scripts in addition to the Devanagari. Top: Grantha script (Tamil Nadu), Below: Malayalam script (Kerala).

Further information: Brahmanas

The Brahmanas are commentaries, explanation of proper methods and meaning of Vedic Samhita rituals in the four Vedas.[37] They also incorporate myths, legends and in some cases philosophy.[37][38] Each regional Vedic shakha (school) has its own operating manual-like Brahmana text, most of which have been lost.[186] A total of 19 Brahmana texts have survived into modern times: two associated with the Rigveda, six with the Yajurveda, ten with the Samaveda and one with the Atharvaveda. The oldest dated to about 900 BCE, while the youngest Brahmanas (such as the Shatapatha Brahmana), were complete by about 700 BCE.[39][40] According to Jan Gonda, the final codification of the Brahmanas took place in pre-Buddhist times (ca. 600 BCE).[187]

The substance of the Brahmana text varies with each Veda. For example, the first chapter of the Chandogya Brahmana, one of the oldest Brahmanas, includes eight ritual suktas (hymns) for the ceremony of marriage and rituals at the birth of a child.[188][189] The first hymn is a recitation that accompanies offering a Yajna oblation to Agni (fire) on the occasion of a marriage, and the hymn prays for prosperity of the couple getting married.[188][190] The second hymn wishes for their long life, kind relatives, and a numerous progeny.[188] The third hymn is a mutual marriage pledge, between the bride and groom, by which the two bind themselves to each other. The sixth through last hymns of the first chapter in Chandogya Brahmana are ritual celebrations on the birth of a child and wishes for health, wealth, and prosperity with a profusion of cows and artha.[188] However, these verses are incomplete expositions, and their complete context emerges only with the Samhita layer of text.[191]

Aranyakas and Upanishads

Further information: Vedanta, Upanishads, and Aranyakas

The Aranyakas layer of the Vedas include rituals, discussion of symbolic meta-rituals, as well as philosophical speculations.[12][41]

Aranyakas, however, neither are homogeneous in content nor in structure.[41] They are a medley of instructions and ideas, and some include chapters of Upanishads within them. Two theories have been proposed on the origin of the word Aranyakas. One theory holds that these texts were meant to be studied in a forest, while the other holds that the name came from these being the manuals of allegorical interpretation of sacrifices, for those in Vanaprastha (retired, forest-dwelling) stage of their life, according to the historic age-based Ashrama system of human life.[192]

The Upanishads reflect the last composed layer of texts in the Vedas. They are commonly referred to as Vedānta, variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Vedas" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda".[193] The central concern of the Upanishads are the connections "between parts of the human organism and cosmic realities."[194] The Upanishads intend to create a hierarchy of connected and dependent realities, evoking a sense of unity of "the separate elements of the world and of human experience [compressing] them into a single form."[195] The concepts of Brahman, the Ultimate Reality from which everything arises, and Ātman, the essence of the individual, are central ideas in the Upanishads,[196][197] and knowing the correspondence between Ātman and Brahman as "the fundamental principle which shapes the world" permits the creation of an integrative vision of the whole.[195][197] The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions,[44][198] and of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads have influenced the diverse traditions of Hinduism.[44][199]

Aranyakas are sometimes identified as karma-kanda (ritualistic section), while the Upanishads are identified as jnana-kanda (spirituality section).[49][50][51][note 5] In an alternate classification, the early part of Vedas are called Samhitas and the commentary are called the Brahmanas which together are identified as the ceremonial karma-kanda, while Aranyakas and Upanishads are referred to as the jnana-kanda.[52]

Post-Vedic literature

Vedanga


Main article: Vedanga

The Vedangas developed towards the end of the vedic period, around or after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE. These auxiliary fields of Vedic studies emerged because the language of the Vedas, composed centuries earlier, became too archaic to the people of that time.[200] The Vedangas were sciences that focused on helping understand and interpret the Vedas that had been composed many centuries earlier.[200]

The six subjects of Vedanga are phonetics (Śikṣā), poetic meter (Chandas), grammar (Vyākaraṇa), etymology and linguistics (Nirukta), rituals and rites of passage (Kalpa), time keeping and astronomy (Jyotiṣa).[201][202][203]

Vedangas developed as ancillary studies for the Vedas, but its insights into meters, structure of sound and language, grammar, linguistic analysis and other subjects influenced post-Vedic studies, arts, culture and various schools of Hindu philosophy.[204][205][206] The Kalpa Vedanga studies, for example, gave rise to the Dharma-sutras, which later expanded into Dharma-shastras.[200][207]

Parisista

Main article: Parisista

Pariśiṣṭa "supplement, appendix" is the term applied to various ancillary works of Vedic literature, dealing mainly with details of ritual and elaborations of the texts logically and chronologically prior to them: the Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Sutras. Naturally classified with the Veda to which each pertains, Parisista works exist for each of the four Vedas. However, only the literature associated with the Atharvaveda is extensive.

• The Āśvalāyana Gṛhya Pariśiṣṭa is a very late text associated with the Rigveda canon.
• The Gobhila Gṛhya Pariśiṣṭa is a short metrical text of two chapters, with 113 and 95 verses respectively.
• The Kātiya Pariśiṣṭas, ascribed to Kātyāyana, consist of 18 works enumerated self-referentially in the fifth of the series (the Caraṇavyūha) and the Kātyāyana Śrauta Sūtra Pariśiṣṭa.
• The Kṛṣṇa Yajurveda has 3 parisistas The Āpastamba Hautra Pariśiṣṭa, which is also found as the second praśna of the Satyasāḍha Śrauta Sūtra', the Vārāha Śrauta Sūtra Pariśiṣṭa
• For the Atharvaveda, there are 79 works, collected as 72 distinctly named parisistas.[208]

Upaveda

The term upaveda ("applied knowledge") is used in traditional literature to designate the subjects of certain technical works.[209][210] Lists of what subjects are included in this class differ among sources. The Charanavyuha mentions four Upavedas:[211]

• Archery (Dhanurveda), associated with the Yajurveda
• Architecture (Sthapatyaveda), associated with the RigVeda.
• Music and sacred dance (Gāndharvaveda), associated with the Samaveda
• Medicine (Āyurveda), associated with the Atharvaveda.[212][213]

"Fifth" and other Vedas

Some post-Vedic texts, including the Mahabharata, the Natyasastra[214] and certain Puranas, refer to themselves as the "fifth Veda".[215] The earliest reference to such a "fifth Veda" is found in the Chandogya Upanishad in hymn 7.1.2.[216]

Let drama and dance (Nātya, नाट्य) be the fifth vedic scripture. Combined with an epic story, tending to virtue, wealth, joy and spiritual freedom, it must contain the significance of every scripture, and forward every art. Thus, from all the Vedas, Brahma framed the Nātya Veda. From the Rig Veda he drew forth the words, from the Sama Veda the melody, from the Yajur Veda gesture, and from the Atharva Veda the sentiment.

— First chapter of Nātyaśāstra, Abhinaya Darpana [217][218]


"Divya Prabandha", for example Tiruvaymoli, is a term for canonical Tamil texts considered as Vernacular Veda by some South Indian Hindus.[32][33]

Other texts such as the Bhagavad Gita or the Vedanta Sutras are considered shruti or "Vedic" by some Hindu denominations but not universally within Hinduism. The Bhakti movement, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism in particular extended the term veda to include the Sanskrit Epics and Vaishnavite devotional texts such as the Pancaratra.[219]
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Puranas

Main article: Puranas

The Puranas is a vast genre of encyclopedic Indian literature about a wide range of topics particularly myths, legends and other traditional lore.[220] Several of these texts are named after major Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Shiva and Devi.[221][222] There are 18 Maha Puranas (Great Puranas) and 18 Upa Puranas (Minor Puranas), with over 400,000 verses.[220]

The Puranas have been influential in the Hindu culture.[223][224] They are considered Vaidika (congruent with Vedic literature).[225] The Bhagavata Purana has been among the most celebrated and popular text in the Puranic genre, and is of non-dualistic tenor.[226][227] The Puranic literature wove with the Bhakti movement in India, and both Dvaita and Advaita scholars have commented on the underlying Vedanta themes in the Maha Puranas.[228]

Authority of the Vedas

The various Hindu denominations and Indian philosophies have taken differing positions on the authority of the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which acknowledge the authority of the Vedas are classified as "orthodox" (āstika).[note 23] Other śramaṇa traditions, such as Lokayata, Carvaka, Ajivika, Buddhism and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities, are referred to as "heterodox" or "non-orthodox" (nāstika) schools.[13][25]

Though many religious Hindus implicitly acknowledge the authority of the Vedas, this acknowledgment is often "no more than a declaration that someone considers himself [or herself] a Hindu,"[230][note 24] and "most Indians today pay lip service to the Veda and have no regard for the contents of the text."[231] Some Hindus challenge the authority of the Vedas, thereby implicitly acknowledging its importance to the history of Hinduism, states Lipner.[232]

Hindu reform movement such as Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj accepted the authority of Vedas,[233] while the authority of the Vedas has been rejected by Hindu modernists like Debendranath Tagore and Keshub Chandra Sen;[234] and also by social reformers like B. R. Ambedkar.[235]

Western Indology

Further information: Sanskrit studies

The study of Sanskrit in the West began in the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer drew attention to Vedic texts, specifically the Upanishads. The importance of Vedic Sanskrit for Indo-European studies was also recognized in the early 19th century. English translations of the Samhitas were published in the later 19th century, in the Sacred Books of the East series edited by Müller between 1879 and 1910.[236] Ralph T. H. Griffith also presented English translations of the four Samhitas, published 1889 to 1899.

Rigveda manuscripts were selected for inscription in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2007.[237]

See also

• Hindu philosophy
• Historical Vedic religion
• Pyramid Texts
• Shakha
• Vedic chant
• Brahminism

Notes

1. It is certain that the hymns of the Rig Veda post-date Indo-Iranianseparation of ca. 2000 BC and probably that of the relevant Mitanni documents of c.1400 BC. The oldest available text is estimated to be from 1200 BC. Philological estimates tend to date the bulk of the text to the second half of the second millennium:
 Max Müller: "the hymns of the Rig-Veda are said to date from 1500 B.C."[238]
 The EIEC (s.v. Indo-Iranian languages, p. 306) gives 1500–1000 BC.
 Flood and Witzel both mention c. 1500–1200 BC.[2][56]
 Anthony mentions c. 1500–1300 BC.[64]
 Thomas Oberlies (Die Religion des Rgveda, 1998, p. 158) based on 'cumulative evidence' sets a wide range of 1700–1100 BC.[65] Oberlies 1998, p. 155 gives an estimate of 1100 BC for the youngest hymns in book 10.[239]
 Witzel 1995, p. 4 mentions c. 1500–1200 BC. According to Witzel 1997, p. 263, the whole Rig Vedic period may have lasted from c. 1900 BCE to c. 1200 BCE: "the bulk of the RV represents only 5 or 6 generations of kings (and of the contemporary poets)24 of the Pūru and Bharata tribes. It contains little else before and after this “snapshot” view of contemporary Rgvedic history, as reported by these contemporary “tape recordings.” On the other hand, the whole Rgvedic period may have lasted even up to 700 years, from the infiltration of the Indo-Aryans into the subcontinent, c. 1900 B.C. (at the utmost, the time of collapse of the Indus civilization), up to c. 1200 B.C., the time of the introduction of iron which is first mentioned in the clearly post-gvedic hymns of the Atharvaveda."
2. Elisa Freschi (2012): "The Vedas are not deontic authorities in absolute sense and may be disobeyed, but are recognized as a deontological epistemic authority by a Hindu orthodox school."Freschi 2012, p. 62 This differentiation between epistemic and deontic authority is true for all Indian religions.
3. For a table of all Vedic texts see Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, pp. 100–101.
4. The Vedic Sanskrit corpus is incorporated in A Vedic Word Concordance (Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa) prepared from 1930 under Vishva Bandhu, and published in five volumes in 1935–1965. Its scope extends to about 400 texts, including the entire Vedic Sanskrit corpus besides some "sub-Vedic" texts. Volume I: Samhitas, Volume II: Brahmanas and Aranyakas, Volume III: Upanishads, Volume IV: Vedangas; A revised edition, extending to about 1800 pages, was published in 1973–1976.
5. Edward Roer (Translator), Shankara's Introduction at Google Books to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at pp. 1–5: "The Vedas are divided in two parts, the first is the karma-kanda, the ceremonial part, also (called) purva-kanda, and treats on ceremonies; the second part is the jnana kanda, the part which contains knowledge, also named uttara-kanda or posterior part, and unfolds the knowledge of Brahma or the universal soul."
6. "As a skilled craftsman makes a car, a singer I, Mighty One! this hymn for thee have fashioned. If thou, O Agni, God, accept it gladly, may we obtain thereby the heavenly Waters". – Rigveda 5.2.11, Translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith[55]
7. Gavin Flood sums up mainstream estimates, according to which the Rigveda was compiled from as early as 1500 BCE over a period of several centuries.[2]
8. Broo 2016, p. 92 quotes Harold G. Coward and K. Kunjunni Raja.
9. Of the complete Veda, by pāțha-śālā (priestly schools), as distinguished from the transmission in the pūjā, the daily services.[75]
10. Several authors refer to the Chinese Buddhist Monk I-Tsing, who visited India in the 7th century to retrieve Buddhist texts and gave examples of mnemonic techniques used in India:[81] "In India there are two traditional ways in which one can attain great intellectual power. Firstly by repeatedly committing to memory the intellect is developed; secondly the alphabet fixes (to) one's ideas. By this way, after a practice of ten days or a month, a student feels his thoughts rise like a fountain, and can commit to memory whatever he has heard once."[82][81]
11. Staal: [this tradition of oral transmission is] "by far the more remarkable [than the relatively recent tradition of written transmission], not merely because it is characteristically Indian and unlike anything we find elsewhere, but also because it has led to scientific discoveries that are of enduring interest and from which the contemporary West still has much to learn." Schiffman (2012, p. 171), quoting Staal (1986, p. 27)
Staal argued that the ancient Indian grammarians, especially Pāṇini, had completely mastered methods of linguistic theory not rediscovered again until the 1950s and the applications of modern mathematical logic to linguistics by Noam Chomsky. (Chomsky himself has said that the first generative grammar in the modern sense was Panini's grammar).[87] These early Indian methods allowed the construction of discrete, potentially infinite generative systems. Remarkably, these early linguistic systems were codified orally, though writing was then used to develop them in some way. The formal basis for Panini's methods involved the use of "auxiliary" markers, rediscovered in the 1930s by the logician Emil Post.[88]
12. Artha may also mean "goal, purpose or essence," depending on the context.[127]
13. Klostermaier 2007, p. 55: "Kautas, a teacher mentioned in the Nirukta by Yāska(ca. 500 BCE), a work devoted to an etymology of Vedic words that were no longer understood by ordinary people, held that the word of the Veda was no longer perceived as meaningful "normal" speech but as a fixed sequence of sounds, whose meaning was obscure beyond recovery."

The tenth through twelfth volumes of the first Prapathaka of the Chandogya Upanishad (800-600 BCE) describe a legend about priests and it criticizes how they go about reciting verses and singing hymns without any idea what they mean or the divine principle they signify.[93]
14. According to Holdrege, srotriyas (a group of male Brahmin reciters who are masters of sruti[70]) "frequently do not understand what they recite" when reciting the Samhitas, merely preserving the sound of the text.[91]
15. Klostermaier: "Brahman, derived from the root bŗh = to grow, to become great, was originally identical with the Vedic word, that makes people prosper: words were the pricipan means to approach the gods who dwelled in a different sphere. It was not a big step from this notion of "reified speech-act" to that "of the speech-act being looked at implicitly and explicitly as a means to an end." Klostermaier 2007, p. 55 quotes Madhav M. Deshpande (1990), Changing Conceptions of the Veda: From Speech-Acts to Magical Sounds, p.4.
16. Coward 2008, p. 114: "For the Mimamsa the ultimate reality is nothing other than the eternal words of the Vedas. They did not accept the existence of a single supreme creator god, who might have composed the Veda. According to the Mimamsa, gods named in the Vedas have no existence apart from the mantras that speak their names. The power of the gods, then, is nothing other than the power of the mantras that name them."
17. The early Buddhist texts are also generally believed to be of oral tradition, with the first Pali Canon written many centuries after the death of the Buddha.[98]
18. Literally, "the meaning of the Vedas made manifest."
19. Sayana repeats Yaska; see interpretation of the Vedas.
20. The Upanishads.[50]
21. Mookerji also refers to the Uśanā smriti (81-2), which "states that mastery of mere text of Veda is to be followed up by its meaning" by discussing the Vedanta.[131]where-after they were able to engage in doscourses on the Vedas.[132][97]
22. For example,
Hymn 1.164.34, "What is the ultimate limit of the earth?", "What is the center of the universe?", "What is the semen of the cosmic horse?", "What is the ultimate source of human speech?"
Hymn 1.164.34, "Who gave blood, soul, spirit to the earth?", "How could the unstructured universe give origin to this structured world?"
Hymn 1.164.5, "Where does the sun hide in the night?", "Where do gods live?"
Hymn 1.164.6, "What, where is the unborn support for the born universe?";
Hymn 1.164.20 (a hymn that is widely cited in the Upanishads as the parable of the Body and the Soul): "Two birds with fair wings, inseparable companions; Have found refuge in the same sheltering tree. One incessantly eats from the fig tree; the other, not eating, just looks on.";
Sources: (a) Antonio de Nicholas (2003), Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man, ISBN 978-0595269259, pp. 64–69;
Jan Gonda, A History of Indian Literature: Veda and Upanishads, Volume 1, Part 1, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032, pp. 134–135;
Rigveda Book 1, Hymn 164 Wikisource
23. Elisa Freschi (2012): "The Vedas are not deontic authorities in absolute sense and may be disobeyed, but are recognized as a deontological epistemic authority by a Hindu orthodox school."[229] This differentiation between epistemic and deontic authority is true for all Indian religions.
24. Lipner quotes Brockington (1981), The sacred tread, p.5.

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2. Flood 1996, p. 37.
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4. "Veda". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
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6. Sanujit Ghose (2011). "Religious Developments in Ancient India" in Ancient History Encyclopedia.
7. Gavin Flood (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521438780, pp. 35–39
8. Bloomfield, M. The Atharvaveda and the Gopatha-Brahmana, (Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde II.1.b.) Strassburg 1899; Gonda, J. A history of Indian literature: I.1 Vedic literature (Samhitas and Brahmanas); I.2 The Ritual Sutras. Wiesbaden 1975, 1977
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11. Bhattacharya 2006, pp. 8–14.
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14. Apte 1965, p. 887
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28. Monier-Williams, Monier (1899). A Sanskrit-English dictionary : etymologically and philologically arranged with special reference to cognate Indo-European languages. Oxford: Clarendon Press., p. 1015
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33. Vasudha Narayanan (1994), The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual, University of South Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0872499652, pp. 43, 117–119
34. according to ISKCON, Hindu Sacred Texts, "Hindus themselves often use the term to describe anything connected to the Vedas and their corollaries (e.g. Vedic culture)."
35. Prasad 2020, p. 150.
36. 37,575 are Rigvedic. Of the remaining, 34,857 appear in the other three Samhitas, and 16,405 are known only from Brahmanas, Upanishads or Sutras
37. Klostermaier 1994, p. 67–69.
38. Brahmana Encyclopædia Britannica (2013)
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44. Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618470, pp. 2–3; Quote: "The Upanishads supply the basis of later Hindu philosophy; they alone of the Vedic corpus are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus."
45. Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al.), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806, p. 39; Quote: "The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self.";
Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, ISBN 978-1592578467, pp. 208–210
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48. Bartley 2001, p. 490.
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113. Holdrege 1996, p. 354.
114. Jackson 2016, ch.3.
115. Coward 1990, p. 106.
116. Mookerji 2011, p. 34.
117. Mookerji 2011, p. 30.
118. Holdrege 1996, p. 355, 356-357.
119. Galewicz 2004, p. 40.
120. Galewicz 2011, p. 338.
121. Collins 2009, "237 Sayana".
122. Galewicz 2004, p. 41.
123. Galewicz 2004, p. 41-42.
124. Michaels, p. 237–238.
125. Mookerji 2011, p. 29-31.
126. Mookerji 2011, p. 29, 34.
127. See:
 Sanskrit English Dictionary University of Kloen, Germany (2009)
 Karl Potter (1998), Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 4, ISBN 81-208-0310-8, Motilal Banarsidass, pp 610 (note 17)
128. Mookerji 2011, p. 34-35.
129. Mookerji 2011, p. 35-36.
130. Mookerji 2005, p. 36.
131. Mookerji 2011, p. 196.
132. Mookerji 2100, p. 29.
133. Flood 1996, p. 39.
134. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu", Harvard University, in Witzel 1997, pp. 261–264
135. Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University, p. 6
136. J. Muir (1868), Original Sanskrit Texts on the Origin and History of the People of India – their religion and institutions at Google Books, 2nd Edition, p. 12
137. Albert Friedrich Weber, Indische Studien, herausg. von at Google Books, Vol. 10, pp. 1–9 with footnotes (in German); For a translation, Original Sanskrit Texts at Google Books, p. 14
138. For an example, see Sarvānukramaṇī Vivaraṇa Univ of Pennsylvania rare texts collection
139. R̥gveda-sarvānukramaṇī Śaunakakr̥tāʼnuvākānukramaṇī ca, Maharṣi-Kātyayāna-viracitā, OCLC 11549595
140. (Staal 1986)
141. (Filliozat 2004, p. 139)
142. Michael Witzel, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 69, Quote: "... almost all printed editions depend on the late manuscripts that are hardly older than 500 years"
143. Radhakrishnan & Moore 1957, p. 3; Witzel, Michael, "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in: Flood 2003, p. 68
144. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 257–348
145. MacDonell 2004, pp. 29–39
146. Jamison and Witzel (1992), Vedic Hinduism, Harvard University, p. 21
147. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, p. 286
148.
 Original Sanskrit: Rigveda 10.129 Wikisource;
 Translation 1: Max Müller (1859). A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature. Williams and Norgate, London. pp. 559–565.
 Translation 2: Kenneth Kramer (1986). World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions. Paulist Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8091-2781-8.
 Translation 3: David Christian (2011). Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. University of California Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-520-95067-2.
149. see e.g. Avari 2007, p. 77.
150. For 1,028 hymns and 10,600 verses and division into ten mandalas, see: Avari 2007, p. 77.
151. For characterization of content and mentions of deities including Agni, Indra, Varuna, Soma, Surya, etc. see: Avari 2007, p. 77.
152. Witzel 1997, p. 261.
153. Prasad 2020, p. 150-151.
154. Prasad 2020, p. 151.
155. Original text translated in English: The Rig Veda, Mandala 10, Hymn 117, Ralph T.H. Griffith (Translator);
C Chatterjee (1995), Values in the Indian Ethos: An Overview, Journal of Human Values, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 3–12
156. Michael Witzel, The Rigvedic religious system and its central Asian and Hindukush antecedents, in The Vedas – Texts, Language and Ritual, Editors: Griffiths and Houben (2004), Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9069801490, pp. 581–627
157. From sāman, the term for a melody applied to a metrical hymn or a song of praise, Apte 1965, p. 981.
158. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 269–270
159. M Bloomfield, Rig-veda Repetitions, p. 402, at Google Books, pp. 402–464
160. For 1875 total verses, see the numbering given in Ralph T. H. Griffith. Griffith's introduction mentions the recension history for his text. Repetitions may be found by consulting the cross-index in Griffith pp. 491–499.
161. Annette Wilke and Oliver Moebus (2011), Sound and Communication: An Aesthetic Cultural History of Sanskrit Hinduism, Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 978-3110181593, p. 381
162. Michael Witzel (2003), "Vedas and Upaniṣads", in The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism (Editor: Gavin Flood), Blackwell, ISBN 0-631215352, pp. 76–77
163. The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools, Michael Witzel, Harvard University
164. Autochthonous Aryans? Michael Witzel, Harvard University
165. Early Sanskritization Archived 20 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Michael Witzel, Harvard University
166. Antonio de Nicholas (2003), Meditations Through the Rig Veda: Four-Dimensional Man, ISBN 978-0595269259, pp. 273–274
167. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 270–271
168. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 272–274
169. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, pp. 217–219
170. Michaels 2004, p. 52 Table 3
171. CL Prabhakar (1972), The Recensions of the Sukla Yajurveda, Archív Orientální, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp. 347–353
172. Paul Deussen, The Philosophy of the Upanishads, Motilal Banarsidass (2011 Edition), ISBN 978-8120816206, p. 23
173. Patrick Olivelle (1998), Upaniṣhads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-282292-6, pp. 1–17
174. Michaels 2004, p. 56.
175. Frits Staal (2009), Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights, Penguin, ISBN 978-0143099864, pp. 136–137
176. Frits Staal (2009), Discovering the Vedas: Origins, Mantras, Rituals, Insights, Penguin, ISBN 978-0143099864, p. 135
177. Alex Wayman (1997), Untying the Knots in Buddhism, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120813212, pp. 52–53
178. "The latest of the four Vedas, the Atharva-Veda, is, as we have seen, largely composed of magical texts and charms, but here and there we find cosmological hymns which anticipate the Upanishads, – hymns to Skambha, the 'Support', who is seen as the first principle which is both the material and efficient cause of the universe, to Prāna, the 'Breath of Life', to Vāc, the 'Word', and so on." Zaehner 1966, p. vii.
179. Flood 1996, p. 37.
180. Laurie Patton (2004), Veda and Upanishad, in The Hindu World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, ISBN 0-415215277, p. 38
181. Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas, Vol 1, Fasc. 1, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032, pp. 277–280, Quote: "It would be incorrect to describe the Atharvaveda Samhita as a collection of magical formulas".
182. Kenneth Zysk (2012), Understanding Mantras (Editor: Harvey Alper), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807464, pp. 123–129
183. On magic spells and charms, such as those to gain better health: Atharva Veda 2.32 Bhaishagykni, Charm to secure perfect health Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; see also chapters 3.11, 3.31, 4.10, 5.30, 19.26;
On finding a good husband: Atharva Veda 4.2.36 Strijaratani Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press; Atharvaveda dedicates over 30 chapters to love relationships, sexuality and for conceiving a child, see e.g. chapters 1.14, 2.30, 3.25, 6.60, 6.78, 6.82, 6.130–6.132; On peaceful social and family relationships: Atharva Veda 6.3.30 Maurice Bloomfield (Translator), Sacred Books of the East, Vol. 42, Oxford University Press;
184. Kenneth Zysk (1993), Religious Medicine: The History and Evolution of Indian Medicine, Routledge, ISBN 978-1560000761, pp. x–xii
185. Witzel, M., "The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools : The Social and Political Milieu" in Witzel 1997, pp. 275–276
186. Moriz Winternitz (2010), A History of Indian Literature, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802643, pp. 175–176
187. Klostermaier 1994, p. 67.
188. Max Müller, Chandogya Upanishad, The Upanishads, Part I, Oxford University Press, p. lxxxvii with footnote 2
189. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684, p. 63
190. The Development of the Female Mind in India, p. 27, at Google Books, The Calcutta Review, Volume 60, p. 27
191. Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032, pp. 319–322, 368–383 with footnotes
192. AB Keith (2007), The Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120806443, pp. 489–490
193. Max Müller, The Upanishads, Part 1, Oxford University Press, p. lxxxvi footnote 1
194. Olivelle 1998, p. liii.
195. Olivelle 1998, p. lv.
196. Mahadevan 1956, p. 59.
197. PT Raju (1985), Structural Depths of Indian Thought, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0887061394, pp. 35–36
198. Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806, p. 39; Quote: "The Upanishads form the foundations of Hindu philosophical thought and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self.";
Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, ISBN 978-1592578467, pp. 208–210
199. Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429, p. 3; Quote: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth [shruti], in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism".
200. Patrick Olivelle 1999, p. xxiii.
201. James Lochtefeld (2002), "Vedanga" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A–M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pp. 744–745
202. Annette Wilke & Oliver Moebus 2011, pp. 391–394 with footnotes, 416–419.
203. Harold G. Coward 1990, pp. 105–110.
204. The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. p. 161.
205. Annette Wilke & Oliver Moebus 2011, pp. 472–532.
206. Harold G. Coward 1990, p. 18.
207. Rajendra Prasad (2009). A Historical-developmental Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals. Concept. p. 147. ISBN 978-81-8069-595-7.
208. BR Modak, The Ancillary Literature of the Atharva-Veda, New Delhi, Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratishthan, 1993, ISBN 81-215-0607-7
209. Monier-Williams 2006, p. 207. [1] Accessed 5 April 2007.
210. Apte 1965, p. 293.
211. "Upaveda". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
212. Narayanaswamy, V. (1981). "Origin and Development of Ayurveda: A Brief History". Ancient Science of Life. 1 (1): 1–7. PMC 3336651. PMID 22556454.
213. Frawley, David; Ranade, Subhash (2001). Ayurveda, Nature's Medicine. Lotus Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780914955955. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
214. Paul Kuritz (1988), The Making of Theatre History, Prentice Hall, ISBN 978-0135478615, p. 68
215. Sullivan 1994, p. 385
216. Sanskrit original: Chandogya Upanishad, Wikisource;
English translation: Chandogya Upanishad 7.1.2, G Jha (Translator), Oriental Book Agency, p. 368
217. "Natyashastra" (PDF). Sanskrit Documents.
218. Coormaraswamy and Duggirala (1917). The Mirror of Gesture. Harvard University Press. pp. 2–4.
219. Goswami, Satsvarupa (1976), Readings in Vedic Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself, S.l.: Assoc Publishing Group, p. 240, ISBN 978-0-912776-88-0
220. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, pp. 437–439
221. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pp. 1–5, 12–21
222. Nair, Shantha N. (2008). Echoes of Ancient Indian Wisdom: The Universal Hindu Vision and Its Edifice. Hindology Books. p. 266. ISBN 978-81-223-1020-7.
223. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447025225, pp. 12–13, 134–156, 203–210
224. Greg Bailey (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy (Editor: Oliver Leaman), Routledge, ISBN 978-0415172813, pp. 442–443
225. Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, p. xxxix
226. Thompson, Richard L. (2007). The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana 'Mysteries of the Sacred Universe. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 10. ISBN 978-81-208-1919-1.
227. Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520207783, p. xli
228. BN Krishnamurti Sharma (2008), A History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta and Its Literature, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815759, pp. 128–131
229. Freschi 2012, p. 62.
230. Lipner 2012, p. 16.
231. Axel Michaels (2004), Hinduism: Past and Present, Princeton University Press, p.18; see also Julius Lipner (2012), Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, Routledge, p.77; and Brian K. Smith (2008), Hinduism, p.101, in Jacob Neusner (ed.), Sacred Texts and Authority, Wipf and Stock Publishers.
232. Lipner 2012, p. 15-17.
233. Muhammad Khalid Masud (2000). Travellers in Faith: Studies of the Tablīghī Jamāʻat as a Transnational Islamic Movement for Faith Renewal. BRILL. p. 50. ISBN 9789004116221.
234. Rambachan 1994, p. 272.
235. Nagappa 2011, p. 283 ("It is said that the Varna system [...] Sanatan Hindu").
236. Müller, Friedrich Max (author) & Stone, Jon R. (author, editor) (2002). The essential Max Müller: on language, mythology, and religion. Illustrated edition. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-29309-3. Source: [2] (accessed: Friday May 7, 2010), p. 44
237. "Rig Veda in UNESCO Memory of the World Register".
238. Müller 1892.
239. Oberlies 1998, p. 155.

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Further reading

Overviews


• J. Gonda, Vedic Literature: Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas, A History of Indian literature. Vol. 1, Veda and Upanishads, Wiesnaden: Harrassowitz (1975), ISBN 978-3-447-01603-2.
• J.A. Santucci, An Outline of Vedic Literature, Scholars Press for the American Academy of Religion, (1976).
• S. Shrava, A Comprehensive History of Vedic Literature – Brahmana and Aranyaka Works, Pranava Prakashan (1977).

Concordances

• M. Bloomfield, A Vedic Concordance (1907)
• Vishva Bandhu, Bhim Dev, S. Bhaskaran Nair (eds.), Vaidika-Padānukrama-Koṣa: A Vedic Word-Concordance, Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute, Hoshiarpur, 1963–1965, revised edition 1973–1976.

Conference proceedings

• Griffiths, Arlo and Houben, Jan E.M. (eds.), The Vedas : texts, language & ritual: proceedings of the Third International Vedic Workshop, Leiden 2002, Groningen Oriental Studies 20, Groningen : Forsten, (2004), ISBN 90-6980-149-3.

External links

• Sketch of the Historical Grammar of the Rig and Atharva Vedas, Edward Vernon Arnold, Journal of the American Oriental Society
• On the History and the Present State of Vedic Tradition in Nepal, Michael Witzel
• GRETIL etexts
• A Vedic Concordance, Maurice Bloomfield, Harvard University (an alphabetic index to every line, every stanza of the Vedas published before 1906)
• An Enlarged Electronic Version of Bloomfield's A Vedic Concordance, Harvard University
• The Vedas at sacred-texts.com
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Part 1 of 2

Language and Testimony in Classical Indian Philosophy
by Madhav Deshpande <mmdesh@umich.edu>
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Copyright © 2020
First published Fri Aug 20, 2010; substantive revision Sat Jun 13, 2020

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Speculations about the nature and function of language in India can be traced to its earliest period. These speculations are multi-faceted in that one detects many different strands of thought regarding language. Some of these speculations are about what one may call the principle of language, but others are about specific languages or specific uses of these languages. One sees speculations regarding the creation of language as well as the role of language in the creation of the universe. Language appears in relation to gods as well as humans, and occupies the entire width of a spectrum from being a divinity herself to being a means used by gods to create and control the world, and ultimately to being a means in the hands of the human beings to achieve their own religious as well as mundane purposes. Gradually, a whole range of questions are raised about all these various aspects of language in the evolving religious and philosophical traditions in India, traditions which shared some common conceptions, but thrived in full-blooded disagreements on major issues. Such disagreements relate to the ontological nature of language, its communicative role, the nature of meaning, and more specifically the nature of word-meaning and sentence-meaning. On the other hand, certain manifestations of language, whether in the form of specific languages like Sanskrit or particular scriptural texts like the Vedas, became topics of contestation between various philosophical and religious traditions. Finally, one must mention the epistemic role and value of language, its ability or inability to provide veridical knowledge about the world. In what follows, I intend to provide a brief account of these diverse developments in ancient, classical and medieval India. (For an approximate chronology of Indian philosophers, see the supplement.)

• 1. Pre-systematic conceptions of language in Vedic texts
• 2. Conception of Language among Sanskrit grammarians
• 3. General philosophical approaches to the status of Vedic scriptures
• 4. Language and Meaning
• 6. Different views regarding sentence-meaning
• 7. Some important conceptions
• 8. Why the differences?
• Bibliography
• Academic Tools
• Other Internet Resources
• Related Entries

1. Pre-systematic conceptions of language in Vedic texts

The Vedic scriptural texts (1500–500 bce) consist of the four ancient collections, i.e., the Ṛgveda, the Sāmaveda, the Yajurveda, and the Atharvaveda. The next layer of Vedic texts, the Brāhmaṇas, consists of prose ritual commentaries that offer procedures, justifications, and explanations. The last two categories of Vedic literature are the Āraṇyakas, “Forest Texts”, and the Upaniṣads, “Secret Mystical Doctrines”.

The word saṃskṛta is not known as a label of a language variety during the Vedic period. The general term used for language in the Vedic texts is vāk, a word historically related to “voice”. The Vedic poet-sages perceived significant differences between their own language and the languages of the outsiders. Similarly, they perceived important differences between their own use of language in mundane contexts and the use of language directed toward Gods. The Gods are generically referred to by the term deva, and the language of the hymns is said to be devī vāk, “divine language.” This language is believed to have been created by the Gods themselves. The language thus created by the Gods is then spoken by the animate world in various forms. The divine language in its ultimate form is so mysterious that three-quarters of it are said to be hidden from the humans who have access only to a quarter of it. The Vedic poet-sages say that this divine language enters into their hearts and that they discover it through mystical introspection. Just as the language used by the Vedic poet-sages is the divine language, the language used by the non-Vedic people is said to be un-godly (adevī) or demonic (asuryā).

In the Vedic literature, one observes the development of mystical and ritual approaches to language. Language was perceived as an essential tool for approaching the gods, invoking them, asking their favors, and thus for the successful completion of a ritual performance. While the Gods were the powers that finally yielded the wishes of their human worshipers, one could legitimately look at the resulting reward as ensuing from the power of the religious language, or the power of the performing priest. This way, the language came to be looked upon as having mysterious creative powers, and as a divine power that needed to be propitiated before it could be successfully used to invoke other gods. This approach to language ultimately led to deification of language and the emergence of the Goddess of Speech (vāk devī), and a number of other gods who are called “Lord of Speech” (brahmaṇaspati, bṛhaspati, vākpati).

In contrast with the valorous deeds of the divine language, the language of the non-Vedic people neither yields fruit nor blossom (Ṛgveda, 10.71.5). “Yielding fruit and blossom” is a phrase indicative of the creative power of speech that produces the rewards for the worshiper. From being a created but divine entity, the speech rises to the heights of being a divinity in her own right and eventually to becoming the substratum of the existence of the whole universe. The deification of speech is seen in hymn 10.125 of the Ṛgveda where the Goddess of Speech sings her own glory. In this hymn, one no longer hears of the creation of the speech, but one begins to see the speech as a primordial divinity that creates and controls other gods, sages, and the human beings. Here the goddess of speech demands worship in her own right, before her powers may be used for other purposes. The mystery of language is comprehensible only to a special class of people, the wise Brāhmaṇas, while the commoners have access to and understanding of only a limited portion of this transcendental phenomenon.

The “Lord of Speech” divinities typically emerge as creator divinities, e.g., Brahmā, Bṛhaspati, and Brahmaṇaspati, and the word brahman which earlier refers, with differing accents, to the creative incantation and the priest, eventually comes to assume in the Upaniṣads the meaning of the creative force behind the entire universe. While the Vedic hymns were looked upon as being crafted by particular poet-sages in the earlier period, gradually a rising perception of their mysterious power and their preservation by the successive generations led to the emergence of a new conception of the scriptural texts. Already in the late parts of the Ṛgveda (10.90.9), we hear that the verses (ṛk), the songs (sāma), and the ritual formulas (yajus) arose from the primordial sacrifice offered by the gods. They arose from the sacrificed body of the cosmic person, the ultimate ground of existence. This tendency of increasingly looking at the scriptural texts as not being produced by any human authors takes many forms in subsequent religious and philosophical materials, finally leading to a wide-spread notion that the Vedas are not authored by any human beings (apauruṣeya), and are in fact uncreated and eternal, beyond the cycles of creation and destruction of the world. In late Vedic texts, we hear the notion that the real Vedas are infinite (ananta) and that the Vedas known to human poet-sages are a mere fraction of the real infinite Vedas.

In the late Vedic traditions of the Brāhmaṇas, we are told that there is perfection of the ritual form (rūpasamṛddhi) when a recited incantation echoes the ritual action that is being performed. This shows a notion that ideally there should be a match between the contents of a ritual formula and the ritual action in which it is recited, further suggesting a notion that language mirrors the external world in some way. In the Āraṇyakas and Upaniṣads, language acquires importance in different ways. The Upaniṣads, emphasizing the painful nature of cycles of rebirths, point out that the ideal goal should be to put an end to these cycles of birth and rebirth and to find one’s permanent identity with the original ground of the universal existence, i.e., Brahman. The term brahman, originally referring to creative ritual chants and the chanters, has now acquired this new meaning, the ultimate creative force behind the universe. As part of the meditative practice, one is asked to focus on the sacred syllable OM, which is the symbolic linguistic representation of Brahman. Here the language, in the form of OM, becomes an important tool for the attainment of one’s mystical union with Brahman. The Sanskrit word akṣara refers to a syllable, but it also means “indestructible.” Thus, the word akṣara allowed the meditational use of the holy syllable OM to ultimately lead to one’s experiential identity with the indestructible reality of Brahman.

The role of language and scripture in the Upaniṣadic mode of religious life is complicated. Here, the use of language to invoke the Vedic gods becomes a lower form of religious practice. Can Brahman be reached through language? Since Brahman is beyond all characterizations and all modes of human perception, no linguistic expression can properly describe it. Hence all linguistic expressions and all knowledge framed in language are deemed to be inadequate for the purpose of reaching Brahman. In fact, it is silence that characterizes Brahman, and not words. Even so, the use of OM-focused meditation is emphasized, at least in the pre-final stages of Brahman-realization.

By the time we come to the classical philosophical systems in India, one more assumption is made by almost all Hindu systems, i.e., that all the Vedas together form a coherent whole. The human authorship of the Vedic texts has long been rejected, and they are now perceived either as being entirely uncreated and eternal or created by God at the beginning of each cycle of creation. Under the assumption that they are entirely uncreated, their innate ability to convey truthful meaning is unhampered by human limitations. Thus if all the Vedic texts convey truth, there cannot be any internal contradictions. If an omniscient God, who by his very nature is compassionate and beyond human limitations, created the Vedas, one reaches the same conclusion, i.e., there cannot be any internal contradictions. The traditional interpretation of the Vedas proceeds under these assumptions. If there are seeming contradictions in Vedic passages, the burden of finding ways to remove those seeming contradictions is upon the interpreter, but there can be no admission of internal contradictions in the texts themselves.

2. Conception of Language among Sanskrit grammarians

Before the emergence of the formalized philosophical systems or the darśanas, we see a number of philosophical issues relating to language implicitly and explicitly brought out by the early Sanskrit grammarians, namely Pāṇini, Kātyāyana and Patañjali. Pāṇini (400 bce) composed his grammar of Sanskrit with a certain notion of Sanskrit as an atemporal language. For him, there were regional dialects of Sanskrit, as well as variation of usage in its scriptural (chandas) and contemporary (bhāṣā) domains. All these domains are treated as sub-domains of a unified language, which is not restricted by any temporality.

Patañjali’s Mahābhāṣya refers to the views of Vyāḍi and Vājapyāyana on the meaning of words. Vyāḍi argued that words like “cow” denote individual instances of a certain class, while Vājapyāyana argued that words like “cow” denote generic properties or class properties (ākṛti), such as cowness, that are shared by all members of certain classes. Patañjali presents a long debate on the extreme positions in this argument, and finally concludes that both the individual instances and the class property must be included within the range of meaning. The only difference between the two positions is about which aspect, the individual or the class property, is denoted first, and which is understood subsequently. This early debate indicates philosophical positions that get expanded and fully argued in the traditions of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣikas and the Mīmāṃsakas.

The early commentators on Pāṇini’s grammar from the late Mauryan and post-Mauryan periods, Kātyāyana and Patañjali (200–100 bce), display a significant reorganization of Brahmanical views in the face of opposition from Jains and Buddhists. For Kātyāyana and Patañjali, the Sanskrit language at large is sacred like the Vedas. The intelligent use of Sanskrit, backed by the explicit understanding of its grammar, leads to prosperity here and in the next world, as do the Vedas. Kātyāyana and Patañjali admit that vernaculars as well as Sanskrit could do the function of communicating meaning. However, only the usage of Sanskrit produces religious merit. This is an indirect criticism of the Jains and the Buddhists, who used vernacular languages for the propagation of their faiths. The grammarians did not accept the religious value of the vernaculars. The vernacular languages, along with the incorrect uses of Sanskrit, are all lumped together by the Sanskrit grammarians under the derogatory terms apaśabda and apabhraṃśa, both of which suggest a view that the vernaculars are degenerate or “fallen” forms of the divine language, i.e., Sanskrit. Kātyāyana says: “While the relationship between words and meanings is established on the basis of the usage of specific words to denote specific meanings in the community of speakers, the science of grammar only makes a regulation concerning the religious merit produced by the linguistic usage, as is commonly done in worldly matters and in Vedic rituals” (first Vārttika on the Aṣṭādhyāyī). Kātyāyana refers to these “degenerate” vernacular usages as being caused by the inability of the low-class speakers to speak proper Sanskrit. The grammarians tell the story of demons that used improper degenerate usages during their ritual and hence were defeated.

The relationship between Sanskrit words and their meanings is said to be established (siddha) and taken as given by the grammarians. Patañjali understands this statement of Kātyāyana to mean that the relationship between Sanskrit words and their meanings is eternal (nitya), not created (kārya) by anyone. Since this eternal relationship, according to these grammarians, exists only for Sanskrit words and their meanings, one cannot accord the same status to the vernaculars, which are born of an inability on the part of their speakers to speak proper Sanskrit.

While Pāṇini uses the term prakṛti to refer to the derivationally original state of a word or expression before changes effected by grammatical operations are applied, Kātyāyana and Patañjali use the term vikṛta to refer to the derivationally transformed segment. However, change and identity are not compatible within more rigid metaphysical frameworks, and this becomes apparent in the following discussion. In his Vārttikas or comments on Pāṇini’s grammar, Kātyāyana says that one could have argued that an item partially transformed does not yet lose its identity (Vārttika 10 on P. 1.1.56). But such an acceptance would lead to non-eternality (anityatva) of language (Vārttika 11, Mahābhāṣya, I, p. 136), and that is not acceptable. Patañjali asserts that words in reality are eternal (nitya), and that means they must be absolutely free from change or transformation and fixed in their nature. If words are truly eternal, one cannot then say that a word was transformed and is yet the same. This points to the emerging ideological shifts in philosophical traditions, which make their headway into the tradition of grammar, and finally lead to the development of newer conceptions within the tradition of grammar and elsewhere.

In trying to figure out how the emerging doctrine of nityatva (“permanence”, “immutability”) of language causes problems with the notion of transformation (vikāra) and how these problems are eventually answered by developing new concepts, we should note two issues, i.e., temporal fixity or flexibility of individual sounds, and the compatibility of the notion of sequence of sounds, or utterance as a process stretched in time. From within the new paradigm of nityatva or eternality of sounds, Kātyāyana concludes that the true sounds (varṇa) are fixed in their nature in spite of the difference of speed of delivery (Vārttika 5 on P. 1.1.70, Mahābhāṣya, I, p. 181). The speed of delivery (vṛtti) results from the slow or fast utterance of a speaker (vacana), though the true sounds are permanently fixed in their nature. Here, Kātyāyana broaches a doctrine that is later developed further by Patañjali, and more fully by Bhartṛhari. It argues for a dual ontology. There are the fixed true sounds (varṇa), and then there are the uttered sounds (vacana, “utterance”). It is Patañjali who uses, for the first time as far as we know, the term sphoṭa to refer to Kātyāyana’s “true sounds which are fixed” (avasthitā varṇāḥ) and the term dhvani (“uttered sounds”). Patañjali adds an important comment to Kātyāyana’s discussion. He says that the real sound (śabda) is thus the sphoṭa (“the sound as it initially breaks out into the open”), and the quality [length or speed] of the sound is part of dhvani (“sound as it continues”) (Mahābhāṣya, I, p. 181). The term sphoṭa refers to something like exploding or coming into being in a bang. Thus it refers to the initial production or perception of sound. On the other hand, the stretching of that sound seems to refer to the dimension of continuation. Patañjali means to say that it is the same sound, but it may remain audible for different durations.

This raises the next problem that the grammarians must face: can a word be understood as a sequence or a collection of sounds? Kātyāyana says that one cannot have a sequence or a collection of sounds, because the process of speech proceeds sound-by-sound, and that sounds perish as soon as they are uttered. Thus, one cannot have two sounds co-existing at a given moment to relate to each other. Since the sounds perish as soon as they are uttered, a sound cannot have another co-existent companion (Vārttikas 9 and 10 on P. 1.4.109). Kātyāyana points out all these difficulties, but it is Patañjali who offers a solution to this philosophical dilemma. Patañjali suggests that one can pull together impressions of all the uttered sounds and then think of a sequence in this mentally constructed image of a word (Mahābhaṣya, I, p. 356). Elsewhere, Patañjali says that a word is perceived through the auditory organ, discerned through one’s intelligence, and brought into being through its utterance (Mahābhaṣya, I, p. 18). While Patañjali’s solution overcomes the transitoriness of the uttered sounds, and the resulting impossibility of a sequence, there is no denial of sequentiality or perhaps of an imprint of sequentiality in the comprehended word, and there is indeed no claim to its absolutely unitary or partless character. Patañjali means to provide a solution to the perception of sequentiality through his ideas of a mental storage of comprehension. But at the same time, this mental storage and the ability to view this mental image allows one to overcome the difficulty of non-simultaneity and construct a word or a linguistic unit as a collection of perceived sounds or words, as the case may be. Kātyāyana and Patañjali specifically admit the notion of samudāya (“collection”) of sounds to represent a word and a collection of words to represent a phrase or a sentence (Vārttika 7 on P. 2.2.29). Thus, while the ontology of physical sounds does not permit their co-existence, their mental images do allow it, and once they can be perceived as components of a collection, one also recognizes the imprint of the sequence in which they were perceived. Neither Kātyāyana nor Patañjali explicitly claim any higher ontological status to these word-images. However, the very acceptance of such word-images opens up numerous explanatory possibilities.

Although Kātyāyana and Patañjali argue that the notion of change or transformation of parts of words was contradictory to the doctrine of nityatva (“permanence”) of language, they were not averse to the notion of substitution. The notion of substitution was understood as a substitution, not of a part of a word by another part, but of a whole word by another word, and this especially as a conceptual rather than an ontological replacement. Thus, in going from “bhavati” to “bhavatu”, Pāṇini prescribes the change of “i” of “ti” to “u” (cf. P.3.4.86: “er uḥ”). Thus, “i” changes to “u”, leading to the change of “ti” to “tu”, and this consequently leads to the change of “bhavati” to “bhavatu”. For Kātyāyana and Patañjali, the above atomistic and transformational understanding of Pāṇini’s procedure goes contrary to the doctrine of nityatva (“permanence”) of words. Therefore, they suggest that it is actually the substitution of the whole word “bhavati” by another whole word “bhavatu”, each of these two words being eternal in its own right. Additionally they assert that this is merely a notional change and not an ontological change, i.e., a certain item is found to occur, where one expected something else to occur. There is no change of an item x into an item y, nor does one remove the item x and place y in its place (Vārttikas 12 and 14 on P. 1.1.56). This discussion seems to imply a sort of unitary character to the words, whether notional or otherwise, and this eventually leads to a movement toward a kind of akhaṇḍa-pada-vāda (“the doctrine of partless words”) in the Vākyapadīya of Bhartṛhari. While one must admit that the seeds for such a conception may be traced in these discussions in the Mahābhāṣya, Patañjali is actually not arguing so much against words having parts, as against the notion of change or transformation (Mahābhāṣya on P. 1.2.20, I, p. 75).

Kātyāyana and Patañjali clearly view words as collections of sounds. Besides using the term “samudāya” for such a collection, they also use the word “varṇasaṃghāta” (“collection of sounds”). They argue that words are built by putting together sounds, and that, while the words are meaningful, the component sounds are not meaningful in themselves. The notion of a word as a collection (saṃghāta) applies not only in the sense that it is a collection of sounds, but also in the sense that complex formations are collections of smaller morphological components.

This leads us to consider the philosophical developments in the thought of Bhartṛhari (400 ce), and especially his departures from the conceptions seen in Kātyāyana and Patañjali. Apart from his significant contribution toward an in depth philosophical understanding of issues of the structure and function of language, and issues of phonology, semantics and syntax, Bhartṛhari is well known for his claim that language constitutes the ultimate principle of reality (śabdabrahman). Both the signifier words and the signified entities in the world are perceived to be a transformation (pariṇāma) of the ultimate unified principle of language.

For Kātyāyana and Patañjali, the level of padas (“inflected words”) is the basic level of language for grammar. These words are freely combined by the users to form sentences or phrases. The words are not derived by Kātyāyana and Patañjali by abstracting them from sentences by using the method of anvaya-vyatireka (“concurrent occurrence and concurrent absence”) (Vārttika 9 on P. 1.2.45). On the other hand, they claim that a grammarian first derives stems and affixes by applying the procedure of abstraction to words, and then in turn puts these stems and affixes through the grammatical process of derivation (saṃskāra) to build the words. Here, Kātyāyana and Patañjali do make a distinction between the levels of actual usage (vacana) and technical grammatical analysis and derivation. While full-fledged words (pada) occur at the level of usage, their abstracted morphological components do not occur by themselves at that level. However, they do not seem to suggest that the stems, roots, and affixes are purely imagined (kalpita).

Bhartṛhari has substantially moved beyond Kātyāyana and Patañjali. For him, the linguistically given entity is a sentence. Everything below the level of sentence is derived through a method of abstraction referred to by the term anvaya-vyatireka or apoddhāra. Additionally, for Bhartṛhari, elements abstracted through this procedure have no reality of any kind. They are kalpita (“imagined”) (Vākyapadīya, III, 14, 75–76). Such abstracted items have instructional value for those who do not yet have any intuitive insight into the true nature of speech (Vākyapadīya, II. 238). The true speech unit, the sentence, is an undivided singularity and so is its meaning which is comprehended in an instantaneous cognitive flash (pratibhā), rather than through a deliberative and/or sequential process. Consider the following verse of the Vākyapadīya (II.10):

Just as stems, affixes etc. are abstracted from a given word, so the abstraction of words from a sentence is justified.


Here, the clause introduced by “just as” refers to the older more widely prevalent view seen in the Mahābhāṣya. With the word “so,” Bhartṛhari is proposing an analogical extension of the procedure of abstraction (apoddhāra) to the level of a sentence.

Without mentioning Patañjali or Kātyāyana by name, Bhartṛhari seems to critique their view that the meaning of a sentence, consisting of the interrelations between the meanings of individual words, is essentially not derived from the constituent words themselves, but from the whole sentence as a collection of words. The constituent words convey their meaning first, but their interrelations are not communicated by the words themselves, but by the whole sentence as a unit. This view of Kātyāyana and Patañjali is criticized by Bhartṛhari (Vākyapadīya II.15–16, 41–42). It is clear that Bhartṛhari’s ideas do not agree with the views expressed by Kātyāyana and Patañjali, and that the views of these two earlier grammarians are much closer, though not identical, with the views later maintained by the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣikas and Mīmāṃsakas. For Bhartṛhari, the sentence as a single partless unit conveys its entire unitary meaning in a flash, and this unitary meaning as well as the unitary sentence are subsequently analyzed by grammarians into their assumed or imagined constituents.

Finally, we should note that Bhartṛhari’s views on the unitary character of a sentence and its meaning were found to be generally unacceptable by the schools of Mīmāṃsā and Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, as well as by the later grammarian-philosophers like Kauṇḍabhaṭṭa and Nāgeśabhaṭṭa. Their discussion of the comprehension of sentence-meaning is not couched in terms of Bhartṛhari’s instantaneous flash of intuition (pratibhā), but in terms of the conditions of ākāṅkṣā (“mutual expectancy”), yogyatā (“compatibility)”, and āsatti (“contiguity of words”). In this sense, the later grammarian-philosophers are somewhat closer to the spirit of Kātyāyana and Patañjali.
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